In a garden of black trees the Queen of the Unseelie Court paced, trailing midnight-blue velvet carelessly through the wet grass. At her side walked a huge black wolf, its shoulder as high as her waist.
“You have done well,” Night said, trailing a hand over the rough head of the barghest walking beside her. He shrugged off her hand, irritated at being treated as one of her pets. As her oldest soldier, and her assassin, he was allowed his irascibility.
“The Tower holds firm, and the Moon is drowned. We are close to ending the reign of the Court of the Light,” he rumbled.
Night reached up and grasped a white apple from one of the twisted black trees. Pulling it free, she studied the pale surface in the dim light. “Plans are fragile,” she said. “Plans that take a generation to come to fruition can be broken in a moment, and there are still pieces in play.”
“The children?” the black wolf asked, looking up at her as they paced. “They are young, and weak. And they know nothing of what has happened.”
“Be sure that they remain that way,” snapped Night, tossing the white apple into the darkness and turning on her heel in a flurry of shadowed skirts. “Light may yet make her move. We must not be complacent.”
Ebony hair trailing in her wake, she strode to the spill of light coming from the arched door into the palace. With a sigh, the great black wolf turned and walked into the deep shadows of the forest.