Excerpt from "A Good Hoard" by Pauline J. Alama

In Pauline J. Alama's "A Good Hoard", Lord Richard of Chateldor has brought in the Pest Banisher to deal with a mysterious infestation ...

“They’re breeding,” the Pest Banisher said. He gestured at a group of little winged pests. Somehow, they seemed to circle around his hand instead of swooping in to sting. “The queen must be hiding in your treasury. Queens, I should say, to spawn this many.”

“Lovely,” Lord Richard drawled. “They’ve already driven away my mistress. They sting like fire, you know, besides making holes in all her best silks. What kind of moths are they, anyway?”

“Moths, sir?”

“Or perhaps it’s not moths. Is it something more . . . Biblical?”

“My dear sir, everything is Biblical,” the Pest Banisher said amiably. “The world is a book in which God’s word is written, if only we knew how to read―”

“Yes, yes,” Lord Richard cut in, “but I mean, is it a plague of locusts, like in Moses’ time? I’ve never quite understood that verse—”

“Locusts? Oh, no. No indeed. They attack fields, not castles. Forgive me, but I thought you knew what you were facing. Sir, I’m afraid you’ve got dragons.”

Pauline J. Alama, author of the quest fantasy The Eye of Night (Bantam Spectra 2002), sees religion and spirituality as the heart and blood of fantasy. Her work has appeared in Fantasy Scroll Magazine, Abyss & Apex, numerous volumes of Sword & Sorceress, and other publications. She feels an affinity for dragons—lonely flyers, guardians of hoards—but struggles to keep her draconian traits in check. This story was inspired by a moth infestation, proving that all life’s frustrations, rightly viewed, are story research.

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