The Curse of the Orthana by Nick Tamboia

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Nervous, Mister Ferret the spy, who wasn’t very good at spying, glanced around at everyone. Swallowing hard he looked back at Jadis and simply asked, “my lady?”

With the speed of a striking serpent, Jaidis sprang off of her throne and struck Mister Ferret with her wand. There was a quick flash of blue light, and in an instant the ferret turned to stone. A perfect stone statue of his former self.

That done, Jadis stood there for a long moment with a mask of pure hate on her face as she looked down at the statue of the ferret. “Let that be a warning to you all!” She then shouted in rage as she looked around at all those present. “If I send any of you out to do my bidding, anyone of you, you will do as I command, exactly as I command or do not bother returning to me alive! I will not tolerate failure!” With that she spun around and stomped over to sit on her throne.

All those present were afraid to move or speak, to make the slightest sound. This only lasted for a short moment, and then the tension was broken when a group of wolves suddenly came walking into the throne room, ringing a small, hunched over figure dressed in rags.

Jadis slowly turned her head and watched as they approached. The wolves to the sides and back of the small, hunched over figure were normal wolves. The one to the front was a large, black furred dire wolf who called himself, Noctis.

“Now what is this?” The witch asked aloud.

“The hunters, My Queen,” Iron Boot answered from where he stood beside her throne.

“I know who they are,” Jadis remarked in a growling tone as she glared at the Dwarf.

“Queen Jadis,” Noctis the dire wolf then spoke in his deep, rumbling voice.

“We caught this one in the forest near the border of the Red Rock Canyon. We believe she might be a spy for, Coranith.”

“Seems to be a day for spies,” Jadis remarked at length, before finally standing up again. “Why bother bringing her before me, Noctis?”

“Because of what she claims to be able to see,” the dire wolf answered.

“And what might that be?” Jadis asked as she slowly approached the group.