"She, Catherine, evades us and yet she is present among us, steadfast in her devotion. Catherine is an enchantress, goddess, flame and at first ambivalent, yet certain of her vocation. She is child, maiden and demon’s cohort. The Creator’s solace in beauty exultant and perfection, she is gift. She is innocence annulled and enraptured to deed. Yet, her fall from helm was but love confessed. And from such love she fell, thus to reign great throne, with crown, and demon unmasked!”

Such was the beauty of a young woman, Catherine, described in the excerpt written above, who seeks to destroy the empire of her demon lord, Minutiae, after her capture and enslavement by his side. In great wars and pillage she stood by in her cunning and plan to employ her will and powers, uniting the universe against his regime. And with courage, by her side stood Cyclops, Brother Barnubus, Frethner, Knix, Ernold, the witch Ocelots and king. Yet, if it were not for the imprudence of the medieval monk, Brother Josephus, whom unleashed doom from a profaned book, it would not have been freed the thing from a dark and nameless place. This thing rules the universe through mind and memory. Trailing through space, it travels, enslaving the galaxies and all creatures to its mighty rule. And it, Minutiae, with metal robotic warriors, ominous creatures and obedient servants, they reign in their battles against her, Catherine. Therefore, the Earth shall submit to great loses and greater griefs...

But then, at the end of their mighty fight against that evil lord, the Earth shall settle down within itself and its secrets to be well buried. And when so, they will part from each other, choosing their roads to bear: King Amtrus returns to his lands in ruins; while thus Ocelots, suddenly taken ill, returns to her place of refuge hidden in the far hills and unbeknownst to all men. The meek creatures from a distant planet, Cyclops, Catherine and Frethner joined by Knix and Ernald, will roam the Earth for what was to be the last time to set foot on that planet so strange in its mysterious knowledge and way. Yet for each of them, there had taken place one unusual thing: in some way the seeds of hope and renewal were sown; and such seeds and their fruit perhaps, were to be reaped for a greater harvest of glory to come hither and yon.

Thus, in their triumph, the king, Cyclops, Catherine and all others in their feat against the demon, had defeated the greatest evil of all times! It was believed that Minutiae's evil could never and would never gain right to return―the eclipse of malice had gone dispelled, forever. The horror of Minutiae’s reign had fallen! So then from the lips of all men came a whisper, a tale of warning, in those ancient times where Minutiae sought to survive in his malignant self and form. And it was murmured until this very day...

When great event, forms the past to meet the future, there is provoking thought of how evil and its malice have arisen. Nonetheless, there shall stand the resurrection of that which is angelic, in all its forms―yet that too, of the damned and their evil in jovial revival! Stands to reason, how then it all began, and how if only... Yea, if only... Ah, but no matter, for within the heart there is hope that may be seeded to grant desire, so too even kings may dream. And if fallen by deed, then thy has fallen short of virtue. Do so long then and hasten, to have chance grant one wish, one brazen desire: to have refused the wooing from accursed lips! For evil stirred one mysterious night! Ah, said many, many ages ago...when artful, deathly and fated hand, did unfold the devil’s plan!

Within this epic of a tale, although the Earth had survived the mortal attacks from Minutiae and his warriors, Catherine had not survived the brutal reality of having to abandon her love and heart on Earth. She is of alien origin and will remain spellbound by her forsaken love for the king, Amtrus. As she and her companions searched to leave the planet to return to their own, her longing for the king brings her to weep―he had condemned and exiled her for the death and murder of his father and also for being once betrothed to Minutiae, demon born but masked as prince. Our heroes, however, in their wandering the Earth, soon find themselves near a vast pebbled coast where rushed to its shore’s edge, the shimmering waters of a great sea. Catherine chooses to rest there with her traveling companions: Cyclops, Frethner, Ernold and Knix. Immense rock and boulders, set like bold jewels or pearls of a well gemmed crown, aligned its boundaries where few trees and vegetation adorned still its beauty. The air was crisp and the waves of the sea drifted languidly to an fro; a lull that cradled their thoughts, as they looked out onto its vastness.

They had been traveling for quite some time on foot. But now pensive and fatigued, they are unable to leave the lands of the great king, Amtrus, for their thoughts are many and their hearts weigh heavily from Catherine’s unspoken grief. It seemed that the further their straying passes led far away from the ruins of the castle and its king, dreadful became their journey. Ah yes, and ‘til sight of a tear was seen upon Catherine’s cheek, as she stood near the edge of the sea's shore. Oh, a minute tear it was, dropping gently, soundless as her cry. Down into the sea, it fell through to its depths, until lost in its abyss and she in her despair. Meekly murmurs then Catherine: “Oh, wayward tear, you are all but a whisper, lament, like the soft wind from seas blown...” “It is not too late... It is not too late…” came reply. Be it was breath of hope or the voice of wind that sighed, silence so then prevailed―stirred all fates! “Cyclops,” softly calls out Catherine, fearful, feeling the pressing caress of the wind upon her, “have I alone heard the words?” “It is not too late... It is not too late...” repeats the small dwarf-like figure gazing up at her, sighing. He too had heard. “The gales of time reveal such secrets and wishes that all may desire. Yes,” he confesses, “I too have heard enchantment. The befriended Ocelots gives as gift her last vitalities of sorcery to you. She leaves this earthly world, I’m afraid. She has given her soul and magic to grant one last, unfated still, wish. It is to redeem her fall into the demon’s clutches. Yes, there is a wish she has left to us. Its whisper, sweet.” “What is that, you say?” asks Knix, overhearing them. “A wish?” Frethner then nears, to stand quietly by Catherine, to hear of it. “If the wish be one amongst us all,” begins to explain Cyclops, “fate will return on its given path. But, it is only so, if whispered from the heart, unspoken and true.”

Knowing of Catherine’s wish, to return to the king, Cyclops turns about facing the others and awaiting the wishes of whom stood about. Frethner reached deep down into his pocket pulling forth the stone, the small gem Ocelots had given him at the castle. It resembled many of the pebbles upon the shore where they now stood, except for its spectral array of fleeting color and luster. And midway the stone, it seemed a minute sandy stream stood still therein, as if in waiting. But its beauty was evident. In wonderment Frethner eyes the small object, remembering the words of the witch when she had given it to him―odd they were indeed.

“It is perhaps then a gem of great value,” sighs Frethner, reminiscent. “Its virtue inviolable!” Seeming trivial and odd in shape, he was suddenly captivated by it. He gazed wondrously upon it, realizing he had forgotten about such an odd gift. But then all at once, in his heart roared too those all too haunting words: “It is not too late... It is not too late...” In that same instant, far from where they gathered, King Amtrus withdrew the gem, stone, from a pouch hidden down beneath the mail of his armor, where he had placed that so rare of gifts. In it the witch had seeded good fortune, granting a most profound desire. So too then, a murmuring sprang within his heart: “How it all began, and how if only...”

At that very moment, because their sincere and true words were spoken form the heart, roared unsettling winds round and about them all, ‘til suddenly the sun set and the moon stood tall. From within the depths of the earth and tomb where Brother Barnubus was buried, came forth light and stone that great Ocelots gave. The world then swirled, spinning, pivoting, unceasingly on axis it did! And soon the heavens and time, fair, rest abeyant! Turning back, ardent, upon the deeds and words once fulfilled, unsettled fates then turned to most jovial game! “For it be never too late, no!―no, never too late it be! No, no never too late, in provoking thus, all great men’s fates!” Such were the wise words whispered to them and that rushed to their ears from out of nowhere.

What then occurred is a great mystery, many people would believe: Catherine and those of her story, will find themselves where they had begun, at the beginning, more or less. However, there is quite a twist to her new beginning where parallel worlds are given the rare gift, by fate, to return on their paths; to run their course a second time and to possibly succeed, where first they had failed. It is a rare moment and gift, indeed. Yet, it rests upon the shoulders of Catherine, an alien beauty from another world, to defeat an ancient enemy. She is to be granted a second chance in her final moment of despair, near that sea's edge and where whispered the fates and the voice of the wise old witch, Ocelots. But he, Minutiae, and his myriad of Spaleding, essence of countless bodiless beings―will they aid him once again in his schemes as their bodies lie in wait to regain their souls? Fierce and glory hungry commanders battled at his flanks to share in the guerdon: a mysterious treasure, the key to reign!―and will they too return together with the Iguanid Monks and many others who dared to challenge fate and the unforeseen powers of the universe? The first war was but hopelessly long, 'til crown and reign were rightfully won. But to you my readers I ask, as author, shall the demon return? Perhaps that will remain unbeknown 'til if fate grants even the diabolic, a wish or two...

From Catherine by Barbara Lois Hurt, 2012 ©