Epilogue

"My Queen! My Queen!" shouted a hunched figure as it ran up a long spiraling staircase, its gravely grunting voice echoing off the nearby walls.

The creature stood on two legs, each was comparatively short next to its broad chest and abnormally long arms. Its entire body was covered in a thick white fur designed to provide warmth in the coldest of environments. Its face was canine in appearance, with a moderately long snout, pointed teeth, and a sniffling black nose. In its clawed hands, it held an almost perfect sphere of crystal clear ice against its chest.

The wolf-like creature ran up the spiraling steps in front of it as fast as its legs would allow, its clawed and padded feet clacking against the cold stone stairs as it went. Soon enough though, the wolf reached the top of the staircase and the ice-encrusted hardwood door waiting there. The creature immediately grabbed the door's handle, flung it open, and hurried inside.

Beyond that door, the wolf darted through a very large garden. Flowers of every color imaginable stood from well-placed pots, and curved trees bent with the domed ceiling above to dangle their vines and leaves below. Then, as though to ensure the plants' everlasting beauty, each and every single piece of plant life was secured behind a thin sheet of ice. At the center of this ice sculpture of a garden, there sat a large darkened throne, also carved out of the purest of ice. The throne, and the area immediately around it, were wreathed in an unnatural darkness that actually seemed to be radiating cold and shadows outwards into the room. Sitting on the throne was a vaguely humanoid figure, hidden underneath the cooling shadows.

The wolf creature ran up to throne in the center of the room, and knelt down in a deep bow just over an arm's length away.

"Messenger, what news do you bring?" whispered a softly feminine and almost soothing voice from the veiled figure.

"Your Majesty, your scrying magic has just begun working again," huffed the wolf as it held out the orb towards the throne. "The indebted Warden has reappeared."

The figure on the throne stiffened and leaned forward a little, but not enough to pierce through the dark cloud around its seat.

"How did you find him?" the queen said at once, her voice shifting almost instantly to a chilling bite that pierced into the wolf's ears. "There are precious few ways to evade my sight, even fewer that last for as long as he's been gone."

The wolf let out a short whine and folded back its ears against its furry skull, even while presenting the orb in its claws ever more energetically. "We don't know, my Queen, he just appeared to your magic mere moments ago. Even now, the image isn't perfect, but it's there." The messenger lifted its head to peer quizzically at the sphere it held. "And, there's something else."

The figure hidden under the unnatural shadows leaned forward in her seat until her head and arms breached through the curtain and came into view. Beautiful did not even begin to describe the woman's face. Her skin was extremely pale white across her exposed face and hands, almost sickly, and completely free of any possible blemishes. The flesh of her face was free of excess fat, leaving her jaw and high cheekbones easily visible. Her hair was a long stream of straight shoulder-length silver perfection. If you didn't look too closely, you could potentially mistake her hair for a short river of flowing platinum. Her eyes, contrary to the rest of her face, refused to be tied down to any single color. The icy pools of her eyes constantly shifted every few seconds into a different color of the blue spectrum. All of these created a face that would have any mere mortal falling to their knees in thanks at being able to witness such beauty; however, as many unfortunate men and women have learned, beauty is only skin deep.

Every muscle in her face worked to create a precise and carefully controlled mask. Very little emotion escaped from her shifted eyes, instead, she practically radiated a sense of feral hunger. Her gaze fixated intensely on the orb in her messenger's grasp and slowly leaned closer to it, like a feline tensing before it pounces on its unsuspecting prey. Even the air around her seem to darken and drop to well below freezing as her attention became over more focused on the sphere.

The confines of the icy orb, while foggy and flickering occasionally, housed an image for the queen. Through its surface she could see a large bed with two unfamiliar figures lying upon it, although both were clearly to be equine in nature. The larger one was an alicorn stallion with an ashen grey coat and a black mane and tail. The smaller, lying curled against the stallion, was a lavender colored unicorn mare. Both slept soundly upon their bed, unaware of any prying eyes.

"What is this?" the queen whispered aloud seized the orb of ice from her minion's hand, a very brief look of genuine surprise upon her face. "This shouldn't be possible. They disapp…"

Her voice trailed off slightly as something visibly clicked behind her eyes. Her lips, as uniformly pale as the rest of her skin, stretched in a wide toothy grin. Her eyes opened a little further as an expression of pure giddiness broke through her icy mask.

"You found them." The queen's eyes traced along the alicorn's body until they fell upon a silver pentacle mark on his flank, causing her smile to stretch even wider. "Oh, wonderful wonderful news! You found them and they've been keeping you safe for me all this time."

"They grey one is the indebted wizard your spell is connected to," the wolf said unhelpfully, albeit excited to bring any news that made its queen smile. "Your Majesty, allow us to fetch him for you. My pack and I can track him through his debt, no matter who protects him or where he hides."

"No," the smiling goddess said with a dismissive gesture, "you wouldn't be able to lay a claw on him. This land he hides himself in, this Equestria, is unassailable by any within the Summer or Winter Courts."

The wolf tilted its head to one side and stared uncomprehendingly at the crooning woman. "My Queen?"

The pale goddess let out a short sigh and tore her gaze away from the sphere in her hands and towards the one that had brought her this news. "Before even I came to power, my predecessor found this Equestria, and tried to seize it. It's a place so rich with raw magic and inhabited by beings naturally capable of wielding it, that taking it would strike a major blow against Summer."

The queen's face became shadowed as she delved into what she knew or had learned about that dark time. The environment around her shifted slightly to reflect the haunted appearance on her face. The shadows around the garden became more pronounced and the temperature dropped another few degrees. Even the messenger's fur began to harden and frost over.

"We did not anticipate one factor however. This world is somehow separated completely from our source of power. In this world, the cycle and power of both Summer and Winter bow to the will of these ponies, not us." The queen's eyes found their way back over to the image of the two ponies in her grasp. "Winter's forces swarmed into Equestria eons ago, and every single one of them were sapped of their strength the moment they crossed into Equestria. Fae might means very little there. Shortly later, the entirety of Equestria simply vanished from the Nevernever, until now least. He can't be extracted even with a platoon of your finest trackers." The queen transferred the scrying orb to her left hand and stroked it like a pet with her right. "Besides, I need him to come to me, willingly. Even hidden away, I can still pull at his strings."

The wolf creature looked expectantly at its queen. "So then, what do you want to do?"

"We will watch, and we will wait." The woman poured a tad bit more of her energy into the sphere to try and get a clearer image. The grey alicorn within the orb shivered in his sleep and extended out a wing protectively over the unicorn. "No-one eludes Queen Mab forever, not even you, Harry Dresden."