Mangos is the Mongoose, a skilled, boastful, and hotheaded swordsman, Kat is the Meerkat, a beautiful yet mysterious woman who favors the oblique approach to her well-chosen blade. Together, they’ll take on the conqueror of Alness to reclaim Kat’s throne. But a queen needs soldiers, and few are willing to join what may be yet another failed rebellion. And some have taken good coin to ensure Kat never reaches Alness…
In Jim Breyfogle’s “Feast of the Fedai”, found in the Spring 2023 issue of Cirsova, it is Mangos’ task to purchase the services of hardened Fedai regulars to serve as the core of Alnessi liberation. And in preparation for that particularly nasty battlefield fought in banquets and social calls, Mangos learns how the various jobs the Mongoose and Meerkat accomplished since their first meeting are connected.
Ore, from mines. Favors, from a city of smiths. Goblets made from a universal antidote.
Favors, from the underworld lord Bursa, and his ever-capable Hand.
All the while, a Wormtongue lies in waiting, sabotaging Kat’s efforts from the shadows.
The man who bankrolled Alnessi’s fall has purchased all groups of Fedai available to cut off Kat’s rebellion. Mangos has one more chance to raise an army—the personal guard of a mercenary captain. But how can Mangos outmaneuver all the plotters in his way?
The end of the Mongoose and Meerkat’s story is around the corner. And much action normally told in epics remains. Troops to be trained, battles to fought, and the final showdown. In epic and serialized fantasy, these stories would fill entire volumes. Only a short story or two remain. After all, no one expects Kat to take the direct approach. As always, what Kat intendeds remain close to her vest. Like Mangos, one expects the masterstroke to be obvious in hindsight, obscured by secrecy and misdirection.
The Mongoose has grown up under Kat’s tutelage. Not just as an observer, but from a callow and carefree brawler to a man who can fill the footsteps of the Alnessi Queen’s marshal. After all, responsibility matures, if a fighting man can survive his lessons–and the Meerkat’s lessons have been subtle indeed.
Perhaps, at the end, we will find that Kat’s real investment in Alness’s liberation was not in favors and material, but in one man.
And the North will thunder with the Mongoose’s quick strike…