bête noire

[Dove!]

POSTED: Sat Dec 24, 2016 6:44 am

    The world had been transformed into a surreal landscape adorned in a perpetual state of white. Snow fell unencumbered from the heavens, dressing the ground and trees in frost. It held a strange kind of beauty, stark and unforgiving yet not altogether dangerous either. There was a lingering feeling that one had entered a dreamland of wonder and enchantment, but there was also a warning in the air, a gentle whisper that suggested caution. But the canine who might typically find himself heeding to such forewarnings had somehow managed to be enraptured in a sensation he had long thought lost to him – contentment. Cypher had woken in the early hours of the morning from a sleep that had, for once, not been interrupted by figments of memories from the past. He had discovered that the chill in the air meant that his meagre clothing items would serve him well once more and so had dressed accordingly with the simple long jacket he had acquired before he had joined Inferni. Then, with upturned collar and tattered bandanna serving as warmth on his neck against the cold air, the Blackwater son had ventured out in his plans.

    Recently, the former mercenary had taken an interest in practicing his carving skills. His father had taught him the bare necessities and even while he had been with the Guild, the skill set was not high on his list of important assets. However, with the passing of time, the simple act of creating something with his hands had been twofold in blessings. It provided him with a source of trade – albeit not at a superbly high standard at this stage – and it helped to soothe his mind from worry and the shadows of the past that so liked to haunt his waking moments. The Blackwater son had also thought that perhaps if he could perfect his skill of carving something with blade and wood, he might be able to fashion some other items besides his menial trinkets. As such, when he found a moment outside of his routine patrols, the ashen male had sought out materials for which he could use for this new-found passion. Wood was not overly hard to come by in Inferni lands, but finding a suitable timber was something else entirely. Certain boughs held too much grain and made it a challenge to whittle away, while others yet were too pliable in nature and would splinter much too easily in his grasp or under the pressure of the blade.

    Today however, Cypher felt a great sense of accomplishment for he had managed to scavenge some driftwood from the shore that would be perfect material for what he had in mind. He had sorted out the pieces of wood into manageable sizes and then lashed it into a bundle with some weak twine. The thread wasn’t robust enough to keep the sticks together neatly, and indeed only served a purpose in making the load somewhat easier to manage in his arms. As such, Cypher found himself loping slowly through the snow laden ground with his burden held in both arms. The young male had made use of one of the small abandoned caves in Grimwell Caverns as a store, but, though it functioned well as a cache place, Cypher still felt uneasy in the area. The former mercenary still couldn’t bring himself to linger inside the mouth of the cavern, finding the darkness all enveloping. But perhaps the winterscape had managed to weave some kind of spell over the young child of nomad and soldier for such thoughts were far from his mind. Indeed, the Blackwater son found himself humming softly while he walked, the melody hanging in the air like the lingering hope of spring.

      Word Count: 624
      Form: Optime.
      Location: Near Grimwell Caverns.
      OOC: Meep!
what have i become, my sweetest friend

everyone i know, goes away in the end

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Pi
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walking in the dark

POSTED: Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:15 pm

Ever alert, a series of snapping twigs and small, collapsing snow caught the swiveling ears of Dove as she walked two-legged across the foreign Infernian territory, taking in what she was supposed to call home — for a while, anyway. Branches breaking beneath the weight of snow was ordinarily no cause for concern given the winter months, but the noise was loud enough for her to hear despite some distance, and she worried about children caught and trapped under a sudden small avalanche.

At the mouth of a cavern a tree had buckled, losing a number of limbs to snow and evidently catching a drift atop the entrance. Enough snow had spilled into the little cave to block the mouth, but not quite enough to trap a body underneath unless they'd positioned themselves just right and ignored the warning signs. Nevertheless, Dove chose caution, and she approached the mound and glanced about it. Nothing.

She stood higher on her toes and peeked into the small hole still opened at eye level into the cavern. She called, just in case, "Hello?"

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Lin
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POSTED: Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:12 am

    It was strange how some moments could be tangible in nature. You could feel their presence and their passing. Moments that defined the very existence of life and everything that was and is. But then there are other moments which appear to warp time itself. Moments so fleeting and seemingly without cause, void of any discernible identification save for the aftermath. Cypher found himself inevitably trapped in one of those moments and it would take him a few precious seconds to realise the extent of the predicament he’d found himself in. A few precious seconds, moment by moment to register that his good day had been interrupted by a cataclysm beyond his control.

    Vague images of him walking into the mouth of the cave flickered though his mind. He could envision him laying his bundle of branches and twigs down on the ground. Everything had been alright up until a moment when a sound of disaster reached his ears. Whether destiny had decided to test him, or it was simply an act of cruel fate that saw a tree buckle under the weight of its burden of snow, it all led to one outcome. The fallen bough crumpled against the cave opening, hitting the face of rock with enough force to loosen some rubble and debris within the cavern itself. Dust tumbled onto the Blackwater son’s fur, churning in the air and choking him. He coughed and stumbled towards the entrance, fumbling in the dark.

    But his escape was sealed. What had once been an opening to the air and land beyond was now cut off by the tree. Branches lay strewn at the mouth and only fragments of daylight managed to filter through the shadows. The Inferni attempted to swallow the rising panic but could not dissuade his heart from pounding furiously in his chest. Memories came unbidden of another similar moment when he had been entombed in rubble and stone. “Get me out,” he whispered, his voice hoarse. Scrabbling frantically at the tree in vain, the ashen male fancied he could hear a voice from beyond the foliage. “Is someone there?” Cypher called, terror seeping into his typically stoic tone. His breathing was rapid and shallow and he sank to his knees, burying his head in his heads and moaning unrelentingly, “Not again. This is a dream. A bad dream.” He was alone in the dark once more.

      Word Count: 400
      Form: Optime.
      OOC: Not sure if he could see Dove, though in his current state he wont be thinking clearly lol.
what have i become, my sweetest friend

everyone i know, goes away in the end

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Pi
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walking in the dark

POSTED: Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:01 pm

Someone inside answered her call, and Dove's turning ears evidenced a momentary panic. Were there more entrances or exits to these caverns that this stranger could find? She didn't want to take the chance, and after a glance over her shoulders confirmed no one was within range to lend an answer or a hand.

Though she could not make out his words, Dove recognized the tone of the man inside turning fast into panic. What was ordinarily a cold exterior for Dove melted fast into a warmer empathy, a more natural state. "It's going to be okay," she called in, sincere. "This isn't a bad dream. It's just an accident."

Scooping away snow and hauling branches over her shoulder, the Reverie made slow but urgent progress in freeing up the exit. For a time, her mind was pulled from her worries and distracted by his plight, and for that she would be in a way grateful later in the day. But despite it she did not think clearly; she took his panic on as her own, and her hands shook from anxiety as she cleared the cavern mouth little by little. How could she comfort him? She didn't know him. Why was he panicking? He didn't sound trapped under the snow. Was it claustrophobia? Was he wounded?

He was moaning in despair. Could he even hear her?

"Stop," she barked, and a silence hung for a time thereafter as Dove felt guilty for snapping. She pulled at a particularly large branch and broke it, and a slough of snow tumbled down. Dove shifted down to small and four-legged, crawled out of and abandoned her now misfitting shorts and sweater, and began digging up snow between her legs.

She tried to call to him again, more patient this time. "You have to help from your side or you're never going to get out, and you'll probably have to shift down to squeeze out. Okay? What's your name?"

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Lin
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POSTED: Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:50 pm

    The darkness, it swallowed him. There was nothing but the sound of his own terrified thumping heart. Thud, thud, thud. Silence and dirt embraced him, never letting go. He couldn’t move. Frozen in an earthly tomb. The was nothing that suggested an escape. Nothing to suggest that this wasn’t the end. Perhaps that was the inescapable truth – he had died and this was how he would be forgotten. But no, he couldn’t be dead. He could still feel his breath leaving his lungs and the heaviness of the air couldn’t imply anything other than the real world. But only served to make things worse, for it meant this had suddenly become a living nightmare. A nightmare in which he was alone… but somehow, he fancied he could hear a voice calling to him… pulling him towards hope…

    Cypher blinked the dirt out of his eyes. There was a voice, a female voice that managed to pull him out of his nightmarish stupor. “Hello…” he called hoarsely, slowly forcing himself to stand. The ashen male practically crawled towards what had once been the entrance to the cave. There were small shafts of light that managed to permeate through the swathe of leaves and snow. The Infernian still grappled with his fear and it threatened to overwhelm him again when quite suddenly the voice came to him again – telling him to stop. It was enough to snap him out and focus on the gravity of the situation, her words managing to bring sense and sensibility to his actions. The sound of branches being moved gave rise to a little feeling of relief. He heard her question and found solace in returning a simple answer. “Cypher,” he murmured, not thinking that perhaps she might not be able to hear him through the wall that separated them.

    But it was still difficult to focus and the ashen male found himself filling the void of silence with questions to help calm his fractured mind. “Please, keep talking. I-” he broke wavered, his voice breaking with untethered emotion. “I don’t think I can manage on my own.” Cypher found a cruel sense of irony in the fact that he typically prided himself on being able to be self-reliant, and that kind of inner strength could be lent to others who might need it. He was supposed to be the hero, not the one who needed rescuing. But sometimes one couldn’t help the inevitability of fate and this was the very reason he had avoided being in the caves in the first place: out of fear for what might happen. He knew he didn’t do well, but he had been foolish enough to think that perhaps, just this once, things would be alright. How wrong he had been. Now he was forced to relieve one the worst moments in his life.

    “This – I can’t handle enclosed spaces,” he explained, each word being forced out through tightly clenched jaws. “I don’t know how I’m going to manage to pull away from of the branches, this cave is quite small.” The long speech didn’t stop, and the typically stoic man found himself morphing into a rambling frightened soul who was only just managing to keep himself from retreating back into a full meltdown. The Infernian reached to pull at some of the debris blocking his escape and winced as pain sparked in his right shoulder. He gave a low growl of added annoyance and frustration. “And I think I may have injured myself in all the commotion,” he added, mounting exasperation entering his tone. Cypher didn’t often raise his voice, and he hardly ever found the need to get overtly ill-mannered with anyone, but this was beginning to be more than he could take. “I just, I really need to get out,” he repeated, his words beginning to become clipped as once more memories began to take grip on his troubled mind.

    Crumbling stone, drifting clouds of dirt. He was still choking on soil and soot. The immobilization is what scared him the most. How could he even manage to imagine there might be a way to get out of this mess if he couldn’t even begin to move his own body. There was no light, only darkness. But, perhaps not all hope was lost. For that voice was still talking to him. Strong and soothing, certain and true. It was saying his name, saying things would be alright. Repeating it over and over again. It would be alright. The mantra slowly managed to form a mantra in his mind: it would be alright. He just needed to keep telling himself that, and imagine that it was the truth. This would not be how it ended, this was only a minor problem for him to overcome and grow. But he was still just a frightened child wanting the comfort of his father – no, he needed to believe this nightmare would end.

      Word Count: 822
      Form: Optime.
      OOC: Italics are flashbacks <3
what have i become, my sweetest friend

everyone i know, goes away in the end

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Pi
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walking in the dark

POSTED: Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:43 pm

Without a face to attribute to his voice and despairing tones, Dove couldn't determine his age. But the way he alluded to his panic implied a man with some experience in this situation, and Dove decided to treat him like an adult. Please keep talking, he'd said, though Dove wanted very much not to say anything. What was she supposed to do, tell stories? She didn't know him. She didn't know what would be comforting in this situation. Open spaces?

"The people I grew up with are nomadic," Dove started, the shake in her voice disappearing except for what reverberated with the kicking of her forelegs as she shoveled snow up under her body. "Um... one time, we stopped in this big, beautiful valley. We climbed up to the top of the mountain and we stayed there a week. The sky was huge and at night, it was almost too bright to sleep because of the stars. I was really little, I thought I could touch the moon."

She didn't laugh, though her words wanted for one. There was a pause; she kicked and kicked and kicked, and as she kicked she searched for another story. "My earliest memories are a huge field of wildflowers and a big blue sky. I think we were born there."

Enough snow freed, Dove clamped her teeth around a mouthful of a branch and yanked repeatedly with her full body, tumbling down snow that powdered across her winter pelt. Shifting once more to two feet a moment later, the Reverie stood clothesless before the cave mouth, the snow between them freed down to her waist, and she peered at the man inside.

"Can you crawl out now?" she asked. "Are you okay?"

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Lin
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BAPTISM BY FIRE

POSTED: Wed Jan 04, 2017 7:19 am

    This feeling of helplessness was horrific. He felt like he was drowning in his own self-made prison. Perhaps this had been sordid past creating some kind of justified balance, realigning things on the scale of equality. Hatham’s words came back to him. Our deeds are balanced against the moments of our life. What did that mean for the Blackwater son? He had tried to do heroic things when possible, but sometimes, he had been led astray by those he had called his friends. By those he had trusted. It was a sobering thought, the notion that even here surrounded by a new group to potentially call allies, he might still end up be swallowed by the darkness alone. Only the voice beyond the wall of snow and leaves managed to keep him sane. Even still, the memories of his youth continually threatened to spill unbidden in his mind. Those flashing images torturing his resolve, tempting him to give in and give up. It would be easy. Such a simple task. He’d done it before. The man had now open the gates, and the memories poured forth like a flood.

    Those rocks, they pressed against his side. He couldn’t feel anything below his chest. But, he could move his fingers. Somehow, he thought he could feel a space of nothing, where his small child-like hands could grab at air. It seemed like such a cruel irony. That freedom was literally within his grasp. But he couldn’t’ see it. Blinded to the prospect of hope. There was nothing. No, that was a lie. The warning struck at him like thunder, and the voice called him forth again. It would be alright. His could not give up. His father, Hatham was here. He could hear him now. That voice. That strong voice. Certain, reliable, there. The man who had never left him. His father, his rock. The sounds of rocks being removed. The barrier coming down. Soon, he would be able to see Hatham’s face. Soon. He just needed to hold on. Everything would be alright. His father was coming. His father was here. There, his voice came to him again. Calling his name. There was light now, light beyond the darkness. In that light, there was a pair of eyes. Blue eyes. Like his own. The eyes of his father. He was safe now. He could breathe. Everything would be alright.

    Cypher shook his head, the memory decidedly different in nature for it managed to pull him towards the present, rather than away from it. That other voice he had heard, while not his father’s, still managed to project strength. And the ashen male listened with fervour, his trembling hands trying to give whatever aid he could on his end. With each word the woman spoke, the male Infernian pulled away at some of the branches. The twigs prodded and poked him, seemingly unwilling to release him from their grasp. The enemy of nature itself. But there was still hope, hope for this nightmare to end. Each passing moment felt like a trickle compared to eternity, his breath the only way he could truly measure time. But that in itself was a contrived idea, for his breaths still remained vapid and shallow. It would perhaps only be freedom that would set things right. Liberty from the darkness that held him in its clutches. The Blackwater son wished to live in the light, not in the shadows. Perhaps once, Cypher might have laughed at the ironic metaphor. Taken humour from such a predicament. But, this was his worst fear. A fear, that had seen his senses crippled, his mind addled with terror. He had been reduced to the shell of a man he typically was.

    But there was light. As before when he was young, the light reached him in the darkness. The words of wide open spaces, of rolling fields and the skies above. They called to him, a constant companion for his heartsore soul. The perfect remedy for what ailed him. “The moon,” he found himself murmuring as he listened. “The moon, and the stars.” Cypher closed his eyes and for a moment he fancied he could hear the ocean over the sound of his own beating heart. A beating heart that was there to remind him that he was still alive. “Born under a blue sky,” he echoed the words of the female. Opening his eyes, he could see her now. Vaguely illuminated by the half iridescent light of day. Her eyes were like stars. Beyond the wall of tree and snow, lay a realm of stars and life. The Blackwater son took a deep breath and dropped down onto all fours. The time lapse began again, the shift from Optime form to Secui taking decidedly longer than usual. Perhaps that would be expected, given his frame of mind. Still, if he could have emerged from the cave without shifting, he would have done so in a heartbeat. But alas, nothing in life could truly be that simple.

    Eventually, the man had absconded from his upright frame. The small gap would have to be suitable enough for him to get through, for Cypher did not wish to remain here any longer. With scrabbling paws and rapid breath, the ashen male pushed himself through the hole and finally out from his earthly grave. He lay stretched out on the ground, panting heavily while he took a moment to himself. But, he wasn’t alone. The coyote hybrid turned his smoke blue gaze upon his rescuer, a female of rather striking physique and intelligent eyes. “Thank you,” he said finally, his gaze serious but wholly genuine with gratitude. “I live for open spaces, but in there…” Cypher shuddered. “I didn’t think I would ever get out.” His adrenaline was wearing off now and the charcoal pelted ‘yote mongrel winced as a spasm of pain ran along his shoulder. He titled his head and gave a wry yet pained chuckle at her words. “Am I okay? Would you believe me if I said yes?” the Inferni male blinked before opening his mouth again, his words coming out in hushed tones. “I didn’t catch your name,” the cadence levelling out now his frantic fear was subsiding.

      Word Count: 1041
      Form: Optime.
      OOC: Silly boy, putting on a brave face <3 Now Dove can put her walls back up lol xD
what have i become, my sweetest friend

everyone i know, goes away in the end

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Pi
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walking in the dark

POSTED: Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:11 am

The Reverie hadn't faith in her stories, thinking them too small and empty and pointless to have any traction. Between her words came mumbling from inside the cave, muttered beneath Cypher's breath and impossible to discern. By the tone of his voice she couldn't tell whether he'd come to his senses or had reversed back into a daze, and Dove struggled not to let herself become discouraged by the lack of visible progress on her own end.

What mattered in the end was that Cypher could get out from the cave, and at the very least she was able to assist on that end. Shifted down to fours as Dove had suggested, a coyote of ashen colors came squeezing out the small hole she'd loosed at mouth. His pelt reminded her of Micah and Gust and Mint, and all at once the distraction of the present was replaced once more for the troubles of the past and faraway.

On the surface, her expression didn't change. Stoic and quiet while Cypher panted away and collected himself, Dove pulled her sweater and necklaces over her shoulders again and ran fingers through waist-length locks, restoring some grace to what had become tangled and messy and loose throughout her prior shifting.

He thanked her—she shrugged. He provided minor context for claustrophobia, but Dove only watched him with hooded eyes and a look of weariness, if anything.

"No, I wouldn't believe you," was the first thing Dove said since he emerged, and it rang with a sound more subdued than hostile. "I'm Dove."

She wanted to dismiss herself now that the worst was over, but she had learned from her experience with Oriole. Some painful smalltalk to make things seem normal, and then she could go.

"What happened to you in there?" Despite a sincere curiosity, her tone fell flat.

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Lin
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POSTED: Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:31 pm

    The fault of memories is that too often that distorted reality. An amalgamation of true perception and distant remembrance that managed to add to the delusion of false reassurances. Those flickering visions of the past, various images of the faces long since left behind, continually swelled from the confines of his mind. The Blackwater son wished he could have a moment or two by himself, a few precious seconds where he could compose himself in peace. He loathed appearing vulnerable in front of others, not out of pride, but out of necessity to be considered the one to be strong from them. This absurdity that was nature and fate had given him little opportunity to indulge in such character building and this latest disaster only served to push him into a deeper sense of fragility that was so wholly unfamiliar to him. But, then perhaps this sensation was not entirely dissimilar to the emptiness he had felt after the death of his beloved. That kind of hollow void that threatened to perpetually shake him to his core. Back inside the cave, the darkness had awoken memories of that night, and those demons had once again decided to haunt his mind.

    Blinking himself out of his stupor, the ashen coyote hybrid turned to face the woman who had aided him immensely during his time of need. She was unfamiliar to him, and his previous impression of her being striking was not incorrect. Eyes the colour of sun-baked sand sparkled out from a face framed with pale while and a dash of russet on her muzzle. It was strange, somehow the she-canine managed to possess a similar palette to Cypher, just at the same time, was almost a complete inverse of the former mercenary. Perhaps therein lay some kind of ironic joke on the matter, a woman who somehow managed to be a mirror of contrast helping a man who had found himself delving into a manner and demeanour not of his usual state. The Infernian male titled his head and gave a half-hearted wry chuckle when she said she wouldn’t believe him. Cypher couldn’t blame her, he would likely be the same given if the roles had been reversed. She appeared rather nonchalant about the whole ordeal, and seemingly ambivalent about whether or not she wished to stay here and talk to him. The Blackwater son couldn’t quite decide himself whether he wanted her to remain here or not. Part of Cypher was grateful and longed to form some kind of companionship with the female who had seen him at his worst – but simultaneously, the former Guild member felt wary for practically the same reason.

    When an introduction was finally forthcoming, the man from Chesapeake Bay gave a small nod in return. Dove, a simple enough name to remember – not like Cypher would be fail to recall such a day in any case. No, the cataclysm would join the realms of unforgettable moments in his life. His mother leaving, him leaving Hatham, the Guild’s deceit… Hayley’s death. The ashen pelted male gave an awkward cough and turned his head away slightly in embarrassment when Dove presented her question. The Blackwater son was silent for a long time, looking down at his forepaws as he tried to think of the best way for him to respond. Finally, Cypher managed to utter a few simple words that might be able to give some context to the situation. “Just demons of the past deciding to haunt me once more.” The charcoal pelted coyote mongrel shook his head before giving a forced grin. “But you were probably on your way to do something more important than rescuing me. I won’t keep you…” Cypher trailed off, uncertain how to continue. His words, while suggesting that Dove needn’t stay if she wished, there was something in his tone that perhaps held an evocation that the ashen ‘yote hybrid wouldn’t for disinclined to company at that moment – even if it was silent company.

      Word Count: 668
      Form: Secui
      OOC: He's so vague lol
what have i become, my sweetest friend

everyone i know, goes away in the end

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Pi
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walking in the dark

POSTED: Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:02 am

Slight PP just to move them, let me know if that's not all right.


It was immediately obvious Cypher was not proud of what he had gone through in front of her, and though Dove thought nothing of his plight she understood how it would leave him embarrassed: Even from what little she had heard, his words had been manic and his mind in another place, a dimension of demons of hellfire and tight, sweating walls. Dove was limited in her ability to relate and emphathize, but she had spent many days in the last few months drowning in a similar dread and panic, though never one so bad as to lose her touch with reality. Or so she thought, anyway.

There were awkward pauses and forced smiles and a lot of redirecting to cover up his anxieties and desires, and Dove frankly wanted nothing to do with it. His anxieties reminded her of her own, but instead of vague excuses to mask them Dove had become cold and quiet, the majority of dialogue in her stares.

But the youth inside her always wanted someone to reach out to her, and it was begrudgingly she decided to do the same for Cypher though in her own, characteristic way.

Abruptly Dove turned her back to him and started walking. "There's a river nearby. You should drink." Fingers tossed idly over her shoulder, gesturing for him to follow her.

She stood by when they came upon it, and spoke up again only after she'd stared him past the layer of ice on the river and a few sips into the water. "You're new here too. Right?" A pause. "Why?"

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Lin
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BAPTISM BY FIRE

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