the faith you prove

POSTED: Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:53 pm

This is backdated for March 7th--early morning. Private.

The first reaction had been shock, followed by anger. It was typical. Ezekiel hated to admit it, but he was no better than his sister. After she had all but lost her mind on him, the coyote-hybrid had grabbed the books she had thrown at him and left. Once he was out of sight, he had begun to run. It was a spontaneous reaction from stress. If he had been thinking he would have left the weapons and the bag on his hip behind, but Zeke’s mind had become a stormy place.

When he finally slowed, miles from home, his breathing was deep but not uneven. He leaned against a tree and panted, half-bent over with his hands on his knees. Blonde hair fell into his face, obscuring his vision. For a long time he stared at the ground and felt resentment burn in his chest. For as much as he loved his sister, she was nothing like he remembered. She was someone else entirely, petty and shallow and ignorant. It wasn’t his fault that their father had other children. Hell, it wasn’t even all that surprising. After all, his two eldest children were misfits. Ezekiel’s eyes darkened and he set his jaw.

His path took him south and through the night. Spite drove him, though he hated to admit it. For as adult as he acted, Ezekiel had grown up without any direction. The wilderness had turned him savage despite the fact that he had done his best to stay golden. Cwmfen would have been able to see that change, and he felt a deep ache at this knowledge. Still, it didn’t matter. The world was a savage place. He kept a bright outlook because it was all he could do, but even someone who constantly looked to the sun could not forget the darkness.

He was close to the borders when he smelled horse, and began following it.

POSTED: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:40 pm

Word Count → 5+ ooc:: <3

It had been two days since Alaine had made what she now considered one of the best, or worst, decision of her current life.

She had had two full days, two full and miserably endless days, to second guess every single word she had said to the de le Poer man; Ezekiel, his name had been, and he had Gabriel's and Elvira's golden eyes. The thought of him made her stomach clench painfully, and Nana reacted to her mistress' tension by tossing her great big head. This had a chain reaction, for the stallion trailing by a rope tethered to her pommel then began to snort and roll his big brown eyes. He was a handsome creature, a dappled chestnut with the long tips to his mane and tail a lighter sunstreaked hue. A well-muscled and rather immense creature, the yearling colt had just begun to grow taller than his older mother, and had thought himself able to throw some weight around. The broodmare, however, would have none of it - She knew stallions better than any horse-whisperer out there. Her son may have muscle, but she had weight, and while he bickered and complained she continued to drag him along despondently.

But what was she doing with the stallion in the first place? Well, it had started with some fowls roasting over a fire, and ended with a handshake. The as-yet unnamed horse (although Alaine had taken to calling him 'fella', so as not to confuse Nana) was soon to be in the ownership of the Infernian male, although she was not expecting him for another seven-day at the least. That did not explain her current situation, and as the mare and the yearling colt huffed and dragged their way beyond the Cour des Miracles stable, Alaine cursed her ill luck again. She wished fervently for Zeke's magic tongue, but had to settle with, "Wooah, now; calm yourself, Fella! By the breath of Morrigan, you will be the end of me!" She cursed the chestnut between gritted teeth, and guided her bay with clenched thighs towards the line of the forest.

Odette was back at the Chien Hotel, having amused herself with some of the residents there. Wanting to encourage this behaviour, Alaine had informed the girl of her intent to go herb-gathering, and had left before she had changed her mind. However, a very foul-tempered Vira was snuggled into the saddlebag on her right, while a wide-eyed Eli stared with owlish intent at the red-hued stallion prancing on his side.

Finally breaching the first line of pine trees, Alaine allowed herself to relax slightly. Now that they were away from the sounds of the stables and into the calming silence of the forest, the colt seemed to grow more curious and placid, walking with high steps and pricked ears rather than stiff movements and white-rimmed eyes. Nana plodded stoically on; it seemed nothing could surprise or excite the placid mare anymo-

The bay stopped suddenly, so much so that Alaine jolted forward in the saddle, and was forced to grab at the pommel to keep her seating. Nana's small ears flicked quizzically, her great big nostrils flared to suck in deep breaths. Her doe-brown eyes seemed to spark with sudden excitement, and her whinny rang out through the quiet pines. It seemed she had found the only thing apart from food that was dearest to her on the earth, and completely ignoring Alaine's frantic clucking and tugging on the reigns, had turned direction and headed off at a purposeful angle through the forest, her livid chestnut son prancing his great heavy hooves behind.

POSTED: Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:14 pm

Slight powerplay with Nana. :>

On his back there was a familiar heat, the result of fur against fur. He had killed the wolverine he now carried and earned it. Ezekiel had never be fond of the foul-tempered creatures, and now drew unrealistic comparisons to his red-eyed sister. It was frustrating that he would have to deal with such attitude when all he had done was brought the news. Tension drew all of his muscles taunt, causing his fur to bristle against the equally thick wolverine pelt. Despite this, he would never consider changing out the quiver. While not a devout follower of any faith, he believed in the things he had been taught and practiced them.

He was certainly close to or past the borders when the familiar voice called to him. Both of Ezekiel’s roan ears lifted and swiveled to the source. Despite protocol in regards to others lands, Ezekiel believed that he had little to fear from the horse or her owner. Tan feet carried him across still-damp ground, where the last remnants of snow remained diligently and waited for spring to finally melt them. It did not take him long to meet the cause of the commotion, whom he greeted warmly despite a slight reprise for the exasperated looking woman on her back.

As if oblivious to this, Nana trampled right up to him and stuck her large face into the blonde man’s chest. Ezekiel grunted and rubbed her forehead, looking apologetically up to Alaine. “She seems to have taken a liking to me,” he said, unsurprised when his voice caused a wide-eyed child to peer out from the saddlebag he was riding in.

POSTED: Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:15 am

Word Count → 3+ ooc:: fff, you know i don't mind

Through the pines they trampled, and Nana sought the man with the gold eyes and the sharp-toothed smile. When finally his image emerged, it seemed Alaine and the chestnut stallion were the only creature to have grace enough to be surprised; Alaine reacting with a widening of emerald eyes and a pricking of floppy ears, the colt with a snort of indignation and a haughty toss of his handsome head. Perhaps the healerwoman would have responded in greater context, but at the sight of Ezekiel Nana had broken into a heavy-footed trot, and her attentions were transfixed with remaining seated on the worn saddle.

With a final humph of effort, the rotund mare came to a stop before the hybrid make, thrusting her long muzzle out to butt affectionately at the fur of his chest. Elijah peered at his brother with pale owlish eyes, entirely unconcerned with his sudden appearance. Elvira seemed revolted that her mother had tricked her into meeting the man again, and she growled a small puppy growl. Alaine sat straighter in the saddle, observing the male with suspicious eyes now that the initial shock had subsided. "So it would appear," the Gaelic woman replied, sounding thoroughly unamused by her jolty ride and his sudden appearance. It was not that she did not wish to see Ezekiel de le Poer, but to the healer's eyes it was obvious that he had travelled the vast distance of his homeland back to hers in a fast manner, and this could mean very limited things to her brain. All of them were of a negative nature.

Was somebody coming to take her children? Had Ezekiel come to warn her, or was he the one? She tugged sharply on Nana's leather reigns, and surprised by the sudden aggression from her mistress, the giant mare backed up obediently, her small ears flattened. "Why are you back here, so soon?" The red-hued stallion, who had been a gift for the male before her, pranced back on his hind legs, his forelegs lifting off the ground in a small rear as brown eyes rolled to look at the hybrid male.

POSTED: Sun Mar 20, 2011 5:57 am

Warm breath blew against his chest as the brood-mare sucked in his scent and snorted pleased murmurings at his present. Ezekiel rubbed her face with one hand and brushed the other against her jaw. It surprised him that there was such a parade on display—though the white girl, Odette, was not present, a stallion was prancing behind the mare. Familiar faces, one owlish and one irritated, stared at him from the woman’s thighs. The Hastati released the horse as soon as she was yanked away, dropping his hands to his sides unceremoniously.

He heard the fear in her voice and knew he was the cause. He didn’t want it to be this way. Ezekiel ran a hand across his face, felt the scars over his eye and knew he had done nothing wrong. Talitha’s response had worried him though. It had worried him enough that he believed there would be a need to defend the children . The hybrid did not fear his sister, but he did not know how Gabriel would react. His perception of his family had changed so much in the past few days.

But he smiled half-heartedly and looked at her with tired eyes. “Well, I missed Nana of course.” One hand dropped to his bag, producing the dusty books his sister had struck him with. “My sister didn’t seem to want my gifts. Or to hear the news,” he added without looking at the children. “So I figured it might be best if I came here for a little bit.” There was no fear in his voice, no unspoken threat, but he believed she would understand.

POSTED: Sun Mar 20, 2011 6:27 am

Word Count → 3+

Her harsh words were instantly regretted. She could see it in the man's posture, the weariness that had stolen over him. It was a weariness of the spirit, and only Dea knew how to cure such a thing. He had not come for her children, and she was irrationally fearful of losing them. Ivory hands became limp on the reigns, and Nana's irritable chomping lessened, her neck stretching the distance out towards Zeke once more. Tired emerald eyes watched the mare, from Alaine's position perched high on her withers.

His weary humor seemed to be forgiveness, and the healer nodded knowingly. "I would hate to be the one to part such kindred spirits," She said sarcastically, although not without a hint of a dry smile to curve at slim maw. Confused by the odd amounts of tension and then relief that poured from the pelt of the woman sitting astride his mother, the colt flicked his long bangs in annoyance, tugging his head against the rope halter that bound him to her. It was the only tack she had taken from the stables - There were no saddles left to give to Zeke, and the halter seemed to work as well as a bridle would. He would simply have to tie the long lead rope around in a loop for reigns.

His next sentence should have alarmed her, but it didn't. A sense of resolution spread over the woman. They would come for her children, but she would be prepared. "Then your sister does not know their worth," she said of the gifts softly, but her eyes lingered on the staring boy at her side. Without returning her gaze to the hybrid, the woman continued, her accented voice soft but firm, "You'll stay with my family and I, Ezekiel de le Poer, for as long as you require it. You are welcome here," Shadowed eyes returned to him sharply, and her fingers fiddled with the knots about the pommel of her saddle, finally freeing the stallion's lead-rope. She held the dangling end out towards him. "And you will take my trade for the books you carry." Another small smile, but she was not a creature to be argued with, and this was something his father had learned quickly enough.

POSTED: Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:02 am

“I think she’s just not used to the idea,” Ezekiel offered quietly, believing this was true. Talitha was not a dangerous person by nature. Her instability was becoming more apparent as the weeks went on. She needed time, and something to focus on—she needed to find a way out and not in. Perhaps her striking out at him had done good. Ezekiel hoped his sister would never seek the path he walked. A warrior’s road had cost him dearly, and he believed it would one day take his life.

But the dark thoughts vanished at the offer gift. Dumbstruck, Ezekiel’s whole appearance changed. The traces of a long-dead shadow left him, and a golden boy stood in his place. One hand took the rope and the other passed her the thin, colorful things. Such a trade felt weak to him, but he would not argue it. The colt, nervous about the strange male, backed away from him and began snorting nervously.

Ezekiel began to speak to him, using different tones than those he used with Nana. A surprise snort was his first response, but then came a flurry of demands and questions. Low speech was something that was much different than high, and he found it difficult to compare the two despite being bilingual as it was. Gestures, low sounds and horse-imitations soon won him the ability to reach out and touch the feisty colt. He tossed his head at first, but soon eased into the touch and settled. With most of the traces of exhaustion gone, the amber-eyed boy turned to the older woman. “Thank you,” he said sincerely, as if it was truly a most precious gift. His felt inadequate, and his eyes trailed to them with a faint frown.

POSTED: Sun Mar 20, 2011 7:37 am

Word Count → 5+

His response did little to ease the sinking feeling deep inside of her, but for the male's sake, she smiled thinly. Alaine did not know his sister, but something had been set in motion here, and she could see the slight bruising on his jaw.

However, it seemed that the years of mental age he wore so well melted away when the woman held out the rope towards him. His heavy, tired eyes seemed gold as the sun once more, and for the glimpse of joy that she saw within them, there was a small pang of recognition for the king she could have loved. It was so difficult to spread happiness these days. As he reached to take the rope from her, Ezekiel also passed her the small collection of rainbow-hued books. In truth, the books were little pleasure for her, but Elijah had the strangest adoration of the brazenly colorful images held in print on their pages. She had given him the last book Ezekiel had handed to them, and the boy had spent an hour or more simply staring at its cover.

Allowing the rope to slide free of her fingers, she retrieved a small length of twine from inside Elijah's saddlebag, and tied it about the books to hold them together. Meanwhile, floppy ears were listening to the sounds of the man and the stallion. He spoke with the magic tongue once more, and though thoroughly curious, Alaine did not wish to seem amazed by this strange display. She had heard of individuals being able to speak the language of the beasts, and had even met a female who did likewise, once. Nana had begun listening to the conversation between her son and Zeke, but soon allowed her small ears to flop in disinterest. It was not for her to meddle between the bond that would hopefully form between them.

Slotting the books next to her son in the small leather bag, Alaine straightened, her emerald eyes returning to the male in time to see his slight frown. Her expression became concrete - The trade was done, and he would have to accept her generosity if he wished for her trust. It was a selfish gift that she had imparted him with - The stallion would enable his visits between Inferni and Cour des Miracles to be more frequent, and thus her children would see more of their kin.

The healer accepted his gratitude with a small nod. "We are not far from the border; The forest ends soon after that. You may return with me as my guest, but be warned - The coyotes have a reputation beyond their borders." She did not need to tell him that it would be best for him to remain unobtrusive in her home. Although the muttpack was in alliance with Inferni, their trusts was a different matter entirely. The colliewoman gazed at him curiously, recalling the strange conversation the male had had with the stallion. "Will you ride?" As far as she knew, the brute had never been ridden before, and he was indeed a powerful creature.

POSTED: Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:23 pm

Word Count: 315

Like many of the things he had believed about his family, Ezekiel now worried whether or not he could trust them when it came to these children. Gabriel and Faolin had been good parents to a point—then he and his sister had been sent away during the war. He was raised by wolves, and this had undoubtedly warped his perception on things. A large part of his education had also occurred through observation and solitude. It was lucky he had found the hybrid pack when he had. Otherwise he would never have been given a reason to harness what social skills he had found most useful.

Yet the bonds he had imagined he had were weakening. Unwilling to face this he had fled to defend children who had done nothing but be born. His resolve was only strengthened by Alaine’s demand, which he responded to with a warm smile. She reminded him of Cwmfen, but her other half; the healer to the warrior, as it was. Her next question proved more difficult to answer. Ezekiel had only ridden one horse, and that had been an old nag that carted around children.

He looked back to the colt and began speaking again, playing a new angle. It earned him a loud whinny, followed by the big horse’s front feet rising up slightly. This display kept the coyote smiling as he made his way to the males back and pulled himself up in a single jump. Unused to weight on his back, the colt pranced and turned about. Ezekiel gripped with his legs and continued to speak to the chestnut stallion until the feisty horse had settled. Though he held onto the rope halter the coyote used his legs as he had been taught to guide the horse next to his mother. “He’s not really happy about it,” Ezekiel explained, blonde hair falling into his face.

POSTED: Sun Mar 20, 2011 2:49 pm

Word Count → 3+

It was difficult for her to imagine the relationship Ezekiel had with his family. It was the concept of his family that scared her - She had seen what it had done to Gabriel. The responsibility of it, the intensity of it, had sucked him dry. The colliewoman had known him as a boy, although the memories now were faded almost to oblivion. What power did Inferni have over his bloodline? What power did it have over her children? She could see the same weariness in Ezekiel's eyes as she had seen within Gabriel's, and she feared it.

Another small discussion between man and beast followed after her question. Alaine looked on with an expression of mild interest. She valued Nana, certainly, but to talk to the mare as an equal? It seemed unreasonable. In the end, the mare was just another beast of burden, privileged as she was beyond the scope of prey. The apothecary had come to love her, in her own secretive way, but she would never be able to develop a relationship with the mare so intensely as he who spoke their tongue could.

After a moment, the hybrid male made a neat vault onto the sunset-stallion's broad back. Though jittery, the Clydesdale put up less of a fuss than Alaine had been expecting. He lifted his huge hooves slightly, and Nana turned to snort - The sound was so familiar to the noises of dissension she made to her own children, that the Apothecary found herself laughing. It was strange, to laugh again, and at such an absurd thing. "I suppose I wouldn't be too happy with it, either," lyrical tone was followed by another soft laugh, and for a moment emerald eyes danced with some of their old mirth at the young man, and she was transformed from harried mother to the beautiful young creature she had once been. But only for a moment, before the wary and serious expression returned, and she clucked her tongue and adjust her seating. The bay mare responded with a reluctant whisk of her silky black tail, before moving forward into a rolling walk.

The two giant horses fell into step, the stallion seemingly placated enough by the presence of his old dame to allow the strange weight on his back to continue. Whether Ezekiel was guiding him, or whether he was simply following Nana, Alaine couldn't tell. The forest was silent, except for the occasional trill of a distant bird, or the dripping of melted snow from a bough. "Your father..." She spoke abruptly, emerald eyes remaining steadfast on the path between the mare's dark ears, "What did he think of... Of this?" Unable to refrain, the woman allowed her gaze to slide back towards the blond man.

POSTED: Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:58 pm

Word Count: 311

A bond like chains locked Ezekiel and his family to Inferni. He accepted this because he had seen it so many times before—the Lykoi’s always returned, even after years of absence. His grandmother, his uncle, his sister, they had all come back. Even he, who had been capable of living and rising to greatness where he had come from, had returned to the Waste. Ezekiel would remain as long as he had a reason; in this case, it was his sister. Now, perhaps, these children would also bind him to Nova Scotia.

The woman’s laugh turned her young again. Yet the wariness returned almost as quickly, and reading it, Ezekiel’s eyes darkened. He said nothing as the two began to walk, simply adjusting to the feel of the horse under him. Despite being so large, the stallion was still green. Shifting his foot too far one way or another would earn a grunt or whinny of dissent, but he reassured the big male with soft words.

Alaine’s voice trailed back from ahead and Ezekiel looked up and found not only her face, but the owlish stare of Elijah peering out from his saddle-bag. The boy’s peculiar blue eyes were wide and open as ever. It was unsettling, but he did his best to focus on the woman’s face instead. “I didn’t tell him,” Ezekiel said flatly. “I’m sure Talitha ran off to do that.” He paused, ears turning back slightly.

“You shouldn’t worry about it,” the archer went on, shifting his weight on the horse. I don’t think we’d find much use in fuzzballs,” he added pointedly, looking to Elijah with a semi-forced grin. The puppy, rather than find the bared teeth frightening, opened his own mouth and turned his head to a sharp angle. Ezekiel shook his head slightly and turned back to the thick mane of the stallion.

POSTED: Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:14 pm

Word Count → 5+

Alaine was no longer a pure woman. Perhaps once, she had been a creature of only kindness and innocence of morality, but hard years had transformed the woman into a survivor. There was a wealth of knowledge within her mind, visible only in the gilded emeralds of her eyes. Such old, old eyes for a creature with such a comparably short lifespan to the trees they rode through, to the earth they walked on.

False gods were crafted to give her purpose, to wind their souls like tiny clockwork toys in the hands of cruel children. In this aspect, she and Ezekiel's blood were alike. It was all in the blood - That which ran now through the girl with the golden eyes and the black soul, and the boy with the hollow, empty smile. Such blood colliding with each fragile heartbeat within them, a cauldron of evolution and wickedness that promised something wonderful or terrible with each breath.

They were not gods, but mortals with purpose - A purpose that could give them divinity. This, she feared of the Lykoi family, they who could turn her children into soldiers of a battle that would never be won.

She did not know how to respond to the news of Gabriel's potential ignorance. Would it bring her more relief to think of her once-lover, once-saviour, as enlightened to the new life they had created? Perhaps a part of her worried that he would detest her for this. But it was a small, cruel part, and in the company of Ezekiel it was easy to ignore. "I see," she replied in an even tone, showing no obvious emotion to such a fact.

As he continued to speak, her expression darkened slightly, emerald eyes deviating from the man to fix on the invisible path ahead. They had no purpose for her children - Nobody did. The Winters brood was doomed to a life of exclusion. She could not protect them forever from the secret of their heritage, but the longer that Cour des Miracles knew nothing of the spawn of Gabriel, the better. At least, when they were Alaine's children, they were welcomed there.

The trees were beginning to thin, and they were within pack territory now. "If anyone questions us, don't say a word. They do not know of-" Her ears flattened slightly, but the woman's spine remained rigid, "-Of this. But they will respect me enough not to question it; More so, considering I have stitched their wounds, birthed their young and fought their fevers for many moons now." The woman said this with a note of weariness. She loved her skills and her profession, but it had tired her to the bone many times, having outsiders and all sorts seek her profession to ease their ills. She had sought an apprentice, but there were none in the pack skilled enough or willing enough to take up her trade.

POSTED: Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:44 am

It seemed his attempt at humor had fallen short. Ezekiel frowned, suddenly unsure if he was doing the right thing. This woman had been quite content with her children before he had come in and upset her routine, and here he was doing it again. Maybe Talitha was right—maybe they were misplaced, he and her, and they were destined to bring nothing but misery down on those they tried to help. A sigh escaped his chest and he loosened the grip on the stallion’s rope halter. His mount did not seem to mind, and responded by picking up his pace a little, now recognizing where they were.

Yet his morose outlook faded quickly as she spoke of her profession. Ezekiel’s eyes brightened, realizing he had indeed been right when he had seen her first. “I thought so,” he announced triumphantly. <“I’ve never met a healer who doesn’t carry a bag. Mine doesn’t fit much, but I wasn’t taking care of a whole pack when I was gone,” he babbled on, laughing slightly. “You’d probably love to see the set-up my cousin has, he’s got a whole room dedicated to this stuff. Weird guy, but he’s a lot better at what he does then I am.”

POSTED: Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:42 am

Word Count → 3+

She had expected him to be somewhat phased by her warning, but at the woman's vague mention of her craft, the man seemed to swell with interest. Inevitably, her emerald gaze was drawn back to Ezekiel at the excited sound of his voice. Curiosity bubbled within her as the youthful male spoke, and her eyes turned from being sullen and wary to scrutinizing, sharp. How curious - The de le Poer man knew something of the healing profession. How curious, indeed.

She patted her own leather satchel fondly with one ivory palm. It was half full of weedy tendrils of plants - A rather lucky morning harvest considering the eclectic weather. "I carry mine with me at all times. Sometimes, I think it to be a part of me," Her sharp white smile reflected the mirth he had displayed in rather lovely laughter. At the mention of his cousin's wealth of knowledge, the colliewoman's floppy ears perked up. "Is that so? Perhaps your cousin should like to see my storage area... Or perhaps you would like to, in their place." The offer was accompanied by a canny, candid smile, although her emerald eyes were hard and piercing as they scoured the man. Could he possibly be the pupil she had sought for so long, or was he too entrenched in the ways of war?

As her lyrical words concluded, the forest finally crumbled and gave way to open plains. A spec in the distance indicated the Chien Hotel, but much nearer was the stables that would house their steeds for the night. With a gentle tug, the Apothecary pulled Nana to a stop at the treeline. "This is my home, and the home of my children, for now," She said quietly, gazing at the rolling green with an intense wave of nostalgia.

POSTED: Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:28 pm

Word Count: 300

There was a peculiar lack of fear within Ezekiel. He had seen a great many terrible things despite his youth, but he did not fear them. Some of this was due certainly to his desire for battle—the golden eyed boy had found sport in the most sacred arts, and he loved it. Fighting made him feel alive. Luckily, his dual-training had given him enough skills to know how to patch himself up after the war. After all, he bore no new scars and even the lighter of the ones on his face had been treated and healed. The two that remained would never leave. Corvus had marked him far too deeply to erase the crow-wolf’s sign.

He smiled fondly at her. Enkiel was almost too cold in his reptilian detachment from his patients, having no mercy for those who needed coddled or cared for emotionally. His jackal-born cousin had warned Ezekiel of this when he had spoken to him about Talitha. He did not heal minds, only bodies. Yet something about Alaine, either her pleasant face or deep eyes, it convinced him that she would heal as Fatin had. The offer was met with a pleased tilt of the head. “Only if you would have me,” he replied, turning forward as the trees gave way.

The landscape reminded him of Inferni, though the grass here was green and not tan, and lacked the rocky terrain he was so familiar with. Still, it was pleasant to look at. Most of the world he had seen outside of his home was made up of thick forests or crumbling ruins. I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,” he muttered, recalling one of the poems from a dog-eared book he had saved from the library and read along the way home.

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