The Jekyll Legacy
Victorian alchemy meets modern science and magic.
What could possibly go wrong?
It’s not the darkness that we truly fear,
but the bright light that lies hidden within our souls.
The deepest shadows lie concealed within our own cold hearts.
Only true compassion can kindle flames that set the world alight.
— Kheiron of Pelion
The horde milled about restlessly in front of the temple. There was a clear undercurrent of fear as their captors examined the enormous structure carved out of the rock wall. Selene and Hastie seemed undisturbed, but both Dr. and Mrs. Lanyon shivered with some unspecified, but still palpable feeling of ill ease.
The temple itself had huge doors, easily three times as tall and twice as wide as the newly created centaurs. Fanning out on either side of the doors were six huge fluted columns, half again taller than the doors, and above the entrance was a capstone even taller than the doors below. The capstone stretched from one end of the row of columns to the other and was covered with hieroglyphics creating a single row of dancing giants across it.
Further examination was interrupted as the leader shouted, “Forward!”
Still gawking, the girls were yanked forward by the straps around their necks. They coughed and gasped for air while their captors laughed, but their expressions made it clear that it was much better for their captors that they could not speak.
As the group approached, the doors opened for them although there was no visible source that moved them. The leader, a strange looking man with bright white hair and a matching goatee easily a foot long, strode confidently up to the doors and made several gestures before turning back to the others.
“Set the wards have been, the torches lit. Put the horses in the stable, inside and to the left. Oh, and see they’re watered and fed. Bring the prisoners to me in the throne room.”
When no one moved, he snapped, “Now!” before stalking off into the temple.
“I don’t get it. Do you think they’re xenophobic?” Herbert Lanyon shrugged her shoulders and frowned as she poked at the dust covered, rotting, hay-strewn, stall. The stall was only a small portion of the room, which was also being used as a storage depot. An oil lamp flickered at the far end of the room where a number of jugs were carefully stacked. From the scents permeating the room, some were oil, some were wine, and some were other things, unidentifiable and strange, alien concoctions slithering just under the surface of their consciousness, like walking though an ethnic neighborhood in New York City, smelling the odors of mysterious spices and oils never encountered before, they finally realized that this was a truly alien planet, and that Earth was… somewhere else. There were also a number of what looked like burlap bags, some filled with various foodstuffs and others left strewn about after having been emptied. Nothing looked particularly useful.
The light barely made it to the side of the room where their makeshift stall had been set up. Dr. Lanyon could barely see her wife in the guttering light, although she could smell him and feel the heat radiating from his body.
“They’re treating us like common horses,” Emily whispered as she pointed in the direction of the now-sleeping stable hands. “Not a word to us. It was as if we didn’t exist.”
“Yes, dear, and they’re still doing it.”
“I mean, what is the world coming to when adult males don’t even look at naked breasts?” Herbert looked down and blushed as she realized what she’d just said. “Unh, what was that you said, dear?”
“I said they’re still treating us like horses.” Mrs. Lanyon pointed to the stall they were in. “No guards, no gate, just a rope from our neck to a tie ring in an open room, not even a real stall. We can walk away from here any time we want.”
“Then what are we waiting for? Let’s get the kids and get out of here. I think that flash of light and earthquake was the TSP. If it is, I know how to get us home.”
“Sounds good to me,” Mrs. Lanyon reached up and began working on the knotted leather tied to his neck. As she worked on the knot, she pondered aloud, “I wonder why?”
“Why what?” Dr. Lanyon was working with equal vigor on his own knot, inwardly cursing his lack of fingernails.
“I wonder why they act like we we’re horses. Do you think that’s what they think we are?”
“Humm. You know, I’ll bet they do. They must know about centaurs given the huge bas reliefs by the entrance, and they’re obviously afraid of them. With that much effort put into the artwork I would suspect centaurs are either quite rare and valuable, in which case they would be taking better care of us, or common, in which case they would know to speak to us.”
“But they ignored us. Even when we spoke to them they ignored us.”
“Exactly, Emily. We can hear each other speaking and the girls can hear us speaking, yet it seems they can’t… or won’t.”
“So which is it, ‘can’t’ or ‘won’t,’ Herbert? It makes a difference for how we should proceed.”
“There’s not enough information to determine that for sure yet, but I’m guessing ‘can’t.’ It’s like ‘Ghost,’ the children’s game where everyone pretends someone is not there even though he or she is actually present. Someone usually makes a mistake, talking to the ghost, walking around him or her, responding to something the ghost has said or done, even if it’s just a flush of embarrassment or a raised eyebrow. In effect someone blinks.”
Mrs. Lanyon waited impatiently for his husband to finish, but she seemed to have forgotten what she was saying as she concentrated on her knot. “What about ‘Ghost,’ dear?”
“Oh, sorry. No one blinked. Nothing. From our brief glimpse of those doors before we were led away, I suspect that centaurs are holy, and possibly taboo, so there may be some religious ordinance that prohibits noticing our presence, like the Emperor’s New Clothes. Our captors said and did absolutely nothing to give me the slightest hint that they thought we were anything more than horses, even when they were riding us. For whatever reason, I think we’ll be treated as horses rather than centaurs by everyone but Selene and her sister.”
“You mean our son, Hastie, don’t you, Herbert?”
“Yes, of course. For some reason I couldn’t remember his name. I think that’s a clue too, but I’m not sure of what.”
Herbert Lanyon gave a final yank and removed the knot around her neck. Looking up, she saw that her wife had already removed his knot and was using strips of the leather to tie burlap bags around each foot. He had already donned one of the backpacks full of useful tidbits they’d gathered back at the tree.
“Good idea, dear. It should muffle the sounds of our hooves nicely.” She quickly copied him, both with respect to the burlap and the other backpack, and they headed off in search of the youngsters.”
The chamber might have been opulent at one time, but it had been abandoned long enough that it had been necessary to actually shovel the dust into corners and there was still a strong smell of decay despite the aromas emanating from the food laden table in the center of the room. Hastie and Selene almost drooled as they examined the treasure of precious metals and jewels carelessly tossed into the corner along with the dust. There were only two people in the room, but neither one looked like your average next door neighbor. Both had scars of some sort and both wore swords, knives and a smattering of other weapons that she could see and wanted to have in her own hands, just for a second or two.
Several tapestries had also once adorned the throne room’s walls, but they too were rotted. When Selene tried to inspect one of them more closely, it disintegrated in a puff of cloying dust as she brushed her hand across the fabric. The two men turned as the billowing cloud of dust appeared and saw the girls. The big one had a sword in his hand although neither girl had seen him remove it from his scabbard. The smaller of the two, but not in girth, evidently the leader, merely smiled and beckoned them into the room.
“I welcome you to my table, strangers.” His accent sounded vaguely British, like the announcers on the BBC programs shown on cable. “ I am Akcuanrut, and this is the Lost Temple of Zampulus. Please….” he made a broad wave towards the table piled high with an assortment of fruits surrounding two large braised haunches of some kind of savory meat. Selene was fairly certain that they were the carcasses of the bunny rats they’d killed back by the tree.
Selene concluded that if it hadn’t happened yet, they were probably not going to be killed out of hand. That meant their captors either welcomed them, as the man had said, or that they had something worse in mind for them, but were delaying the surprise for reasons of their own. Thus, she felt confident that there was little to lose by fully entering the room, since their presence had already been announced by the crumbling tapestry. Similarly, given their less than powerful position, sans swords, there was also nothing to lose by being honest, and they’d left them their knives for some reason, either contemptuous of what they could actually do with them, or perhaps contemptuous of women in general. ‘We’ll just see about that,’ she thought to herself. Besides, she had no desire to be anyone’s ‘just a girl.’
“You first,” she said as she stepped toward the center of the room. It came out gruffly, but Selene didn’t care.
The white haired man just laughed and waved nonchalantly to his companion, a huge man with muscles on his muscles. Selene found herself staring, first at his biceps, then his chest and below, as he strode confidently to the table and grabbed an entire haunch with the ease of a scholar lifting a sheet of paper. Taking a prodigious bite he smiled with grease dripping from his mouth, and without bothering to wipe, tossed a portion of the haunch to Akcuanrut.
With a similar smile, Akcuanrut ignored the two women as he began munching himself, although his table manners were better. Eventually, Hastie tentatively approached the table and tried a fruit. Selene sighed, and joined her, taking out her dagger and carving off a large section of the remaining haunch. For a while, the only sounds were those of ripping, chewing and swallowing, interspersed by the occasional masculine belch.
Finally, Akcuanrut threw down his bone, gave vent to a huge belch, leaned back on the stone throne upon which he’d been sitting and turned toward the women. “As I said earlier, I am Akcuanrut. Beside me, this hulking barbarian is D’lon-ra, my second in command. He will help us to recover the Heart of Virtue.”
“The what?” Selene asked.
“You said ‘us’,” Hastie interjected. “Do you mean Selene and my family?”
“What makes you think we’ll work for you?” Selene asked with an edge of anger while Hastie overlaid her truculent question with “Fat chance, Charley!” in counterpoint.
“My, my, my wary very pretties. Whoa,” he laughed with a jiggling stomach. “Only one at a time, please. Perhaps your fellow travelers would like to join us before we enter council?” Every one turned to the entryway he gestured towards as Emily and Herbert sheepishly stepped around the corner of the wall from which they had been eavesdropping.
“Help yourselves to the food,” the silver haired man called out. “You must be hungry, but watch out for the meats. I’m afraid too much meat will make you rather ill, since your new bodies aren’t really designed to handle it.” He waited patiently as they paced up to the table and picked up a fruit each.
“Come, come, my weary friends. You must be hungrier than that. You’ve come a very long way, longer than even I can imagine without difficulty. Hungry centaurs become irritable, and we’ll all need to have clear heads to plan our strategy.” With that he turned back to the others.
“But you can see us as centaurs. How is that?” Dr. Lanyon was confused.
“Eat. Relax. I’ll explain in all due time, but there’s an etiquette to these things; others asked questions before you, so theirs take precedence.” He turned to Selene.
“Your question was first, I believe.” He held up one finger. “The Heart of Virtue is ‘Unique’ in all the world. Indeed, it’s not totally of this world at all. It was created by the Dark Gods to aid them in their eternal war against ‘The Light,’ but other than that we don’t know all that much about it, other than the fact that it somehow sucks the virtue from those about it. We don’t know if this is its prime function, to create additional slaves of Darkness, or whether this is a mere side effect of some evil working in other dimensions, like smoke from a chimney, the true purpose of which is to contain and carry away the noxious byproducts of fire, while the smoke itself is a mere accident caused by the nature of heat and wood. A perfect fire emits very little smoke, and so the more dense the smoke, the worse the skill of the one who created the fire.” He paused, evidently content to take the time to choose judiciously from among the many comestibles arrayed before him. Finally, he picked up what seemed to be some sort of tiny roasted bird, and popped it bones and all into his mouth, then chewed it with an expression of ineffable pleasure. “Voronian dawnsinger, a rare and delectable treat,” he explained.
After paying reverent attention to his morsel, he continued, “The second question was, I believe, although I paraphrase slightly, ‘Why should you aid us?’ ” He paused in thought for long enough for the others to wonder if he was going to respond at all, but then continued. “To explain, I’ll have to tell you a little bit of the history of this world. You four, after all, weren’t born here.”
Mrs. Lanyon gasped while her husband’s eyes grew wide, and her son’s eyes grew wider. Selene’s grave expression became even more severe, but Akcuanrut just smiled and nodded. “I know. Question number four, but I’ll answer it out of order.”
He took another portion from the food spread out before them and paused, considering. “It’s obvious that you’re not from this world because centaurs are routinely slaughtered for their magical properties by many wicked humans in this world, so most centaurs fear and avoid humans as much as possible. Even under mortal threat, no born centaur would permit himself to be captured, as you two have been, for the very reasonable fear of torture, mutilation, and death at human hands. I hasten to add that we are not numbered amongst the wicked, so you are perfectly safe here as our guests.” He paused to select a particularly delectable pale pink fruit, slice it into wedges, and pop several at once into his mouth before holding up one finger again.
He then continued, smiling, though whether it was out of general bonhomie or savoring the taste of the fruit was difficult to say. “Without false modesty, I have to say that were you really what you appear to be, centaurs of this world, and humans likewise, all four of you would recognize D’lon-ra as Emperor’s Champion and myself as Dean of the Emperor’s College of Wizards, either by name, by sight, or by description in countless stories.” He raised another finger.
“Not only that,” he said, adding a finger “but your spiritual and psychic auras are not from this world, despite your superficial appearance, although I admit that even I was fooled at first by your outward seeming.” Seeing his guest’s confusion he added, “But we’ll discuss this later, or we’ll never get to the rest of your questions.”
He sighed, then raised another finger. “Finally, you’re not from this world because, unlike all others of us, you speak with a terrible accent and nearly incomprehensible diction, as if you were talking with your mouths filled with pebbles.” He smiled at the mixed emotions which flashed across the faces of his guests as they debated which of his claims about them to accept and which merely not to reject.
“I’ve lost track of which number it was, so I’ll abandon tedious formal explication, but I believe your next question was ‘Why should you aid us?’ Not being of this world, the answer may not have as much meaning to the four of you as it does to us,” he made a broad gesture including D’lon-ra, “but to put things, as simply as possible, if we cannot get the Heart of Virtue back to the College within the next fortnight, this entire universe will cease to exist. The impact of the destruction of an entire universe on neighboring dimensions I don’t care to imagine, however disruptive our own demise might be to our neighbors.”
Dr. Lanyon gasped this time and then whispered to her wife. “Remember that glow and earthquake as we were running from this horde? I think it means that the gate home is still open. If this world really is destroyed, the energy blast into our world through that gate could destroy our world also.”
“I’m very sorry to hear that,” Akcuanrut said gravely, then smiled at their confusion. “I told you that I was a wizard, so know all, see all, and so on.” He smiled again as he spoke, but it was quickly replaced by a frown of concern. “I feared that it was a portal, but had not the luxury of time to examine it in detail, occupied as I was with saving our own bacon, as it were. Portals work by creating weaknesses in the barriers that normally separate one Universe from the next, so any such portal would provide ready access to the wave of destructive energy caused by the explosion of this world. The influx of energy might merely damage your world, or perhaps even hurl it into your local Sun, and at it’s worst might lead to the explosion of your entire Universe, starting a progression of universal failures that could possibly extend through many other universes. I’m fairly certain that this intention may lie behind the hidden intentions of the Dark Gods, or perhaps it merely amuses them, as humans wager on the roll of dice. This may provide another reason to help us, I imagine, if the the end of this world and its innocent inhabitants bothers you not at all.”
Walking to the buffet, Akcuanrut retrieved a flagon of ale. Returning to his seat on the aging throne, he drank deeply. “Ahhh. Much talking without drink dries the mouth, I’m afraid.” He belched, evidently not a breach of social norms here, because he didn’t look embarrassed at all.
“So,” Mrs. Lanyon spoke around the orange and red speckled fruit in his mouth, “assuming that we believe you, and agree to assist you, how would we capture and transport this ‘Heart of Virtue’ if being near it turns you evil?”
“I will provide you with enchanted Medallions which will dampen its power to some extent, but will not protect you completely should you touch the Heart in any wise. The souls of heroes and the skills of thieves you’ll need, lest you succumb despite my protective devices and personal help. If you go with us on this quest, we all stand together, to live or die, succeed or fail.”
Hastie turned to Selene. She was tempted to whisper, but after her father’s failed attempt, decided not to bother and spoke aloud. “This guy can’t be serious, but I’d consider helping just for a piece of the reward if this stuff’s any indication.”
Selene rolled her eyes and a slight smile danced briefly on her lips in response, but she quickly stifled it and shushed Hastie, just as she would have in class when he started clowning around, worried that they might miss something important.
“Where is this Heart,” Selene asked, “assuming we agree to retrieve it for you, and if we’re in such a hurry, why are we wasting time eating?”
“Ahhh. I’d love to tell you that it’s but a pleasant stroll from here, but I cannot, alas.” Another swig, this time with a slight tremble to his hand, caused some beer to spill onto wizard’s flowing beard. A wave of his hand and it was dry again and Akcuanrut made little of it, but Selene thought she saw fear in his eyes. “Getting to the Heart may be more difficult than retrieving it, I think. The Dark Gods guard it, and we are only human. As for why we’re wasting time, considering that we hazard our lives without hope of survival, all this …,” he spread his hands to indicate the lavish meal before them, “…is a reminder of the pleasures and joys to be found in this world, perhaps our last experience of them, but good to keep in mind before we go willing into what my be the final darkness.”
“So we can’t touch it, or even be near it without turning into some kind of evil creatures, and you don’t even expect to survive,” Hastie sneered. “Way to go, fat boy. Is this supposed to convince us to help you?”
“Na-Noc,” D’lon-ra interrupted, “the previous Emperor’s Champion and the best warrior ever to live, tried this same quest last year. Neither he nor any of his picked band of warriors ever returned from the last attempt to recover the Heart.”
“So the Heart killed them?” Mrs. Lanyon was not happy with the way this conversation was going.
“No, Mrs. Lanyon, Na-Noc is undoubtedly waiting for us, but forever corrupted by the Heart of Virtue. As an agent of evil, his touch would be the same as if you touched the Heart itself.”
“Let me get this straight,” Hastie was clearly incredulous. “We can’t touch the Heart, whatever it is. We can’t be near it. We have to fight the best warrior this world has ever produced and we can’t let him touch us either. Is there any more good news?”
“Unfortunately, and making due allowance for your obvious sarcasm, yes. You must traverse the Cave of Despair to reach the Heart, a daunting task which has never been successfully performed before, insofar as we know, although all we have are legends, of course.”
“I was joking. I was joking. Let’s get out of here. These guys are insane.” Hastie turned to leave, but Selene grabbed her arm. Hastie tried to shrug her twin’s hand off, but it didn’t budge. An instant later a dagger was moving with tremendous speed towards Selene’s neck.
“Girls, please.” It was Dr. Lanyon, hands held to her mouth in shock, who spoke as her wife charged towards the two youngsters.
Selene saw the dagger approach and stepped back, releasing Hastie’s arm and at the same time drawing her dagger as quick as a rattlesnake, but with much less warning. “Is it playtime, sister?” she sneered evilly as both moved into identical fighting crouches.
“Oh dear. This is not acceptable at all.” The wizard’s hands flew out and everyone other than the wizard himself instantly froze in place, as if they’d been turned into marble statues, or as if time had simply stopped for them. A second wave and D’Lon-ra unfroze. “Reposition the centaur so that it doesn’t run into anyone or anything,” he said. With that he strolled over to the fighters, gently plucked the knives from their motionless hands, and then returned to his seat on the stone throne.
Another wave of his hand and there was a flurry of movement. Selene and Hastie blinked and suddenly turned to face the wizard gently tapping one dagger against the other, all thought of their duel forgotten in the face of their new enemy. Mrs. Lanyon scraped to a stop, marking the stone with his slipping hooves as he realized the room had moved somehow.
“Tsk. Tsk. How will you ever defeat the Heart of Virtue if you are unable to control your own evil tendencies?”
“Who says we’re going?” Hastie snarled. “I don’t like suicide missions.”
“Suicide? Not at all; rather suicide not to try. It is my hope that you will go, because it is the only reasonable and prudent course for you. We must undertake our journey, not in any certain hope of success, but for the safety this world, and for safety of your own world, both of which will be utterly destroyed without your help. We’ve tried this before, and those who went before us were all either killed or absorbed into the Heart’s evil, so we have no illusion of easy success to buoy our spirits, only the knowledge that cowardice will only affect the precise moment of our deaths, — not the inevitable fact of them — if we fail to capture the Heart and reset the wards around it.” The voice seemed suddenly tired and worn, as if exhaustion had set in and his huge warrior companion quickly moved solicitously at his side and helped him rise. “D’lon-ra and I will let you discuss your decision until sunrise tomorrow. Then we must proceed — whether with you or without you — to our fate, which must be death, since we’ve tried before with a more powerful wizard, and the best warrior in this world. Without your help, the one imponderable in this deadly equation, which is our only real hope, we are almost certain to fail, both our worlds will be destroyed, and quite possibly many more, but do what you will. What’s a universe or two, or even dozens, in the cosmic scheme of things?”
Without another word the wizard, aided by the warrior, left the room slowly and with dignity as the quartet watched in silence. When the door slammed everyone began to speak at once, but stopped as Selene raised her hand for silence. Several seconds passed as she listened intently before drawing a deep breath and sighing as she slowly sank to the floor and seated herself tailor fashion, a heavily-armed Buddha in calm contemplation. “I was afraid they’d try to block the doors and lock us in,” she explained.
“So what are we going to do?” Dr. Lanyon asked. She paced nervously; hooves echoing as each step struck the stone floor. “We’re not fighters. We’re a scientist, a housewife, and two high school football players. How do we pull off the theft of the century?”
“Let’s blow this joint,” Hastie chimed in. “This isn’t our fight. We need to get home and get our original bodies back — don’t we?” He was shocked into silence when no one, not even Dr. Lanyon, agreed.
“We have no choice,” Mrs. Lanyon said decisively. “Evil is evil. It must be stopped wherever it is found. If it’s not defeated here, it will follow us to our own world. We cannot permit that, and we cannot chance being able to seal the portal between our worlds before this world is destroyed, because your father may have weakened the barrier between the worlds with his experiment, so helping to ‘fix’ the hazard to our own world is a family obligation, but also because this world’s greatest wizard told us that he didn’t know how many adjoining worlds, how many billions of lives, might be destroyed if the Heart remains at large. If running away is our only option, we might as well stay here, put sacks over our heads to avoid unpleasant sights, and wait comfortably for our own spectacular demise.”
“Yes, dear, I agree,” replied Dr. Lanyon, “but as I pointed out earlier, we’re simply not equipped for the task at hand. We should allow those with more experience to….”
“I’ll fight,” Selene interrupted, crossing her arms defiantly. “Regardless of what the rest of you choose, I’ll stay and fight. This is what I was born to do, I think, so I will help to defeat this putz No-knock and his fancy talisman.”
“You’re crazy,” Hastie stormed off to the table and angrily munched on something that looked like a pear, but tasted like a cross between a cherry and an apple. She was careful to keep herself facing away from the others.
“We must help, but we can’t,” Dr. Lanyon’s voice cracked with emotion as she struggled with her competing emotions. “We’re just not properly trained and equipped for anything like this….”
“I’m not so sure about that, Herbert.” Mrs. Lanyon had been thinking furiously while the others spoke.
“What are you talking about, dear? How can we possibly consider doing something like this?”
“Perhaps Herbert Lanyon the Sixth, his wife Emily the grade school teacher, who gave up her medical career to become a housewife and mother, and then took up teaching so she could keep an eye on their only child while he was in school, their unruly teenaged son and his more stable friend who play football in high school and whose greatest ambition was to goof around and ogle the girls, can’t do anything….”
“That’s what I said, Emily.” Dr. Lanyon was thoroughly confused.
“Herbert,” the powerful male centaur smiled down on his now smaller husband as he continued. “Look around you. Look carefully. What do you see? I’m not a grade school teacher and your mild-mannered little ‘wife’ any longer, not really. I’m a rather large and formidable male centaur, at least twenty-six hundred pounds of muscle and heavy bone, what they’d call a warhorse if I wasn’t a centaur stallion. You, my dear husband, are slightly smaller than me, but still a rather imposing figure as a centaur mare weighing, what? Two thousand pounds or more? And that wizard said that centaurs have magic. We know we can cloud humans’ minds so they think we’re just horses. We haven’t figured it all out yet, but I’ll bet that we can do a lot more, and I’ll bet that wizard can help us to realize our full powers on this world.” She paused while that sank in. “Hastie and Selene — the former Jack — aren’t high school students out wandering the mall and playing video games any more either. They’re now incredibly-skilled barbarian warrior women. Have you watched them sparring, or listened to them plan strategy, especially Selene, who appears to be a military genius comparable to Sun Tzu? They’re natural swordswomen, experts with knives, swords, and probably every other weapon, because their transformations are working on them, even now, and giving them the exact skills that women with their backstory demand. In a contest between D’lon-ra and either one of them, I’d be hard pressed to guess who would win. Together, they’d easily vanquish D’Lon-ra, I’m sure of it. In fact, if the natives of this world hadn’t forced their surrender by capturing us, I believe they could have taken on the whole horde and won, since they seem to be modeled after the barbarians in that film Hastie liked, who could take on dragons and entire armies with equal aplomb. You said we had to help. I say we are able to help. Although our original selves might not have been up to the challenge, the way we are now, we must be able to do something, and I believe that we were bred for war, or come from a warrior class, so we must have skills to match, just like the girls.” She paused while her words sunk in, then added, “Besides, I couldn’t imagine living with myself knowing that I might have been able to save a world — two whole worlds — and did nothing, especially since one of them is ours.”
The others just stared, unsure what to make of the sermon that had just come from the rugged centaur stallion. The silence grew. Hastie coughed delicately. Dr. Lanyon shuffled her hooves nervously. Finally, Selene began to slowly and rhythmically clap, soon to be joined by Dr. Lanyon and finally even Hastie.
Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 Jeffrey M. Mahr — All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2012 Levanah Greene — All Rights Reserved
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