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Stories in this Fandom are works of fan fiction. Any names or characters, businesses or places, events or incidents, are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Recognized characters, events, incidents belong to Mercedes Lackey, Tor Publishing and their inheritors.

Tests of Blood - 32. Chapter 32

Dalen’s mental hands burned with the power that filled the nodes below Burnham. Physically he was standing in the middle of the Vale parklands that had been reopened to all the people of the city. The park was often filled with people gawking at the changes, and at the scores of Companions that now roamed it, the way they had once roamed Companion’s Field back in Haven.

Here though, people, ordinary people of Valdemar could see, and occasionally interact with Companions. One enterprising young girl had kept bringing carrots to a Companion in the field only to find that she was Chosen by that Companion the day after her fourteenth birthing day. In their nightly discussions, Dalen, Bart, and Dellinar had all agreed that the growing familiarity between regular people and Companions was a good thing, reconnecting Heralds and Companions to the people in ways they had not been for many years.

A crew of six gardeners had helped the two Tayledras clear out the center of the park for the last week. A stone outcropping had been revealed in the middle of the clearing. It was about five feet high, and four feet round. When Dalen first saw it, he thought it reminded him of a round guard tower in the corner of a castle.

Now he stood facing it from its southern side while Dellinar stood on its northern face. Feathertouch was on its east and Moonscream took the western side. The other three Adepts supported him in this working, but it was he who was doing the actual work. Both Moonscream and Feathertouch provided the core of knowledge that made this possible, Dellinar provided structure and the foundations of Valdemar while Dalen combined both into something that had only been done by one Valdemaran before him.

“Now.” Dalen whispered aloud, feeling the need for some type of utterance. Beyond the circular clearing a ring of Companions waited on the other side of the protective shield the other three Adepts had raised. Beyond the circle of Companions waited Heralds, Guards, and quite a few others that had gotten word that something major was happening in the park on this day.

While his channels burned with the feeling of power coursing through him, he set it into the patterns that he’d learned from the Tayledras. For a moment, he felt like he was faltering as the power coursed through him into the round stone and down into the very bedrock of the earth. Then the power took root in its proper form and a flare of light announced the formation of the newest Heartstone in Valdemar.

“Very good.” Moonscream said as he scanned the Stone before signaling the Adepts to drop the protective shield. Dalen studied the Stone, and could see it glowing faintly. With his mage senses he scanned it again and saw that it was pulsing with the power that had been in the nodes and now flowed into it freely. As expected the ley-lines were now gravitating to the stone and steadily mating with the core of the Heartstone so that it would be fed by them.

There was one more thing to do today, but Dalen was sweating with the effort of what he’d just accomplished. Although the day was only a few hours old, Dalen felt as weak as he had when he had first woken following his wounding at Forst Reach. He couldn’t give in to the tiredness now, though. There was an entire day waiting for him after this next step.

When he’d brought the Permanent Gate and Windfire’s workshop back to this plane of reality, it had been by completing the last connections between the Gate and the local node. Now he was breaking that connection and reforming it with the Heartstone. At first it would operate little different than now, but as the Heartstone grew with age, so too would its abilities to regulate and control the Gate. This was something that no one had ever done before. Even the great Urtho had not had heartstones to work with in his day.

“Gently.” Feathertouch said as Dalen dived into the Heartstone’s newborn consciousness. Despite the fact it was only a few minutes old, it had the familiar feeling of age and permanence, given to it by its foundations inside rock that went all the way down to bedrock far below them. Its power was still wild, not having been processed fully by the spells set into the Heartstone, but it was already becoming slightly tamer, more what he was used to with the Haven Heartstone.

Once firmly embedded with the Heartstone, and able to call on its power to augment his own, Dalen reached out to the Permanent Gate that was nearby, still established in the main dome of Windfire’s old Vale. Mavren was standing protectively by the Gate. She was the most skilled operator of the Gate’s magic, and had taken an almost possessive pride in its operation. She was there now out of concern that whatever Dalen did, it would harm the Gate.

If he did mess up, Dalen held no illusions that he would be able to mimic Windfire’s achievement of pulling the Gate and himself into the energy plane. No, if he did mess up, there would be nothing but a crater left, and Valdemar would lose because Dellinar had refused to leave the City as Dalen had asked. Dalen knew the King was showing his confidence in Dalen, but it still worried him as he seized the Gate in his mental hands and snapped its connection to the node.

He could feel the Gate flail around trying to find the connection to the power source that had just been taken away. With patient hands he took those loose ends and guided them to the Heartstone, changing the nature of the lines as he did this. Before a human mage had to act as the ‘guide’ between the Gate and the node. It was why Mavren had been able to operate the Gate even though she was only a Journeyman and could not actually touch the node itself. All she had to do was regulate the flow of power between the Gate and the node.

Now Dalen was changing that. The Heartstone was semi-intelligent. Certainly not as aware as a living creature, but it could be taught to do certain things, as the Heartstone in the West that once repaired a crack in the bedrock beneath Highjourone. This time, Dalen would connect the Heartstone and the Gate, and the three Adepts with him would help teach the Heartstone how to supply the Gate with power, but not so much power that it would cause an overload. After this, any authorized person with simple Mindspeech would be able to use the Gate.

The connection was made within moments, and Dalen let out a sigh of relief as there was no explosion. He’d managed to reproduce what he’d done in that other plane, and now the Gate was successfully tied to the Heartstone. For the next several hours he worked with Dellinar and the two Tayledras mages, teaching the Stone how to work with the Gate.

“Amazing.” Dellinar said as the four mages relaxed slightly when the last of the spell casting was done. The Companions still remained until the end, but most of the people watching them had wandered off hours ago when they realized they weren’t able to ‘see’ any results of the magic being cast. “Dalen, you are far beyond me when it comes to magic of this sort.”

“Few Tayledras could keep pace with him.” Moonscream said with a shake of his head and Feathertouch nodded his agreement.

“We will not attempt this linking of Gate to Heartstone.” Feathertouch said. “We are the best in the Vales, and it would be risky for us to repeat what you have done. I think Windfire was very lucky when you came through to rescue his Gate. It was like you were measuring the linkages and the power flows instead of just feeling them.”

“I was.” Dalen said with a shrug. “It’s a mix of two methods of magic with the practical approach of laws and measurements along with the naturalistic approach favored by the Tayledras.”

“Bah.” Moonscream said in disgust. “I hate measurements and the like. No, you will come to the Vales and attach our Stones and Gates. Mayhap we will find a youngling who can stomach learning those methods so he can replicate what you do.”

“You better.” Dalen said. “We’ve got one mage in the Trainees that I hope might be able to do it one day, but that’s it and if we don’t want this knowledge to be lost, we’ll need to train more people in how to do it so the knowledge isn’t lost.”

“That is always a consideration.” Dellinar added. “Dalen, have you written up all that you do with these Gates into a book or pamphlet? Having written instructions as we do for other forms of magic would be helpful.”

“I can write it up, but so much of what goes into making a Permanent Gate requires hands-on instructions.” Dalen said with a shrug. “I doubt it would do much good.”

“It will at least be a starting point in case something happens to you in the future.” Dellinar asserted and Dalen nodded his agreement. “Good, now I have a meeting with the Lord Martial and his staff. Dalen, do not forget we have the Circle meeting after dinner tonight to discuss the plans for your little scouting run.”

“I’ll be there.” Dalen said with a sigh before Dellinar left. He stood there, basking in the warm glow of power coming off of the Heartstone for a minute. “Are you two sure this won’t harm people who come here? The Haven Heartstone chamber had powerful shields to protect people.”

“The Haven Heartstone is in a room of your palace.” Moonscream scoffed. “It is surrounded by people day and night, often the same people. Over a great deal of time it would begin to adversely affect your people who have not been altered by the Goddess to deal with such power around them. This stone is in the middle of land that is a park, not a dwelling. The vegetation surrounding it is mostly Tayledras in origin and will not be harmed. People who come and see the Stone every day, or who just walk through the park will not be adversely affected. They would have to camp here, near the Stone for weeks on end.”

“Which is not something we will allow.” Dalen said firmly.

It will be good for the Companions as well. Jadev added, speaking up for the first time since Dalen had started the spell work. He’d been there, in the back of Dalen’s mind as a reassuring presence the entire time, but had remained silent.

Okay. Dalen sighed his response before turning to the two Tayledras. “Thanks again for helping with this. I would never have been able to do it on my own.”

“We should probably make you return to the Vales with us and go through the Wingsib initiation.” Moonscream growled. “Still, that can wait until you do come to the Vales for your part. Valdemar has redeemed itself in my eyes at least, and I am glad to help.”

“It is a fair trade, and as I have said before, I believe the Goddess herself had something to do with your gaining Windfire’s knowledge.” Feathertouch said in Tayledras. “His survival has all the earmarks of her hand meddling in affairs, and if she had wanted a Tayledras to rescue him, she would have arranged it to happen. No, instead she sends him a Valdemaran rescuer, who we must now work with to gain that knowledge. It all sounds like how she operates.”

“You should have been a shaman, love.” Moonscream said, also in Tayledras. Dalen had thought something was going on between those two. Certainly he’d already learned how Moonscream had gotten his name. The two of them were the only others besides Mavren and Dalen actually living in the residential section of the Vale domes. After hearing extremely loud screams that could have reached the moon itself, Dalen had checked and found Herald Mavren with a pillow covering her head as she tried to drown out the screams. That left only Moonscream and Feathertouch as the source, and he had an idea of who was making the noise.

“So, it is more than just an occasional thing between you two?” Dalen asked in his fluent Tayledras. Once, asking such questions would have been beyond him, but his time with Windfire, and the weeks here with the two of them speaking a mix of Tayledras and Valdemaran had improved his skill in the language. Feathertouch went to one of the four benches that were placed in the diagonal corners instead of the cardinal points where they had been standing. Each stone bench was more than long enough to fit four people, and Dalen sat down next to Feathertouch while Moonscream sat on the other side.

“Xila is quite taken with Varr.” Feathertouch said gently, with a fond tone in his voice as he looked up into the branches above them. Dalen followed the look to see the two bondbirds of the Tayledras resting on a branch quite close to each other. Both were large hawks and the pure white that he knew to associate with bondbirds of Tayledras Adepts. Xila, a female, was Feathertouch’s bird while Varr was male and bonded with Moonscream.

“Sometimes our birds know us better than ourselves.” Moonscream’s voice was filled with humor and affection as well. “As for our relationship, well there are many issues that remain to be resolved, but we will see where it takes us in the future.”

“That is all anyone can hope for in these days.” Feathertouch added. “I still say you would prefer k’Vala over k’Treva for a home. Your Vale has plenty of Healing Adepts to replace you while k’Vala would benefit greatly from your presence.”

“We will see.” Moonscream said with a shrug. Dalen got the feeling this was the main argument between the two about their future. “Now, young brother, what of you and your love life? Have you found no one to trade feathers with yet? Shall one of us find a feather not from our bondbird to share with you?”

“Uh, no thanks.” Dalen said with a blush of his cheeks. He knew the Hawkbrother custom of sharing feathers as expressing romantic intentions. A feather from one’s bondbird meant they intended a permanent relationship rather than a more casual arrangement.

“Those pale cheeks of yours blush quite prettily.” Feathertouch laughed gently. “I was always led to believe Heralds did not share the prejudices common in Valdemar against casual liaisons.”

“Valdemar has changed over the years.” Dalen said uncomfortably. Every time someone brought up his love life, or lack thereof, he grew uncomfortable. “Most folks, especially in the cities aren’t quite as uptight about such things these days.”

“Then why is it true what we’ve heard that you have yet to take someone to your bed?” Feathertouch asked. “You are quite handsome, and we have seen the scar on your midsection. It only adds to your beauty.”

“Can we talk about something else?” Dalen growled. “I’ve only got another half-hour before lunch and then my afternoon sessions with Herald Thorn and the Armsmaster.”

“We are just curious, little brother.” Moonscream said in a normal tone of voice that meant he was serious. “In our experience, pleasures of the flesh can help you relax and enjoy life more. Even Shin’a’in Shaman enjoy such things for all that they are primarily sworn to the Goddess. Are you like their swordsworn, then, neuter in flesh?”

“No.” Dalen growled and resisted the urge to stand up and walk away. The two Adepts had become more like older brothers to him over the last few weeks, and he knew that when they called him ‘little brother’, they meant the words.

“Then what is the difficulty?” Feathertouch asked and Dalen realized they had probably been planning this conversation for days. “The body affects the magic, and we have noticed that you have often suppressed your own desires. Take young Blake for instance, would you not have preferred to tumble him into your bed as a farewell?”

“I don’t think about Blake that way.” Dalen half-growled.

“Please, do not lie to us little brother.” Feathertouch replied. “We have seen the way you look at him and others near your age. There is desire there in you, but you pay it no heed.”

“I can’t.” Dalen answered with an exasperated feeling. “Look, you don’t understand. All my life I have been compared to mages in my family line from the past, and every single one of them had some damn romantic attachment that made their life story as much about their partner as themselves. The people they became attached to often shared in their fate. Look at Bard Stephan, the lifebonded of Vanyel. After Vanyel’s death he lived alone for decades and then his reward was to be a spirit in the Forest of Sorrows with Vanyel, stuck there for seven damn centuries. I’ve some idea of what that’s like after my time with Windfire. Do you think I want to wish that on anyone? It doesn’t matter if I take them to bed one time or a hundred, the damn Bards will make a song about it and then they’ll be subjected to whatever fate awaits me.”

“You seem so certain that your fate will be a horrible one.” Moonscream said in a voice that was almost a whisper, the quietest voice Dalen had ever heard from the man. “Are you so sure that your future holds only misery?”

“I was born with nearly every gift known, and a massively strong mage gift on top of everything else.” Dalen growled. “Even my weakest gifts are strong enough to match the gifts of most Heralds. These things don’t happen without a reason in Valdemar, you know that. Ever since my gifts manifested and we knew their strength and breadth, well I’ve known that my future is going to be one of those tragic ones you hear in Bard stories. Fine, I’ve had years to adjust to that and prepare myself. Look at what’s been going on for the last half-year. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but I knew it, even if I tried to pretend that I could just become a Mage-Artificer and live a quiet life inventing things.”

“Ah, now we get close to the source.” Feathertouch said gently. “You worry about your future and dread some horrible ending to your life. I would remind you of your ancestor Elspeth, wingsib to k’Sheyna. She lived a long life, experienced many horrible things and always did her best. In the end, she retired to k’Sheyna with her lover Darkwind where the two lived out the last of their days in peace and quiet.”

“She’s more the exception than the rule.” Dalen countered. “I’m nothing like her, and nowhere near as lucky.”

“I would say you are more like her than you know.” Feathertouch laughed. “It is said in the Clans that she too dreaded her ‘destiny’ and fought against it all the time. Her Companion was said to have tried and failed more than once to push her in a direction.”

I am not trying to do that, Chosen. Jadev joined the conversation from where he stood behind them. Dalen had not noticed him there until now and turned to look at him.

Then why did you Choose me? Dalen shot back.

It was needed. Jadev said with a shake of his head. I could have Chosen you when you were twelve. That was when I knew you were my Chosen. I journeyed to Forst Reach and found your conflict about your future. Then I decided to wait until it was necessary, to give you the freedom that you desired. We learned from Gwena and her Chosen Elspeth. No longer do we try to push you in the direction of ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’. That choice is yours.

“He speaks truly.” Feathertouch added and Dalen jumped in surprise that Jadev had spoken so they could hear him. “We do not live in the past, but rather the present.”

“Maybe you should turn your gaze from the past and live in the present as well.” Moonscream added gently. “I know you would be happier if you would allow yourself to enjoy the pleasures that life does offer. These are difficult times, and it would be a shame to meet your destiny without having really enjoyed life to its fullest.”

You should listen to him. Jadev added his own thoughts and Dalen sent back a purely mental growl. What business was it of theirs with whom he did, or did not share his bed?

“I’ll think about the idea.” Dalen growled aloud so he would not fail in lying mind-to-mind with Jadev. He still sensed that his Companion knew the truth of his thoughts, but fortunately did not protest.

“That is good.” Moonscream said in a louder voice. “Now, we too must be going. After we eat and rest from our morning exertions we have much work to do if we plan to have more than the one Gate.”

“Thank you.” Dalen said as the two stood up. Even if he didn’t agree with what they said, he did appreciate the reasons for their raising this discussion. They cared about him, and as more than someone who could help them make Permanent Gates. It was a good feeling, to have genuine friends like these.

“You are most welcome.” Feathertouch said with a gentle squeeze of Dalen’s shoulder before the two left him relatively alone. There were still people passing by to see the new Heartstone, and Companions as well. At least here he didn’t have to be surrounded by Heralds and Guards acting as a bodyguard detail. Everyone agreed the Companions that roamed the park were enough of a guard for him, and for Dellinar.

It was after lunch, when he was in his weapons training that Dalen felt the Burnham Gate activate for the first time that day. He was riding Jadev along the canal that ran to the west of the park, practicing loading pistols while Jadev was in a near-gallop when the Gate activated. Although he knew better than to risk the wrath of the Armsmaster by stopping, he did monitor the flow of power and sighed with relief when it worked properly.

The canal itself reminded him of why the people of Burnham were so eager to see the new Heartstone. Magic-powered pumps brought water into the small city from wells located to the west and south. Keeping them powered had been part of why he was stationed here in the first place. Canals took the water from the wells into the city by natural flow, but it took magic to pump the water from the underground aquifers.

During his absence, the canals had begun to run dry and the city’s inhabitants had been placed on tight water rationing. The Haighlei mages that had occupied the city had managed to keep them half-full, but that still meant water rationing for a city that had never experienced such a thing before. Dell and Dalen had informed the new City’s Council that the Heartstone would be able to keep the pumps powered regardless of the presence of any mages.

It wouldn’t do that quite yet, but the city’s inhabitants had been excited and turned out to see the new Heartstone being created. In a few days, Dalen would use modified versions of the spells he’d used to create his spy network through the mage-lights in Haven’s palace to keep the distant pumps powered. Once that was done, as long as the Heartstone had power, Burnham would not have to worry about water from its distant wells.

After his weapons training, Dalen returned to the Vale dome and quickly washed up before dressing in a fresh set of Whites and heading to Burnham’s Magistrate building. This building was largely untouched in the city’s administrative section and was home to the local courts that heard legal cases. Valdemar had long since structured its Magistrate system into a criminal division and civil division. Decisions in either division could be appealed, and either a Herald on circuit, or in larger cities that had permanent Heralds assigned, the local Heralds would act as the Court of Appeals. That decision would be largely considered final, although both sides in a case had the right to Appeal directly to the Crown, although that was rarely done since it required a trip to Haven for all those involved. In civil cases, the party losing the Crown Appeal had to pay for all the expenses of both sides, so most Crown Appeals were criminal cases.

As part of Dalen’s ‘internship’ period, Herald Nevin had assigned him to the Appeals court that was newly formed in Burnham. Today was the first time that a case had come before the Court, and so Dalen dressed in the formal version of his Whites and rode Jadev to the Magistrate Building. He wasn’t surprised to find the hearing chamber full of observers to hear the first case being presided over by the Heir. Herald Nevin was already there, and gave Dalen some final words of advice before letting Dalen commence the hearing.

The case was actually a rather simple one. A local manufacturer was suing the Crown for lost income based on the Crown-ordered destruction of the rail lines. The loss of locomotive transportation had resulted in him having to pay for traditional wagons to move his goods, and he’d lost quite a bit of money. The Magistrate had summarily ruled against the manufacturer, stating the exigencies of war.

“Did you seek redress directly from the Crown?” Dalen asked the man after hearing from both sides in the case. The Crown was being represented by a non-Herald versed in law, while the man was being represented by a member of the City’s Council who had argued that Dalen should not be presiding over the case because of his position as Heir.

“No, sir.” The man replied after a moment’s pause and a look at the man representing him who had shrugged.

“Then this case is hereby suspended until you have had an opportunity to appeal directly to the Crown.” Dalen ordered with a direct look at both of the representatives before him. “The Magister for this case erred in not determining that fact prior to ruling and you erred in not first seeking redress from the Crown.”

“The Crown is only giving out partial recompense.” The man snorted. “That is hardly fair.”

“The Crown could always raise taxes on your goods to pay the added expense of full compensation.” Dalen retorted.

“That wouldn’t do me any good!” The man nearly shouted.

“It wouldn’t do anyone any good, sir.” Dalen replied evenly. “We are experiencing rough times, and everyone is being affected.”

“I don’t see you having to suffer.” The man growled and Dalen stood with a small smile on his face, lifting his tunic and running a finger along the scar there.

“This came from a pike by the men who would see you bend your knees to them.” Dalen said slowly as there was a gasp from the watchers. “I was injured fighting at Forst Reach, where the Haighlei sought to take most of the goods produced by the Valdemarans of that region, leaving those good people to starve. If I remember rightly, the people of Burnham suffered similar privations.”

“Until we ran them out.” The City Councilman growled.

“With our help.” Dalen countered. “The Crown understands that we cannot win this situation alone, that we need the help of our people. We also understand that it is our duty to help our own people wherever possible. It would be wrong of us though, to take from other Valdemarans simply to put more coins back in the purse of one man. All of us must do our part, and pay the prices set before us to win through these times.”

“You are too closely involved in this to make a rational decision.” The Councilman growled and Dalen stared at him.

“I am a Herald first and foremost.” Dalen said. “That comes even before being Heir or a mage. The Heralds first and only interest is preserving the people of Valdemar and ensuring that ours is a land of fairness and justice. There is no justice in filling one man’s purse only to require the emptying of coins from the purses of others.”

“I will seek redress from the Crown.” The manufacturer said grimly after there was the sound of agreement from the people watching and hearing Dalen’s words. Dalen finished the case and let Nevin lead him to a small room nearby where he proceeded to critique Dalen’s performance.

Jadev gave him his own counsel on the ride back to the Vale, and Dalen listened to it with as open a mind as he could manage. Today had not been an easy day for him on many fronts, and he was starting to feel frustrated with things. It seemed he had so little time for things he enjoyed, like the pure mage-work of this morning.

The Circle meeting after dinner did him little good either, and left him feeling even more frustrated. He wanted to go out and scout one of the Haighlei camps, but the rest of the Circle was hesitant to send him out. At first they considered two squads of Guard cavalry, but worried it might be too big a force to hide quickly, and that the horses of the Guards would slow them down too much.

Then they wanted ten Heralds to go with him, but there weren’t ten Heralds to spare in all of Valdemar. They would have to take Heralds off of other important duties, and Nevin flatly refused to rush anymore Trainees into Whites. Already nearly every trainee except one thirteen-year old that had been in Grays at the beginning of the war now wore Whites, even the fourteen-year olds. Only the newest of Trainees, and the youngest, still wore Trainee Grays.

“You look like hell.” A familiar voice said as Dalen went through the kitchen to grab a flagon of wine to take to his rooms after the Circle meeting had ended. He spun around and nearly laughed when he saw the shade of red that Carl Lackley’s hair had been dyed.

“You look like a scarlet bird trying to attract a mate.” Dalen laughed at the sight of the Bard whose hair was far brighter than the rather plain clothes he was wearing. “Where have you been?”

“Haven.” Carl frowned, but his words piqued Dalen’s interest.

“How are things there?” He asked.

“Not good.” Carl replied. “You planning on getting drunk with that?”

“I was thinking about it.” Dalen admitted with a shrug.

“How about we share?” Carl asked. “I could use a relaxing drink or two, and someone’s ear to bitch at, if you don’t mind.”

“Fine by me.” Dalen said with a tight smile. “As long as you don’t mind me bitching at you when you’re done.”

“Deal.” Carl said as he put the cup he’d been drinking down and proceeded to follow Dalen back to his room. “By the way, when did you become as pale as a ghost?”

“I’ll tell you later.” Dalen said with a smile as he started to relax. The fact that he’d started relaxing when Carl’s hand came to rest on his shoulder didn’t even come to his realization until much later.

© 1987 - 2022 Mercedes Lackey, Tor Publishing; All Rights Reserved; Valedmar and its world belong to Mercedes Lackey. Everything else belongs to dkstories. Copyright ©2013; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction that combine worlds created by the original content owner with names, places, characters, events, and incidents that are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, organizations, companies, events or locales are entirely coincidental. Authors are responsible for properly crediting Original Content creator for their creative works. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
Stories in this Fandom are works of fan fiction. Any names or characters, businesses or places, events or incidents, are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Recognized characters, events, incidents belong to Mercedes Lackey, Tor Publishing and their inheritors.
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On 02/06/2013 12:26 AM, gregg said:


I almost wish I could say 'sorry'.
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On 02/06/2013 02:46 AM, empress said:
@gregg, bart?realy? Naaaah blake mayb, and carl there is chemistry at least,u must agree!
I told you that you'd see Carl in this chapter!
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