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  1. Looking for someone to beta-read a sequel to my story Black Fox - Fiction - Gay Authors. My regular beta reader went M.I.A. 😭 Book 1 is only 32k words but it's necessary to read it to understand Book 2. I expect to finish writing it in 2-3 weeks. DM me if you're interested!
  2. I thought since I've made a few chapters for my first story on this site I'd make a discussion thread for it. It seems to have garnered a good reception so far which I am quite pleased about. Feel free to ask any questions you might have about the story's world, the characters themselves, or other elements that might strike your fancy. Whether or not I'll properly answer said questions depends on how spoiler heavy I feel the answer would be. I'm interested to hear what people who've read it so far think.
  3. Hey all I just rediscovered GA after years and years away. I used to spend countless hours here in late high school and college. I loved sci-fi stories by the likes of dkstories and Christopher Lydon - especially Mists of Fate/Shapers Chronicles and The Falcon Banner (thought I’ve read all of them). Any recommendations for new writers here who are carrying that torch? Also does anybody know what ever happened to Dan and Christopher?
  4. We are currently cleaning up and consolidating our sprawling collection of forums and clubs. When we started this process, we saw that the community was very spread out with low activity in most places. To help correct this, we have consolidated a few things. As part of that consolidation, the Fantasy Writing, Sci-Fi Writing and FanFiction writing clubs have been closed and their content has been moved to this forum. This puts all the authors back into one club and hopefully makes the content more active and useful for our authors.
  5. I frequently have vivid hyper-realistic dreams but some are more odd than others. Last night I had a very strange dream and vivid dream and can still remember the main details. There was a city with six sides, surrounded by walls, and at each corner a Gothic spire rose impossibly high into the sky, slowly arching over at the top until they met in the center high above the city. There was some sort of disk on top of the points of the spires -- entire thing was almost like a birdcage. I was up at the top of this structure, with five others, one of us for each spire, -- which is a place I can guarantee I'd never want to be in the waking world as I have a fear of heights -- all of us gargoyles or angles or a blend of both. I know there was a discussion and/or argument about something, but couldn't remember what when I woke up. Was difficult to see the architectural style of the city because of the height, but it seemed to be in a much older style - definitely not modern. Part of me wonders what my mind was trying to sort out or tell me. Part of me isn't sure I'd want to know.
  6. I used to be an avid reader, and read tons of books when I was in school. Lately, with work and busier life I end up reading mostly online stories in GA (thanks again you wonderful authors), but I still like to hold "real" paper books from time to time. My idea with the blog entrances Book Club Suggestions is to share some a book in a particular category, and have you guys do the same (if someone joins me). When growing up I felt that most books I found and read were "strong heroes, sensitive princesses, ugly villains", and rarely touched "atypical" sexuality and/or gender differences. Thus being in GA I will probably have that in mind, but please feel free to share any good book. My suggestion for today in Fantasy is not actually a book, but a series of 3 books I read when I was a teenager/young adult: The Stone Dance of the Chameleon series by Ricardo Pinto starts with The Chosen, followed by The Standing Dead and finally The Third God. The author is a gay man, Portuguese descent that lives in the UK, and you can find the books on Amazon. These books tell the story of a teen boy in a strange world with a strong stratified society that values the purity of the blood above all. Being nicer than his peers, he doesn't seem to fit in the complex scheme of the imperial court, and we will learn how he deals with the notions of good and evil, of finding love and betrayal. The story is a little slow to start (which is reflected in the 3.5 stars on Amazon for book 1), but becomes more complex and interesting in the following books (book 3 has a rating of 4.5 stars on Amazon). What I liked in this story is that while it is fantasy, there is no magic of the usual kind, just a very complex caste society that it is very human in all its atrocities. Hope you enjoy, and please share a fantasy story you liked. PS: next entry will be either historic fiction or crime novels, so start thinking about your favorites =P
  7. Do you have any fantasy stories you are working on right now?
  8. In multiple genres characters that have the ability to polymorph their bodies exist. What do you call them? Shapeshifters or Shapechangers?
  9. Quoting myself from my blog: I'm currently at ~7,500 Words and 2 chapters. The first chapter takes place on the Amtrak Auto Train from Sanford, FL to Lorton, VA. A sneak peak of Chapter 1 Let me know what you think! EDIT: Story is now posted as a regular project.
  10. Enna, Kol, and Sparta were taking a peaceful stroll through the streets of Fasola. In the distance, on the horizon, they saw a group of individuals approaching. Sparta and Enna knew that they were never in danger because of the supreme secrecy and difficulty of Fasola magicks. Kol fell to his knees, unable to stand, for Kol knew the group walking towards them. Sparta saw one face and instantly took a knee, Enna followed Sparta's lead and took a knee a second later. Kol, overtaken with the party's elation, could not stand, lift his bowed head, or even raise his eyes to see their faces. Taking mere minutes seemed like years, suddenly Kol felt the gentle touch on his chin, his head being raised up, he dreamed this dream all too often, and now it is finally coming true. "My sweet tree! I told you that we would meet again." Jaric said as tears rolled down his face. "My cool breeze! I have been waiting for this day for so long. Is this a dream or reality?" Kol asked touching the warmth of Jaric's face and hoping that this was real. "I can say," as Jaric cleared his tears to look in Kol's eyes, "without any doubt that this is reality." Jaric lifted Kol off of his knees and gave him a kiss. Not any kiss, but the kiss that only happens when two longing souls are reunited. Some call it fate, others call it true love, but Jaric and Kol call it finding home. Enric dismounted his horse, held out each of his hands for Enna and for Sparta, "Friends, please! Do not kneel before but stand beside me.", as he pulled their hands forcing Enna and Sparta to stand. "How does you body look like Queen Verelle's, yet your voice is that of King Enric's?" Enna asked in confusion. "Since it was here, in Fasola, were the spell was cast, it is here that the spell can be undone. Only here can I be my true self. Here, where my soul matches my voice, no matter what I look like." King Enric stated quite coolly. I hope you enjoyed a preview of my story Draymal. I would love feedback and editing notes to make my story worthy of being published.
  11. I'm working on a new story, of which I'm now posting a teaser here below, to see what my readers think, and hopefully more will join :) This is a non edited fragment of the story so beforehand I apologize for any grammar mistakes you might come across while reading. enjoy Prologue In the beginning there was no reign, only balance. It was a world of magic, inhabited by demons and other mysterious beings. Of all the creatures the dragons were the mightiest. They were divided in four tribes to govern the elements and they were the ones who brought the balance to the world. But the threads of magic, woven for each of the tribes, had their whims. Only a few every generation were born with the ability to shift from their two legged appearance and become one of the original dragons, who soared the sky and mended the world. Out of those few, only one pair would give birth to the next Generation of the Jikkan Gogyo. One male and one female would form the new celestial pair; They would be the opposing of everything; light and dark, male and female, water and fire, earth and air. And together they would become one with the earth and continue to weight out the differences and keep the magic in harmony with the world. After four thousand years the circle was to be completed with water and fire; the female Mizunoto and the male Hinoe, but something went wrong. The Mizunoto never showed and the fire dragons suddenly disappeared. The balance was tared and the consequences showed to be dire. The offspring of lesser demons were born with very little or no magic at all. The offsprings with no magic came to be called humans, and it was soon discovered they were not bound by nature, like their magic possessive brethren. As a result here off their population quickly grew larger. As a way of protecting them selfs they gathered in number, unlike other kinds of demons who either lived solitary or monogamous, protecting their territory. No demon had dared claim territory to the center of the world, but the humans risked taking claim of the fertile, sacred land for their protection as well as their survival. Though the humans were many, neither the dragons nor the demons found them a thread due to their lack of magic, hence, they left them in peace. The humans elected a leader, to create some kind order to their chaotic way of living. The king was chosen through duels, and so the strongest and smartest among the participants came to rule over his brethren. At first, things seemed to work well for the humans, they even came to thrive in peace with the creatures around them. However, as time passed man grew greedy. The fifth reigning king wasn't satisfied with the power he had. He wanted magic, and with it; the chance of immortality. He believed that by consuming the heart of a dragon he would gain those characteristics. His people who didn't know any better believed in their king and they went to war against the dragons. Even though the dragons were strong, they could not overpower the number of humans. In their defeat, the original dragons went into hiding and in order to ensure the survival of the heredity, the shifters used their magic, to hinder new of their kind to be born into the tribe, and thus took their knowledge of the lineage with them into hiding. For five hundred years the humans ruled without mercy. Until one day a demon stood forth, wishing to take back what rightfully belonged to them. The demon was strong, more so than anyone had seen for thousands of years. Demons and dragons gathered side by side, and with Sourin in the lead, they successfully overpowered the humans. With the end of Man’s reign the era of the Demons would begin. 1. The fire dragons Sourin, the demon lord, was at his 300 year of rule. The time had come for him to travel his lands; he cared grately about his people and sought to himself that they faired well. Still he was the most powerful demon, in the last 300 years not one demon had come close to match his strength, and therefor he would not need an escort on his travel. Sourin was well known all over his kingdom, as a stern but honest ruler. But most of all he was known for his demonic beauty . Some even claimed he was more beautiful than any woman know to the world. The day when he decided it was time to leave his palace, was when he had noticed a change in the dragons living within the palace. He had realized that the race had become weakened through the breeding with humans. Their majestic appearance was dwindling and the magic within them diminished. He did not blame the dragons for this failure; after all, times were different now than right after the war and breeding between the races was not forbidden. However, he feared that the magic was to completely vanish, and as it was his duty to look after the inhabitants of the world, he took it upon himself to search all over the land for a way to save his people. He knew he would have to find the original dragons, in order to restore the balance and bring magic back into it’s natural flow. And so, he set out his quest to search. Sourin first traveled the land inside the border of his kingdom. The general fair of his working people would always have to come first. Four months he spend, writing down possible changes needing to be made; all from the granting of new breeding horses, to new rules regarding the rising problems caused by thieves. From here he went to travel the outlands; the untouched woodland and steppes inhabited by his territorial brethren. He first visited the known tribe of the wind dragons in the east, in hope they would have information that could guide him towards the original dragons. The wind chief was sad to tell him that the knowledge of their shifting brethren disappeared along with the dragons them selves. Sourin next visited the water dragons in the North. But they too gave him the same answer; they had not seen or heard from the original ones since the Great War. But during his visit with the earth tribe in the West he was set led onto a path, which he hoped, would lead him in the right direction. The wife of the earth chief, mentioned that he might have better luck searching for the fire tribe, in the dead lands, towards the south. Since the whole tribe had vanished during the Great War, maybe the originals would still live amongst the rest of the tribe. And so he traveled to the Dead-lands. The dense woods in the south stretched towards the inland and the mountains, which stretched far into the land. The west lands, of Sourin’s empire, was sparse forest and earthy terrain. Towards the north was grassland before the sand and sea, and in the east were the open steppes, with steeps cliffs bordering the ocean. During his 7th month he saw an incident. He had just entered the southern territory of the land, a part of his kingdom he had never paid much attention to before, because he had no people in this realm. Through time the lands had also become more or less uninhabitable due to the ever growing Forrest. A large group of poorly dressed men, had surrounded a young man, armed with long spears. Slowly they cornered him against a cliff side, trapping him there. “Come on handsome, show us what ya got. We don’t wanna hurt ya, we just wanna take a look at the goodies” one of the men said, a leer on his face. Sourin looked from afar, uncertain of the circumstances. Were they going to abuse the poor man? If so, why were they at such a large number and armed with spears? Just as he was about to interfere, and save the young man, all of his questions were answered. One of the men jabbed forth his spear but the young man jumped to the side, out of reach, and suddenly – an enormous cloud of black smoke and burning sparks consumed the young man and out raised a huge black dragon with eyes so green that you almost could not tear your gaze away. The dragon slowly -- warning, turned its head from one side to the other, gazing the men surrounding it. They had all fallen dead silent and were frozen on the spot. As Sourin watched the scene play out in front of him he noticed the scales of the dragon; even though they were black they had this deep red glow in the sparse light of the forest, like the burning ember of a dying piece of coal. The dragon opened its mouth and roared, one of the men tear loose from the hypnosis of the dragons gaze and screamed “RUN”. All the other men tear loose as well and turned to run, as fast as they could, not even sensing Sourin on his horse as they ran right past him.
  12. I don't wanna seem too pretentious but I figured I'd start a thread for my story "A Frigid Grasp" since I'm continuing the series. [sharedmedia=stories:stories:4876] A Frigid Grasp covers the story of Arden as he lives out his life in the city-state of Bosefestung as a traveling healer aimed for public service. Because of his advocacy, he ends up tangled in the politics and drama of the city, something he wished to avoid. I'd appreciate it if you guys could tell me your thoughts and speculations and whatever you think of the story. I'm really aiming to complete this thing along with a few others.
  13. I've begun work on a new story, a Sci-Fi/Fantasy story. I won't begin posting until it's completed, beta read, and edited. Word of caution, it could take a while. In the mean time, I will continue to develop The Field of Love and at some point, merge it into Trials and Tribulations. I hope I don't disappoint. Billy
  14. VVesley

    MAP

    From the album: The Allliance Map!

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  15. I'd like to present my first fantasy-themed story: 'The Ardor' It's a sword-and-magic type novel in which romance plays an important part. I don't want to spoiler much of the content, but the tag line reads like this: A thief who learns that stealing the wrong thing can change everything. A warrior on a journey to leave his past behind. A fallen god yearning to return to the mortal world. A story about ancient magic, decisions and love. I want to say thank you to the GA members who regularly post reviews for my story. You're the best! SInce I'm a real attention whore, I want to encourage more people to comment on the story. If something simply doesn't work for you or you think something is really good, let me know. PLEASE!
  16. So, vampires and werewolves used to be the thing of horror, but slowly they're more in lore and become less 'scary' depending on the writer. In fact, I think their sub-genre goes into Paranormal more often than not, right next to ghosts. I have to ask, though. Where is the line drawn, though? Labels (or tags) can be pretty hard to apply, since works can be rather flexible. When would you jot something down as Horror? When it actually gets frightening or disturbing (or gory)? When does it fall to paranormal or fantasy?
  17. A place I put my short ramblings, short stories, and other random stuff. I'd love to hear from you on this stuff. Your comments, suggestions, and anything else are what keep me going. You can find it here: https://www.gayauthors.org/story/atruefan/shorts Looking forward to hearing from YOU!
  18. I am part of a team of medics and support staff and volunteers working in North America and the EU in a counseling rôle in assisting teenage members of refugee and asylum-seeking families with lifestyle issues. My team is particularly focussed on issues surrounding non-traditional sexual orientation, but within the context of everything else of course: new country, language, political and legal system, children's rights, gender equality, social system and etiquette, religious and moral norms, ethics and cultural ethos; in short, the works! So, these 11-17 year-olds are dealing with the nightmare of their raging pubescent hormones whilst all the rest of their known world has also undergone a tectonic shift. As there are currently only eight of us working as team leaders in this specialty - three in the US, and one each in Canada, Germany, Sweden, Spain and the UK - we are seeing only a tiny fraction of those referred to us and those only twice monthly. As a consequence, my colleagues and I have found good, age-appropriate stories with a strong, supportive message to be one excellent resource we can call upon between our sessions with those we call our protégés. I need your help finding these. We begun a very amateurish blog a few weeks ago seeking help from writers and others because we simply do not have time to trawl the web to find the right stuff. I am probably breaking the code of etiquette of webism or whatever by doing this, but I'm desperate. If you have time, and have a care for LGBT Asylum-seeking teens, please read some of the posts on www.daktaris.WordPress.com and either reply to me there, or comment here or email me directly. We desperately need your input. We also need simple moral support, just to feel somebody among the community cares about these kids. At present we are beginning to think we are speaking into an uncaring black hole. Blessings. Doc.
  19. The last chapter to my story Winterblade has been submitted, and I thought it would be good to open a discussion topic in case anyone is interested in reading it. The story is a mixture of fantasy, science fiction and erotica with two male protagonists. It deals with the conflict that arises when warriors of opposing armies get to know each other not only as the enemy, but as people being worthy of respect or even love. Any questions are welcome, and feedback is greatly appreciated! Thanks! Read it here: https://www.gayauthors.org/story/albertnothlit/winterblade
  20. Hey everybody! There's been a new story being spun out in my head, and I've finally had to put it to paper (screen?). It's not named yet ('The World Beyond the Mirror' is my only idea so far, and I'm not sure about that), but I'll start posting it as soon as it is. I thought I should drop the prologue off here, since it worked really well for the last idea I had (still working on that one, just slowly ). Any advice (or name suggestions ) would be appreciated! Thanks to Rano for being the editor! Like all my stories so far, it's gonna be rated 'Mature'. This one's not gonna be too dark, but there'll be (extrememly) graphic sex between consenting young adults and also a fair amount of swearing (I'll tone it down , but I won't kill the realism). If none of that bothers you, then I hope you enjoy ___________________________________ I sat in my advanced math class, in my usual seat by the window, gazing longingly out into the rain. The soft pattering of the rain mixed with the nasal droning of the teacher, making it easy to tune them both out. The rain was mesmerizing as it hit the roof outside, and I admired the patterns it made in a puddle right by the window for a moment, before looking out over the small slice of the town visible from this second story window, regretting that there wasn’t more to see. I guess that’s on purpose, I thought. They didn’t want anything interesting outside to distract us. They’d succeeded. There were a few houses that I could see, boring brick and shingle constructions, and there was a small piece of a road visible. I watched as a car went by, there and gone before I could notice more than the fact it was brown. I watched the road for a little longer, trying to identify the few cars that went by, but it soon became as boring as the rest of the class. I looked back to the puddle, watching the ripples spreading through it. Wait… ripples? I wondered. Those aren’t from raindrops. They’re way too big. I looked around the roof, wondering what could have made those, and something near the edge caught my eye. I twisted, leaning to get a better view. Nothing was there, but there was something about how the rain was falling… “Mr. Adams,” the teacher said, reprimanding. “Can you answer the question?” I turned back to the board, quickly scanning it. “Sorry,” I said, buying time to think. “I got a little distracted. The answer is ‘X’ equals plus or minus fifteen.” The teacher nodded, satisfied with my answer. Safe, I thought, looking back out the window. I eyed the spot I’d been watching before, but there was nothing remarkable about it now. I sighed, wishing my mind would continue imagining things so I’d have a little bit of entertainment. I wish I could go outside, I thought with another sigh. I craned my neck, looking up at the sky to watch the rain coming down, but it wasn’t nearly as mesmerizing while I was inside, and I soon gave up. I stopped looking through the window and looked at it, making the reflection of the class come into focus. The room was just as boring from the window, with its plain white walls and the ‘Math is FUNctional’ poster that was just visible past the glare from the old yellowish lights. I watched the few other students I could see in the window. There was a girl, looking harried as she tried to write down the teacher’s every word, and two guys who were whispering to each other. Finally, there was me, staring back at myself, looking bored. I tried to adjust my expression to be more neutral, but my full pink lips didn’t want to co-operate. The teacher didn’t deserve to have me glaring around his classroom. It wasn’t his fault that I’d been down for the last little while, and there was no reason to take it out on him. I smiled, trying to get my face to stick in a pleasant expression, but even with my lips curved upwards, I looked bored. I examined my face, trying to figure out what I was doing to ruin my façade. My blond eyebrows matched my hair, and they were tilted slightly downwards with boredom. I adjusted them until they looked normal, and considered my face again. I just looked vaguely pissed off now. My tanned forehead was free of wrinkles, and my straight nose looked normal, but boredom was still radiating off me in waves. I met my reflection’s piercing blue eyes that lots of people had mistaken for contacts, and found the problem. My eyes were always pretty expressive, and now they were dull and lifeless. I sighed again, giving up. It seemed that there was no hiding my boredom. The bell rang loudly, and I glanced down at my binder, open to a blank page, still waiting for me to take notes. I closed it and grabbed my textbook, putting it on top of the binder and picking it up. “Erin, can I talk to you for a second?” the teacher asked. I nodded, some of my boredom replaced by curiosity. I fanned that flame, trying to burn away my indifference before the teacher had to see it, and I was satisfied with the result before I reached his desk. My curiosity had always been able to overwhelm my other emotions when something woke it. I stopped in front of the desk, looking questioningly at the teacher as everybody filed out. It was a small class, so I didn’t have to wait long before everyone had gone and he spoke. “Is everything OK?” he asked, concerned. “You’ve been really distant for a while now. You know you can come to me, or any of the other counsellors, with any problems you have, right?” “Yeah, I know,” I said, adding the expected amount of thankfulness into my voice. “Thanks for being concerned, but there’s nothing wrong. I’ve just been tired.” I’ve always been a good liar, when my eyes didn’t betray me, but he didn’t accept my response. He tried to hide his disbelief, but it takes a bullshitter to know one. “OK,” he said. “Just keep us in mind. If you’re not comfortable talking to me, the other counsellors would love to help you.” “No, I’d be fine talking to you if I ever needed help,” I assured him. He was trying to figure out a way to breach the subject of my life at home without sounding nosey or like he doubted me. I regretted that he knew about my situation, but he’d obviously been warned to look out for me. They’d flagged me as someone who’d need extra help, since my past was troubled to say the least. I had to make a conscious effort to keep my hand from rising to fiddle with my necklace, a simple black string with a small but convoluted metal triangle attached. I glanced towards the door but pretended to catch myself and look back at the teacher. Maybe that would give him a hint without being rude. “Oh, yeah, you’ve got to get to class, don’t you?” I nodded, giving him a brief smile. “Thanks,” I told him. “I’ll make sure to come to you with any problems I can’t handle.” He was starting to believe my bullshit a little bit more, so I started to walk towards the door, hoping to get away. “Erin?” the teacher called. Damn. I turned back, putting a curious look on my face. “Yeah?” I asked, keeping my frustration out of my voice. “Make sure to get enough sleep,” he reminded me with a smile. I smiled back, nodding. “I will. Thanks again!” He waved, turning to some papers on his desk, and this time I made it safely out the door. I walked to my locker and opened it, tossing my books inside. I closed it, deliberately not slamming it, and I saw my friend walking towards me. Shit, I thought, putting the lock back on my locker and turning to meet him. “Hey, Erin,” he said. “Shouldn’t you have gotten your English books before you closed your locker?” he teased. I shook my head, giving him a smile. “No, I’m dying in here. Math was really boring, so I’m taking a break and skipping English.” He nodded. “If you’re going to Tim Horton’s I’ll go with you,” he offered. I laughed. “Oh come on,” I said. “You can’t afford to skip English.” He nodded. “I can afford an Ice Capp, though, and that’s too tempting.” “I’m not going to Tim’s anyway,” I laughed. “I’m just gonna wander around.” He gave me a weird look. “You know it’s raining, right?” he asked. “You know it’s just water, right?” I asked, gently mocking. He laughed. “OK, what excuse do you want me to tell the teacher?” I shrugged. “I don’t care if she knows I’m skipping. It’s not like I do it often. She’ll know it’s nothing personal.” He snorted. “You’ve got bigger balls than me. I wouldn’t take my chances with her.” “You’re about to,” I warned him. “You’ve got less than a minute to get to class.” “Shit!” he yelped. “See you!” I waved absently, already turning towards the nearest exit. I opened the door, my actions smooth and deliberate as I concentrated on keeping up an appearance of normality, and walked out into the rain. I headed to a park I knew was around here, and walked in. There was no real forest to speak of, but I managed to find some bushes that gave a semblance of privacy to the bench in the middle of them. I sat down on the bench and looked upwards, fascinated by the raindrops speeding towards me. I watched the rain for a while, fondling my necklace as I thought. I hadn’t managed to convince my math teacher that I didn’t have any big problems, but it didn’t matter as long as he respected that I would work through them without his help. I’d seen more than enough of psychiatrists over the course of my life, not that it was my choice. I traced the intricate pattern of my necklace, embracing the comfort it gave me. I’d never parted with this necklace since I’d gotten it, when I was three. I’d had to replace the string more than once, but even then it never left my hands. This necklace was my only tie to my past, and my parents. I tried to remember, sometimes, tried to find some clue that I’d been loved, but it had been too long. The only memory I’d retained was from when I was three. I was in the back of a car, and my parents were with me. There was an impact and loud noises, and I remember crying, wondering why my parents wouldn’t move when fire was consuming the car in front of us and why this sticky red stuff was everywhere. The door had opened, and someone had pulled me out of my mother’s stiff embrace before running away from the car, carrying me as fast as they could. I’d been terrified, and I remember flames as the car exploded behind us. I started as I realized not all the water on my face was rain, and I looked back down. My face was still composed, and the rain would hide my tears from anyone who could see me past the bushes, but I was uncomfortable with anybody seeing me crying anyway. I ran my hand through my hair, brushing the short blond strands off my forehead so they wouldn’t drip water into my eyes. I tried to turn my mind to happier things, but it was like I’d broken a dam, and I couldn’t stop from reliving my early years. I remembered talking to a psychiatrist when I was five. She’d told me that my parents were in a better place, and I’d asked why they hadn’t taken me with them, not understanding. I’d never been able to comprehend that they were never coming back, so I’d never warmed up to any foster parents. They’d shuffled me from house to house, and I remembered almost nothing until when I was six. I’d just moved to a new foster house, and the foster parents finally explained everything to me. They’d laid the facts out as gently as they could, and it had helped hugely. I remember them telling me my parents and I had been driving in a taxi and a drunk driver had crashed into us. My parents had died instantly, killed painlessly by the impact, but the police thought the drunk had survived the initial crash. Our car had caught on fire, and a witness had run in to grab me before the fire reached the gasoline that was spilled everywhere. The cars had exploded, killing the drunk, and when the corpses were recovered, my necklace had been around my mother’s neck. The police had given it to me, 'cause it was the only thing my parents owned to pass on to me and there was nobody else to take it. They’d never identified my parent’s bodies, and they didn’t know where they’d come from before getting into that taxi. They hadn’t had any possessions, other than the necklace, so it was assumed they’d been illegal immigrants. I’d been granted citizenship, and I’d taken on the last name of the family I was with at the time. I’d kept my real first name, though. I’d known that my name was Erin, so my first name and my necklace were my only proof that I’d ever had a family. The foster parents’ explanation had been exactly what I needed, and I’d finally been able to accept that my parents were dead. The memories were still painful, even now, but I’d been able to move on with my life. I’d stayed with those foster parents, and we’d gotten along well. I was still too distant for any sort of love to grow, but they’d respected my occasional need for privacy and I’d respected them. They were the perfect family for me after my parents had died, understanding and patient. After almost nine years with them, I’d felt more comfortable and I’d tentatively accepted them as parents. There still hadn’t been any love between us, but for the first time I’d thought it had a chance of growing. We’d done fun things, family things, like going bowling together and watching movies. It had been the best few weeks of my life, and then the foster mother had died of a heart attack. The foster father was deemed too unstable to continue fostering me, so I’d been thrust back upon the system. The man I’d been on the edge of accepting as a father killed himself soon after they took me away, and it had crushed me. For the next two years, I’d stayed distant from all the foster parents they’d set me up with, afraid that anyone I accepted as a parent would die. For those two years, I’d never been able to escape the psychiatrists, a constant stream of them demanding I strip my soul bare for them to examine and judge. I’d finally managed to work through the problems on my own and accept, for the second time, the death of my parents. I’d been sixteen at that point, and I’d come out of my shell, taking an active role in my own life. I still hadn’t shared anything with the shrinks, and that didn’t change, but I became a normal member of society, and I’d maneuvered myself into living here. I’d liked the location, so I’d played nice with the family and gotten in. I wasn’t close with them, and despite their pretending, I knew they didn’t care much about me either. It hadn’t taken me long to figure out they were doing it for the monthly income and tax reductions. I didn’t complain, because I wasn’t looking for another family. I just needed somewhere to stay for another year and a half, and I liked this area. My current ‘parents’ had been surprised when I revealed that I knew why they were doing it and that I was OK with it, but things had been better ever since. They’d stopped pretending, except around other people, and they respected me more as a person. Now, life was good. I was free to do pretty much whatever I wanted, as long as it didn’t disturb my ‘parents’ or make them look bad, and they left me alone. I’d come to think of them as housemates instead of a foster family, and the arrangement worked well for me. We all understood that after I turned eighteen we’d probably never see each other again, and we’d owe each other nothing. I couldn’t wait. I pulled my necklace off, dangling it in front of me so I could examine it again. The patterns still fascinated me, after all this time. The metal was durable, and it hadn’t bent or rusted at all. I was so caught up in my examination that when somebody sat down on the bench next to me I jumped, startled. I threw the necklace over my head, tucking it back down my shirt where it belonged, the cool metal against my hot skin, safe from prying eyes. I looked over at the person who’d startled me, wondering who else would be out in this rain. My first answer to that question was a drug dealer, considering the location, but this guy didn’t have that look. He was looking up at the sky, his eyes closed as he let the raindrops land on his face, and he looked tired, like I felt. He was wearing a t-shirt and shorts, like me, and he seemed to have the same muscular swimmer’s build as me. His skin was tanned, almost the same tone as mine, and from his profile, he was handsome. He had lush pink lips, a perfectly sized straight nose, and black hair. It was a nice shade of black, dark without being inky, and it didn’t have that greasy look that some black hair could have. He wore it short, but it was impossible to tell if it was supposed to be styled in any way, since the rain had plastered it to his head. His lips parted slightly, allowing water into his mouth for a moment before he spoke. “I like your necklace,” he told me, his eyes still closed. His voice wasn’t deep, but it wasn’t high pitched, either. It was a pleasant timbre, but his words offset any appreciation I might have felt for it. “It’s nothing,” I said, carefully keeping my voice free of the defensiveness I felt. “Just a trinket.” My necklace was private, and I hated when people commented on it. “It doesn’t need to be expensive to be valuable,” he said calmly. “If you like it, why should it matter what price someone else would put on it?” Damn, I thought. Obviously, I picked the wrong approach if I wanted him to forget about it. “I don’t like to talk about it,” I corrected. He nodded, accepting it without opening his eyes or questioning in any way. We sat in silence after he didn’t respond. One minute passed. Two. Three minutes passed, and I couldn’t take the silence any longer. “Are you from the school too?” He looked like he was the same age as me, so I figured that’d be a good place to start. He shook his head slightly, and I waited for him to elaborate. He didn’t. Another minute passed. Before one minute could become two, I decided that I did, in fact, want to talk to him, and I didn’t have too long before I had to go catch the bus. The city busses didn’t go near my house, so the one from school was my only ride. “Where do you go to school, then?” I asked. “I don’t go to school,” he replied casually, his eyes not opening. I’ve never been one of those people who get angry if you’re not looking at them when you talk to them, but he’d roused my curiosity, and his refusal to look at me was driving me slowly crazy. “Not very talkative, are you?” I half-joked quietly. He shook his head, his lips curving slightly. “Why’d you sit on the only occupied bench in the park, then?” I asked, thinking that maybe if I pissed him off he’d look at me. He shrugged. “This is where I always sit,” he said. “And I don’t get to be around people much. And I liked…” he inclined his head towards me, indicating my necklace while respecting my desire not to talk about it. “A lot of reasons,” he summarized, the faint smile returning. I nodded, not really caring that he couldn’t see. If he wanted to know how I’d reacted, he’d have to open his damn eyes and look at me. “What about you?” he asked after a moment. “I get the feeling you weren’t here to talk, either, yet here we are.” I didn’t answer immediately, but I wasn’t really thinking about what to tell him. “I was just thinking,” I said finally. “But then you showed up, and now I’m curious.” He hadn’t been moving, but I somehow got the impression that he’d stopped. He turned, looking at me and opening his eyes. “What were you thinking about?” he asked, his voice softly curious. Seeing his face shocked me. He had a fairly severe burn along his jaw, but it was his eyes that made my response catch in my throat. They were a deep brown, and he looked like a professional makeup artist had put the slightest touch of eyeliner around his eyes. Something told me it was natural, though, and I didn’t doubt that something was telling the truth. Either way, it made his eyes even deeper, and I felt like they’d pull me in like a black hole if I looked for too long. I focused on the burn again, and I wondered why he was walking around with that. “Shouldn’t you go to the hospital?” I asked softly, not wanting him to take it the wrong way. “You know…” I tapped my jaw where his burn was. It looked like it was a few days old, but maybe they could still help. I’d heard that I’d had minor burns from the car crash, but they’d healed quickly and well, leaving me with no scars, so I had faith in hospitals being able to help. He shook his head slightly, and his eyes dragged my gaze back into them, not through anything he did on purpose. He looked embarrassed, but his eyes didn’t give me a chance to examine his face for long. I noticed they had a faint bit of orange in them, too, and I fought to keep them from pulling me in. “I don’t think that’d be a good idea,” he told me, shrugging. “Besides, they’ll heal.” “They?” I asked, alarmed, not missing the plural. He shook his head, doing his small smile again. “Perceptive,” he commented. “Just forget I said it. I’m fine.” “Are you sure you’re OK?” I asked, worried. “That looks pretty bad.” He grimaced. “Thanks,” he said sarcastically. “No, I didn’t mean it like that!” I protested, until I saw the smile on his face again and realized he was joking. I tried to glare at him, but his eyes pulled me in again. It’s yellow, not orange, I decided. How did I think that looked like orange? He saw I was going to ask again, so he spoke first. “I don’t like talking about it,” he said, quoting me. He gave me a small smile, knowing he had me beaten. Now I couldn’t bother him about it unless I wanted to tell him about my necklace. I couldn’t help returning his smile, but my curiosity had peaked. Nothing had ever intrigued me as much as this guy did. Every answer he gave me led to two more questions, and I was burning with desire to know more. “What’s your name?” I asked, trying to keep my curiosity in check. His head tilted slightly, and he examined me before meeting my eyes again with a considering look on his face. “…No.” he said finally. “No?” I repeated stupidly. “Maybe next time,” he told me, with a teasing smile, slightly wider than the ones he’d given me before. “Why can’t you tell me now?” I asked, intrigued all over again. He shrugged. “Life’s no fun if all your answers are handed to you immediately,” he told me. “I’ll tell you sometime. Bonus points if you guess it before then,” he said, giving me another small smile, almost a smirk this time. “And what are bonus points worth?” I asked, my curiosity piqued. “A profound sense of accomplishment,” he told me with a straight face, but something about the yellow tint in his eyes made me think he was joking. I watched him, unsure, and the corner of his mouth twitched. “Bastard,” I snorted. “I thought you were serious for a minute.” His lips curved a little bit more, and I smiled back at him. I wonder what his lips feel like, I pondered. They look soft… Wait, what the hell? Where did that come from? “So what are they really worth?” I asked, buying time to consider what I’d thought. He met my eyes, halting my thought process entirely. I admired how pronounced the yellow in his eyes was. I’d never seen eyes like that before. Actually, I don’t think I have seen eyes like that before! I realized. Last time I saw them, they were not that yellow. I don’t think I was wrong about the orange color before that, either! “Curiosity has killed a lot more than just the cat,” he warned me gently. It sounded like a threat, but I could tell he didn’t mean it like that. It was advice, and I had a feeling it meant more than he was letting on. I don’t think he’s talking about the bonus points, either, I thought. I decided to take his advice, since I didn’t want to end our meeting on a bad note, and I had to leave soon. “Your name isn’t a usual one,” I decided, changing the subject to see how he’d react. “It’s one that not many people have. Different, but simple. It’s not a long name.” He gave me half a smile, which was still bigger than the other ones he’d given me. “That’s still pretty vague,” he teased. “Care to take a guess?” I pretended to think about it. “Hmm…” I said. “No. I have a feeling there’s rules to this game that I don’t know yet.” He gave me a happy smile, almost a full one, and I realized he’d been right about the ‘profound sense of accomplishment,’ even if he’d been joking. “You’re learning,” he told me appreciatively. “So do I get any bonus points for this?” I asked, half-joking. He smirked slightly. “Yes, actually,” he told me, looking back up at the sky and closing his eyes again. We didn’t say anything for a minute, and as much as I hated to waste precious time, I had a feeling this was the right thing to do. My feeling was vindicated as he spoke again with another half-smile. “You want to know what they’re worth?” he guessed. I nodded, still not caring that he couldn’t see me. It didn’t bother me that he wasn’t looking at me this time, though. He’d let me see his face, so now if he wanted to let the rain soothe his burn then I had no problem. I remembered that he’d implied he’d tell me what the bonus points were worth as his smile widened slightly. “Congratulations,” he said, giving me his biggest almost-smile yet. “They’re worth another piece of the truth.” He turned back to me and opened his eyes, and I gasped as I saw they were royal blue now. They flashed yellow as I reacted, and I gazed into them, mesmerized enough to ignore my shock for the moment. The yellow drained out as I watched, and the blue deepened until it was almost purple. He looked back up at the sky and closed them again, and I began to breathe once more. “I need to go now,” I said, grimacing as I realized it sounded like his eyes had chased me away. “I have to catch my bus.” He nodded slightly, not opening his eyes. “See you?” I tried to say, standing up, but it came out as a hopeful question. He opened his eyes and looked at me again. “See you,” he confirmed, his slight smile back. His eyes were back to the original brown, with a slight bluish purple tint. I turned and walked away, unable to keep the happy smile off my face. I couldn’t wait to see this odd guy again, and surprisingly, it had little to do with my curiosity. The curiosity was still there; hell, it’d gotten to the point that I’d kill for answers, but I wanted to see him personally, more. I shook my head, remembering why I’d left, and started to sprint back to school to catch my bus. I wouldn’t have had to run if I’d left earlier, but it had been worth it. I made it, and the bus driver gave me a weird look as he saw how thoroughly soaked I was. I ignored him and got onto the bus, and we left less than thirty seconds after that. Safe, I thought, and as my mind turned back to my strange new friend, I realized I was happier than I’d been in a long time. I sat on the bench, watching my strange new friend leave, and I considered. I’ve been smiling, I realized incredulously. Who’d have thought? I smiled again, surprising myself, and looked up again, enjoying the cooling water on that damn burn. For once, I’d enjoyed my short period of down time. Usually, I found it mind-numbingly boring, and I only came here to give my wounds a chance to heal, but I suspected I’d be coming back more often from now on. Sure, a lot of people would celebrate the freedom from my presence, but after everything, I thought I’d earned some time to myself if I wanted it. Oh well, I thought. I’d better get back to work now. Places to be, things to do… people to kill. ________________________________________ I don't know what it is with me and using dramatic endings, but I don't do it as often as you'd think from reading the previews I've put up so far, I promise XD Thanks for reading, and I'm looking forward to any and all feedback! Thanks in advance!
  21. This is just a little feeler to see if anyone is interested in doing a shared project. "Thieves' World" was a collaborative project with several established, and not yet established, fantasy fiction writers creating characters to live and interact with each other in a town called Sanctuary. These writers could create stories and they would use other writers' characters within those stories. They had a few rules about how to treat others main characters. They couldn't kill them off or substantially change them but other than that it was a free for all. Here were the Thieves' World criteria I would start with: 1. Each writer would share a bio of their main character 2. Writers could include other writers characters within their stories 3. Use of the character must be fair, don't kill off or substantially change them, though different viewpoints are not only acceptable but encouraged. We would also need help with artwork. We'd need a map of "Gaia-Town" along with some basic language and cultural agreements. I'm just putting this out there. Let me know what you think. This is a non-GA approved project. I look forward to hearing what you think. So much great talent here. This could be great fun!!! Cole
  22. I've started on a new story, and I want to know if anybody else thinks it's worth continuing. It's a bit dark (understatement), but it's more about overcoming problems than wallowing in them, so it's uplifting too. I don't have a name for it yet, so if you think of a good one please share XD Just to clarify, no underage readers please! I'll censor the curse words for this post, but it'll still mention touchy subjects. OK, I'll start off with the description. ______________________________ In my world, where everybody can transform into animals and teenagers are thrown into the unknown to fend for themselves, some rise but most fall. There is no guarantee of safety, or even survival. In my world, how can I hope to survive, let alone retain my humanity? Can trust grow in a world where a childhood friend would stab me in the back for a chance at a dollar? Is kindness even worth the risk? In my world, those are dangerous questions. ___________________________ Too dramatic? I'm wavering on keeping this lol. Oh well. Here's the prologue: ______________________________ My name is Hayden. I was sixteen when I was banished by the town I’d always lived in with my family. OK, that sounded pretty dramatic. It’s not as bad as it sounds. It’s a tradition to banish people when they turn sixteen, and they’re not allowed to come back until they’re twenty and have found their animal. It’s called the Hunt, and it’s supposed to be the best part of a person’s life. It’s like a break from normality, and we’re supposed to treat it like a vacation. You can go adventuring and have all the fun you want, all paid for by your parents. It teaches kids the skills they’ll need to be adults, like money management, responsibility, people skills, you know what I mean. It also lets them get all the crazy out of their systems, so when they go back to their homes they’re ready to settle down. It sounds good, right? Wrong. It probably all worked well for a little while, back when it started, but some particularly creative *censored* decided that he’d form a gang and hunt down people who are freshly on their Hunt. As soon as you leave your town, carrying all the money you need to supply you for the next four years, they find you and rob you. You’re left with nothing, and you can’t go back to your home, where most people have spent their entire lives. What do you do when you’re alone in an unfamiliar world with no money? You find a job. Of course, since there’s thousands of other people in situations just like yours, there’s a high supply of workers with a low demand for them, and you end up getting paid next to nothing, if you’re lucky enough to even find a job. If you can’t find one, then your only hope is to join up with a gang just like the one that robbed you, and continue the tradition of being a douche. Because of how some people have done that, now any travelling teenagers are treated with distrust, and people are reluctant to offer jobs, making the influx of robbers even worse. It’s a vicious cycle that’s resulted in your Hunt being a race for survival. Occasionally, groups will assemble and chase off all the robbers, but all it takes is one person who’s already found their animal to start the cycle over again. As a teenager, all on your own for the first time, who would try to fight someone who can shape-shift into an animal? Me, that’s who. I was one of the few idiots who try to resist, and I got beaten savagely for my troubles. I had the misfortune of being robbed by a Jaguar, so I had no chance at all. A Jaguar is someone whose animal is a jaguar, predictably. You’d think that would get confusing, but it’s all in how you pronounce it. When we say ‘Jaguar’, you can hear the capital ‘J’. So the same sentence can have two different meanings, depending on how you stress one syllable. “There’s a bear on our porch,” would be met with “Oh *censored*, where’s the Shaman?” While “There’s a Bear on our porch,” would be followed by “Oh, hello, John!” It’s a simple system, but it works. Unlike the system of the Hunt, of course, to get back on topic. After the Jaguar beat the living shit out of me, leaving me bloody, broken, and broke, I thought about my options. I had a snowman’s chance in hell of ever finding a job while injured, and I’d never be able to afford healing if I couldn’t get a job. I won’t lie and say I never considered trying to rob someone else, but I didn’t consider it for long. I refused to be a part of that, and I still do. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t make me a pacifist. Not by a long shot. I ended up following the Jaguar, and that night, I killed him while he slept and took my money back. See what I mean? Not a pacifist. I couldn’t have gotten away with just stealing it back, so he had to die. It was him or me, and he’d robbed me and beaten me already. I considered myself lucky that he hadn’t raped me, too. Anyway, when I got the money back, I went into a town. I had to spend most of the money on professional healing, but I managed to save a little bit, and I’ve protected it since, using a mix of good hiding places, excellent lying, and blending in with all the other penniless refugees. You’d think that eventually, somebody somewhere would have the bright idea of stopping the tradition that resulted in many people being killed or maimed, but the idea has never taken hold. We’re a violent people, and the Hunt is such a huge part of our culture that I can’t see it stopping anytime soon. It’s brutal, but it does weed out the weak links. Survival of the fittest and such. Generally, if you want to live to give your own children advice about their Hunt, you have to be either smart, strong, or lucky. I’m a modest person, but above that I’m practical. Modesty is a luxury I can’t afford right now. I have to be honest with myself to survive. Keeping that in mind, I’m smarter than most other people, and I’m fairly strong. I’m almost six feet tall, and if I ever had any fat on me it’s been worn away by the last six months. My muscles are defined, and I’m careful to eat just enough to keep them that way. There’s a fine line between being too weak to defend myself and looking well fed, which is like putting an “I have money” sign on. You’d think that being smart, strong, and practical is enough, but I have plenty of disadvantages as well. I’m good looking, for one, so I’m more memorable and I’m more likely to be raped. My luck, for another. Sometimes, it seems like my luck alone is determined to negate every advantage I’m lucky enough to have. If a road forks, I’ll always pick the path with the bear traps all along it. That’s not just me being pessimistic. That’s me being realistic. I’ve been Hunting for six months now, and I’ve encountered as much danger as some people see in their whole four years. Of course, some of it I bring on myself, like trying to resist when I was mugged, but there’s only so much I can tolerate. I won’t let the Hunt beat me down. After four years have passed, I still want to be someone I can respect. To make sure that happens, I made rules for myself before I ever started my Hunt, and they’ve kept me sane. It doesn’t matter what life throws at me, I will not break those rules. They’re my fundamental beliefs, and they keep me away from what most people do in their Hunts. If I break one of these rules then life will have broken me, and I’ll die before I let that happen. My rules are simple. I will not harm innocents. I will not join a gang. I will not rape anyone, ever. As you can see, non-innocents have almost no moral protection from me. If I need money to survive, I’ll rob a robber. To save an innocent, I’d kill a murderer. Hell, I have killed murderers, and for less reason. Of course, the ones I really hate are the gang members. They’re the cause of everything bad about the Hunt, and I’d happily kill one just for being what they are, if I could get away with it. I’m not a saint. I’m a survivor. One less gang member living is one less to deal with later. Now that you know more about me, I’ll explain my current situation. I’ve managed to keep most of the money I had left from healing, so I have twenty-seven dollars. That’s not much, but it’s more than most other people have, so I need to be even more careful. If I didn’t have it, then getting stopped by gang members would mean I’d probably only be raped, and I’d have a decent chance at getting away with my life. Since I do have it, if I’m caught by a gang, I’ll probably be mugged, raped, and killed. They’d assume I was a rival gang member, because who else would have that kind of money? I’ve thought about hiding it somewhere and only using it when I need it, but staying in one area would be pointless, since I need to be searching for my animal. Also, if people start to remember me, they might notice that I’m not getting malnourished. I can pull off the ‘penniless refugee’ disguise if I keep moving, because I look like I just started my Hunt and only recently lost all my money, but if people notice that I’m not getting any hungrier they’ll realize I have money. Because of that, I don’t stick around anywhere, but I always check all the animals in the area before I leave. I’ve checked almost all the usual animals already, but I haven’t found mine. When I do, I’ll supposedly feel a connection to it. The animals will recognize that I’m a kindred spirit, and they won’t attack me, so I’ll just have to live with them, as they do, until I’ve unlocked all my powers. It sounds easy, but I’ve already checked all the forest creatures, all the desert creatures, and I’m travelling through the forest to the tundra now, trying to find all the animals. Hopefully mine will be somewhere around here, and hopefully it’ll be something useful. I’ve seen too many cases of people who’ve found their animal, only to have it be a squirrel or something. The ability to climb faster is cool, but trying to survive the rest of their Hunt would suck. I’m currently looking for a snow leopard, because that would be a really good animal to be. The resistance to cold would mean I could live in freezing places where most other people couldn’t go, and it would be really good for fighting off any robbers who found me anyway. Oh well. I can’t allow myself to imagine it past listing the advantages and disadvantages, because that will lead to hope, and hope ends in disappointment. I have to be realistic to survive. I’ll have time for hope when I’m safe in my village again. Until then, I can’t be human. Humans let emotions cloud their judgment. I have to be a machine, emotionless but infallible. That’s why I have my rules. I can’t have morals, so I have to maintain a set of rules instead. I won’t break those rules, and I will survive. I hope. ______________________________ So yeah. Chapter one is an average day for Hayden, and then it switches to Matt's perspective (I'm using this story to work on writing different personalities and views, so there'll be plenty of different perspectives) and you learn a bit about him, and how he thinks. I'll add in more characters as the story goes, because I want to practice writing supporting characters, and I'm not going to be shy about killing them off, too. I'm not going to turn into George RR Martin or anything, but I'm definitely experimenting with the whole 'main characters aren't necessarily safe' idea. My other stories so far have been pretty lighthearted, so I'm looking forward to writing a darker, more real story. That's not to say there won't be happy moments, though. I'm a sucker for romance, and I couldn't keep love out of my stories if I tried. To explain more about the magic system (I kept it vague in the prologue and in what I've written of chapter one so far), everybody has an animal. They can transform fully into this animal, but even in human form they still have some of the animal's traits. For example, a Chameleon would be able to camouflage themselves as a human, a Bear would be stronger than they look, any aquatic Animals could breathe underwater, etc. Later in the story, Shamans will play a bigger role, and they'll have a magic of their own, more in line with what you'd expect when I say 'magic' XD. I'll stop now, before I give away too much. I can't wait to see what you guys think!
  23. This story is out my usual genres. Please provide feedback. As of today, it is not complete, but lacks a few chapters. Should I proceed? [sharedmedia=stories:stories:4324]
  24. The Return of Blagden Asmodee Blagden Asmodee has awoken from a long sleep. He gathers his clan to fight Azrael, his archenemy. The dark angels battle in a land beyond. The white angels watch their fight. Enjoy!
  25. Eldaran Elisar sets out to find a magical book. His journey takes him to Eldaran, the land of the elves, where he meets Prince Eldar.
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