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SparkleSteps - Chapter thirteen - Poll is up!
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Tikanni Corazon



Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Sun May 22, 2011 5:50 pm    Post subject: SparkleSteps - Chapter thirteen - Poll is up!  

Slightly earlier than planned, but I was in the mood for writing yesterday. Hope you all enjoy it! :)


SparkleSteps - Chapter Thirteen


Milo sat upon a bench in the kitchen, waiting for Jem to return from tucking the still unconsious Winnie into bed, so that he could have a look at his shoulder wound. His Uncle hadn't answered his question. He'd just simply given another shake of the head, then left the study, to survey the damage to the rest of the house. Most of what happened after that was hazy to Milo, who's shoulder throbbed painfully, and continued to trickle with blood. His thoughts were a muddle of questions unanswered.

'What was the light? Where has everyone gone? What are we going to do now? Will Winnie be okay? When will this damn shoulder stop hurting!?'

He grimaced in pain, and draw in a sharp, hissing breath, as a new wave of pain pulsated through his shoulder and down his arm. He was beginning to feel thoroughly irritated by the injury, as it was holding him back from helping Jem to figure things out. Every movement, no matter how small, seemed to effect the wound, causing prickles of pain to appear. He couldn't stand being so weak, so vulnerable. There were things that needed to be done, information that needed to be found, plans that needed to be made.

The crunching of broken glass and china alerted him to his Uncle's approach, and he turned to see Jem walk into the room, his face looking careworn and tired.

"She's still not awake," he replied to the unasked question. "I've checked her over, to see if she's hurt. But, aside for some very minor cuts and grazes, she seems fine. I can't find any lumps on her head to indicate that she might have hit it on anything. So hopefully she merely fainted from the shock of it all."

As he spoke, Jem gathered a bowl of clean water, and ripped a couple of unused dishclothes in half, laying them on the table next to Milo. Then he left the room again for a moment, returning with tin box marked 'First Aid', and another, slightly larger one, which was unlabelled and prettily decorated with beads and bright colours. Jem saw Milo'd enquiring gaze, and gave him a tired smile.

"Violet's sewing box," he said, opening the lid, and taking out a reel of black thread, and a needle. "I'm afraid that I'm going to have to sew up that shoulder, unfortunately. It's too deep to just be left as it is. Black isn't the most flattering colour for the job, I know, but at least I'll be able to see what I'm doing, and I'll have more of a chance of getting it right. That is, until we can get you to the hospital, to get it looked at properly. Let's get on with it, shall we?"


Jem soaked one of the cloths in water, while Milo removed his t-shirt, displaying the gaping wound, in all it's sickening glory. Jem drizzled a little water over it first, to wash away some of the blood, before using the cloth to gently dab away the rest. Milo gasped, and ground his teeth together, as the waves of pain increased in both number and volume. It was agonising, and he couldn't stop a few tears from escaping his eyes. After what seemed like hours, Jem finished cleaning the wound, and prepared to sew it up.

"We don't seem to have any antiseptic anywhere, so I'm going to have to improvise," he said, going over to a cupboard, opening it, and taking out a large bottle of brandy. He turned back, and shot Milo an attempt at a reassuring smile. "Like in the olden days, eh."


After thoroughly washing his hands, he took up the threaded needle, and poured a generous portion of the brandy over it, to sterilise it. Then dribbled a little more over the injured shoulder. Milo let out a cry, as the liquid touched his raw wound, and drew in another hissing breath. Finally, it was time.

"Right, I'm not going to lie to you, Milo, this is going to bloody hurt. But please, do your best to keep as still as you can."

Milo prepared himself, expecting to feel the worst pain imaginable, but found that is wasn't as bad as he thought. True, it was agony, but because he'd been expecting so much worse, it was bearable. He found that if he concentrated on the movement of the needle, as it pierced through his skin and passed through, dragging the thread behind it, it helped him to ignore the actual pain itself. Though he found it a little weird that he could do so, he kinda enjoyed being able to have some level of control over the pain he felt. He hardly noticed when Jem announced that he was done. He came out of the strange trace-like state, to the sound of Jem's voice asking him what he thought of his handy-work. Slightly dazed, Milo looked down, and saw the very visible, but neat black stitches, standing out starkly against his pale skin. He nodded.

"Very good job... will I have a scar?"

Jem nodded.

"I'm afraid you probably will," he replied solomnly.

Milo grinned widely.

"Cool!" he said, enthusiastically, earning a hearty laugh from Jem. He ruffled Milo's hair.

"Exactly the answer I would have given at your age... and actually did, on many occassions. Here, how's this for a scar?" He lifted the left hem of his shirt, revealling a set of scars all down his left side, shaped in a rounded-triangle, reaching from just below his ribs, running down over his waist and hips, and continuing on out of sight, into the waistband of Jem's trousers. "What do you think it might be?"

Milo looked carefully at the scar. There were deep indentations running in a regular pattern along the length of it, joined together by shallower lines of torn-looking puckered skin. He looked at the shape of it, and then imagined if the part he couldn't see was the same shape. He let out a gasp of realisation.

"It's teeth!" he exclaimed, "This is a bite mark!... It's enormous!" The shape of it, and the width of the animals jaw, brought another spark of recognition to Milo's mind.

"You're correct!" Jem said, laughing. "And I believe you've had the pleasure of meeting the creature responsible for giving it to me?"

"It's a Harlimane bite, isn't it?"

"Indeed it is! I was out in the forest one day, alone. I was probably a little older than you at the time, around fourteen, and I was so full of myself. Thought I knew it all, and I wasn't afraid of anything. I met the Harlimane, and I was convinced that I could outsmart the beast and get out of there unscathed. I had two torches with me, knowing that they didn't like bright light, and I was actually arrogant enough to tease it using them. But I let my guard down, and didn't notice the second Harlimane hunting me, while I fooled around. At the first opportunity, the beast attacked, clamping it's jaws around the left side of my body, and sending my torches flying into the shadows. I was in the middle of two Harlimane, defenceless and feeling awfully scared and stupid."

"How on earth did you escape?" Milo was sat, enthralled by the tale. Jem flashed him a sad smile.

"Your mother," he replied quietly, "She'd followed me in there. She brought Old Bob with her, and they rescued me. If it hadn't been for her... well, things would have been very different."

"Why didn't she and Dad ever tell us about any of this?"

Jem shrugged.

"I don't know, but I'm sure they had their reasons."

There was a short pause in the conversation, before Milo asked another question.

"Has Old Bob always been here then?"

Jem nodded. "Yeah, him and Rosie both. There are old photographs of those two when my parents were children. The only one who hasn't been is Violet, but there has always been someone in her place. I remember, when your Mum and I were children, we would always dread that the new housekeeper would end up being some miserable, old battleaxe. But they never were. They were always very much like Violet, young, fresh-faced and pretty." A sad look came over his face. "I hope they're all okay..."


Jem finished bandaging Milo's shoulder, and began putting everything away. As he went to leave the room, he turned back.

"Are you coming? This isn't over yet you know. We have much to do, and I think you should get some rest before we start making plans."

Milo nodded and began to follow, but unknown to Jem, Milo already had a plan, and he wasn't going to be telling anyone about it.

~~~

Milo decided to go to bed, as Jem had suggested, knowing that he really did need the rest and sleep. But he knew needed to be awake before the night was out, for his plan to be set in motion. There was a drawer in his chest, where he kept some of the things he'd brought from home. He hadn't used them, or even looked at them, since he'd arrived at Amethyst Estate. The mere sight of them, made his heart ache for his Mum and Dad. But now, there was something that he needed from amongst these precious possessions, and he would have to face the emotions that would come with it.


Pulling open the drawer, his heart lurched, and a feeling of longing almost consumed him. There was his old teddy-bear, Humphery, that his parents had bought for him, when he was a baby, and he'd had ever since. He picked up the old toy, who's soft fur had begun to wear in places, from constant hugs, and rough play. Though Humphery hadn't been used for such things in recent years, Milo still treasured him anyway.


Putting the bear aside, Milo, ignoring the other items in the drawer, all of them holding sentimental value, he dug through them until he found what he was looking for. His old alarm clock. His Mum had bought it for him the day before he started school for the first time, for him to use to get up in the mornings. It still worked, all these years later, and would now prove to vital in his plans.


He set the alarm to go off three hours later, and placed it beneath his pillow, so that it wouldn't be heard by Jem. Then he settled down to sleep, hoping that the few hours would replenish some of his strength.

~~~

The muffled trilling beneath his pillow, woke Milo up, dead on time. He sat up in bed, still slightly groggy with sleep, but already getting it clear in his head what he needed to carry out his plan. He changed into a clean t-shirt and jeans, his shoulder prickling slightly, still tender. Then gathered what he needed, and placed them carefully in a backpack. A torch, a spare torch, a knife he'd taken from the kitchen earlier, and now there were only a couple more things to collect.

Moving quietly across the room, to Winnie's room. He found her still soundly sleeping, and knew that there was little risk of being discovered. He began to search the room for the item that he needed, the Al'loren'etta. He check the drawers, the surfaces, the bathroom, under the pillows, even Winnie herself, looking to see if she had it around her neck, or in her hand. But it wasn't there. He decided that either it had fallen to the floor in the study, when the light had appeared, or Jem had taken it. He hoped it was the former, as he was sure he wouldn't be quite so successful mooching through Jem's room. He decided that the study was to be his first port of call, as the one other thing that he needed was likely to be there too. He left Winnie's room, went across to the door, and opened it. Upon seeing that the coast was clear, he snuck down the hall, to the stairs, and crept quietly down them.


Once at the bottom, he scooted soundlessly across the marble floor, and peeked into the study. He'd half expected Jem to be in there, but breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that the room was empty. He trod carefully over the broken glass and debris, making his way over to the large desk. During the power created by the light, one of the desks legs had been slightly cracked, and as Milo tried the drawers, it creaked dangerously, beneath even that small pressure. Milo prayed that it would hold, knowing that if it fell, it would be sure to wake his Uncle, and continued on very carefully.


By the time he'd tried them all, he found that all but one were unlocked, and also that the object he sought was in none of the openable drawers. His impatience threatened to rear it's head, but Milo knew that if he allowed it to, he stood more chance of losing concentration and making a mistake. He knew that he would need to pry open the drawer, but that the kind of pressure required to do so, would likely be too much for the already procariously standing desk. Looking around the room, he spotted a small table, of a similar height, which was surprisingly completely undamaged. Though small, it was quite heavy, and he found he had to drag it across the room, during which, he was sure he would make some kind of noise that would awaken Jem. But luck seemed to be with him, and he managed to get the table to it's destination without incident. He wedged it under the egde of the desk, so that, if the leg gave way, it wouldn't fall, instead propping itself on the new makeshift limb.


Next, Milo made his way, soundlessly, through to the kitchen, to find something that could be used to break into the drawer. He immediately spotted the fire poker in the grate, and grabbed it, taking it with him, back to the study. Now came the most dangerous part, the part during which there was sure to be noise, and held the most risk of discovery. The end of the poker was sharp, and spear-like, and Milo easily used this end to stab into the wood above the drawer. He wiggled it around, until he deamed it deeply enough embedded, then he pushed the handle upwards, as he attempted to pry it open. Attempt one failed, as did the second. But on the third, Milo heard a satisfying crack, as the lock broke away from the wood, and the drawer burst open. And there, lying right on top of all the papers, and nick-nacks, was Chanah's whistle. He hadn't seen it since the night that Jem had taken it away from them, but he'd not forgotten it. He'd known that there would be a time when he might need it, and that time was now.


He picked up the pretty whistle, looking at the simple, yet elegant markings etched into it's surface. Then he looped the chain over his head, so that it dangled around his neck. Tucking it into his t-shirt for safe-keeping, he started to search for the Al'loren'etta, hoping with all his soul, that Winnie had dropped it when the light appeared. She had fainted on the sofa, so he began his search there, feeling down the sides of the cushions, and sifting through the dust and mess. He had no luck there, so he started to move around the debris on the floor, to see if it was there. He cleared the entire area around the sofa, but the Al'loren'etta was nowhere to be seen.

"Jem must have it..." he muttered, with a sigh. There was a good chance that he would need it, he knew that. But if Jem discovered him whilst he was poking around in his bedroom, then the whole plan was down the toilet. Now he had to decide whether he should just go without it, or take the risk. He sighed again, unable to choose which path to take. He looked out of the window towards the forest. The light still pulsated dimly in the distance, taunting him to seek out the source. Suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a short flash of light, like a gleam or a reflection. He turned towards it, and there it was, the Al'loren'etta. It hung, suspended on it's beautiful silver chain, from the door handle, so perfectly placed, that one would swear it had been purposely put there.


Milo had to restrain the whoop of glee, that threatened to erupt from his throat, as he darted across the room, and took up the locket. The amethyst stone shone a deep purple, in the dim light, and Milo couldn't help but take a moment to admire it's beauty. Then, overjoyed beyond reason, he went over to the window once again, placed the Al'loren'etta around his neck, alongside Chanah's whistle, and hopped outside.


The night was cool against his exposed arms and face, but he wasn't cold. Even from here in the grounds, the light was still visible above the trees, as he walked towards the forest border. Once he was a few feet away from it, he stopped, and took a deep breath. Despite his resolve, his heart beat fluttered with fear, and he needed to take a moment to get it under control. Then, without any further hesitation, he stepped forward again, and disappeared into the mass of trees.


Darkness enveloped him, making him a part of the shadowy world. Then, he felt inside his bag, took out one of the torches, and flicked it on. The beam of light cut through the dark like a sunray, revealling his surroundings perfectly. He made his way forwards, knowing instinctively which direction he needed to go in.

'Just as I knew instinctively that I needed to do this,' he thought to himself, 'and that I needed to do it alone.'


Every rustle of leaves, every crack of a twig, made Milo think that a Harlimane or worse would appear at any moment. But nothing came, and he continued on. After around half an hour, Milo noticed a faint light through the trees, and knew that he was close. Forgetting about the Harlimane, and any other monsters that might be lurking, he pelted through the forest, towards the light, and the answers he sought. The moment of truth had arrived. Was the light good or bad? A creation of the Veeka, or something else?


The light got brighter, and brighter as he neared, and suddenly, Milo found himself stood just outside of a clearing, around six metres in diametre. The light danced and swirled in the perfectly round space, gleaming off the water in multiple small pools dotted around the area. Dead in the centre of the clearing was a large, stone effigy, sculpted into the shape of a tree goddess. The goddess's arms were held high, reaching for the stars, and the large, almond-shaped eyes were looking directly at Milo, seductive and inviting.


Suddenly, Milo's eyes were drawn away from the statue's beauty, by a movement on the ground below it. A figure lay there, a woman, breathing deeply, as though exhausted through strenuous activity. Every now and then, her body would spasm, and she would cry out in pain. Milo was just about to step into the clearing to go to her aid, when he stopped himself, He had no idea who this woman was, whether she was friend or enemy. For a moment, he didn't know what he should do.


What does our boy do now?

Hope you all enjoyed the chapter! I'm hoping to get another one out by the end of the week, if my need to write holds out long enough.;) Thanks for reading!
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Thunderbird



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 2139
Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Sun May 22, 2011 6:17 pm    Post subject:  

Excellent! Though you've managed to frustrate the hell out of me that he didn't take a suitable weapon with him. Ack! (Good tension builder right there though)

I say he should circle around the perimeter of the clearing, searching for any sign of a trap. Surely this is the sort of 'trap' that would be cleverly designed to snare any of 'good' bent. If he were to dare to tread into the clearing, he should be ready for anything, so before doing so, if the search comes up fruitless, he should try talking to her from the edge of the clearing first - see if she even responds to him - I'm thinking she could be an illusion or trick.
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PopeAlessandrosXVIII



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 1858
Location: Surrounded by many beautiful naked men

Posted: Mon May 23, 2011 3:48 pm    Post subject: I Think......  

Well well well! More and more funness....*Sigh* Poor Jem, left behind again....Damn brat...


Anyway, I really had fun witht his chapter. Had some fan sevice :P *Staers at Jem* Anyway *Cough* Your writting remains of a high quality, and your imagry is exceptional. Also, love the booze. *Giggles*

DP: Go all come and get me hero like and charge in screaming "ARE YOU OK?????" I really like that thought. :P

Keep up the good work Tikanni-chan! And god work on breaking up the sentances!
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Tikanni Corazon



Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Tue May 24, 2011 10:25 am    Post subject:  

Thanks for reading, guys! :)

Quote: Excellent! Though you've managed to frustrate the hell out of me that he didn't take a suitable weapon with him. Ack!

*giggles* Sorry TB! Didn't want to make it too easy for him. ;) Plus, I thought Milo might be a little weak to wield the spear of the great Tianna!


Quote: Poor Jem, left behind again....Damn brat...

Correct me if I'm wrong, Pope, but I believe it was your idea for Milo to go off alone! :laf:


Thanks both for your comments and suggestions! Always much appreciated! :)
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Thunderbird



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 2139
Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Tue May 24, 2011 8:30 pm    Post subject:  

Yeah, Pope! :mad:

(Tis' alright - I voted for it too)
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D-Lotus



Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 4123
Location: Hollywood, USA

Posted: Tue May 24, 2011 11:23 pm    Post subject:  

Quote: Next, Milo made his way, soundlessly, through to the kitchen, to find something that could be used to break into the drawer. He immediately spotted the fire poker in the grate, and grabbed it, taking it with him, back to the study. Now came the most dangerous part, the part during which there was sure to be noise, and held the most risk of discovery. The end of the poker was sharp, and spear-like, and Milo easily used this end to stab into the wood above the drawer. He wiggled it around, until he deamed it deeply enough embedded, then he pushed the handle upwards, as he attempted to pry it open. Attempt one failed, as did the second. But on the third, Milo heard a satisfying crack, as the lock broke away from the wood, and the drawer burst open. And there, lying right on top of all the papers, and nick-nacks, was Chanah's whistle. He hadn't seen it since the night that Jem had taken it away from them, but he'd not forgotten it. He'd known that there would be a time when he might need it, and that time was now.

Nothing like a step by step explanation (and you didn't indulge in technicalities, as far as I can tell) to build momentum. Then, as Milo rushed into the forest, the timing was appropriate, because the narrative was already in full swing. Still, I think you could have indulged the poetic senses of the reader in that headlong flight through the forest. That's the one place you could work on in this chapter (and in the story as a whole). The forest must represent SOMETHING! It certainly does for Robert Frost: the irrational, the subconscious, the fearful, the uncanny, the edges of delirium. Ok, maybe for you something more kid friendly-- is this a children's book, btw? But SOMETHING. Everytime Milo journeys into the forest it must tap a hidden chord in his character and in the reader's collective unconscious.

DP: Aw hell, what's he gonna do now-- turn back? If it's a trap, so be it. His only other choice is to hide in a tree and watch. Saaay, that's not a bad idea.
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Crunchyfrog



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 3998

Posted: Wed May 25, 2011 10:09 am    Post subject:  

Find out who she is. Speak to her. If its a trap, it's probably too late now anyway. Knowledge is better than nothing, and could be useful.

What does Chanah's whistle do again? I'm wondering whether using it may be a good thing at this stage. I hope he has both objects hidden under his shirt!
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Tikanni Corazon



Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Wed May 25, 2011 11:23 am    Post subject:  

Thanks for reading, D and Crunchy! :)

@D - I think maybe I did rush through that part a little bit, so yes, you're very likely right that it does need a little bit of work. I guess it would be classed as more of a childrens story, if it were something that I took the time to develop into a book later, which I wouldn't mind doing, though I do think it would need a hell of alot of work before it actually gets to that stage. I will, at some point, go over the forest section, and add to it a little, and make it a bigger part of the chapter. Thanks!

@Crunchy - Chanah gave Milo and Winnie the whistle, so that they could call her when they'd found the Key Stone. Though human ears cannot hear it, Chanah will be able to, wherever she is. And yes, both that and the Al'loren'etta are both safely hidden away inside Milo's t-shirt. ;)

Thanks again both! Much appreciated! :)
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D-Lotus



Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 4123
Location: Hollywood, USA

Posted: Wed May 25, 2011 12:13 pm    Post subject:  

It's not that the forest scene needs to be longer, but it needs to be intense-- leave a lasting impression.
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Tikanni Corazon



Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Wed May 25, 2011 12:55 pm    Post subject:  

That's what I meant by bigger, D, as in playing a larger, and more memorable part in the chapter. Sorry if it was a little confusing. :)
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Lilith



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 1597
Location: Happily curled up in a Daemon's lap

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 9:23 am    Post subject:  

First of, hi and second off, nice job! I've spent the last evening and my lunch break today getting up , I honestly didn't think I was going to want to catch up because I couldn't see how the two very different settings were interlinked. That being said, it is a rare occassion I acutally enjoy the combination of Fanstasy into modern times. But this, I did.

If she's not dying, keep an eye on the chick and use that pendant thingy. We're assuming that's not Tianna or that she's not possessed by Tianna. Or it could be Violet, or ... well.. you get the point.

Good luck!
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Thunderbird



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 2139
Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 7:44 pm    Post subject:  

Nice to see you post once again in IF Lily!

Good thought too. He's far enough into the forest now that he doesn't have the inconvenient problem of its use potentially alerting the others. But I wonder if it might draw enemies here.
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Tikanni Corazon



Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 11:04 pm    Post subject:  

Hey Lil! Long time no see! ;) Thanks for taking the time to catch up with SparkleSteps, and for the suggestion.

Okie doke, poll is up! And hopefully I can get another chapter out by the beginning of next week! Thanks for reading everyone! :)
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Tikanni Corazon



Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 10:17 am    Post subject:  

Okay, the poll is now closed!

Thanks for voting everyone! I'll see if I can get a new chapter out by Wednesday, hopefully sooner. :)
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Crunchyfrog



Joined: 12 Dec 2006
Posts: 3998

Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 10:58 am    Post subject:  

You're really motoring on this one Tiks. Good going! :cool:
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Emperor



Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 462
Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 11:04 am    Post subject:  

Damn I missed the poll, sorry tikki
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Tikanni Corazon



Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 11:11 am    Post subject:  

@Crunchy - Thanks! Considering the huge gap that I had between chapters 10 and 11, I feel I've got a little making up to do to those who've continued to follow the story for all these months, and to the newer readers who've dragged their way through the entire story in order to participate. ;) I'm very grateful to you all!

@Emperor - No worries! I didn't leave the poll open for a particularly long time, as I don't want to lose my muse, so anyone who didn't make the vote in time can be forgiven. ;) Welcome to SS all the same!
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D-Lotus



Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 4123
Location: Hollywood, USA

Posted: Sun May 29, 2011 12:16 pm    Post subject:  

How did I miss this vote?
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