Metamor Keep:
The Lessons Trilogy

by LoveBear, Wanderer, and Raven Blackmane

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Hard Lessons | Lessoned | Lessons of Solitude

Hard Lessons

by LoveBear

This story is archived at the main Metamor Keep website, since LoveBear wanted to have control of it in case he decided to make any changes later. Being rather a nitpicker myself where my own stories are concerned, I understand this completely. :)

Click here to view the first part of our trilogy, Hard Lessons.


by Wanderer

"I said, no!"

"Please, Raven", I asked again, "I have to try."

"Wanderer", she said, in the half-growl that both wolf and man in me recognized
as coming from the very end of her patience, "you have been pestering me, every
single day since the start of the Festival ... "

"I know", I murmured, knowing better than to actually interrupt a Lightbringer in

" ... and I still say, no." For a moment, she sagged, as I was already beginning to
do. "Look you, Wanderer, the Powers I serve have their own ideas of payment.
Only They know what they would ask to restore Christopher's legs to him, and no
other. As a bard, surely you know the stories ... "

"I do", I said into the pause that followed, a strange feeling in my belly quivering
as my right hindpaw was wanting to do. "I have read every word of them, every
word that has ever been set down concerning the gods and daedra -- "

"Careful", admonished the Lightbringer at that word. "They do not always come
when called, but it is best not to tempt fate."

I bowed my head to that, accepting the rebuke. "My apologies, Lothanasa. I ... "
The words caught in my throat.

"Formality?", she said, half-smiling. "You must have read more than ballads and
legends to call me that." Then her face grew serious. "You truly mean to carry
through with this, don't you?"

My muscles were faster than my voice, my head nodding even before the words,
"I do", escaped my throat (which felt as though I were swallowing something the
size of a fist). "I cannot fully explain it, Lady, but ... " I looked up, still on my
knees, my heart hurting within my breast. " ... I must do this."

"You know", she said after a long moment, "that Christopher must also accede to
this. There is no healing without acceptance."

"I know", I said, half in hope and half in dread. "And I must tell him."

"If you do not think -- ", she began, but for once I dared to speak first.

"No", I almost whimpered. "No. It's only fair. And only just". I rose then, and
turned to go ... only to be stopped by a gentle hand upon my shoulder.

"Wanderer", Raven half-whispered in her gentle voice, "I truly am willing to do
this for you".

I swallowed, through a throat that felt no broader than a beer tap. "No", I said flatly,
hushing the part of me that truly wished to leave this entire affair to someone else.
"I need to do this." And with that, I walked from beneath her touch and trod the
halls of Metamor toward Christopher's apartments.


I knocked, timidly, at Christopher's door. "Come in", came a gentle woman's voice
through the oak. His ward, I recalled.

"Are you certain it is all right?", I called through the door, half-hoping and half-afraid
that it would not be, even as my stomach churned hard enough to make butter.

"Oh, certes", came the response, sinking the treacherous coracle that had been that
hope. Gently, I opened the door.

A beautiful girl looked back at me from where she had obviously been sweeping the
floors. "Ah, Lord Wanderer", she called with a hasty curtesy. "I apologize, but I
could not come to the door until I was finished with that last corner."

I laughed, gently. "No offense ... Lurene, is't not? None at all. And, I pray you, call
me Wand'rer, as others do. Pretty though it may be, the title of Court Poet has no
peerage in't." I looked more closely at her. "Why, you have been studying. I can
see where your days inside have darken'd your hair." She blushed rather nicely, then,
but I determined to return to the point. "Is your master about? I have some business
to discuss with him."

"Not at the moment", she replied, my non-peer status allowing her to return to the
business at hand -- namely, applying the broom to a tidy pile of dust as she swept it
toward the rug, where it would later be carried outside and shaken loose. "He has
students today", she added with a grimace, "though neither of us think he will have
much joy of them, this soon after the Festival."

I chuckled then. "Nay, of course not. There is no festival long enough that a child's
mind will have returned by the end of't. 'Now let me think'", I said, assuming the
character of a student, and a tremulous voice. "'Two plus two is a sword -- I mean,
four. And four plus four is gate -- I mean, eight ... '" I broke off then, for my audience
was giggling merrily. With a smile for such an appreciative "crowd", I sketched a bow.

"Too true, my friend", came the voice from the still-open door, starting me in place.
"For every figure I showed them, I had first to drive out jousts and festivities with a
stick -- and then they would creep back in as soon as I turn'd my back on 'em."

I turned, even as Lurene flew past me to enfold the short figure in the doorway.
There, in the strange-looking contraption I had glimpsed during the festivities, was
Christopher, smiling for all the world as though nothing had happened. But still, my
eyes were drawn to his legs, where the concealing bracing held his dangling feet
against the frame. His legs seemed smaller, now that I was close again ...

I pushed such thoughts to the corner of my mind that had begun circling within itself,
and smiled, moving forward to grasp his arm. "Christopher", I said, hoping it sounded
as friendly as I intended it, "at last I can see you -- and for once, the top of your head,
I notice." I heard a gasp from Lurene at my boldness, but Christopher just smirked.

"Somehow", he replied with a smirk, taking his arm from me to wheel himself further in,
"I knew ye'd have a line for the occasion. I suppose I should be grateful that ye did not
call yerself superior to me, as well ye could."

"Nay", I rejoined him, "'tis too simple a play of words. You do realize, though", I added
with mock sternness, "that ye've cost me a good half-dozen alliterations? I've had to
discard 'bounding bear', 'bouncing bear', 'upward-going ursine', and 'stair-climbing
scholar', to say nothing of 'galloping grizzly'."

"I am sorry to inconvenience ye", he returned lightly. "The next time I break something,
I shall try to start it with a 'b'."

I could not help it, I think. I embraced him, as one does a long-lost relative, or a holdfast
in a storm, my paws half-pressed against the padded framework behind him. "It is good
to see you again."

He but looked at me a moment, his gaze grim. "Ye're here for more than my health, then."

My shoulders bowed. "There are moments when I would just as soon be less transparent",
I said peevishly, feeling rather like a child caught in a fib.

"I doubt Lurene noticed it", he replied, his smile gentling his words. "Ye're well-trained at
hiding yer feelings. Were I not so familiar with yer moods, I should never have known.
Lurene", he called to her as he rolled his chair further into the room, "would ye fetch us
some hot broth? I believe we have a long talk ahead of us."

As soon as she had departed for the kitchens, he wheeled about -- and I inwardly winced
at the pun -- to face me, the torchlight flickering along the metalwork of his conveyance.
"It has been some time since I last saw ye", he began, scowling as a teacher does at a
distracted student, "and it seems to have started from this", and here he laid a slap to his
right leg that, had he any feeling in't, would have left him stinging for minutes. I could not
help but wince. "Look, then. Satisfy your curiousity, as the others have. And when you
can look at my face without your gaze falling constantly to my legs, we may talk."

I was silent a long moment, looking where he had laid the blow, then, "I'm sorry", I said.
"It is just so great a change -- a part of me knows not how to deal with it."

He said nothing, leaving me wallowing in shame.

"I am told it does not hurt, at least", I threw out feebly.

"You hear rightly", he responded, more gently. "Neither pins, nor blows, nor anything else
can hurt me there again. Is that the sum of your curiousity?"

My mind began to whirl, pain and hurt and anger and sorrow all jumbled into one vast,
tangled mess worthy of Pascal's laboratory -- on a bad day. But, at last, I felt the drag on
my eyes ease, and I looked him full in the face again. "I -- cannot help but wonder, you

He but grunted in reply, though a smile threatened like a thundercloud on the sky of his
muzzle. "At least I can see yer eyes this time. It grows very tiresome, ye know, speakin'
to people's foreheads all about."

I laughed, despite myself, and seated myself on a stool opposite. "Of that have I heard.
Remind me to tell you someday of my first love, who was once called a fool's tower."

"A fool's tower?"

"Aye", I smirked in reply. "For she was greater above than below." To the stunned
silence, I added, "She once told me the two worst things in her life were talking to
people's foreheads and trying to go downstairs quickly."

"For fear of a fall?", he asked, then winced as he realized what I meant.

"Nay", I said anyway. "For fear of giving herself two blacked eyes."

"Shame on ye", he said, wagging his finger at me, "using such a joke on one who
cannot run away."

"Nay", I responded tartly, "'tis braver than ever. Now ye can run me over like a cart."

We both chuckled for a moment. Then, into the more pleasant silence that followed,
I threw out my courage. "There was another reason -- I came to see you", I said, my
mind beginning to whirl like the caissons of a portcullis.

"Oh? And what is't, then?"

"I w-- ... I wi-- ... " I faltered, then, the words slipping from me like grain to the
threshing floor as the spinning in my head threatened to engulf my sight as well.

"Will this take long?", the ursine scholar said jestingly. "Sunup is but ten hours away."

My sense of humor gone, I threw him an anguished look. "I wish to try and ... get
Akkala to ... intercede for you."

He held up a paw. "Hold, hold", he said hastily. "Yer speaking is muddled. Let the silt
settle a moment, and try again."

I took a breath, holding it until the room no longer seemed to tilt about me ... so much.
"I have ... spoken with Raven. I-I", I stammered, pulling my words together with a
wince. "I've found that I can pay Akkala's price for you. And let you walk again."

There was a lengthy silence. "Wand'rer", said Christopher at last, "I'm truly touched.
The offer ye've made me is a rare and precious thing."

I sighed in relief, the aching of my head easing.

"And I'll not allow it", he said. As I raised my head to argue, he held up a restraining
paw. "Before ye go to the trouble, I'll ask ye to hear me out."

At last, I closed my jaws and settled into my seat, allowing him to continue.

"First", he said, ticking it off on a finger, "when I accepted responsibility for Lurene,
I didn't accept just the smiles an' the sunshine ... I accepted all the risks and duties
that keeping her would ever involve. And I'll not go passing my duties off on ye.

"Second", he intoned, gazing steadily at me, "I had Coe inquire of Raven soon after
this happened. In exchange for my legs, I'd be in service t' Akkala for the rest of my
days. I've no reason to think ye'll get any better bargain, and I'll not be askin' the rest
of yer life of ye."

"Now", he said, lowering the counting hand to his lap, "that said, I'll not give up hope.
There may yet be some way of restoring my legs. And when 'tis found, I'll take it. It
may even involve Akkala ... who can know? But I'll hear no more of yer playin' the
scapegoat. Am I understood? Wanderer?"

The last, laden with concern, I could barely hear as I leaned forward in my seat, my
ears back, my head feeling as though it was spun upon a potter's wheel. <Perhaps>,
a mad part of my mind whispered, <I shall spin entirely out of myself, and, and, and,
and ... > ... but the words spun with me, jumbling and jangling together like swords in
a battle. I felt a whine escape me as my tail endeavoured to bury itself within the seat
of my stool.

Then, I remembered his words. And I knew what I had to do. Slowly, reluctantly, the
whirling in my brain subsided, leaving me with nothing worse than an aching head.

"Are ye all right?" Christopher asked gravely, looking askance at me. "What happened?"

"An ache in my skull," I temporized, rubbing the side of my shaggy cranium as I resettled
myself upon my seat. "'Tis no great thing. I' faith, I feel better by the moment. How fare
you with the training of Lurene?"

He looked askance at me then, for 'twas a clumsy change of subject, and we did both
know it. "I'faith, then, she is coming along well. She has, yet, some good ways to go,
but she is capable. And what have ye been doing of late, then?"

And so we talked, of poetry and festivals and wheelchairs, of Pascal and Michael and
the Duke. Even of Matthias, though neither of us ken what goes on with him these days.
On through Lurene's return, and two bowls of broth, and part of the eventide we talked.
At last, though, I took my leave, and made my way back to Raven's temple.

Some would have it that those of us "blest" with a tail cannot lie, that our appendages give
us away. What they fail to appreciate is that, at its base, lying has nothing to do with the
body. It is simply a matter of truly believing something for as long as one needs it to be
true. If needed, you mix in a bit of truth to help it along. At its heart, it is but acting.

And so it was that, when Raven asked me, "And what was his reply?" ... I said, " 'Twas
simple enough. He said that he wishes to be healed, and that nothing remains to be said."

And within my heart, I whispered, <Akkala forgive me ... >


"Then all that remains", replied Raven, "is to speak with Akkala. I shall summon you when
I have learned more." With that, she gently shooed Wanderer from the sanctuary of Light.
Closing the door, she leaned against it and sighed. Then, with a heavy heart, she ascended
the steps to the prayer chamber. <Best get this done with>, she thought grimly, <and tell
him the bad news.>

Lighting the central candle, she softly, reverently began her prayer to Akkala, the incense-
touched wick filling the room with the gentle light of burning tallow. A light which, as she
prayed, began to change ... slowly, the yellow light of the taper began to shade toward the
red, until the room was bathed in the gentle rose of a sunset through clouds. Then, a pool
of light seemed to gather at the other side of the room. First, it was a puddle of light,
looking almost like a reflecting pool. Then, gently, it rose upward, and seemed to give birth
to a woman.

The woman stood in a waiting posture, her arms loosely folded across her ample breast.
Yet this was not the form of a summer's amusement ... rather, the gentle curves seemed to
bespeak a life well-lived, and enjoyed.

"Good even, Raven hin'Elric", said Akkala with a gentle smile. "It is good to see you again."

Raven smiled, even as she recalled what she was here to do. "Good even, O giver of health
and safety", she said through her weary grin. "I am gladdened by the touch of your light."

"You are troubled", replied Akkala, the formalities having been dispensed with. "What is it
that occupies your heart?"

Raven sighed. "It is the bard, Charles, called Wanderer."

"Oh? What does he seek?"

Raven grimaced in anticipation. "He would give himself in the stead of the teacher, Christopher,
in repayment of the healing."

"Is he capable?"

Raven nodded reluctantly. "In most ways, I would ajudge him fit to the task. Yet his behavior
has become erratic of late ... "

Akkala's smile grew wider, ignoring the caveat. "And has Christopher agreed to this?"

Raven frowned. "I am uncertain. Wanderer gave me to believe so ... yet his words were too
ready, too well-rehearsed. I have considered speaking with Christopher himself, or at least
Lurene, his apprentice -- "

"Do not", interrupted Akkala, gently. "The bard's actions are known to me, and his plea has
been heard."

The lupine Lightbringer sighed. "Then I shall inform Wanderer of your refusal -- "


Raven blinked, looking at Akkala in surprise. "No?"

"No", replied the goddess, who looked as though she knew some marvelous secret she dared
not share. "The bargain he has made is acceptable to me. In a sevenday it shall be made so."

With that, Akkala began to fade. "But ... ", stammered Raven, and stopped at the most surprising
sound she had ever heard.

Akkala laughed.


With a grunt of exertion, I forced my left leg to cease its juddering and smoothed the white
linen surplice I now wore. The week had been but little help in easing my confusion -- my
poetry had been reduced to nothing more than doggerel, my concentration like to that of a
sparrow. And every moment, spinning beneath the surface was the strange feeling that drove
me ...

I jerked back to myself at the sound of Raven's voice. "I said, are you prepared to begin?"

"I am", I replied, still feeling guilty over my 'adjustment' of Christopher's words. A guilt that
Raven did nothing to allay.

" 'Tis a pity", she said, "that Christopher's conveyance is incapable of traversing the sanctuary."

As scattered as I was, I could not stop my head and tail from bowing low. "Yes", I half-
breathed, certain every moment that she would turn and order me out for daring to lie to
her on such a matter. Yet she only looked at me oddly, and continued.

"Kneel", she said, indicating the edge of the dais. "O Mistress Akkala", she began, turning to
the central altar, "Lady of Life, in whose hands rest our lives and those of our children ... we
would beg a boon of you."

So swiftly it seemed to paint itself into the room, the white light of the torches dimmed to a
sunset rose. A figure of light rose up, and became a woman.

I, alas, could no longer hold up. Shuddering, I bowed my head, my thoughts a pleading jumble.

"Lady Akkala", I could hear Raven intone, "we ask that this of your worshippers, Wand'rer,
be ajudged fit to pay the cost of a healing."

"Of what nature and kind is the healing you do seek, Wanderer?", came a gentle voice with
a laugh hidden inside. There came a touch on my shoulder, and I looked up.

She was beautiful, and my eyes hurt, and my heart hurt and and and ...

Sternly, I tried to clear my thoughts. "The ... the s-schol'rrr Chrristophur", I stammered.
"I-I-I would wish his lu-lu-legs ... restored to him."

"Come", she said, and I felt as though I was flying, though I was still confused. She took
me through the wall, and through many rooms that I could not see clearly, until we saw
Christopher and Lurene, in a room I did not recognize. Though I could not understand
what they said, they appeared to be readying themselves for study, seating themselves
across from each other.

"You lied, you know."

I dared not turn to look at her. "I ... I know."

"Do you understand why?"

I shook my head, no longer trusting my voice.

Akkala stroked my head, where I knelt beside her. "Dear, foolish bard. You have
given poor Artela quite a time, you know."

I blinked, and looked up at her.

"To each of you that is gifted with an animal's features", said Akkala, "there is also
given something of an animal's nature. And each of you is, in part, a child of Artela.
But you", she chuckled, "you have made a terrible mess of yourself. You have clung
so fiercely to Velena's gift of your voice, fought so fiercely to avoid the full shape and
speech of Artela's wolves, that you have nearly set my poor sisters at odds.

"Now", she continued, "it shall be resolved."

She gestured to Christopher, and I looked to where he sat, positioning himself in his
chair. "In him, your human self has found a friend. Your wolf, a packleader -- far
more personal than the horse-king. And now, your two spirits engaged by his plight,
you are so desperate," she said, her grip tightening upon my shoulder, "that you would
lie to a Lightbringer -- and so, to me.

"I cannot affect Christopher directly", she stated, her voice tight. "He has not accepted
me. Yet, through you, I can hasten the process he has but yet begun. Touch his hand."
My eyes riveted to him, I reached forward, my immaterial hand passing through and
into his solid one.

"In your nightly prayers to me", Akkala said as Christopher and Lurene began
whatever they were doing, "you offered me your hands, your voice, your humanity,
and your mind."

A strange tingling began in my vision, a tingling that seemed to connect the two seated

"I accept."

In a soundless explosion, I felt energy like a wind pass through me, filling my mind
and sight with beautiful light and ... and ...

I awake. I stand, my four paws shaking beneath me. The Female is here, and The
Other, and they are making noises at each other. Suddenly, The Other is gone, and
only The Female remains. She turns to me and makes noises, but I only know my
name. Wan-'rer. I wag my tail uncertainly, and duck my head when she gets loud,
'cause she's bigger than me.

Then I hear loud steps coming, and watch the door.

It opens.

IT'S HIM! I leap to his side and nudge him lovingly. He makes noise in my head,
but I don't care. I'm too happy to care.

He's back ...


Lessons of Solitude

by Raven Blackmane

Shadows lengthened as the sun began to slip slowly behind the western mountains,
casting the walls of Metamor Keep in alternating patches of rose-pink light and deep
blue shadow. High atop the dividing wall that separated the town of Metamor from
the castle itself, a lone figure sat, legs crossed, the wind softly blowing through her
long, black hair.

Raven hin'Elric, Lothanasa, High Priestess of Metamor, stared into the distant haze
that hid the southern end of the valley from view. A radiant swath of colors filled the
evening sky, but she felt as blind as Christopher had recently been lame. Silently,
futilely, she struggled to reconcile herself to all that she had been witness to this day.

Christopher was healed. Stuck in a rather different form than he was used to, aye,
but healed. Lurene, his ward, had somehow defied conventional wisdom and become
entangled in a second of the Keep's three spells, apparently due to whatever meddling
she'd been engaged in with Christopher's curse when he was healed. The mages would
be puzzling over that one for a while, she guessed.

And Wanderer...

She bit her lip and winced, trying to force back the angry tears that had suddenly sprung
to her eyes.

Raven remembered when a certain bard named Charles had first loped into Metamor
Keep, far happier to be there than most of the Keep's natives had been in the months
after the Battle. He'd had a bit of wolf in him even then, she supposed -- the fire with
which he'd answered Jack's challenge in the throne room had been spoken of highly by
the Duke. Still, she'd paid him little attention until the Keep's curse finally took hold of
him. Even then, it had been he who had sought her out ... despite her best efforts to
dissuade him.

Not three months had passed since she'd scattered her father's ashes over the Vyaldi
River when Wanderer had come along, strumming that lute of his and vying for her
affections. She'd been angry, hurt and resentful of her lot in those days, and she'd
pushed him away with a ferocity that would have kept most men at a distance forever.
Not Wanderer -- he had sensed a damsel in distress behind the priestess's cold,
impersonal exterior, and he labored tirelessly to bring that fair maiden forth into the light.

Raven felt a choked laugh rise through her tears as she remembered the night he'd
come to stand below the window of her room, lute in hand, singing a ballad in her
honor in a voice loud enough to wake the dead. Still, it was a beautiful voice, despite
its volume -- which was probably why she had reached for the pillow, rather than the
flowerpot, as she slipped quietly out of bed to the edge of the sill.

Raven's well-aimed missile hit him squarely on the tip of his muzzle, and he let out a
rather interesting sound that was totally inappropriate for the song. He snapped at the
pillow, perhaps instinctively, and soon had a face-full of goose down to match his sore
nose. Raven looked down at him, mirth dancing in her eyes, then had to stifle a giggle
as the poor bard very deliberately blew a wad of feathers out of each nostril. He met
her gaze, and the makings of a very ... unusual relationship had suddenly begun.

But the relationship was over now, a bitter voice in her mind told her harshly.
Wanderer had lied to Akkala -- no, to the Ninth Hell with that. He'd lied to her.
The wolf-man had been near the top of the very short list of people Raven would
have trusted with any secret, any confidence -- the only man she trusted with the
innermost feelings of her heart. And now he'd thrown that all away, lied to her, and
for what? To go spend his days curled up at Christopher's feet. To live out his life
as a senseless animal, as some nearsighted tutor's pet.

She rubbed at her eyes with one hand, feeling ashamed at her own bitterness. She
cared greatly for Chris, and he was as close a friend to her as his distrust of the
Order would allow. She had no quarrel with him, and she was glad to see him
healed. But all the same, Wanderer had sacrificed himself for the ursine sage --
and had sacrificed his love for her along with it. What did that say about their
relationship, that he would favor the bear so dramatically when forced to choose
between him and her? Was she worth nothing to him? Did her feelings count for
naught against his idiotic, self-imposed sense of pack responsibility?

Had he ever truly loved her?

She didn't know -- couldn't know -- and her tears flowed quietly but freely as she
realized that she may never know. Akkala would not speak of her reasons or her
methods to Raven, and the goddess had given no indication of whether Wanderer's
sentence would ever be served out. And so all that Raven was left with were questions
and doubts...

And loneliness. Again.

The dusk had faded into night when Raven heard a rustling nearby. She cast a sidelong
glance at the young woman who sat down beside her, short silver hair undisturbed by
the breeze. The girl pulled her thin gray robe up closer around her neck, then turned her
soft, gentle eyes on the wolf-woman, giving her an appraising look. A half-smile played
at the corners of her lips.

"You're in Merai's spot tonight."

Raven said nothing, focusing on a distant star that had just recently come out. She sat
nearly motionless, but her hands clenched in agitation.

"Karenna?" The woman's voice was more concerned now, and Raven let out an
exasperated sigh at the sound of her childhood name.

"Damn it, Kyia, why'd she have to do it?" she exclaimed, her voice quavering with barely
controlled emotion. She turned to face the nymph-girl, her expression pleading and lonely
and angry all at the same time. "She didn't have to take Wand'rer's offer! She knew he
was lying! Why'd she have to let him throw his life away, to leave me--" She broke off,
waving a clenched hand inarticulately in the air, then hung her head and pounded her fist
into the unyielding stone. "--alone," she whispered.

Kyia drew a little closer to her then, putting a comforting arm around her. "Akkala felt
that she had to resolve an argument between her sisters," she said quietly. "Velena and
Artela were at odds over what to do with Wand'rer. His 'punishment' put an end to that

Raven shook her head. "It isn't fair," she sobbed.

"No, it isn't," Kyia agreed soberly, holding the wolf-woman a little tighter. "It isn't fair at
all. But there's naught that you or I can do about it."

The priestess was silent for a moment, save for her sobs. Then, in between her quiet
gasps for breath, she said, "I am so ... damn ... sick ... of being smote on the jaw ...
every time the blasted gods think it convenient."

Had Raven's face not been buried in Kyia's shoulder, she would have seen the nymph's
eyes go distant. "I know how you feel," she murmured. After a moment she seemed to
shake herself, then turned her attention back to Raven.

"Wanderer shall be returned to you," she said, stroking the back of Raven's head softly.
Though she looked like a teenaged girl, perhaps seven years the wolf-woman's junior,
the nymph now expertly played the role of mother for the hurt, confused and tired mortal
woman. "Have faith. It shall all come aright in the end."

"Don't speak to me of faith tonight," Raven said softly, looking up at Kyia's kind gray
eyes. "Just ... don't leave me here alone."

She put her head on Kyia's narrow shoulder, and the nymph-girl held her close.

"I won't," she whispered.


Copyright 1999 by LoveBear, Wanderer, and Raven Blackmane. If you want to post these
stories anywhere else, please ask for permission first. Thank you.

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