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The Five to Fifteen Minutes Thread.
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Linna Heartlistener
what if you are a sine qua non for a redemption?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shuram wrote:
I didn't get far enough into this character's state of misery as I would have liked. ...never even bothered to wake up!
Laughing
He was tormented sufficiently.

Khaliban- is yours associated with a particular book/series? (or RPG system?)
"And no one wants to work with the guy that helped a sixteen-year-old become the best assassin on Earth."


The five of us were arrayed on chairs or cross-legged on the floor.
Sandra started, outlining an invisible ball, or perhaps an invisible clay pot in her hands.
"Okay, the ice breaker is... finish this sentence: 'Culture is...' Fill in the blank."
After the requisite awkward silence, I leaned forward eagerly, "Okay, so if I wait for other people, I am not going to pay attention to anything you say."
Nervous laughter.
"I was reading this thing the other day... said that like some kind of Indonesian cultural art was 'an argument made again and again that the states that people were in this world matched up with their states in the ...I don't know what you call it, divine world.' "
"So I'm going to say "Culture is an argument, made again and again, that the way things are is the way they should be, in...' "
Here I trailed off.
"...certain various categories?"

(5 mins)
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linna Heartlistener wrote:
Khaliban- is yours associated with a particular book/series? (or RPG system?)


Part of original story that I considered turning into a comic book.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did it again.

I was deep in slumber. Fever gripped my mind and body in a vice, and I was deeply, desperately asleep. But the first spark of consciousness lit the void, and I thought to myself, I did it again.

Although I was doing my best to fight it, consciousness was coming upon me. It was tickling my mind softly and persistently, nudging me towards wakefulness. Awareness was misery, and, at that moment, I wanted nothing more in the world than to hide from it. On some level, I already knew what I had done, and I was not ready to confront my dread.

Physically, I felt terrible. So terrible, in fact, that no amount of denial was sufficient to keep me from noticing. In desperation, I clung to my blanket of sleep, but it was quickly evaporating from my grasp. Every pulse beat of my heart was a hammer to the backs of my eyes and an explosion between my ears. The throbbing of my head was a persistent tidal wave, and every breath I drew was a gust of wind scattering away the fog of my slumber.

My tongue was glued to my mouth, and my throat worked uselessly, begging for water. My thirst was a wailing need throughout my body, screaming in inharmonious discord against the clangor of [my headache].

Worst of all was the cold, achy shiver which shook my body. I was still fever sick. Everything hurt inside of me. Deep slumber was my only respite, and I had reached the end of that. With a heavy sigh, I accepted wakefulness, and the fact that I had done it again.

How had was it this time?

I hated asking myself, but it couldn't be helped. How bad was it? Feverish images blurred through my memories. Waking up alone, terrified for Adelle. Shoving people out of my way, sending them crashing against walls and down stairs. That man, that demon, holding her in the air and laughing....And then, I....

NO!


-------------------------

Wow, fifteen minutes goes by fast. Good news is I tried to take a nap, but this story called me back out of bed.
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Linna Heartlistener
what if you are a sine qua non for a redemption?

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

oooh. we are held in suspense.
Reminds me of days we'd groan at the sight and sound of the words, "To Be Continued..."
________________________________

"Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops."

"All of these people I meet...
It seems like they're fine.
Yeah, in some ways I hope that they're not,
And their hearts are like mine."

~NEEDTOBREATHE

"It's not working."
"Huh?"
"Nevermind.. there it goes."
I paused, ready to click as soon as that darn cursor stopped spinning.

Then I saw.
"OH. MY--"
"Hey! Swearing!" he snapped.
Normally I would glare at him, but I was shaking.
"Come here. NOW! Look - it's all showing."
"Whaaat is wrong?" he asked, sauntering over from the couch like someone who would roll his eyes at me if he could make eye contact.
"It's Facebook. All my messages. They're showing."
"What?"
He looked over my shoulder, "Huhh... oh, this is not good. How many friends did you have last time you looked?"
"Six-hundred twenty-eight."
"You're down to 597."
I started crying.
"It's okay... it's not gonna be the end of the world. Why don't I log in; we can do something. We can send a few messages, talk about how so-and-so really wasn't as bad... most of the conversations are us."

He was halfway to his laptop by the time he finished the sentence.
I heard the 12 keypresses for his password.
And then I heard "FUH-- NO, NO, NO, NO!"
I ran to him and looked at the screen.
"It's okay, it's okay."
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I'm sending you Downriver."


Anybody else, I'd be waiting for a punchline. But Director Indigo has no use for humor. She's watching me. Waiting for a response.

I don't have a response. The surreal quality of the day has reached a fever pitch. I might burst out laughing. Make a smartass remark.

Neither would be appreciated. What does she want from me?

I look down at the file in my hands, seeking inspiration. Well, glory be. There's a punchline after all.

"He's gone missing. Downriver Market. Three days now." She fiddles with rearranging one of the many stacks of papers on her desk, and I realize she's nervous.

I should be nervous. I probably will be nervous if I can get past incredulous.

"Three days," I repeat. "He's probably sleeping it off in some 5-star hotel. Doesn't the Market cater to--" Careful now... "People of means with... discerning tastes?" Proud of myself. Weaselwords that won't set off any alarms if the room is bugged, which it almost certainly is.

"He may have crossed a line. He's probably dead."

Well, light a red candle to Lady Karma. "What does this have to do with me?"

"Find him. Or find out what happened to him."

"And then what? Drag him back here in chains? We have no jurisdiction Downriver."

"He's missing. He's the victim here."

Victim. Right. "The families of his victims might disagree with that."

"He was acquitted." Slowly, patiently, as though explaining to a particularly slow child.

"I know," I reply. "I was there."

(Be realistic, Gwen. His grandfather built this city. Did you really expect him to end up on the auction block?)

I can feel anger rising like heat through my diaphragm - mentally tamp it back down with both thumbs. Not now. It settles, heavy as clay in my chest. Dormant. It will do.

"And you were there," I say evenly. "You were there when his lawyers warned me to stay away from him and his family. So why me?"

She shuffles papers, not meeting my eyes. "They asked for you."

"They asked for me. Why?"

Because I'm expendable. She finds what she was looking for amid the clutter, pushes a thick envelope across to me. I take it warily. Inside, a train ticket and a bundle of cash.

"Bribe money."

I give her an incredulous look. She makes a soothing gesture. "For you to use to gain information, if needed. We have no jurisdiction Downriver."

"When do I leave?"

"On the next train. Don't stay any longer than necessary. I expect a full report by 0800 tomorrow."

A round-trip ticket. At least she expects me to come back. After that, well, it's anyone's guess.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I posted this in Bad Writing at first, but it popped up as first post on a new page, and I didn't want anyone being confused thinking that there was a new contest going on, so I deleted it and moved it here. I was thinking about working on it here, anyway. Basically, I've been working diligently on a story for a couple of weeks, but it petered out a few days ago and I seem to have lost my creativity. So I decided to write something random and fun instead Razz

Here is my Bad Writing post in its entirety:


Speaking of writing badly without any specific guideline or format, here's an

Extra-Special Extra Bonus:


Rocky is a lovable boxer mix with a half-tail, and Josie Sue is a pretty black lab with a salt and pepper face (she is going on nine years old). They are pondering the nature of their man-person's affectations, not without a subtle fire of jealousy.

"Well, he calls you 'good girl' all the time," says Rocky, jerking his half-tail back and forth with emphasis.

"But he calls you 'good boy' just as often!" asserts Josie Sue, with her tail a whirring flurry of anxiety.

"Yeah, but 'good girl' is full of specialness and adoration," counters Rocky, his half-tail twitching with certainty.

"Well, 'good boy' is endeared with love and caring," insists Josie Sue as her tail swings to and fro maniacally.

"That may be, but he's never called me 'good girl', he saves it just for you!" Rocky declares, accentuating the meaning of his words with insistent back-and-forth movements with his half-tail.

"Oh! Don't try that with me, you little whipper-snapper! Don't you know that I've never ever been graced with a 'good boy'? Not even once!" Josie Sue's tail is going into overdrive with hectic frenzy!

Rocky barks, "Why, I ought to---!"

"Don't you dare!" chirps Josie Sue, interrupting mid-bark.

Rocky growls, "Oh, you're going to get---!"

"No I won't!" yips Josie Sue, cutting in mid-growl.

Rocky howls, "That's it! That does it! Your butt is---"

"Bring it on!" bays Josie Sue, interjecting mid-howl.

The dogs leap at each other and disappear into a cloud of dust and commotion. Tails and half-tails, and legs and muzzles, pop out and back into the cloud randomly as it rolls around crazily. Yips and barks and growls aplenty spice the commotion.

Meanwhile, Saturn and Luna contemptuously watch all this ruckus from atop their special, carpeted play-tower. They are gray and black tabbies with subtle orange highlights, full of nobility and rectitude. They sit pretty atop their throne as they look down on the lower-class canines.

"Dogs are utterly ridiculous," states Luna, with an irritated flick of the tail.

"Indeed," agrees Saturn, as he he self-righteously wraps his tail around his feet.


* * *

Yeah, this popped into my head earlier, so I decided to flesh it out some.

Based on a true story.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The muse sang to me this morning.

* * *

John pulled into the parking lot at a quarter past six. The sun was just beginning to rise, fluffy pink clouds highlighted the event. He sighed and rubbed his eyes. This was it.

For no particular reason, he decided to park towards the back of the lot. Maybe he was procrastinating. Every lead he had followed had led to a dead end, and this last lead was the least hopeful of all. But it was last. If this abandoned shoe store didn't give him something--a name, an address, a ghost of a clue--then his search was lost.

Sighing wearily, he pushed his way out of the old Blazer. The old door squeaked in protest, and the seat springs squeaked gasps of relief as they lost his weight. His feet hit the pavement and he swung the door shut behind him a thump. Now there was nothing left between him and the apotheosis of his search.

The tapeworm in his gut suddenly fluttered in fear, and John knew he finally had the right place.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Where is Grellik?" Paltmann said.

"Dead, sir," his assistant replied.

"How?"

"Assassination," Wemec interjected.

Paltmann looked from Wemec to his assistant. "Are we in another assassination war?"

"No, sir," his assistant said. "This is a local problem."

"It's the Singapore street gang," Wemec said.

Paltmann rolled his eyes. "I thought you had them under control."

"I did, sir," Wemec said. "We ran into an issue."

"Issue?"

"Four of the boys raped a local girl," Wemec answered.

"What of it?" Paltmann asked.

"Apparently, one of her friends is training to be a professional. My sources tell me he wanted to castrate the boys."

"That wouldn't sit well," Paltmann said. "He's in training. He must have a master or a family. Could we buy them off?"

"We can't find them. The boy is only fourteen, but he seems to operate independently."

"Fourteen? If he tries anything, kill him."

"That's the problem," Wemec said. "As I understand it, he knew if he castrated the four boys, they would try to kill him."

"Of course," Paltmann said.

"But, if he killed them in response, the entire gang would try to kill him."

"I know, Wemec," Paltmann said. "That's the point of a gang."

"Yes, sir," Wemec replied.

"What does this have to do with Grellik?"

"His son was in the gang," the assistant said.

"Was?" Paltmann asked.

"Yes," Wemec said. "If the gang tried anything in response to the boy, again, the boy would retaliate."

"That's idiocy."

"Apparently," Wemec said, "The boy follows a very strict code of honor."

"Even if he could kill all of them, their parents would go nuts," Paltmann said. "Some of the Singapore people like their children. They'd use the corporate assassins."

"Yes," Wemec said cautiously. "They did."

"Why am I hearing about this now?"

"You were on vacation," the assistant said. "And, it happened very quickly."

"How long does it take a team of corporate assassins to kill a fourteen-year-old boy?" Paltmann asked.

"Actually, sir," Wemec said. "That's where we come back to Grellik. Again, the boy understood he would need to respond to the assassins and the parents."

"Grellik got caught in the crossfire?" Paltmann asked.

"No, sir," Wemec said. "The boy killed all of them."

"All of who?"

"The gang, the parents and the assassins. One hundred and thirty-four people."

"When the hell did this happen?"

"Last weekend, sir," Wemec said. "If you include the Friday."
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Necause I can't get to B.

...."So, I therefore present you with two choices, John Thompson," Dr. Euraough said. "You can choose to step through the beam, and die, at which point you will know the secret of what I did with your ex-wife, Anna, or--" Euraough begins to grin maniacally"--you can step back through the portal and return to your own time, uneducated and unfulfilled..." his voice dropped off because he couldn't hold back a fit of mirthful laughter. "Oh, ho, ho, ha, ha, of course you will also be unarmed as well!"

John looked down at his cold, lifeless artificial limbs. He squeezed his mechanical claws into fists. John could recall the satisfying sensation of fists squeezed tightly in anger, but squeezing these lifeless pincers into fists did nothing for him. The emptiness of it filled him with yearning, not satisfaction.

"These hands do nothing for me," John sighed. "But, if this beam will kill me, I'll gladly step through."

John swiveled his eyes up and cracked the camera lens with a sharp look of fury. Euraough saw raw hatred on his receiving monitor, and was positively delighted with the image. The mad scientist was sure he had ensnared his prey.

John looked back down at his cold, metal hands; he knew he would never feel whole again. But his artificial hands had never given him a feeling of wholeness. He was more than willing to trade in the feeling of [able/ability] for [a resolution to his conflict.]

John stepped into the beam.

[He does not find death in the beam, as Euraough had predicted. Instead, he is confronted by a phantasm within the beam. "I can show you a way out...." it whispers.]
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Linna Heartlistener
what if you are a sine qua non for a redemption?

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 11:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shuram- A couple years ago, aliantha dared me to keep writing a story that I left at a bit where it was going to be "your imagination fills in the rest." In that spirit, I dare you to write up the parts that ended up inside [square braces].

I love the atmosphere for the tapeworm intro...
the fluffy pink clouds right when the day is beginning,
and how you get the "feel" of everything. I grinned wryly at this:
Shuram wrote:
The old door squeaked in protest, and the seat springs squeaked gasps of relief as they lost his weight.


What a way to find out your associate is dead, Khaliban.
I am very amused by the contrast of the dry, unemotional tone with the, er, content.
And of course, one guy telling another this.
Khaliban wrote:
"I know, Wemec," Paltmann said. "That's the point of a gang."

And: "Last weekend, sir," Wemec said. "If you include the Friday."


And as far as dry tones... we also have the boss in Sorus' story reminding the POV-character... Gwen.. "We have no jurisdiction downriver," after she's tried to protest that moments before.
And it's loaded with ironies.
Sorus wrote:
Be realistic, Gwen. His grandfather built this city. Did you really expect him to end up on the auction block?
Resonance with song lyrics that showed up over here once. (possibly incidental.) And... yay for her having a name.


I got the text at about 2am.
My best friend had told me that letting my ex's new woman have my cell number was, in her words "the worst idea I ever heard of."
And it was terrible boundaries too, apparently.
But a woman in my shoes has to take precautions sometimes.
It had paid off; not that she had texted me. It was her mom. The grandma of the new baby, I thought, reflectively.
"Hi - this is Jennifer's mom, and Stanley is drunk and on his way over to your place."
My phone had jolted me awake with that news.
They were about 45 minutes away, but the roads would be clear, so I might have as little as 20.

First I ran to wake my oldest son.
"Michael... we have an emergency, and I need to have you stay at Ryan's house. I've actually warned his mom about this. Would you call them?"

Now to wake up the other little ones. I looked around the peaceful blue-black of the room they all shared, night-lite in the corner offering a pale golden glow. Lighting up some of the faces of my babies.

Chelsea next. I shook her. "Chelsea, there's a problem. I need you to help me with some things."
"Whaa? Mom?"
"Hey, sweetie, I know it's night, but we are going to have to have you guys..."
I took a deep breath. How was I supposed to say this?
"...stay at a neighbor's house for the rest of the night."

Soon, I had all three of the younger ones bundled, and we stepped outside. Michael had pulled on a red sweatshirt and he was hotfooting it over to Ryan's. "This helps me a lot." I told him. And "Pray."
He didn't know the situation, and he walked with exhilaration.

I really hated what I was about to do next.
I walked over to the neighbor's back door, and banged on the glass.
"Hi, I am so sorry; I know it's late. But I have a really big problem right now. Could Annie stay with you for the night?"
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done, Linna. That was really intense!

You could maybe add a crying (bratty?) child to the mix, to add on an extra layer of stress.

The brackets are a tool I use to help me keep a [writing flow] going when I want to describe [something] better, or when [something] feels *lacking*. If I can't find the words for it, and I just *got to* go on, I slap on a bracket band-aid. They are also thrown on when I re-read something, and I decide I want to add to or change something, but not ready to do it at the moment.

When I revisit them (if I do), they can turn into a single word, a new phrase, or sometimes a whole new section of story. It's neat how that works. (haha and sometimes I just take the stinking brackets off and leave what's in them alone Wink )

Here's a revision for the last part of where I left of The Tapeworm:

John began walking slowly towards the door. Not quite hesitantly, but his slowness was unrushed. Each step was taking him towards hope or ruin. He could not imagine hope, he dared not acknowledge ruin, but he carried himself forward. His progress opened up a new perspective as he moved forward.

His new vantage point revealed a warehouse behind the building. It was buttoned up nicely, with stout locks and stainless steel engineering. When his eyes laid upon the stout structure, the tapeworm in John's gut nearly burst with excitement. Surprise lit his face, and his mechanical hand stroked his belly welcomingly, like two friends hugging after an extended. Absence.

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Linna Heartlistener
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you, Shuram! A crying and bratty child in that story is an excellent suggestion. Verisimilitude!

Well, here's the story that's currently my obsession:
_____________

"First of all, we would ask why their gods took no steps to improve the morals of their worshippers... [It was] incumbent on these gods, who were men's guardians, to publish in plain terms the laws of a good life, and not to conceal them from their worshippers."
-Augustine, "City of God," Book II, Chapter 4

"She was brought in for the test. In this way, she was found clean."
This is how my mother or my aunt or my grandmother would always tell the story.
It seems there was an ancestress in our family who underwent a severe trial within the very first years of her marriage. Or maybe it's just a legend, and never actually happened.

As a girl, I would always try to imagine it. I often wondered if it happened in the tabernacle, with its many-hued tapestries of blue and purple and scarlet, or in the temple with its shimmering golden walls. It changes how you imagine it, at least a little. I settled on imagining it took place within the temple.

It seems that her husband didn't like the way that another man looked at her in those early days of their marriage. Just three months, and he thought she had been utterly unfaithful! And a great sadness was that the other man - he had been a great friend of the husband before. The young wife wept bitter tears. And when the fighting became too harsh, it is said, she begged her husband to bring her before the Lord. And he did.

My mind is used to working at Law, like a farmer who works the soil he has seen each year, ox plough turning through the soil. Its paths are familiar, like the path that takes you to the nearest spring of living water - when that path has been worn down by the feet of a dozen generations or more.

I remember how it has one thing on one hand and another on the other:
Clean or unclean.
Guilty or atoned-for.
Life or death.
Profane or holy.

And I remember ordinances and statutes. The ways the physical realm of the earth comes into contact with the heavenly realms which are unseen. I remember the things this is made of:
the fat is burned on the altar, and the blood fills the air with its tang. And scarlet yarn, and sandalwood, and hyssop. Fragrant frankincense is offered.

I always wanted to imagine what it would have smelled like that day, the day when she was brought into the temple. Was there already incense that was burning, filling the air? Because I know the offering that she was prescribed to bring was not to have frankincense on it. So it would just smell like burnt grain, and nobody likes that.
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PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2017 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arthur lay face down, pressed against the cave floor by the crushing weight of the rock fall. As he repeatedly gasped for air, dust billowed around his head in swirls with every ragged cough and inhalation. The rocks pinning him to the ground had crashed down from a great height and Arthur's sturdy armor had saved him from being fatally harmed but he had been badly injured and was firmly trapped. A deep gash along his forehead allowed a stream of blood to trickle down along the side of his nose and drip to pool where his cheek met the floor. Excalibur lay only a few steps away, half buried in the rubble. Small stones continued to dance down the edges of the fall as Merlin scrambled unsteadily up and into the mouth of the cave. Arthur was able to raise his head just enough to make out the outline of the wizard through the dusty haze. He could see Merlin's grey silhouette struggling across the myriad of stones and outcroppings that littered the ground around the opening. The wizard stumbled several times but was able to support himself with his staff to continue his progress. In a moment had made his way to within a few feet from where his king lay and then dropped to his knees, panting and coughing, his robes stained with a dark mixture of blood and dust.

"I am finished, my friend. I cannot endure." Arthur croaked.
"Take the sword. If Lancelot lives charge him with its use. I have been a poor steward of it. Perhaps he will discover the secret of its full potential as I could not." Arthur stopped to cough away his frustration. "Now go I say! I will rule no more." Arthur's voice wavered, betraying the despair that then ruled his heart.

Merlin saw the failure in his king's eyes and was dismayed.
"Nonsense!" Merlin howled.
"Have you learned nothing? Must I teach you every secret the universe holds before you finally learn the most base truths? You cannot surrender to mere frailty of body. You are not just a mortal man...you are Britain!"

Merlin stood, suddenly filled with passion. He looked up and directed his powerful voice to the heavens above the mountain. "You are the land and the land is you, irrevocably intertwined. It was you who drew the great Excalibur from the stone and you alone. You cannot relinquish your duty simply because you failed to grasp the true nature of your enemy for as long as you live you and the sword are one and with it you and your people are mighty! You cannot die, you fool!"

Merlin suddenly slumped and dropped back to his knees as his strength began to leave him. His voice suddenly sank to a whisper. "I have not wasted the energies of my life for the end you propose. Your knights fight on but they lose ground with every word I speak. In this dark hour they need their king. I fear for the future of us all should you lay aside your honor in this way. I beseech you. Rise my king. Rise and defend your land and your people!"

With a subtle gesture Merlin cast a spell, he whispered an incantation in the old tongue that held no meaning to Arthur. The end of Merlin's staff suddenly grew brilliant with a pulsing white light so bright that both he and Arthur were forced to close their eyes. And then as if the physical laws of the new world held no sway the massive rock pile was abruptly gone, vanished. Arthur gasped loudly as the great weight pressing him against the floor instantly disappeared allowing him to breathe deeply once more.

"A pity you could not teach me that you old bastard." Arthur jibed.
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