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Book 8: Cascade

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Chapter 3

"We're not going to fall off the mountain." Rocky assured his passengers.

"I know." Bastyan breathed as he maintained his white-knuckled grip on the carriage seat.

"Do you think that you'll be able to find your way back up here on your own?" Shawn asked Bastyan while clinging to his own seat no less tenaciously.

"This mountain peak seems to be an identifiable landmark no matter which direction you approach it from, so I can probably manage it if I have to." Bastyan said uncertainly while keeping the majority of his attention on the edge of the 'road' that they were perilously close to.

"No. The terrain is too dangerous for a newcomer." Rocky said firmly, then continued more reasonably, "If it comes down to it, I'll come back and wait for you. There's no way I'm going to let someone from the outside stumble around here blindly on his own and take a chance of being seriously hurt if I can prevent it."

"Conrad had to fly so that he could get to Roo in time. We need for you to round up Dark and Jimson for the same reason. We can't get to them as quickly and efficiently as you can. If it comes down to it, I'll walk Bastyan back to Ima's myself. The FBI office can go unmanned for a while longer if need be." Shawn said firmly.

"Actually, if you can get us through the vinculum doorway, I can guide Bastyan and Otis from there." Obby said confidently.

"How is that any different from leaving them on their own?" Shawn asked curiously.

"How is it any different from you coming back?" Obby countered, then explained, "All that military training, FBI training, and all those times you were out hiking as part of your job... I was right there with you. I might not have been trying to learn those skills for myself, but I did, at least to some degree... enough to do this, anyway."

"Do you guys want me to show you the shortcut? We'll be coming up on it in a few minutes and since you'll be on foot, it'll shave a good amount of time off your hike." Rocky asked seriously.

"Is this the thing you were saying that was so scary for you?" Obby asked hesitantly.

"Yeah. Even though I know that the bridge is safe and that it's been maintained, I'm still afraid of it." Rocky said honestly.

"Wasn't Conrad saying something about slippery rocks?" Shawn asked cautiously.

"There's a narrow rocky ledge and the sheer drop-off doesn't give you a lot to hold onto. It's... terrifying, to be honest. But it's also the fastest way to get up the mountain." Rocky added as a justification.

"Unless you can fly, like Conrad." Shawn mentioned off-handedly.

"Which none of us can." Rocky said reasonably, then continued, "But if you decide to go, just cross the footbridge and you'll see a path branching off in two directions. Take the path to the left. Even if the path seems to disappear at some points, just keep going and you'll pick it up again right away. The path will take you right up to Ima's gate." Rocky said seriously.

"So Rocky, are you okay with Obby leading Bastyan and Otis up to Ima's?" Shawn asked carefully.

"If he's willing to try, I'm willing to let him." Rocky cautiously answered.

"Obby, are you sure you want to try it?" Shawn asked firmly.

"Are you going to let me lead the group?" Obby asked curiously.

"Bastyan doesn't know anything about survival in a forest setting and I have no reason to believe that Otis does either. If you've really picked up some of my survival training, I need to know if you honestly believe that it will be enough to guide your party safely from the vinculum to Ima's castle." Shawn said seriously.

"I think so, but I'll tell you right here and now, if it looks like it's going to be too dangerous, I'm not too proud to turn around and take the long way up." Obby said as he looked Shawn in the eyes.

"It's your call to make. The safety of your team is paramount." Shawn easily agreed.

"The footbridge is up ahead. Navigating your way through Brynnhaven isn't hard. If you can make your way from the drawbridge to this footbridge, then you can follow the path from there." Rocky said informatively.

"What do you say, Bast? Do you think you could navigate the bridge-to-bridge part of our journey?" Obby asked curiously.

"I... I thought you said that you were going to lead us." Bastyan stammered with surprise.

"What kind of leader would I be if I did everything for you and encouraged you to depend on me?" Obby asked reasonably, then explained, "If you will commit to leading us during that section of our journey, I'll follow along silently and observe... you know, like shadows are sometimes known to do. Once we're at the footbridge, I'll take over. How does that sound?"

Shawn smiled at Obby with approval, feeling inordinately pleased with his chosen method of leadership.

"Yeah. Okay. It's just hiking through the forest. Right? I'm sure I can do that." Bastyan said with a reasonable amount of certainty.

* * * * *

"Here it is. You can see the footbridge from here." Rocky said suddenly.

All three of his passengers looked around carefully, making sure to memorize the landmarks surrounding them.

"Can we get back to the drawbridge by backtracking the way we came?" Shawn asked curiously.

"Mostly, yes. At first we were going toward the Brynnhollow valley, so we had to double back after Conrad stopped us. But I can't imagine you having any problem picking up the trail where we diverted." Rocky said honestly.

"Yeah. That shouldn't be a problem." Shawn said with a reasonable degree of certainty.

"I agree. We should be able to manage it." Obby confirmed.

"Do you want me to let you off once we're off this rise?" Rocky asked curiously.

"Yes. I think that might be best. You've got two people to track down who may not be anywhere near each other. We're just going after Otis, and we already know right where he's supposed to be." Shawn said honestly.

"Before we go our separate ways I had a question. You don't need me to go back to Ima's, do you? I mean, if you want me to, I will, but as far as I can see, I don't have anything more to contribute to what you're working on." Rocky said frankly.

"Since I've come into contact with the Brynns I've learned some lessons about listening to my instincts. I feel like you do, that my part in this is nearly done. So my first advice to you is to follow your heart and go where you believe that you can do the most good." Shawn said sagely.

"I don't know if my heart is telling me anything. I just thought that if I'm not part of this plan, then I shouldn't go back. I would probably just be in the way."

"You might. If you don't feel a part of it, if you're not devoted to it, then now would be the best time for you to step away." Shawn said seriously.

"I think I will." Rocky said consideringly, then hurried to add, "But if you can think of a way that I can help you, all you have to do is ask."

"With Conrad there, I doubt that Ima will need me to contribute anything, but I'll be waiting at the FBI office, just in case either of them need something from me."

* * * * *

As soon as Rocky had guided the carriage down off the rise to what might generously be considered a road, he let his passengers off, then began his own quest, in search of Dark and Jimson.

Shawn, Obby, and Bastyan started walking the opposite direction, and seemed to be of a mind about which was the right way to go.

The trio was quiet most of the way, but all three of them were happy when they rounded a bend and saw the drawbridge before them.

"What do you think, Bast? Could you get us back to the footbridge from here?" Obby asked curiously.

"Yeah. Right now, in the daylight, in calm weather, I think I could probably do it." Bastyan said with reasonable confidence.

"Good, because if you can do that, then the next thing we'll work on is finding other places that you'll be able to go on your own. Before long, you'll probably be able to navigate this whole place like a native." Obby finished happily.

"I think I'll work on successfully navigating from bridge to bridge before I worry too much about learning more." Bastyan chuckled.

"Do you think you can navigate from here to the vinculum chamber?" Shawn asked curiously as they began to cross the drawbridge which spanned an incredibly deep chasm.

"It's in the palace garden, isn't it?" Bastyan asked cautiously as he pointed ahead of them in that general direction.

"Yes. I was just confirming that you had an idea of where it was before you found yourself out here on your own for some reason." Shawn said simply.

"Thanks for checking." Bastyan said sincerely, then added, "I'm usually pretty good at navigating my way around new places. I've just never had to find my way somewhere where there weren't any cross-streets to give me a framework to orient myself."

"That makes sense to me. I'd probably be the same way if it weren't for my military training." Shawn easily admitted.

"If it wasn't for all of Shawn's training, I probably wouldn't volunteer to help you either. But I remember what he went through and I'm pretty sure that it will be enough to get us back to Ima's safely." Obby said seriously as the group walked into Brynnhaven proper.

"I hadn't thought to ask before, but you haven't mentioned anything to do with the use of magic." Bastyan said cautiously, then asked, "Do you think I should behave like I would around non-magical people at the school back home or do you think I should openly use magic here to encourage others to do the same?"

After careful consideration, Shawn slowly answered, "From what little I know of it, the Brynns treat their animal transformations like something personal which should only be revealed in the appropriate time and place. I imagine that they would handle the use of other magic in much the same way. It's not a secret, like it is on the outside, but it still might be a good idea to restrain yourself in particular company."

"I suppose that if we're going to have a large number of new magic users all trying to learn the craft at the same time that it might be good to have the appropriate time and place established from the outset." Bastyan said speculatively.

"I bet that if you set up the rules, the leaders in both Brynnhollow and Brynnhaven will back you up on them." Shawn said seriously.

"Yeah. Do the kids a favor and let them know from the beginning when it's time to work and when it's time to play. Give them some freedoms that they can enjoy, but also give them restrictions for not only their protection, but also for the protection of their communities." Obby said thoughtfully.

"I agree, except that we should probably include the Wudewas community in our plans too, at least until we have a better idea of how things are going to work out in regard to them." Bastyan said thoughtfully.

"Their community is called Southseid and you're right, we should include them in our plans. We wouldn't ever want for them to feel left out or less important than anyone else." Shawn said seriously.

"From the sound of it, there's no way of knowing if we're even going to be able to make it happen. But I guess until we know otherwise, we should make our plans to include them." Bastyan said speculatively.

"Yeah. It'll probably be a lot easier to change our plans to remove people than to try to add them in later, after everything's already been settled." Obby said thoughtfully.

"It's to the left up here, isn't it?" Bastyan asked as they approached the entry to the queen's palace gardens.

"Yeah. Left three, then straight back." Obby confirmed.

"I didn't realize that you were paying attention." Shawn said with a teasing grin.

"I didn't used to, I just automatically picked up certain things... mostly from repetition, I think. Now I do my best to stay aware of where I am and where things are around me." Obby said frankly.

"How did your shadow become independent, if you don't mind me asking?" Bastyan asked curiously.

"A fairy stole my shadow and held it hostage. When I got Obby back, he was like this, self-aware." Shawn said simply.

"Again, it amazes me that a non-magical person can have so many adventures while my magical existence is so... boring." Bastyan said honestly.

"Uh oh, now you've done it." Shawn said under his breath.

"Yeah. The universe doesn't put up with that." Obby added warily.

"With what?" Bastyan cautiously asked.

"Disrespecting what you've been given." Shawn immediately answered, as Obby said more slowly, "You saying that you're ready to be tested."

"Is it too late to take it back?" Bastyan cautiously asked.

"I think you already know the answer." Shawn said honestly.

"Interesting times are ahead." Obby added with an apologetic smile.

* * * * *

"I'm beginning to feel it, that creepy feeling." Bastyan warned.

"Well, if everything goes right, soon you'll have the ability to turn it on and off whenever you want." Shawn said frankly.

"If I'm remembering right, the vinculum doorway should be in the next courtyard." Obby said seriously.

"Yes. As soon as we're in the courtyard I'll be close enough to deactivate the beacon." Shawn confirmed.

"And you say that Brynnhollow is actually a four-hour drive from Waxell?" Bastyan asked curiously.

"Something like that. But if we can get you access to the vinculum gate then it'll only be half an hour from Waxell to the Old Tennyson Place." Shawn said simply.

"Or you could get a place in Brynnhollow and not have to commute at all." Obby helpfully suggested.

"I don't know. I've kind of gotten used to luxuries like electricity and running water. I'm rather fond of public sanitation as well."

"Kids these days, want everything handed to them." Shawn commiserated with his shadow in a poorly feigned tone of long suffering.

"On a silver platter." Obby added playfully.

Bastyan couldn't help but smile at the antics of the pair.

* * * * *

"I call upon the powers that be to grant me entry to the sanctuary, I use the power granted by devils. I am the harbinger." Shawn said as the group slowly walked into the final courtyard.

Immediately, all of them felt the creepy unsettling feeling subside.

"Have you looked into ways of turning it off permanently?" Bastyan asked curiously.

"Actually, yes. During the Assembly of the Magi we suspended it while we were performing the ceremony. Since then we've learned how to turn it on and off at each location, as needed." Shawn easily explained.

"But even if we know how to turn it off, we should probably leave it on anyway, right?" Bastyan cautiously asked.

"It's an effective way to regulate the gates and to keep people from looking too closely at them." Shawn said seriously.

"But if you're going to be using the gate anyway, there's no reason for you to keep the beacon on and be uncomfortable. That doesn't help anyone." Obby helpfully reasoned.

"I guess we'll just have to wait and see if we can work it out so that I can be able to open the gates before I worry too much about it." Bastyan said frankly.

"Right." Shawn agreed as he led the way through the vinculum doorway.

* * * * *

"Nobody's going to have a problem with us walking through their backyard, are they?" Bastyan asked as the trio walked around the side of the house, away from the gazebo.

"No. I remember Steven saying something about keeping the place maintained, but from the sound of it, no one's lived here in many years." Shawn said casually.

"Steven?" Bastyan asked cautiously.

"Steven Tennyson. Apparently his family settled this area centuries ago and one of them made a pact with whoever established the vinculum gates. The responsibility has been passed down from generation to generation and now Steven and his grandson Kirwin tend the Waxell gate." Shawn explained before getting into his car.

Once everyone was in, Shawn continued, "When I first arrived here, Conrad mentioned that Steven's son, Warren might allow Conrad to move into the house, rent free, in exchange for taking care of it."

"Why didn't he?" Bastyan asked curiously.

"This was long before we knew anything about the vinculum gates or any of that. All he knew is that it was supposed to be haunted and that was enough to warn him away from it." Shawn said frankly.

"Do you need to turn the beacon thing back on when we leave?" Bastyan suddenly asked as he looked back toward the house.

"No. The beacon will turn back on as soon as we pass out of its range of effect." Shawn explained.

"Do you think that Steven or Warren would be open to the idea of me living in their house?" Bastyan asked curiously.

"Let's make sure that you'll be able to open the gate and turn off the beacon before we start making too many plans about where you'll be living." Shawn said frankly.

"Right." Bastyan absently agreed, then slowly said, "It just seems like the perfect solution, a way that I could literally live between two worlds, possibly having the best of both."

"Don't be fooled by feelings. Sometimes they're a trap to quell your enthusiasm or to divert you from a more worthy pursuit." Shawn warned.

"And there are other times when you feel what you feel for a very good reason and you should pay attention to it." Obby countered, mirroring Shawn's expression.

"You two sure are good at presenting both sides of an argument." Bastyan said honestly.

"Gee. I wonder why that is." Shawn playfully chuckled.

"Moving out here is a good idea, but let's see what Ima can do for you and if Roo is even interested before you commit to any long-term plans." Obby said seriously.

Bastyan looked at Obby with surprise at the incredibly practical suggestion.

"Not bad for a shadow demon, huh?" Shawn asked with a smile.

"Power granted by devils?" Obby retorted with a mirror opposite expression.

"Hey! The devils I've met haven't been so bad. They just have a little public relations problem." Shawn playfully defended.

"Actually, I think that may be part of what makes them so dangerous." Obby countered.

"Does this mean that you, a non-magical person, have experience in commanding demons?" Bastyan asked cautiously.

"No, no. Not at all." Shawn hurried to assure him.

"He wasn't just a demon, he was an arch demon, and his son was a cambion. They stood with us at the Assembly of the Magi. And we didn't command them, we befriended them." Obby said frankly.

"You befriended a demon?" Bastyan asked disbelievingly.

"That actually may be the most dangerous part of all of this. The arch demon's charisma was off the charts. It was such that I couldn't imagine him doing anything selfish, mean, or even marginally wrong. I trusted him implicitly." Shawn said frankly.

"We both did. If V had wanted to cause us trouble... I can't imagine any of us surviving. Even the angels were powerless in his presence." Obby said in distant remembrance.

"You know angels too?" Bastyan asked with surprise.

"They were there when we were there. That's about as close as we got to them." Shawn admitted.

"Yeah. To me it looked like the demons got ALL the charisma." Obby said frankly.

"You don't even have to compare them. Given a choice between spending time around the angels or a lump of coal, the lump of coal would win every single time." Shawn confirmed.

"But I've always heard that the angels are supposed to be awe inspiring to mundane people." Bastyan said frankly.

"If they are, then it must be some kind of spell that I'm immune to because I couldn't stand to be around the creepy little things." Shawn said seriously.

"Your pendant probably has enough demonic magic in it to keep passive angelic magic off of you." Obby said speculatively.

"Yet another thing I have to thank Paul for." Shawn said off-handedly.

"You really do admire him, don't you?" Bastyan observed.

"Yes. I suppose I do." Shawn easily admitted, then explained, "He made me a pendant that allows me to see through illusions. If he hadn't been worried about me and gone to the trouble of trying to protect me, things would have turned out very differently for a lot of people and we probably wouldn't be here right now."

* * * * *

After a long silence between them, Bastyan quietly asked, "Before I get my car, can you think of anything else that I'm going to need to do before we go back to Brynnhollow?"

"We should probably stop in at the Waxell diner and get a bite to eat. Even if Ima decides to feed you while you're up there, you've still got to count the time it takes to walk down and back up, as well as the extra calorie expenditure." Shawn said reasonably.

"Are you sure that it will be okay for me to go to the diner? I was told to avoid contact with the townspeople." Bastyan said nervously.

"If you're planning on living outside of Brynnhollow, it might be a good idea to introduce you to some of the townspeople so that they can get used to seeing you around." Shawn said consideringly.

"If we're going to be stopping in to see Otis anyway, maybe we could get him to say that you're a friend of his from college." Obby quickly suggested.

"If that's the story we're going with, then why is he visiting with me instead of Otis?" Shawn asked challengingly.

"Maybe because it would be wrong for him to bother Otis at work." Obby suggested, then thought to ask, "What is it that you actually do at the FBI office? Maybe he could be talking to you about business."

After a moment to consider, Shawn cautiously said, "Actually, that could work. If he were coming to see me on business, it could be a request for information regarding the Old Tennyson Place. My office has been known to investigate things which might loosely be classified as 'paranormal' so it's not too far outside the realm of possibility."

"I'm sure that Warren would go along with it if you asked him to." Obby said supportively.

"And we could still use the college friend angle for Otis." Bastyan added.

"Right. That could be how you found out about the Old Tennyson Place." Obby said happily.

"And if it comes down to it, we could go through the motions of conducting an actual investigation of the place. It wouldn't take much to set up and it might end up being fun." Bastyan said with increasing interest in the idea.

"You would probably know better than I would, but what are the chances of you actually contacting Steven's ancestors while you're investigating?" Shawn cautiously asked.

"I have no talent for or training in such things. If the location is spiritually active, I probably have the same chance of making contact as any mundane person." Bastyan said seriously.

"But are there witches who can do that? Talk to ghosts for real?" Obby asked curiously.

"Sure. There's a whole branch of wizardry devoted to summoning. I can't say that I know much about it, but I know it's a thing." Bastyan confirmed.

"What are the chances that some of your students will have that ability?" Obby asked curiously.

"The Brynnhollow students? I hadn't considered that. I suppose it's as likely as not. Each individual case is a flip of the coin as to what talents they end up with." Bastyan said simply.

"I don't know about that. With them all branched off from the same family tree, I would guess that they would be more likely to have some abilities than others." Shawn said slowly.

"I suppose that's true to a point. There are traits that do run in family lines, but magic has a way of presenting variations and aberrations without warning or reason."

"I suppose that's necessary, otherwise in a few hundred generations all witches everywhere would have exactly the same power set." Shawn said thoughtfully.

"But what will you do if you end up with a student who can talk to ghosts?" Obby asked curiously.

"Starting out, there will be things that I'll be able to do to help them. But as time goes on, I'll either need to ask for someone more specialized from the school to help them or I'll need to study up on whatever their talent is and do my best to train them in something that I can't do myself." Bastyan said frankly.

"Well, I don't know from personal experience, you know, being a shadow and all, but isn't this what being a teacher is all about? You get a group of kids and help them to grow and develop as much as you can. Then they take what you've taught them and use it to do things beyond your ability or even beyond your imagination. That's your payoff. That's why you're a teacher." Obby cautiously explained.

"Or... It could just be for a steady paycheck and summers off." Shawn said frankly.

Before Bastyan could refute the statement, Obby quickly responded, "Just look at him. He's not in it for the money. He would pay you for the opportunity to help the kids, and he hasn't even met them yet."

"I wasn't suggesting that Bastyan was only in it for the money, I was just saying that there are teachers who treat the profession as a low-effort way to game the system." Shawn explained.

"I'm a teacher because I want to do what's best for the kids." Bastyan said simply, then added, "If I think that my teaching can help them, then I'll teach them. If I can't help the kids, then there's no reason for me to be here."

"Good. The kids deserve nothing less." Shawn said approvingly.

Before Bastyan could react, Obby quickly said, "We're almost there. I'm going to go flat now. I'll see you again when we know that no one but Otis is around."

"We'll see you in a little while." Shawn said fondly.

Bastyan watched as Obby appeared to melt away into nothing.

"Here all this time I thought that living as a witch, among witches, was the epitome of living a magical life. The hardships had been overcome, the enemies had been driven out, and all the spells that we would ever need had been discovered and were available for our use whenever we needed them." Bastyan said distantly.

"It sounds like you were safely hidden away in your own little world there." Shawn said simply.

Bastyan cautiously nodded his agreement.

* * * * *

After pulling in behind the FBI office, Shawn went inside and stopped by the bait shop long enough to confirm that no one had been seeking the services of an FBI agent.

Bastyan continued to feel out of place walking across the street and down the block. He was accustomed to driving wherever he wanted to go. Walking was reserved for getting from public transportation to his destination.

As Shawn opened the door, the little bell rang, heralding their presence.

"Shawn? It's good to see you. I know you said that you'd be by later, but I really didn't expect to see you again today." Otis said happily.

"That's fair. My schedule tends to be a bit more flexible than I sometimes might like." Shawn timidly admitted.

"Michael, I'm guessing that Shawn's been keeping you on the run since you arrived. I bet that you're about ready to stop for a few minutes and catch your breath." Otis said cheerily.

"Introductions?" A man asked from behind the drugstore counter.

"Excuse me." Otis rushed to say, then continued more formally, "Mr. Tomlin, you already know Agent Roberts, I'd like to introduce Michael. I didn't catch his last name."

"Bazien." Bastyan supplied uncomfortably.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Bazien." Mr. Tomlin said sincerely.

"It's nice to meet you, too, Mr. Tomlin. Please, call me Michael." Bastyan hurried to say.

"As you like." Mr. Tomlin said graciously, then added, "I'm reasonably certain that Agent Roberts would enjoy a cherry phosphate right about now. What can I get for you, young man?"

After a long confused moment, Bastyan cautiously answered, "I don't know what the choices are."

"Here's a list of flavors." Otis said as he handed Bastyan a menu printed on thick sturdy paper.

"Do you have cherry lime?" Bastyan asked cautiously.

"Is it on the list?" Otis asked with a teasing smile.

"You have cherry and lime, I was just wondering if I could get them together." Bastyan explained.

"We can try, but you'll have to let us know how close it is to what you were expecting." Otis said frankly as he started toward the service counter.

"You've already done your work for the day, Otis. Let me get you a drink so that you can visit with your friends." Mr. Tomlin said calmly as his hands seemed to go through the motions of making three phosphates, without him being consciously aware of what they were doing.

"Thank you Mr. Tomlin." Otis said gratefully, then stepped up to the lunch counter and motioned for Shawn and Bastyan to join him.

"We won't be able to stay long" Shawn said reluctantly as he took one of the offered seats and was presented with a tall fizzy drink.

"We were wondering if you'd be available to help us with something this afternoon." Bastyan said as he followed Shawn's lead and was likewise presented with his order.

Otis glanced at Mr. Tomlin before cautiously responding, "Sounds like fun. I'm finished with work and I don't have any other plans today."

"We were thinking about stopping at the Waxell diner for a bite to eat before we attend to other things, if you'd be up to that, we'd love to have you join us." Shawn quickly offered before taking a sip of his cherry phosphate.

"Sure. I guess so. I mean, my mom might be there. I don't know how that's going to work into your plan, but if you're okay with it, so am I." Otis said frankly.

"That might not be the ideal situation." Shawn reluctantly admitted.

Bastyan nodded before taking a sip from his drink.

The sudden expression of surprise on Bastyan's face drew all their attention.

After a long moment of trying to interpret his expression Otis cautiously asked, "Does that mean you like it or not?"

"I've always liked cherry lime, it's one of my favorite flavors..."

"Two." Shawn automatically interrupted before he could catch himself.

Otis smiled at Shawn as Bastyan rolled his eyes.

"Sorry." Shawn muttered, then added, "You were saying?"

"It's flavorful, sweet, thirst quenching, delicious... It's the most perfect cherry lime that I've ever tasted." Bastyan said honestly.

"I suppose that makes sense." Shawn said simply, then explained, "Everything here seems to be enhanced. The days here are brighter, the nights here are darker, the silence here is deeper and consequences here tend to be a bit more... consequential."

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes:

I think another 'Wow' is appropriate here.

As I have said time and time again, reading a new chapter from MM is a very satisfying and uplifting experience.

The only issue that I can put my finger on that would give me more satisfaction would be to have new chapters more often, but I do understand that certain factors are involved in finding the time and energy to call up the needed words to add to our enjoyment.

Thank you, MM, for another wonderful episode.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher