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The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ryadian » Mar 20, 2011 8:46 pm

Ryana brings Shadow, her dog, home. She discovers he may be more than he bargained for when she bought him--stupid puppy dog eyes, literally....

Well, the day had finally come. The papers were signed, everything was all wrapped up… except for the homecoming. Ryana glanced down at the eager creature walking alongside her—although only the leash kept it that way. He seemed ready to jump out at anything that he found interesting… which was, apparently, everything in sight. Hopefully he’d get used to everything soon enough.

In the meanwhile, though, Ryana had something else to show him. Finally, she stepped up to the front door, and with a final look back, pushed it open. With a smile, she said, “Well… welcome home, Shadow.” Ryana decided he must have approved. As soon as she unhooked the leash, he bounded in and started examining every detail with great interest. Ryana smiled and, after hanging his leash on a hook by the door, walked over to the couch and sat down. For now, she thought it might be best to just watch and enjoy the show.

Well, that’s not exactly what her new companion had in mind. It didn’t take him long to realize he was playing alone, and as soon as he did, he decided to rectify that situation. He turned around to face her, setting his head on her knees. He barked once, almost inquisitively, as he stared at her… stared with those blue eyes…. Ryana was very annoyed; “puppy dog eyes” was not about to become literal in her world!

But it did work. With a slight sigh, she reached over and grabbed a bright blue ball. “I understand you’ll probably like something like this?” She commented, half-ironically. Why else would she own it? Of course he agreed with her; he started wagging his tail and backed away, expectantly. Ryana half-smiled and tossed it gently across the room. It didn’t even hit the floor before Shadow caught it, spun around, and brought it right back to her expectant hand.

“Good; I thought I’d have to teach you that.” She joked. Actually, she had been concerned about that—the last creature she taught anything was… well, let’s just say you don’t teach dogs how to throw an opponent half over your shoulder. Ignoring the obligatory drool, Ryana just tossed the ball again. Again, Shadow caught and returned it.

This game continued for a long time; Ryana never kept track. After a while, she thought it should probably come to an end, and reached instead for a brand new bone… but for some reason, Shadow disagreed. He was only interested in his newest toy for a little bit. As soon as she got up to leave for the kitchen, however, his mind changed; he wanted to play with her again. It was strange, but... nice. It had been a while since Ryana had someone who so eagerly wanted to spend time with her.

Ryana smiled and leaned back on the couch. Shadow had once again resumed his most important task, familiarizing himself with his bone, giving her a little time to herself. Just as she settled back, though, she discovered something important: the light was getting in her eyes. “Agh!” She quickly shielded her eye, then glanced out the window. Somehow… the sun was setting. She blinked and wondered aloud, “Is it really that late?”

Well, obviously, it was. She stood up once more, and once more, Shadow noticed. This time, however, she wouldn’t give in so easily: “Sorry, Shadow, I have to go. I’m losing my light.” Ever since Ryana gave up her secret and decided daylight wasn’t so bad, she’d discovered that sunset was a great time to go out for a quick sweep of the city. Certain kinds of activity were likely to begin, but it was still light enough that she could see. Ryana brushed off the dog fur and told him, “Keep… doing whatever. I’ll be right back.”

Ryana quickly went back to her bedroom and shut the door before he could follow. She slipped on her traditional costume, complete with her hooded cape and mask. Though she didn’t need either anymore, she still liked to have them. It let any ne’er-do-wells know that she was on the lookout for their mischief. …And no, she did not use the word “ne’er-do-wells”. What would give you such a crazy idea? It’s not like she’s been in this town long enough to think in such terminology….

Ryana headed back to the living room; gratefully, Shadow had followed her instructions. With a faint smile, she quickly grabbed his new toys and said, “C’mon, I have to make sure you don’t destroy my living room while I’m gone.” Or get into the food in the kitchen, which she considered far more likely, but she wasn’t going to give him ideas.

She led him on with his toys and her hand, over into a specially prepared corner of the room. It was her replacement for a kennel; she couldn’t find one big enough for him to play in while she was gone, so she just made one. Well, in the sense that she found some boards and set them up to make a boxed-in corner. It wasn’t the sturdiest thing in the world, but… it would hold, she was sure. Either way, she didn’t have anywhere better to put him.

“All right, I’ll be back in an hour or so.” She told him. A little more sternly, she added, “You have plenty of things to do for that time, so you can stay in this corner, all right?” Well… he didn’t bark in defiance or anything. Surely that meant he understood, as well as a dog can. Ryana was satisfied, and headed for the door. She turned the knob, and pulled it open….

There is one important point that Ryana probably should’ve considered. Whether or not her little structure was sturdy, it had no roof. Shadow didn’t need to knock it down to get out; he just jumped over it and dashed for the door. Despite herself, Ryana wasn’t nearly fast enough slamming the door shut; he was out almost as soon as it crossed her mind. “No, wait… Shadow!!

Ryana followed him out, and extended her wings as soon as she was outside. She could probably catch him on foot, but flying would help her actually stop him. She took off, staying at a reasonably low height until she got closer… there! She passed him, turned around, and quickly landed. Shadow had plenty of time to slow down, really, but… he didn’t fully utilize it. It was just enough so that the collision wasn’t entirely painful.

“Ack!” Ryana caught herself quickly, and shook off the disorientation. Instead, she glared at him, looking straight into his eyes. His eyes… those blue eyes… would she ever get over those things?! For a moment, it looked like Shadow was perfectly aware of that thought. His reply? A cheeky glint, and a subtle, “No, and I intend to keep it that way.”Stupid dog. Stupid, endearing dog….

Ryana folded her arms for extra effect. “You’re getting off easy today,” She warned him, “because we’re just getting to know each other. But rest assured, we’re getting out of this habit soon.” With a sigh, she slowly stood and dusted herself off, as she concluded, “For now… this had better be a sign you’re willing to play outside without running off.” She cocked an eyebrow. “Can I trust you on that?”

Shadow seemed to acquiesce. After all, playing outside was so much more fun, probably! Ryana rolled her eyes at this imagined response, before gently stroking his head and commenting, “Well, I suppose the sun isn’t sinking that quickly. I’ve got a few more minutes to spare….”
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby stargazer » Mar 29, 2011 3:14 pm

Some time before the movie night...

It was a beautiful late-spring evening: the crickets and spring peepers filled the night with their songs, the first stars dimly peered through the twilight spread above, and it was still too early in the year for the higher humidity levels that so often marked summer in Ditto Town.

So this night found Erik and Abby high above the Town Square, rejoicing in the gifts of life and flight they loved so much. Baby Molly was still far too young to walk, much less fly, so she was secured in a sort of soft-sided infant carrier – already dubbed her “flight suit” – strapped to Erik’s chest. Her happy sounds made it clear that she was going to be a natural in the air when her time came.

“Look at that,” Abby said, pointing toward the Fountain.

Erik looked down to see a familiar figure – though one the couple hadn’t talked to in quite some time – frolicking with a large furry shape in the Square. “Phoenix Archer?” he muttered aloud. “She got a dog?”

“I guess so,” Abby replied. “And it looks like she’s having a great time. Say, wouldn’t it be fun to have a dog for Molly when she gets older?”

“I think she’d love it. But what would it do during the days we sleep?”

She sighed. “Good point. Maybe we could put in for a pup from Bronx and Boudicca’s next litter. Then it would sleep when we do.”

“We could try, but those pups are pretty rare. I’m sure they’ll go to full clans first. We could request one on behalf of the Tetons Clan; then our kids could play with it when we’re there.”

“Our kids?” Abby teased. “Getting a little ahead of ourselves again?”

“I guess.” He felt the heat rise on his cheeks and wondered if his beloved could see him blushing despite the darkness. “But there’s plenty of time before any new gargoyle pups arrive, so who knows.” He suddenly chuckled.

“Yes?” She wondered what had prompted his sudden change in mood.

“Oh, just a silly thought. If our dog were black we could name it Moonshadow. That’s a nice name for a creature of the night, isn’t it?”

“Sure…” she prompted, knowing there must be more.

“So when it follows Molly around, like dogs always do, we could sing the old song. You know, I’m being followed by a Moonshadow, Moonshadow, Moonshadow…” **

She groaned, then quickly maneuvered over to give him a playful slap of her tail.

**Apologies to Cat Stevens
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Sonny » Apr 08, 2011 9:42 am

Part 3 of a two-part Day-In-The-Life-Which-Has-Turned-Into-More-Than-An-Ordinary-Day segment
A Little Joe / Sonny Production

From last time:
"Well, you can be sure we'll do anything to make you comfortable," assured Loren.

"Within reason, of course," teased Eliana.

"Oh what? No two thousand credit dry cleaning?" Cameron joked right back at her, then proceeded to chomp down on his venison.

The three of them chuckled, then sat in companionable silence, enjoying the meal. After a couple minutes, Loren looked up, his eyes sparkling. "Hey, guys, I almost forgot. I found something really interesting today."

And now:

Cameron set down his fork and said "So, are you going to tell us what it is, or are you going to make us play 20 questions?"

Loren grinned. "Maybe I should make you play 20 questions."

Eliana groaned. "He loves this game," she whispered to Cameron. "You shouldn't have suggested it!"

Cameron sighed before saying, "Please don't; 20 questions drives me crazy."

Loren chuckled. He took a bite a meat, chewed it, and swallowed it. Then he took a drink before answering. "Well, the truth is that I don't know what it is. I was hoping you and Eliana could help me get it working."

Eliana looked surprised. "Is it a machine?"

Loren shrugged. "Not exactly a machine, though it's definitely electronic."

"Oh, electronic, let me guess, some kinda flying device?" Cameron asked, downing his glass of milk.

Eliana was smiling. "That sounds like fun! Do you want to go tonight? I'll just get dinner cleaned up when we're done eating, and be ready to head out in a few minutes."

Loren looked concerned, "Are you sure you're actually up to it? I'm afraid that my excitement made me forget that you are tired a lot from carrying our child."

Eliana laughed softly. "I had a nap, Loren, so I'm quite refreshed. Do you want to go tonight, Cameron?"

"I'm game, not like I've got much else to do. So where is this mysterious object located?" he said, finishing his plate and pushing it away.

Loren finished his mashed potatoes, and stood up. "It's about 3 miles south of the town. It's really quite well hidden. In fact, I probably would not have found it if I had not flown over it."

Cameron nodded. "Been awhile since I've gone south. Should be fun."

Eliana began clearing the table. "Honey," she said, "Why don't you check the charge on the spare speeder while I clean up?"

Loren nodded. "Cameron, I'll get you hooked up with my spare speeder. It's a slightly older model, but you should be able to keep up with Eliana and me."

The guys headed to the shed outside. "I haven't checked my old speeder in a while, so it might need a tune-up. Have you ever used a flying bike before?"

"Eh, I've used a hover bike before, shouldn't be that much different, and I've always had a knack for mechanic work." Cameron replied, as he helped Loran to open the shed door.

Loren replaced the battery in the SpeedStar 250 and gave Cameron a quick introduction to the controls, then pulled out his and Eliana's. "I just need to upload the coordinates to Elie's and your speeders. They self navigate."

He tapped a few buttons, and a 3D holographic map appeared in the HUD of his bike. A few more menu options and the coordinates transferred to the other speeders. Maps popped up their HUDs. Eliana's was also 3D, but Cameron's was only 2D.

"Well doesn't that take the fun out of it," Cameron said with a smirk on his face. Admiring the 2D screen "Pretty neat, I must say" He then proceeded to run over the controls one more time, just to make sure he had them right.

"Sorry you only get 2D. I actually helped develop the 3D HUD for the SpeedStar 300. Still, the 250 is very decent. No other company has been able to match the performance that we offer. Are you ready? I'm going to grab some diagnostic equipment, and then if Eliana is not ready we'll help her finish the cleaning up. Sound good?"

"Sounds great" Cameron said, turning away from the bike.

In a few minutes the three were on their speeder bikes, heading south out of town. About a mile out, Loren called to the others, "Ya ready to fly?"

"Totally, let’s do it!" Cameron said, powering up the thrusters on the bike and launching forward in front of Loren.

"Dude!" exclaimed Loren, laughing as Cameron's bike lurched. "Take it easy!" He and Eliana rose gracefully into the air and selected the destination coordinates. Their speeders turned slightly left.

Eliana chuckled. "Let's see how far ahead he gets before he realizes we aren't behind him," she commented to Loren as they headed over the forest. "I think he forgot to select his coords!" The two grinned at each other as the distance between them and Cameron grew wider.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Masked Rider » May 13, 2011 11:02 pm

Ditto-Bot and Mini-Bot start there adventure when a EMP surge blacked-out the city temporary.

Past Ditto Town’s wonderful fountain, east of its forest, take a left on Counter Street, go down three blocks, take a right, stop at the third traffic light, and, and, and…sorry about that. Anyway, there you’ll find the Ditto Town’s Mechanic’s Shop.

But this story isn’t about the Mechanic, or the shop. This story is about a tall young robot and his little friend….

“Can we talk now?” said Mini-Bot—and yes, Mini-Bot, you can talk now. But stop breaking the 4th wall.

The Mechanic carefully placed the last piece in Ditto-Bot’s Arm. “There, all done.”

“Finally.” Ditto-Bot observed his newly refit arm.

“Take it easy ‘til you get used to it.” warned the Mechanic.

“Okay, okay, say, what’s this do?” In a flash, an assortment of screw drivers, knifes, scissors, wire cutters, guns, phones, tests tubes, a deck a cards, and a long tube that looks just like a lightsaber, popped out like a Swiss army knife. “Ah, oops.”

“It’s okay, just press the button again.” After a short beep all the tools and gadgets popped back into his arm.

“How come I don’t get a Swiss-army-arm?” complained Mini-Bot.

“And exactly how do you intend to have even one of those items fit into that twig of an arm?” asked the Mechanic.

“Very carefully.”

Just then, about half of the lights in the room shut off. A few seconds later, they were still off. Then they turned back on.

“Odd.” Puzzled Ditto-Bot.

“Oh no! Some sort of evil bad dude has got his hands on an EMP generator, and now will hold the city at his mercy!” Mini-Bot exclaimed.

“If that were the case, all the lights would have turned off. No, this is something different….” said Ditto-bot.

“The lights that stayed on were the few connected to the Zeno Reactor in the lab, so it still could be an EMP generator.”

The Zeno reactor is named after Zeno’s Paradox: the idea that you can’t ever reach your destination because you must travel half of the remaining distance first. And you can cut anything in half an infinite number of times. The reactor runs off of this idea. It can reach 1%, then 0.5%, then 0.25%, but it will never die. The problem is that it will never reach 100%, for the same reason. The Mechanic has almost everything in the basement hooked up to the Zeno Reactor, but hasn’t had the time to hook up everything.

“Wait, so EMPs don’t work on the Zeno Reactor?” Ditto-Bot asked.

“Well if you think about it, the EMP has to travel halfway to the reactor at every point as well, so it will never actually reach the reactor.” The Mechanic explained.

“…” A lot of people in the room said, which is strange, because there’s only one person and two robots in the room.

“How does that even work?” Mini-Bot asked.

“It just does. Look, I say we go out and see what’s going on.” Ditto-bot said.

“Or, I could steal the computer from the writer and just see what comes next.” Mini-Bot planned.

“Well, no you couldn’t because he hasn’t written it yet, you would only be able to see the present and the past, and so it really wouldn’t work.” Ditto-Bot explained, and if you mention the fact that you’re in a fictional story again Mini-Bot, I will personally kill you off!

“You’re gonna do it anyway, OOPS! You guys didn’t hear that! Let’s go.”

Ugh, why do I write these guys? Anyways, our heroes decided to investigate the mysterious EMP that may have seriously damaged Ditto Town. The two Bots climb out of the secret lab, which shall have little to no description because it’s, well secret. They continued to go out the back of the shop when Ditto-Bot realizes something,
“Dude, I just realized something. We can’t really check if anyone is okay.”

“Why not?

“Well, because we don’t know where anyone lives, or even know if anyone lives.”


“We’ve never met anyone in Ditto Town!” It’s true. Aside from Phoenix Archer, Ditto-Bot hasn’t met a single resident of Ditto Town. This puzzled our two friends; “how could have we possibly not know anyone?”

This can be explained. You see Ditto-Bot and Mini-Bot we’ll usually hang out with themselves, and stay in more remote parts of the city. It’s not impossible to have heard of them, but unlikely that you’ve met them. That, or I just never got around to writing in other people’s stories, but I doubt that’s it....

Well our heroes decided that they would have to make fast friends, because people could be in serious trouble.

“Looks like the entire town is back online.” Mini-Bot remarked.

“Must be some sort of emergency back-up generator, I don’t see how any power could be restored that quickly.”

The Bots walked down the street for a bit, searching for anyone that came out for the power outage. The streets were surprisingly clear, perhaps because the power came back on so quickly. The town seemed quiet, this was after all around the time most people ate dinner. Ditto-Bot ceased creating new contact with his foot on the sidewalk, and carefully scanned the empty environment. What was wrong with this picture?

Ditto-Bot’s finger’s shifted into communicator. “Dad, can you scan the area, see if it was an EMP that caused the outage?”

>”Already on it. It seems an EMP surge did go off, west outskirts of Ditto Town it seems. I’m sending you coordinates now.”<

“How this kind of stuff always happens in Ditto Town?” Mini-bot complained.

“Plot device, don’t argue with it.”

“Hey! Look!”

Who made the EMP? Why did they activate it? Is everyone in Ditto Town Ok? Will I really kill off Mini-Bot? Find out when our adventure continues, next time….
}Rebooting systems{
[uncoding data]
-> The Advanced Action Reaction Intelligent Nano-coated android systems, online

-[Activating Processors...) Calibrating....Calibration complete---)) A.A.R.I.N. Activated

[> "Good morning, Ditto-bot"
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ryadian » May 13, 2011 11:17 pm

Catalyst (a.k.a. Kirane), a superhero in a very Earth-like place, encounters Logan Connell, a cyborg with a serious vendetta against her. Apparently, he's dying, and blames her for it; as revenge, he's going to kill her and a lot of other people with a bomb. Catalyst decides to, somehow, use "her technology" to take the bomb to a "pocket dimension", so no one will get hurt... although she and Connell might get brought along for the ride. Logan tries to stop her, but it's too late, and they both disappear in a portal.

Catalyst stepped off her hover board and looked around. It was quiet now, but the battle scars were still quite fresh. Cars were in any condition from dented to flipped over to destroyed, parts of the pavement had been ripped up and seemingly flung around, and there wasn’t a soul to be seen outside; most everyone had either run away or was hiding inside one of the nearby buildings. But Catalyst wasn’t concerned about them, as long as they were safe; she was waiting for the source of the destruction. Now that she was here, he was sure to re-emerge.

Whiiiir. That was coming from behind her, somewhere on her left. Catalyst snapped around, set one hand on the ground, then dragged it across as she took a couple of quick steps back. The tarmac seemed to… quiver slightly, almost like ripples over water. Catalyst knew he saw that, and he knew what it meant. He wouldn’t come any closer, not just yet; not unless he was even more foolish than she expected. She stood back up and locked eyes with him.

As she was expecting, he responded to all this with a smirk. “Well, that was fast, Kirane. Not fast enough to prevent a lot of property damage, but at least you got here before I started taking hostages. Speaking of which….” He extended one of his arms, pointing it at the window of a nearby building… making sure the metallic components were clearly visible. “This seemed to be a favorite shelter for the panicked masses. I’d suggest staying where you are if you don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

Catalyst, a.k.a. Kirane, let out a soft sigh, but didn’t move. She knew perfectly well what Mr. Connell could do if he wanted, but she also knew they were at a stalemate as long as he maintained that threat. Best to just get this started: “I had a feeling it was you, Logan. The police never identify you correctly—” dryly, she commented, “this time, you were a renegade android—but these attacks started too soon after my arrival became public.”

Logan groaned. “An android? Really?” He scoffed. “At this rate, I could almost start walking in public and the police would never identify me.” Catalyst arched an eyebrow knowingly, but said nothing. For one thing, Logan had been a wanted fugitive for five years, and had made sure that every police department in the country had a warrant for his arrest. Secondly… well, it’s not hard to miss a man half-made of metal. Especially when he makes no effort to hide it….

She shook it off, and turned back to important matters: “We both know you were trying to attract my attention. You have it. I don’t suppose I can convince you to take this elsewhere, protect the innocents?”

Connell chuckled at that. “I’m glad you’ve stopped trying to be subtle. After all, it’s not like I figured out your tactics after our first dozen or so… encounters.” Suddenly, all the amusement was gone, and his expression darkened. “It’s an amusing double standard you have. You care so much about all the innocent strangers, you want to save them from even minor injuries… and yet, you don’t really care about what your own actions cause.”

Kirane contained a groan. ’Here we go again….’ “Logan, do we really have to—”

“No, I suppose that discussion is over.” He admitted… in words only. “It’ll just be an endless cycle of tossing the blame around. As if I would intentionally leave myself to die slowly….”

Catalyst’s eyes widened. That was new. “To die?”

“You just thought it was painful, didn’t you? No, now it’s killing me. And it’s all thanks to your interference.”

Kirane didn’t know what to say. Actually, she did; she knew that this had always been a possibility, that he always knew, but… she couldn’t say it. Instead, she asked her new pressing question: “Then what, exactly, do you want now?”

“I have nothing to lose.” Connell spat. For the first time, Logan raised his left hand… and revealed a large object, not unlike a big grenade. “So why not go out with a little bit of revenge?”

Catalyst gasped, and suddenly grabbed something on her right arm. “Connell, what is that?”

“On its own? Not much, really.” Connell admitted. “But, combined with some of the… ‘benefits’ of my condition, it’s practically a black hole generator.” He saw the change in his opponent’s expression, and admitted, “Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But you get the idea: effectively, you can think of it as a powerful bomb. Obviously, I’ve had no chance to test it, but I think you could measure the damage in city blocks.” He shot her a sideways glance. “I’m sure you’d find a way to miraculously survive, as always. I can’t promise the same for all the civilians in the area. And don’t hope I’d give them time to evacuate.”

Kirane couldn’t hold his gaze; she’d come to that conclusion a long time ago. And, given what she knew about his “condition”, she could believe every word he said. If he was already dying, there was no point telling him he wouldn’t survive either…. “Logan, what do you want?” She asked again. “What can I do to prevent this?”

Logan chuckled, coldly. “Are you giving me carte blanche? Hmm, that’s tempting.” But he still shook his head. “But it’s too late for that. What can you do for me? Enjoy my last little surprise while you can.”

Actually, there was one more thing she could do. She knew that, in all likelihood, neither of them would make it out of this alive… but Logan had made his choice, and her life was unimportant compared to all those innocents. No, she had to try.

Catalyst ripped her dark red bracelet off her right arm. By the time she’d reached back with the left hand, the bracelet had become a straight rod. As it was back there, it suddenly sharpened and made a point, forming a knife-like shape. She threw it at Logan’s hand. It glanced off the metal part of his hand, but that forced it up, and across the part that was still skin. Logan cried out and, instinctively, let go of his prize; both the bomb and her “bracelet” fell towards the pavement.

That was perfect. The tarmac was still only semi-solid, thanks to her initial reaction to Logan’s presence. Then, she wanted to give him a reason not to come near her, and a lane of tar was enough to keep the cyborg at bay. Now, it made a good conveyer belt. She reached out with one hand and pantomimed grabbing the objects, then yanked her arm back. Suddenly, the ground seemed to move towards her, bringing both of her prizes with it. She snatched them up, one in each hand.

Logan had given up nursing his wound, and instead folded his arms and pointed out, “All I have to do is touch it now, and the bomb will go off. You’re fast, Kirane, but you can’t outrun me anymore. What do you think you accomplished?”

“The bomb won’t be here when it goes off.” She told him. “With luck, it’ll be stuck in some pocket dimension.”

Logan’s eyes widened for a moment, but he quickly masked it with a glare. “Your technology doesn’t work anymore, Kirane. If it takes the bomb there, it will take you with it.”

“Fine. If you stay over there, then it won’t go off. If you come here….” She slowly let out her breath. “Well, no one else gets hurt. I’m willing to live with those options.”

“Kirane—!” Catalyst was done talking. She quickly slapped her bracelet back on—probably should have de-sharpened it first, but at least she put a dull side on her arm—and opened her jacket. Hidden underneath was a metal belt, with a round device where the buckle should have been. She quickly took it off, then wrapped it around the bomb.

Meanwhile, Logan threw caution to the wind. He sprinted forward, but his first step took him into Kirane’s sticky trap. Had she been paying attention, he knew, this could have been a dangerous situation for him. As it was, however, she hadn’t made the trap deep enough; it just slowed him down. But that was all she needed.

Logan struggled to his feet, and grabbed Kirane’s wrist—just in time for her to hit the last button, and a sort of portal appeared and engulfed them both.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ryadian » May 14, 2011 1:22 pm

Catalyst and Logan end up in some woods in a place they don't recognize, without the bomb--apparently, it got lost in transit. Logan still decides to "get his revenge", so he and Catalyst fight once more--this time ending when Kirane makes a bad move and is knocked unconscious. However, that's the same time Phoenix Archer decided to step in.

The sun was setting, the clouds every shade from red to purple. In a small clearing in the woods, all was peaceful. The wind rippled across the long grass, a couple of birds could be heard in the distance… and, suddenly, a booming sound and a flash of light shattered the tranquil scene.

“Woah!” Catalyst felt her feet hit the ground, and just barely stopped the rest of her body from following in suit. She was suddenly very glad for her training; it must’ve kicked in without her realizing it, so she landed on her feet… rather than on her back, or head, or any other similarly uncomfortable positions. But, wait… she landed. How did that happen? The last thing she remembered, she had opened the dimension to the pocket dimension, and Logan was—

Suddenly, it clicked. ‘Where’s Logan?’ She spun around. A little ways behind her, a form was lying in the grass—apparently, Connell had landed on his side when he came in. Luckily for her, he seemed just as dazed as she was. He clutched his head and groaned as he slowly found his feet. He looked around for a couple moments, looked up, and locked eyes with Kirane. “How did we get… here?”

She knew he didn’t really mean “here”. He just meant “Not stuck in limbo with my bomb about to go off”. In that case, Kirane didn’t have much of an answer: “You were the one who… modified my technology. I assumed you would know.”

Logan groaned, irritated. “We must have gotten separated from your… teleporter, or whatever you call it. It took the bomb elsewhere, and we… ended up here.” Logan looked around, turning away slightly. "Wherever ‘here’ is.”

Kirane shrugged, but half-heartedly; there was nothing to be casual about at the moment, except, of course…. “Well, we’re alive, aren’t we?”

His demeanor was instantly icy. Whatever semblance of conversational politeness he’d entertained, it was dead now. Slowly, he looked back over his shoulder, then turned slightly towards her. “For now, at any rate.” Whiiir. Uh-oh. Catalyst couldn’t tell what, exactly, he was doing just by sound… but as soon as he started using his cybernetic components, she was in trouble. As of yet, she hadn’t beaten his new form without extensive strategy…. “But as long as we’re both stuck here,” Logan decided, “I mind as well enjoy what time I have left.”

Kirane dragged her foot over the ground in front of her, and recreated the liquid ground trap. She took a couple steps back, then reached for a bracelet on either arm—the red one again, plus a thick, black one from her left arm. Dryly, she noted, ‘Well, at least I got him away from the civilians. “Logan, do you really want to do this?” Kirane asked. His expression asked the obvious, so she amended, “I know… you blame me for what happened. But we have no idea where we are, and we’ll need each other—”

“Oh, don’t worry, Kirane,” Logan interrupted coolly, “I won’t kill you right away. No, I’ll keep you alive… and just let you wait for the inevitable day when I do. Right away just wouldn’t be enough….”

Nope, no delaying this; diplomatic channels were closed. Kirane swept her hand in front of her again, and the ground between her and Connell all started to liquefy slightly. But he just sidestepped it, and started charging towards her. He threw one punch at her, than another; she twisted and ducked under both, then flipped backwards. She knew she couldn’t keep her distance from Logan forever, but… she looked around. All she had to work with were trees, grass, and what material she had in her bracelets. That wasn’t going to be enough. Kirane backed into a tree, then spun around it; it was true that Logan was much faster than her, but there was no way he could maneuver in these trees.

Unless, of course, he decided the trees just were too annoying an obstacle. Whiiir….RIIING! Suddenly, the sounds of moving machinery became a shriek, and a blue light started shining behind her. Catalyst realized her mistake and quickly took cover behind another tree. Just in time; that blue light turned out to be a blue… ray, or blast of some kind, and it effortlessly knocked the tree down.

Logan had both arms raised and pointed at the tree; blue lines of light were still visible on the cybernetic parts of his arms, but that was fading away. He lowered his arms, then took a few steps into the rest of the woods. He could continue knocking trees down all night, really, but that would take too long… and she was too slippery for that. But he would have to find her, quickly.

Logan glanced to his left, then to his right… and decided on his left. He took a couple of cautious steps closer, glancing around for any sign of his opponent. Both of his arms stiffened, and the blue lines began to return.

Suddenly, Kirane leapt out from behind one of the trees. She darted behind Connell, then slammed her hand against his shoulder. Suddenly, the metal started to melt, exposing some circuitry beneath, before reforming again in a different shape… Logan roared in surprise, only slightly in pain, and tried to turn around. Normally, Kirane would’ve been too quick for that… but there was something neither of them counted on.

“AGH!” Before Catalyst could finish, a flash of blue light exploded from the exposed wiring. She flew backwards for a few feet, before crashing into the grass. Most people would have been grateful to land in the clearing, instead of in the nearest tree, but Kirane would’ve been glad for the pain. It was only a fraction of what she normally felt from Logan’s blasts, but… he also usually controlled their intensity. The raw exposure left her weakened, numb… and, quite possibly, unconscious very shortly.

Connell was still clutching his shoulder, muttering incomplete, probably unrepeatable phrases under his breath, as he turned around… and saw his opponent lying, vulnerable, on the ground. Suddenly, his irritation and pain dulled considerably, and he smirked. “I suppose it’s your just desserts, Kirane; you actually tried to injure me? That’s a desperate move.” He started taking a few steps closer. “But now you know why not to touch a live wire….”

Twang—thwack!! Logan stopped as something suddenly appeared at his feet. Logan stared at it, blankly, for a few moments, before he finally realized what it was. An… arrow? He subconsciously calculated its most likely path, and looked up to see its origin… and well, really, he didn’t know whether he should have been surprised or not.

On the other end of the clearing stood a woman, probably a few years his junior. She was dressed almost entirely in a variety of red and gold, and her clothing… well, it looked more like robes of some kind than regular clothing, but not altogether impractical for a fight. She held a bow, which she was already reloading and aiming at him. But the most remarkable feature about this woman was her position: she was landing using her golden, bird-like wings.

As soon as she had his attention, Phoenix Archer demanded, “You need to step away from her now, stand down, and explain why exactly you’re tearing up the woods in my back yard.”
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ryadian » May 14, 2011 1:27 pm

Phoenix Archer was on "patrol" when she saw a flash of light going off in the woods. She investigates, and stumbles upon Logan and Kirane's fight, just in time for Kirane to be rendered helpless. She steps in and tries to diffuse the situation; instead, Logan attacks her for her interference. Both opponents realize they've underestimated the other during their short battle; Logan realizes that he'd have a hard time winning this battle, swears vengeance, and escapes into the woods. Phoenix Archer helps Kirane, who asks where they are. Surprisingly, after hearing she was in Ditto Town, Kirane says she "finally made it", before passing out.

Phoenix Archer was gliding over the woods just outside Ditto Town, not too far away from her own cottage. Technically, she was making her patrol route for the night—but really, she was only out to relax. Ditto Town was still the center of a lot of attention, to be sure, but so little of that was actual action. Yes, she knew the schemes of their enemies were still rising and falling in the borders of their quiet little town, but… to be honest, she didn’t really follow those schemes very well. So, as far as she was concerned, all was quiet, and flight was for enjoying the sunset.

But really, by now, she should know better: if you convince yourself that everything is peaceful, then something will prove you wrong. The more ironic, the better.

Suddenly, there was a blue flash of light, down in the woods below, followed by a loud thud. Phoenix Archer turned towards the source. It came from a small clearing—well, relatively small—within easy walking distance of town, but far enough away that she was probably the only witness. She decided to get a closer look. Just to be safe, she reached into her quiver and pulled out her bow. As she prepared to land, she set an arrow on the string….

Things got no clearer as she got closer. On the other side of the clearing, there were two people, a woman and a man, standing by a freshly fallen tree. The woman was dressed in light purple clothing, and had… wait, dark blue hair, and rather gray skin…? But the man was stranger. He looked mostly human, but… his entire backside—including the backs of his arms, the back of his head, everything—was covered in… metal? No, it looked like… it was part of his body….

The woman was making her move. She leapt out from behind a tree, darted behind him, and put a hand on his shoulder. He seemed to react, somewhat in pain, but it was nothing compared to what happened to her. Another blue flash went off, much smaller, but it seemed more intense. The woman screamed in pain and was flung back.

The man took notice of this, smiled, and said something to her…. Phoenix Archer couldn’t hear the words, but she could read the face. She needed to step in. She aimed at the ground between the man and the woman, careful to avoid getting too close to either, and fired.

The man was somewhat stunned. He glanced at the arrow, then at her, and clearly sized her up. She doubted she was anything he was expecting, but given what he looked like, she doubted much really surprised him. Still, she took advantage of the shock, and made her stand: “You need to step away from her now, stand down, and explain why exactly you’re tearing up the woods in my back yard.”

Logan wasn’t really impressed by this woman. She sounded a bit territorial, but not particularly dangerous… or interested. “This is none of your concern.” He told her, coolly, diplomatically. Still, he folded his arms and adjusted to a familiar stance: the one that said, “I’m strong, I know it, and I’m in control right now.” “She and I just have some… personal problems. I’m perfectly willing to take this somewhere else, if that’s the problem.”

Phoenix Archer just aimed her bow and pulled the arrow back. “No, that’s not the problem. See, to be honest, my sympathies are with her at the moment, seeing as she’s the one lying unconscious on the ground, and you’re the one that’s knocking trees over.” She “shrugged”, as best as she could in that position. “But I only saw the last part of this fight, so I don’t really know what’s going on. So I’m giving you a chance to explain this to the authorities and let them figure it out. But until then… I protect the people of Ditto Town, residents or visitors. And I’m not letting anyone get hurt just now.”

Connell smiled amusedly. “How noble of you. And thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt.” He unfolded his arms, letting all the gears whir loudly, then pounded a fist into an open hand. “But it’s undeserved. Only one person here needs get hurt—and if you’re smart, it won’t be you.”

Well, she gave him his chance. Phoenix Archer didn’t stand down, but didn’t engage; he needed to make the first move. The man turned away, took a step towards the woman…. Phoenix Archer aimed for the back of his arm, the part mostly shielded by the metal, and shot.

The man reached out, snatched the arrow mid-flight, and snapped it with one hand. Phoenix Archer stared as she tried to wrap her head around it. She really shouldn’t be surprised by this, but that kind of speed was inhuman. ‘So, he’s not just exceptionally strong… maybe I should’ve called for backup. But at least his pride was perfectly human: he just kept holding the arrow, smirking, expecting this surprise to be the last straw. So, she decided to respond with a surprise of her own. She snapped her fingers; suddenly, out of the yellow core in the arrow shaft, a small lightning bolt burst out and zapped him. He all-but yelped and dropped the pieces.

The amusement vanished. “All right, you’re going to be a problem.”

Phoenix Archer scoffed. “Well, then, bring it on.” ‘I was just complaining about how little action there’s been lately….’ The man charged towards her. She slid her bow back in her quiver and assumed a defensive stance. He threw a punch at her, which she side-stepped, then punched him in the stomach. Correctly, she’d assumed it was still flesh-and-blood… and he hadn’t really expected an actual attack. This was good; he didn’t actually know much about fighting, he just depended on his strength and reflexes.

Still, he had plenty of both, so she needed space. She stepped back, then drew both of her daggers. Once again, he looked surprised; once again, she took advantage of that. She swung at him with both, one at a time; he threw up his arms to defend himself, but she still managed to cut the skin side a little. She noticed, and activated that dagger a bit; suddenly, a tiny flame lit up along the blade. He cringed, and just barely avoided nursing the injury.

Phoenix Archer smiled—okay, maybe smirked. “Don’t underestimate an opponent, smart guy.” She made another attack—okay, not the best idea. He grabbed her right arm, then threw her backwards. She extended her wings and stopped herself, but mostly lost her balance. Her opponent pressed the advantage. He charged towards her, and made a few blows—this time, for the most part, they hit. She quickly covered her front with her wings—poor shields, but they confused him long enough to re-orient herself. She sidestepped, re-opened her wings, then slashed at the man again. This time, as her ice dagger scraped across his metal covering, she left a sheet of ice behind.

Logan half-roared and broke away from her. He was visibly seething, but… he glanced over the damage. One shoulder frozen, the other deformed, multiple cuts and other injuries, all while stranded in some strange land. Now was not the time to be fighting a completely unknown opponent…. Connell glanced towards Catalyst, still completely helpless, but just out of reach. He snarled, “You got lucky this time, Kirane.” He turned towards his opponent, who had relented her assault. “As for you and your precious…” He thought back, to the name she used, “‘Ditto Town’, I’ll tolerate a do-gooder once, but you’d better not give her sanctuary. Because I’m coming back for her.” With that, he turned, and dashed away through the trees.

Phoenix Archer sheathed her daggers. She could go after him, but… it wasn’t such a good idea. If you could call that battle a victory, she “won” because she had surprise on her side, and… well, it looked like he’d already been worn down in a previous battle. In a more fair fight, she doubted she’d come out on top again. Besides… there was that woman. She might be injured, or….

Phoenix Archer turned and started running towards her. As she did, she pulled out her bow and an arrow, pointed it towards the sky, and fired. Once it was high enough up, she activated it; the lightning shot out, making a somewhat unorthodox flare. She hoped someone in Ditto Town would recognize it, just in case she needed help.

She put her bow back as she knelt by the woman. She propped her up and asked, “Hey… are you all right, l—err, ma’am?”

The woman—Kirane?—shook her head, and instead weakly asked, “Before, you said… you said where we were. What… did you call it?”

Phoenix Archer stifled her annoyance; she was the injured one, she had a right to ask. Besides, considering how many people came here by portal and weren’t expecting it, she probably had no clue. “You’re just outside Ditto Town.” She explained. “I’ll get you to town, see if we can’t find you some help.”

The woman smiled. “Ditto Town… so, I finally made it.” She hated to admit it, but Phoenix Archer froze at that. Of all the things she’d expected to hear… well, that wasn’t one of them. She looked back at her charge, but by now, she’d closed her eyes, and was probably unconscious. With a sigh, Phoenix Archer picked her up and started heading towards the closest building: her house.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby stargazer » May 19, 2011 3:50 pm

…Molly squirmed excitedly on Erik’s lap, and he could hardly blame her. She was simply being open with the joyful emotions they all felt.

“All right, all right, you can hold it.” Abby’s face shone as she carefully placed the new gargoyle egg in her daughter’s lap. “But handle it gently. Your sister is in there.”

“My sister? How do you know?” Molly’s eyes were wide with wonder.

“See the pattern of the purple spots? That’s how we know this is a female.”

“So you knew I’d be a girl?” This new information was almost too much for the child to handle; it was like being let in on some grand universal secret.

“That’s right, sweetheart,” Abby replied. “And Daddy suggested your name almost right away. But he suggested we keep it a secret from everyone so they’d all be surprised when you hatched.”


“Yup,” Erik chimed in. “There were times it was mighty hard to keep that secret, though. Just like human parents, we were often asked, ‘Is it a boy or a girl? What names are you thinking about?’ Both of us had to pretend not to know. It was hard sometimes, but still kind of fun.”

Erik watched his daughter gently run a talon along the egg’s surface. It turned out that the reminder that she be gentle was unnecessary; she was treating this egg as though it were made of finest crystal. Now that it had had a full day to harden, its shell was actually quite strong.

“Speaking of names…” Abby prompted.

“Holly,” the little girl immediately burst out. “Then we’d rhyme.”

“That’s very cute. You know, I was thinking of something related to the background color of her egg.”

Molly inspected the shell closely, then scrunched up her little nose, puzzled. “White? I don’t think she’d like being called that.”

Erik fought down a chuckle. He had a pretty good idea of what his beloved had in mind, and let her know telepathically that he approved. He’d chosen Molly’s name, after all, and was more than willing to let his mate have a ‘turn.’

He remained silent, allowing Abby to offer another hint to Molly. “Think of my favorite flower that’s this color.”

Molly thought for a moment, then squealed out, “Lily!”

“That’s right! Do you like it?”

“It’s pretty, Mama!”

“Ditto from me,” Erik grinned. “What say we announce Lily’s name to the whole town in advance this time? We could have a hatching open house just like Molly’s.”

Erik jumped awake, startled by a squawk from the hatchling in his lap. Baby Molly was very awake, looking up at him with twinkling eyes as her stomach growled in hunger.

“Okay, okay, I’m on it,” he reassured her as he heated a bottle for the hungry little one.

As she eagerly drank it, her eyes still intently watching him, Erik considered what he’d just experienced. He’d had unusual dreams before concerning children – a particularly bizarre one with twins immediately came to mind – but this one had seemed so real. Maybe he’d talk to Abby about it later. He loved being a father, and his heart beat a little faster: Molly several years older, walking and talking; and another hatchling on the way? And he liked the idea of publicly announcing their next child’s gender and tentative name to their friends in town and at home. But surely that time was still far off.

Yet something in the back of his mind nagged. Not only had the egg been unusually colored – lily-white rather than pale lavender – but it had also been unusually small, so much so that he worried the hatchling within might have health problems. It’s nothing, he reassured himself. No need to worry. After all, it’s just a dream…
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Varnafinde » Jul 27, 2011 5:24 pm

Varnafinde was almost ready to leave for the movie night. All she had left to do was to comb her long hair.

It would be interesting to meet again the elf who was not from Middle-earth. She had only met Gwanuig once, while she was still preparing to open her bookshop.

He and Katherine had been in the library. They had got to talking about some book they were all looking for, and Varna had said that she would add it to her list of books to secure for her bookshop. This had gotten them to talk about the bookshop, and to introduce themselves to each other. Varna had been thrilled to meet another elf, and had asked whether they might be remotely related (she guessed it would be remotely after so many years).

To this, Gwanuig had shaken his head, and Katherine had looked a little embarrassed.

"No, I'm not related to the elves of Middle-earth," he said. "But as you are one of them, I guess you have a right to know - and it's a long story. Why don't we go over to the Cup and Platter and have something to drink, and I could tell you there? The library isn't really the place for sharing one's life history."

At the Cup and Platter he had told her about how his ancestors had left Middle-earth for a different dimension - a different world, she guessed she herself would have called it - and how their culture had developed differently from the culture of the elves of Middle-earth. Even at the time of the War of the Ring the connection between them was already dissolved. Varna had found it very interesting, but rather complicated.

She hadn't seen him since, as he and Katherine had been away for a while. Even though he wasn't family, he still was of her people, same dimension or not, and she looked forward to meeting him again and getting to know him and Katherine better.

Finally her hair was done, and she was ready to go.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ryadian » Jul 30, 2011 2:26 pm

Kirane wakes up in Ryana's cabin. After thanking her for the rescue, Kirane begins explaining who she is and what's she's doing there. She first explains that she comes from a civilization that specializes in interworldly travel. As a result, they discovered a strange place with all manner of portals going through, to, from, and/or nearby. The name of this place? Ditto Town.

Kirane tried to focus her blurry vision on the ceiling. It looked kind of like wooden boards, and reminded her of some of the movies she’d seen on Arret—the ones about its history within the last couple of centuries. It looked like the ceiling in one of those… what did they always call those houses? Oh yes, “log cabins”. Convenient that said movies always used that particular term at one point in time or another.

Kirane ignored the idiosyncrasies of her vocabulary and started observing other things. The walls continued the “log cabin” idea, but she was lying on a couch. A clearly more modern couch. To her right, there was a TV against the wall, with a quiver of arrows and bow leaning up against it. She didn’t bother being confused by the anachronisms; in fact, it was fairly comforting. All the more evidence that she’d found it after all.

“Good, you’re awake.” Kirane started a bit, then chided herself for the panic. This was clearly not Logan’s voice; it was the other voice she vaguely remembered, the one of her rescuer. She sat up and turned her head left, towards the voice. The red-haired woman from before, apparently, had been sitting at the table behind her; now she was standing and walking towards her. “I was a bit worried for a while; I’m not much of a doctor, myself.”

The woman had taken off her mask, which made a vast improvement. Combined with the nighttime darkness, the dark-colored mask had helped make her look a rather… well, she was certainly glad this creature was benevolent. Even now, she still looked unnatural—at least, not entirely human—but in a much different way. Other than the wings, there was nothing she could put her finger on, but something about her face, maybe her eyes… it just wasn’t like the humans Kirane was used to. Then again, that was probably normal in this town.

Kirane shook it off. She instead greeted her rescuer with a faint smile. “As strange as this is going to sound, he usually tries to be ‘gentle’.” She stopped as realization suddenly dawned. “How… how long have I been here?”

“Over an hour.” She glanced at a clock on the wall. “Exactly one hour and twenty-four minutes since I brought you inside, anyways.” She looked back and saw Kirane’s surprised expression. “I’ve rescued people with reasons for wanting exact details.”

Kirane smiled dryly. “Don’t worry; I can do without.” She started moving as many joints as she could, trying to work out the stiffness. “That was a pretty fast recovery, though. I’m not going to complain about that.”

She had just finished stretching her arms a bit when she finally turned back to face the other woman. She had a mixed look on her face, trying to hold back something and just barely winning. Finally, she said, “Look, I know the last few hours have been a bit rough on you, but… I mean, I’m a bit curious about a few things….”

Kirane shook her head. “Oh no, an explanation is the least of what I owe you. And I’m fine now.” Kirane pulled herself fully into a sitting position, making room on the other end for the woman to sit down. “I suppose a good place to start is my name. I—” She stopped; how should she introduce herself? “Well, I go by more than one name, but my real name is Kirane.”

The woman nodded. “That’s what I thought your ‘friend’ said.”

“Ah.” Yes… sometime she would have to get around to Logan. That would be… interesting. In the meanwhile, she cautiously asked, “Um, I hope you don’t mind my asking, but… what’s your name? The only one I have for you is ‘my rescuer’.”

“I have a few names, too.” The woman responded, with a shrug. “You can call me Ryana, but I also go by Phoenix Archer. Or Vanessa, but that’s a long story.”

Kirane nodded. “All right. Then Ryana, thank you for your help.” She smiled wryly. “I would say you were like my guardian angel, but I suppose you hear that a lot.”

Ryana mirrored the smile. “Yeah, a few times. I’ve mastered the art of rolling my eyes internally.” She hesitated for a moment, then added, “And… well, let’s put it this way. Most of the time, when people around here find out where they are, they’re either wildly confused by the strange sights around here, or asking me what kind of a name ‘Ditto Town’ is.” Fresh confusion washed over her features. “You’re… the first person I’ve met who not only knew what was going on, but… was pleased to hear it. How did you know?”

“That… is a long story.” Kirane paused, and quickly clarified, “Not that I don’t have the time to tell it; I’m just trying to decide where is the best place to start.” And for a few moments, that’s what she did. Finally, she began with: “I imagine you’ve already figured this out, but I’m not really human. My people are known as the Krescans.”

Kirane barely contained a sigh; she was getting nowhere. “My people have developed what you might call ‘wormhole’ technology.” She shrugged. “At least, that’s what most of the humans I’ve met call it. We’ve learned how to travel between worlds, and study the other means of transportation between worlds.”

Ryana’s face didn’t change much, but nonetheless, Kirane could tell that she was suddenly intrigued. “Other means? You mean other civilizations have this kind of technology?”

Kirane shook her head, then stopped, and shrugged. “Well, yes, but in a much more limited way. For the most part, they just exploit natural passages between worlds—calling them wormholes, gateways, or… well, I prefer ‘portals’.”

The other woman nodded, apparently still thinking that over. “So, then were do the ‘natural’ portals come from?”

“That’s a question my people have pondered for generations. And, to be honest, we still have nothing more than theories. We’ve just studied them.” She hesitated for a minute. “See, that’s why I’m here. Almost a decade ago, we… discovered something. An incredible amount of portals—natural and otherwise—that either began or went through one specific place. It took us a while, but we finally learned something about this place: its name.” She paused, almost as if for dramatic effect. “Ditto Town.”
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ryadian » Jul 30, 2011 3:36 pm

Kirane continues her story. She explains how her people wanted to know more about Ditto Town, so they sent an "ambassador" of sorts--Kirane. However, thanks to a mystery explosion, when Kirane did go, she ended up in another world, called Arret. This world is a lot like Earth, with one big exception: superpowers, there, have been real for the past few decades. Ryana's pretty sure that now, she's seen it all.

Ryana was fully intrigued by now. She wasn’t really as surprised as she should have been, but… well, obviously, it was leading somewhere. “I guess that makes sense.” She responded. “I have personal experience with some of these… portals. There are a lot of those things around here.”

Kirane nodded. “To be honest, stumbling onto that information was a bit of luck. Because of how these work, it’s hard to find a physical location without actually being there. We could only try to follow them and get as close as we can until we finally found the right place. So, we continued trying, and picked up a little bit more information along the way—or speculated as best as we could.” Dryly, she admitted, “The name was the most striking information we’ve picked up so far. To be honest, I still don’t understand it. We managed to translate it into your language, and….”

Kirane didn’t seem sure how to finish, but Ryana had a feeling she knew where this was going. “Yeah, it doesn’t make a whole lot more sense here, really. I’ll explain it to you sometime.”

“Really??” Ryana was a little surprised by Kirane’s enthusiasm, but she slowly understood why. It was like uncovering the mysteries of some lost civilization, as far as she was concerned. She may have faked some of her own enthusiasm in that area, but even when she was disguised as Vanessa, she did somewhat enjoy her archeological work. A less excited response would’ve been cause for confusion. While Ryana was thinking this over, Kirane suddenly blushed and realized, “But of course, I still need to finish my story.”

She shook it off, and continued, “It wasn’t until about six years ago that we finally discovered the true location of Ditto Town. A call went out in the more scholarly circles for anyone who was willing to volunteer to go there, make first contact, and find out what we could from that end.” She smiled dryly. “I’ll admit, I’m not much of a scientist or scholar—but my parents have always been. And they felt I was perfect for the job.” She shrugged and admitted, “That might be an exaggeration, but I was willing to do it. It seemed like a good way to help my people.”

“Wait… you?” Kirane just nodded, as if she’d expected that. This next question was probably equally predictable, but Ryana asked it anyways: “But… I thought you said this was six years ago. Why did it take so long?” While she asked the question, her brain continued puzzling through it. This was about the point that she came up with a solution: “Did the portal somehow affect time as well?”

Kirane shook her head. “Some portals do seem to… bend the laws of time, but not to that extent. No, to be honest, there was a slight…” She hesitated, and for the first time since she’d woken up, Ryana saw that she looked disturbed. Slowly, she finished, “…detour.”

Her friendly demeanor didn’t return, but she regained her composure, at least. “The night I was set to leave, something happened. I don’t know what; all I know is that there were explosions and people shouting….” She shook her head. “I’ve puzzled over it for six years, and I still can’t piece anything together. The only thing I can say is that most everyone was confused as I was—but some seemed to know better.”

“Whatever the case, I was already ready to go before it started. They had just finished putting the last of the equipment together. Everything… came to a standstill when the noises started, but, when there was this last one that seemed to shake everything….” Kirane shrugged. “I don’t know if it was an accident or if someone decided to send me right away, before the place came down. Whatever the case, somehow, the equipment activated, and I was sent to my destination.”

“But you didn’t end up here.” Ryana surmised.

Kirane nodded. “The coordinates must have gotten scrambled at some point. As it turns out, I ended up on a world I’d never heard of called ‘Arret’. Their technology was… strange, and in some ways far more advanced than that of my people, but in terms of travel?” She shook her head. “Not even close. They haven’t even gone far beyond their own planet.”

“So no way home from there.” Ryana assumed. Kirane nodded. “And, with what happened before you left….”

Kirane nodded again, this time with a slight grimace. “My best hope was that it was just a minor accident, and I could expect a passage home within a couple hours. At worst, something drastic had happened, and I would be waiting in vain.” She shrugged. “I waited as long as I could, but nothing happened. Finally, I decided it was time to move on, find out what I could about that world.”

“There’s a lot to say about that world, so I’ll… ‘hit the highlights’. Apparently, this is a world where, for the most part….” She seemed to search for the right way to say this. Finally, she asked, “Maybe I should make sure. On your world, are your abilities… at all unusual?”

Ryana glanced at her wings. “You mean these?”

Kirane nodded. “And… perhaps it was my state of mind, but I thought I saw you somehow creating fire last night….”

Ryana nodded. “No, that happened. And you’re right, these aren’t normal.” She shrugged and added, “But, I’m also not entirely human. Most humans don’t have anything you might consider… a ‘special ability’. At least, unless you’re around these parts.” She smiled dryly. “I assume that’s what you were getting at.”

“Are you a mind-reader, too?” Ryana’s eye twitched slightly, but at least she avoided the flinch her instincts demanded. It was a joke, and there was no way Kirane could’ve known. No need to react just now; maybe she’d explain later. For now, she just shrugged the comment off; Kirane took it as her cue to continue. “Anyways, that’s true of Arret as well. Most of the population are normal humans. However, there are quite a few with extra gifts. Or ‘superpowers’, as they liked to call them.”

“‘Superpowers’? What, this was a planet full of superheroes or something?” Ryana couldn’t resist. She’d seen enough of that kind of thing from when the girls used to watch TV a lot. She was fine with it until they tried to suggest that she was some kind of superhero.

“Actually, yes, that’s what they called them.” Ryana’s eyes widened at that; um, that was supposed to be a joke…. “Apparently, they’ve had a form of entertainment called ‘comic books’ for several decades before the true ‘superheroes’ started to appear. Many of them created ‘alter egos’ modeled after these comic books.”

Kirane was being absolutely serious, but… Ryana just couldn’t believe it. Something like that almost had to be a joke. “Now I’ve heard of everything.” And she thought that’d happened when she moved into a town called “Ditto Town”.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ryadian » Jul 30, 2011 3:43 pm

Kirane gets more to the present. She explains that she, essentially, became one of these superheroes, and during that time, she met Logan Connell. He gained special hatred for her after he stole her people's teleportation technology in an attempt to gain the power himself. Kirane stopped him, and that caused problems for his cybernetic systems. He escaped.

Kirane decided that Ryana probably didn’t actually want a response. Instead, she continued her story: “To be honest, I liked the idea. There were some who abused their abilities, but many people used them for good purposes. Some actively fought crime, and others just found ways to help others. I even met someone who used his powers to help a charity.”

Ryana shrugged. “That’s a noble thing to do, I suppose.”

Kirane nodded. “So that’s why I decided to follow in their example. I had some help from a friend I met choosing a name, along with… some other things.”

Ryana seemed surprised by that. “Wait, you?” Kirane nodded, for the second time that night to the same question…. “Sorry. I didn’t realize that you had any… well, ‘powers’. I didn’t see a whole lot of that fight.”

“I didn’t have much opportunity to use them.” Kirane admitted, but other than that, she conveniently ignored her memories of the fight. In the meanwhile, a demonstration was in order. Kirane grabbed the edge of her left sleeve with her right hand. Suddenly, the light purple fabric started to change color, darkening to a deep blue. Ryana stared at it for a few seconds, before Kirane let go; the sleeve changed back to its original color.

“How did you do that?” The other woman wondered. “An illusion?”

“No, it really changed. I changed the color of the dye by… rearranging a few things. This isn’t the most accurate way to describe it, but think of it as… I have the ability to change things at the molecular level. To some extent, I can change the form or substance of… a lot of things. There are some things beyond my range, unfortunately.”

“I’m not really that much of a scientist, but that sounds like an impressive power.”

Kirane shrugged. “It’s actually fairly common on my world. Perhaps not to the extent that I have, but… I’m hardly the only one of my kind.” She paused, realizing that Ryana might be thinking of something else. “And, like I said, my powers are only to a certain extent. For one thing, I can’t change very much of… well, anything, at a time. And there are a lot of things I never figured out how to do.”

Ryana nodded, and let it drop. Instead, she asked a different question: “So, I take it you spent the next six years on that world. How did you get here?”

Kirane couldn’t really answer at first. She’d known the conversation would get here eventually, but… somehow, she’d kind of hoped to avoid it. Oh well; at least she’d figured out where to begin. “That’s a story that begins with a man named Logan Connell. I won’t explain why now—it’s pretty much irrelevant right now—but he and I have been enemies for… a long time. [One time, he got a hold of my teleportation technology. He was convinced that he could integrate my technology into his cybernetic components.”

“I’d like to hear that story sometime.”

Kirane nodded grimly. “Maybe someday. But suffice it to say that Logan gained his proficiency in cybernetics after he became a cyborg. And they believe that was just because his now-partly digital mind could hold more information, not because of any actual prowess.”

Ryana nodded in understanding, but she was still puzzling over one of those words. “‘They believe’? Who are ‘they’?”

“The scientists he stole the prototype from… and the ones he forced to help him install it.”

Ryana scoffed. “Sounds like a nice guy.” Now that that was taken care of, she returned to Kirane’s original point: “But, if he needed help to install them in the first place, then how did he plan to adapt it to your technology? I’m going to guess that technology from a completely different world was a bit different from his.”

“Like I said, the scientists believe that his mind could hold information, and probably process it faster, with the cybernetics. Provided the prototype worked as intended, since they never had a chance to test it, they designed it that way so that the cyborg could actually use his limbs. For Logan, who was already a brilliant scientist, it did make it far easier to take on a secondary science, mechanics and cybernetics.” She hesitated; this was the part of the story she wasn’t really looking forward to telling. “And… he may have overestimated exactly what he was capable of.

“I finally tracked him down. He’d already reverse-engineered quite a bit of my technology, and was in the process of adding it to his technology. He… he told me that there was just one more thing he needed to do. But he was left in a vulnerable state. If I tried to stop him… his cybernetics would probably malfunction, possibly completely shut down. He would be either in great pain or paralyzed for the rest of his life, if that lasted very long. But if I didn’t, then one of two things would happen. Either he would have my technology and be able to teleport to anywhere he wanted, or it wouldn’t work, and very likely, something would go terribly wrong.”

Ryana folded her arms, almost angrily. “Sounds like he’s a real sadist. The only reason he would tell you that is if, somehow, he thought all those consequences would be your fault if you stopped him.”

Kirane couldn’t say anything at first; it sounded so simple, so clean-cut when she said it. It sounded so good. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work so well. “Perhaps. Except… he had a point. Acting might potentially kill him just to prevent him from getting powers, or something going wrong and wreaking havoc.”

Ryana shrugged. “He’s the one who stole technology and was trying to ‘improve’ himself so that he could cause even more damage. If anything happened to him, he was asking for it.”

Kirane wanted to take that to heart, and had heard the same thing—and thought it herself—several times before. But it was hard not to wonder if the fact that it was her people’s technology, and his audacity to try to steal it from her, played into her decision…. “At any rate, I think you can guess what happened next. I decided to stop him. He was too strong for me, so I destroyed the power source. Everything shut down.” She took in a long breath. “He… was both right and wrong. He could still move and control them, but his cybernetic components were malfunctioning. I could tell… it wasn’t pleasant, at least. But he still managed to escape.”
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ryadian » Jul 30, 2011 3:52 pm

Kirane finishes her story. She explains that Logan used the aftereffects of their previous encounter to motivate his next attack, and to create the "bomb" he threatened her with. Kirane briefly recounts what happened to bring them here, and reassures Ryana that if the bomb went off in transit, it didn't hurt anyone or anything. Once she's done, Ryana realizes that Kirane is pretty exhausted, and offers to let her stay at her cottage for now.

Ryana raised an eyebrow at that, instinctually. “I was expecting a different ending. How’d that get you here?” A thought suddenly occurred to her: “Did you get your technology back?”

Kirane nodded. “He’d… made changes. On the one hand, he’d finally provided me with a power source powerful enough to activate it—I’m not sure if he ever knew I needed one, otherwise that was a foolish move.” She hesitated and admitted, “But, on the other hand, he’d clearly tampered with it. For all I knew, it might explode if I ever activated it again.”

“But I take it you did?”

Kirane nodded. “Logan may not have gained teleportation abilities, but he did gain a sort of….” She hesitated. “My friend Scott described it as ‘limited telekinesis’. It’s hard to describe, but we knew it had to have from what he did with my technology. And, this last time when I ran into him….” She shook her head. “He claimed he could use his abilities, in tandem with some device of his, to essentially create a black hole. And he was threatening to use it on a town, just to get back at me. He… apparently, what happened before didn’t just cause his cybernetics to malfunction. They’re killing him. So he had nothing left to lose.”

“Like I said, a real sadist.” In Ryana’s mind, he had moved below “pond scum”, and bordering on “Hasaré” territory. Granted, that’s because her opinion of Hasaré had… slightly improved since she’d decided her half-sister didn’t rule her life.

“I think he was depending on me thinking the device was completely deactivated—or he wasn’t expecting me to be willing to take that kind of risk. I took Connell’s bomb and activated the device. He got close enough to me that he came along with.”

Ryana’s eyes widened with that. “And… what happened to the bomb??”

“We lost it in transit. It probably exploded after we came here.”

Ryana wasn’t really reassured. “And… that won’t somehow rip apart dimensions?” Kirane’s expression was both confused and a bit… well, demeaning. “Okay, so I used to hear a lot of science fiction. It sounds like something that would happen.”

Kirane nodded, then shook her head. “No, not even close. I’m not a physicist or anything like that, but I seriously doubt Logan could create anything with the kind of power to cause that kind of damage. Besides, it was in transit—there’s nothing there to damage, really.” She shrugged. “At least, not to my knowledge.”

Ryana shook it off; Kirane seemed reassured, and she knew what was going on, so she’d trust her judgment. For now, though, there was a story to wrap up: “So, clearly, the device took you here.”

Kirane nodded. “I assume it’s because this was the original destination. So, it finally worked correctly—a few years late, but it came.”

“So… what happened to your device?”

“It got lost with the bomb.”

Ryana nodded, taking it all in. Some of it was going over her head, but… eh, she’d deal with that later. For now, there were more immediate concerns: “Well, I’m sure I’ve exhausted you for the night. You can sleep here for as long as you need to; I have plenty of extra rooms. But we can worry about more long-term arrangements later.”

Kirane smiled gratefully. “Thank you. For everything.”

Ryana shook her head. “Believe me, it’s the least I can do. Like I told your friend, you’re in Ditto Town, you’re under our protection. Besides,” She smiled dryly at this, “you sound like my type of hero.” Kirane blushed a bit at that, but didn’t say anything. Ryana stood up, and offered her a hand to help Kirane up. “C’mon, let’s make sure one of these rooms is still suitable for sleeping. I don’t think Shadow’s gotten to all of them yet….”

Kirane was a little confused. “Shadow?”

“I’ll introduce you two in the morning.”
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Varnafinde » Sep 14, 2011 10:23 am

A Varnafindë/leuthilalda/stargazer/starkat production

“Varna! Welcome!" Erik and Abby beamed at her.

Greetings were shared with the others, who had already arrived. Snacks were distributed, seats were assigned, screens were adjusted - and then they were all watching.

The hosts were familiar with the Professor’s translation of the Red Book – copies from their home world graced the Emporium’s bookshelves – and had seen these movie adaptations several times. So they had been able to devote most of their own attention to their friends’ reactions.

And as promised, Abby kept an eye – both eyes, when she could – on the Banks twins as well as her own daughter. But, at least early in the night, this had proven to be an easy task as little Tom and Maidenberry were also caught up in the action on the screen. Sea-Lily and Shasta sat with them too, to prevent too much over-exuberance, and to be available as a comforter for the more intense scenes.

"The world is changing ..."

Varnafindë enjoyed the little bits of history that were inserted at the beginning, although she wasn't sure that they were completely accurate. She reckoned that the movie-maker had to simplify things. After all, this movie would reach people who hadn't even heard about Middle-earth before. If he was to explain properly, he would have to make a TV series of several seasons instead.

It was not to be her first instance of thinking that details were not completely accurate. And when Frodo left the Shire, she couldn't stop herself from protesting.

"Hey, they should be telling that they're skipping something!" she exclaimed. "There were seventeen years between that scene and the previous one - and here it seems to be merely seventeen hours!"

Toby agreed with her. "And they are leaving out completely my mentor and friend!" he added a little later. He glanced over at Tom. "I guess it was too long to put in that whole sequence. But they did do a good job on Bree. It is a little dark, but that's probably what it looked like to Shire-folk." Rose nodded.

But there was no time to discuss it, and they all just had to restrain themselves. Varna knew that with the amount of watching they were going to do, they couldn't stop for discussions. She figured she would have to wait for the first break.

She found, though, that in spite of all the changed details, she rather liked the movie. The Shire had the right feeling - the hobbit-holes didn't look very different from the real thing. Rivendell, on the other hand, was nothing like the place she knew, but it was still a beautiful place in its own right. And movie Gandalf actually looked quite a lot like his real counterpart ...

And eventually she also found that it was best to pretend that this was a slightly different story, not the one she knew so well - then she could really enjoy it.

When the Three Hunters went off to 'hunt some Orc', and food was served before they would start on the next movie, Abby winked at her.

"I could hear you snorting a few times," she said. "Were there more things that bothered you?"

"One of the worst things was how they were portraying Merry and Pippin," Varna answered. "Yes, Pippin was the youngest, and he did make some unfortunate mistakes - but he wasn't being as silly as all that.

And he and Merry did not interrupt the Council of Elrond, demanding to be allowed to join the Company! I know - I was there! My friend Bilbo was at the Council, and I was worried that they might ask too much of him. Merry, Pippin and I were waiting together for it to be finished. Sure enough, this was trying their patience, but they waited till the others came out and told us what had happened. They did not run in."

"Are you disappointed with the movie, then?" Erik asked.

Varna thought for a little while.

"Only with some of the details," she finally said, and went on to explain how she could distance herself from the bothering details, and then thoroughly enjoy the movie.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby leuthilalda » Sep 15, 2011 3:51 am

A Varnafindë/leuthilalda/stargazer/starkat production

After the second movie, intermission was taken outside, to allow everyone to stretch their legs. Gwanuig made an appointment to speak more with Varna later - he wanted to hear the real story, and to learn more about these elves. Abby tended to Molly’s needs then helped Rose and Sea-Lily with her twins. Above, the stars were clear and bright, and the conversation quickly turned to the constellations and astronomy of Middle-earth. But Erik had to cut the time short, since it was after midnight. There was more food, but not time for another proper meal. Fortunately, this food – consisting primarily of beverages along with sweet and salty snacks – could be enjoyed while watching, so soon the third movie was started.

The children fell asleep early in this movie, allowing Abby to devote all her attention to their guests, and to the movie.

The scene at the Grey Havens was the one that moved Varna the most. Even though the place didn't look exactly like the place she knew, the whole setting reminded her so much of seeing some of her friends off from the real Havens. And she remembered her farewell with Lord Elrond and the others when they were leaving Rivendell, that day so long ago ... She was glad to have brought tissues. She needed them.

"So I hope you were able to enjoy the movies, then?" Abby asked.

"Oh, I did, very much!" Varna said. "Although there were altogether too many people falling off cliffs - but as I told you, I still enjoyed them. Thank you so much for inviting us! It brought back so many memories.

It was a lot in one go, though - if I get a chance to watch them later, I guess I should try to watch one a day instead - but still it was a very nice experience. It's been a great evening."

Abby turned to Rose, who seemed a little thoughtful and upset. "Is there something bothering you?" she asked.

"Well I really enjoyed the movies, but I am disappointed that the people who made it are playing in to the Bywater-skeptics."

Toby explained. "Maybe twenty years after the Battle of Bywater, a small group of tween-age hobbits, mere babes at the time of the Great years, got it into their head that the whole story of the Battle of Bywater and the cleansing of the Shire was merely a myth, invented by older Hobbits who wanted to have some part in the great wars of the time. They sat in secret little gatherings, and declared that what really happened was that life went on pretty much as normal, with no thought of the outside world, while Frodo and the Fellowship were off destroying the ring. The movie sort of plays into that nonsense."

Rose's eyes were a little misty. "I went through the entire occupation as a fugitive, always on the run with my family. Toby lost his father up in Bree. We spoke out against the Bywater-skeptics more than once, and I wish they had included the scouring of the Shire in the movie. But," she said, brightening up. "They got the look of the Shire exactly right. I loved the interior of Bilbo's house; it brings back so many memories of my younger sister and I bringing in fall leaves to decorate the table for our special autumn feast..." She looked wistfully into the past, and her eyes got even more misty. She turned to Abby again. "It makes me homesick for the Shire and for Bagshot Row. Thank you so much for the evening; it was still wonderful to see the movies."

Varna nodded to herself. Yes, there had been trouble in Bree, too, not just around Bywater. And that was Toby's background? She silently agreed that the scouring of the Shire ought to have been covered.

The gargoyles were curious about this Battle of Bywater and its after-effects, and were eager to talk to someone so knowledgeable, but they knew the hour was late – or very early – and their guests were probably tired. Indeed, Erik had sensed that tingling which indicated that, despite his pendant, he’d join his friends in sleep once dawn came.

He and Abby exchanged pleased glances. “We’re glad you liked them. Maybe we could get everyone together sometime to discuss all the nuances and what really happened. But in the meantime…” The jade green female held out small gift bags, one for Varnafindë, another for Katherine and Gwanuig, and the last for Toby and Rose.

“Now you can watch them again anytime you want.” There were expressions of delight and thanks as the bags were opened to reveal DVD sets of the movies. “We picked these up last time we were in Manhattan. It’s just a little way to say ‘thanks’ to all of you for your friendship,” Abby explained.

It was Abby's words just as much as the precious gift that made Varna need one of her tissues again.

Toby looked over at Katherine and Gwanuig curiously. "Why only one bag for the two of you?"

Abby realized her blunder as her friends had been trying to keep their marriage a secret, but before she could say anything, Gwanuig jumped in, "I do not have a way to view DVDs when I am out in the forest or at my father's home. Abby and Erik gave us one copy and I will simply come over and visit with Katherine and her family to watch."
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby stargazer » Oct 01, 2011 10:36 pm

The movie night, the gargoyles agreed, had been a rousing success. Sure, there had been some effort required to get the Emporium ready – especially with a fussy little hatchling underfoot, not to mention keeping her entertained throughout the lengthy movie marathon – but the lively conversation and happy expressions on their friends’ faces had made it more than worth that minor inconvenience.

And the joy in those faces, when Abby had presented those friends with their own copies of the movies, was something they’d long treasure.

The only fly in the ointment – and it was a small one – was that they’d kept their day-preferring guests awake far later into the night than was usual.

Now, with the last farewell fading into memory and their friends likely safely back in their homes, the couple stood outside the Emporium, staring upward as the stars faded in the brightening sky. The only sounds were those of Molly cooing happily as birds announced the coming day.

“I think that really went well,” Abby whispered, summarizing both their opinions.

“Ditto,” he grinned back at her. She chuckled at his reference to the “Ditto vs. Originals” disagreements once prevalent in town.

“I think it’d be fun to do this sort of thing occasionally; we could keep it small, inviting different groups of people depending on the movie,” she went on.

Her beloved was silent a moment, then she saw him slap his forehead with a “D’oh!”

His reaction puzzled her. “Something wrong? Don’t you like that idea?”

“No, dear, it’s great. I agree entirely. But I just realized we have another way to entertain guests right behind us.” He turned and gestured toward the Emporium’s roof.

“Thundershadow designed this awesome stardome, and I’ve almost never put it through its paces for our friends here in town. It almost seems selfish – even if I didn’t intend it that way,” he quickly added to forestall her objection.

“Well, you’re a natural,” she winked. “Sounds like fun.”

“Thanks,” he smiled, glad to have her blessing for his idea. Stifling a yawn, he added, “But right now I’m ready to sleep. Do you have any plans for the day?” He knew that his own pendant was about to take one of its irregular “days off” – so he would sleep in stone – but Abby and their little one would have no such limitation today.

She looked up at the sky; only one bright star remained, near the eastern horizon. “It looks like a beautiful day, and I was thinking of taking Molly out for a little stroll around town. It’s been a while since we’ve done that. Maybe we’ll even run into someone we know.”

He nodded his approval even as he turned back again toward the Emporium. Dawn was coming fast now, and he intended to sleep in the safety of their home. Abby followed; she’d have to gather a few things for Molly before going out on the town.

Neither saw the figure hidden in the nearby shadows; it smiled as the gargoyles entered the building and the door closed.
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
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