Old November 7, 2010, 06:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Lesson Alpha: Sharp object equals stabbing time (Noe)

Sometime in Junctior, Autumn, Era XVII Post Fractum

Was it exactly dangerous to go walking around Secyclion during nighttime?

Not necessarily. There was a chance that nothing would happen at all. Andrzej could walk all around the island, dancing around and frolicking through the streets, and nothing would happen at all. There was certainly a chance that would happen. Was that likely? No, of course not. But it could happen.

What was a more likely scenario? That would depend. Was he stupid enough to try and go near the Pirates' Haven? No, he wasn't. That significantly decreased the risk of an encounter with a hostile individual during this nighttime. Was he actually going to go around, dancing and frolicking everywhere? No, not really. Which also decreased the chances. Was he going to make an effort to get people to notice him? No. Which again decreased the chances.

So at this point, what were the chances of something happening to him this darkening? Despite all the decreases in likelihood stated above, there was actually a fairly substantial chance that something would happen to Andrzej. Somewhere between very likely and yes. Although perhaps it was lower compared to before; at the start, it had been between yes and very yes.

Today, Andrzej was in his butlering clothes. Then again, all he really had were butlering clothes, so there really wasn't ever a day in which he was not in his butlering clothes. There were, however, differences between his butlering clothes. Some sets were designated professional butlering clothes, while others were designated more casual butlering clothes. A romp through Secyclion at night called for a more casual dress. So while Andrzej still retained his white butlering gloves and the long black butlering pants, he also wore a black butlering coatsuit over a collared white/black patterned shirt. Unbuttoned, of course, and very unorthodox for a butler.

But it was casual.
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Old November 8, 2010, 08:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Night embraced the Red Island in shadows and darkness; sun-baked streets suddenly cooled and swept clean by the ocean’s crisp fall winds. Tonight the moon blessed the lands of Telath with half a face, its silvery light shining down upon sinner and saint alike. And in Secyclion, night was the domain of the former. Night brought ships full of illicit cargo to the harbor beneath the noses of well-bribed customs officials. Venders of things both illicit and immoral (and often both) set up shop in the selfsame venues where farmers and craftsman sold fruits and ropes but candlemarks earlier. Tonight a small figure slipped into the small but steady trickle of night-time traffic, loosing herself in the tangled, steep neighborhood of Secyclion.

Noe wore what was unmistakably the uniform of a maid crafted in the Jaedaxian tradition. Her dress was sewn from the finest of Zinn’sunn silk, bought a great price from the floating markets. Black silk fringed with the blue of the deep Eunesian ocean blended with the shadows, presenting a flowing image of shifting shadows in its own right. The Esh’lahier maid’s long hair, as always, was tied back with a fine lattice of thin braids in the style of the desert nomads of N’danosh. Tonight she’d worked a handful of cyan blue beads into her hair; another one of the many tricks passed from mother to daughter in the burning sands.

She found him in a cu-de-sac at the end of a road, a figure dressed in the same servant’s garb glancing at the cold forge and the dark house and realizing, just then, that he’d made a wrong turn. In the moonlight, Noe’s crystal eyes saw with lilting amusement as he turned to see her—and the bared longknife held coquettishly in her hand.

“Do you want to die?” A voice playful and amusing, like the chiming of small bells. She’d drunk deep and well today, satisfied the thing which dwelt within. For now, for now. “It’s easy, you know? It shan't bother me to show you.”
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Old November 8, 2010, 08:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ah, this wasn't the right way. Although all things considered, there really wasn't a right way, was there? This was especially true due to the fact that Andrzej wasn't really going anywhere. How can there be a right way to get somewhere if you weren't going anywhere? Answer: there was none. Besides, of course, just standing there, since you weren't really going anywhere. But then you'd get tired. And hungry, and thirsty. And then you'd be in a fix.

Regardless, this was a dead-end, and if Andrzej wanted to continue walking, then he would have to find another way. Unless, of course, walking into a wall was acceptable. It was not, however, and as such, it would seem he needed to turn around and go on his way. The only problem with that, of course, being the maid that was now, for whatever reason, in his way. Well, perhaps less the maid herself, so much as the longknife in her hand.

You see, longknives were very persuasive. They were useful for making a point, and were effective at silencing opposition. Truly, longknives were good friends in any debate. Particularly if the other party also employed them. The point being made here was probably along the lines of "don't wander the streets by yourself at night." Andrzej found that this point was coming across very clearly.

He cocked his head to one side, tapping a finger on the side of his face. "Well, I have occasionally wondered what death feels like. And truly, death is quite easy to accomplish, through various means. In this case, it would seem that you would try and use that knife of your's to accomplish the task."

The butler thought about it for a bit, before reaching into his coatsuit and pulling out a dagger. "Well, miss, you do say it shan't be a bother for you to show me death. I still feel an obligation to make this interesting for you. I won't profess to knowing much about the business of death, but I know this dagger is sharp, and a sharp dagger is a stepping stone to death."
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Old November 13, 2010, 07:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Sometimes Noe wondered about the Aelyrian Empire. Half the citizens she met seemed afflicted by some fever of the brain; an insidious malady causing a torrent of ill-conceived words to vomit forth from their lips. Alas, it was only the first symptom—the rest were so often resulted in the unfortunate sick soul perishing in a brief flurry of steel and angry Esh’lahier maid. Noe tilted her head to the side as the butler produced his own dagger, crystal eyes regarding him with all the curiosity and amusement a housecat displayed on discovering a small mouse trapped in a corner.

“You’ll save me the trouble if you hold the dagger like that.” The Esh’lahier shook her head, long white hair shimmering in the Secyclion moonlight. She held her dagger pointed up at the sky. Her hand was wrapped around the hilt in a Hammer Grip with her thumb pressing again her fingers. “Hold it tight like a lover’s hand. Loose and I can knock it from your hand in a breath.”

She stood in a relaxed, loose stance with her left foot towards Andrzej and the dagger held just in front of her belly. Her right hand was outstretched, motioning with a quick wave of the palm for him to attack.
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Old November 24, 2010, 06:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Andrzej stared at the dagger in his hand. Holding the tip of the blade in his left hand, the butler would readjust his right hand in an attempt to match his grip with what Noe had suggested. Hold it tight like a lover's hand... well, Andrzej had never really loved before, although a lover's hand seemed to be something that you would want to grip tightly. But wait, wouldn't they protest if you held on too tightly? Because then that would hurt them, and nobody really likes getting hurt, except those freaks that do. So was it a light grip then? But that didn't make any sense... hmmmm...

He tried holding it one way, then another, letting go now and then to readjust. This way? No, wait, this way. Like this? Huh. No, like... like this? Here we go... no, like... this...? There we go. So yeah, hold it pretty tight. It made sense, since Andrzej wouldn't be faring too well if the dagger were to be knocked out of his hand. See, then he would be stabbed. Well, that's not to say he wouldn't if he actually had it, but it seemed like the probability of it happening was a lot higher if he didn't.

Oh, now, was he supposed to attack? Well, that had its innate disadvantages. It was always harder to attack than it was to defend, wasn't it? Although Andrzej wasn't sure if that necessarily held true in melee combat. It was certainly true in, say, a siege, or something. This certainly wasn't a siege.

Well, it was better to take charge of the situation instead of wait for her to pummel him. Distance between them was too long for a leap... would it be better to try to strike quickly or advance carefully? Honestly, Andrzej didn't know, and expected to be cut down either way.

Careful advancing it was. The butler's eyes would shift around, watching her feet, her dagger, her eyes, her feet again, nice rack, her dagger, feet... and assuming she let him close the distanc a bit, Andrzej would attack, crouching down low and trying an upward slash aimed to lacerate her left leg.
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Old November 26, 2010, 03:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It wasn’t a terrible tactical maneuver on the aspiring battle-butler’s part. On the off-chance of success, he could slow Noe’s footwork and rob the Esh’lahier maid of her agility. The ideal outcome was a strike at the femoral artery running down the inside of her thigh; a wound which only the most experienced of battlefield surgeons could repair in an equipped and staffed operating room. As an idea, it was a reasonable course of actions all things considered. Few people really considered what to do when an elegantly dressed maid trapped you in a dark alley and gave you a choice between fighting and dying or running and dying.

Ideas, as Andrzej was about to find out, rarely survived contact with reality.

The central problem in his ploy was that crouching and slashing. Time was the most valuable commodity in fight followed closely by positioning. Good health, for Noe at least, came in a distant third. The sane were free to re-arrange the list of priorities to their liking. An experienced knife fighter could do a lot in the handful of seconds it took for Andrzej to move, could read his movements and discern the purpose behind the chaos.

Noe stepped towards Andrzej as he lowered himself closer to the ground. Her left right spun through the air in a Roundhouse Kick. Silk spun in the Secyclion night as she twisted her body, putting the full power of her body into the kick. Her boot heal struck Andrzej’s right shoulder, the shock of the blow throwing Andrzej off balance and knocking him back onto the cobblestones. His dagger, on account of his grip, didn’t go skittering across the road. A start.

“Do you think this a dance?” Noe’s crystal-blue eyes studied Andrzej like he was a particularly curious creature who’d emerged unbidden from a grocery’s crate. “Aim for the chest, or the belly. Strike with the intention of killing, not just to touch me.”
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Old November 29, 2010, 10:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well, that had worked about as well as expected. At the very least, Andrzej was apparently not dead, which all things considered, was a hearty positive. Theoretically, the manuever could have worked well. Realistically, it didn't, mostly because the man really had no idea what he was doing, but his opponent did. That wasn't to say that an unskilled person would always lose against a skilled person. It was just that much more likely that he would.

So what had he learned from that one attempt? Well, this one kicked hard. Andrzej's shoulder was sore. But also, speed. Was caution important? Yes. But so was speed; moving too slowly would result in injury, potentially fatal. Caution and speed - two things not easily mixed. But somehow, Andrzej had to try.

He quickly got back up, noticing that he hadn't let go of the dagger. Good. Andrzej didn't need the thing flying off somewhere in the middle of a fight. It was hard to fight a knife fight sans knife. At least he hadn't been kicked in the head. That would certainly have been... undesirable, and would have done a considerable deal of damage. As of now, however, Andrzej only had a hurting shoulder. He could continue.

He faced the maid once more, observing her stance and posture. "Yes and no. We are both partners, moving around in a dance of death." Aim for the chest or belly. Well, a hit there would certainly cripple an opponent, if not kill them. Andrzej supposed that was the idea. Sound advice, that.

Tight grip. He charged, bringing his right hand over his shoulder as if to slash at Noe. Andrzej would try a feint; as he brought his arm downwards for the slash, he would release the dagger, gripping it tightly in his left hand. With the blade already pointed at Noe, he would re-tighten his grip, using momentum and another push from his hand to stab upward at Noe's chest.

A clumsy, awkward manuever at best. But it seemed like a better idea than just charging in and swinging around. Well, maybe not. Andrzej wouldn't know.
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Old December 4, 2010, 05:13 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Nothing in a knife-fight was guaranteed. Unlike certain showier martial systems like El Viatre or Rhingorda, there was no tradition of show-matches to demonstrate prowess and ability. Veterans—like the Esh’lahier maid standing before Andrzej—learned their craft in the long instants of chaos that constituted the average fight. There was no sand ring or rope-bound stage for the fight. She’d learned her terrible craft on the cobblestones of Secyclion and the fog-shrouded streets of Nexus Prime. There was no certainty—only what worked best. There was no secret—just luck and skill. She made no reply to his comment, her lips curling into smile showing entirely too much teeth to be vaguely comforting.

It was a clumsy, awkward maneuver at best. At worst, it was nothing short of suicide on the part of a certain Mister Palmen. Shifting a weapon from one hand to another in the middle of a fight was always inadvisable for a simple reason: you were worse than unarmed. Noe stepped into the arc of Andrej’s slash, her open arm reaching upward to grasp the butler’s wrist and forearm as he sought to stab downwards. The loosened grip became looser still as she squeezed, the Esh’lahier’s thin fingers belying a greater strength than one would expect from a small Esh’lahier.

The dagger clattered to the floor as Noe wrapped the larger human’s arm around her body. Her last master had called it the Serpent’s Coil, the art of using the free hand to place an opponent in a disadvantageous state. In this case, unarmed and lying on the ground. The Esh’lahier maid threw him easily over his shoulder, body and butler’s uniform landing with a bone-rattling thud. She stabbed downward with the other hand, drawing a thin line of blood from his neck. A killing blow turned into an admonishment.

She stepped away quickly from the fallen form, cruel blue eyes watching in the moonlight.
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Old December 6, 2010, 09:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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All in all, that could have gone worse. Not better, really. Andrzej didn't think that could have gone much better, considering the variation in skill that was becoming more and more apparent as the fight went on. Not that the butler hadn't been aware of this divide before, of course. It was just that the existence of said gap was repeatedly being shoved into his face, in the form of being stabbed in the face.

As his dagger went flying, for a brief second, Andrzej reflected on his decision. Now that he looked back on it, that had actually been an incredibly stupid idea. Charging in and just swinging the dagger probably would have worked better. Alas, the benefits of hindsight.

And then, the ground, coming in too fast. Ouch. His body. Andrzej's neck stung where Noe's dagger had struck him, and he left it alone. He was bleeding; he didn't need to put a hand to the cut to know that. The butler quickly got back up, noting with surprise that he was still alive. This was indeed strange; the butler could not fathom any reason as to why he had been spared. Well, perhaps it was merely a predator playing with its prey. Would he only live so long as he was entertaining?

A wry smile crossed his lips. Well, perhaps this was how mother had felt then. Unfortunately, he couldn't just up and die like she had. Well, no, technically he could, but he would prefer not to. The impromptu meeting with the ground had jarred him, but he was better now.

First things first, get the dagger back.

Unfortunately, she was in the way.

Andrzej pulled out a throwing dagger. It didn't seem as if he any other choice regarding weaponry. His actual dagger was lying on the floor; the maid was in the way. He had this pointy object; it could be used as a dagger if necessary, although it was supposed to be thrown. Either way, it was sharp, and it would get the job done as necessary.

Objective: Get back the main dagger. Priority: Don't die. Suggestion: Move quickly and decisively.

Rushing in wouldn't work. If anything, Andrzej needed to draw Noe away so he could dash in and retrieve his weapon. It was time to play defense. He mimicked her stance from before, a more tense and rigid stance, but with the left foot towards Noe and the dagger held in front of her belly. Perhaps 'outright mockery' was a more accurate term. He, too, beckoned for Noe to come.
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Old December 12, 2010, 03:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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And come Noe did. The Esh’lahier maid dashed forward; the helm of the black silk flowing behind her as she covered the distance in a few quick steps. Movement in a fight (as opposed to a dual) was a necessarily risky proposition. To stay still was to cede control of the fight, and for a knife-wielder tantamount to falling on one’s own weapon. But movement brought its own danger. A body in motion was a mish-mash of moving parts—the torso carried on a pair of long stilts all too easily entangled or stressed. To say nothing of the small accidents, the missteps and slips that made the difference between exsanguinations and another dawn.

Another advantage of movement lay in the beautifully mysterious realm of physics; a word that lay many dozens of years (if ever) in the future of the Aelyrian Empire. Movement involved, in order of complexity, force, momentum, and inertia. A good knife-fighter (generally distinguished by the fact he or she was alive) learned to exploit all three. In Noe’s case, the Esh’lahier elf used the momentum of her body to impart addition force into her Thrust aimed at the center of Andrzej’s chest. It wasn’t the most complicated or elegant of combat maneuvers—really, what was there to add—but effective.

An nuance: Noe brought herself to a halt just outside Andrzej’s reach, relying on the length of her arm and the foot-and-a-half blade of the longknife to outreach the taller human. The tip of her blade would hardly penetrate far enough into his chest to do much damage, assuming he’d stayed entirely still. Her blade twisted in the air, her arm turning the Thrust into a quick Slash.
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Old December 28, 2010, 05:18 AM   #11 (permalink)
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OOC Blargh.

At this point, Andrzej really had no advantage in terms of either defense or offense. Really, he was at an entire disadvantage in this fight; his defense was lacking in comparison with her offense, and his offense couldn't crack her defense. Besides running away, the only other options that were currently available were be mowed down, be skewered, or get better. Andrzej certainly liked the third option, but of course, it just had to be the most difficult one. Fancy that.

Expect the unexpected? It seemed like a simple stab to the chest, although Andrzej had more than enough reason to believe that something else lay behind it. Although he would have liked to mimic her ability to stand still and hold off an opponent, unfortunately, he had no such skills. All he could do for now, then, was dodge and evade, and he did that. His leap to the side was in reply to the initial thrust, such that he was safely out of range for her followup stab slash. A mad dash for his fallen weapon would most likely result in his receiving a knife in the back. He needed to slowly edge his way over; at least, that's how he saw things. Well, the gypsy was pretty nimble - hopefully, he wouldn't receive a knife in the gut before he got there.

For all intensive purposes, though, he anticipated a quick followup, since there was no reason to believe that Noe would simply stand there after her attack and stare at him. Chances were that she'd retaliate quickly, and Andrzej readjusted his stance accordingly. Minute adjustments to his position would probably have a fairer chance of getting him his dagger back. At least, that was the idea.
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Old December 28, 2010, 08:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Discretion was not only the better part of valor, but also an important weapon in the arsenal of any reasonably long-serving domestic servant of a uniformed variety. It was no secret that noble persons of any race, age, or size (of which there were many, and often on the larger side) trafficked in gossip dirty and rancid enough to make a nun’s ears burn at fifty paces. So-and-so’s illicit affair with the upstairs linen maid, her dalliance with a particularly handsome coachman, et cetera ad nauseum. It was a clever butler (or maid) whom closed their ears, shielded their eyes, and simply went about their own business with unswerving dedication to neatness and loyalty.

Until they were foolishly fired and engaged in an old pastime known as ‘blackmail’. But the less said about that the better.

There was a fight going on, damn it.

She hadn’t quite expected Andrzej to run, and certainly not dance around her so quickly with those long half-elfish legs. There were disadvantages, after all, to twenty odd eras of nutritional deprivation followed by several more decades of poverty. As fast as Noe could run and turn, her legs were only so long—an imprecise measurement sufficiently shorter than the butler’s. Oh, and Noe had expected him to roll over and die. It was a prediction that bore some reassessment now that he’d ducked behind her and scrambled for his dagger.

Maybe he had some spirit after all.

Noe followed in close pursuit of Andrzej; her swift movements aimed at controlling the tempo of the exchange. Her longknife was held in front of her, the pointed tip angled upwards in a low thrust up beneath Andrzej’s ribs and up, deep into his soft squishies. Her off hand, now empty, feigned a quick stab—all twisted fingers and sharp nails, into his face.

oocSorries. ^^ *offers num*
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Old December 30, 2010, 04:46 PM   #13 (permalink)
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OOC Sad face :<

Her twenty odd eras of nutritional deprivation far outweighed his 7 or so eras of nutritional deprivation. Still, she was supposed to live for a lot longer than he was, so proportionally, it might have balanced out? In all honesty, ratios probably didn't matter particularly much here; twenty eras of no food was twenty eras of no food, and seven eras of no food was seven eras of no food. Twenty was more than seven. The end.

Despite the longer period of having been nutritionally deprived, Noe still had the advantage here. Although Andrzej had yet to 'roll over and die,' he was probably getting very close. As he had predicted, Noe did follow up once he evaded her attack, and quickly as well. Still, it wasn't as if the gypsy had just started running towards his dagger, because that would have most assuredly resulted in him finding a sharp pointy object uncomfortably and painfully wedged in his back. And that was obviously no good at all.

It seemed the inevitable had been delayed for far too long. Andrzej hadn't actually expected to win, but he had certainly tried his best to not die for as long as possible. It would appear that 'as long as possible' was not quite as long as he had hoped, and the possibility of him holding out for longer was lowering very rapidly. The plan to simply dodge and evade until he could reach his dagger had one major flaw; he really had no idea how quick she could be, and was not struggling. He wasn't particularly afraid of the idea of dying, but there was still quite a bit he still wanted to do. The gypsy would have preferred not to die.

There were really very few options available to Andrzej at the moment. His current strategy was about such; backpedal, leap back, leap sideways, strafe, do whatever he could to make himself less of a sitting target. He couldn't get stabbed if he wasn't within range of the dagger. Well, unless she threw it. As the butler moved around, he would also converse a bit.

"My apologies. It seems I will be unable to entertain you for much longer, as I would appear to have reached my limit. If you would permit it, I would prefer to surrender."
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Old January 2, 2011, 03:42 PM   #14 (permalink)
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“Surrender?” The three-syllable word had an immediate and profound impact on Noe. The Esh’lahier maid repeated the word once under her breath—softly, slowly, ever so dangerously—as she slid to a halt just outside Andrzej’s reach. His attempts at parley seemed to have affected the blood-crazed creature more than all his desperate gambits, feints, and efforts. Whether this was for better or for worse, however, remained to be seen. For all of two seconds before it became quickly clear that worse seemed to be the better bet. Her grin grew wider, if such a thing was possible, and the grinding of her teeth grated on his ears.

Her attack, when it came, was as swift as it was devastating. Black silk flared in the moonlight as she rushed the butler beneath the sickly moon; the dark-forged creature driven ever further and ever faster by the mindless wrath coursing through her veins. The last sight Andrzej would remember would be Noe slipping easily beneath a hastily thrown arm. Her movements were liquid, graceful—her purpose all too clear in her mind. A flip of her weapon and she held the longknife in a Reverse Grip with the long, flat blade of her Sil’rosian-patterned knife against an alabaster arm.

The world came undone as Noe smashed the pommel of the dagger into the side of Andrzej’s head. Strobe-lights lit in his skull; great bursts of color turning the dark alley into day.

And then there was nothing.

~The Next Morning~

“Hey you.”

A poke.

“You can’t just sleep there mister.”

Another poke.

A small boy stood over the crumpled form of one Andrzej Plamen, one wholly alive butler save for a profusion of painful bumps, aches, and shallow cuts. His butler’s uniform would need a good cleaning and mayhap a few repairs, but was none the worse for the ware. In his hands was a short note, scrawled in an atrocious example of penmanship.

Find me when you shan’t surrender.
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Old January 2, 2011, 03:57 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Congratulations!
Noe
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Congratulations!
Andrzej Plamen
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