Stars Over Llorleya- Chapter 25

Fiction By Anna // 2/9/2009

Chapter the Twenty-fifth

"It’s not as hard to train these humans as we thought it would be," Loth said to Aria, sounding unusually conversational.
"I told you they wouldn’t be," said Aria. "Like me, most Llorleyans have a basic knowledge of weaponry. And they’re very bright learners. They catch on quickly," she said with pride.
Loth smiled.
"What?" asked Aria.
"Hmm?" said Loth.
"You have that look, Loth," accused Aria.
"Which look?" the elf asked innocently.
"The one where something interesting is going on but you’re savoring it by yourself."
Loth just smiled again. "Does an elf need something interesting to be happy?"
"Not all elves, but you do," said Aria.
Loth laughed. "Yes, I suppose you know me better than I suspected. Well, suppose I saw a cat sleeping on my sword and sheath this morning? Would that interest me?"
"It might," said Aria, "…if you could pick out a meaning from it, though, it would interest you more."
"It just happens that I have," said Loth triumphantly. "That cat Rye-eene left behind reminds me that even when you prepare for war and your heart is heavy, the world beyond yourself can still go on in peace. It’s kind of a comforting thought. Isn’t the Lord good?"
Aria smiled. "You’re a strange elf, Loth- picking comfort from sleeping cats. But you are right. The Lord is good, whether we are laden with sadness or not."
"I don’t know, Aria," laughed Loth. "You seem pretty happy yourself."
Aria grinned. "You think I’d be terribly nervous, but I’m not. I’m too excited. I was afraid when Raphael and others came, but now I feel confident. Not too confident, of course…" A cloud passed over her face. "He may be my grandfather, but I’ve never met him. And he’s the Starking. And when I think too long about that, I do feel a little nervous."
"Well," said Loth, "next time you think about that, just remember who you are. The Starprincess. And he’s your kin. There can’t be too much to worry about, and you’re far past anyone being disappointed in you."
Aria smiled. "Thank you. It means a lot. Especially with Rayne gone…"
Dominic came by then and greeted them. Dom was quite a different person these days. He was more thoughtful, less quick to speak, and said more substantial, important things when he did. He and Gilligan has struck up quite a friendship, but it wasn’t awkward in the least, because Aria was finding him more likable as well.
Suddenly Dom’s jaw dropped. Wordlessly, he pointed behind Aria and Loth. They whirled around, to see it dotted with lights in the distance.
"The Starking is here!" breathed Aria, lighting up. She caught up Loth’s hands. "Oh dear. How do I look?"
Loth smiled. "Flushed. Very lovely."
Aria grinned. "Tell the others about their coming, if they don’t already know. I’m going to fly up to them. And don’t alarm them. Just tell them to act naturally… I think… And by the others I mean the other stars and Gilligan… And…"
"You’d better go," laughed Loth. "I’ll dispatch your message this moment." With that, Loth took bounding leaps to find the stars and Aria’s betrothed.
Aria took a long breath, then jumped into the sky.
At her fastest speed she flew to the stars. It didn’t take long to reach them. As they saw her approach, they seemed to know her by instinct. "Hail, Aria!" said a voice. It was Tyri’s. "Announcing King Noonstar of Celestia!" And from the cluster, at a slow, dignified flight, came the Starking.
The first thing about Noonstar that struck Aria was how ageless he seemed. He was both old and young, as she herself would one day be both old and young. He had long black hair, and deep set in a noble, proud face were bright blue eyes, blazing like twin beacons over a stormy night at sea.
A flood of emotion nearly knocked Aria over. This was her grandfather. Any words she had considered speaking stuck in her throat. She started to curtsey in such a way that it might have turned into a somersault, but Noonstar stopped her, putting his hands on her shoulders and straightening her. "We are kin," he said. His voice was deep and regal. "We do not bow to one another."
The two looked at each other for a moment in silence. Then, in a burst of joy, they embraced. All formality slipped away, despite the grandness of the occasion. Aria began weeping, though she wasn’t sure why. But maybe, just maybe, it was the overwhelming feeling of somehow being home.
**********
"We are gong to the mountain," said Rayne firmly, as though the others would challenge her. "I know it’s a long way, but it’s where we’ll find more fairies."
"I wonder if the Empress of Laurel Mountain still rules her kingdom, then," murmured Wynd.
"Empress?" asked Rayne and Tam together.
"Oh, that’s right, you never met her, did you?" asked Wynd, addressing Tamello. "That was before we two met."
"‘Her’ who?" asked Rayne.
"Violet, my childhood companion." Wynd laughed. "She’s not really an Empress; it’s a nickname we gave her. We being her brother Bronden and myself. We grew up together on Laurel Mountain. I always knew I wanted to be a guardian, and told them so. I asked Violet what she wanted to be." Wynd smiled. "She said, ‘I shall be Empress of Laurel Mountain!’"
Tamello laughed. "I never heard that story, Wynd. It would make a funny song." (Tamello was forever thinking of ways for life to be a song.)
"Her brother has no title?" asked Rayne.
Wynd’s face fell. Rayne had only meant it for a light joke, but she had somehow brought a sad memory. "He has a title," said Wynd softly, looking down. "‘Bronden the Cripple.’" She sighed.
"Oh," said Rayne, not knowing what else to say. (She said it in a very sad tone, at least.)
"There was a swimming hole at the bottom of a mountain slope," explained Wynd, struggling to keep her composure. "Fairies do not generally swim, because we can’t fly when our wings are wet, and if too waterlogged they’ll drag us down and drown us. But it was a shallow pool, and on hot days it was so refreshing to pop in.
"One day when we were young, Violet and I left Bron alone at the pool. None of us are sure how, but a rockslide began rolling down the mountainside. Bron was wet; he couldn’t get away fast enough. When we found him later, his leg was pinned at an angle between two rocks. Fairies aren’t healers like elves are, and fairy dust doesn’t set bones." She paused. "Bronden doesn’t let it bother him too much, though. He can fly, so he’s not completely lame, and he’s very smart. He also knows a stag that will bear him in time of need…" She trailed off. "When you see him, try not to stare, and whatever you do, do not let yourself pity him. Violet and Bronden both despise that."
"When we see him?" asked Rayne suddenly. "Aren’t you coming?"
"No," said Wynd. "I was going to tell you. I’m splitting up. I’ll find some fairies on my own and bring them to Aria, so she’ll at least have some of us when the time comes."
"It’s dangerous," said Rayne.
"I’m a fairy," laughed Wynd. "I can take care of myself. And you’ll have Tam to keep you safe."
"When will you leave?" asked Rayne quietly.
"I’ll travel with you as far as the border of Northwest Llor. Then I’ll be going."
Rayne nodded slowly. "I suppose there’s nothing to stop you."
Wynd smiled. "I know you can manage by yourself, and you know it too. Don’t be afraid to be confident in yourself, little one," she said. "This is one time it’s okay."
**
"I wish I could see the mountain," said Wynd longingly. They had reached the border of Northwest Llor, and true to her word, Wynd was parting ways with them. "But I have work to do." She hugged Rayne quickly. "You’ll love Laurel Mountain. Really. Just don’t get too distracted- Aria needs us, fast."
Rayne nodded solemnly. "Nothing in this world could make me forget."
Wynd sighed. "Goodbye, you two!" She took a running start, then launched herself into the air, glad for the speed of flight.
Rayne and Tamello were now traveling alone. And it wasn’t easy.
Tamello sometimes "brushed Rayne’s fur the wrong way," if you understand. Being a bard, he often sang responses rather than just speaking them. Rayne found this annoying, not because of the singing itself- his voice was wonderful, and he was a very pleasant traveling companion. What irked her was the fact that he didn’t seem very serious about their "mission". Had she known it, Tamello was very focused and serious about it- he just didn’t let on.
Laurel Mountain was beautiful. From the moment they set foot on it, it was a hard hike, but lovely. Laurels- for which the mountain was named- and rhododendrons abounded, lighting the mountainside with color in the sunlight, and outlining it with picturesque silhouettes at night. But it was not until three days of climbing that they found what they were looking for.
The afternoon was bright. Somehow, sunlight could cut through the dense mountain foliage as if it were glass. All that day Rayne was overcome by two conflicting feelings- the one of being very close to the object she was searching, and the one of being watched. Even the first one became unpleasant and frustrating. She finally stopped to sit in the crook of a low tree branch. "Tam," she announced, "someone is following us."
"A fairy?" His eyebrows raised.
"Possibly. So I have an idea. Take out your guitar," she commanded.
Tamello did so, eyebrows still raised.
"Play something. A well-known fairy tune, because if it is a fairy, he or she wouldn’t know any of the songs you write yourself. Let’s see if anyone responds."
Tamello nodded knowingly, then played. It was a wordless, sinuous, elusive melody, but cut short. Tamello’s fingers halted mid-strain as not one, but two fairies appeared from the trees. One male, one female.
The girl fairy was of average height, slim, and well-proportioned. She had wave-shaped wings that shimmered with a pale, delicate opalescence. Her hair was jet black, wildly curly, and bound back from her face by a ribbon headband. Her skin was white and clear, as though carved from ivory. Her eyes were purple, but not like Rayne’s- their color was deeper and cooler, a mountainous purple.
But as stunning and lovely as she was, it was the male fairy who caught Rayne’s attention. He sat on a stone beside the girl, because one of his legs was twisted at a grotesque angle. But even that was not what made him remarkable. Neither was it his description. He had a broad chest and shoulders, well-muscled. His wings were large, of a nondescript color between gold and brown. His eyes were much the same shade as his wings, and his hair was dark brown. His features were passable, if not really handsome. But it was the soul in them that arrested Rayne from first glance. They were filled with a strong, silent wisdom that made him seem older than the other fairy- yet still, a glimmer of joy and humor. And where the female’s expression was only empty smiles, his had depth of character.
"Welcome, friends of Wynd!" cried the female. "I am Violet."
Leaning against a tree at his side, the male stood and spoke, his voice a deep, strong current. "I am her brother, Bronden."
Violet picked up the welcome. "We do not know why you are here, but we know you are looking for us. So rest here and tell us your tale! We’ve been expecting you."
"How did they know we were coming?" whispered Rayne to Tamello.
"I have no idea," Tamello whispered back.
Violet, hearing them, laughed a ripple of gold. But it was Bronden who explained. "Wynd sent a message."
Rayne was still wondering how when Violet, smiling, floated down between her and Tam. "Tell us your names, traveling friends."
Tamello, friendly and open as always, bowed low and kissed Violet’s hand. "Tamello, my lady; the humble minstrel."
Violet laughed again. "And so very gallant. ‘My lady’? I take it Wynd has been telling you stories about me, then. Welcome, Tamello." She turned to Rayne.
"I am Rayne… just a human," said Ryane, uncertain whether any of Tamello’s theatrics were necessary for her as well.
"You are very welcome, too, Rayne," said Violet, with another smile.
Rayne looked around. Would she be so welcome when she shattered their wonderful peace with the news she was bringing, she wondered? And how to even start?
Violet gave the second question an easy answer. "Why have you come?"
Tamello held his hand up to Rayne. "Let me handle this, please?"
Rayne was perfectly fine with that. "Go ahead. I’ll correct you if flub up."
Tamello rolled his eyes. "That’s comforting."
Rayne had no need. Tamello did a fine job, though sometimes he would start to explain something, then cast an anxious glance at Rayne and break off. "Nevermind," he would say. "I’ll tell you that later."
Rayne puzzled at the meaning of this, but said nothing.
Violet’s eyes widened as he said his piece, some in fear, it seemed. But Bronden seemed lively. He would interrupt every now and then and comment eagerly, showing more animated interest than Rayne would have expected. He asked many questions-"They want all the fairies? Even lame ones?" (He did not shrink from mentioning his deformity.) "Gathering? Where?" "War against whom?" "The Queen wishes to draw out the fairies?"
Bronden needed no convincing, not even the convincing Tamello himself had needed. "I will go," he said determinedly.
Violet turned a surprised face to him. "Bron!"
"What?" he asked. "They need us, Violet. Weren’t you listening? And this is a chance for freedom. I at least must take a share in helping."
Violet stood undecided, shifting her weight from one hip to the other. "I- I will go as well."
Bronden flashed a quick smile to her. He picked up a crutch Rayne had previously not noticed, and leaning on it, limped toward Tamello. "Let’s leave at once. We don’t have many provisions- do we, Violet?"
She shook her head. "No. Rayne, would you help me gather them? I will show you the way to our home." She took off, flying down the mountain.
Violet flew ahead of Rayne, every so often popping back to make sure the human hadn’t fallen too far behind. "It’s not long now," she said. "You won’t see it until we’re practically upon it. It’s a cave, and a curtain of vines…"
Violet rambled on, and Rayne was lost in thought, not really paying attention. She was still looking upward, watching Tamello and Bronden talking. She wondered about Bronden. He fascinated her. Why did he use a crutch? How could he be so silent at first, yet so full of words later? She thought these things as Violet entered their dwelling, and she thought these things as the fairy came back out, arms loaded with two heavy packs. She stood silent for a moment, watching an unknowing Rayne.
"What are you staring at?" she finally said in a cold voice.
Rayne turned to see Violet beside her. The fairy’s eyes had gone hard, and there was a hostile edge in their gleam. She decided to be frank. "Why does he use a crutch? He can fly, can he not?"
"Even a fairy cannot fly forever," said Violet icily, like a flower caught in a late frost. "Bronden has always wished to strengthen his good leg."
"Yes," said Rayne thoughtfully. "Bronden is very strong. In fact, at his core… I believe he is stronger than I am."
Violet’s gaze softened. "I always thought we were hewn from the same stone, Bron and I. But now I feel like firewood beside a mountain."
"I think you are made of the same rock, Violet. You are every bit as strong as Bronden, but in a different way," said Rayne.
Violet’s face became troubled. "That is what this war will decide." She fell silent, then gave one of the packs to Rayne. "Here, carry this, and we’ll leave," she said.
********
Rayne, Tamello, Violet, and Bron had a dilemma. Specifically Rayne. You see, the fairies wanted a nice swift start to searching out their friends. They wanted to fly, put it plainly. And Rayne, of course, could not.
"Bron, would you be able to carry her?" asked Violet. (Bron’s arms and wings were exceptionally strong as a result of using them instead of his leg.)
Bron looked over Rayne. Suddenly, his face broke into a smile. "I probably could… but I have a better idea.
**
"Is it safe?" whispered Rayne nervously. "I don’t think he’ll bear me."
Bronden stroked the neck of the magnificent stag beside him. He- the stag, that, is- was an impressive sight; strong, large… fierce. "He will bear you if I ask him to," said Bron. "You needn’t fret. He only gores people through occasionally."
Rayne eyed the mighty antlers nervously. "Was that meant to be a jest?" she asked uneasily.
Bron laughed. Leaning on his crutch for support, he gently lifted Rayne onto the stag’s bare back. The animal shifted restlessly, and Rayne let out an involuntary squeal.
Bron made soothing noises in his throat. Rayne wondered whether they were meant for her or the stag.
"Don’t startle him," said Bron, still whispering in a sing-song voice. "He is a great beast, but still a beast. I would not test his limits."
Bron needn’t have bothered. Rayne was stock-still. "How do I hold on when he moves?" she breathed.
"Grip with your knees. Put your arms around his neck, if you must. But whatever you do, do not grab his antlers."
Rayne wouldn’t have dreamed of it.
With that last instruction, the fairies took flight, and the stag took to running.
Well, to be honest, the stag did not run, exactly. Instead, he took long, leaping, lurching bounds. Rayne found herself prostrate on his back, with her arms tightly wound around his neck (which she would not have dared to do without Bronden’s permission). But the stag was good, and with Bron’s instruction, he did not throw her off. How she was supposed to lead, she would never know. But they were off, off to find more fairies, off to gather them together, off to save Llorleya.

Comments

Yay!! The Starking,

Yay!! The Starking, finally!! :D
I love Bronden and Violet, too, they're really cool. Especially Bronden. :)
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"Elves and Dragons! Cabbages and potatoes are better for me and you. Don't go getting mixed up in the business of your betters, or you'll land in trouble too big for you." — Hamfast Gamgee (the Gaffer)

Clare Marie | Mon, 02/09/2009

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]

Me too. :) I just can't seem

Me too. :)
I just can't seem to help myself from adding new characters, even this close to the end of the story...
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He who is near to his Captain is sure to be a target for the archers.
-Amy Carmichael

Anna | Mon, 02/09/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

What, what? Me thinks I saw

What, what? Me thinks I saw you say something like "the end of the story", Anna! Did I hear right that there is a sequel in the making?

BTW, I loved this chapter. Just wondering, is there a tragic secret behind Violet's lovely eyes (besides her poor brother)? She just seems to be the type of person to pin a heartbreaking story onto.
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"Oh the weather outside is frightful...!"--"Let it Snow" or in my case "Let it Rain"

Ariel | Mon, 02/09/2009

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"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it." -- Herman Melville

wa-hooo! A new chapter! you

wa-hooo! A new chapter! you can't even know how much I look forward to them!
Brondena and Violet seem to be interesting. Why is she so sad, anyway?

Sarah | Mon, 02/09/2009

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

Wow! You got this chapter up

Wow! You got this chapter up fast. I checked to see what was new before I did the dishes, and when I saw this (among other new postings that caught my eye) I rushed through the dishes with an intensity never before seen. Great chapter. I love fairies! (Which sounds slightly like "I love grapes".......just a thought.)

"A wizard is never late, nor is he early; he arrives presicely when he means to." Gandalf

The Brit | Mon, 02/09/2009

Hey, all righty! New

Hey, all righty! New chapter!
I found this chapter yesterday when I was sick, and it perked me up a little. But then my dumb internet kicked me off and I couldn't post a comment until today.
So....sounds great! LOL, you're like me, populating your novels with tons of people! Violet and Bronden sounds really cool, especially Bronden! And of course, this brings up new questions.
Why is Violet sad?
Why does she say the war will decide if she's as strong as he brother?
One thing, maybe you could include a funny scene with Tamello's quirk of singing his answers. :0)
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

Heather | Tue, 02/10/2009

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

OFG: I am still planning a

OFG: I am still planning a sequel, yes. I just meant the end of SOL.

Everyone: Why do you all think Violet is sad? Did I say that? I don't remember saying that. Is it just the way she comes off, because I didn't think so, and now I really have no idea.

Heather: Well, you know war. It generally separates cowards from heroes and the strong-hearted from the weak-hearted.Thing is, I'm planning to spend most of the time until the battle with the other group of characters.
Hmm, good idea. I'll see about that.
BTW, sorry you were sick.
*************************************************
He who is near to his Captain is sure to be a target for the archers.
-Amy Carmichael

Anna | Tue, 02/10/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

To illustrate or not to illustrate, that is the question

When (not 'if' because we know that you will get it published) you get the book published will you have it illustrated?

The Brit

Anonymous | Wed, 02/11/2009

Hmm, good question. I really

Hmm, good question. I really don't know, but if I were to have it illustrate it, I'd want to get someone who could really draw the characters how I've envisioned them, which could be a real challenge, seeing as it's in my head, not theirs.
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In this sinful world there is no such thing as "peace" unless someone strong enough is willing to protect and defend it. -Norm Bomer, God's World News

Anna | Wed, 02/11/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

You will definitaly have to

You will definitaly have to get SOL illustrated. I know for me personally, it helps to bring the story to life so much more.

Brit--did you forget to log in? Tsk, tsk, naughty child;)
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"Pretty soon people are going to come to look at it. And some of those people will be... realtors!"--Klaus Baudelaire

Ariel | Wed, 02/11/2009

*****************************************
"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it." -- Herman Melville

Ha! Ha!

No I didn't forget....that's about as far as my rebellion goes (agianst myself)...that, and not doing my hair. Just terrible, right? Ha! I'm doing it again! Oh, naughty me.

The Brit

Anonymous | Thu, 02/12/2009

OH! Bad, bad, Brit. Now be a

OH! Bad, bad, Brit. Now be a good dog and fetch your password and sign in. If you don't....I shall have to do something very terrible, like wash your face with snow tomorrow. Hehe I may just do that.
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"Pretty soon people are going to come to look at it. And some of those people will be... realtors!"--Klaus Baudelaire

Ariel | Thu, 02/12/2009

*****************************************
"To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme. No great and enduring volume can ever be written on the flea, though many there be that have tried it." -- Herman Melville

I signed in!

You know, some people threaten childs like myself with the thought "I'll wash your mouth out with soap", but, you know, you can be original. Actually, if you did wash my face with snow, you'd wipe all my makeup off, and that wouldn't be very fun at all, now would it.

"A wizard is never late, nor is he early; he arrives presicely when he means to." Gandalf

The Brit | Thu, 02/12/2009

Great!

Great chapter, Anna! I look forward to reading more of this story...By the way...a sequel?

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Why don't you both go, and leave the ship in my command....temporarily.
-Will Turner

marie (not verified) | Thu, 02/12/2009

Just thought I'd leave a comment for once (:

I absolutely love this story, Anna! I can't wait to see how you're going to resolve all this. And a sequel too?! I think you spoil us (:

Tamerah | Thu, 02/12/2009

Yeah!!!

The Starking is in the story now! he's alot different then I imagened, but I still like him. great chapter!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Not-not the beard!" Gimli son of Gloin.

Bernadette | Sat, 02/14/2009

hurry

hurry up Anna:)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous | Mon, 02/23/2009

hurry

HURRY UP ANNA:) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
from: James's sister(and Ezra's)

Anonymous | Mon, 02/23/2009

I'll

I'll try!
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In this sinful world there is no such thing as "peace" unless someone strong enough is willing to protect and defend it. -Norm Bomer, God's World News

Anna | Tue, 02/24/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Great job! I love your

Great job! I love your stories. :)

Sarah | Thu, 02/26/2009

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

Soooooo.....

This chapter is really good. Ummmm... Is there something going on with Bronden and Rayne? You know....:) Just wondering.

Kendra | Tue, 03/17/2009

<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\<>/\
"Are you sure this water is sanitary? It looks questionable to me! But what about bacteria?"--Tantor the elephant from Tarzan.

Yeah for the starking!!!

Yeah for the starking!!! Poor Bronden. I like him tho'. Great chpater. I'm almost caught up. Sorry to take so long.

"As first things always come first, I will start with the first thing" Kendra

Alecia | Sun, 03/22/2009

It awoke with a shrill shreak that can be trnaslated "How dare you leave me in this bed, when I am asleep and helpless?" My sister

Awesome!! Bronden's

Awesome!! Bronden's awesome.

This comment was made by Erin!

"Never, never give up. Unless you get really tired." -Ellen Degenres

Erin | Thu, 04/09/2009

"You were not meant to fit into a shallow box built by someone else." -J. Raymond

I'm not sure that you should

I'm not sure that you should use illustrations. Whenever I read a book, I get pictures in my head of everything that's going on, and it ruins it if there are pictures. Obviously, however, it's your choice.

"Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway." - John Wayne

Bridget | Mon, 04/20/2009

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

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