Friday, 17 February 2017

Senses working overtime

Antonia said it (and put XTC’s song into my head) : ‘understated entries saying so much more than is actually there, images that won't go away’ and yes, there were more than a few exceptionally visual, cinematic pieces, which magically supplied smell and soundtrack too.
Which is all very enjoyable until I realise I have to pick a winner from among them. A pleasurable  opportunity to read and re-read but excruciating to have to choose. In the end Patricia nosed ahead, with ‘The dealer’, but AR Martin, Zaiure and Bill were very very close behind, and in one way we were all winners, rewarded with such writings.

Words for next week:  rampart sewer unreason

Entries by midnight Thursday 23rd February, new words posted on Friday 24th

Usual rules: 100 words maximum (excluding title) of flash fiction or poetry using all of the three words above in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction or noir. Serialised fiction is, as always, welcome. All variants and use of the words and stems are fine. Feel free to post links to your stories on Twitter or Facebook or whichever social media.

85 comments:

  1. Congrats to Patricia on her photo-finish win and to AR Martin, Zaiure and Bill for their exceedingly worthy pieces. As for the rest, this was a week with totally enthralling stories

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  2. congrats to Patricia and runners up. Methinks the standards are rising all the time here... wanted to say all this when I got to work this morning but Blogger refused to co-operate, everything I wrote miraculously disappeared and left me with the empty box... so it had to wait until I got home. And fed the cats.
    I did read the prompt words for the week ahead, though, and have been wondering on and off all day how the Infinity could have a sewer, nah, got to be another way of using the word...

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    1. Jeffrey here;

      I fully agree, the words have been blending in my head for a while. No, as I pulled into the parking lot at work, Super Freak plays on the radio...the blender in on overload.

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    2. If it's any consolation, I've not the faintest clue as to how I'll be able to use those words, for Pettinger, Raven or a stand-alone. But I'm sure I'll think of something before Thursday.

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  3. Okay, I got distracted last week and didn't come up with an entry (boo) so I'm going to go ahead and get this done now...

    The Plague Cometh

    The plague spread slowly but unwaveringly across the land and left nothing unscathed. All were struck, from the lowliest sewer dweller to the king in his castle.

    Compulsion and agitation were the first signs of disease, though they often went unnoticed. From there, listlessness and unreason. Always, always the plague led to a comatose state. To total brain death.

    The end did not come swiftly, but it came.

    As the plague ripped through the last citizen, he flew a flag from the rampart, a white thumbs-up on a field of blue. It was a warning to others:

    Facebook is here.

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    1. Bravo! So much to enjoy in this Wondra, not least the skill in the use of the prompts. And a fabulous final, kick-arse line.

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    2. What really is a plague, very nice analogy and prompted story.

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    3. Wondra, that's brilliant! And sums up why I have nothing to do with it... the plague will pass me by but take everyone else so I'll end up lonely... but sane...

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    4. Nice ruse leading me to believe this would be an historical tale and then projecting me fully into the present. That last line is a killer. (Not a fan of Facebook by the way. In fact, I don't even have an account!)

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    5. Brilliant twist at the end with a modern cautionary tale and the perfect final line.

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  4. the fury

    “You’re being unreasonable,” he sputtered.

    I’d just finished tying his hands.

    “Unreasonable? You left my friend to the sewer rats.”

    His eyes searched the room. For purchase. For rampart. For anything he could use to save himself.

    I grabbed his chin, forcing him to face me. “How does the saying go? Hell hath no fury like...what was it?”

    He shook his head. I pushed double barrels into his crotch.

    “Hell hath no fury like what?” I demanded.

    “A...a woman scorned,” he whimpered.

    I smiled. “You’ll know soon enough.”

    I fired.

    First between his legs, then between his eyes.

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    1. I want to know what happened to get them into this situation! Love how nasty it is!

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    2. Ah, unrequited love or worse. Is a woman scorned a fate worse than death? An enjoyable story.

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    3. Excellent! Really nasty, and impelled by accurately-chosen verbs, allowing us to imagine the worst.

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    4. oh that's good, matches the gut wrenching crime thriller I'm reading at the moment.

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    5. Oh yes. The ultimate act of revenge. Love the fact that the bullet went for the "vitals" first. Gave him at least a brief moment to ponder on the situation. This was an excellent piece.

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    6. Revenge carries a shotgun. An excellent ending to what is likely a very fascinating story.

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  5. Uxbex #8

    “Uxbex, glad you’re here. There’s a clue about that blood splay.”
    “Discovery of body that blood missing to belongs.”
    “Watch this surveillance clip from the stations rampart cameras.”
    A Velusian female in ancient blood stained wedding attire, was walking into a sewer transfer station.
    “Their embassy has no record of such a Velusian and…”
    “Roc of Velusian clan, happening for weddings is place. Female no longer exists, know not she who is, I do.”
    “So, this lady is dead and we are looking at a ghost? Impossible.”
    “Unreason of statement Imperator make, as truth record, camera does.”

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    1. The level of incomprehension deepens! Methinks Uxbex can find a way around whatever prompt is thrown at him.

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    2. like this, sort of long distance viewing of a happening, in Uxbex talk as well, almost understandable. We're getting used to it, I think!

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    3. As unusual as ever in both language and presentation. Almost virtually nothing but dialogue once more and used very effectively, I might add. The patter of speech continues to remind me of Yoda.

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  6. Torch Wood Diner: Mike’s Dinner #3

    We danced, drank, walked and talked, visited the beach and a bedroom. The sewers brought us foods whose names I couldn’t pronounce. I was Charles Brandon and Pamela, my Mary Tudor, standing on the castle’s ramparts after our wedding.
    “Tell me my dearest, who are you? When we toasted the king, you said ‘long may she reign.’
    “A slip of the tongue, brought on by excessive champaign.”
    “Your tongue never slipped earlier, dearest.”
    “Nor yours or your attentions,” I hand her a bell.
    “The unreason of my leaving, please dearest, ring my bell, one last time.”
    She did, I left.

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    1. much going on here to think about, nice use of the prompts.

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    2. Tudor references, which embrace my favourite period of British history. This was quite subtle in its erotic insinuations...assuming I have read them correctly. As Antonio mentioned, very nice use of the prompt words.

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    3. Sorry...meant Antonia of course...!!!

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    4. I love this turn of phrase: "...ring my bell, one last time."

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  7. Torch Wood Diner: Jamie’s Dinner #3

    “Constance, he’s a natural, tis it that I might learn from him.”
    The unreason of my actions is abhorrent. Yet they feel sown to my soul by a sewer.
    Alphonse and Constance pleasure themselves with their objects. Mine speaks.
    “Upon the ramparts of your eyes I see your good nature. Allow me to pleasure you as is natural for a woman.”
    The servants yell, “The Committee. Robespierre!”
    “You’re under arrest Marquis.”
    He frees each girl, mine whispers to him.
    “Take the Marquis and Constance to the Bastille, you good sir, may have desert.”
    I ring my bell

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    1. oh oh, nastiness abounds here in abundance!

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    2. I must admit that the historical references don't always resonate with me, but there is no denying the skill with which they are applied.

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    3. I confess to being uncertain whether 'sown', as in 'sown to my soul by a sewer' was too subtle for me or very clever, but am sure you meant 'dessert' and not 'desert'!

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    4. I'd to offer up my thanks you to all for your comments on my stories since I've joined. They've been most helpful, enjoyable to read and flattering to know they are looked forward to. Most definitely, Sandra I blew that one, it should have been 'dessert'.

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  8. Change of focus [223]

    “Nasty murder” was no exaggeration: the body had been found in a sewer. Recently-enough killed to be noxious; the odour of human excrement insufficient to overpower. Industrial quantities of Vick required.

    At the end of the day, in the temporarily-silent incident room Pettinger found himself wishing for some Vick equivalent to block the memory of Aleks’ frustration at what he saw as the unreason of Pettinger’s claim that leaving a nine-year-old to fend for himself was illegal. Something stronger still – something distilled – would be required to fortify the ramparts he’d tried to build around his heart to prevent its breaking.

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    1. Nice use of prompts, really liked "Something stronger still – something distilled.."

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    2. oh my, mysterious deep movements in Pettinger's black heart, if he has one. And Alek is right about the 9 year old...

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    3. Body in a sewer...could there be anything less palatable? And Pettinger continues to struggle. Love the idea of a rampart around the heart.

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    4. The way you used Vick, first as an indication of the nature of the scene and later as a metaphor, was very nice.

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  9. I will be back to comment in few days, but just wanted to give much applause to those who have already managed to weave a tale around the prompt words. As of right now, my imagination has gone into non-functioning neutral mode. Hopefully, it will switch into gear before the deadline. For the moment, I can't seem to somehow meld "rampart" with "sewer."

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  10. SIEGE UNDER

    It had been ten years since Colm’s family had laid claim to this sewer sector. His father had constructed a mini-keep some ten yards from the rampart of shopping-trolleys and other flotsam.

    Colm knew exactly why his new home no longer stank as it had in the first year, but it sent him into a fugue of unreason to even consider the devastation above: his mother’s bones fused to the sluice gate as she sought to usher others into the main drain. She’d been a First Responder in Beforelife.

    His father punched him on the shoulder. The rats were regrouping.

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    1. A very warm welcome to you, Perry McDaid! And this is a superb Prediction piece - nasty and with near-seamless prompt insertions - and very very entertaining. And what a wonderful phrase is 'fugue of unreason'.

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    2. Greetings Perry and welcome. This is an enjoyable story the imagery of mothers fused bones was excellent.

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    3. Clever use of unreason! And I like Beforelife. I feel like this should be part of some video game.

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    4. Perry, delighted to see you here, more chances for me to read your work! This is a lovely piece, a sample of something bigger, almost. Is it?

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    5. This had a post-apocalyptic feel to it for me. The images were vivid and the word choices superb. Let me add my "welcome" to the others above. With submissions such as "Siege Under," I do hope you'll stick around.

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    6. Thank you all so much - great feedback in the face of so many other wonderful microtales here. Although not part of a bigger piece, it wouldn't be the first time that a microtale or poem grew into more extensive work. The term beforelife was me scrabbling to express a complicated concept faced with a word limit. Funny how it works out better than expected. :)

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    7. This is a solid piece. My favorite thing about it is the term "beforelife" because it implies so much more.

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  11. Abomination

    He had never known kindness in either word or deed, not even from those pious men of the cloth who claimed to be his protectors. He had learned it was an unreasonable request and no longer sought compassion.

    Despised more than the vermin inhabiting the sewers beneath the city, he found solace perched upon the stone ramparts of the cathedral where he was no different from the other gargoyles.


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    1. So nice to see rampart decorated with gargoyles!

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    2. definitely, a good one, Patricia!

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    3. You had me at gargoyles. Very nice little piece.

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  12. I'm so glad my wait for this wasn't long. So much sadness in compassion being an unreasonable request.

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  13. Than you so much. Glad you enjoyed it. Loved Patricia's Quasimodo mocrotale.

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  14. for new Challenge people, this is the ongoing saga of Blackbeard, aka Captain Edward Teach, ferocious captain, who took to the high seas again in his newly built ship Infinity. He records his victories, losses, thoughts and desires in his journal, which he writes in every week... sewer threw me for a while, on a pirate ship? then tonight it all slipped easily into place. For once!!!!


    Infinity 187.

    The sight of the merchantmen sunk low in the water, speaking of much loot in the holds, made me glad to be restored to life again, even if my private closet be stinking like a landlocked sewer. Someone else can clear it, I be cap’n after all, tis unreasonable to expect me to do it myself.
    Instead I stalked the upper deck and watched the crew destroy the ramparts of the merchantmen, shouting their glee at murder and mayhem, watched the bodies go overboard and the loot loaded into the boat… what more could I ask of a new crew?

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    1. I do believe this crew to be more bloodthirsty than the original members. Lovely incorporation of the prompt words. Not easy to accomplish given the "Infinity" scenario and location. Can't wait to find out what "spoils" the Captain has gained.

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    2. To turn the sacking of a rich merchant ship into a social bonding experience, is writing, the way you did it is art.

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    3. Methinks the Captain has grown tall again. And how much has been conveyed in that vivid final sentence.

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    4. I love the imagery. I can see the blood in the water.

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    5. Strong and evocative. Makes me want to watch Black Sails.

      I don't know how you manage a serial with these. I'd be tearing my hair out.

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  15. Swaddled

    He was a teller of tales, a fabricator of fables, a sewer of stories, ever needing to build ramparts to protect me from the outer world.
    He was my teacher, of all I ever needed to know; my preacher when I questioned how to live, my chastiser when I contravened his rules. He tended me when I fell ill, argued against what he termed the unreason of my objections. Taught me to be loved and to love in return. Brought me to bloom, to bloat, to bear his child.
    And made me promise to tell no-one he was my father.

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    1. Nasty. Nasty. And expertly composed. Adored the different facets offered in the persona of just one man. I think "Brought me to bloom, to bloat, to bear his child" is my favourite quotation of the week.

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    2. A person with so many facets, so masterfully crafted, yet made public for what reason? A beautifully told tale.

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    3. Layers upon layers cannily composed.

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    4. Oh, well done! It has solid cadence right to the end, and that last line delivers a nice punch.

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  16. Congrats Patricia! Well-deserved. :)

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  17. Cripplegate Junction/Part 84-A Stitch In Time

    Alice had a talent for making doll clothes. Dressmaking was a skill she learned from a patient at the sanitarium whose embroidery work was considered quite exquisite.

    "I'm a good sewer, aren't I Miss Constance?" asked the little girl.

    The innocently proud question breached, for a moment, the rampart of Constance's customary austere demeanour and her cupid bow lips pursed in a barely disguised smile.

    "You are becoming a fine seamstress."

    Constance watched Alice ply the needle with nimble fingers. She found the action both fascinating and disturbing. Not unreasonable emotions given the governess' history.

    --------------------------------------------------------
    To read the earlier installments (a suggestion only) which led to this point in the tale please visit:
    http://www.novareinna.com/cripplegate.html
    A link to return to "The Prediction" can be found on the site. Thank you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------


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    1. I'm glad someone contrasted sewer with seamstress, and this a neat-stitched episode which opens the door onto disturbances.

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    2. Jeffrey checking in;

      A very tight, descriptive story, with very good prompt use.

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    3. I feel like I've just been schooled. It never even occurred to me to use sewer in that sense.

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  18. A Nation Destroyed

    Unreasoned by years kept from the sun’s solacing eye, the First Daughter of Amoria laid a pale, trembling hand against the shattered door, and peered out at her rescuer. A massive man, who’d likely entered the keep via the sewer by the smell of him, stared down at her with unexpected gentleness.

    “Lady, your jailers are dead. Please, take my hand.” A bloodied hand swallowed hers, and lead her slowly outside to the southern rampart.

    A killing field stretched out below her in all directions; a red and blue mess of bodies and churned earth.

    “A nation destroyed, as promised.”

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    1. I love it when stories, regardless of length, feel lived-in. Like the fictional world had a life before the tale, and will go on after it. You've created that here. Very nice.

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    2. Thank you AR for defining what it is I so much like about certain stories - I'd not heard 'lived in' until you used it a week or so ago.

      And, as ever Zaiure, thank you for this, an unbelievably gentle and delicate story of vivid horror.

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    3. Very well done, with great word use. The last line red and blue mess of blood and churned earth was excellent.

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    4. I like how full of promise this is. Feels like the start of an epic romance.

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    5. Wonderfully done and with such a delicate touch. This is the best of high fantasy in my opinion. And what vivid descriptions. An inspired submission.

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  19. Kursaal (Episode Fifty Nine) -- "The Horrorhouse"

    Pint-sized Ambrose Oxenford ran the Fuhouse. He also managed its antithesis: an attraction located in the Kursaal's defunct sewer system. It was known as the Horrorhouse (as opposed to one of fun).

    Wire cages suspended from a hangman's noose were lowered over the ramparts of a crumbling barbican, whereupon patrons alighted into murky catacombs where all manner of unsavory critters roamed free amid unidentifiable filth.

    For varying reasons, it was unreasonable not to expect a smattering of resulting casualties, some of whom were difficult (or even impossible) to rescue.

    Indeed, a corpse or two already resided within its remote depths.

    --------------------------------------------------------
    To read the earlier installments (a suggestion only) which led to this point in the tale, please visit:
    http://www.novareinna.com/kursaal.html
    A link to return to "The Prediction" can be found on the site. Thank you.
    ---------------------------------------------------------

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    1. What an unamusement park ride you describe. So nonchalantly mentioning a missing corpse or two. Beautiful.

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    2. It occurs to me you must either have had some disturbing funfair experiences as a child, or have a very vivid imagination! What is not in doubt is your skill with words and story-telling, because this has further freaked me out.

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    3. Had to laugh at that, Sandra. Actually, I think I probably just have a macabre imagination at times. All memories of funfairs (and the like) are intensely happy ones.

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  20. ‘Which bitch?’ [Threshold 152]

    I stood and faced him, remembering he titled himself amanuensis. He was as yet ignorant of Raven’s grandmother’s death. When he learnt, would the breaching of the ramparts of her blind-applied trust, her misbegotten faith that his honeyed words came from other than a self-serving tongue, hard-wired to a sewer mind, drive him to violence or unreason?

    I knew Raven skillful in the arts of life and death and bodily survival, but was uncertain how capable his mind of the unravelling of complexities of accounts, of deeds and wills and declarations.

    I wondered, did we need keep this man alive?

    [If desired, earlier episodes of these serials can be found in pages displayed immediately under the heading of my blog lines of communication, linked in the right hand column]

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  21. This is a man definitely not to be trusted, that's for sure. I don't believe Raven would have any trouble at all in taking him out, should the circumstances call for such. I love it when episodes end with a question. Beautiful insertion of the prompt words.

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  22. The Adventures of Rosebud, Pirate Princess #65
    Handy Spy Skills


    The ramparts of Stonesthorn Castle are shockingly easy to sneak through when you grew up finding secret passages. Most people just think the grates are for the sewers, but the actual sewer grates are hidden in the shrubberies. Natasha is hiding in the forest, disguised as an actual yurt. We still don’t know who we’re at war with, but that’s not unreasonable since we haven’t been home in a while. Unfortunately border-crossing new sources are few and far between. I’m betting I can get up to the towers without discovery, then I can get the news myself and plan accordingly.

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    1. Some cloak-and-dagger stuff seems to be taking place here. Nice use of the prompt words and I adore the title.

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    2. Lovely opening sentence and excellent continuation from last week And good to see the actual yurt make a reappearance.

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