The Lupine Saga 2

“Unacceptable. You aren’t free, that cannot be that difficult for you to understand.” Standing beside a bed was a domineering human woman who was scolding with only half the might her delicate frame could handle. The bed was a mess, and all the covers were over a single lumpy spot.

“But mother…” whispered a girl’s voice from beneath the covers.

“No buts. This time you get off with only a scolding and two hits. Next time we may have to be more drastic. If you’re ever caught being friendly with that, that… thing again, you will be locked in.” The woman, satisfied with her scolding, stormed off. Her normally beautiful face was twisted with disgust. She couldn’t fathom why her daughter would do something that would insult her class. The girl had dared to speak casually with a servant, an avian servant. She shivered at the thought of each black feather protruding from the avian’s arm.

“Filthy things. Just filthy. Birds, just why birds. I swear.” At that moment a servant was approaching her in the corridor, holding a silver platter with a tea set on it.

“Madam, your morning–” the servant girl started to say, however the woman cut the avian off.

“Quiet! How many times have I said that you must wait for me to speak first? You’re a statue, stand by the wall. I have no appetite.” The woman sneered as she passed the servant, who had stopped and put her back to the wall. Truthfully, it was the first time the Madam had ever indicated anything of the like. Nevertheless, arguing was a taboo that no servant dared to tread, much less an avian servant. The threat of being plucked, tarred, and then feathered was an old one that hadn’t been done in the last thirty years, yet still burned into the mind of every young avian by their parents and grandparents.

Shiroi, the white-feathered avian girl, knew that the Madam’s unreasonableness would pass with time, and for now she stood silently at the side of the corridor while the Madam stormed off. Shiroi thought of the servant boy who was both employed and fired yesterday. Her feathers ruffled at the thought of him talking with the young mistress, and thereby ruining the coming weeks for the rest of the servants. After a few minutes had passed, and it seemed safe to move again, she returned to the kitchen quarters to inform the other servants of the Madam’s blazing anger.

For the next week the servants would be statues in the face of the Madam, and upon seeing their good behavior, she would calm down and actually be overjoyed with her loyal servants. In two weeks, she would speak to a servant without using a stringent series of commands, and that would be her signal that it was safe for the servants to return to their normal behavior. So went the frivolous nature of the master, Madam Jane Lucrene Melonscone, a high-noble from the house of Scones.

#

“Is there anybody in there?” The human teacher tapped the head of the sleeping girl to wake her. Yawning and stretching her black feathers, she looked up at Sensei.

“Sir, it’s more comfortable when I’m asleep. The answer is twelve,” the avian girl replied. She then rested her head on her hand and blinked lazily. Sensei wasn’t impressed, but moved on nevertheless.

“That’s correct. It would be helpful if you’d make better use of your eyes, Miss Harnes. But back to the problem. Who can answer question thirteen next?” At that moment, the bell rang in the distance, signaling the end of the class. “Next week we will be handling the arrangements for the next term, so come Monday with your completed work. It’s your last assignment, and nothing will be accepted late due to how busy we will be. Dismissed!”

The kids that had already packed their books got up and shuffled out of the room. Pete, Kelin, and Va’il occupied the three seats that made up the corner near the back window, and started talking with each other instead of leaving.

“You finish yours Va’il?” Pete asked.

“Somewhat. But I was planning on having you fix it anyways,” Va’il said with a grin. Kelin remained silent and brought out a book. It was brand new. He broke the spine and flipped through the pages. He muttered something unintelligible, and then went to the front of the book.

“You three again! Swine, how many times have we told you to stay away from him if you want to keep the bacon on your back?” A group of six had approached the trio. The one who spoke was a human with tanned skin and brown hair. At his sides were a swine and a bovine, Clarence and Lauren, both very large for their young age. Tightly holding Lauren’s horns was a skinny and brown-feathered avian boy. There was a grey hare making his way to the side of the first human. Once the hare squeezed past Clarence, the sixth boy became visible. Black hair, round blue eyes, white skin, human; it was Zeick.

“Riley… I uh, he’s my friend… can’t,” Pete said, slightly frightened.

“Well I say he’s not. You’re disgracing yourself around that fatherless half!” Riley, the tan boy, said.

The hair on Va’il’s tail stood on end, but he kept quiet and continued looking out the window next to him. Outside he could see various children leaving. A few of the older children had run a bit quicker than the others and set up a small picnic underneath a big tree. A few of the younger and more daring avians had been even quicker, and were in the tree’s branches, chirping happily at the others passing by. One of the older kids underneath the tree took a few pieces of the bread he was eating and threw it up into the tree. The younger kids happily ate the sweet bread.

Va’il recognized one of the boys as Yan, the school’s idol. He was one of the few lionels in the area, and was well respected due to his benevolent nature. He was aiming to be the priest. He wanted to be the first lionel to hold the office. It wasn’t common knowledge due to their rarity and territorial nature, but the highest position a lionel had ever held in the nation was that of a minor governor for a far away province, and none had ever had the aspiration to leave their normal territories and become a member of the ruling caste. Va’il suddenly snapped to attention when he realized Pete had jumped in protest.

“So what?” Pete yelled.

“Oh, the pig can protest,” Lauren said, followed by a snort.

“No matter,” Riley said with a smirk. “Pete, you should come with us. Leave that thing. You don’t need to take care of it, that’s what a mother who obviously can love anything is for.” Va’il could put up with the usual insults, but he felt his mouth baring his fangs as the remark fell off Riley’s lips. But it wasn’t Va’il who spoke next.

“You just insulted Mai’ou.” Kelin snapped his book shut with a loud clap, and then slammed it on his desk. His thin lips were pulled back and showed every glaring fang. The claws on his left hand were stuck in the book’s cover. “And that is something I will not accept. You’ve been saying Pete this and Pete that, this entire time. Huh? What about me? You going to bring your threats to me? Well, are you? I’m not a half; I’m a full blood just like the rest of you. Should I stop talking with Va’il as well?”

Riley’s face turned a little paler, and he obviously had trouble trying to swallow anything at that moment. Lauren and Clarence both took a half step back, and the feathers of the avian stood up. The hare though, walked right up to Kelin.

“We aren’t afraid of a lupus! Right Zeick?” The hare twitched his nose as he brought his face within a meter of Kelin while grinning widely. He was short, had long floppy ears, was covered in grey fur, and had a rabbit’s nose.

“So, you think you’re safe since we are all at peace?” Kelin asked. “Don’t you ever forget, hare, meat made up the most of my ancestors’ diet. Unlike the rest of you, even in times of utter peace a lupus keeps every natural instinct sharper than peace dictates. It’s in our nature. Now get your face out of mine before I…” Kelin breathed heavily with each word. The hare didn’t budge, but only smiled more.

“What, what? Don’t feel so smug in school, we will find you afterward and…” The hare moved even closer. Kelin, in turn, moved closer to the hare. He then whispered something into the large ears. The hare jumped back a bit as the last word was made with a snap of Kelin’s jaws. The smile was gone, and the hare jumped again and hid behind Zeick.

“Ha, thought so. Just took a reminder, right? The rest of you will do best to remember your instincts as well. I’m the safe one, by the way. Being a half, you probably cannot feel anything when it comes to Va’il here. But I can tell you, and as a lupus, I can smell it. He’s more dangerous than I am.” Kelin finished his threats with a smile, and fixed his eyes on the vital areas of each of the kids in front of him. “And Zeick, what are you doing? You convinced by this scum, they threaten you? We can fix that right up.”

“No, it was… parents. Well, I mean yes I’m with them. We shouldn’t… halfs are unnatural. You, don’t you think? It’s an abomination.” Zeick spoke quietly at first, and then ended more resolutely. Riley eyed him with every word, and nodded approvingly.

“That’s right,” Riley said, “unnatural. Let’s go, these sympathizers deserve each other. Have fun being outcast from society.” Riley had regained his composure.

“Oh, so you’re brave enough to be sticking your neck out again?” Va’il asked, and then dropped onto all fours as he eyed Riley.

“You half! You dirty…” Riley stopped, frozen in the moment. Va’il had opened his mouth, baring his fangs. Staring at Riley’s neck, his saliva had overflowed and started to fall out of his mouth. When Riley regained consciousness seconds later, he brought his hands to his neck, turned around completely, and walked out of the room briskly. He only realized after he had left the room with his full entourage behind him that he had shown his back to two hungry lupus. The raw fear that he held back every day by tormenting them surfaced. Never before had they stood up to him with such vehemence, and the natural fright of the lupus had brought itself to the fore of the minds of everyone in the area.

The natural threat had permeated the area. The avians in the tree outside jumped down and ran out of school grounds. Yan looked after them, puzzled for a moment, but his attention was forced to a nearby window. However, all he saw were three boys laughing amongst themselves, so he paid no heed to the sudden threat within his territory. It didn’t cross his mind at the time that one of the boys was a half, for all he could see from that distance was a human face, a red lupus, and a swine. He did notice that on the second floor, a few puzzled kids had stuck their heads out of the windows, in search of where a sudden chill came from. Unable to find it, all they could hear was the roaring laughter of some kids on the floor below them. It turns out that the only people who took any actions at all were the three avian boys that had left the tree. Their instincts told them to run, and their minds hadn’t developed enough to question why at the time.

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The Lupine Saga 1

Book one, The Lupine Prince. The “Together with Silver” trilogy.The Lupine Prince

“Wake up!” Va’il woke to the sharp pain of his mother’s fangs sinking into his bushy tail. The conversation they just had never registered in the half-asleep child’s mind, and so he had no conscious recollection of refusing to wake up.

“Ow! Why did you do that? Can’t you wake me normally?”

“Then you shouldn’t refuse to get up. Now that you’re fully awake, get ready for school. The teacher will throw a fit if you’re late today.” With that, Mai’ou walked out of the room. Her long, thin tail trailed behind her.

Standing on the messy bed in a small room was a boy of seven years old. At first glance he almost appeared human, but that illusion dropped upon seeing his ears, tail, and claws. He was half-lupus, half-human. He had a very long and extremely bushy tail. His furry ears were those of a wolf, at the side of his head where human ears normally are. He had a few fangs hidden in his mouth. His eyes were human in appearance, but silver in color. His hair was also silver, as was the hair that covered his tail. His skin was white, but not pale. In his hands were claws that were unlike those in wolves or cats. They were lupus claws, which could extend and retract at will.

Being a young child, he was always running in the sun, so he was never as pale as he could have been, nor was he ever as tan as other children. But all these traits largely went unnoticed by the young child whose mind was filled with thoughts of fun and play. Right now, they were concerned with the scolding Va’il had just received, and the throbbing pain in his tail. Mai’ou was a lupus, and she was quite proud of the power of her bite, or so it seemed to Va’il. He picked at the fur on his tail, to see if his skin had been broken. It wasn’t; the area was only bruised.

Satisfied, he jumped off the bed and ran to a nearby closet. He flung off what he was wearing, and put on clothes that might have been clean. They smelled fine, so he put on grey trousers, a blue tunic, a cloth belt, and cloth boots. He walked out of his room and then downstairs into the kitchen. He sat at a wooden table as his mother put out fishes, soup, and rice. He ate quietly and quickly, and was finished by the time Mai’ou sat down.

“Ready then? Off to school,” she said.

“Okay.” He got up quietly and picked up a satchel by the front door. While putting it around his shoulder, he opened the door and walked outside.

“And don’t forget to bring back your work this time!” Mai’ou said. She was gruff in her words and actions, but Mai’ou was still far more lenient than she tried to be. She sighed as she rested her head on her hand. Being a normal lupus, she had large, brown, frizzy hair. More of her teeth were fangs, and her lips were somewhat thin. Her eyes were golden and more angled than Va’il’s. She also had long, wolfish ears at the side of her head. They were mostly brown, and the tips were black. She also had black spots here and there in her hair, making it look somewhat like fur. She had a long brown tail that appeared thinner than Va’il’s. Her son was vastly different, so she couldn’t help but be harsh yet caring.

#

Outside it was bright, and there was a fresh smell in the air. Va’il ran through the various cobblestone paths between the houses until he reached a wide road. He stopped in an alley and peeked around the corner to see who was on the road. The path to the school gradually went up a low hill, and Va’il was at the midpoint of the hill. Below him, he saw about twenty other children making their way up. Higher, he saw a few groups talking amongst themselves as they walked. He looked around until he spotted, higher on the hill, one in particular. As one of them turned their head to talk, he confirmed the identity. They were a couple hundred meters ahead, but Va’il’s vision was extremely good. They were his friends.

He lowered his stance and started running to catch up. He bumped into a couple children along the way. They glared at him indignantly, but he paid no attention to those he offended. They didn’t care once they noticed the big silver tail. It had become an event no longer worth getting worked up over. After a few meters, he tripped on a rock and fell on his hands, but he didn’t stop running. He ran on all fours while his bag jumped every time it hit the ground. When he was in range, he leapt onto an unsuspecting friend.

“Gehhh, off! Off! Hhhee.” Pete, a rotund swine, was soon wheezing and struggling with an unwelcome attachment to his back. As a swine, he looked like an upright pig, and had the girth one would expect of an enjoyer of fine foods.

“Aw Pete, just one bite today, please?” Va’il eyed the pig ear in front of him that, until a moment ago, was flapping lazily in the wind. Upon hearing the plea, Pete had made his best effort to pull his ears closer to his head.

“You, you don’t want to eat this ear, it’s full of wax,” Pete said.

“Morning Va’il,” said the lupus walking next to Pete. It was Kelin, a lupus with red hair and fur. He had experienced this sequence of events far too often as well. “And Pete, just how many times do we have to hear you cower before you stop to realize Va’il won’t bite you?”

“But, I can’t help it. It’s in my instincts to be afraid of the lupus. Even you… don’t think I forgot about what you did to my tail,” Pete said, murmuring the last bit. He seemed to forget that anything was latched to his back as he kept walking up the hill. Va’il, sensing his moral victory, climbed higher on the swine’s back, and made himself comfortable as a passenger.

“Oh please, you pigs just remember everything. I keep telling you, we were pups at the time. I cannot be responsible for every little thing I may have gnawed on when teething.” Kelin sighed once, and then pulled out a book to read along the way to school. “Besides, it’s our parents’ fault for letting us play together. Amazing how we are still together, right Va’il?”

“Right! Kelin, how many times have you talked about Pete behind his back? Just the talk of barbecue is salivating!” Va’il and Kelin gave malicious, toothy grins to each other and awaited Pete’s reaction.

“Mhm, barbecue. Hungry.” Barbecue was a trigger word for Pete. Upon hearing it, the threats fell upon deaf ears. Va’il shrugged it off, and then noticed that it was just Pete, Kelin, and himself.

“Where is Zeick?” Va’il felt Pete’s shoulders droop when he heard the name.

“He’s avoiding. Doesn’t have the courage,” Kelin mumbled.

“Why?” Va’il asked.

“You. Same issue, being a half and all. Sorry.” Kelin spoke in a matter-of-fact manner, but he never stopped reading the book. He turned a page.

“Oh, again, another,” Va’il said. He sighed.

“Sorry Va’il, you know his family and friends are just like everyone else. He still has to deal with everything that comes up from everyone else. And well…” Pete tried to be consoling, but he didn’t have the words he was looking for.

Va’il had understood enough. Prejudices were held by everyone against every species for one reason or another, but most still had no actual qualms. Daily association with another species was fine for almost everyone. But still, the thought of a half was beyond acceptable.

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The Lupine Saga Begins Tomorrow

As mentioned in the last post, I’ve decided to remove my works from sale, and from now on will be posting my work in short weekly posts. Short, five minute snippets, weekly. They will contain the entire book over time. And eventually, the entire series. Thus, The Lupine Saga.

I’ve had the idea to do this for a while, but have lacked direction and decision. But after encountering works that were published in a similar manner, on the internet first before becoming actual publications, I’ve increased my affinity for doing it this way. It also relieves some elements of pressure, as I’ve actually written a sequel to my Lupine Prince book, but regretfully never finished polishing it to a publishable point.

It will take over a year just to publish The Lupine Prince this way, and during that I have decided to refine that work as well, to a point. After it is fully published (and to be clear, I’ve already scheduled it to be published, so I won’t fall into a weekly procrastination trap!), then the posts for the never-before published The Lupine Chevalier will start going live, and, being a longer, more detailed book, will go live over a longer period. During this expanse of time, I hope to consolidate the ideas I have for the yet-unnamed third book of the trilogy into order, and write it out, refine it, and hopefully have it ready to follow at that time.

Starting tomorrow, and I expect every Saturday to follow, there will be a new post, a new segment of the saga. Whether large or small, it will be there. I expect to keep things rather simple, though I’ll interject periodically to expand on some information in the book or series. Without spoilers.

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Ideas for Book Four, finally.

Why concern over a book four, when book two has been ten years in the works and unpublished? Even this site, the last five posts are quite literally, across five years, last post was two years ago, also at the beginning of a year. That is changing this year. Heavily.

Because during book one, I had ideas for making a trilogy at first. And then I realized I didn’t want to just write a trilogy, I wanted a series. When your favorite works are over 400k words and have enough events happen in them to need years worth of television to cover a single book, you think in series instead of single works.

And I like the idea of my characters continuing on. And it still pains me to think of a couple authors who wrote series and died before being able to finish their work, even if they did have decades of series already started. You may think “but if their works never finished, then the characters never ended.” How wrong. They died when their author died far too early in life. Each author is the god of their own fictional universe. No matter how many other people know of it, when the author is gone, that universe no longer exists. It would be a different matter if the series was complete, however, that universe then becomes self-contained. Or well, that’s just my view on it.

So this gets to Lupine series, book four, how? Well in book one I figured out the fundamentals of the universe it is in when writing it. And have been mentally expanding it ever since. Agonizing over choices to make, plots to either write or discard, and even anguishing over the suffering that’ll end up happening in that world. No wonder they call it god in the machine, deus ex machina, when a writer just puts in a split second save of a character in a completely impossible way. Sometimes you want to wave that power around and fix all their troubles.

Book one was light and upbeat. It had some stuff happen, but the ending was “good,” even if the final pages are a setup for the next book. I hesitate to say cliffhanger. The point of the book was fulfilled before the final pages. I’m still used to series of works that have a point in each book, and then at the end set it up for the next one.

Book two starts upbeat, but then it ages. Concerning things happen. And it’ll even end with certain things resolved for that book, and yet will open up the world for more questions and things to happen.

Book three is probably going to change when I actually get to writing it. For the key scenes I have thought of, and the basic outline, is different. It is most decidedly a different direction than someone reading the first part of the first book would’ve expected.

But during book two I had though of making this a series, rather than a specific number of books. Including far-off future events, and how the current series would lead there.

I got too far ahead of myself. In fact I got so far ahead with those thoughts that it led to incredible stagnation. How do you write about something that happens at age 13 to a character, when you’ve already got ideas about things happening centuries later that they affected? It was a bit stifling. Years of stifling. Until I finally realized: oh, just throw all this out.

But wait, aren’t you doing it again, thinking about four when two isn’t done? Ah, but that’s because two sets up three, and with how three goes, I was getting worried for what I’d do for four.

And realized that one of the ideas I’d thought of during book two, no, during book one (but thankfully not written, just thought), had to be thrown out completely. No rule-breaking here, actually. See, I’ve got a bit of realism in my Lupine series, genetics. The characters obviously live in a world without certain advances, but even without high-level science, certain things are still known and understood.

I think I’ll have a bit of realism I’d thought of thrown out of my universe, and make book four something I had previously never even thought of. Nor thought was possible!

Not rule-breaking, just making sure I don’t write in a rule that ends up creating a darker path than I’d originally intended. It wasn’t going to end well. That’s been thrown out entirely. I can’t see the end anymore. Finally! I can’t see the end, and it’s a joyous occasion!

It’s good to be a god of your own little universe.

Hey, the book already had friction-less surfaces, non-carbon-based lifeforms, and non-radioactive light sources! And those are just the ones alluded to in book one. Even in the “real” world, there’s scientists looking at some research results that could possibly indicate a fifth fundamental force of nature. The four being the strong and weak forces, electromagnetism, and gravity. The lupine series is already set in a universe with at least five forces, possibly more, however, a force to be understood as magic is not one of them.

Too much knowledge of how the world works in a physical sense (or in some cases, a biological sense), can be really stifling sometimes. But I’ve been reading some old works where the author knew certain things were impossible, and still based them in the real world, everyone but the necessary characters still obeying regular physics. But hey, it was consistent, even if unrealistic. My consideration is that the universe itself is animation, rather than realistic. I’ve always thought of it as a cartoon or Japanese anime to begin with, but considered the implications of the universe in a real sense, rather than considering that perhaps the universe that is inhabited by my characters is, itself, more fundamentally anime.

This is all to say, book three is going to end a certain way. Considering I’ve spent ten-plus years thinking about these characters, there’s an interesting thing going on. Each book is also years apart, and there are timeskips in each. The end of book three will end almost ten years off from the start of book one. And so, as time has gone on, the characters and circumstances and the issues have grown with age. The characters are 7-11 in book one. It has a few events, but will be upbeat. Book two will have teens of some age in it at a certain point. It is different than book one. Still a journey, but of different tone, with more mature events. And three will definitely have some troubles in it, and obviously the characters who were kids at the beginning of book one will end three in later teen years for some of them.

Book four, I finally know what to do with it now. And it’ll be unexpected, considering the books before it. It’ll actually be something to look forward to. My previous restrictions had started making book four look like it’d go in a direction I couldn’t be sure of, that wasn’t going to be like the prior three. Now I have an idea. It’ll certainly be different, but something to look forward to.

To come in the next ten or twenty years. (This post alone was actually drafted two years ago. So hold the expectations.) However, two things now. First is… I’ve decided to stop selling my books elsewhere. They’ve been taken down by me. I have an about page if someone wants to contact me about getting them directly or for other business interests. Because I’m going to start posting them here, in short segments, over the coming years. A weekly post of a thousand words or two. It means I’ll also make some slight changes to past scripts, again, but in a format that’ll be easier to adjust. And two, which will just be left here without context:

TLPAHMJTSTWFTTOABBTN

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Working on items again

Three years since posts. Four and a half since I finished the main story of TLC (book2). Been a mix of things to do in the years since, but finally been looking at my old works.

Re-watching and re-reading works that were my original inspirations.

Found an art style that finally doesn’t require me to have artistic sense (I have no ability for drawn art), that allows me to still create original images of some characters, though it’s time consuming and still limited in function, at least it gives me a path.

And have actually done an outline of Book 3, finally, with key scenes. Which the next day I redid, deciding they were not entirely the direction I wanted to go, but kept them because they give me an idea of how to use them in the written work.

Spending a few hours each week revising TLC (Book 2). Adjusting some items that had literally hung me up for years in how they went. Literally years a couple scenes bothered me, but it wasn’t until recently I figured out where to rewrite them. Since then it’s been better.

With the outline for Book 3 started, I’ve been working on a timeline. I had previously had a simple one for the world history, and a minor tracking of my main characters, but recently have been adding events that happened to their parents, their parent’s parents, to other nations that influenced things for the last two-hundred years, etc.

Still in the throes of anxiety wondering what’d be the point, never sure if it’s something that’ll be something I could do in life. After all, picking up a project you started ten years ago when you were a different person, different mindset, is daunting.

But Somedaybox emails keep coming, monthly newsletters I proofread and can’t help but be affected by. Sister’s music appears, and can’t help but appreciate, be in awe of it.

Even if only a handful of people end up reading (and some of them have been waiting a decade), it turns out that I’ve been pleased just re-reading my own works after all, and think I can write them for myself. TLP (Book1) was around 88k words. TLC(Book2) is looking like it’ll be almost 120k. It still almost feels a little scarce, as it covers a lot of time and several events it has to jump between often. Just drafting Book3, I feel like it has the potential to be longer than both combined.

A large influence on me were some adventures that were over 500k words per book. I’m thinking I’ll stop worrying so much about length constraints.

Book2 will likely still be self-published, this year. I’m strongly considering serializing all books as blog posts though.

The editing/revising process has been part of that idea. Going through book one again, I yet again found a half-dozen items to correct. But there’s a number of issues that crop up when deciding to fix the print copy of Amazon and Kindle.

I’ve also considered looking at sites that let you support by donation. I’ll think more about that when I get to book3.

I’ve stopped making definite commitments to times though. Giving out dates and saying “I’m doing this now!” and then not getting it done just leads to more failure. So, working on stuff. Maybe they’ll get published, maybe not. But, I’ve been wanting to see how Va’il and Ruby’s adventure continues, if I can continue it, and what becomes of it. I’ve even had a strange thought about making some of the decisions I’ve thrown out as an alternate history version. Just ideas.

Will see anyways. No promises, but, well, working on it all again, bit by bit. Slowly.

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