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Myths of Power (Re-write)

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  • Myths of Power (Re-write)

    I have decided to do a re-write of my previous story Myths of Power.

    I realized that there were too many grammar and spelling mistakes. I also think it needed to flow better so I have added new stuff and cleaned up a lot of the story so far.

    Here is the first part

  • #2
    A darkened figure sits, slumped over, on top a large piece of ruin. He holds out his hand, catching a handful of rain and slowly turns to let the water fall to the muddy ground.

    "Rain. It's always raining. Can't remember the last day it was dry."

    He sits up straight and examines his hand.

    "At least the blood has finally washed away..."

    He stands up. Around him are dozens of dead bodies clad in plate armour although there are no obvious signs of wounds or blood. In the distance, a large fire flickers with strange figures moving around it. He looks over to them with a scornful look in his eyes.

    "Damn 'thropes. They never know when to leave things well enough alone."

    He wraps a cloak around himself, stained with what looks like new, old, and very old blood, and steps in between the bodies to a slick embankment.

    At the bottom, he spots a broken shield with bits of white and brown fur clinging to the edges. Kneeling down, he pulls off some of the fur and brings it to his face, sniffing it and pulling apart the individual hairs.

    "I thought you were still here Joseph. You never were one to celebrate.” He stands up, dropping the tuft of fur, looking around, searching. “I would suggest you get your 'people' and get to safe harbour."

    A rustle comes from a nearby bush. A low gruff voice whispers out.

    "I'll get them, Richard, when I'm damn well ready. They deserve to celebrate, given what's been happening to our kind!"

    Joseph steps out from behind the bush. Twice the size of Richard, he looms over him. They stand beside each other looking at the dancers in the distance.

    "You know very well that this was Karen's fault. Had she just.."

    A flurry of fur and claw whip by the Richard’s face, bits of cloak and flesh trailing after.

    "Mention Karen one more time and I'll make sure you never speak again!"
    Joseph grabs a section of Richard’s cloak and cleans his claws and hand.
    “Hrmm, forgot how disgusting you are.”

    Richard lowers the now torn hood, pulls back the cloak from Joseph and uses it to wipe his face. A face pot marked with scars and open wounds. Small insects crawl in and around them. He grabs his jaw and moves it around in un-natural positions, cracks, pops, and other inhuman noises echoing.
    “By Hareshna, do you really need to do that?”

    “I do.” Richard’s speech improves.
    “And I suppose I deserved that. What will you do then, Joseph? In a few hours, an army of them will arrive and wipe you out. We can't afford to lose another race."

    Joseph stands from his hunched position. Long fur quickly and silently retreat to bare flesh, muscles reduce in mass and his size decreases to something just slightly taller than Richard. A worried and sorrowful gaze fills his now human face.

    "I'll let them be for 30 minutes. It's been a long time since they last danced."

    Richard looked at his companion. “You have a few more scars since I last saw you, friend,” As he puts a hand on Josephs shoulder, small insects and beetles fall from his cloak.

    "and it will be a lot longer if they are caught. Take them to the docks. I have a ship there, the Lazarus..."

    A smile crosses Josephs face.

    "Your humour stinks..." Both men laugh lightly.

    "I know. But it seemed to fit. The Lazarus will take you to the continent. From there you should be safe... at least for a while."
    "Thank you Richard. You've been a… shall we say… ‘good’ friend through these hard times."

    Joseph starts to walk towards the dancers, his form slowly increasing in size again. He stops and looks slightly back to Richard.

    "And... I'm sorry for striking out at you. Karen was... special to me."

    Both men stand in silence.

    "Will I see you on the continent?"

    Richard takes a step forward.

    "I don't know my friend. I have some business to take care of here and I don't know if I’ll make it out in one piece."

    "Ha. One piece, ten pieces, or a thousand. I know I'll see you again, you bastard!"

    Joseph bolts off into the distance, fur and claw once again asserting themselves.

    "Yes, my friend. I hope to the gods you will. I hope you will."

    He pulls the hood of his cloak up to cover his face and turns away.

    "I'm just not sure you'll like me when you do."

    He climbs back up the embankment and carefully starts to cross the bodies.

    As he passes a rather small looking corpse, a hand jolts out and grabs his ankle. Richard bends down, grabs the hand and forces it to release. He moves debris away to find the corpse of a young woman.

    "Well my dear, you're not looking all that well."

    The woman opens her mouth but nothing but gurgling noises come out.

    "No, don't try to speak. Most of your throat is missing."

    The woman’s eyes widen and her face contorts in fear.

    "Don't worry. I'm here to help. What I want you to do is just concentrate. Visualize...stop grasping at your throat, you aren’t breathing anyway..." He pulls her hands away and holds them between his.

    Richard speaks calmly and slowly, trying to take away her fears.

    "Now do as I say. Close your eyes and visualize yourself as a broken vase. Now think about all the pieces coming together to reform itself. Concentrate hard. This will most likely take a few minutes."

    As minutes pass, pieces of flesh and bone inch their way to the woman from the surroundings.

    "Good, that's good. I want you to take it easy, but try to speak, maybe whisper?"

    The woman rubs her throat. Although it has the appearance of burnt skin, she seems amazed.

    "i...iitsss... harrrrd..."

    Richard raises his had to stop her.

    "That’s good, but you need to relax and give it a day or so for your voice to come back. In the meantime, I need to check on something."

    Helping her up, Richard turns her around, examining her until he finds a small mark on the back of her knee. A small circle, no larger than his fingernail, with three horizontal stripes through it. He pulls up his right sleeve to reveal a similar mark on his arm with a triangle inside of a circle, faded with age but still visible.

    "Well, I haven’t seen this type before. I wonder who else was here today?"

    He stands back to look at her again to suddenly realize that she is naked and shivering.
    “Oh, my apologies!” He spins around and starts to pull clothing off of some nearby corpses. “I sometimes forget… the… um, oh that one should do… socialities… of , that looks good as well… of…” He tosses the clothing over to her as his voice trails off and she gets dressed.
    Richard finally turns around and offers her his hand.

    "Come with me. If you stay here, you're going to cause far too many unwanted questions. I will explain your...or rather ‘our’ situation, along the way."
    Richard and the woman stumble through a densely forested Harrings Wood, the sounds of where they were hours behind them. Periodically, they stop so Richard can examine the woman and her ‘condition’.

    "To put it in its simplest terms... we're dead...well not living at least, or, to say, not what would ‘normally’ be called living."
    He looks around the area, listening for anything and occasionally hearing the snap of a twig.

    "You've most likely noticed that even though we're trampling our way around this forest, you don't seem to be out of breath."
    The woman expression becomes puzzled as she stops moving and notices that Richard is, in fact, correct.

    Richard places a hand upon the woman’s chest.

    "Keep noting and you'll find that you aren't really breathing at all. If you aren't living, then why breathe? It's simple, once you think about it."

    The woman still looks puzzled and shakes her head, not fully understanding.

    "Look... we’ll stop here for the night. I don't want to accidentally run into...'unfriendly' people in the dark."

    Richard removes a small satchel from inside his cloak and pulls out a firebox. He gathers up some wood from the surrounding area and lights a small fire. He then pulls out a small glass bottle and empties the last of a silvery powder. The flames quickly turn from a bright red and yellow to a deep blue.

    "There. That was my last, but now we should be safe from any unwanted company while still staying warm."

    The woman turns to him with a look of panic.

    "No, no... I mean, wolves and animals like that. But I see that does really allay any of your fears." She moves in closer to the fire.

    He kicks over a nearby rock to sit on and stares at her.

    "I suppose I'll have to give you a name... I used to know another mysterious woman who was named Catherine? Does that sound good?"

    Catherine thinks for a second and then nods approvingly.

    "Ok then Catherine... I guess I'll start at the beginning..."
    "For ages now, children have been told all sorts of faerie tales about witches, goblins, elves and trolls. What almost all of the world doesn't know is that most of those tales... are true, or they used to be."

    Catherine’s face wrinkles in disbelief.

    "It's true. Since the dawn of mankind, there have also been faerie kind. Creatures that took a different path from human-kind. The most powerful were the Elves and the Trolls. However, being the most powerful isn't all that it sounds like. Wars between the two were common enough to get the attention of the human's fear."

    Richard stands and walks around the fire. He looks deep into the night trying to see the unseen.

    "Ages ago, the Humans decided that the Faerie folk were too powerful...too strange to live with them, even on the outer edges of civilization. They banded together and wiped out many of the elves and troll. With the two most powerful races beaten down, the less powerful ones either fell or fled. Eventually, there were only a few left of our kind. Mostly just the ones that could more easily blend in with them, hidden in plain sight."

    He picks up a rock and throws it into the bushes. It lands with a thud and the scurrying of animal feet.

    "Now, we are down to only a few clans. Our race, the Revenants, the Lycanthropes, and the Vampyrics. There are a few other, small clans, such as the goblins. But their time is also almost gone. They are too few to survive."

    He turns and sits down to find Catherine asleep.

    "And so we find ourselves living in the human's shadows. Trying not to get caught..."


    • #3
      Catherine is woken with a strange sensation on her chest. She looks down and lets out a rough, cracked scream.

      "Aaaahh, g…get it off...get it off!" she sweeps at a small animal sitting on top of her. It deftly dodges her blows and scurries around Richards’s feet.

      "Well, that just fine of you.." The creature says as it scampers between Richards’s feet. "...after me bringin' you breakfast and everything?"

      Catherine looks down to see a pile of nuts and berries arranged in a large leaf.

      "I'm sorry...I just wasn'…" She says nervously, shuffling back quickly until she backs into a nearby tree.

      The squirrel slowly moves towards her with what appears to be it's best angry look.

      "Just wasn't.. WHAT?? Ready? Thinking? Being GODS DAMN respectful?!"

      Richard moves in closer and offers Catherine a hand up.

      "Quiet Valerie, I told you she's new." He holds Catherine’s hand gently and pulls her to her feet.

      "Sorry about that. Valerie can have a bit of a temper on her in the morning"

      Richard looks down between his feet where Valerie had sat herself down. "Let's make this easier on her, ok? Change into something more suiting."

      "Suiting to her, you mean.”
      “All right, give me a minute."

      Valerie runs behind a small bush. Noises similar to cracking bones and ripping leather come out, making Catherine wince.

      After a minute a small girl comes out.

      "There. Is. This. Better?"

      Richard scuffs Valerie's hair. "Yes, thank you. Catherine, grab your breakfast and let's get going. We need to make up some of the ground we lost last night."

      "And WHO'S fault was that?!" Valerie chimes in

      "You know very well what ALL clan law says. We can't leave a new one behind. It will..." He lightly pushes her should, making her stumble.

      Valerie raises her hand and sarcastically imitates Richard. “Yes, yes, I know... Leaving a new one behind could compromise our existence to the Humans and possibly causing the death of us all… blah blah blah."

      Richard looks down at her with a smirk. "I did the same thing with you, if you recall?"

      Valerie shuffles ahead of them with less than silent grumbles.

      "Richard?" Catherine grabs his arm."She's a lycer..lycan.."


      "uh, thanks...but she's a squirrel?"

      "Fox-squirrel if you don't mind!" Valerie shouts back at her from 30 yards away before waving them forward. Richard doesn't appear to pay any attention to her.
      "Don’t mind her. Like I said, she's irritable in the mornings. Lycanthropics can be found in all manner of creature form."

      Catherine tightens her grip. "For some reason I thought they would just be wolf like."

      Richard looks at her a little puzzled. "Really? You've only been reborn for a little over a day. You've never run into any lycanthropics. Why would you think that?"

      "I don't know? It just seemed to be in my mind that that's what they should be." Catherine looks at Richard.
      "Is that bad?"

      "No. Not 'bad'. It’s just that, when one us becomes re-born, our personal memories vanish almost completely. Some say it's something our bodies do to prevent us from going insane."
      Catherine holds Richards arm tighter. "There are a few of us that retain some vague memory, but they usually only show up in our dreams. And even then, nothing can really be understood."

      "Do you have any?... dreams I mean?" Catherine bites her lip.

      "No" Richards states abruptly. He pulls his arm away from Catherine and moves forward to Valerie's position.

      "Valerie..." Richard whispers to her as he kneels down. Both are on a boulder looking down into a small valley. “You stopped. What is it?"

      Valerie stoops down further, her ears now partially transformed.

      "Humans... a small party. From the sounds they're making, heavily armed. Maybe they were from that group you fought with a few nights ago. Someone escape?"

      "Not that I could tell. I" Richards voice grows shallow as Catherine comes closer. "out of sorts."

      Valerie growls as she comes closer. "Get down, you stupid woman. Do you WANT them to spot us?!"

      Catherine drops as fast as she can, landing on her knee.

      "Ow.... Sorry, I didn't know" She rubs her knee hard.

      "Try to do the same thing I taught you earlier. Visualize and concentrate." Richard says, too engrossed in looking for the humans instead of turning to her.

      Valerie, concerned with being spotted, turns. "Oh, that's just disgusting. Go over by that tree and do that. I have a sensitive nose you know."

      Richard turns to see. "What's the matt... oh...this isn’t good"

      Richard looks to see that Catherine has ripped a knee cap right off and has obviously broken her leg.
      "Come on, let's move to that tree & I’ll try to help you out." He puts her arm around his neck to take her wait and points to an old oak.
      "Valerie, while I help Catherine, I want you to go scout out what they're doing down there. Don't be stupid. Don't try anything. Just observe and report back."

      Valerie starts to transform. " But what if..."

      Richard cuts her off. "Just... Observe"

      Valerie scurries down the hill side while Richard pulls Catherine to the tree.

      "Look, Catherine, This is going to be something like before but you must concentrate harder."

      "Why? My wounds earlier didn't take all that long?"

      Richard places the kneecap back on her leg. "And it took at least twelve hours before you could talk again. We don't have that kind of time right now. I know this seems unfair and I will explain things better when I have a chance, but for now you've got to trust me and do as I say." Richard’s stony expression is that of someone with little sense of humour. He uses some old bandages to wrap her knee up, and straps two thick bandages each side of her leg.
      “These bandages should help the process somewhat, but you will have to do the hard stuff.”

      "Okay, I'll do my best" Richard moves away. "Wait.. where are you going?"

      Richard pulls out a long black cloak and some more wrappings from his pack. "I have to go down there and help her."

      "But I thought you told her to observe and report back to you?"

      Richard wraps his hands and head. The wrappings are old, bloody, torn and very dirty. "I did. And that's why I don't trust her to obey me."

      Just before he finishes wrapping his head and face Catherine can see Richard’s skin turn pale yellow and start to rot.

      "Why are you doing that?"

      Richard walks to the boulders edge and peers over listening intently. He turn back to Catherine his voice altered by rotted body parts. "Well... no-one likes to be around the old leper-man!"

      He moves over the edge and starts to make his way down to the valley floor.


      • #4
        The valley was covered in lush trees, creating fantastic light displays as the sunlight seeped through the foliage. A heavily used path cut through with most of the shrub cleared away from each side. In a wider opening, three men are trying to escort a cart filled with military pikes and spears. Unfortunately for them, the cart has broken one of it’s wheels in a small depression.

        A large man dressed in a slightly redder, cleaner uniform, obviously of a higher rank, moves slowly around the cart. "LIFT IT UP THEN! GET THAT WHEEL FIXED!"

        The three other men speak as one. "Yes sir!"

        Unnoticed above this, a tree branch rustles. Valerie observes them while taking a few nibbles from a newly plucked nut.

        "Just observe them... Don't do anything Stooopid.” She turns the nut around, and finding a rotten section, tosses it behind her. “One of these days, I'll show him who the stupid one is. The rotting corpse of a bastard."
        As the three soldiers continue to fix their cart, The captain walks further into the woods not turning back to look at his underlings.

        “We have to get this weapons cart up to the forward garrison. I hear tell that there was an attack a few nights ago.”

        One of the men stops working.

        “The garrison was attacked?”

        The captain makes a face of utter contempt.

        “No, you fool! A militia was attacked over on Verdon’s field.”

        Valerie moves to a lower branch straining to listen.

        “Hmm, I wonder if that was where Richard was?” She thinks to herself. “I wonder is that’s where…SHE was?”

        The soldier moves closer to his captain.

        “Sorry sir, but do you mean the Patron’s militia? My cousin marches with them.”

        The captain turns.

        “Sorry lad, but the way my tells me, all who were marching that night were wiped out.”

        “Killed sir?” The soldier swallows hard. “Who attacked them?”

        “Can’t really say. He said it was hard to see, what with the heavy rain, but he walked around afterward and didn’t see anything alive.”

        He places a hand on the man’s shoulder.

        “We’ll find out soon enough, boy. Don’t worry. You’ll have your vengeance. That is if you men can get that cart fixed!”

        The other two soldiers complete the repairs and push the cart out of its hole with the help of a large old work horse.

        Valerie moves down to the ground and scurries over toward the cart. The two men see her and one pulls out hunting knife.

        “Looks like we’ve found dinner.”

        Valerie freezes in mid-stride. “Damn” She realizes that she has placed herself in between the three soldiers and the captain.

        Another soldier pulls out a sling and bullet. "No worries, little morsel, this won't hurt at bit!"

        Her legs now frozen in terror, she looks around for an escape and with a rush of adrenaline she makes a jump under the horse and towards the cart. A bullet whizzes past as she darts in between legs and wheels. The knife wielding soldier skids beside the horse and lashes out over and over, trying to force her out from underneath.

        A voice booms out from the trees. Its sickening undertones of rot, recognizable to only an unlucky few.

        "Help an old leper to the city gates?"

        Richard places one of his wrapped hands on the captain’s arm. He reels back in sickening repulsion.

        "How dare you touch me you filthy beggar. How did you get behind me so quietly? Where are you from?" He brushes off his shoulder with a queasy look on his face.

        By this point the captain is trying to hold back whatever was unlucky enough to have been in his stomach from breakfast. The other soldiers cease their hunt and form up behind him, swords drawn.

        Valerie takes this as her chance and starts to circle around to get to who she hopes to be Richard. “Nice timing for a corpse.”

        "Ay, sir, a beggar I am. But that is because life is what it made this poor, decrepit body to be."

        The soldiers relax somewhat but keep their swords at the ready.

        Richard takes a few steps towards them. As he does, then soldiers step back and keep their distance.

        Valerie, now standing just in the tree line, out of view, takes a sniff to the air. She soon realizes that this was a bad idea.

        "Uh.. what a stench." Her little paws rub her face and nose, trying to clean the almost physical smell Richard has created. "I'm impressed, the old bastard's good at this. Keep the disgust high and no one wants to bother with you for fear of becoming ill." She looks around. “There’s something else though, someone else… Hrg, not going to be able to track them with this stench in the air though. I’ll have to try later.”
        The captain holds a cloth up to his nose.

        "That's all well and er..*cough* good, old man, but what do you want in the city?"

        Richard shuffles closer to the weapons causing two of the soldiers to rush around the cart and brandish their swords in protection.

        "I hear tell, there's a physician in there that can help an old poor man in my condition." Richard swivels back toward the captain, holding his hand out in putrid want. "Do you know of him?"

        The third soldier starts to think. A process that, by his facial appearance, is not done very often. "I think he means the monk who lives in the southern quarters, captain."

        The captain looks back in irritation. "I know who he's talking about! Do you think I'm an idiot?" The two soldiers at the cart nod silently, being out of their captain’s view.

        "Unfortunately for you, old beggar, we are outside the northern quarter. I can't just let you in and let someone in your...condition... go wandering the streets. Besides I am currently occupied in more important matters."

        Richard feigns impression. "Yes, I can see that. Off to supply the war effort are you? Have many 'trophies'?"

        Valerie questions herself. "Trophies? What does he mean by that?"

        The third soldier steps around his captain. "Watch your tongue! You speak to none other than Captain Bretarian. Hero of the Four Walls. Scourge of Faerie kind." The captain's chest becomes inflated with the praise.

        Richard takes a step back and lowers himself. "Really? Hero of the Four Walls? Such a terrible battle that was. So much death and destruction. I'll wager you have some stories."

        Captain Bretarian wells up with pride. "Let blood and bone rain over the battlefield! Let none enter these four walls! Let no man stray from his duty! Monsters are the stuff of nightmare and we are the light that shall extinguish them all!"

        A tear wells up in Bretarian's eye. "I said that on the eve of battle and not a man faltered." He forces himself back to the present. "But enough of that, beggar." The captain pulls out a coin from his purse, making Valerie perk up and take note of exactly where said purse was on the captain. "Take this coin and make your way to the southern gate. You can enter there through the leper’s entrance."

        Richard takes the coin with haste "Thank you, oh thank you great hero of the Four Walls. I shall not forget this day."

        As the soldiers carry on their way, Valerie cautiously comes closer to Richard, holding her paws to her nose. "Is it safe?"


        • #5
          Richard looks down. "Hmm? Oh, yes, sorry about that. It was a bit much but it got their attention away from 'someone' who was just meant to 'OBSERVE'!"
          Valerie’s posture becomes squeamish and embarrassed.
          "I'm sorry. It's just so very boring just sitting in the branches, you know."
          Richard shakes his head. Valerie was one the best scouts that he had every come across. Quick, agile, quiet, and no one ever looks twice at a squirrel on a tree branch. If she would just learn that she needed to stay back, away from the fight, he could sleep better at night. At least, those nights that he DID sleep.

          Richard turns back to the hill. "But it IS much safer, isn't it? I wasn't planning on making contact with anyone until we were inside the city walls. Now I'm going to have to take care not to run into those idiots again."

          Valerie climbs up Richards cloak and sits on his shoulder. "What? You mean you weren't impressed by the 'Hero of the Four Walls'?" She puffs out her small chest and raises her hand in a mock salute.

          "Oh he was most likely at the battle. It just wasn't as big as what he thought it was. The Four Walls was merely a diversion for a larger battle that was happening elsewhere."

          "You talk as if you were there? When did this, so called battle, happen?"

          "About twelve years ago and I was there, just not on the front lines. I’d rather not talk about it just now, if you don't mind. Some very painful memories are still buried there. Let's just go get Catherine and make our way to the south gate."

          Valerie jumps off Richard and transforms. "Richard?"


          "What did you mean by 'trophies'?"

          Richard pauses and closes his eyes. "I keep forgetting, you haven't been in any real battles have you?"

          He opens his eyes and continues up the hill. "During many battles, the humans who are in charge or are of a moderately high rank sometimes like to retain 'reminders' of the enemies they have killed. Sometimes it’s just a piece of armour, sometimes it can be something more...” He takes a deep breath. ”…substantial."

          Valerie grips at her tunic, pulling it tighter. "I don't understand. More substantial, like what?"

          Richard’s voice becomes monotone and serious, remembering horrors of times past.

          "It's not uncommon for bodies to be found without their heads or limbs. I've even been unlucky enough to see one human who had at least three revenant heads in jars. They say we revenants can exist forever, if we wanted to, but who wants to spend eternity in a jar?"

          She rubs her neck with sympathetic pain. "Okay, I'm sorry I asked."

          After a long and silent climb, they arrive at the boulder. Catherine is still resting on the tree, trying to regain the use of her leg. Her face shows the stress of her concentration.

          Richard kneels down beside her and examines her work. "Well, this will have to do for now, Catherine. Valerie, go find something we can use as a crutch." Valerie wonders into the woods and starts pulling down small trees.

          "I'm sorry, I just can't get it right. Every time I try, it just keeps breaking." Catherine lowers her head in frustration.

          "Don't worry for now. Valerie will get a crutch, I'll wrap up your leg and we can make our way to the city."

          Catherine looks up at Richard, tears of fear filling her eyes. "Is that safe? I mean, won't it be dangerous for us?"

          "Catherine, the entire world is dangerous for us. This is someplace I need to go and I can't leave you here. You're going to have to come with us."

          Valerie steps out of the woods with a large branch. "US? No, no no no. I don't do cities, you know that. I have to stay in human form all the time, even when I sleep and that’s just not something I'm going to do. You two go in and do what you have to. I'm staying out here. Have a good time. Try not to catch any of those nasty cities diseases."

          Richard takes the branch at trims it down for Catherine. "Well, I know better than to argue with you on this subject. Catherine and I will go and meet the monk. When I need you, I will try and get some kind of word out to you, so be ready."

          With each giving a nod and Catherine now able to walk with a crutch, they part ways.

          After an hour of hobbling along, they find themselves on a pathway heading for the south gate. Richard stops as they start to see the gate. "If the guards ask about us, I'm your father, William of Balantine and we've come to see the apothecary about our circumstances."

          "I thought we were coming to see a monk?"

          "We are, but outside of the city’s population, he's known as the apothecary. The guards won't want to get close to me, but you'll have to. Try not to react to the smell..."

          "What smell... “ Catherine’s face blanches. “…oh that is terrible."

          "Sorry... Well Catherine, welcome to the Walled City of Haladan!"