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'The life of a bandit' (1 Viewer)

diaz9943

Senior Member
Would really apprechaite some feedback on this.

It might be easier to understand if you've read the previous chapters
(Prologue: http://www.writingforums.com/fantasy-sci-fi-horror/136184-darkness-stirring-rough-draft.html
Chapter 1: http://www.writingforums.com/fantasy-sci-fi-horror/136141-walk-1225-words-fantasy.html )


---

Chapter 2:
The life of a bandit



I gave him a fair chance, Joar thought as he rode away from the dying youth. It’s either them or us. He often tried to convince himself of that, but it seldom worked. It just didn’t feel right, taking a life. He had long since accepted it as necessary, and did not hesitate as he did it. Joar was a bandit, and robbing and killing was, after all, the way of bandits. It still didn’t mean he had to like it. Pulling his black hair out of his face, he opened the small pouch; his horse knew the way, he did not need to guide it in the right direction. The coins were cold against his skin. A gold shilling, the odd silver mark, and a few copper marks; enough to sustain them for a week. A larger piece of metal in the bottom of the pouch caught his eye. Pulling it out, he discovered a pendant of bronze, with a silver moon engraved in it. He had seen similar pendants before; they were given to boys, marking their entry into manhood, in some of the secluded villages. None as fine as this one though. Pulling the leather strap over his head, he slipped the pendant under his shirt, the cold metal resting against his chest. He did not think it was right to sell it. I’ll keep it to honor his bravery, Joar thought sadly.

About an hour or so away from their camp, he noticed the silhouettes approaching through the darkness. He eased the straps holding his axe, just to be sure. Better safe than sorry, he thought. Years of this life had told him to expect the worst, to always be on the look for an ambush. Those who didn’t learn that seldom stayed long in this life.

He lowered his shoulders again, and relaxed, as the silhouettes resolved into the familiar faces of Mat and his party. A moving bundle slung across one of the men’s saddles caught his eye.

“Hey Bill, what have you got there?” he asked wary. When Bill pulled back the blanket covering the shape, a blonde head came into view. A young man in fine clothes, probably the son of a minor lord, no more than a few years older than the youth they had just robbed, looking up with terrified eyes.

“What’s the meaning of this, Mat?” Joar asked, turning to the group’s leader.

“Well, we thought we’d take him back to the camp, thought that he’d maybe be worth something,” Mat said.

“You of all people should know not to do this kind of thing,” Joar said.
“But-“ Joar didn’t let him finish. Dismounting, he paced over to Bill’s horse, and sliced the rope restraining the youth’s feet, lifted him down, and gave the man a push.

“Walk,” Joar simply said. Can’t let him go, he’ll rat us out, he thought as he led the man away from the others.

“I can’t let you go, understand that. We can’t have anybody coming around here asking questions. This is probably better than being tied up for a few months, anyway,” he said, turning the youth around. He would not shame the man by stabbing him in the back.

“I’m sorry,” he said as he drove his knife into the man’s chest. His eyes widened for a few moments, as he sagged to the ground. Taking a deep breath, he wiped his knife on the passed man’s shirt before returning to the horses. The others were silent. He gave them all a sour look. Joar didn’t enjoy killing, but he did what had to be done.

Approaching their camp, Joar heard the expected birdcalls. They always had two men on guard, up in the trees, signaling anyone approaching with birdcalls. When they got closer, he heard another birdcall. Looking up, he met the eyes of a man clad in dark green, blending in with the pine, greeting him with a nod. Had Joar not known exactly where to find the man, spotting him in the dark night would have been next to impossible. Better to be on the safe side…

Joar and Bill set out for Mallany right after dawn, with several large packs strapped to a packhorse, the youths horse. Most of them contained game, but among them the last week’s stolen goods were hidden. They always took several detours when going in to town, so anyone they met along the way would not see they were coming from the forest, but from the secluded farm Joar owned, lying further to the south east. The farm was abandoned, he had not been there for well over a year, but it was a good pretense, lying far enough away from everything that people almost never came there. Every few weeks, they would ride into town to buy and sell wares.

As they rode through the wooden gate, Joar saw a high leather booth on a slim leg disappear into an alley. Despite Mallany being a quiet city, several of the man carried short swords or daggers. Several of the locals greeted them.

“No trouble with bandits, Joar?” a familiar face asked.

“Not unless they are invisible bandits,” Joar said, smiling at the old man, who barked a laugh and waved goodbye over his shoulder as he continued down the street.

Starting off down the gravel road, towards Banar’s shop, he watched the people as they went about their day. A fair amount of them greeted him, as most of them knew him. As a child of 14 summers, he had come running into the city in bloodied clothes one day. That had been the day a rivaling House had destroyed his Lord Father’s House. He had been the only one to escape, and had lived by himself since. Or at least people thought so. Some of them mockingly called him Lord. He ignored them. He had long since discarded the thought of acting as a Lord’s son.

Reaching Banar’s shop, he dismounted and handed his reins to Bill, and took a few selected bags inside. Bill would stand guard, gently bumping the doorframe with his heel if anyone came. The large man sat behind the counter, calmly reading a book. As Joar entered, he looked up.

“Ah, old friend! What have you brought me today?” he said.

“Elk steaks,” Joar said, throwing one of the bags over the counter. More carefully, he set the other three bags on the counter and opened them. Greedily, Banar started removing the items, ignoring the elk. Neither of them said a word as he did it. When all the items were uncovered, he pointed at each one, mumbeling an offer, adding them up as he went, and each time Joar nodded. Banar was a greedy man; he would not try fooling Joar. He earned too much buying and selling Joar’s goods to put their relationship at risk. After pointing at the last item, he quickly added up the numbers, and took out a small metal box. Joar counted as he started removing coins from it, accepting the agreed amount, a gold Piece, and twenty silver Marks.

“You heard the rumors about the Warden,” Banar asked as he replaced the items in their bags.

“What Warden”, Joar said, interested.

“Well, there’s this fellow that came to town a day ago. He’s got the looks of a Warden about him, white sigil and all. Came around asking questions about some pendant, he did, with a moon on it. Promising a reward for it, he is,” Banar said. “I haven’t seen no such pendant, and if I had, I would gladly be rid of it. Warden business is dangerous business, everybody know that,” he finished. Nodding slowly, Joar felt the weight of the pendant hanging around his neck. The Warden couldn’t be looking for this pendant, could he? Don’t be stupid, he thought to himself. How would a village lout end up with such a thing?

“Well, I’ll be off now. Take care of yourself, Banar,” he said, as he turned towards the door.

“You do the same, old friend,” he heard over his shoulder. Right before he reached the door, he heard three soft bumps from the door. In the next moment, the door swung open. In the doorframe stood the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her long red hair flowed down her shoulders, her slender legs covered in trousers, ending in the same high leather boots he has seen earlier. As he met her eyes, two deep, blue pools, she lost her pace and stumbled. Throwing out a hand, he caught her before she fell.

“Be careful with the doorsill, miss,” he said.

“Thank you,” she said remotely as she straightened herself. Her eyes found, Banar, and as she approached him, it seemed she had forgotten all about his existence.

Putting the beauty out of his mind, he took his reins from Bill.

“Let’s go drop off the rest of this meat,” he said, as he started his horse at a walk down the street, Bill following with the packhorse.



Lavi had followed the broad-shouldered man since he walked through the gates, crisscrossing side streets to avoid notice. After arriving yesterday, she had found the town had many dark alleys, even at midday. A terribly structured place, in her opinion. Darkness allowed people to sneak around unseen. Just like she did.

She had felt a sudden sense of direction about an hour before midday. She could point straight towards the origin. When the broad-shouldered middle-aged man walked through the wooden gates, clearly being the origin of the feeling, she had been surprised. She had been expecting a youth. So the pendant had changed hands. It really didn’t mean anything to her. She had followed him since then, waiting for him to be out of the crowd.

When the burly man had entered the small, abandoned-looking shop, she had seen her chance. After waiting outside for a while, seeing if anyone came out from the house, she decided to enter. She would deal with the burly man and anyone else who might be within, and be gone before the youth standing outside figured to check inside.

Walking quickly across the street, she noticed the youth lifting his heel and bumping it against the doorframe. Coincidence. or a signal? As she opened the door, she was surprised to find the man only a few paces away from her. She could feel the pendant hanging under his shirt, within her grasp. Hanging from his belt was a large dagger of nice make. Meeting the man’s hard eyes, she lost her pace. Reaching out, he caught her before she fell. His very manner of moving suggested experience in the dance of blades. No wasted movements, his body staying in perfect balance despite his quick movements. And those arms! They felt like steel beneath her. She doubted even she herself could break out of his embrace.

“Be careful with the doorsill, miss,” he said. His speech was clear, unlike the dialect of the locals. Lowering his arm, he looked at her. Searching, her eyes found another man sitting behind a large desk.

“Thank you,” she said absently, trying to make it seem as if she was focusing on the sitting man. She heard the other man close the door behind her. That was to close, she thought to herself. She had barely managed to escape discovery.

“Ah, miss, what do I owe the pleasure,” the man behind the desk said, looking expectantly at her. “Could I interest you in some jewelry, or maybe a new pouch?”

“Ah, uhm, do you sell any daggers?” she replied. A new dagger can always come handy, she thought to herself. She had left the large one in the room she rented the day before. The man gave her a strange look.

“I suppose the roads are dangerous these days, bandits and all, miss,” he said, producing several knives from under the counter. Picking up the first dagger, she tossed it in her hand. It wasn’t correctly balanced in her hand. The second one she tried felt much better in her hand.

“Careful with that, miss,” the man said as she drew her thumb along the edge, drawing blood. She arched an eyebrow at him. Did all women in this world require looking after, to be handled with care less the break? Shaking her head, she examined the blade closely. It was good steel, properly fitted to the handle.

“How much for this?” she asked the man, putting the knife down.

“A silver Crown, miss,” he said. He was looking nervously at her; the dagger was likely worth much less.

“I’ll take it, and a sheath,” she said, tossing him twice the price he had named. The man’s eyes widened as he quickly produced a leather sheath, handing it to her. Examining the stitching, she nodded. It was well made.

“That man walking out when I entered, who is he? There seems to be something familiar about him,” she lied as she slid the knife into the sheath.

“That’s Joar,” the man said. “Lives on a farm far from here, but he’s in the city almost every week, he is.”

“Where can I find him,” she asked, leaning forward. As expected, the man leaned forward over the desk too, putting his face within her reach.

“Well, he usually stays at the Iron Pony Inn,” he said, smiling.

“Thank you,” she said as she slid her new dagger into his throat. Never leave behind tracks for someone to follow, she remembered her teacher saying. The dagger easily slid in; it really was sharp. Panicking, the man tried to say something, but his words were lost as a stream of blood gushed out of his mouth. Lavi gave the man a push, causing him to fall backwards, free of the knife. She quickly jumped to the door, locking it.

Returning to the fresh corpse, she wiped the dagger on his clothes before returning it to its sheath and attached it to her belt. Going over the rest of the daggers, she chose another three, and found fitting sheaths. She slid one into each boot, and put the third on a piece of cloth she found. Doing a quick search, she found some leather straps, and added them to the bundle with the knife. You can’t have too many knives, she thought to herself, satisfied.

Looking through the house, she found the expected back door leading into an alley. On her way back to her inn, she stopped by a leatherworkers shop and picked up a needle and some thread. The hunt had taken a new turn, but she was still the huntress.
 

rave

Senior Member
im loving the pacing i feel your chapters are a tad short however, you could lengthen them with character descriptions or some world building or even dialogue wether it be intra or inter personal. keep it up
 

Ariel

WF Veterans
The switch in PoV threw me for a loop. I found it difficult to handle seeing the same sequence from two points of view one right after the other.

Otherwise, Iiked the way this played out.
 

LamentableBard

Senior Member
An enjoyable read! I really enjoyed getting inside Joar's head as he does his best to justify killing innocent men. Very interested to see where you will take his character arc. Perhaps shuffle the Lani viewpoint to beginning just after her fateful encounter with Joar and then looking back on how it played out as it is slightly jarring and interrupts the flow and it'd be a good opportunity to give the reader more insight into her character too.
 

diaz9943

Senior Member
The switch in PoV threw me for a loop. I found it difficult to handle seeing the same sequence from two points of view one right after the other.

Otherwise, Iiked the way this played out.

Any suggestions on how I can make the POV switch easier to follow?
 

Ariel

WF Veterans
In a book a chapter break would be the way. On the forum a few asterisks between the parts work.

I think that LamentBle has a good point too, Lavi's perspective should begin after her encounter with Joar.
 

Ariel

WF Veterans
Well, the action seems to flow well, the language isn't bogged down by flowery prose, and the characters seem to be well-thought out. The plot device is properly mysterious and obviously important. For whatever reason this has a wild west/old Mexico kind of feel that I like.
 

diaz9943

Senior Member
Well, the action seems to flow well, the language isn't bogged down by flowery prose, and the characters seem to be well-thought out. The plot device is properly mysterious and obviously important. For whatever reason this has a wild west/old Mexico kind of feel that I like.

Great, thanks!
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
Chapter 2:
The life of a bandit



I gave him a fair chance, Joar thought as he rode away from the dying youth. It’s either them or us. He often tried to convince himself of that, but it seldom worked. It just didn’t feel right, taking a life. He had long since accepted it as necessary, and did not hesitate as he did it.



Joar was a bandit, and robbing and killing was, after all, the way of bandits. It still didn’t mean he had to like it.


Pulling his black hair out of his face, he opened the/a small pouch; his horse knew the way, /there was no/ not need to guide it in the right direction. The coins were cold against his skin. A gold shilling, the odd silver mark, and a few copper marks; enough to sustain them for a week. A larger piece of metal in the bottom of the pouch caught his eye. Pulling it out, he discovered a pendant of bronze, with a silver moon engraved in it.He had seen similar pendants before; they were given to boys, marking their entry into manhood, in some of the secluded villages. None as fine as this one though. Pulling the leather strap over his head, he slipped the pendant under his shirt, the cold metal resting against his chest. He did not think it was right to sell it. I’ll keep it to honor his bravery, Joar thought sadly.

About an hour or so away from their camp, he noticed the silhouettes approaching through the darkness. He eased the straps holding his axe, just to be sure. Better safe than sorry, he thought. Years of this life had told him to expect the worst, to always be on the look for an ambush. Those who didn’t learn that seldom stayed long in this life.

He lowered his shoulders again, and relaxed, as the silhouettes resolved into the familiar faces of Mat and his party. A moving bundle slung across one of the men’s saddles caught his eye.

“Hey Bill, what have you got there?” he asked wary. When Bill pulled back the blanket covering the shape, a blonde head came into view. A young man in fine clothes, probably the son of a minor lord, no more than a few years older than the youth they had just robbed, looking up with terrified eyes.

“What’s the meaning of this, Mat?” Joar asked, turning to the group’s leader.

“Well, we thought we’d take him back to the camp, thought that he’d maybe be worth something,” Mat said.

“You of all people should know not to do this kind of thing,” Joar said.
“But-“ Joar didn’t let him finish. Dismounting, he paced over to Bill’s horse, and sliced the rope restraining the youth’s feet, lifted him down, and gave the man a push.

“Walk,” Joar simply said. Can’t let him go, he’ll rat us out, he thought as he led the man away from the others.

“I can’t let you go, understand that. We can’t have anybody coming around here asking questions. This is probably better than being tied up for a few months, anyway,” he said, turning the youth around. He would not shame the man by stabbing him in the back.

“I’m sorry,” he said as he drove his knife into the man’s chest. His eyes widened for a few moments, as he sagged to the ground. Taking a deep breath, he wiped his knife on the passed man’s shirt before returning to the horses. The others were silent. He gave them all a sour look. Joar didn’t enjoy killing, but he did what had to be done.

Approaching their camp, Joar heard the expected birdcalls. They always had two men on guard, up in the trees, signaling anyone approaching with birdcalls. When they got closer, he heard another birdcall. Looking up, he met the eyes of a man clad in dark green, blending in with the pine, greeting him with a nod. Had Joar not known exactly where to find the man, spotting him in the dark night would have been next to impossible. Better to be on the safe side…

Joar and Bill set out for Mallany right after dawn, with several large packs strapped to a packhorse, the youths horse. Most of them contained game, but among them the last week’s stolen goods were hidden. They always took several detours when going in to town, so anyone they met along the way would not see they were coming from the forest, but from the secluded farm Joar owned, lying further to the south east. The farm was abandoned, he had not been there for well over a year, but it was a good pretense, lying far enough away from everything that people almost never came there. Every few weeks, they would ride into town to buy and sell wares.

As they rode through the wooden gate, Joar saw a high leather booth on a slim leg disappear into an alley. Despite Mallany being a quiet city, several of the man carried short swords or daggers. Several of the locals greeted them.

“No trouble with bandits, Joar?” a familiar face asked.

“Not unless they are invisible bandits,” Joar said, smiling at the old man, who barked a laugh and waved goodbye over his shoulder as he continued down the street.

Starting off down the gravel road, towards Banar’s shop, he watched the people as they went about their day. A fair amount of them greeted him, as most of them knew him. As a child of 14 summers, he had come running into the city in bloodied clothes one day. That had been the day a rivaling House had destroyed his Lord Father’s House. He had been the only one to escape, and had lived by himself since. Or at least people thought so. Some of them mockingly called him Lord. He ignored them. He had long since discarded the thought of acting as a Lord’s son.

Reaching Banar’s shop, he dismounted and handed his reins to Bill, and took a few selected bags inside. Bill would stand guard, gently bumping the doorframe with his heel if anyone came. The large man sat behind the counter, calmly reading a book. As Joar entered, he looked up.

“Ah, old friend! What have you brought me today?” he said.

“Elk steaks,” Joar said, throwing one of the bags over the counter. More carefully, he set the other three bags on the counter and opened them. Greedily, Banar started removing the items, ignoring the elk. Neither of them said a word as he did it. When all the items were uncovered, he pointed at each one, mumbling an offer, adding them up as he went, and each time Joar nodded. Banar was a greedy man; he would not try fooling Joar. He earned too much buying and selling Joar’s goods to put their relationship at risk. After pointing at the last item, he quickly added up the numbers, and took out a small metal box. Joar counted as he started removing coins from it, accepting the agreed amount, a gold Piece, and twenty silver Marks.

“You heard the rumors about the Warden,” Banar asked as he replaced the items in their bags.

“What Warden”, Joar said, interested.

“Well, there’s this fellow that came to town a day ago. He’s got the looks of a Warden about him, white sigil and all. Came around asking questions about some pendant, he did, with a moon on it. Promising a reward for it, he is,” Banar said. “I haven’t seen no such pendant, and if I had, I would gladly be rid of it. Warden business is dangerous business, everybody know that,” he finished. Nodding slowly, Joar felt the weight of the pendant hanging around his neck. The Warden couldn’t be looking for this pendant, could he? Don’t be stupid, he thought to himself. How would a village lout end up with such a thing?

“Well, I’ll be off now. Take care of yourself, Banar,” he said, as he turned towards the door.

“You do the same, old friend,” he heard over his shoulder. Right before he reached the door, he heard three soft bumps from the door. In the next moment, the door swung open. In the doorframe stood the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her long red hair flowed down her shoulders, her slender legs covered in trousers, ending in the same high leather boots he has seen earlier. As he met her eyes, two deep, blue pools, she lost her pace and stumbled. Throwing out a hand, he caught her before she fell.

“Be careful with the doorsill, miss,” he said.

“Thank you,” she said remotely as she straightened herself. Her eyes found, Banar, and as she approached him, it seemed she had forgotten all about his existence.

Putting the beauty out of his mind, he took his reins from Bill.

“Let’s go drop off the rest of this meat,” he said, as he started his horse at a walk down the street, Bill following with the packhorse.



Lavi had followed the broad-shouldered man since he walked through the gates, crisscrossing side streets to avoid notice. After arriving yesterday, she had found the town had many dark alleys, even at midday. A terribly structured place, in her opinion. Darkness allowed people to sneak around unseen. Just like she did.

She had felt a sudden sense of direction about an hour before midday. She could point straight towards the origin. When the broad-shouldered middle-aged man walked through the wooden gates, clearly being the origin of the feeling, she had been surprised. She had been expecting a youth. So the pendant had changed hands. It really didn’t mean anything to her. She had followed him since then, waiting for him to be out of the crowd.

When the burly man had entered the small, abandoned-looking shop, she had seen her chance. After waiting outside for a while, seeing if anyone came out from the house, she decided to enter. She would deal with the burly man and anyone else who might be within, and be gone before the youth standing outside figured to check inside.

Walking quickly across the street, she noticed the youth lifting his heel and bumping it against the doorframe. Coincidence. or a signal? As she opened the door, she was surprised to find the man only a few paces away from her. She could feel the pendant hanging under his shirt, within her grasp. Hanging from his belt was a large dagger of nice make. Meeting the man’s hard eyes, she lost her pace. Reaching out, he caught her before she fell. His very manner of moving suggested experience in the dance of blades. No wasted movements, his body staying in perfect balance despite his quick movements. And those arms! They felt like steel beneath her. She doubted even she herself could break out of his embrace.

“Be careful with the doorsill, miss,” he said. His speech was clear, unlike the dialect of the locals. Lowering his arm, he looked at her. Searching, her eyes found another man sitting behind a large desk.

“Thank you,” she said absently, trying to make it seem as if she was focusing on the sitting man. She heard the other man close the door behind her. That was to close, she thought to herself. She had barely managed to escape discovery.

“Ah, miss, what do I owe the pleasure,” the man behind the desk said, looking expectantly at her. “Could I interest you in some jewelry, or maybe a new pouch?”

“Ah, uhm, do you sell any daggers?” she replied. A new dagger can always come handy, she thought to herself. She had left the large one in the room she rented the day before. The man gave her a strange look.

“I suppose the roads are dangerous these days, bandits and all, miss,” he said, producing several knives from under the counter. Picking up the first dagger, she tossed it in her hand. It wasn’t correctly balanced in her hand. The second one she tried felt much better in her hand.

“Careful with that, miss,” the man said as she drew her thumb along the edge, drawing blood. She arched an eyebrow at him. Did all women in this world require looking after, to be handled with care less the break? Shaking her head, she examined the blade closely. It was good steel, properly fitted to the handle.

“How much for this?” she asked the man, putting the knife down.

“A silver Crown, miss,” he said. He was looking nervously at her; the dagger was likely worth much less.

“I’ll take it, and a sheath,” she said, tossing him twice the price he had named. The man’s eyes widened as he quickly produced a leather sheath, handing it to her. Examining the stitching, she nodded. It was well made.

“That man walking out when I entered, who is he? There seems to be something familiar about him,” she lied as she slid the knife into the sheath.

“That’s Joar,” the man said. “Lives on a farm far from here, but he’s in the city almost every week, he is.”

“Where can I find him,” she asked, leaning forward. As expected, the man leaned forward over the desk too, putting his face within her reach.

“Well, he usually stays at the Iron Pony Inn,” he said, smiling.

“Thank you,” she said as she slid her new dagger into his throat. Never leave behind tracks for someone to follow, she remembered her teacher saying. The dagger easily slid in; it really was sharp. Panicking, the man tried to say something, but his words were lost as a stream of blood gushed out of his mouth. Lavi gave the man a push, causing him to fall backwards, free of the knife. She quickly jumped to the door, locking it.

Returning to the fresh corpse, she wiped the dagger on his clothes before returning it to its sheath and attached it to her belt. Going over the rest of the daggers, she chose another three, and found fitting sheaths. She slid one into each boot, and put the third on a piece of cloth she found. Doing a quick search, she found some leather straps, and added them to the bundle with the knife. You can’t have too many knives, she thought to herself, satisfied.

Looking through the house, she found the expected back door leading into an alley. On her way back to her inn, she stopped by a leatherworkers shop and picked up a needle and some thread. The hunt had taken a new turn, but she was still the huntress.
Good stuff. A few clumsy sentences and Blonde is feminine.
Kept a nice tone and an easy read style. Nice to see Diana get an airing.
I'm glad I found this
Thanks for the read
Bazz
 

diaz9943

Senior Member
Good stuff. A few clumsy sentences and Blonde is feminine.
Kept a nice tone and an easy read style. Nice to see Diana get an airing.
I'm glad I found this
Thanks for the read
Bazz

Thanks for the feedback/corrections!
I have to ask though.. What do you mean by "Nice to see Diana get an airing"?

Thanks,
Diaz
 
Last edited:

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
Diana, Goddess of hunting. Whatever name your character gets, her roots will be in classic literature.
liked this a lot
Bazz
 

wehttam

Senior Member
11th paragraph from the bottom, the phrase properly worded is 'lest they break', not less.

I really liked it, though. The story has drawn me in quite well.
 

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