Worldbuilding Wednesday #62: Eeep!

Today’s Worldbuilding Wednesday is short. Really short. And different.

Why?

Well, I’m embarking on a new adventure. I’m starting a publishing house. *ducks and hides from everything that needs to be done*

Once again, why????

Well, I actually always intended to.

I’ve always loved being a writer. There are few things as fun as as creating new worlds, writing stories about them and sharing those stories with people. I’ve loved reading and writing since I was a little girl and I always knew that I wanted to be in the publishing business in some fashion. Writing was the logical place to start.

But one thing I’ve learned over the almost two full years since I started putting my stories out is that I also love helping other writers get their stories to readers. I like the process of creating covers. I actually enjoy formatting books to make them look good in print or electronically. And as tedious as it can be to upload stories sometimes, there’s a deep satisfaction in seeing that story out there and available to be purchased.

Don’t even get me started on the thrill when someone buys a book! *laughs*

It’s fun. I have two writer friends that I’ve helped on publishing matters. One has already released her book and it’s doing pretty well for a first book. The other is working on her book and considering her options. I really enjoyed helping with feedback, formatting, uploading, all of that.

And well, there just aren’t enough books out there that have women, POC and LGBTQA characters in lead roles. Or any roles at all, honestly.

So, my plan has always been to create a publishing house that specifically puts out stories with women, POC and LGBTQA characters in them. SF, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery, with an erotica line, too. Maybe YA or children’s books but I don’t know for sure yet about that.

I just figured that it would come somewhere in the next 2-5 years, not right now.

BUT!

I decided to create a second penname for erotica stories. It seemed like a good idea.

My initial plan was to have it be a secret identity, one not connected to Meyari McFarland at all. Because, you know, erotica. And well, I was curious how it would sell compared to my other stories.

Amazon and CreateSpace were no issue. I was able to upload the story under the new penname and there was no connection that readers could see. The only place it showed was on my dashboard for the two sites. Wonderful!

Smashwords, not so much.

To have two authors on one dashboard you have to have a Publisher account.

I didn’t know that at first. Tons of error messages when I uploaded the story with the new penname! I had to put it to archive until I could figure out what happened and how to fix it.

Which I did. My Smashwords account is now a Publisher account rather than a regular Author account. That means that I can have multiple pennames and everything is fine. It also means that, should I choose, I could put other people’s stories up just like a real live actual publisher.

Which means that I might as well go ahead and get the whole thing running properly right now, just without opening submissions until I understand how contracts work and accounting for royalties properly and eek, so much to learn!

*flails*

This means that the publishing house is starting up right now. This week. Well, it’ll probably take this month and into next month to get everything straightened out and all the books and sites updated. O.O

Which pushes me into setting up a Publisher website which means that I have to have a PO Box as using my home address for the publishing house isn’t a good idea. And I need to look seriously at getting a Doing Business As legal thing for the state. And eek, there’s figuring out how to do hardbacks and audio books and and and!

Yeah, I’m kind of flailing about at the moment, thus no proper Worldbuilding Wednesday post. *deep sigh* Maybe I should just switch it to discussing what’s going on on that front. Except I probably won’t.

Anyway, I hope that we’ll be ready to let people submit stories by the end of 2015 at the latest. It’ll probably be more like 2016 or 2017 if I’m honest with myself. I do have a huge amount of stuff to learn and set up before I’m ready to do that.

But plans for the future are starting to come together. I’ll let you know what I’m up to once I have something a bit more firm. Wish me luck!

Oh yeah, what’s the publishing house going to be called?

MDR Publishing

:D

(I wonder if I can create a logo with the initials… *wanders off with lists of things to do fluttering*)

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Novel Monday: Artifacts of Awareness – Chapter 34

Artifacts of Awareness Ebook Cover
Description:
Being enslaved was better than dying but only barely. Kennet did what he had to in order to survive as a slave with the knowledge that freedom would risk being found by the people who drove him into slavery. Kennet saw no reason to do anything extra for the men who bought him. They didn’t care about him and he didn’t care about them.

That was true until the royal family of Penhale purchased Kennet guard Prince Didymos. Protecting Prince Didymos from the assassins seeking to kill him dragged Kennet into the world of national politics and onwards to face an enemy that threatened to destroy not just Kennet but the whole world.

Kennet didn’t want to deal with any of it, the assassins or the magic that lurked around him but if he wanted to survive, Kennet would have to not just face down the threats surrounding them but also track the assassins back to their shadowy leader.

What he found at the source of the chaos changed Kennet in ways he could never have anticipated, taking him in all new directions. Hopefully Kennet’s new skills would be enough to let him save the world, his lovers and himself.

Artifacts of Awareness

By Meyari McFarland

34: Wrath of Fire

As much as Kennet wanted to charge in immediately, he couldn’t. Dimi wouldn’t let go of his boot until Oren had gathered about thirty men to ride with him. Toma stayed with the rest of the army but only because Dimi latched onto his boot once he let Kennet go. All of the men with Kennet were older. He recognized a bunch of them as men whose families had been killed by Rihab and Tahira, who had nothing left to lose. It made a certain amount of sense for them to be the ones to join his charge at King Rihab.

“Go and destroy them,” Oren said. “Do you need any weapons?”

“Nope, I’ve got it covered,” Kennet said as he made Na’im’s sword appear in his hand. “Hold the line as much as you can. Run like hell if something really dramatic happens. I won’t be able to protect you guys if Rihab lets loose on me. See if you can keep Didymos and Idris safe, too. Idris’ll try and protect Didymos because he’s an idiot in battle.”

“Hey!” Prince Didymos complained even though, or perhaps because, Idris was nodding agreement with that.

“Thank you,” King Barabbas gravely said to Kennet. “I appreciate the care for my sons.”

“Hey, I haven’t forgotten the offer,” Kennet said, smiling wryly. “Just don’t think it’s going to work out the way you had planned.”

Kennet didn’t expect a reply though King Barabbas’ surprise made him smile a little bit. Apparently he thought Kennet had forgotten or hadn’t believed it, which never had been the issue. As far as Kennet was concerned, the issue had always been that he and Prince Didymos weren’t very well suited for each other. A prince’s puppy love wasn’t ever going to be enough to get around Kennet’s inherent cynicism and distrust. None of that mattered right now though. All that mattered was killing King Rihab.

The heat under the sand was getting closer to the surface with every second that passed. As it got stronger it put up plumes of heat that were actually starting to push the storm away from their area just by the sheer force of the heat radiating up from the sand. Na’im cursed quietly in the back of his head, doing his best to reinforce the storm. They had to act now, before King Rihab had the chance to do anything more to block the storm that strengthened Na’im’s powers.

“Let’s go!” Kennet shouted.
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No Free Fiction Friday today

2014-07-17 Port Thomas Trail Pic
(FYI, the picture is one that I took during my July vacation with my husband up to Point Roberts, WA. There was this awesome trail right behind the place we stayed and this is the part just before you start climbing back up from the beach. It was a lovely vacation! *happy sigh*)

Sorry guys, but no new short stories to share. I suppose I could put up an older one but I still haven’t decided if I want to do that.

At least it’s Friday, right? I’m always happy when Friday rolls around, not because I get more writing done on the weekends. I don’t. My husband has a head-lock on my weekends for things like groceries, laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the house. You know, all that stuff that doesn’t get done during the week.

Nope, I like the weekends because it’s a chance to take a break from work, both my day job and the writing / publishing side of things.

My weekends tend to be just as busy as my weeks, just with different things. *shrug*

Anyway, I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend! *waves*

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Worldbuilding Wednesday #61: Random Inspiration Rant

Welcome back to another Worldbuilding Wednesday! Today’s a little different because I felt inspired to rant about something that’s been bugging me. Kind of a lot.

What’s that? ‘Inspiration’ and how people think writing works. Rantypants under the cut because well, this does get me annoyed.
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Novel Monday: Artifacts of Awareness – Chapter 33

Artifacts of Awareness Ebook Cover
Description:
Being enslaved was better than dying but only barely. Kennet did what he had to in order to survive as a slave with the knowledge that freedom would risk being found by the people who drove him into slavery. Kennet saw no reason to do anything extra for the men who bought him. They didn’t care about him and he didn’t care about them.

That was true until the royal family of Penhale purchased Kennet guard Prince Didymos. Protecting Prince Didymos from the assassins seeking to kill him dragged Kennet into the world of national politics and onwards to face an enemy that threatened to destroy not just Kennet but the whole world.

Kennet didn’t want to deal with any of it, the assassins or the magic that lurked around him but if he wanted to survive, Kennet would have to not just face down the threats surrounding them but also track the assassins back to their shadowy leader.

What he found at the source of the chaos changed Kennet in ways he could never have anticipated, taking him in all new directions. Hopefully Kennet’s new skills would be enough to let him save the world, his lovers and himself.

Artifacts of Awareness

By Meyari McFarland

33: Battlefield Reunion

Kennet looked up at the sky, smiling at the heavy black clouds that loomed over them. The desert was cold even though it was morning and it should be heating up. All night it had rained, poured really, soaking the sands around them to the point that the sand dunes had compacted. A few of the dunes had collapsed under the rain in nasty little landslides that happened out of nowhere but none of their people had been caught in them.

He sort of hoped that Rihab’s people had been caught but doubted it. It wouldn’t be very much longer before the storm broke over them. Granted the winds were dropping rapidly as the storm moved over land and lost some of its power but Na’im was certain that the winds would be strong enough for their needs. Besides, what they really needed was the rain, not the wind.

“We will be fighting in the rain, won’t we?” Oren asked with the sort of miserable certainty that made Kennet want to laugh at him.

“Fuck yes,” Kennet said. “Gives me more power and takes power away from Rihab. Don’t complain. Gives you guys a hell of better chance of surviving if it’s pouring down rain on us.”

Oren looked at him with such a mournful expression that the laughter won. “You do not know how horrible it is for a warrior to fight in rain.”

“I’ve been in pit battles,” Kennet told him, grinning at Oren’s surprise. “Trust me, I know vicious fights. I just don’t know how to command a fucking army.”
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Coupons!

I have three coupons available for my stories currently, FYI.

First, The Nature of Beasts is 75% off for one month on Smashwords. Get it for $1.50, drastically marked down from the $5.99 price tag by entering BN87Z at checkout!

Second, Artifacts of Awareness has a 50% off coupon on Smashwords until 10/16/14. Pay just $3.00 instead of $5.99 by entering TT65Y at checkout.

And finally, Center, my latest short story release, is 50% off on Smashwords for the next week. Get it for $1.50 instead of $2.99 by entering AD77V at checkout.

I hope that you’ll take advantage of the coupons and that you enjoy the stories!

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Free Fiction Friday: Center

POD Center Ebook Cover 03

Description:

When friendship is betrayed, there are always consequences. Riley knows this just as well as her former friend Torey did. Yet he wrote a book betraying everything Riley had shared, betraying magic and life itself. In a world where the magic that flows through your soul determines your gender, Riley uneasily exists between the witches and warlocks. Will vengeance open a path to a better life for Riley or destroy every future?

Center is a thought-provoking story of gender, magic and destiny that is sure to entice.

Center

By Meyari McFarland

1. Betrayal

Riley stared. Her eyes had slid out of focus a long while ago but she didn’t bother focusing again. The world seemed better when she couldn’t see it clearly, when the shimmer and fairy dust that filled life shifted until it was a blurry smear instead of distinct bits clashing and sparking against each other.

No one else in the café noticed the way their magic clashed and fought like roosters battling for dominance.

It helped that rain fell outside, washing the dust of August’s heat away for the moment, not that it would last. Rain always washed the distinctions away, muted the edges and made the world feel pleasantly in-definite, less set in stone. The little café tucked into the corner of the bookstore echoed with people’s voices, the sound of forks against plates, and wet shoes slipping on puddled tile. Here the magic was quiet, restrained, as suited a public place where witches and wizards mingled relatively freely.

Gray and brick red wall, hints of brown sifted past her eyes, seen and unseen at the same time. Her fingers shifted on the cover of the book she’d bought, writing callus on her middle finger catching on the embossed print spelling out ‘Dare!’

As if a mere dare could justify this betrayal.

Tea surged up Riley’s throat, acid hot as it burned its way back to her mouth. She flipped the book over, blinking her eyes repeatedly because tears weren’t going to happen. Not now. Not in public. Her raw, incoherent magic surged inside her chest, struggling against the constraints of ‘female’ and ‘male’. Lifelong training warned ‘consequences’ with answering ‘vengeance’, and ‘retribution’.

None of which Riley could let out right now.

Later, after she got home, then she’d cry. She’d fling the stupid book at the wall and stomp on it. Better still she should burn the thing to ash and dedicate her fury to rebounding consequences onto Torey. It wasn’t as though her magic was ever stable enough to send those consequences, that vengeance and retribution against him directly.

Still, what had she expected? Torey had never been a real friend, one who could listen and accept whatever Riley said or did. He’d smiled, sure, patted her back and reassured her but the judgment was always there. The judgment was always there. No one accepted Riley as she was, no matter how she presented herself.

All of Riley’s life since her magic began to develop in small childhood had been a long series of questions, doubts and judgment, starting with her parents and continuing onwards from there. There had never been a time where she’d found someone who actually understood how the world looked to Riley’s eyes. No one had ever accepted that ‘male’ and ‘female’ were concepts that made no sense at all, whether Riley was talking about the magic that underpinned everyone’s souls or simple practical genitalia.

No one ever understood.

“Oh, you got it already.”

Riley started at the soft words behind her, whirling to stare up at Lee. “You knew? That he was writing this?”

“No, my mother told me,” Lee admitted. Her long, heavy hands twisted and wrung, never stopping as her face slowly fell into the sort of depression that Torey had called ‘weak’ in private and ‘sad’ in public. “This morning. Her coworker read it and told Mother about it. Why would he say those things?”

“Shock value,” Riley grumbled with a wave for Lee to sit down. “Revenge. Sadism. I trusted him!”

“So did I,” Lee sighed.

She sat in a disconsolate little heap on the other chair, Adam’s apple bobbing on a painful swallow, curled so far inwards that she seemed to like a broken sculpture of a woman where the scattered pieces had been pushed into a pile until they could be swept up. Huddled that way Lee’s shoulders almost looked narrow, her legs almost short given the way she tucked her ankles under her chair. It was a painful look for Lee though not unfamiliar given how late Lee had discovered that her magic didn’t match her genitalia.

Riley waved for one of the waiters, ordered Lee coffee, one of the blueberry scones. They’d known each other for years, ever since college. Riley had been there when Lee’s magic erupted, had helped Lee work through suddenly being female, including all the legal paperwork that had been needed to change her identity. Lee had never asked how Riley knew so much about legal process for changing your sex.

They sat in silence until the waiter came back with polite words that they should say something if they needed anything at war with his harried expression and the dozen other patrons calling for his attention. He scurried off, magic sweeping up trash and heating people’s coffee as he went.

“How bad is it, really?” Lee whispered as she tore tiny shreds off the scone without eating them.

“I only made it through the first few pages so far,” Riley admitted. “That was… bad enough. He claims that he only befriended us all because his brother dared him to. That we were stupid and boring and that he spent all his time laughing up his sleeve at us. He outright said on page one that he was male, had always been male, but that he figured out how to fake being female so that he could do this.”

“He’s not even one of us,” Lee complained, the words more pained than angry. “How can he write a book about us when he isn’t one of us? His magic never did work right. I wondered. Everything worked right for me once I figured it out.”

“They want to understand,” Riley said, glaring at Torey’s portrait with its perfect hair, exactingly straight teeth and carefully sculpted nose on the back cover of his book. “This sort of thing is their way to make sense of women. It’s stupid and wrong and you should sue him for slander.”

Lee stared at Riley, mouth open, no sound coming out. Riley couldn’t blame her. Witches didn’t do things like sue. It wasn’t right, wasn’t proper. Dragging things into court made the lines of power twist and flex, fray at the conflict between their world and the world Torey had so triumphantly returned to.

Even if they were actually the same world. Sort of. Maybe. Depending on how you looked at it.

“I want to hurt him,” Riley growled. “Really, really hurt him.”

“You know you can’t,” Lee murmured. She stirred her coffee with a finger held precisely an inch above the hot surface, carefully swirling creamer into it drop by drop in the casual alchemy of taste and function that Lee had always excelled at. “The rebound would be horrific. He’s not one of us. The rules aren’t the same.”

“I know,” Riley said, glaring at Torey’s book. “But I really do want to. He shouldn’t get away with this. There should be repercussions.”

Lee nodded, her eyes locked on the coffee as if she was desperately uncomfortable with all this talk of vengeance. She probably was. “There will be repercussions, Riley. There always are. You’ve seen that as much as I have.”

Riley winced. She looked out the window at the rain that seemed to echo Lee’s hurt feelings, Riley’s anger. Truth was, Riley hadn’t seen the same things that Lee had. Just like Torey, Riley didn’t really fit into Lee’s gently magical world. Yes, at times Riley was as much of a witch as Lee, as any of them, but other times, not so much.

Like now.

The magic that surge in Riley’s heart wasn’t the gentle swell of power that marked witchcraft. It was raw and hot, as angry as Riley. Just sitting this close to Lee and her witchcraft made the power sparkle and singe inside Riley. She shuddered, one hand over her throat as she tried to push it all down.

So much time and effort, so much therapy to accept her gender, and now it was all unraveling under Riley’s fingers.

“Riley?” Lee asked. “Are you okay?”

“I should go,” Riley said. “I don’t belong here.”

“Of course you do,” Lee said. The sheer hurt in her voice made Riley look at her again. There was pain and confusion and so much misunderstanding in her eyes. “You’re one of us, Riley. We should get together to deal with this. The community will need to discuss it, decide what actions to take.”

The thought of attending one of the covens made Riley’s stomach turn. She always felt ill when they gathered together, heart beating too fast and stomach in knots. No one ever seemed to notice just how ill at ease she felt. Probably they just didn’t mention it in hopes that Riley would get over her ‘shyness’ eventually.

No matter what the working was, Riley never added her magic to the mix. It was too dangerous. She’d expose herself entirely if she did that and Riley had dedicated far too much time and effort to being what everyone wanted her to be. Riley was a witch. She had to be a witch. Being anything else wasn’t acceptable.

Riley shook her head ‘no’, stuffing the traitorous book back into her bag. “I can’t do that right now, Lee. I’m sorry, but I just can’t. I’m too much a muddle at the moment.”

“That’s why you should come,” Lee said. She, daringly for Lee, reached out and caught Riley’s wrist before Riley could rise. “It would do you good. You haven’t been to one of the covens in ages. More than a month.”

The jerk to free her wrist came without conscious thought. Lee’s startled expression made Riley wince and curl her shoulders inwards but she didn’t apologize. There was no way to apologize, no way to explain. A couple of weeks after they’d met Riley had tried to explain to Lee what she was, how different she was, but Lee had never understood. All Lee had said was that Riley had to be confused. No one could be both male and female, both warlock and witch.

“I can’t,” Riley said. “I really, really can’t right now, Lee. I’ll see you later, okay? I’m not mad at you, truly. I just can’t handle one of the covens right now, not when I’m this upset. I’d disrupt the energies and make a mess of everything. No one needs that when all of this is going on.”

Lee sighed and nodded sadly, her hands wringing and twisting again. “All right, if you’re certain you don’t want to attend.”

“I’m sure,” Riley said. “Say hi to your mom for me, okay?”

She hurried away from the little table before Lee could answer, could suggest that Riley should say it herself. The rain shifted to hail as she stepped outside and straightened her shoulders. Riley pulled her hood up, tucked her bag close to her side and then ran for the parking lot where she’d left her car.

Right now, she wasn’t fit company for anyone, especially sensitive gentle Lee and the other witches in town.
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Worldbuilding Wednesday #60: Victorian Mansions

Welcome back to another Worldbuilding Wednesday! I’m late, I’m late, but I’m here at last. Sorry, guys, life’s been super-busy lately.

What’s today’s subject? A large portion of Second Chances focuses on Old High Town, Ebey Island, which is where the old Victorian mansions are.
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Whew!

FYI, I’ve gone through and updated all the prices in my Store to reflect the correct prices. A lot of things were off by a dollar or so. Short stories and novellas now cost $2.99 for the ebook. Novels are now $5.99 across the board.

Also FYI, I’m working on updating all the covers for all my stories. A lot of the early covers are ah, rather stinky if I do say so myself. That’s a longer term project but expect to see things changing over the next couple of months.

That’s all!

*waves*

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Novel Monday: Artifacts of Awareness – Chapter 32

Artifacts of Awareness Ebook Cover
Description:
Being enslaved was better than dying but only barely. Kennet did what he had to in order to survive as a slave with the knowledge that freedom would risk being found by the people who drove him into slavery. Kennet saw no reason to do anything extra for the men who bought him. They didn’t care about him and he didn’t care about them.

That was true until the royal family of Penhale purchased Kennet guard Prince Didymos. Protecting Prince Didymos from the assassins seeking to kill him dragged Kennet into the world of national politics and onwards to face an enemy that threatened to destroy not just Kennet but the whole world.

Kennet didn’t want to deal with any of it, the assassins or the magic that lurked around him but if he wanted to survive, Kennet would have to not just face down the threats surrounding them but also track the assassins back to their shadowy leader.

What he found at the source of the chaos changed Kennet in ways he could never have anticipated, taking him in all new directions. Hopefully Kennet’s new skills would be enough to let him save the world, his lovers and himself.

Artifacts of Awareness

By Meyari McFarland

32: Rihab Attacks

“He is moving!” Na’im shouted so loudly that it woke Kennet from a sound slumber.

“What?” Kennet gasped, sitting bolt upright and sending Toma tumbling to the floor.

Toma was, of course, the only one sharing Kennet’s bed at this time of the morning. Dimi left after they had sex. He was in his warm little room, the one that had been his cell before he’d been freed. Kennet wasn’t sure why Dimi insisted on keeping the cell but he suspected that it had a lot to do with feeling safe in the obscure, out of the way little cell that had been the closest he had to a home for years.

Kennet threw his mind out of the keep towards the desert, trying to see what had Na’im so alarmed. Once he found King Rihab’s army he growled while thumping the bed with one fist. There was no reason for King Rihab to retreat but his men were pulling up stakes, taking down their tents and packing up their gear as quickly as they could.

“What’s wrong?” Toma asked, staring around as if expecting assassins to attack at any second. “Kennet? What’s wrong?”

He went still as the blue glow in the room increased until the room looked almost exactly like it had when Kennet had first met Na’im, deep inside his magical pool. There was even a bright light overhead that was nearly like looking up at the sun from under the surface of the water. Toma’s face was entirely too pale as he stared at Kennet, one hand tentatively reaching out to rest on Kennet’s arm. As soon as he touched Kennet, Toma flinched, pulling his fingers back and rubbing them as if he’d just touched ice.

“Rihab,” Kennet said, mind mostly on what King Rihab was doing. “He’s moving. His troops are moving away from where they’ve been and going deeper into the desert.”

“That is not good,” Toma said. He threw Kennet’s pants at him and scrambled into his own. “It will be far harder to fight him if he goes into the desert.”

“Agreed,” Kennet said. Putting on his pants took a bit more effort than it should have given how far away his mind was. “I need to stop him. You need to get Oren and the men going. We have to move, Toma. We can’t let him escape into the sands.”

“I shall wake everyone,” Toma said.

He pulled Kennet into a quick, forceful kiss that made Na’im chuckle before running out of the room shouting to wake everyone in the keep. Kennet sat back down on the bed, focusing outwards with Na’im. They wouldn’t get there in time. There was no way for the army to block King Rihab’s movements directly. It was up to him to distract or attack Rihab and Shihab somehow. Na’im’s croon this time was distinctly anticipatory.

“Can we hurt him?” Kennet asked. “We’re so far away.”

“It is truly not that far as these things go,” Na’im said. “If we needed to strike to the Forbidden Isles to the north or perhaps to Tredaire it would be impossible. A matter of a couple dozen miles is nothing for magic such as ours. It would take at least several hundred miles for it to be difficult.”

“Yeah, but are you strong enough for this?” Kennet asked, relieved in spite of himself. “He’s had a really long time to build his strength and you haven’t.”
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