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Literature
SHDYCF2 Chapter 33 The Second Battle of Red Leaf
CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE
The Second Battle of Red Leaf
The video quality they could see was poor, some sort of interference kept the screen from being crystal clear, but there was enough that Taryn could see the dozens of winged creatures flapping about the warehouse; or rather, where she assumed the warehouse should be.
“What is that?” she asked.
“I’m not sure.” Bengal grimaced, staring at the screen. Sweat beaded his brow as he tried to make sense of what was in front of him. “It seems like a black hole has swallowed the warehouse and put…that in its place.”
That was a shimmering, crystal palace of sorts. Made, seemingly, of some black obsidian material. Jagged towers surrounded a central pinnacle upon which a black form, dimly seen, stood on a red platform like a king directing his monstrous, evil troops.
“Well, it looks like they’ve managed to upgrade the slums.” She joked nervously.
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Literature
SHDYCF2-Chapter 32 There Will Follow a Storm
CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO
There Will Follow a Storm #
It seemed hours she’d been running, but she realistically knew that it couldn’t have been that long. They’d escaped the warehouse (the cloud hadn’t pursued them, as if unsure what to do now) and were now running through the main parts of town. No one seemed out on the streets except for an unshaven, rumpled man weaving on the sidewalk and singing some song only he knew in a badly off-key voice.
Sylvie grabbed him as well on the way by, though the smell of him nearly knocked her down; he was filthy and stank, as if he’d not bathed in a year!
“Yaaaah! The mad chicken woman’s got me!” he shouted, remarkably clearly for a drunk.
“Shut up.” Stetson told him coldly, holding onto him and looking disgusted as Sylvie kept moving. “You’re drunk.”
“Darn right! Booze is great!” the man said cheekily. Sylvie didn’t bother listening anymore a
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Literature
SHDYCF2 Chapter 31 Rescue!
CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE
Rescue!
Taryn couldn’t shake the uncomfortable feeling she got as she walked towards her house with Josh beside her. She tried to analyze it logically, but couldn’t find an answer, which was frustrating.
She sighed and walked into her house, which was brightly lit and the TV roaring in the corner. Her mother looked up from where she’d been glued to the couch and rushed towards her, looking very pale and frightened.
“Taryn, thank god you’re okay!” she cried, flinging herself against Taryn’s chest looking like a very young child hugging her mother.
“What is it?” Taryn asked in alarm.
“Tenebrae Cultor is back in town.” She told her worriedly. “They hit the museum and killed the guards there and took the Bloodstone.”
“That rare beryl?” Sylvie asked in surprise, her mind instantly springing to the diamond beryl that hung around her neck.
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Literature
SHDYCF2 Chapter 30 Attack!
CHAPTER THIRTY
Attack
It turned out that there would be no need to talk to Taryn the next day, for when Sylvie walked out of her house (she’d decided she’d had more than enough of hiding) she found Taryn and Josh walking to her.
“Hi there!” she shouted cheerfully to the couple. “I was just heading over to your place!”
“Well, we’re here now.” Taryn said cheerfully.
Sylvie grinned when she noticed her hand in Josh’s. Perhaps last night hadn’t been so bad after all.
“So, what are you guys up to today?” she asked.
“We thought we’d come over and play some games, or something.” Josh said.
A flash of mischief struck her and Sylvie pretended to look thoughtful.
“Actually, that sounds a little boring.’ She said disinterestedly. “How about we do some skydiving instead?”
The horrified looks of the other two centaurs sent her into a fit of gigg
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Literature
SHDYCF2 Chapter 29 Strained Relationships
CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE
Strained Relationships
Sylvie woke early the next morning feeling as if she hadn’t slept a wink and somehow practiced Jujitsu. Everything felt stiff and her eyes felt gritty and gummy as she rolled to her belly off the pillow and stretched.
With a heave she gained her feet and walked as softly as she could into the house, her hooves thankfully muffled by the thick carpet on the ground.
Relieved she’d made it that far without disturbing anyone, she walked into the backyard, not even really seeing the razor wire coils ontop of the plain wooden fence with outward-facing cameras and the occasional flicker of shadow in the wood slats denoting an agent on patrol. She did her business in a quiet corner and returned to the house.
At the table she stood quietly to think. Last night had been…unexpected in many ways.
She’d known Taryn to be self-sacrificing, but geez! Now Josh no doubt felt certain that her refusal meant
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Literature
SHDYCF2 Chapter 28 Returning Home
CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT
Taryn felt the heavy trailer shudder to a stop and released the webbing that held her securely.
Stretching, she mused how much she’d missed the soft bed, three weeks of sleeping on the ground like her native ancestors was far more difficult then she’d expected.
The lessons had been…different. Her teacher, Running Water, appeared to be the terror of his students, demanding constant vigilance, effort and discipline in all aspects of his teachings, though he’d been famed for knowing all the spells and rites of his people.
Taryn had been held in awe by most of the class; she’d not only met his demands unwaveringly, she often exceeded even his expectations with her speed and dedication. Like Sylvie, she’d learned under a harsh taskmistress, but now it served her in good stead, for she could manage-barely-to take both Running Water’s lessons in the history and magic of their people, and the spear lessons of Divin
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Literature
SHDYCF2 Chapter 27 Warnings to Friends
CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN
Warnings to friends
Sylvie sighed as she watched the crowd outside her window. They were so much easier to see with the trailer gone, and most had set up to try and catch a peek through her windows. Reporters, tourists, little kids, old grandparents and who knew who else seemed to be out there with some form of camera or other trying to snap her picture or gathered just because of the excitement. The agents kept them back past a hundred yards and occasionally police would try to break them up and move them along, but it didn’t seem to do much good. The better-off people and the reporters simply went further back and climbed on top of their vans or trucks and put huge lenses on their cameras; one woman had a lens so large that Sylvie thought she might be taking pictures of her fleas from her post on her car.
Of course, like at any large gathering of people, there were those who had come to try and start trouble in their bored lives. People wal
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Literature
SHDYCF2 Chapter 26 Native Magic
CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX
Native Magic
Actually, Running Cloud contacted her in two days, saying that he’d found someone willing to teach her the spear, and his grandfather wanted to meet her.
“I’d be delighted.” Taryn told him, and as she said that a feeling of wellness struck her, as if the universe had gone right for once, though she couldn’t say why she felt that way.
“Excellent.” She could almost hear the smile in his voice. “We are excited to meet you. Could you meet us at the reservation?”
Taryn bit her lip; they hadn’t purchased a big rig capable of moving their trailer, and truth be told, she was afraid of being inside a horse trailer again.
“Um, you might have to give me a few days.” She admitted. “It’s sort of hard for me to go anywhere right now not powered by my own feet.”
“Oh.” He said. “Well, let me check with my grandfather.”
There was the sound of
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Literature
SHDYCF2 Chapter 25 The Costume, Again!
CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE
The Costume, Again!
Taryn strode angrily through the street, ignoring the two agents that paced her just a short distance behind, on horses. In the three weeks since the attack they’d been watched closely. No one dared approach them now, and while she’d once have found the lack of attention welcome, now she found their fear even more wearisome.
Turning up her street, she walked to her house, ignoring the multitudes of vans, cars, trucks, police and the reporters. Microphones were shoved in her face like always, and a mighty clamor filled the air as people shouted and jostled for interviews.
“Get back,” her guards shouted, pushing up on either side of her and using their horses to shove aside the journalists and clear a path to her front door. “Clear a way there. Go on, back up!”
Taryn barely noticed anymore, every day now this had been a recurring theme. She’d spoken to as many people
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Literature
SHDYCF2 Chapter 24 Assault on Tenebrae Coltere
CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR
Assault on Tenebrae Coltere
Red Leaf seemed tense, hunkering down awaiting an onslaught to finish them. Since the outbreak of battle, the streets had rung with savage gunfire; to experienced gun enthusiasts it seemed as if entire armories had been seized and were being used; there were deep booms of shotguns, high-pitched, metronomic barks of hunting rifles, and the rapid reports of semi and full automatic rifles, with occasional blasts marking grenades or IEDs going off. To some, it seemed a return of the Riots, sometimes called the Battle of Red Leaf, and they stayed away. Others armed themselves in their homes and stayed in tense silence to see the outcome of the fight.
The din became overridden by the sound of helicopter blades, and those brave enough to peek outside their homes witnessed seven Blackhawk helicopters racing over the city. Three of them peeled off and went towards the newer construction, but four of them continued
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Literature
SHDYCF2 Chapter 23 Escaping Battle Station
CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE
Escaping Battle Station
After Nightshade’s call, everyone started arguing about his words and what they could mean.
“Nightshade’s a slippery bastard.” Sylvie’s father insisted. “He likes to be in control at all times. I think this is just his way of exerting control over them; get them to do his bidding again.”
“But Meyer is dangerous.” Sylvie pointed out. “Sara’s story and our own evidence confirms that.”
“True. But that nonsense about you having to be the ones to take him out…that’s bull-ah, nothing.” He said. Sylvie and Taryn rolled their eyes.
“We’re adults dad.” Sylvie reminded him. “Besides, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard a lot worse in the locker rooms.”
His face flushed and he looked angry a moment before he shook his head and laughed.
“Probably, no make that definitely. Anyway, what I w
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Literature
SHDYCF2 Chapter 22 Shades of Night
The streets they traveled down seemed eerily normal. People walked along the sidewalks and drove normally down the street until they spotted the group traveling as quickly as they dared. Then they turned off quickly or hurried into stores or down alleys, sensing trouble.
Taryn was especially on edge, since her mother had refused to ride in the car with the others and had hopped on her back, refusing to move off. The most she’d consented to do was carry a 1911 from Anne.
Everyone kept their senses on alert, but didn’t see anything at all. In the distance they could hear more and more sirens, staying far away. Taryn hoped that they weren’t too late and were searching for a missing person.
They made it to the police station without incidence and poured inside.
A handful of police officers were there, looking grim and determined; the front desk had three of them, looking casual and unconcerned, but Taryn noticed how each of them kept staring outside and jumping at the sou
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Literature
SHDYCF2 Chapter 21 Tenebrae Cultor
Sylvie strode towards the gun range with a spring in her step. She knew she was grinning like a raccoon in fast food restaurant garbage cans, but she just couldn’t seem to stop. Today she’d be getting a pair of brand new colt pistols from Barnaby, and she couldn’t wait.
She walked over to the range and found the place packed to the rafters with people; everyone had come to see her try out the pistols; she could see her swim team, her friends from high school, townsfolk, and strangers by the busload. Alfred hadn’t been kidding about the interest ever since the story broke that Colt had signed an endorsement with her.
She blinked in surprise, having caught a glimpse of bedraggled blonde hair. Of all the people she expected to see at the range, Sara was the last.
Wonder what she’s up to? She followed the girl with her eyes as she found a seat halfway up the stands, hunching behind a happily chatting family as if trying to disappear.
Sylvie found the
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Literature
SHDYCF2 Chapter 20 The New Kids On the Block
Ben followed the squad car carrying the would-be mugger all the way to the station. His attention, however, was on the conversation that had just taken place in the nail salon.
Sylvie and Taryn were upset he’d taken their weapons; that was fine, he normally had that reaction whenever they secured any kind of evidence, especially personal ones. He’d promised he’d see their stuff returned to them promptly, and he meant it. What had surprised him was the level of attachment he’d seen from the girls. It worried him.
And if I’m worried, then Anna and Mary have to be doubly so, he thought grimly. He couldn’t blame them. With the fact that they were appearing more and more often in the costumes from Nightshade’s damned circus and Sylvie’s fierce attachment to her Winchester (which, if half of what he heard from the range was true, was understandable for a trick-shooter) and the growing bonds between Taryn and hers, then that sp
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Literature
SHDYCF2 Chapter 19 The Calm Before The Storm
CHAPTER NINETEEN
The Calm Before The Storm
Sylvie waved good-bye to Alfred as she left the range to walk home. Her lessons hadn't been too bad today, and she left them feeling actually cheerful.
It still amazed her how willing many people were to pay for an hour's lesson. She's stopped the ridiculous bidding wars that had sparked her first few lessons, and instead concentrated on a single flat rate of a hundred dollars an hour. She knew that still wasn't very reasonable of her, but she didn't dare lower it further, for fear of being overwhelmed. Already she had a two-month waiting list, and no sign of slowing.
The lessons themselves weren't bad at all. She reserved the right to cancel the lesson at any time for any reason, which she made clear in the sign-up sheets, and she wouldn't do repeat lessons until after everyone had cycled through. She felt that only fair, as she worried that some rich kid would try to monopolize her time from everyone else.
Occasionally, she would wow the cro
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Literature
Interview with Taryn
I felt a little nervous when my editor assigned me this project. Her exact words were, “Go and interview one of those centaur people and do whatever it takes to get the scoop”.
So, here I was, driving down a long, idyllic road, passing Luna Lake, coming up to a sign that read: “Town of Red Leaf, 30 miles”
Well, at least I was nearly there.
The town turned out to be a bustle of activity, clashing horribly with the peaceful surrounding countryside. Great construction cranes were putting up new, modern buildings and parking lots, interspersed occasionally with charming, red brick buildings that showed signs of being scorched, despite the scrubbed-looking exteriors.
I constantly checked the street signs, searching for the landmark I’d been told to look for.
“Ah!” I said to myself. “There it is!”
I pulled into the parking lot of a small shop with its enormous billboard that had to be half the size of the building proclaiming “Harry
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snore23:iconsnore23:
Thank you!
Wed Aug 6, 2014, 5:25 PM
TzalekPulse:icontzalekpulse:
You got wonderful pics there in your architecture collection! Awesome!
Sat Jul 26, 2014, 9:18 AM
af-s772:iconaf-s772:
Hello there.
Sun Mar 3, 2013, 10:36 PM
snore23:iconsnore23:
Hey, no problem. You're the first person to actually use it. Can't wait to see who's next! ;)
Wed Feb 6, 2013, 8:05 PM
914four:icon914four:
Sorry if I haven't been as present, most of my free time is being allocated to getting the Kentauride out. I'll try to catch up soon.
Sun Feb 3, 2013, 5:48 AM
914four:icon914four:
Hey, you got a shoutbox :-)
Sun Feb 3, 2013, 5:43 AM
snore23:iconsnore23:
What's up everyone?
Mon Dec 31, 2012, 11:12 AM
Nobody
Well, congratulations Deviants!

My poll is now closed, and what a fun time it was! It looks as if Taryn is the winner, with Molly running a very close second. I will be working on creating the interview with Taryn and will post it just as soon as I am able.

Thanks again for your votes, and I hope you enjoy Taryn's character interview!

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snore23
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