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Old 06-03-2021, 11:38 AM   #31
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: Into The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

I have been thinking about reposting this story.
I don't believe there was ever any real harm having it here and the reasons it went away have more to do with my bruised ego than anything else and it always seemed there were at least a few who enjoyed reading it.

I have renamed the story "Into the Labyrinth," though you might see several replies here that reference the old title.

The story has elements which make it, I hope, fit the worlds imagined with The Fantasy Trip, and is a work of fan fiction.
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Old 06-03-2021, 01:29 PM   #32
amenditman
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Florida Peninsula, Earth, Sol Sytem
Default Re: Into The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

I always enjoy reading your story and wait impatiently for the next installment after your cliffhangers.
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Old 06-03-2021, 02:34 PM   #33
warhorse11h
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default Re: Into The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terquem View Post
I have been thinking about reposting this story.
I don't believe there was ever any real harm having it here and the reasons it went away have more to do with my bruised ego than anything else and it always seemed there were at least a few who enjoyed reading it.

I have renamed the story "Into the Labyrinth," though you might see several replies here that reference the old title.

The story has elements which make it, I hope, fit the worlds imagined with The Fantasy Trip, and is a work of fan fiction.
In comparison to the way some use these forums, your stories were always a welcome diversion and were entertaining. And they belonged on this forum more than the frequent comments of some regular posters, who shall remain nameless.
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Old 06-04-2021, 08:47 AM   #34
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: Into The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

Thank you for the support - to clarify and prevent, hopefully, any misconceptions

The story was not taken down by the moderators

There were no complaints by the moderators about the story - no messages at all actually

The story was taken down by me after I received a message from a third party regarding a discussion about the story between that person and a staff member

I reacted in an overly sensitive way to that message (I have a sensitive ego and I am not ashamed to admit my faults and mistakes).

So - with the few messages of support here and no objections I will bring the story back and post it in increments so readers can experience it a little at a time
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Old 06-04-2021, 06:12 PM   #35
Terquem
 
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Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: Into The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

I edited the first post in this thread to include chapter 1 part 1 and the rest of the story will follow this post, but I won't put up parts too quickly. When I reach the end of the story I will start the next book in this series that takes place immediately after the story ends.
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Old 06-05-2021, 03:58 PM   #36
Terquem
 
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Default Re: Into The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

Part 2

Of the things that he had not seen coming, recently, agreeing to help a Kao’La’a woman who had betrayed him not just one year ago and a walking octopus, among the most evil beings known on this planet, had to take the top spot on Brendun’s list.

And yet, here he was, leading the two women along the sea wall, in the dead of the night, looking for a hidden entrance into the mysterious underground realm known as The Labyrinth.

He would say, “Brendun Mark, you’re getting too old for this,” if it weren’t for the fact that he was only twenty-seven, and hoped he had many, many more years ahead of him. In fact, he often wondered if he didn’t change his ways, soon, if he would actually live long enough to ever be able to say that with any truth.

Brendun lead them on. Tabitha was right behind him, her hand on his belt, not tightly, but there. He could feel it. He remembered her touch. The other one, the one Tabatha had called Alo, was behind Tabitha, and Brendun did not particularly care if that one was keeping up at all. He’d had his share of encounters with others of her kind. The ones he’d met in the past had tried to kill him, every time. They never spoke, but he had heard they were capable of speaking the common tongue, and now he knew it was true. Each time he had met one of her kind in the past it was in combat, and it had been to the death. They fought with a savage grace he knew must be treated with a healthy respect. How or why he so willingly allowed this one to talk him into joining forces with him he couldn’t quite figure out at the moment. Maybe it was magic, a spell, probably, meant to cloud his mind, and make him ignore his own good judgment. Or maybe it was Tabitha. She had a similar, if somewhat more potent effect on him.

“Hold on,” Brendun said in a whisper, and the two women behind him stopped. “This is it. I think, the wall stones here are definitely not right. See, they are larger, older, and probably no one notices the pattern, unless you are clued in to look for it.”

“Can you open the door?” Tabitha asked as her hand tightened on his belt.

“I’m not sure,” Brendun said as he gently fingered one large stone about shoulder height, and then another. “I know a few types of locks that might have been used, and I have a few tools that should do the trick if I find the locking stone. I guess all we can do is try, right? Wish me…”

Brendun’s words were cut off by the swift and sharp grinding sound of the stones in front of him swinging up and away, while the ground beneath his feet dropped to a steep angle. He tried to spin, swing his arms for balance, but Tabitha’s hold on his belt got in the way. He felt himself pitching forward unable to stop.

Brendun was not a light fellow. His weight pulled Tabitha forward, and she screamed.

Alo threw two of her tentacles out and wrapped them around Tabitha’s waist.

Again, Brendun was not a light fellow, and his weight pulled the others forward into the trap he fell into. The three of them fell onto a slick, wet stone surface that angled down and away from the sea wall and carried them underground.

They raced at a breakneck speed along the stone slide, curving for a while to the right, then going up a bit, back down sharply, to the left, and then in a spiral which made their sense of all direction leave them. They tumbled over and over each other, rolled onto their sides, and then back onto their backsides. When they could, they threw their arms up and back for stability, and then collided with each other over and over again until finally they came to a slow stop in a dark chamber deep below the surface.

Brendun decided that the top of his “things not expected list,” needed revision.

It was Alo who got upright the quickest, getting to five of her legs in a swift motion. Her cloak had gotten spun around, so that the hood was tangled in front of her among her belts and pouches.

“Myh swordhs!” She cried out. “I’hhvve droppedeh my swordhs.”

“Well, I think I found one of them,” Brendun hissed as he rolled off his stomach onto his backside and brought his left leg up in his hands. The slim, long blade of one of Alo’s swords had pierced his calf, passing clean through the muscle and the back of his baggy pants.

Tabitha got to her knees and raised a light above her head. She had managed to get a light quickly, Brendun thought, and that didn’t surprise him. The light she held up was a brand, a magical device which shed a good amount of light without creating any smoke.

“That looks bad,” Tabitha said, moving on her knees toward Brendun until she was right next to him.

“Yes, thath is oneh of mineh. Thankh youh,” Alo said and reached for the weapon with one tentacle so quickly that she could not be stopped from pulling the blade free from the wound.

“Eiychee mama,” Brendun cried.

“It’s a bad wound,” Tabitha said, “we’re lucky it missed any arteries, but it is bleeding a lot.” She placed a leather kit on the floor beside her, and unrolled it. The kit was small, but packed with rolls of linen, needles, thread, and small tins of medicinal herbs. Tucked into the very end of the roll were two small, silver vials. “Here,” she said taking out one of the vials and pulling the stopper, “this is nacromoid oil, it should close the wound.” She handed the vial to Brendun and then with a small knife from the kit she cut open a large hole in his pants. Taking the vial back from his hand she pulled the stopper with her teeth and emptied half of the contents, a thick bluish liquid, directly onto the wound. Where some of the liquid contacted the fabric of his pants it turned into a hard crystal-like patch, but when it touched Brendun’s flesh it flowed into the wound seeking the source of the bleeding and sealing the wound without pain.

“Where did that kit come from?” Brendon asked. He knew she was not wearing a back pack, like his.

“It was in my pouch. I thought I might need it if I accidentally hit you with the crossbow earlier.”

“Your pouch?” Brendon’s face scrunched up, “ewwww, that’s gross.”

“What,” Tabitha said calmly. “It’s clean and dry. Why, what do you think is in there?”

“I don’t know. Isn’t that where you…”

“Where I what, Brendun? Where I what? You think I have a joey in there. You? You think I have a joey. You?” Tabitha’s words came in short bursts, her anger growing.

“No, no, I just wasn’t, ahhh, sheesh, please Tabitha don’t make this awkward. I’m sorry,” Brendun said scratching at the back of his neck.

“Ifh youh twoh areh finishededh, weh areh noth aloneh,” Alo said leaning toward Brendun and Tabitha.
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Old 06-05-2021, 05:52 PM   #37
Terquem
 
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Default Re: Into The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

Part 3

The three of them were in a large underground cavern. The light from Tabitha’s brand illuminated an area around them out to several yards, and in the shadows just beyond the reach of the light they could make out the glistening walls of this chamber, giving them at least some idea of the size of their surroundings.

Near them there were natural columns made from the constant migration of limestone by the dripping water seeping in from the nearby sea. Each of the strange shaped columns spun their own peculiar shadows.

The floor was uneven. Here and there they could see small puddles. Scurrying little crabs and other crustaceans were all about the place giving it a feeling of life and activity.

Brendun peered around Alo to see three short humanoid figures no more than a dozen yards away. They appeared to be a kind of goblin, but he could not be certain. He only knew that they were too short to be humans, and they were not children, though he knew that finding lost and abandoned children in The Labyrinth was not uncommon. The figures were wearing armor made from large pieces of shells, from turtles and other large sea creatures, and they were carrying long weapons that looked like they had been fashioned from the bones of saw toothed fish.

The figures were hovering about, just beyond the light, and were probable trying to measure the group’s strengths and weakness before committing to an attack. This gave Brendun a moment to come up with a plan. Coming up with a plan might not be easy, as even though Brendun knew Tabitha’s style and habits well, he knew nothing of the Mauli woman, Alo. She carried a pair of slim bladed swords, that was all he knew, and right now she only had one of them.

What Brendun did know about the Octopus-folk was this, they were dangerous. In every sense of the word, cunning, diabolical, relentless in combat, often learned in many skills and spells, and always on the attack. He had never known any of her kind to back down in a fight. He had run into a pair of them, once, in the Death Test, and they were among the most ruthless things he had ever fought in his life. How the octopuses got there, well, no one could ever say for certain how they got there, exactly, but those that were in the maze were about the mostly deadly thing a person could run up against when taking their chances in the Death Test. He hoped the things in the shadows had as much respect for the walking-octopus folk as Brendun had.

“They’re measuring us up,” Brendun whispered. “Probably trying to decide if they are hungry enough to risk a three on three fight. I can probably get to…”

“Thereh areh sevenah ahof themh,” Alo whispered, interrupting Brendun. She adjusted one of her tentacles around the smooth hilt of her sword and moved in a little closer toward where Brendun and Tabitha were on the ground as two other tentacles worked to right the cloak she wore and put her garments in order.

When she finished, Brendun noticed that two other tentacles of Alo’s were moving back and forth nervously. He recognized the behavior.

“You’re afraid,” Brendun said, and then he felt Tabitha move closer to his back.

She put the brand on the floor of the cavern, close to Brendun and then put her hands under his arms close to his chest. “Let me help you up, quick on three,” Tabitha whispered.

“No, wait,” Brendon said.
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:13 PM   #38
Terquem
 
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Default Re: Into The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

Part 4

“Wait for what?” Tabitha whispered.

Brendun swung his legs around and pulled his knees under him. He flexed his foot back and forth to stretch his wounded calf a bit to feel if it was steady enough to support him. Tabitha still had her hands on him and he took her hands in his own and moved them away. “There is something that is not right,” Brendun said. “There is something I need to understand. Alo, why are you afraid?” Brendun asked.

The octopus woman swayed side to side, and Brendun could see she was taking in as much as her eyes could see.

“Ihhhveeeh nhevverhhh donnnnh thisahhh befrrrr,” her words came out fast and slurred almost in one long incomprehensible sound.

“What?” Brendun and Tabitha said at the same time.

“Alo, slow down, speak clearly and precisely,” Tabitha said as she picked up the brand she had placed on the ground.

“Yes, we need to understand you if we are going to get out of this together,” Brendun said. He then turned his head a little, keeping one eye on the small monsters in the shadows that he could see while wondering where the others Alo could see might be. With his head turned, he said out of the corner of his mouth, “Tabitha, where’s your crossbow? How many bolts did you bring?"

“Eight,” Tabitha answered, “And it’s about six feet away to my left. I could scramble over to it, but it might be broken. I didn’t have a lot of money, even after Alo paid me. It’s not the best of its type.”

“Well, I hope,” Brendun began to say, but couldn’t finish as Alo lowered her head and brought her face close and in between Brendun and Tabitha. There was an awkward moment of silence as Brendun and Tabitha waited for her to say something incomprehensible.

She once again proved that if she tried, she could speak as clear as anyone.

Alo spoke each word slowly making sure to pause a moment between each word, “I said, I have never done this before.”

Tabitha’s eyes grew large, and Brendun dropped his chin.

“You know,” Brendun said as he struggled to get to his feet, favoring his leg, and drawing his sword as he stood, “I was really hoping that wasn’t what I thought you said.”

Without a warning Brendun ran at the three that were to the right and behind Alo. Tabitha rolled away as he moved, tucking the brand in close to her, causing the cavern to grow dim. Alo rose up, turned in place on four of her tentacles while another drew a long fat dagger from a belt around her body, and lowered her head.

Two of the small monsters moved left, away from Brendon, while the third moved toward him. The small creature was bringing back the strange spiked weapon with both hands, but Brendun’s sword was straight out and ready, and in one clean thrust he ran the small thing trough.

The sound of small flat feet slapping on the wet floor came from several directions as Tabitha dropped the brand beside the crossbow, examined it quickly, and then went to work cocking it with a lever built into the side of the handle. She stood and drew a bolt from a pouch on her side and then felt a sting on her right leg. One of the creatures had struck her with something. The blow was not hard, but she knew it penetrated her skin.

Alo moved just a short distance backward, as the two monsters that ran around Brendun came toward her from the left, and another two came at her from the right. Her strange slip, slide, and waving movement seemed to confuse the monsters and not a single one of them managed to land a blow on her as they closed in around her.
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Old 06-06-2021, 09:48 AM   #39
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: Into The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

Part 5

He pulled his sword out of the mysterious creature as it fell backward onto the floor. Brendun saw two situations unfolding badly.

Tabitha had managed to get to the crossbow, load it, and then get to her feet, but was now flanked by two of the monstrous little humanoids, while Alo had backed herself against the cavern wall and though she faced four opponents, was managing to keep them back with fast movements of a long rapier and a heavy dagger. In another instant, Brendun knew, one of them could be injured or worse, dead. These small creatures didn’t seem strong or agile, but what they lacked in abilities they made up for in numbers.

Of the two of them Brendun knew Tabitha well enough to hope that she might hold her own long enough for him to even the odds for Alo. But what was the best approach? He only hesitated a moment, and then moved. He came up behind one of the creatures facing Alo and hit the thing hard on the top of its head with the flat of his blade. The monster fell to the ground, the shell armor it wore making clinking noises that drew the attention of the other three.

But it was Alo’s reaction that got Brendun’s attention. The Octopus-girl seemed to jump, almost trying to climb her way up the wall behind her. She swung the sword wide to her right and drew the dagger in close to her body as if to use it as a shield.

Brendun didn’t understand her reaction.

The monsters, pausing for a moment from closing in around her, turned to see what had happened.

Brendun drew his shoulders back and tried to stand as tall as he could. He lifted his heels to gain a few more inches. At five-foot seven-inches, it wasn’t much, but he still towered over the three small creatures. One by one the three looked around. Taking clues from each other, they looked, first to the fallen one across the chamber, then to the one on the ground near them, and then in unison they all ran away.

As they ran Alo flowed down along the cavern wall until she was lying on the floor. Brendun didn’t know if she was injured or overwhelmed, and he didn’t take time to find out. Turning again he looked to see if Tabitha was in trouble.

She wasn’t. He was not surprised. One of the monsters lay limp to one side, while Tabitha was straddling the other, her knees on the ground one on each side of the little creature while she beat against the thing’s armor with her fists.

Tabitha was a brawler of the first and most dangerous kind. Her’s was the kind of attack that was best described as relentless, and deliberate. She wasn’t exceptionally strong, but she fought with determination. Her hands were small, but she was quick, and knew how to hit, and hit with all the strength she had.

The little monster below her tried to raise its arms to block the blows only to have its arms knocked aside and feel more blows rain down on its head faster than it could recover. In a moment it was over.

There were many things that needed to be done, now that the fight was over. Four monsters lay on the cavern floor, dead or dying, while three had run away and that didn’t sit well with Brendun. Whenever you let your enemy escape, you put yourself in danger from a counter attack. Reinforcements might be just around that rock, or maybe further away, but the potential for the ones that got away to return, with greater numbers was always a possibility. He acted fast, doing the first and most important thing he could think.

“Why would you only bring eight bolts!” he shouted at Tabitha waving his arms to get her attention.

“Because,” Tabitha shouted back, “I wasn’t expecting to be going on an adventure I only needed one! To get your attention, but the shop wouldn’t sell me less than eight!”

“You should have at least bought a gross!” Brendon shouted walking toward Tabitha as she rose to her feet.

“I didn’t have money for a gross!” Tabitha’s voice grew louder as she took two steps toward Brendun.

He took one step. She took one step. Tabitha was just as tall as Brendun.

They came nose to nose. Their faces were set like stone as both tried not to give an inch or back down in any way. They stared into each other’s eyes in the dim light of the brand that was still lying on the floor.

“Alo!” Tabitha suddenly exclaimed.

“Yes,” Brendun agreed and the two rushed together to where the octopus-girl lay on the cavern floor.

As they reached her, one of the small creatures, the one Brendun had hit on the head, made a gurgling sound.

“That one’s still alive,” Tabitha said as she reached into her pouch for her physicker’s kit only to remember she left it on the floor where she had treated Brendun’s leg.

“I’m on it,” Brendun said as he pulled his pack off his back and dug into it, pulling out several short lengths of light rope.

Tabitha touched Alo below her right eye, softly, and said her name quietly, “Alo, hun, are you alright?”

“Yesh,” Alo replied. “Are theyha ghone?”

Just then Brendun rolled the injured creature over causing its armor to clink against the stone floor.

Alo flinched. Her eyes rolled around, and she slinked back against the cavern wall.

“It’s just Brendun,” Tabitha said. “He is tying up the ones that aren’t dead. Alo, what is it? Why are you afraid?”

Alo rose up slightly, bringing her head up to the same height as Tabatha’s, who was on her knees. She spoke very slowly, “I know what those creatures are. They are the Fejevar. Crab eating toad-folk. They are not normally a threat to us, but in numbers they can be dangerous, and they, they…”

“I get it,” Tabitha said.

“Andhh theyhh,” she began to speak quicker, “wearah thhhe shellsss ov thhhe thhhingsss thhhheyhh eatah. Thhhe shellssss makeh ithhh shheem likeha thhhey arahe madhhe ov stonessss. Thhhe ssssoundss, thhhe sssoundsss…”

“Relax, shssh,” Tabitha soothed as she gently stroked Alo’s face.

Brendun tied the one’s hands behind its back and lifted the shell helmet from its head. It was a toad-man alright. He would have thought it a bullywug, or one of the other kinds of toad-folk from the swamps and marshes inland along the river. He didn’t know that there were saltwater types of these small, dangerous creatures.

Most of the toad-folk he had heard about were cowardly but could be dangerous in large numbers. They were known to eat anything they could catch, and would attack people traveling along the river alone, or even sometimes, if they were desperate, raid a small hamlet or farm carrying off whatever they could get their hands on. Rarely sticking to a fight to the end, he was lucky these types of toad-folk were just like the others.
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Old 06-06-2021, 01:44 PM   #40
Terquem
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Idaho Falls
Default Re: Into The Labyrinth - a work of fiction

Part 6

Brendun bent over and picked up the brand. The simple magical device would continue to shed a soft light for a good long time, now that it had been activated, and it was better than a torch in situations like this.

“Tabitha, stay sharp,” Brendun said over his shoulder, “I’m going to look around.” He kicked his pack so that it slid across the floor and ended up close to where Tabitha was kneeling next to Alo.

And then it occurred to him. It was a feeling he knew well, a feeling that something wasn’t adding up right. Something about Alo bothered him more than just a little bit. He turned back around and came close to them. Standing over them he said, “I think I need to ask a few questions first.”

“Ihh havehh questionsssss,” Alo said. “Isss thisah thhhe labyrinth?” She spoke in her hurried sloppy way until the last and slowed down to carefully pronounce the word labyrinth correctly.

“Okay,” Brendun said squatting down and holding the brand so that it illuminated all three of them at the same time. “That sounds fair. I’ll answer your questions and you can answer mine. No, this isn’t the labyrinth proper, I thought it might be, but it is not. I suspect where we are now will lead us to it, eventually. I think I stumbled…”

“You mean we stumbled,” Tabitha said glaring at him.

“Well, I Stumbled,” he said. “You could have let go. I didn’t drag you here against your will. You followed because you weren’t thinking ahead, like always.”

“I was trying to save your ass,” she said and turned toward him.

“My ass never needed to be saved by you, saved from you maybe.”

Tabitha’s mouth dropped open, and her thick brown hair fell to the side of her face as her head bobbed up and down as she seemed to grow angry with him again. “Oh, oh, really. That’s how you want to be,” she said.

Alo leaned close to both of them and whispered very slowly, “Maybe it would speed things up if the two of you just copulate now and get it out of the way.”

Brendun was stunned, and only managed to make peculiar noises, while Tabitha tuned to face Alo, her eyes growing large again, in that unique way of her kind.

“What?” Tabitha finally managed to say.

“You told me,” Alo said, again taking her time so the words came out clear, “that you knew him because the two of you used to have a physical relationship. You said you would fight all of the time, about all kinds of things, and then have intercourse afterwards to make up. You called it something, I remember.”

“You told her we had make-up sex? All of the time?” Brendun said with a long sigh.

“Well we did.” Tabitha leaned back, folded her arms and closed her eyes.

Brendun pinched the bridge of his nose, took a breath, and then said, “No, look, no we aren’t going to copulate. Let’s try to stay focused, for once, alright. Alo, I think this is an old smuggler’s lair. It probably was built in the time of the sugar embargo, twenty, maybe thirty years ago. It has good access to a long stretch of isolated beach. The sea here is deep enough for a large ship to move in close to shore, drop a few small boats and sail away without being noticed. I think the caves and tunnels here might lead to an entrance of the labyrinth. It wouldn’t surprise me. Now, here’s my question. What are you, exactly? Are you some woman under a curse, some transmogrification spell? You don’t behave the way I have learned your kind normally behaves. You said you were from Mauli, one of the islands in the Nua’lonalani archipelago. I’ve heard of the place. I know that octo…I’m sorry, octopus-folk come from some of the islands. Those islands that no one dares investigate, but you are different, why?”

She leaned away, turned her large head to the side, and then with two of her tentacles she drew her hood back and away. Her large head was bluish-green in the soft light of the brand, and on it Brendun could see a fine spiral tattoo.
“I am,” she said, “Mauli, Mauli A’Anawa. It means the ones who lived there first, on Mauli. I am,” she hesitated even longer than normal, “an octopus creature, as your kind is like to say. I am not like the ones you may have had the trouble of meeting in the past. I’ll tell you why, if you think we have the time.”

Brendun was curious. He rested on his backside and folded his legs in front of him.

Tabitha did the same, taking the brand from Brendun’s hand and holding it low, below Alo’s face.

next…Alo’s tale
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