Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters, DC does.
Chapter 2: Persuasion
"I will show you fear in a handful of dust."
Garfield stared into the hearth until the fire became too bright and he had to look away. "What does this entail exactly?"
"So glad you asked," Richard said in a tone that to some would seem indifferent but coming from him, was enthusiastic. "As I said, each one of you has cause to seek justice. For certain purposes, I will not elucidate on those reasons until we become better acquainted, but be certain I know what each of you has faced.
"We would take to the darkness, our identities concealed—shadows the only remnants of our existence. I know this may sound unorthodox, but those with appointed powers and those who put themselves before their badges, have habits of falling to corruption."
"I am interested," Koriand'r announced. Garfield and Victor looked at her. She hadn't spoken since their introductions and both forgot that she was present. Suddenly, she rose from her seat and stood next to Richard in front of the fireplace. The flames licked around her form making her seem as if she were a goddess, descending from the heavens. "I have seen the innocent suffer, their faces twisted in fear. No longer will I stand for such unfairness. I will join you, Mister Grayson."
"I am pleased to hear this, Miss Star." Richard gave her a small smile before turning to the two men sitting on the settee. He did not need to ask; they knew he was waiting their reply.
Victor looked at Garfield, knowing what he was going to say regardless of his friend's answer. He took off his gloves and stared down at his metal hands. "I'll join you." Victor stood and shook Richard's hand, this time without a barrier of leather.
"Thank you, Doctor Stone." Richard grinned. Victor shrugged, smiling wryly.
"I'll finally be able to put this curse to good use."
"Don't think of it as a curse."
Garfield stared at Richard, his eyes narrowed. "You said you know about us." Richard nodded. Garfield took the emerald monkey from his trouser pocket and fingered it idly. "You know that the medication I take has some unusual side affects."
"Yes," he answered. "I also know of your life in Egypt—wouldn't you like to save others from the same fate?" Richard's words lingered in the air, he did not elaborate but Garfield could hear the edge in his voice, an urging. That if he did not comply all could be revealed in an instant. Even with his subtle threat, Garfield knew that Richard would not expose any of them—he had already revealed too much about himself.
"Okay Mister Grayson, I'll accept your offer."
"That's very good of you Doctor Logan." Richard walked over to the desk and picked up the note he wrote down earlier. Examining it, he rifled through a drawer coming up with a thick Manila envelope.
"How are we going to start?" Victor asked. Richard spilled the contents of the envelope onto the desk and sifted through the various papers and unusual ornaments.
"Well, before you take to the night, you must be trained. It would be impossible to survive an hour without sufficient preparation," he said absentmindedly. Finally, he found what he was looking for—a black card decorated with blue jewels and feathers. "However, even before that, there is one more person we must convince to join us."
"The guest that did not come tonight?" Koriand'r questioned, her eyebrows raised.
"Yes, a Miss Raven Roth," Richard handed the card to Koriand'r.
"She is a mentalist?" Koriand'r squinted at the words as she read them and finally gave up, passing the card to Victor.
Garfield read over his shoulder with interest, "A psychic," he clarified. "Does she put on shows?"
"Only for the wealthy," Richard said. "The invitation is for tomorrow evening."
"An evening on the other side?" Victor read aloud. "A special performance by the enigmatic Miss Raven at Cobblepot Manor."
"Mister Oswald Cobblepot. He's the owner of the Iceberg Theater—and several other, less reputed establishments," Richard stated, as a faint blush crept up his neck. "He has a criminal past."
"Is he dangerous?" Garfield asked.
Richard shook his head, "At one time, yes. He has not been much of a threat since his acceptance in society, however, he still plays host to some rather seedy gentlemen."
"Then why did he invite you?" Garfield put the invitation back on the desk and stared at the young man. Richard's eyes sparkled with mischief as he considered his words with tact. Finally, after a minute's consideration, he placed the Manila envelope down and crossed his arms over his chest.
"He does not know of my identity," Richard smiled, "And even if he did, he tolerates the presence of myself and my guardian. We let him keep his businesses, he gives us valuable information on criminals with far more nefarious intentions."
"Your guardian? What does Mister Wayne have to do with your night watch?" Victor arched an eyebrow. Richard grinned and laughed heartily. His deep chortle caught the room by surprise the three guests eyed one another warily. This was not a reaction they had expected.
Wiping a tear from his eye, Richard looked at Victor unblinkingly, his gaze a challenge. "As far as any of you are concerned my guardian has absolutely nothing to do with what is being discussed in this room," he said barely above a whisper. Victor nodded slowly, his skin crawling with suspicion. Richard's menacing glance softened and he paced in front of the fireplace, contemplating his next move. He stopped in front of Koriand'r.
"You will be attending this event escorted by Doctor Logan. Unfortunately, I cannot attend and neither can Doctor Stone."
"Why not?" Koriand'r and Garfield asked together.
"The hospital is hosting a gathering in my honor," Victor announced.
"And I am to attend as well, my goal is to abate the animosity that you may come across in the evening Doctor Stone." Richard put a hand on Victor's shoulder, noting his worries and attempting to relieve him. Victor feigned a smile, his anxiety visibly lessened.
"What are we to do at this show?" Koriand'r stepped forward, picked up the invitation and clutched it to her chest. "I do not understand what you are asking of us."
"Miss Star, you are the reason Mister Cobblepot will allow you and Doctor Logan entrance without extensive questioning. He has a penchant for women," Richard stopped and heaved an unpromising sigh. He regarded Garfield intently, his blue eyes burning. Garfield felt the hairs on his neck prickle. "Doctor Logan will act as your husband and as long as he does not leave your side, I assure you that your innocence will be preserved."
"Aren't you suspicious that she may be a fraud?" Garfield poured himself some wine and sat back down on the settee, swirling the rich red liquid in the glass before downing it in one gulp.
Richard's lips twitched into a sly smirk—an expression Garfield realized was one put on whenever he knew he held all the cards in a discussion and was not yet willing to reveal his hand.
"Doctor Logan, you know very well about anomalies in the human condition," he began wryly, "I am sure you will be willing to give Miss Roth a chance, as she is not a fraud, and we need her at all costs."
Nesting high above Gotham City, lay Cobblepot Mansion. It perched its robust form perilously on the edge of a cliff, standing unflaggingly in the face of night. Stern and intimidating, its cold stonewalls gleamed unnaturally lit by flames dotting stained glass windows of forgotten saints. Spires extended from high arched roofs and reached toward the harvest moon, their fingers barely grasping salvation. Cobblepot Mansion was anything but delicate, a beast darting through the moors in search of willing prey.
Garfield and Koriand'r stood before the foreboding oak doors, staring straight into the eyes of brass knockers fashioned to resemble two large birds of questionable species. As Richard advised, both dressed in their finest attire. Garfield reluctantly sported his top hat and a dark green velvet jacket replete with a pair of black trousers. He tugged at his purple bowtie uncomfortably. Koriand'r stood next to him decked in a silk mauve gown. Her fiery mane was collected atop her head and securely pinned with a crimson cameo.
"Well Miss Star, I suppose standing out in the dark will do us no good."
"I am Mrs. Logan tonight, Doctor." She reminded him politely.
Garfield blushed and nodded, "Right. Mrs. Logan, I suggest we begin this evening so it might end sooner—not that I do not wish to be married to you," he added hastily. "I apologize for that, I don't want to be married to you either. Oh no," Garfield laughed awkwardly, "I appear to be rather tongue tied."
Koriand'r smiled thoughtfully and grabbed the bird's beak, slamming its body against the door. Within moments, a tall man appeared and looked down at them contemptuously. "May I see your invitation?" Garfield produced the purple card and handed it to the butler. Seemingly satisfied, he ushered them in and took their coats. The atrium was large and sparsely decorated. The walls were a dusty blue boarded by stenciled clouds and the marbled floors whirled in a dance of black and white. "Please follow me," the butler said after placing their coats in a closet along with many others. The pair slowly trailed after him as he led them down hallway after hallway. The décor transitioned from dawn to dusk the further they moved into the center of the large manor, until the butler led them to a dimly lit staircase. Garfield looked at Koriand'r who merely shrugged her shoulders and continued to follow.
The soft sound of muffled music grew louder with each step until finally they found themselves on the outskirts of a ballroom bathed in smoke with walls draped in black curtains. Large golden cages sat high above the party, containing women clad in little more than feathers and diamonds. They stared down from their perches with indifference at the people below, sometimes leaving their swings to dance for a crowd of virile men. For the second time that evening, Garfield felt himself redden.
"What have we here? A pretty new birdie?" The pair turned to see a stout man with a large hooknose waddle toward them. He took off his top hat and bowed before Koriand'r. "Let me get a better look at you," he said pulling a monocle from his breast pocket and placing it to his beady eye. "I have never seen you before."
"I am a cousin of Mister Grayson's, Miss Kory Star," Koriand'r said extending a gloved hand toward him. "He unfortunately could not make it tonight."
"Well, it is certainly fortunate for me my little," his eyes wandered up and down her body and landed on her bright red hair, "phoenix. I am sure you already know who I am but I will introduce myself. I'm Mister Oswald Cobblepot." He took her gloved hand and brought it to his lips.
"This is my husband Doctor Logan, we just arrived here from…" she looked at Garfield.
"Egypt, I'm an archeologist." Garfield glared at Oswald, resisting the urge to smack the monocle from his eye. Oswald gazed at the young man, a sneer formed on his lips.
"A green finch, I see. A perfectly unsuitable match for such a rare bird," he laughed, ignoring Garfield, "hopefully he doesn't sing like one. Invitations are not transferable, but for my phoenix I will make an exception." Oswald winked and gave her one last look before heading toward a small stage at the back of the room.
The guests were completely unconcerned with their host's use of the female form as decorum. Men and women alike ogled the bizarre statues of women fashioned from feathers not noticing the birds circling the glass chandelier, occasionally roosting on one of the gold cages. The pair looked down at the floor, ignoring the risqué ornamentation, both refusing to meet the other's eyes.
"That man makes me uncomfortable," Koriand'r confessed as she guided Garfield to an empty table near the stage.
"I won't let him harm you, we will be through with this as soon as Miss Roth complies."
"You are very kind Doctor Logan." She poured herself a glass of champagne and sipped it carefully. "Mister Cobblepot is very fond of birds."
"Ornithophile—the term for someone who is obsessed with birds," he said distantly, his eyes drifting to the stage. He saw Oswald exit from behind the curtain and motion for the band to stop playing. The lights dimmed and people began taking their seats.
"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming tonight. You are in for quite a treat." He grinned, rubbing his hands together. "This once in a lifetime experience is not for the faint of heart, for tonight—the worlds of the living and dead will merge." Gasps emitted from the audience and Garfield felt his heart beat faster. He stole a glance at Koriand'r and saw her bright green eyes ablaze with excitement. The young man swallowed his fears and focused on Oswald. "The dead will walk amongst us. Ghouls, demons and beasts, will cling to man—taking some of the unfortunate with them back to the underworld.
"Ladies and gentlemen," he began with a dramatic pause, "don't trust the visions you see here tonight and I warn you," his voice lowered until it was barely above a whisper and Garfield had to strain to hear what he was going to say next, "pray to God that your soul is spared." A woman screamed. Both Koriand'r and Garfield turned to see a woman fanning herself violently while a man offered her a drink of champagne. Oswald laughed, pleased that the reaction he sought was so easily attained. "Now, for the moment you've all been waiting for, the mysterious Miss Raven!"
The room was immersed in total darkness. Before anyone else had the opportunity to scream, the stage began to glow. Blue flames surrounded a small, cloaked figure. Slowly, the form moved forward, a shrouded shape, hooded and concealed behind a mask of purple feathers.
"Ladies and gentlemen, you may have witnessed the work of an illusionist before—men claiming to hold the powers of gods. Charlatans I'd say," she bellowed, her monotone slicing through the stale air that once held the high-pitched joviality of drunken delights. "I am not an illusionist, everything you will see is real."
Raven walked back and forth across the stage, the flames following her every move. With long gloved fingers, she lifted up the corner of her cloak, revealing a dark violet gown. "As you can see, unlike those imposters, I'm also not a man." She smirked. The audience laughed uneasily, some men going as far to whistle. Raven dropped her cloak and walked back to the center. "Tonight I will awaken specters—the dead." Figures began forming behind her. A large bird grew out of her shadow, twisting and wreathing with every breath the audience took.
She closed her eyes and sighed through half parted lips, "you will soon feel the chilling hands of Death." The large, shadow-bird detached itself from Raven and captured the audience in its winged embrace, trapping them once again in darkness, clouding them with fear, until they were left chilled to the bone.
"I—I'm f-freezing," Koriand'r stuttered. Garfield felt the temperature plummet and the fear seep to his very core. "R-Richard is right," she continued, teeth chattering, "She's certainly no mere illusionist."
The performance concluded and many of the guests met her curt bow with uproarious applause while others rushed for the exit, their faces drained of any mirth that might have once been there.
Koriand'r clutched Garfield's hand and led him toward the throng of men surrounding Oswald with their accolades and suggestive grins.
"The ghouls, nothing has ever been more realistic!"
"Wonder what else she does…"
Koriand'r's presence on the outskirts of the group halted all conversation and slowly, they parted to let them through. Their lust filled eyes devoured her form, venturing glances that lingered far too long. She felt Garfield's grip tighten on her hand and remained resolute. She smiled cordially, bowing her head, in what she imagined was a delicate way, at Oswald.
"I was so terrified, the performance was magnificent! Thank you so much Mister Cobblepot," she crooned with a demure smile and wide green eyes, "I've never seen a ghost before."
"My little phoenix," Oswald laughed snatching her hand from Garfield's, "Next time, you shall sit by my side. I'll keep you safe."
"Oh, I am sure." Her voice faltered from innocence to sarcasm but with a bat of her eyelashes she held him once again in the palm of her hand. "I would love to have a private audience with Miss Raven. For myself and my husband of course."
"Well, I don't know. What is in it for me?" His wink made Koriand'r's blood curdle and his hand was inching closer to her waist.
"Nothing, unless you want me to punch that monocle into your eye," Garfield growled in Oswald's ear, putting himself between the man and Koriand'r. "Do we have a deal, Mister Cobblepot?"
Oswald shifted his weight from one foot to the other, before sighing and removing the monocle from his eye, "Fine, follow me."
He turned on his heel and took off at a brisk pace toward a hidden door near the side of the stage. For a man of his stature, Koriand'r thought, he's rather light on his feet.
Koriand'r lifted the hem of her gown with care as they followed the portly man through the dusty, neglected hallway. "Do you think he's taking us to her?" She whispered to Garfield as they rounded a corner.
"We can't be too careful, can we?" Garfield flashed her the handle of his butterfly knife, before putting it back in his pocket. Koriand'r clenched her fists, feeling the energy pulse through her veins.
"No," she responded softly. "We never can."
He stopped suddenly in his tracks, nearly causing Garfield to run into him. Oswald knocked three sharp knocks on the door and sighed.
"I will be done soon Mister Cobblepot, leave me alone," a muffled voice proclaimed, annoyed.
"She's a feisty one," he explained, "no matter how I pursue her, she has yet to take me up on my offer."
"Of what?" Garfield asked suspiciously.
"Marriage of course! Who do you think I am? I'm a Cobblepot!"
"Precisely Mister Cobblepot, what would you do with a street urchin such as myself? I have no influence in your world of aristocracy." the voice said again through the protection of the door.
Oswald rested his head against the door and murmured, "Plenty of things, my dear. Plenty."
The door swung open abruptly, knocking Oswald to the ground. "My apologizes." Raven stood with her arms crossed over her chest—her black tresses concealed underneath a purple, feathered hat and her face hidden behind it's dark netting—with an indifferent frown slightly tugging at Raven's lips. After a moment, she noticed the unfamiliar guests. "Who are you?"
"My name is Doctor Garfield Logan and this is, um—"
"I am an associate of his, Miss Kory Star," Koriand'r put her lovely hand out for Raven to take. She took it and gave the statuesque young woman a stiff curtsey. "May we speak with you in your room?"
"I do not live here so this isn't my room." Raven eyed the woman, taking in her thoughtful smile, and sighed. "You're calling on me on behalf of Mister Grayson, aren't you?"
"Yes, but let us speak with you, Miss Raven Roth."
"You have five minutes and he cannot come in," Raven nodded toward Garfield.
"I assure you, I am not a threat," he said staring down at Oswald who placed himself in a sitting position against the wall.
"Clearly," Raven replied sardonically. "However, one can never be too sure."
Koriand'r eyed Garfield's vexation with the woman. Her mocking remark was not what he expected. His face was set in frustration and his green hue was darkening. "She is modest, Doctor Logan. Just stay here and watch him," she whispered, gesturing at Oswald.
Garfield pushed his hands into his pockets and rolled his eyes, "Sure."
"Miss Roth, thank you." Koriand'r curtseyed and entered the room. Raven gave one last glance at the young man before turning and shutting the door behind her.
The ballroom glittered with all the pomp that one would expect an event held for the elite would contain. It's crimson walls and gold wainscoting starkly contrasted with the white linens pale violets that cloaked the round tables. Everyone who was anyone in Gotham City was at the party, making sure they were seen and their liberal views prominently felt.
One long table sat at the front of all the smaller ones. Seated there were the chief surgeon and several other doctors along with the newly appointed Victor. Richard was the only exception to this group of professionals, but their titles did not intimidate him—a man whose name made others cow with a combination of fear and thrill. He had taken after his guardian in more ways than one.
The chief surgeon clanked his fork against his wine glass and stood. His hair was peppered and his figure, rotund. He reminded Victor of a walrus, proportionally large, his wealth of weight evenly distributed. "May I have your attention?" he bellowed, his voice rough and low. The men and women gathered stopped talking and turned to face him. A grin spread over his countenance and he continued, "Now, as you know I am Doctor Edward Vernon, chief surgeon of Gotham City General Hospital. For thirty years, I have worked at this facility. I have hired many men—talented, brilliant men. Doctor Victor Stone is now belongs in that category." He waited for the applause that undoubtedly came.
Men and women clapped enthusiastically, showing their support. Richard observed with a wry smile. His fears were unfound, the progressive aristocrats acceptance was not something he expected. Yet he could not shake the feeling that this dinner, this warm welcome, was meant for one purpose—that everything would change the moment the party ended. "He is the first colored surgeon in all of the United States."
Richard's ears pricked at this last statement, the crowd was uproarious now. This is why Vernon hired him, he thought, for publicity.
Surreptitiously, Richard stole a glance at Victor. He saw his face flush an ashen hue, the realization sparked in him as well. Victor knew his career as a surgeon at the hospital was over before it even started. As talented as he was, but he would never operate on the men and women of Gotham City—at least not on those present that evening. Rather, he would forever remain behind the scenes, a prop dragged out on stage whenever the hospital needed to prove its innovation to the constantly changing world.
Before Edward finished his speech, Richard stood and clanked his own glass, interrupting the portly chief surgeon. Edward threw him a glare but was suddenly sheepish when Richard's eyes turned on him, sparkling and gleeful.
"If you do not mind, Eddy," he said emphasizing his informality, "I would like to share a few words about my very close friend, Doctor Victor Stone." Without a word, Edward took his seat and Richard pushed on. "I do not know medicine, but my guardian Mister Bruce Wayne and myself have a deep respect for our city's upstanding hospital and the care it provides to Gotham's citizens. That—among other reasons—is why we generously donate so much of our wealth, to make sure it has adequate funds to continue providing such excellent service.
"When I heard about Doctor Stone's decision to join the doctors of Gotham City General Hospital, I became intrigued. Unbelievable to many of you I'm sure, I decided to do some sleuthing." At this statement, Richard could not help the small grin forming on his lips.
"I wanted to make sure that I, along with the rest of the city, would be receiving the best doctor possible. Well, I discovered that this fine gentleman reaches far beyond even our hospitals outstanding standards. He singlehandedly cured a mass plague in Alexandria—saving several British soldiers who were stationed there—and worked along French doctors in a colony in Africa. Of course, however, he is an American through and through, growing up in New Orleans and moving with his mother and father, a revolutionary scientist, to Africa when he was ten." He briefly looked at Victor and smirked before placing his attention once again on the people before him, "I for one will never see another doctor for surgical procedures, or anything in general, again. I give Doctor Stone my complete trust and allegiance."
It took only a moment before the crowd erupted in an even greater amount of applause. Richard gave them a charming smile before taking his seat. Persuasion, a gift many people lacked, pumped through the cunning millionaire's veins like blood.
"I thought my absence would have been enough—I am not interested," Raven said, her voice even and detached. She sat at the small vanity facing Koriand'r who was seated opposite her on a velvet ottoman with her delicate hands folded neatly on her lap.
"But we are. In you."
"Are you interested in me or my talents, Miss Star? Because there is no other reason I should join this preposterous club Mister Grayson is proposing." She glared through Koriand'r, distantly staring into nightmares.
"I am curious, Miss Roth, not for Rich—er, Mister Grayson or the others, but for myself. Why do you do put on these shows? Reveal your gifts to the world?" Koriand'r bit her perfect bottom lip in consideration. "Are you not afraid?"
"My gifts, as you so incorrectly call them, are a means for my survival. I perform so I can afford my meager existence. Living as a vagabond is not a life I wish to return to." Her words were curt and direct. "The fear has long subsided," she added softly, looking at her hands rather than Koriand'r.
"I admire your courage, I wish I could do the same. Especially in your circumstances, where I am from women are allowed many more freedoms, here you can hardly leave your home after dark without the accompaniment of a man."
"We are the softer sex," Raven said with cutting sarcasm. Koriand'r giggled, rolling her eyes.
"I seem to forget that, I used to leave men bloodied and in tears after training."
"Bloodied?" Raven questioned, an eyebrow raised in interest, yet her voice remained the same monotone.
"Oh yes. I was taught at a very young age how to defend myself. It was my duty to become a warrior—oops!" Koriand'r placed a gloved hand over her mouth. "I have said too much." Her already tanned face flushed deeper, matching the color of her hair. "I apologize."
"That is unnecessary, we all have secrets that must be kept…" Raven trailed off, returning to her own well-hidden thoughts.
"Oh, please join us! I so desperately do not wish to be the only woman and we want to help." By now Koriand'r was on her knees, clasping a shocked Raven's hands in her own. Koriand'r looked over her shoulder, contemplating her next move. She did not want to be forced into playing the card Richard gave her, but there was no other option. "Mister Grayson told me all about you. He told me about your father," she whispered barely audible.
"I have no father," she said through gritted teeth.
"We can help protect you."
"No one can, his wrath is insatiable." Raven's voice came out in short gasps. The vanity's mirror cracked under the pressure of her power, the pictures of scantily clad women that hung on one side of the room were encased in blackness and fell from their hooks.
"What are you doing?" Koriand'r asked, her voice maintaining an eerie calm in the midst of the storm. Raven put her hands on Koriand'r shoulders and closed her eyes, fighting the demons.
"I—I cannot t-trust myself to t-think of the c-consequences…I cannot t-think of him," she stuttered helplessly. "He's a destroyer of worlds." Her eyelids flew open, exposing her fear.
"We need to help you. Let us help—let me help," Koriand'r said, her voice pleading. She stood, putting her hands on Raven's veiled cheeks caressing them as a mother would. "Join us."
Raven's breathing slowed, she knew he would not get to her—not this time at least. She had won the battle, but the war was still to come and as much as she didn't want to involve others she would need all the help she could get.
"I will join." Her tone was back to its sharp monotone. Koriand'r dropped her hands down to her side and smiled warmly.
"Splendid, then we should leave now."
"As I was planning." Raven got up in one swift motion and put on her black gloves, coat and grabbed her bag. She straightened her hat and veil to make sure it covered her face. Koriand'r opened the door.
Garfield was in the hallway, pacing. Oswald left after he mended his ego and left the young man to his own, worrisome devices.
"Are you all right? I heard something break." His eyebrows were raised, fists clenched. He looked behind Koriand'r and saw Raven following behind her. "She's joining?"
Garfield nodded and stuck out his hand, "Good. My name is Doctor Garfield Logan, er, welcome." He saw her for the first time. She was beautiful. Her heart shaped face and pale complexion were captured by a halo of black locks. Her eyes were what he found most interesting. Although they were shrouded behind netting, he could make out their striking violet hue, their round shape and dark lashes. But the allure of her eyes was not what intrigued him so much as what he saw in them. He saw the terror, the fragility—the pressure weighing down on the wall she had built up so long ago.
"What?" Raven asked brusquely.
She walked past him, ignoring his hand, and down the hall.
"She is shy, Doctor Logan," Koriand'r offered apologetically.
"Oh." Garfield stared after her, before catching up with her quick pace. Koriand'r heard Garfield's attempts at engaging her in conversation and watched with slight amusement, trailing after them at her leisure.
Thanks for all your lovely reviews! I appreciate them so much! Expect more in the coming chapters. I really hope the writing was good. Please keep reading and reviewing!
Oh, and I don't know how to do the Beta thing on the site…so those who offered to be my beta, please PM me and let me know—because I am inept when it comes to technology. Thanks!