Pretty shoddily edited, so forgive that which does not flow with perfect ease and the copious spelling errors. I'm trying to churn the rest of this out in two months or so. I can do it. Just you wait 'n' see.

( music du jour: Radiohead - Videotape ; Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Dead Flag Blues ; Sufjan Stevens - The Sleeping Red Wolves)

A few minutes before our departure, in the wake of the impromptu short epic, we laid still. Link's hand was immobile in mine and our flesh was taking on the clammy uncomfortable warmth of prolonged contact. Staring at the ceiling, I felt welded to the bedcover. The idea of standing, sneaking out the window, walking across town with the weary fear-heavy of my feet – I just wanted to start another resolvable tale.

I did not want to go down there. I did not want to see them.

But I reminded myself of the progression of events to follow my finding the Eye of Truth – get to the desert, survive the spirit wastelands, break into the desecrated temple and corrupt the mines in any way possible, and steal the Ocarina of Time right from Ganondorf's clutches. Yes, it was a delicious prospect. But then what? Should I go back to the streets, hiring shadows to send West in my stead? Should I rejoin the war effort knowing that my enemy's supply source had been crippled? Should I find a way to go straight for Ganondorf and loose his blood?

With Link's hand in mine, I found a frightening prospect rising in my belly – I could be happy like this. The simple wasn't bothering me. I could run far from Hyrule, forget about my oath to end Ganondorf, maybe even have chil-

And that's where the fantasy ended. I tried to extend the sweetness of my mediocre aspirations to the idea of children, and the ache in my gut rushed away. I would be a terrible mother. How could I look at any child of mine without seeing the faces of other mother's children I'd stolen? What if I beat them to lessen my aches? Would I cover my scars? Would I lie the rest of my life?

This notion of plain joy was a charming one, but it was not for me. I was raised royalty and reborn in murder. Simple life could never be my style. Too late, too late, just a passing thought now before I took up my rapiers and ran to meet the dead. Eight years of this.

Cheer up, dear, I told myself. At this rate, you'll be done soon.

The want for simplicity washed from my limbs and I squeezed Link's hand once more. If the rest of life was to be tumultuous, this I would enjoy. I sighed and sat up, tying my hair in a high knot and tightening the laces of my boots. I looked at Link over my shoulder.

"Ready?"

He closed his eyes for a moment. "I suppose," he answered, and with that he was up, grabbing his shield and his pack. Open the window pane, hoist ourselves through, land, run, steal away to the graveyard.

We're coming, lost souls. I thought. And we're sorry.

SsSsSsS

Zelda didn't say a word as we snuck through town, only nodding when I offered orders in a low voice. Our feet were as quiet in the loam as the pat of a mother's palm on her infant's back. Luckily the guards seemed more concentrated on the urban center of town, so we saw almost none of them. Before the graveyard gates, we passed under the bulk of the giant windmill, roaring above. Even outside, I heard the faint chimes of the organ grinder's song from inside.

Passing through the gates, a grey and white cat ran in front of us, and I felt Zelda tense behind me. I began telling her a story of Dante, the old groundskeeper who used to throw rupees after him for me when he wasn't feeling to bitter. Her shoulders relaxed some, but I knew she'd be on edge until this thing was done, until she had the Eye in her hand.

I stopped in front of a grave on the Southwest side and said my silent prayers to Farore as Zelda paused at my side.

"This is the one?" she asked.

I nodded and pointed to the tiny triforce etched into the lower left side of the tombstone.

"Then now what?"

I glanced at her and filled my lungs with chilled night air before dipping into the Song of Time.

"Look deep in the past;

Learn what you can before you stride on through the world.

Live bravely and know

That you are just a wand'ring mote, floating in time.

Not a clock will hold its breath;

Not a man can put off death.

So remember not to spend your whole life running.

Even kings can't hope to best the sun."

And with that, the grass and weeds over the grave peeled away and stairs sunk into the moist ground. I put a hand on Zelda's shoulder.

"You'll be fine," I said.

She laughed bitterly. "I know. But I still don't want this."

And with that, she brushed my fingers from her arm and strode down the steps, entering upon lost memories. I was afraid because I could not decide if this was one of her compassionate moments, where she would break, or if she would march past her dead without a second glance, which would break me. I stifled a shiver and followed her down.

It was just as dark as I remembered, but now, years after I first ventured into these catacombs, I felt confined, like the walls were only an inch away from each of my shoulders. I wanted to reach forward and grab Zelda's arms, though I wasn't sure whether to steer her straight or give myself something to clutch. In the complete dark, I my hands felt so empty. At last I reached out my arms in front of me to find her, but caught nothing. She wasn't there, she wasn't there, and when I swung my arms out to the side, no walls either. Oh Farore, what had I done, where had I gone, I would never escapescapescape-

"Link," I heard from my far left.

"Yes?" I answered, thanking the Goddesses as Zelda's soft, steady voice grew closer and closer.

"Will anything go awry if I light a small flame?"

I wanted to laugh at myself. I should have just told her that to begin with. I sighed in relief.

"Yes, yes, of course you can."

And with that the lowered angles of her face were lit, her chin, the bottom of her full cheeks, the arches of her eyebrows. Her extended palm held a small fire, hovering slightly amidst her fingers. I smiled at her and she nodded back.

"Where should we be going?" she asked.

"It's linear enough for a time," I answered. "It's after we meet the false dead that the paths split and we'll need a guide."

"False dead?" she said, and I detected the faintest trace of hope in her voice. "So they're just illusions?"

"Well, yes. But they could fool the best. They will speak to you if you let them. And they appear perfectly real. You can touch a few of the more important ones, and they can hurt you. So please don't lower your guard completely, Princess. These are not light dealings."

She nodded as she expanded the flame in her left hand and grabbed mine with her right by the wrist.

"Let's find them," she said.

And for a while, the grey of our visibility was calm. We evaded the pitfalls and traps of the passage with ease, navigating around flooded chambers and avoiding the gleaming eyes of keese when we could. As the minutes morphed into footsteps, Zelda's hand slipped into mine – not the curled finger grasp of deep affection, but palm to palm, our thumbs on the backs of each other's hands, the touch of a trusting soul. Even though she held my sword hand and hers was occupied with the hovering torch, I wasn't very afraid for our safety. I was finding it easy to ignore the oncoming threat of meeting out dead. For now, walking through chambers, we were fine. We were fine.

Until I heard a distant moan.

"What was that?" Zelda said, so low I barely heard.

It was my turn to grab her wrist.

"Let's go. Move fast, don't turn around. Just… come on, let's move."

I pulled her forward, but the light was behind me now. It's meager glow only reached a few paces in each direction, and while I thought I knew where the door was in the sandy chamber we strode through, I could hear the moan building. Behind us, around us, until it sounded as though my ears were purely made of this sound, the great echoing moan, the keeling cry for flesh to hold.

"Zelda, faster!" I demanded, but she had stopped moving. The flame flickered in her hand. As it faded out, I saw one slumbering towards her, seconds from her. The Redead's hollow sockets looked even deeper in the poor lighting, it's ancient rotting skin pocked with scars from the prying fingers of its companions. The arms began to reach for Zelda as I felt the cold grip my spine and whisper to me standstillstandstillwhydon'tyoujuststandstill? The closer they came to me the clammier my skin became and the more violent the demands for immobility grew. As the very last of the light from Zelda's torch died, I felt the first hand try to grab me, and I jumped forward.

I grabbed Zelda and pried the dead fingers from her, the snap of their bones mingling with my voice whistling as quickly as I could. I flung Zelda up over my shoulders, and as the Redeads began to slow, my song grew louder and stronger until I was belting it as well as I could.

"Come and rise, come and rise, save me from the dark!"

Over and over I chanted the lyrics until the Redeads were completely still as I bolted for the door. I ran and ran until my boot caught on an upturned stone and the moan began behind me again, faint as fear in the afternoon.

"Nayru, Nayru, please, what I would give for a light!"

And it was faint, so very faint, but from Zelda's bag at her hip, a fairy emerged, glowing pale blue, and floated before me as I ran down the corridors in search of the vast hall where Zelda and I would find our tolls. Gradually the surroundings grew lighter and brighter until the fairy swirled around my head and swirled far up into the air, back to its Goddess. Still I ran until I felt Zelda shifting on my shoulders, and I looked around us with a sigh of relief.

"What happened?" she mumbled as I stopped to put her lithe form down.

"Redeads," I said. "They got you in their embrace and were doing their damndest to suck the life from your lungs."

She shuddered. "Are there anymore down here?"

"Possibly," I said. "But it doesn't matter much now."

"What? Wait, why?"

I nodded to the giant double doors are the end of the well lit hall.

"Because we're here."

"Oh," she said. "Oh."

I studied her gaze as she stared down the long corridor, and there was a shred of panic in the width of her eyes. Her pupils dilated. Her breath was a touch uneven. She gulped, and for a flash, I saw her face light up with lightning-white scars. I couldn't tell if it was her stress or my imagination, but I was unnerved.

"Tell me it will be fine," she said.

I took her shoulders in my palms.

"Zelda, you will be fine. They can't hurt you now."

"Oh, I know that. They just…"

"There's nothing you can give them now."

"I know that as well, but that doesn't mean I don't owe them anything."

"Do you know how many there will be?"

And with that, she assumed her blank face, the stoic mask for dealing with strain.

"I have an idea," she said.

As do I, Zelda. War is hectic, but I could still count the thuds following the swing of my blade.

And with that she snapped her head back to look at the ceiling, her fists clenching, her eyes hot with suppressed tears.

"Goddamn it, I can feel it coming," she said quietly through gritted teeth.

"Feel… feel what?"

"I just, I can't…I can't stay a single mind, a single person, and I can feel when the fouler bits begin to stir." She walked to the wall and began smashing the flat edge of her fist into a support beam, her head dropped and her shoulders trembling. "I don't like this, I don't want it anymore."

"Anymore?"

She sniffed and flattened her palm over the beam, wrapping her other arm tight over her waist.

"It's how I survived. After I hit the streets." Her head swung back and forth, wisps of hair drifting around her. A tremor shot through her shoulders and I heard her suck in a sharp lungful of air. "I needed the darker mind to stay alice. And I need it still to accomplish my… goals. But I'll be damned if the in-between isn't a bitch to swallow."

I walked to her in two strides, draped an arm over her shoulders, and pulled her back to the center of the corridor. I pulled her down and we sat cross legged, across from each other, like we had on the floor of the inn.

"Once I saw you in the garden as a child, and you were singing a song. I only remember a single line of the song, but I remember it often. Do you remember?"

"You were in the garden…"

"It said close your eyes and feel revived."

"That's the lullaby. And that line is from the middle-"

"Zelda," I said, taking her face in my hands. "Close your eyes. Breathe."

Her lip hung open for a moment like she meant to protest, but then her lids dropped over her tear-red eyes and she grew still. I ignored the bruises rising on her arms from the Redeads and I took her arms in my hands below the elbow. She did the same to me. We leaned forward, touching the crowns of our foreheads together. It was a position we had utilized only half a dozen times in the War. It meant we had Hell ahead of us but we needed to breathe first, remember who we were and why we were fighting. It would only last a few seconds, enough to sigh deep once or twice, but now, in the long corridor, we held each other like this for many long minutes. Her panicked exhales fell in sync with mine, her grip loosened around my arms. And I felt quick little tremors fade from her pulse. And sometimes my shivers echoed hers. Until it was time.

I pulled back and looked at her. I could count her eyelashes, we were so close.

"You're going to be all right?" I asked.

And with that a flame flicked in her eyes, and a touch of the mad Zelda was back, but only a shred. Just enough to make her grab my fist in hers, squeeze my fingers hard, stand up, walk towards the doors.

"Link," she said, and I was prepared for something to follow in the trail of my name, but she only nodded as she looked back to me. Her fists were unclenched. Her breath was regular. She picked up her feet and walked all the way to the door before stopping.

"Now," she said, not turning back to me. "We will go now."

So I walked up beside her. We each heaved a tall door aside, and we entered the hall.

The cavern was too bright when we swung the doors open. But I didn't need to see the high pitch of the marble pillars, the stretching of the grey beams overhead as they reached for the far, far end of the hall, far beyond all our shades waiting quietly for our procession. When our eyes adjusted to the light, we saw a long line of sallow faces on each side of the vast hall. To the right were grey soldiers with foreign complexions, two paces apart each. To the left, people of all colors, ages, genders. They were crowded together, three per pace in most places. Zelda lurched beside me, and I thought she was going to hurl, but she was just dipping her head for some reason. In prayer perhaps, or wiping away tears. But I could not see through the thick veil of her unkempt locks. She was a separate soul, but when her eyes leveled with mine, leveled with the eyes of the rows of strangers, she was masked again. A stoic marble statue, cut a thousand years ago, features and conviction weathered by time but never destroyed. She squeezed my fingers tight in her fist before letting them go.

"Attend to yours," she said, low and peaceful.

So I did. I turned to my line of soldiers and tried to count them down the row, but the hall was too long. So I walked to the first soldier and I nodded. He nodded in return. I strode forward, nodded to the next. He returned the gesture. And so I went, nodding down the line, the soldiers growing younger and less experienced as I went. I knew better than to expect any easing of this pain in seeing faces dead by my hand; Impa had explained to me the first time I was down here with her, when my row was empty and hers as dense if not as diverse as Zelda's, that the Goddesses had designed this trial. So it was no light task. The more emotionally crippling the dead soul, the closer to your goal you would find him. Or her. I worried what Zelda would find at the end of her row. Mine was of only men who'd know the possibilities even if they didn't grasp the politics. My concern for myself was how young they would be at the exit, how fresh-faced and soft.

I was just nodding to a far Southern Lieutenant when I heard a cry from behind me. I spun on my heel and saw Zelda, swathed in her full court gown, with a man's face in her hands, their foreheads pressed together, her lips moving fast and her shoulders much steadier than his. He was middle-aged man with receding hair and could have been a brother to the man I'd first seen Zelda terrorizing in the bar that first night. Only a week and a half ago. That just didn't seem possible.

Zelda stepped back from the man and raised three vertically aligned fingers, touching them to her forehead, chest, and left wrist as she dipped into generous curtsy. I had not seen a traditional Hylian salute like that since the year her father died. Zelda rose and turned to her next victim, a bland looking woman of thirty. The Princess took the woman's head in her hands and kissed each of her cheeks, whispering something to her, too. Then she fell into the same elaborate curtsy.

And so she crept down her crowd of deceased, spending at least half a minute with each, more commonly more. Most of the women she kissed on the forehead. Most of the men she took by the shoulder. Some cried, some turned their faces from her, but for each and every soul she whispered and curtsied. As she progressed down the line, I saw more and more women and middle aged men in the line. Most of her soldiers had been crowded by the entrance. Apparently war truly hadn't bothered her conscious too much. I believed her now: she had darker concerns to fuel her nightmares.

The farther down she came, the more I could hear of her words. They were not, as I had expected, a pleading apology. When she was only two paces away from me, three quarters of an hour after we had entered, I could hear at last.

"I am sorry that this happened to you," she breathed, slow and certain. "That the threads of our lives should have crossed is a great misfortune. I have goals, and while I know they are vile and I know I shall not be forgiven for my many sins, I have yet to be deterred. So I am truly sorry to see you here. Rest in peace. May the Goddesses be so very sweet to you. May my crimes not have ruined in full the lives of your loved ones. May their faces be blessed with many smiles."

The man in her grip nodded and bit his tongue to stave off tears. When she curtsied, he dipped his head back. The next man was a Creant, a very young one, and to my confusion, she treated him with the same decency. Her monologue was not the exact same for him, and he fought no tears, but he grabbed her hand and squeezed it. She smiled before sinking into her curtsy.

I was enraptured with Zelda's attention towards the souls. I had expected screaming, tears, violence on her part, but now I saw the monarch she was raised to be until Ganondorf seized control. The calm and complete attention she gave each of these people – not even real people, just the images and actions of people – made me consider that she might actually be able to rule the country when Ganondorf was dead. Then I remembered her wicked grin as she slashed a knife below my ear, and as I touched the scabs with the pads of my fingers, I just didn't know what to think. But I watched Zelda, down and down the line, paying no attention to my line of soldiers. No attention at all. So I couldn't see the end of my row.

As the end of the hall came into view, Zelda's line melted into women and young people, twenty year olds, seventeen year olds. She spent much longer with these souls. There was one woman – from her sobs I figured had lost her family before she lost herself – who Zelda took into her arms and held as she grabbed at the lace and silk of the fine royal gown, moaning for a past she could not change. Zelda whispered many things into her ear. Most of all she said that Nayru's compassion enveloped all the cold children. For the sake of the sobbing woman, I hoped it was true. More than that, I hoped Zelda meant it.

As Zelda's encounters grew longer and longer, I looked forward and saw the end of her line. There, in a filthy pinafore, barefoot, looking like she was in living hell, was a child, maybe ten years old as most. And as Zelda stroked the hair of all the mothers and young husbands she had killed, I only watched the little girl. I felt sick. It made sense that Zelda might have killed children; she was a child herself when the world turned her back on her. But this girl. She looked like she hadn't known happiness in a thousand years. And she just looked so damn young. Like a porcelain doll left out in the street with the garbage, chipped and soiled.

And then, after minutes that stretched for miles towards the horizon, they were looking at each other. And Zelda curtsied until she was sitting with crumpled legs on the floor.

"I'm sorry," she said.

"Din send you to hell!" the girl shouted. And she tipped back her head and loosed a wail the likes of which I had never heard from any newly-widowed woman or any dying man. And when Zelda reached for her, she flailed, smacking Zelda across the face and running from her. The other shades watched with pity as Zelda lunged forward and nearly fell on her face so she could hold the girl in her arms.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she croaked, voice breaking at last.

"I HATE YOU. LET ME GO, DEVIL WOMAN. NAYRU SAVE ME FROM EVIL, SAVE ME, SAVE ME, PLEASE!" she shouted as Zelda drew her closer and closer, clutching a hand to the back of her head.

"You're so old," the girl cried as she tried to punch Zelda's arms. "You're so old!"

I heard the echo of those words, and I'm sure Zelda did, too. I never got to grow old. Why should you get to grow old?

Zelda held the girl and cried, cried, cried, and as I watched, Zelda's spells melted away and her scars glowed bright, and the girl screamed louder until she too was weeping.

"Let me go, let me go! Nayru, Nayru!" the girl shrieked to the high ceiling, and it echoed into my ears as Zelda uncovered her face from the girl's shoulder enough to open her mouth to sing:

"Fall asleep, darling, fall asleep.

Close your eyes and feel revived."

"Help me!" the girl had almost slipped from her grasp, but now Zelda's arms were tangled in the girl's legs, too, grasping her knees to her silk chest. "Help, the Evil One is here! Save me!"

Zelda sang through her trembling tears:

"Soft and deep, it is soft and deep

In the land of dreams."

And the girl's sobbing lost its shrieking edge. Her hands shot up to her face when fingers clamped down over her eyes.

"Make it end, make it all go away!" she whined through heaving sobs. Zelda grabbed her tighter to her still.

"Long are the waking days,

Long sings the jaded jay.

Sleep, let the Goddess soothe your soul."

And then they were holding each other, each sobbing, each trying to sing the ancient and secret song, Zelda's lullaby, that royal promise of peace. Still Zelda chanted sorrysorrysorry and the girl wept save me, save me, save me, please. They clawed at each other, clamoring for comfort. And when the girl at last turned her blotchy, puffy face into Zelda's shoulder, the Princess's lullaby rose once more through the great hall. And I'll be damned if I didn't hear the slightest echoes that sounded like harmonies, like this once the Goddesses hummed along.

The moment broke. Zelda, remembering our goals, kissed the girl's cheek and looked over her shoulder at me. She turned with a tear-swollen smile, but it dissolved before our eyes could meet. And then her eyes fell to the ground, and she turned back to the girl and held her with a new vigor.

My gut churned. My line of dead. I had not looked to the end of my line of dead.

My limbs filled with dread like lead. It was if I was wearing iron boots when I dragged myself around. And in a moment my eyes were hot with tears and my throat was churning out the ripped kind of shouts you hear in civilian raids. And I wanted to run far away.

"Farore, no," I moaned.

"Don't worry, Link," Malon said as she clutched Trune's hand to her chest. "We would have done it again."

"When…how…"

"They found a batch of your old tagged tack and a pair of fresh hoof prints. It wasn't so difficult for them, really."

The tears spilled over from my eyes. I heard Zelda humming to the girl behind me, the girl humming back. They rocked each other in remorse, but I couldn't bring myself to touch Malon.

"Are… Are you real? Or just –"

"No, Link. You know how these spells work," Trune said. "We are but trials. So chin up."

"You're far from done, Link," Malon, said with a tilted head. I knew it wasn't her. She wouldn't have shown so much decorum.

"Can you help us?" Zelda's voice said from behind my shoulder. She had stood, was holding the girl's hand as she reapplied spells to cover her scars and turned her long gown into soft trousers and a tunic. She regarded Malon with the kind of hopelessly morose expression that looked as if it would never fade.

Malon nodded. She whispered into Trune's ear with the kind of intimacy that made me think that whatever divine power did direct this labyrinth was at least in contact with the dead souls.

"Follow," she smiled calmly. So we did. Zelda kissed the top of the girl's head and sent her back to the crowd, where they all faded back into the thin shadowy air, as did my dead soldiers. Trune, too, faded after nodding to us.

"Are there any more dangers?" Zelda asked, keeping a slight distance from me. I was glad for her company now. She was not the type to drape me in arms and concern just because I had lost something dear. Separation is a key ingredient in many a remedy.

"The worst has passed. Just a jump left," said Malon, her feet floating above the ground as she glided before us.

We moved in still grey, the light growing weaker deep in the ground, and then breathing back into our eyes as the sound of the organ grinder found my ears. Faint, very faint, but within the half hour, we were standing on a stone ledge high above the spinning platform on the windmill floor. Before us was a swirling pair of shelves protruding from the center beam, which spun madly day in and day out.

"The rest," Malon said, "I'm sure you remember. Farewell, Hero. Farewell, Princess. May the next generation live easier than we."

And she faded away into the rafters, and I felt the burn of grief growing in my eyes again until Zelda grabbed my hand.

"I know, Link, I know it's criminal, but we need to finish this now. When we are back to the inn, we can mourn, and though I knew them briefly, I will mourn too. But now, you have to tell me where it is."

I gulped the sharpness of the tears away.

"Across the raised platforms. We jump across, and there's a hollow in the ledge to the far left there."

"So two jumps, to the middle then to the edge?"

I nodded.

She squeezed my hand tighter, let it go, jumped out in front of us onto the passing shelf. When the second one followed, I sailed after her. We reached the far ledge without incident.

"Sing the song again."

"What?" Zelda asked.

"The lullaby, your lullaby, that's what unlocks the vault."

"Oh! Of course, yes."

She cleared her throat.

"Fall asleep, darling, fall asleep

Close your eyes and feel revived.

Soft and deep, it is soft and deep

In the land of dreams.

Long are the waking days,

Long sings the jaded jay.

Sleep, let the Goddess soothe your soul."

The stone before us dissolved, and from an unassuming wooden case, Zelda drew an ornate eyeglass wrought with gold and amethyst. She did not admire it for a second, simply stashing it away safely in my pack before looking for the door.

"Let's get back," she said, and I could hear her darker mind slipping back into control. I slid my palm onto her shoulder.

"Thank you, Zelda."

"For what?"

I shook my head and helped her glide down the high shelf into the concealed stairwell before us, out a back trapdoor that only opened out with the help of the royal song, down through the farm, back through the inn window, and onto the bed, where we fell face up and stared at the ceiling once more, hand in hand, and made up stories. They were long and disjointed, the plot lost in happy side thoughts, but our heroes always found what they wanted. Every protagonist was either a lady farmer or a sober fiancée, each story leading them to greatness before they returned home to raise children and grandchildren, to die very, very old and very, very quietly.

We fell asleep fully clothed with our fingers still twisted together. When we woke at last several hours after dawn, I asked Zelda what we would do now.

"Well," she sighed. "Now we move West. There, we get to Ocarina of Time. And keep it from Ganondorf."

I nodded. "Do you think…" I started, unsure of how to ask her what I would do with or without her permission.

"What is it, Link?"

"If Ganondorf gets all the stones and the Ocarina, he'll be more powerful than you can hope to take down, no?"

"That is correct."

"Then I was thinking," I said "That if we're to be keeping these from him, we need to hide them well. So maybe we could hide the Emerald en route to the Desert."

"Where do you propose?"

"Well, I want to bury it on Malon's ranch."

Zelda looked down at her hands for a long breath.

"It isn't the safest place," she said "But it will certainly do. For now. So we will go."

"Thank you, Zelda."

She laughed bitterly and shook her head. "Again with the undeserved thanks."

"Why undeserved?"

"Link, you saw my line of dead. And I saw yours, so I know you are not guiltless either. I just… receiving praise has not been high on my priorities for a very long time."

I nodded because I didn't know how to answer her. But the silence was comforting for us.

"When do we leave?" I asked at last.

She smiled.

"As soon as we can."


Let me know what needs fixin' and I will get on it.

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I am extremely tired. Out, FF.