The Bordello Tales
Ο Special Edition Δ
Casanova Da Vinci
Copyright © 2016 Casanova Da Vinci
All rights reserved.
It is sometimes hard to imagine a world without Touch, Smell or Sensation; vested in many abilities that we all share a common interest in together as a Society, not to mention as a singular unit: Woman and Man. Without such people as The Explorer, The Womanizer, The Romantic, The Poet, or The Love Seeker, the Human Race would be in one big pickle. They are the ones who lift another person’s imagination, arouse their thoughts, trigger attraction, and bring into effect things that can only be described as Magical!
Without people – Human Beings – we are led to believe that “Love”, not mistaking this for “True Love”, will cease to exist! On the other hand, our own observations on the animal kingdom and their behavior, brings that question to “How do we succeed in making ‘Love’ survive, forever?’ The answer still, will remain: We cannot.
I would like to thank everyone who helped me gather research and factual depictions that created “The Sexual Healing Guides”, and for supporting me through the years.
Carol De Storm Daniel & Daniele Danes-Harrison Chantal De Storm Jade De Storm
Dom Stewart Samantha Campbell Jenny Craven Crystal Pawson
Daren Hooper Hakeem Aitoro Gary Atkinson Jolene Pawson
For My Muses
1. EVERMORE: The Bordello Tales
For more than 300 years, the two towns that border Yorkshire’s North and East: Evermore and Borello, have been at war; through each generation since the very first in the late 1700’s, to present, both families have been taught by their peers to hate their neighbors, while all the while during countless battles, something has caused a great change in each their retaliations.
For the Duchess of Evermore, Lady Melissa Ellington-Evermore, the present day changes in her family have led to the death of her youngest niece, Carrie Brindley-White.
Lady Evermore’s husband, Lord David Evermore, the last remaining Evermore, is too saddened to bury his niece, because he is inconsolably troubled to find that her death was through no accident, but murder.
In Borello, Lady Mallandra Gruber, the land owner of Borello and all of its Houses and businesses, comes head to head with the hands that deal fate. And from “Evermore” to the dark, seedy confines of “The Quarter”, love, passion, lust and depravity may well conquer all within the adult erotic stories of The Bordello Tales.
‘Love gained, Love lost, Tragedy
The last train from Redstone arrived at Evermore Station at 9:15 in the evening, its passengers fewer arriving than leaving the small North-East Resheenian Town. Among these were Ms. Carrie Brindley-White and her younger brother, Thomas, who was only accompanying his sister home safely before returning on that same outbound train that would take him back to their University in Redstone. His arrangements not resting easy on his Aunt Melissa Evermore’s plans, who to be fair hadn’t seen Thomas since Carrie’s accident three years ago, one which left her in a coma for all but six months out of the three long years of amnesia.
‘Have you got everything, Sis?’ Thomas called out over the loudening noise of the trains’ cooling hydraulics system releasing their pressure into a bellowing vortex of whitened steam that spread like a sheet across the platform.
Carrie gave one last look at the pile of stacked cases that had been taken from the Luggage-Cart on the train and placed with care onto the platform by the train hands.
‘I believe that is everything…Ooh, hang on!’
Gazing down at the smallest of the cases Carrie noticed that it had been opened – but how! The case had been locked by her personally and, furthermore, she was the only one with the key which was still secured on her person around her neck.
‘That’s strange!’ She exclaimed waving Thomas over to her. ‘Someone’s opened my case. Look, the lock has been broken!’
Thomas shrugged his shoulders. ‘Maybe it burst open, with the amount of clothes you bring each summer, Sis, it wouldn’t half surprise me.’ He giggled.
Carrie knew that her brother was only joking, but somewhere in his tone she felt that he, too, had no real idea of how her case had opened during the journey. Whether it had been opened by force or by accident, the shared decision of making sure that there was nothing missing from it was made.
‘Very funny, Thomas, but unfortunately, it is my private case…!’
Carrie opened the vanity case and gently rifled through it to check everything, and to her satisfaction she found everything there that she had packed that same day – as far as she knew.
‘Well, everything appears to be here…’
Thomas quickly cut in to inform her that the train was now ready to leave and head back to Redstone, which meant they had to be quick with their goodbyes; a moment of complete silence followed by a swift half-cuddle and finally a glanceless wave that would take Thomas onto the train and leave Carrie standing watching him fade into the distance. All of this taking less than a few minutes before she found herself standing completely alone with her thoughts.
‘Good evening Ms. Brindley-White, my name is Edward, I am here to take you up to Evermore. Your Aunt is awaiting your earliest convenient arrival.’ a short fair haired old gentleman who was sporting a very deep mustache and wearing a flat cap declared suddenly, while at the same time startling Carrie, making her jump half out of her skin.
‘Oh, I say! ’ She yelped, immediately reaching for her chest with a probing nervous hand. ‘It is not polite to sneak up on people like that. You almost gave me a heart attack!’
Edward apologized immediately, removing his flat cap, bowing his head to the floor and now looking like a naughty schoolboy having been told off and reprimanded by the school Head Mistress.
‘Apologies, Ms. Brindley-White, may I take your cases?’
Turning to look at the mountain of luggage laid on the platform, Carrie nodded her head with unsurities of either of them being able to carry such a hefty load, least of all Edward.
‘I think we’re going to need some help, Edward, would you mind finding a Station Porter, or someone who may help us to your car with these cases, some of them are very heavy?’ Carrie replied.
‘I will go and see the Station Master, Miss.’
Disappearing for a few minutes some short way down the platform, Edward returned with three strapping young men from the Station Master’s Office, two of whom spoke very little English, and the third – Cheeky, as Carrie referred to him – spoke far too much, and yet, with it a Slanguage all of its own that would put a blush on even her Aunt Melissa’s face.
‘Tell me, Mr.…’ She attempted to acquire the man’s name, but for the sound of an injured Edward falling to the ground holding his back in agony completely ruining the moment.
‘My back! Oh, my back’s gone! ’ He cried out in what seemed to be an award winning whine for sympathy.
It was now that the young man who had been looking Carrie up and down with a serotic stare-like look, was now thinking hard to himself, maybe not what Carrie thought that he was thinking, but definitely thinking all the same on how to fix the situation she had got herself into.
‘Well, that’s just great! ’ Carrie sighed with frustration.
‘I’m sorry, Ms. Brindley-White, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to contact the House and request another driver for you, there’s no way I can take the journey with this bad back.’ Edward couldn’t emphasize enough on the pain that he was feeling, his face contorting with the agony.
Carrie began to worry, about Edward and the matter of how she was going to get to Evermore, as already it was getting late – very late – and as well as feeling tired from the journey the three men could see it clearly on her face that she was drained.
‘I can take you up to Evermore and Edward could arrange for your luggage to be brought up to you tomorrow, Ms. Brindley-White.’ The young man who had been looking at Carrie cheekily suddenly suggested.
Edward pondered a few moments on the idea, as did the other two men who obviously wanted to get off to their homes as soon as they could. Carrie, however, she was a little unsure whether the strapping young man before her should be charged with such an important task, considering she knew that his looks and stares toward her were more than likely contaminated thoughts that contained the sort which you would expect from a stranger.
‘I’ll walk! ’ Carrie snapped.
‘Walk! Are you…I’m sorry, Ms. Brindley-White, but I must insist, as I am employed by Evermore…’
‘You’re fired! I’ll walk, now you can all get back to whatever it is you’d be doing after you’ve finished a hard day at work. Thank you, Sir, for the offer, but I am in no way introduced to you…’
‘Tristan,’ the young man stepped forward and boldly introduced himself with a wide smile. ‘My name is Tristan, Ms. Brindley-White, and I am pleased to make your acquaintance.’
The whole station became silent – deafly silent – as Carrie’s deep set control over the situation crumbled before the men’s very eyes; the dead set plan which she was about to carry out was replaced with a gnawing, not uncomfortable, but something that all at the same time soaked her in a sure feverish excitement. But even then, the growing feeling of attraction began to meddle in what she believed was her ‘Better Judgement’…this was Carrie’s first mistake.
‘Tristan,’ she whispered, her tone changing from her previous objecting reply to a more civilized stance.
The three men, including Edward walked away and left the two alone, each of them knowing that what was about to be said in their conversation was more than likely not for their ears.
‘My car is over here at the entrance, Ms. Brindley-White. Is there one or two cases that you would need before morning?’ He asked looking down at the pile with a perplexed look.
‘You must look upon all women as weak!’ Carrie barked suddenly putting her hands on her hips and staring all too intensely at the young man, who turned and gave what she believed to be an annoying smile.
‘An imbecile, too, may I add?’
‘You are so much like your Aunt, Carrie, it’s frightfully alarming,’ Tristan said in a low, calm and somewhat arousing manner to the young woman.
Carrie was blindsided; the borne etiquette within her wanted to thank the man, but for the fact that something else, a word – a person – that to Tristan would hardly be considered a friend, or with his statement tone a possible lover spoilt the urge.
‘You tread on very thin ground Mr.…?’
Tristan was amused. ‘You don’t remember me, do you, Carrie?’
Carrie looked into Tristan’s eyes, deeply searching for something that would recall any knowing of him. The task, though easy at first, became harder. Carrie’s whole body was beginning to fill with an overwhelming desire to move closer to the young man and have no power in which to stop herself. No sooner had she thought of approaching him, that she suddenly found herself standing before him – very close.
‘Who are you?’ She asked in a half-demanding tone, just as both leant forward and kissed full on the lips.
A few moments later the passionate kiss was over. Carrie’s eyes were closed tightly shut. As for Tristan, his were set on looking at every detail of the young woman’s face, before gaining his composure to answer the query.
‘Tristan, Ms. Brindley-White, at your service.’
Carrie opened her eyes and looked at him dreamily. ‘You kissed me!’
‘Actually, you kissed me, I was just kissing you back out of courtesy.’ Tristan replied taking a step back. ‘Now, I think we should get some of these cases and take them to my car before it starts getting light, don’t you agree?’
Nodding her head she turned to choose several small cases that she would be able to carry and proceeded to walk toward the train station entrance, while walking close behind was Tristan, he too carrying cases. Standing outside the Station Masters’ Office, Edward and the other men waved them goodbye as the two finally made their exit from the station to find Tristan’s car right outside.
Carrie reached the car where she suddenly dropped the cases she was carrying right by the side of the boot, then with a paused cry she turned to Tristan while fighting her anger at him. Tristan saw this coming and prepared himself.
‘You kissed me…On the lips…How!’
‘How did I kiss you?’ He interrupted opening the boot and loading the cases inside one by one.
Carrie was still overthinking the incident. ‘Did my Aunt send you to…?’
‘To seduce you? Yes, she wanted you to know that it is better a relationship fall out of the sky and find you than you to waste away a lonely, childless old woman. She also passed comment on your weight problem, too!’ Tristan turned and said in a well-held serious manner.
The moment was lost.
‘What the hell did you just say to me?’ She growled in a way that the tone and restraint were neither of Evermore, or that of her Aunt’s plumb flavored etiquette’s.
Tristan put up a hand. ‘Chill out, Okay, nobody sent me. You really don’t remember me, do you Carrie? All these years and you’ve forgotten me…like I never existed!’
The anger, pain and driving frustration that was leading her to react in some vicious response subsided to the statement. Of all the questions that raced around her mind, only one ran to the forefront – did she know this young man? It was abundantly clear that he certainly believed that the two of them had met before, but when?
‘I’m sorry, I don’t remember you…I was…’
‘Brainwashed?’ He piped up and suggested sarcastically.
‘No. I was in an accident three years ago. Through it I lost many parts of my memory…Maybe the memory with you is…erm…’
‘I’m sorry,’ Tristan apologized whole heartedly.
Putting up a friendly hand Carrie begged him not to take the matter to heart. ‘No need to apologize, many of my memories return, just not as quickly as I would like them to.’ She laughed.
Tristan paused a moment from putting the last case into the boot of the car, his face showing that he was in very deep thought, and a troubling one at that.
‘I mean for kissing you, I shouldn’t have done that,’ he confessed nervously.
Carrie was confused. Here was a young man who she was obviously attracted to, but for some reason or another he was apologizing for kissing her. The story that Tristan reported to be her who initially kissed him seemed genuine, though the actions in which she had taken to do this were far beyond even her reasoning.
‘Home!’ Carrie exclaimed suddenly.
‘Home, you mean…’
‘Yes, Tristan, can you please take me home?’
He looked around before giving a pleased nod. Opening the passenger door for Carrie he quickly made his way around the other side of the car and got inside. The engine started first time, which had the two starting on their way to Evermore Manor chatting, giggling and reminiscing their own tales of Evermore Town and its lands.
Along the way Carrie happened to see an old childhood haunt that she and her family and friends used to frequent, it was at one time an old Mill that sat at the base of Lake Hill.
‘Oh my god! Is that…!’
‘The Old Mill, yes, it was bought a year ago by one of the local residents and adapted into a fully functional home.’
Carrie looked down at it as if proud that it was what it had been – and of what it had become – a persons, couple, family home that was nestled away from sight on the other side of Evermore Lake.
‘I can only imagine what it looks like inside,’ she whispered to herself unbeknowing that Tristan had also heard her too.
Pushing up on the indicator the car swayed to the left and drove off the main road onto a broken dirt track that lead straight down and up to the front doors of the Old Mill.
‘What are you doing?’ Carrie cried out.
Not saying a word to answer the question he turned and smiled before turning off the headlights and engine of the car. Getting out quite casually he walked around to help Carrie out. This was something that she had not expected, her knowing nothing about Tristan, nothing that would assure her safety, or that she was indeed safe to be around him.
‘Please, follow me and be quiet.’ Tristan warned and then calmly lead her across to the front door where he bent down, picked up the corner of the mat and found a door key that just happened to be laying underneath.
Carrie stared at him as though she didn’t want to clarify the fact that she was already scared – to a point – about being driven home by a complete stranger. Tristan nodded, as though mentally reading her face and replying to the dreaded question that she had asked in the car.
‘You wanted to know what it looked like inside, so let’s go and have a look…’
‘No way! You can’t! What if they’re still in the House?’ Carrie wrestled with the many possibilities which could lead them to being caught trespassing, being arrested and going to prison.
Unlocking the door and walking inside Tristan held out a hand for Carrie’s, and eventually she took a hold of it to allow him to take her further inside the dimly lit House. Wasting no time in the process of showing off the House, Tristan switched on all of the lights before leading Carrie to the bedroom where he made straight for a mini-bar that was directly opposite to the bed. Carrie was very hesitant of hanging around the place, the fear was growing inside her.
‘Would you like one, Carrie? Tia Maria and Coke, am I right?’
Another surprise for the young woman as she was now remembered as being a drinker of liquor’s too, but nonetheless, she accepted with a swift cautious nod.
‘I could see if there’s something in the kitchen, if you’re at all hungry after your journey from Redstone?’
Carrie was distant all of a sudden as she walked around the bedroom looking at everything, gliding her hands over ornaments and seemingly becoming a part of the House that was obviously not hers, but consisted of many thoughts and inspirations that someone like her would have in place of her own; the small attractive dolls of children, cherubs and animals scattered sparingly around wall units, shelves and window crevices. The furniture, the décor and of course, all the creature comforts that she found pleasing to her eyes.
‘This place is absolutely beautiful…Whose is it?’ She asked while accepting her drink from Tristan, and now coming out of her inner self to stand before him.
Tristan was stalling purposely. The look on his face showing more to the question than he wished to answer.
‘It has an attic room, the thought was on children…’
‘You mean Medievally speaking, or Maternally speaking?’ She whispered with raised eyebrows that transformed her facial features into someone entirely different – in Carrie’s eyes.
Shocked at her thinking of such a thing Tristan coughed into his drink – a well stirred Bacardi and Coke – which splashed across his white silk shirt. Straight away as if by instinct Carrie took a napkin from the bar and started dabbing the fabric onto the stain, and all of this done without as much as a second thought.
That moment that Carrie realized Tristan was looking at her – Like really looking at her – she felt the sudden fletch of warmth as well as the strangest feelings of security – a knowing feeling that Tristan was no more a threat to her than she was to him. For Tristan, however, Carrie looked unhinged.
‘It’s Okay, I’m here. I’ve got you.’ He whispered taking a hold of her hand and pulling her gently toward him.
Taking in a deep breath of what seemed like warm air she rose her head up and looked again into the depths of Tristan’s eyes, the blue ferige was now becoming luminous under the soft artificial lighting of the room, but still just as hypnotizing to someone such as Carrie. Together the two of them stood on the verge of something wonderful: The Tremadale.
‘Maybe we should go…’
‘Or, we could check out the attic?’ Tristan spoke insistently.
Carrie was suddenly drawn back quickly from the place in which she stood, now conscious to the suggestion that had her puzzled by his break in character.
‘Why? What’s in the attic, Tristan? Is that where the owners’ bodies are hidden?’
Not exactly speaking sinisterly, but enough to get the idea of what Carrie was thinking, Tristan gave a very bad impression of Egor, with just as bad, if not worse verbal quote from an early “Frankenstein” movie: Their lives are for my Master.
Laughing out uncontrollably at Tristan’s somewhat childish behavior, Carrie slowly began to think of her accident; the sharp, painful flashbacks from three years ago suddenly filling her mind. Tristan saw the change in her laughter and immediately became concerned.
‘Are you alright? Carrie?’ Tristan cried as she collapsed to the floor unconscious.
Waking up with the morning sun shining through the windows into her eyes and across her face, Carrie looked around to see where she was. Tristan had put her to bed – undressed her down to her underwear – and sat by her bedside so as to watch over her through the night. Himself still asleep, he sat with an open book on his lap, its position squinted by the way he had fallen asleep whilst reading it.
‘Tristan!’ She called softly at first and then louder. ‘Tristan! ’
Forcefully stirred from his sleep Tristan awoke in a panic slightly unbalancing him before rushing to her.
‘Carrie, are you alright? Do you need anything?’ He begged.
Nodding her head she looked down and under the bedclothes with an embarrassed puzzled look.
‘Ah, yes, you were tired and you…’
‘It’s okay, I’m sure a young man like yourself has seen many naked women, it only stands to reason, if you don’t mind me saying?’ Carrie spoke up before realizing what she had just said.
‘Actually, you’re not naked. I averted my eyes when putting you into bed, so be rest assured, your puppy fat waist and wonky belly button is safe with me!’ He goaded with a slight mischievous giggle that stirred a spark in both of them.
Carrie bit hard to the statement, especially to the part he mentioned about her puppy fat.
‘My puppy fat! I’ll have you know…’
Before she could say anything more Tristan was on the bed and pulling her head toward his, until finally their lips met and began to kiss, again. Carrie was ever so slightly resistant against the action, but as soon as she felt his warm, soft tongue enter her mouth and probe deeply, she was beaten. They kissed passionately for a few moments before Tristan let her go, only for Carrie to grab the back of his head and pull him closer so that she could kiss him back, only with more passion and need.
‘Alright, I think that’s enough of an apology, don’t you?’ He gasped pulling himself away from her. And, of course, Carrie was not too happy about it. She was suddenly feeling rejected. Embarrassed, even. The actions were both their doing, and yet, what action would traverse the outcome that each of them wanted – needed – by the effort and Tremadalic interluge that left only moments before a full unbound surrender.
‘Fine. I would like to dress…in private, have breakfast and then go to Evermore Manor, please. When you’re ready.’ Carrie was angry, furious maybe, but the picture was the same.
Leaving Carrie to dress Tristan disappeared out of the room and across the hall into the kitchen, where once he was there he realized that he hadn’t bought anything for the House – food wise – in a long time. Desperate times brought the thought of desperate measures.
‘Why don’t you take a shower and I’ll make us something for breakfast?’ He shouted through to a very quiet Carrie. He shouted again, but again, he received no answer.
Walking back to the bedroom he found Carrie sat on the edge of the bed holding a piece of clothing that looked like a dress in her hands – she was weeping into it.
‘Carrie, what’s wrong?’ He asked puzzled and with concern.
She held up the garment and looked deep into his eyes. ‘This is mine! Where did you get it? ’
Not knowing what she meant, or exactly what it was that she was holding in her hands, Tristan sat down by the side of her and attempted to cuddle into her, only to receive a slight resistance.
‘I don’t understand!’ He whispered.
‘This is my dress, which I thought I’d lost when I left home six months ago…’
Tristan was starting to become worried.
‘So, what are you saying?’
Carrie pushed away his comforting arm, standing to her feet and facing him with a look that chilled Tristan.
‘How did you get it?’ She asked slowly and dryly.
Tristan pushed himself back onto the bed and took in a noisy deep sigh. ‘You left it here, the last time you came and stayed over…After your accident!’
Carrie found herself suddenly confused. ‘What did you just say? Why would I sleep over here?’
Tristan was now regretting saying anything; he didn’t have to answer Carrie’s questions and certainly by no means mislead her into thinking that there was anything else there, except hospitality and friendship – up until this point anyway.
‘How about we skip breakfast and get you up to Evermore, before we both go to places we don’t want to go, Carrie. Your Aunt will be able to answer all of your questions, I’m sure.’
Evermore Manor was only a half mile from the converted Mill, which gave the two of them ample time to walk and talk, or to drive, whichever Carrie preferred to do to get her home to see her Aunt Melissa. Though the recent comment from Tristan had begged her to be very cautious in her questioning.
‘We’ll walk…Lady Melissa Ellington-Evermore can wait!’
Tristan was relieved that his recall of the past had not been put heavily onto the back of Carrie’s mind, but all the same, it was safe to assume it was rested for now at least.
‘Is that so that you can badger me for answers?’ He smiled.
Carrie didn’t bite, but she answered all the same, even though the mention of her Aunt’s name didn’t cause any form of reaction, not even a blink or a flinch was given.
‘No, it’s so that I can take in what I remember about this place and wonder at those things that have changed. It’s been a long time since I was home. Evermore is still as beautiful as when I left, but it has moved on with the times, too.’
Leading the way out of the House Tristan took from his pocket a set of keys and proceeded to lock the door. Carrie remained quiet and said nothing of the moment, but there was nothing saying that she would not make a mental note of it and use it later when the time was more suitable.
The walk brought them to a small Bridge Crossing; the people who protected the land over a hundred years ago built the bridge to aid their associates’ quick exit from the lands, though the only people it helped in the end were Poachers and Rivals – mostly Bootlegger’s and Smugglers who ran their secret Underground Rail Roads from one town to the next.
‘My Mother used to bring me to this bridge when she felt down or unhappy…Most of the time, it was to get away from her sister, but Maria was something of a strong woman…’
Carrie stopped. Looking around at Tristan, who, he himself was transfixed on Carrie’s natural beauty, before she quickly shied away with a blush.
‘I’m sorry, continue, please?’ Tristan apologized showing her to a clear grass patch overlooking the thin brook that ran from The Old Mill across into Evermore Lake.
Carrie sat down and told him of her Mother, about all the fond memories of when she was still alive. Maria was a woman who had been separated from her daughter during a time of great upheaval in her life. It was thanks to Lady Melissa Evermore that the time in any authoritive institution would be deterred until such a time as she was old enough, and this was on the very day of Carrie’s eighteenth birthday.
The view that they sat watching was magnificent in itself, it was breathtaking to say the least, while enchanting and soothing to their relaxed heat soaked bodies; the morning sunrise had risen to saturate the very ground that they lazed on, touched each their skin; face, hands, arms, feet and even toes. It’s hot lick of solar heated rays arcing and bending around them to bring a feeling so inward of content, it had Carrie finally relax to a point of resting her head down on Tristan’s lap while she looked and pointed at the many passing shaped clouds.
‘Is that a Sheelot?’ She asked with a half-embarrassed laugh.
Tristan looked up and shielded his eyes to see that the cloud to him was neither a Sheelot, nor was it a Creatic, it was some effigy that had the head of a Resheenian and the body of an impish Grevelodin.
‘A Grevelodin! Are you blind in one eye or something?’ She giggled shaking her head. ‘What about that one over there?’
Carrie was pointing across toward the lake above the hill that rose up and almost touched the clouds and sky. Tristan squinted his eyes to try and make something out of the white vapored mass.
‘That’s easy, it’s bird…’
‘What kind of bird?’ She asked keeping her eyes firmly fixed on the cloud.
Tristan was having great difficulty in mapping out the figure that seemed to blench and disintegrate with some upward breeze that disturbed its formation. The attempt to reconfigure the actual form was starting to bring a pain to his head.
‘Is it…is it a Dovenor?’ He answered finally.
Carrie was taken aback by the sudden conceding of that which she considered easy, but also intended on lasting a little longer in its conclusion. She nodded silently.
It was considered to be the perfect opportunity to leave for the short trek through a thin banked wood and onto the grounds of the Evermore Estate and lands.
Carrie and Tristan had worked up from the set-back they had had at The Old Mill, and by the time the two had arrived at Evermore Manor, Carrie seemed to be more relaxed around the man who was but a stranger to her up to last night. Finally they had made it.
‘I’ll make sure that the Station Master has had your things brought up, maybe later we could get together and…!’
Cut short on asking Carrie to see him again, the great doors of Evermore opened to have a small group of people from the House rush over to greet and welcome Carrie home, her Aunt in particular; the Dragon Woman, as she was so discreetly titled by the town.
‘Oh my dear Carrie, you’ve arrived at last. That Brother of yours should have…’
Carrie cut her off in mid-sentence, for exactly what she was about to say about her young Brother, Thomas, she dreaded to imagine but it wasn’t sounding very favorable.
‘Aunt Melissa, I would like you to meet Tristan. He was gentleman enough to save me from a very awkward situation, one which Edward will have already told you about, I’m sure.’
Everyone’s eyes were on Tristan, especially those of her Aunt Melissa who scanned the young man from head to toe in a lip-savoring in-gestation that brought a brighter color to her otherwise pale face skin.
‘Tristan, huh! Well, you’d better come inside and join us for some Morning Tea. Come Carrie, I’ll show you to your room.’
And that was that; lowering to a standard of behavior that Carrie was unfamiliar with when it came to her Aunt Melissa, exactly what was building up in Carrie’s mind was a picture of confusion, even if around twenty percent of it was “Apparently” damaged from her accident. The rest of it, however, she figured there was something not right about this picture. Questions, some heavier than others weighed on her.
‘The whole House is having a makeover in a couple of weeks, it was your Uncle that decided to hold it off until you returned to University. How are things there, Carrie, at University I mean?’ Melissa informed her with a sudden pause to place her eyes upon Tristan momentarily until finally turning to face her Niece who was standing right behind her.
‘The same.’ She replied with a sigh.
With a short “Humph”, Melissa led Carrie up the stairs and to the left of the long landing on the west wing, coming to a sudden stop to face Tristan, her eyes showing some dire need to say something. Maybe something that was not to Tristan’s liking or satisfaction.
‘I’m afraid there are no men permitted beyond this point during the day, Mr.….?’
‘Just Tristan, Lady Ellington-Evermore. With your permission and if it is alright with Carrie, I would like to accompany her to her room. I promise to be nothing less than the perfect gentleman.’
Melissa stared at Tristan with a burning fiery gaze that she immediately extinguished as soon as Carrie spoke up for him, maybe not in the way that everyone would have wanted to hear it, but said without pause all the same.
‘Please don’t worry about me Aunt Melissa, I can take care of myself…Besides, this one’s a shy one. Last night he put me to bed…’
‘To bed! ’ Melissa cried with an expression of dread on her face that silently amused both Carrie and Tristan deep down.
‘Yes, to bed, where I slept alone all night without any such episodes as I have had over the past few months. This morning when I awoke, I was not met with the caveman approach that I had envisaged Tristan to do, but instead, walked all the way here to show he was of good sorts.’ Carrie concluded with a nervous laugh.
Melissa was shocked, to say the least, especially the part about the bedroom, though she knew in her heart that not only did she feel her Niece was telling her the truth, but she also knew that Tristan was a man of honor. If there was any time that a person would attempt to take Carrie for their own gain then it would be for a far bigger purse than Sovereignty.
‘Alright, young man, but I am keeping an eye on you…And you, too, Carrie!’
Giving a strange glare with a mischievous smile across her face Carrie started to giggle, setting everyone else off, too, except for Tristan, who just stood admiring her laughter.
Told which room Carrie’s was with a feeble finger direction by Melissa, Tristan led her Niece the rest of the way until they came to the door. Here Carrie became hesitant in speaking to Tristan, until finally he spoke up first.
‘You’re Aunt Melissa is a very cautious woman,’ he said in a soft gentle voice.
Carrie smiled, almost setting off a blush. ‘Does she have cause to be, Tristan?’
Ushering her gently into the bedroom Tristan closed the door behind them. Inside the room was aglow with the soaking of sunlight that bounced from the warm vibrant colors of the walls as each one set off a pleasing décor and selection of small and large pictures and arrangements around them.
‘The way that you laugh!’ He suddenly exclaimed.
Carrie was speechless as to why he would ask about her laugh. The single most ugly thought that surfaced was presumed he was displeased or offended by that which had pleased many.
‘The way that you laugh, is like you are so happy with yourself,’ Tristan continued. ‘Do you feel happy, Carrie?’
At that moment in time Carrie felt more unhappy than she was happy, not as Tristan had stated, but unfortunately having no understanding of her life at that moment in time.
‘Of course I’m happy, what exactly are you getting at Tristan?’ Carrie demanded in a way that angered her even more.
Tristan decided to change the subject to something that wouldn’t have her dwell on memories she had or those she couldn’t yet recall. Finally he smiled.
‘The town is having a celebration this evening, I would be honored if you would allow me to accompany you as your chaperone?’ Tristan returned weakly but confidently.
Carrie thought for a moment. Here she was being asked out by a handsome, dashing young man to a social function, when inside her mind the flashbacks continued to tease her, hurt her, and reveal things to her that were deeply painful. Already the signs were presenting themselves traversely, as they did when falling unconscious the night before. Carrie now knew that things were going to get a lot more difficult for her – including the relationships of everyone else she knew around her.
‘I’m sorry, tonight is simply out of the question. Maybe my…Maybe…!’
Carrie again collapsed, only this time Tristan was there to catch her fall and carry her quickly over to the bed. Laying her down gently he rushed to the door and raised the alarm by shouting out into the hallway. ‘I need help here!’
By the time Carrie regained consciousness she had lost three whole days of her life; the result of a Coma, self-induced by the mind that was overwhelmed by stress and trauma. In the final half hour before she woke from her inner mind state, Tristan had already been sent home, but had been promised by Melissa personally that he would be the first to know if, and when, she was to awaken.
‘Lazenby! ’ Carrie screamed out into the dim lit room.
Seeing that he wasn’t there, she attempted to get out of bed, only to fall to her knees and begin passing out, again. From the bedroom door she could hear the voices of Staff Hands and her Aunt, before making out the hallway light, several shadowy figures and her Aunt Melissa rushing through the door. As the vail of unconsciousness once again passed over her, she saw a very calm Melissa click her fingers at two of the House Hands who came in and lifted her up off of the floor and putting her back into bed.
‘Well, she’s out of her Coma,’ Melissa exclaimed in a flat tone.
Sending one of the Staff Hands to the Old Mill, Tristan was finally notified of Carrie’s waking condition and drove up to Evermore immediately, bringing the Staff Hand along with him as courtesy.
Met at the front lobby by a worried Melissa, he was stopped momentarily from saying anything.
‘Wait. When she awoke…’
Tristan calmed his rush to climb the stairs to Carrie’s room.
‘When she awoke…?’ He probed for an instant answer.
‘She called out your name,’ Melissa revealed suddenly.
This was neither good news nor bad – it was serious.
Calming himself down and gathering his composure, Tristan and Melissa stood in silence, a silence that was becoming deafening to their normal candy style of ambience and noise. Waiting for the perfect moment, which never came, Tristan played his fingers through his hair before turning to Melissa.
‘I have to see her,’ he tremoreously-demanded. ‘I have to see that she is alright. Please, Melissa!’
Nodding her head Melissa instructed him to go on upstairs.
When entering the bedroom he saw that Carrie was laid on top of the bedclothes, one sight that he hadn’t considered when he finally plucked up enough courage to enter. Her body was still, as though she was still asleep in her coma. With the little light that seeped through the curtains into the room, he was able to see her face; it was the perfect picture of peace; the silvery moonlight hitting all the right places to illuminate her beauty, while around Carrie’s mouth were the dancing glimmers that bounced from the glittered lipstick that her Aunt had put on for her while she was in her unconscious state.
Quietly he made his way across the room to the bedside, his eyes glancing around heavily as though expecting someone, or something to come jumping out of nowhere at him.
‘Carrie, can you hear me, it’s Tristan,’ he whispered softly and quietly into her ear.
At first she began to stir, until eventually her eyes opened to see a very happy man sitting by the side of her bed. In response Carrie, too, gave a widening smile.
‘That’s twice now! ’ She whispered weakly.
Tristan was puzzled. ‘Twice!’
Pointing all around the room due to the coma taking her strength away from her limbs, Tristan grabbed a hold of her hand and nursed it in his. All that he could do was stare into her deep blue eyes, while scanning the rest of her face; her nose, her cheeks, her lips and chin. To Tristan she was beautiful – perfect.
‘You look at me strangely, but why?’ Carrie asked.
Tristan had no idea that this moment would ever come. However, come as it did, he still had to play it by the rules and know that only Carrie’s full health would bring him to answering the questions which the young woman before him wanted – needed – to know.
‘Do you know where you are?’ He asked straight off the cuff.
Carrie looked at him again, only this time it was a more distant look that brought him to believe that not only did she know that there was something wrong, but also had a fair guess who he really was, too.
‘Canterbury!’ She exclaimed before turning over onto her side to face away from him.
Her response was almost tantrum-like. However, this was something that he took with a knock; Canterbury was Carrie’s favorite place in the whole world, this much he knew for sure. Canterbury Fair was where she and Tristan first met.
‘Canterbury, Okay. Do you know what year this is…’
Carrie became more angry turning around quickly to shout at him. ‘Just leave it alone, will you, Tristan?’
Suddenly he didn’t feel too good about himself. Maybe she did know only too well who he was, and it was those of the small memories that had jumbled everything up? Maybe it was with good reason that she was being angry with him?
‘Are you thirsty?’ He asked, half expecting her not to give any answer at all.
‘Yes,’ she moaned quietly, her tongue exploring the inside of her mouth for some pocket or trail of liquid to latch onto and lick, but finding nothing but dryness. ‘Could you ask my Aunt Melissa if she can get the cook to make a Hot Chocolate for me, please?’
This was a little better than the angry Carrie he had just been introduced to, the one who may or may not be able to remember what year it was, and what’s more, where she really was at that time.
‘Sure, I’ll go now…’
‘Go! Go where?’ She cried pushing herself up and out of the bed, her legs buckling beneath her as she did – straight into Tristan’s firm, wide masculine arms.
‘Whoa, there, Carrie!’ He cried grabbing a hold of her around the waist. ‘Where do you think you’re going?’
‘With you.’ She replied without the slightest pause while dusting off the embarrassment of falling into his arms, but certainly not regretting the rather fine catch.
Left with the dilemma of staying with Carrie or calling upon her Aunt, as leaving the room himself after instructing Carrie to stay where she was came to fail. It was Tristan who decided to stay. Tucking her back into bed he sat down by her side and again took a hold of her hand. It wasn’t long before he happened to see a Staff Member pass by the room and called them inside for just a moment to ask them to fetch Melissa.
The Staff hand, as well as Carrie looked worried, although with no delay in their acknowledgement of the errand took the message speedily.
‘My Aunt Melissa doesn’t like being summoned in her own House, you do know that, don’t you?’
The ways of the House did not worry Tristan, instead they strengthened his will to face anything in order to help Carrie.
‘To be honest, you’re Aunt Melissa seems to like me for some reason…’
‘Like! I think she might be in love with you, I mean who wouldn’t be…!’
Carrie had unintentionally overstepped her boundary of ‘Truth’, while riddled with excitement from the statement which Tristan himself made the effort to brush off with a bit of ad-lib humor that put her immediately at ease.
‘Do you remember when I mocked your puppy fat?’ He recalled with a fond smile.
‘Actually, if I remember correctly, it was my Wonky Belly Button that made me angry, Tristan. Not the best remark to make, especially to me,’ she laughed out loud to the noise of the bedroom door bursting open. It was Melissa with a group of people who wanted to visit Carrie. ‘Here we go, will you ask my Aunt about my drink now, Tristan, please?’
Nodding his head he rose from the bedside chair and made his way over to Melissa standing by the door behind several young women, her eyes filled with little patience, let alone the temperament to deal with the situation.
‘Has she told you of her calling?’ Melissa asked dryly and without the slightest attempt of looking him in the eye.
Tristan nodded a confirming “No”, though his low and irritating verbal whisper bringing nothing more than a loud tut from Melissa.
‘All of this is trying my patience, Mr. Lazenby, something that you are well aware, I’m sure! Maybe we should hurry the process along a little…!’
‘Are you sure she’s ready for this? Maybe a few more days, maybe if you allowed me to stay with her, here at Evermore?’ He whispered quietly.
Melissa took Tristan by the arm, hard, while leading him out of the room and into the hallway. By the look in her eyes, something had made her angry – the beckoning.
‘Are you mocking me, Sir?’ Melissa demanded an answer.
‘Certainly not, what would give you that idea?’
‘Know your place here, because as harsh as it may sound, you are not a true Rich Blood of this House. Nobody summons me in my own House, Mr. Lazenby, not even if they are made like an Adonis. Be warned!’
Tristan considered his arse well and truly tanned. ‘My apologies, Lady Evermore. Of course, my reasons were only of the best intentions for Carrie, though for that I have no excuse. I am truly sorry.’
Melissa chuckled to herself, so much so that even Tristan joined in laughing too, but to what they found themselves laughing out loud at neither of them knew. And, when two of the House Staff emerged from the bedroom along with a very weak Carrie to ask what they were laughing at, everyone started to laugh. It was a strange thing, but it was also good that they all found time to let off steam – and what better way to do it than to open up to the rapturous sounds of laughter and happiness that the halls and walls of Evermore had not witnessed for many years.
‘If I may, I would like to go outside Aunt Melissa…With Tristan…Alone!’
Silence descended on the laughter to crush it like a hammer to a thumb. Everyone was now looking at Melissa, to see what her reaction to the request would bring. The tension could be felt in the air as finally she nodded her head up and down slowly while her eyes were fixed on Carrie.
‘Alright, but you’ll have to wrap up warm, it’s rather chilly out there.’ She replied to the relief of everyone standing around – more so Carrie.
The Saunders Institute
On their leaving of Evermore Manor, Carrie and Tristan were stopped by two of the House Staff, who gave them a small sized food hamper and torches, the torched to light up their way on their walk, while the hamper just in case they became hungry along the way. Carrie lifted the lid and looked inside with a loudening moan.
‘Well, you have been asleep for three days now, maybe something to eat is better than nothing to eat, Carrie.’ Tristan pointed out the fact of her three day fasting.
Taking a hold of the hamper of food and throwing it over his shoulder Tristan and Carrie walked the length of the drive before making a detour into the thick wooded lands that were adjacent to the Evermore Estate. This was ‘Bo-in Wood’, the small village with the same name lying to the west, it’s very foundations said to be set above “The Rift Line”. And, though the village was small of any significant population, it’s woodland was quite large in area.
The hidden statuesque trees that lay far further than any of Carrie’s family owned land seemed to beckon Tristan further and deeper than either he or Carrie had ever been before, and this was clearly marked on the young woman’s face before she finally turned and asked where they were?
‘Near Bo-in, I should imagine, judging by the trails over there,’ Tristan answered pointing down to a dirt road that disappeared into the thick of the woodland.
Carrie didn’t admit that they were lost for the sight of the road, she just shrugged and found a good place to sit down and rest a little while. Tristan, too, resting the hamper on the floor in front of her before sitting down with a gentle sigh.
‘Do you remember Evermore, I mean, do you ever remember what it was like before your accident that day?’
Tristan was becoming more anxious for Carrie to remember the past, while for Carrie, she had something niggling in the back of her mind that just wouldn’t stop sounding an alarm. Deep down Tristan knew that the woman before him would eventually get her memory back, though “Today would be a good day” he thought to himself.
‘Unfortunately, my way back from this whole thing wasn’t to be made easy. Every waking hour I remember something…a little, a lot, too much sometimes. My mind is crushed by these images of…of so many different things…’
‘The threat of the Saunders Institute, your Aunt was telling me…’
‘The Saunders Institute was something that my family plagued upon themselves, not the other way around. My condition from the accident was seen as a course of history that may have seen me dead, while my body and spirit had completely different thoughts on the matter. Unless you believe that my therapy be carried out at The Saunders Institute, that is?’
Suddenly Tristan was in the forefront of a direct question; if he answered honestly the whole matter in which he and Carrie’s Aunt were initiated in at that time would undoubtedly put Carrie right back to the beginning – a relapse that could see them losing her forever. But, if he lied and managed to steer Carrie off the scent of anything being wrong, how would his conscience survive?
‘The way I understood it, my own suggestions on The Saunders Institute being the answer would have been no – But…By my opinion, I stand by the hospital’s report and believe that being home, away at University, or even abroad, you have made a fantastical recovery these past six months just by remaining active.’
Carrie felt pleased with Tristan’s comment, as well as admired the way in which he favored her for getting on with life. But, unbeknown to Tristan, it was Carrie’s current condition that was plaguing her mind right now, not the sore point conversation concerning the Institute.
‘What is it about you, Tristan?’ She asked suddenly while looking directly at him in search of his response.
Tristan was again taken by surprise. ‘Excuse me?’
‘The way that you and I met at the Station, the offer of a lift to Evermore, and the way in which you looked after me during my episode. The Old Mill…The Saunders Institute!’
Suddenly, Carrie’s voice began to lower and fade, as once again she collapsed to the floor – and this time Tristan could not catch her fall. Starting to shake violently on the ground, Carrie was having a seizure that had the young man step back almost automatically, but at the same time instinctively observing the ground around him and Carrie for anything that may hurt her during her violent thrashing fit.
After she had calmed down and stopped he made his way over to her and sat down, lifted up her head and put it to rest across his lap.
‘Carrie! Carrie, can you hear me?’ He cried, the tears from his eyes falling onto Carrie’s face. ‘I’m so sorry.’
For more than thirty minutes Tristan sat with her until finally she became aware that he was sat cradling her in his arms, and for extra measure to her revival, Carrie gave the one comment that would prove that she was back to her normal self.
‘Three times now, I’m starting to think that you’re gay – Would I be wrong?’
Tristan looked down into Carrie’s soft blue eyes and nodded his head, the tears now staining his cheeks, forcing him to wipe them away quickly before again looking down at her expectant face.
‘No, Miss. Brindley-White, I’m not gay. There’s just…I wouldn’t even…Are you ready to make the journey back…?’
Thumped in the side by an angry fist from Carrie, Tristan howled out in pain as the young woman sprung up as fast as she could to her feet. Doing such a drastic thing, however, she became dizzy with the sudden rush of blood to her head, something that Tristan spotted immediately and rushed to her side to take a gentle but firm hold of her.
‘Steady, you’ve just had a seizure…!’
‘Stop it! ’ Carrie snapped angrily.
‘All of this…this SHIT! Stop it, Tristan, my life is so screwed up without all of this…’
‘This what exactly? Complication? Recovery? The Saunders Institute?’ He shouted back at her.
The two turned to challenge the other, only for Carrie to look up into straight into Tristan’s eyes once more to see something that triggered her past memories; the accident, the night that it happened, sequences of events leading up to the fatal car crash that left someone dead! But who? The feeling was not so much strange, as exhausting to her force-need of recollection.
The strength of the memory knocked her, not enough to put her down, but enough to tire her out almost completely. For Tristan, he was none-the-wiser on knowing what it was that Carrie had seen, or that it was a vivid flashback she had had.
‘Are you okay now?’ He checked with caution.
Carrie nodded directed the torch light to their path and began to walk back through the woods in the direction of Evermore and the private estate. The whole trek back to the House, even though the nice walk through the wooded gauges of set-back hills, cliff tops and waterways had been called short, now brought both of them to Bo-In Village – 2 miles south-west of Carrie’s Aunt’s home.
‘This place hasn’t changed a bit!’ Carrie said with a delighted squeal that had Tristan looking at her with suspicion. ‘What? This place used to be one of my favorite places…once upon a time…!’
The sudden ringing of the bell tower brought them to look up at the tall darkened structure, before being confronted by a short man dressed in some strange Clergy attire.
‘Welcome travelers, my name is Father Stevens, I am the Paroxinate for Bo-in.’ He introduced himself in a respectful kind of way that had Carrie smiling.
‘Thank you, Father. I am Carrie and this is…!’
‘Master Tristan Lazenby, of course…’ Father Stevens was too eager to think of his interruption, though it was this that had brought the smile from the young ladies face. ‘Apologies, I am just so thrilled to see you here…this early in the morning, too.’
Tristan was quiet, or at least for a moment he was, until he was given the cold stare by Carrie to speak up. His face was showing a “Caught” expression, though a sense of guilt also resided in the chasms of his luminescent blue eyes.
‘It’s been a long time, Father Stevens,’ he spoke up finally.
‘Three years, but who’s counting? I was beginning to think you had forgotten about all of us simple folk out here. This must be the beautiful Lady Carrie Brindley-White, so pleased to meet you and make your acquaintance at last my dear.’
The welcome, introduction and even the polite, if not flattering remark from the Priest, had Carrie in a flutter; key points to the approach siphoned heavily through her mind: Three years ago was when she had had her accident, but no matter how hard she tried to remember the Priest, she couldn’t.
Without as much as a tell-tale sign of her perturbed thoughts, she latched onto Tristan’s arm as Father Stevens led them into the village, stopping outside The Roasted Bean Coffee House.
‘I was meaning to have a word with you about your Cousin, Master Lucas Cavendish…!’
‘Lucas! ’ Tristan gasped. ‘Is he alright?’
Father Stevens laughed out nervously, his hands raised in a steady way, a way that had Tristan step back.
‘Oh no, my boy! Lucas is fine, or he was when I saw him not three days ago in Borello. I was merely wishing to talk to you about his Father Lord John Cavendish, who sadly left us this year to cancer. Listen, you two look like you need a coffee…’
Tristan attempted to make an excuse in not accepting the offer, but Carrie made every excuse to accept; whether this was of her curiosity, or just the fact that she found the Priest interesting, Tristan agreed with a weary nod.
Entering the Coffee House it was Tristan who agreed to get the drinks while Carrie led Father Stevens to a nearby seat by the window. The middle aged woman serving at the counter looked up and asked what he was having, before realizing who it was standing before her, she was ecstatic.
‘Oh my god! ’ She gasped loudly.
Tristan was surprised by the response. ‘I’m sorry, are you alright, Lady? Is there something the matter?’
‘Your Tristan Lazenby! ’ She exclaimed. ‘Didn’t you…!’
The moment was lost when through the doors of the Coffee House there came two men with a string yarn of fothered rabbits draped over their shoulders, side arms clearly visible around their belts, while on their heads they wore the green and gold berets of The Borello Army. These men were Militia. Not tempting fate against any unnecessary attention, Tristan stepped aside for the two men to go before him, to which they gave a warm thank you. And, to help Tristan out with his sudden sway, the Waitress told the two men that she would bring their orders over to them when they were ready. Again, the Soldiers were polite and walked away to find a table.
‘I’m sorry about that, now, what can I get you Mr. Lazenby?’ The Waitress finally found the moment to ask Tristan.
Ordering the drinks he made his way over to Carrie and the Priest, who were now quietly talking about Evermore and it’s large community of fine people. Though the kind words were of a pleasant manner, it was Carrie who couldn’t help but put a few things right with Father Stevens’ information.
‘Evermore is Evermore. I mean, when you consider Borello as a town in mourning…!’
Father Stevens was confused. ‘Mourning! I see no reason for it to mourn, while there are so many opportunities for those who willing follow The Light. Wouldn’t you agree, Tristan?’
‘I believe that every town should have something that those seeking guidance…’
Father Stevens again interrupted. ‘With the watchful eye of The Light, we offer support and shelter to them all.’
Borello was a darker side of Evermore, its community of more than nineteen thousand central to the town, thirty-six thousand in total of its entire split zones and borders. The one thing that the two towns in pause of war needed right now, was the more mundane solutions of Law or Faith – Carrie was not of either.
‘Borello has been tainted by a plague, Father Stevens, one that is spreading within the hearts and minds of those who have lost only their hope. I hear many rumors of men and women who run around Borello as vigilante’s…men and women, it matters not for their drive to make a difference.’ Carrie spoke up to the shock of both Tristan and the Priest.
The chatter was calm, grown up and rather direct to a point that the two men began to see the young woman facing them in a completely different light (if you’ll forgive the pun), especially Tristan, whose Cousin – Lucas – was well known within the Noble Family’s as being one of those who were running the nighttime hours away, his only crime in trying to make some difference to the living conditions of Borello.
‘It is quite right that there should be change in Borello, but I can’t see the answer being at the end of a Cortana blade or loaded weapon. The Light have spent many years researching ways of restoration and order…!’
Tristan was suddenly less interested in the tone of the conversation and more concerned for Carrie returning back to Evermore Manor.
‘It’s getting late, it will be Dawn soon, maybe we should head back to your Aunt’s?’ He spoke up interrupting the Priest.
Carrie looked tired, paled and weak of energy and strength. Albeit Father Stevens noticed just as much as Tristan, but it was the Waitress who approached and asked if she was alright that had the Priest conclude their conversation.
‘I’m fine. Thank you.’ Carrie informed the woman.
Making his excuse of needing to return to the Church, Father Stevens thanked the two for the time they spent with him and then left, leaving Carrie, Tristan and the Waitress alone at the table. All eyes were on the Priest, including the two Soldiers, until finally Father Stevens was gone from sight.
‘I have some Appalop Cruve for you…on the House,’ the Waitress declared before faced with a sudden complaint from one of the Borello Soldiers.
Carrie nodded her refusal, but then looked at the Waitress with a widened smile. ‘Do you know, I think I will, thank you.’
Returning back to the counter the Waitress took from the display case a large pie that oozed with fruits and sweet sauce, taking a sharp knife and cutting from it four equal slices before walking back to Carrie and Tristan.
‘You’ll be needing a little walk by The Sedgewick Teal to walk that off, enjoy.’
Putting down a slice for Tristan, also, the Waitress made her way over to the two soldiers who were jeering as they had a slice each put down in front of them too. Everyone was happy.
Tucking into the delicious looking, as well as sweet smelling pie, Carrie and Tristan left not a crumb left on their plate.
‘I could eat that again,’ Tristan whispered.
Carrie laughed while finishing her last forkful of the deeply satisfying pie, and then took a final sip of her coffee.
‘We should get back.’
‘Have you had enough rest?’ Tristan asked standing to his feet and making his way around to help Carrie.
As far as Carrie saw things, she had only needed a few minutes to get her energy back, and the way that the Appalop Cruve had given her more than enough sugary energy, and now she was ready to face the rest of the day head on.
Leaving the Coffee Shop they headed toward The Sedgewick Teal; 400 miles of beautiful scenery, breathtaking views of the mid-sill of Bluebell Wood, and one of the most famous of all trails that started in Nasheen and ended in Seryl – more than 400 miles of pathway riddled with dangers and hostility both, while in-between there were the more friendly, tolerable and even pleasant encounterable moments.
Walking out of Bo-il Village across the Lestil River back to Evermore, the two of them stopped for a moment. From where they stood their view of Evermore Lake was perfect; the sea blue tarquin sprites hovering their tranquil flightmos wings across the water, just as the morning sun shone down its warmth and streaming rays to hit their translucent smear. The time spent watching the waters, the vast coverage of embankment and overpopulation of surrounding woodland trees brought nothing but a glow to Carrie’s cheeks; she was no longer pale, nor was she looking weak any longer.
‘Have you ever bathed in the waters of the lake, Tristan?’
The question was wild, though the young man’s reaction was neither perplex nor surprised at its intent.
‘You mean Soltaria? No, never,’ he replied, his knowing of exactly where Carrie spoke of, what she meant and of course, why she said it.
The Soltaria was one of several sacred ground locations that were scattered throughout Resheen, more so for their enriched and magical (apparently) properties. Evermore Lake, as lovely and enchanting as it was, held a once tight held secret: Its water was rejuvenating.
‘Soltaria is what we at Evermore call it, I call it Juniper Spring; the waters of youth and ascension. Maybe we could go there sometime during my holiday, it could well be what we both need…’
‘Juniper Spring, that’s a good name. May I ask how you thought of it?’ Tristan asked with hesitation.
Thinking deeply and hard Carrie searched her mind to find a precursor to the answer, but for the life of her she couldn’t remember. The whole process of reaching out for that one particular clue as to answer Tristan was gone.
Tristan immediately took his place by Carrie, his thought of her falling into another seizure causing concern to his having to see her suffer while he would be forced to stand around helpless.
‘Are you alright?’ He asked taking her by the arm.
Turning to him she gave an embarrassed smile. ‘No, Tristan, I’m not alright. I can’t remember…’
‘It’s Okay. It’s alright, you don’t have to remember. Listen, why don’t we contact the House, get them to send a driver and in the meantime, we could take a walk to the lake?’ Tristan suggested to receive a stare not so different from cold.
‘Why, are you finding the walk tiring, Mr. Lazenby?’ She quipped.
Tristan was amused – greatly – by the sarcastic response.
‘Touché, Carrie, I didn’t mean…’
‘Then it’s agreed, we go to the lake and make the best of the day, Mr. Lazenby, are you coming?’ Carrie shouted up with a look that was in Tristan’s best interests to agree.
Giving a low nod he followed after her as she walked from the trail onto a widening field that ran wild flowers and weeds on its sun filtered grass. Together they made their way to the lake, the western edge plate that held the entire mass of Evermore’s lands, buildings and structures.
‘They say that the waters here are cursed. That the rivers that converge between Evermore and Borello consist of lacquers and tinctures that those Ill-Seers of The Darklands spoil for fun and mischief!’ She spoke suddenly.
The Darklands were mythical, nothing but stories that had been passed down through the generations and brought to the delicate minds of younger children. Everyone had the true, if not real story version, but none were the same.
‘They say you can fly a Mantanac, too, but I wouldn’t believe it, even if it was flown right in front of me.’ Tristan piped up with a loud laugh that offended Carrie.
‘Since The Shift came, my family have reported many things that are both weird and strange, I can assure you. The Darklands exists for those who believe that they do – and my Father believed that it did. Soltaria brings the waters from the north, that of the rivers make it the way that it is, but no matter what others believe, I will believe that Juniper Spring is the one place that is magical.’
Reaching the lake side just a few miles from Evermore Manor, Tristan looked out across the horizon to see that there were the Orchard Workers busy collecting the fruits, the farmers tending to the land and a fair turnout of other visitors to the lake also.
The Lake Of Still Water
Tristan and Carrie had walked a long way to get where they were now, even when considering the Coffee Shop pit stop in Bo-il, he started to wonder if he would have been able to make it without Carrie being the perfect travel companion?
‘It’s been a long time since I was here last.’
Almost immediately, Tristan saw that Carrie was in deep thought of the whole place, the people around them giving her the perfect anchor-point in which to seek the fragments of her memories and bring them forward to her mind.
‘The last days of sun…September, no, October. My Mother and Aunt were in Sovereign Poriolis, the day my Father was made Lord.’ She reminisced with her eyes closed tightly shut. ‘The summer was hot, warnings of a draught followed the second week of the holidays.’
Opening her eyes suddenly she was faced with Tristan, his eyes staring straight into hers as if beckoned by a silent call to her side. The look in his eyes was of aglow that neither of them were about to concede to and yet, for Tristan the urge to do something other than the obvious overwhelmed him. Reaching forward he hesitated a kiss, just as Carrie raised a hand and pushed him back into the water. Carrie was amused – Tristan, however, he was not.
Soaked through Tristan swam back to the embankment, his arms just able to grapple the ground and pull himself out of the water and rest back on the grass under the hot warming sun.
‘It would have been nice to have given me warning, Carrie!’
She did not answer, she stood with a half-smile that made Tristan even more irate at the action.
‘My apologies, Mr. Lazenby, I don’t know what came over me all of a sudden…We should leave…go back to the House.’
This was an awkward moment that neither of them were expecting, especially Tristan, whose thoughts were on giving the declaration of “Fun”, than having Carrie carry the worry of thinking she had deeply offended him by her actions.
‘Why, Miss. Brindley-White, I am starting to worry that you are a Party-Pooper!’ He gasped between wiping the remnants of the lake water from his face and pulling his wet shirt away from his skin.
This was a very intense time; the mood alone had changed significantly between the two of them, even the recent charge of error that Carrie made was something of a stupendous warrant of argument. Tristan was more than happy to let the whole thing go without incident or feeling of anger.
‘I hardly see throwing someone into a freezing cold lake makes good on there being any such Party, Mr. Lazenby, if that is what you are implying?’ She replied.
Standing to his feet Tristan began to unbutton his shirt, the look that was seen in his eyes was almost strange to the onset of orange, maybe rustic red sunlight that descended upon his naked chest, shoulders, arms and neck, as well as his face.
‘The sun!’ Carrie gasped turning to face the skyward ball of flame that was panning off the most magnificent sheckles and glimmers from around its planetary mass to grace the clear sky.
‘It’s the first phase of The Midnight Sun…it comes together on the third night…’
‘When two heavenly bodies converge in the majesty of the stars, the Solfaa’ic Sun and Lunar Moon shall finally become as one under the sky of our own kind.’ Carrie finished his sentence as from the sky, she turned and faced Tristan.
‘How did you know that?’ He asked confused at the fact that the written Haylem of Evermore was not one of her good sides in the art of history.
‘I…I don’t know, it just came to me when you started saying it, that’s all.’
Wringing his soaked shirt out with a good, tight twist, he made his way toward Carrie, now unraveling the garment and shaking the last retaining water from it. At first she was objective of his nakedness, until he was standing right in front of her with the shirt thrown over his shoulder.
‘It’s alright, with the day being so warm it shouldn’t take too long to dry off in the sun…of course, my trousers will need…’
‘I’m sorry!’ Carrie called out turning away from him.
Tristan was unaware of her having to apologize for anything.
‘There’s really no need to apologize, besides, wasn’t it me who tried to kiss you?’ He confessed.
The thought was like that of a planted seed in her mind; she could not recall the actual break-point of her actions against the man, nor could she explain to her own reasoning why she did what she did.
‘Maybe the walk back to Evermore will dry you quicker, Mr. Lazenby?’
He knew then that it wasn’t a simple matter of an apology at the surprise assault that landed him in the lake, but that of her guilt – but to what end? His noticing of addressing, too, from Christian name to surname…had he done something?
Starting off on their way back through the trail and into the woodlands neighboring the estate, Tristan and Carrie talked of the troubles between Evermore and Borello, a subject that she found to be close to her heart to end – as all previous family members had promised, but surprisingly failed to do.
‘The Gruber’s are no match for Evermore, and yet, when it comes down to the real hard knock, they bounce back. I guess that Mallandra is a stronger woman than even my Aunt realizes she is, one which would be interesting to meet one day!’
Tristan couldn’t believe that she talked of Mallandra Gruber like she did, especially as for many generations, both Evermore and Borello have kept the people of both towns apart from one another.
‘I hear she is kept strong because of her involvement with the towns vigilante plague, though I very much…!’
Tristan was hushed by a very bored Carrie holding her hand out and taking him by the arm gently.
‘I don’t wish to talk about Evermore, or Borello, not today. Tell me something about you, Mr. Lazenby, something that will bowl me over,’ she laughed out letting him go and running a little way ahead to swing around on a thinned tree.
Thinking what he could possibly tell her that would keep him in the light of her good side, he finally came up with the idea of revealing his party trick; the simple trick of Sonstaren was one of well-known Parlor Games that could make the finer players a neat sum of money, some older, more experienced players reporting to have made a fortune beyond the limits of luxury.
‘I am intrigued to know how this game is played, and maybe you could teach me some day?’ Carrie was caught in a wisp of full drawn attention.
‘It would be my pleasure to teach you…I was thinking of having a break from my work, just for a few weeks.’
The artist in Tristan was never far from his outer life of traveling the regions for inspiration, but right here, right in front of him was inspiration in itself – in Carrie.
‘I’m curious!’ She whispered suddenly, ‘You have a life, I take it – you have got a life, haven’t you, Tristan?’
This was a question he didn’t expect to be asked, not by Carrie anyway, and certainly not like this.
Reaching the driveway gates he turned to Carrie for a brief moment, and then averting his eyes he reached out a hand for hers to take.
‘There were so many people suggesting so many things, that when you finally came home from the hospital, the wrath of your Aunt Melissa scared off all the hounds. It was Dr. Russell who took care of you through the bad spells…’
‘How do you know so much?’ She asked, suddenly realizing that Tristan was talking of her life before she had ever met him the question came with an ache – Did she know him?
Tristan and Carrie continued walking up the driveway.
‘I grew up in Borello, but now all my family and friends are here in Evermore, and as for you Carrie Brindley-White, you were the only one girl who could make me smile, dance and feel what life was all about. You had the zest of something that was beyond my own, a heart so true and…’
‘TRISTAN! For god’s sake, breathe! I don’t know what you’re trying to tell me, but if you could just get your breath back to normal, that would help us both out greatly!’
‘Greatly! Why both of us?’
‘Because my legs are starting to feel weak again,’ she replied as Tristan rushed to her aid once more.
Steadying her by taking one of her arms over his shoulder and the other around her waist, Tristan asked if she was okay to continue back to the Manor. Carrie nodded once before pointing a challenging hand forward into the air and shouting out at the top of her lungs – “Charge!”
Arriving back at the House they were met by Edward.
‘Ah, Edward, how’s the back?’ Carrie greeted asking Tristan to let go of her.
Making sure that she was steady on her feet again, Tristan excused himself for a few minutes and allowed Carrie to talk to Edward alone in the lobby until he returned.
‘The back is a lot better now, thank you Ms. Brindley-White. It kept me from my duties this morning, too.’ Edward replied cheerily while sending out facial expressions to indicate how excruciating the pain had been.
‘And what of Mr. Tristan Lazenby?’ She added quickly and suddenly before he could gather his thoughts.
Edward was in no way aware of what Carrie was asking him. ‘I’m sorry Miss, I’m not with you?’
‘Mr. Tristan Lazenby, the man you charged with the task of getting me home last night, you do remember him, don’t you Edward?’
‘The young man from the Station Master’s Office, I didn’t really know who he was until Arthur, the Station Master’s youngest son told me this morning. I have seen him around the House sometimes with your Aunt’s Cousin, Master Lucas. A bit of a shame about his Mother, however…But, I guess he made sure you got home safe and sound, Miss?’
Carrie was wrangling a large piece of memory from her mind as Edward bid her “Good Day” and left, which was good timing for Tristan’s return to her waiting smile that felt odd in itself; the flashback was being guided around to her mind’s eye, first the sight of the car, smoke, blood on the dashboard…A hand…Then a face – familiar.
‘Carrie, are you alright?’ Tristan called over.
Carrie stood still, her stare direct, almost cold, like she was looking straight through Tristan at something, or someone else behind him. She was completely catatonic.
‘The car was on fire,’ Carrie shouted out all of a sudden. ‘The car was on fire and there was lots of smoke…I couldn’t get to unbuckle my seat belt…’
Tristan walked up to her and pulled her toward him tightly as she wept loudly into his dampened covered chest. Again, she was weakened by the painful visions that had filled her head and now she was starting to sway.
‘You should never have been there at that time of night in the first place!’ Melissa spoke up suddenly appearing from behind Tristan. ‘I told your Uncle, you would only find hurt and pain with the likes of The Lazenby’s…’
Suddenly she passed out into his gentle arms.
‘ENOUGH! That’s enough, Melissa, Carrie’s upset enough without you making things worse. Lend me a hand getting her back into her bed.’ Tristan made it clear that he wanted Carrie’s Aunt staying out of business that didn’t concern her. However, Melissa had other ideas, unbeknown to Tristan and Carrie.
Having left the Manor to allow Melissa to see to Carrie the night before, Tristan had returned home to freshen up and make plans for him and Carrie to meet up the very next day, when she awoke, of course.
The descending night of restless sleep had brought Tristan to rise early and take a run across the banks of Evermore Lake, his whole mind ablaze with many chores he had failed to carry out since Carrie’s return. His priorities changed significantly in the wake of averting another Evermore Crisis, one which would see the media, as well as the more shadowy heretic’s queuing up at the door for news.
Tristan had roamed the halls and rooms of Evermore more than once or even twice; involvement with Master Lucas Cavendish and the love of his life, Elizabeth, but to the ends of family enrichment against the happiness of their hearts, it was Lucas who chose Borello over his entitlement. Help he did for the Cousin of no blood, and for this fact, he knew that his life was already decreed “Obsolete”.
For now, however, his heart was calling for other concerns.
‘I was thinking of the lake – Soltaria, so we could take a picnic and a bottle of wine, maybe?’ He suggested over the phone.
Silence covered the line for a few moments before Carrie came back with a weak reply. ‘Alright.’
As far as Tristan was concerned, the deal was done. In truth, however, after he had left the night before, Melissa had taken Carrie up to her room where she purposely filled her head with information that she should not have known. Carrie was not happy with what she had been told.
When calling to pick Carrie up from the Manor, Melissa said nothing of what she had told the young woman, nor did she give any sign in which to question her. This was one of many effective traits that Melissa had going for her, one which would someday be her downfall.
Both Carrie and Tristan started on their way to the car waiting outside the main front entrance, where Tristan opened the door for Carrie and then ran around and jumped in himself with a spring in his step.
‘How long has it been since you last swam at the lake, Carrie?’ He asked starting up the engine and setting off. ‘I know that it’s a regular place for everyone in the Evermore family to hang out in the summer. Taking a dip yesterday made me think!’
Carrie didn’t answer. Her head forward of the windscreen with no real expression showing on her face to show what was wrong, she remained silent in herself.
Driving for a good ten minutes they finally came to the junction that would take them onto Lake View, a private dirt road that brought vehicle speeds down to an almost stop because of the surface dangers, and those who thought they knew better leaving behind them both small and large souvenirs that lay discarded at the side of the road.
‘Is that the bumper of a T-Bird?’ Carrie yelped in disbelief.
‘There’s that many parts scattered around here, you’d be spoilt for choice in naming them all. This one time…’
Suddenly, from nowhere Carrie screamed out at the top of her voice for Tristan to stop the car – Immediately. Stamping on the brakes he pulled up the handbrake and quickly unfastened his seatbelt to check on Carrie.
‘What the hell! What’s up?’ He gasped glancing around.
Looking out of the windscreen onto the road ahead, he saw a large male Sheekan that had been hit by a car and killed. The carcass was left festering on the road right in front of them, making Tristan make no other choice of action but to consider turning around and find another way to get to the lake.
‘We could go through it…I mean, it’s dead already, it wouldn’t feel anything.’ He paused and suggested suddenly.
This was not the answer that Carrie wanted to hear.
‘You would really do that!’ She cried.
Tristan gathered his thoughts for his next reply – or series of replies, knowing Carrie and her kind heart toward everything ‘Animal’. There was no particular point that either were making, it was just the confirmation that the Sheekan being dead already and that it would feel nothing more in its unintentional demise.
‘What if we moved it?’ Carrie suggested.
Looking at the dead animal, Tristan thought not so deep, but just as hard as Carrie.
‘We could tie some rope around the feet and drag it further into the side of the road…’
Putting up her hands Carrie turned them over as she checked the palms, and then turning them back again she looked up at Tristan with a vacant look.
‘I was thinking…’
Tristan was already past figuring out how the plan was going to go; he would kindly volunteer to tie the rope around the animals feet, while Carrie would control the speed of the car as she steered the rotting carcass some way back down the dirt road until it finally came to a rest out of the way of any further vehicles.
‘I’ll get the rope and tie its feet…Why don’t you get behind the wheel and reverse slowly to drag the rope?’ He declared making his way out of and around the car to the boot.
Carrie watched as he disappeared from sight a moment until finally opening the boot. A few moments later he appeared at the front of the car with the rope and immediately scratched his head in confusion and frustration at the absence of the Sheekan’s legs.
‘Shit! They’ve taken its legs, it’ll have to be the neck…There’s no other way to do it.’
With a confirming thumbs up Carrie started the engine and waited behind the wheel for Tristan to finally connect the rope and get in. When he did, he returned with his hands covered in blood, gelatin and entrails from the dead animal.
‘Could you pass me the wipes, please?’
Carrie looked at the blood, its half wet dampened gleam in the morning sunlight gave off a smell that both she and Tristan were not expecting from the situation, but, nevertheless, they both had to persevere in this time of clearing the road of its obstruction.
‘Okay, put the car in reverse and…’
Carrie turned and gave Tristan a hard stare. ‘I can drive, Mr. Lazenby, thank you!’
And with this she prepared to reverse the car. Slowly putting her foot down on the accelerator, while all the time Tristan stuck his head out of the window and observed the Sheekan’s moving of position. All appeared to be going great – until the rope that was secured around the Sheekan’s neck gave a very loud, and disturbing echoed twang.
‘Oh Shit!’ Carrie cried out, quickly placing a sturdy foot on the brake pedal and bringing the car to an shuddering stop.
‘The ropes broken, stop the car.’ Tristan cried as he jumped out of the car and approached the now mangled remains.
‘It’s no good, we can’t move it any closer to the road, it’ll have to do where it is.’
Carrie looked through the window at Tristan, his words and actions rousing something inside her – something that smashed through the wall of anger that she was feeling.
Jumping back into the passenger seat he looked over at Carrie.
‘We can get through to the lake, but it’ll be tight,’ he informed her fastening his seat belt and getting comfortable in his seat.
Carrie was somehow seeing shards of memory create itself around Tristan; pieces of a place surrounding his body and making him a part of the flashback…
‘Did you remember the bag, Carrie?’ Tristan asked as though having asked her the same question before, but without him receiving an answer.
Searching for the words to speak up and say, she hesitated with a look of fear.
‘Carrie, are you alright?’ Tristan could be heard asking her with great concern in his voice. The mirror image taking full control of her vision. ‘It’ll be okay, I promise. Where we’re going you won’t have to worry about your Aunt Melissa anymore.’
Carrie was speechless. What could she possibly come back with to that statement?
‘My Aunt Melissa!’ She whispered confused.
Before she could get an answer from Tristan, the whole surrounding spectactless vision collapsed into billions of smaller shards that exploded toward her and made her flinch.
Tristan had taken her by the shoulders and began to rock her back into the land of the living, which in turn made Carrie jump and attempt to cower from his touches.
‘Hey, it’s okay, you’re okay.’ Tristan assured her.
On realizing that she was no longer inside her flashback, she put up her hands and straightened herself before checking her appearance.
‘That was strange!’ She spoke up suddenly while looking at herself in the visor mirror. ‘I just had a vision of you…and me, we were in a car, but the place was different…’
Tristan’s face turned an almost pale grey as soon as Carrie began to tell him about the strange vision that she had just had.
‘A different place! What did you see?’
Carrie closed her eyes and searched for the shards in her mind, and at first, she failed to bring the experience back. Only when Tristan advised her to give it another try later, did Carrie begin to see something…then all of a sudden everything.
Both Carrie and Tristan were driving down Evermore Road in a desperate rush to reach the Old Mill, while behind them they could hear the sound of car horns in the distance. Tristan was at the wheel and looking worse for wear; his hair was windswept, his face covered in drying blood and his clothes dirty, muddied and torn.
‘We have to gather our things and get out of here, so please, say that you will come with me, Carrie?’ He pleaded.
Carrie saw herself lean into Tristan and give a smile that was as good enough sign as any that he would be getting, especially as the cars were so close behind them and getting closer now.
From behind them in the backseat a third voice could be heard shouting at Tristan, telling him to watch out for the Road Block, but it was too late. The car made contact with several large wooden blockade structures, splintering and creaking before they pushed the whole weight of the vehicle up, flipping it forward several times in the air before bringing it crashing down on the Conservatory by the side of the Old Mill. Straight away smoke began spewing from the engine.
For approximately eight minutes and twenty-seven seconds, Carrie felt free – Refreshed and Reborn; her whole feeling of pain disappeared and she was seeing the whole accident over and over again in slow motion in her mind, each time, however, the person to the third voice was never seen.
When the police and paramedics arrived at the scene, what came next was a matter that nobody should have had to have faced alone. The eight minutes and twenty-seven seconds that Carrie felt more alive, had been the moments before the Paramedics revived her, and when they did, she fell into a deep coma for two and a half years. Tristan had stayed by her bedside for the best of that time, while the rest was spent keeping himself busy tracking down the one voice she could not recognize.
Carrie had managed to come out of her trancelike catatonic state and was now facing Tristan with an expression that bore a million questions, and yet, only one seemed to come to mind.
‘You found him, didn’t you?’ She blurted out with a tearful gasp.
Tristan conceded with nod. ‘Yes.’
For a moment, maybe longer Carrie sat fidgeting with her fight against asking him who the person was and then another moment passed, until she could no longer conceal it any longer to pass her by.
‘Tell me, Tristan, tell me who it is?’ She demanded weakly.
‘His name is Maynard, William Maynard,’ he replied clearly to a surprised look on Carrie’s face. Did he not say it correctly?
‘And who the hell is William Maynard, Tristan?’ She screamed anxiously. ‘Why did he cause the accident?’
Tristan couldn’t understand it, how didn’t she remember Maynard from that eventful night?
Climbing out of the car and walking up to the edge of the lake, Tristan looked out across the water to the other side where Evermore Manor was sitting almost mocking him with a crude stare. In his own mind he knew that Lady Melissa Ellington-Evermore was no friend of his – or Carrie’s either, for that matter. It was now that he made a big decision: He had to find a way to end this whole charade…Today.
‘You just left me sitting in the bloody car Tristan, what the hell was all that about?’
Turning to Carrie and looking her straight in the eyes, he tried to speak the words he truly wanted to speak, what his heart was demanding him to say. He was in a high state of Flux.
‘The silent treatment, that’s okay, I can do stuff like that too, you know?’ She said crossing her arms and standing like she had just shat herself.
Tristan laughed, breaking his stance on being angry – even if just for a little while.
‘What are you doing, Carrie?’ He asked walking over to her near the bonnet of the car and lifting her seamlessly light body up onto its cold metallic cover.
The sound of crickets could be heard from the lakeside under the rapid breathing of Carrie, who was now comfortable in his arms. Her head slightly laying to the left, though this gave him the right manner of access to slowly lean in and kiss the nape of her neck. Carrie gasped – almost moaned with pleasure.
‘Mr. Lazenby, whatever are you doing?’
Moving his head back and looking into her eyes he kissed her full on the lips in such a passionate way, that Carrie almost collapsed back through her power-struggle to stop herself screaming out in ecstasy of how she was feeling. Alas it was the mouth and lips of the man she once considered a stranger she now allowed to silence her.
Embracing Tristan firmly, she raised her head up for air, which also gave her time to gather her thoughts and finally confront him about the converted Mill.
‘The Old Mill…!’
Tristan sighed. ‘Do you really need to ask, Carrie?’ This was his final words on the subject of her seeing him quickly lock the doors of the place, before leaving for Evermore. Neither of them mentioned anything about it again.
Moving away slowly from Carrie, Tristan took out a cigarette from his jacket pocket and lit it, taking in the flavor of the tobacco smoke before blowing it out effortlessly.
‘You know, out here in Evermore, you get the life that you make. A few years ago, I met a young woman here who gave me a purpose. Okay, so her Belly Button was wonky and she drove me absolutely bloody crazy when she did certain annoying things that she did, but I loved her with all my heart – and more! That day when I lost her in that accident, there has never been a day pass I didn’t wish that it was me who fell into that coma, not you. Maynard needs to be stopped, and stopped he will…by us!’
Carrie listened with all intentions of stopping Tristan, but for the part that included her in his little plan of hunting down and doing unforgivable things to Maynard, things she could never be a part of. Was Tristan crazy? What was he going to do to Maynard, if and when he did finally caught up with him?
‘After a speech like that, you want to go find a man who made you lose sight of the road and put me into a coma? Seriously, I’d check that radar of yours, Mr. Lazenby, because it is clearly telling you that I like you.’ She added quickly. ‘I like you a lot, Tristan, doesn’t that tell you something?’
This did not have the overall effect that Carrie had envisaged in her mind of confessing her love for him when acting it out several times to the beat of Darude’s Sandstorm epic she was listening to back in the car. Tristan gave her a sad look. He said nothing. Tristan was still in the tight grip of his Flux.
‘What? You stand there looking like you’ve lost a brend, Tristan, so what’s the big zeal? I was only in that coma for two and a half years, and six months ago…!’
Tristan was suddenly curious of how Carrie was feeling.
‘What are you seeing, Carrie?’ He whispered looking at her face with a concerned look.
Carrie was seeing nothing – but she did feel a strong tug in her stomach that was sending spins and twirls of very odd sorts around her entire body. With a slight whimper bringing her hands to her gut, she turned to him with an unsure look.
‘I don’t feel well, I think I’m going to be…!’
Before she could warn Tristan of her worsening condition she threw up all over him; his shirt, face, hair, even his trousers for an unlucky shot.
‘Shhhiit! ’ Tristan shouted whilst jumping back.
Carrie was looking drained; her face pale, eyes sunken and her body weak. Just by looking at her you could tell that she was ill.
‘I am so sorry, Tristan…It just happened.’
The long paused silence didn’t claim that he was refusing to accept the apology, it simply gave him time to pull himself together after the unexpected surprise. For him not to accept it with a gentleman approach would simply not be Tristan.
‘That’s quite alright,’ he began, ‘I’m quite used to being covered…By my Brother’s one-year-old son, Alistair, I mean. He’s always bringing his milk up, and unfortunately, it seems to be me he does it to.’
Carry gave a familiar smile, one which reminded Tristan of when he was called to the hospital to see his Niece, Natasha St. John being born at Redstone General. Carrie had accompanied him for the ride back from Spirin Island, and so been introduced to the early calls of Motherhood. Unfortunately, it was the darkest of memories for Tristan, as well as the brightest, too.
Walking back to the car and opening the boot, he took out a spare clean shirt, jacket and pair of trousers that he always carried around with him, just in case of situations like this. Truth be known, there were spare trousers, shirts, ties, socks, everything that he could possibly need in times of the fast paced lifestyle that he lived – or so Carrie thought.
‘What do you do, Tristan…For a job, I mean?’ She asked as if making a query from a salesman.
Changing into his clean clothes Tristan closed the boot and sat back to lean on the edge of the car while fastening his cuffs.
‘I’m an artist,’ he replied. ‘After leaving school I decided to go against the grain a little, that grain being my parents’ wishes to see me in politics. I did my first painting here at Evermoor, up there by the Castle Keep, it sold for more than I expected too.’
“So, Tristan was a painter?” She thought to herself.
‘Would you like to see my collection sometime, if you’re not busy with your Aunt, or duties at Evermore?’ He asked in a tone that was slightly off-character, even for him.
Not wanting to miss the opportunity, Carrie gave a wandering smile. ‘I bet if you dig deep enough Mr. Lazenby, you’ll find some other line that will finally get me into your bed – with you in it too, of course?’
Tristan blushed. It would seem that he wasn’t the only one to break character, Carrie now stood with an expectant smile that demanded her question to be answered.
‘Yes,’ he said straight faced, until of course he saw the look of awe and then started to laugh uncontrollably, while pointing a waving finger at her. Carrie didn’t like this.
‘Well then, you’ll have to run fast and hard to catch me, Mr. Tristan Lazenby!’ She goaded running across the soft, sun bleached grass of the lakeside, before without as much as a pause, she began stripping her clothes off; first her top, then her bra, until finally stopping to get her balance so she could remove her shoes, trousers and panties. Carrie was now completely naked and continuing to run as fast as she could, until finally reaching the cool water of Evermore Lake.
Tristan was awe-smacked. Though the overwhelming feeling rising through his very self-being was of excitement, there was that ‘Something’ that had him thinking this was a bad idea.
‘Come on, get in while it’s cool!’ Carrie shouted out while treading the water the best she could to stay above the water line. Her occasional spluttering’s of half-swallowed lake water coughed out with deep concentration taken to her rhythm.
Without any more thought Tristan shook his head once, before looking around to make sure there were no other people watching them, before quickly ridding himself of his clothes he made his way across the grass, until finally wading forcefully into and thru the water to join Carrie.
‘Who are you Mr. Lazenby? I mean, who are you really?’ She asked moving closer and kissing him softly but needy on the lips.
Tristan reacted in exactly the same way, kissing her deeply and passionately. Both their hearts were now pounding to the electric feeling they were experiencing in a Tremadalic kind of way , while excitement brought Carrie to give a slight moan of forbidden delight just before she pulled quickly away from him, her eyes looking down at the water.
‘What is it, what’s wrong? Is it something in the water?’ He urged looking into the watery depths as far as he could in the thought that it was something swimming around. But as hard as he looked he couldn’t see anything.
Carrie laughed. ‘Oh, it’s something in the water alright! Come on let’s go dry off before the sun goes down…Race you to the edge, last one back is a rotten egg.’
Carrie swam as fast as she could while Tristan followed shortly behind, each finding the side of the embankment a more comfortable spot to lie in the sunshine and let the warming hot rays dry them off slowly. The heat, besides that which the two were giving off between themselves, was blazing out of the shade. But even though the weather was that little bit more perfect, it awoke something in Carrie’s mind, and this time it was no flashback or painful reminder of her past, it was a perfect moment of the Here and Now.
‘I saw you here once before…’
‘Before today, do you mean?’ Tristan inquired breathlessly.
‘Naturally,’ she said waving her hands around in the air. ‘I didn’t know who you were before last night, did I?’
Tristan raised a poised finger. ‘But the accident!’
‘Yes, the accident, Tristan, tell me about the accident?’ She suddenly declared in a demanding tone turning onto her side to hear his reply. A reply that never came.
‘These past three years have been pretty hard for you, I know that – I understand that. Today is a special day and to ruin it now with smoke from the past would be a dreadful shame,’ Tristan exclaimed jumping to his feet. ‘Which reminds me, there’s a bloody good bottle of Champagne in the boot, I won’t be a minute.’
Tristan left Carrie to watch him walk naked back across the grass to the car, until picking up and pulling on his trousers before continuing on and opening the boot. A few moments later he returned with the large bottle of Champagne that Melissa had prepared for their outing the previous night, only to find Carrie unconscious, hardly breathing and seeping blood from her eyes, nose, mouth and ears. She didn’t look good.
The Last Call…
For more than four hours the doctors and surgeons wasted no time in treating Carrie, only for them to return after her recovery with the findings of their examination and operation procedure that they had just carried out. Lady Melissa Ellington-Evermore, Lord David Evermore, Tristan and Carrie all sat comfortably in the hospital room while the Chief Surgeon – Alan Wiesler – explained the situation.
‘The tests that we carried out earlier show a tremendous acceleration of the brain swelling around the damaged areas treated three years ago, and to be honest, I would prefer to send Carrie to the Saunders Institute…Just for a few days, that’s all.’
As soon as he had said this the Surgeon came under direct attack by everyone in the room, except for Carrie who was set in deep thought, until stirred with anger by her Aunt.
‘Are you out of your fuc…! ’
‘Aunt Melissa, please! Can we hear him out at least?’
The Surgeon bowed his head and thanked Carrie for intervening, even though he saw in her eyes that she was about to cash in on the intervention that saved him from the acid tongue of her Aunt. And what fitting recompense would be more welcome than the truth being told about her condition?
‘You were telling us that I have very little time left to live, Mr. Wiesler, that there may be a solution to my condition at The Saunders Institute, am I correct?’ She spoke clearly and calmly so that her every word could not be misheard.
The Surgeon nodded with a sad look. ‘I’m sorry, Carrie, what can I tell you?’
‘The truth. All these years I have lived under the shroud of shards and blinderalls to share my existence, when all this time, my life was ending – not just from that day of the accident on Evermore Road, but well before it even happened.’
The Surgeon tried to get Carrie’s attention and ask her to quietly accompany him outside, but she had other plans, and one of them was asking everyone except for the Surgeon to leave the room. Melissa refused, at first, until a friendly guiding hand from Tristan had her wooing and cooing at the very sight of a young man leading her away – other than David, that was.
‘How long?’ Carrie spoke up suddenly after the others had left the room and closed the door behind them. ‘How long do I have left?’
The Surgeon gave a low sigh before bowing his head to the floor. ‘Not long I’m afraid!’
Carrie was beside herself. ‘Right. Okay. So, will I have time to water my Goldfish and feed my bills?’
Unfortunately, both she and the Surgeon had heard her response, and it was with this that he sat down on the edge of the bed and looked into Carrie’s sad, weakened eyes.
‘The swelling from the initial damage has subsided to leave a growth that is beyond our expertise, or anyone’s expertise really. The swelling will cause adverse effects to many of the physical sides of your everyday routines of life, including memory interruption, speech and…’
‘Wha…What are you saying?’
‘The swelling cannot be stopped, Carrie, however, there is a procedure that the Physicians of The Saunders Institute are taking to the board next month which may give you a chance to live longer, if I could…’
Carrie put up her hand for silence. ‘NO! The Saunders Institute is the last place in the world I would turn to Mr. Wiesler, so please, do not insult my intelligence. How long have I got left…A year, a couple of months…Weeks?’
The pressure caused by her sudden outburst had her feeling woozy; vision, coordination, judgement, everything was hit at the very same time as one another. After only a few seconds it passed, but deep down she knew that it would return – but not when it would resurface.
‘To be honest Carrie, I’m surprised that you are still alive and talking to me now. If I hadn’t have checked your charts before coming to see you, I’d have had the morgue come down here and take you away. I could give them a call now, if you like?’
Carrie’s hearing was becoming grainy, echoey, almost deviated and somehow manipulated to a point by the man’s voice and its changing tone.
‘But…I’m not dead…!’ She gave a soft whisper before falling unconscious.
Calling the crash team into the room, both Tristan and Melissa demanded to know what had happened, to which the Surgeon quite willingly offered to explain, just as soon as they removed themselves so that the Hospital Team could help Carrie.
Outside the atmosphere was thick with tension, both frustration and anger perspired into that of a combined effort around every hope of Carrie pulling through. And for two hours the Surgeon and his staff maintained their attempts to resuscitate and help her; Mr. Wiesler had every hope of temporarily taking down the swelling in her brain, a practice that would give the young woman an extension on her life until she could make the decision to use The Saunders Institute procedure – Or refuse it and allow herself to die. By the end of the two hours, both Melissa and David were asleep when the Surgeon came walking out of the operating theater after finally stabilizing Carrie and returning her to her room.
‘How is she? Is she…!’ Tristan called out over to Wiesler’s objections of speaking too loudly in the corridor. It was this that had both Lady Melissa Evermore and her husband waking up with panic.
‘Mr. Wiesler, may I remind you…’ Melissa piped up suddenly.
‘Leave him to his job, please, Melissa?’ Lord Evermore said sharply from behind her.
‘Very well,’ Melissa said with a hint of sarcasm.
Leading the three of them into the Patient Lounge, Mr. Wiesler offered them a seat before he, himself sat down facing them all. Clearing his throat he put his hands together nervously.
‘Carrie is in a very serious condition, I’m afraid. The procedure that is used in cases like this has failed to take effect, which means, the swelling will continue to build until it shuts down all brain activity. I’m very sorry, but Carrie has not got long to live…’
The words of the Surgeon floated around the room like a bad odor that each person was trying to avoid, all except Tristan, who after listening to Mr. Wiesler, stood up and walked over to him while Lady Ellington-Evermore and Lord Evermore sat complaining to one another. It was their way of dealing with bad news – to find blame.
‘Can Carrie be taken home, Mr. Wiesler? Can she be moved?’ He asked with a rising desperation in his tone.
Nodding his head from side to side Mr. Wiesler pouted his lips as if in deep thought.
‘I guess she can be transported to a place more familiar to her surroundings, comfortable and…’
‘I would like to take her home, please, Mr. Wiesler.’ Melissa cried out in a majesty of tone that you would have thought was a show of authority and right.
Tristan waited all the while that the Surgeon, Lady Evermore and her husband argued over who was going to take her where, exactly who was going to take her, and in which vehicle she was going to be taken in – Melissa was fighting for control.
Knowing deep down that if Melissa was to push the issue she would more than likely win, Tristan walked out of the room and headed up the corridor toward the exit of the hospital, or so it appeared to Lady Evermore and David
A few minutes after having left the room Melissa and David, along with Mr. Weisler set off to his office. Making sure that they had all left, Tristan returned to Carrie’s bedside.
‘Tristan, my Aunt and Uncle are making plans for me to be taken back to Evermore Manor,’ she whispered quietly and sadly as soon as she saw him enter the room.
‘You’re going home, Carrie.’ Tristan said in a matter of fact tone that gave all indications that he was there to take her back to Evermore along with her Guardians.
Rushing over to her he prepared the I.V before lifting her weak, fragile body out of bed and into a nearby wheelchair. Making sure that she was safely sat down he pushed the chair out of the room and down the corridor to the lift with both speed and caution. All the while his heart was racing, while all down his face the droplets of sweat glistened under the corridor lights. Tristan was scared, upset and nervous.
‘Where are we going?’ She asked looking behind her to see where Melissa and David had disappeared to. ‘Are we going on ahead, Tristan…to Evermore?’
The pain was starting to show on Tristan’s face. ‘Yes, that’s right, Carrie, we’re going on ahead. Now, we just need to be quiet going to the car we don’t want to disturb anyone now, do we?’
Carrie picked up on this straight away; the sudden heisting from her hospital room, having to be quiet as they left where there were no other hospital around them, while at the same time she and Tristan made haste to the lift. This was nothing but bizarre behavior on his part.
‘Wait! ’ She called out suddenly as the lift doors were just about to close tightly shut.
‘What is it? What’s wrong?’ He asked checking her quickly.
Lifting her head up the best she could Carrie gave Tristan a strained smile before turning away and looking at the ground.
‘I don’t want to…!’
‘Carrie, I don’t want to argue with you –’
Hitting her hands down hard on the arms of the wheelchair she made him listen to her – something that was not as difficult as some would have believed.
‘I want…to go to…the Old Mill, to be with…you.’ She managed to speak out before becoming too weak to say anything else.
Tristan became overwhelmed with joy; suddenly the pressures of the situation were starting to subside, his fear now less than when he initially spoke with the Surgeon and discovered, as did Melissa, that Carrie was dying. His thoughts were all muddled up, his emotions within a hairs breath of exploding, as was his anger at the man who caused these sequence of events to happen to both Carrie and him– William Maynard.
Where Love lives on…
Getting Carrie to the car without being seen or detected by any of the hospital staff, Tristan drove her away. One thought led to another, one bettering the next as to what he was going to do once they reached his home; Carries condition was deteriorating, her complexion showing each attacking drain of energy, while her irregular flinches had him look away with tears in his eyes. This was a woman he cared about, so much so that there would have been nothing he wouldn’t sacrifice to save her life and have her live.
‘Are we nearly home, my love?’ She whispered.
Tristan thought, and then he thought again, until finally with a determined look on his face he forced the car around and headed across Evermore Grove, taking the crossroads on King Charles Crescent and finally onto the dirt track that would bring them to Evermore Lake – Juniper Spring.
Stopping the car with a long skid across the dry grass he gently picked Carrie up into his arms and carried her across to the embankment where they had laid only a few hours ago, before finally setting her down on the warm, dry sand. At first Carrie was surprised a little at the feel of the texture, until realizing where she was – She was happy.
‘I used to bring my wife here, it was like paradise to her – to us, even. So many memories. So many good times. This is where I got…’
‘You got down on one knee…and proposed…to a woman who didn’t deserve you!’
Somehow, Carrie had remembered something important, something that had Tristan cuddling her, kissing her head and crying even more. This was exactly the moment that he had been waiting for all of this time, the very moment Carrie came back to him.
‘You threw the ring in the lake,’ he choked back his tears and laughter.
Carrie tried to laugh, too, but for the lack of energy she gave up. ‘Hey…I love you…I always will.’
Tristan felt something – a bad gut feeling – and the power of it coursing through his body was forcing him to look down at Carrie. Her face showed a glow that Tristan recognized only too well from his time in the Army, but all the same, it was the deathly glow that only came from those who had passed away.
‘Don’t you leave me, Carrie! Please, don’t leave me…!’
Lifting her limp, lifeless body up into his chest, Tristan let down his every defense and mourned her death, the death of a best friend, Soul mate – the death of his wife. Everything that he was, was because of Carrie; her love, support and shared logic and wisdom both, they were the foundation stones that brought his attraction to a very beautiful young woman. Now, her life had been extinguished, rubbed out, disrespected.
When Lady Evermore and David turned up at the lakeside, not one single word passed between them. Out of respect Lady Evermore gave Tristan a gentle rub down his arm before she returned to David’s car and phoned the ambulance, David, too, when attempting to do the same, was greeted with a hug from Tristan. The look in his eyes clearly indicating that he was now a man on a mission.
‘It takes a man to protect those we love, but it takes a Husband to make things right!’ David spoke up. ‘That night on Evermore Road, you and Carrie were never supposed to be there. Maynard was our catch, nobody else’s, and yet he got past us. You did good, Son.’
Tristan remembered back to that night, the vivid feel that he felt covering him as slowly he started to see the turn of events after David and Melissa came rushing back to Evermore Manor. Melissa was shouting and screaming at David over his lack of security, while Melissa strode into the House and came face to face with William Maynard and an accomplice – Jack Flaherty – both armed with a handgun, Maynard stated that being shot at was not a part of the deal. Flaherty himself was laid on the floor bleeding to death from a gunshot wound to his stomach.
‘You knew Maynard and his partner were in the House that night, didn’t you?’ Tristan growled turning to face him.
David broke his confident stance. ‘We were tracking him…’
‘The gun! ’ Tristan gasped.
Finally, he was told, while seeing it as he saw it that fateful night before the crash on Evermore Road…
Tied to both Melissa and David’s work, who had been informed that Maynard had gone Rogue, the two of them had captured him and Flaherty, but after swearing their revenge on the couple it was better considered to detain them. That night when both David and Melissa turned up at the House, they were delivering the two men to some associates, who in turn would make the men disappear. Unfortunately, Maynard somehow knew, he retaliated against them and in the process shot and killed Tristan’s Aunt – Eva Lazenby.
‘He killed my…!’
Quickly David took a firm hold of Tristan and pulled him close to comfort him in his time of grief.
‘What do I do now, David? I’ve lost everything,’ Tristan spluttered out his words into David’s pure white silk shirt.
Pushing him away gently David pointed down at Carrie.
‘Be the Husband and make things right.’
That was the very last time that Tristan saw Lord Evermore.
Rites Of Passage
The day of Carrie’s funeral which Lady Ellington-Evermore had arranged and organized finally arrived, and all of the mourners as well as well-wishers were taken down to Evermore Lake Crypt, one of several, three hundred year old Family Burial Plots around the grounds of Evermore. The Crypt at the lakeside was one which was kept for those cherished the most in the ascending family generations, even though Carrie never carried the Evermore name..
‘I was going through some of Carrie’s things and came across this letter…it’s addressed to you, Tristan. There’s also an address, you may be interested in making a personal call, but of course, under the circumstances it is the only way The Hive could bring you closure.’ Melissa told him, handing over to him a small piece of paper that was separate to the envelope which Carrie had penned herself with her own hand.
Asking what the letter was concerning, Melissa simply replied coldly: ‘Her Confession!’
Taking the sealed envelope and piece of paper from Melissa, Tristan sought out an isolated spot where he could sit down and read the letter, an action which had him doubt himself as to being able to read the words of his late wife who had only just been buried. When he finally found the time and nerve to read it, he opened up the envelope and took out what looked like a piece of paper that had a strange stamp across the center:
Evermore Lake Deeds of Ownership Rights
Reading the letter, it wasn’t long before he was starting to feel the full blow of his loss. Carrie had been the woman he fell in love with because she was everything and more that he wanted and needed in his life, not because of her status, and certainly not because she was of the Evermore Family.
It was throughout their short marriage that he insisted on reminding her that if it was her wealth that he had wanted, then he would have married her Aunt Melissa. And now he had the answer to the question that was preying on his mind for so long.
Words cannot describe how everyone is feeling right now, and that goes especially for you, my love. The man you have been tracking down during my condition doesn’t matter anymore – he is dead, just like me, so please, give up your search to avenge me.
You mean so much to me, it will be hard for you to let go, but in time you will be able to keep me in your memories – Good memories and for that alone, I was so honored to meet you, to be a big part of your life, even if it was for just a short time.
As you can see with the papers, the lake is yours now, to make more memories and make that next lucky woman laugh just as much, if not more than I did. Take care my love.
Tristan’s tears streamed from his eyes, rolling down his cheeks and onto the small piece of paper that sat in his hand, the ink running as each tear dripped silently. Carrie was gone.
Unfolding the piece of paper that Melissa had given him, Tristan focused his blurry eyes so as to be able to make out a name – William Maynard, 387 Sulstik Grove, Borello.
Glancing around as though this was some sort of trick, he turned back to the address. Checking the rest of the paper he found that in the top right hand corner was a small insignia: The Knight’s Castle, Briarstone.
Suddenly he gave a wide smile. ‘Well William Maynard, I guess today is your day.’
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Casanova Da Vinci is a twenty-first-century writer of Adult Erotic Literature, some of which may not be suitable for persons under the age of 21-years. It is recommended by both the Author of this work and North Gable Projects (UK), that if anyone comes into contact with this book – Electronic or otherwise, then they should hand it over to an adult. Please respect the advisory stamped by the Author and come back when you have reached the specified age for reading this work.
Casanova Da Vinci
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Please Note* The Bordello Tales Collection books are of a ‘Pick Up & Read’ format, each Story individual in their Writing and Character. However, the Collection is not without a Bigger Picture, one which is told by running in the background of each characters tale of ‘Love gained, Love lost, Tragedy’.
As to sequence of these stories, it can be celebrated that the completion run is as so:
Casanova Da Vinci’s: Evermore (Non-Erotic)
Casanova Da Vinci’s: Midnight Sun
Casanova Da Vinci’s: Breathe
Casanova Da Vinci’s: Hearts Of Desire
Casanova Da Vinci’s: Tears Of The Rain
Casanova Da Vinci’s: Living The Quarter Life
Casanova Da Vinci’s: The Petticoat Maid
Casanova Da Vinci’s: Suburban Heat
Casanova Da Vinci’s: Evermore Vs. Borello
Casanova Da Vinci’s: Everything Come’s To An End
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On A Storyteller’s Night Collection
The Brotherhood Of The Realms
On A Storyteller’s Night Vol. 1
On A Storyteller’s Night Vol. 2
City Limits: The Long Road Out
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