Love, Wizards, Assassins

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Artur Glise is known as an assassin of wizards that break the hearts of women. It's a market with great pay and the ability to meet tons of vulnerable girls, but on his latest job he may not only lose his life, but his reputation as well because someone is lying. He may not live to figure out who though...

Submitted: May 04, 2011

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Submitted: May 04, 2011

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“So that’s that?” Artur Glise asked while leaning back in his chair. He took a deep puff of his pipe, then exhaled a haze that almost made the woman on the other end of the table invisible. Still, he could see her nod in agreement.
“Yeah. I don’t care how it’s done. You can lop his head right off or blow him to bits using whatever darkness you people conjure up,” she said while swatting the smoke away with her hand. How she said “you types” pinched his ears a little, but he knew the reputation he had as a wizard assassin. It was a reputation they all shared. Non-magic types didn’t like them because they used magic, magic types didn’t like them for the obvious reason. Artur was right and fine with it all, as long as he was paid. He just stared back at her, and went to puff his pipe.
“It’s just that you seemed pretty angry in the letter. After collecting some intel it seems like a pretty girl like yourself who’d be been saving herself for true love would be a little scorned that he’s went and married some witch from Pais,” he said with an almost taunting tone of voice. He’d worked for scorned lovers before, and even had his heart broken once so he knew by mentioning the woman that took her place would pull at some heart strings and the notes would be none too sweet. That’s for the comment about “you people” he thought to himself. He was right though. The pretty blue eyes squinted as her brow furrowed in anger, and then became soft again as a reservoir of tears started to form in her eyes, threatening to break lose at any moment.
“I…I am devastated. I…I don’t see any reason for you bring up all that terribleness and remind me.” The dam broke lose and she held a long blink to try and hold back the stream that started to run from her eye lashes to her cheeks.
“Well don’t go crying now. I didn’t mean any harm by it. It's just that usually girls in your situation want extra features added to the job. Soul tortures, mind curses, good old fashioned physical punishment and all sorts of delayed dying methods are all the rave with you girls who’ve been heartbroken by a wizard. But you’re not interested in anything but the conclusion of his life?” Artur asked curiously. He’d been puffing at the pipe for a moment, but there was nothing left so he tucked it away in his pouch.
She looked at him curiously then wiped her eyes.
“Have you ever loved a user of magic? Especially a high level of magic?”
“I can’t say that I have darling, but why is such a question relevant?”
“He wasn’t my first in any way. I’ve been with regular boys before, both in and out of love, but when they leave, they’re gone. Whether its for a few minutes or a few days or forever, the worst it gets is you just miss them. With a wizard it’s like they’re always there. I can feel part of his emotions and thoughts. I can feel that bitch's adoration for him and his for her. I can even feel him…slowly forgetting me,” she said looking down and away. This time no tears flowed. It was simply a sullen and empty woman sitting across from Artur now. Seeing this sad woman, combined with what he knew about magic lead him to realize why she wanted it done so quickly.
“Ah, I get it. I bet you’d like nothing more than to know he’s suffering as much as he’s making you suffer. But you would know…and that’s the kicker. Unlike those damn telepaths and empaths walking around here, you don’t just observe. You’d actually feel the pain too. Hell, it might even kill ya if it gets too severe. Right?” Artur was pleased that he figured out the reason he was hired was not to simply cause pain, though it made him wonder about the other girls he’d recently worked for. They never mentioned that they could feel the pain of their former lovers. Perhaps this case was different for some reason.
“You say you’ve done this type of thing before for girls who have fallen for wizards and yet this has never been a problem? How did they not know? How did they manage?” The questions came in rapid succession but Artur had come to the answer almost as soon as she began asking.
“Because he loved you. Most wizards, when they take a girl, do just that. Crazy thing is most of these damn guys are so charming and good looking and have all types of gold and silver that they don’t even need to bother with charms. Girls like yourself just flock to them, and they love it, a good lot of them. But it was different with you…only thing I can figure is that this one wasn’t just some village playboy with a castle and a view having fun. He really loved you...” he said rocking back and forth, squinting at her to see if his assessment of the past was correct. Her eyes watered up and she looked down and away.
“…not enough apparently.” Her voice lowered and quivered with a sob. Artur felt sorry for the girl. He’d seen this enough and each time he got better at not being affected and staying focused on the job, but he still had a heart. His detachment was helped by the fact that scorned lovers out for revenge were the biggest buyers of his services behind organized crime families and the Kingdom of Soliel. It was all old to him, but this girl seemed genuinely hurt. The effects of a wizard actually caring for your heart as well as your body were too much to bear. Still, he remained focused and continued as if it were business as usual.
“So the price is as usual. 5,000 shilling pieces up front, and the other 5,000 when the job is done. You alright with that figure?” he asked in a doubting tone.
“Of course. You don’t think I can pay it, do you?” she said while proudly pulling out a bag of pieces from underneath the table and placing it right between them. It looked plump and impressive, but Artur knew he’d have to count it anyway, though he trusted the girl would not try to rack him over.
“You never know so you always have to ask,” Artur said while grabbing the bag from the center of the table.
“So now here comes my favorite part. Name and image of the target, my dear.” He was stacking up the shillings in all their various denominations making sure that everything checked out. A lot of people in his line of work were reluctant to count shillings in front of clients because apparently it was a sign of mistrust but Artur considered trust overrated. Better to make sure the money is all there than try to negotiate later after the ball on the job has been rolling.
Paulette pulled a bronze locket from between her slightly exposed cleavage that was in the shape of a heart with two arrows going through it forming an “X” shape. She violently yanked it from around her neck and slide it across the table. Artur grabbed it and opened it up. The wizard looked a little more familiar than most.
“You guys look happy,” he said staring at the photo in the locket. He was trying to decided if all wizards were starting to look the same or if he genuinely knew the dark haired man with his arm around the shapely waist of a lovely red head in the photo. “I think I’ve seen this guy before. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but we been acquainted before. What’s his name?” he asked again.
“Oh? His picture doesn’t look familiar to you?” she said with an obvious tone of surprise. This reaction caused Artur to stop searching for the answer in the picture and he refixed his gaze on Paulette.
“Should I?”
“I’d think so. He’s Vincent Von Vogel III.” When he heard the name Artur kept it his face straight, but inside his heart dropped just a little. He thought about asking for more money. A mark like this certainly could warrant the price, but she’d make the counter argument every client worth their salt makes when an assassin requests more money upfront for certain targets.
“You want me to take out Vincent Von Vogel?” he asked in the most serious of tones, nearly staring at hole through her. She nodded her head. “That’s going to be extra up front. And at least double the going rate.”
“Sorry then. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to kill him, so if you fail I’ll be out 10,000 shillings. I’m better off if you just took the money I gave you now and never showed up again.”
Artur squinted as he leaned across the table. “Look here, you called and requested me specifically because you know my reputation and my work. Stiffing someone on a job isn’t my deal. You want me to take out a wizard people put in the category of Merlin, Houdini, Crowley, I can do that because that’s what I do, but don’t go insulting me by insinuating I might walk on the job.” He leaned back to his original seat, and seemed a bit more relaxed. The comment about walking on a job angered him, but she made a valid point. Furthermore, it was the point he expected her to make and he couldn’t do much about that.
“I’ll do it for the agreed price upfront, but because this is a bigger fish, I want something on the back end once it’s done. Vincent Von Vogel is worth more than 10,000 shillings. That’s something you and I both can absolutely agree on,” he said in a noticeably calmer tone. His arms were crossed and he was leaning back, confident that his reasoning made sense to her.
“You’re right,” she said standing up from the table. “I can’t pay you anything more, but maybe you’ll find this interesting.” She walked over to a dresser in the corner of the room reached in a drawer and pulled out a velvet ring case. She tossed it to Artur.
“What do you think?”
Artur opened it and a glimmering beam of light came out first, and then it dulled to a simple sparkle. Though he’d never seen one before and only heard the rumors, he knew exactly what he was holding.
“Von Vogel gave this to you, didn’t he?” Artur was examining the sparkling pure lapis lazuli ring in his hands.
“So you know what that is?”
“Finding lapis metal was challenging enough that it took three kingdoms, four wars, and millions of hours of miner labor to conclude that there was probably only 4 lbs of the stuff in the world—5 at best. Even if you had enough to do much—and only the Kingdom of Soliel does—the magical power, talent, and alchemical knowledge to make a ring out of it would be a one in a million talent. Maybe once in a lifetime.” Artur was absolutely stunned. He’d read about lapis lazuli but to actually see it in person, let alone fashioned into a stunning piece of jewelry, was an experience of a lifetime.
“This was really a gift?” he asked skeptically. “I’m guessing you aren’t too skilled in the art of magic otherwise you’d be using this ring to go and kill Von Vogel yourself,” he said while finally placing the ring back in the case. Lapis Lazuli had the wonderful side effect of focusing and amplifying magical energy. No one was really sure how much it increased powers though. There were some that estimated an increase by a factor of ten while others have said that it could turn a grade school magician turn into a virtual god
“No, I’ve never even studied magical texts, let alone attempted to cast even a spell,” she said as if he should have known that. “So will the ring be enough to make up for the difficulty of the job?”
“Yeah, that about does it and then some,” he said nodding his head and sliding the ring back across the table to her.
“Good,” she said. “Oh, and take the ring with you. I am well aware of your reputation, and I trust you’ll finish the job or die trying. You might need the help dealing with Vincent.” She slide it back across the table to him. Artur put the ring on, nodded his head stood and began to leave.
“You’ll see me in a fort night or less with his head.”
“I know,” she said and Artur left her small country flat and proceed to take out his 27th wizard.
 
After nearly a week of following cold leads, dead ends and hours of rough interrogations, Artur finally got a promising lead on a castle where Von Vogel was suspected to be staying. He chose to infiltrate the castle through the aqueduct system that pumped water through the moat and around the estate. The moment he came up for air in the dungeon he could hear the sounds of a violin echoing throughout the castle. Someone is here. Excellent. Drudging through the remains of prisoners once shackled all the way up through storage areas that smelled rich with the scent of cheese and wine, Artur followed the sharp violin music until it lead him to the grand lobby of the castle. The source of the music was now standing right before him looking right through Artur, dressed in simple but regal attire. He continued playing as if he did even notice the uninvited intruder into his home.
“Vincent Von Vogel III?” Artur shouted at the violinist. After a brief pause where he strung out a few more notes, he responded.
“Artur Glise.” His voice was even and unaffected and the music continued to pour out from the violin.
“You’ve been expecting me?” Artur responded with no surprise and a slight hint of amusement in his voice. A magician as strong as Vogel probably had some type of surveillance and he'd talked to enough people that someone was bound to let Vogel know that he was on his trail. Still, the question was genuine.
Finally he sat down the violin and began to walk slowly towards Artur.
“Everyone in the world of magic worth the text books of knowledge their families spent money on knows who you are, Mr. Glise.” He stopped walking at the edge of a table and put his hand out, palm down, over an empty glass of wine. Upon this gesture the glass began to fill up from thin air. Once it was full, he slowly took a sip and extended his arm out with the glass in hand.
“What I don’t know is what has motivated you to physically harm several innocent people over the past 3 days in 6 different cities to find me. Who is bold enough to sign a contract for my life and foolish enough to think you can deliver?” Now his words were not so even and the surface of his voice slightly rumbled with concealed anger.
“Paulette la Delicat. Name sound familiar to you?” Artur said it in a matter of fact tone. He wasn’t here because he was Paulette's personal crusader. He was here because she paid him, and his personal enthusiasm matched that sentiment.
“Hmm, let me think for a moment.” Vogel leaned his head to the side and tapped his chin as if were in deep thought.
“I've been all over the world many times over. I can't be expected to remember the name of every country girl that climbs into my bed.” That's a pretty cold blooded response. Maybe she made up that part about the two of them being madly in love. It has happened Artur thought to himself.
“You guys are all so full of yourselves. How do you know it wasn't someone you crossed?”
“Because everyone knows that you specialize in cases of revenge against ex-lovers, whether the relationship was real or imagined. A whole slew of fine and noble wizards have fallen at your hand because a silly county school girl with a crush managed to come up with enough money to pay for your dubious service,” Vogel replied with a seething anger over the death of his comrades.
Then his tone lightened. “Besides, haven't you heard? I'm getting married.”
“Poor girl. I simply take the job that pays the most for where I happen to be, comrade. Looks like she's gonna be a widow before she's a wife.”
“Ah, forgive me for thinking that perhaps there were standards for your treachery that extended beyond the weight of a purse.”
Artur took a deep breath and let out a sigh and shook his head.
“It's alright, I'll let it go,” he said putting on the ring that Paulette gave to him before laying a pair of a silk scaled gloves over his hands. They were so light it was as if they weren't there, tough enough to protect his hands from most anything sharp, and resistant enough that he could stop many spells with his hands alone. Before he could draw his sword he felt himself get hit with a force so hard that he nearly lost consciousness and he found himself pinned to the wall behind him. He shook his head to regain his bearings and looked up to see Vogal rushing straight for him.
“Arrogant treacherous bastard,” he said flying through the air towards him with the bow from the violin drawn like a sword, aiming it straight for Artur's head. Just as it were inches away from his face, Artur drew his sword and deflected it above his head. It pieced the stone wall and sliced down through the it as if it were nothing. Artur moved his sword above his head to block Vogel's effort to slice him in half. They were locked faced to.
“You are not just a traitor, but a stupid one at that,” Vogel said reaching forward with his free hand to grasp Artur's throat. Artur let out a gasp. “Tell me what I'm worth. What is the price of good sense? It must be getting cheap if some country girl could buy you out to kill me” he said while crushing Artur's windpipe. Artur looked up and saw a locket identical to the one that Paulette showed him hanging from Vogel's neck.  So you two were involved, you son of a bitch. Why lie to me though?
 Artur could feel that he was over powered by Vogel in this position and struggled to free himself. Things were going black for him when he used his last bit of mental strength to focus on the ring that Paulette gave him. He concentrated his energy upon it, and suddenly it lit up.
“Lapis Lazui!?” Vogel recognized it immediately. How did you come across such a thing!?”
“Your girlfriend,” Artur said right before the blast from the ring blew Vogel back across the room. Artur fell from where he'd been suspend and landed on one knee. He struggled to suck in air briefly before casting a spell to stop Vogel dead in his tracks from the neck down. A wave of light came up around Vogel. Artur quickly moved over him and drew his sword to his throat.
“That is fancy jewelry you got there. Very nice craftsmanship,” Vogel said looking down the blade and checking out the ring that had burned a hole through his gloves and now sat on his finger glistening in it's cool down.
“Don't flatter yourself,” Artur commanded, pressing the tip of his sword against his throat.
Vogel cleared his throat and spit out some blood. “Heh even if I could make something like that, do you think I'd just give it to a common country wench I was just using to pass the time?” he asked with a slight smirk on his face. He then let out a combination of a laugh and cough and shook his head.
“And to think, I'm about to die because of some very confused girl and at your hands, no less.” Vogel pointed his head and exposed his throat. “Go ahead. Finish it.”
Artur stood there confused. Maybe this really is a mistake. I have him dead to rights and he's insisting that not only does he not know the girl, but he claims he never had a ring like this. He looked down at the fallen wizard who had already given up on his life and admitted defeated. His eyes were closed and he sat there like a lamb ready to be sacrificed. On the one hand she paid me, but what if I made a mistake? What if she made a mistake? What if I'm being tricked?
“What are you waiting for!!?” Vogel shouted, breaking Artur's thought process. He pulled his sword back and prepared to make the thrust, remembering that he had a job to do. Right before the blade was to pierce his flesh, he stopped again on a single thought. If I'm wrong, then my reputation will be ruined.
Vogel was preparing to be no more, and was caught off guard by the sudden stop.
“Coward! You break into my home to execute me for but a fraction of what I'm really worth, and then you can't even do the deed. Traitorous coward!”
“Shut up!” Artur said, smacking him with the flat side of the sword, knocking some more blood out of his mouth. He then took the sword and removed the locket from around his neck and put it in his hand to examine it.
“Ok. Ok. Let's say you're right and the girl's is delusional. You've created enough doubt. After all, no one would part with a Lapis Lazui ring and I doubt she stole from you and wiped your memory clean, so I'm buying that part of the story. And my friend, that's a very important part of the story. But this,” he said holding up the locket that he had now opened up to Vogel's eye level. “This throws a wrench into this whole fabrication. That's my client you are locked lovingly with. That means you know her, but entertain me and tell me how one part of the story adds up but the other don't.”
Vogel stared directly at the locket and started to shake his head.
“Are you insane? That's my fiance!”
Artur titled his head at him skeptically.
“First you don't know her, now you're engaged. Are you insane?”
“I've been engaged to Victoria Celess for a year now! Have you looked at the picture ?”
Artur pulled the locket back and looked at again. It was the same picture with he and Paulette.
“You tryin' to make me look stupid? It's Paulette”
“No it's Victoria. I don't even know who Paulette is!”
“Ah whatever. This is pointless and pathetic that even as you're as good as dead you are still trying to make stories up. You're the one that makes us look bad with stunts like this, not me. Killing wizards like you, I'm doing the rest of us a favor,” he said swinging his sword to lop of his head, but just as the blade was to severe life from the body of Vogel, Artur when flying into the wall again. This time he did go out for only a second when his head smacked the wall, but he quickly recovered. When he came to, a beautiful dark-haired woman in a red gown stood before him. She did not use the force of her grip to hold him up, but rather by pure concentration.
“He's not pathetic…at least not in the way that you mean,” she said walking slowly towards Artur. “He's just under my charm and has no recollection of some poor country girl that he fell in love with.”
“What are you talking about?” He was partly confused by what she was saying, but he was also hurt by being slammed into the wall with an even greater force the second time around.
“Hahaha, and you're supposed to be the great killer of wizards but you're having trouble understanding a simple charm spell?”
The second time he heard it, he got it perfectly but he didn't believe it.
“Nonsense,” he said coughing up some blood. “There's no one that can charm a wizard that strong.” Instantly she was gone from the position to where she was right in the face of Artur before he could blink.
“Oh, but imagine how terrifying someone like that would be,” she said with a smile growing across her face. She gently touched his ribs and with that, he let out an intense screaming pain unlike anything he'd ever faced. Without the polarized magic that was flowing through her hand, the touch would be gentle—almost seductive. But with her ill will, it was an intense pain that felt like he was being being burned from the inside out. After a few moments she stopped.
“Now it can get a whole lot worse than that before you die. Or I can kill you right now. That all depends on your cooperation,” she said wiping the blood from the side of his mouth that coughed up.
“What...what the hell do you even want from me? I came to kill Vogel and we can pretty much agree that isn't going to happen now. Looks like I went after a wizard with an actual lover that cared enough to figure out how to charm him so she could have him,” Artur said, hanging limply, still suspended by her magic grasp.
“Oh, I think you misunderstand,” she said stepping aside and pointing to Vogel. He was free from Artur's spell, but was laying on the floor bleeding out from his throat. Artur had managed to cut him before he was slammed into the wall by Victoria. “I don't want him like that, though he is a good looking fellow and superb in bed. I don't even particularly care if he lives or dies now that you're here. I only charmed him to get the ring that you have on your finger right now.”
“I still have no idea how you did it, but it seems like a lot of trouble to go through when you could have just gone to the girls home when you charmed him. You should have full access to his memories,” he said doubting this witch's story as much as he doubted Vogel's, though now he realized he was at least telling the truth about not remembering anything about the girl.
“I thought of that and tried, but he loved her so much that he was able to shield out that memory and conceal her location. I had given up hope on collecting the ring and was just going to wait for his mind to crack--”
“Which with a wizard like that could have conceivably never happened, but I just happened to show up and use the ring.”
“Exactly! Now you're looking sharp!” she said clapping her hands together. “I would have never imagined that she would send an assassin after him...though you do have a reputation for helping silly girls get over their wizard crushes with your sword. That alone is enough for me torture you for a very very long time, Mr. Glise.”
“But you want the ring. Why not just cut my hand off and take it,” he said mocking her. He didn't know why, but he figured that there was some reason he was still alive given the position he was in, and he didn't think it was because she wanted find out he was superb between the sheets as well.
“You don't know?”
He shook his head barely with the little strength he had remaining, but half way through he realized exactly why.
“He realized just how powerful the ring was, so he cast a givers curse on it,” he said, and despite his many broken ribs and internal bleeding, he started to laugh. “And given his power combined with augmenting effects of the stone, there's no way that can ever be broken. Even if you kill me, you can never use the ring without my permission” He broke into a full out laughter.
She caressed his side again and shot pain throughout his body which immediately silenced him.
“If I were in your position, I would not be so jovial,” she said pulling her hand back. “I will keep you alive as long as possible and you can not imagine the pain I will cause you to eventually get you to give me that ring of your own volition. What do you--”
“Hold on. Hold on,” he said interrupting her. “I have no family, no real friends, and I know that it would piss you off to hell if you had to torture me for years on end to get me to hand over something you and I both know I simply will not do. I hope you have something better up your sleeve than just torture, given your situation. Especially since you're gonna kill me the minute I give it up anyway.” He was smiling again, despite the fact that he was facing a very painful remainder of his life.
She smiled right back.
“Have it your way then.” She took a harder grip and began pumping pain through his body at a rate that very quickly nearly robbed him of consciousness. She paid very close attention to his eyes and his breathing to make sure that she let up whenever he was about to black out. However, she overdid it slightly and Artur passed out. He didn't know how long he was out, but he was brought to by a swift smack to the face.
“Artur! Give me the ring!” He didn't open his eyes immediately, but he was confused by the fact that it was a man's voice and not the voice his tormentor.
“Hurry up dammit we don't have a lot of time!” With that followed another slap, this one even harder than the first, and through it came a little bit of magic. This jolted him up at once. He looked above him and saw Vogel standing over him.
“I thought you were dead,” Artur said very weakly.
“Don't be ridiculous. If I was not charmed by that overly ambitious witch, I would have ripped you into many pieces, but right now both of us are too weak to hold her off. Give me the ring to fight her off.”
Artur sat up and took in the scene. Vogel had Victoria trapped in a sealing spell, but he lacked the strength to maintain it for very long, and he definitely lacked the power to kill her at the moment. Any second she would be free and she would be very angry. He knew that he was powerless to help in the fight and that Vogel was weakened by the blast and the wound on his neck. Artur thought of everything that had transpired and the conversations, and decided that if he helped Artur, he might be in a slightly better position that if he let the witch win.
“Here take the ring!” he said sliding it off, and immediately put it in Vogel's hand. At that moment Victoria got free and attempted to send an inferno wave at the two of them, but Vogel waved his hand that now was adorned by the Lapis stone and the flames immediately turned into a water that he directed back towards Victoria and sucked her up into a wave. Vogel motioned his hands turned the water into ice as solid as stone, and proceeded to walk up to meet her at the point where just her head stuck out.
“This was quite an ambitious move on your part. I would be impressed if it wasn't for you separated me from what I had come to love most. Tell me, how did you do it?” he asked standing on the slope of an ice mountain like it was level ground.
“If you see me in hell, I might tell you,” she said smugly.
“I thought you might say that,” he said touching her head. He got a wave of impressions that revealed her methods vividly and he laughed.
“A simple love potion. Now that is impressive. So old fashioned that even I wouldn't be thinking of it,” he said while wiping his hands together as if he had touched something filthy.
“Now that I know that, there's no reason for you to be left existing.” With that he rose his hand up, turned it a blue glow, and sent it through her. She let out a scream and vanished immediately. Before the smoke was gone he was down next to Artur. He lifted him off the ground with magic and held him there floating in front of him.
“The only reason you, the persistent hunter of wizards for a cheap profit, weren't taken care of first is because I needed to think of whether or not it was worth sparing your miserable life.”
“Hey now, I freed you from her charm and you get to be with Paulette again,” Artur defended.
“That's only because you were going to kill me because she paid you to,” he said drawing him closer.
“Yeah, but that's because she thought you had betrayed her.” Vogel thought about this briefly, and then dropped him from the air. He sent a ball of cool green light through him which recovered most of his wounds, and then touched him in the middle of his forehead causing a small hexagram to appear briefly, and then disappear.
“You know what that is, right?” he said. Artur nodded his head. He'd be constrained.
“You're coming back with me to the Graineland. If Paulette takes me back, you get to use one your nine lives.”
“And if she doesn't?”
“Maybe I'll kill you. Maybe I'll use you. Maybe I'll drop you off at a wizard's guild after I silence you and see what they do to you.” Artur just shook his head. After surviving all of that, his fate depended on whether two scorned lovers could work things out.


© Copyright 2017 Edward Latimore. All rights reserved.

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