Shhh

Elyna tries to find out about the Immortals

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Elyna
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85 Ashan 716
The last afternoon light drifted in through the windows. It caught on the dust that filled the air and showed up the particles as flecks of gold, dancing through the long long room. Shelves jutted out from all the walls, lined with parchments, papers, bound books, maps and a few oddity’s. Elyna was amazed that the University Librarians were able to find anything, but they did seem the only ones capable. She was half-suspicious that they purposely hid books, just so she would have to ask for their assistance. Not that she dared.

Her last few days had been filled, as was normal, but with different activities. She had taken her warning from the Captain, and also with respect for the pain Malcolm had removed from her, she had only participated in the standard amount of training. She was surprised at how refreshed she felt, and how much energy she had. Restless, dangerous energy. Flying through the night, circling the city or accompanying the Major to local points of interest as she got to grips with the Lovaraean along with other fresh Skyriders. She would return to her rooms, sleep, rise, train and then instead of training some more, or seeking oblivion in some grubby corner or bar, she had taken to visiting the bath houses.

The first day of her new routine had been blissful, she’d felt calm settling over her skin and she’d breathed easy. But true sleep hadn’t found her. Instead she’d been haunted by the memory of her night with Malcolm, and the crushing ache that followed. She could relive the moments all she liked, but there would be no repeat. The Skyrider was well and truly aware that she had burnt her bridges. At first she’d been hopeful that he would follow her advice and find her one morning on the training ground. But after the trials started passing, the hope had faded. Then she had been angry, at both the Captain, herself, Vanessa and herself again.

Head bowed over a book, the Skyrider pushed her fingers into her dark hair, massaging her scalp as her eyes drifted over the page. It didn’t make any sense. She frowned at the words and lent back, scanning them from a distance. They still didn’t make any sense. The weather outside was bright, a promise of the next cycle to come. Sunshine baked the streets with only a few clouds drifting overhead. The city smelt of grass and spring flowers and she was here, inside, surrounded by piles of discarded books. Not that they’d been much help to her.

The second day after she’d bathed, she’d wandered through the city until standing in front of the University. The young woman had hesitated before making her way inside. She’d attended lectures and lessons at the place, but it was far from her natural habitat. It had only been through a vague knowledge and memory that she found the library at all, and once admitted she’d wandered without a clear idea of what she was searching for. She’d ended up sat on the floor, books piled as high as her head as she flicked through, caught up in the mythology of the Immortals. The names swum before her eyes and she tried to commit them to memory. It had grown dark before she’d remember her duties and fled, arriving in time for the next flight, but only just in time.

It had taken days of searching and returning to her growing collection of scrolls and bound texts that she’d found a painting, rolled up in one of the ancient scrolls. A depiction of the immortal, Vri. Elyna tilted her head to one side, studying it. This trial she had come prepared, her work with the Skyriders wouldn’t pull her away and the night was her own. She’d bought a small bag of dried fruits which she surreptitiously nibbled on and she had dressed for the warm weather outside, and the stuffy, airless atmosphere within. Her boots kicked off, her legs were cross at the ankle and tucked beneath the chair. Her shirt sleeves rolled back to the elbow and her hands shifting as she fidgeted, restless but determined.

The sentence still didn’t make any sense. Existential metamorphism, embodying physiological functions…what? What did this have to do with the Immortals? Scowling she flipped the book shut, keeping her finger in the page and looked once more at the cover. It was definitely a text about Immortal Mythology. Or it should have been. She returned to her page with a sigh.

She couldn’t seek Malcolm out; she wouldn’t. This was the only way she would learn anything about him, about what he had tried to tell her. It was warm though, and quiet at her table, hidden away between the stacks.
word count: 834
Malcolm
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Fiction had no place here in the library of Rynmere University, and row upon row of neatly packed books lined the shelves in perfect disorder. Nothing was ever where is should be in this place, and the young man that had just taken over as key librarian was doing his best to change that, this he explained, was the last time any of the teachers or students would see the place looking so neglected. The quiet room every now and then was punctured by the occasional cough or giggle, followed more often than not by a short, sharp shhh from some disgruntled reader.
Dust collected on some of the older, untouched books in the history section where Malcolm found himself, roving over the array of options to choose from, books by famous historical figures like Warren Gawyne and Henry Warrick, both known for their superb record keeping and detailed retelling of events, to the more modern writers, theorists, philosophers and truth-seekers alike. The captain had just come from one of his lectures on the settlement of each of the regions, some established years after their perceived founders had staked out a claim. It wasn’t common knowledge that forts, castles, villages and walls had been erected around the burial sites of each of the sacred seven, and never seen by the men and women that were believed to have initiated their establishment.
Malcolm plucked a dog-eared, blue, leather-bound book from a high shelf and sat down at a nearby table. His hand ran down over the soft spine and the symbol tooled with gold-leaf into the cover. His students were complaining again that the things he taught them were difficult to track down in any books on hand in both the university and city libraries. The trouble with the man’s teaching style was that it all stemmed from his memory of actual events, rather than the words some writer had later decided to publish, filling in the gaps with a jumble of irrelevant sentences that read rather beautifully, but spoke little of the truth. If things were going to improve, if he wanted them to stop questioning his source, he would have to do his research.
Slowly he traced the gilded letters of the title and opened the cover to the index. The old paper had an earthy, musty smell about it that assaulted the senses, one to this day Malcolm wasn’t sure if he disliked or not. Enthralled, the man found himself lost in the text and the age-spotted pages for a time until he turned to a missing sheet, a jagged scar in the book left there selfishly by the person that had torn it out. Listed in the open journal he kept with him most days were a few brief points he made regarding some of the information he had been able to find, and not all of it truthful, saw the left side of his mouth turn up in an amused half-smirk; at least now he would have something to work with.
Looking up from his work, Malcolm cast his gaze over the other library dwellers and fixed his stare on a dark-haired woman sat four or five tables away from his own. Immediately his thoughts turned to the noble woman who had consumed his every spare moment over the past few days, and by some trick of the eye he saw her, like some waking dream, lift her shoulders with a soft sigh and gaze longingly at the book before her. It took the captain a moment to realise the stranger he was staring at was actually Elyna, and with dry mouth and swollen heart he ducked his head and averted his gaze; had she already seen him, would she openly ignore or avoid him? Malcolm wet his lips, steadied his resolve and stepped away from the chair and table he had occupied for the last half break, to make his way across the room, taking the long way around, between the rows of cluttered shelving.
Through a gap in the books he peered at her from behind one of the shelves, not quite able to make out what the woman might be studying from where he stood, but if the location was any indication he had a fair idea. Snatching up another book from its keep, this time at random, Malcolm found an excuse to cross the woman’s path, his shadow cast upon the table, the outline blurred and indistinct; now he could see what she was reading, and slipped the book he had taken up into its new snug fit a row over. “Immortals,” Malcolm smiled, “I did not know you took an interest in such.” The man would gauge the woman’s reaction and take up a chair only if she appeared at ease in his presence.
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Elyna
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Elyna had cupped her hands around her eyes, trying to keep her lids open as she hopelessly scanned the same patch of information. A shadow fell over the table and she let out a soft noise of irritation, she’d been approached by more than a few curious scholars. But it blocked the fading light and she felt as though she’d been so close to understanding something; it had been teetering at the back of her mind. The young woman grasped at the thought before Malcolm spoke and she jumped, slamming the book shut, caught out in her guilty secret. Her arms stretched across the surface as though to cover up the name. But it was too late, he'd clearly seen

It wasn’t usually her cheeks that turned red, but embarrassed heat started at the base of her neck and spread upwards. She blinked at the man and held back a frosty retort to send him on his way. Once she’d managed to get her racing heartbeat under control she blinked quickly and looked down, searching for the words. It was hard though, to step away from the book. She’d been absorbed and it claimed her headspace. Like fighting through water, she waded back to reality and finally sank against the chair, “I’ve uh…” she wet her lips carefully, wishing she’d been able to smuggle a drink of any kind into the dry and dusty room.

“I suppose that recently I’ve had cause to consider them with more care,” she said slowly and lifted her dark gaze back to his. Her eyes had lightened in the past few trials, where before they’d been as dark as a dark room on a dark night, she’d noticed flecks of amber appearing. She hadn’t seen them for a while and had almost forgotten her own Biqaj heritage.

He was so close, almost close enough to touch. She could only hope that the desire she felt pooling in her abdomen wasn’t as painfully clear on her face. Elyna had not expected to see him again and the sudden surprise of his arrival had left her unprepared, as when he’d found her in the stables. She should guard herself, she knew and tried to remember that his wife had only just left him and that everything was impossible. But without time, it was hard to bring the defenses up, and she didn’t want to.

Elyna slid the closed book toward him, “is there a rule against burning books? This one…I don’t think anyone could make head or tail of this one…I'm sure they wouldn't miss it...”
Last edited by Elyna on Wed Apr 13, 2016 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total. word count: 459
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Though uninvited, Malcolm found cause to sit in the form of Elyna's question and the book she pushed in front of him. The captain pinched his lower lip gently between his teeth and tried not to smile too smugly. "Thou shalt seek knowledge," he reminded her of the Patron Saint of Knowledge, and founding father of the region of Burhan, this being one of the seven virtues of Rynmere's religion; no burning the books in other words.

Malcolm opened the book to discover that it was all about the Immortals and their domains. There was Faldrun, Immortal of fire, the sun, and turmoil, Ziell, overseer of winter, peace, and prophecies, and Daia, the deceased Immortal and epitome of companionship, prosperity, tailoring, and dance. He flicked through the pages, letting them run past the pad of his thumb quickly to find them settle open easily to the chapter about Vri. "Death, sadness, remembrance, and love," he read the words slowly and looked at the detailed depiction of the Immortal himself.

Malcolm hadn't explained to Elyna who his father was, but there were similarities between the two that he supposed she had probably already discovered through her research for herself. Malcolm closed the book after staring at the sketch for a while, he didn't need a book to tell him about his own father, and he wondered if Elyna had guessed. They were both tall and fair of skin, with dark hair and striking eyes. The man smiled, it had been some time since he had last seen the Immortal. "My mother was an Aukari," he told her, "a warrior named Aruki."

Carefully, he pulled up the white sleeves of his shirt, folding them back to the elbow so that he could turn his hands over and show Elyna the faded burn scars that still lingered there. "Ruled by their emotions, the Aukari," he explained, "theirs is a world of worship, fear, and suffering. They are weapons, trained to fight, brainwashed and ruled by the immortal, Faldrun. Aruki was holding me when she burned herself alive," Malcolm set his arms against the table then, the tops of them unscathed by the old burns that twisted the flesh below. "They say all Aukari are born with a fire inside them, it makes their skin feel feverish and keeps them warm during the cold seasons. When something upsets an Aukari enough to burn, sometimes they fail to control and put the fire out," he closed his eyes and even now could picture that charred remains.

Being only half Aukari, Malcolm found it easier to control his inner turmoil, but there had been times in his history where he thought he too would be consumed by flames. He looked across at Elyna to make sure he wasn't boring her and reached out to close his hand over hers, the gesture short lived as he then recalled that they were in a public place. Lowering his voice, he sought to tell her the truth, but chose first to speak it in his mother's tongue. "Në väz adarithi ädà èäth ïrrer, Vri ÿh ísk tarkiluss," he smiled and leaned close to repeat himself in common. "You are on the right path, Vri is my father." Sure Elyna had many questions of her own, Malcolm leaned back and waited.
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Elyna
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The young woman narrowed her eyes across at him before following up the action with a more playful retort, sticking her tongue out at him. Yes knowledge, yes Burhan – it was a shame the founder of her family hadn’t managed to pass on all of their genes to all of their descendants. Book learning didn’t come easily to the young woman, she grew restless too easily and had always been more comfortable out of the classroom and learning through actions.

The mood turned sombre as he flicked through the text, she leant forward, folding her arms on the table as she tried to peer at what he read aloud. She was shocked to hear that his mother was an Aukari. A race unwelcome in Rynmere, more so when she saw the scars lining his hands and she flinched on his behalf, pressing her nails into the table as she resisted the urge to reach out and touch him. In the end it was Malcolm who closed the distance between them and she let out the breath she’d been holding in. She turned her hand over, curling her fingers against his.

It was an explanation though, as to why his skin was always so warm, feverish almost. She couldn’t understand the words he spoke and shifted onto the edge of her seat, bowing her head forward to listen more clearly, her own hand retreating back to be folded in her lap.

Vri. Vri had sired the man before her. She pulled her own lip in beneath her teeth, mimicking his previous action, “does it hurt?” Elyna asked the question that had been burning in the back of her mind since that night on the road to Krom. She kept her voice low and found that she could no longer meet his eyes, “if you were to he-…help someone. Does it hurt?”
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"While my father oversees the domains of love and death, I find devotion and pain most akin to anything I could possibly relate my abilities to," he said quietly, but didn't want to leave it at that. Instead Malcolm got up, shifted his chair closer to Elyna's and opened the book so that it might only seem their close proximity was struck in order to share text. "I can take and give pain, but only physical pain, cut, illnesses, loss of limb," he explained, "anything I do take though becomes tenfold and takes twice as long to heal. All Mortalborns have different abilities, some never discover them, but all of us share a similar trait; we get sick, we heal slowly, and some say that is why Mortalnborns are usually so solitary."

A student he didn't recognise moved into their corner in search of a book, and Malcolm stopped what he was saying to read a passage from the text he held open. "Jesine is believed to be the first Mortalborn child of the Immortal Vri, who was later gifted the realm of Emea, the world of dreams." When the stranger moved on, the captain relaxed a little and glanced down at Elyna's hands, folded against her lap. "I can take memories from people, I can also convince them to believe things that may have never taken placed, and to those I have a strong connection with, I can... See them, feel what they feel no matter where they are, a village or half a world away," he admitted.

Malcolm was quiet for a while then, sure that this was all a lot to take in. "Of course all these things come at a cost, each time I use my abilities I age myself. If I never used them again I could live forever," but where's the fun in that, the look he gave her then might suggest. Of course Malcolm was conscious of what he was doing to himself each time he was forced to use his gifts, he had seen and experienced a lot that the world had to offer and unlike some of the other immortal's he had crossed paths with in his time, was not jaded by the thought of an extended life.

The captain drew the book nearer to him and let his left arm fall over the arm of Elyna's chair so that he could take her hand blindly, gently lacing his fingers with her own. He ran his thumb over the top of her hand and squeezed lightly, as if to say I've missed you. "Some things are worth dying for," he said then, leaving the woman to process the words however she saw fit.
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Elyna
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There was something painful in the acute awareness she had of the dark-haired man. It was impossible not to move in her chair as he moved closer, sparks racing down her spine. It was intense and bought back unbidden memories of their night together. She found it hard to concentrate on what he told her, despite her best efforts and genuine interest in the subject. Elyna swallowed, hard as the words found root in her mind.

So he hadn’t been exaggerating. He could take the memories away. He’d taken away her physical pain. She stared blindly at the book between them and once again felt the unpleasant experience of the world slipping away from her. As though she was standing still and everything else was racing off ahead. It was disorientating and her lungs filled with the now familiar sensation of being crushed and starved of air. Her fingertips and toes were tingling and she blinked quickly, trying to clear the black spots from her eyes.

The Skyrider held onto his fingers like a lifeline, the sensation grounding her enough to fight her way back. Some things are worth dying for. Surely he couldn’t mean… less than a cycle ago they’d been strangers. Heat burned the back of her neck and she closed her eyes, sick of the room spinning out of control. She managed to drag in a breath.

It was then that she gulped, "Mal...I just keep thinking that if you hadn't - I would...I'd have gone long before Simon," the poison from two wounds would have spread through her blood before they'd reached Krom. But then, if they'd known sooner, Simon could have lived.

Twice he had saved her life. Twice he had almost sacrificed himself for her. Some things are worth dying for. The lump caught in her throat and she coughed. Did he even know what he was saying? If she was right about his intentions she couldn't help but feel a little dizzy. She didn't deserve such devotion.

“Do you carry them too?” She glanced at him, “the memories?”
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It was all still too raw to think about, the attack that had killed Simon, one of the bravest Knights in the unit, and had almost taken Heath's life. Malcolm had known something was wrong after taking Elyna's wounds from her, and had he not stumbled from the tavern when he did, their numbers might be a lot smaller now. Malcolm hadn't considered until now that he had saved Elyna's life with the abuse of his gifts. He had merely intended to make the rest of the journey easier on her and share one of his secrets, hoping it might encourage the woman to open up to him if she realised that he could be trusted.
The subject quickly changed back to one of his other abilities, and with little to add regarding what could have been, what could not be changed, Malcolm let it pass and instead answered her question about taking memories from people. "I would see it exactly as you remember it, as if it had been one of my own all along, while you would forget it ever existed," he told her, "or," the man smiled playfully, "I could make you believe that your best friend is a house cat called George, and that it's bad luck to walk through a door unless you do so backwards," Malcolm laughed then and let go of Elyna's hand in case anyone turned to look at them and where the laughter was coming from.

Someone at the far end of the library scowled at them and Malcolm offered an apologetic wave before sliding Elyna's book in front of her. "You should borrow it," he suggested, "it looks interesting."

Quietly, he turned in his chair towards the woman and touched the back of her neck tentatively, moving his thumb and forefinger over her skin, drawing them up to her hairline before sinking down again only to repeat the pattern. The fingers of his free hand found Elyna's arm and traced all the way down to her hand, admiring the soft, smooth skin. "Tomorrow night," Malcolm whispered, "I finish patrol just after sunset. I want to take you to dinner," he admitted, "and I won't take no for an answer."
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Elyna tried to imagine what he was telling her. Taking away those most painful memories and keeping them, but the person you had done that for, never knowing? He'd have to watch them living on, knowing their secrets and never sharing them. With the way her own memories sometimes seem to crowd her thoughts out, she wondered if it could drive him mad, to hold into such things and fill his own heart with other peoples pain. The young woman felt a sudden urge to wrap her arms around him, to try and protect him from the world and his abilities. She realised though, that he'd prop ably find the instinct bizarre. After all, he was immortal, or he could be.

Malcolm was clearly amused by his own joke and she smiled. If she were to believe her best friend was a cat called George- well if it were true, Biscuit would be happy she was sure. Elyna circled her fingers over the green bound cover, "I don't dare," she admitted, "I don't get along with books. The last one I borrowed got eaten by a Volarean," she admitted with a rueful grin, "I'd forgotten it was in my bag and what scavenging little bas- beasts some of them can be," the Skyrider lifted her shoulder in a shrug, "I was amazed they let me back in actually," she lent to one side, peering down the length of the room to the door, "it seems to be all new staff though."

She realised she was talking for the sake of such, but couldn't help it. There was so much to think about and absorb. So many more questions to ask. His fingertips slid over her skin, causing what felt like sparks of lightening shooting down her spine. Her breath caught in her throat and she nodded, thoroughly convinced it was a good idea, realising that if he carried on like this, she would temporarily agree to anything and not regret it. His touch served much like a drug and it was with difficulty that she stood and broke the contact, praying he wouldn't realise that he'd left her knees weak as she straightened.

"Tomorrow night," she agreed again, more clearly. Her thoughts were already racing and someone hissed down the room at them again. Nose wrinkled she collected her bag and swung it onto her shoulder. Was it really such a good idea? Dinner? In public?

The young woman looked across at the son if Vri again and found herself smiling at him, "maybe you can explain why you are here," she gestured to the rows of dusty tomes.
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Elyna


Skills

Skills:
  • Socialization: 2
  • Research: 1
  • Investigation: 1
  • Storytelling: 1

Knowledge

Basic Knowledge:
  • Location: Rynmere University
  • Location: Rynmere University Library
  • Book: Immortal Mythology
  • Immortal: Vri
  • Vri: Domain of Death, Sadness, Remembrance, and Love
  • Malcolm: Half-Aukari
  • Jesine: The first Mortalborn child of the Immortal Vri
  • Emea: World of dreams
  • Race: Aukari

Specialized Knowledge:
  • Rynlism Virtue: Thou shalt seek Knowledge
  • Malcolm: Mother’s name was Aruki
  • Malcolm: Mother was an Aukari warrior
  • Malcolm: Mother burned herself alive while holding Malcolm
  • Malcolm: Father is the Immortal Vri
  • Aukari: Ruled by their emotions
  • Aukari: Brainwashed and trained to fight
  • Aukari: Ruled by the Immortal Faldrun
  • Aukari: Born with a fire inside them
  • Aukari: Feverishly warm skin
  • Aukari: Can burn themselves alive if not disciplined
  • Malcolm: Can only take and give physical pain, cuts, illnesses, and loss of limb
  • Malcolm: Pain taken is increased tenfold and takes twice as long to heal
  • Mortalborns: All get sick and heal slowly
  • Mortalborns: All have different abilities
  • Mortalborns: Usually solitary
  • Malcolm: Can take entire memories from people
  • Malcolm: Can convince people to believe things that have not happened
  • Malcolm: Can see and feel people he has a strong connection to
  • Malcolm: Ages every time he uses his abilities
  • Malcolm: Believes you’re worth dying for
  • Jesine: Was gifted the realm of Emea

Loot & Consequences

Please remember to deduct the cost of the dried fruits from your ledger.

Comments

You always do such a wonderful job of showing Elyna's emotional reactions to Malcolm and describing what's it's like to have a crush and feel the beginnings of love. Her feelings pop right off the page. And it's so true to life, isn't it, the way she teeters between anger and adoration when he doesn't seek her out.

I also really enjoyed your opening post. Both yours and Malcolm's helped to set the scene at the Library. I felt like I was right there with you, watching your characters interact. This was such a lovely thread to read. There wasn't a whole lot by way of skills, but lots of knowledge to be had for all! I'm looking forward to the next one.


Malcolm


Skills

Skills:
  • Socialization: 3
  • Research: 2
  • Seduction: 2
  • Observation: 1

Knowledge

Basic Knowledge:
  • Location: Rynmere University
  • Location: Rynmere University Library
  • Historical Figure: Warren Gawyne
  • Historical Figure: Henry Warrick
  • Book: Immortal Mythology
  • Immortal: Faldrun
  • Immortal: Ziell
  • Immortal: Daia
  • Faldrun: Domain of Fire, Sun, and Turmoil
  • Ziell: Domain of Winter, Peace, and Prophecies
  • Daia: Domain of Companionship, Prosperity, Tailoring, and Dance
  • Daia: Deceased
  • Vri: Domain of Death, Sadness, Remembrance, and Love
  • Rynlism: Burhan, Patron Saint of Knowledge
  • Jesine: The first Mortalborn child of the Immortal Vri
  • Emea: World of dreams

Specialized Knowledge:
  • Rynlism Virtue: Thou shalt seek Knowledge
  • Sacred Seven: Forts erected around each burial site
  • Jesine: Was gifted the realm of Emea
  • Elyna: Worth dying for
  • Elyna: Not a book person

Loot & Consequences

N/A

Comments

Well done! I love, love, love the way Mal snuck up on Elyna in the library, all hesitant and unsure if she would want to talk to him. You also write romance really well, which especially comes across in the subtle gestures and touches.

My only piece of feedback would be to encourage you to be cautious going forward about sharing information with Elyna that your PC doesn't have on their character sheet (ex. Aukari knowledge). I do understand that this can be difficult for Malcolm, since he has been alive for so many arcs.

As a final note, I really enjoyed your opening post. Both yours and Elyna's helped to set the scene at the Library. I felt like I was right there with you, watching your characters interact. This was such a lovely thread to read, with lots of knowledge to be had for all! I'm looking forward to the next one.


If you feel I've missed any skills or knowledge, or if you have any questions about your review, please don't hesitate to send me a quick PM. Thank you!

xoxo
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