Misfits

Seated on the shores of Lake Lovalus, Rharne serves as the home of the Lighting Knights, the Thunder Priestesses, and the Merchant's guild. This beautiful trade city is filled with a happy and contented people who rarely need an excuse to party.

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Faith Augustin Champion
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92nd Zi'da
Faith looked at Padraig and sighed, aware of what the answer was before he answered. "You can see it in this too, can't you?" She was trying on clothes to try and hide the suddenly visible pregnancy which she was experiencing. Not one of them did, not even coming anywhere close. She was sitting down to do it, she felt strangely tired this morning but she hadn't yet put two and two together as to why. Adrenaline from the dream they had just shared was still pushing her, but it was also rapidly running out. "How do I explain this to the Order? To Mattieus, I'm supposed to be working with him this afternoon."

She put down the top which she hadn't been able to button up with a huff, but even the way that she moved when she did that was different, clumsy and awkward. She hadn't had the time to get used to the changes in her body over the last months and she was off balance and unsure on her feet. Which was, of course the other thing. Faith had been frantically adding in bits to her clothing over the last few trials, since they found out, via a visit from the Immortal Aelig, that not only was she pregnant, but she was very pregnant. However, in the doing of that, her naivity about such things was now showing.

"No one told me that it isn't just my stomach that gets bigger. Look at me." Hauling herself up again, she turned side on to him, her silhouette very clearly revealing the range of changes she had undergone.
"I'm all bump and bosom. I'm only a little person, Padraig, I feel like I'm going to keel over forwards. But I didn't let out any of the clothes across the chest, so my options are limited."

She pulled a large cardigan on and wrapped it around herself. "No wonder I've felt so tired, if I've been hauling this around." Faith put her hands on to the very distinctive bump, wondering what it must be like to be excited at this, pleased about it. Not terrified would be a start.

"Alright, well we're not hiding it. We're going to have to go with Plan B." Except she had no idea what Plan B actually was, of course. "I can't practice medicine like this. I'm at risk of falling onto a patient if I have to lean over them and like this I'm probably more of a weight." It was a poor attempt at a joke and she knew it, but then none of this was funny.

Faith stepped towards him and took his hands in hers. She hadn't looked at herself in the mirror, but he could see how she looked quite easily. "We knew this was coming, I guess." It was something that neither of them were happy about, but for her it was wrapped up in all sorts of fears about their relationship. Emotionally, but now, physically as well it seemed. She leant herself against him and nestled her head into his shoulder, wrapping her arm around his waist and just standing for a moment and in that moment she started to relax. Closing her eyes she felt herself start to nod off even though they were standing up and she looked up at him with a sad smile. "I'm so tired, I could sleep all trial and I have aches everywhere. Have I had them the last few weeks and not known? That's strange." She lifted her hand to her temple and rubbed, closing her eyes and willing away the headache that was suddenly pounding.

"I don't feel so great. I wonder if I should have been doing things differently." Faith had made no alterations to her behaviour or demanding work schedule even since she'd found out. In fact, she'd pulled more shifts at the order than usual trying to keep herself busy, not really considering the fact that she was pregnant, and she was exhausted. Now that the illusion was gone, she looked pale and had dark circles under her eyes. She'd been pregnant all this time, after all and she'd been living her life normally, which meant working two jobs, going on military campaigns, getting stabbed in the shoulder and concussed when thrown from a horse.

Even on this vacation, she'd been pulling night shifts and working hard at the Order, not to mention the fact that she was actually six months pregnant and traipsing around Rharne before getting flung around by a serial killer. With the lifting of the illusion, came the lifting of the illusion that this was alright on her physically. Her bump, it appeared, brought with it issues in her lower legs and ankles, for example, which were quite badly swollen, although she hadn't yet noticed. "Padraig? Do you think it would be alright if I just rested for a while today? I need to sit down, I think." Leaning against him she realised that the chair seemed a long way back, but she just had to put one foot in front of another before getting there and sitting down with a relieved sigh.

"Maybe, ummm.. maybe we need to do some reading on what I should and shouldn't be doing now?" Faith looked at him and tried to smile, grabbing at his hand much like she had so long ago, sitting on the chair in their house in Andaris. "I'm sorry. I'll be alright in a break, I'm sure. I just feel a little lightheaded. Padraig, I don't think we're going to be able to hide this, you know. I can rest more, maybe cut back on my shifts." It was a genuine smile she gave him then, the closest to her normal smile that he'd seen since the hairbrush incident. "Immortals, I've become all weak and lily-livered. I'll be fine in half a break, I'm sorry."
word count: 1035
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'Immaculate conception?' was the first thought that dropped into his mind when Faith asked, just how she'd explain things to the Order. A dry wit had always been his, often without thought or fear of consequence. But if Padraig had learned anything from his time in Emea, it was that sometimes, it was better not to say the first thing that popped into your head. Especially in circumstances like these.

"You're right," he said instead, looking Faith's way as she struggled with the clothing. "You'll have to tell them something if anyone wonders, and nothing short of an invisibility spell is going to do the trick." The clothing certainly wasn't. She was tiny to start with, so her newer, rounder shape would be all the more noticeable. He was having trouble not noticing it. "If anyone asks," and he felt clear that should someone ask, then they shouldn't have, "You might tell them that the Immortals had a lark with an ordinary pregnancy, and sped it along just a little."

Of course, that meant implying that it was his, theirs together. Which would make things more complicated where others were concerned, when the time came to relinquish the child. But otherwise, Padraig determined that only the least sensitive clods would actually inquire after the child's paternity, and ought to be ignored or brought up short.

"It's simple physics," he finally said, with some remote semblance of a smile. "Gravity, redistribution of weight. Your center of balance has changed, and you'll need to adjust accordingly." The way she stood, walked, even sat down or got up again. "You haven't had time to do that, like anyone else might, who's body changed more gradually. I guess there's Vri to thank for the suddenness of it," he added. Also, he guessed, for the sudden need to concoct unlikely stories for the benefit of others who couldn't help but notice.

They hadn't touched much since all of this had come to light. Some. But not nearly to the extent that they had before. The shock, the equilibrium lost, the uncertainty, all of it. But it hadn't changed how he felt about her. When she took his hands, there was no hesitation, and when she leaned against and clung to him, he offered what steadiness and reassurance of his own that he could.

And yes, they'd known it was coming. Except that until now, he'd managed to keep himself in a place of not acknowledging that. So long as what he saw was what he always had seen, he could convince himself that it was all a nasty trick played by an Immortal, and that they'd wake up one morning to discover that none of it had ever happened. Except that now, there was no denying it. "It's no wonder you're tired. The past months of not knowing. That night in the woods, soaking wet and sleeping on the ground, the campaign, the travel, all of it has caught up to you."

But then they hadn't known. "You should rest, eat plenty of good food, don't work when you're tired or struggling. Make up for the time you didn't know and let your body adjust. It's not a weakness. And if you want books to read, make me a list and I'll get them for you," he told her.
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She looked at him in some surprise when he suggested what she told others, but she nodded her head. "Thank you," she whispered and smiled the slightest of smiles. It was kind of him to offer that, there was no doubting it wasn't an easy thing to offer at all. She raised her hand to gently stroke his cheek in a brief gesture of gratitude, and a lot more in truth. She wouldn't do it, not for a moment would she put him in the situation of people congratulating him or asking about plans for their life together with a baby. "I thought I'd say nothing, really, it's not anyone's business. But I'll keep that in my pocket, just in case I bump into a Venora or something." They had discussed it, she'd thought about it and they'd discussed it more and Faith was adamant that Tristan wouldn't find out.

"Physics?" Faith raised an eyebrow at him and it was as close to a normal expression as she'd worn for a number of trials. It was fleeting and gone again in a few seconds, but it was there. "You're right my center of gravity has shifted. Out." She shook her head, ever so slightly her eyes seeking his as they almost managed normal. Her hands slipped into his and he took hold of hers right back. The feeling of his arm steadying her, too, was more than welcome and Faith just closed her eyes for a moment. Holding on to him, feeling him standing steady and holding her.

She needed to sit, though to rest and she made her way to the chair and sat with a very genuine sigh of relief. He spoke sense about what she should do and she nodded. "I think you're right. Immortals, Padraig, when I got thrown from that horse." There was a miracle right there, she thought and Faith frowned slightly. However, she dismissed the thought she had and pushed it away; it was probably nothing more than hopefullness talking, after all. Faith closed her eyes briefly and considered what he'd said. "I don't mind, I'd like to read. I want to learn everything, you know that." There was something bothering her, though, twitching on the edge of her consciousness and Faith suddenly realised something he'd said. As she did, she sat up and looked at Padraig with an expression of concentration on her face.

"Vri? You dreamed about him too? The.. the hairbrush man was there, Vri called him Aelig. He did, oh, he did awful things to you." She moved forward in the chair and took his hand in hers. "You called him a boob and we were poisoning Tristan and then you were hurt and I was so afraid I'd lose you. I prayed to Famula and Vri, did you.. do you remember that? And Vri came and said it was Aelig... and then he.." Her mind raced and she started to get up before sitting back down at the spinning of the room. "Grab that book, love, please? The one on the Immortals?" She'd taken it out of the library and was reading about them, or planning to.

Assuming he did, as he did, Faith did her best to concentrate. "He was at Ne'haer and the tomb, wasn't he? Padraig..I got thrown from that horse, thrown by the Strangler, stabbed. If I was pregnant in Ne'haer with everything that happened there? And Moseke touched my cheek and told me to have faith. All those things that have happened. How is this child safe inside me still?" She looked at him and her expression was one of intense concentration. "He sews chaos by illusion." Her face showed, for the first time, a glimmer of hope and she turned to Padraig to see what he thought. "Why are we believing him? He sews chaos and we annoyed him in Ne'haer. What if this is about us?" There were more things that she needed to think, she knew, more things that were pieces to the puzzle, if her head wasn't so damn fuzzy.
word count: 712
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Better that neither of them bumped into a Venora. Not in Rharne. Not anywhere. But there was nothing easy about any of this. It would complicate things was someone to ask after the child's father, but she was right. It was no one's business, and it would be the height of impropriety for anyone to ask.

He couldn't help grinning, just a little, when she referred to just where things had shifted. Sure, he could have said she'd expanded, exponentially overnight. But it didn't seem any wiser than having called an Immortal a boob. No matter that in spite of it all, he still stood firm by that assessment. "I'll get you some books from the library then," he offered. "I've got several here on physics, but you'll find them rather dull reading after awhile."

But the dream. Vri, Aelig and the rest of it? He'd mentioned it offhandedly without thinking. But they hadn't spoken of it and in fact he'd never been sure if it was only him. It had certainly felt more real than an ordinary dream, or nightmare, and he'd woken feeling strangely numb and unsettled. But not wanting to unsettle her more, he hadn't mentioned it to now. "I did," he said, leaning forward in his own chair and frowning. "All of it." He remembered all of it, he meant.

"How can that be?" he asked. But at the same time, he stood up and looked for the book she asked for, then brought it back to her. "You mean Aelig?" he asked, sitting back down when she asked about the tomb. "I think so, yes." But they'd both been through so much since then. Her, more than him and even before that. How it could be that neither she, nor the child, had succumbed to any of it, he couldn't begin to guess. But if it was about them instead? A part of him thought it was wishful thinking on her part.

He frowned, trying to sort it all out and shook his thread. "We offended more immortals than just Aelig that trial." At least he had, and he had a vial of immortal blood to prove it. "But Faith, if you're suggesting what I think you are, how can that be? If it was all an illusion, then the herbs weren't tea. And by the looks of you...Well I'm no expert on how women carry, but you look too far along for it to be...about us." And even if it was possible, somehow, how could they ever know for sure?

"But," he considered and fell into silence for a trill or three, thinking back. "When Famula appeared to us and marked you, wouldn't she have known then and told you?" he asked. About her being pregnant that was, and it being Tristan's.
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By Famula's lantern but it was good to see him smile, a genuine grin even though it was a fleeting thing. She smiled in response to his silence when she commented on her center of gravity and he, most determinedly, didn't. It didn't change that she looked awful, but it changed how she felt at least a little and that had to be a good thing. "I like physics. It's what you do and I like to understand it. But yes, please, if you wouldn't mind," more than just physics books would be good, reading would keep her mind occupied.

The realisation that they'd shared the dream of Vri though? That was major news to the young mother-to-be and Faith sat up, reaching out to touch his face. "He hurt you. I thought he'd killed you. You remember what I told you about Vri? The Immortal of love, amongst other things. We are the light for each other in the darkness. Did my prayers really call him?" Faith tried to take it in, considered it. "My dream with Kura was real, Padraig, we both remember it. This. What he did, when he put his hand on my stomach? It's got to be a dream like that, hasn't it? Maybe it happens when Immortals and Mortalborns are in dreams or something." Thinking back, working it through in her mind, Faith looked at him and her face showed her disappointment. "This slave... do you know how long it's been since I called myself that? Three sentences and I was back there." In Athart, they weren't allowed names or to refer to themselves as people. She couldn't let that detract her though.

"It was. They told us in the hall who we were facing. Aelig, that was a name. It was. The illusion on the roof, it's his domain, see?" She turned the book, searching and then showing him. Faith rubbed her temple, thinking. She was suggesting exactly what he thought she was and she frowned, grabbed some parchment and did some quick calculations.

"Alright. I'm reckoning I'm about six months in. According to this," she slid the maths over for him to check, "that means this baby was conceived at the beginning of Saun? I've fought zombies by the dozen, flown on a dragon, been beaten unconscious in a bar fight where they kicked my stomach repeatedly, broken my ribs on the side of a boat, fought shadow beast, got beaten by the Venora head butler for spilling water umm.. there was the horse, the stabbing, the Tomb. Even the men who split my lip when we first got together. Padraig... " He asked how she could be that far along and how they could ever know and Faith shrugged slightly.

"I guess that excuse I put in my pocket could actually be true, in terms of an Immortal messing with us and speeding things or something?" He spoke about Famula and the mark she had received and Faith's eyes widened. "You're right. Immortals but, she wouldn't be fooled into putting her mark on me if I was illusion.. illusionified? Is that a word?" Faith looked up at him and there were tears in her eyes, but a real expression of hope, too. "Padraig what if it's him messing with us and we are letting him? What if this is our baby?"

She reached out her hand to him, holding on to him and looking at their hands there, together, as she spoke. "What if what I said in the dream is right? He wants what we have, a love that is so ... so right that Vri himself hears and feels it? He wants it and he can't have it so he's messing with it and we're letting him?" Lifting her head, Faith looked at him through teary, exhausted eyes. "But the nature of illusion means we might never know. There might always be a doubt."

Whilst the words were a statement, there was no doubting it. When she spoke them, it was a question. More than that, it was one they would both have to answer.
Last edited by Faith Augustin Champion on Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:45 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 716
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"It didn't hurt, really," Padraig said, frowning and looking for a way to explain what he'd experienced, courtesy Aelig. "Not physically anyway...At least, not at the time. I felt nothing. Saw nothing, heard nothing, tasted nothing. I don't even know if I shouted or cried out, or if I laid still or moved around. All my senses were gone, except for thinking. It was like," he added, pausing while he looked for just the right word. "Being in a vacuum."

He'd woken the next morning with a sore chin, apparently from falling, and had felt a little numb afterwards. But there'd been no more last effects than that. He remembered what Faith had told him about Vri. But he hadn't heard her prayers in the dream, or witnessed the Immortal's arrival. And he'd been a little too groggy in the immediate aftermath to have observed much of Vri's actions.

Aelig, however, had known just the right buttons to push. The right words to use to harm and hurt her. "They were words Faith," he told her. "An immortal's words. But they've got no more power than that of any mortal's. Not any more than you choose to give them." So, Aelig was the Immortal of illusion. He couldn't even begin to take in all she'd been through, before they'd met and after. It ought to have been enough to kill her, some of it, much less a child growing inside her. "If you're genuinely six months in, then it's most certainly Tristan's."

"But." There were too many of those, and it was enough to boggled the mind. "Ordinarily, I'd say it was wishful thinking, and I worry a little that it is. But if you say Famula wouldn't have been fooled by the illusion, well, you'd know better than me. I'd tend to think that some sort of manipulation of time, unlikely as it would ordinarily seem, would be more likely than a pregnancy surviving all that your body has been through."

He sat back again and frowned. "You're right. We might never know for sure. But it's something to think about isn't it? You've said you don't want this, and not just because we've believed this was Tristan's child," he reminded her. "We've talked about it before, whether or not we wanted children. But we talked about it when it was only a concept. Now, no matter whose child it is, it's a part of you and I know it makes the decision a difficult one either way. If it was a part of us then? You and me together? How would you feel then?" he asked her.
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Was it wishful thinking? It could be, she knew and there was no doubting that it was a powerful motivation, but Faith really didn't think that was all it was. She looked at him and lifted up her right hand, revealing the tattoo-like brand around her wrist. "The reason I'm never cold is because I sense and manipulate my blood. But this is a mark with a tiny amount of her power in it. Famula's domains are souls, resurrection, servitude and blood. I absolutely have faith that, were there another soul inside me or a bloodflow in the way that I now feel, then she would have known. Vri knew, immediately and he is death, sorrow, remembrance and love. Come to that, so did Kura and she's a mortalborn, not an Immortal." There was no doubting it, to Faith, Famula would have known.

As for the unlikely nature of time being sped up, she raised an eyebrow. "Like a boat from Andaris to Ne'haer taking three trials unlikely? Or shadow creatures which disappear when you kill them unlikely? Maybe portals to Oscillus or disappearing brands and scars unlikely? You bursting into flames or me being devoured by bugs unlikely? Maybe, just maybe, come to that, maybe it's as unlikely that there will ever be two people so in love who met how we did. But there you go, we're just racking up the impossible." It was almost like old times, she considered with a slight smile just lifting one side of her mouth. "But apparently, it's not as unlikely as Tristan and I making a superbaby who can withstand all ills despite the fact that no one knows it's there, is it? You take your scientific mind and wrap it around how unlikely it is that an unborn child survived all that, got missed by not just one but actually a shed load of immortals who knew they were fighting illusion but didn't mind mine in a hall full of them. Do you think Moseke might have noticed? Jesine? U'frek when I gave him his stew might have mentioned it. Speeding up time is tame in comparison and fits the facts better too."

He said it was something to think about and she nodded. Then, however, he sat back and he spoke and Faith looked at him with serious silver grey eyes. Unconsciously, her hand moved to the swell of her stomach as he asked her to consider how she would feel if this child was theirs. It wasn't an easy or straightforward answer and she didn't answer for a few moments as she gathered together her thoughts. As always, though, her hands and their movements told of her thoughts and emotions, in quite a different way. It was the first time she'd touched it, after all, at the thought that the bump might be of their making. Faith spoke in a quiet voice, slowly and carefully. "I have no concept of motherhood, Padraig. No concept of childhood. I'm terrified." That wasn't going to be changing any time soon and she knew it.

"But," such a small word, but it contained a world of emotions and Faith looked at him with cautious hope. She was trying to contain it but the hope was there. "If this baby is ours?" Faith sighed and shook her head, unable to speak for a moment then irritation crossed her face and she sat up again, leaning forward to take his hand. "I am shoddy at this and I am likely to be worse as a mother. If I had found out today that I was pregnant in a normal way then we would be talking about all the options, including taking the root to make it no longer the case. I don't know what I'd want to do then." She had to be honest with him about that and there was no doubting what she said. The terror was very real for her. "But this baby has to be born at this point and if we made it? If this is our baby then it is our responsibility and we'll just have to learn what to do to keep it alive and clean and make it sleep and things because at least we will both be sure that it will be loved." For such an enormous statement, she delivered it as calmly as she did anything else.

Then, though she looked at him with a raised eyebrow and a very genuine question. "But that's what I think. To be clear, I believe that this is our child. I want to think that, its true, but it fits the facts better than anything else and I have faith. I have faith in Famula and I have faith in Vri and damnit all but I have faith in us too and Vri looked at both of us, Padraig, not just me. He did." She looked at him with what seemed to be the inevitable tears in her eyes but there were much deeper emotions at play here. "But what about you? I hate this 'what do I think, what do you think'. It's rubbish. I want to be in your arms, wrapped around each other and wrapped up in each other and talking about it as us, deciding as us, not as you there and as me half way across the room. I want us." At least, she considered, she was being clear about what she felt. "I can be sure, but if the doubt is too much for you and I would understand if it was, then we go back to where we already are and that's fine. That's where I am, but if it isn't where you are then we go with you. Not because you're in charge but because I can take a step to where you are, if you can't be where I am and we need to be together." Because there didn't seem to be any guarantees available to them, so right now that was up to him and what he was feeling.
word count: 1047
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If the Immortal Famula had known, would she have mentioned it? Would it have changed the interaction any that evening? Something told Padraig that she would have, and it would have. But Faith would know better than him, and he would trust in her sense of it. Which in itself seemed to point to something other than they'd been led to believe.

As for the rest, she made good points, and in a way he hadn't seen her do since all of this started. She was awfully snippy when she was pregnant. He didn't say that of course. But in fact for a second there she reminded him of the Faith that he knew best, the one that gave as good as she got. And as maddening as it was at times, the one he loved most. He wouldn't complain, though he was, on impulse, tempted to point out that while he hadn't actually been consumed by flames, and she hadn't actually had insects crawling out of her eyeballs that trial, she was in fact very, very pregnant. Instead, he swallowed his impulses and quirked a brow at her. "Point taken."

So, she sat back and placed her hand on her newly expanded middle and his gaze slipped there too, for the first time considering that the child inside her, the one nestled below her heart, might just be theirs together. She was terrified at the thought. And frankly, so was he. Because it meant not only that there was this new possibility, it also could change the outcome for both them and the child. It could help but do that.

And for the first time since Aelig had shown up in their room, there was a little bit of panic building in his expression. There'd been plenty of other emotions before. But not this one. And yet, for all that they'd discussed any number of options before, there was only one now. And ultimately they couldn't be sure? He knew deep down they'd have to rely on faith and no matter the child's true origins, believing it meant that they'd have to believe it even without proof. Not to, wasn't fair to the child, nor them either.

Still. Yes it was their responsibility, but..."Can we?" Do a fair job of it, he meant. "We've never had anything to care for but a cat," he said. "I've stepped on two or more of her tails, any number of times. And I've forgotten to feed her nearly as often. I think though, that if we believe it, then we have to really believe it, and go forward that way," he finally said. "And what we do must be based on a belief, provable or no, that this is our child together." Could he, when there might be a possibility they were wrong? He believed he could.

"It looks like we'll be parents then." As for what sort of parents they'd make, well, he felt as ill equipped as she did right now. And it was that which kept the expression of panic firmly in place.
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Aelig: Sews Chaos by Illusion
Aelig’s Illusion: Oblivion
Aelig’s Oblivion: A Vacuum
Physics: Centre of Balance
Physics: Redistribution of Weight
Pregnancy: Aches and Tiredness
Pregnancy: Everything Gets Bigger
Pregnancy: Who is the Father?
Vri: Immortal of Love


Awarded Extras

Loot & Losses Injuries
None None
Fame Devotion
None Thanks to Vri: +1
Trust in Famula: +1
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Padraig


Peer Review

Story: 5/5
Collaboration: 5/5
Structure: 5/5
These points can/cannot be spent in magic


Awarded Knowledge

Aelig: Sews Chaos by Illusion
Aelig’s Oblivion: A Vacuum
Physics: Centre of Balance
Physics: Redistribution of Weight
Faith’s Pregnancy: Aches and Tiredness
Faith’s Pregnancy: Everything Gets Bigger
Faith’s Pregnancy: Who is the Father
Vri: Immortal of Love


Extras

Loot & Losses Injuries
None None
Fame Devotion
None None
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Comments

Watching them try to reason this out is giving me so much joy and amusement. :twisted:


If you have any questions, comments or criticism about your review, feel free to send me a PM and we can discuss it.
Thank ye.
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