Chapter 8 (21st of Iecanaon in the year 6199)

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Dearest Cassandra, I hope that this note finds you in better spirits than when you left

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Dearest Cassandra, I hope that this note finds you in better spirits than when you left. I know that you were contemplating a great many things at the time, and my deepest desire is for you to have a clear mind about all things. Know that both my days and nights have been very empty without you. While work on the ships preoccupies much of my time, it does not consume me as much as thoughts of you do. Please be safe and careful. As you are well aware, there are those who would wish to do you harm. I do not wish to receive news that something terrible has befallen you. That would devastate my heart.

Love always, Deran.

"Sub-General Nightwing!" Stumbling down the palace hall, trying to catch up, the soldier callout after her as she marched passed him with focused anger in her blazing eyes

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"Sub-General Nightwing!" Stumbling down the palace hall, trying to catch up, the soldier callout after her as she marched passed him with focused anger in her blazing eyes. "You can't go in there!" Upon making up the distance between them, he placed a hand on the young woman's shoulder in an ill-advised attempt to stop her.

Cassandra jerked back and away from his touch, her sword drawn swift and fluid. With a strength that belied her size, she pinned the guard against the stone wall and pressed the edge of her blade against his throat. She watched as terror flooded over him, able to tell he was realizing the stories about her anger were true and that he recognized the action as a grave error in judgement.

The torchlight of the hall glimmered off the golden hilt of her sword. "Don't." She hissed through clamped teeth. "Don't ever touch me again." She leaned on him with all her weight for added emphasis. "I'll go where I please. And I please to go see General Kayzar."

"But- But General Kayzar told me not to admit you."

Cassandra had to concede that this pathetic excuse for a soldier showed remarkable courage by trying to explain his plight. Especially for being under her blade. And she felt pity for him, but only the slightest bit. General Kayzar had put him in a no-win situation. He had to know this pathetic wimp of a man wouldn't be able to stop her.

"I understand." She pressed herself closer, making sure her words were clear and there was no chance of misinterpretation. "If you let me pass, General Kayzar will have you killed for insubordination. But if you don't let me pass, I will kill you right now." The guard gulped. "So, what will it be?"

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