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AnnLeigh Clair McGregor
8/4/99 AnnLeigh Clair McGregor

The captain reflected on how he got here once again. He had accepted the invitation to visit from a great wizard. The messenger had them leave for the kingdom immediately. Just before twilight, the messenger asked his charge to wait quietly until he returned to a clearing. Growls, screams, and rumblings were already starting to fill the evening air. The captain waited as instructed, but had the desire to follow his footsteps back to the boat. He resisted the urge. None of the equipment seemed to work in this land, not even a simple compass. A few moments later the messenger appeared riding a great hulking beast that looked somewhat like a cat. He commented that it had to be twilight to stalk and catch one still dozing to be able to do this. He seemed to enjoy bragging about his skill in this department. The messenger chided the captain to hurry and mount. They still had a great distance to go, he stated. Captain mounted right behind this messenger and felt the great beast set off at a fast pace through the remainder of the forest. Once, the great beast came too near some trees that hung low overhead. It lowered itself to come throught them without dragging its riders off, but the messenge still gave it two vicious kicks behind each ear. The beast shook its head in agony, but never slowed the pace that the messenger had set for it. The forest dropped away and it was dark when they came to the great parched land the captain had been seeing from a distance at the boat. The great hulking beast moved even faster over this hot, almost bare terrain.

First light was coming up as the hulking beast came within sight of the expansive, but ragged looking castle and fortifications. Soon, the messenger, Radney, a large ugly creature himself, had the panting cat-like creature stop. He dismounted and bade the captain to do the same. The great beast had dropped into place on the ground for the riders to dismount. It only seemed to have enough energy left to roll one weary eye. The two dismounted, then heard screaming villagers begin to chase the beast from their land. The messenger roared at the creature, too. When he finished, he roared and hurled things at the villagers. Everything continued to get worse from what the captain could see from that time on here.

The cruel messenger, Radney, was now his jailer.
The captain mulled why he was locked in a cell with an ancient king on one side, and a liar/wizard on the other..................

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