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Moonshadow descended over the grand checkered tile balcony outside the reception hall, where long ago now Princess Soleil had fallen into a deep dream coma. The scene flickered in her memory beneath her as though she had been there in the darkness above. Now the sky was just lightening in the early morning, tinting some dragon’s breath clouds. The window-paned doors were wide open; the layered curtains were unlaced, billowing slightly through the doorway.

Dusk-Arrow had the shape of a greatsword and the balance of a 1-1/2 hander, and swinging it felt like a sword aflame. She connected her body to it in this briefly disappearing second with an elliptical hand-switching whirl overhead, opening the space in her skeleton for peaceful breaths floating within her carven frame. “Go hide when I walk in, okay,” said Soleil to her mount. “Don’t come unless I call.” Moonshadow quietly brought her to her destination landing.

From the compartment just barely big enough in Moonshadow’s column, she carried out a heavy, tightly rolled, deckled rag vellum scroll passionately pressed immediately upon request by the printer who dared. There was a red ribbon to tie around it, and a fine pen clipped in. She took this in one hand, and slung the sword over her shoulder as she took her next steps alone. In just that moment, the sky had progressed to a beautiful, brilliant dawn.

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