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    The Last Day Of Summer, The Last Day In The Sun. A fulcrum point between Then and Soon. There was a synchronicity to the day, Coyote mused as he looked out of the window of his hotel room, the inelegantly-named 'OYO Hotel Shelly, MT' The cheap, reasonably clean and low-profile hotel was as good a place as any to lay his head when sleep became a necessity - as he had told the winsome Jauntsen girl, he was made of much the same substance as other living creatures, and his physical needs were largely of the same kind, though altered in some ways and diminished greatly in others. Substance, he mused, holding a hand up to his gaze, peering at the solid-seeming flesh and noting, on the noetic level, how paper-thin his vital force now was. It had been a long time. Too long, even for a race that had thought itself immortal. Too long to be cut off from the surge and shimmer of true Radiance, the Source of All, on this prison-rock. He had husbanded his strength through millenia and now, in this time and place, the fruition of every manipulation, every nudge, every word sown in the right ears at the right times was coming to pass in a handful of seedlings, beautiful and fragile, each containing a spark of his Radiance passed down through uncounted generations, nurtured in the deadly yet fertile soil of Montana. Keeping track of the bloodlines alone had been a Herculean task, let alone ensuring that they would propagate in the right way. Each of them had a touch of greatness, a spark that the presence of Radiance could fan into an illuminating star... or a terrible inferno. Or both, the near-immortal thought with a smile and a shrug. Fire burned, but from ashes arose new growth. Illumination could also be blinding. They would need to find the balance between blindness and destruction. He hoped that they would find that balance in each other. Hope was all he could do, really. Tonight was the night. He sensed that as the sailor senses the storm through the ache in his shoulder. One of his seedlings was already dead, their light devoured. Tonight would see if the others had the mettle that their world would need. He looked out of the window at the Champion's Field surrounding the Carousel across the road, and mused at how apt the naming of the field was. Today, the champions of this little blue-green ball would revel, and tonight go forth to either bring doom or salvation to their people. * * * * * * * Catheen of the Draig, born from Elsbett by Iskand, heard the sound of music and laughter and voices as she sat at the table in her apartment's small kitchen nook. The sun was shining outside, the blue skies calling her to step out, to wander amongst the people of her adopted home. After all, Kaitlin Forster would be expected to show up, wouldn't she? She'd smiled pleasantly and nodded noncommitedly in the teachers lounge when asked if she'd be attending, half intending to simply claim a stomach-ache when she did not show. But she shared a quality with humanity that her son did not - the need for company, to be part of a larger grouping, to feel the ebb and pulse of people around her. Put simply, she was lonely. She did not deliberate overlong. Donning a sundress and sandals, and slipping a pair of sunglasses over her cerulean eyes, she checked herself in the mirror before applying a couple of touches of makeup. She grabbed her purse and a broad-brimmed sun-hat as she headed out of the door, wondering idly if her son would be at the Labor Day event... * * * * * * * Hannah Fuhrman was annoyed. Not about her weekend - she'd caught up with an old flame from college who had been just the right mixture of friendly and flirtatious to take her mind off her philandering soon-to-be-ex-husband. They'd had a nice date, and Brock had been a gentleman and not pressed when she'd bid him goodnight with a kiss on the cheek before headed to her hotel room alone. Her lawyer had advised her to wait until the papers were all signed before getting back on the horse - advice which at the time the heartbroken woman had scoffed at but was now grateful for. Then she'd spent Sunday shopping and treating herself to a spa before heading back to her hotel once more. Only to receive no answer from the home phone or Charlie's cell when she tried to call him at noon on Monday to let him know she was on the way - and give him time to clear up any evidence of teenage shenanigans. Her lips thinning in an irritated grimace, Hannah heard the voicemail message for the sixth time. "Charlie, it's your mother. Again, again. Please call me back, or better yet, answer your damn phone, mister." she said with some severity. "And the house better not be trashed when I get back, or you are grounded for life." she added with only a faint trace of humor in her tone. "See you in a couple hours, sweetheart. I'm leaving Great Falls after I have some lunch with a friend." That boy, Hannah sighed as she hung up and turned back to finish packing. "Probably off smoking weed with his reprobate friends again." she muttered with a shake of her head. Still, she was meeting Brock again for lunch, so at least she could swap divorcee stories and enjoy herself before going back to being 'The Mom'...
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