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'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

The Book of Ataniel

The Line Of Balance



Khyrisse followed Karel soberly down the winding path from the casino, her heeled boots skidding a little on the gravel. She’d given up trying to keep track of all her emotions by now, and was hoping to just get everybody home alive and sort through all the fallout in the comfort of her own bed. Maybe Valende was right, she thought despite herself, sneaking a worried peek ahead at Karellion. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought them. I’ve never seen the Rat Pack falling apart this much--and that’s saying something...!

Then she heard something that sounded like a distant explosion, somewhere. What the fl-- she had time to think, before the shockwave reached her.

The gravel shifted, her ankle turned, and Khyrisse went stumbling down the unsteady incline and into her already off-balance brother.



“Incoming!” yelled Ebreth, and bodyblocked Lita out of the way of a huge chunk of masonry falling incongruously from the evening sky.



Jack felt nauseous, the way he usually did when the metaphysical constants his equation was attuned to started to distort. “Jackson,” he called, casting blindly about for the bard as the nightclub rattled around him. Thick, oily smoke was billowing out from the kitchen; a stove or something must have cracked. “Come on,” Jackson’s voice was calling from someplace, “come on!”

The rack of wine glasses hanging above the bar lost a nail and sent a cascade of glass raining down onto the counter. Another distortion, another crippling wave of nausea, and then Jack was--someplace else.

Alone.

“Flark,” he muttered, looking around the reverberating emptiness of space as the shockwave went past unimpeded.



“Um,” Aithne said politely, plucking at Rani’s sleeve. Her teeth were clenched like a male action hero. Tarrin was doubled over in pain, both his hands pressed to his forehead. It was quite loud in here, a pounding, ominously increasing pulse. “Sorry to bother but, where are we, Rani?”

“Somewhere your homies can’t find me, kid,” she said through her teeth. “Let’s end this thing. Now.”

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