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Deal 1111: Pipe no more

There was a lone piper on the hill when I opened my eyes. He was playing, but I couldn’t quite make out the melody. You know it is going to be a strange day when you wake to bagpipes.

I looked around at the bleak landscape. Windblown hill faces, flat tops, occasional trees that were shaped by persistent winds, and not happily.

The piper was closer now. I hadn’t seen him moving, but he was now standing on the next line of hills.

Or perhaps I had moved towards him?

I wasn’t all that sure, to be honest.

I was beginning to realize that honesty was absolutely a good idea here. Wherever that might be.

I also somehow knew that hearing the music would be irrevocable. Somehow my current situation was ambiguous. But if I heard the piper, it would be certain. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to hear him.

Not only was the landscape bleak, but I was alone. So very alone. There were no other people to be seen in any direction. I am sure there had been some people near me before I went to sleep. But their memory was shadowy, suggestive, and ambiguous. I realized that I no longer knew my own name.

The real punch was the realization that I was not breathing. Had not taken a breath since I opened my eyes. Was not even sure if I could breathe.

In my panic, I opened my eyes again, to find a bright light and a circle of concerned people. There was no music playing, but the noise was music to my ears. It had been a close call. In my minds eye, I could see the piper salute, turn and walk away, his services not needed any more.

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Deal 1055: And here’s Raven

Raven was going to be trouble. I knew that, he’s bothered me for years. This is just a bit more extreme. While Bruce expounding on the details that did not matter, I sensed a presence looming. I turned, and there he was, strolling into our camp like he belonged all along.

He was a tall as usual, but wearing a different face today. “I see you’ve met my cat,” he chuckled.

I glared at Bruce, who glared back. Then looked away. Interesting.

“I knew that cat was sneaky.”

“And you couldn’t have found a better teacher than this young dragon. Good job.”

I looked at Gwen, she just shrugged.

“Is he ready?” he asked Gwen.

“I believe he is, sir,” she replied. “I’ve taught him all I can in the short time we’ve had available. I did everything short of hitting him with a bat.”

Hmm. She isn’t as surprised as she should be.

“I suspect that the bat might have been satisfying,” chucked the old bird.

“There were times I imagined it might be,” she noted, “but was concerned that once I started, I might not stop.”

They went on from there. Clearly they were old friends, a fact I might have guessed.