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Orphans & Outcasts: Chapter Eight

As you sit surrounded by your mirrors, which reflect your true nature, do you ever wonder what I do as I sit up here watching a world burn?

NORTHERN TOWER – private communication linkage –

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The touch had been gentle, sending Denvy drifting back to a time he could barely recall. A hazy place in his mountains of memories stored on top of each other, weighing each other down until they were so compressed he could no longer bother remembering his youth.

But the touch and the sweet tender voice that accompanied it comforted him more than the pressure of the blankets and the warmth of a bed made for the heavy structure of his body. Denvy drifted in and out of the freedom of sleep, the deepest sleep he had settled into since his capture, and always the presence was behind him, the touch and the voice.

Gradually layers peeled back, fold by fold, and he woke. Precious life flowed through his limbs, and, while it was not the return to his immortality, he could feel his base program gradually beginning to repair itself. That meant the nano-bots in his body had regained function. Denvy sank deeper into the bed. It creaked and he relished the sound. Blankets slid off as he lazily raised an arm and scratched behind an ear.

He paused.

His lips parted. “Oh no.”

His mane was gone. Denvy felt his head, his still-aching chest heaving in mild panic as he had the horrible thought that his air-gills were also missing, but he finally encountered the frilled gills and relaxed slightly.

So, it was only his matted mane that had been removed, the crown of a prince’s glory. He had never been one for vanity, but deep down he was still a Kattamont prince. He had been a bit proud of his shaggy golden locks.

He stared at the ceiling and the lantern dangling above him, swaying back and forth. The scale of everything surrounding him was designed around something the size of a large Kattamont like himself. Sickly sweet scents lingered in the air and in the blankets. It had seeped into the wooden walls and floors—the aroma of a female Kattamont, and, by the intensity of it, a queen. He was in the quarters and the bed of a queen—with his mane shaved off.

Denvy crinkled his brow at the thought. Considering his size he doubted there had been any other place to put him, but he could not recall a queen ever giving up her quarters for a saggy old prince.

Had Utillian traditions changed in his centuries of self-imposed exile?

And had she—