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[Chapter 17]

“It's just not fair.” Marcus scowled into the drink that he slowly swirled around in his glass. The potent amber liquid left lingering fingers on the walls, speaking only the whispered promise of temporary and intoxicating release.

“I know.” Hal leaned back in his chair, regarding his despondent brother with a sad smile. He tossed back the rest of his glass, swallowing the last mouthful of brandy and letting the slow burn fill his body with a short-lived glow of warmth and comfort.

The two of them sat alone as the sole remaining patrons of the bar on a cold and lonely All Spirit's Eve. The shutters on the windows clattered and clanked as the gusting northwest winds swept sparkling lunarous powder down from the mountains and into Calypsa. Nearly everyone else in Anduruna would be enjoying a happy and comfortable holiday with friends and family.

Not them.

Hal raised his empty glass into the air and shook it a little bit, getting the attention of the bartender. “Another round, Hector.”

“Comin' right up, amigo.”  

The old, weathered, but friendly jackal stopped wiping down the bar and brought them what remained of the bottle of vintage liquor. “Why don' I just leave this bottle here for you two to enjoy. It's the holidays, after all.”

“Thanks, Hector.”

“De nada.”

Hal pulled the cork and took the liberty of topping off Marcus' glass before refilling his own. Marcus barely even looked up, taking a bitter sip before returning to the pattern of scowling and swirling. “It's goddamned thievery, Hal. They can't just seize everything we had because of 'an ongoing central investigation'.” Marcus mocked the condescendingly dry and official tones that the special investigator had used. “It's fucking bullshit.”

“I know.”

“I mean, I figured they'd do this shit because of who dad was, but not how far they'd actually go.” He looked up from the brandy, his yellow and gray eyes alight with hatred. “All the money. The house. All of our stuff. The shit we grew up with. Just everything.” Marcus let out a sharp sigh of frustration and took another drink. “I mean, how the hell is the furniture part of a criminal investigation? Our photo albums? The pictures on the fucking walls?” He dug his talons into the wooden table which creaked and cracked under the stress. “They're not just taking our inheritance. They're taking the only memories we have left!”

Hal frowned, sighing into his own glass. Ever since the shooting weeks ago, everything had been a total mess. “That can't actually be legal. Did you talk with Sergio earlier today? What did he have to say about it all?”

Marcus laughed. “Sergio? Man, that lawyer isn't good for jack-shit. He just fed me a whole lot of legalese about how he can't do anything because city central authority is involved. Special laws and jurisdiction, blah blah et cetera et cetera.” The yellow eyes grew darker. “Bastard isn't worth the air he breathes.”

“It's not all his fault.” Hal disagreed. “Sergio's done a lot for us both over the years, but he's not a miracle worker. Sometimes a jam is too big to slip out of.”

“Yeah? Well one way or another, it's not fucking good enough, Hal.” Marcus sneered, looking down at the worn and tired floorboards. “It's just not fucking good enough, anymore.”

Hal didn't know how to console his brother when he was being this bitter. Hal was just as upset about the entire ordeal, but the circumstances didn't fill him with hate. His only prize was that deep and vast empty sea of regret. Regret that he couldn't stop his own family's destruction. Regret for not being a better son. Regret for not capitalizing on every single quiet moment when he could have let the people he held dear know exactly how much he treasured them.  For Hal, he knew that he would need to start the slow and difficult swim towards the surface, however slowly it might begin, or he would be trapped here in this prison forever.

“If there's at least one good thing that came of this,” Hal began, “It's that we both discovered our powers now. Somehow, the chaos of that moment unlocked the potential in both of us.”

Marcus' angry stare now locked onto Hal. “Our powers?” The well of outrage in Marcus seemed to go from a simmer to a boil. “You mean this joke of an ability!?” He reached out to hold onto the salt shaker and a shimmering purple halo materialized over his head. Slowly, and perhaps a bit unsteadily, the pepper shaker began to levitate, suspended in air by Marcus' limited telekinetic ability.

“Please, allow me to season your food using only the power of my MIND.” Marcus laughed an empty laugh as the pepper shaker sprinkled some of its contents onto the middle of the table. “Do you want salt too? Well you can't have any because I need to already be touching the same sort of thing that I'm levitating.” The halo disappeared, causing the pepper shaker to clatter gracelessly onto the table and roll towards one edge. “Practically useless....”

Hal caught the shaker before it reached the floor, returning it to its proper place by the napkins. Normally it was a terrible idea for any dreamkeeper to even think about using their power where people could see them and call upon the troopers, but Hector was an old friend of the Family and didn't seem to pay any mind. He simply kept his head down, focusing on cleaning up the bar before they closed for the night, maintaining his legal plausiblity that he saw nothing at all.

“At least you found your power. Not everyone does. Most people don't in fact.” Hal tried to stay focused on the benefits. “Besides, I'm sure it has its uses. You just need to get creative with it.”

“Whatever.” Marcus sounded like he wasn't in the right attitude to listen to anything Hal had to say. “Finding this power isn't worth the cost that came with it...”

“Maybe not.” Hal sighed, reaching again for the bottle and topping off both of their glasses. His head was buzzing with the comfortable hum of intoxication, but he wasn't so far gone that he couldn't share one more drink with his brother.

Inhibitions lowered, Hal leaned back and looked up, watching starlight spill in through the ceiling. It was a sight he kept coming back to again and again ever since he found it, not very many days before. A sip of spicy brandy complemented the view quite well.

“What do you even see when you do that?” Marcus asked, a twinge of envy hiding among the words.

“Spirits, Marcus. I don't even know how to begin to describe it.” Hal tried to think of a good metaphor. “It's like trying to explain the concept of color to a blind man. There are no words for what I see.” He started and stopped himself a few times, failing to find the right explanation. “I don't know how to share this sight with you, Marco, but... it's beautiful.” He locked eyes with his disbelieving brother. “There is so much more out there than anyone even dares to comprehend.”

“Well, isn't that just great for you.” Marcus' sullen voice echoed into his own glass, sounding a little slurred now as he inhaled a strong slug of the remaining brandy.  “I guess little old uncomprehending me will just sit here and contemplate this drink instead.”

The conversation stalled out after that, returning to silence. Marcus was clearly drunk and depressed, while Hal was drunk and disappointed that he couldn't do more.

“Last call, boys.” Hector spoke up from the other side of the room, interrupting the shared silence. “I'll be locking this place up at the end of the hour.” Hal nodded his acknowledgment.

Marcus exhaled slowly and sleepily, steeling his gut for the final swig. “Well... I guess if nothing else... we still got each other.” A wobbly glass raised to meet Hal's. “Cheers, brother.”

Hal reluctantly clinked his snifter with Marcus'. “Cheers...” Hal was beginning to feel pretty awkward. He cleared his throat. “Look, Marcus. There's something I've been meaning to talk to you about.”  

Marcus swallowed the last of his drink before letting his sharp yellow and gray eyes lock back onto Hal. “Anyone who starts a conversation with those words is about to say something shitty.” He frowned. “What is it?”

“So... I actually took the entrance exams for Calypsa District University a few months ago. Paid the fee with my own cash. Didn't tell anyone.”

Marcus just stared at him. After a pregnant pause, Hal took it as a sign to keep talking. “Well, the results came back a few weeks ago, and... I made the cut. Classes start in the new year. I made the first tuition payment yesterday.”

Suspicious confusion morphed into surprise on Marcus' face. “What? You've been planning on this the whole time?”

Hal shrugged. “I wasn't actually sure if I was going to go through with it. It was just an entrance exam. But then...” Hal sighed, gesturing to the empty room with his empty glass. “Then all this happened. Everything changed. And now that I've thought about it for a while, I think it's time for me to move on to something new.”

This should have been great positive news to share with anyone, but Marcus didn't seem too happy. In fact, it only seemed to increase his anger. “So you're going to just give up the life?” He snapped his fingers. “Just like that?”

“Pretty much. Yeah.”

Marcus' voice turned accusatory. “You think it's that easy? How the hell do you expect to even pay for that!? Central Authority locked up our family's funds. And even if they do miraculously release them, the estate tax will eat almost everything anyways!”

“I've been saving almost every lucre I ever earned running jobs for the Cordovas. It adds up after a while, and it's my own private account. It hasn't been touched by the authorities.” Hal shook his head. “It's already a done deal.”

Hal could see his brother's eyes begin to take on a watery sheen, despite the rage. “So what the hell am I supposed to do, huh? I don't have the cash for that, and I don't want to go to fucking school again.” Marcus clenched his hands into fists. “Our whole lives we've always done things together, Hal! We've toppled every obstacle side by side!”

“I know, Marcus... but this is something I need to do for myself, for once.” Hal gave his brother a serious stare, all levity, all illusions gone. “If you're smart, you'll quit the life too. I've seen the writing on the wall, and it's been painted with the blood of the family we loved. If we keep doing what we've been doing, someday it's going to be you or me, facedown on the floor, just like dad. Just like them all. And I won't accept that as my future.”

“But what the hell am I supposed to do? I don't have anywhere to go, Hal! You're the only person I have left that I can trust, and now you're running off in a direction that I can't follow!”

“I'm sorry.” Hal pushed his seat back and stood, pulling his arms through the sleeves on his jacket. “I don't have all the answers, Marcus. You and I will need to find them for ourselves now. It's the only way to move on.”

“You COWARD!” Marcus kicked his chair off to the side, violently toppling it to the ground. “You're just scared, running away, hoping that everything will just get better if you do! It's not right Hal and it's not fair!!!”

“It's also not your call to make.” Hal grounded his feet and his heart. Despite the alcohol coursing through his veins (or perhaps because of it), Hal knew that he was doing the right thing. “Look Marcus. You're drunk and angry, and honestly, just impossible to reason with when you get like this. Sleep it off, and we can talk about it tomorrow if you want.”

“Fuck you, Hal!”

Hal grunted, nodding in agreement. “Yeah. Ok. Good talk.” He pulled some crumpled cash from one of the coat pockets and tossed it onto the table. “I'll pay for the drinks this time, since I'm such an asshole and all that.”

He turned towards the door, prompting a more aggressive string of expletives to be hurled in his direction. He barely even listened to them. The cold and sobering gust of wind that welcomed him as he opened the door seemed to help keep the vitriol at bay. He hesitated for only a moment, standing in the middle of the threshold, letting the chill nighttime air leak into the building. He thought about glancing back over his shoulder, locking eyes with his brother one more time... but he didn't. Instead, Hal stepped forward into vast and winding streets, stared up at clear and endless skies, and shut the door behind him.

* * *

Hal awoke, returning once again to the real world with a blurred but rapid transition as his eyes focused on the room in front of him. This time, he had slept on his other side, and instead of a dark stone wall was greeted by the sleeping face of Miri. Once again she had done her best to curl up next to him and sleep close, avoiding falling off the edge of the narrow bed.

He had been having so many vivid dreams recently, they were getting to be tiring. This last one in particular seemed to linger in his waking mind longer than most. Some memories, it seemed, just wouldn't fade away.

Several strands of Miri's long violet hair rested delicately in front of her face, wavering ever so slightly as her breath kissed them with each exhale. In that small, still moment, Hal couldn't help but think of how beautiful she was.

Miri. He had met her not long after that dream, and through the years that followed, she remained his companion and friend. Despite all that had happened, and the differences between them, she was still here, resting peacefully at his side. If there was ever a person who deserved to live a happy life, surely it was her.

Hesitantly, he reached out and brushed the errant strands of hair aside, feeling the silky softness as his fingers slipped by. This caused Miri to stir, and soon she half opened her eyes, giving Hal a sleepy smile. “Hey you.”

“Hey.”

She shifted her weight a little, rolling closer to him and closing her eyes again. If there was one thing that Hal knew, it was that he wanted to have more mornings like this. He would give anything just to hold onto this one.

The door to their room began to creak open, once again letting a sharp wedge of bright light spill into the room. Hal sat up, preempting the words he expected to follow. “Rise and shine lovebirds, so much work to do, big day ahead, creepy laugh, et cetera et cetera. Got it. We'll be ready soon.”

The door seemed to pause, frozen half-open for a moment before it closed again, without a single word being spoken. Miri propped herself up with a surprised laugh. “Ha ha ha, Hal! What has gotten into you this morning?”

His tail drifted over towards her and flicked at her face with its forked tongue. He simply shrugged and smiled.

“I guess I just woke up on the right side of the bed.”

[End Chapter 17]
The Wayward Astronomer: Chapter 17
It sure feels good to get on a roll, and here we are with another chapter, and no 3 month gap! I really enjoy the chance to go back in time and show moments from characters when they're at different parts in their lives. I can't flashback my way to victory as a substitute for real character and plot development, but it's fun to glance in and see an important moment from time to time. 

Buckle your seat belts boys and girls, because I'm ready to jump into the good stuff. These next several chapters are going to be fun to write!

As always, I welcome any and all feedback, and thanks again for reading. It means the world. 

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TWA Character Sheet: Vanir Ahlstrom by Kafelnikov
TWA Character Sheet: Vanir Ahlstrom
The second completed character sheet done by Elson Wong, aka Darkspeeds here on dA :icondarkspeeds: I've really enjoyed commissioning him to do artwork because he is very talented and easy to work with. I highly recommend him to anyone who is looking to commission some art!

Vanir's Theme Song
Blackmill - Evil Beauty
www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy62JX…

First Appearance: Chapter 3
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[Chapter 16]

By the time Hal and Vanir made it back to the cathedral, the day was beginning to transition from afternoon to evening. They walked together down to the “evil rec room” saying little to one another. Hal didn't have anything more to say to Vanir, and he was already beginning to feel the heavy onset of fatigue even though the day was yet to be finished. As they approached the room, they were met with the sounds of an argument. To Hal's familiar ear, it was definitely Miri's voice.

“How the hell is this funny to you, Marcus!?” They stepped inside the room to find Marcus lounging comfortably on one of the couches, watching the news on a large wall-mounted data scroll. Miri was standing in front of him, just barely to the side of his view of the screen. She gestured pointedly with one hand towards the broadcast.

“Just look at them. They have no clue at all. The blind informing the blinded.” Marcus was unphased by her outrage.

Hal turned his attention to the screen, where a grainy image seemed to show a government building billowing dark smoke from a gaping hole in one side as fire crews continued the long fight to extinguish the lingering smolders. From the architecture, it looked like it was a fire in Kojiki district, the next district over from Theophanies, to the east. The little scrolling info bar overlaid on the bottom of the screen confirmed his suspicions.

One of the usual talking heads continued his explanation next to the looping images that were being broadcast. “The fire crews have nearly finished putting out the blaze that started earlier this afternoon at a safety trooper training facility in Kojiki district. We have no reports of any deaths, but authorities at the scene say several trainees and facility staff are still missing and have not been accounted for. Initial reports lay blame on an accidental munitions release, leading to cascading detonations as it set fire to the rest of the weapon's warehouse.”

Miri wasn't about to relent. Despite her clear hostility, Marcus' small band of henchmen didn't move to restrain her, and merely kept a close eye on her actions. “What, do you know something about this?” She shook her head. “People probably died in that explosion! It's not something to laugh at!”

“Am I supposed to cry over a couple troopers dying? They're hardly my friends.” Marcus smiled, a smug sense of satisfaction apparent in his eyes.

“We take you now to an emergency press conference with Representative Nobuteru Kataoka of Kojiki district.”

The screen switched from looping footage to a live feed of a politician standing in front of a podium dotted with microphones. An aging but very well dressed crane rested his wings on either side of the dias, leaning close the the microphones. “My fellow citizens. Today marks a difficult tragedy in our district, as many of our brave troopers have been consumed by this blaze. Troopers who risk their very lives to keep us all safe.” The flash of cameras and the sounds of shutters clicking punctuated the silence between remarks. “Risk is always part of the job for these courageous men and women, but that does not mean they should bear the burden of unnecessary danger when they are in the safe confines of their barracks.” Kataoka straightened himself, his voice taking on a more aggressive edge. “Unfortunately, this makes the failings of the current administration far too clear. Our civil servants struggle to maintain peace with outdated and unreliable equipment. Dangerous even, if not properly handled.” The politician grimaced. “Three times now the Viscount has received bills on his desk to approve funding for new equipment and renovated facilities here in Kojiki. Three times, he has vetoed the bill, claiming that Norvondire (of all places!) was in more dire need of supplemental funding. I say to you, that this willful neglect is no longer acceptable! I say-”

The data scroll winked off, fading back to an unlit, transparent display. Hal and Vinir's arrival was finally noticed.

“Hal!” Miri and Marcus called out to him in unison, their voices interweaving strangely.  Hers more relieved, his more eager. Marcus rose from the couch, walking quickly behind in the wake that Miri left as she rushed to his side.

“Are you ok?” Miri looked more concerned then he expected. He nodded tiredly. As he opened his mouth to speak, Marcus interrupted with his own more forceful question. “Did you find it!?”

“We did.”

Vanir's silky voice offered an explanation faster than Hal could. “It's somewhere inside Calypsa District University. Hal says it's somewhere on the fourth floor.” She paused only for a split second. “I think he's telling the truth; I could sense its pull when we were close.”

“The fourth floor?” Miri adjusted her glasses. “That's where the earth science labs are.”

“Excellent!” Marcus was thrilled; anticipation and energy colored his voice in bright, expectant hues. “We're already getting our agents to trickle back in from all around the city. We'll be ready to put the new meteor to use immediately once we retrieve it. We go tonight.”

“Wait.” It was Miri who interrupted. “What's the date today?”

Hal shrugged. Vanir tilted her head. “Friday, the 30th.”

“Hal, you can't go tonight! The earth-sci department has that faculty-student stargazing party thing the last Friday of every month. There'll be people there all night long!”

Marcus frowned, not too happy that anyone was offering a reason for not immediately venturing out to seize the meteor.

“It wouldn't do very well if we were detected breaking in, would it?” Vanir asked, the words were more a statement than a question. “Plus, I'm pretty sure the Archbishop has a service to attend to tonight.”

Hal could see the frustration beginning to mount inside his brother. He stared daggers at anyone who met his gaze, including Vanir. His trio of blade tipped tails seemed to writhe and bob with more animation than just moments before. “Let's talk in private.”

Marcus and Vanir walked off to the far side of the expansive room, well out of earshot. Though a couple henchmen seemed to still linger nearby, Hal and Miri were effectively forgotten and left to their own devices. She moved closer to him, one hand reaching for his wrist as her deep violet eyes looked up with concern. Warm fingers gently pressed against a vein, feeling for his pulse. “Hal, are you sure you're ok?”

“What?” Hal turned his attention away from watching his brother's quiet but intense argument. “Yeah. I mean, I think so.” He rested much of his weight on his cane. “Why are you so worried?”

“Don't take this the wrong way, but you look terrible. Like you've been awake for days.” Hal blinked. “Come on, let's sit down.”

She guided him over to the nearby couch and sat him down. Hal couldn't help but sigh a little bit in relief as the supple upholstery molded itself around his weight. Miri sat next to him, reluctantly releasing her touch from his arm. “I do feel pretty tired.” Hal closed his eyes for a moment, allowing his muscles to relax. “It's funny, because I actually ended up sleeping for most of the groundcar ride back from Calypsa.”

Miri didn't seem to find the news heartening at all. “How much did you use your power?”

Hal shrugged, the gesture somehow less pronounced now that he was sitting down. He opened his eyes again and stared out at the inactive wall-scroll. “In total, maybe fifteen minutes? It was a lot of off and on. Very...” Hal wasn't sure how to describe the sensation of snapping back and forth between his enhanced senses. “It was very difficult.” He scratched at his chest. “There's too much pressure out there. Too much noise.”

“Do you feel tired when you use your power?”

She sounded like she already knew the answer. Hal provided it anyway. “No, I feel great. My leg doesn't hurt. It's almost like I have more energy. Sort of like an endorphin rush combined with an electric buzz.”

Miri frowned, silently collating the data. One hand rested on his shoulder. “Its sounds, and it looks, like your power doesn't give you more energy at all. Well, no, that's wrong.” She rephrased her hypothesis. “Rather, energy isn't created for free. You're just borrowing it; like a short term energy loan, you end up paying back more afterwards than you originally gained.”

The analogy seemed to make a lot of sense. In fact, Miri may have been right on. Her face appeared close in front of his, her hands on both shoulders now. “Hal. You can't keep using your power like this. It looks...” She didn't seem to want to say the words that followed. “It looks like it's actually killing you.”

Hal felt that he had always known this, from the moment that Mordecai showed him that x-ray. He hated it, yet also a part of him felt like he had already resigned himself to the inevitability of it. To see Miri discover the same truth, however, left him feeling emptier than he ever felt before. “It's not that easy, Miriel.”

“Please, Hal. You need to promise me.” Her voice wavered a little. “I can't watch you be destroyed, slowly, in front of my eyes like this...”

Hal wanted to find some comforting words, some easy line to dispel the fear that gripped them both. But he didn't know if any such words existed. If they did, they were eluding him. He wasn't sure how quickly the meteor was destroying him, or if things would change if he never used his power again, but one thing he did know: There was not enough time in his world anymore. It couldn't be spent carelessly.

“Miri, I...” He hesitated. A thousand different lines could complete that sentence:

I want to live.
I love you.
I'm sorry.


His heart wanted to blurt them all out at once, but his courage faltered. He blinked and swallowed, finding it once again and holding onto it. She had been waiting for his answer for far too long.

“Are we interrupting something?” Vanir's voice ambushed him from behind, startling him with its rude and altogether impossibly inconvenient timing.

Miri stood, her expression and tone colder than a Starfall gust of stinging snow. “Did you finish your discussion?

“We did.” Marcus appeared to be back to his usual self. Whatever words were said or promises made between the two, they were no longer in conflict of opinion. “We're going to take the meteor back tomorrow night. We can't afford to reveal ourselves prematurely, and it will be less risky tomorrow.” Vanir smiled, sliding in close to Marcus as he did all the talking. “You should get plenty of rest. It looks like you could use it. Tomorrow will be a big day for us all.”

Hal stood, steadying his weight with Miri's help. He was angry at their sudden reappearance, and turned that into the fuel for his demand. “One thing first.” His tail curled in close around Miri in an unconscious protective gesture. “If you want me to go back, Miri is coming with us.”

“What?” Marcus didn't take kindly to the sudden demand. “That wasn't the agreement.”

“It is now.” Hal forged ahead. “She knows the university better than any of us here, and I won't let you keep her locked away in your secret little base like some bargaining chip. We both go, or neither one of us goes.”

Marcus started to get enraged again, but Vanir quelled it partially with a squeeze of his shoulder. She gave Hal a serious, no-nonsense stare. “You wouldn't happen to be planning to do anything... reckless... would you?”

“If you hold to your side of the agreement, so will I. Everyone still wins. You get your meteor, and we get to walk away.” Hal's smirked. “Or, you can just shoot us both now, and look through every single office, lab, closet, and desk drawer on the fourth floor of CDU. Assuming the meteor isn't moved somewhere else by then.”

A tense silence marked time for a couple of heartbeats before Marcus responded. “Fine.” He pointed one sharp talon at Hal's chest. “But don't make me regret this, Hal. You're far too bold for your own good.”

“I wonder where we get it from...”

Marcus harrumphed and stormed off quickly, leaving Vanir to linger. Her guard seemed to be on high alert. “Don't make me regret this either, hero. One mistake can change everything in an instant. You would do well to remember that.” She nodded to a pair of celestial henchmen, who dutifully responded to her summons. “I think you two should call it in early night, rather than stay up and cause more trouble. These fine gentlemen will bring you back to your room.”

* * *

When the door shut behind them, back in the same small room they shared before, Miri finally spoke up. “Spirits, Hal! What was that all about!?” It was as if she had been holding her breath through every second until they were alone.

Hal wiped his face blearily. “With you trapped in here, there's no way you can escape unless Marcus allows it. If you come with us, you might be able to slip away and break free in the middle of things.”

“But what about you?”

“I'll cover you as best I can. Marcus won't kill me. He might be a egotistical prick, but we're still brothers. Besides, once he has the meteor, I don't think he'll care anymore.”

Miri sighed. “That sounds like a pretty weak plan.”

Hal started to unzip the jacket he had been wearing all this time. “Look. Worst case we just behave ourselves, get that damned rock, and then finish the deal like before. I don't know if he'll abide by his word, but that's exactly why escaping is plan A.”

He threw his jacket over towards the desk, sighing in relief of some weight being shed off of his shoulders. Miri gasped in surprise all of a sudden.

“Hal!” She caught herself, lowering her voice as not to attract the attention of the guards that surely stood guard outside their door. It was a loud, alarmed whisper. “Since when did you get a pistol!”

His jacket removed, the shoulder holster he wore was now visible, along with the two-shot pistol Jonny had lent him. Hal was so accustomed to wearing it now, he didn't think about it. “Does Marcus know you have it!?”

“Yes, though, it's never come up again. I think either he forgot that I'm armed, or none of them consider it a big enough threat to address.” He pulled the weapon from the holster to show it to Miri. “It only holds two shots, and it's slower to reload than the fancier magazine-fed versions. There are a lot more people to fight through than I have shots.”

“Where did you get that?” Miri seemed almost afraid of the weapon. Unlike Hal, she hadn't lived a life around less-than-legal citizens where black market weaponry was a real thing. Hal popped the breech open and unloaded the bullets, rendering the weapon safe.

“An old friend lent it to me.” He held it out sideways, non-threateningly. “Here. You should learn how to use it.”

“What? No, I've never held a gun before in my life! Besides, I could never shoot someone Hal. That's terrible.”

“Miri.” Hal didn't have the energy to be impatient. Instead, he calmly talked her through it all.“I know you don't want to shoot anyone. I hope you never have to.” He stole a quick glance at the door to their cell. “But you've seen what these people are capable of. They'll kill without hesitation. If things go wrong, you might need to use a springer to protect yourself.” Hal frowned. “A firefight is the last place you or I want to be, but it's one of those things that you never get a second chance at.” He let his gaze look deep into her own frightened eyes.  “You either make it... or you don't.”

Miri reluctantly approached Hal and the outstretched weapon, hesitant fingers closing around the grip. As Hal pulled his hands away, the pistol dropped several inches. She was unprepared for the heft of it, but adjusted quickly. “Ok... just give me the basics.”

Hal did his best to find his weight beneath him as he used both hands to help her through the tutorial. Without his cane, his knee protested loudly, sending sharp rivulets of pain through his nerves. He tiredly but patiently explained the different features: how the bullets were loaded, how the safety worked, how she had to cock the hammer between each shot. She listened quietly, letting Hal demonstrate. She didn't appear to enjoy the process the same way an eager boy might, but she seemed to understand the importance of it, and took it seriously with her usual concentrated focus.

“Ok.” Hal stepped back and fell heavily onto the end of the bed, letting his leg rest. “Go ahead and practice shooting at the wall.”  Her concerned glance looked unwilling. “Don't worry. It's not loaded. Nothing is going to happen.”

She nodded, turning slightly and taking aim at an invisible point on the wall. She held the pistol with both hands like he showed her, pulled the hammer back with her thumb, then flinched forward as she attempted to pull the trigger. “It's not working.”

“The safety.”

“Oh.” She belatedly clicked the button over to the not-safe position and tried again. She still flinched quite a bit, but the hammer dutifully cycled forward, slamming into the firing pin with an audible click.

“See? It's easy. The trigger is light once the hammer is cocked. Try not to flinch. Nice and smooth is all you need.”

She handed the pistol back to Hal, eager to be rid of it. “Alright, but I think you should hold onto it still. I don't want a gun.”

“Fair enough.” He took it back and carefully loaded it with bullets, setting the safety before returning it to the holster.  Once it was done, he leaned back heavily, an obvious sigh of relief escaping his lungs as he tried to relax again. Fatigue was the closer companion again tonight, and in the war of that day he was losing the battle to keep his eyes open.

“You look tired Hal.”

“I know.” His tail nodded. “I am.” Hal let out a long, drawn out breath.

“I know it's early, but I think you should just sleep. You need your energy for tomorrow.”

“I think you're right about that.” Hal didn't argue. He worked his way down to a horizontal position, heavy head sinking deep into the pillow. It felt so good to lie down, Hal wasn't sure if he would ever have the will to stand up again. He could already feel his consciousness begin to slip slowly away into merciful sleep.

“Hey Hal?”

“Mmmm?” He couldn't muster the willpower to open his eyes.

“Thank you.”

He felt the tender, gentle touch of her lips on his cheek, as she kissed him goodnight. He didn't have the time to ask why she was thanking him, or to even appreciate the kiss, before his mind slipped the last bond of awakening and fell down into a deep, dark, and welcome rest...

[End Chapter 16]
The Wayward Astronomer: Chapter 16
It's great to get another chapter done quickly, as I'm feeling really motivated right now. I love this story so much, I really want to continue forward and reach the climax that I've had trapped in my head for years. Ever since :icondarkspeeds: completed character art for Miri, I've had it open while I write, and it's given me a ton of inspiration and a better feel for who she is. The path ahead will not be easy for our protagonists. 

Thanks for reading, everyone! I hope you enjoyed the chapter, and I look forward to sharing the next chapter with you soon!

-Geo

****

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TWA Character Sheet: Miri Rodgers by Kafelnikov
TWA Character Sheet: Miri Rodgers
The first of (hopefully) several fully rendered character sheets by the ever-talented Elson Wong, aka Darkspeeds :icondarkspeeds: 

Miri's Theme Song:
Elliot Berger feat. Laura Brehm - Diamond Sky
www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_JoPw…

First Appearance: Chapter 1 
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[Chapter 15]

“Another meteor?” The entire room fell strangely silent. Marcus' tone took on a breathless quality. “Where?”

Hal shook his head, still struggling to regain his breath. “I don't know where exactly. It's somewhere in that direction. That's all I know.” He waved one claw towards the wall that his tail continued to stare at.

“This changes things.” Hal's brother glanced over at Vanir. “We need to retrieve it at once. With just a little bit more, we will have enough shards to equip each and every one of us.”

Vanir nodded, smiling confidently. “We'll finally be ready to move on to the next phase.”

“Vanir, take Hal and determine its true location. Let's not waste any time. I'll spread the word for everyone to assemble.”

“Wait. Hold on.” Hal spoke up, seeming to finally find balance on the legs underneath him. “I never said I was going to help with any of this.”

Marcus narrowed his eyes, as the two of them stared each other down for a tense moment. Miri fruitlessly struggled against the two goons that continued to hold her back. Finally, Marcus broke the silence. “I'll make you an offer, Hal. An offer that should give us both exactly what we want.”

“I'm listening.”

“Help me just this once. Help me find and acquire this last meteor fragment... and I'll let you and Miri go free. You won't ever have to talk to me again if you so choose. Just stay out of my way after that, and we'll be even.”

“Even?” Hal snorted. “I don't owe you anything in the first place. You're holding Miri and I hostage, and you think that we owe you a god damn thing? You're delusional.”

“You may not think so now, but soon enough we will be living in a different world.” Marcus clenched one hand into a tight fist. “You'll be more thankful when you see how everything turns out.”

“Sure.” Hal turned away, bracing his weight with his cane.

Marcus sighed. “That's the deal, Hal. Take it or leave it. If you leave it, I'll simply have to keep both of you under lock and key until all the dust settles, and it will take so much longer without your eyes to help me.”

Hal looked over at Miri. She looked afraid. Not afraid of Marcus or his gang, but afraid, perhaps, that this might be their only desperate chance to escape before it was too late. Time was not a luxury he could afford to waste. She gave him a silent nod, and that urged him forward.

He took a deep breath, letting the air out slowly through his nostrils before finally offering an answer. “...alright, Marco. Alright.” Hal reluctantly agreed. “Let's just get this over with.”  

“Let's.” Satisfaction dripped from Marcus' single word of agreement.

Vanir approached Hal with a bone-chilling smile, slipping an arm around his. “Come with me, hero. We have work to do...”

***

A short while later, the two of them were outside in the blindingly bright sun of late morning. The streets were filled with the chaotic hustle and bustle of thousands of people going about their lives, blissfully unaware that there was a anarcho-cultist group getting ready to do who-knows-what to the city.

Vanir had changed from her more formal Celestial robes, and was now dressed in comfortable street clothes: a close-fitting pair of jeans and a light jacket that wrapped around her lithe frame surprisingly well. It was probably the first time Hal really got a good look at her since all this began. She was certainly fit; many would say that she was strikingly beautiful. Her bright blue eyes contrasted severely with her deep black fur, and her accent only added to her air of mysterious and exotic beauty. She stood tall and confident among the crowds of the streets, as if the world were already her own.

It was difficult for Hal to guess her age, but she was probably a couple years older than he and Marcus. Whether that number was 2, 5, or 8 years, he had no precise way of knowing. It wasn't a surprise that his brother would be attracted to Vanir, but Hal wasn't sure how Marcus was able to overlook her other less appealing qualities. Her eyes and her smile always seemed to have a subtle hunger hiding underneath the surface, and her laughter, though light and pleasant to the ear, had an undercurrent of playful malice that Hal could always hear. She was a dangerous woman in a lot of different ways, and Hal knew that she wouldn't hesitate to kill if it served her aims.

“So... where to, Mister Hero?” She smiled and looked at him with mischief in her eyes. She stood close to him, her body language friendly and familiar. To other observers in the Theophanies streets, they might as well look like a couple going for a stroll through the city.

Hal grunted, tightening his grip on his cane. “I don't know why you keep calling me that. My name is Hal.” He frowned, looking down the main boulevard that ran double wide through the center of the district. “The light came from that direction. It felt like it wasn't very close. It could be in Norvondire district.” He looked around anxiously at the buzz of people which appeared to pay him no mind. “I can't take another look unless we're in private.”

“I can take care of that.” Vanir gave him a wink and stepped forward, beckoning him to follow her. “There's a  luxury groundcar depot only two blocks away. Let's catch a ride.”

The two of them walked together along the edge of the boulevard, moving at a modest pace that Hal could manage. It was an odd feeling, walking alongside the woman who just weeks earlier had shot him multiple times in the chest. He had reservations about even playing along with their plan to acquire more Celestial meteor fragments, but Hal didn't know any other plausible option for getting out of the hole he was trapped in. A groundcar would be a good private way of traveling through Anduruna. The telepads that dotted the city made for faster travel, but privacy was not an option that way.

“So, this is what life is for you, huh?” Hal quipped, lowering his head so he didn't have to meet eyes with Vanir. “Wake up in the morning, eat some breakfast, go hunting for some miracle mineral that makes us all gods, shoot a guy, go home, and then relax with a cup of tea and watch the evening news?”

“Some days.” Vanir chuckled, sending chilly tremors down Hal's spine. “Don't tell me you have hard feelings about our first meeting.”

“No. Not at all.” Hal didn't hide the bitterness in his voice. “Every weekend of mine ends with being killed. It's how I like to unwind after a long week.”

“Cooperate, and we won't need to make it a habit.” Vanir smirked, giving him a quick glance over her shoulder. “We don't have to be enemies, you know.”

“Right.” The dry sarcasm in that one word could almost be tasted. “I think we're already becoming fast friends.”

Vanir merely laughed at Hal's less-than-friendly reply. Soon enough they reached the groundcar depot, where a small handful of comfortable groundcars were parked in a row, waiting for a fare to give them a destination. Vanir paid the well-dressed attendant for a cab, and they were ushered into the carriage of the lead car by a smiling, white-gloved driver.

“Take us to Norvondire. We'll give you more specific directions when we get there.” She commanded the usher with a silky but forceful smile. Once they were off, she slid shut the privacy curtain between the front of the cab and the passenger compartment in back, leaving her and Hal in relative privacy and comfort.

“You don't need to talk to me if you don't want to. But you will need to use your power to guide us more directly.” Her eyes were locked onto his own, a taut sense of expectation bridging the gap between the two of them.

Hal sighed. He felt nervous about activating his power again, but after a few deep breaths to steel his revolve, he sat back and half-closed his eyes, letting his senses slip into another phase of reality. Barely a second passed before Hal was almost doubled over in his seat, absolutely overwhelmed by the bombardment to his awareness unleashed by all the life of the city.

He could see all the indescribable colors of other ranges of light, but layered on top of that was a tingling pressure exerted by all the other Dreamkeepers nearby. He could somehow feel the intangible touch of life all around him: The sharp aggression of a gang of teenager street thugs as they closed in on a target to rob. The bright, desperate flood of emotion from two young lovers curled together near the window of a nearby apartment. The dim boredom of a retail clerk as she counted down the long minutes until another work day was over. Somewhere, out beyond the wall of pressure that surrounded him, was that burning white-hot light of a meteor fragment.

“Keep going north to northeast-ish. It's a ways off.” Hal could barely hear himself as he spoke, and he inhaled deep to keep himself from suffocating underneath the chaos that seemed to surround him from all sides.

Vanir watched Hal carefully as they continued. He could smell her curiosity intermingled with her delicate perfume. Calculations were being executed just out of his sight, deep inside her skull. The world was almost too bright for his dilated pupils, even in the confines of the carriage. No matter what direction he turned, he couldn't look away. Eventually the tension seemed to well up inside of his heart, growing tighter and tighter as the groundcar traveled forward. Fear and suspicion seemed to become the world, permeating all the life around him. The tension reached an unbearable level, and with a silent snap, Hal deactivated his power. Suddenly, he found himself sitting with Vanir in the real world, gasping mightily for air. It took him a good while to regain his composure and his energy, and only after a minute of labored breathing did he realize the groundcar had come to a complete stop.

“Miss, it looks like we have a roadblock.” The drivers voice drifted into the compartment from further up front.

Vanir sighed sharply, irritation apparent in her features. With a beckoning tilt of the head, she opened the door and stepped back out onto the streets. Hal followed behind her.

Just ahead of them was a barricade of troopers, heavy sloped armor reflecting bright in the sun. “SAFETY TROOPER” was painted in dark capital lettering along the full length shoulder-shields they all wore. Those shields covered nearly their entire body from a side profile, giving them near total protection when arranged in a firing position. Behind the barricade, other soldiers appeared to be finishing up an armed raid. Suspects were being dragged out onto the street and restrained face down on the ground. Some of the detained shouted and struggled fruitlessly, while others were silent. One of them didn't move at all, a dark pool of blood barely eeking out from underneath his prone form. Smoke billowed from a second story window while shattered glass and spent springer cartridges dotted the sidewalk.

“This is a restricted area! For your protection, please stay back!” One of the perimeter troopers was shouting at the scattered spectators and urging them away while a few other soldiers stoically held the line. The trooper's face was concealed beneath the identity guarding balaclavas they all wore, but his voice sounded young. The single red bar on his helmet indicated the rank of Corporal.

Vanir didn't appear to be phased by the violent scene in front of them, and she approached the roadblock with the faintest hint of a superior smile on her lips. “Is there a problem here, officer?” The last word emerged with a twinge of condescension.

“Hey! What part of stay back don't you understand!?” The corporal held one hand forward in the universal stop gesture. “This is an active crime scene. No one is allowed through until everything is over.”

“Oh. I see.” Hal watched Vanir's eyes narrow slightly. “And what did these criminals do?”

“That's none of your business citizen. Now back off!” His voice took on a sharper, more authoritative edge. The barrel of his springer rifle raised ever so slightly to point at the ground nearer to their feet. “Clear the area immediately, or I'll place you under arrest for obstruction!”  

Vanir seemed to be looking the officer over, mentally taking notes. Rather than goad him on, she relented, taking a step back after one last glance at the suspects on the other side. She turned and walked back to their groundcar, grabbing Hal by the arm and guiding him back along with her.

“Go around.” Vanir directed their driver with a firm tone as she shut the passenger door with a slam. Once the car was in motion again, she seemed to have regained her composure, forcing her obvious disdain and hatred back beneath the surface. Her attention returned to Hal, as she regarded him with a measured stare. “Can you tell how close we are?”

Hal was reluctant to use his power again, but yet, at the same time, a part of him wanted to keep using it even more. To perceive the entire world even deeper than he had before. He dipped his toes once again, only briefly, and snapped back with yet another gasping breath.

“We're closer, but it's still somewhere beyond here. I think it's further north. It could be back in Calypsa even.” Hal shook his head, gathering himself.

Vanir relayed the directions to the driver, who was more than happy to ferry them across two districts to collect a handsome fare. The groundcar soon settled into a steady pace, working its way through the streets of Norvondire, leaving the grisly trooper raid long behind them. She tilted her head to the side and asked, “Now do you see why we need to change this city? Those people the troopers were arresting. Shooting. Shoving face down into the dirt. They were just young men, teenagers even, assaulted for the so-called crime of being yourself.”

“Yeah, you're right.” Hal nodded in agreement. “Shooting people for touching a rock is a much more fair and just application of lethal force.” The sarcastic smile on his lips devolved into an angry sneer. “Why don't you take a hint and just leave me alone.” Hal half-paused. “Oh, and while you're doing that, why don't you go fuck yourself as well.”

“My my...” Vanir seemed to welcome his insolent attitude, responding with a self-satisfied smile. “How brave you are with your words. So bold.” She chuckled a little. “You really are Marcus' brother.”

“We're not the same.”

“No. You're not.” Vanir shook her head. “Marcus takes action when he sees something he doesn't like. He doesn't mope about and complain like an insolent little boy, angry for not getting what he wants.”

Hal felt a surge of anger well up inside his chest, but he trapped it before it burst out. He wasn't going to take the bait and play in her verbal sparring match. He merely exhaled sharply to himself, and turned his attention back out the window.

They traveled in silence for quite some time; the only words exchanged were terse directions on how to navigate closer to the meteor-light. Eventually though, a question broke through the forced quiet. “I know you don't like me Hal. To be honest, I don't think I like you either.” Vanir smiled, that hint of mischief showing through. “But we're going to be family someday. At least we can be civil with one another.”

Hal felt his heart skip a beat, freezing his blood. “Family?” He asked the question he already felt he knew the answer to. “What do you mean by that?”

The smile widened. “...I'm pregnant.”

The sudden storm of emotions sent Hal's mind into a flatspin. He was going to be an uncle? An uncle to the child of his ego-maniacal brother and his murderous girlfriend? Fan-bleeping-tastic. That would be a great family dynamic. Hal didn't expect to survive his new and evolving affliction long enough to see the day when it became reality. The anger in his heart solidified into an even sharper edge. “Congratulations. I'm sure you'll make a great loving mother. Set a good example.”

“Oh, I will.” Vanir didn't acknowledge the obvious sarcasm. “We're going to burn down the old to build up the new, and I will give my child, your nephew, a world worth living in.”

Hal scowled. “I don't care about your little revolution, so stop trying to sell me on it. You're not so different from the troopers back there; you just wear nicer clothes and wrap your lust for power in the comfy veneer of religion and destiny.”

“Hmmmm.... Such an insightful young man.” Vanir's eyes lit up. “So observant. But such talent is wasted without a cause.” Her head tilted slightly, the curl of a smile tugging at the edge of her lips. “I wonder if beneath that wit of yours if you care about anything at all in this world.”

Hal didn't answer her.  

“Nothing?” Vanir's voice took on an extra curious tone. “I wonder what Miri would think.”

The anger finally burst through and Hal's voice erupted with fury. “THAT'S IT!!!” He slammed his fist into the side of the door. “Why are you always teasing me about her!? Why the hell do you care at all about our lives?! My life was fine before you showed up and TOOK IT ALL AWAY FROM ME!” His vision started to blur a little from the tears that started to pool in the corners of his eyes. “STOP TOYING WITH ME AND JUST LET ME GO BACK TO LIVING WHATEVER SHORT LIFE I HAVE LEFT!”

“Is everything alright back there?” The drivers voice drifted through from the front of the groundcar.

“Yes, everything is fine.” Vanir answered without turning her focus from Hal. He fought back a sob and  blinked the water from his eyes, turning away from her. His tail hissed, hatred apparent in the cluster of red eyes. When she finally spoke to him again, her voice was lower, more guarded. “You don't actually know that you're dying. You think the meteor is a sickness? It's a gift that's giving you more power than you ever had before. You think you're dying? You've already died. Your old life is gone, and now you're beginning a new one. Here. Today. This very moment, in fact.” Her eyes narrowed sharply. “You may hate me for what's been done, but you need to learn that all life is change. You can either hide from it, or you can learn to embrace it. Celestia teaches us these things.”

Hal shook his head, exhaustion replacing the anger in his face like a slow rolling wave. “I don't need your lectures...” He crossed his arms and looked at the floor. “Just leave me alone.”

“Our little trip can end as soon as you find the meteor.”

And thus, that simple fact, that promise of release, slowly guided Hal's focus back to the task at hand. It took him some time to get his bearings again. The groundcar had stopped at the intersection in front of the University of Calypsa. They were already out of Norvondire? They must have been traveling for a lot longer than Hal realized.

The campus was a welcome and familiar sight to Hal, who had spent the last several years of his life studying and working there. The walkway up to the main building was lined on either side by those curious goblet shaped trees that dotted the slopes of the Starfall mountains. The old, hard, and spiral swept wood wrapped around a hollow core that was filled with a thick bed of amber leaves. Just beyond, the main building itself stood regal and proud, sturdy architecture wrapped behind a veil of ivy.

Hal activated his power again. That white noise was so much louder now, filling his skull with a deafening non-sound. The hot meteor light was close. Very close. Hal blinked, making sure he was seeing it right. It looked like the last meteor fragment was inside the university itself. He snapped out of his power trance, swallowing hard to erase the dryness that now flooded his mouth.

“I think....” Hal inhaled a ragged breath. “I think the meteor is inside the university. Fourth floor.”

“Are you sure?”

Hal looked back with his normal eyes. Scattered pockets of students walked around in the distance, happily ignorant of the cursed stone that hid somewhere behind the walls. Even now, without using his power, he could feel the almost invisible tug against his heart. “It's there.” He nodded, swallowing again. “I'm sure of it.”

“I think I can sense it too, just barely, now that we're close.” Vanir sounded like she was struggling to hide her eagerness as she craned her own head in an attempt to get a better look out the window. “Alright. Let's head back then. We can't have you go running in there, using your power during the middle of the day. We'll return at night to retrieve it.” She pulled herself back, fixing Hal with that same evil smile. “Good work... hero.”

As the groundcar started to pull away, uneasiness clenched Hal's stomach into tangled knots. He tried to relax, leaning his weary body against the window and closing his eyes, but it was no use. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't shake the feeling that he just made another wrong decision...

[End Chapter 15]
The Wayward Astronomer: Chapter 15
It was a bit of a hiatus before I released Chapter 15, but it's finally here. It was a little bit more of a struggle to get through this chapter, for whatever reason. I'm not so sure about the pacing, but I'm trying to push forward to get to the really fun parts of the story that are quickly approaching. It's gonna be awesome when we get there, I promise. I appreciate everyone's patience. As always, please feel free to chime in with any feedback you may have, and thanks for reading! 

****

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Kafelnikov's Profile Picture
Kafelnikov
Geo
United States
"The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion." ~Albert Camus
Interests
Hi everyone,

Sorry for dropping off the face of the internet for a while, but it's been a very hectic summer for me, filled with good and not quite so good things. 

The not quite so good things: I broke my finger by forgetting how to shut my car door without my hand still inside, and work has been really really busy and draining for me. The finger is healing nicely, work is still pretty damn busy, but I'm doing ok. 

The good news is I've made new friends over the summer, and all in all been surviving the journey. 

I know I talked a big talk about working quickly on my story, but yeah, it's been harder than not to move forward. Not because I don't know where to go, but just that my prime writing time is late at night, and I've been too exhausted to really ever settle into a late night of writing. Fear not, though. I haven't forgotten it, and Chapter 15 should be on the way soon. Elson Wong, aka Darkspeeds here on dA has very very graciously volunteered to make a graphic novel rendition of Chapter 9 of TWA (he also did the "cover art" for the same chapter). Nothing posted yet at the time of this writing, but you should all check out his work because he's an immensely talented artist, and just a great chap all around. 

You can check out his stuff here: :icondarkspeeds:

On the DreamKeepers group front, you should expect an announcement soon on a new Caption Contest! It will be a fun and accessible contest to tide everyone over until the traditional Halloween fan-art contest. Stay tuned!

I apologize to everyone who I've sort of left hanging with my radio silence. I'm not dead, just busy. I will try to do better about staying on top of all my messages moving forward. 
  • Mood: Llama
  • Listening to: Redlight King - Something for the pain
  • Reading: Joseph Campbell - The Hero with a Thousand Faces
  • Watching: Baseball, with less enthusiasm
  • Playing: Shogun Total War 2
  • Eating: Food?
  • Drinking: Ballast Point Pale Ale

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:iconezioauditore97:
ezioauditore97 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2014  Student General Artist
Hey know you've been busy and understandably so ,but you'll make some time for the Halloween contest,right?
Reply
:iconkafelnikov:
Kafelnikov Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2014
Absolutely. There will be a Halloween contest. That's a guarantee. There should be announcement soon once David gives me all the prize and category details. 
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:iconezioauditore97:
ezioauditore97 Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2014  Student General Artist
Excellent!I also cannot wait for that aforementioned Caption contest;maybe it got pushed back to Christmas like the one before?Regardless I've got a nice little something for the contest and I daresay it's one of my better doodles.
Reply
:iconusblynx:
USBLynx Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Okay I just went to your website thats linked to your Deviant ID and I found a few interesting things... One: the plane is called a Lynx... you can guess why I noticed it. I just thought that was funny. Two: the Lynx is in your Deviant ID picture. I think that is really cool. Three: I see that the company that owns the website are hiring... is it entry level or experienced level hiring? Im looking for a new job, so I have been poking around.

By the way, I have a few sketches for chapter 8 of Wayward Astronomer. I have not posted them yet, Because I do not know where to go from this point on...
Reply
:iconkafelnikov:
Kafelnikov Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014
Sorry, I was slow to respond to your note. Feel free to post the sketches to your stash on dA (or some other site) and then you can link me to the sketches in a note. I'll take a look and give you my thoughts!

We are hiring at XCOR for several different positions, so read the job descriptions to get an idea for what each one requires. Most of them are technical jobs (engineering, machining, or technician)
Reply
:iconr-star97:
R-Star97 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you very much for the fave Kafel ^^ (If I'm allowed to call you like that)
Reply
:iconkafelnikov:
Kafelnikov Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2014
No problem. A lot people call me Kafel. It's all good
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:iconr-star97:
R-Star97 Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Alright ^^
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:iconsuperflatpsychosis:
SuperflatPsychosis Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh hey, it's your birthday! Happy birthday, Kafel; I guess today was a really good day to have finished your commission, then! : )
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:iconkafelnikov:
Kafelnikov Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2014
Perfect timing! Thanks so much for everything! This really helped make this a great birthday :)
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