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Everelle's Quest, an Isle of Foote novel
Everelle's Quest, an Isle of Foote novel
Everelle's Quest, an Isle of Foote novel
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Everelle's Quest, an Isle of Foote novel

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When Everelle finds herself fleeing her burning world with no memory of her past, she joins seven strangers escaping the inferno. Is this truly her only hope . . . to follow the mysterious Mentula, a man who unerringly leades them to a strange, different world up a cavernous wall?

Why were they chosen to come to Isle of Foote? Who believed these eight strangers could save this mysterious island above Mother Eaarth? While struggling to answer such simple questions as "What's your name? Where are you frome?", Everelle is persuaded to join the other seven on a quest to rescue Isle of Foote from certain implosion. Joining forces with unlikely characters like dragons, wizards, giants and more, she and her new comrades face their own inadequacies, doubts and fears as they seek the answers to the mystery laid out before them. 

Follow the questors as they search within themselves to find their own unique gifts/talents which could be the key to bringing the enchanted Isle of Foote to safety once more. Will they be in time? More importantly, will they be enough?*****

Everelle's Quest is alive with creative imagery and action. It has elements of faith and creation mixed with charming fantasy. There is an overall sense of goodness prevailing over all evil. There is a sense of wonder of parallel, other worlds. This is a good tale for all who believe that we are here for a reason and enjoy being reminded of that overall quest for the meaning of life. . . .Dr. Nedra Kinerk, Ed.D.

This is a precious book-the magic of Nature, the success found in teamwork, the suspense of a quest, the pure delight of fantastical creatures and places. Everelle's Quest" is a principled telling but shown pleasingly through humor, action, and relating.  . . . Katherine Brittain, author, The Wasp and El Curandero

Release dateOct 15, 2015
Everelle's Quest, an Isle of Foote novel
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    Everelle's Quest, an Isle of Foote novel - Roda Hilenski Grubb

    Everelle’s Quest

    an Isle of Foote novel

    Roda Hilenski Grubb

    Everelle’s Quest

    an Isle of Foote novel

    All Rights Reserved

    Copyright ©2015, 2017, Roda Hilenski Grubb

    Cover Art and Design:

    Nancy Snyder



    Barbara Ertl

    Second Print Edition

    Library of Congress Control Number: 2015915057

    eBook ISBN - 978-0-9915146-2-5

    Paperback ISBN - 13: 978-0-9915146-1-8

    EBooks are not transferable. All Rights Are Reserved. This book or parts thereof may not be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or stored in a database retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, without the publisher’s permission.

    The characters and events in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to actual persons or events is coincidental.

    Map: Courtesy of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

    Published by:

    McAllen, Texas 78504




    Printed in the United States of America


    So many lives I celebrate!

    Here are just a few.

    Mishka, Max, Phyllie, John, Cathie, Eric, Billy,

    Jaime, Josie, Jake, Jesse, Grayson, Ashton

    Without You . . .

    2018-Deciding to go into a second printing is a risk, but, then, what is life without risk? Last year I lost my beloved backbone, my rock, my hubby. Now I tread that winding road, but not alone. With the first printing, there was Team Everelle. I live life today with my Village, those who have come out of the woodwork to be on my Life’s Team. I thank you all for being there. You’re making life liveable again. And so, with corrections in place, I offer you this Second Printing of Everelle’s Quest, an Isle of Foote novel.

    2015-I have come to understand a book is only as good as its team. Based on my team, this must be one phenomenal book! It would have been impossible to put it all together without you, Team Everelle! I can never express the appreciation I have for all of you.

    Thank you to my brave friends who stepped up to the plate to play Early Readers when Everelle’s Quest was in its raw stages. They braved through it and encouraged me onward. Thank you from the bottom of my heart: Patty Barrett, who didn’t quite finish before she left this world on her own adventure, Judy Davidson, Karen Kinerk, Nancy Millar, Chris Pederson, Carol Readhimer, and Nancy Snyder. For being my last reader, David Freeman, thank you.

    A special appreciation goes out to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for the gift of the elephant foot painting which became the inspiration behind Everelle’s Quest, an Isle of Foote novel, and is the map for the island. After staring at that painting for months, visions of forests, mountains, lakes, rivers, and a desert appeared to me and I wondered what it would look like in person. My visits to Foote began and I discovered it was real after all.

    What was amazing to me was the willingness of people to help me in any way they could. Thank you to Mark at Stairways, Inc. for helping me design a correct staircase and Jim Taylor at McCreery Aviation who gave me dragon flight guidance. When I was stuck my nephew, Adam Merrill, came through with flying colors and gave me an idea which helped me finish Everelle’s Quest.

    Steve Ahlenius, Ivan Gonzalez and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, I thank you for preparing me to meet the challenges of publishing this book.

    For my Back Cover gang, thanks so much for hearing my plea and coming forward: Harvey Aikman, Chris Ardis, Jan Edgley, Rosemary Hall, Dana Merrill, Pattie Peer, Kelly and Sally Stocker. Listened to your advice and used it.

    A gazillion buckets of appreciation for going over and beyond goes out to my wonderful Editor, Barbara Ertl. Others started the job and she finished with a flourish, in the end believing in Everelle’s Quest and encouraging me on.

    A man who helps by his very nature, Tony Corso, always is willing to be a listening ear and pass along sage advice, first brought Isle of Foote to life in black and white. After suggesting the name change, he then did the layout work for Everelle’s Quest. Thank you.

    Also, a great thank you goes out to an above and beyond worker bee, Becky Gonzalez, and to CopyZone, taking professionalism to a whole new level.

    Others I found along my path to publication helped me obtain my goals. Bibliocrunch.com is an author’s dream where consultants give advice, nudge, instruct and encourage every step of the way. Thank you, Miral! I send a huge thank you to Tamian Wood, Graphic Designer, Beyond Design International.com, who shared her insight from her immense talent to help guide the cover to its full glory. Gary Dischler, for your ongoing support, vision and constant confidence in the project, I send my deepest gratitude.

    When a friend shares your dream and then a character actually visits her, well, that’s pretty darn special. Flame came alive for Nancy Snyder who used her incredible artistic skills to put him in color on paper. There he was for all to see and I knew in my heart Flame was astir in the universe. Then she was called on to bring life to Everelle and again she said, Yes, I can. And she did. Thank you, Nancy, for blessing Foote with your awesome talent and using it to design all the stunning covers for Everelle’s Quest!

    How can I do anything in my life without my beloved sister, Phyllie Hilenski, who encourages me every step, every day in every way? I love you dearly, sweet sis. Thank you for your optimism on this roller coaster ride. Your undying confidence in me bolstered me many a day and kept me going.

    The Right Reverend Max Grubb is the man who deals with our crazy life, supporting my dreams, cheering me on, offering ideas, always, always unhesitatingly urging me on to the propitious finale. I love you for being there, for loving me and accepting the late nights working on Foote. You are my backbone, my rock, dear Hubby, and I cherish you in my life!

    Finally, to all those Angels who nudged me, believed in me, delivered me to the Isle of Foote so I could bring the adventure to readers, I give my everlasting gratitude and undying love.

    Roda Hilenski Grubb

    Table of Contents

    1. Escape

    2. 8 Plus 1

    3. Welcome!

    4. Normal?

    5. Kidnapped?

    6. Why Are We Here?

    7. Terrified

    8. Secrets

    9. George

    10. Creatures

    11. Mentula

    12. Bubbleflies

    13. Range of Naturn

    14. The Army

    15. The Gift of Stones

    16. A Stony Gift

    17. Flame

    18. Giants of the Land

    19. Animals of the Ring

    20. Four Down, Four to Go

    21. Giant Tales

    22. A Connection is Made

    23. A Lion, A Bear, Good Scares

    24. Simple and Outlandish

    25. And Then There Were Three

    26. A Busy Pause

    27. Hug the Monster

    28. Ready or Not

    29. Goodbye, Hello, Let’s Ride

    30. Die? Not Today!

    31. Disasters, Gifts and Discoveries

    32. Fronk

    33. Fronk’s Tale

    34. An Amazing Plan

    35. A Risky Spell

    36. Back in Time

    37. Reteliance’s Madness

    38. A Wizard’s Secret

    39. The End?

    40. Willingness is the Key

    41. A Grand Adventure



    A Note From Roda

    About the Author



    Only eight of us were left. I didn’t know where the rest of the world had gone. I didn’t remember anything except the overwhelming fear which consumed my soul. I ran through the red, smoke-filled air, following those ahead of me like a shadow. There didn’t seem to be much of me left, whoever I was. My body seemed healthy but my memory was gone!

    Where had I lost me? What had happened? I didn’t know. I didn’t care. I just kept moving forward. Looking down, I saw traveling clothes; heavy, coffee-brown walking boots, jeans, a sage-green flannel shirt, and a warm, light cocoa-colored, down-filled coat. I must have known I’d be traveling on foot, but from where and, more importantly, to where?

    Our leader led us to a cave in the side of the mountain at the end of the valley. I had not noticed it until we stood in front of it. A part of the mountain side, the entrance was hidden from inquiring eyes, yet right there before us. Perhaps it was the way the shadows played across its rocky face. I didn’t take time to find out.

    I saw the others enter the cave and wondered what could be found there to keep us safe from whatever we were running away from. I took a quick glance back but could only see the same red, smoke-filled sky I had seen before. Though trees near us weren’t burning, it seemed as if the whole world was on fire.

    No one except the eight of us, and our helmsman, were in sight. I wasn’t even sure who they were but we were together in this and struggling to get somewhere. I entered into the rocky, dark opening not knowing what to expect. There was no slowing down.

    We ran down the damp hallway of the cave as if it were welcoming us, though rocky outthrusts poked at us as we ran. Down the entranceway we went into the first room which stretched before us like an over-sized living room. I glanced around and saw nowhere to go, but those in front kept moving. I followed along.

    Why couldn’t I remember anything? What were we running away from?

    Curiously, I ran with no effort. None of us appeared tired or ready to slow down. The urgent sense to escape was all powerful. At the back of the room the leader jerked on something in a small, unnoticeable hole in the wall. When the wall moved silently aside, we followed like rats following the Pied Piper, but in silence—no music, no words.

    Ahead I saw the long hallway ending at a wall. Frantically looking about me I saw no other openings, only sheer rocky walls reaching up, up, up. Dark grey and beaver brown walls poked in and out at us. Gratitude washed over me as I realized there were no cliffs going down, but one less worry didn’t entirely reassure me.

    Where could we possibly be going?

    Someone yelled out, Mentula, where are you taking us?

    At last. I knew our leader’s name. I’d heard strange names but Mentula? That one was indeed odd but who was I to criticize a name when I couldn’t remember my own? Nonetheless, I was relieved I could name something. I waited for Mentula to answer. He didn’t. He quietly embarked on a climb up what looked to be a sheer wall. As we approached the facade we could make out pieces of the cliff jutting out at odd angles, close enough for us to begin climbing up. Among the protuberances were hollows in the stony wall, carved large enough to place a shoe or hand securely.

    I was in the middle of our little group. Since there was no place else to go, and no one was talking, I followed the others up as I knew those behind would follow me. Sticking my foot in the first rocky hole and then the next, I sensed we weren’t the first to climb this forbidding-looking wall. Footholds were strategically spaced allowing people of various heights to use them and, obviously, had used them.

    What was this?

    Questions were building in my mind with no answers forthcoming. Having no choice, I did what anyone else would do. I followed the leader.

    We climbed until I lost track of the hours passing. Periodically Mentula would stop to let us rest. I was hungry but there was nothing to be done about that for now. Up and up we went until I thought I would drop from exhaustion. Why didn’t anyone say anything? Were we not allowed to talk? I was too tired to ask, yet I still had the energy to keep going. How could that be?


    Hours later, or so it seemed, I saw a low yellow light filtering down from somewhere far over my head. Looking down, I could see the silhouettes of the others as they continued climbing up the ragged rock wall. We had come so far I thought it must be a mile to the bottom but I couldn’t see in the darkness. Only those few behind me were visible. The looks on their faces were of determination, confidence, sadness and curiosity.

    Odd, I thought. Where was the fear on their faces that I had felt? Did I feel it now? Having a fear of heights made me believe I would be fearful of this climb. Yet, feeling little fear now surprised me. Instead of terror, I was feeling safer and safer the higher we climbed.

    My hands grew tired and sore as I climbed, the rocks leaving little cuts on my palms and fingers. Still, there was nowhere to go but up and so, that’s what we did. Thoughts raced through my head as my body moved robotically—up one step, move the other foot into the next hole, up another step, next foot in the next step.

    Oddly it was a step, overly steep steps we were climbing, as if made for this purpose. There was no safety rope if we fell but the handholds were sturdy and strong. I could feel cool air surrounding me, keeping us from getting overheated working this hard in our heavy coats. On our breaks, I would close my eyes, taking long, deep breaths to cool my lungs, also warding off any extra heat. I kept seeing that red sky.

    Who was I? Why was I with these people? Who were these people?

    I didn’t hear any screaming from behind us as we fled. It seemed as if everything—the whole world—was a raging conflagration, something everyone would need to flee. I needed some answers and wondered when that time would come. Would I live long enough to find out?


    And still we climbed. I could see the light overhead becoming brighter and a breeze blew across my face, cool against my sweaty brow. I could feel the air becoming fresher and a feeling of goodness was slowly sweeping through my body. This didn’t make any sense. How could I feel good about anything after what we had come from? I knew I couldn’t explain, but it was true. I was feeling . . . good.

    At long last, the bodies ahead of me climbed right out of sight. When I arrived near the vanishing point, I saw steps leading out of the cave, as if they were the most normal thing in the world, my world, at least. It must have been a hundred feet up but there was no doubt. These were real steps with handrails cut into the wall to the opening up ahead. Imagine that! We hauled ourselves up these last steps, pulling on the handrails secured into the steps so strongly they didn’t even shake. It was good to feel the strong, smooth stone supports helping me up the rough, steep steps.

    After climbing those last few treads, I stepped out onto a shamrock-green lawn, lined by a waist-high, three-foot-wide hedge with hunter-green leaves shaped like a W. I’d never seen anything like it. Hedges were growing along one side of a cobblestone street with a dirt walkway between the hedge and street. As I stood looking both ways, the hedge followed the road to my left and right, the street curved out of sight at both ends.

    On the other side of the street, a variety of shops, cute and quaint, similar to the style in northeast America, lined up for a block.

    Aha! Had I been there?

    A heavenly aroma wafted its way to us from the bakery, its window packed with breads & goodies, reminding my stomach how empty it was. Some style of pub or restaurant was at one end of the block with tables in front. A few people were sitting there eating, talking quietly. At the other end was a general merchandise-type store; its windows loaded with bolts of fabric, gift items, tea sets, and some herbs laid out to dry. Decked out in spring attire, the stores had fresh bouquets of daffodils, tulips and hyacinths adorning their fronts, giving off an overwhelming welcoming scent.

    We looked at each other after the last person climbed out of the arched entranceway. Mentula mingled among the eight of us, looking to ensure we were not harmed in any way. He took my hands in his own and surveyed them for damage. Looking into my eyes he pinned my gaze, smiling at me as if I were his long lost love. Taking one of my hands between his own large, strong, callused hands, he softly sang a tune with words I couldn’t understand. After a few minutes I could feel the pain leave the tips of my fingers, then the whole hand. Letting go, he took my other hand and repeated the routine. Feeling the truth before seeing it, I looked down. My hands were healed, the cuts gone, the pain gone, the swelling gone.

    Thank you! I murmured. It was all I could think to say.

    His smile was glorious; as if my words were the most important he had ever heard. I felt warm and loved and content as he moved on to the next person to heal.

    All of us flopped down on the fresh-cut grass, inhaling its hay like fragrance or lazing on boulders scattered across the lawn, trying to recover energy after the long, wearing climb.

    It was obvious we were safe.

    The sky here was a deep cerulean-blue with fluffy, cream colored clouds floating lazily overhead. Towering trees dotted the country side. Loblolly pines tucked themselves under the towering redwoods, alongside budding redbuds and sweetgums with their distinctive five-star leaves.

    What an odd mixture of flora! Where could this be? Were we still in America?

    - 2 -

    Eight Plus One

    Mentula worked on us for a half hour while we quietly rested, regaining our strength. Nothing was coming back to me. I had no idea what I left behind me or if I had left anyone behind. I didn’t know if I wanted the answer to that yet. I was content to feel hungry and nothing else. Remembering that red sky sent shivers down my back and I could only imagine what had caused it and why we had run away.

    I looked at the other seven and for the first time really saw them. Sitting on the grass, leaning against a tree was a woman with thick, blond hair tumbling to the middle of her back and a face as beautiful as a runway model’s. Her long lashes covered her closed eyes and her lush, heart-shaped, cherry lips drooped lazily as she napped. Knee-high, deep brown, flat, rubber-soled, leather boots covered her body-hugging blue jeans. A hip-length coffee-colored leather jacket lined with what looked like sheep fur and a red-and-blue-plaid flannel shirt kept her warm. Ok, this was getting more and more curious. What was somebody who looked like that doing in this motley group?

    Leaning against the rocky wall by the entrance was a man with a mix of grey and black hair topping his rugged face. His nose was strong, Roman, his cheeks were ruddy red. A striking set of blazing, sky-blue eyes stared back at me with grey-black bushy eyebrows arching over them. A scruffy beard grew on his face. He wore a jean coat with a thick lining of fur over his black-and-blue-flannel shirt tucked into black cargo pants with a wide, beige leather belt. The buckle featured a deer engraved on a copper panel. Arms crossed on his muscular chest created an aura of distrust and doubt.

    I looked at him with no restraint as he stared back at me. We were both curious about the group tying us together. Besides, he was fetching in a rough sort of way.

    Sitting on a nearby stone was a young girl, curled up in a ball, softly sobbing, hair hiding her face. She didn’t seem to belong to any of the others and my heart went out to her. I could only imagine what was going through her head, feeling alone, scared. Auburn hair fell down to the middle of her upper arms and looked soft and flowing even after everything we had just been through. Black leggings covered her slim legs while a warm cream-colored stylish sweater covered her top. A thick, navy blue coat provided her warmth. I couldn’t see her face but when she glanced up I was struck by her youthful face, maybe mid-teens. Quickly, she ducked her head and gave in to her tears.


    Taking a break from surveying my fellow travelers, I looked up the mountainside and was stunned by the spectacular view. The mountains before me rose to lofty heights but were smooth as if tossed in a tumbler, though with deep dips and curves. Clear gleaming quartz tipped the top with Kelly green and royal purple twisting and turning throughout the mountainside, speckles of gold shining through here and there. I had never seen any mountain so breathtaking. Light from the brilliant sky bounced off the polished sides, creating visions of sparkling rainbows.

    With Mentula still at work, I resumed surveying our newly formed tribe. A young, slim, man with saddle-brown-hair stood off to the side looking helpless. His arms hung by his side as he, too, surveyed the situation. He stood about six feet tall, wore boot-styled black pants, and umber-colored, laced climbing shoes. His jacket looked lightweight over a long-sleeved white shirt, speckled with dirt from rocks smudging him during the climb. His head drooped forward and he seemed suspended by invisible string, wanting to help but too tired to move.

    Sitting on a bench closest to the street was a middle-aged couple. How did I make it up that climb, but, more importantly, how did they? It was an arduous climb but, miraculously, we were all here.

    With his arm slipped around the woman’s back, the man pulled her closer. His hair was mostly grey, cut close. A rugged face held large expressive eyes and a strong square chin. The woman, her shoulder-length, grey-streaked hair falling loosely around her head, leaned against him gently, lovingly. Their hands intertwined. Once more their dress made me think this was a planned event, this running away. She was dressed in a warm periwinkle jumpsuit, with white, sturdy walking shoes; a long fuchsia top fell to her hips. Since they both had rings on their left hands I assumed they were married.

    He was dressed in cargo jeans with a black, bulky top and a black jacket over that. He looked ruffled yet in charge, wrapping his arm protectively about her, rubbing his face in her hair and hugging her.

    I knew there had to be another person yet I didn’t see anyone else at the moment. I was ready for some answers and knew they would come if we talked to each other, something we had been careful not to do.

    Looking around, I had to blink twice. I thought I was seeing double. Walking out of the restaurant with a tray of steaming mugs was the man who, just seconds before, I had seen standing so helplessly, looking dejected and exhausted. Now he walked with confidence, strength to his gait, easily balancing the nine mugs he carried.

    Quickly, I glanced again to where I had seen the dejected man and, there he was. Now, glancing back at the figure striding toward the green, was his identical . . . Twin!! Of course—his twin.

    Again the question arose as I looked over the group. How did we have the strength and endurance to make that climb? I sure didn’t seem to be the rock-climbing type, nor did most of the others.


    So, that was the eight of us plus Mentula. How did we come together to make up this little pack? No one had spoken yet. I was perplexed by the silence, and getting tired of all these questions filling my mind.

    But first, the steaming cups were coming closer and the smell of hot chocolate permeated the air. Holding out the tray with a lopsided grin, the man offered the hot mugs to each of us. With gratitude in my silent smile, I reached out to grab the tall, cream-colored ceramic mug with a handle to comfortably fit a good-sized hand.

    Taking a sip, a shiver ran through my body. Inch by inch, the hot chocolate warmed its way down my body until I could feel it in my toes. Calmness settled over me and a sense of wellness, which again made me feel guilty as I thought of what we had fled.

    I held the mug in both hands, inhaling deeply the smell of family and good times. Hot chocolate. A flash of memory raced across my mind. Me, sitting in a large cushiony chair upholstered in a rich cream with sprigs of red and blue flowers splashed across the material. With both hands curled around a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows, I was laughing, looking up at someone. I was relaxed and happy.

    As fast as it came, it left . . . the memory was gone and I had no idea what it meant. I was back in the narrow, green grassy area before the archway which had brought us to wherever it was we were.


    And no matter what, it was time for the talking to begin.

    - 3 -


    Handing out the mugs, the man stood in the middle of the spread-out group, opened his mouth and spoke. I was thrilled to learn he had the same idea I did—get everyone talking.

    My name is Kymerson and this is my brother, Kelly. He pointed to his twin. We don’t know about you, but we’re tired and hungry. We have time to figure this out but first, we need to tend to our needs. This restaurant across the street looks inviting and their cocoa was good. I say let’s give them a try before we attempt to unravel our predicament.

    Looking each of us in the eye until he saw some sort of answer, he made sure his simple statement was understood. When he looked at Mentula he saw an almost imperceptible nod of the head. Turning, he headed back across the street with his tray of empty mugs, the rest of us hesitantly following like sheep. Awakened, the long-haired beauty still looked gorgeous. Sniffling, the young girl followed along. No one wanted to be left behind in this strange land.

    Although the cobblestone street made us unsteady on our feet, we crossed without incident. Entering the restaurant, Kymerson held the door for our little troop. Inside we found sturdy well-used picnic tables with benches made of dark wood. We filled up a few tables, still feeling a tad edgy towards each other, nervous at who or what could be sitting next to us.

    A short, plump, jolly woman, wearing a white apron embroidered with red flowers twisting about a mayflower pole, a mid-calf black skirt and white peasant blouse, walked energetically to the front of the tables.

    I’m Melanise and will serve you this day!

    Flourishing tablets, she passed them to us. Looking at mine I gave a sigh of relief. Written in a flowing hand style, I could make out the words. With extra letters added, it looked odd but nonetheless, there was enough English for me to understand.

    Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken in a Pie, Home style Vegetable Soup.

    As I read the menu, I thought perhaps I had died and gone to heaven for it listed many of my favorite comfort foods. From the names and brief descriptions, I discovered mashed potatoes, a creamed vegetable soup, and a plate offering steamed vegetables I hadn’t tried before. A salad with rocket, salad turnip, water salad—what was that? And, ah yes, papaya. Great! Since it was blatantly obvious this was going to be an adventure like no other, it made sense the food would be adventurous also.

    Just the thought of food gave energy to our small tribe. A feeling of calm flowed from one person to the next as if we’d been given the comforting chamomile tea. As each one read the odd English on the menu and felt a connection to the dishes listed, a renewed sense of safety settled around us. Sitting in that small restaurant at the end of a street going we knew not where, it was important to feel safe in this corner sanctuary.

    Is this your first time here? Melanise’s voice brought us to attention.

    Yes, came out of everyone’s mouth with one exception.

    No, replied Mentula.

    Surprisingly, hungry as I was, I found it was the voices of these people surrounding me which excited me more than the prospect of food. Coming from somewhere behind us were positively intoxicating smells. Still, I found myself leaning forward, eager to hear my companions’ voices.

    Low and indistinct were their words, but now I knew we had voices.

    Smiling a knowing glance of recognition at Mentula, Melanise opened wide her short, powerful arms, beamed a bright, broad smile as her clear, hazel eyes seemed to shoot out sparkles. Enthusiastically, she belted out,

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