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    The Seventh Realm
    By: Cody Robinson


    Prologue



    Birds chirp loudly as a woman passes a nearby tree walking through the forest. She moves past flower after flower occasionally bending over to pick one to smell its sweet fragrance. An acorn falls down from the tree branches as she looks up to see a squirrel sitting upon a branch carrying its food to its home in a nearby hollow tree.

    She halts and squints her eyes as the sun shines down upon the spot in which she stands, as the thick canopy of leaves above block the sunlight in all but a few places, just giving enough light to know for sure that it is early afternoon. She begins to walk once more as she looks back toward the forest floor to watch how the sunlight seems to dance along the dirt, branches, and leaves in its intricate patterns.

    As the complex patterns of light are intensified, she nears the edge of the leaf canopy, making her way out into the sudden heat of the blazing sun, removing herself from the cool, moist atmosphere of the forest. The narrow path that led from the forest now expands into a small road in which she walks steadily down the center, with her white cloak balancing slightly above the ground. She increases her stride and begins to move faster toward her destination.

    At the end of the road a small house, built with stone blocks and a wooden roof, enclosed by a fence made of thick bushes, comes into view. She smiles as she approaches it and slows her pace slightly. As she comes nearer to the home she sees a man and she observes him quietly.

    "It is such a beautiful morning, is it not?" asks the man draped in a dark brown cloak, which drags along the ground as he walks through his bountiful garden. He notices a small green vine between his red rose and his white tulip and then reaches down to pluck the nuisance from the ground. He inhales a sweet breath from his rose and looks up toward the beautiful blue sky and sighs.

    "It is a truly beautiful day, one of the clearest skies I have ever seen." He states, as he watches the few clouds scatter across the sky. The man continues to look skyward as he approaches his porch and takes a seat in his oak rocking chair. The wind begins to blow in a steady stream from the east and the hood of the mans cloak falls to his back and reveals a head full of gray hair stretching down to the top of his shoulders.

    "Boji, my daughter, are you trying to sneak up on your father?" says the man sitting in his chair. The woman walks up the steps and smiles shyly. She is wearing a pure white cotton robe that touches the ground, giving her the appearance to be one of the healing clerics of the nearby town. She has a muscular build, looking as if she is in her late-teens, as her shoulder length dark brown hair blows in the strengthening afternoon wind as she approaches the man and begins speaking, "Of course not father, how are you this day?"

    "Boji, my lovely daughter, so kind of you to visit this old man today. I am fine my dear."

    "Father, how many times must I tell you, you are not old! You are only fifty-four. You still have many years left." Boji says and smiles at her father, as she moves to take a seat next to him on the porch. Rothin looks kindly upon his daughter and says, "My sweet, sweet Boji, you flatter this old man with your words, but alas he is too wise for your tricks." He smiles down at his daughter and continues "I am glad you came to visit me this day."

    "Father, I come to visit you everyday. Why would you think more of this day, of this visit, than any other?" A suddenly confused Boji says, taking her fathers hand in hers. "Father, what is wrong? Is something bothering you?"

    "My daughter, bad days are coming, the storm approaches us." He says looking concerned and toward the west horizon. He holds his daughter's hand tightly continuing to look to the west, in the distance, a slight rumbling is heard.









    " "



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