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Thread: A Garden of Plox - 6/18 Royal Conservatory, morning - Nolana/Lily/Evangeline [open]

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    House Gyrtner Nolana Gyrtner's Avatar  
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    A Garden of Plox - 6/18 Royal Conservatory, morning - Nolana/Lily/Evangeline [open]

    Nolana was nervous. There was no reason for her to be, but her body ignored that fact and instead acted on its own accord. Aspen’s death had been the first cause of her anxiety, the letter was now the second. Its contents had taken her back a bit when she first broke the wax seal and unfolded the parchment, only to watch a pressed flower float down to the wooden desktop.

    Lady Gyrtner had been in Hebron for a few days now. Her normal quarters in the castle had been on lockdown so she had converted one of the workrooms in the Conservatory into a rather homey room. Curtains hung from the frosted fractal windows, two beds had been set, and dirt had been swept out of existence for her and Lily. And while her days had been filled with tending the gardens that looked rather frazzled without Aspen’s caring hands, everything was about to change.

    Nolana had penned her reply by the light of a candle that night. She had not even had a chance to tell Lily yet. She invited Lady Baptiste to join her at the Conservatory gardens the coming morning, explaining in her pen that they obviously had little time to waste.

    She woke the next morning with red, sunken eyes common with lack of sleep for it did not come the night before. Instead Nolana sat awake with the curtains drawn around her little alcove, her table littered with tomes and tomes of plant profiles and a single beeswax candle. The pressed Plox had been her guide as she fingered through chapters and pages of healing profiles and herbal remedies. To her dismay the collection of Plox at the Royal Gardens was not complete by any means but she had planted a few varieties, mainly for decoration. Thankfully, one of which stood out among the others as a match, a common woodland plox she used to call fairy’s star, for its distinct purple/blue bloom.

    After Nolana had donned her best gardening dress, apron, and pulled her hair back into a messy bun, she emerged from her sectioned off room in hopes of finding Lily. It was time to clue her into the Lady Baptiste’s request. ”Lily? Are you here?” She called, glancing around the room before opening the door that led out to the main jungle like conservatory. ”There is something I must share with you if you are lurking,” Nolana added with a nibble at her lower lip.

  2. #2
    House Gyrtner Liliana Gyrtner's Avatar  
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    Lady Liliana Gyrtner couldn’t deal with much anymore.

    Wiping the dirt from her bare hands as she continued to work with the tulips in the potted soil, Lily had to stop thinking. Her beloved father had passed away a year and a half prior while she was in Kirkland working with Lord Metcalfe and now her brother was gone. Lily had been devastated when her sister Nolana had summoned her and told her the horrible news. It had broken her heart and she was positive that she was not over it emotionally and mentally at the moment.

    From the moment she and Nolana had arrived in Hebron, all Lily wanted was the pain to go away. Neither one of the sisters had gotten much sleep ever since Aspen had died and it was so evident with both of them in their physical appearances, especially Lily. Both sisters had decided to keep working on what Aspen had designed for them. He had taken over for Lily while she was in Kirkland and with Nolana in Sea Guard, he had to do it. Lily helped him the best that he could, however, her main priority had been to the Lord Metcalfe and his lands. Now she was finishing his work.

    She wiped the tears that had been forming in her eyes smearing more dirt on her face as she took the gardening trowel and dug more, trying to get the poor innocent plant to fit perfectly in the soiling pot. Nolana was better at hiding her emotions than she was. Losing a brother and a friend for life was never easy and Lily just prayed that she would find the strength to move on from this. She would never forget him, but accepting his death would be so much easier for her. Why couldn’t she accept it? She only wished that the sisters could help find some kind of cure or treatment for the damned plague before it took more innocent lives.

    As she felt the tears rolling down her face again, Lily dressed in a green work dress, an apron filled with her tools and her hair up and out of her face, could not stop herself. She stopped plunging the trowel and slumped forward on the countertop in the Conservatory letting herself cry for once. She had tried to be strong around everyone else, especially Nolana and not even Lexington when she saw him whenever he could arrange their private lunch together.

    Suddenly hearing Lana’s voice, she stood up straight and roughly wiped away her tears. Nolana couldn’t see this as she hoped that it hadn’t been too obvious.

    “I’m coming Lana!” She called out as she placed her tools down and walked back towards the main aisle directing them towards their small rooms that they were sharing. She didn’t mind sleeping outside in the conservatory, it was a roof over their heads and she didn’t care. Giving her sister a sweet smile, Lily walked up to her and hugged her sister gently.

    “What do you have to talk to me about dear sister?” Lily asked curiously raising an eyebrow at her.

  3. #3
    House Baptiste Evangeline Baptiste's Avatar  
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    Hebron was the last place Evangeline wanted to be. If she'd had her choice, she would have been back in Valley Haven, tending to Tarran and helping to nurse him back to health instead of having to leave him in the hands of the most capable healer she'd found thus far in the city. But even if Prince Langston hadn't instructed her she was going, she knew she would have ended up here anyway; the discovery she'd made was too important to put off for long. What she'd found was a cure to this plague, something which would free not only Tuneric, but hopefully Balfour as well, from the grips of death.

    It was for that reason that she'd written to the Gyrtner family, although her request had probably seemed strange coming from a complete stranger. She knew little of them; apparently the family consisted of only two sisters now, with the rest of the family having succumbed to the plague. One of the deaths in particular had been especially tragic, as he had apparently been in the prime of his life and of full health before falling ill. Usually the population of Tuneric was more resistant to the disease, with only the old and young dying from it; it made Evangeline wonder if perhaps this family shared some relatively recent lineage with her homeland.

    This was the morning she was to meet with the lady of the house, and Evangeline was feeling more frazzled than usual. She felt like she was in a hundred places at once, her mind pulled in every direction and her heart pulled in only one, but all that had to be put to the side for this meeting. Smoothing her dress, Eva felt strangely inadequate for such a meeting; this whole thing, having to leave her home under such circumstances and thus leaving behind all her legacy, left her feeling a bit lost. It was strange to be in a place where her family's reputation was unknown, and having to prove herself all over again was a daunting prospect. At least she had one advantage this time: her age. When she'd started out working on her own she'd still been quite young, and it had taken quite a bit of work to get people to believe that a pretty young woman could set a broken bone or deliver a baby through a complicated pregnancy or stitch up a gaping wound. Perhaps that would be easier this way around...although that was hardly the ideal situation. If she had her way, after the plague had largely abated on Tuneric she would be on a ship back home.

    Tying her hair back loosely, Evangeline set off for the Conservatory gardens, a basket clasped in one hand. The morning was fine, at least, with a clear sky that promised to bring with it a lovely day, and it made the walk outside quite pleasant. Arriving at her destination, she realized quickly that she wasn't sure whether Lady Gyrtner had meant by 'Conservatory gardens' that they should meet indoors or outside. Either way she was curious about the Conservatory, and she had been told by the steward that she could explore most places in the castle freely, so she opened the door and stepped within, taking a moment to adjust to the increase in heat and humidity that came with entering a greenhouse. She didn't see anyone, but she thought she heard voices coming from deeper within the Conservatory. Stepping into the main room a little further, she cursed this feeling of being lost and called out. "Hello? Lady Gyrtner?"

  4. #4
    House Gyrtner Nolana Gyrtner's Avatar  
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    When Nolana found Lily it was obvious that the younger sister had been crying again, and she most certainly could not be blamed for that one bit. The last year had been an extremely difficult one for the Gyrtner sisters and there was no doubt that their losses were still fresh. Nolana was not about to rub salt in her sister’s wound though so she made no mention of the tears. Instead she put on a brave smile and reached out to intertwine her arm with Lily’s, leading her off among the Conservatory’s maze like passages. ”This talk deserves a good walk, I think,” She mused quietly, while doing so.

    ”Lily, I received a letter last evening,” The older Gyrtner admitted after a moment of stewing silence. ”I did not wish to wake you with the news, but it is rather important.” Again, Nolana trailed off, trying to find the right words to the journey before them, before realizing her meaning and the coming news might be misconstrued if she paused any longer. ”No, no nothing is wrong,” Nolana consoled quickly, stopping with the next step and releasing herself from Lily to wave her hands before her as if to clear the air. ”Mother is fine, everything is fine. This is good news. Mostly, I mean, as good as it can be.”

    Again, she was getting no where, it was time to simply come out and say it. ”You see, this letter was fro-“ But before Nolana could actually explain, another voice broke through the thick foliage and tall trees of the Conservatory.

    "Hello? Lady Gyrtner?"

    Nolana nearly jumped at the intrusion but recovered quickly, though an embarrassed half smile crept onto her lips. ”—m Lady Baptiste!” Turning in the direction of the door, Nolana had to stop herself from waving if for no other reason than the fact that she could not see the Evangeline and Evangeline most definitely could not see her.

    ”Stay where you are, we shall come to you!” Her voice was veiled in cheerfulness, though she didn’t quite feel it in her heart.

    Turning back to Lily, Nolana took a deep breath and clasped Lily’s shoulders warmly with a squeeze before explaining, ”The Crown needs out help. Lady Baptiste believes that a cure has been found, we must simply find a better one. Everything will come to light now, but please… keep your eyes and ears open for me.” Her voice was low, almost grave and excrutiatingly weary. It almost seemed as if Nolana had aged ten years over night, the bags under her eyes were dark and dreary. She held Lily’s gaze for a few moments, waiting for some confirmation of what she just said before straightening, releasing her hold, and allowing another smile to cross her lips.

    ”I hope you are well this morning,” Nolana called once more as she wound her way to the entrance, appearing suddenly behind a large palm. She took in Lady Baptiste for a moment before curtsying in greeting. ”I am Nolana, and this is my younger sister Lily. We are both thrilled that you could come so quickly. I hope you do not mind me skipping right to the point, but we do not have too much time do we…” With a glance between the lady and her sister, Nolana’s green eyes sparkled for a brief moment before she offered, ”Shall I take you to our plox?”

  5. #5
    House Gyrtner Liliana Gyrtner's Avatar  
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    Needless to say, Lily had mixed emotions about what was going around with her and Nolana right now. She was more than nervous to hear what exactly was going on, yet she found herself more than anxious to hear as well. Lana had been vague when it was first brought to her attention that they were needed in Hebron than Devonshire at the moment. Lily had been reluctant to leave their grieving mother behind, yet she had insisted that Lily accompany Lana to Hebron in the case that Lana needed here help. Plus it had been a great excuse to see Lexington again.

    Raising an eyebrow at her sister, Lily slowly nodded as she wiped her hands as clean as she could and the sisters linked arms as they began walking around the gardens. Nolana began talking about a letter that she had received last night and Lily gasped suddenly wondering if everything was alright back in Devonshire. Nolana knew how Lily could be when her emotions ran higher than normal and quickly had insisted that everything was alright.

    “Oh thank goodness, now who sent you this letter dear sister?” Lily asked curiously before hearing what exactly was going on and why they had been summoned here. A cure?

    “Lana, if we could find a cure, we can help save thousands of lives and thousands of others from dealing with the heartache and loneliness that we both feel at the moment. I will do whatever it takes to find a cure.” She replied her heart skipping beats as she was excited that they were close enough to find something that could help the dying and the people that were sick. Suddenly hearing another female’s voice. Lily glanced down at her attire and cursed herself mentally for not looking more decent in this situation, however, it seemed as if Nolana had not expected the company so quickly and soon another woman joined them and Nolana introduced them to her, the Lady Evangeline Baptiste. So this was the woman that would be joining them? She was after all a Healer, if she could help them find a remedy, it would be a miracle.

    “It is such an honor to meet you Lady Baptiste; we thank you for replying to our urgent request on such short notice.” Lily greeted the young woman with a small smile as she let Nolana take over the conversation and offer to let her to the plox.

  6. #6
    House Baptiste Evangeline Baptiste's Avatar  
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    Evangeline stopped when she heard a voice ring out, and was grateful for the instruction; if she'd had to wander through this place until she found those she sought, she would have been lost in no time. A moment later, though, two gorgeous red heads emerged from behind a large palm tree, and Eva followed their curtseys with one of her own, dipping slightly lower than they had. She was, after all, entreating them, as well as being a newcomer to their land. "Lady Nolana, Lady Lily, thank you for meeting with me."

    A smile crept to the corners of her eyes at Nolana's offer; she appreciated a woman who got right to the point. "I do not mind at all," she said, gesturing for the women to lead on. "I'll fill in what I couldn't in my letter as we go."

    She tried to recall what, exactly, she'd written, and then decided that it didn't really matter. "Before our King sent us to seek refuge here, my family - we're all healers, in one way or another - was working tirelessly to find some sort of relief for this disease. It strikes my people much more viciously than it does natives of Tuneric...similar symptoms, but faster progression, as if we have less of a resistance to it. But despite the amount of knowledge we had on healing, we could find nothing which could provide anything more than the slightest, most temporary relief. When I arrived here and found that the plant life was different from what I was used to, I started looking for similarities, and I found enough to give myself a basis to work on. A plant which is fairly rare at home has a similar version that seems to be pretty much everywhere here - the sample I sent you. It's cousin on Balfour was all that seemed to be able to touch the illness, and this plant followed in the same vein. My..." she paused for a moment, wondering how to quantify her relationship with Tarran, before giving up entirely, "Lord Tarran Hutchinson fell ill shortly after arriving here from Balfour, that plant has brought him back from the edge of death."

    There was emotion in her voice, even though she kept it from her face with habits of long practice. "I'm convinced that there's...there's got to be another way to process this, or another similar species...something that holds the key to breaking this horrible plague."

  7. #7
    House Gyrtner Nolana Gyrtner's Avatar  
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    Nolana listened in silence as she ushered the Lady Baptiste and her sister from the main terrace, stopping only briefly to gather her notes from her desk before they exited into a smaller wing. Winding through the tropical trees and exotic flowering bushes, Nolana kept the pace light to fully let the woman's words sink in. When finally the explanation was concluded, the Conservatory's large glass and metal door was pushed open to allow for their exit, placing them a few feet from the exterior gardens.

    "And I am quite convinced you are correct, Lady Evangeline," The Gyrtner replied, finally stopping at a bench in the middle of a flower garden. Instead of sitting, she dropped the pile of tomes and notes that she had gathered onto the stone surface, but turned to face the foreign woman. A sad smile crossed her lips as she reached for the woman's hands and held them in hers. "Thank you for reaching out to us in this trial. It has given me, and my sister too I am sure, a path to redemption. We shall not rest until a lasting cure is found." With one last squeeze, Nolana released her friendly grip and returned to her notes, retrieving the first few pages of her handwritten script.

    "You are currently standing in the middle of our collection of native plox. The garden's layout is arranged in a way that highlights the natural distribution of this plant over our realm. The middle circle is comprised of plox found here in Hebron and its close surrounding areas, while each of the 4 outer rings takes you further from Hebron and into the different flora ranges across our country." Nolana turned towards the North-West and gestured, "For instance, there you will find three different varieties of woodland plox, though stay clear of the purple flowers with black veins. That is known as Dreamless Sleep in and around Huntstown and the other woodland Houses."

    Nolana offered Evangeline the first three pages of her notes from the evening before. "My research indicates that these are your best candidates, and I have exceptionally high hopes for this subspecies here, meadow plox. It is found in a small, nutrient dense region of Kirkland. In fact, Lily has cultured quite a nice garden with a few specimens of that species." Nolana turned her attention to her younger sister and smiled.

  8. #8
    House Gyrtner Liliana Gyrtner's Avatar  
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    It was not in her nature to pass judgment on anyone that she didn’t know that well; however, Lily had a tremendously good feeling about the Lady Baptiste. If Lana could trust her, then Lily could as well. That made her feel more confident about their work and possibly their future with finding a good enough cure for the plague. Both sisters wanted to do whatever they could to find a cure and would find one if they meant digging through every acre of land of Tuneric to do so. She did not want anyone else to experience the loss of an immediate family member such as a brother like Aspen. He was more of a brother to her and Nolana; he was one of Lily’s closest relatives and a friend to her. He had been there for her when Nolana couldn’t be. When her sister had been gone to Sea Guard over two years ago and when Lord Metcalfe commissioned her to build him a garden that turned into a conservatory, Aspen had been there to comfort her and reassure her that she would succeed in her commission and she had. Lord Metcalfe had been pleased with her and Nolana’s work. Everything had been Lily’s design, her sister followed her lead and it felt good to hear Aspen’s words of confidence when she needed it the most. Now he was gone, Lily felt like she betrayed him. This was their way to honor him.

    Lily snapped out of her thoughts and gave Evangeline a bright, welcoming smile as Nolana welcomed her into their area of work, the beloved royal conservatory. It was their workspace, heaven on earth for the both of them. Nolana took the Lady Baptiste’s arm and lead her around to various plants and flowers that had been sorted to be the best candidates for the vaccination. Whatever she needed, Nolana and Lily would provide for her.

    At her name being mentioned, Lily turned her head and gave them a smile, “Yes I found those plants particularly around the country estate of the Lord Thurstan Metcalfe. I had been commissioned to make him a garden for his mother and cousins yet when I arrived, I found these unique plants that had been known for attracting birds that had not come around the area for years according to the workers on the farm. So when I took a sample, the more I began to examine it and research more, the more I found that these can be tricky. I found that these are not easy to find or to grow. Powdery mildew and root rot can be serious problems along with spider mites especially in hot and dry conditions. When I told Nolana about the plant, she did more investigation on it and found that this particular plant could be what we’ve been waiting for in hopes of a cure. It explains everything in my sister’s notes. I could not agree with my sister more on this Lady Baptiste, that if we could recommend a plant, this is the best.” Lily said with a smile confident in her work and Nolana’s work as well.

  9. #9
    House Baptiste Evangeline Baptiste's Avatar  
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    It was with a small measure of surprise that Evangeline found her hands clasped in Nolana's; any interaction she'd had thus far with the native Tunericarians had been frosty, to say the least. But she returned the redhead's smile, grateful to have had her request be received by such willing and eager women. "Nor shall I. This means redemption for us all, and a true salvation for my people as well as yours. Failure is, quite simply, not an option I am willing to entertain."

    She listened to the two sisters explain things as she took in the plants which surrounded her. It brought her back, momentarily, to being in her family's garden; it wasn't nearly as large as this, but was quite expansive, and every inch was packed with useful plants. Her brother took most interest in the gardening, although all the children were expected to help. Eva couldn't help but think that her brother would be over the moon in the Gyrtner's gardens, surrounded by so many new and different varieties and species of plants just waiting to be tested for some sort of usefulness.

    Noting the species indicated to avoid, Eva took the notes from Nolana and glanced over them for a moment before returning her attention back to her companions. She didn't recognize the name that Liliana mentioned, but if the plants held as much promise as the sisters seemed to think, she could only hope that this Lord Metcalfe would be willing to have his lands harvested for the plox it contained.

    Looking over the notes more in depth, she quickly took in its contents, nodding before setting the pages down on a bench. Moving to the plant in question, she bent and pulled a smaller one, bearing only a few flowers, from the soil. "I've had the best luck with grown plants, already in flower," she said, brushing the dirt out of the roots before turning back to the sisters. "The roots are the key...and this looks like it's got an excellent amount to work with. These thick ones, along with the taproot, will yield the most."

    "I've brought my things, and there's a way I can tell right away if this will work...shall we process some and see?"

  10. #10
    House Gyrtner Nolana Gyrtner's Avatar  
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    Nolana watched with interest as Lady Baptiste glanced over the work she had done the evening before. If the Gyrtner were being honest, she had not expected such a welcomed reception for the research. Had she grown so cynical over the past year to actually have imagined that the Baptiste would have shunned the help that had been requested in the first place? Perhaps Nolana had fallen further than she originally thought.

    But that was no matter to worry about here. The hopefulness and eagerness in Evangeline's countenance banished Nolana's sudden fears and caused the red headed woman to watch as the true work began. Nolana didn't even wince as her plant was pulled from its soil. Instead, she moved closer to look at the roots that were quite likely going to be their savior.

    "You mean this is.... Portable? Could the remedy be so easy to procure? What must be done? Yes, yes please, of course, I can't spare a minute more to waiting," her eagerness caused her lips to trip over the words they spoke, and the optimism in her eyes now was clearly visible. Nolana couldn't help but ring her hands in anticipation as she waved the woman over to an empty garden table. She shared a quick glance with Lili, and smiled an anxious smile. The time was upon them, and Nolana was nearly sick with hope.

  11. #11
    House Gyrtner Liliana Gyrtner's Avatar  
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    The more the Lady Baptiste began observing the work that her and Nolana had done, the more Lily got nervous. She was tempted to do what she did when she was nervous and bit on her lip or even a fingernail. It was improper and she knew it, however, all of their work was now being examined by a real Healer. She had faith in herself and Lana however she couldn’t help, but be nervous. As Lily watched the Lady Baptiste reach over and yank the plant from the soil, she raised both of her eyebrows at the brunette.

    As Evangeline examined the plant and began speaking about how the plant could be portable, Lily’s eyes went wide in shock as she glanced over at Nolana. That meant that the cure could be made anywhere, not just in Hebron and Kirkland since the plant was found in Lord Metcalfe’s large garden.

    “Lana if this was indeed portable this means that a cure could be found faster and people could receive the cure quicker. It could save so many lives. Yes please Lady Baptiste, we shall do whatever you ask of us to do.” She replied as she followed the two women over to the table as they let the woman work her magic on their experiment. This was incredible.

  12. #12
    House Baptiste Evangeline Baptiste's Avatar  
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    The fact that both women carried such nervous expressions, as if they were expecting to be put down in some way, made Eva slightly more worried about the receptiveness Tuneric would have of a cure made by a stranger, and by a woman to boot. But now was not the time for such worries, and she grinned at the excited turn both redheads took as they both converged on a garden table. Hardly an ideal laboratory, but it would have to do.

    Hefting the bag she'd carried in with her onto the table, Evangeline removed her tools and lit the small brazier. "Portable to an extent, yes, but not necessarily easy," she said as her hands worked, setting out vessels and filling them from various small stoneware bottles she'd packed. She had, after all, done a great deal of work even getting to the point where she was confident enough to ask for outside help; the hours she'd spent researching, the nights she'd not slept, being driven on by an almost desperate need to find something to break the illness's hold. She'd lost count of the time she'd spent, although it had been long enough that a burn on her arm, sustained in those first desperate days, had nearly healed itself entirely.

    "I've found the the plants which have some healing effect - although of varying degrees - on this particular illness all react to a specific acid in the same way. The more effective the thing, the stronger the reaction." She took a small cutting of root from the flower she'd pulled from the Gyrtners' garden and ground it in a mortar, before adding it to the tiny pot of water she had sitting over the hot coals of the brazier. "What I've got now, it does well enough to give the patient some comfort, but that in itself can be dangerous...if someone's still sick, but feels better, the greater the chance that they'll get up and begin to socialize again, thus spreading it to others quicker. It is, however, enough to give one who's quite poorly off enough comfort to actually sleep, without being woken by pain or coughing."

    Finally things were ready, and with tongs she pulled the boiled-down paste from over the coals. Another corked bottle was produced from the bag, this one glass and containing a quite unpleasant-looking orange liquid. "This doesn't actually go into the preparation...it's just for testing purposes, you understand." One last bowl was produced, this one partially filled with a similar looking paste. "This is the reaction the weaker stuff has," she said, dripping a few drops of the acid onto it. After a moment it began hissing, producing a smell like burning peat and a weak wisp of gray smoke. Looking at the two women for a moment, Eva turned back to the paste she'd just made, and with some trepidation she dropped one, two, three drops of acid onto it. Immediately it hissed, the smoke which rose from it gray-green and thicker. It was a stronger reaction, just as she'd hoped for, and Evangeline grinned in triumph.

    "Ladies, I think we might just have it."

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