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Interim

                                     by Lynne Charles

The woman eyed the guard carefully, unconsciously noting every detail of the man. He was a short, stocky man, with thinning hair and a small, neat mustache. He appeared to be around forty or so in age. Pinned to the left side of his vest was a shiny, metallic nameplate.

"Doyle? I must see Jonathon Pierce."

Doyle barred the path with a sturdy cane he was carrying and attempted to question the woman. Soon, however, it became obvious that the woman would speak only to Pierce, and reluctantly, Doyle led the way toward Yorkshire Manor.

The woman was shown into the room commonly referred to as the Amethyst Room. The room seemed to be aptly named, for almost every object 'was some shade of purple. The tiled floor was intricately patterned, with inlaid stones ranging in hue from a deep purple to an intense blue-violet. The walls were arrayed with vertical designs of tiny, dancing violets in a sea of periwinkle. Bunches of violets in miniature indigo vases were carefully and artfully arranged on several chrome tables with lilac-tinted glass tops. A long, lavender couch was set back into a corner of the expansive room. Several matching easy chairs were also scattered about. Moving aside many of the satin, orchid-colored throw pillows from one end of the couch, the woman settled back in anxious anticipation of her meeting with Jonathon Pierce.

She had not long to wait, for in only moments a young man appeared in the doorway. Though he looked to be under twenty-five, she knew his actual age was thirty. The man stood about an inch shy of six feet tall, and weighed about 165 pounds. His muscular frame supported his weight well, she thought. As he stepped into the room, she noticed that his dark brown hair was parted neatly at the side. His clean shaven face was tanned nicely, and his square-cut jaw exemplified his courageous character. He was dressed from head to foot in tan. A loose, airy shirt was tucked tidily into his well-fitting trousers. Polished, knee-high, black riding boots completed the outfit. She stood to meet him as he crossed the floor. His dark brown eyes glinted at her mischieviously.

"Doyle informed me of a visitor, but I did not expect anyone quite as lovely as you."

Surprised by his comment, she could only stare at the floor in silence. Pierce took this opportunity to study his guest. He estimated her age to be about twenty-two, or twenty-three. She was very fair, with sunshiny hair accenting her light complexion. She was roughly five feet, seven inches tall and weighed about 105 pounds. Her attire complemented her figure nicely. A long-sleeved jersey, open at the neck, hung just over the waist of her riding pants. Knee-high mocassins, laced and made of leather, expressed an air of wildness in the civilized surroundings. A cape draped around her shoulders, reaching well past her knees in length. Gray-green eyes staring at him brought him out of his reverie.

"I thank you, kind sir, for the compliment. However, I bring news of great import for you and your friends. Is there a place where we may speak freely?"

Pierce frowned in contemplation, then said, "I was about to exercise my horse, Shadow. Would you care to accompany me?"

She nodded her head in acquiescence. They departed through the front doors of the Manor, where a black panther sat. The woman stopped to touch it, and then continued in silence toward the stables with Pierce. Pierce held the reins of Sunbeam, Shadow's mare, while the woman mounted, then he turned and got on his own horse. As they settled the horses into a slow trot, the woman began to speak.

"I am called Asiel."

And from the darkness of the surrounding forest, a man watched the riders quietly, a dark frown furrowing his brow.


 © 1985, 

K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft

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