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The heartbeat of Africa is strong tonight, the joyful and ancient rhythm echoed oleh bare feet and drums. Shadowed figures of all shapes and sizes dance around the light, bernyanyi and swaying with the flames. Their voices rise in crescendo with the drums, hands and faces lifting to the sky, higher, higher...and then swinging down again into the selanjutnya verse of the wild song, the beat getting faster.

A young man with the wisdom of two worlds in his eyes looks on, humming along under his breath and trying to keep from trembling. He has never seen the Deep Magic so raw and undisguised before; not since he watched a Lion sing a new sun into existence and felt the weight of a life-giving apel, apple in his hand, years ago, in another Place. A Place that is not so different from this one as he used to think.

The stars above gabung them in their musik and movement, silent, but no less joyful; and all of creation - every universe - is connected in the rhythm of their Creator.

~ and I know sacred ears will listen
and holy hands reach out to touch
how can I keep myself from singing
Hallelujah! (Hallelujah!) ~



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For the umpteenth time that night, Susan reached into her tas, dompet for her compact mirror and peered into it with scrutinizing eyes, trying to fix what didn't need to be fixed. She wiped and dabbed and wiped again at her lipstick for several long seconds, and sighed in frustration. She just couldn't get it right.

She felt Warren's eyes on her and turned to face him, an unexpected pang in her stomach. There was no condemnation in his gaze. Only disappointment. Which was almost worse.

"I wish you'd get rid of that thing," he said. "You really don't need it."

Normally, with anyone else, she would've smiled apologetically and slipped it into her tas, dompet again to forget about it.

But this was not normal, and he was not just anyone, and she suddenly decided to do something very childish and very wise. Still clutching the mirror in her hand, she turned and ran from the cafe to the nearby river; and with all her strength, she flung the mirror away. It flashed like a shooting bintang in the air for a moment, and then fell into the water with a glorious splash.

When she turned around, Warren was standing there, smiling, her triumph reflected in his eyes.

~ mirror, I am seeing a new reflection
I'm looking into the eyes of He who made me ~



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She walked hand-in-hand with Him. Him. The One with Lion's eyes and a King's face and a Father's voice and the brightness of all the galaxies in Him. Their bare feet made shining silver ripples along the surface of the sea as they walked, the water like liquid glass beneath them. She watched in delight as warna and creatures darted below their feet, as strange and familiar and deeply real to her as the rest of this True halaman awal they shared.

"Lucy," He said, pointing off to one side. "Look there."

She saw a group of Sea People, smiling and waving up at her from the clear depths, and she laughed aloud and waved back.

"Look closer, dear heart." His voice rumbled with amusement, as though He was waiting for her to work through a riddle atau discover a hidden gift. "Do anda recognize anyone?"

Her vision telescoped, zooming in closer and closer as she scanned over the faces. She noticed one Sea Girl in particular swimming eagerly up to greet her, and a cry of joy fled her lips. In seconds, the Fisherdess had broken the glimmering surface of the water and the two girls rushed into each other's arms, laughing together as kindred spirits and clinging to each other like they'd never let go.

~ when I look into your eyes, your cinta is there for me
and the lebih I go inside, the lebih there is to see ~