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more than the unknown

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As the sun set, more patrons filed into The Dubious Damselfly. Soon the tavern was alive with uproarious conversations and singing. Juno hardly moved in his seat at the bar.

The bartender, though busy, paused, looking at Juno's expression and half-full cup. Finally she nodded to the folded-up paper beside Juno. "Bad news?"

"Haven't read it yet, actually." Juno hadn't let it out of his sight since a gold-speckled bird delivered it this morning. Just reading the outside made him wary.

For Sir Juno, it read, in unfamiliar handwriting.

Juno hadn't been addressed as such in over a year.

"I haven't opened it," Juno said, "but I've got a bad feeling. It's not from someone I recognize."

"Read it," the bartender advised. "The unknown is probably scarier than what's actually in the letter."

Juno sighed. "You're right." He sat up, drained the rest of his glass, then picked up the letter, unfolding it and holding it up closer to the candlelight. It wasn't long, but he still scanned for the letter-writer's name first. And there it was, at the bottom, in confident black ink. It was also unfamiliar.

You and I can do some real good together, Juno.

RAMSES O'FLAHERTY