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Cave - Trolls and Amazons


PROLOGUE
She knelt at the rim of the lake, sitting back on her calves as the gentle waves
lapped against her bare belly and hips.
Her head was bowed against the rain, her long auburn hair soaking wet and
clinging to thighs numb with cold. There had been a hut to shelter her once,
built for her thousands of years before by a young lover of hers, but both man
and dwelling had long since crumbled and rotted away, leaving her to the face
the unforgiving elements frozen and alone. But still she knelt here, staring
sightlessly into the water around her, interpreting the rippling images which
echoed only in her mind.
She looked young – her early twenties at most – but she was very much older
than this. She had been here since the World had begun.
There were others like her all over the universe, one or two to a planet, all
monitoring their own worlds, all communicating their acquired knowledge to
their brothers and sisters elsewhere. Between them, they saw everything,
knew everything, understood everything and everyone. As if they were Gods.
Deep in the water pooled between her thighs, she saw the man approaching
behind her. He stopped a few feet away from her back, a dozen or so
boisterous trolls in a misshapen semi-circle behind him.
She shivered, partly through cold and partly through premonition. This was
the end for her. And it could soon be the end for everyone, if only they knew it.
She sent her last wishes to the other Watchers, spread out across a universe
of swirling galaxies. They protested, but she held firm. There was hope of a
kind, if they did as she bid them. Hope for others, but not for her.
The man stepped forwards. Taking her shoulders, he lifted her to her feet like
a limp child. She stood. She faced him. She could not see him – she was blind –
but she knew what he looked like, as he had seen him in the lake.
She could sense his triumph.
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