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Lessons and Reflections



Clouds. The sky couldn't be seen. The forest was entirely gloomy.

The trees sagged, color was faded, and the stars couldn't be seen. This wasn't

right. Rose looked around. She had been here before. But she remembered it being

more vivid. --Something's happening. But what?-- she wondered. Rose saw a familiar

flash of red. Rose turned  and looked around the forest. There she was. The little

red fox. She sat on the silvery throne that Wildwing had once so oddly described.

--Yes, something's happening-- came foxspirit's voice --Something we cannot see.

What we cannot see we cannot prevent.-- --But... but.. how? How can you not see it?

How can you not know? You are of the spiritual council. You are their leader. You

rule the universe! How can you not know?-- Rose's thoughts raced through her

telepathy. Fox was the queen of the spiritual council. She knew everything! --I

am not Fate. I do not determine who lives or dies. Except those who make it

to be council.-- was the unwanted answer. --Makes it to be council? You mean all

of us won't make it?-- Rose didn't understand. --Dear one, spirit's keeper. You

will know all and understand when the time comes. But not before.-- was all that

Fox spirit said. Rose protested as the forest faded away but to no avail. The message

in Fox's green eyes was so clear. Nothing could be done.

Rose woke up rather suddenly. --I will never get used to this!-- she thought.

Rose went about getting dressed. She knew something was not right here. Maloney had

said the day before that today they would meet the current council. The whole day

before they were excited as they cleaned and prepped the compound for the next day's

events. Now the day had come. For some reason Rose was not enthusiastic. Perhaps, it

was Fox's untimely news that some of the psysquad weren't going to be there at the

ascension. --I won't tell anyone unless I need to.-- she thought. After she finished

dressing, Rose went downstairs to eat. Of course, Jack was down there. He was always

the first one up. "Mornin'. Ready for the big day?" Jack said. Rose stopped. She was

three steps in the door and Jack was being unusually cordial. "Do you want something?"

she asked. "Want something? Rose, I'm hurt! I can't even be nice to my partner without

her suspecting me of treachery! I might as well commit suicide! Life's cruel!" Jack

said melodramatically as he stood up from his chair. He proceeded to pull a kitchen

knife out of a drawer and pretend to stab himself. He fell to the floor and played

dead. Then Michelle walked in and saw Jack lying on the floor "dead". "Oh, you

finally bumped the pain in the rear end off, huh?" she said. "Pain in the rear end!"

Jack shouted. "AAAAAH! He's alive!" screamed Michelle half mockingly. Rose simply

stepped over Jack to her cabinet where she had rehid the candy bars. Grabbing two

(one for her and one for Michelle) she went to the fridge and grabbed a couple of sodas.

"Here ya go." Rose said handing Michelle her breakfast. Jack's insulted look turned to

worry. "Hey, you alright love? You're pale." he said. Rose looked at him funnily. He

had never called her love before. "Oh, I'm fine." she said "I'm just tired." Michelle

and Jack exchanged worried glances. Rose never brushed off anything like that. "Ok."

said Jack slowly. He wrapped his long arms around Rose's shoulders and gave her a

hug. Rose stopped and looked up into Jack's steady blue eyes. --Will he make it?--

she wondered. She was afraid. What if he didn't and she did? How could she go on?

Rose mustered the most encouraging smile she could and then sat down to eat. Rose

faded off into her thoughts while the rest of the psysquad drifted in and out of

the kitchen for breakfast.

Jack ran into the parlor. He knew he was late. Lucky for him the Mighty Ducks

were right behind him. He had gone to the gate to let them in. Jack hopped on the

couch and landed beside Rose. He smiled charmingly as he slid his arm around her

shoulders. She gave him her usual 'you're in trouble' look. He smiled thankfully to

see her mood had brightened. Rose looked up and smiled brightly when Wildwing walked

in the room. Maloney had just started to give Jack the usual lecture. "It's alright.

He was letting us in." Wing said. Maloney backed off as the ducks filed in one by one.

Their presence had been requested to meet the council. "Everyone's here. Now it's

time." Maloney said. Jack watched as the big duck turned and left the room. Everyone

stood up and followed him. Rose stood and followed. Jack quickly jumped up and

caught up with Rose. He slipped his arm around her waist to keep up with her. He

saw Rose give him a puzzled look, but she kept walking. --If I could only tell

you.-- he thought. They large group finally reached the council room. Fox and

Maloney were dressed in the council robes. --Thank goodness they released the dress

code. It was bad enough wearing those military uniforms. Then we get those things.--

Jack thought. Fox, who was perched on the desk at the front of the room gave Jack a

scolding look. --You should be careful what you think in the presence of the council--

she said to him in telepathy. Jack smiled sheepishly as he sat down in the cold metal

folding chair.

After everyone was seated, everyone but the ducks, there weren't enough chairs.

Wildwing proceeded to note the appearance of the council. They stood behind the desk,

which fox was still perched on. Maloney had taken his usual spot next to Fox. Wing noticed

that together there were only six members of the council present. That and the guardian.

Wing knew who the guardian was, her robe was different. She glowed eerily of gold not silver.

Wildwing then noted the puzzled looks on the faces on the members of the room. Rose's was

very pale. Like she had seen a ghost. Or a dream. Maloney looked at Rose. "I know you're

worry." he said. "Then you know what will happen?" she said. "Not what will happen, just that

the time of lessons and reflections has begun." Fox stood from her perch. "The council." she

proclaimed as she walked and stood at the end of the line. each of the other members were

hooded. They faces were unseen. There were four of them. "Ausmus." said Fox. The council

member next to Fox reached up and pushed away his hood. He was tall, His dark brown

eyes could hardly be seen through his black feathers. "Cammi." the next council member

revealed herself. Her short hair was of a light brown. Her eyes, too, were also brown.

"Daman." The next member had blonde hair and blue gray eyes. He looked as if the weather

was contained within those pupils. "Princess." The last duck had black hair and a silver

stripe that was identical to Duke's. Duke himself, was shocked. He moved into the darkest

corner he could find. Wing noted this warily. There was obviously a connection between

Princess and Duke. And it wasn't their names.

The ducks all looked at each other. The similarity between Duke and Princess was

striking. Then Mallory noticed that all of the council was ducks. "What about Canard?" She

spoke up. Maloney and Fox looked at each other then at Mallory. "What about him?" Maloney

asked slowly. "You haven't introduced your guardian." Mal retorted. "That is for me to do." said

a gentle voice. It came from the guardian who stood off to the side. She was clearly shorter than

every one in the room. "I have a story to explain my identity." she said as she reached up slowly

to pull away the hood.



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