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Chapter Two


        The Tower loomed ominously in the darkness.

        Jeremy Scott crouched low, peering from the tall grass just beyond the old fort’s crumbling outer wall. There was no other term for the monument that stood before him. Illuminated intermittently by the moon peeking through the clouds, the Tower appeared black against the already dark backdrop of the mountains behind it. The range of peaks surrounded the entirety of his father’s valley. The central, rounded structure literally towered over the rest of the fort’s meager surviving structures.

        He hissed in discomfort as one of the long blades of switchgrass sliced a fine cut along his cheek. Kneeling as he was, his face was in the thick of the slender, dangerous plants. He had worn long sleeves and jeans for the express purpose of pushing the grass away, but he had moved too suddenly without thinking.

        He took careful strides through the grass as he made his way toward the fort. It was the closest he had ever been, only ever seeing faint glimpses of it from the trail as he passed by with his father. His birthday had been last week, though, and this was his personal celebration.

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