Chapter 9 summary: Travik visits Jolinar in her palace, bringing a gift. 

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[ Chapter 1: Goodbyes | Chapter 2: An Audience | Chapter 3: A Conspiracy | Chapter 4: Promotion | Chapter 5: Minor System Lord | Chapter 6: An Old Acquaintance | Chapter 7: Diversions | Chapter 8: Plans | Chapter 9: Happy Moments | Chapter 10: Culmination | Chapter 11: Complications | Chapter 12: Daily Life | Chapter 13: Exposed | Chapter 14: A New Host - and a New Master | Chapter 15: New Challenges | Chapter 16: A Necessary Sacrifice | Chapter 17: Information Gathering | Chapter 18: A Surprise Visit | Chapter 19: Bad News | Chapter 20: War and Power | Chapter 21: Emergencies | Chapter 22: Found Out | Chapter 23: In the Tunnels | Chapter 24: Undercover at Bastet's Court | Chapter 25: Discovered! | Chapter 26: Rosha | Chapter 27: Host | Chapter 28: Getting Along | Chapter 29: Safe | Chapter 30: Lantash | Chapter 31: Shared Missions | Chapter 32: Taking A Chance | Chapter 33: Danger and Betrayal | Chapter 34: Some Realizations | Chapter 35: Hiding | Chapter 36: Time for the Truth | Chapter 37: Home | Chapter 38: Together | Chapter 39: Martouf ]


Fortunately for Jolinar and Sannya, the war kept Oceanus away most of the time, and he was rarely able to visit - or invite her to him - for more than a few days at a time. Something Jolinar and Sannya were deeply grateful of.

There were happier occasions, though. Now and then, Travik would show up an stay for a few days.

They might not be in love with him, but they enjoyed his company very much. He was fun - and a good lover.

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Travik bowed deeply, while keeping something hidden under a scarf. Jolinar looked curiously at it.

"Greetings, Lord Siwa."

Jolinar rolled her eyes. She had told her servants to leave them alone, so there was no reason to pretend.

"Hello, Travik. It is good to see you."

He looked mysterious, and tried - unsuccessfully - to hide a grin.

"I brought you a gift." He held out the bundle, covered by the scarf. It moved and made small noises.

"What is it?" Jolinar asked, sceptically, a little unsure if it was safe to touch. Travik could be something of a prankster sometimes.

"Look for yourself." He placed it in her lap.

She quickly removed the piece of cloth from the squirming and whimpering creature. She immediately got a surprised expression.

"A puppy!" She studied the small, furry animal. "Of Kepi's breed!"

Jolinar looked amazed - and overwhelmed. Thinking back to the dog she had had so many years ago. She remembered it had been a puppy, sitting in her lap, when she had first met Travik. She also remembered what had happened shortly after - when Kepi had sunk its fangs into Travik's hand.

"Yes, I remember how fond you were of the wretched creature. Well, there is no accounting for taste, I guess."

"A brave choice! You are not afraid to be bitten?" She snickered. "As for my taste...I also am rather fond of you..."

"So true. A redeeming quality." His eyes sparkled.

Jolinar took a cookie from the platter on the table beside her, and broke off a piece from it. She fed it to the dog, who happily munched on it. Smiling, she fed it another morsel.

"What is its name?"

"Her name - is for you to choose."

"She really is adorable...." Jolinar almost cooed. "Do you want more cookie, sweetie?" She began to break off another piece. "Maybe I should call her Miu...gentleness. She looks so calm and gentle..."

Suddenly, the dog snapped the cookie, sinking its small, sharp teeth into Jolinar's finger by accident. She cried out, and let go of the rest of the cookie, which the dog quickly snatched.

"Bad dog!" Jolinar looked at her finger, which was bleeding just a little from several small puncture wounds. She sucked it. "Odjit...wicked one...is a far better name for you!"

Travik laughed. "Poetic justice! Why do you not call her Meskhenet?"

"Destiny..."Jolinar suddenly saw the humour in the situation. She had, after all, laughed at Travik when her previous dog had bitten him. She laughed, forgiving both him and the puppy - and immediately took another cookie and fed it to the dog. It quickly scarfed it down.



Chapter 10: Culmination