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e didn't want to go home. He didn't want to stay there. He just wished he could crawl into a hole and die. He fiddled for his keys in the little box under the counter where they were kept. His eyes cought the tax box at the other end of the counter. It was empty now, but when the tax collector had stopped by an hour before it couldn't have held another coin. They had joked that a larger box would have to be made. He had worn a smile
then, but now, somehow the memory made his stomache turn. Keys finally in hand, The shopkeep straightened and took a deep breath then let it out in a large sigh. Nothing left to do but lock up and go home.

The sun had only dropped beyond the horizon about 20 minutes earlier. It was warm and promissed to remain
so for the rest of the evening. A gentle breeze was blowing in from the northeast; bringing with it the smell of new spring blossoms.

He made his way down the newly-named Pandora Way and took a left on scepter. 'How appropriate,' he
thought. Erkinwhine had certainly made an impact (he couldn't help but grin at the pun) on the little jungle city during the last 3 months. His grin turned into a frown when he wondered what would happen to him. Pandora had resisted Erkinwhine being named High-Priest, but she had done nothing wrong. His would be a terrible fate. Of that, he was most certain.

He passed the pile of lumber that would one day be the new granary. That caused him to wonder, 'what will
they put in it?'

Erkinwhine had been determined to win the hearts of all of Varossa. He doubled the available food rations,
destroyed Arragoth's temple and promissed to build a temple to a new goddess -- Jasmine. He lowered taxes and put everyone to work. So many of the city's youth were interested in joining the fight against Arragoth that a physical exam and test were created to be sure only the best were chosen to fight. The new army was being led by the greatest hero the amazons had ever known -- Hawk. Now, the cornerstone of King Erkinwhine's grand stratagy was in danger; the food supply. And lowly Timothy, a shopkeeper, was to blame.

When Timothy had taken over the task of supervising the food stores and distributing Erkinwhine's generous
gifts, the food storage facilities were bursting with fruits, vegitables, cheeses and many kinds of meat. Now, the same facilities held a suckling pig, six large yams and two baskets of over-ripe fruit. Hardly enough to feed a city.

Tomorrow, he was to make a progress report to the king. He could only imagine what Erkinwhine would do to

Finally home, the door swung open before he could reach its handle. His young son and daughter flung them-
selves into his arms. They were very excited that there father was going to meet the king. His wife, Sharon, had prepared his favorite dinner; a real feast. But Timothy wasn't hungry ...

Somehow, he made it through dinner without tiping off his family that something was wrong. They enjoyed
mutton and yams, some dried figs and plenty of green beans. Not to mention the freshly baked bread. For desert they had shortcakes with strawberries and whipped cream. He quietly felt guilty that they were having such a supper when the stored supplies were nearly non-existant.

When dinner had concluded, the children were rushed off to their rooms to conclude their studies for the eve-
ning. This gave Sharon a chance to question Timothy about his attidude at dinner. Apparently, he hadn't kept the secret as well has he thought he had. They talked about his concerns at length and she consoled him. She assured him that he had simply been doing what was asked of him, and he seemed more confident. Secretly, neither of them expected him to ever return from the meeting, but each tried to convence the other everything would be ok.