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 The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]

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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Fri Jul 03, 2015 5:06 pm

Actually, milady, we thought you much younger than you are, Ara tells her. We supposed that you couldn't have been here all that long or you would have been noticed by Princess Celestia.
"Or Luna," Sella added.
"She's been indisposed, sister," Ara pointed out, turning aside enough that her lantern doesn't catch her voice. "I doubt she's been watching the Everfree, in any case."
"Why would Celestia?"
"Princess Celestia, and I supposed she had because of where the physical shells of the Elements were being kept."
"Good point."
Ara turns back to Artemia. Yes, Princess Celestia and Luna guide the sun and moon through the sky. They're apparently quite ancient, immortal, ageless, and extremely powerful in a magical sense. If not for incidents where the celestial bodies' movement was less than regular, making it clear that they were being moved by some other power, I wouldn't believe it either.
"Sure you would." Sella smirks. "You're a true believer."
Ara sighs. If I may ask, Artemia, who is Mother Wolf? Is she some manner of forest spirit?
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Mon Jul 06, 2015 8:46 am

Well thank you for the compliment, but I feel it was not supposed to be one. I have no idea how powerful Celestia is, but the first time a being powerful enough to actually get my attention was the first time... Twilight showed up. A large, dark mare who... well, she scared me to be honest. Beyond that, no-one. Artemia blinked, and then smiled slowly. Hmmm... it is as you say. The bodies do occasionally have quite the erratic movement, though I always thought it was my eyes playing tricks on me.

Artemia took a deep breath and then shook her head quietly. Not quite. She was... a wolf who was more than of a mother to me than my biological mother ever was. She loved me and taught me everything I knew on how to survive.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sat Jul 25, 2015 5:10 pm

She must have been quite the exceptional wolf, Ara says with a smile to Artemia. Ponies' experiences with wolves tend to be negative and the wolves hostile and dangerous. It's good that you came across one that was gentle, kind, and maternal.
"...she was raised by a wolf," Sella says in a dumbfounded way. "Is that what I'm hearing you two talking about? That she was raised by a wolf she calls 'mother'?"
Ara turned to her. "Apparently. It's no more fantastic than her being here in the first place."
"Oh no, the ruling king of all possibly cliches isn't at all fantastic."
"Your sarcasm is showing, dear sister."
"Noooooooo. I wouldn't dream of being sarcastic." Sella smirks at her.
Ara sighs and turns back to her lantern. Well, Twilight isn't particularly large although she has a darker coat, a rather fetching shade of amethyst.
"You have designs on the bookworm princess." Sella grins. "Interesting."
Ara pointedly ignored her. The only large mare with a dark coat I can think of would be Princess Luna's mirror image, one Nightmare Moon. I imagine she was quite frightening, although I can only imagine since I and my sister were in Canterlot at the time of her brief sojourn.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:55 am

Exceptional does not begin to cover her... she was my everything... and I miss her nearly everyday... Artemia snorted as they talked, gesturing to the castle that was becoming more and more visible. Ah, no, I am aware of what Twilight looks like, I have studied her on multiple... ahem. Anyway, I knew there was something strange about this... Nightmare Moon did you say?

Amadeus snorted and rolled his eyes. So what, this Nightmare was a corrupted Luna? Kind of brings into question her... He caught himself. Apologies Mistress.

Artemia smiled and petted the wolf again. It's ok, we all have our demons... Is she well now?
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:19 pm

Nightmare Moon, yes, Ara nods. And yes, Princess Luna is well enough now, although it seems apparent that her immensely long exile will be taking a toll on her for many years.
"Should have been rid of them both at once," Sella grumbles. "It's not like the crazy and pretty one was the only one who was causing trouble and destroying lives. Inquisitors and Templar got formed to protect ponies from the both of those nuts."
Ara turns a bit to her, not enough to take her voice out of range of the lantern translating. Yes, our founders were set against the excesses of both sisters. That said, there was a great deal of sadness among them when Luna was sent away. Equestria was less for her leaving, and was the better for her return. She then turns to the lantern, but looks more at Amadeus now than Artemia. What about Luna does Nightmare Moon bring into question, sir... Amadeus, was it? I take no offense, but I should like to hear all of what you meant.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Fri Aug 07, 2015 2:23 am

Excesses? What do you mean? Artemia asked, cocking her head curiously at the sisters. And uh... founders? Ah, you work for an... what's the word... organization? I think.

Well, if you don't mind me saying, it brings into question a few things, including her mental state, and whether or not she should be trusted. Amadeus snorted and growled. A wolf who turns against her pack should never return.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:29 pm

By 'excesses', I mean that it was a time in which both sisters were focused far more deeply on defeating one another than being mindful of the common pony, the innocent, anyone who might be caught in between them while they squabbled, Ara says. Who was right or wrong was much less important to those that founded our orders than how it affected those whose only crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and those who were left without protection and justice while the ponies who should have been providing it to them were focused on their petty disputes.
And yeah, organization would probably be the best word for it. Sella adds, having leaned in close enough to the lantern that it was seriously invasive of her sister's space, but allowed her to hear what was being said and be translated as well. One order that focused on fighting things to help the ordinary sorts--the one I got inducted into--and another that was vigilantes and got justice for those ordinary sorts who got hurt by other ordinary sorts--Ara's order.
Ara and Sella both look at Amadeus at the same time and Sella looks like she's about to give the wolf a piece of her mind when Ara puts a hoof over her muzzle and looks steadily at Amadeus. There were many reasons for what Luna did, Amadeus. She felt ignored and unloved, having done so much work to make the night beautiful only to have it ignored by ponies who slept through it, and then there were some who got it into their small minds that the Princess of the Night and Moon was a creature of darkness and evil. She turned on her sister, but Celestia was not blameless and to her credit, she recognized it eventually and seems to have forgiven Luna. As she's the only wronged pony who is still alive, whether Luna ought to be forgiven is a decision that only she has a right to make. Neither of us question it because we were not wronged and so, we have no business speaking against the forgiveness of the pony that was.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sat Sep 05, 2015 3:13 am

Artemia was silent for a time, listening carefully to the pair of mares. Eventually, she spoke, her wings fluttering gently before returning to her sides. I see... so you protected the innocent whilst the two princess dealt with their issues? she asked carefully, trying to structure her question correctly.

Amadeus let out a deep rumble from his chest, somewhere between a growl and a laugh. The night is indeed beautiful, but that is a rather childish response... to be corrupted so easily by being upset because a few ponies rejected your creation, or called you evil... Amadeus went to say more, but before he could, the ground began to rumble, Artemia now glaring at him, apparently unaware her horn was glowing with a gentle light. His eyes widened and he spun, bowing deeply. My Mistress, I am so sorry... I forgot... Even as he spoke, the ground began to crack, the trees around them shaking.

She shook her head and the light faded from her horn, the ground repairing itself and the trees calming. It is... alright... She turned to the mares and coughed. My apologies for my loss of control... my dear friend brought up some... unpleasant memories. Moving away from that topic, perhaps you would like to move to the castle? It is very close now.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:18 am

The founders of our respective orders did, Ara says. They eventually became mates and based down the respective traditions of their separate orders to their descendants. I and Sella here are such descendants and we each decided to follow the traditions of a different order from a thousand years ago.
Sella fights to escape Ara's suppressing hoof to respond to Amadeus, her eyes flashing with what is apparently deep offense, but Artemia's dramatic reaction seems to take the hostility right out of her, and both sisters stare wide-eyed at the alicorn as the ground crack and tress shake... and then all is put back to rights. The sisters looked at one another before Sella backed away from the lantern enough to still hear but not respond, clearly not trusting herself to speak in this delicate circumstance.
We bear you no ill will for a dramatic reaction to past pains, Ara says to her with a reassuring smile. And yes, I'm certain the castle is near and we are eager to see to the matter that brought us out here. If your ladyship would lead the way, we would appreciate it.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:19 am

Artemia coughed and rubbed her face, clearly embarrassed. Again, I am very sorry... after all, I very young for an alicorn, and though I would not make excuses, my power does overwhelm me at times, even if I wish it did not. Artemia bowed gracefully, glad that the pair were willing to move passed her little outburst. She turned, and Amadeus whimpered as he followed his mistress, who led the pair onwards.

After only a short walk further, they arrived at the castle, and Artemia stopped. I shall remain here, I think... I do not like the way that castle smells... it is... corrupted by events of the past. She said, petting Amadeus behind the ears as she sat down, ready to wait for the pair to complete their task within its walls.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Thu Nov 19, 2015 2:17 am

Thank you for the guidance, Artemia, Ara says with a low bow and a fairly warm smile. Perhaps when we return, you could tell us about these corrupting events of the past. I myself am an amateur historian--very amateur--and am interested in the past whenever I can find out more.
"Yeah, yer a history nerd," Sella says, outside the range of the lantern. "Hope she talks your ear off, sis; it'll keep you nice and distracted."
"You're a philistine, sister."
"I don't know what that is." Sella grins. "C'mon then, Ara, move yer plot. I'm sure the nice almost-goddess has things to do and if she's inclined to stay and guide us back, she'll appreciate not waiting long."
Ara rolls her eyes and bows again to Artemia. We'll return soon. Thank you for your help, Artemia, and your commentary Amadeus.
The two sisters then disappear into the castle to start combing it for the book.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sat Nov 21, 2015 4:49 am

Artemia returned the bow and smiled gently. Perhaps I shall, after all, you are nothing if not extremely polite, and very interesting. Her smile didn't fade as she watched the pair move into the castle, before she looked at Amadeus who let out a soft noise. They... quite nice honestly. Perhaps you should stop being so hostile towards them.

Rolling his eyes, Amadeus gave a wolfy chuckle and sat down next to her. Perhaps my Goddess, but are you really interested in going towards the city of those Sisters?

The purple one, Twilight, is there. And I would like to meet the ones who ruined the castle... and who guide the sun and moon... the power they must wield. Artemia looked up at the sky, closing her eyes and bathing in the glow as she waited for the pair.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:21 am

By the time the two sisters emerge from the library, the sun will have set and the moon risen high. They're walking by the light of the lamp that Lunara hovers, which emits light and flickers as if it's carrying a flame within, but if Artemia squints a little at it, she'd be able to see that the dancing mote isn't a flame of any kind.
We found the book we were looking for, Artemia, Ara says with a smile. The aura of the lamp seems larger somehow, so Ara doesn't appear to need to hold it directly in front of her muzzle as she did before for Artemia to understand her.
My sister's a complete shameless nerd, Sella adds with a grin directed at Ara.
I am no such thing, Ara responds airily. It just so happens that I'm quite well-educated as far as book learning and language comprehension goes.
Translation is that she spends a lot of time with books and is a foal in the woods about everything else.
Ara stops and gives Sella a grave expression. Sister, I deeply wish that was the case. I would very much like to be ignorant of the world outside of my studies, but destiny has denied me that peace.
Sella looks ashamed of herself. Of cousre, I'm sorry Ara. I spoke without thinking. She then hugs Ara close, a hug that Ara readily returns.
I'ts OK, sister, you don't always govern your tongue well. She smiles. I'm used to your quirks.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sun Dec 20, 2015 5:01 am

I am glad to hear you found what you were looking for, Artemia smiles and looks between the two as they speak, cocking her head at the use of the word 'nerd', but she says nothing as they continue, blinking as they hug. Well it seems that you two are quite close, she chuckled at their antics, before looking up to the moon. Time has passed faster than I anticipated... I suppose you will wish to head back now? Be warned, the night in the Everfree is far more dangerous than the day, and not all the creatures here will abide your presence, even if I am with you.

Amadeus looked at the pair, then the Alicorn standing next to him. Mistress, if you plan on heading to the place they call Canterlot, I'm afraid I will not accompany you. Someone must stay here and guard your den after all.

She nodded and looked at the pair expectantly, waiting a response.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Tue Jan 19, 2016 10:35 am

"We'd appreciate your help in guiding us back to Ponyville, Artemia," Ara says with a warm smile directed at the alicorn. "We may be well able to defend ourselves if pressed, but we'd prefer not to have to kill our way out of the forest if there's a chance of us going about in peace and doing no harm any of its creatures."
"Damn shame we can't haul you along, Amadeus," Sella says, grinning at him. "Back home, everyone thinks all the wolves in this place are bloodthirsty, mindless, slavering beasts. Silly notions, of course, and I'd be tickled to disabuse the fools of them."
Ara lightly smacks her on the head with a hoof. "Don't be absurd, Sella. We're not even going to suggest parading Artemia's friend about like a circus act. He has been snarky, but positively polite in comparison to most of the thing in this forest." She turns to Amadeua and bows to him. "I'm sorry, my sister's tongue doesn't always remain behind her teeth when it ought to."
"Your sister's tongue is very capable when she needs it to be," Sella leers.
Ara floats up the latern and smacks Sella over the head with it. "Propriety, sister! That is most crass and wholly inappropriate!"
"It's almost as if I'm a grown mare who feels no need to be ashamed of my..."
Ara smacks her again with the lantern and looks at Artemia. "At any rate, your help would be wonderful, Artemia."
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sun Feb 14, 2016 11:10 pm

Better that everyone thinks us mindless beasts really, The wolf gave a fanged smile. Honestly, if they knew we were silently judging you lot... well, someone would get it in their head to either wipe us out, or capture us to examine us, perform experiments upon us. He gave a low bow, before nuzzling Artemia and trotting off into the forest, vanishing without a trace.

Artemia watched the two sisters for a moment, before shaking her head. Is sex such a taboo in your society? she asked, cocking her head as she began to lead the pair back through the forest. I mean, it's perfectly natural, I can't see why it should be such a big deal... she smiled, waving to a chimera which rested up against a tree before continuing on her way. Unless, you don't have sex except for breeding..? she raised an eyebrow at the pair, waiting for a response as she lead them onwards.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:12 pm

"And it's a shame that that's the truth," Ara says as Amadeus trots back into the Everfree, shaking her head. "Although I could live without being judged by a wolf without being aware of his judgement or conclusions."
"I just think it's funny." Sella grins. "With all the interesting things to do and see in the Forest, he'd actually waste his time staring at the lot of us and judging us. Well, him or another one of his kind, of course."

Ara sighs in response to Artemia's question about sex and taboos. "No, it's not taboo as such. But it's regarded as being improper and crude to discuss it openly in mixed company, as it's regarded as the private affair of each pony. It's certainly considered extremely improper to make lewd references to cunnilingus in the company of a casual acquaintance as my sister did."
"And you can see why I enjoy getting a rise out of her," Sella grins. "It's so easy."
"So is whacking you with my lantern until you stop," Ara responds with a grin of her own. "Anyway, Artemia, we certainly enjoy sexual relations for recreational purposes as well as practical ones, but in the circles I and my sister travel in, speaking too openly of sexual matters is considered rude."
And the two sisters follow her onwards.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sun Mar 06, 2016 1:14 am

What an odd notion to have about sex... Artemia chuckled and glanced between the pair of mares before raising an eyebrow. I mean, it just seems so odd to be so careful about a topic that is quite... natural. She raised an eyebrow, moving outside the range of Ara's lantern for a moment to commune with something that was hidden in the forest, before returning to the sisters with a smile. Not much longer now, she said.

After another few minutes, the entrance to the forest came into view, and she smiled gracefully as she stepped out into the sunlight, letting out an involuntary purr at the warmth. Here we are I guess... the outside world.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:37 am

There are more rules and protocols and standards of behavior that are complete nonsense that exist and thrive among the portion of ponies that we associate with, Artemia, Ara says with a chuckle. The most miniscule and unimportant things you can imagine. The correct utensil for eating a lemon, precisely how far to turn your head before belching, the precise elevation of your flanks when you bow depending on the social standing of the other pony, and complicated procedures for telling another pony that you dislike them without giving cause to officially take offense. Intricate, silly, and utterly inane social customs that have no purpose or meaning, and exist entirely because there are ponies that have such prosperity that they become bored and invent foolish intricacies to amuse themselves. She sighs and shakes her head. "And to do the maximum amount of good for the maximum number of ponies, we have to become so well-trained in the wastes of our time that correctly carrying out each little procedure resides at the level of instinct."
"I might think they're stupid, but you just can't function in what's hilariously called 'polite society'--which is anything but--without knowing them," Sella adds. "It grates but if the price you pay to punish a malfactor is that you have to kowtow before some overweight fatuous overdressed pompous imbicile official who no more deserves his place than the pony who sweeps the streets... it's a fair price. Father always told us that to be polite costs nothing but breath, and can buy you as much as your life. Not that lack of being polite is dangerous, but it costs so little and you can gain so much."

Both sisters adjust their paces so that when Artemia exists the forest into the warm sunlight, the two of them have contrived to be standing at her side, smiling at the feeling of the sun and even moreso at the contented expression on the alicorn's face.
"It's not the best."
"Nor is it the worst."
"But it's ours and there are things about it to be proud of." Ara smiles warmly to Artemia. "I hope this all goes well for you and that you get to enjoy more of the beauty than the other side of things."
"We'd feel kinda guilty if we brought you out of where you enjoy being and it was such a bad experience that you never want to step outside the Everfree again," Sella adds.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:39 am

Why would you even need anything to help you eat a lemon... they are already perfect, Artemia cocked her head in confusion. In fact... why are any of those things important? Surely you have more important things to worry about in your life than that. She chuckled dryly and shook her head. It is probably for the best that I have no intention of ever joining such a ridiculous society... at least not one with so many rules.

Artemia smiled and shook her head, bathing in the sunlight for a moment. Honestly, it could not be that much worse than my last experience in the outside world... She gave an excited hop and nodded. Well, shall we get on with things... I do not believe that we should be standing around any longer than we need to.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sat May 14, 2016 5:59 am

The sisters looked at one another and then look at Artemia. "Do you mind... telling us about this last experience, Artemia?" Ara asks, softly and tentatively as if she's afraid to. "If it involved particular cities or particular parts of pony culture, we could try to avoid those things."
"Yeah, no sense in bringing you out of the dark just to take you off to some village where you have bad, or sad, memories," Sella adds.
Both smile and close their eyes, basking in the sun alongside Artemia. "Artemia, standing in the sun and enjoying the experience is never something you need to do, but it's always enjoyable and relaxing," Ara tells her. "But yes, we had best get on with it. Would you like to try to visit a farm or something first, to ease you into it?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sun May 22, 2016 10:43 am

Oh, it was... many years ago. Many years ago indeed. I recall little about it, though what I do recall is a chase... roughly a dozen ponies pursuing me through a small woods. I was forced to rouse the forest so that I could escape, she said, before sniffing the air and humming. I smell... apples? The small red fruits that trees can produce. She smiled and shook her coat gently. Could we go there first? she asked eagerly, a cheerful smile on her lips.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Mon May 30, 2016 8:41 pm

We most certainly can, Ara agrees with a broad smile.
There will be no torches and pitchforks this time, Artemia, Sella assures her. It's not the way of the Apple Family to react like narrow, inbred, reactionary, hicks. Sure got the accents of 'em though.
Ara lightly hits her. That was uncalled-for. She turns her smile back on Artemia. This way, milady. And the two of them trot forward, leading Artemia towards where the two of them know the Apples' immense orchards can be found.
Just remember to, if we see somepony, ask before eating the apples, Sella says. All the tasty things in the Everfree are for anyone to have, I'm sure, but the Apples consider the trees and the fruit to be their property and might feel offended if someone eats it without asking first.
That said, after they allow you to have their apples, they'll probably drag you back home and feed you delicious apple-related foods until you can't eat another bite. Ara chuckles. They're very proud of apples and love to share the bounty.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Sat Jun 25, 2016 8:26 am

I'm sorry, but what is a hick? Is it like a tick? Artemia cocked her head as her nose twitched again and she made a noise akin to a happy purr, before she started to follow the pair towards the orchard.

Ah, so this is their territory then? I shall keep that in mind... She murmured, before making a confused little snort. Apple related foods? What does that... mean? Things made of apples, or things like apples? She asked as the orchards came into view, Artemia's snout twitching at the now much stronger, pleasant smell.
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PostSubject: Re: The Hidden Goddess of the Forest [Private]   Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:21 pm

A 'hick' is a derogatory term for someone that is poorly-educated, prejudiced, and socially isolated, generally in a place physically removed from settlements of other ponies, Ara says.
It can also imply inbreeding, proverty, and violence on top of the other things, Sella adds.
Both of the sisters chuckle at her question about apple-related foods. The Apple family loves to make lots of foods out of apples, and given an excuse, will make far more of those foods than they or their visitors can eat, Ara tells her, smiling as they get within scent of the ripe apples of the orchard. They're extremely proud of the apples they raise and their family name, and express that pride by making food out of the fruit.
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