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The sounds of music
Dane never really understood the difference between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. For that matter, he could throw Protestants on the bonfire as well. From sacraments to sainthood, the lines billowed and blurred. Much like holy robes flowing on the wind.

Both had celibate monks and priests, and the dedicated women who served alongside. The latter of course, were as pure and pious as the white walls of the convent across the street. Located on the southwestern bank of the Moscow River, the New Maiden's Monastery was the little sister to the Ascension Monastery located behind Kremlin walls. Although Dane's car daily drove him along those famous red bricks during his stay in Moscow, he had yet to walk the cobblestone streets on foot. It was on his to-do list, however. The museums were said to be marvelous.

This street, however, was the object of the day's tourist trap. Originally a sixteenth century fortress, the high walls and corner towers were eventually adopted by the noblewomen who founded Novodevichy Monastery. Their fortitude explained how they held strong and untainted through Napoleon's marching, Stalin's insanity, German bombing, and pre-ASU rioting. But would they survive the Mockingbird? None could yet say.

As the bell-towers began their hourly chime, a cold wind suddenly blew off the river. Its tentacles plucked remaining any leaves still clinging to the twisted woods that lined the street. They tumbled around his legs, crunching underfoot with every step. Disturbed by the gust, Dane readjusted the slope of his hat above his eyes and made a note to purchase new gloves. Snug riding gloves were sufficient for the french countryside, but he was growing fond of Moscow. Perhaps he will stay through the winter after all. There was still the Nutcracker to see, after all.

As the gust died down, a hint of song rose in its place arcing over the convent walls like a fiery arrow. He ceased his stroll and listened a few moments.

The nuns were singing holiday carols in their ancient, onion-domed cathedral.

It gave him a marvelous idea. He merrily joined in on their song and returned to the car, singing to himself, "..all is calm, all is bright."


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