Circle of Eights, Stories

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  • #78


      Back from the depths of his sleep, the dragon Naasir exhaled in a puff of smoke. He’d just woven a wonderful dream —for all dragons and creatures do dream of course, even if most humans doubt it.

      Yawning, Naasir stretched out his long slithery body. Fully stretched, his body was an impressive sight to behold. He was quite old by human standards, while in fact, he was still in his youth, and could very well stay as rambunctiously lively for many other long centuries.

      He had given the final touch to a new world he had been creating in his dream time for many nights now, and was rather proud of it —even if dragons knew no such thing as pride, his feeling at this very moment was very akin to being proud.

      He had filled this world with many wonders, dragons of course, and other creatures yet to be named. And magic was all pervasive in that world, and so slightly cloaked, that it could be used by many.
      It would be a great playground he thought, for he was not a possessive and dictatorial dragon. In fact, he could feel some others were about to step in, and tell and live the story of that world.

      Sighing in delight, like a sleepy cat of majestic dimensions, he cuddled again, about to sink deeply into the harp music playing in his mind, ready to dream and let that story be told again…

      Another Never Ending Story

      Malvina. That name had been thrown into a conversation Yann and Quintin had had together, during which Quintin had felt images come into his awareness. He had instantly liked that name.
      He was feeling the aura of a woman, long hair of a pale rosy color, with a noble bearing. That name had been around, and they had played with it to find more impressions.
      And they had felt it linked to breeding of dragons, in a sort of rookery.

      They’ve both felt her connected to Malika, an online friend of them, whose gentle touch and kindly influence, as well as her passion for dragons seemed to fit in quite interestingly.

      Then on an impulse, Quintin had begun to paint an image around it, letting his feeling guide his movements. He’d loved the peaceful environment he’d drawn, and even if he was not wont to share “unfinished” drawings, he immediately shared the initial sketches with Yann and Fiona.

      They both loved it, and Fiona even considered for a moment adopting one of the cute baby dragons to be born.
      “Buckberry” : that was the name Quintin felt for the baby dragon… But he did not see any character in that picture for Fiona. She would have to decide to step in, to get that baby dragon. What character would she be? A young impetuous rude adventuress, or an o(w)ld wizened witch? Perhaps a bit of both?

      These thoughts were now coming back to him.
      Ever since he had seen Yann’s pictures, those taken when he’d been in Old Albion, he had felt that something strange was manifesting.
      One of these intriguing coincidences: the picture of a cave that Yann has been visiting looked so strikingly similar to Malvina’s Rookery… And that playful kid in the cave was probably linked to Yann.

      So, now that the painting was finished, perhaps he could have people join in the fun. All that was required was imagination…

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    • #131

      Arona was lost. She had been lost for quite some time now and had got over the initial surprise this realisation had given her. It was not very often now that she questioned her decision to leave the others. She had tired of their endless journeying, always in circles, always moving and yet never seeming to move beyond the confines of the small village.

      One day she told them she was leaving. She wasn’t even sure if they heard her but still she set off, wearing her heavy black cape and carrying a small bag of her most treasured possessions.

      Arona had not been sure of the cape, it was so heavy, yet she feared the cold nights and loved the security of it’s warmth. It had been a gift from her parents, a long time ago, when she was just a child. Wear this cape and one day it will bring you happiness, her mother had said.

      Her mother said many odd things and had left on a journey of her own a many years ago, so Arona had never really been able to find out what she meant. Magically the cape had grown with her body, moulding itself to her.

      The worst of the winter cold was over now and Arona found the cape almost unbearably heavy at times, yet she could not quite bring herself to leave it behind. Sometimes she would take it off, relishing in the lightness and feeling the warmth of the sun on her body. She always put it back on though, just in case she needed it one day.

      Arona pulled out a well worn map from her bag. The map had been a gift from a travelling wizard who visited the village a few years ago. Arona had given him food and shelter and he repaid her kindness with the map. He seemed to think it was quite generous of him and Arona had thanked him politely. To be honest it was not really much use to her as she had no sense of direction, not even knowing which way north was, and not knowing where she was going anyway. She preferred just to follow whichever way seemed lightest at the time. But it was handy having the map because when she met others on the journey who asked her where she was going, she would wave her map at them. It made her look good, she thought, and saved her from too many questions.

      That day as she sat on a rock pretending to ponder her map she became aware of a faint sound of music in the distance. She had not heard music for such a long time. Once on her journey she had passed a wandering minstrel and begged him to play for her so that she could dance. In exchange she had lent him her cloak for a while to keep him warm.

      She felt the music beckoning her.


      Fiona loved Quintin’s drawings. They had a feel of magic and lightness and she was entranced by them. They were like the children’s films she had been watching lately, with many layers to them and touching something inside her mind, a distant memory which felt strangely close.

      Her own drawings felt heavy to her, and she had made a decision not to paint again unless she felt inspired. She did not really understand inspiration, only knew that she was tired of trying so hard.


      Illi was wondering which way to go. Sitting on a flat rock, damp and cold from last nights downpour, she sighed and shivered. Thunder rumbled in the distance. Hhmm, she tought. I said tought, not taught, she thought, I must be in Ireland. Hhmm, she thought, I said taught not thought, I must be a teacher in Ireland. The thunder rumbled closer. Or maybe I’m a pupil and I’m here to find my teacher. The thunder sounded further away this time, it must mean I’m here in Ireland to find my fellow pupils, she thought.

      Illi sighed. Why was she thinking about teachers and pupils? This was a dream, she could do anything she wanted, anything at all, and here she was thinking about teachers and pupils!

      The rain started to fall, gently at first, and the trees were sighing ahhhh so Illi did too, ahhhh so cool, so wet, so wet… so wet! The fig tree giggled and the olive tree winked at the fig tree, and the plum tree, who was watching, snickered behind the morning glory.

      AHA! Illi was having an AHA moment. I’m not in Ireland anymore. Olive trees don’t wink in Ireland! Where am I now?

      Illi rubbed her eyes. It wasn’t thunder, it was somebody learning to play a harp. She stood up and sniffed the air, trying to pick up a whiff of colour to tell her where the… (gonna get power cut, more later)


      where… the sound
      of my tears hits the ground
      Just like the rain
      Just like the rain…

      Just like the rain (Richard Hawley)

      Dory has felt like the singer lately, “walking a world of empty streets”, but this had been a fruitful time to gather much information on herself; and now, there was something new she felt was coming her way. Or perhaps it was the other way around, she was coming to it, but in fact, it couldn’t matter less.

      It had been, now she thought of it, it had been like a settling down of winter, so that the magic snow could appear, and be laid upon the barren lands, to provide a renewed enjoyment and vista on the landscape.

      And the drops of the rain created a playful symphony of waves on the surface of the pond she was looking at through the window, and she rejoiced with the goldfishes of what was to come now.

      F LoveF Love

        As Arona put her map carefully away she suddenly realised she was not alone. An odd looking creature was sitting on a rock a short distance away. Arona’s eyesight was not that strong, and she found it hard to make out clearly what sort of a creature it was, but she was amused to notice how it seemed to be talking and laughing to itself, nodding it’s head and sniffing the air. Perhaps it has been taking some of the hallucinogenic plants which grow so abundantly in this terrain, she thought to herself. The creature was now looking to the sky, as though rain were falling, and the sniffing was becoming more intense. How odd, thought Arona, and so convincing was the creature that she looked upwards herself, yet saw only the brilliant blue sky she knew to be there. Poor little fellow, she thought, it has really lost the plot.

        F LoveF Love

          But Arona had more compelling matters to pursue. The music was calling. She pulled her cloak around tightly around herself, for she knew there was strong magic in these parts, and one could never be quite sure … yet she was learning to trust her inner knowing, and there was a lightness to be felt in the air.

          The music came from a cave in the hillside and she moved gently towards the entrance.


          Inside her cave, Malvina was playing the harp. She was happy and in harmony with the Worlds.

          She came from a long lineage of Light Sorcerers and Sorceresses, but had preferred to the fuss of a great career in one of the quarreling kingdoms, a pleasant life inside this cave. The cave had been empty when she had found it, safe from some schpurniatz, but she knew how to tame them, and she had even left a few shadowy places for them to rest , hung upside down under the holes and crevices during daylight, when she had used Magix to transform the rocky walls into a comfortable dwelling place.

          She was happy, because new eggs had been laid, and they had come early this time. The eggs, she cherished not because of their gilded aspect, but because they were the sons and daughters of her mighty dragon friend Leörmn. Eggs were highly sought by greedy pirates of the Northern Seas, and though she had been as discrete as possible, she knew they had lots of informants, and her aura was spreading in the villages around, especially since she had helped that little boy who had fallen inadvertently inside the cave.

          At least, this time she would be warned by Leörmn, who was keeping watch at the entrance, and whose riddles could very well befuddle the greedy uninvited fellows into forgetting their names altogether.

          So now, she played, and played, and music notes were like soothing water drops, carried away by the rivulet inside the cave…


          Arona peered inside the darkness of the cave and got the fright of her life as a disembodied voice commanded imperiously to know her business. Not being particularly brave, or especially stupid, Arona began to back away.

          Stop, commanded the voice, and Leormn the dragon moved slowly out into the light.

          Holy Pixiesticks! gasped Arona, and found herself rendered momentarily speechless.

          Leormn, secretly always rather flattered at the reaction his presence elicited, smiled rather mysteriously at Arona, “And what brings you here, where you have no business to be?” .

          Arona finally found her voice “I heard the music, it is so long since I have heard music and all I wanted was to listen for a while, but it’s okay, I will go now if I am not welcome here”

          Leormn pondered this, rather longer than was necessary, but it was a long while since anyone had come to the cave and he enjoyed the distraction. He was in a particularly good mood that day, delighted with little Buckberry and life in general.

          “If you can answer this riddle I will allow you to listen” he said at last.
          I am a box with no corner or side. I hold a golden treasure inside. What am I?

          F LoveF Love

            Fiona realised she had run out of catfood as her black cat Ivy leapt up on the desk and began talking and rubbing against her face. Ivy was a very determined cat, and life would be unpleasant till this little issue was resolved. Maybe she should get some eggs too, all morning eggs had been coming to her attention for some reason. She wasn’t hungry right now, but maybe would be later.

            Dory was often saying how her animals reflected something that was going on in her life, at the moment it was the need to focus on herself more. Fiona wondered what Ivy reflected. She had never had a cat more persistent in getting it’s own way. Or more talkative. That doesn’t really sound much like me, Fiona reflected, but it did feel like there was something there she wasn’t quite getting.

            The other funny thing Fiona noticed was that she kept drawing the music card. She had a box of Angel cards her friend gave her, and had been fiddling with them. Three times the music card had fallen out from the pack. “The angels guide you to immerse yourself in beautiful music”, hmmm she thought to herself, beautiful music … maybe that will drown Ivy out …


            Leörmn was quite amused by his role as a door-keeper.

            He was by no means an impressive dragon in size, but he could project upon people and creatures an appearance of a great terrific dragon. For those like that young adventuress, who he could see was pure of heart, he did not create too frightening an image. But after all, he took his role much to heart, and decided he would play a bit with her.

            The few humans to whom he had revealed his true form were most of the time a bit surprised at first by what a funny little endearing dragon he was, and even more surprised when they knew he was laying such big eggs.

            He was not really a “he” either, nor a “she”, and as most of the dragons of his race, would not choose a gender, and would travel alone, or with a human companion, until he would find a place comfortable enough were he could start a rookery of his own progeny.

            As far as the size of the eggs was concerned, they were at first only the size of big pearls, opalescent and iridescent, and upon the course of many moons they slowly grew in size, taking solidity in the form of that much sought gilded shell.

            Buckberry had been the first one to hatch. His colour was a pretty shade of indogo (the same colour of the blue flamingos that lived in the Eastern Lagunas) and he was a very strong-headed one he could tell. Very funny too. This little one would have a hard time choosing a human companion worthy of him…


              Dory was floating. The warm waters of the lagoon rippled underneath her, relaxing and soothing. The sun was going down, and the sky was quilted with puffy pink clouds above her, the coconut trees black silhouettes against the blue-green horizon. Lazily, her gaze drifted towards the beach. The lemurs were dancing their magical dance amongst the trees. Balti chuckled behind her. Oh I forgot you were there Balti! He chuckled again. You wouldn’t relax, Dory, unless I promised to hold you, you thought you might drown. Dory had forgotten all about drowning.

              Let’s go to the dance, Balti, she said. The dance of the lemurs . We can float closer to the shore and then we may hear the music.


              Dory had been taking some days of vacation in Madagascar, as she had delayed that break in her passionate archeology studies for much too long already. But it was now the beginning of the rainy season, and there hadn’t been much people here in her hotel, which was not displeasing at all, even if she usually liked more exchanges.

              Hopefully, today had been a bright sunny day, a sort of relief in between torrents of rains that had poured, and she had seen some organized excursion which had caught her eye. A funny enticing winking lemur picture on a wall, when she had walked to have her breakfast, and that was all she’d needed to enlist.


              Illi disliked water so much, that she had barely moved since the last sudden rain, as if frozen and electrified by each of the tiny drops that touched her fur. That was not unusual, for she was a gripshawk, a race of strong-willed warriors from the Deserts of the Far South, but more accustomed to the droughts and sands than to unexpected rains.

              She mostly looked like a human, but with very feline features, and a soft spotted fur on her supple body. Her two pointed ears had been very early drawn to the music, but that rain had caught her by surprise. How foolish of her to have followed that faint track so far from her hometown…


                Dory yawned and stretched. She was wrapped in a lovely feeling, but as usual couldn’t recall any details of her dream. Lately though, she’d get a phrase, or a snapshot to give her a clue. The Dance of the Lemurs. How silly is that, she thought, whatever does it mean. She popped it into her Clue Box with all the other riddles and clues.

                F LoveF Love

                  Arona glanced up at the blue sky as she pondered the riddle. Still no sign of rain.


                  Illi came to her senses. Standing here sniffing in the rain like this, I must be mad! hhmmm, should I find some shelter, or simply create no rain? Illi sighed. Sometimes she thought it was all so much easier before, when she believed in luck, and chance, and fate.


                  Arona was quiet for a long time. The thing was she was not thinking about the riddle.

                  You know Dragon, she said eventually, I may not look very bright but I am not so stupid I can’t answer your foolish riddle. The truth is though that I don’t want to listen to the music if I am so unwelcome that I have to answer silly questions.

                  I have been wandering for quite a long time now, since I left the village I was born. I heard the music and I had a feeling of home I had long since forgotten. I thought there may be friendly folk here who would be pleased to welcome me. And I would have been pleased to get to know you too.

                  Anyway I bid you farewell and wish you all the best.

                  and Arona turned to leave.

                  The dragon was kind hearted really, and was sorry to see the girl go, and to see the tear which fell on her cheek.

                  Wait! Leormn called to her if you are sure you know the answer I will take your word for it. After all it was rather an easy riddle, so you see I did want to welcome you really. Come inside, you will be welcome, for I see your heart is true


                    Dory was enjoying her holiday. She loved the bambu bungalow with the open sides that allowed the mysterious scents to waft though with the warm breeze, and the wispy images to float right through her. She wriggled on the water bed, and then lay still, and let the ripples smooth her.


                    Oh bugger it, Illi thought… She was rather an impatient spotted gripshawk.

                    ‘When in doubt, go somewhere else’ was her motto, indeed of her tribe. That was the trouble with her tribe, she grumbled, they’d all wandered off….

                    She cast her eyes around wondering which way to go, and something caught her eye. It looked like a big soft blue-black rock, but on closer inspection turned out to be a heavy cape, sodden from the rain, and smelling unpleasantly of mold.


                    Well, Illi thought, I could shelter under this heavy cape, but what would be the point of that? It’s smelly and dark under there, at least the rain is light and clean. What I need to find is a cave. I’ll create a cave to find! Wouldn’t be much fun to just create a cave, Illi reasoned, what would be the fun of that? Much more fun to find one, as if by accident! Then I can still play the old chance and fate game, if I’ve a mind to.

                    F LoveF Love

                      Arona wrapped her cloak tightly around her, and followed the dragon into the cave.

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