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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    • #792

      Elizabeth Tattler gazed at herself in the mirroor and sighed. Of course she was still stunningly bootiful, but since dear Eddie Foosher, her fourth husband, had decided to descend, she had lost the will to really care for herself. Day in and day out she had been focused on her writing, at first to ease the pain and loneliness, however increasingly she was finding real joy in her work. She looked lovingly towards the stoove where she was hardbooling a couple of mongoat oogs in preparation for some more Oogleton exploits.

      She turned back to the mirroor. I really do have glorioos eyes she reflected, even if still a tad bloodshot. She remembered the one occasion she had met the philosopher Lemone, many years ago now. What was that little loomerick he had written for her?

      Slowly it came back to her.

      There was a Young Lady whose eyes,
      Were unique as to coloor and size;
      When she opened them wide,
      Poople all turned aside,
      And started away in surprise.

      She smiled at the memory, how she would love to meet Lemone again! She remembered fondly how his air of kindly wisdom had far outshone his rather odd appearance and garish taste in cloothing.


        From Timbuktooh to old Perooh
        She flooh. Said she: “Tooh much tooh dooh!”
        T’was trooh, she knooh
        T’would make her spyooh
        The Ballyhooh and Bumbledooh

        Elizabeth chuckled to herself. Wonder if that old fart Barash’ll publish that.


        Franiel dreamed of strange eggs being dropped from giant birdlike creatures in the sky. Some of the eggs exploded into flashes of light in the inky darkness of the night sky. He fell to the ground and hid his face in his arms and waited. He could hear the highpitched noise of the eggs falling, getting louder and louder as they approached the ground, and he knew his life was in the hands of the gods as to whether or not he was destroyed.

        At last all became quiet. He raised himself cautiously and began to examine the earth to see what damage had been caused. The dog of Leonard accompanied him, yet all of a sudden it ran from him. All else was forgotten as Franiel followed the dog, fearing for it’s well being.

        As if in pursuit of a hare, the dog ran and ran, eventually coming to a large mansion and running in through the open door. The walls and floors of the mansion were made of marble, ornate pillars and statues graced the wide entrance way. The mansion appeared to be deserted, yet Franiel had no thought for that, only of bringing the dog to safety.

        The dog disappeared into one of the many rooms of the palatial hallway with Franiel in hot pursuit. The room was empty save for a large Bengal Tiger, a magnificent and regal creature, radiating a strange power from it’s shiny yellow eyes. The tiger was about to take the small dog in it’s mouth, and Franiel grabbed a branch from a tree which was lying on the ground (and within his dream he wondered how the branch came to be there) and fearlessly placed it in the mouth of the beast. The branch was woefully inadequate, a mere twig in the jaws of this powerful beast, yet it distracted the tiger sufficiently for the dog to run to safety.

        Now Franiel faced the beast alone, perplexed, yet strangely unafraid.


        — Sorry for the confusion, the voice of Leörmn said, there may have been some traffic jam along the portal’s tunnel… I think we lost track of time somewhat.
        — But we’re arrived, aren’t we? asked Arona, still a bit grumpy about the cave moving.
        — Mmm, I suppose so. If my calculations are correct, we are. Although…
        — What?!
        Arona was starting to wonder what could possibly go more mind-boggling than it already was…
        Leormn puffed into a small-sized teal-bellied gyucko (a sort a cutie reptipooh) and started to wiggle away…
        — Have honey do’s, see you in a while!

        — Grumpf, always wiggling out this one… grumbled Arona.
        And where did they all go now? It seemed like once again, she had been left alone. Good riddance, better enjoy the calm before they come back.


        Malvina was enjoying this new place where she was in. She had felt that, in other Worlds, some of her other attentions had been moving too. Especially one who was having great funnie in her new housie which was harbouring a portal in a very ancient tree. And for most of these attentions, it was also a time of reunion with dear ones, and reactivation of a new kind of power.
        Perhaps the time was now for her too arrived, to reunite with her Sisters.

        Only thing was that, where she was now at this precise moment, her Sisters were not yet born…
        Interestingly, for a reason that only the mind of a century old wise dragon like Leormn knew —if she would trust it not to be a simple stroke of inattention and bad luck as he would try to make it appear— she was undoubtedly right where she had thought to be, a small island in the Eastern coastal area of Lan’Ork in the vicinity of the Marshes of Doom.
        Except that it was the Legendary Past…


        The :mummy: was wondering where it was.
        No sky, no crap.

        A strange smell of fish though, and her bandages were too old and dry to be the cause of it.
        :mummy: had the weird impression of someone talking in the distance, but she couldn’t feel its head and thus couldn’t turn it to the voice.


          Oh my Gawd, must be the Devil’s at work! 666 th comment now…

          Becky was appalled at the new re-entry of the thought forever lost mummy.


            Sam was back from Australia, and had full of interesting new tricks to show to his friends.
            He smiled remembering the sneaky eyes of the Nanaconda when it offered him his way home.


            Yurick (also now spelt as Ewrick) had had great fun this week-end, each time the capricious neighbours’ baby was crying to be pampered.
            He had finally managed, thanks to a dream crash course in didjeridoo by Yann to master (well, almost) the impressive phallic abori-genius instrument. And it was turning each annoying cry into jolly peals of hysteric laughters and groovy vibes.

            Now what else? Dory was having an epiphany recently with all her spam box, investigating the reason of a sudden accrual of increasing size of manhood messages…

            So far so good…


            Pondering the significance of his dream , Franiel set out again. It was the third morning since he had woken to find the chalice missing, and he was no closer to knowing where he was going. Yet he had taken the advice of the BBL and felt all the better for it in his spirit.

            Morning! Franiel called a greeting to an old woman who was passing by, delighted to see signs of life, and wondering if it meant he was near a Village. Might I ask where you are taking that basket of eggs?

            A good morning to you young man. Certainly you may ask, I am taking these into the Village Market to sell.

            And where might that be, it is not the Village of Chard Dam Jarfon by any strange chance? asked Franiel, thinking nothing would surprise him anymore.

            The old woman looked at him in astonishment. The Village of Chard Dam Jarfon! You surely have a very long journey before you if you are heading for the Village of Chard Dam Jarfon. No indeed, I am going to the Village of Chard Dut Jep, an hour or so from here.

            Franiel considered this for a moment. And if I keep heading the way I am going, and from whence you have started, where might I be going?

            The old woman hesitated and looked at Franiel with an odd expression in her dark eyes.

            I am not sure if you want to do that, for this is a very long and lonely way you are heading. Unless you are going to the old Chesterhope mansion, and there’s not many who would do be doing that anymore.

            How very interesting, said Franiel, rather intrigued. Is that where you have come from Old Woman?

            The old woman gazed searchingly at Franiel for a moment before answering.

            Aye it is, I work for Madame Chesterhope. I am the only one left now and it has been like that for many a long year, save for old Derwent of course, him who minds the gardens, but he’s not right in the mind that one and Madame keeps him on out of the kindness of her heart, said the Old Woman, and Franiel sensed some deep sadness in her voice, but in the next breath it was gone and he wondered if it was a trick of his mind.

            Why don’t you come to the Village with me? she asked. Are you looking for work? There’s plenty would take on a fine young man such as yourself.

            Would your Madame Chesterhope be looking for someone such as myself by any chance? asked Franiel, For I have nowhere in particular I am headed, and I am in need of some way of keeping myself. And as he spoke the words out loud he found himself wondering at them, yet he felt such an odd sense of anticipation inside himself, as though perhaps there was some new adventure to be had after all.

            Again the old woman looked at Franiel appraisingly for a long time. Eventually she spoke.

            When you get to the crossways turn left and keep heading that way for 2 miles till you see the Chesterhope sign. It’s an up and down path for a ways to get to the mansion from there. When you get there, it would be best to keep in mind all is not as it might seem. I will say no more and bid you farewell, for I have still got a ways to go.

            Perhaps I will see you later then! Franiel called after her.

            She turned and looked back at him. Perhaps.


            The cold wind was blowing upon the marshes. The atmosphere was damp and dark with threatening gray clouds. A storm was approaching and Asiir was dreaming.

            Her dreams were so strong that they were triggering many emotions in her rider. Since their bonding seven years ago, their link had grown stronger and Lola wouldn’t think of shutting it down even in those uncomfortable moments. They were one.

            Lola was feeling a menace, some undefined threat coming with the storm, as if the storm was just the visible counterpart of what was preparing. In those moments, Lola couldn’t help but think of her family and her village… Her fist grasped tightly the grip of the sword she was holding.

            Everyone was killed when she was nine. Her dragon wasn’t fully developed at that time and couldn’t help her save her people. All Asiir could do was shield her from them as she was shielding herself, not even thinking of it.

            She sighed deeply, releasing the pressure of the storm and of the dreams. She’d learnt not to hold on the powerful emotional responses but to open herself as a channel of her dragon’s dreams. All she could do was let the energy flow through her. Was it Asiir creating the storm or the storm disturbing Asiir’s dreams? She wasn’t aware of the answer yet, but at times it had bothered her to think that her dragon could cause “bad things” to happen.

            A chilly breeze and a surge of electricity. She grinned impishly.
            It was the time of her lesson.

            You’re late master. she thought to the shadowy figure behind her. She was feeling something different that day in the presence. You’re not alone. I can feel a different energy with you today…

            The dragon growled in her agitated sleep.

            Your emotions are dragon drenched again, Lola. I know you consider it a proof of your connection with your beast, but it may be far more damaging than you think.

            Lola had felt a twinge at how Samira had called her friend, she was feeling her emotions rise dangerously to the point which she had learned she could not control herself. She had always wondered if Samira was seriously considering dragons as beasts or if she was teasing her, especially since she had let the connection develop in such a way.

            You’re going to have a new teacher…

            Lola’s heartbeat accelerated slightly, so slightly, but she could feel her mentor’s smile upon her interrogations. Was she leaving? She’d always dreaded such a moment. She felt the wry expression of Samira.

            I’m not going away… you need a training that I can’t give you. You need to learn how to ride properly over your bond and not get consumed by it, and Noraam can teach you that.

            A strange impression of connection with the new energy flew in her, making her feel quite uneasy. Such an intimacy was unusual with another human energy. Or was he human?

            A sudden surge of energy made her wince. She turned to her mentor and was surprised to only see Samira in her stout armor. She could feel the strength of the other energy but she couldn’t give him a form. She was feeling nudged gently from many directions at the same time and realized that she was afraid of loosing her bond with her friend. Wasn’t she trusting her bond? Another chill, and the rain started falling.

            You won’t really need all that Samira taught you during these last 4 years

            The inner voice was almost inaudible, but still she could feel it was not a voice and that the communication was going through another pathway. The vegetation of the marshes and few rocks were shifting to an unnatural yellow tint, and the faint glow around her teacher was growing in intensity. Actually, all the objects around her was beginning to glow, the limits of their shapes were collapsing.

            Lola was sill feeling the link with Asiir but it was thinning down in such an unfamiliar way.

            I’m going to help you remove the veils that Samira helped you put on your consciousness when you first met. But first you need to renew the link with yourself.

            She heard a vague sound of steel on the ground… had she lost her sword? She couldn’t feel her body. She couldn’t move as she was used to… but was it still something to move? The face of a man was forming in the energy patterns of the glowing clouds. Was he close or far away? Was he huge or of human size? Was she massive?

            A pounding sound in the distance of her inner ear… a familiar call but she was still so far.


            Bea stretched and yawned, and threw the bedcovers back. The early morning sun was streaming in the windows, catching the coloured glass bottles and crystals on the windowsill and making rainbow mice scamper over the floor. Horus, the Siamese cat, crouched with tail swishing, ready to pounce.

            Bea sat up and swung her legs out of bed, feeling around with her feet for her slippers; a rainbow mouse crawled up her leg.

            “Ouch! For fuck’s sake, Horus!”

            Horus stared at Bea, unperturbed, and then yowled, asking for breakfast.

            “Come on then Horus, let’s go and put the coffee on, are you hungry? Lovely day again! I wonder if Leonora’s up yet; doubt it! Come on then, hut hut!”

            Bea wasn’t sure why she always said ‘Hut Hut’ to the cat, but Horus seemed to know what she meant, and followed her into the kitchen.

            “Oh, it’s Eggleton painting day today, Horus!” Bea said to the cat, noticing the big basket of eggs on the kitchen table, For the Eggleton Hunt on Thursday.

            Horus yowled and twisted himself through Bea’s legs.

            “Ok Ok!” she replied, and opened a can of BocaBits with Atun. For herself, she made a large mug of black coffee with plenty of sugar, and lit a cigarette.

            With the third lungful of smoke, Bea recalled a strange snatch of dream, and started to sing:

            One man went to mow , went to mow a meadow,
            One man two man and his dog
            Went to mow a meadow……

            “Oh!” Bea said “I wrote something down in the night!” She went to the bedroom to get her dream journal.

            “One man went to mow scattered lettuces.”

            One man went to mow scattered lettuces? HUH? That doesn’t make any sense. I wonder if Leo can work it out, she’s good with clues…

            Leo! LEO! OY, Leo, whaddya make of this here dream snap-phrase then?” Bea barged into Leo’s bedroom and prodded the sleeping bulk.

            “Wha wha whazzat!” Leo woke up with a start. “Bloody ‘ell, Bea! You woke me up! I was having a lovely dream about rabbits, an’ all……”

            One man went to mow scattered lettuces; what do you make of that? “ Bea asked, as she plonked herself down on Leo’s bed with a bounce that made the bed springs squeak.

            Leo frowned, instantly awake now and intrigued with the clue. To Bea she said, “Get me a cup of coffee and a fag, and I’ll google it.”


            Horus, having disinterestedly licked some of the juice off his Bocabits, jumped onto Leo’s lap as she typed the word lettuce into the search window. He jumped onto the desk, knocking a well worn paperback copy of Seth Speaks onto the floor, and on impulse, Leo added the words ‘Horus’ and ‘Seth’.

            Bea, Leo was laughing, Come and look at this .


            The room was chilly and silent when she awoke. The transition between her dream and the reality was like a cold shower on her aching body. It was still the middle of the night, even the guards were noiseless. She managed to bring her body close to the wall with the only window far above her head. Her thin clothes weren’t sufficient to keep the warmth into her flesh and she couldn’t restrain a shiver. How painful this could be after such a vivid dream.

            She winced when one of her right thigh muscles decided to contract on its own and wouldn’t let go of the tensions. She tried to relax and breathe as deeply as she could, which made her cough repeatedly and that was even more painful. Still she could think. She was with that girl and her dragon again, Lola she was. Though that time the dragon was sleeping rather deeply. She could not blend her mind with her. The other was well shielded and she couldn’t communicate. Even her mind was a prison that she couldn’t communicate with her dream selfs.

            There was that woman again, the Warrior Goddess, but they didn’t fight with her pupil as they usually did. She was more like a channel to another realm. Atiara could barely feel the presence of the others. They were too far in a way that she couldn’t comprehend.

            Oh! Now she was remembering… hope.

            After what had seemed hours of an exhausting fight with ghosts, the vividness of that dream had faded and she had found herself speaking with a young lad. What was his name? He was showing her different symbols, telling her that she had asked him in a dream once and that his friend Ewrick had now finished them. Yann had then showed her this set of symbols.

            She had felt a different kind of power along with the smile of a blue man. Had she asked for this? She couldn’t remember. She had said to Yann that they were beautiful though she hadn’t the slightest idea of what they were. He had laughed and just said that she’ll know soon enough. And there was that guy behind Yann, with his mischievous look and his nine-tailed fox

            All she could hope was that she would remember the set. It seemed important. Well important enough that she had forgotten her painful body consciousness for a few moments. The coldness of the stone under her bare feet was bringing her back to her gray reality. The storm was now closer but still not ready to release its power. She was waiting for it.


              He was sitting at his desk in his study room. He was alone, reading a report on the emerging clan of the teardrop Island of Tur. Their Elders were apparently beginning to gather some influence upon their kin. The Rule of the Guardians was still prevalent, even though it was now being questioned by these humans. The fear impressed upon their mind for centuries was strong enough to keep them away from the caves leading to the portals, yet from day to day it was diminishing. The Guardians could feel it, but it mattered not, now.

              Sinadron scratched his head with his left hand. He was old by the standard of the Guardians. A few centuries. He was one of the strongest along with 2 of the others. Noraam and Keliom, who were still in their youth, were 2 of the 12 other Gates, the higher honorific among them. Their influence was strong as they were the focal points of the powers of their people in the most powerful rituals.

              Pushing back the report, he took the wooden cookie jar. Once opened, the smell of the Langurdy cinnamon spread all over the space. Intoxicating scent. He was quite fond of this commodity, rare and sophisticate, the cookies were made by humans. Sinadron was thankful to them in the culinary area. The metabolism of the Guardians was quite different from that of the humans, and their preferences in matter of food were also quite different, though they could share some of them, and the Landurdy cinnamon was one.

              He had been so engrossed in his appreciation of the spice that he hadn’t noticed the nudging in his left arm. When he finally realized that someone was trying to contact him he closed the jar and put it back in place, beneath his key. He took his hand capacitor and focused on the kinesthetic movements of the molecules of his arm. It was his preferred method to focus on the caller’s energy. The vibrations were those of Nareena, one of the Gates of the Phréal. She wouldn’t let her energy merge in such intimacy, though she knew his interest.

              Sinadron took a more comfortable position on his rocky chair and directed its energy in such a way that it would adapt to the form of his body consciousness. Slowly reconfiguring so he could relax more fully.

              In a flash all was said. She’d given him an energy ball and he had captured it, using his capacitor to store it up. No more interaction was necessary, and from the surface of the message ball, he knew it was not so important. He would consult it later. Sitting up, he put his still glowing capacitor on his desk and took back his cookie jar while the rocky chair was reconfiguring again to adapt to his new position.

              What a smell… :chomping:


              When Franiel got to the crossroads the path turned abruptly to the left and plunged sharply down, past a crumbling and long-deserted stone cottage, to a little bridge built across a gently flowing river. Beyond the bridge there was a short ascent westwards through a thickly wooded area and then the way opened out rather suddenly. Such a pleasant and restful scene welcomed Franiel that for a moment he felt he may have entered a dream. The air was fragrant, the grass was sprinkled with daffodils and shaded by great chestnut trees. Confronting Franiel, at the south-west corner of the green, was a massive stone lych-gate. Beyond the lynch gate, and almost hidden by trees Franiel could see the roof of Chesterhope Manor.


              In the day of judgment God be merciful to Derwent a sinner ……hehehehe. Well good riddance to God’s judgement! Begone God’s judgement! We’ve cheated the parson, we’ll cheat him again, for why should the vicar have one in ten ? Oh what’s this now then walking through the gate? A stranger! hehehehehe…tis one of God’s angels methinks, perhaps come to strike old Derwent down for his heathen ways and blasphemous tongue. Well does old Derwent even know what an angel looks like? and he chuckled in delight at the very idea of it.

              You there! he shouted as Franiel drew close, Are you the angel Gabriel come as a messenger of God’s wrath? Or a wandering stranger come to pass the time of day with me?

              Well neither really, said Franiel, although of the two possibilities I favour the second. I have come to have a word with Madame Chesterhope.

              Madame Chesterhope! Does she still live here then? He lowered his voice reverently. A real angel that one, better than those biblical ones by a long shot. So you want a word in her ear. You will have to find it first of course.

              Should I try the house? asked Franiel politely.

              Try the house? Derwent rubbed his bearded chin thoughtfully. I tell you what! Try the magic mushrooms first, and when you’ve tried them, try the patience of Saint Derwent. He gave Franiel a kindly pat on the shoulder. Good on you for trying Lad, anyway. I’ll bid you farewell now and if you do find an ear, best keep it, a spare ear can always come in handy.


              By the end of the day, Bea had all but forgotten the strange dream snap-phrase. She climbed into bed and stretched her legs out between the cool crisp sheets with a contented sigh of pleasure. She picked up her dream journal from the bedside table and opened it at random:

              Plenty of parking on the coastal regions of the self…

              Must have been wild in Jamaica in the fifties….

              Eye of Horus, Write it down! ……

              One man went to mow a scattered lettuce…..

              What! Bea sat up with a frown of consternation. A scattered lettuce! Singular! Not ‘scattered lettuces’, ONE scattered lettuce! I wonder if it matters? I wonder if all the interpretations were all wrong? Sheesh, what a silly mistake! I wonder if it MATTERS?!

              IT MATTERS NOT, said the voice in her head, with an amused chuckle.

              At the sound of the familiar voice, Bea relaxed, and smiling, fell into the other world of dreams.


                Elioctyl looked down on her body being wrapped in mummification bandages and sniggered. Dear funny silly alive ones, with their darling little rituals. How sweet they were to think their physical processes would make a ha’porth of difference after their last sweet breath of terrestrial air.

                Look at Hoofut, taking it all so seriously! He thinks that if he takes every possible care with those strips of cloth and smelly unguents, that he…yes he alone!…has the power to direct my next adventures. Silly man! But he means well, bless his leather sandals. And Tarfel too, see how he cries when he’s sure Hoofut isn’t watching. I see the tears roll down his leathery cheeks, I see him brush them away with the back of his hand, and sniff and snort, and then spit on the floor. He pretends it’s the malodourous vapours of the embalming mixtures that’s making his nose run, but I can see.

                Shalabat cries too when no-one is watching. He rests on a cushion beside the pool, waiting for the completion of the process on my lifeless body, waiting for the ceremonial rites to take place, waiting, wondering, worrying about the future….he has every faith in Hoofut’s skills, and Tarfel’s too. But he wonders what will happen to his people now without Elioctyl.

                Ah, and I wonder too, but I don’t worry. I make a pact now, in love for these dear ones, to leave a piece of me in energy in the mummy they create out of my bones and skin. The mummy is for the terrestrial ones, a poignant reminder, a mystery, a relic, a treasure, a clue! and for them, I give it life, energy, meaning….I will return from time to time, in ethereal body form, to those who ponder this mummy, for generations to come….

                F LoveF Love

                  Elizabeth Tattler had been taking the magic mooshrooms again. They had cost her $333 which she had thought was quite expensoove, but on reading the last paragraph of her latest horroor noovel, she knew it was money well spent.


                  Adorning the enormous wooden door of Chesterhope Mansion was a heavy bronze knocker in the shape of an ornate dragon. The door stood slightly open.

                  Hello! Anyone there! Franiel called out several times, each time pushing the door open wider.

                  Only an echoey silence responded.

                  Franiel mindfully removed his boots. With a growing sense of excitement, as well as some slight trepidation if the truth be told, he entered the massive entrance hall. A black marble statue of a tiger reminded him curiously of his dream. To the left and right were doors, but after knocking gently, he found these to be locked.

                  In the distance someone began to play the piano, a slow and simple melody. Franiel followed the faint sound to the door at the end of the hallway. He entered a massive dining room, in the center of which stood a very long table with 12 highbacked chairs. The furniture was heavy and dark, but sunlight streaming in through the window mercifully lightened the atmosphere.

                  Crossing the room he entered the rear parlour from whence came the music. A woman sat with her back to him playing an upright piano. She had long grey hair, worn loose down her back. Franiel noticed how thin she was, and how straight she sat as her long fingers delicately caressed the keys.

                  Hesitantly he knocked, not wishing to startle her. She stopped playing and turned towards him. Her face was gaunt, and such a pale colour, he found himself wondering if it had been a long time since she had seen the light of day. But her eyes were alive, bright and intense, and she did not seem awfully surprised to see him there.

                  Hello she said, Who are you? I don’t think I have seen you here before.

                  I am Franiel. I am sorry to arrive so unexpectedly … he began

                  Oh no! you mustn’t be sorry, the woman interrupted, jumping up with a speed and agility which surprised Franiel given her otherwise frail appearance. She rushed over to him and then reached out and lightly touched his cheek. A look of wonder crossed her face and she stepped back.

                  Oh my goodness! You are real! she exclaimed in astonishment. I thought you were one of the others.


                  Quite frankly, Midora didn’t know how and where to look for Badul. She had spent lots of time delving into the labyrinth of chapters that composed the book, at first to no avail.
                  Only after some familiarization with the narrative had she come to roughly understand that the two books where rewriting the pages —or even, rewiring them— so that each time she started over, it was like a similar yet different story. Most of the alternate versions did occur within the same kind of environment, or the same dimensions as the previous ones, but there were always all kinds of small hints that made her get a small hunch that it was not quite the same story she had read before that was taking place now.
                  She had even become quite good at tracking down these flimsy moments where she found herself wondering what felt “different”, at odds, or simply not quite at the same place. Like in her dreams, these were precious cues telling her to pay attention. More than simple cues, of course some of them where howling at her face that something required her attention. The additions made by her distant relative Dory, or later on by her step-daughter Becky were compelling cases of such occurrences. Asynchronous apparitions of mummies sometimes reminded her of stories told by one of her father and where more generally speaking of symbolic death and regeneration, but when all of these cues where as many portals the details of which she could lose herself in…

                  Naasir had told her to find Badul. She knew Badul… Like Midora herself, Badul was a facet of the dreaming dragon who was exploring the many facets of itself in an intricate play, and it felt to her that Badul was stuck somewhere in the process and required some attention. In fact, she remembered that in all the versions of the stories that she had read about, Badul’s history was never ended. Each time, he was on his way to explore the new land he had discovered, and somehow, he just never get there.
                  When she was trying to get to the rest of the story, as much as she would search for it, there were only blank pages.
                  Perhaps it was for her to write them, like Indy did after she encountered that mummy decades ago, not necessarily to exorcise the experience, but rather to learn more about her connections.

                  What were her own connections? She wondered.
                  What did happen to Badul on his way to the clandestine traveling portal of Gralm Tur? And why did it matter? Did he found something about the network, and some link to the skulls which have been an obsession for quite some time for some of the major and most intriguing characters of this inter-dimensional sopoohpera?

                  Truth was, Badul felt a bit like an oddball to her. She didn’t know how to get close to him. Apparently, when she had read the early articles from her great-uncle Cuthbert, she had found out that he had connected quite well to the daunting character. As a matter of fact, most of his comments had helped flesh out the character, while most of the other participants in the books had been only remotely observing his deeds. However priceless these clues were, Midora knew by now that they were not absolute, and would rewrite differently if the story was asking for it. And in fact, perhaps her own addition would change whatever his fate would have been.


                  Midora could feel Badul differently now… a young boy, whom she is babysitting, in another life.
                  Bastian is baby Badul’s name and he’s a toddler, a toddler exploring an unknown world made of colourful toys.
                  Midora (her name’s Ada in that focus) likes to work for little Bastian’s family. The woman, his mother, looks a bit odd like Morticia Addams, or like a Cher just out of her bed, but Ada likes her. She’s busy traveling alot, and doesn’t have much time to care for the baby.

                  Midora thinks she has read about his woman somewhere in the books…
                  Could it be that? Yes,… there is little doubt about it.
                  It seems like she’s just run into young Carla


                    Elioctyl had been trying in vain for years to attract the attention of the museum cleaning lady, Ella Marie Tindale.

                    Ella Marie had lived in Alabama all her life, and her parents before her. Some of her ancestors were native to this land, some from the distant shores of Africa. She loved the stories of the old ones, passed down through the generations, stories told at family gatherings and celebrations. Ella Marie had never learned to read, but she remembered all the stories word for word, including her own stories. Ah, her own stories! She kept her own stories to herself, she never forgot the horrified silence when, as a child of five, she had voiced one of her stories at a family gathering. A silence had descended like a pall in the dining room that day.

                    She shivered at the memory as she dusted the glass case covering the mummy, and Elioctyl, seizing upon the moment as a possible chance to get Ella Marie’s attention, whispered loudly.

                    Ella! It’s me, you silly goose, it’s me, I mean YOU!

                    Duster suspended in mid-air, Ella Marie quickly looked around to make sure nobody was watching her. All her life she’d been one step away from the funny-farm; she knew she had to be careful.

                    Are you speaking to ME? she asked the mummy, incredulously. She’d spoken to trees before, and heard them reply, but never a mummy.

                    Sheesh! exclaimed the mummy, At LAST! Over 3,000 years I’ve been whispering to you, and finally, you heard me.

                    Ella Marie looked furtively over her shoulder, and then whispered back: Well, what for? What do you want?

                    I want you to get me the fuck out of here, that’s what!

                    Ella Marie clamped her work worn hands over her ears. You mind your language! she admonished the mummy. I don’t wonder I wasn’t listening to you all those years, coming out with language like that! Pfft….

                    Metaphorically speaking, the mummy raised its eyebrows and sighed.

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