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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    • #871

      — Who are you? said Alana. And how did you get here?

      The man who was standing before her was smiling mysteriously. She was staring at him, hoping he wouldn’t notice the hint of fear on her face. What was puzzling her most was that she didn’t know who he was working for, was he an agent of the Baron? It was quite unlikely. The French man Langlade had always been working alone since his misadventure with Harry, and the Baron wouldn’t double his agent if unnecessary.

      — My name is Andrimiñ. And as of how I got here… let’s say I know how to get through :) What matters is that I’m here to offer you my assistance…

      His smile was quite hypnotic, and she almost lost track of what was happening (very unusual of her) when a few knocks on the door and Mr Isashi’s voice reminded her of her guest.

      Are you all right, Aunt?

      The man was staring at her with his blue eyes, she had a strange feeling and she knew she had to move quickly.

      Aunt? Is there someone with you? I heard a man…

      — I can show you how to activate the skull, Atiara. And help you with this man.

      Suddenly she knew she could trust him. Something in his last words… there was much unsaid, and the name he gave her… she was having the weirdest feelings about it. As if it was perfectly fitting. She smiled to him, her tensions released. He was now looking at the door.

      — Bring our guest in, Mr Isashi.

      The face she turned to the door was full of a new strength, mixed with a strange feeling of familiarity.

      F LoveF Love

        His door was open. He had his back to her, looking out at the storm. Veranassessee knocked lightly on the door and entered. He turned towards her.

        You’re wet Agent V, he said, his eyes running slowly up and down her body.

        His gaze came back to her face and their eyes locked. She felt her knees go weak. God does that really happen?

        Why had nothing changed? She had not seen him for so long, had almost forgotten about him. She loved Mahiliki… didn’t she? She had managed to convince herself that Agent Gabriele was in the past. That was where he belonged. He was a fantasy.

        She was not a child anymore.

        God, but he was gorgeous though. Dark, sexy, he gave off an aura of untamed passion just barely suppressed below the surface. His face was more mature, more closed off than before, but still almost unbelievably handsome. At one time she had known every line of his face, memorized it, retraced it over and over in her imagination. She thought she had known him.

        He smiled. Better get you out of those wet clothes, you’re dripping on the carpet.

        Still holding his gaze, almost defiantly she pulled her dress off and let it drop in a soggy heap on the ground.

        She wanted this didn’t she? She turned and closed the door behind them.


        A few moments later she was not so sure.

        What’s the matter?

        Oh you know … I am a bit distracted …too much going on I guess. She did not want to tell him that she could feel the presence of Mahiliki strongly in the room, his sweet trusting face gazing reproachfully at her. He would be worried about her, worried about the storm. She wondered how he was getting on.

        I understand, he smiled ruefully, it’s hardly perfect timing is it? Anyway that wasn’t the reason I asked you to meet me here, but I guess it just seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.

        I am sorry, she said, rolling her eyes.

        Maybe some other time. He handed her a robe.

        Sure. She wrapped it tightly around her. Anyway, the Doctor?

        All taken care of. I left Nurse Bellamy administering warm coconut milk, unbeknowst to her laced with a sedative. The Doctor will be peacefully sleeping for at least 24 hours.

        And Jarvis?

        Jarvis is an opportunist, but not dangerous. He was employed by the Doctor as a bodyguard, but has since changed sides. He is now working as a spy for the Magpies.

        The Magpies?

        Your hunch was right. The Magpies are operating on the Island, and they plan to strike soon.


        Sha was gazing dejectedly at herself in the mirror. Glor what d’ya reckon. Are all these bloody beauty treatments working or wot?

        Course they are!

        They looked at each other. Well, maybe it’s a bit soon to tell eh? she said doubtfully.

        Mavis! Sha shook the lump covered completely by blankets huddled on the bed. Come on Lovey, the storm won’t urt you. What d’ya reckon Mavis, ‘ow do we look?

        A dishevelled head popped out. You both don’t look no bloody different to me, ‘cept you’ve put weight on, she said honestly.

        Well that bloody does it, said Glor, We’d better find that Vessie, find out wots wot!


          Already pregnant? ALREADY? Don’t be so soft, Becky laughed, punching Sam playfully on the arm. Then she frowned. What makes you say that, anyway? she asked suspiciously.

          Before Sam had a chance to reply Becky clapped her hand to her mouth and froze. That man in the park!


            Chris Robin’s brief sojourn in the past had been an interesting one. He’d only spent a couple of hours in the year 2034 and had unfortunately arrived during a rainstorm. He arrived back in the year 2163 soaked to his skin, but grinning like a Cheshire cat. Armed only with the time travellers password, ‘Tarty Nun’, Chris had expected to spend alot more time trying to making contact with a TF, or ‘timetravellers friend’ than he did; he was astonished to see a tarty nun almost immediately upon arrival.

            The girl was giggling to herself, and reciting limericks as she wandered aimlessly through the bushes, looking really quite fetching in an interesting little garment. As she brushed past him, seemingly oblivious to his presence, he heard her whisper the password. “… coming… in … tarty nun…..”


            Oh what absoloote rubbish, giggled Elizabeth Tattler, taking another large sloorp from her 4th glass of red wine and putting large determined scribbles through the last chapter of the latest Noovel. It was the continuing saga of the Tifijikoo Island story. She really had to finish it, old whats-his-face was on the telepooh to her daily now, demanding to know when it was to be finished.

            More Sex! he had shouted at her last time. More sex, we want the bloody thing to sell don’t we!

            Well I have shut you up haven’t I, she snorted to herself, thinking happily of Dr Bronkelhampton passed out on the couch wearing a pink dress and mascara running down his face.

            More sex eh? Hooommmm, Elizabeth did not particularly believe in putting extraneous sex in her noovels. At the same time that character Veranassessee was annoying her a bit with all her indecisiveness. And what a bloody mouthful that name was. Was it too late to change it? hooommm probably. She had modelled her roughly on the cleaner, Finnley, quite an attractive girl despite her pooty face and superior, bossy ways.

            She vaguely remembered something a tutor at writing school had said to her once about writing sex scenes … what was his name? Emonel … no that was not quite right … Meenol! That was it!

            Make your writing detailed, with accurate depiction of suction noises

            Elizabeth broke into fits of laughter, slamming her fist on the desk gleefully and startling Robert X. (Unfortunately the fainting Mongoats had been banned from the building by that nasty Mr Arak)

            You know Robbie-pooh what is wrong with this?

            Robbie-Pooh, Robbie-Pooh, cackled Robert X.

            IT’S BOORING, The damn characters never do anything. Right well, time to fix that. She took another few slugs of her wine.


            Oh God, said Agent Gabriele. Who gives a shit about the Doctor or bloody magpies. I can’t stand this any longer. I must have you Agent V. He lunged towards her, ripping open her robe and exposing her naked body.

            You are so beautiful. All I ever wanted is you. That’s why I demanded this assignment on the Island … to see you again. I have not been able to get you out of my head. You’ve been driving me crazy

            NO NO, cried Veranassessee weakly, but her body said YES YES


            Agent Gabriele kissed her on the mouth, making strange and passionate slurping noises, and, unable to resist any longer, she gave in to his need for her.

            ( Yes, Yes, YES! snorted Elizabeth, momentarily unable to write for laughing. Hooommm what about that Mahiliki? He was pathootic. Did he want the girl or not for God’s sake? )


            Mahiliki stared anxiously out at the storm. He could think of nothing but his darling Veranassessee. He must know if she was alright. He must go to her. He grabbed his car keys and drove like a madman to the airport.

            ( Hoommm, thought Elizabeth, I really don’t know anything about small island airports and planes. Well booger that, I will research them later on the internoot )

            You must fly me to Tifijikoo Island! demanded Mahiliki, holding the pilot (who had been sitting out the storm in a little airport building thingy ) at knifepoint.

            Are you mad? said the pilot. There’s a freakin cyclone, or hadn’t you noticed?

            Yes, I am mad, I am mad with love. Fly me there or you are a dead man.


            ahahahaahah, laughed Elizabeth happily.


            Oh for foocks sake, Finnley grumbled, does that woman never go home?

            Elizabeth Tattler was passed out on the desk, two empty wine boottles on the floor beside her chair.

            Foock you too! Foock you too! Screeched Robert X

            She grinned, she quite enjoyed Robert X, or MrX as she liked to call him.

            So what’s our Elizabeth been up to eh Mr X? Finnley picked up the messy pile of papers on the desk and carefully put them in order. They looked sort of interesting. Maybe it was time for a rest break. She pulled out her vegemoot sandwooches on chunks of rye bread, and, carefully dusting it first, she sat down on a big armchair in the corner of the office to read.

            Twenty minoots later she threw the pages on the floor in disgust, but then, disturbed by the mess it made, picked them up again.

            The character Veranassessee left her particularly disturbed. What a name! And what a Wishy Wooshy Noomby Poomby. Whats all this YES YES YES businoos! That Agent Gabriele was a selfish and dictatorial bastood as far as she could tell.

            She would see about that! She was no writer but she was sure she could do better than this load of old mongoat droppings.

            Well she would if she could find a pen on Ms Tattler’s shamboolic desk anyway.


            Veranassessee (V) drew back from his sloppy kisses. Wait! Have you got protection? she asked, imperatively and sensibly.

            Protection? … my gun is under the pillow … oh right I see what you mean, stuttered Agent Gabriele apologetically, reluctantly pulling himself from making suction noises on her breast to rummage for a condom in his suitcase.

            Great, now say that stuff again. You know all that crap about how beautiful I am. I sort of liked it.

            Agent Gabriele willingly obliged. Of course V recognised it for the lustful rubbish it was … still might as well have a bit of fun. He was damn good looking.

            Perfect, she said. Now, what position do you prefer?

            He was momentarily speechless, stunned, and even more aroused, if that was indeed possible, by her forthrightness.

            She rolled her eyes. Yes, you know POSITION … on top … underneath ..front … back… through a hole in a blanket …? myself I like to keep things simple, don’t want to make too much mess around the place.

            Anything you want Darling Agent V.

            A little bit later he sighed contentedly. You are by far the best lover I have ever had.

            Thanks, everyone says that. Hey! Put out that cigarette, there’s no smoking inside you know. She looked critically around the room. You know this room could do with a damn good clean, I could see dust on the headboard, you know, while we were doing it.

            I’ll make sure I clean it next time, he murmered huskily, kissing her, and saying that stuff again, about how perfect she was.


            Finnley giggled to herself. Much better! Well who’d have thought she would have a bit of a gift for writing. Carefully she replaced the pages under the telepooh and made her exit. With a bit of luck Ms Tattler would never notice.


            Old Narani is becoming too soft.
            While the attraction of the hole was intensely beckoning, Phurt had been appointed by a strange twist of fate to the guard of the prisoners by the Old Mother.

            Bugger Narani whisspered Phurt, why not just kill them, these stupid two-legged animals. Why the pain of keeping them alive? Good thing the daily dose of sedative venom had them quiet now. They would only scare the mooing preys. Stupid, stupid.
            Of course, it would be easy to just sink a little more than usual her sharp tooth into their neck so fragile. A regrettable accident…
            Phurt couldn’t help but smile a grin as wide as her hairy eight-eyed face. But she wasn’t known as the Doctor of Breath for nothing. Her mere breath could be as sweet as a jasmine scent or terribly deadly. She had never missed a target, never could have.
            She was no mere Spinner; how could the Mother have put her to such a slighting task. Degrading. For her, the most promising Hunter of her generation to be doing this while they all were securing the hole perimeter.

            She would have to go. Something was nudging her to move, something like a fluid water sound, that whispered that nothing could happen to those prisoners. No one would be fool enough to dare to enter the Nest.
            Ahaha, why would she care? Nobody would know. And the little ones would alert her in any case.

            With a prodigious jump, she sprung to the forest in the direction of the hole. She couldn’t be denied her destiny.


            Is it gone now? a voice whispered under a pile of giant ferns
            I think it is growled Araili’s voice Thanks to the Snoot’s power of suggestion, I suppose… The Snoot might find spiders eggs delicacy enough to help us in our rescue operation.
            Shall we go there now? Kay? Ready to go and report back if everything’s clear?


            Rafaela was not finding it very difficult to jump on the rocky slopes. It was only difficult for her to remember to stay physically focused so that Anita wouldn’t fall to a certain death. And of course, even more difficult to resist to the attraction of nibbling a few crunchy thistles and brambles that grew here and there.
            But Yuki’s attention was here to remind her, and so far, their progression had been smooth and easy.

            But all of a sudden, the small pink nose of Yuki raised in quicker spasms sniffing the air intently.
            What? What? asked Rafaela who almost forgot her focusing. What?! Did I fart or something?

            Anu who was having the time of her life jumping on the coarse back of the goat giggled at her clueless question.

            — I think the spiders are moving too. We’ll be reaching the hole before them, and the Snoot tells me they won’t be moving close to it. But they won’t let anything or anyone get out of it. Let’s hope dear Armelle will spot a path for our friends.
            — Not to worry, Rafaela said matter-of-factly, Army is good at spoohtting. She’s the best I know at that.
            — OK, let’s move on…


            Claude was finally seeing a pinhole of light, at a close distance. He could just continue to crawl out his way to the light, and he would soon be release. And to cheer him up, he reminded himself that no man nor beast he feared, with his phenomenal strength agility and speed he now had. Too bad he didn’t have any time to get a proper super-hero attire he smiled to himself.


            On Tikfijikoo, the Magpie’s energy maze-cloak was now lift. The fury of the cyclone was now in its full power, and the Magpies were starting their swift deployment.
            The item was left unguarded in the operation room, as far as they could tell, and in the chaos of the elements, surely a few magpies would be unnoticed.

            They had to move quick now. The portal would be opened soon too. They couldn’t come back without bringing “it” back with them.


              Hello, Tina? It’s me, Becky. I need to talk to you! No, not over the phone, can you meet me for coffee?

              F LoveF Love

                Tina flicked through an old, and obviously well read, hard-copy of Wisp magazine as she waited in the cafe for Becky. Al had just had an article submission accepted in the prestigious magazine, complete with photos of himself at different stages of his experiments. She chuckled to herself thinking of it.

                Where was Becky?


                Aum Geog spent a long time seating motionless before the piece of parchment which had just been delivered by a specially trained fincheon.
                Fincheons were not particularly elegant, (not to say downright ugly) one had to admit, but they were very convenient, once you noticed that their feathers were a special shining tint of grey which almost made them invisible. They always knew how to fly back, and this one had made no exception.
                But it was a bearer of annoying news for the newly appointed Elder of the Monastery who was trying to curb his irateness by staying still.

                This… he was at a loss for words. Breathe, breathe he exhorted himself.

                A few months ago, when he was appointed Elder, his patient work of diligence seemed to have just paid off. He had thought he would be given the keys, and more importantly, the chalice.
                But that sly dog of Hrih had decided otherwise. He had transmitted the chalice to that irresponsible and naïve novice Franiel, while giving him a bunch of rusted keys he didn’t give two poohs about.
                Of course, it was only a matter of time before he could get it back, all he had to do was to make Franiel uncomfortable enough that he willingly relinquish the ownership to someone… someone like himself of course!
                The annoying thing about this damn chalice you see, is that it won’t properly function with anyone else than the rightful owner (except for small uninteresting tricks). Obviously, Hrih didn’t want him to have access to its powers, but that old monkey was now gone, and there wasn’t much he could do about what was going on.

                In fact, the plan was nearly perfect. Two birds, one stone. Bring Franiel to have some appropriate spell modifications carved onto that chalice, and have him give it back to the Elder, Aum Geog himself.
                Obviously, he couldn’t just let go such a precious artifact in the nature without appropriate stealthy surveillance. Thanks to one of his faithful servants, Brother Derwish, he was kept informed of the progresses. A former master of disguises that a other-Worldly experience had him join the orders, Brother Derwish was no short of brains nor tricks in his bag, and that parchment was another proof of it.
                If he had renounced to contact Elder Aum Geog directly through the glowing balls, and take the risks of unexpected delays, it was because they were most probably watched and their communication monitored.

                So here went the news:


                Brother Derwish imaginative poetry could mean but one thing. Or two perhaps.

                The little twit had been watched by someone else who had showed him some of the powers of the egg… err, the chalice. It would have partly activated the chalice, and make it disappear unless its owner needs it enough to have it appear again. Obviously, without chalice, or thinking it was lost, he had changed his course to another place.
                Hopefully, Brother Derwish was following his trail closely.

                If more disastrous news had to come, Elder Aum Geog would have to summon his char of marmoths (big toothed hibernating woolliphants) and go there by himself.


                Leonard was content. It had not happened exactly as he had thought, but as he had explained to Malvina, the only wise thing to do was to teach the boy about the powers of the chalice. That would active its self-protective cloaking power, and have the boy temporarily relieved of this burden.
                For if he had been entrusted the chalice by the old Abbot, that was surely for a good reason.

                As Franiel had been moving, Leonard had had Moufle watch over him. Apparently, Leonard and his dog weren’t the only ones on his trail… The wiry gangly tonsured guy clothed in a potatoes sack didn’t seem to be here by chance either…


                  Ms Beryl?
                  — Yes.
                  — Tell me more about this whole sneezing… You can’t be serious about that deposition. You have sworn on the Book of Flove, and perjury is a grave offense.
                  — I know that, Sir.
                  — Perfect. And notwithstanding, you maintain your deposition.
                  — Notwithstandingly, I do Sir.
                  — That will be all.


                  A few days later, the case on what happened of the time-travelling goats was close owing to blatant lack of evidence.
                  Some later said that the judge fondness for the annual Fainting Goat Fair won his leniency, but that would be another story…


                    Becky arrived at the cafe twenty minutes late, looking breathless and disheveled. Scanning the room with a wild eye, she spotted Tina engrossed in a magazine in a booth in the far corner. Flopping down on the leatherette seat, Becky ran her hands through her hair and said Holy Moly, Tina, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.

                    BREATHE, replied Tina, in a deeply resonant voice, a trifly mischeivously, Becky thought. Breathe into YOU…..

                    Oh bugger off Tina, Becky said affectionately. Thanks for coming at such short notice.

                    Well, out with it then, Becks, what’s the panic this time? What fine pickle have you got yourself into now?

                    Becky glanced surreptiously over her shoulder, and then leaning over the table whispered to Tina, Promise you won’t tell anyone? Not even Sam and Al?

                    Tina frowned. Not even Sam and Al?

                    Seeing Becky’s crumpled face, Tina quickly agreed, saying, Oh alright then, but what’s the big secret? Not that there ARE any secrets….

                    Yes there bloody well ARE secrets Tina, and this is one of them! Promise not to tell ANYONE!

                    Alright, alright! Calm down and spit it out, for Gawds sake! Tina said.

                    Remember when I was in the park? In that tarty nun outfit? Becky continued, in a loud whisper.

                    How could I forget?

                    Well, something happened! In the bushes, with this guy, a guy from the future, a time traveller.

                    Tina raised one eyebrow in disbelief.

                    It’s no good looking at me like that Tina, I’m telling you it happened. And what’s more, I’m pregnant, and he’s the father.

                    Tina’s mouth fell open in surprise, and then she said, You TART! You haven’t been married a week! You haven’t even been on your blimmen honeymoon yet!

                    Well, actually, replied Becky huffily, Don’t you think it’s kind of cool?

                    What happened then, Becky, do tell! Tina was intrigued.

                    And Becky proceeded to tell Tina all about it, first entreating her again not to tell anyone.

                    F LoveF Love

                      Tina sat for some time in the cafe after Becky had left, pondering the implications of Becky’s secret. Becky was right, it was quite exciting in a way, however the repercussions left her reeling … honestly you would think a time traveler would have more sense

                      She scratched her head absentmindedly, her scalp had been very itchy lately. She wondered if she had better stop using her homemade egg hair shampoo. Well that was a bugger. She had been planning on marketing it through her business… HEGG FIRST SHAMPOO, with cute little egg people wearing shiny glossy wigs on the label … and, as a special limited time offer, she had been going to give away free Holy Water Conditioning Rinse as well. Sam had kindly agreed to bless it for her with this didjereedoo.

                      She looked up just as a female entered the cafe, straight jet black hair, large dark sunglasses, fishnet tights and knee high boots. A black trench coat completed the stunning ensemble. Wow! thought Tina, She looks amazing, so eneggmatic and sexy. As though she had heard her thoughts the woman turned, and upon catching Tina’s eye, hurriedly looked away and walked quickly out of the cafe.

                      How odd, thought Tina.

                      Later, as she was researching black wigs on the internet … of course she could change the colour and structure of her hair through mind techniques, but that was still a bit slow for Tina, Al entered the room.

                      Tina, are you busy?

                      Uh Oh! Tina knew that tone of voice. She braced herself. Could Al have heard about Becky’s news ??? She told Becky there were no secrets!

                      Your latest comments in the reality play are really really great. Most entertaining and unusual.

                      Uh, thanks …. Tina said cautiously.

                      I was just wondering however whether you had considered the time frame of your characters?

                      Oh yeah course … you know .. give or take a few years .. or so …

                      There are a few discrepancies I noticed, he went on, and it really does become rather problematic, some might say “messy” even.

                      Tina rolled her eyes and grunted non-commitedly.

                      Thanks Sweetie, I knew you wouldn’t mind sorting it out, said Al.


                        What makes you think it was a time travellers accident, Tina? Becky found herself mentally replying to a telepathic audible from Tina. Oh, that’s a point! Becky hadn’t seen it from this perspective until now.


                        Is something bothering you Franiel? You look a bit perturbed.Phoebe was watching him intently.

                        Oh sorry, yeah, I was just thinking about Aum Geog. I really should have sent him a message, you know about losing the chalice.

                        Phoebe looked thoughtful. Well we could send a message via one of the Fincheons if it would set your conscience at ease.

                        Fincheons? Those are those really beautiful silver birds aren’t they?

                        That’s right, they are spectacular aren’t they! I have a pair I use for sending messages on occasion.

                        Oh great! Franiel looked immensely relieved. I will go and write a note to him them. He won’t be happy though, I am fairly certain of that.

                        Although … silly me. Would you like to use the phone to call him? It would be much quicker. Honestly sometimes I think I am living in the dark ages, not 2008! chuckled Phoebe merrily.

                        Franiel laughed with her. Oh I know just what you mean!

                        Oh by the way, said Phoebe, there’s a motorbike in the garage. It hasn’t been used for years, but if you can get it going, you are most welcome to use it.

                        F LoveF Love

                          Phew! said Tina, All sorted then


                          Franiel lifted the metal latch and pushed open the creaking door of the old shed. In the darkness he could make out of the shape of boxes and other various objects, then, as his eyes became more accustomed to the darkness, he saw the motorbike propped up against the far wall.

                          What are you up to young man?

                          Franiel jumped and spun around. It was Lydia, just returned from her journey to the market.

                          Oh hello again! You startled me … Phoebe suggested I check out the motorbike, see if I can get it going.

                          Lydia looked grave. Did she now? Well it’s been many a long year since that piece of junk worked. Anyway so you’ve met Madame Chesterhope then, and what did you make of her? She was giving Franiel that deeply penetrating stare again. Franiel wondered kindly if perhaps she was shortsighted.

                          Oh very nice … and I met Vincentius the parrot too.

                          Lydia chuckled. Did you now?

                          Yes, actually Phoebe told me a rather unusual story.

                          At that Lydia broke into gales of laughter. Let me guess, about mixing the aura and the egg?

                          Yes, that’s right, replied Franiel, his face breaking into a smile too as he realised the absurdity of it.

                          Lydia wiped the tears of laughter from her face. ’Ere Lad, I told you things are not what they always seem. She thought for a moment. I’m parched from my long walk, I am going inside to make a brew. Why don’t you join me? If you are going to be stopping then there are a few things you need to know.


                          Wow that had been bizarre! Veranassessee stood at the bathroom basin and splashed icy cold, reviving water on her face. She knew she’d had sex with Agent Gabriele … however the experience had a slightly surreal quality, not unlike a dream, details slipping elusively away from her as she tried to grasp hold of them. She giggled nervously as she dried her face with a towel. Did she really want to remember? She had just passed Agent Gabriele in the corridor and he had winked at her, saying he couldn’t wait to try the ‘reverse cleaning maid ‘ again. A sudden image came to mind and she saw her skin darken in the mirror as a hot wave of embarrassment flooded her. Good Grief! She thought guiltily of Mahiliki. She hoped the other island had not been too badly affected by cyclone Ycart, so far it seemed Tifikijoo had come off quite lightly.

                          Veranassessee had already checked on the guests, Jose Maria and Paquita were still in their room, Mavis was huddled under her bedding and informed her in a muffled voice that Sha and Glor had gone looking for her.


                          Well she’s not in her bloody room so where is she eh? Gloria and Sha were on the warpath, determined to get some answers from Veranassessee.

                          ‘Ere, Sha! Bloody hell! Glor shook her head in disbelief.

                          What’s up Glor?

                          Bloody magpies … there are bloody magpies in ‘ere!

                          What! Nasty little buggers those magpies. Poke yer bloody eyes out if yer aint careful.

                          ‘Ere what they up to eh? Bloody hopping all over that whats-a-ma-callit-doo-dacky machine.

                          They’ll be going for the shiny bits I reckon. They do that those magpies. ‘Ere we’d better stop them, might never get our bloody beauty treatments if they bugger that machine up.


                          The Council room was silent but the energy was tense and electric.
                          Nareena and Noraam were reading an energy ball from their peers on the Murtuane’s Kandulim shore. There had been an uprising of the Zentauras concerning exactions committed by what could be called a rebel faction of the Guardians. They had no name to call them, and they were invisible to their search, through their inner vision or other devices.
                          The Gates were concerned by this behavior amongst their kin, especially since they would soon face a difficult choice in their evolution and society. Keliom had warned them since the beginning many years ago when it was just speculations, when they were needing a source of power so intense that it was against their knowledge to even believe in it.
                          But the source had been found. It was through an unexpected mean. And now…

                          This is unacceptable from our kind Noraam. The Council should decide something to get rid of these culprits.

                          You know that it is against our customs. And especially, Sinadron and Keliom wouldn’t allow it and you know their influence over the others.

                          I also sense that you are not comfortable with the idea either…

                          Nareena sighed with resignation.

                          I wonder how far would they have to go before we decide to do something. It is something to disregard the other races, but it is another to tease them and attack them. It is not even a matter of really wanting to hurt them, I feel a deliberate desire to make them angry against us, and I wonder who among us would want that.

                          Noraam looked at her, intrigued. He saw the face of a man, a vautruche on his left shoulder. The only one of them who would want a vautruche as a pet. These animals were so unpredictable that one could think they were a vicious species, but they were expressing qualities such as determination and swiftness that were also somewhat desirable, and he could understand that. They were really fascinating with their moving colors. Depending on their mood, their skin was quickly changing, pulsing, irradiating, glazing, hypnotic, or just dark and unnoticeable.

                          Do you really mean what I briefly saw, Nareena?

                          She blushed before his twinge. I don’t trust him, and he makes me feel very uncomfortable. She wouldn’t admit to him that she was sensing some sexual attraction from him, and to him, but she couldn’t accept it as his energy was mostly repulsing and the thirst of power she could glimpse in his eyes was simply frightening.

                          No, I don’t like Sinadron .

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