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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    • #191

        The singing in the next room was getting louder. As Dory started to sing along, she felt better. Bugger this! she shouted, and leapt off the musty sofa. The trip to the cave! She felt around the floor with her feet for her shoes, and wasn’t altogether surprised to find her magic flying sandals. Perfect, how perfect is that! She looked around the cluttered shop store room as she buckled the sandals straps. She grabbed a bright blue energy blanket off a pile of coloured shawls, a pith helmet off a hatstand, a mini magic tool kit in a terracotta patterned kilim bag, and on impulse, a glass egg timer with bright fuchsia pink sand.

        As she ran out of the back door a parrot in an elaborate wrought iron cage squalked ‘Don’t forget the key, dear, don’t forget the key’.

        Key? What key?

        ‘Don’t forget the key dear don’t forget the key dear don’t forget the key…’

        WHAT bloody key dear! Dory was really anxious to get to the cave now, but something held her back.

        The key, the key… There was something she couldn’t quite remember about a key. She looked around the room in a panic, It could take me HOURS to find the key in here, she ranted. Ok, ok, I tell you what, she said to the bird, I’ll let you out of that cage, you find the key, and catch me up. Meet me at the cave with the key, OK?

        F LoveF Love

          Fiona awoke from a terreggfying dream. In her dream her friend Quintin had published extracts from her diary, sensitive extracts where she spoke of her desire for an endearing baby dragon, and published them on his website.

          Thank God it is just a dream, thought Fiona.


          Of all the eggs Malvina had been collecting since the beginning of her settling down in the cave with Leörmn, only one had been producing a baby dragon, till now.

          She had nicknamed her Buckberry, because the little one seemed so fond of the buckberries that grew at the entrance of the cave.

          Buckberries were a variety of wild big electric blue-vermilion reddish berries, and were known to have thwarted all attempts to be grown in gardens. In a legendary past, a famous king of the near Kingdoms named Hadraz the Third was said to have been loving these fruits so much that he had spent torrents of gold in trying to have them farmed in the precious glasshouses of his realm. All the attempts of the most knowledgeable Master Farmers had been amounting to nilch.

          This habit of Buckberry, for one moment had been making Malvina anxious of him revealing the location of their safe haven. As she could and would not prevent him to go in search for them, she created some powerful spells to hide him, at least from people to whom the little dragon had not revealed his true name first.

          That had caused some stir from some people who where adventuring near the cave to pick up some of the juicy fruits that could be easily spotted from the plains, as they noticed a heavy breath and * munch * sound around the bushes, that moved like shaken down by a powerful ghost.

          Thus has begun the trail of rumours saying that the cave was haunted.

          All in all, Malvina was not so displeased that there were only a few eggs hatching at a time, as the young dragons were very lively, much more so than the older ones who kept most of their time sleeping, or more aptly put, dreaming.

          Dragons had no need for training in a sense, as they were aware of their abilities, and Buckberry, even being so young could just have been moving away and started his own adventure, but something was compelling him to stay in the cave.

          He had chosen a different form from that of Leörmn, and it was indicating he would not have the same intent. As he would continue to grow, he would probably be a very powerful dragon, shaped for flight and discoveries in the farthest boundaries of the Worlds. At times, Leörmn even doubted he would be fit for a human partner, as he had only managed to scare the few humans he had encountered…

          After all, it was not necessary, though dragons could draw a lot from such a partnership.

          Dragons were not always welcome, as they were feared for their might, and could not always easily explain what they were doing, as most of their movements were in the Unseen.

          In that, only Ragmók, the old speech of the dragons could be used to properly explain these movements. Ragmók was not really a speech, in the human sense, as it could also be spoken through gestures or singing or drawing. But it was the very essence of Magix.

          When a dragon and a human bonded, they shared their languages in a communion of their spirits, and the chosen human could delve easily into the Unseen, while providing to the chosen dragon an ease of movement into the Seen.


          Illi felt much better, and was sitting at the breakfast table, basking in the warm shafts of sunlight filtering in through the window, and listening to the birds singing in the lemon tree outside.

          BelleDora came in from the kitchen bearing a large tray with freshly squeezed buckberry juice, soft boiled eggs in pistachio green eggcups and bread and butter soldiers, and The Reality Times newspaper.

          Illi wasn’t in the habit of reading the news, but occasionally found an article of interest. Todays headlines looked intriguing: Fiona’s Diary: never before published excerpts of the Malvina Dragon saga.


          Everything started to happen at once. As Sanso sat up, craning his neck looking at the door in the ceiling, a terrific flapping and squalking noise approached from behind him, starting as a distant vibration and rising in an unbearable crescendo as it rounded the last bend in the tunnel. Suddenly the noise stopped as Sanso felt a weight on his shoulder, and then a thud on the sandy floor. Bugger this, the parrot screeched in his ear. Bugger this bugger this bugger bugger bugger…

          Sanso was momentarily speechless, as his eye fell on the key. He picked it up and turned it over in his hand, feeling the rusty weight of it. He turned to look at the parrot on his shoulder, who thankfully had stopped his shrill squalking.

          This must be the key to that door, he whispered to the parrot. Let’s try it and see.

          Wait for Dory dear Wait for Dory!

          Bugger this, sighed the parrot, Here I am bringing the key, remembering everything everyone else forgets, running the show here and I don’t even have a name in this silly story.


            Yann found that strange article while surfing the internet. It was about a whole bunch of Italian tourists that had disappeared around the Smoo Cave in Scotland… wasn’t that the cave he visited when he was in Scotland? :-?

            The article was continuing with the number of tourists : 57!!!! all they had found until now were their 16 vans. Apparently some people said the cave was haunted and that at times they see the bushes around move in weird ways or some green glowing energy during storms.

            Yann wondered about the tourists… where could they have possibly gone?


            Illi was getting used to being dead. At first she thought she was still alive, when she fell down the hole and landed on the smelly wet lump. The realization dawned gradually, so that it wasn’t too much of a shock. She had started to notice a strange dreamlike quality to everything, and no sooner had she imagined or thought of something, it materialized around her instantly.


            BelleDora, the buxom maid of Huÿgens, winked at Illi.

            She was somewhat familiar, a nurturing presence that reminded Illi of the maid she and her parents had in their cottage in South Africa. Except that BelleDora had big hairy feelers, like a huge velvety moth, and that her father and mother wouldn’t have been careless enough to recruit a maid with such laisser-aller.

            She was perhaps dead in that dirty hole, but she was obviously still alive in this dirty hole. They all claimed she was something hairy and funny… a what’s the name already? A grim shawl? whatever…

            Bugger this…

            She was having a hard time putting all her thoughts together. She felt like she was many people at once, and none of whom were of great help to her current adventure…

            Perhaps she would have to play the game to discover more of what or who she was?

            So she asked BelleDora to explain more about this strange land.

            And BelleDora was more than eager to provide some answers…


            When Dorothy Mc Leane, the imperviously impetuous and buoyant archaeologist, temporarily reduced to dust shawls in a small antique boutique of the coast of Madagascar, had been finally coming to her mind, she had felt so out of place.

            She had been in many places at once, and these have hardly been vacations at all. Well, all she had wanted at first was to follow that funny lemur winking on a placard, which was hinting at a funny expedition in a cave.

            But that may just have been phoney gooey advertisement, as she was now stranded in that shoppe with a stupid parrot. No-name parrot…

            That’d make Fiona laugh for sure… she thought; she would say that she wasn’t doing things in halves. Can’t even think if I can find a postcard big enough to tell her everything, she had laughed.

            Well, you don’t have a name by chance? she suddenly asked the bright bird.

            Archibaaaaald howled the parrot joyfully.

            Bugger this, I knew that… Dory couldn’t help but thinking.


            Oh!, she had started to feel exasperated. Archibald would take care of the key anyway, no need to stay here any much longer.

            And right after the parrot had flown through the window, as she was leaving the shoppe and heading to the mini-van where the distraught guide had been obviously looking for her since hours, she couldn’t help but wonder at the number of noisy Italian tourists who had just seemed to pop in, crowding the tiny shawl shoppe…

            Wow… She could have bet they could have been as many as fifty seven…


              Lord Wrick was reading a bedtime story to his great grandson, Cuthbert. A huge open fire roared beneath the stone mantelpiece, and cast tall flickering shadows in the dark corners of the room. Cuthbert snuggled in to his great grandad, who pulled the red tartan shawl up under his chin. The Orkney Islands were cold in September, and a chill draught was ever present in the ancient castle. Cuthbert’s twin sister India Louise had already been taken to bed by Nanny Gibbon, who would read her a story in the nursery.

              “Back from the depths of his sleep, the dragon Naasir exhaled in a puff of smoke” read Great grandfather Wrick. “He’d just woven a wonderful dream…”

              A parcel had arrived at the castle yesterday, delivered by a travelling artist, who had been invited to paint portraits of the Wrick family. There was no message with the parcel, and the artist, Bill Jobsworth, explained that an old woman in black had given it to him at the crossroads, asking him to deliver it to Cuthbert and India Louise Wrick.


                The parcel contained two books, one for each of the twins. The books were large and heavy and bound in tooled Moroccan leather. There were blank pages where the illustrations should have been, but the twins had such vivid imaginations that they created the pictures as they heard the story. Sometimes it almost seemed as if they could enter the page, and roam around in it, until Grandad or nanny turned to the next page, and then the wonderful potential of the next blank space beckoned.


                  Jacqueline Bleomelen was a strict yet very affectionate nanny. Her Breton name being barely pronounceable by the English speaking kids she had at her charge, she was most of the time simply called Nanny.

                  Once, one of the rude kids from a previous home where she had been serving an atrociously callous French Count, had called her an Old Gibbon, referring to her wrinkled face. But she had a very light-hearted nature, and wouldn’t show any hint of taking offense.

                  Better, she liked the association with the playful and ingenious apes, and kept the moniker as it was more easily pronounced by the English kids she had in charge, and made them laugh that they could be so irreverent without facing punishment.

                  For special occasions, Jacqueline was wearing a funny costume that made the children often wonder why she had put some funny hat with little moth-feelers loose on her chin, but that, she had explained was a traditional dress from her homeland of Brittany.

                  Tonight, Jacqueline, or Nanny Gibbon, was having a funny dream, but perhaps that have been because she had been very excited by that excerpt she had read before going to sleep. As she was very pious, every night before going to bed, she would read a random quote of the Bible.

                  Last night it had been the Old Testament, from the Book of Joshua. It was about the conquest of the Promise Land, and talked about a king from Hazor named Jabin…

                  And in her dream, Jabin was a strange looking man, lost in the middle of ruins, who wanted to contact a woman about discoveries he had made in the Promise Land. He had found an entrance to a cave that had befuddled him. He hadn’t ventured too far into the cave, but anytime he had, he had found it impossibly deep and wide. So he wanted to share that discovery with that woman, but she was flying around in a parrot-coloured ballet tutu, on top of a three-humped flying camel…

                  Even the rigorous Jacqueline couldn’t repress a laugh at the unlikely images that her tired mind had produced.


                    Dory dodged in and out of the people crowded in the narrow back street. She needed several meters clear run to activate her special flying sandals, and she had no idea which way to go.

                    A girl in a dark heavy blue cape was fiddling with a map on a street corner. Dory snatched the map off her as she ran past, shouting over her shoulder ‘thanks awfully, dont mind if I borrow your map do you?’

                    Glancing down at the map, she found it had morphed into a page torn from the old testament.


                    “His name is Archibald

                    Sanso and the parrot jumped. Who said that?

                    “I did” said India Louise.

                    Both Sanso and the parrot blinked. A little girl in a woolly jumper was standing right in front of them.

                    “Where did you come from?” asked Sanso, as the parrot inquired “How did you know my name?”

                    “I just walked into the page” India Louise told Sanso, and to the parrot she said “And Great Grandaddy Wrick told me your name last night.”


                    Dory’s guide was trying not to lose her again in the densely crowded streets, and had to honk in his mini-van furiously to keep the pace…

                    What a mad woman! he thought, But I must admit she knows her stuff, she heading right to the cave, even though she’s not from here!

                    A parrot zoomed past her singing Goooooot the keeeey! in the middle of the unperturbed crowd.


                    India Louise had been switching her own book with Cuthbert’s that night. And as she was exploring some of the stories told in his, he was having a peek into hers.

                    Very quickly, he became aware of a whole new continent, in that World, across the Middle Seas. In that continent far North of the one where Malvina’s was living, lived some intrepid people. They were strong with big voices, and a bit quarrelsome too. Their ways had forgotten lots about Magix and they placed most of the value into tangible items.

                    The next page, a man was sailing across the Middle Seas with a handful of trusted men. He was a captain pirate, named Båd Al’Guz, which meant, Båd son of Guz. His crew referred to him as Bådul.

                    Cuthbert was intrigued by this man, and had begun to discuss with him mentally, asking who he was, who were his people. The same as Cuthbert had been very innocently doing with gentle Malvina.

                    But Bådul was tricky, and after a bit of a surprise, very soon discovered that the little boy could be a very interesting informant, though an unusual one.

                    And in fact, his information was much more interesting than that which the shamans of King Wulfrick babbled in the most inspired manner.

                    Till now, from the mouths of the buck-pelts clothed shamans had only came stupid gibberish that the King and his court gobbled endlessly. Something about “YaWn”, as they said: You animate Worlds neatly .

                    How stupid was that? Their only answers were useless to him, they were only telling him that he activated and animated the Worlds neatly, and that, in short, nothing was fixed and he could do anything.

                    Well, with that boy, that was different. He was talking about a cave with gilded dragon eggs, and THAT was of a great value to Bådul.

                    But of course, he would not frighten the young boy and pretended that his intentions were that of an explorer, trying to discover new shores and new continents, so as to become closer to understand from where he came, and hopefully make people aware of their closeness to each others.

                    He was such an eloquent actor that he almost shed a tear saying that sentence.

                    As a matter of fact, for as long as he remembered, he had been wandering in many situations, and lots of them had not been very pleasant. Born from uncaring parents, as lots, if not all, of his people were, working as a janitor in a sordid tavern, then as a warden (if not executioner when requested) in an even more sordid jail… Were the Gods to be blamed for that? Well, according to the shamans, he was the only one to be blamed, because he did not accept his responsibility as a weaver of Worlds.


                    At least, he had found his passion. He love sailing, and taking riches for his pleasure. Whatever then, he would take his share, and not care about what was next.

                    At least, if he could coax the boy into revealing more about that cave.

                    F LoveF Love

                      Fiona had just received another rambling note from Dory, and was feeling rather bemused and perplexed.

                      Dory’s notes seemed to make less and less sense. The worst thing was that lately Quintin and Yann appeared to be following her lead. Of course she could be mistaken, the difference in language could be confusing things .. and there was all the merging they had been doing lately which meant they usually spoke in riddles. Fiona spoke very little French, just a few handy phrases such as “hello” and “butt”.

                      But as for Dory

                      Fiona was a kindhearted person and tolerant of others. But these tales Dory was spinning appeared to be increasingly bizarre and nonsensical. Endless beginnings which never seemed to lead anywhere.

                      Am I being too rational? Fiona wondered, always humbly willing to accept her own shortcomings, or “dark corners” as Quintin liked to describe them.

                      One day, after a particularly outrageous note from Dory about an orgy in her kitchen with 57 Italians she had to cook for, Fiona felt compelled to gently and tactfully question Dory.

                      You are just out for revenge, Dory had hissed at her. It’s just a dream, I think … hmmmmm or am I a dream … or is it all a dream ….. I will go and ask Archie! and off she had dashed in a flurry of colourful shawls.

                      Bugger this, thought Fiona. Revenge had been the last thing on her sweet natured mind. With no more housework left to complete, she decided to go for a walk to the nearby cafe to take her mind from all this madness.


                      When Bernhard, making his black panther puppet Archie speak, had answered the tongue-in-cheek burning question that was on everyone’s lips:

                      Does Dory’s part of the story seem logical to you?

                      the answer had come as a surprise to many…

                      Yes he had answered… adding a few moments afterwards, though that there is some mistranslation within the interpretation. [¹]

                      Archie also said that we were moving to a center of a seesaw which represents within your understanding an awareness of “it matters not”.

                      Ahahah, how greatly befuddling a new riddle would that be? Perhaps the answer was very simple too. Something like “egg”…

                      All that Quintin was sure, was that Dory surely enjoyed bouncing on seesaws juggling with a basketful of eggs!

                      Perhaps, it mattered not after all… Perhaps, perhaps not… or not yet…

                      Well, Archie had also admitted during the night he didn’t really care being a parrot in that story… Perhaps he had finally lost it too, as would certainly say Fiona, who was their last beacon of sanity in that insane adventure.

                      [¹] Note from your impartially unbiased reporter: :yahoo_whew: (phew)


                        By the time Illi had finished reading the newspaper article she felt thoroughly confused. Mechanically she folded the newspaper neatly and then lit a cigarette, resting her elbows on the breakfast table and her chin in her hands. She gazed through the ribbons of blue smoke and the dust drifting through the sunbeams, wondering if she was dreaming, dead, or alive. It was becoming so hard to tell the difference.

                        Oh well, I’ll think about it later, she thought, and mentally popped it into her clue and riddle box. Her mind wandered back to the story she’d just been reading, and the charming illustrations. The drawing of the young man in the white robe had seemed familiar, and she liked his name too…Sanso, The Wanderer.

                        As she imagined him, she felt herself lurch ever so slightly sideways, and as she did, the image in her mind of Sanso became suddenly life-like…incredibly so! He was looking at her in astonishment, and taking a step backwards, saying Lordy! not another one appearing out of thin air!

                        Illi looked around and found herself not in the sunny breakfast room but in a sandy cave, with a little girl in a wooly jumper, a young man in a white robe holding a large rusty key, and a parrot.

                        Suddenly Illi didn’t care anymore whether she was alive or dead, dreaming or awake. This was beginning to look like fun.


                          Today, which was the day of the autumn equinox, had been a bright day over the Orkney Islands, quite unusual for this time of the year.

                          Nanny Gibbon had been taking the twins for a walk into the nearby woods of the domain, were they could enjoy the wood dewberries that were ripe and delicious at this season. The twins loved picking them directly on the thorny bushes and eating them until their hands were full of the dark stains left by the sweet juice of the fruits.

                          They knew that Nanny Gibbon would pick enough to make some delicious jam, perhaps to accompany some of her famous sweet pumpkin pies.

                          When they came back to the Manor, they were exhausted by the afternoon spent in the lovely sunlight. After having washed their hands thoroughly, they didn’t really care for anything else but some sleep.

                          But as they moved inside the corridors, Cuthbert noticed he had carelessly left opened his bedroom’s door, and a prick of fear for the precious books had him immediately rush to the room.

                          And Cuthbert gasped in horror as he saw his book flown open on the floor, and the old grumpy cat Manfred, asleep on top of one of the blank pages.

                          Manfred had the nasty habit of clawing everything, especially the huge soft armchair of Lord Wrick, but his antics were elegantly accepted by the old gaunt Lord.

                          When he heard Cuthbert enter the room, the old fluffy cat raised an inquisitive eyebrow and moved very slowly and deliberately out of the book pages, only to reveal the immaculate pages, as whole as if the book had been brand new.

                          Cuthbert was thrilled with joy. Manfred had not done anything to the precious book. He would have stroked the cat with gratitude, but the creature had moved out of the room very swiftly for its old age, in a haughty look of total disregard for the little boy.

                          At least the book was intact. But what if… Cuthbert wondered… He started to look at the page, and new images started to form before his eyes…

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