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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    • #991

        Now, Dear Tina Prout (and he said this last bit a bit more firmly, hoping Tina would finally decide to change her name back to her maiden’s name Flove, which was hers before she married that Prout guy who had left her years ago, miserable and forlorn, but not without resources and quite a temperament to boot) You know, this is all about the cycle of transformations, and I’m taking great pleasure in observing the flow of events…


          And, Al just got a striking revelation… that if you combine some entries numbers, you may get a I Ching sentence which may reveal some interesting clues…
          It’s all about the flow of transformations, sweetie. he mumbled to Tina in the most ponderous way.

          Tina answered a bit flippantly “what you are up to now…”
          “Let me show you,” Al said, “could you point me two entries that are particularly meaningful to you?”
          “Oh, let me finish my entry first”, Tina answered

          Al waited…

          F LoveF Love

            Tender hearted Tina hesitated momentarily as she remembered poor Prouty’s misery when she left him. Still! she thought, cheering up, it had all worked out for the best in the end.

            She couldn’t help but giggle when she imagined Al’s dismay when he saw how long it had taken her to achieve so little!


            Hopefully, Al was not one to judge a work by the time it takes to produce.
            Actually, he was remembering a tale he’s been telling Sam no so long ago, about a Chinese painter who took years of training to be able to execute a painting in a single most perfect stroke. Only thing was that the Prince who had ordered him to paint this was offended when he saw him arrive empty-handed and drawing on the spot in what seemed the most easy, flowing movement that single painting, while he had been provided time and resources to the painter for so long. He had him executed, only for his servants to discover later that the painter’s house was full of tons of sketches.
            It is all a work of art, dear Tina

            Now, I get that you have found your favourite entries.
            Yes, entry number 2 .
            Then, the one where Fiona changes her name to Finn, that has to be a significant one; that is 151
            And 223 , when Arona gets given Yikesy

            Al pondered for a moment…

            F LoveF Love

              Elizabeth knew there must be something profoond in today’s “Words of Comfort for the Descending” quotation, after all, it was a Lemone quote:

              Better speak nonsense than be dead or sorry

              But for the life of her she could not find the significance. She sighed. Her brain felt so lifeless lately.

              F LoveF Love

                Hang on Al!, said Tina, although there was really no need as Al, still pondering, did not seem to be in any particular hurry to enlighten her on all this I-Ching business. I think Becky is trying to telepathically communicate a limerick to me.

                Oh well, said Al philosophically, Better to speak nonsense than to be dead or sorry.

                F LoveF Love

                  Bloody Hell Tina! hissed Becky indignantly. Will you listen? It isn’t a limerick. I am very kindly giving you some handy hints on how to air kiss!! And you can tell Al I heard that!

                  Oh! Sorry Beck! said dear Tina, feeling genuinely remorseful at her mistake. Oh please, do tell!

                  Hmmmph, well okay then, said Becky, mollified by Tina’s sweet apology. Right, well the trick is you have to be decisive. I know you will find that bit hard, but it is the floundering and indecision which causes the accidents.


                    “Okay,” Al started.
                    “At the essence of I Ching, is the notion that everything is mutable, and changes. Everything changes, except the law that says that everything changes.
                    “In many ways, the I Ching is like a book where the pages numbering change every time you start to read it. Not unlike our story composition.”

                    “I get that,” answered Tina, interested by what would come out.

                    “So,” Al continued, always disagreeably pondering, Tina would say. “usually, when people are drawing to read from the I Ching, they have six numbers that give an hexagram. And these numbers are carrying into them their potential change, which usually gives another hexagram to read.”
                    “In our stories, the entries have a fixed identity, which is given by the system; this is our starting point. For your comments, this is ’4-191-328’.
                    “But as everything evolves, our entries are given an order in the book; this order is changeable, and that’s what I will use for the second hexagram; in your case it’s ’2-151-223’.”
                    “If you say so…” Tina sighed, a bit lost.
                    “Oh, I’m inventing the rules as we speak,” Al said trying to reassure her somewhat.
                    “I don’t know if that makes me feel better” she said.

                    “Okay. Now, I need to create the hexagrams; hexagrams are defined by six straight or broken lines; zero or one, binary system. Here, Chinese usually use the convention that odd is straight, and even is broken… Ahaha, doesn’t seem to make sense, but odd is male, unbalanced into action, and is associated with single, straight things. Broken is paired, complete in reflection, unbalanced in passivity.”

                    “And I wonder when we actually start to hear something that makes sense?” whispered Tina, a bit crossly.

                    “Okay, the thing I see, is that I have trouble making one hexagram with seven numbers, ahaha”, Al laughed a bit embarrassed.

                    “Oh, then no point in wiggling like that” said Tina very sweetly, “Scrap any bit that bothers you”.

                    “Okay, anyway we can go deeper into them afterwards if needed; I’ll scrap the first number rather than the last, because you see, 2 and 4 are both even, and thus there is no mutation here.”

                    Original Mutation
                    8 ╌ 3 —
                    2 ╌ 2 ╌
                    3 — 2 ╌
                    1 — 1 —
                    9 — 5 —
                    1 — 1 —
                    4 ╌ 2 ╌

                    “So here we are, if we scrap the bottom one, we get…”


                      Al fumbled for a minute, and exclaimed:

                      ‘The Power of the Great!’ mutating into ‘the Taming Power of the Great’…

                      He was genuinely impressed…


                        Tina scowled: “What?”
                        Six at the top means: A goat butts against a hedge.
                        “Oh, that must be another of Becky’s evil doing…”

                        Al added after a moment: “when I scrap the last line, the draw is not bad either …”

                        “Oh,” he said, looking at the numbering… “Eighteen to go in eight days…”
                        “Yes,” said Tina, “we will have to slow down now, better tell Becky that, or she will see our entries and go crazy with new ones”
                        “Ahahaha” Al couldn’t imagine how Becky would react at someone telling her NOT to do something ;)) — it was like playing “you won’t dare” with a child :))




                          Becky noticed with a satisfied smile that the word ‘Becky’ was by far the biggest word in the cloud. Hhhhmmmm, interesting, she murmured as she perused her random (well semi-random ~ she had deliberately chosen a cloud-batch with her name in it) selection of words.

                          sudden feeling!! :yahoo_surprise: breathe!! :yahoo_yawn: remembered sort (appear soft?) :yahoo_wasntme: ~ akayli?? ~ :yahoo_thinking: seem…. cave…. yeah, huge! :cluebox: known luce; knew agreed. :yahoo_thumbsup: becky full power hey! :buffoon:


                            Well, what a coincidence! exclaimed Becky. Becky was choosing her I Ching story comments, not altogether sure (not in the least sure, really) how it worked, but enjoying the opportunity to do a few random impulse searches. She had been reading the blog archives of Stilly from the early part of the century, all about cactus, beetles, and the investigation into the cochineal trade, when she suddenly remembered the Reality Play deadline. Anticipating buckling down to some serious writing, Becky was delighted to find the I Ching game, and made her first random choice.

                            Well, what a coincidence! Becky repeated. It’s all about beetles!

                            Becky made a note of the number: 638. :notepad:


                              Becky was undecided. Add to the last entry? Or start another? Grinning wickedly, she started another.

                              Her second impulse selection was a slightly late coincidence, but a coincidence notwithstanding. It was about Sand Dragons . A Few days previously Becky had been to an auction. She bid for and won a first edition copy of Wisp magazine; it had cost her an arm and a leg, but she was delighted with her purchase. It would increase in value, and was a delight to read some of the first published articles of the many authors, poets, artists and photographers who would later become famous. The article about sand sculptures had reminded her of the T.R.A.P. day out.

                              Well, how about that! exclaimed Becky, reading the rest of the comment. Wish House is one of my most favourites, and I chose it by accident!

                              She read:

                              Illi used to play a game with Cranky (as she affectionately called nanny Chraddock) in the long months while her parents were away, called Wish House. Every room in the sprawling Elizabethan house was a different time and place, and the moment they entered the room they imagined themselves to be different people, in other times. Petunia Duster the maid loved to join in too; consequently not alot of housework got done, but with Gus and Flora always off travelling, nobody minded. Playing was, after all, so much more important than dust. In fact, a thick layer of dust made the rooms all the more mysterious and magical.”

                              Becky ran her finger along the dust on her desk and smiled.

                              OH! Becky jumped. I almost forgot to make a note of the number, now what was it? she mused, scratching her head. I think it was 171 :notepad:

                              Becky wondered whether or not to start another entry. Intuitively, she chose not to. Her third random choice was another synchronicity with the first edition of Wisp: it was about pyramids in Spain. The first edition of Wisp magazine was particularly valuable as it was the first mention in print of the discovery of the Iberian pyramid culture.

                              Number 835 she noted :notepad:


                                This I Ching business wasn’t very convenient to figure out, Al was thinking.
                                For Becky’s draw, he had more than a handful:

                                entry 3 (id:1610) #835
                                entry 2 (id:234) #171
                                entry 1 (id:1275) #638

                                All he had to do was relax, and know that the magic would appear by ways of his interpretation of these numbers.
                                He wanted to get 6 numbers out of these 3 comments. So, for each of the comments, he would make 2 numbers.

                                So, for the original comment IDs:

                                • 1275: 1 (odd) and 2 (even) gives (odd) ; then 7 and 5 gives (even)
                                • 234: 2 and 3 gives (odd) ; 3 and 4 (odd)
                                • 1610: 1 and 6 gives (odd) ; 1 and 0 gives (odd)

                                odd-even-odd-odd-odd-odd (what a bunch of odds, he thought, though barely surprised remembering the numbers came from Becky)
                                that’s 1-0-1-1-1-1 or |¦||||

                                From now on, he would spare everyone the maths, and play some interlude music while working out the magic.

                                (some lalala music) :yahoo_party:

                                and for the mutation (835,171,638): 1-0-0-0-1-1 or |¦¦¦||

                                And the result: ‘Fellowship of Men’ mutating to ‘Increase’

                                Bah… this is more fun to add more nonsense than try to figure out what it was all about. Al was finding it the moral of the story for today.


                                Bea sighed loudly, and dragged a tissue across her sweaty face. Leonora obviously hadn’t heard her, so Bea sighed loudly again.

                                What’s up with you now? asked Leo, who wasn’t really paying attention to Bea’s incessant whining.

                                Oh I dunno, I just don’t know what I want to do, Bea grumbled. My head’s in a fog. I’ve got hundreds of ideas, but I don’t want to do any of them badly enough to even think about starting anything. So then I try to sort a few thing out, you know, so I can bloody find things again, and I just end up with a big pile of bloody miscellaneous. It’s the bane of my life, all the miscellaneous stuff that defies categorizing. I should have been called Miss A. Laneous. I start to sort things out and then I get sidetracked; I never finish any sorting out, I just end up with more and more miscellaneous….her voice trailed off miserably.

                                Leo swiveled round in the computer chair, took off her glasses and glared at Bea. Bea, you know you always find what you need by trusting that you’ll find what you need when you need to find it. You’ve told me that time and time again. You’ve droned on and on about that, how you love finding ‘just the thing’ and ‘by accident’ and now you’re sitting there moaning and groaning because for some inexplicable reason ~ Leonora rolled her eyes ~ you think that having things neatly ordered would be a better way.

                                Well, it would be nice to be able to find what I’m looking for, Leo, Bea retorted.

                                Well if you found what you were looking for right away, you silly cow, you wouldn’t find all those other magical bloody surprises by friggen accident, now would you?

                                There’s no need to be rude, Bea said sniffily.

                                Now it was Leo’s turn to sigh. Why don’t you bugger off outside and find something to appreciate, you grumpy old bat. “Oh! look at this, Bea!” Leo exclaimed, “Look what I just found by accident!”

                                Leo swiveled the computer screen round so that her friend could see.

                                Illi sat up and surveyed her surroundings. The sky was a deep azure blue, the sun was making twinkling stars on the waters of the lagoon, a warm gentle breeze rustled the coconut palm leaves, and birds sang and twittered in the foliage. It was indeed idyllic, and Illi decided to simply enjoy it, while her new ideas formed into a reality.

                                Illi was enjoying a new found freedom in her contentment, in not pushing her energy in frustration, and meandered happily around the island taking mental snapshots of a thousand delightful and marvelous wonders, appreciating even the smallest most insignificant things. Time lost all sense of meaning: there were deep velvet indigo skies full of sequins, and there were abstract multicoloured sunrises and sunsets; there were cottonwool clouds in cartoon shapes suspended on a canvas of blue. It mattered not the day or night; there was no longer a sense of time passing, just a glorious collage of appreciation and beauty.”

                                Bea read the excerpt reluctantly, and harumphed.

                                Oh for Gut’s sake, Bea! Leo was getting exasperated. Try appreciating miscellaneous floundering fog then.


                                Fabella had just entered the room. She was chatting noisily, as if someone would answer to her. The sound of her footsteps was playing strange ripples on the wooden floor which were mesmerizing to look at.

                                “Years ago, I’d have felt obliged to answer her” she was thinking, as she was hovering over her body looking at the freckled nurse.
                                “I’d felt obliged by some nonsensical politeness to give her the impression that I was, somewhat, paying attention to her as a person —if not to her chatter.”
                                She laughed wholeheartedly.

                                “Oh, you’re smiling Madam, but that ain’t the whole thing, you know! Would you imagine that Miss Elena, after such an outcry would have become wiser, but no…”

                                The voice was continuing an endless litany of gossips.
                                It was obvious that the nurse wasn’t trying to get any answer, much less a conversation from the old body she was giving her daily injection to, she had found out. All the more since that body was so weak and talking was taking more energy than she was willing to give to this action. It was so much more exhilarating to play out of it.
                                She was proud of herself, having come to a place not only to feel accepting of that bodily condition that had left her riveted to her chair and bed at an early age, but more so, to feel grateful for it.

                                The first steps had been the most difficult: a whole new world so vast it was feeling as wide as a crocodile’s mouth menacing to engulf her. But like the crocodile’s mouth, it was easier to shut it close than one would think, and she had found out that she would snap back to her body each time she was distressed. Quite the opposite of what an adventurous mind like hers would endeavour to conquer. She had no care for her dying body, not with this new-found freedom.
                                Perhaps it was a mere springboard for her to get accustomed to death. That’s what her brother had told her once. But he was so fully soaking in religious beliefs that she didn’t know how to handle that he had merely said to her as a gift.
                                All that was important was the exploration, which was real to her. And it was, not only to her, but to others too.

                                For instance, she was now walking, still around Fabella, observing the interplay of the nurse’s energy field with the other people around her, even though Fabella had finished dealing with her minutes ago.
                                In fact, she knew more about Fabella than she could have learned in years of monologues with her. Things like that Ricardo wasn’t the caring guy he was pretending to be with her. But then, she didn’t know how to tell her (and if she had even the right to). She had the feeling that perhaps Ricardo and Fabella’s stories were just distractions that she had found to limit herself in the familiar of her little explorations.
                                There was so much more that she could do, she could feel it. There were no boundaries to it.
                                She could will herself to be in any place, unnoticed by most.

                                Perhaps she could try a “jump” to another location. Trusting that she would come back, as she always had. If if she wouldn’t… well, that could well mean an improvement after all.
                                What about something easy? Like some uncharted paradisaical island in the Pacific…


                                Where in the name of Floove is it?

                                Elizabeth Tattler held the telepooh away from her ear, and reflected serenely on the dust particles illuminated by the sunlight streaming in the window, while she waited for Bronkel to end his tirade.

                                She was proud of herself for managing to keep her voodish nature in check and attributed this new found calm to the latest book by Lemone, although unfortunately, with all the brain foog she was experiencing lately she was unable to recall the name of it …. Wisp Away Your Energy Balls?

                                Well no matter, something like that anyway ….

                                And what was that bloody man going on about? WHAT deadline for her book! 8/8/08 ???

                                F LoveF Love

                                  The truth was the book was nowhere near finished. In fact the island story she was working on currently was becoming more and more complex. Elizabeth put it down to her own wonderfully complex nature, this insatiable need to add more and more characters, all converging on the island for the dramatic finale.

                                  Finale! She snoorted derisively. Having no idea where it was all going ,if the truth be told, then there was not much likelihood of a finale for quite some time.

                                  A tentative knock on the door. It was that bloody Finnley! Since the sex scene fiasco Elizabeth had banned her entry to her office. Quite a rookus there had been. Still, she had to grudgingly admit, the girl had writing talent! Perhaps she could make use of her. Elizabeth quite fancied herself in the role of a leader, and the idea of Finnley in a sort of subservient underling capacity was tremendoosly appealing to her.


                                  She was squatting on the sand beach, near the now calm ocean. The light was so dim that she barely could see the devastation, shards of coconut and palm trees spread on the shore, but the sound of the ocean was soothing.

                                  Aaah she had hold that pee for too long.

                                  “MAaaAVIS!” That suave authoritative voice must have been Sha’s.
                                  “COooOMING!” Tsk. One can’t have a pee alone…

                                  While she was readjusting her two pieces bath suit, ready to come back to the improvised discotheque, her attention was caught by something on the beach. A fire?
                                  She squinted her little beady eyes to discard any of the hallucinatory visions that sometimes she had.

                                  BLODDY COMIN’!” a hint of exasperation. “Mrs Sharon Stone, you ain’t the queen here” she thought. “I can go look for adventure meself, if I want to”.
                                  Besides, the fire didn’t seem to be too far away.


                                  With the darkness that made very difficult their progress, Akita had made them stop near the shore, where they would see any trouble coming and had ordered the small troop to collect twigs and bits of wood to light a fire.
                                  The parents were still in a bit of a shock, and were staying with a blank gaze, looking with an air of wildness at the soothing sound of the waves. Anita was playing nearby, drawing things in the sand, muttering words to herself.
                                  That was a good thing that Claude was there. Unlike the others, he seemed quite strong, and the adventure didn’t seem to have left him short of resources.
                                  He had been on the island before, and had said they had to avoid the constructions, which were all owned by the same people.
                                  For all that mattered, Akita wanted to get to the authorities as soon as possible, but he had to compromise: they would settle close enough to have a check around and see if it would be safe to go there.

                                  In a minute, Claude had been roaming through the woods and had gathered a pile of wood. That guy was pretty amazing, Akita was thinking. Odd that he had retained his supernatural strength… At least, Akita had imagined that the guy’s strength was the result of the spider exposure, but now he started to doubt it. He had been sketchy to say the least around the circumstances of his presence.
                                  As far as he himself was concerned, Akita wished he had retained somewhere his connection to Kay, wherever his spirit dog was. What the creature had said? That veils were thicker, but not impermeable… Or something around that.

                                  I think they’re still hanging around

                                  What? What did you say? But Anita didn’t answer. Perhaps his tired mind was imagining things.

                                  With all that rain soaked wood, it would be difficult to get anything but smoke.

                                  I’ve got a lighter Claude handed him an expensive ziraf that flashed moon reflection in his eyes.

                                  Let’s get started then.


                                  What now?

                                  A roaring sound of a flying thing startled Mavis, passing over her head.

                                  Mmm… this island’s getting too crowded, me think. Must be another of Vessie’s guests… That gal sure’s got how to use her sex-apple.”

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