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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    • #1111

        With the winter coming so fast (no more season you see), Dory was busy tidying her patio waiting for the next plane to Long Pong.
        All the dusty trinkets and the artworks she had brought back from her different excavations; she had to put them into some shelter, just in case. Last week the temperature had plummeted so quickly. She had to take the warm clothes out of the closets and realized she also had to change some of them in the process. Some unfriendly moth had eaten the wool of her favorite sweater…
        She was feeling dull and empty. Almost like she had no more purpose. Doing that cleaning and tidying was a way of distracting herself from that impression, she knew it would pass.
        Since the departure of her friends, Yann and Yurick, she had felt a bit lonely, even with Dan being present.
        She lacked a new excavation project, one that would fill in her blood with excitement and passion.

        An odd thought made her shudder. For a moment she had considered the idea of having a baby.

        — “No!”
        Really, she should find something worthy of her unlimited energy and not something that would chain her in habits and force her attention outside of her. Though, she seemed quite short of energy lately… However, it was not the time, not the place… and merely not the life for it.

        She wondered : what were her friends doing?
        Yann and Yurick were most probably preparing their new book, and Finn had told her last time that she was on the verge of adopting a baby Orangatun“she would need spare jungle in her garden”, she chuckled at the sudden vision of Finn gardening her jungle… Well at least it would give her a good distraction.

        She stopped her tidying and came back inside the house. Where was the wireless phone again? Apparently everything was a mess… she’d have to rethink the “no” she had given Dan last time he had asked her if she needed a butler.

        Oh! under her former favorite sweater, of course! She took the phone and composed Finn’s number. Maybe she would extend her trip from Long Pong to New Zealand…


        The island had never felt as populated as these past hours. Veranassesee didn’t know really which way to turn, really.

        “Gather your wits, V” she told herself.

        Obviously, it was a bit difficult, she had a terrible time to concentrate. The past few hours felt like they were stretching on forever in time, for no reason at all?

        Take that mmm… wanton memory of the night with Agent Gabriele ; it was still fresh on her mind, and yet, she could hardly tell whether Gabriele was still around in his bungalow, or whether he had left… Feelings of guilt on her part perhaps. Well, it had taken her no less than forty pages… what was she saying? It had taken her no less than forty minutes to come back to him and fall with blissful abandon in his hairy manly arms, and that could as well have been happening two, three months ago for all matter and purpose.

        Perhaps that was the work of evil aliens tampering with her mind and memories. Hardly an excuse, she had been trained for far worse occurrences. She had to list her priorities.
        Well, her mission of course. What were you thinking? Now that plan B seemed to have failed miserably, Operation Spider seemed likely to be a total fiasco.
        She had apparently lost the item in a purple blood trail, and there was that fishy Jarvis she had to take care of too.
        But somehow, if she could get that item back, perhaps she could redeem herself. Or else, dreary Fukitupi and Mahiliki would be waiting for her. Hardly a consolation.

        Of course, as if to add to the total disarray of her plans and desire to have things neatly organized, the Higloshama gang (that’s how she liked to call the three atomic divas — Mavis, Sharon and Gloria) had once again disappeared from their pods, probably to gaze at the moon in-between a few cyclones… Well, in any case, they would find a way to get back. If pigeons do, why not them?

        As for the other patients, the door was closed, and they probably were asleep. Oh, and in any case, ugly-faced as they were, they probably couldn’t get far without triggering a trail of fear howling. She had to admit, she was sourer than usual. Anyway… down the list of problems.

        Ah, the doctor of course. Well, he could go to hell, but that would be doing her too big a favour.

        The sound of the plane coming to the island drew her out of her calculations. As she was adjusting her holster to greet the untimely airborne visitors, she sent a brief mental note as a leitmotiv to herself so that she wouldn’t forget “find the bee-man, Jarvis, Jarvis, Jarvis…”

        And she did right.
        She almost lost her composure when she recognized Mahiliki on the plane.


        When he had heard the others discuss around the campfire the possibility to ask help from the owners of the island, Claude knew he had to focus back on his mission. He had finally managed to escape the clutches of that mad doctor and his witches, not to be sheepishly brought back to them again.

        And that little girl seemed to know better than stay here. Despite her tender age, Claude could tell she was well guided, and didn’t really need his being a bodyguard for her family.
        And Akita, well, he was a soldier, and knew how to take care of himself. Surely, the V girl wouldn’t be as tough as those giant spiders they fought on the parallel island.

        So, without more hesitation, in a move of preternatural swiftness and stealthiness, Claude disappeared again in the forest.
        He knew he had to find his contact on the island. The bee-man.


        Mavis! About bloddy time!… Ooooh, look at that… went hunting, have you…
        — and kept that quiet too, little black ‘orse. Ye could do the introducing, can’t you?

        Sha and Glo, rendered a bit irritated by their itching were eying the stranger coming with Mavis with a curiosity drown in envy.


        Inside the cave, the presence of Leormn, though not completely gone, had diminished strongly. Most of the creatures inside the cave were thriving on his presence and his continuous reshaping of the corridors or the chambers. His presence was fading out gradually, and some of the more sensitive creatures were beginning to feel a discomfort, a kind of emptiness or a sensation of cold.

        Malvina was not alarmed yet, it was a good thing he had allowed himself that little escapade. In a subtle way, he was reconciling some aspects of himself that he had been unaware of yet, and it was also a surprise to Malvina that the gates would reopen in that particular time frame, to the long lost sister of the Duane. Her awareness of what her dragon was doing was dim, and it had been so since the door had shut after the passage of Arona. This young girl had more than one trick up her mouldy cloak, and though she was unaware of most of them, she had an innate sense of using them wittingly.

        Malvina smiled at the thought that she was quite similar to the girl when she was young… a long time ago.

        But for now, she had other processes to set in motion. She focused on herself and adjusted her energy to match the signature of her friends Georges and Salome. It didn’t took long. Their presence was quite strong. As they were busy at the moment, she decided to go for a walk and meet them on her way.


        Georges and Salome were in the pool chamber that Leormn had kindly created for them inside the cave. It was continuously provided in hot water by a spring located on the ceiling and several families of glukenitch had furnished the place with the perfect amount of light…

        Georges was following her progression from a ledge made of a rock similar to granite. He’d always been fascinated by her way of expressing her grace and technical mastery in any domain. When they had met, she couldn’t swim… and she wouldn’t. It’d been years later, when she had got rid of her wariness of water that she had considered the idea.
        Now she was as comfortable inside and outside water, as well as in many different environments.

        Being continuously connected, their energy field mingled in such an intimate way, he could easily turn his attention on her physical sensations; all the tiniest movements of the water upon her skin and also all of the adjustments she was making to her body inside and outside to improve the efficiency of her movements.

        He dived off his observation point to play with her.
        Alerted by his movement, she went deeper into the pool. He knew that she hadn’t modified her body to the point of incorporating gills, because it was usually difficult for her to get rid of them afterward. She had a soft spot for apnea, though and she was quite able of staying under water for lengthy amount of time.

        Still focused on his swimming, he began to redirect certain aspects of his body consciousness. Some were unnecessary for his purpose, so he got rid of them; and he needed to give some other qualities to his skin. It took him a few seconds to shape-shift and he focused on his new physical senses to indicate him where she was.

        When she realized what Georges was doing, she resisted the impulse to go to the surface.
        What is he up to? she thought. When he’s in the process of shape-shifting his attention is so oriented inside that I can’t usually get any impression about his new shape, but

        A flash of light illuminated the water around him, and the rhythm of the blinking cells of his new skin was creating a time related pattern with an hypnotic effect. Salome was feeling drowsy and she had to maintain her attention on herself or she’d better get back to the surface soon. If she wanted to play with him now, she would have to change form too.


        Marvin Scrozzezi was taking a look at the rushes they’d taken the other day. At first he was considering putting them in the bonus section of his movie, a blooper section or something.

        But now, the blooper section was overweighting the “real” movie by far. And with the defection of few of the actors (well, “actors” was more of an empty shell of a title than anything else, as most of them were friends or acquaintances), he had to hire new ones.

        What a mess.


        Perhaps he should continue his movie with different actors playing the same role alternatively. That would make a nice change. Perhaps it would even been hailed as a pioneer movie by the auteur movies snotty critics.

        “Whatever works…” he giggled to himself as he started to rewrite some parts of the scripts.


        “What a trickster that darn dragon” mumbled Arona, when she saw the door close behind her.

        “I hope Vincentius will take good care of little Yikesy, and Mandrake of Buckberry…”


          Becky was having fun looking at some old entries from a few years back when she was still a child…

          She suddenly had a shocking revelation. Is “butler” the new code for a good rogering?


          The corridors were unusually long and Malvina was thinking of urging Leormn back to the cave, but she pulled herself together and began to sing a well known song of her friends’ world.


          Mandrake was trying desperately to relax, but apparently Yikesy wasn’t seeing it that way. Vincentius was so patient that it wasn’t human… well he wasn’t human after all, and Mandrake was beginning to doubt the baby could be human too, his dark rocky face notwithstanding.

          After all he had done to amuse him, the baby’s responses were quite disappointing. His subtle puns, his witticisms and his elaborate jokes all overlooked… And worse, that devilish baby dared pull his tail! Mandrake couldn’t help a disgraceful meow before he ran away from the scoundrel.
          Vincentius had told him the baby was a bit young, but the cat was suspecting a particularly mischievous tendency.

          The baby stopped crying and shouting. That’s when Mandrake realized someone was coming.
          Strange song really, he had never heard that language before… maybe it was just jibberish. He sprang on his feet and sidestepped skillfully another attempt of the little one to catch his tail. It was the occasion he was waiting for.


          Focused on her 100th kilometer, Malvina hadn’t notice she was arrived. Vincentius was attending to the child’s need and she had just the time to notice the cat who had just snaked under her petticoat.

          Mandrake, be careful! I almost walked on your tail…

          — Meow! (that one was quite elegant and he was proud of it) Well, he said ironically, I was trained by the boy…

          She laughed at the idea of Mandrake tormented by Yikesy.

          — He’s Yike a cyclone, not resting until complete exhaustion.
          The trace of bitterness in his tone surprised him, though he began to relax under her smile. That was a long time since he hadn’t purred like that… he really liked her presence and energy, and it seemed to influence the kid also.

          — Are you going to make him sleep? he asked eagerly.

          — Oh no, I’ve merely soothed your energy and the baby is responding quite readily to the newborn calmness of the room.

          — That was rude, he said as if offended, but he was grateful for it. Vincentius, my dear fellow companion in this godforsaken place, he called to divert attention from him. Look at who’s here.

          The semi-god turn quickly his head and bowed it slightly before returning to his main preoccupation.

          — He’s a bit rude too. He had barely welcomed you…

          — Well he’s quite aware I’m not here for him or the baby.


          Sanso didn’t really have a plan at that point, so he just started walking, walking along the cave tunnels, trusting that he would find another portal/cave entrance soon to another adventure.

          Such was his trust and superb state of allowing,that no sooner had he thought of finding a portal and a new adventure, as he rounded the very next corner, a blaze of sunshine streamed into the cave and a gust of hot desert wind.”

          Becky had to admit there were some gems in amongst all these bloopers.

          “Such was his trust and superb state of allowing, that no sooner had he thought of finding a portal and a new adventure, as he rounded the very next corner….”


          Sometimes I wonder… said Yurick as he watched the strange headline in the news:

          Ike set to bypass Keys


            George laughed pleasantly and said, But of course, I understand! Just be remembering, he added with a twinkle, that I am always available. And I have the ‘whole book’ in my carpet bag.

            “The Whole Book in his bag, eh” said Becky, thinking that it sounded very meaningful and profound, although she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Well, it was late.


              Reading back some old entries in the reality play, Sam was surprised to find one about bodyflumping in the forest.
              FoxSam raised its ears suddenly as the comment was about his focus Eschraiel. Sam wondered what it was connected to… maybe something about daring and trusting…


              Upon hearing Malvina’s thoughts, Arona smiled to herself.

              If only she knew the truth!

              ( If I put big spaces in-between, it will make it look as though I have written more, decided Tina rather cleverly, still feeling a bit creatively uninspired.)

              Tempted though she was, Arona knew she must not give anything away. It was easier to stay in character if she did not allow herself to remember too often, at least until this cave mission was complete. Occasionally she allowed herself the luxury of remembering, yet to do so was to feel a yearning for home.

              It was a pity about the outfit of course, the mouldy cloak…

              ( hmmm was it mouldy though or just a bit on the musty side? )

              … which the Oddlings had decided she would wear for much of this assignment was not her favourite look. Even though she had managed eventually to lose it in the darkness of the cave, her current clothes were now almost in tatters. Arona sighed wistfully, remembering the beautiful silks, chiffons and organzas some of her previous assignments.

              Moments later she brightened again thinking of Vincentius and her other friends.

              There were certainly compensations, she decided philosophically.

              Arona was a little concerned about the meddling of Malvina and the others, although of course she realised they were doing it with the best of intentions to fulfill their own purposes. Arona understood all this, and sometimes regretted she could not tell them who she really was. The powerful thought shields she had been trained in by the Oddlings meant that her disguise had not so far been penetrated.

              Yet she hated to deceive.

              Not to worry. For now she must just focus on the completion of her own mission here.

              She called to Buckberry softly in her thoughts and felt a little thrill of excitement when she heard his response. She knew she would have need of the little dragon for the task which lay ahead.


                The Chief Minister of the Oddlings sat behind her desk, smiling at her new protege.

                “Well then, T57, you’re ready to start. Who have you been assigned to?” she asked.

                “Gabor, Sindy and Swinde” replied T57 promptly. She wasn’t quite sure who these characters were, but the names popped into her head strongly at that moment, and if she’d learned anything at the Ministry, it was to trust whatever popped into her head.

                “Gabor, Sindy and Swinde!” exclaimed the Chief Minister. “Why, they’re mine!”. She rummaged through the files on her desk. T57 assigned to three from her own batch! This was going to be interesting!


                “Pffftt” said Bea. “Lost the bloody connection again.” She turned on the TV instead. She had been researching on the internet the three names that she had woken up mumbling ~ Gabor, Sindy and Swinde ~ and had just found something promising about interdimensional federations when the line went dead. Actually, the three names and the woman behind the desk in her dream had reminded her a bit of Oversoul 7.

                “Honestly, this bloody country! It’s like the dark ages” she muttered under her breath.

                Bea flicked through the news channels: sports on one, that boring election on another, more hurricanes on another channel……Bea paused her surfing when she saw the watermelon on a documentary channel. There was a pile of watermelons, and the narrator was explaining how the chimpanzees were sharing the watermelons with each other.

                Well what a coincidence! Bea thought, that’s a watermelon AND an ape sync. It must be a clue. HHmmm, sharing the watermelons…..

                And just think, if the line hadn’t gone dead at that very moment, that precise moment, I wouldn’t have turned on the TV, and I wouldn’t have seen the apes and the watermelons.

                Bea was momentarily speechless as she contemplated the perfect timing of everything. She was mesmerized and awestruck at the sheer vast intricacy of it all. Whoever is planning and organizing this incredible reality play I find myself in is nothing short of a genius, she thought, and went to wake up Leonora so that she could share the marvellous moment of revelation with her.

                “Oh for god’s sake Bea, you woke me bloody up to tell me that? Bugger off you rude tart” Leo replied crossly when Bea woke her and told her all about the astonishing coincidence. “Things like that are happening all the bloody time, or haven’t you noticed? That’s just Everyday Magic, for Flove’s sake, now piss off and let me get some sleep”

                But Bea had a feeling that this was much more than just Everyday Magic. This felt like something else, something incomprehensibly huge and wonderful. Not that Everyday Magic isn’t incomprehensibly huge and wonderful too, she reminded herself.

                Maybe is WAS “just” Everyday Magic after all….


                When the plane to Long Pong finally took off, Becky (and Becky, and Dory) got the strangest feeling of déjà vu.


                It may have been the sudden change of environment, but Leörmn had great difficulty at staying focused.
                By staying focused, he meant more than just focusing his attention and thoughts. Actually, not much more, as nothing more than his thoughts and his attention were creating of everything —his body included. When he failed to focus as he was now, usually he simply started to disappear from other’s awareness, even though he could be aware that he was still present in their proximity. For most of his activity was happening in the Unseen, and his body was unnecessary for him to manipulate that environment.

                The twin dragons, Heckle and Jeckle were equally disturbed, but to a lesser extent, perhaps because their communicating together made their de-focusing less of a concern.

                The place where they had been guided to was really unusual. Unusual for dragons at least. Even possibly hostile.

                It was like crossing that door had made them turn the physical reality inside-out, and though it was very similar on the surface, the exterior was significantly different.

                Apart from the twins, Leörmn was feeling energies, strong energies focused nearby. They were possibly as strong as dragons’ energies, though their configuration was unfamiliar.
                Where were they? What was this place?

                Leörmn was feeling so powerful undercurrents that it was very disturbing. In his discomfort, he tried to reach for a familiar energy.


                In the pool, Salome was feeling the disturbance, as it was already making the cave wobble slightly ever since Leörmn had taken off.

                Georges was having fun shape-shifting his skin to get more dolphin-like slickness, and was trying to bring her into his games, but she was caught by the demanding feeling and couldn’t concentrate on the game.

                She made a foam bubble around herself to lift her up above the surface of the water. “There… I’ve always felt better in the air.” As a matter of fact, be it only the slight gain of altitude, but her thoughts felt clearer already.

                “Oh, my… They are on the Murtuane… Georges, you knew that?!”

                Georges was having too much fun to actually physically answer, but Salome knew he was more than vaguely aware of that.

                She went deeper into herself, trying to see what was the issue… As far as she knew, the Murtuane was very closely tied to the Duane, and actions made into one of the planet had repercussions onto the other. They were close counterparts for each element, and perhaps it was the drawing closer of these which had created an imbalance of some kind.
                “Yes…” she smiled. She was seeing how it could be made easier.

                She sent to Leörmn the clearest picture she could make, then popped her foam bubble, to gracefully dive into the pool, having changed her skin to that of a black and white killer whale.


                “Thank the Elder Gods,” Leörmn thought, as he just received the warm familiar energy of Salome from deep inside himself.

                So that was it… He had to find his counterparting Nirgual, and merge with her for the duration of their little excursion here.
                N’meôrl was the name. Salome had met her already a long time ago. She was a brilliant shade of abrigot (some orange smooth fruit).

                It would be quite easy actually. Like the Dragons, Nirguals were summoned by their true name, no matter the distance.
                Blessed be Salome

                Popping back into focus, Leörmn pronounced loudly “N’meôrl, I hereby summon thy!

                When the huge bird appeared all the others who had started to assail the dragon with question were startled.

                Contrary to all appearances, Leörmn was not a dragon of many words, so very few needed to be actually exchanged. The two creatures both knew what had to be done to preserve the balance. And even if they had not known, the pressure on their energy fields was so intense that the merging was just like two magnets drawing closer naturally.

                And One again they were.


                When Balbina woke up from that which had been her longest and strangest projection out of her body ever, all the memories of this fantastic adventure were oddly still fresh and crystal clear in her mind.

                She doubted that it may have been as real as she has perceived it to be; but the funny rabbit, before they all entered the long dark tunnel, had winked at her and told her there would be signs for her.

                Outside the window, the sunlight was starting to show on the Cordillera de la Costa, the nearby mountains.
                She was feeling strangely rejuvenated by this unexpected night spent in far-away travels, and it was almost as if her whole body was feeling better than it ever was.
                But of course, it was more of the same. Fabella, the nurse would soon enter and great her with a…

                “Did Madam sleep well?”
                “Quite, yes”… Her voice was quivering. Hardly the youthful voice she had during her projections out of the body.

                So, there she was again, in that old people house, and no way out of this mis…

                “What?!” she made the nurse busy cleaning her instruments repeat —to which she was far too pleased to comply.
                “Yes, Madam, your son phoned this morning and told he would come for you…”

                Her son? That was most unexpected.

                What did the rabbit said already? Help would come from the most unexpected corners… Well, she had almost forgotten that this corner still existed!

                “Did he say something else?”
                “Oh, I’m not really allowed to tell, M’am…”
                “But of course, you can’t really resist (little goose)” simpered the old wincing lady in a whisper to herself.
                Fabella was indeed continuing, unstoppable “… but he seems to consider it’s too expensive to have you here, and would love to have you home with him”

                Well, of course, you can’t really expect him to be so generous for no reason Balbina was thinking… But anything would probably be better than this old fools’ home. Even her son’s home.

                Besides, it was located outside Caracas, near the mountains… And if the funny rabbit’s directions were correct, it was very, very close from where her hosts (provided they existed of course) were to re-emerge.

                She’d never imagined that falling into the abyss of sweet madness would be so exciting.


                  Dory was glad she’d brought her puzzle book with her to the airport. The stopover at Heathrow was turning out to be much longer than anticipated. Further delays on all flights to Long Pong had just been announced, and Dory sighed as she fished in her capacious flight bag for a pen.


                    “What a shame we didn’t get the 999th comment on the 9th of the 9th month”, Becky remarked to nobody in particular. “Still, never mind, at least I got the 1000th.”

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