The old abbot Hrih, was coming back from the gardens of the Monastery, the soil dampened and muddied by the heavy rains of the season sticking to the sole of his sandals. Hrih Chokyam loved to be reacquainted with the rawness of nature, and the fluidity that the rain provided to the ground by transforming it into malleable mud.
He was bringing back vegetables for the dinner’s soup, and was amazed at the fact that even though he had felt so close to the earth, barefooted in his sandals, he had not even a drop of mud on him.
He had delayed his choice for much too long already, and the not so subtle pressing of his main confident Aum Geong to officially elect his successor was making him unquiet. He was deeply trustful of Aum Geog, and of his sincerity as a Holder of the clear Light that was being tapped into, channeled and refined by the Monastery’s spiritual endeavours.
But Hrih was feeling that Aum Geong’s views were slightly too narrow for the heavy task he was wanting him to carry on.
He was too good at creating structures and rules, and Hrih felt that even if all done in good intent, it would be taking the risk of chocking the great outburst of powerful energy that was lying at the very foundations of the Monastery.
The young man that he had noticed a few hexades1 ago, though very discreet seemed bright and very dedicated to his task. He had been greeted by all, and had soon felt at home. Franiel, as he was named, was under the tutelage of Jog Lam, a very wise (albeit young) monk that Hrih had adopted some years ago as the parents had been abandoning him a young baby at the eternally opened doors of the Monastery.
Hrih had made a decision. He would not play favourites. Seeing the blank black Meditation Wall, an idea crossed his mind. He would announce at the dinner that the monks willing to do it could do a short poem of 3 stanzas where they would express their highest truth on the Meditation Wall…
1 On that part of the Duane (the planet where Mount Elok’ram is), time is divided in groups of six days or hexades, each being attributed to one of the Elder Gods: Ghört (Airs) Nærvel (Waters) Agnima (Flames) Selvaniel (Woods) Margilonia (Earths) and Lejüs (Forgotten). The names or the days are Ghordië, Narduë, Agduë, Seldië, Marduë, Shandië.
Name Element Quality Hexade Ghört Airs Male Ghordië Nærvel Waters Female Narduë Agnima Flames Female Agduë Selvaniel Woods Male Seldië Margilonia Earths Female Marduë (Shaint) Lejüs Forgotten Male Shandië
Anita woke up in a strange world. She wasn’t in the plane. Her parents were not here. She began to feel afraid but a movement in her periphery made her look on her left.
— MeoWrrrl! It’s about time Pashi, you slept for about 3 days. We had some difficulties bringing you in this safe place. But the spiders are looking for you.
— Lynxie! Where are my parents?
She woke up and hugged the Lynx.
— Wowl Wowl, they had been taken by the spiders. That was their choice. In a manner of speaking they did it so you could live. We used their loving energy to focus and take you away of all that mess.
— The spiders? What spiders? How can a spider take an adult? You mean there were a lot of them?
— Meowmm! A lot yes, and also quite huge ones. But you already know them. And…
— Their Elder, she knows you also, you are connected strongly. You’ll meet her in time. Meowrrrrrl Are you hungry?
The little question distract her attention from all what she was about to ask about her parents and the situation. Yes she was quite hungry, but Lynxie said she’d been sleeping for 3 days? Her stomach was growling quite loudly.
— Yes, I think so.
Flap, flap, flap.
— Oh Owlie!
A beautiful SnOwl was bringing the breakfast. A basket with fruits and breads and all that she could have imagined for her breakfast.
On hearing the scream Dr Bronklehampton jumped up from what he was doing and rushed towards the laboratory where the Mummy, or Sasha Goldenwort, was having her fifth session under the laser. The only other person with any medical training of note on the island was Nurse Bellamy, who currently was down on the beach climbing coconut palms. A ridiculous pastime in Dr Bronklehampton’s opinion, however a young native boy had taught Nurse Bellamy something called the frog technique for climbing palm trees, and she now seemed to derive great pleasure from skimming up and down and bringing him back coconuts. The problem was, he reflected as he puffed down the corridor, that they had far too much time on this island with not enough to keep them occupied for some months now.
A smell of burning greeted Dr Bronklehampton as he rushed into the laboratory. Sasha was lying outstretched on the floor.
Dr Bronklehampton, medical expert that he was, knew at once something must have gone horribly wrong. He rang the alarm located on the wall by the door in the hope it would raise Nurse Bellamy, and rushed to Sasha’s side.
Sasha was dead.
He could see this immediately. Her skin, which just a short time ago was a beautiful and youthful smooth peachy colour, was now covered in purple weals.
He sat silently for a moment thinking, then calmly and deliberately walked to the laboratory door and locked it.
Nurse Bellamy was indeed halfway up a particularly tall palm tree when the alarm sounded. Oh bugger, she swore. By the time she arrived back at the treatment center, Dr Bronklehampton was reclining in his office. So sorry, he said with an apologetic smile, false alarm. Hope you weren’t inconvenienced. Anyway, good thing you are here, I believe two of the new guests have arrived, you might like to go and meet them.
Oh, he said casually , as though an afterthought, Sascha decided to leave early, while the hydroplane was here. She said to say goodbye to you. Yes, she is absolutely delighted with the results of her treatment.
That last business trip in British Honduras had proven fruitful to Aldous. It had almost made him forget about the blue bull of the Disperso family.
Because Aldous was a collector. No one truly understood what were his motivations, but he was driven by the highest ideals. Some treasures weren’t deserved by the profane, he was thinking as he was munching on a tender juicy turkey leg.
He belched with profound depth.
Yes, he was doing everything with utmost depth and dedication.
Take that blue bull for instance… A gift from Indian officials he had managed to have them bring here. Its real place was in a zoo, with a small fee at the entrance of course, but most importantly some information on how it was acquired and by whom. Definitely not in the farm of some hillbillies just because they have happened to win that stupid rodeo contest.
In any case, he would put that right again in due time.
Let’s think of more pleasant things. Like these mahogany traders who had came into contact with remote Mayan tribes. Mahogany was nice, but Mayan treasure were even more interesting.
Valparaíso, Chile, November 1997
Cillian Mc Gaughran was finding that dying was longer than he expected. Since Fidelma’s death, twenty years from now, he would have vouched pain would get him on the other side quickly. But it was as if every object his wife had touched was letting him know of her presence. Perhaps they were holding him here…
He couldn’t wait to be reunited with his dear wife. Sixty six year-old wasn’t old enough to die for many people, but it was enough for him. The world was changing too fast. He decided he had to let go of all these objects. By and by, he had released every one of them… But one.
Of all of them, this one was very dear to him. An old family artifact that was handed down in the family for as long as he could remember. It was said to have been the property of a famous dancer during the Gold rush period and was rumoured to bring good luck… Lord knows how it came into the family…
It was dear to him because he had given it to Fidelma when she was having her chemotherapy, battling the blood cancer she had been diagnosed with. It looked wonderful on her delicate features. The wig had not aged since all these years.
It would surely finish him off to release that last object.
Cillian had heard some exuberant stories of a new company named eBargey where things were auctioned on the Internet. New technology he was finding a bit hard to follow the progress though he was not ignorant of it due to his years spent as a high rank officer in the US Army.
That could be a great way to release the wig. Auction it off, and see how high and how far away it could sell… Perhaps it would find a perfect match.
Chris Bronkelhampton had always loved to cross-dress since he was a child. He was a fine collector of wigs and had many lined up in his secret closet.
He had just managed to do a risqué plastic surgery operation on a kingpin that would grant him all he had ever dreamt of. He leaned comfortably on his chair, rubbing his hands gleefully.
Something on the computer screen caught his eye. On the newly auctioned items there was something that he wouldn’t have dreamt of acquiring in his wildest dreams.
Time gentlemen PLEASE! Last orders! :yahoo_waiting:shouted the grumpy old cow behind the bar.
But the busload of Italian mummy’s had no intention of leaving,
and they certainly hadn’t finished drinking, so they disappeared the pub landlady in a puff of rose scented :weather-overcast:mummy fart.
November 9 th
For Yurick, or perhaps shall we say, The Artist Formerly Known As Quintin this sequence of sequence of 911 has the signification of a reminder to be paying attention to self, and being present to himself.
The last few days have been, in appearance, quite devoid of exciting new installments of the story, yet, we nudge him not to judge this lack of activity on his part as categorically as he has been used to do. It was a time of self-retreat, a time we have shared with many other essences, as all is connected.
A very fine point which has been brought forth by Elias a few days ago (in Yurick’s perception of time) has been that you want to appreciate the process. His illustration was that of a beautiful flower bud that you hold, and that you don’t want to tear open, but rather let itself reveal its splendor, and also, its surprises.
It has prompted Yurick to remember something, which had lots of meaning to him.
Some years ago, when he was in Kyoto’s forests, he picked up an acorn, as he liked to have seeds or tree corns in his pockets. Back from his trip, in his home, there was this big pot of earth were an old plant had died from the summer heat, and he planted the acorn in it.
And he waited. Till he had to move, some months later, having renounced to have the acorn grow at all, as the soil’s surface was remaining desperately flat. Perhaps it had rotten altogether. Before leaving the apartment, Yurick started to rummage with his bare hands into the soil, to look for the remains of the acorn he believed had rotten, only to find it perfectly healthy. And even more, it had grown lots of long roots.
So he took it back home, where it was planted and still continues to grow at a rapid rate.
Looking at the now big sapling reminds Yurick how that process of growing roots was important for the plant, as they were essential for the oak to be able to survive the winters colds and the summers heats.
Such is the importance of these moments were inspiration seem to be scarce, or away. It is ever present, growing its roots very carefully inside the soil of your being, and expanding your connexions, redefining some, bringing new nourishments to yourself… The effects are not always immediately visible, but things never cease to move.
Be prepared to be amazed by the colors of the flowers and leaves your seed produces, for as Yurick’s oak was an unusual kind of oak (a chestnut oak ), the very seeds that are in your pockets or waiting in the soils of your dream gardens may reveal their own surprises…
— The legend of Mævel — (Part VII)
Today was the Day of the Forgotten. Mævel had slept well, nestled into the soft and warm depth of her dreams, her head resting on the short blue fur of the fox.
In sharp contrast with the lovely night, she awoke strangely irritated. Even the birds songs were like noise to her ears, and every sound of the forest she heard with acute intensity and a sense of being submerged by many sensory inputs.
Hopefully, the blue fox voice was still very comforting, and she started to wonder how they could come across a Forgotten One in need.
— I think I know where we can find some Forgotten One in need.
— Where? asked Mævel
The fox paused, then answered her question:
— Near your human parents’ home.
Mævel was surprised. She trusted the fox, and never had really questioned him, because more than that she trusted her own feelings, but now her feelings were telling her that there was something the fox had not told her. Or had told her partially. She was silent, pondering the unseen implications.
— Mæ, I’ll try my best to answer your questions, but remember I cannot tell you everything. I can help you remember some things, but there are things that my curse does not allow me to reveal. You have to find them by your own, in order to free us…
— Free us? I thought you were the one Cursed?…
— Yes I am, and…
— How do you know my parent’s home? How much do you know about me?
— I know you since you are a baby actually. And even before…
— Before? I don’t understand a thing… I feel there are some unseen links, that I cannot decipher, yet they are so close to…
— You’re right, there are links, links that are important, and that I cannot reveal.
— Why can’t you reveal them?
— Let’s go to your human parent’s home…
— Why do you always say my human parents?
The fox blew in front of him, creating a wobbling sound into the air in the form of a ring large enough for them to go through it. And he hopped inside, disappearing in mid-air.
Mævel was perplexed, but did not hesitate. She hopped too into the watery ring in front of her and found herself falling into a void, to reemerge on a bed of dry leaves in front of her parent’s home. Blohmrik the blue fox was seated in front of her, observing a shadowy form at a distance in front of them.
— Is that the Forgotten One we will help?
— Why do you need me? You could help her, couldn’t you?
— She wouldn’t see me, Forgotten Ones are usually obsessed by a few people, those who they feel can remember them, and don’t usually see other people. Their perception is quite different than ours.
— Hang on a minute… Why do you think she will see me?
— We are linked.
It was more an affirmation than a question.
Mævel wondered who that shadowy figure was. When she focused on her, the form was getting more solid, and she could catch glimpses of how she looked like. And she was surprised. She was about her age, with long blond hair as hers.
Mævel’s voice was broken:
— My parents had told me I was about to die when I was a baby, then by a sort of miracle, I became healthy… Was that true?… I mean… Was that a gentle way of telling me that I had a twin who died or…
— No, Mæ. She is not you. She is not linked to you by blood. You can talk to her, she will listen to you.
So Mævel went to see the shadowy figure. She had stopped wandering and trying to find an opening around the house, for there were none for spirits: all openings were locked by stripes of red cloth hung onto the doors and windows.
Mævel felt the pain of the Forgotten One as she approached her.
— Who are you? she suddenly asked Mævel, raising her head at her approach.
— I am Mævel.
— Mævel… It means marvel of Maÿ… I was born in Maÿ…
— What are you doing here?
— This is my parents’ home.
— How is that possible?
— Twenty one year ago, I was taken away from them, given to Shaint Lejüs in place of a fairy princess. But Shaint Lejüs was no fool, he had sent his apprentice to spy on the fairy king.
— Yes, Blohmrik… But Blohmrik disobeyed the Elder God, and when he saw the exchange that was about to happen, he let it happen. He wanted to protect the fairy princess from his master. Because Shaint Lejüs wanted the princess as a bride. Ahahaha, how disappointed Lejüs was when he saw that I could not perform the most basic magic spells. I was good at nothing, so he let me go wandering into his Realm. He’d just thought the half-fairy princess had inherited no magic from her father.
— How do you know all that?
— I told her, the blue fox said. I was hoping to bring her relief. But she started to look for her parents, and Lejüs discovered the truth… Because she was not looking for a fairy king. She was heading here, year after year.
— That’s the reason of your curse, is it?
— Yes. She can’t see me because I was Forgotten too, in that form of a blue fox. But as Forgotten Ones don’t forget, I didn’t forget. I couldn’t tell her, because she couldn’t see me.
— So, I am that fairy princess you are talking about… that strange idea was starting to dawn on Mævel.
— Yes. When Lejüs discovered who you were, he wasn’t interested in you any longer, because he thought your magical potential had been irremediably damaged by all those years spent in human company.
— Who are you talking to? the shadowy figure asked, bemused.
— Blohmrik, he is here. But it’s untrue, Mævel said, there is magic in me.
— Yes there is, answered the blue fox, and you can undo what has been done with it.
Mævel remembered the useless key she had manifested when she had tried to go out of her human parents’ house. She had not even looked at it closely.
— You can manifest it again Mæ, said the fox. It is with you. You are its lock.
And no sooner had Mævel thought of the big rusted key, than it appeared in her hand again. But this time the rust on it was crackled, and it started to disintegrate, and a brilliant shiny metal started to show beneath it.
Scratching what was left of the rust, Mævel started to look at the beautiful key, it was shaped as a musical note, and it had some word written on it, in an ancient language she didn’t know how to read. But she knew the sound when she ran her finger on the surface of the word.
« Araoni »
That was her. She was remembering, and everything started to change.
The wedding of the God Blohmrik, son of Mirÿnda, Goddess of Mirth and of Bälias, God of the Sparkles with Araoni, daughter of the Fairy Queen Theÿa and the Fairy King Aldurion was pronounced on a bright day of Maÿ, in a beautiful orchard in the presence of Araoni’s human parents and sisters and brothers.
Even Lejüs had been invited, even though he would have preferred to be Forgotten…
And so my story ends… said Captain Bone to Tomkin.
— And was the shadow remembered by her true parents? had asked Tomkin.
— Oh, yes she was… Of course. She just didn’t want to steal the limelight from Mævel, you see. Her parents were happy of course to find back their true daughter.
— You didn’t tell me the name of the true daughter, did you?
— No, I didn’t, said Captain Bone with a wink.
Tina was sitting in a cafe waiting for the others to arrive.
She was studying the play with a bemused and perplexed expression. Good grief, where was her head at? Not only had she saddled poor Arona with a baby, now she had a hunky nanny to contend with as well.
She had been intending to bring Arona to the banquet in the cave … and had somehow got distracted.
She read what she had written in astonishment “bronzed skin pulled taut over rippling muscles”….. “He came bounding athletically over” …. “deep, melodic voice” …and to cap it off calling him Vincentius!
He didn’t even sound like her type, way too perfect, she mused. Thank goodness Al is nothing like that.
Still, she wanted to trust the process and follow the pictures that came to mind when writing the play, even if she didn’t know where they were going.
Mmmm, Captain,… isn’t that legend a bit long-winded? Tomkin had asked to Captain Bone.
It had been six nights now that the Captain had told bits of that legend to Tomkin, and even if it was entertaining, Tomkin was more and more impatient to get back to meatier stuff, like galleons full of ancient magical treasures, corsairs from the Warring Kingdoms coasts, strange unknown races from far-off lands… that would be more mouth-watering than this endless legend…
Captain Bone had laughed.
— Aaaaah, Tomkin… of course you know I like to tell long stories, and make them longer each time I recall them, but you see, there is also a point in all of that adventure. Mævel’s story is also the story of all of us in a way. Of course, I could tell you how it ends, but in a way it never really ends. More important is for you to see it unfold and that you appreciate the unfolding. The ending is not important in a way. Each and every time this story is recalled, it is different, because it adapts to what is happening right now. Do you see?
— So what is the point of telling me that story? It was supposed to tell me something about this strange knotted object, but I don’t see any link.
— Ahahahaha, the point is precisely that Tomkin. I am telling you my story, but this object makes you hear your own story through my words.
Now, Tomkin Sharple was squatting on the sand near the bonfire lit by Badul’s crew, and he was recalling the words from the Captain. At that time, when he didn’t know a thing about that strange magical object, he had not understood a thing of what the Captain had said.
But now, it started to make sense, some sense at least. Each time the Captain had told him bits of the legend, Tomkin had been fidgeting the strange object, making the Captain smile. Perhaps the object’s magic was not only acting as a translation device…
There was something more about it. He was no longer sure that the Captain’s story had been what he was recalling. Perhaps it was completely different, and he had translated it…
Still, the object had apparently helped him understand what Badul and his men wanted, so it was translating truthfully. But what was a faithful translation?
Then, a flash came into Tomkin’s mind. The Captain had given the object to him. He’d said it was about connections. Being connected.
Till then, Tomkin had been the only one to touch it. He had not even revealed the source of his gift to Badul.
But in the Captain’s case, both of them had been touching it. In sharing that link, they had extended trust to each other, and somehow, they had been mirrors for each other. Perhaps that was what Captain Bone meant when he said that Tomkin was hearing his own story through the Captain’s words.
Tomkin laid down on the warm sand, looking at the clear starry night.
— The legend of Mævel — (Part VI)
Inside the warm burrow, Mævel found a bed of dry leaves and tender moss. She could see some light from the moon, coming through holes in the ground, which were bringing in some fresh air too. Cuddling comfortably into the makeshift bed, she started to sleep peacefully, waiting for her friend the blue fox to come back.
Half-asleep on the beach, Tomkin was wondering… What had happened the next morning… This was fuzzy in this memory, as if the events were moving and reorganising themselves. All that he remember was that Mævel had met the blue fox, but there were myriads of possible events, and all of them were possible, dancing now in front of him.
He could chose any of them… But, would that make the story the same?
Then he recalled that it was his own story… So why make it difficult then…
The voice of Captain Bone was resounding in his ear “You find value in hardships, and value is important to you and our kind. In these lands full of magic, we could just do anything, but somehow you’ll find that rare are the people who constantly use magic. Because when magic is used to make things happen instantaneously, it shifts everything around it to accommodate the changes asked by the summoner of the magic. And it can be overwhelming when too big are the differences between the too states, as we are accustomed to live within a continuity. That’s why I tell you to enjoy the ride of that legend.
Think of it… You could be Emperor of all Lands if you knew how to use magic for such a feat. But would you do that instantaneously? Slim chances. You wouldn’t know how to behave as an Emperor, and on top of that, you probably would find the new aspect of you who is an Emperor to be overwhelming to your present aspect of little Tomkin.”
— Oh, really? Mævel was saying
— Yes, I was a bit of a fool… the blue fox was telling her. But, the silver lining is that there is a way to counteract the curse. But I will need your help again, if you want.
— I want to help you.
— Fine. You know about Shaint Lejüs Festival?
— Mmm, yes, my parents told me about that. It’s the Day of the Forgotten, isn’t it?
— and of the Accursed Ones.
— That special day of the year, the Gates of Lejüs’ Realm are opened and Forgotten and Accursed Ones are given a chance to be Remembered or Graced.
— Every year? Why then aren’t all of them Remembered?
— Mostly because the Living Ones dread this day. They are the only ones to be able to free the Demanders, and they quickly felt haunted by the Demanders. So they did rituals to keep the Demanders away from them, as certainly your human parents did.
— Yes, I remember now…
— There is another reason actually. Forgotten Ones can only be Remembered when they recover their true name, and only a strong bond like love or some potent magic can force it out of Lejüs’ graps.
— And Accursed Ones?
— For them to be Graced, they need to do one pure act of altruism.
— A simple act?
— Don’t be fooled, it’s not as simple as it seems. See, I tried to rescue a woman who was drowning herself into the river, but that hunter thought I was attacking her… The fact was that she was willing to be Forgotten, and that my act was not purely altruistic.
— How so? You probably saved her life?
— Yes, but that was not what she wanted, and when she cried that I let go of her, I only wanted her out of the waters, because of me…
— I understand. And how can I help?
— One altruistic act for me would be to help a Forgotten One to be Remembered. That’s what they ask for, but it’s difficult for them to get past the barriers of the Living Ones.
— Shaint Lejüs Festival is tomorrow…
— Yes, have as much rest as you need, Mæ. We will see tomorrow what will occur…
When the three boats had landed on the warm shores of Golfindely, Tomkin had been a little anxious about the ominous looking men, especially the giant one, with the big ugly baby face who seemed to be in command.
But apparently, Tomkin had found a faithful friend in the black and white myna, and the ugly baby-faced giant had been interested by his unusual talent of being able to understand and communicate with them.
I had been two weeks now that the men had arranged a settlement for themselves on these friendly shores, and Tomkin had been quickly adopted by the whole crew.
He soon made friend with Jahiz, Austor and even the wild man in shackles —who had told his name unwillingly in energy, that the buntifluën had helped to translate. Tomkin was finding that the wild man, Cpt. Razkÿ, had been a greatly interesting adventurer and had known many places of the lands from where the men came. In fact, he reminded him of Captain Bone.
The most difficult to deal with was the chief cook Renouane, who was complaining about the lack of some kind of unknown vegetable to do the meals. Jahiz had comforted Tomkin saying they were all fed up with “cabbage” anyway.
The villagers around had become slowly aware of the presence of the foreigners on their lands, but they were relatively accustomed to seeing strange people, and upon seeing that these ones were friendly with Tomkin, they returned to their Scotch bonnets harvests, without much more of an afterthought.
Tomkin had helped them to learn basic words of their language, words of greeting (“wallahu”), of thanks (“alami”) etc.
But the ugly baby-faced giant (who had said he was “Badul”) was interested in many other things.
And the concept Tomkin was now struggling with, to clearly explain it to Badul, was that of the traveling portals.
Badul had somehow intuited that the strange shift in the environment they had met in the middle of the Rift, was something due to Unseen action. And when he had heard Tomkin speak about these methods for traveling easily, he had been interested in understanding more of them.
Until now, it was a frustrating experience, as the young boy only knew such and such, probably told to him by some others, and not having actually experienced one himself.
But the information was good to learn.
Bringing back this technology to his land would probably be more interesting than some decorative glowing egg, he was thinking…
New Venice, year 2101
In the waiting hall, Bart was pacing the floor recklessly. They were having their first baby, but the doctors had hushed him out, because there were some complications…
All he could do was wait.
They were one of the first couple to have tested the new program that allowed same-sex couples to procreate without requiring the assistance of a third-party so to speak. In fact, it had been hypothesized to be possible a long time ago already. Well, theoretically… because the most challenging part had been to bring acceptance to the people, as the old beliefs were still alive in a few moribund activist groups. But what,… nature was doing even more exotic things in the realm of creatures…
Now he was thinking of Oscar, who had chosen to be the bearer of the child —a girl that would be… will be, mentally corrected Bart to himself. Funny thing about genetics was that male-male couples could have either girls or boys, but female-female couples could only have girls. Only because the male “Y” chromosome was carried by men.
It had been a painstakingly long subject of discussion among scientists and philosophers as to the unbalance it would create, but well, for the time being, it was the chosen design for our human natures.
As long as new ways of bypassing this restriction had not been invented, better enjoy it than stretching one’s mind around it.
Looking at the window which showed the stilted structures above the waters, Bart was thinking how it was all an incredible story… What were the probabilities for that to happen?
Bart couldn’t help but feel grateful for all of his blessings.
At the same moment, the big breasted nurse appeared at the door crying with a large smile “it’s a healthy girl!”
Bart burst into the room.
They had already decided how she would be called. Midora, they had agreed.
When he entered, Oscar Wrick’s young face was tired and sprinkled with beads of perspiration, but he had the happiest look on his face. He was still feeling a bit self-conscious about the changes the pregnancy had generated in his body, but for now he was all absorbed by the little breathing thing resting in his arms.
After a warm embrace, Bartholomew Jobsworth thought that he should spread the good news to the family, at least to his mother, dear sparkling Indy and Bart’s parents, Eugenia and Cuthbert. He also had felt the presence of his Dad, Bill, during his wait and was deeply thankful for all of their support.
Yann decided to buy a notebook and 3 pens that he could bring everywhere with him to do some sketches.
Sam was quite pleased actually to be so unwell, it was giving him an excuse not to go out in the newly flooded city… it was quite unusual and sudden, and he was also quite pleased that the flood was just stopping at the first floor
Well he had news from Becky who wanted to come here and bring him some flowers and sweets. And he realized that he himself hadn’t their phone numbers… he’ll have to ask his friends.
Becky was already here!? He was still in pajamas, Foo’kin gondolas, so much faster than the cabs…
Al had always hated amusement parks.
Funny, he noticed as he was always the one telling “be playful”…
Anyway, Becky had insisted to bring them all in that new big traveling amusement park that had settled in Central Park, NY this year.
Hopefully, Heavens know how, resourceful Becky Pooh had obtained VIP tickets for the opening, and it would be a very private visit, without too many people.
Now, that could perhaps be interesting… After all, the whole entertainment park had been sponsored by Becky’s friends, the Wrick family, and Al and the others were dying of curiosity to meet the top of the crop, so to speak…
Malvina had been busy opening doors for herself, and thus, for the All.
Creating the sabulmantium with Leörmn had revealed new potentials to her. And just before putting the final touch to the device, she had felt engulfed in a huge wave and before she knew it, she was talking with someone. A great creative power, which was stemming from herself, and also from which she stemmed too.
It had named itself Naasir.
It had revealed to her, in the form of a dark abyss, myriads of unknown potentials waiting for her to leap in faith into them. It had gently requested that she release her hold on the caves openings, so that she could explore more, and also bring more to herself.
Then Naasir took the form of a great dragon in that abyss, from which roots were growing and pushing their way, slowly and surely, into the rich soil towards the light of their fullness.
She had then seen the dragon’s arched back and tail shift into a chain of spiked rocks, separating the worlds seas in two. Three of the scales on the right of the dragon’s skin were glimmering, and she could see they were looking for a passage.
Would she allow that to happen? Yes, she wanted to. Open the doorways, and reunite what was separate, but gently, one at a time.
Slowly, the kite-shaped rocky plates on the back of the dragon moved apart, to open a slight, safe passage for the glimmering scales. They were caught in the eddies that surged from the opening, but Malvina’s focus helped them to float and cross safely, as they wanted to.
She then came back to herself, seated in front of the glass-shell dragon egg filled with coloured sand, awed with that power she had just felt through her. She knew it was her own power, and that the device had only allowed it to be expressed, but she had felt wary of how the sabulmantium could be used by others.
At the same time, Leörmn who was once again the tiny weaszchilla trotting on the wooden table in front of her had laughed squeakingly. And looking at the toy in front of her, she had understood how it could only be used by those who would see beyond the thinly veiled surface. For the uncaring eye, this would only be a toy, mundane and without interest, but for the pure of heart, its help could be harnessed.
That’s how she’d knew she did not need it any longer, and could release it.
So, the doors had been opened, and people were feeling the new jewels sparkling behind the dark passages. And gifts from friends could now come across the veils.
When she entered, she saw a guéridon table in the middle of a moistly pungent room. On the table, a polished egg was here. She recognized it at once. It had an azure blue glow to it, and fond memories came back to her.
Back then, she was a young Sorceress in training on the Island of Mörk, in the middle of the Icy Lands, the birth and dying place of the dragons.
This egg was one from a set of three. It was the first glubolín she’d ever made, along with her two companions. They had kept it to communicate with each other when they parted.
Malvina, the youngest of the three, had kept the azure blue, and chose to go to the Dragon Head Peninsula.
Oörlaith had kept the mauve, and went near the town of Kapalÿka, on the Snimeÿa River delta bordering the Marshes of Doom.
As for Roselÿn, the eldest of the three, she had taken the amber one, and had went as far as anyone would have dared go, flying on her spiked dragon Rëgkvist, past the Great Rift.
They had kept in touch, but contacts had been more and more sporadic as each were discovering their own new environments, and had ceased altogether, almost at the same time.
As far as she knew, Roselÿn had been starting her own rookery in the sandy ice deserts of Åsgurdy, mostly hiding there from the superstitious people of that land. And Oörlaith, whom she was closest to, had been devising another funny way to keep people away from her rookery. Her own dragon, the playful Andarión, was shape-shifting as a huge shrimp to pretend that the surroundings were haunted.
Recalling all these moment, Malvina laughed at how silly they all were, and felt a long to be connecting again with her friends. Would anyone of them be around their own glubolíns?
After Sanso heard the voice “the reason you are looking for is right under your nose” he thought he had better go and have another look at that smelly, well was it smelly? hmmm perhaps not, just a bit mouldy, old cape. Just in case it was a clue and he had missed it.
He was surprised and delighted to see Arona, who was still sitting quietly meditating.
Oh, goodness, said Arona startled, Who are you?
Sanso had stopped listening and was gazing at the round glass ball filled with the sand shapes.
Good Lord! he gasped, Is that a sabulmantium ! And a very early model too. This is a classic! The later models are much more complex, this is very fundamental, but beautifully made.
Oh really, well it is great fun
Fascinating she said, and Mandrake rolled his eyes.
Huÿgens was not much of a cat person.
He liked his dogs because they were solid, loyal companions, and he could count on them to take care of his herd of langoats.
Langoats were a kind of three-eyed manic woolly and horned creatures, with a big sensing tongue, attracted to every new sound, or scent, or colour, or texture… well almost anything new that came before their eyes (when said eyes were not covered by thick layers of wool that is). And as their memory was short too, all kinds of things were always new to them.
That was why the dogs were extremely useful in channeling their movements; not that the langoats would have hurt themselves, because they were very able to provide for themselves, and jump from the top of a cliff without suffering much injuries. But they could very well loose all notion of their physicality and pop in and out of the fabric of time and space.
When they came back, because they always did magically come back, even after months of wandering, they would at times be reconfigured into another creature, and that would be pointless applying too much effort in trying to bring them back to their previous form, because it was said, in relation to their stubbornness that once a langoat, always a langoat…
Huÿgens had already lost some, especially during the shearing season.
And he had found himself back once with a cumbersome hippoliphant, and a bouncy shulimeek instead of two langoats.
Anyway, langoats wool was a very precious asset, highly sought after, as it could very easily bind with magical spells. Most of the clothes made for royalties were actually made with langoat wool, and it was also said that some enchanters had used langoat wool to make magical tapestries that would shapeshift, and reveal things to their owners.
So losing a langoat was not small concern for Huÿgens, and he had to be careful during the shearing season to leave some mops of hair to cover the three eyes of the beasts, so as to curb their insatiable thirst for discoveries.
But these days, Huÿgens had been very concerned about his herding dog Fjutch. Fjutch was a fluffy black dog he had found when it was still a puppy. He had trained it to become the head of his pack of dogs, when he had noticed the old rheumatic Thöm was taking the puppy under its wing —because the old faithful dog was knowing that it would depart and would reconfigure into a new form, but would not allow that to happen, not before he could have found a reliable companionship for his beloved master Huÿgens.
The healing properties of the langoat milk seemed to had done wonders once again, and Fjutch dis-ease was probably just a false alarm, but it had reminded Huÿgens how much he appreciated his dogs, every one of them, every day he was with them.
As for the cats… Illi, that was her name, had decided to come back to the cave, and he was showing her the way to the place where he had found her. He had asked BelleDora to pack a few things for her. He could not give Illi the beverage she was referring to as “coffee”, as that plant was not found in their region, but in compensation, he gave her a gourd of langoat milk, because she seemed like she would probably need some.
When he left her near the hole, he had some tears in his eyes when Illi hugged Fjutch very tenderly, as if the dog was reminding her of something dear. Illi after a moment hesitation, where she was like speaking to herself and not knowing what to do, finally hugged Huÿgens too, thanking him for everything he had done.
And off she was… free and unfettered as a gripshawk…
When Illi had finished arguing with Illi about having her hug the big man, while this was not manners of her kind, she sighed as she saw that the opening she had first thought was here (yeah, because I fell in there! she said), her senses where telling her that it was now closed…
— How quaint said Illi for herself.
— Well, as a matter of fact, it reminds me of something, said Illi F. There was that delicious gentleman, John Lubbock who said “What we see depends mainly on what we look for” and somehow it seems perfect.
— I don’t know any Grubbeck, grumbled Illi, a bit irritated that the hole, which was there before, wouldn’t be here, now she needed it.
— Lubbock was such a nice person, said Illi dreamily… Perhaps I could just try to have a peek inside the cave, if you let me.
— What?! Do again your wizzy wooey thing and I’ll strangle you! Don’t know how I would do it, but I’ll do it!
— Oh, you are so sluggishly gloomy! That was just to help you…
— Mmm, sorry for that, I was a bit upset, said Illi. What could you do?
— Just focus on the inside, and carry us both inside… But actually you would have to leave your body here, and we’ll probably see other things that do not belong to this place, but heck! that should be fun, Illi F said grinning widely.
They were interrupted by some munching sounds and ruffling heavy breath.
— What the bejeezus is that?! hissed Illi the cat (who didn’t even know how she knew so funny sounding words as bejeezus)
— Can’t you see? That’s obviously a dragon eating some bushes… How strange… replied Illi F airily.
— A WHAT? I HATE DRAGONS!
— Ahahah, relax, I was just pulling your leg.
— That’s not funny.
— Well he has funny colours by the way. Pinkish purple I wouldn’t dare to wear in London streets.
— That’s REALLY NOT FUNNY!
— Why so? You can’t see it anyway…
— And what if he sees me? Dragons are vicious creatures.
— He’s too busy eating these funny berries, and will probably collapse of exhaustion once he’s full.
— A chance! A vegetarian dragon!
— OK. Shall we try to find an entrance in the cave with my method, or do we ask the dragon? He looks well-mannered by the way.
— Oh, by the eyeballs of the Mighty Shrimp, you tell me…
— No, you choose.
— No, you.
— Ooooh, bugger off…
Becky noticed the round jars of coloured sand on the shelf as she went to look for some chocolate. She hadn’t known why at the time, but she’d followed the impulse to bring a little sand home with her from special places, usually scooped up quickly and a bit furtively in the clear plastic wrapper of a cigarette packet. They were all lined up in little round jars from a disused yogurt making machine in front of her unused cookbooks on the kitchen shelf.
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.
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.
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