I googled Circle of Eights
Give pairs seven post-its and ask the children to write down the main scenes. Take feedback and allow children to adjust/add to their post-its. Pairs then work on listing the scenes and sticking them in order. They should disregard any scenes that are not crucial, and just keep the key events.
Agree with the class the basic key scenes. Demonstrate how to make a few notes about each scene to help with a retelling.
In pairs, children make notes about each scene to help with retelling the tale. These should be kept to the barebones. In pairs, practice retelling the story, taking it in turns. Then put pairs together to retell their versions to another pair.
If time allows, build this up to circles of eight.
End the session by hearing several retellings. Encourage the children to evaluate between tellings, refining and improving their version.
Explore ways of altering the retellings. Children decide to alter one aspect. They then retell the tale, with the alteration. Pairs should then move into fours
and retell their new versions.
Build up to circles of eight if time allows.
The children recommend a version they have heard that is really effective. Listen to these, and as a class evaluate what makes an effective retelling. This enables more in-depth evaluation, especially by the storytellers themselves.
I have just said goodbye to my italian guests and there was another funny synch I kept meaning to tell you, Gaby’s husbands name is Georges. oh it is 8:53
Yesterday in the newspaper was a section on crime writers. There was a very funny synch regarding Quentin, agents, italians and angels. If I can find the newspaper I especially purchased, I will post it later.
Franiel awoke, it took him a few moments to get his bearings. He stretched, and slowly adjusted to his waking state. He wondered how long he had slept, it was quiet and dark. Although he couldn’t see much, he could feel that dawn was not far away. The ghost hour.
He must have slept for hours.
Remembering Leonard he looked around and softly called out. There was no reply, and unless Leonard was sleeping, Franiel was alone. “Aye” he sighed, and finding the blanket from his pack, fashioned it into a tent over his head and took shelter in it. It was nearly day, another day.
It is no longer there
Franiel was not quite sure if he heard a voice utter these words, or if it was just a strange sense of knowing. He still felt around, taking out each item carefully and methodically, emptying the pack, not really wanting to believe the chalice has gone, nor to consider what the implications of this loss might be.
Perhaps he did not put the chalice back in the pack after all? He crawled around his surrounds, squinting into the half light of the morning, feeling the dew damp ground. Deciding to trust what he knew in his heart already he sat back and quietly watched as the sky eventually flushed brilliant crimson.
Red sky in the morning. A warning ….it is only weather words but ….
Reluctant to consider his options, he instead considered some dandelions, how luminous they looked in the morning light.
and other funny synchs
It began with Sam going to Australia, and a message I got from Marcy in my 360 after I told her about a crocodile egg… well it was an UWO.
She was telling me about Crocodile Dundee and the main actor Paul Hogan , who was a rigger as a former job… Eventually, I noticed just this evening that it was obviously connected to Sam going to Australia after Becky’s wedding.
Eric told me also that it was a synch with something he read in the comments this afternoon with the shrimpigators… and I was reading the stuff about Paul Hogan and they were just telling that he had made an ad before the Crocodile movie, and the main slogan was Shrimp on the barbie … obviously another synch.
There are other synchs in the text… but especially another fun one with a movie shot in 1980… Fatty Finn
And the hilarious part… well maybe not so hilarious but noticeable nonetheless, is about “from shady frog jumping contests to a fixed goat race”…
Going back to work on this bright Tuesday afternoon, Yann was looking at his shadow. He had had a hard morning, not because of the tons of work… it was a rather light day, not because of the harshness of his colleagues, they were all easy living people… well except his boss that made him think of Darth Vador at times… a strong threatening aura, feared by everyone. Though he never bothered Yann actually.
He was having the weirdest feeling of appreciation of the shape of his shadow.
He liked it.
It was the shape of an adolescent, his fluffy hair and relaxed silhouette. Not worrying about the future, not thinking about the past. Just enjoying the warmth of the sun in this not so cold winter day.
His attention was quite centered on himself, he was aware of much more stimuli than he had been used to, and it had been overwhelming. Especially concerning his ideas of how to get information on certain subjects or how to explore things. He was used to closing himself from the outside when he was focusing on his work, or on what he was passionate. Lately it had been 3D modeling, and Yurick had expressed many times the desire to help him, and he had been received quite harshly.
No wonder he had imagery of server non-receiving data at work. It was quite clear actually. Clearer and clearer. Even his dreams that he had once considered to be quite obscure where simply so concise and precise. Dreaming about the ring primitive in the 3D software, it was dreaming about its own attention, focused on the outside, he was trying to reduce the inner radius of the ring to make a plain disk, and he wasn’t able to do it properly, he was forcing.
Well actually he had done quite well, so centered on self he had been today…
How he reacted was so different from how he would have reacted a few months ago. Now he was just appreciating the movement, the experience of this overwhelming centeredness…
During the afternoon he got news from his friends Finn and Dory, and he had a good laugh. It was messages sent the day before. He wouldn’t have appreciated them then, but now he was so enthrilled by what they had written with Yurick. Another pure moment of appreciation to add to his experience.
And now, it was news from their friend Malika who had decided to move into a new house. A taupe House, located in the Island City or Wilton Manors. The house had a tree behind it, and she was sure it was a dragon lair, with a mommy dragon and an egg! and many little playful dragons.
It was planned for the week end. The moving in, not the hatching…
Georges and Salome’s journal
I was quite puzzled by the similarity of our bodies. The encoding was mostly the same, though we were not of the same essence. We were like twins… even the little beauty spot on my butt.
Well I didn’t see him naked if you wanted to ask. I could feel it. Our bodies were resonating, especially in such physical proximity. He was as puzzled as I was. Well, even more, because I could feel he wasn’t objectively aware of so many similarities. His essence was well know to me, and all I could do was laughing… inwardly.
With all these alternating aches in his body, Yurick’s legendary patience was easily worn out these past few days.
Of course, the news of his very near-future moving with Yann, which had finally come to be, was to be something he wanted to dance on, and rejoice and laugh with a delightful ravenous chuckle —or something a little less scary, for that matter…
But these seeming dysfunction of his body (of course they were seeming, it was only a transformation… like a baby growing its first teeth… and who said it was to be a bed of roses for the caterpillar, under the pretext that it was inside a warm silky cocoon?) were making him very sensitive to lots of things. Other people’s energies for once, even if buffering them was becoming easier now…
A loud ring from the telephone… Again, that woman looking for Océane. “There’s no Océane here”, he’d said, with the congeniality of a civil-servant who would have been disturbed two minutes before the morning coffee break.
Having hung up, Yurick was thinking… Those wrong numbers may be important messages from my essence.
And all he could think of… was that Yuki had definitely fingers too big for the dial buttons, especially if he was looking for Ogean!
Anyway, in a few days time, it would be another one’s trouble to pick up those calls.
A small impish gnomesque figure wearing a black and white tunic adorned with a silver blazon was standing in front of Claude, formerly known as Number Four.
Claude was reading to fight, and extricate himself of that stinky situation, starting to feel the powerful strength the treatment had given him and feeling virtually unstoppable.
Considering that such a small individual, especially unarmed, wasn’t much of a threat, he stopped in his track, wondering if that was part of a subtle stratagem.
— What do you want?
— We do not want you harm, stranger. We are aware of the experiments which have been done on you, and we are sorry for what has been done…
— Oh, don’t be, I feel better than I’ve been in ages
— Yes, we saw that, though we are not that sure that the treatment effects are permanent either…
— Not permanent? What have you done to me?
— Nothing. There is nothing to fear from us, we are peaceful. We are a wing of a group of individuals whose primary skills lay in robbing. We are mostly hired to retrieve precious possessions in great discretion and you could consider yourself lucky to have seen us in our true form.
— Us? How many are you?
— A few… We gave you a mixture of plants and magnetite powder to help you stabilize your situation, apparently it has succeeded.
— Mmm, perhaps yes…
— Another thing you probably want to know before we help you get rid of these bandages if you want. During your sleep, you muttered lots of things, one of which was a name: “Sasha”.
— Yes. I’m afraid we believe that the individual you were calling is dead. We monitored the doctor’s assistant when she disposed of the body. It was not pretty. I thought you should know.
Robbers they say… Hope we’re not after the same thing…
AH FREAKIN’ BUGGER IT! shouted Tina, waving her fist in the air and stamping her foot with as much energy as she could muster. A few people turned their heads to look at her, and she had to quickly remind herself of what Mehmot Lung, her teacher, had said: “To be a true poet one must be able to fully FEEL to the depths of one’s innermost being”. Well Tina was doing her best, using her time whilst waiting for the others to do her homework for the week.
“One must lose one’s fear of what other’s think, and not be afraid of emotion. SHOW YOUR EMOTIONS TO THE WORLD, CELEBRATE YOUR FEELINGS!” Mehmot had exhorted the class passionately.
Oh, it is very yellow, she thought
“Poetry is a treasure-filled storehouse to which we have lost the key, make your words SING!” again she heard her teacher’s voice.
Your car is as bright shiny yellow as the piercing eyes of a snowy owl, she said haltingly to Armando a few minutes later when he asked her what she thought of his new car, and, blushing at her own words, she decided at that moment that lyric poetry wasn’t for her after all.
A cloud-assisted demented rewrite, just for fun…
PERPLEXED BY THAT PARTICULAR case, THE sheriff HAD HIS glassES floatING BEFORE HIS eyeS.
SOME mean rather weird beings… THE brotherHOOD OF magic NEEDED TO SEND Elikozoe INTO A space Craft TO CARE FOR THE boy WHO felt six motherSHIPS COMING IN HIS dreams.
DURING THESE moments easily FORGOTTEN, SOME others young legends WERE sent Aside TO answer AND bounce WITH alone aspects THAT wondered HOW TO keep focused.
THE trees WERE laughing “yeah!” THEY SAID, AS Anita FELT cold AMONG THE roseS randomLY SCATTERED.
SOME told HER ABOUT love, AS SHE asked WHETHER dragons REALLY seemed LIKE nothing ELSE SHE HAD SEEN BEFORE.
DEEP inside, SOME help began slightly TO COME TO THE lady AS SOON AS THE dark cloud HAD taken HER TO sleep. THE truth IN particular WAS LIKE A friend WITH purple COLOURS AND A skull IN HIS HAND, WHO sat WAITING FOR HER.
“let HOPE COME, despite whatever FATE bringS TO THE door! YOU must wait SOMETIMES, AS factS follow!”
Nice Tina WAS caught floating ON THE STREAM, AND moving ALONG IN A green jogGING GEAR WAS Joe, BOTH full OF IDEAS THAT gave THEIR friends AN experience NEWLY created. BUT THEY needed magpieS AND tried FOR THESE creatureS INSERTION TO work.
FOR Arona, ALL WAS happening ON Earth LIKE SOME important dream. IT WAS LIKE dancing IN A real play, WITH THE sea NEARBY.
A series OF dog-EARED BOOKS WERE NEARLY outside, AND deep INSIDE, SHE KNEW THE novelS WERE close TO surface OUR dimension, WITH HER head looking BEYOND, AS perhaps Yurick WOULD AGREE.
HIS heart often sounds interesting, BUT OF ALL THE ones SHE liked, IT SHOULD BE herself.
THE Duane SHALL BE rememberED, SHE thought, IN DUE times…
WITH THE goat, Anna suddenly giveS THE blue busy spiders SOME NEW reality, AND Kay IS getting hot. SHE HAD forgotten THAT handS COULD BE making names, AND SHOUTING HER CreEd, THE voice OF THE girl SAID IT matterED THAT THE story became shouted IN THE sky.
Eric WAS ENduring Sanso WHO loved THE sandY BEACHES.
STAYING clear THIS NEW year DEMANDS SOME self AWARENESS, ESPECIALLY ON THE yellow CHAKRA points, TO ALLEVIATE UNNECESSARY physical pain.
CLAD IN teal, SHE WAS waiting FOR HIS parents’ words TO HAVE moved AND TO BE connected. Franiel HAD FELT within HIMSELF four OLD fatherS’ ADVICES, AND HAD AGREED TO TALK TO Salome’S face AND ANSWER HER call THAT HAD APPEARED quickly UPON THE wall AND HAD BEEN wandering OVER HIS bed.
HE careD FOR THE past, AND THAT VISION WAS telling. IN THE morning, HE SAW IT AS A gift, SHINING IN SOME DISTANT island, LIKE A moviNG presence.
Yann VowED TO FIND HIS WAY IN THE soup OF linkS, AND FIND THE OLD godS’ energy THAT kept THE planetS MOVING.
HE heard SOMETHING, A FUGACIOUS moment following HIS ADMIRING OF THE beautiful weather, UNDER THE Glistening sun. A SINGLE dragon’S hands COULD nurse POTENT writing abIlITIeS, AND soon WOULD open GREAT awareNESS OF joy AND moveMENTS AND music WHICH WOULD MAKE HIM laugh OF ALL THAT HE WAS creating WITHIN THIS focus.
Tracy FEELS away OF THE action. IT seems QUITE human… NOTHING IS white DURING twilight, SHE noticed, AND FELT given TO understand.
AS MRS Bellamy, SHE WOULD HAVE stopPED LONG ago, HAD NOT come THAT powerful mummy.
WITH Georges startING TO APPEAR, worry BECOMES quietNESS FOR Jib, AND crystal-CLEARNESS FOR Sam.
MANY years AHEAD IN A GALAXY far-AWAY, ANOTHER Dory IS named AND readS ABOUT DR Bronklehampton’s WORKS.
HAVING TAKING leaveS, AND BEING gone FOR ALL, OLD Hrih DELVES INTO THE skulls AND HIS eyes SEE A next hope IN A book.
MovementS HAPPEN FOR Claudio already… THE world woke UP IN surprise.
A known sense OF TIME–SPACE-travel APPEARS IN THE commentS, AS seen THROUGH light.
Akita’S body AND mind started TO ACT LIKE A saint AND FEEL strange under THE change.
“TO danGER, bugger!” WAS HIS decision NO longer… HE FELT warm… Towards THE worlds treeS, askING HIMSELF IF IT WAS A game, HE SAW TWO male children PLAYING against EACH OTHER.
THEY managed TO show HIM THAT THE Murtuane WAS familiar.
THE whole air WAS speaking. IT sort OF opened ITSELF SO THAT HE knew later OF THAT SPECIAL room OF TIME AND SPACE, AND HAD THE WIND AGAIN BRUSH HIS skin similar TO WHEN HE WAS seeing home IN HIS HEAD.
Felicity IN THE BEDlam SAW half-formS, COUNTING three OF THEM, INCLUDING Gustav IN THE saloon, AND Becky WHO WAS THINKING SHE WAS AGAIN IN THE wrong PLACE: A monastery!
SHE’D RATHER HAVE yourself BE A star, AND HERSELF BE HERE TO MAKE THE FUN postS AND playing lost.
Eight powers smiled: true saying!
THE sisters focuses IN THEIR caveS HAD SOME fine land TO PLAY WITH.
Apparently sound WAS key once, BUT THE VOICES IN THE night speak UNCEASINGLY, AND TO write SOME great stories, SPEAK strongLY. THEY seem TO BE feeling yesterday SOME perfect movements…
THE marmoset HAD FOUND A family, AND funny wordS TO process. IT laughed short GIGGLES…
AS FOR myself, SAID THE cat TO Floyd, I’D create A party-LIKE life, WHERE I DO AS I please, AND LET paper WORK AND feelINGS AND desireS AND tryING AND tellING TO monkey.
THAT shapeD SOME fun, AND syncHRONICITIES AGAIN happened SHORTLY.
IN THE FLOWING water, “aum” SOUNDS RIPPLED IN A huge dear dance beginning TO REFLECT himself IN images. HE sighed AS HIS attention GOT INVOLVED IN THE trip AND HE remembered…
ON THE beach, obviously AWARE OF THE synchRONICITIES, THE creatures wanted TO CLAP THUNDEROUS applauseS.
LIVING THE dead GUYS’ ideaS…
When Veranassessee entered the secret facility with Gloria and Sharon, her blood congealed in her veins.
Patient 4 had escaped the safety straitjacket and was holding the doctor at paper-clip point.
Patient 4, was one of the first six patients they’d treated on the island, an awful miscarriage… Of the six, all had developed strong reactions to the medication especially as they had not yet found the appropriate dosage for the blue spider venom. Some had developed extra appendices, most had been hideously disfigured, and all of them had gone bonkers.
“Four” was the last alive of them all, by an inexplicable combination of luck and genetics, and by far the most dangerous one. Apparently, apart from madness, the venom had gifted “Four” with supra-human velocity and strength. It was what had kept that mad doctor from “erasing” that mistake, so sure he could find some interesting way of making profit out of that prodigious lucky find.
But now that was compromising everything…
V’ass pushed the two chatty old ladies in a broom-closet behind with a wink Be right back ladies!
Sharon and Gloria giggled in the small room, wondering about the unexpected sense of hospitality of the people of that resort. All was so funny and exciting since they’d decided to come to that place.
— Four! Release the doc’!
— Don’t move an inch closer or I’ll kill him!
— You have nowhere to go Four, backups will be here any minute now…
— One second is all I need to snap his neck!
— No! Dr. Chris Bronklehampton was moaning
— You, stay still, the mummified Four snapped to the panting doctor.
Quicker than light, V’ass shot a powerful sedative into the arm of the mummy. Four winced, drawing the dart out of the arm, crushing the fluffy fletchings between the fingers. Quickly assessing chances to escape, Four sent the doctor flying at the other side of the room, in a powerful swing of the arm, and jumped through the window in a formidable sound of smashed glass, disappearing into the jungle.
It’d been two hexades that the Abbot Hrih Chokyam Lin’potshee had been laying in bed in poor condition.
At first, he had wanted to be as strong as he had always been towards hardships, but he’d finally admitted that quelching the pain wasn’t doing any good to him. So he had agreed to be taken care of by a young monk, and to lay in bed as long as was necessary.
He knew that he was very likely not to get out of that bed but with his body covered by a white sheet, nevertheless, the thought was still something distant. The pain in his body was making him so present to himself that the only thing that was still blatant was that he was.
More than the body, it was all his faith that was shaken. He had thought he would leave this life without mess, without pain, probably very discreetly in his sleep… But now, his head was wincing at every noise, even the nature’s sounds that once felt like music to his ears, he was eschewing them now as much as he could. His very skin was hot and couldn’t bear even the soft contact of the bedsheets.
What was the point of all of this? He had never doubted that everything had its purpose, but now, he was doubting…
He was even trying to find some reasonable reasons for what was happening, he who never trusted in reasonable reasons in the first place. Perhaps that was because of his seating under the chilly air and the warm sun in front of the Meditation Wall, reading for all of the poems that had been written by the monks who had dared to write. Perhaps he had “taken cold”, whatever that means…
“Perhaps not” the voice kept saying softly in his head.
Now, his whole succession was feeling like a moot point. After all, he was not even capable of saving himself from anything, then how could what he created make the slightest difference? These were all like an extension of his body, bound to decay and come back to Earths.
Not so many monks had dared write upon the Wall about their highest truth. A few jokesters had begun at first, helping the others to participate.
One in particular had had Hrih laugh for quite a while.
A toad is a toad
Then a dozen of others had flourished upon the wall, until Aum Geong decided to write his own. He’d not wanted to go first, to allow the others to express without the burden of comparison, and also to have some more time to write something deep and thoughtful. But that profusion of nonsense between some occasional pearls of wisdom made him write his own.
Unattainable is the Truth
For in the Dust of things
All in our View is bleak
Doing Wrong we forswear
For Dust to be lifted
And Wisdom we seek
In the deed of the Elders
And the Faith in the Community
Light and Trust bespeak
All the monks had been quite impressed, but Hrih had not been entirely satisfied by it… To be honest, he even completely disagreed with it.
Now, however, stuck in this bed, the poem was playing in his head and suggesting that the Worlds were something terrible that he had not yet understood, or be willing to avoid seeing. Perhaps Aum Geong was wiser than he was.
Perhaps all that Hrih had put as foundational to his life had all been Dust…
“There is no Dust, and you know that” the voice whispered softly.
Now that he is about to die, what difference will it make anyway…
He reach out for a bowl of water, and almost let it fall, as the weight of it surprised him. He was becoming so weak… He never had been so self-conscious in many many many years.
After he had propped himself up to drink a few burning swallows of the lukewarm water, he noticed something folded on his bedside, that had been put under the bowl… Young Franiel had been the one attending him with Jog Lam, so it must have been the doing of one of them. He intuited that was Franiel.
As he read the stanzas, tears were in his eyes…
I am the driftwood
the wave carried me
I was buried in sand
I am the flower
the butterfly touched me
I fell in love
I am the raindrop
the cloud released me
I became the ocean
The Young monk had probably not dared write it on the Wall, especially after most of the monks’ vocal appreciations of Aum Geong’s poem…
“Perhaps not” the voice again spoke.
Another reason for it formed into Hrih’s mind. Franiel perhaps didn’t feel ready for such responsibilities and his role and fulfillment in this community was not form rules nor to continue it.
It was more to inspire them, and perhaps to start his own discoveries.
Hrih wrote a note behind the paper. He wanted to leave something for Franiel, for him to keep faith in his coming adventures during these coming times of change.
After a deep breath, he took another paper that was with him for already such a long time, wrote down some words, and signed it, the aura of his hand burning a glyph that was his signature in the paper. He then called for Jog Lam.
— Jog Lam, my friend…
— I’m dying…
— I know Elder
— Let me continue. (Jog Lam nodded)
First, will you give that paper to Young Franiel after the cremation ceremonies. (Jog Lam nodded again)
Second, I want you to relay that I have made my decision, and that Aum Geog will succeed me (Jog Lam’s surprise was noticeable in his eye). He is, to date, the most adequate successor for this monastery.
— I will do as you want.
— Thank you my friend.
— Farewell, my friend, I am always with you.
When Jog Lam stoically left the room, Hrih Chokyam laid down, his eyes on the ceiling. His body was so weak that all he could do was to project behind his closed eyelids and see the starry sky, even if he would have wanted something different for his death. He would have loved something like a nap in a sunlit meadow with a little singing brook.
But seeing the actual World was something even more precious to him. The barren mountains of the icy season, the clear unclouded sky. His mind was so full of energy that his body lacked.
With a deep feeling of gratitude for his body, he bid it farewell.
It had not been easy to convince his parents. His mother especially…
As a matter of fact, he had failed to convince them at all, and Tomkin had to decide by himself whether he wanted to follow Badul and his crew in his quest for unknown mysteries.
Tomkin had left a short written message for the Sharples, to tell them that they needn’t worry, and all would be fine.
Badul had decided to split his crew in two, having Austor in charge of the boats while he would go with a handful of trusted men by land.
Apparently, the young boy was aware of one portal which was close to their current location. This one was not part of the main network and was operating unknowingly to the officials. Its size was small, and travels were regulated by a local governor who used it for his clandestine business.
It was located deeper inside the lands of Golfindely, and the mountainous area of highlands planted with luxuriant trees made its access difficult.
Despite the boy’s initial reluctance at leading them to this place, Badul was determined to go, and very quickly Tomkin was excited at the opportunity to finally travel as he always had wanted to. It wouldn’t be by sea for now, but as Captain Bone said, every journey starts with one step.
Madame Butterbutt, the saloon landlady and iconic colourful figure, came back to her room in a fury.
She was living above the saloon, in a large room tastefully furnished, with some exuberant objects that she had gathered from her many commercial acquaintances.
She took one of her favourite cigarillos to calm her down.
That Mc Gaughran was such a… she wasn’t at loss for words. But none of them would have been strong or decent enough for the dork that he was. Ooops she smiled, this last one had almost slipped out unnoticed.
Unlike many people in that small town of San Demangelo, she wasn’t fearful of the man. Not of the man himself (she was almost a giantess compared to many women), and certainly not of his threats either, even though she knew what the man was capable of.
She knew well many of his shady tricks, but she also knew things about him that most of the time sufficed to keep him quiet and docile.
Today, she would have almost laughed at him when he had tried to pressure her by threatening to reveal to sheriff Ted Marshall her little trafficking of hallucinogenic toads. Pathetic of him.
That was really nothing, a little commerce she had with some remote part of her family in Guatemala, especially the voodoo witch Nana Del Conda. These were regularly brought to her by the old ambulant quack Myrlin who was selling all sorts of hocus pocus remedies, keeping the potent ones for Madame Butterbutt.
So nothing extraordinary about that… No,… what had brought her in that terrible mood was when the hoity-toity, pompous, arrogant, full of himself f*ckhead, oops she bit her lip again… When that jelly belly mugger had tried to coerce her into pushing the little Twi into his bed.
When that foolhardy brother El Disperso is storming again into the bar to try to find quarrel and provoke the jelly pig into a brawl, she would perhaps let him have it his own way after all.
Last time her loath of firearms had been directed strongly against the young boy, perhaps also to protect him too… Anyway, he was perhaps right, allowing himself to “float downstream”, from the hate to the anger… and perhaps to hope and joy again.
She started to sound like dear ol’ Abe…
Jo was looking at Mc Gaughran. He didn’t like him. Especially since he was so insistant at buying their ranch. It was not the price that was important. Mc Gaughran had offered them much already and Jo was a bit shamefull that he even once considered the offer. They had a little argument about that with Elroy, and he had felt very tore appart opposing his brother. He was very close to him and was admiring him so much.
And he was feeling very protective toward his sister. She could do whatever she wanted, that was not the point. The point was he didn’t want other to bother her. And that Mc Gaughran was looking at her a bit too insistantly to his taste.
He finished his whiskey an looked at the barman, Thomas. He was a very good friend of Elroy and him and was like a giant dwarf, stout and big red beard. He knew he could count on him to have a look at the man.
— Have to go, Tommee, he mumbled. Be back later.
Despite his disgust of Mc Gaughran, he also had some stuffs to check about the new man in town. He was feeling a bit unseasy as if some things would be unfolded, things that should better stay burried. He left the saloon like a shadow.
About time you woke up, came a familiar grumpy voice from behind a pile of logs. Mandrake emerged. And I don’t have fur balls, he added, haughtily.
Mandrake, thank God! Arona had been a little concerned that , given the amount of time presumably had passed, Mandrake may no longer be with them. Tactfully she kept this to herself, given Mandrake’s especially truculent mood.
Please tell me what happened now, she said to Vincentius. I think I am ready to hear.
Vincentius looked uncertain, sighed , but agreed to tell her the tale. Afterwards, Arona was silent for quite some time. She stared thoughtfully at the fire, mesmerised by the dancing flames, gently stroking Mandrakes silky black coat.
Oh bugger, she said eventually and stood up decisively. I really think I have to go and see that old lizardy croney woman, and without delay.
I wish you wouldn’t, but I do understand, said Vincentius sadly.
I don’t understand, said Mandrake crossly, twitching his tail impatiently and narrowing his green eyes
Thank you so much for caring for him, she said to Vincentius and gave him a huge hug.
On the way out of the cave she ran into Leormn.
Oh, she said, Vincentius said you allowed us to use the room. Thank you so much. And she kissed Leormn on what she thought would be his cheek, however, a little unsure of Dragon anatomy, it may have been technically a snout or something.
Arona walked rapidly for several hours, trying to concentrate on the directions given to her by Vincentius and hoping that she was headed in the right direction. Eventually she started to tire and her determination faded. She sat down on a rock and closed her eyes. Her shoulders slumped in weariness and she despondently wished she was back in the cave with the others. She felt deeply sad.
And is this something you really must face? asked a kindly voice in her head.
I have no idea really, she answered despairingly. I don’t know. I mean I thought I knew. I thought if I didn’t then I would always be in fear. When I looked into the flames of the fire it all seemed clear. I needed to understand and face it, I thought anyway….
hmmm, said the voice. Well the best advice I can give you is to trust yourself.
Arona opened her eyes and saw, to her surprise, a small cottage in the distance. Why, I don’t remember that cottage being there a moment ago, she thought. It looks just as Vincentius described. How remarkable. I was closer than I thought! Her spirits rose.
Outside the cottage the old crone was bent over, digging in a small vegetable plot. A basket of cabbages sat by her side. She stood up at Arona’s approach, wiping the dirt from her gnarly hands on her apron.
I have come to get some answers from you, said Arona, firmly crossing her arms and ignoring the outstretched hand.
Alright little one, Lucille said soflty. Why don’t you go and wait in the orchard. I will go and fix us a nice, cool drink of lemonade.
The orchard was full of old fruit trees, their twisted trunks reminded Arona of Lucille herself. From one of the trees hung an old swing. Arona sat on it, holding the rope, and gently rocked herself back and forwards, thinking. She had to admit, she was, quite frankly puzzled. The visit so far wasn’t going as expected.
She kept rocking, faster now.
She hit her heels into the hard earth again and again.
I don’t know. She tried to dig these words into the earth with her heels.
Then she sidestepped her feet in crab-like movements in diminishing circles. The ropes of the swing twisted tighter and tighter.
Arona leant backwards and stuck her legs out straight in front of her. The ropes unwound and sent her spinning. weeeeeeeeeeee hoooooooooooooooo!
She looked up into the sky. Blue sky through the trees with racing spinning clouds. She felt dizzy.
She stood up and braced herself against the seat of the swing. She held onto the ropes and pushed hard against the seat beneath her. She bent her knees under the swing. She kicked her feet forwards.
She wanted to go higher. She bent her legs back under the swing. Then kicked them outwards. She stretched her body backwards and arched her back.
I don’t know, she whispered.
She sat upright. She bent her legs back under the swing. Then kicked them as hard as she could. She leant her body backwards. She stretched as far as she could. On the rebound her heels hit the ground hard, but still she wanted to keep going higher and higher.
I DON’T KNOW! she shouted, as loudly as she could.
Lucille returned with the lemonade.
How do I know if it is safe to drink this? Arona asked. You have cast one spell on me, how am I to know this is not another?
Okay, well that makes good sense, thought Arona, gratefully drinking the lemonade.TracyParticipant
Well I wonder how much the magic fossil is worth from the Giant Farting T’Ngzat A’ngat Illi ‘Ult Mummy’s Tomb then? Probably millions, especially after the movie premiere……
On Mount Elok’ram, the old abbot Hrih Chokyam Lin’potshee was gardening.
Despite his old age, and his being at the head of the Monastery, Hrih Chokyam was always doing his hour of gardening with great application and talent, as was asked to everyone, from the youngest to the oldest monks studying here.
The Monastery was a place of healing and teaching, dedicated to Margilonia, the Elder Goddess thought to have created the Earths. As a matter of fact, gardening was the simplest —yet most effective— way to fully appreciate the grandness and the interconnectedness of the whole of creation.
Hrih Chokyam remembered when he was a little child in the vast fertile plateaus in the Eastern part of Dam Adbor, bordering the high mountains. He had always loved the mountains, better than the plains, or the towns where the wars and plots were fomented endlessly. So he was wandering many times in the mountains, to collect herbs and also just for the fun and exhilaration of climbing higher and higher, and seeing the world as a small thing that could be placed into his hands.
His parents had wanted him to become a farmer, but some wealthy neighbours had thought he was showing signs of being able to do much better, and even proposed to have him pursue a career in the administration of Dam Adbor’s capital.
Young Hrih had considered the proposition for some time, and one day, went deep into the mountains to make his decision.
There he’d got this powerful connection with an enveloping warm manifestation of Margilonia, who prompted him to go higher than anyone had ever been on the top of the mountains, were a natural point of great potential magical energy was. Here, she had conveyed to him, he would have a monastery built, a perfectly clear channel for this yet untaped magical energy.
Ninety nine years ago that was.
Hrih had been higher than any human had ever been, in the search of this point, knowing he would feel it resonate with him. The mountains, he had learned were not as empty as humans had thought, and there were many other kinds of sentient beings living here, far from the wars below.
Interestingly, assisted by these magical sentient creatures and Margilonia’s energies, building the structure had been easy. He had never thought harnessing magic would be that easy, perhaps just because the traveling magicians coming at times in the village to do some healing or just funfair exhibitions were making that very difficult, and requiring lots of training.
The truth was, magic was everywhere, only people had become blind to it, or just lazy to use it. But old Hrih, even if his eyes were not as sharp as they used to be, could see it clear as day. Magic was in everything. Especially in one’s own very existence.
That was the first of the things people coming to learn in the monastery had to understand. Deceptively simple, yet the most difficult lesson for many of them. He had to admit, he had struggled quite a bit with it too, during the endless wandering into the vast mountains. But there had always been a root to eat, or some fresh mushrooms or eggs apparently left here just for him… He laughed now, thinking of it.
Hrih’s life had been so fulfilling. He knew he was weak now, and would not see the springing season, and he was thinking he had to choose someone to take care of the monastery. Few people went to stay here, for as they had learned and applied what was to learn, their own passion was coming back to them, and they would not need to stay any longer.
But a few days ago, a young one had come, announced to old Hrih by a singing rosy finch.
As usual, all was provided when things were ready for it.
Hrih had no doubt that the hesitant young man would be the next one to hold the title of Lin’potshee, or “Precious Elder”.
November, 1 st 2057
Sean took another glass of scotch to give him some courage to call.
— It’s your twelfth now, that’s supposed to give you courage
— Oh, Maggie, my live is such a mess…
— It’s not, and you know it. Look at all our beautiful children, and Becky who went through so much just out of love for you…
Sean didn’t know whether he was actually seeing the ghost of his deceased wife, or a projection of her, still alive in another part of the Universe, but she always had been a comforting presence.
He had started to see her a few months after her disappearance.
Yes, during that T.R.A.P. expedition, yeah, “live-changing experience” they had said… True, too true… Perhaps the electromagnetic field had messed up with his brains, but now he could see her clear as day.
That had been a bit freaky in the beginning, and when they made love with Becky, he was a bit anxious to see her appear not invited. But Margaret had been discrete, well mostly. At times, he wondered if she had not sneaked into the bedroom and merged her energies with Becky’s, just to be closer to him… Becky’s acts did not always make sense anyway, so that was hardly a criterion to judge of that.
All his live had been like that. A jumble of incoherent stuff. Oh, he had enjoyed it, especially at the beginning. His father Lord Wrick was obsessed with the Shift, and had found some ancient knowledge in his youth. Mostly rubbish by nowadays standards, bunches of rotten books of prophecies handed down to a few chosen ones, who were supposed to be forewarned of doom to come. Now, they knew that they were only a wake up call, but at that time, it was another thing altogether.
Of course, the wealth accumulated over the centuries by the Wrick family had been helpful to access these precious archaeological documents. A few of them had played a key role.
For instance, the in-extenso Life and Deeds of Lord Gustard Willoughby Fergusson, a rare version of the diary of Lord Fergusson, annotated by his daughter, Illi, was telling an account of history much different than the one romanced after his death by his wife Floribunda von Grott.
Thanks to it, Lord Wrick had been able to acquire some inkling as to ancient treasures. Old fool…
It had killed his wife, Artemisia, devastated by the madness of her husband, and it had alienated the other part of the family too.
But all that counted was to make the discoveries, and perhaps enlight the masses.
Sean had never really forgave his father that he wanted to utilise Margaret and have her fit into his plans of grandeur. Of course, his father had willingly accepted the union, and despite all appearances (for the sake of those rapacious journalists) he had even pushed Sean to do it quickly. But all he was really interested in was her precious discoveries.
— Oh, but I was not innocent, Sean
— I know Maggie, you were obsessed by what we could offer to you, especially when you read about the botanical experiments in the deserts, which were related in that old book. But still…
— We all had grown up through that, you know…
— Yes, and what showed me that, was that I was concerned that the old vampire would suck my own children into his web, but Peregrine was too free for that, and Guinevere preferred to live her live outside of this madness too.
— Becky had a good influence. Do me a favour, be kind to her.
— You know what?… Yes of course you’d know,… but let me tell you, so that we can laugh together… I found myself really happy and free when I stole the two magical books out of the Old Fool’s clutch. God knows how he acquired them, but one thing was sure, he was obsessed with them. I couldn’t get the mummy, but the books were a great take.
— And a funny idea to give them to your cousin…
— Yes, Dorean was the perfect person. I couldn’t leave them anywhere, my father would have found them again. At least he wasn’t in good terms with his brother and sister-in-law, so they were safe in their care. And at least, they were more grounded than my father, the perfect keepers for the books… I’m wondering what happened to them…
— That will upset you, but Perry’s twins got them.
— Oh really?
— Yes, and they are having fun with them, as was intended.
— That’s fine then, and we are less obsessed now than we were before, so I guess my father isn’t as much as a pain in the butt as he was…
— You father meant good
— Yes, like everyone, but why can’t we leave people alone at times? People can sort out their issues without the commiseration, and the good intentions… It’s poison even worse… Like I can drink and still be healthy, and nice, and…
Sean started to sob.
— I know, darling, but you’re as much of a sore as your father was… You focus so much on what’s not going right, and you don’t even appreciate that you can talk with your departed wife… That was nothing as easy in the old days.
— Do you think my father talks with mum to?
— I think he would be too proud to admit he is sorry… That may hinder the communication… But Arty wouldn’t bear grudge now. When we let go of the physical, things become so clear, we can only be accepting of everything. Perhaps you prefer to wait for your father to cross over? I can tell you something, that won’t be easier. That much I know.
— You’re right. It’s just that I don’t know how to start…
— Be yourself, talk about what you enjoy, where is your passion now… Perhaps that is the problem. You’re drowning your passion in your scotch.
— You’re right… I’ll tell him Léan will have a baby.
— Oh, he’ll love it!
— How time flies… sighed Sean, I still remember the little sweetie as a blue-eyed laughing baby herself, with Oliver and Illana. She was the only one of the triplet to have inherited her mother’s dark complexion. She’s so beautiful…
— Let’s call your father darling
— Yes, let’s call him.
Lord Wrick had not expected to received that call. Well, he had renounced it so long ago.
He had been a bit shaken, but also relieved. He had proposed, on an impulse, to invite that whole part of the family he barely knew, Sean’s new partner, and all their children for next Christmas in the castle. Sean had told him they would probably come with Becky but that the children were now having their own lives, and it would have to be for another time.
That probably would come perfectly, as ever, as the Lord could tell India Louise loved to spend time with the painter. Perhaps she would become an artist too…
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…
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