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      Dublin, November 2057

      Hallowe’en had always been associated with fond memories with Sean. After all, back in 2033, it was the inauguration date of the first T.R.A.P. entertainment park, where he and Becky had been falling madly in love with each other.

      There had been lots of things for Sean to put aside, especially considering how quick it all had been for them, especially considering the death of his wife, and this too short period of grieving by all standards, but well, bugger off the others.
      He had not wanted to give any explanation, and Becky and him were sure of what they did.
      And all had changed that year, even Becky had suddenly wished for lots of children. And they’ve had got children…

      2035, the triplets: Oliver, Léan and Illana
      2037 the quintuplets: Flora, Finn, Frank, Fanny and Fergie
      and finally, in 2038, quadruplets: Vivian, Eve, Kevin and Mavie

      He was thinking of his father, and how they had almost ceased to communicate. The children now, were almost all grown-ups and this would be the first Christmas they would have together with Becky without the children. Sean was feeling a bit nostalgic.
      Perhaps he should phone his father, the upright Lord Hilarion Wrick


        — The legend of Mævel — (Part III)

        When the blue fox had disappeared, deep into the woods, Mævel was left wondering if all of that had only been a dream. Perhaps it was just a dream, and something that would make her parents raise their shoulders in dismay.
        Especially since she had lost their gift carelessly they would say, the little pearl white ribbon…

        She picked up the clothes that were left hanging to dry up in the wind, and came back to the little house.

        Of course, her father Jorg noticed that she was not wearing the ribbon, but he was not much of a question asker, and things were or were not, and analyzing them was unnecessary for him. But of course, Ilga noticed it too, and she felt sad for poor Jorg who had endured so many sacrifices to buy the little ribbon that Mævel was no longer wearing. She wanted an explanation! Was it no longer to Mævel’s tastes, had Mævel lost it?

        So Mævel, who could not lie to anybody, told them her encounter with Blohmrik, the cursed god in the woods, in the shape of a wounded blue fox… and at each of her words, was seeing their faces more and more disconcerted.
        Their poor girl, who was already so different, had completely lost it,… ribbon and all that was left of common sense in her.

        So they locked her up in the bedroom, that she was now occupying alone, as all of her brothers and sisters had left. Just to save her from herself, and see if that would help her gain some more solid sense of reality.

        Mævel understood her parents, but she was deeply contrite that they could not understand what she had lived. Mævel was still doubting the reality of her meeting the blue fox, so she asked for some sign from the Gods before going to sleep, to see clearly.

        That night, Mævel dreamt of a dark-haired young man with a white diadem1 around his head, dressed in a cerulean blue tunic and wearing a sword. He was enshrouded in a warm light and as she took the hand he was extending, they were carried away by a springing scented wind into a meadow of multicoloured flowers, some of which she had not even known could exist. She had felt at home.
        When she woke up, in the middle of the night, Mævel was transfixed by the beautiful soothing dream. She could not remember much more, but he had told her something. That there was deep magic in her, and it would help her find her true home, but that she would have to gain back her true name from the Elder God who had took it from her.

        She quickly took her decision. She knew she had to search for the blue fox in the forest. But how could she escape the locked bedroom? She was starting to feel desperate again, but she remembered that there was some magic in her, and how she had felt it deeply true in her dream.
        As she was focusing on the warm expanding feeling of her dream, an old rusty key materialized in her hand.

        1diadem: [ ˈdī-ə-ˌdem (dəm) ] from Greek diadēma, from diadein to bind around; akin to Sanskrit dāman rope — was originally a white ribbon, ending in a knot and two strips that were placed often on the shoulders, that surrounded the head of the king to denote his authority.


          Gibraltar, Spain, October, 23 rd 2007

          When Dory’s partner (well, the last one that is) came back from his shower into the lounge, he found little Becky playing with Dory’s computer as though it were her own.
          He had always found strange that his first wife’s daughter had get along so well with the temperamental archaeologist… In fact they mostly ignored each other, but they were so similar in many respect that it was like they didn’t even need to communicate, they just knew each other.

          Becky was only 5 (or was it 7? Dan never knew of course, which made Sabine, his first wife, constantly reproach him his lack of care) but she was brilliant. Perhaps that was the father in him talking, but he knew she would be doing great things. At such a young age, she had read The Perilous Treks of Lord Gustard Willoughby Fergusson (written by the Lord’s widow-then-remarried wife Floribunda von Grotto) so many times he had lost track himself (“as always,…” “now shut up Sabine, will you!”) and that was the least of her talents, he could tell.

          For the moment, Dan was more wondering about Dorothy. It had been nearly a month she had been away for her vacations in Madagascar. Two weeks more than she had told him… And there was this Jabin man in Tel-Aviv still trying to reach her. Well at least, he had forwarded the message to the hotel, so she would have had it.
          She might have delayed her return, especially if she had found some interesting archaeological stuff… well or a more handsome man… At least Dan could understand the handsome man, he laughed so loud Becky turned her head to him.

          — Are you alright Daddy?
          — Oh yes I am, treasure. What are you doing on Dory’s laptop? Not breaking anything are you?
          — Oh no… I’m just having fun with one of Dory’s friend…
          — Ahahaha, really? Dan was impressed
          — Yes! But I didn’t tell her that Dody Doo was not home, she’s a bit of a worry wort.
          — Ahahaha… Dory will come back, sooner or later, don’t worry…
          — Oh, but I don’t worry Daddy! I know that she’s well. Now, I’ll tell bye bye to Fionny Fea and we can play backgammon!


            The Assassin was already in the room when Baul came in… Baul wasn’t sure if he would have prefered him not to be here so he could himself gather his mind. But he was well used to camouflage his feelings and inner struggle and his face was quite smiling, as usual.

            Looking at the Assassin’s face, Baul was feeling very uncomfortable, he almost winced… the bluish glow of the dagger tatoo on the forehead of the man was quite disgusting. Baul kept smiling though, he wouldn’t dare show his own weakness to anyone, especially an Assassin. His eyes were piercing his soul, if Baul had believed in such thing he would have run away, but he didn’t believe in anything except himself and the power of money.

            As the Assassin was never talking first, Baul presented his offer putting the object he had brought on the table.

            — Open the chest. You’ll find your paiement inside.


            Ar’Am Khra was waiting, still gazing sharply at Baul, making him feel even more uncomfortable.
            The Assassin was quite impressed with how the man Baul could master his own reactions, and though he was quite intrigued by what his client had brought, he wanted to play for a few moments. With a very slight movement of his eyebrows, so slight one wouldn’t have notice, he managed to add an irritation in his look. He saw the movement of fear in his client’s face, but still it was so subtle he could have imagined it.


            Baul pushed the chest toward the Assassin, a bit nervous, but he could …. a sudden thought came to his mind, wandering like a Strokgnutch in a henhouse. He swallowed imperceptibly… Had someone already put a contract on his head? He managed a smile as he was opening the chest for the Assassin.


            This Baul was quite impressive. Ar’Am Khra had known what he was thinking as though he could read his mind.

            He lowered his eyes to look at what was in the chest. He really desired being surprised by his clients, and this one had never failed to surprise him…


            Once again…


            Baul was surprised as the Assassin wasn’t showing any hint of the slightest emotion at all… Would he show anything else than disdain even once!?


            — A glubolín :yahoo_alien:


              Al was concerned about Tina. He wondered why at times it was like their moods were at the antipodes of each other. Like one was in summer when the other one was in winter. Of course, seasons had gone awfully awry in the past (well, in people’s perception at least), and cherry trees were at times blooming in the late autumn, so that was hardly a good metaphore. Enfin bref…
              Sometimes he wished they could move to a part of the Earth were the differences were leveled or not so dramatic, but of course, that would be focusing unduly on what seems awry, and not appreciating the differences for what they brought in understanding for each other.

              Like most people now, Tina and him were living in a free relationship, not bonded by written contracts, just by a mutual wish to be experiencing a common exploration. But lately, especially with the play writing, deep issues had surfaced between them, and he was no longer sure of what they were exploring, as it was like shifting sands. Of course, now, most people were shifted themselves, thanks to the new generations of children who were exceptionally gifted in accessing their own essence. But for them, in their mid-30s, there were still issues linked to their old patterns of thoughts, many deeply ingrained ways of thinking, coming from many generations before them.
              That T.R.A.P. attraction thing was a good example of the differences. It was mostly an attraction park for his generation, not really for children, as they were greatly able of doing these kinds of inner-travels without the aid of technology —not that they didn’t enjoy it either.

              Al was thinking of a gift for Tina. He wanted to show her that she had really transformed Jadra, or that they had come a long way since the wandering in the cave tunnels, or that everything started to make sense, even the invisible friend Blohmul…
              Well, there were still mysteries around him, (not mysteries really, but things yet at the state of seeds, or potentials) but he was no longer a hair on the soup they cooked. He was the blue fox of Mævel, and more interestingly, that cursed god was the son of Mirÿnda, the Goddess of Mirth —but that, Tina had not realized yet…

              Actually, now that he was looking at the entry, Al noticed that Jadra was last seen with Mirÿnda, and that struck him as something more than a coincidence…


                Chiara got quite a fright and spun round quickly. She stood gazing at the funny creature, a woman who had a sort of cattish feel, who had shouted BOUH at her, momentarily uncertain as to whether to burst into laughter or tears.

                Illi watched Chiara’s trembling lip with some concern, especially when she saw the very large woman who was with her. Illi felt it may be prudent to make a hasty retreat, however, before she could make her getaway, a tiny figure emerged from behind a rather large pebble.

                Hello, said a little pink fairy. I am the Fairy Princess of the Land of the Long White Cloud. Did you fly here? Look I can do magic and she waved her magic wand, said abracadabra and produced some small white feathery fairy wings for the delighted Chiara.

                Frowdup she called excitedly. A round green blobby creature who blended seamlessly into the environment like some sort of exotic plant hopped over.

                Yes Dear Fairy Princess?

                Please could you play the music for us?

                Oh delighted to oblige answered Frowdup, producing a flute like instrument.

                At first the sweet notes of the instrument floated tentatively on the warm air. They rang like pure crystal, cool and pure, then slowly gained in confidence and multiplied, as though possessed of supernatural powers. It seemed the simple melody Frowdup played was accompanied by a whole orchestra of instruments.

                The little fairy laughed in delight and grabbed the giggling Chiara. They began to dance instinctively with the energy of the earth, swaying at first like a tree in the wind, then whirling like the wind itself, soaring high into the air, imitating the flight of a parrot, then swooping joyfully back to the ground. They were connected to the magic of the music.


                Whanga, one of the 13 Witches of Loathing was feeling rather bad tempered as she gazed into her glass ball. hmmmm bugger, she said crossly that little Fairy Princess from the Land of Long White Cloud is having way too much fun. She seems impervious nowadays to my magic spells of loathing

                Whanga had to confess to being a little puzzled. For a while she felt she nearly had the Fairy Princess in her clutches, but one day something seemed to have changed, and the Fairy Princess did not seem to be so affected by her whispered spells any longer. What sort of magic had she found to protect herself Whanga wondered. .


                It had begun to rain gently whilst Finn was in the enchanted fairy ring. She didn’t mind, she loved the rain and the trees protected her from the getting too wet. It felt cosy and magical. She had such a strong sense of the presence of her younger self. The younger Finn was three years old. Finn remembered the day,it was etched in her memory as a turning point, and yet it was also as though she were there again. She talked with her younger self, wanting so much to give the younger Finn a gift to help her make a different choice that day. Finn knew she had to trust with her heart, not reason it with her head, because there were just too many questions she could not make sense of, and magic did not seem to be so much about sense anyway. Anyway,whatever, if nothing else she felt lighter within herself .


                  Malvina tried to concentrate on the opalescent glubolín, to locate her Sisters.

                  But that was perhaps too early, because she could feel them close enough, but not focused yet.
                  Instead of communicating directly with their focused attention, she was getting images in the glubolín, that seemed related to them, but not necessarily directly. Something like an overlapping of different aspects.

                  Oörlaith was very close, and she could make out her surrounding. Malvina could briefly see her discussing with a man and a black dog. She had known that man… But then the image dissipated…

                  A sparkling shore, a black and white bird and pirates talking with a boy… the little boy had a buntifluën in his possession; how strange, Malvina thought, how could he?
                  Then the shore changed, she could see herself in a unfamiliar environment of sands, she was wearing a blue shawl and teaching a young impetuous woman, on how to change her features as easily as molding a sand castle. The young woman had just grown cat whiskers for a split second, and was giggling at her first success. How strange again thought Malvina, this simple act had sounded like a feat of importance in that bizarre environment, while it is rather easy to accomplish…
                  Images flying again, she tried to concentrate on Roselÿn.

                  But Roselÿn was perplexing. Malvina did not manage to connect directly to her environment, but could catch glimpses of a flying plump woman in a black and white attire, and she knew at once it was Roselÿn — though not the Roselÿn she knew. Roselÿn the Sorceress was a tall elegant dark-haired woman, but both women emanated the same joyful and loving energy. Flying Plump Roselÿn was with a little giggling girl, and giggling girl was adventurous… How interesting…

                  Something drew her out of her rêverie. Guests had arrived it seemed, she could hear Leörmn calling for her. She was excited at the perspective of visitors, especially at the perspective of meeting the young one who had found the sabulmantium, as she was feeling that her presence now was purposeful for them all.


                    Chiara got quite a fright and spun round quickly. She stood gazing at the funny cat creature who had shouted BOUH at her, momentarily uncertain as to whether to burst into laughter or tears.

                    Illi watched Chiara’s trembling lip with some concern, especially when she saw the very large creature who was with her. Illi felt it may be prudent to make a hasty retreat, however, before she could make her getaway, a rather loud voice shouted out from behind a gigantic pebble:

                    I WISH YOU WOULD ALL GO AWAY

                    And a tiny figure emerged. A very small and rather rumpled looking pink fairy, with a grumpy expression on her pretty face.

                    I SAID I WISH YOU WOULD ALL GO AWAY, she shouted again, this time stamping her foot angrily and glaring at the assembled trio.

                    Is that really what you want dear? Asked Roselyn. Because we can go away if you like.

                    At which the little little pink fairy burst into loud sobbing noises and threw herself on the ground.

                    Oh dear, said Roselyn whatever is the matter?


                    These are excerpts from Yuki’s diary, explaining some of the details of the experiment called — Malvina’s story —.

                    Note: for the reader not familiar with all the names here is a quick reminder:

                    • Araili > Yann, Írtak, Sam, Jacob …
                    • Armelle > Fiona, Arona, Tina, Qixi …
                    • Rafaela > Dory, Illi, Becky, Rodney …
                    • Yuki > Quintin, Al, Janice …

                    September 12 th, 2007

                    Today, an experiment has been launched by Quintin. Time will tell if it will bear some fruit, but the idea sounds good.
                    Having people join in a story telling, and see what happens, what are the “lessons” one can draw from this…

                    Armelle, Rafaela and Araili are already on the starting-blocks, though Quintin is not quite aware yet.

                    I can hear some thoughts: Let’s say for the moment that there are no rules. We will see what prompts the desire for having rules…

                    September 13 th

                    Some of the people familiar with Janice and her friends’ adventures have already joined in with much enthusiasm.
                    This first comment seems very promising.

                    Right now, it feels easy and fun.

                    Quintin seems to think that everything is very straightforward.
                    The magical world with the cave in one part, separated from the “real” world. (Two Worlds, and he thinks that will be enough to content Rafaela, ahaha, how presumptuous)
                    The first he sees as a representation of what psychologists think of as “subconscious”, and the other being the conscious, physical part.

                    But of course, he thinks he knows better than that. He calls the first one “subjective” rather than subconscious, because it’s a translation of subjects which unfold in many related objects in the “objective” or physical world.
                    That’s a good point, though a bit distorted. It would be better to say Malvina’s World is a translation of the subjective, in the manner of a Heroic Dimension.
                    But the thing is, that he missed the point in thinking one World is more “real” than the other.
                    We’ll be having some fun soon…

                    First remark… The second comment of the story has been interrupted abruptly in the middle of a sentence. That is interesting. We will urge Quintin to leave it as it is, despite his feeling of it being awkward.
                    We will appeal to his imagination.
                    It seems he has heard the suggestion.

                    September 14 th

                    For the most part, the story starts to get much involvement. Lots of energies are being projected into it, and with every adjunct, each participant’s perception stretches to accommodate the changes and smooth out the bumps in their own sense of continuity.

                    But as I expected, some challenges seem to appear already.
                    Is it raining or not in that world?
                    The question seems simple, but it is very profound and Fiona seems to struggle a bit with it, as is Quintin. The question frame itself [“that World”] shows where the difficulty lies.

                    He seems to avoid the discrepancy and pretend that he has not seen it. Mmmm, avoiding the obstacles… that will very soon come right back in front of you dear Quintin, for Dory is quite playful.
                    At least Fiona has been challenging Dory for not paying attention… Armelle’s ineffable loving ruthlessness!
                    How will it unfold?
                    Rafaela seems to be delighting herself as though she’s preparing some mischief, but Dory struggles in the “back”…

                    September 15 th

                    Dory is indeed very playful and her imagination is unrestrained. I extend much appreciation to this focus of Rafaela, especially as Quintin has to stretch his imagination to make things “fit”.

                    Quintin is still avoiding the issues that appear sporadically and prefers to stay focused on his own perception of the story… Careful Quintin :face-smile:

                    Yann joins the fun —objectively, that is, for Araili has been present already since the very beginning.

                    September 16 th

                    Halcyons days…
                    My dear friend Archie is answering some of Quintin and Yann’s questions.
                    Something starts to dawn on Quintin. But his mind is on other matters.

                    He understands that the energies of the writers are melding in writing the story, but he still tends to think that they blend completely.

                    September 18 th

                    Quintin has been drawing some of the characters of the story. It’s interesting.
                    He had good insights, as Yann will tell him later that his clothes today were exactly the same as the colours he had drawn.

                    Characters drawn:

                    • Mavina, Leörmn the dragon and weaszchilla, Írtak, Huÿgens (and Fjutch), Arona and Illi (the gripshawk)
                    • Malika, Quintin, Yann, Fiona and Dory

                    Interestingly, Fiona resolves her issues in her cave.
                    Dory too, but she did not need the cave to do this.

                    September 21 st

                    For Quintin, the story seems to lose all common sense, as some characters move from World to World. You could have expected that Quintin!
                    And Dory pops in and out, in her mind, in her dream state, or in future timeline mixed with present or past one.
                    Quintin will soon realize that he himself is doing this constantly, though he does not register it.

                    But the worst thing for him is that there are bleedthroughs in between Worlds. The Reality Times newspaper was brilliant Rafaela, a perfect trigger for the beliefs that the Worlds are closed and impermeable to each other!

                    Archie has been answering new questions about that story and this had been quite interesting for all of the participants.
                    There is much for them to digest from the realization that each of them had been creating their own versions of the stories through their perceptions. And that they were each having their version of the story, drawing from each other’s input, like a conductor of an orchestra incorporating some instruments.

                    Of course, some things still matter, and one of the point of the story is also to discover these.

                    September 22 nd

                    Quintin has been drawing new characters.

                    Characters drawn:

                    • Båd Al’Guz (Bådul), BelleDora, Buckberry the dragon, the twin dragon eggs, Archibald the parrot, Sanso the Wanderer
                    • Illi Fergusson, another Illi that Quintin has tried to sneak in as a bait for Dory, with hints that she is disengaged (or “dead” in common vernacular) and merges with others of her focuses…
                    • Jacqueline Bleomelen (Nanny Gibbon), Lord Wrick, his great grand children the twins Cuthbert and India Louise, Manfred, William P. Jobsworth the painter

                    A new perception trick: Dory felt relieved upon seeing the moth feelers of BelleDora.
                    She had at first thought they were whiskers, which was not Quintin’s intent…

                    September 23 rd

                    Quintin seems to have connected to a map drawn by Lord Wrick, when the old Lord has started to document his great grand children travels.

                    Quintin had tried to put some annotations on this fragment, but he doesn’t yet completely understand that his perception of this World, though accurate, is only valid in this present moment, and may change at any time.

                    Up to now, here are the names he could find:

                    • North: the Icy Lands, and Dragon Cemeteries
                    • Center: Goldfindely, homeland of Arona, connected to the Warring Kingdoms of Lan’ork by the Isthmus of Ghört’s Hammer. The Isthmus of the Dragon Head seems to lead to Malvina’s cave and hideout. Mount Elok’ram is pointed as the highest place of the World yet discovered. Three main rivers are drawn: in the ancient myths of the people of this land, they represent the three Daughters of Ghört, weavers of men’s destinies: Tibreÿa, Uleÿa, and Snimeÿa. Snimeÿa cuts the thread of life, which is shown as the river leads after many meanders to the Marshes of Doom.
                    • Far East, North: the Land of Båd Al’Guz, Åsgurdy. A harsh mountainous land of islands and seas.
                      Both parts of the World seem to ignore each other till now, as they are separated by the Great Rift, which in the past has deterred many intrepid navigators.
                    • South: the Desert Lands. Illi’s birthplace, rarely explored by humans thus unaware of most of its marvels, gripshawks nomadic tribes included.

                    When he discussed Arona’s village with Fiona, Quintin had the vision of some dolphin-like creatures, but bright yellow. They are called golfindels and are mostly seen on the northern shores of Arona’s homeland, which is thus called Golfindely.


                      New York, October, 4 th 2033

                      Albert had opened the newspaper, scanning distractedly through the various pages of text that would read aloud automatically when he was running his fingers through it. He was about to close it, when he noticed that article in the Life Focus section.

                      (click for article)


                      Dublin, October 5 th 2033

                      Sean Doran Wrick had received tons of phone calls, emails and voice mails of condolences since the past few weeks, but he had not found the strength to answer any of them. Especially those coming from his father.

                      That morning, he had received some letters that he would have left on top of the others, had he not recognized the round and cheerful calligraphy of Becky on one of them.

                      He had known Becky when they had traveled together in Syria, and had enjoyed so much the lively young woman that they had kept in touch during all those years.

                      He was pleased to read from her, and wanted to enjoy it fully.

                      So he took his time to put to bed Guinevere and Peregrine before. Guinevere was the eldest, very mature for her barely 11 year old. She took great care of her younger brother, who was more dreamy and foolish. Peregrine would turn 10 next March… but he was hardly as responsible as his sister when she was his age…

                      Dear Sean, Becky was writing

                      I would have liked to finally take the time to write to you in better conditions, but I could not delay any longer. I saw the obituary in the newspaper, and wanted you to know that I share your grief and loss, and extend much love and support to you and to your dear little ones.

                      I know you’re not the kind of person to be satisfied with banalities, so I will not dwell on this tragedy, and will remember the best moments we shared together.

                      I still continue my studies and practices on dramatherapy, and till now it has proved very beneficial, in many ways. I have learned so many things. It’s quite rewarding. We are a close-knit group of fools (or drôles as Al loves to say, as some of his ancestors come from the bayous!), and that is very much enjoyable when things that tragic come to one’s reality.

                      In case you feel like talking, don’t hesitate any moment, I’ll be here. Anytime.




                      Orkney Islands, October 4 th, 2057

                      This year again, Sean Doran had not answered his father’s calls.

                      This September 23 th was the twenty fourth anniversary of the disengagement of Lord Wrick’s daughter-in-law, and this was always a very somber period for the family.

                      Hopefully, the twins were here to enliven the old mansion, for as long as their parents, Lord Wrick’s grand-children, would be traveling. And of course, there had been the unexpected return of the books, which had been comforting too.

                      Nonetheless, Hilarion Wrick was sad, and Bill the painter was uneasy as to how he could not quite put right the portrait of the old dragon…


                        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.
                        — You…
                        — Ooooh, bugger off…


                          After Arona said she was hungry, the energy of Malvina disappeared, and once again Arona found herself alone in the cave.

                          She found this quite irritating. They are really bit rude around here, she muttered.

                          Arona sat down on the floor of the cave and considered her options. She was tired of the cave and could barely remember what had drawn her here in the first place.

                          It had been the music of course. She had wanted to find the source of the music. However for the most part she decided her experience had been rather disappointing.

                          (Arona was never at her best when hungry and this was causing her to quickly forget some of the wonderful experiences with the music and the paintings, and take a rather negative view of events.)

                          All I have done is wander around dark passageways really.

                          And now, to top it all off, apparently things are shifting. In the name of heaven what does that mean?

                          AND if one more person tells me to use my magic I will probably scream or something!

                          Perish the thought, came a grumpy voice from a particularly dark corner. Your moaning is quite sufficiently bad enough.

                          And Mandrake the cat emerged from the shadows and made himself comfortable on Arona’s lap. This is great, much more comfortable than the ground he purred.

                          Oh cute, said Arona, a talking cat.

                          Cute yourself, responded Mandrake, love your cape by the way.

                          (Mandrake was prone to sarcasm, considering it a perfectly valid form of humour.)

                          Arona stroked Mandrake’s soft black coat and tried her hardest to work out what to do. It was all feeling a bit bleak at the moment, the ever changing cave, the half light, the heat and humidity… and especially her hunger.

                          Mandrake sighed in an impatiently eggsagerated sort of a way.

                          Heavens to murgatroyd¹, how can I relax with your incessant thinking? Okay so here’s an easy one for you: what’s the most important thing about magic?

                          All of a sudden Arona felt a flash of lightness and a sense of new energy moving within her.

                          of course! She exclaimed delightedly, hugging the less than enthusiastic Mandrake, you have to believe in it!

                          [¹] Note from the editor: Mandrake being a very educate cat from noble ancestors, some of its speech may be difficult to grasp for the average reader, which was certainly not the case for the astute Arona.
                          Anyway, here is some complement on that ‘Murgatroyd’ .


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                              A middle-aged man was looking upon her when Illi woke up.

                              — Where am I? Who are you?, she asked a bit uncomfortable, her body swollen from the many bumps she had had in her recent adventures.
                              — Don’t move too much, answered the man, I found you near the gulch, you were exhausted and delirious. Actually, you can thank my dogs for having found you, though you were so anxious that you still found the strength to run away from them…

                              Illi smiled faintly.

                              — And, I’m Huÿgens.
                              — Thank you for your hospitality, finally said Illi, who was not accustomed to such kindness from the people of this land, especially towards her kind.
                              — Don’t mention it, that’s all natural, said Huÿgens. You know, my dogs have found you near a hole where my son had fallen some time ago. He had been lucky enough not to break his bones, because we humans are less prone to acrobatics than your kind… but well, I would have appreciated that someone take care of him, if he had been in the same predicament.
                              — I don’t have children, said Illi dreamily, that’s also why I left my tribe, I wanted to live a free life… What’s his name?
                              Írtak, answered the stocky man with a hint of pride in his smile. It means “arrow head” in the Old Speech…
                              — That’s lovely, smiled Illi, feeling now much more comfortable on the rough bed.
                              — Now, take some rest. There is some pruidgee in the bowl here, if you want some, it’s made with milk of my langoats. That’ll make you stronger. If you need anything, just howl. I won’t be far.
                              — Thank you, answered Illi with gratitude.


                                The quiet voice of Leörmn, who was not only shaping the cave but also aware of the living creatures in it, upon feeling the trouble of the poor flattened glukenitch, mentally told it not to worry.

                                Glukenitches were slimy wet creatures fearing light, and thus kept most of their time living underground. They lived in colonies generated from a single individual, and they shared the same mind. It was thus quite easy to communicate with all of them at the same time, and that often proved quite useful, for people not at ease with teleportation, as glukenitches, despite their not very engaging looks, were most helpful creatures.

                                They especially liked the cave where Malvina had settled down, because there was this moisture and steam coming from the hot springs which allowed them to live a relatively peaceful life. They used to eat almost everything, not too regarding as to the nature of the things they consumed, and were quite useful recyclers of garbage. Their droppings had a bluish halo to them, which made the inside of the tunnels glow with them until they had completely dried up, and coalesced into a glassy substance.

                                That is, until Leörmn had it all changed again.

                                So Leörmn was quite fond of these creatures as they were of a great help to keep the natural balance of the cave.

                                Don’t worry he told the glukenitch mind, gripshawks are not as carefree as they seem; most of them are simply known for their dreadful sense of direction, and also at times for their limited attention span…

                                Oh yes, answered the mind now I understand, this one buggered off without any notice… Could have asked for directions, but we guess it would have been useless anyway… Perhaps this one thought I would eat it. As if we were such undiscerning creatures…

                                As the adage goes, “Not even the Elders could know what’s in the mind of a gripshawk”… answered Leörmn enigmatically…

                                You know, added the mind, without meaning to be disrespectful, it’s twice now we’ve got people falling inside this hole… Perhaps for your next transmugrification you’ll like to block it. At least, the first one, that boy, was much more polite and engaging, but you know, we cannot have all the Worlds move in here as if it were Shaint Lejüs Festival…


                                  Malvina enchanted harp had been playing for quite some time now, an old tune from her homeland and she was beginning to feel like she wanted to improvise some new music.

                                  She had been combing every nook and cranny of every hole into the many tunnels spreading inside the cave this morning, and was quite exhausted now. Of all the few pearl-like eggs that she had found, only two looked like a promise of new baby dragons. Others would probably dry up and become hard glassy balls, that she could polish and sell in the market of the village.

                                  These round balls were mostly bought by rich merchants who used them only as decorations, or as a ostentatious display of riches. Few of them knew that imbued with dragon magix, they could be used as focal points, especially for two people to communicate through them.

                                  Malvina did not care to explain to the buyers, as long as they were only interested in the mundane. That was somewhat saddening at times, because when people started to forget about the innate magix pervading the Worlds, they started to loose their power to steer their own ships. And sometimes, for some of them, they would just create strange things out of nowhere, like sudden rains in a clear blue sky, only to remind them of this power. But for the less fortunate of them, they would just wallow in the mud and cry to the sky, forgetting that they were creating this for a purpose…

                                  But now, the harp was calling for her, and she knew it would delight the little Buckberry and the guests she could feel were approaching, if not here already…


                                    Fiona could feel herself on the verge of doing something radical. In fact she had decided. She was not sure what exactly she had decided, but definitely a decision had been made. She had noticed how often she had been deleting her posts lately on an online blog she kept.

                                    It was clearly a sign.

                                    Fiona enjoyed deleting. Quintin and Dory were rather odd about her deleting. Quintin especially, who apparently never deleted anything. She wondered if this was reflected in other aspects of his life. Maybe he was a hoarder, barely able to move for all the things surrounding him. Dory tended to be a bit of hoarder, she often confessed to this trait. Nothing wrong with hoarding of course, thought Fiona. It is perfectly fine.

                                    Fiona resisted a sudden impulse to go and delete her whole blog, for now anyway.

                                    She was not quite sure what form her decision would take, but realised she felt distinctly peaceful.


                                      Arona peered inside the darkness of the cave and got the fright of her life as a disembodied voice commanded imperiously to know her business. Not being particularly brave, or especially stupid, Arona began to back away.

                                      Stop, commanded the voice, and Leormn the dragon moved slowly out into the light.

                                      Holy Pixiesticks! gasped Arona, and found herself rendered momentarily speechless.

                                      Leormn, secretly always rather flattered at the reaction his presence elicited, smiled rather mysteriously at Arona, “And what brings you here, where you have no business to be?” .

                                      Arona finally found her voice “I heard the music, it is so long since I have heard music and all I wanted was to listen for a while, but it’s okay, I will go now if I am not welcome here”

                                      Leormn pondered this, rather longer than was necessary, but it was a long while since anyone had come to the cave and he enjoyed the distraction. He was in a particularly good mood that day, delighted with little Buckberry and life in general.

                                      “If you can answer this riddle I will allow you to listen” he said at last.
                                      I am a box with no corner or side. I hold a golden treasure inside. What am I?


                                        Inside her cave, Malvina was playing the harp. She was happy and in harmony with the Worlds.

                                        She came from a long lineage of Light Sorcerers and Sorceresses, but had preferred to the fuss of a great career in one of the quarreling kingdoms, a pleasant life inside this cave. The cave had been empty when she had found it, safe from some schpurniatz, but she knew how to tame them, and she had even left a few shadowy places for them to rest , hung upside down under the holes and crevices during daylight, when she had used Magix to transform the rocky walls into a comfortable dwelling place.

                                        She was happy, because new eggs had been laid, and they had come early this time. The eggs, she cherished not because of their gilded aspect, but because they were the sons and daughters of her mighty dragon friend Leörmn. Eggs were highly sought by greedy pirates of the Northern Seas, and though she had been as discrete as possible, she knew they had lots of informants, and her aura was spreading in the villages around, especially since she had helped that little boy who had fallen inadvertently inside the cave.

                                        At least, this time she would be warned by Leörmn, who was keeping watch at the entrance, and whose riddles could very well befuddle the greedy uninvited fellows into forgetting their names altogether.

                                        So now, she played, and played, and music notes were like soothing water drops, carried away by the rivulet inside the cave…

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