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  • #2495

    In reply to: Strings of Nines


      ‘“It may have been the sudden change of environment, but Leörmn had great difficulty at staying focused.”

      Aspidistra Merryweather, suddenly disconcertingly finding herself in a completely different place, with a new name and an unfamiliar body, was marginally relieved to discover that the wonderful synchronicity of the random quote selector hadn’t changed.’

      Cordella wondered how many times, and with how many additions, this perfectly timed random quote would thread its way through the volumes. She had been trying to balance her universal celebration lettuce somewhat unsuccessfully, wishing she’d paid more attention to the lecture, when she spotted the orbs.


      With a side glance at the random words written on the fridge, Harvey was starting to get another slipstream of weirdrom (weird and random) information.

      Earth escape; whole asked environment similar — Friend forgotten work, thinking moving! Managed recently whatever known questions — dogs ones myself physical energy

      Now, did this Earth escape had anything to do with that recent quest of Philodendron for a FTL travels equipped island…


      In reply to: Scrying the Word Cloud


        Freakus self forgotten parcel snooter
        sound mouse elikozoe aware nut
        soft environment knew arona
        barb nice listen moving nonsense
        rather mean


        In reply to: Scrying the Word Cloud


          I’m amazed at the sense the cloud makes sometimes:

          land told merely remember
          environment focuses individuals
          feeling trust face nonsense
          dream pig Angela shut bag fur
          closer himself tried probable


          “It may have been the sudden change of environment, but Leörmn had great difficulty at staying focused.”

          Aspidistra Merryweather, suddenly disconcertingly finding herself in a completely different place, with a new name and an unfamiliar body, was marginally relieved to discover that the wonderful synchronicity of the random quote selector hadn’t changed.

          “Thank heaven for small mercies” she muttered to herself, fully aware that mercies and heaven were self made, as were sudden changes of environment. “I’m not called Aspidistra for nothing, after all. I have in built capablities for growing well in the dark”


          With the flood of water that was spilled on the land after the crash of the plastic-wrapping-the-now-melted-iceberg-ship dragged along by the strong pull of the engine for miles inside the lands, a huge pool had started to form that began to gather animals around.

          The blessings of the fresh water was in fact such that, not long before they managed to have their feet back on terra firma, the three valiant musketeers Sharon, Gloria and Mavis with their chivalric Akita and his faithful spirit dog Kay were surrounded by the most diverse fauna they’d been seeing in days.

          — Lookit that! Can ye believe it?!
          — Zebra, zebra,… ZEBRA!
          — What’s up with your underwear Glor’?
          — Zee-bras, no bloody brassieres! See?!
          — Well, no bloody wonder, it just looks like the Serengeti
          — What bloody gothic serum?
          — Jeeze, Serengeti! In Tanzania… Africa, the land of the Maasai, bloody Lake Victoria et cætera
          — Oh, you don’t start getting that snotty tone again…

          Leaving for a moment the ladies at their cultural talks, Akita went for a walk with Kay, looking for some clues on how to get moving in this faraway place. He’d hoped to reach Egypt and the Suez Canal to get the ladies back to Europe, but obviously the single-use strange iceberg-ship was planned for Africa, and not much further.

          Kay always had most puzzling associations to bring up in their conversations. “Well,” he’d say “besides all these blue bulls isn’t it funny that the zebras are a variety of indigo’s…”

          “You’re a funny dog”, Akita told him “what is that supposed to mean?”
          “Obviously it’s an analogy…”
          “A bit too bloody subtle” Akita was starting to talk awfully like the ladies…
          “Zebras are symbols for a people who have a funny way of blending in… Or actually to not blend in. They’re symbols of the weirdos of your societies. Affectionately said, of course. I do consider you and your girlfriends a bit on the weirdo side by the way…”
          “Well, that’s nice… I suppose?”
          “It’s all symbols, and it’s dream-time, so pay attention dear one.”
          “If you say so” Akita said with a shrug
          “It is not uncommon to find in dream interpretation books some funny sentences like

          Dreaming of zebras running fast indicates you are interested in fleeting enterprises. If you dream of a wild zebra in its native environment, you might try a pursuit that could bring unsatisfactory results. Beware of those with multicolored stripes.The Everything Dreams Book

          “Now,” Kay was continuing his near-monologue as they were still walking “what is that supposed to mean; if that were a dream you were dreaming, would you use that one-fits-all approach to interpret that zebra dream?”
          “Who cares, really, it’s not as if I’m dreaming anyway…”
          “Of course, you’d know better; but anyway, that brings me to the multicoloured zebras. There are children who have started some years ago to manifest en masse on this planet with different views, a wildly different approach on life. People around your world have started to label them “indigos”, another shade of blue if you will. I wouldn’t be so circumspect in my dealing with funny coloured animals, if I were you…”
          “I’ll be damned if I understood a word of what you just said… Perhaps you’re right and I’m dreaming after all…”
          “You can say that again.”


          Salome was recalling her first steps on the Murtuane as she was fondly turning a small pale greenish stone into her palm. The stone was smooth, with a milky shine and had a diffuse warmth.

          It was carrying many of her memories of this time. She’d taken it from the shores of the Kandulim that first night, taking the rough stone as something to cling on, and firmly grasp, to bring herself back to her own senses, and drown her fearfulness and disorientation in the strong presence of feeling alive.

          She’d kept it for a while, and then had started to learn how to use stones to encode certain information. Of all the shiny crystals that she could have used, she’d preferred to keep the rough unpolished stone because of its genuineness.
          Encoding it wasn’t as easy as for more regular crystalline structures found in more precious stones, yet it was almost as if she’d wanted this one to bear the mark of her mastery at this art.

          She wasn’t very educated, and had not seen much of the Earth, but she had known at once that this place where they had docked the dinghy after that epic escape from the Sultan’s palace wasn’t like anything she could have found on Earth. Somehow, even her own body had begun to reflect that alien-ority to her.

          The stone was showing her scenes she had conveniently let slip away from her current focus. As she was seeing them, appreciation was overflowing her heart. It had taken her a while to get accustomed to this place and eerily enough, despite that lack of familiarity, she’d had a knowing that she was meant to be there.

          Her thirst of discovery was as immense at that time —not that it was less at the moment, but the contrast between her ignorance and the things she knew she could access had been stark and bitterly felt.

          She couldn’t help but smile at the scene of her past self learning to read and write. When Madame Chesterhope had taken her under her wing in her schemes to approach the Sultan with a worthy price, she had begun to learn from her a modicum of English language, but she would never have dreamt of learning how to read.

          And there, how ironic that the first place she would learn that, of all the many languages she would learn over the course of their explorations with Georges, was a place from another dimension, with a language she only started to feel she could utter the sonorities of.

          It was no mistake Leonard had brought them here first. Now she was thinking back, reminiscing this period of time, she recognized how much she loved the languages of the Turmakis. For her, it was as close as “home” a foreign culture could be called.


            Elizabeth had wanted to voice her concerns about the Vowel Shift and its potential impact on language and understanding to her publisher Godfrey Pig Littleton on numerous occasions, but until his, to her way of thinking, outrageous tampering with her script, it had not been in the forefront of her mind. She had simply ignored the Vowel Shift in the Ooh Dimension, and made up her own Vowel Shifts instead, in a variety of minor ways. Ironically and somewhat perversely (Elizabeth was well aware of the consonant shift, which she translated as a continental drift symbol) Pig Littleton was quick to notice and object.

            “Do you deliberately write ‘collaberative’ instead of ‘collaborative’?” he asked.

            “There are No Accidents, Godfrey” retorted Elizabeth, rather cleverly shutting the old coot up, at least for awhile. Thank Goodness he was otherwise engaged with the latest production of TWIST, and not breathing down her back about The Book.


              Yann woke up puzzled by his dreams. He’d been walking in the street of a big odd city… an oddicity? He giggled in himself. Yurick was still sleeping and he didn’t want to wake him up.

              In that oddiCity, there were many people but as he could feel in his dream they were not necessarily interacting with each others directly, and strangely it seemed that the different individuals were not necessarily at the same time though he could clearly see them in the same place.

              He was wondering as some people were waving at him… did he know them? As far as he could tell, they weren’t triggering any memory of individuals he had met in his waking life. Some of them seemed somewhat familiar but he couldn’t put a name on their faces. When he was feeling like it he would wave back at them but most of the time he would simply ignore them. No consequences.

              At some point In his dream, he’d ended up in a big park, very calm and soothing. He could see some people smiling and laughing, and the sound of their laughs was not intrusive, it was merely part of the environment like the birds chirping.

              He remembered having seen 3 fountains… when he found the second one, he thought he took a wrong turn and was back at the first one, but a closer look let him notice a few definite differences, and it was more obvious with the third one. Though the designs were similar, the water in each of these fountains was behaving quite differently. In the first one, the water was acting just like he was expecting from water: springing from a pipe, from the bottom up and coming down according to the laws of physics. In the second one, it was as if water was magically condensing from somewhere above the surface of the pond and falling down like the rain. Quite beautiful and very hypnotic… no cloud above. The third one could seem a bit chaotic at first glance, but the movements were quite harmonious too and Yann could fathom some kind of rhythm or interactions going on. He couldn’t clearly see where the water was coming from, and he didn’t have the occasion to examine it as his attention was caught by a voices coming from a gathering of people nearby.

              He found them in a clearing; some people were sitting in front of what appeared to be puzzle pieces. The shapes were quite different from the ones he’d been accustomed to, but it didn’t seem weird at the moment. A man was standing and walking among the others, giving them information and directions on how to manipulate the different pieces.
              As Yann was approaching closer, he noticed that Yurick… no it was Quintin… it seemed he hadn’t called himself Yurick yet… well he was there too and he seemed quite puzzled and engrossed by what he had in front of him. He only had 2 pieces, but it seemed quite difficult to make them fit together.
              As Yann was about to call his friend, the man began to talk to him.

              “Hello. Do you want to try by yourself?..”

              Yann felt something was not as it should have been… it was as if the man was talking to him, and at the same time continuing with his explanations to the other people. And as he was staring at Yann, waiting for an answer, his attention was also focused on his students going on and on with some endless instructions on how it all functioned and what was the proper use of the pieces…

              “You’re new in this area, I never saw you here before, though you seem familiar…”

              That’s when he woke up, puzzled. A bit sad that he’d left the enchantment of the park, but relieved that he wouldn’t have to listen to all the babbling of the man. What was his name again? It had been lost in the huge amount of words, not clearly separated from the names of the tiles or the names of the other students.


              Arona was fretting.

              “Now, what is this all about? Can someone explain me? The purple sand is pretty, the green sky too, however it looks just like an insane dream from a deranged mind having abused smoke of robjane leaves.”

              Framing Irtak —who was having a funny pout on his face— the dragons Heckle and Jeckle were too busy considering with an amused attention the new form and energy field that their progenitor had taken.

              No words were spoken to answer Arona’s plea for answers, but answers were starting to come to them in the form of a bundle of energy which would be difficult to translate in a linear manner.

              They started to understand a few things. That for one, N’meôrl the Nirgual was not here by chance, at this place and time. Again, they had travelled far in the past of the history of their dimension, and events of great importance were in motion, that they were given to witness.

              At first, the flow of information they were having was like a stream they thought they had no control of, but as questions were forming they noticed that it was altering the flow which was then encompassing the answers to those questions.

              Like when Jeckle wondered if he and his twin had big birdies counterparts like this one to merge with, and got the following answer “No. For you are quite new essences fragments, and thus do not yet hold focuses in similar extent to your progenitor.”

              Arona was quite pleased by this new mode of getting answers, especially as she could visibly get the answers she was genuinely looking for, not those coming from questions she was only remotely interested in.

              N’meôrl was showing them also, that unlike him, they were not quite physically focused into that environment, and were not noticed by the small surrounding creatures like the little red scrabs crawling in the sand. They were mainly there to observe and draw their own conclusions, as soon some events would occur.

              As they’d finished absorbing the information, they started to notice a feeling of expectation in the air. N’meôrl conveyed to them that they would have to stay quiet in his peripheral awareness for “they” were coming, and he was on a delicate mission.


              Footsteps on the beach.
              A man approaching. He looks like Irtak and Arona, as if he had just come into this alien world from the same door they had taken. But he fails to notice them.

              He stays, facing the deep green waters of the ocean brushing the shore, as if expecting someone.

              A strange buzz starts to fill the space. A point of focused light the size of a pinhole appears in front of him, expands quickly with an elastic quality, and pops with a soft sound, revealing an improbably tall figure under a cloak.

              The man greets the new-comer with deference
              “Master Sinadron
              Jarvis, my good friend.”

              They start to walk on the beach at the unspoken invitation of the one with the smooth voice named Sinadron.

              “So, I’ve been told our little matter is going very well.”
              “Yes, very well, Master; I am deeply grateful for your intervention; without your help I’ve been told, my dear would not have been allowed to…”
              “Let’s not talk of such things any longer; it was such a delight to help two sweet young souls so deeply in love”

              Somehow, despite the words of kindness which are slithering with ease, the invisible witness got the uncanny feeling that they are but a deceptive fragment of the truth.

              “Now. Tell me”, the one named Sinadron continues in a mellifluous voice “Why have you called me for?”
              “The settlement you have suggested us to start on this land…”
              “Yes, I am aware, please go to the point instead of labouring things I am well aware of.” The voice had sharpened a bit.
              “I am sorry Master.”
              “There is a growing dissent that…”
              “And from who that shall come?”
              “Err… I hear Pelorus has spoken to the Zentauras…”
              “Pelorus is but a nuisance.” The voice wasn’t asking for contradiction, though an imperceptible grin was floating on the half-hidden face.
              He continued “But I shall help you, once again
              “Master, you are too generous…”
              “Let me finish. I will provide you with more men and women, willing to start a new life under your command, to help you grow your settlement. There are a few slaves on the Duane, that place from where you come who will do great.”
              “They will be there in an hexade. Make sure you stand your ground until then, even if that means confronting those nasty Zentauras.”

              And without waiting for the confused thanks, he disappeared, grinning widely.


              “So we’ll be moving as soon as the others come back from their trip. Very well, that will be a great opportunity to see new environments for YikesVincentius acknowledged the news with his usual composure.

              “Very well then, I hope you are not too worried about Arona, but she…”
              “Not at all” Vincentius answered with a smile.
              “Oh… Okay then. Perfect!”

              Malvina added as if to make sure he had understood everything properly “So, I’ll be at my friend’s den for a few days. Georges and Salome will be here in case you need anything, and of course Buckie, though he might be a bit unpredictable…”

              “Have a safe voyage” so Vincentius, who was not of many words when it wasn’t about saying something meaningful, ended the conversation.


              To go to see her friend Yimho, Malvina wanted to look pretty —not dashing, but not looking like a country girl either. She reached for the linen embroidered dress with the zynder patterns. She loved it, it would be perfect.

              Yimho was a guy living nearby she had known briefly from her days of Sorcery training, who had a rejuvenating cave situated just under a hot spring, so that water was running almost everywhere inside the cave. On the walls, the floor, little pools everywhere. Yimho had this uncanny interest in golfindels and was telling all sorts of stuff to entertain people with; stuff that he got from tuning himself to the consciousness of the creatures.
              Malvina was thinking she would have a nice time there, though the echoes of clicking sounds throughout Yimho’s dwelling were a bit disturbing…


              Balbina had had a quite difficult week. Feeling cold, having trouble to find sleep, not even speaking of being unable to do the kind of out-of-body travel she had managed to do last time.
              She was almost starting to doubt she could redo it again.

              Of course, the relocation at her son’s cottage was a source of much change in her habits, and although he wasn’t at home most of time, she wasn’t really feeling like she was ‘at home’. Strangest thing really, as for the time she was at the hospice she wasn’t feeling as much an alien as in this cottage. At least, at the hospice, she was in a sort of neutral environment, some place where she wasn’t undesirable (would it be asking for too much to actually be desirable at her age?). Here, the environment wasn’t neutral at all; everywhere everything reminded her of her son: his books, the posters, even the dust on the coffee table was almost looking as though it was his own.

              So she had to adjust. Contort her energy to fit —to crumple herself!— into this place, as it would be likely she would spend quite some time here. She wasn’t asking for much really, as she wasn’t able to move from the bed he’d had installed in the spare room. Ghastly room, with a creepy wallpaper from a has-been era of the past days, year 2000 or close she’d guess, gaudy as it was… oriented to the south, with hardly bearable heat during the day. She would have loved to see the coast on the north, but instead, the only window was showing her the shade of the trees, and that ominous alligator-green mountain just behind.

              If she couldn’t project in her dreams as she managed to do before, she would soon either die of boredom or of heat. She wasn’t too sure which one would be the most painless and efficient.

              She pushed the button to have her bed roll a little closer to the window; once straightened up a bit, she was able to see the passageway to the mountain. She couldn’t explain why she didn’t like this mountain; it was quite beautiful; perhaps she feared to be lost and abandoned. All the more since she could feel so much presence in this environment. Unseen presence, and trickster ones too.

              She was tired, and yawned so much her tense jaw’s muscles ached.

              On the emerald path to the forest, a moving teal wisp of light caught her attention. Funny plays of light at this hour of the day. But the wisp was persistent, and it started to move towards her.

              “Good day Balbina!”

              The crazy rabbit was back again. And… she was sleeping? In or out?

              “In or out, smell my foot, it’s your choice, and matters not
              but be quick, and come forth, for Anita and her folks this wicked way come!”

              “The tune is set, the tunnel is close
              Of playfulness you’ll need a hefty dose”


              — “Dory?”
              — “What, hon’?” a distracted Dory answered to young Becky
              — “You’d better remove the magnets from the iron, or you’ll ruin another one…”
              — “What are you talking about?!” Dory was perplexed, trying to find her way through the airport to Gate 57-¾, but only to find nothing but benches in between Gate 57 and 58.
              — “Oh, never mind… It’s only a dream and you probably won’t remember it anyway.”

              “There!” the suspicious bag lady of the Heathrow terminal had reappeared briefly just for Dory to spot her entering the restrooms.
              Becky was already rolling the heavy bumper-stickers patched suitcase to follow her without question.

              — “But why are you taking the suitcase to go to the bathroom, Beck’?”
              — “What are you talking about Dory!” Becky was sometimes losing patience. “Can’t you see it’s the entrance for Gate 57-¾?!”
              — “Uh?” A moment of clueless mystery on Dory’s face. “Oh…” Another mini-black hole on her face.

              “Oh. Okay then. Let’s go…”

              If there was something that her exotic life had taught Dory, it was to never question the moment. If the circumstances are here, if the impulse is there, then go for it. Explanations will follow. And in case they don’t, make them up as you roll and rock!

              Becky meanwhile was rather surprised at how people, even her own step-mother, as tuned in ghostly stuff as she was, most of the time failed to see the things for what they really are. And if these big painted letters on the door “GATE 57 ¾” weren’t obvious enough, and people preferred to interpret them as restrooms, then… what else could be done? She sighed.
              Later on, she would learn that it was a common, well documented trait in human consciousness; that people were sometimes psychologically (but not physically) blind to stuff outside of their current focus of attention, or simply blind to things too far off their beliefs; in other terms, it was a matter of energy reconfiguration. As long as it worked…

              “Oh look at that… Yukailli Airlines counter is here! What bloody stupid idea to put a closet door at the entrance…”

              After having made the departure arrangements at the counter, Dory came back to Becky who was looking outside at the planes.

              — “Ain’t them beautiful?”
              — “Yeah, and I suppose you’re seeing planes, aren’t you?”
              — “Err, yes of course, what else, silly… Though now you ask me, they seem a bit weird… foggy or something”.

              In fact, what Becky was seeing wasn’t conventional planes. It was more like “fly-boats”. Some sorts of hybrid ships made to fly with huge wings transparent and shiny like those of flies.

              — “I hope they have crunchy coleslaw for meal, I’m starving” a contented and tired Dory said, when she collapsed into the comfortable seats.


              Georges and Salome’s journal

              From Salome’s account of her introduction to the Turmak People (Part 1)

              Georges being involved more and more within the Quorum of Jokans, it has enabled me, if only by proxy, to get more acquainted with the personality of each of them.
              The Guardians are an ancient and very distinctive race which is, in many aspects, surprisingly similar to our Dream Walkers. One of these points of similarity is their aptitude at morphing their environment, and altering much of the physical properties of it within their dimension of operation.
              I suspect that, similarly to our Dream Walkers being responsible for the creation of physical focus as we currently experiment it in our Earth dimension, they are also for a great part responsible for the creation of many a species in the neighbouring noospheres —note that I shall occasionally use “Noosphere” as a word more apt to convey certain notions rather than the word “planet” which is loaded with certain beliefs.

              I will not enter into the social details of the race of the Guardians in this note, as it would be too long for this place, and Georges will probably explain it in more details later.
              However, I shall use this as an opportunity to introduce a character who soon became a close ally in our explorations of this universe.
              As a matter of fact, I came as a surprise to both of us when she started to pierce through Georges disguise, flawless as it may have been. We found out that they shared a connection which probably was the cause for their allowance of connection through the veils of their disguises in time and space.
              A rather elegant member of the Quorum of Twelve, Cil —as she is named, pronounced See’l — intuitively found out that we were not really who we claimed to be, especially that we were not from her known universe at all. But what could have been a difficult situation turned out for the best, as she was equally eager to discover about us, as we were about her people and universe.

              The recent reports of uprisings of the Zentauras was the matter which was seriously discussed, and it was decided as a favour from Noraam to Cil to allow her to go for an investigation on the Murtuane, to find out the reasons for this matter, if not the culprits among their kin.
              Needless to say that I was very much enthusiastic at the idea of having a guide to explain me more on the relationships at play…

              (Part 2)


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

              And One again they were.


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

              She laughed at the idea of Mandrake tormented by Yikesy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                Sam (the fox) had adapted quite well to Sam’s apartment.
                He was rather fond of dark corners where his glowing fur would create more effects. An accurate reflection of Sam’s own centeredness on self and fascination with the influence of his energy on his environment, including other individuals.

                A shift in his aspects made him feel dizzy for a moment. A nudge of energy from Tina and Al. They were at the floating terrace of a cafe and offered him to join in. Apparently, the ripples created by the hurricanes of last week were arriving in NYC. It was worth seeing. Some improvised surfing contest in the main channels of the city. Apparently Tina expressed quite freely to Becky and she needed to release the pressure. She had brought her bathing suit and was about to participate in the exuberant playful expression.

                Apparently the fury of the elements somewhere can generate fun in another place. Something about influence and reconfiguration?

                FoxSam was wagging his tails so it was obvious he wanted to come with him.
                Sam wouldn’t have let him alone, anyway.


                  Sam wanted to see by himself. He had suddenly remembered what Becky had told them once about a pet shop with a nine-tailed glowing fox. He hadn’t paid attention at the moment, but this was somewhat reappearing in his dreams lately. One of his focuses was the link, and he was seeing his face more and more looking directly at him.
                  He usually wasn’t speaking with his other selves, he was rather directly exchanging energy with them. At first it had been a bit awkward, practicing with telepathy and conversing with his friends was his main focus of interest. But once he was aware of how he could do that more easily and more efficiently, his attention wandered to other means of communication.
                  Eschraiel was currently nudging him, and his animal form was quite intriguing. Especially since there were those kind of animals living now!
                  He had arrived at the shop without really paying attention. He was following his guts to lead him exactly where he wanted.
                  Being soft, in the kind of mode of processing he was in currently, the people around were like objects around merged with his environment, nothing standing out. Except maybe that woman in front of the big parrot cage… no, not the woman but the color of her gown, a deep indigo, vibrant and shiny. She turned her smiling face in his direction, but it was like Eschraiel’s energy superimposed on hers. He smiled back at her and continued to the rear of the shop.

                  The creatures were in a dark room, their fur glowing with rusty and fiery shades. Apparently very engrossed in chasing each others tails… they had quite a lot to keep them busy. The little ones especially were jumping heartily on the older ones. Challenging them to retaliate… but getting apparently no response from them except a few grunts.


                  No particular feeling at first.


                  One of the little ones, maybe…


                  This one. One of the older ones. A male. He was looking at him now, as aware of Sam’s energy as Sam was aware of his.
                  He yelped a few times, standing like an Egyptian Sphinx.


                  In no time, Sam was out with his nine-tailed glowing fox
                  He’s so still, thought Sam.
                  How would I name you? he thought, directing the energy to the creature.

                  He opened his mouth and let his tongue out in such a way, it was like he was grinning and challenging him. Sam laughed and thought to the fox : So I have to play the impression game with you then.
                  Maybe… I can call you Sam actually :))
                  One bark was enough of an answer.
                  So Sam it is!
                  Another bark.
                  I have to introduce you to my friends now… I don’t know why, but I have the feeling Al will love you


                  As she was sinking to the bottom of the raging sea, Madame Chesterhope first felt like a boiling rage inside her, at all the thwarted attempts, all the unfulfilled promises.
                  Not a solid thing on which to carve a few runes or symbols to get herself out, not a single living being to use at her profit, she was alone, at the mercy of gravity.
                  Not unexpectedly, flashes of her life, of her many lives, flickered like incoherent pieces of an unfinished mosaic in her mind.

                  When did it went wrong? she thought… When did she lose touch with her magic.
                  Not the mundane magic, not the one she used for these parlor tricks devoid of meaning, like that beautiful flying motorbike which was drowning even faster than her… She was speaking of her inner magic, her sense of connection with the elements, with herself, Phoebe.

                  What had become of the frail grey-haired lady the apparency of whom she was so fond of taking years ago?
                  She was tempted to blame many things; the twenty-first century of her own dimension, for one, which had made her rough and tough, out of need perhaps, and perhaps a bit out of laziness. It was out of tiredness mostly, tiredness to have to constantly justify her appearance to others, that she had chosen a more convenient one; that of the crone with more rotund forms, of whom one would only expect austerity and strength.
                  You can see where it had led you. she was thinking.

                  A few more miles further down, and perhaps she would meet the mermaids, like the guy said in that Big Blue motion picture
                  Maybe there was some purity left in her heart, that would make the inhabitants of the depths greet her wretched soul. Or perhaps they all died before her, from the pollution of this strange world mutating in pangs and spasms of a painful childbirth.

                  And what would you do now, if you have the choice? that sweet voice, like that of a thin grey-haired mermaid, was it her own, testing herself?
                  The quest for magical artifacts seemed so far away at this moment. It had begun a long time ago, led her to discover new other-dimensional places… new tricks, all of them for what? To gain control over the elements, the others, everything that could threaten her, force her to change. How ironic. That the fear of change made her change so drastically.
                  She wanted to make peace with all of that. The mermaids weren’t coming, but her own voice was still there for her. Perhaps she could muster the strength. To continue…

                  Mustering all her force, she forcibly expressed the most propelling “prout” she’d ever made. Of course, she’d been learning a few tricks from the legendary Fartiste back in her youth when she went to Paris to perform at the Moulin Rouge… Sweetest time of her life, she had to admit…


                  On the surface of the waters, bubbles started to form.

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