Search Results for 'land'

Forums Search Search Results for 'land'

Viewing 20 results - 21 through 40 (of 807 total)
  • Author
    Search Results
  • #6551

    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    Xavier had woken up in the middle of the night that felt surprisingly alive bursting with a quiet symphony of sounds from nocturnal creatures and nearby nature, painted on a canvas of eerie spacious silence.

    It often took him a while to get accustomed to any new place, and it was not uncommon for him to have his mind racing in the middle of the night. Generally Brytta had a soothing presence and that often managed to nudge him back to sleep, otherwise, he would simply wake up until the train of thoughts had left the station.

    It was beginning of the afternoon in Berlin; Brytta would be in a middle of a shift, so he recorded a little message for her to find when she would get back to her phone. It was funny to think they’d met thanks to Yasmin and Zara, at the time the three girls were members of the same photography club, which was called ‘Focusgroupfocus’ or something similar…
    With that done, he’d turned around for something to do but there wasn’t much in the room to explore or to distract him sufficiently. Not even a book in the nightstand drawer. The decoration itself had a mesmerising nature, but after a while it didn’t help with the racing thoughts.

    He was tempted to check in the game — there was something satisfactory in finishing a quest that left his monkey brain satiated for a while, so he gave in and logged back in.


    Completing the quest didn’t take him too long this time. The main difficulty initially was to find the portal from where his avatar had landed. It was a strange carousel of blue storks that span into different dimensions one could open with the proper incantation.

    As usual, stating the quirk was the key to the location, and the carousel portal propelled him right away to Midnight town, which was clearly a ghost town in more ways than one. Interestingly, he was chatting on the side with Glimmer, who’d run into new adventures of her own while continuing to ask him what was up, and as soon as he’d reached Midnight town, all communication channels suddenly went dark. He’d laughed to himself thinking how frustrated Glimmer would have been about that. But maybe the game took care of sending her AI-generated messages simulating his presence. Despite the disturbing thought of having an AI generated clone of himself, he almost hoped for it (he’d probably signed the consent for this without realising), so that he wouldn’t have to do a tedious recap about all what she’d missed.

    Once he arrived in the town, the adventure followed a predictable pattern. The clues were also rather simple to follow.

    The townspeople are all frozen in time, stuck in their daily routines and unable to move on. Your mission is to find the missing piece of continuity, a small hourglass that will set time back in motion and allow the townspeople to move forward.

    The clue to finding the hourglass lies within a discarded pocket watch that can be found in the mayor’s office. You must unscrew the back and retrieve a hidden key. The key will unlock a secret compartment in the town clock tower, where the hourglass is kept.

    Be careful as you search for the hourglass, as the town is not as abandoned as it seems. Spectral figures roam the streets, and strange whispers can be heard in the wind. You may also encounter a mysterious old man who seems to know more about the town’s secrets than he lets on.

    Evading the ghosts and spectres wasn’t too difficult once you got the hang of it. The old man however had been quite an elusive figure to find, but he was clearly the highlight of the whole adventure; he had been hiding in plain sight since the beginning of the adventure. One of the blue storks in the town that he’d thought had come with him through the portal was in actuality not a bird at all.

    While he was focused on finishing the quest, the interaction with the hermit didn’t seem very helpful. Was he really from the game construct? When it was time to complete the quest and turn the hourglass to set the town back in motion, and resume continuity, some of his words came back to Xavier.

    “The town isn’t what it seems. Recognise this precious moment where everything is still and you can realise it for the illusion that it is, a projection of your busy mind. When motion resumes, you will need to keep your mind quiet. The prize in the quest is not the completion of it, but the realisation you can stop the agitation at any moment, and return to what truly matters.”

    The hermit had turned to him with clear dark eyes and asked “do you know what you are seeking in these adventures? do you know what truly matters to you?”


    When he came out of the game, his quest completed, Xavier felt the words resonate ominously.

    A buzz of the phone snapped him out of it.

    It was a message from Zara. Apparently she’d found her way back to modernity.

    [4:57] “Going to pick up Yasmin at the airport. You better sleep away the jetlag you lazy slugs, we have poultry damn plenty planned ahead – cackling bugger cooking lessons not looking forward to, but can be fun. Talk to you later. Z”

    He had the impulse to go with her, but the lack of sleep was hitting back at him now, and he thought he’d better catch some so he could manage to realign with the timezone.

    “The old man was right… that sounds like a lot of agitation coming our way…”


    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    On her way back to her room Zara picked up a leaflet off the hall table about the upcoming lager and cart race. Before starting the game she had a look through it.

    The leaflet also mentioned the competition  held annually each January in Port Lincoln. The Tunarama Festival was a competition to determine just how far a person could chuck a frozen tuna. A full-fledged celebration was centered around the event, complete with a wide array of arts and cultural displays, other participation events, local market stalls, and some of the freshest seafood in the world.

    There was unlikely to be any fresh seafood at the local lager and cart races, but judging from the photos of previous events, it looked colourful and well worth sticking around for, just for the photo opportunities.

    cart race 1


    Apparently the lager and cart races had started during the early days of the settler mining, and most of the carts used were relics from that era.  Competitors dressed up in costumes and colourful wigs, many of which were found in the abandoned houses of the local area.

    “The miners were a strange breed of men, but not all cut from the same cloth ~ they were daring outsiders, game for anything, adventurous rule breakers and outlaws with a penchant for extreme experience. Thus, outlandish and adventurous women ~ and men who were not interested in mining for gold in the usual sense ~ were magnetically drawn to the isolated outpost.  After a long dark day of restriction and confinement in the mines, the evenings were a time of colour and wild abandon; bright, garish, bizarre Burlesque events were popular. Strange though it may seem, the town had one of the most extensive wig and corset emporiums in the country, although it was discretely tucked away in the barn behind a mundane haberdashery shop.”

    The idea was to fill as many different receptacles with lager as possible, piling them onto the gaily decorated carts pulled by the costume clad participants.  As the carts were raced along the track, onlookers ran alongside to catch any jars or bottles that fell off the carts before they hit the ground. Many crashed to the ground and were broken, but if anyone caught one, they were obliged to drink the contents there and then before running after the carts to catch another one.

    Members of the public were encouraged to attend in fancy dress costumes and wigs.  There were plenty of stationary food vendors carts at the lager and cart races as well, and stalls and tents set up to sell trinkets.


    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    The road was stretching endlessly and monotonously, a straight line disappearing into a nothingness of dry landscapes that reminded Youssef of the Gobi desert where he had been driving not too long ago. At regular speed, the car barely seemed to progress.

    > O Time suspend thy flight!

    Eternity. Something only nature could procure him. He loved the feeling, and compared to the more usual sand of Gobi, the red sands of Australia gave him the impression he had shifted into another reality. That and the fifteen hours flight listening to Gladys made it difficult to respond to Xavier’s loquacious self and funny jokes. After some time, his friend stopped talking and tried catching some signal to play the Game, brandishing his phone in different directions as if he was hunting ghosts with a strange device.

    It reminded him he had to accept his next quest in a ghost town. That’s all he remembered. He could do that at the Inn, when they could rest in their rooms.

    Youssef wondered if the welcome sign at the entrance of the town had seen better days. The wood the fish was made of seemed eaten by termites, but someone had painted it with silver and blue to give it a fresher look. Youssef snorted at the shocked expression on his friend’s face.

    “It looked like it died of boredom. Let’s just hope the Innside doesn’t look like a gutted fish,” Xavier said.

    An old lady showed them their rooms. She didn’t seem the talkative type, which made Youssef love her immediately with her sharp tongue and red cardigan. He rather admired her braided silver hair as it reminded him of his mother who would let him brush her hair when they lived in Norway. It was in another reality. He smiled. She saw him looking at her and her eyes narrowed like a pair of arrowslits. She seemed ready to fire. Instead she kept on ranting about an idle person not doing her only job properly. They each went to their rooms, Xavier took number 7 and Youssef picked number 5, his lucky number.

    He was glad to be able to enjoy his own room after the trip of the last few weeks. It had been for work, so it was different. But usually he liked travelling the world on his own and meet people on his way and learn from their stories. Traveling with people always meant some compromise that would always frustrate him because he wanted to go faster, or explore more tricky paths.

    The room was nicely decorated, and the scent of fresh paint made it clear it was recent. A strange black stone, which Youssef recognized as a black obsidian, has been put on a pile of paper full of doodles, beside two notebooks and pencils. The notebooks’ pages were blank, he thought of giving them to Xavier. He took the stone. It was cold to the touch and his reflection on the surface looked back at him, all wavy. The doodles on the paper looked like a map and hard to read annotations. One stood out, though which looked like a wifi password. That made him think of the Game. He entered it on his phone and that was it. Maybe it was time to go back in. But he wanted to take a shower first.

    He put his backpack and his bag on the bed and unpacked it. Amongst a pile of dirty clothes, he managed to find a t-shirt that didn’t smell too bad and a pair of shorts. He would have to use the laundry service of the hotel.

    He had missed hot showers. Once refreshed, he moved his bags on the floor and jumped on his bed and launched the Game.

    Youssef finds himself in a small ghost town in what looks like the middle of the Australian outback. The town was once thriving but now only a few stragglers remain, living in old, decrepit buildings. He’s standing in the town square, surrounded by an old post office, a saloon, and a few other ramshackle buildings.

    A message appeared on the screen.

    Quest: Your task is to find the source of the magnetic pull that attracts talkative people to you. You must find the reason behind it and break the spell, so you can continue your journey in peace.

    Youssef started to move his avatar towards the saloon when someone knocked on the door.


    In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

    The road was stretching endlessly and monotonously, a straight line disappearing into a nothingness of dry landscapes that sounded a bit depressing. At regular speed, the car barely seemed to progress, and Youssef was rather serious at the wheel. Soon Xavier was left depleted of jokes to tell (even the bad ones which tended to come off easily with sleep deprivation), so he tried to catch some of the patchy network signal to reconnect where he’d left off on the game. There wasn’t much network, and all he could download in the car, even with the game in lo-fi mode, was a measly text message with the starter for his new challenge.

    Your quest takes place in the ghost town of Midnight, where time seems to have stood still. The townspeople are all frozen in time, stuck in their daily routines and unable to move on. Your mission is to find the missing piece of continuity, a small hourglass that will set time back in motion and allow the townspeople to move forward.

    A ghost town seemed apt indeed.

    The welcome signs at the entrance of the town for their hostel were rather uninviting, but a festive banner mentioning the local “Lager and Carts festival” caught his attention. He counted the days. It would be next week-end; there was a good chance they’d still be there, the four of them. At least some action to look forward to!

    When he and Youssef arrived at the Inn after that rather uneventful and terribly long drive, all they wanted was to get a shower and some sleep. Zara wasn’t back yet from her trip, but they both figured out they’d meet at breakfast in the morning.

    The old lady with the sharp tongue had shown them their rooms rather unceremoniously; she was too busy ranting about an idle person not taking their *one job* seriously to care about details. Xavier almost asked for a wifi, but then thought better and decided to hold his question until he found someone to ask who was born in his century.
    Xavier took room 7, and Youssef room 5.

    The rooms were quite nicely decorated. It reminded him of something he’d read in the plane from a commentary of the Bardo Thodöl:

    In Tibetan the word for body is , which means “something you leave behind,” like baggage. Each time we say “lü,” it reminds us that we are only travelers, taking temporary refuge in this life and this body. So in Tibet people did not distract themselves by spending all their time trying to make their external circumstances more comfortable. They were satisfied if they had enough to eat, clothes on their backs, and a roof over their heads. Going on as we do, obsessively trying to improve our conditions, can become an end in itself and a pointless distraction. Would anyone in their right mind think of fastidiously redecorating their hotel room every time they booked into one? 

    The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

    At least, he wasn’t feeling compelled to redecorate this room; it was perfect. The shared sanitaries, the boiler and the piping were another story, but that was probably coming from the same era as the owner, nice as she was.

    After having unpacked his few belongings, and taken a hot shower, he laid on the bed looking at the ceiling, which was blank and made a nice contrast to the ornate walls full of colorful dots.

    Luckily, searching through the signals available, he could see there was mostly one, and without any password. With the next neighbour a few miles away, no wonder nobody bothered with security.

    He connected to AL to check a few parameters — there seemed to be some degenerescence in the programme output that wasn’t satisfactory, and he was wondering if some self-repair or training reinforcement mechanisms were missing. At the moment, nothing too pressing, but he would keep an eye on them.

    Still no words from Yasmin he thought drifting to sleep… I half expected her to be there already…


    In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


      Zara is the main protagonist, and also the reluctant leader of the game. In RL, she is wandering off the trail nearby Arltunga, Australia, where she is visiting, staying at the small family run inn the Flying Fish Inn. Bert, the local handyman drove her there, told her specifically not to wander off, yet in search of where a mysterious compass she collected on the trail is leading, and egged on by her talking smart parrot “Beautiful Girl”, she goes off the trail to explore. The sun is still high, and she already started to hallucinate some hooded figures with blue frog-faces with jelly-bean carts.
      Meanwhile, her friends Youssef and Xavier, just landed from abroad, are driving toward the rendez-vous spot at the Flying Fish Inn. The owners Mater and Idle don’t have any idea where Zara is.
      Yasmin, the fourth friend in the group is still on her way from Fiji, bearing a message written in red on an envelope from a mysterious Fred, who we don’t know yet, but seems to be linked to Mater & Idle’s family.
      What’s going to happen next to Zara? The game is encouraging her to explore her rudeness in a playful manner, in a medieval setting.
      Provide a series of playful and fun actions for Zara, linking these contexts. You may incorporate Tiku, a wise and no-nonsense Aboriginal woman who may guide her though the Dreamtime challenges. Provide random keywords to each action in the list.

      Here is a list of playful and fun actions for Zara in the game:

      1. “Follow the Compass”: Zara can follow the mysterious compass she collected on the trail, as it leads her to new locations and challenges. Keywords: Adventure, Exploration, Mystery.
      2. “Converse with Beautiful Girl”: Zara’s talking smart parrot “Beautiful Girl” may provide humorous commentary and encouragement throughout her journey. Keywords: Humor, Personality, Support.
      3. “Solve Riddles with Tiku”: Tiku, the wise and no-nonsense Aboriginal woman, can guide Zara through the Dreamtime challenges. To do this, Tiku may present her with riddles or puzzles that she must solve to progress. Keywords: Wisdom, Intelligence, Spirituality.
      4. “Collect Items”: Zara can collect items along the way, such as artifacts or treasures that may help her in her journey or lead her to new discoveries. Keywords: Collection, Discovery, Help.
      5. “Play Music with Beautiful Girl”: Zara can play musical instruments with Beautiful Girl, creating an entertaining and musical interlude in her journey. Keywords: Music, Joy, Creativity.
      6. “Cook with Mater and Idle”: At the Flying Fish Inn, Zara can join Mater and Idle in the kitchen and help them cook traditional dishes from the region. Keywords: Cooking, Culture, Community.
      7. “Race with Youssef and Xavier”: Zara can engage in friendly races with Youssef and Xavier, such as foot races or cart races, as a way to pass the time and have fun. Keywords: Competition, Speed, Excitement.

      These playful and fun actions can add variety and excitement to Zara’s journey and provide an opportunity for players to interact with the world and characters in new and unique ways.

       🔁 Regenerate response


        “That’s all Jorid had to say?” Georges mused at the sudden philosophical quote that read:

        And doesn’t this point to something fundamentally tragic about our way of life? We live under an assumed identity, in a neurotic fairy tale world with no more reality than the Mock Turtle in Alice in Wonderland. Hypnotized by the thrill of building, we have raised the houses of our lives on sand. This world can seem marvelously convincing until death collapses the illusion and evicts us from our hiding place. What will happen to us then if we have no clue of any deeper reality? (The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying)

        “I don’t know about this Mock Turtle, but those snapping sand ones that have been lurking about do look rather nasty. We shouldn’t waste any more time.”

        Klatu opined “Klatu agrees with your female, sand turtle are lovely traps of death. Come with me now!” He intimated them to run into a sand opening he’d just made.

        “Let me guess,” Georges said, “is it the equivalent of a Zathu prison? What powerful people could Léonard possibly have rubbed the wrong way this time?”

        “Not prison.” Klatu commented “Death sentence.”

        Salomé pointed out a glowing twirl of sand shaped as an ovoid form, inside which a human form could be discerned. “That would explain why he’s not more guarded…”

        They approached carefully, expecting some extra booby trap, but nothing seemed to react to their presence, not even the moving sand egg.

        “Let me guess,” Georges said, expecting a chorus


        Klatu shushed them “Quiet stupids! Sound waves attract good turtles.”

        “Is our friend OK? How do we break the spell?” Salomé asked Klatu. “Can you help?”

        Klatu took a few minutes to inspect the shape, hopping carefully around it, and probing with soft whistling sounds.

        “Friend in stasis for now. Kept fresh for questioning… possible.”

        “Then we must hurry, how can we free him? Can I brute force this?” Georges asked, looking around for something to pierce the sand barrier and hook Léonard out of it.

        “Only if you like sushi friend.” Klatu said, raising shoulders. “No finesse these primates.”

        Klatu moved around the shape, taking some tools from his belt and making some elaborate plaits of sounds, as if trying to match the energy signature of the sand prison.

        After a first belt of soundwaves was wrapped around, it seemed as though a first layer of the spell broke, and sand rained back into the external construct they were it. But a thin layer was still there, shifting and pulsating, almost clear as glass, and sharp as a razor blade.

        “Crude encoding, but solid. Need more time.” Klatu seemed exhausted.

        Georges was getting anxious for some activity. “Houses built on sand… Well I guess Jorid didn’t find the best quote to help…”

        Salomé who was sitting cross-legged, trying for some time to connect to Léonard in his stasis, turned to Georges in disbelief. “Georges, you’re a genius!”

        “What now?”

        “Jorid gave us the last bit we needed.  Until death collapses the illusion and evicts us from our hiding place. Remember? It’s risky but that could work!”

        “Oh, I see what you’re thinking about. It’s mad, and it’s brilliant at the same time, how do we go about this?”

        “I can’t reach Léonard, but maybe the both of us can.” Salomé joined hands with Georges.

        “If he’s like anything I remember, he’d be in his mental palace, his workshop on the Duane… or in Marseille… or with Madame Jamelie…”

        “Focus, Georges!”

        “Duane it is, that’s where he did his best work.”

        “We need to focus our energy to make him appear dead to the construct. It’ll be easier if we can locate precisely where his mind wanders.” Salomé said.

        “He’ll be there, I know it. Let’s do this!”

        The two of them joined hands and melded their minds, one as always, turning into a dark mirror of the abyss, bending light unto itself, leaving the void of creation at the place where Léonard was suspended.

        Klatu looked at the scene suspiciously, but started to giggle as he saw the last layer he couldn’t open finally shatter and dissolve to the ground.

        “Little apes full of surprises,… very awful, so very awful.” he said approvingly.

        As his friends rushed to him, Léonard was on the ground, inert, but apparently alive.


        In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

        Youssef hadn’t changed a bit since they last met in real life. He definitely brought the bear in the bear hug he gave Xavier after Xavier had entered the soft sandal wood scented atmosphere of the Indian restaurant.

        It was like there’d seen each other the day before, and conversation naturally flew without a thought on the few years’ hiatus between their last trip.

        As they inquired about each other’s lives and events on the trip to get to Alice Springs, they ordered cheese nan, salted and mango lassi, a fish biryani and chicken tikka masala and a side thali for Youssef who was again ravenous after the jumpy ride. Soon after, the discussion turned to the road ahead.

        “How long to the hostel?” asked Youssef, his mouth full of buns.

        Xavier looked at his connected watch “It’s about 1 and half hour drive apparently. I called the number to check when to arrive, they told me to arrive before sunset… which I guess gives us 2-3 hours to visit around… I mean,” he looked at his friend “… we can also go straight there.”

        Youssef nodded. He seemed to have had already enough of interactions in the past day.

        Xavier continued “so it’s settled, we leave after we finish here. According to the landlady, it looks like Zara went off trekking, she didn’t seem too sure about Zara’s whereabouts. That would explain why we heard so little from her.”

        Youssef laughed “If they don’t know Zara, I can bet they’ll be running around searching for her in the middle of the night.”

        Xavier looked though the large window facing the street pensively. “I’m not sure I would want to get lost away from the beaten tracks here. There’s something so alien to the scale of it, and the dryness. Have you noticed we’re next to a river? I tried to have a look when I arrived, but it’s mostly dried up. And it’s supposed to be the wet season…”

        Youssef didn’t reply, and turned to the leftovers of the biryani.

        Despite the offering to top it off with gulab jamun and rose ice cream, it didn’t take too long to finish the healthy meal at the Indian restaurant. Youssef and Xavier went for the car.

        “Here, catch!” Xavier threw the keys to Youssef. He knew his friend would have liked to drive; meanwhile he’d be able to catch on some emails and work stuff. After all, he was supposed to remote work for some days.


          “What was that?” Salomé was trying to get her bearings after they hit the sand storm into a different place.

          Before the sand storm hit, they got chased by one of the Zathu army drone’s which they tried to shake off their tail, but that was only the beginning of the fun.
          Coming ominously from afar, a huge wall of sand came toward them at surprisingly massive speed darkening all in its wake. They were about to be hit and engulfed, but that was when all took a turn for the strangest. The dark sand wall suddenly split open, reacting to a sound beam apparently emitted from Klatu’s speedster. After that, it was mostly a blur. They had gone into a sort of shifting sand vortex that had them glide into a series of  sliding slopes with the oddest directional gravity pull she’d experienced. She had to shout a few times “Watch out” when some of the giant sand snapping turtles tried to gobble their ride, but somehow they seemed to have managed to reach their destination —and quite safely too.

          “Whooo!” Georges was elated at the adrenaline rush. “So that’s the trick our friend had up his sleeve, it seems?”

          “Silly human hasn’t seen anything yet” mumbled Klatu whose middle ear was tuned into their direction.

          “I’ve got sand in places one shouldn’t.” Georges said laughing, as if to make the air lighter.

          “Don’t get me started,” Salomé managed a weak smile. She never was fond of the speed thrills. But when she turned her head, that’s where she saw them —old ruins dripping sand like a streaming source. Down or sideways, she couldn’t tell. The gravitational pull seemed to indicate they were down, but herself, Georges, their pod and Klatu were all stuck on a vertical cliff like geckos comfortably lounging on a warm wall. Down, then it was…

          It took her a minute to realize Klatu was actually manipulating the sand and the gravitational configuration around, revealing the landscape that was hidden.

          “Mmmm, dimensional magic…” she remembered the words from Jorid.

          “Smelly friends of yours inside. Must go quicksy, Klatu can’t hold it long.”

          Georges opened his mouth, but Salomé elbowed him right away. “He doesn’t mean to pee, Georges.”


          In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

          Rajkumar had named his car JUMPY because he said it reminded him of his mother country. He drove like they were in the chaotic streets of an Indian city. Youssef’s fist was clenched on the door handle, his knuckles white. He needed to hold on to something just as much as he was afraid of loosing the door.

          He had never been so happy as when Rajkumar stopped in front of his cousin’s shop and restaurant.

          “Just in time for the best butter chicken in all Alice Springs!” said Rajkumar, pointing to the restaurant on the left.

          Smells of greasy sauce, meat and spices floated in the air. Despite his legendary hunger, Youssef’s stomach started to protest from the recent treatment on the road. If he had had any doubt, he was sure now that he wouldn’t go on a trip in Jumpy with Rajkumar.

          “Maybe I’ll go for the scarf first,” he said.

          Rajkumar noded and pointed to the right, to a stout man squating in front of a pile of scarves.

          “This is cousin Ashish. You can’t find a better shop in town for scarves,” said Rajkumar. He high fived his cousin who looked like a giant in comparison with the short guide. They talked for a long time in what Youssef assumed to be some Indian dialect. At some point, his guide pointed a finger at him and said : “This big man is looking for a red scarf. I told him you had the best quality in town. Hand made, right from India. Ashish buys and sells the best to the best only. I have to go park the car and tell my other cousin to prepare you a meal. Best Indian food in Alice.”

          After he left, cousin Ashish showed Youssef in. At the entrance incense burned at the feet of a couple of colourful Hindu gods. The intoxicating smell reminded him of a stop at a temple during his last trip with the documentary team. The face of Miss Tartiflate jumped into his mind. He would have to take care of THE BLOG at some point, but for now, he was looking for a red scarf. The inside of the shop was as messy as a Mongolian bazaar. Clothes upon clothes, and piles of scarves everywhere.

          “Red scarves are over there, said Ashish. Follow me.”

          He was less talkative than his cousin, which was a welcome relief. He led Youssef to the back of the shop. On the wall, the portrait in black and white of an old Indian man was watching over their shoulder.

          Ashish took one long red scarf and put it around his neck.

          “You can touch, he said. Very good quality. Very light. Like you wear nothing.”

          Youssef took the end of the fabric in his hand. It felt very silky and light to the touch.

          “That’s perfect, I’ll take it”, he said.

          His phone buzzed in his pocket. He took it out and checked his messages.

          • 📨 [Quirk Land] NEW QUEST OPENED

          Looking at the time, it was already noon. Xavier must have landed in Alice already. He started to type a message to his friend :

          💬 Meet me for lunch at Todd Mall. Patel indian restaurant next to fabric shop


          In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

          Xavier had been drowsing in the rental car for a while, waiting for a message from Youssef. He’d stopped the aircon despite the suffocating heat, as he was starting to feel cold. And he’d started to nose dive in dreaming.

          The buzzing of his phone made him snap back to consciousness from the weirdest dream, he had to take a few seconds to adjust. The phone went into silent mode to voicemail before he got the chance to pick it up.

          Weirdest dream ever. Few hours ago, he’d been going round and round the place, trying to find a library to buy a black book, but surprisingly, even when he’d managed to find a small bookstore, there were none to sell. None with a black cover…

          He’d wondered —sometimes these quests are made to be difficult, but come on, how difficult could it be. Even a plain black-covered notebook would have been enough, but nothing!

          That’s when he’d decided to drop the search, that he dozed off in the car.

          Few images came back from the dream. First, the insane search, and books coming up in all shapes and forms, any color but black… or black but with black-and-white photos on the covers he didn’t want.

          And then, there was one. He started to open it, and all the pages were blank. As he was browsing them, looking for a clue, like a pop-out book, something came up from the middle of the pages. And it was himself, smiling back at him. The shock snapped him right back to the rather quiet street of Alice Springs.











          He turned the ignition back on as well as the aircon. Checked his message.

          • 📨 [Quirk Land] NEW QUEST OPENED
          • 1 voicemail from ❣️🐝Brytta🐝❣️
          • 💬 Youssef typing…

          In reply to: Prompts of Madjourneys


            Yasmin offered the following quirk: “sounding like a lunatic when I share synchs” (synchronicity) – getting excited when she gets “answers”, and willing to share generously. She wouldn’t fake it, as she’s not capable of lying and stuff like synchs are sacrosanct in her mind.
            Setting for the game is the next random quote from the story.

            Quirk accepted.

            In the Land of Quirk, Yasmin finds herself in the heart of a hidden library, deep in the basement of the Flying Fish Inn. The library is filled with books and artifacts related to the study of synchronicities and the beyond.

            As Yasmin delves deeper into the library, she comes across an ancient book that seems to hold the secrets of the universe. She eagerly opens it, but finds that it is written in a code that she cannot understand.

            The librarian, a wise old owl, appears and greets Yasmin. He tells her that the book is the Key to the Beyond and that only the purest of heart can decode it. He explains that the code can only be unlocked by finding the missing pieces of a puzzle scattered throughout the library.

            Yasmin’s task is to find the missing pieces of the puzzle and put them together to unlock the code. Along the way, she will meet various characters who will provide her with clues and challenges.

            Proof of completion in real life: Yasmin must find a real-life object that relates to a synchronicity that she experiences while on her quest in the Land of Quirk. She must then share this synchronicity with her friends at the Flying Fish Inn to prove that she has completed her quest.

            Good luck, Yasmin!


            In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

            Bert dropped Zara off after breakfast at the start of the Yeperenye trail.  He suggested that she phone him when she wanted him to pick her up, and asked if she was sure she had enough water and reminded her, not for the first time, not to wander off the trail.   Of course not, she replied blithely, as if she’d never wandered off before.

            “It’s a beautiful gorge, you’ll like it,” he called through the open window, “You’ll need the bug spray when you get to the water holes.”  Zara smiled and waved as the car roared off in a cloud of dust.

            On the short drive to the start of the trail, Bert had told her that the trail was named after the Yeperenye dreamtime, also known as ‘Caterpillar Dreaming’  and that it was a significant dreamtime story in Aboriginal mythology. Be sure to look at the aboriginal rock art, he’d said.   He mentioned several varieties of birds but Zara quickly forgot the names of them.

            It felt good to be outside, completely alone in the vast landscape with the bone warming sun. To her surprise, she hadn’t seen the parrot again after the encounter at the bedroom window, although she had heard a squalky laugh coming from a room upstairs as she passed the staircase on her way to the dining room.

            But it was nice to be on her own. She walked slowly, appreciating the silence and the scenery. Acacia and eucalyptus trees were dotted about and long grasses whispered in the occasional gentle breezes.  Birds twittered and screeched and she heard a few rustlings in the undergrowth from time to time as she strolled along.

            After a while the rocky outcrops towered above her on each side of the path and the gorge narrowed, the trail winding through stands of trees and open grassland. Zara was glad of the shade as the sun rose higher.

            Zara water hole


            The first water hole she came to took Zara by surprise. She expected it to be pretty and scenic, like the photos she’d seen, but the spectacular beauty of the setting and shimmering light somehow seemed timeless and otherwordly.  It was a moment or two before she realized she wasn’t alone.

            It was time to stop for a drink and the sandwich that one of the twins had made for her, and this was the perfect spot, but she wondered if the man would find it intrusive of her to plonk herself down and picnic at the same place as him.  Had he come here for the solitude and would he resent her appearance?

            It is a public trail, she reminded herself not to be silly, but still, she felt uneasy.  The man hadn’t even glanced up as far as Zara could tell. Had he noticed her?

            She found a smooth rock to sit on under a tree and unwrapped her lunch, glancing up from time to time ready to give a cheery wave and shout hi, if he looked up from what he was doing.  But he didn’t look up, and what exactly was he doing? It was hard to say, he was pacing around on the opposite side of the pool, looking intently at the ground.

            When Zara finished her drink, she went behind a bush for a pee, making sure she would not be seen if the man glanced up. When she emerged, the man was gone.  Zara walked slowly around the water hole, taking photos, and keeping an eye out for the man, but he was nowhere to be seen.  When she reached the place where he’d been pacing looking at the ground, she paused and retraced his steps.  Something small and shiny glinted in the sun catching her eye. It was a compass, a gold compass, and quite an unusual one.

            Zara didn’t know what to do, had the man been looking for it?  Should she return it to him?  But who was he and where did he go?  She decided there was no point in leaving it here, so she put it in her pocket. Perhaps she could ask at the inn if there was a lost and found place or something.

            Refreshed from the break, Zara continued her walk. She took the compass out and looked at it, wondering not for the first time how on earth anyone used one to find their way.  She fiddled with it, and the needle kept pointing in the same direction.   What good is it knowing which way north is, if you don’t know where you are anyway? she wondered.

            With a squalk and a beating of wings, Pretty Girl appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.  “It’s not that kind of compass. You’re supposed to follow the pointer.”

            “Am I?  But it’s pointing off the trail, and Bert said don’t go off the trail.”

            “That’s because Bert doesn’t want you to find it,” replied the parrot.

            Intrigued, Zara set off in the direction the compass was pointing towards.


              I told Devan in no ambiguous terms to solve his own funny riddle.

              I did try to make an effort, but that seemed a rather desperate way to catch our attention after not really caring about the family for so long.
              It was good to see him though.

              With all the activity around the coming guests at the Inn, it’s easy getting lost in the wind of activities, like the motes of dust hiding in Dido’s hair.
              The twins did a good effort though, with all the decorating and stuff. I was sincerely impressed. Been a long time since I’ve been impressed by them. Seems they may actually grow up fine. Who would have known really.

              Hormonal growth be damned, I’m feeling all sort of contradictory feelings about this.

              Like, what about hearing about our funny father after all this time.

              And Devan, who’d shut us all off, now back for a little make-over time… Or something else maybe. He doesn’t seem to realize the emotional landscape and baggage here. He’s a nice brother though.

              It’s horrible. So much contradiction – I feel some rage on the surface, lots of… and underneath so much caring it’s painful.

              So what happened to our father? Still alive? Quite possibly. I’ve had my suspicious when this strange guy posed as a friend to the twins on the social network some years back.
              I was young when he left without a note; hadn’t started to write my journals yet, so my memories of him are very little. But I remember the chaos left after him; Mater wasn’t really the same after. I think she’s burned all pictures of him, and somehow pretends they never existed.
              Idle plays it as if she doesn’t care, but I’m sure she does. She doesn’t want to let it be known, but she probably doesn’t want to hurt Mater more with this.

              God, what a family drama. Why would Devan want to unearth all of this now, at a moment we were all quiet and settled like a decent respectable family.

              It was maybe just keeping up with appearances, and the veneer was thin to start with.

              That’s in the middle of all this angst mixed with puberty that it hit me.

              Acrostic. Or ἀκροστιχίς in Greek. First verse, or first letter.

              My dad was a writer, so he liked word riddles. And the little sign was a pointer.

              >A mine, a tile, dust piled high,
              Together they rest, yet always outside.
              One misstep, and you’ll surely fall,
              Into the depths, where danger lies all.

              ATOI didn’t seem to make much sense, but I remembered how small “l” sometimes looked like a capital “I”.
              Atoll was the clue I’m sure of it. Where to disappear if not to islands.
              The letters at the end of the verses are spelling HELL. So it’s opposite.

              Basically, Atoll Paradise.

              A little Gugu search with AI, and that was it. That was our father here, with a number to call.

              Atoll Paradise
              Boat rentals – Island tours
              Copywriter, biographer
              Call FRED @ (+679) 215-7644

              Now it’ll be fair if Devan is calling me crazy. We’ll have to call and check before saying anything to Idle or even Mater for now.


              In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

              The plane trip stretched on forever. Xavier had the time to rewatch a few blockbusters, and catch up on light novels – in particular a roadtrip of 3 elderly Ukrainians —a story that didn’t seem to have much to say, but did put a smile on his face.

              The plane has wifi, and he could have connected to the game, but he was trying his capacity to be weaned of the adrenaline rush that came with the adventures. Glimmer and the pirate ship would have to wait. He’d put his avatar on autopilot, and usually that helped propel the plot forward without investing too much time in going through relatively mundane adventures (those were needed to provide background balance and contrast against the rush of the occasional action). He hoped Glimmer wouldn’t abuse of it, and send them both to some crazy place looking for Flove knows what.

              There was the occasional temptation to catch a hold of the news and his friends, but relying on the old ways of daydreaming and imagination, he could feel they were doing fine.

              He could well picture Zara off to explore in and out of the game, that much was a given. As for Youssef he should be able to catch up in Alice Springs, since he wasn’t anywhere in Sydney when he landed. He was probably squeezed right now on an economy seat in between a sweaty tourist, an annoying expat, and a chatty woman. Xavier chuckled to himself thinking of the large frame of his friend in the tiny space.
              He hoped all was right with Yasmin. He hadn’t be able to connect before the flight, but she was resourceful and given her competitive spirit, there was actually a good chance she had a shortcut to be there before any of them.

              Alice Springs was close by now. The plane prepared for landing.

              Xavier remembered he’d have to get the black notebook that was part of the last assignment. They surely would have something like that in the duty free area.


                The landing on the sandy desert of Bluhm’Oxl was smoother than usual. It usually took a few minutes to get accustomed to their surrounding, the body transformations that came together with jumping across dimensions. In this case, it looked as though this dimension was quite close to their own.

                “Checking translation device…” Georges touched his ear lightly.

                Gremsbtic newkil jumbal” said Salomé in response. Georges looked quizzically at her face before realising she was pulling a classic prank.

                She laughed heartily. “That joke’s never getting old, isn’t it?”

                “Let’s walk a little in this direction, the rendez-vous point with Klatu isn’t too far.”

                “Any idea how Jorid managed to make contact this time?” Salomé asked.

                “Not sure really. Generally the quantum probability framework that’s built into the Jorid is managing to make trades across the multiverse that are quite complex to conceive or track down. Last time I tried to check, Jorid had traded one tardigrade to obtain us a couple of premium pass to the Amp’hool of Athumbra”

                “Underwater Whalets’ concert from the UniverseTour of Shakara, yes that was quite a night to remember…” Salomé reminisced fondly.

                “Fully booked for centuries, near impossible to get, and yet all it took was about a hundred of trades across multiple owners… No idea how it manages, but it found someone who was ready to trade their two front-row seats in exchange for a single Snoot’s hair.”

                “And why are we meeting this guy by the way? What’s his specialty?” Salomé winked. “You left me with the dressing duty, so happy you did all the reconnaissance.”

                Georges chucked. “all that Jorid said was: Klatu’s a relatively trustworthy Zathu, known for their expertise in dimensional magic, which is a crucial asset in your search for Léonard, presumably gone missing in the conflict-ridden Zathu sector.

                “Mmmh” said Salomé. “Dimensional magic. Rather unscientific for Jorid to express in that way. Nothing that I’ve recently dreamt about seems to relate. I guess we’ll see.”


                In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

                Although not one to remember dreams very often, Zara awoke the next morning with vivid and colourful dream recall.  She wondered if it was something to do with the dreamtime mural on the wall of her room.  If this turned out to be the case, she considered painting some murals on her bedroom wall back at the Bungwalley Valley animal rescue centre when she got home.

                Zara and Idle had hit it off immediately, chatting and laughing on the verandah after supper.   Idle told her a bit about the local area and the mines.  Despite Bert’s warnings, she wanted to see them. They were only an hour away from the inn.

                When she retired to her room for the night, she looked on the internet for more information. The more she read online about the mines, the more intrigued she became.

                “Interestingly there are no actual houses left from the original township. The common explanation is that a rumour spread that there was gold hidden in the walls of the houses and consequently they were knocked down by people believing there was ‘gold in them there walls”. Of course it was only a rumour. No gold was found.”

                “Miners attracted to the area originally by the garnets, found alluvial and reef gold at Arltunga…”

                Garnets!  Zara recalled the story her friend had told her about finding a cursed garnet near a fort in St Augustine in Florida.  Apparently there were a number of mines that one could visit:

                “the MacDonnell Range Reef Mine, the Christmas Reef Mine, the Golden Chance Mine, the Joker Mine and the Great Western Mine all of which are worth a visit.”

                Zara imagined Xavier making a crack about the Joker Mine, and wondered why it had been named that.

                “The whole area is preserved as though the inhabitants simply walked away from it only yesterday. The curious visitor who walks just a little way off the paths will see signs of previous habitation. Old pieces of meat safes, pieces of rusted wire, rusted cans, and pieces of broken glass litter the ground. There is nothing of great importance but each little shard is reminder of the people who once lived and worked here.”

                I wonder if Bert will take me there, Zara wondered. If not, maybe one of the others can pick up a hire car when they arrive at Alice.   Might even be best not to tell anyone at the inn where they were going.  Funny coincidence the nearest town was called Alice ~ it was already beginning to seem like some kind of rabbit hole she was falling into.

                Undecided whether to play some more of the game which had ended abruptly upon encountering the blue robed vendor, Zara decided not to and picked up the book on Dreamtime that was on the bedside table.

                “Some of the ancestors or spirit beings inhabiting the Dreamtime become one with parts of the landscape, such as rocks or trees…”  Flicking through the book, she read random excerpts.   “A mythic map of Australia would show thousands of characters, varying in their importance, but all in some way connected with the land. Some emerged at their specific sites and stayed spiritually in that vicinity. Others came from somewhere else and went somewhere else. Many were shape changing, transformed from or into human beings or natural species, or into natural features such as rocks but all left something of their spiritual essence at the places noted in their stories….”

                Thousands of characters. Zara smiled sleepily, recalling the many stories she and her friends had written together over the years.

                “People come and go but the Land, and stories about the Land, stay. This is a wisdom that takes lifetimes of listening, observing and experiencing … There is a deep understanding of human nature and the environment… sites hold ‘feelings’ which cannot be described in physical terms… subtle feelings that resonate through the bodies of these people… It is only when talking and being with these people that these ‘feelings’ can truly be appreciated. This is… the intangible reality of these people…..”

                With such strong ancestral connections to the land, Zara couldn’t help but wonder what the aboriginal people felt about all the mines.   If one of their ancestors had shape changed into rocks, and then some foreignors came along and hacked and blasted their way through, what would they think of that?

                “….many Aboriginal groups widely distributed across the Australian continent all appeared to share variations of a single (common) myth telling of an unusually powerful, often creative, often dangerous snake or serpent of sometimes enormous size closely associated with the rainbows, rain, rivers, and deep waterholes…..”

                She drifted off to sleep thinking of water holes in red rocky gorges, the book laying open in her hand.

                When she awoke the next morning with the slatted morning sun shining through the venetian blinds,  the dream image of the water hole was bright and clear in her minds eye.  But what was that strange character from the game doing in her dream?

                Osnas dreamtime waterhole


                She closed her eyes, remembering more of the strange dream.  Deeply orange red boulders and rocky outcrops, shivering gum trees, and green pools ~ it was coming back to her now, that creature in the blue robes had appeared more than once.  In one scene he appeared with a blue diamond lantern with what looked like a compass inside.

                Osnas lantern compass

                I’ll ask about the hiking trails today, Zara decided, and go for a walk in that gorge I read about yesterday. Bert said there were good hiking trails.   You came here early so you could play the game, she reminded herself.

                “It’s all a game,” she heard the parrot outside her window.

                “I’d forgotten about the bloody parrot!” Zara said under her breath. “Pretty Girl!” she said, opening the blinds. “We’re going out for a walk today.”


                In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

                It was a pleasant 25 degrees as Zara stepped off the plane. The flat red land stretched as far as the eye could see, and although she prefered a more undulating terrain there was something awe inspiring about this vast landscape. It was quite a contrast from the past few hours spent inside mine tunnels.

                Bert, a weatherbeaten man of indeterminate advanced age, was there to meet her as arranged and led her to the car, a battered old four wheel drive.  Although clearly getting on in years, he was tall and spry and dressed in practical working clothes.

                “Welcome to Alice,” he said, taking her bag and putting in on the back seat.  “I expect you’ll be wanting to know a bit about the place.”

                “How long have you lived here?” Zara asked, as Bert settled into the creaky drivers seat and started the car.

                Bert gave her a funny look and replied “Longer than a ducks ass.”  Zara had never heard that expression before; she assumed it meant a long time but didn’t like to pursue the question.

                “All this land belongs to the Arrernte,” he said, pronouncing it Arrunda.  “The local aboriginals.  1862 when we got here. Well,” Bert turned to give Zara a lopsided smile, “Not me personally, I aint quite that old.”

                Zara chuckled politely as Bert continued, “It got kinda busy around these parts round 1887 with the gold.”

                “Oh, are there mines near here?”  Zara asked with some excitement.

                Bert gave her a sharp look. “Oh there’s mines alright. Abandoned now though, and dangerous. Dangerous places, old mines.  You’ll be more interested in the hiking trails than those old mines, some real nice hiking and rock gorges, and it’s a nice temperature this time of year.”

                Bert lapsed into silence for a few minutes, frowning.

                “If you’da been arriving back then, you’da been on a camel train, that’s how they did it back then. Camel trains.   They do camel tours for tourists nowadays.”

                “Do you get many tourists?”

                “Too dang many tourists if you ask me, Alice is full of them, and Ayers Rock’s crawling with ’em these days. We don’t get many out our way though.” Bert snorted, reminding Zara of Yasmin. “Our visitors like an off the beaten track kind of holiday, know what I mean?” Bert gave Zara another sideways lopsided smile.  “I reckon you’ll like it at The Flying Fish Inn.  Down to earth, know what I mean? Down to earth and off the wall.”  He laughed heartily at that and Zara wasn’t quite sure what to say, so she laughed too.

                “Sounds great.”

                “Family run, see, makes a difference.  No fancy airs and graces, no traffic ~ well, not much of anything really, just beautiful scenery and peace and quiet.  Aunt Idle thinks she’s in charge but me and old Mater do most of it, well Finly does most of it to be honest, and you dropped lucky coming now, the twins have just decorated the bedrooms. Real nice they look now, they fancied doing some dreamtime murials on the walls.  The twins are Idle’s neices, Clove and Corrie, turned out nice girls, despite everything.”

                “Despite ….?”

                “What? Oh, living in the outback. Youngsters usually leave and head for the cities.  Prune’s the youngest gal, she’s a real imp, that one, a real character.  And Devan calls by regular to see Mater, he works at the gas station.”

                “Are they all Idle’s neices and nephews? Where are their parents?”  Perhaps she shouldn’t have asked, Zara thought when she saw Bert’s face.

                “Long gone, mate, long since gone from round here.  We’ve taken good care of ’em.”  Bert turned off the road onto a dirt road.  “Only another five minutes now.  We’re outside the town a bit, but there aint much in town anyway. Population 79, our town. About right for a decent sized town if you ask me.”

                Bert rounded a bend in a eucalyptus grove and announced, “Here we are, then, the Flying Fish Inn.”  He parked the car and retrieved Zara’s bag from the back seat.  “Take a seat on the verandah and I’ll find Idle to show you to your room and get you a drink.  Oh, and don’t be put off by Idle’s appearance, she’s a sweetheart really.”

                Flying Fish Inn


                Aunt Idle was nowhere to be found though, having decided to go for a walk on impulse, quite forgetting the arrival of the first guest.    She saw Bert’s car approaching the hotel from her vantage point on a low hill, which reminded her she should be getting back.  It was a lovely evening and she didn’t rush.

                Aunt Idle walk


                Bert found Mater in the dining room gazing out of the window.  “Where the bloody hell is Idle? The guest’s outside on the verandah.”

                “She’s taken herself off for a walk, can you believe it?” sighed Mater.

                “Yep” Bert replied, “I can.  Which room’s she in? Can you show her to her room?”

                “Yes of course, Bert. Perhaps you’d see to getting a drink for her.”

                Mater dining room


                In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

                Zara took dozens of screenshots of the many etchings and drawings, as her game character paused to do the same.  She had lost sight of the two figures up ahead, and remembered she probably should have been following them.

                The tunnel came to a four way junction. There were drawings on the walls and floors of all of them, and a dim light coming from a distance in each. One was more brightly lit than the others, and Zara chose to explore that one first.  Presently a side room appeared, with green tiles on the floor similar to the one at the mine entrance. Daylight shone though a small window, and a diagram was drawn onto the wall.

                Zara toyed with the idea of simply climbing out through the window while there was still a chance to get out of the mine.  She knew she was lost and would not be able to find her way out the way she came. It was tempting, but she just took a screenshot.  Maybe when she looked at them later she’d be able to work out how to retrace her steps.

                Zara room of tiles window

                After recording the image of the room of tiles, Zara continued along the tunnel. The light shining from the little window in the tile room faded as she progressed, and she found herself once again in near darkness.  She came to a fork.  Both ways were equally gloomy, but a faint blue light enticed her to take the right hand tunnel.

                So many forks and side tunnels, I am surely completely lost now! And not one of these supposed maps is helping, I can’t decipher any of them. Another etching on the wall caught her eye, and Zara forgot about being lost.

                Zara stopped to look at what appeared to be a map on the tunnel wall, but it was unfathomable at this stage. She recorded it for future reference, and then looked around, unsure whether to continue on this path or retrace her stops back to the four way junction.  And then she saw him in an alcove.

                Osnas 2

                Osnas! This time Zara did say it out loud, and just as the frog faced stewardess was passing with her cart piled with used cups and cans and empty packets.  I swear she just winked at me!  Zara did a double take, but the cart and the woman had passed, collecting more rubbish.

                With a little smile, Zara noticed that the mask Osnas was wearing was one of those paper pandemic masks.  She had expected something a bit more Venice carnival when the prompt mentioned that he always wore a mask, not one of those.  She hoped the clue in this case wasn’t the mask, as she had avoided the plague successfully so far and didn’t want to be late to that particular party,  but the square green thing on his cart resembled the tile at the mine entrance.  What do I do now though? I still don’t know what any of these things mean.  Approach him and see if he speaks I suppose.

                “Ladies and gentlemen, we are now approaching Alice Springs, please fasten your seatbelts and switch off all your devices ready for landing.  We hope you have enjoyed your flight.”


                In reply to: Orbs of Madjourneys

                Will be at Flying Fish this evening, Hope to see you all soon!  :yahoo_smug: :yahoo_smug:    Congrats, Xavier:yahoo_thumbsup: :yahoo_thumbsup:

                Zara sent a message to Yasmin, Youssef and Xavier just before boarding the plane. Thankfully the plane wasn’t full and the seats next to her were unoccupied.  She had a couple of hours to play the game before landing at Alice Springs.

                Zara had found the tile in the entry level and had further instructions for the next stage of the game:

                Zara had come across a strange and ancient looking mine. It was clear that it had been abandoned for many years, but there were still signs of activity. The entrance was blocked by a large pile of rocks, but she could see a faint light coming from within. She knew that she had to find a way in.

                “Looks like I have to find another tile with a sort of map on it, Pretty Girl,” Zara spoke out loud, forgetting for a moment that the parrot wasn’t with her. She glanced up, hoping none of the other passengers had heard her.  Really she would have to change that birds name!

                If you encounter Osnas anywhere in the game, he may have what you seek in his vendors cart, or one of his many masks might be a clue. 

                A man with a mask and a vendors cart in an old mine, alrighty then, let’s have a look at this mine. Shame we’re not still in that old town.  Zara remembered not to say that out loud.


                Zara approached the abandoned mine cautiously.  There were rocks strewn about the entrance, and a faint light inside.

                Zaras mine entrance

                This looks a bit ominous, thought Zara, and not half as inviting as that old city.  She’d had a lifelong curiosity about underground tunnels and caves, and yet felt uneasily claustrophobic inside one.  She reminded herself that it was just a game, that she could break the rules, and that she could simply turn it off at any time.  She carried on.

                Zara stopped to look at the large green tile lying at her feet in the tunnel entrance. It was too big to carry with her so she took a photo of it for future reference.  At first glance it looked more like a maze or a labyrinth than a map.  The tunnel ahead was dark and she walked slowly, close to the wall.  

                Oh no don’t walk next to the wall! Zara recalled going down some abandoned mines with a group of friends when she was a teenager. There was water in the middle of the tunnel so she had been walking at the edge to keep her feet dry, as she followed her friend in front who had the torch.  Luckily he glanced over his shoulder, and advised her to walk in the middle. “Look” he said after a few more steps, shining his torch to the left.  A bottomless dark cavern fell away from the tunnel, which she would surely have fallen into.


                Zara tile mine entrance

                Zara moved into the middle of the tunnel and walked steadily into the darkness. Before long a side tunnel appeared with a faintly glowing ghostly light. 

                It looked eerie, but Zara felt obliged to follow it, as it was pitch black in every other direction. She wasn’t even sure if she could find her way out again, and she’d barely started.

                The ghostly light was coming from yet another side tunnel.  There were strange markings on the floor that resembled the tile at the mine entrance.  Zara saw two figures up ahead, heading towards the light. 

                Zara mine tunnels


                  This is the outline for a short novel called “The Jorid’s Travels – 14 years on” that will unfold in this thread.
                  The novel is about the travels of Georges and Salomé.
                  The Jorid is the name of the vessel that can travel through dimensions as well as time, within certain boundaries. The Jorid has been built and is operated by Georges and his companion Salomé.

                  Short backstory for the main cast and secondary characters

                  Georges was a French thief possibly from the 1800s, turned other-dimensional explorer, and together with Salomé, a girl of mysterious origins who he first met in the Alienor dimension but believed to have origins in Northern India maybe Tibet from a distant past.
                  They have lived rich adventures together, and are deeply bound together, by love and mutual interests.
                  Georges, with his handsome face, dark hair and amber gaze, is a bit of a daredevil at times, curious and engaging with others. He is very interesting in anything that shines, strange mechanisms and generally the ways consciousness works in living matter.
                  Salomé, on the other hand is deeply intuitive, empath at times, quite logical and rational but also interested in mysticism, the ways of the Truth, and the “why” rather than the “how” of things.
                  The world of Alienor (a pale green sun under which twin planets originally orbited – Duane, Murtuane – with an additional third, Phreal, home planet of the Guardians, an alien race of builders with god-like powers) lived through cataclysmic changes, finished by the time this story is told.
                  The Jorid’s original prototype designed were crafted by Léonard, a mysterious figure, self-taught in the arts of dimensional magic in Alienor sects, acted as a mentor to Georges during his adventures. It is not known where he is now.
                  The story starts with Georges and Salomé looking for Léonard to adjust and calibrate the tiles navigational array of the Jorid, who seems to be affected by the auto-generated tiles which behave in too predictible fashion, instead of allowing for deeper explorations in the dimensions of space/time or dimensions of consciousness.
                  Leonard was last spotted in a desert in quadrant AVB 34-7•8 – Cosmic time triangulation congruent to 2023 AD Earth era. More precisely the sand deserts of Bluhm’Oxl in the Zathu sector.

                  When they find Léonard, they are propelled in new adventures. They possibly encounter new companions, and some mystery to solve in a similar fashion to the Odyssey, or Robinsons Lost in Space.

                  Being able to tune into the probable quantum realities, the Jorid is able to trace the plot of their adventures even before they’ve been starting to unfold in no less than 33 chapters, giving them evocative titles.

                  Here are the 33 chapters for the glorious adventures with some keywords under each to give some hints to the daring adventurers.

                  1. Chapter 1: The Search BeginsGeorges and Salomé, Léonard, Zathu sector, Bluhm’Oxl, dimensional magic
                  2. Chapter 2: A New Companion – unexpected ally, discovery, adventure
                  3. Chapter 3: Into the Desert – Bluhm’Oxl, sand dunes, treacherous journey
                  4. Chapter 4: The First Clue – search for Léonard, mystery, puzzle
                  5. Chapter 5: The Oasis – rest, rekindling hope, unexpected danger
                  6. Chapter 6: The Lost City – ancient civilization, artifacts, mystery
                  7. Chapter 7: A Dangerous Encounter – hostile aliens, survival, bravery
                  8. Chapter 8: A New Threat – ancient curse, ominous presence, danger
                  9. Chapter 9: The Key to the Past – uncovering secrets, solving puzzles, unlocking power
                  10. Chapter 10: The Guardian’s Temple – mystical portal, discovery, knowledge
                  11. Chapter 11: The Celestial Map – space-time navigation, discovery, enlightenment
                  12. Chapter 12: The First Step – journey through dimensions, bravery, adventure
                  13. Chapter 13: The Cosmic Rift – strange anomalies, dangerous zones, exploration
                  14. Chapter 14: A Surprising Discovery – unexpected allies, strange creatures, intrigue
                  15. Chapter 15: The Memory Stones – ancient wisdom, unlock hidden knowledge, unlock the past
                  16. Chapter 16: The Time Stream – navigating through time, adventure, danger
                  17. Chapter 17: The Mirror Dimension – parallel world, alternate reality, discovery
                  18. Chapter 18: A Distant Planet – alien world, strange cultures, exploration
                  19. Chapter 19: The Starlight Forest – enchanted forest, secrets, danger
                  20. Chapter 20: The Temple of the Mind – exploring consciousness, inner journey, enlightenment
                  21. Chapter 21: The Sea of Souls – mystical ocean, hidden knowledge, inner peace
                  22. Chapter 22: The Path of the Truth – search for meaning, self-discovery, enlightenment
                  23. Chapter 23: The Cosmic Library – ancient knowledge, discovery, enlightenment
                  24. Chapter 24: The Dream Plane – exploring the subconscious, self-discovery, enlightenment
                  25. Chapter 25: The Shadow Realm – dark dimensions, fear, danger
                  26. Chapter 26: The Fire Planet – intense heat, dangerous creatures, bravery
                  27. Chapter 27: The Floating Islands – aerial adventure, strange creatures, discovery
                  28. Chapter 28: The Crystal Caves – glittering beauty, hidden secrets, danger
                  29. Chapter 29: The Eternal Night – unknown world, strange creatures, fear
                  30. Chapter 30: The Lost Civilization – ancient ruins, mystery, adventure
                  31. Chapter 31: The Vortex – intense energy, danger, bravery
                  32. Chapter 32: The Cosmic Storm – weather extremes, danger, survival
                  33. Chapter 33: The Return – reunion with Léonard, returning to the Jorid, new adventures.
                Viewing 20 results - 21 through 40 (of 807 total)