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  • #5966
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    “Tikfijikoo, of course” said June with a wink. “Where else?”

    Before the quizzical look of April, she ventured “Thought I’d forgotten all about that dolls mystery on that weirdo website, have you?”

    April yawned. “Well, beats the daily boredom for sure. Wait,” she added with a second thought “how are you sure the carotene virus hasn’t travelled the Sarcastic Sea?”

    Jacqui was formal about it, her voodoo isn’t that out of touch, you know.” She mouthed detaching all the syllables “Nothing harmful ever ventured past the Bermuda Triangle.” June was beaming. Then, she thought again. “Unless she said the contrary, you silly tart, you’re making me doubt now. No matter, it’ll just be a quick touch and go.”

    “Touch and go, it is then.” pouted April not all too sure where that next chapter was heading to.

    #5948

    In reply to: Scrying the Word Cloud

    EricEric
    Keymaster

    Voice town welcome virus suddenly
    Dusty complete plague flew trail
    Fell party change attention crying
    Walk move drama married experiment
    Arthur baby showed deal stress
    Rose legs aren luckily doctor
    Resumed worn shaman spotted focused
    Throwing cool arona giant secretive
    Considering cave mangled pearl offer
    Mystery powder

    #4792
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    The Doctor was at times confused about his own plan. Well, most of the time if felt clear and perfectly diabolical, and he could easily understand why at times lesser minds could get confused about the twists and turns —and to those lesser minds, it would usually suffice to say “don’t worry, it’s all part of the Plan.” It was difficult to properly phrase the sentence so that the Plan doesn’t get too easily confused with any plan. But he was expert in conveying that it wasn’t a mere plan.

    After having tried and used old or elaborate devices beyond known technology like alleged alien crystal skulls to outcomes of various satisfaction in the past, he’d realized that those so called AI technologies were a silent gangrene for the mind. By becoming more tech-savvy, people lost their savoir and their savour by relying too much on external support. People were becoming malleable, predictable, and replaceable.

    His bloody assistant was a sad testament to the downward evolution humanity was rushing towards. It was a strange and sad irony, that by enhancing their ineptitude, he was actually working to the perfection of the human race.

    “Ah yes! Evolution!” That was his legacy, and he was of course profoundly misunderstood.

    This whole sad business with the chase after the dolls and the keys and the remote control of magpies, and the psychic blasts, beauty treatments and Barbara enhancements, all that made sense once you showed it in the proper light. These were the catalyst to the real and interesting events. The ones which mattered.

    It all started after the Army got him out of his prison rot in exchange for his work on some special science experiments. Top-secret, evidently. His handler, a certain nobody by the name of Fergus, was assigning him the experiments.
    While he was dutifully working on his assigned projects, he quickly realized that he was given vast funding which would have taken him more time to gather on his own, so he did his part, all while experimenting and honing his skills. Clearly, the Army lacked any vision beyond the confines of “find a better way to torture, maim or kill mass amount of individuals.” Primates. Luckily, their experiments with remote control, brainwashing, and body modelage were less gory than the average science experiments, and far more into his own area of expertise.

    It took him 5 years to escape. This plan (a smaller plan, part of the Plan which had not yet fully hatched at the time) — this plan for an escape started to form when Fergus let slip important bits of information, which seemed insignificant taken in isolation, but meant a whole new area of discoveries when put together by a brilliant mind like his own.
    Fergus started to gloat about securing some secrets as a blackmail or fail-safe policy in case the Army’s “hired help” misbehaved. This part was known for a long time, it was what was called our ‘retirement plan’ in the contract we signed. What was more peculiar was when he started to let details slip about the method. All thanks to little doses of hypnotic potion in spiked shared drinks, courtesy of the Doctor. It seemed clear that this elaborate scheming of keys and dolls was child’s play and nothing particularly genius, however what was more interesting was when Fergus started to realize that the dolls his niece had made somehow matched certain persons of interest without her conscious knowing. There was a deeper mystery to be cracked, and even Fergus wondered if the Army had not tempered with his family genetics to induce certain characteristics or something of the like. Well, all ramblings of a simpleton you would say, but maybe it wasn’t.
    After all these searches to externalize certain abilities of the mind, the Doctor was starting to get fascinated by people exhibiting these qualities naturally.

    The appearance of this strange red crystal seems to confirm these doubts. There are untapped forces at play, and maybe doors that could be opened.

    Barbara suddenly irrupted into the room “Our guests are coming, just received a text!”

    The Doctor sighed thinking some doors should remain closed.

    #4787
    AvatarJib
    Participant

    The sun was high in the sky and birds were chirping in the trees by the pool. Roberto was facing a conundrum as the biseasonal pool had started acting strangely. Well even more strangely than one part being frozen in winter and one part stuck in the dog days of who knew what year.

    It had already been hard to manage an even level between the iced layer, which tended to get brittle near the seasonal line, and the warm waters evaporating too quickly. When it first happened the water pump had been stuck in winter and they had to break some ice to move it to the summer part. Everything had been fine until the last Roman party and they could enjoy ice skating and warm spring like pool in any season. Roberto especially liked the winter season when the steam would create a nice and cozy mist, conducive to some intimate bathing together.

    Now, after that party, something weird…er was happening. The line between winter and summer had started to shift around the center of the pool. -ish. And now the pump was stuck in ice again and the summer pool was being evaporated too quickly. Roberto had to save two mandarin ducks who had their legs caught in by the ice while bathing in the warm pool. Breaking the ice layer without hurting the tiny bird legs had been quite a challenge, but Roberto was proud to say that they were now safe and sound. One of the unforeseen consequences was that they had been following him everywhere ever since and he had to install two boxes for them to sleep near his bed.

    Roberto and the ducks were looking at the summer half-pool. It was half empty, even if Ma’am Liz would certainly entertain the idea that it was half full, it was certainly not going stay that way very long if nothing was done.

    What had happened was some mystery and Roberto was not very good at solving mysteries. He wished that that inspector with the melon hat had not left in such a hurry during the party, he could have asked him some advice.

    “You want some French pastries?” It was the new French maid, Mirabelle. Roberto had been calling her Marbella and she seemed to like it. She held a silver plate of what she called creamy nuns and chocolate eclairs.
    “Thanks,” he said.

    #4770
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    Finnley disappeared.”

    Liz couldn’t believe her ears; at first she’d ignored the harbingers, the unattended dust trails, and of course, all the crumbs on the table piling up day after day.

    Godfrey repeated “I’m telling you, Finnley took off and disappeared.”

    He paused to leave room for Liz’ to answer, not that she ever needed any to start with. But she was profoundly shocked at the betrayal.

    “I don’t believe you gave her paid leaves, have you; one of your silly ideas?”

    Godfrey thought for a moment, “Now you mention it, I don’t believe she had any, even after all this time, had she?”

    “Don’t be daft, Godfrey, she wouldn’t want any; of course, there’s a reason I chose her over the other very qualified staff lining up to work here.”

    “Not even a trace, her personal belonging are gone; not even a message left behind. A mystery fit for one of your novels, eh.”

    “I guess there’s nothing in the fridge either.” Liz said listlessly. “Guess you’ll have to order from the Pakistani restaurant tonight. Roberto, cute as he is, can’t cook for his life.”

    #4744

    In reply to: The Stories So Near

    EricEric
    Keymaster

    Newer developments

    POP-IN THREAD (Maeve, Lucinda, Shawn-Paul, Jerk, [Granola])

    Granola is popping in and out of the stories, exploring interacting more physically with her friends through Tiku, a bush lady focus of hers.
    Luckily (not so coincidentally) Maeve and Shawn-Paul were given coupons to travel from their rural Canada town to the middle of Australia. Maeve is suspicious of being followed by a strange man, and tags along with Shawn-Paul to keep a cover of a young couple. Maeve is trying to find the key to the doll that she made in her secret mission for Uncle Fergus, which has suddenly reappeared at her friend Lucinda’s place. She’ll probably is going to have to check on the other dolls that she made as well.
    Jerk continues to administrate some forum where among other things, special dolls are found and exchanged, and he moderates some strange messages.
    Lucinda is enjoying Fabio’s company, Maeve’s dog, that she has in her care while Maeve is travelling.

    FLYING FISH INN THREAD (Mater/Finly, Idle/Coriander/Clove, Devan, Prune, [Tiku])

    The mysteries of the Flying Fish Inn seem to unravel slowly, like Idle’s wits.
    Long time family member are being drawn inexplicably, such as Prune and brother Devan. The local bush lady Tiku is helping Finly with the catering, although Finly would rather do everything by herself. The totemic Fish was revealed to be a talisman placed here against bad luck – “for all the good it did” (Mater).
    Bert, thought to be an old flame of Mater, who’s acted for the longest time as gardener, handyman and the likes, is revealed to be the father of Prune, Devan, Coriander and Clove’s mother. Mater knew of course and kept him around. He was trained in codes during his time with the military, and has a stash of potentially dangerous books. He may be the key to the mystery of the underground tunnels leading to the mines, and hidden chests of gold. Devan is onto a mystery that a guy on a motorbike (thought to be Uncle Fergus of Maeve’s story) told him about.

    DOLINE THREAD (Arona, Sanso/Lottie, Ugo, Albie)

    Mandrake & Albie after a trip in the bayou, and looking for the dragon Leormn’s pearls and the sabulmantium, have finally found Arona after they have emerged from the interdimentional water network from the Doline, to the coast of Australia in our reality, where cats don’t usually talk.
    Albie is expecting a quest, while the others are just following Arona’s lead, as she is in possession of a mysterious key with 3 words engraved.
    After some traveling in hot air balloon, and with a local jeep, they have arrived at a local Inn in the bush, with a rather peculiar family of owners, and quite colorful roster of guests. That’s not even counting the all-you-can-eat lizard meat buffet. What joy.

    NEWSREEL THREAD (Ms Bossy, Hilda/Connie, Sophie, Ricardo)

    Ms Bossy is looking to uncover the Doctor’s surely nefarious plans while her newspaper business isn’t doing so well. She’s got some help from Ricardo the intern. They have found out that the elderly temp worker who’s fascinated by the future, Sophie (aka Sweet Sophie) had been the first subject of the Doctor’s experiments. Sophie has been trying to uncover clues in the dreams, but it’s just likely she is still a sleeper agent of the Doctor.
    Despite all common sense and SMS threats, Hilda & Connie have gone in Australia to chase a trail (from a flimsy tip-off from Superjerk that may have gone to Lucinda to her friend journalist). They are in touch with Lucinda, and post their updates on social media, flirting with the risk of being uncovered and having trouble come at their door.
    Sha, Glo and Mavis are considering reaching out for a vacation of the nursing home to get new free beauty treatments.
    In his secret lair, the Doctor is reviving his team of brazen teafing operatives: the magpies.

    LIZ THREAD (Finnley, Liz, Roberto, Godfrey)

    Not much happened as usual, mostly an entertaining night with Inspector Melon who is quizzing Liz’ about her last novel about mysterious messages hidden in dolls with secret keys, which may be her best novel yet…

    DRAGON 💚 WOOD THREAD (Glynnis, Eleri, Fox/Gorrash, Rukshan)

    Before Rukshan goes to the underworld land of Giants, he’s going to the cottage to gather some of his team of friends, Fox, Ollie etc. Glynis is taking care of Tak during Margoritt’s winter time in the city. Margoritt’s sister, Muriel is an uninvited and unpleasant guest at the cottage.
    Tak is making friends with a young girl who may have special powers (Nesy).
    The biggest mystery now is… is the loo going to get fixed in time?

    #4697
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    During summer, activity was slow at the mall in Kelowna, BC, so Jerk had a little more time to check on his other pastimes. Interestingly there seemed to be a lot of unusual activity on the findmydolls group.

    He was also tinkering with a home brewed AI, and launched the program.

    “Trancie are you awake?”
    “Did I fall asleep?” the AI answered back.
    “For a little while, yes. Trancie, analyse logs from findmystuff website, check group findmydolls.”
    “A moment. A moment. A moment. Analysis complete. Activity spike 57.21% increase.”

    This was quite unusual, but he wasn’t sure were to look. He looked at his administrator box, in case another message had required moderation. The filters triggers were not too sensitive, so there wasn’t a lot of messages.

    One in particular had triggered the system.

    “Trancie, read message in moderation queue #5363.”
    You need to come for information. Am sending you tickets and instructions for hotspot, so it won’t cost you a bomb. hashtag flagged for terror threat. D for Destroy, A for Approve.”

    That was obviously amateur work, Jerk thought. Criminals nowadays were much more careful.

    “Trancie, Approve.”

    Another thought crossed his mind.

    “Trancie, plot past month activity by geolocation on mapearth.com”

    It took a few minutes to refine the query so he could check the heatmap, and remove the background noise.

    The last messages all seemed to concentrate in the middle of nowhere in Australia.

    “How odd. So glad I’m not an investigative journalist, that place must be crawling with nasty things, scaly and poisonous and downright deadly.”

    Interestingly, a second point on the map was close to Kelowna. Actually, although it could just be narrowed down to a 5 kilometer radius, it looked ominously close to where he lived.

    Shivers started to run down his spine. Maybe he’d just stumbled onto a dangerous conspiracy. Dolls could be a code word for horrible things, possibly even human trafficking.

    He closed the laptop suddenly, his mind racing. What if they were onto him? He struggled for a moment with the urge to destroy his laptop and burn down the place and disappear off the grid, but he remembered he needed to breathe, so his rational mind could be oxygenated and think properly.

    “I may be a tad on the paranoid side.”
    But it ain’t paranoia, if they are trying to get you.

    He looked around. He was already as close as possible to off-the-grid without vanishing out of society. The place was deserted, and only a janitor was roaming the place mindlessly on his cleaning car. There was zero chance he could be a target.

    Yet.

    “Oh shut up!” he exclaimed out loud.

    He was intrigued by the mystery, but for now, he wanted to let it play out. He needed more data points to have Trancie plot a heuristic pattern. Well, to make sense of it, while he was working on her personality.

    #4688
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    “It is a rather peculiar mystery indeed, don’t you think.” Liz leaned suggestively towards the Inspector. He had insisted to keep his trench-coat on, which for some reason she was finding incredibly alluring. It reminded her of all the fun she had in the past, playing her favourite character, Becky in tarty nun’s outfit. She made a mental note for the next costumed party.

    “Some peanuts, Inspector?”
    “Good gracious, no. I’m terribly allergic to nuts, but I’m partial to your delicious canapés.”

    Luckily for him, he couldn’t see Finnley overlooking behind the velvet curtains and the paneled walls, glaring at Liz for taking the credit of her cooking.

    After a mouthful of tarragon cod pâté with capers, Walter leaned back and a little further from Liz and said “Mmm, delicious. Well, it is indeed quite a good mystery you’ve chosen to write about. All these keys, I love the idea. It sounds out of a spy novel, but I do wonder what are the connections, you see, in most crimes I’ve solved in the past,” he cleared his throat, taking the glass of red wine Finnley had just brought “there is always a good chance the culprit is closer than you know. The skill is always to find the hidden connection.”

    “Aaah. I’m so glad you’re saying that Walter, I was telling them the same no later than this morning!”
    She took a random ramekin from the coffee table “some peanuts?”.

    #4678

    In reply to: The Stories So Near

    EricEric
    Keymaster

    1st DOLL

    • (Lucinda describes a) “strange gaunt doll with the grey dreadlocks and patchwork dress”
    • Its description matches DidoAunt Idle” of the Flying Fish Inn
    • called “Ima” by the Maker
    • Made in Canada, sent to Australia, got separated from its key at an airport, found its way to a market in Canada where Lucinda acquired it.

    1st KEY

    • Currently with Arona, in Australia

    What it does/open

    • Still a mystery as of now
    #4670
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    Walter Melon knew there was something fishy about this invitation. Or maybe that was only the scent of homemade manure lingering on the Bristol board.

    In his line of work, you couldn’t be careful enough. And his last visit to the Liz Manor had had its fair share of fishiness, stockings notwithstanding.

    The invitation and the signature were obviously fake, even if the counterfeiter had taken some pain at imitating the shaky signature of the Dame of the place. But the lack of typos were a dead give-away.

    I need your help to solve a tantalizing mystery in my latest novel, please come to my party Inspector. You’ll only need wear a towel, and bring your sharpest tools. I mean, your brains.
    Sincerely yours, Elizabeth Mary Tattler

    #4346
    AvatarJib
    Participant

    At that moment the trap in the ceiling opened revealing the dark attic.

    “Is that smoke coming from the attic?” asked Godfrey, suddenly worried someone had started a fire up there.

    “It’s looking more like mist,” said Liz who had suddenly forgotten about her unborn babies. “You know, in those mystery novels they add some when they want to create an atmosphere of suspens.”

    Godfrey looked doubtful as the mist was continuing to pour down from the attic in slow motion, like the harbinger of a darker secret. A loud noise made them jump. A metallic ladder, apparently attached on the attic’s floor which was the corridor’s ceiling, unfolded quickly. It stopped just before hitting the floor.

    They all looked at each others, waiting for someone to say something. Anything.

    “Go have a look, Godfrey,” said Liz.
    “Shouldn’t it be Walter? He’s from the police after all, if there is danger he should be the one to take the lead.”

    Liz looked a bit uncomfortable.
    “I’m not sure,” she said in a hum. “There might be some dark secrets I don’t want to reveal to outsiders.”

    “Are you coming or what?” Said a voice coming from the attic.

    #4341
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    Before he closed it to prepare for the dinner, the page of the book had said “She is coming, heralded by Sunshine, and thus will the Gathering start”. Rukshan could be quite literal and thought that she wouldn’t come today, since the sun was about to set.
    He wasn’t sure how the words had found their way into the book, and if the She was who he thought She was. In short, he was getting confused.

    Back there, the Hermit’s message had been so clear, so urgently present.
    Find who you were, find what you stole, and give it back. Then the threads will unravel and the knot of all the curses will be undone.

    And yet, he started to doubt his path.

    The high-pitched cry of “Circle of Eights” pierced through the fog of his mind, and Rukshan realised suddenly that… that was it. Why else, all these people would be around this place at this auspicious moment?

    The trees’ messages had been shown right. He was the Faying Fae. The Sage Sorceress was probably still on her path, but the Teafing Tinkeress hunted by a god, the Gifted Gnome, on his way to become his own maker under the protection of a Renard Renunciate looking for lost souls… They were there. Five in total; with himself (Rukshan) — the potion-maker, Eleri, Gorrash, Fox, these were the rest of the names, and they made the five first strands. Who were the last two? Olliver, Tak?

    Olliver would surely have rounded everyone around for the dinner by now.
    Rukshan placed the book back into the bag. He would explain to everyone then, read the old tale of the seven thieves and their curses, and maybe they could all formulate a plan for remembrance.
    Yes, remembrance was the first step. How to know what to do if you didn’t know who they were, what they stole…

    He wasn’t too sure what to do with the God in torpor yet. He seemed less of a danger in his current state. That a God had been left behind, stuck in stone for so long, and right under their nose was mind-boggling. Another mystery to be revealed.
    Surprisingly —and luckily— Olli had explained, Hasamelis seemed to believe that the young boy was a genius wizard, so he would maybe listen to Olli.

    The second ‘Circle of Eights!’ seemed closer this time.

    #4331
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    “What was in the bag, Finnley, tell us!”
    Everyone was looking at the maid after the Inspector had left hurriedly, under the pretext of taking care of a tip he had received on the disappearance of the German girl.

    Godfrey was the most curious in fact. He couldn’t believe in the facade of meanness that Finnley carefully wrapped herself into. The way she cared about the animals around the house was a testimony to her well hidden sweetness. Most of all, he thought herself incapable of harming another being.
    But he had been surprised before. Like when Liz’ had finished a novel, long ago.

    “Alright, I’ll show you. Stay there, you lot of accomplices.”

    Godfrey looked at Liz’ sideways, who was distracted anyway by the gardener, who was looking at the nearby closet.

    Liz’, will you focus please! The mystery is about to be revealed!”

    “Oh shut up, Godfrey, there’s no mystery at all. I’ve known for a while what that dastardly maid had done. I’ve been onto her for weeks!”
    “Really?”
    “Oh, don’t you give me that look. I’m not as incapable as you think, and that bloodshot-eyes stupor I affect is only to keep annoyances away. Like my dear mother, if you remember.”
    “So tell us, if you’re so smart now. In case it’s really a corpse, at least, we may all be prepared for the unwrapping!”
    “A CORPSE! Ahaha, you fool Godfrey. It’s not A corpse! It’s MANY CORPSES!”

    Godfrey really thought for a second that she had completely lost it. Again. He would have to call the nearby sanatorium, make up excuses for the next signing session at the library, and cancel all future public appear…

    “Will you stop that! I know what you’re doing, you bloody control machine! Stop that thinking of yours, I can’t even hear myself thinking nowadays for all your bloody thinking. Now, as I was saying of course she’d been hiding all the corpses!”
    “Are you insane, Liz’ —at least keep your voice down…”
    “Don’t be such a sourdough Godfrey, you’re sour, and sticky and all full of gas. JUST LET ME EXPLAIN, for Lemone’s sake!”

    Godfrey fell silent for a moment, eyeing a lost peanut left on a shelf nearby.

    Conscious of the unfair competition for Godfrey’s attention Elizabeth blurted it all in one sentence:
    “She’s been collecting them, my old failed stories, the dead drafts and old discarded versions of them. Hundreds of characters, those little things, I’d given so many cute little names, but they had no bones or shape, and very little personality, I had to smother them to death.” She started sobbing uncontrollably.

    That was then that Finnley came back in the room, panting and dragging the sack coated in dirt inside the room, and seeing the discomfit Liz’ with smeared make-up all over her eyes.

    “Oh, bloody hell. Don’t you tell me I brought that dirty bag of scraps up for nothing!”

    She left there, running for the door screaming “I’m not doing the carpets again!”

    And closed the door with a sonorous “BUGGER!”

    #4305
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    Looking at what was left in his bag, it made Rukshan realise he was walking in the Dragon Heartswood for longer than he thought.
    It was a maze with layers of concentric circles of tree, and seemed far bigger and vast once you were inside that it should have been.
    He had been presumptuous to venture in it, without any guidance or map, knowing very well that most of those who had entered it, never came out. There was a magical distress beacon that was in the bag, but he guessed it would only help him retrace his steps back to where he entered. He didn’t want to use it. He could still feel the glowing confidence infused in his heart by the potion, and now, it was as though it was telling him to do nothing, and just not worry. So he chose one of the trees, to just sit under, and meditate for a while.

    There was a bird, high in the small patch of sky that the treetops didn’t cover. Or at least, it looked like a bird. I had been there for a moment, as if watching him.

    “Don’t you like birds?” the voice said “They are my favourite creatures, so smart and graceful. Ah, and the joy of the flight!”
    He wouldn’t open his eyes, not sure the feminine voice was in his head or not. She was one and the same with the large bird hovering —it was one of her projections, but she was human.
    “You know who I am, Rukshan, you have been searching for me.”
    “You are the Hermit, aren’t you?”
    “Yes, and here I am, saving you a long trip to the mountains.” There was a smile in her voice.

    He didn’t know what to say, but feared to open his eyes, and risk the spell to vanish.

    “You can open them, your eyes. They are deceivers anyway, they are not the senses that matter.”

    She was there, in front of him, looking ageless. There was no telling if she was a projection or real.

    She had put something in front of him. A sort of flat braid, not very long, and made with different threads of diverse nature and impractical use, yet artfully arranged, revealing clever and shifting patterns.

    “It is for you Rukshan, to help you remember. I have worked on it for the past days, and it is now ready for you.”

    He looked at the patterns, they were clear and simple, yet they changed and seemed to elude understanding. The braid was only loosely attached at the end, and threatened to unravel as soon as moved.

    “These are your lives, intertwined. You and six others. You don’t know them, in this life —however long yours has been. But you are connected, and you have know each other before, and you have intertwined before. Some of these past stories can be read in the patterns, and some are tragic, and they all bear fruits in this life and the next. It is no mystery why you have been attracted to the Heartswood, because it is where the Sundering started, and where you and the others have left things unresolved. If you don’t look deep now, and take steps to correct course, you will go from this life to the next and repeat your torments and endless search.”

    While Kumihimo spoke, Rukshan had fleeting images and impressions, some linked to the visions the gingkos and the trees had sent him before, of the others, linked to his quest.

    “Yes, you are starting to remember… That day, when you and the others tried to rob the Gods of the flame of creation. They cursed you, even their pet Dragon who was supposed to guard their treasure and sided with you against them.”

    She showed him the ring of charred trees that marked that particular period in the middle of all the rings for each ages of growth of the Heartswood.

    “The Sundering” he spoke softly, reminded of fables in the legends of the Fae. That was the ancient age, when most of the Gods had disappeared, some said, gone through the doorway that was at the very heart of the Heartswood, the very source of life and death, and creation. There had been new Gods after that. They also possessed great powers, but none with the aura of the Old Ones —no Old God would have been trapped in stone by a mere witch’s enchantment.

    Rukshan turned to the Hermit with deep pondering. “What can we do?”

    She was starting to fade away, turning again into a bird. “Each of you has a special power, that you stole in that past life, and with each new life, you carry it with you, and with it, its curse. Find who you were, find what you stole, and give it back. Then the threads will unravel and the knot of all the curses will be undone.”

    #4159

    In reply to: Coma Cameleon

    TracyTracy
    Participant

    A man needs a name, so they called him Tibu. It wasn’t that anyone chose the name, they had started calling him “the man from the back of the Tibu” and it got shortened. It was where they found him sitting next to an empty suitcase, by the back entrance of the Tibu nightclub, in the service alley behind the marina shop fronts.

    The man they called Tibu had been staying with the street hawkers from Senegal for several months. They were kind, and he was grateful. He was fed and had a place to sleep. It perplexed him that he couldn’t recall anything of the language they spoke between themselves. Was he one of them? Many of them spoke English, but the way they spoke it wasn’t familiar to him. Nothing seemed familiar, not the people he now shared a life with, nor the whitewashed Spanish town.

    Some of his new friends assumed that he’d been so traumatized during the journey that brought him here that he had mentally blocked it; others were inclined towards the idea of witchcraft. One or two of them suspected he was pretending, that he was hiding something, but for the most part they were patient and accommodating. He was a mystery, but he was no trouble. They all had their own stories, after all, and the focus wasn’t on the past but on the present ~ and the hopes of a different future. So they did what they had to do and sold what they could. They ate and they sent money back home when they could.

    They filled Tibu’s suitcase with watches, gave him a threadbare white sheet, and showed him the ropes. The first time they left him to hawk on his own he’s walked and walked before he could bring himself to find a spot and lay out the watches. Fear knotted his stomach and threatened to loosen his bowels. Before long the fear was replaced by a profound sadness. He felt invisible, not worth looking at.

    He began to hate the ugly replica watches he was selling, and wondered why he hated them so. He had never liked them, but now he detested them. Hadn’t he had better watches than this? He stared at his watchless left wrist and wondered.

    #3669
    prUneprUne
    Participant

    Christmas has always been a strange tradition in our family.
    Maybe because first and foremost, Christmas is all about family. Besides the twins and their bond, sometimes I wonder what makes us a family at all.
    It doesn’t help that we can never get snow around this place, and dressing in red and white fluff is not going to make things suddenly magical.

    It was comical to see the exterminator come with a red bonnet, panting and all red himself, as if he were some genial Santa bringing gifts of death to our yonder’s rodents residents.
    He didn’t catch a rat, but got himself a fright. Thanks to Mater, when she erupted in the attic in her white hanuka honey cream face-lifter mask. I think that sneaky Finly got to her in the end.
    The mystery of the strange noises in the inn is not going soon, apparently.

    Bert and Aunt Idle got back from their trip in the evening. Apparently Bert had insisted to bring some sort of shrub to make a Christmas tree in the great hall (it’s not so great, but we call it that). Finly didn’t seem pleased too much with it. Raking leaves in summer, bringing pests inside… she didn’t have many kind things to say about it. So Mater sends her to cook a “festive dinner”, that’s what she said. I heard Finly mutter in her breath something about kiwi specials. I like kiwis. Hope she’ll make a pavlova… just, not with Mater’s face cream!

    It seems that giving small gestures of appreciation got the mood going. Aunt Idle is always very good at decorating with the oddest or simplest of things, like rolls of TP. Sometimes she would draw nice hieroglyphs in the layer of dust on the cabinets, it gives the furniture a special look. Mater always says it’s because she’s too lazy to do some cleaning consistently, but I think it’s because cleaning is not creative enough for her. Can’t believe I just said nice things about Aunt Idle. Christmas spirit must be contagious.

    Then, Devan came home with some pastries. It’s not often I see Devan these days, and usually he’s always brooding. I would too, if I had to come back home when I could just start my life away from there. Finly was all eyes on him all of a sudden. Seems nobody noticed, not even the twins, too busy being snarky while playing on their phones,… it looks like there is some strange game between these two, my brother and our Finly. I think Finly makes a lot of efforts to look younger with him, I can see when she fiddles with her hair. They would make good friends, and I’m sure Devan doesn’t mind the accent.

    As always, it’s not about how pretty the tree is, or how good the food is, or how big the gifts are… It’s more about being together, for better or for worse. And Dad, and Mum are always out of this almost nice picture, but somehow, it matters less today.

    There’s a good thing about that Christmas spirit. It gives you the weirdest ideas. To be nice, I asked Mater if we should invite the guests to our festive dinner, and probably lifted by the mood, she said yes, of course. When I went to the closed door to invite the guy, I thought a random act of kindnes is a perfect occasion to learn more about our mysterious resident stranger… Maybe that’s what the adults mean in church when they say you should always be kind to each other.

    #3516

    In reply to: Scrying the Word Cloud

    TracyTracy
    Participant

    fred (and his) dear aunt (who wore a ) scarf (looked into the) distance (for) clues (for a) holiday (mere) seconds (before they) sat (on) rene (who was lying on the) floor (which) mysterious led (them to) Stuck Island (which was far) away properties (on a ) busy mystery pink (ocean) (more remote than) expected

    #3502
    FloveFlove
    Participant

    In this first comment I will try and collate the information from our discussions. It will be quite rough and may not be accurate as we were just brainstorming.

    You might like to use it as a resource to start comments for each character.

    Intents:
    FP: how not to be detached, as opposed to detaching
    EP : Importance, tradition, transmission, life and death
    TP : playful spontaneity
    JP : I need to explore a strong base, something you can count on in your life and that will nourrish and support you

    Starting point : a family member has gone missing / disappearance / mysterious inheritance
    Someone turns up with a letter about mysterious inheritance?
    That someone is in cold terms with the family and has been for years.
    Strong possibility of a ghost. male. tied up with the inheritance mystery. Ghost is either assisting or hindering the search for the mysterious inheritance.
    Location : Australia small town. Possibly called Crowshollow. Mining town
    Family run a Bed and Breakfast called the Flying Fish Inn. There is room for 5 guests at any one time but it is never full. The family are short of money. Tendency in the family to develop unconventional powers, possibly witchy stuff.

    MacGuffin (is this the family surname??) Oh no wait, on further study I see it is a reference to the inheritance. It could be the family surname though. they need one.
    A man is riding on a train when a second gentleman gets on and sits down across from him. The first man notices the second is holding an oddly shaped package.
    “What is that?” the first man asks.
    “A MacGuffin, a tool used to hunt lions in the Scottish highlands.”
    “But there are no lions in the Scottish highlands,” says the first man.
    “Well then,” says the other, “That’s no MacGuffin”.

    Family members : boy twins from jib, a girl from Eric, a matriach granny, twin girls 17, aunt Idle, father ? mother ?ghost?

    mother and father have both gone missing at some stage?. Mother is called Absinthia apparently.

    Tracy: The female twins are called Clove and Corrie. twins born in 2000 for easy reference, so if its concurent timeframe they are 14. Clove is frustrated with ghost town life, and is uncooperative and moody, has violent bursts of anger, but can be very focused when something attracts her interest. Does not take kindly to criticism.

    Corrie on the other hand is the one who will acqueisce to keep the peace, which doesnt always do herself a favour, she often agrees to things just to be pleasing and then regrets it.
    They are interested in boys, although it may be an online crush or an infatuation with a character not present. I bet they do all kind of mischiefs to elude the chaperoning of the not-so-cleveraunt.
    Clove resent the parents absence, Corrie tried to buffer that resentment but is filled with curiosity about them

    Eric: (Prune??) the young girl is bored, because her parents were always arguing, and she’s so smart nobody ever gets her, and she felt abandoned by her careless mother the most, so she builds that facade of carelessness. Prune is bored by the inheritance but interested by the tramp.

    Tracy: Aunt Idle. Paternal Aunt. Aunt never married but many relationships
    born 1970. she is very tall and thin and is prematurely grey which she wears in dreadlocks

    #3459
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    The Zebra

    “The zebra’s gifts include seeing in black and white, clarity without filters, balance, agility, uniqueness, power, sureness of path, keeping up individuality within the herd.

    Questioning reality and illusion is common amongst people with zebra medicine, though an over analytic intellect can be a hindrance for some with this totem. In others the imagination must be awakened.

    The zebras pattern of black on white, or white on black implies that what you see is not always what you get. Occult knowledge seen and unseen, dimensional shifts, new journeys and worldly endeavours are all aspects of this.

    Zebras are master magicians, who utilise the energy of light and dark to shift realities and expand our consciousness, helping us see past our preconceived beliefs as they lead us into the mystery and magic of the unseen. Zebras seek balance in what they do, and they are sure of themselves, standing confidently in the middle of opposing forces. Those with this power animal are taught similar skills.

    When the zebra comes into your life, change is signified in one or more areas of your life and hidden knowledge will be uncovered. Stand strong, develop trust and simply flow with the rhythm of a new creation. “

    The Zebra

    #3421
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    “What? Teleportation sandpapered granite boxes in an old forgotten temple? You really want to stretch my beliefs to the point of rupture, little one”, Irina looked surprised at Greenie after their little meditative chit-chat.

    The angel guy with bad tastes of clothing, who said he was named George, interrupted rudely.

    “I think she’s right, it rings a distant bell. I don’t know how I know about it, but somehow getting out of Karmalott altered my memories… But I think it’s true, they were used to travel on and off the island, also to other places. Why they’ve been lost is a mystery… But they should be getting us back up to the City in no time…”
    “Or out of the island…” Irina gave a look to Mr R. “Let’s find these precious ruins”.

    :fleuron:

    Thanks to the sabulmantium’s information, Arona had recognized the strange travelling companions of the young girl she was supposed to find. It was no coincidence she’d dropped on that awful bog water so near to the raft. She had actually aimed for it before Mandrake panicked at the sight of the murky waters and got them both in for a swim.

    She’d decided to stay with them, and reveal her purpose at an appropriate moment, while trying to keep the stranger’s hands off her butt.

    She was pleased to see Mandrake was also struggling being left alone by the blinking parrot.

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