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      When Phurt awoke, it was all dark and the soil was sodden and drenched and she was all wet to the tips of her fine black and white hair. Her pairs of eyes blinked as a bright lightening illuminated the whole place.
      It looked like a forest, and though everything was silent now safe the sound of the cyclone, she could tell there was water not very far, and that place had all aspects of a body of land surrounded by waters.
      Jumping on her fine legs, she took a look around, looking for any clue… where she could start to build her new nest. The little ones would be soon requiring her attention, and she would have to secure a perimeter for them and herself. Who knew what unknown danger was looming in this unknown place?
      As if answering her silent question, a thunder rolled into the sky opening it in two in a flash of a thunderbolt, revealing somewhere in the less dense parts of the forest, a protruding tip of what seemed a huge white dome-like structure.
      That would be perfect indeed…

      Coming from it, a shriek suddenly filled her ears, parts of which where so clearly in the ultrasounds part of the spectrum that she could hear it perfectly…


      Glo was beaming.
      Aye, I think we got them all the nasty buggers!
      Good riddance! Good thing we took off our clothes, with all that nasty pomegranate juice everywhere
      Odd that those magpies gushed all bloody purple blood everywhere
      Odd indeed, now ye mention it, Sha
      What’s that “indeed” business all about now? Speaking like a bloddy ascended being are ye? Sharon said while readjusting her bra.
      Ascended beings my tits, never ‘ere when ye need them… Now, look at all this purple juice stains now, ruined all our beauty treatments…
      So what we gonna do of this UV lamp now? Sharon asked
      Odd lamp… Looks more a skull than a lamp to me, Sha
      Yeah, they got bizarrest tastes ‘ere, with that clever doctor…
      Sure, that one obviously doesn’t know how to put lipstick properly, now you say it…
      UV skull-shaped lamps now… Next thing we know, we got magpies’ Bloody Margies
      Bloody Margies! Ya’re so smart Sha, ahahaha!
      I reckon we better keep it safe… Poor Vessie seems to have much on her plate with that sexy Italian… don’t want to make another bloddy blunder
      Ya’re the brain, I reckon Sha. Let’s find Mavis and have some snacks… That honeystuff in the fridge was sooo addictive


        Master Tfark , I am pleased to hear that this mission will soon bring me what I requested.
        — We are here to serve, Madam, answered obsequiously the chief of the magpies gang. As long as, of course, the promised payment is ready.
        — Wasn’t the first part of the payment satisfactory? snapped the woman with an aggressiveness so subtle that no one could have said that there was even a single trace of rudeness in her voice.
        — Yes Madam, the device you provided worked perfectly. We are eager to continue our little arrangements.
        — Very well. Bring the Arachnid Skull quickly now.


          — Who are you? said Alana. And how did you get here?

          The man who was standing before her was smiling mysteriously. She was staring at him, hoping he wouldn’t notice the hint of fear on her face. What was puzzling her most was that she didn’t know who he was working for, was he an agent of the Baron? It was quite unlikely. The French man Langlade had always been working alone since his misadventure with Harry, and the Baron wouldn’t double his agent if unnecessary.

          — My name is Andrimiñ. And as of how I got here… let’s say I know how to get through :) What matters is that I’m here to offer you my assistance…

          His smile was quite hypnotic, and she almost lost track of what was happening (very unusual of her) when a few knocks on the door and Mr Isashi’s voice reminded her of her guest.

          Are you all right, Aunt?

          The man was staring at her with his blue eyes, she had a strange feeling and she knew she had to move quickly.

          Aunt? Is there someone with you? I heard a man…

          — I can show you how to activate the skull, Atiara. And help you with this man.

          Suddenly she knew she could trust him. Something in his last words… there was much unsaid, and the name he gave her… she was having the weirdest feelings about it. As if it was perfectly fitting. She smiled to him, her tensions released. He was now looking at the door.

          — Bring our guest in, Mr Isashi.

          The face she turned to the door was full of a new strength, mixed with a strange feeling of familiarity.


            You have summoned us, Master Tfark
            Yes, young Piawan

            The magpie known as Robert X was standing in front of a glowing bluish light emitted by a glass ball full of sand nearly as big as the gnome standing before it.
            Inside the ball, one could distinguish a century-old-looking figure, so fat it was almost indiscernible from the pile of cushions on which he was seated in a lotus-like posture. On the forehead of the Master, a third eye was visible, its gaze piercing you through your flesh.

            How is our matter proceeding, Hex?
            Well enough, Master. All preliminary stakeout has taken place according to the plans. We are only waiting for the right conditions to strike and rob the item without being noticed.
            Very well, Hex…

            The three-eyed Master Tfark scratched his chin pensively.

            A convenient surge of atmospheric energy is coming your way, I suppose you are aware. I hope that you’ll make good use of this. Our clients are very eager to get this item back
            Yes, Master. You shall not be disappointed.

            And with that, the communication was ended.

            Robert X stood in front of the now inert communication device, visibly preoccupied.

            Sir, you didn’t mention the disappearance of our guest, did you? asked Robert K
            There is nothing yet to report. Let’s do the job and we can quickly leave this place. Next inter-dimensional window will be opened a few moments after the cyclone, that should work out perfectly.
            Sir, yes Sir. Ready to lift the energy cloak as soon as we are ready to strike.
            Perfect then… Remember, without the energy cloak, we’ll have to solely rely on our magpies shifted appearances.
            I know that Sir, this is not my first mission, Sir.
            Very well then. Is there something else?
            There is another thing, Sir.
            Some trouble with the bee-keeper I fear


              The glowing light was showing a familiar face…

              — So the boy is wavering?
              — Yes. He is uncertain of the path… Does seem to have difficulty to trust his calling and take responsibilities being the owner of…
              — He’ll do that. We can’t let him run away from it, nor afford the time of little vacationing. Did you secure the item?
              — Yes. But you know it is worthless unless willingly handed over by the previous owner, right?
              — Certainly. But I feel he’ll soon wish it back.
              — I have words of cankerous corruption, endemic to where he was sent.
              — Precisely.

              :fleuron2: :fleuron2: :fleuron2:

              Glasgow, Scotland, February 25 th 2068, Wrick Fundation

              — So Cuthbert has refused?
              — Yes. With his sister busy with her first-born, she can’t take on that much responsibility either.
              — This is most regrettable. Lord Wrick’s will was perfectly clear though. Should none of the twins accept running his empire, all of its wealth would be used for humanitarian projects of the Fundation.


              A week before, Orkney Islands

              Cuthbert, you must accept.
              — Please, don’t wear yourself out Pope. Your body is weak.

              Cuthbert’s face was drenched by emotion. Despite his small frame and his scrawny body, Lord Hilarion Wrick’s strong will was still present, as if etched on his face by all the years of reign. He wouldn’t take a “no” for answer, even now he was dying, just as he had never accepted it in his nearly 120 years of existence.

              Cuthbert, listen to me. All this time you and your sister have spent at the Manor, all of the time I spent with you, this was not meant for naught, you know that. I was not some old decrepit rag of an elder waiting for his death cushioned between the laughters of his great-grand children. I noticed how you and your sister handled at an early age what I have been showing to you. The books,… the mummy even. This was only a test. What I had not found in Sean, nor in his son, I found out in you and your sister. Mind you, it took me that long, but it was worth the wait, and I know how to be patient.
              — You’re repeating yourself Pope, I know this story. I am very grateful for all that you did, all the knowledge I owe to you, but I can’t accept. It’s just… too much! I just want to spend these moments with you.
              — You just cannot whine throughout all of your existence Cuthbert. You chose to be born here, at this moment, in that family. There is no point in refusing what you have placed on your path.
              — I’m not whining! It’s just that… I just want a normal life! answered Cuthbert vehemently
              — Very well then. The face on the Lord was resolute despite his writhing in pain. You will have to see how much life is nothing meant to be normal. In the meantime, I would appreciate your letting me die alone.


                I take it from that you don’t know where the wedding dress is currently. Well if you do come across it would you mind letting Felicity know. said Tina haughtily, switching the phone off abruptly.

                Al’s words running through her head she started walking quickly nowhere in particular.

                Tina, what’s the point of these experiments we have been doing with Becky and Sam if you are going to keep relying on the phone all the time? And why are you trying to sort out the dress for Felicity, it isn’t your problem.

                It wasn’t the so much the words which had stung, after all he was right, it was the annoyance she thought she had heard in his voice.

                She felt him making contact, quickly blocked, feeling too hurt to be open.

                She knew he was tired, god knows he had put so much into the wedding preparations, as he did with all his projects. He was fast building a reputation for his ground breaking experiments with body processes. Tina loved Al whatever he looked like, which was just as well really considering some of the rather bizarre effects he managed to produce.

                Becky had been a bit irritated with her as well, Tina you are so last decade, nay century even! she would say, rolling her large eyes dramatically. Becky too was racing confidently and exuberantly ahead. Her intriguing contributions to the reality play never failed to amaze Tina. Her own contributions felt stolid, words trapped in a big gluggy ball of last century energy, she had to work hard to extricate each one.

                It was nearly dark, raining harder now, wind-driven rain. Tina liked it, the rain complemented her mood and disguised the self-pitying tears streaming down her face. There were very few people in the street. Just the long line of shop windows, glass faces warmly lit, overhangs offering some shelter from the rain, though it wasn’t shelter Tina was looking for.

                Her long hair whipped around her face, wet blue satin clung to her slim frame.

                Sam had taken off unexpectedly and suddenly to Australia. He had been gone only a few days and she missed him. Dear Sam, his wicked and irrepressible sense of humour could make her laugh even in the blackest of moods. He too was playing with new potentials, forging new and exciting paths.

                The others are probably all communicating with their advanced telepathic skills right now, laughing at dumb old last century Tina, she thought morosely. In fact even last century I would have been so last century, judging by my spectacular lack of success at anything I have undertaken recently. A vision of her recent humiliation in the ballet dancing class sprang to mind. She winced and quickly blocked the distressing image of the dance teacher drawing her aside after class and gently suggesting she might try the Ancient Kuzhebar Motional Practices beginner’s class, to get some basic rhythm, before attempting the ballet. ….

                An elderly woman who had disembarked at the nearby gondola stop splashed by her, and, illuminated momentarily by the street lamp, Tina felt a flash of recognition. The woman turned suddenly towards her, smiled, gesticulated with her free hand, the other was clutching a large bag, towards some distant bushes. She mouthed some words at Tina, but these were lost in the wind. Tina waved and managed a reciprocal smile.

                She noticed a Positivity Robot parked in front of Samantha Lingerie, and found herself drawn towards it, 3D images of models wearing the latest in underwear fashions rotated in the shop’s window, their faces beaming irritatingly at her. These Positivity Robots had been all the rage in the early 2020’s, you did not see as many of them now. On impulse she stood in front of the robot, touched the screen, allowing it to read her energy. “negative 21” its glass face discreetly informed her. The words “I AM PERFECT flashed up on the screen as a suggested thought pattern to implement. Tina grimaced. I wonder how low I can make this damn thing go. The idea made her giggle and to her alarm shot the meter up to a positive 12. Bugger, a bad start!

                What am I going to do with myself, Mr PR, if you are so positively smart?

                I AM PERFECT…. I AM PERFECT …. I AM PERFECT ….

                perfectly grumpy, perfectly insecure, perfectly last decade, perfectly soaked to the skin, Tina watched as the meter climbed all the way up to 55.

                She glanced at the shop window, just as a smiling model wearing a minuscule open net dress and nun’s habit rotated by. She felt an inexplicable burst of amusement as the meter climbed to 57.


                  Several days later, when the wedding celebrations had finished, nobody could remember anything about it, other than the jokes and poems. In true Russian custom, there had been ample alcohol…well, more than ample, there had been several hospital admissions from alcohol poisoning, drunken brawls and accidents.

                  Becky swallowed another aspirin, recalling one of the jokes that Sam had told.

                  As a Lord Wrick was driving down the freeway, his cell phone rang.

                  Sam continued: Answering, he heard the mummy’s voice urgently warning him, “Wrick, I just heard on the news that there’s a car going the wrong way on the M4. Please be careful!”

                  “It’s not just one car,” said Wrick, “It’s hundreds of them!”

                  Sheesh, sighed Becky.

                  As she poured herself another mug of coffee, a limerick popped into to her head.

                  There was an Old Crone with a beard,
                  Who said, ‘It is just as I feared!
                  Two Owls and a Lynx,
                  And a Rabbit in Pink,
                  Have all built their nests in my beard!’

                  Who had told that one, was it Sean? Becky smiled wanly as another one popped into her head.

                  There was an Old Abbot whose habits,
                  Induced him to feed upon rabbits;
                  When he’d eaten eighteen,
                  He turned perfectly green,
                  Upon which he relinquished those habits.

                  The toast popped up, and as Becky buttered it she remembered a joke of Al’s.

                  Most dentists chairs go up and down, don’t they? Al asked the wedding guests.
                  The one I was in went back and forwards.
                  I thought, “This is unusual.”
                  The dentist said to me, “Al, get out of the filing cabinet.”


                    tjmarshall57: hahahaha as if it’s not bad enough with the weeding, now poor girl has blotches all over her face!
                    tjmarshall57: wedding not weeding
                    tjmarshall57: do russian wear velis?
                    tjmarshall57: veils
                    tjmarshall57: hhhm, blessing by a shaman, plaiting together of the couples hair….(is Becky still blad?)
                    tjmarshall57: The biggest concern at the wedding is to have enough liquor. A Russian Wedding is an event where everybody must be drunk. No one will be surprised if people drink themselves to unconscious on the wedding – and many do.
                    tjmarshall57: well, that will appeal to Sean
                    tjmarshall57: You are probably surprised to find out that a Russian wedding lasts for 2 days!! (Well, at least. Some weddings last as long as a week, and this is something to be proud of and remember for years: it means the couple had enough liquor to go on and on, and enough devoted friends to stay.)
                    tjmarshall57: The Russian church ceremony is colorful and solemn but the complete traditional ceremony is very long, and as guests and the couple have to stand during the ceremony (there are no benches in Russian churches at all; people must stand during all church services), faints are not rare.
                    tjmarshall57: right, so a fair amount of fainting and drunkeness then
                    tjmarshall57: Then the witnesses continue running the wedding, reading jokes and poems, and sometimes asking the new couple questions to make fun of them.
                    tjmarshall57: Franci will you be my witness, you’d be perfect
                    tjmarshall57: “Za molodykh!” (“For the newlywed!”)
                    tjmarshall57: Traditionally money is considered as the best gift, and is given in an envelope. Some time after the beginning of the reception when people start to become drunk the witnesses will ask everybody to give their gifts and one of the witnesses will collect envelopes from the rest of the guests with a tray.
                    tjmarshall57: Then people have time to dance. First dance is opened by the new couple. After the music starts, there is no exact script anymore, and witnesses can relax a little. They still occasionally announce a toast but do not entertain the guests with jokes and poems; guests by this time are already having lots of fun and are able to entertain themselves.

                    Movements become quite hectic; some people go out “to refresh”, and at some moment in this movement the bride gets… “stolen”! She disappears, and when the groom starts looking for her, he is faced with a request for a ransom. Usually it’s his buddies who “steal” the bride. A more or less short wrangle about the amount, and he can have his new wife back. But he must watch out – the bride sometimes may be stolen a few times!

                    tjmarshall57: right, so we have drunkeness, fainting, jokes, poems and insults, and theft and abduction
                    tjmarshall57: Then there are the bride’s friends – they steal the bride’s shoe. The groom must pay ransom for the shoe too – the guests enjoy watching wrangles.
                    tjmarshall57: Often guests leave the wedding in such a condition that they cannot remember what happened. If this was the case with the majority of guests, then the wedding was a huge success
                    tjmarshall57: AHA! This is the key! I will write about it after the wedding, when nobody can remeber anything about it
                    tjmarshall57: Day two of the wedding:After the meal the bride must “clean” the floor in the room. The fun part is that guests are allowed to mess as much as they want while she is cleaning
                    tjmarshall57: another part for you!
                    tjmarshall57: guests on a Russian wedding enjoy it much more than the newlywed couple who are all the time made fools of.
                    tjmarshall57: The most popular period for wedding ceremonies in Russia was between the Christmas and Shrovetide (a week before the spring fast). This period was called the wedding period.
                    tjmarshall57: well, the timing is right
                    tjmarshall57: One of the many superstitions still prevailing among the peasant population of Russia is that, on the occasion of a marriage, the happiness of the newly-married couple is not assured unless the parents of the contracting parties are soaked with water from head to foot. When a marriage takes place in summer this is easily accomplished by ducking the fathers and mothers in the nearest river, but in winter they are laid on the ground and rolled in the snow.
                    tjmarshall57: who are the parents?
                    tjmarshall57: Among the Koraks of Siberia a young man seeks for a maiden with considerable dowry in the form of rein-deer
                    tjmarshall57: oh, well we can have psychoactive reindeer pies, anyway
                    tjmarshall57: Kovalevsky has well shown that many of the marriage customs of this country are survivals from a primitive and prehistoric age when the woman ruled the household and had more than one husband.
                    tjmarshall57: hhmmmm
                    tjmarshall57: it all points to a distant age when the matriarchal system prevailed, and the brother was his sister’s guardian. In Little Russia the brother’s sword is decked with the red berries of the rowan tree, red being the emblem of maidenhood.
                    tjmarshall57: red fruit sync!
                    tjmarshall57: no wonder I threw the cherries away!
                    tjmarshall57: ahahahahha!
                    franci_free: oh hrllo
                    franci_free: goodness
                    franci_free: will need to read back
                    tjmarshall57: hahahah oh there you are
                    franci_free: well what a complicated theme
                    tjmarshall57: haahah well
                    franci_free: you will have to write about the wedding
                    tjmarshall57: the key to the whole thing is that everyone was so drunk that nobody can remeber any of it aftrwards
                    franci_free: hahahah
                    franci_free: great!
                    tjmarshall57: thats my angle, I think
                    tjmarshall57: and s few things fit perfectly
                    tjmarshall57: the red fruit
                    tjmarshall57: the time of year
                    tjmarshall57: the drunkeness, Sean will love that
                    franci_free: the splotches?
                    tjmarshall57: well, nobody will remeber that
                    tjmarshall57: afterwards


                      There you are! said the man to the dark figure who had just landed on the wrought iron railed balcony I believe your trip was good!
                      Absolutely, Sir. Everything went as you said.
                      Good, very good.

                      The Baron was a tall man with an impressive build and a broad chest due to his lifelong passion for boxing. With his grey waxed moustache on his round rubicund face, he was giving the impression of a perfectly refined gentleman, but his disarrayed hair and his blue twinkling eyes behind his monocle were contrasting sharply and suggesting either a genius or a madman.

                      While Carla was getting rid of the cumbersome fly-like apparatus, the Baron was taking deep puffs on his pipe, releasing pink-coloured clouds smelling of vanilla.
                      The interior of the manor was of grisly aspect, but for all matter and purposes, the Baron seemed completely oblivious, as he was savouring his smoking on the stained worn bottle-green velvet sofa.
                      In actuality, the manor looked like a total ruin, and that, combined with the habit of speaking his mind which had gained him a reputation of heinous callous grizzly in society, had slowly severed him from all exterior contact.
                      The Crazy Baron, as the people of the nearby village had called him, was indeed very glad of this state of fact, which allowed him a complete privacy. As he liked to say to a few trusted people, being mad was the surest way of being left alone. Providing him what money, threats and coercion wouldn’t surely have given as surely. It was not completely safe either of incursion, but these, mainly due to a few young and curious daredevils from the village, could be easily thwarted thanks to the motion-sensors that were dispersed along the property and an appropriate anonymous call to the police. Because, unknown of but a few, underneath the old structure, was a room that, despite lacking a view, was not lacking of anything high-tech…

                      Do you want to know the details? asked Carla, interrupting the Baron in his thoughts.
                      Not really. I suppose you gave that old crone of a Viscountess the fright of her life, but well, I suppose she deserved it… Many would agree of course, though never in private. Ahah!
                      Well, now you make me think of it, I reckon she forgot herself a bit in the process…
                      Ahahah! If only it could have taught her something… The manic laughter of the Baron was as chilling as it was infectious.

                      Suddenly regaining his poised demeanour, the Baron resumed:
                      Now, tell me, was it a genuine one?


                        When Felicity had taken the job, she had thought at first that it was all a big interstellar joke…
                        Come on… Dead people speaking though living?
                        But a few recent experiences made her feel there was kind of warmth surrounding her when she started the radiophonic sessions, and that she was feeling… inspired, for lack of a better word.
                        Words indeed were coming and flowing, and even though she was rarely speechless, the words did have some different quality.
                        And people enjoyed the show greatly, and mails kept coming to the radio thanking DDT for all of the marvelous advices…

                        Till then, as she was conscious of the process, she had refrained issuing some definite statements on future events, as the inspiration was pressing her to do at times. As subtle as all of this was, she was feeling it was not really the same energy as the warm one; it was like incursions of a quicker and less stable bouncy energy.
                        It was pushing her to make cocky statements, on mass events about to come… Oh, not again self-fulfilling prophecies, please! she couldn’t help but think…

                        At times, Felicity was even wondering whether she was really going completely crazy.
                        Oh, it was so much simpler to be a genuine fraud…


                        — Arky, come here at once!
                        — But, I’ve done nothing…
                        — Stop being such a jackanapes, will you… You know very well there is no secret…
                        — Yes…

                        Despite his being immaterial, it was obvious that the One referred to as Arky was being scolded.

                        — And you know perfectly well there is nothing to gain in pushing things…
                        — But I intended well…
                        — I know that. As generations of focuses of leaders and presidents have been doing. One would have assumed you’d knew better by now… I can see you’re enjoying being with me on the soapbox, but either you find your own, or you better stay clear next time we get a communication.
                        — Understood.
                        — Fine, class dismissed.


                          Before leaving the castle, the fake Viscountess needed to check something on the skull…
                          Was it a genuine one? She had almost trusted the so-called experts of the auction room, while she knew perfectly well that they only could see what they knew. And they didn’t know as much as her.

                          To her knowledge, there was only a handful of genuine old crystal skulls. But counterfeits were legions and a plague for such a skillful cat burglar as she was. Well, cat-burglar,… perhaps not as acrobatically as she used to… As a matter of fact, her life-long search for these skulls had suffered the competition of a little embonpoint… — the good thing being that those few sticky superfluous pounds had been perfect to impersonate the Viscountess.
                          In the past, she had come across a few of these fake skulls and most of them bore very similar indications leaving her to think stakes were high that they were coming from the same con-artist.

                          She methodically drew a little dagger from a scabbard at her belt. Going to one of the window, she drew one of the curtains a few inches to reveal the pale sun of Shropshire which was already fading.
                          Then, she turned the jeweled hilt in such a special manner that a soft clicking sound was heard, and a beam of light started to converge from the sun rays into the dagger. She directed the ray coming from the tip of the dagger’s blade into the bottom of the skull, and hold her breath in expectation.

                          Soon the skull started to glow a bluish light, and light poured out of the skull onto the walls in dancing symbols, while a soft buzzing sound was being heard around, started to drown her in a slightly dissociated state.
                          She cut the dagger’s beam very quickly, her heart pounding at the validation. It was a genuine skull. One of the six.

                          She had to hurry, she needed to proceed on her investigations to find the missing ones.

                          The trunk was there. She took another key that she had around her neck, leaving the first one on the cupboard’s lock for the Viscountess to be freed as soon as she would be out.
                          With the key, she proceeded to open the high-tech lock of the armored trunk which opened with a blow of air.

                          Her jumpsuit was here, along with the two turbo-reactor powered condor-wings that she strapped on her jumpsuit in very professional movements.

                          A few moments later, with her big dark sunglasses that gave her the appearance of an obese fly, Carla was flying high over the countryside of England, enjoying the soft gliding on the slightly damp air.


                            A feeling of disappointment.
                            A feeling of hatred… Sam didn’t really know where it was coming from, but he was feeling it. It was a pooling of energies, not necessarily linked to anyone in particular. Like holding to old habits and old clothes though they needed to be changed.

                            Sam decided to create something he hadn’t for quite some time. Some fever and reconfiguration of his digestive process.

                            For him, it was a way of expression through his body. It was not a dysfunction as it was expressing freely the energy. Nothing was to be feared or opposed.
                            He focused deeply on himself and began to feel this low vibrating sound in his belly. And his body began its shifting.


                            Lucio was swimming with ease in the marble pool of the villa. His brother was speaking with the trees again and he had no interest in that himself. The water upon his body was offering enough interactions at that moment. In order to swim swiftly this morning he had reshaped his body to a slender and tall body. His short hair was moss green today and quite fitting in the sky blue water. A lemur was swimming alongside with him like it was challenging him in some way.
                            He felt his brother’s energy field expand and ripple through the water. A big watery splash was the indication he had joined Lucio in this aquatic amusement.

                            Though they were identical twins, they also had the ability to alter their physical shape slightly. Mostly their hair and size, and also their faces. Today they were identical again, except for their size as Lucio had increased it, and their hair. Adrian was bald today, his perfectly round skull was appearing almost shiny in the afternoon sun. He winked at his brother with a big grin and dived under the wavy surface.


                              Yurick found a very nice surprise in his mailbox. A parcel from his red bearded friend Gustav with whom he had not spoken much till Vienna .
                              Funnily it was for Yurick’s birthday, and his birthday was almost two months ago. And yet, it was perfectly synchronous with his many friends popping birthdays. Malika first, soon followed by Aina, and others.

                              In the parcel, there was a big stuffed panda, and an old video game Yurick was very fond of when he was a kid. It was called Monkey Island… A funny pirate’s game. He liked the island and monkey imageries. Like being in an island recently, yet not being cut off from the rest of the world…

                              Oh, and there was another game, one he didn’t know about, Grim Fandango, with skeletons on the cover, like playing some strange cluedo game…

                              And a novel from Proust, with Yurick’s name on it! A parody from the style of Proust’s contemporary, Balzac included…

                              Wow… so many syncs. He would call his friend in the afternoon.


                                Yann had been gloomy for a few days. Actually it was not really gloomy, his mood was changing quite quickly and he’d had hard times to follow himself. He didn’t want to impose his mood on his friends and even with Yurick it had been up and down. Nothing to worry about, he thought. He’d been told by Malika it was a clearing of sort, old aspects to let go, they had served their purpose and it was time he accepted the change in himself.

                                It was easier said than really done. Last Sunday he felt he was “fragmenting”, he felt part of himself gather and do something he couldn’t really define, he felt like they were moving their own way, leaving for their own exploration… but he had still the experience of it. And in the following days he could feel that he could easily tap into these aspects when he wanted to.

                                The other unusual thing that happened was that he was feeling many inputs from many sources he couldn’t always define. Most of the time he could associate easily a face or a situation, at the beginning it was still singularly focused. The more he allowed that, the more multi-layered it became, it was blending with stories of sort, different aspects of himself he felt, and also aspects of his friends or of perfectly unknown people. Some could be translated as famous individuals, some as homeless people, some as future and some as pasts… and the weirdest was that there were not one version of each, though he was in a way more inclined to focus on one of them… there was a theme behind all that… He hadn’t found it yet though.

                                He was feeling like evolving in a sticky atmosphere and he could fill it with his fears, so they could express, but the stickiness of this energy was in a way holding them tightly and he had difficulties to let go of these fears. Fears to be abandoned, fears to be less than, to be uninteresting or just not as interesting as… well all that was about comparison and self worth, he was feeling that it was not about the whole of himself, it was particular aspects still holding to these separations from himself. He was feeling he was to accept that in order to let go of this separation. But the non separation was also frightening him because he was frightened by the vastness of his being, the vastness of the connections he was feeling… “and what if I loose my beloved Yurick in the process?” he thought. Couldn’t he just trust himself that he would always be connected to his friend, because that was what he wanted?

                                He looked at his cat Arona. She seemed far from all those concerns, and he noticed she was purring more strongly than usual. He smiggled… hahaha, what a funny word. He stroked her fur and she moved her body with grace and abandon, how lovely of her to allow such an openness and such trust that it is safe and pleasurable.

                                He smiled broadly and stroked her belly, full of this joyous and wondrous feeling of love of himself. He felt how it was radiating from him to all his friends and all beings.



                                In reply to: Yuki’s Livrary


                                  November 9 th

                                  For Yurick, or perhaps shall we say, The Artist Formerly Known As Quintin this sequence of sequence of 911 has the signification of a reminder to be paying attention to self, and being present to himself.
                                  The last few days have been, in appearance, quite devoid of exciting new installments of the story, yet, we nudge him not to judge this lack of activity on his part as categorically as he has been used to do. It was a time of self-retreat, a time we have shared with many other essences, as all is connected.
                                  A very fine point which has been brought forth by Elias a few days ago (in Yurick’s perception of time) has been that you want to appreciate the process. His illustration was that of a beautiful flower bud that you hold, and that you don’t want to tear open, but rather let itself reveal its splendor, and also, its surprises.

                                  It has prompted Yurick to remember something, which had lots of meaning to him.
                                  Some years ago, when he was in Kyoto’s forests, he picked up an acorn, as he liked to have seeds or tree corns in his pockets. Back from his trip, in his home, there was this big pot of earth were an old plant had died from the summer heat, and he planted the acorn in it.
                                  And he waited. Till he had to move, some months later, having renounced to have the acorn grow at all, as the soil’s surface was remaining desperately flat. Perhaps it had rotten altogether. Before leaving the apartment, Yurick started to rummage with his bare hands into the soil, to look for the remains of the acorn he believed had rotten, only to find it perfectly healthy. And even more, it had grown lots of long roots.
                                  So he took it back home, where it was planted and still continues to grow at a rapid rate.

                                  Looking at the now big sapling reminds Yurick how that process of growing roots was important for the plant, as they were essential for the oak to be able to survive the winters colds and the summers heats.

                                  Such is the importance of these moments were inspiration seem to be scarce, or away. It is ever present, growing its roots very carefully inside the soil of your being, and expanding your connexions, redefining some, bringing new nourishments to yourself… The effects are not always immediately visible, but things never cease to move.

                                  Be prepared to be amazed by the colors of the flowers and leaves your seed produces, for as Yurick’s oak was an unusual kind of oak (a chestnut oak ), the very seeds that are in your pockets or waiting in the soils of your dream gardens may reveal their own surprises…


                                    Vincentius wanted to know where Arona had been heading.

                                    She rummaged in her bag and pulled out her map to show him. Then her honestly got the better of her. No idea really, she confessed. How about you?

                                    No idea either, said Vincentius.

                                    Arona tried to look serious, then cracked up laughing and after a moment Vincentius joined in. Arona could not help but note what a lovely musical laugh he had. Definitely no snorting, and for a moment she thought fondly of dear wandering Sanso. I Wonder where he is now?

                                    While they were busy laughing, they did not notice the woman arrive, but all of a sudden there she was, an old, bent, withered crone. An apparition of pure ugliness. Their laughter stopped abruptly.

                                    Laughing my little lovelies were you, please don’t stop on my account said the crone. What a perfectly delightful sound. Music to my poor old ears. And she cackled gleefully.

                                    oh Lordy, muttered Mandrake, his patience wearing thin with all the, what he considered, unwarranted and unnecessary joyfulness.

                                    and what a cute little pussy cat, said the old woman, her long gnarly fingers gently resting on Mandrake for a moment. Mandrake snarled.

                                    and a baby, said the old woman, reaching out to Yikesy who was cradled in Arona’s arms.


                                      On Mount Elok’ram, the old abbot Hrih Chokyam Lin’potshee was gardening.

                                      Despite his old age, and his being at the head of the Monastery, Hrih Chokyam was always doing his hour of gardening with great application and talent, as was asked to everyone, from the youngest to the oldest monks studying here.
                                      The Monastery was a place of healing and teaching, dedicated to Margilonia, the Elder Goddess thought to have created the Earths. As a matter of fact, gardening was the simplest —yet most effective— way to fully appreciate the grandness and the interconnectedness of the whole of creation.

                                      Hrih Chokyam remembered when he was a little child in the vast fertile plateaus in the Eastern part of Dam Adbor, bordering the high mountains. He had always loved the mountains, better than the plains, or the towns where the wars and plots were fomented endlessly. So he was wandering many times in the mountains, to collect herbs and also just for the fun and exhilaration of climbing higher and higher, and seeing the world as a small thing that could be placed into his hands.
                                      His parents had wanted him to become a farmer, but some wealthy neighbours had thought he was showing signs of being able to do much better, and even proposed to have him pursue a career in the administration of Dam Adbor’s capital.
                                      Young Hrih had considered the proposition for some time, and one day, went deep into the mountains to make his decision.
                                      There he’d got this powerful connection with an enveloping warm manifestation of Margilonia, who prompted him to go higher than anyone had ever been on the top of the mountains, were a natural point of great potential magical energy was. Here, she had conveyed to him, he would have a monastery built, a perfectly clear channel for this yet untaped magical energy.

                                      Ninety nine years ago that was.
                                      Hrih had been higher than any human had ever been, in the search of this point, knowing he would feel it resonate with him. The mountains, he had learned were not as empty as humans had thought, and there were many other kinds of sentient beings living here, far from the wars below.
                                      Interestingly, assisted by these magical sentient creatures and Margilonia’s energies, building the structure had been easy. He had never thought harnessing magic would be that easy, perhaps just because the traveling magicians coming at times in the village to do some healing or just funfair exhibitions were making that very difficult, and requiring lots of training.

                                      The truth was, magic was everywhere, only people had become blind to it, or just lazy to use it. But old Hrih, even if his eyes were not as sharp as they used to be, could see it clear as day. Magic was in everything. Especially in one’s own very existence.
                                      That was the first of the things people coming to learn in the monastery had to understand. Deceptively simple, yet the most difficult lesson for many of them. He had to admit, he had struggled quite a bit with it too, during the endless wandering into the vast mountains. But there had always been a root to eat, or some fresh mushrooms or eggs apparently left here just for him… He laughed now, thinking of it.

                                      Hrih’s life had been so fulfilling. He knew he was weak now, and would not see the springing season, and he was thinking he had to choose someone to take care of the monastery. Few people went to stay here, for as they had learned and applied what was to learn, their own passion was coming back to them, and they would not need to stay any longer.

                                      But a few days ago, a young one had come, announced to old Hrih by a singing rosy finch.
                                      As usual, all was provided when things were ready for it.
                                      Hrih had no doubt that the hesitant young man would be the next one to hold the title of Lin’potshee, or “Precious Elder”.


                                        November, 1 st 2057

                                        Sean took another glass of scotch to give him some courage to call.

                                        — It’s your twelfth now, that’s supposed to give you courage
                                        — Oh, Maggie, my live is such a mess…
                                        — It’s not, and you know it. Look at all our beautiful children, and Becky who went through so much just out of love for you…

                                        Sean didn’t know whether he was actually seeing the ghost of his deceased wife, or a projection of her, still alive in another part of the Universe, but she always had been a comforting presence.
                                        He had started to see her a few months after her disappearance.
                                        Yes, during that T.R.A.P. expedition, yeah, “live-changing experience” they had said… True, too true… Perhaps the electromagnetic field had messed up with his brains, but now he could see her clear as day.

                                        That had been a bit freaky in the beginning, and when they made love with Becky, he was a bit anxious to see her appear not invited. But Margaret had been discrete, well mostly. At times, he wondered if she had not sneaked into the bedroom and merged her energies with Becky’s, just to be closer to him… Becky’s acts did not always make sense anyway, so that was hardly a criterion to judge of that.

                                        All his live had been like that. A jumble of incoherent stuff. Oh, he had enjoyed it, especially at the beginning. His father Lord Wrick was obsessed with the Shift, and had found some ancient knowledge in his youth. Mostly rubbish by nowadays standards, bunches of rotten books of prophecies handed down to a few chosen ones, who were supposed to be forewarned of doom to come. Now, they knew that they were only a wake up call, but at that time, it was another thing altogether.

                                        Of course, the wealth accumulated over the centuries by the Wrick family had been helpful to access these precious archaeological documents. A few of them had played a key role.
                                        For instance, the in-extenso Life and Deeds of Lord Gustard Willoughby Fergusson, a rare version of the diary of Lord Fergusson, annotated by his daughter, Illi, was telling an account of history much different than the one romanced after his death by his wife Floribunda von Grott.
                                        Thanks to it, Lord Wrick had been able to acquire some inkling as to ancient treasures. Old fool…
                                        It had killed his wife, Artemisia, devastated by the madness of her husband, and it had alienated the other part of the family too.
                                        But all that counted was to make the discoveries, and perhaps enlight the masses.

                                        Sean had never really forgave his father that he wanted to utilise Margaret and have her fit into his plans of grandeur. Of course, his father had willingly accepted the union, and despite all appearances (for the sake of those rapacious journalists) he had even pushed Sean to do it quickly. But all he was really interested in was her precious discoveries.

                                        — Oh, but I was not innocent, Sean
                                        — I know Maggie, you were obsessed by what we could offer to you, especially when you read about the botanical experiments in the deserts, which were related in that old book. But still…
                                        — We all had grown up through that, you know…
                                        — Yes, and what showed me that, was that I was concerned that the old vampire would suck my own children into his web, but Peregrine was too free for that, and Guinevere preferred to live her live outside of this madness too.
                                        Becky had a good influence. Do me a favour, be kind to her.
                                        — You know what?… Yes of course you’d know,… but let me tell you, so that we can laugh together… I found myself really happy and free when I stole the two magical books out of the Old Fool’s clutch. God knows how he acquired them, but one thing was sure, he was obsessed with them. I couldn’t get the mummy, but the books were a great take.
                                        — And a funny idea to give them to your cousin…
                                        — Yes, Dorean was the perfect person. I couldn’t leave them anywhere, my father would have found them again. At least he wasn’t in good terms with his brother and sister-in-law, so they were safe in their care. And at least, they were more grounded than my father, the perfect keepers for the books… I’m wondering what happened to them…
                                        — That will upset you, but Perry’s twins got them.
                                        — Oh really?
                                        — Yes, and they are having fun with them, as was intended.
                                        — That’s fine then, and we are less obsessed now than we were before, so I guess my father isn’t as much as a pain in the butt as he was…
                                        — You father meant good
                                        — Yes, like everyone, but why can’t we leave people alone at times? People can sort out their issues without the commiseration, and the good intentions… It’s poison even worse… Like I can drink and still be healthy, and nice, and…

                                        Sean started to sob.

                                        — I know, darling, but you’re as much of a sore as your father was… You focus so much on what’s not going right, and you don’t even appreciate that you can talk with your departed wife… That was nothing as easy in the old days.
                                        — Do you think my father talks with mum to?
                                        — I think he would be too proud to admit he is sorry… That may hinder the communication… But Arty wouldn’t bear grudge now. When we let go of the physical, things become so clear, we can only be accepting of everything. Perhaps you prefer to wait for your father to cross over? I can tell you something, that won’t be easier. That much I know.
                                        — You’re right. It’s just that I don’t know how to start…
                                        — Be yourself, talk about what you enjoy, where is your passion now… Perhaps that is the problem. You’re drowning your passion in your scotch.
                                        — You’re right… I’ll tell him Léan will have a baby.
                                        — Oh, he’ll love it!
                                        — How time flies… sighed Sean, I still remember the little sweetie as a blue-eyed laughing baby herself, with Oliver and Illana. She was the only one of the triplet to have inherited her mother’s dark complexion. She’s so beautiful…
                                        — Let’s call your father darling
                                        — Yes, let’s call him.


                                        Lord Wrick had not expected to received that call. Well, he had renounced it so long ago.
                                        He had been a bit shaken, but also relieved. He had proposed, on an impulse, to invite that whole part of the family he barely knew, Sean’s new partner, and all their children for next Christmas in the castle. Sean had told him they would probably come with Becky but that the children were now having their own lives, and it would have to be for another time.


                                        Lord Wrick went to see Bill, who was now painting the portraits of Peregrine and Linda in the veranda.
                                        He would probably have to stay longer, to paint a lot of new family portraits.

                                        That probably would come perfectly, as ever, as the Lord could tell India Louise loved to spend time with the painter. Perhaps she would become an artist too… :sumari:


                                          Then she had an idea. She went into the bathroom and got a new razor out of the packet. She paused for a moment, but only a moment, and then took a deep breath.

                                          Ten minutes later she surveyed her new look in the mirror. Bald as a coot, and so CUTE! Her delicate elfin features were perfectly suited to the new sleek streamlined style. Becky rummaged in her trinket and jewelry box, and selected some chunky silver Tuareg earrings to compliment the new style, applied deep cranberry red lipstick, and chose a vibrant multicoloured silk dress.

                                          Wow! Becky had to admit she looked absolutely stunning.


                                          In reply to: Yuki’s Livrary


                                            September 24 th

                                            Quintin remembered a snapshot of the notes that Dory had taken during her first trip to the Madagascan caves, a year ago.

                                            Relevant extracts:

                                            At one moment, I saw some hooded figure in the sideways tunnels… He vanished on the left, couldn’t follow him…
                                            […] HE KNEW HIS WAY INSIDE !
                                            When he vanished, I had the vision of something, […] like the layout of a labyrinth, of cave tunnels — that are all underground and the many entrances are all over the world… PORTALS
                                            focus opening/doors ; time/space…
                                            The central cavernous part is some kind of key center, where anyone can meet…

                                            This has inspired Quintin to write some notes too.
                                            He has the vision of these portals organized as clusters, like a tree, with branches and leaves… I will send him a more detailed image, but that may take him some time to digest!

                                            September 26 th

                                            The latest additions to the story have inspired Quintin. He had some inkling of how “essence” (or what is somewhat referred as “oversoul” ) and all the “focus” of essence (or lifetimes) interplay, and are not as separate as they sometimes seem to be.

                                            Here would be what we will say to him, if he wants to listen:

                                            « Now, terminology can become tricky as, for much time, you have been accustomed to be considering of your experience as the projection of that of an “essence”, somewhat separate from you, the lowly focus.
                                            Of course, you pretend the contrary, and become quite nifty in brandishing sentences like “I am essence, and I create all of my reality”, which you are and do actually, but that you do not always believe and trust.
                                            These terms of “essence” and “focus” were given to you as means for you to better understand the interplay of consciousness. In the beginning of the acquaintance with these new terminologies, you have felt them remotely blurry and unrelated to previous concepts, which was the intention. But now, you once again objectify your understanding in something too rigid at times, and that little story is giving you a hint of what your real power is.
                                            And you begin to really experience it, and really pay attention.

                                            « As was expressed many times, “essence” is no thing. It is an action.
                                            The “essence” is each of you, that very portion of you that you feel when you slide your attention into the comment box.
                                            In that, your purpose, you see, is only to experience, nothing more, nothing less.
                                            And then time, as you know it, becomes irrelevant, you see. Your natural time is expressed through you and your explorations.
                                            Notice how playfully, as essence (essence playing focus or focus playing essence), you let your natural time unfold, and at times find some strange weather pattern in your awareness that needs clarification. As essence, you playfully find the most perfect habits [shapes and clothings] to wrap around you, and continue your story.
                                            Just as your dreams at night overlap and blend into each other.
                                            Just as Rafaela created new focuses [Sam and Becky] to continue to play and make the story expand for all of the other focuses, Dory included.

                                            « That “I” of you is ever present, and is reflected perfectly in others’ perceptions, as you are drawing them to you purposefully. Do not brush aside their adjuncts, for they are also you, having moved your pawns forward, so to speak, through their moves.

                                            « Thus understand that the story is a continuous stream reflecting the essence that is you, and your travel through the various guises you borrow.
                                            In that manner, it does not matter how much sense it makes in linear terms. Because, in a way, it can’t make sense in these linear terms.

                                            « Let us explain this in other terms.
                                            When you found difficulties in understanding the “scheme” so to speak, the figure that is drawn by the participants, it is because you apply the linear understanding of what such a scheme should be.
                                            In that, you only perceive the “plot” as a succession of dots without a continuity, whereas the continuity is to be found in the other stories interwoven.
                                            You are accustomed to stories where a single individual is enacting throughout the play, in a linear continuous fashion. The individual goes through many different actions, but is always the same in your perception.
                                            Here, the tricky thing is to notice the continuity throughout the various habits [clothings] taken by the essence(s). It matters not that the essence takes that guise of say, a pirate sailing on high seas, just after having been an old crafty Lord in his windy castle. The underlying aspects of his exploration has been continuous and coherent: in this case, exploring and making sense of one’s exploration. It is just that a certain appearance has been perhaps more fitting to express certain aspects or qualities of essence, but the exploration has been one, throughout the entirety of the experience.

                                            « We will let you ponder this, and we will continue our own story, writing about you… »

                                            September 28 th

                                            This sand symbol that Quintin has brought up seemed to have come from many directions at once. Each character has connected it, in various ways.
                                            Armelle (Arona) to her magic, Rafaela (Becky) to her collecting customs, etc. etc.

                                            Let us say that this symbol is not as innocent as it may seem. There are lots of associations with sand.
                                            It is solid, yet fluid. In association with water, it can be used to build, and also to erode. It can shift into many forms, one of which is your glass, and your electronic components.
                                            And most of all, it is, after your very oxygen, the most abundant constituent of your reality.
                                            It is almost limitless in your understanding.
                                            As is your magic.

                                            This magical device we made Quintin see in a visualization is an analogy of your very action of creation as essences.
                                            The sand which molds itself to make forms and shapes in three dimensions is in fact likened to your consciousness. Each grain of sand represents your links of consciousness that bind together to do your command.
                                            The shapes are moved by your essences, in which you may see that the essence is no thing at all, but is a continuous stream of action, not separate from others’.

                                            As Quintin said to Fiona, some individuals do differently when they create and shape their sands.
                                            In analogy with the coloured sands, some people like Quintin enjoy using other people’s colours in shaping his own characters, while some others prefer to keep their own colours, to create a more definite sense of individuality. But they integrate the others’ movements and shapes nonetheless, regardless of how much they perceive it to be coming from them.

                                            With that said, let us see how much more will appear from that sandbox…

                                            September 30 th

                                            The Wrick family tree as it is now (or “will be” drawn around the time of the twins in 2057).

                                            The Secret Life of Margaret Wrick , a newspaper cut from 2033.

                                            October 7 th

                                            The dragon Naasir’s dream
                                            A panorama illustrating the portals between the worlds created by each of the participants… But who is dreaming, really?

                                            And an illustration of Chiara’s encounter with the glutton “dreggun” Buckberry

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