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  • #287
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    India Louise and Eugenia momentarily forgot about the gold locket and walked over to the exceptionally long trunk. India dropped the locket into her pocket as she investigated the exterior of the trunk, which didn’t appear to have an opening. It seemed to have been made around whatever it housed, and permanently.

    ‘How strange’, mused India, ‘it must not be intended to open, ever!’

    ‘That makes me want to open it’, said Eugenia. ‘Let’s! Let’s open it!’

    Eugenia was rummaging in the desk drawers for a suitable tool.

    ‘Wow, look at this, Indy’. She held a heavy black letter opener up to show India, with an elaborate carved dragon on the handle. The dragon had glittering amethyst eyes, and a serpentine line of coloured stones along its back.

    India shivered involuntarily at the sight of the dragon. Horrid nasty creatures, dragons, she muttered, resisting an urge to cross herself. ‘Peace be with you, now bugger off’ she whispered the spell under her breath so Eugenia wouldn’t hear her and think she was a silly goose. Horrid scaley slimy stinky reptiles.

    ‘You go first, Genie, try and prise the trunk open.’ India didn’t want to touch the letter opener, but she was rather curious about the contents of the trunk.

    Eugenia was a strong and capable lass, with a practical methodical mind ~ unlike India Louise ~ and before long the first piece of wood came splintering off.

    ‘Nice one, Genie, well done.’ India said as Eugenia wrenched off another few planks.

    ‘Oh MY GOD!’ ‘Jumping Jehosophat!’ ‘What the……’ ‘Holy Moly, Genie, what the….’. After a few initial exclamations, the girls were silent, the hair standing up on their arms.

    They were looking down at the shrivelled features of a dried up body, covered in bits of disintegrating faded fabric.

    ‘A mummy! It’s a friggen mummy!’

    #285
    FloveFlove
    Participant

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

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

    I WISH YOU WOULD ALL GO AWAY

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

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

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

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

    Oh dear, said Roselyn whatever is the matter?

    #279
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    Once Illi had realized she was dead and could ‘go’ anywhere she liked simply by creating the ‘place’ around her, she decided to take a long relaxing holiday on a deserted tropical island. She would float in the warm lagoon, feast on coconuts and pina coladas and mangoes, play with the dancing lemurs and build fantastic sand castles on the beaches. As she visualized it, it appeared as if by magic all around her…the sun warm on her head, the sand between her toes, the gentle breeze fragrant with exotic blooms and the sound of gossiping parrots filled her senses. She closed her eyes and flung her arms wide in appreciation for the physical joys she had recreated, breathed deeply and relaxed for the first time since she had died. Finally, she felt like she knew where she was, even if that ‘somewhere’ was as ‘nowhere’ as ‘anywhere’ else, just another ‘elsewhere’ really…..

    Illi stretched out on her back on the golden sand and squinted up at the cloudless deep blue sky. How nice, she thought, not to have any aches and pains, not to have to worry about shifting and those bloody belief systems, how simply lovely to just BE, with no perceived responsibilities, no interruptions…

    Just then out of the corner of her eye, Illi saw movement in the sky. Something was descending onto the island. Illi couldn’t make out what it was, and wished she had a pair of binoculars. Silly Illi, she said to herself, reaching for the binoculars that had appeared beside her. I keep forgetting I can create anything at all.

    Holy Moly! A great fat roly poly nun with a huge jolly grin was wafting down from the heavens, with an irridescent turquoise fairy in tow. They were landing on her island! We’ll see about that! Illi jumped to her feet and stomped off the beach and into the mangroves, sloshing angrily through the watery roots….. until she realized she could hover above the ground, which was a much easier way to travel.

    Hovering was much quieter too, and the jolly fat nun and the bluegreen fairy were quite unaware that Illi was peering at them from behind a peachy hibiscus bush. In fact, the blooms on the hibiscus had grown to a most ridiculous size, and Illi could hardly see past them. She hovered to the side a bit, and decided on impulse to make her presence known to the intruders.

    BOUH! :yahoo_skull:

    #278
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    India Louise shivered in the draughty corridor and glanced furtively over her shoulder. Bill! she hissed into the keyhole. She tapped softly on the door again, afraid of waking Manon in the next room. It would be difficult enough to explain to Bill, let alone trying to explain to the nosy and rather batty cook.

    She wrapped her dressing gown tightly round her, and felt the weighty key clunk against her thigh. Eugenia and India Louise had been playing ‘let’s pretend’ with the key that Grandad Wrick had thrown on the bonfire (that India found in the ashes the next day and thought would make a super present for Eugenia….. they both loved odd little gifts).

    For days they’d been wandering around the many corridors and wings of the Wrick castle, and Eugenia’s ancient rambling Sandlebright Hall. On fine days they’d explored the grounds, the aviaries and stables and hay barns, the meadows and follies, the lodges and farm cottages, through the spinney to the river and the boathouse, and back through the rose arbours… imagining themselves in different times and places, as different people, making up stories and weaving the key into each little story…… the murder at the boathouse and the key to the mystery… the key to the kitchen and the affairs of the cook… the parrots and the key to the bird cage…… the key to the captains trunk in the attic…

    Until they found the place where the key didn’t fit into the story…that is to say, the one place that should have needed a key, The Locked Room that only great grandad Wrick ever went in, was unlocked.

    India Louise couldn’t wait to tell Bill all about it.

    #277
    FloveFlove
    Participant

    You are very fat, said Chiara to Roselyn

    And she laughed. Yes, I am

    My Nana is fat, but not as fat as you.

    Roselyn seemed to consider this for a moment, and then laughed again. Would you like to go on an adventure with me?

    Chiara was not quite sure. An adventure sounded quite fun, however she had some beliefs you were not supposed to go off with strangers, however nice they may seem. But Roselyn did seem familiar to her.

    Where would we go?

    We would fly to Fairy Land, replied Roselyn

    This offer was way too tempting for Chiara to decline

    Oh yes!

    Take my hand then, and close your eyes tightly.

    Next thing they were flying through the air. Chiara loved the feeling of flying, she often went flying in her dreams. She giggled with delight as Roselyn, no longer seeming to be impeded by her fat body, effortlessly did flips and twirls in the air.

    The colour of the world around them changed, the blue sky became all the shades of the rainbow. Down below, Chiara could see an island in the middle of the sea, which sparkled like broken glass in a kaleidoscope of shifting colours.

    Roselyn guided them gently down to the island.

    Chiara gazed around, speechless with wonder and delight and then nearly jumped out of her skin as a loud voice behind her shouted “BOUH!”

    ******

    NB: What is Fairy Land like? Well, if you like gigantic flowers, bright colours, and the possibility of unexpected magical happenings, you would probably quite enjoy it. There is loads of spontaneous singing and dancing which can be a little unnerving at first for the uninitiated. You have to be prepared to go with the flow in Fairy Land because the creatures that live there don’t have the same rules as those that come from the “real world” (whatever that is), and many of them tend to be quite mischievous.

    #275
    FloveFlove
    Participant

    Oh well bugger it, said Arona, I have had enough of this. Perhaps we had better just play it by ear if no one really knows how this thing works.

    Which is really, although not in so many words, if I may be so rude as to remind you, what I was suggesting, said the charming Sanso, rather rudely.

    Well yes, that is true … but whatever, let’s not argue, shall we just get going? Are you ready Mandrake? All of a sudden Arona was feeling unaccustomably energised and assertive, and was totally fed up with herself for wasting time so much time sitting around. This was causing her to be a bit sharp with the others.

    You know my problem? she asked, rhetorically, although of course Mandrake felt compelled to offer a reply.

    Hmmmm and which one would that be?

    Ahahahah Mandrake, laughed Arona, well the one I was thinking of was that I think too much. I need to be more like our friend Sanso here. I mean, what does it matter where we end up, it is all a big adventure anyway.

    Well I for one, would prefer to end up somewhere in the vicinity of food, responded Mandrake.

    Sanso wasn’t really listening but was gazing at the sabulmantium with a look of awe and muttering to himself. This really is a remarkable find. I have never actually used a sabulmantium before but I gather that one uses it as a tool to focus their intention, which is a crucial component of the magical creative process. Tremendously powerful tool and when used with awareness by the pure of heart it has great potential.

    Oh great! shall we just get going then, said Arona picking up the Sabulmantium, and next thing you know, after a little bit more wandering down a few more tunnels, which isn’t really that interesting to write about, our three intrepid adventurers found themselves gazing in astonished delight at a most wonderous sight.

    #1308

    In reply to: Yuki’s Livrary

    EricEric
    Keymaster

    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

    #269
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    Malvina had been busy opening doors for herself, and thus, for the All.

    Creating the sabulmantium with Leörmn had revealed new potentials to her. And just before putting the final touch to the device, she had felt engulfed in a huge wave and before she knew it, she was talking with someone. A great creative power, which was stemming from herself, and also from which she stemmed too.

    It had named itself Naasir.

    It had revealed to her, in the form of a dark abyss, myriads of unknown potentials waiting for her to leap in faith into them. It had gently requested that she release her hold on the caves openings, so that she could explore more, and also bring more to herself.

    Then Naasir took the form of a great dragon in that abyss, from which roots were growing and pushing their way, slowly and surely, into the rich soil towards the light of their fullness.

    She had then seen the dragon’s arched back and tail shift into a chain of spiked rocks, separating the worlds seas in two. Three of the scales on the right of the dragon’s skin were glimmering, and she could see they were looking for a passage.

    Would she allow that to happen? Yes, she wanted to. Open the doorways, and reunite what was separate, but gently, one at a time.

    Slowly, the kite-shaped rocky plates on the back of the dragon moved apart, to open a slight, safe passage for the glimmering scales. They were caught in the eddies that surged from the opening, but Malvina’s focus helped them to float and cross safely, as they wanted to.

    She then came back to herself, seated in front of the glass-shell dragon egg filled with coloured sand, awed with that power she had just felt through her. She knew it was her own power, and that the device had only allowed it to be expressed, but she had felt wary of how the sabulmantium could be used by others.

    At the same time, Leörmn who was once again the tiny weaszchilla trotting on the wooden table in front of her had laughed squeakingly. And looking at the toy in front of her, she had understood how it could only be used by those who would see beyond the thinly veiled surface. For the uncaring eye, this would only be a toy, mundane and without interest, but for the pure of heart, its help could be harnessed.

    That’s how she’d knew she did not need it any longer, and could release it.

    So, the doors had been opened, and people were feeling the new jewels sparkling behind the dark passages. And gifts from friends could now come across the veils.

    Malvina saw that during the last transmugrification, Leörmn had created an entrance near her laboratory, and it was as if it beckoned her now.

    When she entered, she saw a guéridon table in the middle of a moistly pungent room. On the table, a polished egg was here. She recognized it at once. It had an azure blue glow to it, and fond memories came back to her.

    Back then, she was a young Sorceress in training on the Island of Mörk, in the middle of the Icy Lands, the birth and dying place of the dragons.

    This egg was one from a set of three. It was the first glubolín she’d ever made, along with her two companions. They had kept it to communicate with each other when they parted.

    Malvina, the youngest of the three, had kept the azure blue, and chose to go to the Dragon Head Peninsula.

    Oörlaith had kept the mauve, and went near the town of Kapalÿka, on the Snimeÿa River delta bordering the Marshes of Doom.

    As for Roselÿn, the eldest of the three, she had taken the amber one, and had went as far as anyone would have dared go, flying on her spiked dragon Rëgkvist, past the Great Rift.

    They had kept in touch, but contacts had been more and more sporadic as each were discovering their own new environments, and had ceased altogether, almost at the same time.

    As far as she knew, Roselÿn had been starting her own rookery in the sandy ice deserts of Åsgurdy, mostly hiding there from the superstitious people of that land. And Oörlaith, whom she was closest to, had been devising another funny way to keep people away from her rookery. Her own dragon, the playful Andarión, was shape-shifting as a huge shrimp to pretend that the surroundings were haunted.

    Recalling all these moment, Malvina laughed at how silly they all were, and felt a long to be connecting again with her friends. Would anyone of them be around their own glubolíns?

    #265
    FloveFlove
    Participant

    After Sanso heard the voice “the reason you are looking for is right under your nose” he thought he had better go and have another look at that smelly, well was it smelly? hmmm perhaps not, just a bit mouldy, old cape. Just in case it was a clue and he had missed it.

    He was surprised and delighted to see Arona, who was still sitting quietly meditating.

    Oh, goodness, said Arona startled, Who are you?

    I am Sanso and some people call me a wretched outcast madman wanderer, and Sanso laughed heartily.

    Arona laughed too, out of politeness and a bit hesitantly, unsure if Sanso was joking or not. Well your words not mine she said

    Sanso laughed heartily again which Arona found a bit odd. My words indeed he said And who are you and what brings you to explore this cave?

    I am Arona, and this is Mandrake. I popped in to find the source of the beautiful music I could hear, but my overall mission is learning about magic.

    Sanso had stopped listening and was gazing at the round glass ball filled with the sand shapes.

    Good Lord! he gasped, Is that a sabulmantium ! And a very early model too. This is a classic! The later models are much more complex, this is very fundamental, but beautifully made.

    Oh really, well it is great fun

    Sanso explained to Arona at length the more technical details of how a sabulmantium worked, and how it could be used like a compass.

    Fascinating she said, and Mandrake rolled his eyes.

    #263
    AvatarJib
    Participant

    It’s been a long time since Írtak last paid a visit to his family. But this time would not come now as the twins were just hatching.

    The hatchtone, a humming inaudible sound that would help the little dragon break the hard shell, had been resonating for almost an hour now, and Írtak had to constantly refocus and pay attention to himself not to be distracted by the unheard sound. The tone was quite intense and as they were both hatching at the same time the hatchtones were enhancing each other.

    Írtak could see the shell resonating with the gluid tones. It was shifting shape slightly, and his eyes were also perceiving a bluid glow around it.

    In the hatchtones were the names of the dragons… Írtak was a bit astonished because those names were quite odd, but he was feeling a strange inner giggle of sort coming from some part of himself.

    He was translating the hatchtones as Heckle and Jeckle.

    “Defunitely!”

    The inner laugh of Malvina was still resonating in his ear when the shell began to crack.

    #261
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    In searching for a sheet of paper to do some sketches of images going through his mind, Bill found an old poem he had started a long time ago, when he was feeling like he was completely transforming himself. He had not finished the poem, but had kept it all along…

    It said:

    I’ve been wandering through the valleys of death
    Where time knows no ending and all is gray
    And shadows seek nothing but oblivion itself
    In mazes of mist, minds’ errands led astray…

    Perhaps it was time to let go of useless things, Bill thought to himself.

    He watched the paper slowly smoldering and shrinking and falling to black and white cinders into the hearth.

    :fleuron:

    Before going to sleep that night, Quintin had the sensation of Janice’s presence. He was surprised, because she was no longer the little girl he had seen at times, but she was a very pretty young woman, with dark wavy hair.

    She had giggled at his surprise, telling him that yes, she was catching up with him…

    :fleuron:

    The City, year 2255 (%)

    Today was Janice’s birthday, but not her birthday as the Ancients, two and half a century from her time, would have counted it. It was counted from the time of the conception, as the future parents in this time were fully aware of the agreements they would have with the soul they would decide to give birth to.

    It was a reminder of this agreement between the parents and the child that was celebrated, and not the actual birth date.

    Janice had felt Cyprus’ presence quite strongly, and she decided to let herself open to the subjective communication. She was conversing with her friend Qixi, and sent her some energy to let her know she would probably remove her attention for a few moments, knowing she would be accepting.

    When she closed her eyes, she could immediately feel herself engulfed by the strong yet smooth energy of Cyprus; it was like being kissed by a swarm of blue sparkling butterflies.

    Then she opened her eyes.

    She was in an ancient classroom, with Cyprus focused as a teacher figure. Cyprus was seated behind her desk and came at once to great Janice.

    — Good morning!
    — Good morning Cyprus, you wanted to say something to me?
    — In actuality, you wanted me to tell you something, answered Cyprus with a mysterious smile.
    — Yes, I thought so. Is it about what I am choosing to do as an activity?
    — Correct.
    — You are aware that I want to be creating of worlds, and give them to people that would have commissioned them…
    — Yes, I am aware. And you wanted me to highlight some misconceptions about that.
    — Oh, misconceptions?
    — Yes. As you know, with these worlds that you create, you have infinite potential of explorations. You also know that they are not independent from the rest, even when you take great care of encapsulating them in an energy field. And as such, they are not cut-off from yourself, as soon as you deliver them.
    — It feels like a tremendous responsibility.
    — It is, and it is not. The responsibility is to yourself, as always. But, I wanted you to be aware that you hold some responsibility, to examine your own injections into these worlds that you create, so that you can be neutralizing what is not desired, and not merely hiding it deeper inside the world itself.
    — OK, I will do that…
    — Ahaha, there is another thing, my dear.
    — Oooh…
    — You also wanted me to make sure you understood what I meant.
    — Ahahaha, I see. Wiggling out won’t be as easy as I thought, Janice said with a smile. So, is it the reason for this classroom?
    — Nothing is hidden from you, as always.

    So Janice took a look at the sheet of paper on top of her own school desk.

    — I’ll be around if you need me, reassured Cyprus.
    — Thank you, said Janice

    The paper was like a spot test, with a few questions on it.

    :fleuron2:

    Study on a Few Contradictory Beliefs

    1. GUILT

    a. An old lord has lost contact with his son, because of harsh things said in the past.

    Write a short story about him realizing how guilt is not effective, and how past can be changed from the point of present by direct action.

    b. Detail the main beliefs you can see associated with this action of guilt.

    2. FEAR

    a. A man chooses to be disengaging by drowning in a river. During his transition, he faces his fears, helped in that by a friendly spirit. The fears take the forms of a forest of trees, all similar, with branches and malicious roots extending to him. In his previous life, the man thought he was a fool, as an excuse to stand out of the numb crowd. But now he faces this crowd again, only to be able to go on his journey and let go.

    Write a short paragraph about his journey. Place yourself from the perspective of both him and the friendly spirit guiding him through his fears, and see how he helps himself in realizing he does not need to push the fears away, and that they can disappear easily.

    b. Detail the beliefs associated with his madness, that he needs to let go of in order to be crossing the forest, and go to the Bridge of Daffoldils that leads to his cave of Self.

    DUPLICITY

    In association with the last two examples, detail how duplicity (belief in good versus bad) is influencing of each of the actions, and can be neutralised by accepting self and trusting that you shall not betray yourself.

    :fleuron:

    Janice gave her paper to Cyprus, who took it and held it for a moment, evaluating the answers.

    Cyprus then made it burst into a bluish dancing flame, and when the paper had disappeared, smiled at Janice lovingly.

    #259
    FloveFlove
    Participant

    Jadra slept fitfully. He was in the forest and he dreamed of a great tidal wave sweeping over him. He was holding on for dear life to the branches of a tree while angry faces swept by him in the water, shouting abuse at him, although he could not make out the words.

    “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” he shouted back.

    But then, to his horror he saw his left hand separate from his arm and he could no longer hold on. He saw his hand being swept out to sea and all that mattered was that he find it again. He let to of the safety of the tree and felt himself being pulled by the waves.

    Jadra awoke trembling and shaking in terror. He looked for his left hand on the end of his arm, where it should be, but he could not see it. He knew what had happened. He had thrown his hand in the river. He thought it was sticks and stones he had thrown in, but he had been mistaken. He knew that now. He had to go and find his hand in the river.

    Jadra felt such anguish. Not so clever Jadra Iamaman. You stupid old Fool

    Forgive me! he shouted to the Gods. Whimpering in pain he rushed back the way he had come, back through the forest to the spot where he had last seen his hand. He threw himself into the water and dived down deep, not caring he could not swim, only knowing his hand was in there somewhere.

    ***

    There were very few people around that early in the morning, but a small boy saw Jadra go in the water and stood watching. He waited and waited, and when he knew for sure there was something wrong he raised the alarm.

    ***

    Jadra felt a great peacefulness sweep over him. He stopped fighting and abandoned himself to the mighty current of the water. A unicorn swam by him in the water and whispered to him she would take him to safely home.

    ***

    They pulled Jadra’s body from the water a mile down river.

    #257
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    When Cuthbert came back to bed after having had his cup of cocoa, India Louise was awake too.

    — I saw him too, she said to her brother.
    — I don’t want to see him again, these books are scarey.
    — It’s intriguing, I want to know more, India Louise said, egging on him.
    — When I close my eyes, I got all these roots and webs crawling, it’s mad… I can’t…
    — He has found a friend to help him cross the Dark Forest to the traveling portal.
    — A friend?
    — Yes, a friend. She’s special.
    — Tell me more…
    — She’s a white unicorn, only him can see her.
    — Wow…
    — She’s named Mirÿnda. She’s glowing white, and he hears her speak in his mind, she shows him the way through the forest…

    :fleuron:

    — Mirÿnda?! A fool in saffron robe gallivanting in the forest with a unicorn now? That’s all you could find?

    Tina was taken aback…

    — Well, I could have used a grizzly bear too, now I think of it… Al answered flippantly.
    — Tsk tsk, replied Tina a bit annoyed. And why not a humpback whale, or an arctic lemming, or even… why, a leopard gecko for that matter?… And who’s that Mÿrinda anyway?

    :fleuron:

    — I don’t know any Amanda, Fiona said to Quintin that night. Don’t really know many of Michaela & Elias’ students. She’s Yann friend, right?

    Quintin had answered distractedly, as he was engrossed by his last painting…

    Later that night, he couldn’t find sleep, as the dragon he was painting was still expanding his web of roots and branches in his mind’s eye. He opened his computer to see that Malika was online.

    She told him something that night, something Quintin found abysmally profound and perplexing about his dragon…

    Dragons can shape shift, into anything they want to. There are several doorways/portals that they use for travel into this dimension. Malika said
    — Yes, said Quintin, this drawing has something to do with these portals initially, but I struggle a bit to represent them…
    Yes, so you can just depict it to be flowing, liquid-like energy in the center, when the portal is active.
    There are some that are being shone to me on the bottom of the ocean floor.
    What is being shown to me, is a dragon with a tail much like a mermaid, and hands with webs, big yellow eyes…

    Wow he had thought, she can really see.

    :fleuron:

    Jadra, guided by Mirÿnda, had been moving quite easily through the Dark Forest. Of course, he wouldn’t have dared touch the holy creature, and so he was walking hesitantly behind, taking care of where his bare feet were touching the ground.

    The Dark Forest was bordering the Marshes of Doom, and at times the limits between the two were almost indiscernible. It was said that every foul, err… fool… damn,…

    — Will you stop being so buffoonish! raved Tina again.
    — Perhaps I should let someone else continue then? said Albert.
    — Well, that’s entertaining, replied Becky mechanically.
    — OK. I’ll jump in, said Samuel, with a wide grin.

    It was said that every full moon, the Mighty Shrimp would come from the shores of the Southern Seas and haunt the Marshes in search for souls to be turned into krill, so that he could be the WALRUS (Wrathful Almighty Lord Ruler of Undersea Souls).

    Well, at least, that’s what Jadra had heard in his youth, when you tend to believe everything… So he was weary of the hiki-hiki sounds in the night that might have been the dreaded call of the Mighty Shrimp.

    :fleuron:

    Quintin was having a strange dream. He was a huge whale, along with another one he knew was Yann, swimming powerfully in the vast ocean, passing by strange creatures that could have been mermaids or improbable fishes, when his gaze was attracted by a stream of glittering particles of light.

    The lights were enticing, he would have said even “mouth-watering”, had he not had the baleens full of water already…

    :fleuron:

    Salome was moving through layers of consciousness, something humans focused in physical dimensions would have found difficult to grasp, as it was nothing that could be easily conceptualized. She was, as best as she could put, like a huge cloud of lightness coalescing into a form, when she decided to project her aspect.

    Taking form into a dimension required no effort in actuality, the consensus reality created by all the essences focused into the reality making quite a strong pull. She only needed to move her attention to what she wanted to manifest. Altering her reality slowly around her, to move closer to the desired effect.

    She was not only traveling through time and space, but also through multitudinous layers of dimensions unnoticed to many humans —in fact, she was not really moving, but that was a convenient way of telling things for humans…

    She said “humans”, because she was fond of this particular dimension, where she’d had lots of experiences.

    When moving through the dimensions, it had her projected focus of attention constantly and naturally adapt its form to the psychological environment.

    Here, she had just moved through a honey-drops dimension, where focuses were drops of golden honey-like substance, and as she moved through it, her own aspect had changed to that of a sand-glass shaped drop of honey.

    This was great fun for her to see the ease with which she could focus into this infinite variety of adventures, but for now, her pull was to some more complex physical dimensions.

    She started to move again, de-focusing, past the lazy honey drops.

    The honey drops were now shape-shifting to a whole immense field of snake-like strings of light, and they all started to converge to a direction. She knew the feeling. She followed the strong pull.

    #248
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    New York, October, 4 th 2033

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

    (click for article)

    :fleuron:

    Dublin, October 5 th 2033

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

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

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

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

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

    Dear Sean, Becky was writing

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

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

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

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

    Love,

    Becky.

    :fleuron:

    Orkney Islands, October 4 th, 2057

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

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

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

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

    #245
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    Captain Bone was packing his trunk. The boat was leaving at noon from the quayside of the fishing village, and the captain was nearly ready to say goodbye to the Sharples family. He’s been happy staying with the Sharples and their unruly brood, but he was a man of the sea, and the salty breezes and rollings waves and promise of new adventures was beckoning.

    The sea mist rolled over the cluster of cottages as it often did in the early mornings, mingling with the aroma of coffee and freshly toasted crumpets. Captain Bone remembered other morning mists from other shores, warm ones laced with cinnamon and cloves, and chilly ones pungent with fishy smells and squalking gulls…… bright sunny mornings with long golden shadows and the endless half light of arctic northern ones.

    The captain closed his trunk without checking to see if he’d remembered everything. Whatever he needed on his journey, he knew he would find. Whatever he left behind, he knew the Sharples would keep safe until his return.

    ***

    Manolo the vet helped the captain onto the boat.

    ¡Hasta la vista, hombre! ¡Buen viaje! Long Tom Bone winked and smiled. As soon as he’d set foot on the boat, he sighed a huge sigh of relief, and all the aches and worries of living on dry land drifted away.

    The Sharples family passed the tissues round. It was going to seem strange for awhile without the captain.

    #243
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    William Percival Jobsworth, or “Bill” for short, was finding the old creaking manor as freaky as their owners.

    The Wrick family was known around for being shrouded in mystery, and few people had actually been invited inside the manor, after its acquisition by Lord Wrick.

    The manor itself was full of ghost stories, as every mansion worth its salt in that part of the country. But this one has been a wreck on which he would not have invested two pence of his money, after it had been abandoned for many decades after the sudden death of the previous owner, the Crazy Baron.

    But Lord Wrick was an eccentric, and had bought the manor and restored it to its previous grandeur.

    It had been thrice now that Bill had come to the manor to paint the family portraits. The first time he had also delivered that strange parcel, given to him by that strange lady. Looking straight into his eyes, she had also told him something that had lingered in his mind quite vividly.

    « Suffering is not good for the soul, unless it teaches you to stop suffering. »

    He couldn’t see exactly why it applied to him, but the lady had seemed so authoritative about that, that he had agreed and felt like thanking her.

    The parcel had come a bit unexpected to the Lord, though he was quite artful in hiding his emotions, Bill could say. He had questioned him about the lady, but Bill had not dared to share with him the thing about the suffering. Actually the Lord looked in pretty good shape considering the age he was likely to be. He pretended to be a bit incapacitated, but Bill would have bet that if he had fallen from a window, he would have landed on his feet as a cat.

    Speaking of which, their old cat with its worn-out blackish fur was a bit freaky too. Bill had felt at times he could hear it answer the Lord’s gibberish.

    But all in all, that was easy money, and he thanked the opportunity to be able to do these paintings while the winter was coming.

    Now was something else. He almost startled when he was opened the big entrance door, to be revealed an improbable shape, two or three heads taller than him. It took him a short while to recognize the smile of the children’s nurse, topped by a funny hat that made him laugh heartily, after the initial shock was dissipated.

    Hahaha, sorry, that was unexpected… he managed to say to Jacqueline, who was not unaccustomed to these odd kinds of reactions.

    Not to worry she said with a slight French accent. Monsieur and Madame Wrick have come back from their trip to Mogadishu, and you will be able to have their portraits done. They will stay here for a few weeks…

    Linda and Peregrine Wrick were Cuthbert and India Louise proud (and a bit insouciant) parents, Lord Wrick had explained without much more details. Peregrine was the son of Lord Wrick’s only son, Sean Doran Wrick, but Bill had felt some restrain to ask about Sean Doran, as the Lord had seemed a bit umbrageous only speaking his name.

    Oh… said Bill who did not expect them to come back so quickly.

    Appendix: The Wrick family tree

    #241
    FloveFlove
    Participant

    Fiona woke up smiling from her dream.

    She had been in a new house, scrubbing the wooden floorboards, rearranging furniture. There was a nice garden, very green. Anyway all these ducks flew into the garden, well ducklings really, because they were cute and yellow, like cartoon ducks.

    It had been drought conditions for so long that Fiona was concerned for them. So she filled a glass with water and threw it over them. She kept doing this, and the ducks were hopping happily around in the water. Then they all started clapping their wings together to thank her.

    Fiona had been having lots of duck imagery lately. A funny thought crossed her mind as she thought of Rose, a friend of Dory’s who was into birds. Well she was a friend of all of them, but Fiona associated her with Dory, because Dory was always saying “Rose said this… or Rose said that”…

    Quintin said ‘ducks and drakes’ was a game where you threw pebbles into the water or something. This cast a slight shadow over Fiona’s day thinking about it, because sadly her pebbles had still not arrived from Yann.

    Anyway when they did get there, no way would she be throwing them away into the water. Not after this long a wait.

    What was the time anyway? she wondered looking at her watch 1:11, cool time for some more housework.

    #239
    FloveFlove
    Participant

    As soon as Arona said “sand” she noticed an object sitting at the base of the coatstand.

    Funny I did not see that at first.

    It was very beautiful, a glass globe, with coloured sand in it.

    Yet she found herself stepping back, hesitant, wondering if it was some sort of a trick the dragon might be playing on her.

    Someone else joined her in the tunnel, it was the older lady who had soothed her to sleep and told her to use her magic. Her energy felt very beautiful to Arona, it was gentle and yet powerful, and it also had the feeling of laughter.

    Hello Arona, how is your hand?

    Oh, my hand is fine thank you, said Arona, feeling the pain in her left hand throbbing.

    The lady smiled. And how is the magic going?

    Oh good .. I have learned it is easy and I just have to believe in it. She hesitated ….. mind you the truth is I am still wandering around in these dark tunnels….but I do feel much better about it.

    What were you thinking about when you fell and hurt your hand?

    I was thinking about magic, and then when I fell I had a terrible feeling of doubt as to whether there was such a thing.

    Your hand holds a clue for you Arona, the answer to a riddle.

    Oh could you just tell me? I have been answering riddles ever since I got here.

    #236
    FloveFlove
    Participant

    Arona hummed happily to herself. She felt so light without the cape and the tunnel was bathed in the gentle light of many glukenitches. Mandrake the cat followed along too, much to Arona’s delight, although she was a little hesitant to tell this to the grumpy cat

    Magic magic magic magic she hummed to herself

    Arona almost skipped along the tunnel, and, so wrapped up was she in thoughts of magic, that she tripped and fell heavily, hurting her left hand as she put it out to save herself

    Ouch, hells bells and warty wizards, she muttered, for it did hurt quite considerably… and then she had some scarey thoughts. She looked around and realised that really, the fact of the matter was, undeniably, that she was still lost in the darkish tunnel.

    What if I don’t believe in magic? and her happy mood plummeted.

    Oh fuch, she swore, and sat down on the cave floor. FUCH FUCH FUCH FUCH she shouted as loud as she possibly could, and in fact hurt her throat a little in the process and quite possibly the sensitive ears of many glukenitches.

    This blessed cave is doing my head in. I want to see the sunshine, or the rain, no matter, I don’t care what the weather is doing I JUST WANT TO BE OUT OF THIS CAVE.

    Ooops that was rather loud

    After coaxing Mandrake back, as he had retreated quite some distance at her outburst, she sat down and put her head in her hands and tried to think. Did she believe in magic? Well of course she had no choice. Life without magic was inconceivable to her.

    She felt a familiar tiredness sweep over her as she struggled to work it out. Perhaps I will just have a small sleep before I continue, and she curled up on the ground, wishing she had her heavy black cape to wrap around her.

    As she gave up the struggle and let sleep come she heard some soft words

    It’s easy Arona … magic is easy … it is the thread linking all to all

    ************

    A short while later she woke from her sleep, feeling refreshed and ready to continue.

    #234
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    Becky noticed the round jars of coloured sand on the shelf as she went to look for some chocolate. She hadn’t known why at the time, but she’d followed the impulse to bring a little sand home with her from special places, usually scooped up quickly and a bit furtively in the clear plastic wrapper of a cigarette packet. They were all lined up in little round jars from a disused yogurt making machine in front of her unused cookbooks on the kitchen shelf.

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