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    A few days after Sam and Becky’s conversation on the phone, they were having a rehearsal.

    Just at the moment when they felt stuck again, despite Sam’s moves, Al and Tina, a couple of friends came crashing into the small theater room, and were greeted by an icy cold silence. “Icy” is an exaggeration of course, said Tina, “it just meant I had to put a jacket on again today”.

    Sorry for being late! said Al a bit uneasy.
    — Oh you and your uneasiness! said Tina. And I’m sure we’re arriving at the perfect time.
    — Oh, well, I’m not sure of anything today, said Becky. I’m sick of being force-fed coleslaw, and rigging down holes for myself.

    A silence was on the scene.


    At the same time, somewhere on the deck of his ship, Bådul was remembered of the landscapes of his land. He had not really appreciated them before, but now, he was finding them dear to him. They were for the most part a mixture of sandy dunes, from which at times peaks of icy rocky mountains would stick out. Lately he had felt like one of these peaks sticking out of the sands. The sands were shifting.


    Somewhere in Malvina’s cave.

    Malvina had been polishing the last dry eggs that she had found and that would not hatch. One of them had some interesting perfect round shape, and a very transparent shell, and it gave her an idea.

    She asked Leörmn to come.


    Quintin’s bedroom.

    [1:01] The clock was saying. Quintin had just awoken from a dream about an elderly woman who was showing him some drawings. These were not actually drawings, but in fact, they were called by the lady “glassart”. It was made, she said, of coloured sands, and would be vitrified by some flame. Quintin in that dream had thought the designs rather crude, but had found the idea interesting, and with great potential.


    Leörmn came almost instantly, appearing in a puff of teal smoke.

    Oh, I see… he said, reading Malvina’s mind. And I think I have the perfect sands to go with it.


    — Why hasn’t that pirate, Badass…
    Badul, corected Al
    — Whatever, Becky pursued imperturbably, that pirate Baddock used traveling portals to go and look for the eggs? Why the seas? Sounds a bit complicated and with lots of dangers too.
    — Good question, answered Al. Well, don’t want to answer for everyone, but in my perception…
    — Oh, get lost with your “in my perception” thing, that’s becoming tiring… sighed Tina
    — OK. So, for me, they have forgotten much about magic in his land.
    — Makes sense… added Sam dreamily… In fact, I’m not sure after all that Badul is only after gold. I think he has found some old desert dragon egg in a cave lost in his country and hopes to revive it, with the help of the people who still know about magic.
    — Which would explain the quest… said Al
    — Yeah, and he would have hidden that to the rest of the crew, probably… said Tina


    Leörmn had now finished assembling the magical artifact.

    — That’s one of our most beautiful magical artifact I’d say, Malvina gleamed
    — Oh yes it is. And how would you call it?
    — Let’s see…


    sabulmantium !

    Everyone cracked up at the word that Al had just blurted out. They had decided to have some distraction to alleviate the stress on the play, and they had a fun improvisation game, saying stupid things that went through their minds.

    — Hey! Don’t laugh like that, it’s something very serious actually, said Al tongue-in-cheek. Let me see…
    — Hahahaha, the others continued
    — Well, it’s a divination device, or a sort of compass in a way. I see it as a globe made of glass, with coloured sands in it, and when you focus on it, the sands take all sorts of three dimensional shapes, and become alive…
    — Wow! Tina couldn’t help but say.


    Leörmn, as Malvina had been telling him (or vice versa), had put the sabulmantium in one of the tunnels, to a place where he knew Arona would find it, and probably put it to good use for her future adventures.


    HAHAHA! it is your first step now. Let me just remind you that you need not play MY game, the game is yours, ever.” said Georges.

    Dory was feeling a bit confused now. What was he talking about, what game? And first step to what? She couldn’t hold to the anger nor the irritation; all of that was feeling not real or not here, or not there for all she knew.

    “The direction you follow is your choice, and where I come from is not relevant to this conversation. You may say I come from yourself :) and indeed you called me and I wanted company. Do you want more coleslaw?”

    Without waiting for her answer he refilled her plate with the tasty food.

    All those smells,… she could feel so many different things, things that appeared not to be here. A movement caught her attention in her periphery. As she turned her gaze whatever was there had vanished. And this humming, it was like music, but not very clear… if she could just focus more on it, yes like that, she was feeling sooo calm and she began laughing.

    “Hahahah… haha. Did you drug the coleslaw?” She asked, trying to appear angry and unhappy, but all she could do was smile and laugh.

    The images around her were shape-shifting, there were many colors, some of them she didn’t know could be possible, the walls were melting of sort and becoming transparent, or just fluid maybe…

    “Well you see how it’s easy to relax. Let’s see where you want to go now my dear Rafaela”, he said winking.

    And everything turned into a great maelström but she felt secure and could feel his presence reassuring, and there were all those other faces and places, some felt very familiar, had she ever been there before?


    Jadra Iamamad stared intently at his left hand. He had been looking closely at it now for nigh on 2 hours since awakening that morning. He held it up and compared it with his right hand. He shook his head, a mixture of astonishment and disbelief, however there could be no doubt about it. A rather extraordinary thing had occurred whilst he had slept. It was truly momentous. He wanted to dance and shout and raise his voice to the heavens and praise the mighty Gods who had bestowed such an honor upon him.

    Ha! They call Jadra Iamamad a fool, a madman, but it is the God’s who have spoken now. Who are the fools now? It is the God’s who have chosen!. And he fell prostrate upon the earth.

    Not for long though, for Jadra knew what he had to do. He had been entrusted with this mighty honor and he must guard it carefully. He ripped off his shirt and tied it carefully around his left hand in order to protect it from spying, prying eyes. And there were many such eyes in Jadra’s world. He could feel them upon him even now. He knew full well there would be many who would wish to deprive him of the special privilege the Gods had bestowed upon him.

    He had to take his hand to the cave.

    Jadra could not restrain himself from doing a small dance.

    Carefully, carefully now Jadra, he whispered gleefully.


    Never speechless for long, Dory wondered out loud if she should just hurry along into the cave and hope to catch up with some other expeditioners, or explore the area around the cave first.

    Have a look around, a voice in her head said. Ever the wanderer, always curious to just see what’s around that next corner, and the next….Dory wandered through the strange tall rock shapes. In a sort of natural passageway between vertical rock faces she came upon a group of people squatting next to a large oblong hole in the ground. The womans shawls and headscarves were flapping madly in the wind as she conversed with a boy of about 13, and it seemed to Dory as though they were discussing moving something so that it wouldn’t be found. Dory stood perfectly still just watching, and somewhat strangely they didn’t seem to notice her standing there.

    An older man with curly grey hair and a long maroon djelaba and a tall narrow brimless black hat started to hurry away, as if a decision had been made.

    Dory watched him until he disappeared from view. When she looked back towards the hole in the ground, it had vanished, and so had the woman and the boy.

    PPFFFT! Dory had been deserted again. She turned and headed back towards the cave. Suddenly she felt hungry, and an image of a plate of cool crunchy coleslaw popped into her head.

    I hope they’ve laid food on in the cave, she said.


    Dory stretched and yawned, and took in her surroundings. The terrain was dry and desert-like, with strange tall rock formations with sheer sides, and hard dusty ground. A strong dry and hot wind whipped her shawl around her shoulders and face. Momentarily blinded, she turned her back to the wind to disentangle her shawl. She finally surfaced from the flapping tangle of cloth just in time to see the van disappearing in a cloud of dust.

    PPFFT! I’m on an expedition all on my own. Dory was momentarily speechless.


    After Arona said she was hungry, the energy of Malvina disappeared, and once again Arona found herself alone in the cave.

    She found this quite irritating. They are really bit rude around here, she muttered.

    Arona sat down on the floor of the cave and considered her options. She was tired of the cave and could barely remember what had drawn her here in the first place.

    It had been the music of course. She had wanted to find the source of the music. However for the most part she decided her experience had been rather disappointing.

    (Arona was never at her best when hungry and this was causing her to quickly forget some of the wonderful experiences with the music and the paintings, and take a rather negative view of events.)

    All I have done is wander around dark passageways really.

    And now, to top it all off, apparently things are shifting. In the name of heaven what does that mean?

    AND if one more person tells me to use my magic I will probably scream or something!

    Perish the thought, came a grumpy voice from a particularly dark corner. Your moaning is quite sufficiently bad enough.

    And Mandrake the cat emerged from the shadows and made himself comfortable on Arona’s lap. This is great, much more comfortable than the ground he purred.

    Oh cute, said Arona, a talking cat.

    Cute yourself, responded Mandrake, love your cape by the way.

    (Mandrake was prone to sarcasm, considering it a perfectly valid form of humour.)

    Arona stroked Mandrake’s soft black coat and tried her hardest to work out what to do. It was all feeling a bit bleak at the moment, the ever changing cave, the half light, the heat and humidity… and especially her hunger.

    Mandrake sighed in an impatiently eggsagerated sort of a way.

    Heavens to murgatroyd¹, how can I relax with your incessant thinking? Okay so here’s an easy one for you: what’s the most important thing about magic?

    All of a sudden Arona felt a flash of lightness and a sense of new energy moving within her.

    of course! She exclaimed delightedly, hugging the less than enthusiastic Mandrake, you have to believe in it!

    [¹] Note from the editor: Mandrake being a very educate cat from noble ancestors, some of its speech may be difficult to grasp for the average reader, which was certainly not the case for the astute Arona.
    Anyway, here is some complement on that ‘Murgatroyd’ .


    By the time Illi had finished reading the newspaper article she felt thoroughly confused. Mechanically she folded the newspaper neatly and then lit a cigarette, resting her elbows on the breakfast table and her chin in her hands. She gazed through the ribbons of blue smoke and the dust drifting through the sunbeams, wondering if she was dreaming, dead, or alive. It was becoming so hard to tell the difference.

    Oh well, I’ll think about it later, she thought, and mentally popped it into her clue and riddle box. Her mind wandered back to the story she’d just been reading, and the charming illustrations. The drawing of the young man in the white robe had seemed familiar, and she liked his name too…Sanso, The Wanderer.

    As she imagined him, she felt herself lurch ever so slightly sideways, and as she did, the image in her mind of Sanso became suddenly life-like…incredibly so! He was looking at her in astonishment, and taking a step backwards, saying Lordy! not another one appearing out of thin air!

    Illi looked around and found herself not in the sunny breakfast room but in a sandy cave, with a little girl in a wooly jumper, a young man in a white robe holding a large rusty key, and a parrot.

    Suddenly Illi didn’t care anymore whether she was alive or dead, dreaming or awake. This was beginning to look like fun.


    Jacqueline Bleomelen was a strict yet very affectionate nanny. Her Breton name being barely pronounceable by the English speaking kids she had at her charge, she was most of the time simply called Nanny.

    Once, one of the rude kids from a previous home where she had been serving an atrociously callous French Count, had called her an Old Gibbon, referring to her wrinkled face. But she had a very light-hearted nature, and wouldn’t show any hint of taking offense.

    Better, she liked the association with the playful and ingenious apes, and kept the moniker as it was more easily pronounced by the English kids she had in charge, and made them laugh that they could be so irreverent without facing punishment.

    For special occasions, Jacqueline was wearing a funny costume that made the children often wonder why she had put some funny hat with little moth-feelers loose on her chin, but that, she had explained was a traditional dress from her homeland of Brittany.

    Tonight, Jacqueline, or Nanny Gibbon, was having a funny dream, but perhaps that have been because she had been very excited by that excerpt she had read before going to sleep. As she was very pious, every night before going to bed, she would read a random quote of the Bible.

    Last night it had been the Old Testament, from the Book of Joshua. It was about the conquest of the Promise Land, and talked about a king from Hazor named Jabin…

    And in her dream, Jabin was a strange looking man, lost in the middle of ruins, who wanted to contact a woman about discoveries he had made in the Promise Land. He had found an entrance to a cave that had befuddled him. He hadn’t ventured too far into the cave, but anytime he had, he had found it impossibly deep and wide. So he wanted to share that discovery with that woman, but she was flying around in a parrot-coloured ballet tutu, on top of a three-humped flying camel…

    Even the rigorous Jacqueline couldn’t repress a laugh at the unlikely images that her tired mind had produced.


    The parcel contained two books, one for each of the twins. The books were large and heavy and bound in tooled Moroccan leather. There were blank pages where the illustrations should have been, but the twins had such vivid imaginations that they created the pictures as they heard the story. Sometimes it almost seemed as if they could enter the page, and roam around in it, until Grandad or nanny turned to the next page, and then the wonderful potential of the next blank space beckoned.


    Illi was getting used to being dead. At first she thought she was still alive, when she fell down the hole and landed on the smelly wet lump. The realization dawned gradually, so that it wasn’t too much of a shock. She had started to notice a strange dreamlike quality to everything, and no sooner had she imagined or thought of something, it materialized around her instantly.


    Yann found that strange article while surfing the internet. It was about a whole bunch of Italian tourists that had disappeared around the Smoo Cave in Scotland… wasn’t that the cave he visited when he was in Scotland? :-?

    The article was continuing with the number of tourists : 57!!!! all they had found until now were their 16 vans. Apparently some people said the cave was haunted and that at times they see the bushes around move in weird ways or some green glowing energy during storms.

    Yann wondered about the tourists… where could they have possibly gone?


    Everything started to happen at once. As Sanso sat up, craning his neck looking at the door in the ceiling, a terrific flapping and squalking noise approached from behind him, starting as a distant vibration and rising in an unbearable crescendo as it rounded the last bend in the tunnel. Suddenly the noise stopped as Sanso felt a weight on his shoulder, and then a thud on the sandy floor. Bugger this, the parrot screeched in his ear. Bugger this bugger this bugger bugger bugger…

    Sanso was momentarily speechless, as his eye fell on the key. He picked it up and turned it over in his hand, feeling the rusty weight of it. He turned to look at the parrot on his shoulder, who thankfully had stopped his shrill squalking.

    This must be the key to that door, he whispered to the parrot. Let’s try it and see.

    Wait for Dory dear Wait for Dory!

    Bugger this, sighed the parrot, Here I am bringing the key, remembering everything everyone else forgets, running the show here and I don’t even have a name in this silly story.


    Of all the eggs Malvina had been collecting since the beginning of her settling down in the cave with Leörmn, only one had been producing a baby dragon, till now.

    She had nicknamed her Buckberry, because the little one seemed so fond of the buckberries that grew at the entrance of the cave.

    Buckberries were a variety of wild big electric blue-vermilion reddish berries, and were known to have thwarted all attempts to be grown in gardens. In a legendary past, a famous king of the near Kingdoms named Hadraz the Third was said to have been loving these fruits so much that he had spent torrents of gold in trying to have them farmed in the precious glasshouses of his realm. All the attempts of the most knowledgeable Master Farmers had been amounting to nilch.

    This habit of Buckberry, for one moment had been making Malvina anxious of him revealing the location of their safe haven. As she could and would not prevent him to go in search for them, she created some powerful spells to hide him, at least from people to whom the little dragon had not revealed his true name first.

    That had caused some stir from some people who where adventuring near the cave to pick up some of the juicy fruits that could be easily spotted from the plains, as they noticed a heavy breath and * munch * sound around the bushes, that moved like shaken down by a powerful ghost.

    Thus has begun the trail of rumours saying that the cave was haunted.

    All in all, Malvina was not so displeased that there were only a few eggs hatching at a time, as the young dragons were very lively, much more so than the older ones who kept most of their time sleeping, or more aptly put, dreaming.

    Dragons had no need for training in a sense, as they were aware of their abilities, and Buckberry, even being so young could just have been moving away and started his own adventure, but something was compelling him to stay in the cave.

    He had chosen a different form from that of Leörmn, and it was indicating he would not have the same intent. As he would continue to grow, he would probably be a very powerful dragon, shaped for flight and discoveries in the farthest boundaries of the Worlds. At times, Leörmn even doubted he would be fit for a human partner, as he had only managed to scare the few humans he had encountered…

    After all, it was not necessary, though dragons could draw a lot from such a partnership.

    Dragons were not always welcome, as they were feared for their might, and could not always easily explain what they were doing, as most of their movements were in the Unseen.

    In that, only Ragmók, the old speech of the dragons could be used to properly explain these movements. Ragmók was not really a speech, in the human sense, as it could also be spoken through gestures or singing or drawing. But it was the very essence of Magix.

    When a dragon and a human bonded, they shared their languages in a communion of their spirits, and the chosen human could delve easily into the Unseen, while providing to the chosen dragon an ease of movement into the Seen.


    The singing in the next room was getting louder. As Dory started to sing along, she felt better. Bugger this! she shouted, and leapt off the musty sofa. The trip to the cave! She felt around the floor with her feet for her shoes, and wasn’t altogether surprised to find her magic flying sandals. Perfect, how perfect is that! She looked around the cluttered shop store room as she buckled the sandals straps. She grabbed a bright blue energy blanket off a pile of coloured shawls, a pith helmet off a hatstand, a mini magic tool kit in a terracotta patterned kilim bag, and on impulse, a glass egg timer with bright fuchsia pink sand.

    As she ran out of the back door a parrot in an elaborate wrought iron cage squalked ‘Don’t forget the key, dear, don’t forget the key’.

    Key? What key?

    ‘Don’t forget the key dear don’t forget the key dear don’t forget the key…’

    WHAT bloody key dear! Dory was really anxious to get to the cave now, but something held her back.

    The key, the key… There was something she couldn’t quite remember about a key. She looked around the room in a panic, It could take me HOURS to find the key in here, she ranted. Ok, ok, I tell you what, she said to the bird, I’ll let you out of that cage, you find the key, and catch me up. Meet me at the cave with the key, OK?


    The feelings of the eggs was increasing, Írtak was close now. He could feel the pulse and where he thought it was only one egg, he could feel now that there were two of them, though the vibrations were so close to each other that he had been “fooled” in a way.

    He smiled, happy that he could bring back two eggs.

    When he entered the room where they had been layed, there was that sparkling green glowing all around, the waves or energy coming from the eggs were very lively and joyful. The communication between them was so strong and loving that he was almost overwhelmed by the feelings.

    They were aware of his presence and they greeted him. No words needed to feel they were eggstremely eager to live…

    They were still soft and smooth, the shell had not hardened yet. They were quite big actually and he wondered a moment how he would bring them back. His concern surely was transparent and he could feel the reassuring energy of Malvina.

    He felt a surge of energy and knew she would open a gate between the room he was in and the rookery… she connected and created a connection between the two spaces and he saw the entry of the room blurred somewhat and soon he heard the sound of the waterfall of the rookery… new flowery scents came into the room and as he was picking up the first egg he found out that they were welded together… dragon twins. He felt awed for a few seconds as the energy ripples from the eggs were increasing since his realization.

    They would help him in his task. Humming silently and quite directively.

    The eggs seemed so light with that eggstra energy.

    He could bring them in the moistly and warm rookery. He laid them down near the waterfall but not too close so they wouldn’t be bothered by the rippling sounds. And close enough so that they would be warmed up by the heat of the spring.

    He felt Malvina’s smile, and Leörmn acknowledgment of what happened there. He felt an intense bond between them.

    The baby dragons were not to be born yet, but they each already knew who would be their dragon rider.

    One last stroke on the shells.

    One last glance on the emerald green glowing eggs.

    He shivered with anticipation.

    He would be back soon for the hatching…


    Sanso was very hungry. He’d been living on the fungus that grew inside the dampest parts of the cave, but the recent stretches of tunnel had been much drier, sandy even. He hadn’t found a cave entrance for days and longed to step out of the cave into air and sunlight and green things, and find something fresh and juicy to eat.

    Beginning to feel quite despondent, and with the hunger and thirst making his body ache terribly, he sat down, crumpled into a heap on the sandy floor. He lay back, stretching out flat and slept for what seemed like days.

    He woke up mumbling the name Eggleton, which reminded him of a dish he’d encountered at one of the cave entrance worlds. He’d wandered into a beautiful strange green and rainy land, and followed the delicious aroma of something that seemed so delightfully familiar, that he couldn’t quite place, something that reminded him of mornings. Coffee! He remembered now. The smell of coffee had led him to a door with big brass numbers on it: 57. He opened the door and peered round it, wondering if he’d be welcome. It had seemed as though nobody was there, but a table was laid for one, with scrambled eggs on toast (freshly cooked as if whoever had prepared it had known eggsactly when he would arrive) and a steaming pot of black coffee.

    Sanso stretched and realized his many aches and pains had been eased by the sleep on the soft sand on the cave floor, and the dry atmosphere, and slowly opened his eyes. Lying flat on his back, he was looking directly up at the tunnel ceiling. There was a door in the ceiling, strangely parrallel to the floor, an odd position for a door, he thought. His heart lurched and his stomach growled again with hunger as he noticed the large brass numbers on the door: 57.


    For some reason Arona woke up temporarily from her sleep rolling around laughing.


    Dory drifted off to sleep, despite the sounds of the conversations going on all around her in the next rooms. She dreamed of camels and a washing machine that wouldn’t spin with a full load, and then it turned into one of those teeth falling out and rushing to the dentist dreams, and then strangest of all, she woke up with a dream snapshot image of a perfect heart shaped….well it looked like a heart shaped dog turd!

    BUGGER THISDory woke up with a start. Someone in the room on the right had turned the music up and was singing ‘Bugger this’ to all the tunes.


    That morning Fiona’s boyfriend asked her to marry him. He even had a date in mind. Over the weekend she had told him how she was feeling. She thought she had spoken plainly enough and he had gone away. She had a bad weekend but yesterday felt she was starting to be more herself again. So it came as a surprise, and she had to explain again.

    And then she went to bed, and pulled the covers over her head, and let the sound of the rain falling outside soothe her.

    She had a funny dream. She was in a courtroom seated on a little wooden chair, wearing a beautiful dress made of exquisite lace. In her arms she held a baby. She had dreamed of the baby before, but in the previous dream she had felt only repulsion for the funny little thing with its exhausted tiny body, and extra long hair. This time she was holding it protectively.

    On one side of the courtroom were a group of people looking very serious and professional. She felt them to be mainly doctors and lawyers and they wore dark suits. On the other there were people chanting and waving placards. Some were meditating, others were dancing and they looked like crazy hippy people.

    The two groups of people were fighting over something, shouting backwards and forwards, and it seemed to be something to do with her. She was getting more and more tense as she sat on the little chair with her head down and listened to the two sides, till it seemed she might explode.

    Suddenly she looked up and she saw a funny Chinese gentleman, smiling and winking at her. He held out his hand to her and, holding the baby gently with one arm, she took it gratefully and they escaped from the bedlam.

    When Fiona eventually decided she could emerge from beneath the covers the rain had stopped.

    Bugger this! she said

    She put on music loudly and danced around the house doing the housework…..


    Malvina looked for a moment at the movements of the strings of her enchanted harp before beginning to play herself. The strings were moved very beautifully, and reproduced her own graceful movements, when she played that lovely tune from her homeland .

    The sounds were carried down through the many tunnels, and resounded in all the cave, in soothing drops of music. When she observed the creatures through her mind connection with her dragon companion Leörmn, she knew they were loving the sound of it.

    And all very naturally, she began to wrap her alabaster hands around the instrument, and as if she was consoling it, inclined her head towards it, and started to move her fingers along the strings, beginning to enhance the previous melody, blending her new sounds into it, until the strings felt so at ease that they let themselves vibrate with the sound, without need to stir more than what Malvina’s fingers was gently asking.

    The sound enveloped the cave, and the delightful music even drew some glukenitches closer, even though she was in the plain light falling from the hole at the top of the cave hall, down to the wooden platform where she was seated.

    In the silgreen tree which was blooming sparkling flowers of emerald and silver once every moon, that she had planted here when she had first come to the cave, she saw a couple of flying sparflies settle down. These were usually very discreet birds, and their song was one of the treasures of the Worlds. And their accompanying her music was for Malvina a joy beyond compare.

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