Search Results for 'rukshan'

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  • #4811
    AvatarJib
    Participant

      A red leaf fell on the nose of the biggest gargoyle and Fox stopped his rehearsal. It had been exhausting and he didn’t remember why on earth he was doing that. He also didn’t remember how long he had been speaking in front of the Gargoyles, maybe he drank the wrong potion in the morning. Glynis had given him a potion especially made for him to calm his anxiety and help him solve a few energy blockages from childhood, or in his case, cubhood.

      One of the baby snoots giggled behind the back of the shrieking gargoyle.
      “You don’t mess with me, little…” He found himself lacking the creativity to find any insult the could understand. It was no use cursing the little rainbow creatures, they didn’t seem to care. Fox suspected it was not because of a lack of intelligence but simply because they didn’t view life, or anything, as a problem. He took note that he should get some inspiration from that.

      “What were you doing, uncle Fox?” asked Olliver.
      Fox opened his eyes wide. The boy seemed taller everyday and Fox had to look up to actually meet his eyes.
      “Will you never stop to grow?” he asked with a little resentment.
      “Well…” the boy started with his breaking voice.
      “Where were you,” asked Fox. “I thought you had left with Rukshan.” In a way Fox was relieved that it was not the case and it soothed a little the pain caused by the sudden departure of the Fae.

      “Oh! Teleporting here and there,” said the boy, considering adding some semi-truth about going to school.
      An idea sprouted in Fox’s mind. It was too tiny for him to know what it was but his unconscious mind was already working about a plan to catch up with Rukshan, connecting the bits and pieces left by the Fae in his tales to the children and his innocuous comments.
      “What do you think about… having some dinner,” he said not yet able to formulate in his imagination that he could even go on an adventure with Olliver.

      #4809
      EricEric
      Keymaster

        The downward climb had taken what felt like days. The more he went, the darkest it was even the stars at his feet were now swallowed in obliviating darkness.

        Rukshan felt like abandoning at times, but pressed on and continued, down and down as he rose above clouds.

        The ancient energies that had shaped this topsy-turvy passage spiraling around the fence of the heartwoods wouldn’t have done something of that magnitude and let it unfinished. It was calling for an exploration, while at the same time protecting itself from mere wanderers, the kind with lack of imagination or endurance.
        His mind reminded him of old tales that spoke of sacrificing to the trees for knowledge and passage, but it was surely meant as a metaphor. Hanging upside down for hours was probably in itself a form of sacrifice.

        He reached to his pouch for a drink of sour milk, when he suddenly realized that the gravity had turned, and the pouch was no longer floating above his head. With the darkness and the lack of landmarks, he’d failed to notice when this happened.

        It surely meant he’d crossed an invisible barrier, and was now journeying inside another plan, deeper down. Ground couldn’t be far now. He took a pearl off one of his braids, and threw it. Then he looked at the darkness beneath his feet with intent to discern the faintest sounds. Quickly enough, the pearl gave back a ricocheting sound, clean and echoing slightly against what seemed to be moist stones. Indeed ground was there, where once the sky was.

        Maybe the final test was a leap of faith. Or maybe it was just to patiently complete the climb. A few more steps, and he would be there. A few more steps.

        #4805
        EricEric
        Keymaster

          Olliver was surprised when he teleported back to the cottage to see everyone busy with their own affairs.

          Fox was practicing a speech in front of the gargoyles statues rearranged in the garden like pupils in a class. He looked so serious that Olliver swallowed his guffaw. He wanted to update him about his scouting around, for the entrance that Rukshan had spoken about, and Fox had seemed interested at the time to join the exploration. His keen sense and shape-shifting abilities were always handy to have in a team.

          The kids were at school, and he found out that Glynnis was teaching birds in the wood thicket.

          “So much schooling going around” he whispered, almost afraid to be caught skipping classes.

          “You can still join me, if you’d like,” Eleri said, having jumped out of nowhere. Her black dress was an interesting piece of improvisation. “I’m going to a funeral, but it should be fun, the deceased has promised he would haunt Leroway and his thugs.”

          #4791
          EricEric
          Keymaster

            Once he’d finished to tell the story, and let the kids go back to the cottage for the night, Rukshan’s likeness started to vanish from the place, and his consciousness slowly returned to the place where his actual body was before projecting.

            Being closer to the Sacred Forest enhanced his capacities, and where before he could just do sneak peeks through minutes of remote viewing, he could now somehow project a full body illusion to his friends. He’d been surprised that Fox didn’t seem to notice at all that he wasn’t truly there. His senses were probably too distracted by the smells of food and chickens.

            He’d wanted to check on his friends, and make sure they were alright, but it seemed his path ahead was his own. He realized that the finishing of the loo was not his own path, and there was no point for him to wait for the return of the carpenter. That work was in more capable hands with Glynis and her magic.

            His stomach made an indiscreet rumbling noise. It was not like him to be worried about food, but he’d gone for hours without much to eat. He looked at his sheepskin, and the milk in it had finally curdled. He took a sip of the whey, and found it refreshing. There wouldn’t be goats to milk in this part of the Forest, as they favored the sharp cliffs of the opposite site. This and a collection of dried roots would have to do until… the other side.

            To find the entrance wasn’t too difficult, once you understood the directions offered by the old map he’d recovered.

            He was on the inner side of the ringed protective enclosures, so now, all he needed was to get into the inner sanctum of the Heartwood Forest, who would surely resist and block his path in different ways.

            “The Forest is a mandala of your true nature…”

            He turned around. Surprised to see Kumihimo there.

            “Don’t look surprised Fae, you’re not the only one who knows these parlor tricks.” She giggled like a young girl.

            “of my nature?” Rukshan asked.

            “Oh well, of yours, and anybody’s for that matter. It’s all One you, see. The way you see it, it represents yourself. But it would be true for anybody, there aren’t any differences really, only in the one who sees.”

            She reappeared behind his back, making him turn around. “So tell me,” she said “what do you see here?”

            “It’s where the oldest and strongest trees have hardened, it’s like a fence, and a… a memory?”

            “Interesting.” She said “What you say is true, it’s memory, but it’s not dead like you seem to imply. It’s hardened, but very much alive. Like stone is alive. The Giants understood that. And what are you looking for?”

            “An entrance, I guess. A weak spot, a crack, a wedge?”

            “And why would you need that? What if the heart was the staircase itself? What if in was out and down was up?”

            Rukshan had barely time to mouth “thank you” while the likeness of the Braid Seer floated away. She’d helped him figure out the entrance. He touched one of the ring of the hard charred trees. They were pressed together, all clomped in a dense and large enclosure virtually impossible to penetrate. His other memories told him the way was inside, but his old memories were misleading.
            Branches were extending from the trunks, some high and inaccessible, hiding the vision of the starry sky, some low, nearly indistinguishable from old gnarled roots. If you looked closely, you could see the branches whirring around like… Archimedes Screw. A staircase?

            He jumped on a branch at his level, which barely registered his weight. The branch was dense and very slick, polished by the weathering of the elements, with the feel of an old leather. He almost lost his balance and scrapped his hands between the thumb and the index.

            “Down is up?”

            He spun around the branch, his legs wrapped around the branch. He expected his backpack to drag him towards the floor, but strangely, even if from his upside-down perspective, it was floating above him, it was as if it was weightless.

            He decided to take a chance. Slowly, he hoisted himself towards his floating bag, and instead of falling, it was as though the branch was his ground. Now instead of a spiral staircase around the trees leading to heavens, it was the other side of the staircase that spiraled downwards to the starry night.

            With his sheepskin and back still hovering, he started to climb down the branches towards the Giants’ land.

            #4781

            In reply to: The Stories So Near

            EricEric
            Keymaster

              Newest developments

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

              Maeve and Shawn-Paul are travelling separately to the Australian bush, and end up together at the Flying Fish Inn where they discover they’ve been given the same coupons. Maeve is suspicious of a mysterious man following her.
              Maeve has an exchange with Arona, and sketches her and the cat for her collection of ideas for new dolls. They discover that Arona has the key from her doll.
              Little is said of what happened after Maeve’s Uncle Fergus appears in dramatic fashion.
              After the collective black-out, all bets are off as to the next steps.

              In Canada, Jerk is killing time at the mall, and Lucinda is possibly taking care of Fabio who might be distressed as he’s peeing the doormat regularly.

              Granola after hopping between threads and realities, detected a psychic blast from the Doctor and while trying to investigate, ended up trapped in a tiny red crystal at the Doctor’s lair.

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

              After the dramatic arrival of Fergus and the guests, some flirting of Sanso and Idle, Mater’s fashion show, Prune has decided to get back to school after an indigestion of medicinal lizard.

              Some of the guests, namely Connie and Hilda have gone to explore the mines. Possibly with Devan and Bert in tow.

              Fergus has mysteriously disappeared after the black-out.

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

              Arona, Ugo, Albie and Mandrake have left the Australian Inn, after a dramatic chase by unknown assailants, possibly the magpies sent by the Doctor. They reappear in the Doline, in Leörmn’s pool, having managed to get the magpies off their trail.

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

              The Doctor has managed a psychic event of dramatic proportions. He’s noticed a glowing red crystal that seems to have interfered with his machine. He’s starting to study it, and unravel its secrets.

              Sharon, Gloria and Mavis, the dynamic trio is planning their escape from the nursing home. The psychic blast seems to have alerted Gloria somehow as to the fate of Granola (B), as she somehow guess it’s linked to the Doctor’s experiments (beauty treatments). They plan to go there to investigate (after a fashion).

              LIZ THREAD (Finnley, Liz, Roberto, Godfrey)

              Finnley has disappeared, Liz and Godfrey are to fend for themselves.

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

              Muriel has left the cottage, and our friends are preparing their travel to the Land of Giant, while some tales are told.
              Glynnis is teaching bits to a birds’ choir.

              #4775
              EricEric
              Keymaster

                The wind swooshed in the garden, making fallen apples roll on the ground. The air had a lively smell of earth and decaying fruit, and the grass was still moist from the morning dew.
                The statue of Gorrash was facing East, and the rising sun was bringing golden hues to his petrified face. Little snoots were curled in glowing colourful balls of liquid fur around the statue, making it pulsate with a quieting purr. Around Gorrash, the slope was peppered with some of the gargoyles rejects that Eleri had made and couldn’t sell at the market. Still, instead of discarding them, she’d arranged a little forest of painted gargoyles as a sort of silent watchful army guarding Gorrash’s sleep.
                Rukshan liked to meditate at the place, it helped with the stress he’d felt at coming back from the last ordeals. He wouldn’t have thought, but his identity had felt more shaken than he knew. He wasn’t feeling at home with the Faes any longer, and there were few people who could relate to his adventures in the villages nearby, where he was nothing more than an ominous stranger. Retreating in the Fae’s dimension, hidden from all and mostly abandoned was a tempting thought, but he’d found it was a lure with empty promises. He still had work to do.

                Tak and Nesy were already awake and were coming back for the rest of the story.
                He’d started to tell them about the Giants, the old forgotten story which he’d learnt many years ago in his previous life as a Dark Fae. Both were captivated at the prowess displayed by the Master Craftsmen, the old Rings of Stones that they built, the Cairns of the Fallen, and the Fields of Chanting Boulders where magic rituals where performed.

                “Tell us more Rukshan!” they said. “Tell us more about the Three Giant Kings.”
                “Do you remember their names?” he smiled back at the children.
                “Yes! There was Ceazar…” Tak started
                “Caesar, yes” he corrected gently
                “… and Archimedes,” Tak continued hesitantly
                “Yes, and who was the third one?”
                “He had a long and strange name! Nesy, help me!”
                The girl tried to help him “It starts with a V”
                “Vergincetorix!” the answer came from behind a bush.

                Fox!” Nesy cried reproachfully. “It’s not even right! It’s Vercingetorix!”
                “Correct Nesy! And Fox, no need to lurk in the shadows, stories are not only for children you know.”

                Fox took a place near the gargoyle army garden, and a baby snoot jumped into his lap, cooing in vibrating mruii.

                “So what about these Kings do you want to know?” Rukshan asked.
                “Everything!” they all said in unison.
                “Oh well, in this case, let me retell you the story of the Golden Age of the Three Giant Kings, and how they saved their people from a terrible catastrophe.”

                #4774
                AvatarJib
                Participant

                  “I think we’d better go chase the giant,” said Fox. Rukshan looked at him, his right eyebrow looking like an elevated archway. “I mean, I heard Mr Minn’s nephew has been delayed and we have nothing better to do anyway. Glynis and the boys should be ok now that Mooriel is gone.”
                  “You’re assuming a lot of things. Like for example the fact that Glynis won’t mind staying and taking care of the cottage and the boys. Not to mention Eleri, who’s been too silent recently, she must be up to something. Anyway. Let’s just ask everybody what they think want.”
                  “Are you sure?” asked Fox. He was thinking that a short trip with his friend would be a nice change from the indoor life. It’s been too long a stay for him who had been living in the woods for so long before he met his friends. And Glynis was always too generous with appointing the house chores. A character trait that had only increased recently with Muriel’s long stay. “Maybe we can ask Margoritt to come back.”
                  “I’m sure she has better things to do, and better company in the city.” Rukshan chortled as if he had said something funny.
                  “Well, let’s ask Glynis,” said Fox who didn’t quite understand the hidden meaning.

                  “Oh! I would have loved to see giants,” said Glynis. “Unfortunately I have started a class for the forest birds, and it’s a buzz. I’m teaching them to be a choir for the upcoming town festival.”
                  “That’s too bad,” said Fox. “We would have loved to have you with us,” trying to ignore Rukshan’s throat clearing.
                  “But ask Eleri, and the boys. I would be totally thrilled if you could take care of them for a while. I’ve been doing all the work around lately and I need a little time of my own, if you know what I mean. I’m sure they’ll all love to see giants.”

                  #4747

                  In reply to: The Stories So Near

                  EricEric
                  Keymaster

                    WHERE ARE THEY ALL NOW ? 🗻

                    a.k.a. the map thread, and because everything happens now anyway.

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

                    🌀 [map link] – KELOWNA, B.C., CANADA

                    It looks like our group of friends live in Canada, Kelowna.

                    Kelowna is a city on Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, Canada. The name Kelowna derives from an Okanagan language term for “grizzly bear”. The city’s motto: “Fruitful in Unity”

                    Interestingly, Leörmn the dragon from the Doline may have visited from time to time : Ogopogo / Oggie / Naitaka

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

                    Though very off the beaten track, the Flying Fish Inn may be located near a location that was a clue left as a prank by Corrie & Clove on the social media to lure conspiracy theorists to the Inn.
                    🔑 ///digger.unusually.playfully

                    It seems to link to a place near documented old abandoned mines.

                    🌀 [map link]  – SOME PLACE IN THE MIDDLE OF AUSTRALIA, OFF ARLTUNGA ROAD

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

                    This one is a tricky geographical conundrum, since the Doline is a multi-dimensional hub. It connects multiple realities and places though bodies of water, with the cave structure (the Doline) at its center, a world on its own right, where talking animals and unusual creatures are not uncommon.

                    It has shown to connect places in the Bayou in Louisiana, where Albie & Mandrake went to see the witch, as well as the coastal area of Australia, where they emerged next in their search for Arona.

                    At the center of the Doline is a mysterious dragon named Leörmn, purveyor of precious traveling pearls and impossible riddles. We thus may infer possible intersection points in our dimension, such as 🔑 ///mysterious.dragon.riddle a little North of Hawaii, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

                    However, the inside of the Doline would look rather like Phong Nha-Ke Bang gigantic cave in Vietnam.

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

                    It is not very clear where our favourite investigative team is located. They are likely to be near an urban area with a well-connected international airport, given their propensity for impromptu traveling, such as in Iceland and Australia.

                    For all we know, they could be settled in Germany: 🔑 ///newspapers.gone.crazy
                    or Denmark 🔑 ///publish.odds.news

                    As for the Doctor, we strongly suspect his current hideout to be also revealed when searching from his signature beautification prescription that has made him famous in connoisseur circles: 🔑 ///beauty.treatment.shot at the frontier of Sweden and Finland.

                    LIZ THREAD (Finnley, Liz, Roberto, Godfrey)

                    We don’t really know where the story happens; for that, one would need to dive into Liz’s turbulent past, and that would confound the most sane individual, starting with keeping count of her past husbands.

                    As a self-made powerful best-selling writer, we could guess she would take herself to be the JK Rowling of the Unplotted Booker Prize, and thus would be a well-traveled British uptart, sorry upstart, with a fondness for mansions with character and gardeners with toned glutes. Of course, one would need the staff.

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

                    This story happens in another completely different dimension, but it can be interesting to explore some of its unusual geography.

                    The World revolved around a central axis, and different worlds stacked one upon the other, with the central axis like an elevator.

                    We know of

                    • the World of Humans, where most of the story takes place
                    • the world of Gods, above it, which has been sealed off, and where most Gods disappeared in the old ages
                    • Under these two, the world of Giants exists, still to be explored.

                    At the intersection of the central axis of the world and the human world, radiates the Heartwood, a mystical forest powered by the Gem of Creation which has been here since the Dawn of Times, and is a intricate maze, and a dimension in itself. It had grown around itself different woods and glades and forests, with various level of magical properties meant to repel intruders or lesser than Godlike beings.

                    The Fae dimension is a particular dimension which exists parallel to the Human World, accessible only to Elder Faes, and where the race originated, and is now mostly deserted, as Faes’ magic waning with the encroachment of humans into the Forest, most have chosen to live in the Forests and try and protect them.

                    #4744

                    In reply to: The Stories So Near

                    EricEric
                    Keymaster

                      Newer developments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                      LIZ THREAD (Finnley, Liz, Roberto, Godfrey)

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

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

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

                      #4730
                      AvatarJib
                      Participant

                        The vegetable garden was luxurious and greener after the rain. The trees were trembling with delight in the light afternoon breeze.

                        Rukshan found Fox seated upright and legs crossed in between the courgettes and the purple cabbages. His eyes were closed and he didn’t flinch when the Fae approached.

                        “Are you meditating?” asked Rukshan who wanted to get going on the mission already.
                        “Kinda,” answered Fox without opening his eyes. “I’m using my imagination as a creative tool in order to make the carpenter show up and finish his work.” He breathed in deep and exhaled a humming sound.
                        “I think you’re mistaken. It’s not about making the other do what you want.”

                        Fox opened his eyes. “Don’t tell me what to do,” said Fox feeling a tad tense. “It’s a technique transmitted to me by Master Gibbon.”
                        “I’m just saying…” began the Fae.
                        “Oh! You’re happy, I can’t meditate now I’m too tense,” Fox bursted out.
                        “I guess if you got tense that easily, you weren’t that relaxed in the first place.”

                        Fox got up and squished a courgette. That seemed to put him into even more anger, but Rukshan couldn’t help laughing and Fox couldn’t keep angry very long. He walked on another courgette and laughed.
                        “I don’t like courgettes,” he said.
                        “I know. Glynis will not be very happy though if you crush all the vegetables.”
                        “Yeah. You’re certainly right. When are we leaving?”
                        Mr Minn’s nephew, who’s a carpenter, was just visiting in the city and Margoritt asked them if they could help with the carpentry. You know how Mr Minn can’t resist her charms. They have collected the material from the other carpenter and they are coming tomorrow to finish the work. So we’ll be ready to go. I just have to convince Glynis to let Olli come with us.”
                        Margoritt is coming back?”
                        “No. She’ll stay in the city. You know, her knees… and her sister being at the cottage.”
                        “Oh! I had forgotten about her,” said Fox raising his eyes to the sky.

                        #4727
                        EricEric
                        Keymaster

                          Tak was surprised to see Rukshan back. He’d thought he would be gone on his secret mission for a longer time.

                          As if reading his mind, Rukshan said as soon as he saw him “It’s a joy to see you, little devil! Don’t expect to have me here for too long though, I’m just gathering a few things before I go for my new exploration. How have you been? And aren’t you going to introduce this young lady?”

                          The young lady in question wasn’t shy, and stepped in front to introduce herself. “I’m Nesy, Sir. It’s a pleasure to meet Tak’s family.”

                          “It’s a pleasure too, have fun in the garden, but be careful not to trample Glynis’ new plantling.”

                          Dropping his satchel on the front of the cottage, Tak started to run towards the little clearing where he knew the baby snoots liked to enjoy a nap, and waved at Nesy to join him.

                          “He’s a nice kid.” Glynis was at the windowsill, enjoying the quiet afternoon air.

                          Rukshan smiled and said. “I like your new carpet, and what you have done with the house. Has your spell worked to get the carpenter to fix the loo? I feel bad leaving you all again while there is still much to do.”

                          “Don’t worry, Fox is good help, so long as you keep him away from the chickens.”

                          They laughed.

                          #4718
                          AvatarJib
                          Participant

                            “Tsk tsk,” said Rukshan when he heard that the carpenter hadn’t done anything yet.
                            “At least the joiner came and fixed the mirror in the bathroom,” said Fox trying to sound positive.
                            They were in the kitchen and Glynis was brewing a chicken stew in Margorrit’s old purple clay pot.
                            Fox seemed distracted with saliva gathering at the corner of his mouth. Rukshan realised it was not the best of places to explain his plan with all the smells and spells of Glynis’ spices.
                            “Let’s go outside it’ll be best to tell you where we are going,” said Rukshan.
                            Fox nodded his consent with great effort.

                            “If you go out, just tell Olli to bring in more dry wood for the stove,” said Glynis as they left.

                            They took the Troll’s path, a sandy track leading in the thick of the forest.
                            “Are you sure we’ll find him there?” asked Rukshan.
                            “Trust me,” said Fox pointing at his nose.
                            “I thought you had abandoned the shapeshifting and using your fox’s smelling sense?”
                            “Well if you want to know, Olli is quite predictable, he’s always at the Young Maid’s pond.

                            “I realise I haven’t seen the lad in months,” said Rukshan.
                            Fox shrugged. “He’s grown up, like all kids do.”

                            They arrived at the pond where Olli was sculpting a branch of wood in an undefinable shape. Rukshan had almost a shock when he saw how much little Olli had changed. He was different, almost another person physically. Taller and with a man’s body. It took the Fae some time when he had to tell himself that the person in front of him was the boy that had helped them in the mountain. But Rukshan was not the kind to show many emotions so he just said.

                            “You’ve grown boy.”
                            Olli shrugged and stopped what he was doing.
                            “I’ve heard so,” he said. “She wants more wood?”
                            “Yeah,” said Fox with a knowing grin.
                            “Okay.”
                            Olliver sighed and left with supple movements.

                            When the young man was gone, Fox turned towards the Fae, whose eyes seemed lost in the misty mountains.
                            “So, what is the plan?”
                            “I’m thinking of a new plan that shall make use of everyone’s potential and save a young man from boredom.”

                            #4693

                            In reply to: The Stories So Near

                            EricEric
                            Keymaster

                              Some updates on the Heartwoods Weave

                              So far, there were loosely 2 chapters in this story, and we’re entering the 3rd.
                              Let’s call them:

                              • Ch. 1 – The Curses of the Stolen Shards
                              • Ch. 2 – The Flight to the Desert Mountains
                              • Ch. 3 – Down the Lands of Giants

                              Ch. 1 – The Curses of the Stolen Shards

                              In Chapter One, we get acquainted with the main characters as their destinies intertwine (Rukshan, Glynis, Eleri, Gorrash, Fox, Olliver and Tak).
                              In a long past, the Forest held a powerful artifact created and left behind as a seal by the Gods now departed in their World: a Gem of Creation. It was defiled by thieves (the 7 characters in their previous incarnations of Dark Fae (Ru), Toothless Dragon (Gl), Laughing Crone (El), Mapster Dwarf (Go), Glade Troll (Fo), Trickster Dryad (Ol), Tricked Girl (Ta)), and they all took a shard of the Gem, although the innocent girl was tricked to open the woods by a promise of resurrecting a loved one, and resented all the others for it. She unwittingly created the curse all characters were suffering from, as an eternal punishment. Removing the Gem from the center of the Forest and breaking it started a chain of events, leading to many changes in the World. The Forest continued to grow and claim land, and around the (Dragon) Heartwoods at the center, grew many other woods – the Haunted Bamboo Forest, the Enchanted Forest, the Hermit’s Forest, the Fae’s Forest etc. At the other side, Cities had developed, and at the moment of the story, started to gain control over the magical world of Old.
                              From the special abilities the Seven gained, some changes were triggered too. One God left behind was turned into stone by the now young Crone (E).
                              Due to the curse, their memories were lost, and they were born again in many places and other forms.
                              During the course of Ch.1, they got healed with the help of Master Gibbon, and the Braider Shaman Kumihimo, who directed Rukshan how to use the Vanishing Book, which once completed by all, and burnt as an offering, lifted the curse. Tak (the Girl of the origin story), now a shapeshifting Gibbon boy, learned to let go of the pain, and to start to live as a young orphan under the gentle care of the writer Margoritt Loursenoir and her goat Emma, in a cottage in the woods.
                              Glynis, a powerful healer with a knack for potions, still haven’t found a way to undo the curse of her scales, which she accepts, has found residency and new friends and a funny parrot named Sunshine. Eleri besides her exploration of anti-gravity, learnt to make peace with the reawakened God Hasamelis no longer vengeful but annoyed at being ignored for a mortal Yorath. Eleri continues to love to butt heads with the iniquities of the world, which are never in lack, often embodied by Leroway and his thugs. Gorrash, who adopted the little baby Snoots activated by Glynis’ potions seemed simply happy to have found a community. Fox, a fox which under the tutelage of Master Gibbon, learnt to shapeshift as a human for all his work and accumulation of good karma. Olliver, a young man with potential, found his power by activating the teleporting egg Rukshan gave him. As for Rukshan, who was plagued by ghosts and dark forces, he found a way to relieve the Forest and the world of their curse, but his world is torn between his duties towards his Fae family in the woods, his impossible love for his Queen, and his wants for a different life of exploration, especially now knowing his past is more than what he thought he knew.
                              At the end of the chapter, the Door to the God’s realm, at the center of the Forest seems to have reopened.

                              Ch. 2 – The Flight to the Desert Mountains

                              In the second Chapter, strange sightings of light beams in the mountains prompt some of our friends to go investigate, while in the cottage, the others stay to repel encroachments by brutal modernity embodied by Leroway and his minions. Glynis has found a way to be rid of her scales, but almost failed due to Tak’s appetite for untested potions. Remaking the potion, and succeeding at last, she often still keeps her burka as fond token of her trials. Eleri is spreading glamour bomb concrete statues in the woods, and trying her hand with Glynis supervision at potions to camouflage the cottage through an invisibility spell. Muriel, Margoritt’s sister, comes for a visit.
                              In the mountains, the venturing heroes are caught in a sand storm and discover spirits trapped in mystical objects. Pushing forward through the mountain, they are tracked and hunted by packs of hellhounds, and dark energy released from an earthquake. Rukshan works on a magical mandala with the help and protection of his friends. Olliver discovers a new teleportation trick making him appear two places at once. Kumihimo rejoins the friends in trouble, and they all try to leave through the magical portal, while Fox baits the dogs and the Shadow. Eerily, only Fox emerges from the portal, to find a desolated, burnt Forest and his friends all gone. They had been too late, and the Shadow went with them through the portal instead of being destroyed. Luckily, a last potion left by Glynis is able to rewind Fox in time, and succeed in undoing the disaster. The beaming lights were only honeypots for wandering travellers, it turned out.
                              Shaken by the ordeal, Rukshan leaves the party for some R&R time in the parallel world of the Faes, which is now mostly abandoned.

                              Ch. 3 – Down the Lands of Giants

                              In Chapter 3, which has only just begun, some time has passed, and Margoritt has come back to the City, at the beginning of winter for some special kneedle treatments. Glynis and Margoritt are in turn taking care of Tak, who has joined a local school, where he seems to have befriended a mysterious girl Nesingwarys (Nesy). Gorrash seems to have been hurt, broken whilst in his statue form by Leroway’s thugs, but the Snoot babies are still staying with him, so there is hope. Fox is always hungry, and helps with the reconstruction work for the cottage, which was damaged in a fire (we suppose during Leroway’s men foray in the woods).
                              Rukshan emerges from his retreat after an encounter with a mad Fae, babbling about a Dark Lord’s return. Piecing clues together, he finds a long lost World Map and connection with a renegade magician who may have been the Maker of Gorrash (and maybe linked to the trapped spirits in the mountain after all). He sends a pigeon to his friends before he returns to the thick of the Heartwoods.
                              Now, it seems the Door to the God’s realm has reopened the ancient Realms of the Underworld too, all accessible through the central pillar of the World, intersecting their World precisely at the Heartwoods, were the Gem of Creation originally was. He’s planning to go to the long lost Underworld of the Giants, were he suspects the so-called Dark Lord is hiding.

                              #4686
                              AvatarJib
                              Participant

                                One morning Fox noticed a pigeon on the fence. It was cooing and certainly trying to catch a female. But there was none. Actually there hadn’t been so many pigeons in the woods, and Fox had always thought they were city creatures. That’s why he looked closer. The pigeon fretted, a little bit uncertain of the two legged man, because of his fox scent that was still getting out from time to time. But it remained still enough so that Fox could catch it. It would make a nice addition to their lunch.

                                He was about to break the bird’s neck when he noticed the little cylinder attached to its left leg. He detached it and called Glynis. The cylinder was enchanted and it required some skills to be opened. Someone didn’t want anyone to read that message.

                                Glynis arrived and the pigeon tried to fly away, but Fox had a firm grip on it. Glynis glared at him.
                                “Don’t kill the messenger, please,” she said.
                                Fox, not after some hesitations, released the bird who landed heavily on the fence.
                                “It’s a shame to let go of such a well fed bird.”
                                “I know, but we may need it to send back a message and well trained pigeons are hard to come by in the woods.”

                                So they didn’t have pigeon for lunch. And Glynis struggled. And after noon they were still trying without much success.
                                “None of my spells have worked so far. I don’t know what to do to crack it open,” lamented Glynis.
                                “Good idea,” said Fox, “let’s try that.” He took the cylinder and bent it slightly. It cracked open easily. Glynis looked at Fox daringly.
                                Before Fox could talk, Glynis said: “You’re allowed to roll your eyes. Two turns only.”
                                Fox did and they read the message. It was from Rukshan.

                                “Dear fellow companions, I’m sure you’ll know how to open the message,” he started. They snorted.
                                “I found a path that I hope would help revive our friend. Although I need some help. I’m sure the work with the carpenter and the joiner is done and Fox can come give me a hand.”

                                Fox growled.
                                “I’ll bring him their hands.”
                                “Please, don’t,” pleaded Glynis, “not until they are finished with their work in the cottage.

                                #4684
                                EricEric
                                Keymaster

                                  It was done. The spell was lifted and Rukshan could see the path ahead.

                                  Some memories remained trapped in inaccessible places yet, but he wouldn’t need those; they were remnants from a different past.

                                  Now his mission was clear, he was to go back to the Forest, to gain passage to Jötunheimr, the land of Giants, and find the Master, that powerful Alchemist able to imbue life into stone. The ones that some had called Necromancer, or Dark Lord.

                                  #4681
                                  EricEric
                                  Keymaster

                                    The path ahead was blocked. Repeatedly.

                                    Some filter was preventing him to access the path, and move forward.

                                    He wished he had an oiliphant, or something equally powerful that could blast through. But more subtle measures were required. The evil that blocked his path was a different kind of monster, something built on inaction, and slow decay. One would exhaust oneself to argue with it, and moving it with force would only ensure its full and entirely focused resistance.
                                    Patience and proper action, in a flow like water. It was more than a magical mantra, it should be a way of life.

                                    Rukshan had looked at his options, and the map he found only confirmed what he had surmised so far. There were three barmkins, old defensive enclosures that hindered his way out of the Zaunoff Camp Fort, the Southern outpost leading to the safety of the Forest’s outer groves.

                                    Tackling the first wall would test his resolve, but he was ready. He removed his cloak, stretched his back and cracked his knuckles.

                                    Move like water

                                    The creeping ivy and catsfoot flowers started to react and whisper in the wind.

                                    A hole? There was a hole in the old wall, and with some chance, the plants would lead him through.

                                    #4655
                                    EricEric
                                    Keymaster

                                      He didn’t like the City, but there he was again. There seemed to always be a trail of clues leading back to it, no matter how much he wanted to distance himself from it.

                                      Rukshan wanted to make quick thing of his mission there. Find the librarian and trade the old map that the Sages had given him during the gathering, for another one.
                                      His appointed quest was to find the origin of the dark force, and for that, all clues seemed to point toward the elusive Master that Gorrash said had created him.

                                      The Sages in the Forest had told Rukshan about how, long before, the Master was banned from the magic circle in the Forest for practicing forbidden magic. They suspected he had since been hidden in the land of the Giants. The librarian had the map that Rukshan needed in order to get there.

                                      “Of course” he said, looking at the worn-out parchment that the librarian had taken from a large leather binder. The land of the Giant was on no map known to man, because their land was on another plane, much like the Shadow world of the Faes. Except this one was underground, in a hollow plane under theirs, untouched by men, with only rare points where both worlds touched.

                                      Of course, the portal to this world was back at the center of the Forest.

                                      #4632
                                      EricEric
                                      Keymaster

                                        Sometimes, you have to go underground to uncover the truth.

                                        Rukshan thought it meant taking the new underground carts once only.

                                        Frankly, he’d preferred to travel through the familiar Shadow Maps, the ones Dark Faes like him could draw, that would give them access to a secret parallel world of mist and phantoms, shadows and secrets. It was the true world the Faes originated from, long ago, in a time before history.

                                        It wasn’t used much nowadays, most Centenial Faes having lost the capacity, or the interest in the place, leaving only bitter unsavoury people creeping there, spying on secrets, and trading in for favours, while being too afraid to leave the known parallel world, too afraid that if they left it, they’d lose the way back.
                                        For Rukshan and a few in the Queen’s lineage, the place was still more or less of a familiar dwelling, a winter residence of sorts, for when solace and retreat was required.

                                        Only the Shadow Maps weren’t safe any longer, something had crept along the lay lines and was lurking at every corner, keeping guard at most of the known entrances and reporting to some unknown power.

                                        Few moons back, Rukshan was still meditating in the Shadow world, not very far from the work at the cottage, which he could hear at times through the thin dimensional walls, when he came across Konrad. Konrad, another Fae from the Old Houses, one with a heavy secret. “I’ve hidden her from him” he told him in short broken sentences. “His daughter, Nesingwarys, she is hidden for now, but He’ll be looking for her, once He recovers, and she won’t be safe. He can’t find her, I have to protect her, she holds power to bring his reign of terror back.”

                                        Truly, it didn’t make a lot of sense, but it had picked his curiosity. Rukshan left the other Fae to his apparent madness, but wondered about the coincidence. That Garl, the name Konrad gave to the dark fallen monarch, according to what he could piece together, seemed to have been vanquished or disappeared about the same time they’d all managed to repel the Shadow in the Forest.

                                        He would usually have left it at that, but then, a few days later, started to realize something was wrong in the Shadow world, and that this very something was growing.

                                        “And now, I’m stuck in an underground cart crammed full of people to go to the city. And they call that progress…”

                                        A bearded guy smelling of piss and wine, was doing acrobatics with his crutches and what was left of his left leg. He was looking at people with a half-toothed grin and a blissful face while muttering things Rukshan couldn’t figure. His face reminded him of a thespian he’d known. Rukshan couldn’t shake the feeling there was message in that. When the underground cart dinged to announce the Grand Belfrey Station, Rukshan was relieved to finally be out for fresh air. Magnificent craftsmanship he would say to the gnomes in charge of the tunnels, but really, underground cart wasn’t his thing.

                                        #4577
                                        EricEric
                                        Keymaster

                                          Everyone was back, safe and sound from that ghastly trip in space and time.
                                          Rukshan hadn’t felt the exhaustion until now. It all came down upon him rather suddenly, leaving behind its trail a deafening silence.

                                          For the longest time he’s been carried by a sense of duty, to protect the others that’d been guiding his every steps, acting through him without doubt or concern. But in the new quiet place they were for that instant, there was no direction.

                                          Riddles still abounded, and he knew too well their appeal. Knowledge and riddles seemed to go hand in hand in a devilish dance. Lila or Masti of the divine… Or just fool’s errand, enticed by the prospect of some revelation or illumination from beyond.

                                          There had been no revelation. The blue beams that had attracted them seemed to have come with more questions than answers. Maybe they were only baits for the naive travellers…
                                          Even the small crystals he’d collected from the trip, glowing faintly, apparently alive with some energy felt as though they weren’t his own riddle to solve. He left the pouch on the desk with a word for Fox, along with the other small gifts he’d left for the others: some powdered colors, a rare vial of whale’s di-henna, a small all-seeing glass orb, and a magical shawl.

                                          It was time for him to pack. He didn’t like it much, but his only calling at the moment was that of coming home. Back to the land of the Faes. The Blood Moon Eclipse was upon them, and there would be a gathering of the Sages in the forest to honor the alliances of Old. Surely their little bending of time and space wouldn’t have gone unnoticed at such auspicious moment. Better to anticipate their questions than being marked as an heretic.

                                          And he wasn’t all too sure the Shadow has been vanquished. Its thirst for the power of the Shards was strong, beyond space and time. If it were to reappear again, the Faes skills would be necessary to help protect the other Shards holders.

                                          “I’ll see you again my friends” he said, as he entered the center of the nine-tiled square he’s drawn onto the ground, and vanished with it.

                                          #4566
                                          AvatarJib
                                          Participant

                                            A strong and loud guttural roar echoed through the mountains, ferocious and hungry.
Fox’s hairs stood on his arms and neck as a wave of panic rolled through his body. He looked at the others his eyes wide open.
                                            Olliver teleported closer to Rukshan whose face seemed pale despite the warmth of the fire, and Lhamom’s jaw dropped open. Their eyes met and they swallowed in unison.
“Is that…” asked Fox. His voice had been so low that he wasn’t sure someone had heard him.
Rukshan nodded.

                                            “It seems you are leaving the mountains sooner than you expected,” said Kumihimo with a jolly smile as she dismounted Ronaldo. 
She plucked her icy lyre from which loud and rich harmonics bounced. The wind carried them along and they echoed back in defiance to the Shadow.

                                            You must remember, seemed to whisper an echo from the cave they had used for shelter for weeks. Fox dismissed it as induced by the imminent danger.


                                            The Shadow hissed and shrieked, clearly pissed off. The dogs howled and Kumihimo engaged in a wild and powerful rhythm on her instrument.

                                            You must remember, said the echo again.

                                            Everobody stood and ran in chaos, except for Fox. He was getting confused, as if under a bad spell.

                                            Someone tried to cover the fire with a blanket of wool. 
“Don’t bother, we’re leaving,” said Rukshan before rushing toward the multicolour sand mandala he had made earlier that day. Accompanied by the witche’s mad arpeggios, he began chanting. The sand glowed faintly.

                                            Lhamom told them to jump on the hellishcopter whose carpet was slowly turning in a clockwise direction. 
“But I want to help,” said Olliver.
“You’ll help best by being ready to leave as soon as the portal opens,” said Lhamom. She didn’t wait to see if the boy followed her order and went to help Rukshan with her old magic spoon.
                                            “Something’s wrong. I’ve already lived that part,” said Fox when the screen protecting the mandala flapped away, missing the fae’s head by a hair.
                                            “What?” asked Olliver.
                                            “It already happened once,” said Fox, “although I have a feeling it was a bit different. But I can’t figure out how or why.”

                                            At that moment a crow popped out of the cave’s mouth in a loud bang. The cave seemed to rebound in and out of itself for a moment, and the dark bird cawed, very pleased. It reminded Fox at once of what had happened the previous time, the pain of discovering all his friends dead and the forest burnt to the ground by the shadow. The blindness, and the despair.
                                            The crow cawed and Fox felt the intense powers at work and the delicate balance they were all in.

                                            The Shadow had grown bigger and threatened to engulf the night. Fox had no idea what to do, but instead he let his instinct guide him.

                                            “Come!” he shouted, pulling Olliver by the arm. He jumped on the hellishcopter and helped the boy climb after him.

                                            “COME NOW!” he shouted louder.
 Rukshan and Lhamom looked at the hellishcopter and at the devouring shadow that had engulfed the night into chaos and madness.
                                            They ran. Jumped on the carpet. Kumihimo threw an ice flute to them and Fox caught it, but this time he didn’t nod. He knew now what he had to do.


                                            “You’ll have one note!” the shaman shouted. “One note to destroy the Shadow when you arrive!”
Kumihimo hit the hellishcopter as if it were a horse, and it bounced forward.
                                            But Fox, aware of what would have come next, kept a tight rein on the hellishcarpet and turned to Olliver.
                                            “Go get her! We need her on the other side.”
                                            Despite the horror of the moment, the boy seemed pleased to be part of the action and he quickly disappeared. 
The shaman looked surprised when the boy popped in on her left and seized her arm only to bring her back on the carpet in the blink of an eye.

                                            “By the God Frey,” she said looking at a red mark on her limb, “the boy almost carved his hand on my skin.”
                                            “Sorry if we’re being rude,” said Fox, “but we need you on the other side. It didn’t work the first time. If you don’t believe me, ask the crow.”
                                            The bird landed on the shaman’s shoulder and cawed. “Oh,” said Kumihimo who liked some change in the scenario. “In that case you’d better hold tight.”

                                            They all clung to each other and she whistled loudly.
                                            The hellishcopter bounced ahead through the portal like a wild horse, promptly followed by Ronaldo and the Shadow.

                                            The wind stopped.
                                            The dogs closed in on the portal and jumped to go through, but they only hit the wall of the powerful sound wave of Kumihimo’s ice lyra.
                                            They howled in pain as the portal closed, denying them their hunt.

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