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      Al was concerned about Tina. He wondered why at times it was like their moods were at the antipodes of each other. Like one was in summer when the other one was in winter. Of course, seasons had gone awfully awry in the past (well, in people’s perception at least), and cherry trees were at times blooming in the late autumn, so that was hardly a good metaphore. Enfin bref…
      Sometimes he wished they could move to a part of the Earth were the differences were leveled or not so dramatic, but of course, that would be focusing unduly on what seems awry, and not appreciating the differences for what they brought in understanding for each other.

      Like most people now, Tina and him were living in a free relationship, not bonded by written contracts, just by a mutual wish to be experiencing a common exploration. But lately, especially with the play writing, deep issues had surfaced between them, and he was no longer sure of what they were exploring, as it was like shifting sands. Of course, now, most people were shifted themselves, thanks to the new generations of children who were exceptionally gifted in accessing their own essence. But for them, in their mid-30s, there were still issues linked to their old patterns of thoughts, many deeply ingrained ways of thinking, coming from many generations before them.
      That T.R.A.P. attraction thing was a good example of the differences. It was mostly an attraction park for his generation, not really for children, as they were greatly able of doing these kinds of inner-travels without the aid of technology —not that they didn’t enjoy it either.

      Al was thinking of a gift for Tina. He wanted to show her that she had really transformed Jadra, or that they had come a long way since the wandering in the cave tunnels, or that everything started to make sense, even the invisible friend Blohmul…
      Well, there were still mysteries around him, (not mysteries really, but things yet at the state of seeds, or potentials) but he was no longer a hair on the soup they cooked. He was the blue fox of Mævel, and more interestingly, that cursed god was the son of Mirÿnda, the Goddess of Mirth —but that, Tina had not realized yet…

      Actually, now that he was looking at the entry, Al noticed that Jadra was last seen with Mirÿnda, and that struck him as something more than a coincidence…


        Hi Torsten, said Tina, giving her old friend a hug. Thanks for calling and saying you had some time to chat, hope I didn’t sound odd when I answered the phone, Becky was there, and I didn’t want to tell her. I am trying to pretend I am normal you see, she laughed wryly.

        I really need someone who isn’t involved with the play to talk to though, I feel like I am going a bit weirdo, bottling everything up. And it is affecting the play and my relationship with the others.

        I can’t find my place in the play the others are writing. See it is the play “the others are writing”. I feel as though I am drifting through it, trying to find my way amidst the structure, if you can call it structure, they give it. And that is the way I am feeling about life, I can’t find my place in it

        At the moment I claim to believe in magic, and that I create my own reality, but I certainly don’t feel it the last few days. She thought for a moment. Well other days recently have been golden, it is all magic. I find it everywhere. Yes, I have had days like that, but the last week or so I can’t find it.

        What changed?

        I felt as though I couldn’t create what I wanted to.

        What if you could?

        All of it? It would be a miracle though. My rational mind tells me it is not possible. And in that lies the source of this pain.

        So you don’t believe what you claim to believe

        Tina thought for a moment. I keep feeling the eyes of that Blue Mule character I told you we created on me. That’s not his name, but I keep getting stuck on the spelling . Well actually I didn’t create him. The others keep creating new characters, every time someone does a typo, it is “hey! new character!” Anyway this was ages ago. And in the play there was a picture that one of the characters, Quintin, did, and whenever I say “I can’t”, then I feel these eyes of Blue Mule challenging me, and it’s like he’s saying, “ well what DO you believe then?” and it is like a real challenge in these eyes.


          The thing is, Dory, George was speaking gently, but was looking pointedly into her eyes as he spoke, the thing is that nobody ever needs any help, as you are accustomed to think of it.

          Do you like that line, Tina? Becky asked in a bemused way.

          Tina reflected. Well I like the fact that he speaks in a gentle voice like me. Her voice trailed off. However, it’s just that it does sound rather simplistic, I mean …..

          Oh thank god, the phone is ringing, I have created help so I won’t have to finish what I started to say.


            Ibn al’ Gruk was weary.
            That lone grake he had seen flying over the desert settlement this morning had baffled him.
            Usually, such creatures where not migrating at this season, and this one was lone too, which was all the more baffling.

            The old gripshawk had seen many things in his life, but this was surely a presage of importance. In the myths of his people, the big colourful birds were once thriving in the desert oasis, where they were thought to have appeared in the Old Times. But having been extensively hunted down as food for the gripshawk tribes, they had moved away, and the balance had been broken.
            It had prompted lots of the tribes to move apart, in search of food and exchanges, and few of them were now still living in the deserts as they did in the old ways. Many of them, for many generations now, had been creating cities on the coast, and the most flourishing one was Chafik’ An, where a traveling portal had been erected by the humans from Lan’Ork to facilitate exchanges and trades.

            All of that, despite his old age (that his long mop of white angora hair under his chin could account for), Ibn al’ Gruk had only heard all of this through the lineage of his ancestors, but he had seen some of the conflicts that had been created, and he understood that change again was in the air.

            He felt like he could weave a new tale to entertain the settlement tonight, and perhaps give them inkling as to the new changes to come.
            For he felt changes were coming, and that they had been in motion already.


            The night was clear, and lots of people had gathered around the big bonfire. They all loved these regular meetings where everyone would meet and share food, drinks and over all, gaiety.

            He started to drum low deep sounds and cleared his throat.
            A fit of cough got him by surprise, but it was just a hairball that he spat in the fire, which set ablaze immediately, providing some dramatic effect that hushed everyone down.

            “In a mysterious land far far away,” started Ibn al’ Gruk, with a growling voice…


            Egypt, 2657 B.C.

            Lekshen had dreamt of Set that night. The god had appeared to him in one of his familiar forms, that of a long snouted animal .
            Lekhsen was wondering why the god had requested such a task for him to do, but he was certainly in the perfect position to accomplish such a task.
            Like Set, Lekhsen came from Upper Egypt, the arid land, and he had managed to get a high-ranking responsibility in fertile Lower Egypt as a scribe thanks to the unification efforts of Pharaoh.

            But Pharaoh’s daughter had just died… right after her 10 year old brother, and Pharaoh’s himself felt He would not live much longer.
            Which would mean that the closest male in the family would be likely to get on the throne of Egypt. And that would be bad news for people like him, as the brothers and brothers-in-law of Pharaoh did not appreciate much His policy.

            In the dream, the strange creature had asked him to hide something with the mummy of Pharaoh’s daughter. It had told him people would forget about how Set was fighting for Ra, the Sun, each night that the bark was traveling on the dangerous underworld waters. They would forget, and would demonise him and his people, and he, Lekhsen would have to write the story, and bury it with the Princess. His status would allow him to do it unscathed.

            “Would people ever remember they once were One?” had asked Lekshen to the god.
            “Only you can tell” had the creature answered.


              The City, year 2257

              Janice had just awoken from a strange dream, where she was watching big round cabbages being harvested in what looked like Quintin’s father garden. They were all firmly rooted on a black irrigation pole across the garden, and people were using strange devices to turn them all delicately and pick them afterwards. In the dream, there were black puppies too, sleeping in the straw of a kind of hut nearby. And she had seen another creature, and had been surprised first because it was unlike anything she had ever met, even in dreams. It was hairless and brown as soft mud, and was hiding in the neighbour’s garden. Then it had crossed and came to play with her…

              Janice was lost in her thoughts strolling on the way to the common dome, when she met Rodney, her father’s friend.
              They had been recently trying with her father Jacob, and also Qixi to connect with their shifting focuses of the Ancients, two centuries and half before their time.
              Some of them, they had found, had been playing a sort of game of story-telling and clue-sowing… (Janice was laughing as her father’s friend, the scientist Arkandin, always insisted on seesawing instead)

              Perhaps her dream was telling her that the crop was ripe, and it was time to harvest some from it. She told her dream to Rodney. All at once, he was quite excited and they started to feel they wanted to chat more freely. So they went into one of the Medraw Caps that was available and soon imagined a comfortable environment for themselves to explore more.

              Janice could hear Al or Quintin complain about how things were getting confusing.
              She tried to convey to both of them that they could be excited about it, as it was expanding their understanding, but they weren’t very receptive.


              Somewhere Al was saying to Becky
              — The more you try to fix it, the more confused I am
              — Hahahahah yes! Becky was answering, I guess so! Ahahahah! Al, what a fabulous dance of confusion we do… The Confundo Tango
              — Ahahah, yes!

              Al started again to moan:
              — So who’s dead, who’s the shapeshifter? Who’s the human, who’s the cat? :-??

              (Rodney was laughing, as for him, he could accept the confusion as much easier, letting him free to wander around!)

              Illi was a woman, a shapeshifter who shape-shifted into a cat, then, she died. Becky was saying (Rodney added mentally “Now, she is disengaged” as he knew that “death” was a confusing word.) She was an archaeologist
              — Okay, that’s cool, that’s what I thought, Al acquiesced. Then thought back of what was said of her and wondered… Anyway, it will probably find a perfect answer …
              Becky nodded
              — I got lost myself when two Illis appeared, and a grip-thing as well
              — Because I didn’t want the grip-thing to be dead! Al couldn’t help but laugh. That would have been too easy, like wiggling out. Not using your imagination within the context of objective imagery to sort out “things”…


              While Rodney and Janice were seeing that their other focuses were kind of stuck in their explanation, they had time freeze and both decided to come back to their “now” to start from their understanding.
              A funny thought had come to Janice, that she shared with Rodney.
              — Oh, the funny thing you know, about Becky having written to Sean
              Rodney nodded. Janice continued:
              — It just appeared in my mind just moments ago, at the same time you (well, Rafaela) inserted into the story of Malvina. That Becky would have been asking Sean something, and that perhaps it would have helped him talk to his father in the future.

              — Well, that Sean is SUCH AN ENIGMA! bumped Rodney a bit excited by the implications.
              — What do you mean? asked Janice, who just remembered that Sean Doran has a cousin named Dorean.
              — Who is he? Where is he? was asking Rodney now.
              Rodney was having a hard time remembering what had been inserted yet in the story about him.

              So Janice manifested the Wrick family tree in front of them, so that he could see better. She started by manifesting an acorn, then threw in on the grass, and it sprung forth in a little sapling with signs hanging from its branches.

              — Well, it’s all in the script, answered Janice, he’s Lord Wrick’s son.
              — Oh boy, I am in trouble again for not keeping up with the facts! Rodney sighed, and laughed…
              Janice laughed “So that you can surprise yourself again!”

              Rodney felt thankful for the sumafiness of Janice who was always prompt to display helpful hallucinations and reminders.

              Janice stopped the growth of the family tree for a moment and started to comment it.
              — See, in Becky’s time of the reality play, Sean is Lord’s Wrick son, and has just lost his wife Margaret, and got his two young children around their 10s.
              — When is Becky’s time then? Rodney wondered, I hadn’t though of that…
              Becky’s time for the reality play is around 2033…
              Then Janice had the tree grow again, and sprout more branches from Sean’s children:
              — …Now, Sean is the grand-father of the twins, except than the twin’s time is around 2057 if it had not changed yet. It’s so carefully woven, but it’s fun how it effortlessly came to fit in.
              TRUST AND ALLOWING AND GOING WITH THE FLOW cried Rodney and Janice in unison, in the realisation of how well all this was.

              Rodney was beginning to remember it all.
              — I just remember the part about Sean, so he is still a bit of a mystery
              — Yes, absolutely
              — We don’t really know do we why Hilarion didn’t mention him
              — Oh, there’s also the Margaret newspaper thing… Janice fumbled in her memory to find the proper link that would display the image of the newspaper cut just at the right of the family tree. Adding with a wink “with more dates to get bearings”
              — Ahahah, I’d love to have pocketfuls of ball bearings said Rodney who manifested a pocketful to distract him from the load of information. OH YES! he cried, I had forgetten about this! What an incredibly HUGE story this is…

              Rodney was squinting his dream eyes
              — So, Sean was into humanitarian effort after 2001…
              — His father actually I think, said Janice. He was a bit too young.
              — Oh OK, I misread, that’s hard to read!

              Then, all of a second, Rodney erupted in an uproarious laugh
              AHAHAHA, I had just forgotten to de-hallucinate these pince-nez spectacles! Now, it is much easier to read!
              Janice was laughing so hard, she thought she would shatter the hallucination with the wobbles of the soundless sounds.
              Then she added:

              Sean is born around 2000, a bit before.
              — OK, maybe he went to help the Tuaregs, Rodney was accessing some information now. Maybe he was the one who put the mummy in the locked room that India found.
              — You know I had something funny in store for the mummy mystery, Janice couldn’t help but laugh again. I imagined we could have inserted Old Manon, coming down to secretly drink from her old malt whiskey’s flask, and finding them messing up with her old dear stuffed cat…
              — Maybe the mummy was the same one that Dory saw in the oblong hole in the ground outside the cave, Rodney was still accessing flickering images swirling around his head. And Sean was there helping the Tuaregs and moved it to safety.
              Of course, years previously, Illi Fergusson, the archeologist had buried the mummy there too for safe keeping.

              Now, Janice was hooked:
              — Was it where Illi learned about shapeshifting tricks from the old tribe?
              Rodney noticed Janice’s funny remark and laughed before continuing:
              — The Tuaregs were conducting secret coleslaw experiments in the desert. In combination with sound and irrigation techniques, they were going to run the entire Sahara into a broccoli field.

              Janice was amazed at the cabbage “coincidence” and irrigation stuff with her dream of that morning. Of course she knew there where probably mis-interpretation of the imagery coming from Rodney’s visions, but something made sense.
              — Around which year? she asked
              — Arrggh I don’t know!… Then, taking a breath of dream air, Rodney said “1923”. When Illi learned shape-shifting trick, 1923.
              — It makes sense, said Janice who was now thinking of other dispersed informations about Illi Fergusson.
              — Yes, she learned from Dashine Ashara… Although who that is, I don’t yet know.
              — Wow, said Janice. She had felt a connection with the “da’sheen” sound. She continued: somewhere, Illi Fergusson has said: “my parents were aristocrats”
              — Yes, answered Rodney who was accessing again, they were, and they knew the Wildes .
              — And it was said too: “[…] a nurturing presence that reminded Illi of the maid she and her parents had in their cottage in South Africa”… like her parents were traveling a lot.
              — Ah, South Africa! Illi’s parents emigrated to South Africa with Sir Abingdon Portfellow, an elderly scholar on ancient artifacts and embalming.
              — Seems she knew John Lubbock too, said Janice again, reviving old data banks of information. Dates seem okay, so if she was around 30 in the Tuareg adventure, she could have met him.
              — Wow, said Rodney, this is even more interesting…

              “But we may sit at home and yet be in all quarters of the earth.” Janice had just summoned the voice of the naturalist and archaeologist. Rodney applauded “Lubbock said that? cool quote!”.
              — Yes, like Illi’s quote, which was from him “What we see depends mainly on what we look for”. I wonder if that’s one of your (Illi’s) overlapping focuses, said Janice

              — Well, Illi didnt stay long in South Africa with boring old whatever his name was, Rodney pursued
              — Yes, she was young with her parents. They were traveling…

              They were both amazed at the magical cooperation they were doing at that moment. Janice would have loved to share all of that with Qixi and Jacob, but probably their energies were present at the moment too, though not focused here.

              She then remembered something else:
              — Oh, and there is something else! Quintin’s dream of the woman detective. Let me fetch it she said, summoning now Quintin’s memory to talk to them.
              … by night, near a museum in London, in the 1920s. She was investigating a case of a strange disappearance near a small replicate of an Egyptian pyramid that had been put here for display. There had been an exposition of ancient artifacts in the museum, which had been recently unearthed by a team of archaeologists and graciously lent by Egypt’s officials. Strangely enough, the woman detective feels linked to the story, and is probably Dory
              Date fits again, she said in awe.
              — Perfect! said Rodney. She was of course Dory too, but in that focus she was Illi Fergusson… he slowed down, then said No! wait! The detective was another one of my focuses. The archeologist who stole the mummy for safekeeping was Illi.
              — Hmmm
              — Hmmm
              — So you are both the thief and the detective, the one who creates mystery for yourself, how interesting, giggled Janice.
              — Yes, and not only that Janice! Rodney was taking a mysterious air… I am the mummy too!

              Janice bust out laughing imagining Rodney in bandages. Yes, of course!
              Then, she had a name come with that: Apsh’un Shet she said, very self-absorbed.
              Now, that was Rodney’s turn to burst out laughing.
              — “I am not sure about that!”
              — Doubting my insights… mmm, how rude… Janice frowned then laughed again.
              — If you call me that, I may have to make you out to have a speech impediment
              — Sounds a good Egyptian name for me though, seems it means “Light of the Dawn
              — Does it? Oh that sounds nice…
              — Well, in some Egyptian dialect, yes. She was a Princess…
              — Hahaha! Reminds me of Aspen Shit. Rodney doubted Janice could be serious about that name, but Janice was now the one to be accessing some information.
              — Bit bossy Princess
              — Which dynasty?
              III rd, answered Janice, who fumbled in links of consciousness to find some timeline to project for them.
              — What year?
              Janice projected the timeline below then said
              — I’d say around 2657 B.C., in Ancients way of telling time.

              They both marveled at the splendid team work they had been doing, and hoped that the other focuses involved would be able to get some parts of their insights too.

              Rodney was seeing something else
              — There is also, a very fascinating link between Tassili in the Sahara and Egypt which is a mystery AND there is a connection with Egypt and Scotland too…
              Illi the gripshawk comes from the mysterious land of the Sands, south of the map fragment
              — We may unravel more than we think… Illi is an other dimensional focus of the Illi essence…
              — Yes she is. She is a connection too, being “lost” in the land of dragons after hopping through traveling portals…
              — Exactly
              — And they communicated because they are helping each other
              — Which is why she doesn’t always ‘fit’ into this reality’s energy configuration
              — And they have some difficulties at times with translations of other dimensional stuff
              — Yes! resulting in confusion!

              And they both laughed again, looking at the great tapestry of clues that was woven before their dream eyes.


                Oh yes, it is all perfect, interjected Tina, in her new soft and gentle voice. Thank you so much for helping me to understand.

                AHAHAHAAHAH, laughed Becky, nearly snorting, Tina are you okay today?

                Well no actually, my head has been pounding for the last 24 hours. I think I have been taken over by those pesky aliens again. They tell me that the only way to get rid of them is to revert back to my own true self.

                Hope you do it soon muttered Becky, all this niceness is quite unnerving.


                In reply to: Synchronicity


                  Right, I have not been able to watch more than the first two episodes of LOST ;))
                  Anyway, that’s quite interesting! Thanks for posting :)


                    thanks Eric, yeah i was clicking on the title :face-plain:


                      Two little things of an assistance required nature, totally not urgent:

                      How do you make the blue block quote thingy?
                      When I do a search, it does not take me to the highlighted extract, but to the beginning of the story, for some reason.:yahoo_shame_on_you:

                      Thank you :yahoo_star:


                        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.


                        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…


                        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.


                        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.


                        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.


                        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.


                          India Louise sat at the end of the extraordinarily long oak dinner table. A tiny figure engrossed in some drawing. The morning sun shone in the window, brightening the otherwise dark room.

                          Lord Wrick walked in, not seeming to see India Louise at first. He held a letter in his hand, and some old newspaper clippings. He sat down heavily at the table, opened the letter, and read it. After reading it, he sat staring into space for a long while.

                          India Louise looked up from her drawing.

                          What is wrong Grandpa? You look sad. She walked over to him and hugged him. See look at this. Look at my drawing of a flower, perhaps that will cheer you up. The painter Bill has been showing me how to use these paint sticks and also how to use my mind to help make the painting have life.

                          It is beautiful India Louise.

                          What did the letter say Grandpa. Why is it making you so sad?

                          It is just an old letter, India Louise.

                          Yes it looks very old. Was it bad news?

                          Just reminds me of things I wish I had said a long time ago, said her great grandfather, Regret is an awful curse

                          The little girl hugged him again. Yes it sounds awful. I think I will draw another flower for you grandpa.

                          He smiled. Thank you India Louise. I will be back soon. I will put the letter away now.

                          Yes, put it away now. I can’t see any point looking at it if it makes you sad, and then come and see the flower I will draw for you.

                          Lord Wrick walked over to the bookshelves and reached up. There was a tin on the top shelf. He opened the tin and got out an old key.

                          He walked down the passage way, to the right and then down some stairs leading to the cellar. There was a door, which had not been opened for some time, and he had to use some force to get the key to work in the lock.

                          The room was dark, musty, mostly full of what would seem to be junk, which had been thrown there when people did not know what else was to be done with it. There was an old chest of drawers against one wall. He pulled open the top draw, fingering gently some of the items, more old letters, a feather, some pebbles, a diary, some old paintings and photos. He knew each object had a life of it’s own, memories which create worlds. He added the letter and the newspaper article.

                          As he left the room, he wondered whether to lock the door again, and decided not to. He had a funny feeling within himself as he made this decision to leave it open, a shift, as though his simple decision had changed things, somehow.

                          Silly old fool he thought, laughing at himself. He would go and see the flower that India Louise was drawing for him.


                            Huÿgens was not much of a cat person.

                            He liked his dogs because they were solid, loyal companions, and he could count on them to take care of his herd of langoats.

                            Langoats were a kind of three-eyed manic woolly and horned creatures, with a big sensing tongue, attracted to every new sound, or scent, or colour, or texture… well almost anything new that came before their eyes (when said eyes were not covered by thick layers of wool that is). And as their memory was short too, all kinds of things were always new to them.

                            That was why the dogs were extremely useful in channeling their movements; not that the langoats would have hurt themselves, because they were very able to provide for themselves, and jump from the top of a cliff without suffering much injuries. But they could very well loose all notion of their physicality and pop in and out of the fabric of time and space.

                            When they came back, because they always did magically come back, even after months of wandering, they would at times be reconfigured into another creature, and that would be pointless applying too much effort in trying to bring them back to their previous form, because it was said, in relation to their stubbornness that once a langoat, always a langoat

                            Huÿgens had already lost some, especially during the shearing season.

                            And he had found himself back once with a cumbersome hippoliphant, and a bouncy shulimeek instead of two langoats.

                            Anyway, langoats wool was a very precious asset, highly sought after, as it could very easily bind with magical spells. Most of the clothes made for royalties were actually made with langoat wool, and it was also said that some enchanters had used langoat wool to make magical tapestries that would shapeshift, and reveal things to their owners.

                            So losing a langoat was not small concern for Huÿgens, and he had to be careful during the shearing season to leave some mops of hair to cover the three eyes of the beasts, so as to curb their insatiable thirst for discoveries.

                            But these days, Huÿgens had been very concerned about his herding dog Fjutch. Fjutch was a fluffy black dog he had found when it was still a puppy. He had trained it to become the head of his pack of dogs, when he had noticed the old rheumatic Thöm was taking the puppy under its wing —because the old faithful dog was knowing that it would depart and would reconfigure into a new form, but would not allow that to happen, not before he could have found a reliable companionship for his beloved master Huÿgens.

                            The healing properties of the langoat milk seemed to had done wonders once again, and Fjutch dis-ease was probably just a false alarm, but it had reminded Huÿgens how much he appreciated his dogs, every one of them, every day he was with them.

                            As for the cats… Illi, that was her name, had decided to come back to the cave, and he was showing her the way to the place where he had found her. He had asked BelleDora to pack a few things for her. He could not give Illi the beverage she was referring to as “coffee”, as that plant was not found in their region, but in compensation, he gave her a gourd of langoat milk, because she seemed like she would probably need some.

                            When he left her near the hole, he had some tears in his eyes when Illi hugged Fjutch very tenderly, as if the dog was reminding her of something dear. Illi after a moment hesitation, where she was like speaking to herself and not knowing what to do, finally hugged Huÿgens too, thanking him for everything he had done.

                            And off she was… free and unfettered as a gripshawk


                            When Illi had finished arguing with Illi about having her hug the big man, while this was not manners of her kind, she sighed as she saw that the opening she had first thought was here (yeah, because I fell in there! she said), her senses where telling her that it was now closed…

                            How quaint said Illi for herself.
                            — Well, as a matter of fact, it reminds me of something, said Illi F. There was that delicious gentleman, John Lubbock who said “What we see depends mainly on what we look for” and somehow it seems perfect.
                            — I don’t know any Grubbeck, grumbled Illi, a bit irritated that the hole, which was there before, wouldn’t be here, now she needed it.
                            — Lubbock was such a nice person, said Illi dreamily… Perhaps I could just try to have a peek inside the cave, if you let me.
                            — What?! Do again your wizzy wooey thing and I’ll strangle you! Don’t know how I would do it, but I’ll do it!
                            — Oh, you are so sluggishly gloomy! That was just to help you…
                            — Mmm, sorry for that, I was a bit upset, said Illi. What could you do?
                            — Just focus on the inside, and carry us both inside… But actually you would have to leave your body here, and we’ll probably see other things that do not belong to this place, but heck! that should be fun, Illi F said grinning widely.

                            They were interrupted by some munching sounds and ruffling heavy breath.

                            — What the bejeezus is that?! hissed Illi the cat (who didn’t even know how she knew so funny sounding words as bejeezus)
                            — Can’t you see? That’s obviously a dragon eating some bushes… How strange… replied Illi F airily.
                            — A WHAT? I HATE DRAGONS!
                            — Ahahah, relax, I was just pulling your leg.
                            — That’s not funny.
                            — Well he has funny colours by the way. Pinkish purple I wouldn’t dare to wear in London streets.
                            — That’s REALLY NOT FUNNY!
                            — Why so? You can’t see it anyway…
                            — And what if he sees me? Dragons are vicious creatures.
                            — He’s too busy eating these funny berries, and will probably collapse of exhaustion once he’s full.
                            — A chance! A vegetarian dragon!
                            — OK. Shall we try to find an entrance in the cave with my method, or do we ask the dragon? He looks well-mannered by the way.
                            — Oh, by the eyeballs of the Mighty Shrimp, you tell me…
                            — No, you choose.
                            — No, you.
                            — You…
                            — Ooooh, bugger off…


                              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


                                So the lady whispered the answer to the riddle of the hand into Arona’s ear.

                                Oh brilliant, thank you so much, said Arona, hugging her. Her hand felt so much better already.


                                No longer fearful, Arona looked into the glass ball. The coloured sand was shifting. Shapes were forming. At first they appeared to be random and rather vague, just movements without any clear form. After a little while Arona went into a trance like state, and she could feel energy flowing through her body. She noticed that she was able to influence the movement of the sand with her thoughts.

                                She stared at the sand for so long that she felt the edges of herself to be blurry. She had strange thoughts that she was a grain of sand herself and that she was being influenced to influence the sand. It was all quite surreal actually, but fun too, so did it really matter?


                                  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.


                                    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.


                                      Magic is easy peasy
                                      My hand is sore
                                      This poem is rubbish
                                      So I won’t say any more

                                      Well we must thank the Gods for small mercies said Mandrake, sighing heavily. Arona laughed. Her mood felt so light again, as though something had really, really, REALLY fallen into place for her.

                                      Up ahead the tunnel widened. Arona gave a small gasp as she saw what appeared to be a coatstand with a black cape standing in the middle of the path.

                                      My Cloak, she cried, astonished, and feeling sure that the crafty dragon was behind its unexpected appearance. Hmmm, what a mouldy old thing, she thought, as though seeing it for the first time.

                                      There was a note pinned to the cape:

                                      I build up castles. I tear down mountains. I make some men blind, I help others to see. What am I?

                                      Arona hesitated only for a moment. Sand! She said, delighted with herself.


                                        Illi had not known as powerful an opponent as this other Illi.

                                        At first, she had been remembered of stories of possession by evil sprites (or djinns) that she had heard in her youth, when Ibn al’ Gruk, the old angora storyteller was entertaining the desert settlement beating the rhythm with sonorous drums.

                                        So, she had pushed, and rebelled, and fought, as fiercely as any other gripshawk skilled and trained in the hand-to-hand martial arts would have done.

                                        But the other Illi wasn’t so easily vanquished.

                                        Then Illi had collapsed. She had sorrowfully abandoned the fight to the dreaded adversary.

                                        All of this had been occurring in a twinkle of an eye, but for Illi, the fight had been during ages and ages, while she was trying to focus on what BelleDora was explaining to her about the land where she was now.

                                        And when she had abandoned the fight, everything was again so easy. She did not care any longer, she was free again. Her evil twin could do anything, it could not matter less.

                                        But the evil twin had been in fact doing the same, and she had struggled to keep the focus coherent to her. Didn’t want stupid moth-looking people in her reality, or even spare hair on her face! But that other one was strong, and fierce. And stubborned too!

                                        — Who are you? she finally had asked
                                        — I’m Illi, had the other answered
                                        — I am Illi.
                                        — So we are both Illi
                                        — Yeah, that may be it, but we are quite different.
                                        — Are we? You feel quite like me, despite your stupid affection for smooth baby face.
                                        — Well, wouldn’t it be for that, I can see some resemblance…
                                        — Will you let me continue my trip?
                                        — Oh, I would have, but you’ve hijacked mine, said Illi Fergusson.
                                        — So you think.
                                        — And where does your trip leads to? asked Illi F. who wasn’t too sure of her trip either
                                        — From traveling portals to traveling portals, to discover all that can be discovered on this world. Magical creatures, I distrust them, but the lands and people are fascinating… And what about yours?
                                        — Hmm, hmm, pondered Illi F. for a moment… Well, I’m dead actually, but I didn’t expect being dead to be so busy. There are so many things to discover, and I like that. I see funny looking people, and this looks like fun. Like a minute ago, I was in some kind of funny cave, with a parrot…
                                        — A what?
                                        — A parrot, you know, a kind of talking bird full of colours…
                                        — Mmm, some kind of demonic creature for sure. Would have slain it without an hesitation!
                                        — Hey! You see, that’s why I didn’t want you to come with me.
                                        — Well, seems like for a moment, we don’t have much more choice…
                                        — At least, look at the bright side, with us merged like that, each of us can provide the other one with some sound experience on each other’s worlds.
                                        — Well, that’s not as airy-fairy as it seems…
                                        — Well, thank you for that, I’ll take that as a compliment.
                                        — You really are dreadfully serious at times!
                                        — Hey, I’m not anybody you see. My parents were aristocrats, I’m not the common hairy lot.
                                        — Ahahah, you’re funny.
                                        — So are you!

                                        And they ended laughing blissfully together.

                                        After a moment, Illi asked again:

                                        — Huh, a funny cave you said?
                                        — Well, yes. With lots of people…
                                        — Interesting… I was near some sort of strange cave too a while ago, that is, before I was found by this nice man and his dogs. Perhaps there is some connection here.
                                        — And could you go there again?
                                        — Not sure if I want to; there were some smelly fumes, smelt like demonic magic in there.
                                        — Oh you see, for as long as I’ve been dead, well even if that’s not so long ago, anyway, the point is I’ve not seen any demon so far… blustered Illi F.
                                        — Oh, and I have to take your word like that then?
                                        — Well, do as you please, but I’m going there again…
                                        — Just wait for me now, will you; let’s try to do things hand in hand, because you’re driving me mad!

                                        And the deal was made.

                                        BelleDora had continued to explain lots of things about her ancestors, but had not really noticed Illi’s attention had been so far away. She was a bit surprised when she found herself interrupted in a middle of a poetic depiction of the coastal plains of the Peninsula of the Dragon Head, where some glistening Capricorns were sometimes seen swimming in the creeks.

                                        — And how do I get back safely to this hole where I was found? asked Illi abruptly.


                                          Grandad! Grandad!, called India Louise to Lord Wrick, running in the old manor, her footstep making creaking and loud noises down the windy staircase.

                                          Hilarion Wrick was seated in his favourite armchair, dozing after the hefty meal prepared by Nanny Gibbon, the cat Manfred on his lap.

                                          Raising an eyelid, his cheerful wrinkled face smiled at the little girl.

                                          — And how can I be of assistance, dear little one?

                                          — Grandad, this book is full of wonders, but at times it’s like some characters have their own life, and I don’t always understand what they do… In fact, she added thoughtfully, I don’t understand them most of the time…
                                          — Hahaha, laughed the old Lord, but they have certainly their own lives, as they are living in your imagination. What can I explain to you?
                                          — Well, let me think.

                                          India Louise took a moment, and asked again

                                          — For instance, this woman who just run in the cave, she seems to meet many people here, but I am confused. Is she dreaming, or are they real?
                                          — Well, as a matter of fact, let me express to you that they are all real, even if you think that she dreams them. However, I am understanding of what you are saying, and I shall acknowledge your perspicacity. These characters are not all from the same areas of consciousness.

                                          Here, we will explain for the reader that these books were not unknown to Lord Wrick who had spent lots of time during his youth playing with them. How they were lost and found again is the subject of another story, and we will not divert the reader’s patient attention for much longer on this issue.

                                          — Areas of consciousness?

                                          — Yes, you see, let me explain. That individual that you call Dory, she is in a physical world. But she is aware, to an extent, of other realities that overlap her own reality. Just as her story overlaps your own reality my dear one.

                                          — And Illi? Who is she?
                                          — This one is also Dory, but another personality of her, in another time. She has just passed away, quite recently. She is beginning to slowly become aware of that, and she connects with other of her personalities, and at times blends with them, like the other Illi, the cat-like creature, who is still in the physical reality of Malvina’s world.
                                          — Mmmm, this is quite intricate…
                                          — Hahahaha, yes, it seems so, but it will not be so puzzling when you don’t try to attach your current limited perception to this story. This story is you my dear. You are the story.
                                          — Well, and Sanso, and Georges then, are they dead or what? How come Dory can see them?
                                          — These ones are special, they have mastered the crossing of the Worlds, and can move through them. They move differently though. Sanso comes from a lineage of an ancient tribe of Zion, and had learn from them how to activate some portals, but only through the physical world of Dory, in their own time. He is not yet aware that he can also move through time as well, or even through other Worlds —worlds that he has no conception of yet.

                                          Georges is more consummate in that art. Their meeting is not coincidental. You will see that.

                                          — Thank you Grandad, it’s becoming a bit less confusing.
                                          — Just flow with the story my little one, don’t hold on too much, or you will find it too difficult, and you will stop to find fun in it.


                                            Dory dodged in and out of the people crowded in the narrow back street. She needed several meters clear run to activate her special flying sandals, and she had no idea which way to go.

                                            A girl in a dark heavy blue cape was fiddling with a map on a street corner. Dory snatched the map off her as she ran past, shouting over her shoulder ‘thanks awfully, dont mind if I borrow your map do you?’

                                            Glancing down at the map, she found it had morphed into a page torn from the old testament.

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