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Little did they know all was tied to that mysterious tattoo on Roberto’s derrière…
“Wow. Liz’. Just wow. You have outdone yourself again.”
The crowd was cheering, her mother at the front in an ultragreen bathing suit waving a conductor baton at the assembled fans.
Obviously the nitrous oxide from the dentist was making Liz’ quite delirious.
“Bless you!” Liz shouted across the hall.
“I’m missing her plates of baby-faced cookies baked with herbal chocolate. Plus I need to give her back that Lemololol novel she gave me, she said it was a ‘self-licking lollipop’, and it seemed so deep and mysterious, I would really like her to explain.”
Using a random generator for the next challenge with 5 objects.
- pop can
- pencil holder
- Christmas ornament
In the dreary town of Ravenwood, where shadows loomed and the wind howled through the empty streets, there was one house that stood out above the rest. It was the old mansion at the end of the road, shrouded in mystery and secrets. No one had lived there for years, but whispers of strange happenings and eerie lights could be heard wafting through the air.
One stormy night, a young writer named Edgar arrived in Ravenwood seeking inspiration for his latest story. Drawn to the mansion by a strange force, he ventured inside, and found himself face to face with a peculiar sight. A straw sat on the table, next to a pop can and a pencil holder, and a Christmas ornament hung from a cobweb in the corner. But it was the turtle, a giant terrapin that seemed to be staring back at him with knowing eyes, that caught his attention.
Edgar couldn’t shake the feeling that something was amiss, that the objects in the room were connected in some strange way. As he looked closer, he noticed that a thick layer of dust had settled on everything, as if no one had been there in years. And yet, the pop can still seemed to be fizzing, the straw stirred as if someone had just taken a sip, and the turtle’s eyes seemed to glow in the dim light.
Suddenly, a voice from behind him made Edgar jump. It was the ghost of the previous owner, who had died under mysterious circumstances years ago. The ghost revealed that the objects in the room had been cursed by a vengeful witch who had once lived in the nearby forest. Each object was imbued with a terrible power, and whoever possessed them would be consumed by darkness.
Edgar knew he had to escape, but as he turned to run, he felt a strange force pulling him towards the turtle. He tried to resist, but the turtle’s eyes seemed to hypnotize him, drawing him in closer and closer. Just as he was about to touch it, the turtle suddenly snapped its jaws shut, and Edgar woke up back in his own bed, drenched in sweat.
He realized it had all been a nightmare, but as he looked down at his feet, he saw the turtle from his dream, sitting innocently at the end of his bed. Suddenly, he remembered the words of the ghost, and knew he had to destroy the cursed objects before it was too late. With trembling hands, he picked up the turtle, and opened his window to cast it out into the night. But as he did so, he caught a glimpse of his own reflection in the glass, and saw that his eyes had turned a bright shade of red. The curse had already taken hold, and Edgar knew he was doomed to a life of darkness and despair.
Bit dark, Whale!
Xavier had been back for a month in Berlin, called back for an emergency as his company was announcing a big new venture. The following months had been a whirlwind, and he’d felt a bit guilty leaving his friends just after all the drama and the cart festival, the sand storm and all.
Truth is, the sands of Australia weren’t much to his taste, and he couldn’t dedicate enough of his attention to all the distraction going on. What was Zara saying already? Like trucks in the night? Something like that, they’d gone, all of them their own way. Even AL and the game had stayed silent for while, not sending any new challenges.
It was ironic in a sense, considering his company was all abuzz with AI news, new human interfaces, threat of job loses by the million, data privacy concerns etc. It was already a matter of fact for him, and frankly, he was a bit bored by it now, even though the craze was showing no sign of abating.
“Illusion of depth of knowledge” or rather illusion of explanatory depth — that was was got him to think. All of this automatically generated expressions would be giving huge knowledge at everybody’s fingertips, but with either no willingness to truly understand, or always a nagging doubt it was just a neat narrative that could be completely imagined.
The quest for the elusive spark of creativity was still on. If one thing was sure, it wasn’t to be found in AI.
Suddenly, his phone rang, jolting him out of his daydreams. It was Youssef.
“Hey man, how’s it going?” Xavier asked, pleasantly surprised at the call.
“What do you mean she’s gone missing?”
There was a silence on the line.
“Well, we’ve set boundaries on the system for ethical reasons Youssef. We can’t just spy on people. And who’s to tell she doesn’t just need the space? It wouldn’t have been unheard of. I’m sure she’ll come back in no time, with a smile and a song.”
“I hope so…” Youssef sounded disappointed. “So you won’t help?”
Xavier took a breathe. “Not this time my friend, I’m afraid. But I tell you what. You can go an post an advertisement at the Faded Cabbage pub, in the game’s Old District. Someone who knows someone may be able to help.”
“Thanks for the tip, man… It’s was good to talk to you.” Youssef hanged up.
Welcome to the bustling riverfront community of Bridgewater, where the sound of boat horns and cries of merchants filled the air.
Bridgewater was a town of hardworking people, all striving to make a living in this busy trading port. One such person was Anne, a middle-aged woman who owned a small pottery shop by the river. Her days were filled with the clanging of clay and the whirring of her pottery wheel. She took great pride in her work, creating beautiful plates and tea bowls that were highly sought after by the locals.
Another memorable character was Jack, the town cobbler whose small shop was always busy with customers. He was known for his kind heart and his willingness to help anyone in need, often giving away shoes to those who couldn’t afford them. As the days passed, life in Bridgewater had its ups and downs.
The lost halfpenny spoke of a hard day’s work, but also of the generosity of the community. The broken pipes spoke of moments of relaxation, but also of the struggles of daily life. And the smashed plates and tea bowls spoke of hurried meals, but also of the occasional argument or disagreement.
Despite the challenges, the people of Bridgewater found small joys in life. Children played by the river, skipping stones and chasing each other. Couples walked hand in hand along the promenade, watching the boats come and go. And on warm summer evenings, the town square was filled with music and laughter as locals gathered for impromptu dance parties. But as with any community, there were also tensions and conflicts.
The town council was often at odds with the merchants, who felt that their needs were being overlooked. And there were whispers of a rival trading port that threatened to take away business from Bridgewater. One day, a fire broke out in the warehouse district, destroying several buildings and leaving many homeless. The community rallied together to help those in need, with Anne donating plates and bowls for makeshift kitchens and Jack offering his shop as a temporary shelter. As the smoke cleared and the ashes settled, the people of Bridgewater were left to rebuild their town. Through hard work and perseverance, they overcame the challenges and emerged even stronger than before. The lost halfpenny, broken pipes, and smashed plates were all reminders of the struggles they had faced, but they also spoke of the resilience and strength of the human spirit. And so, life in Bridgewater continued, a vibrant and bustling riverfront community where goods were traded and daily life was filled with both hardships and small joys.
Very well, let us focus a bit on an overarching mystery.
Meanwhile, the game they’re playing on, Orbs of Madjourneys seems to direct them to certain quests which subtly influence their activities. For instance, after playing the game, a succession of events got the four of them booking a trip to the Flying fish Inn in the middle of Australian outback (Zara is living in Australia unlike the others).
Let’s assume the Game had somehow detected some unlawful or immoral activities being conducted, and has started to drop clues to influence these 4 gamers, selected because of their unique connexions and some of their special skills to get to reveal and bring the mystery to light.
Zara has an explorer mind, free-spirited, jumping right in. It’s suggested she was assigned group leadership for this round of game, while taking care of a group doesn’t come naturally for her. Yasmin is talented and it is said she is the brains of the team and also a competent actress, which may come in play at some point. Youssef is a journalist, and works for Miss Tartiflate, owner of THE Blog, a blog with a soul – unlike rival blog from Botty Banworth, the lady millionaire, who is sponsoring the Carts & Lager festival at the town of the Flying Fish Inn, next to the mines. Xavier has a bit of a monkey mind, but is also good at drawing connections; he’s a programmer for AL.
Which brings us to the group quest. The current hunch is that there is some shenanigan at play in the old collapsed mines of the town, where some key characters were lost in the past. One of them being Fred, a sci-fi writer who disappeared to Fiji to protect his family (the owners of the Flying Fish Inn) a decade or so ago. It’s suggested by the last poem found in the game that it may have something to do with illegal underground water drilling —possibly for frivolous usages of a select few elite, like maintaining a golf green nearby or other things.
If that is on the right track, we need to accelerate the path of discovery of these mysteries for our 4 characters. The game will suggest additional clues to their quests, so that they can use their skills during the Carts & Lager Festival to discover the truth, while remaining out of harm’s way.
Here are some additional clues that the game will suggest to our four characters:
“To find the truth, you must first seek the light.” 🌞🔍🕯️💡🔦
“The answer lies beneath the surface.” 🕳️🔍👀🌊💧
“All the world’s a stage, and we are merely players.” 🌍🎭🤹♀️👥🕺
“Sometimes, the truth is hidden in plain sight.” 👀🔍🤫🧐🕵️♀️
“Words have power, and the pen is mightier than the sword.” 📝🗡️💪📚👨💻
“The truth may be hidden in the most unexpected of places.” 🤔🕵️♂️🔍🧩🕰️
“The truth is a puzzle waiting to be solved.” 🧩🔍🤔🕵️♂️💡
“Sometimes, the smallest details can lead to the biggest discoveries.” 🔍👀🔬🧐🔎
What are potential outcomes for our 4 characters in game and in real life.
How are they going to work together to unravel the mystery and discover the truth.
There are several potential outcomes for our 4 characters as they work together to unravel the truth about the collapsed mines and the illegal underground water drilling.
In the game, they may encounter various obstacles and puzzles to solve, such as deciphering codes and finding hidden passages. They will need to work together and use their unique skills to uncover the truth and prevent any further harm.
In real life, they may need to conduct research and gather information about the history of the town and its residents. They may also need to interview locals and investigate any suspicious activity related to the water drilling. They will need to be careful not to draw too much attention to themselves, as the perpetrators may try to silence them.
If they are successful in their quest, they may uncover a conspiracy involving powerful people in the town and beyond who are profiting from the illegal water drilling. They may also discover the fate of Fred, the missing writer, and other key characters. The truth may have a significant impact on the future of the town and its residents.
To work together effectively, each of the characters will need to utilize their unique skills and strengths. Zara’s exploratory nature may help them discover hidden clues and passages, while Yasmin’s intellect and acting abilities may allow her to gain access to key information and people. Youssef’s journalistic skills and connection to Miss Tartiflate may provide them with insider knowledge and resources, and Xavier’s ability to draw connections and work with technology may help them piece together the puzzle.
Overall, by working together and using their skills in both the game and real life, our 4 characters may uncover a significant truth and make a positive impact on the town and its residents.March 19, 2023 at 10:39 pm in reply to: Background Stuff for the Chronicles of the Flying Fish Inn #7204
Some handy references for the timelines of the Flying Fish Inn are here…
Year Date Event 1935 March 1, 1935 Birth of Mater 1958 March 13, 1958 Mater marries her childhood sweetheart 1965 August 17, 1965 Birth of Fred 1968 June 8, 1968 Birth of Abcynthia Hogg 1970 July 7, 1970 Birth of Aunt Idle 1978 April 12, 1978 Mater’s husband dies 1987 March 19, 1987 Mines close down – Carts & Lager Festival 1988 December 12, 1988 Idle gives birth to a child in Fiji (Liana) 1989 December 20, 1989 Horace Hogg death – Inn passes down to Abby 1990 May 7, 1990 Fred marries Abcynthia 1998 November 11, 1998 Birth of Devan 2000 November 11, 2000 Birth of Clove and Coriander 2007 March 7, 2007 Hannah Hogg’s death, the Inn passes to Abcynthia 2008 March 10, 2008 Carts and Lager Festival revival 2008 August 20, 2008 Birth of Prune 2009 February 2, 2009 Abcynthia leaves 2009 September 11, 2009 Strange incidents at the mines, Idle sets up the Inn 2010 May 27, 2010 Fred leaves his family, goes into hiding 2014 September 10, 2014 Start of Prune’s journal 2017 March 21, 2017 Visitors from Elsewheres 2020 December 22, 2020 The year of the Great Fires 2021 August 8, 2021 Italian tourists saved the Inn 2023 March 1, 2023 Orbs gamers visitors 2027 September 1, 2027 Prune going to a boarding school 2035 March 21, 2035 Mater 100 and twins on a Waterlark adventure 2049 March 17, 2049 Prune arrives with a commercial flight on Mars, Mater is deceased (would have been 114)
Godfrey had been in a mood. Which one, it was hard to tell; he was switching from overwhelmed, grumpy and snappy, to surprised and inspired in a flicker of a second.
Maybe it had to do with the quantity of material he’d been reviewing. Maybe there were secret codes in it, or it was simply the sleep deprivation.
Inspired by Elizabeth active play with her digital assistant —which she called humorously Whinley, he’d tried various experiments with her series of written, half-written, second-hand, discarded, published and unpublished, drivel-labeled manuscripts he could put his hand on to try to see if something —anything— would come out of it.
After all, Liz’ generous prose had always to be severely edited to meet the editorial standards, and as she’d failed to produce new best-sellers since the pandemic had hit, he’d had to resort to exploring old material to meet the shareholders expectations.
He had to be careful, since some were so tartied up, that at times the botty Whinley would deem them banworthy. “Botty Banworth” was Liz’ character name for this special alternate prudish identity of her assistant. She’d run after that to write about it. After all, “you simply can’t ignore a story character when they pop in, that would be rude” was her motto.
So Godfrey in turn took to enlist Whinley to see what could be made of the raw material and he’d been both terribly disappointed and at the same time completely awestruck by the results. Terribly disappointed of course, as Whinley repeatedly failed to grasp most of the subtleties, or any of the contextual finely layered structures. While it was good at outlining, summarising, extracting some characters, or content, it couldn’t imagine, excite, or transcend the content it was fed with.
Which had come as the awestruck surprise for Godfrey. No matter how raw, unpolished, completely off-the-charts rank with madness or replete with seeming randomness the content was, there was always something that could be inferred from it. Even more, there was no end to what could be seen into it. It was like life itself. Or looking at a shining gem or kaleidoscope, it would take endless configurations and had almost infinite potential.
It was rather incredible and revisited his opinion of what being a writer meant. It was not simply aligning words. There was some magic at play there to infuse them, to dance with intentions, and interpret the subtle undercurrents of the imagination. In a sense, the words were dead, but the meaning behind them was still alive somehow, captured in the amber of the composition, as a fount of potentials.
What crafting or editing of the story meant for him, was that he had to help the writer reconnect with this intent and cast her spell of words to surf on the waves of potential towards an uncharted destination. But the map of stories he was thinking about was not the territory. Each story could be revisited in endless variations and remain fresh. There was a difference between being a map maker, and being a tour-operator or guide.
He could glimpse Liz’ intention had never been to be either of these roles. She was only the happy bumbling explorer on the unchartered territories of her fertile mind, enlisting her readers for the journey. Like a Columbus of stories, she’d sell a dream trusting she would somehow make it safely to new lands and even bigger explorations.
“You are late for the fancy dress rehearsal!” Liz shouted, in her a pirate captain outfit, her painted eye patch showing her eye with an old stitched red plush thing that looked like a rat perched on her shoulder supposed to look like a mock parrot.
“What was the occasion again?”
“I may have found a new husband.” she said blushing like a young damsel.
Finnley, in her mummy costume made with TP rolls, well… did her thing she does with her eyes.
It seemed like their journey was ominously pregnant with untold possibilities. Well that’s what Xavier had said the team to break the lazy pattern that had started to bring their sense of adventure to a lull.
“Please, no snotty baby possibilities!” had moaned Zara, stretching from her morning session of yoga with Yasmin.
It was the morning of the third day since he’d arrived, and as they were enjoying the breakfast, the external elements seemed to have put a brake on the planned activities.
On the previous evening, Mater, the dame of the Inn, had come in with a dramatic racing driver costume complete with burgundy red jacket and goggles to match. She’d seemed quite excited at the thought of racing at the Carts and Lager, but the younger child, Prune, had come in with weather forecast.
“It’s on the local channel news. We have to brace for a chance of dust storm. It’s recommended to stay indoors during the next two days.”
“WHAT?!” Zara couldn’t believe it. The thought of being cooped up in holidays! Then she lightened up a little when Yasmin mentioned the possibility of sand ghost pictures. She knew Zara well enough, that a good distraction was the remedy to most of her moods.
Youssef had shrugged and told them of the time they were with the BLOG team at a snowy pass in Ladakh, and had to wait for the weather to clear the only pass back to the valley. He’s enjoyed learning how to make chapatis with the family on the small gas stove of the local place, and visited the local yurts. Zara’s eyes were suddenly full of wonders at the mere mention of yurts.
Prune had then mentioned with a smirk. “If you guys want an adventure, I was planning to do some spring cleaning in the basement. There are tons of old books…. and some said maybe some secret entrance to the mines.”
Zara’s spider sense was tingling almost orgasmically.
Youssef said. “Well, I suppose that’s the best entertainment we’ll get for now…”
At the morning breakfast table, they did a quick check of the news.
“The situation isn’t getting any better. AL has confirmed it’s an unusual weather late in this season, but it’s also saying we should remain indoors.” Xavier was looking at his phone slouched on the table.
“And they will cancel the first days of the Carts and Lager…” Zara was downcast.
“Well, here’s a thought… the quest is still open in the game…”
Star and Tara were seating at their usual table in the Star Frites Alliance Café, sipping their coffee and reflecting on the strange case of the wardrobe. They had managed to find Uncle Basil, and Vince had been able to change his will just in time. They had also discovered that the wardrobe was being used to smuggle illegal drugs, which they promptly reported to the authorities.
As they sat there, they saw Finton, the waitress from the café where they last met Vince French, walking towards them with a big smile on her face. “Hello there, ladies! I just wanted to thank you for helping Vince find his uncle. He’s been so much happier since then.”
“It was all in a day’s work,” said Star with a grin. “And we also managed to solve the mystery of the wardrobe.” she couldn’t help boasting.
“Did we now?” Tara raised an eyebrow.
Finton’s eyes widened in surprise. “Oh my! That’s quite the accomplishment. What did you find?”
“It was being used to smuggle drugs,” explained Star. “We reported it to the authorities.”
“Well, I never! You two are quite the detectives,” said Finton, impressed.
“Sure, we could be proud, but there are more mysteries calling for our help. Now if you don’t mind, Finton, we have important business to talk about.” Star said.
“And it’s rather hush-hush.” Tara added, to clue in the poor waitress.
Star’s knack for finding clues in all the wrong places, and Tara’s slight nudges towards the path of logical deduction and reason had made them quite famous now around the corner. Well, slightly more famous than before, meaning they were featured in a tiny article in the local neswpaper, page 8, near the weekly crosswords. But somehow, that they’d accomplished their missions did advocate in their favour. And new clients had been pouring in.
“Do we have a new case you haven’t told me about?” wondered Tara.
“Nah.” retorted Star. “Just wanted to get rid of the nosy brat and enjoy my coffee while it’s hot. I hate tepid coffee. Tastes like cat piss.”
“Well, as a matter of fact, we are,” said Star, propping her goods forward, and batting a few eyelids. “Who’s asking?”
“My name is Thomas, and I have a rather unusual case for you.”
“It involves a missing pineapple.” Thomas said after taking the offered seat.
“A missing pineapple?” repeated Star incredulously.
Tara had an irrepressible fit of titter “So long as it’s not for a pizza…”
“Yes, you see, I am a collector of exotic fruits, and I had a rare pineapple in my collection that has gone missing. It’s worth quite a lot of money, and I can’t seem to find it anywhere.”
Star and Tara exchanged a look. They were both thinking the same thing. Was “exotic fruit” code for something else? Otherwise, this was not even remotely bizarre by their standard, and they’d seen some strange cases already.
“Well, I did hear a rumor that it was spotted in the hands of a local street performer, but I can’t be sure.”
“Alright, we’ll consider it,” said Star decisively. She fumbled into her hairy bag —some smart upcycling made by Rosamund with the old patchy mink coats. She handed a torn namecard to the young Thomas. “We’ll call you.”
Thomas looked at her surprised. “Do you mean, should I write my number?”
Tara rolled her eyes and sighed. “Obvie.” Somehow the good-looking ones didn’t seem to be the brightest tools in the picnic box.
“But first, we need to finish our coffee.” She took a long sip and grinned at Tara. “Looks like we may have another mysterman on our hands.”
Some connecting ideas for this thread so far — doesn’t make yet complete sense, but we’ll see… :
As it turns out, Aaron and Tibu are the same person. After Aaron attached his watch to the Wall of Watches, he suddenly found himself transported to a different time and place. Disoriented and confused, he stumbled upon a time-traveling device and accidentally activated it, sending him hurtling through time and space.
As Tibu, Aaron found himself in a strange new world, unable to remember anything about his past life as Aaron. He struggled to adapt to his new surroundings, living on the streets and relying on the kindness of strangers to survive.
One day, while wandering the streets of a small Spanish town, Tibu stumbled upon a lost little girl named Lily. Recognizing the fear and confusion in her eyes, Tibu felt an instant connection to her. He promised to help her find her way home and they set off together, embarking on a journey to discover Lily’s true identity.
As they traveled together, Lily began to open up to Tibu, sharing her dreams and fears with him. Tibu, in turn, began to share his own story with her, remembering parts about his life as Aaron and finally the accident that had left him in a coma.
It was only through his travels with Lily that Tibu began to piece together the fragments of his past and come to terms with his true identity. And it was through his connection with Lily that he found the strength and courage to confront the truth about his past and move forward with his life.
As for how Aaron ended up in a coma, it was revealed that he had been involved in a car accident while on his way to an important meeting. The accident left him in a coma, and it was only through his journey as Tibu that he was finally able to wake up and remember his past life as Aaron.
Tibu looked up at her, surprised by the offer. He hadn’t expected anyone to offer him anything more than spare change or a half-eaten sandwich. “That’s very kind of you,” he said with a small smile, “I’d like that very much.”
The young woman returned his smile and disappeared for a while. She came back a few minutes later, with two cups of steaming hot tea. Handing one to Tibu, she started sipping her own while they stood in silence for a moment looking at the last drops of dripping water from the eaves overhead, as the rain had started to subside.
Tibu couldn’t help but feel a pang of sadness. Here he was, a man with no memory of his past, selling books on the street for spare change, and yet this stranger was treating him with kindness and respect.
“Thank you,” he said softly his voice barely audible, “I really appreciate this.”
The woman shrugged and smiled again. “It’s no trouble at all. I think it’s nice to just take a break and chat with someone for a while. It can get lonely in this city sometimes.”
Tibu nodded in agreement. “I know what you mean. I feel like a stranger in my own life sometimes.”
The woman’s expression softened. “That must be hard. But you know, sometimes it’s good to start over. You can be whoever you want to be, do whatever you want to do. It’s like a second chance.”
As they continued their conversation, a crumpled torn piece of newspaper caught Tibu’s eye, lodged in a nearby gutter. The headline mentioned a job fair happening the next day, an opportunity for people to find new careers. An idea began to form in his mind – attending the job fair could be his first step in creating a new life.
Tibu looked at the woman, still struck by her earlier words. It was a new way of thinking for him. Maybe he didn’t have to be defined by his past or his amnesia. Maybe he could create a new life for himself, with new people and new experiences.
“Thank you,” he said again, feeling a newfound sense of hope. “You’ve given me a lot to think about.”
The woman smiled and finished her tea. “Well, I should probably get back to work. But it was nice talking to you. Maybe I’ll see you around. I’m Lorena, by the way.”
Tibu nodded and watched her walk away, feeling a warmth in his chest. Maybe things weren’t so hopeless after all. Maybe he could create a new life for himself; he checked the crumbled paper; his decision was made; armed with renewed purpose, he’d resolved to attend the job fair.
Of course, he’d need to prepare, sort out stuff…
He looked down at the book in his hand and smiled. For now, he had Lord Gustard Willoughby Fergusson to keep him company and inspire him about acts of bravery and embrace with gusto the great leap into the unknown.
As they trekked through the endless dunes, Lord Gustard could barely contain his excitement. The thought of discovering the bones of the legendary giant filled him with a childlike wonder, and he eagerly scanned the horizon for any sign of their destination. As the fearless leader of the group, he had a deep-seated passion for adventure and exploration, a love for pith helmets. However, his tendency to get lost in his own thoughts at the most inconvenient times could sometimes get him in tricky situations. Despite this, he has an unshakable determination to succeed and a deep respect for the cultures and traditions of the places he visits.
Lady Floribunda, on the other hand, was the picture of patience and duty. She knew that this journey was important to her husband and she supported him unwaveringly, even as she silently longed for the comforts of home. Her first passion was for gossips and the life of socialites —but there was hardly any gossip material in the desert, so she fell back to her second passion, botany, that would often get her lost in her own world, examining and cataloging the scant flora and fauna they encountered on their journey. It wasn’t unusual to hear her at time talking to plants as if they were her dolls or children.
Cranky, meanwhile, couldn’t help but roll her eyes at Lord Gustard’s exuberance. “I swear, if I have to listen to one more of his whimsical ramblings, I’ll go mad,” she muttered to herself. Her tendency to grumble about the hardships of their journey had taken a turn for the worse, considering the lack of comfort from the past nights. She was as sharp-tongued as she was pragmatic, with a love for tea and crumpets that bordered on obsessive. Despite her grumpiness, she has a heart of gold and a deep affection for her companions, and especially young Illi.
Illi, on the other hand, was thrilled by every new discovery along the way. Whether it was a curious beetle scuttling across the sand or a shimmering oasis in the distance, she couldn’t help but express her excitement with a constant stream of questions and exclamations. Illi was a bright and enthusiastic young girl, with a passion for adventure and a wide-eyed wonder at the world around her. She had a tendency to burst into song at the most unexpected moments.
Tibn Zig and Tanlil Ubt remained loyal and steadfast, shrugging off any incongruous spur of the moment extravagant outburst from Gustard. Their experience in the desert had taught them to stay calm and focused, no matter what obstacles they might encounter. But behind the stoic façade, they had a penchant for telling tall tales and playing practical jokes on their companions. Their mischievousness was however only for good fun, and they had become fiercely loyal to Lord Gustard after he’d rescued them from sand bandits who were planning to sell them as slave. Needless to say, they would have done whatever it takes to keep the Fergusson family safe.
Illi was hoping for eccentric traders and desert nomads to fortune-seeking treasure hunters and conniving bandits, but for miles it was just plain unending desert. The worst they found on their path were unending sand dunes, a few minuscule deadly scorpions, and mostly contending with the harsh desert sun beating down upon them. Finally, after days of wandering through the desert, they reached their destination.
As they approached Tsnit n’Agger, the landscape began to change. The sand dunes gave way to rocky cliffs and towering red sandstone formations, and the air grew cooler and more refreshing. The group pressed on, their spirits renewed by the prospect of discovering the secrets of the legendary giant’s bones.
At last, they arrived at the entrance to the giant’s cave. Lord Gustard led the way, his torch casting flickering shadows on the walls as they descended deeper into the earth. The air grew colder and damper, and the sounds of dripping water echoed around them.
As they turned a corner, they suddenly found themselves face to face with the giant’s bones. Towering above them, the massive skeletal structure filled the cavern from floor to ceiling. The sight of the giant’s bones towering above them was awe-inspiring, and Lord Gustard was practically bouncing with excitement. The group behind him was in awe, even Cranky, as they were taking in the enormity and majesty of the ancient creature.
“Let’s get to work,” Lord Gustard declared, his enthusiasm undimmed. And with that, they set to the task of uncovering the secrets of the legendary giant, each in their own way.
Remembering his role as her publisher did something to him. Somehow, even peanuts didn’t capture his interest as much nowadays, but the exploration of the stories themselves had put a literal spell on him.
He was for one, marveling at Liz’ capability to jump straight into writing, and especially her early works were quite difficult to understand because of that free-flowing ability, unencumbered by such worries as continuity or even characters consistency. While his own interest was more about providing a finished product, somehow the works of Elizabeth Tattler had defeated every attempts at that.
What I need is a map… He’d thought. To be able to contextualize a random quote from any of her opus, give it a sense of direction. If we assume the reader is carried into a journey, writing that same journey would require a map of sorts. But the writing are as much about revealing the map, some parts hidden by the relief or terrain, as they are about providing a direction…
That’s when he looked at his phone messages. 357 unread. Liz’ had been playing with images rerolls in this new app. He sighed looking at the last image. An unexplainable creature and a jelly bean cart in an odd landscape.
There was no map big enough to contain her genius creativity he reckoned. There was some relief in that too.
Ghört, the winds that blow,
Whispering secrets we may never know.
Nærvel, the waters that flow,
Carrying stories of lands below.
Agnima, the flames that dance,
Illuminating paths of chance.
Selvaniel, the woods that grow,
A sanctuary for both friend and foe.
Margilonia, the earth that grounds,
Rooted in ancient, forgotten sounds.
Lejüs, the memories that fade,
Echoes of a lost world, where shadows played.
On Duane, these six gods reign,
Their ancient language an eternal refrain.
As the days come and go,
Their voices in harmony, forever flow.
What satisfying conclusion to this saga?
Granola was the tying material to their friend, and her pop-in nascent capabilities (ability to project into material matter, sometimes being corporeal) could help. Her goal was to wake her friends out of their routines, and reinvigorate the stories they tell themselves about their lives.
- Maeve was the one making custom dolls.
- Shawn Paul her handsome bearded bachelor next door was an aspiring writer looking for a story to tell and to become published.
- Lucinda is their neighbour, enrolled in creative writing courses.
- Jerk is a clerk at a local WholeDay*Mart and also manages a forum in his spare time.
The dolls were found in all across places, used by different groups, maybe glamour bombs for some, maybe ways to smuggle information and keys.
Across their trips they connect with story characters, and unknowingly revive their stories.
POP*IN THREAD (plot development suggestions, to be looked into later)
Maeve and Shawn-Paul are still in Tikfijikoo, investigating the mysterious dolls and their connection to Uncle Fergus. They’ve also encountered strange happenings, including a missing girl and a strange man in a top hat.
As for the mysterious man following Maeve, his intentions are still unclear, but it seems he has some connection to Uncle Fergus and the dolls. The group is still trying to uncover the truth and figure out their next steps.
In the end, Granola’s pop-in abilities proved to be the key to unlocking the mystery of the dolls and their connection to Uncle Fergus. With her help, Maeve and Shawn-Paul were able to uncover the truth about the dolls and their purpose, and use them to reconnect with various story characters across their trips.
Through their adventures, they also discovered the power of storytelling and the importance of shaking up their routines to keep their lives interesting and full of wonder. Jerk found a new sense of purpose in managing the forum and connecting with others through his passion for the dolls and their stories.
While Shawn-Paul’s path led him to become a successful author, Lucinda’s path took a different turn. She found fulfillment in her creative writing course and continued to hone her skills, but she didn’t pursue a career as a writer. Instead, she used her passion for storytelling to help others, working as a therapist and using storytelling techniques to help her clients work through their struggles and find healing. Lucinda’s work was deeply rewarding, and she felt fulfilled in being able to help others in such a meaningful way.
As for Granola, she continued to pop-in and out of their lives, using her abilities to bring joy and excitement to their everyday routines, and keeping their stories alive for years to come. The group remained close friends, bonded by their shared experiences and love of storytelling.
Xavier was dramatically behind his work, but he could see the benefits to his mood of the break from his routine. While the others had been enlisted to a bush tucker cooking lesson by their hosts, he’d retreated to his room for some catching up with his programming.
The lady with the dreadlocks in particular seemed to have taken a liking to Youssef so much so that she had offered to join their group for the cooking lesson session, which apparently was initially met with disbelief a first, then surprise and anxiety and finally made her family raise a few eyebrows profusely. Youssef didn’t seem bothered by it, and to be fair, did seem completely oblivious to the situation.
Speaking of awkward situations, after the bar discussion, Glimmer had got off on her own, apparently going to chase for literal rainbows. She’d mentioned in a conspiratorial tone “You don’t see them rainbows nowadays, have you? See, that’s what I mean, them with the government electric waves, laser rays and stuff, they manipulate the weather… Keep people docile and hopeless. So I’m going on a chase.”
Xavier had frowned at Yasmin before she could top it off with a “good luck with the unicorns.” He didn’t need telepathy to know that Yasmin could hardly pass on an ironic salvo in a potentially comical situation.
Anyway, Glimmer leaving off to new adventures of her own without overstaying her welcome was met with a few sighs of relief. The four of them quite liked the comfort of their little group with their insider references and jokes.
His programmic work was rather tedious and slow, but he’d made good progress connecting the new training model into the AL, and the muffled sounds of the cooking class with the occasional laughter did make him want to finish faster.
He hoped he would get most of it done in time to enjoy the incoming festival. The town however ghostly it had seemed on arrival, had taken a unexpected liveliness with colorful bunting flags now spreading across all roads intersections.
With all this newfound activity, they’d almost forgotten about the game. However, he could feel there was something more at play, and it would be a trial of Zara’s leadership capabilities —her style had often been solo. It was great for scouting mission and opening new doors in unknown parts of the game, but apparently the group quest required something different…
“It’s amazing, all the material we gathered over the years, it makes one’s head spin…” Godfrey was poring over quantities of papers, mostly early drafts stuck haphazardly in a pile of donations boxes that Elizabeth had generously contributed to the National Library’s archives of great works and renowned authors, but mostly as way of spring cleaning.
He had materialized some of the links from the pages with webs of purple yarn tied to the wall of the dining hall. It had soon become a tangled mess of interwoven threads that he had to protect from the cleaning frenzied assaults of energetic feather duster of Finnley.
She’d softened her stance a little when she’s realised how often her namesake has popped in the various storylines, almost making her emotional about Liz’ incorporating her in her works of fictions —only to remember that most of the time, she’d been the working hand behind the continuity, the Finnleys appearances being an offshoot of this endeavour.
Godfrey had almost forgotten he was actually a publisher to start with, before he became more of a useful side-kick, if not a useful idiot.
The phone rang in the empty hall. Soon after, Finnley arrived with the heavy bakelite telephone, handing it over to Godfrey unceremoniously. “You might want to take this, it’s Felicity…” she mouthed the last word like it was the name of the Devil himself.
“Dear Flove protect us, don’t tell me Liz’ mother is in town…”
“Well, at least she has comic relief value” snorted Finnley on her way back to her duties.
“Oh, no…” he whined softly “it looks like Glimmer… you know the strange colourful game stalker.”
Yasmin raised a perfectly trimmed eyebrow, looking still tired from her trip.
“Oh no, as I feared…” Xavier said between his teeth, “I think she’s spotted us. What is she doing here, of all places?”
He turned to Glimmer with a broad smile. “Hello dear! Fancy meeting you here! Are we still in the game?”
She clumsily drew a high stool next to the table, knocking off a few knees in the process, and sat precariously on the edge of it.
“Look, I found the Big Banana you know.”
“What?” it took Xavier a mere second to reconnect with his own discovery of the concrete sculpture… “You mean…?”
“Yes, the Big Banana, there’s one here in this town you know.” She drew closer, pushing the empty pints of beer, one of which Youssef managed to catch before it fell. “… but there’s a more interesting thing happening in the game now. Haven’t you checked your messages?”
Xavier looked at his message. It said
🔮[GROUP QUEST OPENED] click on the *Orb*
He clicked, while all the others where perched over his shoulder, looking at his avatar on the screen.
Suddenly all of them were transported in a new place that looked exactly like the Flying Fish Inn, while some instructions where scrolling on the screen of the game.
The next quest is going to be a group quest for Zara, Yasmin, Xavier and Youssef. It will require active support and close collaboration to focus on a single mystery at first not necessarily showing connection or interest to all members of the group, but completing it will show how all things are interconnected. It may start inside the game at the hidden library underground the Flying Fish Inn.
Quirk offered for this: getting lost in the mines of creativity, and struggle to complete the chapters of the book of Story to a satisfactory conclusion.
The group finds themselves in the hidden library underground the Flying Fish Inn, surrounded by books and manuscripts. They come across a particularly old and mysterious book titled “The Lost Pages of Creativity.” The book contains scattered chapters, each written by a different author, but the group soon realizes that they are all interconnected and must be completed in order to unlock the mystery of the book’s true purpose.
Each chapter presents a different challenge related to creativity, ranging from writing a poem to creating a piece of art. The group must work together to solve each challenge, bringing their individual skills and perspectives to the table. As they complete each chapter, they will uncover clues that lead them deeper into the mystery.
Their ultimate goal is to find the missing pages of the book, which are scattered throughout the inn and surrounding areas. They will need to use their problem-solving skills and work together to find and piece together the missing pages in the correct order to unlock the true purpose of the book.
To begin, the group is given a clue to start their search for the first missing page: “In the quietest place, the loudest secrets are kept.” They must work together to decipher the clue and find the missing page. Once found, they must insert the corresponding tile into the game to progress to the next chapter. Proof of the insert should be provided in real life.
Each of the four characters are provided with a personal clue:
Zara: “Amidst the foliage and bark, A feather and a beak in the dark 🌳🍃🐦🕯️🌑”
Yasmin: “In the depths of the ocean blue, A key lies waiting just for you 🌊🔑🧜♀️🐚🕰️”
Xavier: “Seeking knowledge both new and old, Find the owl with eyes of gold 📚🦉💡🔍🕰️”
Youssef: “Amongst the sands and rocky dunes, A lantern flickers, a key it looms 🏜️🪔🔍🔑🕯️”
Each of these clues hints at a specific location or object that the character needs to find in order to progress in the game.