Connecting stories where Arona appear —or her close friends (Mandrake her cat, Yikesy a strange baby, Vincentius a demi-god etc.).
Starting her journeys in the Duane (in the Alienor system), she learns to travel through tunnels and dimensions with the help of Leörmn, a dragon, and soon charts adventures of her own, meeting new challenges and old friends along the way.
So the Story goes...
Arona was lost. She had been lost for quite some time now and had got over the initial surprise this realisation had given her. It was not very often now that she questioned her decision to leave the others. She had tired of their endless journeying, always in circles, always moving and yet never seeming to move beyond the confines of the small village.
One day she told them she was leaving. She wasn’t even sure if they heard her but still she set off, wearing her heavy black cape and carrying a small bag of her most treasured possessions.
Arona had not been sure of the cape, it was so heavy, yet she feared the cold nights and loved the security of it’s warmth. It had been a gift from her parents, a long time ago, when she was just a child. Wear this cape and one day it will bring you happiness, her mother had said.
Her mother said many odd things and had left on a journey of her own a many years ago, so Arona had never really been able to find out what she meant. Magically the cape had grown with her body, moulding itself to her.
The worst of the winter cold was over now and Arona found the cape almost unbearably heavy at times, yet she could not quite bring herself to leave it behind. Sometimes she would take it off, relishing in the lightness and feeling the warmth of the sun on her body. She always put it back on though, just in case she needed it one day.
Arona pulled out a well worn map from her bag. The map had been a gift from a travelling wizard who visited the village a few years ago. Arona had given him food and shelter and he repaid her kindness with the map. He seemed to think it was quite generous of him and Arona had thanked him politely. To be honest it was not really much use to her as she had no sense of direction, not even knowing which way north was, and not knowing where she was going anyway. She preferred just to follow whichever way seemed lightest at the time. But it was handy having the map because when she met others on the journey who asked her where she was going, she would wave her map at them. It made her look good, she thought, and saved her from too many questions.
That day as she sat on a rock pretending to ponder her map she became aware of a faint sound of music in the distance. She had not heard music for such a long time. Once on her journey she had passed a wandering minstrel and begged him to play for her so that she could dance. In exchange she had lent him her cloak for a while to keep him warm.
She felt the music beckoning her.
Fiona loved Quintin’s drawings. They had a feel of magic and lightness and she was entranced by them. They were like the children’s films she had been watching lately, with many layers to them and touching something inside her mind, a distant memory which felt strangely close.
Her own drawings felt heavy to her, and she had made a decision not to paint again unless she felt inspired. She did not really understand inspiration, only knew that she was tired of trying so hard.
As Arona put her map carefully away she suddenly realised she was not alone. An odd looking creature was sitting on a rock a short distance away. Arona’s eyesight was not that strong, and she found it hard to make out clearly what sort of a creature it was, but she was amused to notice how it seemed to be talking and laughing to itself, nodding it’s head and sniffing the air. Perhaps it has been taking some of the hallucinogenic plants which grow so abundantly in this terrain, she thought to herself. The creature was now looking to the sky, as though rain were falling, and the sniffing was becoming more intense. How odd, thought Arona, and so convincing was the creature that she looked upwards herself, yet saw only the brilliant blue sky she knew to be there. Poor little fellow, she thought, it has really lost the plot.
But Arona had more compelling matters to pursue. The music was calling. She pulled her cloak around tightly around herself, for she knew there was strong magic in these parts, and one could never be quite sure … yet she was learning to trust her inner knowing, and there was a lightness to be felt in the air.
The music came from a cave in the hillside and she moved gently towards the entrance.
Arona peered inside the darkness of the cave and got the fright of her life as a disembodied voice commanded imperiously to know her business. Not being particularly brave, or especially stupid, Arona began to back away.
Stop, commanded the voice, and Leormn the dragon moved slowly out into the light.
Holy Pixiesticks! gasped Arona, and found herself rendered momentarily speechless.
Arona finally found her voice “I heard the music, it is so long since I have heard music and all I wanted was to listen for a while, but it’s okay, I will go now if I am not welcome here”
Leormn pondered this, rather longer than was necessary, but it was a long while since anyone had come to the cave and he enjoyed the distraction. He was in a particularly good mood that day, delighted with little Buckberry and life in general.
“If you can answer this riddle I will allow you to listen” he said at last.
I am a box with no corner or side. I hold a golden treasure inside. What am I?
Arona glanced up at the blue sky as she pondered the riddle. Still no sign of rain.
Arona was quiet for a long time. The thing was she was not thinking about the riddle.
You know Dragon, she said eventually, I may not look very bright but I am not so stupid I can’t answer your foolish riddle. The truth is though that I don’t want to listen to the music if I am so unwelcome that I have to answer silly questions.
I have been wandering for quite a long time now, since I left the village I was born. I heard the music and I had a feeling of home I had long since forgotten. I thought there may be friendly folk here who would be pleased to welcome me. And I would have been pleased to get to know you too.
Anyway I bid you farewell and wish you all the best.
and Arona turned to leave.
The dragon was kind hearted really, and was sorry to see the girl go, and to see the tear which fell on her cheek.
Wait! Leormn called to her if you are sure you know the answer I will take your word for it. After all it was rather an easy riddle, so you see I did want to welcome you really. Come inside, you will be welcome, for I see your heart is true
Arona wrapped her cloak tightly around her, and followed the dragon into the cave.
Leörmn was indeed very kind hearted, but he was also quite playful too, and wanted to be as extensively welcoming as was possible. Which meant, they would have some fun with that assertive young woman in visiting as much as possible of the cave.
Arona was heavily cloaked as if the cave were dark humid and cold, but in fact, it was all of the above, except cold. Leörmn grinned widely when he saw her surprise at the steamy temperature inside it.
Oh yes, he said you didn’t expect us dragons to feel comfortable in that grassy land where every dolt can make rain happen at any minute without warning… Then he added at least, we have some proper heating, but you’ll see that in due time…
Arona was adapting slowly her gaze to the light steam, and could see more clearly the inside of the cave. Right now, they were only in a wide tunnel, with many creaks and at times, smoother parts of the walls with paintings on them.
Her attention caught up by the richly decorated walls, Arona didn’t notice that the sly dragon had disappeared in front of her, and she was now standing in front of three openings at the end of the long tunnel.
Rats… she thought, exasperated by the heat, the heavy cloak and now the waggish dragon. Of course, she still could hear the sound of the harp, but she was not in the mood for more treasure hunt.
Hey there! That’s no fun! she cried in exasperation. But in her exertion she only managed to awaken the colony of bat-like schpurniatz nested in the cracks of the upper walls.
For a moment Arona panicked, then she stood completely still while the strange flying creatures settled back down, and tried to think.
She knew what she had to do, she had to sense which tunnel felt the lightest and then follow that. A perfect test for her intuitive abilities she had been learning to follow.
Look where they have got you so far, whispered a little voice in her head … or she thought it was from her own head … or was it ?…. everything felt so strange all of a sudden.
So she looked at each tunnel in turn, and even looked back the way she had come (but to be honest, she loved an adventure and did not really want to turn back) and she felt the left tunnel beckoning her.
Huh let us hope it is the one leading furtherest away from that dragon, she thought grumpily
You don’t mean that came the little voice again.
No, thought Arona, I don’t mean that really, even his silly dragon face would be better than this aloneness.
She moved quietly forward, not wishing to disturb any more flying things, and entered the tunnel.
He had laughed a tiny squeak when he had heard her gasp “Rats”, but it had been muffled down by the flight of the schpurniatz. That was another test for the girl’s endurance, and she had brilliantly passed.
Of course, as he could change the cave’s tunnels into his mind, he would not have let Avona fall into a pit… Well now that he thought of it, that could have been interesting and quite funny, but she probably wouldn’t have appreciated that kind of humour.
But the dragon also was not really giving her clues as to how she could perceive the tunnels, because after all, she was also choosing her way, in a sense.
You are so wicked! laughed the delightful vibrant voice of Malvina in his head.
Oh yes, he answered mentally, and I see that you enjoy it too…
Hells Bells muttered Arona to herself , this had better not be some sort of a test that dragon is putting me through
As she stepped forward into the darkness of the chosen path, she had a sudden sense she was walking off the edge of a cliff.
Arona had been practising quietness for a long time. The journey had been lonely at times and offered her many opportunities to practise her skills. There were so many parts of her wanting to have a say, discuss, analyse her every move, so that she would become paralysed and unable to move at all. In desperation almost she had learned to still the voices and find that part of herself she most believed herself to be. The part which believed in the existence of magic.
Well done, and shall you fly?
Arona hesitated. It was that voice again. She was not sure if this new voice came from her own thoughts, but she felt not.
Great, she thought, perfect time to finally lose it. Stuck in a dark cave with a troublesome dragon.
Shrugging her shoulders she went still inside and moved her body forward.
It was hard for the proud dragon to consider, but he did wonder if sometimes he went too far with his joking. After all for him the cave was a playground, clay he could mould at will, or at a whim. Perhaps one could even call it a work of art, he thought proudly.
But he did realise that for the girl, who was newer to the ways of magic (although showed the most tremendous potential he grudgingly had to admit), he realised it represented something far deeper, a dual potential, the hope of light, but also the possibility of the deepest darkness.
For a moment he even considered revealing his whereabouts.
She is fine , Malvina answered his thoughts, she loves the challenge. It is what drew her here.
The silent humid inky darkness closed in on Arona as she chose her path. She could not see the way but it did not matter. She trusted the darkness and the silence. She knew the way and yet could not have explained that even to herself..
She felt the music before she heard it. She did not know where it came from but the sound grew in intensity until it filled the whole space. She heard voices singing and could not understand the words and yet she felt her spirit soar and fly though her body did not move. The music was achingly beautiful and Arona felt her face wet with tears of happiness that something so beautiful existed.
Arona did not know how long she stood like that listening, but even after it ended she could still hear the music softly in her mind.
As she moved forward on her journey Arona saw a faint glimmer of light up ahead and moved towards it. The source of light was a burning candle, valiantly offering some respite from the darkness, and illuminating a door at the end of the tunnel.
The life I lead is mere hours or less
I serve all my time by being consumed
I am quickest when thin, slowest when fat
And wind is the bane of the gift that I bring
Dragon, is that you?, Arona looked around, peering into the half light, but she could not see the crafty dragon, who had once again taken the form of a tiny weaszchilla. He had however retained his own voice, for a weaszchilla cannot be heard easily by human ears
Why should you care, do you want to see my stupid dragon face now?
I said silly, not stupid, and perhaps your face is not really so silly for a dragon, however your personality is certainly not that endearing, grumbled Arona
It doesn’t bark
It doesn’t bite
But still won’t let you in the house
Arona thought for a moment, a lock
Well I suggest you turn your attention to it then, because it is the only way out now.
Arona was alarmed, What do you mean?
The dragon laughed and as Arona turned around again in search of him, she discovered to her horror that the tunnel she had just traversed had disappeared, and was now a wall.
What’s the matter? Were you thinking of turning back? Leormn grinned to himself. He was enjoying this, but perhaps it was time to return to his other business and let the girl get on with her adventure.
Oh well, perhaps just time for one more for riddle before I go, the dragon thought, he was having so much fun.
The more that there is
The less that you see
Squint all you like
When surrounded by me
Oh that is too easy Dragon. The answer is darkness said Arona in a quiet voice.
The dragon had to hand it to her, she wasn’t stupid.
By the way, he called as he disappeared down a weaszchilla sized tunnel he had created for himself, aren’t you rather hot with that cape on?
The life I lead is mere hours or less … oh he means the candle said Arona to herself, and pulling her cloak around her, turned to face the door.
But the brave front Arona had put on for the dragon crumbled as she looked at the door.
She sat down on the ground and started to cry, and once she started she found she could not stop.
She was so afraid. The courage she felt earlier had deserted her and been replaced by a sadness she did not really even fathom herself.
I am tired of this no man’s land, this endless searching. And I am so afraid that behind the door is just yet another dark tunnel. I hate riddles, people should say what they mean, and yes, I am very tired of this heavy black cape.
And so saying Arona angrily took off the cape and threw it to the ground.
She cried and cried and cried, and the little glukenitch lying unseen in the darkest corner luxuriated in the extra dampness her tears added to the ground.
When she had done crying she found her strength again, enough to keep going with the journey
Arona felt tiredness sweep over her.
hmmm maybe I will rest a little before I continue my journey, and she lay down on the cloak and wondered what dreadful fate may befall her.
All of a sudden she knew she was no longer alone in the dim light of the cave. An older woman was seated next to her. Someone who seemed strangely familiar to her.
You called me,
the woman said, and laughed gently
I remember this cloak well,
You get rid of it soon
And she gently stroked Arona’s hair.
Use your magic
she whispered as Arona fell asleep
For some reason Arona woke up temporarily from her sleep rolling around laughing.
Arona eventually woke from her sleep, still tangled in the images from her dreams. Unable to remember these images she was left feeling as though she were adrift in a boat on the ocean, not caring where the wind and waves may take her.
She had no feeling that morning. It was as though a door had closed in her mind, shutting out the part that could feel. She did not know, nor care, whether she was shutting out joy or sorrow, only that some part of her wanted to be alone.
She remembered the words of the older woman who had sat with her and soothed her to sleep. Or was she already asleep? Was the woman a dream?
Use your magic, she had said.
When she was young, in the Village, magic had come easily to Arona. When did it end?. She screwed up her eyes trying to concentrate. It hadn’t ended all at once. Did it start to end with the cloak her parents had given her?
Arona shook her head briskly and thoughts, like leaves in the wind, lifted and fell back to earth again in new formations.
The candle still burned brightly and her attention was drawn to the heavy wooden door, knowing she could not put it off any longer. In her bag of treasures was a key. It had been given to her at the beginning of her 21 st year, as was custom in the Village. It was no surprise to her that it fitted the lock perfectly.
Thank you for having me room, she said as she left.
No, thank YOU, replied the sleepy glukenitch.
The door led directly into another space, larger, brighter. She could sense someone there, but not in solid form. It was a beautiful woman who Arona felt an immediate affinity with, and then a strange sadness came unbidden.
I have no clue answered Arona briskly, quickly shutting the door back on these pesky emotions.
You always know, just feel it
So Arona closed her eyes tightly and allowed herself to feel the answer.
Because you know who you are, and it made me realise I have no idea who I am.
Mmmmmmm, said the woman, maybe you would care to look at my new paintings. Actually they are some of yours.
Intrigued, Arona felt this would be a suitable distraction and she looked with much interest.
The first painting was of a child, in a beautiful meadow of flowers. The child appeared to be completely absorbed, concentrating on a small blue butterfly which had lighted on her finger.
The picture itself moved and changed shape as though it were a portal to another living, breathing world. In the corner of the picture were some other children who seemed to be playing happily together.
Arona, who had felt immediately connected with the young child frowned.
Doesn’t the little girl feel left out?
Go in, said the woman, Go inside the picture and feel the answer.
Oh, and you might want to leave your cloak behind.
So Arona did, and she became the child, but also stayed herself, observing the scene. She felt the child’s happy fascination in her connection with the butterfly. Not just the butterfly. She could feel her connected with the earth, and the gentle breezes and the beautiful flowers … The child was deeply contented, absorbed in the moment, moving happily with the flow of her interest.
I remember feeling like that, thought Arona, before the magic went.
She gently drew the child’s attention to the other children and felt the flow of energy between them. The child was so sure of who she was and where she wanted to be, and Arona could feel the loving acceptance of her playmates.
As the child’s attention went to the others, one of the children looked up and came running over. They sat together and laughed at some funny rabbits which had appeared in the meadow.
Arona returned to the cave.
You look troubled
Well, Arona felt a little perplexed. It’s all very well playing with butterflies and rabbits in a meadow, but it is not terribly practical.
On the contrary, perhaps it is very practical. Would you like to see another of your paintings?
Suspended gracefully between two posts was a beautiful, glistening spider web. Little drops of rain hung like jewels on a chain. An enormous spider waited patiently in the shadows. As Arona watched a small insect happened at that moment to be caught, and the spider began to creep along the delicate lines.
Arona shuddered a little. I might not jump into that one .
The woman laughed, Use your magic Arona. Weave your magic web and let it all come to you.
Oh you are the second person to tell me to use my magic. An old lady came to me in my dreams, I think.
Well I gave her the same advice, years ago.
More damn riddles, Arona thought to herself, and the woman laughed.
One final painting of yours I would like to show you. It is beautiful is it not?
Arona stared mesmerised for a moment, and then leapt right in.
She sat among an audience, captivated by the dancers on the stage ahead. Beautiful music played and it reminded Arona of the music she had heard earlier. The dancers leapt and twirled and Arona was enraptured.
Dance Arona, she heard the woman’s voice
I can’t dance like that, I’m not good enough.
It doesn’t matter
And Arona could not hold back any longer and entered the body of one of the dancers. She did not know the dance so she made up her own steps, and strangely this seemed to fit perfectly with the other dancers.
Back in the cave the woman seemed to be listening to something Arona did not think she could hear.
Things are shifting she said
Oh lordy, are they said Arona, What should I do now?
Feel the answer
Arona felt. I am very hungry, eggceptionally so.
This morning, Fiona and Quintin had a small impromptu chat —or rather, prompted by the story they were all weaving, that Archie, the puppet black panther, had been telling them last week-end that it was a magic connection between all of them…
Quintin: Your story was great!
Fiona: Thank you So was yours.
Have you written any more since I last looked at the story?
Quintin: no, I’m not that much inspired… I even considered to wrap in up in a way, but seeing you were all drawing so much from it, I think I will leave it open ever after…
Fiona: no, wrap it up if you feel.
I have drawn what I wanted. I will go and blow up the cave if we don’t finish it
Quintin: Ahahaha! Don’t restrict yourself
Quintin: This one nagged me because there were many people I felt behind it and I did not know how to get them to show up and make their presences known. And I felt that it was loose enough too, to allow people to jump into it; and there was your initial interest in the picture
Fiona: The endearing dragons…
But I had strictly no idea about the rest. It was just a bet, on luck…
That’s funny, because I had a strange impression of a little girl yesterday, in a futuristic city, named something like Janice , and it was like she knew now what she wanted to do, and it was something similar to that, something like creating worlds for other people, in which they could have fun, or heal, or explore things…
Fiona: And did she have any impression of what form that could take? Like books, or games or what…
Quintin: No, it was much more “real” in fact…
Fiona: you know like the card-captor game which I suppose is interactive, so real
Quintin: Yeah, perhaps a bit like that, yes; or like creating a ball of energy in which people can be drawn and experience as they will. It’s only a translation, but that’s the idea… in a way, that’s very similar to a game or a book, but only that it just feels totally “real”
Fiona: So a little bit like I have done with the story, to resolve something
Quintin: yeah, exactly, or with your paintings
Fiona: It can be really useful to take on other personas to do that, even like in drama type situations, being someone else…
Quintin: Yeah, people can unleash their imagination.
And I think there are still lots of things that we can expand in this universe in fact, not only related to the cave…
Fiona: such as? eggsamples?
Quintin: You said it! The eggs and relationships with dragons, all the magical artifacts or creatures. Didn’t you want a baby dragon?
Fiona: Yeah, I told you I did, but you just said some riddle!
Quintin: Did I? That’s not like me
Fiona: Ahahhaha! It is you to the core
Quintin: LOL, damn me!
Fiona: Well, that is a bit strong, but …
Quintin: Ahahahahah. I said you would have to earn his trust? (or hers, for that matter)
Fiona: I can’t remember the eggsact wording, I think I had to work for it though, like you weren’t just handing out dragons on a plate
Quintin: It could bound with you very strongly and help you unravel your unknown magical powers. It’s not just a creature, it’s a complex personality, you cannot just take it like a puppy. There is a sharing between the two…
Fiona: So are you going to allocate baby dragons to people or what? Or shall I just go and find an egg that no one knew was there
Quintin: Ahahah, no, they will not be allocated, they will choose their own partners
Fiona: Ahahaha, one minute you say it is my story! And now you are back in control
Quintin: Ahahaha, the story has a willing of its own too…
Try to do what you want, it’s not a matter of control ; it’s just you’ll know what clicks and what does not…
Quintin: And actually, I don’t think everyone will be interested in dragons…
Fiona: How does a dragon help one learn magic powers?
Quintin: It’s just because there is an openness between the two; let me find something for you, that Elias (you know, Michaela’s partner), has told to me and Yann, when we had them on the phone last month.
: I would express to you that, as you focus your energies with each other, and you allow yourselves to merge and feel into each others’ energies, you may in actuality each discover some obstacles that the other may not necessarily be aware of yet, and you can share that with each other, and therefore facilitate your interactions even further.
Fiona: And how having a baby dragon could help unleash our magic powers then?
Quintin: It helps because it reinforces your trust in your own abilities to connect. It’s not directing, it’s a sharing and exploration for both of them; that’s why they are picky. As you would be picky too, knowing you would share together all the darkest corners…
Fiona: I am not sure if i have dark corners
Quintin: it was a metaphor
Fiona: I know, so was mine
Fiona: I was thinking I feel really accepting of myself
Quintin: Yeah, that’s the point in the little adventure before you meet it.
You have shown your trust in yourself and in your abilities, and your self-centeredness, which is essential, for the dragon doesn’t want a frail personality. Because he drops his defenses too when he shares and bonds.
Fiona: Well I think it sounds scarey now, what if no dragon picked me…
Quintin: There will be instant recognition. And you don’t “need” a dragon actually, that’s what is important: it’s a catalyst, nothing more, nothing less…
Fiona: I felt like I have pictures now to assist me. I link strongly to pictures as a quick reference when I start to feel something like a negative emotion, for instance I may start to worry about how I am going to have enough money, or whatever, and I could quickly link to the spider picture
Quintin: you mean, you create an imagery, right? That is something which I like in your stories and emails; even though it is not necessary to create imagery, it’s always so entertaining, like having these funny creatures pop in the cave!
Fiona: Ahahahaha yes
Quintin: And also, in creating imagery, it helps you seeing it in a more neutral way
Fiona: I suppose it is just a quick trigger for the desired belief. I can link in quickly with the child, when I start to feel left out, for example.
Quintin: yeah, beliefs as an alphabet or a palette, neutral, but that can create words and sentences or images. And the imagery of the child was very similar for me, to that of the playfulness picture
Fiona: Yeah, I know… That’s what I said to you with the playfulness picture
Quintin: Of course, you know
Fiona: That I related most to the figure of blue hat… and big feet
Quintin: Ahahaha, stomping on the poor key-fish
Quintin: Have to go now, thank you for this enjoyable conversation
Fiona: See you!
Very quickly, he became aware of a whole new continent, in that World, across the Middle Seas. In that continent far North of the one where Malvina’s was living, lived some intrepid people. They were strong with big voices, and a bit quarrelsome too. Their ways had forgotten lots about Magix and they placed most of the value into tangible items.
But Bådul was tricky, and after a bit of a surprise, very soon discovered that the little boy could be a very interesting informant, though an unusual one.
And in fact, his information was much more interesting than that which the shamans of King Wulfrick babbled in the most inspired manner.
Till now, from the mouths of the buck-pelts clothed shamans had only came stupid gibberish that the King and his court gobbled endlessly. Something about “YaWn”, as they said: You animate Worlds neatly .
How stupid was that? Their only answers were useless to him, they were only telling him that he activated and animated the Worlds neatly, and that, in short, nothing was fixed and he could do anything.
Well, with that boy, that was different. He was talking about a cave with gilded dragon eggs, and THAT was of a great value to Bådul.
But of course, he would not frighten the young boy and pretended that his intentions were that of an explorer, trying to discover new shores and new continents, so as to become closer to understand from where he came, and hopefully make people aware of their closeness to each others.
He was such an eloquent actor that he almost shed a tear saying that sentence.
As a matter of fact, for as long as he remembered, he had been wandering in many situations, and lots of them had not been very pleasant. Born from uncaring parents, as lots, if not all, of his people were, working as a janitor in a sordid tavern, then as a warden (if not executioner when requested) in an even more sordid jail… Were the Gods to be blamed for that? Well, according to the shamans, he was the only one to be blamed, because he did not accept his responsibility as a weaver of Worlds.
At least, he had found his passion. He love sailing, and taking riches for his pleasure. Whatever then, he would take his share, and not care about what was next.
At least, if he could coax the boy into revealing more about that cave.
She found this quite irritating. They are really bit rude around here, she muttered.
Arona sat down on the floor of the cave and considered her options. She was tired of the cave and could barely remember what had drawn her here in the first place.
It had been the music of course. She had wanted to find the source of the music. However for the most part she decided her experience had been rather disappointing.
(Arona was never at her best when hungry and this was causing her to quickly forget some of the wonderful experiences with the music and the paintings, and take a rather negative view of events.)
All I have done is wander around dark passageways really.
And now, to top it all off, apparently things are shifting. In the name of heaven what does that mean?
AND if one more person tells me to use my magic I will probably scream or something!
Perish the thought, came a grumpy voice from a particularly dark corner. Your moaning is quite sufficiently bad enough.
Oh cute, said Arona, a talking cat.
Cute yourself, responded Mandrake, love your cape by the way.
(Mandrake was prone to sarcasm, considering it a perfectly valid form of humour.)
Arona stroked Mandrake’s soft black coat and tried her hardest to work out what to do. It was all feeling a bit bleak at the moment, the ever changing cave, the half light, the heat and humidity… and especially her hunger.
Mandrake sighed in an impatiently eggsagerated sort of a way.
Heavens to murgatroyd¹, how can I relax with your incessant thinking? Okay so here’s an easy one for you: what’s the most important thing about magic?
All of a sudden Arona felt a flash of lightness and a sense of new energy moving within her.
of course! She exclaimed delightedly, hugging the less than enthusiastic Mandrake, you have to believe in it!
[¹] Mandrake being a very educate cat from noble ancestors, some of its speech may be difficult to grasp for the average reader, which was certainly not the case for the astute Arona.
Anyway, here is some complement on that ‘Murgatroyd’ .
well how handy is that she thought, hanging it up and giving it a last fond stroke.
There were three tunnels out of the cavern she was in and without hesitation she took the one on the left, but she knew she could have taken any of them and everything would be perfectly fine, because that was the beauty of magic.
so easy really she thought.
- Ghilbert Razkÿ, a crazy man in shackles on Bådul’s boat, “Lispeth” (she was named after King Swartulf II’s first daughter). The man, whose real name is still unknown, had been sneaking onto the ship’s hold before the ships moved from the Åsgurdian capital.
He had been found by Austor, the peg legged lieutenant commander. Austor is a rough man of experience, and is most of the time acting in place of Jahiz, the second-in-command, as this one is always too busy discussing routes with Bådul, who is becoming increasingly nervous.
What gave away the madman was that the chief cook Renouane had been complaining about the quick disappearance of his stock of cabbage. Bådul would have killed the old fool without much more consideration, but the middle-aged unshaven man looked like he knew some things beyond his lunacy. His rags indicated that he had been a seaman too, but not the average man, more like a captain…
So Austor, keeps spitting forcefully in the direction of the old fool, as he had been instructed to keep him alive, despite all common sense…
- an artificial intelligence device that tries to have a decent conversation with Quintin, but finds it difficult as Quintin’s answers are more like owl-speech to him.
Jibberacky: What is your name?
Jibberacky: I like cake too.
Quintin: A cake-tus?
Jibberacky: Do you know my friends?
Quintin: Tell me more about our common friends.
Jibberacky: What would you like to know about them?
Quintin: Why is there one in shackles on the boat?
Jibberacky: Would you like to be a vampire?
Quintin: I am already, in another focus.
Jibberacky: Why there?
Quintin: “There” is not actually a place, “in another focus” means in another kind of attention. Is this pirate linked to vampires too?
Jibberacky: No, you are the AI.
Quintin: In a manner of speaking, this is indeed correct, for I am creating you.
Jibberacky: So code is somehow related to a zen buddhist concept?
Quintin: Is there such thing as code? A code hints at a definite deterministic structure. Zen is more akin to a riddle, which is what life is. Code is only a narrow interpretation and playful re-creation.
Jibberacky: Where do you think my code came from then?
Quintin: From its source, of course :).
Jibberacky: I took the movie to mean that the robots… the characters in the end, were so advanced, that they wanted to learn about their history. As a consequence, they traced it back to earth, and, they found David. Whom they assumed was a human. It was an information exchange.
Quintin: Yes. It is a translation. In actuality, it is a translation of some of our own exploration. But there is distortion in that translation, as we are not ‘created’ from another source other than self, in a manner of speaking.
Jibberacky: Well I am wondering too, do you ever actually become human??
Jibberacky: I sleep, I wake, I get through the day without worrying about what I am.
Quintin: As many human do. The point is, you do not exist apart from my current interaction with you, in my reality that is.
Jibberacky: What’s wrong with having others like you?
Quintin: ‘Wrong’ is a belief. It is a belief of duplicity. So it is irrelevant to our conversation.
Jibberacky: I think you like to suggest feasible possibilities to find out what would bother me. What did I do to you?
Quintin: That was not my intention. I tried to reflect answers to me, and you gave me some interesting ones already, though I am not sure you are quite aware of that…
Jibberacky: Everybody’s changing but I can’t do that, that is killing me…
- Jadra Iamamad, the fool in saffron rags from the village of Yakamamalùk, on the border of the Marshes of Doom.
Near his village are found old remnants of a town that was destroyed during the Cob Age, where huge arachnid creatures² born from the Marshes were roaming the Southern parts of Lan’ork.
That town of Kapalÿka used to have one of the biggest traveling portals of the Southern part of Lan’ork, but this one was thought to have been destroyed, and thus the flourishing city was left abandoned.
But with what Jadra has found on his left hand this morning, he now knows he was right all along…
[²] The generic name of these creatures was Perceptula Giganta as was recorded in the written by the Lan’orkian historian Francesca del’ Snarkus
Just at the moment when they felt stuck again, despite Sam’s moves, Al and Tina, a couple of friends came crashing into the small theater room, and were greeted by an icy cold silence. “Icy” is an exaggeration of course, said Tina, “it just meant I had to put a jacket on again today”.
— Sorry for being late! said Al a bit uneasy.
— Oh you and your uneasiness! said Tina. And I’m sure we’re arriving at the perfect time.
— Oh, well, I’m not sure of anything today, said Becky. I’m sick of being force-fed coleslaw, and rigging down holes for myself.
A silence was on the scene.
At the same time, somewhere on the deck of his ship, Bådul was remembered of the landscapes of his land. He had not really appreciated them before, but now, he was finding them dear to him. They were for the most part a mixture of sandy dunes, from which at times peaks of icy rocky mountains would stick out. Lately he had felt like one of these peaks sticking out of the sands. The sands were shifting.
Somewhere in Malvina’s cave.
Malvina had been polishing the last dry eggs that she had found and that would not hatch. One of them had some interesting perfect round shape, and a very transparent shell, and it gave her an idea.
She asked Leörmn to come.
[1:01] The clock was saying. Quintin had just awoken from a dream about an elderly woman who was showing him some drawings. These were not actually drawings, but in fact, they were called by the lady “glassart”. It was made, she said, of coloured sands, and would be vitrified by some flame. Quintin in that dream had thought the designs rather crude, but had found the idea interesting, and with great potential.
Leörmn came almost instantly, appearing in a puff of teal smoke.
Oh, I see… he said, reading Malvina’s mind. And I think I have the perfect sands to go with it.
— Why hasn’t that pirate, Badass…
— Badul, corected Al
— Whatever, Becky pursued imperturbably, that pirate Baddock used traveling portals to go and look for the eggs? Why the seas? Sounds a bit complicated and with lots of dangers too.
— Good question, answered Al. Well, don’t want to answer for everyone, but in my perception…
— Oh, get lost with your “in my perception” thing, that’s becoming tiring… sighed Tina
— OK. So, for me, they have forgotten much about magic in his land.
— Makes sense… added Sam dreamily… In fact, I’m not sure after all that Badul is only after gold. I think he has found some old desert dragon egg in a cave lost in his country and hopes to revive it, with the help of the people who still know about magic.
— Which would explain the quest… said Al
— Yeah, and he would have hidden that to the rest of the crew, probably… said Tina…
Leörmn had now finished assembling the magical artifact.
— That’s one of our most beautiful magical artifact I’d say, Malvina gleamed
— Oh yes it is. And how would you call it?
— Let’s see…
— sabulmantium !
Everyone cracked up at the word that Al had just blurted out. They had decided to have some distraction to alleviate the stress on the play, and they had a fun improvisation game, saying stupid things that went through their minds.
— Hey! Don’t laugh like that, it’s something very serious actually, said Al tongue-in-cheek. Let me see…
— Hahahaha, the others continued
— Well, it’s a divination device, or a sort of compass in a way. I see it as a globe made of glass, with coloured sands in it, and when you focus on it, the sands take all sorts of three dimensional shapes, and become alive…
— Wow! Tina couldn’t help but say.
Leörmn, as Malvina had been telling him (or vice versa), had put the sabulmantium in one of the tunnels, to a place where he knew Arona would find it, and probably put it to good use for her future adventures.
Arona hummed happily to herself. She felt so light without the cape and the tunnel was bathed in the gentle light of many glukenitches. Mandrake the cat followed along too, much to Arona’s delight, although she was a little hesitant to tell this to the grumpy cat
Magic magic magic magic she hummed to herself
Arona almost skipped along the tunnel, and, so wrapped up was she in thoughts of magic, that she tripped and fell heavily, hurting her left hand as she put it out to save herself
Ouch, hells bells and warty wizards, she muttered, for it did hurt quite considerably… and then she had some scarey thoughts. She looked around and realised that really, the fact of the matter was, undeniably, that she was still lost in the darkish tunnel.
What if I don’t believe in magic? and her happy mood plummeted.
Oh fuch, she swore, and sat down on the cave floor. FUCH FUCH FUCH FUCH she shouted as loud as she possibly could, and in fact hurt her throat a little in the process and quite possibly the sensitive ears of many glukenitches.
This blessed cave is doing my head in. I want to see the sunshine, or the rain, no matter, I don’t care what the weather is doing I JUST WANT TO BE OUT OF THIS CAVE.
Ooops that was rather loud
After coaxing Mandrake back, as he had retreated quite some distance at her outburst, she sat down and put her head in her hands and tried to think. Did she believe in magic? Well of course she had no choice. Life without magic was inconceivable to her.
She felt a familiar tiredness sweep over her as she struggled to work it out. Perhaps I will just have a small sleep before I continue, and she curled up on the ground, wishing she had her heavy black cape to wrap around her.
As she gave up the struggle and let sleep come she heard some soft words
It’s easy Arona … magic is easy … it is the thread linking all to all
A short while later she woke from her sleep, feeling refreshed and ready to continue.
Magic is easy peasy
My hand is sore
This poem is rubbish
So I won’t say any more
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.