📚 › Phoebe and her Charm of Magpies

Madame Phoebe Chesterhope is a master thief, collector of rare treasures and precious items from all possible eras and dimensions. She has trained many a magpie in her craft, and can be seen at times crossing universes on her motorcycle going through puddles transdimensionally.
She used to be a mentor for Georges, and had history with Leonard. She is linked to Arona and Vincentius, as well as Franiel.

So the Story goes...

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 46 total)
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  • in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #629

    A marmoset jumped from a bush in front of Akita and Kay. Oh, that’s only a monkey! said Akita. But suddenly the werewolf growled and started to chase the marmoset, which had just disappeared into the mangrove. Kay! Come back! Leave that thing alone! … Finding himself talking to the trees, Akita shrugged, wondering why the dog spirit who never chased anything before had become suddenly drawn to a minuscule monkey. He would sure come back, but that was odd…

    A large magpie jumped before Number Four (who went also by the nickname of Niv’, as N°IV was the name written on the cell). Oh, that’s only a bird… muttered the drowsing mummy, who started to jump at every abrupt sound cropping up inside the thick vegetation of the island… But soon, another magpie appeared from the sky and landed next to the first. And then another, until Four was surrounded by a crowd of big magpies looking oddly calm. Can’t fall asleep now… Can’t…


    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #631

    Kay, what do you reckon? Is it any good?

    Kay had no doubt the marmoset wasn’t actually a marmoset. Being safe wasn’t much of an issue for a spirit dog, for as long as his symbiotic human friend would himself be safe. If that marmoset was actually a hint of another human presence on this accursed island, as Kay believed it was, it would mean that the island wasn’t as separate from the outside as it seemed. Someone had crossed the barriers… He had to find who, and why.

    I suppose it is safe enough, Yikes. I’ve made my decision. We’ll bring that individual to the HQ. Keep the mummy in check, but don’t brutalize it. It may prove useful… — At your beck and call, Kay! answered Robert X. The magpie named “Robert K”, codename Kay, started to morph into a boar, and very delicately lifted the mummy with its powerful snout until it was safely resting on its back, and started to go deeper into the woods, followed by the other magpies.


    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #641


    ‘Ere!, I saw you take that.

    Let go of me, I didn’t do nothing.

    I aint blind and I aint stupid, lad. I saw you put your thieving hand in this ladies handbag. Now what you got?

    Nothing. Just this coin. It’s for me mam, she’s at home poorly, dying, and we aint got no food. ‘Ere, take it. it won’t happen again.

    You’re right it won’t happen again because you’ll be going to the gallows I’ll be bound. I know your face. You’re one of them Magpies. I’ve ‘ad my eye on you for some time. You’re clever at covering tracks I’ll grant you that, but not clever enough it seems.

    Look Mr Constable, I don’t know nothing about no magpies, they thieving birds aint they? It was for me poor old mam, I swear to God, if I be lying may ‘e strike me down dead.

    No more blasphemy from you. I expect the good Lord’s got better things to do than spend his time striking down lying thieves. Thing is you’ve been been caught thieving from this lady and it’s not looking too good for you right now.

    And I will thank you Ma’am for your courageous co-operation. said Constable Marshall O’Riley, turning galantly to the finely dressed woman, clutching her handbag tightly to her person. You have been victim of a heinous crime, and I would wish to trouble your gentle self no more with this matter. But I will thank you for your details and be assured I shall call upon you should we need you to give further evidence.

    No sooner had the lady gone than Constable O’Riley turned to the young thief.

    Now you listen to me carefully, young lad. I have an idea that, if you play your hand right, might save you from hanging.

    I’m listening.

    You and me is not two figures to be seen together, except for somewhere private. I want you to talk to the one what leads your little gang. I have an idea that could be of mutual benefit. I will let you go now, and you be here tomorrow same time, and I will tell you where the meeting will be held. I’ve ‘ad my eyes on your gang for quite some time, all I needed to convict you was to catch you red ‘anded, and I got that now. So If you ain’t here, I know where to find you lot, and I swear I’ll drag you in front of the magistrate. Do as I say though and we could all be laughing.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #643


    Blimey O’Riley, you drive a hard bargain. But it looks like you and me got ourselves an arrangement.

    We split it eight ways even as agreed.

    Eight ways. They shook hands. It’s been a pleasure doing business with you Constable Marshall O’Riley.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #670


    A small impish gnomesque figure wearing a black and white tunic adorned with a silver blazon was standing in front of Claude, formerly known as Number Four.
    Claude was reading to fight, and extricate himself of that stinky situation, starting to feel the powerful strength the treatment had given him and feeling virtually unstoppable.
    Considering that such a small individual, especially unarmed, wasn’t much of a threat, he stopped in his track, wondering if that was part of a subtle stratagem.

    What do you want?
    We do not want you harm, stranger. We are aware of the experiments which have been done on you, and we are sorry for what has been done…
    Oh, don’t be, I feel better than I’ve been in ages
    Yes, we saw that, though we are not that sure that the treatment effects are permanent either…
    Not permanent? What have you done to me?
    Nothing. There is nothing to fear from us, we are peaceful. We are a wing of a group of individuals whose primary skills lay in robbing. We are mostly hired to retrieve precious possessions in great discretion and you could consider yourself lucky to have seen us in our true form.
    Us? How many are you?
    A few… We gave you a mixture of plants and magnetite powder to help you stabilize your situation, apparently it has succeeded.
    Mmm, perhaps yes…
    Another thing you probably want to know before we help you get rid of these bandages if you want. During your sleep, you muttered lots of things, one of which was a name: “Sasha”.
    Yes. I’m afraid we believe that the individual you were calling is dead. We monitored the doctor’s assistant when she disposed of the body. It was not pretty. I thought you should know.

    Despite his mission, Claude couldn’t help but feel sorry; Sasha’s sweet voice had been such a comfort during the last days of his transformation…

    Robbers they say… Hope we’re not after the same thing…

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #800

    Pondering the significance of his dream , Franiel set out again. It was the third morning since he had woken to find the chalice missing, and he was no closer to knowing where he was going. Yet he had taken the advice of the BBL and felt all the better for it in his spirit.

    Morning! Franiel called a greeting to an old woman who was passing by, delighted to see signs of life, and wondering if it meant he was near a Village. Might I ask where you are taking that basket of eggs?

    A good morning to you young man. Certainly you may ask, I am taking these into the Village Market to sell.

    And where might that be, it is not the Village of Chard Dam Jarfon by any strange chance? asked Franiel, thinking nothing would surprise him anymore.

    The old woman looked at him in astonishment. The Village of Chard Dam Jarfon! You surely have a very long journey before you if you are heading for the Village of Chard Dam Jarfon. No indeed, I am going to the Village of Chard Dut Jep, an hour or so from here.

    Franiel considered this for a moment. And if I keep heading the way I am going, and from whence you have started, where might I be going?

    The old woman hesitated and looked at Franiel with an odd expression in her dark eyes.

    I am not sure if you want to do that, for this is a very long and lonely way you are heading. Unless you are going to the old Chesterhope mansion, and there’s not many who would do be doing that anymore.

    How very interesting, said Franiel, rather intrigued. Is that where you have come from Old Woman?

    The old woman gazed searchingly at Franiel for a moment before answering.

    Aye it is, I work for Madame Chesterhope. I am the only one left now and it has been like that for many a long year, save for old Derwent of course, him who minds the gardens, but he’s not right in the mind that one and Madame keeps him on out of the kindness of her heart, said the Old Woman, and Franiel sensed some deep sadness in her voice, but in the next breath it was gone and he wondered if it was a trick of his mind.

    Why don’t you come to the Village with me? she asked. Are you looking for work? There’s plenty would take on a fine young man such as yourself.

    Would your Madame Chesterhope be looking for someone such as myself by any chance? asked Franiel, For I have nowhere in particular I am headed, and I am in need of some way of keeping myself. And as he spoke the words out loud he found himself wondering at them, yet he felt such an odd sense of anticipation inside himself, as though perhaps there was some new adventure to be had after all.

    Again the old woman looked at Franiel appraisingly for a long time. Eventually she spoke.

    When you get to the crossways turn left and keep heading that way for 2 miles till you see the Chesterhope sign. It’s an up and down path for a ways to get to the mansion from there. When you get there, it would be best to keep in mind all is not as it might seem. I will say no more and bid you farewell, for I have still got a ways to go.

    Perhaps I will see you later then! Franiel called after her.

    She turned and looked back at him. Perhaps.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #805

    When Franiel got to the crossroads the path turned abruptly to the left and plunged sharply down, past a crumbling and long-deserted stone cottage, to a little bridge built across a gently flowing river. Beyond the bridge there was a short ascent westwards through a thickly wooded area and then the way opened out rather suddenly. Such a pleasant and restful scene welcomed Franiel that for a moment he felt he may have entered a dream. The air was fragrant, the grass was sprinkled with daffodils and shaded by great chestnut trees. Confronting Franiel, at the south-west corner of the green, was a massive stone lych-gate. Beyond the lynch gate, and almost hidden by trees Franiel could see the roof of Chesterhope Manor.


    In the day of judgment God be merciful to Derwent a sinner ……hehehehe. Well good riddance to God’s judgement! Begone God’s judgement! We’ve cheated the parson, we’ll cheat him again, for why should the vicar have one in ten ? Oh what’s this now then walking through the gate? A stranger! hehehehehe…tis one of God’s angels methinks, perhaps come to strike old Derwent down for his heathen ways and blasphemous tongue. Well does old Derwent even know what an angel looks like? and he chuckled in delight at the very idea of it.

    You there! he shouted as Franiel drew close, Are you the angel Gabriel come as a messenger of God’s wrath? Or a wandering stranger come to pass the time of day with me?

    Well neither really, said Franiel, although of the two possibilities I favour the second. I have come to have a word with Madame Chesterhope.

    Madame Chesterhope! Does she still live here then? He lowered his voice reverently. A real angel that one, better than those biblical ones by a long shot. So you want a word in her ear. You will have to find it first of course.

    Should I try the house? asked Franiel politely.

    Try the house? Derwent rubbed his bearded chin thoughtfully. I tell you what! Try the magic mushrooms first, and when you’ve tried them, try the patience of Saint Derwent. He gave Franiel a kindly pat on the shoulder. Good on you for trying Lad, anyway. I’ll bid you farewell now and if you do find an ear, best keep it, a spare ear can always come in handy.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #809

    Adorning the enormous wooden door of Chesterhope Mansion was a heavy bronze knocker in the shape of an ornate dragon. The door stood slightly open.

    Hello! Anyone there! Franiel called out several times, each time pushing the door open wider.

    Only an echoey silence responded.

    Franiel mindfully removed his boots. With a growing sense of excitement, as well as some slight trepidation if the truth be told, he entered the massive entrance hall. A black marble statue of a tiger reminded him curiously of his dream. To the left and right were doors, but after knocking gently, he found these to be locked.

    In the distance someone began to play the piano, a slow and simple melody. Franiel followed the faint sound to the door at the end of the hallway. He entered a massive dining room, in the center of which stood a very long table with 12 highbacked chairs. The furniture was heavy and dark, but sunlight streaming in through the window mercifully lightened the atmosphere.

    Crossing the room he entered the rear parlour from whence came the music. A woman sat with her back to him playing an upright piano. She had long grey hair, worn loose down her back. Franiel noticed how thin she was, and how straight she sat as her long fingers delicately caressed the keys.

    Hesitantly he knocked, not wishing to startle her. She stopped playing and turned towards him. Her face was gaunt, and such a pale colour, he found himself wondering if it had been a long time since she had seen the light of day. But her eyes were alive, bright and intense, and she did not seem awfully surprised to see him there.

    Hello she said, Who are you? I don’t think I have seen you here before.

    I am Franiel. I am sorry to arrive so unexpectedly … he began

    Oh no! you mustn’t be sorry, the woman interrupted, jumping up with a speed and agility which surprised Franiel given her otherwise frail appearance. She rushed over to him and then reached out and lightly touched his cheek. A look of wonder crossed her face and she stepped back.

    Oh my goodness! You are real! she exclaimed in astonishment. I thought you were one of the others.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #813

    I am here to offer you my services in exchange for board and lodging Madame Chesterhope, said Franiel, deciding to tactfully ignore for now her rather odd remark regarding his reality.

    Oh please, call me Phoebe. Phoebe smiled kindly at Franiel. Have you come a long way? Well really, I forget my manners. Sit down and I will prepare you a drink and some food. Then you can tell me your story and what has bought you here.

    And so it was that just a short while later Franiel found himself ensconsed on the settee sipping hot mulled wine from a huge mug. What strange twists and turns life may take, he mused.

    And whether it was the wine that loosened his tongue, or the kindly look in Phoebe’s eyes and the attentive way in which she nodded her old head so wisely, but he found himself telling her the most surprising things, as though she were an old friend he had known and trusted all his life.

    Thus it was that it had soon been agreed that Franiel’s proposal would be a mutually beneficial arrangement.

    It is as though you are an angel, laughed Phoebe, sent by God to help me, for it was weighing heavily upon me that there is much that needs doing. Dear Lydia who you met on the path, well what would I do without her, but she is not getting any younger, and Derwent …. her voice trailed off.

    Well you are the second person to call me an angel, for I met Derwent earlier who also mistook me for an angel, but I am afraid I must disappoint you both, for I am a very ordinary mortal.

    Oh I am not the slightest bit disappointed, smiled Phoebe. Here, she said, delving into the top drawer of a huge oak dresser, take these keys. I keep most of the rooms locked, for the place is so big and there is no need for all those rooms. Feel free to have a look around as you will. You will find your room prepared for you on the second floor, third room on the right.

    Franiel was surprised and it must have showed on his face.

    It is the room I keep ready for visitors. She chuckled. Most of the visitors I have here have no need of a place to sleep mind-you.

    These are the others you spoke of earlier? asked Franiel,curious. At that moment though Phoebe’s attention was distracted. She looked towards the window, which was wide open though there was a chill in the late afternoon air.

    Ah! there you are my lovely one! she cried, her face lighting up in delight as a large and colorful parrot flew in the window and landed on her shoulder.

    The bird squawked and cast a steely gaze on Franiel.

    Of course I will introduce you, said Phoebe calmly, Franiel, meet Vincentius.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #823

    It had been more than a week now that Claude had broken loose from one captivity to fall into another.
    Not that this gang of strange shape-shifting magpie beings seemed to consider him a captive, rather an impromptu host that they felt obliged to take care of. But Claude wasn’t duped one moment.

    His precedent prison on Tikfijikoo had been relatively easy to break out from, thanks to that unasked for gift of preternatural strength he had gained from the experiments he had be subjected to. Actually, had he not almost been driven mad from pain, he would have been on the loose earlier. Thank the Magpies for his recovered sanity…
    Security on the island facility wasn’t the highest and most difficult he had been confronted to. They seemed to consider the relative isolation of the island and its deadly sharp coral reef encircling it their main asset in keeping their experiments clear from outside interferences.

    Claude snapped back from his thoughts and gazed fixedly at a tender green sprout at his feet while humming a nursery rhyme. An effective trick.
    He had to be more cautious… He knew they could read his surface thoughts…
    Apparently, he could come and go as pleased him, but as he had tried to find his way back to the island facility, he had discovered that the landscape was changing each time he felt close to it. And soon enough, he was finding himself back to the hidden settlement. He knew enough to suspect his affable alien hosts of playing tricks on his mind to keep him in check. Perhaps they were even bending space around their settlement, as far as he knew…
    Not intrusive, and yet not a very different treatment from the inhumane experiments. Except he had no mummy bandages this time…

    Know thy foe so went the adage, and Claude was determined to know enough about his new captors to escape and complete his mission.
    From what he was guessing, as they had not killed him, they probably would release him (if he was lucky) as soon as their mission would be completed —a mission which was most probably the same as his own. Snatching the crystal skull he knew was there somewhere. He could sense they were after it too.
    He was wondering who had hired them to retrieve the thing. Obviously they were not from the common lot of thieves, most certainly not even from this planet, and anyone who had hired them must have been in dire need of the thing.
    He had been told by the Baron that the crystals were storing ancient vast knowledge and that accessing it had been only possible since a few decades, actually since the discovery of coherent beams of light (laser). But even accessed, the information stored remained vastly incomprehensible, and deciphering it could take another millennium without appropriate knowledge of its holographic proprieties.
    The Baron had told humanity was like a child being given a box of books on relativity… And even the mad transvestite doctor was only toying with the tip of an immense iceberg.

    Those Magpies were far more advanced, Claude could see it clearly, and he wondered how he could outdo them, if that was possible. Quite frankly he didn’t know why they had not yet retrieved it. Perhaps they were having trouble locating it too…
    That would mean he still had a head start, however short.


    A faint barking sound seemed to echo in his head… It was apparently coming from… the gnarled trunk of an old majestic tree… Whispers seemed to come from it too, like a child talking with an adult, and whispers around them…
    The tree seemed wide enough for him to enter into the biggest crack of its bark…
    Could it be one of their secret entrances and exits? There had to be coordinate points were they could get out of this warped space… What was he risking to try?

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #825

    When he first witnessed how the traveling portals worked, Badul had been greatly impressed. No such magic existed on Asgurdy, and even though is was supposed to be a small portal, it was greater magic than anything his imagination could have devised.
    He and his crew were so much impressed that Badul had required his small crew to settle down so that they can study further the thing. Tomkin had frowned a bit, as he was eager to continue and above all to leave this uncharted district ruled by a fierce warlord (or “governor”, as it was required to address him) in a moistly forest miles away from any living creature, but then again, Badul’s orders were not to be discussed.

    The portal was constituted of a wide circle of heavy limestones, with two crossing arched vaults made of limestones too, with smaller blue stones incrustations of various shapes tucked into round holes regularly scattered along the vaults. These smaller stones could apparently be rearranged, and Tomkin and Badul quickly figured out they were used to determine the coordinates of the various places they would be traveling to. This portal, they’ve been explained had a set of other stones, ocher and dark red ones which were not part of the traditional set of the main network on the continent. Their design was not overly displayed as the others which were left on the portal at all times. They were carried on the spot by one of the generals of the local governor, and used under strict guidelines, for fear that the parallel network would be uncovered.

    It took Badul a dozen of hexades to relinquish his fear of the unknown magic that made people disappear and reappear in thin air. He was a brave man, and that which he could see with his own eyes was no longer deemed irrational. It was very real, and he could use it. And there was no point in delaying the experience of it, as it was the only way for him to conquer his turmoil.

    So, on that fine morning of the falling season, he decided to move. Genflik Thran, the local governor, had come to appreciate the help Badul and his men had provided him in loading and unloading the cargoes of goods which were banned on various parts of the Warring Kingdoms nonetheless traded on the black market with great benefits, and occasionally escorting them to some of the nearest villages. But the deal had been made clear from the start: he would allow Badul and his men to use the network in exchange of two hexades of service. In fact, they had repaid the debt largely already.
    So he agreed to let them go on their journey and provided him and and his crew enough supply to continue their trip for quite some days. And as a token of appreciation, he allowed Badul to choose his destination, a privilege that was rarely granted, as usually people where glad to take whatever ship was about to depart.

    Badul turned to Tomkin, wondering where they could go next.
    “There are a few villages I heard of” Tomkin said after having pondered, “in the valleys down Mount Elok’ram. I heard this place is the tallest of the World, and is full of ancient powerful magic. Perhaps we can go to one of these villages, as I don’t think there is any portal on the top of the mountains.”
    “Ahaha, yes, you’re right” had smiled Genflik Thran “I’ve been heard there is a monastery on top of this mountain, but no portal unless you go in the valleys. Not that they couldn’t have built one, but they thought it would soon become too crowded and… how did they said? Yeah, unholy… with the ease of a portal access. Now, perhaps that with the new Abbott, it will change… who knows. We already have approached him, and he seems a man with a nice sense of compromise, for the good of all, ahahaha!”
    “What’s this village called?”, asked Badul
    Chard Dut Jep “ answered Genflik Thran “I have a local contact there, a witchy woman, with some sense for business too, when you’re there, ask for her, people call her Madame Chesterhope. Just don’t forget to mention you are coming on my advise, or else the bitch might reserve you a trick or two of her own, ahahaha!”.
    To Chard Dut Jep then!” cheered Badul, and his crew echoed with him.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #837

    As Claude was entering deeper into the giant babul tree, the obscurity was resounding with joyful peals of laughters and whispered words that seemed to mossify into his mind, like they weren’t really words, but bubbles pops and boobles.

    He was resolute to find out whatever was going on in this place…

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #840

    You have summoned us, Master Tfark
    Yes, young Piawan

    The magpie known as Robert X was standing in front of a glowing bluish light emitted by a glass ball full of sand nearly as big as the gnome standing before it.
    Inside the ball, one could distinguish a century-old-looking figure, so fat it was almost indiscernible from the pile of cushions on which he was seated in a lotus-like posture. On the forehead of the Master, a third eye was visible, its gaze piercing you through your flesh.

    How is our matter proceeding, Hex?
    Well enough, Master. All preliminary stakeout has taken place according to the plans. We are only waiting for the right conditions to strike and rob the item without being noticed.
    Very well, Hex…

    The three-eyed Master Tfark scratched his chin pensively.

    A convenient surge of atmospheric energy is coming your way, I suppose you are aware. I hope that you’ll make good use of this. Our clients are very eager to get this item back
    Yes, Master. You shall not be disappointed.

    And with that, the communication was ended.

    Robert X stood in front of the now inert communication device, visibly preoccupied.

    Sir, you didn’t mention the disappearance of our guest, did you? asked Robert K
    There is nothing yet to report. Let’s do the job and we can quickly leave this place. Next inter-dimensional window will be opened a few moments after the cyclone, that should work out perfectly.
    Sir, yes Sir. Ready to lift the energy cloak as soon as we are ready to strike.
    Perfect then… Remember, without the energy cloak, we’ll have to solely rely on our magpies shifted appearances.
    I know that Sir, this is not my first mission, Sir.
    Very well then. Is there something else?
    There is another thing, Sir.
    Some trouble with the bee-keeper I fear

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #854

    Of course I will introduce you, said Phoebe calmly, Franiel, meet Vincentius.

    That’s funny you say that, said Franiel recovering his marbles after a bit of an aghast moment. This name sounds oddly familiar… Is… he a talking parrot?
    Oh, yes of course, said Phoebe Chesterhope, though that’s not the least of its particularities she added with an eerie smile on her thin wrinkled mouth.
    The others, you said she snapped back, her gaze suddenly sharp as a sword. I suppose you’ll meet them, unless you’ve got already.
    I’m not sure to know what you’re talking about, Milady said Franiel slightly perplexed.
    Oh well, I can see from the clothes you are wearing that you’re coming from a place of peace and sainthood. This place is a haven too, in many ways. This place has been kept as such since a few centuries, and I intend it to stay that way. Though the Others are devising ploys always more clever to have a hand on this place. For that, I know how to keep a keen eye on what’s happening, she said with a troubling wink to her parrot.
    The valley is surely a nice place, said Franiel not sure of what he should say.
    To the contrary. It’s full of marauders if you ask me, but for good reason. Uleÿa’s valley is a place not easily reached, and there are not many portals around here. No official ones at least… So in a sense, it’s an exchange of good will between me and them.

    Franiel was not sure he wanted to delve more into all this intricate political web of alliances and plots, no more than he wanted to be involved in religious beliefs and fanaticisms…

    I can see you are a little troubled, but you’ll find your place in all these events, assuredly, Phoebe said gently. But be certain that whenever you are wanting yourself out of them, you sure will find yourself right in the midst of them, without you even knowing it.
    I only want to be a good man, and do the least evil in this World, I suppose finally answered Franiel after an awkward moment.
    This, I am sure is true… You know, I’m a little bit of a witch, I mean, intuitive person, and I can pick up images from yourself. I’m not sure about some of them, but most of them are as clear as the waters of Uleÿa. Take your time to feel at home around here. Vincentius will answer you if you need anything, in any case better than Lydia or Derwent.
    But… I mean no offense here, dear Lady,… Vincentius is but a parrot, isn’t it?

    Phoebe sighed for a moment then took Franiel by the arm, so quickly and firmly he didn’t see it coming, and couldn’t move, hypnotised by the firm grip of the woman.

    Listen carefully, my friend. I can see you can be trusted, as much as your mind is thirsty for the truth, so I will tell you. Vincentius is no mere creature. He’s the result of a little experiment I had once with a former guest of mine. Another divine being, as pure and innocent as you, going by the same very name of this creature. I captured a spark of his radiant aura, and mixed it with an egg I had kept for the occasion. And so it was born. A perfect spy, as well as a faithful friend.

    Franiel recoiled in horror… What have you done?!

    Oh, don’t be so dramatic, my young friend Phoebe said with a little giggle. No one has been harmed, and even if at times, there seem to be some side-effect when my former guest seems to see or speak through my parrot, it all has gone very well… And no, I don’t intend to do it to you… Don’t give me silly ideas, ahahah.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #873

    A few moments later she was not so sure.

    What’s the matter?

    Oh you know … I am a bit distracted …too much going on I guess. She did not want to tell him that she could feel the presence of Mahiliki strongly in the room, his sweet trusting face gazing reproachfully at her. He would be worried about her, worried about the storm. She wondered how he was getting on.

    I understand, he smiled ruefully, it’s hardly perfect timing is it? Anyway that wasn’t the reason I asked you to meet me here, but I guess it just seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.

    I am sorry, she said, rolling her eyes.

    Maybe some other time. He handed her a robe.

    Sure. She wrapped it tightly around her. Anyway, the Doctor?

    All taken care of. I left Nurse Bellamy administering warm coconut milk, unbeknowst to her laced with a sedative. The Doctor will be peacefully sleeping for at least 24 hours.

    And Jarvis?

    Jarvis is an opportunist, but not dangerous. He was employed by the Doctor as a bodyguard, but has since changed sides. He is now working as a spy for the Magpies.

    The Magpies?

    Your hunch was right. The Magpies are operating on the Island, and they plan to strike soon.


    Sha was gazing dejectedly at herself in the mirror. Glor what d’ya reckon. Are all these bloody beauty treatments working or wot?

    Course they are!

    They looked at each other. Well, maybe it’s a bit soon to tell eh? she said doubtfully.

    Mavis! Sha shook the lump covered completely by blankets huddled on the bed. Come on Lovey, the storm won’t urt you. What d’ya reckon Mavis, ‘ow do we look?

    A dishevelled head popped out. You both don’t look no bloody different to me, ‘cept you’ve put weight on, she said honestly.

    Well that bloody does it, said Glor, We’d better find that Vessie, find out wots wot!

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #876

    Oh what absoloote rubbish, giggled Elizabeth Tattler, taking another large sloorp from her 4th glass of red wine and putting large determined scribbles through the last chapter of the latest Noovel. It was the continuing saga of the Tifijikoo Island story. She really had to finish it, old whats-his-face was on the telepooh to her daily now, demanding to know when it was to be finished.

    More Sex! he had shouted at her last time. More sex, we want the bloody thing to sell don’t we!

    Well I have shut you up haven’t I, she snorted to herself, thinking happily of Dr Bronkelhampton passed out on the couch wearing a pink dress and mascara running down his face.

    More sex eh? Hooommmm, Elizabeth did not particularly believe in putting extraneous sex in her noovels. At the same time that character Veranassessee was annoying her a bit with all her indecisiveness. And what a bloody mouthful that name was. Was it too late to change it? hooommm probably. She had modelled her roughly on the cleaner, Finnley, quite an attractive girl despite her pooty face and superior, bossy ways.

    She vaguely remembered something a tutor at writing school had said to her once about writing sex scenes … what was his name? Emonel … no that was not quite right … Meenol! That was it!

    Make your writing detailed, with accurate depiction of suction noises

    Elizabeth broke into fits of laughter, slamming her fist on the desk gleefully and startling Robert X. (Unfortunately the fainting Mongoats had been banned from the building by that nasty Mr Arak)

    You know Robbie-pooh what is wrong with this?

    Robbie-Pooh, Robbie-Pooh, cackled Robert X.

    IT’S BOORING, The damn characters never do anything. Right well, time to fix that. She took another few slugs of her wine.


    Oh God, said Agent Gabriele. Who gives a shit about the Doctor or bloody magpies. I can’t stand this any longer. I must have you Agent V. He lunged towards her, ripping open her robe and exposing her naked body.

    You are so beautiful. All I ever wanted is you. That’s why I demanded this assignment on the Island … to see you again. I have not been able to get you out of my head. You’ve been driving me crazy

    NO NO, cried Veranassessee weakly, but her body said YES YES


    Agent Gabriele kissed her on the mouth, making strange and passionate slurping noises, and, unable to resist any longer, she gave in to his need for her.

    ( Yes, Yes, YES! snorted Elizabeth, momentarily unable to write for laughing. Hooommm what about that Mahiliki? He was pathootic. Did he want the girl or not for God’s sake? )


    Mahiliki stared anxiously out at the storm. He could think of nothing but his darling Veranassessee. He must know if she was alright. He must go to her. He grabbed his car keys and drove like a madman to the airport.

    ( Hoommm, thought Elizabeth, I really don’t know anything about small island airports and planes. Well booger that, I will research them later on the internoot )

    You must fly me to Tifijikoo Island! demanded Mahiliki, holding the pilot (who had been sitting out the storm in a little airport building thingy ) at knifepoint.

    Are you mad? said the pilot. There’s a freakin cyclone, or hadn’t you noticed?

    Yes, I am mad, I am mad with love. Fly me there or you are a dead man.


    ahahahaahah, laughed Elizabeth happily.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #878

    Old Narani is becoming too soft.
    While the attraction of the hole was intensely beckoning, Phurt had been appointed by a strange twist of fate to the guard of the prisoners by the Old Mother.

    Bugger Narani whisspered Phurt, why not just kill them, these stupid two-legged animals. Why the pain of keeping them alive? Good thing the daily dose of sedative venom had them quiet now. They would only scare the mooing preys. Stupid, stupid.
    Of course, it would be easy to just sink a little more than usual her sharp tooth into their neck so fragile. A regrettable accident…
    Phurt couldn’t help but smile a grin as wide as her hairy eight-eyed face. But she wasn’t known as the Doctor of Breath for nothing. Her mere breath could be as sweet as a jasmine scent or terribly deadly. She had never missed a target, never could have.
    She was no mere Spinner; how could the Mother have put her to such a slighting task. Degrading. For her, the most promising Hunter of her generation to be doing this while they all were securing the hole perimeter.

    She would have to go. Something was nudging her to move, something like a fluid water sound, that whispered that nothing could happen to those prisoners. No one would be fool enough to dare to enter the Nest.
    Ahaha, why would she care? Nobody would know. And the little ones would alert her in any case.

    With a prodigious jump, she sprung to the forest in the direction of the hole. She couldn’t be denied her destiny.


    Is it gone now? a voice whispered under a pile of giant ferns
    I think it is growled Araili’s voice Thanks to the Snoot’s power of suggestion, I suppose… The Snoot might find spiders eggs delicacy enough to help us in our rescue operation.
    Shall we go there now? Kay? Ready to go and report back if everything’s clear?


    Rafaela was not finding it very difficult to jump on the rocky slopes. It was only difficult for her to remember to stay physically focused so that Anita wouldn’t fall to a certain death. And of course, even more difficult to resist to the attraction of nibbling a few crunchy thistles and brambles that grew here and there.
    But Yuki’s attention was here to remind her, and so far, their progression had been smooth and easy.

    But all of a sudden, the small pink nose of Yuki raised in quicker spasms sniffing the air intently.
    What? What? asked Rafaela who almost forgot her focusing. What?! Did I fart or something?

    Anu who was having the time of her life jumping on the coarse back of the goat giggled at her clueless question.

    — I think the spiders are moving too. We’ll be reaching the hole before them, and the Snoot tells me they won’t be moving close to it. But they won’t let anything or anyone get out of it. Let’s hope dear Armelle will spot a path for our friends.
    — Not to worry, Rafaela said matter-of-factly, Army is good at spoohtting. She’s the best I know at that.
    — OK, let’s move on…


    Claude was finally seeing a pinhole of light, at a close distance. He could just continue to crawl out his way to the light, and he would soon be release. And to cheer him up, he reminded himself that no man nor beast he feared, with his phenomenal strength agility and speed he now had. Too bad he didn’t have any time to get a proper super-hero attire he smiled to himself.


    On Tikfijikoo, the Magpie’s energy maze-cloak was now lift. The fury of the cyclone was now in its full power, and the Magpies were starting their swift deployment.
    The item was left unguarded in the operation room, as far as they could tell, and in the chaos of the elements, surely a few magpies would be unnoticed.

    They had to move quick now. The portal would be opened soon too. They couldn’t come back without bringing “it” back with them.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #886

    Is something bothering you Franiel? You look a bit perturbed.Phoebe was watching him intently.

    Oh sorry, yeah, I was just thinking about Aum Geog. I really should have sent him a message, you know about losing the chalice.

    Phoebe looked thoughtful. Well we could send a message via one of the Fincheons if it would set your conscience at ease.

    Fincheons? Those are those really beautiful silver birds aren’t they?

    That’s right, they are spectacular aren’t they! I have a pair I use for sending messages on occasion.

    Oh great! Franiel looked immensely relieved. I will go and write a note to him them. He won’t be happy though, I am fairly certain of that.

    Although … silly me. Would you like to use the phone to call him? It would be much quicker. Honestly sometimes I think I am living in the dark ages, not 2008! chuckled Phoebe merrily.

    Franiel laughed with her. Oh I know just what you mean!

    Oh by the way, said Phoebe, there’s a motorbike in the garage. It hasn’t been used for years, but if you can get it going, you are most welcome to use it.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #888

    Franiel lifted the metal latch and pushed open the creaking door of the old shed. In the darkness he could make out of the shape of boxes and other various objects, then, as his eyes became more accustomed to the darkness, he saw the motorbike propped up against the far wall.

    What are you up to young man?

    Franiel jumped and spun around. It was Lydia, just returned from her journey to the market.

    Oh hello again! You startled me … Phoebe suggested I check out the motorbike, see if I can get it going.

    Lydia looked grave. Did she now? Well it’s been many a long year since that piece of junk worked. Anyway so you’ve met Madame Chesterhope then, and what did you make of her? She was giving Franiel that deeply penetrating stare again. Franiel wondered kindly if perhaps she was shortsighted.

    Oh very nice … and I met Vincentius the parrot too.

    Lydia chuckled. Did you now?

    Yes, actually Phoebe told me a rather unusual story.

    At that Lydia broke into gales of laughter. Let me guess, about mixing the aura and the egg?

    Yes, that’s right, replied Franiel, his face breaking into a smile too as he realised the absurdity of it.

    Lydia wiped the tears of laughter from her face. ’Ere Lad, I told you things are not what they always seem. She thought for a moment. I’m parched from my long walk, I am going inside to make a brew. Why don’t you join me? If you are going to be stopping then there are a few things you need to know.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #889

    Wow that had been bizarre! Veranassessee stood at the bathroom basin and splashed icy cold, reviving water on her face. She knew she’d had sex with Agent Gabriele … however the experience had a slightly surreal quality, not unlike a dream, details slipping elusively away from her as she tried to grasp hold of them. She giggled nervously as she dried her face with a towel. Did she really want to remember? She had just passed Agent Gabriele in the corridor and he had winked at her, saying he couldn’t wait to try the ‘reverse cleaning maid ‘ again. A sudden image came to mind and she saw her skin darken in the mirror as a hot wave of embarrassment flooded her. Good Grief! She thought guiltily of Mahiliki. She hoped the other island had not been too badly affected by cyclone Ycart, so far it seemed Tifikijoo had come off quite lightly.

    Veranassessee had already checked on the guests, Jose Maria and Paquita were still in their room, Mavis was huddled under her bedding and informed her in a muffled voice that Sha and Glor had gone looking for her.


    Well she’s not in her bloody room so where is she eh? Gloria and Sha were on the warpath, determined to get some answers from Veranassessee.

    ‘Ere, Sha! Bloody hell! Glor shook her head in disbelief.

    What’s up Glor?

    Bloody magpies … there are bloody magpies in ‘ere!

    What! Nasty little buggers those magpies. Poke yer bloody eyes out if yer aint careful.

    ‘Ere what they up to eh? Bloody hopping all over that whats-a-ma-callit-doo-dacky machine.

    They’ll be going for the shiny bits I reckon. They do that those magpies. ‘Ere we’d better stop them, might never get our bloody beauty treatments if they bugger that machine up.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #894

    Master Tfark , I am pleased to hear that this mission will soon bring me what I requested.
    — We are here to serve, Madam, answered obsequiously the chief of the magpies gang. As long as, of course, the promised payment is ready.
    — Wasn’t the first part of the payment satisfactory? snapped the woman with an aggressiveness so subtle that no one could have said that there was even a single trace of rudeness in her voice.
    — Yes Madam, the device you provided worked perfectly. We are eager to continue our little arrangements.
    — Very well. Bring the Arachnid Skull quickly now.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #895

    The woman’s voice raised softly in the dark, like a velvet caress, or the sound of a purring cat.

    Life was long before I met Georges. Not unbearable, but so long and lifeless. Days would pass, and nothing new would happen but the same matter the previous days were made of.
    Though I no longer align to these limitations, I was once human, born to Earth, as Georges was, in a not so distant past. Like most of my people, I was not feeling special. But my will was strong and my desire to survive too. I survived poverty, lust and violence. In the crucible of these emotions I’ve melted my fears, and it was there I found Georges too.

    A curtain raises in the dark. A palace in an exotic tropical place. Brunei? Al doesn’t know this place…
    A young dark haired woman in a small room, around sixteen, perhaps a bit less, disheveled. She looks wildly around her, her rags stained with dust and dirt.

    Enters a tall woman. She doesn’t seem local. British perhaps. She’s elegantly dressed, thin mouth, high cheekbones, apparently in charge. A maid follows her. She can speak the girl’s language.

    Where is my mother? Let me out of here! she starts to cry
    I’m afraid this is not possible, Salome. For your safety,…
    What do you care about my safety!
    For your safety, Salome, hear me, try to behave. The Sultan is not a man without a heart. He loves beautiful women, and that is what probably saved your neck, considering what all what your mother did wrong to him refusing to pay taxes and her obstinate and bare-faced smuggling. Listen Salome, this might save you, and might save your mother as well.

    The curtain falls on the scene, where Salome hopes to have found a friend of captivity with this woman.

    A few years later, still in the golden cage of the harem, occasionally asked to service the lustful and violent Sultan, I start to go explore the depths of my misery. My inner world was a safe sanctuary, a haven from the pit of hell where I was now living, after my childhood years of hard work in the forest. There, where no one was given the key to enter, I became aware of him. I first thought he was an imaginary friend, a messenger from the other world, greeting me to a sure death. But he was real. He started to talk to me. About what I could do, like him, be a Traveler, if I wanted to.

    The curtain raises again. Young Salome is lying on her straw mat, in a seeming delirium. She moans, whispers, weeps, laughs. No one in the harem seem to care any longer. She is probably possessed, but the Sultan still find her suitable, she can’t be touched.

    A roar can be heard in the palace. The big black-bearded Sultan Ojylam the Second, ogre look on his face, summons his guard.

    — Don’t worry Salome, the voice of Georges whispers in the dark. The Sultan is mad at Madame Chesterhope. She has just fled with his precious crystal skull, but he won’t find her. She’s a skilled Traveler too, as soon you will be dear Salome, once you have learnt my last tricks, and we soon will be united.
    — Why that stupid crystal skull?
    — Don’t worry about it… This one is the Birds Skull. It carries lots of information and magic in relation to the Birds Realm, but it should be the least of your concerns. We’ll find Madame Chesterhope even if she’s clever at hiding between dimensions. Only concern for you must be to get out of here.
    — The Sultan will know I told her about it… I should have known, he was so proud of this object, and so protective too… And she was so curious…
    — That’s why we must hurry now.

    And so we were united for the first time. Lots of other lives have occurred afterwards, different paths at times, but always we have found each other again. Eternally bound, in a most sacred bound…

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #932

    Madame Chesterhope couldn’t believe her ears.

    — Yes Madam, we lost contact, and we have reasons to believe that an unexpected well-planned counter attack on our team of magpies is to be blamed for…
    — For that fiasco, Tfark! And where is the damn skull?! Will I have to go fetch it myself?
    — There was report of a spy mottherfly that managed to escape by the wortex before it was closed. Nothing definite but we have reason to believe that the skull is still on the island. An agent of your old friend the Baron has been spotted heading back there.
    — I will deal with it myself then.

    The glow of the transmission ball went out in a whiff.

    Ah, she hated to have to come back to that dimension, especially in this time framework where everything was so clouded in terms of potentials. But she couldn’t really trust anyone on that.

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #983

    Madame Chesterhope went to the garage, to get one of her preferred modes of transportation.
    She had dressed for the occasion in black leather, shouting a spell in a hurry to the mirror which had been flippantly reflecting back at her some awfully podgy image. Voodoo mirrors weren’t the quality they used to be these days. Bloody buggers of Goblinkeas manufactors… She would have a word with them soon.

    There it was. A shiny Farley Travinston motorbike.
    With some magical modifications, of course, but it had retained overall form and purpose closely similar to the original design. How she loved those machines! She had started to gather them for centuries (in Earth way of counting time), and she could still remember her very first one, the wreck it was compared to this one
    Of course, she had no use for them, but wasn’t that the point of decadent treasure piling up?

    All geared up, she hopped on the seat, and started the trans-dimensional engine. Where was it already? Pacific island… That could sound like vacations she smiled to herself…

    in Reply To: Circle of Eights, Stories #985

    The door of the garage opened with a creaking sound, and Madame Chesterhope sped up into the gritty alley.
    In that dimension where she had hidden her command base, people were a bit sloppy about roads and tarmac, so she had designed a little modification on her machines to be able to levitate in some of the less practical areas; but she had to admit,… she loved the vibrations and bumps that the motorbike created with the friction of the ground surface.
    She started to giggle, all enthusiastic about the speed and the wind in her hair, that she ignored the road sign indicating that the road was flooded some miles ahead. The rain had been pouring cabbages all past hexades, so much so that her leather suit was in all honesty the best thing she could have worn, not to mention the fact of course, that it was making her totally sexy.
    Two peasants were coming her way, looking at her with wild eyes like they had just seen something otherworldly. Ahahah she laughed, the fools would soon have forgotten everything about it (another handy and sly magical modification she nodded to herself). Looking in her rear mirror, she could still see them wiggle their hands in a frenzy… What the fl…!


    On the road, the two peasants wondered what in the name of Shaint Lejus was that rider… But worse, it was heading straight to the pool that the swollen river had made recently, outpouring on fields and little sniggly and thorny paths, like this one. Making desperate signs to be seen and warn it, they watched in horror the black podgy thing with flabby flapping schpurniatz arms sink straight to the bottom of the pool.


    The landing was a bit bumpy, but she found her balance quickly. Those transdimensional puddles were a bit rough to get accustomed to, but once you knew how to manipulate it, you couldn’t forget it.
    Now, all she needed to got to the location she was heading to was to hop through a few more transdimensional puddles.
    Actually, all sorts of puddles could do the job, water puddles, even oil puddles… or run-over poodle puddles for that matter. She preferred water ones, for the quality of water was very fluid, and allowed for easier defocusing. Lately she had tried transdimensional exhaust fumes clouddles, but that was a bit disorienting more than helping.
    As far as she could tell, this first one had been projecting her to a dimension in between Earth and the Duane. Incorporating vibrational qualities of the two, with a little more rigidity though. The machine needed a little time to stabilize and get prepared for the next transdimensional jump.
    As far as she could tell, she was in a place that was not unlike her birthplace, in the countryside of England. There were occasionally some giveaways that she still wasn’t quite there yet, like an erratic flying schpurniatz, but she was close now.
    A few meters in front of her, she could see a lovely puddle that could do for the next jump. A bit small for her… well, motorbike, what were you thinking… but that would probably do it. She took another breath, then pushed the TDPP (Trans-Dimensional Puddle Propeller) button.


    Bugger, bugger…. What the bloody heck!

    Straw was flying all over her hair, and obfuscating her vision… Darn last puddle had to much mud in it, and her concentration went off for a split second, heading her towards a field of barley.
    Turning round and round for a moment in complete disorientation, she finally pushed the levitation button to take a little altitude.
    Oh, now,… at least she could tell she was in England, because she knew that place.
    How perfect! She could now just move into the dimension to the Pacific island. The GPS included in the modern expensive motorbike had been bipping as soon as it had found again the satellites, and it was now pointing the direction.
    Giggling again, she pushed a new button and disappeared into the sky in a supersonic puff of smoke.


    a few days later, Chestershire, UK

    AFP - 2008-07-21 - An new amazing design has been reported by eye-witnesses
    on a crop of barley of a local farmer along with reports of strange booming sounds
    and orbs of light. A sight to behold, the delicate intricacy of these interwoven
    patterns is believed by many to be the work of the Crop-circle Makers, some
    alien intelligence desiring to communicate with us. The theme of this crop-circle
    is thought to be a variation on planet Venus cycles, and would be highlighting
    the number of cycles lefts until the notorious end-date of Mayan calendar,
    Dec. 21st 2012. Scientists have brushed off the allegations of elderly pranksters,
    as this one seemed to have required levels of astronomical knowledge far beyond
    human intelligence.
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