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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mark Loren - Ghost Stories

It was night in Eder Gira.  The twin moons added an eerie glow to the surrounding hills.  Wind howled through the caves and the thistles in the pond swayed back and forth.

"Hey! hurry up here!”  Steven Peterson said from above.  “Come on now, you don’t want to miss the stories.”

The path was at the end of the network of caves bending behind the waterfalls.  The air was cooler in the caves as the wind circulated fresh cold air around.  The lanterns spersed throughout the caves were the only source of late, without it there would only be darkness.

The glow of the lantern lit the cave just enough to see everyone’s faces.  Someone had moved logs around the lantern as makeshift benches.  Hannah Renshaw patted the space next to her inviting me to sit.  Next to her was Torri who had wrapped herself up in a large blanket.

“What?”  Torri shivered.  “It’s cold okay?”  I nodded and chuckled.  Sometimes it was worth it to poke fun at Torri.

Eric and Steven Petersen had been discussing something before I had sat down.  The later fumbled with his KI occasionally nodding as Eric spoke.  Shortly after Flora’s KI flashed and after checking it I could have sworn I saw her give a thumbs up to the two.

"So who will tell the first story?" Flora asked.

“I have a chilling tale about the mysterious cones.” Steven scoffed., “It goes something like this.  Every Halloween the cones come to life and gather in a circle to summon the mighty Cone demon”

“And the cones chant cohhhhhhhhhhnnnne, cooohnnnnnee, coooohnnnnnnnnnnnne!”  Eric added while moving his fingers around in the air for maximum spookiness.

Steven continued, “When the demon is summoned beware, for it will blend in with other inanimate cones, so you never know when it will come out to ATTACK!”  The two began to laugh at their story.

Everyone laughed.  “come on.”  Flora said.  “That’s not even a scary Halloween story.”

“Do you have something better?” I replied.

“Panta in Takotah II, tied up his friends in cavern blue.”  Pam Foster said gazing into the light of the lantern.  “The cave collapsed and tunnels fell and after, only he was well.”

Eric continued, “‘Delia spoke with healer’s tongue to right a wrong that had been done but Panta left a gruesome fate for any who followed in his wake”

“Laroon was looking for his friend.”  Pam spoke again.  “Now Panta found that he must rend another soul to end in stone another one to die alone.”

“Now Panta’s goal was nearly done.”  Steven joined in.

“His friends no more would see the Sun.”  Eric responded.

“He told the people a sack of lies. Death of all was his true prize.”  The two spoke in unison.

Flora finished.  “Panta in Takotah II.  Tied up his friends in cavern blue.”  She paused.  “The cave collapsed and tunnels fell and after, only he was well.”

Suddenly, the lantern turned off.  When it came back on a cloaked figure knocked over a stack of fishing baskets while wielding two bloodied moiety daggers.  Torri screamed and ran from the cavern.  Everybody laughed again.

        “Torri!”  The cloaked figure yelled after her.  “It was a joke”  Artus Matloff pulled the hood of the cloak back.  We all laughed, except Hannah.

“You’re such a jerk, Vinsce.”  said Hannah.  She punched him in the arm.

“What?!”  Artus took on of the daggers and poked the side of his head with it.  “They’re just rubber.”

Hannah sighed.  “Well, we should find her.  She couldn't have gone far."

After a few minutes they found Torri in the cavern above the waterfall.  Pam had reached her first but was soon followed by the rest.  Torri had lit the cave with the light of her KI and was tracing a  symbol on the wall with her hand.

“I don’t remember this being here.  Did you do this?”  Hannah asked.

Torri was transfixed on the image.  “No…”  She replied.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Jeremy Reinold - Symbols

My preparations to spend an evening at the DMR began early as I linked into Ae’gura in hopes of killing some time before the show.  I began at the ferry terminal and walked up the Great Stair keeping an eye on the now abandoned Takotah II.  When I reached the second landing I found D’veetah having a very heated conversation with a ResEng.  I stopped for only a moment, but from what I overheard it seems that a few members of Pahrahtehs have not been holding to the safety regulations enforced by the few ResEngs left.

Not wanting to eavesdrop I made to hurry up the stairs and nearly collided with Jessie Pollick.  He told me he had come to investigate the abandoned Takotah II building but decided rather quickly that he’d never be able to get into the building with a ResEng on watch, not to mention D’veetah.

“What does a cultural anthropologist want with Takotah II?”  I asked as we moved away from the dispute.

“It all ties into my study on the culture of this cavern.”  He offered to show me his findings if I accompanied him back to Pahrahtehs.  I agreed.

When we reached the classroom of Pahrahtehs I could see he had been busy.  The imager and walls had been covered with chalk boards and presentation boards.  Photos of DRC members and various explorers littered the tables along with bound and unbound notes covering the events of the cavern over the last ten years.  I sifted through the notes and raised a transcript from some of the earliest days of the cavern.

“We firmly believe that this place was meant to be inhabited…. it was meant to be alive. We are here because we’ve all felt that same feeling, that same calling…”  I read the words aloud.

“Even now many more are beginning to feel that calling as well.”  He spoke the words before I could finish.  “They will come, and D’ni will live once more.”  He looked up from a pile of notes he was consolidating.  “Dr. Watson has a way with words.

“We stand on the edge of a precipice of discovery and enlightenment, and now we take the first step off the edge.”  He placed an image of the DRC members on the easel.  “it’s interesting to look at that statement and think about all the plans they had for this place.”  He drifted for a moment.  “Of course, other people had different plans.”

“So, what does all this have to do with Takotah II?”

“Panta in Takotah II.  Tied up his friends in cavern blue.”  Jessie looked up at me.  “You’ve heard it right?

“Yeah, I never understood why people felt the need to trivialize such events in rhyme.”

“It remains a cautionary tale to explorers about a recent tragedy.  The events of which seemed to revolve around something called the Triple Shell Journey.”

“Triple Shell?”

Jessie nodded.  “Journeys are typified by symbols:  The Yeesha Hand, the Shell symbol, even the door symbol in the garden ages.  Supposedly, Pantaleon kept rambling about a symbol associated with this Triple Shell Journey.”

“So you wanted to check the ‘scene of the crime’ for evidence?”

“Essentially.”  He sighed.  “It’s a long shot, but I want to be sure.”

“Symbols…” I looked at the notes scattered across the room.  “Wait a minute…”  I searched my pockets and produced the mysterious page I had been given in Ae’gura.  “Have you ever seen this symbol before?”

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Steven Peterson - Kadish Getaway

I had been away from the cavern longer than expected. Upon returning, I saw that I missed some KI-Mails from Eric. The KI-Mails said that Hannah had fallen ill. Without Hannah to support her, Torri was too shy to participate in the Heek tournament. It’s a shame, that would have been an interesting match! Being on the surface has put me behind on my writing. There is no better place to write than in Kadish Tolesa; especially in the beautiful and awe-inspiring Moon Room. It is always peaceful here which allows me to collect my thoughts. Of course, you are never truly alone in the cavern.

“Steven!” a voice suddenly called out from above. It was Eric. He must have seen me on his KI. “Shorah, Eric. This is a surprise," I said. “Didn’t expect to find you here. Where have you been? You missed the Heek tournament,” Eric said. “The Richmond game kept me on the surface.” I replied. “We won 30-21 against Liberty. It was a great a game!” "So, why are you in Kadish? I thought you completed this age already," Eric asked. "This is my getaway,” I replied. “I come here to write.” "Whoa, what are you writing about? Is it about the Cavern?" Eric asked. I laughed. “That is a secret. No one will know until it is completed.” Eric made a face. “You'll just have to wait," I said. "Well then, I better leave you to it,” Eric said. “We’ll be in the plaza at 17:00 KI time. You should drop by.” "Thanks, I’ll take a break from writing soon so I should be there," I responded. "Peace," Eric said before linking away.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

David Farwell - Preparations

Terry Sugino rapped his fingers on the table.  "And the results are in..." He said as he waited for my final submission.  "Boom!  What did I tell you?"

"Tell me, are you always so humble?"  I replied.  Terry chuckled to himself.   "Laugh it up Terry.  I had you on the ropes."

"Oh, is that why I've beaten you the last 4 rounds."  The smirk on his face was unstoppable.

"Final tolls.  Yes you won, but who brought you to the wire. each. time."  It was always like this.  I never could seem to beat him at this game.

Terry chuckled again.  Meghan Albrand sighed to herself as she counted her remaining points.  After some time she looked my way.  "So when's the tournament?" she asked.

"Just a few more days."  I replied.  I fiddled with my KI trying to read Terry as subtly as I could.

"Well, in the mean time, I'm going to go relax in Eder Delin." Meghan said.  "The colors haven't changed back home yet, but I could really use a brisk fall day."

"Mind if I meet you there soon?"  I said.  She nodded.  "There's something I wanna check on here first."

Terry and I climbed the stairs from the heek table toward the fountain.  Terry had been quiet since the game had ended.  "What did D'veetah have to say."

"Oh."  Terry looked up at the arch above the look out.  "She liked the idea, but wasn't to thrilled about how we proposed getting the sign up there."  He said as he pointed at the arch.

"I just don't see why we don't have a single ladder anywhere in this cave."  I said looking around the plaza.  The presentation that had been taking place in the hall above had just ended.  It was nice having an active neighborhood, but sometimes it made doing things a little difficult.  I looked around the crowd.  "Well.  I say we move forward anyway."  Terry looked surprised.  "What?  Nobody has to know."  I tried to play it down.  "Finish the banner and then shoot me a message.  I'll deal with getting it up there.  If D'veetah asks: you don't know anything about it."

Terry nodded and headed off in the direction of the classroom.  D'veetah  I thought.  I looked across the lake at the dim orange glow that lit the cavern.  I checked my KI once again.  D'veetah was in Ae'gura.  There's time.  There's plenty of time.  My KI flashed.  Almost forgot Meghan!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mark Loren - Surface Troubles

The city was quiet but this would change. Soon the Plaza would be filled with explorers from around the world.  Small groups started to appear.  Some by the map, some by the tree.  From the King's Lookout I saw explorers enter and exit the Kadish gallery and pass through the canyon mall.  Occasionally one would jump from the holes in the walkway towards the lake before panic linking out only to return a few minutes later to repeat the process.  Poor fools I thought.  Trapped in their GZ calibrations.  I chuckled to myself as I remembered doing the same thing years before.

Sure enough, I was joined on the King's Lookout by many friendly faces.  Flora and Hannah Renshaw were joined by Artus Matloff and Eric Gibson.  Sometimes we'd watch the groups moving through the canyon mall or give style points to those leaping off the cliff only to return moments later.

"Wait, wait, wait."  Artus Matloff, or Vinsce as he had recently chosen to be called, struggled to keep from laughing.  "How long have they been trying to get that marker?"

"Maybe an hour?" I replied.  Vinsce could hardly contain his amusment.

"Come on now, Vinsce."  Hannah was trying to take the high road, but she couldn't help but smirk.  "Surely you went through the same thing when you got here?"  Vinsce shook his head while laughing silently as he showed her his KI.  Hannah punched him in the arm.  "You!  I don't believe you!"

"What is it?"  Flora's interested was peaked.

"The dunce never calibrated his KI."  Hannah started ranting.  She just couldn't understand how someone wouldn't want to calibrate their KI.  Vinsce could only laugh making her more flustered than anything.  Eric, who had been leaning against the railing as we watched this exchange leaned over to me and directed me to look across the way.  Torri was on her way.

".shorah, everyone." Torri spoke very softly.  almost not audible.

"Hey there,  Torri.  What's up?"  Eric asked.  He took care as he removed his sunglasses and placed them inside his jacket pocket.

"It's been a bit rough at work lately."  She seemed to be counting the stones on the floor.  "My manager," she began, "Always makes me deal with the unhappy customers.  It's pretty stressful," Torri said.  She seemed pretty frustrated.

Flora quickly took her to the side and spoke to her in a hushed voice.  Vinsce and Eric exchanged glances as Torri threw her head back in laughter.  Flora kept giggling as Torri struggled to catch her breath.  Artus shook his head and sighed as he turned back to the balcony to watch another attempt by the most unfortunate explorer.

"So, what's this about a Heek Tournament I've been hearing?" I asked.

"We've been practicing."  Hannah said with a glace to Torri.  "It's a lot more in depth than I thought."

"Who would've thought Torri'd be such a ringer," Vinsce said.

"Well..."  A sly smile crept across Torri's face.  "Don't give me too much credit."  Torri said.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Jeremy Reinold - Celebrations

When I linked into the city this past Saturday, I found the cavern buzzing in anticipation for the Myst 20th anniversary.  D'veetah quickly found me on my way to the plaza and brought me up to speed.  Apparently the Grey Hats started everything off with a bang the night before as they shared their illusions in Kirel.
"Mister Magic made an appearance."  I had no idea who that was, but I continued listening as we proceeded up the stairs to the plaza.  "Oh, yes!  I almost forgot to say: You missed the Bots' birthday!"
The look on my face was undoubtedly one of confusion.  “Bots?”
“Yeah.”  D’veetah turned toward me and began fumbling with her KI.  “MagicBot and MimiBot,” she said.  My KI flashed.  “We can go meet them later.  I just sent their KI numbers for future reference.”
I shrugged off the question burning in my mind as we continued our way into the plaza.  “Oh!  One more thing!  You missed the water polo game.”
I looked at her for longer than a second before looking out at the lake.  “No!  not out there!”  She read my mind.  The game was in Ahnonay.  No one’s sure who won though.  It was pretty fun to watch.
My KI flashed again.  D'veetah was buried in her Kai again.  A look of frustration crossed her face and was gone with a brief sigh.  "I gotta go," she said.  "Something has come up at Pahrahtehs." I wished her luck and she was gone in an instant.
Its a good thing she has so much energy I thought as I turned toward the Hall of the Kings.  Out of the corner if my eye I saw a light shining through the dark behind the curtain looming over the entrance to the guild hall.  I headed up the stairs and saw a few explorers trying to climb their way into palace.
I looked up and saw someone I had never seen before.  Brown hair and a tattered Yeesha shirt.  “Hello,” I said.  Something was strange about this one.  The smell of the desert and a worn Yeesha shirt were not a frequent sight in the Deep.
“The passing of time brings the path to the gathered,” he said.
“I’m sorry?”
“A breach has been cut, and now the paths are joined.”  He reached into his pocket and produced a page with an unusual symbol on it.  “The giving of gifts heals the wound of the builder.”
I took the page from him.  My KI flashed.  I looked to check it.  “Listen, is there something I can do...”  I looked back up and he was gone.  I looked around.  There was no sign of my mysterious friend; if I could even call him that.
I returned to my KI.  The message came from David Farwell - a member of Pahrahtehs.  It read simply DMR 20th anniversary celebration in 10 minutes.  Be there.