Photos from Rosehaven
The left side now takes control…
“They wouldn’t let me in, Parasol. At least not with my mansion I so love. And I *wasn’t* coming here without it, dammit.” He paused, wiped his mouth. “April Mae said ‘come, come, come’. The house meant less to her than the neighborhood, the land. And now we are split, Parasol. She with her version of you and me with mine.”
In her strangely compressing Victorian chair, Parasol said nothing, soaking it all in. She’d like to talk to the woman involved before making a final decision, but it would be difficult to pull her here through the density. Monsieur Gold can only stay for short spells, and that is only because he is closer to the border. It would be logical to choose him — the easy way out. Granddaughter Tessa saw it coming, after all. Gold to Platinum.
“Walk with me,” she said. They often walked during visits. Monsieur Gold came prepared with an extra layer of insulated underwear this time.
“So both women were missing,” spoke Parasol as they walked through the snowy landscape.
“Good and evil, yeah.”
“Like me, then.”
They walked a bit further, then Monsieur Gold realized he had to say something: choose. “No, we’re good, we’re good,” he finally reinforced.
Monsieur Gold woke up in his mansion, wife April Mae surprisingly by his side. She was propped up, staring at him. “Dreaming again?” He nodded. “Which was it this time, jungle, snow or desert?”
“All three,” he admitted while stretching. “What time is it?”
He looks around the room. “Where’s the tv?”
“Methinks this is my kind of place.”
In a related story, the body of a witch was found just outside her cabin in Wabe today. Authorities believe a rival practitioner of the Dark Arts threw her out the back window during an argument over possession of a cat.
But she’s okay.
“There, there. Now, now.”
“He must have come here after walking across the bridge, Sidechick Corea. Hi Sammie!”
“Sammie seems to want us to go inside, Magus Ellen,” observes the younger man.
“Dog’s tale, yess.”
“We better change into something else.”
“What *you* got?”
lesson learned 02
“You’s guys look *different*. You’s just be passing through?”
“That’s right, um…”
“Jane, yes,” replied Magus Ellen in an acquired accent. “We be seeking a man named Murdochh who liveth in the area.”
The bar goes silent. Jane stares at him steadily, perhaps even with fear in her eyes. Yes: fear. She immediately closes the bar, saying she has some restocking to do.
“We’ll come again tomorrow looking different, Sidechick. That’s your homework for tonight — to get a good disguise. Let’s head back to Nascera…”
A small shop I’d like to open in the heart of Rosehaven but probably never will. Has little to do with knitting, weaving and sewing. Instead: tales, with tall preferred.
Let’s begin with this:
And here’s the bit that links this yarn with the other:
Forest of the Mist
The two figures become one here at the bench of the yellow roses.
“Murdochh’s” castle is nearby, spatially and temporally. Not a trip for tonight.
John Cage had come to feel
That art in our time
Was far less important
Than our daily lives
~ “Tiger the Lion” by The Tragically Hip
“So here we are. At the appropriately named Ebonshire. This is as far as you’ve ever gone Monsieur Gold. You are almost ready to transition. See over there?” Parasol indicates across the water to her left. “End of the tale. Tiger. Are you ready?”
But then Monsieur Gold was gone, in a flash. From the other direction, several deer look on, thinking her crazy for talking to herself.
Just later, Parasol goes to confer with the Monster of the Sea about the next step.
“Thank you my friend.”
Cherry on top
Cherry Island (Scottish Gaelic: Eilean Muireach, meaning Murdoch’s Island) is the only island in Loch Ness, Highland, Scotland, and is an example of a crannog. The island is about 150 yards (140 m) from the shore near the southern end of the loch. The island was originally 160 feet (49 m) by 168 feet (51 m) across, but is now smaller as the level of the loch was raised when it became part of the Caledonian Canal. The increase in the level of the loch caused a smaller natural island nearby, Eilean Nan Con (also known in its Anglicised form of “Dog Island”), to be totally submerged.
A castle stood on the island during the 15th century; this was constructed of stone and oak wood and was probably used as a fortified refuge. It has been suggested that Eilean Muireach may have been a hunting lodge, with Eilean Nan Con the home for the hunting dogs.
“*Now* is the time, Sidechick.”
“Rest assured, Petunia,” spoke Hidi the Witch by her side. “You are not a possession like Sammie; you are *you*. This is a cat’s tale in the end, after all. Not a dog’s.”
“No ‘butt’s’,” retorted the witch. “Just watch… and learn.”
open for business
To her amazing relief, Lying Widow got out of that hole. Well, Colonel Flagstaff, aka Frozen Meat Waffle’s lead singer Kob Curtain — overriding the powers of Axis — let her out. He needed her help in gathering more human victims from The Waste and sending them his way. For the lyrics of their 2nd, more successful album “Human Flesh Zone” (hit single “Smells like Steve”, etc.) were based on reality. During the recording sessions at a haunted hotel, Kob and the other members of the band developed a taste for homo sapien. Fine young cannibals they were.
“Oh, is it me?” Murmuring offscreen. “Sorry.”
“Let’s see, I’ll take that one over here and… that one over there for today. Good work Lying Widow. Now just throw them in the hole and I’ll have Ingor (drummer) pick them up later.
“Sure you don’t want next game, Grandpa?”
“No, Tessa, thank you.” Because he was looking for someone.
‘Hoomer. Hoooomer. It is I. Carrcassonne. Come to take you back. You come back, I come back.”
“Steppiing out off that ridiiculouss tableauu noww my pointt iis maade…”
“I amm *heere* Rosehaveen. You cannot gett rid off me noww.”
“Sea Monsterrs! Twoo evenn.”
“Butt it iis snoow noww. I do nott liike snoow. I will return iin Maarch, yess.”
“I had to get rid of the doll house, Mssr. Gold. We were getting too close to the truth.”
“That’s all right Mr. Platinum. I know where to find another one.”
Across the room…
“Our view has changed. Our *castle* has changed, Norris.”
“I don’t like it. I don’t like it one *bite*.”
In the other room (the *only* other room now that Murdock’s castle has shrunk)…
… Petunia begins manipulating documents so that the correct reality might return.
new to old
“The two hearts still burn as one from this position, Sidechick.”
“Yet something has changed.
Speaking of which… you haven’t.”
“I’m working on something,” Sidechick Corea defended himself. “Would you like to see? Preliminary, you must understand. I might combine it with something else.”
“Sure, my friend, my understudy.”
“Snow,” Sidechick explained. “Even appropriate for the season.”
“Well,” said Magus Ellen, looking him over. “Then how about this for *me*.”
“Perfect,” exudes Sidechick. “Rosehaven was called Winterfell before 2017. They changed the name because of the growing popularity of the ‘Game of Thrones’ TV series and its own Winterfell. This was *not* a ‘Game of Thrones’ roleplay region, decreed the Princess ruler who effected the change. So we are stragglers, misunderstanders. We are merely in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“Back to the pub, then!” emits Magus Ellen. “But not tonight.”
At the Jaeger’s Hat, Rosehaven tourist Donald Farr gets a big laugh out of a jukebox style gramophone that comes to life and sprouts arms when touched. The castle scene behind the sentient record player is actually a false window, which becomes important a little later on. Reminds Donald that he’s made friends with a Rosehaven castle owner recently, and wonders if it is the same structure he presently calls home. King Tull (or King Tully). We’ll get to him soon as well.
In looking behind him now, I realize that the false window of 10×6 panes, if extended into a square, would represent 100 panes that have become one through the castle.
Donald enjoying his second house whiskey at the Avalon Estate irish pub and dance hall, the first being so refreshing. Good thing he’s not driving, walking and teleporting being his only means of transport while on vacation. When did he have to be back to work? he ruminates through the inebriated haze. Perhaps never, hehe.
Hmm. Donald remembers a building that could be rented on this parcel before, which now is vacant. He had his eyes on it, but the rent is a little steep for his traveling budget. He just wants a place to rest his head between exploring jaunts. Perhaps one of the nearby cottages is available now. He’ll go check there next. He can only impose on King Tull (or Tully) for so long. Plus it’s pretty much a fur piece from anything out where he lives on that mountain. He’d like to be closer to the center of all things Rosehaven, and the cottages fit that bill.
Darnit! The edge cottage that had been available for several days was now rented. He missed his chance! Music is heard within — a ragtime tune being played on an out-of-tune piano. It draws him in; there’s a welcome sign as well. Plus he’s still a little drunk and uninhibited. Is this a private parcel? He didn’t care. He felt it should be his.
He opens the door and walks inside…
…. to find himself staring at himself.
“The missing building!” he cries while twirling about.
The two lovers’ hearts beat as one again from this direction, King Anderson Tully thinks from his rocky perch.
But I must get back to the castle. New guests are arriving! Filling the void of the old.
“He said he’d give us a great deal, April Mae. 300 linden dollars a month. Just like one of the Absinthe cottages.” Mssr. Gold turns. “April Mae? Where’d she go?”
The king approached.
She’d finished the 3oth and last of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” and waited for accolades that never came. This time was different.
“Your daughter plays superbly, King Tully.”
The king acted surprised, then: “Tull please. The spirits flaunt their wears at 12 midnight. You must stay up for it. Every night it happens without fail. Music as well. The spirits sometimes say it’s for a Benefit, sometimes they’re just Living in the Past, they decree, sometimes for a forgotten War Child, and then, most mysteriously of all, for the Passion Play. The play of life itself. Daughter Merry Gouldbusk is fair. But the spirits play a superb and haunting tale weaving in and out of itself.
“The daughter is good too,” Monsieur Gold reinforces, knowing the difficulty of the pieces just performed. Merry Gouldbusk beams inside — a little ray of sunshine enters her cold, metallic life. I will marry this man, she states inwardly. I will show father what he can do with his Jimmy Fisks of the world.
“Let me show you something, Monsieur Gold,” the king then commands while rising. “The mystery of my name.” He turns to his daughter, who awaits orders. He bows his head toward her. “You can come with us.”
God I hate that man, she thinks for the millionth time.
“Are these the… spirits?”
“No. I’m afraid not.” King Tully’s voice betrayed disdain. In fact, one could tell from only a short time that the king held contempt for everyone and everything around him. Except the “Great Queen”, as he always addressed her. Always the full name Merry Gouldbusk for the daughter, though. “This is the perpetual choir, currently on shutdown.”
Herbert Gold stared at each one in turn. “So… it’s not a perpetual choir. Since they’re not singing currently. To be perpetual…”
“They sing within,” interrupts King Tully. “There is no difference in the play of life between inward and outward. It’s all golden appearances and then golden opinions and values. Everything counts equally if you’re gold. Isn’t that right Merry Gouldbusk?”
“Yes,” the trailing daughter dutifully utters without thinking of her father’s nonsensical speech too much, a long honed practice.
“And… the name?” Herbert Gold was becoming impatient with the king perpetually sitting on his high horse.
“Name?” King Tully returns coldly.
“You said you had something to show *us*” — he indicates both himself and the trailing Merry Gouldbusk here — “about your name. A mystery I think you put it.”
“Oh, that will come with the spirits. Look for the shapes in the air. Golden in hue, of course.”
“Some silver,” his daughter interjects, then quickly regrets it. He turns toward her. One could say he glowers at her, but a glower without emotion, if that makes sense. Emotionless rage?
About 20 seconds pass. Herbert Gold wonders if the king will smite his fair daughter, something he *definitely* doesn’t want to witness. But he simply bows (again) and turns back to Mssr. Gold. “Gold,” he reinforces. “With *some* silver.”
Merry Gouldbusk declares another small victory today.
At five minutes to twelve, the king declared that it was time for his daughter to retire for the night. Punishment! She will not see the shape pullers tonight. And all because she spoke about a little silver being mixed into their predominantly golden hue. Truth! She must escape into her fantasy world now, the micro-continent of Rosehaven. She is *Princess* here, not mere Merry Gouldbusk.
One day she will rule this land with a sweet not sour heart. But right now the burden is too great, and bitterness threatens to break her soul. She’s got all the places that make her life worth living still. Not mere pins marking locations but *resonance*. She will rule by such resonance. Rosehaven will vibrate as a single, pure note when she’s in charge. The Queen will back her, she knows. From her Coffin World.
Just a little time to watch some tv before turning in.
isle not aisle (but related)
Tropp knew there was a danger of being trapped in New Eden forever. Far out, like Planet X. Beyond Pluto even. But did he care? Probably not — in and of himself.
But there was Hidi to think of. Or Hayden. She changes each day. She’s at Rosehaven, in The Waste, at The End of Time, in Nascera. Everywhere the family is, she is too.
But most of all currently, she’s on Dog I. With the Cat.
“If you reopen the passage to Caledonia the water will rise and swallow the island. Let the child decide instead. I decree this from my Coffin World.”
King Tull(y) had already made up his golden mind, inner and outer in resonance. “Did you enjoy the spirits tonight, Great Queen? They sang my molten name loud and clear through the silver fog.” He turned his head. “The child will obey me.”
She didn’t look up from her book. “The old ‘you have yours, I have mine’ routine, then.”
The king coldly simmered a minute before acting again.
“I am The Light, The Way. No one comes before Me.”
“What’s happening to Me? No. Noooooo!!!”
“What troubles you my friend,” she imagines the statue asking her after the funeral. This Angel of Death.
“Oh, just a decision looming. Whether to connect to a motherland. Or fatherland. The separation happened a number of years ago.”
“I remember,” states the statue in her head. “Caledonia. But you’s guys have moved your kingdom — or queendom — forward. Caledonia has essentially stayed the same. It would be like connecting to the past. This Winterfell.”
“Rosehaven now,” says Merry Gouldbusk, soon to *be* Queen. And with that the fantasy was over. She was alone again.
“This is *not* the centre of Rosehaven, dear sister.”
“Sshhh,” she implored in a lower tone. “Keep it down. They could be out there… watching.”
“Father’s people. Maybe even mother’s.” But she said these almost as questions.
“Both are dead. Both are gone. We must move on. Mother only lived on through the father. We must be in the now and present. Meditate with me, sister. Learn my wise ways. You won’t be so anxious.” His voice was slightly muffled and watery; hers clear and metallic.
“You shouldn’t be so talkative if you’re so relaxed,” she shoots back, then peers through the window again.
“The cave should have been the meeting point. I told you to meet me at the cave. You’d feel safer there. But no, it had to be the peasant’s village. Father’s old hideaway where he went to woo his wenches. Maybe that’s why we’re so different. Two different mothers. Maybe even two different fathers.”
“You *know* why we’re different.” She didn’t have to finish the rest. Both knew that Merry Gouldbusk physically took after the father and he after the mother. But inside, roles were reversed. For the boy (Ingo) was in danger of becoming as cold as the father given time. For the girl: only melancholy futures.
Merry Gouldbusk stared at the sphere encapsulated face of her brother. “Do you ever remove that thing?”
“Not even to eat,” he replied quickly. “I… get insights. I want to share some of them with you. About the dividing.”
“All ears,” she said, folding her ears toward him with her golden fingers. It was an old game they played. Ingo still smiled at this, which was comforting.
“You don’t have to bear that weight alone.”
“Top of the line, my Queen.”
“Princess please. I haven’t been confirmed yet.”
“So sorry. My Princess.” He looks toward the doll house again. “Just rolled out last month. 11 rooms for this baby.” He was counting the 3 bathrooms and the crawl space but didn’t mention this fact. Always the pitch person.
“Sandy. May I call you Sandy?”
“Of course my highness.”
“Sandy. If you don’t mind me saying, you have quite a reputation following you around. I read the reviews online. It seems…”
“Say no more. I’ll pack up my wares and move on. I am greatly humbled by even your interest in our fine products.”
“No, I wasn’t implying that I’m not interested. I am.” She winked one red eye at Sandy, who understood what he had to do — once again — to make a sale. So golden and glinty this one is. Better make sure the lights are dimmed way down.
“Reggie, get out of here! This is not your story.” The rat scurried away under the master’s bed.
“So… the king made sweet love to his dead queen one too many times and finally fell into her grave. The End.”
“Marvelous, Frank,” cooed mate Felicia Fox beside him. “Tell us another one. How about the Prince who ate a basketball and it became his head.”
“No, no,” insisted Sam Swan. “How about the Princess who made love to a living person and then turned into one herself.”
“Old news,” groused Cathy Cat. “The Great Queen is the story. How she got good and dead in the first place. Shape pullers.”
“What do you think, Cheeky?” asked Frank Fox to the so far silent chihuahua across from him.
“Dunno. Don’t care. Whatever.” Cheeky then rolled over and took a little snooze on his pillow.
“Shape pullers it is, then.”
(to be continued)
If she sits in her compression chair too much longer, she may never get up.
So tightly wound around. Like a Mummy.
Only Monsieur’s visits brings her out of herself. Where *is* he??
“I’ve been waiting and waiting for you, Hebert Gold.”
The full name, he thinks. She *was* upset. “I’m sorry. I’ve been busy with the king. And then with the doll houses. We found Carrcassonnee inside. The one eyed entity that use to rule Collagesity. HF showed us.”
“But you were both Gold and Platinum inside Murdock’s Castle. Time was all mixed up. *Is* mixed up. You came too close to the truth.”
“Now I know. Fingerprince. I just had to find the second dollhouse to confirm it. And the second HF.”
“Are you going inside? Forever and ever and ever?”
“I’m not sure. What would you advise?”
She paused. “Maybe we should go to the Serenity Church. Perhaps the Reverend can help us.”
“He’s *here*. Zoidboro is here.” Monsieur Gold was incredulous.
“Yes,” spoke Parasol below the tone of Zoidboro’s preaching. “It’s because of the Gold and Platinum mix-up. Zoidboro’s been here for years now. Yet he has just arrived. And then: he isn’t here yet. Some realities he was never born, never had a child by that strange mutant gal-guy Patrick Starr.”
“No, that’s Ingor.”
“No. *He’s* different.”
“My head hurts. I need to sit down.”
So they sat down opposite Sally Spark O Naut — who had dutifully followed Zoidboro through the
eyeball cave portal — and listened to the remainder of a beautiful sermon about the dangers of shark attacks. Afterwards, Herbert Gold’s head hurt considerably more.
In fact, I think he died there. Again.
Fruity Islands > Rosehaven > Collagesity
“So *you* were the Prince all along. This Ingo. Should’ve known by the name. Ingo… Ingor, your drummer.”
“And you have been the witch Hazel all along,” declared Col. Flagstaff from his log. “My ancient nemesis.”
“Perhaps not any more. Maybe moving forward from this centre spot we can be allies instead of axis. Depends if I can choose blue over red. It will be hard.”
“You should ditch Banana Boy to begin. Your yellow lover.”
“I need him still,” countered Parasol.
“Alright. Suit yourself.” Both knew this was a mistake, though.
Parasol looked at Col. Flagstaff. “You’ll have to remove the sphere to make a final decision. You can’t take that thing with you.”
“Sure about that?”
“Say they — we — were trying to get rid of you, huh?”
“Yeah. Implied I was a liability.”
“And you saw this in the cave.”
“Yeah. I was the fire in the center of it all. The observing fire.”
Charlie Banana knew that if he didn’t kill the puppet man soon Parasol would need his heart instead. Better move into action.