“Amazing, Patrick my man. Man *wo*man. All I had to do was volunteer to preach at the local Broken Clock Church twice a week and we get wined and dined all we desire. Room and board too.”
“No – more – cave!” expressed Patrick, who hated to shiver. Doc said his baby was due any day. “Another glass of rosé?”
“Don’t mind if I do, sir. Don’t mind if I do.”
“I don’t understand, Magnus Ellen. The observing truck is gone here at Crow Island. How do we keep up with the progression of Zoidboro and boy gal Patrick?”
“Something must have changed,” opined the wise Buddhist to his understudy. “Strands (of time) must have been altered.”
Sidechick Corea paced nervously on the wooden swing bridge. “What… now, then?”
“Back to Rosehaven. Back to the cave. There *must* be a portal, for we’ve seen Zoidboro also preaching in Rosehaven Serenity.”
“How many places *is* he preaching, sire?”
“Maybe he can’t stop saying, ‘Don’t mind if I do, sir. Don’t mind if I do.'”
Hidi was having that dream again about being in the middle of Nascera’s Forever Bridge that ended Collagesity novel 8, one side leading to the past…
… the other, the future.
“This must be 9.”
Dawn comes at Horenso and Hakusai.
An unexpected crowd at Karoyaka, the sim below that. Right on the line again (with MogenAi), but no time for line dancing today.
Are trees dancers? she thinks at MongenAi and Shinryoku.
Shinryoku and, just in front of her, Shinkai. This is what she came for. A place of peace and quiet where she can truly rest.
And here’s where she met Magus Ellen at the end of the world. Younger partner Sidechick Corea was scavaging the colorful woods for seeds and berries.
There were no words exchanged, no looks. Hidi approached the meditating man…
… and became one with him, seeing through his eyes.
A boat forms on the edge, a transport. A sim skipper.
“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.”
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.”
“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…”
“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?”
“Very nice. This will do.”
“I get it, Magus Ellen,” Sidechick Corea shouted from below. “The rat tales are the 2 in the pictures, the first and last of the post. But the *same* rat tale. That of Reginald’s.”
Ellen walks out to the front stairs. “What was that, my friend?” But Ellen heard well what he said. No need to voice it, true, but no harm done. Here at least.
He listened patiently while Sidechick repeated his observations. Then: “Good, good.” He stares back inside the treehouse… “We’re almost ready up here.”… and then toward the cave mouth.