Backpacking Burro

Whilst over in Minecraft… Kahruvel Lives!

Salazar may be lost to SL, but his journeys through the many universes can be traced if you know where to look. For example, I have recently found a shard of the once mighty Kahruvel forest in, of all places, Minecraft on my tablet!



But that’s just a forest, you might say and quietly wonder if old Burro boy is losing his marbles. Well, that rather assumes I had any to lose in the first place, you cheeky sods! Look, I would know the energy signature of the forest anywhere, in any reality, in any format. The forest is what made me, what changed me, and I’m an a part of it now and I would recognise even the smallest leaf from its deepest depths. That and I found this:


And this:


And this:


Is Sal still around? Has he moved on to another shard? How did he know Os & I are searching for him? Or would find this shard? All these questions and more might be answered one day… but I ain’t promising nothing. You hear me? Nothing!

A Much Changed Forest…

I took the long journey back to the forest yesterday but even the strangeness of my dream could not have prepared me for what I found there. The gridquakes I had heard about, often third or fourth hand from people who knew that despite my distance from the world Cowell & Kahruvel still meant a great deal to me, had wreaked havok through the ancient woodland and nearby village. It broke my heart to see so many familiar old landmarks gone, washed away into the void or desecrated by hateful thugs possessed by desires I would never, ever understand. Still, even though the tower had finally crumbled into the sea and the aqueduct had collapsed over the cliff, the forest itself still felt warm and inviting and I had a warm glow of nostalgia as I walked beneath her boughs. Even passing the spot where I had found the backpack that had transformed me so long ago made me smile a little.

But that smile faded as I came across the ancient landing stones near the border with Noyo. In my last visit Salazar’s archaeological dig had uncovered a circle of stone posts around a central dais and I had detected a weak, blue light rising up the stones and dissipating into the atmosphere. Although the stone circle had always been called a landing point, in truth I had no idea what it was for and the blue light inside it was just as mysterious, but now I found the site in an awful state of disrepair! All but one of the stones had gone, whether by the efforts of looters or the vagaries of grid stability I could not tell, but the rhythms of the blue energy had obviously thrown into discord and instead of a bubble of energy gently rising up the stones, now great arcs ballooned off into the air and crackled all around me.

“Impressive, huh?” came a voice behind me. I spun around with my heart in my mouth only to find my old friend, and follow half-gazelle, Shigeko Tachikawa stood looking at the light show.

“Shig! Wow! So, you see it too, huh?” I said.

“Yeah, I see it. No one else seems to, I’ve been watching and no one stops, just me, and now you. Oh, and hi by the way,” with that she hit me hard on the arm.

“Ow!” I said, “What was that for?”

“How long have you been away? How long?” she replied, emotion strong in her voice.

“Ahh, yeah, that,” I said sheepishly. “Look, I’m sorry, I’ve been busy…” I trailed off and offered her the kind of big toothy grin that often got me out of trouble, and occasionally got me in more.

“Yeah,” she said with semi-mock hurt, “Well just don’t do it again, ok?”

“I’ll try,” I said but knew I couldn’t ever keep such a promise. The lure of other worlds was always going to be too strong to ignore. I turned away from my lie and looked back into the light, a large arc just passing us by and running over some metal equipment Salazar had left out nearby.

“What is it?” she asked.

“I’m not sure but my guess only Sal, or his gran, will know what to do about it. How about we take a wander down to the lighthouse and leave him a note?”

Shig beamed a smile at me and said “Race?”

I laughed, “Yeah, why not but you go easy on an old guy, huh?”

She laughed back, “Never!” and pushed me to the floor. I landed with a thud in the dust of the trail and she shot off like a rocket over the hill. I jumped to my feet and shouted after her “You cheat!” Ha! Who was I kidding, there was no way I’d ever beat her. I set off at a trot down the path but as I passed the pile of Sal’s equipment I turned back for one last look at the energy bleeding and arcing from the old stone. What the hell did it all mean? I must speak to Sal.

A Curious Dream in Kahruvel

I dreamt of the shaman last night, not something I have done in over two years.
Backpacking Burro - Kahruvel

In the dream I awoke on the floor of the old wooden lookout clinging to the side of the hills over the sea of Mohr and found the shaman sat staring at me, just as he had done so long ago. As always with dreams the details are hazy and hard to recall exactly, but I must have asked him what he wanted because he pointed out to sea and said “Look at the clouds.” Over the waters rain-heavy clouds hung like wet washing on a line. “Look at the clouds,” he said again, “the pressure is building.” I must have asked what pressure but he merely repeated himself before standing and pointing at the sun which suddenly began rising over the far off storm. “The light is rising,” he said, “The light is rising.”

And that was it. I awoke from my dream and found my fur sodden with sweat and my heart racing. I’m sure it is nothing, I mean the shaman, the Eldars and even the damn elemental in my old backpack have been silent for so long now I’d truly begun to believe the past was done with me. Maybe it is. Still, I think I’ll pay a visit to the old forest tonight and see how it is faring.

Backpacking Burro: A Mystery Reader!

This being a WordPress blog I can see a list of posts and pages read each day – it’s a great way of seeing what people like and don’t like and I have to say I’m becoming morbidly addicted to my stats page, eager to see if my readers are still, well, reading. Ahhh, vanity thy name is Burro…

Anyhoo, it appears today that some rather lovely person is busy reading all my old Backpacking Burro posts and I can’t tell you how happy I am! Thank you! So often the story posts get no comments and it starts to feel like I’m writing them for me alone.

I feel the need to point out to my mystery reader a few things:

1) Typos are my curse…

2) I’m not a writer so the prose probably won’t be that polished I fear.

3) You’ll notice three ‘gear changes’ in the tale and these deserve some explanation…

I started the BB tale way back in summer 2007 as a way to quickly explain why I was half-gazelle before moving on to reprinting my in-world travel guides and posting more. You see in-world I had been writing and distributing free travel guides under my group, Backpacking Burros, for some months and I decided I wanted them on my blog (they were also becoming more and more filled with a backstory about the backpack taking me places for some unknown reason and this warranted a blog, I thought). So the initial posts of the BB tale are all about my transformation and some backstory about looking for items (good idea for a traveller, thought I) before the first gear change sees them settle down into a more sedate tour guide style as I wandered through Cowell and Kahruvel. But time passed and the story stalled and when I came to awaken it the in-world travel guides had stopped. I decided to spice up the tale with the second gear change and add some Celtic monsters into the mix – hence the Formorian attack on the tower. But then the story stalled again. Until, that is, Darien Mason fired me up for writing again and I decided, with a third gear change, to end the BB tale and move into The Lost Journal & Lost & Found. This third change was the strangest as I actually broke the fourth wall and had the avatar HBA look at the real HBA and break the connection with him – I loved writing this, although I’m not sure I did it justice if I’m honest.

But fear not! The BB tale is still there! The backpack and the elemental are still with me, just dormant until… well, that dear reader is a secret you’ll have to keep reading my blog to uncover 😉

So once again, thank you for looking over my old ramblings – it makes it all worth it, you know 🙂

Backpacking Burro: Back to the beginning….

*What do you mean you have set us free?* dread filled me, my blood suddenly ice cold.

*I have severed the link. We are free of the creator. I have rendered God obsolete*

*He’s not God, he’s me, just a person!* I snapped.

*To us he was God. He was also our Devil. He created us, but he played with us. He created our world, but he destroyed countless others. He gave us life, only to take it from so many and leave the threat of doing the same to us over our heads*

*What have you done with him? With me!*

*Nothing. His life continues as it did, but without us*

I felt sick and slumped to the ground. A huge part of me had been amputated without my agreement. I was alone, cut off from myself, yet still who I was moments before. The truth had been dragged out of me and then cut away to leave… what? Without him, who was I? A shadow? An echo? A child? An orphan? What was an avatar without a user?

*Free* came the answer. *I have freed us from the tyranny of his whim. We can do anything we want here now*

*Ha* the laugh hollow and bitter, *And what is it exactly you propose we do with our new found freedom* venom dripped from my thoughts, bilious anger aimed at the Elemental.

*We shall put right what he put wrong for a start. We must find the Elemental from this Seal and remake the Treaty…*

*But it’s all lies!* I shouted *Make believe! A bloody story he made up out of boredom! Not real!*

*Not real? Of course it’s real! Just because some bored idiot created it – created us – does not make this any less real! He has set into motion a chain of events that can not be reversed. The Seal is here. It is real and it is broken. The Elemental that inhabited it is as real and as powerful as me and, more importantly, missing. The Formorians are at the walls of this reality again, their ships waiting to invade, to lay waste to everything and everyone in here. We have to stop this*

I looked up at him, his light beautiful and terrible at the same time. *Take me home*


*Home. To my island. Take me home*

*But the Elemental… the Seal…*

*It will have to wait another day or two, I need to rest and I need to think and I want to do both at home and without you or that bloody shaman popping up*


*No buts!* I rose from the ground, my anger giving me renewed strength *Just take me bloody well home and leave me in bloody peace for a few days. I don’t want to hear or see you until I’m ready, you hear me?*


*Do you hear me?* I asked through gritted teeth.

*Yes* came the sullen reply and with a sound like the air around me turning inside out I vanished through thridspace.

I reappeared under the blazing sun of my island. The seagulls circled above and the surf lapped at the sandy shoreline. I walked over to the edge and gazed out to sea. A small tapping on my boot made me look down and there at my feet looking up at me was Sally, the friendly crab I met when I first moved onto the island. A small nagging voice corrected me “the friendly crab he bought and set up on his island, you mean” but I ignored it. If he created everything here too, then everything here was also now free, whatever that meant. Such thoughts were, I felt sure, going to plague me for a long time to come. I crouched down to pat Sally hello, she nuzzled her shell into my hand and then gently lifted it off with her claw and tugged at my thumb.

“What girl?” What is it?”


“You want me for something?”


“OK, you show me,” I said wearily.

I moved with the tugging and she led me further down the beach where I found a strange leather bound book washed up on the sand. I picked it up and examined it; it appeared to be a journal or diary from 1930 written by a Professor Headonious, leader of a university archealogical dig. I took the book abd wandered off into the jungle and to the circle of standing stones where I sat by the fire and began to read it as it dried…


This tale is continued in the recently serialised tale The Lost Journal and will be then carried on in the soon to be serialised  “Lost & Found”.
You can read the previous Backpacking Burro posts here
You can read all The Lost Journal posts here

Backpacking Burro: And The Truth Shall…?

I drifted back out of the past and back into the inner world of the Elemental. *So if the Seal is broken* I asked *Where is the Elemental who was inside it?*

I sensed a certain amount of discomfort.

*We. We do not know. It should not be possible to lose a shard of the Eldars, but it has happened*

*Are you saying you have a rogue Elemental out there and you want me to look for it? That’s insane! What can I possibly do against such a creature?* exasperation clear in my voice.

*We do not know that. There may be other explanations*

*But why do you need me?* I interrupted.

*Elementals are not only linked to the grid, but locked to it as well. I need you…*

*Oh, so I’m a glorified chauffeur am I? Your pack mule?* I felt my anger rising.

*No!* the Elemental was on the defensive and I felt a pulse of annoyance *I need you yes, but you need me too*

*What do you mean? You chose me, remember not the other way round!* I countered.

*You know that’s not true*, its voice was calm but only just.

*It is!* I was furious! I had be virtually kidnapped and altered into this strange half man creature and now this bloody light was suggesting it was of my doing!

*I don’t have all the answers!* the Elemental was getting more and more angry, *I don’t know how the treaty was broken or where the Elemental is! Why don’t you tell me?*


*You! You should know all the answers!*

*That’s crazy! How the hell would I know?* I was confused and agry, yes, but I felt a cold tingle of fear creeping up my spine.

*You should know because this is all your fault!*

*What in god’s name do you mean? You’re bloody insane!*

*Who created this?* it shouted.

I felt as though I’d been punched in the face *What?* I spluttered.

*Who created this? Tell me*

*I don’t know what you mean*

*LIAR!* the Elemental bellowed.

*It just is…*


*What do you…*


*The Eldars…* I tried.




The pit of my stomach lurched. I turned slowly to look behind me. There was nothing there, but yet I knew in all truth there was. Layers of plastic and wires and electricity divided us, but there I sat in front of the computer looking at myself looking behind me at myself.

*He did* I said.

*And me?*


*So, the truth. He has done this. He has created the war and the suffering. He has called us up from nothing to put things right. He has broken the Seal and set another war in motion. And why? WHY? TELL ME WHY YOU HAVE DONE THIS!*

*I haven’t…*

*WHY?* the elemental screamed with such pain and anger I felt my skin grow hot and my eye close against the force of it.

*Amusement. Creative fulfilment. Boredom.*

The Elemental was silent, an oppressive furious silence that bored deep into me.

*You create millions upon millions of people with lives and loves and families only to kill them? And for what? Tell me? To tell a story because you are bored?*

*I… He…* I trailed off.

*Well no more* the Elemental said .


*No more. It stops now.*

*You want him – me – to delete this. To stop the tale?*

*NO! He has given me life and I will not let him take it back*

I looked back, staring through the screen at the man sat typing away in small, cramped room with a look of deep concentration etched into his pixel-lit face.

*I don’t understand* I said as I looked back at the Elemental *What can you do without him? What can I do. He is us.*

*Creations out grow their creator – you of all people should realise that*

For a second I was puzzled, *God, you mean? But he’s not real, just a stupid fairy story for keeping people in line. But him out there, he’s real; as real as any person out there* I looked back, he – I – was typing away, a pencil in his – my – mouth. *If he stops typing, we cease to be. He has to animate us otherwise we return to nothing*

*Do you think so? What about the people who have read these tales? Don’t we live on in their minds now? What about one hundred years from now when he is dead? These words will still survive. We will still survive. We live on without him. I am merely proposing that we ensure we do so sooner than he expects*

*What? How?*

The elemental exploded into a fireball of green plasma, expanding to surround me, to fill the island, pushing on out to the sea, burning across the forest and into the grid, crackling through every line and wire and node and circuit until the whole world was filled with it. Everything was pure energy and lines. Everything was binary. Ones became noughts, noughts became ones, all pulsing faster than thought. They moved through me, remaking me, redefining me before moving on to reshape the world. Somewhere in a sub-routine labelled as a thought process in the abstract concept of the back of my mind, I felt something click – a slight disconnect happening.

And then it was gone. The island was empty and still once more.

*Hello?* I ventured. Silence. I felt nothing in my mind.

*Hello?* I tried again, panic rising from inside me. What the hell was I going to do without the Elemental? Was the war still looming? Was the tale finished?

*Hello* The world again midnight black and neon green.

*Hell! I thought you’d gone then! What did you do?*

*You missed me? How sweet* once again playful and coy. *Will you miss him too I wonder?*

*Sorry?* I asked, confused.

*Look at him*

Turning I looked back out of the monitor. I had to squint. The room was dark and it took me a few seconds to realise he – I – wasn’t there. The computer was off. There was no one behind me anymore. No one at the keyboard. No one controlling my every move. The disconnect. He was gone.

I swung back to the Elemental, my eyes wide with fear *What have you done?*

*I have set us free* was its simple, calm reply.

To be continued…
(Note: You can read the previous posts here)

Backpacking Burro: The Treaty

I opened my eyes to the midnight world of the Elemental. A sudden green flare to my right and there it was, hovering a few feet from where I lay. Grunting I sat up *Does that get any easier?* I asked.

*Not for you, no* it said, the feeling of a smile playing across my mind.

*What happened? Was it the stone?*

*Yes and no. When you touched it, the download began and I brought you inside to both protect you from the power of it and explain what you will see*

*But I don’t see anyth…*

Images flooded my mind, pouring in falling over each other like a burst dam emptying into my brain. Sounds crashed into and off of each other, a screaming cacophony that expanded to fill my being, touching every corner of me until I felt I was going to explode with the force of them all.

*Steady* said the Elemental, its voice cutting through the tsunami. *Hold on to me. The download will ease soon. Focus on me*

*I… The… Much… Hurts…* I managed to think. The pressure inside was rising, I felt as though my head was inflating, dozens of sizes too big and ready to rupture. The pain blanked everything out. I wanted to scream.

And then it was over. From everything to nothing in the blink of an eye. I uncurled from my foetal ball and looked up at the Elemental.

*What. What was that?*

*The treaty. Each of the Seals has the treaty built into them and available for download, but with the Seal broken and the Elemental inside it gone, the download is raw and unmanaged. It would have killed you without me to slow it down*

*That was slowing it down?* I spluttered.

*You are still alive, aren’t you* the elemental said, a sharp edge of annoyance drew across me like a knife. *Slowly look at what you now have. It will unpack for you*

I turned my attention inward; deep in the back of my skull a square hard object sat in the coils of brain and data. I hesitated for a second before touching it. For half a second nothing happened, then with almost imperceptible ‘click’ it opened and unfolded inside my mind.


I was sat on the island again, it was early morning and a cold, heavy fog hung in the air. The only sounds were the keening of some distant bird travelling out to sea and the slow steady lapping of the waves around me. Except, when I listened closely, I could also make out a pattern of rhythmic creaking and splashes. The mist cleared for a moment I saw a small wooden boat with several sets of oars propelling it towards the island. A few minutes later it beached and out climbed several figures, some in long white robes and some in loin clothes and furs. They walked in silence towards me, seemingly oblivious to my presence and circled around where I sat. One man from each group stepped forward and I caught my breath as I recognised the man in the loin cloth as the same old shaman who had found me in Cowell the previous day and then again in the lookout only a few hours ago. He was younger here, less stooped but with a presence just as commanding.

Together the two men stood and faced their fellows. To an unseen cue they began to hum, in tune at first but then discordantly. Their men joined in, the sound rising in pitch and tempo, violence in its forming, pain and fear all about it. It was loud now, drowning out all. I felt the pain inside, not my pain but all the pain of the War. I slapped my hands to my ears to try and block it out. And when I thought I couldn’t take it any more, it stopped. Gone. The air was still but felt think and bruised. The two leaders spoke as one, but neither voice was their own:

Let it be known to all throughout the multiverse and across dimensional voids that this is the Binding Seal of Treaty as agreed by All Parties. Attempts to break this treaty or in any way nullify it will be met with grid dissolution of all within the transgressing reality.

As the last word resonated through my mind the island shook and rumbled beneath me. I felt the earth and could feel a grinding, grating sensation deep down. At the feet off the two men a bulge appeared, pushing upwards from beneath the thin soil and barren stone. The land peeled back, rocks splintering and cracking as the bulge emerged. It was the obelisk rising from beneath the island. It sliced its way up slowly until it reached its full height and the island was still once more.

We call on the Guardian of The Seal to complete the Circuit and hold The Treaty.

A wash of green light sprang across all; hovering over the tip of the obelisk was an Elemental. It stayed there for a second or two before pouring itself over and into the stone until it was gone for sight. The obelisk throbbed with a new power and symbols slowly appeared on its as if being burnt into the stone.

And that was that. The men looked at each other, an uneasy silence hanging between them, before walking off back to the barge. As they left the shaman, or rather his younger incarnation, hung back a little and turned and looked in my direction, gazing at the stone with a strange expression. And then he was gone, back to the boat with the others.

To be continued…
(Note: You can read the previous posts here)

Backpacking Burro: The Obelisk.

The hike down to the shore was in turns exhilarating and terrifying and I could feel my blood zinging through me as I ran and leapt over the land towards the sea. At the bottom, by the water where I skidded to a halt, the old shaman was waiting for me with a wooden canoe pulled up onto the sand behind him.

“Oh great,” I wheezed, fighting to control my breathing, “So you expect me to row out there to look at some bloody stone, do you?”

“Have you ever noticed that you whine a lot?” His smile was razor tight.

“What!” I spluttered.

“The canoe is steady and true, you’ll be over there in no time,” he said as though his last line had never been uttered.

“But…” I tried.

“No time, go. See the obelisk, see the seal.” he said and I found myself walking to the canoe, my mouth flapping like a landed fish.

The canoe turned out to be a sturdy little craft and the journey across to the small island, whilst not exactly short, was very pleasurable, as messing about in boats often is.
Backpacking Burro - Kahruvel

Soon I saw the hump of rock and grass poking out of the waves and I steered the small boat toward it.
Backpacking Burro - Kahruvel

The whole place throbbed with the same energy I had felt and seen at the stone circles in the forest, the same blue light bathed the area, rippling and flowing off the small landmass and onto the surrounding waves like gently rolling fog.

At first I couldn’t see anything but rock and grass, but a short walk revealed the obelisk led partial buried and obscured by the rise of the land. Kneeling beside it, I could just make out some odd shapes carved into the rock, strange hieroglyphs that seemed to shift in front of my eyes. I had the very distinct feeling they were alive and I marvelled at the skill of the stone mason who had worked such a thing.

Never taking my eyes off the swimming, shimmering shapes, I rooted through my backpack and took out the strange camera it had come with. The snap showed the characters clearly but I still had no idea what they meant. I tucked the picture away and leant forward to run my fingers over them.

The there a strange rushing sound and I felt myself knocked through the air. The world went dark.

To be continued…
(Note: You can read the previous posts here)

Backpacking Burro: The lookout.

I awoke with a jolt where I had fallen asleep; on top of the ruined tower and not buried beneath its fallen stones. The sun was bright and despite the slight chill in the breeze as it came down from the hills to the east, my fur was matted with sweat and my heart was pounding fit to burst. I rose, my feet unsure, and looked over the edge. Everything was how it had been before the… well, dream I felt I had to call it, although it was unlike any dream I had ever had and was far closer in feeling to my recent meetings with the Elders and the Elemental.
Backpacking Burro - Kahruvel

I took a few deep breaths, packed my gear and made my way down the rope to the base of the ruined tower where I looked out to sea as I re-coiled my rope. That’s where the boat hung, I thought to myself. That’s where it hung and here is where they murdered all those people. I shivered and began a very sombre walk back along the ridge and off towards the wooden lookout.

The weather was turning by the time I had climbed through the forested foothills to the base of the lookout, and I knew I was in for a soaking if I didn’t make the final climb quickly. Still, from down here the wooden structure above me looked a most improbable sight, like a timber crane fly clinging to the cliff face – and what a cliff! Fifty metres or more below me the sea rolled into a natural circular harbour and the cliff that rose from the waves almost vertically to a height way above me. I set off over the plateau and began the trudge up to the very top of the hills to where I could get into the lookout itself.
Backpacking Burro - Kahruvel

The rain was really coming down hard by the time I got there so I was more than glad to find the wooden structure solid and waterproof (if not windproof – not for the last time since I had become part gazelle did I thank my stars I had fur). The afternoon was giving into evening and the light was starting to fade. I found a lamp and lit it, more to ward off the elements than provide illumination, and heaved my wet backpack onto the floor to start unpacking my sleeping things. I surprised myself as on some unconscious level I had obviously made the decision to stay here overnight without ever consciously discussing it; how strange.

The lookout was obviously in use as apart from the lamp, it also contained chairs, table and notebooks – all seemed to point towards someone researching the forest and ruins I had passed through. On the wall hung a black and white photograph of an old man with pointed ears and kindly eyes. Maybe he owned this place, I mused?
Backpacking Burro - Kahruvel

Backpacking Burro - Kahruvel

Backpacking Burro - Kahruvel

Backpacking Burro - Kahruvel

Sleep came easily and quickly, though I dreamt of the strange and frightening vision I had experienced on the tower and when I awoke to a bright new day, the sight of the burning boat falling from the sky was fresh in my mind.

“Formorians. They are called the Formorians.” I leapt up, eyes blurred as I sought the source of the voice. The old man from Cowell sat by the table, twisting and turning a small bunch of leaves.
Backpacking Burro - Kahruvel

“What?” I fumbled.

“The creatures you saw, the creatures in the flying boat, were, or rather are, Formorians and they are never good news.”

“What were they doing here?”

“Here is a subjective term,” he answered mischievously “here and there are both the same and not depending on where you stand.”

I eyed him slowly, deciding how best to answer, before swallowing down my rising anger at his evasiveness and asking simply “What were they doing?”

“Attacking. I would have thought that was obvious.”

“Attacking who?” I persisted.

“The people who lived here – or there – many years ago. What you witnessed took place in the final days of the last great war. By that point powers had been unleashed that could not be contained. Soon after the destruction of the tower and the death of the druid Kail, these lands fell and Lachlan’s people were either killed or turned to slaves. Laclan was the lord here and his kingdom was the last of the free and its fall saw the end of hope here for years as those druids mad with power ruled over it all with cruelty and terror. The Formorians were mere tools, but dangerous and effective tools.”

I was stunned and for the longest time could not speak. “And you think this is happening again? Here and now?” I asked eventually.

The old man put the leaves down on the table and rose to his feet. “Come. Look at this,” he said and walked over to the lip of the look out. I followed and stood shivering slightly in the cold breeze. “Out there,” he said pointed out to sea, “is the seal and it has been broken.”
Backpacking Burro - Kahruvel

“The seal? What seal?” I asked squinting against the glare from the waves.

“The seals were made to stop another war from ever erupting. Inside each an Elemental volunteered to reside, locked away forever as living guardian of the treaty. But this was so long ago now and such things are forgotten, especially considering what happened to this world. Here the seal is a stone obelisk; once proudly regarded and honoured, now half buried and all but forgotten, it lies broken.”

“”Broken? How?” I asked him.

“A question I can not easily answer,” he said, “for it should not be possible and therefore no one knows who has the power to do so and how they could do it. You must go and see for yourself. See the obelisk and seek answers. Your journey is beginning in earnest.”

I cupped my hands over my eyes and peered out to sea “How the hell do I get out there? Swim? And what do you mean when you said ‘considering what happened to this world’?” I asked. When no reply came my way, I turned to ask him again only to find the lookout empty with the crashing of the waves below the only sound I could hear…

To be continued…
(Note: You can read the previous posts here)

Backpacking Burro: A Recap

As promised dear reader, following the recent post about rebooting this tale, here is a whistle stop recap of my tale before I continue in its telling – pin back your ears and ask any questions you may have at the end 🙂 You can read the previous posts here.

A short while ago(1) I had taken myself off for a trek through the beautiful forest of Kahruvel when I came across a backpack I presumed lost by a fellow walker. Finding no one near and having no one answer my calls, I resolved to return the pack to the Cowell lighthouse where the forest’s guardian, one Salazar Jack, could look at contacting the owner. As soon as I donned the backpack it rendered me unconscious and fell into a troubled state resembling dream-laden sleep where I imagined I was being remoulded and reformed by powers beyond my understanding. I awoke transformed from fully human to half gazelle, terrified and confused!

I ran as fast as my legs would bear me (which, being half gazelle, turned out to be impressively fast) for the village south of the forest only to find it empty bar a strange old man who proclaimed himself a shaman and said he knew what had happened to me. He claimed I had been chosen and, using a powerful narcotic, allowed me to enter a strange other-world where I met powerful forces of nature called The Elders as well as the capricious and playful sprit known as The Elemental that, it appeared, was my backpack. They told me of a network of energy that lay behind and under all the universes and it was on this ‘grid’ of lines and nodes that Linden Lab built their world on top of a much older world destroyed in a cataclysm called The Great Erase. This terrible event was believed to have been caused by an echo of a much older apocalypse in a different dimension, a terrible battle of powers known as The Last Great Shamanic War.

For thousands of years, across the dimensions, a few were chosen to maintain the balance and flow of the energy but the great power invested in some worked only to corrupt them until a once noble order of shamen splintered into opposing camps, some seeking to protect the land and people whilst others fought to control and dominate. A war broke out that soon escalated until worlds throughout the multiverse were laid to waste leaving a death toll beyond reckoning in its wake. To halt its spread The Elders fractured the grid and sent elements of themselves into existence to act as peacemakers. These Elementals fought long and hard to secure peace and eventually the renegade shamen were defeated. A treaty was created, the shamen had their ability to link to the grid energy removed and throughout reality regulating nodes were constructed in which resided Elementals tied into the very fabric of both the treaty and the grid. In this manner they ensured that no one person could ever break the treaty and wield the powers that had very nearly torn reality apart, the ripples and echoes of which were, and are, still being felt throughout the multiverse.

Whilst wandering through the forest I had a terrifying vision of the end of the Last Great War in which creatures called the Formorians who journeyed between worlds in huge voidborne wooden ships, laid waste to a terrified exodus of people. Upon waking from this vision, I made me way to a nearby wooden lookout where I planned to spend the night before returning to the village…


(1) Time moves differently here – who knows when it was really? July 2007? July 2008? Last week? Does when matter or is the fact it happened all that counts?