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Thread: [SPOILERS] The Spoilers of L'nkhania | Forums

  1. #11
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    Professor Thietris was not sorry to link back to the Institution. The English countryside was no place for a squirrel. He stood in the dark, and the silence, and inhaled deeply ... and sneezed violently several times. The dust had certainly built up during his absence. There was obviously a lot of work to do here to get the place looking spick and span again. Perhaps there was a hoover in a cupboard somewhere, though goodness knew where. He groped to his office and lit his desk lamp. As the yellow glow filled the room, a couple of surprises caught his attention.

    . . .

    As Professor T was staring thoughtfully at an object on his desk, back in England Geoffrey started his car -- reluctantly, as he didn't really want to face going home just yet. He headed slowly out of the car park and joined the traffic heading out of town. Hmm, the fuel level was getting a little low, but he had enough to get him home. The traffic started to build up, and he joined a queue waiting at the lights. He turned the radio on. It was some boring quiz show. He retuned and the sounds of a full orchestra suddenly filled the car. What was this? Ah yes, Vaughan Williams. Amazing how the composer could evoke the wide open spaces of an English rural past. Not like here, with all this traffic. The lights had turned green and he began to edge forwards. Go on! Still green. Get a move on! Still green, still green -- drat! The lights turned red just as the car in front pulled away.
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  2. #12
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    Calm down, Geoffrey, calm down. It's not as though you're in a desperate rush to get anywhere.

    He took a couple of deep breaths as he pulled away from the lights. There was no traffic ahead of him now. Although the road was empty, he drove slowly, trying to relax. He glanced in his rear view mirror. The road was empty behind him too, so thankfully there was no maniac on his tail trying to get past. How many times had he driven along this road, on his way home from all those days -- years -- at the bookshop? Yes, Mr Prescott. No, Prescott. Since we changed the name to [BOOKS]Books ... Well, no more! It was over. Finished. But what was he going to do now? He sighed. This old familiar road. The same old verge that ran along the side of the road, full of cow parsley in the spring, and now just grasses, losing their colour with the shortening autumnal days. But what was that? A new object caught his attention up ahead -- something parked up on the verge. It wasn't a car. It was certainly very colourful against the dying grass. Oh, it was an old gypsy caravan. You don't see many of those nowadays. As he drove nearer he could see that a man in a brimmed hat was tending to a horse, which was still harnessed to the shafts of the van. Perhaps they had only just stopped there. Perhaps they'd been holding the traffic up earlier while they were on the road. He slowed down, and as he drew level he glanced across at the vehicle. It was in beautiful condition. The paintwork was a work of art. Such craftsmanship! It seemed to belong to a forgotten age, where people had the time to produce objects of beauty, but it also seemed ... Geoffrey couldn't put his finger on it ... somehow strangely significant, larger than life almost, as though he was somehow connected with it. This feeling deepened when he saw a woman in a shawl sitting on the step by the doorway, and as she turned and looked straight at him with a half smile a shiver went down his spine.

    He turned quickly back to the road and paid attention once more to his driving. The face of that woman lingered in his mind -- but now what was this? Something else to distract him: a yellow sign was up ahead, and his heart sank when he could make out that it said DIVERSION in thick black letters, with an arrow underneath pointing to the left. Just beyond the sign, a long row of traffic cones had been placed in the road, curving to the left. He had no option but to steer to the left and enter the side road.

    Others had past this way before. It was always full of surprises.
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  3. #13
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    Something had been left on his desk. He froze, his paw still on the lamp. Who had been here? Someone had taken the trouble to penetrate the darkness and the debris of the abandoned Institution to leave an object on his desk. And someone had been expecting him to return. There was certainly no one else here now. The lack of fellow beings in this empty place was almost palpable. The object was a little bigger than a postcard, with a coloured background and something printed on it. He picked it up. It was torn down the right-hand edge, but none of the writing had been obscured. He half expected to be greeted with that sound that heralded a new addition to his Relto. But no, nothing like that happened. It was just a piece of card, torn from some larger object. He held it nearer the lamp so that he could make out the writing, and began to read:

    Imagine a world, once celebrated for its great beauty, its teeming wildlife, its turquoise seas, sparkling rivers, dense forests, exotic fruits, and peaceful inhabitants, who strove for knowledge of their universe ...

    The fur rose on the back of his neck. Of course. He remembered now. That dream. His visit to the bookshop and his conversation with the assistant manager.

    Imagine silencing ...
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    The Spoilers of L'nkhania.


    Ah, yes. L'nkhania. He stood in silence for some moments contemplating the card, wondering what that land might be like. He turned the card over. The back was blank, apart from one word, stamped emphatically in red ink:

    <span class="ev_code_RED">[SPOILERS]</span>
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  4. #14
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    Perhaps it was one of those old Roman roads. It was certainly straight enough. There was no hint of a bend. And it was quite narrow -- just room for another vehicle to pass ... although, oddly, there were no other vehicles. Geoffrey looked in his rear-view mirror. He could see a long way back, yet the road was completely empty. Surely, if all the traffic had been diverted he'd see some vehicles coming up behind. There was nothing in front either. The road converged to a vanishing point on the horizon. There were no houses. Just a narrow verge on either side, with thick undergrowth, and trees. Not particularly tall trees. Apart from its straightness, there was nothing remarkable about this road. Geoffrey could not recall ever having driven along it before. How far out of his way was it going to take him?

    Suddenly the engine coughed and the car began to slow. Geoffrey looked down at his dashboard with dismay to see the fuel warning light glowing. He pulled over on to the verge, out of petrol. Now he was going to have to ring someone and get them to come out here with some spare fuel. He fumbled in his pocket for his mobile phone and flicked it open. No signal! Now what was he going to do? He sighed deeply and stared out of the windscreen at the road stretching into the distance. The autumn leaves were drifting from the trees. The branches of that group of trees just ahead were moving gently in the breeze. The shape of the leaves against the overcast sky looked a little like a dog. Yes, like a poodle, running along by the side of the road.

    But this was no time for daydreaming. He'd have to do something before nightfall. He'd driven several miles down the road and he couldn't remember seeing a single house. There must be something up ahead. Yes, he'd walk up the road and get help. He got out of the car, closed the door, and pressed his key to activate the central locking. As he stood by the car he was struck by the quiet. He could hear no traffic, no birds singing. Just the breeze blowing fitfully through the branches. Still no cars approached from either direction. It didn't seem quite natural, and as he left the comparative safety of his car to begin his walk along the long road, he felt his first twinge of fear.
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  5. #15
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    L'nkhania. The Age seemed to be calling him. But where was it? How was he going to get there? Was there a hidden linking book somewhere? Perhaps he should call on some his old fellow explorers for help. He turned to his telephone. He'd had a landline installed in the Institution some time ago, as it had proven extremely inconvenient to keep going up to the surface every time he wanted to make a call. The LCD panel on his telephone informed him that he'd received one missed call. He didn't recognise the number. Oh well, there was only one way to find out. He held the receiver up to his ear, winced, and repositioned it against his unbandaged ear.

    BOOKS] Boo.. .ow can I ...p you?

    Books? Oh yes. Perhaps they'd found out some more information about that L'nkhania book. "Oh, hello. Ah. Yes. That must be the bookshop. I called in the other day. Umm, could I speak to the assistant manager, please?"

    You .ean Geoffrey? I'm ..raid ..'. no .onger ...loyed at this .stablish.....

    "What? It's not a very good line. You say he's no longer working there?"

    ..at's ri.... Unf.......... we ha. to ... ..m .o .eave.

    "What?" This was hopeless. It was like trying to understand what Achenar was on about without the advantage of a full complement of blue pages. "Who am I speaking to?"

    ..is is ...ter ..escott. I'm the man..... Who .. ....?

    "Oh, hello, Mr Escott. My name is Squirrel."

    ..at?

    "Professor Thietris Squirrel."

    ....essor Thie.... what?

    "Thietris Squirrel." Then he had a brainwave. He'd talk in the language those people in the bookshop seemed to understand. "[SQUIRREL] Squirrel."

    Aaa................gh......hh...!

    Oh dear. The Professor gently replaced the receiver and held a worried paw up to his face. He really must get that line checked.
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  6. #16
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    Geoffrey felt increasingly apprehensive as the distance from the relative safety of his car increased. The sound of his shoes scrunching on the loose grit seemed unnaturally loud in the quiet road. He stopped and looked back. His car was now just a small silver dot, parked on the verge in the far distance. Perhaps he should have stayed there. Somebody would have turned up, sooner or later. But still there had been no sign of any living creature. He turned again, reluctantly, and continued walking.

    He didn't know how long he'd been traipsing along this road, but it must have been at least a couple of hours. He had lost all track of time. The overcast sky gave no clue as to the position of the sun. Now, rather than hoping that someone would appear, he began to worry about what kind of person might be out here in a place like this, where there was no sign of habitation. Now he was as frightened of meeting somebody as not meeting somebody. But his was ridiculous. Take a grip, Geoffrey! He had merely been diverted from his normal route. Perhaps he was the last one through, and the main road had been reopened just after he'd passed those cones. Yes, that must be it. He continued, feeling a little bolder now that he felt he'd found a rational explanation.

    He stopped, suddenly. He saw something up in the far distance. A small speck, near the horizon. He quickened his pace now, feeling sure this meant that help lay up ahead. If that was a vehicle, he didn't want it to drive off before he got there. Yes, it was a car, parked up on the verge. He was approaching it from the rear. It was silver, a little like ..... no. No! Oh, no! This can't be!!
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  7. #17
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    Oh yes, the telephone. He was going to make a call. He scrolled to the number he wanted and pressed the call button. He held the receiver up to his (unbandaged) ear, and while he listened to the series of beeps and tones that were trying to connect him, he looked at that mysterious card that was enticing him to a place called L'nkhania. Just what was it about that--

    Hello. You have reached the Jashworth household. I am not available to answer your call at the moment, but if you would like to leave a message, please wait until after Land of Hope and Glory.

    The Professor raised his eyes briefly to the ceiling and waited for the strains of the music to run their course. At least the line was much clearer this time ... Tho' thy way be darkened, still in splendour drest, As the star that [click]

    "Oh, ah, er, Jash. It's Professor Thietris here. I wonder if you wouldn't mind popping over to the Institution. There's the possibility of another adventure, and I think I'm going to need some help. Oh, and could you bring your Hoover with you? It's got a bit dusty in here since my last visit." The Professor ran his paw along the surface of the desk to reveal a narrow shiny track that reflected the lamplight. "Umm ... if you're not able to make it, though, don't worry. I quite understand if you're too busy. ... Well, might speak to you later then. ... Bye."
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  8. #18
    "Where to madam?"

    "The Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds, if you please cabbie."

    "And are we taking this ma-am?" said the taxi driver looking at the grey and yellow Dyson vacuum cleaner on the pavement outside Jash's front garden gate.

    "Yes, yes, that's coming too. It can go in the boot."

    "And the feather duster?"

    "No, no, I'll carry that myself."

    "Yes," said Jash moments later as the taxi cab carrying her and her vacuum cleaner pulled away from her house, "I've been summoned by the CEO of the Institution. It seems he needs my help on some new adventure."

    "Oh yes, ma-am"

    "But apparently he wants me to do a little hoovering up and light dusting at the offices first."

    "Yes ma-am"

    "I'm surprised that he called me and not the cleaning company to do the work."

    "Yes ma-am."

    "But he is the CEO, Managing Director and President of the Institution so who am I, a humble analyst to argue? I'd better do as he asks."

    "Yes ma-am."

    "It's funny but I did a very similar journey just a few weeks ago when my Dyson needed repairing."

    "Yes ma-am."

    "I had to take it in a taxi to the repair shop. It needed a new motor, so it's practically a brand new machine. And it should be given the price they charged me!"

    "Yes ma-am"

    Jash could witter on like this for hours. She would talk to and divulge her business to practically anyone she came in contact with, but taxi drivers were her favourite. Was her ready friendliness with complete strangers a result of her childhood spent in the north-west of England? Yes, you can take the woman out of Lancashire but can you take Lancashire out of the woman?

    Jash continued with her small talk for a half hour or so until the taxi pulled up outside an imposing, ornately-carved, red sandstone Victorian building standing on a forgotten corner of the Tottenham Court Road.

    "Here we are madam, the Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds."

    "Thank-you cabbie," said Jash handing him the fare and climbing out of the car.

    A few minutes later Jash was left alone on the pavement looking up at the imposing façade, the Dyson vacuum cleaner by her side and the feather duster held aloft in her left hand.

    "Right," she said, "I have work to do!"
    [
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  9. #19
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    Geoffrey stared at his car in disbelief. He had left it several miles back down the road, walked until his feet ached, and yet here it was again. Shaking his head and stifling a sob, he pointed his keys at the vehicle and pressed the button. The central locking disengaged with a click. He climbed into the driver's seat, screwed his eyes closed and held a finger and thumb to the bridge of his nose. Was he going mad? Was this actually his car? The registration number was the same. The keys worked. Could he start the engine? No, he was still out of fuel. He opened the glove compartment. Yes, all the documents were there, and even the peppermint aroma from the opened packet of extra-strong mints that he'd put there the other day wafted into the interior. He placed a mint into his mouth and crunched it vigorously as he tried to make sense of his situation. Could the road actually be circular rather than dead straight as it appeared? No, surely there would have been some indication of the place where he'd joined it. So how could he possibly have arrived back at the place he'd started from? He stared through the windscreen at the road vanishing to the horizon, and at the trees on either side, their yellow leaves falling gently to the ground. Perhaps he'd dozed off in his car and only imagined that he'd trekked off down the road. It had seemed real enough, but perhaps the stress of losing his job had got to him more than he realised. Yes, that must be it. Thank good-- He stopped chewing his mint. The trees were different. Where was that poodle? Where was that group of trees that looked like a dog bounding towards him?

    He got out of the car and stood in the middle of the road. He turned -- and gasped when that familar sight came suddenly into view. There was that stupid dog in the trees, but he'd had to turn through 180 degrees to see it. He tried to figure this out: he'd left his car several miles down the road only to find it again where it could not possibly have been, except that he'd arrived back at the place he'd started from but from the opposite direction. He crouched in the road, put his hands up to his face, and --like his car -- broke down.
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  10. #20
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    "Good morning, madam. How may I help you?" enquired the girl at the reception desk with the blonde hair and the dark suit. Well, at least the suit was a little on the tight side. Yes, she should could certainly do with losing a few pounds.

    "I've come to see Professor Thietris," replied Jash, smiling sweetly.

    "Certainly. Would you place all your items on the conveyor belt, please, as they will have to be scanned."

    The feather duster was easy enough, but the Dyson required considerably more effort. Even a deftly applied knee beneath the vacuum cleaner was insufficient to raise it to the required height. Fortunately, a uniformed security officer, attracted by language unbecoming to the Institute of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds, appeared to lend a hand. "There we are, Miss ..."

    "Jash. Thank you."

    "My pleasure. I say, you're not the Jash who was with the Professor in Giza, by any chance?"

    "The very one!"

    "Well I never! May I possibly have your autograph?"

    The autograph having been given, a happy security officer retreated to his post near the door, and the receptionist said, rather sourly, "That all seems to be in order, madam. Now, may I see some form of identification, please?"

    Jash presented her passport.

    "This photograph was obviously taken some years ago, madam. But it will suffice," smiled the receptionist. "Here is your electronic key. Go down the corridor to your left, and insert the card into the lock by the door marked 'Strictly Private. No Admittance'."

    Jash thanked the receptionist and proceeded in the direction indicated, towing the Dyson behind her. She passed other business women towing suitcases on wheels, who smirked when they saw the vacuum cleaner. One gentleman seated in a chair in the corridor, apparently awaiting an appointment, automatically raised his feet as she passed. The corridor was long and straight, with a high ceiling and gothic arched windows along one side. Rather institutional, perhaps.

    Jash found the door and inserted her key as instructed. She walked into a large empty room. The door clicked shut behind her with a loud echo. Her heels clipped loudly on the polished floor as she crossed the room to a large machine that seemed somehow to be demanding her attention. Perhaps it was the blue flashing arrow pointing to a slot at the side. She inserted her card. A green light appeared and the card ejected. A panel slid open, and there on a shelf was a linking book. She placed the palm of her hand on the open page.

    ...

    The Professor looked up from his desk at the sound of footsteps scrunching on the old tiled floor. He smiled as a familiar face came into view, reflected in the dim light from the desk lamp. "Ah! Good afternoon, Jash!"
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