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

  1. #21
    "Good afternoon Professor," replied Jash smiling back.

    "Now don't tell me. You need my help. There is a great deal of history I should know. You can't send me to 'wherever' with a way back. But if this all goes well ……… Am I right? Or do you just need me to do some light housework? Either way I cannot stay long as I have left a chicken on a low light."

    The Professor looked up and said …..
    [
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  2. #22
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    "Whoa! Take a seat. Calm down. There isn't actually a great deal of history I can tell you. And I can't send you anywhere, not just yet. The chicken can look after its-"

    "What have you done to your ear?"

    "Oh, someone tried to kill me."

    For some reason, Jash found this immensely amusing. "I'm sorry, Professor," she said, trying to stifle her mirth. "But you just sound so melodramatic."

    "It's not a laughing matter, Jash. Someone took a shot at me."

    "Have you been to the police?"

    "Attempted murder of a squirrel is not actually a criminal offence. I could have lodged a complaint with the RSPCA, I suppose, but they might have just put in a cage until they could find me a 'good home'." The Professor described imaginary quote marks in the air with his paws. "Anyway, a lot of people consider us greys to be vermin, an import from America, ousting the red from its natural habitat."

    "But you're not an ordinary squirrel."

    Thank you, Jash. That's appreciated. But I think I was in danger of reverting back to one out on the Downs of southern England. But no. I mustn't think about that. This is my home." He spread his paws wide as if to indicate the extent of his domain. "This is where I feel I have some control. This cavern will remain the base for advanced exploration of Myst worlds ... which brings me to this item, which I found on my desk." He slid the torn card across the dusty surface.

    Jash studied the card for some minutes, then looked up into the Professor's face. "L'nkhania," she said quietly. "How do we get there?"

    The Professor shrugged his shoulders in the typical way that squirrels do.
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  3. #23
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    The blackness blotted out the impossibility of his situation, but Geoffrey could not stay crouched in the middle of the road with his palms pressed against his eyes for ever. A sound intruded into his brain -- a loud, insistent chord like the siren of an ocean liner filled his head. He opened his eyes to see a huge truck bearing down upon him. It was only feet away. He couldn't move. He was frozen to the spot. He closed his eyes tight, his clenched fists held in front of his face, awaiting the impending impact.

    And there was silence again. He forced himself to look up. The road was empty. He turned. The road was empty that way too. He stood up, slowly. His legs ached, cramped with crouching and the long walk along that road. He must get away from here. Which way? Which way? He stumbled a few yards in one direction, stopped, turned, and headed the other way. He decided he would just keep going. Until the end of the road. Or until exhaustion or madness finally overtook him. His shirt hung out now. His hair was unkempt with drying sweat. But on and on he staggered.

    Was it becoming a little more misty? Was that far horizon a little less distinct? Was there something up ahead? A small rectangle near the horizon? He prayed that it was not a third apparition of his abandoned car. The rectangle grew larger as he approached. No, it wasn't his car. Well, that was a relief. It was ... a huge rectangle, supported by scaffolding. A network of rusting poles covered the surface of the rectangle. More poles ran vertically and entered the ground. Yet more protruded at an angle and penetrated the ground in front of the rectangle. What on earth could it be? The ground became stonier as he approached, and the mist thickened. As he drew level with the massive object, he found himself trying to avoid large boulders strewn across the road. In fact, the road itself seemed to be disappearing. He looked up at the rectangle looming out of the yellowing mist. Then he realised: of course! He was looking at an enormous sign, supported by scaffolding, viewed from the rear. He must get round to the front to read what it said. He stumbled against the boulders, almost falling as the ground started to fall away in front of him. He could hardly see anything in front of him now, so thick was the fog. The ground continued to slope away from him, but now at last he was in front of the sign. He peered up. The rectangle was silhouetted against the grey sky, and wisps of fog parted to reveal whitish, sloping, rusting letters against a blue background. His mouth fell open as he read the words:

    WELCOME TO L'NKHANIA
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  4. #24
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    "How do we know that it actually exists? I mean, there isn't a lot to go on, is there? Just some dream that you said you had, and that piece of paper that landed on your desk." Jash had been applying her feather duster to the stonework around the fountain in the main courtyard, and paused as she looked towards the Professor, who was fighting with the Dyson at the base of the stairs leading to the bridge.

    "Don't forget, Jash, we also have the the words of that assistant manager in the bookshop -- what was his name? Geoffrey -- he looked it up on his database, and he mentioned something that sounded very much like a linking book to the Age of L'nkhania." The Professor peered through the tube that he'd detached from the vacuum cleaner. "Ah! That must fit in there." He was now vacuuming the old staircase, making full use of the extendible hose of the Dyson. "Phew! Well, that's this floor finished. Shall we make a start on the next level? I'll just haul this heavy machine up these stairs -- and then give you a hand with the feather duster."

    "That's very kind of you Professor," said Jash, failing to appreciate his ironic tone.

    "But I could do with a rest first. Let's go to the Side Door, and see if I can organise some coffee."

    The two explorers made their way to the old cafe. They scrunched their way across the old floor, wending their between the tables with their stacked chairs, to the counter. The Professor found an old sack of coffee beans, and proceeded to grind them on a very noisy machine while Jash took a couple of chairs from one of the tables and applied her feather duster where necessary.

    The Professor poured the ground coffee into the coffee-making machine and waited for it to brew. Some of the levers had become a little stiff from lack of use, but it was not long before the aroma of arabica filled the air. He found a couple of Side Door mugs (very collectable, bearing the silhouette of a man falling into a cleft) and poured the coffee.

    It's a bit dead in here," remarked Jash as the Professor brought the mugs over to the table. Can you put some music on?"

    "I'll see what I can find." He went over to the stack of CDs behind the counter, selected one and put it on the music player. He returned to the table and sat on the chair beside Jash. She put the steaming mug to her lips and grimaced. Unsurprisingly, the coffee was not the freshest she'd tasted. She put her mug down and listened to the music that had just started to play. Ah, where was that handsome Arab she's met all that time ago? She could just imagine him taking her in his arms and dancing between the tables. She sighed and looked briefly at the strange rodent sitting across from her, who was also grimacing, showing his yellow teeth, after tasting the coffee.

    As the Professor stared into his mug, Jash rose from the table as though in a trance, and, looking into the eyes of an imaginary partner, her arm curled around an invisible shoulder, she danced with her dream between the old tables with their stacked-up chairs, her shoes rasping as they turned on the ancient gritty tiles.

    Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high
    There's a land that I heard of
    Once in a lullaby.

    Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue
    And the dreams that you dare to dream
    Really do come true.
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  5. #25
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    As Jash continued to pirouette between the tables with her imaginary dancing partner, the Professor became aware of a sound that did not seem to belong to the music. It was a sort of intermittent warbling. His phone! he dashed to his office, the insistent warbling now dominating the room as the strains of The Wizard of Oz faded into the background.

    "Professor Thietris."

    ...

    "What? You sound a bit faint. Who is this speaking?

    ...

    "Geoffrey? Ah, Geoffrey from the bookshop. Good to hear from you. Did you manage to find out some more information? Oh, but you're not working--"

    ...

    "What?"

    ...

    "You're where?"

    ...

    "Yes ... Yes, I'm still here. How--

    ...

    "Now calm down. So you left the car park. Right. Now, which road were you driving down?

    ...

    "I see. Well, goodness me! Can you describe what it looks-- Hello? Hello?"

    Geoffrey's description had been cut off by a sudden noise and a muffled cry. The line had gone dead. The Professor continued to hold the phone to his ear, staring into space, as the faint music wafted in from the Side Door.

    Because, because, because, because, because

    "Jash! Jash!" The Professor raced out of his office, just in time to catch the sound of someone linking out. Jash had left. A chicken will not wait for ever -- not even on a low light.
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  6. #26
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    Dang Jash's chicken! The Professor hopped about in a frenzy wondering what to do next, then dashed back to his office with an idea. He dismissed this idea as soon as he'd settled back in his office chair and picked up the phone. He replaced the receiver. No. Something told him not to call the police. Maybe Geoffrey had just dropped his phone. He'd certainly sounded rather excited before the line went dead. Maybe he'd been hurt though. Goodness! He might even have been attacked. Wasn't it a little irresponsible to leave someone to his fate without doing anything to help? He lifted the receiver. He'd have to phone the local American police and explain that he'd received a call from someone in England -- well, no, not England exactly, but .... He replaced the receiver again.

    Then he had another idea. Google maps! Of course! His office was now equipped with a computer, so he dusted it down, fired it up and opened his browser. Having accessed Google maps and found the familiar outline of the United Kingdom, he zoomed into the town where the bookshop was situated. Geoffrey had said that he'd taken the main road south, before being diverted along an unfamiliar, long, straight lane. That was about as much detail as he'd time to give. The Professor, looking down on to the landscape in satellite mode, soon found the main road, snaking its way southward beyond the ring road. There were several side turnings, some leading to industrial estates, or to housing estates, or through routes to various other towns and villages. He couldn't find what he was looking for. He clicked and dragged his mouse to follow the road further south, past what looked like a private gated driveway. He scanned further down still. No, there was nothing that looked promising down there.

    He dragged his mouse back up to the gated driveway. It was clearly a private entrance. A low sun had been shining when these views had been taken, and he could make out the shadow of the barred gate falling across the road. He zoomed in and dragged his mouse to view further along to the east. It was certainly very straight -- and long. Several screens later he was still viewing this same driveway. Could this be Geoffrey's lane? If so, why should he have been directed along someone's private driveway? On and on the lane stretched, disappearing occasionally beneath overhanging trees in full leaf. An then, quite suddenly, it just petered out. And beyond it was an irregularly shaped dark patch, with no vegetation. What on earth could it be? There was only one way to find out.
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  7. #27
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    "Tracey? Would you organise a car for me, please? I shall be linking into the London office in approximately ... 30 minutes. The destination must remain a secret, but I imagine it will be a couple of hours' drive. Thank you."

    Professor T replaced the receiver and scribbled a hasty note to Jash, should she survive the chicken and decide to revisit the Institution. He threw some essentials into a backpack and linked out.

    He linked back in, threw his toothbrush into the backpack, and linked out again.

    The car was like any other London taxi cab, and attracted no attention as it negotiated the streets of south London. An hour and a half later, the Professor found himself by the roadside on a scrubby bit of verge, distinguished by nothing more than the remains of a campfire. He found the gate, five-barred and padlocked. A small white sign was nailed to it, but it was so old that most of the writing had long since faded. But, staring at it closely, he was almost sure he could distinguish the word 'Quarry'.

    He hopped over the gate, hooked his paws into the straps of his backpack, and set off down a long, straight, tree-lined road.
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  8. #28
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    It's a long lane that has no turning. And this was a long lane. A despondent Professor T plodded on and on under the grey skies of late autumn. This featureless English countryside seemed far from promising as a portal to another world, and indeed the Professor was beginning to think he was on wild goose chase. What if this was the wrong road? What if Geoffrey has having some sort of fantasy when he'd made his phone call? After all, he had just lost his job and might have felt a little traumatised. What if ... the Professor stopped. The sudden ceasing of the rhythmic movements of his backpack made the silence all the more intense. How could Geoffrey have phoned from another Age? It would not be possible surely? If only he'd been able to speak to Jash before his departure from the Institution. A sensible explorer like her would have seen the foolishness of this venture straight away.

    He turned. The lane stretched back to a vanishing point on the far horizon, as far in that direction as in the other. A single rook cawed. Well, he might as well see this thing through. Keep right on till the end of the-- what was that? Something up ahead interrupted the featureless straight lines of the road. A vehicle. He slowed his pace, looking this way and that. He had the uncomfortable feeling that he was being watched. He approached the car cautiously, but could see that there was no one in it. But who would park a car out here in the middle of nowhere? There was nobody in sight. Ah! Could it be Geoffrey's car? But then, why would he have turned it round to face in this direction? As he was pondering this, he heard a noise. He scampered up a nearby tree, which was a little difficult with the backpack, and settled himself comfortably out of view on a branch.

    The noise grew louder. A black speck appeared far down the lane, from the direction in which he was travelling. It was a motorcyclist. The bike was a big, powerful machine and, like its rider, was completely black. It slowed and came to a halt just behind the car. The rider gave a quick blip to the throttle and turned the engine off. The figure remained on the bike, black leather-clad legs astride the machine, black boots planted firmly on the ground. The head, clad in a full glossy black helmet, seemed to be contemplating the car ahead, though you could see nothing of the features as the face was covered by a black tinted visor. Unhurriedly, the figure removed a pair of leather gauntlets. Did I say they were black?

    The Professor watched, transfixed, from his secret vantage point. The figure seemed particularly sinister out here, the glossy black of motorcycle and rider providing an emphatic presence against the greyness of the English autumn. He was reminded of the Bahro and felt a touch of fear. And those gauntlets, and the oh-so casual way they were removed, as though nothing could possibly happen to change the inevitability of the rider's intent, took him right back to Gehn's 233rd Age.

    The rider dismounted and pulled the heavy machine up onto its stand. The figure strode towards the car, pulled open a jacket pocket, and produced a set of keys. The car door was opened easily and the figure leant in, shortly afterwards emerging with a sheaf of papers. The car door was locked and the keys replaced in the pocket. It was as the figure turned to walk back to the motorcycle that the Professor's jaw dropped open. Emblazoned across the back of the rider's jacket, scarlet against the black leather, was a single word: <span class="ev_code_RED">[SPOILERS]</span>.
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  9. #29
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    Professor T waited in his tree until the motorcyclist was a dot on the horizon. He was convinced now that he had come to the right place -- but who or what were these Spoilers? What on earth was that rider up to? What did it all mean? It was with a sense of excitement now that he descended to ground level. He continued on down the road, passing the abandoned car with a spring in his step, feeling he was on the verge of a new adventure.

    After two more hours of walking along the interminable featureless lane, he spied something in the distance. As he grew nearer, he became puzzled. There was something across the road. It was a gate. A five-barred gate. Padlocked. It looked disconcertingly familiar. Had he walked all that way, along a dead straight road, only to reach the place he'd started out from? But there was something odd. Beyond the gate, there was the main road. A car drove by, but on the wrong side of the road. Another car was approaching from the opposite direction. No! The Professor raised a worried paw to his mouth, waiting for the inevitable impact. But none came. The other car was also on the wrong side of the road. Every vehicle that drove past was travelling on the right, instead of on the left. Then he looked at the registration plates. They looked foreign. Could this be L'nkhania? It looked like England, but ... no, those number plates were all back to front.

    He hopped through the bars of the gate. He remembered there had been a small sign fixed to the front. Yes, there it was. He could make out the letters 'yrrauQ'. Slowly, he raised a paw to his left ear. There was no bandage. Now he examined his other ear. There was the bandage! He walked along the verge bordering the main road, seeking to confirm his suspicions. Yes, there was a road sign, with the strange back to front lettering again. The familiar place names were there, but as though viewed in a mirror.

    He had entered a looking-glass version of England.
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  10. #30
    Professor Thietris Squirrel, CEO, President and Managing Director, Institution of Advanced Exploration of Myst Worlds Thietris's Avatar
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    The Professor returned to the five-barred gate and settled himself behind a gatepost to ponder his strange situation. He seemed to recall a news report some weeks previously about a man who returned from a country walk to find himself looking at the world as though through a mirror. Could he have walked this same route as the Professor? The man in question was anxious to keep his situation from his employer, in case he lost his job. It must have been very difficult for him though ... being a violinist. Unable to procure a left-handed instrument at short notice, he began his rehearsal with the orchestra with the chin rest in completely the wrong position and the strings the wrong way round. To everyone else, of course, it looked as though he'd suddenly decided to play the instrument left-handed. Even worse, he placed his music stand behind him, and positioned a cheval mirror, borrowed from the spare bedroom, in front of him so that he could read the score, but then he had trouble turning the pages. Needless to say, this did not have the desired effect of keeping his condition a secret, and he was dismissed on the spot. "That way," had been the last words of the irate conductor, pointing his baton at the exit.

    The Professor pondered this further. What if you were born to see the world the other way round from other people? There were after all, two possible views of reality -- why do we experience one particular version rather than its reflected counterpart? But if you saw the world as a mirror image from birth, your left would be other people's right, and reading everything 'backwards' would seem perfectly normal. Perhaps many of us live in this mirror world. Would there be any way of finding out?
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