February 2010 to May 2010

I have compiled this chronological account from journal entries and notes written by individuals at the time. The events follow on from those chronicled by Ms Dot in History: Nov 2009 to Feb 2010, although I have repeated a few entries here in order to give some context to what follows.

My aim is to communicate the urgency and the reasoning behind my actions and research.

Quinquifid Oddenfen

:::  F E B R U A R Y  :::

=== February 5 ===

I linked back to Devokan to check how things were going with preparations for the final evacuation and to tell the others of my plans: the laboratory I set up in the new world, and some of the equipment I have been able to bring across.

My hope is to tap into the growing strength of the sphere above the standing stones that have reappeared in Devokan.

It will be a risk — I don’t completely understand the underlying mechanisms — but given the choice between that and the complete loss of that wonderful island, one worth taking.

So I am going to stay in the new world, monitoring the instruments, trying to control and focus whatever it was that enabled this transport of living and non-living matter, and that was growing strongly by the hour.

I shook hands with each of them, wished them luck (as they did me), and returned to the spheres’ source world.

=== February 7 ===

Devokan is no more.

As I watched from my temporary lab
in the spheres’ source world
over the last few hours, one by one
the monitors went blank.

First Selenitica’s satellite mine,

then Selenitica itself,

then the Lost Pages sphere,

then the beautiful island of Devokan.

I weep.

=== February 10 ===

Two solid days, sitting there in the laboratory, watching, adjusting a slider here, a knob there; hoping against hope that the conjectures and calculations about the spheres might have some substance to them, that my efforts might not be in vain.

Utterly exhausted, I emerged from the lab this morning, and linked.

The island was transformed!

Somehow, the land had been remoulded into the hills and valleys of our lost Devokan.

As I watched, rocks, streams, plants seemed to form out of the atmosphere — a crystalline shimmering in the air, and then the wood, the waterfalls, the sounds,…

I walked in a daze, looking around me in awe. It all fitted — the geology, the ecology, all matched.

The island has come home.

=== February 16 ===

I have been here in the spheres’ source world for nearly two weeks now. Most of that time has been spent monitoring the equipment, checking, adjusting.

I am feeling lost, bereft. This place is both Devokan and not-Devokan. Where is my home? Where do I belong?

Perhaps I have been pushing myself too hard. Must link back to Winterfell. Talk to someone.

=== February 17 ===

Where is everyone? I link back to the Keep building in Winterfell, and there is no one here!

Fortunately, Mr Fax Palladin contacted me soon after I linked in. The ensuing conversation was enlightening and helpful.

It seems that in the same weekend that Devokan was destroyed (and Mr Palladin was there to observe it), access to the Uru cavern was regained. That might explain why no one is here in Winterfell. Miss Dot was one of the exiles from the D’ni city — she would be eager to rejoin her colleagues there.

=== February 19 ===

I have taken Mr Palladin’s advice. I have gone to the cavern.

The initial dream? vision? as I first linked in was most poignant: Destruction has indeed come to us at Devokan…

Must find a way, make a home…

=== February 22 ===

Keeping myself busy with exploring, experimenting, writing.

It all helps a little, but the black mood upon me is strong.

=== February 25 ===

A chance encounter with Miss Dot’s friend Ametist in the Uru cavern. She suggested I spend some time alone, taking the Journey, the one that starts in the desert.

Picked up some supplies from the Keep (enough for a fortnight) and left a note for Miss Dot and Miss Paislee — they might be getting concerned about me. Not seen them since the 5th of February.

::: M A R C H :::

=== March 1 ===

Received a KI mail from Miss Dot, requesting a meeting. She and others would like to visit spheres’ source world, possibly to develop a base there.

Sent KI mail back suggesting that we met up in Eder Gira.

Mood is beginning to lift at last.

=== March 5 ===

As arranged, Miss Dot arrived at Eder Gira and, after helping me with those troublesome fish baskets, we linked back to my Relto and from thence to the Keep at Winterfell.

There I explained how to link to the spheres’ source world, and potential problems and difficulties. Dot was not to be persuaded otherwise: she was determined to visit this other world — she said how some friends of hers were about to lose their own home base in a world called There, and how she hoped there might be a possibility of finding a place for them in this new world.

So we linked. For once, the journey went remarkably smoothly. Things seemed much the same as I had left them. My laboratory in the sky was still intact, though the machinery sounded as though it could do with a few more squirts of oil.

Dot was most interested in how the small sphere was held in place. I based that machine on a more primitive kind I found in what I assume is a temple of some description, on the island I have called Deepwater. (Though I say ‘more primitive’, if I am honest with myself, the magnitude of the flux measurements I took in Deepwater astonished me: that ‘primitive’ mechanism is able to cope with forces far greater than I would like to test in my laboratory.)

I warned her not to get too close to the sphere: it hovers over what warrior Nalates would call a space-time ‘wormhole’ — an ugly term ill-suited to the depth of beauty and majesty that can be glimpsed within it.

We then descended to the island of Skysong and from there to the transported island of Devokan Touchstone.

There, to my shock and Dot’s immense surprise, we were greeted by a man. She had met Mr Mat Mahogany before; the last time in Selenitica, when it was about to be burned up by its sun. He was there in his spaceship and helped with the evacuation.

The subsequent discussion we had, which lasted into the small hours of the morning, is likely to have momentous consequences in the days to come.

Mr Mahogany took us to his home island of Tallis in the spheres’ source world — many miles by sea, though a few seconds by his teleportation device.

We were shocked to recognise that it had the familiar terrain of Devokan, though the buildings were alien. Yes, in this new world there are two islands with the same terrain as Devokan. Mr Mahogany was as puzzled as we were.

=== March 9 ===

Because the instruments I have in place in the laboratory over the island I have called Skysong, next to the transported Devokan Touchstone, were indicating a further build-up of flux in the spheres, I decided to investigate further.

I linked back to the Keep at Winterfell to pick up some more equipment.

Just as I was placing the last device into its heavy-duty travelcase, Miss Paislee turned up, full of curiosity about what was happening. She asked if she may return with me — for she had been struck by that world’s eerie beauty when she had inadvertently been linked there before.

I was initially reluctant, because of the potential instability. However, she was most insistent, and so I agreed.

We linked, and at once Miss Paislee saw the cause of my unease: the two islands sharing the same terrain. What is more, Tallis and Devokan Touchstone are now side by side — something I had not expected! I have heard of parallel universes, of course, but seeing this happen in reality was quite startling.

I am hoping that Mr Mahogany might be able to shed some light on this mysterious occurrence.

=== March 14 ===

Today Miss Dot and her friends said goodbye to yet another world in which they had made homes during the exile from the Cavern. I found her account of the event quite moving:

An hour before the world known as ‘There’ was due to vanish, I linked in to Uru Island where many from The Meeting Place hood and other friends had gathered.

I left after a little while, to spend time alone in Eder Devokan, the mountain valley in Aurora Island that sengel, Ivy and I had purchased deeds for in early May 2008. Slowly, I walked around the neighbourhood, saying a personal farewell to Eder Devokan, and to each of the areas so carefully developed and built by people like Paislee, Ilf, Lareh, blutec, Ivy, sengel, Stejovis, as well as remembering those by JimQ and Nynaveve.

As midnight approached, I climbed to the top of sengel’s waterfall to watch and wait. A few seconds after taking one last photograph, I blacked out. Destruction had come.

I awoke a moment later in Relto. I checked my KI, and saw one by one the names of friends and neighbours appear on the list. They too were linking to their Reltos. I used the hood book and waited there, by the fountain. And so we gathered — an exodus from the world many had made their home since the first exile from the Cavern, together with friends who had known no other. It was an emotional time for many.

After this, Miss Dot had linked back to the Keep, but Miss Paislee and I had not returned from our travels. So once again — this time on her own — she followed my earlier instructions and made it back to the spheres’ source world.

We discussed what should be done next. Miss Paislee spoke of her intention to remain in this world, to maybe settle here. I will continue with my research over Skysong. Mr Mahogany has made us all most welcome here.

=== March 21 ===

Miss Paislee sent me the most charming note:

Looking out over Curiosity toward Devokan Touchstone this morning,  I finally feel I’m home in this new land. Ships at anchor offshore promise adventure and new friendships. The strange familiarity of my new surroundings brings comfort and ease.

Busying myself with settling in here has soothed the loss of our beloved Devokan. Life is strange… The old saying about the closing of one door opening another has come true for us.

This house on the hill is for all to share — a place enjoy the sweet music of this new world, to remember old joys and shared experiences of the past, and to savor the company of friends, both new and old.

Only meant to write a quick line! Must take my leave to lay a fire in the fireplace and prepare for company…

I wonder what the future holds?

=== March 21 ===

I have copied this entry from Mr Mahogany’s journal.

I have been looking everywhere I can, but still I cannot find my old diary. I had it before the light and the planet shook, and I lost my mind. All that remains of it was one entry I found on the floor, torn from my book.

The gentleman called Quin has given me a new  book, as a gift to make my record. And so I write today as though it was the first day, the new beginning to my life.

Today… I have only just found my senses, I believed it all to be a dream, and that each day that passed, I would rise up, and see old familiar ground. But as each day passed, that dream faded, and so I have come to realise, finally, that from now on, this is what is, and all that was has been. It is no more.

I notice, it is different here. Not just because of the way that the islands are now merged and mixed up, but in other ways too.

I feel a sort of tingling in the air.

There is a metal taste in my mouth, and the smell of the sea is very strong. The fish have left me too, so I have to go to other places.

I walked today, over the newly formed islands to explore. This was where I noticed the harsh flavours were more obvious.

The identical island named ‘Touchstone’ is possibly the most electrifying. I can feel the hairs on my arm rise up and my pulse quicken. As though I can feel the very insides of the planet want to pull me over.

It’s different and I think it will not be the same again.

=== March 28 ===

Over the past week I have been systematically pacing the islands in a grid pattern, using a portable flux monitor to map out readings in each area.

While I would not put it quite so poetically as Mr Mahogany, I can confirm that there is indeed a build-up of activity on the island to the west of Tallis, the ‘new’ island of Devokan Touchstone that we suspect is the one that the spheres transferred across.

The flux is particularly strong towards the southeast, roughly where Miss Dot’s keep was in the old world.

=== March 31 ===

Miss Paislee showed me a poem she has composed:

New Land

Tonight there is a glow about the land.
Shimmery glimmers evoke gentle thoughts.
Memories of times past, friends recalled.

Earthy scents waft from the soil
As fireflies rise from the soft new grass
To brush against our outstretched arms.

Dusk bestows its gentle touch upon us
Envelops us in its soothing silence.
A quiet celebration of life’s goodness.

Peace to you, friends, in this new land.

It seems she has found a home here. If only I could feel the same…

::: A P R I L :::

=== April 2 ===

Miss Paislee and Mr Mahogany are busy building and landscaping. Miss Dot drops by occasionally to see progress. My work continues. I keep myself to myself here in my lab.

=== April 4 ===

I have heard from warrior Nalates:

I am still having nightmares of the invaders. So, I did some searching using the technology I took from my destroyed home and what I learned studying the spheres and talking with you. I did not find the invaders. I feel better. Not yet at peace.

Exciting. I did find new worlds. One had an island I liked. I decided to “appropriate” it. Using the tech I have I moved it to the world we moved most of Devokan to. Unsure if I could pull this off, I planned to move it out to the west of Devokan in open water. It’s still not completely stable. It phases in and out of existence. But, it is mostly there.

I remember my surprise at finding an old D’ni world in my search. It is mostly in ruins, totally uninhabited. My search gear would let me find single shrew on the planet. I’m certain no one is there. I found an interesting building. I did not recognize it as D’ni. But, there are traces of D’ni technology, records, various guild symbols… obviously some central meeting place for the old D’ni guilds. Considering the guild hall and palace in Ae’gura this must be some kind of outpost. I am so intrigued.

I decided I needed a base of operations and place to build tools to control the spheres and a power station. I’m still not sure how the spheres we have encountered are energized. As long as they are not completely in my control I have doubts about using the technology.

I’ve started building on the island… mine now I guess. I shipped and received the barrels from the old D’ni guild hall from Earth to here. I’ve started building storage for them in the new basement. I’ve got computer equipment set up to study the spheres and see if I can stabilize the island. Once I have my stuff working I’ll try to pull the ancient building in. With any luck I can reach back and pull the building from a much earlier time when the building was in better shape. I suspect I better be careful. If I break it in an earlier time I might destroy the building in following times too. Then I might not be able to retrieve it.

=== April 9 ===

The flux around some of the islands continues to increase.

As far as I can tell, there seem to be two separate processes at work — one of which is causing quite drastic changes to the island of Devokan Touchstone. I met Mr Mahogany earlier today, and he showed me what was going on. He is somewhat concerned.

Tying it in with the systematic flux readings I have been taking over the last week or so, it seems that there is a direct link between flux intensity and amount of change in terrain. Devokan Touchstone now has a deep crack running its length, and parts of the terrain are being pushed (or pulled?) upwards. One example of the latter is in the SW corner, where readings were particularly high.

The other process my instruments have picked up (it has quite a different ‘signature’ to the other) — I assume that that is occasioned by the smaller spheres over the ocean to the south of Nalates’ island. They look an interesting development; I have not seen the spheres emit ‘sparks’ before. I must ask Nalates what she thinks is going on there.

=== April 11 ===

Nalates has responded:

I’m not sure how related some of these things are. I have one captive sphere and 4 or 5 semi-controlled spheres on my island and south of my islands. I have no idea if they are having an effect on Touchstone. If you see a connection, let me know.

The test sphere, the one I call captive, is in the building I’m putting up on my island. You can see it best from the third floor. The computer controls are in the basement right now. I adapted the computers I use to monitor the phasing in and out of the islands to control the spheres until I can get more equipment.

I have the “elevators” working. Traveling forward I brought back some technology and used it to make getting around easier.

The other spheres are being used to capture the old D’ni building I found. You’ll find those to the south of my island in what was open water. Some of the terrain is being pulled across now. I am trying to slow the process until I can learn more about the spheres… or at least the process they use. The new terrain should be reasonably stable, for now.

One of the things I did notice is changing the energy source has shifted some of the effects in the sphere’s process into the visible spectrum.

=== April 12 ===

Miss Paislee reported a dream she had:

Last night I had a dream.  It’s not often I remember my dreams, but this one was a revelation from which I awakened trembling….

In my dream, I was wandering about these worlds — free to travel where I chose. While crossing the mountain toward the pods, I stumbled in my dream. I must have hit my brow on a stone for I remember nothing until I dreamed.

In my dream I opened my eyes and beheld a weird and wonderful sight! Spun out before me as far as my eyes could see was a giant weaving of string…like the web of a giant spider. But ’twas no simple circular web I beheld, but a weaving so cunning, so cleverly made of colored strands interlaced and folded back upon themselves that I could not comprehend it all.

The earth on which I stood was not solid earth. I could see through to the bones of the world… I could see through the mountain to Devokan Touchstone. In a panic I gazed upward and saw a giant net canopy enveloping everthing. Stunned… I realized I must be dreaming yet I dared not take a single step for fear I would fall through….

My senses returned and my forehead throbbed. Gingerly I touched my temple to see how badly I was hurt and caught a glimpse of my insubstantial hand! For not only was this world made of a giant’s Cat’s Cradle, but my hand was as well!

I don’t remember waking from my dream, if it was a dream. But this morning I took a spade to the mushroom patch and dug a deep hole, thinking perhaps I could find the strings that bound the world in my vision.

The only thing I found was earth. Still… I do wonder if this world is all that it seems.

I am very uneasy because this morning I noticed a small bruise on my temple. Was it a dream… or real?

=== April 14 ===

I showed Miss Dot the cracks that have appeared in Devokan Touchstone — they are deep, filled with water, criss-crossing the island. They are wider and more numerous than before; I cannot explain what is happening.

Fortunately Tallis seems unaffected, and nor is Curiosity, the island to the north where Miss Paislee is based.

It might be as well not to link directly to Devokan Touchstone at present. On the occasions I have tried, I have been struck by a kind of paralysis, unable to walk one step (I am able to link away from the place).

=== April 16 ===

Miss Dot met up with Miss Paislee on Wednesday. They linked to Devokan Touchstone together — and experienced the same strange inability to move.

What was even more alarming to them was that most of the island was now submerged — the cracks had opened up and merged. Yet in two places, the land had risen sharply upwards, some 50-60 metres.

=== April 20 ===

Miss Dot sent me a note:

I have just re-visited Devokan Touchstone.

An ugly red glow blights what remains of the land.

The sea, no longer calm, displays a turbulence driven from below. Debris from destroyed walled gardens swirls around, caught fast in whirlpools.

One of the elevated regions seems to be trying to twist itself free of the spiky grasp of this festering landscape.

I am very, very angry. I meant this to be a new home for us all.

=== April 21 ===

What might be behind what is happening?

Mr Mahogany, in an earlier discussion I had with him, suggested that the two instances of Devokan (i.e. Touchstone and Tallis) in the same world, and in such close proximity, might be caused by some error in the transfer process (which involved a temporary space-time wormhole between parallel worlds); one key parameter out by a factor of 10^-12 would be sufficient to disturb the meshing of the transferred Devokan (Touchstone) with the original island (Tallis) in the destination world.

Perhaps this turbulence is part of a restoration process, as a single instance is re-established.

On the other hand, perhaps it has nothing to do with the transfer process — a more worrying scenario in that we do not know whether the turbulence and destruction might spread.

There may be parallels here with what Nalates is doing. Though if it is the former, a restoration process, I would have expected a better match between the ‘signatures’ of the spheres employed in her experiment and the flux over Devokan Touchstone.

On a more intuitive level, the transfer process instigated by the spheres, though disturbing in some ways, was beautiful — mathematically, aesthetically, harmoniously; this turbulence is chaotic, ugly, discordant.

So on balance, I would say we are faced with the latter scenario. In which case, how might we contain and constrain this dis-ease of the land? Might we be able to pool our resources, Nalates, Mr Mahogany, and I?

=== April 26 ===

While the turbulence is still there, and still has the potential to spread and poison its surroundings, it seems there is a way of working around it, of nullifying its effect and influence. Sorting out this will require close teamwork.

Mr Mahogany has been able to stabilise some new land to the south of his large ship, away from the currently blighted areas. Through use of his technology (closely linked to that of the spheres, it seems) he has transferred Miss Paislee’s island of Curiosity complete with buildings and fauna.

Two further regions have been prepared to the east of Curiosity. The plan is to transfer Waysmeet and Deepwater here. While we have managed to build a replica of the terrain of Deepwater, the buildings and landscape details are proving a little more problematic.

The set up is this: Mr Mahogany and I have added copies of the spheres that were involved in the original transfer to this new world to the existing Waysmeet and Deepwater. Then, copies of Nalates’ adaptation to make a ‘receiving’ sphere are placed in the new regions.

=== April 28 ===

I need to try some further experiments on the crystals, but that equipment is still in Winterfell. Unfortunately the only building we have there now is Miss Dot’s cottage.

I left a note for her on the kitchen table:

Shorah, Miss Dot

You might have noticed that I have taken the crystal distillation experiment out of its storage case. My apologies for the short notice, but events in the spheres’ source world seem to call for drastic action.

Of course, with the disappearance of the Keep, I have needed to find alternative accommodation for the furnace. I have therefore installed it in your cottage. One could see it as an alternative method of heating — it might also prove efficacious in driving out the damp.

Your friend — Quinquifid

=== April 29 ===

A report from Nalates:

I’m lagging in writing to my journal. Time to get my feelings and thoughts down.

Seems I set my islands far enough west of Devokan that I’m going to bed as Dot, Mat, and Paislee are getting up. And Quin… does he even have a schedule? I hear he has taken over Dot’s living room with his stinky crystal tests. Note to self: STAY AWAY…. Peweee. Maybe I should make some land available to him. Big note to self: Set up weather station and determine prevailing winds, FIRST.

I miss friends. I need to travel to see them. My good friend has joined a group I have mixed feeling about. She is now high up in their organization and quit influential. She is a mentor and protector for me when I travel there. Just wearing the sign of her house is usually enough. Otherwise, it is too dangerous. My fighting skills are no longer a match for the warriors constantly involved in conflict. However, I look forward to seeing her and as a team we are still pretty bad.

Travel has problems… my island is still not stable. It seems to drift in and out of the dimension we moved Devokan to. I’ve updated my control software twice and still have not been able to stop the drift. I can only hope for about 24 hours of stability then strange things start to happen. All I can do for now is pull things back once I notice there is a problem, which I can’t when I’m away traveling. I have older computers I might be able to upgrade with newer software… maybe a dedicated control device could do more… well… when I have time.

I see the ships to the east have sailed. It was nice looking out and seeing them. Which reminds me. I have to get the roof finished on the new building before the rains come… does it rain here? Actually, I have not seen rain here… yet. Hmmmm…

I see swans are back. None of them seem to remember me. A couple have started nesting on my island. Others are in Devokan. I wonder where the spheres moved them when I was moving animals… they seem to have migrated in. And squee… I haven’t seen them in forever. The food I put out disappears. I guess I could set traps, not that any trap would hold a squee, but if it is some new critter I would catch it.

Mat and Quin seem to be playing musical islands. I see more spheres appearing. I think Mat and Quin are likely responsible. I still don’t know who created them. So, we may have competition for control of them. I have to get full control. I have made the ones in the North Restoration area but I don’t have a computer watching them. I sort of turned them loose. Now they are pulling something into the water there and it’s turning red. Eck. I’ve to figure out what is going on with that.

One of the Devokan islands is breaking up, lots of lava and steam. I heard Dot was concerned. She probably is all over Quin to fix it… but, I think the island is lost. A huge ship is being built in open water. I hear Paislee is decorating it. I look forward to seeing what she does.

I better go check the computers…

:::  M A Y  :::

=== May 5 ===

The blight seems to be spreading and changing in nature. Skysong is now affected as well as Devokan Touchstone. As a precaution I have moved my sky laboratory from Skysong to Curiosity.

=== May 10 ===

Using some of warrior Nalates’ adaptations of the spheres, Mr Mahogany and I have been able to move what was in the region of Waysmeet to safety. It is now to the east of Curiosity.

In an attempt to contain the spread of the blight, we have placed a containing dome over the main island of Skysong. Devokan Touchstone is probably too far gone to be saved.

=== May 17 ===

Over the past week, another island has been taken out of the path of the blight: Deepwater. It is now south of the transferred Waysmeet. The view from Deepwater looking across to Waysmeet and Curiosity is beautiful — such a contrast to what is happening further north.

The blight continues to affect Skysong. The containing dome might have slowed it a little, but each day more of the landscape succumbs to its poison.

=== May 20 ===

Matters are coming to a head. Using some of the same processes that seem to power the spheres Mr Mahogany and I have been able to transport the two islands so far unaffected by the blight to new places — one of them being Devokan Waysmeet.

However, Devokan Touchstone is lost, totally submerged. The fluxions above it — most in the visual wavelengths — are quite spectacular against the dark night sky.

The dome placed over Skysong has only slowed, not halted, the blight’s progress; chasms are appearing now, as they did when Touchstone was first affected.

We have decided that the only option left is to wipe both Touchstone and Skysong from the map. This will take place within a week.

=== May 25 ===

This evening I watched the last direct link I had with my old home sink beneath an alien ocean. And as my companion talked about his dreams and hopes for the future, I witnessed my own being torn apart — everything I had worked so hard to save and preserve all those months ago, utterly destroyed.

When the end finally came, and Devokan Touchstone and Skysong were no more, I turned aside, muttered some excuse and linked back to Winterfell, seeking solace in work.

te gloahloy
kenen zuoy

In my beginning
is my end

Why?
Why such destruction?

First my home world of Devokan
scorched by its sun

Then the island of Touchstone
transferred by the spheres
destroyed by fiery blight

Then the island of Skysong
the island I had chosen for my home
swallowed by fire

Can you see why
I try to restore what was lost?

November 2009 to February 2010

These events really happened.

I have compiled this chronological account from the journals and notes written by individuals at the time.

My thanks go to all of them.

Dot ~ 4 July 2010

Winter comes to Devokan

Dot’s journal, 9 Nov 2009

People have started keeping diaries of their time in Devokan — just as well I bought a job lot of generic blank journals. Some are leaving their diaries out for others to read; others are keeping them as a personal record.

I woke up on Saturday to an amazing sight: the first snow of winter had fallen overnight. The trees and bushes had already been showing signs that winter was approaching, with their bare branches silhouetted against the sky, and there has been a definite chill in the air for some time, so the snow was no surprise.

While Paislee and I were talking things over yesterday, someone named AeGleh greeted us with “Shorah!” It seems that AeGleh stumbled across the GoMa site while looking for a clue to a mystery in Gahreesen (one of Andy’s posts turned up in the search). Having seen the various posts about the community in this world, he decided to visit us.

We had a great time. I took him across to my office at the top of the Keep, and showed him round the building. We used the village lift/elevator to get back to the main island, and then we went on an aerial tour of the village on my mini-airship, picking up Paislee and Mat on the way.

We finished by flying up to Selenitica. This took some time, but the little airship did well, coping even with turbulent air pockets.

Quin’s ship was docked there, but there was no sign of Quin even though we shouted for him. Paislee suspected he might be engrossed in tinkering with machinery somewhere.

Paislee’s journal, 12 Nov 2009

This morning I awoke to a first fall of early snow. Good thing that I felt the chill winds coming off the sea last night and shut all the doors to the inn. Our supply of firewood is limited on the island.

Gazing at the white blanket of snow from my window I’m reminded of winter’s past while Quin’s elderly aunt was still alive in her hilltop house. Days of trudging up the hill, soup pot snuggled in towels to protect against the cold, I’d climb up to her door. She was always so kind to me during my childhood. I was pleased to visit with her each day and tend to her needs.

When she lost her struggle with the influenza we placed her in her final resting place by the lychgate leading to the chapel on the hill. She desired no epitaph, no remembrance, no ceremony… Private in life and private in death.

Her life before residing in our village was shrouded in mystery… so very like the life of her nephew Quin who arrived some months after her passing.

I wonder…

Paislee’s journal, 13 Nov 2009

Dot and I had a lovely cup of tea this evening. I chanced upon her in the fir trees and we struck up a conversation. As dusk arrived the air took on a bitter chill so I invited her for a cup of tea in my attic rooms.

Pepper, as usual, slept through the whole visit… silly cat! But Dot and I chatted and warmed outselves with some tea and biscuits. I’m afraid we ate them all.

It was a pleasant way to end a full day of chores here at the Inn. Now to stoke up the fires one last time for the night and then…to off to bed I will be.

Quin’s journal, 14 Nov 2009

So that was what the noise was the other day: Dot and others shouting; I had wondered what it was. However, at the time I was attempting to repair a somewhat complicated mechanism, a task calling for the utmost concentration. Some of the parts were particularly small and delicate.

Be that as it may. I have now completed this first stage of work in Selenitica. The walkways are stable and safe, and enable straightforward access to the main monitoring points in the area.

For the time being, I have decided not to replace the machinery in the main control building in the centre of the complex. I have no desire to have my work on it so far inadvertently destroyed by curious explorers insisting on touching every button and pulling on every lever to ‘see what happens’. I can tell you what will happen: the machine will lock up, twisting and cracking the internal mechanics.

I have therefore returned to the village to perform chemical analyses on the minerals found in Selenitica.

Nalates’ journal, 16 Nov 2009

I’ve just returned from a week in combat, psych warfare… exhausting.

I find the weather here cold and refreshing. The sunlight is wonderful. I did not realize how much I miss the swan or how much the sphere worries me. I keep glancing up at it. Not knowing if it is friend or foe keeps me on edge. I have yet to see any one near it.

Trying to find a way to the sphere I’ve started using more links. I have found my way to other areas as well as the upper level of the library. A cat was there playing with a book fallen on the floor. I had the eerie feeling it was reading it… now I’m wondering if it is some shape shifter… maybe a creature that just looks like a cat… or maybe it is just a cat. I’m spooking myself.

The residents… no one is around. That makes me more nervous. There is a small vehicle of some type parked in the village center. In Paislee’s setting room in the Inn there was a steaming teapot. Many of the Inn’s doors were open. Letting the heat out… I wouldn’t normally mind but I fell from the bridge today. Got soaked and had to dry out. I fell being silly. I got over-confident of my abilities… combat training tends to make us cocky. I won’t be trying to walk on the bridge as it goes up and down again. It sticks and jerks unpredictably, which caused me to slip.

Searching the Inn I found no one. The kitchen had food out, meat roasting… not burnt. Someone was there not long before me.

I moved on to the Keep. I could not find any new information. I did however meet Quinquifid Oddenfen. A nice young-looking man, handsome. After talking with him and his repeated assurances Devokan is a hidden refuge and safe I feel much better. More importantly the sphere is an experiment of some kind made by friends of his… has something to do with lost pages. It’s not a military thing as I feared.

Quin tells me Dot, the woman I know, is traveling to other worlds. I hope none are the ones I fight in. I fear she would be terrified. Paislee, I do not know her well, has gone after supplies. I guess it might not be safe to have just anyone bringing supplies here.

It is so wonderful to finally completely relax. I think I’ll catch some sleep at the Inn…

Dot’s journal, 20 Nov 2009

I’ve been talking with Quin about borrowing the Devokan Flyer for an extended period. I’m wanting to check something out.

He kindly agreed, saying that the nexus link to Selenitica was working well, and that he would be concentrating on analysing the crystals he collected from there over the next few weeks.

So I’ll be packing up over the weekend and heading off. This is going to be interesting.

Nalates’ journal, 20 Nov 2009

I met Quin again. Nice guy. He answered many questions for me. I’m much more comfortable in Devokan now. I was worried that the sphere eclipsing the sun was some type of military installation. That thinking is a holdover from service as a soldier in several wars. Oh well…

I’m currently involved in a psychological war effort to break a propaganda war and hopefully move several worlds and factions closer to a peace accord. I’ll be working in one of the space stations where I have high-level military access.

That will reduce my time in Devokan. I miss Devokan when away.

The swan came back for a few days. I was worried about it. The little lake we like is unlikely to freeze unless Devokan gets much much colder because of the spring feeding it. But I don’t know if there will be enough food for the swan. I had to decide if feeding it would help or hurt. With my commitments in other places drawing me away, I decided I should not create a dependence. Now it seems to have decided migrating was best. I’m relieved even though I miss it.

Paislee’s journal, 24 Nov 2009

A music box arrived today on the doorstep of the inn. A small note written in spidery lettering was attached. “For my dear Elspeth”

It took a bit of doing, but I managed to load a spare stone bench onto a sled and pull it to her grave marker. I didn’t want to set the carousel in the snow so onto the bench it went, waiting for a friendly touch.

Listening to the cheerful tunes I remembered the good times we had up in her crooked house on the hill when she was new to the island and full of energy and good health. Tales of happy times and adventure and far away places.

I miss her, and it appears someone else does as well. I asked Quin who the giver of the gift might be, but he is as puzzled as I.

Dot’s journal, 25 Nov 2009

When going away, why does it always take twice as long to pack up things than you had originally planned? I finally managed to leave Devokan yesterday, and I’m now on my way.

I’ll try to keep in touch with events on the island. Quinquifid has promised to keep track of things and post regular reports, though he does seem to be a little preoccupied with his experiments on the Selenitica crystals.

Paislee had complained earlier of acrid smells wafting down the hillside and into the inn, so Quin has moved the experiments out of his house and into the Lighthouse. This is an improvement — the offshore breeze carries the fumes out over the ocean.

I’m not sure what he hopes to achieve with these experiments, but still — it keeps him out of mischief.

Quin’s journal, 27 Nov 2009

My experiments on the crystals are going well. Both their chemical and physical properties are worth studying.

Some crystals emit random sequences of sounds, each with a different periodicity. I wonder whether this randomness could be harnessed in a useful way.

I am beginning to be concerned about the island next to Devokan. There seems to be some instability developing there — it is minor at present, but given this region’s history this will require careful monitoring. I have placed a geostable device on the windmill island; hopefully that will give us adequate warning of major problems.

Dot has sent a short note: she has safely arrived at her intended destination and is proceeding to the next stage of the planned exploration.

Note on village noticeboard

Something strange is happening here. We’re not sure exactly what is behind all this, and would appreciate help in observing and speculating.

Various explorers and villagers are keeping diary journals; these may be found on the main island.

If you have any ideas or further observations to add, please contact me. Thank you.

Quinquifid Oddenfen, 27 Nov 2009

The strange spheres

Paislee’s journal, 27 Nov 2009

After reading Quin’s notice on the public message board I took a quick boat ride over to Discover, the island to the north. Despite the chill and fog the journey was invigorating.

Alas, upon my arrival I saw that something was indeed amiss! A strange sphere is hovering over a section of plank boardwalk. As I drew closer I could hear strange noises emaniating from it…

Quin must be informed of this new development. I am afraid of what this means for our neighbors to the north!

Holli’s journal, 27 Nov 2009

Met up with Paislee today, and she mentioned a “peculiarity” in the area by the island.

Happened upon her and Mat again a bit later when I went to investigate. From what I overheard of their conversation, the anomaly has expanded quite a bit from the time it was initially noticed, and theoretically, may continue to do so. The anomaly itself appears as a large sphere, currently about three and a half times my height, with a swirled, slightly iridescent-seeming surface. Being the sort of person I am, I had to take a chance and try something. As of yet, I’ve suffered no adverse effects from passing through the sphere. Some disorientation, but nothing other than that. The surface of the Sphere does not prevent passage through it. I’ve made some sketches and plan to come back with a camera sometime in the next few days. Forgot it today. Hopefully, it can be contained or will cause no lasting damage.

Obviously, I’m feeling a bit better, if I’m doing this sort of thing. Still need to bother Quin about taking a look at those crystals he brought back. He seems rather busy/preoccupied, though. Wouldn’t want to be a nuisance. And since I know you may see this, Quin, consider this me asking.

Reemi’s report, 28 Nov 2009

Yesterday, I finally was granted the wonderful opportunity to explore Devokan and my, what a beautiful and wonderful place. It’s full of so many sights to see! Instantly I was enveloped by a sense of peace knowing that I was among fellow friends. I met Quin, Paislee, Mat and many other kind and exciting people.

I took a look at Quin’s experiments with the crystals. The noises they emit are quite interesting. If I recall right, Quin said there was a pattern to the breaks between noises. Outside there was a furnace of some sorts, warming some vials and slowly rotating them. The vials contained crystals dissolved in acid, hence the fumes.

Hearing about the instabilities in the island, I was instantly curious to see it. Quin was happy to give me a ride in his handy hovercraft/submarine vehicle and so we ventured off to the island with little turbulence. The wonderful surprise waiting for us there was the sphere phenomenon that Holli described. The sphere gave me an odd feeling of foreboding, but one shouldn’t always listen to intuition, no? My breath caught as we drove into it cautiously. Nothing happened. There was absolutely no resistance to our entry.

Later that day, in the evening, we ventured to check on the sphere once again and take some notes. I’ll post the findings that I can recall and feel free to correct me if I mix something up…

Upon close inspection there is two spheres, one inside of the other, both rotating slowly. The size of both spheres were rather close, and so difficult to notice. Their surface was as Holli noted, swirled, slightly iridescent-seeming, and semitransparent. Blue and greens flitted across its surface along with the occasional tinge of purple.

Inside the larger sphere, was the ghost of another sphere featuring flecks of translucent white. Being inside the sphere had no effects other than being unable to see much outside and finding yourself a bit dazed. Portals made inside the sphere can be seen. In the afternoon the sphere emitted some sort of odd, constant hum. Later in the evening, no hum could be heard but upon standing outside the sphere another faint noise was heard. Inside the sphere the noise grew louder and more distinct and can only be described (I’m no good at describing sounds, someone else please give this a try) as, to put it bluntly, “creepy”. The sounds were fitting to a lonely, disturbing moment in the Myst Series or perhaps a lonely planet amidst the stars…?

Paislee noticed that it has grown since she saw it in the morning and that worries me. If it’s growing then what ill effects with the islands suffer? We speculated on the sphere being an instability in the fabric of space. I dearly hope that is not the case. Could it be something related to what happened to Riven? Will it break apart, then collaspe? This is where the relationship between the island and Devokan comes in. Quin said that Paislee thought the islands were not a part of Devokan, but somehow they are linked. Let’s hope this link isn’t strong enough to affect Devokan if the island was to be harmed. I’ve grown quite fond of Devokan.

The energy maintaining the sphere’s shape and creating the light appear to be very strong and stable, but it still allows one to leisurely stroll through? The sphere reminds me of the Bubbles in Myst: End of Ages but the sphere maintains its shape much better…they both allowed people to walk into them easily though…

Holli’s journal, 29 Nov 2009

Talked to Quin and Paislee a bit… Yesterday, I think. My sleep schedule or lack thereof is throwing of my sense of time. Anyway, we talked for a while, though conversation turned to Quin’s late aunt. I’m afraid I clammed up due to not knowing anything of the woman or her situation. Need to learn to be less awkward. Also, being anti-social is getting old. Work on that!

Met up with Reemi today. She seems nice enough, and we went to inspect the new developments in the anomaly. It’s much, much smaller that it was previously. Interesting as well was the gazebo-like structure that has appeared on the northern part of the main island. It is slightly small, with three benches apparently made of some sort of stone. The rounded sides appear to be made of the same substances as the sphere, with similar qualities and even similar crystalline sounds. I’d been thinking all day, wondering what the sound reminded me of. Crystals. Not quite the ones Quin has, but crystals in general. Not that that’s likely to make much sense.

The roof of the pavilion depicts men on horseback, many bearing spears. Is this a clue to the true nature of the pavilion or where it came from? Only time will tell, hopefully. I admit to wanting to know more. Perhaps I might be able to reach the roof of the pavilion somehow to collect samples of the paint. Seeing what created the pigments might be interesting and enlightening.

I present the theory that the lessening in surface area of the sphere is directly related to the appearance of the pavilion. Matter cannot just be created from nothing. I believe that the lessening of the sphere is caused by this principle. No, as to how it happened and why, I’ll leave that to others to guess. Unless I find something myself, that is. The best of what I find is often on my own… It’s a bit lonesome, though.

No matter. I’ll continue my nosing about, and if I foind something, I’ll be sure to say something to someone. No need to be an outsider all the time…

Quin’s journal, 29 Nov 2009

There seems to be a fresh development today. I caught up with Miss Paislee between her chores (she was about to make some potato soup — very warming and filling, just what is needed in this chilly winter weather).

The sphere over the walkway has shrunk a little, she feels. However, a strange ancient-looking pavilion with sides of similar material to the sphere (if ‘material’ is the correct word) has appeared among the trees to the north of the village.

We spent a few minutes sitting in the pavilion, listening to the aetherial but somewhat unsettling ‘music’(?) that fills its interior.

Reemi mentioned in her report ‘an odd feeling of foreboding’. I would agree. Something is not quite right here.

Holli’s journal, 30 Nov 2009

Dug my camera out and brought it with me today… It’s pretty in its own way, at least.

Makes me uneasy as heek, though…

Got a shot of the pavilion, but I need to check something first.

Nalates’ journal, 30 Nov 2009

Today I saw the notes in the village on the sphere. Alarming. I went to see it. It is much like the dimensional rifts I’ve seen on the battlefields. Except those are usually belching out enemy troops, laser beams or chemical gases… plus they are controlled and never stand still… This may be natural phenomena. I didn’t bring my battle gear, so I couldn’t do a complete scan for control fields. My small unit shows no controls. That’s not absolutely certain but at least if there are any controls it’s not by an enemy I know… and that is a long list.

I found Quin’s monitor. It is technology I’ve never seen. It looks old and strange. I have no idea what the gauge readings mean. I decided not to expose it to my scanner. I figure Quin knows what he is doing. I also did not leave any of my surveillance equipment. I don’t know how that would react to Quin’s equipment. I took pictures. I can take more later and let the computer compare them. For now there is nothing more I can do.

I made a sweep of the village. I found a music box merry-go-round thingy by the grave. I guessed someone was missing a friend. I wish them peace.

I saw my first Christmas tree in the village today. Someone is in the spirit.

The snow is getting deeper. I closed several doors today. I need to bring back some door closers to mount on them.

Heavens, the lighthouse has a horrid smell. Quin’s experiments… maybe when he finishes I can take them back with me and sell them for use in chemical warfare… pppeeeeww!

The crystals do sing… or chirp is more like it. I may bring a computer back to analyze the sounds and search for patterns… math relationships… something.

There is a new critter hanging out with me. I remember one like it from one of the D’ni worlds. This one is much smaller. Today she was eating a little red something… have no idea where she found that. Maybe if I can find more I can make friends. It does not seem to mind the snow.

I looked for more of the little creatures. I only saw the one. I hope she is not alone.

Dot’s journal, 5 Dec 2009

I’m back home. Although tiring, the expedition was successful. The fruits from it will probably be vital in the weeks to come, especially in the light of what is happening at the moment in Devokan and its environs.

I’m very grateful to Holli and Reemi for monitoring and reporting developments, and to Quin for his continuing experiments on the crystals.

I spoke to Holli earlier today, who has recruited a friend to help with observing developments. We discussed keeping a daily photographic record of the strange sphere, and maybe displaying it on an imager in my office in the keep. In the meantime, she and her friend will both keep a written record of their observations in their diary journals.

Reemi’s journal, 5 Dec 2009

Today Paislee, Dot and I went to go see the sphere. It doesn’t appear to have grown since Wednesday, which may have lifted my spirits in the slightest if it wasn’t for another unpleasant surprise that sprang up. Farther along the walkway is a very faint shadow of the sphere, quite difficult to see. It is small, I’d say more than a person high. Is it the beginning of ANOTHER sphere?! Very worrying…

Eventually we got chilled and went back to Devokan for some tea to soothe our nerves. I ended up spilling tea all over myself and had to run to the nearest restroom which was all the way to the Keep! Perhaps more washrooms ought to be installed…?

I wonder what the meaning of this all is? The spheres and gazebo are related. The gazebo sounds like the white crystals, which suggests maybe they are related. Everything is all guesswork! Very irritating. For now I’ll busy myself with monitoring the phenomena. I hate being pessimistic, but the whole situation gives me a very bad feeling…

Nalates’ journal, 9 Dec 2009

I’ve missed Devokan. But I had little time in Devokan this trip. Starting a new offensive campaign always seems to take longer than is planned…

The little Squee is still here. I’m happy to see her. She has a friend! So, there are more of them. I’ll have to look to see if there is fruit at the Inn.

Walking north to check on the sphere I stopped to read the message board. OMG! Now there are two spheres! This can’t be good. Paislee is worried by the tone of her note.

As I continued north I came upon a deer. She was nibbling on a tree. She seemed unalarmed having me crunching through the snow. She watched me and I was careful not to startle her.

There are two spheres. Not that big. I took more pictures and will have the computer compare them. Quin’s monitoring station is still there so I’ll stay with my decision not to use any of my sensors. On my next trip I need to bring more equipment back with me.

Tracing the source

Dot’s journal, 10 Dec 2009

When I linked to Devokan today, Paislee sent an urgent message to join her to see what has happened.

It seems that overnight the spheres have coalesced. There is now a single sphere, but far larger than before — about 25 m in diameter — and having a more complex structure. It has also developed a solid core, large enough to stand on.

The sphere itself has moved so that the gaseous envelope engulfs one of the upper walkways. It is still possible to use the walkway, but walking through the swirling lights is quite disorientating and your vision blurs as you enter the sphere.

Note from Holli, 11 Dec 2009

What the frikking frik?! Linked in to where I’ve been taking the pictures from and the thing was right in my face! I sort of ended up falling off of the walkway and into the water.

Uhm… I need to send you those pictures, sorry, Dot. I’ve been taking them, though. Only missed one day since we talked, and that was due to technical difficulties…

There are copies in my journal, though.

Reply from Dot, 11 Dec 2009

Great! Thanks, Holli. Perhaps we can meet up sometime over the weekend.

I’d like to set up some sort of time-lapse display in my office so that we can view how the thing has evolved and perhaps predict its future.

Though I have to admit that this latest development took me by surprise.

Quin’s journal, 15 Dec 2009

I have a further development to report: the gazebo walls have changed. It seems they are some kind of imager, and are now displaying a wild-looking, remote island. I certainly don’t recognise the place.

When I was discussing this with Dot, she said that it reminded her a little of some strangely fluidic imager ‘bubbles’ she had previously encountered which enclosed a method of linking to other ages/worlds.

Holli’s journal, 19 Dec 2009

Got sick yet again and missed another day… Sorry. Should be back up to speed soon. Still been unable to give Artair his journal, unfortunately. We’ve talked some, though. He seems to think that the sphere might have some sort of sentience. Not sure what to make of that, really.

Also, I’ve been seeing what seem to be smaller spheres, more the size of the main one’s core flitting about on that area. I haven’t been able to catch any on film, though. I’ve certainly been trying, but they’re fast and they seem to disappear again rather quickly.

The core of the main sphere is solid enough to sit and stand on if you’re willing to make the jump from the walkway. It rotates and also creates a sound that is rather invasive and resembles that of running water or rain falling.

As to the pavilion, the sides have indeed changed to some sort of island, and it’s put me in mind of the “bubbles” Someone else has mentioned. Dot, I think it was. I’d actually mentioned that idea to Artair some time before the change occurred, funnily enough. He didn’t really know what I meant, I think, but there it was. Also, some of the Selenetica crystals ave appeared in close proximity to the pavilion, as well as a beeping sound. Did Quin put them there? I haven’t spoken with him recently, so it is a possibility.

More things to think on. Maybe I’ll be better able to do so with some sleep.

Holli’s journal, 21 Dec 2009

I’ve been seeing what seem to be smaller spheres, more the size of the main one’s core flitting about on that area. I haven’t been able to catch any on film, though. I’ve certainly been trying, but they’re fast and they seem to disappear again rather quickly.

The core of the main sphere is solid enough to sit and stand on if you’re willing to make the jump from the walkway. It rotates and also creates a sound that is rather invasive and resembles that of running water or rain falling.

As to the pavilion, the sides have indeed changed to some sort of island, and it’s put me in mind of the “bubbles” Someone else has mentioned. Dot, I think it was. I’d actually mentioned that idea to Artair some time before the change occurred, funnily enough. He didn’t really know what I meant, I think, but there it was. Also, some of the Selenetica crystals ave appeared in close proximity to the pavilion, as well as a beeping sound. Did Quin put them there? I haven’t spoken with him recently, so it is a possibility.

Quin’s journal, 25 Dec 2009

The first stage of my experiment is complete.

I’ve moved the crystals by the gazebo. Now we wait…

Nalates’ journal, 27 Dec 2009

Seems there is always massive waiting in any military effort. So, while waiting around I’ve had time to make a more complete analysis of my last set of readings on the spheres. I have also had time to compare them to reams of readings taken to detect the portals used by our enemies to send the green insect-like creatures into the battlefields.

The control fields are very different from those I’ve seen in combat. So, while I may know what is going to happen I can’t be overly precise as to when… or exactly what the changes will be. From all I have seen it appears the entire forest area around the sphere will be sucked through the portal. The area is likely to be moved to another dimension, time or world. Removals are often, but not always, followed by a replacement… who knows what that might be.

Not knowing who is controlling this means I have no clue what may be coming, if anything. I’m guessing. May be some eccentric just likes the looks of the place and is stealing it. Whatever the case, the energy build up rate gives us a about a month… may be two to six weeks… then the forest will likely be gone. That is a sad thought.

If it is being stolen, I want to know by who and where it is being taken. I found that the energy flow is traceable and has a destination. I took a chance on one of my rest periods and teleported there. No doubt the forest is being moved. I have some pictures. More alarming is parts of Selenitica are being moved. I have to wonder if the crystals can be used in place of the more obvious portal spheres.

I thought of destroying the crystals in Devokan… I decided to leave Quin a note and see what he thinks after seeing the pictures.

Quin’s journal, 27 Dec 2009

I am pleased to report some success with my experimental placement of the crystals around the strange gazebo. By tuning their frequencies I have been able to acquire a closer view of the island reported by Miss Holli above.

The image shows rough hewn stone steps wending and winding up a pathway lined with boulders, towards an ancient-looking archway. Could this be some sort of ceremonial route for processions? Blazing fire torches line the path, suggesting that the island is inhabited — unless of course there is some sort of time displacement going on.

Having checked on the crystal experiment, I went on to check my monitoring device on the neighbouring island. Passing by the sphere, I noticed a change in the central core: it looks as though it is splitting into two, rather as the nucleus of an amoeba might do in reproduction. An interesting development.

However, the results from the monitoring device are rather disturbing. As I returned to the Lighthouse, musing on what I had seen, I chanced upon the warrior woman I had met previously: Nalates Urriah. Being between campaigns, she had visited Devokan for a brief respite from her onerous duties.

We discussed the phenomena. She explained that she had set up some of her own monitoring devices on the island around the sphere — she had come across similar entities before on a battlefield — but was bemused at the differences shown by the Devokan sphere. I see that she has reported on her results above, and added some further detail. A remarkable, and very brave, woman.

For there is one extremely disturbing fact. Both her results and mine concur: the energy/activity of the sphere is increasing daily; extrapolating from my results suggests that the force may reach a critical point in the next two to three weeks, which is in the same time frame as Ms Urriah’s independently run tests; and there seems to be some kind of force ‘sucking’ the reality of the tree village towards the sphere.

The tree village

Paislee’s journal, 30 Dec 2009

It’s been a tiring week….Since the arrival of the spheres among the trees to the north I’ve been worried that bad things would transpire. Others have been concerned as well.

While looking through my binoculars this morning I discovered an entire tree was missing as well as a section of walkway. I knew I should prepare for the worst outcome of these strange events.

So, I bundled up against the cold and braved the cold sea waters. After several arduous trips I managed to retrieve most of the items in the central tree hut and put them into storage. Should their owners ever return for them they will find them safe and in good condition.

Now I need a hearty bowl of soup. I just hope I am mistaken in thinking that more will disappear in the days to come…

Dot’s journal, 1 Jan 2010

Today when I checked there are four spheres, two large and two smaller.

One of the large ones is partly submerged, the flux enclosing the pump at the end of one of the lower walkways.

The other surrounds the hut with the lift, with the solid core blocking a doorway. It is quite eerie going into the hut via the other door, watching the flux through the windows, the windchimes sounding as they always do.

The two smaller spheres are on the windmill island. One surrounds the hut that contains the windmill gears. The other’s solid core has engulfed Quin’s monitoring equipment, meaning we can’t get at it any more.

There might be a pattern here. I hope Holli can get photos of all these…

Note from Holli, 1 Jan 2010

Missed yesterday evening… for various reasons, but I got today’s shot.

One thing Artair mentioned is that they now seem to be centering on anything that passes for tech or evidence of civilization in the area. As you’ve said in more detail, Dot. That seems to be the only connecting feature we’ve found to the new positioning. Anyway, working on keeping the pictures up-to-date despite things and sort of being worried about being there at the wrong moment…

Nalates’ journal, 1 Jan 2010

I saw Quin. He is concerned about the spheres… seriously concerned. He asked about my measurements and was excited by the images I captured at the other end of the energy flow. I guess my technology is as strange to him as his is to me. He seemed really surprised and excited that I had traveled there. He asked if I could help him get there.

I’ll have to return home and get the gear I’ll need. The small unit I use to travel has been modified to make random inter-dimensional jumps to avoid my being followed. That would certainly create problems for me transporting Quin. The usual process of sending destination coordinates back doesn’t seem to work…

I’ve heard the techs at my duty station talking about new technology to allow easy transport between an entire new range of worlds. I think I’ve learned enough about it to make measurements on this trip with Quin then write directions for how to use the tech to get to the other end of the energy stream. I know the Devokians will want to know how to get to the forest village if… well… now it looks like WHEN… it gets sucked to a new dimension.

This whole sphere thing seems to have upset the peace of Devokan. The squees seem unaffected. They play and eat… the one I think is female is a little cubby… I wonder if she is pregnant? They look healthy and happy.

Well… I better get moving. Quin seemed a bit impatient. I’ll write more when we get back.

Dot’s journal, 4 Jan 2010

The spheres have multiplied again. There are more on the windmill island, covering the sail mechanism as well as the pumps and Quin’s monitoring station. There are more spheres among the trees — and further disappearances of trees.

What sort of energy/force/plasma/whatever could remove whole trees, including their root systems, without leaving a trace?

And what is more important: where are Nalates and Quin?

Nalates’ journal, 7 Jan 2010

I’m rushed. News from home is grim. Just time for some memory joggers.

The HIPPO transport got us to the new lands quite easily. I think Quin was impressed. I was relieved it worked without embarrassing me. The Village Forest is materializing in a different world. There is more there than either of us expected. Some individual or group has been building and running things there. No clues as to why they wanted the forest. There are some odd buildings there. Currently much of the land is untouched.

There is a single small version of the spheres in the forest in the far world. I have lots of measurements. The energy sources that seem to power it are more like Quin’s technology than mine. I must study the time shifts and tachyon emissions.

I think I can duplicate the transfer process. I have no idea what I would do with that slooowww process. No good for combat or defense, which reminds me, I need to go. …

Dot’s journal, 8 Jan 2010

Things are happening so quickly now, it is hard to keep track of them.

I’m relieved to say that both Nalates and Quin have returned safely. Nalates posted a note on the village notice board:

Quin and I made the trip. We were both fascinated by the lands at the far end of the energy stream. We spent longer there than I expected. Quin had lots of measurements to make. This process is different than I’ve seen. I’m used to the process gulping up things almost instantaneously. This process seems to move molecule by molecule until most of the object it moved, then pop the remainder across. It gives the impression things are in two places at once.

I learned a lot and think I can program a chip to make a transporter to take Devokians between the worlds. So, we will still be able to reach the village forest.

Quin had a message about some family thing. After profuse thanks for helping with the trip he was off. He made no mention of where he was going or when he planned to return. I’m off to my world. Combat is escalating and messages are grim. I’ll return as soon as I can.

Quin left a terse note that he was back, then swanned off to New Babbage to see his solicitors. We need him back here!

Dot’s journal, 9 Jan 2010

Soon the tree village will disappear. Paislee and I were quietly standing there, looking across from Devokan. We were feeling strangely detached, remembering it with fondness — as though it had already gone.

I took a photograph of the spheres glowing eerily in the night air. It was a magical moment.

Dot’s journal, 10 Jan 2010

Quinquifid has brought back some photos after visiting the source of the strange spheres in the tree village.

It seems the spheres are benign, and are translating what Quin calls the ‘essence’ of the tree village to this new world — rather, new to us.

From the photos there are (or have been) people living there. The island from which the photo was taken seems to be some sort of sacred place, according to Quin.

While they were taking various readings in this other world, Nalates explained how to use the teleporting device. We’re hoping to visit there ourselves over the coming week.

Throughout the weekend, the transfer across the worlds continued.

When I checked earlier today, all the huts, walkways, windmill and wildlife had gone. Just the bare trees and a few small spheres remain. Over what was the windmill island is a sphere core — might this be the ‘central control’?

Paislee reported that some of the spheres have moved up to Selenitica. Strange.

Through all of this, I have been thinking of the quote we have adopted for Devokan:

The stronger the things we face,
the more hope we bring with us
to the next beginning. — Atrus, Myst IV

Note from Quinquifid, 10 Jan 2010

Hold on to that thought, Dot. We are all going to need it…

The evacuation

Quin’s journal, 10 Jan 2010

I have just returned from New Babbage. My solicitors there, besides wishing to talk about the obligations placed on me as part of my late Aunt Elspeth’s will, also wanted to hand over her journals, which she had left with them for safe keeping when she moved to Devokan to spend her final years.

However, I have not had a chance to read through the journals, other than to glance at their fascinating contents. For I am still digesting the implications of what I saw when the warrior Nalates used some of the equipment provided to her to transport us both to the spheres’ source.

It is amazing! The essence of the trees and structures from the area next to Devokan is being translated across to this new world! I say ‘essence’ because, while they are recognisable, they have subtle differences — could it be that they are a mirror of an earlier time? I’m not sure. For one thing, the trees seem to be from an earlier evolutionary period; also the platforms and walkways are made of a far stouter timber.

There are three main islands at the spheres’ source. The closest one to the tree village is more developed than the other one, and is indeed the island seen on the pavilion wall imager in Devokan (good confirmation that my crystal experiment worked so well).

Nalates is an interesting person. While we were taking different readings over in the other world, she explained some of the technology she brought with her, and what it could do. She also said a little of the current war she is engaged in. The situation sounds grim.

Nalates’ journal, 11 Jan 2010

I wasn’t prepared for the shock of finding my country destroyed when I returned to duty. I’m still hurting… mostly crying and now mostly numb.

I knew the war was escalating. Something happened sending it over the edge, nukes hit us and invaders came. By the time I returned the enemy was advancing. No place was safe. I was lucky to survive my teleport in. I had come in on our side of the battle, just barely. I fought with a rage fueled by terror. We won that skirmish. Skirmish… I find it amazing all that violence and death fits in such a small word… actually it doesn’t.

At the lull we stopped to re-arm and tend to our wounded that I begin to notice my comrades giving me strange looks. When I finally made it to the showers I saw what I had become. Covered in darkening green slime that was the enemies’ blood my long hair was matted and sticking to me and my face in bizarre clumps and mats. Even I couldn’t tell if I was human or some new race coming through the dimensional portals. The shock of seeing a blood-drenched apparition, the staccato rip of a tactical M4 in my left hand and the air-slicing scream of the katana in my right, may have given me the edge needed to survive.

As I’m writing… I realize extent of the damage shocked me into a reactive panic and frantic determination in that first battle. It came out as a cold rage while I fought. Now grief set in. When we were about to be over run we made a tactical decision to retaliate with nukes. Resignation took over. We were losing. The planet would be ruined beyond recovery. As losing the planet set in the resignation lead to our strategic decision to obliterate the planet leaving nothing for the enemy to stand on.

The planet has been an ideal transportation hub, being in a deep dimensional well, making it easily reached with simple technology. Quin told me about something similar in his experience they called a Nexus, I guess they may be similar. The deep well also apparently made it easy for the Infernals, as we call them, to invade. Now the idea is to make the planet so hot it is too costly for the enemy to come through and follow us.

When we were planning the evacuation we learned their attacks reached farther than we ever imagined. I had considered settling in a cavern some of the old D’ni Cavern explorers were building in. I was still coldly boiling and did not want my friends in Devokan to see me in that state. Also a cavern seemed safer than open sky…

Whatever, Eder D’Uru is gone too… I stop writing every so often to cry… I never imagined…

The break helped… I’m better composed now. My face must be a mess. I’ve found survivors. That is good, eases the pain. All of the D’Uru people were able to evacuate and many saved most of their belongings. I assume they knew the destruction was coming. I have to find someone that know how they knew. Now the refugees are looking for new homes. I think many will remain in regions near the galaxy’s core among the heavily populated regions. Still a number of the survivors are looking for less costly new worlds in which to live. We should do something to stay in touch… twice refugees now…

It seems I am one of the few survivors that have the new technology to get us to the world the village forest is being pulled into. I left a write up on the tech and my custom chips in Dot’s place and another in Quin’s place. I made a couple of the transporter units. When I checked tonight they were gone. They probably found them and went to explore.

I traveled back to the far forest once more to test dimensional access. It is limited, over a very shallow dimensional well and it is twisted at an odd angle. That makes it safe. It can be easily hidden if need be, in fact my teleports there often fail. At first I feared it was lost too. One has to catch things just right to make the teleport. After arriving and testing I’m certain it is safe. I’ll tell the Devokians when we meet.

Now I have to find Dot, Paislee, Holli and Quin, especially Quin and Dot’s note says he is off in some place called New Babbage… where is that?

From Holli’s diary I can see she has been very observant and has a photographic record. She is impatient and worried having little to do. So, I want to talk with her too. May she can go with Quin and I to find whoever is running things from the other end.

I need to explain to the Devokians how easy it was for me to find Devokan and why. I don’t know how much they know about or teleport systems and dimensional highways. Or that Devokan’s location and having its own moderate dimensional well puts it at risk.

Even if the Infernals don’t find it, those withdrawing from the Nation will want to destroy it… they are determined to bottle in the Infernals with a ring of molten, radioactive planets. They won’t risk a break out. I have to do what I can to save Devokan and warn the people. I guess we either find a way to save it or hopefully follow the forest… which is entirely gone now. That means we have to find who is moving the village forest. I hope Quin and Holli can help.

Now I need sleep and yet I’m afraid I will dream of the war… and the squee… where are they? And birds… last night they seemed frantic. Now they are silent.

Quin’s journal, 12 Jan 2010

The tree village is now completely gone from our world: in what might be a sign of hope, the pavilion imager shows part of it in its new home.

However, I have just read warrior Nalates’ report. We need to evacuate Devokan as a matter of urgency.

It seems that Nalates hopes that I might be able to find a way to hide Devokan in an out-of-the-way set of dimensions. I cannot — such a thing is beyond the technology I have access to.

What I can do, though, is perhaps make use of something I have discovered from my Aunt Elspeth’s journal. That might be enough to save our friends and some of what makes Devokan so precious to us.

Dot’s journal, 14 Jan 2010

Here’s what we’ve sorted out so far. We’re aiming to evacuate the whole village by the first week of February, while taking into account the possibility of Nalates’ comrades needing some rest and food as they pass through.

Quin was most helpful for a change and cleared the Lighthouse of his experiments and associated clutter. The plan is to use the Lighthouse as temporary accommodation for those fleeing the destruction reported by Nalates.

Paislee is preparing huge batches of soup and bread, ready to be served from the inn to those that need it.

Holli and Artair, I hope, will be able to help take some of the island’s more valuable items into storage — the linking books, for example.

Nalates has expressed concern for the squees in particular. I suspect she might have something planned.

Jim has thrown his lot in with Paislee, Quin and myself, and will join us wherever we end up…

Quin was in a far more optimistic mood than he has been for a while. In her explorer’s journal, his aunt described a land she linked to where reality seemed to span several historical epochs in close proximity. He suspects we could make a new home in this area and use underlying time distortions to confuse any pursuit. Another advantage is that it is part of the hinterlands of one of the largest independent nations of that particular world — so civilisation and shops are relatively close by (Paislee likes this idea!).

We managed to link to the place, using clues in the journal. It does seem suitable for our purposes. So we shall be starting to move there in the days to come.

Quin’s journal, 16 Jan 2010

Thinking of all that has happened over the last week, it is difficult to know quite where to start this report.

First, the spheres in Selenitica: These are similar to those that were in the tree village, though they are smaller and not so powerful (I managed to get a replacement monitoring device during my time in New Babbage). Perhaps they are merely recording the area?

Having said that, the mountains to the north of the area have gone, in a similar fashion to how the trees started to disappear, as Paislee mentioned in her diary on 30 December. If the disappearances follow a similar timescale to those of the trees, it suggests that Selenitica may be no more by the end of this month.

Meanwhile, the evacuation of Devokan itself is proceeding rapidly.

We’ve visited what will be our new home several times now. Paislee and Dot will be sharing a cottage looking out over the sea. A second cottage is nearby, ready for Jim. I shall be moving into a building strongly reminiscent of the Keep. The building will serve well as a base for what I will need to set up over the coming weeks. And I shall allow Dot to use the top room as an office for GoMa.

I have been able to set up a portal system in the new area. Explorers wishing to visit may link there from the Eder Gira steam vent portal, or from the Devokan Nexus in front of the Inn. Note that I will be taking the Devokan Nexus offline in a week or so for safety reasons.

Dot’s journal, 19 Jan 2010

Devokan Island has experenced an early spring. It is almost as though the land knows its days are coming to an end (the most recent readings indicate 7th February), and it has responded with colour and beauty.

Nalates’ journal, 21 Jan 2010

I’m feeling more melancholy… somewhat at a lost for what to do next. My feelings are so mixed… sorrow and loss… friends… service teammates gone. My battalion is disbanded… a surprising loss. There is still a smoldering anger and hate… I feel a need to shower and clean myself when I dwell too long in those thoughts. I’ll have to work them off eventually. I will likely find a strong faction used to fighting in the dimensional wars. Join them and work off this anger… maybe…

The team assigned to handle this planet arrived. They are in orbit. They had my information that I would be here. I advised the Devokans they were here, orbital space station. They are on standby alert, so we won’t see any of them on the surface. I suspected the quick seasonal change was their doing. Whether they are just saving nukes and nudging the planet out of orbit or [name scribbled out] is just trying to flirt with me I have no idea… he isn’t past messing with an entire planet to serve his purposes. Why do I attract these crazy men?

Sleeping is still a problem. I’m usually up patrolling at night… I hope I don’t alarm those Devokians still here. I’ve been heavily armed. Trying to compensate for being surprised and nearly dying I guess. Three large caliber automatic weapons, three katana blades and a load of ammo… that’s probably over doing it, especially with the station in orbit above. Most Devokians have evacuated… Patrolling is a better explanation than admitting to the nightmares. I stay up until I can’t stay awake any longer… a few strong drinks and I can mostly pass out and not dream. I can’t keep this up… my eyes look so horrible the makeup is not covering it.

The light tower is the best vantage point to watch the village from. I come and sit by the pond to take a break. I love it here. I’m really going to miss this place…

The squee are here. Now that it is warm they are running all over nibbling at the blossoms and new growth. They seem blissfully happy. I’ve decided to take them with me when I finally leave. I’ll build a trap. I’ve seen the deer. She is very calm… almost domesticated it seems. I think I can capture her without hurting her or scaring her too much. The stork may be a problem… I’ll never be able to trap all the birds and care for them until I can transfer them… may be I can use the sphere on the land the forest village was moved to… the Devokians decided to name it Devokan… that gets confusing… but there seems to be controls there. Quin has said a few things about Elsepth… I don’t understand… I thought that was the name on one of the tombstones here… Quin went to see a solicitor and that appearently had something to do with Elspeth and her journals. Quin has been absorbed in whatever is in them…

Whatever… I’ll travel to New Devokan and see what I can do with the sphere controls… between my equipment… geez they let me have tons of stuff… all I could carry off the planet… I got some really good stuff so I should be able to detect most of the life on Devokan. If I can use my equipment to target and the New Devokan sphere controls… I might get most of the life here to New Devokan… that seems a worthy effort for me… I like it. Certainly better than… well… forget that.

I have a few teammates that will stay with me for a day or two as they decide where they are going next. One is talking about another universe named Arda… or something like that. I’ll probably travel there and check it out. I traveled to Winterfell Reverie where Dot, Paislee, and Quin have moved. It’s a primitive place. No real technology to speak of… but it is nice. This is nicer… I’ll explore there. I have taken a place in Minkartah for now. I have it stacked to the ceiling with ammo and weapons…

I’m getting nervous… I know it’s my mind… but walking patrol seems to help…

Dot’s journal, 22 Jan 2010

Today the area next door to Devokan disappeared — we can no longer sail or fly there. It is almost as though the island of Devokan itself is enclosed in a bubble, an invisible barrier we hit each time we try to move outside its boundaries.

I have just finished packing away my belongings in the Keep, including my trusty laptop. It might be tricky using it in the new place — there is no electricity, and being in permanent twilight it is unlikely that the solar panels I used in Devokan will work.

The KI dispenser is in an enormous packing crate. I’m hoping it might be possible to reinstall it in our new home. We’ll see.

It’s sad, in a way. I’ve just been speaking to a visitor to the island — “Is there no way to save it?” he asked. “It is worth fighting for.”

No, it’s not possible. Events are underway that are outside our control. All we can do is try to save what we can from here, and move on.

Nalates’ journal, 23 Jan 2010

I’m feeling better… I’ve been able to sleep more… the nightmares are less intense… Devokan may be healing my mind… that and my friend coming down to spend time with me. We talked about the battles we were in and shared feelings I doubt the Devokians would understand. Sleeping wrapped in his arms helped more than I imagined. My standing guard over him I think let him sleep well too. I still patrol to avoid sleep, just not as much.

Holli and her friend are busy. I have not intruded on them. Quin seems to be avoiding me. I wonder if I did something. Dot and Paislee are frantically moving things out of Devokan. I’ve spoken with Dot in Winter Reverie. She talked to someone that had talked to Quin. I guess we are both on some list of his…

Dot has moved her Keep to Winter Reverie. Paislee has a nice place there too. It is winter there… cold, snowy… but beautiful.

I made the trip to New Devokan. I can’t figure out how to work the sphere controls. Actually I’m afraid to mess with them. It seems Selenitica is being moved now… hard to tell. I was able to study the process. I thought I could duplicate it. With the surplus equipment I took from The Nation I built a hybrid of the technology I know and the New Devokan process. Test transfers of a few birds from Devokan to New Devokan have worked. They all seem healthy, but confused. I’ll check back and see that they are still ok. I wonder if the swan will remember me.

The squee are a puzzle. When I didn’t know if the transfer would work, I thought capture might be the only way to move them. I was able to capture several of them. They vanish from the cages. I saw one disappear while I watched. I suspect they teleport like the Barho I first saw in The Cavern on Earth… that seems so long ago.

I now have only two squee. They are the two I made friends with near my mediation place in Devokan. I hope its friends… I suspect it is the food bribes the greedy little beggars love… If I sneak up on the cage, they are often out nibbling on blooms and seeds… or chasing each other and playing. As soon as they see me they POP back in the cage, which supports my idea they can teleport. These little clowns act like they were never caught. Brats. I dutifully feed them strawberries from the Inn. I have hopes they will let me take them to New Devokan.

Artair’s journal, 25 Jan 2010

I’ve got a bit of news to report, myself. The pavilion in the Northern part of the island has disappeared. Dot told me about it when I arrived, and we headed down to take a look.

It seems that something’s taken its place now. A large stone archway. I’d put it near fourteen feet high, ten feet wide, with the middle opening being only enough for a single person to pass through it. I’d have to get an older photo of the pavilion to confirm, but I believe it’s the same one that was pictured for a while on the pavilion’s surface.

The middle opening of the gate seems to be filled with the same energy as the pavilion had, and it does project an image. One of the tree village. It might be a connection to that world, the one where everything might end up. Dot mentioned that it’s been transporting living things, essences of plants, perhaps we can organize a team to send something — or someone — through to gather data?

Paislee’s journal, 25 Jan 2010

I’ve been reluctant to write an entry in my journal these past weeks… So much is happening that I simply didn’t know where to begin. It appears that our suspicions about the spheres was correct… how could I not believe it now?

On one of my last forays into the large trees to the north (which is now gone altogether!) I chanced to step too close the the rotating surface…I found I could not escape its grip. Instead I was enveloped in a warm, soft glow that was hypnotic. My fear vanished ~ replaced by a calming doziness…

I awakened, my cheek pressed against some rough-hewn boards. The sound of gently lapping waves, birdsong, and chirping of insects filled my ears. I thought I had merely fallen asleep from exhaustion, but as I looked around I was astonished to find this was not the familiar island of trees I’d visited so often from Devokan, but a new place!

Gathering my wits, I decided to explore this place…would there be a way home? The trees looked different here, and the pathways were strange. I made my way up some spiral stairs that hugged a giant trunk to a good vantage point where I observed three islands across the shimmering sea. Perhaps there were natives there? But I had no way to reach those islands…

Continuing upward I came to a series of elevated walkways connecting a couple of huts and some platforms… But what caught my interest immediately was a small glowing sphere. This sphere was rotating in place above a sort of stand… It seemed so like the large sphere through which I had been transported to this place…

Resolutely I reached out and placed my hand in the glow…

Paislee’s journal, 26 Jan 2010

My previous entry was cut short due to a messenger announcing the arrival of small package marked: To Miss Paislee Myrtle, Devokan Island. Imagine my surprise when I saw it was from the same solicitors that Quin had visited.

But the most startling observation was when I noticed the cramped scrawl of Miss Elspeth’s hand on the back of the string wrapped package. It read: Dear Paislee — Remember dear girl, that every ending creates a new beginning! Miss Elspeth

I’ve yet to open the small package… I’m rather reluctant to discover what it contains, so I’ve placed it in my trunk. When the time feels right I shall open it.

Now it’s time to relate the next episode of my strange journey….

“Stop! Do not touch that sphere, Miss Paislee! You will disturb its resonance and my work here will be undone!

Astonishment filled me as I turned to see a very familiar face… that of Quinquifid Oddenfen! While I stood there gaping like a fish he explained briefly that this sphere was a sort of hub for a system that allowed him to travel here to the world I had stumbled into.

Then, as he sometimes does, he started peppering me with questions! How had I arrived? What signs of change were there in Devokan? Had I seen Miss Dot or the other residents lately? Has anything on the big island gone missing?

His barrage of questions was quite exhausting after the stress of my unexpected journey, so I smartly informed him of that fact! At once he apologized (always a gentleman, albeit a reluctant one) for his vigorous questioning.

Luckily he had established a small camp at a neighboring island and swiftly led the way to a sort of portal… At least that is what he called it.

An image of our destination shimmered in the opening, so with a little encouragement from Quin I stepped through…

Ah! I hear steps on the stairs. I must leave my writing for now. Dot has promised to help me sort out the most important items in the inn to pack in preparation for leaving Devokan.

I shall miss my home. How I hope Elspeth was right and that this painful ending will lead to a new beginning.

Farewell to Devokan

Quin’s journal, 1 Feb 2010

I am pleased to report preliminary results of some experiments.

When I originally visited with warrior Nalates the source of the glowing orbs, I took careful measurements of the multidimensional aether through which we travelled.

By working through the notes I took at the time, analysing samples I collected in the other world, and carefully reading critical entries in my late aunt’s journal, I was able to set up a system whereby I could return at will and conduct further investigations and experiments.

The portal Miss Paislee refers to in her journal I have managed to re-create — rather to imitate — in Devokan. It is something of a mash-up at present, re-using elements from the old Devokan portal system, but will serve as we move from the island to our new home in Winterfell Reverie.

Quin’s journal, 3 Feb 2010

The next stage of my investigation is this: to attempt to take across at least some elements of the Lost Pages sphere from this world to the other.

Accordingly I have set up an adaptation of the monitoring device, adjusting it in the light of the data gleaned from experiments in that other world.

The process will take a day or so to complete, but after that the Lost Pages sphere will no longer be in this world.

Quin’s journal, 5 Feb 2010

I linked back to Devokan to check how things were going with preparations for the final evacuation and to tell the others of my plans: the laboratory I set up in the new world, and some of the equipment I have been able to bring across.

My hope is to tap into the growing strength of the sphere above the standing stones that have reappeared in Devokan.

It will be a risk — I don’t completely understand the underlying mechanisms — but given the choice between that and the complete loss of that wonderful island, one worth taking.

So I am going to stay in the new world, monitoring the instruments, trying to control and focus whatever it was that enabled this transport of living and non-living matter, and that was growing strongly by the hour.

I shook hands with each of them, wished them luck (as they did me), and returned to the spheres’ source world.

Quin’s journal, 7 Feb 2010

Devokan is no more.

As I watched from my temporary lab in the spheres’ source world — the New Devokan as warrior Nalates likes to call it — over the last few hours, one by one the monitors went blank.

First Selenitica’s satellite mine,

then Selenitica itself,

then the Lost Pages sphere,

then the beautiful island of Devokan.

I weep.

Nalates’ journal, 9 Feb 2010

I’m somewhat sad at Devokan’s loss from this dimension and time but so many new things are happening there is little time to mourn. Word has come from the former DRC members that alarms were tripped in the Cavern on Earth. I have yet to sort out all those goings on, but the D’ni Refugees are gathering for a party and working to find out if they can get into a reopened Cavern. Seems KI batteries are in short supply or something.

While I wait I’ll write down my account of the final hours of Devokan before the memories start to fade. It’s sunny in Minkartah and a squee is curled up in my lap sleeping. It’s not Devokan but it is nice. Raining at night.

Many of the D’ni Refugees came to see Devokan before it vanished. Some I had never met in my travels. Many I had never come across in the Cavern either. All were appalled that Devokan must go and struck by its beauty.

Many people were exploring in the final hours and catching up with old friends.

I heard Quin went to the new world to try and save as much of Selenitica and Devokan as he could. I had hoped to save the animals and some of the plants. Quin spoke to Dot about saving more of Devokan. I doubt he has time to experiment. I ran out of time with my experiments and just started moving critters as I could. I figured I would just barely get my transfers done before Devokan starts to scorch. So, I could not stop and coordinate with him. I hoped our simultaneous transfers worked. I have yet to be visit the new Devokan to see how thing faired.

I have pictures of Selenitica before the orbit changed much. At this point everyone was out, except me. My scanners were showing no humans. The energy the spheres were creating was awesome. Dot said Quin was hoping for some resonance to increase the transfer rate. I would guess he found it. Way to go Quin.

The flier was here. No one was aboard. I was surprised at the time Dot left it there. I would have moved it to Winterfell but it is keyed to her somehow and won’t respond to me. That’s good because I realized when she sent her pictures that she had plans for it. I should know to trust her more by now.

What I call the crystal mine was empty. The crystals there seemed to be resonating with the spheres. Anywhere close to the crystals one could feel the vibrations. Set my teeth on edge… Wooh! Glad I did have to not stay there long.

The volcano was much more active. More lava pools had opened. The CO2 and sulfur gassing was not too bad. I remember coming up to Selenitica to warm up during the Devokan winter. Toasty nice. Now the pops and bursts of magma would make that risky.

My scanner had problems with the underground mine. I made a patrol of it to make sure no one was exploring or mining.

I destroyed the locking mechanism at the mine entrance to keep other out. Then the door activator to seal it too. The mine is big. It is completely out of character for the technology I see in Selenitica. I can’t imagine who made this mine. Technology there rivals much of what I’ve seen in forward times. I’m still puzzled.

After riding the elevator down into the mine I destroyed its control too. I didn’t want anyone using it to sneak into the lower levels behind me or escape past me and be trapped.

Searching through all the twists and turns of the mine was time consuming.

The strange portal was still operating. I really dreaded having to use it to leave the mine. I felt it was the only way to assure the mine was empty and no way in was left. As always it was painful. Dang.

Dot’s pictures show what she and some friends observed from her ship in the last hours of Selenitica. I’ll visit the new Devokan or Winterfell and catch up with Quin on whether the transfer worked. My main hope is that he saved the Lost Pages sphere.

As the transfers continued eventually the Devokan island was barren. Not even a cricket was left. As I write now I find I am somewhat proud of that. I suppose some will be unhappy that I took the ants too. Oh well. My little squee friend won’t complain… or I’ll stop feeding her the strawberries she seems to love.

I had decided to stay as long as I could in case someone might not have heard and come to visit. I would have needed to hurry them out. But, I had the island to myself. The farther out of orbit the planet moved the faster it moved toward the sun. The sky began to change.

At first the atmosphere started to thin and the lighting was harsh.

Soon things really began to change. Some of the colors were spectacular. It was as if all of the sunsets this Devokan was ever to experience were to be rolled into one final sunset.

As the planet spiraled in closer the sky and sun got brighter. By this time I was feeling the planet warming. Finally things were getting hotter and smoke began to cloud the sky. I decided it was time to leave. Heaven help any that came after I left. Only a couple of hours could have been left. So… hopefully…

If anyone had seen me leave… I would have blamed my tears on the smoke…

Now this Devokan is gone. … Oh… the squee has woken. I’d swear she sees the tears that formed in my eyes as I wrote. Dang, I’m embarrassed to cry in front of a little squee… too much time spent with male military types… aaw… she has climbed to my shoulder and is nuzzling my ear and neck… I think she is trying to comfort me. I wonder how smart these little squee are? Whatever… it is nice. Certainly deserves a strawberry or two.

Fax Palladin’s journal, 9 Feb 2010

I’ve had this journal for a few weeks now, but this is the first entry. Avoidance, my old friend…

Such mixed emotions. Watching the livid skies over the old Devokan, knowing it would soon be gone — even as word came of a renewed presence back in the D’ni Cavern, even knowing that there were multiple refuges for those displaced. It was still sad.

But there is hope. The words of Atrus, echoed by Yeesha, echo still:

The ending has not yet been written. The story continues…

DEVOKAN FAREWELL

The sun is spinning close in the skies over Devokan
The squee and the crystals know soon we will part
There’s a whisper in the wind of the promises unspoken
And a land that will always remain in my heart

My thoughts will return to the tinkle of laughter
The magic that here was begun
And a time that we’ll remember long ever after
The moonlight and music and dancing we’ve done

But we’ll climb the hills once more, we will walk the woods together
Though it will be elsewhere, we’ll meet once again
And every song we’ve sung will stay with us forever
We’ll dance through the Ages and never say when

Under the moon, a new land lies waiting
Over the sea, the stars shine
New wonder behold, the maker’s creating
The magic and music won’t be left behind

— Fax Quixote, 6 Feb 2010

After “Ashokan Farewell” by Grian MacGregor and Jay Ungar

Quin’s journal, 10 Feb 2010

Two solid days, sitting there in the laboratory, watching, adjusting a slider here, a knob there; hoping against hope that the conjectures and calculations about the spheres might have some substance to them, that my efforts might not be in vain.

Utterly exhausted, I emerged from the lab this morning, and linked.

The island was transformed!

Somehow, the land had been remoulded into the hills and valleys of our lost Devokan.

As I watched, rocks, streams, plants seemed to form out of the atmosphere — a crystalline shimmering in the air, and then the wood, the waterfalls, the sounds, …

I walked in a daze, looking around me in awe. It all fitted — the geology, the ecology, all matched.

The island has come home.

Postscript

The words and photos and memories from that time still have the power to move me. The way so many people contributed to and became part of the story was wonderful, and very precious.

Remarkably, on the same weekend that Devokan disappeared, the Cavern reopened.

And so, here I am, in this little alcove restored by Andy Legate, reporting on something that happened a world away, an age ago…

Dot ~ 4 July 2010

Acknowledgements

Our indebtedness to the wonderful worlds and ages created by Cyan Worlds should be readily apparent.