Greenflower updates

Interesting new discoveries from the Age, and a big headache for me. I’ll repost from the DRC thread again:

Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:30 pm

I’m in the Age, Prof, just set up camp for the “night” and hour ago and I’m writing down a report. I sprayed trees along the road with red paint to mark a sort of path (don’t worry, it won’t hurt the trees) so you can catch up with me if you want; I took it very easy along the road so it shouldn’t be more than a few hours walk.

By the way, there is some sort of creeper I didn’t notice the other day and – wow, it’s just amazing. It grows on the trees, coiling around the trunk and getting thicker on the higher branches, and it GLOWS. The color is not uniform even in the same plant, there are greens and blues and yellows, and it also sheds some kind of wooly seed that glows bright white for a while before going out.
This basically means that the whole forest turns into a softly lit canopy, which makes it very easy to walk at night even without a flashlight, as long as you stay in the forest.

Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:12 pm

the creepers (…) grow on the underside of the branches, and they get progressively thinner when going towards a clearning or opening (which I guess explains why I didn’t see them in my first excursion). My guess is they prefer to stay out of the sun.

Anyway, I walked another few miles yesterday and collected some plant samples along the way, if anyone from the DZS wants to take a look at them. Sometime yesterday ‘evening’* I found a brook running through the forest and I started following it upstream. The water is good (I tested) and very cold.
There was a lot more animal activity near the water – I could hear rustling among the bushes and some distant calls (something like a very small elephant, and some very deep short howls). I didn’t see any animals, but I kept a fire going at night for safety.

The night was fresh but not particularly cold, and monday was warm enough to walk around in a light long-sleeved shirt (never go short-sleeved in alien environments, folks!).
As they ‘day’ went on I could see the lights from the plant getting dimmer, though I could see no sign of sunrise on the horizon – not that I actually see the horizon from here.
There is very little plant-light right now, but I saw some kind of enormous stone up ahead -the first big non-plant thing I saw since I got here- and I want to try to reach it before I get back to the surface. I’ll keep you posted.

* I measured things by my local time, which is KI time + 7 hours

Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:48 am

Ow, my head! well, that was an unexpected turn of events.
First of all, I’m fine and at home. Thanks for the search parties, but there’s no need to worry for me!
Second, do not touch the moss on the rock with your bare hands. I’m now going to explain why.

OK, recap. I finally reached the stone with a bit of plantlight to spare. It is indeed a big one, about 20 metres in diameter, sunk deeply in the ground, and really high. It is also there that I found the first man-made objects in the Age.
There is a staircase carved around the rock, spiraling clockwise up above the treetops. It is not a difficult climb but the steps are sometimes smooth and a bit slippery, and I had to grab the wall for safety sometimes. The rock face itself seems to be porous, and habitat to some small weeds, flowers and the infamous moss. I think what got me in the end were my fingerless gloves – the tip of my fingers must have brushed it more than once. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

About what I guess was halfway of the climb I found a small recess in the rock and there, embedded in the stone and hidden behind some weeds, one of the Nexus hand devices! You know, those things you put your hand into, left to the Nexus books on the stands. I tried my luck and it did indeed react to my KI, glowing briefly yellow (that’s a new one) and saying it had added a link to my Nexus.
My curiosity was thoroughly tickled and I decided to resume the climb, but after a very short time I started to feel dizzy and my vision blurred. I linked back to Relto, and everything went black.

I must’ve slept for almost a day and I felt really terrible when I woke up. It was then that I noticed that the tips of my fingers were stained green-blue and smelled faintly of anesthetic ; I quickly washed them under the waterfall in Relto and the dizzy spell seemed to wear off almost immediately. I still felt very tired and hungry so I got back to the surface to grab something to eat and sleep off the last remnants of the drug.
By then unfortunately it was also time for me to get back to work, where I’m writing this now (just don’t tell my boss!).

My guess is that moss was placed or Written there deliberately as a security measure, to get rid of anyone who arrived there without precautions. I would not advise using that new Nexus link, if indeed there is one, without a Maintainer suit or other precautions.


‘Green flower’ exploration #1

I’ve been exploring a new Age, apparently unauthorized, that Horatio found while exploring beyond the barriers. We don’t know the Age name – I’m tentatively calling it ‘Green flower’ just for recording purposes, as the book is green with a flower design embossed on the cover.

This is my first report from the Age, reposted from the thread on the DRC site.

I managed to pay a quick visit to the place, but I’ll try to get back in the next days with proper equipment to stay overnight. My KI camera didn’t work either, which makes me believe it is either due to something in the environment or an intentional hack of some kind.

I walked for about half an hour in the forest, keeping the cliff on my left, though I lost track of it pretty quickly among the trees. I didn’t find any markers of a proper path but, as you said, there is little undergrowth so one can easily walk in every direction.
The ground is littered with dried needle leaves. The trees themselves are tall, about 10 to 50 meters high, with some occasional lower shrubs. The plants have a mix of needle and scale leaves; some have small cones, or ‘berries’ coloured red or deep blue. Now I’m no botanist but it seems to me this is some kind of conifer forest, possibly by some distant relatives of the juniper and the pine.

I heard some birds in the distance (or at least, they seemed to be birds calling) but didn’t see any wildlife.

Lighthouses and leprechauns

London is a beautiful city; just stay away from the pubs after the St. Pat’s parade, unless you want beer spilled all over your coat. Ack.
I’ll put up pics on Flickr as soon as I have them developed.

As for the book, I don’t think there was any direct connection to Habnn, but it wasn’t a total waste of time either. The tome was an old leather-bound collection of odd stories from West Sussex in the 15th century. In one of these, from a town called Haven, an apparent devilish haunting (the usual lot: weird sounds in the fields, dead people, memory losses, even one giant fiery figure floating over the local pub) was exorcised by three persons that the author describes only as coming from “the Lighthouse from the Stone Island”. Which would be nothing unusual, if not that the hamlet is nowhere near the coast and there is no record of any actual lighthouse, or islet, or mansion going by that name in the region around that time. I will need to investigate this more.


At least, that’s the family of plants Dnì* tells me the vegetation in Er’cana is a part of. Since my botanical knowledge doesn’t really extend much beyond the things in my garden, I just smile and nod.

The machines had reverted themselves to their ‘off’ state, as they seem prone to do after prolonged times of inactivity (I didn’t bake pellets for months) so we had to do the whole exploration thing all over again.

After a brief exploration of the chasm by the broken tracks (yes, Dnì tried to jump over the narrow spot; yes, he fell in) I gave him a brief history of the Age and rapidly explained to him how the Journey clothes worked, then we hopped onto the harvester and went into the processing complex. I tried to get Dnì to solve some of the ‘puzzles’, but his attitude to most of the closed doors was “let’s blow them up”, so I decided it would be just best if I handled things from that point on.

We managed to get access to the pellet room, but we were both pretty tired by the end of it, and none of us really wanted to get back to the control room and turn the ovens on. I should actually check the forums for algae-feeding recipes, too.

* He’s actually called Denis, pronounced just like D’ni, which made him somewhat cross since he couldn’t use any variant of “dni” into his KI name. But at least I get to say there’s a Dnì in D’ni.

Looking at D’ni with new eyes

I was so busy exploring the old grounds that I forgot to post my new KI number here. It’s 374362, add me if you want and send me a line.

Indeed, soon after getting my KI and a couple Nexus links in the City, I visited a few of my favourites stamping grounds: Tetsonot, Kirel, Minkata. I spent the whole first day finding my way back to the Kivas and feeling the warm winds under the starry sky.

The next day I decided to get back to the Cleft. I rushed through the puzzle, spending more time watching these wonders I still associate more with games and books than with reality. The volcano, Atrus’ room and his stones collection, Anna’s carvings on the walls, the precious pool of water by the tree… and the Riven remnants of course, that eerie proof that there are, indeed, other universes than our own.

After that, I rushed through Kadish and Gahreesen, then spent a bit more time in Teledahn and the Garden Ages. The sunrise in Eder Gira, in particular, still brings tear to my eyes, no matter how many times I see it. Who would have thought, ten years ago, that I could love so dearly a place of red packed earth and bones?

I had almost completed the first Journey run when a surface friend told me he wanted to visit D’ni. I left the totems in my Relto (I hope the Bahro can forgive me for a day or two) and met him in his Bevin, after telling him how to get his KI.
The City was packed, so we visited Kemo and Gira (where he informed me that, in his botanical eyes, the green plants by the waterfall is a kind of arrowroot). Unfortunately he tripped into a chasm (he does that a lot) and panic linked to Relto, so we decided to call it a night.

I made a last run to get a new Er’cana book, and couldn’t manage to link away immediately, so I retraced my steps back to the train before finally admitting defeat and dragging myself to sleep.

What is it with me and rocky deserts, seriously?

Exploration #1 – Page 11


I spent most of yesterday organizing notes, visiting San Juan and booking another trip.

The road to Buenos Aires

I am now on a coche-cama (literally, a bed bus) on the road to Buenos Aires; I’m going to visit the city for a few days and say hello to an old friend. I guess she’ll be quite surprised to see me here.
The seats on the bus are comfortable and can be reclined almost all the way back for the night; very Minbari, but it is a 14-hour trip in the vast emptiness between two cities, and it’s not difficult to see why the bus companies made comfortable sleeping one of their basic services.


Too much to visit, too little time. Writing postponed.


I would have loved to stay more, but I had stretched this trip to Argentina already too much and it was time to head back home. On the evening of the previous day I said goodbye to my friend and pretended to go to the airport, but I really shifted back to the small island-hut. I was tired and fell asleep almost immediately. I thought I heard something rustle in the night, but I didn’t pay much attention to it, and I lost, perhaps, the chance to meet the mysterious overseer of my journey.


I woke up in the morning and noticed immediately that something had changed. The Habnn journal was not there where I left it the night before, and the locked drawer was now open instead. Inside I found a new journal: a diary, apparently, in the odd havenese script and with a single bookmark on front. As I flipped through the pages a note fell out: it was in English, and addressed to me. And it was signed…

Touya’s signature

I realized with sadness that this first exploration had come to an abrupt end; a new one, however, had just begun.
I won’t divulge the contents of that note for now. Suffice to know that I’m now translating the new journal and learning more and more about this new hidden civilization. It might be years before this is published, but I keep working on with the knowledge that, at the end of this job, I might even go and visit Habnn itself…

“And now I am at rest, understanding that in Books, and in Ages, and in life, the ending can never truly be written.” — Atrus