‘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.

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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.

Still alive

Far from triumph and huge successes, though. Surface life has kept me extremely busy, and I barely managed to visit Payiferen in time to get my last pod portal.

I came back yesterday with a feeling of “did I leave the gas on?” and found that, in fact, I had forgotten to turn the main power off. I expected the battery to be depleted but the pod windows were clear and there was still enough power to turn the lights on, as well as sounds. Either the windows do not consume as much power as I remembered or this pod is getting some extra juice from its solar panels.

It was night outside, and the sky was glittering with minuscule lights as usual. Some say it’s the starlight passing through the sand storms, other that it’s the sand itself sparkling with silver in the air. I pondered about that for a moment, then just sighed and basked in the view for a while before heading reluctantly back home.

Book review – Thomas Riley

Oh Ahnonay, how much I loathe thee? Let me count the ways.
Well, not many actually, but it’s extremely annoying when you find you missed one cloth and have to go through the whole thing again. Aargh.

On other news, I was in Negilahn waiting for the portal to appear and decided to pass the time by writing a short review of a steampunk YA book I read recently. So here you go:

“Thomas Riley”, by Nick Valentino

Plot recap: Thomas Riley and his assistant Cynthia Bassett are alchemists and weapon makers for the country of West Canvia, in the middle of a decennial war with the bordering country of Lemuria. When Cynthia becomes the unintentional receptacle of the soul of the Duke’s sister, she and Thomas will have to cross the Lemurian border and find the only person who can help them – their enemy counterpart. Of course things don’t go as planned, and adventure ensues. And oh, did I mention there are sky pirates?

Review: I quite liked this book. The first few pages didn’t quite grip me but I liked how the story developed from there, and the plot is a simple, straightforward romp which makes for good, lighthearted reading.
I really loved the attention to details and the inclusion of nice scenes like the mechanical bear or the ghost people – background touches that work both as world building and possible hooks for sequels, without burdening the story with dangling subplots.
Thomas and Cynthia also work very well as a duo, and you can easily believe they have been working together for some time. Cynthia in particular, while being absent for a good while in the second part of the novel, leaves a remarkable impression as a strong-willed capable woman with distinct shades of Emma Peel – especially in her attention to a comfortable yet stylish wardrobe!

There are however a few things that didn’t work for me: the obsession on describing characters and their clothing bring to the occasional halt in the narration, and there are also some typos (‘decent’ for ‘descent’ over all, since it was a repeated offense) and some things that look like leftovers from a rewriting, which a stronger editing before publication could have taken care of.
I was also confused by the use of some terms, like ‘Gatling’, which hint back to our real world, since there wasn’t any clear hint in the story about how much the world in the book differs from our own (or if there were any, I missed them). To use an example: Girl Genius, while using fictional countries like Thomas Riley, also uses real ones like England and states several times that the background for the action is the European continent.

Overall a very nice YA book, good for young and not-so-young readers. Here’s to hoping for a sequel!

Spinning around

(spoilers for Ahnonay follow)

Dnì has now given up trying to find a variation of his name that the Nexus won’t block out, and is now going by the alias of Lancaster Drew.

We spent last night working through his Ahnonay; since it was his first time there I let him work out how the puzzle worked, nudging him here and there when he missed some important clue (I didn’t really want to spend a week there). In the end we managed to get to maintenance, where I got him to understand how the whole thing works by the clever use of bad sexual innuendo. Good times.

Next goal: linking to sphere 4.

Chirping

I haven’t been much down to D’ni lately, mostly touch and go visits, though I tried to take a few hours off my schedule to visit the pods. I didn’t get to see much wildlife (apart from Dereno) but it seems to me there are a lots more sounds and activity than in the last few months. Or maybe it’s just my memory playing tricks on me.

I also dug up my very very old KI, the one I was hacking into a music player, and managed to turn it into a sort of ‘bridge’ to connect my surface PC to my laptop and KI in the Cavern; it will make it easier for me to send stuff online without returning to the surface and vice versa. As a test, I made myself a new twitter account which will only be updated in Cavern. It looks like it’s working…