Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Small Break After Returning to Caledon

My return back to Caledon was, for the most part, uneventful. The wind was in our favor and we made good time. No crowds, no celebrations heralded my arrival from the expedition as I moored the Albatross to my destination rooftop. The only thing that greeted me was ocean wind and the faint cries of shore birds. I actually preferred it this way. Even though I had slept for over a month and my spiritual wounds had been healed, I still felt that I was recovering from a major journey. I also had to remember that to everyone else, a month or more had passed. For all I knew, many had considered me lost to the wilds of the Mainland.

I secured my shuttle at my new base in Caledon on Sea and took a long moment to breathe in the air. I had decided on the journey back that I would take a week or so to relax and enjoy what I could of the social events in Caledon. After storing my gear, I was able to attend the closing evening of the Renaissance Faire where I danced with a small group of fine Caledonians and guests during which I had the pleasure of meeting not only Princess Manqo of Yaximixche but Duchess Gabriel of Cairntaigh.

The rest of the time has been spent refitting the Albatross as well as organizing a project which falls directly on the heels of the Expedition. When I was not doing that I wandered about, reacquainting myself with a few counties, and having a very good time experimenting the laws of physics with a fine group of individuals. Flying steam elephants, rockets to the moon, and catapults were involved.

After an elephant was launched from a catapult and sent out to sea as well as a failed moon shot attempt in a small bullet looking rocket, the energy of the day shifted slightly. In an effort to better understand physics, a small disc was constructed by Mr. Alfonso Avalanche and objects of various shapes were launched skyward. This was, of course, tested with the help of local volunteers who eagerly boarded the disc to be launched into space. Of course, I was among that number.

With little harm befalling me, I later strolled along the same area and was surprised to finally meet the acquaintance of Miss Vulpine Eldritch. Miss Eldritch has corresponded with me frequently during the ten week expedition and I was delighted to stumble upon her during my relaxing stroll. She not only pointed me to a good direction where I might be able to purchase a noble steed like her own but it was good to speak with someone that had followed my expedition so closely. It also appears she may be joining me on a few of my upcoming trips to the Mainland.

The day and those following it have proven good for me and I feel well rested after the last expedition. Work continues and I hope to begin new explorations before the weekend is over as well as be able to make a small announcement to those that do not know of it yet. I leave you with a small sampling of images from the in-depth scientific experiments which transpired last week.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


I awoke to a butterfly on my forehead. The light tickle of its feet upon my brow easing me up from slumber deep and thick in its restfulness. A pair of brilliant black and blue wings arched over my eyes, less then an inch away. For a moment, I was unclear as to what was exactly happening. But then, as if sensing my awakening, the butterfly launched itself into the air and sailed out of my view. Looking to my left and right, I could see I was lying on a low cot in a small stone hut. The air was filled with the scents of Spring, flowers, clear air, and fertile earth.

Blinking, I rose slowly and brought myself up further from my unconsciousness. I could not believe how new, how rested I felt. Still wearing my ship coat and cloak, I assumed I had dozed off after visiting with Jesa Li for awhile. Memories leading up to that point were vague, disjointed. I remembered showing her the bite wound from the vampire and her handing me a glowing glass of healing water. Water that had been touched by the horn of a unicorn, she told me.

The bite wound!

Raising my hand I found the black cloth still around my neck but upon feeling underneath there was no tenderness, no tactile indications the bite was there anymore. It would explain why I felt so healthy. Stretching, I reached into my coat pocket for my chronometer to see how long I had slept.

I was not ready for what it told me. In fact, I was so stunned I immediately applied a few vigorous shakes to the device in hopes of showing a malfunction or resetting it. It stubbornly resisted my efforts and I stared for long seconds at the date and time it showed.

I had slept for over a month.

My first thought was to rub my forehead and think, "Not again!" My second was immediately to my crew and for my ship. The small hut I found myself in was barely designed to fit someone of my size and in my hurry to get outside of it, I nearly dashed my skull against the stone doorway. I staggered, thick headed and stiff, through a field of bright flowers in an attempt to find Jesa. My hope was that if I had slept that long things had been handled, my crew had been contacted. And what of the Expedition?

Jesa arrived shortly notified of my awakening by either her butterfly friend or any other member of wildlife which calls An Lios home. For all I knew, the talking salmon in the creek had told her. I do not try to understand the ways of dryads. Its for the better, really.

She bade me sit upon a stone bench before I hurt myself or her garden. She explained that all was well and that my first mate had been notified, that I should ease my mind in regards to that matter. On the matter of the Expedition, she knew little except that it, from her understanding, concluded. No one had come looking for me and she had not promoted she had an unconscious Otherworld captain in her care. "One does not do such things. Not so much out of prudence but out of safety, " She explained with a smile, "You never know what may be tailing around behind a character such as yourself. Given the neck wound, I felt it best to just let you sleep it off."

So spoken by the sylvan dryad who has a much different attitude about time.

I first met Jesa Li many years ago. One would say a lifetime ago. In short, it was a long time ago when I was still a wet behind the ears woodland path runner. It was her that led me to be introduced to the sylvans and the Otherworld. She's the one that led me up the Mountain of Wind and to a meeting with the Queen who ruled there. Jesa showed me their ways, their wisdom, and, eventually I earned their trust. So much so they, in turn, led me on a quest to my Otherworld ship, the vessel that sails between, and made me it's captain. For all those years, she has been my lodestone and one of my truest friends as I have explored several different worlds.

And how fitting it was that I was here, at the point between one ending and a new beginning? At least, it felt like it was such a point. When I asked her of it she glanced back at me as if I had made a miraculous discovery of something that was, in fact, common sense. "Maybe you should sleep longer. You seem to be a bit slow still," was her response.

This all happened a week ago. I have spent several days on the An Lios land with her. In a way, the sleep and the time afterward with her has helped me to connect to things I had forgotten. Time with Jesa always reminds of such things and centers me back into the core of who I am, what I am to be doing. The rest of time has been spent refitting the shuttle as well as the ship which sits, still, outside of world and unable to safely breech the dimensional boundaries.

From here, I return back to Caledon to report to Mr. Shang. I have redesigned my shuttle, the Albatross, to be able to handle longer trips between Caledon and the Mainland. The explorations will, of course, continue. So much so, I am not sure I will even be in Caledon often. There is far too much to see and do here for a small team to find on foot, on the ground. Much to explore, chronicle, and study. However, it will be some time before I agree to travel solely on land. As Jesa and a fey companion pointed out, "That is sort of like asking a rock to swim. They can do it but they're not really good at it." From now on, I will stick to my shuttle and my various crystals.

And there is another matter at hand in Caldedon which, up till now, has been kept behind the curtain. Not so much a secret to my fellow explorers but to the general public, it should prove to be, if anything else, entertaining. I should attend to it as soon as I can.

Refitted, restocked, and rested, I boarded the Albatross. Below me, the Mainland receded, spinning away underneath a thin layer of clouds. I felt no sense of sadness. I knew I would be back, possibly within a few days. Time to reflect on the past Expedition and the adventures there would come soon enough. For now, I was in the sky with the deck of a vessel underneath my feet.

I was home.