Return To Devokan

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Danko Whitfield
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Return To Devokan

Post by Danko Whitfield » Wed Dec 26, 2012 10:21 pm

I am standing on the rooftop of the castle in Selenitica, the highest point in this region. From here I can see to the very edges of Evergreen - north to Kamar, where I am beginning to furnish the little Japanese house where I spend the night when in residence; northeast to Tao and the sky tree which towers over the swampy grasses and odd-shaped rocks; and due east to Satori, an open water region with only a couple of tall plants and two unidentified structures the only things visible above water.

My mission today is to take detailed notes on each of the four ages here that have been put under my care by the Devokan Trust. These notes will be used to write a guide for explorers, tourists and other visitors. It will come in handy as there is more to this world than meets the eye. I can not guarantee that I have found all there is to find here but that is part of the enchantment of this place. You may tag along with me as I make my notes if you like. Bear with me as I will also be stopping to make photographs from time to time.

There are three tall islands in Selenitica, the eastern one is your arrival point as you enter the world of Evergreen. You will be standing next to a tower. If you should enter this building and work your way up to its top level, you will find two benches on which to sit and take in the view. Just the other day I found something new. Touch the floor after you sit down on a bench. Wait a moment. What happens? I will make a photograph of the area as you try that.

There are smaller rock islands as well. When you first arrive, you will see to the west, the home of Mr. Quinquifid Oddenfen, Director of the Devokan Trust. This is his study, his laboratory, his retreat. Yet he is not often in residence as his work takes him to other ages. His retreat sits on a platform - a pedestal - on one of the rock islands. If you wish to look around Quin's home, follow the bridge to your left, it will take you to what I have taken to calling Garden Island. You can wander about the interesting and colorful flowers and trees here until you come to another bridge which connects with Quin's house.

You will also see in the northwest corner of Selenitica, on the highest island, a castle. When you first arrive, if again looking west, the bridge to your right will take you there. The bridges need some repair work, so "pardon our appearance..." as the saying goes. You should be able to manage.

I have been using a room on the second floor of the castle as my office here. I refer to that room as the Observatory as the view from there is stupendous but there are two observation towers above on the roof. Still, this room is where I feel most comfortable, sitting and looking at the lands before me, thinking and writing.

My names for these islands are unofficial. I am the Custodian of Evergreen and so I am the one most often putting pen to paper to write about it. So I need reference points, names...for the tourists' sake as well as my own. I suppose I should get Quin's approval for these names but to Quin, this would not be a matter of great importance and, as he has so much on his plate, I do hate to bother him with such trivial matters. For now, unless I hear him call them by other names, I will be using these: Arrival Island - where visitors land; Garden Island - the southern most island, there are no buildings here; Quin's Island - the rocks that host the pedestal for his home; and Castle Island - obvious, eh? Let's go north now, to...

Kamar. This is a rocky continent, with some moss, a few grassy spots, some beautiful flowers and a good number of trees. The land surrounds a nice bay. My house faces the ocean to the north but I spend most of my time at the back window looking out at the bay or on the rooftop observation deck. As I say, I am just beginning to furnish the place. A day bed is there in one corner. This is where I sleep and read and sometimes write. Yes, I spend my nights on a day bed, a contradiction that makes me smile.

There is a secret place in Kamar as well. You cannot see it from my house. Look around and you will find a way to reach...

Kamar Sky Garden. This is a wondrous rock garden on a lake in the sky. Interesting things to see here. I would love to get that balloon-powered vehicle working...but what a nice spot to relax. Feel free to do so. I also think it is a perfect spot for a party someday in the future. Or the past. One never really knows in the Devokan lands.

Let's return to sea level now and wander over to...

Tao. Not a lot of walking to be done in Tao. And if you do so, I hope you have worn your wading boots. There is much open water but, as you can see, there is some land. Most of it is swampy though there are a couple of small rock islands here. And there are interesting items to inspect on these rocks. (I will leave that to you.)

If you are one with the power to fly, a good landing spot in Tao is on the odd rock formations in the northeast and southeast of the region. From afar you might think they are trees, I certainly did. On closer inspection, they look like plants. But once you land on one, you see they are terra firma - specifically, rocks. Rocks that look like mushrooms, if you ask me. Poisonous mushrooms? I could not say as I can't imagine biting into one without it involving emergency dental surgery.

Yes, I know you can't take your eye off of that giant tree in the sky above you but before we go there... I just want to point out that Tao is interesting to see underwater as well. So, if you have brought your scuba equipment - or you hail from a race that breathes underwater - you can wander around below sea level in Tao. You may happen upon Quin's one-person submarine. I would not suggest trying to drive it. (I speak from experience on this. I got stuck in there and had to go to my bag of tricks to extricate myself. When I get a chance, I'm going to have to rummage through Quin's study to see if I can find the keys for that vehicle.)

All right, I won't keep you waiting any longer... to the Sky Tree!

aka the Tree Tower. Whatever one calls it, it is truly one of the wonders of the ages. You can walk around the outer rings of the tower and view Selenitica and the landscape below or go closer to see the tree and the surrounding vegetation. This is a very nice place to sit and ponder what you have seen on your journey thus far.

But I know you will want to examine the roots of the Sky Tree as well, in particular the pods - known to the locals, if we had locals that is, as "flying homes." Feel free to go inside and make yourself comfortable but be sure to close the door on your way out so as to keep the elements - and the birds - at bay. I am guessing Quin used these rooms when Tao was a distant age, before it was brought here to nestle in next to Selenitica and the others. The homes are nicely appointed and very welcoming. I may spend some time in one of them to write. I am trying to figure out why one of them has a blue or cyan glass door while the others are yellow or amber.

Until this very day, entry to these pods was nearly impossible. As Custodian of Evergreen, it was my duty to report this problem to...somebody. In the absence of Quin, I had informed my friend Dot Macchi, who first introduced me to Quin long ago. Dot then investigated and was conducting experiments regarding a strange force field that existed around these pods. I was helping her as best I could, my knowledge of such things being quite limited. She told me that evidence of force fields were found in other Devokan ages as well. (In fact, the problem may not have been limited only to Devokan worlds.) Dot arranged for the services of a wizard, one Oren Hurvitz, who worked his magic and has caused the force fields to disintegrate...or evaporate...or whatever it is a force field does when it goes away. Apparently, this Oren fella is one heck of a wizard.

So, if you have explored Evergreen previously and had not been able to access the pods (or had problems in the Kamar Sky Garden), please do visit again as all is well now. This improvement is only a few hours old as of this writing.

Okay, we must now hop on down to Satori, south of Tao for me to finish these notes...

There isn't much to see here, so I put it off to the end of my 'tour.' I can hardly call this an 'expedition,' as I am merely 'exploring' the places next door, looking around the neighborhood as it were.

Satori is an open water region and I plan to spend my leisure time sailing here. The only thing visible above see level is a structure or two (I must see if they are connected underwater) that somewhat resemble the masts of a ship. From the observatory in the castle in Selenitica, I thought this structure was vegetation but now that I am here...well, it's not vegetation but I still don't know what it is actually.

The two "masts" - I'll call them towers - stand next to each other. (They are not connected underwater, it turns out.) Some sort of alloy, I guess. Are they a symbol of worship? Do they honor some god? Are they a piece of art? Or do they have some practical use? It bugs me that I cannot answer these questions. Already I know what will be keeping me up tonight when I try to ease my mind and fall to sleep in my little house in Kamar. Oh well. That's about all there is - oh wait, there is some very interesting, glowing vegetation underwater here, you must take a look. I should make another photograph as well.

That is the end of our little trip. You can wander about if you wish, I must be off now to review my notes. Thank you for joining me and for your patience. So long!

----------

Later, I stop in Selentica at Quin's house to make supper at the end of the day. I poured some wine first and browsed Quin's library. Stuffed into one book were some papers about the ages bordering Selenitica. In one, written by Shenn Tao who discovered Satori, he discusses the possibility that the towers there are some kind of communication device. Of course! I slammed the book shut, downed the wine and went to a window facing east to stare at those towers. They could be antennas. That would explain why they stand in the middle of nowhere, in open water. A signal travels very well over water. Yes! They could receive and transmit from one Devokan age to another! But wait...these are just the antennas. Where is the station? The transmitter? Wait... A relay station! Yes, that is it!

Hmmm..before I get carried away, I need to conduct some experiments here. Unlike magnetic force fields, communication is something I do know a little bit about, not much but a little. Did I ever tell you about visiting Messrs. Hertz or Marconi while on time traveller business? Well, needless to say, I picked up a few things along the way. Now, let me see, how to go about this? Oooo, that wireless set in one of Quin's pods up in Tao! I will bring it to Satori. And I will contact my secretary back in the Steamlands, Mr. Afterthought, and have him send along my best wireless set. Maybe two. Yes, it would be best to use radio equipment I am familiar with.

Well, I guess I have my next project before me so I will just have to put these notes aside for the moment. I will get back to them in the new year, organize them in a more coherent manner and fashion them into an Evergreen guide for the tourists.
----------

Editor's Note: The photographs Mr. Whitfield has made of these ages are on his Flickr page in a set called, Evergreen - Devokan. http://www.flickr.com/photos/78832719@N ... 290926431/ Region credits: Selenitica by Paislee Myrtle; Kamar and Satori by Shenn Tao; Tao by Leah Auxifur and Shenn Tao. Evergreen is Free to visitors. Many of the scripted items in Evergreen are not working yet. As with so many things, these ages evolve.
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Re: Return To Devokan

Post by Quinquifid Oddenfen » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:19 am

Mr Whitfield, my friend:--

I regret to inform you that my experiments, yet again, have had unforeseen consequences.

When we last enjoyed a meal together, I mentioned my intention to attempt to extrapolate the timeline that runs through the Ages of Primordium and Deepwater. As you know, the results of that part of the experiment were most encouraging: the Age of Future Past, of which you published a detailed description of your own explorations there.

In the intervening weeks, I have been monitoring and stabilising that Age -- and herein lies my difficulty. Honing down uncertainties in the extrapolation has had a cost. The experiment hit an unexpected saddlepoint, and the Age of Deepwater was catapulted (there is no other term for it) out of the current universe, taking Waysmeet and associated Ages with it.

I do not think Ms Dot will be very pleased with this. She was planning to develop those lands. That will no longer be possible, because I do not know where they have gone.

You are a better diplomat than I. When you next see Ms Dot, could you pass on my apologies? I am sure she will be reasonable about her loss given time.

With my sincere best wishes
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Re: Return To Devokan

Post by Dot Macchi » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:43 am

I knew it, I just knew it!

Yet again Quin has been experimenting with elements he does not fully understand* -- nor do I for that matter, though I suppose if he did understand there would be no point in conducting the experiments.

I just wish I wasn't always left to deal with the consequences.

"Future Past" is indeed accessible. In the end I tried using the search facility that Danko mentioned in his report.

I don't what happened, but while I was there something seems to have gone wrong with the Ages I was taking care of -- Waysmeet, Deepwater, Touchstone. I could not return there.

I managed to find a way to Danko's current base, in Evergreen.

There he showed me the note from Quin. I am so tired of this.

--------------------------
* The consequences of a previous experiment are described here.
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Re: Return To Devokan

Post by Danko Whitfield » Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:09 pm

I had received two pieces of correspondence from Quin in which he was pleased with the progress of his recent experiments.

So I was a bit surprised to receive his latest...but just a bit. Not that I expected trouble. I don't have the knowledge about these things that Quin does, I am in no position to 'expect' anything. But recent events - and my reading up on past events - tempered the level of surprise that I might have had. My surprise - my shock, actually - had come earlier.

Prior to the recent developments, Quin had asked me to visit Future Past, to explore it and document my findings. Although Quin has the powers of observation of a scientist, when it comes to investigating a land where none have gone before, there is no substitute for the services of a bona fide explorer, if I do say so myself...and I do.

I made three trips to Future Past to gather the information I needed. I published an account of my first trip in my own monthly journal, Steaming Along. I included that account in my formal report to Quin. Once he had read my report and we had a chance to discuss it, I also wrote a piece about Future Past for an explorer's trade publication. However, I declined interview requests about my reporting as this whole area that Quin is investigating is just barely within my understanding. I had already said, in my writing, all that I could. After my discussion with Quin a month ago, I was glad I had ventured to comment no further.

My meeting with Quin to talk about my findings took place in Future Past itself. This was Quin's idea as he had returned there to continue his experiments and he could not break away and come back to Selenitica as we had both hoped.

When I arrived, Quin seemed quite satisfied with his progress in "extrapolating the timeline." As he explained how he discovered Future Past...or, rather, how it came to be, I suddenly realized fully - for the first time - exactly what he was doing. I have heard him talk about extrapolating individual elements from ages before but I thought he was talking in theory. But, after what happened with Illusion - which he still seemed quite disturbed by - and from what I have been reading about his previous work...all right, I'll say it...his previous failure in Serene, and now standing with him in Future Past and listening to his explanation of from whence it came...I had an OMG moment.

This was not theory. He had done it!

If I may try, in layman's terms, to explain it to you... At one time, some time far away from the other worlds I know, there was Primordium. Over a long period of time after that, there was some sort of evolution...to Deepwater. And now, a long time after those earlier ages, there is Future Past. But this new Age was the product of revolution rather than evolution. For all intents and purposes, Quin put it here. And there are many unanswered questions - scientific, ethical and otherwise - about doing such a thing. This is complicated stuff! Not only do I not know the answers here, I don't even understand all of the questions.

Basically it comes down to this, I have been in this place before...but not in this time. It was Deepwater then. I can't say I recognized it now as Future Past though a few things seemed familiar. But I attributed that to things I had seen in other places. A tree here that looked like a tree back in Selenitica; a flower here that I had seen in Tao and Kamar. It had not occurred to me that I had seen the ancestors of this tree, this flower, right here in this very place but in a different time. But yet, it wasn't actually this very place, not exactly. This part is over my head, I am the explorer, not the scientist. Quin had taken elements of long ago ages that he determined to be connected on the timeline and pulled them together - I know nothing of the process - to create the future! Or rather, to cause it to be created. And I'm not sure if it is correct to call it 'the future,' maybe 'a possible future' is more accurate. Do forgive me, as I am really into an area that is far beyond my knowledge and barely within my comprehension. It is enough to make one's head explode.

Explode!

I am standing there in Future Past, listening to Quin and starting to grasp what he has been doing, trying to hide my astonishment that such things are possible - IF they are possible! And I'm seeing him look down at the ground as he mentions Illusion, and now I am looking down at the ground too as I start to wonder if it is about to break apart and hurl us into that underground river that may run through this spot to that vast ocean and I'm looking at the sun setting or rising in the south - I still don't know which - and wondering if it will suddenly suck this planet in and we will both die in a ball of fire.

And I'm trying to hide all of this from Quin as he is talking about his "encouraging progress." Isn't that what he once said about Illusion too? And Serene? And where are they now? Do we add Deepwater and Waysmeet and others to the list?

As it turned out, our meeting ended uneventfully. I went back to Evergreen and after tending to some work there the next day, I decided to leave for Winterfell, to rest up from all this activity and excitement. I also had some writing to work on and had to prepare a collection of photographs as well. This was work better done in Winterfell and it would take my mind off things for a bit. I spent a week there and then celebrated Christmas in my native world before returning to Evergreen to start my next project there. It was a busy yet relaxing time. Still, all the while, I was concerned for Quin. Not just concerned about what impact another failure would have but for his personal safety as well.

I was concerned for myself too. Because whether it happened in Winterfell or when I got back to Evergreen, I knew somehow it would end up that I would be the one who would have to tell all this to Dot.

This week, I received Quin's latest letter with the bad news that only surprised me a bit. Before I could contact Dot, she arrived in Evergreen. There was no small talk, no time for pleasantries. As soon as she saw me, she began to ask what I knew. Before she could even finish the question, I pulled Quin's note from my coat pocket and handed it to her.

And stood back.
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Re: Return To Devokan

Post by Danko Whitfield » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:05 am

Quin never gives up.

I have heard that said both as criticism and as compliment.

Earlier today, I used the coordinates Quin sent me and went to take a look at his latest experiment, Time Vault. I did not go in a professional capacity - not as explorer nor as time traveller. I was off duty. I just wanted to go have a look after reading Quin's message about this project. Partly out of simple curiosity, as I had not been to one of the ages in Time Vault, and partly because I couldn't believe he was expanding the experiment at this point and just had to see it for myself.

It is quite the undertaking. Here, he continues to work on his Future Past experiment...but that is not all. In this one place he has brought Illusion and Starfyre together with Future Past. Yes, Illusion. This was most surprising. I could tell the last time we spoke that he could not get this age - and his lack of success with it - out of his head.

I arrived in Starfyre, the age I had not seen before in person, only in pictures. The terrain was a very rocky one. A green-blue rock...or maybe blue-green. I was not about to study the color of the rock...as I say, I was off duty.

I was standing at the foot of a mountain. With the aid of flight, which appeared to be the only means available to me, other than climbing the mountain - which I was by no means prepared to do - I made it to the large structure at the top. I did not spend any time investigating the structure because two things distracted me. At first it was the large horns on the outside of the structure. Speakers? That is surely what they are. There was no sound coming from them, it was dead quiet here, in fact, but those are undoubtedly speakers up there. (This intrigued me as separately I am investigating what appears to be a series of towers scattered around some of the Devokan ages which I believe may be the antennas of an ancient relay system.) But before I could make any further observation about the speakers, came the second distraction - a shining, shimmering glow from inside the structure - crystals! Giant ones. Large examples of the blue crystals I have seen in several of the ages were sticking out from the top of the mountain. Not only that but green crystals of the same size as well. I tried to recall if I'd seen green ones before in my travels through these worlds. I will surely have to come back to Starfyre when I am on duty.

I headed over to Future Past which I could see in the distance. As best I could tell it was there intact, at least as it was when I last saw it. The blue orb still inside the spinning wooden frame, the fog or mist coming from inside the building that housed it, and so on. The sun was shining brightly in the night sky. Yes, you read that correctly. But at least it was to the west this time, rather than to the south as in Quin's previous attempt to stabilize Future Past.

I wasn't sure whether to enter Illusion or not. With much hesitation, I did so but briefly...just as in my last encounter with it. The place, as colorful as it is, still has the look of the aftermath of an earthquake. I am not sure how safe it is to be there. I suppose I should take a closer look sometime but today...that's right, I am off duty. I moved through Illusion quickly and headed to the towers in the distance I recognized as the Devokan hub.

I arrived there and went down inside to the linking book room. Quin has turned some of the books facedown. The books for Deepwater and Waysmeet were in that position, apparently denoting their disappearance "from the current universe" as Quin had put it in a recent letter. A few of the other books were facedown as well. I could only wonder what else Quin had been up to.

Other books were open in the normal position. I hesitated to use them as Quin had mentioned in his most recent notes that these books were not working properly, if it all. I was not in the mood for experimentation, myself.

But then I saw the book for Selenitica back in Evergreen, my base in the Devokan ages. Hmmm. Should I? No, I should go back the way I came...well...maybe...

At the risk of being "catapulted out of the current universe" I placed my hand on the picture of Selenitica, closed my eyes (which isn't actually necessary but it's what I did), and waited.

After a minute or so, I was back in Selenitica. Unharmed. I exhaled. And walked up to my room in the castle to pour a drink and resume my day off.
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Re: Return To Devokan

Post by Quinquifid Oddenfen » Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:23 pm

Information can be extracted from all data, whether it is associated with "success" or "failure". There are lessons to be learned from the Illusion result, galling as it is to say it.

Do take care, sir. The linking books I turned over may still be "active" in some sense. You may jest about being "catapulted from the current universe"; I cannot guarantee anyone's safety if they choose to experiment.
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Re: Return To Devokan

Post by Ruby O'Degee » Sat Jan 26, 2013 6:02 pm

Quinquifid Oddenfen wrote:Information can be extracted from all data, whether it is associated with "success" or "failure". There are lessons to be learned from the Illusion result, galling as it is to say it.

Do take care, sir. The linking books I turned over may still be "active" in some sense. You may jest about being "catapulted from the current universe"; I cannot guarantee anyone's safety if they choose to experiment.
Mr. Oddenfen:
I am pleased to read about your issues with Dot and Mr. Whitfield. While my benefactor stammers on about the posterity of storybuilds, I don't care a whit where I read them -- only that that the story's good and interesting to follow. :)
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"I am aiming for fantastic believability. You get enough realism. Add something with character, with style, make something that 's better than reality [fiction/non-fiction]." Jeremy Vickery (Pixar)
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Re: Return To Devokan

Post by Quinquifid Oddenfen » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:12 pm

Thank you for your encouraging remarks, Ms O'Degee. Though one tries to concentrate solely on one's work whatever the value of the "results" perceived by oneself or by others, sometimes a kind word can help one to re-focus.

Would that Ms Dot might learn from your example. One might describe current communication between us as terse and tense.

At least the interplay between the Ages of Starfyre, Future Past and Illusion seems to be mutually stabilising elements within the Time Vault. Even the linking books in the hub are showing signs of working consistently -- I may make more of those available over the next few days.
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Re: Return To Devokan

Post by Quinquifid Oddenfen » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:51 am

I have added a further element to the mix in Time Vault: What could be more appropriate than the Time Spheres of Tao Lia, originally discovered by the genius of M. Shenn Tao?

The results so far are encouraging, and I have started to turn my mind to the disappearance of Waysmeet and Deepwater.

I am wondering whether it might be possible to reach back to a slightly earlier resonance point in Deepwater's timeline, one from a year or so before the one that was inadvertently lost. I shall investigate.
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Re: Return To Devokan

Post by Quinquifid Oddenfen » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:46 am

It has been several weeks since my last report. I suppose I should apologise for the lack of timely communication in this place. Be that as it may, I would argue that it is better that I focus thoughts and energies on the actual work, than trying to explain or justify results to others.

Brief notes on the various experiments may be found on the "World pages" associated with each Age. Here I will summarise the current state of play.

As hinted at in the previous report, the next stage of my experiment, during the latter half of February, was to reach back to an earlier resonance point on Deepwater's timeline. The results were to be seen in the world named for the Devokan Trust, bringing together Touchstone, Waysmeet, Deepwater and Skysong.

Close monitoring over the next few weeks indicated this combination to be reasonably stable. I have therefore decided that it is time for Ms Macchi to return to work after her extended sabbatical. I am sure she will be pleased to have her favourite Ages restored to her control.
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