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The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Sonny » Oct 13, 2011 7:19 am

A Little Joe / Sonny Production

From last time
In a few minutes the three were on their speeder bikes, heading south out of town. About a mile out, Loren called to the others, "Ya ready to fly?"

"Totally, let’s do it!" Cameron said, powering up the thrusters on the bike and launching forward in front of Loren.

"Dude!" exclaimed Loren, laughing as Cameron's bike lurched. "Take it easy!" He and Eliana rose gracefully into the air and selected the destination coordinates. Their speeders turned slightly left.

Eliana chuckled. "Let's see how far ahead he gets before he realizes we aren't behind him," she commented to Loren as they headed over the forest. "I think he forgot to select his coords!" The two grinned at each other as the distance between them and Cameron grew wider.

And now:

Loren looked up. "Hear that, Eliana? I think Cameron's back!" As he said it, the SpeedStar 250 glided over the trees and descended to the clearing floor.
Cameron landed the speeder, as the engines powered down he unbuckled the helmet and jumped off. "Wow; that was fun"

Loren grinned. He assumed that Cameron has enjoyed himself by taking a roundabout way so he could have more time on the SpeedStar. "I knew you'd like it. So, here's the device I was talking about."

Loren indicated a strange metal platform. The center was a circular platform 6 feet in diameter.

"Holy smokes, what the heck is that thing?" Cameron said, adjusting the phazer belt his new friends gave him during his adventure. The gun was so much more efficient than his old repeater rifle and more powerful too.

Eliana shrugged. "That's what we'd like to know. It's certainly peculiar."

"Model number TRAN345," said Loren. "Not that that means anything."

"It's electronic, but that's about all we know. It seems to be in good condition, too. Missing a piece, though." Eliana indicated an apparent connection port on one side.

Cameron looked over the odd machine-thing "So, where did it come from?"

"We don't know. The plate with the company name is mostly worn away, but here," and Loren knelt down and indicated the metal information plate, "the last three letters are T-T-Y."

"I can't think of any company name with the last three letters... But what if TRAN stood for 'transport' could it be some kind of transportation device?" Cameron bent down beside Loren to examine the information plate for himself.

Suddenly Eliana exclaimed, "Look at this!" Loren and Cameron hurried over to where she was bent over by a tree on the edge of the clearing. "What is it?" asked Loren. "It's the missing part!"

She straightened up and held in her hands a keypad with a connection to match the one on the strange device.

"Well, that’s gotta be important" Cameron said, lifting his eyebrows. "Let's try it out"

Loren hesitated. "Well..." He paused. "I don't want to turn on some sort of weapon, or something we can't control."

"But it doesn't seem to be connected to any power source. That's one of the first things we checked, remember?" Eliana reminded Loren.

"Huh, good point. All the same, I think we should try it," Cameron said. He wasn't one to let things sit for any amount of time.

Loren and Eliana looked at each other. Suddenly Loren smiled. "Hey, why not! I'm been dying to do this!"

Eliana and Cameron grinned, and they hurried over to "the device." Eliana handed the keypad to Loren. "Uh, you do it." She backed off a little. "I'm not sure I want to be hit with hi-energy electrical arcs, in case there are some huge capacitors in there..."

"OK, here goes!" Loren said, and firmly pushed the keypad onto the connector. "Ow!" he yelled, and backed up, nursing his arm. "Oh, oh, ouch."

Eliana hurried over and took his arm in her hands. "Ouch!" she said and let go, looking at her hands confusedly. "Oh, that feels weird!"

"What happened?!" Cameron asked, drawing his phazer pistol as if he expected to have gremlins jump out of the machine or something.

Loren laughed shakily. "Some kind of shock, feels rather like..."

"Like I hit my funny bone," said Eliana.

"Yeah, that's it. Must have had some juiced up capacitors after all. Huh. Well, I am going to punch some buttons."

"You do that, Loren" Cameron replied keeping his distance.

"OK, so," said Loren, "this button looks like-" and he pressed it.

The screen glowed blue and the words "TRAN345 3rd-Generation Hyperspace Transport Device" showed up for 10 seconds.

"Hey, it is a transport device, Cam! You were right!"

"Well, would you look at that." Cameron leaned over the screen next to Loren.

"Where's it getting its power?" as Eliana, confused.

"Beats me!" admitted Loren. "Maybe there's a main connection underneath. Well, now's it's asking me to choose a local destination!" Without thinking, Loren selected the one that read "TRAN344 - Milton City."

Immediately, blue electrical arcs shot out form the four points of the star-like device, growing brighter. Loren and Cameron stumbled back. The arcs crackled and popped, and suddenly there was a bright flash, so bright and hot that the three of them fell to the ground.

"Loren!" Eliana screamed. "I can't see!"

"Ellie! Ellie! Where are you! Oh, my eyes!"

Cameron let loose a long stream of curses in his deep southern accent as his vision darkened. He hit his head on something hard and blacked out. Though he would never know, because his vision was already gone.

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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby stargazer » Nov 01, 2011 1:31 pm

An hour passed before the Emporium’s door opened again. Abby stopped to bid farewell once again to her stone mate, then pushed Molly’s stroller out onto the walk. In addition to the hatchling, it carried a variety of supplies the little one might need during their day out and about.

The young mother blinked in the unexpectedly bright sunshine, then secured the door to her home before continuing down toward the center of town. First she leisurely strolled through the MacCormac Gardens next door; the sky was clear and blue, the birds were singing, and for the moment all seemed well with the world.

They followed a zigzag path through town, eventually arriving at the Cup and Platter. She greeted Hugh warmly upon entering. Once seated at their customary table, Abby ordered the chocolate chip pancakes for herself and a bowl of oatmeal for her daughter. She made a mental note to get some jalapeno hushpuppies for Erik on her way out.

She lifted Molly’s carrier from the stroller and placed it on the table where she could keep an eye on her child. Then Abby pulled out a small laptop computer and placed it on the table in front of her.

She opened a document and made a few small cosmetic changes before sitting back to read:

Announcing a

Baby Shower

For Eliana and Loren DeHond and Baby

At the Monmouth Memorial Astronomical Emporium

Refreshments Provided

This was followed by gift suggestions – general items every baby would need, such as diapers, blankets, toys, and feeding supplies – as well as a blank space for the date and time of the gathering. Around the text was scattered a variety of infant-related graphics such as toys and baby blankets and clothes.

She mourned silently a moment upon reading again the Emporium’s full name. She’d been hesitant to include the reference to Ethan, wondering if recalling his tragic death might dampen this celebration of new life. Yet Erik had encouraged her to do so, in honor of their comrade’s brave sacrifice. Abby still had her doubts, but knew there would be time to remove the reference should they change their minds.

Eventually, many friends would receive an electronic version of this invitation, but they would still print some out to be posted about town in the old fashioned way.

Satisfied for now, she saved her minor changes. I’ll have to check everything with Eliana, she thought. I hope it’s okay to have it in the evening, so we’re sure to be awake. She chuckled at this last, and then opened another window on her computer screen. Now it displayed a photograph she’d taken just before leaving home this morning. Her face broke into a big smile as she recalled the hours she’d put into the item depicted, and the sense of accomplishment upon finishing it in time for the baby's arrival. She hoped the deHonds would like this gift.

Her contemplation was interrupted by the arrival of their food; she took a moment to spoon some oatmeal into her hungry daughter’s mouth before digging into her own savory pancakes. They were as delicious as ever, and while Abby enjoyed them she contemplated her impromptu itinerary for the day.

“Lianna! I haven’t seen her in ages!” Abby blurted out suddenly. “And while I’m at the Apothecary maybe Dr. Ivanos can give you a little once-over,” she added, grinning at her daughter. “And then maybe later we can stop by the deHonds’ house to talk shower details…”

Her thoughts were interrupted by a squawk from Molly. Abby quickly offered her some oatmeal, but the little one pointed toward the pancakes. “You sure are your father’s daughter,” Abby quipped lovingly.
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Aravanna » Nov 02, 2011 10:24 pm

What did Alex think about Ditto Town? It was like a few dozen fantasy lovers decided to get together and indulge in all their craziest dreams and then pour them into one big melting pot. Alex spent a whole night and most of one day following his little sister around trying to believe anything he was seeing. Erica was mostly excited about showing off the town and hardly seemed to notice how remarkable it was. She pointed out buildings, rattling off some of their history, (HOW many battles have there been here?) and who lived there (gargoyles? As in wings and talons and turning into stone gargoyles? )

The three new fairy dragons followed in tow. There was no need for them to hide here. They weren’t a dangerous, rare secret. It had to be a pretty down time of the day for them to be the third oddest thing on the streets. They even seemed a little awed by the scenery and were staying quiet.

The group ate at the Cup and Platter, picked up an herbal remedy at the apothecary, crashed at the Mansion for a nap and further exposition on how many rooms the building had, or didn’t have, depending on who was wandering around looking for an extra room. This became an existential debate about how physics as seen on earth differed in this world. Then there was a walk by an abandoned compound in the woods. Erica suddenly found herself shy about going by the mill on the way home like she originally planned and took her brother another way.

Alex learned quite a bit about Ditto Town that day, but it would take him weeks to digest it all. It still amazed him how at ease Erica was. She was a different girl, excited, almost fearless, in her element. It bothered him that Ditto Town didn’t seem to have much infrastructure. It had a mayor who was frequently absent for alarmingly long periods of time. The town also had sheriff who resembled the Old West more than the tamer county sheriff. And of course there was the Ditto Patrol that Erica had been on a few times herself. This place was nuts! They let 16 year olds run around like fully trained police officers with combat experience! Of course, Erica had more military training than he did. She’d apparently received serious fencing lessons from the chick who lived in the space ship. Narah or something?

It took hours, but finally the crazy energy that comes from discovering a new world waned and Alex was dropped off in the Inn Between (where the cranky talking bucket barely made the top- ten- weirdest-things-Alex-had-seen-that-day list.) As Alex’s mind started to slow down and the overwhelming strangeness rushed in on him, he contemplated how he’d thought he’d been “let in” on all the world’s biggest strangest secrets when he’d discovered fairy dragons. Now it was like the universe was unfolding bigger secrets to him, layers within impossible layers.

Ditto Town certainly wasn’t heaven. It wasn’t perfect. It was torn by conflict and disappointment just as much as Earth, but it had a certain beauty to it that made Alex think the denizens of the town had a better grasp of just how wonderful heaven could be. That probably stemmed from an understand of how wonderful the Maker of heaven and earth really was. Strangely enough, it made him think of Professor Edward Johnson’s view of life. It was the late professor now, wasn’t it? Life was strange, beautiful, painful, and shockingly strange.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Aravanna » Nov 02, 2011 10:33 pm

Alex wasn’t in a hurry to return to Earth. He didn’t have a job, his parents didn’t remember his sister ever existed, his mentor was dead. But did he really belong here? Erica belonged here. It occurred to him she’d probably stay in Ditto Town forever. The planet she’d been born on was losing its hold on her. She’d probably never forget it, but she was more herself here, with Val and the new connections she’d made.

Alex hung around town, not really talking to anybody, not really belong. He wondered who all these faces were, and he wandered around the town limits even more. Once he heard a band practising below his sister’s room and wished he could hang out with all the guys down there, even if he couldn’t play guitar to save his soul. (And if your soul is in jeopardy, circumstances probably make it even harder to play.)

His fourth day in Ditto Town, Alex walked down a path out of Ditto Town he’d discovered yesterday. It led to another old run-down building. This one possessed of those old cellar doors out front that opened straight up. The building itself looked slightly insane, with hundreds of unblinking eyes staring back at Alex as the shutters rusted off their hinges. It had a sign marking what its purpose was... if it hadn’t been so faded it was impossible to read. The building would keep its secrets, Alex decided. It was a shame all of them would never been revealed. They were probably epic secrets, full of witty word play and slightly sinister plots.

As Alex walked back, Ember joined him. The other two fairy dragons hadn’t come along that day. In fact, they were acting weird, even for fairy dragons. Alex supposed it was the new environment. Although he figured it would be wonderful for them. After all, they didn’t have to hide in a shut up, stuffy apartment all day. They could get as much fresh air and sunshine as they wanted.

That was another reason Alex didn’t want to head back yet. Ember was enjoying himself, flying off occasionally to check out the local wildlife then landing on Alex’s shoulder to preen himself or pant a little from his short, hyper bouts of activity.

Afternoon was thinking about becoming evening when Alex arrived back in town. It was still too early for dinner and Erica was working. Alex decided to head back to the Inn Between even though he had absolutely nothing to do there either.

Boo Kay was laying in waiting with a diatribe. (Or rather sitting, since that was the eternal position of the bucket.) “Now look here you! You may be new and all, but don’t think that means you can waltz in and out of here without paying so much as a penny for all the services I’m providing. I’ll have you thrown in jail if you won’t pay like a descent, respectable person! Don’t you just walk past me...”

The voice was mostly drowned out by Alex shutting the door, although the walls were too thin to keep all noise at bay. Ember puffed up, but Alex petted his spines back down. No point being mad. He did plan on paying for the night. He’d have to get even more money from his little sister to do that though. He’d already been rebuffed once for trying to use dollar bills, which just didn’t have a satisfying enough clang for the bucket.

“Mist? Koua? Where are you guys hiding?” There was no answer, not the rustle of a wing in the whole room. “Mystic, Kouadio? Come on guys!” Alex felt just a hint of panic begin to form in his throat and started looking around the room, then paid attention to Ember instead as the little fairy dragon dropped to the floor, vanishing under the bed. There was an angry hiss followed by Ember’s retreat and Kouadio’s pursuit. The golden fairy dragon was puffed up like a blow fish as he warded off the intruder.

“Oh, come on, don’t start fighting now. What’s the matter? Come on, get off of him,” coaxed Alex, while he shooed the attacker away and looked under the bed. Mystic had pulled one of his shirts under the bed and was sitting within its folds. “What are you doing girl? Come out here.”

Mystic hissed in warning and arched her back as Alex reached for her. He withdrew his hand before she had a chance to bite it. What was wrong with his dragons? Had they gone mental inside their little inch-long skulls? Then Alex saw it. He had shifted so that a little light made it past his shoulder. Mystic was sitting on eggs.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby starkat » Nov 03, 2011 11:36 am

Katherine was having a nightmare. To realize that one is dreaming is unusual enough, but to find one’s self in the middle of a nightmare was downright disturbing. Lights spun around in a circular pattern above her head. The world had a fuzzy quality about it. Pain sparked from time to time through her body and she could hear voices asking her questions.

One question started to come through a word at a time. “You… DNA… legend… nine…future…” It made no sense, but things were starting to click into place about where the nightmare was coming from and it made her shudder even as she slept. This was not a nightmare as much as it was a nightmare of a memory.

A hissed voice cut through the fog, “We will triumph. The Nine is the future of this planet.”

Out of the past came a sing song voice.
"The song late at night is the song of the morning
It echoes the mystery of all that is past
Its chorus adores the new day that is borning
And sweeps away all that the night has amassed."

Katherine sat up with a gasp and crawled over to her window seat and tried to grasp the memory of her dream before it faded as the morning light kissed the sky. Something in it triggered another memory and her mind continued down memory lane.

Gwanuig was making another attempt to see his father so Katherine decided to go in search of someone who had a past as confusing and crazy as her own. With this, she would have gone to Cymru, but with Cymru gone, Aria was her next best bet for some of the pieces that had started to fall into place.

The quote in the middle is from an earlier Ditto Story by a character that may well make an appearance in the future.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ryadian » Nov 14, 2011 7:46 pm

It was a lovely, crisp morning. Well, Kirane thought it was lovely, anyways; Ryana didn’t seem to enjoy the cool air quite as much. Unfortunately for her, Shadow didn’t seem to notice, and had no problem rushing off to bark at every moving thing he saw. Ryana looked about ready to shorten his leash to about three feet….

Meanwhile, Kirane was taking in the sights of the town. Ryana’s lonely cottage was the only building in sight for a few minutes, but as soon as they broke away from the trees, that changed dramatically. There were several little houses, generally not much bigger than the cottage, arranged in a neat row; between them was a perfect path to follow straight into town. It did strike Kirane as a little strange that there were so many houses, given what Ryana told her about the Ditto Mansion (that was a mystery she wanted to look into!), but she supposed they were built before the Mansion was. Besides, some people liked a place of their own.

Before long, she noticed that the buildings were changing from houses to shops. She was a bit surprised. “This isn’t a very big town, is it?” She mused aloud.

Ryana smirked dryly. “I don’t think anyone really knows. For one thing, it depends on what you count as town.” She shrugged and admitted, “But yeah, I’ve visited bigger.”

“How much have you traveled?”

“A lot, actually.” She smiled again, but Kirane could tell… she suddenly was a little bit awkward. “I… guess I’m kind of like you like that. You said you traveled around a lot, helping people out, back where you come from. I kind of did the same thing.”

Kirane nodded understandingly, but intrigued. It didn’t really surprise her, a life of travel probably suited Ryana well, but it was new. “Until you found Ditto Town? Or… is this another temporary home?”

“No, I’m sticking around. I’ve had enough moving on for one lifetime.”

Kirane was tempted to ask more about the last part, but decided against it. She had a feeling it was personal, and she was still virtually a stranger; she’d only find out if Ryana wanted to talk about it. Instead, she asked, “If you don’t mind my asking, why here? I mean, I know why I wanted to get here, but….”

She shrugged. “I couldn’t tell you. I mean, it’s… it’s just a nice place to live. The people here are very good—a little unusual, but good.” She paused, then admitted, “And I’m not one to judge about ‘unusual’.” She unfurled her wings a bit to demonstrate.

“Well, I can understand that.” Kirane half-expected that to be the end of the conversation, and briefly glanced away. Her eyes suddenly caught sight of something… bizarre; something colorful, something that dominated the landscape ahead….

“Good; I’m not one for desc….” Ryana noticed Kirane’s sudden distraction, and followed her eyes. Up ahead, covering some of the buildings around the Town Square, were dozens of banners, words painted on the walls, and confetti covering just about every surface. Ryana had seen this several times before, though not in a while. “Huh. Looks like the Ditto Team won this round.”

Kirane snapped out of it, and turned to her companion. “The… ‘Ditto Team’?” She looked at the banners again, which all read varieties of “Ditto!”, “Ditto Ditto!”, or “Dittos to All!” The same words were painted on the walls; although she didn’t dare suggest it, the confetti almost seemed to be spelling the word as well! “These are the… ‘Dittos’ you told me about?”

Ryana nodded absently. “Yeah. Looks like either the Originalists struck and the Dittoers retaliated, or someone was just feeling festive.” She shrugged. “All I know is, if the Originalists are getting back in action, all that will be gone by tomorrow. Just as long as they don’t end up repaving the roads again….”

Kirane barely noticed Ryana’s disgruntled comments. She was too busy mulling something over. “When you talked about this… ‘war’ and the ‘Dittos’, this wasn’t really what I had in mind.”

“If it did, I’d be worried.” Just then, Shadow, bored of standing around, started barking and yanking on his leash. Ryana virtually yelped, before regaining control and charging, “Hey, you’d better not be barking at every squirrel in Ditto Town while we’re in the Pub. I promised Hugh you’d behave when I came by.”

She shook her head, and with more humor, asked Kirane, “Looks like he’s getting antsy.” She realized that Kirane still wasn’t really paying attention. A little confused, she added, “Shall we go?”

Kirane pulled herself back. “Yes, of course. Sorry.”

“You okay? I mean, you don’t have a problem with,” she paused, “*that word*, do you?”

“Oh no, nothing like that.” Kirane said with a chuckle. She paused, then admitted, “Actually, for some reason… I think it’s rather beautiful.” With that, Kirane left her thoughts behind, for the moment, and followed Ryana into town.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby stargazer » Nov 16, 2011 11:24 pm

Author’s note: This little snippet was inspired by Ryadian’s post, above, and recent comments in the Library.

“Those pancakes just seem to be better every time I taste them,” Abby told Hugh with a smile. “My compliments to the chef.”

“Thank you,” he said, bowing elegantly. “And here are Erik’s jalapeno hushpuppies.” The hologram held out a small bag.

“You read my mind!” Abby grinned; she hadn’t even ordered them yet. “Thanks!”

Hugh returned to his duties, and Abby resumed packing up her laptop, infant supplies, and her baby. Molly was contentedly gurgling, intent on chewing a hole in a small pink blanket she had managed to grab with her little talons.

“All ready to go!” Abby said, touching her baby’s nose before snapping her little carrier back together for the trip outside. Molly giggled at the attention then returned to her task.

Abby inhaled deeply of the hushpuppies. “I don’t think Erik will miss just one,” she said to no one in particular, popping one of the spicy treats into her mouth. “But let’s get this home and refrigerated before I eat them all.”

With that, Abby picked up her bag and baby carrier, bid goodbye to those in the pub, and stepped back out into the sunshine.

“What in the world?” she began, the comment dying in her throat. The Town Square was littered with confetti, as if she’d missed a ticker-tape parade during breakfast; banners emblazoned “Ditto!!” hung from several buildings and even some of the large trees lining the streets. And the same word had been spray-painted on some of the walls and even on the street.

“I just don’t get it,” she muttered, shaking her head. “But it is kind of funny.” Then a startled look crossed her face as she said, “The Emporium!”

She picked up her pace, walking quickly toward the large building her family called home when they were in Ditto Town. While she and her mate had no official position on the whole “Ditto vs. Original” debate – they were aliens here, after all – she knew that he wouldn’t put up with such shenanigans with the Emporium. The grand building had been designed and built by their good friends Thundershadow and Aria, the Tireless Engineer, and her crew; to deface it so frivolously seemed, well, disrespectful of all that hard work.

So Erik had arranged some extra “security measures” to help protect the structure. They were automatic, designed to come on even if the gargoyles were in their stone sleep or out of town. She knew her mate well enough to know that they wouldn’t be crippling or deadly, but hadn’t managed to get the precise details out of him. “You’ll see some day,” was all he’d say.

Abby rounded the corner just in time to see a couple members of the Ditto Team finish their work in the MacCormac Gardens and cross over to the Emporium’s front yard. “This will be great!” one of them said emptying a bucket of confetti onto the sidewalk and pulling a “Ditto” banner from his pack.

“Stop!” Abby called from down the street, but it was too late.

With a whir and a whoosh, the automated sprinklers came on, thoroughly dousing everyone in the yard with water.
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Aravanna » Nov 20, 2011 10:58 pm

"I don't know why you're so freaked out Alex. Aren't there tons of people back on Earth that would take them?"

"Well yah, that's actually what I'm worried about."

Erica and Alex were of course discussing the unexpected clutch of fairy dragon eggs. Mystic and Kuoadio were guarding their offspring with all the fervor of new parents. They had at least let Alex move the eggs off the floor into an old Stetson hat Erica had scrounged up from somewhere in town. The other two dragons, Val and Ember, had tagged along for a leisurely walk around the town.

"I mean," Alex continued, "I don't know everything going on back in London, but I get the feeling Professor Johnson was keeping things from getting out of control. His daughter said something after he died that... well it was scary.” Alex didn't elaborate. He hated the thought of Erica discovering her parents didn’t remember she existed. (Or for that matter everyone she’d known back on Earth.) All because she owned a fairy dragon and Sarah didn’t want anyone delving too deep into that investigation. Of course, Erica hardly noticed her brother's reluctance.

“Where was I? Oh yah, I don't know what to do with the eggs. I can't imagine having six of these things. No offence Ember." Ember looked he might take a little anyways. "And it's not like I just release them into the wild here and they'll have a good life. They need mates... fairy dragons are very social. But I can't just go tramping through London asking who wants to help me breed mythical little dragons. That probably wouldn’t turn out well."

"Dude, they haven't even hatched yet. I think it's exciting!” Erica said. She understood her brother’s concern, at least distantly. But why worry about it when there wasn’t much they could do? “Ooh! What are you going to name them? You get to name them right?”

“Well yah, hadn’t thought about that much. Traditionally fairy dragon’s names relate to their abilities, but a lot of the time, their abilities don’t show up for a year, so breeders just pick names I guess. None of our dragons are named after their abilities, except maybe Ember, but all fairy dragons can breathe fire.”

Ember, who was sitting on Alex’s shoulder, looked slightly offended (again) at being average. Val couldn’t keep still long enough to sit on anyone’s shoulder for more than a few seconds. She had teleported herself away to investigate the town.

“Well, fire related names can’t go wrong I guess. You could do Blaze or Heat or ummm... Smoky.”

“That sounds like a bear... or a dog. What about Inferno? Nah, that sounds like a massive critter,” Alex said with a laugh will stroking his small companion who puffed up and started blowing minuscule fireballs.

Erica’s face wasn’t helping make the occasion solemn. She had scrunched up her nose as if the naming of dragons was painful. “Candle... or Torch... wood. Yah, I’ve got nothing. What’s the French word for fire? Everything sounds awesome in French!”

Even if Alex had been fluent in French, he never got a chance to answer. Val reappeared on top of Erica’s head, chattering angrily about something. Her wings, on their way to regrowing, stuck straight up from her shoulders like rabbit ears.

“Hey Val, what’s up?” asked Erica as the small group entered the MacCormac gardens. The new view was answer enough.

“Good gravy! What on earth is with all the banners and graffiti? It looks like a very colorful hurricane hit!” Alex exclaimed looking up and down the road.

“a hurricane that likes Dittos! But seriously, this used to happen a lot when I first arrived in Ditto Town. I haven’t seen anyone do this in ages!”

Val practically buzzed with some emotion that resembled fury and started flashing towards the group that had just arrived at the Emporium. They were armed with an arsenal of Ditto making materials.

“Val! What are you doing! Get back here!” Erica hissed, but of course, the little dragon had never responded to that command in her life. Erica, Alex and Ember went running onto the grass to keep someone from being bitten just in time for Abby and Molly to come running around the corner. Just in time to get a face full of irrigation.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby stargazer » Nov 21, 2011 1:37 pm

Abby giggled a bit when the sprinklers came on, amused by Erik’s sense of humor in using water to discourage would-be vandals. She tried to dash home, but running with a laptop, diaper bag, baby and baby carrier isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds, so she was forced to give it up after only a few steps. Besides, she didn’t want Molly to literally be a “bouncing baby girl.”

Now she realized her earlier assessment had been in error; the vandals weren’t members of the Ditto Team itself, but apparently just some young strangers caught up in the enthusiasm about “that word.”

But when Erica and her entourage arrived on the scene, Abby couldn’t help laughing at what she saw: the “ditto artists” dropping their things and dancing around the yard, trying to avoid an unexpected shower – not to mention Erica and a young man Abby didn’t recognize trying to wrangle several agitated fairy dragons flying overhead. Erik’s going to be sorry he slept through this, she thought.

The unknown artists managed to collect most of their equipment and run away by the time Abby arrived, but Erica and her friend were still dealing with the flying fairy dragons. The jade female placed everything she'd been carrying on the ground at her feet and waited a moment, just out of range of the sprinklers, until the preprogrammed time had elapsed and the system shut itself off. The sudden drier weather, and the absence of the ditto enthusiasts, helped relax the fairy dragons somewhat.

But when the creatures saw Abby waiting, several came over to investigate. They seemed especially interested in Molly, who was much closer to their size and bore at least a superficial resemblance: wings, talons, tail. Abby watched warily as one even came to roost on the handle of the baby carrier, but quickly flew off again when the hatchling nearly snagged its tail with her little hand.

Abby confirmed her daughter was all right, then smiled at the girl and her friend, whose eyes seemed ready to bug out of his head. “Hi, Erica!” she said. “Sorry about all this.” She gestured at the lawn sprinklers. “It’s Erik’s idea of home security. You’re all welcome to come in and dry off, and then you can introduce me to your friend. I bet I can even find a few refreshments.”

She picked up Molly’s carrier, stepped to the building’s front door, and placed a hand on a small plate. The plate seemed to glow and after a moment a pleasant female voice said, “Welcome Abby Silvermoon.” She opened the door and led them inside.

Alex jumped, startled, when he spotted a large, ferocious-looking stone statue in the foyer. It looked much like this Abby did, but was far bigger. To his surprise she walked up to it and gently ran a talon along its stone face. “Don’t be afraid,” she winked. “He won’t wake up until sunset.”
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby starkat » Jan 05, 2012 7:50 pm

Katherine’s intention to track down her friend was interrupted by a hand reaching out and snagging her arm from a nearby shadow. Having not been the first time it happened, Katherine reacted by reaching for the dagger she kept in her waistband when she was not carrying her sword. Just as her fingers wrapped around the hilt, her elvish name was hissed into her ear in a familiar voice.

“Salabis! What?”

The other woman put a finger to her lips and gestured for Katherine to follow. The two women slipped from shadow to shadow until they reached the safety of the forest. Even then, it was several minutes before Darth Devaricate turned to face her sister-in-law.

“Greetings Rochil,” came the melodious Sindarin.

“Darth!” Katherine squealed softly and wrapped her friend in a hug. “How are you? How’s Guin-nor?”

The other woman smiled back. “He’s good. We finally told his father.”

“How did he react?”

A soft smile tugged at her lips, “It took some time, but he has accepted us. As a matter of fact, Gwanuig has sent me to get you.”

Katherine stared at her friend blankly for a moment. As the realization sunk in, butterflies took off in her stomach. “It’s time?”

“It’s time. The King wishes to see you.”
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Aravanna » Jan 19, 2012 3:52 pm

Erica didn't know whether to be cross or entertained after the initial shock of being in the midst of a rather high powered and very cold sprinkler system, then her brother slipped and fell on his butt while trying to grab Ember. That broke the tension. Erica started giggling, and both were laughing helplessly by the time the water shut off.

Alex stopped laughing rather abruptly when he saw what the fairy dragons had flown over to investigate. "What is that?"

"Not what, WHO. Don't be rude." replied Erica, giving him a slight shove. "That's Abby and her baby. I don't remember the baby's name. You ask her so I don't look stupid. Let's go."

A moment later the pair had squitched over to the sidewalk (one more reluctantly than the other.) "Hello Abby!" called Erica and after Abby's apology, "Oh don't worry about the sprinklers. It looks like they were necessary from all the crazy Dittoers I wonder what set them off."

A moment later Abby had kindly invited them inside. Erica helped her carry everything while Alex tried to explain that he was Erica’s brother, not her “friend.” Not that that meant they weren't friends. He stopped short when he caught sight of the statue in the lobby. While Abby wasn't much bigger than the average human, the statue was huge, and surprisingly lifelike, all of this stone muscles tense, almost as if would spring on them if they were a threat.

"Don't be afraid," said Abby, winking at Alex, "He won't wake up until sunset."

"Oh, it's real, I mean, of course it's real. I mean alive, yes. At sundown and stuff. What's the name of your baby?" Alex babbled while both fairy dragons settled on his shoulders.

Erica rolled her eyes at her brother. "He just got to Ditto Town," she whispered to Abby. "Where do you want this," she added louder, holding up the laptop.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby stargazer » Jan 30, 2012 11:19 pm

“Oh, thanks for bringing that in, Erica. Put it on the table over there, next to Erik, please.”

Abby turned her attention to Erica’s brother Alex. While inwardly amused by his response to her choice of interior statuary – such nervous reactions were nothing new, and certainly better than the outright fear and hostility she’d seen on rare occasions – she wanted to help him feel a little more at ease. She stepped closer to him and whispered, "It's all right. Stone gargoyles often have that effect when you see them for the first time. He looks ferocious but you don’t need to worry. I know this is all new to you, and I’d be glad to answer any of your questions."

She spoke more loudly. "Alex, this is my mate – my husband, you would say – Erik. He's just catching up on his sleep today.

“And this" – she proudly lifted the little lilac-and-green hatchling out of the carrier – “this is our daughter Molly."

The girl giggled as her mother gently ran a talon along her slender tail. “She’s really ticklish here,” Abby confided. But once Molly caught sight of the fairy dragons on Alex’s shoulders, she immediately stretched herself out, reaching toward them, almost falling out of her mother’s grasp in the process. The child’s wings even flapped a bit in her enthusiasm. “Whoa! You’re way too young to try flying,” Abby said with a chuckle, reining her baby in. “She’s already getting to that age where she’s curious about everything,” she explained to her guests.

The young mother distracted Molly with one of the jalapeno hushpuppies before leading the group to the Emporium's great room. It was spacious with comfortable reclining chairs and a couple of cozy couches. Large windows offered a view of the woods behind the Emporium, while a large television screen and an even bigger hearth – both dark at the moment – dominated the room.

"You're all more than welcome to stay a while; I know Erik will be thrilled to see you again, Erica, and to meet you Alex. If you'd like to make yourselves comfortable, I should get this refrigerated," she added, gestured to the carry-out box from the Cup and Platter. "I can offer refreshments, and then I can give you a quick tour of our home, including Erik's pride and joy, the stardome planetarium."
But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.
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Re: The Inn Between: Ditto Story 8

Postby Aravis_Tarkheena011 » Feb 29, 2012 8:31 am

At a distance of a quarter of a mile outside the main city limits of Ditto Town there is a slender, rather ethereal looking Willow Tree, its long viney branches blowing in the unseasonably warm breeze, and its delicate leaves dancing as they’re tossed to and fro. Curiously enough, there is a good sized garden spread out on leveled ground to the right of the tree, and on the left is a medium sized shrub, probed against which are what appear to be rather shorter versions of a shovel, a rake, and mucking bucket, and, as if all this were not strange enough, hanging just above a waist height crevice in the tree is a wooden sign that reads “Ainne’s” in daintily carved letters.

In the Willow’s garden there are all sorts of helpful looking plants, thyme, lavender, coltsfoot, a small mustard tree, and many more, but there is by no means a shortage of not so useful floral beds. Here and there, scattered throughout the rows of medicinal herbs and roots are peaceful little sections full of fragrant poppies, and dahlias, and tea roses that bend and sway with the passing of the wind and birds.

In the center of the garden, there is a reasonably sized grass ring, all trimmed and lush, and green, and sitting cross-legged in the middle of this ring is a girl. That is to say – not a normal girl at all, she is perhaps (though it does not reflect her twenty two years) four inches less than five feet, with pointy little ears that curve ever so slightly at the tip and similarly small pointy features. her slender fingers rest gently in her lap and through the light fabric of her robe you can see the rise and fall of her calm breaths. She has dark, almost black, hair that catches on the same breeze as the willow branches, and above her softly closed eyes arch somewhat wild little eyebrows. He lips are turned just slightly up at the corners and her high cheekbones are blushed lightly with rose and a scattering of pale freckles. Her milky-white skin looks just as likely to melt away as the last traces of snow in the spring, though in truth her kind has skin so hard that it can hardly be penetrated by any blade of steel. There’s a slight glow emanating from this translucent flesh that makes the girl look almost like a reflection of the summer moon and for this reason she keeps a hooded cloak always clasped at her collar bone so that she can dim her candle-self if a need should arise.

It is quite likely that a need would arise, she is, after all the daughter of the chieftain of the mighty Amir clan, the younger lady of that Magielle tribe, daughter of her royal mother who, along with the girl’s father and little brother, has been abducted by a rival clan who sought to steal the northern forest land that had, for centuries belonged to the Amirs. In thruth, that is why she is here, to be very precise, She is something of a run-away, come to this lovely little place as a way to escape the notice of the seekers of the rival clan (the Ornin). But it is well, after all, she found this lovely warped tree and has made her splendid garden, and there is even a warped little bush, quite close to the tree, that makes a marvelous home for her Reine (The large horse-like creature that stands in the position of being her only transportation aside from her feet).

All-in-all she’s happy to abide here while the war captain of the Amir clan and his mighty Magielle men derive a plan to restore the northern forest-land to its rightful keeper. She’s happy to stay, and right now, on this unseasonably pleasant day (though most of the time she prefers cold weather) she is also very happy to sit, with her legs crossed, her hands resting like butterflies in her lap, and her hair and cloak tossing on the gentle breeze, wondering how on earth she's managed to live here a whole year and never have got up the courage to go and tell the good folk of the town about her small apothecary.

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Re: The Inn of the Prancing Pony: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ravenbrook » Mar 31, 2012 10:06 pm

Let me inform you, dear reader, meeting a person who makes you slightly uncomfortable in public is one thing, meeting said person again in the sanctity of a place of enjoyment and safety is quite another. But perhaps I should just show you instead of boring you with the dry telling.

Our heroine did continue her lessons as instructed but she withheld something of herself, she had awoken to the fact that the notes she played coloured the world around her irreparably if she lost herself in the phrases and melodies and cords. The pianist was distant in turn. She refused to learn what he taught, and he knew no other way of reaching her. His very being seemed contained in his music, and in passing the art of its making on. The lower quarter reeked of him, he was a magician painting spells in the shadows, weaving ghosts out of the fog and filling the night with melody. His intent was benign, yet his skills were frightening in their power.

The young lady wasn’t so afraid of him though. She was like him. Also, when she saw his little sister peering out at her shyly from corners, or heard her giggles coming from some upstairs quarters, it made the house more homely. That was why she felt her world tip slightly when the man in the music room was not the pianist, but her sponsor. He was talking to the little sister, who grew frightened and ran away at the presence of an older lady. It was all so strange. Why should the young girl talk to this gentleman who had never set foot in the house, but not to her brother’s pupil who was so often in her home?

“Good morning Ms. -----------. How are you finding the weather? I’m afraid the pianist cannot be here today, but has allowed me to stay in his home for a while and see how you’re progressing. He has complained to me that you’ve not applied yourself of late.”

The criticism cut deeper than the young student expected. She’d been trying very hard to play good music, but without spilling subtle magic into the air around her. Yet she was well breed and kept her peace, muttering affirmations. Again the older gentleman invited her to sit at the bench.

She sat and laid her hands upon the keys. The music chosen for the occasion was very melancholy indeed. The young lady made a very pointed effort to add jarring pauses and accents to the piece and drain it of its power.

“Young lady, what are you so distressed about? You treat the poor keys with the upmost indecency. It’s lucky they cannot cry out in pain.”

“If my skill on the piano forte displeases you, you may well go to another quieter room. Then you need not be distressed by the sound.”

The man in black behind her seemed to grow larger in his anger. “Insolent girl, what reason could you have for such uncharitable...”

The girl suddenly realized just how frightened she was of the man, but her pride had been insulted and she refused to be cowed. She spoke from both fear and anger. “What reason do I NOT have? You think because my father is poor and you’ve given him money that you own me? I am not a slave that you may entertain yourself at my expense. I shall go back to... to... where I came from if you insist on degrading me!” Strange. She couldn’t think where her father’s estate was.

The man adjusted his glasses and took a deep breath to calm his temper. “I only wish you to excel. I have no desire to take advantage of you or your family. Are you so afraid of your talents? But I won’t distress you further. If you wish to go home, you are more than welcome.”

“You talk as if you had nothing to do with my brother’s death.”

The girl’s eyes grew wide at what she had said and she covered her mouth. She had not the faintest notion why she had said such a ridiculous thing. Her brother was alive and well. He was an officer in the King’s cavalry. It was as if she was dreaming and couldn’t control what she said, or even understand it. The older man observed her for a moment, but to her relief actually seemed less agitated than he had a moment before. Instead he sat down and started to play his own song. It quieted her mind and she sank down onto a stool. The music lasted some time. When it was over, the girl couldn’t remember what had distressed her only minutes ago.

The man finished the piece and stood up. “You should go home and rest child.”

“Oh, should I? I could listen to you play for hours sir. But I fear I’ve had a horrible shock, and I can’t remember what it is. You are right, I feel I must go.”

“Of course, if you are unwell, it would be cruel for me to keep you here.”

Our heroine departed, relieved to quit such strange company, but feeling vaguely as if she’d forgotten something.
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Re: The Inn of the Prancing Pony: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ravenbrook » Mar 31, 2012 10:07 pm

The young lady heard singing in her dreams, but she couldn’t find where it was coming from. The singing was like her playing. The very notes that vibrated in the air changed the world around them. Something in the world was indeed changing, and if she couldn’t find where the singing was coming from, she would lose something... something valuable.

She followed the echoes, slipping down from her bed and tiptoeing out of her quarters, unsure of when she had awoken. She seemed no closer to the noise than before. It was fleeing away, or perhaps it was everywhere. It was always beyond her reach. She realized suddenly that she needed a piano, but there wasn’t one in her residence, and strangely enough, she was quite sure she would need to go all the way to the pianist’s house to find one tonight. It was the last place she wanted to go, fearing almost irrationally that the man with the white hair and gold-rimmed glasses would be there waiting for her. She hesitated instead of calling a coach, as if he would know she had done it. The music would not last forever, and if she could give it the answer it deserved, she was sure her heart would stop, or go on beating for no purpose. Perhaps she could sing if she couldn’t play. When she tried to open her mouth and sing in response all sound caught in her throat, it was as if she were mute, or, even stranger, as if she was already singing that song. As if she was singing that song somewhere else...

Somewhere else? Strange sensations washed danced around; although girl wasn’t sure she was in the centre of them anymore. Could you ever escape the centre of your own existence? Look back and see yourself without a mirror? Or maybe there was a mirror. It didn’t show her reflection back clearly to her. As the girl stared at the reflection she saw that she was lying down on a bed, but she was much smaller and darker. Was she even human? She touched the smooth surface and noticed how it wasn’t even cold, even real. Even real...

“I’m dreaming...” she whispered, then louder, almost with glee, “I’m dreaming. I’M DREAMING!” If she was dreaming, she could change the dream. There would be a piano in the next room. She rushed down the hall and threw open the door. It was there, a piano forte that should not have been.

She could hardly contain her excitement as she sat down, and began to accompany the unearthly singing that surrounded her.
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Re: The Inn of the Prancing Pony: Ditto Story 8

Postby Ravenbrook » Mar 31, 2012 10:07 pm

Avon woke up.

It was like splashing cold water on her face. It stung and shocked, but it was so wonderful and real all at once. She was awake, she was herself.

Of course she was not herself. Her monthly enchantment was upon her. She was a black swan again. A swan singing the strange song that she always sang at the full moon. It hadn’t had any meaning before. Now she knew that somehow, it was changing the world, but unlike the dream, the change only lasted as long as the song. Here her music couldn’t reverberate and rework the foundations of reality. Reality isn’t made of vapour.

Avon as a swan escaped the sheets and flew down to the floor, taking in her surroundings. She was in a comfortable enough room, but it was clearly meant to contain her. It had a bed in the centre with a round carpets around it pattered with strange symbols, and four fireplaces at the four compass points for warmth. Avon shuttered and wondered if they weren’t part of the enchantment that had kept her asleep and dreaming for... she didn’t know how long, but she felt very shaky, and it seemed like an alarming amount of time had passed. Of course, the room was meant to contain a girl, and not a swan. There was a large skylight in the centre of the high ceiling to let light straight down into the room. It was a glass window, but perhaps if she flew at it hard enough?

Of course birds occasionally flew through windows, but the girl shuttered to think that it probably wasn’t particularly pleasant for the bird. Suddenly she heard footsteps outside the door, mounting stairs up to her. Of course the man knew she was awake. He wouldn’t let his spell be broken without his knowledge. Ravenbrook was coming. Rumours of the nation with the insane magician for a leader abounded, and of course, he was often described as looking almost civil (unlike the rest of his family) except for his wild white hair which bespoke his fairy origins.

So in her dreams, she’d been talking to a mad king and magician who was not even completely human? And now she’d broken his enchantment and he was coming. All these thoughts passed through her head so quickly it made her feel faint. She’d always been sickly. How was she going to get out of here alive? She didn’t stand a chance of even breaking the window without wounding herself. The footsteps stopped outside the door and the handle began to turn.

That decided it. She spread her wings, sang as loudly has her swan throat would allow, and leapt into the air. The window came up fast, and she barely had time to tuck her long neck before she crashed into it. Sharp pain ran through her wings and chest and an icy wind buffeted her. She landed on a roof and began sliding. Blind in the darkness she managed to regain enough sense to start flying again, off the roof into the dark cold night. But thank heavens, the stars were bright above her, a guide and anchor.

She flew in a short circle then realized she had to follow her song. It made no sense, as it was coming from her bill, but there was a clear direction to its effect. She could wing her way after the notes like a compass needle.

She began to fly unsteadily towards the sound when another bird was in front of her, eerily silver in the starlight. Moving too fast, she couldn’t stop herself and the birds buffeted into each other. Somehow they broke apart again. The swan who was a girl couldn’t think clearly enough to try and lose the creature, she could only beat her wings desperately following her song. Her breathing was coming in gasps now and the song wavered. There were whole moments when she couldn’t seem to find it at all. There was only the furious beating of wings and the cold cold wind trying to push her any way but the one she wanted to go.

But she couldn’t give up. Her lungs were hot with pain and her wings ached from the impact she’d had with the window. Then talons dug into her side. She cried out and the music was gone again. The two birds plummeted towards the earth, fighting each other. There was a sudden meeting of whipping twigs. Then they meet water that was impossibly colder than the air. The swan finally managed to get away from the white bird (which was clearly a raven.) In the water, she had an advantage, despite being injured.

But strange thing of strange things, she had found the song. The music seemed to echo from the water itself, much like it had filtered into her dream, except it seemed to belong here. Even as she glanced down, the stars seemed to dance in response to the song, a song of hope and spring and wild things. The water grew warmer.

The raven had landed in a branch above the pool. He fluttered his wings and began to croak frantically, hopping up and down the branch. Then he leaned forward and his eyes became more human. She could see it even in the low light. He spoke.

“Your brother drowned in this very swamp. Will you follow him down to his grave? Is that what you are trying to open?”

The swan didn’t know what the raven meant by opening anything, but his words filled her with a terrible awe. Her brother drowned here. His cold body might be only a few hundred feet away. She looked down again; an irrational fear gripped her that she would see his dead face in the water. Instead she noticed the reflection. The water mirrored light that was almost daylight, although it was so green that it must have been filtered, the trees all had leaves on them. Of course it should have showed night and skeleton branches.

The raven didn’t see it. He skipped down the branch triumphantly. “Come back to me, or you will meet his fate. I won’t harm you. Come back.”

Avon looked at the raven a moment, then dove under the water. It was easy for her to swim down into the depths. She dove deeper and deeper, padding towards the light, when she felt something grip her from behind and dig into her leg, she tried to kick it off, but talons dug in cruelly. For a moment she thrashed with her enemy, lost in vertigo then the surface and air met her. She was a woman again, and the light around her did indeed seem like daylight, warm and far away.

The strangest thing was that she was standing in a very shallow pool of water and she didn’t seem wet at all, in a forest of great sleepy trees that seemed like they had always been growing, just as they were now. There were other pools as well, in all directions as far as she could make out in the strange light. It was a peaceful place. She might have stepped into the grass, laid down and forgotten who she, but she couldn’t. Ravenbrook was there too.
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