The Storyteller’s Dream
The Storyteller’s Story
Allzha Padium had been a dreamer from a young age, his nightly journeys spent in vast, fantastical lands, meeting all manner of creatures, learning numerous stories.
It was not until much later in life that his true talent was revealed as, one by one, he met each of his dreams on his life’s journey–for they were not really dreams at all, but the future.
Grandmaster Correlus Cotrellium was the first to note this skill in his pupil; and, from then on, he watched young Allzha with a keen eye, curious to see where his path might lead. When Allza’s destination finally became clear, the Grandmaster beamed with pride. You see, the Grandmaster was also a World-Creator, and it was his creation for which Allzha Padium was destined, a world to which Allzha did not yet know he had a connection.
The mage was much weathered with age and experience when he at last entered the land of Londom, yet the Grandmaster was waiting for him all the same. With fatherly zeal, he introduced the mage to his creation, this, Londom, and the next leg of his journey, the next chapter of his story, and many more stories to come.
Grandmaster Correlus Cotrellium then entrusted him with a Beginning, a magical seed gifting its planter with a chance to birth a whole new story into the world, one of community, camaraderie, and gratitude. One which would be integral to the very fate of Londom.
Allzha Padium graciously accepted this gift with no small amount of trepidation as The Grandmaster departed and the weight of such a task settled upon his shoulders. Yet, deep inside, his heart pounded with excitement, and his thoughts took wing, alive with the magic of potential.
That night, as visions of the future tugged at his consciousness, he rose in a less than wakened state, took his quill in hand, and began to write a story.
It was a very special story…his own story…the story of a community…a story of past and future…a story of stories…and…your own story, dear reader.
As his eyes fluttered with dreamless dreams, The Storyteller, Allzha Padium, wrote out the future of Londomly in its entirety, including its various branching paths, where choice was gifted and even the journey itself might be changed.
Yet, come morning, there was to be nothing left of his somnambulant authoring…
For, in the soft rays of pre-dawn, a genial laugh drifted in on the wind, dancing round the sleeping mage–then face-down upon the desk–and sweeping up the hefty stack of pages, sheet by sheet, before tossing them out the window and spiriting them away.
Off they floated, across the lands of Londom, and with them swept the mage’s memories–for no mortal should know the future in such entirety…
It is the not-knowing…the presence of the current moment…and the hope of the future…which give life its purpose and meaning, which gifts us with gratitude.
Though his magic was not always the most reliable since his encounter with the past, Allzha was still sometimes allowed to achieve great things, and this Dream, this Call to the Chosen, was one such thing. As he woke, he felt an immense sense of purpose and satisfaction with what he had accomplished.
Perhaps today would be a day for great things.
And perhaps…today would also be a great day to give portal creation another try. Why not?
He was feeling confident.
One by one, the Chosen woke from their collective dream, their minds still tingling with The Storyteller’s magic and the possibilities they had beheld. Their hearts beat with steady excitement, seeming to pulse: Lon-dom-ly, Lon-dom-ly, Lon-dom-ly. As they inhaled, they could almost catch the whiff of adventure hanging in the air.
Though they varied in the ways that all living beings do, one thing joined them in soul communion:
A deep, burning desire to not just live life, but build it.
It roared through them, feeding a shared dissatisfaction with traditional living and a growing urge to cast away the ordinary in search of extraordinary, to create something worthy of their imaginative spirits, to be part of something important.
But where were they to go? How were they to follow this call? None of them had ever seen the immense floating isle, nor did they recognize the castle perched there. And with 10 known dimensions, how could they even know where to begin?
As Allzha hurried about, excitedly preparing for his magickal project, he absentmindedly slid a hand into the pocket of his robe and, with swift suddenness, halted. His eyes were wide as he withdrew the hand and held it cupped before him, the forgotten seed there full of accusation.
“Well, now…how could I forget?” He smiled apologetically, pinched the seed delicately between thumb and forefinger, and marched outside.
After a brief moment of looking about, he settled on a soft expanse of rich soil in one of Lontar’s many clearings. Though it was now so far from Londom, he and his Grandmaster had agreed that the Beginning must start here, the once beating heart of Londom itself.
With fatherly care, he stirred and scooped the earth, settled the seed in, and covered it up again, giving it a gentle pat and a knowing smile as a tingle of magic swept through him.
“Can’t begin the Story without you, can we?”
He lingered only a moment longer, before excitement swept him away again.
Yes, today was most definitely a day for portals.*
As the seed sank deep into its new home and took magickal root, there was a great shift, and reality suddenly curved and tilted, as if stretching from a long slumber. Across the myriad of dimensions, there was a collective shudder, followed by a great yawn as, one by one, long-hidden portals peeked out, responding to the call of Destiny.
To most, the only sign of change to come was a momentary shiver as the hairs on their body briefly stood at attention before settling back as if nothing at all had occurred. A common, natural enough thing. And so, few took note as they went about their lives.
But those with magic felt the stirring in their blood, and those with experience nodded with understanding.
And a chosen few felt it like the weight of a hand upon their shoulder, a weight of duty and adventure. They turned to find the source, and found only the horizon and a growing sense of urgency tugging them toward it.
Genesis…a voice urged them. Genesis…
The time had come…
The heart of Londom was reawakening, and soon, so would Londom itself.
It was time for the Chosen to answer the call and take fate into their own hands.
And, at last, they knew where to begin.
And so, one by one, the adventurers found themselves on familiar ground, with glowing stone beneath their feet and a tall tower of multifaceted diamonds stretching into the sky above them, the UPLIFT emblazoned above the door. Around them yawned the great expanse of a desert, with the eerie teal glow of a landbridge gilding the edge.
There were ten of them, for now, and while some were familiar or even friends with each other, some were strangers.
Among those who gathered were:
- Alpha, a sprightly young woman whose face and golden locks were half obscured by a broken wither skull, and who carried the largest, most prepared-looking backpack ever shouldered. Anxious and ready, she bounced lightly on the balls of her feet, as if the bag weighed nothing.
- Lurking close by was her friend and colleague, Neo, a most unusual Ender dressed in a lab coat and wearing goggles firmly fastened over glowing pink eyes. Despite this protection, he seemed to go out of his way to avoid meeting the gazes of those gathered.
- Then, Waxrus, a grizzled man in a great, flapping trench coat who mostly kept to himself, his black dog, Bear, always close to his side. Though he was mostly silent, he met any gaze directed his way with a soft, friendly smile, yet an edge of sorrow never quite left his eyes.
- Eternal, a short, burly wizard, nearly invisible under the massive cap of a red, spotted mushroom, which he often snatched quick bites of before the flesh healed itself. Every now and then, he’d let out a laugh and mutter something under his breath, stroking his beard all the while.
- Curuxita, the old, wise, and forever smiling mayoress of Curulandia, who always seemed to have various potions and herbal elements overflowing from her many pockets or tucked into her massive silver braids. She greeted several of her fellow adventurers with warm, motherly hugs.
- Hurricane, a scruffy looking man whose dark skin was nearly covered by an impressive tech suit and whose favorite out-of-context phrase seemed to be “They don’t call me the Godfather of Londom for nothing.” When asked how he’d gained this nickname, he only leered unnervingly until the questioner backed off, and then laughed as if it was all part of some grand joke. But he jumped up immediately to help when several of Curuxita’s vials got away from her. So he probably wasn’t up to something…probably.
- Studabaker, whose handlebar mustache and brightly striped pants proclaimed loudly to all his great passion for amusement parks and their management. Even now, he seemed ready to move, to go, to build, uncontent to linger inactive.
- Jamesy, who looked like a gentleman straight out of a steampunk fantasy, greeted everyone with a smile, and seemed to often have a bit of a dance to his steps. At the first chance, he bought one of Curuxita’s potions with an exclamation of great excitement and tucked it inside an inner jacket pocket with a secretive smile.
- Dedsec, dressed all in black, his youthful eyes and feathered brown hair peeking out from under a hood and over a face mask. He seemed most interested in examining the layout of the Uplift tower, but occasionally appeared to mirror a few of Jamesy’s fancy, dance-like steps or watch them with sideways glances.
- And Crossed, whose violet and white eyes and blackened veins caused him to stand well outside the gathered crowd. Despite his intimidating countenance, he too stepped forward to help Curuxita, but backed off when he noticed the reflexive startle from a few of the others. He occasionally stared deeply into the pulsing violet of his sword blade.
They gathered steadily, porting in from whatever dimension had kept them before. Until at last they all stood together, milling about, and gradually, it became clear that no more would be coming.
“Well?” Hurricane finally grunted, sweat pooling around the press of his goggles, sunlight glinting off the red lenses. “We gonna just stand here all day, or what?”
Alpha’s attention whipped his way, but she only shot him a grin and marched forward without another moment’s hesitation. Neo followed close on her heels, head down, eyes on the ground.
Loosely, the group surged after her, Waxrus, Bear, and Crossed bringing up the rear.
Mounting the bridge, that magic tingle urged them Southward. Each step on their path reminded them of beauty they’d forgotten or introduced them to some new wonder.
They walked through a great golden and alabaster tower cloaked in flowing waterfalls, saw the usual welcoming spires to the right and were awed to see a floating vial left, the thick greenery of a flourishing terrarium nestled inside.
Beneath a great floating tree and upended glass pyramid, they passed over the ClasseART gallery with its lovingly preserved exhibits.
Another Uplift tower with stacked and lilted Japanese eaves stood witness to the fiery onslaught of a dragon whose great wingbeats kept him hovering above.
Though it took no notice of them, the group crept along cautiously until he was well out of sight.
The fading sunlight lit up a crystalline rainbow bridge and gilded a quaint hot air balloon as it floated just above the rippling water.
They passed it by, knowing that it would not take them where they were meant to be.
Farther along, a giant space automaton gestured upward toward some sight they could only guess at.
As night settled in, a great black tower stood out from the darkness, it’s glowing neon lights beckoning with hues of blue and magenta that complimented the undulating dance of lights in the sky.
And as they turned to the West, a massive upended castle rose into view, vines flowing from above to cloak its mystery.
As they reached The Monastery tower, with its rainbow beacon searching the clouds, the tingling itch in their minds spread to their skin, sending a shiver through them.
They were close.
A crystalline spire caught their eyes as it glimmered in the rays of the rising sun. But dawn swept higher, revealing an even greater pyramid than any so far, the great Eye of Ra watching them as its pharoah sat enthroned above, far too great to pay them any mind.
Just then, a shock of electric current through them, and then a tugging, pulling them at last from the familiarity of the rail system and off into the wilderness beyond the pyramid.
When the tingling had become an itch and they felt like they could stand it no more, something rose before them out of the clouds…No…it was wreathed in clouds…waterfalls pouring from its broken edges…the great floating island, with white stone spires and massive tree branches peaking down at them. They stopped in collective awe.
Studabaker was the first to step forward, craning his head back and shielding his eyes from the sun which gilded the mystical edges of the island with dappled light. He let out a long, low whistle, his entertainer’s mind already whirring with the ride possibilities such a space could offer.
Eternal plucked a small fistful from the spongy tissue of his mushroom cap, popping it into his mouth and chewing thoughtfully as a contented gleam settled in his eyes. His lips quirked up in amusement. “This is it,” he murmured whistfully around the last vestiges of his snack.
“Yeah, but now what?” Waxrus sighed, scratching behind Bear’s ears to still her whine.
“Yeah, it’s not like we can fly,” Dedsec cocked his head at the island, then scanned the land around them.
With a familiar sucking-warp sound, Neo vanished. A few of them startled, but Alpha crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes up to where Neo now waved at them from a crumbling bridge.
“Well, that’s one of us, I guess,” Jamesy mused.
Crossed’s brow furrowed. “Do you suppose someone lives up there?”
Eternal covered his sudden laugh with a breathy cough. “What else could be calling us here?”
Alpha stomped her foot. “Well, we have to find our way up there! Neo’s going to see everything before us.” As if hearing her, Neo’s head appeared over the edge again, and this time he was waving a shimmering sheaf of parchment. “Neo! Stop it! Wait for me!”
Curuxita uttered a knowing chuckle, and they all turned to look at her. She smiled beatifically. “Patience…See?”
As if on cue, they suddenly rose from the ground, floating steadily upward. Bear yelped and squirmed, and Waxrus did his best to hold and comfort her, though he, too, felt uneasy. Alpha looked as if she might somehow float faster by sheer will. Eternal burst into uncontrollable giggles and sent himself spinning into somersaults, even as he nibbled on yet another piece of mushroom.
Up and up they rose, past layers of wispy cloud and the crumbling crags of an abandoned mountain, glimpsing the vibrant green of still-living grass, until at last they were deposited upon the ruins of a polished stone bridge.
As their feet met with stone, parchment materialized in each of their hands.
Baffled, there was little more they could do than read:
If you are reading this, young Wanderer, you will know that you have found some of the many lost pages.The first piece of Londomly rests in your capable hands, and you are one step closer to the first branch in your journey, your first choice.
You will have shared in the Storyteller’s dream and received his summons. You will have glimpsed the great expanse of Londom and felt the call of Community stir in your heart.
And you will know that it is I, The Storyteller, Allzha Padium, who speaks to you now from this page, in the words of a forgotten mind. Perhaps, as you read this, you are standing within the grandeur of my childhood home, Lontar, where the unique treasures of Londomly, our young community, will one day be displayed. If you are, then I know you may also find me in a less than flattering position. I do hope you will overlook this, and cast the image from your mind…and, if not…then I hope you have yourself a good, hearty laugh, for laughter is one of life’s great treasures.
I will leave it at that, dear Wanderer. After all, you have a journey to begin. Do not allow me to keep you.
Now is the time for you to discover the past, and learn those lessons it offers the future.
Now is the time to think of Community.
From here on, the story is yours…
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