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Deal 1044: Cat has a Dragon, Dragon in Denial

The message keep piling up. First, it was a steady stream of carrier pigeons. Then owls. Now, little cards are simply appearing in a basket. I caught one in the act, it looked like it was falling through a slit in reality. Or that strangely malleable substance that passes for reality around here.

Not that I can read them, mind you. I can interact just fine with nearly anything that crosses my path, at least verbally. But apparently the language I know how to read and write is not spoken here. And what is spoken here might as well be Greek to me when written. I really ought to ask Gwen for help with this, but she has gone so far out of her way for me already. At the pace I’ve been learning from her and her friends, I should be able to upgrade my own translation spells to include written words soon.

Raven dropped in for a visit the other day. Apparently he’s been trying to get in to see me for a while now, but Gwen keeps chasing him off. I’m not sure if she knew he was here or not, but he did get in. He’s up to something, and Gwen is right that he likely does not have my interests at heart.

I’m not sure she does either, mind you, but she has been very upfront about that. Raven just changes the subject and makes oddly nonspecific promises. And I’ve caught him trying to manipulate my memory too. So that one is staying at arm’s reach. I couldn’t resist testing my growing powers, though, and snapped a birdcage around him. The look on his face was priceless. Then he quorked something that likely would be obscene if translated, tore a raven-sized hole in reality, and stepped out. He hasn’t been back.

The toad has tried to visit, but the cat I’ve seen around the place just steps out of a shadow, picks up the toad, and steps back into a shadow. I’ve asked Gwen about the cat, and she insists that she does not have a cat.

I asked the cat, but he didn’t answer. At least not in so many words. But he did strongly imply by gesture and deeds that as far as he’s concerned, he has a dragon that he lets have the illusion of free will.

Cats and Dragons. Probably not a good idea for them to team up.

The Harpy that came by for an afternoon was interesting. She was adamant that her (and her sisters) were misunderstood. I’m pretty open minded, but her case was not entirely persuasive. I found it telling that Gwen didn’t actually give her unfettered access to me, but chose to remain in reach. Cat just twitched and wrinkled his nose when I asked him about the Harpy. Gwen just shrugged and said I had to make up my own mind in due course.

Time for another crack at the message pile. Perhaps tomorrow we can begin work on my eventual goals. Perhaps I should ask the cat for help.

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Deal 1022: Double Nonnet for Sallis

Man of depths unfathomed, still unplumbed
Optimist, attacks mystery
Rocket or sheepwash, it works
Ever faithful Gromit
Constructed at home
Hotpot and tea
Even space
Extra
Smart
Expert
Gaffer and
Rescuer all
Overcoming odds
Muddling through everything
Indeed, but not as yet love
Totty, Wendy, Piella, gone.
Wensleydale preferred over the moon

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Deal 1021: Staged

The crowd has been well-behaved as dusk settles over the amphitheatre. The early warm up acts were fun for passing time until the main event, but may not be memorable. Except that one guy that… but I digress. Night arrives swiftly at this place, so it almost seems as if someone has simply thrown a switch and turned off the sky. Then, as our eyes adjust, we realize that he also turned on the stars.

Everyone quickly settles back into their seats as the amphitheatre plunges from navigable to one giant tripping hazard. We all quiet with anticipation.

The stage lights come up to reveal a contraption of some sort on an empty stage.

It fires bundles into the front three rows that turn out to be ponchos. Nervous laughter ensues, but the front three rows also don the ponchos.

The device spins around. As it turns, spotlights reflect off it and scan the crowd. It stops, with a pin spot reflected onto a single seat, near an aisle. The other spotlight operators turn their lights around and join in, The seat is empty. Which seems a little strange in an otherwise sold-out house. The lights go off for a moment, then on, as all the spot operators blink their shutters in unison. Now the seat is occupied.

The occupant is dressed a little more formally than the rest of the audience. After a moment, he stands, and the crowd begins to realize that this was his entrance. He makes his way to the stage.

From that beginning, the show got weird.

At one point, he was juggling kids borrowed from the audience.

He set up a series of gramophones, and attempted to identify which was producing live sound and not a recording with the help of a small dog.

He did a knife catching act with dull knives.

It was strange and wondrous. All the professional performers who saw him were green with envy at his management of the crowd’s attention.

He did things that every critic had panned with their typical poisoned pens. But it probably didn’t help that his final bit was designed to annoy critics. He even said so from the stage, pointing out that by and large most critics would have already filed their reviews of his show by that point, so it was perfectly safe to mock them.

When the house lights came up, the audience response was immense.

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Deal 1004: Waiting

I’m passing time writing by candlelight in the depths of my cave. The tiny flame casts constantly moving shadows on the walls around me. They catch my attention and distract from the work I am trying to do.

I’d write in the daylight, but I have limited time in this place. I must achieve my goals and move on. Each time I reach this point I feel like I’ve done this before, but I must emerge eventually back into the light of day and rejoin the world. Until then, I sit in the darkness and write, pen scratching as it threads its way across the pages. 

It is a long and slow wait. In the distance I hear water dripping. I can count my heartbeats between drips. I can count the drips. I can hear that tangible evidence of time passing. And yet, I am stuck in this pool of flickering light and the perception that all time is stopped outside its reach.

I hear the occasional noise that reminds me that my primary defense here is the difficulty of finding this cave. Surely it has served other creatures as a refuge, but when I entered it aeons ago or just recently there was no recent sign. 

The reach of the light remains limited to just more than an armspan. Aside from the pen and a penkife I have little defense other than my fingernails. Those won’t serve me. Next time I find myself in this cage, I should plan to be better prepared.

But there aren’t that many that can find this cave in the first place, and fewer who can enter it. Those, such as I, are rare birds indeed. Spending some time in a gilded cage would seem fitting.

So I return to my notes on the study of the human condition, and wait for the time to be right to emerge and conduct another round of observation and interaction. Only time will tell where and when that will be. Time and the cave, but neither is speaking to me at the moment.