Noble Dodo

The Dodo was bouncing in a very straight line, it was looking down and didn’t see them so the creature almost bumped into Ilan and Tenzin.

“Hey…” said Ilan “Hello? Can you talk?”

The bird jumped, froze and opened its eyes like two big plates. It stood there for at least 30 seconds, doing nothing, just staring at them.

“I think we froze him…her…it,” whispered Tenzin

“I think it’s a dodo… you know, they declared them extinct,” Ilan whispered back.

Ilan didn’t know what to do, so she touched the bird’s head, softly. Always softly she thought.
The dodo jumped and looked at them in a more normal way, if that bird could look like normal at all… and it said “Toc toc!!!”
“See? It was the door…I mean, the bird that did that,” said Tenzin
“Toc-Toc-Toc” said the dodo with a really cute voice
“You can only say that?” asked Ilan with a desperate look on her eyes
“I bet the bird can say more tocs…” answered Tenzin and burst out laughing.
The Dodo looked at Tenzin and this time it was bright, “Toooooooc-Toc-Toc-Toooooooc-Toc-Tooooc-Toc-Toooooooc!!!”
“BLIMEY!!!! Now that is so elaborated!!!” said the otter
“Aw, Tenzin, you’re offending it!”

“Ok, look Ilan, we’re in middle of a desert, paradoxically, in an island that floats and moves around like a rocking boat, and now we’ve just found a strange bird that speaks erm… door language… can you think of a stranger situation?
“Actually….” answered Ilan
But Tenzin interrupted her “I know what you’re going to say, you’re going to ask him to carry us around!” said Tenzin whilst joking.
“Actually…” said Ilan whilst looking at the otter letting her know she was being unpolite again, “Yes, yes… that’s what I was going to ask the bird.”

“See? I knew it!” said Tenzin “What?! You mean it?!”

Ilan approached the creature and asked nicely “Dear creature, whoever you are, would it be possible for you to carry us around? We would like to visit the….”
Sooner said than done, the dodo slipped himself under Ilan and Tenzin and before they could realize they were riding it; the dodo disappeared into the forest.

Posted in Past Travellers | Tagged | 2 Comments

A knock on the door…?

When they reached the shore they noticed that the island was indeed, moving, floating with the current.
“Let’s walk along the shore,” said Ilan trying to recover the balance at each second that passed. “Whoa, this thing is rocking like a boat.”

They walked and while they walked they heard some really strange noise, like a knock on the door, but it sounded somewhat far from where they were. “Did you hear that, Tenzin?”

“You mean the toc-toc thingie? Ow, I thought it was my brain playing funny tricks…”
“Hahaha! Well, either it’s something out there, or we both have gone nuts…!”

But the “knock on the door” became clearer as they walked along the shore. Now they could see some rocks and a silhouette appeared on the horizon. It was walking towards them, and it sounded like the mysterious knock on the door became even clearer to them. “It must be it, the toc-toc thingie… but how strange!” said Tenzin.

A few metres later they met with a dodo, a noble creature, although to them, then, it looked like completely ridiculous.

Posted in Past Travellers | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Island

Ilan held her breath whilst she embraced Tenzin by the neck with her arms. At that point the otter took the plunge and dived as fast as Ilan’s weight allowed it, which was quite fast. That’s what Ilan thought anyway. She wanted to shout and express how happy she was feeling at that moment to Tenzin, but she couldn’t say anything under the water, so she just trusted her dear friend and went with the flow. She discovered that she was good at holding her breath so she closed her eyes and felt the water on her face. Hot, cold, lukewarm, and cold again. Ilan started feeling a bit dizzy for the lack of air and so she tapped Tenzin softly on her side, and the otter immediately surfaced.

“Wow, that was…that was… I have no words!”
“Why, thank you,” said Tenzin shyly, and added “I knew you’d like it.”
“Are you kidding? I LOVED it! I think I haven’t felt so good for such a long time, except for when I ride Shobogenzo.”

Whilst she pronounced her horse’s name, her face darkened and Tenzin felt sorry for her.
“Hey, don’t worry now, I’m sure it won’t be long till you see him again.”
“You’re so good to me, Tenzin. I can’t imagine myself alone in this adventure, without you.”

While they were talking they felt something moving in the bottom, a sort of whirlpool was forming under their feet and all of a sudden a whole island appeared popping up out of the water like a safety boat and floated with the current, away from them.

“Quick, Ilan! We must reach the shore of this island!” said Tenzin

“May I?” asked Ilan pointing at her furry back.

“Just my thought…” said Tenzin with a cheeky grin on her face

And that’s how they reached the strange island just on time before it slipped away from them forever.

Posted in Past Travellers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Meeting the Guild Mistress

Pearl put on the compass necklace and then the ring.  It seemed like the hexagon walls started to spin.  It was like a tunnel with a light at the end.  Pearl kept focus on that light and before she knew it she was getting closer and closer to and opening.

Before anyone could say “TRANSFORMATION” they were at the Guild Hall.  It was an earth shelter with a huge atrium that got the morning sun and avoided the direct sun and heat of the afternoon.  It was a beautiful day when Pearl and Hack arrived.  Everyone was busy or enjoying watching others while they collected the muse.  In one section was a lovely arboretum with tables so that you could sit and have tea or coffee while admiring the beautiful flowers and tropical plants.

Pearl and Hack sat down at one of the tables.  They were too dizzy to say much to each other.  They were just soaking in all the color and activity.

A waitress came over to their table.  She had on a peasant skirt with a layered look and an embroidered shirt.  What can I get you?  Hack and Pearl looked at each other and smiled.

“Well, I will have mint tea.” Pearl replied.

“I will take sassafras tea please.”  requested Hack.

As they sipped their tea they were over come by all the space, light, color and the sky.  Pearl took a deep breath.

“Hack did you notice the sign at the front of the door and all the signs posted around the Guild.  They said,  “YES MEANS YES AND NO MEANS NO”.”

“Yes, I noticed those.”  Answered Hack.

“I never saw those kinds of signs at the cave.  I wonder what they mean?” Pearl said with a puzzled face.

“Well I am sure you will find out, here comes the Guild Mistress now.  I am sure she will be glad to explain it to us.”

After a quick introduction,  Pearl asked the Guild Mistress, who was the  Spirit of the Tree of Transformation only in a physical body,  what the signs meant and why they were posted everywhere.

“Well first Pearl it is good to have you visiting us at the Guild Hall.  The signs that you see around the guild are to remind people of their personal power and their limits.  “yes means yes” means that you consent to do something, and”no means no” means you don’t consent.  You don’t have to explain yourself and you should never feel manipulated.  We have found that creativity is very dependent on having a good working relationship with others.  Here at the Guild we are interested in peer lead or individually motivated cooperation.  When one person becomes too controlling and demanding then others don’t feel safe and the creative energy goes way down.  By giving everyone freedom to express them self in a way that honors their own individual needs we have created the perfect artist environment.”

“I love it here.  I could stay here forever.” Pearl sighed.

“Remember Pearl that the Guild is a support network, but it is not a substitute for going on Adventures.  The Adventure is where your creative tools are most needed.” smiled the Guild Mistress.

Hack noticed something about Pearl. “You know Pearl you have changed.”

Pearl loked up and caught her reflection in a mirror.  Yes I have changed a lot I am much happier.  I think I have been transformed.”

“You have Pearl.” added the Guild Mistress, “and the only way that could happen was you were willing to take a risk.”

“I am so glad I climbed up to the Tree of Transformation.  If I hadn’t gone to the cave I might not have really appreciated what the Guild Hall was for travelers.  I can’t wait to see what is next.”

Posted in Past Travellers | 1 Comment

Guild Hall

“Pearl, you have been very quiet.”

“I know I have been thinking.”

Hack flew across the room and landed on one of the hexagon walls.  “What have you been thinking?”

“I have been thinking that I don’t like this cave.  That I don’t like being part of a hive that is controlled by ridged rules.  I really long for some fresh air and sunshine.  I don’t want to play their game.  I want out.”

“Well you know Pearl you can leave any time you like.  It’s up to you.”  Hack said in a very calm voice.

“What do you mean?  I thought I was stuck here.”

“Pearl in the ImagiNation you are never stuck.  You can go back to the Guild Hall and check in with the Spirit of the Tree of Transformation.  Then you can go on another Adventure.”

“Yes, but how do I get to the Guild Hall.  I thought Mr. Frozen and Mrs. Picky Picky were keeping a close eye on things.  How will I get past them?”

“Look in the amulet that the Tree of Transfromation sent you.  I think you will find a compass.”

Pearl went over to where she had kept her amulet bag and looked inside.  “Wow, it was so small I didn’t see it before.  Look it has a cord on it so i can wear it around my neck.”

“Look at the circle on the compass and you will see that it has a detachable ring.   When you put the compass around your neck and the ring on your finger you will be transported back to the Guild Hall.”

“What is this Guild Hall that you keep talking about.  I have never been to the Guild Hall?”

“Pearl, the Pogo Bugs grabbed you before the Tree of Transformation had time to tell you where it is.  She was actually pointing towards it with her branches.    It is the opposite side of this mountain.  It is an intentional community of traveling artist just like yourself.  They also have been on adventures and this is home base.  You will find that there is a community of artist that are always available to help other artist and to support them and share with them knowledge about going on journey.”

“Hack, I am so excited about getting out of here.  I don’t want to play any of these games.  To me they all look like a loop or maze to keep you in the cave so that you will never want to leave.”

“Well what are you waiting for?”

“For you to get on my shoulder of course – so we can be off to the Guild Hall.”

Posted in Past Travellers | 1 Comment

Dreaming Cloth

I have just realised that I haven’t actually shown the Dreaming Cloth ground, so here it is:

Posted in Past Travellers | 1 Comment

Coming and Going

We finished eating, Iolite beckoned to some people nearby who came and cleared away our dishes and utensils, saying,  “Normally we do this ourselves, no-one here is any less important than anyone else, we are all in service for and with each other.”

Malachite shifted, “There is something we wish to show you, come with us.” Lizard remained by the fire luxuriating in it’s warmth.

I walked between these two extraordinary people feeling very happy and relaxed, they exuded such warmth and friendliness.  We headed to the east, at first I thought we were going to my hut, but no, we passed it by and continued on to the outer ring of the community.  We crossed the invisible boundary, they both made the sign this time although I still didn’t catch it, continuing along under an arbour of overhanging trees and vines.   We emerged into a clearing wherein stood the most magnificent stone pillars – very similar to ones I have seen in the countryside surrounding our village, but these were enormous, each pillar must have stood at least twenty foot high – the effect was overwhelming.   I was led into the centre where, again, a fire had been lit and cushions arranged for us to sit on.

“What do you think?”, Iolite asked.

I stuttered, having difficulty finding the words to express what I was feeling.   I was in awe of the size of them, but there was something else, they felt powerful, they felt alive!

They both smiled at me, Malachite saying, “We know, they are truly wondrous are they not?”   All I could do was nod.

“Make yourself comfortable,” Malachite indicated the cushions, “I shall tell you a little about us.  We are known in your language as the People of the Stone.  We are caretakers of a sort.”  He indicated the giant Stones surrounding us,  “The Stone people are the history keepers.  Stone tells us of our place in the world, speaks to us of the continuum of all life, that which is most fundamental to our being, that which is most sacred, that which holds the simplest of our truths and of our lives.  They know everything of the of life on our planet since time began.   We are their protectors, we guard the sacredness of their being.  We help those who arrive here unaware that they seek answers, most not even knowing they have any questions.”

A sense of discomfort ran through me at this but I had no time to dwell on it as Iolite continued:

“The Stones also act as and provide gateways.  From here you can travel to all other areas.”

I frowned not really understanding what she meant.

“… hmmm I am getting ahead of myself, there is much for you to learn here and you cannot possibly take it all in at once.  You will stay with us for a while until you are ready to continue your journey.”

“I do have questions”, I uttered.

“All in good time,” Malachite responded, “It has been a long day, I think the time for rest has come.”

We returned to the settlement, they leaving me at the hut after having given me a wonderful goodnight hug.

I settled down to sleep, my mind racing, seeing the giant stones before my closed eyes, hearing Malachite’s voice in my head – it was going to be a long, long night.


Meanwhile Angaewen is speaking with Iolite and Malachite.

“I have come for Willow.  All the travellers are being recalled to the Guild Hall, she must return in the morning.   I am not sure how long she will be away, but be assured, I will bring her back here as soon as I possibly can.  Now that she has begun, her journey shall continue, there is no choice in that.”

“Do you need her to leave immediately, it has been a long day for her?” Iolite asks.

“I shall let her sleep … but we will have to leave first thing in the morning.”


A quick journal entry – I am so cross.  Angaewen appeared in my hut a little while ago to tell me that I have to leave – I have only just arrived!!   She is to take me back to the Guild Hall – apparently all the travellers have to return.  I am promised that I shall be bought back here shortly but I am still very disappointed.   I have packed up all my stuff, except for the wet clothes – didn’t even have time to get them dried.  Well, it seems I have no choice in the matter so I had better put on a good face and go meet with Angaewen and say my farewells to the others.

Angaewen speaks:

I see Willow coming towards us.  I am standing, waiting for her with Lizard, Malachite and Iolite.  I can see that she is trying to appear nonchalant and/or happy – it isn’t working.  Her emotions show so clearly on her face.  I can understand her disappointment and her frustration.  Truth to tell though, Willow has absolutely no idea how long she has been gone.  I know, to her, it seems as if it has been a matter of days whereas, in fact, it has been many months.   This journey will be one of difficulty and awakening for her – but for now, the Guild Mistress awaits.

I can see them before me, all of them, waiting.  I am trying to appear happy.  I do not want to leave.  Before I know what is happening, Iolite has me in one of her wonderful embraces and I feel all my anger fading away being replaced by a sense of calm and ease.  How does she do that?

Angaewen is atop a trap, two horses harnessed ready for the off.  Lizard sidles up to me, winking, “You’ll be back before you know it.”
Malachite hugs me and helps me onto the trap.  Damn it – I can feel a couple of tears trickling down my cheeks!

We are off …. Back to the Guild Hall it is then.

Posted in Past Travellers | 1 Comment

An Artist’s Ending

We are at the end of the year’s journey with the Travelling Artists’ Guild, and Susan has asked us all to respond to certain questions. Here is my reply.

Mandatory: Return to the Guild
Wherever you are (your character is) on your journey, you receive a message or call of some description asking you to return to the Guild. Wherever you are, you will find a way, perhaps even in magical form, to return to the Guild on or before 30th September.

Having met up at a place named Skarlton, Zentara journeyed back to the Guild Halls with her Guild mentor, Grunthrin, and her grandmother, Isolda, as part of her continuing quest. They rode together – no magic or summons was necessary – the decision was made within the story that they needed to return.

I have now written the final stages of her journey for the year, finishing at the Guild, and posted them here and to my own site. There will be one more post – The epilogue – that I’ll add later.

Review the Shared Projects

At the outset, everyone was asked to create these projects:

– A Travelling Trunk
– Paper Bag Book
– Small Journals
– A Map
– Map Fold
– Map Bag/Pouch
– A Doll

Please briefly describe each of your projects (if you made the art) using this format:

a. Short description

b. Link to a photo

c. Personal thoughts on how interesting or useful you found this project. How did you use the object? What role did it play in your journey? 

Of the above objects, I didn’t make the map fold or bag. As for the others, here are my answers to the above questions:

Zentara's travel bag

Travelling Trunk

My ‘trunk’ was a bag. I altered an existing plain bag that I had, and it has hung next to my computer within my study for most of the year. I also altered a box, and it is in this that I have kept Zentara’s journal and a couple of other items that I made later. Although mentioned in her initial setting out, neither were actually instrumental in the journey or played any role. However, as a visual reminder of the journey and as a place to keep together the visual artwork, it was invaluable.



Paper Bag book

Paper Bag Book

As I’d never made one before, I found the project fun. However, it played no part in the journey and only contains two items sent to my by other travelling artists: an ATC (thanks, Shakti!) and a drawing by Adam (thank you, too!).


Small Journals

For this, I cheated a little. Having a perfectly good ready-made sketchbook that I decided would be ideal for this project, I painted the cover and used that as Zentara’s journal for the project.

Zentara's journal

I did several sketches within it as the journey unfolded. A useful place to draw or sketch out ideas of how places looked, or to illustrate a certain point within the journey. However it is not even half-full. My original plan was to use this and make another when I needed to. But I did paint two canvases, one based on a sketch that I made in the journal. The canvases were kept within the bag, once I’d tired of having them in my living room, lol.

I may well use a journal or sketchbook again on similar projects. However, to jot down ideas and names and notes to develop the story, I used a separate ring-binder with loose sheets of paper. I also had a small book used to develop the languages, both of which I keep in a folder.

So I suppose you could say that I have used more than one journal – just not in the format originally prescribed!


My maps, along with my notebook, language book and folder.

A Map

I have three. The main map of the whole of the world of Rohinval; a second of the area I expected Zentara to explore; and a third with more detail and covering an even smaller area. Made with Campaign Cartographer.

I stuck them on the wall next to my computer so that they were readily available whilst I was writing. I also have copies in my folder with the ring-binder and other notes, and these have been written on as I came across new locations or decided on names for those places Zentara would be visiting.

Useful as reference and a guide as well as a source of inspiration in that areas marked can become a focal point for certain actions or decisions eg a range of mountains can lead to the naming of a race, or an obstacle to the journey that has to be overcome.

Maps are something that I always make when creating a world. They nearly always change as I write, but are the ‘skeleton’ of the world within which the story develops. For me, an essential element within the story-making process.


Zentara the Doll

The Doll

A fairly simple cardboard doll ‘dressed’ in fabric and with wild pink hair.

Within the story, she was left at the Guild. In reality she has been looking at me as she pokes out of the bag hanging by my computer.

Her hair was almost accidental in that I had this feathery pink material available when I made her. It became an integral part of who Zentara was, and as such played a vital part within the development of the character. Apart from that, the doll had no purpose. But I’m pleased that I made her, and she has pushed me into action on several occasions – sure she stared at me when I ignored her for too long!!!

Here are a couple more images:

Zentara watches me from the bag in my 'study'

All of the art I produced along the way...

Finally, before I leave the Guild, my thanks must go to all those who have taken this journey along with me – their company has been an inspiration. But most of all, my grateful thanks go to Susan, the creator of the project, and without whom Zentara and the world of Rohinval would have never been created.

Posted in Journey | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

An Ending

by Zentara Shadowsoul

I gave my art and quest notes to the Mistess of Treasures during the Guild ritual to welcome home those who had been questing throughout the year. She thanked me, as she had the other artists, and handed my gifts to one of the Keepers who would carry my offerings to the vaults, to be recorded and stored. My doll, too, would go with them, as a reminder of the artist who had gathered the materials and the information. My year had come to an end; my quest closed.

And yet, I wondered if it was indeed complete. I made my way to the Hall of the Shay and stood within the dusty room, noting the carvings of leaf and tree that decorated the high ceiling. This Hall was a testament, a witness, to the shay artists who had come before me. It stood empty, deserted. And that saddened me.

Isolda joined me, her arm going about my shoulders. “You are still staying here?” she asked.

“Perhaps,” I replied. “For now, at least. Now I know what my father is I have no desire to meet him. And yet…”

“You feel the need to aid your people,” she continued for me.

I nodded. “There is still much to discover, we both know that. And Grunthrin is eager to try out the Pathways.”

“We all are,” replied Isolda. “But if you stay here, I understand that too. You belong, as you never have elsewhere.”

We stood quietly for several moments before Isolda announced “I’m going to visit Ferantu. It’s long past time for me to speak with him, to get to know him better. Will you come with me?”

I hesitated. The desire to stay here, safe within these walls, was strong. And yet…

“When will you leave?” I asked.

“In a few days. There is no hurry,” she answered.

I nodded. “Then I will think on it, and let you know before you go.”

“Let’s go have some tea,” Isolda suggested. I smiled, nodded and walked with her to her caravan, happy to be with her, the knowledge of my birth now secure. My quest accomplished.

Posted in Journey | Tagged | Leave a comment

The West – Want

“You know Hack this is the one that I have really been wanting to see.  I am glad we saved it for last.  It just looks so inviting and I can understand Wanting.  Lets see what the computer has in store for us here.”

Pearl clicked on the icon and a shopping mall appeared.  It was kinda a different kind of shopping mall because you could literally buy anything you wanted  and it would be delivered to you.  You could buy a house, a diamond ring, a new oriental carpet, a party…literally anything that you could think of you could buy at this mall and the computer would delivered it to you.  So the first thing that you were asked to do is to spend money.  They gave you a credit card and you had a limit of a 1,000,000. dollars.

“Now this looks like fun and it looks like she might get all the things she wants.”

“Well lets watch the demo.” Hack suggested.

Pearl clicked on the demo button.

In came a fancy dressed character in high heels.  She picked a new condo in the city, then a set of dishes, then she went to the art gallery and found several painting from the original artist, she headed over to the Smell and Wash and bought monogrammed towels.  Her cart was almost full when she decided that she really needed a new car.  So she headed over to look at all the new cars.  It didn’t take her long to decide. Then she moved to the checked out.

Another page came up.  There was a line up of significant people on the bottom of the page.  There was her sons and daughters.  There was her husband.  Her mother and father were there.  There were significant people that she worked with.  Everyone was on the bottom of the page  that meant anything to her.

Next appeared a helicopter that was to bring all the loot.  The helicopter dropped the items out and if they landed on the ground they were yours…DELIVERED.   The only thing the lady had to do was push the people out of the way so that they didn’t get hit by the stuff and the stuff landed the ground.  The people were oblivious to the fact that anything was falling out of the sky, so when they got pushed they got offended and left.  This made more room for the things to hit the ground and become all hers.  But in the end she had a mountain of things but she didn’t have any people in her life.

“Well I don’t want to get sucked in a  game like that Hack.  I don’t think the ticket out of this place is in any of these games.  The only thing that I am happy about is that I didn’t get sucked into playing that Nothing About Nothing, I have heard that some games can be quite addictive.”

Posted in Past Travellers | 1 Comment