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SparkleSteps - Chapter Ten poll is up!
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:04 pm    Post subject: SparkleSteps - Chapter Ten poll is up!  


The forest was dark and silent.
The two of them ran silently through the darkness and trees. They merged with the deep shadows, as they raced to get back to the portal before it closed on them.

"Sorren, wait!" came a frightend whisper from within one of the shadows.

"We can't, Mot," came Sorren's reply, "We must get back before the portal closes. If we don't we'll be stuck here for......I don't know how long." He continued to sprint onwards.

"But......I thought that I heard something!"

That halted Sorren, and he dropped to the ground, with Mot following suit.

"What did it sound like?" Sorren whispered, nervously, looking around at the shadows that surrounded them.

"I'm not sure," replied Mot, his breathing frantic with fear. " Like growling I think." He glanced at his friends face, just visible in the thin shafts of moonlight, that pierced the canopy above them. "What should we do?"

Sorren continued to scan the darkness, listening for the noise, and searching for it's maker, hoping and praying silently that it was not what he feared.

"We should continue on to the portal," he finally answered.

"But, what if..." Sorrens reasurring hand on his shoulder made Mot's question fade into silence.

"We have no choice, my friend," Sorren whispered softly, his voice strangely calm, despite the possiblity of danger. "We must return to our own world before the door closes. If......if that creature is out there, hunting us, then the only chance we have is getting back home. The others need to know, Mot. They need to know what we have discovered." He heard Mot sigh heavily beside him.

" You're right," he agreed, "Let's go."

The two of them sprang to their feet once again, and, after a quick look around, they set off, racing through the trees towards the portal and safety.

Suddenly, there was a loud cracking noise, behind and to the left of them, and once more they dropped to the ground.

“There is something out there,” breathed Sorren, gazing back the way they had come, his eyes wide with fear.

“Sorren, come on!” whispered Mot, urgently, tugging at his friends tunic. “The portal is just ahead. We can make it. We must…” But he was interrupted, by a deep, low growl, closer now.

Sorren sprang to his feet, pulling Mot with him.

“Run!” he cried, taking off in the direction of the portal. He could see the clearing now, beyond the trees, and within it the pool, glowing with the magical light, that escaped through the doorway, which led back to their world. Mot was right, they could make it.

“I can see it Mot!” he shouted to his friend. But he got no answer. He looked back over his shoulder, and found that Mot was nowhere to be seen. Sorren halted in his tracks, turning wildly about, looking for his comrade.

“Mot!” he yelled, into the darkness. But no reply reached his ears. “Mot! Where are you?” Nothing, just the wind blowing softly through the shadowy trees.

Then, somewhere in the darkness, he heard his friends voice.


“Mot!” he called back, his voice breaking. He held his head in his hands. What was happening to his friend? A horrified scream pierced the night, making his blood run cold. Then it came again, a cry of pain and terror. Then, as suddenly as it had come, it stopped, and a deathly silence descended.

Sorren couldn’t believe what was happening. Was his friend dead? His constant companion since childhood, could he really be gone forever? He could do nothing to stop the tears pouring from his eyes. Soon his face was awash with their salty wetness. But then, to his astonishment, he heard his friends voice reach him once again, through the darkness.

“Sorren, it’s coming! Run!”

Though Mot’s voice was faint, he heard the words clearly. Instantly, he jumped to his feet, and tore off towards the portal. If only he could reach home, there was a chance that he could come back with others, to rescue Mot.

There was the pool, just ahead of him. Just a little further, and he would be back where he belonged.

Suddenly, something grabbed his ankle, and sent him sprawling to the forest floor. He looked back to see what had tripped him.
His face changed to a mask of horror, when he saw the tentacle wrapped tightly around his ankle, glinting wetly in the soft moonlight. He tried to shake free of its grip, but despite it’s slippery appearance, it held him fast, and began to pull him back into the shadows, and the creature to whom the tentacle belonged.

He scrabbled frantically at the earth, grasping at trees, trying to escape from his captor. But the creature gripped him firmly, and continued to draw him back.

“Chahna!” he howled into the night. She would not hear him, but she was the one who filled his thoughts, as he was dragged into the deep blackness. Then he knew no more.

“John, do you want me to drive for a bit? You look exhausted.” Kathleen looked at her husband, her face a mask of concern. When he didn’t answer, she persisted. “Please honey, let me drive. Then you can get a couple of hours sleep.”

“I’m fine,” came his snappy reply. He glance towards her and then sighed heavily. “I’m sorry love. You’re right, I am tired. But in another few hours, we’ll be home. I’ll sleep then, okay.” She smiled at him, and nodded.

The Munby’s had been driving since four o clock that morning, barely getting five hours sleep. Now at five in the afternoon, though his wife had managed to get a couple of extra hours sleep, John Munby had been driving nearly non stop for the last thirteen hours, trying to get home so that they could spend some time with their kids before they went to bed.

“I can’t wait to see Milo and Winnie,” said Kathleen, wistfully. “I’ve missed them so much.” John turned and smiled at his wife affectionatly, only to be met with her horrified scream. “John look out!”

John Munby swerved to miss the deer, but could not avoid the lorry, that crashed into them seconds later.

“Five times eight is?”


“Five times nine is?”


“Five times ten is?”


The year four classroom of the Summerhill Primary School, chimed with the voices of it’s twenty-four students, as their teacher, Mrs Featherby, fired out questions on the five times table.

As they finished, and were getting their books ready for history, there was a knock at the classroom door.
As he entered the room, the look on the headmaster, Mr Williams, face, told of bad news, without him needing to say a word.

“Winter Munby, could you come with me please?” His voice told of no anger, but as eight year old Winnie got up from her desk, and followed the headmaster out of the door, she couldn’t help but feel slightly nervous. She could feel the eyes of her classmates following alongside her, and she heard their muffled whisperings as she closed the door behind her.

“Alright, quiet now please,” she heard Mrs Featherby say, as she trailed after Mr Williams.

‘What have I done?’ she thought to herself, confused. ‘I haven’t broken the rules, or been naughty. So why did he come and get me.’ Winnie could feel the beginnings of tears, pricking at the corners of her eyes. But she bit her lip and held them back.

As they rounded the corner, towards Mr Williams office, she saw her brother Milo, waiting outside the door, looking just as puzzled as she felt. He smiled when he saw her, and her spirits instantly lifted. Her brother was three years older than she was, and he always looked out for her. No matter what happened now, she could handle it, because her big brother was there with her. She took his hand, and gripped it tightly, as the two of them entered the office, after Mr Williams.

“Please sit down children,” their headmaster said kindly, gesturing the two chairs on the other side of the desk, while he sat down in his own. Winnie was even more confused. He was definitely not angry with them, so why were they here?

“I’m afraid I have some very bad news for the both of you,” Mr Williams continued gravely. “ I know that you do not have any close relatives to tell you, so I thought that it might be best coming from me, rather than a stranger.” He looked from one to the other, his eyes full of concern. Winnie began to get a sense of forboding about the meeting, She suddenly knew that she didn’t want to hear what Mr Williams was going to say next.

“ There is no easy way to tell you this. I’m afraid that your parents have been in an accident. A car accident. They were on their way home, when their car was hit by a lorry. I’m so sorry, Milo, Winter. Your parents were both killed.”

In that instant, Winter and Milo Munbys world shattered beneath them.

I was going to start this in the new year. But during my time away (Five awful days away from IF!), I decided to make a start on it.
Right guys, be gentle with me. This is the first SG that I've put on here, and I almost didn't bother, due to worrying that it would be a complete load of tripe! But I did put it up, and I hope you like it.
The story is based on a novel that I was writing, but got bored of, when I started writing my trilogy instead.
As this is just the prologue, there is no DP. That will start when I get the first chapter up.
Now, I said be gentle, but please be honest. If it's a load of crap, just say so and I will retreat back into the shadows from whence I came! :laf: And I can probably tell you right now, that my grammer is not up to scratch. But I hope you like it. Thanks for reading! ;)
P.S: I know what you're all thinking about the name Mot. But when I started this as a novel, I promised my brother that I would put an anagram of his name in the book, and this is the character who got stuck with it!
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Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 2139
Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:22 pm    Post subject:  

1. There's nothing wrong with the name Mot... I actually liked it.

2. I saw no flaws with your grammar, but I did see this: Quote: she couldn’t help be feel slightly nervous Should be but. This was the only mistake I found.

3. So far so good. Being a prologue, you can get away with some sparse descriptive details which I thought was the only thing that might have lacked a little. Since Prologues should be short and interest grabbing, you hit it spot on I'd say.

4. I'm interested to continue reading. Mission accomplished! :lol: Ya gotta feel bad for the kids.
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:16 pm    Post subject:  

Whoops! Thanks for pointing that out to me Thunderbird!
And thanks for your comment! I am so pleased that I'm better at grammar than I thought I was! :D
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Joined: 16 Oct 2004
Posts: 5215
Location: UK

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:14 am    Post subject:  

Excellent start Tikki! Some great tension builit up and 3 scenes swiftly set. :D

Who would call their kid Winter!

I actually quite like the name Mot though, I guess that means one of your brother's is Tom :P

I only spotted one typo... " interupted" is a double r.

Your worries about grammar are, as TB suggests, unfounded. If you do want something to look out for though, it's repetition. Dark for example is used twice in the first lines. And somewhere there's three 'buts' within just a few words of each other, which is a little jarring.

Really just minor points though.

I look forward to Chapter 1

Happy Writing :)
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Shady Stoat

Joined: 02 Oct 2005
Posts: 2950
Location: England

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:04 am    Post subject:  

I like it. Good content, plenty of hooks to get the reader wondering what's going on.

The only thing I'd recommend is spacing your paragraphs out a little more. In books you can get away with big clumps of text. On a computer screen... not so much.

In terms of the story, I've always liked crossover fantasy. Or urban fantasy. Or whatever it's called these days. Real world meets the supernatural. So I'll be tuning in to read chapter one. :cool:
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:56 am    Post subject:  

Thankyou Smee and Stoaty! :D

@Smee- I found the 'buts' and have changed them. I agree with you on reading it again. Thanks for pointing it out.
And I think the name Winter is pretty. As is Summer and Autumn. The only one that you couldn't really use is Spring, and even then, I'm sure there are those out the who would like it.
And she will be called Winnie most of the way through anyway. ;)
And no, his name is Omt! :P

Thankyou all once again!
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Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:27 am    Post subject:  

Glad to get a look at this one before it takes off. I also like Winter as a name. :P

F5 the paragraph spacing comments from Stoaty - there should be a blank line between every paragraph, and that includes every new line of dialogue.

Makes it much easier to read that way.

Looking forward to seeing the start of this storygame. :)
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:49 am    Post subject:  

Right, I've tried to space out the paragraphs a bit more. So I hope they are better now. But please let me know if they are still not enough, or if I have done too much.

Thanks for the comment, Crunchy, by the way! :)
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Shady Stoat

Joined: 02 Oct 2005
Posts: 2950
Location: England

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:34 pm    Post subject:  

Looks much better now Tikki :cool:
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Tatkret Sos

Joined: 10 Nov 2009
Posts: 74
Location: UK

Posted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:43 pm    Post subject:  

Great SG sis! :-)
I found it very gripping and scary in parts!
Keep up the good work
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Joined: 02 Nov 2004
Posts: 469
Location: San Diego, CA

Posted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 4:09 pm    Post subject:  

Not much else to say really from all of those who have already written. The prologue was good, portals and creatures with tentacles both grabbed my interest. Keep up the hard work.
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 5:13 pm    Post subject:  

Thankyou, Tats and Emperor, for your comments! It means alot! :D
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 7:48 pm    Post subject:  

SparkleSteps - Chapter 1

Two weeks later

"Not too far now children," said Mrs Smith, cheerfully. But despite the social workers merry disposition, Milo and Winter could not evoke much enthusiasm, into going to live with an uncle, that they hadn't even known that they had, let alone met.

“I don’t want to go,” said Winnie, sadly, “I want to go back home.” Mrs Smith sighed.

“I’ve told you already, Winnie dear, that the house is going to be sold, and the money put into a trust fund for you and Milo, for when you’re grown up, as your parents specified in their will. And even if that wasn’t the case, there is nobody to look after you.”

“But we’ve never met him!” piped up Milo, “What if we don’t like him? Or if he doesn’t like us?”

Mrs Smith, pulled into a lay by, then turned to the two of them.

“Look, guys, this is what your parents wanted. They wanted you to go to live with your Uncle. Now, I don’t know why you have never met him, or why your parents never told you about him. But they loved you both very much, and I don’t think that either of them would send you somewhere where they thought that you would be unhappy.” She smiled at them. “I know that all of this is going to take some getting used to. But it will all turn out alright in the end, I guarantee it.”

The children let the matter drop. Both of them realised that there was sense in what Mrs Smith said, and, though they were still not completely convinced, they felt slightly more at ease with the idea. The deaths of their parents were still raw in their minds, and imagining this mysterious Uncle of theirs took their minds of the recent tragedy, just a little.

About half an hour later, Mrs Smith alerted them that they were nearly at their destination.

“There it is children. That is where you are going to live!”

Milo and Winnie looked ahead. They could see the top of, what almost looked like, a castle, perched high up on a hill, completely surrounded by a dense forest.

“It still looks pretty far away,” said Milo. Mrs Smith chuckled.

“The house itself might be far, but the estate begins……here!” With that Mrs Smith turned the car down a narrow road, and the children saw that they were in front of a pair of enormous iron gates, which were chained shut. Rusted lettering above the gate read, ‘Amethyst Estate’.

“How are we going to get in?” asked Winnie, noticing the chains.

“There’s an intercom. I’ll just let your uncle know that we’ve arrived.” Mrs Smith got out of the car, and walked over to the little metal box, a little piece of technology that looked out of place within it’s surroundings. The stone wall, surrounding Amethyst Estate looked old, and was covered in moss and lichen. Beyond the wall were trees, trees, and more trees, save on the thin strip of road on the other side of the gate.

They heard the social worker talking to someone, through the intercom, then she returned to the car.

“Your Uncle is sending someone to open the gate,” she said, as she seated herself back in the drivers seat. “He won’t be long.”

Ten minutes later, they spied a small, scruffy car, spluttering down the narrow road, towards them. It stopped, and a hunched, ancient-looking man got out, shuffled over to the gate. He was clad in tattered garments, with a black greatcoat over the top, and muddy workboots. The silver hair on top of his head looked unclean, and greasy, as did the bristly moustache, that covered his upper-lip, like a huge, grey slug. The old man took an enormous set of keys from the pocket of the greatcoat, immediately selected one, and unlocked the padlock, freeing the gates of their bonds.

Mrs Smith started up the engine, preparing to drive through the now open gateway. But the man held up a hand, and shook his head. Mrs Smith wound down her window, and stuck her head out.

“What’s the matter?” she called out to him, “I’m here with Mr Addison’s niece and nephew. I need to get through.”

He shook his head again,

“The master says, I’m to take ‘em back up to the ‘ouse,” he answered, in a gruff voice. Mrs Smith looked slightly bewildered.

“I don’t understand. What’s the problem?”

“No problem, mame. He just don’t like strangers pokin’ around on ‘is property.”

Mrs Smith went to open her mouth to argue, but the man stopped her.

“Look, mame, everythin’ has been sorted out, hasn’ it? Papers all been signed? Everythin’s been authorised?”

Mrs Smith nodded.

“Well, yes, but…”

“But nothin’! The kiddies are to come with me. And you are to go ‘ome. Clear enough for ya?”

“But I don’t even know who you are!” said Mrs Smith, clearly furious at being spoken to in such a way. “You can’t expect me to leave these children with you.”

The old man started to looked irritated.

“Is this the address that ya were told to bring the children to?” he barked at her.

“Yes, it is! But that doesn’t…”

“An’ ya did just call through t’ the master, an’ he told ya he’d be sendin’ someone to open the gate?”

“Yes, but…”

“But, but, but! That’s all I’ve ‘eard from you for the last ten minutes! I say again, but nothin’! I am ‘ere. I opened the gate! What more proof do ya need? Now, are ya goin’ to hand over them two kiddies, or have I got to bother the master again?”

Mrs Smith just sat there for a moment. Then, Milo and Winnie saw her sag in defeat. She got out of the car, then opened the door to let them out.

“Come on, out you pop! I’m afraid this is where we say goodbye.” She walked around to the boot, popped it open and took out their bags. Then she led them over to the man. “Right, Milo, Winnie, this is Mr….”

“Mr Dobbs,” the old man said, finishing the sentence. “But everyone at the estate calls me Old Bob.”

“Mr Dobbs is going to take you to your new home.” She knelt down in front of them. “Goodbye Milo, goodbye Winnie. I hope we meet again someday, under happier circumstances.” She stayed there a moment longer, not wanting to leave them so abruptly. But then she got up, and returned to her car. She waved to them as she turned the car around, then she drove off and was gone.

“Come on then,” Old Bob said, stuffing their bags into the boot of the rundown car. “Let’s get ya back up to the ‘ouse. I ‘spect yur ‘ungrey after all that travellin’. The children watched as he came around and opened the back door for them to get in. He gestured, with head, for them to get in the car. They paused for a moment, wary of the strange old man.

“Come on! I ain’t gonna bite ya!”

At that, they clambered in to the back of the car, and Old Bob slammed the door shut behind them, then went to relock the gates, before getting in himself and driving off.

The rest of the journey, to the house, was silent, with the children not knowing whether they should talk, and the old man not wanting to. Milo mouthed to Winnie, asking if she was okay, to which she nodded that she was, sending her golden curls fluttering about her head. But that was all.

Eventually, the mass of trees parted into a wider space, and the house stood before them. Up close, it looked even more like a castle, complete with towers and battlements. Old Bob pulled up, directly in front of some deep set steps, leading up to a huge, oak front door. He got out of the car, and let them out, then went to get their bags.

The two children just stood next to the car, eyes wide with awe, at the sheer size of the place. Everything seemed oversized, like the giant’s house in Jack and the Beanstalk. Enormous bay windows, some with beautifully crafted stained glass. Even the bricks that the house was made from were extra large. Neither of them had ever seen anything like it.

Old Bob started up the steps, carrying their bags. When they didn’t follow, he turned back, frowning.

“I take it ya wanna sleep out ‘ere tonight then?”

The children shook their heads, and trailed after him. When they reached the top, he inclined his head towards the bell-pull.

“Ring the bell, boy,” he said to Milo, “Let old Rosie know that we’re ‘ere.” Milo stepped forward and gave a hard yank on the bell-pull. They heard a loud ‘dong’ echo though the room beyond the door, followed by footsteps. Then the door creaked open, and then children found themselves looking into the friendly, slightly excited face of a young woman.

“Oh, you’re here!” she exclaimed, grasping the two of them in an unexpected hug. “Poor little mites! But don’t you worry. Violet will take care of you now.”

“Where’s Rosie, Vi?” said the old man, frowning disapprovingly at the girl’s excitable demeanour. Violet pointed vaguely, behind her, unable to take her eyes off the new arrivals. Old Bob tutted, and barged through, heading off down the hall, leaving the other three alone.

“Your Uncle is busy right now,” said Violet, apologetically.” He says that he will see you tomorrow. Until then, I’ve been given orders to help you settle in. So, let’s get you up to your rooms, and unpacked.” She grabbed the bags, that Old Bob had left by the door, and the children followed her up a long staircase, carpeted in red. Once they were at the top, she took them down a long hallway, and then into a lovely, bright room. The walls were painted a sunny yellow, and a vaseful of cheerful chrysanthumums had been placed on a light-wood chest of drawers. Despite their grief and worries, the children couldn’t help but smile at their new room. They looked around, while Violet proceeded to unpack their clothes and other belongings, and watching them while they explored. Winnie looked out of the large bay window. There was a rose garden below, and a little way beyond that, was the forest. Between and beneath the mass of trees, the darkness was absolute. Winnie made up her mind, there and then, that she would not be going in there.

Violet finished unpacking their clothes, and went to get them something to eat. She returned about five minutes later with two bowls of steaming, homemade chicken soup, and a plateful of freshly-baked bread, smothered in butter.

“Here you go!” she said, setting the food upon a small table, with two chairs. Milo and Winnie immediately sat down and began to tuck in. Everything was delicious!

When they were done, Violet gathered up the empty bowls and plates, and went to leave, But she paused at the door.

“Welcome to Amethyst Estate. Don’t mind Old Bob. He’s just a big grump! We’re very happy to have you here!” She beamed at them, then left, closing the door behind her.

The children looked around a bit more, checking in drawers and cupboards for any small treasures that might be hidden away inside, and they admired the beautiful books that were lined up on the bookshelf. But soon they began to feel tired. It had been a long day. Their rooms were adjoined, so that, though they each had their own room, they were still close by each other, and now each went to their room, and got ready for bed. Within minutes, they were both asleep.

Milo jumped. Something had woken him. But what? He got out of bed and looked around. There seemed to be nothing out of place in his bedroom, so he went across to the door, opened it, and looked out into the small lounge area, between his and Winnie’s rooms.

All was quiet, but something wasn’t quite right. He scanned the room, frowning. Then it struck him, the window was open. It hadn’t been when they went to bed. He guessed that Violet must have come in and opened it, and that’s what woke him. He was just about to go to bed, when he noticed something lying on the floor, near the window. He walked up to it and saw that it was one of the books from the shelf. He picked it up. It was a selection of Fairy Tales. But what was it doing over by the window?

He went through to Winnies room. His sister was sound asleep. He gently shook her awake.

“Win, have you been up tonight, reading?” he asked her, in a whisper. Winnie shook her head sleepily.

“No. Why?”

He told her what had happened, how he had been woken by something, and came out to find the window open and the book on the floor. Winnie got out of bed, and followed him through to the lounge, and he showed her where he had found it.

“Mabye it was Violet?” she said, yawning.

“But why would Violet come into our room at night, just to read a book?” replied Milo, “And then leave it on the floor! It doesn’t make sense.” Winnie shrugged.

“I’m still tired, Milo. I’m going back to bed.” She turned, and started back towards her own room, but was stopped by a gasp of surprise from her brother.

“Winnie look!” She turned back, and looked where he was pointing. She let out a gasp of her own.

At that moment, the moon had come out from behind a cloud, and the light streamed in through the open window. Where it touched the floor, footprints had appeared. But no ordinary footprints. These glittered,and sparkled, like sunlight on water. There were two sets, one leading from the window to the bookshelf, and another set leading back.

Milo and Winnie followed the footprints leading to the window, and looked out. The same sparkle-steps led across the rose garden, over the grass…and into the forest.

“What are they? How did they get here?” asked Winnie, unable to take her eyes off them, all thoughts of sleep having now left her. Milo shook his head.

“I don’t know Win,” he replied, then he let out another strangled gasp, staring down towards the forest, his eyes wide with shock. Winnie looked down, and bit back a cry.

There, amongst the darkness of the trees, were two gleaming eyes. They shone, bright as stars in a night sky. And their gaze was directed straight at Milo and Winnie.

Okay guys, hope you liked it. I just thought I'd mention Old Bobs accent, just in case any of you thought it was a bit strange. I come from Herefordshire, and the accent that Old Bob has, I tried to copy from my grandad (and just for the record, I DO NOT talk like that, so don't get any images in your head of me talking like an old farmer! I've actually got quite a posh accent! No, really I do!). Hope that helps. And thanks for reading! :D

Anyway, the first DP *giggles excitedly at the words 'first DP'* is what should Milo and Winnie do? Should they stay where they are, lock and bolt the windows and hide under the bedcovers? Or should they go out and try to find out what the strange creature is, to whom the eyes belong? Or something else? You decide! My SG is in your hands! :D
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Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:33 am    Post subject:  

Hehe, Milo, Winter and Old Bob. Nice names Tikki! lol

Mind you, isn't Milo a chocolate drink?

Anyhoo, one very slight thing here, I'd have liked a bit more of 'ordinary' before the extra ordinary came along. I was rather enjoying the more mundane!

Still, it's your tale! :D

Mmm, I say their options are limited here. Run or speak to it.

Perhaps they try and speak to it! Though maybe it fades and they wake up thinking they imagined it.

Nicely written Tiks.
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 7:52 am    Post subject:  

Thanks for the comment, C-Ren! :D

I've never heard of a chocolate drink called Milo. But it is the name of my pet rabbit, which is probably why it came into my head! :P

And don't worry, there's going to be plenty more of the 'mundane' in the story! But not too much!

Also guys, I forgot to put on the post, that ideas for the character, name and appearence, for the kid's Uncle would be very much appreciated, though that's not relevant to the DP.

Thanks again, C-Ren, for reading! ;)
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Shady Stoat

Joined: 02 Oct 2005
Posts: 2950
Location: England

Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:24 pm    Post subject:  

I'm liking the first chapter. It's a familiar format, but there's nothing wrong with that, and the action has started swiftly enough to get our attention.

Personally, I think a little conflict would be great. You have two main characters, not one. That means they don't have to agree with each other. Maybe Milo wants to go explore and Winter wants to wait until morning, and talk to their strange uncle about it.

So one goes off and follows the footsteps, one goes back to sleep (or lies awake fretting/fuming at the other). Nice and complicated right from the beginning, that's the way I like it ;)
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Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 2:34 pm    Post subject:  

You write prose as well as your poetry, Tika! Nicely done. Very... lemmony snicket here but I'm glad to see you're already going off in another direction... was getting worried about cliche, but the benefit of some cliches is that you can dislodge the reader from the expected easier by taking things along a new and unexpected path.

I say just this has blown their minds and frightened them enough that they both try to go back to bed till morning, locking the windows. However, they will want to know more, and will ask around the next day, and do a little exploring at the EDGE of the forest, if nothing else than to familiarize themselves with the area first. They would be too frightened of a dark spooky forest at night to go looking now, especially when an unknown intruder is known to be in there. I suppose they wouldn't be too relaxed at the moment for sleep... reading that storybook together might be a good way to relax and it also might have been the point of the intrusion in the first place- to get them to read it!
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
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Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:00 pm    Post subject:  

Thankyou, Stoaty and Thunderbird, for you comments! :D
I like both ideas for the DP!

Thanks for setting my mind at rest, Thunderbird, about the use of an accent on Old Bob. I was so worried that everyone would think it sounded silly. But that is how I imagined him talking in my head, so I wanted to get that across to the reader. I just decided to listen to the way that my grandfather talks, and it was quite easy to copy. He's a Herefordshire man, born and bred, and he talks exactly like old Bob! :laf: I'm glad, now, that I took the chance! :)

Thanks for reading, guys! Much appreciated!
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Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:13 pm    Post subject:  

Funny... I actually forgot to address that part. Old Bob was wonderful in my book! The accent was not something to be worried about, but something to be proud of. I am personally a fan of differentiating characters with speech patterns. You'll see that I use them in nearly every story I write myself. Just ask Phang... heh heh. His accent was actually one of the best footnotes on this chapter as a whole I think.
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
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Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:42 pm    Post subject:  

You didn't need to address it directly, TB, to have put my mind at rest. The fact that you said I wrote prose well, and that the accent would have been a part of that (I think, anyway!), and that you didn't mention it being a problem, made me stop worrying about it.

Hope you get this, because I don't know if I do. I'm reading it through now, before I post it up, and it doesn't seem to make complete sense! Oh well, it's probably because I'm tired, and not thinking completely straight anyway. I'll post it up and hope it is okay, and it is just exhaustion making me confused! :laf:
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Posted: Sun Dec 20, 2009 8:05 pm    Post subject:  

I just breezed through the prologue and chapter one, and I have to say "Well done!" I could learn a thing or two from your writing. It is easy to go over the top with accents, but your use of the accent was both consistent and sounded authentic. It really differentiates the Old Bob.

Speaking of which, perhaps Old Bob would be a good one to seek out. He's been around, right? He knows about the house. Of course, Violet is a whole lot less creepy and probably knows her way around, too. Either one. They might have some historical insight to offer.

Perhaps this kind of thing has happened before?
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Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:53 am    Post subject:  

Well, it's too spooky for them to go straight into the forest, but if they wait until morning, they might not discover what happened - and it may never happen again.

Examine the footprints and the book. See what makes the footprints sparkle. Are there any crumpled pages, or perhaps more sparkle to suggest why the creature wanted the book. It may give them a clue as to what's out there in the forest, and why the book has been left there.

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Tatkret Sos

Joined: 10 Nov 2009
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Location: UK

Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 5:11 am    Post subject:  

Well, first off very good first sg sis! :-)
They should definatly not go into the wood in the middle of the night because thats the sort of thing that stupid people do in horror films! However, it would make it more exciting to read!
I think they should shut and bolt all of the doors and hide under the bed covers and then explore the forest in the morning when they can actually see!
Yes very lovely names Tikky! and I think you've captured the herefordshire accent very well! when you read it out looud it does actually sound like our grandad! hehe :lol:
Anyway keep up the good work! :goodpost:
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Tikanni Corazon

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Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:16 am    Post subject:  

Thanks Zeke, Crunchy and Tats for your comments and suggestions! :D

I'll take suggestions for a couple more days, then I'll put up the poll!

Thanks again, for reading!
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
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Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 7:49 pm    Post subject:  

Right, christmas day has officially started, marking my two month anniversary at IF!
So, despite the fact that there probably won't be many votes at the moment, I've put up the poll, to mark the occassion!

Thanks everyone, for your imput! :D
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Tikanni Corazon

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Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:01 pm    Post subject:  

Right, I know it's only been a week, but I am closing the poll. I'm dying to get a new chapter up, though I'm sure, once I get to about chapter four, or something, I won't be quite so impatient! (I'm a Sagittarian, the most impatient of fire signs, I can't help it!) ;)

But please, if a week is just not long enough, someone just come and give me a slap on the hand and tell me to behave myself! :P

Hoping to have the next chapter up over the weekend. Thanks for voting guys! I'll try not to disappoint!
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Tikanni Corazon

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Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:13 am    Post subject:  

Impatience takes over again! I've managed to finish the next chapter! Hope it's okay! ;)

SparkleSteps – chapter two:Part 1

The children froze, unable to drag their gaze away from the shining pair of eyes, which stared steadily, and unblinking back at them. Then, they suddenly disappeared.One moment they were there, and the next they were gone. Milo and Winnie broke free from their trance. Immediately, Winnie rushed forward and slammed the window closed, and locking it firmly afterwards. She turned back to Milo, who hadn’t moved, her eyes still fearful.

“Wh…what was th..that?” she stuttered, pressing back against the locked window, as if scared that if she were to move away, that they would open up again. Milo shook his head, his gaze still fixed on the spot where the eyes had been, waiting to see if they gleaming orbs would reappear.

“I don’t know Win,” he replied, shakily, “I really don’t know.”

“And how did it get up here?” she continued, her voice trembling on the edge of hysterical, “And how did it get the window open?” And…” Milo had placed his hand over her mouth.

“If you keep talking so loudly, you are going to wake the whole household,” he said quietly, but firmly. Still not removing his hand, he continued. “I don’t have the answers to any of your questions, Win, so it’s pointless asking them. And I don’t know about you, but going out in the middle of the night, to search for some, is not something that I am too keen on doing.” She shook her head. Milo gestured to the book and the footprints. “Why don’t we just check those out. See what we can find out from them. Okay?” He waited for Winnie to nod her agreement, before he finally took his hand away.

They approached the evidence, and squatted down on the floor next to it. They examined the footprints. They were human in shape, and fairly large. They still sparkled, and Milo gently ran his finger across one. The glitter, that transferred onto his fingertip, seemed like it didn’t even exist. It had no texture or substance, it was neither powder, nor dust, nor anything else. His finger had left no mark on the footprint, and, when he rubbed it between his fingers, he found that, though the glitter transferred onto his other fingers, it didn’t come off the original. He tried wiping his hand across his pyjama bottoms, but the same thing happened. Though there were now streaks of glitter across his right trouser leg, it still remained on his fingers.

“It doesn’t come off!” he said, futiley rubbing his hand on the carpet, succeeding only, in smearing more of the seemingly endless glitter on to it. He looked at Winnie desperately. “What am I going to do?”

“Try washing it off in the sink,” she replied, pointing towards his bedroom, where there was an en suite bathroom. Milo got up and ran to the sink and turned on the tap, dousing his hand in the water. But to his horror, that didn’t help either. He scrubbed at it with soap, but to no avail. The glitter was not coming off. And now the soap and the sink were both covered in the stuff too.

“Violet’s not going to be too pleased, you know,” came Winnie’s voice, from where she stood, behind him in the doorway. “when she sees all of this mess.”

“Oh my god! I didn’t even think of that! What are we going to do? What are we going to tell her?” He ran a hand through his hair, in frustration, only to realise a second later, that it had been the one with glitter on it. “Oh, no, no, no!” he cried, turning to the mirror. Clearly visible against the dark blond hair, was a long streak of silver sparkle. He clapped his hands over his mouth, to stifle a scream. He turned back to Winnie.

“Look at my hair! I can’t have glitter in my hair! I’ll look like a girl!”

Winnie, despite the nights shocking events, began to giggle.

“It’s not funny, Win!” Milo hissed loudly. But that just made her worse. “Winnie, stop it! This is serious! What about when we start school? I’ll be a social reject!” Winnie said something, but was laughing so much, that the words were indescernible. “If you would just stop for a moment, I might be able to understand!” continued Milo, huffily.

Nearly weeping, from her mirth, Winnie managed to stifle her giggles, long enough to repeat herself.

“You’ve got it across your face now too!”

“What!” The mirror confirmed what she had said, and while he looked at himself, in horrified silence, Winnie continued to guffaw in the doorway. Listening to her, at first, made Milo angry. But before long, the beginnings of a smile twitched at the corners of his mouth, and eventually, he let out an exasperated chuckle. Soon he was laughing just as much as she was.

After a while, they both calmed down. Milo reached out, and streaked a line of glitter down Winnie’s nose. She gasped in shock, then gave a short burst of laughter.

“Come on,” said Milo, heading back towards the lounge. “Let’s have a look at that book.”

The book was where they had left it, on the floor by the window. Careful to stay well clear of the footprints, Milo picked it up.It too was covered in glitter, though these were hand prints. But he figured that, seeing as his hands were already covered in it, that it didn’t matter.

The title on the cover read, ‘Fairy Tales of Amethyst Estate’. He read it out loud to Winnie.

“Amethyst Estate?” she said, puzzled. “But this is Amethyst Estate. These are fairy tales about this place?” Milo shrugged.

“So it would seem,” he replied, tracing one, unglittered finger across the shining, gold letters on the cover. Then he opened the book. They did not read any of the stories, mostly just looking at the pictures. There were a few portraying the house, in which they now resided. But most were of the forest, and the creatures, good and bad, that dwelt within, all with strange names, like the Grottbiler, a troll-like creature, who lay in wait for dryads, and undines. It would capture them with sticky gunk, that it spewed out of it’s cavernous mouth, then drain them of their power and lifeforce, leaving just a withered corpse. Both children shuddered, as Milo read it aloud.

They were nearing the end of the book, when a particular illustration caught both their eyes. The picture portrayed a disgusting-looking monster, by the name of The Veeka, with numerous eyes, and long, spidery legs. Where the mouth should have been, there was a sharp beak, like that of an octopus, and like an octopus, the creature had tentacles. Dozens of them, and, in the picture, all were reaching towards it’s enemy. Even in a simple illustration, the enemy of the Veeka, gave off the aura of a warrior. Clad in gold armour, which shone and glinted, even in the darkness of the forest, and holding aloft a spear, intricately patterned, also in the purest gold, he faced the beast. His hair shone like the sun, and a bejewelled mask protected his face. As he looked at it, it seemed to Milo, that the picture almost came alive. He could almost hear, in his ears, the roar of the beast, and the howling battle cry of the warrior.

“Isn’t he amazing!” he exclaimed to Winnie.

“What do you mean, ‘Isn’t ‘he’ amazing’?” she said, looking puzzled, “It’s a girl, isn’t it?” Milo turned back to the picture, and sure enough, on further examination, he saw the womanly curves, and the full lips, that protruded from below the mask.

“So it is!” he replied, slightly embarressed. “I wonder why I didn’t notice before. He looked to the title of the story. “Tianna the Skylan, The Great Warrior of the Elves.”

“What is a Skylan?” asked Winnie. Milo shook his head.

“I have no idea,” he replied, closing the book. Winnie was about to protest, but he got there first. “We’ll look at it again tomorrow, okay? We’re going to be totally wrecked in the morning, if we don’t get some sleep.”

They got to their feet, and Milo replaced the book on the shelf, then went to make sure that the windows were securely locked. He didn’t want any more uninvited visitors. Winnie yawned, as she watched him. He turned to her and sighed.

“What am I going to do about this?” he said, pointing towards the glitter on his face and in his hair. Winnie smiled sleepily.

“I don’t know. Pray for it to be gone by morning?”

“Well, I’m sure that will work!” Milo replied, sarcastically, to her suggestion. She giggled, and then headed off to her room, bidding him a drowzy goodnight.

“Night, Win,” he said back, before returning to his own room, hopping into bed, and falling to sleep, pretty much immediately. He spent the night dreaming of tentacled monsters, great warriors, and shining footsteps.

The next morning, Milo was woken by someone poking him in the ribs. He groaned, partly from the fact that he was still tired, due to their little excursion, and partly because it hurt. He blinked, and squinted at his attacker.

“Win, stop it!” he whinged at his sister, who sat on the edge of the bed, jabbing him with a pencil.

“I just thought that you might like to know that the praying worked,” she said, desisting in her torment. Milo sat up in be, his sleep-crumpled face puzzled.

“What are you talking about?”

“The glitter. It’s gone!” announced Winnie. Milo’s brain began to focus, and he remembered the events of the night before. He looked at her, with hopeful shock.

“Really? It’s gone?”

“Yep!” replied Winnie, “And I’ve been reading more of this book too. There are some really nasty stuff in that forest. I think we should make a pact, right now, to never go in there. Hey, where are you going?” Milo had jumped out of bed, and raced across the room to the bathroom. He looked in the mirror, and saw that that glitter had, indeed, disappeared. He tore through to the lounge, and saw that the footprints were gone too. He breathed a sigh of relief. Now Violet would not find out, and he would not have to go through life with a shock of glitter in his hair, and smeared across his face.

“Woo,hoo!” he whooped with joy, and did a cartwheel across the room. Winnie watched, clearly amused by his antics.

“So,” she went on, “What about this pact?”

“What pact?” he replied, breathlessly. Winnie sighed, and rolled her eyes.

“Do you ever listen to me?” She repeated what she had said to him about the forest. He looked a little peeved.

“Why did you read it without me?” he demanded, “I thought we were going to look at it together.”

“You never said that we had to read it together,” she replied, “And besides, I wasn’t going to wait for hours, for you to decide to get up. I’ve been up two hours already, and you’d still be asleep now, if I hadn’t woken you.” She looked triumphantly smug, and he was just about to retort, when the door opened, and Violet walked in, carrying a breakfast tray, upon which was perched two bowls of porrige, dotted with chocolate chips, a plate of toast, and two cups of tea, with milk and sugar on the side.

“Morning you two!” chirped Violet, cheerfully, “Hope you’re hungry, because Rosie’s gone all out for you this morning.” She placed the tray on the table, as the children sat down, and began to consume their little feast, with obvious enjoyment.

“That’s it, get stuck in,” said Violet, laughing. “And when your done, go straight, and get bathed, and dressed. Your Uncle is waiting downstairs to meet you. And he’s got an appointment, so he won’t have very long. So do hurry.”

The children stopped eating for a moment, taken aback by Violets words. They had completely forgotten about their Uncle, amidst their plans to try and find out more about the creature from the night before. Violet, who was having a quick tidy-up, stopped what she was doing, when she noticed that they were no longed eating.

“What’s the matter?” she asked, “Do you not like your breakfast?”

“No…I mean yes, it’s great,” replied Milo, “We had just forgotten about meeting our Uncle today, that’s all.” He paused a moment, and scooped up a spoonful of porridge, and stuffed it into his mouth. “What is he like?” he went on, when he had swallowed his mouthful.

“Your Uncle?” said Violet. Both children nodded. Violet smiled, then chuckled. “Don’t tell me, you’re afraid of your own Uncle?”

“I’m not afraid,” replied Milo, a little affronted by the word. “I just want to know what to expect, that’s all.” Violet chuckled again.

“Well, pardon me, my little Lord of the Manor,” She did an elaborate bow before him, making Winnie giggle. “ I shall not dare to accuse you of being afraid of anything ever again.” She laughed when she saw Milo go red, as a beetroot. “I’m just messing around, Milo. Don’t take everything so seriously! And as for your Uncle…” She winked at the two of them. “You’ll just have to wait and see.

As much as the thought of meeting with their Uncle, made both Milo and Winnie feel anxious, the thought of making him wait, and suffering the consequences, whatever they may be, was enough to make them hurriedly finish their breakfast, and rush off to get ready. Within twenty minutes, they were announced presentable, by Violet, and were following the cheerful, young housekeeper out of the door.

A feeling of dread, in the pit of each of the children’s stomachs grew with every step that they took. Violet led them down the red-carpeted staircase, and turned left, towards a pair of elaborately carved wooden doors. The carvings depicted the sun, on one door, and the moon on the other, and all around them were fairies, dryads, fauns and centaurs, all dancing. The carvings were so detailed, that it seemed to the children, that they might come to life at any moment.

Violet reached out and grasped both of the ornate doorknobs in her hands, and opened the doors.

“Your nephew and niece are here to see you sir,” she announced as she did so. For a moment there was silence, then a deep voice, from an unseen source answered.


Violet pushed them both into the room, as both of their legs seemed unwilling to respond, unless it was to give into the urge to run back to their room. Milo turned and grabbed Violets sleeve, as she turned to leave.

“Violet, what is my Uncles name?” he asked, his voice shaky. Violet patted him on the shoulder, reassuringly.

“Don’t be so nervous,” she soothed, looking at Winnie too, “What do you think that he’s going to do? Eat you for breakfast? Now, come on, don’t be silly!” She gave him another soft push, then bent down and whispered in his ear, “And his name is Jeremy, but everyone calls him Jem.” She winked at them, then exited, closing the door behind her.

They stepped forward, cautiously, looking around the room for the source of the earlier voice, but they could see no one. Then Winnie caught a movement, from out of the corner of her eye, and she, unable to help herself, let out a small shriek. Milo gave a start, and turned, just in time to see a large shadow remove itself from the wall.

A tall man stood before them, slim and elegant. His face was stern, but slightly shocked at his niece’s response. But despite his steely countenance, the children were taken aback by his resemblance to their mother. The same golden waves adorned his head, falling past his shoulders, and ending nearly halfway down his back. He had the same shaped mouth, and the same bright, breathtakingly blue eyes.

Bravely, Milo stepped forward, holding out his hand towards his Uncle.

“Hello, Uncle Jeremy. I’m Milo, and this is my sister Winter.” He gestured towards his sister. “It’s very nice to meet you.”

His Uncle just looked at the offered hand for a moment, then took it in his own. A flicker of a smile passed across his face, though it was gone as quickly as it came.

“Likewise,” he replied, in the deep voice that they had heard answering Violet earlier. “But don’t call me Jeremy, I hate it. Call me Jem. Please take a seat.”

Milo nodded, and he and Winnie sat down on a long emerald green sofa. Jem sat opposite them, in a huge black velvet armchair. At first, nobody spoke, Milo and Winnie not knowing what to say. But their Uncle sat regarding the both of them intensely, as if drinking in every detail, especially Winnie.

“My god, you look just like your mother,” he exclaimed, quietly, to her. Winnie blushed crimson, but still managed to answer him.

“So do you.” That same flicker of a smile appeared and disappeared, on his face, once again, at these words. Then he cleared his throat.

“I just wanted to see you, to meet you, of course, and to make sure that everything is to your liking, and to see if there is anything that you need or want.” He looked at them both, questioningly. For a moment, Milo considered telling him about the creature, from the night before, but decided not to. He had almost convinced himself that it had all been a dream, and that Winnie had had a very similar dream, by pure chance. He didn’t want their Uncle to think that they were a couple of idiots.

“Everything is fine, Uncle Jem,” he replied, “And I can’t think of anything that we need. Except…”

“Except what?” Jem looked curiously at him.

“Is it okay if we explore the grounds?”

“Oh, of course,” came the reply, “Go where you like. Just stay out of the forest. If you get lost in there, it’ll be nigh impossible to find your way back out again. Is that all?” The children nodded. “Well then, if you will excuse me, I have a meeting to get to.” He cleared his throat again, and looked a little awkward. “I hope that you will both be very happy here.” Then, without even a goodbye, he turned and walked out of the room.

A few moments later, Violet walked in, and ushered them out.

“There now, was that so bad?” she teased, as they wandered back up the stairs. Both children shook their heads, but they weren’t really taking any notice of the housekeeper’s chit-chat. Instead, both of their thoughts were focused upon the day ahead of them, a day of exploration.

Right, I've edited in the last part of this section. Sorry, but this is an extra long chapter (something that I hope not to make a habit of writing!). It's in two parts, the second part should be with you by this evening, or by tomorrow afternoon, and the DP with it.

Also, I think that mabye I recognise the term Skylan, but I don't know from where. So if anyone else recognises it, could they please let me know, so that I can change it. Thanks!

And thanks for reading! :D
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:32 am    Post subject:  

Actually guys, change of plan. I've had another idea for a DP, but it'll take a little time to sort out. The proper DP will be up by tomorrow hopefully!

Sorry for being a pain!
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
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Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:36 pm    Post subject:  

SparkleSteps - Chapter 2:Part 2

Within an hour, the two of them had escaped the confines of the house, and were wandering, at their leisure, around the rose garden, complete with a bag of equipment, that Milo thought would come in useful, mainly a torch, and snacks, in case they got hungry.

They saw Old Bob pushing a wheelbarrow of garden rubbish, and called out a greeting to him. He merely glared at them, and went on with his business, grumbling inaudibly as he did so. They continued on too, feigning interest in the different roses, but really just wanting a good view of the outskirts of the forest, into which the creature had disappeared. Though he had tried to convince himself otherwise, Milo knew that the events the night before had happened. And scared as he was, of both the forest and the creature that dwelt within it, his eagerness to know more, was almost overpowering.

He soon decided that if they stayed where they were, his curiosity would get the better of him. He glanced towards Winnie, who was also taking an avid interest in the dark mass of trees.

“Shall we go and explore somewhere else?” he said, “The estate is enormous, and we’re wasting time here, looking at the flowers. Plus, I think that Old Bob wants us out of his hair.” He looked over to where the grounds keeper was pulling up potatos, and, every so often would stare over at them, his eyes flinty and cold. Winnie agreed, and they strolled off around the side of the house, away from the old man’s steely glare.

For a while, they found themselves in well-tended garden after well-tended garden, just a mass of perfectly mown grass, and symetrical flowerbeds. They were starting to get bored, when Winnie pointed excitedly to an dirt path, near the forest. They scampered off towards it, stopping at it’s beginning, to look around first. The path was very close to the forest, but a little way down, the trail curved away from it. That was good enough for them. They had been told not to go into the forest. Uncle Jem had said nothing about playing close to it.

So off they went, Winnie skipping and bouncing enthusiastically ahead, while Milo, at a more leisurely pace, took in their surroundings. The undergrowth, on either side of the path, was tangled and twisted, and had obviously not been tended to in a long time. The sparse trees, were overgrown with ivy and moss. Milo ran his hand down the trunk of a particularly overrun oak tree. It looked like it was being choked, by the tangled mass, that invaded it.

He was brought back, from his daydreams, to reality, by the sound of Winnies voice, calling him.

“Milo, come quickly! Look!”

He sprinted, down the path, towards her voice. But was stopped in his tracks, by a sea of the longest grass he’d ever seen. It reached nearly to his shoulder, and grew thickly, and close together. He couldn’t see Winnie anywhere. He looked around, and was just about to call out when…

“BOO!” Winnie jumped out of the grass, a few feet away. Milo let out a very unmasculine scream, causing Winnie to burst into hysterical laughter.

“Don’t do that!” was all that Milo could think to say, then, with an exasperated huff, he turned away from her. She continued to roll around on the floor, in fits of giggles. “Violet won’t be very pleased, when you get back, covered in dirt,” he added as an after thought, as he looked out across the grass ocean. It seemed to go on forever, but they would have to cross it, unless they wanted to go back to the boring tended gardens.

“Come on,” he said, stepping into the dense vegetation. Winnie picked herself up of the floor, brushed herself down, and followed him.

The grass was long, and it was hard to walk.. The soft, green fronds brushed against their arms, as they waded through. About half way across, Milo stopped, exhausted.

“Why doesn’t someone cut it?” he grumbled to himself, “It’s like trying to walk through sand! Come on Win!” he called back to his sister. He turned, and found that she was nowhere to be seen. “ Winnie?” he called out, feeling slightly paniced. She had been there a moment ago, he was sure of it. There was no reply. “Winnie!” His voice had evolved into a near-scream by now.

“What?” came his sisters voice, some ten yards ahead of him. A moment later, her head popped out of the sea of grass, looking at him questioningly.

“What are you doing over there?” said Milo, relieved that she was okay, and slightly peeved at her for worrying him in the first place. “And what were you doing, down there in the grass? I didn’t know where you’d gone!”

“It’s easier,” she replied simply.

“What do you mean, it’s easier?”

“It’s easier to crawl through the grass, than to walk through it. Walking was making me tired. And it’s fun too! It’s like a tunnel, and there’s all sorts of stuff lost in here. Look!” She put her hand into the large pocket, on the front of her dress , and drew out a handful of items. But she was too far away, for Milo to see properly.

“Wait there a moment. I’ll come over to you,” he said. He started to walk through, then remembered his sisters suggestion, and got on his hands and knees, and began to crawl towards her instead.

When he reached her, he stood up, and brushed himself down.

“You’re right, that is much easier!” he said, looking down at her, grinning sheepishly, a little embarressed that he had not come up with the idea himself. She grinned back, then held her laden palm out to him, so that he could inspect her treasures. She had assembled quite a collection.

“Lets sit down, and we can spread them out on the ground, and get a better look,” suggested Milo, and Winnie nodded. They sat, where they were, in the grass, and Winnie placed her newly aquired hord on the ground between them.

They picked through, examining the different objects. Most of it was pretty much useless junk, like the bottletops and old fishing hooks, and a rusty, old key. But some were wonderful. There was a little ring, made of just silver and nothing else, but the intricately detailed weaving pattern, was a thing to be marvelled at. There were also neumerous earrings, mostly were just one of a pair. There was one with a huge green stone set in it. Milo wondered what the stone might be. He knew that emeralds were green, but this one was not the right hue. This stone was more of a grass-green. He decided to look it up later.

The last object was found to be the most interesting. It was a locket. When the dirt and grime had been wiped from it’s surface, the children saw that it was made, yet again, of silver, with the same elaborate weaving pattern as the ring. A large, deep-purple amethyst was set into the very centre of the perfectly round pendant. Milo tried to open it, but found that it was too clogged up with muk. Winnie, who was watching eagerly, looked disappointed.

“We’ll wash it off when we get back to the house,” said Milo, “Mabye then we’ll be able to open it.” He gathered up Winnies treasure and handed them back to her.

“Keep them safe, and we’ll give them all a good clean later.” He said, as he watched her stuff them back into her pocket. “You know, there is an awful lot of jewellery,” he went on, “I mean, what is it doing here, in the grounds? It’s like someone dropped a jewellery box out here, and never bothered to pick it up.” Winnie just shrugged and smiled. He threw her a look of disapproval, at her lack of curiousity. “Come on. We’d better get going, if we want to explore the whole place before dinner.”

He stood, briefly, just to see which direction to head in. Then the two of them continued, on their hands and knees, through the dense vegetation. Winnie had been right, it was like a tunnel, and before long, the two of them had forgotten about exploring the grounds, and were playing a cross between hide and seek, and tag, though they couldn’t go very fast when crawling. For the first time, since their parents deaths, they forgot about everything. Time seemed to stand still, and there was only them, playing and having fun, and laughing together.

Neither of them had any idea, how long they had been playing, when Winnie suddenly stopped, and sat up.

“Do you hear something?” she said, knowing that Milo was ahead of her somewhere.

“Like what?” came his voice, from somewhere in the mass of green.

“Like…water. I think I can hear water!”

Milo listened, and sure enough, there was a steady, gurgling noise, coming from somewhere to his right. He stood up, closely followed by Winnie. On looking around, they found that they did not recognise any of their surroundings, that they were in a completely new part of the grounds. They were very close to the edge of the grass ocean. Milo looked to see if he could see the house anywhere, and spotted the tops of the towers, above a cluster of tall trees. It didn’t seem too far away, much to his relief.

“It’s coming from over there!” Winnie exclaimed, pointing towards a huge weeping willow tree. She disappeared below grass level, and popped up a minute later on the very edge. She stepped out, and went tearing off towards the sound.

“Winnie, wait!” Milo called out to her, before following suit. But, by the time he had emerged from the grass, she was nowhere to be seen.

“Winnie, where are you?”

“I’m over here. Quickly, Milo! It’s wonderful!”

He rushed towards the excited voice of his sister, passing by the great willow. He soon found where the noise was coming from. A deep-looking stream, gushed past, the trees branches dipped into the bubbling flow.

When he spotted Winnie, he gasped. She was stood beside a beautiful waterfall, grinning at his obvious surprise. Though the waterfall was not huge, it was still impressive. The water fell from around ten feet above them, glittering prettily in the sunlight as it did so.

Milo continued towards Winnie. Her eyes shone with excitement.

“That’s not the best part,” she declared.

“What’s the best part?”

She said nothing, but took his hand and led him closer, till they were level with the waterfall. Then she pointed. He followed the path of her finger, down behind the cascade, and then he saw it. A cave!

“Oh my God! I wonder what’s in there!” he exclaimed. There was even a narrow pathway, to gain access to it, though it did look slippery. But the pull of curiousity was stronger than his wariness, and he stepped onto the it.

He had been right. The path was slick, with water and moss. He made his way carefully across, gripping the rocks in front of him, though these were not much better than the stone beneath his feet. He was nearly at the end, when he noticed Winnie had followed him.

“Be careful Win, for Gods sake!” he said, as he reached his destination. But she was doing the exact same thing as he had been, and was soon alongside him, at the mouth of the cave. They grinned at each other in the darkness. Milo pulled his torch out of his bag, and switched it on.

“Ready?” he said to Winnie.

“Definitely!” she replied immediately.

“But no running off in here, okay?” In answer, she took his hand, and, together, they entered the cave.

At first there was nothing more than rocks, the same as the ones outside the cave. But the cave was far deeper than they had first imagined, and on turning a corner, they beheld an amazing sight. Amethysts! Thousands of them!

“Wow!” The two of them echoed each other, as they looked around in awe. They were surrounded by thousands of glittering purple gemstones, the light from the torch bouncing off each tiny facet. The roof of the cave reached high above them and the amethysts covered this and the walls.

“I don’t think that I have ever seen anything so beautiful!” gasped Winnie, reaching out and running her fingertips over the sparkling jewels. Milo nodded in agreement, unable to speak. He shone the torch in front of them, to see if he could see the back of the cave. But the tunnel rounded a corner, and continued. Though he was prepared to go on, Winnie’s curiousity had reached its end. She tugged on his sleeve.

“I don’t think we should go in there Milo,” she said quietly, “Not by ourselves. We might get lost.”

“Not if it doesn’t branch off,” argued Milo, “If it’s just one long tunnel, there’s no way that we could get lost.”

“But it might not be that sort of cave, Milo,” Winnie replied, nervously, “Please, I don’t want to go in there. Why don’t we ask Violet about it later. Mabye she will come here with us tomorrow.”

Milo looked a little put out, at not being able to continue his exploration of the amethyst cave, but the pleading look in his sisters eyes softened him, and he nodded.

“Okay, Win, we’ll wait. I guess that we could ask Violet about the cave. Or Old Bob. He looks after the grounds, so he’s bound to know how deep the cave is.” Winnie hurriedly agreed, wanting to leave, before he changed his mind, though she was still dazzled by the beauty of the cave.

They headed back towards the house, chattering away, about their find. They reached the main garden and made for the tree house, set in a large oak tree in one of the gardens.

For a while they continued to discuss the cave. But soon they found themselves talking about their parents.

“I wonder what we would all be doing right now, if it hadn’t happened,” said Winnie, wistfully. Milo shrugged.

“I don’t know,” he replied, “I guess that would depend on whether they were at home or away.” He sighed. “Probably the latter, in which case we would be stuck with Mr and Mrs Bunch.” His voice was bitter, as he remembered all of those days spent with their neighbours, instead of their parents. “Not that much different to now really.” Winnie’s bright blue eyes filled with tears.

“Yes it is Milo! It is very different! They might have gone away a lot, but we always knew that they would come home! We always had that to look forward to! Now we know that we will never see them again!” She sniffed and wiped her eyes on her sleeve. “I don’t like you talking like that about them.” She began to sob, drawing her knees up to her chest, and burying her face in them. “I want my mum and dad back!”

She heard her brother come over, and sit beside her. He put his arm around her.

“I’m sorry Win. I didn’t mean it.” She heard a quiet sniff, and knew that, he too, was crying. “And I want them back too.”

They didn’t want to go back to the house straight away. They sat, Winnie cuddled up to her big brother, sharing their grief, only with each other. For those moments spent together, it felt like there was nobody else in the world, except for the two of them.

By the time they decided that it was time to go back to the house, it felt like they had been there for days, though it had only been a couple of hours. Milo got down first, then helped his sister. He smiled down at her, as she landed on the ground next to him.

“Okay now?” he asked. She nodded, and smiled back at him. Then she wrapped her arms around his waist, and they hugged for a moment.

“What’s that?” Winnie said, as their embrace broke apart. She pointed towards the tree, and Milo looked. There was a large nook in the trunk of the oak, and there was something tucked inside.

“I don’t know,” he replied, looking puzzled, “But I’m sure that it wasn’t there when we got here. Surely we would have noticed it!” The object was easy to see, but they could not make out what it was, from where they stood. They approached, and Milo reached in and grasped it with both hands, and pulled it out of the nook.

Sorry about the length of this chapter! I'll try and cut it down next time.
Okay, the second DP is what is inside the nook? And ideas for who might have put it there would be appreciated, though that is not part of the DP. Let's hear your ideas!
Thanks for reading! :D
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Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:36 pm    Post subject:  

Ok, so, yeah, long chapter.

But it was interesting and vivid and I got a clear picture of their day of frolicking among the tall grass.

The note could mention something about being miffed that they stole the jewelry from field... or it could be a letter from their parents... or it could be a plea of help from the faerie people. Just some ideas.

I hope others pick up on this chapter... though long, its worth the read.
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Shady Stoat

Joined: 02 Oct 2005
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Location: England

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:48 am    Post subject:  

Again, I read it during the christmas break and never got time to respond. Sorry about that Tikki - and sorry to all others who wrote during the holidays. It happened a lot :oops:

Anyway, I think the note should be in rhyme. Something with a riddle, perhaps. Something to lure the kids on to a meeting point, or a clue, without giving away too much about the writer of the note. Kids love puzzles. Whether good or evil, it would be a great way to snare Winter and Milo in :)
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Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:09 am    Post subject:  

A beautiful chapter. Enchanting! Some of the dialogue I thought was very good, they're talking in just the way children would, and the sequence with the glitter that woudn't come off was very good.

I am fascinated by the jewelry, and the amethyst cave, and also intrigued as to why they haven't yet found the source of the green jewels on the ear-rings.

That the door described just before they met their uncle was reminiscent of fairy tales suggests that Jem knows a lot more than he's letting on for the moment, and although it is a well-used device, the 'don't go into the forest' bit just adds to the intrigue of this story. Well done!

I think the object in the nook is a box of some sort, with a keyhole in it. Winnie has found a rusty old key, so it maybe the lock into which it fits.

Good stuff there, Tiks! :)
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Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:30 am    Post subject:  

Nicely done Tikki!

One point:

Quote: He knew that emeralds were green, but this one was not the right hue

They seem impressively knowledgeable about jewels! I can't remember how old they are, but I'm not sure they'd really have seen so many emeralds that they'd know this wasn't one. And would they know the names of the stones in the cave?

That niggle aside, it was an excellent chapter.

As for the DP: I'd say it was a coin, put there by groundskeeper Willie... er, Old Bob. It's an ancient tradition, set a silver coin to catch a gremlin. Or something.

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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
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Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:41 am    Post subject:  

Thankyou very much, Thunderbird, Stoaty, Crunchy and C-Ren, for your comments and your DP ideas! :D

As for the kids knowledge about crystals, C-Ren, I'm just going by what I knew at that age really. But I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to crystal healing, and that sort of thing! ;)
I just thought of the most basic of crystals, amethyst, Emeralds,Rubies, diamonds e.c.t, and then just happened to pick emerald. But it is a valid point, definately, as not all kids would know.

Other than that, it's all good, so I'm pleased! Thanks again for reading! :D
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Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:52 pm    Post subject:  

Delightful. Your story takes elements from classics such as The Secret Garden, Peter Pan, or The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and popular children's books such as A Series of Unfortunate Events, and blends them into a new creation that is your own. If you continue this way it could mature into a tale which is rich in detail and multi-layered.

There is also much promise for our protagonists because the death of their parents and the new world they must face will undoubtedly transform them. What is exciting from the perspective of storygaming is the process of transformation: both what it will be, and how much influence the readers will exert.

To begin, it appears that already both siblings had to face the transformative decision of choosing whether to explore the grounds or not. It was a given that they would; otherwise we wouldn't have ourselves an adventure. Thus, it was not a particularly good decision point, but it did have an effect on their personality. For example, we notice that the sister had vowed not to go into the forest, but then she is the first to dart ahead into the perils. Normally I would criticize this sudden turn of events, but because they are children there is an extra element of unpredictable mood swings. Moreover, when they are facing the option of exploring the cave, she grows afraid, which demonstrates that despite her bravery and curiosity, she is still in some degree as fragile and scared as when she was looking out the window and making the vow. The embers of her old persona still smoulder inside her. Thus the swing in personality is not as abrupt as it would have been otherwise.

When it came to the cave, the readers were not given the choice of whether to explore or not, which sheds some light on how much the author is willing to relinquish control. I think that perhaps the best approach here would be to create neutral characters with few traits, and then allow readers and participants to slowly add traits and create a personality that guides the actions of the protagonists. This way the environment they live in would be fixed, and the only unpredictable element would be the characters themselves. Rather than construct the rules of the game around the character, let it be the latter who must adjust to the laws of the setting. It would be like allowing a child to play inside a sandbox without distorting the entire setup. But then again, these are my theories on storygaming that I am promoting, and this might not be the ideal place to display them.

The prologue didn't drive me crazy. It was too foreboding. It reeked of bestseller and Da Vinci Code. It was effortlessly cheap. And it was unnecessary because you immediately followed it with another prologue of sorts, which was the death of their parents. On the whole it wasn't terrible, but it also wasn't great.

I think this is all I have to say for now. To sum up my overall impression: Vibrant, flexible, and intriguing. Good job.

As for the DP: Inside they find the key to unlock the amulet they found.

P.S. Old Ben is the most believable character, probably 'cause he's modeled on your gramps. Also, I wonder what this mysterious uncle knows and what he has planned... hmm.
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
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Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 1:54 am    Post subject:  

Thankyou very much D, for your comments! :D

I'm putting the poll up in a couple of days, so if anyone else has got any ideas, get them in quick!

Thanks for reading! :D
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Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:20 am    Post subject:  

Ok - caught myself up!

A few typos and spellings to watch out for, in particular 'hungry' - you spelt it 'hungery' several times.

As others have said, this is an intriguing story, filled with cliche but twisted into new directions. I personally find the dialogue a little silly at times, with the reactions over exaggerated beyond what even young children would do.

For example :

Quote: Milo let out a very unmasculine scream, causing Winnie, too burst into hysterical laughter.

“Don’t do that!” was all that Milo could think to say, then, with an exhasperated huff, he turned away from her. She continued to roll around on the floor, in fits of giggles.

I can imagine the hysterical laughter - that's good! But the 'roll around on the floor' was too much. It lost me there. I suspect you did it to allow the comment about getting in trouble with Violet, but it was a little forced. If you could find a more genuine reason for her to be getting dirty on the floor (perhaps she'd crouched down to more effectively hide and scare Milo) then it could still work out.

I've highlighted a couple of typos that happen to be in the example too.

It's definitely not a big thing though, and it might just be me considering the praise from the other commenters.

In general the relationship between brother and sister is very sweet, and if I was the kind of guy to read into things, I might think there's some hints here that you would quite like to have had an older brother yourself when you were growing up - to both tease and be comforted by.


DP wise... this is a meta dp, not the kind I like myself, but it's a personal preference, nothing bad.

The idea about a riddle is good, as is something to open the locket. I'll throw in the idea of another copy of the Fairy tale book that was on the floor last night - but this one has some subtle, and maybe scary differences!

Happy Writing :)
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:28 am    Post subject:  

Thanks Smee, for your comments! ;)

I've looked over it, and tried to correct all of the spelling mistakes. The dialogue, I have not changed, but I will try and look out for it, and tone it down a little in future chapters.

And it's far too much fun, being the bossy older sister, to even dream of having an older brother! :D

Thanks for reading!
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Tikanni Corazon

Joined: 25 Oct 2009
Posts: 1286
Location: Running through the plains of my mind, my wolf spirit at my side (but doing so in the UK!).

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:41 am    Post subject:  

Poll is up guys!

Thanks for all of your ideas! :D
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Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 4123
Location: Hollywood, USA

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:01 pm    Post subject:  

Strangely enough, I found the coin put there by Old Bob the most alluring option. I think it would be a good opportunity to get Old Bob, already one of the best molded characters, involved in the tale. Moreover, it would allow him to explain the magical nature of the manor to the children and add some pause and intrigue to the story.
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