Thursday, 25 January 2007

Lighthouse Island and the Gorean Protocols


I hope you’re resting your foot and not letting Oolon drag you about too far on your little jaunts. You know what happened when I went out with him and Miss Lightfoot looking for buried treasure. It took me hours to hammer the bite marks out of the diving helmet.

I’ve included a picture of a lovely tea set I found for you in the report as I know you like such things.



Having left the White City and travelled a little way further East, I came across a secluded wooded hillside that I thought would make an ideal overnight spot. A campsite and campfire were already set out, but no one was there to tend them. I hoped they wouldn’t mind me warming myself by the fire, although I was not presumptious enough to use their tent. I nodded off quite quickly in the flames’ warm orange glow and was soon dreaming of steam powered circus animals.

Awaking at dawn, I set the balloon’s burner to re-inflate the envelope and prepared to continue my trip. It would take half an hour or so for the balloon to reach full buoyancy, so I thought I’d take advantage of the time to stroll around.

Obviously the camp belonged to hunters. In the morning’s light I could see the tent I had found the previous night was decked out in animal furs, and at one side of the clearing stood two cages.

Continuing around the curve of the hill I found a wonderful view looking towards a small island complete with a lighthouse…and a person. I hailed them, but they either couldn’t hear me over the roar of the waves or I was just too far away to catch their attention. Once the balloon was ready I decided that would be my next destination.

Further on I found more buildings including an old water mill. I knocked on the door, but received no answer; however I did spy an ornate tea set that showed that, whoever the inhabitants were, they were obviously cultured and well mannered.

Finding no further signs of people, I climbed over the crest of the hill back to the balloon and set off for the island.

As I approached I called down a greeting and the young lady that I had seen from the shore vanished. This seemed to be becoming a habit with people I talked to. Maybe my size is a little too intimidating for casual, friendly social interaction. As I brought the balloon in for a steady, slow landing suddenly she was back, this time with two young men in tow. Was this a welcoming committee? Or had she just been off to find reinforcements? Thankfully the natives proved to be most friendly.

Although the young lady and one of her gentlemen friends said very little, the other, a Mr Skye Gray was very forthcoming. I explained my mission and he seemed very impressed and spent a while admiring the balloon, although seemed rather reluctant to come for a little sight-seeing tour. Talking to him, I discovered he was a neighbour who had seen me land and was just ensuring that I was intending no ill to the young lady, the island or lighthouse. I assured him that I was merely enjoying the view and learning what I could of the area, and was not intending to stay here long. I asked several times about the fabled passage to the Northern Continent, but he did not reply to any of those questions. I suspect the passage may be a closely guarded secret among some of the tribes here.

As we talked, I found my gaze drawn out to the ocean; to a low hazy shape out at sea. I enquired of Mr Gray what it was, but he seemed unsure. Was it a strip of land from the Northern Continent, or another island? Bidding farewell to my new friend I cast the balloon off and went to find out.

The shape squatting on the triangular raft in front of me did not move or respond to either shouts or warning shots. I dared not approach too closely, for simply looking at the thing made my skin crawl. I had the feeling that rather than just being a statue, it was a creature, merely sleeping, awaiting a call or signal that would arouse it from its slumber.

There was also something naggingly familiar about its shape. Something I had seen somewhere before, but that I could not quite place.

It was only when I had set a new course that I realised where I had seen it before. Mr Smashcan! Well, not Mr Smashcan himself, but the small creature he carries with him on his shoulder. I wonder if he realises they get this big when they get older?

As I pondered this eventuality, I drifted and soon found myself over a small primitive village. At what I presume was the village entrance, two huge stones stood engraved with writings. I swung the balloon in low to see if I could read them.

I’m not sure what “Gorean Protocols” are. Maybe some form of mainland legal system? And slavery! You hear many tales of the mainland, but I had not realised that slavery was still legal here.

It was probably best to continue on my way. The last thing I wished to become entangled with was slavers…

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