July 13 2018

Shroud of the Avatars New Britannia Theater Troupe Needs Thespians!

Every think about doing a bit of acting? Virtual style?

The New Britannia Theater Troupe is in need of some additional staff! As a founding member and actor myself, I can tell you that it does not take long, it is rewarding and fun. You should give it a try!

The following is from director Asclepius:

This is a CASTING CALL to all aspiring Thespians!

As you may know, I am the director of the New Britannia Theater Troupe. Between us we have delighted the community with many plays and stories, both live in-game plays and audio only radio plays.

I am currently looking for actors willing to take part in a live, in game play we are developing. I need one male and one, possibly two, female actors.
The deal is: I forward you lines to read. You record them and return them to me. I splice everything together, adding music and sound effects, to create an audio file.
At appointed times, we get together in game to rehearse. Our characters act out the story on stage, copy/pasting the text in time with the soundtrack as it is running.
When we are ready, we present it to the community. We have a truly wonderful location for the performance, it only awaits a production. As we perform, the audio will be simulcast on Avatars Radio, so the audience can see and hear the production.

So what am I looking for, and what do you need?

Firstly, enthusiasm. The most important requirement. I am not interested in people who accept a role and then don’t come through. This has been in the works for quite some time; for the sake of everyone else who has put effort into it, it deserves to get done and be shown to the community.

A decent voice is useful. Don’t stress, this is not Carnegie Hall, and you are among friends. Just the ability to read lines 😊

You also need a microphone and some recording software. Audacity is most commonly used – it’s free and easy to use. We mostly work with mp3 files, but I can accept almost anything.

You also need to be available for rehearsals and live performance in game, at times that suit everyone (by negotiation).

If you would like to join a great team, PLEASE PM me in the forum or at Asclepius@thecaverns.net. Love to hear from you, and I will be glad to talk you through any questions you have regarding recording, live work or anything else.

Thanks and look forward to hearing from you!


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July 12 2018

Black Rose Chronicles 4 – by Belladonna Rose – narrated by Asclepius – Echoes from the Caverns

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with the fourth chapter of a wonderful story from Belladonna Rose, entitled
Black Rose Chronicles
Background music by Smartsound

Stepping through the other side of the rift the cloudy air cleared from her sight. She could see trees and the strong smell of smoke and death filled her nostrils. Looking around her she could see lush green grass and trees, but the smell was overwhelming. Bella could even feel the evil in the place. Deep in her bones. She had felt this many a time before. No stranger to danger or death. Ahead she saw the palisade walls surrounding the area. This must be Solace Bridge.
In the distance she could hear many sounds. Some familiar forest sounds. Birds, squirrels and even the sound of a bear in the distance. But that moaning sound was different. As she walked towards the gate of the palisade she saw something lumbering towards her. WHAT IS THAT?
Undead. Zombie. Oh great. She looked about for something to use as a weapon. There on the side of the path was a branch of a tree. Hoisting it up and taking a stance she waited for the thing to come closer. The smell was hideous. As the zombie came closer it reached for her. Pulling her arms back she swung the branch at the zombie. It took the brunt of the hit full force but kept coming. Oh great. This should be fun. She continued to hit the creature and finally after a few more hits it fell to the ground.
She looked down at the poor thing and realized it was wearing the remnants of what was probably the local inhabitants. So sad that this had to happen to a human.
Walking away again from the corpse she approached the gate. On the other side she could see an older man standing guard. Staff in hand as if waiting for something to attack him. She pushed up the lever to the gate and slowly it opened. Rushing inside she was met again by one of those zombies.
But to her surprise the old man came forth and helped her fight. Several of these creatures came forward and between the two of them they put them to rest.
“Thank the stars you arrived. Not sure how well I would have faired against that many of those things. The bridge has been overrun with those foul creatures for near a fort night. And the other undead things lumbering around as well. It has been a sad time indeed.”
Wiping the muck off her tunic from the fight she looked at the older man. He was a portly fellow but was very well trained in defence. This was a good thing.
“Good day to you stranger. I am Edvard. I was told to expect someone of your stature and here ye be.”
Bella smiled softly at the old man. Looking at the destruction of this place was more than she had expected. It was truly a battle for sure. And from the looks of things the battle did not go well.
“Hello good sir. I am Belladonna Rose. I was sent here by Arabella and the Oracle.”
“Aye. Yes. Arabella. She is a fine one that one. She has been busy of late bringing other Outlanders to the realm. Doing service for Lord British she does. And I am thankful for you being here.”
“I do not know what is expected of me here but I will do my best. Perhaps you have seen others of late. I am worried about the crew from my ship and my friend Jack. Maybe they passed this way.”
“Ah. Alas many have traveled through here and I sent them on to continue their journey as I will you.” He quickly started moving about gathering up a quiver of arrows and the long-forgotten bow on the ground. Approaching Bella he handed them to her. She looked at him with concern.
“Here..take these. I dare say you will need them more than I. That tree branch will not help you
much with the other things out there to fight. When you see a weapon on the ground pick it up and use it if need be. Or sell it for gold in the nearest town. Fair to say I do not have much else to give you. Advise and instruction is the best I can do.”
Bella took the bow and quiver and a dagger she found on the ground. Pulling the quiver onto her back she looked about. Off to the right a slow burning building caught her attention. She could hear the faint sound of a child crying.
“Quick Master Edvard. That child needs help.”
“Ah….there she is. I knew there was one child left but could not find her. She must have been hiding inside that building. Hurry Avatar….rescue the child. I will meet you at the other gate and we will get her to safety.”
Turning on heel Bella ran to the building. Pushing the broken door open she saw a soldier dead on the floor. His shining sword at his side and a crumpled note in his hand. She took both and headed up the stairway where she heard the whimpers of a child.

As she went up the stairs an armed skeleton crashed through the far door. Still holding the dead man’s sword she quickly spun and slashed at the skeleton. Shattered bone clattered on the floor. That was easy enough. Leaping up the stairs two at a time she reached the landing only to see another of those skeletons making its way towards the child. Sword in hand she jumped between them and began slicing at the monster. This one was not that easy. The clanging of swords being crossed seemed to vibrate in her ears and throughout the room. Stumbling back a bit she regained her footing and lunged forward. Surprise caught her as her sword was wedged in the ribs of the skeleton. With a twist and a yank she freed it and the bones clattered to the floor.

Taking a breath she looked around only to see the child peering over the top of the bed where she had been trying to hide. Bella reached a hand out and the girl ran into her arms crying. Holding her close for a moment she pulled her face up to look into her eyes. Fear was obvious but there was something else there as well.

“What is your name child?” The girl looked at her with tearfilled eyes. “Charlotte Gray is my name and I want to go home.” Bella took the child by the hand and led her down the stairs and out the doorway. “Come along then. We will see about getting you home.”

Across the courtyard she could see Edvard standing by the gate. Holding the child with one hand and the sword with another she made her way across. Edvard stood solemnly. Looking down she saw another guard. He too had met his fate with these creatures. He too had a sword like the other. She reached down and took it as well. Sliding it through her belt she nodded to Edvard.

Reaching up he pushed the lever to open the gate and they proceeded to walk across the bridge. Nothing came after them this time. But she was ever watchful just the same. At the end of the bridge she looked up the hill. There she saw the rift. That must be the way they were heading.

“Master Edvard…..the rift. Should we head there and get out of this forsaken place?”

“Nay child. That is not the way right now. The stars are not aligned correctly. And I have no idea where that rift would lead us. You must take the girl to Soltown. Her mother Abigail is there.”

At the sound of her mother’s name the girl perked up a bit. She squeezed Bella’s hand eager to go to her mother. Bella looked down and smiled. “Yes. I will take you.” Edvard moved towards the edge of the road and down a short path was a small boat. He motioned for Bella to go ahead of him.

“Quickly Avatar. Take the child and make your way up river. You will be in Soltown by dawn. Tis not safe to tarry here. Darkness brings the creatures out in numbers. You both will be better off than here.” Looking across the darkening land he looked back. Bella put the girl in the boat and started to climb in when Edvard took her by the shoulder.

“Take this book and give to Captain Stanley. It is an accounting of what has happened here and such. He will make the decision of what to do next. Perhaps he can get troops from Ardoris to come and help clear the area. And that sword and note you have be sure to give them to the loved ones. The sword will goes to Emily in Soltown. That note to a lady in Celestis. If you happen to make your way there…Go now Avatar. Darkness grows.”

As she pushed away from the bank and started to row Edvard yelled out to her.

“By what name doth thee go by Avatar. So I will know if ever we meet again.”

Cupping her hands to shout back.. ”Belladonna Rose is my name.”

Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

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July 10 2018

Shroud of the Avatar, It’s Developers, & Community In the News

The last few months I have been unable to publish this piece, but rest assured I am still here and other then the short pause, nothing has changed! Glad to be picking it back up again and let’s just get straight to it!

Starting off, it’s pretty hard to discuss video gaming history without at some point bringing up the name Richard Garriott. That’s exactly what is taking place on this piece, posted at US Game. Exploring Ultima and Teletype RPGs, Plus #24 on Our Top 25 RPG Countdown


Austin game developer Richard Garriott brought a crew of child explorers — including his own — to the North Pole in April. They flew the Austin flag while they were there and presented that flag to the mayor on Tuesday.

If you missed the fact he did this a while back… He did.

You can read more about it on Statesman. Family flies Austin flag at North Pole, presents flag to mayor


If you know the history of Richard Garriott, you know that it all started at a Computerland. Who was the man behind the Computerland? Find out about that and more in a new book coming out, which details the history of Richard Garriott.


About John Prosper Mayer


Massively Overpowered has a nice little article over here talking about some of where Shroud of the Avatar is going now. A quick read, so not going to take up a lot of your time to check it out!

SHROUD OF THE AVATAR OPENS UP OPTIONAL ‘REWARDS’ SUBS, STRETCH GOAL CASH SHOP TO FUND EPISODE 2


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July 7 2018

Echoes from the Caverns 07-06-2018 – Echoes from the Caverns

Greetings Fellow Avatars! Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:

News Announcements

  • Episode 2 Stretch Goal Store
  • Shroud of the Avatar Rewards Program
  • Release 55 Livestream Results
  • R54 Livestream Missed Questions Part 1
  • Lord British Birthday Double XP Weekends
  • NPC Submission Requests: Brittany Alleys (extended to R56)
  • Weekend Flash Sale: Brewing & Taverns
  • Upcoming Events Calendar

Community Updates

  • Win a Pair of SOTACON 2018 Tickets!
  • Project to Support: Portrait of Scottie for Shroud of the Avatar
  • Resources: Players Helping Players

Stile’s Tip of the Day

Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

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June 29 2018

Echoes from the Caverns 06-29-2018 – Echoes from the Caverns

Greetings Fellow Avatars! Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:
Game Development

  • Play Release 55 Now!

News Announcements

  • R55 Dance Party – July 2
  • Release 55 Livestream – July 6, 2018 (Lord British’s Birthday Themed!)
  • Q3 2018 Schedule Update
  • R55 QA Testing Incentive Winners
  • Lord British Birthday Double XP Weekends
  • NPC Submission Requests: Brittany Alleys (extended to R56)
  • Lord British Birthday Game Sale: $19
  • Weekend Flash Sale: Lord British’s Birthday
  • Upcoming Events Calendar

Community Updates

  • Royal Gardeners Contest Winners
  • Win a Pair of SOTACON 2018 Tickets!
  • Relics by Rild on Meretz: Win Shroud Swag!
  • Project to Support: Portrait of Scottie for Shroud of the Avatar
  • Resources: Players Helping Players
Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

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June 23 2018

Echoes from the Caverns 06-22-2018 – Echoes from the Caverns

Greetings Fellow Avatars! Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:
Game Development

  • The Making of The Obsidian Trials
  • v
  • The Atavists of Purity

News Announcements

  • Lord British Birthday Double XP Weekends
  • Release 55 on QA Server
  • Custom Avatar Head now Lord Forged Items
  • Custom Static Player Owned Towns: Discontinued
  • Company Status
  • (SPOILER) POT Row Lot Deed Reward for Completing Story (R55)
  • NPC Submission Requests: Brittany Alleys (extended to R56)
  • Lord British Birthday Game Sale: $19
  • Weekend Flash Sale: Basements
  • Upcoming Events Calendar

Community Updates

  • Royal Gardeners Wanted! New Decoration Contest
  • AERIE Fund – 24-hour Streamathon, Primal Nature – June 23
  • Win a Pair of SOTACON 2018 Tickets!
  • Relics by Rild on Meretz: Win Shroud Swag!
  • Project to Support: Portrait of Scottie for Shroud of the Avatar
  • Resources: Players Helping Players

Sir Stile’s Spotlight

Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

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June 22 2018

Shroud of the Avatar Guide to Novia

Hello, Shroud of the Avatar folks!

I am excited to announce that community member Greyhaven recently approached me about hosting his Guide to Novia on Caverns, Dungeons, and Beyond!

A couple of quotes from Greyhaven himself:

The guide features sagely observations and useful insights from such renown figures as Sorcerous Steve, Sea Wolf, “Vas Corp Por” Koleski, “Scottie” Jones, Earl Greyshot, mysterious Arabella and not forgetting our Sovereign, Lord British, himself!

It is a large 26mb, 85 page, high-quality format PDF document containing information from over 260 Shroud of the Avatar updates. It is extensively illustrated by specially produced “pen & ink drawing-effect” pictures.

WOW! He’s not kidding, this thing is absolutely fantastic and I personally plan on printing a copy in duplex and binding it!

If you are interested in checking this out, you can download it, print it, open it in Adobe reader, or I even have it embedded on the web page for you!
http://www.thecaverns.net/Wordpress/shroud-of-the-avatar/resources/game-guides/guide-to-novia/

If you ever lose your direct link, from the menu system it is under SotA & Ultima/Game Resources – top link on that page!


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June 22 2018

Reminder to all Guild Members and Potential Guild Members!

The forums are located here!
http://www.thecaverns.net/talk/

Hello everyone,

Two things of note to remind everyone of.

The forums are located here!
http://www.thecaverns.net/talk/

One, We are still here!!!  The webpage itself just does not see a lot of activity that can be seen by the public because… AND NOTE, THIS IS IMPORTANT:

Our Guild Discussion forums are located at a different link, using PhpBB software. Why a guild webpage and separate forums?  Last time I checked there was no decent way to Embed PhpBB Forums (or any of the other decent forum packages), into a WordPress site.  The forum software is updated too often for it to be used for anything more than forums, and so a website outside of the forums is needed.  While WordPress does offer forum type plugins/software, I find it very inadequate to a full blown forum software package. So we have both!

The forums are located here!
http://www.thecaverns.net/talk/

ALSO NOTE: When you go to the forums there is a general discussion section that the public can see.. and that’s ALL! There IS an ACTIVE guild member only forum section, but to see them you have to have access to them!

To get access to the forums, you will need to register an account, which I will then have to go in and manually verify. While this is a pain, it is the best anti-spam measures available.

If I don’t do this within a day, use the contact form on this website to drop me a note and I’ll get it taken care of for you.

Only Guild members are granted access to the guild forums OR prospective guild members that would like to have an opportunity to hang out in our forums. If your thinking about joining the guild and want guild forum access, just contact me!

The forums are located here!
http://www.thecaverns.net/talk/


The other thing I would mention

The reason the “website” does not see much use, is I don’t have the time to do a lot with it. If someone wants a feature or asks me to do something, I will most likely do it if someone is asking me to.. because someone is asking, so they are using or looking at it, and that makes me happy to do it.

Otherwise, for general care – we need someone to maintain some things on the website. Hopefully, we eventually recruit someone interested in doing at least one of the things the site needs loving attention given to it, for! Maybe you?

What are those things?

-Maintaining the guild roster page(s)
-maybe we put a calendar up and keeping that updated with guild events and info
-general updating of the content on the site as needed
-someone to publish posts (like this one), about the guild and guild member related projects. Recap’s of guild events
-Anything else your imagination can supply.. Ill help with software installation if needed!

It’s all very easy to do. Much like using a word processing program! Drop me a note if interested 🙂

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June 22 2018

Shroud of the Avatar Community Repeating History Because Not Learning History?

I was a bit sad to see recently that some of the Shroud of the Avatar Developers were being let go, as many of them I consider associates outside of the game and in a few cases even friends. So anytime I hear about a staff change, it affects me a bit more personal in that I worry about people I know personally suffering some hardship.

When I read such news, I have no surprise. From that perspective, it’s like someone told me they decided not to have a cup of coffee or a Mountain dew that morning. Oh? That’s a bit different today, but it happens.

Then what BLOWS ME AWAY is the Damage the Shroud of the Avatar player Community does both to the Game and the company. It sort of goes like this:

-We are making a change, that is normal for us to make at different times in development, as a game developer.
-The community then scatters rumors, sells, players quit, and puts the overall player base and game development months behind. In short.. The player community does more damage then any enemy to the game could do.

Portalarium has exsisted since before Shroud of the Avatar. Something people seem to keep forgetting.

I have been involved deeply in my life with Shroud of the Avatar, since before it Kickstarted. What I mean by that, is I knew from watching the company and Richard they where working on things, and I was already being involved with the company, it’s develoeprs, etc.. in any way I could (although at that time it was small). If I didn’t take a picture, it didnt happen, right?

This is a group I THINK I created on Facebook before Shroud of the Avatar had even been fully decided on by the company and Richard Garriott. Course, I left my own group and didn’t delete it, and so just had to re-request membership to a group I once made. LoL. It still exists though, so you can pull it up on Facebook and verify its pre-dated Shroud of the Avatar

I am also friends on Facebook with Portalarium developers, dated before Shroud of the Avatar day 1 Kickstarter, and many other things. This was me saying “Dammit Richard, im stalking you and your company until your next RPG video game, whatever that is”.

During all this time. THIS HAS HAPPENED MANY TIMES!!!!!!

Game development is like hiring actors to perform a role. Once you have finished shooting their clips in the film, what the F do you want to do? Pay them to sit on their asses and watch everyone else work? Especially when you are running very lean?

I am not saying I agree with the model, the way it runs, or the way it works.

However, it has been fully established by Portalarium, that this is how they run their game development. This includes letting people go at different stages and bringing new people in. This is not the first time and it is not the last time.

What is the true state of the game, its player base, etc? I felt it was growing VERY slowly, but that it was growing. Given that no major marketing has been done yet I felt this was a good sign. This was my feeling only and the truth is, I have no idea!

Then Portalarium does what it has done many times now, and made changes necessary to continue that GROWTH, rather than stay at the same place, and everyone flips out. Now MAYBE this time is different in all the past times in that there’s more going on then we are seeing or they are saying, and it bodes ill.

The thing is, there’s no way for anyone to really be able to say that, just based on them doing yet another staff change, and I’m sure it won’t be the last!

Unfortunately, I feel bad for the company though and my fellow community members that get it. It being that, what DOES hurt the game is the panic from the community as a result..

Which is running around, making posts everywhere, trying to sell anything they can, and making judgments without basis on the state of affairs. Overall, this MAY be the end of Shroud of the Avatar or next time Portalarium makes some staff changes, THAT may be the end of Shroud of the Avatar.

However, I don’t blame Portalarium. I blame the reactions of its community in the panic they present, from what has already been proven as “daily business” for Portalarium.

Anyway, this is the most I could bring myself to talk about this subject. I see the forum posts, and posts in other places and I can’t respond to them, because all I want to do is yell at people and say “are you really that STUPID that you don’t realize, that right now YOU are the problem, creating a PROBLEM, when there might not have been a problem? Now there is.. because of you”.

So instead I keep my mouth shut. I felt I would do one blog piece on this, for the less stupid and this is the most I am covering this topic or the current state of affairs.

Thanks for listening!


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June 21 2018

Black Rose Chronicles 3 – by Belladonna Rose – narrated by Asclepius – Echoes from the Caverns

Hello everyone, this is Asclepius, with the third chapter of a wonderful story from Belladonna Rose, entitled
Black Rose Chronicles
Background music by Smartsound

Taking in the transformation of herself she looked around her again. The mirror no longer glowed. Only a shimmering and swirl of lights could be seen now. Not even her own reflection. Stunned at this magic she stood there for a time. Then a voice came to her tell her to go up the path to the building at the top. “Your Destiny awaits you Avatar”.

Turning she looked up the path and started to walk. Walk. Smiling she took a few more steps and began to run up the path. Amazed that she was on her own two legs again. Thank the stars she was whole once more. As she reached the top of the hill she saw an ornate looking building. Small but very impressive. Intricate carvings and a strange red glow from the domed roof. This must be the place.

Reaching out she slowly turns the knob of the wooden door. The metal of the knob was warm to the touch. As the door opened a soft warm mist greeted her and the red glow inside grew even brighter.

Stepping into the structure she saw the huge metal face hanging on the wall. Strange glowing eyes seemed to stare down at her. She stepped forward and looked about the room. Empty alcoves were to the left and the right. Huge torches hung on the walls beside the face. As she grew closer to the face the metallic churning sounds of gears began. Louder and louder. Covering her ears, she started to step away towards the door.

“Greetings Avatar. At last you have arrived.”

Stopping dead in her tracks she looked at the face. The glowing eyes blinked at her and the face looked as though it was alive. Shaking in her own skin she stepped close again to examine this strange thing on the wall.

“We have been waiting for you Avatar. It has been foretold that one such as yourself would arrive.”

Blinking again she stood infront of the face and listened carefully to what it said.

“By what name do you go Avatar?”

Swallowing hard she tried to find the words to answer. After a moment she finally spoke with her own voice instead of using her mind as she did with the hooded lady.

“My name is Belladonna Rose.”

“Greetings Belladonna Rose. I am the Oracle. I am here to help determine who you shall be as you move through this new world. I am but a guide to help you learn and navigate on your journey.”

Bella looked quizzically at the machine. The clanking and grinding of gears was almost overwhelming. Shaking her head again she heard the face give a soft chuckle and soon the sounds subsided, and a dull hum filled the room.

“Here I will ask a series of questions to determine the path you should follow. There are no right or wrong answers. And no answer is irrevocable. Tis the way of the mind and soul to change one’s mind along the path to better suit or deter your destiny. Your path will be yours to follow. I will simply assist you in following the choices that your feel are best. I know not your mind or heart Avatar, I can only watch your actions and advise on what I see.”

Bella felt a bit tense at the conversation. Not sure if she should trust this machine. She was not all that familiar with this sort of entity. This sort of thing was not widely known or used where she came from. She was definitely in a new world. Remembering what Arabella said about Lord British she decided to continue and listen.

After a time, the Oracle asked her many questions. Things about what she would do in certain situations. She only prayed that she answered the right way. She responded with her heart. For that was truly the only way she felt she could be honest with herself in everything she did.

The clank and grind of gears started up again. “Ahh. You have chosen the Path of Love Avatar. And I will now instruct you where to start your journey. The outpost of Solace Bridge has been under attack. Here you will venture forth through the rift and make your way to help those who survived. Upon reaching Solace Bridge look for Edvard. He will guide you from there.”

Bella looked quizzically at the Oracle.

“You will see me again Avatar. And I advise you check with me when you see buildings such as this in many a town. Here I can give counsel and help you if you need advice. Your destiny awaits you.”

The eyes of the Oracle glowed slightly and blinked.

“Your arrival has been foretold in a prophecy Avatar and the road you travel pre-ordained. We have waited long for your arrival. You must not delay any further. You will learn much and be given many choices in your travels. You will meet many foes and make many friends along your way. Heed all in your path. Now you must go Avatar. The world of New Britannia awaits you.”

Bowing her head quickly she stepped backwards towards the door. As she turned, the door opened before her. The diminished light of the outer world let her know that it was coming upon nightfall. She exited the chamber and looked towards the uphill path. Looking back again to the chamber the door was now closed again. Taking a deep breath, she made her way up the path.

Muttering to herself. “I have no weapon. I have no food. What in hell’s name am I doing here? This is some sort of trick or am I really in another realm. No matter. I need to go forth. I need to find Jack and the crew. If I have to turn this world upside down to do it, then I will.”

Trudging up the hill she saw the circle of pillars and the bright swirling blue orb in the center. This must be the rift that Arabella and the Oracle talked about. Do I step inside she wondered. Jump. Run. Bella walked to the edge of the ring and peered inside. Nothing but blue shimmering and swirling lights.

“What the hell. I am probably dead anyways. What can go wrong. I have nothing to lose.”

Taking a deep breath, she ran straight at the rift and disappeared from this place.

Echoes From the Caverns

Echoes From the Caverns

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