Lichencross’ shelf

A small glass jar has been gifted to Lichencross by Blossomdrift, which can be seen on the shelf of gifts.

Photos from a journey to the Astronomer’s Ridge on Scapelock‘s map
This Alongame saying

Never touch the pond, unless a succulent pumpkin is efficiently melted by bodies.

A mushroom poem, inspired by Blossomdrift‘s long dozen

inner expanse,
clouded and dark. the light banished and soul drenched.
return to your body, breathe. cry and feel and live and live

A long dozen poem

star-kissed ruin
forgotten by all but the sky and earth
you deserve more than we can give, sanctum of the soul

A kingfisher, which makes this sound whenever anyone is near
A map, with this note attached

When passing through town, the locals will tell you of a well known, comfortable hot spring just outside town. Wander uphill, following the crest of the nearby slope and you will find a beautiful meadow leading to pockets of peaceful ponds

A cairn, telling this story

This cairn of deep amethyst and silica tells the story of a miner struggling with depression. Having recently lost his partner to illness, he fell into an emotional state as deep and dark as the mine itself. His fellow miners banded together to ensure the man always had company when working, they shared stories and sung and encouraged the man to share his sorrows with the crew. As it turns out, the other miners had struggles of their own. As the first miner began to rise from depths, others felt weights lifted from them that they didn’t realise they shouldered, all benefited from the comradery and support, eve– 

*The particulars of the ending of this story have been lost. Unfortunately, after the mine was exhausted, the effort to seal the mine against future wanderers demolished the final two stones of the cairn. The story of the miners nevertheless is suspected to be the foundation of the town’s emotionally supportive culture.*

Blossomdrift’s shelf

A small glass jar has been gifted to Blossomdrift by Holyviolet, which can be seen on the shelf of gifts.

Blossomdrift has also been entrusted with Cloudsway‘s shelf

Notes on a constellation

The boat and the anchor, in memory of AA

A Night Falls poem

the tides flo, bright friends
drink coffee
may health reel in bitter harm
raise our feet

A winged creature, which makes this sound whenever anyone is near
Photos, taken at the end of a journey to the old witch’s hut and garden on Hearthgazer‘s map
A mushroom poem (inspired by Treewalker‘s long dozen)

soft thunderstorm
rumbles far away, feels close, warm, metallic
I wander towards it, damp with sweat, following myself

A cairn, telling this story

I saw them planting their garden on one of the small farms. It was early, no more than an hour past dawn, the dew still lingering bright on the grasses. Their garden was a rambling swathe of blooms, herbs, and seedling vegetables.

‘Your garden is beautiful,’ I said.

They turned their head and smiled at me, inclining their head slightly but making no vocal response. Extending one soil-smudged hand, they beckoned me in amongst the greening and blossoming.

I crouch with them to look at the plants. Delicate woodruff nestled amid bushy parsley and coriander, lending a sprinking of white star flowers. Bugleweed held blue flowers aloft on strong stems, stretching out its runners along the ground below. Peashoots clambered eagerly up towards the sunlight, tendrils grasping onto sticks to support their way.

As I leant over to catch the vanilla scent of sweet rocket, they noticed the map clutched in my hand and gestured a question.

I told them about the letter, about how I found the way here.

Recognition kindled in their eyes as I mentioned a name, and they picked up a basket beside them with packets of seeds stacked inside. The packets were formed of brown paper folded over, carefully annotated with the names of vegetables and herbs, and stamped also with your name. They picked one up to show me the tiny, carefully-saved seeds which rested inside. 

They poured out some seeds into my palm. Together we pushed them into the sun-warmed soil, covered them over, and pressed our hands to the earth in a shared spell. 

I told them about planting my own garden, about the anxiety of releasing control into the dark earth, about the bittersweet joy of putting down roots knowing they will be pulled up. I stopped talking then and we planted the seeds in the easy silence of the warming morning sunlight.

When the seeds were planted, we parted with a smile, and I took the winding path away through the thorn trees.

A long dozen poem

the sea sky
clouds break like waves – sun gone in shadow then
returns. breathe. gaze at the blue ’til you start to cry, or stop

A mushroom poem inspired by this sits on Vaseridge‘s shelf

A map, with this note attached

You can gather birdsong through Hawthornvale in the early morning, but remember to bring bread for the sparrows, cheese for the finches, and a kitkat for the magpie.

Hearthgazer’s shelf

A long dozen poem

Silver doe,
Obscured by mystic woods in pinkish fog.
Did it emerge from within or did I dream the gleam?

A cairn, telling this story

Where the farmland meets the tip of The Spear is an ancient tree with a hollow-hole. It is said that it once housed a family of rock-fae who used it to hide from a mountain golem, but stayed to care for the tree after it showed them this kindness. With the mountain golem long-since defeated and the tree enduring through all manner of strife, the fae left the hollow hole. It has since been taken over by generations of hardy birds with craggy beaks, said to be spirit-touched and noted to have a certain rockiness to them…

A map, with a note attached

Take great care when walking along The Spear and The Shield, the mountains protect the valleys and village to the north but they themselves are treacherous territory

Notes on an acquaintance

On the lower slope track of the East Mountains, along the trail to Ruin View Point, I encountered an old man walking towards me. Recognising me as a stranger, he called out ahead and greeted me warmly, asking who I was.

An affable fellow, I introduced myself and he told me his name was Eldan. He walked this path every morning to watch the sun rise in the West, over the Spear and Shield. 

I told him I too was heading there for the view, but of The Ruins, not the sunrise, although I was sad to have missed the latter and would make efforts to watch it another day. 

I mentioned Tilleryard, who had helped me come here, and he chuckled, knowing Tilleryard to have some renown in the village for their prize vegetables at the fete.

Though he had heard that Tilleryard had been making connections to my world, and had heard the name Hearthgazer muttered at the tavern, he knew little of me – that *I* could tell at least. Who knows what rumours spread when you aren’t there to correct them?

I offered Eldan a home-made cookie (peanut butter and chocolate chip – obviously I had packed MANY for my journey), and then told him I was a collector and teller of stories.

We had a wonderful conversation at the foot of a tree – with neither of us in a hurry to our destination it was a sunny moment of shared wonder and knowledge-trade.

Eldan, being the expert of this corner, kindly took me to the Ruin View Point even though he was redoubling his steps. At noon, from this spot, the light hits the ruins in such a way that they sparkle, and more of their mystical nature is revealed. At least, it is revealed to those who can interpret it. I am not yet there, but the view was breathtaking regardless.

I spoke to him of the Golden Hour – a concept he knows well in his rural setting, granted – but this time from within the city, where the glass and steel sparkle and reflect the setting sunlight. How, in the twilight, the electric lights begin to flicker on amongst the evening haze and create magic amongst the man-made.

Eventually, I scrawled out my cookie recipe for him, we made our goodbyes and I returned to my hearth-shelf to reflect.

Vaseridge’s shelf

Photos, taken at the end of a journey to the windmill on Mirrorbird‘s map
A kite, which makes this sound whenever anyone is near:
A mushroom poem, inspired by Duskrest‘s long dozen

Reach up spread out
We are but creatures between heaven and earth
Clouds flowing by just like time flowing by will never cease

A mushroom poem, inspired by Blossomdrift‘s long dozen

Horizon vast
The sunset loom weaves colours; emerge and fade
Don’t cry for what’s gone; savour what’s left; and face what’s to come

A mushroom poem, inspired by Bookfold‘s long dozen

What you can give
Is what will be totally taken from you
The circle of life keeps spinning but is never complete

A mushroom poem, inspired by Applecap‘s long dozen

Forgotten one
Had tears been shed for you when you were no more?
I dedicate my sweat and a moment’s peace to your life

Three long dozen poems

Clear blue skies
Rustling of breezes from I don’t know where
How many fishes wanted to live in a forest?

Rice dumplings
Eat them while they’re hot because they don’t last
Bro will eat the beautifully wrapped ones by Grandma

Bunny ears
Listen to the breeze over the water
Is it a threat or is it the thumping of my heart?

A map, with this note attached

An agrarian area with a hill. The old quarry is filled with water and gives you a scenic view but also known to be dangerous with toxic waters

A cairn, telling this story

At this cave, which is at the opening of a cave next to the quarry, there’s an old tale few know about today. This was the home of the brave men of Idriss who hid as they awaited an ambush on their enemies. As they hid there making weapons and crafting armour, they waited for the enemy forces to take over the village, assuming that the inhabitants had fled. Little did the invaders know that in the dead of the night they would be overcome by the brave men and women who would come out and slaughter their enemies and let their blood flow down the Kaidee river. Legend has it that the bodies were buried in the forests to the west. If you go into the cave today, you can still find traces of the iron weaponry that were forged and left behind. The story had been retold so many times that the truth is a remote reality for most, but if you can read runes, the diaries of the former inhabitants can be found of the walls of the cave.

Notes on an acquaintance

I was along the Firefly river when I saw him.

He was standing with his back facing me in the grain field, with some heavy breathing. The grain plants reached to his hip and the leaves were really green. He turned around to look back at me.

“Hi,” I said. “Hi,” he said in between breaths, peeking out from his straw hat.

“Give me a minute, I just have to pull out this bird stuck in the field. It’s a stupid bird and got itself caught in a rodent trap we set in the field,” he said.

“Hey my name is Elkpond,” he said, as he released the bird. The bird’s head was a bit tilted as it waddled away. “I’m just someone who doesn’t really have much to do so now I’m taking care of all the odd jobs. I’m kinda in between formal jobs so it’s nice to meet you, helps with the boredom you know? I just walk around all day and help whoever’s in need. They call me the scram master but honestly it’s just a fancy title for mucking around.”

“Oh Tilleryard? Yes I know her, she’s quite famous around here for being near the shelves a lot. Don’t really know her that well to be honest but I can bring you to her. Is she a librarian? Or a folklorists? She’s told me about you, vaseridge, said that you could be a visitor here but I didn’t know you’d just appear like that,” he explained. With a look up and down me he observed “Your clothes are… way too little for our climate. Hehe. I have a few pieces from when I was younger that could fit you, if you’re game. Do you want to go to my shed?” he asked.

We walked south to his shed, where he opened up a little wardrobe doors into a huge closet inside.
He bent down and pulled out a storage box, rummaging through it.

“Aha! Found it! I honestly haven’t worn these in years, I hope they’re not too different from the last time I remember them! Look and see if you can fit into these”, he handed me a pair of long pants and a fluffy coat made of feathers, “They’ll keep you warmer than that shirt and shorts you’re wearing”

I received them gratefully, and slowly felt the warmth building in me as the light feather coat rested on my shoulders.

“Hey Elkpond, I’m really grateful for this” I said, “I didn’t realise how cold I was until I put on this coat”. The coat had 2 layers, a fluffy undercoat which was soft against my skin, and a tougher outer layer with bigger feathers on the outside.

“You know once I gave a friend a leather bag. I really liked that bag when I got it, but my needs changed and the satchel no longer fit my needs. So I gave it to a friend who wanted to change herself to become someone new. She had gotten rid of all her things from before as she did not want to stay as who she was, and was in need of some new things. She now owned that bag for longer than I have, and I’m sure she has had great memories of going on marvelous adventures with that bag. Thank you for the clothes, and I’m going to honour your gift by making full use of the clothes you have given me” I said, as I beamed at him.

“Well then you better get going on adventures now!” He smiled with this wide cheeky signature grin. “I’ll need to make some food for one of the old retirees, catch you later!”

I bid him farewell as I stepped outside. I looked out and saw a dark cloud in the north, bringing with it a trail of rain. I was back at the Firefly river again, with a poncho on me. The rain will soon come, and the clothes will come in handy.

Scapelock’s shelf

A mushroom poem, inspired by Applecap‘s long dozen

Fallen curate
Light from the dead stars glints from your stone pendant
It’s my turn I suppose to mourn the stars, and yours to sing

A map, with this note attached

Try to visit on a moonless night if you can swing it. Lie on your back in the Dandelion Meadow on the lip of Stardrop Basin on a moonless night, and sometimes the drifting seeds will play-act the long-ago star-drop for you.

Two long dozen poems

Mist smudges
And jagged screes seem as soft as the fens
A single blended brushstroke, sweeping to the basin

Mist smudges
And jagged screes seem as soft as the fens
A single blended brushstroke, sweeping us down the slope

Deskdefier’s shelf

A map, with a note attached

Avoid the wild forest. Strange things happen there.

A cairn, telling this story:

The story of the first person to climb the mountain of Sha’Tazar has been passed down for years, No one now remembers their name, but the cairn they started to build and could never finish stands as testament to their legend. It is said that they left their house in the early morning determined to make it to the top. At the bottom of the mountain they stood, and swallowed the fear they felt looking up at it’s majesty. They had been told repeatedly it could not be done, but they knew they could do it if only they got lucky on the path. In their pack they carried all the climbing gear they needed, and food made by their best friend, special they said for the journey.

Half way to the top, they stopped to eat. 3 quarters of the way they started to feel sick. At the top they felt dizzy, broken, tired. They started to stack the rocks they found, building a cairn to prove they had made it. Many years later when others, better equipped made it to the top they would find their bones, and the half finished cairn.

In the village at the base of the mountain, a person broke down after they didn’t return. Admitting to the family that they, the best friend, horribly intimidated by the pure determination of their friend, had poisoned the food they gave them for the climb…

A long dozen

Darker trees
Deep, mysterious woodland forest lair.
rain soaks down my back, and my shirt, flattening my hair.

Mushroom poems based on this can be found on the unknown shelf and Treewalker‘s shelf

Notes on an acquaintance

Walking the road headed through the village, I spotted a man working in the fields. I called out a hello, and he walked to the fence to converse. They don’t see many strangers around there, so they were interested in news from other places.
They’d heard of my contact, his farming skills have helped inform a lot of the farming folk in the area. New idDeas and such, and of course a willingness to work for what they want.

They asked questions, calmly. They were interested in what I’d seen since I got there, and what I knew from my own world but it’s a quiet village, and though welcoming, the locals are happy with their lot. I inform them of my alongame name, deskdefier, and then tell them why I opted for that name, using this as an excuse to finally escape from behind my desk.

They told me that years ago, before they were born, their Mother fell in the road behind the farm seriously injuring herself, it wasn’t well travelled and she was sure she was going to lay there for days, if she was ever rescued at all. She managed to drag herself to the nearby well (rumored he said, for years, to be a magic well giving gifts to those who are truly in need.) oddly as she rested against it’s side barely able to move anymore, the bucket started to rise and as it hit the top it made a sound like a giant horn. The old farmhands heard the ruckus, and came to see what was up. His mother was saved, and the well ceased all noise, nothing to show for the event.

I listened intently, and then shared the story of how, as a child, I got stuck far in the high branches of an old oak tree, For a long time I called for help, and none came until eventually I tried to move, and the branch I was on broke. I could have sworn there was nothing but hard branches and air beneath me, but almost as soon as I fell the tree reached for me. I didn’t see it happen, but I was caught in a net of soft leaves and branches, placed right next to an easy climb down. I still believe it was the tree that saved me, though no one would ever have believed me.

He bid his farewell. There was still much work to be done, and I had a long way yet to travel, we parted as he returned to his field, and I continued along the road.

Applecap’s shelf

Applecap has also been entrusted with Bristletap’s shelf

Photos of a journey to the Old Witch’s Hut on Hearthgazer‘s map
A photo of, and notes on, a mending

1. to lift me up out of the clinging marsh.
2. A chance to grow and be better.
3. Replace with something different. Not better exactly. Just different.
4. Soot stained thread
5. Warm and free
6. It will rot away but will go back to soil. Under the sod. Away from me on the mountain.

Notes on a Drawn Thread ritual of repair (where their map meets Conebird‘s)

The Third Drop Inn burnt down.
The fire spread quickly spread.
The Bridge was severely damaged which might convince the locals to build another one.
Ferry system is setup.
The big field is for a FireWeed and there is new trees being planted.
The Wheel is moving to pump water for the first time anyone can recall.
The Farmer is getting a new house.

This Alongame saying

 Always trap the bear, unless dark mountain is gladly climbed by shepherds

Photos and notes on a development in Alongame and related dedication (partially inspired by Scapelock‘s map)

The people seem very excited about the opening of a pub on the river. ‘The Third Drop’. Yes it rained and there was flooding but they make good food and the ale is cheap.

A sparrow, which makes this sound whenever anyone is near:
A mushroom poem, inspired by Bookfold‘s long dozen:

Shut hands held tight
The garden has began to turn now to rot
We did not pay attention and now is forever gone

A long dozen poem:

Fallen Tomb
Light from the long dead stars glint on your rocks
Suppose it is my duty to mourn the lights and you

Mushroom poems inspired by this sit on Vaseridge, Scapelock and SilentHanger‘s shelves

Notes on an acquaintance:

I walked into the woods in the North. There I found a small cottage and a person chopping wood. They said they were Chopper. They chopped. I laughed. It wasn’t a joke. It was a job. I told them I was a traveller, a storyteller. “A professional liar!” They said they knew my friend. “They too said things. Tales. Said they cured the sickness.” I said my name was AppleCap. “Another lie. What is your real name?” I said I wasn’t doing that. I knew the Fae and the demons. “Wouldn’t want it anyway.” Chopper seemed an odd mixture of trying to get me stay and making me leave. They took me to a small sprout in a ring of ash and burnt trees. “It is a rare seed. Hardly seen in these lands. It produces the most odd fruit. Sweet one bite, sour the next. The seed was carried in the dying talons of a phoenix.” Thus the ash. I told them about the Tree of 40 Fruit. Grafting buds on the tree. “Not magic though.” Why not? “Lots of questions.” Few answers. But true. No dying birds in my story. I made to leave. Chopper told me good riddance but to come back if I was in the area.

A map, with these notes attached:

Stay away from the owl. She is…complicated.

A cairn, telling this story:

A lover who walked away from a love triangle. They walked deep into the Under Hill and rested by the lake. The two remaining lovers made a happy home. Our Cairn Maker is yet to be seen again.

MountainRest’s shelf

A map, with a note attached:

Beware the Heart of the city, you’ll find no rest or peace there. Stick to the outer reaches, northwest is best. Find refuge in the mountains, but avoid crowds.

A cairn, telling this story:

In the middle of a field near a river, lies the overgrown ruins of a small cottage. At what used to be the front door is a cairn, a monument to the old hedge witch who used to live here

She had be cast out of her village due to a misunderstanding. She found this peaceful place in the middle of a meadow and made it her home. She used her magics to hid herself from those meant her harm, but made sure that those who needed her could always find her. 

Over the next few years, those in need would find themselves in the fields, drawn by peaceful tune carried on the wind. The song lead them to the cottage, where they could stay with the witch for as long as they needed.

Eventually, it was time for the old witch to pass on. Her final guest did what they could to ease her passing. Afterwards they built the cairn as a monument to a witch who, even though she was an outcast, still did everything she could to help those in need.

Some of her magic still lingers, making this a place of refuge for those who need it.

Notes on an acquaintance:

I met an old man by the name of Potter. He was lazily fishing as I was walking along the river. He instantly recognized me as a traveller and friend. He share a story of the bridge that crosses the river, and how it can be used to cross to many places and times, if one had the knack for it. He was a kind man, full of life and warmth. We spent some time just sitting by the river and enjoying the peace of nature.

Treewalker’s shelf

A mushroom poem, inspired by Deskdefier‘s long dozen:

Dark trees tower.
Deep gloom settles. A wandering stranger sighs.
Memories torn and scattered. Who will find them in the rain?

A map, with this note:

The view from the top of the Mountain Road is spectacular! You can see all the way to the Dreaming Plain in the east to the Edge of the World in the West and everywhere in between. But for a more friendly and relaxing journey, travel the river valley.

A long dozen poem:

Trackless wild
Thunder rumbles over the Dreaming Plain
Green goes on forever, but things are not what they seem.

A mushroom poem inspired by this is on Blossomdrift‘s shelf