Core Entry

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“Stop!” As Aflinn came to a screeching halt, he felt a dozen or so bodies collide against his. “Stop, I say! That means stop!” He swiveled on the heels of his boots to view the line of subordinates behind him. “You’d think youths such as yourself would be able to grasp such a rudimentary command.”

“Sorry, Master Aflinn,” apologized a young man, rubbing his head. “You just haven’t spoken for so long that we didn’t anticipate—”

“I forgive you.” Aflinn flapped a hand. “There’s no reason to explain further, so just bottle up your excuses for now.” He glanced down to a PDA within his grasp, scrutinizing it’s various symbols and digits. “Ah, I did well enough bringing in extras. He’s already opened four more deks.”

A young woman with dark hair and bright eyes raised her hand.

“If you don’t mind, I’m sure we’d all like to know who this he is. Funny as it may be, you making cryptic remarks to yourself doesn’t explain why you woke us up at three in the bloody morning to bring us here.” Her cheeks drew back into a wide smile. “Not that I mind.”

“Right…” Aflinn held his PDA in front of her face. “Jenny… no—Jinnae. Very right you are. It is indeed question time.” He retrieved a black pocket watch from his coat and studied its surface. “We haven’t got much of said time, so I’ll answer as fast as you can ask, yes?” Pacing the cold tiles of the Library, he began rubbing his bearded jaw. “I suppose I’ll have to start with yours, Jinnae. Well, to put it simply, I have assembled you all here to assist me in apprehending a recently-escaped convict.” Aflinn paused his pacings to point at a young man with dark eyes and a raised hand. “Yes, you sir.”

“This sounds like a matter for the Vallr Core. After all, they’re trained specifically for—”

“Yes!” Aflinn combed a hand through his brown hair with an edgy laugh. “Yes, they are. However, no one knows this convict is abound and if I told them, they’d ask why I thought so, and… things would get messy. Look, look, look…” He straightened his dark collar. “I’m one of Arkive’s most-esteemed Master-ranked. Meaning both privates and students are under my every word, will, and whim. If you must have an answer of some sort then… think of this as… a… test! Yes, a test of sorts!” Aflinn’s hands came together in a light applause. “Brilliant! Capture my crazy brother, Adlen, and your rankings shall increase sevenfold! See that? You could spend years advancing or simply accomplish a single notable feat. Trust me—I should know.”

“But, Master Aflinn,” began another youth, “There are rows of books—how do we know which one this convict of yours has violated?”

“First, he’s not my convict, he’s yours. Second, those… books are called deks. No normal book stands at the height of a man. Third, I may have tampered with a ccd to generate these for you all.” Aflinn unveiled a black necklace from his coat. “Now, does any educated idiot know what this is? Yes, you6—the man with the big eyebrows.”

“Well… judging from the shape and manner of the small disc dangling from its chain links, I’d conclude it to be a compass—a tracker used to detect anomalies within a dek’s reality.”

“Right you are! Uh…” Afflin raised his PDA. “Brakshton! Goodness, I don’t believe I’ll be able to memorize, nor care about all your names. Nonetheless, that does remind me…” He stepped into the middle of the hall. “Students, stand on my right! Good. Privates, to my left! Excellent.” Afflin paced down the middle of their two rows. “Now, we don’t have enough time for us to survey each dek as a group, nor can you traverse the deks alone. So, we will be divided into groups of two—one from Arkive’s study halls and another from Arkive’s recruit training facility.” Afflin’s pacings came to a jarring halt. “Remember, the convict’s violations would have left behind disturbances within the dek’s reality. Following your compass should lead you to the heart of said disturbances. That means the source of these anomalies are my brother, Adlen, the remains of his mischief, or…” He paused. “Or something wild. It could be all the above—either way, proceed with caution. Covering up your deaths would be more than enough trouble.”

Some of the students chuckled, to which Aflinn responded with a shaky laugh. “Yes, what a hilarious joke—anyway, let’s pair you up.”

The image in the header is in fact a stock photo which I found on sxc.hu. I simply took it, cropped it a bit and changed the hue and saturation to acheive an effect which I feel makes the shot look like the edge of the Old Forest as described in the book and how I picture it in my head.

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25 CommentsPosted by User Name on 01.01.01.

Hi! My names Jay and I'm a 20 year old web designer from England. My main projects are conducted through my website Six Shooter Media, but I (obviously) also enjoy creating Open Source web templates for general use! You can keep a check on my free templates here which is probably a link worth bookmarking as my templates appear there a couple of weeks before OWD/OSWD due to the design queues.

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25 CommentsPosted by User Name on 01.01.01.

OK, here I'll just put some example html elements that you will most probably be using in your blog/web site.

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"But the Forest is queer. Everything in it is very much more alive, more aware of what is going on, so to speak, than things are in the Shire. And the trees do not like strangers. They watch you. They are usually content merely to watch you, as long as daylight lasts, and don't do much. Occasionally the most unfriendly ones may drop a branch, or stick a root out, or grasp at you with a long trailer. But at night things can be most alarming, or so I am told."

- Meriadoc Brandybuck

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25 CommentsPosted by User Name on 01.01.01.

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