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In a room star star star star halfstar


The sign reads

"Welcome all new travellers.


To continue you must go through a series of doors.


After going through you will pick a costume. You will then become a half- human and half that creature.


After a week(100 mins a hour,20 hrs a day,10 days a week) has passed you may morph and get another costume. To start of with you will only be able to become 40% human to 60% human.


If you put on a costume you will then become that creature, be teleported to it's home town and have to wait a week before being able to morph.


After 50 costumes you may change into one of your other costumes and become 30% to 70% human. When changing costumes you must wait at least an hour before you can change costumes again.


100 different species/gender costumes allows you to gender-morph and become 20% to 80% human


200 different species costumes allows you to combine costumes and become 10% to 90% human


400 different species costumes allows you to return to your world with no more morphing


And 800 different species costumes makes a polymorph and allows you to morph outside of this world.


Also if you have a costume like a centaur then the human part will always be human and is counted towards the human percentage.


Any gender/species transformation magic of yours can only change your gender(if you have at least 100 costumes) and the animal part to a different animal.


When you change into a different costume (that you already have) you may teleport to that species home town but you will have the week penalty where you have no costume changes.


If you die while wearing a costume you will be reborn at the local inn (or appropriate location ). If you have more then 100 costumes you will lose the costume you had when you died and go to an appropriate place for your next costume.


If you fail to make it out in 100 years(100 weeks in a year) one of your possible forms will be chosen and you will be permanently stuck in that form(apart from magic) until you die. Also there will be no possibility of going back to your world.


Also, one final note: should you take a female form and become pregnant, you won't be able to change your gender until the child is born, though the other aspects of your form may change (the child will change to match.) That is all, and good luck!

You realise that you have to do what the sign said to do and go through the doors and grab a costume.


Alternatively you could use the key system to determine the room


Please type in a number 1 - 18


Number 1:
Number 2:
Number 3:


Illustrated by catprog

Written by Catprog on 11 February 2004

Air Creatures star star halfstar emptystar emptystar


You find yourself in what appears to be a glass room suspended high in the sky.


The stairs are blocked by a force field.


You realise you have to go through one of the three sky blue doors numbed 1,2 & 3.


What door do you want?


Illustrated by catprog

Written by Catprog on 11 February 2004

Myth Air star star star emptystar emptystar


You go through the door.


All of a sudden it slams shut and with no handle on this side it appears that you are stuck.


There are two more doors however and both of them have a sign on them saying
Costume room for

Element: Air
Type: Myth
Gender: ????


So which door do you want

Illustrated by catprog

Written by Catprog on 26 February 2004

Female Myth Air star star emptystar emptystar emptystar

You go through the door.


All of a sudden it slams shut and with no handle on this side it appears that you are stuck.


There are five costumes in this room, all of them female, all of them are myth air creatures.


Written by Catprog on 26 February 2004

Griffin star star star star halfstar

You look over the costumes noticing the feminine aspects of all of them.


"Why did I have to choose that door" you think "if I had of chosen the other door I would have a male costume"


After most deliberation you decide to go for the griffin costume.


You begin putting on the costume.


You begin with the beak. It latches on and you feel your mouth flow into it.


Next you grab an eye mask and place it over your eyes. To your shock you go blind. After a brief moment of panic your eyesight comes back. You look through the glass , pass the glare of a river and to your surprise you see lots of fish.


You get a headband of feathers and put it on. Instantly the headband dissolves leaving a beautiful plum of feathers on your head.


You try everything else but the only things that move are the chest and groin piece.


You strap the chest piece on and the straps melt up to cover your back. You feel the wings shoot out and you start to hover.


You grab the arm pieces and put them on. You then feel a slight breeze through your arm fur.


You then realise that you now have to take that step. You wear the groin piece and you now have a tail. You also have become fully female.


You don the rest of the costume quickly, wanting to minimize the time spent in this form.


You take stock of the transformation. You feat are now full lioness paws. Your hand though have only lost 1 finger and been covered in fur.


You hear a cracking sound and look down to see the glass floor has shattered leaving nothing solid between you and the ground.

Illustrated by KaeAskavi

Written by catprog on 21 February 2008

Adapting to Your Wings emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar

At first, your heart slams into your chest and you start to panic that you’re dropping, because why wouldn’t you freak out – the floor beneath you suddenly turning out to be made of glass (you swear it didn’t seem to be made of glass when you stepped foot INTO the room) and then also suddenly shattering, meaning you were now freefalling. So, of course; any sane person would abruptly begin to panic upon this happening, so your body reacts before your head can, and though you try to scream, you can’t.


Or rather, you don’t manage to scream, because time begins to slow for you after the initial shock from the glass beneath your feet breaking apart – and as time slows in your mind, you feel something stationed at your back that feels… both foreign and familiar.


Wait a moment, you think, and you look over your shoulder – you have wings now.


The large wings register in your head, and when you think about moving them, they move the same way your arms and legs do, only from behind. It’s different from any sensation you’ve experienced before, but, you’re able to push this surprise aside so you can focus on trying to move these new appendages jutting out from your upper back.


Despite the surge of panic pulsing through your veins, you manage to flap your wings, up and down, up and down, with enough force that you are able to feel them almost molding the very air around your body. Within moments, your plummet to the ground has slowed down, and you find you’re able to keep yourself in mid-air by flapping your wings at the proper speed and with the proper amount of strength and concentration.


“Whoa,” you say.


It’s strange to think, the idea that you’re using what amount to long arms with massive, feathered hands, to keep yourself from falling to your death – however, the overall workings become less foreign and more familiar to you with each passing second. You adjust the rate at which you move your wings up and down, and in doing so, you’re able to stop your fall entirely. Now, you’re hovering in mid-air thanks to your new wings.


A shudder ripples through you, and you let out a sharp breath. Your heartbeat begins to calm itself as you stay in place, the timing of each wing beat becoming synchronized with your breathing, and you don’t even need to THINK it for this to happen, either.


Then, after a steady minute of relative silence, the reality you’re now flying sinks in.


You feel a mixture of excitement, confusion, and awe swirling around inside your stomach as you hover in place – your eyes trek down as you see a sparse handful of glass shards raining down toward the ground below, but a blink later and the shards seem to vanish once they reach the earth. You don’t know if it’s your imagination doing that or not, but you swear they’ve disappeared entirely. Then again, given your current state, you suppose that glass popping out of existence isn’t so strange to witness…


Sheesh, I can’t believe this, you think. I’m a literal griffin… or, well, half-griffin, I guess.


For a brief instance, you remain in the air, flapping your wings at a casual, even pacing while you mentally absorb what the hell just happened. You’ve put on a costume and become part of the legendary creature, the griffin, and now you’re floating in the air by using your new wings to keep your body from plummeting to the ground. It’s crazy to even think the words internally, but, at the same time, you aren’t as bothered by it now.


That said, you can do more than just floating in the air and reveling in the fact you’re a griffin now – and as you recognize this fact, you pause to mull over your choices insofar as getting a sense of what’s around you, as you feel it’s important you do that sooner.


Do you want to take in your surroundings first while you’re airborne? Or do you want to land and then adjust to your surroundings? Or do you want to forgo both? You think…

Written by Hollowpage on 04 June 2021

Scoping Out the Area emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar

You choose to take in your surroundings before you do anything else after giving it some thought, because that feels like the smartest decision. That, and, you think…


Where the heck even am I, exactly? you wonder, because you have no clue.


You glance around, scanning the vicinity – the area directly beneath you looks like a flat, grassy plain, with lush, dark-green grass and a scattered smattering of trees and stumps, with several hills here and there (as far as you can tell from being in the air, that is, since it may just be that they aren’t hills at all but simple raised bits of ground).


However, as you study the area, you see there’s more than just grassy flatland with a few possible hills overall, because depending on the direct you turn your attention toward, the environment seems to shift around drastically, as if it, too, is transforming, although the change in environment is considerably more gradual from a brief glimpse.


The further to the left you go, the more trees begin to pop up, until the trees become clusters that lead into a forest. But once that forested portion is reached, you can hardly see any further, as a thick blanket of mist envelops the trees from that point on – you try to squint, but, you can’t make out much beyond the vague shapes of the large trees. It looks as though the mist is hovering over the tree tops, though. It makes you wonder how thick the mist is or how far the forest goes, along with where the forest leads to.


Then again, it doesn’t seem very safe for something with wings, you think.


To your right, the landscape starts to become less fertile – in fact, the grass turns barren and rugged the further you look, until it’s a brownish-gray coloration that reminds you of clay or stone, effectively turning into a wasteland (or perhaps a desert, you aren’t sure). The trees and green end up being replaced by a lot of large rocks, including some literal boulders that appear to be just chilling on the ground. And in the distance, you see it leads toward a mountain range: there are several large, jagged mountains that tower over the ground high enough to reach into the very clouds. It’s quite impressive to view.


Definitely more suitable for something that flies, you muse.


Due ahead of you, the landscape remains relatively constant with what you’re already seeing – grassy flatlands, although you can at least tell there are more hills the further off you go. You don’t see any mountains or a forest or any mist straight forward from where you are currently flying in-place, but the hills do become larger and you wonder what may lie beyond the hills, if anything could be that direction. Then you glance back.


Behind you, it starts the same as the immediate area with flatland, however, you can see it becomes almost… moister, because not only is there a noticeable river (it’s too far for you to hear the sound of rushing water, yet it’s visible from your placement in the sky), but the ground appears to darken even further, and you get the sense it turns into a marshland just from the presence of more moisture and the ground’s texture.


The tree count increases the further off you look, but the trees are different from the ones below you and even the ones that comprise the misty forest – they’re darker and larger, casting a sort of dark shadow that blankets everything past a certain point.


You turn your attention back ahead of you and absorb all this in.


So the land starts off as plains, you think. And depending on the direction I go, I’ll either end of going into a misty forest, a mountain range, more flatlands, or a swamp, I’d say.


The fact you can fly now means traversing will be simpler, regardless of what way you go, although you do note that you’d need to be cautious if you decide to fly toward the forest or the proverbial marshland. That said, you aren’t in a rush to go anywhere yet, and you take a moment to fly around rather than endlessly just hovering in one spot.


You can’t help but marvel at how it feels to be able to fly – it’s a lot to take in, and yet, at the same time, it’s easier than you would’ve expected; you flap your wings and fly about aimlessly, going forward, then to one side, then to the next, and so on. You never go too far that the ground begins to change due to the shift in environment, but you cover a good amount of the area itself as you practice flying slow versus flying faster, and so on.


And as you fly, you feel other sensations besides the airiness of your body.


The air is clean and filled with a variety of rather faint, yet pleasant scents, which filter through your beaked nose thanks in part to your flying about and thanks to a calm, subtle gust that seemingly meets your body head on regardless of your direction. That wind is cool and comforting, caressing your fur-covered skin in a way that your mind envisions as tender. The combination fills your stomach with earnest ease.


So this is what it feels like to be able to fly, you think. It’s wonderful.


After several minutes of getting acquainted with your wings, you come to another stop in mid-air (a little lower previously), and out of curiosity, you turn your gaze back toward where you fell from – except to your surprise, the weird room you were in and fell from with the apparent glass floor has apparently repaired itself, as there’s no longer a massive hole where you fell through. It’s in one piece, as if it hadn’t broken previously. Stranger still, you didn’t notice before, but, the room itself seems to just be floating there, because there are no attachments of any sort, and it doesn’t go anywhere at all.


“What… what the hell?” you say under your breath.


You rub your eyes with your soft, furred hands, and you even blink rapidly just to be safe, but it doesn’t change anything. It’s a literal room floating in the air… like magic.


“What in the world did I get myself sucked into?” you say to yourself. There’s a boundless supply of ideas that bounce through your head, but you have no clue. Is this some kind of alternate universe? Am I in Narnia or Wonderland and I didn’t know it?


You shake these off for the time being and decide to flutter down to the ground, where a soft patch of grass greets your furred feet. You can still feel a bit of confusion and bewilderment flowing through your head, even once you’ve touched down and allow your wings to rest (you can tell now that they appreciate the chance to rest, and you suppose it makes sense since birds can’t fly forever without ever needing to stop).


You let out a sigh. I guess thinking about all these things isn’t going to do me any favors, not unless I magically gain some new insight into what the hell this is about…


So, you shelve your concerns and confusion, at least for now – and you instead take a pause to look around. Now that you’re at ground level, you can see your initial thoughts regarding the landscape were relatively spot-on, since the environment does indeed change as you go toward one specific direction… but your musing is cut off when you peer behind you and see something that you hadn’t noticed previously: it’s… a fox?


You blink several times. You’re not seeing things.


There is a red fox casually chilling on a stump a few feet from where you stand, although you can tell from a brief glance over that this fox seems to be… a bit bigger than you recall most foxes being. In fact, it’s definitely bigger, because it looks more like a wolf in terms of its size, despite the features like the ears and the bushy tail say fox.


Is that fox… staring at me? you wonder. Because it feels like it’s staring at me…


The rather large fox does indeed appear to be watching you, but you can’t exactly read its eyes or its expression given the distance between you and it – the sensation of eyes on you is strong, however, and you feel a little unnerved, especially when, after a blink, the fox’s expression changes, and you swear that it’s actively smiling at you suddenly.


You blink. You get the sense it’s not your mind playing tricks on you, but, you are still presented with options – you can choose to ignore the strange, large fox watching you, or you can perhaps go toward it. Something about the way it’s casually relaxing on the stump makes you feel like it may WANT you to come toward it, but, do YOU feel like it?

Written by Hollowpage on 06 June 2021

A Conversation with a Vixen emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar

You weight the options for a beat, and your eyes continue flicking to and from the fox – said fox doesn’t move or do much beyond swish its tail about every now and then, yet you still get the sense it’s almost silently beckoning you toward it. It’s a strange thing to feel, and, you frankly don’t know if it’s truly a wise idea or not. But you end up telling yourself (and reminding yourself) that you’re a literal griffin now, so at the very least…


I should be fine, you think. And so, you make your decision, because your curiosity is getting the better of you – thus, you turn and slowly walk toward the large fox, the grass feeling soft and warm under your bare, furry feet with each step you take. You half-wonder if the fox will attack or run away, yet it does neither by the time you reach it.


All it does is watch you still, and it looks relaxed and at ease.


Once you’re close to it, you spot its eyes, and you’re stunned – its eyes are human-like, a bright, bright blue coloration swirling about in them. The fox’s eyes are indeed watching you, and within the blue color, you can see a great deal of intelligence, and even more; it has a thoughtful, knowing glimmer in its eyes as it studies you, and it’s definitely smiling due to the curve of its mouth and the fact it’s teeth are visible.


And yet, even though the smile and the knowing human eyes are unsettling to you, you do admit that it doesn’t seem malicious or cunning or unkind; that’s not the aura you get from its expression, nor do you feel as though the fox is feigning anything. It seems to be rather friendly, oddly enough, and you eventually surmise that it isn’t dangerous.


“Having fun in your new form, are we?” the fox asks, speaking perfect and clear English.


You gawk, as you hadn’t expected it to speak. “Wh… what?”


“Come now, you heard me,” the fox says, and it giggles. It speaks with an obvious female voice, which makes you think it may technically be a vixen. “No, your mind isn’t playing tricks on you. Yes, I am a vixen, and yes, I am speaking to you.” Its tail swishes to and fro, and it cocks its head to the side as it studies you. “You aren’t dreaming, or imagining things, or going insane, although you likely figured that much out, yes?”


You stare at the talking vixen for a steady moment as you process this. “Um…”


“Well, I suppose I can confirm the fact it isn’t a dream or imagination,” the vixen adds after a pause, and she snickers. “I can’t confirm or deny what your sanity is like, eh?”


You’re kind of at a loss for how to react, even though you recognize it shouldn’t be this astonishing given the fact you’ve become a griffin – and yet, you can’t shake your shock off as you watch this large, wolf-sized vixen continue to study you with thoughtful eyes.


“You have questions, yes?” the vixen asks. “They always do in these scenarios, not that I blame them, given the circumstances.” She flicks her tail a few times, and yawns, then tilts her head to the side once more. “You aren’t the first human to end up here, like this,” it lifts a paw to point at you, “nor will you be the last, because folk like you always find themselves entering those doors to see what lies on the other side. It’s constant.”


You finally snap out of your shock upon hearing these words. “Wait… you know I’m…?”


“Human?” the vixen replies. She smiles wider. “Of course I do, silly. You smell like a human, rather strongly, in fact. But more importantly, it’s not like wild animals have the capacity to open doors and put on costumes to transform themselves, don’t you think?”


Your eyes grow wide. You look from the vixen toward the floating room far above you.


“Curiosity is a conundrum sometimes, isn’t it?” the vixen asks.


“Who… who are you?” you ask once your gaze falls back onto the vixen.


The vixen giggles again. “It’s not so much ‘who,’ but a ‘what,’ my dear friend. And I know that answer isn’t the most useful for someone like you, yes.” She pauses for a moment, before her smile lowers into a placid, if still amused expression. “I suppose to give you a helpful response, it would benefit you to hear that I am… mm… different.”


No kidding, you think – a talking vixen the size of a wolf isn’t exactly a normal thing.


“Think of me as a guide of sorts,” the vixen says. She smiles yet again, and her expression seems knowing, as if she is aware of where your thoughts are. “A trickster guide, perhaps, but an earnest trickster guide nonetheless. I am one tasked with offering advice and aid to humans like you that come through a door and end up in this realm, gifted with animal features and abilities, yet befuddled by how everything works.”


“A guide?” you ask.


“One of many, yes,” the vixen replies, and she finally moves by sitting upright. “You could have easily encountered someone else had you gone through a different door, or had you chosen to fly around.” She winks. “There’s a number of choices depending on the direction you go, but you’ve chosen to speak to me, and I’ve chosen to aid you.”


“Oh,” you say. “Okay then.”


She swishes a paw around. “Don’t fret over it, my friend, you will understand in time. Or perhaps you won’t understand, but you may well choose not to dwell on such things.” She gives an earnest shrug. “Now, speak your questions, as I’m sure you have more.”


You take a moment to think, but, she’s not wrong. “What is this place?” You gesture around with your arms. “And why am I…” You gesture to yourself. “…like this now?”


The vixen studies you, moving her head around as she does for a moment.


“To answer the simpler question first,” the vixen remarks eventually, a sly smile creeping across her face, “you are the way you are because you chose that room, dear. You then chose the costume, and when you put it on, you became the creature. You read the rules, did you not? Then you must recognize that you’ll be in this form for a while now, provided you don’t get caught up in anything unpleasant or dangerous.”


You think back to the ‘rules’ she’s referring to. “Oh. So, then, I…”


“You’ll be a griffin until the time period expires,” the vixen replies. “When it does, you will be able to choose something else, should you desire to. But, as for your first inquiry…”


Silence falls for a moment, and the vixen hums to herself. You can’t be entirely sure, but you get the sense she’s thinking on how to word whatever response she’ll give you. You remain standing where you are, waiting patiently, since you wish to hear what she’ll say.


“This place is detached from the mundane world you come from,” the vixen says. “It’s almost a fantasy world, in a way, a land of endless opportunities and discoveries. You could even describe it as a dream land or a fairytale.” She giggled once more. “But, no matter how you choose to define it, you shouldn’t fear for your life or safety. There are many ways out, and many ways in – it’s not a prison or a trap, dear. You will never be here longer than you wish to be deep down. Keep that in mind going forward, yes?”


“You mean I can leave?” you ask.


“Yes,” she replies, only to grin broadly, “but not right now, mind you. After all, leaving now would render the entire experience pointless for you, since you wouldn’t have gone through that door and put a costume on had you wanted to leave. Besides, it wouldn’t be the best choice for you, in a griffin’s body, to exit this realm, now would it? Imagine how your fellow humans would react upon seeing you looking like that. Not wise, eh?”


You glance down at your body and feel your wings. “True.”


“Think of it as a binding contract of sorts,” the vixen says. “The instant you put the costume on, you signed said contract, and when you have met the stipulations, then you may choose to do more. For now, you are bound in the form you selected, so it’s up to you to reap the benefits you’ve been gifted. Otherwise, why bother with it, yes?”


You nod slowly.


“Do you wish to ask more?” the vixen inquires. “Or are you satisfied for now?”


You pause to consider this – do you want to ask her more?

Written by Hollowpage on 08 June 2021

A Conversation with a Vixen II emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar

After giving it some thought and weighing how you feel, you decide that you would like to hear more from the talking vixen. There’s a lot you don’t know, and you want to take full advantage of her being a ‘guide’ for this bizarre realm, or whatever it really is.


“Could I get back inside that room?” you ask, pointing up. “When I put this costume on, the floor shattered… but now, it’s whole again. Does that mean I can break it, or…?”


The vixen chuckles. “You are welcome to try, my dear. You do indeed possess enhanced strength and durability thanks to the costume you chose, more than you likely know to think of. However, while you could likely break through the floor, the door sealed itself shut the moment your transformation was complete. It won’t open for you.”


You peer back up toward the floating glass room. “Why is it still there, though? And…” You furrow your furred brow. “HOW is it there, just… floating in the middle of the air?”


“Magic, perhaps?” the vixen offers with a shrug. “Advanced technology? Forces beyond your mortal comprehension? Because of reasons?” She snickers. “I cannot say, not truly, as even I don’t have all the answers, my friend. At the very least, you can think of it as a landmark to use so you don’t get lost should you choose to explore the full breadth of this area. And trust me, I advise that. There’s much to see, to hear, to smell.”


You glance about. “How big is this, erm, place?”


“More than big enough to keep one’s interest,” the vixen replies.


“…okay,” you say. “What is there to do, then?”


The vixen’s tail says to and fro. “Mm, well, that is up to you and where you go. I will say… this place feeds off those that enter it – every region is a separate biome, and within each biome, there are many, many things to experience, because every biome is a world all its own. In a way, where you go will change a little depending on what you desire and what you want.” She pauses to grin. “The more individuals within a given area, the more things may change… or they may not change at all. It varies, I’m afraid.”


“I don’t… I don’t understand,” you say.


“If you set out and desire adventure or exploration, you will find it,” the vixen says, and she swirls a paw in a circle. “If you desire action, or mystery, or leisure, then you will find those, too. What you,” she points at your chest, “want deep down will be reflected by the environment you enter. Think of this place as a living thing that will alter itself freely based on what you want or what you yearn for in your mind, my friend. It’s an entity that will mold itself to suit what whims it senses from beings like you. The thing is, how much changes or not varies, because nothing is ever set in stone here. It’s a fickle entity.”


You stare at the vixen as you try to wrap your head around this. “So… all of this is… it looks like this because of me? Does that mean you’re, what, a fabrication, then?”


“Oh ho, no, no, my friend, that’s not quite correct,” the vixen replies. She grins wider. “I am very much a real being, like you. As far as whether the realm itself is borne from you or not? Yes and no.” She shakes her head. “In general, the landscapes you see have always been the way they are – this has always been a lush grassland, over there has always been a mountain range, and so on. But, your presence will influence parts of it.”


Clarity begins to dawn on you while her words sink in. “Oh… I think I understand.”


“How the environment changes, once more, will vary,” the vixen says. “It will vary on what you yourself feel and choose, and it will vary further depending on those like you that happen to be around. That means something small could occur, like day turning to night, or the weather changing to reflect a mood, or, it could be something… larger.”


“How many others like me are there?” you ask. “I didn’t see anyone but you.”


The vixen hums to herself again. “There are many others. Male, female, both, neither,” she gives a shrug, “they come through doors like the one you did exactly, or through other doors in other rooms scattered all about, because this place stretches on in all directions for a great length.” She smiles. “Some of them are close to where we stand, others are farther off by hours or even days, and others still have left this realm, either permanently or for whatever time limit they’ve set for themselves. As before… it varies.”


You’re startled to hear all this, but, excited at the same time.


“Should you go exploring, you may encounter others,” the vixen adds. “However, be aware that it won’t always be as simple as our interaction. Some humans find their way here to escape from their lives, and they prefer to be left alone. In those cases, this world accommodates them, and thus, they won’t be found unless they want to be. And it also depends on what you want, too – you need to want to find them, and vice versa.”


You nod slowly. “That’s a lot to take in, but I think I get it.” You mull this over for a beat before something occurs to you. “If some people don’t want to be found, and some are alright with it, that’s cool and all. But, that sign mentioned dying…” You glance around again. “Does that mean there’s dangerous people here, too, or, am I being paranoid?”


The vixen giggles. “Mm, no, you’re not paranoid, but, the answer is a difficult one.”


“What do you mean?” you ask.


“Time is a strange construct within this realm,” the vixen replies. She flicks her tail to and fro. “It moves however it wishes, both depending on what you humans want, and depending on what the world itself wants. That is to say, dear, that you will lose track of time if you’re not careful. An hour may end up feeling like a month, and so on.”


She holds your stare, her expression turning serious for once. “Now, in general, no creature you find will mean you harm. There are others like me that are not chosen to be guides – we exist and do as we please, yet we’re not your enemy unless you choose to make one of us. But,” she shakes her head, “some humans, when given the same boons you’ve been given, may feel differently. They may lose themselves to the creature they become, with no interest in changing back or changing their forms. Ever.”


You feel a lump form in your throat. “So they could be… hostile.”


“Yes,” the vixen says. “Fortunately, those sorts are rarer around here. Most humans I have met or heard of tend to prefer using this as a pleasant experience, or they’re drawn to the mystery of the realm and the inner workings of these costumes. Just be careful and be smart when going somewhere, and you ought to be fine, my friend.”


The large vixen finally stands up from her sitting position. She yawns.


“On that note,” the vixen says, “I suggest you experiment a bit with your body. You’re a griffin now, after all – a creature of legends and myths. You have the power of a lion and an eagle merged together within you, dear, so you ought to embrace it. Live a little, as it were, and learn while you go. That’s merely my advice, of course, it’s up to you.”


“What are you going to do?” you ask.


“My domain is actually in the misty forest,” the vixen says. “I’ll be around should you need the guidance or if you want to speak more, but, you can do without me as well.” She flashes a kind smile. “You may follow me if you want. My abode is within the forest, and should you get lost… well, you’ll find me. Think it, and things will work, I promise.”


With that, she darts off toward the forest area before you can even think of what to say, and in no time, she’s vanished into the mist. You stare after her in silence, blinking slow.


You now get to mull over what to do with yourself next. You can take the vixen on her offer and follow her, or, you could go into the forest for yourself. You also have other areas you can explore, too – the mountains, the hills, the marshland. Ultimately, it’s your choice, so now the question becomes: what do you feel like doing deep down?

Written by Hollowpage on 10 June 2021

Following the Fox emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar

You give it some thought for a beat, but in the end, you decide that you want to hear more from the strange vixen; thus, you choose to follow after her, although before you do so, you hesitate to figure out HOW exactly you ought to follow her into the forest.


The fact that the forest is covered by a thick mist makes visibility difficult – you know you could fly, but you already figured that it wouldn’t be the easiest without knowing how tall or thick the trees are, or what else may be lurking in the mist. Even so, you figure if you take it nice and slow, you should be able to get in and make it through well enough.


Though maybe it’s better to be on land to find where the vixen’s den is, you consider.


You figure you’ll just go at it from the air to start and then land when you’ve gotten a sense of the area – and so, you prepare your wings by flapping them several times, until you take off from the ground with a mighty leap and a mighty burst from your wings.


Once you’re airborne, you muse over how automatic an action it was for you to take off, and as you glide toward the forested region, you wonder if the costume is the reason why. That would make sense, you think, since you’ve become part-griffin – and since griffins of myth could fly, maybe the costume has simply made it so flying and landing and all that is second nature to you (even if you admittedly don’t know how it all works).


I never would’ve dreamt a place like this existed before now, you think. You glance at your furry paws and wiggle the digits. To think there’s some kind of Narnia-esque world where you become a hybrid creature by putting on a costume. But where did it come from? How is it even physically possible? I’m amazed people haven’t been screaming from the rooftops that this place is a thing, unless there are rules I’m unaware of…


You ponder these inquiries as you steadily move closer and closer toward the forest – the ground beneath you slowly transforms, as more and more trees are popping out from the lush earth, and the air around you, while still crisp in the scents and the coolness of its winds, becomes a tad damper. You can see perfectly fine still, and it isn’t until you arrive at the fringe of the misty blanket that your vision isn’t as great.


You halt in mid-air and flap your wings to keep your body hovering in place for a beat.


Strange, you think. You glance about. It really looks like the mist is just… floating there, like it doesn’t seem to extend past the line of trees directly in front of me. Like a barrier.


Mist or fog, that is – you realize that while you’ve been thinking of it as mist, but it strikes you as denser like fog. yet regardless, you steel yourself and begin to move forward.


Take it nice and easy, you think.
You go slowly despite your wings being quite strong, and as you near the trees and mist, you tentatively reach your paws out a bit in front of you – you do this so you can feel around the moment you breach the thick blanket that’s marred your ability to see in.


This proves to be a wise idea, because the moment you enter the thick, gray blanket, you nearly find yourself smacking into two trees close together. Fortunately, you feel the branches before you do this, and you instantly correct your positioning in the air – you squint, but, you definitely see that this is fog, rather than mist, because it’s extremely hard to see much beyond what’s directly in front of you. Still, you begin to climb up in the air, using your paws to feel where the branches of the trees end. It takes a moment.


When you feel the textures of the tree branches change into soft leaves, you scale a bit higher, higher, and higher still – all in all, it ends up bringing you almost to the same height you found yourself falling from when you finished putting the griffin costume on for you to finally reach the tops of the trees you almost ran into. Only then do you venture in more, but you maintain the gradual, wary pace to avoid any accidents.


A few heartbeats later, and you’re enveloped in the fog at last.


Jeez, I can hardly see much of anything, you think.


You feel your wings scrape against some leaves, yet you ignore this since it isn’t painful or unpleasant – that said, you can tell flying in this fog is a terrible idea, and so you take a brief instant to make sure you’re ahead of the same trees that you won’t get caught up in the branches. Then, you begin to descend, and you take your time doing this as well.


In the end, you land on the ground safely, although you admit you probably should’ve just gone on foot in the first place – you feel that the whole process probably took about ten extra minutes when walking would’ve sufficed. But, you shrug this off and fold your wings onto your back, and now you begin to walk around, keeping your senses peeled.


The ground is soft and damp to your paws, which sink into the dirt parts a little, leaving behind imprints where your feet made contact; the ground itself appears to be a mixture of earth and splotches of grass like it was outside the forest region, and while the dirt isn’t so wet that it becomes thick mud or slush that makes you slip (or that you could sink into, which you don’t want), you get the sense that it may not be like that forever. You soldier on, however, and your first order of business is figuring the area out.


How the hell am I supposed to find her in this area when I can hardly see? you wonder.


You try to make use of what your senses can accomplish, though, as you walk.


For starters, you can hardly hear anything… because it’s eerily dead silent. Other than your own heartbeat and the sounds of your paws making contact with the ground, you don’t hear any noises – there are no birds chirping or squawking or flying about, there is no running water or rain falling, there are no insects clicking or buzzing or thrumming. There is only quiet, and this is rather unnerving to you, even though you are in the form of a griffin-human hybrid. You can’t shake the unease away despite your efforts.


Your nose picks up a few scents – you can smell what you can only define as the fog itself due to the moisture in the air. It’s not a bad scent, yet it’s a strong one, and it clings to your body the same way the fog clings to your surroundings. Beyond this, you can smell damp grass and damp earth, and there’s another woodsy flavor that you can’t put your mind on, but you know it’s there; perhaps it’s the trees, which you can still see vaguely, especially when you nearly run into one, or perhaps it’s something else.


Speaking of trees, they’re the most noticeable things to your marred vision, and there are a vast number of them. Many of the trees are clustered together so tightly that you have no way of moving through them (you find this out rather quickly amid your trekking), which forces you to have to walk around the clusters to search for an opening.


You end up having to veer to the right for a good few minutes because of this.


I’m starting to regret following the fox, you think.


You retain some hopefulness, but, even so, you are incredibly leery of venturing further in because of how foggy it is. However, as time slithers by, you begin to notice that while the fog doesn’t let up, you feel as though your vision is adjusting to it, as you soon begin to see further ahead of you than when you first entered the dense, covered forest.


You weave around and through clusters of giant trees, and fortunately for you, the ground doesn’t change up from the random splotches of damp grass or moist ground.


Soon, in fact, you begin to see something in the distance, a large, dark silhouette.


After several minutes of weaving around more trees, you eventually realize that the shape is a tree – a very, very large, thick tree, which stretches even higher up into the foggy air than the ones you’ve been trying to move around. It’s so big, it takes an extra few minutes for you to even get close to the tree, and by the time you manage to, you find that the massive tree blots out a good chunk of your vision thanks to its size.


“Whoa,” you say to yourself. Is this the vixen’s den, or…?


You blink and notice something: the tree appears to have a large crater on one side, a crater that looks like it leads underground beneath the tree, like a tunnel. Not only that, but you spot that there is an actual hole in the tree on the other side, and as you move a little to get a better glance, you find that the hole is almost an entrance INTO the tree.


Oh, you think, and your shoulders slump. I have… options, I guess? But, how do I know which is the right path? I don’t feel any sixth sense stuff pointing me toward one in particular… so how the hell am I supposed to figure out where the vixen’s den is?


You sigh.


Do you want to enter the tunnel located at the base of the tree and see if it leads to your ideal destination? Or, do you want to enter the tree itself and see where that leads? Or, do you want to ignore both and scour the area for something else, just to be safe?

Written by Hollowpage on 12 June 2021

Following the Fox II emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar

You give it some thought, and weigh the options to see if anything FEELS best for you to take, since the vixen told you that your own whims may be reflected in this weird realm. That said, you don’t get a sense that one choice is worse or better than the other, so you figure that it might not matter right now (unless the vixen was pulling your leg).


She might be, you admit internally. She did say she was a ‘trickster’ guide, after all.


Plus, a part of your brain reminds you that for all you know, she could be lying entirely about being a guide at all – you’d have no way of knowing if she was being honest or not, since you only just met her, and she was a talking animal… a talking fox far bigger than what foxes should’ve been, too. And even when you add the fact you’re now a humanoid griffin after putting a costume on into the mix, it’s still a possibility, so…


Cripes, you think. What the heck kind of mess have I gotten myself into?


Eventually, you make a choice at last: you decide to go into the tree directly, rather than into the hole-slash-tunnel – at least in the tree, you hope to have a better vision, and you hope for more space to move around in, just in case you end up needing to fly.


Thus, you trek toward the side of the massive tree with the hole that leads into the tree, and as you approach it, you can tell that the interior of the tree is just as gigantic as the tree itself is on the outside – but more than just its sheer, fantastical size, when you step foot INTO the tree, you can’t help stopping and staring with wide eyes at what you see.


Whoa, you think. This is… way bigger and not at all what I was expecting it to be.


The tree’s insides look as if someone went in and carved out… well, you don’t know the right way to describe it. You swear it feels like you’ve stepped foot into a fortress, or a huge home crafted within the tree, or maybe even a dungeon from a video game; all these seem like fitting descriptions to define what lays ahead of you in the tree. It takes a moment for you to glance around and soak in the sights, and to process everything.


You wonder who would do this to the inside of a tree, or how, for that matter. It feels like something of this nature would take months on end for a group of people to achieve realistically, but you recall that it could be this way because of the strange… realm.


Even so, you think. How freaking epic… but it just leaves me with a ton of questions.


Where you entered the tree appears to be a kind of large chamber sort of room – it’s completely hollowed out, as there’s a great deal of space in every direction (except behind you, since that’s where the entrance is, of course), and it’s also completely smooth. The floor (or ground, you aren’t sure which it would be considered?) is mostly solid, soft earth instead of wood, whereas the walls are the inner linings of the tree, but other than a few small holes and divots here and there, it’s devoid of anything else…


Well, anything else but torches.


Wait, torches? You rub your eyes, but no, you’re not seeing things.


There are several rows of lit torches, evenly spread-out as they circle around the walls of the tree – there’s a row on ‘ground level,’ then another a few feet above this, and so on, forming at least five separate rows of torch rings. Altogether, they not only cast a warm glow upon the entire chamber of the tree, but they also illuminate even further above you, where you spot what appears to be another floor far above you. The torches emanate with soft crackling noises, the sort you expect from lit flames, yet they don’t seem to be in any danger of lighting the literal wood from the tree on fire, oddly enough.


Okay, but, how even… You try to wrap your head around this, because it’s just that strange to you. How are there torches inside a tree, let alone so many of them, all lit, all… burning without a care. And how does someone even light the higher ones?


You end up shaking this off, lest you get sidetracked with a hundred questions.


After you come to terms with the torches, you start to move forward. Each step you take casts a very faint echo of the sound made from heavy feet coming down on soft earth, yet besides this and the crackling from the torches, you don’t hear anything else.


At least I can see in here thanks to those torches, you muse. Less fog was nicer…


The immediate ‘chamber’ goes on for quite some time, but you soon notice a few things about it, including the fact in the very middle of the chamber there is a giant circular hole of all things – however, unlike the tunnel you saw outside (which you see no sign of in here), the hole actually appears to lead underground, as you see what amounts to be a winding staircase that goes deeper into the tree. You tentatively pause near the start of the stairs and peer over them, only to find it, too, has torches illuminating the path down.


You step back and wonder if anything – or anyone – lives in the tree. The presence of torches and wooden stairs spiraling downwards into some lower, underground level makes you think of video games where some dungeons would have such a layout, so you naturally wonder if maybe something dangerous lurks within this giant hollow tree.


You then glance around more, because you were fairly sure you also saw…


And you prove to be correct: other than the hole leading downwards, you find there is a wooden staircase far across from you that also leads upwards, likely to the ‘room’ you figure is above this main chamber. But, you also find there are several literal doors carved into the wooden wall of the tree, or at the very least, they look to be actual doors.


It’s giving you the vibes that this is indeed someone’s home, but you don’t see anyone, least of all any sign that the vixen was around here. Plus, it doesn’t FEEL like it belongs to a vixen, even if said vixen can talk and happens to be as big as a full grown wolf.


So then what lives here… you wonder.


Your mind cycles through the various possibilities, based on what limited understanding you have about this bizarre world where costumes turn people into hybrid creatures – the vixen said there were others like her, although you still don’t fully comprehend what she is besides a ‘guide’ for those like you. Perhaps the tree is home to something like the vixen, you think, or, maybe it’s a place where someone like you decided to live?


Trees make you think of birds and woodland creatures like squirrels or chipmunks, or maybe something like a bat. You also consider that a tree could be home to something like a badger, maybe, or a possum or a raccoon – but you don’t put a tree as the home for a fox. Granted, the interior of the tree is humongous, and since the talking vixen was obviously really large, too, you suppose that it could be possible she’d live inside here.


You rub the back of your neck as you ponder this conundrum. You feel lost.


It’s difficult for you to guess what the truth is, but you do recall the vixen saying that in some cases, there may be people wearing these costumes that wish to be left alone.


You halt in place. Mm. And what better spot to be alone then a giant tree, I guess. If I wanted privacy and space to not have to deal with anyone, a huge tree isn’t the worst spot to think of. Then again, you pause to peer about, that doesn’t explain how the tree ended up like this. Unless is looks like this because it’s what the person wants?


It’s still quite confusing for you, and really, whether or not that’s the case, it doesn’t detract from how eerie it feels to be wandering around inside this tree. It’s too quiet, and the presence of lit torches and doors and stairs makes you think too much of a video game where some boss monster is just looming in wait for you to drop your guard…


You swallow the lump that forms in your throat. Do you dare venture onward? You get that, being a griffin, you might not have as much to be afraid of as you think, yet you don’t know your limitations yet, nor do you know what else you’re capable of. You can fly, sure, and you’ve got claws and a beak that you’ve not used yet… but what else?


You may well just be worrying over nothing, yet even so, you want to hold off on automatically traipsing about when you’ve got no clue what lurks within this tree. You could explore, of course, by going through any of the doors or by using either set of stairs (or flying, since there’s space for your wings). Or, you could turn around and go.


I don’t know, you think. You’re leery given how little you really know about this tree.


What to do next… that’s the question. So, you take a moment to think, since you’ve got plenty of choices to pick from, yet you don’t want to rush into making a decision.

Written by Hollowpage on 14 June 2021

Following the Fox III emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar

After you mull over your choices and how you feel, you figure out your decision.


Something tells you that the tree isn’t the den the vixen was referring to – your gut and mind tell you this in unison, and even though it’s warmer and easier to see because of all the lit torches, you don’t want to end up getting caught up in trouble you weren’t prepared for. To be safe, you opt to turn around and keep searching for the vixen’s abode, so you swiftly make for the opening to the tree’s interior, and then you exit it.


When you leave the strange, giant tree chamber, you take a few steps from the hole and pause for a beat to consider checking the tunnel out, since underground feels more ‘fitting’ for a vixen’s den when you think of what you can imagine a fox living inside.


However, you don’t, because that, too, doesn’t feel like it’s the right choice to make.


Bigger than the average fox or not, when you envision a den where she would live, realistically, you imagine it being in a cave or a hole somewhere that’s more fertile and less… gloomy and chilly and foggy – this misty environment is cold and difficult to see through, but then again, you consider that perhaps she WOULD live here just because.


Even so, you don’t believe in your gut that you’re in the right area. She might have said she lived in here, but since you don’t know how large this whole biome is, you suppose that she could be somewhere further in, or she could even be behind where you are.


I guess that means I should keep looking around, you think. Or, well, trying to.


With a sigh, you begin moving once more, going left so that you can wrap around the large tree in order to continue forward – you note you could perhaps fly, but you hesitate to do this given the heavy fog blanket, and you don’t know if there are any large branches you could crash into or if there are trees nearby you’d miss completely.


Figures I’d end up going somewhere that basically clips my wings, you think.


And yet, you persist, and several minutes of gradual walking later, you finally make it around the tree so that you can actually progress forward rather than just sideways.


Once you do, you continue as you had previously, by going forward – you notice that the fog doesn’t seem to be changing, however, you feel as though the ground is a little firmer than it was leading up to the massive tree, and you swear that the tree clusters are somewhat more dispersed, meaning you have less chance to run into one. And as the seconds tick by, you feel a sense of… confidence, you guess, building within you. This spurs you into picking up your pace a tad, from cautious and slow to a little brisker.


I wonder how long this fog lasts for, you think. And I wonder if anything lives here?


You admittedly consider that perhaps you should’ve explored the inside of the tree more, to see what was actually in there, if anything at all – but you push this aside, and ever so slowly, you feel inside that you are going the correct way – what adds to this sense in your mind is that you begin to feel that the fog is starting to lazily weaken.


In fact, within minutes, you notice you can see clearer and further than previously. The fog remains a constant presence, of course, but, you soon manage to see more than just the vague shapes of trees in this proverbial forest – you can see the trees, you can see stumps and bushes scattered about, and you even see that an eventual there’s an eventual path of some sort… but you almost stop when you see this out of confusion.


“What in the world is that?” you mutter to yourself.


You keep on toward this apparent path, and it soon grows to be clearer – it’s not one path, but rather, it’s a fork in the road type path between several trees that serve as a landmark of a sort, as if the trees are there to say ‘this is an important place,’ or something. Regardless, it’s a fork that seems to split into two different routes, and both routes are teeming with more trees amid the constant fog. However, as you get closer, you find that the two paths are a little different depending on what direction you go.


The right hand path’s trees seem to lose their leaves the further you see, until they seem to be plainly dead, devoid of any green whatsoever – it’s just trees with empty branches, although you swear that the air coming from that direction is colder. It sends a genuine chill rushing up your spine, despite the fact your body is covered in fur.


It looks… kind of creepy down that way, honestly, you think.


Then, you look left.


The left hand path retains the full trees without any loss in foliage – but that’s the only thing you can tell from a glance, as there doesn’t appear to be any other differences in terms of the landscape, unless the difference lies too far ahead for you to see. In fact, you take a moment to move toward this path to see if you can get a better glimpse…


“Wait…” you say under your breath, and you squint. Am I seeing things or…


It may be your eyes playing tricks on you or just wishful thinking, but, you swear that there’s… sunlight? It appears to be a faint flicker, but, you think it looks like sunlight.


You pause to rub the back of your neck. What about forward, though?


You can’t tell what lies due ahead of you, in part thanks to the trees in front of where you stand – they are quite thick and tall, not as massive as the one you went by, but, they block you from being able to see what’s immediately straight onward. You assume it’s probably just more thick trees and more fog, yet your attention is soon snagged.


On the trees, you spot a small sign just sitting there, and it has something written on it – it’s difficult to make the words out at first, but when you walk up to it, you find you can read what’s written: ‘If you are lost, feel free to knock, and you’ll receive some help.’


You’re a bit confused at this, but, you also feel intrigued. That means you have several options at your disposal once again, depending on what you want to do: you can go left, you can go right, you can perhaps go forward directly, and while you can go backwards, you push that aside and instead consider knocking to see what that might do for you.


So what do you want to do next?

Written by Hollowpage on 16 June 2021

A Curious Conversation emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar

You give it some thought and glance around, taking in the different choices you have before you as to how you could potentially proceed – you can go right, left, forward, or even back you suppose, but, then there’s the sign that tells you to knock for ‘help’ of some sort. You frankly don’t know what to expect from this, however, in the end, you decide to give that a shot, and so you do as the sign suggests: you knock on the tree.


At first, after you retract your paw, nothing happens.


Okay, so, I knocked, but… you think. I don’t get it.


And you wait as the quiet lingers. You shift around a little in place, feeling a tad unnerved, yet mostly confused by the lack of anything actually occurring post-knocking.


You frown. Am I supposed to knock again? Or am I not knocking on the right thing?


You look left, then right, then around for a moment to double check every conceivable direction. There’s no sound around you, no indication that something is happening, and you begin to wonder if the sign is a lie or a trick of some sort – you question if you’re just wasting your time or if this is some kind of trap, but before you can start to assume the worst of your decision, you finally hear movement coming from the tree in front of you, and the ground begins to shake a little, too. It’s loud and noticeably rumbling movement, combined with a sound that strikes you as akin to gears moving directly underground?


“What…?” you say.


You step back warily, and no sooner do you step back, you look on in genuine shock as the tree begins to gradually turn clockwise in place, almost as if the whole trunk isn’t even a real tree, but some kind of mechanism – this goes on for about a minute or so as the tree soon reveals a large hole in the back of the tree, one that’s person-sized.


Okay, that’s different, you think.


Then, the tree ceases moving entirely, and the sounds come to a halt, and from the large hole, a figure lazily emerges – it isn’t a person, of course, but rather, it’s a rather large owl. It looks like a horned owl the size of a small child, yet despite the large, round eyes, its eyes seem eerily human-like, just like the large vixen you spoke to earlier…


“Ah, a guest,” the owl says. It speaks with a soft, yet obviously masculine voice, and you detect an air of eloquence to it. The owl yawns and uses one wing to cover its beak, then shakes its head. “My sincere apologies for the delay in responding to you, friend. I was in the midst of a little nap when you knocked, and,” it yawns once more, “ooh, excuse me,” it shakes this away, “and I tend to need a moment to wake myself up.”


You blink for a beat, but, given what you’ve seen already, you suppose it isn’t too shocking to find yourself talking to a rather BIG owl that can speak perfectly as well.


“Oh, erm, that’s fine,” you say. “I kind of assumed it was maybe, um, a trap, or…”


“Oho, no, no,” the owl says. It appears to be more awake now as it gives you a brisk glimpse up and down. “Ah, so you chose the wind path, I see. A griffin costume… it’s been a good long while since I’ve laid eyes on someone that chose one like that.”


That gets your attention. “You know about the room with the costumes?”


The owl nods. “Of course, of course, I know of it, and I know of nearly everyone whom has come this way, whether through interacting with them as I am with you, or by seeing them with my own eyes. Ah, but, where are my manners? I should introduce myself.” It clears its throat, then bows its head to you. “You may call me Archimedes, if you wish.”


“Archimedes,” you say, more to yourself as you register the name. “It’s a pleasure.”


“You didn’t think I would have a name, did you?” Archimedes asks, looking amused. “It’s quite alright if that’s the case – I’m sure you’re still coming to terms with the reality you find yourself in, aren’t you? At the very least,” he pauses to eye you, “you seem to have come across something out of the ordinary, given your reaction to seeing me, yes?”


You nod. “When I first, er… well, when I landed, I guess, I spoke to this really big vixen.”


“Ah… that would be Rosha,” Archimedes says. “She didn’t introduce herself, did she?”


You shake your head.


The owl puffs his feathers up and scoffs with a shake of his head. “That is highly unsurprising. She’s a handful given her fondness for being vague on purpose. I’ll be honest, she can be a pain in the tail feathers if she’s in a tricksy mood,” he rolls his large eyes, “but, she’s far from being one of the… unsavory guardians within this realm.”


“Guardians?” you say, frowning at the word choice used. Then, it dawns on you. “Oh… she mentioned there were guides all around that could help out people like me.”


“Yes, indeed,” Archimedes says. He cocks his head to the side slightly. “Guardians or guides, I suppose either would fit, in a way. The semantics to describe our exact positions here are a tad strange, admittedly. You likely have questions to ask, do you not?” He gives you a look that seems to be the owl equivalent of a smile. “Do feel free to ask what you wish – I shall help as I can, without the vagueness Rosha likes to employ.”


Hearing that delights you. “Thank you.”


The owl gives a nod and waits.


“I guess there’s a lot on my mind,” you say after a pause, because it’s the honest truth when you stop to consider everything you want to ask. “I’m sure there’s stuff you may not know, either, but, are there… are there rules I don’t know about? Regarding what I can or can’t do, regarding what you can tell me, or, I dunno, stuff that sign didn’t say?” You blink. “Oh, I don’t know if you know about the sign. The vixen did, so, I figured…”


Archimedes chortles. “I know the sign you refer of, yes.”


You feel good hearing that much.


The owl goes quiet for a beat and seems to think over your question. He even uses the tips of his wing to stroke at his chin area as if to reflect the fact he’s deep in thought.


“It’s a difficult question to ponder when it’s so broad, I’m afraid,” Archimedes eventually says, “but, to try and give you some semblance of a response: there are rules, I would say, however, those rules are not really ‘concrete’ as they are mere guidelines to take into consideration. The primary rules are the ones you know of regarding your current form and the time limit you must spend within that form, but these are enforced already.”


Archimedes taps his chin a few times. “Now, if you’re speaking about rules for beyond that time limit, then, you ought to know that this,” he gestures to your body with one wing, “can only happen when you are here in this realm, or in a realm similar to this.” He nods along. “If you were to exit this world and return to yours while still wearing this or another ‘costume,’ as you see it, the costume would automatically dissipate, and you would simply be your normal human self until you return here and put the costume on.”


“I see,” you say. “But otherwise…?”


“Nothing else immediately stands out to me as being necessary for you to know,” Archimedes replies, and he speaks earnestly. “I don’t feel you need to be concerned over your own safety or fate, my friend. I feel if there was something of great importance, then I imagine it would’ve been placed on the sign you read when you first entered the area – it would be far too cruel to withhold valued information otherwise.”


You don’t respond immediately to this, because this brings up a few other questions.


Questions about the reality of this strange, magical world you find yourself in, about where it came from (if he even knows), and so on. But, you hold off from going that route, as you recall you were knocking on the tree to get help for where to go – so you take a moment to mull over whether or not you want to keep speaking to Archimedes on the things you’re curious about, or if you’d rather ask his help in what direction to go.


What do you prefer to do next? Archimedes grows silent and waits for you to decide.

Written by Hollowpage on 20 June 2021

A Curious Conversation II emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar

You eventually decide to keep asking the talking owl about the world as a whole, as you don’t know if you’ll get another chance to learn, and he comes off very sincere in his responses – you get the sense within that he’s genuinely open to helping you as he can.


“Do you have more you wish to know?” Archimedes asks.


You nod. “Am I allowed to ask about…” You gesture a paw at him. “What you are?”


Archimedes seems amused. “Do you not see that I am an owl, hmm?”


You rub the back of your neck. “Er, well, yes, but—”


“Oho, I jest, my friend, I jest,” the owl says with a soft chuckle. “You mean how it is that I am an owl, yet I am vastly larger than the owls within the real world, alongside the obvious fact I can speak despite the physical lack of logic in such a thing.” He nods as he says this last bit. “To put it into simple terms, I am not so different from you in a way.”


“You mean… you were a human?” you ask.


“Mm, no, I was not a human previously,” Archimedes replies. “Rather, I was an actual owl from the real world you come from, one that happened upon this realm, and upon entering it, I was eventually, shall we say, gifted with the ability to speak and think as a human does.” He cocks his head to the other side, his expression one of calmness and thoughtfulness. “Think of it less as a human putting on an animal costume to become a hybrid of that creature, and more as the opposite, of a creature finding their way into a human costume. That is what led to me and others like me becoming what you see.”


Your eyes go wide as you absorb this, and you can’t help but stare in shock.


“You were a normal animal before,” you say as you work through this. “Whoa…”


“The circumstances for how I ended up here are different, of course,” Archimedes says, and he gives an owl equivalent to a shrug. “I did not open any doors, nor did I choose a room to appear in this realm. To be honest, I don’t fully recall the exact method of how I came to be in this world.” He looks around for a beat. “I recall… some sort of path in the woods, where I once called home, and I believe I was chasing after a field mouse at the time when I flew through that path. I apologize, I can’t remember the rest very well.”


“That’s fine,” you say. “So, you and… Rosha, you said her name was?”


“Yes, Rosha,” Archimedes says. “And yes, we were normal animals at one point.”


You don’t quite understand how it is an animal would end up putting on a ‘human costume’ as Archimedes calls it, but, you are still fascinated by what you hear – it really opens up a lot about this strange realm, although it doesn’t answer the big questions…


“Do you know where this world came from?” you ask.


Archimedes frowns for a beat. “Truthfully? No. I don’t know where it came from, nor how it functions entirely, although my best guess is that this place is… well, it’s detached from your world enough that your human population is unawares of its existence, but it is also attached enough that, at random, humans are frequently drawn here somehow.”


“And animals, too, then?”


“Yes, occasionally,” Archimedes says. “You will find that there are, in fact, actual living, breathing creatures scattered about this realm that can be hunted if you so choose – I believe in most cases, they are from your world, but unlike myself, they are not granted the same level of human intelligence and sentience. Why not, I’m afraid I don’t know.”


“I take it you don’t know who, well, ‘runs’ this place, either?” you ask.


Archimedes taps his chin again. “That is a fantastic question to inquire about given the way this realm works, my friend. To be blunt, I do not, no. However… at the very least, I can offer that I have ‘seen’ something, several somethings, in fact.” He eyes you with a thoughtful look. “I am certain that some entities do indeed ‘tend’ to this realm, yet they do so without often interfering in what happens here. Think of them as an unseen force that relegates everything from the background, merely watching on and watching over.”


“Like… a god?”


“Mm…” The owl shakes his head. “Not quite to that extent, no, no. It is hard to put a word to what they are beyond benefactors that maintain the stability of this place, but I do not feel they are divine in nature. Granted, the fact that we are having this conversation, me an owl that is able to speak and think as a human, and you a human that stands there in the body of a mythical creature… I could very well be incorrect.”


He shrugs at this, and, you admit you don’t blame him for it.


You sigh. “Thank you for at least giving me something to work off. I don’t need to know every single thing, but, having a decent understanding is useful given… everything.”


“Oho, you’re quite welcome,” Archimedes says. “And I definitely do know what you mean, indeed – humans like to have a general notion of what something is and how it works, and I imagine being thrust into a strange world that seems to be both magical and realistic in unison can be jarring, particularly given the form you’ve assumed.”


You nod because he’s definitely correct, at least as far as you feel.


“As it stands,” Archimedes says, “it is very likely none shall ever truly know the exact nature of this world’s inner workings. I believe it falls upon those who run it to decide, and given that it’s existed for an apparent many, many years, I don’t feel it’s going to happen, at least not for an equally long time.” He gives a shrug. “That’s how I see it.”


“That’s fair,” you say. “I’m guessing they don’t want us to go and tell the world about it, either?” You pause as you realize this and it brings back something that had slipped your mind. “I forgot to ask about that as a rule, since the sign didn’t say anything there?”


Archimedes hums to himself. “There is no rule against telling your friends and families that this place exists, no. Then again, would anyone within your social circles believe you were telling the truth?” He eyes you quizzically, a sincere thoughtfulness in his humanlike eyes. “I imagine most would not accept the idea of a human putting on a costume to become part-creature or the prospect of animals able to speak as people.”


You don’t disagree with him on that.


“But,” the owl continues, “I believe it is highly… frowned upon to go and inform others about this world, for many reasons which I believe would be evident, such as the safety of those that live here and the possibility of some seeking it for ill purposes.” He shakes his head. “Now, that said, I couldn’t give you a concrete response on whether or not it’s something you COULD do. Perhaps it would be welcomed, depending on the sorts of people you inform if they believed what you said. Or, perhaps you would be able to return, yet they, meaning any you tried to bring with you, would be unwelcome here.”


You absorb his response and admit that he isn’t wrong – you can’t imagine how others would react if they suddenly learned about this place. Your friends and family… you feel it would be a mixed bag, but, you don’t dwell on it for now, since you’ve got plenty of time left to be a griffin before you’ve been told you can leave or change your costume.


“Was there anything else you wished to ask?” the owl inquires again.


For now, you feel that you’ve gotten a decent understanding of some things you were legitimately curious about – having that knowledge helps you to better comprehend at least some parts of the weirdness of this place and the rules it abides by… sort of. Still, you decide it’ll likely be better for your sanity to shelve any other curiosities.


“Yes,” you say. “Actually, it’s the thing I originally knocked on the tree about since the sign said to knock for help.” You rub the back of your neck. “I got carried away, though.”


“Oho, you’re fine, you’re fine,” Archimedes says. “I quite enjoy the chance to chat.” He offers a friendly look. “So what is it you wish for my help with, exactly? Let me know.”


You pause here and consider what you would ask for in terms of actual guidance – do you want to ask about the vixen, Rosha? Or do you want to ask about where you could go, or what each path leads you to? You could ask all of the above, if he allows you to (which you feel wouldn’t be a problem), but, you can also focus on one thing in particular if you decide. What do you prefer to do now, you think, and you go silent.

Written by Hollowpage on 22 June 2021

A Curious Conversation III emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar emptystar

You soon come to your decision, and, go from there. “Do you know where Rosha lives? I wanted to try to find her since she offered to help me out more.” You glance about, peering back toward the thicker fog. “So that’s the reason I ended up in this… area.”


Archimedes chortles. “Did she run off without telling you where she lives, I take it?”


You nod.


“Bah, again, unsurprising,” the owl replies dryly, rolling his eyes again. “She’s both a trickster and a bit of a ‘sink or swim’ style figure, although how extreme she can be depends on her mood.” He shakes his head. “Regardless, if you’re seeking her out, then you’ll want to go down the path located to your left, and my immediate right.”


He points with one wing to the path that doesn’t have dead or dying trees. The fog is still noticeable that way as it was when you first peered toward it, but again, you swear you can see a faint bit of sunlight in the far, far distance, a flicker of a sunny-colored gleam.


“Thank you,” you say, feeling relief at having a sense of where to go next.


“Oho, you’re welcome,” Archimedes says. “I don’t blame you for not knowing, especially when this whole domain is quite difficult to get through. This fog is a constant presence, but alas, that’s due to the nature of the biome as a whole. Fortunately, you’ll find the fog will lessen the further you go down that path – it will lead you to a lush, open woodland eventually, which is where you’ll find a good number of denizens, Rosha included.”


The owl pauses for a beat until something appears to come to him. “Ah, and, you can fly going that way, too, in case you’ve grown tired of being grounded.” He gives you an affable, encouraging nod. “Trust a fellow winged being, my friend, you don’t need to worry about poorer visibility in this area. The trees aren’t as densely packed together, and since you can see a little easier, you’ll be able to glide onwards without fear of crashing into something or hurting yourself. I always try to inform those with wings.”


“That helps a lot,” you say, and you give the owl a nod of thanks. “So you mean this whole area is always drenched in thick fog? I can’t imagine many things live here.”


“Mm, a few do, yes,” Archimedes says. “There are approximately five humans like yourself whom have taken on ground creature costumes that actually are around, but they prefer to keep to themselves, so you’re less likely to run into them. And did you see the giant tree at the center of this whole biome? You likely poked your head inside?”


You blink and nod slowly. “I, uh… yes, I did briefly go in there to look around. It was… a little too silent in there for my taste, so I ended up exiting not long after I checked it out.”


“Oho, I don’t blame you,” Archimedes says with a chuckle. “The tree is meant to give off an air of tension to those that venture within – it’s partly because of who lives in it, though.” He rolls his eyes. “At the very top of the tree is the nest of another owl, but she is a great gray owl.” His eyes narrow slightly. “She is… a tad more on the aloof side of personalities, if you catch my meaning. Not cruel, no, but, not an easy creature to make contact with. I believe the tree interior is home to several more humans, yet they live in the lower regions of the tree. As a whole, they’re very wary of any new interlopers.”


“So it IS home to someone,” you say, and you glance back toward the direction of the massive tree. “I thought it was given all the lit torches, but I didn’t hear anything inside.”


“Yes, they are a very elusive bunch,” the owl replies, and he gives another shrug along with this. “Now, had you gone underground, you would’ve had no trouble running into someone – that tunnel leads to the home of a badger like myself – he’s gruff and a little rough around the edges, but, much chattier. At the very least, this part of the domain is peaceful enough. You wouldn’t have to worry about danger, at least not immediately.”


“What’s that way?” you ask, indicating the other path with the dead trees.


Archimedes goes quiet for a beat. “That is… it leads to a foggy wasteland, one I seldom venture toward because even I find it unnerving. It’s beyond deathly quiet that way, and from experience, I know it houses several of the… less civil sorts that now live around here. Most are predators, and last I saw, there were three different groups locked in a constant feud between one another over control of that entire portion of the biome.”


“Wait, really?” you say. “I didn’t expect to hear people were fighting here.”


“This realm is an escape for humans that find it,” Archimedes says. “But how they choose to utilize it varies between individuals – some see it as a haven for solitude, others use it to live a wilder life while exploring and making friends, and then,” he shakes his head, “there are those who embrace the darker side of the abilities they gain. There are no laws here, my friend, as I said, and when you give certain people the freedom do what they wish without true punishments… well, you can imagine.”


You nod slowly as you absorb this. “I’ll keep that in mind, thanks. What about due north, beyond the tree you’re, uh, living in? Is it more of the same foggy domain or different?”


Archimedes turns his head almost completely around for a beat. “Oho, wondering about that direction, are we? It’s funny, I don’t get asked what lies forward very often.” His head turns back to you. “It’s the same as what you passed, I’m afraid, at least for a while, but it does eventually open up into a more manageable, visible domain. Except whereas to your left leads to the woodland domain and to your right leads to the, for lack of a better term, ‘deadland’ domain, going straight ahead takes you to a desert.”


“A desert?”


“Indeed, indeed,” the owl replies. “You’ll find that the more you go in any direction, the biome will gradually evolve into something new – there are many, many different domains scattered about this realm, including some where the weather is constant, like how this biome is always gloomy and foggy. But, being an owl… that suits me fine.”


“That’s understandable,” you say.


For a moment, you soak in all you’ve learned and heard from the friendly owl, until you feel you’ve grown to comprehend all you’re likely to for the time being, which is enough.


“Thanks for the help, Archimedes,” you say, and you truly mean it. You never expected to get advice from a talking owl the size of a child, but, you’re grateful nonetheless.


“Of course, of course,” Archimedes replies, and he offers you a sincere smile (or the owl equivalent of a sincere smile). “Feel free to return should you wish for a chat, I’m always happy to oblige.” He yawns and returns to the large hole in the tree. “I wish you a safe venture and a safer flight while you’re in a form with wings, my friend.”


You give him a nod of appreciation, and watch as the owl slinks down into the tree. Moments later, the tree trunk begins to turn slowly counterclockwise, the same sound of moving gears and the ground echoing around you – when the tree has returned to its previous position with the sign in front, it ceases moving, and silence falls once more.


I wonder why it makes that noise, you think, but, you shrug it off in the end.


You turn your gaze toward the direction Archimedes has pointed you toward, and although you do question if you have a purpose going this way – or a purpose in seeking out the vixen, Rosha, since you’ve learned a lot from the owl as it stands – you suppose it doesn’t bother you since it’s actually been kind of fun to explore this world.


That said, you do feel you have new options to take into consideration. Namely, those are: do you want to fly now, since Archimedes has said it’s clearer for you to move through the air with your wings, or do you want to keep going on foot at your own pace?


It isn’t a massive deal, you feel, but, either way, you ponder what you wish to do.

Written by Hollowpage on 24 June 2021

Male Following the Fox IV

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