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La Malle d'Uchronie (Uchronia's Chest)



"Do you want to know the Haven back room?"


That evening, as so often, we were sitting around the fire, waiting for the rain to finally stop outside, when Delkinn said this.


The Guardian was sitting silently, but with a smile he invited me to get up and follow Delkinn, who was already crossing the great hall. I was familiar with the alcoves in the room, with the tables where you could rest alone or with other refugees, and with the great library that contained the knowledge of the ancient peoples. Whenever I visited, I liked to look at the strange artefacts that lined the walls and shelves, but I had never been through the low door that Delkinn opened in front of me.


The room wasn't very high, it was barely lit at that time of night, and you could hear more of the rain pounding down on the house, yet it exuded a welcoming warmth, an energy different from the great hall. This was the Heart of the Haven, a calmly beating heart.


Large workbenches were covered with various tools, and the floor was littered in places with rope and chopped wood. Large drawings and watercolours, annotated and often unfinished, lined the walls in the style of an old alchemy laboratory. Everywhere you looked, materials, half-open books, bottles of paint and improbable sketches.


"This is the Uchronia's Chest. Here, as we wanted for the Haven, time has no hold. What binds me to it is the power of my imagination; if you wish to work here, it will be the same for you. As an alchemist, you are welcome here, for you can see that in this part of the Haven, magic is used first and foremost to create, and you are a Creator, Master of Dragons!"


As she spoke, she moved a few scrolls around, tidying up what was under her hands, uncovering the veins that ran across the surface of a workbench that had long been hidden by wood shavings. I could see a new gleam in her eyes, and I understood why she had invited me to discover the workshop.


There are no words in ordinary language to describe what was happening. I felt dizzy, as if dispossessed of some buried energy that I wasn't using but which was coursing through my body. Then, without needing to do anything, a seething heat took possession of my mind, and new images, ideas, forgotten words and a thousand sensations impossible to control surfaced. I relived certain journeys and past encounters, but also discovered new impulses for new roads, and above all, in every cell of my body, an irresistible desire to sit down and create, exchange ideas on new visions, move forward, invent.


"You've got it, haven't you? Uchronia's Chest is my dispensary: this place is a catalyst. I like to stay there for a few hours, sometimes doing nothing, just dreaming and hoping. I think about all the travellers and dreamers who stop off at the Haven, about their wishes, and the magic does the rest. It's a primitive magic, don't worry about it taking hold!


- I'm not worried, I replied. We've always drawn our strength from this form of elemental magic.


- Yes, you're in the grip of your own strength here! It belongs to you, it feeds on your passions and your dreams, and you can take advantage of this place to get out and meet the collective energy of artists of Uchronia's Haven, and come back more whole. As far as I'm concerned, I use it above all for my wands, because wood allows me to channel it. The wands are for people who want to rediscover that primal energy within them, so when I make them I think of the thousand sources of their imagination, the writings of the Great Authors, and my own dreams. It's a protective, benevolent magic that envelops my artefacts and parchments. As a calligrapher, I use the power of the words that in this room seem so clear to me, and only when the heart tells me to, do I draw one of the visions that appear to me."


Delkinn approached a heavy cherrywood desk that was covered in wax beads and various feathers. She gently picked up a tiny blue-tinged stone and twirled it between her fingers.


"The labradorite used in a necklace, the conscientious weaving of the dream-catcher circle, the carved willow wood... everything here hints at the magic of the Artisan."


I smiled, soothed and confident. The door opened silently and I saw the Guardian, holding the haversack I had brought for my stay. Behind him, the soft voice of the little shaman, the child of the Haven, rang out in a cheerful song. I couldn't help thinking that there was something miraculous about all this: a perfect harmony created by the magic of a home, the love of others and the love of Art. I felt at home here, even more than usual.


The Guardian handed me my haversack, which I seized, still smiling, placing my other hand on his wrist and bowing my head in a sign of acknowledgement. Everything I needed to get to work was there, despite the dawning night, and with a thirst for creation and a desire to translate the magic of the place in my own way, I set to work.


"Good night", said the Guardian, and he closed the door behind him while Delkinn grabbed a feather and a heavy notebook.


 

Some time ago, I introduced you to Uchronia's Haven, its inhabitants and their links with Onethrîn. That introduction gave me the opportunity to tell you more about this project run by two friends dear to my heart.


In the same way, the little fictional introduction you've just read allows me to introduce you to Uchronia's Chest, the Haven's little sister, as it is, in a way, its back room. Run by Delkinn the Calligrapher, it's her shop where you can find some of her handcrafted creations. Among the treasures in the trunk are magic wands, calligraphy, illustrations, jewellery and dreamcatchers! All you have to do is open the Chest to discover its artefacts!




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