The New Normal


Hi Mountaineers!

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing this post. Maybe I haven’t had time, but when I really think about it, maybe I just wasn’t ready to write it. It’s been months since we opened the Book of Briars - us, the unlikely heroes! I guess I’m struggling with a life without mysteries, a life without puzzles, struggling with a mundane life. I don’t think I’ve been ready to ask for help, but maybe as the days are getting longer and the weather warmer, maybe I’m ready to come out of my rut a little. So, who better than to ask than those who stood side-by-side with me (digitally, at least) at the end of things?

What have all of you been up to?

Since we opened the Book of Briars, I’ve been… waiting? Preparing? I don’t know what the right word would be, but I’ve been getting ready for The Next Thing. Maybe the Silver would head back for revenge. Maybe the Council would call on us for some new quest. I’ve been preparing my body and mind. I’ve started exercising 5 days a week. I’ve been reading like crazy. I’ve been looking for clues in the Ackerly Green Instagram posts. I’ve been reflecting on our times in Neithernor, and why only some of us have made it there, while some of us have not or cannot.

So what have you all been doing? I guess I just need to know that I’m not feeling paranoid alone, feeling lonely alone, searching for something out there alone.


You’re a Gossmere, Augo, you’re never alone, if you need anything I am a call away. #GuildBros4Lyfe

And you are definitely not alone in this feeling, coming down from the high was hard, but I honestly needed it. I think we all did.
What we did, what we are doing, its incredible. Its what I always wanted to do, I feel like I am living my fantasy, but I needed to come back to reality for a little while.
I’ve been doing research, when its not for school its into the old Ackerly Green and any reference to magiq or the guilds, so far, nothing.
Iv’e been writing more, and I have to wonder if that is directly tied to my experiences with magiq. Does creativity breed magiq, does magiq breed creativity? are the two mutually exclusive?
As for preparing, I feel like a Goss stereotype saying this, but I have been researching healing, magiqal or otherwise. I always wanted to be a warrior, at the forefront, but I feel like we need someone who can help if someone gets hurt, I am doing what I can to become that person. We lost Itsuki, we lost Augie, I can’t bear to loose any more of you.
Sorry if this post is morbid, I hope everyone’s having an easier time with this than I am.


It was strange for me too. It feels like I’m living through the epilogue of an epic story and I really don’t want the book to end. Perhaps it’s already over and I haven’t noticed?
I haven’t done much by way of preparation for whatever comes next. It sounds irresponsible written like that, but I honestly feel like it was all I could do to stay in contact with everyone.
I’ve been crocheting alot. I have a whole pile of mythical animals worked in yarn. Maybe that’s how I’ve been working through this absence of adventure. Maybe if I get better at Figuration, I can make them useful but for the time being, they’re (mostly) mundane. I have a feeling the stuffed jackalope twitches sometimes, but I might just be looking for magiq where there isn’t any.


I think part of being a Mountaineer is craving the excitement, adventure, and mystery that goes with it. By opening the Book of Briar, we effectively ended our adventure and left us in a kind of lull wondering were and what we should do next.
As for me, I’ve just continued my life, I guess. Animals, Video games and books have taken up a good portion of my life and other than waiting for another adventure to come along, I guess you could say I’ve been pretty content with the way things are going.


Good question Augo. And one I have been pondering since this adventure concluded what feels like an eternity ago now.

To be honest, my response is not as cheery as yours or the others that have posted before me. Since we opened the BoB, I think I just needed to distance myself a bit. You may have noticed that I have been on a lot less since we were working through the fragments. I will always be a Mountaineer for life, one striving for life away from the mundane. But I also needed to just take some time and process what really just happened, and what we all went through. I needed to “un-Mountie” my life so to speak (if we can ever truly do that). I worked, I volunteered, I spent time with family. I was about as unmagiqal as one could get.

Though as much as I tried to pretend that didn’t happen, or what we did was all a dream, I couldn’t force it from my brain as much as I wanted to. So I have found myself drawn back to the forum in the last couple weeks. Starting off just viewing. Then posting a little more. The Mountie life is something that has ingrained itself in the DNA of my existence. So I may not be as prepared for the next adventure as others, but I think mentally, I am right where I need to be moving forward as we all prepare for wherever we end up next.


Hey, Augo. chuckling What have I been doing? Going to work. Cleaning my apartment. Bouncing back and forth between projects like a deranged pinball. Sleeping. Pining.

This is going to sound pathetic but…since September wound down I’ve often felt like I’m missing something. Keeping in touch with you all fills some of the sense of something missing, but I still wonder all the time what it would be like to live in the Book of the Wild. Even if magic were secret, or hidden, or persecuted, it would be there. Now that I know, it’s like I can sense it, in a “through a glass darkly” kind of way.

I miss reading Deirdre’s blog. I miss picking out talismans to use in spells, or drawing constellations on the back of my hand. I miss spellsickness, which sounds crazy as heck, but feeling like trash was sort of worth it to feel the sense that we’d done something, protected someone, solved a challenge, and it had worked. I miss sitting at my desk with a ripped paper puzzle held together with sewing pins and feeling my hands shake, and for once it wasn’t because I was afraid, but because I was in awe, because magic was real.

The thing is, I don’t know if I’m prepared for whatever comes next, either. I’m not working out or researching anything in particular. I do speculate a lot about different ideas for spells, I guess. I look for things and places when I’m out in the city that seem a little “otherly” or especially wondrous. But then some days I just miss it, and then I feel like I’m being ungrateful for what we did get to do, the things we know about magic and the fact that we succeeded at something crazy. Like maybe I didn’t deserve it, somehow.

Sorry, didn’t mean for that to get dark and twisty. But it’s also honest. I dunno. Maybe what I’m missing is right in front of me, and I just can’t see it.


I’d say I miss the puzzles. But honestly I could spend hours in traffic just staring at one car’s bumper stickers working backwards to try to figure out what their hidden message is. Puzzles are everywhere.

I’d say I miss the excitement. But then my 4 year old runs screaming into the room because her baby ducklings are nibbling on her toes and I was afraid the house was on fire. I have excitement.

What I miss, honestly and truly, is working on puzzles, and experiencing the excitement with you smart people. I recall almost every ‘a-ha’ moment we’ve had and cherish all of them. Every shared victory. Every exhausted reaching for the last straw.

Whether you work out, or study, or read, or live your life as nonmagiqally as possible, you’re still the same brilliant people who keep me here. And I know when that challenge does come, as it always does, we will solve it together again.

I guess that makes me an optimist. Go figure.


All quiet on the front here. It’s weird, not having something consuming every second of my time and thoughts. I’ve taken advantage of that liberated brain space and been writing a lot more. Mostly nonfiction stuff, some poetry. Nothing too exciting. I did have a bunch of songs that I listened to during the Book of Briars, I guess, should we say “incident”. They popped up in my music the other day and I had some really intense flashbacks. Any Goss got info on music and memory because holy cow…

I definitely miss the puzzles. I got a book on codes and a few symbol dictionaries so I’ll be ready should I need them anytime soon. My dorm room is becoming a veritable library. :sweat_smile: :thornmouth:

The thing they rarely write about or talk about is what happens after. So many stories about grand campaigns and those life or death, save the world scenarios never talk about that crushing emptiness once the day is won. I’m happy we’re not about to inadvertently implode time upon itself, but part of me misses the clarity of purpose that comes with it. I’m not a religious person by any stretch but the BoB was the closest I’ve probably gotten to it. I relish my freedom but part of me misses the structure. (Y’all better keep an eye on me. This is how people join cults. :joy: )

I’ve mostly been studying. Reading. I’ve been messing around with specifically thornie magiq. I think I time shifted while studying the other night but I can’t be sure. I always lose track of time when I’m reading! Tried tome-kindling with mixed results. Might not have wanted to start with Caesar’s Gallic Wars. That was traumatic.
I keep searching hidden corners of the college library for anything that might be useful. Haven’t found much yet except for a few books on mythology and some symbology stuff but I’ll keep looking in my spare time.

School’s gotten really busy so I haven’t been focusing on the weird posts on the Ackerly Green account as much as I like and I’ll be in Mexico next week with limited internet so I hope I don’t miss anything too important while I’m MIA. I am glad we all still come on here to chat. It makes me feel less alone. Miss you guys.


Well, glad I’m not the only one who slipped into the mundane world. I feel like my world post-BoB has consisted of costume renderings and stress. Mixed in with a thousand cups of coffee, maybe. These last months have been so weird. Just…quiet on the magiq front, but hectic in every other sense. But you’re not alone, Augo. Since everything went down, I’ve definitely felt like something was missing.

I won’t lie, I really miss waking up to that sense of mystery, adventure. It felt like there were so many questions to answer, problems to solve. Well, I can’t say I’m terribly sad that we’re no longer being pursued by a destructive magimystical storm, but…discovering this new magiqal world with you all… It was really a privilege. Working with you all, collaborating on spells, there’s nothing quite like it. Man, it’s only been a few months and I’m already getting nostalgic. :deirdresmile:

Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s tried to dabble with magiq since then? I’ve been working on it, but it’s been difficult for me. Not something I can particularly access on my own. I guess it’s hard for me to separate the art I do for mundane reasons versus the stuff I’m creating for a magiq purpose. Or maybe I’m just being held back by all this…life stuff, that’s hanging over my head. But man, I do miss tapping into that amazing creative force like we did. I mean, shoot, we made a man invisible. Now I just feel cut off from it all.


I have done virtually nothing to prepare for what’s to come. There were some events I went through that put me disinterested in this world, I am once again regaining my footing in a place that has grown foreign to me. I pop in occasionally but find myself distracted by another literary mistress, leaving those few moments unexplored.
Though, if it isn’t clear already, I’ve begin to dip my toes back into this community that I’ve alienated myself from through isolation. I want to return, I want to get over what I did to myself, and others. Yet I feel uncertainty with each word I write and each thought that I consider to post.
The opening of the book was a wondrous time, I felt it. I really did. I wish to have those sort of feelings again, with all of you. I simply hope that the feelings I tainted the experience for myself with do not continue to linger, as they have in their plaguing me, in these coming months.
I’ve made bad choices that have left a lasting impact on me and I hope those involved have a willingness to forgive me. And I hope most of all that I find the capacity to forgive myself.

Now that that’s out of the way, I’ve been quite mundane as of late. I’ve been working through my Junior year of my local education system and I may be moving in the near future. I’ve found people in the mundane world that I have formed close bonds with, I finally worked up the courage to attend my schools minimal LGBT group, and I’ve been voraciously reading in these past few weeks. My goodness can attest to that.
I’ve been working intensely in the field of graphic design, most recently. I’m currently working on a set of 3 photo illustrations that are making me feel quite proud of how far I’ve come since beginning that class. My skills have greatly improved on the field and its become one of the things I’ve been considering as a career. Not to say I’ve abandoned my other interests. Floristry, Botany, and Gardening are all very important to me. I am quite unwavering in that matter.
In summary, my life is presently a blur of lost time, cardboard boxes, lineart, and considerations.
And I think I’m happy to announced my return, but we shall see.


While I’m sorry everyone’s in sort of a big ol’ jumble of emotions, it sure is nice to know I’m not alone. Things have for sure been a bit wonky for me since we opened the book…as if the universe over-corrected when it tried to restore balance to my life after everything went down. I had some hurdles to jump for school, but I’m happy to say I made it through. And now that I’m on the other side of it all, I can feel the magiq seeping back in. I’ve got some ideas that won’t leave me alone, and it’s taken all my willpower not to spend all day everyday in the shop making things. I never was one for the word-based magiq, but I can see a glint of something the projects I have mapped out in my notebook. As for the physical preparation for whatever’s next…I joined a new dance group. I’ve been trying to iron out an out-home workout plan, but I put so much of my life on hold for school, so it’s slow going. But this dance thing…man has it been doing wonders. And it’s got such a powerful energy. This is as close to Goss-y as I’ve ever gotten, but between the community aspect of this group and the narrative aspect of dance, I’m feeling the magiq there too. (Plus, the costumes. If I ever get to wear the ones that scream Goss to me, y’all will be the first I tell)

While I miss puzzling with you all, I know for sure that our community isn’t anywhere near done yet. Something is coming…I can feel it. And I’m ready to face whatever it is, as long as the Mounties are with me.


Well, I guess the new normal has been fairly boring since we opened the book. I’ve gotten to delve into Neithernor and I’ve had some adventures there, but I guess the only way to describe my time since then is with ‘busy.’ Right after we opened the Book, I started to have more school work to dedicate myself to. That, combined with new club responsibilities, friendships to foster, and a relationship to maintain, makes it so that it’s hard for me to do anything outside of that. And that includes training, in any form.

I think I read well over 200 pages of dense academic text per week, which might be fun mental training for some, but for me, it’s all what I have to do to keep up. I’m also learning two languages at the same time (though French is mercifully easy to study now that I’ve been learning it for almost 6 years), and I have sought out even more opportunities to occupy my time now that I can’t spend it solving puzzles with all of you amazing people. Physically, I’ve built up some stamina, but I haven’t had much time to work out, so my training hasn’t been too effective outside of that (but if we ever need to walk, like, 25,000 steps a day for many days in a row, sign me up).

I’ve also become better at deciding when to say ‘no.’ As I said earlier, I’ve been getting swamped with things since mid-October. Excepts for breaks, I haven’t been able to really take time to myself for a long while. Because of that, I have been able to develop a sense of when to stop myself from taking on more responsibilities than I can handle, and that’s been really positive for me all in all. I’ve also been able to slowly build up more free time, so that’s been good as well.

I’m not sure how well prepared I will be if anything does happen. I might be able to perform some kind of physical task if that was needed, or maybe figure out a puzzle if need be. But that hasn’t really ever been my place among the Mountaineers. I feel I’m best qualified to support and to create, and that’s fine with me. Since we opened the Book, for instance, I have figured out that I can do magiq with, uh, some unexpected methods. And I’m happy that I’ve found that. I guess I’ll keep working to become better at supporting all of you! If I can do that, then I’ll be happy!