Once all the characters have worked through their first twilight zone and decided how they will respond to the Call to adventure, the journey section of the story commences in earnest. For the heroes of a story, nothing will ever be the same again. Their world has changed forever and they must respond to it in a way that makes sense to them. The middle stage of a story is filled with mostly two things: people and problems or the team and the tasks. The heroes meet both friends and enemies and they meet with tests and trials, some of which they master, but most of which they fail. Then finally an inevitable confrontation looms. Again I see 3 elements in this part of a story: 1. Tests and trials: the hero meets obstacles, but experiments with changing the way s/he used to do things. Sometimes they triumph, but mostly they fail. The hero must try new alternatives and take drastic measures. Because of this... (The hero faces the fist challenge) 2. Allies and enemies: As the hero tries to accomplish the goal s/he had set, there is both support and resistance from other characters. Usually a side kick or loyal supporter is balanced with a sceptic who is not so sure about anything. Emotions and reason battle it out at every obstacle. And the hero meets a contagonist or difficultator who threatens his/her mission. But... (Obstacle 2: tradition/temptation/distraction) 3. Approach to Inmost Cave: The hero regroups for a final onslaught and prepares for the most difficult task. This is also the task that will test his/her character to see if they had learned from their trials. . The group is restructured and the original plan revised. Stories about the community are told to inspire and encourage them. Because of this... (Hero becomes more aggressive and passionate, regroups and makes plans) In our story we have done the first test. Armed with wisdom from Ouma Nollie, the wise old Oracle, two groups formed. Lord Charles and the Queen grouped together as they ride out to gather their armies. Jemimah and Mariana stay behind with Ouma Nollie to see what Mariana's magic sword can do for them as it begins to lurch and hum in Mariana's hands. The queen has managed to recover from her jealousy and weakness. Like a true queen, she has suppressed her personal problems to deal with the matters of her people. Now she wants Charles and his men to ride with her to the land of Id to negotiate a settlement. Charles, of course wants to finish the battle and then ride up to attack Id and destroy him by force. They are on each other's team, but have different ideas for the solution. Finally they part each to his/her own army to meet later for the final confrontation: Charles will cross the waters to Id, capture him and bring him to the queen for talks. Back in the dungeons under the burnt out palace, the sword in Mariana's hands pulls her towards Jemimah. It reels and rumbles and Mariana cannot make out the meaning of this. Jemimah is flustered and distressed. Ouma Nollie repeats the words she had spoken to them earlier as the echoes gave her answers to their questions. To Mariana she repeats: 'All is not as it seems' and to Jemimah she repeats: 'Stand up for what you believe'. Under great strain Jemimah grabs the sword, captures Mariana and admits that she is an agent for Id. She calls for her dragon and kidnaps the Lady to the land of Id... We have not yet come to our 'Approach', but the stage is set. Not only must Charles capture Id, but he would also have to free Mariana. Would the Queen now consider riding to battle in support rather than waiting for Charles to do all the fighting and saving? What will Ouma Nollie do? How will her words for Charles and the Queen manifest? Watch this space for next week's episode of The Rainbow Land of Isle... Please send me your characters' questions and the echo's replies by leaving a comment here. Thanks.