13.6.08

small problems (museum quest part 21)

Location: Rotorua
Baskets Left: 2

after my first stop in rota-vegas (the kiwi's nickname for rotorua) i wasn't any closer to getting rid of any more of the maori artifacts for ms. rhonwyn. i'd been to the museum and nothing.

how was i going to find a place that matched te papa in majesty for these stupid baskets?

though i didn't know it at the time, my next stop was about to prove a whole lot more interesting than any i'd had on the north island yet...

my destination in the afternoon of my rotorua trip was to the volcanic geothermal springs just outside of town.

these hotsprings and the area's ongoing volcanic and geologic phenomenon were of great mythical and spiritual importance to the maori, and they of course had all manner of legends to explain the activities they saw going on around them.

we today now know that the reason for this is rotorua being a major intersection for fault lines through new zealand. due to this rotorua is geologically speaking a time bomb of volcanism which HAS gone off in the last 150 or so years, and both excitingly and sadly will likely go off again relatively soon (geologically speaking soon anyway).
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this maori history was not lost on the owners of the hotsprings, and they'd decorated the place to give it that cultural feel.
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when i looked it up (a future post i promise), i found out much of this art was done by REAL maori artisians, and unlike much of the art in town this art work was authentic... which may explain why so much mythologic activity was waiting for me inside!
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the entrance even had a traditional style maori fortification wall, made of logs, surrounding the place. i wondered if it was to keep modern people out (which would be better done by a modern fence) or to keep something ancient just like the wall style inside? turns out i was asking a good question!
_

entering the geothermal park was like walking onto a different planet!


even the air seemed hostile and alieny! it smelt like really rotten eggs (caused by sulphur i learnt).

as a side note rotorua as a whole area smells like this when and if you visit... but at the geothermal park it REALLY smells!!! if you have a t-rex powerful nose like me its not fun...

fortunately despite the smell of weirdness the air was still breathable (unlike a real alien planet probably) so i wasn't going to need a space suit. not that the space suit would have made me look funny around here. the whole place was like the surface of the moon...


well okay the moon if it was still geologically active (which it isn't! the moon is of course just a piece of knock off earth rock that doesn't have a proper core or anything inside it).

all around me were boiling pools of water...


bubbling oozing mud puddles...


steaming craters...


just looking around i wonder if they've ever filmed a space movie here...

no wonder the maori considered this place so sacred. it isn't like anything i've seen before, and i've been around the world compared to an ancient maori!


speaking of maori, totems were scattered all throughout the hotsprings to remind those who dwelled here of both the mana and tapu of the place. mana being a maori word that means many things, but in this case the power and prestige of the place. tapu being the supernatural or mythic consequences of meddling with this place's sacredness. to violate this place's tapu was to invoke the wraith of the atua or gods.

i was here of course counting on the mana to make the last two baskests disappear back to wherever it is they came from...


in hopes of the baskets getting exposed to as much mana as they could i wandered further into the park...


of course i wasn't complaining. it was an awesome site to get to explore.


i was traumador, dinosaur of space command... hey that'd be cool cartoon don't you think ;p


as i reached the end of the trail i grew a little upset. again nothing had happened with the baskets.

taking my mind off it for a moment was the mini volcano in front of me. i felt like my hero godzilla at the end of the film godzilla 1985... though fortunately i didn't fall in like he did...


as i was about to head back towards the exit, i discovered i'd worried about the baskets not reacting too soon... i was over come with a woozy feeling, like i always seem to with magic type stuff now.

suddenly around the edge of the thermal field, blocking off the surrounding forest and bush, an ancient style wall and marae (maori sacred meeting place) materialized out of no where...

though i'm not sure why i knew it, but i could just tell this was a vision of days long gone. when the maori truly lived in unison with the power and awe of this place... don't get me wrong modern maori still are in tune with it, but this image was of a time when they didn't have the views and ideas of the bigger world pushed on them... this was one of the KEY places of maori mythology... and i'd brought the keys, the kete o te wananga, right into the heart of it.

whether for good or ill i was about to find out...

of course i still felt very dizzy (but not in the normal way... its hard to describe... especially with my small brain). so much so that my head seemed to buzz which had never happened before during these basket related incidents...

that is till i realized it wasn't buzzing inside my head... there was an actual buzzing sound, and it was getting louder...


i turned around to see a most odd sight. a GIANT swarm of insects. than i realized it was coming straight for me!

now to those out there who aren't mystically attuned like me now (actually come to think of it is there anyone else but me in that boat?) you'd still have found it an odd sight. a giant column of varied insects flying so uniformly and organized, like a flying army of marching soldiers. to those of us who SEE magic though it was a eerie sight. pulsing through the bug ranks was visible... mystic gradient radiation as ms. rhonwyn would call it... or as i like to say magic.

i was overcome with panic and dread as my peanut sized brain caught onto what was actually going on... there could only be one reason a gang of pests was coming right at me... they were after the baskets!!!

for a moment i thought they must be a manifestation of some new maori deity or atua i hadn't faced yet... that is till i remembered something (why i was wasting precious seconds pondering this i'm not sure people of the web wide world!). my now "good old" buddy whiro, maori god of darkness and suffering, had many minions and servants in the corporal world.

i of course was well acquainted with his chief messenger to mortals, the mesozoic surviving tuatara. whiro had already used them to catch up to me a few times.

i remembered a sign i'd read at milford sound. it was about the giant sandfly statues they had on the wall. it had said how these bugs were believed by the maori to be one of the forms whiro inflicted suffering on humanity.

of course i realized! in the legend of whiro's first attempt at getting the baskets from his brother god tane, whiro had rallied an army of his servants to ambush tane on his return to earth, and steal the baskets from him on route. this army had been comprised mostly of the "plight" variety of insects and birds. the bugs were namely sandflies and mosquitoes which JUST SO happened to be the same sort that were flying at me now!

i might have ditched whiro back on the south island, but i hadn't lost him!


during all that thinking (which used up ALL my limited brain power) the swarm had caught up to me. before i knew it they were all over me...
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OH THE TORMENT people of the web wide world. i can't describe the suffering i felt than!... incidentally whiro definitely lives up to his role as god of suffering (i think they should also tack annoyance on there too though!).

i was covered in mozzies and sandflies... most of whom immediately tried to tap into my blood...

fortunately for me i'm covered in hard bug proof scales. unfortunately with this many mini vampires all over me (i'm scarred of vamps now all the more by the by!) very weak spot in between my scaly armour was pierced and drained... now if it's hard for a bug to bite let me assure you people of the innerweb it's even harder to scratch!!!
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even worse had them flying into my eyes, nose, ears, and mouth when i opened it to scream... soooooooooooo gross... ew ew ewwwww.

between the almost painful itches that perfectly outlined every exposed scale on my body, the irritation of my under assault openings, and my choking on bugs i almost missed what the remaining few were up to...

if i had to guess the main attack was not only to insanly irritate me, but it was also to kill me! if i'd let that many blood sucker stay on me much longer they'd probably have drained me dry (yes i know swarms like this exist in nature, and don't kill things... but these were magically driven bugs, and they weren't behaving normal. they'd suck till they popped, and then their other enchanted cohorts would jump on the empty spot and start all over).

yet at the same time some of the pests were flying into my shirt pocket, and as a team were landing on and trying to fly off with the baskets!!!


now i don't like to admit this people of the innerweb... but i for the most part played right into their hands... uh wings? er... or is it tarsus?!? anyways i reacted just how whiro wanted.

keep in mind people of the innerweb i was covered in thousands of simultaneously biting mosquitoesand sandflies. it's not like i thought about or planned to do this...

as i felt the baskets start to take off, i grabbed the first one to float out of my pocket out of my current instinctive blind grasping at the air. for a moment i used it to futilely try to brush the bugs off, but of course it did nothing... the one good thing to come of it though my motion knock the other basket back into my pocket for the moment.

the biting didn't get any better though! out of desperation i tossed the basket aside... yes i know people of the web wide world BAD MOVE. you try being sucked dry and act rationally!!!

instantly half the legion broke off from me and pursued their goal... once it fell to the ground there was enough of them to easily wisk it away...

there was only one problem... for them!... i'd blindly unthinkingly thrown the basket at a mudpool...

as it landed the swarm pounced on it, and began to take off with it. they nearly got away with the basket when the puddle splurted covering the basket with scolding hot goo. the basket plummeted back into the pool, and this time sank deeper.
_
with the relief of half the insects off me i was able to gather my brain enough to focus on protecting my remaining basket which some of the swarm were still trying to nab...

meanwhile their comrades dealing with the pool were suffering. every reattempt at the steadily sinking basket would result in a wave being covered in mud, and the now heavier and heavier with mud coating basket would sink that much more. meaning that more and more bugs would have to go in for their retrieval wave.

within 2 minutes the other half was completely depleted. seriously they'd all disappeared. the half the army still harassing me seemed to realize this (through the magic is the only way i can explain it), and all broke contact with me to make one go at the now completely submerged kete.


though within second the insects had all disappeared in their mindless plunge into the mud after the basket the activity hadn't stopped. suddenly i was overcome with the same piercing pulse of wozziness i'd had when the first basket disappeared at te papa.

that basket was dematerializing in the mud...

suddenly i had a most disenheartening though... the basket was being drawn away by the bug's magic field! i'd failed in my mission!!!

ms. rhonwyn had warned me that if i lost even one of the baskets whatever took it could use it to retrieve the other two. no matter where i hid or disposed of them! whiro was about to win!!!

suddenly as though in response to my panic the basket shoot up out of mud in a furious splash. as the glare and intense light of the now mana envoked kete drew away from the pool's surface i could make out the bug soup it'd made of the swarm. the whole legion of whiro's minions were dead, and their mystic gradient field had been snuffed out with them apparently!

the basket hovered for a moment, and than in as specacular a display as the first vanished from not only view, but this realm of reality...

despite coming withing millimetres of defeat i'd somehow won! and it barely cost me a thing... well apart from a body wide insanity invoking itch!!! seriously action movie heroes have it off easy with cuts and battle wounds... you try being turned into a walking mosquito bite and coping with it!!!

Location: Rotorua

Baskets Left: 1!!!!!!!

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the end was getting nearer...

2 comments:

Peter Bond said...

Congratulations on loosing another basket! This "quest" is getting more and more dangerous, Traum baby! You need to be careful!

Traumador said...

tell me about it!

peter do you represent anyone with a special talent for scratching??? cause man i could use their help right about now... owwwwwwwww the ITCH!!!!!!!