The Ancestral Trail


The Ancestral Trail

"'"When he who is the Chosen One"
"Shall tread upon the Ancient Path"
"And battle there to overcome"
"The Forces of Dark"
"Then shall the Seven be restored"
"And evil banished from this world""'

"The Ancestral Trail" is a now out-of-print partwork magazine that was originally published by Marshall Cavendish in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand in the early nineties. It was also translated into French, German, Example:- ("In German it was named "Im Reich der Urwesen"), Italian Example:- ("In Italian it was named [http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storia_ancestrale] La Storia Ancestrale") and Spanish and licensed for sale worldwide. (See Covers and ISBNs below). There was also a computer game compiled in both DOS and Amiga formats.

The first partwork was issued on Wednesday December 30, 1992 and continued on a fortnightly basis for two years until December 1994. "The Ancestral Trail" came from an original mythological type work by South African raised author Frank Graves. Graves's manuscript was originally written as a complete trilogy "(Past, Present and Future)" with a large book format similar to "The Lord of the Rings" in mind. This work "(Past and Future Only)" was then later readapted by Marshall Cavendish to better suit the Marshall Cavendish's Partwork fortnightly format style and Fergus Fleming reduced the first 26 issues and Ian Probert wrote up the final 26 issues for the partwork series release.

The story tells the fantasy/sci-fi filled story of a boy called Richard, who is brought against his will to a strange land known as the Ancestral World. This original 26 part series was extended, and Richard's adventures continued into a futuristic world known as the Cyber Dimension. The television marketing advertising spend on launch in the UK alone was in the order of £1.6 million upon initial publication in 1993/94.

"The Ancestral Trail" was split into two halves of 26 issues each. The first half takes place in the Ancestral World and describes Richard's struggle to restore good to the world. After the initial international run, which sold over 30 million copies worldwide, Marshall Cavendish omitted the second of the trilogy and used the third part "(Past and Present)" being the second series that followed. This part of the series, originated and written by Ian Probert and published in 1994, takes place in the Cyber Dimension. It deals with Richard's attempts to return home. Each issue centered on an adventure against a particular adversary, and each issue ended on a cliffhanger.

The magazine series, though originally aimed at older children, achieved a cult following at the time. Due to the highly successful adaptations of high fantasy literature, such as "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Chronicles of Narnia" and even "Harry Potter", there have been unsubstantiated rumours of the magazine being reprinted in 2008, and a possible TV adaptation. Similar efforts, however, involving Saban during the publication's initial run materialized and a lot of extensive work at the Saban Studios followed but, owing to disagreements over the proposed filming style and between Marshall Cavendish and Saban International, the project was discontinued.

"The Ancestral Trail" was illustrated by Julek and Adam Heller. Computer-generated graphics were provided by Mehau Kulyk for issues #27 through #52.

Introduction to the "The Ancestral Trail"

Richard, on his way home, slips and falls, causing him to black out. When he wakes, he is in the Ancestral World, where he meets an old man named Golan. Golan explains to Richard that he is the prophesied "Chosen One" and that the Ancestral World is being destroyed by a being known as the "Evil One", and that he is close to winning the battle against the forces of good.

Golan is a Guardian and the Keeper of the Life Force, which is contained in the Tree of Life through seven Life Force Pods - each pod possesses a different Life Force. Six of the seven pods have been stolen, and consequently six Guardians have been captured. Only Golan's pod remains, but he is severely weakened. He sends Richard on a quest, which he must complete in twenty six days, to recover the missing Life Force pods and free the captured Guardians and their forces.

The basic expository beginnings of the story aren't featured in Part #1 of the series but in a special four-panel folder that included the first issue. When the center fold is opened, the two closed outer arms reveal the image of a dark, sinister mask against a bloody red background. This is the face of the Evil One.

Main characters

Richard (First appears in the Introductory Folder)
*Richard is the ordinary boy who is plucked from his normal life to save the Ancestral World. He spend the entire journey wanting to return home, but as his journey progresses, he becomes something far more than when he began. The story chronicles his adventures through the Ancestral World and the Cyber Dimension filtered through his perspective. He has oddly coloured eyes. Golan explains the philosophical importance of this: Richard's green eye sees the good side of life; his grey eye sees the evil. Only Richard, therefore, can restore the balance between good and evil.

Orkan (First appears in the Introductory Folder)
*Orkan meets Richard almost as soon as he begins his journey, crossing paths as Orkan falls back from the forces of the Evil One. He is searching for survivors of the Final Battle when he joins Richard's quest. A half-pig, half man creature he eventually becomes the Guardian of Common Beasts at the end of Richard's Ancestral World adventures.

Melek (First appears in Issue #1)
*Before the Evil One arrived, the aged dwarf Melek of Antona was a scribe in the Ancestral City. After the Forces of Evil corrupted his world and his people, Melek fled the Ancestral City with two books that become invaluable throughout Richard's journey. One of these, the "Book of Prophecies", saves the group on more than one occasion. Melek becomes Keeper of Sacred Runes and the leader of his people after the Evil One's defeat.

Golan (First appears in the Introductory Folder)
*Golan is the ancient Leader of the Guardians and also the Guardian of Landsmen, and the only Guardian not to fall under the Evil One's influence. He summons Richard to his world and sends him on his special quest to rid the world of the Evil One. He equips Richard with a tunic that turns him invisible, and a powerful amulet, to help him on his quest. Golan remains with Richard in spirit throughout his journey through the Ancestral World and the Cyber Dimension.

The Evil One (First appears in Issue #52)
*An all powerful evil being, whose existence or reason for his ambitions for conquest, are never explained. He has designs on both the Ancestral World and Earth, and his plane of origin, apparently, is the Cyber Dimension. Richard eventually confronts him at the end of his journey.

Robo (First appears in Issue #27)
*Robo first encounters Richard almost as soon as he appears in the Cyber Dimension, and follows him on his journey. Unbeknownst to Richard, Robo is actually programmed by the Evil One to eliminate Richard if he succeeds in finding all the Omni Pieces. Richard has to convince him to override his own programming to survive. Robo hates Teeza from as soon as they meet and treats him with contempt from then on onwards.

Teeza (First appears in Issue #43)
*Teeza is a marsupial/monkey-like creature called a Wigmat, who joins Richard's journey after Richard defeats a machine who eats his people. Teeza, like Robo, can also hold Omni Pieces and becomes invaluable to Richard when Robo is lost for a portion of the journey through the Cyber Dimension.

The Ancestral World (1993)-(Part One of the author's trilogy)

The first issue set in the Ancestral World begins in the Forest of Findor where he meets his second companion, Melek before a horrifying confrontation with Sumar, the mighty Moss Beast. In the Ancestral World, Richard and his companions must travel across the land, defeating the Evil One's minions, avoiding his armies, freeing the captured Guardians, finding the lost Life Force pods, and break the Evil One's influence.

Seven races - Landsmen, Insects, Reptiles, Birds, Fish, Mythical Beasts, and Common Beasts, populate the Ancestral World. A Guardian represents each of these, and these Guardians form a council that rules from the Ancestral City, at the centre of the Ancestral World. Each Guardian has a pod representing his/her life force, and these pods hang from the great Tree of Life. Each pod also represents a quality in an individual - goodness, wisdom, endurance, knowledge, valour, and justice. The person who finds absorbs that quality. Richard's mission is to recover all the pods.

"The Ancestral Trail: An Epic Story of Myths, Magic and Monsters"

"*This Pod was the single Pod not to have been stolen by the Forces of Evil."

Good Forces within the Ancestral World

*Merkat (Issues #2, #3)
*Muldoon (Issue #3)
*Bird Forces (Issues #4, #5, #26)
*Oganga (Issues #5, #23, #26)
*Living Tree (Issue #6)
*Common Beasts (Issues #8, #9)
*Timid Cat (Issue #9)
*Reptile Forces (Issues #13, #17)
*Insects (Issue #15, #26)
*Fengal (Issue #17)
*Mythical Beasts (Issue #18)
*Fish Forces (Issue #19)
*Doonar (Issues #19, #20, #26)
*Sea Mammals (Issues #20, #26)
*Dion (Issue #23)
*Ronek & the Landsmen (Issues #24, #25, #26)
*Ravan (Issues #25, #26)

Bird ForcesMost of Juroot's Bird Forces are trapped in stone in the city of Petropolis, and are freed by Richard alongside their leader. They seem to mainly be armoured eagles, although injured hawk-like birds are seen huddled together in the Valley of Death. Two giant winged birds - Oganga and Dion help Richard and friends at various points throughout their journey (Issues #4, #5, #23, #26)

Common BeastsArmor's Common Beasts are enslaved by the giant bats Enlil and Erna, and are set free by Richard. The leader of the beasts, Broon, thanks Richard before they leave for the Ancestral City. The Common Beasts appear to include wildebeests, leopard-men and bears. (Issues #2, #3, #8, #9, #26)

Reptile ForcesZard's lizard Reptile Forces are kept prisoner by Dragora, the three-headed snake within the Sand City. Kika leads them back to the Ancestral City, while Zard himself frees the alligators under Gator's influence and likewise, leads them back to the Ancestral City for the final battle. (Issues #13, #17, #26)

Insect ForcesKika's Insect Forces are used as the dark eyes and ears of the Forces of Evil, all transformed into black flies and reporting to the giant fly, Narkum. Upon Narkum's death, they moult back into their proper forms - dragonflies, butterflies and huge multi-coloured beetles. (Issues #15, #26)

Mythical CreaturesTuska's half-believed figments of legend are consigned to the shadows of Stone Fish Island by the winged-lion, Kronis. Some of them are amalgams of creatures known to Richard, some not. They are set loose upon Kronis' demise and return with Tuska to the Ancestral City. The winged unicorn Ravan saves Richard's group from the shapeshifting Fenrar, and brings them back to the Ancestral City in time for the Final Battle. (Issues #18, #25, #26)

Fish Forces & Sea MammalsTwin Guardians Tishon and Shunta's fish forces are held captive by the evil merman Nemis, while the sea mammals are held frozen in ice in Spector's frozen Frigoria. Doonar, the dolphin, who is also the last of the sea mammals, helps Richard and friends free the Guardians; Richard and friends actions in Frigoria melt the ice, freeing the previously entombed animals. (Issues #19, #20, #26)

"Landsmen"'Many of Golan's landsmen are scattered throughout the lands - Melek's dwarf people fall under the influence of Zock and become cannibals until Juroot liberates them. Ronek, leader of the Landsmen Forces, and a large number of his troops are captured by Syrus, the evil Genie within Sorcerer's Falls. Many landsmen take part in the final battle at Ancestral City. (Issues #1, #7, 24, #25, #26)

Evil Forces within the Ancestral World

It was never explicitly stated within the story whether most of the "main" villains of each issue were on the side of the Good Forces before the Evil One arrived in the Ancestral World, or whether these creatures arrived alongside the Evil One. It is most likely that the Evil One corrupted creatures native to the Ancestral World and used them to enslave their respective populations.

Evil creatures who inhabit the Ancestral World include giant versions of Earth's spiders, snakes, bats, earwigs, scorpions, vultures, winged-lions and alligators.

Regular confrontations between Richard's group are made with both Cozards and Grapfrits. Cozards are the Evil One's reptilian military, and are frequently seen on 'search and destroy' units. Orkan states of them "they are disciplined, mindless and completely ruthless". Richard runs into them on more than one occasion.

Likewise the a number of times Richard crosses path with the Grapfrits - small insect-like creatures that live in the forests of the Ancestral World. They have long proboscis-like noses which they use to drain their victim's blood - luckily they have got dreadful eyesight and are relatively easy to avoid.

There are a number of other more human-like figures within the Ancestral World - very few of these are revealed to be in line with the Evil One; some of them may simply always been evil or are more ambiguously operative. The Living Death Trap plants, similar to our Venus flytraps, may simply be feeding with no sense of good or evil; it is also unknown if these plants existed in the Ancestral World before the Evil One arrived.

*Sumar, the Moss Beast (Issues #1, #26)
*Grapfrits (Issues #1, #13, #14, #26)
*Water-Tolosh (Issue #2)
*Land-Tolosh (Issues #2, #26)
*Baal (Issues #3, #4)
*Lotan (Issue #3, #4)
*Mirra (Issue #4)
*Earwigs (Issues #4, #5, #26)
*Boltor (Issue #5)
*Vultures (Issues #5, #..)
*Cozards (Issues #6, #9, #26)
*Killer Bees (Issue #6)
*Zock (Issues #7, #8)
*Cannibal Dwarfs (Issues #7, #8, #26)
*Guard Dogs (Issue #8)
*Enlil & Erna (Issue #8)
*Zibella (Issue #10)
*Klaw (Issues #11, #12))
*Skeleton Army (Issues #11, #12)
*Scorpion Guards (Issues #12, #13, #26)
*Dragora (Issue #13)
*Hulkan (Issue #14)
*Mud soldiers (Issue #14)
*Narkum (Issue #15)
*Fly spies (Issue #15)
*Cragmar (Issue #16)
*Leeches (Issue #17)
*Gator (Issue #17)
*Alligators (Issue #17)
*Kronis (Issue #18)
*Nemis (Issues #19)
*Ghost Sailors (Issue #19, #26)
*Spector (Issue #20)
*Stridor (Issue #21)
*Zyton (Issue #22)
*Loktar (Issue #22)
*Dagmar (Issue #23)
*Syrus (Issue #24)
*Fenrar (Issue #25)

Locations within the Ancestral World

*Forest of Findor (Issue #1)
*Lake Garoon (Issue #2)
*Cobweb Wood (Issues #3, #4)
*Petropolis (Issues #4, #5)
*Valley of Death (Issue #5)
*Green Man Wood (Issue #6)
*Caves of Kanbala (Issues #7, #8)
*Enlil's Dungeon (Issues #8, #9)
*Dead Wood (Issue #9)
*Zibella's Lair (Issues #10, #11)
*Pit of Perils (Issue #11)
*Sand City & Cobra's Keep (Issues #12, #13)
*Hulkan's Heights (Issue #14)
*Black Forest (Issues #14, #15)
*Dreadmort Cliffs & Plunderer's Plateau/Peak* (Issues #16, #17)
*Shadow Swamps (Issue #17)
*Stone Fish Island (Issue #18)
*Sea of Lost Souls (Issue #19)
*Frigoria (Issues #19, #20)
*Snowy Mountains* (Issue #21)
*Forgotten City (Issue #21)
*Valley of Fear (Issue #22)
*Yellow Stone Peaks (Issue #23)
*Sorcerer's Falls (Issues #24, #25)
*Wizard's Well (Issue #25)
*Ancestral City (Introductory Folder, Issue #26)

"*Most of the place names are from the Location Recorder that was part of The Ancestral Trail RPG Game. Some of the other locations are known from both the Ancestral World map, and from the story text - these are marked with an asterisk.

Melek's Books

"Book of Prophecies"

Melek stole the "Book of Prophecies" from Ancestral City's Great Library just before it was overrun by evil. It contains numerous prophecies that predict the rise of evil and the path of The Chosen One to eradicate it. It is also believed that only The Chosen One can unravel the book's secrets completely - although Melek and Orkan infrequently make correct guesses at the riddles. The book also contains a number of spells and magical instructions which are sometimes used on the journey.

Contained within the spine of the "Book of Prophecies" is the Path Finder, a shimmering dagger which changes colour to show the land ahead and shimmers gold to indicate the path Richard should take - although he often does not follow its advice. The Path Finder was first shown in Issue #2 and its riddle revealed in Issue #13.

The Path Finder riddle was:

"Across Green fields, Overland you go, where Winter solstice White brings Ice and snow,"
"The Grey dove flies to fresher Air, and shuns the Yellow swamp of Wastes' despair,"
"When Blue eyes, to Water clear aspire, round campsites Orange tongues will wag in Fire,"
"Out of Stone, rise cities cloaked in sand, and Brown caves weave in secret, Underland,"
"The Silver moon shines potent magic Light, though Black skies loom in the silent dark of Night,"
"Golden glimmers brightest on the spear, and leads to Good, when journey's end is near"."

"Morbane's Book of Monsters & Magic"

As described earlier, this fictional book was worked into the storyline and was carried by Melek along with the "Book of Prophecies". Two cards were given away with each issue, each detailing a different myth or legend with at least one of the featured cards being used as the basis for that issue's monster or adversary.

The featured myths/legends were: Scylla, Nya Nya, Gilikango, Rusalki, Arachne, Biliku, Medusa, King Midas, Lightning Bird, the Green Knight, the Green Man, Cannibal Zim, Baba Yaga, Cerberus, the Fire Giant, the Tree of Poisons, the Lotus Eaters, Rats of Hamelin, Morgan le Fay, the Banshee, Grey Claw, Dragon's Teeth, Zombies, Isis, the Servants of the Sun, Hydra, the Feathered Serpent, Treasure Worm, Lakyan, the Furies, Nomatotlos, Golem, David and Goliath, Duku, Sebek, the Griffin, the Minotaur, the Sirens, Lorelei, Cyclops, Argus, Atlas, Big Foot, Dragons, Geryon, the Sphinx, the Chimera, the Genie of the Lamp, Beelzebub, Werewolf, Witches, Vampires and Merlin.

The Cyber Dimension (1994)-(Part Three of the author's trilogy)

Richard is pulled into the world of the Evil One before he can return home to Earth, and must survive the futuristic hell that is known as the Cyber Dimension - a metallic world where machines rule and carbon-based organisms cannot survive. The Cyber Dimension is populated by evil robots and machines who obey the Evil One. There are also peaceful, silicon-based organisms called Wigmats, who are persecuted by the evil machines.

He teams up with the seemingly friendly robot Robo, and later in the story, by cute Wigmat Teeza, and must collect seven Omni Pieces - little glowing metal shapes which, when brought together at just the right place, open doors to other dimensions. He can use the Omni Pieces to return home to Earth - however the Evil One can also use the Omni Pieces to open a gateway to Earth, leaving it ripe for his conquest...

"The Ancestral Trail: Cyber Challenge in the Next Dimension"

"Issue synopsis' are from the blurbs of the actual issues."

The Omni Pieces

Located:
*In The Keeper's possession (Issue #33)
*In Scoredef's possession (Issue #36)
*In Proton's Tower (Issue #39)
*In Galaxia's possession (Issue #43)
*In Quasar's possession (Issue #44)
*In Hydron's possession (Issue #46)
*Under Malachit's guard (Issue #50)

Richard's Cyber-vehicles

During Richard's travels throughout the Cyber Dimension, he acquires several modes of transport. In addition to the temporary flight abilities of Robo, Richard can also use: a Cybercruiser (Issues #28 - #38), Cybertank (Issue #39) and finally the Cyber Cruiser Version 3.11 (Issues #40 - #49).
"More to come on this subject"

Good Forces within the Cyber Dimension

Not too surprisingly, there are very few, almost no, creatures or machines on the side of Richard - almost every lifeform or artificial intelligence is out to destroy him. However, there are a few friendly faces he meets during his time in the Cyber Dimension.

*Wigmats (Issue #44)
*Gomm & the Tilomites (Issue #47)
*Elitper & the Liberosans (Issue #48)

Evil & Non Aligned-Forces within the Cyber Dimension

The Cyber Dimension, and its sub-version, is the Evil One's domain - almost everything Richard encounters on his journey is an enemy. Richard, however, meets some lifeforms who are not aligned with the Evil One.

*Tengam (Issue #27)
*Land Leapers (Issue #27)
*Hydronomizers (Issues #27, #28)
*Zenon (Issue #28)
*Hydron & Hermisites (Issues #28, #29, #46, #51)
*Flector (Issues #29)
*Pekods (Issues #29, #30)
*Mortex (Issue #30)
*Holotron (Issue #30)
*Dakom (Issue #30, #31)
*Husasan (Issue #32, #51)
*Antimatter Beings (Issue #32, #33)
*Spikers (Issue #33)
*Terraforma (Issue #33)
*The Keeper (Issue #33)
*Toxis (Issue #34, #51)
*Gargoyles (Issue #34)
*Replitypes (Issue #35)
*Identico (Issue #35)
*Scoredef (Issue #36)
*Cronid (Issue #37)
*Land-Petromites (Issue #37)
*Air-Petromites (Issue #37)
*Menanger (Issue #38, #51)
*Mescon (Issue #38)
*Cub Cub (Issue #38)
*Trebo Beast (Issue #38)
*Proton (Issue #39)
*Molos (Issue #40)
*Kentar (Issue #40)
*Sophrites (Issue #41)
*Continuuma (Issue #41, #51)
*War Robot (Issue #41)
*Robo-Dactyl (Issue #42)
*Tyrannix (Issue #42)
*Ceratopian Robot (Pentaceratops?) (Issue #42)
*Galaxia (Issue #43)
*Quasar (Issue #44)
*Fractites (Issue #44)
*Cortixian creature (Issue #45)
*Cortix (Issue #45, #51)
*Mandelbiot (Issue #47, #51)
*Goffal (Issue #48)
*Pixar (Issue #48)
*Malachit (Issue #49)
*Dark Robots (Issues #49, #50, #51)
*Vileeon (Issue #51)
*The Evil One (Issue #52)

"*Interestingly, Vileeon is an anagram of Evil One."

eries Extras

Not just a story spread out over 52 magazines, each issue contained numerous things to do when finished reading the main text - this included interpreting prophecies, spotting hidden sprites, playing card games, board games, and creating your own map of the Ancestral World part by part each fortnight.

The Prophecy Scroll and Robo's Binary Panel

Each adventure had a prophecy printed on the inside of the front cover which pertained to that specific issue. You could either try and work out the meaning of the prophecy from the beginning, or go back and look at it at the end of each part and work out what each line in the riddles meant afterwards. Reading the prophecy was not essential to the story, and by not reading it you did not ruin your enjoyment of the story, as in a lot of the issues the prophecy was worked into the dialogue. In some cases, it may be possible to use the prophecy to guess what will happen next after getting approximately half way through an issue.

Beginning with Issue #27, Richard's first adventure in the Cyber Dimension, the prophecy on the inside cover was replaced with Robo's Display Panel - Binary messages which were also at times worked into the story. By deciphering the code you could discover that issue's main adversaries weakness alongside Richard who also used it within the storyline for the same reason. Again, not reading the code did not impede your enjoyment of the story. A binary decoder card was given away with Issue #27.

Information Cards

The monsters from the Ancestral World were based on real legends, for example, the magician Mirra was based on Medusa. Cards featuring information and stories on various monsters were given away free with the first half, and it was a challenge to guess which the main bad guy in that story was based on. These card could be kept together within a folder given away with issue #2 entitled "Morbane's Book of Mosters & Magic", which was eventually worked into the series storyline.

The monster cards were replaced in the second half by Techscan cards, which told the reader about various scientific principles and theories, generally those which had featured in some way in the issue. The Techscan cards could also be used within the Mainframe Control game. These included such things as lasers, acids & alkalis, and magnetism.

RPG

Free Monster Might cards were given away with Issues #2 through #8 for use in RPG activities. Rules for various games were printed intermittently along the series run. These cards consisted of four suites, two for the Good Forces and two for Evil Forces and contained all of the series principle characters or groups. Each had a different score in six attributes: Good/Evil, Size, Strength, Magic, Trickery, and Weapons.

Role playing games that were featured in the "Ancestral Trail" were titled: The Ancestral Trail (Locator cards, tokens, six Pod and Interceptor card throughout Issues #1 - #26; Instruction booklet in Issues #15 & #16), Pod Quest (Issue #1), Advanced Pod Quest (Issue 6), Megapower (Issue #11), Random Challenge (Issue #15), Fighting Forces (Issue #20) and Battle Axe (Issue #25).

A number of games were included with the second half of the series - games such as Mainframe Control and Cyber Chess. The pieces for the games were printed at regular intervals starting in Issue #27, and were followed by a special playing board and rule booklet.

Cyber Power cards were printed in the second half, unlike in the first half which were given away on the cover, featuring characters, beings, and machines from the Cyber Dimension. Because there were almost no "good" characters in the Cyber Dimension, the cards used the following characteristics: Speed, Intelligence, Size, Weapons, Strength, and Function.

Cyber Power cards could be used to play the Monster Might games Mega Power and Fighting Force with no change to the rules or gameplay.

Visual Activities

Various tasks were included in the issues including spotting hidden artwork, such as the characters of Shoomi and Shoobi, two friendly creatures who quietly followed Richard on his quest and who could be seen around two times in every issue.

Fragments of the Evil One's mask and random other 'canon' paraphernalia were also hidden in the background art - these tasks constituted the regular 3-Minute Challenge. Each issue had a challenge, usually finding a fragment of the Mask of Evil. Other items that could be found in the artwork throughout the series were: Juroot's mace, Zock's pendant, Enlil's bat minions, the "Libertas" spell elements, the Path Finder, Hulkan's worm-infested mud warrior, Narkum's fly spies, Zard's battleaxe, Tuska's dagger and halberd, Nemis's trident, Spector's eye, the Seal of Loktar, and the Spell Stopper.

Life Force pods were intermittently hidden in the background artwork, as well as the names of Pods that Richard had found hidden within the text.

Shoomi and Shoobi continued to follow Richard into the Cyber Dimension and could still be seen in the artwork, as could various pieces of 1990's technology - this was called the Computer Challenge. Items that could be found throughout Richard's adventures in the Cyber Dimension were, in order: a SIMM card, a power connector, a VRAM chip, Computer mouse, a floppy disk, a SCSI cable, a VDU, a computer keyboard, a terminator plug, a desktop bus port, a bubble-jet printer, a CD-ROM, a portable scanner, a microprocessor, a network connector, an accelerator card, an internal hard disk, a computer pen, a digital camera, a hand held computer, an external hard disk, a flatbed scanner, a modem, a CD-ROM drive, and finally a complete unit. The hidden technology was pointed out and explained in the following issue.

"Some of the above terms have fallen from use for example nowadays a 'hand-held computer' would be known as a Personal Digital Assistant. Interestingly, the Hard disk entry in Issue #44 has really dated itself - it states that the biggest hard drives can only contain 1.3 Gb!"

The Computer View Panel appeared twice in every issue from #27 to #52. It has a special function that is not revealed until the very end of the series run. Robo reveals to Richard that he can see them, although Richard and Teeza can't. The Evil One had been using them to drain Richard's powers while he was within the Cyber Dimension - leading to the Evil One's fatal weakness.

Practical Activities

A large blank map of the Ancestral World was given away with Issue #1, which could be filled in with map 'pieces' which were given away with each issue as well. As the series progressed the map could be built up, eventually being completed by Issue #26. Putting the map together was not easy, but was well worth doing.

Competitions

"The Power of Evil" was a competition running from Issues #1 through #26 where a letter block would appear in each issue. Once re-arranged the phrase would reveal the source of the Evil One's power. The competition prize was a, at the time, top of the line Atari 1040 ST computer. Clues to solve the phrase appeared in Issues #14 and #26.

After every issue had been collected, you would have 26 letter blocks. If you then looked at each issue, you would see that the first word of the story in each issue is depicted in the style of a letter block. The first letters of all 26 issues match the 26 collected letter blocks exactly.

When you take the first letter of the story in each issue, you get the following: DNIMEHTNIYLNOSITAHWTONRAEF. When written backwards, it reveals the source of the Evil One's power: FEAR NOT WHAT IS ONLY IN THE MIND

The Cyber Dimension-era competition was to win a Sega Mega Drive bundled with a copy of the role playing game "Shining Force".

Like in the first series of issues, you had to cut out a letter blocks and re-arrange them into a phrase - a phrase that reveals the fatal flaw in the Cyber Dimension.

The second competition proved to be much harder than the first, you could not just read the first letter of each issue as it made no sense in either direction: EIOAAAEATHMNDFMNSHLLMSTRLL

To solve it, you had to put the following letters into the spaces provided:

AAAA D EE F HH I LLLL MMM NN O R SS TT

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Which translates into: THE MIND OF MAN SHALL MASTER ALL

"Obviously, both competitions are closed to new entries..."

References

*Arxane Ancestral Trail/Blogspot. " [http://ancestraltrail.blogspot.com/] " Retrieved Feb 16th, 2006.
*BBC Entry " [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A1126199] " Retrieved Feb 16th, 2006
*Ancestral Trail Compnix. " [http://www.compnix.co.uk/at.htm] " Retrieved Feb 17th, 2006
*Ancestral Trail Yahoo! Group " [http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/Ancestral_Trail/] " Retrieved Feb 17th, 2006

*Ancestral Trail is discussed at The Talented Cafe Blogsite [http://www.talentedcafe.co.uk] with the author.

External links

*www.marshallcavendish.co.uk - publisher's web-site [http://www.marshallcavendish.co.uk]
* See Opening Chapter [http://www.immediatemovies.co.uk/at/opening.pdf]
*Ancestral Trail story and Pictures" [http://www.harper-collins.co.uk/] "


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