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=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
 VOLUME TEN, NUMBER TWO                                   January 12, 2003
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS
                           The Editor's Note

                         NEWS, REPORTS, UPDATES
                           Calendar of Events
                          Expies & Campaigning
                             Recent Updates
                            Rules? What Rules?
                            Recent Q&A Topics
                Did You Know: Abbreviating Player Names

                               LEGENDITES
                      The_Munk's Description Change
                 Carian Trag Tournament/Faire Announced

                               Clan News
                       Secretives Clan Disbanded                               
             The Hermetic Order to Celebrate 5th Anniversary
               The Grand Coven to Celebrate 5th Anniversary
                       Panuccis Pizza Job Openings

                              The PK Front
                       Silence and the Syndicate
                       
                        Comin' Soon... Hopefully
                    How Lia ni Connor Became a Druid
                   The Adventures of TheThing - Part I
                           The Birth of a Bear
                          A Healing Visit Home
___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                      The Editor's Note                          |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

A day late, but this issue seems to be bursting at the seams. The Events
Calendar has a lot of things coming up in the next month or so between
the Expies and the Mud's Birthday on February 14th! Please take special
note of the article below that explains some changes for this year's
nomination and final voting process. And when you get the ballot, send a
special thought of kindness to Cheyla for all the hard work and effort
she's put into it again so far this year.

It was sad to see the Secretives Clan (one of the original clans from
when they were first introduced to Legend) disbanded for low membership
just days before what would have been their 5th anniversary under the
free-forming clan system. But that's why we have the free-form system,
the clans should reflect what the players are interested in and willing
to put the effort into to make them an enjoyable time for their members.

Have a great week!

-Kaige
___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                   LegendMUD Calendar of Events                  |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'
          [All times are system time unless otherwise specified]

                                 JANUARY
                          Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
                                    1  2  3  4
                           5  6  7  8  9 10 11
                          12 13 14 15 16 17 18
                          19 20 21 22 23 24 25
                          26 27 28 29 30 31

Thursday,  January   16th    7:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
                             9:00 pm          LegendMUD Comedy Club 
Sunday,    January   19th    4:00 pm          Trivia with LadyAce  
Thursday,  January   23rd    7:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Sunday,    January   26th    6:00 pm          Tinyplot in India -- Details TBA
Thursday,  January   30th    7:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
                             9:00 pm          PK Open Practice 

Also Coming in January....
- make your nominations for the Expies!

Coming in February....
- St. Valentine's Day -- LegendMUD's birthday!
- vote in the final Expies ballot and attend the Expies ceremony!
- the Stock C(h)ar PK tournament returns!
....and much much more! 

___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                       Expies & Campaigning                      |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

If you plan to participate in this year's Expies in any way, whether you
expect to win an Expie or are just nominating and voting, it is
imperative that you read this.

Due to activities in the past couple of years and complaints regarding
such, we are instituting a new policy. We have always discouraged
campaigning and bribery to win an Expie. It is not within the spirit of
the Expies. Unfortunately, despite such discouragement, it still happens.

Starting this year, we will begin disqualifying nominees that participate
in campaigns and utilize bribery to win nominations and votes.
Campaigning just to disqualify someone will result in disciplinary action
against the campaigner.

What constitutes campaigning? Illusions, notes, board posts, repeated
comments on channels, and other like activity in the game encouraging
people to nominate/vote a certain way. This includes campaigning both for
and against something/someone.

What constitutes bribery? The offering of XP, coupons, strings,
equipment, quest help, money, etc to secure someone's nomination or vote.
Please report any activities of such, preferably with logs.

___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                          Recent Updates                         |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

    /\                         CODE UPDATES
   /  \     
  /    \    There have been no code updates in the past three weeks. One
 /_    _\   is scheduled for Friday, January 17th, 2003. Details will be
   |  |     posted the night before on the welcome board.
   |  |     
   |  |     
   |__|                      HELP FILE UPDATES
    /\      
   /  \     The following helpfiles were update in the past week.
  /    \    
 /_    _\   General Topics:
   |  |          BLANK, MONEY, MUNDANE
   |  |     
   |  |     Thanks to all the immorts and players who made this possible.
   |__|     
    /\      
   /  \                         AREA UPDATES
  /    \    
 /_    _\   If you want to suggest specific improvements or new additions
   |  |     to existing areas please don't hesitate to submit them with     
   |  |     the idea/bug/typo commands or drop mudmail to the builder
   |  |     currently responsible for the area (use AREAINFO to find out!)
   |__|     
    /\      1802 ALASKA
   /  \          Fixes buggy candles, long descriptions on new mobs.
  /    \         Andreev will buy more types of furs now. Various minor
 /_    _\        bugs and typos fixed.
   |  |     
   |  |     THE CRUSADES
   |  |          Brings an item with secondary damage into spec -- does
   |__|          more primary damage but less secondary. Weapon rent is a
    /\           bit less as a result Caravan guards now defend the
   /  \          caravan leader. Various minor bugs and typos fixed.
  /    \    
 /_    _\   FRENCH INDIAN WAR
   |  |          Building gardens is no longer available option from
   |  |          upstairs. Candlemaker shouldn't stockpile candles. Pierre
   |  |          now stocks some new merchandise. Various minor bugs and
   |__|          typos fixed.
    /\      
   /  \     HOSPITALLER MALTA
  /    \    Bianca eats inventory when she dies. Various minor bugs
 /_    _\        and typos fixed. Some response work.
   |  |     
   |  |     ROMANIA
   |  |          Corrects a number of minor typos and corrections to the
   |__|          Vlad quest.
    /\      
   /  \     TUDOR ENGLAND
  /    \         Difference between sunrise/sunset here and in Sherwood
 /_    _\        shouldn't be as noticeable.
   |  |     
   |  |     ABORIGINAL DREAMTIME, AFRICAN SAVANNA, ANCIENT NAZCA, 
   |  |     ARABIAN NIGHTS, AZTECS, CELTIC IRELAND,  MEDIEVAL SEAS,
   |__|     MELBOURNE, PARIS AND OPERA HOUSE, PORT OF LONGON, 
    /\      SAN FRANCISCO, SEONI JUNGLE, SHERWOOD, SOUTH SEAS, 
   /  \     TORTUGA, VICEROYAL PERU, and ZANZIBAR 
  /    \       Various minor bugs and typos fixed.
 /_    _\   
   |  |     
   |  |                    In Progress Area Updates
   |  |     
   |__|     This section is intended to share what builders are working
    /\      on behind the scenes. It is not a perfect record of progress
   /  \     as all builders do not commit updates every week. Badgering
  /    \    builders about their progress will get you flogged. 
 /_    _\   
   |  |             Cheyla        Zanzibar Expansion
   |  |             Chocorua      Prohibition New Hampshire
   |  |             Kae           Larderello (Dante's Hell)
   |__|             LadyAce       Kleinstadt (Update)

___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                       Rules? What rules?                        |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

Do you value being able to use channels? Would you like to keep the
characters you play? Do you want to continue having the ability to play
Legend?

If you answered yes to any of these questions... Then read the rules!
Better yet, abide by them!

You are receiving this message because I'm tired of hearing "But I didn't
know it was against the rules!" when someone gets a warning.

Please, please, please take a moment to read HELP RULES. There aren't
many, only 14... Whether you are new to Legend, have been on a sabbatical
for a few weeks/months/years, or have been here for a number of years in a
row, re-read the rules (or read them for the first time). They do change
occasionally, things get clarified, and you DO agree to abide by them
every time you log in even if you don't agree with them.

Not knowing the rules is never an excuse for breaking them.

If you have any questions regarding the rules, ask an immortal for
clarification.

Cheyla

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
  _______   ____    _______
 /  ___  \ / __ \  /  ___  \  Logs of Q&A sessions are available on the
 | /   \ | \ \/ /  | /   \ |  web pages for those who are unable to attend
 | |   | |  \  /   | \___/ |  or had to leave early. The most recent ones
 | |   | |  /  \/\ |  ___  |  are listed on the sitemap page or you can
 | | /\| | / /\  / | /   \ |  get a complete list on the Q&A index page
 | \_\ \ | \ \/  \ | \   / |  at the url below.
  \___\/_/  \__/\/ \_/   \_|

     http://www.legendmud.org/Community/lectures/QandA/QA_index.html

                               RECENT TOPICS

 o Rules: Warn vs Etiquette?         o Pure Perc Characters?
 o Vehicles Discussion               o What Happens to Ideas?
 o Explorer Whois?                   o Damroll & Backstab?
 o Bug with Elevator in OOC?         o How to Find Mundane Equipment?
 o Tailor Suggestions                o HOL/LoP Helpfile?
 o Player Rep to Imms?               o PK Balance Changes Coming?
 o EXP Loss/Gain in PK?              o PK Discussion
 o General Suggestions/Questions

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
   _____    
  /  _  \   DID YOU KNOW: Tips and tricks and little-used features
 /__/ \  \  
      /  /  Ever had problems when grouping and dealing with those pesky
     /  /   mages that bring along their armies of charmed critters?
    /__/    
    __      There's an easy way to make sure your commands always target
   /  \     the PLAYER instead of the mobs, many of which have the PC's
   \__/     name as a keyword as well.
            
   _____    Instead of typing the whole name out, use an abbreviation.
  /  _  \   For example, say Kaige is a mage and has a doppelganger with
 /__/ \  \  her and you're part of her group. She gets stunned and you
      /  /  want to wake her up. Typing WAKE KAIG instead of WAKE KAIGE
     /  /   will make sure the player character is woken instead of the
    /__/    doppelganger.
    __      
   /  \     This trick with abbreviations works for most commands. You 
   \__/     can always abbreviate a player's name, but never a mob's.
            
___                                                                    ___
\  |------------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|      LEGENDITES: Information Regarding the People of Our World   |__\
   '------------------------------------------------------------------'

                 Agaz has reached 100 million experience!

               =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

The_Munk has left his position as DishWasher at Panuccis Pizza and refuses
to remain associated with his former job title. 

The_Munk will no longer be known as:

Short: a vicious-looking cleaner
Long:  Looking for something to clean, a fat cleaner stares at you wildly.

but shall be recognized as:

Short: a vicious-looking murderer
Long:  Scanning for victims, a vicious murderer looks wildly around.

               =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

  ____________________________________________________________________
 /\                                                                   \
|  |                              {RDM}                               |
|  |                                                                  |
 \_| Dearest citizens, friends, allies, and enemies,                  |
   |                                                                  |
   | As many of you know, the Kingdom is coming up on the anniversary |
   | of its creation. It seems like but a year ago that I gifted such |
   | to my beloved husband Rowane.                                    |
   |                                                                  |
   | There has been much talk of holding competition for a Queen's    |
   | Champion or perhaps a gala ball in celebration of this momentous |
   | event. With gentle persuasion of my over-protective lifemate as  |
   | well as concerned friends, we will be arranging to set a date    |
   | formally for a competition and perhaps a small associated faire  |
   | as well. A ball will be held at a time in the fair future, such  |
   | date is yet to be considered.                                    |
   |                                                                  |
   | A formal date and proclamation will be set and announced as well |
   | as the rigorous tests of applicants will be posted so they can   |
   | properly prepare. Keep in mind that the one to protect the Queen |
   | should be fit in mind and spirit and not merely body.            |
   |                                                                  |
   | And please - anyone who wishes to sell something at the faire or |
   | make something for the tournament by all means feel free! After  |
   | all, you may become hungry or wish to wave a banner with the     |
   | name of the champion you hope will win.                          |
   |                                                                  |
   | Let the plotting begin! May the Gods set forth a date soon so    |
   | that we may start the merriment :)                               |
   |                                                                  |
   | Sincerely,                                                       |
   |            Queen MoiraGwyn De'Dannan, {RDM}                      |
   |                                                                  |
   |   _______________________________________________________________|__
   |   |                                                                |
    \_/________________________________________________________________/

     ___                                                          ___
     \  |--------------------------------------------------------|  /
     /__|                      Clan News                         |__\
        '--------------------------------------------------------'
 
The Secretives were disbanded for low membership on January 10, 2003, just
a few days shy of their fifth anniversary of their (re)founding under the
free-forming clans system.

               =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Congratulations to The Hermetics and The Grand Coven of Legend. These
clans will both celebrate the 5th year of their (re)founding on January
15th under the free-forming clans system.

For more information about these long-standing clans of Legend, check out
the CLANS command, try a search for Coven and Hermetic on the web pages,
(http://www.legendmud.org/sitemap.html and enter your keywords in the SEEK
box) or You can contact Malia if you wish to follow the guidance of the
Goddess and Larnoc or King Rowane for more info about the Hermetic Order.

               =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                    Job Openings at Panuccis Pizza
                     
This is the public statement from Panuccis Pizza Inc. on why we haven't
been delivering any pizzas.

We're still building the kitchen. You'd be amazed how many forms you have
to fill out and stuff to build a kitchen. Also we're missing a cook and
an asst. cook. So if you're good at cooking, quick and in search for a
job, contact: Richard Ramirez or Riley for a job here.

We offer the Panuccis Pizza Inc. benefits in return for your work and of
course a cut of our work.

Another thing I would like to get out in the clear once and for all is
we're not a bunch of murderous killers. We're an honest firm we don't
trade nuclear weapons or anything like that either. Whatever the rumors
might say we don't. We're just an honest pizzeria trying to make a living
in this hard cruel world.

Yes, I'm an ex-criminal. I got caught though. Been down that road -- it's
not worth it. Smelling a freshly baked pizza and doing the paper work as
you hear the happy customers and people in your restaurant is much more
rewarding.

There will be a list of what pizzas we sell and stuff once we're ready.
Until then, I still encourage you to stay away from the "Royal" stag and
Silver branch inn seeing as what they sell there is not edible.

   Yours sincerely,
	    Richard, "The Night Stalker" Ramirez, manager of Panuccis Pizza


               =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

There are currently 14 RP clans and 9 PK clans. This leaves open slots
for nine (9) more clans to form. For more information, read HELP CLAN and
see the clan information list via the CLANS command while logged into the
game. For a basic handbook and reference guide for players interested in
starting and running a clan, we recommend that before you even type FORM,
you visit: http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/gm.html.

     ___                                                          ___
     \  |--------------------------------------------------------|  /
     /__|                    The PK Front                        |__\
        '--------------------------------------------------------'

Constantly remembering my run in with the Syndicate I couldn't stop
thinking about how I would respond to the attack on me. Although, once I
saw Sandman Santiago loafing around the Royal Stag, I got the idea to
swiftly assert myself as one who will not bow to the will of the mafia. I
made up my mind and decided to strike the first blow. My vengeance came
quickly. As I paralyzed the 'Sandman', I ruthlessly finished him off with
a few blows. This is not just a story it is also a warning that I will not
require any 'protection' from this gang of bullies and in fact will be
ruthless in my repercussions against them.

Silence, silent but swift.

               =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Over one half of the Grendels were seen out in battle this past week.
Rumors have it that there might be a split within the clan. Something to
keep your eyes on... The Panuccis and the Synidicate also had about half
their members protecting their interests. The rest of the PK clans all
saw some action this week, but the Infernals and Knights have scaled back
again. The School of Hard Knocks must be facing funding issues as only
one member is showing up for class. The Coven and Hermetic Order were
both quiet, one suspects in preparation for their upcoming Anniversary
celebrations. The IRA on the other hand seems genuinely uninspired, with
only one of many members stirring themselves to action this past week.

               =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

This past week there were 87 pkill-related deaths involving 53 different
characters. Of those 53 characters, 24 of them were accept all at the
time. So come on, let's get YOUR name up in lights! We can't report on it
if you don't tell us about it!

If you have you witnessed or committed any glorious or nefarious deeds,
send a short report to us at the LT. If you are looking for a fight,
recruiting, or anything else related to PK (not necessarily PK Clan
related), send it in! It's free AND you'll get a prize token! Be a
celebrity, the envy of all your friends! Tick off your enemies or just
tell your side of the story! The possibilities are endless -- act today!!
 
              _______________________
             /                       \
        o O | Wonder what folks are   |
  `\|||/    | doing over at LegendMUD?|
   (o o)     \_______________________/
ooO_(_)_Ooo________________________________________________________________
_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|___
__|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|

                        Comin' Soon... Hopefully

Watching her move about the cottage, rearranging rooms to make room for
new items. He was told this was called 'nesting' and that there was
nothing he could do but sit and watch her, which in itself was tiring.

The baby was growing fast and was quite active. This, he knew, meant that
she was not sleeping well, being uncomfortable, and the baby kicking did
not allow for being well-rested. He did what he could to help her to be
more comfortable. Rubbing her shoulders, arms, legs and feet seemed to
help some, but could not alleviate the cramping that seemed to be
inevitable at night.

'Gods... I hope the baby decides to come soon, eh,' he muttered quietly.

'You do?' she said with a chuckle. 'Try carrying this huge child... YOU
wish it would come soon...' His wife smirked as she stood on her toes and
kissed his cheek.

'Nei, be bad enough watchin' you do it,' he chuckled and made a poor
attempt to evade the swat that he knew she would throw at him.

'Your child is a big one,' she said, smiling. 'No doubt it has inherited
your size and build.'

'Then I be hopin' it be a boy,' he winked and laughed heartily.

'Are you ready, my vakker fjell, for fatherhood?' She asked him, taking
his large hand in both of hers.

'I dunno, Skjonn... There ain't much that scares me, but this be one that
does... Ya think we'll do ok?'

'I know I will,' she said, teasing him, 'Of course you will do fine.  You
will make a wonderful father.'

The Norseman gently pulled his wife close to him and kissed her. He then
crouched down and said toward her extended belly, 'And you, my little one,
must come soon...' He raised the hem of her sweater and kissed her belly.
He stood again and kissed her tenderly. 'Min kone, Jeg elsker Deg!'

'Jeg elsker Deg, my vakker fjell,' she responded, beaming as she winced at
yet another powerful kick from the baby.

               =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                    How Lia ni Connor Became a Druid

Lia ni Connor was wandering through the forests of Ireland, smiling to
herself as she smelled the loam fresh from a gentle rain shower just
past. Coming to a dusty intersection, she pondered going into the village
of Tara and rest for a while at Tika's hospitable inn. Debating for only a
minute, she headed north on the trail that led to the gates of Tara.

                            -------*--------

The first time she enjoyed Tika's oatmeal, she had praised the woman for
her cooking saying it was almost as good as her own. Since Tika didn't
really like hearing that, she immediately demanded for Lia to prove it to
her in the kitchen - to which Lia agreed readily. Staying out in the woods
all the time was enjoyable, but sometimes a woman gets a little lonely for
a friendly chat with another female and cooking together usually makes an
immediate and amicable bond.

Lia was right, she and Tika were soon babbling away about this, that and
the other and somehow she got to talking about why she became a druid.

She had always enjoyed cooking with her mother as a child and as she
started growing up she got interested in how to grow all of the crops
needed for a properly kept kitchen. That's all good and well for a woman,
but she has to be married before she can use those skills, and as she was
already over 15 and still had no suitors, her father, Connor, a low
ranking member of King Conchubar's men, decided she had to find something
else to do to keep her fed. Since plants had always interested Lia he
sought out the druids that travelled through the woods healing those who
needed it and asked them to take her on as an apprentice. They agreed and
there was a tearful goodbye as Lia left her father's house to go with the
druids to learn all about herbs and how to bring out their potency.

                            -------*--------

Coming in sight of the Silver Branch Inn, Lia smiled and licked her lips
as her spry steps took her to the thresh hold where Tika was waiting with
a big smile on her face and broom in hand.

               =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

        The Adventures of TheThing (embellished) - Part I (Re-birth)

*YAWN*	*STRETCH*

'Alright, ol' Blue-Eyes is back in business, what's goin' on?' thought
TheThing, as he opened his eyes for the first time in a strange new world.
Looking around the room, he found himself in the Silver Branch Inn, with
various items lying about and a few people standing there. 'Follow me'
said DeathWalker DawnTreader. 'Ok, what's going on, and who is this guy
telling me to follow him?' TheThing thought. Taking a look around, the
place seemed very unfamiliar and perhaps even hostile, so he did as he was
asked. 'You join DeathWalker's group,' he was told. DeathWalker began
sending tells to the group and explaining the circumstance.

It seems that TheThing (soon nicknamed TT) had been called to this world
(Legend, they called it) by DeathWalker and his gang of mercenaries, High
Times. As DeathWalker told it, Legend was under siege by a group called
the Dark Enforcers, or DE for short. DE had been wreaking havoc, pillaging
and killing at their own whim, and the Knights of Legend did not seem
able, or perhaps willing, to put an end to the DE once and for all. High
Times, a group of substance abusing (or indulging as they called it)
slackers, had taken it upon themselves to rid Legend of the DE and any of
their kind. One thing they lacked was muscle. They needed one man to lead
the charge, to be the force behind which they could rally. TheThing was
brought in to be that muscle.

TheThing began to think this through, no easy task for someone as
bullheaded and slow as he was. A former gridiron brawler, and, as far as
he knew, smashing and thrashing superhero, TheThing was not accustomed to
being the brains of any outfit, least of all his own destiny. This wasn't
the first time he had traveled through space or time; his friend Reed
Richards seemed to take perverse pleasure in stretching the limits of
physics and science in the past. Assessing the situation as best he could,
TheThing summed it up for himself as this: A world is under siege by an
evil group of men and women and he is being asked to lead the group that
will take out the 'bad guys' and bring justice to a land lacking in the
strength to accomplish it without him.

'It's Clobberin' Time!!!' TheThing roared as he accepted the challenge.

It wasn't going to be that easy, TheThing soon found out. This plan would
take time, planning, and a lot of work on his part. It seems that on this
world TheThing's former strength was gone. He still had the skin of stone,
orange in appearance (like that of stone made from red clay), and his
steely blue eyes (hence his nickname 'ol' blue eyes'), but the super-human
strength seemed to have all but left him. DeathWalker explained that if he
worked hard enough at it, learning skills from others, killing
strategically, and wearing the garb of those he had vanquished, he could
re-gain that strength and become the 'tank' that they needed. A strange
term 'tank' was. This new world had so many new ways and words, TheThing
was beginning to think this may take a long time indeed.

               =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                          The Birth of a Bear

She awoke with a start. The pain was more intense now than it had been the
last couple days and it lasted longer this time. She shook her husband,
he mumbled softly and went back to snoring. She chuckled softly and
muttered, 'He said, 'I'll be knowin' when ya need to be goin'. Sleep with
one eye open, I do.' Riiiight.' She tugged on one of the braids of his
beard.

'Wha? Why'd ya pull my beard, Skjonn?' he asked rubbing is chin lightly as
he blinked himself awake.

'It's time.'

'It be time fer what? It's still dark out fer the sake of the gods...' He
grumbled grumpily and rolled over and closed his eyes again.

She blinked and peered at him. 'That was not exactly what I saw him
doing...' she thought.

His eyes flew open and he shot to his feet. 'WHAT? TIME? FER THE BABY,
SKJONN??' he exclaimed. He did not wait for a response, instead he began
running around the cottage trying to find everything they needed. She
laughed and picked up the bag she had packed when she first found out that
she was pregnant.

'Let's go, Gad, we need to hurry.'

He stopped running around and hurried to open the door for her.

                                 -=-=-

When they arrived at Olaf's keep, Helga was there waiting for them.

'How did you know we would be coming tonight?' Lilac asked Helga.

'We have people watchin' from the fjells. They called out that a big man
with pretty woman was arrivin' soon. I knew who it would have to be.'

Lilac smiled, until the contractions hit again.

Helga ushered Lilac into her own bedroom and shut the door. When Gad asked
to come in Helga said, 'You be a man, you did enough! Let me take care of
this skjonn kvinne -- you go out by Olaf.' She turned and muttered about
men thinking that they knew something about birthing babies. Gad would
have laughed if he wasn't so nervous. He paced the floor and then decided
to go find Olaf, as Helga had said.

                                 -=-=-

Lilac had not felt such intense pain in her entire life. She tried not to
yell out as the contraction seemed to rack her entire body. 'Helga,' she
said when she could once again speak, 'Do you have any medications so that
I do not feel the pain. I love this child, but a martyr I am not.'

Helga chuckled and said to her, 'Young one, anything I could give ya could
harm the baby... and you wanna be sure that you feel every minute so as to
be able to tell them about it later to get a good guilt response.' She
winked and put a cool cloth on Lilac's forehead. 'You'll be fine, young
one. Yer strong and this'll be over soon.'

'How soon?' She asked as another contraction hit.

'A day at the most, I'd say.' Helga said and went back to getting the room
ready for the new arrival.

Lilac screamed, as much in surprise as in pain.

                                 -=-=-

Gad stopped pacing when he heard the scream. 'She be Ok, Olaf?'

'Ja, she be fine, boy.' the older man said with a wry grin. 'Can be
tellin' this be yer first one. Helga will be takin' good care of her, eh.'

'I know. It just be that I cannot do somethin' to help...'

'Thinkin' ya did enough before.' the old man said with a wink.

'Ja, that be what Helga was sayin'' Gad answered with a chuckle. 'What do
we do until the baby comes? It be soon, eh?'

'Ja, soon. no more than a day or two.'

Gad blinked and took a long drink of mead. 'This is gonna be the death of
me.'

                                 -=-=-

Helga looked at Lilac and smiled. 'It won't be long now, young one. Yer
almost there.'

'You said that hours ago, Helga,' Lilac panted between contractions.

'Ja, but this time I be meanin' it and not just tellin' ya that to keep ya
goin',' the older woman chuckled. 'In fact, I think you could start
pushin' now if'n ya want.'

'If I WANT?' Lilac thought, 'IF I WANT??'

'When the next pain comes, give a good push, and try to pull yer knees up.
It'll give ya better leverage with the pushin''

That is exactly what Lilac did. She pushed hard once, and again, and a
third time.

'Hold up there now, I can see the head. Push again when the pain comes
again.' Lilac did as she was told and pushed with all she could muster.
She pushed again and the older woman squealed in happiness. Lilac heard
the baby cry and began crying in happiness as well. Helga washed the baby
off and helped Lilac to finish the delivery process and placed the baby on
her chest. She looked at the baby and said to him, 'Young man, your father
will be proud to call you son.' She looked at Helga and asked, 'Can Gad
come in now?'

                                 -=-=-

Gad heard the baby and jumped to his feet.

'Ja, boy, that be yer baby. Go to the door, Helga'll be openin' the door
soon, I think.'

The door opened and Helga brought the nervous man inside.

'Gad,' Lilac called to him, 'Come meet your son.'

'Son?' Gad repeated. Lilac nodded and smiled. 'I gots a son?'

'Yes, my vakker fjell, you have a son. Now name your son.'

'He will be Bjorn, cuz he will be big as a bear.' Gad said proudly.

'He already is as big as a bear, or at least it felt like it.'

'Ok, boy, you need to be goin again, and let yer kone sleep.' Helga said,
and Olaf nodded his agreement.

Gad nodded, still beaming, tears forming in his eyes. 'Ok. Will see ya
tomorrow, Skjonn.' He leaned down and kissed her gently. Lilac smiled and
closed her eyes to enjoy a well deserved sleep, holding the small Bjorn
close to her, knowing she now had all she would ever need.

               =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                          A Healing Visit Home

Mrs. O'Cuinn looked up from her herb garden to see her daughter walking
toward her across the fields that surrounded her little hut. She could
tell, even from this distance, that something was wrong. She straightened
and waved a warm welcome to her daughter.

At the sight of her mother's warm welcome, Emrysia quickened her pace,
nearly running the last few yards.

Mrs. O'Cuinn hugged her daughter in greeting. 'Emrysia! How good to see
you! I've missed you so!' She drew back and stared into her daughter's
face, she saw the pain in her eyes and knew why she'd come, she'd seen
that look before in other women's eyes, and to see it on her daughter's
nearly broke her heart.

'Hello, Mother,' Emrysia said, 'It's so good to be home!'

'We have much catching up to do, come, let's go in and have a cup of tea
and talk,' Mrs. O'Cuinn smiled at Emrysia.

Once inside and seated at the table, Mrs. O'Cuinn asked, 'So, how's Yohn
and little Celara?'

Emrysia smiled, 'Yohn is advancing in his studies quite well, he's really
becoming quite the accomplished musician, and Celara is growing like a
weed. '

The mother and daughter continued catching up on the doings of various
family members and finally the conversation stopped, leaving a comfortable
silence between them.

'Mother.' Emrysia finally broke the silence.

Mrs. O'Cuinn had been waiting for this moment, she knew her daughter, and
she knew she would get around to why she had come when she was ready.
'Hmmm?' she replied quietly.

Emrysia stared down at her cup of tea, 'Robar had an affair.'

'I see.' Mrs. O'Cuinn said quietly.

'With my friend, Nanna.'  Emrysia looked up from her cup. 'In our home..
and bed.'

'Oh.' Mrs. O'Cuinn looked at her daughter compassionately.

'Oh, Mother!' Emrysia cried, suddenly the floodgates were broken and the
whole story came pouring out of her. How she had smelled perfume on the
pillow in their room and she had recognized it as Nanna's, how she had
asked Robar, and he had told her the truth, how she had wanted to die, how
Robar wouldn't let her, how horrible she had been treating Robar ever
since, yet he was still there, of her difficulty eating and sleeping, how
MoiraGwyn had noticed her haggard look and had called in Hannah, how they
had somehow guessed the cause of her illness, and of how MoiraGwyn's
reaction was to declare war on the Knights of Legend and to tell anyone
and everyone who would listen that Robar had been unfaithful and how that
had hurt Emrysia almost more then Robar and Nanna's betrayal.

Mrs. O'Cuinn nodded slowly, 'I see.' And then after a pause, 'Tell me
Emrysia, do you still love Robar?'

'I do' came the reply. 'I just... don't trust him anymore.'

Mrs. O'Cuinn nodded. 'Trusting him will be one of the hardest thing you'll
ever have to do. And people will call you foolish for doing it, too. But
the hardest will probably be forgiving him.'

Emrysia nodded. She understood what her mother was saying, if she wanted
to stay married to Robar, she had a choice - she could forgive him, or
else make his and her own life miserable.

'And what of MoiraGwyn?' Mrs. O'Cuinn asked.

Emrysia's face darkened. 'I don't know. She is worse than the rest. Wasn't
my pain enough? What was her need to humiliate me? And don't even get me
started about her wish to go to war with innocent people that aren't
involved in any way whatsoever!'

'Did you ever stop to think perhaps her actions stemmed from her concern
for you?'

Emrysia stared at her mother. 'What do you mean?'

'Well, from everything you've ever written to me about MoiraGwyn, she was
like the sister you've never had. Now why would she take pleasure in your
pain? '

Emrysia frowned.

'You had such a strong friendship before. Isn't it a friendship worth
fighting to keep?'

Emrysia pondered her mother's words, 'Ye-es. I guess it is.'

Mrs. O'Cuinn leaned forward across the table and smiled at her daughter,
'I want you to know, Emrysia, that I am very proud of you and all you've
accomplished with your life. One of the things I value most about you is
your ability to get what you want. From the time you were a little girl
you knew you wanted to be an herbalist, and look at you now! And when you
left home to find a place to study herbs, but couldn't find it, you
started your own school. I have faith that if you decide what you want,
you'll be able to get it with a little perseverance.'

With a final hug and wave, Emrysia bade her mother goodbye and headed back
to Tara, with a much-missed spring in her step, and a smile on her face
for the first time in weeks.

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