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..../                /_/..\______/./_____/./__/.../__/./_______/ MUD
.../________________/       running on   bashful.cc.utexas.edu 9999
                                                 128.83.108.17 9999
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    http://www.cs.cmu.edu:8001/Web/People/johnmil/legend/legend.html
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VOLUME TWO, ISSUE TWENTY-SIX                             May 21st, 1995
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                LOTS OF CHANGES AND A !!LONG!! ISSUE

                       ...:/:[ CONTENTS ]:\:...

                     -  menu system at login  -
                     - skill and spells fixes -
                     -   general mud changes  -
                     -        area fixes      -
                     - notice to clan leaders -

                               ARTICLES

                     -    on use of the OOC   -
                     - mud party -- Austin TX -

                            SOCIAL EVENTS

                     -   A Dark Lord Debacle  -
                     -  Belated Mother's Day  -
                     -    Obmig's birthday    -
                     -  Ptah & Kaige vacation -

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                            MENU SYSTEM

You'll notice this immediately upon entering the mud. You can type simply
your name at the title screen to skip having to choose 'connect to a
character' at the outset. Please do explore the new character generation
process with a newbie. This menu system was installed before it was truly
ready for primetime because of circumstances beyond our control, so all
feedback will be welcome and useful.

One little tidbit which you may find useful: you no longer need to drop
your telnet connection to the mud to switch characters--simply exit
all the way out to the top menu and then connect a new character.

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                      SKILL AND SPELL CHANGES

- The listen skill now gives a chance of overhearing whispers and asks
based on your perception.

- Field surgery no longer stuns people. If you use it on someone who is
fighting, however, it will damage them rather than heal them. This
function obeys clan limits, so you will not be able to use your scalpel
on the unclanned who are fighting.

- The sustained breath spell and the sustained breath skill should both now
permit you to enter underwater rooms. Sustained breath skill should activate
automatically upon your entering, and you will release your breath as soon as
the normal duration expires. The spell will last from the moment it is cast
until it expires. Both give you a warning because people in underwater rooms
now drown at the tick if they are not holding their breath.

- Chance of break door succeeding increased, now takes con into account as
well and it no longer works on no_phase doors.

- Make staff now works--use either command 'whittle' or command 'craft'. You
must first use it on a tree, then you get a branch you can carry around and
keep working on. Note that doing this is slow and painstaking, that a
higher spirit means a better chance of success at each stage, that long
waits are applied for each session of whittling, and that it takes like 5
sessions to finish a weapon. What staff you get is dependent on your level,
but they are really all pretty nice.

- Decay no longer gives mana.

- The poison cloud spell is now aggressive in the same manner as noise--all
affected parties will attack you.

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                          GENERAL MUD THINGS

- Yells should now give altered messages based on distance. Great distances
mean you may not be able to make out who yelled, and yelling between rooms
that are disconnected may or may not give the name of who yelled based on
your perception. Don't worry about this affecting you much, except perhaps
cosmetically--the largest same-area distances we found on the mud only
render yells muffled or inaudible if you are absolutely at the furthest
point away from the yeller, and even then we only found two places like
that in the whole mud.

- Auctions now stop auctions in progress when the seller leaves the game and
at the tick if the seller no longer has the item being auctioned. Idle
auctions will be terminated after 3 ticks with no bids. All auctions running
longer than 10 ticks will be ended with the merchandise being reclaimed.

- Vehicles that require tracks should now only enter rail rooms.

- Vehicles not entering impassable rooms should now work properly.

- Players in vehicles should show properly in look now.

- Vehicles out of fuel cannot move. Vehicles cannot be given to people, they
can only be dropped. They can also not be auctioned.

- You can now look in lights and lamps to see how many hours of light they
have left.

- The unaffiliated clan channel is gone.

- Aligned items should zap you at the tick if they haven't already. They also
drop to the floor upon renting so that they don't crash the game when you
come back in. You get a message so that you can come back in to retrieve
them if you want to.

- All immortals can now shout as indicated by the command table.

- Players in the void can no longer get damaged, nor will they heal while
there.

- Clan All should no longer be heard by the unclanned.

- There is now a HELP OOC. Also, you can now simply type OOC and IC to enter
the Wild Boar Tavern and to return from it.

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                              AREA FIXES

- San Francisco:

It is no longer possible to trans to Frisco by telling O'Leary a cussword.

- Beowulf:

Killing the whale now works as well as escaping from inside it. And escaping
should work more than once per reboot now.

Wulfgar is now always on duty outside, unless he has been killed.

- Clan halls:

Arrivals of non-clan members now get announced via the clan channel. So do
departures, only departures also give the general area to which the person
is returning. Note that people recalling out are currently not reported
(if the trans mob recalls them they are).

The unclanned can no longer get anything in the clan hall. (That includes
from containers, and if they try, the item will be confiscated, be warned!)

The tokens now last for ten days, and they repop every ten days plus one
tick. Clan members may obtain a new one at any time by simply asking their
gatekeeper mob "token".

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                      NOTICE TO ALL CLAN LEADERS

Please contact Ptah to set up a new password for your clan. The passwords
must be something related to the clan--if you do not propose one, one
will be assigned to you. These passwords will all be installed simultaneously
when the mud moves to a new site.

After all the debate on the LDL, new passwords when we move, plus the
above listed changes, plus the change to the listen skill, were what a
group of players agreed upon and formally requested after a meeting in
the Wild Boar Tavern. No further changes are anticipated in the near future
unless bugs are discovered or serious problems or oversights appear.

Lastly--if your clan has less than six trans mobs, please also give us
a list of additional mobs you would like to have serve as trans mobs.
Note that there should be no more than two per era, and that they also
must be plausible members of your clan.

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                       .'                       '.
                     .:          FEATURE          :.
                      '.        ARTICLES!        .'
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                          ETIQUETTE AND THE OOC

                                 by Ptah

This is sort of a peripheral discussion to the larger ones on roleplaying
and playerkilling that so often take up space here. But it's one that I
know many players feel strongly about, so I thought I would bring it up.

The Wild Boar Tavern was created as a place for players to relax away from
the game. While many use it as a convenient place to hold game-related
meetings (such as inter-clan meetings or in-character scenarios or trysts)
it is primarily a place where people can get away from the game aspect.
Perhaps OOC is a misnomer, for of course it is not generally used as a
fully out of character place, but rather as a NON-GAMING place, a place
where roleplaying and plain old interaction can happen without interference
from petty things like mobs who hate you, people who want to kill you, and
even the drudgery of gaining experience.

I am pretty sure that the OOC is a popular place; people may not go there
all the time, but they sure like it to be there. But there are some small
matters of etiquette that are needed in order for this to continue being
as open and available as it has been until now.

You may have noticed that in the new code update, one can simply use the
commands OOC and IC to go to and return from the Wild Boar Tavern. This
increased convenience does NOT mean, however, that the OOC lounge should
be regarded as a convenient rabbit hole for those fleeing playerkilling.
Pkill is about as IC as you can get, and fleeing from pkill is likewise
pretty much as IC as you can get. Vanishing through a wormhole in time
and space to a bar floating in space is NOT IC, nor is it very sporting.
There have been cases of people who run to the OOC to seek refuge after
being attacked, cases of people sitting in the OOC to taunt their enemies
in the 'world' down below. Please refrain from this, as it not only ruins
the atmosphere of non-game-related activities that the OOC enjoys, but
it is also just not very fair. Refuge is what your clan halls are for
(and note that with this update, most the agreed-upon updates to clan halls
are also installed).

Refuge from pkill is not the only way in which the purpose of the OOC has
been abused. Players also like to go there to lose link and be autorented
out safely; to sleep there and be pulled into the void to heal without
risk; to go there when bleeding or poisoned at no risk of losing hit points
while they solve the problem. None of these things are fair uses of the
OOC, and they all circumvent the various mechanisms set up within the game
to keep things fair.

Several solutions were proposed by various people, including myself; let me
run down a few of them in no particular order so you can see how seriously
this was taken by those concerned:

- bar clanned people from using the OOC except on special occasions
- permit any clanned person to kick any other clanned person out of the OOC
- remove the OOC altogether
- automatically kick the link-dead or idle out of the OOC
- bar repeat offenders from the OOC
- start timers or flags when pk incidents took place, preventing OOC access

In the end, this is what is happening: we are asking you all to simply
respect the purpose of the Wild Boar Tavern. Do not go there to flee from
in-game problems, to postpone them, to hide safely while you begin fights
with taunts (or continue them)... go there to enjoy the fact that it is
a place to relax without WORRYING about all the above. If the etiquette
of those using the OOC does not improve, it is quite possible that one
of the above solutions would have to be implemented.

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                     MUD PARTY IN AUSTIN TEXAS

A mud gathering will take place at the home of Shelby in Austin, Texas
on June 2nd, 1995. Those interested should email Shelby at robingar@io.com
for directions and further information. The gathering should start
around 7pm that night (Friday). Bring your own beverages, and bring a
swimming suit if you like as there is a pool available. No pets or wild
behavior. Live music is a likelihood, and there is also a rumor that
there may be FAJITAS.

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        o O | Wonder what folks are    |
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                           A DARK LORD DEBACLE

    It came to pass on a lovely summer's day that there reappeared a long-
vanished face, framed by a mess of unkempt brown curls. The first
unfortunate soul to run afoul of the long-absent Dusty was Colsant,
whose resemblace to Conan resulted in some off-color remarks. But it
was not long before Dusty encountered the young Alexandra, all unaware
of her parentage, and engaged her in conversation.
    "How old are you, Alexandra?" she asked, bending down to peer at her.
    Alex held up four fingers, clutching her bunny with her other hand.
    "You're FOUR?" Dusty exclaimed, taken aback.
    Alexandra nodded solemnly.
    "Oops," Dusty said. "I better clean up my act." She looked down at
the little girl, and made a visible effort to readjust her thinking. "Er,
has bunnsywunnsy eaten any carrowarros todaysies?" she tried, and hoped
that she made sense.
    Alexandra smiled indulgently. "It's ok. Augustus is teaching me
grownup words."
    Lark cackled. "Now, there's someone to look up to," snorted Crowe.
    Dusty snorted right back. "She's four, I think she has to look up
to see ANYONE."
    "Auggie is real tall," added Moira.
    Alexandra looked enthusiastic as she discussed her tall friend.
"Augustus is really really nice. And a good babysitter too. Except for
the one time he told me to attack a lean captain and I was only 12th
level. But that was great."
    Dusty looked incredulous. "A good babysitter? Isn't Auggie, like,
male??"
    Moira was more aghast at Augustus' advice. "He DID?"
    "Die once," Alexandra said with an evil grin, "blackmail material
for life."
    Dusty looked a little queasy. "Er, did he teach you the word
'blackmail'?"
    Alex giggled. "He's afraid of mommy," she said.
    All unsuspecting, Dusty asked, "Who is mommy?"
    Alexandra went on, "Bunny explained to me that if I say certain
things, people will be nice to me. Oh! Birdy is my mommy."
    Moira said, "Rather a grownup concept for a four year old," but by
then Dusty was already in shock.
    "BIRDY is your mommy... oh GOD no... PLEASE tell me your dad isn't..."
she said, with a great gasp, and little Alexandra began to cry. Moira
gathered the child to her skirts, and said to Dusty warningly, "It's not
her fault!"
    Alexandra sobbed into Moira's skirts. "No one likes my daddy."
    "Oh, don't cry, honey... it's OK..." Dusty said, looking embarrassed.
"Er, I do. Did. Do. Whatever." She thought back to the days when Greyscot
was her suitor, and the whole world watched and wondered whether their
troubled relationship would ever develop into something more.
    Alex looked up, all curious innocence. "Oh, you're that Dusty? The one
he didn't marry?"
    Rucht winced.
    "Hmmm..." Dusty muttered. "This strikes me as a golden opportunity to
cause SOME sort of mischief."
    Lark said, "Oooooohhhh" and giggled. "Go, Dusty, go!" she whispered to
her.
    "I'm sorry," Alex said looking wide-eyed at the bardette.
    Dusty kneeled down next to the litle girl and smiled as she patted
her on the head. "Why yes, I am," she grinned. "The Dusty he didn't marry."
She looked the kid over as if weighing her in the balance. "Hmm... so what
sort of things does Bunny tell you to do? And do you do them?"
    "Sometimes," Alex nodded. "But when Bunny tells me to do something and
I don't he gets mad."
    But Dusty was off on her own train of thought. "Like, does bunny ever
suggest that you go swimming in the deep end of the pool without water
wings?" she said speculatively. "Or play Sparks (tm) with a fork and an
electric socket?"
    "Like I was pounding him on the ground because he wouldn't tell me
where Pandora or Mommy were and I was all alone... and Bunny said 'You
better stop doing that.'" Alexandra explained. "But it was really scary
the way he said it."
    "Animal abuse, animal abuse," chanted Lark.
    "Careful," Dusty said with a straight face. "You could beat the
stuffing out of him."
    Lark giggled and groans issued from many corners of the world.
    "And then we'd have to cut Bunny open and put in some of your mommy's
nylons," the bard continued, "and forever after he'd cling to your legs...
and he wouldn't stop running either." She pulled herself away from the
string of terrible extended punning with an effort and bellowed, "GREYSCOT!"
    Alex's father had just recently arrived upon the scene, and heard.
    "WHY was I not told you had generated a pair of CHILDREN?? I didn't
even get to send christening gifts! How could I possibly condemn Alex to
sleeping a thousand years or something?" she said.
    "Oh," the proud father said mildly, "you would have been the first to
know if I had known where you were."
    Dusty grumbled theatrically. "If you'd given me an opportunity like
that, I would have made an effort to show up. Instead I am having to just
attempt to corrupt your daughter, only to find that her stuffed animals
have beaten me to it!"
    Greyscot sighed. "I know. Bunny looked so innocent when we got her."
    Alexandra looked up, a strange catch in her voice. "You didn't get me
this Bunny, daddy."
    Dusty looked outraged. "Red glow on the supermarket shelf, clouds of
black smoke billowing, a deep voice that spoke saying BUY ME AND GET A FREE
GINSU KNIFE SET and you didn't SUSPECT??"
    Greyscot said to Alexandra, "Oh well, that explains it then."
    Alexandra tugged at his sleeve. "No, a really nice man all dressed in
black gave me this bunny."
    And so it was that Dusty set off to investigate the circumstances of
the arrival of Bunny, and found out that not only was the bunny sort of
unusual, but that Alexandra's babysitters were antipaladins.
    Dusty said uneasily, "This bunny doesn't look right to me. Is it
supposed to like, move by itself? Breathe? Quiver and shake as if it were
little more than a skin containing hideous dark and evil forces from a
plane not known to mankind?" She poked Bunny's tummy and a small burp of
dark smoke with a foul odor issued from the plush pink ears. "Oh dear, is
there a Child Welfare Dept. on this mud?" she said unhappily to herself.
Straightening, she said to all in the room, "Well, I guess the question
is whether it is appropriate to permit young impressionable children to be
supervised by members of a violent and fanatical sect known to engage in
mind control and brainwashing." And she glared around, not looking at anyone
in particular.
    "I'm nice to small children." Moira said carelessly, leaning
languorously against the doorjamb, the strap of her sheer green cloak
strategically slipping off of one bare shoulder.
    "Yes, yes, I know, Moira," Dusty said dismissively, impatiently.
    Alexandra spoke up, her high-pitched child's voice cutting through the
tension. "I like the antipaladins. They are good babysitters, and they
like Bunny."
    "Why," Moira said, running her pink tongue over her pearly teeth and
smiling, "I don't even bite them." She chuckled throatily to herself.
    Dusty slapped a wall. "I'm nice to small children," she said angrily.
"SMALL CHILDREN ARE SOME OF MY BEST AGENTS," she said even louder. Swinging
around, she brought a finger to bear on Moira, pointing right at her
chest. The antipaladin didn't budge. "And since Alex is a small child,"
Dusty said accusingly in a low voice, "does that imply....?"
    "Woo woo," said Alex, as Moira moved Dusty's finger away from her, a
slight smile on her face.
    It was then that a tall figure darkened the door. It was Augustus,
he who had already killed Crowe once 'because Bunny told him to.' He
expressed a desire to kill people, but he also said he was drunk.
Dusty suggested that perhaps taking on stuffed animals would be more in his
league in that case.
    "No!!" Alex cried, deeply upset. "He would never hurt Bunny. He likes
Bunny."
    Augustus looked around blearily, and his sword hit his toe. As he
hitched at his belt, trying to get a better fit, he asked, "Who hurt bunny?"
    Dusty looked at him as if he were some sort of worm. Wicked glints
danced in her green eyes. "It would be practice fighting... don't you trust
Bunny to be able to take care of himself?" she asked carelessly.
    Augustus straightened as best he could. "Bunny a connection to my
god..." he mumbled. "It is one of his best agents."
    Dusty threw up her hands. "I think the world has gone to the fish." She
made a face.
    Moira pushed away from the doorjamb, annoyance on her finely chiseled
face. "Well, _I_ didn't see a fish," she said firmly. "Not that I could
see anything, of course."
    "Okay," Augustus said, peering around the room. "Who wants to fight?"
    "Not I," Dagney was quick to assure him.
    Dusty's face had grown pale, as a terrible realization struck her. "Oh
my goodness," she breathed. "You mean the bunny is..." She blanched.
    Augustus nodded in agreement with Dusty, a grin playing across his face.
He didn't seem nearly as drunk as he had moments before.
    "GREYSCOT!!" Dusty wailed.
    After checking out his surroundings, Augustus sighed and resheathed his
sword. "Poop," he said, disappointed. "I don't really dislike anyone on."
    Dusty rushed up to the little girl and grabbed her by her small rounded
shoulders. "Alexandra, throw away your bunny right now!" she exhorted, trying
to pull the stuffed rabbit from the child's arms. But Alex wasn't even paying
attention, but instead spoke to Augustus, admiration and love shining in her
young eyes.
    "You could just come play with me," she said to the tall warrior.
    "Alex, throw it away!" Dusty said, tears in her eyes, "It isn't a bunny
at all!" But Alex slapped her hands away, anger flashing across her face. A
huge hand dropped across Alex's shoulder.
    "Keep bunny," Augustus suggested, his eyes levelly on Dusty, who backed
away, fear evident on her face.
    "You don't think that raw tuna fish are cuddly, do you? Or seaweed? Or
sharks?" she said rapidly, entreating Alexandra with her eyes as she moved
away from Augustus, whose hand hovered over the hilt of his sword.
    "Hey," Augustus said angrily.
    "I am NOT throwing Bunny away." Alexandra piped up. "You said you wanted
to be friends with Bunny, Dusty!"
    "Bunny is a bunch of anchovies and squid wrapped up in bunny skin!"
Dusty screamed at her. "I didn't know who Bunny WAS."
    Augustus grumbled at his inability to attack the green-eyed bardette,
but nonetheless moved to stand in front of Alexandra and the stuffed toy.
    "That's no rabbit," Dusty accused, pointing a wavering finger right
at Augustus' massive chest. "That's a stuffed GUPPY."
    A slender well-formed hand ran teasingly across Augustus huge tensed
biceps. "Pipe down, Auggie!" Moira said persuasively, kneading his shoulders.
"Killing her would be rude." She turned Augustus towards her and looked into
his face with her hypnotic green eyes. "It would interrupt our conversation."
    Alexandra cried, forgotten in the corner. "Bunny is Bunny!!" she wailed.
    Augustus looked down at the slender Moira, and smirked. Casting a last
disgusted glance at the trembling Dusty, he said, "I can't anyway," and
stomped out the door, sword and all.
    Dusty whirled on Greyscot, who had stood mostly silent while this all
transpired. "Greyscot," she demanded passionately, "how dare you raise your
child to consort with marine life?"
    "Gee," Moira said pensively, her eyes on the retreating muscular back of
Augustus. "I should make you level me, Auggie."
    "Make me?" Augustus threw back over his shoulder, and grinned evilly.
    Greyscot scratched his head confusedly. "Eh, what's wrong with a bunny,
or a fish?
    "I like Bunny," Augustus called back from outside.
    Moira nodded.
    "I'll be friends with whoever I want!" Alex said, running up to her
father and pounding at his knees with her tiny fists. Then she got a funny
look on her face and looked over at Moira, who was playing coyly with a
stray curl from her lustrous hair, then at Augustus, who stood outside,
staring back, transfixed, sighing as if in a trance. "And Augustus owes
ME first!"
    Moira looked annoyed and broke eye contact with Augustus, who nearly
fell over from the shock. "Oh puckernuts," she said, with a comely pout.
    "Puckernuts?" Augustus said, trying to recover his composure, breathing
heavily.
    "Puckernuts?" Alex said, looking from one adult face to another.
    Moira flipped her skirt in the air idly. "Maybe I DO need a strapless
gown," she said mischievously, winking at Augustus as she slid one leg out
from under the fabric, as if inspecting it.
    "I think you do. . ." Zandy said uneasily.
    "Why, I can't even compete with a 4 year old!" Moira giggled, tossing
her head. An undercurrent to her voice belied the laughter.
    "She's an awfully cute 4 year old. . ." Zandy observed.
    Dusty kneeled before Greyscot, a supplicant hoping for attention.
"Greyscot, the bunny is ONE OF HIS BEST AGENTS," she said, but even her
former suitor's eyes were on Moira. She got up in disgust and walked to the
other side of the room, biting her nails. The others ignored Dusty's pleas
and kept conversing as if she and Greyscot were not there.
    "Just wait until she is 17," Augustus said, eyeing Alexandra.
    "Hmmm..." Moira said, as if she did not like the prospect. "And you'll
be waiting for her, I take it, Auggie?" she said sweetly, placing a finger
under his chin and lifting his face up to stare into hers.
    "No..." he said, seeing the way her tongue slid across her red lips.
"She'll be cute then though." he finished, voice trailing off.
    "Bunny likes Zandy lots," Aelxandra said brightly. Then she stopped to
to work out what had been said. "I'll be cute when? Aren't I cute now?" She
looked at Augustus accusingly.
    "Well of course..." he said, ruffling her hair. "Wrong syntax I
suppose."
    Dusty whirled about, her mind racing. She jumped up on the bed and began
to recite, her voice powerful, carrying across the landscape, the voice of a
trained bard and musician. As she spoke her verses, she glared accusingly
at the various people in the room.

                "An innocent child, betrayed by a kiss
                Who ever knew it might come to this--
                A stuffed little toy that is soul's poison indeed
                An evil mind that creates evil deeds
                Alexandra is lost in the darkness, she's crying for help
                But the Bunny speaks whispers and leads her to Hell
                Will no one halt the velveteen spread?
                'Twould better be for the kid to be dead!
                The Guppy has risen and inhabits the plush
                And the night echoes cries of the darkling thrush
                The Elder Gods have attacked and possessed the playroom
                And the pod people lurking shall create our doom
                Fight against Bunny! Against the Dark Lord!
                They want to control us just 'cause they're BORED!"

    But as Dusty exclaimed the last line, Alexandra merely looked puzzled.
"Hunh? Bunny isn't a fish," she said, clutching it tight.
    "MEANIE," Moira said to Dusty, who stood flushed and angry on the bed,
bouncing up and down slightly. The antipaladin embraced Alex and covered her
ears. A bitter look came across Dusty's face.
    "Alexandra, your mommy will be VERY upset at you and your doofus of a
careless daddy if you grow up to be a succubus or something, "she said
sarcastically.
    Moira looked at her amusedly, then down at herself. "Or maybe I need a
pushup bra..." she mused.
    Alex pushed her way free of Moira's arms. "I'm not a succuwhatever."
    Greyscot finally reacted to the goings-on. "Hmmm.. maybe you're right,
Dusty." Moira cast a quick glance at him, and slid over to his side, slipping
her supple arms around his ribcage, and resting her chin in the hollow of
his neck. "Really?" she breathed, as he halfheartedly tried to move her
away from him.
    Eyes still on Greyscot, Dusty said to Alex, "You hang around Moira,
she's one."
    Moira ran her hands up and down Greyscot's chest, but he stared stonily
ahead, refusing to acknowledge her actions.
    "Sort of a clueless one, but one nonetheless," Dusty said nastily.
    Moira chuckled. "I'm trying to seduce Greyscot, but it's not going
very well," she said, and spread her hands in surrender, moving away from
Alex's father.
    Alexandra looked up. "Woo, you're trying to seduce daddy?" she said
exuberantly, and prepared to watch.
    "Go Moira!," cheered Forrest. "Ah, romance!"
    Jealous, Augustus said, "I am telling No." and sulked.
    Her voice and face uncharacteristically grim, Dusty said, "Greyscot,
you have to DO something! Alexandra will be corrupted by the evil side of
life, will learn to enjoy cruelty and abuse and random violence and Duran
Duran, if you don't DO something." She seized his hand and crouched, her
eyes looking up at him plaintively. "Under this evil rabbit influence, you
know what she might grow up to be? A PLAYBOY bunny, that's what."
    Augustus, who had wandered back towards the door, suddenly looked
at a flash of movement among the trees. "Wobble sighting!" he called out.
"Can I have a cookie?"
    "Wow, cool!" Dagney said, but Zandy replied, more nastily, "Why don't
you kill him?"
    Something in Dusty snapped, and she stormed to the door, and screamed
at the massive warrior, "Silence, you consorter with lost souls!" She
stomped back into the room, arms flailing wildly, "You little-girl-
leaderoffer-into-the-woods!"
    "Huh," Moira said, color rising to her face. "ME?!"
    "Hey, I'll sue you for slander..." Augustus said, making an abortive
move towards the bard.
    Dusty slammed an open palm into Moira's chest and pushed her down onto
the bed. "No, not you, the guy who hangs out with snakey lizards," she said,
jerking a thumb at Augustus.
    "Sue who?" Alex said, looking around perplexedly.
    "I don't even have a strapless yet," Moira said slyly, tugging her cloak
back over her shoulders.
    "Dusty... such unfounded remarks!" Augustus protested, a false innocence
on his features.
    "Do you deny that that innocent little girl's bunny is in fact a
conduit for the Dark Lord himself?" Dusty hissed at him. "And that you
encourage aid and abet this?"
    "What?" Alex said. But then a deep dark voice that smelled of smoke and
that issued from somewhere suspiciously near the object in Alex's arms, said
DUSTYS ARE SOME OF MY BEST AGENTS, and then fell silent.
    At first it did not register, and Dusty kept on in her accusing voice,
saying, "That you are in fact attempting to lure her into the Dark Side of
the Force!"
    "Are not," Augustus said, a smile of victory playing across his lips.
    Alexandra gasped. "Oooh Dusty!"
    Moira clapped her hands together in delight. "YES!" she said, grinning
wildly.
    Augustus pressed his advantage, looming over the slightly built bard.
"Why, Dusty, you are an agent of the Dark Lord?" he said, all studied
innocence, checking for dirt under his fingernails. He gave a carefully
shocked and dismayed gasp. "I never imagined..."
    "Yahoo!!!!" Gustav shouted. "The Dark Lord hears everything!"
    Dusty cringed as Augustus stood closer and closer to her, his huge dark
shadow hiding the light from her until all she could see were the tiny
pinpoints of fire in his eyes. "I've been KILLED by agents of the Dark Lord,"
she said defiantly, her voice cracking. "Whyever would I join him?"
    More people began to filter into the room, and more voices began to
speak.
    "'Cuz he's neat," Zandy said.
    Forrest chimed in, "The Dark Lord is one of my best agents... oops..."
    Alexandra added, "They have good parties."
    Dusty looked desperately from one face to another, and then, upon seeing
Moira's face revelling in victory, gathered her courage to speak out
against the Dark Lord one more time. "If anything," she said weakly, "he
seems to be a little sloppy."
    A strong voice came from the doorway. "Well," it said, cutting through
the darkness gathered in the room, "he is a fish after all!"
    The gathered worshippers of the Dark Lord whirled around to face the
newcomer--a man strong and tall, with his hand resting easily on his sword
hilt, the look of great tribulations in his face, and a battle-ready stance.
Moira caught her breath as her eyes travelled up and down the knight's body.
    "Watch it, Tempus!!" Gustav growled at the newcomer.
    "Why," Tempus said casually, drawing his blade. "A fish avatar?"
    "Okay, Tempus," Augustus said, turning from Dusty and drawing his own
blade. "That's enough." He advanced on the knight, who backed out the door,
sword light in his hand. Gustav walked behind Augustus, drawing his own
blade.
    Dusty cried out to the heavens, hoping her voice would carry. "I warn
you all, Armageddon is coming! The children are being possessed! The pod
people (and pod rabbits) are among us! The sky is falling! The dark forces
walk the earth in the guise of ordinary humans!"
    Alexandra tugged at the back of Gustav's shirt. "Tempus likes the Dark
Lord, Gustav!" she said, pleading, but Gustav broke into a run, leaving the
little girl behind, with a cry of "Get him, Auggie!!!!"
    Moira stayed behind and sulked as the clang of swords on armor rose from
outside. Lacking any other targets, she turned once more to Greyscot, but
this time he pushed her away before she could touch him. Speaking roughly,
he said to her, "I don't know if I want to deprive Alex of her bunny.
Dusty's convinced me of weirder things before. This time I'm going to wait
and see if she's right!"
    "Damn you, Aug!" came a cry from outside, and Dusty's glance turned
towards the window. A fleeting look of pity shadowed her freckled face
for an instant, then a new resolve settled onto her features, and she began
to gather her things. "I suppose you choose not to heed my warnings... in
which case I had better flee before I get ambushed, murdered, backstabbed,
or drowned."
    "That's what they all say!" Moira observed languidly, splayed across the
bed.
    Tempus cried out, seeking aid, but Dusty wasn't stopping to help him
even if he had possibly saved her life. She quickly slipped out a back
window as he called out, "Aug attacked me!" He was heard by his wife, who
was traveling a short distance away. "What?" she called out, running to
the scene. "How dare you attack my husband!?"
    But she was too late. Tempus' last words were, "I'm blinded," as he
clawed at his face. Augustus's blade ran him through as he stood.
    Dusty poked her head back in the window, a grimace on her face, and
spoke directly to Greyscot, saying, "I hope for all our sakes that your son
is not also tainted." Then she vanished into the woods.
    Alexandra let out a piercing scream of horror. "Augustus no!! Tempus
will do anything for me. You don't kill people when they'd do anything for
you." She ran out to the battlefield and threw herself crying on the corpse
of the brave knight. Moira stood slowly and followed her out, shaking her
head, saying, "Oh, Auggie," in a pained voice.
    Augustus shrugged. "Oh, too late."
    "Bastard!" came a cry from Crowe.
    "Was that really necessary?" Moira asked, as she surveyed the scene, the
footprints and the marks of the scuffle, with a professional eye, as if
wondering how much effort it would take to conceal the day's events.
    "Well, not necessary." Augustus said, leaning on his sword. When it
slipped a little, only then did he pull it from Tempus' cooling flesh.
    Gustav cackled and cheered, slapping Augustus on the back, until Moira
levelled a direct gaze at him and he quieted. "You too, Gus?" she said
quietly. "Tempus was my FRIEND." She turned away in disgust. As soon as her
back was turned, Augustus and Gustav slammed a thunderous high-five.
    "Dumb men," Moira said sadly, head bowed, as Alex cried behind her,
trying to get the blood from her tiny hands.
    Moira raised her eyes to heaven, her green eyes that saw differently
from those of ordinary people, and spoke as if to an inner voice. "My uncle
won't level me and Gus and Auggie killed Tempus," she said. "And Dusty thinks
I'm a Bad Influence."
    A voice came from up on the roof, and Moira looked up. There, perched
on the gables, sat Dusty, safely out of the reach of Augustus' sword.
"Moira, not not so much a bad influence as a minorly evil one," she said.
The bard looked down at Moira with a sort of pleading question on her
a face, and the two women both thought back to days long gone, when they
both shared a campfire in the wilderness and laughed together under the
moon and stars.
    "The Dark Lord is NOT a fish," Augustus cried, brandishing his bloodied
weapon at Dusty.
    For an instant Moira closed her eyes and clenched her fist, and Dusty
held her breath, seeing a myriad of expressions cross the beautiful
antipaladin's face. Innocence was there, and horror; there was sorrow and
joy as well. But it lasted only a moment, and when Moira opened her eyes
again, they flashed like emeralds still. She struck a pose, one hand on a
hip, the other arm behind her back, toying with her skirt. "Yer calling me
a minor?" she said, her voice once again low-pitched and throaty. Dusty
moved up the roof again as Moira moved closer. "I'm over 21," the succubus
said, and laughed. Dusty just shook her head, wild hope fading from her
heart.
    Gustav moved forward, confronting the accusing eyes of Ecstasy and the
other witnesses. Zandy said, "I hate to say it, but Tempus asked for it,"
his eyes sadly on the corpse.
    Gustav began to speak. "The Dark Lord merely chooses a guppy
occasionally as his form," he said persuasively. "He is all forms and none,
assuming anything he wishes."
    Alexandra, who still sniffled on the corpse of her dead friend, looked
up sharply at that. "Uh oh," she said, "This is the scary thing."
    "Any form--" Dusty called out from the roof. "Insidious... sly... He
may go by many names, he may act capriciously or cruelly--he is still the
Dark Lord, whether he lives inside a $5.95 promo rabbit from McDonalds or
in a cloud of vile noxious smoke."
    Zandy squinted up at the bard. "Dusty, if I were you'd I'd be damn sure
I didn't level."
    The bard was already vanishing over the peak of the house, but she
stopped at the top and called down, "Alexandra, I will hope that you can
throw off his yoke." And then she glared at Zandy, and said, "Zandy, the
Dark Lord had me killed once already. I know what it feels like." With a
grunt and an effort, she slid down the other side of the house, to run off
into the night, yelling out, "Good night all. Remember--the darkness could
creep up and possess you while you sleep."
    "We can hope," Zandy muttered.
    The crowd bid her farewell, but Gustav needed the last word. "And what's
wrong with that????" he demanded, looking around the downcast eyes of those
around him as if daring them to contradict him.
    The lilting voice of the green-eyed bard floated back from the forest.
"Think of what the darkness represents.... everything vile... you'd wake up
liking Barry Manilow..." and faded into silence.
    Moira grumbled.
    "Icky!" said Alexandra, thinking over what she had learned that day.
    Moira straightened, adjusted her dress, tugged at her green cloak, and
looked around defiantly. She stood before them all, fist on her hip, tresses
falling across her bare shoulders, and cocked a delicate eyebrow. "The
darkness has sex appeal, thank you very much," she finally said. Then she
turned her back on them, walking carefully, hips swaying like reeds in the
breeze, back into the house where Greyscot still stood, all of a sudden all
the troubles of the world on his shoulders. At the threshold she stopped,
cast a dark, smoldering glance towards the woods where Dusty had disappeared,
and her full lips straightened into an ugly thin line. "Much more than those
silly wuss goodies goodies," she said, eyes flashing. Deep in her heart
there bubbled an oily chuckle. "Much more," she said once more, then licked
her lips, laughed, and went on her way.

                          \|/  \|/  \\||//  \!/

Happy real life birthday to Obmig! He turned MMPPH today.

                          \|/  \|/  \\||//  \!/

And welcome to a lot of new players, including Arturus, son of Shelby.
Shelby isn't however revealing who the father is, saying that she prefers
to live in sin.

                          \|/  \|/  \\||//  \!/

This may be the last LT for a while, as Ptah and Kaige are going on
vacation and to the mud party mentioned above. They'll be traveling to
Austin Texas and the Kerrville Folk Festival from the 25th until the 5th.
Any Texas people, hope to see ya there! Don't be surprised if there seem
to be fewer immortals on the mud during this time, as many are heading out
on vacations (some already are ON vacation).

                          \|/  \|/  \\||//  \!/

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