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VOLUME FOUR, ISSUE ELEVEN                                        May 11, 1997
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
                                FROM THE IMPS
                        DEPARTMENTAL NEWS AND UPDATES

                               NEWS AND REPORTS
                     Ghosts, Goblins, and Vampires? Oh My...
                         Legend Recommended by CNET
                       
                                 PLAYER FORUM
                             Just Say No To Evil!
                                                   
                                  LEGENDITES
                            Who is the Dark Lord?
                                "Who's This?"
                                   Cloning
                             Ulric's Furry Tongue

                               FROM THE WAR ZONE
                               News from Shotokai                          
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Please send your responses to articles to the Legendary Times address at
lt@mud.aus.sig.net. Letters to the editor and submissions are welcomed.
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___                                                                        ___
\  |----------------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                            FROM THE IMPS                             |__\
   '----------------------------------------------------------------------'
Imps Weekly Reports:
This week Kaige worked on the proposal for automating clans and had a few
discussions with various people on varying topics. Ptah worked on a spec for
makables, going through Gail and Tad's doc on it, went through Gail's Gradual
Skilltree Implementation Plan, and worked a little with Kaige on a proposal
for clan redesign. He also thought a lot about methods of implementing cooler
mob variety (randomly assigned names on a by-area basis), a magic artifact
generation system, and of course his pet project of virtual rooms. However, he
hasn't put anything on paper for these yet.
___                                                                        ___
\  |----------------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                     DEPARTMENTAL NEWS AND UPDATES                    |__\
   '----------------------------------------------------------------------'
                                    CODING

This week, in lieu of a Coding Report, we have a message from Gail:
                                  
Ok, there have been some rumors floating around about skilltrees. Let me try
and get a few things on record. Skilltrees as a whole, are not done yet.
However, we have started to work on installing features that can be installed
relatively easily. Most of these features are coded, but some work still has
to be done to port them over, and some bits of code need to be finished, so
they aren't going in tomorrow.

The features currently being worked on are:
    a) ownership of objects (basically, people can't take "your" stuff,
    and it saves over crashes/reboots)
    b) a whole bunch of combat system fixes
    c) a whole bunch of new skills
    d) a new exp scale

Probably you won't see any of these for at least 2 weeks. You'll definitely
receive 1-2 weeks warning before the combat system fixes go in, and pfiles
will be backed up, in case we make any boo-boos with them.

Probably, you can expect to see -something- go in within 4 weeks.

More details will be made available here, on the Welcome Board, and on the
Discussion Board as relevant, and as the details are fixed.

                     =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
                                  BUILDING   
                                                     
Rufus installed updates to Ireland, Shadowlands, and India, and added 40 or
more rooms to his new area, the Navaho Creation Myth. The pool shark also
wrote out a master task list for those of us in Building (groan!). Zandy's
area, Anasazi, is in the Beta Test Stage (this means other builders are going
through his area looking for errors, typos, making sure everything is balanced
etc, before it is installed on the mud. Expect to see it in the near future!)
Flagg was occupied updating Hell and the Hall of Legends, a duty he shared
with Kheldar. He also wrote a new quest, and is working on the 6th circle of
Hell and Maebolgae. Although she was out of town most of the week, Sandra
managed to get the Viking area update finished, and worked on objects for her
Pittsburgh area. Sandra also spent time customizing the weather for Salem.
Leila worked on her London update. Kheldar reviewed Hell and Hall of Legends,
especially Mob special acts.  He also helped Leila fix her new PR area, and
updated Romania for the new Generic Animals mobs written by Wraith. Sabella
worked on the Kleinstadt update, as well as Builder Skilltrees, especially the
new skills. Alhazred figured out the Legendmud editing system on the Mud
Machine, and spent a lot of time working on getting the Testmud to run. Also,
some congratulations are in order, for Alhazred, after many hours of painful
labor, spawned his first mob this week! Both father and newborn are fine, and
are resting at home. (Editor's Note:  For those not familiar with the
Legendmud Builder Immorts, a word must be said about the creation of Life on
the Mud. One would assume that all Mobs are created equal, or at least,
equally. This, however prosaic and comforting to believe, is simply not the
case. Each Immort has his or her own unique way of creating mobiles. For
example, for Mobiles created by the Imps such a Kaige, they spring unbidden,
perfect, directly from the immort's head. Ptah, as Imp of Chaos, simply
creates Mobs by spontaneous generation. From an Immort of slightly lesser
power, like Kheldar, the Mobile is crafted lovingly over time on a golden
drafting board, each piece checked and inspected carefully before it ever hits
production. In the case of Newbie Builders, such as myself, it takes only a
little bit of work to create said Mobile, but it can take up to nine months to
actually make it to it's birth.)

                     =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
                              PLAYER RELATIONS           

This week we did descs/strings/games/questions/all-that-jazz. In addition,
Croaker held trivia, plus ran a TinyPlot which involved Sharri's kidnapping by
(and subsequent rescue from) Clan S. Kheldar got some needed info for the OOC
library, while Particleman added some links for the character web pages. Petal
is working on a RP plot with the Templars,  Leila's working on the finishing
touches for her pr area, Sabella put out an LT (and has another one pretty
much done and waiting), and listened to many player problems. Flagg compiled
Expies, held the ceremony (and shaved off an hour from last year's time :),
and Rusalka did admin stuff, plus started expanding the expies WHOIS files so
that they'll include stuff like the particular year of a given expie and imm
expies.
                     =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
                               ADMINISTRATION  
                               
As a department, Admin continued work on help files and projects, dealt with
the Knight issue (GM'ship transferred to Arsene), and discovered/decided to do
something about Flamestrike's lack of clan check, as well as their normal
chores: monitoring chat, answering questions, (un)archiving/(un)purging
characters, password questions, clansets, harassment complaints etc. Aermid
got info on help file update procedures so will be making changes soon. Baca
checked the boards. Chocorua was dealing with his first week at a new job,
real-life, so is still organizing his time on the mud. Govan worked on the
Rune project. Sandra was away for a good part of the week, but still got
description requests out. Solomon began working on a method to interpret
spellword bitfields. Wraith checked boards removing older posts and several
posts containing profanity (which sparked some controversy), and unclanned
Jade, a level 4 character (from April Fool's Day?). Flagg helped an unclanned
who died to a clanned's Flamestrike, spoke to Gail about changing Firestorm to
check clan status, and moved the GM flag from Stephen to Arsene
___                                                                        ___
\  |----------------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                            NEWS AND REPORTS                          |__\
   '----------------------------------------------------------------------'
                       Ghosts, Goblins, and Vampires? Oh My.....

Did you ever long for the dark nights to remain dark? Do you like sneaking on
people from behind? Have you a thirst for blood? If the answer is yes to any
or all of these questions. Mostly all, then you may have a place within a new
group that is being formed for the purposes of Roleplaying. Yep, that's right,
Vampires all over are being resurrected. If you are interested in being part
of this group, please mudmail Lirra.....

Are you tired of those vampires going after you all the time? Staying in your
rooms and cowering during the night until the sun rises again, never sure when
you will be attacked next? If so, you may want to get together and form a
group to stop those Vampires from coming after you, all in the name of
roleplaying. If you are interested in becoming an active Vampire Hunter,
please mudmail Lirra.

Both groups will find events scheduled to RP. Pkill is not a factor in either
situations, as it is devoted solely to roleplaying out different situations
and meant to be a fun experience for all.

                       =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
                           Legend Recommended by CNET
                          
CNET recently listed LegendMUD among it's recommended MU8's to try out. The
following snippet can be found at:

http://www.cnet.com/Content/Features/Events/ss03a.html

"Know what you're getting into when you choose a MU*, and be prepared to
involve yourself, whether by living out your elfin fantasies, zooming around
like Speed Racer, or building and exploring. If role-playing is what your
alter ego has been craving, check out AnimeMUSH, which celebrates
Japanese-style animation, or LegendMUD, a realistic history-based game with
famously helpful players."

So let's prove them right!
___                                                                        ___
\  |----------------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                              PLAYER FORUM                            |__\
   '----------------------------------------------------------------------'
                              Just Say No To Evil!

                A summary of some thoughts that have been passing 
                       through Kae's confused mind lately.

    Lately -  particularly with the rise of the new Cult of S, obviously -
there has been some attraction to playing an evil character. Evil in this
sense not meaning someone with an alignment below -350, but evil as in an
impolite, secretive, scheming, and generally backstabbing personality. This
has had its advantages - we've seen more roleplay, for one - and its
disadvantages - we've also seen some roleplay that had bad endings. Without
intending to lecture all of you on how to play your characters, I'd like to
take the chance to offer my views, on the advantages and disadvantages of
playing an evil character - or a good one.
    The main problem rising when someone decides his new character should be
'evil' is the definition of evil itself. Evil is not charming, seductive, or
in any other fashion attractive, though it may certainly pretend to be. A
truly evil person sees no further than his own nose, is completely
disinterested in helping others except when there's something to gain from it,
and has nothing but contempt for those whose acquaintance does not benefit him
in any way. That may be fun for a while - but the long and short of it is that
when someone behaves like a jerk, however much in character, that someone
eventually winds up pretty much alone. Which isn't very much fun at all.
    Some of the best players of evil characters I have seen also happen to be
the players of the most unpopular characters on the mud. I'll refrain from
commenting upon whether these players are indeed in character, roleplaying
evil people, or are like that in real life, too - that's not the point. What
is the point is that they are unpopular, called selfish, impolite, rude, and
not worth grouping with by others. This is a very good reason to warn new
players off from playing evil in the true sense of the word. But fortunately
we don't all want to be tree huggers - to pun a bit on some of the mud's
self-styled goodies. Evil has its advantages, too, if you deviate a bit from
the textbook definition.
    I dare assume that when someone decides to create an evil character, it is
not in order to make LegendMud a less pleasant and entertaining place to spend
your free hours, but to create a fullfledged personality whom it will be fun
to roleplay - or hack and slash with, whatever is your preference. Evil comes
best into play if combined with these acts that you intend your new character
to have, the traits of personality and background that you are thinking of
anyway in the creation process. Evil is also a very individual term to define:
What exactly is evil to a 4th century pagan and to a 19th century gentleman?
Certainly not the same... It may be wise to create a character with a
background that allows him or her to be 'evil' in the eyes of SOME other
people, but not ALL other people. This opens up for roleplay acts between
characters of different orientations, but still allows you to retain allies
and friends. Similarly, you can choose to play it good for a while to a member
of an opposing faction, through deciding to set a good example to him, in the
hope eventually to convert him or her to your character's definitions of right
and wrong.
    It's interesting in this aspect to look at the occasionally quite heated
debates that have been going on lately - some of them are quite good examples.
Take the war between the Knights of Legend and the Coven - while I'm certain
there is more to it than that, it is ALSO a splendid example of chivalry/males
versus magic/females. Both sides would certainly insist that the other part is
the evil part! Or the druids versus the Templars. Or the Cult versus the
McDougans - though in the latter case I admit that it can at times be
difficult to find out what the Cult of S's true intentions are, as dictated by
their secretive nature...
    I look forward to seeing more of this new trend of evil versus good that
in my view has been set lately! Because, as the hardcore roleplayer I am, I am
absolutely delighted at any chance offered to shout insults at someone else,
then go out of character and laugh myself silly for half an hour with that
self-same person, both of us being keenly aware that all the hatred, the
disagreements, and the namecalling happened between two fictional people in a
fictional world, not between ourselves.
             ________________________
            /                        \
        o O | Wonder what folks are   |
  `\|||/    | doing over at LegendMud?|
   (o o)    \________________________/
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/__|      LEGENDITES: Information Regarding the People of Our World       |__\
   '----------------------------------------------------------------------'
                               "Who's this?"
                                     by
                        CLeo of The Circle of Angels

Welcome to this edition of "Who's this?". I have picked Asilidae for this
interview. I hope that you will like what he had to say :). Happy reading!
[* Please remember that you are welcomed to submit suggestions for questions
you would like me to ask my "victims" ;-) ]

CLeo     - 'Tell me about a blooper that happened to you.'
Asilidae - 'I accidentally calmed a fight where I had almost killed the victim
            and he got away -- that made me very upset.'

CLeo     - 'If you could build your own home, what would it be like?'
Asilidae - 'Like the one I got now -- big and beautiful, with a big garden.'

CLeo     - 'Please tell us a joke.'
Asilidae - 'What does a blond girl call her zebra?'
           'Spot *rofl* (<-- its always important to laugh at your own
            jokes -- nobody else does :))'

CLeo     - 'If your mind could take you on a real trip, where would you go?'
Asilidae - 'Outer space -- that would be really cool.'

CLeo     - 'If you were a kitchen appliance, what would it be?'.'
Asilidae - 'A hand held mixer -- I like to mix things :)'
           'I see myself mixing strawberries right now :)'

CLeo     - 'What is your favorite type of music?'
Asilidae - 'Ouuuuuu -- The Cranberries and then Dizzy Mizz Lizzy, Smashing
            Pumpkins, Metallica, Soundgarden....and so on :).'

CLeo     - 'What does your clan mean to you?'
Asilidae - 'My clan means alot -- as everyone knows its the best organized
            clan on the MUD and the coolest. I have learned alot from the clan
            -- both concerning pkill and other things -- as most of you know
            this is my first MUD char so I have alot to learn. In the
            HERMETIC clan a new member gets a sponsor who is responsible for
            the new player.'

CLeo     - 'What is your goal in life?'
Asilidae - 'To be happy basically... Like when I play Legend :)'

CLeo     - 'If you wanted to be asked a question what would it be?'
Asilidae - 'Would you like to have my skull staff? Answer: YES!!'
CLeo     - 'Uh... I don't have a skull staff... ;)'

CLeo     - 'If you were granted a wish to help everyone on earth, what
            problem would you solve?'
Asilidae - 'The total domination of money -- everything seems to revolving
            around money -- alot of people only think of money. It's sad.'
            
                                \|/ \|/ \|/
                                
                                  CLONING
                                      by Professor Thrakken

The Scottish, having succeeded in cloning sheep, have seemed to have also
attempted the cloning of another, less intelligent animal By which of course I
am referring to McDougan. It may not be a perfect clone, and they may have
tried to hide it by selling it to the carnival where it could be safely tucked
away under the... well, I must keep some research hidden... But in any case,
the carnival geek seems to have provided me with a new field of study. For
instance, the dissection of liver of a "McDouganius idiotica" or stupid drunk,
before kept from me by bloddy ecologists, who claimed he was an endangered
species, may now be performed without fear of recriminations. I am very
excited about this new specimen, which I plan to probe and prod and torture-
er.... Good day, guv'ners! England calls me away from you hairy Scotsmen -
Cherrio, tut tut, and all that sort of -
AAAAAAARRRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not me spleen!!! Ow! oof.....


We will attempt to provide a report on the Noble Professor Thrakken's heal
health next issue, because we really don't care who's being embarrassed and
hurt, as long as it's not us, and attracts readers....

                                \|/ \|/ \|/

                            Ulric's Furry Tongue

[Chat] Ulric: Point... do you mind if I become the Dark Lord?
[Chat] Point: Um, no? Was that the right answer?
[Chat] Ulric: cool.. that makes me the Dark Lord then

*GLOOSH* *GRUMBLE*

[Chat] Ulric: Hehe.. *galooosh* gotta start practicing that.

WHO DARES USURP MY POSITION?

[Chat] Ulric: That's me! But Point said it was okay.
[Chat] Envy: That's true, Point?
[Chat] Lust: I think that little multicolored thing in the athlete's foot
       commercials should be the Dark Lord.
[Chat] Point: Am i in trouble again?

SO I SHOULD TAKE POINT'S SOUL AND SHRED IT INTO TINY SCRAPS OF ETHEREAL
NOTHINGNESS, RIGHT AFTER I TAKE YOUR SOUL AND STUFF IT INTO MY DIRTY SOCKS
DRAWER?

[Chat] Ulric: Yah, if you were real.
[Chat] Point: Ooh, sounds fun!
[Chat] Gloria: You have a dirty socks drawer? =P

YES, IT KEEPS THE FLIPPERS WARM TO WEAR SOCKS.

[Chat] Point: I haven't had my soul shredded in least a week or so *sniff*
[Chat] Lust: No, put him in your dirty underwear drawer instead!
[Chat] Envy: You yourself said Point would be a great aide to your cause,
       great Dark Lord. Please don't shred his soul.
[Chat] Ulric: I'm Lord Ulric.. and I demand you step down from your fish
       bowl.. I wish to swim.
[Chat] Kervorkian: Wow I had a hallucination about the guppy while stunned.

PERHAPS I SHALL ONLY SHRED ULRIC'S, THEN...

[Chat] Point: *whine*
[Chat] Envy: Shred away on Ulric.
[Chat] Ulric: Yes... take my soul if you are truly anything. I doubt any power
       you may possess.
[Chat] Envy: FIGHT me if you are anything, Ulric.
[Chat] Mina: *laugh* How is something that doesn't even exist gonna shred
       anything.
[Chat] Ulric: I cant fight you envy.. you are beyond me or so you pretend to
       think.

    A dark cloud gathers above Ulric's head, swirling madly with flashes
    of hideous red and purple and sickly green.

[Chat] Sharri: Such talk will get you into trouble, Foul One.
[Chat] Ulric: Ack! Smells like... citronella...
[Chat] Lust: Make it purple again! that was a great shade!
[Chat] Envy: Was that directed towards my Master, Sharri?

    From the dark cloud, small droplets of viscous vile-smelling black
    liquid shower down on Ulric, getting stuck in his hair.

[Chat] Ulric: Noooo its gonna mess up my hairdo!
[Chat] RigorMortis: *pet Ulric*
[Chat] Sharri: *cheer*
[Chat] Al'thor: Your fro is all messed up now, Ulric.
[Chat] Lemming: cant you do better than drops?

    A pus-splattered skeletal arm with muscles hanging slack within
    pustule and freckle-coated skin reaches out from the cloud and towards
    Ulric. It pats his hair, investigates an ear, runs down his nose, and
    finally...

[Chat] Lust: Eew.
[Chat] Ulric: Hrmph.. I don't feel any different.. I demand you step down from
       your fish bowl.

    The hand grabs Ulric's neck!

[Chat] Ulric: *bites the hand*

HEH HEH HEH. *Gloosh*

[Chat] Lemming: yes, step down.

    The hand pauses, pondering getting bitten. Of course, it decides that
    it tastes worse than it hurts.

[Chat] Ulric: *wheeze*
[Chat] Lust: Great, I'm gonna give myself nightmares now. *eeeew*
[Chat] Lemming: You cant make my day any worse...take me with Ulric..
[Chat] Sharri: Serves you right, Ulric. You are meddling with forces you
       cannot understand.
[Chat] Ulric: Sad the Dark Lord has to stand up to me because his followers are
       too weak to.

HURM, THERE SEEMS TO NOT BE ENOUGH SOUL HERE TO STEAL. I'LL HAVE TO SETTLE FOR
A CURSE INSTEAD.

[Chat] Envy: I stand up, Ulric..you are too weak to fight me.
[Chat] Ulric: Yah.. my soul is tainted.
[Chat] Lemming: Oooohhh.. a curse...

    The cloud retracts the hand, and then a sickly
    orange-purple-yellow-red ray bathes Ulric. When the light is removed,
    Ulric's tongue has been covered with fur! He spits and mouths, trying
    to get it out, but it won't go.

[Chat] Ulric: Ack!
[Chat] Point: Ooh

MAY YOU ALWAYS SPTHEATHK LIKTHTH THITH!  HA HA HA!

[Chat] Lemming: FUR??! Please.
[Chat] Al'thor: Had that once during a particularly nasty hangover.
[Chat] Ulric: I canthl tlalkth.

    The dark cloud contracts, and soon vanishes into empty air, leaving
    behind a small puddle and a nasty smell.

[Chat] Point: Doh,that's gonna make harassing McDougan a lot harder, Ulric
[Chat] Ulric: Noooth... I soahth lith McDougath. noooth *sigh*
[Chat] Lust: Hahahhah.
[Chat] Lemming: Could be worse...
[Chat] Lust: Yeah, you could have hair all over.
[Chat] Envy: That's what you get, Ulric :P
[Chat] Lemming: Like me ;)
[Chat] Point: Does this mean I don't get to have a soul massage?
[Chat] Ulric: Is thaath allth yout cath dooth to mehh Guppth? *Gets an
       electric razor and shaves the hair from his tongue*
[Chat] Point: Darn :(
[Chat] Lust: Use hot wax instead, Ulric!
[Chat] Ulric: Ahhh, much betterth. If the Dark Lord was truly powerful he
       would have cast a stronger curse on me.. neener.

    Ulric begins to feel his tongue tickle as the hair starts to grow
    back...

[Chat] Ulric: Dohth
[Chat] Lemming: Whoops.
[Chat] Huma: *Bless Ulric with semi-holy powers*
[Chat] Al'thor: Gotta hate when that happens.
[Chat] Lust: Shoulda known better to push him, Ulric. Now it'll prolly grow
       back every five seconds.
[Chat] Ulric: Taketh my speeth alltogetherch theneeth Guppith.

I SHALL TAKE YOUR FUR ONLY WHEN YOU ACQUIRE ENOUGH OF A SOUL FOR ME TO STEAL.
MAYBE IF YOU HUNG AROUND WITH THAT SHARRI PERSON... SHE HAS A DELECTABLE SOUL
I'D LOVE TO GET MY TEETH INTO...

[Chat] Ulric: *Uses Rigormortis' Epilady on his tongue - ow* *cackleth* Ack..
       my tongue hurts bad now. I'll try that next Lust. You cant take my
       speech all together darky?... Come on.. I dare you. If you amuse
       yourself by growing fur on peoples tongues.. you have a sick mind
       *snicker*

A SICK MIND IS SORT OF IN MY DEFINITION. YOU SHOULD HEAR ABOUT WHAT I DO WITH
DANDELION STEMS, PURPLE JELLO, TAPIOCA, CRUMBLED DRYWALL, AND SMALL GOATS.

[Chat] Huma: Bestiality?

NO, DINNER.

    Ulric's furry tongue starts to grow back again...

IF IT GROWS LONG ENOUGH,YOU CAN BRAID IT, suggests the Dark Lord helpfully.

[Chat] Ulric: Canth anybodoie helth mee?
[Chat] Justice: *peers through her spellbook for a 'remove hair' spell"
___                                                                        ___
\  |----------------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|         FROM THE WAR ZONE: Information From the PK Front             |__\
   '----------------------------------------------------------------------'
      Reports on general pkill events (including roleplay events),
      interviews, advertisements, and other information regarding clan
      activity should be sent to Pegasus for inclusion in this section.

                               News from Shotokai
                               
    The following was found on a weathered scroll pulled from the satchel
    of that scoundrel the Star Rider...it appears to be a brief biography
    of Quixotic, a mage of the Shotokai clan.  I share it with your
    readers today in the hope it may be of some interest....

Quixotic was born to power. At a young age in his home city of Ilkazar, just
West of Romania, he watched in stony silence as his mother was burned at the
stake for witchcraft. Homeless now, as his father was unknown to him, he was
taken in by a kind-hearted farmer and his wife who had been unable to have
children of their own. He grew into his maturity quietly, a powerful hatred
brewing in his heart. After the death of his foster parents, Quixotic left the
West and spent many years in the sorcerous lands of the Dread Empire learning
the arcane arts of the Twin Thaumaturges, the Demon Princes. Upon completing
his studies, he returned to Ilkazar, and, in a burst of rage, leveled the city
with a great sorcerous fire, leaving noone alive in the town of his youth.
With this declaration of power he became known to the world as a sorcerer to
be reckoned with. To temper his youthful energy and brooding mien, he sought
further counsel in the Eastern lands where he had trained, and discovered the
Clan of Shotokai. Under the tutelage of Masters Egami and Luis, he matured into
the warrior mage known to the lands of Legend as Quixotic. To mark his
emergence into the world and his new-found maturity, he will now be recognized
as "a thaumaturge of quiet power", leaving the description "a quirky young
mage" behind with his lost youth.

    The following is an excerpt from one of the training manuals of the
    Shotokai clan furnished to your readers as a service by Master Egami,
    former GM of the Shotokai...

    "Always be ready to react..."
That's what we try to inculcate to our disciples here in the Shotokai Clan. Of
course a character of great power knows how to fight well, but he also knows
how to prevent fights, and how to anticipate an attack. Anticipate, that is,
moving after your opponent has decided to attack, and before he starts the
slightest move. This is not only a pure feeling. It is based on the perception
you have of your environment. Learn to use this, to "get into the attack",
this is the IRIMI.
    The salute...
All gathered in a secret place, at twilight, the disciples forming a perfect
row and standing before their teacher. The latter slowly sits in seiza,
looking in every direction at the same time. Even someone at his back would
have had the feeling of being observed. In the quietness of the place, a loud
voice abruptly orders "SEIZA!"  Then, all the disciples slowly sit down,
adopting the same position as their Sensei. There were many disciples who
started to train several years ago. Despite this, their teacher wasn't so sure
they understood all that he has been repeating over and over again, relying on
their self discipline to think about it and adopt his principles. A short
period of silence preceded the next "step", the Mokuso.
    "MOKUSOOOooooo......"
The voice of the highest ranked filled the air, and according to the
tradition, the sound was the one of a bell ringing and fading away. Even if
there was no more sound, or even if it was surrounded by the environmental
noise, one could always feel the vibrations in his ears and inside his body.
When came the next order, "REI!", everybody including the sensei, bent down to
deeply salute each other. Newbies were glancing around, waiting for the others
to sit back in seiza while the old ones were still bent. Some of them moved
back at the same time their sensei did, despite trying to watch him during the
salute. They weren't themselves sure how they could feel it... After that was
done, there was a long moment of silence. Usually, the sensei stood up and
saluted the highest ranked disciple. But sometimes too, he performed an attack
symbolizing he was attacking everyone at the same time. Those alerted, those
who were feeling it calmly but quickly performed a defense. The others, not
necessarily beginners... were just ... too late... or Dead, shall one say.
    This common ceremony was performed before every training session...
This is to emphasize that it is not only a simple "training", or a simple
exercise. Every moment of your life is different, and every different
situation can quickly become a matter of life and death. One shall banish
everyday's routine... his habits. Habits ruin one's mind and make the time
flow too fast. "Think!" he said, "Think about what you're doing!". What they
learned was to know who they were, what their body was, and what they do at
every moment.
                                    - Murakami Sensei, "The Way of Shotokai"
                            
                                \|/ \|/ \|/

                            Who is the Dark Lord?

    Many people have asked who the Dark Lord is and still others have been
misinformed. I have extensively researched this issue to uncover who the Dark
Lord truly is.
    The rumor that the Dark Lord is a guppy was first started ages ago by
Dusty, who described Him as 'an evil guppy with flippers,' thus incurring His
wrath. Since then the Dark Lord has been referred to as The Mighty Astral
Fish, Our Lord of the Dark Sucking Sounds, and many other guppy-oriented
names. Contrary to popular belief, the truth is that the Dark Lord is *not* a
guppy. He and His followers have been vehemently denying accusations that He
is a guppy (which is to be expected) but many others - even some enemies -
also realize He is not a guppy. The Dark Lord merely chooses a guppy
occasionally as His form. He is all forms and none, assuming anything He
wishes. A powerful being such as He could not be limited to any body. Lark,
who put together a league of members known as the Avengers to oppose the Dark
Lord, would not tolerate anyone calling Him a guppy, even though He is
fish-like.
    While investigating the existence of the Dark Lord, I interviewed three
very well known members of the world of playerkill; Sharpe of the Iscariots,
Diamanda of the Coven, and the spirit of Lori, former member of the
AntiPaladins. When asked how he viewed the Dark Lord, Sharpe called the Dark
Lord little more than a man in god shoes - a false prophet. Lori also believed
that the Dark Lord was merely a man, but obviously a powerful one. She
recalled how His voice 'echoed in a way that would send chills down your
spine' and how impressive it looked when He sent a bolt of lightning down on
Lancorn when he tried to rescue her soul from the Dark Lord's clutches.
Diamanda agrees with Lori that the Dark Lord is a powerful being, but also
thinks of Him as a guppy as that is what He is portrayed as.
    There is only one being who could have any hope at matching the Dark
Lord's power. She is the Goddess, worshipped by the Coven, and with her aid
Nocturne became the only mortal to ever completely recover his soul from the
Dark Lord, but the Goddess and Dark Lord have never confronted each other so
the question of who is stronger is yet to be answered.
                            - Envy - Mage of the Black Rose - Arch Witch
                                   
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