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VOLUME SIX, ISSUE SIX                                   February 5th, 1999
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                             TABLE OF CONTENTS

          -                  The Editor's Note                       -
          -             Upcoming Calendar of Events                  -

                                 ARTICLES
          -           Why YOU Should Vote in the Expies              -
          -                 The Immortal Report                      -   
          -                  Usage Statistics                        -
         
                                LEGENDITES
          -                    Annoucements                          -
          -                    A Vanishing                           -
          -              In Honor of the Unsung Bards                -
          -                     Cat Haiku                            -
          -                 An Amusing Encounter                     -
          -           The Coven, Caught in a Wrongful Act            -
          -              An Eerie Press Conference                   -
          -                Serrated Reincarnation                    -
          -           A Glimpse, from Two Perspectives               -  
          -                     Althea's Vow                         -

___                                                                    ___
\  |------------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                         EDITOR'S NOTE                            |__\
   '------------------------------------------------------------------'

            A Review of the Past, A Glimpse of the Future

Hello All,

As we approach the MUD's 5th birthday, I thought it appropriate to
review the building and coding changes that we've gone through in the
last year, and provide you with something of a roadmap for the next
year. Please remember, as you read, that an unfinished project cannot
be installed, and while we may set goals and try hard to reach them,
things can come up in our lives. The changes we aim for in the next
year are all goals -- not promises.

A number of areas and updates have gone in over the last year,
including Deanna's Melbourne and Dreamtime, Croaker's Peloponnesian
Isles and update to Roman Britain & Pictland, and Sandra's Boston and
update to Viking. The number of small updates (including the updates to
mob xp), and typos and bugs fixed is also staggering. In all, we emerge
from this year with a larger, cleaner, and more rich playing
environment. 

The next year should bring equally exciting new areas. In the next
couple of months, a number of areas will be completed and go into
testing. In particular: 

Sandra plans to have 1930s Pittsburgh done by the 3rd week in February,
and hopes for an install date sometime near the end of March. LadyAce
is cleaning up bugs in Crusades in order to put it into testing, and
hopes to have Crusades installed by sometime in April.  Croaker expects
Greece to be finished by mid spring and installed by early summer.
Greece will be an expansion to Ithaca/PIsles for high-level characters
based on the labors of Hercules. It will include the towns of Thebes
and Mycenae and many of the mythical beasts which Hercules slew. Cheyla
hopes to have 1802 Alaska into testing by the end of March or beginning
of April, and Kae hopes to have Malta into testing by the end of May.
Charity is working on an expansion of the current Egypt, and will be
devoting time to the pyramid, which is a large project, and should be
in testing if not installed, approximately a year from now.  Rusalka
says that her update to Tudor will be in within a year as well.

In the last year, we've also completed a lot of coding projects. The
controversial new XP scale (designed and coded by Ea!, Kaige, & Rufus)
was installed. The regeneration system was updated, allowing you to
regenerate throughout the tick rather than on it, and a new "redemption
point" system was installed, giving some incentive to rack up vast
quantities of xp.(Rufus) New skills went in, including parry/advanced
parry/expert parry, elbow, and mix potion (all by Rufus). New commands
went in, including the clear command (Snapper), the diagnose command
(Rufus), the events command (Kaige), and the converse command (Rufus).
The depth of the game has improved as well, now that items can catch
fire (Rufus) and we have varied fight messages for kick, choke,
headbutt, backstab, etc.(Ea!). Interacting with the game has also
improved, with spellbook, allspells, skills, and allskills all being
sorted alphabetically (Ea!), the addition of the command separator (%;
-- Snapper), and the room name of your place of rent now shows up
before you enter the game.

Besides these fun new features, we've also made some mistakes from time
to time. We had our share of crashing bugs and strange & unexpected
code behavior. Bugs and mistakes can be a hassle for players, but they
can also have rather funny consequences (particularly in retrospect).
Some of those bloopers include...while trying to fix a memory leak, we
fixed too much. The result was that people's items started to randomly
change descriptions. At one time, items stolen with steal would be
removed from the victim, but not given to the attacker. Another bug
made operating on a non-pkenabled player who was fighting, pkenable the
fighting player. And who can forget the time that a bug which caused
anyone reconnecting to the mud to reconnected as a random character?
The next year will include exciting code changes, but in all
probability, its own new set of silly bugs -- I hope you'll bear with
us, we're fixing them as fast as we can!

Projects to be at least completed, if not installed in the next year
include (in no particular order): Housing, gravity, a revamping of the
way light levels work, an update to vehicles, including the addition of
non-mechanized vehicles, area-defined currencies, a dynamic economy,
time zones/hemispheres, random mob/item generation, affects saving over
rent, player voices (i.e. speak in a deep voice, a squeaky voice, a
soft voice) and gradual, rather than instant, changes to stats when you
change your eq. More details on these changes will be available to you
as they are completed.

I know that skilltrees are probably a big question in your mind, and I
wish I could give you a date on them. Ea! has said that the projects
listed above are basically all that stands between us and trees, and
once these changes are out of the way and installed over the next few
months, trees will take center stage. In particular he said "I think
we're unlikely to get trees in this year, but it probably won't be too
far into the year after."

If you appreciate the changes that have gone in so far, or if you're
excited about the new features we'll be offering, please let us know.
Your positive feedback is a major source of fuel for even more exciting
changes. Player encouragement is a huge motivational force for the
immortal staff -- a sense of accomplishment is what keeps this large,
busy, purely volunteer crew, going.

                                       Love to all,
                                       LadyAce

___                                                                    ___
\  |------------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                    UPCOMING CALENDAR OF EVENTS                   |__\
   '------------------------------------------------------------------'

         [All times are system time unless otherwise specified]

         <0><0><0><0>February<0><0><0><0>
 
Thursday,  February 12, 7:00 pm  - Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Friday,    February 13, 8:00 pm  - 'Leopold's Amulets' Game
Saturday,  February 14    Happy 5th Birthday LegendMUD
                           and Happy Valentine's Day!
Thursday,  February 19, 7:00 pm  - Q & A in the OOC Auditorium

___                                                                    ___
\  |------------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                          NEWS AND REPORTS                        |__\
   '------------------------------------------------------------------'


                  Why YOU Should Vote in the Expies

Some players have asked me what the Expies are, and why they ought to
vote for them. Since not everyone has been here long enough to know,
the Expies are our annual awards, given in a formal ceremony. This
year, we'll be holding the ceremony on the MUD's 5th birthday, February
14th. The Expies ballot includes awards for immortals and players, for
everything from best area to most helpful player, from RP scenarios to
"Best Hack 'n' Slash." 

So why should you vote? This is one election where your single vote
really can determine the outcome -- ties and very close decisions are
common. Voting is quick and easy, just a few minutes to make your
selections and send the mail to expie@mud.sig.net with an active
character name at the top. And everyone with an active character is
eligible -- just send a note to Flagg or LadyAce if you don't have a
ballot. But the most important reason to vote in the Expies is the fact
that they are one of the few times when we all can gather together in
appreciation of what really makes Legend great -- the people, and the
time and effort that they contribute. Whatever you appreciate most, let
your voice be heard. Vote today -- ballots are due back by midnight on
Sunday, February 7th.

-LadyAce


                        The Immortal Report

Kaige did the usual general admin stuff: sorting bugs/typos/etc and
worked a bunch more on the mobkill log files and immorted Seth and
Vannessa with help from the dept heads on short notice. She's been
kinda offline this weekend with some family issues but is back now.


ADMIN:

     Sandra started orienting Seth this week after he was immorted and
     talked with a few people about pkenabling and redemption points.
     She started dealing with some appeals on recent admin decisions,
     as well. Her video card died, and she's been fighting with it ever
     since. Chocorua spent some time online but was busy getting his
     computers rebuilt and reorganized. Flagg did a number of descs,
     and fixed a couple of grammatical errors in descs and strings.


BUILDING:

     Rufus fixed a bug in PI but is focusing on coding this week.
     Charity worked on housing for her area, and worked on some other
     new things to add to Egypt. See her post on the welcome board
     about this. Cheyla was busy this week (and it appears she will
     only get busier) so she didn't get a whole lot done on her area.
     Added in a few acts here and there and tested a couple of others;
     changed/added weather. She hopes to try to finish the rest of the
     descriptions she has left this coming week and to start working on
     housing - and maybe a bit of fiddling with the quests and more mob
     acts.

     Croaker added a new quest to PIsles and added a new feature to
     Picts. Deanna added housing to her areas, although it still needs
     fine-tuning, especially now that she understands it better.  She
     also fixed some bugs in her areas.  Flagg did a couple of fixes,
     but hasn't committed anything.  He also helped Vannessa get
     started out. Kae added new mobs & rooms to malta, fixed a number
     of recurring bugs, added a number of atmosphere items, and added a
     few Forage items and disguises.

     Leila fixed a few small bugs in London and romped around reporting
     the others that are too large to deal with at the moment and did
     some general tidying-up this week. Rusalka worked on housing for
     Tudor, and talked to some players about housing and answered their
     questions to the best of her ability.  LadyAce worked on housing
     for her area, and some on debugging, mobs, and weather.  Sandra
     finished room descriptions for Pittsburgh and worked on mobs
     mostly this last week.  Kaige updated some builder tools, fixed
     some typos and bugs.  She also did some work on the medieval seas,
     updated some helpfiles, and started working on housing for a bunch
     of areas.


CODING:

     Ea! polished off gravity and the new help system, and also made
     fixes for a bunch of small bugs, etc. Snapper did a lot of
     restrings as well as helping Sandra & Chocorua with some computer
     problems. Rufus added in some builder commands, fixed some bugs,
     and worked on housing. Kaige fixed a few bugs and added some
     builder commands.


PLAYER RELATIONS:

     LadyAce did the normal round of restrings/descs/strings. She ran a
     Q & A, a flag hunt, and a game of tag and put out an issue of the
     LT. She talked to players about issues they're having with each
     other and with the imm staff. She also helped some players with
     their RP, using mob switches and some zip items. Chimera did
     strings and restrings and built on ooc some more.  Flagg got the
     final Expie ballots out, counted ballots and helped with a good
     three hour trivia. He also did various other normal online
     things.

     Natalia did pretty much the usual this week, strings, restrings,
     fixed some description typos, talked with people... Offline she's
     been re-reading the builder docs and trying to come up with some
     prelim notes for her bit of the proposed pr.are area expansion Tad
     says things are well in france. He's been able to be around online
     a bit more than he had anticipated, but still not as much as he
     had been. In the past month, Tad has done bunches of strings and
     restrings, learned the new method for registering descs and
     registered a buncha descs, answered various questions for various
     folks and ran the occasional game. Spencer hasn't been on too
     much, but he did run some Title Trivia one day, and has read
     bunches of boards. He submitted some project ideas to LadyAce for
     input.




                    LegendMUD Connection Analysis
                  January 1 1999 - January 31 1999

                   January Peak Mortal Players  73

The table below shows the Average Mortal Players connected to Legend by
hour of the day polled approximately on the hour system time during the
period noted above.

                hour  0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11
               ------------------------------------------
                avg  41 37 32 27 24 23 22 23 26 29 33 34


                hour 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
               ------------------------------------------
                avg  32 36 37 38 40 39 43 44 48 48 52 48



             ________________________ 
            /                        \     
        o O | Wonder what folks are   |
  `\|||/    | doing over at LegendMUD?|
   (o o)    \________________________/
ooO_(_)_Ooo________________________________________________________________
_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|___
__|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|
___                                                                    ___
\  |------------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|    LEGENDITES: Information Regarding the People of Our World     |__\
   '------------------------------------------------------------------'


                             Announcements!

Descriptions:

The call of battle reaches my ears again, and the chanted mantras of
the Dark beckon me. Its time to take up the gun and wield the blade,
and time to cut up some more Light Blinders! I walk the world as A
cracked desperado fills the air with whizzing bullets and a crazed
laugh.  Or to you short sighted folks, The Dark Lord's Gunslinger.

-Ronnie Valthalas

                      /*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\

                            A Disappearance                   

As my newlywed wife and I were on our honeymoon in beautiful Paris, all
was going well, maybe too well.

We had gone to a local tavern for food and a few drinks, the fine
cuisine of Paris. We had a conversation in which I remember clearly. We
spoke of what we would do next, where our adventures would take us, and
the like. I remember her leaning to me and placing a kiss on my cheek
as she whispered, 'I love you Mym.'. That is when I noticed the cloaked
figure staring at us, his dark eyes are something I can not forget. I
shrugged it off and Nox and I went about our business.

Later that night, my wife and I were taking in the local scenery, which
is when I saw these mysterious eyes yet again. I was starting to grow
worried that this man was following us, but I soon came to the
conclusion that it was just my imagination. At this point I don't think
Nox had any idea about this strange person.

We were getting tired, it had been an extremely long day, so we decided
on getting some sleep. I kissed my new wife goodnight before falling
into a deep sleep. I only wish that I knew this was the last time I
would see her, when I woke the next morning she was not at my side, I
figured she must have gotten up early and gone shopping. So I
waited...

I waited for days, it seemed, but in reality was a mere eight hours,
before I contacted the local authorities to report my wife missing.

They went through their usual routine and it seemed they were not able
to help me at all. I then began walking the streets of this unfamiliar
town in hopes of finding my wife. I went to that tavern I spoke of
earlier, only to see this strange cloaked figure standing in a dark
corner, talking to a local drunk. I sat and observed them for a while,
and I noted a few things that were discussed. The most important being
the sum of money they could receive for their 'catch'.

When I heard this I immediatly jumped up and rushed the man with full
force. As I crashed into him something hit the back of my head, very
hard, it knocked me out. When I woke I was in a very familiar place, I
instantly recognized the early century painting I liked so much which
hung on the wall of the inn Nox and I were staying at.

It has been two months since this happened, and I know reside in Paris
permanently, or at least until I find my wife. I have since not seen or
heard from Nox, or this mysterious man of which I speak. Although I
visit the local tavern on a daily basis in hopes of finding one or the
other.


                      /*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\

                       In Honor of the Unsung Bards              

We have among us, many a clever and witty bard, and yet they go
unhonored. As examples of their sharp-tongued words, I submit to you
these examples:

PRAISE:

Linda sings the praises of...
...Envy's singing the Oscar Meyer weiner theme song while she fights in
order to confuse the enemy!

TinyBird sings the praises of... 
...Deadboy's triumphant return from the dead. *tongue at vewy bad eagle*!

Tristen sings the praises of TinyBird's... 
...having the countless stars of heaven's field mirrored in her silver shield!
...knowing the Mysteries of the Brown Men!

Willow sings the praises of...
...Chante''s fearlessly facing the wrath of Nathaniel! And she almost lived!!
...Steel's exquisite, if a little revealing, half outfit of wonderful
equipment!
...Fairfax's fearless, unflinching surgical tanking!

Laurana sings the praises of...
...Fairfax's dying too fast for her to keep up!!
...Steel's refusing to flee like a real knight!

Vandervecken sings the praises of Caleb's...
...bravery in venturing where he's not wanted!
...patience with me in leading him out of this sidhe infestation.!

Bast sings the praises of... 
...Dvorak's good sense in choosing such a beautiful and intelligent
Goddess to praise him!
...LadyAce's fashion doll beauty!

BabaYaga sings the praises of... 
...Amati's trying to ensure the safety of his first-born's toes!
...Amati's juicy toes!

Chimera sings the praises of...
...a dugong's knowing where the lost Continent of 'Moooooo!' is, but
that's not what I'm lookin for!

Starbiter sings the praises of... 
...Chante''s being a reptile with a forked tongue and squishy butt!

Larnoc sings the praises of... 
...Starbiter's having the odour of month old meat!

Celeste sings the praises of... 
...Wolfram's irresistable attraction to the Black Knight's sword!

Jen-Jen sings the praises of... 
...Rhineheart's courage in sleeping with a bull moose _and_ Vixen!

Tarn sings the praises of... 
...a policeman's keeping law and order!
...a skeleton of a tendril's giving me an info praise!
...a postal worker's ensuring the mail delivery runs smoothly!

SATIRE:

Tales of...

...Larnoc's being to dense to realize that i have more mv then he has
mana are heard of all over the world thanks to Starbiter's satire.

...Nathaniel Ingersoll's hitting women when he can't stand the heat are
heard of all over the world thanks to Laurana's satire.

...the Black Knight's being an iccky multier of Real Men are
heard of all over the world thanks to Celeste's satire.

                      /*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\

                                Cat Haiku

You never feed me.
Perhaps I'll sleep on your face.
That will sure show you.

You must scratch me there!
Yes, above my tail!  Behold,
Elevator butt.

I need a new toy.
Tail of black dog keeps good time.
Pounce! good dog! good dog!

The rule for today
Touch my tail, I shred your hand
New rule tomorrow.

In deep sleep hear sound
Cat vomits hairball somewhere
Will find in morning.

Grace personified,
I leap into the window.
I meant to do that.

Blur of motion, then --
Silence, me, a paper bag.
What is so funny?

The mighty hunter
Returns with gifts of plump birds --
Your foot just squashed one.

You're always typing.
Well, let's see you ignore my
Sitting on your hands.

My small cardboard box.
You cannot see me if I
Can just hide my head.

Terrible battle.
I fought for hours.  Come and see!
What's a 'term paper'?

Kitty likes plastic.
Confuses for litter box
Don't leave tarp around

Small brave carnivores
Kill pine cones and mosquitoes
Fear vacuum cleaner

Want to trim my claws?
Don't even think about it!
My yelps will wake the dead.

I want to be close
To you.  Can I fit my head
inside your armpit?

Wanna go outside.
Oh, no! Help!  I got outside!
Let me back inside!

Oh no!  Big One
has been trapped by newspaper!
Cat to the rescue!

Humans are so strange.
Mine lies still in bed, then screams!
My claws aren't that sharp....

Cats meow out of angst
"Thumbs!  If only we had thumbs!
We could break so much!"

Litter box not here
You must have moved it again
I'll crap in the sink.

The Big Ones snore now
Every room is dark and cold
Time for "Cup Hockey"

We're almost equals
I purr to show I love you
Want to smell my butt?

Not written by, but submitted by Bast (True Author Unknown)


                      /*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\

                           An Amusing Encounter

The Jolly Beggar was customarily drab and dank that night, there being
even fewer patrons than normal, but as she entered the main room there
was one person who caught Flower Cat O'Brien's attention.  He was an
older man, bespectacled and with a shock of white hair exploding from
his head in all directions and wearing a brown tweed longcoat with more
pockets in it than she could count.  He was seated at a small table to
his own, which was plastered with a multitude of books, notes, papers,
and small objects she could not identify.  Brow furrowed, he was
staring down at his papers with ferocious concentration, fidgeting
slightly, and muttering incoherently to himself.

Her curiosity overcoming her, Flower approached his table.  As she
neared, the man looked up suddenly, noticing her from further away than
she had expected.  Must be my hair, she thought.

The man leapt up from his seat with incredible energy, scattering many
of his notes in the process. He seized hold of her hand, shaking it
violently. 'Well, well, well!  Hallo, young lady!  Greetings, even!
Bless me, but it's a fine day, wouldn't you say so?'

The young lady Knight politely extracted her hand from his and smiled
at him. 'It sure is.  Have we met before?'

The eccentric elder gazed at the girl, absorbing her brightly-hued
hair, multiple body piercings, and outlandish attire. 'Mmmmm, no no,
well I don't think we have at that, if memory serves!  I'm new in these
parts, you see. Morin Ramsay is my name! I'm scientist and student of
the paranormal!  That is, the spirit world, if you follow me; the realm
of the dead! A pleasure to meet you, miss...?'

'Flower! Lady Flower O'Brien.'

'Excellent! A fine thing it is to know you! In the Lord's name, but I
seem to have made somewhat of a mess here...'  The old scientist
stopped and began snatching from the floor his misplaced items.  When
he finished, he rose and turned around--and gave an abrupt shout,
coming face to face with a mage who was standing immediately behind
him. The mage did not move, and his gaze was vacant.

'Hmmmm, I do wonder now...' said Morin, and began rooting frantically
through his pockets for something while Flower watched with a smile of
amusement.  'AHA!' He produced a small colored stone from his left
pocket, and after giving it a quick polish, held it aloft before the
mage.  The stone began to give off a dull glow.

'Well then, didn't I think so anyway? An illusion,' the old man said to
himself, and poked the false image with satisfaction after thrusting
the little stone back into his pocket.

'Did you say something about the spirit world?' asked the blue-haired
young girl, cocking one eyebrow up at the man curiously.

'That I did, my dear!  The paranormal!  The Other Place, if you will!
I'm an expert in the field--you'll never find anyone who knows more
about it than me who isn't dead!'  He bowed low before her, and as he
did so a dozen notebooks and small objects escaped from his longcoat,
clattering to the floor.  A shiny medallion rolled to the floor before
Flower's feet, where it was hastily snatched up by Morin. 'Heavens!
what a mess,' the man grumbled, collecting his belongings once again in
frustration.

'You know,' said Flower, stooping low to help Morin pick his items up,
'I have a friend I am--quite fond of--who could use your help.'

Morin looked up at her, his shaggy brow raised inquisitively. 'You
don't say!'

'Yes,' she replied, 'He's looking for his father, and there's this
other guy--angel--who says that he possesses my friend's father's
spirit.  My friend doesn't believe him, but he's not sure and he needs
to know for certain. His name is Ganymede.'

'Possesses the spirit indeed! An absurd concept,' said Morin, chuckling
to himself coarsely. 'And you want me to look into this other
gentleman, to verify his claim for your friend?'

'If you can,' implored the girl. 'I'm really worried about him and I
want to see him happy, and he needs to know the truth for that.'

'I see!' The elderly man smiled benevolently. 'This young man is quite
important to you, is he?'

Flower blushed a little bit and said, 'I care about him greatly.'

Morin pulled at his chin thoughtfully a moment, and then a bulb flashed
in his mind and he once again began frisking himself in search of
something in his pockets. 'Now where was that blasted thing...as I live
and breathe! I had it with me only a--aha!' He reached into an inside
pocket, and triumphantly produced a tiny triangular piece of metal, no
larger than a gold coin.

He held it aloft with pride, and then he closed his hand around it and
placed his fist, palm outward, upon Flower's shoulder.  A few seconds
passed, when suddenly Morin cried out and dropped the little triangle
on the floor, where it hissed and gave off a little smoke. The elder
shook his hand up and down and then blew on it, trying to cool it off.

'Are you okay?!' shouted Flower in alarm, placing her hands on his
shoulders. She wryly began to wonder whether enlisting this befuddled
man's help was in fact a good idea.

Bent over and clasping his burnt hand in the other, he replied, 'Yes
yes yes, I'll be fine, fine my dear! And lucky you are, I'd say! It
appears that this Ganymede fellow feels quite strongly about you as
well, or my name's not Morin Ramsay!'

Flower giggled a bit and smiled, flushing again.

The scientist produced a kerchief from another pocket and used it to
carefully scoop up the hot piece of metal, wrapping it up and then
stuffing it back into his pocket. 'Now then...this service you've asked
of me!  You can count on me, dear girl! If is any truth to this--angel,
did you say?--this angel's claims, I'll find out about it, no doubt!
When I've learned more I'll let you know!'

Smiling excitedly at him, the lady Knight replied, 'Thanks a lot!  I
really appreciate it!' and grabbed him in a hug.

'Not any trouble at all, none at all! And now I'll get going I think,
to go finish my work!'

And with that, Morin grabbed his notes and papers and spun around
toward the staircase up to the Beggar's rooms, and swiftly tripped over
the leg of another chair, sprawling to the floor and sending everything
flying again. 'Great heavens, will you look at this? Such a mess!' He
hastily picked himself and his things up once again, and stumbled
toward the exit, with Flower waving after him bemusedly. I hope I know
what I'm doing, she thought, and sat down at the vacated table to think
for awhile.

                      /*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\

                    The Coven, Caught in a Wrongful Act

	A blood-stained note, hung on the door of the Coven hall by a
single arrow was found, with the following message:

It has come to our attention that a sacrifice was made in the name of
your deity that involved an innocent young woman, who had done nothing
to any of your members. Should we find this to be true, you will all
pay the consequence, no matter who actually comitted this wrongful
act.


This message was signed in what appeared to be some sort of ancient
Japanese language.


                      /*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\

                         An Eerie Press Conference

This reporter received a torn, crumpled, and barely legible letter not
three days past.  It said only to go to a certain location, and that
certain death and worse awaited if I disclosed that location.

I went where they said, to an incredible amphitheatre.  At the front
was a blackwood podium, behind which a vast sigil was emblazoned; a
black trident, points tipped with red, clutcfhed in a silver gauntlet
crusted with blood, all on a field of gold.  This logo was familiar to
me; it was the ancient standard of the Dark Enforcers.  Clearly this
was no ordinary press conference.

To drive the point home, a huge column of flame appeared behind the
podium, and then there was him.  Tall, with a black cloak, shadowed
face, and blazing red eyes that sent icy chills through the blood.  A
sickly sweet smell wafted from him, the smell of a new grave broken
open and pillaged.  He cackled, a hideous sound like bone caught in a
drill press.

"I'm so glad you all came here this day."  His sudden voice was a
horrible sound, like a snake crawling across rotting dead things.  "You
have been summoned to hear that I am resigning from the Enforcers.  I
still serve the Dark Lord, but He has told me in my time away from the
world that I must forsake the Enforcers, leave them to what shall be.
I must be my own, to course and kill, as the hound that the Dark Lord
wants me to be.  All glory to the Dark Lord.  You may leave now."

As suddenly as that, flame filled the room, and everybody was
transported outside.  A very odd experience.  Aginor's resignation (and
apparent disgust) for the Enforcers is an odd turn indeed.  I wonder
what it means?

                      /*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\

		          Serrated Reincarnation
		            A Poem By: Ledgend

I ask you now...
What is this cold that surounds me?

My lack of breath, lack of heat - 
	...continues to astound me -

As I remember I was battling the Impalor-
	My party fighting with magic, weapons and valor.

   But when the reaper crushed my clock -
   I felt my heart stop...
   I saw a sword drop...

A silver serrated flash into my top.

How could this be the end? 
	My equipment just needs repair and mend,
My souling reforming in the nearest Inn...
        I awaked again...
        Into my skin...

My body is raw and my soul depleated -
	I hear my group was defeated...
        Met a serrated...
        My, we should have waited.

But in this land of one thousand deaths -
A man can still prove he has something left...
I will find my corpse today...
	Re-equip my self,
		Be on my way.

                      /*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\


A Glimpse, from Two Perspectives:


A Brief Meeting

I was walking through a town in Germany, Kleinstadt, when something
happened that changed my life. Babayaga, the old witch who travelled
with my family sometimes, was teaching me about the old ways, the
traditions of my people. I was busy just looking at all the shops, the
strange men in gleaming armour that seemed to be on every street
corner. Suddenly I heard a commotion nearby, and when I looked a small
child was on his knees before a vision of womanhood. He cried out 'All
hail the Lady Knight Jen-Jen!'.

A tall, lithe, catlike figure smiled at the child, then turned to walk
on. I caught her eye just for a moment, but that flashing glimpse tore
my breath from my chest and left me gasping. Confused yet strangely
elated, I walked quickly away with my companion, and as I searched for
some explanation, a wry, knowing smile played briefly across Baba's
features. I looked back over my shoulder, and as this captivating Lady
Knight strode purposefully into the distance, I watched her wild blonde
mane swirling and playing in her wake, a streak of rich purple cutting
through the sea of gold.

I knew, somehow, I would meet her again.

Vixen Tuatha WhiteCrow



Chance Encounter

When I saw her for the first time I was left speechless.  The girl that
walked by me in the street in Kleinstadt was the living image of my
late wife, FireHorse, except for her hair which, at the time, was a
steely blue. And her age. She was just a child yet, but much of the
woman she would become was evident in her. The way she walked, her head
held proud and her hips swaying in that unconcious way.  She was with
that crotchety old witch, BabaYaga, and I thought she might be her
student - I also thought that that would be a waste of a perfectly good
body. But I'm biased since I am a warrioress I suppose.

I was left standing looking at her in awe as she left in the wake of
the old crone, BabaYaga.  I was on my way to kill Vlad so I didn't have
time to stop and ponder what I had seen. I had to hurry to Romania and
I killed the vampire with a little more zest than I had felt for quite
a while. Almost as if I had FireHorse by my side again and I felt good
instead of just empty at killing. As I recall he died rather quickly.

Jen-Jen of the Awooga


                      /*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\*/*\

                               Althea's Vow

'Ahhh', Lord Marcel Alexander said contentedly, seating himself beneath the
blossoming apple tree of my father's garden. He didn't notice me sitting up
in it, hidden among the branches. In this country you develop a caution
regarding strangers, especially those who are on good terms with our King
and his crazy grand-daughter, Bryony. 'Why, this is lovely!' the
auburn-haired girl who accompanied him exclaimed. 'I rather like the spot
myself,' he replied, almost purring. I sat still like a mouse, hoping the
white petals and rustling branches would not reveal my presence to them.
    'Can I ask you something about your husband?' Lord Marcel said. 'Of
course,' the girl said, smiling. There was love in her voice.
    'Give Sterling time to adjust. Don't give him reason to worry you'll be
off to sell your soul next. I know he's your husband, but he needs time.'
    'I'm willing to be patient with him, but I won't change my mind. I will
set him free from his service to Hell,' she replied, somewhat defensively.
'Patience is all I asked, dear,' he said, and smiled. Next to the love of
her husband that gleamed in the girl's eyes, his smile seemed... I was
reminded of a snow leopard baring its fangs in a grin before pouncing on
its prey. 'I am not always the most patient of people,' the girl admitted.
    'If you should succeed in ripping him out of Hell's grasp, I think
you'd find me cheering,' he said confidently. I crossed myself quietly.
    'So you won't stand against me?' she asked. 'Yes, I will,' he said
fluently.'But that does not mean I cannot hope you will win.'
    She hesitated; the wind played in her dark hair. 'I must admit I don't
fully understand your relationship with him. That is too bad. I would have
to have to kill my newest friend.' Up in the apple tree I crossed myself
again, hoping to God they'd not detect me.
    'It is somewhat complicated,' he replied, hesitating as well. 'I guess
we've made it more so than we had to. If I was not Sterling's friend I
think I should care less and slay you on the spot.' Oh, he was a friend of
the royal Dracos line allright. It takes a noble heart to harbor such
cruelty.
    The gate to my father's orchard creaked quietly as a dark-haired
gentleman made his entry, obviously looking for the other two. They did not
immediately notice him. 'But I'd rather see him free,' Lord Marcel said and
tipped his hat to his friend who returned the greeting. I've seen those two
together before though when they come to town my father always sends me
away. 'No sneaking up on me like that!' Lord Marcel chuckled.
    'I'm practicing,' said Sterling. 'Hello, my dear.'
    'You're getting better,' Lord Marcel replied. The auburn-haired girl
passed Sterling a that made me feel all warm inside. 'Greetings, husband!'
    'Have I interrupted something?' Sterling asked, glancing at them both.
'Trust me, dammit, would I run off with your wife?' Lord Marcel said,
smiling. Personally I wouldn't be too sure. Women have vanished in this
town when that lord paid a visit to our king.
     'Don't be silly,' said the girl who was Sterling's wife. 'Oh, no,'
said Sterling, chuckling. 'That's not what I meant. Besides, if I did not
trust you, I'd trust Althea.' So that was her name, then. They embraced
with such tenderness I'd never have thought to see. 'I obviously need to
raise my level of trustworthiness,' Lord Marcel mused.
     'So, what is it you were speaking of as I arrived?' Sterling asked
curiously. 'A few technicalities,' his master replied.
    'Technicalities?' He hesitated, but neither of the two made any vocal
answer. 'You both nod, which makes me assume these technicalities were
regarding me?'
    Lord Marcel chuckled. 'Actually they were more regarding me, and
through me, you,' he explained.
    'Ah! Let's hear them!' Sterling said. 'We were just discussing not
wanting to kill each other, dear... Nothing important,' Althea told her
husband innocently. 'Yes, well, that's definitely a good thing there,' he
agreed.
     'So... Where were we, and do we care to proceed?' Lord Marcel glanced
at Althea. Her face was radiant as she looked at her husband. 'Well, you
were informing me that if not for Sterling's friendship you would slay me
and have done with it... Unless I misunderstood,' she said.
     Dark-haired Sterling frowned. 'In essence, if not in meaning,' Lord
Marcel added.
     'That's not a way to treat a lady,' Sterling said sharply.
     'Yes it is,' Lord Marcel replied smoothly. 'A lady such as your wife
deserves an answer to a question she makes.'
     'You see, I asked if he would stand against me... And he said yes... I
was lamenting the idea of having to kill a friend so newly found,' Althea
explained matter of factly. 'Ah, I see,' Sterling nodded. The ease with
which they discussed each other's murder made my hair stand on ends.
    'Old boy, I have better things to do with myself than insult your
wife,' Lord Marcel told his servant with a smooth smile. 'You konw Marcel
is never discourteous, love,' Althea said. 'No, not unless he's quite angry
at least,' Sterling said, probably knowing the nobleman better.
    Lord Marcel did not reply, inspecting his fingernails. Not a fleck of
dirt was there. He picked up an apple from the ground and played briefly
with it. After a while Sterling and Althea both chuckled. 'Are you still
discussing my behavior patterns?' Lord Marcel asked.
    'Please, continue,' Sterling said, seating himself between his wife and
Lord Marcel. 'I think that was about it...' Lord Marcel said casually. 'Not
much to say after that last,' Althea agreed. 'Well, we can go on discussing
my manners,' Lord Marcel mused.
     'I seem to be out of drinks, no more port,' Sterling said. There was
pain in his voice that he was trying to conceal, but failing. 'Still
needing to drink?' his wife asked, worried.
     'I suppose I don't need to,' Sterling said. 'I'm still a bit angry,
perhaps it's best I don't.' Lord Marcel, still playing with the apple, made
a few gestures towards it; I nearly fell from my branch in surprise when it
suddenly glowed with an ill-boding red light. He threw the apple to
Sterling. 'That ought to do away with any hangovers.'
     Sterling, chuckling, ate the apple. 'Do what you need to, love... Just
don't expect me to be sympathetic with your headache tomorrow,' Althea told
her husband. 'I don't want to listen to him whining,' Lord Marcel said to
her. She pouted playfully at him.
     'I don't know what I need to do,' Sterling said neutrally.
     'Now you took away my opportunity to gloat,' Althea said to Lord Marcel.
     'My dear, I owe you a huge apology for that,' Lord Marcel smiled. 'Can
I in any way make it up to you?'
     'I don't need either of you adding to my grief, please,' Sterling
said. 'Isn't it enough that I get this blasted Dear John letter from
Xanthea?'
     'I'm thinking,' Althea said to Lord Marcel, then winced at her
husband's words. If I were her, I'd have cried. 'Perhaps I should do some
work,' Sterling grumbled.
     'No,' Lord Marcel said quietly.
     'No? Why not?'
     'You're going to have to deal with this at some point in your life,'
Lord Marcel said. 'Might as well get it done with.'
     'Work?' Althea echoed curiously. 'I don't know how to deal with it,'
Sterling said. 'How would you?' Lord Marcel hesitated briefly, then said,
'Don't ask me that.'
     My cousin Dmitri and his wife walked through the orchard at that
point; they always visit my parents on Sundays. As usual, Dmitri was going
on about the king, calling him a blood sucker. He's always behind on taxes,
Dmitri. The three people beneath my apple tree waited for them to pass out
of hearing distance. Then Althea curiously said, 'Blood sucking?'
     'Oh, he's not all that bad,' Lord Marcel said indifferently, probably
meaning our king.
     'Why do I have the feeling you would say that about the lord of Hell
himself?' Althea said to him. Lord Marcel chuckled. 'The lord, or a lord?'
Even Sterling, still miserable, chuckled at that.
     'Well, since I have never been there, that's too fine a distinction
for me,' Althea shrugged. 'There are many lords of Hell,' Lord Marcel
explained smoothly. 'Did you have anyone specific in mind?' Sterling added,
'Some of them are rather polite.'
     'I wasn't aware of that,' Althea said. I could tell she was mentally
making notes of things to remember. 'And some of them aren't really all
that bad,' Lord Marcel added, smiling.
    'Oh, any of them will do... How about the one Sterling is beholden to?'
Althea said defiantly to Lord Marcel. I gasped, but fortunately they did
not hear. 'What's his name?'
     Lord Marcel chuckled again. 'I think I'd say he's not all that bad.'
     'You would,' Sterling said, amused.
     'His name?' Lord Marcel smiled. 'About 28 syllables long and ends on
-el, but usually I just call myself Marcel.'
     Althea blinked in surprise. For that matter, so did I. 'You...'
     'Althea, dear, meet my boss,' Sterling said with wry humor. Lord
Marcel lept to his feet cat-like and made a sweeping bow before his
servant's wife. Then he sat back down, laughing. She looked like she'd just
fallen down from the moon. Then her eyes gleamed. 'Well, then, this
shouldn't be nearly as difficult as I thought! Marcel - be a dear, and free
my husband please.' She batted long heavy lashes at him.
     'Well, if it was that easy, I'd gladly oblige you,' Lord Marcel said
with unexpected seriousness. 'Unfortunately, he did not bind himself to me
by name, so he is not mine to give away.'
     'Well, if you're the... Well, the one in charge... Why shouldn't it be
that easy? Drat,' Althea said, disappointed. 'I am one of the people in
charge,' Lord Marcel said. 'It's a busy place, Hell,' Sterling agreed.
    'Actually I thought she knew that,' Lord Marcel said to Sterling. 'That
I worked for you?' he echoed. 'I must have forgotten to mention it.'
     'You'd be surprised at what I don't know... I know I am continually
amazed,' Althea said. Though the statement was humorously intended, her
pain was obvious. 'Allright... So who is he bound to, then?'
     Lord Marcel smiled. 'You will have to ask himself how he managed to
get into this mess,' he said to her. 'I wasn't there, so I can't tell you.'
    Althea turned to her husband. 'Well, dear?'. He replied, 'I told you. I
wanted to get back to you.' I nearly cried. 'I had to make a bargain for
that. This was my bargain.'
     'I remember that part... Who is the... Whatever it is that you are
tied to?' his wife demanded.
     'Hell itself, no name specified,' said Lord Marcel smoothly. 'I can't
really recall any name,' Sterling said. 'A rather large chap with horns.'
     'Well, there must be a name... You said you couldn't make the decision
because you hadn't bound him... Therefore someone or something must have,'
Althea demanded of Lord Marcel. He nodded. 'You're jumping to conclusions,
dear,' he said fluently. 'Your husband sold himself to service of Hell. Not
until then was I granted his service. Which now makes him my charge, and my
responsibility.'
     'So I just need to find out who's in charge of the whole thing, then.'
She smiled. I shuddered.
     'To which I think I should like to add that I've never asked to have
no servant alotted to me in the first place,' Lord Marcel added. 'No,'
Sterling said to his wife. 'No what, love?' said she.
     'Let's just say there's more to it than that,' Lord Marcel said.
'Please... Tell me the whole of it then, Althea asked of him. I admired her
courage. 'I'd like you to stop this talk of trying to get me out of this,
and learn to accept what I am now instead,' Sterling told his wife. 'Maybe
she will find that easier to do once she grasps the futility of your
situation?' Lord Marcel suggested. 'I certainly hope so,' Sterling agreed.
     'You will have to undo the contract, naturally,' Lord Marcel explained
to Althea. 'I'm sure that given time, you could find a way to do that. It's
not unheard of.' She beamed at him. 'There, I told you it wasn't hopeless!'
     'But you'd also have to remove the lord into whose realm he falls,'
Lord Marcel proceeded. 'And trust me, I'm really rather fond of my life.'
Althea wrinkled her nose in disappointment.
     'There, now you see that it is,' Sterling said. 'I am truly sorry,'
Lord Marcel said. I know I wouldn't have believed him but it seemed she
did. 'Hrmmm.... Are there such things as promotions in Hell?' She asked.
'To some extent, yes,' he replied thoughtfully. She beamed again. 'So we
get you a promotion... Then you no longer are the head of that particular
portion and zippo presto - we're done!'
     Lord Marcel and his servant both chuckled. 'For all it's worth, it's
less suicidals than most plans of the kind I've heard,' Lord Marcel smiled
at her. She smiled back. 'I like your wife's unquenchable optimism,' Lord
Marcel added to Sterling. 'That's stubbornness you see,' he replied. 'I
assure you, she is quite stubborn.'
     'Stubbornness and love, you goat,' Althea said.


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