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VOLUME NINE, NUMBER TWENTY-ONE                                 June 1, 2002
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                          TABLE OF CONTENTS

                          The Editor's Note

                        NEWS, REPORTS, UPDATES
                          Calendar of Events
                            Recent Updates
                        Harassment on LegendMUD
                           Recent Q&A Topics
                    LegendMUD Connection Analysis
                         DID YOU KNOW: XP_GAME

                              LEGENDITES
                            Announcements
                              Clan News
                             'Watch Him'
                  Sweet Dreams are Made of This, Part 4
                            Royal Longing
                    You Only Deliver Twice, Part 1
___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                        The Editor's Note                        |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

The immorts been catching some flack lately on a couple fronts. I'll
comment on what I can about new areas vs maintaining old ones and builder
goals and give some thoughts on pkill being dead, but note that these are
my opinions and not necessarily those of the whole staff here at Legend.

                             ------

People are quite justified in saying, 'Why haven't we seen any new areas
in so long.' However, new areas are not the only thing that builders are
responsible for, especially if they have already built one. Are people
justified in pointing out that the first phrase in the Builder's goals is
"to support 150 players"?

I think that's only PART of their goal and the much more important part
describes HOW that goal is to be met: "with areas that take full advantage
of the code and showcases it to best effect, and that all areas are
cohesive, well-designed, and balanced." That doesn't mention anything
about churning out new content as fast as possible. It describes creating
a world with depth, creativity and interaction. Why should we be wasting
memory and disk space on areas that are boring and no one bothers to go to
anyway? Why should we rush to make more of them? So that's why you see
this Summer Odyssey thing... besides, it's fun to do things in the theme!

As I mentioned at Q&A the other night, I've got three new areas in various
stages of completion along with a 25 room expansion for another existing
area. 'Pffft!' you say. 'Why aren't you done! You used to churn out areas
much faster! Now get to it!' The simple fact is time. I don't have as much
time to devote to just building any more. 

Back when I did the original Sherwood in two weeks so we'd have a medieval
Britain to put in trans quests so we could open, we settled for a lot less
in an area and there was just plain less to include in an area. There's
still places in Sherwood and Arabia where I look at it and go, 'Ya know..
that could really use some work... it's kinda bland and boring.' So when I
have time, I do some quick easy updates and the world's better off. Then
there's maintenance on already existing areas which isn't alway simple.

However, I do take chunks of time and put them toward those new areas. But
since those reside mostly on my harddrive and people can't see them, they
might as well not exist yet. It's also harder to carve out larger chunks
of time to work on a new area so that all the great ideas don't get lost,
but I keep plugging away at them when I can. And I'm one of the builder's
who doesn't have a 'real job' to monopolize 40 hours of my weeks.

                             ------

Ok. Pkill. Is it dead? Is it gasping and flailing and dying? Is it only a
certain type of pkill that's floundering? Dae asked if we had a list of
numbers to look at to make comparisons the other night at Q&A. We don't
have a nice neat little instant chart to look at. Once I gathered the
information going back to July 1999, I had to pull out all the mob deaths
from part of it before we changed how the logs were saved. Then I looked
at the numbers. Wow. 

It jumps up and down all over the place -- before and after PKOK was
installed. The interesting thing, when looking at the peaks to see why
they were so high, it didn't show more characters participating in pk,
just a lot of multi's. Some of the multi's were people perma'ing. It took
113 deaths for one char to perma. Yeah, that helped increased the death
toll that month! 

So the true trend is still hidden in the data somewhere. I'm going to try
to see if I can filter out the multi's and see what that shows. But yes,
we are currently trending down, and with overall totals that are lower
than we've seen before. Is changing the code going to fix that?

Personally, I doubt it. I think it's mostly in people's attitude's right
now. If you tell yourself it's dead and don't do it, it will be for you!

Someone mentioned that people don't pk with people they don't know any
more -- that it was a trust issue. Probably true. Someone else mentioned
on channels that people could always leave others accepted and be open to
random jumps when they weren't expecting it. VERY true. The immortals keep
saying that if you want old style pk and that you don't think your current
pk clan means anything, go gather about 10-14 or more people together who
want old pk back; form 2 pk clans and have them accept each other and pick
two sides of an issue to champion and HAVE AT IT!

The bottom line is we've provided players with tools, but we cannot force
anyone to accept nor even attack each other. Heck, I can't even bribe
people with tokens to write up pk incidents to show people it does still
happen.

-Kaige
___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                   LegendMUD Calendar of Events                  |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'
            [All times are system time unless otherwise specified]
   
        June kicks off our 2002 Summer Odyssey in the Ancient Era.
         Join us on a journey through time to explore our world!

                                 JUNE 
                         Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
                                            1
                          2  3  4  5  6  7  8 
                          9 10 11 12 13 14 15  
                         16 17 18 19 20 21 22 
                         23 24 25 26 27 28 29
                         30
  
Thursday,  June      6th   6:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Thursday,  June     13th   6:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Saturday,  June     15th   4:00 pm          Ancient Trivia with LadyAce
Thursday,  June     20th   6:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Thursday,  June     27th   6:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium

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

    /\                         CODE UPDATES
   /  \     
  /    \    There were no code updates made on May 31, 2002. We're taking
 /_    _\   a week off to get back on our regular update schedule.
   |  |     
   |  |     
   |  |                        HELP FILE UPDATES  
   |__|     
    /\      The following helpfiles were recently updated:
   /  \     
  /    \        PHOTO BOOTH, PRETITLE    
 /_    _\   
   |  |     Thanks to all the players & imms who assisted in this update! 
   |  |     
   |  |     
   |__|                         SUMMER ODYSSEY
    /\                        ANCIENT ERA UPDATES
   /  \     
  /    \    If you want to suggest specific improvements or new additions
 /_    _\   to existing areas please don't hesitate to submit them with
   |  |     the idea/bug/typo commands or drop mudmail to the builder
   |  |     currently responsible for the area (check AREAINFO to find
   |  |     out!) And don't limit ideas to just these three months!
   |__|     
    /\      ARABIAN NIGHTS
   /  \          Jeweler will try to wake out of an entrance to call the
  /    \         guards. Princess calls the eunuchs to come assist her
 /_    _\        correctly. Be more cautious and careful on the
   |  |          clothesline. Different long descriptions on the
   |  |          shopkeepers to show open/closed status. Various bugs and
   |  |          typos fixed.
   |__|     
    /\      BEOWULF
   /  \          You're now forced to wear the wolfshape when you first
  /    \         assume the shape and when you feel the urge to assume it.
 /_    _\        Meteorites no longer fit in anything else. Various bugs
   |  |          and typos fixed.
   |  |     
   |  |     CELTIC IRELAND
   |__|          Gawain, Cian, some druids shouldn't get locked out/in of
    /\           rooms for which they have the key. Different long
   /  \          descriptions on the tanner and blacksmith to show
  /    \         open/closed status.
 /_    _\   
   |  |     ROMAN BRITAIN
   |  |          Old couple won't double teach if you already have the
   |  |          skill. The Boatmaker has different long descs to show
   |__|          shop open/closed status.
    /\      
   /  \     
  /    \                      Other Area Updates
 /_    _\   
   |  |               The prize machine has been updated.
   |  |     
   |  |     1802 ALASKA
   |__|          The bear fur rug now holds slightly larger items.
    /\      
   /  \     AFRICAN SAVANNA
  /    \         Cheetahs should no longer growl at themselves and the
 /_    _\        guards have all their keywords.
   |  |     
   |  |     THE CRUSADES
   |  |          The young Egyptians, Antioch guardsmen, and ibn Rashid
   |__|          should be a bit harder. The first room of AT is not a
    /\           guarantee of a safe spot, but less insane. Falcon quest
   /  \          fixed. Misbehavior from the Sufi fixed and cost lowered.
  /    \         Some illogical fight behavior from Saif fixed. Some
 /_    _\        shopkeepers should have a few more items available More
   |  |          mobs have more clothing. Jobayr should go home again now
   |  |          and then. Various bugs and typos fixed.
   |  |     
   |__|     PARIS OPERA HOUSE
    /\           Dresses the Parisiennes more appropriately.
   /  \     
  /    \    PORT OF LONDON
 /_    _\        No free items if the vampire dies in sunlight.
   |  |     
   |  |     
   |  |                    In Progress Area Updates 
   |__|     
    /\      This section is intended to let everyone know what builders 
   /  \     are working on behind the scenes. It is not a perfect record
  /    \    of progress as all builders will not make updates every week.
 /_    _\   Players badgering builders about progress or a perceived lack
   |  |     thereof will be flogged. Remember, the longer spent answering
   |  |     questions, the longer the project takes to complete.
   |  |     
   |__|             Kaige/Ptah   1950s Americana

___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                     Harassment of LegendMUD                     |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

Harassment... There are a variety of ways you can be harassed - whether it
is someone else making you feel uncomfortable or making your game play
unenjoyable. It can be sexual in nature, simple repeated rudeness, or
related to stereotypes. It can be a player repeatedly asking you to level
them, pushing their way into role-play, or following you and making
mobkill difficult. It can be someone heckling you on channels in or out of
character that is motivated by an OOC dislike of you. Regardless of the
form, harassment isn't acceptable on Legend.

Despite the misconceptions of many, the immortal staff does care about
harassment and does want to do what they can to stop it when it happens.
Harassment issues are taken seriously, and can require large amounts of
time to handle. Because of the time often required to handle a harassment
issue, we do have the expectation that you will take some steps to try to
help yourself first, and will suggest trying before we get very involved
if you haven't.

     * First off, tell the person to stop or leave you alone. Unless
       you let them know you have a problem with their actions, they
       can't know you do. Put (OOC) in front of your say or tell so
       they can't mistake it as being in-character.

     * GAG and CHANNELGAG are excellent harassment deterrents when
       it is happening in tells or on channels. We do expect you to
       try them if asking the person to stop doesn't work. The
       person then has to seek you out, send mail, or switch to an
       alt or guest to continue.

     * Most clients can log. Figure out how and log the incident. If
       immortal intervention is necessary, it can be a helpful tool.

If the harassment continues after taking the above measures, talk to an
immortal. Admin immortals are most experienced with dealing with
harassment and should be the next step if there is one available. Mudmail
and email are always available if there isn't an admin (or immortal)
visible, and pray can be used in extreme cases.

What can you expect when you contact an immortal? Lots of questions - who,
what, where, when, etc. State if you have a log - we may ask you to send
it to us if we think we need it. Depending on the case, we may just ask
the offender to stop with a verbal warning and the caution that continuing
will result in additional steps. In extremely serious cases, we may take
characters away, ban a player, inform the administrator of the offender's
internet service, or see that criminal charges are filed appropriately.

Many harassment complaints actually come from both sides - where two
people are arguing and it escalates to a harassment issue on both sides,
but neither has asked the other to stop or both have and neither have
listened. In these cases, we try to mediate and get you to resolve your
differences on your own. If that is not possible, you may be asked to just
stay away from each other, since the finger can't generally be pointed at
one person as being most at fault... and the first person to break the
agreement and start harassing the other again will find themselves facing
further punishment.

In any case, unless it is brought to our attention, we can't do anything
about it. If you feel uncomfortable about talking to an immortal about it,
we understand, but we can't help you unless you report it.

What one person considers harassment, another may not. To keep from being
accused of harassment, if someone asks you to stop doing something (be it
cussing, performing socials/emotes on them, following them, healing them
without asking if they want it or something else), we would advise you to
stop. Read HELP HARRASSMENT for more information.

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

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

                              RECENT TOPICS

 o New Area Discussion               o Mobs that See Sneak but Shouldn't?
 o Is Losing XP for Fleeing Fair?    o Buying Gear Your Alt Put in a Box?
 o Can You Combine Pretitles?        o Typos -- Report Now or in Batches?
 o When is it OK to Pray?            o Meandering Discussion on Areas 

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

                    LegendMUD Connection Analysis
                              May 2002

                       Peak Mortal Players 50
                         Average Peak was 37
                    Peak PKOK Enabled Players 28
             Pkokenabled Characters represent approximately
                       43% of active players.

                   Peak Accept All Characters 7
             Accept All Characters represent approximately
   3% of all active characters and 9% of active pkok enabled characters.

The first two tables below show the Average Mortal Players, Average PKOK
Enabled Players, and the number that were "Accept All" connected to Legend
by hour of the day as polled approximately on the hour system time during
the period noted above.

The third table shows the same averages calculated by the day of week.

              hour  0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11
              ------------------------------------------
              avg  29 24 20 17 14 13 12 12 14 16 18 20
              pke  13 10  8  7  5  5  4  4  5  6  8  8
              aas   1  2  1  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  0


              hour 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
              ------------------------------------------
              avg  22 24 27 28 29 29 29 29 31 31 32 31
              pke  10 11 12 14 14 13 12 12 13 13 13 13
              aas   0  1  1  1  0  0  0  0  1  1  1  1


              day   MON  TUE  WED  THU  FRI  SAT  SUN
              ------------------------------------------
              avg    23   23   22   22   21   25   25
              pke    10   10   10    9    9   10    9
              aas     0    0    0    0    0    1    1

This table shows the breakdown by each hour for each day of the week.

      MON       TUE       WED       THU       FRI       SAT       SUN
   AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA
------------+---------+---------+---------+---------+---------+---------
 0: 27 11  1| 27 10  1| 29 14  1| 28 12  1| 29 13  2| 34 16  2| 31 13  2
 1: 22  9  2| 23  8  1| 23 11  2| 23 11  2| 24 10  2| 26 13  2| 28 10  2
 2: 17  7  0| 18  6  1| 20  8  2| 21 10  1| 20  8  1| 21  9  1| 22  7  1
 3: 16  6  0| 15  6  1| 15  6  0| 18  7  0| 16  6  0| 21  9  2| 19  6  0
 4: 13  5  0| 14  6  0| 14  5  0| 14  4  0| 13  3  0| 18  7  2| 15  4  0
 5: 12  4  0| 14  7  0| 14  6  0| 13  4  0| 12  4  0| 14  5  1| 13  4  0
 6: 12  4  0| 13  5  0| 10  4  0| 11  3  0| 12  4  0| 14  5  1| 15  5  0
 7: 13  4  0| 14  4  0| 10  5  0| 10  3  0| 13  5  0| 13  5  0| 13  4  0
 8: 14  5  0| 15  6  0| 13  7  0| 13  4  0| 17  6  0| 14  5  0| 14  4  0
 9: 16  6  0| 16  7  0| 14  6  0| 15  6  0| 17  6  0| 16  6  0| 17  6  0
10: 18  7  0| 20  9  0| 17  8  0| 17  7  0| 16  6  0| 24 12  0| 18  6  0
11: 23  9  0| 20 10  0| 19  8  0| 18  7  0| 16  6  0| 26 12  1| 20  8  0
12: 23  9  0| 24 11  1| 23 12  0| 21  8  0| 18  7  0| 26 13  2| 22  9  0
13: 23  9  0| 26 12  1| 22 11  0| 21  8  0| 23 10  0| 25 12  3| 28 12  1
14: 26 10  0| 27 13  0| 26 13  0| 25 10  0| 22 10  0| 26 13  1| 33 15  1
15: 31 17  1| 26 15  0| 31 16  1| 24 11  0| 24 13  0| 27 12  1| 34 15  1
16: 33 17  1| 28 14  0| 33 17  0| 27 14  0| 26 13  0| 27 13  1| 29 12  1
17: 28 13  0| 26 12  0| 34 16  0| 25 12  1| 24 11  1| 31 14  1| 34 13  0
18: 29 13  0| 27 13  1| 33 16  1| 33 14  1| 24 10  0| 27 10  0| 32  9  0
19: 30 13  1| 29 12  0| 29 13  0| 30 12  0| 27 10  0| 31 13  1| 31 12  0
20: 36 16  2| 31 13  0| 31 14  1| 31 13  0| 28 13  0| 32 12  1| 29 11  0
21: 36 15  1| 29 12  0| 26 11  0| 32 15  1| 33 16  1| 34 12  1| 33 13  1
22: 33 14  0| 31 12  1| 28 13  0| 32 14  1| 32 14  1| 36 12  1| 31 13  1
23: 31 13  0| 30 14  1| 27 12  1| 31 13  2| 35 15  2| 33 12  1| 33 13  2

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
   _____    
  /  _  \   DID YOU KNOW: Tips and tricks and little-used features
 /__/ \  \  
      /  /  Ever wondered what the XP_GAME was? HELP XP_GAME gives the
     /  /   basic info and lists additional help files to read for more
    /__/    information. Basically, it was set up as incentive to get
    __      players to go to different areas and give feedback based
   /  \     on their experiences there. With the Summer Odyssey upon us
   \__/     many people might be interested in trying it out for the
   _____    first time. There is a level 4+ requirement and you can only
  /  _  \   participate once per character.
 /__/ \  \  
      /  /  You can nearly finish the 15 area visit requirement in the
     /  /   ancient era alone. All but four ancient areas list the level
    /__/    recommendation as [ ALL ]. Some people find this confusing
    __      when they get there and can't find anything their own level
   /  \     to kill. The [ ALL ] reccomendation should be seen as will
   \__/     I be relatively safe and am I likely to find something near
   _____    my level.
  /  _  \   
 /__/ \  \  One of the reasons we focus on each era for a month during 
      /  /  each summer is to go back and look at existing areas and see
     /  /   where they could use improvements. The more players visit and
    /__/    provide feedback on the areas by pointing out what seem to be
    __      quest hints that lead nowhere, mobs that don't give enough xp
   /  \     for the fight, items that seem outrageously unuseful or cost
   \__/     too much to be practical -- the more of these can be fixed.

  ___                                                                  ___
  \  |----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
  /__|    LEGENDITES: Information Regarding the People of Our World   |__\
     '----------------------------------------------------------------'

               Israfel has reached 1000 million experience!
                Malia has reached 100 million experience!

Not only are these accomplishments noteworthy on their own merits, but
these two messages were triggered by the same kill, that of Krynn, leader
of the Mercenaries. One wonders how much he charged for the privilege.

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

         To My Lady Masha Corlan,

             I ist being held prisoner by barbarians. I do naught
         know what they wishth in trade for mine life. My lady I
         ist so scared... I do naught know where I art, so one
         can not save I. I am so sorry my lady that this came at
         such a bad time, for there is much work that needs to be
         done that alas I can naught do now. Please forgiveth I,
         but they wast too powerful for I to resist. I ist so
         sorry that I can naught serve thou at this time of great
         need.

                        - Jen
  ___                                                                  ___
  \  |----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
  /__|                         Clan News                              |__\
     '----------------------------------------------------------------'

One hopes that Jen's pleas for aid won't go unheard. The Soldiers of the
Dark Lord were disbanded on May 31st, 2002 by Masha and this notice was
posted:

          Just to let you know, I disbanded my clan. The reasons
          are my own, and mainly because I can no longer stand to
          see it dwindle.

          Another thing is that Isam and I are no longer, so
          whoever he's been sleeping with will be happier for it,
          since apparently I wasn't good enough.

          Masha

It was noticed that later, that Isam had scribbled along the bottom of the
notice denying all accusations that he'd been 'sleeping' with anyone.

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

This week, resulting from an apparent labor dispute, Ibrahim of the Fields
of Albion and Soze of the Seven Circles clashed violently. Ibrahim claimed
his erstwhile gardner, Soze, had come in and trashed his peaceful garden.
Soze, resenting the accusations, tracked down his grumpy, old employer in
Quebec and unleased his minions upon him. Pflanzen Botanique, GM of the
Albion clan, in Quebec on clan business stepped in and healed Ibrahim as
Mabel watched in amazement. His initial fury spent, Soze settled back into
his usual pathetic, greedy ways and the two were last heard discussing
either blackmail or perhaps a possible contract renegotiation.

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

The Knights of Legend remain the clan with the most members out and active
in pkill this week. They were followed by the Grand Coven, the Grendels,
and the Mercenaries. The Hermetics, IRA and the Syndicate each had one
member out on the front lines. One wonders if the Dark Lord's power is
waning yet again on Legend, as his Soldiers were disbanded and the
Enforcers have not been seen enforcing anything recently.

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

There were 59 pkill deaths in the last week, so come on, let's get YOUR
name up in lights! Have you witnessed/commited any glorious or nefarious
deeds? Send a short report to us at the LT. If you are looking for a
fight, recruiting, or anything else related to the pk world, advertise
here with us! It's free AND you'll get a token! Be a celebrity, the envy
of all your friends! Tick off your enemies or just tell your side of the
story! The possibilities are endless -- act today!!

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

There are currently 18 RP clans and 8 PK clans. This leaves open slots for
six (6) more clans to form. For more information, read HELP CLAN and see
the clan information list via the CLANS command while logged into the game.
For a basic handbook and reference for players interested in founding and
running a clan, visit http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/gm.html.

              _______________________
             /                       \
        o O | Wonder what folks are   |
  `\|||/    | doing over at LegendMUD?|
   (o o)     \_______________________/
ooO_(_)_Ooo________________________________________________________________
_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|___
__|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|

                              'Watch Him'

Queen MoiraGwyn De'Dannan and Lady Emrysia O'Cuinn Royce were enjoying a
sunny afternoon, admiring the flowers growing atop the castle walls of
Carian Trag.

'Did you hear something?' MoiraGwyn asked Emrysia.

'Hear what?'

'I thought I heard a noise,' the Queen stopped to listen again. 'Yes, I
definitely heard an odd sound. It seems to be coming from down below near
the castle gates'

Emrysia cocker her head to listen. 'Shall I go check it out?' she
queried.

Queen MoiraGwyn nodded and Emrysia hurried off to the gates.

Lady Emrysia reached the gates. She stopped for a moment to listen before
opening the gates. Yes, there definitely WAS an odd noise coming from the
other side. Cautiously, she pushed the gates open and stuck her head
around the corner.

There was a basket sitting off the side of the road against the wall. At
first glance it seemed to contain only a pile of cloth. Then, Emrysia
noticed the cloth moving. Carefully, Emrysia moved the cloth and peered
inside the blanket.

'MoiraGwyn,' she called, 'I think you'd better come see this!!!!'

'Coming,' was the faint reply from MoiraGwyn, still atop the tower.

When MoiraGwyn arrived, Emrysia merely pointed wordlessly to the basket.

MoiraGwyn pulled back the cloth and peered into the basket. She blinked
once and stated, 'We'd better take him inside, I don't feel safe out
here.'

The two women gently carried the basket inside the castle and closed and
locked the gate behind them.

'Look at his cute little pointy ears,' Queen MoiraGwyn said.

'He IS cute,' Emrysia then peered down into the basket and said in a
silly voice, 'Goochie goochie goo!'

Cooing noises came from the basket and both women smiled.

'Do you see a note on him?' Queen MoiraGwyn asked.

Emrysia searched the basket, and came up with a tattered scrap of paper.
On it was scrawled, simply, 'Watch him'.

A knowing look passed between Queen MoiraGwyn and Lady Emrysia.

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

                  Sweet Dreams are Made of This, Part 4

A voice in his head made him jump and look around in startlement. 

'Where have you been? I've been trying to reach you for months!' 

He calmed down, suddenly understanding that the voice he heard was the
wizard's, and explained what had happened. The wizard had no answers, just
many questions, and regretfully Nathan went back to bed, finally falling
asleep.

Several months later, he was again hunting in the woods, having decided
this was the best way to remain 'fed' as well as ensuring that he wouldn't
upset his neighbors with his needs, and he came upon a bear that had been
injured by another hunter. Infection had set in, and the thing was
maddened with pain and disease. He managed to avoid its charge, leaping
onto its back and wondering as he did so, what am I doing?? 

Keeping an arm wrapped around its neck as it twisted and jumped, trying to
scrape him off its back with a tree, he managed to bring out his boot
knife, stabbing it in the neck repeatedly until he hit the jugular vein,
spilling its life out so rapidly that it died almost immediately.

Rising in exhaustion, he literally saw the life energy from this thing
rising from its body and being drawn into his body. He had no time to
decide what to do, as he suddenly heard some noise behind him and saw a
party of hunters staring at him in horror. Trying to explain things to
them, he saw it was pointless and turned to run. One of the hunters had
been waiting for this, and brought him down with a sling stone.

Hovering at the edge of consciousness, he felt himself dragged through the
forest and back to the village he had been living in. After hearing the
hunters' story, the village lynched him, no questions, no trial... he was
stoned, he was beaten, kicked, all accompanied by accusations of being a
demon, a monster. 

As he was about to fall into the merciful darkness waiting for him, a
strange fog swept into the village, blinding him and everyone else... he
heard the angry voices of the villagers retreat, until they vanished
entirely. Floating in the oddly warm, pearly fog, he slept.

                        ...to be continued...

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

                            Royal Longing

King Rowane wandered through the halls of the castle, his footsteps
echoing through the corridors as he went. Quietly he wandered towards the
one person he knew would be in the castle- the Minister of Finances.

Rowane rested on a silk pillow beside Ashimar. 'It is certainly quiet when
she is not here. The castle seems so barren,' he sighed whistfully,
staring off into the hall.

King Rowane turned to a sly, oily merchant, 'Have you seen my wife
lately?' Ashimar continued counting the days transactions, barely stopping
to shake his head at his leige.

King Rowane seemed forlorn, 'It's been far too long, I almost wish I could
have her in a bottle like a genie, for my own selfish reasons of just
seeing her daily.' King Rowane sighed a lonely, rather pitiful sigh.

Rowane seemed thoughtful. 'I think she gives me strength,' the young King
spoke quietly. 'Much the same way Raewyn does for you, I am sure.'

Ashimar stopped his counting to listen to King Rowane. He looked
concerned.

King Rowane smiled at a sly, oily merchant, 'What's that frown I see on
your face?' King Rowane spoke quietly, 'Worried for your liege hmm? Well,
my heart aches but I know I'll see her soon to set me right'

He smiled to himself, his fingers finding their way to his wedding band,
which he fiddled with absentmindedly. Rowane reached into his bag,
removing from it a picture.

King Rowane said to a sly, oily merchant, 'Look at that beautiful face on
my sweet and protective healer...' The King of Carian Trag clutched a tiny
picture frame close to his chest and bowed his head, silently wishing.

King Rowane spoke again to his minister, 'If you get the chance Ashimar,
please send my love to my Queen? You know, if you should see her, around
the kingdom, with the sun shining down upon her glorious face...' Rowane
seemed whistful, smiling at the thought.

Realizing the time, the King rose, preparing to leave. Turning once more
to his minister, he added, 'Thank you for listening to your King's
troubles. It is appreciated.'

Ashimar watched quietly as his leige gathered his belongings, almost losing
count of the coins in his hands. He made mental note to speak with
MoiraGwyn of her husband. She would be grateful for the news.

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

                    You Only Deliver Twice, Part 1

Redbeard sighed as he surveyed the beach. He'd been digging up this beach
for what seemed like an eternity. The island now had more craters in it
than a 15 year olds forehead, and he had yet to find even the slightest
trace of his buried treasure.

'Ahh Polly,' he said to the parrot watching his endless excavations.
'Maybe it be over thar.' He pointed further down the beach with his
shovel.

'No it's not. No it's not,' squawked Polly. 'Not even close.'

'Damn ye flea bitten bird! Why can ye not just tell me whar this treasure
be??'

The parrot just laughed at Redbeard's frustration, the way parrots do.
Redbeard set off down the beach muttering profanities in the parrot's
general direction.

He sighed again as he began digging yet another hole. Why he'd ever
decided the best way to hide a treasure map was by making his parrot
commit it to memory, he didn't know. At the time Polly had seemed a lot
friendlier. Who'd have known the bird actually had a cruel side comparable
in size to that of Jack the Ripper's. That's if "comparable in size"
actually meant "much larger than". The difference was that unlike Jack,
Polly had just one victim, Redbeard, and he didn't disect him in the
middle of the night, he just wouldn't tell him where the treasure was
buried and he seemed to find it infinitely amusing.

So Redbeard kept on digging. And digging. And digging.

As he did so he failed to notice the strangely coloured lump as it was
washed up on the beach. As the waves receded, the lump stirred and began
to cough violently. It was a man.

Redbeard didn't look up. 'If ye ain't brung a shovel, ye ain't come to
help.' He ignored the half drowned dude and continued his digging.

The man slowly stood up, pulling a length of seaweed out of his left ear.
He was about to speak when another bout of coughing hit him.

Redbeard stopped digging for a moment and looked up. 'Arrr. Ye wouldn't be
the exterminator would ye? These har termites be givin' me all sorts of
problems.' He brushed several termites off his wooden leg.

The waterlogged man's coughing increased for a moment, climaxing with him
coughing up a small fish. The fish flopped around on the beach and headed
back to the sea, looking as disgruntled as a fish could manage.

'I don't remember swallowing that,' he said as he watched it go. He turned
back to Redbeard. 'Did you order a curry?'

Redbeard looked disappointed. 'So ye not be the exterminator then?'

The delivery boy shook his head. 'Sorry dude. I'm just a delivery boy. Is
your name Polly?'

'Polly!' Redbeard yelled. 'Ye have a visiter!'

The delivery boy started as a brightly coloured parrot in a nearby branch
squawked in annoyance, 'No need to yell! No need to yell!' He jumped down
to pirch on the delivery boy's shoulder and then squawked in his ear,
'You're late! You're late!'

He winced at the noise and began to explain, 'Yeah well you guys gave
the wrong address. This is the 3rd island I've checked. My boat sprang a
leak after the first! I attempted to bail out the water but all I had with
me were the straws that go with your drinks and a used piece of gum I
found under the seat. I tried to use the straws, but I couldn't manage to
drink the water out of the boat fast enough. In the end I gave up and had
to eat the used gum to get that salt water taste out of my mouth.'

'Why did ye not use the gum to plug the hole rather than try and drink the
entire ocean?' asked Redbeard.

The delivery boy thought for a moment, 'I um.. didn't think of that. But
anyway, if you guys had've given the correct address I wouldn't have had
to!'

'It be our phone,' said Redbeard with a sigh. 'We be givin' the correct
address but we be havin' a very bad line. I been meanin' to take it back
whar we got it.' He pointed to a strange contraption attached to a nearby
tree. It was basically just a coconut with a keypad made of seashells.

'A coconut??' exclaimed the delivery boy. 'No wonder the lines so bad.
Pineapple's work so much better. Where'd you get it?'

'Thar be an island nearby with a bunch of castaways on it. One of them be
a professor. He made it for us.'

'Oh them,' the delivery boy said with a nod. 'They have no idea. They
still think they're doing some 3 hour tour.'

'A 3 hour tour?' asked Redbeard.

'That's right, a 3 hour tour. Take the coconut back. Get it replaced with
one of the new Nokia Pineapples. Your problems will be solved.'

Redbread nodded.

'Anyway,' said the delivery boy as he openned his bag. 'I have one
Vegetarian Masala, one extra hot Cracker Vindaloo, and 2 Pepsis. Who gets
what?'

'Mine be the Vegetarian,' said Redbeard. 'Polly be the one who likes
Cracker dishes.'

'Polly wants an extra hot Cracker Vindaloo,' squawked the bird.

The delivery boy handed out the food. 'You're a vegetarian?' He asked
Redbeard.

'Aye. Polly here turned me onto it. Not only does it help fight off
scurvy, but apparently it be good far me cholestorol levels,' replied
Redbeard. 'When did I stop eatin' meat, Polly? It whar around the time I
was wonderin' if parrot tasted anythin' like chicken wasn't it?'

Polly squawked in distress, 'Parrots full of fat! Bad for your heart!'

'So how will you be paying?' asked the delivery boy.

'Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!' squawked Polly.

As Redbeard paid he asked, 'Are ye sure ye don't be knowin' anything about
gettin' termites out o' a wooden leg? I could pay ye something extra if ye
do.'

'Sorry, prosthetic infestation isn't my department,' replied the delivery
boy as he studied Redbeard's rotting wooden leg. 'I suppose you lost this
to a shark or something nasty like that?'

Redbeard thought for a moment. 'Lets just say if ye want to keep yar leg,
never beat a parrot at chess.'

The delivery boy glanced at Polly, who had a sinister look in his eye.
'Um... I'll definitely remember that.'

Redbeard began to eat his vegetarian curry. 'So,' he said around
mouthfuls. 'Whar be the usual delivery boy? He's never had problems with
the address. What's his name Polly? James somethin'?'

'James "Madras" Henderson,' the delivery boy said with a growl.
'Dial-A-Curry's so-called BEST delivery boy.'

'Arrr that be him. He be a fine, punctual young lad.'

Dial-A-Curry's second best delivery boy sighed. Everyone loved Henderson.
Henderson got all the easy jobs so there was never any reason for anyone
to dislike him. If there was any chance the address was wrong, Henderson
wouldn't even be asked to make the delivery. If there was any chance of
having to fight your way through a horde of man eating pygmies, Henderson
would suddenly be on some sort of break. And when the so-called best
wasn't available it fell to one of the others. It seemed if there was any
chance of mix-up or danger the management seemed to make sure it fell to
the second best.

He was begining to think the management had it in for him. None of the
other delivery people seemed to regularly have to use violence to make a
delivery. Why was it he always ended up fighting off unfriendly merry men
just to deliver to a non-tipping tyrant? Or surrounded by herds of liver
eating monkeys while trying to deliver to some far flung jungle
expedition? He doubted Henderson would even know a liver eating monkey if
he saw one, whereas he was on a first name basis with them. He was
begining to think it wasn't just a coincidence that the manager's name was
Mr. Henderson as well. And was it really true that all managers called
their best delivery boys "Junior"?

But James Henderson's luck was about to run out, he'd made sure of that.

                        ...to be continued...

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