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VOLUME NINE, NUMBER TWENTY-TWO                                 June 8, 2002
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                          TABLE OF CONTENTS

                          The Editor's Note

                        NEWS, REPORTS, UPDATES
                          Calendar of Events
                            Recent Updates
           Ancient Era Spotlight: Ancient Nazca and the Andes
                           Recent Q&A Topics
                    DID YOU KNOW: Ping & Traceroute

                              LEGENDITES
                            Announcements
                              Clan News
                 Sweet Dreams are Made of This, Part 5
                      Hitch Your Wagon to a Star
                    You Only Deliver Twice, Part 2
___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                        The Editor's Note                        |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

I was thinking about what to write here last night as I was fixing dinner.
I went to put something on the table when it hit me -- or rather, I
stepped on it. Legos! Big chunky ones! Suddenly it all snapped into
painfully-clear, throbbing points on the soul of my feet.

All MUDs are made up of lots of little building blocks. Some moreso than
others and some are made up of blocks where the colors just clash so
garishly you can't look at it for very long. But learning how to make use
of those blocks is what makes you successful at the game.

Now, I'm not just talking about the ovbious ones that make up the
landscape (rooms), and provide players with the means to advance their
characters (mobs, items, skills and spells). But rather, I mean EVERY
single command and function within the server code. It all fits together
to form one large, cohesive work that hopefully players find fun and
entertaining. Whether it's exploring, socializing, mobkill or pkill.

While it's true, we haven't added, moved or changed many visible blocks
lately, we have been shifting things below the surface and some not-so
high profile blocks. But things also haven't been at a dead stand-still,
which is a good thing.

Anyway, to take this analogy where I was originally headed with it...

What do the PLAYERS do with all these blocks and tools that are provided
for them? Some play nicely and use them as they were intended. They get
satisfaction from playing this way. That's fine; that's great! But these
aren't going to be the people you hear complaining.

What about the people who have convinced themselves that all they're
holding is square pegs and the only places to put them are round holes?
Yes, these are the ones you're going to hear most. It doesn't seem to help
show them where the square holes are, or even how to take the tools
they've got available and take and reshape their pegs so they do fit.

I saw an interesting post on a MUD-Development list recently talking about
PK and perceptions that it was dead on another mud. "The players who think
'PK is dead' are inevitably the players who are much more interested in
bullying people than in using PK as a roleplaying tool. They like to
engage in that ridiculous age-old MUD tradition of whining that the past
was better." This mud usually sees about 1400 characters log in per day
and saw 16679 PK deaths in the previous month. They also have some serious
rules that go with who/where/how you can pkill. Bully? Kinda harsh, huh?

It was interesting to compare and contrast that with what I've seen
recently here on Legend. The clans that have more interest in RP are
better organized and more willing to work with each other to use the tools
available to them and still experience pkill much the way they would have
before, but without the disruptive elements that came with oldstyle pk.

The 'old-school' pkillers seem to be more interested in personal and
almost OOC vengeance against anyone who attacks them. Seeking an eye for
an eye (with interest, if possible) type revenge. Many claim they don't
care about dying, but just listen to them holler and berate other people
if they find themselves without the upperhand. Hmmm... sounds like a bully.

Boo's append on the war board, "The so called 'elite' pkillers didn't tuck
tail and run. They just found a mud better suited for their pkilling
tastes. A mud where you can curse, loot, multi, group kill, and most
importantly, actually pkill because everyone is pkillable." brings that to
light better than I could explain it.

It also shows why when the suggestion is made to recreate oldstyle pkill
by simply forming two or more pkill clans that only accept each other, I
keep hearing how much effort it would be and how it's more organization
than they want. All it would take would be 12-16 characters (meaning about
6-8 players) and a meeting time to form the clans. After that, as long as
the people were interested in making it work, it wouldn't require much
organization. But for that type of player, clans don't mean anything,
because they aren't looking for meaning, only a means to prove they're
king of the hill.

So maybe the effort they're talking about is actually in getting out of
the inn/ooc and making the first move. Or figuring out just who it is you
can attack. Or, just maybe, it's in actually trying to fight against
someone who's just as skilled and experienced as you are, instead of
picking on the new kid on the scene.

PKOK didn't really changed the basic building blocks of PKILL, but it did
provide more tools for the players to use. I've been approached several
times and told 'If you'd only have sat the few bad apples down and
explained the rules to them!' Well the continuous sitting down with people
and their various disputes is what led to PKOK as many of the immorts
didn't want to do away with it completely, but wanted to provide more
tools to the players.

I personally believe the fact that more players are now willing to enable
their characters and participate as they wish, is a good thing. More
people gaining pkill experience of ANY kind, means more people who are
potential opponents. You just have to play your cards right and make sure
you're a desirable opponent too.

-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
  
Wednesday, June     12th   9:00 pm          "Pankration" PK Tourney 
Thursday,  June     13th   6:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Saturday,  June     15th   4:00 pm          Ancient Trivia with LadyAce
Wednesday, June     19th   9:00 pm          Ancient Level to 5 Contest
Thursday,  June     20th   6:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Wednesday, June     26th   9:00 pm          Wednesday Night Game, TBA
Thursday,  June     27th   6:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium

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

    /\                         CODE UPDATES
   /  \     
  /    \    The following code changes are slated to go in as soon as we
 /_    _\   can find and fix the problem that crashed us three times when
   |  |     we did the update on Friday. These may go in sooner than next
   |  |     Friday. Keep an eye on the welcome board for more news.
   |  |     
   |__|     BALANCE CHANGES
    /\       o Lesser Elementals can no longer be taken out of their
   /  \        element (see the help their files for details). Greater
  /    \       Elementals are hurt while they spend time out of their
 /_    _\      element.
   |  |      o Weather now affects elementals.
   |  |      o Create Mages can now control fewer charmies at a time. The
   |  |        more charmies they have, the less chance they have to be
   |__|        able to control another
    /\       o Animate dead hp formula modified
   /  \     
  /    \    MISC CHANGES
 /_    _\    o Items in housing now save differently. Both you and the
   |  |        house should now save every time you drop or takes from a
   |  |        house.
   |  |      o Grumpy mood
   |__|      o "it's dead" part of the poke social is no longer there.
    /\      
   /  \     
  /    \                       HELP FILE UPDATES      
 /_    _\   
   |  |     The following helpfiles were recently updated:
   |  |     
   |  |       ARCHIVING, CATALOG, CLANS, COMBAT, COMPRESSION, CONNECTION,
   |__|       EMOTE, EXPEL, GUN, HARNESS, HELP, HOUSING, IMMORT, INDUCT,
    /\        INSTALL, KILL, LEGENDS-PAST, LOOT, MAKE BANDAGE, NETLAG,
   /  \       NEWBIE, NEWS, PING, PKILL, QUESTS, REDEEM, REJECTGIVES,
  /    \      RENT, SHOPS, SIT, STATS, SUMMARY, TALK, TRACEROUTE, TUMBLE,
 /_    _\     and XP
   |  |     
   |  |     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!
    /\      
   /  \     ANCIENT NAZCA
  /    \         New mobs and some new items. Shuffles the levels of some
 /_    _\        mobs around. Be careful and consider everything. You can
   |  |          fall from the natural rock bridge in the Andes. Adds in
   |  |          forage items. Anything with a hunt act checks if they
   |  |          need a boat/fly/lost trail/not enough room and gives up.     
   |__|     
    /\      ARABIAN NIGHTS
   /  \          Typo fix on the new cushions for housing and adds them to
  /    \         some housing rooms. Anything with a hunt act checks if
 /_    _\        they need a boat/fly/lost trail/not enough room and gives
   |  |          up and walks home. Typo fixes.
   |  |     
   |  |     ROMAN BRITAIN, PICTISH COUNTRY
   |__|          Anything with a hunt act checks if they need a
    /\           boat/fly/lost trail/not enough room and gives up and
   /  \          walks home.
  /    \    
 /_    _\   ANCIENT GREECE
   |  |          Anything with a hunt act checks if they need a
   |  |          boat/fly/lost trail/not enough room and gives up and
   |  |          walks home. The smith and boatmaker have different long
   |__|          descriptions when they're open/closed.
    /\      
   /  \     ANCIENT INDIA
  /    \         Dhurtah checks if they need a boat/fly/lost trail/not
 /_    _\        enough room and gives up and walks home when hunting.
   |  |          Shops that sell herbs sell even numbers of them.
   |  |     
   |  |     CELTIC IRELAND, SHADOWLANDS
   |__|          Anything with a hunt act checks if they need a
    /\           boat/fly/lost trail/not enough room and gives up and
   /  \          walks home. A couple minor typos fixed.
  /    \    
 /_    _\                     Other Area Updates
   |  |     
   |  |     1802 ALASKA
   |  |          Andreev's AC was the opposite of what it should have been
   |__|          and has fixed, so he may be a bit different in fights
    /\           now. Walrus should have a tusk more often now if you've
   /  \          already started the quest. Various bugs and typos fixed.
  /    \    
 /_    _\   FRENCH & INDIAN WAR
   |  |          Belugas shouldn't be quite so numerous. Multiple tallow
   |  |          candles confusion resolved at the candlemakers.
   |  |     
   |__|     HOSPITALLER MALTA
    /\           Typo fix on one of the roses. Crumbled/crumpled.
   /  \     
  /    \    MELBOURNE
 /_    _\        Fixes some bugs, primarily with gold assayer.
   |  |     
   |  |     SAN FRANCISCO
   |  |          Shortens the long desc on the ballot box.
   |__|     
    /\      SHERWOOD
   /  \          Rivets no longer burn.
  /    \    
 /_    _\   TORTUGA
   |  |          Lowers the random on the drumming sound.
   |  |     
   |  |     17th CENTURY SALEM, THE ALHAMBRA, THE CRUSADES, SOUTH SEAS
   |__|          Various typo fixes.
            
  ___                                                                  ___
  \  |----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
  /__|      Ancient Era Spotlight: Ancient Nazca and the Andes        |__\
     '----------------------------------------------------------------'

Friday, June 7, circa 500 AD.

Intrigued by the news of that something was happening on and around the
Nazca plain, I decided to let my wandering feet take me that direction.
As I approached the coast of Peru, seals and dolphins greeted my ship and
followed for a short distance before playfully splashing me and slipping
away again in the dark waters.

After beaching my ship, and travelling inland over the dry, rocky terrain,
I came upon a small village. One of the villagers was very hospitable and
bid me to sleep on his spare mats for the night. The next morning, I awoke
refreshed, although a bit stiff from sleeping on the ground, ready and
eager to explore the village.

A young lad carried water back and forth from the river to store in large
clay jars. He pointed out the potter's hut to me, saying that he had made
them. Across from the potter's, I was surprised to find a woman who was
quite skilled in metalworking. The things she can do to a gold coin!

But all was not well here on the plains. A sickness had stricken many of
the villagers, especially the children. The local shaman was not having
good luck with many of his patients. I asked if I could help, and was sent
to find a cure high in the Andean mountains to the east.

After crossing the river, the mountains were teeming with life. A large
heron stared back curiously as he fished for his supper in the river. As I
climbed higher into the mountains, I saw an ocelot hunting chinchillas --
not a pretty sight when they get caught. The herds of wild llamas grazing
in the valleys, along the terraced slopes and atop the grassy plateaus
were quite a sight to see.

The mountains can be quite treacherous if you're not careful, the high
crags and steep rock faces present danger when you least expect it. I
nearly walked off the edge of a cliff before I saw it was there, so caught
up in the scenery I was. I heard the angry snarl of a a large cat
somewhere nearby and decided that I wasn't going to be its dinner. As I
continued hiking, I came across a hut hidden deep in the mountains. But no
one was home, so I retraced my steps back to the river.

From there, I passed through the village and headed south into the desert.
Miles of long, nearly-straight lines of white rocks created stylized paintings
that could only be properly viewed from a great height. Did these people
possess some form of air travel -- balloons perhaps? I had seen no evidence of
them in the village. Were they pictures for their gods viewing pleasure as
well as a giant solar calendar? Could be. Seemed the most logical explanation
I could come up with. It certainly didn't resemble an industrial airfield!

The hunter, whom I met out in the desert, didn't have any answers either.
So I decided that I would return to the village and stay with the man who
had been so hospitable before, and return later to further investigate
this land of extremes and mystery.

Finlay, the wanderer.

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

While this area tries to offer something for all levels, characters under
level 15 are best suited for this area. If you are interested in learning
more about the Nazcan culture before experiencing it 'firsthand', here are
a few web sites that can get you started:

Nazca Culture and Ancient Civilizations in Peru:
   http://emuseum.mnsu.edu/prehistory/latinamerica/south/cultures/nazca.html
   http://www.rain.org/~pjenkin/civiliz/civiliza.html
   http://www.unmuseum.org/nazca.htm
   http://www.crystalinks.com/nasca.html 
   http://www.dreamscape.com/morgana/rosalind.htm 

Nazca Lines:
   http://exn.ca/mysticplaces/Nazca.cfm
   http://nazcalines.homestead.com/
   http://skepdic.com/nazca.html

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
  _______   ____    _______
 /  ___  \ / __ \  /  ___  \  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 Recent Net Problems               o Changes to Elementals
 o Ripping out PKOK/PK Discussion    o Unposted Updates?
 o Reject and Accept All             o Sword Sheaths?
 o Items Reversing when Renting?     o Where to Report Bugs?
 o Sniper Changes?                   o More on Elemental Changes 

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
   _____    
  /  _  \   DID YOU KNOW: Tips and tricks and little-used features
 /__/ \  \  
      /  /  Have you ever been unable to connect to Legend for more than
     /  /   an hour? Then when you finally connect again, you wonder if
    /__/    or why it was down and felt silly about asking on channels?
    __      
   /  \     Sometimes it is a problem with Legend's game server -- the 
   \__/     game hung for a while before it crashed or crashed repeatedly
   _____    before it came back up. The TIME command lists when the mud
  /  _  \   last started up, beneath the moon phase line. This will show
 /__/ \  \  whether the mud has restarted recently when you get online.
      /  /  
     /  /   Sometimes, it is a network problem. There are generally
    /__/    multiple machines between yours and the mud machine. If one of
    __      these machines has a problem, you may not be able to connect
   /  \     or experience lag when others aren't. Also, people coming in
   \__/     along a different network path may be able to connect while
   _____    you cannot.
  /  _  \   
 /__/ \  \  So how do you tell the difference while you are sitting there
      /  /  hoping to connect (or re-connect if you lost link)? If you
     /  /   eventually reconnect, then you know the game didn't crash --
    /__/    it was purely a network issue. Depending on your operating
    __      system and access, you may be able to use some tools, such as
   /  \     ping and traceroute, that can help determine if the problem is
   \__/     network-related or not.
   _____    
  /  _  \   Unix-flavored systems generally can use these from the
 /__/ \  \  command-prompt. Windows may not have support depending on the
      /  /  version - from a command window, the commands are ping and
     /  /   tracert. Macs may or may not have the commands, depending on
    /__/    the version - OSX has the commands from your Darwin shell. For
    __      older MacOS systems, there are apps available that will
   /  \     perform these functions.
   \__/     
   _____    Ping basically checks to see if the host can be found and
  /  _  \   how long it takes to get a response. The basic command is:
 /__/ \  \  
      /  /      ping legendmud.org   
     /  /   
    /__/    You may have to use the command: ping -c 4 legendmud.org if
    __      you get an unending string of responses or an error message.
   /  \     
   \__/     Traceroute (or tracert in windows) returns information for
   _____    every hop between you and the host - so it should display the
  /  _  \   path across the net from your machine to the mud machine and
 /__/ \  \  the amount of time it took for a response. If there is a
      /  /  problem along the way, this could be causing your connection
     /  /   problem (or your lag!).
    /__/    
    __      For more information on these commands, see HELP PING and HELP
   /  \     TRACEROUTE while online. You should also read HELP CONNECTION,
   \__/     HELP NETLAG and HELP REIMBURSE. Stay within your rent limit!

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

               Kastina has reached 300 million experience!
               Sigrid has reached 200 million experience!

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

A small piece of paper slipped under the door of our office had the following
written on it:

          I have left the Knights of Legend, because they have
          disgraced the name of the Knights of the old. I will
          still uphold the code that the Knigts of Old used and
          act as one. I will be open to any challenges and not
          afraid of any fair fight that is brought to me.

          I no longer will be known as 'a solemn knight cloaked
          in shadows.' Nor will you see me as 'An
          innocent-looking knight stands here, surrounded by a
          shroud of sorrow.'

          I wish to be known as Sir Delandel, Knight of the 'Old
          Code' and seen as 'An old and hardened knight struggles
          to find the source of what was once good.'

          Sincerely, Sir Delandel.

One wonders which version of the Knight's Code, Isam is in possession of,
and who will be on a crusade to retrieve it. Perhaps Sir Delandel won't
have to search far?

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

                             Heritage

After countless hours of tedious study, High Lord Rahvin has discovered
his true heritage and title, and has accepted his surname. He shall now be
known as Lord Rahvin von Darkmoor.

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

         The Insane Asylum clan was disbanded on Friday, June 7th.

Tacked up outside the now boarded up hospital was this notice:

          Several of our institution's wardens staged a mutiny,
          and since then staff numbers have been steadily in
          decline. As it was unsafe to continue treating mental
          patients with the staff on hand it was decided
          unanimously that we discontinue operations and refer
          current patients to other services.

          I apologize for any inconvenience this causes.

          Sincerely,
          EiSA

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

The Syndicate seems to be in possession of one of the IRA flags. Sandman
was seen spitting on it in disgust. When asked asked about it, he said, 
'Any IRA can come reclaim this crappy flag.. but til then its mine =p.'

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

Every PK Clan had at least one member participating in the pk scene this
week! The IRA had the most active members this past week with the Grendels
close behind. The Grand Coven had the next highest number of members who
were active in PK. The rest of the clans showed little activity on the PK
front with the Hermetics being the quietest.

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

There were 56 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 17 RP clans and 8 PK clans. This leaves open slots for
seven (7) 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 .

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

                 Sweet Dreams are Made of This, Part 5

He faded into consciousness to the sound of voices. He sat up, terrified,
thinking the villagers had found him again... but these voices were
different, unusual. They muttered, they whispered, they screamed, not one
voice like any of the others.

Then one voice burbled 'Once-mortal... why are you here?. Nathan looked
around, trying to find the source of the voice, when the question was
hissed at him 'What are you. Once-mortal, speak... What brings you here?'

Looking around frantically, he shouted 'I donbt know. I was being beaten,
for something I couldnbt help. Who are you??'

The voices seemed to retreat, as if discussing something, then yet another
voice, sounding like it was right next to him, screeched 'You should not
have been in that world... you did not belong... Here, you belong,
once-mortal. The land of dreams...'

'My name is Nathan,' he yelled at the voices, angry and afraid, 'Why do
you keep calling me once-mortal?!?'

An emotionless voice intoned, 'That is not your name... You are not
mortal... you are not who you say you are... who are you. What are you.
You belong in the world of dreams, not in the land of flesh. Who are you,
once-mortal?'

He realized that they could somehow see everything about him... and by
what they said, he wasnbt human anymore. He thought about this, as voices
danced about him, laughing, crying, singing 'Who are you. Who are you?
What are you, living dream man? Remembering a conversation with the wizard
that had happened a while before the experiment, he remembered a word the
wizard had used for dreams and the things that lived there... and so he
answered.

'I am Chimaera.'

The voices paused, and one spoke to him, sounding frightened, 'You are
true. We shall take you somewhere that you can grow and learn about
yourself. A place where you will not be feared as you were, but where you
can become more of yourself. Learn, learn and return to us to teach us...
teach us of the world of flesh, where we may not tread.'

'I will. Take me there, or show me the way, and I will go,' he spoke,
confused but relieved to be free of the taunting questions, the incessant
barrage of voices driving him to the now-crumbling edges of his sanity.

Each night, he returned to the world of dreams... teaching, learning,
being changed by the presence of the dreams, even occasionally looking
into the dreams of his wife and daughter to make sure they were safe and
the wizardbs bargain kept... .and in the strangeness growing in his mind,
he learned one truth... a truth that would shape the rest of his life...

Some dreams... are nightmares.

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

                      Hitch Your Wagon to a Star

On a peaceful evening outside of Klein, two figures sat watching the
stars. One turned to the other and asked 'Some say that the stars tell
stories... is that true?' The other pondered and replied 'Some do.'

She pointed upwards to a box shaped patterns of stars in the sky.

'The Great Wagon... and see, if you follow the stars on the right side
of the wagon, they lead to that star...that's the star that's constant.'

The other looked, and then pointed to one group of stars that looked like
a giant ladle.

'The slaves called it the drinking gourd... they used it to find 'north.'

Moira nodded solemnly and tried to remember whether that star was the nose
or the tail of the Little Bear. Or was it the Little Rabbit? The Little
Ferret?

Ever so nonchalantly, Asher took her hand and asked 'What is the story of
the Great Wagon?'

She pondered. She had heard something about a great wagon story a while
back. Maybe from her grandmother?

She stalled. 'Well, there are several versions....'

And then plunged in....

'Once there was a group of smugglers. If you go through one of those time
portals, and go back to my village, you find that the land is all in great
farms owned by people from across the water. And my tribesmen, kinsmen,
they farm it for the owners.'

'Now, the people from across the water rule all the land and waters around
it,' you say. Their Queen charges for everything that is brought in and
out.'

Moira pondered for a moment.

'I think the word is 'tarrif.''

Asher nodded and muttered to himself 'Feudalism in its infancy.' He
helpfully noted 'Yes, a tax on what is bought or sold.'

Moira continued.

'They are a different tribe...many different tribes. And my kinspeople
hate them. Evey so often, they burn one of the owners' castles. Given that
they used to burn the next villages' mud huts, I'm not sure things have
changed that much. And so they try not to pay the..taxes, as you call
them, because they don't want the owners' Queen to have the money.'

'So anyway, there was a smugglers ship. She was called the Light Dawn. At
least in the variation I heard . . . fastest ship there ever was. And she
was the pride of the coast.'

'One night, becuase she always sailed at night with no lights, the load
was particularly large with some cargo.'

She paused a moment.

'They never say what it was in the stories. But some say there were guns
in her hold, while others say it was only cloth. She had been taking on
water and was due for repairs. But an extrodinary large hiring price had
been offered for her cargo. And the captain was greedy.'

And paused ever so dramatically.

'The sea was wild that night. And they had to sail through a particularly
dangerous stretch. The coast is uneven there. In some places there are
rocks that stick up only inches below the surface of the water, and if you
do not know that they are there, you will hit them.'

Asher cringed at the thought and solemnly nodded.

'The Light Dawn was sailing back from England that night. England, you
see, is where the people across the water lived. Or rather, came from. It
was a terrible night for sailing. The winds were wild.'

'And the ship, loaded down in the water, came up against one of the rocks.
Some say that the helmsmen was a mere boy. Others say that he was drunk.
And still others, that he was in the pay of the English.'

'But if he was, it stood him no profit.'

'...which would not be a good business venture then,' Asher noted
solemnly.

'The rocks where the ships fell up against were close enough so that they
could hear the shouts and cries of the mariners across the waters. But too
far to see. And the English soldiers were patrolling the shore.'

'They were all assumed lost. But the strange thing was...that is, none of
the men aboard her were ever seen again. Nor the ship. Nor its cargo.'

'None of the bodies washed up.'

Asher raised his eyebrow.

'They didn't find the wreckage?'

Moira shook her head.

'Nor the timbers. Or cargo.'

Asher blinked and turned his head to look at Moira, who was oblivious to
anything but her tale (including the annoying chirps of the local song
birds).

'That is, they searched the waters of the coast nearby and the saw
nothing. It was uncanny...and after, stories of the ships started going
around. Some say that they saw it floating above the waters in the
twilight of the evening.'

'Not touching water?' Asher asked.

Moira nodded solemnly.

'Now, the people of my village have taken up the newfangled religion. They
observe it in places called churches.'

Asher suddenly looked quite quiet.

'But their hearts are still with the old gods. And some said that the gods
had chosen to punish those men for smuggling. But others said that the
gods had rescued them.'

'And if you looked up in the sky at night, you would see the ship up
there.'

She pointed upward.

'Thus the Great Wagon?' remarked a ruggedly handsome surgeon.

Moira was aghast. How had she got a wagon mixed up with a ship?!

'Er, some call it a wagon, but it's really a ship... portaging, perhaps,'
she mumbled, 'on the great Starry Road.'

She stole a glance at Asher. Did he believe it? Or had he realized that
she had no idea of what she was talking about?

He merely smiled to himself.

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                    You Only Deliver Twice, Part 2

When each of the delivery people went on a run, they took two deliveries
at a time. They used to do more at a time, but there were more and more
complaints about the third delivery being cold, squashed, blood splatted
from the delivery person having to make a violent delivery, or, in cases
where the delivery person didn't survive the first two deliveries, the
third didn't arrive at all. So after spending a fortune on consultants,
the management decided that they should only delivered twice before
returning back to base.

When he'd been collecting his deliveries and getting ready to be
transported to the delivery time/space co-ordinates, he'd noticed
Henderson was also getting ready to leave. A quick glance at Henderson's
deliveries revealed that, as per usual, they were stupifyingly easy. No
chance of an encounter with unfriendly pygmies. No chance of accidental
beheading. Infact the only danger was possibly getting a papercut from the
bag the delivery came in.

Then he looked at his own deliveries. The first was for a Mr. Polly Parrot
with the address "somewhere in the medieval caribean". The second had such
bad hand writing on the name that he couldn't read it and the address
co-ordinates would put him in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. While he
had heard stories of people being mutilated by parrots in that era,
neither really posed any obvious danger. But with missing addresses and
unrecognisable names they weren't actually going to be fun.

So, while no one was looking, he switched the second deliveries around.
Henderson could go and get lost in the Atlantic looking for Mr. Whoever,
and with any luck would never be seen again.

Meanwhile, he'd do a nice peaceful delivery to the penthouse suite in a
nice un-dangerous high class hotel on some tropical island resort. It'd be
the easiest delivery he'd had since that day he was attacked by what he
thought were a herd of rabid iguanas, but what turned out to be just a
pack of laid back lizards who enjoyed eating soap powder.

He smiled and looked at his watch. Time to move on. He turned to Redbeard
who was noisily munching on his vegetarian curry.

'I don't suppose you guys have a boat I can borrow?,' he asked. 'I need to
get going to my next delivery.' He looked at Redbeard's termite infested
leg. 'In return I could bring you a can of insect repelent with your next
order.'

Redbeard smiled but didn't stop eating. He gestured towards a battered
fishing boat resting a little further down the beach.

'Thanks,' said the delivery boy as he set off down the beach. 'Enjoy your
meal!'

With that he climbed aboard the boat and began rowing in the direction of
his next delivery.

After traveling for some time he checked the delivery co-ordinates against
his tracking device. He was getting close, but looking around he didn't
see any islands, let alone any high class hotels with penthouse suites.

But then as he squinted into the distance he saw something in the water.
It could be a small island, he thought. The hotel he was looking for must
be pretty exclusive if its way out here on this tiny island. Exclusive
ment expensive. Expensive ment a rich customer. Rich customers sometimes
ment a wallet straining sized tip! He began to row quickly towards it.

As he got closer he realised the island was moving towards him. And it was
green. And it was slimey. And it didn't have a hotel on it. Infact, it
didn't look much like an island at all.

He checked the tag on the delivery, trying to make out the name.

MEANWHILE...

In another time and place, James Henderson, Dial-A-Curry's best delivery
boy, stood outside the door of the penthouse suite of a high class hotel.
He congratulated himself for the 422nd time on spotting the swapped
deliveries just in time, and switching them back without being seen. There
was a reason that damn fool was second best, he thought to himself. He was
stupid, that's why. Couldn't even do a simple delivery swap properly. He
smiled to himself as the door to the penthouse suite was answered by 14
scantily clad supermodels. He smiled even more when he discovered that
scantily clad supermodels consider curry an aphrodisiac. And he laughed
himself stupid when he thought of what was about to happen to that damn
fool in the Atlantic ocean.

BACK IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN...

Dial-A-Curry's second best delivery boy suddenly realized he'd seen this
delivery before. Wasn't it the one he'd swapped with Henderson's?? It
couldn't be! No one had seen him swap them. Had they?

As he tried to read the tag again he realized the name wasn't unreadable,
it was just upside down. He turned it up the right way and read it. "Mr.
Terrifying Sea Serpent".

'Bugger,' he said to himself as what he'd thought was an island raised its
gigantic head out of the ocean and towered above him.

He stood in the rocking boat and held the delivery aloft. 'Did you order a
curry?' he yelled up at the serpent, hoping that all it was after was the
food it had ordered, and that it was a good tipper.

It didn't answer. It just looked at him hungrily, its pointy teeth looking
pointier by the second.

He sighed. He hated troublesome customers almost as much as he hated James
Henderson. He'd have to fight his way out yet again. He looked around the
boat for some sort of anti-sea serpent weapon. All he found was a
complimentary Dial-A-Curry tooth pick that came with the delivery.

He brandished the tooth pick menacingly at the sea serpent. 'Ok then,' he
said. 'Come 'n get it!'

The sea serpent dived its huge head down at him and in one gulp ate the
curry whole.

Unfortunately, Dial-A-Curry's second best delivery boy was still holding
it at the time.

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