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 ..../                /_/..\______/./_____/./__/.../__/./_______/ MUD
 .../________________/      running on         mud.legendmud.org 9999

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
VOLUME NINE, NUMBER THIRTY-FOUR                           September 1, 2002
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
                           The Editor's Note

                         NEWS, REPORTS, UPDATES
                           Calendar of Events
                   Immortal Applications Due Today
                            Recent Updates
                LegendMUD Connection Analysis - Aug 2002

                             LEGENDITES
                           LegendMEED Wales
                   LegendMeet - Canberra, Australia
                            Renunciation
                     Dark Wings Bring Dark Words

                             Clan News
                            The PK Front

                           Wanderin' Eyes
                      The Sorceress' Apprentice
                        Memories of Times Past
                          Judgement, part I
                     The Cabin Under the Birch
                    A Tale of Dreaming - Dr West.
                         The Tower of Nizari

___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                      The Editor's Note                          |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

We hope all our U.S. players are having a great holiday weekend! And of
course we hope everyone else is having a great weekend too! The end of
Summer is officially here. School is back in session and a lot of people
are finding their schedules once again shifting.

Sorry about not getting the Q&A log posted yet, but it'll be posted as
soon as I do. I've had read trouble focusing for long with my allergies
acting up this week. I wanted to get the update information and the
character news out to everyone sooner rather than waiting on that.

Again, I hope hat everyone enjoyed the Summer Odyssey and has been having
fun exploring the changes and will keep the ideas coming all year!

-Kaige
___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                   LegendMUD Calendar of Events                  |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'
          [All times are system time unless otherwise specified]
   
                              SEPTEMBER
                        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

Sunday,    September  1st  11:59 pm           Immort Applications Due
Thursday,  September  5th   7:00 pm           Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Thursday,  September 12th   7:00 pm           Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Thursday,  September 19th   7:00 pm           Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Thursday,  September 26th   7:00 pm           Q & A in the OOC Auditorium

___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|               Immortal Applications Due TODAY                   |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

The deadline for Immortal Applications is by midnight tonight. The next
round of applications will be March 1st, 2003. If you are interested in
applying to become an immortal, be sure to speak to the appropriate
department head about your proposed project _before_ you submit your
application.

The names of all applicants will be posted on the welcome board, and
players will be allowed to make private, thoughtful comments about them,
directly to the department heads via mudmail or email (NOT ON the public
boards or channels). All comments will be considered immortal-only
information.

If the imm staff has any questions for applicants, they will send them to
the head of the departments. The department head will conduct an
interview. IMPORTANT: This means that applicants need to be available
either online or over email for the 2 weeks which follow the application
deadline.

Meanwhile, the entire imm staff will read and discuss your application.

Additional information on Becoming an Immortal at LegendMUD can be found
by reading HELP APPLICATION online as well as pointing your browser to:

       http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/documents.html

The individual links to take you directly to the important pages are:

THE IMMORT CODE OF CONDUCT
   http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/imm_conduct.html

IMMORT PROPOSAL REVIEW PROCESS
   http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/app_vote.html

THE GENERAL APPLICATION FOR IMMORTING
   http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/gen_app.html

THE ADMINISTRATION PROPOSAL
   http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/admin_prop.html

THE BUILDER PROPOSAL
   http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/builder_prop.html

THE CODING PROPOSAL
   http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/code_prop.html

THE PUBLIC RELATIONS PROPOSAL
   http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/pr_prop.html

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

    /\                         CODE UPDATES
   /  \     
  /    \    Misc Changes
 /_    _\     o preview now shows how many/much the following types of
   |  |         items have in them: drink containers, ammo, guns,
   |  |         bandages, fuel, and lights.
   |  |       o q&a channel can now be called via "feedback"
   |__|       o New moods: eager, insulted, gentle, stern
    /\      
   /  \     Bug Fixes
  /    \      o "q" is once again "quaff" instead of "q&a"
 /_    _\     o A bunch of fixes to moods
   |  |       o action moods now respect seemoods config
   |  |     
   |  |     Typo Fixes
   |__|       o "fou bat your eyelashes" fixed
    /\      
   /  \     
  /    \                     HELP FILE UPDATES      
 /_    _\   
   |  |     The following helpfile was recently updated:
   |  |     
   |  |     GENERAL INFO
   |__|          SPLIT
    /\      
   /  \     SPELL INFO
  /    \         WALL OF THORNS
 /_    _\   
   |  |     Thanks to all the immorts and players who made this possible.
   |  |     
   |  |     
   |__|                         SUMMER ODYSSEY      
    /\                      INDUSTRIAL 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!
   |__|     
    /\      AFRICAN SAVANNA
   /  \          More animals, desc change on Sameer for shop times,
  /    \         cleans up the Masai thanking their gods. T'Kalo actually
 /_    _\        takes some time to make the items now.
   |  |     
   |  |     CASABLANCA
   |  |          Some tactics changed, be especially wary of Strasser,
   |__|          Renault, and Sascha. Some work on fleshing some stuff out
    /\           more -- at least one new face, some new items. Various
   /  \          bugs and typos fixed.
  /    \    
 /_    _\   BENGAL, PARIS, PORT OF LONDON, PITTSBURGH, SAN FRANCISCO, and
   |  |     SEONI JUNGLE
   |  |          Various bugs and typos fixed.
   |  |     
   |__|     
    /\                   Other Area Updates
   /  \     
  /    \    1802 ALASKA
 /_    _\        Fixes Russian forgiveness/baby quest. The Saint Paul
   |  |          Administration building's bat infestation has been
   |  |          reduced to a single occupant. Anna -should- only have 1
   |  |          baby ever now, no more twins, hopefully. Various bugs and
   |__|          typos fixed.
    /\      
   /  \     CELTIC IRELAND
  /    \         Slight change in tactics for big mobs that use skills
 /_    _\        like headbutt and bash -- be careful. The witch shouldn't
   |  |          be getting stuck in "lovely" mode any more.
   |  |     
   |  |     VICEROYAL PERU
   |__|          Fixed problem with trap door. Various minor bugs fixed.
    /\      
   /  \     ARABIAN NIGHTS; AZTECS; ANCIENT INDIA; BOSTON, MASS.; 
  /    \    SALEM, MASS.; SHADOWLANDS; and SHERWOOD
 /_    _\        Various bugs and typos fixed.
   |  |     
   |  |     
   |  |                   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.
   |  |     
   |__|             Kheldar       Medieval Sea Trade

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

                    LegendMUD Connection Analysis
                            August 2002

                       Peak Mortal Players 53
                         Average Peak was 38
                    Peak PKOK Enabled Players 32
             Pkokenabled Characters represent approximately
                       56% of active players.

                   Peak Accept All Characters 10
             Accept All Characters represent approximately
   7% of all active characters and 13% 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.

              hour  0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11
              ------------------------------------------
              avg  33 29 23 20 18 17 15 15 16 19 20 23
              pke  18 17 13 11 10  9  8  8  8 10 11 12
              aas   2  2  1  1  1  1  0  0  0  0  1  1


              hour 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
              ------------------------------------------
              avg  24 25 28 28 27 28 29 30 31 35 35 35
              pke  13 14 16 16 16 16 16 17 17 19 20 19
              aas   1  1  1  2  2  2  2  3  3  3  3  2


              day   MON  TUE  WED  THU  FRI  SAT  SUN
              ------------------------------------------
              avg    26   28   24   26   23   23   25
              pke    14   16   14   14   13   13   14
              aas     2    2    1    2    2    1    2

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: 32 15  2| 38 23  3| 36 20  2| 32 18  2| 33 19  2| 29 15  3| 29 17  2
 1: 30 15  2| 30 18  3| 31 19  3| 28 16  1| 30 18  2| 29 16  2| 26 16  2
 2: 24 13  1| 25 15  2| 22 12  1| 20 12  1| 20 12  1| 22 11  1| 28 16  1
 3: 21 11  1| 21 13  0| 19 12  1| 16  9  1| 18 11  1| 18  9  1| 27 15  2
 4: 18  9  1| 16  9  0| 19 11  0| 17  9  0| 18 10  1| 16  8  1| 21 13  2
 5: 16  8  1| 18 10  1| 18 12  1| 15  7  0| 16  8  1| 16  9  0| 22 13  2
 6: 15  7  0| 16  8  0| 18 11  1| 13  6  0| 11  6  0| 16  8  0| 18 10  1
 7: 14  7  0| 17 10  1| 14  7  0| 17  8  0| 10  5  0| 14  6  0| 17 10  1
 8: 17  9  0| 18 10  0| 12  6  0| 20 10  0| 15  9  0| 15  7  0| 14  8  0
 9: 20 11  0| 23 13  0| 16  8  0| 21 11  0| 18 10  1| 19 10  0| 11  6  0
10: 20 10  0| 25 12  0| 18  9  0| 22 10  0| 20 12  1| 21 11  1| 15  8  1
11: 26 13  1| 26 15  1| 17  9  0| 24 12  0| 24 13  2| 24 12  1| 19 10  0
12: 30 14  2| 27 15  2| 19 11  0| 25 14  0| 23 14  2| 25 14  2| 23 13  1
13: 28 14  2| 27 15  1| 20 12  1| 26 16  1| 21 11  2| 25 14  1| 25 17  2
14: 29 15  2| 30 18  2| 26 17  1| 31 18  1| 27 15  2| 25 12  1| 27 15  2
15: 29 15  2| 33 20  3| 30 18  2| 30 17  2| 23 13  1| 22 12  1| 28 15  2
16: 27 15  2| 36 24  3| 27 15  1| 29 18  2| 24 14  2| 22 12  0| 26 15  2
17: 27 15  2| 37 22  3| 29 15  1| 31 18  2| 25 15  2| 25 15  2| 28 16  2
18: 27 15  2| 36 19  3| 31 18  2| 30 18  3| 26 15  3| 25 15  1| 24 11  1
19: 25 14  2| 38 22  4| 28 16  2| 34 20  3| 26 15  3| 28 16  1| 28 13  2
20: 32 18  3| 31 18  3| 28 15  1| 36 20  4| 28 16  3| 28 16  1| 32 17  3
21: 37 22  3| 35 20  4| 37 18  1| 37 19  3| 29 15  2| 33 20  1| 34 18  3
22: 37 21  3| 40 23  4| 36 19  2| 36 20  4| 30 16  3| 33 21  1| 34 19  3
23: 42 24  3| 41 22  3| 36 19  3| 36 19  2| 29 15  3| 29 17  1| 35 17  2

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

                           LegendMEED Wales

Ash naeun hash yet actually bothered tae tell ush they were cooming, I'm
delayin the mud meet.  Shrry! -- McDougan

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

                     LegendMeet - Canberra, Australia

Stygian is organising a mud meet in Canberra, Australia. It will be held
at Starbucks in the city (Shop 1 Katine Building 182-200 City Walk
Canberra), during lunch time on Saturday 21 September. If anyone requires
lifts from airport, bus stop etc, please contact me, and something will be
arranged. Same applies if you require a place to stay for the night.

On the evening of the meet there is a performance of 'La Boheme', in which
a certain player will be performing the lead role. This performance starts
at 8pm at the Canberra Theatre (02 6257 1077). Tickets are $60 adult or
$45 concession.

Since no one knows what I look like, and may not be totally sure if this
is the correct place at the meet, I am giving a picture to the pic page.
Hopefully Straussy will update in time, if not, then send me your e-mail.
The pic was taken at my Yr 10 a couple of yrs ago. So expect to see a few
changes, eg, I have HAIR!

  - Stygian

 For more information on other meets, see the news board while online,
     there are several posts regarding ones in different locations.

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

                             Renunciation

After centuries of faithful service, Lilian has recently been heard
denouncing the Dark Lord as a 'wuss', and has stated she will 'no longer
be ruled by a Big, Almighty non-deity ...' She has decided to be her own
woman and do exactly what she wants to do. Henceforth, she will be known
as:

Short:  a vicious tease

Long:  Feminine wiles engaged, an evil temptress tangles the unwary in dark
webs.

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

                     Dark Wings Bring Dark Words

A message brought by a pit black raven reads:

          Bugger et fer northern Siberia an' early winters. It do
          be seemen I be stuck in this bugger place fer a while.
          So I won be able te attend much te more interesten
          parts of the world. At least they do be brewen some
          decent mead and pissen some good mushroom-brew, so I
          s'pose I's keep meself entertained.

          Sigrid Icelander, the real viking warlord.

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

As promised, the Secretives became a PK clan once again on August 28th.
How will the world react to the Secretives not only making clear and
non-perplexing prophecies and then having them come true? Not something
to get used to, for sure.

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

     The Revolution Clan was disbanded on Saturday, August 30, 2002. 
           Perhaps the forces of evil will overrun the world.

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

                        Clans Disbanding Again

It has come to my attention again that people are still abandoning their
clan and that is unacceptable to legend plz plz people when your GM asks
you are you sure this is the clan you would like to join or before you
even seek (clan name) plz look at the history of that clan. Please dont be
afraid to tell them that this is not the clan that you would like to join.
Tell them you are not sure that this is the clan for you and that you will
get back with them plz dont just say sure out of peer pressure and then
look for a reason to get out of the clan later. Just say no in the
beginning so there is no confusion about anything. Clans keep disbanding
and it is getting out of control. I may not be so important but I'm sure
about my choices that I make and you should be to. I am pleading with all
characters of legend mud think about what you doing, think about what
you're getting yourself into, and after you completely understand what
you're doing then you are able to join the clan.

Plz clan GM's before you even think about accepting a member into your
clan, talk to them -- tell them everything you can about the clan and
after you interview them or whatever you do have the send you a 'small
piece of paper' with 'yes i would like to join your clan' or 'no i would
not like to join your clan' Let them send it to you later that day or the
next day so that they have time to think about what they're getting
themselves into. What ever you do GM's don't push them to make answers or
the clan will slowly but surely break up.

Also clan GM's, some people may think your clan is so good they join your
clan but after a while they think the clan is boring or something and want
to get out of the clan. I am only making a suggestion to have fun with
your clan -- create games with your clan the give money or that give extra
strings you have away. Have fun with your clan. Have clan meetings to talk
about the games, anything. Just have fun so your clan can stay together.

your fellow legend mud member "Smokey" the bear

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

There are currently 13 RP clans and 8 PK clans. This leaves open slots for
eleven (11) 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 guide for players interested in
founding and running a clan, we recommend that before you even type FORM,
you visit: http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/gm.html.

     ___                                                          ___
     \  |--------------------------------------------------------|  /
     /__|                   The PK Front                         |__\
        '--------------------------------------------------------'

The forces of evil are definitely feeling their oats. The Grendels, the
Infernals and the Secretives were all well represented on the PK front
this past week. The Knights also had a good presence in their seemingly
lone fight against the powers of darkness. The IRA, Syndicate, and the
Grand Coven also had a few members out involved in pkill and the Hermetic
Order sent only one member onto the fields of combat.

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

There were 97 pkill related deaths involving 64 different characters in
the last week. Of those 64 characters, 37 of them were accept all at the
time. So come on, let's get YOUR name up in lights! We can't report on it
if you don't tell us about it!

If you have you witnessed or 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 PK (not necessarily PK Clan
related), 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!!
 
              _______________________
             /                       \
        o O | Wonder what folks are   |
  `\|||/    | doing over at LegendMUD?|
   (o o)     \_______________________/
ooO_(_)_Ooo________________________________________________________________
_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|___
__|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|

                           Wanderin' Eyes

He looked around the inn and smiled to himself. 'Good things come to those
who wait for 'em,' he told himself. He would have to work hard for this
one, but it just might be worth the work. He grinned as she looked at him
and smiled. She was strong, and quick of wit. A challenge for anyone. He
liked that.  He needed the challenge to keep him on his toes. As he sat
there, he decided that he would watch her, see her likes, find her
weakness. He watched a young man come up to her and kiss her hand. She
seemed to like that, as she smiled broadly at the man. Filing it away for
future reference, he stubbornly muttered, 'Could do better than that.' He
hadn't meant to say it aloud, but the lady must have heard, because she
looked in his direction. Winking at her, he took a swig of the mead he had
just picked up from Helga. He had bought two, but gave one to a young man
whose own mead had been 'stolen' from his room. He chuckled as he thought
of what Helga would do to the lad if she found yet another skin of mead in
his bed. It occurred to him that perhaps Olaf should have had more mead as
a youngster. He might have been able to grow a man's beard.

He looked at the woman, hoping she could read his intentions in his eyes.
He tugged on his great braided beard and said, loud enough for the whole
room to hear, 'Time to go see about a maid.' The woman voiced her
disapproval. 'She is jealous, this is good. Perhaps I will not have to
work quite as hard as I thought.' He smiled as he added to himself, 'Nei,
Will work hard... She will be worth it. He grinned broadly as he left the
Inn for more smashing and bashing.

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

                      The Sorceress' Apprentice

A chill wind picked up as a woman in a blue gown staggered into the
Egyptian camp. Although young in face and body, there was a weariness
about her eyes that made her seem old. Judging by the skeleton that
toddled after her, she was a sorceress, perhaps even a necromancer.

The skeleton was only a baby when it was alive, no more than two and small
for its age. Still moist with blood, it was a fresh kill. The long bones
gleamed blue-white in the late afternoon sun. They looked weak, and curved
slightly. Life, when it had one, wasnC
t much. Poor thing.

The sorceress turned and smiled at the pitiful skeleton. 'Are you ready
for your lessons?' she asked. But the skeleton of a tiny baby shook its
head in disagreement. 'Yes you are,' you she said, looking very stern,
then ordered the skeleton of a tiny baby to sit. It kneeled on the ground,
little patellae digging holes in the sand.

She yelled, 'SIT DOWN!' The baby looked surprised, if something with only
a skeleton face can, and immediately sat down. 'First you must learn to
see the ways of magic,' the sorceress said in a lecturing tone to the
skeleton. It just peered around with empty eye sockets.

'Per'aps this will make it easier.' The sorceress chanted a few
unintelligible words under her breath, and then pointed at the skeleton
baby. Its eyes appeared to glow with an eerie yellow light for a moment.
'Now look around...do you see the forces of magic?' she asked her small
apprentice. The baby skeleton looked around again, and the yellow light in
its eye sockets glowed. It held up a skeletal hand, reaching toward the
invisible lines of power flowing through the air.

'You must learn a little something about controlling the magic,' she
lectured. 'All educated mages, be they sorcerers, necromancers, witches,
or magicians, do this by chanting.' The tiny skeleton sucked on its
phalanges and stared back at the sorceress. 'It is something in the pitch
of the voice. You put power in it, and power answers,' she explained. 'Say
Ohm.'

The skeleton of a tiny baby said, quiet and polite, 'Ohm.'

'No, with power!' she told it. 'You are speaking to the forces of nature,
make them listen!'

In a more forceful voice, the skeleton chanted, 'OHM!'

'Yes, that is it,' the sorceress said, now beaming with pride. 'You will
be a powerful mage someday.' A skeleton of a tiny baby grinned, showing a
full set of rather decayed baby teeth. 'But you see, there is a set of
words which will command magic to do your bidding. You can say, C1Air, flow
and give me wind!C. but nothing will C/appenFbut if you tell it with the
right words...'

The sorceress then began to chant again, and lifted her arms to the sky.
At her command, the wind picked up and the sky darkened, threatening rain.
She looked up at the now cloudy sky with a self-satisfied smile.

Turning back to her skeleton apprentice, she asked, 'You wish to be able
to do that?' The baby nodded so wildly, its skull fell off. The sorceress
picked up the baby's head. She turned it around in her hands, and then
stuck it back onto the spine. It kept wobbling, so she had to turn it a
bit and screw it down to get it to stay attached. Then, quite serious, she
said, 'I think per'aps we should not be doing any more nodding.'

The skeleton of a tiny baby just stared off into space, so she continued
her lecture. 'Now the words,' she explained. 'There are two groups of
them, really two paths you can take in your magic. One will lead to
weakness. All you can do is scrub about, 'oping for angels to protect you.
So sad.C


'With the other, you will be powerful!C
 Her voice started rising in pitch,
and she grinned like a maniac. C/Fire will flow from your fingertips, time
and space will obey your command!C
 She raised her fists, and stared off
into the darkening sky. C/And then, you will rule the world, and all will
bow down before you. They will all kneel at m...er your feet!'

The wind picked up again, blowing dust everywhere. The sorceress simply
brushed her hair out of her face with an imperious gesture. She glared
straight into the wind, as if it were a living thing that might back down
at her will. The tiny skeleton toppled over from the sudden wind and lay
twitching in the sand.

'Sit back up!' she barked, slightly perturbed. The skeleton of a tiny baby
struggled to push itself semi-upright again. 'Sit up!' the sorceress
yelled at it. 'There will be no slouching in my classroom!' She kicked the
baby in the spine until it sat up with perfect posture.

'So now we are agreed on which pathway you will be following,' she stated,
voice burning with fanaticism. 'Now practice chanting the word of truth,
of action, of causation! VINA!C


A skeleton of a tiny baby mumbled, perplexed, 'Beena.'

'No, vvvvvvina. Vina!'

'Vima?'

The sorceress glared at the baby. 'With an N, as in no.'

The skeleton asked, looking confused, 'No?'

'Vina!'

'Fira!'

'What?' The sorceress was looking quite impatient by this time. 'You
aren't listening. VINA.'

The baby skeleton kept trying. 'Vera!' it exclaimed. The sorceress punched
it right in the face. A spider web of tiny cracks radiated out from its
broken cheekbone.

''ow can you ever expect to be a great mage if you can't chant vina?? Say
it, VINA!'

The poor thing burst into tears. It started going into hysterics and
cried, 'No, you huwt me.'

'Skelly babies always obey!' she commanded. 'You WILL obey me!' The baby
cried and spluttered. It tried to say something, but only hiccupped.

The sorceress fell to her knees next to the baby. Shaking slightly, she
held out her wrist to show the skeleton. 'Do you see this?' she asked. 'I
am weak. My blood is thin. Do you know why? I don't get enough bone marrow
to eat.' Her face alight with devilish glee, she poked it in the ribs.
'Per'aps if you cannot learn to chant magic, I will find a better us for
you, eh?' She stood up again, and put her hand on her hip. 'Now I give you
one more chance: say vina.'

The skeleton of a tiny baby hesitated. It worked its jaw a bit, practicing
forming the word before vocalizing it. It grinned confidently. With
perfect enunciation, the skeleton baby stated, 'KERE!'

The sorceress went at first very pale. Her eyes narrowed and a
high-pitched keening sound came out of her throat, like a kettle boiling.
She chanted strange words under her breath and a fierce gust of wind rose
up to batter the baby skeleton. Its bones were pulverized to a fine white
powder, never to rise again nor ever learn the ways of magic.

Snorting with utter disgust, the sorceress muttered, 'Children!' then
stalked off.


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

                        Memories of Times Past

The prophet wandered through Roman Britain and smiled as he came to where
their house had stood.  It has since been renovated, and hardly looks the
same.  He smiled at the thoughts that flooded his mind looking at the
villa.  This had been their first home, where their children were
conceived, and where they were also born, with the help of a kind young
doctor named Herbert West.  His smiled turned to a bit of a frown as he
remembered that his wife had almost died soon after, and he had been
forced to rely on Marcel Alexander to help make her well again.  That was
the first time he had been forced to trust Marcel, against his will, but
it was the life of his love, his heart, the mother of his two infant
children.  She had survived, thank God, and had lived many more years as
his wife.  But as he looked back upon those days and years before how
often had he worked with Marcel?  They had worked together to keep the
balance in the world, by closing the rift to Hell that the demonspawn Soze
had helped to open.  'Why did he help?' the prophet wondered aloud, 'Would
it have to suited his purpose for the rift to be open?'  The prophet
shrugged, he had found no answer then, it was not until later that he saw
the reason.  He also saw what made him so intrigued by the lord of the
seventh cricle of hell.  Marcel was an angel, and thus created good, there
was still some of that in him, however deeply buried, it was still there. 
He thought of all the debates they had engaged in, and how Marcel had not
liked it when the humanity question was brought up, nor the subject of his
honor, for unlike most like him, Marcel did have honor, skewed though it
may be, honor nonetheless.  There were many times that he did not like
Marcel, but respected him, for his honor, and keeping his word.

He walked on and came to a beach, he gained passage to Ireland, and
decided to make his way to Tara, a beautiful city that he had always
loved.  He decided to make one stop along the way, at a turtle pond near
to the northern moors.  Many night he and his love had sat at that pond
and talked about the future, the past, and it was there that he had
proposed...  But she was gone now, taken to be with the Lord.  He looked
about and smiled, little had changed here, in a world that was constantly
changing.  He missed her terribly, but, life had to go on, until the Lord
called him to his final reward, and his Haley.

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

                          Judgement, part I

A prone form lay sprawled on the rocky beach. Large fist sized stones
huddled on the dark sand, waiting go be ground down into grain sized
replicas of themselves. The light was brightest near the shore, as one
would expect from a sea of fire, but quickly dropped off into a murky
shadow. And as with most places in Hell, there were no stars.

The man moved, groaning, into a sitting position and the shadow watcher
stirred restlessly, perhaps more alert but that's hard to really notice in
a shadow. The large scarred man absently opened his hand to let a rough
edged black stone drop a few feet to join its brethren on the sand. The
shadow noted that keenly, or at least as keenly as a shadow could.

As the scarred warrior struggled to his feet and the restless shadow
shifted at the edge of the darkness, the waves of fire gurgled, GLOOSHED
and splashed forward as something huge broke the fiery surface. Quickly
the man dropped to the sand and prostrated himself.

'BARABAS!' sounded the thundering voice, 'YOU HAVE DISPLEASED ME!'.

'Apologies, Lord, I have tried my best to serve your Darkness.' answered
Barabas, still face down in the sand. 'How have I failed you, oh Mighty
Dark Lord?'

'THE SOULS THAT YOU ARE TO SEND ME ARE GROWING FEWER, HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME
TO SHOW MY POWER ON THE LAND OF MEN WITHOUT SUSTENANCE?!' exclaimed the
leviathan before plunging back below the surface again.

'Forgive me Lord, but without your power to aid me, I grow weaker and.. '

'SILENCE! YOU DARE LAY BLAME FOR YOUR FAILURE ON MY MAGNIFICENCE?!?'

'No Lord.' Barabas sighed to himself, the hopelessness of the argument
crashing in just as the waves of flame hit the shore.

'GO, AND DO NOT DISAPPOINT ME AGAIN OR I SHALL CEASE TO RETURN YOU TO THE
LAND OF THE LIVING. IF YOU FAIL, I SHALL KEEP YOU AS A BARNACLE SCRUBBER,
LET THAT BE YOUR MOTIVATION!'.

'Yes, Lord.' Barabas scanned the rolling waves, spotting writhing forms
floating near the Dark Lord, obviously burning with great pain as they
performed his promised punishment. Not a job to be desired, his bent pose
seemed to say. Then he straightened, squared his shoulders and began the
long trek to the land of night and day, the world of men.

As he moved away, the shadow once again marked the landing place of the
dropped stone and slipped on its own way, back to its own master.


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

                     The Cabin Under the Birch

Many weeks he spent cutting trees to clear a site for the cabin, and many
days already he had spent notching the logs to fit into place. At night
he would fall, exhausted, to sleep beneath the shelter he made himself
using a canoe and a blanket. It was not much, but it kept the chill away
as the seasons began moving toward the cold of winter. If all went well
he would have the cabin built before the snows flew. 'I will build it
big enough for a few rooms and perhaps a garden for Mikko.' He then fell
asleep and dreamed of the finished cabin. It would be nice to have a
place to call his own, almost like when he lived with his Uncle Judah. 
In his dream, Mikko had busied herself by furnishing the cabin. He loved
how warm and pleasant it looked when she was done. He smiled as he began
to wake up. He was roused the rest of the way from his slumber by some
rustling outside the canoe-shelter. He raised the blanket a bit and found
himself looking at big brown eyes. he quietly reached back for his bow,
nocked an arrow, and pulled it back. He instinctively let out part of his
breath and released the arrow. The arrow flew true and struck its target
hard, collapsing the target where it stood.

The solemn ranger stood up and walked to the deer. A fine buck to be
sure. He skinned it and took the meat from the carcass and began cooking
some immediately, after portioning some for Nikos, who waited somewhere
out of his sight in the forest. He took most of the remaining meat (he
would keep some for drying for later) and gave it and the hide to a tribe
of indians nearby. He liked there ways, and patterned much of his own
life after them. He smiled again as he walked back to the birch tree, in
whose shade he was building his cabin, and whistled a middle eastern
sounding song to himself.

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

                    A Tale of Dreaming - Dr West.

The dreams were back again, in vivid color as they always were, and the
colors were of course the same, the same two colors which had haunted my
dreams for the last three years, a brilliant shimmering green and a dull
rust colored red, and always in my dream the two were very defined, almost
visceral and primal in their presence.

A razorblade smile and the same maniacal laughter as the thin arterial
veins were torn assunder by a delicate silver scalpel, the scalpel as
always was the scalpel I had used for years, engraved with my initials,
the initials glowing in that deep sadistic green of my dreams.

The spray of crimson after the incision painted the dream world and seemed
to cloud everything in a thin mist.

My patients scream echoed throughout my unconscious brain each note
becoming more shrill, encompassing everything around it and drowning out
the sound of the bonesaw which tore into his collar bone.

Brilliant white shards like tiny diamonds flew from the writhing body
beneath my precise and steady hands, clad as always in thin gloves covered
in blood and chunks of flesh, they deftly moved back and forth in perfect
timing and pressure with the saw, as one, as always.

And it was only then of course that I took the time to look at my patient,
a body well taken care of for its age, not overly muscled, but toned
through years of physical exertion.

A long thin scar across the abdomen, where some previous surgery had taken
place, and another in the upper chest, a gunshot wound, its distinct mark
left on such a perfect chest.

But it was the eyes that always filled me with such dread, as my gaze
drifted upwards the familiarity set in, the neatly parted hair that
drifted lazily now across the forehead.

The frown lines on the forehead, and around the mouth from years of
constant smirking and pondersome thought.

But it was the eyes.. that really put the nail in the coffin so to speak.

Those brilliant blue eyes that seemed to glow in the darkness, filled now
with tears and twitching in unconscious rythym with my sawing.. my eyes..

It was then that the nauseous transition took place, the strange shifting
and blurring of perspective, as I stared through those eyes up at the
beastly doctor performing the operation.

The final horror to end all horrors, my wife, the woman I love more than
life itself, but pale with death, and with that same snarling beastial
glare that all of my creations had been born with, her body covered in
scars and blood dripping from her mouth.

Tears, tears of blood filled my dream eyes, tainting my vision with that
dull rusty crimson once more, and those final words, whispered to me by my
wife, 'This is for everything you ever did'

As she raised the syringe above her head and stabbed it down fast,
directly into my heart which lay exposed beside a blood covered saw.


I awoke screaming, my bedclothes covered in sweat as often I did in these
last few months of constant paranoia and nervous tension.

My wife staring at me in the early morning light crying wishing for a way
to release me from the grip of such terror.

But the only release for me will be in the destruction of my mistakes, and
that time is rapidly approaching.

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

                        The Tower of Nizari

Winds gathered and blew the hot desert sand across the rock laden road.
The sun blazed in the sky, burning down on the dark cloaked rider upon a
camel instead of a horse. Lips parted in a malicious smile as the Tower of
Nizari came into view over the horizon.

The ride to Cairo had been something of an amusement. The rider's
appearance brought more than a few stares. Eyes carefully hidden with
magic appeared a greenish-blue instead of glowing red, and the pale skin
had become gradually darker with travel.

Clothes had to be exchanged for the wares of the desert: a turbin, the
dark robes that covered to the wrists and to the ankles, sand-colored and
loose fitting tunic and pants. Finally, the hard leather boots that
covered the feet, able to walk through anything.

'Djinn!' the desert peoples cried. 'Demon!' Yes, walking through Cairo had
been an experience, with the slightly tilted eyes, jewel-like and
shimmering, and the pointed ears through shocking blond hair. All the
people had dark hair, dark eyes, and weathered skin. Yes, the rider was
different.

A wistful sigh stole from the rider as she remembered the last night she
spent with Rafe Cardones, another devout priest of the Dark Lord. It was
memorable, and she had a promise to fufill to him once she got back.

The rider's thoughts drifted back to the present, nearing Nizari with a
feeling of apprehension. Yes, it was known as a center for training
assassins, yet it was known for being a help to the Dark Lord in times of
need. Perhaps they would know where this Artifact was that she searched
for.

She poured over texts while in Cairo, keeping to the underground crypts in
the day, and at night finding an unsuspecting victim to use for torturous
pleasures. The dead could speak when they were coerced in the right way.
Three corpses lay at the bottom of the crypt she was last in, and the
locals were shocked at what was done to the corpses.

'They are close...' the ghostly whisper said to her as she forced the dead
to speak. 'Close... power... artifact... orb...' The body fell, dripping
fluids and muscles falling from bone. The Shadowmage was right, the dead
could offer information when coerced right. So the Stone of Solomon was
close, or was it the Carnage Orb? There were many artifacts to seek for
the Dark Lord, and yet, she could not figure out which one would please
Him better. Even the Shadowmage was at a loss.

The Tower came into full view, its outside covered in red paint accented
in black, the livery of the Shadowmage. Perhaps it would be better to know
who was within the walls now in the Assassin City...

'...so, you come looking for an artifact of power, hmm?' the gaunt one
said, his assassin robes pulled tightly about his frame and a look of
malicious glee upon his visage. 'I suppose we can help with that, no?'

A slight smile came from the lips of the rider. 'The Dark Lord needs the
artifact, and as his High-Priestess, I am sure that He will reward you
well with the help you can render...'

A flash of a knife saw itself brushing against the Priestess's throat, and
the malicious grin turned to a snarl. 'Never mention that being here,
woman. You speaking to me as though you are my equal will mean your tongue
being cut from your throat.'

A slender eyebrow raised and the greenish-blue eyes flashed red.  'You
dare attack a Shadowmage?' The air crackled to life about the rider, black
and malevolent.

The assassin opened his mouth to protest. A flash of blue light, and a
loud *crack* found a body on the floor, and the scriptures of the whole
library to the rider. Yes, the artifact would be found, and it would be by
a Shadowmage who found it and aided the Dark Lord yet again.

The sun set, and the howls of pain began once again. No mercy, nor
decency. For even the dead can't hold their secrets unto them wholly, nor
can their screams be unheard to the tenants of the Tower of Nizari...

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