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=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
VOLUME NINE, NUMBER THIRTY-EIGHT                         September 28, 2002
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS
                           The Editor's Note

                         NEWS, REPORTS, UPDATES
                           Calendar of Events
                             Recent Updates
                           Recent Q&A Topics

                              LEGENDITES
                 RL Birth Announcement from Cabal's Player
                Aegir Ship-Bane, Brewer of Ale to the Gods

                               Clan News
                             The PK Front
               The Good, the Bad and Answering to the Master

                   Styx And Stones May Break Our Bones
                            So THIS is Love
                        Prelude To A Kiss, Part V
                            Hammers and Gods
                Tigers, Intruders, and Parenthood - Oh my!
                          A Question Asked...
                              On the Run
                        The Legendary Enquirer
                             Castle Black
                             Kayin's Gift
               Nearly Fearsome and Only Partially Menacing
                           Pete and His Dog
___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                      The Editor's Note                          |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

The first order of the day is a pair of announcements. Zandy is stepping
down as Head Admin and will be going inactive. Thanks for everything
you've done Zandy and we hope to see him around when he does have time!

Haley will be stepping up into the role of Head Admin. Please congratulate
her on her hard work so far and help her out as she assumes her new role
and added responsibilities.

I'd also like to thank everyone who submitted something for this issue.
You'll notice that with several of the RP stories, that where one leaves
off another one later will pick up the same story later on. Kudos to those
of you who are interweaving them this way! It makes us all feel more a
part of the world and better able to relate to your RP when we get to see
the differing points of view on these stories and characters! Wouldn't it
be nice to see the same thing in the PK Front column? *wink*

Also, look for more to be added to the calendar of events as the month
progresses. I know Ptah wants to do his Annual Story-telling Event for
Halloween again, so start thinking up scary stories to bring and share!

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

                SEPTEMBER                        OCTOBER 
           Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa           Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
           1  2  3  4  5  6  7                   1  2  3  4  5
           8  9 10 11 12 13 14             6  7  8  9 10 11 12
          15 16 17 18 19 20 21            13 14 15 16 17 18 19
          22 23 24 25 26 27 28            20 21 22 23 24 25 26
          29 30                           27 28 29 30 31

                              --- October ---

Thursday,  October    3rd   7:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Thursday,  October   10th   7:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Thursday,  October   17th   7:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Thursday,  October   24th   7:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Thursday,  October   31st                    Annual Halloween Elf Massacre

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

    /\                         CODE UPDATES
   /  \     
  /    \    Misc Changes
 /_    _\     o Different moods for actions when you're in combat: use
   |  |           the CMOOD command to change it.
   |  |       o AREAS command now runs AREAINFO
   |  |       o options are rearranged in the OPTIONS command - mood
   |__|           settings added
    /\       
   /  \     Bug Fixes
  /    \      o odd weight of rolled bandages should be fixed
 /_    _\     o clan keywords now capitalized
   |  |       o your mood should no longer change when new moods added
   |  |      
   |  |     Typo Fixes
   |__|       o "the the" fixed in a couple places.
    /\        o a bunch of mood fixes -- not all moods will look right
   /  \           with all actions
  /    \      o missing punctuation at the end of cross self fixed
 /_    _\     o "1 coins" fixed in tithe statement
   |  |     
   |  |     
   |  |                      HELP FILE UPDATES      
   |__|     
    /\      GENERAL INFO:
   /  \         AUCTION, CLASSIFIED, CMOOD, COMMUNICATION, GLANCE,
  /    \        HOUSING-FAQ, JARGON, LENGTH, MUNDANE, RESTRING,
 /_    _\       STRINGRULES, SUMMER ODYSSEY, and UPDATES
   |  |           
   |  |     Thanks to all the immorts and players who made this possible.
   |  | 
   |__|     
    /\                          AREA 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 (use AREAINFO to find out!)
   |  |     
   |__|     Messages about "jumping out of the way" changed because of the
    /\      cosmetic issue with sleeping victim's. Shouldn't break any
   /  \     acts. Adds in a scrap book & photo album in the OOC. Updates a
  /    \    few items in the prize machine.
 /_    _\   
   |  |     1802 ALASKA
   |  |          Andreev buys furniture. Various bugs and typos fixed.
   |  |     FRENCH INDIAN WAR
   |__|          Be careful fighting Duvier and those around him. Girl
    /\           with flowers wears her clothes and has flowers now.
   /  \     HOSPITALLER MALTA
  /    \         Fixes the rent on the jawbone so that it's in spec. Be
 /_    _\        careful with the great whites they're not so submissive.
   |  |          Various bugs and typos fixed.
   |  |     ROMAN BRITAIN
   |  |          Drunks in Aethelstan's tavern have gambling acts now.
   |__|          Changes how the altars work.
    /\      SHERWOOD
   /  \          Changes the resets on the rivets *SLIGHTLY*
  /    \    THE ALHAMBRA, SEONI JUNGLE, PARIS OPERA HOUSE, AFRICAN SAVANNA
 /_    _\        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.
   |  |     
   |  |             Cheyla        Zanzibar Expansion
   |__|             Kae           Larderello (Dante's Hell)

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
  _______   ____    _______
 /  ___  \ / __ \  /  ___  \  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 More Scheduled Events?            o Vanishing Commands?
 o Are Rivets Broken?                o More Hunger Penalties?
 o Pkill Encouragement & Tourneys?   o Normal Mood & Channels Bug
 o Redeeming Skills/Practices?       o Odd Level Message? 
 o Reported as Bugs, but Aren't      o General Suggestions/Questions

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

       Dear friends of Legend,
            
       I am proud to announce here the birth of my son Antoine. He
       arrived among us at 12.15pm on the 09/27/02 in Paris, France.
            
       His mother and sister burst in joy with me.
            
       Peace to you all,
            
       -Chris, Cabal's Player.

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

                Adamar has reached 200 million experience!
                Enmity has reached 200 million experience!
               Fairfax has reached 200 million experience!
               Tancred has reached 100 million experience!

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

               Aegir Ship-Bane, Brewer of Ale to the Gods

          Although I am new to these lands, and many of you may
          not yet know me, I am here say hello and offer my
          assistance and hospitality.

          Recently, I have begun to brew my own ale... and
          admittedly drink quite a bit of it too! This new
          hobby, and perhaps this is the ale speaking, has
          lessoned my anger with the world. I now look outward
          with a positive attitude.  Therefore, when you see me,
          you will no longer see "A red-haired viking snarls with
          rage as you look over his belongings" but instead see
          "A giant red-haired Viking stands before you, drinking
          a mug of ale".

          If you need some ale, let me know!
          
          Signed,
          Aegir Ship-Bane

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

        The School of Hard Knocks was formed on September 23, 2002.

This RP clan is dedicated to helping anyone who's ever wanted to learn
how to PK, but has always been too scared to take help from someone else,
we teach through hands on and hands off experience to get you through the
rough parts.

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

There are currently 15 RP clans and 8 PK clans. This leaves open slots for
nine (9) 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 Good, the Bad and Answering to the Master

          The forces of Goodness fed my Lord's hunger as I
          sacrificed Sir Geber during his contemplation on the
          concept of trust in rural Romania. Truly it was amusing
          to watch him squirm, trying to flee from enchanted
          bonds of evil as I called down the fires of Hell upon
          him.

          Another battle ended less well, as Nova sent me to
          discuss my failure in battle with my Master. I am
          confident however that future encounters will yield
          better results and more souls for He who shall always
          be exalted!
          
          Your Lord,
          
          Barabas BoneCrusher
          Infernals Guildmaster

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

With 78% of the clan out participating in at least one PK skirmish this
week, the Infernals spread much chaos and evil this week. One has to
wonder if there will ever be a force to check their rise in power. The
Grendels, taking advantage of the disorder and rampant plague of evilness,
were also fairly active this week. The Knights and Secretives saw nearly
half their forces out in the fray this week and the IRA and Coven also
fielded a few members. The Hermetics, or should we say Hermetic, only had
one member participating and the Syndicate must be sitting back waiting
for everyone else to take each other out first.

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

There were 67 pkill related deaths involving 65 different characters in
the last week. Of those 65 characters, 32 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 committed 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________________________________________________________________
_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|___
__|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|

                   Styx And Stones May Break Our Bones

Presenting our diary account of our happy honeymoon courtesy of tickets to
the Styx Belle from Marcel, by Sir Percy Blakeney and Lady Aemilia
Blakeney, for lucky future travelers.

Day 1:
We hopped on the boat at the pier. Strange pier it was, everyone looked
rather lifeless. Guess they weren't on their honeymoon. I fell off the
boat ride and almost drowned. Apparently the maximum layers of clothing is
just a ticking time bomb for water logging and helpless sinking. I spent
the rest of the ride dripping on everyone else in the boat, who swore in
every language imaginable. This must be a really popular destination. We
checked into an inn simply named 'Dis'. The innkeeper tried to kill us
after we asked just what 'This' was referring to. I don't think they spell
too well here, but the wine sure gives a great kick.

Day 2: 
All the other tourists either seem just as lifeless as those on the boat
ride, or they look rather impish. Must be the water. We met a friendly
impish chap who seemed to be barbecuing some large animal in a fire with
a large fork. I guess they haven't learnt how to forge tinier forks. We
hung out with him and toasted marshmallows. For some reason he rolled over
laughing when we asked if the meat was fresh. We think it was still alive.
Aemilia burnt her finger in the fire. Note to us, fire in a different
colour still burns like hell. Literally.

Day 3: 
We went about looking for various attractions and relaxation activities.
We came across an outdoor spa where a few people were soaking in what
seemed like personal pot-shaped jacuzzis. It looked nice and bubbly. They
started screaming in some frustration when we asked if there were any
available jacuzzis and if it was hot in there. Guess they didn't like to
share. Apparently the idea wasn't really to rejuvenate the body, and the
fellow in charge chased us away.

Day 4: 
We went on another lovely boat ride, manned by this nice old man named
Charon. Aemilia somehow angered him by asking how long he'd been working
here and if it'd paid well, and was tossed off the boat, resulting in the
second near drowning of our trip. Guess he wasn't really that nice. On the
other shore we came across another little impish man walking his dog. He
was covered in rather large bite marks; I don't think he fed his dog often
enough. His puppy's name was Cerberus and after remarking what a nice dog
he had there and if we could pet it, he ordered it to chase us around. I
was slurped and went flying across the ground.

Day 5: 
The people here really seem to have communicative issues. Every time we
ask a question they either scream, chase us away, fall over laughing, or
run away screaming from us. And they're mostly naked, which causes me to
bump into mostly everything from walking with my eyes shut. We
contemplated swimming nearby, but the red color of the water looked rather
disturbing. I thought it was lava, and Aemilia was certain it was marinara
sauce. There's just something about the water here.

Day 6:
We hadn't really noticed, but there seems to be a large dress up theme
within the people living in the inner regions. Everyone looks like someone
famous; Aemilia's sure she saw Freddie Mercury and Aristotle and I saw
Vlad Dracula. Like their real counterparts, they are equally strange.

Day 7:
We're both still alive; which is probably the most amazing thing about
this trip, except for the ticket sellers maybe. They're really living our
their dreams of destruction and causing pain to dead little pieces of
paper. Everyone was really nice and held a farewell party for us, I think
they had more fun without us though, we could hear them cheering as we
sailed away.

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

                           So THIS is Love

Late on a cold night I can still feel her... Feel her breath on my neck...

Hmm... She was perfect, I was getting there, everything was going so well.
Her, a fierce warrior, and me slowly perfecting the Arcane Arts, and look
at me now. A grown man weeping like a baby. I should just give it all
up... But no, I will live through this, I will conquer this pain that has
no end. But there will never be another one for me, nobody else is like
Her. After all, I had my chance, and now she's gone. Or... maybe I should
give it all up, what good is life with no love, nobody to tell my troubles
to, nobody to hold late at night, nobody to come home to. Life has never
been so dull before. I guess those who say, 'You don't know what you have
until you lose it' are right. I didn't know what I had, and now she's
gone, forever gone, just a hole left in my heart, slowly eating me away...

           	...so THIS is love...

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

                       Prelude To A Kiss, Part V

The door barely slammed in time, a large thump followed by a roar behind
the slab of wood as he raced down the hallway as fast as his legs could
carry him.

Who the hell keeps a tiger in their bedroom?!

He didn't even have time to smell her clothes... The scarf now barely held
her scent, this simply would not do. he stuffed it back into it's pocket
after deciding it would have to be replaced.

He glanced back up the stairs, eyes and ears listening for any sign that
the creature somehow made it through the door. For all he knew it could
phase doors. After all, he would swear he saw a rogue hamster stop to bat
its eyelashes at him. Maybe it was just the heat of the desert. Yes,
that must be it. So damn hot. How does her fair skin handle such heat? He
would buy her creams. Scented creams to soothe her skin. He could smooth
it over her flesh like the Sidhe once did with a salve after he and the
Queen fought near Greece with... with what? He could no longer remember,
only the thoughts of watching that sidhe touch her skin lingered. As did
the hatred for this intrusive thing she had taken for her husband. How he
loathed that sidhe.

OOF! he bumped into something as he walked, he hadn't been watching where
he was going. Glancing around he saw nothing. A quick potion cured that.
Was it hidden furniture?

*gasp* An Intruder! Guards! Where are the- No, no, they would think he
too, was an intruder. They would not know or understand why he was there,
or his love for the Queen, or that she would eventually be his. Maybe they
would contact the Agrabah guards and- No, they would not, he was silent
and invisible and no one could touch him. He would remain that way.

The new man could not see him. He followed along, watching. Was he here to
harm her? To touch her? To smell her belongings? He did not seem to have
tiger claw markings down his skin, so likely he had a different motive.

Together they crept, one man discreetly behind the other, unknown to him,
into the office of the Minister of Finances.

He watched as a large sum of gold coins was taken, quietly, while the man
in charge of such things, Ashimar, quietly compared two ledgers changing
figures in one of them. Out crept the stranger, leaving by way of his own
hand, into the dry night air.

Was this the extent of security for the Castle? Has the King no cares for
his own kingdom? The safety of his beloved bride? Anger seared throughout
him, this sidhe was nothing, not even a man! To leave his wife so very
alone, and so often, was bad enough. but to offer to safety? And what
about that child with the silver hair, he appeared to be staying as well,
what about him? The thieves roamed as free as in Agrabah! The sultan there
took more care for his whores, at least providing for Eunuch's to stand
guard. This man vowed to love and cherish and care for the woman he took
as Queen and this is how he leaves her? He could be dead, laying on the
side of the roads, for all his wife knew. Or better still, off whoring
like the Queen's friends husband was known to do.

He strayed back to the hallway, his mind working. Anger sparked. Spit flew
from his lips to the red carpets beneath him. Travesty! The woman he
offered up to God on a pedestal is kept as a housemaid for a husband that
no longer even wants her!

Heading northeast he found the entrance to the dungeons, his mind and
adrenaline pumping faster and faster, consuming him and his want and love
for Queen MoiraGwyn. A barren cell and of course, no guards. He found a
spot and curled up in a corner, safe behind his shield of invisibility.
Here he breathed the scent of her scarf, realizing that the condition of
these cells must surely be the work of his MoiraGwyn. Who else would be
sure rations and a sweet were stocked within a dungeon cell, the cell
itself clean, bedded, and lingering the scent of.. bayberries??

King Rowane not deserving Queen MoiraGwyn imbedded itself as fact within
the strangers head. His heart so longed for her, there was nothing he
would not do for his love. His love, sworn to the side of a sidhe who
keeps her as a servant to her own house, never even giving her love.

He felt hurt. He felt angry. He felt frustrated, unsure what to do to
right the wrong being done to the woman he loved more than anything in the
world and the life she was trapped in.

He screamed, a primal rage echoing up through his being, out through his
mouth. Nearby walls shook with his anger, his fury at the injustice being
done to the woman he wanted for his own wife.

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

                          Hammers and Gods

Gad stirred uneasily in his sleep. It was there again. The immense hammer
seems to smolder within his mind. He could here it calling his name, over
and over again. The Norseman reached out for it...

...and awoke to the sunrise. Later, he told Lilac about it. 'You've been
dreaming this for days now?' she asked.

'Ja' he replied. 'Perhaps it is not good for me to sleep on empty
stomach.' He chortled. 'I'll be back soon, eh.' The huge man strode to the
door and stepped out for some provisions.

Only a few minutes later, someone knocked on Lilac's door.

WHAM WHAM WHAM  *thud*

Susano walked through the doorway. 'Your door fell off again' he noted.
Lilac blinked, then giggled. Abruptly Susano said 'The hammer looks for
Gad as well.'

'Pardon me?  The hammer...?'

'The hammer he dreams of...it seeks him.' Susano noted the woman's baffled
expression with amusement. 'Many years ago, that hammer allowed its
wielders to dare mighty deeds, but after a time, it ceased to exist. It
has chosen Gad to prove himself worthy of it. It seeks to be reborn.'

'How is that possible?' Lilac questioned. Susano only shrugged. 'You know
I can't answer those kind of questions.' he replied. 'But he seems to
think often of you, and your concern for him is admirable. Will you help
him?' Lilac nodded. 'When the time is right, you will know what to do. You
will be his guide in this, I cannot help.'

As suddenly as he had entered, the avatar turned, picked up the door, and
put it in place behind him as he left. 'Yes' thought Lilac, 'it's been one
of those mornings.'

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

                Tigers, Intruders, and Parenthood - Oh my!

Queen MoiraGwyn halted, key in hand, head snapping upwards at the sound.
She turned to smile at Rillifane.

'Do you hear that? That was a big meow, wasn't it. It sounds like the
kitty is hungry.' She giggled, watching the boy's eyes widen. He had not
met the white Bengal tiger, only heard of him.

She finished unlocking the gates, ushering them both inside. She watched
Rillifane head into the hallway. How big he was getting... He barely
wobbled like a toddler anymore, preferring to jump and hop and skip when
possible. And he was learning to say more and more words. A little easier
to understand now, one was almost able to have a conversation with him. He
was not a dull child by any stretch. She could imagine Rowane's pride over
the boys learning of spells. She had heard he was acting like a doting
father, seen bathing the child in a stream, teaching him words,
spellwords, and generally spending time with him. She wondered if he had
grown to care for the boy. If he wanted children of his own.

Her hand instinctively went to her bag, it held a present for Rowane, one
she hoped he would like. She smiled to herself as she headed into the
hallway and up the stairs where she was sure Rillifane would be. And he
was.

Rillifane waited not-so-patiently in front of the royal bed chambers.

'Meow?' he asked.

The Queen smiled. 'Kitty, yes. Can you say 'kitty'?'

'Gitty,' came the reply.

'K.. k-k-kitty,' She stressed the 'K' sound. K's were hard for Rill.

'Kitty!' He beamed when he saw MG's face light up. He did it! Yay!

MoiraGwyn beamed at him, he was quite the learner. She rested an arm about
his shoulder and with her free hand, moved to open her chamber doors.

A small click and the door creaking open as it moved, found a large white
Bengal 'kitty' awaiting at the other side of the door. In fact, so close
that the door nearly hit him.

MoiraGwyn stared at the gentle face of the tiger. He was on all fours, not
resting. Was this because he heard her coming? Where was his red ball he
likes to play with? And no purring and nuzzling? The tiger glances slowly
and quietly to either side of her, all but ignoring both Mistress and
child.

Moiragwyn stared befuddled. She had never seen this behavior before. What
was he looking for down the hall?

'Kitty,' Rillifane's voice broke the silence, his big smile and
child-sized hands hesitantly reaching out to pet the tiger. Moiragwyn halt
his hand gently.

'Kitty tired...' she stressed the word 'tired'. 'he need some quiet time,
we can play with him in a little bit, ok? I promise.'

Rill pouted but nonetheless accepted this fact.

Nose higher to the air, the tiger stepped up to MoiraGwyn. Her grip on
Rill's hand tightened out of nervousness. but the still-gentle tiger had
no interest in causing harm, he wanted to peer between them and sniff at
the hallway. MoiraGwyn glanced back down the hall. What did she not see?
Her hand rested gently on the tiger's back, petting him. He paused to look
at her for the first time.

MoiraGwyn pulled Rillifane up into her arms, the hair on the back of her
neck on end. She backed against the doorway and cast a glance down the
seemingly vacant hall. Her gaze returned to the tiger, his stance still
alert, his gaze still on face.

She nodded at him. 'Go.'

He took off down the hall with a solid leap. She started to follow after
him but then stopped. Whatever he was after, she knew what room it was NOT
in. She stepped into her bedroom, closing and locking the door behind her.
One glance at the door showed her something was wrong. A series of claw
marks marred the surface. he wanted to reach something... Or someone...
With great urgency.

She rested Rill on the bed, her eyes looking for any signs within the
room. Everything seemed fine.

Suddenly she missed her mate. They had arrangements to meet the net
morning, Rowane sent word ahead that he thought perhaps he had a way to
keep Sparky here safely when he returned. Or at least that is what the
messenger seemed to be saying... She really wished Rowane wrote more, or
was home more. She understood that Hermetic business was important, but as
well, she sorely missed the love of her life. It had been ages since she
was in his arms and her heart felt every moment apart.

Something at the back of her head tugged her thoughts back. Something was
off. No, not off... She glances around, what was tugging at her? A scent.
A familiar scent, though not her husband's. She pondered the scent, perhaps
it was something from outside, a plant she touched, a grass she stepped
upon? but it was familiar in a way that she recognized it, though not a
familiar and comforting scent, like that of her mate Rowane. But this
smell still seemed... male. Perhaps it was one of the animals? She peered
suspiciously at the lemur. It stared back with big eyes. The snake busied
itself about her wrist, nearly asleep. No, she didn't think it was one of
the animals. She looked at Rillifane, curled up on the bed. She reached
out to stroke his hair, it was not him. Perhaps Rowane had been home?
*shake* No, she knew the scent of his skin, the spices he wore, every part
of him. This smell was not of him.

She layed down next to Rillifane, curling an arm around him. Tomorrow
would not come soon enough, how she missed Rowane. And with Sparky gone,
life seemed so... *sigh* Emrysia was often sick and not around much
lately. Nor were Masha and Lawrence, they had not come to see the baby in
so very long.

Moiragwyn removed the photo album from her bag, her fingers running over
it. She hoped Rowane would like what she wanted to make. She felt blessed
to have found a container for his pictures, something to organize them and
keep them from harm. She pondered how to get one of his father.

She pondered her days growing up with her druid circle. Family had always
seemed important, and over the years, watching those around her in their
families, she felt even more of a loss. Rowane was the only family she
had, save for Emrysia who was like a sister to her. She never knew her
parents, or their parents.. Did she have any family? Ibrahim was once like
a father to her. His adoption of Lawrence stung her heart more than she
would ever be willing to admit. Because of these things, she had never
turned away Masha's children. It was not that she wanted to play mother to
everyone's child, she simply could not bear to turn them all away. She
wondered about her family with Rowane and there her mind dwelled.

With those lingering thoughts, and an immense love for her husband, she
fell asleep next to Rillifane.

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

                         A Question Asked...

Lilac awoke early to begin her day 'collecting debts' as she liked to call
it. Fixing her hair, she went to the window to check on the weather for
her long journey. She looked over at him still sleeping soundly, obviously
exhausted from the previous days challenge of 'shopping for a weapon.'

'Worse than a woman', she thought as she smiled at him and chuckled
softly.

She turned her attention back to the window again, breathing in the crisp
morning air, as her mind began to drift to the previous days journey.

She thought of her meeting at the inn, and the stranger who had met her
acquaintance there. Her mind settled uneasily at the question he had asked
of her.

She turned, leaned her back against the wall as she looked at the huge
Norseman from across the room. She closed her eyes as she repeated the
answer he had given him......'Nei', she muttered as her eyes glanced back
to the sleeping form, the swift response he had given the stranger took
her by surprise. She was just not used to being dismissed so easily by a
man. Although she supposed she understood the reasons, what she had
trouble understanding was the abruptness on the matter. He spoke the words
before she could even form a response herself.

Lilac's eyes fell on the still sleeping Norseman, and smiles at him and
thinking that a Norseman could never have let that question ever enter his
mind.

She set her eyes out the window once more, as her thoughts began to drift
to her own life, and how she never let that question enter her mind as
well.

Refusing all men previous, in fear of it herself...

Although, she thought, as she watched the sun rise throw bits of gold
light through the trees, that she figured herself as no less worthy of
that honor, as she, no doubt, has been seen as worthy by others. Yet that
question posed by the stranger, never thought to even exist to her.

She sighed....

She stared out the window once more, as her thoughts drifted again, the
silence only being broken by the sound of stirring, as the huge man tossed
uneasily.

'Must be the hammer again', she thought as she smiled at the sleeping
giant, and kissing his cheek softly, proceeded quietly out the door to
collect her debts.

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

                             On the Run

Kaine stretched and rolled over, the satin sheets whispering against his
skin as he slid across  to reach the small silver bell on the bedside
table. A melodious tinkle from it immediately conjured an immaculately
dressed footman at the bedroom door, eyebrow raised. Kaine waved an empty
brandy glass at him and grunted. 'Oui, Monsieur,' replied the footman
courteously, and glided silently across the thick carpet to the ornately
carved king-size bed.

White gloved hands daintily picked up the cut-glass decanter that rested
next to the silver bell, and poured an even measure into the proffered
glass. The glass was shook at him, disapproving, which slopped a fair
portion of the fine liquor over the bedclothes. The footman filled the
glass to the brim and replaced the decanter on the bedside table, before
he was waved away. He was almost to the door before he was commanded to
wait. A single gold coin arced through the air towards him. In a clean,
fluid movement, the white-gloved hand palmed it from the air and deposited
in a vest pocket. 'Most gracious, sir,' he said, bowing stiffly at the
waist before exiting.

Kaine swirled the liquor around in the glass, and inhaled deeply. With a
single gulp he threw it back and sighed with pleasure. 'I could get used
to living on the run,' he chuckled happily, fishing another coin out of
the hefty bag next to him. With a luxuriant stretch he reached across
again to the bell.

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

                   The Legendary <crossed out>Times
                <scribbled over>Dish <bolded> Enquirer!

The esteemed editor of the Legendary Times leaned back in her leather
chair, chewing thoughtfully as she scanned over the latest edition. Her
quiet reverie was interrupted by the mailboy bustling through the door.
'Mail, boss!' he exclaimed cheerfully, dumping a bundle of letters and
packages on her overflowing desk.

'Ahh, the latest submissions from our valued contributors.' she smiled,
rubbing her hands in anticipation. 'Let's have a look then.'

Her nose wrinkled in distaste as she caught sight of the return address on
the envelopes. 'Good Lord, they're all from that bloody hack Paparazzi...'
she sighed, tearing some of them open. 'Will you have a look at this
rubbish - gossip, smut, outright lies - what's this, pictures of
strangely-shaped vegetables?' She shuddered and threw them down in a heap.
'There's no way we can publish this, we'll be up to our neck in libel
suits. The writing is shoddy, the pictures are out-of-focus, and the
alliteration is awfully alarming.'

*giggle* 'It says here that Tancred's hair colour isn't natural, boss - he
reckons he dyes it or something.'

'Give me that!' she snapped, grabbing the offending article from the boy's
hand. 'Good grief! A ginger! No wonder he colours it...'

'Oh boy, this one says that Jenna the silly young witch isn't as young as
she claims! She uses youth spells apparently, and the nips and tucks are
as plain as the nose on her forehead.'

The editor stifled a snort, and muttered something like 'That'd be right.'
before snatching the article back. 'Ooh, and Percy and Amelia have been
taking saucy photo-booth pictures of themselves, leaving them around for
all to see. I ask you is that any way for a married couple to behave?'

'Ick boss, I was using that photo-booth just the other day - that's
gross!'

'I knew it, that Herbert West isn't a real Doctor either. What a sneak!
Hmm, I wonder if there's anything else in here about that Carian Trag
affair...'

'Gee boss, I wouldn't want to be in that Paparazzi's shoes if any of this
got published... Boss?... Boss...?'

'Hmmm? What!? Oh, well, that's not going to happen in my paper - we run a
respectable show here, and we don't need to stoop to gutter-press levels
to keep our readership. Now, run along and do some er... stuff, I've got
work to do.' she snapped, waving him away irritably.

The mailboy closed the door behind him and slunk off in a sulk. Behind him
the editor's voice continued to periodically ring out in a high-pitched
cackle, and the occasional loud gasp.

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

                            Castle Black
                    
                    Walls of stone and an ocean blue
                    Surround the castle known as black
                    Inside its walls vermin dwell
                    Society no longer theirs to attack
                    
                    The king of old decreed it so
                    That all who miscreant shall sail with tide
                    For better to send them far away
                    And place them in terror's pride
                    
                    Good or bad it matters not
                    For a crime is done so must they go
                    A lifetime spent no matter what
                    Castle Black to reap and sow
                    
                    Understand the kingdoms view
                    For no better way to dispose of crime
                    Drop them off and sail away
                    Never seen again for all time
                    
                    No way to leave the castle grounds
                    No way to steal a ship and flee
                    Rusted swords and armor left behind
                    To kill and maim in lustful glee
                    
                    Lawful men and women fear
                    Their lives swept away by the king's rule
                    For any crime spoke untrue
                    Would see them sail with the other fools
                    
                    By
                    
                    Edric of the Wulf

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

                            Kayin's Gift

It was a brisk wind that spring day. Kayin stood at the pinnacle, watching
the kestrels as they caught the updrafts under their wings. He walked back
to the simple marker a few feet back.

'Ah, Father. I wish you could be here now. It's the kind of day you used
to enjoy.' he stated. He knelt at the humble grave and bowed his head.

'So many things I wish we could have talked about before you left this
world. I know I was a disappointing child at times' Kayin chuckled.
'Still, you did your best to teach me. I can only hope that somehow you
can see me now and that you are proud.'

He paused to watch one of the falcons as it boldly landed only feet away on
the stone marker. It cocked its head and watched him intently. Kayin
smiled. 'Perhaps you can,' he laughed. 'Perhaps you can. Anyways, I came to
give something to you.'

The Scot reached into his jacket and brought out a pair of Knight's spurs.
'I hope you understand that I can't give you my set. But I had these made
for you. It was something you always strived for and I think you would
have made it.' He hollowed out a small hole beneath the stone and laid the
spurs to rest there, filling it back in carefully.

Kayin stood back up. Looking at the falcon, who still perched on the
marker, he smiled again. 'At least you have company. Rest well, Father. I
will try to visit you again when I am in Scotland.' The kestrel watched
the young Scot walk away, then leapt into the air in a flurry of feathers
to catch another updraft. He soared on the current until he was merely a
small speck in the sky, and disappeared.

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

               Nearly Fearsome and Only Partially Menacing

'For countless centuries a fearsome dragon has resided over our fair city
of Thebes. Here he has protected the spring of Artemis from all who would
defile its pristine waters. So for Zeus' sake, do not dirty its waters or
suffer a most terrible fate!'

Rowane read over the sign several times and committed it to memory. He
knew that beyond the hill above was the spring the post warned against.

'Are you sure this will work love?' Rowane's wife, MoiraGwyn asked. 
Reaching for her hand he answered with a smile. It was a simple plan
really; the dragon had what the pair needed.

'Don't you trust me dear?'

MoiraGwyn, placed her hands on her hips and smirked at her notoriously
absent-minded husband. He had been known to forget things on an almost
pathological basis. With a 'hrumph' she handed her husband the vial of
nightshade, meticulously ground into a fine liquid.

Laughing at her skepticism while at the same time admiring the beautiful
endless depths of her eyes, he kissed his wife and carefully tilted the
vial, letting just a single drop of the toxin fall to the spring with a
quiet -kerplop-

Nothing...

Rowane scratched his head quizzically, 'I wonder if he's asl-'and just as
the sign predicted, the scaly behemoth exploded from below the water's
surface. 'I told you it would wor-' Rowane didn't have time to finish the
sentence as the dragon fell instantly upon him, its teeth sinking deeply
into his abdomen, piercing his lungs so that all Rowane could manage was a
faint gasp.

MoiraGwyn's scream turned from that of fear into one of anger as she
watched her husband being quickly devoured by the dragon and she leapt
headlong into battle. Seeing such a beautiful woman fearlessly rush at
him was enough to give even the dragon pause. But alas, a dragon's
surprise is very short-lived and no sooner did he swallow Rowane, then the
dragon darted for the young woman's supple leg, lifting her into the air
and swallowing her down to meet her husband.

The word 'Dogwn!' followed by a child's laugh caused the dragon to whirl
around only to be greeted with a puzzling sight. The beast swallowed in
disbelief, causing the remnants of his former meal to slide down into his
gullet. It didn't make any sense, but he thanked the gods just the same. 
For the meal he had just swallowed was now standing before him, perfectly
whole, but this time with another bite sized morsel in the woman's arms.

'Shh, Rillifane!  You'll spoil our surprise' Queen MoiraGwyn said as she
cuddled the silver-haired child close to her breast.

'I believe love, that he already has' King Rowane reached to tickle the
baby's feet.

With a smile that rivaled his adopted father's, the child, Rillifane,
waved at the dragon who was by now charging headlong into the couple;
obviously making sure to not let this couple escape death again.

'Sweetie?' Queen MoiraGwyn questioned worriedly to her husband as the
dragon drew closer, causing the ground to shake beneath their feet.

King Rowane continued to tickle the child's adorable feet. 'Booboo baby!'

'Hon!?'

King Rowane smiled absent-mindedly.

'Rowane!' she shouted.

King Rowane jumped and seemingly for the first time, noticed the
death-dealing dragon. From his sash he pulled out a slender birch wand
and pointed it casually at the dragon. No sooner had he done so, then the
dragon's eyes promptly shut and its legs gave way, stumbling to the ground
and skidding to a halt just inches from the family's feet.

'Cutting it a little close don't you think dearest?'

King Rowane smiled coyly at his Queen, 'Just a bit. At least Rillifane
enjoyed it.'

Upon hearing his name, the child glanced up at his adopted parents and
laughed, cooing the word, 'Dogwyn! Dogwyn!'

                             *  *  *  *  *

Sometime after sunset the dragon managed to shake off the effects of the
magical slumber. Stumbling to his feet, he trotted groggily towards its
coveted spring, trying for the life of him to figure out whose blood was
on its tongue. The ones who he devoured earlier did not taste this way.
The dragon peeled back his lips and gazed into the crystal pool. There in
his reflection stared back the ridiculous visage of a dragon with two of
his front dagger-like teeth missing; nearly fearsome and only partially
menacing.

                             *  *  *  *  *

The royal family made their way away from the city of Thebes pausing only
slightly as the faint bellow of an embarrassed dragon filled the air.

'This will work won't it darling?' Queen MoiraGwyn asked as she toyed with
a tooth the size of her hand. 'It will bring Sparky back?'

King Rowane glanced at his wife and kissed her gently on the lips, 'I hope
so.' And with that he took her arm in his and headed in the direction
towards their kingdom. Cradling the sleeping Rillifane in his arms, King
Rowane smiled contentedly.

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

                          Pete and His Dog

There once was a man named Pete who loved his dog beyond belief. He
cherished his dog, took her for walks, bathed her, groomed her and pretty
much spent his entire life with her. Pete never considered himself a
strange man, farming a bit of land just outside of Sherwood, paying
Nottingham's taxes like a good Christian should. But he sure did love his
dog.

One day, while Pete was out in the fields doing his godly chores, a group
of Norman guards sauntered by Pete's place on their way, collecting the
king's taxes, of course. They found only Pete's dog to be home, lying in
Pete's bed. A guard called out for Pete but of course, he was not to be
found. So being the kind of men they where, they decided to take Pete's
dog along with a number of other items belonging to Pete to pay for the
king's taxes.

When Pete came home to find his dog gone, along with his other meager but
necessary possessions, he thought that robbers had come and set out at
once for Nottingham to get help. Of course, when he got there, he found to
his dismay that his dog was dead and that his worldly possessions had been
sold just to appease the king and his taxes.

So what did Pete do?

He went ape, he grabbed a piece of firewood and smashed the head of the
closest guard. Then while the others were stunned by this pathetic scrawny
farmer's sheer rage, he grabbed a mace from its the former owner and
smashed another guard square in the nose. Blood sprouted from his ruined
face, spraying his fellows and Pete alike, but ohh no; Pete was not done
by a long shot. Pete then pushed the battered fellow into the nearest
guard and advanced on the only remaining man, the Tax Collector.

Not caring for his own life Pete jumped over the wooden table bringing the
bloody mace to bear on top of the Tax Collector's head. Bits of scalp and
bone flew up from the man's head as it caved in. Feeling more than seeing
the last guard advance, Pete launched himself backwards into the man,
bringing both him and the guard to the ground. The guard with his wind
knocked out of him did not notice in time that Pete tossed aside the mace
in favor of a better weapon. The guard managed to open his eyes in time to
see the large wooden table rushing towards his head.

Splat was the last thing ever heard from the man.

The moral of the story?

When stealing from the poor, don't leave them without a pot to pee in.

By P-K

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