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=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
VOLUME NINE, NUMBER FORTY-ONE                              October 19, 2002
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS
                           The Editor's Note

                         NEWS, REPORTS, UPDATES
                           Calendar of Events
                 The PR Outlook -- Next Week & Beyond
                             Recent Updates
                          Help LegendMUD Grow!
                           Recent Q&A Topics

                              LEGENDITES
              Suresh & Delandel's Description Changes

                              Clan News
        Knights of Legend Celebrate 3rd Anniversary of Re-forming
                          A Hot Line From Hell
                       A Note from the Secretives

                             The PK Front
           Action and Reaction: To Get It, You Gotta Provide It

                        Paparazzi's Latest Dish
                  More Damnation, Less Happiness, Please

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

Don't forget about the tinyplot this afternoon!

Decara's Dying Wish -- Saturday, October 19th, 3pm.

     News is spreading throughout the land -- Madame Decara has fallen
     ill. Hers is a grievous illness, which has weakened her so greatly
     that she lies waiting for the end. Lying on what must be her death
     bed, Decara whispers a final request. Will anyone hear it? Can anyone
     do what she asks? And wait a minute, how did she get so ill in the
     first place?

Have a great week!

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

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

Saturday,  October   19th   3:00 pm          Decara's Dying Wish Tinyplot
Tuesday,   October   22nd   8:00 pm          Trivia! with LadyAce
Thursday,  October   24th   7:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Saturday,  October   26th   3:00 pm          RP Fan Club - First Meeting
Tuesday,   October   29th   8:00 pm          Flag Hunt
Thursday,  October   31st   all day          Annual Halloween Elf Massacre
                            all day          Pumpkin Hunt
                            Time TBA         Ptah's Storytelling
                            Time TBA         Costume Contest

                                   -=-=-=-=-

Saturday,  November   2nd    3:00 pm         RP Fan Club - 2nd Meeting
Thursday,  November   7th    7:00 pm         Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Saturday,  November   9th    3:00 pm         Lizzie's Lit Salon
Thursday,  November  14th    7:00 pm         Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Saturday,  November  16th    3:00 pm         RP Fan Club - 3rd Meeting
Thursday,  November  21st    7:00 pm         Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Tuesday,   November  26th    8:00 pm         Autumn Casino
Thursday,  November  28th                    Thanksgiving - U.S. - No Q&A

___                                                                    ___
\  |------------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                The PR Outlook -- Next Week & Beyond              |__\
   '------------------------------------------------------------------'
                             by LadyAce

Besides the tinyplot on Saturday afternoon, many games and events are
coming your way in the next week.

Join us on Tuesday at 8pm for a game of trivia! Test your knowledge about
everything trivial, past and present. The usual Q & A session is on
Thursday, followed by a new event on Saturday - a meeting of the 'RP Fan
Club'.

"What is the RP Fan Club?" you might well ask. Or: "Why does it have that
goofy name?" The answer to the latter is : because we're waiting for you
to suggest a better one! The answer to the former is not quite so glib :).
The RP Fan Club is a gathering of like-minded folks -- i.e. people who
enjoy roleplaying. We'll share tips, tricks, and solutions, plus plot new
twists and turns in the Legend roleplay landscape. Bring your joys, your
troubles, your ideas yearning to be free!

Everyone is welcome -- whether you have a lot of experience or are just
getting started. All you need is a willing spirit and a little enthusiasm!

For a view beyond this coming week, glance at the calendar of events...
the much-anticipated and much-loved Elf Game is returning! Halloween
brings the return of all your favorite spooky and silly events. Come
celebrate with us!

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

    /\                         CODE UPDATES
   /  \     
  /    \    TYPO FIXES
 /_    _\     o "Ea! bows before you happily" is now "Ea! bows happily
   |  |         before you"
   |  |       o "chok-hold" fixed
   |  |       o "behind" missing in "you sneak up her and drive..."
   |__|     
    /\      
   /  \                      HELP FILE UPDATES
  /    \    
 /_    _\   GENERAL INFO:
   |  |          NEWBIE, RULES
   |  |     
   |  |     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!)
   |__|     
    /\      1802 ALASKA
   /  \          Napachee should be less forgetful but still not
  /    \         guaranteed, slight change in sea lion special.
 /_    _\   
   |  |     FRENCH & INDIAN WAR
   |  |          XP on belugas changed slightly. Various bugs and typos
   |  |          fixed.
   |__|     
    /\      ANCIENT INDIA
   /  \          Dhurtah scowls at you and ditches you if you're following
  /    \         him and he moves. If you're following him manually,
 /_    _\        you'll still get his arrive acts. Converts India animals
   |  |          to now bite instead of punch.
   |  |     
   |  |     HOSPITALLER MALTA
   |__|          New miniquest. Various bugs and typos fixed.
    /\      
   /  \     PARIS & OPERA HOUSE
  /    \         Fixed the Tarasque's death message. Typos and logic fixes
 /_    _\        to the Parisian High Society Quest.
   |  |     
   |  |     THE PIRATES' DEN
   |  |          Help file added for the area. Various minor bugs and
   |__|          typos fixed.
    /\      
   /  \     VIKING.ARE
  /    \         Be careful, several problems with the Viking Warlord
 /_    _\        fixed -- he now properly loads his crew. Trans quest had
   |  |          several problems fixed. If someone else just started it
   |  |          -- you have to wait your turn, but shouldn't be blocked
   |  |          long. Trout Quest -- no more swimming away at strange
   |__|          times. Several problems with Thomas fixed. Higbald, the
    /\           librarian and Hans should not appear to cheat in fights.
   /  \          Various bugs and typos fixed.
  /    \    
 /_    _\   THE ALHAMBRA, ANASAZI AMERICA, ARABIAN NIGHTS, AZTECS, CELTIC
   |  |     IRELAND, NAZCA, PORT OF LONDON, ROMAN BRITAIN, SAN FRANCISCO,
   |  |     SHERWOOD, TORTUGA, and VICEROYAL PERU
   |  |          Various minor bugs and typos fixed.
   |__|     
    /\                     In Progress Area Updates
   /  \     
  /    \    This section is intended to share what builders are working
 /_    _\   on behind the scenes. It is not a perfect record of progress
   |  |     as all builders do not commit updates every week. Badgering
   |  |     builders about their progress will get you flogged. 
   |  |     
   |__|             Kae           Larderello (Dante's Hell)

___                                                                    ___
\  |------------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                    Help LegendMUD Grow!                          |__\
   '------------------------------------------------------------------'
                             by LadyAce

One hot topic as of late has been advertising for new players. Some of you
may have noticed that our overall number of players has declined slightly
over time. The number we often hear is that the average mud player stays
with a particular mud for 18 months -- so compared to other muds, I think
we do fairly well with retaining players once we have them. But there's
also a basic fact of the world at play -- the same as in any human
organization, be it a club, a company, or a city -- people move on, their
interests change. We don't and can't expect that people will stay forever,
and so we constantly need to reach out to new people.

The Internet has grown vastly since LegendMUD started, and lately it's
been more difficult to raise our voice loud enough to be heard by people
who are interested in a rich, detailed, history/myth-themed, text-based
game. We're having difficulty recruiting new players. Your ideas on how to
help with this are welcome!

We're listed in the MudConnector, and often gain new folks that way. But
we're not Yahoo Games, and we're not EverQuest. We don't have their
budgets, we don't have their fees and advertising. We're indie, we're
volunteer, we're a bit old school.

We're not for everyone, and never have been. But I firmly believe that
there are people out there who would love LegendMUD, but who don't know we
exist. Maybe they never even thought about looking for or trying a
text-based game. Ultimately, we're fighting for a share of people's
thoughts, we're fighting against a large trend away from text-based
interactions -- and we can't do it alone.

We need all of you to join in the effort. Tell your friends, tell your
local newspapers, tell the online forums and boards about us. Mention us
on your web page, put us in your blog. Put us in your e-mail signature.
Spread the word, and help us grow!

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
  _______   ____    _______
 /  ___  \ / __ \  /  ___  \  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 Old Luckstones and Tform?         o Bow of Fate?
 o Any Upcoming Fall Events?         o Consider Problems?
 o Elementals Bug with Weather?      o Room Flags/Characteristics?
 o Clients & Spam Filters?           o Questions about Corpses
 o Bug with Bags on Floor?           o PK Incentive Thread?
 o Klein Update?                     o Changes to Healing in PK
 o Bug with Gust of Wind?            o New Weapons Soon? 
 o General Suggestions/Question

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

                Marvin has reached 100 million experience!

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

Apologies to Suresh for forgetting to publish his description change, with
the story, 'Changing Lanes', last week. We can only hope that we have not
added to the suffering and torment.

Suresh will no longer be known as:

Short: a dashing Indian mystic
Long:  The Brahman of Tranquil Fury sweeps past, raising Cain and
       preaching peace.

but shall be recognized as:

Short: a tattered Indian ascetic
Long:  A tormented recluse is seeking realisation through suffering.

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

A page from what appears to be Sir Delandel's private diary made its
way into our inbox this week. It reads:

          After I left the Knights, I tried my best to fight on
          the side of light, for the good of the people. Yet, it
          was tough to come upon true friends and companions to
          group up with for the fight.

          Finally, as an answer to my prayers a new clan was
          formed: energetic, popular, and with a great leader. I
          joined their ranks immediately, finally hoping to
          realize my goals as a protector of light. Yet I managed
          to generate a false illusion of hope for myself. As all
          things, this clan worked for a few mere weeks, then
          quickly losing its spark became just another part of
          history.

          For the first time I understood, that I had no hope
          left in me. I was of no use as a "defender of light" if
          I myself had no hope.

          Thus when asked to joined the Infernals, I did not
          decline. I have a new path for me, one that proves to
          be a little more hopeful than the rest. From this day
          forward I shall be reborn into ranks of the Infernals.

          Delandel, a new knight of the dark.

                           --==---==--

Delandel will no longer be known as:

Short: Sir Delandel, Knight of the 'Old Code'
Long:  An old and hardened knight struggles to find the source of
       what was once good.

but shall be recognized as:

Short: a cloaked horseman of the night.
Long:  Darkness and shadow envelop the grisly form of a horseman
       standing before you.

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

The Hall of Fame page (http://www.legendmud.org/kaige/fame.shtml) is back
in working order. All active characters who have reached level 50 and
those active characters who have attained XP scores in the 100-millions
are listed there.

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

        Knights of Legend Celebrate 3rd Anniversary of Re-forming

Congratulations are in order for The Knights of Legend's who recently
celebrated their 3rd anniversary of re-forming with the current clan
system on October 15th. The Knights of Legend are one of the original
clans that was formed to protect the innocent and stay honorbound -- ever
striving to better themselves and Legend.

The Official Code of Conduct of the Knights of Legend can be found at
http://prodigalstranger.nee.dk/legend.php along with 'So You Want to be a
Squire' for those looking for more information on the clan and possibly
joining this clan. For more information about the clan, contact Sir
Aidan.

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

                        The Arabian sorceress Xenobia has joined the Seven 
      L|J(_)            Circles to assist Lord Marcel Alexander in his 
  )    | (")      (     endeavours. Rumor has it that Prince Shahriar is 
  ,(.  |`/ \- y  (,`)   less than amused. 
 )' (' | \ /\/  ) (.    
(' ),) | _W_   (,)' ).  Denstra joined the Seven Circles this week as  
                        well. She might need reminding of that when she 
 A Hot Line From Hell   gets sober -- it will ease the shock of realizing
                        she also married Lord Marcel, maybe.

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

                         A Note from the Secretives

Like some of you may already know, our spies in the Aegean recently
discovered the ancient library of the Agora. The Agora was a project lead
under Alexius V Ducas, Emperor of Constantinople.

After the loot of the Imperial City by Crusaders, it was decided by the
Secretives to protect the ancient relics and books and save them from the
greed of the Venetians. We then, many years ago, moved all the grimoires
and old books from the city into a complex of caves, hidden among the
greek isles of the peloponnesian. The secret was so well kept, even among
us, that the knowledge of the Agora existence has been lost for centuries.

After the recent rediscover of the Library, we decided to hide a bit
deeper into the shadows and spend the most of our time exploring the
Agora's tunnels and secret chambers. What we have discovered is amazing.

First, It seems that not only the old byzantium libraries were transfered
there, we found books that were rumored to exist in one volume only and
were lost with the dissapearance of the Great Library of Alexandria.

Also, it seems that old Portugese tomes, that are refering to the templars
libraries, were kept there, protected from the Church Inquisition.

We also found more... deep into the tunnels, we found older, darker and
more dangerous knowledge.

It appears that the sages and mages from ancient rome were asked to put
down on very old grimoires the ancient secrets that shall not be revealed.
We won't spread them here to the mass - as noone is ready to anderstand
such things.

But... we still want the citizens of the world know about a couple of
those books and anderstand why it is important for them to help us, the
Secretives, into protecting those secrets.

Spy spells from the Order of Hermes recently found out that we discovered
the Tome of Trimegist. This ancient book clearly explains and list the
spells of the arcane fourth circle. The will of them Hermetics to suddenly
to propose us an alliance let us fear that they only want to put their
scholars fingers on those pages. Our allies of the Coven, already warned
us about this.

The Second book that attracts our enemies warth is the Prophecy of Malachy
that clearly names all the past, present and future Guildmasters of the
Grendels. Of course, we now know when their reign will suddenly stop and
who will be, if any, the next Grendel Kahn after Fortebraccio. Of course
this lead the reckless tormented minds of the grendels into a state of
fury and they are constantly hunting us from then.

We do our best to protect the lands and the world as we love it,

We also need you help, passive or active in leading our enemies into
deception.

In secret we work, Hidden we stay, until the time of Prophecies has come.

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

There are currently 13 RP clans and 9 PK clans. This leaves open slots for
ten (10) 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
starting and running a clan, we recommend that before you even type FORM,
you visit: http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/gm.html.

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

[Editor's Note: This article was originally run last December but the
advice within it is still applicable and seems to bear repeating.]

           Action and Reaction: To Get It, You Gotta Provide It
                              By Kae

Join a clan and display its [tag] proudly in your title.

  While some people prefer to play rogue kinds of characters, it is easier
  to get into 'mainstream' accepts from other clans and individuals if you
  belong to a sub-community. Many people are inclined to accept clans
  based on their own RP, whereas it may be a pain to keep track of the
  individual's status as regards oneself.

Get some info messages.

  Whether you win or lose a few fights, your name gets established among
  others this way, which in turn will encourage others to seek you out --
  whether with hostility or for a friendly fight.

Sign up at USL's Pkill Page (http://www.cutabove.org).

  Getting listed lets others know that you are interested in combat per
  se. Even if you don't make the "top 10" lists, your name will be visible
  in several menus.

Get listed at Natalia's page.

  If you're a bit more hard core and log your fights, send them to Natalia
  (natalia@legendmud.org) for inclusion on her website
  (http://www.geocities.com/nats_evil_twin/). 

  Again, name recognition is your friend.

Choose your style and live it.

  How hard core a pkiller are you? There is nothing more annoying to
  others than someone who takes advantage of a situation, then promptly
  rejects when the odds are against him.

*    If you want all the action all the time, be AA, and only turn it off
     if you're in a serious xp hole. Jump and jump back, fight duels,
     heck, fight anything that moves.

*    If you want all the action some of the time, seek out pkill clans and
     known pkillers and establish bonds of friendship and enmity. Jump and
     be jumped back.

*    If you want some of the action all the time, seek out pkill and RP
     clans that match your theme and establish bonds of friendship and
     enmity. Defend yourself against jumps and fight duels.

*    If you want some of the action some of the time, establish bonds with
     others who enjoy the occasional duel, and don't let yourself be
     goaded into more sanguine situations.

Whichever 'style' is to your preference, you should remain more or less
loyal to it. Each variation has its own 'group' of players who remember
and recognize each other, and interact accordingly.

What's the point? It's really very simple. In the 'oldschool' days we were
all pretty much in touch with who was enabled and who wasn't. The pkilling
scene comprised a far smaller percentage of characters than it does today,
and it was a lot easier to keep track. Not so anymore. To get your piece
of the action, whether large or small, you need to put in some effort.

Oldschool pkill will not come back. Moreover, the majority of today's
players probably don't even remember what it was like, and would quite
likely protest loudly if they were told to pick one character to fight
with and leave the rest. LegendMUD changes constantly, and this was indeed
one of those large changes which requires us as players to shape up or
ship out. Adapt or perish.

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

With about 61% of their members active in pkill this week, the Grendels
continued to cause havoc and mayhem. The Infernals and Secretives were the
next most active clans this week. The IRA, the Knights and School of Hard
Knocks, and the Syndicate had relatively few members participating. The
Hermetic Order and the Grand Coven fielded no members in action this week.

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

There were 33 pkill-related deaths involving 37 different characters in
the last week. Of those 37 characters, 20 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), send it in! It's free AND you'll get a prize 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________________________________________________________________
_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|___
__|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|

                        Paparazzi's Latest Dish

The esteemed editor of the Legendary Times glided purposefully through
the bustling activity of the newspaper's main office, trailing dutiful
sub-editors in her wake. Her commanding voice sent them scuttling to the
four corners of the room on various errands of import.

'Where are those PK reports? I need those lists of code updates now!
What's the latest on the RP front? Someone get Kae away from that damn
coffee machine!' The orders were barked in rapid, machine gun-like bursts
with barely a pause to take a breath. 'And who let HIM back in here?!!'

This last remark was spat at a little man scurrying up from the other end
of the corridor, carrying a tottering pile of scrappy notepads. He had the
sharp, nervous demeanor of a partly drowned rat. A thick mop of greasy
hair poking out at odd angles from beneath his ugly hat, which had a
grubby card poked into the band. It read 'Pres'. He attempted to stem the
flow of broken pencils and screwed up balls of paper that dropped from the
pockets of his shapeless suit, but only managed to drop the entire stack
of notepads on the editor's shoes. Sensing the imminent explosion,
bystanders quickly took shelter behind the nearby partitions.

'DAMMIT! Paparazzi - what the hell do you think you are doing?!' The
partitions noticeably wobbled at the outburst, and the few eyes peeping
over the top quickly ducked for cover.

Paparazzi picked up his hat and jammed it back onto his pointed head.
'Ahh, just thought I'd hand-deliver my latest choice tidbits, you know.
Can't trust the mail these days - they must have lost my last submissions.
I mean, why else would you have not published them?' he grumbled in a
nasal whine.

The editor rolled her eyes and tried to look elsewhere. 'Ah, yes, well,
that would probably be it.'

'Anyway...' he continued, unperturbed 'I've dug up some great little
pieces this week, let's see now...' he dived into the papery mountain at
the editor's feet and ferreted around. The editor desperately glanced
around, hoping to catch someone's gaze for a plea for assistance but the
whole office seemed suddenly intently preoccupied with the work on their
desks. 'Aha! Here we are now!' he exclaimed happily, emerging from the
pile clutching a crumpled page. 'Seems like the Carian Trag court are
having a little trouble with their security. The word is you can't walk
through the place without bumping into some invisible ne'er do well...
Apparently even the Queen's underwear drawer is a target and there's some
crazed panty sniffer running around with the fair Monarch's knickers on
his head this very minute!' he cackled, waggling his eyebrows and digging
his elbow into the editor's ribs.

'Oh, pu-ulease. It was a scarf, and we ran that story weeks ago.'

'Aww, come on now, I have very reliable sources. Never mind, nevermind,
plenty more where that came from.' he answered and dived back into the
pile. The editor waved frantically for assistance, but now the room was
unusually interested in something on the ceiling. 'Ooh, how about this - I
heard personally that a pretty young lady in the Stag made a comment that
she didn't like Richard's soggy, flaccid meat rolls, and Israfel said...'

'Ahh, I REALLY don't think we need to print what he said...' the editor
interrupted.

'No, no - Israfel said it was probably because Richard's oven temperature
wasn't high enough.' added Paparazzi with an innocent grin.

'Now THAT would be news breaking,' she snorted in disbelief.

Paparazzi continued to prattle on without breaking stride. 'Now I am a
little disappointed with the actions of two of your employees, Haley and
Sandra. Seems like a little 'jealous tiff' behind the scenes (nudge nudge,
waggle waggle) at someone's promotion got a wee bit overblown and came to
blows, so I hear... Now, in the public interest, I thought the mature
thing to do would have been to create an open forum where they could have
settled their differences in an adult fashion where all could see. A bout
of bikini-clad Jelly wrestling would have been perf - OW!'

An arrow had zinged across the room, neatly parting Paparazzi's hair and
pinning his hat to the partition behind him. 'But think of the photo oppor
- ACK!' Another one had nailed the crotch of his trousers to it as well
'Ok, Ok, point taken - sheesh!' he muttered from his uncomfortable
tippy-toe position astride the quivering arrow.

By this stage the editor had finally attracted the attention of a couple
of a hulking paperboys, who now flanked her at either side. 'Boys,' she
said, 'I have a special job for you - deliver Mr Paparazzi over to the
Prynne Farm, I'm sure there's a bit of muck-racking for him to discover
around there... Oh, and *do* be sure to clear Hester's rosebushes this
time, won't you?' she smiled sweetly. The boys unplucked him from the
partition and tucked him under one arm with no more effort then that
afforded to a large weekend edition.

'Wait!' wailed Paparazzi 'You haven't heard about the new Dark Lord
swimsuit calendar!' The boys clomped down the corridor, Paparazzi
wriggling desperately to make himself heard. 'Great saucy stuff! Masha -
Miss July, wearing little more than 2 black rubber bands and a piece of
dental floss! Geez guys, stop squeezing!' Little else could be heard than
muffled yelps as he was stuffed into the front basket of one of the boys
bicycles, which then wobbled unsteadily out into the street.

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

                  More Damnation, Less Happiness, Please

'Awww, don't be like that, Stinky,' the fiery, effervescent druidess
commonly known as Denstra said to Lord Marcel Alexander and gave him a big
slurpy kiss. SMOOCH!

Lord Marcel glanced at his aide, Joel the Magician. 'Shorten her leash
some, will you?'

'She seems to like you,' Joel smirked. 'I thought you liked that in a
woman.'

Lord Marcel stared at him for a moment. 'I'm SERIOUSLY not going to
inquire about your personal relationships if you think 'Stinky' is an
affectionate term,' he said at length. Meanwhile, Denstra snuggled up to
her ... stinky of choice.

Joel chuckled. 'She said it was out of love, and she did kiss you.'

Lord Marcel pushed at the girl. 'Down, girl, down! Sit!'

Denstra made puppy eyes at him. 'Just admit you love me.'

Lord Marcel blinked. 'Sure thing, I love you, dear,' he said. 'Then you
say, 'I bet you say that to all the cute girls', and then I say, 'Naw,
they don't need to be cute, you just proved that'.'

Denstra made herself comfortable against his chest. 'Let's get married.'

'Okay?' Lord Marcel said, unphased.

'You're only saying that because you're flattered,' Denstra purred.

Joel snickered. 'He tried the marriage thing before. It didn't seem to
work.'

Denstra looked up at Lord Marcel. 'So build me a summer house in the
Hamptons.'

Lord Marcel shrugged indifferently. 'Fetch whatever kind of priest you
prefer and we'll see to it.'

'For Cymo and me to stay and -- I mean, to raise our many children,'
Denstra prattled on happily.

'Might relieve my boredom,' Lord Marcel muttered. Then he glanced down at
the woman curled up against his chest. 'You have children?'

Denstra returned her would-be husband's look innocently. 'No, but isn't
that what men look for in a woman these days? Fertility or some suchy?'

Joel smirked. 'Marcel can't have any kids.'

Denstra nodded. 'Ah, yes, forgot about this.'

Joel quietly muttered to himself, 'Unless he has my super self to help.'

Lord Marcel ignored his aide's comment. 'Oh, I could care less
personally.'

Denstra smiled happily. 'So, then, just build the big pretty house, and
then some diamonds.'

Lord Marcel glanced at Joel and said, 'Eh, at least I don't have to deal
with their teenage problems either, I'm sure you'll have a party.' He
nodded to Denstra. 'Okay?'

News went out on the local radio network: Some priest or other was
required to officiate at a real quick wedding. Minutes later, Professor
Herbert called in, 'I can handle it if no one else does. I'm no priest,
but I'm on good speaking terms with a few of the great elder ones...' Lord
Marcel replied that, '"Do you" and "do you" and "go have wild monkey sex
now" shouldn't be too difficult even for you, Herbert', and that settled
that.

'Oh, but you do,' Joel meanwhile told his employer. 'I'll be sure to bring
them by just to make you happy.'

Lord Marcel shrugged. 'Eh, no thanks, I hate the idea of a rabid ex-wife
biting my shin.'

Joel shrugged too. 'Who said anything about her needing to know? Besides,
I take them wherever I wish.'

On the radio, Herbert was ranting, 'Yeah, let me to do it, it'd be worth
it.' Another caller-in, Xenobia, asked, 'Who're the -- unfortunates?' Lord
Marcel quickly replied, 'Denstra and myself. I've no idea why she asked me
to marry her, but sure. Can't be worse than my previous marriage.' Static
crackled as Herbert's voice said, 'That can be arranged. Is she willing,
or do we tie her down first?'

Minutes later, the indignant smirking scientist commonly known as Herbert
showed up at the site. 'Why, hello there!'

Denstra beamed at him. 'I'm engaged! He's going to buy me pretty things!'

Joel glanced at her. 'Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't you one of those
lesbians?'

'Oh, is that what we call it now?' Lord Marcel inserted.

'Something like that, details,' Denstra replied.

Herbert took a deep breath. 'We are gathered here in the presence of the
scary Inuit, animals, and of course I guess since he always get mentioned
in these speeches, even GOD,' he began.

'God?' Joel said, peering around nervously.

Herbert continued. 'Today is a glorious day, the sun is melting the
snow...' He suddenly jumped a mile high.

'Right, I am in the room,' Joel muttered to himself. From over in the
back, Sister Trinity d'Arpajon gave him a less than friendly glare.

'Careful where you stand, the snow is melting!' Professor Herbert warned.
He squished his feet around to get a firmer grip on things.

'Eh, keep God out of it or Trinity might beat you up,' Lord Marcel
suggested.

'You beat people up?' Denstra asked the nun.

'Okay, where were we...' Professor Herbert paused.

'Sometimes people need -- tough love,' Sister Trinity replied.

Herbert demanded attention. 'Okay, so we are all gathered here because
Denstra for some reason found some quality in Marcel that we have all up
till now missed or entirely ignored.'

Joel muttered, 'Can I take bets how long this marriage is going to last?'

'Sure, I bet 24 hours,' Lord Marcel whispered back.

'And I say congratuatlions to her for digging deep enough to find it, that
must have been terrifying,' Herbert ranted on.

'I was leaning towards 3, but I could handle 24, probably,' Denstra said
thoughtfully.

Joel asked his employer, 'How about until she realizes you're in the body
of a man and you try and have sex with her?'

Denstra blinked. 'Who said anything about sex?'

Joel exclaimed, almost triumphantly, 'See!'

'Pretty things!' Denstra yelled at him.

Lord Marcel shrugged yet again. 'I did, but I don't mind if I have to tie
her up first.'

Professor Herbert gave Denstra a serious look. 'And so I ask, are you
entirely sure want to subject yourself to Lord Marcel for a lifetime, and
should you ever stop, that you be thrown into the fiery plane of Hell?
Denstra, are you willing?'

Denstra frowned. 'Is this the standard wedding vow? Seems different from
last I was married.'

Joel peered at her. 'Do you like that sort of thing? Being tied up, I
mean?'

Professor Herbert nodded. 'All the cool kids are doing it this way now.
More damnation, less happiness.'

She nodded. 'Well, I guess so. If it's standard.'

Professor Herbert exclaimed, 'Excellent! Now, Lord Marcel, are you willing
to tolerate digging through stinking, fetid mounds of earth to find the
right herb for the right brew at the right time, just because Denstra
craves eyebright tea?'

Lord Marcel blinked. 'Hell no, but I'll concede to appointing her a
servant,' he said, surprised.

Professor Herbert ignored the interruption. 'And should you falter in your
herb collecting and generally husbandly duties, which MAY include love --
that you be tied down by a dryad and spanked with thistles and
brambleweeds? If so, kiss the lady and remember that forever is a matter
of perception.'

'Hey now,' Denstra said. I'm not a servant.' She looked at her ...
fiancee, for lack of a better term. 'I'll settle for a druid in a maid's
uniform.'

Joel stared at Professor Herbert. 'What kind of punishment is that? He
likes that sort of thing.'

Lord Marcel frowned. 'Don't be ridiculous. I'll concede to kick the ass of
any servant of mine who doesn't scamper off for herbs at request, that's
the farthest I'll go.'

Professor Herbert nodded. 'Marcel has a point there. Servants should be
kicked... and employed.'

Lord Marcel glanced at Denstra. 'We can probably arrange that, if you pick
out the maid's dress you prefer.'

'Sounds fair enough,' she smiled.

Professor Herbert beamed. 'Okay, I now pronounce you short term life
partners, you may kiss your significant other.'

Lord Marcel kissed his wife tenderly, a tad demonstratively. Denstra paid
him back with a slurp that resounded for meters. 'Nice,' he said. 'Is this
where she runs and I pursue?'

Professor Herbert smiled. 'Excellent work, that was as fast as I could
manage.'

'I don't like to run,' Denstra muttered. 'I prefer to frolick, duh.'

'Very nice,' Lord Marcel agreed.

Professor Herbert nodded. 'Yes, she may run from any point as of now, and
you are within your husbandly rights to send imps after her.' He nodded
again.

Denstra beamed. 'Imps are great. I played poker with some imps once.'

Lord Marcel smiled at her. 'Oh good, I'll deploy a few to your personal
needs.'

Professor Herbert grumbled to himself. 'I'd send zombies after my wife,
but they're all on her side.'

Joel said, to no one in particular, 'Imps are lovely, they make nice spies
too.'

Then he ran off to shop for a brand new video camera. Whatever came of
this marriage, it'd be fun to blackmail the implicated parties with later.

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