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=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
VOLUME NINE, NUMBER FORTY-THREE                            November 2, 2002
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS
                           The Editor's Note

                         NEWS, REPORTS, UPDATES
                           Calendar of Events
                 The PR Outlook -- Next Week & Beyond
                             Recent Updates
                       October Connection Analysis
                      Did You Know: MEND and REPAIR
                      
                              LEGENDITES
                     Meet the New Immorts: Piccolo
                     A Baby Shower in the Planning?

                              Clan News
                     Knights Templar Recruiting
                        Infernals Recruiting
                        
                            The PK Front

                    From the Journal of Gavvvius...
             And With a Blaze of Fire, He Returned... Part I
                         The Hammer Calls...
                            Wild Hearts
                      The Beginning Of The End
                        Where is My Master?
             And With a Blaze of Fire, He Returned... Part II
___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                      The Editor's Note                          |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

Wow, it's November already. Not much longer before all the rush of the
holidays and it's only three months until the mud's birthday and the
Expies! So start noting down those things that you've enjoyed and noticed
throughout the year so you have a list you can look over when the
nominations ballots come out in January. Nothing like drawing a blank!

Lots of RP focus coming up on the Events Calendar, so if that's your cup
of tea or something you'd like to get more involved in, check 'em out and
see what you can attend. If you're in a time zone that makes it difficult
to attend be sure to let us know what system times are better suited and
we can try to work some events around those times.

I've also seen a lot of PK activity recently with all the back and forth
between the Grendels and the Infernals, but haven't received much in the
way of write ups for it. And I won't take things I see off clan channels,
some of which would make for pretty juicy gossip in the pk community.
Maybe we'll have to hold some sort of PK Event -- Several people have
brought up how cool the in-game Tourney sponsored by the Knights in Klein
several years ago was... Perhaps someone would like to host something
similar sometime soon?

Have a great week!

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

                                NOVEMBER
                          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

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                 |__\
   '------------------------------------------------------------------'

Hello again everyone --

The last few weeks have brought all kinds of exciting and fun events to
Legend, and many of you have been fortunate enough to accumulate prizes.
Now is an excellent time to consider a topic that comes up frequently --
player-run games and clan-sponsored events. In the past, we've had a
number of very successful player-run games, such as trivia, complete the
sentence, and other word games.  Clans have run tournaments and contests
and faires of many descriptions. Besides being lots of fun, sponsoring
these player-initiated events are a great way for you to "give back" to
the community, and improve it at the same time!

If you're interested in developing a game or event, we're available to
help you in many ways. We can aid you in planning and publicizing the
event, add your event into the events calendar, create channels and
supporting props, even get mobs in on some of the action. Although we
don't provide prizes, we can provide custom zips and souvenirs, and make
ourselves available as emcees or judges. If you have an idea for an event
which you'd like to run yourself, please feel free to contact your local
imm!

Now, on to the imm-run events! This week we'll have another meeting of the
RP Fan Club. If you're interested in roleplay but don't know how to get
started, if you need more folks to roleplay with, or you have ideas about
how to make roleplay better, this is the event for you! Join us today,
Saturday, November 2nd, at 3pm in the OOC.

Calling all bards! Calling all actors, singers, brave souls and free
spirits! Coming up next week (Saturday, November 9th) is an event called
"Lizzie's Lit Salon". Hosted by the Queen Elizabeth I herself, we'll
assemble in the Globe at 3pm for a Literary Salon. This is your
opportunity to take the stage as a medieval artist or dramatist -- bring
your favorite poetry, dramatic scenes, or essay to share and perform with
others. Credit goes to Herbert for the invention of this event.

I hope to see you there!

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

    /\                         CODE UPDATES
   /  \     
  /    \    The following code updates were to be installed on Friday,
 /_    _\   but we ran into complications from one of the internal changes
   |  |     and are hoping to get that fixed and installed sometime this
   |  |     weekend. So, here's what you can expect to see soon:
   |  |     
   |__|     Misc Changes
    /\        o PREVIEW now shows material type where applicable
   /  \       o APPRAISE now gives the item type of mundane items
  /    \      o APPRAISE now gives the material type where applicable
 /_    _\   
   |  |     Bug Fixes
   |  |       o STATEMENT with currency now lists the number of days of
   |  |         housing costs the bank balance will cover for clans
   |__|       o LOCATE PERSON SPELL no longer says that people are (Null)
    /\        o first/third person problem in ASSESS self fixed
   /  \       o TELLS terminate color in afk buffers
  /    \      o VIEW M now shows more information
 /_    _\   
   |  |     
   |  |     
   |  |                      HELP FILE UPDATES
   |__|     
    /\      GENERAL INFO:
   /  \          CASINO, PRIZE MACHINE
  /    \    
 /_    _\   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!)
   |  |     
   |  |             Cycles a few more prize machine items.
   |__|     
    /\      17TH CENTURY SALEM
   /  \          Dr. Griggs teaching acts fixed.
  /    \    
 /_    _\   ABORIGINAL DREAMTIME
   |  |          Elders shouldn't be going for a wander in the middle of
   |  |          stories. Stops Biala bandaging people she hates. Fixes
   |  |          the dreaming -> melbourne time trans. Various typos fixed.
   |__|     
    /\      AFRICAN SAVANNA
   /  \          Fixes hippos and a typo on the buffalo weaver's desc.
  /    \    
 /_    _\   THE CRUSADES
   |  |          The Imam, Ibn Rashid and the Antioch guardsmen are more
   |  |          difficult. Saladin's friends are even more helpful to him
   |  |          and each other. Their behavior also change to suit
   |__|          whether or not they're helping you, and they're much less
    /\           likely to be helpful if you're trying to use them beyond
   /  \          what they've agreed to help you with. Muslim friendship
  /    \         now more logical -- harder to keep, and betrayers are not
 /_    _\        dealt with lightly! If you fight against charmies, they
   |  |          won't be interested. One quest has additional rewards, as
   |  |          promised - automatically retroactive as well. The
   |  |          engraver will engrave more objects, and has a new option.
   |__|          A new weapon "of quality" has been added. A few more
    /\           places available to build houses and a few more secondary
   /  \          room options. Various minor bugs and typos fixed. For
  /    \         more details, see LadyAce's post on the welcome board.
 /_    _\   
   |  |     PARIS & OPERA HOUSE
   |  |          A few city mobs made slightly more predictable. Various
   |  |          typos fixed.
   |__|     
    /\      SHERWOOD
   /  \          Most of the higher level mobs now don't like to be talked
  /    \         trash to. (Acts similar to those in Ireland.) Some other
 /_    _\        small response work.
   |  |     
   |  |     VIKING SCANDINAVIA
   |  |          Trout no longer wanders off.
   |__|     
    /\      1802 ALAKSA, ARABIAN NIGHTS, BOSTON, MASS., CELTIC IRELAND,
   /  \     FRENCH & INDIAN WAR, ROMAN BRITAIN, SAN FRANCISCO, 
  /    \    SEONI JUNGLE, SOUTH SEAS 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. 
   |  |     
   |  |             Chocorua      Prohibition New Hampshire
   |  |             Kae           Larderello (Dante's Hell)
   |__|             LadyAce       Kleinstadt (Update)    
      
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                     LegendMUD Connection Analysis
                             October 2002

                        Peak Mortal Players 61
                          Average Peak was 38
                     Peak PKOK Enabled Players 38
              Pkokenabled Characters represent approximately
                        52% of active players.

                    Peak Accept All Characters 12
              Accept All Characters represent approximately
    5% of all active characters and 11% 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  27 23 20 19 18 15 15 17 19 21 22 22
               pke  14 11  9  9  8  7  7  8  9 10 11 12
               aas   1  1  1  1  0  0  0  0  1  0  0  1


               hour 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
               ------------------------------------------
               avg  24 26 28 29 29 30 32 32 35 36 34 31
               pke  13 14 15 16 16 17 17 17 19 19 18 16
               aas   2  2  2  2  2  1  1  1  2  2  1  1


               day   MON  TUE  WED  THU  FRI  SAT  SUN
               ------------------------------------------
               avg    22   25   26   27   23   25   27
               pke    11   13   14   15   11   11   14
               aas     1    1    1    2    1    1    1

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

       MON       TUE       WED       THU       FRI       SAT       SUN
    AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA
------------+---------+---------+---------+---------+---------+---------
  0: 23 10  0| 22 12  1| 27 16  1| 31 19  3| 25 11  1| 31 16  2| 29 13  0
  1: 19  8  0| 20 10  0| 23 13  1| 26 15  2| 23 11  1| 28 12  1| 24 11  0
  2: 18  6  0| 16  7  0| 19 10  0| 21 10  1| 19  9  0| 25 10  1| 24 11  1
  3: 15  5  0| 15  6  0| 20 10  0| 18  8  0| 19 10  1| 23  9  1| 25 12  1
  4: 11  3  0| 16  7  0| 20  9  0| 17  9  0| 17  7  0| 19  7  1| 24 10  1
  5:  9  3  0| 16  7  0| 18  8  0| 15  7  0| 16  7  0| 18  8  0| 16  8  1
  6: 10  4  0| 17  8  0| 15  7  0| 16  8  0| 14  6  0| 16  7  0| 17  6  0
  7: 12  5  0| 19 10  0| 17  8  0| 18  9  1| 16  8  0| 19  7  0| 17  7  0
  8: 13  5  0| 23 11  1| 21 10  1| 22 10  1| 20 11  0| 19  7  1| 19  8  1
  9: 18  8  0| 23 12  1| 21  9  0| 22 12  0| 23 12  0| 18  7  0| 21  9  0
 10: 15  8  0| 24 12  0| 21 10  0| 24 14  0| 23 12  1| 23 11  1| 23 10  1
 11: 13  7  1| 23 13  1| 21 11  1| 23 15  2| 20 11  1| 29 14  1| 23 10  0
 12: 15  9  0| 26 14  2| 23 12  2| 28 18  3| 21 11  2| 26 12  1| 25 11  1
 13: 23 13  1| 23 12  2| 25 14  2| 32 19  3| 23 12  2| 27 13  2| 27 15  2
 14: 26 15  2| 29 15  2| 26 16  2| 30 19  3| 23 13  3| 28 12  1| 31 18  1
 15: 33 19  3| 31 17  2| 26 15  1| 30 18  3| 21 12  3| 26 11  1| 32 17  1
 16: 34 22  3| 29 15  1| 28 16  2| 31 20  3| 25 13  2| 29 12  0| 34 19  2
 17: 30 18  2| 29 15  1| 29 17  2| 32 19  2| 25 13  1| 26 13  0| 36 21  1
 18: 31 17  2| 32 16  1| 36 22  2| 37 21  1| 27 12  1| 26 14  0| 35 20  1
 19: 30 16  2| 31 18  2| 38 22  2| 35 21  2| 24 11  0| 26 12  0| 34 18  1
 20: 35 19  2| 35 20  3| 43 26  3| 34 19  2| 32 16  0| 29 14  0| 36 18  1
 21: 40 23  3| 38 22  4| 39 21  2| 36 20  2| 33 16  0| 32 15  0| 36 19  1
 22: 35 17  1| 34 20  3| 38 21  2| 34 18  2| 32 17  1| 30 13  0| 35 19  0
 23: 30 14  1| 31 17  2| 34 21  3| 32 17  2| 32 16  1| 31 14  0| 28 15  0

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
   _____       
  /  _  \     DID YOU KNOW: Tips and tricks and little-used features
 /__/ \  \    
      /  /    There still seems to be some confusion out there regarding
     /  /     the mending and repairing skills. We see a lot of bug reports
    /__/      about how such and such an object can't be mended or repaired
    __        with an item that clearly says it's made of the same type of
   /  \       material in its descriptions.
   \__/       
   _____      For mending, the item must be considered by the game as
  /  _  \     an item of type ARMOR that is made of CLOTH, LEATHER or FUR.
 /__/ \  \    
      /  /    For repair, the game must considers an item to be ARMOR of
     /  /     type METAL, or to be a WEAPON.
    /__/      
    __        With the upcoming changes to PREVIEW and APPRAISE, it should
   /  \       be much easier to tell if you've got the correct item type
   \__/       and if it is made from the correct material type.

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

                     Meet the New Immorts: Piccolo!

Piccolo has been with LegendMUD since 1996, and as a 3rd circle cause mage
ignorant of cast levels, really didn't have much choice but to immort.
*duck* One of the founding members of the Agrabah Mafia, Piccolo remained
with the clan in a semi-active way until his immorting.

In real-life, Piccolo's player hails from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and has
been a merchant banker for close to seven years, dealing in corporate
finance and other whatnots. He is currently spending a month or so at a
company in Rochester, England, training in the internet security business,
before returning to Kuala Lumpur to start a South-East Asian branch of
that same company. Hobbies include fishkeeping, cricket, classical music,
computer games and watching movies and TV serials. Piccolo hopes his
immorthood as a builder and his work training in internet security will be
able to complement each other, and save a very lazy man from having to
study too much.

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

                     A Baby Shower in the Planning?

Stygian and Mikaela have an announcement to make. They are going to have a
child. Stygian was quoted as saying, 'I'm going to be a daddy!' and was
seen cheering for himself. Well, we're cheering for Mikaela too since she's
the one who's doing the hard part. ;)
 
                              * * * * * *

Anyway on a more OOC note, anyone that wants to RP their child should
mudmail Mikaela or Stygian, preferably both. They ask that you do so with
an alt they will know. 

Stygian adds the following that they would like to see in those notes:

     Please indicate RPs that you have done, I dont ask for alts,
     if you add them that is your choice, not required. All *I*
     want is the character to be one of two names, a male or
     female name, depending on what sex the child is. If you want
     to RP an adult. Then RP the growth. No parent can give birth
     to a 30 yr old. Oh, NO old RPs, cause that means I would be
     older. Otherwise *I* don't care. Talk to Mik for more info
     about that stuff, she might have a 'motherly instinct'. Some
     parents can tell the sex of the child before it is to be
     born etc. Type of char I really dont mind. Basically all
     that I am asking out of it is that my name be put in your
     title. *laugh* Anyway if you want to be part of our RP
     family, let us know. This need to be sorted before we can
     assign god parents etc.'

     Stygian - Is going to be a dad!

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

         @*******************************************************@
         *                                                       *
         *           By Order of the Grand Master                *
         *                                                       *
         *   Let is be known that the fair Order of the Poor     *
         *    Knights of Christ of the Temple of Solomon of      *
         *     Jerusalem now seeks initiates to join in its      *
         *    crusade - to shed light where there is darkness    *
         *   and bring hope, through Him, where there is none.   *
         *                                                       *
         *   Those wishing further information are encouraged    *
         *   to submit inquiry to Sister Trinity d'Arpajon, or   *
         *   to seek counsel with any Knight of the Temple.      *
         *                                                       *
         *                     Deus Vobiscum                     *
         *                   (God be with you)                   *
         *                                                       *
         @*******************************************************@

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

                          Infernals Recruiting

          We, the Infernals, believe in the saying "Live and let
          your enemies burn in Hell". If you are strong enough to
          master your fear of conflict with your fellow man,
          contact us. You need not be a master of the battlefield,
          only one interested in fighting. Experience comes in
          time to those who strive to attain it.

          Your Lord,
  
          Barabas BoneCrusher Infernals GM

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

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                        |__\
        '--------------------------------------------------------'

With 80% of their members involved in at least one skirmish this week, the
Infernals saw a lot of action this week. A lot of it was against the
Grendels who have slightly fewer members but only one of their number was
out of the action this week.

The other clans have about half the participation numbers or less in most
cases. The School of Hard Knocks and the Syndicate had several members out
on the fields of battle. The Knights of Legend only sent a few members out
to defend and protect the innocent this week. Could it be that evil is
truly wiping out the innocence and good left in the world? The Coven was
also a bit quieter this week, but their presence was still felt. The IRA
and the Secretives were barely seen on the scene with only one
representative from each clan active this week.

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

There were 123 pkill-related deaths involving 58 different characters in
the last week. Of those 58 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 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________________________________________________________________
_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|___
__|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|

                    From the Journal of Gavvvius...
                    
You can barely make out the date, for the whole journal is falling apart.
The text itself is gigantic in size.

     ...as I walk, my feet began to rebel against me. They seem
     to have stick together and refuses to continue my walks any
     further...

(parts are missing due to the condition of the journal)

     ...so I inquired with great curiosity about his condition,
     and he reply with a story of how Richard Coeur de Lion took
     away his ability to speak...

(parts are missing due to the condition of the journal)

     ...with great pity, I told him that he should seek out a
     great healer of the land. And maybe he can be restore to
     full health, sadly enough however, he seem to have given
     up...

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

             And With a Blaze of Fire, He Returned... Part I

Fatima raced through the streets towards her group, nearly tripping on her
long skirt as she went. Rounding a corner near a man selling meat rolls,
Fatima sailed neatly into Aziz.

'What is the hurry, are you ok? Have the thieves gone after you?' He
braced his hands against her arms, steadying her.

He seemed concerned, a protective arm encircling her as he quickly lead
her towards the others. They were speaking with Douban.

Upon their entrance Al-Suol and the others turned to note the overly
excited young woman and her rambled words.

'Are you certain of what you saw?' asked Decara.

'Yes!' Fatima nodded excitedly. 'It was him, I am sure.'

The two elder soothsayers exchanged looks wondering what, if anything,
this could mean.

The invisible tag-along nodded thoughtfully to himself, his motion unseen.
The more he heard, the more he knew he needed to stay and hear more.

         ~ * ~      --,--'-@     ~ * ~     @-'--,--      ~ * ~

Somewhere nearby an anguished, frustrated man rampaged through the streets
in his anger and pain, killing everything in his path. His heart torn
asunder, he had no other outlet for his incredible grief.

         ~ * ~      --,--'-@     ~ * ~     @-'--,--      ~ * ~

'Darling?' A hand soothed her brow. She moved in her sleep, drifting
between the states of being awake and of dreaming. It must be a dream.

Rowane bent over his wife's sleeping form, his lips brushing her temple.

'Love? It's me..' He watched her eyelids flutter and start to open.

'Rowane?' She opened her eyes, staring up into his golden orbs. He smiled
at her.

'Yes, it is me.'

She broke into a huge smile, her arms reaching up to encircle his neck.
How she had missed him! She made mental note to thank Hermes for returning
him to her.

'I missed you,' They both said it at the same time, breaking into smiles
as their lips met. It was the first time she had felt like smiling in a
while.

The young King opened the blankets and slid his form into the bed beside
his wife. His hands stroking over her sides, he curled up against her,
speaking softly.

'I think I have found out how the tooth works. I know how badly you miss
Sparky-'

'And you.' She interjected, her fingertips reached out to stroke his face.

He brushed his lips to hers for a long moment, painfully aware of how much
he had missed his wife.

'Yes,' He whispered. 'And me. But Sparky is a link to me, a reminder that
does you much good and care-taking when I am away.'

She nodded slowly, all too aware of how true his words were. Sparky was
indeed a reminder of Rowane and having both gone had depleted her
emotionally. It was easier to see right now, with him here in her arms,
like a part of her dying heart had been reawakened. Sometimes it seems as
if they were two halves of a whole, she and Rowane. With him gone, she
felt a bit empty inside. She could not imagine loving anyone as much as
she loved him...

'Do you feel up to trying to see if my idea with the tooth works?' He
cupped his palm to her cheek, his thumb brushing gently along it.

She was quiet, her face uncertain.

'Come, my darling. Let's go see, it isn't terribly far.' He stopped
himself, halting for a moment. He pulled his wife to him, kissing her
tenderly. It had been far too long since he had had MoiraGwyn in his arms
and waiting another few moments before starting out seemed all too
justified if it meant holding her.

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

                         The Hammer Calls...

The voice seemed to call to him now whether he was awake or asleep, the
dream not allowing him even a meal without making its presence felt. The
dreams took on new form however. No longer was it images or scenes of
great battles, but a voice, telling riddles... He furrowed his brow as
the words went by his minds eye once again, not allowing him to even eat a
meal with the one who owned his heart.

'What is it Gad? What is the dream this time?' she whispered as she
walked to him and placed a hand on his arm.

'Riddles, Skjonn... it is all I hear and see now... Riddles.'

'Tell them to me, my vakker fjell, let me be the help to you that I was
told was my task.'

'But Skjonn.... How do we know that the riddles are not just some magic
user laying a trap for us?'

'Because Susano said it was seeking you out, and you trust him, don't
you?'

'Ja, but....' he tried to think of an excuse, but none would come to him.

'No buts Gad, the hammer needs you as you need it, and it is my job to
help you find it.'

He hung his head, knowing full well that her words rang truer than the
smith's hammer on the anvil forging a simple shoe. 'Ok, Skjonn, I will
tell ya the words I hear....' He closed his eyes, and let his mind
concentrate on the words, then spoke them to her. As clearly as the words
in the simplest children's reader the words flowed from him, and she
nodded, beginning to form the riddles in her own mind.

He opened his eyes slowly, and looked at her. Her face bright and
smiling. 'I know what it wants.' She said, and proceeded to explain what
she heard.

His hand found hers and he squeezed gently, a bit ashamed that it came to
her mind so easily, and he had thought on it for quite some time, and had
not come up with half as much as she had at her first hearing. She leaned
up onto the tips of her toes and kissed him gently on the lips, and
whispered, 'Jeg elsker Deg! Now let's go get what is needed for your
hammer to come back.'

The two searched the lands for what was asked for in the riddles, finding
all but the blood of a mortal immortal. They said as much to Susano, to
mortal incarnation of the God of Destruction, and he grinned and said, 'If
ya want my blood, ya better try an take it, Norseman.'

Gad thought about this. What were his chances against a god, even if it
were the mortal incarnation, but the pull of the hammer was strong, and he
stepped forward, staff in hand to try his luck. Susano laughed and handed
a vial of blood to Gad and said, 'Ya passed that one, bubba. Enjoy! Are
ya ready fer the last phase?'

The two nodded silently and Susano continued, 'Now comes the tough part
kiddies...Lilac, what are ya willin' to give up for Gaddie here?'

'Everything, all that I am I would give for him.' she said, and she
squeezed the large Norseman's hand.

'Good,' said the avatar, 'cuz you gotta sacrifice yourself to the elder
gods. Only that will reincarnate the hammer.'

'No! You can't do this, Skjonn!' Gad protested, but was silenced by a
kiss from Lilac.

'I do this with all the love in my heart, my vakker fjell, and so... give
me the items.'

Gad sighed resignedly and gave her the remaining items. Lilac walked off
and Gad hung his head. 'You will bring her back to me, wont you?' he
asked the avatar.

'Yeah kid, she'll be returned to you, as good as she was before.'

The Norseman nodded and laid a rose on the alter along side his love and
left the room. Susano found him sitting underneath a stone dolem and said
to him, 'Are ya gonna go back and look?'

Gad sighed and went back to the alter. He saw a black warhammer that had
not been there before. He walked over and picked up the hammer that now
rested against the still form of the one that owned his heart. The power
surged through him, and he fell against the altar. He began to turn to
walk away when a hand touched his. He turned back to the alter to see
Lilac sitting up and smiling at him. He rushed to her and gathered her in
his arms and held her close, then the three of them, the Norseman, his
Skjonn, and the avatar of his god walked away, leaving the altar behind
them, and the world anew before them, to do with as they saw fit.

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

                            Wild Hearts

Emrysia smiled down at the two boys curled up together against the tiger.
Such opposites, yet there they were, sleeping soundly next to each other,
fast friends since their first meeting.

Emrysia thought back to their first meeting with the child...

Emrysia and Rillifane had stopped in at Mistress Quickley's for a bite of
her famous victuals, and had run into the ragged and dirty boy. At first,
Rillifane had wanted to keep him as a pet, and Emrysia had to explain
that, in spite of his appearance, it was actually a boy. After talking with
the boy, and Emrysia had bought them both treats of gingerbread cookies,
Rillifane had decided the urchin would make a good brother and should of
course be brought back to the Castle to live with 'Mah Gwyn' and 'Dah
Row'. Something about the boy with his matted hair and dirty clothes
tugged at Emrysia's heart-strings. She reasoned that if stray animals
could be brought home to the castle, why not stray children as well? And
so, she had given the boy, who called himself Mok-Mok, the choice of
whether to come live at the castle or not. It took some persuading to
convince Mok-mok that the castle would not fall down anytime soon, and he
wasn't pleased at the prospect of taking a bath, but after stuffing a few
more gingerbread cookies into him, he had agreed.

Emrysia had then taken the two boys back to the castle and had given
Mok-mok the tour. He had thought the carrier pigeons to be food, and had
been amazed by the stores in the castle kitchen. The tiger had frightened
him at first, but not any longer.

Smiling down once more at the two sleeping forms, Emrysia decided that she
really must make Mok-Mok bathe tomorrow. As she gently tucked a blanket
around the boys and tiptoed from the room, she wondered what MoiraGwyn
would have to say about the newest citizen of Carian Trag.

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

                      The Beginning Of The End

'Target Acquired' flashed upon the control panel. Dr Karl lent down and
read the information concerning this target. After a brief look at the
target's statistics he deemed them worthy and pressed the 'Accept Target'
button.

Within the hour the subject was brought in to the lab for biogenetic
engineering. Drugged so he could hardly stand, the subject was stripped
and bathed. The subject was strapped into the Leonardo device. The arms of
the device whirled around the subject, scanning him. Scanning both inside
and out they generated a computer image of the subject. Dr Karl programmed
the device. It whirred and spun around the subject. Finally stopping at a
limb. The arms closed around the limb, opening up to reveal a metallic
replacement limb has been attached. Moving to the base of the neck, the
device attaches a control chip. Wrenching more out of the electric
impulses than pain the control chip's wires implant themselves onto the
unconscious subject's spinal cord allowing him to do as Dr Karl wishes.
Injecting through the chip the device pumps the subject's body with a
genetic modifier. Surrounding the device the scientists watch as the
remaining limbs of the subject grow with new strength. Puncturing a hole
into the subjects chest, the Leonardo device removes several vital organs,
replacing them with more efficient counterparts. The device replaces most
internal organs, and the organs it does not replace, it injects a mutating
substance.

Fusing armour to the now open and bloodied chest of the subject the
Leonardo device pushes all internal organs into a compacted space, to make
room for the fusion reactor. 'Now comes the messy part.' one of the
spectating scientists said. Using LASERs the device cuts open half of the
subjects skull. Cutting into the brain the device replaces parts of it,
including one eye. Metal then covers the brain where the skull was
removed. The process almost complete the fusion reactor was inserted into
the empty cavity in the subject's torso. Once in place it is connected to
an external power supply and powered up. Protecting the fragile reactor a
substance is used to fill the remaining hole. Armour is then fused to the
skin of the subject's back, as another protector for the reactor.
Polymorphic rubber coating is then oozed over most of the body as final
armour. When it is dry a second layer is coated over the torso of the
subject to try and reduce the radiation output of the fusion reactor held
within. One last step remained before the process would be complete.

Dr Karl moved to his computer. He started typing, programming. On his
screen he saw all the statistics of his recently acquired subject. An
image of the subject rotated on the screen, showing all that was modified
and what it can withstand. Using this information Dr Karl programmed
exactly what he wanted his new subject to do. This subject was a very
special subject and would be used for the most important of missions.
Pressing enter, the information was sent into Dr Karl's new minion. The
recently created cyborg twitched, indicating that the information had been
successfully uploaded. Dr Karl pressed a button on his desk, entering a
password a secret compartment opened. He reached out and pulled something
out. Slowly Dr Karl walks over to the cyborg. Releasing the bonds the
parcel is handed over to the cyborg.

The cyborg is activated and after a few short tests is confirmed that he
is the one for the job. Dr Karl issues the order for some specially made
items to be attached to the cyborg. Following orders the cyborg tests them
out, making sure they all work perfectly. Finding all results to his
satisfaction Dr Karl leads the cyborg out of the room and into another
part of the building. By the time the doctor and his companions enter the
room the large device occupying all the space has warmed up. The cyborg
takes one look at his surroundings and instantly recognises the machine
before him as the newly made trans-dimensional portal. Slowly but steadily
the cyborg walks up and through the portal, into the unknown beyond...

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

                        Where is My Master?

Raewyn wearily dragged herself into the Inn. What a day! Chasing
ill-mannered, snarly, and rude teenagers around all day had been very
tiresome indeed. All Raewyn wanted was a warm meal and a soft bed.

Entering the Inn, Raewyn placed her order for her dinner. Turning around,
she heard a familiar voice that sent chills down her spine. Peering at the
owner of the voice with suspicion, Raewyn quietly slipped into a chair
nearby, straining to hear what was being said.

'Lookie what I got.' Bula'ia said, showing off his newly acquired wealth
to his companion.

Raewyn could stand it no longer. 'What did you do with my master?!' she
demanded angrily of a fire and brimstone preacher.

'Nothing!' a fire and brimstone preacher hissed, looking nervous.

'A likely story!' Raewyn retorted.

Bula'ia watched this exchange, calmly continuing to eat his meal of
mutton.

Raewyn continued to stare at Preacher Kaine with a dark frown upon her
face.

A fire and brimstone preacher stepped nervously around Raewyn, no doubt
headed towards the door.

'I want my master back NOW!' she shouted.

A fire and brimstone preacher hissed, while glancing around nervously, 'I
haven't done anything with him, although I wisssh I had...'

Raewyn opened her mouth to call for the guards, only to realise they were
nowhere to be found. 'Bah! Where are those lazy guards when you need 'em!'

Kaine, standing ready to run, sighed with relief at Raewyn's outburst.

In desperation, Raewyn hurled herself at the preacher, landing heavily on
top of him. 'Got you!' she exclaimed, as she sat squarely on his chest.

'Gah!' a fire and brimstone preacher hissed, while glancing around
nervously. 'You're heavier than you look!'

Raewyn's only retort was a snort of disgust.

'Now, tell me where my master is!' she demanded angrily of a fire and
brimstone preacher. 'And the money!!'

'Ahh, well, the money...' he replied, 'My lifestyle isss expensive to
maintain, you see...'

'My master is more important than the silly old money,' Raewyn wailed.

A fire and brimstone preacher began to look a little blue in the face. Was
he losing oxygen?

Raewyn slapped Kaine hard, hoping to delay the faint she knew was coming.

Kaine hissed, stuttering, 'Ca-an't bre-athe!'

'No fainting until AFTER you tell me where Ashimar is!' she growled
furiously.

Kaine lay unconscious on the floor, unable to answer. Raewyn peered down at
him, concerned. Finally standing up, and giving him a nudge with her foot,
she heard him give a slight groan. Deciding he'd live, and that he had no
answers for her, she decided to taker her leave and find that soft bed she
had been wanting when she first entered.

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

             And With a Blaze of Fire, He Returned... Part II

Queen MoiraGwyn de'Dannan stared suspiciously down at the creature her
husband had managed to summon. It was, at least, a fire salamander.

'How do we know that is him?' She seemed dubious, to say the least.

The King smiled down at the red salamander.

'What, you forgot what he looks like?'

MoiraGwyn cast a sideways glance at her husband. So far the thing had just
stayed there on the floor unmoving. It certainly did not act like their
pet. Maybe Rowane needed stronger glasses...

'Honey, it's him, see? I'd recognize him anywhere!'

MoiraGwyn peered down at it. Whosoever it was, it looked... deceased.
'Honey? Let me see those glasses for a moment, will you?'

Rowane smiled at his wife, leaning in for a quick kiss on the lips. 'Do
you not trust your husband?'

She smiled, 'Yes. Of course, I do, my treasure.' She remained looking
skeptically at the red thing on the floor. 'Do you want me to call Dr.
Asher?'

Rowane smiled wryly at her. She giggled back, she would stop teasing now
even though she still wasn't sure it was Sparky.

'Do you have the tooth with you, hon?'

MoiraGwyn opened her fist slowly, fingers aching from holding something so
tightly for so long. The tooth was imprinted harshly in the flesh of her
hand. She had refused to let it go since last she saw Rowane and was
entrusted with it.

Rowane winced at her hand, shock registering as he looked up at her face.
Her gaze remained on her barely open fist. It hurt to have it open, it had
been weeks she held clenched that dragon's tooth.

'I am... ok.' Rowane had already created a salve to soothe gently on her
hand. He had not realized how much of a toll this had all taken on her and
just barely comprehended such now. When he finished, he kissed her palm.

She watched him, all too aware that both her ability to fly and her
resistance to the bubbling molten lava behind him, were about to vanish.

'I will need new wings in a moment, should we leave this room?' They left
the summoned red animal and exited to replenish.

'Do you remember the words I taught you MoiraGwyn? Those lessons about
fire and creation and-'

She interrupted, 'You know I am not nearly as good with spells as you are.
But yes, I remember your lessons a bit.' She nodded.

'I need to show you what I found. A combination of those words, that when
used with the Dragons tooth, breathe new life into creatures such as
Sparky whose time here is limited. But... You have noticed how Sparky is
not quite like other salamanders you have seen, right? That is because
they are hailed from different places. Where Sparky is from there is a
higher rate of.. well, that is to say they are more... um.'

His words drifted. MoiraGwyn knew what he wanted to carefully say.
Intelligence. Sparky was not simply a creation, and not merely an animal
or pet, but possibly a form of being, to some extent. One able to convey
and relay communications, though very roughly.

It started to sink in a bit. A pet for intent and purpose but if you watch
him you start to notice some things more associated with a 'well-trained'
pet. This also accounts for glances and looks between Sparky and Rowane,
for Sparky's behavior at times, those times when she swore he was trying
to tell her something. MoiraGwyn simply did not speak his.. language? She
looked very confused but nodded that she understood.

Rowane rested his temple to his wife's.

'Notice how the tooth is curved,' He whispered. 'Stand closer to the edge
of the wall with me, so the opening of the tooth is pointed towards the
lava pool and the sharp tip is pointed at Sparky.' He slid his arms about
her waist from behind, pulling her a few steps back, and watched her as
she positioned the tooth in her fingers. His chin rested on her shoulder.

'This is a special tooth, that dragon whose mouth it was in imbued it with
abilities. Now try and remember those words. Can you remember them love?'
His quiet whispers soothed her as she tried to remember the lessons.

She tried to carefully speak the spell combination.

'Don't forget the word for 'fire',' He whispered. He seemed so sure, so
confident. She wished she felt that too. She nuzzled her cheek to his face
for a moment and tried again. A spark from the tooth! She glanced at her
husband, whose smile was already beaming at her.

'Again.' She repeated it. And again. And again. She found herself chanting
almost lyrically this unknown spell. And more frighteningly, she was
seeing a response.

Sparks last longer, melded into lines of sparks, which turned into rays of
fire. It was as if the tooth stole the qualities of fire from the pool of
molten lava and... redirected it as energy into the salamander? She
struggled to understand as the tooth became harder to hold, fighting
against her strength as if it wanted to have a life of its own.

MoiraGwyn heard a sound building, a whistle from afar getting louder,
closer. The ground trembled beneath her feet, the lava bubbling over,
splashing onto the floor. Was it the volcano? An earthquake? The room
shook, walls threatening to collapse onto them burying them inside the
volcano. And still she stood, holding the tooth, her chants now becoming
yells as nature rumbled and bellowed in it's own right. She would not stop
until it was over. Balls of swirling fire bounced from wall to wall within
the cavernous room, wind whipping hair about head, cloaks about bodies,
feverishly. The heat, magical heat combining with natural, intensifying
each other, swirling about the room. An echo grew louder, more primal. No,
it was a scream! A scream that had been building not from afar but from
inside her, erupting from her lips as the tooth triggered a massive
explosion.

Her loving husband shielding his eyes from something to come, and a slight
movement along the ground, were the last things Queen MoiraGwyn de'Dannan
saw before she blacked out.

         ~ * ~      --,--'-@     ~ * ~     @-'--,--      ~ * ~

Watching as Rowane gently covered himself and his wife with a quilt,
Sparky gingerly climbed onto the bed.

Rowane smiled at him for a moment as he turned back to his wife. She had
not awoken from the incident yet and had to be carried home to the villa
to rest with him after their ordeal. Brushing loose strands of hair from
her face, he cuddled up against her. It was good to see that things might
start to feel more normal now. It was good to be home. The scent of his
wife's hair nestled against his face felt comforting. He turned to look at
the visitor to the bed.

The large salamander seemed hesitant to move from the spot where it first
climbed up onto the bed. He had been watching quietly. Gaze moving from
Rowane to the sleeping figure next to him, Sparky curled his tail about
himself, afraid to get closer.

'It's ok, boy,' Rowane tried to soothe him.

It didn't seem ok. Sparky was still adjusting to being back and was
nervous about finding his mistress needing to be carried home. He eyed a
spot at the end of the bed where he might be able to curl into a ball and
rest. He chose instead a spot near to their feet, tail draping over the
quilted form of Rowane's leg, face and an arm along MoiraGwyn's ankle. He
wanted to be aware of when she moved or awoke. He did not like this at
all.

Sparky stared at his master, whose eyelids were becoming drowsy with
sleep. He looked content falling asleep in his wife's arms. But still,
something seemed different. He wondered if they knew how glad he was to be
back. He had been a part of Rowane's life since the young King was but a
child, and his life had gone from lounging day to day, to the eventual
daily life of living with Rowane's bride as well. As welcome as the
changes were, they were still drastic. His life suddenly had more meaning,
more value, more interaction... and most certainly more excitement! He had
become an important feature in the life of the couple and had taken to
watching over MoiraGwyn when Rowane was not around. As interesting as it
was at times, to be considered a pet, he knew that above all, he was
family.

The young royals curled up against each other and fast asleep, Sparky
watched them. Head shifting all along MoiraGwyn's calf as he tried to get
comfortable, it simply was not working. He could feel changes but could
not see them at this moment and his mind was kept busy over this fact.

He flopped about the bed for nearly an hour until he convinced himself he
would worry about it the next day. That resolve did not last very long and
he soon found himself creeping slowly closer and closer to his owners.
Rowane's snoring made it easy to tell that he was breathing and fine, but
MoiraGwyn had not yet moved. Sparky rested his head over her throat, an
arm thrown over her. He was careful not to interfere with the couple, he
just could not let his uneasiness go.

Finally satisfied that her heart appeared to still be beating and all was
well, he lolled onto his back, half of himself over each of them, and
joined his Master in a symphony of snores.

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