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=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
 VOLUME NINE, NUMBER FORTY-NINE                          December 16, 2002
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS
                           The Editor's Note

                         NEWS, REPORTS, UPDATES
                           Calendar of Events
                             Recent Updates
                            Recent Q&A Topics
                Elf-Game Details & Why Not for Christmas

                              LEGENDITES
                  On Being Mean to Newbies and Lowbies

                              Clan News
                             The PK Front

                        Sleeping With the Dead  
                               The Wall
                           The Fishing Trip
                       Love And Deviance Collide
                            Helga's Wisdom
                 It's the Little Things That Count
___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                      The Editor's Note                          |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

The hustle and bustle, and yes, even the last minute panic, of the holiday
season is setting in. The smell of pine and fresh-baked cookies fill the
air and the UPS man is sick of bringing Amazon.com boxes to my house. Even
scarier, we're leaving extremely early on the 26th to fly to Maryland to
visit with family for a week and flying home on New Year's Eve. Wheee! So,
there will be another issue this coming weekend, but not one on the
weekend of the 28th of December.

One of the themes of the season is "peace on earth and good will toward
men" and I've heard a lot of echoes of this sentiment in many of the
questions, complaints and we've even got a player editorial about it this
week. One of the main goals we have for LegendMUD is a place where people
can come to have a good time. But, everyone has to help on that -- don't
do things that aren't fun for you. If someone's getting on your last
nerve, don't hang around them, don't listen to them on channels if that's
where your buttons are getting pushed. If you decide you don't like how a
game is set up, don't just gripe about it on channels. Instead, see if you
can come up with constructive criticism and pass it along.

One of the topics that came up this past week at Q&A was how getting the
LegendDB pages and Marauder to stop their operations (even just for a
week) would help people see how working together to solve problems and
bring the mud community closer together. A couple people took the talk as
"bot bashing" and I'm not sure they understood the spirit in which the
discussion had been started -- a desire to see more genuine and friendly
interactions between the characters and players in the world. Something
that the roleplayers have also expressed a desire to see more of, as well.

Anyway, taking a deep breath when you get frustrated by something or
someone and remembering that there are other real live people on the other
side of those connections and that even the immorts are human too, can go
a long way to making your day not so black, and just saying hello to
strangers or thank you to someone who does something for you can really
brighten someone's day.

Hope everyone is having a good week!

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

                               DECEMBER
                         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 31

Wednesday, December  18th    7:00 pm          Snowstorm in San Fran Tinyplot
Thursday,  December  19th    7:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Saturday,  December  21st    7:00 pm          Capture the Flag
Wednesday, December  25th                     Christmas Day
Thursday,  December  26th    No Q&A Session
Tuesday,   December  31st                     New Year's Eve

Coming in January....
- make your nominations for the Expies!
- LegendMUD Comedy Club
- Level to 5 Contest
....and much much more!

___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                          Recent Updates                         |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'
            
    /\                         CODE UPDATES
   /  \     
  /    \    MISC CHANGES
 /_    _\     o Maximum hunt distance changed to rely more on perception 
   |  |         less on level
   |  |     
   |  |     
   |__|                      HELP FILE UPDATES
    /\      
   /  \      General Topics:
  /    \         WEAR
 /_    _\   
   |  |       
   |  |                         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!)
 /_    _\   
   |  |     THE ALHAMBRA
   |  |          Rogues and Soldiers changed slightly so be careful!
   |  |     ANCIENT GREECE
   |__|          A few exits requiring climb one direction, didn't in the
    /\           other.
   /  \     ARABIAN NIGHTS
  /    \         Magician pauses slightly when you follow now.
 /_    _\   CELTIC IRELAND
   |  |          Old gate guard is now also alerted to calls for help, but
   |  |          doesn't leave his post. He's also slightly higher level.
   |  |     SHERWOOD
   |__|          Be careful! Foresters, saxon outlaws, norman guards,
    /\           noblemen, noblewomen, the wench and the saxon prisoners
   /  \          now load in a range of levels, not just one. Will of the
  /    \         Green slightly higher level and has some new tactics.
 /_    _\        Saxon outlaws have some new tactics. Bishop of Hereford,
   |  |          Robin Hood and Black Knight had some minor alterations
   |  |          too. Bartender and head cook in Nottingham, and the
   |  |          Draper in lincoln had levels changed slightly. Tanner has
   |__|          slightly different fight acts. Sacrificing a bunny
    /\           shouldn't sacrifice any that aren't following you. You  
   /  \          may still sacrifice multiple ones if you have more than
  /    \         one following you, which you should never need. Housing
 /_    _\        additions thanks to Kae.
   |  |     TORTUGA
   |  |          Redbeard, the harbormaster, Mssr Levasseur had changes,
   |  |          be careful.  
   |__|     
    /\      GYPSY CARNIVAL, HOSPITALLER MALTA, MEDIEVAL SEAS, PARIS &
   /  \     OPERA HOUSE, ROMAN BRITAIN, SEONI JUNGLE, ST. DENIS ABBEY,
  /    \    THE CRUSADES, TUDOR ENGLAND, VICEROYAL PERU
 /_    _\       Various minor bug and typo fixes.
   |  |     
   |  |     
   |  |     
   |__|                    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. 
   |  |     
   |  |     No in progress areas saw any updates this week except for some
   |__|     generic fixes that were made across the board.
            
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
  _______   ____    _______
 /  ___  \ / __ \  /  ___  \  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 Can You Engrave Strung Items?     o HP Regen, Spirit/Perc & Fighters?
 o Plus Hit and Bless Bug?           o Tokens for Each Installement?
 o Mobs and Ordering Wary/Agg?       o Area for PK Tourney?
 o What Can You Get Engraved?        o Custom Titles/Rooms for Housing?
 o Discussion on Cheat Pages/Bots    o Configs for Pre/Post-Title Use?
 o Marauder & Pkill Interference?    o Christmas String Game?
 o Channel Toggles When Limited?     o Mobs Fleeing But Not Seeing It?
 o More on Post-titles               o General Suggestions/Questions

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

Behind the Scenes of the Elf Game (& why there won't be one for Christmas)

An inquiry about the elf game was brought up at last week's Q&A (12/5). To
make sure everyone is on the same page, I thought I would respond to the
Q&A myself. Those immortals present did a perfectly good job of answering
and none of their answers were incorrect, but I thought a little more
information on the behind-the-scenes stuff might help everyone.

The last 2 years, Christmas has brought with it a 3-day long elf game, a
gift to all of you from Kae and myself (just Kae the first year). In lieu
of the game being run, we hence do not participate in any further
gift-giving the immortal staff may bestow.

Will there be one this Christmas?

   Largely due to the reception it received at Halloween, we have decided
   not to do a Christmas run this year. A very small part of our decision
   was affected by RL obligations. Both of us had enough time to devote to
   preparing for it this year but the attitudes at Halloween severely
   outweighed our inclination to do so. Whether we will participate in
   immortal gift-giving otherwise, we will each decide individually, but
   do not count on our participation.

What can morts do to help?

   Unfortunately, this isn't really a game morts can help with at all. You
   can submit ideas for themes and individual prizes, note quirks seen in
   the behavior of the mobs, and suggest improvements to the game... But
   on the whole, the best you can do is not get greedy, have fun playing,
   and allow/enable others to enjoy playing it as well. Much of the point
   behind it is making the prizes surprizes for as many people possible -
   Kae and I do all of the work and few immortals, if any, even know what
   theme we have chosen let alone what prizes are being offered.

It can't be that much work, can it?

   To give you an idea of the amount of work we put into this game,
   especially at Christmas... Most of the elf games have had 40-75
   different prizes and last for roughly 1 day. Since Christmas runs for
   nearly 3 days, we increase the number of prizes. Last Christmas, there
   were 111 different custom prizes offered in the game, not including
   tokens or coupons.

So what takes so long?

   What is the process of getting this game out to you in terms of effort
   and time? It is a team effort but typically Kae does the majority of
   the brainstorming and colorizing and I do the building. Both of us
   test. Items 3-7 below aren't necessarily done in that particular order.
   The time estimates are for a non-Christmas game where we are doing our
   normal building as well - you know, the general maintenance of our 2
   areas each and extra building for those areas or projects we're working
   on...

1. Brainstorm and agree on a theme - 1 week  (we actually brainstorm for
   longer than that - we think about it all year long)
2. Come up with ideas for prizes fitting the theme - 2 weeks 
   This is the long and short descriptions, slot and color.
  2a. For Christmas, solicit from other immortals the long/short
      descriptions of any personal dolls they wish to "donate" to the game
      - 3 weeks
  2b. Pare the prize list down if necessary
3. Build the acts to produce the prizes - 3 to 6 weeks
  3a. Think up & add in mob descriptions fitting the theme
4. Test the game with the latest theme - 2 weeks
  4a. Run through the items to check for spelling, keywords, and slots, as
      well as base item accuracy
  4b. Add color to uncolored items, tweak color as needed
  4c. Make any changes necessary as found in testing
5. Go through the bugs/ideas from the last game and make any
   fixes/improvements necessary/desired - 1 to 3 weeks
6. Test/tweak fixes/improvements - 1 week
7. Double-check the help file to ensure it is up-to-date and doesn't need
   anything changed/added/removed - 1 week
8. Ensure every non-coupon prize item is available in the elf-game mall
   (used in the even a reimbursal is necessary, required prior to game
   time) - 2 weeks
9. Ensure ALL changes for the game are ready to go in with the weekly
   update immediately before the game's scheduled time. This means all of
   the above needs to be done up to a week prior to the game start.
10. On game day...
  10a. Write welcome posts for the game
  10b. Make announces for the start
  10c. Get the game set up - it takes about 10 minutes to get the daemon
       ready to control the game
  10d. Monitor the progress - make adjustments to the elf population based
       on number of players
  10e. Be available to answer the multitude of questions
  10f. Be available to do re/strings generated by the game, as possible.
       Both of us make an effort to be more visible as life allows during
       and after the game's running to ease the demand on other immortals.

Based on the above timeline, it takes a minimum of 12 weeks to just set
the game up. For Christmas, that gets extended to 18 weeks worth of effort
- generally crushed into 8 weeks if we start right after we finish the
Halloween building work. For those 8 weeks in November and December,
though, we are neglecting our normal building activities nearly
completely, and possibly have foregone any number of holiday extras in RL.

Unfortunately for us in the case of 10e above, there was less
question-answering at Halloween... While we are used to receiving some
complaints and being harassed to a degree regarding the game, it generally
is from a few individuals for a limited length of time, about 30 minutes
worth - we are not used to 6 hours of such from several people.

While Kae and I are disappointed to not be running the game this year
(despite all the work, it is fun for us to set up and our anticipation at
your enjoyment even moreso), I do expect the player disappointment to be
larger... But it is a classic case of a few ruining it for the whole. The
6 hours of complaints and rudeness towards Kae and me were not the whole
of the issue on Halloween. A number of people appeared to work hard to
ruin it for many others that day. None of this is behavior we want to
encourage and is most certainly not what we want to see as a result of our
hard work intended to provide some fun and prizes.

Sorry for the length of this... hopefully it will help to shed some light
on the workings of the game and why Kae and I came to the decision we did.
If you have further questions or comments regarding it, please contact
myself and/or Kae via tells, mudmail, or email.

Cheyla

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

                   Moo has reached 200 million experience!
                  Robar has reached 200 million experience!

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

                   On Being Mean to Newbies and Lowbies

Through my years on Legend, I have seen some hostility towards some of my
characters on legend. I'm trying to learn to be a shooter for group
killing but i had some trouble with some stuff. Keywords and other things
i know but, when I mess up some of the other group members give me a hard
time. Some of the other group members are nice mostly old characters i
know from past history and being friends with them for sometime. I won't
list names but some characters on legend give first timers and old
characters which are playing low leveled characters a tough time on things
they don't know or forgot from a long period of non-playing. Legend is a
growing community whichs needs new insight on things if old characters
don't give help or don't inspire new players to play or help old
characters that have lost their knowledge cause of years away from legend.
Some characters have even harrased me for petty things such as my name.
Harry-potter is just a movie i just so happened to watch the day I started
this character. If people are so bold as to steep so low in there lives to
harras me for a name that my 3 year old nephew asked me to use. People on
legend need to grow up because they need know that I am not in their
families and I will hurt their feelings if they aren't careful. To those
who are inconsiderate to others should just mind thier buisness. there are
some people on legend who are extremely nice, some people are ok, some
people have poor attitudes, and some people are just down right trifling.

yours truly,
Harry-Potter

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

There are currently 14 RP clans and 10 PK clans. This leaves open slots
for eight (8) 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                        |__\
        '--------------------------------------------------------'

In the past week, half the infernals were seen out involved in pkill. The
IRA had one fourth of their members out in the field and most of the other
clans had a pair of representatives active at least once this past week.
There was only one member of the Grand Coven and the Hermetics were silent
again studying away in their ivory tower.

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

This past week there were 52 pkill-related deaths involving 36 different
characters. Of those 36 characters, 17 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________________________________________________________________
_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|___
__|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|

                        Sleeping With the Dead  
                       by Professor Herbert West

It had been several months now since my rather turbulent sleeping episodes
and as I believed them to be behind me and relaxed into the comforts of my
new surroundings on the outskirts of the town of Boston I felt almost
complete again.

The dreams I had put down to simple stress and over working, too many
months spent gathering the body parts for what would ultimately be my
final experiment, and of course the distance spreading between myself and
my wife.

Since then of course things have hit the proverbial fan, the undead who
had stalked me for so long tormenting me, stealing my research and
threatening the life of my wife seem to have given up their attempts at
locating me, my wife tired of my constant uncertainty and paranoid
ramblings has left me and of course the stress has subsided somewhat since
moving to such a peaceful locale.

But there was a nagging feeling that things were not yet finished, that
there was some part of me that hid in some dark place waiting for the time
to show itself.

And so I lie in my bed, resting on my nightstand a tiny pipe containing
what remains of the opium i procured from the local constabulatory in
exchange for treating there various diseases discretely without informing
their wives.

To dream the dreams of the subconscious, to explore my mind and throw open
the doors of perception people seem to speak of so often in philosophical
circles.

I had not entirely known what to expect as I drifted through the foggy
clouds that danced in front of my vision, and then i saw it, that same
knife.

A dark and secluded alley I strolled down with a black cloak about my
shoulders and my scalpel clenched tightly in my fist, a man in long white
robes emblazoned with a long red cross leaning against the cold stone
wall.

He didn't even look up as I punched him in the stomach my scalpel piercing
his organs, his breath simply exploded outward and a look of shock and
terror passed over his quickly whitening face.

As he slumped to the ground I felt a hand on my shoulder, but as I turned
all I heard was a familiar ragged voice say, 'Very nice work young one'

As I struggled back to consciousness I was covered in a cold sweat, it was
him, the old man of the mountain, had I been killing again? In his
service?

It wasn't until I saw the bloody scalpel and torn black cloak hiding
beneath my wardrobe that I believed it.

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

                             The Wall

She didn't know how long she sat there after he had left, just staring at
the wall, without the strength or will to move. Her world was shattered.
The overwhelming pain was almost physical, like someone had kicked her in
the stomach. Betrayal... the word mocked her. She had trusted him - and
HER. But worse than the pain, was the overwhelming loneliness. Yes, even
despite it all she still loved him - wanted him - but there loomed a great
wall between them now, a wall she didn't know if she'd ever be able to
break through. Betrayal, anger, bitterness, hurt, hatred, these were the
constructs of the wall. They might as well be the massive stones and
mortar of a castle, so impenetrable was the wall.

More than anything, she wanted the pain and loneliness to end. She longed
to put a stop to it, she just didn't have the energy to move. Why had he
stopped her? Why wouldn't he let her stop the pain? It would have been
better... better for them all.

And HER... The only time she felt any spark of life was when she thought
of HER. Then, anger burned, intense, deep, dark hatred. She wanted HER
dead. She would think of suitable ends for HER. She would inflict pain on
HER, pain like her own. SHE would be sorry!

But, once again, the spark faded, and left her empty and consumed by the
aching loneliness.

And so, she sat, just staring at the wall.

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

                           The Fishing Trip

The huge man lumbered around the cottage like a young boy, his great beard
not able to hide the boyish glee that brightened his face. 'It seems that
this trip is going to do him good, he has been a bit too serious lately,'
she thought as she watched him nearly trip over what he had already
brought out, in an attempt to get more equipment. 'Are you sure you need
all of this?. she asked him with a chuckle.

'Goin' fishin' with Olaf. I wanna make sure I got everything that I be
needin'. Wouldn't look too good to be missin' stuff, now would it?. He
smiled a completely innocent, boyish smile. The look on his face made her
laugh out loud.

'You are almost like a child in your excitement, my vakker fjell.' She said
as soon as she could compose herself again.

'I know, Skjonn, but it not be everyday that ya get to go fishin' with
Olaf and the Icelander poet-king,' the Norseman said, then looked down and
said quietly, 'And not somethin' I woulda been thinkin' I'd EVER get to
do...'

She smiles and said, 'You will go fishing more often now that you have
stopped all that roving around to Rome, and where ever else your ship took
you. And when we have children of our own you will take them fishing as
well.'

He smiled at her as he crossed the floor and kissed her deeply. 'Ja,' he
said quietly to her, 'When we gots little ones, fishin' will be taught to
them.'

She beamed and kissed him tenderly and began arranging the gear on the
floor into the pile he needed and the pile he would not miss once she put
it away when he went to get mead. She chuckled again at his excitement at
the fishing trip. 'Yes, it will do him much good if the kiss was any
indication.. She laughed again, this time at herself, and busied herself
with putting unneeded gear away.

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

                      Love And Deviance Collide

She rolled over into his arms, the scent of flowers flowing lightly from
her skin, long dark hair framing her face like a halo.

He leaned his face closer, his lips brushing against hers. The kiss
deepened as he explored her mouth, arms entwining about her.

'Leave him,' he whispered. 'He does not need to ever know about us.'

She smiled into his kiss, 'Yes.'

His hands stroked over her sides, pulling her body closer in a fit of
passion.

'Where shall we make our new home, my bride?'

'Anywhere far from here, far from him. Maybe in- Guards.'

He pondered thoughtfully, 'Guards? Where is that? I do not believe I have
visited there y-'

'Guards! Guards, find that escaped prisoner and arrest him before I start
docking your pay!'

Reality brought a gentle moment screeching to a halt. The man opened his
eyes, face buried to his pillow, a scented scarf gripped in his hand.

He rolled onto his back, a new plan forming in the reccesses of his brain-
one that would allow push to come to shove. He was never good at waiting
on the side for things to happen. And he loved her, pure and simple. Why
could he not be with her?

He closed his eyes, inhaling deeply the scarf, her soft laugh resounding
from his brain.

'Say yes to me again. Tell me you love me dear MoiraGwyn... Tell me once
more, it is more than my eager heart can bear. What say you, my beloved?'
he smiled at her face, lips brushing those of his future wife. 'What say
thee...'

'Catch him or heads will roll!' bellowed from the streets below,
interrupting all other thought.

He was beginning to really loathe Agrabah.

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

                          Helga's Wisdom

Her Norseman was to be away for sometime, she would miss him, but this
also gave her the chance to visit Helga without her husband wondering what
they were talking about. So, she packed some things and went to stay with
Helga and learn more about her Norseman from the woman who had been a
second mother to him when he returned to Norway. Helga was happy to have
her visit for, while she had daughters of her own, they were still a bit
young for the talk that Helga longed for.

The first day she was in Norway with Helga the subject was breeched. 'Are
ya havin' a baby yet?. Helga asked as they put the meat on the fire.

She hesitated, and then looked at Helga and asked, 'How do you know if you
are with child?'

'Bah,' exclaimed Helga, 'The questions you come up with...' Helga chuckled
and then saw that she was quite serious. 'Oh, dear. Your body knows, and
will let you know when you are carryin' a little one.'

'How will it let you know?'

'You'll most likely be sick every mornin' or maybe evenin', but most every
day. An' ya might feel tired at times that ya used to have no trouble
keepin' goin' with whatever ya did. And some kvinne say they can feel
somethin' growin' inside before it even starts showin' fer their mann.' 
Helga said, looking out into the stofa, thinking back on when she was
pregnant with her own.

'Helga?'

'Yes, kjaer?'

'I think... well, that is... it is possible...' she stammered slightly.

'Spit it out. What are ya trying to say?' Helga asked, chuckling as she
guessed what was going to be said.

'It is possible that I am.. with child.'

Helga beamed and hugged the young woman close to her and wept tears of
joy. 'Oh, kjaer. That is wonderful. You will make such a wonderful
mother!'

'Do you think so?' she asked. 'You really think I will be good?'

'You will do very well. Your instincts are good, ya picked a good husband
afterall.' Helga said as she chuckled.

Through a blush she looked at Helga. 'He is a good one, isn't he?' she
giggled, 'He always said that it was you that raised him a second time
when he came back to Norway, so I guess I have you to thank for that.'

They hugged again, and Helga got busy doing what she had been longing to
do for quite some time, dispense advise on birthing children, raising
them, and making sure they are good people and not like those ritters,
drawing laughter from the young woman, but no comments, as she knew and
liked many ritters. But she would never tell Helga that...

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                It's the Little Things That Count

Queen MoiraGwyn rolled over, her eyes not quite ready to embrace the
morning. The scent of Rowane's skin drifted about the pillow next to her
still. Mmmm... how she welcomed that scent. There was nothing that filled
her heart as much as her lover. The mere thought of her husband lifted her
soul. Her feelings gave new meaning to the word 'love'.

She snuggled her face against the pillow next to hers, the weight of a
head upon it evident. She smiled, heart awakening at the thought of
opening her eyes to her loving husbands golden orbs.

'My love,' she murmured. 'I love you more than life itself.'

Her eyes opened as she stared loving into his.. snout?

She blinked and pulled her head back enough to focus on Sparky's face. She
peered at him.

'Left you to keep an eye on me did he? Please be careful not to smell too
much of him, it may cause endless damage to my psyche.'

He lifted his head and rested it onto her face instead.

'Das noh emmy be'er.'

He whined in response but figured that so long as she could breathe, all
was well. Besides, he had missed her.

She gave in and stroked a hand over him. She purposely scratched lightly
over his backside, giggling to herself at the inevitable reaction of his
foot kicking into the air. For an intelligent being he sure could easily
be mistaken for a... well, a pet. *snicker*

She managed to move her mouth enough from beneath him to be able to speak.

'Fine then, perhaps we can dress you in royal robes and a crown and pass
you off as Rowane?' she grinned at the large lizard.

Sparky snorted a response, a large forked tongue popping out of his mouth
just long enough to tap her on the nose.

'You started it!' she rubbed his backside, watching him fall prey to the
onset of leg-twitching. She knew he loved that and it was fun teasing him
sometimes! At least she was not on the wrong side of that stream of
fire...

'Besides, as dashing as you are for a salamander, there is only one
Rowane,' She collapsed melodramatically in a fake swoon.

He lolled onto his back over her stomach, looking at her upside down. She
giggled at him.

'You are silly today!' she smiled, and realizing Sparky has never met
Rillifane or Mok-Mok, she added. 'And you will have some new friends to be
silly with soon. I bet you will like that.'

MoiraGwyn laid back on their bed, in their villa in Roman Britain, with
Sparky being goofy, and the kids snoring gently in the next room, and the
scent of her loving Rowane on the pillow beside her, the gentleness and
warmth of his arms about her still lingering in her mind from last eve,
and pondered that for one brief moment in the history of her existence...

Life was good.

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