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http://www.legendmud.org/                       ftp://ftp.legendmud.org/pub
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
VOLUME NINE, NUMBER FIVE                                   February 2, 2002
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                            TABLE OF CONTENTS

                            The Editor's Note

                          NEWS, REPORTS, UPDATES
                            Calendar of Events
                   Immortal Applications Due March 1st
              Lag, Lag, Lag -- and what you can do about it
                              Recent Updates
                            Recent Q&A Topics
                       January Connection Analysis
                 DID YOU KNOW: Which Departments Do What?

                               LEGENDITES
                             Announcements
                               Personals
                             Trivia Results
                               Clan News
                           Coma's Reawakening
                          An Institute of Trust
___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                        The Editor's Note                        |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

I got a note from Krynn's player last week in response to my note here
where he talked about how people need to find their own ways to enjoy a
game. I just wanted to clarify here that in my own roundabout way, that's
what I was trying to say people should be striving for -- finding and
playing the game in a way that gets them having a good time. And not to
let others having a good time bother you if they've found what makes the
game fun for them.

However, I also want to underscore that by claiming, "I'm having a blast
being this big of a jerk, breaking the rules and disrupting other people's
game time. It really excites me!" won't cut it! And I'm not talking RPing
a jerk, but about the people who use that as an excuse to be rude to other
people who are playing the game in an out-of-character manner. That's not
playing LegendMUD... that's just some mind game.
 
Maybe I'm a bit more narrow minded in defining "playing the game," but
sure! As long as it is within the rules you agreed to when you make your
character(s) AND agree to abide by every time you log in, you should feel
free to play the game in your own unique style -- it's what makes and
keeps the place interesting. And once you find how you enjoy playing the
game, don't let anyone keep you from it!

In other news, the Final Ballot for this year's Expies went out yesterday!
If you haven't received one yet and would like one, point your web browser
to www.legendmud.org/Community/expie.php and request one. We'd also like
to thank everyone who took the time to help during the nominations round
and hope even more members of the community will take the time to cast
their vote well before the 11th so they can be tallied and ready to go for
the big day on the 14th!

Also... send in your short ic/ooc Valentine's Greetings by the 11th too!

As you'll notice below, yesterday marked the one month deadline for new
immortal applications. If you feel one month isn't time to prepare your
proposal, still talk to the department heads now. We accept applications
every six months. The next deadline is September 1st. The links are
provided below (and on the welcome board and in HELP PROPOSAL) for those
seeking more information and we will be scheduling a Q&A on the topic, but
if you have an interest or questions, talk to immorts in the department
that interests you and definitely talk with the department head early
about any projects you want to propose rather than the last minute.
If you don't see the department head you need online, mudmail them!

-Kaige

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

                 */* *\*  */* *\* February */* *\*  */* *\*

Friday,   February   1st                    Expies Final Ballots Sent Out
Thursday, February   7th   6:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Monday,   February  11th   midnight         Expies Final Ballot Due
                                            Valentine's Messages Due to LT
Thursday, February  14th   Valentine's Day and LegendMUD's 8th Birthday
                           7:00 pm          Expies Ceremony
Thursday, February  21st   6:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Saturday, February  26th   2:00 pm          RP Workshop in the OOC (TBA)
Thursday, February  28th   6:00 pm          Q & A in the OOC Auditorium

                 */* *\*  */* *\*  March  */* *\*  */* *\*

Friday,   March     1st    midnight          Immortal Apps Due
 
  ___                                                                  ___
  \  |----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
  /__|              Immortal Applications Due March 1st               |__\
     '----------------------------------------------------------------'

It's that time of year again. The deadline for Immortal Applications is
March 1st, 2002. If you are interested in applying to become an immortal,
be sure to speak to the appropriate department head about your proposed
project before you submit your application.
 
Additional information on Becoming an Immortal at LegendMUD can be found
by reading HELP APPLICATION online as well as pointing your browser to:
 
       http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/documents.html
 
The individual links to take you directly to the important pages are:
 
THE IMMORT CODE OF CONDUCT
   www.legendmud.org/Reference/imm_conduct.html
IMMORT PROPOSAL REVIEW PROCESS 
   www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/app_vote.html
THE GENERAL APPLICATION FOR IMMORTING 
   www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/gen_app.html
THE ADMINISTRATION PROPOSAL 
   www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/admin_prop.html
THE BUILDER PROPOSAL 
   www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/builder_prop.html
THE CODING PROPOSAL 
   www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/code_prop.html
THE PUBLIC RELATIONS PROPOSAL 
   www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/pr_prop.html

___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|          Lag, Lag, Lag -- and what you can do about it          |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

I've seen a number of comments about the lag on Legend lately -- this
article is intended to explain a little about what lag is, what causes
it, and what you might do about it.

We all know lag when we feel it -- our commands don't seem to be going
through, data doesn't seem to be coming back from the mud, the screen
seems to freeze, we may be disconnected. But what is lag, really? One way
to think about lag is to remember that a network is like a crowded system
of roads -- a vast tangle of highways and byways between you and where
you're going. Some days, lag can feel like a traffic snarl where you're
creeping along -- other times, it might feel more like a complete traffic
jam -- and some times, it's more like 17 cars crashed in the middle of a
tar spill with a jackknifed trailer of chickens loose and running around.

A problem or slowdown at any exit or overpass, even at an unrelated point
of the road, can affect everything between you and where you're going. In
the case of the mud machine, sometimes the problem is between you and the
mud -- perhaps one of the intersections in the highway system is having
problems (routers & switches, by this analogy); sometimes the problem is
between the mud and the rest of the world (right on the off-ramp, or on
the driveway, as it were).

The bad news is that in the near term, there isn't very much that the imm
staff can do about these two sources of problems. Backups in the network
between you and the mud are inevitable, and we don't know when we'll be
able to increase the overall capacity of the connection between the mud 
and the rest of the world.

But the good news is that there are two important things you can do to
prevent lag, and to reduce its affect on you.

The first thing you can do is use MCCP (mud client compression protocol),
which you've probably been hearing about from us online. You can check out
http://www.randomly.org/projects/MCCP/ for full information on this. The
idea behind MCCP is simple -- it's as simple as a car pool, basically. Four
cars carrying one person each take up more room than one car carrying four
people, and fewer cars on the road means that everyone gets there faster --
mccp is a method where all the data you send back and forth between your
client and the mud takes up less space.

The second thing you can do to combat lag is to look at your use of
bandwidth -- are you asking the system to make unnecessary trips on your
behalf? We don't want to discourage you from doing what you enjoy, but if
you can make changes without even noticing the difference, why not? Do you
go AFK for long periods of time? Consider turning off some of your channels
or going to sleep while you're away, if you don't intend to scroll up and
read through what you've missed. Do you have the habit of regularly typing
in commands like 'who' or 'look' or 'score' or 'inv' and then pay no
attention to the output? I know I do this and I hardly notice myself doing
it -- but all these extras take up bandwidth.

We can't prevent all the lag which comes our way, but with a little
conservation of space through MCCP and examining our habits, we can each
make a difference and improve the situation for ourselves, and everyone
else.

-LadyAce

 Be sure to check out HELP COMPRESSION and HELP MCCLIENT for more info.

___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                          Recent Updates                         |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'
 
    /\                           CODE UPDATES
   /  \     
  /    \    BUG FIXES:
 /_    _\     o Trying to animate player's corpses now only gives one 
   |  |         error message. 
   |  |       o Passing through stone walls with detect illusion no longer 
   |  |         gives 2 messages. 
   |__|       o Color command's syntax message is now clearer.
    /\      
   /  \     
  /    \                       HELP FILE UPDATES
 /_    _\   
   |  |     The following helpfiles were recently added or updated!
   |  |     
   |  |         ACCEPT, BREAK DOOR, CLANS, FRIENDS
   |__|     
    /\      Thank you to all the players & imms who assisted in this update!
   /  \     
  /    \    
 /_    _\                        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
    /\      responsible for the area (check AREAINFO to find out!)
   /  \     
  /    \                      Installed Area Updates
 /_    _\   
   |  |     AFRICAN SAVANNA
   |  |       Some small tweaks, notably the wildebeests.
   |  |     BENGAL
   |__|       The weaponeer shouldn't teach the wrong skill if you pay
    /\        for the one other than you're asking to learn. Various
   /  \       bugs and typos fixed.
  /    \    BEOWULF
 /_    _\     Farmwife quest should be possible in a few more ways.
   |  |       Various bugs and typos fixed.
   |  |     SEONI JUNGLE
   |  |       The bugs won't leave you stunned forever now. Boars act
   |__|       like other boars in the world. Various minor bugs and
    /\        typos fixed.
   /  \     1802 ALASKA, ANASAZI AMERICA, AZTECS, CELTIC IRELAND,
  /    \    ROMAN BRITAIN, SOUTH SEAS, and TEA ROUTE
 /_    _\     Various minor bugs fixed.
   |  |     
   |  |                    In Progress Area Updates
   |  |     
   |__|     This section is intended to let everyone know what builders
    /\      are working on behind the scenes. It is not a perfect record
   /  \     of progress as all builders will not make updates every week.
  /    \    Players badgering builders about progress or a perceived lack
 /_    _\   thereof will be flogged. Remember, the longer spent answering
   |  |     questions, the longer the project takes to complete.
   |  |     
   |  |             Chocorua     Prohibition New Hampshire
   |__|             Straussy     R. M. S. Titanic

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
  _______   ____    _______
 /  ___  \ / __ \  /  ___  \  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 Chances of Sniping?               o A Frozen Status?
 o More Weather Affects?             o Marauder's Status?
 o Tithes for Clans?                 o Styx Called to Active Duty
 o Poll & Pkill?                     o Contract Killing?
 o Seeing Who Accepts You?           o Lag: What's Compression?
 o More on Seeing Accepts?           o OTS & History of Legend
 o Zmud & Compression?               o New Areas?
 o Upcoming Workshop?                o Any Tinyplots Planned?
 o Character Jobs/Ideas? 

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

                    LegendMUD Connection Analysis
                            January 2002

                       Peak Mortal Players 68
                         Average Peak was 51
                    Peak PKOK Enabled Players 38
             Pkokenabled Characters represent approximately
                       52% of active players.

                   Peak Accept All Characters 11
             Accept All Characters represent approximately
   7% of all active characters and 14% 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.

The third table shows the same averages calculated by the day of week.

              hour  0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11
              ------------------------------------------
              avg  36 32 28 25 20 16 15 16 17 20 23 26
              pke  18 16 13 11  8  6  6  7  8  9 12 14
              aas   3  2  2  1  1  0  0  1  1  1  1  2


              hour 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23
              ------------------------------------------
              avg  29 32 32 38 40 42 40 41 42 42 42 40
              pke  15 17 18 21 23 24 23 22 23 22 22 20
              aas   2  2  2  3  2  2  2  2  3  3  3  4


              day   MON  TUE  WED  THU  FRI  SAT  SUN
              ------------------------------------------
              avg    32   30   29   28   29   32   34
              pke    17   15   15   14   15   16   17
              aas     2    2    2    2    2    1    2

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

      MON       TUE       WED       THU       FRI       SAT       SUN
   AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA|AVG PK AA
------------+---------+---------+---------+---------+---------+---------
 0: 37 18  3| 28 15  2| 33 16  3| 31 15  2| 37 19  4| 41 23  3| 42 20  2
 1: 36 18  3| 27 13  2| 30 14  3| 27 14  2| 33 19  4| 35 18  2| 37 16  1
 2: 31 15  2| 24 11  2| 29 13  3| 23 12  2| 27 14  3| 34 16  1| 32 14  1
 3: 25 12  2| 24 10  1| 25 11  2| 21  9  1| 23 11  1| 28 13  1| 27 11  1
 4: 18  7  1| 19  7  0| 20  9  2| 17  5  0| 20  8  1| 24 10  0| 24  9  1
 5: 14  5  0| 16  5  0| 17  7  1| 13  4  0| 16  6  1| 18  7  0| 21  9  0
 6: 15  6  1| 14  5  0| 16  7  1| 12  5  0| 14  6  1| 17  8  0| 17  7  0
 7: 18  8  1| 14  5  0| 15  7  1| 14  5  0| 16  7  2| 15  8  0| 18  7  0
 8: 19  9  1| 15  6  1| 17  8  2| 16  6  1| 19  9  1| 14  6  0| 18 10  0
 9: 22 11  1| 20  8  1| 17  9  1| 20  8  1| 22 10  1| 17  9  0| 21 11  0
10: 25 14  1| 22 11  1| 19 10  1| 23 11  1| 26 13  1| 21 13  1| 28 15  1
11: 29 16  2| 27 14  3| 23 12  1| 23 10  2| 27 14  1| 26 14  1| 31 18  1
12: 33 17  2| 30 17  3| 24 12  1| 22 11  2| 27 14  2| 30 17  1| 35 21  2
13: 33 18  2| 33 18  4| 30 16  1| 26 15  3| 27 13  1| 33 17  1| 41 23  3
14: 32 20  2| 36 20  4| 33 19  2| 28 17  3| 25 12  1| 35 19  1| 38 21  1
15: 36 22  3| 38 23  3| 40 23  3| 33 19  2| 36 18  2| 40 21  3| 40 22  2
16: 41 25  2| 41 23  2| 43 25  2| 40 22  3| 35 20  1| 41 22  2| 42 24  2
17: 43 25  2| 42 25  2| 42 25  3| 42 23  3| 35 20  1| 43 23  2| 43 24  2
18: 46 25  3| 42 25  3| 39 21  2| 42 25  4| 29 17  1| 39 21  2| 47 26  2
19: 47 25  3| 44 24  3| 40 22  2| 37 22  2| 33 18  1| 41 21  2| 46 24  2
20: 47 25  3| 44 24  5| 43 22  3| 40 21  2| 38 21  2| 40 20  1| 46 24  3
21: 44 24  5| 44 24  4| 40 21  3| 41 22  2| 38 22  2| 44 21  1| 42 21  4
22: 39 20  4| 41 21  4| 38 21  3| 43 23  3| 43 23  3| 46 24  2| 43 20  4
23: 36 18  4| 35 18  3| 36 19  3| 43 23  4| 43 25  5| 47 21  3| 41 21  5

Be sure to also check out www.legendmud.org/stats for longer term info.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
   _____
  /  _  \   DID YOU KNOW: Tips and tricks and little-used features
 /__/ \  \  
      /  /  Have you ever wondered what those strange letters in the Jobs
     /  /   column next to the immortals' names on the who list mean? They
    /__/    represent what jobs that immortal can do. A capital letter
    __      means they are a full immort in that department and a lower
   /  \     case letter means they are an assistant.
   \__/     
            Admin Dept. Goal: to enforce the rules of LegendMUD, and to
   _____      have a mature, professional staff to set a good example for
  /  _  \     the players.
 /__/ \  \    
      /  /  Admin Imms can help you: learn the rules, recover purged
     /  /     characters, register descriptions, and protect yourself from
    /__/      harassment.
    __        
   /  \     Building Dept. Goal: to make Legend capable of supporting 150
   \__/       players, with areas that take full advantage of the code and
              showcases it to best effect, and that all areas are
   _____      cohesive, well-designed, and balanced.
  /  _  \     
 /__/ \  \  Builders can help explain their thinking on why a quest works
      /  /    a certain way, or what sources they were using when building
     /  /     an area and why they did or didn't include certain things.
    /__/      Builders also appreciate useful suggestions made to help
    __        make their areas better.
   /  \       
   \__/     Coding Departmental Goal: to get the mud code in good enough
              shape to release publicly as a code base for other muds. To
   _____      make it flexible, efficient, stable, expandable, and
  /  _  \     configurable.
 /__/ \  \    
      /  /  Coders are responsible for writing and maintaining the code
     /  /     that runs the world of Legend. This does not include the
    /__/      rooms, mobs, equipment, or the acts that the mobs and rooms
    __        use to interact with players -- those are maintained by the
   /  \       building staff. The coders add new commands, skills, spells,
   \__/       socials, moods, and other features to the game. And can help
              with commands that aren't acting as expected.
   _____      
  /  _  \   PR's LONG TERM GOAL: to make this the friendliest mud on the
 /__/ \  \    Net, with a welcoming atmosphere, a rich diversity of
      /  /    people, a mature atmosphere, and a depth of social context
     /  /     unmatched anywhere.
    /__/      
    __      PR Imms can help you: learn the commands and how to play
   /  \       Legend, customize your character with strings and
   \__/       descriptions, or to develop your roleplay. PR Imms are also
              in charge of a variety of events, games, and activities,
   _____      which may include flag hunts, trivia, tinyplots, lectures,
  /  _  \     player meetings, and all kinds of contests. The PR staff
 /__/ \  \    publishes the Legendary Times (or LT) and also updates the
      /  /    LegendMUD web page at http://www.legendmud.org.
     /  /   
    /__/    If any of the above jobs interest you and you want to consider
    __      joining the immortal staff, be sure to read HELP PROPOSAL 
   /  \     while you are logged on and point your browser directly to 
   \__/     www.legendmud.org/Reference/documents.html for more info.

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

                             Announcements
                             =============

Styx's player is a United States Marine Corp Reservist in RL, and he has been
called to active duty. So if you miss seeing him around, that's where he is.
Send some good thoughts his way for a safe return.

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

               Rowane has reached 400 million experience!


                               Personals
                               =========

Hazel eyed story singer seeks fun dates. Silliness a must. A taste for
sangria is helpful. But please don't mention the M word.

Interested parties should send replies to Moira Connaught of the Fields
of Albion.

                             Trivia Results
                             ==============

Congratulations to the winners of this week's trivia game! This is the
last one of these from LadyAce for a little bit, but watch events to see
all the things we have in store for you in the month to come.

Our winner this week was Mario, with 6 questions correct. The first
runners-up were Mortisha and Ember, with 5 questions correct. Dolor
followed close behind with 4 questions, Lelldorin scored 3, and Jenna,
Rebel, Prunesqualor, Aji, Quintano, Eve, and Jaggers got 1 question
apiece. Congratulations all!

Some sample questions:

1. What Frankish general stopped the Arab invasion at Poitiers in 732?
2. Where are a dog's sweat glands located?
3. Who formalized the theory known as 'method acting'?
4. What did the first-ever coin-operated machine dispense?
5. How did the Incas keep records?
6. Which Roman general sacked and razed Carthage?

See the end of this issue for the answers!

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

The following message was written on a stretch of hide and seen tacked up:
 
    The Amazons are trying to find more warrior women and wise women to
    join their tribe! We're looking for women of any level, skill, and rp
    to join us!

    Our primary goal is to make new friends, but we will also try our best
    to help each other XP, CR, Re-EQ, money run, find skills and words or
    get EQ. We are an "RP" clan, but its not required that you rp as an
    amazon.

    If you're interested in joining, send me a tell or mudnote!

    - WyldeFyre - Queen of the Amazons

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

Rumor has it that several members of various PK clans are still wet behind
the ears so to speak never having engaged in a pk fight in their current
careers! Could these clans be recruiting and building new secret weapons
or are they harboring moles? Others yet are growing rusty and haven't
exercised their pkill tactics in a while... or are they padding their
numbers to feel powerful or just keep their clan alive? You're not going
to make us name names now are you?

The members of the Mercenaries and the IRA have been getting busy this
past week and the Dark Enforcers members have also seen their share of
action. Things have been kinda quiet within the Hermetic Order and the
Grand Coven... and just WHAT could those Secretives be up to? Has anyone
even heard from them?

Have you witnessed 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 the pk world, advertise with us! It's free and you get to see
your name in print! Be a celebrity, the envy of all your friends, tick off
your enemies! The possibilities are endless -- act today!!!!!

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

           The Thieves clan has closed up shop and disbanded.

            The Bovine Clan was disbanded for low membership.

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

There are currently 19 RP clans and 9 PK clans. This leaves open slots for
three (4) 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 for players interested in founding and
running a clan, visit http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/gm.html.

              _______________________
             /                       \
        o O | Wonder what folks are   |
  `\|||/    | doing over at LegendMUD?|
   (o o)     \_______________________/
ooO_(_)_Ooo________________________________________________________________
_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|___
__|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|

                           Coma's Reawakening

It's been nearly a year now since the man who now calls himself Coma first
awakened, soaked through and chilled to the bone, on the docks at the Port
of London. The fog-shrouded atmosphere was vaguely familiar in an unnerving
way, but many important details -- his name, for instance -- eluded him. At
that time, he was barely able to drag himself to his feet. He discovered
that his body refused to obey him. His blood, tainted by unknown chemicals,
was cold in his veins. His eyes, dimmed by sedatives, would not focus
properly. His fingers, broken and scarred, were numb. His face... was gone,
replaced by a mass of tattered flesh, barely held together with decaying
black stitches. It was all he could do to drag himself, relying on the
shattered remnants of distant memories, to the Jolly Beggar, and there he
collapsed in a heap.

This past year was spent not in an attempt at recollection, not in an
attempt at gathering up the disparate remnants of the life that had
betrayed him and left him, broken and used up, on the docks... instead, it
was spent building up a new self, creating a new person from the fleshless
skeleton of a personality which was all the nearly mindless Coma had left.
His new name he drew from his state of being, which was very like walking
about while comatose, living but not alive, mobile but not truly animate.
The sludgy leftovers of stale memories that coated the dark places in his
mind like a toxic film, he used as his only foundation, vague, wraithlike
memories of wickedness and deceit, of daggers and pistols and filthy
alleys. Names floated into his mind as his new persona began to take shape:
A woman, Fortunata or Maria, the memories were unclear... It mattered
little to Coma. Whoever she was, she was quite dead, she had to be... but
still the memories plagued him. He pushed them aside when he could.
Instead, he turned his attention to studies into the nature of mortality,
the impermanence of the flesh, and how that very flesh might be
manipulated. Although he became something of an authority on the ways of
flesh, as well as something of a surgeon, a streak of depravity, another
remnant of the life he'd left behind, slowly shaped him into a profane
parody of what a healer should be.

Coma found that he was not one who enjoyed travel. He found that his quest
for shards of identity took him to nearly every dark corner of the world,
to every continent, across oceans, into the wild places where men ought not
to go. As something of a wanderer, but known among other travelers as a
dangerous madman, not to be trusted, he sought out various bits of
blasphemous lore. Slowly, the realization dawned on him that he was
returning, again and again, to certain places -- without knowing exactly
why. He began to realize that these places held portions of the memory he
had lost, and that the very remnants of memory he had been trying so hard
to ignore for the past year were the very things pulling him inexorably
back to these locations time and again. It was in that instant that he
realized how inescapable his past was, and that to continue to exist as a
complete entity he would have no choice but to absorb those fading echoes
of the past into his being. Finally, he was beginning to accept that who he
was becoming would be at least partially dependent on who he had been.

Now, Coma's life is changing. As he cultivates the memories of his
fractured past, even as they cool and fade away, he finds that
enlightenment has grave consequences. These memories fix their cold stare
upon him, judge him, and find that he has fallen too far. These
realizations gnaw at him. Has his chance at worth passed him by? What
cataclysm robbed him of his identity and left him, burning with chemical
fire and writhing in agony as his body failed him, on the docks in London
one year ago? What was he before, and why has that phantom self driven him
to become what he is today? It has been said that to recognize a problem is
the first step toward solving it. Does Coma still have a chance to redeem
himself, or has too much damage already been done?

                                  -----

Indeed, Coma no longer resembles a wandering madman, some lunatic, escaped
from Bedlam, roaming about. Instead as as he comes closer to his truths, he
appears as a pitiful wretch, barely held together with stitches, that
shivers in the pathetic shell of a once-great man.

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                          An Institute of Trust

Well it has been sometime since I banded with the healers of the world,
for too long I was alone, alone in the dismal darkness of candle lit
laboratories and alone in the dust covered tomes of old knowledges.

And now I have chosen to return to the world of the light, to the world of
the pure, I have abandoned many of my old friends to return to those who
are in need of my more simple skills, those of alchemy, anatomy and of
healing. Within the Institute of Healing Arts, I have found new friends,
and reacquainted myself with lost ones.

They have even taught me a few things about the druidic way which I had
never yet explored before.. marvellous how I can still be learning after
so long though.

But it is Lachesis who has taught me quite possibly the most.. for a very
long time I have been alone, and I have demonstrated a lot of hostility
and anger to those of the 'nice guy' disposition.. but she reminded me how
it can be helping those in need.

With this new found respect for those about me I gave up my futile
struggle against the world and relaxed into the welcoming arms of my
newfound clan and my newfound love.

It saddens me that it has taken me so long to write to your periodical to
explain my change in circumstances and life. But, well, things spin so
chaotically out of control at times...

with kindest regards,
Dr. Herbert West. (Starting Over)

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Answers to the sample trivia questions above.

1. Charles Martel
2. Their feet
3. Konstantin Stanislavsky
4. Holy water (invented by Hero in 1st century AD)
5. By tying knots on string (called quipus)
6. Scipio

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