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VOLUME NINE, NUMBER EIGHT                                 February 23, 2002
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

                            TABLE OF CONTENTS

                            The Editor's Note

                          NEWS, REPORTS, UPDATES
                            Calendar of Events
                    Immortal Applications Due March 1st

              "Making Friends and Influencing RPers" Workshop
                     Website Character Pages Wanted

                              Recent Updates
                            Recent Q&A Topics
                      DID YOU KNOW: LENGTH command

                              LEGENDITES
                               Personals
                               Clan News

                        Taking Care of Business
                          The Essence of Man 
                    Cloaked in Fire and Shadow (part 3)
                       A Bit of False Abandonment
___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                        The Editor's Note                        |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

First off, I want to thank everyone who helped celebrate Legend's 8th
birthday last week. I know a few felt the Expies ceremony was rushed and
that their jubilation was cut short as they cheered for their friends and
were hushed during the presentations by what they saw as impatient imms. I
don't think ANYONE wanted to dectract from the winners, but if it's not
organized, a two and a half hour event can decend into chaos where no one
has fun because they can't tell what's going on for all the neverending
spam. So please accept our apologies if you felt constrained and hampered
by the need channel your excitement to appropriate times.

Likewise, Q&A's run much smoother along similar lines. People who raise
their hands and wait to be recognized to ask their questions deserve the
attention on their question and not have the immortals sidetracked off into
side conversations that have nothing to do with the topic at hand.

Don't get me wrong, I like an informal gatherings as well as anyone, but
the best ones are where people respect each other and naturally limit the
excess spam and focus on the person who has the floor.

I also must apologize to several people who have sent in RP stories before
the deadline but won't see them published this week. People are excited
with a regular and predictable publish schedule and eager to see their
name up in lights and that in turn excites me. However, I try to keep each
issue a reasonable length. I frequently get comments on the how RP section
often contains "scrollers"(not my term). They mean the ones that ramble on
and on and don't pull you into the story. So what I would ask of everyone
who DOES submit stories, please go over it several times, trim it to the
essentials, work on tightening them up -- 500 words is a good goal. After
much editing, I've blown my own limit, but trimmed off 100 excess words. =)

The other two subjects I want to talk about this week are clans and PKill.

I've also heard many GMs complain how they (or very few members) are the
only contributors to their clan's bank account. This has led to several
interesting suggestions from keeping a log of the last 10 transactions for
the clan's account, to a tithe command where members automatically deposit
a percentage of their deposits to the clan account. I'm leaning towards a
form of the tithe command that would be very customizable where GMs would
be limited to a reasonable range and individual members could choose to
contribute more if they wanted. Also GMs could choose not to require a
tithe by setting the percentage to zero. It may not be the most popular
tool to provide, but if you're investing something in the clan and not just
getting the benefits that other's are paying for, you have more of a stake
in it overall.

People keep crying that pkill is dead, and the pkill clans do nothing.
I've been slowly building up some tools to help both imms, the GMs, and
the members tell if that's true or not.

This past week, roughly 31% of all PK Clan members were involved in a pk
situation at least once. The most any PK Clan had was 45% of their members
involved in a pk situation this past week. Also 64% of all clan members (RP
& PK clans combined) who are listed with a Last Pk Battle: for the last
week in roster long were in a PK clan.

One new tool that will be coming soon, is that the Last logon: and Last PK
Battle: times in the roster long command will be color coded according to
how long it's been. GMs (and all members) with color will know at a glance
who is active and which characters are just padding their rosters. More
members might look good, but you will have more fun in a clan that has a
higher percentage of active members than one that has all their slots
filled, but you never see another member on at the same time.

If your time and your characters are too spread out because you've made too
many obligations to too many clans, there is no shame in scaling back to
focus on your favorite(s) and most rewarding ones. Once again, thanks to
those of you who are out there in the trenches and participating in your
clans and having a great time with it!

-Kaige

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

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

Thursday,  February  21st   6:00 pm           Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Saturday,  February  23rd   2:00 pm           Making Friends and
                                                   Influencing RPers
Wednesday, February  27th   9:00 pm           Scavenger Hunt!
Thursday,  February  28th   6:00 pm           Q & A in the OOC Auditorium

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

Friday,    March      1st   midnight          Immortal Apps Due
Wednesday, March      6th   9:00 pm           Scavenger Hunt!
Thursday,  March      7th   6:00 pm           Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Wednesday, March     13th   9:00 pm           Scavenger Hunt!
Thursday,  March     14th   6:00 pm           Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Sunday,    March     17th                     St. Patrick's Day
                            7:00 pm           Irish Casino Game
Wednesday, March     20th                     First Day of Spring
Thursday,  March     21st   6:00 pm           Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Wednesday, March     27th   9:00 pm           Scavenger Hunt!
Thursday,  March     28th   6:00 pm           Q & A in the OOC Auditorium
Sunday,    March     31st                     Easter Sunday
                             Join us for a day-long Easter Egg Hunt!
___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|               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. And try to come to the special
Q&A session being held on Feb 16th at 2pm system time in the OOC.
 
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
       http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/imm_conduct.html
   IMMORT PROPOSAL REVIEW PROCESS 
       http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/app_vote.html
   THE GENERAL APPLICATION FOR IMMORTING 
       http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/gen_app.html
   THE ADMINISTRATION PROPOSAL 
       http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/admin_prop.html
   THE BUILDER PROPOSAL 
       http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/builder_prop.html
   THE CODING PROPOSAL 
       http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/code_prop.html
   THE PUBLIC RELATIONS PROPOSAL 
       http://www.legendmud.org/Reference/proposals/pr_prop.html

___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__| Making Friends and Influencing RPers: A Workshop and Discussion |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

       Having trouble making friends for your newbie character?

        Wondering how to get into the clan of your dreams?

We'll talk about all those issues and more! And give you a chance to bring
up your own issues. The format will be informal, with lots of room for
discussion and questions. We'll present some ideas, but the focus will be
on coming up with new ones together.

Please join us on Saturday, February 23 at 2 P.M. system time at the OOC.

- Rusalka, Kae, and Dude

___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|            LegendMud Website Character Pages Wanted             |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'

Just a reminder, as part of the overhaul of LegendMUD's web site, the
character pages (http://www.legendmud.org/Community/charpage.html) have
been trimmed down to only those with active links. The list is fairly short
now. If you have a web page devoted to your character or clan let us know
about it. Email chocorua@legendmud.org with the link and a short (1 or 2
sentences) bio or summary and I will get them added.
 
                  --Chocorua
___                                                                   ___
\  |-----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
/__|                          Recent Updates                         |__\
   '-----------------------------------------------------------------'
 
    /\                         CODE UPDATES
   /  \     
  /    \    MISC CHANGES  
 /_    _\    o squeal social
   |  |      o socials <letter/string> and moods <letter/string> show the
   |  |        moods/socials that match <letter/string>
   |  |      
   |__|     BUG FIXES 
    /\       o Channels properly recognize <social> <person> <obj>
   /  \      o If you rescue someone who isn't being attacked it no longer
  /    \       turns the mob to attack you
 /_    _\    o Say alts that are also socials now work with the syntax: 
   |  |        <social> <person> <obj>
   |  |      o Chain lightning now has appropriate skill lag
   |  |      o Hush social (only sends a message to the person using the
   |__|        social and the person they're using it on so that it doesn't
    /\         add to room spam)
   /  \      o Eye is now eyeroll instead of eyepoke
  /    \     
 /_    _\                      HELP FILE UPDATES  
   |  |      
   |  |     The following helpfile was recently updated:
   |  |     
   |__|      General Info: ALT, CHANGES, CLAN, CLANS, COMPRESSION, CRASH, DEATH,
    /\         DEATHTRAP, HITROLL, IMMORTING FAQ, LENGTH NEWBIE, ORDER, PKOK,
   /  \        PRETITLE, REDEEM, REJECT, SOCIAL, SOCIALS, TIPS, WEATHER
  /    \      
 /_    _\    Legends of the Past: AUGUSTUS 
   |  |     
   |  |      Skill & Spell Info: INCITE, PARRY, WALL OF WINDS
   |  |     
   |__|     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
   /  \     
  /    \    THE ALHAMBRA
 /_    _\        Alters a couple of items rent wise.
   |  |     ANCIENT GREECE
   |  |          BOTTOMLESS CHASM handles strings properly now.
   |  |     BENGAL
   |__|          Tiger's cage now relocks after fights. Handler will draw 
    /\           ticket price from bank account if you ask. Various bugs and
   /  \          typos fixed.
  /    \    CELTIC IRELAND
 /_    _\        Makes the tapestry like the hide doors in Alaska. Increased
   |  |          reset time on doors. Various bugs and typos fixed.
   |  |     MELBOURNE
   |  |          More updates to the bushranger quest.
   |__|     PARIS OPERA HOUSE
    /\           Be very careful approaching the mobs on Center Stage -- their
   /  \          tactics have changed. A couple of items added, a couple of
  /    \         items changed. Some mobs' alignments slightly altered. Various
 /_    _\        bugs and typos fixed.
   |  |     ROMAN BRITAIN
   |  |          The old wife has some new tactics, beware. Various bugs and 
   |  |          typos fixed.
   |__|     SEONI JUNGLE
    /\           Some mobs tweaked: python, nilgai, bear, panther in particular.
   /  \          Some response work.
  /    \    SHERWOOD
 /_    _\        Molly shouldn't wander off now. Thomas pushes you out in front 
   |  |          of the correct inn. Various bugs and typos fixed.
   |  |     AFRICAN SAVANNA, ARABIAN NIGHTS, AZTECS, BEOWULF, CASABLANCA,  
   |  |     FRENCH & INDIAN WAR, HOSPITALLER MALTA, PORT OF LONDON, and 
   |__|     SAN FRANCISCO
    /\           Various bugs and typos fixed.
   /  \     THE OOC LOUNGE 
  /    \         The rp board has 'rp' and 'rpg' as keywords.
 /_    _\   
   |  |                    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.
   |  |     
   |  |             Kae          Larderello (Dante's Hell)
   |  |             Kaige & Ptah 1950's Americana
   |__|             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 Immortal Chars?                   o Imms Alts as GMs of Clans?
 o Using an Old Proposal?            o Area Proposals?
 o Level Requirement to Apply?       o New Spells and Cast Levels?
 o Knowing Cast Levels               o Mundaning OOC Items?
 o Target/Obj Socials on Channels?   o Starting Mort Games?
 o Problems with An Imm?             o More Redeem Options?
 o Prestige Changing More?           o Spellbooks
 o Getting Strings?                  o Mobs Reactions based on WHOISES?
 o Different Dream Cases?            o Shoot <target> <direction>?
 o Upcoming Pkok Changes?            o Using Spellbooks?
 o Can Imms See Cast Levels?         o Newbies & Agg Mobs?
 o Doors Closing Automatically?      o CLANS RP and Screenlen?
 o Commands and Mesmerize?           o Control Weather Duration?
 o Cast Levels & Spellbooks?         o RP Workshop Saturday?
 o Changes for Surgeons?             o Builder App: Quests?
 o History Archive? 

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
   _____    
  /  _  \   DID YOU KNOW: Tips and tricks and little-used features
 /__/ \  \  
      /  /  Ever gotten frustrated because you've come up with an awesome
     /  /   description, string or slot only to have it turned down when
    /__/    the immort tried to do it for you because it was too long? Do
    __      you hate typing in your title and finding out it was just a
   /  \     couple letters over? Using colored text an instant headache?
   \__/     
   _____    There's a command that will help you figure out just how many
  /  _  \   visible characters are in any given string entered.
 /__/ \  \  
      /  /  Syntax: LENGTH <some string of characters>
     /  /   
    /__/    This command allows everyone to verify the length of strings
    __      and descriptions before finding our from an immortal that it's
   /  \     longer than the allowed limit. You can also use it for pure
   \__/     curiosity's sake too, if you really want.
            
  ___                                                                  ___
  \  |----------------------------------------------------------------|  /
  /__|    LEGENDITES: Information Regarding the People of Our World   |__\
     '----------------------------------------------------------------'

It seems the Valentine's in the last issue stirred up some interest, at least
for Dame Dechtire of Ulster. You may recall she got a Valentine that was signed
anonymously. She sent a note for us to publish in hopes of drawing her secret
admirer out a bit more. The day before her note arrived, we had also received
another missive from the shy admirer setting us up as a rather amused go
between. So below are the notes, so they may reach the intended eyes.

     To 'Anonymous,'

     I wish to thank you for your kind sentiments published in this
     journal last week. I would be more inclined to thank you in
     person, but I am truly at a loss as to your identity. Might you
     step forward and identify yourself? It is somewhat of an
     embarrassment to me that one who seems to know something of my
     history seems a complete mystery. Again, I thank you, and hope we
     might have the opportunity to speak together soon.

            Sincerely,
            Dame Dechtire of Ulster, Knight of Legend
     
                    @-->--->---         ---<---<--@

     Lady Dechtire, by now you've received my note of interest. I'm
     hoping at one point soon my nature, and certain other forces
     keeping me at bay, will allow me to reveal myself to you. Until
     then, I remain anonymous, but rest assured, you have stolen my
     heart.

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

On February 19th, Masha officially formed 'The Soldiers of the Dark Lord'
clan. It seems that it remains that everyone still sees the Dark Lord in
their own special way. What remains to be seen is extent of the
theological debates that have already started waging between those that
shun the light and those that follow their own paths of the Dark Lord.
 
When asked to comment on the purpose of the clan, General Masha Corlan had
the following to say.
 
      'The Soldiers of the Dark Lord are just that. We are soldiers.
      It is our duty and purpose to take and hold territories for the
      Dark Lord until he can come to the land and bring Darkness to
      all things. We are bound by the Nine Pillars of Darkness, and
      consider the other factions fighting for the Dark Lord to be
      inferior.'
 
The Dark Lord himself has not been available for comment and all has been
quiet, so far. We do ask that any black, oily, sludge-y patches be
reported immediately for the safety of all. Oh and if you hear a soft,
galooshing sound... run! But it may already be too late.

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

Once again the PK clans with the most active members are the IRA, the Dark
Enforcers and the Mercenaries. The Mercenaries, failing to ruffle any
Knights feathers, have sold the The Knight's of Legend Code of Conduct
because none would come face Krynn to claim it. One has to wonder if the
current owner will be as polite and business-like about the whole affair.

Perhaps those chilvalrous Knights are ashamed for letting their code
remain out of their grasp, but nary a whisper has been heard from either
Knights clan for the past week. Perhaps it was just time to make their
move, perhaps it was coincidence, perhaps not, but there's been some
stirring within the Secretives, could be they're looking for new blood?

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

During a CR of Robar & Emry, 5 AA characters of different clans came
together to lend a hand. Just think of the havoc that could have been
wreaked but wasn't. 

P-Bliz[IRA] jumped Shou[MERC] near Tara before fleeing when the
reinforcements (MERC GM Krynn) arrived to aid his clanmate. After much
waiting and patient stalking, P-Bliz departed the realms and the
Mercenaries went on their way.

Is there a storm brewing? Our sources tell us that several areas have been
infiltrated by agents with an as yet unknown purpose. Could trouble be
looming on the horizon? Stay tuned for further developments

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!!!!!

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

There are currently 20 RP clans and 9 PK clans. This leaves open slots for
three (3) 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________________________________________________________________
_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|___
__|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|_____|

                        Taking Care of Business

The Pardoner's shriek was cut short with a sickening snap as the bridge of
his nose shattered. His visitor stood silouetted in the doorway, smiling a
rueful grin and rubbing his blood-spattered forehead. 'Religiousss typesss,
alwaysss ssso hard-headed.' he hissed with a throaty chuckle.

Consciousness broke over the Pardoner like the mother of all hangovers. He
practically turned himself inside out retching at the taste of his own
blood, and an excrutiating pain hammered between his eyes - understandable
when you considered the warzone that was once his nose. Attempting to clutch
at his agonised head he discovered with a start the secure bonds holding him
to the log he was propped up against. He squinted painfully at his
surroundings, and started again - he was no longer in the guesthouse, or
even in the Abbey grounds for that matter. However it was his immediate
company that really made him jump. There, perched beligerently between his
outstretched legs, was undoubtably the largest crow he had ever seen. He
swallowed and held his breath, instantly aware of the vulnerable state of
his nether regions. The bird appeared to grin at him, and slowly,
deliberately, licked its beak. The Pardoner's reflex reaction was a clumsy
attempt to crush it between his knees. The patellas cracked painfully
together as the bird leapt clear of harms way with a single easy beat of its
expansive wings. It alighted carefully on a raised pile of blackened skulls,
which had until recently been obscured from view by its bulk. Behind the
pile, quietly skimming through a large leather-bound volume that was propped
open on top, stood his visitor.

'Ah, our guest isss finally awake - welcome to my Campground of Redemption!'
he proclaimed proudly, gesturing grandly at the bizarre surrounds. He closed
the book and glided silently around to where the Pardoner was tied. The
Pardoner now took the time to have a good look around him, at least as far
as his bonds would allow. He sat in the middle of a small glen which was
overshadowed by a pair of gnarled trees. They seemed to claw at the sky with
dead brittle fingers in a desperate attempt to get out. A banner tied
between them flapped limply in the thin breeze that hissed through the
leafless branches, but he could not make out what was written on it. The
grisly skull-pulpit squatted directly in front of him, each component part
mocking him with an empty-eyed grin. A number of rough log 'pews' had been
dragged in front of it - he was tied to one of them.

The Pardoner's host perched casually to the left of him, on the edge of what
he realised was an open coffin. Behind it were a number of piles of freshly
turned earth, obviously graves he concluded with a shudder. To his right,
nestled around the trunk of one of the trees, were mundane items of day to
day living. A carefully tended fire blazed cheerfully, a rough hewn table
strewn with scrolls and scraps of paper, and a bedroll partly visable in the
hollow of the trunk. The bizarre and the ordinary rolled together in such a
small area struck a jarring note of discord within the addled mind of the
Pardoner. He finally turned and forced his blurred vision to focus upon his
host.

Black leather, and lots of it. It made the white collar and the cross around
his neck stand out even more starkly. Something within the Pardoner snapped.
'Call yourself a man of the cloth!?', he exploded.

Flecks of foam appeared at the corners of his mouth as he spat 'Who the Hell
are you?'

'Why have you brought me here?' he added, points of cold sweat standing out
on his brow as he struggled to comprehend his grim situation.

The Preacher sighed. 'Oh yesss, rather amissss of me not to introduce myself
- Preacher Kaine'sss the name, and we have sssome businessss to discussss.'

Kaine spun his pistol out of its holster and plopped the barrel neatly
between the eyes of the Pardoner's upturned face and rested it there. Pain
seared into the Pardoner's brain, but he remained remarkably still. 'Now
itsss nothing personal, purely businessss you understand...' he soothed.

'Asss a businessman yourself, Im sssure you realise the detrimental
effectsss of competition, especially in sssuch a sssaturated market-place
asss ourssss.' he explained patiently.

'Now I'll be the first to admit I didn't adequately resssearch the degree
of demand of the target market before invesssting capital, and I'll agree
that whilssst my ssstart-up venture isn't much in comparissson to your
organisationsss essstablissshment, it ssstill needsss to pay the billsss.'
he concluded, waving vaguely about him with one hand.

The pardoner spoke slowly and carefully. 'The abbot will never approve of
you setting up here.'

Kaine snickered and shrugged. 'Oh, I don't ssseek any approval - he can
consider thisss the ssstart of a ... hossstile takeover.'

A slight pressure on the trigger caused the Pardoner's head to spray a
spectacular claret fountain across the clearing before he slumped to one
side. 'This meeting isss now concluded, thank you for your time and your
valued contribution.' he muttered whilst nimbly retrieving the Pardoner's
money pouch.

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

                The Essence of Man - by Dr. Herbert West.

It is always in the quiet hours that I perform my most delicate research, I
can hear her soft breathing drift through the house, it always reassures me
that she never has to see my more sadistic experimentation.

But surely who could judge it? My research has always been for the benefit
of mankind, albeit a little more radical in its approach than some might
like.

I never enjoyed the splashes of blood or the jagged sound of bone being
torn asunder by an almost blunt saw blade.

But my research was all I had lived for, I had created life, I had restored
life, but after all of this time my concept of what life even is was so
horribly wrong.

During my testing on the cloth I had taken from Fate's gown I noticed
several similarities between the fluids produced by the body and the
chemical reactions certain things inspired in the human physiology.

That same shimmering fabric of Fate's dress was identical in almost every
way to the endorphins and serotonin in the human brain.

Sure the dress was more concentrated but with the right provokation Im
certain I could get the same results in a human subject.

And so as I stumbled through the early morning fog I came by an old tinker
sharpening a thoroughly rusted sword, so I sat and discussed with him the
nature of the soul.

Being a man of God as most are in the countryside I live in he gave me a
lecture on heaven and the soul and I simply nodded and smiled as the
formulae I had injected him with took effect.

It had only taken a moment as he spoke, I stabbed him through his trousers
with the syringe and leaned back as though enjoying the conversation, he
simply slapped at his leg as though a mosquito had bitten him.

A few moments later he looked wide eyed and began to say something and
abruptly fell into my lap, good lord how undignified!

And so I struggled with my precious cargo back to my laboratory and quickly
sealed all of my exits so as to be more soundproof.

The familiar twitches of living tissue under my scalpel, the formulae had
always done that, the perfect anaesthetic but its side effects were that
the entire body responded to my ministrations even though the consciousness
was subdued.

Of course it only took me a moment to have a large section of his skull in
my hand and a powerful magnifying lens and spotlight positioned over his
brain.

In under an hour my suspicions were confirmed, a small gland just below the
hyperthallamus which most surgeons till now had always considered a part of
the spine, it was in fact secreting and absorbing the liquid I guess we
could call 'the soul' into and out of the bloodstream.

Surprising no one had ever noticed it before, but it really was rather
simple and all together not a very noteworthy process.

And so as I placed the skull once again in its proper position and stitched
the poor mans scalp back on he awoke suddenly, his eyelids burst open and
he screamed.

I still had not finished my stiching so I told him to be calm and he leapt
from the operating table and fled into the woods, a fine trail of surgical
silk flying off his head.

Apparently they found him a few days later, twitching in a creek eating a
rabbit raw and without first skinning it, his visceral grin smeared in
blood.

But the disturbing part that was reported only after much inquiry was that
he had lost the lower portion of his skull and a small section of his neck
muscle had been torn, rendering him somewhat mentally retarded.

Of course no one ever suspected that their local physician might have
anything to do with it...

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

                   Cloaked in Fire and Shadow (part 3)

The stars gathered in the nighttime sky, hundreds of millions of light
points, twinkling in the early night. Masha looked up at the sky, drawing
her cloak about herself tighter as she laughed softly to herself. She and
the traitor had done several times this, and now it would be over shortly.
'You're getting too overconfident, woman,' the other said in the back of
her head. 'Just because you have a new body doesn't mean you are
invincible.'

'Why not?  You thought so. Look what happened to you,' she responded aloud
to the other in her mind. Her blue eyes sparkled with the prospect of what
miseries she would come up with. A slight smile twitched on her lips as an
image of the traitor on the rack, being pulled tighter and tighter as
boiling water was sprinkled lightly over his taut frame. 'It doesn't
matter, though. He betrayed me, and thus it ends miserably for himself,'
she continued.

'What about the Enforcers?  You do have obligations with them, girl.'  The
other in her head could be very logical at times, but at others
unimaginably insane. There was a chuckle at the back of her mind. 'Are
you expecting them to forget your obligation to them?'

A snarl formed on Masha's lips as her fist pounded the balcony's onyx
railing while her thoughts swam with more images again. Lilian's face
flashed by, along with several other Enforcers, and the body of a former
Enforcer, a traitor. The last one was not from her mind, but from the
other's. 'They didn't help bring me back. They ruined what tentative
peace I tried forming while working my other plans. I have my own troops
now, and we have taken Carthage.'

Another chuckle, and a flash of a town burning to the ground. 'Just as
Rome burned, eh?  Perhaps you should think more on a grander scale than on
mere vengeance for a lost lover?'

Turning her attention back to the stars, Masha frowned. Her chalice was
empty, and the youth responsible for filling it was no where to be seen.
Her black gloved hand tightened on the stem, and her eyes flared red with
anger. The cabernet left in the bottom spilled onto her hand, rolling
helplessly off the leather.

Her new body was finally conforming to what she wanted. Masha's height had
diminished by three inches, leaving her at a mere five feet seven inches.
Yellowish-blonde hair crowned her head, hanging loose to flow in the wind,
and only had nine small braids in it, each having a different colored bead
around it. Her tanned skin looked odd, more olive colored than tan, pulled
across taut muscles, more taut than the previous body had been. Her long,
shapely legs were still the same, just as her stride resembled a slithering
snake, too smooth to be natural. Parts of her had gotten more voluptuous,
as though mature with age.

Masha loosened her grip on the chalice, frowning faintly as she stepped
back into her chambers. Her eyes shifted into the infrared spectrum,
thanks to the Elven body she had aquired. A shivering form was huddled in
the corner. 'Come out,' Masha ordered, her voice cold and sharp like arctic
snow.

The small form crawled out, shivering and whimpering. 'S-sorry,
m-mistress,' it began and suddenly cut off as Masha's eyes bore through the
whimpering slave.

'Perhaps you should spend more time in the dungeons yet again, hmm?'  Teeth
bared in a charicature of a smile. 'Or perhaps thrown to the soldiers for
a fresh piece of meat?'  Boots clicked on the floor as she crossed over to
her favorite chair, a tall backed chair with no padding. 'I do not like
being disappointed, and perhaps I should just replace you.'

A small wail of terror came from the slave. 'N-n-no, mistress. Please
n-no!'  Desperation tained the slave's voice as he whispered, 'I . . . I
could f-find the traitor, m-mistress . . .'

A feral grin came to Masha's lips. The slave would not live against the
traitor's sword, but it would be easier than coming up with innovative
methods of torture. 'Do so, slave. Please me, and perhaps you shall
live.' A hint of mockery seeped through her chill voice. 'I want you to
bring me the traitor back alive.'

'As y-y-you wish, m-m-mistress,' came the terrified response. A scurrying
sound of feet tripping over themselves came to Masha's ears as her lips
smiled.

Memories slowly filtered back as she sat back in her chair, one foot
swinging back and forth. Isam had been there when she opened her eyes for
the first time in this new body. Her first breathes were while she looked
up at him, wanting him to hold her. He had been distant, eyes cold, and
wondering if it were truly real.

Several weeks later, she had been sitting in a quiet garden, slowly growing
used to her body, and to the new sounds she had been able to hear, unlike
before. Isam found her, and treated her coldly, then told her the one
thing that brought about her insanity. He cheated on her.

Her logical side told her it was only natural, since he didn't know when
she would be brought back. The other side, the sinister dark side told her
that he needed to die. That side had been more vocal.

Seven city-states later, chaos and burnings, a small empire was forming.
'Soon, we march on Kleinsdadt through Spain. We'll take it and any other
small town in the way. People will regret laughing and scorning me. He
will regret living.'

A mocking laugh came to her, 'Are you going to make sure you hang and skin
every one who looks at you wrong as well?'

'Shut up,' her arctic voice said, and her eyes looked into the darkness,
looking to the future and what it would hold. Red and black, fire and
shadows, the two colors that at one time struck fear into many, would
strike trepidation in the hearts of man yet again. Her lips smiled while
her eyes blazed red in the night's darkness...

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

                     A Bit of False Abandonment

The Stag was busy as usual, people came and went. I looked up in time to
see two women enter, one carried herself with the air of authority that
I've noticed royalty to have, the other was young, walking beauty to me, I
couldn't take my eyes off of the lovely thing. I watched as the two women
made their way to a third.

'Hello.' It was the younger woman speaking to the third, she had beautiful
red hair, her name came to me, Minx. The third woman nodded her head to
Minx.

'Denstra? Why am I hearing you tossed a child into the streets? What is to
these horrid rumors?' The woman who carried herself like royalty, and
indeed she looked like royalty in a golden gown and a shining crown,
addressed the third woman. I knew her, MoiraGwyn. How could I forget such a
pretty woman? MoiraGwyn was speaking again, she looked rather concerned.
'Surely there is more to it?'

'I didn't toss any child into the streets.' Denstra's voice was calm, it
was hard to tell what she felt at being accused of abandoning children.
'And this child here was never mine, she was my fiancee's,' Was? I listened
closer. 'Not to mention I haven't seen her in so long I hardly recognize
her.'

MoiraGwyn lent closer to Denstra, her voice almost too low to hear what was
said. 'Did Cymo toss her...?' Her question died on her lips as she glanced
at Minx.

'My love would never do any such thing.'

'Everytime I see you, you ignore me or be cold to me.' Minx said. I wanted
to get closer to the conversation, but how would I do that without drawing
attention to myself? I decided to remain sitting in my seat.

'I haven't seen you' Denstra said, her voice still calm she continued. 'I'd
rather you didn't lie. I dont' remember the last time I talked to you, much
less was cold.'

'You just didn't notice me.' Who couldn't? She had such a well developed
body for a 'child' and her hair was such a vivid shade of red.

'And that is cold how?' Before Minx could respond Denstra continued, 'I'd
prefer that you didn't spread rumors about my fiancee and me.'

'No rumors were being spread,' Minx responded, her shoulders going up
slightly in a shrug. 'I told the truth as I saw it.'

'You're assuming things.' This was quite intriguing, MoiraGwyn watched as
the two talked, she looked more and more confused as they continued
talking.

'I felt lonely and uncared for and wanted. Sorry if that is not the case.'
Again the young girl shrugged, then she turned and made her way back out of
the Inn. The conversation over I went back to my dinner, but this was
rather interesting.

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