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April 13th, 2004, 09:18 AM
"There will be no council meeting Mistress Vexx" said Albert stepping from the water onto the shore.

"You!" gasped Vexx.

"Uh Oh," said Jinx.

"Yes, me. You are right about one thing though, everything must end and I am afraid your meddling must cease," said Albert walking towards the Mistress and the little dragon.

Vexx turned and tried to flee but Albert held out his hand and the Faerie froze, her joints creaking. Her face contorted as she tried to move. Another gesture from the mage and flames engulfed Vexx, the Mistress screamed and then vanished, leaving a small pile of ash.

Jinx turned to flee and yelped as Daniel, swooped down and clamped both wings between his teeth.

"Move and I'll fry you with a burp," said the firedrake. Jinx gulped but complied as he was flown towards the Hat Man.

"Hello," said Jinx, shaking.

"Hello little faerie," replied Albert with a smile.

"Do you know me?" he asked.

Jinx nodded and gulped.

"Excellent," said Albert clamping his long pipe between his teeth, "that will save time."

"You see," he continued, "This is now about Elves and men my dear little dragon, it's time you mischievious faeries kept out of it... And I'm relying on you to deliver that message to all interested parties," Albert winked at him and nodded at the firedrake, who released him. His wings buzzed and he hovered before the Hat Man.

"Any questions?" asked Albert.

"Um... No sir," said Jinx.

"Then bugger off," said the Hat Man, shooing the dragon away with his hand. With a 'pop' Jinx was gone and Daniel's shoulders sagged.

"Gah, he would have been tasty," said the firedrake crestfallen.

April 13th, 2004, 02:56 PM
Boldar sat by the fire as the sun began to creep over the horizon. Next to him sat Terk. Gina and Mya were attending an injured LRI man and Bass was helping Shef prepare breakfast.

Boldar looked at the youngster. "You did well," he said. "I saw you help the chef during the battle... That took courage lad."

"I was scared," replied Terk, embarrassed.

"We were all scared son, nothing to be ashamed of, it's when you stop being scared you have to worry."

"You didn't look scared," said Terk, looking up at the giant.

"Of course I was," Boldar laughed. "You need that fear, it's the adrenaline pumping around your body that keeps you alert, makes you deadly."

"But I watched you kill at least four Elves, you looked fearless," said Terk.

"And how many did you kill young Terk?"

"Two, although I think I hurt another badly before Shef hit him over the head with his pot."

Boldar laughed and slapped the young warrior on the shoulder. "There you see, despite your fear you beat two... Maybe three, seasoned dark elves, now that is courage. I have been fighting for over thirty years laddie and I only managed to beat one more than you."

Terk smiled, he knew the giant was cheering him up but he swelled with pride none the less.

"Now do me a favour," said Boldar.

"Sure," replied Terk grinning.

"Go and find out when that tubby pot fighter is going to have breakfast ready."

Terk laughed and paced towards Bass and Shef. Mya crouched down by Boldar and pulled his jerkin off his shoulder, revealing the arrow punture hole. The giant did not react although the wound hurt.

"I heard what you said to the boy," said Mya, taking a crescent-shaped needle and passing some thread through its eye, "that was good of you."

The compliment seemed to trouble the giant more than the woman pinching his flesh together and forcing the needle through the skin.

"He was a brave lad, but it must be hard to see your friends die," replied Boldar blushing a little.

"Well, at least you will never suffer from that... Having no friends," Mya smiled.

Boldar laughed, his shoulders jerking and Mya cuffed him around the head for making her lose a stitch. She finished and leaned in close to bite the thread before tying the wound off.

"You were lucky the arrows weren't poisoned," she said.

"If they had been from the assassins guild, we would all be dead," said Boldar grimly.

"Well, we may have to face them yet," replied Mya.

"So you and Gina are going to continue with this quest?"

"Aren't you?"

Boldar looked across at Bass and nodded. "When I start something lass, I always finish the job," he said.

"I think beneath that attitude and very ugly exterior, you are a good man Boldar."

"Is this how you intend you persecute me now woman, by making me blush?"

"That's as good as gets," she said over her shoulder as she walked away from the fire, hips swaying just a little. Boldar looked down at his crotch, "don't you start," he said.

Bass, Shef and Terk returned to the fire with bowls of steaming stew. Terk handed a bowl to Boldar and sat down next to the giant.

"What's this?" asked Boldar.

"Chicken stew," replied Shef proudly. The giant was passed a roll and he dipped it in the rich gravy, chewed and groaned, "goooood," he beamed.

"Where on earth did you find chickens?" asked Boldar.

"Albert's flying white thing reluctantly gave them to me, the Hat Man thought we could use a hearty meal after last night."

"Fantastic, you ain't a bad chef after all Shef," said Boldar, "In fact you can do quite a few things with that ladle, I saw you hit that elf with it, I hope you washed it before you used it on this stew?"

For a few moments the men ate in silence and Mya and Gina joined them with their own bowls and the remaining Crystal City bound LRI ate, talked and joked until the sun was high in the sky.

April 13th, 2004, 08:31 PM
The inn was crowded, noisy, full of mirth. Reed sat at a corner table, pretending to eat stew. When he was in one of his moods, crowds numbed him. His natural curiosity made him listen to all the conversations he was able to pick up. To all of them at once. The effect was that he hadn't a clue what anyone was talking about, but caught quite a few out of context words. In the past, he had referred to this process as the meditations of a chaos monk, but also, as his personal way of getting stoned. One thing Reed could do without in such situations was a single strain of verbage taking precedence over the others. Or, in other words: company.

"Jinx," he said.

"I'm happy to see you, too, Barney. Look, the mage's toasted Vexxy."




"You don't exactly look grief stricken."

"I'm bluffing. Deep down inside I'm absolutely devastaded. Honest."

"I was trying to get her to call the Council."

Reed mustered the energy to shake his head. "You've been living too long with Horton."

"Like teacher, like student. Wanna hear something weird? He left me alive to spread the word to all interested parties that there was not going to be a Council. And that the faeries are not to meddle in affairs."

"Interested parties?"

"I figured that would be you. Although, I'm confused about the plural. And you're not part of the council. Certainly, the Council's not interested in calling the Council."


"What's he up to, do you think?"

"Anyone's guess." Reed shrugged.

"You're not very talkative, Barney? Why's that?"

"Because you're disturbing my solitude."

"Oh." And Reed could hear the faint pop of faerie dragon teleportation.

"Then, you're not in the mood to meet friends, either, I suppose."

Oh, no! But the mood was ruined. He turned his head.

"You wrote, you'd lost weight. You're fat as ever."

Arleena glared at him. "Well, perhaps I should ask the shadows for help, huh. Oh, wait! I'd be a walking time bomb, wouldn't I?"

Reed got up and met her eyes. "Friends suck. They stifle your desire to take risks. All they ever really do for you, is give you something to worry about."

"You can say that again. And you can count on them to f**k up big time at the most importune moment."


Down in the tavern, Arleena and Reed, who hadn't seen each other for ages, stood glaring at each other in silence. Then, without a visible cue, they hugged. And although she'd have liked nothing better than to descend from the rafters, announcing her arrival, Gilli didn't move.

April 13th, 2004, 10:28 PM
Bass, responding to the sublte gesture from Albert, waited for things to settle in the camp and walked off into the small copse of trees near the bay. As expected, he found Albert there, awaiting him.
Bass looked quizically at the man. "I know what you are, you know."

Albert shrugged. "Any guess would surely miss the mark, old one. I, however, do know what you are."

Bass rubbed his bald pate. "How much do you know?"

"All, or almost all, I suppose."

"And you'll support me?"


Bass flinched. "Perhaps! You know the risks..."

Albert smiled, then giggled. "I know a good time when I see one." Bass was fuming. "Oh, yes, yes, I understand the risks. Let's say I won't stand in the way of what you plan. Good enough?"

Bass grunted.

"Fine then," Albert went on cheerfully. "I suppose there are some instructions from Juzza you should have."

Bass listened, paying careful attention to the details.

With the instructions given, Albert turned away and walked out of the copse. Bass followed after a moment, but realized the man had disapeared.

"Dangerous one, that. Unstable too." Bass muttered to himself.

April 13th, 2004, 10:56 PM
The sun was a mere handspan above the distant horizon when the band reached the gates of Crystal City. The city was a massive pile of rose colored granite, veined with quartz perched on a bluff above Krill Bay. Sunlight striking the quartz gave off the crystaline sparkle for which the city was named. The northern gate was open, with just two guards standing off to the size, lazily watching the steady stream of passers by.

"Where to, raisin?" Mya asked.

Bass scowled at the nickname she had adopted for him. "Center square, Lamplighters Inn. We are to get rooms and wait for Juzza to either join us or send message. It could be a week or two."

Boldar scowled. "Wait a week? Likely be sitting ducks with more damned assassins seeking us."

Gina nodded. "Gotta agree with you on that one. Perhaps we should scout about a bit, investigate the route into the mountains. You seem to know your way around, big man. You know the route to the entrance to the underdark?"

Boldar, still shocked by the agreement from Gina, was slow in responding.

"Say it all more s l o w l y, Gina. Big man has a tough time with so many words so fast." Mya said.

Boldar grunted as if hit in the belly. He glared at Mya, but clearly his heart was not in it. "Yes, I have been there before, and I can get us to the cleft leading in, though it is unlikely we can get even that far uncontested."

"Why? Don't traders enter the depths?" Gina asked.

Bass interupted. "Yes, traders do, but they are under control of the traders guild and only go on routine trips, all scheduled and closely supervised by the dark elves. Their are certain protections in the cleft to keep the uninvited out..."

"And," Boldar included, "we will likely run into guards and spies long before getting to the cleft itself."

Mya smiled. "Good then, let's get a room, get some supplies, and go check it out. I am in the mood to... hurt... something."

Boldar returned her smile. "That's my lass! I'm in, though Juzza like to be miffed with us..."

Mya scowled. "Payback then. I don't like being used, or tricked. Time to get ahead of things a bit, eh? And Boldar, I am not 'your lass'." The last was said without heat, seemingly as an afterthought.

Bass sighed. "Fine then, but let's get through this throng and into some rooms. Tomorrow we can organize and re-supply. If we don't hear from Juzza by the end of day, we will start out the next day, though I am not sure it is a good idea..."

"Ah, a cool beer and a hot lass, just the thing!" Boldar brightened noticably.

"I hope you're still-- up-- for it. You know how these things can be at your age... working one minute, and not the next." Mya quipped.

Boldar looked angry, then quickly shifted to concerned. "Wha... now, that's not a fair thought to put in a mans head. A man needs his confidence... its.. its... oh lass. Have I mentioned that you're a cruel one?" Then as quick as though, his expression changed to a smile. "But I know YOU know how to get a rise from me, now don't I? How about a little cup of wine with a travelling partner?"

Gina shook her head. Mya held back a smile.

"You pay, I'll drink. As to the rest, dream your dreams man."

Boldar seemed to take that as assent enough.

Bass inturrupted, pointing ahead to a massive four story edifice, made of the same rose granite, veined with quartz, as the rest of the city on the far side of the square. "There we are, the Lamplighter."

They all walked across the square, oblivious to the several sets of eyes watching their every move.

April 14th, 2004, 12:58 AM
Mik was most certainly not doing well. The smoke had scared his lungs, making it difficult for him to breathe. He had managed to get out of the house though. Evan hadn’t. Cromwell would see the blisters on his skin. Much of his hair was either singed, or burned right off.

The same watchmen that had tried to burn them, carried Mik out of the square and into a slightly nicer neighbourhood where they were deposited in the back of a cobbler’s shop of all places. The place smelled like a cross between old leather and human feet – a scent Cromwell didn’t like so much.

“Why we here?” the ogre asked Sir Gravin, when the majority of the watchmen left.

“I’ve sent for a healer,” he said. “You’re not in good shape. And if your friend doesn’t get help soon, he’ll die.”

Cromwell leaned over him. He could tell by the scent of the wounds that Gravin was right. He sat beside his friend and began to inspect his own wounds. His feet had been burned, but there was a layer of thick, dead skin on their bottoms anyway. Most of his burns were superficial, although his clothes hadn’t fared so well.

“You know where is Lady Danika?” Cromwell asked.

“No. She left the city a week ago. I’m afraid this place is no longer safe.”

“But Crystal city have grand army.”

“Yes. But we’re not being attacked outright – not yet. There are assassins out there. For the last couple weeks, the watchmen have been attacked at random. We’re not sure who’s behind it, but it’s put them all on edge. That’s why they were so quick to attack you. They thought you were assassins so to send a message they wanted to burn you alive. I wish I could have gotten there sooner. This whole mess could have been averted.”

“Past is past.” Cromwell thought about the predicament for a moment. “This smell like elfs.”

“Dark elves, yes. We’re expecting them to send an army soon – both them and a warlord by the name of Sharn.”

“Maybe they already here,” Cromwell said. “Elfs is sneaky. Not like to fight face to face. They not have numbers alone to siege Crystal City. So they attack at night and make soldiers confused.”

Gravin nodded. “Indeed. We’re already under siege, and the city’s generals don’t know it. But even if we are under some kind of invisible siege, I don’t know why. The Crystal City has nothing the dark elves would want.”

Cromwell rubbed his chin. “Have Lady Danika.”

“Had,” Gravin corrected.

“Have Kult’ar?”

“I don’t know where it is.” That was the truth.

“Maybe elfs want to downthrow Sharn,” Cromwell thought out loud.

“That doesn’t make any sense. Don’t trouble yourself over it, Mr. Hornsmash. Ogre’s aren’t meant to solve such riddles.”

“I’d listen to him, mate.” Mik coughed. He looked up at Cromwell.

“Mik man. You okay?”

“Just a little crispy, mate. What’s on your mind?”

“Sharn have big army – too big for elfs. Crystal City have big army – too big for both Sharn and elfs. But elfs chip away at Crystal City army slowly. They make them scared… confused… sleepy. That way they equal strength with Sharn’s army. If he see they weak, he attack. War wear down both sides. Elfs then do what they want.”

Just then came a knock at the door.


The old woman was dressed in a cloak. It kept her face hidden. Cromwell could tell by her scent that she was old though. She had a boy with her – he couldn’t have been more than ten years old. Where she went straight to work on Mik, the boy stood transfixed by the ogre.

“Gravin, draw you’re sword. It’s an ogre!” he shouted.

“Relax, Quinot. He’s a friend. He works for the Loveable Rogue.”

The boy walked around the room to get to Gravin’s side, keeping as far away from Cromwell as he could.

On the other side of the room, the old woman pulled back her hood. She placed the palms of her hands together and began to rub vigorously. Then she began running her hands over Mik’s body – hovering over his wounds. It was a simple procedure. To complete it, she leaned over, opened her mouth, and pressed her lips to his.

After deep breath, the old woman pulled back and coughed. She hacked and hacked until a solid lump of mucus-covered soot fell out of her mouth, and onto the cobbler’s floor.

Mik stood right up on the bad. “Good Lord, that’s the kiss of life!”

April 14th, 2004, 03:32 AM
You do tell some porkpies," Daniel huffed as he watched a family of mice dash for cover under a wagon. The drake licked his lips and tried to wriggle under the low sprung vehicle, banging his head. "Sh*t*" he swore and blew a plume of flames, which curled round and melted the snake head spurs attached to Albert's boots.

"Thank you," Albert replied and looked down at the remains of his spurs. Daniel wasn't sure if his companion was thanking him for getting rid of those cheap, badly designed bits of metal or referring to the fact he had just called him a liar. The small Drake sat back on his haunches and decided to clarify.

" You have lied about the Kult'ar all along."

Albert tipped back his hat from his face, his hooded eyes became more so. "Not lied, not told everything, but what I have said is true."

"Semantics." Daniel retorted and cocked an eye at the mice, who were peering out from under the wagon.

"What I told Juzzza about the Kult’ar and the other magic goings on here drawing magic away from other worlds is true.”

“Didn’t tell him you were the project consultant during the construction did you? That surprised me you don’t even like Elves. Admit it, it’s the ears?” Daniel’s eyes began to twinkle as the father mouse crept out and began to tiptoe towards the barn. Daniel dropped down onto his belly and began to crawl after the small creature, his tongue licking out and tasting the scent of fresh mouse.

“No it is the I know best for the world because I am a elf attitude besides I didn’t help.” Albert’s eyes what could be seen of them were nearly black now.

“ Like Ffffuuu…………” Daniel started but did not finish. Suddenly Albert’s right hand was round Daniel’s neck, he was hauled off the floor and was now dangling muzzle to nose with the Hat Man. “One day, one day I am going to find out how the bugger does this Daniel’s mind burbled as he tried to swallow.

“Don’t use that word it is not nice.” Albert said, oh so softly.

“You use it.” Daniel tried to say.

“This, like all things is a matter of do as I suggest not do as I do…”

“Ok…Ok….” Albert released the Drake and Daniel dropped coughing to the floor not knowing that the mice family had now returned safely to the barn.

“As I was saying I didn’t help, just winced, tutted and nodded in the right places. They were going to make it anyway. I merely made sure it had a couple of “flaws.”

“Isn’t that dangerous.” Daniel huffed as the door to the farmhouse opened.

“Not really when you compare it to the risks of a flawless Kult’ar draining magic at a rate that…” Albert stopped as he saw a comely figure stand in the shadow of the Farmhouse door way. “As I was saying, magic drained away would release things that should not be released, least not until the world they are in has moved on enough to handle them.”

“Mallen….” Daniel felt suddenly sick and totally off his food.

“Yes, when Mallen was errrrr put away. It was only aware of one world. If released it would not belong before it found out that there were other worlds to play with…” Albert raised a hand to the figure in the door way and was rewarded with a blown kiss.

“So that’s what this is all about? Keeping Mallen locked up?” Daniel said to thin air, for Albert had some how moved from the wagon to the door way and was sweeping off his hat and bowing to the woman standing there.

Albert didn’t answer, but addressed the woman as he came up from his bow, “lovely as ever m’dear.”

“Tosh,” Juzzza’s mother said and leaned forward and kissed the Hat man on his cheek. Her hand slipped into his and Albert started to go with her into the house.

He then stopped and turned and addressed the drake, “Not just Mallen, each world has their own brand of “Mallen” it is a matter of keeping them all locked up.” Albert slipped his arm round the lovely lady’s waist and closed the door behind him.

“Oh Fuu” Daniel began, was hit by a blast of air and was shot up into the starry night.

April 14th, 2004, 07:59 AM
"This is a nice palace," said Albert striding into the room, "and you will make a good leader Sir Gravin."

Quinot squealed and ran around the table, leaping into his brother's arms.

"No need to be afraid little one, I won't harm you," said Albert crouching in front of the brothers and sweeping off his wide-brimmed hat.

"Have you ever seen a firedrake?" Albert asked.

The boy peered from under his arm and shook his head.

Daniel sighed, rolled his eyes then waddled towards the boy.

"Hello," he said to the boy, puffing blue smoke from his nostrils.

Quinot grinned and slipped from his brother's lap, giggling as he chased the sarcastic drake from the room.

"How did you get in here?" asked Gravin, glancing at his sword at the other end of the long table.

"I come and go as I please lad, but fear not, I have come with information... I mean you no harm. You look like your sister."

"We are twins," replied Gravin tight lipped.

"Indeed, and I suspect your looks are not the only gift you share with your sister," said Albert smiling. The mage leaned across the table and grabbed a green apple from a wooden bowl, he turned it in his hands but did not take a bite. Winking at the knight, he placed the apple on his head then replaced his hat, hiding the fruit.

"What is it you want?" asked Gravin.

"A beautiful lady, fine wine and lamb with minted peas," replied Albert.

"With me," added Gravin not amused.

"Oh," said Albert, "I need you to understand a few things and I need you to help the Rogue."

"But he hunts my sister," said Gravin evenly.

"Hunts is a strong word lad, he seeks her yes, but then so does Sharn, Belaris and the Dark Elf Emperor... Who would you prefer to find her?"

"If she doesn't want to be found, I doubt any of them could find her," added Gravin.

"And do you think she will remain in hiding as this land goes to war? Whilst you and the Elves keep each other busy, Sharn will terrorize the people in your cities, innocents as always, will suffer and die." Albert gestured with his hand and small puff of smoke appeared and evaporated.

"And what will Juzzza do with the Kult'ar if Danika hands it to him?" asked Gravin.

"Hopefully give it to me, so I can take it from this world where it will be safe and before anyone unleashes it," replied Albert.

"You seem to know a lot about it."

"I helped craft it lad, and it is flawed, whoever uses it will unleash genocide upon this world. If a telepath unlocks the power within the Kult'ar, it will do what it was created to do," said Albert.

"And that is?" asked Gravin, knowing he would not like the answer.

"Wipe out all trace of human exsitence on this world... If magic is used to unlock the power, then all magic in this world will vanish. No more Elves, no more ogres, no more faeries, nothing." Again a puff of smoke appeared and evaporated.

"And now there is a greater problem," continued Albert, "I am sure you have heard from one Barnabas Reed?" Gravin nodded in agreement.

"Well, the power he has foolishly unleashed is ancient and deadly. If the Kult'ar is activated in any way, by telepathy or magic, in the presence of Reed and his Shadow Legion... All life will be extinguished."

"Does the Dark Elf Emperor not know this?" asked Gravin.

"Of course, but then at present the only person who knows the whereabouts of the Kult'ar is human."

"Yes but if Dani unlocks it, she wipes herself and her race out," said Gravin.

"Indeed, but a telepath could easily control a magic user and force him to unlock the Kult'ar thus destroying magic... And the elves. Of course a magic user with enough power could force a telepath to unleash it but I don't believe one exists on this planet. What Belaris wants, and the emperor is not that set against it... Is an Elf with telepathic abilities to wipe out the human threat. War is coming Sir Gravin, whether you like or not, until the Kult'ar is removed from this place, it poses too much of a threat to either side to be left alone."

"I have a feeling you are neither human nor Elf, so what is your interest in this?" asked Gravin.

Albert sat down and removed his hat, the apple had vanished. The Hat Man placed his hat on the table and sighed.

"In most worlds it's the people who are the problem... They breed, over-populate and then end up destroying themselves. It is inevitable. In this world, it's magic that is the problem, you have faeries coming out of your arses, not to mention items like the Kult'ar lying about... It's quite greedy. I am here to restore the equilibrium."

"And what would you have me do Hat Man?" asked Gravin.

"Give the Rogue... And your people, some more time. If the Dark Elf armies leave Derudin, the bloodshed will be immense, this world does not need another Great War," said Albert.

"How do I give them time?" Gravin asked.

"A reasonable sized force could hold the Elf armies in the Underdark. Of course the labyrinth of caves and tunnels will mean some troops will escape but no large force will leave, you will be able to slow their progress whilst the Rogue finds Danika and convinces her his cause is just. Take your Ogre army and some men but leave the majority of your guard to defend against Sharn and Belaris's cursed assassins."

"I would rather take my Imperial Guards and leave the Magnalopithicus regiment to guard the cities," said Gravin.

"That would be a mistake," said Albert, "In the centre of the High Valley leading to the Underdark is the Ogre settlement, having your mag troops may sway them to your cause against the Elves, if you show up with human troops, they may join forces with the Dark Elves... I would also suggest taking Mr Hornsmash with you and half of the Loveable Rogue Inc. You can take Castle Cleft and hold the Elf Armies at bay"

"But surely as creatures of magic, the Mags will side with the Dark Elves?"

"Not if you can convince them that your intention is to prevent the Kult'ar from being used at all and that the Elves wish to unleash it to destroy humans but may succeed in destroying everything."

"Why shouldn't I simply take the bulk of my force, human and mag and defeat the Elves?" asked Gravin.

"Because you and I both know that whilst you can slow their army, it is unlikely that you can defeat them. Since the trade agreements were signed, their numbers have swelled," replied Albert.

"And what threat does Sharn pose?"

"He is concentrating on Juzzza at the moment, the Rogue will face a battle when he crosses Krill Bay, I am not sure how many if any of the LRI that side of the water will survive to seek Danika."

"What happens if Juzzza fails?" asked Gravin.

"He can't fail," said Albert gravely.

"Don't you know where the Kult'ar is hidden?" Gravin asked.

"Only Danika knows where the item is hidden," replied Albert.

"Why don't you just read her mind?"

"Ah my boy, my mind hangs in the balance as it is, if I were to enter the thoughts of a powerful telepath, I could go over the edge," chuckled Albert, "the last thing this world needs is someone with my... Abilities, to go beserk!"

"Where will I find the other half of the LRI, I only have Crom and Mik in the city?" said Gravin.

"The Lamplighter," Albert replied.

The Hat Man swooped up his hat, bowed and then left the room. Moments later, Quinot scampered in, his face flushed and his brow wet with sweat.

"Firedrakes are magic," he beamed as he ran to his brother's side. "Where do they come from?" he asked.

Gravin ruffled his brother's hair, "from the Heavens," he said.

April 14th, 2004, 09:18 AM
"There is no better time to attack the humans my Lord," said Belaris passionately, "my assassins are all over the major cities, the Rogue is dead and if Tularis returns to Derudin before we have claimed back the Kult'ar, your rule and my own is under threat. That traitor could sway public opinion with talks of peace, don't you see? He no longer hungers for the role of Master Assassin, he wants to be Emperor."

The Emperor looked at his advisers and they nodded in agreement.

"Are you sure Tularis lives?" asked the Emperor.

"You saw the jade disc my Lord, and my own apprentice was... Defeated by him," Belaris bulked at using the word defeat, but indeed that is what had happened.

"And if we can't re-claim the Kult'ar?" asked an adviser.

"Our armies will sweep across the land anyway, defeating the humans where needs must but fear not about the Lady Longress, she will give me the Kult'ar," said Belaris smiling, "then we can rid this world of the human plague once and for all."

April 14th, 2004, 09:51 AM

Without breaking the flow, just wanted to the thank everyone for their excellent contributions so far.

I have copied all the posts so far into word and just thought you should know a staggering 68,000 words (10 pt) and 140 pages have been written!!!

Now taking away the quotes and message board text I still reckon the tale is approaching 40-50,000 words!!!

Keep it up...

I do have a basic vision or rather plot milestones, in mind but keep on doing what you're doing it's half the fun trying to weave it all together.

If you haven't already, please do look at Richardb's fantastic maps, especially the High Valley and Underdark as that is where half the LRI are headed...