The TORC Conspiracy

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Postby Bardhwyn » Thu Sep 26, 2002 9:03 pm

<b> In a secret location, in an undisclosed cell…</b><BR><BR>“Number 328! You are in violation. Cease at once!”<BR><BR><i> David’s fingers froze over the keyboard. The automaton’s voice crackled like tin over the loud speaker that was imbedded into the featureless gray wall. On his computer screen several compilation programs were running, the streams of code dribbling in several cascading windows, along with a media player cleverly skipping back over the same line of lyric from a Led Zeppelin tune and in the lower left he had a browser open displaying an open reply window to TORC.</i> <BR><BR>“I am trying to reboot. That’s all… give me a few more minutes…”<BR><BR>“Reboot authorized.”<BR><BR><i> David’s screen went blank then flashed into its diagnostic routine causing the man to pound his workstation in frustration. <BR><BR>He hadn’t finished programming Smaug’s Bane and the poor man was only half ‘finished.’ He looked like SB but still had all of his originator's 'skills', not his character's.</i> <BR><BR>“Dammit!” <i> David hissed.</i> <BR><BR><i> The door to his cell slid open and in walked a guard, decked in that intimidating white armor that had only black visors for eyes and a speaker for a mouth.</i> <BR><BR>“Problem, 328?” <i>A male's voice cracked.</i><BR><BR>“No, no problem… it’s just that I was almost finished a massive recompilation. Yunno, you guys could make this easier on me if you’d only just…”<BR><BR><i> The guard leveled his blaster directly at David's head.</i> <BR><BR>“Just do as you’re told 328. That’s the best way to make things easy on you.”<BR><BR><i> Frozen, David couldn’t even nod in response. The guard backed out of the cell and with a press of a few keys, the cell door slid shut.<BR><BR>Somewhat shaken, David allowed his head to sink in his hands. ‘That was close.’ He thought to himself. ‘I gotta be more careful.. the music frequency.. maybe it isn’t the right oscillation. It's not blocking their sensors.. Misty Mountain Hop… I will scan Misty Mountain Hop... Plante's voice might have reached the correct oscillation in that song..'<BR><BR>The console had completed its reboot and David looked once more onto a familiar Windows desktop. He’d at least managed to complete Edain the Ranger and with some more careful work, Smaug’s Bane would be next. ‘Then one more, perhaps.. If I keep yanking them in - program them, they’ll now I am all right and maybe I can stop this damn fool plan of theirs… damn you two..’ an image of Jon and Ted came to David’s mind - of his partners crouched over their computers plotting some harebrained scheme, ‘What the hell are you two doing? This isn’t some role play.. this is real!’<BR><BR>David took up the optical mouse and began searching the database for Led Zeppelin…. </i>
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Postby Lindonbayne » Fri Sep 27, 2002 7:58 am

<b>the top, then the bottom of a tree, somewhere in the eldars</b><BR><BR><i>Lindonbayne perched on a thick branch at the top of a very large oak tree in the Eldar’s estate humming. The song she sang was none other than ‘She’s leaving home’ by the Beatles.<BR>As she sat, swinging her legs, she remembered life before she had been sucked in. It seemed like months had passed since she entered TORC, and the memories took some persuading to resurface. She remembered her family, always rowing, her friends, who didn’t really know her at all, her school, where she had felt so trapped, but none of these seemed to matter anymore. She was no longer miserable, like she had been. She felt like she had finally been set free, after a lifetime of imprisonment. She wasn’t going to give that up. Mods or no mods, Lindonbayne belonged here, and that was exactly where she intended to stay.</i><BR>The others would be fine without her, <i>she thought.</i> They seem to know what they’re doing, and most of them have weapons now, and after all, if they’re caught they’d probably just be sent back home with a quick memory jobby.<BR><BR><i>Lindon slipped off of the branch, landing lightly on the grass. She looked around, and began to make her way through Alliances and Guilds.<BR></i><BR>I suppose I’d be best off finding the Prancing Pony, <i>She said to herself, and resumed her soft singing.<BR><BR></i>‘She’s leaving home<BR>after living alone<BR>for so many years,<BR>Bye bye,’<BR>
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Postby Guruthostirn » Fri Sep 27, 2002 8:27 am

<i>Followed by Wisteria, Guru, Tinu, and the dazed woman walked out to the deck. Settling themselves down by a picnic table, Guru carefully manipulated the seating so the stranger had her back to the building, with Tinu on one side of her, himself on the other. Wiste, after a moment of indicision, sat down to keep the three company.<BR><BR>After a moment of quiet eating, Guru turned to his left and addressed the odd woman:</i><BR><BR>"So, who are you? I don't mean to be rude, but you seem to be rather disconcerted by something. Could we be of assistance in some way?"<BR><BR><i>As Guru waited for the strange woman's answer, he saw a figure drop down from a branch of a nearby tree. With just a slight turn of his head he was able to recognize it as Lindonbayne, one of his companions, and one of the escapee's. Not knowing any details about their guest, other than she had shown up right when they were alerted to a hostile presence, Guru decided to further distract the woman, so she would have no chance of seeing Lindonbayne.</i><BR><BR>"Well, I can't remember whether I introduced myself, but my name is Anorast. I'm sorta poking around the guilds, seeing whats going on in them. I haven't been around too long, and this is one of the cooler places, so I've decided to hang out here occasionally. Are you a member?"<BR><BR><i>Hoping his conversation worked to distract her, Guru waited eagerly for her response, to learn whether she remained oblivious to the massive coverup going on behind her and beside her.</i>
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Postby Wisteria » Fri Sep 27, 2002 4:51 pm

<i>Wiste put her head in her nhands and groaned aloud.</i><BR><BR>"Honey? You okay in there?" <i>her husband called from the other room. He poked his head in and looked critically at his wife. She'd been looking rather tired lately; stressed out from work, she'd told him. Certainly not from stress at home. He'd been working hard to keep the kid's arguments from reaching her ears this past week. </i>"You okay?" <i>he asked again when she didn't answer him.</i><BR><BR>"Hmm? Yeah, hon, I'm fine. Just a bit of headache coming on, that's all."<BR><BR>"You've been getting those headaches everytime you sit at that computer lately. Maybe you need new glasses."<BR><BR>"No, I just got these three months ago. It's just stress. I'm sure I'll be just fine."<BR><BR>"Coming to bed soon?"<BR><BR>"Sure. Just let me finish up on the computer, then I'll be up."<BR><BR><i>Her husband left the room and Wiste rubbed her temples again. He was right. These headaches were coming every night lately. But she hadn't told him they were getting worse.<BR><BR>And things were NOT going well in TORC Con. More and more innocent people were being "dropped" into the playful, and dangerous, world of cyberspace. Lysandros had shown up -- and now Smaugs Bane. How many did that make? She tried to count them, except the pounding in her brain kept getting in her way.<BR><BR>She needed to help them somehow. If only she could think! Grabbing the still-cold can of caffiene-free Pepsi beside her, she put it to her forehead; the cold helped some. The room was dark, lit only by her computer screen and she set her head down for a moment.</i>
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Postby SilverScribe » Fri Sep 27, 2002 6:27 pm

<BR><b>. . . in the Laundry of the Eldars Estate </b><BR><BR>"Found you!" <BR><BR><i>Scribbles winced as the child’s clear piping voice came faintly to her ears. She screwed her eyes shut and tried to scrunch herself down into an even smaller ball, certain that the alarm was about to be raised and the premises searched by mace and lantern wielding Moderators. <BR><BR>She waited. The silence resumed, then deepened, then lengthened. She strained her ears, but heard nothing more.<BR><BR>Something brushed against her hair and she cautiously opened one eye then very slowly turned her head, bracing herself in case some large hairy spider had dropped on her. Instead, perched on her shoulder was a bright eyed, inquisitive mouse, its nose and whiskers all a quiver. She nearly laughed out loud, but instead stayed still, not wanting to frighten the little creature. <BR><BR>She looked at the beam in front of her and another small grey furry lump peered at her from about a foot away.</i><BR><BR>“So, Mr. and Mrs. Mouse come to see what disturbs their home?” <i>she whispered softly, then rolled her eyes at herself. Of all the barking mad things to do, she was now questioning rodents as though she were in a Walt Disney film. She nudged the mouse off her shoulder and watched as it scampered a few feet, then turned back to stare at her again. <BR><BR>She forgot about the mice and strained her ears again. No alarm appeared to have been sounded, all was quiet again. Then she realized that the child’s voice had not really been that loud, she simply could hear extremely well, exactly like her half-elven character. Now her curiosity was aroused, what was going on outside of the laundry?<BR><BR>She swung down and dropped lightly to the floor, then tip toed to the door and plastered her ear against it. She could hear a low murmur of voices, but they appeared to be far away, or at least several rooms removed.<BR><BR>Cautiously, she cracked the door and peered out. Where the heck was everyone?</i><BR><BR>
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Postby Lysandros » Sun Sep 29, 2002 11:53 am

<b>In the Merry Bowmen of Dale Guildhouse</b><BR><BR><i>"I'm a freakin' jerk!?" scowled BV. "What kind of talk is that? No one in LOTR talks like that! Argh, this is ridiculous...what do I care if Bardhwyn of Dale thinks I am jerk?"<BR><BR>Bardhwyn and her friends made their way upstairs and BV went into the common room to think. The informal, mundane lingo that Bardhwyn used disturbed him. The difference in tone was jarring, as when he watched Peter Jackson's FOTR movie; the difference between the verbatim and supplemented dialogue was so marked he had nearly gagged the first time he saw the flick. Thus it was like cold water hitting his face when Bardhwyn spoke. Why would that happen in his dream? Why would there be this incongruous outburst of speech? <BR><BR>He paced in frustration, his brow furrowed. Something was definitely wrong here. This dream was becoming confusing. If he was dreaming to be Lysandros he should be having fun and killing enemies, not feeling disoriented and encountering inexplicable things. The people he was running into should be conforming to his notion of what they were like on torc, not behaving in ways that surprised him. Starting with Bardhwyn he decided to figure out what the hell was going on. Slowly he began to devise a stratagem.<BR><BR>A little while later Bardhwyn, Elenath, Leoba and SB descended. BV immediately noticed the wary expression on their faces. His eyes narrowed suspiciously, but quickly he wiped his face blank and moved to draw a tankard of ale from the keg. Beer in hand he saw that Bardhwyn had seated herself and he made his way over and planted himself on the bench across the table from her, scrutinizing her reaction, watching for clues. <BR><BR>He was given nothing to work with really. Bardhwyn looked uncomfortable, but that seemed logical. The amount of tearjerking angst she had been through thanks to stiff-necked Lysandros made it easy to believe that the scarred Bardlette would feel anxiety in his presence. <BR><BR>Cautiously, BV began to probe. He spoke quietly across the table to her, putting on his best hangdog expression.</i><BR><BR>"Bardhwyn, I am sorry for seeming so distant, but it was strange to find you on the road in such haste, with your friends appearing in such raiment. Besides, you had said that you were going to search for herbs with Scribbles, am I missing something?" <i>he said, intentionally repeating Bardhwyn's angry words to him.</i> "Or is <i>that</i> what I was missing?" <i>he inquired, pointing at her nose. Indeed, it was pierced now, where it hadn't been in the morning.<BR><BR>Bardhwyn's faced tightened uncomfortably for a moment, but BV continued, casually looking at his plate and eating, though of course not speaking with his mouth full. He chose his words carefully. After months of reading Bardhwyn's character, he knew exactly which words would produce an impact with her.</i> "Indeed it looks as if something has befallen you and perhaps you are angry with my meddling in it?" <i>he fired this salvo with his most wounded expression.</i> "I do not wish to cause more trouble for you but," <i>and with that 'but' he steeled himself for a towering display of Lysandrositude,</i> "if you have brought more trouble to the Bowmen then it ought to depart with you too! You may think me a jerk, but Dale and the Bowmen always come first for me, and so if there is trouble behind you, you had best out with it. I will not be made a fool of again."<BR><BR><i>He sat back to observe what made more impact, his Lysandresque self-righteousness or his repetition of her unusual speech.</i>
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Postby Bardhwyn » Mon Sep 30, 2002 9:55 am

<b>In the Merry Bowmen's Guildhouse - in the Dining Room </b><BR><BR><i>HJ closed her right eye focused her left onto the left side of her nose and yes, caught a glimpse of her nose stud. Damn, of course cyber-Bardhwyn’s nose wasn’t pierced. How was she going to explain that? I'll ignore it.. She cast a quick glance over at SB, Leoba and Elenath who tried their best to eat ‘as normal’. <BR>Lysandros didn't stop there, however. HJ sat quietly as Lys pontificated – stifling a grin. So like Lysandros, the pompous git… the pompous handsome git. She got stuck on the word ‘handsome’ for a moment, or two... or three.. before she lifted her hands up from her lap and, with two heavy clanks, laid her manacled wrists onto the table. Funnily enough she recognized Lysandros used the term ‘jerk’. ‘Well’, she thought to herself, ‘I imagined the character to be intelligent, else why would I like him so much?’</i><BR><BR>“I am pleased to hear that Dale and Bowmen come first for you, Lysandros. They do for me as well,”<i>HJ leaned forward,</i> “more than you realize.” <i>She added.</i> “ And I apologize for my ‘unflattering’ remark. I don’t think you’re jerk…hardly. I think very highly of you. I always have. As for making a fool of you, I wouldn’t dream of it.”<i> HJ bit back a few more choice sentences… her character? Make a fool of this character, hardly! BV chose to write the character they way he did and it was far from her character’s fault if BV chose to write such a …grumble, grumble. HJ collected herself and smiled, sweetly, realizing how to really wind him up. She'd be out of here before long and it was a shame - she would have enjoyed 'educating' this character on some of her character's own subleties. 'Yup' doesn't know what he's missing' she said, silently to herself.<BR><BR>HJ leaned over and spoke lowly, so only Lysandros could hear. She looked up into his beautiful blue eyes and whispered:</i> “You know how deeply I feel for you, Lysandros. I would do anything in the world to please you.” <i>HJ took on the most sobered of expressions, as it was Lysandros’ turn to look uncomfortable. Recollecting a few acting techniques, HJ managed to get one eye to tear up..</i> “I will leave tomorrow, at first light and yes, I will take the trouble that follows me.” <BR><BR><i>‘Now for the thrust….’ She thought to herself </i><BR><BR>“Goodness knows how you faired the last time you met §ol. You were in the infirmary for weeks with a near fatal knife wound. Yes, to save you I must leave, and I will… but first.. do have any idea how I can get these manacles off my wrists? They’re so very, very heavy.” <i>She asked, stifling a wry grin. </i><BR>
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Postby Nessamelda » Thu Oct 03, 2002 5:08 am

<b>In the Kitchen of the Eldar’s Estate, next to the broom cupboard</b><BR><BR>Susan repeated the question to Lalatiel, <BR><BR><i>“That way I think” </i> the broom-cupboard occupant replied, pointing to a disreputable looking corridor. “Thanks” said Susan, and ran after her daughter. What trouble would Katie have got herself into this time? Last time it was the “lock that wouldn’t open”. Luckily there had been just big enough a gap under the door that Katie could squeeze through and escape her imprisonment, although the café owner had not been best pleased that his only toilet was locked from the inside with no occupant….<BR><BR>Then there was her other favourite trick…<BR><BR>Susan stopped suddenly, tripping over the can of cooking oil. There was the toilet. There was the open door. There was no occupant!<BR><BR>Susan groaned. Katie had no sense of direction, and nearly always took the wrong turn coming out of strange rooms. Where did this corridor lead?<BR><BR>Running on, looking for signs of her daughter, she raced along the grimy passageway. She checked the rooms on either side. They were all store-rooms, filled with food and supplies – this was the only way Katie could have gone. At the end was a stiff door, half-open, which led to a dusty walled garden. Susan stopped and looked around. There were two doors leading from this courtyard. But only one was unlocked. The further she went the smaller the chances of catching Katie. Why hadn't the silly child turned back when she realised she had come the wrong way? <BR>The door lead to another endless twisty corridor, deserted, abandoned, locked doors on either side.The small amount of light came from skylights in the low ceiling, and was fading fast as night approached.<BR><i>I remember dreams like this</i> thought Susan<BR> <i>Chasing through endless deserted corridors, no windows, no way out, trying to find something important...</i> <BR>But along the middle of the corridor, were the prints of small bare feet in the dust. At last the corridor came to an abrupt end, and Susan pushed out past the dustbins onto the street.<BR><BR>Outside it was now nearly full-dark. The stars seemed very bright here, and in the distance Susan could hear voices lifted in song, very clear, very cold, very beautiful. What lifted her heart further was the sight of a small familiar silhouette standing on the corner. <BR><BR><i>“Katie, come here” she yelled, “What have I told you about running..”</i><BR><BR>She choked off the combination scolding and greeting, for as she came closer she could see her daughter was in animated discussion with a dark-cloaked figure, features concealed in shadows.<BR>
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Postby SmaugsBane » Thu Oct 03, 2002 6:09 am

AW's head swam. <i>"Lys had a near-fatal knife-wound from §ol? Oh yeah, that was a while ago. What thread was that? AMMM? maybe. No, I think it was the AML. Who knows, but I do remember it. And it had nothing to do with the Merry Bowmen of Dale. In fact RL Lys, BV, is very adamant about keeping things that happened between our characters in other threads out of the Bowmen.</i>" <BR><BR>AW looked into Lysandros' eyes. He didn't seem as puzzled by Bardy's speech or her mentioning of actions from another thread as this character should. <BR><BR>AW shook his head, as if he was answering an unseen character's question. <i>"I gotta stop this,"</i> he thought to himself, <i>"I'm gonna drive myself nuts. Besides, it's probably still just a dream. despite what Leoba said."</i> <BR><BR>He looked up from his plate to see that Leoba was looking at him. Was his ring still on? No there had been no echoes. She widened her eyes, pursed her lips, and cocked her head; annoyance written on her face. He got the message: act normally. <BR><BR>He once again resolved to just go with the flow until this really strange dream ended itself. <BR><BR>He looked at Bardy and Lys, waiting for the blonde Bowman's response.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Thu Oct 03, 2002 8:03 am

<b>The Merry Bowmen of Dale's Guild House...</b><BR><BR><i>As soon as the words fell from her mouth she regretted them..<BR><BR>'Damn...that was in the AML! Not the Bowmen! What on earth made me say that? How much cross over is there in this wacky place?' <BR><BR>Inwardly HJ groaned as the dual 'world view' she held in her mind swam a bit and for a moment she felt as if all the blood had rushed from her head. She held all the memories of not just one 'Bardhwyn' but several...The AML 'Bardhwyn', The AML RP 'Bardhwyn' not to mention 'Black Bardhwyn', The Redemption 'Bardhwyn' and lastly 'Bardhwyn' who attended the various Festivals and Weddings - she felt a hot blush rise on her cheeks. <BR><BR>'Hmm, Redemption and the Festivals.. 'she thought, supressing a smile.<BR><BR>She managed to hold her face in the same expression, however, and she watched Lys' eyes - just as expressionless. <BR><BR>'He's good.' she thought to herself. 'Bet he plays a mean hand of poker.' A wave of mischieviousness over came her and she found her self wanting to tease him, just a little...</i><BR><BR>"No suggestions?" <i>She asked, waving the manacles.</i>"OK, maybe someone can pick the locks. Meantime tell me Lys, the nose stud - do you like it?" <i>She asked with a grin.</i>
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Postby Lysandros » Thu Oct 03, 2002 11:34 am

<b>In the Guild House of the Merry Bowmen of Dale</b><BR><BR><i>BV of course also realized Bardhwyn's error. Lys had been stabbed by §ol in the AML, but when he had awoken this morning, there had been no scar on his body from the wound. Logically Bardhwyn would not know of the scar, unless there were two Bardhwyns; one in the Bowmen RP, and another that was the one involved in the AML and had fallen in with §ol in the AMMM once. But that still did not explain why it seemed that the feelings Bowmen Bardhwyn felt for Lys were also present in the other Bardwhyn.<BR><BR>Whatever was the case, it seemed that this Bardhwyn knew how to fence very precisely with Lys. BV was glad that, instead of feeling the tremendous gall that Bardhwyn's remark on the run-in with §ol would generate in Lys, he was merely interested in the swiftness of her change of tone; from a wounded tone misunderstood dejection to a sharp and biting barb to mischievous whimsy.<BR><BR>He needed time to figure this all out, it was becoming interesting enough that he was willing to overlook the insanity of it all in order to unravel the mystery. Slowly he began forming a response that would hold water and not arouse suspicion.</i><BR><BR>"It looks to me like something the Haradrim women might wear. But folk are strange there. As for the manacles, if you remain here and you are embroiled in some sort of trouble, as you have been wont in the past, then perhaps use for the manacles might be found swiftly. But, have I not learned that judgement ought not be passed too swiftly? Perhaps not. But I am trying, can't you see?"<i> BV began to bury himself in the part, milking this episode for all the melodrama it was worth, as he would in the Bowmen RP</i>. "So perhaps you can let me prove that, though you might be in trouble, this time I am willing to help you, and that I am able to trust you. Let me come with you. Though you do not need much protection, I would still feel better lending you aid, and," <i>BV lowered his voice and feigned a struggled stutter in the flow of words,</i> "and proving that, perhaps, I am not as much a fool as I once was. That I do care for you Bardhwyn."<BR><BR><i>BV praised his own performance, and wondered what chamomile tea sipping, teddy-bear clutching female fantasy addict could not be moved by such a display of complex sensitivity and heroic humility.</i>
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Postby Bardhwyn » Thu Oct 03, 2002 10:10 pm

<b>In the Merry Bowmen of Dale's Guild House...</b><BR><BR><i> The sensation of all the blood draining to her feet continued. HJ sat very still, trying to listen to Lysandros, while keeping half an eye on Leoba who seemed increasingly more uncomfortable. <BR><BR>Haradrim… manacles.. <BR><BR>‘Yeah, yeah..’ she said silently to herself, feeling a bit ‘bolshy’, though she was simultaneously feeling remorse and shame - so peculiar. She tried to steady her breathing as she rode the strange integration process that seemed to be accelerating. ‘Was it Elenath’s ring.. or is it just me? Why must I always do things so damn intensely…’</i> <BR><BR>“But I am trying, can't you see?” <i> Lysandros urged.<BR><BR>‘What? What’s he trying do to??’ HJ was forced back to the table. ‘I have to concentrate… I am really making a pig’s ear of this… stay in character…I think I am going to faint…No wonder I never go on dates. I always compete…’</i> <BR><BR>So perhaps you can let me prove that, though you might be in trouble, this time I am willing to help you, and that I am able to trust you.”<i> The Master Archer continued.<BR><BR>‘What the…? He’s able to trust me?’</i> <BR><BR>“Let me come with you.” <BR><BR><i> ‘Oh NO!’ **groan**</i> <BR><BR>“Though you do not need much protection, I would still feel better lending you aid, and ..and proving that…, perhaps… I am not as much a fool as I once was. That I do care for you Bardhwyn."<BR><BR><i> Upon hearing those words, so choked with emotion, somewhat theatrical but choked nonetheless, it took every ounce of discipline to suppress the bodily shudder that threatened to completely betray her inner, tumultuous state. <BR><BR>Bardhwyn was complete overwhelmed, overjoyed and now, if it were possible, more deeply in love with this ‘man’, this ‘character’ than ever before while HJ was just stunned - not quite believing what she’d just heard - while also thinking what a good post it would have made.<BR><BR>She’d reached the culmination of her integration process at that moment, as well. The draining feeling left her. She, quite uncontrollably, took a very deep breath and let it escape in a very long sigh. <BR><BR>She was HJ, she was Bardhwyn, she was fine… she could do this…</i> <BR><BR>“Well. I haven’t heard words like those in a very, very long time.” <i> HJ said with a small, tired smile. She raised her hand so to drag her fingers in her hair and stifled a laugh as she almost bashed herself in the head with a manacle. <BR><BR>Leoba, open mouthed with the shock of hearing Lysandros’ ‘declaration’, caught HJ’s eye - though a brief look was all it took to put HM at ease. <BR><BR>Carefully, HJ managed to rake her fingers through her now thick, wavy hair.. so strange to the touch…while carefully thinking about what to say next. Replacing her manacled arm on the table, she blinked once or twice and took yet another deep breathe.</i> <BR><BR>“Lys, what can I say? I am … touched, really touched that you’d want to help me, so willingly” <i> She said, smiling warmly. What to say next? It was obvious…</i> <BR><BR>“I am sorry, though Lys. I can’t allow you to come with me. You can’t follow me where I am headed, or hopefully headed. You wouldn’t like it.” <i> Lysandros began to interject but HJ lifted her hand, chains rattling.</i> <BR><BR>“The trouble that is following me is serious, Lys <i>very serious</i>. It’s not that you aren’t brave enough. I would feel all the more secure with your sword at hand. No, Lys, you must stay here in Dale with the Bowmen. They are your priority and this is <i>where you belong.” <BR><BR>HJ stopped and assessed the impact of her words. Lysandros had put down his utensils and his brow was furrowed. Even with a brooding cloud over his head, he was still a charmer…</i> <BR><BR>“And I have never once thought you a fool...” <i> She said, again with warm smile.</i> “Not once. If anything I have been more likely the fool, not you. And I owe you an apology once again, I’m afraid. I tried to anger you with that comment about §ol. I was trying to wind you up, I am sorry. It was unnecessary.” <i>HJ chortled a bit.</i> “Like I said, I haven’t been feeling quite myself and I have had a few terrible days.” <BR><BR>“So, you don’t want me to accompany you? You think me unnecessary?” <BR><BR>“No, Lysandros, I think you are very necessary - here. Right here and nowhere else but here.” <i> HJ replied, with strength of voice that was her own. The tone of voice, IRL that causes University student’s to blanche.</i> “And there is more.” <i> HJ’s mind was in full gear now.</i> “If all goes well I will return quickly, with Scribbles and I will have no memory of this, nor will she have any notion of my time here. When you meet this, then know that I have been successful in eluding this ‘trouble’ and rest easy. Let it go. Never bring it up. It could prove ill. Promise Lys, when you meet me again, you’ll let all that we’ve said here tonight go.”<BR><BR><i> Lysandros nodded, his brow still furrowed and with a look that bordered on incredulous.<BR><BR>HJ accepted his silent assent and began to rise from the table.</i> “Good. It is settled.”<BR><BR><i>She reached for a full jug of Dorwinion wine and took up the goblet that stood next to her untouched plate.</i> “If you will excuse me, I am not hungry. Leoba, I will be in my room if you need me, turn left at the head of the stairs and its the second door on the right. Goodbye Lys.” <i> After silent looks at her fellow ‘real worlders’, a few awkward glances at the Bowmen, HJ ascended the stairs and closed herself in her room. <BR><BR>It was as she imagined it. A simple single bed, two windows, a dresser, a closet. The blue dress she’d borrowed from Canamarth for the Bowmen’s Ball still hung on a hook on the back of the door, a single candlestick on the bedside table that was lit, it's slender flame casting a warm light out into the darkened room.<BR><BR>The first goblet of wine went down very quickly, as did the second. The wine was excellent, the best she’d ever tasted. Halfway through the third, she was feeling the fringes of drunkenness and while sitting on the edge of her simple bed, HJ struggled with the complex of feelings and emotions that raged within, those that were her own, her character’s…all in their fullness.<BR><BR>‘Damn… this is hard.’ She thought to herself as she drained the third goblet…</i>
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Postby lalatiel » Sun Oct 06, 2002 5:13 pm

"Found you!"<BR><BR>Lalatiel almost shrieked in surprise as Katie opened the door of her hiding place and announced her find. However, she had no time to say anything before the child bounded off down the hallway.<BR><BR>I was certain I was hidden! she thought to herself, looking quizzically at her ring. The blue stone twinkled in the light peeking through the open door. Dysfunctional ring, she grumbled inwardly. I think I'll make a stop at the Rings Guild and complain, once I get out of here. <BR><BR>Speaking of getting out of here, she was starting to feel very cramped and achy in the tiny broom closet. A dustpan handle was sticking into her back, and she was powerless to do anything about it without knocking the entire contents of the closet to the ground.<BR><BR>She could hear the numerous other members of the fellowship out on the nearby patio, talking to someone she assumed was a moderator. Good idea, she thought, acting as if everything was normal. However, if everything was normal, Lalatiel would not have been in this guild, so she remained in the broom closet.<BR><BR> " Excuse me, have you seen my daughter?"<BR><BR>Lalatiel turned, stunned, at the sudden voice. Nessamelda. <BR><BR> " Er, I..." she paused to think. Which way had Katie gone? Left? Right? North? South? Up? Down? She hadn't really been paying that much attention. <BR><BR> " Have you?"<BR><BR> " Yeah." Suddenly Lalatiel remembered. " That way, I think."<BR><BR> " Thanks." And she ran off, leaving Lalatiel standing uncomfortably in the minute broom closet. Whoever they are, I hope they leave soon, she thought. I think this is the longest I've ever stood in my life.
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Postby EdaintheRanger » Mon Oct 07, 2002 8:00 am

Meanwhile… <i>(OOC: I know its corny but I couldn’t resist<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>)</i><b>In the Guildhall of the Merry bowmen of Dale,</b><BR><BR>Standing in the entrance hall of the Merry Bowmen of Dale guild house, EM/EdaintheRanger was attempting to orientate himself. He was dressed as his reliable character Edain, and he felt that he could recall a lot of knowledge that wasn’t his own, like Elvish grammar and herbal remedies, but he knew that he <i> wasn’t</i> EdaintheRanger and this was all some kind of weird dream or VR simulator. Heck he had seen the films: Matrix being the only one that leapt to mind. It sure was a vast improvement on the last virtual reality simulator he had played: that one were you put on the heavy visor and that glove, and get to choose between the squeaky voiced Elven character, the ordinary Human character and that annoying Dwarf character who’s voice was incomprehensively gruff.<BR>One thing about this game was the graphics, the leading characters seemed to be incredibly realistic, even life-like, though those lesser described characters/extras(?) seemed decidedly blocky, from this angle.<BR><BR>Okay so that seemed to make sense, re-orienting EM’s rather off-centre belief system and grasp of reality. If he accepted that this was a game then he could find the exit, (a black hole with the word “EXIT” in bold white letters <i> a la </i> Gauntlet?) and leave, getting back to the Uni library in time for tea and cakes, or was the correct phase “Smoke me a kipper…”<BR>As he moved through the entrance hall into the main dining hall of this finely wrought guild, he could see the broad, blue banners proudly emblazoned with the emblem of Dale: the black longbow, displayed on the walls. There were also several fine bows set in place as well. Glancing around he could see several faces that seemed vaguely familiar, the thought “Now is that familiar RL or familiar online?” flickered through his mind. EM was about to sidle to a side table and sit down, but maybe that wasn’t fitting here in this world. So instead he cleared his throat, swept back the hood of his weathered cloak and announced <BR><BR><i>“Greetings fine bowmen… and women I’m EM… Sorry Edain, a ranger who hails from the west. My Allegiance is to the high king of Gondor and may I be welcome in your fine guild?”<BR>
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Postby TinuvielUndomiel » Mon Oct 07, 2002 11:13 pm

<i>Tinu too saw Lindonbayne drop. Yet, it had appeared that the MOD did not notice. What could be wrong with the still silent woman? Why was she so confused?<BR><BR>The Silvan elf continued to eat her soup, supplementing the conversation with Guru. She noted that Wiste had joined them with some hesitation and she realized that this was cyber-Wiste. <BR><BR>So, Wiste hasn't dropped, Tinu thought with some hope. Perhaps she could see what was going on and could alert someone to save them or perhaps even warn them if some terrifying MOD such as Threadstalker were on the prowl.<BR><BR>Suddenly, Tinu's thoughts came to rest upon the missing friends. Where were Bardy, Leoba, and Elenath? Shouldn't they have made it to the Eldar's Estate by now? <BR><BR>She allowed an involuntary slip of "Dude" to pass softly through her lips, a term she used commonly in the real world, but was working desperately to get rid of--as well as attempting to talk more like cyber-Tinu whilst she was in real life. But, back to the problem at hand...<BR><BR>She shuddered as she thought of the possibility of their being captured by a balrog or some other hideous creature. Tinu made a point to keep out of the "scary" guilds, so she had no idea what could be lurking in TORC, though she had heard of some terrible creatures from friends who chose to throw their characters into scarring positions as thralls to horrific Masters.<BR><BR>She paled a moment as she recalled the hissing creature and the tomb-silent, fear-invoking stairway up to the Master's lair. Of course, it had been her other character Lurea who had experienced the spell, but was it possible that as Tinu she might come across the horrifying components? Shuddering as though it were winter, the sun beating hotly upon her face, Tinu awoke from her reverie. She prayed that she would only see what her character Tinu had seen...<BR><BR>Meanwhile, Guru had noticed Tinu's involuntary shudder and became worried. </i>
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Postby Lysandros » Tue Oct 08, 2002 10:30 am

<b>In the Guildhouse of the Merry Bowmen of Dale</b><BR><BR><i>BV reeled for a moment. He had been completely outmaneuvered, and whatever was going on, Bardhwyn was hiding it and wasn't going to let him in on it. He felt a bit offended, he was, after all, Lysandros; Master Archer of the Merry Bowmen of Dale and also the ad hoc leader of the Anti-Mordor League. He was blonde and gigantic!<BR><BR>As he pondered his next moves, which included shaking down Leoba for information, the form of a Gondorman suddenly filled the entrance and he called out, rather haltingly, to them. BV looked around the room for a moment before he realized it was probably his job to welcome the newcomer. He rose from the bench and stepped forward.</i><BR><BR>"Greetings Edain. You are welcome in our Guildhouse, as are all folk of Gondor. Please take a place to refresh yourself and tell us your tale."<BR><BR><i>BV stepped forward and fell in beside Edain to guide him to a bench, speaking quietly to him,</i><BR><BR>"An interesting tale it must be too, for one to travel under such a name, that is no name <i>of</i> a man, but is the name <i>for</i> man.
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Postby Leoba » Tue Oct 08, 2002 1:48 pm

<b>In the Guildhouse of the Merry Bowmen of Dale</b><BR><BR>The meal had been torture. If AW wasn't putting his foot in it then HJ was and Leoba had lost count of the number of times she'd kicked someone under the table in an attempt to make them remember themselves. <BR><BR>Lysandros was being so edgy and difficult and she didn’t know if that was normal or whether he had suspected that they were hiding something. From his 'interrogation' of Bardhwyn over the supper table she guessed that he was not exactly happy and that in turn left her and from the looks of them the others looking mighty uncomfortable. But then Leoba was lucky, she only had to engage in small talk and she wasn't expected to know the Bowmen's business as SB and Bardhwyn were. And small talk with SB was the easiest thing in the world, indeed conversation between her character and his had always been that which flowed easiest for HM and thankfully this evening was a case in point.<BR><BR>All the same, she would be glad when it was over. All she really wanted was a good night's sleep somewhere safe. And a good long and very necessary girly chat with HJ. When Bardhwyn left HM was only awaiting her opportunity to follow, until that is a tall man strode into the hall, clad in natural shades and in a rather fetching green wool cloak that she couldn’t help admiring. <BR><BR>"Greetings fine bowmen… and women I’m EM… Sorry Edain, a ranger who hails from the west. My Allegiance is to the high king of Gondor and may I be welcome in your fine guild?”<BR><BR>EM. The name rang clear in Leoba/HM's mind and she stared over at the newcomer. Yes, it certainly was him; there was no mistaking that foxy red hair. She was about to leap up and greet him but she couldn't move; Elenath had caught her movement and grasped out at her long braid and had her pulled firmly down in her seat. She was about to turn on her and give her a good ear-bashing, but she hesitated rather than speaking out. And looked at EM again. Those boots… he definitely hadn't been wearing bucket tops at Kirby, for she knew damn well it would have stuck in her mind if he had. <BR><BR>'Wake up you silly moose'. In her head she was screaming at herself. Surely the wine at table and the pleasant company hadn’t addled her wits that much. 'He's Edain not EM, he's a character and Leoba doesn’t know him. Don’t you remember him telling you that his RP character looked just like himself'. <BR><BR>She made the conscious effort to look the other way; not difficult since SB was on the other side and it was certainly no hardship to look thus. Her mind began to wander. No, looking at him was dangerous she decided; it certainly didn’t help her in the attempt to suppress her confusion. <BR><BR>She sincerely hoped that EM hadn’t noticed the strange look on her face when she had stared for this was not the sort of place where one could easily talk a way out of troublesome situations.<BR><BR>
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Postby PrincessMelika » Thu Oct 10, 2002 4:43 pm

<b>In the Alliances and Guilds Forum</b><BR><BR>MM made her choice to enter the “For Follower’s of Mordor Eyes Only” thread. It seemed to be the most likely place for her to obtain her weapons and supplies. She walked several paces foreword in the darkened hallway. The door to the thread was heavy and wooden, with iron bars in front of it. A gold-plated sign identified it as being the right place.<BR><BR>She pulled on the door handle, though she assumed that the door was locked. Her assumption proved to be correct, and she let go of the handle, wincing as it struck. It didn’t open. For a moment she puzzled on what to do, until a peephole opened, and a pair of cobalt blue eyes peered back at her. The gaze was focused, and its intensity made her feel somewhat uneasy. Then the blue eyes went away, and a pair of brown eyes appeared. MM heard some whispering in Quenya, but did not know the language well enough to grasp more than a few scattered words. MM heard the sounds of several locks and bolts being undone.<BR><BR>“Enter.” The word was definitely a command, yet MM was hesitant to obey it. Slowly, the door opened to allow her to enter, and the watchman stepped aside, waiting for her to walk through. MM stepped into the doorway feeling awkward. She had not been to the Mordor thread in some time and was unsure of her welcome. <BR><BR>She stepped the rest of the way through the door and found that it was a cloudy night. Glancing around the courtyard, MM tried to force her eyes to adjust to the darkness, for the only light came from the doorkeeper’s lantern. The door slammed with finality, and the light was put out, as if on a prearranged signal.<BR><BR>“Idiot,” MM cursed herself, “stepped into a place filled with your foes with no weapons. How could I have been so foolish?” She heard a quiet, musical voice whisper into her left ear in reply, causing her to start and the mysterious stranger to chuckle in amusement.<BR><BR>“Indeed. Why would you be so foolish as to announce to a foe that you were unarmed?” MM heard metal rasping up against something, and guessed that the figure was drawing a sword out of its sheath. “Tell me, what brings you to this place?” Cold steel was pressed against her neck, and she heard the amused chuckle of her interrogator. <BR><BR>
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Postby Bardhwyn » Thu Oct 10, 2002 8:15 pm

<b> In the labyrinthine back rooms of the Eldar Estate’s Kitchens…</b><BR><BR><i> DavidM’s hands were damp with a cold sweat. He was right! He’d picked up the trace of a child, an IRL child and her name was Katie..<BR><BR>Baby, Baby, Baby Do you like it, Baby, Baby, Baby Do you like it, Baby, Baby, Baby Do you like it<BR><BR>Robert Plante’s voice screamed out over the PC speakers… he’d found the right frequency and oscillation in the Rocker’s voice to disrupt the sensors of his captors and thus, David had been able to hack his way into his own systems in TORC, pick up the child’s trace, track her down and do the unthinkable - he booted up the Beta TORC RP Virtual Interface Streamer… his most precious creation…the program that allowed the user to do real time, on line RP with another user simultaneously… the only drawback is he had to type the instructions out…he had no way to make a cerebral connection.<BR><BR>His fingers flew over the keyboard, feeding the dialogue and data into the cloaked figure he’d created to ‘interface’ with the small child.<BR><BR>In the back hallway, Katie stood, finger in her mouth as the cloaked figure spoke again, this time asking her where she lived. </i> <BR><BR>“Mummy said I shouldn’t talk to strangers and you’re a stranger if you’re not playing hide and seek.”<BR><BR>“I am playing hide and seek, I am, really!” <i> the figure pleaded.</i> “And I am a friend of your Mummy.. I will prove it.” <i> The figure fell quiet for a moment and Katie crept a little closer, trying to see the ‘man’ who spoke to her so kindly.<BR><BR>David switched to another browser and searched the traces in the ‘post vicinity’…The closest, a character named “Nessamelda”…in seconds he had the name and address of the poster, credit card info, everything …courtesy of TORC. <BR><BR>The cloaked figure animated itself and carefully pronounced Katie’s mother’s name, their address and the town they lived in down under…<BR><BR>Baby, Baby, Baby Do you like it, Baby, Baby, Baby Do you like it, Baby, Baby, Baby Do you like it… Plante’s voice screamed out while DavidM’s fingers flew across the keys feeding data into the streamer..</i> <BR> <BR>“Now Katie, it is time we got you home.” <i> The cloaked figure said, extending a hand towards the little girl.</i> <BR><BR>“I want to stay and play Hobbits…” <i> Katie protested, backing away.</i><BR><BR>“No, Katie.. it is time we got you back home. Your Mummy asked me to take you home.”<BR><BR>‘C’mon, c’mon little girl’ <i> DavidM begged silently as he saw the approach of another poster. The trace was corrupted so he couldn’t tell who it was. In another browser he saw the connection was finally established with Katie’s family computer, which was still on, of course. Both Katie and her Mother had sat before a PC that was booted up and on line when they dropped in.<BR><BR>‘This is too much, I could kill the little girl…, still she’s got a better chance this way than in there…’ DavidM’s mind battled with itself as he faced the final choice: should he snatch her and place her back - using the Temporal Realignment Script? He’d only tested such a transfer twice… with rabbits… <BR><BR>'and what if I am caught' the frightening thought threatened to freeze him. 'Oh God... they can't get their hands on this...'<BR><BR>With a deep breath, DavidM began typing once again, his fingers a blur over the keys - suddenly..</i><BR><BR> <BR><BR>“KATIE!”<i> A voice cried out and DavidM acted. He collected the girl up in his ‘virtual arms’ and initiated the transfer…<BR><BR>Nessamelda stood in horror as she saw the shrouded figure swoop down, scoop up her daughter and then simply dissolve…</i> <BR><BR><BR><b>On the Back Deck of the Eldar’s Estate…</b><BR><BR><i> Running Deer relaxed back into the comfortable padded patio chair. She’d not felt this relaxed in very, very VERY long time… and she asked herself why on Arda she’d not come here before! She looked at her wrist…then allowed her gaze to sweep over the Estate, with its lush grounds and the ‘forest’ beyond. ‘Ah, the game I could track in there.’ She mused. The friendly people with her were chatting away, about what - she didn’t know or care. In fact, she didn’t really care much at all about anything except the setting sun and the deepening shadows, the promise of a soft bed to curl up in and a warm woolen blanket to throw around her. She felt oddly, as if she could sleep for weeks. <BR><BR>Running Deer then felt a strange inner sense of emptiness and she looked down at her bowl… it was empty and, yes that was it! She was still hungry…</i> <BR><BR>“I’m going inside to get more food.” <i> Running Deer announced, standing up.</i> “Can I get anything for anyone?”<i> she asked, unmindful of the fact that she didn’t have a clue where anything was.<BR><BR>In unison the two Elves eating with her jumped out of their seat and hollered,</i> “NO!”. <i> The pretty woman with them looked perplexed at their behavior but said nothing.</i>
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Postby EdaintheRanger » Fri Oct 11, 2002 10:12 am

<b>In the Merry Bowmen of Dale Guildhouse</b><BR><BR>EM grinned his usual broad grin back at the Master Archer, attempting to remain in character as much as possible. As he sat down on the proffered bench and helped himself to the Dorwinien wine he looked up to the both gigantic and blond archer (Really?<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-rolleyes.gif"border=0>), replying. <i>“Thank you, kind sir, I’m grateful for your offer.”</i> switching into bad <i>Ye Olde</i> speak. <i>“Ah! You know that you are the first person to ever raise that issue, on my name. Indeed I have travelled these roads for several years now and you are the first to speak of thus. It is the name of Men, as given to them by the Elves long ago, but it is also my name, because of the difference in pronuciation. Edain as the name of Men, would perhaps be better written as Eth-ane. As my scholar friend Berhael would testify. My name is pronounced as ‘Ee’-dain, if that makes any sense at all. As for my tale, that is much stranger than you may think, mayhaps I’ll relate that later. When the candles are dimmed and sleep is found wanting.”</i> EM closed with a wink.<BR><BR>Now he glanced across at the other guests and guildhall members. His eyes widening in both surprise and amazement, this game was getting very coincidental, and scary. At least one of the women here was looking maddeningly familiar. He was sure that it was HM but she was studiously ignoring him as he tried to catch her eye. After a few attempts, (EM hadn’t seen Leoba’s initial reaction when he entered the room, as he had been accosted by Lysandros.) EM gave up. All this felt very odd as he had never been in the Bowman’s guild before, he didn’t know anybody and already folks were ignoring him. Perhaps he could corner her later. In the meantime he tasted his computer generated wine and it was pretty damn good, certainly not stuff that was only fit to clean the oil off the drive with. In fact he was about to say this, but the prospect of having to explain what a drive was for, quite sensibly discouraged him.<BR><BR>Instead he asked Lysandros to introduce the merry band, and perhaps enlighten this ranger about their intents and purposes. Stretching out his legs he kicked somebody under the table. <i>“Oops I’m sorry”</i> he apologised quickly, <i>“but these new boots take a little getting used to.”</i> gritting his teeth as he realised before he could stop himself, that the boots looked anything but new.<BR>
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Postby SilverScribe » Fri Oct 11, 2002 1:17 pm

meanwhile . . . <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0> <b> In the kitchen/ service hallway of the Eldar’s Estate … </b><BR><BR><i> Scribbles eased herself out of the laundry silently, listening closely to the murmur of voices that appeared to be coming from outside. She slipped quickly across the open space of the kitchens to the broom closet door, and swung it open. Sure enough it held one of their number, lalatiel looked up at her with wide eyes, then made a soft sound of exasperation. </i><BR><BR>‘It’s not a good hiding place if you people keep opening the door and exposing me!” <i> she whispered with a grin. Scribbles grinned back, then looked over her shoulder to the open doorway that led onto the kitchen “deck” of the Eldars Estate. The group out there was still managing to keep whoever it was occupied. Scribbles strongly suspected it was a Moderator, and that the Moderator was Running Deer. After all, she was an expert tracker, it was folly to think that they could have dodged her forever.<BR><BR>They had only two courses of action now. Either sway her over to their cause, or immobilize her long enough for them to get a head start at gaining entrance to the next forum. It was a long way to the Welcome Forum, and Scribbles was beginning to chafe at the endless delays. But there was the additional problem of their number now being even further scattered.</i><BR><BR>“Okay, next time hold the silly door closed. Now, who else has been this way?” <i> she grinned and whispered in response to lalatiel’s remark. </i><BR><BR>“A little girl and I think her mom, yes, it was that Nessamelda lady,” <i> lalatiel replied.</i><BR><BR>“Did you see where they went?” <i> Scribbles pressed softly.<BR><BR>Lalatiel gestured towards the arch where the service corridor started.</i><BR><BR>“I think they went down there.”<BR><BR><i> Scribbles nodded, then smiled.</i> “Want to get out of the closet and help me find them?”<BR><BR><i> Lalatiel breathed a deep, but quiet sigh of relief. </i> “I thought you’d never ask.”<BR><BR><i> She slipped out and closed the door quietly behind her, then followed Scribbles, tiptoeing into the service corridor. Once they had gone a few feet, they picked up the pace, walking quickly with Scribbles straining her keen ears to hear any signs of either pursuit or discovery. Nothing.<BR><BR>They found several doors standing open, storerooms, closets and one washroom. But no sign of any of their party. They looked at one another, then both shrugged simultaneously. This bit of unintentional comedy had them cramming their fists in their mouths to keep from howling with laughter and when they sobered, they both looked around.<BR><BR>The corridor continued, but they could see that it suddenly began to have other passages opening left and right. </i><BR><BR>“What do you think?” <i>lalatiel asked softly. <BR><BR>Scribbles shrugged again. </i> “To be honest I have no idea, this place is a maze. I guess one corridor is as good as another. Let’s just see where the main one takes us to start with.”<BR><BR><i> Lalatiel nodded and they set off, both of them pretty much guessing which way their quarry might have gone. Every once in a while, there would be footprints in some of the dustier side passages, so they left the main one to follow, only to find that signs would fade then disappear.<BR><BR>When they finally gained a back entrance they stood in the shadows, peering out into the grounds. Lalatiel suddenly grabbed Scribbles arm and pointed to the far end of the huge building, where the estate house extended very close to the outer wall.</i><BR><BR>“Look, that huge gate, and what are those things, looks like dustbins.”<BR><BR>“I see it, and look, the little girl Katie and surely that is Nessa running towards her. But who is THAT?!” <i> Scirbbles hissed quietly, gesturing towards the large, dark-cloaked figure that was nearest the child. Lalatiel turned to her with a surprised look.</i><BR><BR>“You mean you can’t make them out? I thought you could see and hear like a real half-elf?”<BR><BR><i> Scribbles frowned.</i> “I can, but that figure keeps shimmering funny, oh damn, look at that, it’s gone!”<BR><BR><i> Lalatiel turned back in time to see Nessamelda dart forward, yelling “Katie!” </i><BR><BR>“Scribbles, look! Katie is gone too! C’mon, we need to get to Nessamelda.”<BR><BR><i> Scribbles nodded grimly, but pulled lalatiel back against the walls.</i><BR><BR>“I agree, but not in the open. C’mon, we can stay in the trees here next to the walls and remain unseen. I have this terrible feeling that things are about to get ugly.”<BR><BR><i> As they madetheir way towards where Nessamelda was turning over empty crates and pushing aside trash cans, lalatiel spoke up.</i><BR><BR>“Where is everyone else? I mean, I couldn’t see anything once I dived into that closet. Did Bardhywn and the others make it back? Scribbles?”<BR><BR><i> Scribbles sighed.</i><BR><BR>“No, and I’m getting worried. If they don’t show up soon, we may have to go looking for them and that is not good. Damn! I should have remembered the age old military rule, ‘never, never split a small force’. Now we have people all over the place and only the Valar knows what is happening to them. Well, at least we can keep a few together.”<BR><BR><i> As she finished speaking, they both stepped out of the greenery and moved closer to where Nessa was still searching for her daughter. They managed to attract her attention and beckon her over.</i><BR><BR>“Oh, I’m glad to see you two, help me look for Katie, some stranger was here, I think she’s scared, hiding somewhere here . . .”<BR><BR><i> Scribbles put a hand on Nessa’s shoulder and squeezed it gently.</i><BR><BR>“Nessa, we saw it. Katie is not hiding, the stranger has her.” <i> She held up a quick placating hand as Nessa began to speak.</i> “Don’t worry, I don’t think she is in any danger. I think it was a Moderator, and they will keep her safe, none of the TORC Moderators would even think of frightening a child by tossing her into a dungeon.”<BR><BR>“But, but, if it was a Mod, then why didn’t he take me? Didn’t you say that they were hunting for you guys and anyone who ‘dropped’ in here by accident?” <i> Nessa was surprisingly calm as they began to move back towards the estate building.<BR><BR>Scribbles chewed her lip for a moment.</i> “Hmmm, good point. Perhaps they can only ‘transport’ one individual at a time? After all, this is cyberspace. Perhaps they only have limited memory available to make the transfer. Or, perhaps there is a limit on how big any individual data packet is. In this place we are all just a bunch of ones and zeros anyway. Maybe it’s bandwidth, I remember reading something about that stuff in the One Ring Forum, a while before I got yanked in here.”<BR><BR><i> Nessa closed her eyes.</i> “Okay, stop, you’re giving me a headache, and not a cyber one either, but a real one.” <i> She began to massage her temples, then looked back at the other two. Just as she was about to speak again, lalatiel gasped and pushed them all back into the fancy shrubbery by the back entrance Nessa must have used. Someone, or something, was approaching the back gate.</i><BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Elenath » Fri Oct 11, 2002 7:13 pm

<b>In the Merry Bowmen of Dale Guildhouse...</b><BR><BR><i>Elenath grabbed Leoba just in time. The last thing they needed was to draw more attention to themselves. She didn't know Lysandros well, but something didn't seem quite right with him. Did he suspect Bardhwyn was hiding something? Elenath was thankful when Bardhwyn went up to bed, but Lysandros was now eyeing the rest of them speculatively. The newcomer, however, distracted his attention. He guided the man to their table, and Elenath saw that Leoba was studiously avoiding looking at him. Edain, as his name proved to be, seemed a little odd also, and Elenath began wondering if there was anyone around here that acted normal. She caught Leoba's eye, and stood up.</i><BR><BR>"Forgive us, gentlemen, but Leoba and I are very weary, and I think we should retire to our rooms." <i>Leoba stood up quickly.</i><BR><BR>"Yes, ah, I am really quite tired. Please do excuse us."<BR><BR><i>The men were very polite, of course, standing up as they left. Elenath waited a moment while Leoba and SB exchanged a few quiet words, then they went up the stairs.</i><BR><BR>"We need to talk with Bardhwyn," <i>Elenath said quietly. They turned left, and knocked on the second door on the right. It took a few minutes for Bardhwyn to answer the door, and when she did she was holding a half-full goblet of wine. Elenath sighed. She had wanted to plan how they were going to get back to the others, but from the looks of Bardhwyn and Leoba it should probably wait till the morning. </i>"Can we come in, Bardhwyn? And do you have any extra of that wine?"<BR><BR>
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Postby Nessamelda » Fri Oct 11, 2002 8:27 pm

<b>Out the back of the Eldar's Estate, near the bins...</b><BR>Susan simply couldn't believe what her eyes had told her, and what Scribbles had confirmed. Part of her mind told her that such things were not possible, that she was dreaming. But she could feel Scribbles firm grip on her shoulder. <BR><BR>In the back of her mind she was aware of something else too. Alfirin was trying to have her say and what she was saying was not repeatable and was couched in several languages that Susan hadn't known that she understood. The theft of Susan's daughter had clearly driven Alfirin over the edge - she was driven towards revenge on the world in general and her husband's family in particular at the best of times, and this scenario had clearly reminded Alfirin all too painfully of the unresolved theft of her own child, long years before. <BR><BR>Susan stopped and clutched her forehead. With the internal monologue she was trying to fight off and the need to do something to track down Katie, her head was spinning. At the moment she wasn't sure whether she should answer to the name of Susan or Nessamelda or Alfirin. And at the moment Alfirin in her rage and anger was threatening to be the more dominant personality. <BR><BR>Trying to concentrate on her real identity and the problem at hand, she thought swiftly. She <b>must</b> not panic. She had to act calmly if she was going to help her daughter and escape from this lunacy.<BR><BR><i>If the mods had Katie, then she needed to find a mod to take her wherever they went when they weren't in Torc. And there had been a mod in the kitchen of the Eldar Estate. That's why they had all been hiding. But if there were enough of the real people here, surely they could take her on, on her own and force her to show them where Katie was?</i><BR><BR>Then Scribbles and lalatiel pulled her into a corner behind the bushes.<BR><BR>Susan had had enough of this. Something of Alfirin's anger (perhaps tempered only a little by Nessamelda's common sense) leaked through.<BR><i>'Why'</i> she hissed angrily, <i>"are we acting like a pack of frightened children. True it seems we can be hurt in this world; it is dangerous. But our characters would not be such cowards to be frightened of every little shadow that passes by. We would never achieve the end of our RP quests if we acted like this."</i><BR>She laughed very quietly. Alfirin was definitely coming through loud and clear. <i>" I suppose it does explain why there are so many half-finished threads that end up going nowhere in the Pony, if in the end we are all such cowards. Well if this is a mod, perhaps they can tell me where Katie is!"</i><BR><BR>With that, Susan jumped up and called to the approaching stranger in a clear and confident voice:<BR><BR><i>"Who is it that approaches the Eldar Estate, in secret by the back way? Show yourself!"</i><BR>
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Postby Sauron's_Nagging_Wife » Fri Oct 11, 2002 11:17 pm

<b>In the “For Followers of Mordor Eyes Only! (All others KEEP OUT!)” thread….</b><BR><BR>Immense, brilliant, amused, Legrace could not keep the humor from her voice as she looked at the form of the very frightened Maiden Melika that the Ringwraiths held pinioned against the wall. “My dear child, my husband is aware of your intrusion into his Tower. I do not wish to tell you what his sentence upon you is to be, and yet I have intervened on your behalf. In the past, you have insulted the very existence of the glorious Alliance of Mordor by referring to it as a Guild, but you have atoned for this grievous offence since then.”<BR><BR>A guttural muttering from an attendant drew the Dark Lady’s attention for a moment, and she turned away. Her incandescence seemed to fill the narrow passage and young Melika hid her eyes. Several long minutes passed filled with silence and the sound of the Lady of Mordor’s light hearted voice.<BR><BR>“You must leave immediately,” Legrace told the poor maiden. “Here, I shall help you.” Holding her hands in front of her, she drew a brilliant, swirling mass into her hands, Entranced, hypnotized, Melika stared into the mass of energy and then was lifted, none too gently, from the ground and sent hurtling through time and space till she was deposited unceremoniously right on the outskirts of the Eldar Estate.
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Postby Running-Deer » Sat Oct 12, 2002 3:13 pm

She had been confused and lost since she had arrived in this place she had heard referred to as The Eldar's Estates. She could not think clearly. She kept silent for the most part as her thoughts raged and her head pounded. She had a thousand things that she was thinking all at the same time and yet, her mind was a blank. <BR><BR>First and foremost was how and why she was here and WHO was she? Funny that she thought she had known before coming here but then suddenly, it was like she had been brainwashed and that brain was washed CLEAN of all she was. She heard reference to moderators and talk of a "Running-Deer" but she was dis-associated with her body and brain. She saw a child and wondered at such a delicate and young creature. She even tried to smile at her but the young one cowered behind an older person who almost glared at her. She could not place either of the people, or for that matter any one person that was there. Soon the 'child' had become bored with the older people and ran off to play with a toy.<BR><BR>She started to stand and said, “I’m going inside to get more food.” Running Deer announced, standing up. “Can I get anything for anyone?” she asked, unmindful of the fact that she didn’t have a clue where anything was.<BR><BR>In unison the two Elves eating with her jumped out of their seat and hollered, “NO!”. The pretty woman with them looked perplexed at their behavior but said nothing. And then, not knowing her own mind why, she sat back down a little perplexed at the response that she had received. She held her tongue and said nothing but listened to several things that were said to her. She could not comprehend any of it nor could she figure out why some seemed to want to keep her where she was, as they hovered around her. She tried to understand what was going on and figure out the answer to the one nagging question that was on her mind. <BR><BR>Suddenly she voiced a little too loudly ... "Can someone tell me just exactly who I am?"<BR><BR>Her question was met with total, utter silence and blank stares of disbelief!!!
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Postby lalatiel » Sun Oct 13, 2002 1:33 pm

Lalatiel crouched in the leaves, the height (or lack of) of the branches forcing her into a very uncomfortable position. Her legs, already cramped from her time spent in the broom closet, screamed at her. Of course, the logical thing to do now would be to sit down and rest her legs, but the position she was in made it impossible to do without a loud and leafy 'thud'. <BR> 'Why,' Nessamelda suddenly hissed angirly, "are we acting like a pack of frightened children? True it seems we can be hurt in this world; it is dangerous. But our characters would not be such cowards to be frightened of every little shadow that passes by. We would never achieve the end of our RP quests if we acted like this."<BR> "I suppose it does explain why there are so many half-finished threads that end up going nowhere in the Pony, if in the end we are all such cowards. Well if this is a mod, perhaps they can tell me where Katie is!"<BR> Lalatiel started to reach out to stop Nessamelda from what she was certain she was going to do, but it was too late. She stepped forward out of the bushes and called loudly,<BR>"Who is it that approaches the Eldar Estate, in secret by the back way? Show yourself!"<BR> As expected, the figure didn't immediately put down his hood, apologize, and return Katie to her mother, begging forgiveness. It merely hissed something unintelligible and carried on down the corridor.<BR> " Well," said Lalatiel with a sigh, " Time do do what our characters would do."<BR> " Let's go." said Scribbles, with a characteristic grin.
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Postby Lysandros » Sun Oct 13, 2002 4:26 pm

<b>In the Guildhouse of the Marry Bowmen of Dale</b><BR><BR>"Oops I’m sorry, but these new boots take a little getting used to." <i> said Edain, or Ethane or whatever his name was. BV looked at the travel-worn boots with a smile and answered politely,</i><BR><BR>"Pray, don't mention it my friend. There is a lot of that going around it seems." <i>Indeed it did seem that everyone on torc behaved awkwardly, as if they didn't quite fit. 'Strange...but maybe that is the way this dream is, and everyone is adapting to life being thrust into torc. That would make sense since a lot of torcers cannot carry a character convincingly anyway.' he grumbled to himself though the fact that he knew some of the characters and knew their authors to be adept writers caused an uncomfortable splinter to weedle into mind. He narrowed his eyes and returned his attention to Elaine.</i><BR><BR>"Very well if you do not wish to tell your tale. In these suspicious times it is wise to hold to oneself until confidence is assured."<i> said he, making it up as he went along with an air of casual unconcern.</i> "But I see that the Lady Leoba caught your eye before she went upstairs. Don't make that face friend, it is plain enough."<i> He said, his tone clearly indicating that this was manly banter over romantic entanglements.</i> "Is she known to you? Or perhaps you know our own SB, who is a great friend of the Lady?"<BR><BR><i>BV sipped his ale shrewdly while Estain savoured his wine overlong, thinking what would be prudent to say.</i>
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Postby Wisteria » Sun Oct 13, 2002 8:00 pm

<b>Not IN TORC, but AT TORC</b> -- at home at her computer:<BR><BR><i>A bright light in her eyes made her moan -- the dream she'd been in was one from which she did not want to awake. But the light did not go away and with another mutter,Wisteria opened one eye. The sun's rays, just peeking over the horizon, had found the one opening through the trees outside that would let the sun fall squarely on her eyes. She squinted and moaned again, attempting to turn her head away from the nasty light. But her neck was stiff and her back hurt. With sudden understanding, she realized she'd fallen asleep in front of the computer. "At least I had the presence of mind to push the keyboard up under the monitor, or I'd have a very pretty pattern imprinted on her face right now," she thought as she stretched muscles that had been in an odd position for way too long.<BR><BR>A quick glance at the clock showed it to be just before 7:00. At least it was a Sunday and she didn't have to rush off anywhere. Church wasn't until 11:00. That would give her a few hours in a real bed before she had to face the day.<BR><BR>As she stretched out the kinks, her arm jostled the mouse and her screen came to life once more. Still open to the TORC Conspiracy thread, she idly hit the refresh button to pick up any overnight post before going "back" to bed.</i><BR><BR>"What? I could’ve sworn this thread wasn’t this long last night. Who are all these people? Was there a child in there last night? Who’s Edain?”<BR><BR><i> She rubbed her temples in a gesture that was becoming all too familiar. And sleeping in front of the computer hadn’t helped her headache. Well, she’d just read through the entire page that had cropped up overnight and see what she might be able to do to pull them all together and get them moving up. Then she was definitely hitting the sack for a few hours before church.<BR><BR>Bleary-eyed, she grabbed the mouse and scrolled to the first unfamiliar post she found and began to read: </i><BR><BR>In the Guild House of the Merry Bowmen of Dale<BR>
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Postby SmaugsBane » Sun Oct 13, 2002 8:09 pm

<b>In the Merry Bowmen of Dale Guildhouse</b><BR><BR>AW sat perplexed completely by the train of oddities that occurred in the main hall of the MBOD guildhouse. On more than one occasion, he had thought to intervene on HJ's behalf. To his mind, she had gone beyond what would have been thought of as normal in the guildhouse. However, Lysandros seemed nonplussed by her stream of inappropriate verbage. There was something that did not seem to fit about Lys, as well. AW shrugged his shoulders and ate the food. <BR><BR>Then the character who introdiced himself as Edain the Ranger. After an odd (but somehow fitting given the strangeness of AW's dream so far) round of introductions, Edain and Leoba, HM, exchanged a strange look. <BR><BR>After a few more words, Leoba and Elenath stood from the table, and excused themselves. HM bent and whispered into Alex's ear, "Wait a few minutes then meet us in Bardhwyn's room. We have to plan our next move."<BR><BR>With that, they took their leave and disappeared up the stairs. <BR><BR>AW turned to catch the last bit of Lys' banter with Edain about Leoba and the exchanged looks.<BR><BR>AW had read Edain about the boards, but he couldn't recall ever interacting with the character in a Alliance or RP forum. With the exception, of course of that brief foray into the Minas Tirith forums site, where Edain is the bartender of an inn.<BR><BR>"I'm afraid I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Edain, Lysandros." <BR><BR>He turned to the Gondorian, "Pleased to meet you, Edain. I am Dirk, son of Drake, of Esgaroth. Leoba and I are companions who have pledged our lives to each other. Some day, I hope that we can pledge our troth, as soon as I am able to provide for her properly."<BR><BR>AW stood thinking, <i>"Hey that was good. Very in-character. I am getting the hang of this. If Bardy's been here longer, I wonder why she has so much trouble keeping in character?"</i><BR><BR>"Perhaps in the morning, we can discuss your acquaintance to her, Edain. However, I am suddenly fatigued and I think that I shall seek my bed." he turned to Lys. "Begging your leave Master Archer, I am tired." <BR><BR>Lys nodded curtly and Dirk smiled at Edain. <BR><BR>He mounted the stair and headed for Bardy's room. But then, he didn't know where Bardy's room was. Scratching his head, he looked down the hall. It turned out to be easy. Candlelight shone beneath only a single door. He approached and knocked. The door opened only a little. Bardy's face appeared through the sliver. Recognizing the face of the Dúnedain character, she quickly ushered him inside. The others were already sitting about, in chairs and on the bed. <BR><BR>AW pulled up a large wooden chest from the foot of the bed and sat upon it. <BR><BR>"So ladies, tell me, what's the plan? You said before that there are others stuck here. Do you know where they are? Are you planning to rejoin them?"<BR><BR>AW leaned forward, resting his arms across his legs. He looked into Leoba's verdant eyes, still unable to get over the beauty that HM had described into her character, and waited to hear what they were planning on doing.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Sun Oct 13, 2002 9:54 pm

<b> In a secret location, in an undisclosed cell…</b><BR><BR>“AHHH! You BIT me, why you little…!” <i> DavidM bit his tongue very, very hard and rubbed at the bite mark on his forearm. Before him stood one very ferocious looking 6 year old.</i> <BR><BR>“I’m going to cut you up with a sword!” <i> Katie cried, defiantly pointing one very small finger at her kidnapper.</i> <BR><BR>“No body is going to cut anybody with anything….OWE! Now CUT THAT OUT!” <i> DavidM yelled hopping on one foot while rubbing his shin - which had just been kicked by his new guest. </i> <BR><BR>“Listen to me, listen to me.. Katie.. I tried to get you home but your Mummy, she owns a MacIntosh.. you know the computer with the Apple on it.. yeah, that’s right.. I was configured for a Windows computer… see? I couldn’t do the translation work while in transit.. I have to do it here. See? I won’t hurt you.. I am here to help you! Just like Gandalf… he wanted to help Bilbo, remember?”<BR><BR><i> Katie’s face softened a bit and she nodded. David could see the beginning of tears.</i> <BR><BR>“Now don’t cry, please.. Katie, please.. the sensors.. they’ll pick you up on the sensors.”<BR><BR><i> His pleas were too late and regardless, Katie didn’t understand ‘sensors’. She began to wail at a pitch that rivaled Robert Plante.<BR><BR>DavidM dived for his workstation and cranked the volume on the Misty Mountain excerpt that was playing, hoping it would mask out the sobs of his new prison cell guest.</i> <BR><BR><BR><b> In Nilson The White’s Brand New Office </b><BR><i>If you remember… Ted and Threadstalker had just popped in for a little chat….</i><BR><BR>“So, there you have it, Nils.” <i> Ted said threading his fingers together and cracking his knuckles.</i> “TS and I will be lending Running Deer a hand. So, as for those droppers.. don’t worry about them. We’ll collect them up. Just concentrate on the Alliance and Guilds project and our little threesome will take care of these awkward ‘people’ who’ve found themselves here in our fabled little land.”<BR><BR>“Sure, Ted.” <i> </i> Nilson replied. “You’re the Boss. Sounds good. We will have our hands full in the A&G, goodness knows.”<i> Nilson added with a friendly smile and a nod. </i> <BR><BR>“GREAT! We’re all clear now.” <i> Ted said, jumping from his ergonomic chair.</i> “I am ready to go, how about you TS?” <i> He asked, looking at the hooded Mod, standing silently off to the side. TS said nothing of course, but merely took a step forward.</i> <BR>“You sure are talkative guy, aren’t ya’, TS?” <i> Ted asked wryly.</i> <BR><BR>“I can say less, Ted, if that’s what you want?”<i> TS asked.<BR><BR>Ted dragged a hand down his face, squeezing out the short, sharp remark he wanted to make.</i> <BR><BR>“Yeah, good.. ok, TS, yeah..” <i> Ted muttered, taking the oversized Mod by the arm. </i> “Nilson,” <i> Ted called over his shoulder,</i> “I will be in my office. We’ll be off at first light.”<BR><i> Ted dragged TS from Nilson’s office and into the darkened corridor.</i> <BR><BR>“You could say less! What, did Jon give you a sense of humor since I saw you last?”<BR><BR><i> TS said nothing in reply but instead, held up a wrist communicator.</i> <BR><BR>“What is that?”<i> Ted asked pulling TS further down the hall.</i> <BR><BR>“It is RD’s wrist com. I found it in the A&G forum.”<BR><BR><i> Ted took the device and stared at it.</i> <BR><BR>“NO!”<i>Ted cried out</i><BR><BR>“Yes. I recognize it.”,<i>TS stated blandly.</i><BR><BR>“Cut it out, TS!” <i> Ted yelled. </i> “It’s figure of speech, not a statement!” <i> Ted took up the wrist com and examined it.</i> “You know what this means, don’t you? No, you wouldn’t…” <i> Ted muttered to himself.</i> “And what about the drones? Did you release them? Are they making their way over there?”<BR><BR>“Yes, Ted. All four of them.” <BR><BR><i> Ted started to chuckle, a low evil sort of laugh… he was liking this all too much.</i> <BR><BR>“Good, Good.. Very Good. We’ll get at least two or three of them tonight… Yes, very good…now, what to do about Running Deer….”<BR><BR><i> Ted pulled out a large, iron key from his tunic and approached a very large door, strapped with wrought iron bands. The key turned the well-oiled locks easily and the two stepped into The Admin suite….</i> <BR> <BR><BR><BR><i> Nilson waited a goodly amount of time before he dared speak to Rogue. The footsteps of TS and Ted echoed down the hall. The female Mod sat quietly, waiting and wondering what it all boiled down to.. Ted being here, TS…the new, big project that has been sprung on them all of a sudden.</i> <BR><BR>“Did you believe any of that?” <i> Nilson asked, suddenly breaking the silence. Rogue shook her head side to side.</i> <BR><BR>“No, neither did I.” <i> Nilson said reaching for a pencil on his desk. He absentmindedly began scratching his head with the point. <BR></i><BR>“There is something rotten in Sweden.” <i>He muttered.</i><BR><BR>“Denmark.” <i> Rogue said.</i> <BR><BR>“What about it?” <i> Nilson asked.</i> <BR><BR>“The saying goes: ‘There is something rotten in Denmark.’” <i> She said.</i> <BR><BR>“Are you sure?” <BR><BR><i> Rogue let out a sigh.</i> “Yes, Nils, I am sure.”<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR><b> In the Merry Bowmen of Dale’s Guildhouse…</b><BR><BR><i> Bardy was feeling increasingly encroached upon.. she wanted to be alone! Couldn’t they see … *groan*… she did invite Leoba up…*groan*…and why did Lys have to be such a jerk… *groan*.. and still be so absolutely good looking.. *groan*<BR><BR>She poured the last of the wine into her goblet and watched as AW made himself comfortable…<BR><BR>‘what’s the plan.. what plan?’ she grumbled to herself.<BR><BR>GET A GRIP, WOMAN! She screamed at herself. <BR><BR>That didn’t help at all. She should try to remember that berating herself never works.<BR><BR>She then just sat for a moment while Elenath, Leoba and SB also sat in the awkward silence. Bardy reflected silently on the extraordinary events of the last two or three days and realized she just needed to be a bit kinder to herself…</i> <BR><BR>“Well, I say we leave at first light…we need some rest and we make sure Cyber Lys is sufficiently occupied here and doesn’t follow us.” <i> She said finally, feeling more herself and more in character at the same time.. a very weird sensation.</i> <BR><BR>“Well, he seems engrossed in conversation with Edain, I think that may do it.” <i> Leoba commented.</i> <BR><BR>“Edain!” <i> Bardy exclaimed, </i> “Edain the Ranger? Here, in the Guildhouse?! What in the blue blazes is he doing here.. he never posts here..” <i> A heavy realization hit Bardy..</i> “Leoba, er HM, you don’t think?!!”
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