The TORC Conspiracy

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Postby wisteria » Fri Jun 28, 2002 8:05 pm

<i>Real life had gotten in the way just as she was about to provide her friends with a way out. There were groceries to put away, laundry to get done and before Wiste realized it, the day was almost over. She tucked in her two children, told her husband she'd be in in a minute and went to edit her post.<BR><BR>Except the thread wasn't there. She blinked at the screen a few times, trying to will it into existence. It had often dropped off the first page, but she was over 300 threads in -- and the last date some of them had been entered was over a week ago. Don't panic, she told herself. Start again.<BR><BR>She hit the "forums" button at the top of the page, then entered the Pony again. It just wasn't there. She pulled her hands from the keyboard as a realization hit her: they'd been found out! The mods had pulled the thread from the boards and now she had no access to them!<BR><BR>For several minutes she just sat, staring at the screen, tears welling in her eyes. Not until Simba, her cat, jumped onto her lap, did she get a hold of herself. Blindly, she reached for the mouse; might as well keep up appearances -- she aimed the cursor at Guilds and Alliances just as the cat nudged her hand, wanting to be pet.</i><BR><BR>"Oh, look what you made me do, Simba. I didn't want to go to the Script . .or . .i . .um . . ." <i>Her voice trailed off. Third thread down on the list in the Scriptorium: "The TORC Conspiracy." It wasn't gone, but it had been moved! And that meant -- well, something dangerous, she was sure.<BR><BR>Pushing her chair back as far as she could, she reached for the mouse, took a deep breath and clicked. When ThreadStalker's arm did not immediately come from the screen, she heaved a sigh and read. Good, they'd found her partially-written door and so far no one had tripped over anything or knocked into a table or anything.</i><BR><BR>"Running Deer again." <i>Drat! She hadn't been careful enough in her wording and the stupid tapestries were popping up all over the place. The mods were tipped off -- and with a sinking heart, Wiste realized Jon and Ted knew now as well. It wouldn't take them long to figure out who the outside person was -- she'd already been warned.<BR><BR>How could she edit her post and not give herself away? There had to be some way, but her tired mind could not come up with an answer. No, tonight she would not post; would not edit. Running Deer was too close to the truth and Wiste needed time to think.<BR><BR>With great sorrow in her heart, she clicked the "X" in the upper right corner of her screen and shut down her computer, hoping her friends could find a place to hide for the night.</i>
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Postby Bardhwyn » Fri Jun 28, 2002 9:31 pm

Bardhwyn noticed the looks of despair on Lalatiel and Cy’s faces. Guru stood quietly, trying not to look too often over his shoulder. Scribbles, meanwhile stood before the half-made green door chanting various bits of Elvish in Sindarin and Quenyan.<BR><BR>Suddenly a snippet of a strange song came into Bardhwyn’s mind. It was a group HJ liked and listened to often, named after a great city in her country…<BR><BR><i>What goes up, must come down. Spinning wheels gotta go round….</i><BR><BR>She walked down the steps, brushing past Leoba, and walked a ways down the corridor they’djust ran up. ‘What goes up….’ Bardhwyn looked up at the corridor ceiling, ‘must come down…’ she looked at the floor.<BR><BR>Lindon and Elenath watched as Bardhwyn walked and hummed. Bardhwyn found herself in front of one of the Scriptorium’s archive vaults. The shiny brass plaque on the door was expertly engraved with the words : Just a Little Something…For Terry D.<BR><BR>She tried to open the door, recognizing it to be a poem written by Scribbles. HJ liked it a lot, Bardhwyn recalled, so much she posted to the thread. The door was stiff and she only managed to push it in a few inches - the thread hadn’t been open in a while, so Bardhwyn turned and waved Lindon and Elenath over.<BR><BR>“What are you doing, Bardy!” Elenath exclaimed in harsh whisper, “Can’t you see we have to get out of here? We’ve no time to read the poetry”<BR><BR>Bardhwyn sighed and stood upright, taking her wieght off the stuck door. “What do you think I am doing? I am looking for another way out of here. Besides I have already read this one - it’s very good. Now, all of us, on three lets heave this door open."<BR><BR>Once they’d reached three, the door gave with a loud groan that echoed down the hall. Out from the door came a swarm of irridescent butterflies that darted and danced around the company. Then as magically as they appeared, they swooped and swarmed back through the poem’s door.<BR><BR>Scribbles walked over, her arms crossed and wearing a raised eyebrow. Bardhwyn turned and saw the face her friend was wearing and could only guess what would come out of the Half-elf’s mouth. <BR><BR>“No, I am not doing this to read the poetry.” Bardhwyn quickly said in her defence while shooing a stray butterfly back through the door. “There has to be a back way, or a way up and out of these archive vault. Or down, even. Remember how the pages looked on TORC, you could click on different icons and go different places… you could go up, you could sideways..let’s go in here because you know it Scribbles, you wrote it and lets find those icons. They must have their equivalent here in some shape or manner….”<BR><BR>Bardhwyn marched into Scribbles poem and tried to push the door shut.<BR><BR>“Besides, it will take Running Deer quite a while to try to get this door open by herself. She won’t be able to… she’ll have to get help and that will slow her down.”<BR><BR>Bardhwyn looked at her friends as they stood, looking very skeptical, in the corridor’s gloom.<BR><BR>“Well, are you comin’ or not? I sure as heck ain’t sticking around. Now who’s going to help me shut this door?”
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Postby SilverScribe » Fri Jun 28, 2002 10:50 pm

<BR><i> Scribbles stopped chanting various spells (she had even tried one that was used to make bread rise). “Now I know how old Gandalf felt,” she muttered to herself. Suddenly, she held up a hand as the whispering behind her increased when no door handle appeared. </i><BR><BR>“Listen!” <i> she hissed.</i><BR><BR><i> The group fell deathly silent and for long moments nothing could be heard but the sound of breathing that was being forced into being as quiet as possible. Finally, Leoba shook her head.</i><BR><BR>“Scribbles, I can’t hear anything except all that scritch-scratch of pens . . . </i><BR><BR>“Shhhhh, there it is again.” <i> Scribbles looked around frantically. They were out in the open here, jammed up against the door and spread all across the wide steps. They had to do something, if any Mod did happen by on their regular sweeps, they would all be spotted and the jig would be up.</i><BR><BR>“Y’know Scribbles, if it is Running Deer that is searching for us, she is one heck of a tracker. Judging from her signature pic, I’m pretty sure she hails from one of the proud native backgrounds, so she would not be making a lot of noise. Of all the Mods, she is probably the best one for this job, I mean, we would hear ThreadStalker a mile away with those heavy boots of his.”<BR><BR><i> Scribbles nodded.</i> “I agree, and Barad-Dur would sound like a bloody clanking army with all that iron crap he wears . . . hmmm Running Deer . . . maybe that explains why I can only catch the odd . . . there it is again . . . “<BR><BR><i> She watched as Bardhwyn suddenly turned and walked down the steps, humming. She went to a thread that Scribbles recognized, it was a poem that she herself had posted for TerryD. Elenath and Lindon followed her and they pushed the door ajar slightly. As Bardy explained her theory, butterflies appeared then flitted back into the partly open door. The more the Archer expounded on her idea, the more reasonable it seemed.<BR><BR>“Well, are you comin’ or not? I sure as heck ain’t sticking around. Now who’s going to help me shut this door?”<BR><BR>Scribbles chuckled then held out her hands and shrugged at the group.</i><BR><BR>“Y’know, she has a point, we have to get out of the open. And I do know this thread since I made it. If there is a way out of the Scriptorium from here, we’ll find it. Besides, with the number of threads in here, Running Deer would be a month of Sundays searching them all. C’mon.”<BR><BR><i>Leoba piped up.</i> “But you guys, won’t Running Deer put two and two together and just search the threads made by the escapees she knows posted here?”<BR><BR><i> Bardhwyn answered from the doorway.</i> “Y’know, I get the impression that they don’t really know precisely WHO is loose and who is still down there. TORC is a big place and those dungeons went on forever, remember?”<BR><BR>“I have to agree, chances are Running Deer may not be entirely sure who we are, so she would have to search every thread,” <i> lindon offered. More heads nodded in agreement, then Guruth spoke up.</i><BR><BR>“Well, let’s not waste any more time debating the matter. That tapestry just changed again, and I don’t have to tell you exactly how.”<BR><BR><i> The group filed into the dim thread, then Guru and Scribbles put their shoulder to the door and pushed it shut. Grinning, Scribbles passed her hand over the door several times, muttering softly in old Sindarin . . . “gara thala . . .”<BR><BR>She turned to the others.</i> “That ought to hold. C’mon, lets explore. Anyone find anything, just sing out.”<BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Cynara » Sat Jun 29, 2002 10:13 am

Cynara turned from the door to search the room with the others, feeling her way down the dark, dim walls of the thread, but it seemed there was no hope. From the looks on the others faces, their searches were turning out to be just as fruitless.<BR><BR> Sneezing a little from a bit of dust, Cynara made her way slowly over to a far corner of the room, where hung a dark shape. Skirting around the edge of the golden letters of the poem, Cynara stretched out her hand to the hanging, and she realized with a start that it was another Running-Deer tapestry. "Man these things are everywhere!" Cynara muttered, half to herself, turning to the others. "Look," she called, "It's another one of those tapestries!" The others turned to look at her, then made their way over. <BR><BR> Opening her mouth to make another comment, Cynara choked again over a puff of dust. Cynara started to complain, but stopped abruptly, a startled expression rising on her face. "What," she asked herself, "is a puff of air doing <i>here</i>?" <BR><BR> Someone reached out a hand, and whisked the hanging aside. Behind, there was revealed a dark, deep, and chilly stone passageway...
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Postby lalatiel » Sat Jun 29, 2002 12:53 pm

... going up. Lalatiel almost cried out, but stopped herself just in time. They were going to make it!<BR> <i>Next stop, Alliances and Guilds!</i> she said softly, then laughed. She stepped up onto the stair, but someone pulled her back. It was Bardhwyn.<BR> <i>Wait, we don't know what's up there. </i> Lalatiel frowned.<BR> <i>But look at the tapestries- Running Deer is <b>behind</b> us.</i><BR> <i>Running Deer isn't the only mod, you know.</i> said Elenath. <BR><i>I mean, I know we've agreed that ThreadStalker and Barad-Dur would wake the dead, but what about the rest? Star of Hope? Telemachos? Innocent Evil?</i><BR> <i>Oh.</i> said Lalatiel, feeling stupid. <i>Then what do we do?</i> She turned to Scribbles. <i>Any ideas?</i>
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Postby SilverScribe » Sat Jun 29, 2002 5:04 pm

<BR><i> Scribbles yelped in warning when lalatiel put a foot into the dark, mysterious opening. She hurried over to where Bardhwyn and lalatiel stood and bent to peer down the passageway . . . </i><BR><BR>“Y’know, my poem didn’t have anything about a passageway in it . . . I have to wonder if this might not be a trap.”<BR><BR><i>Lalatiel looked at her sharply.</i> “What do you mean?”<BR><BR>“Well,” <i> Scribbles answered, </i> “think about it for a minute. What would be the first thing we would look for? A way out. How likely is it that every single thread has such a badly hidden back door? I’d say, not likely at all. Remember, if one Mod knows we are loose, Jon and Ted know we are loose, and that means all the Mods know too.”<BR><BR><i> Eyebrows drew together on nearly every face as each member of the group turned to their own thoughts. While they were thinking, Scribbles leaned towards the doorway and reached a hand into the opening. Instantly, a dark shadow swallowed up her hand. Bardhwyn jumped, and pulled her back.<BR><BR>Scribbles turned, her face grim.</i> “Well, here’s my theory. This is a passage all right, a little too convenient a one I might add. My guess is that a Mod built it to entice us somewhere we probably don’t want to go.”<BR><BR>“What makes you say that?” <i>Brilta asked.<BR><BR>Scribbles shrugged. </i> “Call it a feeling, a hunch. Everything in TORC is interconnected, you can get nearly anywhere by the click of a mouse. Also, everything in TORC is made or built by someone, either the main structure by Ted and Jon, or the threads which can be created by posters or Mods. I say this “escape route” was built and because it appears to be constructed of shadows, I say it was built by a Mod and that Mod would be Shadowjack. In any case, I didn’t have it in my poem, so I’m not going in there.”<BR><BR><i>There was a general murmur, then Leoba spoke up softly.</i><BR><BR>“But where does that leave us then? We can’t go back the way we came, and you’re saying we shouldn’t go into that passageway. Scribbles, I hate to be rude, but what other choice do we have?”<BR><BR><i> Scribbles grinned.</i> “I’m not sure, but the clues have to be in the poem, it is now part of TORC. Now, let me see . . . one verse says . . .<BR><BR>Truly then does this pretty place,<BR>bear still the marks of his care and grace.<BR>The flowers and birds still nod and sing,<BR>the bubbling waters their cool comfort bring.<BR><BR>Anybody check the farthest corners? Around all the stones and half walls? Any springs running back there anywhere?”<BR><BR><i> Bardhwyn rolled her eyes.</i> “Scribbles, I think you have finally popped a gear.”<BR><BR>“Well, think of it,” <i> Scribbles replied, </i> “just like air has to come from somewhere, so does a spring. If there is one around here, maybe we can follow it to its source. And since water flows downward, its source has to be higher than this level, right?”<BR><BR><i> The faces around her looked skeptical, so she continued.</i><BR><BR>“Okay, consider this then. Another verse says:<BR><BR>Perhaps another visit, when time has passed,<BR>and done its work of filling the vast<BR>empty place; where the Butterflies come,<BR>to play and remember, when time was young.<BR><BR>Now, we saw butterflies fly out and then fly back in here. Where are they now? Where did they go? I say they have gone to wherever this vast empty place is, maybe they followed the spring? How long would a butterfly survive without water?”<BR><BR><i> Cynara rubbed her chin thoughtfully.</i> “Well, it’s far-fetched but then again, so is this whole adventure. I’m game to have a look for this spring. What the heck, it’s Scribbles’ thread. Let’s spread out and see what we can find.”<BR><BR><i> Scribbles laughed.</i> “And I bet no one except Leoba is wearing wellies!”<BR><BR>
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Postby lalatiel » Sun Jun 30, 2002 1:39 pm

Lalatiel frowned. All right then, they had started setting traps. Now where was the real one? Hmmm...<BR> <i>Maybe the butterflies know.</i> she suggested lamely. Right, the butterflies. Follow the butterflies. <i>We could... follow them?</i> Leoba looked at her like she was crazy. However, Lalatiel was quite used to this, and didn't mind at all.<BR> <i>Or... uh...</i> She swore she could hear crickets chirping, quite loudly in the silence that followed her incomprehensible stuttering. Since when was there crickets in the mysterious forums of TORC?
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Postby Leoba » Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:56 pm

"Bardhwyn, well done on choosing a poem by someone we know. I've spent enough time in the Scriptorium to realise that it probably has more threads filled with teenage angst than anywhere else on TORC. We could so easily have ended up in an emotional oubliette." <i>Leoba commented as a red admiral butterfly flitted past the end of her nose. <BR><BR>Of all the places they'd been in since falling into living surrealism, this seemed the most pleasant. At least, it seemed welcoming until Lalatiel did her best to vanish into the unknown, up a dank, dark passageway. As Bardhwyn pulled her back, Leoba shot Lalatiel a foul look but it didn’t seem to register in her consciousness. Didn’t she realise that with every false step she was a walking liability to all of them?<BR><BR>Cynara and Scribbles led the way back into the depths of the thread, trying to convince the others of the likelihood of there being a spring burbling away at the back somewhere. It struck Leoba that where most sane people would take an awful lot of convincing and the attempt would probably fail, with a group of TORC RPers there was little limit to the extent of credulity and imagination. For that we should be thankful, she thought to herself, for at least we shan't go mad at the illogicality of it all. <BR><BR>Leoba followed them, unable to help herself from gasping in wonderment as the dusty floor of the Scriptorium gave way underfoot to lush grass speckled with daisies and fringed with wild flowers and the oppressive air relaxed under the soft notes of garden bird-song. </i><BR><BR>"I can hear it! Scribbles is right!", <i>she exclaimed to Lindon who was exploring alongside her. <BR><BR>Sure enough there at the very back of the 'thread' - for she supposed it to be a thread even though it didn't look much like one at present - was a small waterfall. The waters were bubbling alright, down over rocks and into a deep pool at the bottom, singing their music as they cascaded down. Leoba followed the call of the water, up to where it emerged from the bottom of a cleft in the rock. She peered harder, trying to discern how wide the gap was and pondering where it might lead to. It seemed at this distance that there would be space for a relatively agile person to squeeze through the space and most of the company were blessed with the fit and slender forms they had written for their roleplay characters.<BR><BR>"I don’t know what you reckon, but I think we might be in with a chance here. After all this is the product of a TORCers imagination, not that of a Mod, perhaps it's a viable escape route?" Leoba caught Lindon's eye and grinned. </i><BR><BR>"Guys. Over here!" <i>She hissed, half under her breath, calling to the others to come hither. </i> "You want to take a look at what we've found."<BR><BR>
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Postby wisteria » Mon Jul 01, 2002 7:28 pm

<i>Wiste was worried. Very worried. She was about to be computer-less and her friends were now stuck inside one of the threads in the Scriptorium. She read the thread, and was gratified to find that Scribbles had kept the scene very pastoral. How much harm could a butterfly do?<BR><BR>And maybe hiding inside a thread was a good way to stay out of Running Deer's path. She might realize what forum they were in, but there were lots of threads in the Scriptorium -- and she couldn't search every one of them -- could she?<BR><BR>It was with a very heavy heart and a prayer for their saftey that Wiste shut down her computer. She would not see her friends now for a very long time.</i>
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Postby Bardhwyn » Mon Jul 01, 2002 9:55 pm

<i>Nilson-The-White adjusted the swing arm of the standing lamp so more light shed over him and the document he was reading. He glanced about the Moderator’s meeting hall – dark and circular with narrow open windows set into the gray stone walls. In the center of the room stood the large circular Moderator's Table with the TORC emblem imbedded in the middle, exquisitely crafted in inlayed gold and black onyx. <BR><BR>He sighed, picked up a pencil that lay on the table before him and scratched a reminder to himself, yet again, to ask The Admin to write more lighting in. Why Jon and Ted opted for the Gothic theme was beyond him. David, he knew, was partial to Early Colonial. Nilson, at the thought of having real windows – not to mention his own private office, sighed again…<BR><BR>He brought his attention back to the document he was reading, a report written by some of the moderators regarding congratulatory threads…<BR><BR>“…therefore, threads created for self congratulatory purposes, or countdown threads, should be regarded as spam and violations of the TOS. Such threads would be locked and their creators seized, imprisoned and appropriately rehabilitated.<BR><BR>There are a selected few moderators who, when interviewed, deemed <b>any</b> congratulatory thread, whether created by the poster themselves or by a friend, to be superfluous and in violation of the TOS. A recent statistical analysis showed that TORC could reclaim approximately 18% utilizable bandwidth and shrink a significant number of egos if all such threads where heretofore banned …”<BR><BR>Nilson was distracted by the sound of the large ebony doors at the opposite end of the Hall opening. Looking up he watched as the lithe form of the Rogue Moderator entered.</i><BR><BR>“May I come in?” <i>she asked, her voice echoing in the dark chamber.<BR> <BR>Nilson waved her in with the report, hitting the lampshade that hung over him. As appointed leader of the Moderators he made sure to always make himself available.</i><BR><BR>“Rogue! What can I do for you?” <i> he asked, steadying the lamp.</i><BR><BR>“Nils, is Star-of-Hope on leave?” <i>The Silencer of the Offenders asked, walking around the table.</i><BR><BR>“No, why?”<BR><BR><i>Rogue stopped and dropped herself into the seat immediately to Nilson’s right. She adjusted the band around her forehead that kept her wild mane of white and auburn hair under control.</i><BR><BR>“I was on duty, just reading and I noticed Running Deer is policing the Scripts. Has the duty roster been changed?”<BR><BR>“I haven’t authorized any changes. Running Deer, in the Scriptorium? Strange.”<BR><BR><i>Nilson reached down to the drawers on his lower left and from the top drawer pulled out his wrist communicator. Rogue saw this and raised an eyebrow.</i><BR><BR>“You, more than any of us, should be wearing that at all times!” <i>She said teasingly.</i><BR><BR>“Makes my skin breakout.” <i>He said with a grin as he adjusted for Running Deer’s frequency. </i><BR><BR>“RD, this is Nils, please report on your location, over.” <i> The wrist communicator was silent, then a crackle forewarned of RD’s reply. <BR><BR><b>**kshhhht** </b></i> “I am in Scripts, just passing thread number… number 28.”<BR><BR><i>Nilson looked quizzically at Rogue who smiled and shrugged, saying: </i> “I don’t get it.”<BR><BR><i>Nilson thought for a moment then pressed the open channel button:</i><BR><BR>“RD, could you please report to me here in my office at once, please. Over.”<BR> <BR><i>There was silence, almost too long a silence. Nilson was becoming more and more curious by the minute.<BR><BR><b>**kshhhht**</b></i> “I am on my way. Over.”<BR><BR>****<BR><BR>“Hey! Everyone, look! Look at the tapestry!” <i> Brilta yelled excitedly, her hand pointing at the broad tapestry as it swayed over the fake passageway. <BR><BR>The figure of the deer was running in the opposite direction.</i>
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Postby Running-Deer » Tue Jul 02, 2002 12:14 am

Running-Deer wondered what Nilson could want with her. By the tone of his voice over the com, he had not been informed as to her mission, that Jon & Ted had sent her out to find out what was going on. As she made her way back to the Moderator's Board Room, she checked cells of the dungeon so that she did not have to recheck them later.<BR><BR>As she walked up to the doors she knocked out of habit. Then she entered at the sound of Nilson's voice <i>Enter</i>. She walked up and as she took the chair opposite Rogue, she nodded to her fellow moderator. The headband, feathers and leather ties in her own hair settling around her shoulders as her waist-length hair, with its wild look, also settled. <BR><BR><i>Hmmmm whatsup?<BR><BR>I was just wondering why you are out of the Pony area? I had you scheduled to work there today and that means that there is one less keeping tabs on the RP's.<BR><BR>Not again! I hate it when this happens! Darn it. Jon & Ted called me to the Tower and sent me out to find out what was going on. Some prisoners disappeared and they needed me to track them down. They obviously forgot to tell you. Gads I mean their busy and all but how long does it take to inform you of such a change?! Next time I am not leaving until I HEAR them make the call. Sorry Nils. Rant done.<BR><BR>Oh ok ... yeah a simple call could have cleared this up. I guess you had better get back to it then. I will go in and take your place. Ummm have you seen Star out and about.<BR><BR>Nope not at all. Am I ok to go now? <BR><BR>Sure.</i><BR><BR>With that RD left the room and went back down the halls that she had just come through but more quickly this time because she knew what was and wasn't there. She worked her way back towards the Scriptorium but along the way she found another doorway that looked suspicious to her and so, she went ahead and entered it. Inside were several TOS violators and she had to lock them up but in this form she could not. She then alerted Jon that a moderator was needed here. <BR><BR>She got right back to where she had taken the diversion and headed back towards the Scriptorium.
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Postby Cynara » Tue Jul 02, 2002 8:35 am

The Deer had gone the opposite direction from them, until it was almost off the Tapestry. However, after not too long, it had turned again, and was coming right back. The assembly groaned in frustration. <BR> Turning away from the tapestry, which she and Brilta had been watching which apprehension, she called to Leoba, "What'd you find?"
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Postby lalatiel » Tue Jul 02, 2002 12:56 pm

Lalatiel flicked dirt out from under her nails, making a soft clicking sound. Ugh. She had been momentarily hopeful when Brilta had pointed out the deer leaving, but now it seemed to be moving toward them, albeit slowly. It was quite small compared to the group of people, but would eventually catch up, in time. ((Better?))<BR> <i>Hey,</i> she called from her postition, seated on the floor, <i>how's that waterfall thing going?</i><BR> <i>Uh, good!</i> yelled Leoba, who was much farther away. Lalatiel picked herself up from her position on the floor and walked over to stand beside her. The waterfall issued out of a hole in the rock, that looked just big enough for them to climb through, one at a time. Problem was, it was wet, dark and precarious-looking. It would be dangerous, but it was the only way they could see. <BR> <i>So how are we planning to get down there?</i> asked Cynara, reading Lalatiel's thoughts. <i>It looks slippery.</i> Leoba nodded, saying nothing. All they could hear was the loud pounding of water on rocks.
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Postby Bardhwyn » Tue Jul 02, 2002 1:33 pm

(OOC: A rare occurance! Please read OOC thread, all. Ta. ~ B )
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Postby SilverScribe » Wed Jul 03, 2002 7:28 pm

<BR><i> Scribbles wandered over to where the others were crowded around Leoba. She looked up at what could only be described as, well, a waterfall. </i><BR><BR>“All righty then, stand back and watch me work.”<BR><BR><i> Pushing up her sleeves, she closes her eyes and begins to let her muse take over. Bardhwyn and Leoba look at each other knowingly and find comfy perches on a couple of large boulders that just happen to be standing about, while the rest of the group stands around uncomfortably.</i><BR><BR>“What’s she doing?”<i> Lalatiel wondered out loud.</i><BR><BR>“Just watch,” <i> Bardhwyn answered with a wink.<BR><BR>Guruth gave a soft yelp of surprise as the waterfall slowly shifted to one side, leaving a rough, wet stone pathway that wound alongside the rushing water. Rough stone steps pushed themselves out, leading from the smooth stone floor all the way up to the top of the low falls. Moss began to grow over the multi-hued stones that mushroomed out of the bare rock walls. Dainty white and purple blossoms sprouted in the cracks and crannies and nodded in the spray that began to gently rise from the large basin of rock that held the large pool at the base of the fall. The roof of the cavern above the waterfall stretched up slightly and small stalactites became visible.<BR><BR>From out of nowhere, small bright birds flew by, filling the air with sweet songs and soft twitterings. They disappeared,but their song remained, echoing over the sound of the still flowing water.<BR><BR>The astonished group watched as first one, then several brightly coloured butterflies wafted back out of the now obvious passage. They swirled and danced around the heads of each member of the group. Leoba laughed and holding out a graceful hand, let one large, brilliant Monarch land on her outstretched finger.<BR><BR>Scribbles opened her eyes and sighed deeply. She grinned at the rest of the group.</i><BR><BR>“The flowers and birds still nod and sing,<BR>the bubbling waters their cool comfort bring.<BR><BR>You see? Just close your eyes and imagine something. I just imagined bringing the poems lines to life and building on the foundation that Leoba started for us. It’s not hard at all, I know you can all do this.” <BR><BR><i> She chuckled. </i> Besides, you just never know when it’s going to be your turn to get us all out of a tight spot. Now, let’s see if we have a guide or not.”<BR><BR><i>Turning to the butterfly Leoba yet held, she spoke softly in Elvish. </i> “Toga ammen, bain gwilwileth?”<BR><BR>“What did she say?” <i> someone asked.<BR><BR>Elenath turned with a small smile.</i> “She asked if the beautiful butterfly would lead us.”<BR><BR><i> The large Monarch fanned its wings several times, then launched itself into the air above their heads. It danced about for a few moments, then flew towards the opening of the spring. One by one, the other butterflies swirled about the group, almost as though they were saying ‘come on! come on!’.<BR><BR>With a broad smile, Scribbles looked around at each face. </i><BR><BR>“Okey dokey, who wants to take point?”<BR><BR>
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Postby Leoba » Thu Jul 04, 2002 5:18 am

<i>Leoba and Bardhwyn looked at one another and then at Scribbles. </i><BR><BR>“I’m game for it. Even in a world where the butterflies understand Elvish.”<BR><BR><i>With an inappropriately light spring in her step, Leoba put the first of her green suede boots on the lowest step. She cast her gaze up the cascade and thought to herself that it seemed as though they’d walked into a Disney film. All that they needed now was for the birds and the butterflies to start singing….. ‘Heaven forbid!’, she caught her thoughts just in time. An errant muse was no laughing matter at the best of times, but especially not when it threatened to call undesirable attention to the escapees in such a ridiculous way.<BR><BR>Leoba pulled her mind back into line. The misty spray rose up and wound itself about the plant life, beckoning her to climb upwards into its damp embrace. The moss-ridden stone was slippery underfoot and she would have been glad to be wearing her stout hiking boots instead. But her step was sure and her balance steady, even as she had to take a wide stride across some of the more water-logged parts. The moisture in the atmosphere clung to her eyelashes, with the radiance of dawn dewdrops on a cobweb, and curled her hair into soggy (and most unglamorous) tendrils about her face.<BR><BR>She turned and looked back to the others who yet stood slightly below. </i><BR><BR>“Come on.” <i> Leoba extended a hand to Lalatiel, who was looking a little uncertain at this strange turn of events.</i> “Trust me, this is the easy bit.”<BR><BR><i>Lalatiel took her proffered palm and allowed Leoba to guide her across the treacherously soggy moss-strewn path. Then onwards and upwards they worked, their passage becoming easier as they increased in confidence. More butterflies, displaying a multitude of vibrant hues, flitted around their heads before flying on ahead to the cave then back again, impatiently urging the travellers on. <BR><BR>As they approached the top, Leoba beheld the wondrous beauty of the cavern spread out ahead, running deep into the rockface. It sparkled as though set with millions of precious jewels, twinkling in the reflective light of the swift-running water.</i> “I bet you that this has never been explored before you know, let alone named. What do you think we should call it? Scribes’ Grotto? Scribbler’s Cavern? Okay, so they’re not the most inspired titles in the world but my brain is tired; there’s been so much to take in today.” <i>She could hardly believe that that very day she had been sitting at her desk quietly pretending to work; it felt as though it had been a distant existence a thousand years previous to her current circumstances. Leoba allowed her eyes to grow accustomed to the changing light of the cave, focusing deep into the interior to see what might be seen. She was sure she perceived a small pinprick of light in the far distance.</i><BR><BR>
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Postby lalatiel » Thu Jul 04, 2002 8:33 am

Lalatiel stepped into the cavern a scant second after Leoba and gasped. <BR><BR> <i>Oh my...</i> she breathed. <BR><BR>She turned slowly around, taking it all in. The ceiling was high and arched, she could barely see it. The walls were glistening and damp, and tiny rivulets of water trickled down them. The floor was smooth, hard, black stone, and gave the air of the cave a pleasant coolness. The rest of the group slowly trickled into the cave in twos and threes, and stopped to stare in awe at this place. <BR><BR> <i>You just imagined it... and it came to be?</i> asked Lalatiel in wonder.<BR><BR> How many times had she wished she could do this, and now- now it was possible! It seemed too... strange... and good to be true, so she decided to see for herself if it was all just a pleasant dream. Closing her eyes, she thought of a bird, a blue one, with a soft white breast and little black eyes alighting on her fingers. Her eyes opened with a start at the touch of tiny clawed feet on her finger, and there was the bird. <BR><BR> <i>Aiwe utulie...</i> she said in surprise, and even more surprise at the words. <i>The bird came!</i><BR><BR> <i>It works!</i> smiled Leoba. <BR><BR>Lalatiel grinned and, with a gentle throwing motion, released the bird to soar out of the cavern. She watched it for awhile, until her vision was obscured by a sheet of falling water. The waterfall had resumed it's normal course. <BR> <BR><i>I wonder if it's getting late?</i> said Guru.<BR><BR> None of them had watches, and in the cave, it was always a twilight. Torches would probably help their journey considerably, but where to find a torch in a cavern of stone.<BR><BR> <i>I hope one of your characters carries flint and tinder...</i>
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Postby Bardhwyn » Thu Jul 04, 2002 11:19 am

“Well, that explains that.” <i> Rogue said, satisfied.</i> “See you in the Pony.” <i> she called over her shoulder to Nilson as she walked towards the door.</i> <BR><BR>“I’m not going to the Pony, Rogue. See if Innocent Evil can cover it. I’m going to the Tower, instead.”<BR><BR><i> Rogue raised and eyebrow.</i> “Say hi to the guys for me then. Tell ‘em I miss them.” <i> she said with a certain smile as she turned for the door.</i> <BR><BR>“Oh and Rogue” <i> Nilson called after her.</i> “Let’s just keep this little oversight on Jon’s part between us, shall we?”<i> the Wizard said with a sympathetic smile.</i> “They’ve been working really hard lately, you know.”<BR><BR><i> Rogue nodded again, wearing a smaller version of that same sympathetic smile and left.<BR><BR>‘The Tower’ was remarkably different to any TORC environment Nilson was used to. It was well lit with artificial lighting, had lots of windows all looking out onto an incredibly busy and strange place. There was a dizzying array of equipment, ‘computers’ they were called, several desks, chairs on wheels – which Nilson coveted - and the most important piece of equipment was enshrined in the corner. It was smaller and less imposing than the other machines and less complicated by the looks of it but that did not detract from its supreme importance. It was called ‘the coffee machine’ and often while Nilson would visit Ted, David or Jon would go up to it, pay obeisance and be allowed to take it’s magically produced libation – coffee. Nilson tried some once and felt very honored but he found it too bitter. <BR><BR>Nilson, using his small wrist communicator, reconfigured himself once he’d fully emerged from the PC Portal. He quickly checked and reassured himself that, yes, he’d muted the sound effects. Ted was sitting farthest most away, typing furiously and looking somewhat red in the face. Jon, sitting closest, was deeply engrossed in what appeared to be a message board similar to TORC except it was rather flashy and space age in design. Looking about Nilson couldn’t see David so he waited patiently a few more minutes before politely clearing his throat.</i> <BR><BR>“Ahem.”<BR><BR><i> Jon looked up. Ted didn’t.</i> <BR><BR>“Nilson!” <i> Jon exclaimed as he quickly minimized his browser window. He rolled back from his array wearing a broad smile.</i> “What brings you here? We weren’t scheduled for a meeting today, were we? It’s tomorrow, right?”<i> Jon said looking both concerned and confused.</i> <BR><BR>“No and yes.” <i> Nilson said</i> . “I mean no, we don’t have a meeting today and yes we are scheduled for tomorrow. I just wanted to check something with you.” <i> Nilson said, smiling reassuringly and suddenly feeling guilty he’d come at all. The Admin had been so busy lately the Mod’s had been leaving them to it, cutting back on their social visits, and all were asked to take their directives straight from Nilson ( he sometimes receiving only the occasional memo from Jon and Ted describing said directives.) The new TOS Violator Rehabilitation Program (TVRP) had been introduced during this demanding time, placing a strain on everyone, most notably the Admin – or rather Jon and Ted. David had taken some time off, they’d been told. <BR><BR>Reflecting on all this Nilson shifted uneasily a bit, then motioned to a chair. </i> “May I?”<BR><BR>“Of course, please sit down. I’m sorry Nils. I’ve got a lot on my mind.”<i> Jon apologetically said, pulling a comfy-wheeled chair over Nils who settled into it with a small grin.</i> <BR><BR>“Now, Nils, if we can keep this brief that would be great.” <i> Jon said.</i> <BR><BR>“Oh, sure, well I was curious about Running Deer. You’d called her up and re-assigned her , which is fine – I am pleased you feel you can do that,” <i> Nils said with an assuring laugh,</i> “unfortunately the information didn’t get to me and I was concerned that perhaps you needed more help. Do you want me to review the duty roster?”<i> Nils asked with an open expression on his face hoping not to betray his concerns.</i> <BR><BR>“DAMN!”<i> The TOS Violation filled the room and both Jon and Nilson jumped and turned to see Ted slouched over his keyboard, head in hands.</i> <BR><BR>“I’ve tried everything I can think of! I can’t close them! It’s a user-error variable! A double click on ‘done’ during a reply within a 30 second window before and after a server reset will create an entry way and there is nothing we can do about it. Users are going to get sucked in, Jon, and they’ll be wandering around!” <i> Ted’s voiced trailed off into a small groan.</i> <BR><BR>“Ted?” <i> Jon said quietly.</i> <BR><BR>“What!” <BR><BR>“Nilson is here.”<BR><BR><i>Startled, Ted unburied his face from his hands and looked over at the Moderator who sat plain faced and dressed in his white wizards robes. </i> <BR><BR>“Oh, hello Nilson. I didn’t hear you arrive.”<BR><BR>“No, I turned off the sound effects as you asked.”<BR><BR><i> Ted nodded.</i> “Yeah, thanks. I appreciate that.”<BR><BR><i> There was an awkward silence. Nilson watched as Jon and Ted exchanged meaningful glances and the Wizard was forced, finally, to speak.</i> <BR><BR>“Guys, is this why you’ve pulled Running Deer? She’s tracking users who have ‘fallen in’?” <i> Nilson leaned forward in his chair, speaking now with more concern.</i> “Look, if you’re stretched, we – the Mods – are here to help. You created us for that reason. And if you think problems like this, problems you can’t fix, will undermine our confidence in you, you’re wrong. How many times have I heard you say it: “We’re only human!” not that I will every fully understand, I am just a computer program but I do know it means there will always be something that will slip.”<BR><BR><i> Jon looked thoughtfully at Nilson, marveling at the wonderful job they had done in designing him. All the Moderators were brilliant strokes of genius, for that matter, each one individual, created to appear as if IRL users with their own ‘histories’ and ‘lives’ but in fact were computer generated personas endowed with artificial intelligence. David had always quipped that if the Federal Government ever caught on to what they’d created, no one would ever see any of them again! Or Torc for that matter.</i> <BR><BR><i> Jon turned to Ted and smiled.</i> “I think we should tell him, Ted.”<BR><BR>“What!” <i> Ted cried out.</i> Argh!..”<i> He buried his face in his hands once again.</i> <BR><BR>“It will be all right, Ted. Nilson,” <i> Jon said turning to the Mod with a paternal smile, </i> “You are right. We have been concerned about losing the trust and confidence of the Moderators. We do have a serious problem as you’ve just learned, and yes, we do need more help.”<BR><BR><i> Nilson nodded thoughtfully, listening while Jon continued.</i> <BR><BR>“As you know, with the TVRP we’ve taken on a huge task; to rehabilitate TOS violators here, in TORC, and then release them back into their home environments so they can go on to be happy, healthy posters. It’s a big job we’ve taken on and so far we’ve been very successful. We’ve seen only a 6% relapse rate and the lockouts have created a more harmonious atmosphere on the boards. The program we’ve written, Spatio-Temporal Disruptor, which Ted was just talking about, is the means by which we bring the violators in and yes, as you’ve heard there is a bug. We will need your help chasing down the ‘Droppers’, those who just fall into TORC who don’t need rehabbing. They will need a gentle escort back to their real lives.”<BR><i> Nilson smiled appreciatively at this show of trust.</i> “That would be Running Deer?”<BR><BR>“Ah, no.”<i> Jon answered.</i> “Running Deer is..” <i> Jon stopped and laughed.</i> “Well, Running Deer is taking care of another problem we’re a bit embarrassed about. Some TOS Violators have escaped before they could be rehabilitated. There mostly Newbies, some having more IRL life experience and how they’ve managed it, well… let’s just say they got lucky.” <BR><BR>“Who are they?” <i> Nilson asked, now curious.<BR><BR>Jon smiled and listed down the names. Nilson recognized most of them and when Jon finished he couldn’t help but commenting: </i> “Lively bunch! I can see Running Deer will be in for some fun. They make for a very imaginative crew.” <BR><BR><i> Jon’s face became suddenly grave. </i> “And that makes them dangerous. They must be stopped and their rehabilitation begun immediately. It’s for their own good.”<BR><BR>“I see.” <i> Nilson said, simply.</i> “I will take Running Deer off of her other duties. She's a good choice and let me know when you start seeing ‘Droppers’. I will take care of them for you.”<BR><BR>“Thank you,” <i> Jon said, standing up and holding out his hand. Nilson stood as well and shook Jon’s hand with a firm grip.</i> “I know I can count on you, Nilson. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have lots to do.”<BR><BR>“Of, course. I will report in tomorrow at 2:00 as scheduled.” <i> Nilson said. He made a few taps on his wrist communicator and slowly melted into the LCD of the open notebook on the desk nearest to him. Jon thought he saw Nils scratching furiously at the wrist wearing the communicator as he disintegrated.</i> <BR><BR>“Well,” <i> Ted said as Jon seated himself.</i> “The plot thickens.”<BR><BR>“Indeed.” <i> Jon replied as he maximized his Internet browser. The science fiction message board displayed itself and Jon couldn’t help but groan. It was the most un-user friendly site he’d ever seen, not to mention just plain ugly. With a sigh he began trawling once again, looking for something, anything that could be some help in their search.</i>
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Postby Elenath » Fri Jul 05, 2002 3:13 pm

<i>Flint and tinder... light... Elenath smacked herself in the forehead. The others turned and looked at her, and she smiled sheepishly.</i><BR><BR>"Just remembered something. I've been a bit dense, I'm afraid. Just a moment." <i>Elenath closed her eyes and took a deep breath, calming herself. She held her right hand flat against her chest, with the band of Caladist, her silver ring, touching near to her heart. She took another deep breath, concentrating, and then she felt it happen. It was just as she always imagined it. Her senses seemed to broaden: she could almost feel the walls of the cave around her. She heard a few gasps, and opened her eyes to see her ring glowing with a soft, clear light. She held her hand up in front of her, and the light grew stronger, rising to show the high, arched ceiling, glistening off the moist walls, lighting the crystals with an eerie glow. It lit the wings of the butterflies dancing above them, until the cavern seemed filled with color. Elenath could hear the others exclaiming, but Caladist was pulling her attention further into the cave.</i><BR><BR>"Follow me," <i>Elenath called, and started walking further in. The cave began to shrink, and soon they were crowded together, the butterflies fluttering before them and among them. They reached the back of the cavern: a smooth, dark rock wall, with rivulets of water trickling down its face. The butterflies swirled back and forth in front of them, and someone hissed in frustration. </i> "There's no way out here!" <BR><BR>"Maybe up there, where the water's coming in..."<BR><BR>"Where? There's no opening bigger than a crack!"<BR><BR><i>Elenath tuned out the voices, concentrating on her ring. It was a strange sensation: she could almost hear Caladist speaking to her, she could feel the knowledge it gave her growing in her mind. She brought her hand back to her chest, watching the butterflies.</i> "It's here," <i>she said quietly.</i> "I don't know exactly how, but the way out is through this wall."
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Postby lalatiel » Fri Jul 05, 2002 7:12 pm

<i>The Doors of Moria!</i> said Lalatiel, indicating the flat, featureless wall with a flourish. <i>Speak, friend, and enter!</i><BR> <BR><i>No, silly, it's 'say friend and enter'!</i> said Scribbles. <i>Observe- mellon...</i> Of course, absoloutely nothing happened.<BR> <BR><i>It could be that kind of door, couldn't it?</i> queried Lalatiel, suddenly realizing that as TORC <i>was</i> a site dedicated to Tolkien, it only made sense to have secret Tolkien-esque doors about the interior. <i>We just don't know the password. But if we think...</i> <BR> <BR>Lalatiel searched her mind. What would open the mysterious passage to the forums beyond? What sort of password would Jon and Ted have dreamed up to protect the delicate insides of their digital creation? Would it be Elvish? English? <BR> <BR>She slowly approached the door, running her hands over the hard surface, feeling for cracks. Nothing. At least not in the wall- high overhead, a minute crack was visible in the ceiling, and a pearly shaft of moonlight filtered in, alighting on the rock face like a pale butterfly.<BR> <BR><i>Ithildin... mirrors only starlight and moonlight...</i>
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Postby SilverScribe » Sat Jul 06, 2002 9:52 pm

<BR>((OOC: I read the books and saw the movie, it really is “*Speak* friend and enter”, but I’ll play along <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0> And where are the rest of you? I know Wisteria is on holidays and Guruth is away for ten days, but lindon? Cynara? Maiden? Ah, well, it is the summer, we’ll just have fun and write y’all in . . . <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>))<BR><BR>IC:<BR><BR><i> Lalatiel’s mention of the Doors of Moria made sense. After all, Tolkien Online was a Tolkien site, and being a computer generated environment would mean passwords as well as back doors, trap doors, holes, bugs and glitches.<BR><BR>Obviously however, Ted and Jon were far too smart to use the same method as Tolkien himself. Not even saying the classic “Friend” caused a single thing to happen. Scribbles scratched her head and tried to think.<BR><BR>Lalatiel was running her hands over the rock face, just like Gandalf had done in the Tolkien story. And just like the Tolkien story, the moonlight began to pick out delicate tracery on the darkness.<BR><BR>However, unlike the stencilled image of huge doors, this was different, but maddingly familiar. Scribbles watched as the forms of large pillars formed down each side, the left pillar capped at the top by a dragon shape and what looked like a picture frame, the right pillar with an image of a huge, spreading tree at its base. The top was a flat band, etched with a faint design. The centre was utterly blank, dark.</i><BR><BR>“It sort of looks like one of the main screens . . .” <i> she mused out loud, then shook her head. There was something, but she just couldn’t pull it out of the cobwebby corners or her brain. Then she realized why. She cleared her throat and got the groups attention. </i><BR><BR>“Hey guys, I have no doubt that Lalatiel is onto something here. But it seems late and I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have a feeling that it has been a rather long day and that the day itself is long gone. I suggest we either camp out here, or go back down to the foot of the falls. Either way, I’m rather beat, I could use some sleep and my bet is the rest of you could too.”<BR><BR>“But what about food? I’m hungry as much as tired.” <i>lindon offered. Several voices echoed her sentiment. </i><BR><BR>“Well, until we locate our packs or find one of the many Inns, I think we may be out of luck in the food department. But hey, consider this. A human being can survive for weeks without food, but only three days without water. I think it’s fortunate that we at least have something to drink, right?”<BR><BR>“Oh yeah, and it’s very light on the calories, Scribbles,” <i> Bardhwyn remarked drily.<BR><BR>Scribbles laughed. </i> “Hey, I could have written a poem about a desert y’know. Then we could have spent our time dodging vultures before we died of thirst.”<BR><BR><i> She looked around at the rest of the group.</i><BR><BR>“We are safe in here, the Scriptorium is an awful big place for Running Deer to search and I put a spell on the door anyway. I vote for a good nights sleep, and we tackle the door first thing. What do you guys say?”<BR><BR><BR>
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Postby lalatiel » Sun Jul 07, 2002 12:55 pm

<i>Sounds like a plan.</i> said Brilta. <BR> <i>I know where we can get water.</i> offered Leoba helpfully. <i>I mean, we did come in through a waterfall, and now that it's back running... well, should be pretty simple to get a few drops.</i> <BR> <i>Makes sense.</i> said Lalatiel with a shrug. <i>But, if I may quote Frodo, I don't carry water in my pockets.</i> The group nodded thoughtfully, each of them thinking of ways to get water. There was a little pot-hole in the corner of the cave, Lalatiel noticed. She motioned to the Bearer of the Light to come with her, and they set off. Along the way, Lalatiel shrugged off her cloak. Soon they heard the telltale roar of water hurtling a great distance over stone, and the waterfall was within reach.<BR> <i>Okay.</i> said Lalatiel to Elenath. <i>Hold this side of my cloak- high above your head, so it hangs down- like that- and-</i> They slowly walked forward, bearing the cloak like a floppy coffin over their heads. Soon, the piece of material and the waterfall intersected, with a great splash that soaked both Lalatiel and Elenath. They sputtered but held onto the strange water-container, until it started feeling exceedingly heavy.<BR> <i>Now we run back!</i> yelled Lalatiel through a mouthful of water. They stumbled back to the rock face, trying to slosh out as little of the water as possible, and hastily dumped it into the depression in the floor, and sat down, exhausted, and very wet.<BR> <i>You want us to drink out of a hole in the ground?</i> said Cynara skeptically, eying the pool of water with a raised eyebrow.<BR> <i>It's not really very sanitary.</i> said Scribbles. <i>But I don't think I wrote bird poop or anything like that into my poem. Besides, I haven't got a better idea.</i> Everyone sighed, and agreed, and went to drinking the water out of cupped hands. It was cold, and quite refreshing after a long day of being sucked into their computers, releasing prisoners, and being chased by Running Deer.<BR> <i>So,</i> said Leoba conversationally, <i>You say humans can survive a week without food?</i>
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Postby Bardhwyn » Sun Jul 07, 2002 1:51 pm

"Yup, that's right." <i>Bardhwyn said as she stretched out on the hard stone floor. She folded her arms up into a makeshift pillow behind her head and looked up onto the cave's rock ceiling.</i> "That's all right with me, I wanted to lose a few pounds. It's the three days without water that concerns me. As Scribbles said, I think our next priority is laying our hands on some gear; water skins, food, weapons - as well as keeping out of Running Deer's way... or any other Mod for that matter. Let's speak more of it after a good spell of sleep, shall we? Our minds will be sharper and our bodies rested."<BR><BR><i>The members of the company began to settle down in a ring around the watering hole, each face appearing weary in the light of Elenath's ring. Bardhwyn, her mind whirring away, rolled on her side and propped her head up on her left arm - the heel of her hand pressing hard into her ear, thus drowning a bit of the waterfall's roar. <BR><BR>She quietly studied each one of her companions as some stretched out and others chatted quietly. She did her best to recollect what HJ knew about them. HJ's memories, however, were becoming distant, like memories of one's life from ten, fifteen years ago. Parts were crystal clear; her cat, trips in airplanes and of course her brief stop in Jon and Ted's office. Other memories were hazy and vague, like dreams one tries to recall a day or two after. <BR><BR>The story of Bardhwyn was, minute by minute, becoming more and more real and immediate to her, however. She longed to have her father's bow and her brother's sword and her grief for her family would, at times, overwhelm her. She missed them all so much. She missed Thain, the Bowmen... <BR><BR>'These people are my family now.' Bardhwyn mused as she lay back down and looked, yet again, at the dark ceiling. They were now a 'Fellowship' in their own right, with a journey and a quest. The ensuing sigh that escaped her was a deep one, stretching her chest with a small ache. 'Into the unknown we go...' This thought whirled in her mind as Bardhwyn closed her eyes. The suggestion of sleep was a good one - Scribbles always made good suggestions - but Bardhwyn's adrenaline was pumping and she was far from weary. Still, with some patient deep breathing she coaxed her new virtual form to relax and she drifted into an uneasy sleep.</i>
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Postby Running-Deer » Sun Jul 07, 2002 10:05 pm

RD went back downt he hallways towards the TORC dungeons looking into each cell to be sure of only 1 occupant and moving people if there were more than 1. Separation was the key now. That and find the one's that were loose. She looked around and saw the tapestries had changed somewhat but were at the moment not changing anymore. She thought about this as she continued down the last pathway she had been when she got <i>the call</i> from Nilson. She knew that probably right about now he would be in the Tower with Jon & Ted trying to find out what was really happening. As she realized that she was past the area she had last looked in so she turned around and knealt down, reading the footprints that were aged and then she slowly looked up the wall. She slowly smelled the rocks and there was a smell there. <BR><BR>She went slowly upon silent mocassin booted feet and once again there was a tapestry. Her figure was suddenly frozen as if in time. Good. Whoever was on the outside, was not on their computer and no longer able to help the excapees. That would hopefully give her time to at least find the trail and maybe, hopefully the people that were running. She went just past the tapestry and found the the trail was cold there. She turned back and then moved the tapestry. There behind it was the place she had been earlier. She remembered that here she had armed herself with her double-headed battle axes. Now there seemed to not be the threat that there was before. So she moved into the shadowy walkway towards a doorway. There she found another room. She moved caustiously into the area, ready for anything that might attack her. All her senses were on heightened alert and she was ready for anything. <BR><BR>She choose a corner and placed her back into it and waited for several minutes, listening, smelling. When she realized that there was nothing to fear here, she replaced her battle axes and stood erect watching and waiting for the sign that would show itself soon enough. She waited and watched every moment, sound, light flicker, even the dust settling. She saw that there were footprints, slight depressions in the lite dust on the rock floor. That was all she needed; they had been here. She took all of it in and slowly made her way around the room making no tracks of her own and seeing everything trying to decide how they had gotten out. She thought she saw something in an obscure corner with little light. She decided that she should finish with the rest of the room first; best to be thorough. <BR><BR>At the end of the long hall there stood a tall marble staircase, leading to a green door, with the sign saying:<BR><i>'To the Peoples of Middle-Earth: Guilds and Alliances'</i>.<BR>That green door looked very rusty and difficult to open. She looked at it with her head tilted one way then the other. She looked up then down. She saw that the door had not been used, until recently for there were piece's of rust that had fallen off to the floor also creating a small amount of rust dust on the floor. Great! Just what she needed, a door she couldn't move alone. This was going to create a problem. She went back into the room and looked around to see if she could find something to use as a wedging tool. Nothing was there. She would have to try to open it herself. Then she thought she should call for help, who could be on their way while she tried the door. If it opened she could call them and tell them not to bother. With her wrist communicator, she turned it to the help frequency, alerting any and all moderators or Admin to her need.<BR><BR>"Hey anyone in the vicinity of D3 or D4, I need some assistance with a stubborn rusty door."<BR><BR>She heard nothing in reply, not that she really expected any as once someone got close to her level, they would alert her and get directions. She would in the meantime, try to get the door to open. It would not be easy. She tired everything that she could think of but nothing was working. She then stood back and looked at it to see if there was a secret of some kind that she was missing in her haste. Again nothing was there. So she sat down and waited, staring at the door willing it to tell her its secret.<BR>
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Postby Cynara » Mon Jul 08, 2002 12:38 pm

Cynara took a few gulps of the cool, clear water, and found to her delight that it tasted faintly like sweet clovers. She drank more deeply of it, before remembering with sharp regret that water was a limited resource. Crawling away from the shallow, tiny pool, she noted that the cavern had become noticibly cooler, as the twilight fell. Cynara forced Aliya to give up her cloak, and rolled herself up in it.<BR> Although the cloak was fine and well-made, Cynara still felt oddly cold, but perfectly warm at the same time. Looking over at Aliya, Cy saw that she was shivering slightly. <i>I think that having two bodies may drive me insane!</i> Cy sighed to herself, and stood up, moving back over to Aliya, and sharing the cloak. This time, she was quite comfortable, and fell asleep with no trouble, despite the hard stone floor.
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Postby lalatiel » Mon Jul 08, 2002 4:04 pm

((My 500th post <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>))<BR>Lalatiel stretched and rolled over, and snatched her cloak, which had fallen off her and sat in a heap dangerously close the the water. It was cold enough in here already, and by the looks of it they had a long way to go. The thought of a wet cloak on the journey to come definitely did not give her warm fuzzies inside. <BR> She blinked, once, twice, slowly, her eyelashes brushing her face, and her mind drifting to sleep. This didn't take long, as her heavy breathing a few moments later clearly demonstrated.<BR> She awoke suddenly, her eyes fluttering open. It was cold, and the morning, or what she could see of it through the little hole in the ceiling, had dawned bright and clear. She groaned, muttering something to the effect of " 's too early..." to the sun, but it was pretty unintelligible. Someone shook her, and she opened her eyes, which she hadn't known she'd closed. <BR> <i>Wake up.</i> said the unknown person, unknown because the cavern was dark. The front-page outline was clearly visible in the half-night. <i>We've got a long way to go.</i><BR> She stood up grudgingly. Fine. Off to alliances. If they could figure out how to open that mysterious door...<BR>((Would write more, but eating is more important <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>))
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Postby SilverScribe » Tue Jul 09, 2002 7:12 am

<BR>((OOC: No prob. You eat, I’ll write. Congrats on 500 Lalatiel! oh and “ Long Post Alert!” <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>)<BR><BR>IC:<BR><BR><i> Scribbles watched as one by one, the group got comfortable. Well, as comfortable as one could get on a rock floor in a cavern with the sound and spray of a waterfall behind them. She sighed and wrapping herself in her cloak, sat back against one wall, staring at the strange, glowing etching on the back rock face. She was mildly surprised to find that like her TORC character, she did not appear to need sleep just now, but merely a rest. Elenath too, seemed more awake than the others. They smiled at one another across the slumbering forms strewn about the cavern, then Elenath doused the light from Caladist. <BR><BR>Scribbles rested her head on her drawn up knees and closed her eyes to rest them, while her brain clicked over and over through all the endless questions that still did not appear to have any answers. Finally, she forced her thoughts to stop roiling and imagined a calm, clear pool, restful and restoring. She let herself go, drifting effortlessly into a waking but soft nothingness.<BR><BR>A few hours later, she raised her head to stare at the image, her eyes and mind refreshed from the simple luxury of no pressing thoughts.<BR><BR>As the rest of the night passed and the odd shaft of moonlight slid away, the etching went from from silver to a muted green, much like the glow-in-the-dark toys she remembered from her earthly childhood. As she stared at the lines and shapes, the madding familiarity nagged at her again.<BR><BR>When the first of the group began to stir, Scribbles rose and stretched, then went around the cavern, checking that no one had wandered off in the dark. She bent and shook Lalatiel, who was the slowest to wake, speaking gently to her.<BR><BR>When the group had finally gathered, Elenath once more breathed her ring into life to aid the thin, pencil fine shaft of sunlight that had replaced the moonlight. The etching still glowed a ghostly green. Cynara wandered over, with Guruth at her elbow.</i><BR><BR>“Well, anyone get any ideas in their sleep?” <i> she asked with a chuckle. <BR><BR>Guruth grinned. </i> “Well, I have an idea. Maybe it’s not so much a riddle, as just a bit of logic. I mean, this IS a computer program after all.”<BR><BR><i> A light murmuring went around the group and Scribbles scratched her head.</i> “Hmmmm, Guruth, I think you're onto something there, as you say, we are inside the program and as impossible as that sounds, I’m pretty sure we have all pinched ourselves black and blue and come to the same conclusion. However it happened, we are here, inside TORC, where the fantasy rubber of Tolkien meets the hard road of technology. We have to think in BOTH terms now, with elements of each.”<BR><BR><i> Bardhwyn grinned and rolled her eyes at Leoba.</i> “Heck Scribbles, I could have told you that yesterday, especially after what I saw in that control tower.” <BR><BR><i> Scribbles grinned back, then jerked her chin at the glowing image in front of them.</i> “Well ‘I told ya so’ isn’t going to help us solve this, much as I appreciate your contribution, Bardy. Now, I have an idea.”<BR><BR><i> She chuckled as groans and comments of ‘oh no, not another IDEA’ echoed around the cavern. She raised one hand and waved at the image.</i><BR><BR>“Yeah, yeah, I know but we don’t have a lot of choices here. Now, Elenath says that she can ‘feel’ that the door is here, and Lalatiel has drawn a good parallel with the Doors of Moria. A key word was needed to open the doors in Tolkiens world, but since this is the computer world of TORC, I say a password is what we need here. So everybody, yell out whatever ya think might work.”<BR><BR>“I’m not telling this bunch, or anyone for that matter what my TORC password is!” <i> exclaimed Cynara. She was echoed by several others, and as the general buzz began to grow, Scribbles put two fingers in her mouth and whistled loudly.</i><BR><BR>“I’m not asking for individual passwords here, I doubt Ted or Jon would use something that any one of us would know. I mean anything else you think may <b>they</b> would have used.”<BR><BR>“Oh, you mean like, oh I know!” <i> called out lindon from in the back.</i> “How about - ‘Terms Of Service'?”<BR><BR><i> They all turned to the image, but nothing happened.</i><BR><BR>“That’s a good idea Lindon, but obviously not the choice of Ted and Jon,” <i> she called out with a chuckle. </i> “Someone else, c’mon folks.”<BR><BR>“How about - The One Ring!”<BR><BR>“TORC!”<BR><BR>“Barliman of Bree!”<BR><BR>“Moderator!”<BR><BR>“Good Conduct!”<BR><BR>“Tolkien Online!”<BR><BR>“Forums!”<BR><BR>“Philosophy!”<BR><BR><i> Everyone turned to Leoba, who had shouted out the last one. She drew herself up and stuck her chin out defiantly. </i><BR><BR>“Well, why NOT!”<BR><BR><i> A round of good-natured laughter broke out and as it died down into a somewhat dejected silence, Scribbles frowned.</i><BR><BR>“You know,” <i> she mused, looking over the image again,</i> “I just can’t stop thinking that the image itself holds the key, just like Tolkiens inscription over the Doors of Moria. But I just can’t put my finger on it.”<BR><BR><i> Bardhwyn stepped up and looked over the image as well.</i><BR><BR>“Scribbles, you mentioned last night that it looks like one specific screen, maybe try to figure out which one?”<BR><BR><i> Scribbles nodded and closed her eyes, trying to imagine the last time she had been on-line, in her office, what seemed like a week ago but was less than 36 hours. Where had she been? Ah, the Forums screen. But this image didn’t look like that. Where else had she been? Ah, Settings. She had been updating her settings, adding a quote to the bottom of her signature text. Then she had scrolled down, pressed the “Save Messageboard Settings” button, and. . .<BR><BR>Her eyes snapped open.</i> “OF COURSE!! It looks like the Settings screen!!”<BR><BR>“But Scribbles, that’s in the . . .” <i> Leoba began.</i><BR><BR>“Exactly,” <i> Scribbles interrupted. This just had to work, if not, they were stuck. And strangely, there had been no help or messages from Wisteria lately.<BR><BR>She turned to the image and drew a deep breath. </i><BR><BR>“COMMUNITY!” <i> she shouted.<BR><BR>There was a soft, mechanical sounding ping, and the blank centre of the image began to change. A pair of iron strapped oak doors began to take shape, with large rings for handles but no visible locks. Each door was emblazoned with an Elven Rune and under it, a letter in Olde English Script. The left door bore the letter “A”, and the right bore the letter “G”. When the image was complete, there was a series of whirs and clicks, then the doors began to yawn open, the doors swinging outward and opening up onto a stunning vista.<BR><BR>Brilliant sunshine played over a broad meadow that was punctuated with stands of heavy timber. Scattered about were buildings of every shape and size. Emblazoned on broad doors, or on large swinging signs or even on the sides of the buildings themselves were a dizzying array of Coats of Arms, Symbols and Banners. People in every possible manner of Tokienesque race and dress were moving about, some on foot, some mounted. Scribbles turned to her stunned companions with a broad smile. </i><BR><BR>“Ladies and gentlemen, what say we visit a few Alliances and Guilds?”<BR><BR><BR>
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Postby Bardhwyn » Wed Jul 10, 2002 9:10 pm

(OOC: Mega Post Alert... <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0> )<BR><BR><i>Rogue sat back in her chair, her long legs propped up on the desk in front of her and in her lap sat a large leather bound book filled with yellowing parchment, each leaf skillfully etched in a long flowing hand. In gilded words on the front it read... <b>The Gathering Storm</b>. Rogue quietly sat, engrossed by the last few posts. Satisfied they met with all the guidelines set by the Admin, she slammed the book shut with a sigh. <BR><BR>‘Great thread…’ she murmured to herself as she tossed the book on a nearby cart. Leaning closer to see the various titles in front of her <b>‘The Lebennin Conspiracy’</b> caught her eye, and picking up the heavy tome, she slowly eased back into her chair and began to read, yet again. A small Hobbit maiden entered the quiet room and deposited six new volumes on the desk next to Rogue’s propped feet. Hefting the discarded volumes from the cart she softly cleared her throat.<BR>Rogue’s head popped up from her reading.</i><BR><BR>“Yes, Sweet-Pea, what is it?<BR><BR>“Would you care for some tea?” <BR><BR>“No thanks, I just had cup.” <i>Rogue answered with a smile. Sweet-pea nodded and left as quietly as she came. Rogue continued on reading. From her wrist communicator came a familiar sound….the static of an incoming transmission.</i><BR><BR><i>*Ksssshhhhht*</i> "Hey anyone in the vicinity of D3 or D4, I need some assistance with a stubborn rusty door." <i>*Ksssht*</i><BR><BR><i>Rogue looked over at the hourglass. ‘RD’s working late.’ She thought to herself. She then chuckled. It was happy hour in the Mod Tavern and no one was around. Rogue wanted to be there herself but posting had been heavy that day and she needed to catch up. <BR><BR>There was a slight crackle from Rogue’s communicator, which stimulated a pang of conscience in the Mod. ‘Maybe I should go? Nils said she was on a special project for the Admin..’ Her thoughts were interrupted by Jon’s voice, thinly amplified by the communicator’s speaker.</i><BR><BR><i>*Kssht*</i> “RD this is Jon. What is your current location again.” <i>*Kssht*</i><BR><BR><i>Rogue closed The Lebennin Conspiracy, dropped her feet and brought her wrist com closer to her ear.</i><BR><BR><i>*Kssht*</i> “I am in Scripts, Jon, near the door to Alliances and Guilds. I can’t open it, it’s rusted shut.. .no, wait…Ah, there is no handle or door hinges. Seems you didn’t finish writing it.” <i>*Kssht*</i><BR><BR><i>In ‘The Tower’ the streetlights were softly glowing outside the office windows as finally night fell over the city. Jon pulled back from the PC microphone, his faced puzzled. He turned to Ted.</i><BR><BR>“Did you start programming a door between Scripts and Alliances and not finish it? A green door?”<BR><BR><i>Ted stopped mid-bite of his pizza.</i> “Your asking <i>ME</i> if I didn’t <i>FINISH</i> programming something?” <i>Ted snorted and bit into the pizza slice.<BR><BR>Jon sat thinking for a moment. A knowing smile grew on his face and he leaned over the microphone a second time…</i><BR><BR>“RD, hold your position. We’re on it.”<BR><BR>“We are?” <i>Ted asked, his mouth full of pepperoni pizza.</i><BR><BR>“Yes, we are. Wisteria.”<BR><BR>“What? I thought you emailed her, Jon?<BR><BR>“I did, but how much you wanna bet she’s ignored my warning.” <i>Jon said, somewhat irked. He quickly minimized and maximized several windows on his PC until the TORC message boards were up. With three quick mouse clicks they had the TORC Conspiracy thread in view. Ted got up and stood behind Jon where he sat.</i><BR><BR>“I thought you LOCKED this thread, Ted!”<BR><BR>“Me! I thought YOU locked it!” <i>Ted gave a grunt.</i> “I’ll do it now, under who.. ShadowJack?”<BR><BR>“No Wait!” <i>Jon said as he opened the thread. He quickly scrolled the posts until he found Wisteria’s posts… </i>“Tapestries … deers running..”<i>he read aloud as he skimmed. Jon shook his head, not so much in anger as in admiration.</i> “Ah! Here it is.. <BR><BR><i>…..At the end of the hall stood a marble staircase. A plaque was mounted at the top of a marble staircase, it read: “To the Peoples of Middle Earth: Guilds and Alliances. Next to the plaque stood a door, large and green, with a large doorha…</i><BR><BR>“Well, well, well. There it is. A door, half finished.” <i>Jon said shaking his head and smiling.</i> “She’s clever, our Wisteria. Ted, whaddaya say you open that post and finish that door. That way, RD can get into A&G. Then lock that thread…”<BR><BR>“No Jon, leave it open. We’ll set ThreadStalker on guard and if she tries to post again we’ll pull her in. Then we lock it.”<BR><BR><i>Jon heaved a sigh at this suggestion. He liked Wiste, they’d done some business together and he’d hoped she get wise and back off but Ted was right. This was hardball.</i><BR><BR>“Yeah, all right.” <i>Jon muttered as he leaned back over the microphone.</i><BR><BR><i>*Ksssht*</i> "RD. Jon here. This is the plan. We’re writing the door in. Use it to enter the A&G forum. We’ll erase it once you’re through.” <i>Jon stopped for a moment and then quickly opened the TORC search engine..</i> “I will be sending you a listing of all the A&G threads these posters have written to, RD – they’re after food, equipment, weapons. That’s what I would do, anyway. Get to these threads and get that equipment.”<i> Jon pressed a few keys and sent the file direct to RD’s small view screen on her wrist com.</i> "Hide it all, destroy it, I don’t care. RD just keep them running. Then back track and hunt them down. Are you still okay on your own with this?” <i>*Kssht*</i><BR><BR><i>There was moment of silence interrupted only by Ted tapping on his keyboards.</i> “Done.” <i>He announced.</i><BR><BR><i>*Kssht*</i> Doors opening. Thanks Guys. Yes, I am all right with this, Jon. I’m goin’ in." <i>*Kssht*</i><BR><BR><i>Jon looked thoughtfully over at Ted, who was eyeing another slice of pizza.</i>"So Ted, which one? Rogue, Innocent Evil, Sandra?"<BR><BR>"Give RD a chance, first. We could pull Barad-Dur." <i>said with a mischevious smile.</i><BR><BR>"It's not that bad, not yet." <i>Jon said, smirking. He quietly hoped it wouldn't get that bad, ever. Barad-Dur was a last resort.</i><BR><BR><BR><BR><i>Rogue dropped her wrist from her ear and sat quietly for a moment. She put The Lebennin Conspiracy back on the desk and stood up, brushing off the dust from the older threads. The Mod Tavern, three levels down, would take only 10 minutes to walk and she was sure Nils would be there, with his pint of hard cider in hand. For some reason she knew he’d want to know about this. All of it. She quietly closed the door of the Study behind and set off for the Tavern.</i>
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Postby Running-Deer » Wed Jul 10, 2002 11:47 pm

The Green Door opened into the Alliances & Guilds as Running-Deer was looking at the list that was coming over her wrist com. She would start at the closest one and work her way through methodically. As she approached one of the other 'doorways', she got an odd feeling. She looked around but saw little in the way of a disturbance. She checked the time, darn she was going to miss happy hour. But she would be earning that and so much more in the end. She went cautiously into the guild that was nearest and searched for weapons. Jon had said to get rid of them or hide them. If she hid them, that left them available for use by someone else so she decided to destroy all that she could. She went in and in this first guild, found very little in the form of weapons. There were a few knives and swords but fortunately no bow or quivers, mace's or anything else that resembled a weapon.<BR><BR>So she carried what she could find to the blacksmith's fire and heated it up. She placed everything she had found, mostly cheaply made or quickly made weapons so they would easily be remelted. Wouldn't the smithy be surprised in the morning to find his bucket full! She made sure that it all melted down to the hilts and then she turned on her heels and left this particular Guild. She could tell that this was going to be a long night. She went into several other Guilds, all with increasingly more weapons in them and she had to literally lock the Guild, take the weapons away, melt them down and then unlock the Guild. This was all time consuming and it was slow work but moving along. The night seemed to go quickly when she realized that she hadn't eaten or drank anything in hours. <BR><BR>She worked her way into The Bard's Guild partly for the fun of it and also for the food and drink. It seemed that this Guild was always partying. She found a small table and sat down and checked her wrist com, checking off the Guilds that she had already 'cleaned' making a quick note to herself which were the closest ones to her location. Someone was asking her what she would like now. She chose a dark ale and some cheese with fruit and bread. She had been recognized and left pretty much alone which was the norm. The bartender had come and joined her for a drink and made sure that she was pleased with the meal and then returned to his duties as she finished. Then as she readied to leave, she paid for her meal, a small offer came her way. "You return now anytime you need a good tankard of ale and a meal." "Thank you sir, I will remember your kindness and your offer." He turned to work as RD left to return to hers. <BR><BR>Satiated, she worked her way through several more Guilds very quickly due to her renewed energy and then checked her list again checking off the most recent ones, locating the next closest. There was several more to go but she had gotten through many of them. She was lucky that some of them didn't have weapons or used magic instead. There were even a few that didn't use magic. She decided that she should send her list to Jon so that he would know where she was at. She made a 'link' with his computer and hit the send button, which gave him an instant email message that listed what Guilds she had been too and that she had taken a meal at the Bard's Guild. She received a return message soon after that telling her that she was doing a good job and to keep herself focused. She nodded and made her way towards the next 'doorway'.
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Postby Leoba » Thu Jul 11, 2002 6:32 am

The strange fellowship stepped into the dazzling morning sunshine. The grass smelled sweet under foot and it was felt liberating to be out in the open air after so many hours stuck underground. But Leoba was too tired to appreciate such pleasantries. It had been a sleepless night, fraught with worry. She knew that her husband would be going frantic wondering why she hadn’t come home from work. Besides which, the cave had been cold and draughty and her stomach had been rumbling from hunger all through the small hours. She felt dizzy and vague, downright miserable and in desperate need of a coffee. <BR><BR>“Please guys. If there is one thing I need more than anything right now it’s some breakfast.” She tried really hard to stop her voice from sounding too whining but there was no mistaking the fact that her usual exuberant bounce was missing. <BR><BR>“Well I guess we’ve come to the right place then”, said Lindonbayne.<BR><BR>Her statement was brought to life at that very moment. Barely 20 yards away a handcart was being pushed along by an elderly hobbit. It was heavily laden with chocolate of all types and tastes and textures; Leoba’s mouth was watering just at the thought of it. There were cakes and biscuits, great slabs of rich dark cooking chocolate, chocolate-chip muffins and delicately fashioned decorations. Behind it ran a small band of children of all races, giggling, pushing and shoving in their eagerness to try and sneak a piece of chocolate for themselves without the old hobbit catching them. An elven girl child with long blonde pigtails shrieked in sudden pain when they were grabbed from behind by a dwarven lad. The caterwauling that arose did in the end cause the hobbit to look around and yell at them, brandishing his stick in a manner that was most threatening considering his size. The children scattered and the hobbit with his cart went on his way towards the Cooking Guild, but before long the urchins had regrouped and began to stalk him again. <BR><BR>Although the chocolate was temptation enough for most of the TORCers, the delicious aroma of quality stew assailed their noses. The building from which this particular cooking smell emanated was a large hall, bedecked with a banner displaying a golden dragon-harp ringed with elven script.<BR><BR>“Oh look Scribbles. That must be the Bards’ Guild and if it isn’t Hobbi’s cooking I can smell then I must be very much mistaken. I bet there are all the ingredients of a full English breakfast in there as well; he’s good like that”.<BR><BR>Leoba made as though she would rush off in pursuit of food but Bardhwyn put out an arm to stop her friend going any further from the door.<BR><BR>“Wait a minute. We are unarmed, out in the open and we know the Mods are looking out for us.”<BR><BR>“And our own favourite haunts are the logical place in which to look”, added Scribbles. “The Admin might not know how many of us escaped the dungeons but they certainly know who they’ve pulled in here.”<BR><BR>Leoba’s shoulders slumped in despair. “Okay, I know you guys are being sensible, but I’m not up for going on a weapons hunt until I’ve had something to eat. Please. I haven’t had anything since breakfast time yesterday. At least I think it was yesterday, timings seem to have got a bit messed up here. Anyway, I haven’t got a clue where to start looking for a sword; all my weapons are in the Prancing Pony. But what I do know is that to find food we only have to follow our noses.” <BR><BR>She ran through the places that they could try: “The Hobbit Cooking Guild, Chocoholics, the Donut Guild of course. Perhaps we could sneak into the Eldar’s Estate, they always seem to have people making brownies or barbecuing.”<BR><BR>Her hungry brain was starved of further inspiration and she hoped that one of the others might know of Guilds which they frequented or had peeked into which might prove valuable. <BR><BR>“But I am going to sneak a look into the Bards’ Guildhouse after we’ve found some breakfast and maybe a sharp dagger or two. I’ve wanted for so long to meet Erinhue and I refuse to pass up the opportunity.”<BR><BR>
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