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Esaiyasar: Sirene - Chapter One

Msg#: 29               Date: 04-21-96 
From: Kwangpard's Dolorous Folly 
Subj: Along the Esplanade...
One who wears the mask representative of the jestive yet gloomsome nature of the hero Kwangpard pauses, surveys the teeming crowd on the Esplanade. Some, he observes, fumble at their instruments, and their mouths are full of foolishness; others, however, sing with fulsome strakh and luminous zeal...

The Dolorous Folly takes hold of the leg of a nearby statue of Odsei the Blunt, a Hero of Achievement from the Danpokad Cycle, and swings himself up onto the intricately frescoed pedestal. From this point of loftier vantage he sings to the crowd, accompanied by the electric moan of his gomapard, to which an amplifying circuit has been attached.

"One who would impose, however briefly, on the attention of prominent citizens must do so boldly, without indulgent apologaics or pompous loquacity! Such shall it be here!

"Seven hundred and fifty years have passed since the life of Hueindo the Vivisembler, whose masks lived on the face, so full of skill was she! Scant remains of the Hero Maskmaker's work. There is one in Hycho who wears her Painless Desire, a construct of sighs and darkness; another who bears the Kinmourner has been at sea many months, and may be lost. Some of Hueindo's masks have been lost through revolution, fire, laxity in maintenance. At least three have so suffered the years as to be unwearable, and are held by prominent maskmakers in vibro-stasis, for their manner of construction is near-inimitable. Of the rest, there are hints...

"Hueindo, after years of travel and beminstrelment, set her last shop in Ralgap city, and was presumed to have burned with her masks in the Conflage of Enilo. Thence, one hears of a charred packinet making its way to Lykander, Zundar, Omb. Some place it in the hands of the Night-men, others at the bottom of the Titanic. There is reason to think it has come to light.

"In Sieu Fal's _A Threnidad of Lesser Ardorments,_ the peerless scholar asserts that one of Hueindo's last works, the Approthani, had one of its horns chipped in her duel with the pirate captain Ytsurk-this mask, which incorporated overlapping plates of stone, was last spoken of in connection with the lost packinet. Such a mask, identically damaged, is now worn by one Fane Rampad, who has so deeply studied the ways of the Night-Men that, it is said, he is able to pass maskless among them! He only holds the Approthani among humans by means of disveritude, persuasivness, obfuscations...

"He who sings must admit a personal incompossiblity with Fane Rampad, but this is irrelevant! Wherever his ship docks, there do nocturnal atrocities inflame! The recent events at Omb closely match his countenance! Even now, his ship resides at Zundar, and what scurrilments he works there are best imagined... With the Night-men as allies, a dangerous foe indeed-how fitting that the potential reward be commensurate with the undertaking!

"The secret of Hueindo's masks must reside not with one so infused with shame, devoid of strakh! One who would emulate heroic achievements from cycles past may well appreciate this opportunity, which I present as a matter of public moment! He who sings enquires-do any care to exercise their assuredly effulgent prestige by reclaiming the Living Masks of Hueindo?"

The wearer of Kwangpard's Dolorous Folly reaches a sharp and yearning crescendo on his gomapard, then tapers into a smooth anticipatory rhythm, well suited for counterpoint to the responses of the crowd...

___ Blue Wave/QWK v2.1
Msg#: 30               Date: 04-28-96 
From: The Welcome Rain #18 
Subj: The Welcome Rain shoulders his way to the front of the crowd 
RE: Along the Esplanade...
BY: Kwangpard's Dolorous Folly #11

and assumes a challenging stance before the statue. He bobs his mask in respect to the hero depicted thereupon; those nearby hear him mutter, "You are in poor company, warrior."

With a disdainful glance at Kwangpard's amplifiers, The Welcome Rain whips his battle-gong from underneath his robes-but not to issue a challenge. He holds it parallel to the ground in one hand, the striker clenched in the other. This is the ancient Sirenese method for addressing a group. Admittedly, the instrument loses all of its tonal qualities, but it is reasonably loud and imparts a rhythm to the speaker's singing.

"So," he sings siccatively, "we are to believe that Fane Rampad is responsible for the acts of the Night-Men on the strength of a mere coincidence. Is it not equally plausible that the Night-Men are trying to kill Rampad for having discovered some secret of theirs? Arson is, after all, one of the two weapons of the coward." A pause. "The other, of course, is calumny.

"Let the Dolorous Folly admit the truth! What he seeks is not justice, but Fane Rampad's mask! He has hardly earned the strakh implicit in his choice of visage, and he has the audacity to aspire to one of the Vivisembler's creations?

"In this much, however, Kwangpard's Dolorous Folly has succeeded: He has captured my interest in this adventure. Not to rob Rampad-oh, no! Rather I will accompany him, will he nill he, to make certain that in his rapacity he does not harm the cause of justice!

"By all means let us find Fane Rampad. And when we do, there will be a strict accounting. For all present."

The gong disappears beneath The Welcome Rain's robes as quickly as it appeared. He ignores the buzz of instruments behind him, awaiting KDF's reply.

Msg#: 31               Date: 04-28-96 
From: Cyan The Great #45 
Subj: hot air & lofty airs 
RE: The Welcome Rain shoulders his way to the front of the crowd
BY: The Welcome Rain #18

>his battle-gong from underneath his robes-but not to issue a challenge. He
>holds it parallel to the ground in one hand, the striker clenched in the other
>This is the ancient Sirenese method for addressing a group. Admittedly, the
>instrument loses all of its tonal qualities, but it is reasonably loud and

>Fane Rampad's mask! He has hardly earned the strakh implicit in his choice of
>visage, and he has the audacity to aspire to one of the Vivisembler's


oh heehee, how these silly sireneys love long-winded, drown-out bambastical bombast of the worst magnitude. why, they would be naturals for the imperial senate, had not the emperor ding the blood-sucker not wisely abolished that disputious crowd of ornery oraters several centuries back!

yesss....these sireney blow-hardys klearly are in wire need of a master heehee, and luckily for them cyan the great is here & there heehee
Msg#: 32               Date: 04-28-96 
From: Jaseroque #12 
Subj: Jaseroque approaches...
As The Welcome Rain concludes his address to the gathering crowd, a figure of unfamiliar mien deftly slices his way through the curious to the cries of "Bloody offworlder!" and other assorted disrespect. The mutterings are accorded the attention they deserve as Jaseroque reaches inner circle of the throng and faces the masks of Kwangpard's Dolorous Folly and The Welcome Rain.

Extricating his mazurkin(*) from the folds of his simple but elegant robe, Jaseroque intones, "Are we to persist in pretentious rodomontade for the benefit of this assemblage, or should our quest begin forthwith? I know little of the history of this fair planet, hailing as I do from the outer reaches of Mircea's Wisp. Your declamations, however, interest me. I have little to offer save my companionship. If accepted, my offer is good only so long as its tendering remains to my benefit; if rejected, it is no great matter to me as this planet seems to offer many charms to the inquisitive."

(*) Mazurkin - a stringed instrument, somewhat large for handheld musicianship but manageable for the accomplished, said to derive from the antiquity of Old Earth. Its odd combination of buttons and fretted strings produces melodies exclusively in an odd, somewhat stilted triple-beat pattern. The necessary introduction of superfluous notes (and syllables in the accompanying voice) has the effect of offending most refined musical sensibilities.
Msg#: 33               Date: 04-28-96 
From: The Sea-dragon Conqueror 
Subj: Three people at the back
Three people at the back of the crowd wander away as the Jaseroque (and, perhaps, others) express their interest in the proposed search for Fane Rampad. They leave in different directions, but their paths gradually merge in an alley behind a nearby confectioner's shop.

The first to arrive is a tall, emaciated man wearing an Earnest Enquirant, which marks him as a philosopher or a scientist of some sort. He glances briefly around the alley; when he is satisfied that he is alone, he leans indolently against a wall.

The second is a younger man in the guise of a Striped Durpa-Bane, a mask of negligible strakh. He betrays his discomfort at wearing a mask with a hundred subtle signs. He scans the alley slowly and thoroughly before going to join the Earnest Enquirant.

After a few minutes, the third member of the party appears. She is a short, muscular, stoop-shouldered woman who looks thoroughly inappropriate in her demure Red-Bird mask. Her swaggering walk and smooth motions mark her for a fighter, a candidate for a Thunder-Goblin mask at the very least, but perhaps the Red-Bird is her idea of camouflage. If she inspects the alley before entering it, the act is unnoticeably swift. She stalks over to the other two; the Earnest Enquirant reluctantly detaches himself from the wall.

There were no passersby during their conversation. Had there been, they would have been startled to note that none of them sang their words, and only the Earnest Enquirant essayed a few brief trills with his kamanthil, to the annoyance of the Red-Bird.

"I don't get it," said the Striped Durpa-Bane. "Why didn't Angmark's, uh, whatever it was, kill that Rain guy? Those were fighting words!"

"More than you know," said the Earnest Enquirant dryly. "The accusation of cowardice-by-calumny was bad enough, but on Sirene, to say that a man seeks to steal another's mask is the surest way to start a fight."

"But they didn't fight!" protested the Durpa-Bane, adjusting his mask to ease his discomfort.

"Yeah," the Red-Bird cut in. "The Kwangmark had the high ground! He could have cut the other guy to ribbons. Why didn't he?"

The Earnest Enquirant chuckled. "Because he never intended to. Think about it. Those are the same two we saw over on The Docks a while back, insulting each other for sport. Remember them?"

"Okay," said the Red-Bird. "Sure. But what was this all about? More theatrics?"

"In a sense," replied the Enquirant, leaning against the wall again. "I think they were trying to recruit volunteers and were seeking to attract as much attention as possible, both from Rampad's supporters and from his detractors. Along with a few itinerant adventurers, of course. The whole thing has the look of a set-up anyway, aside from the antagonists' personal acquaintance. For example, very few Sirenese carry amplifiers with them. It's not verboten, but it's not often done."

The Red-Bird considered that. "But wouldn't the locals notice those same contradictions and smell a rat?"

"Of course!" The Earnest Enquirant's voice strongly implied he was smiling. "The whole thing was designed to be an obvious put-up. That way nobody's intelligence is insulted, and everyone can enjoy the spectacle. And they'll still get their volunteers."

The Red-Bird shrugged, not prettily. "All right, Professor. You know the territory. But the real question is, how does this affect our mission?"

It was the Enquirant's turn to shrug. "Don't know. It'll make it much easier to find Rampad. None of my local contacts knew a thing. I've been too long away from here; most of my best people were killed in duels or by the Night-Men. But these people just might make it. I recommend we follow them. At a distance, of course. Then we deal with Fane Rampad ourselves. Or, I should say, you two deal with him."

The Red-Bird gave the Striped Durpa-Bane a brief look. "I'll do it myself, thanks. The kid can watch. What was that?"

"Nothing of consequence," replied the Durpa-Bane in a slightly strangled tone.

"Right," said the Red-Bird. "So we follow them. You get us a boat, Professor. I'm not picky what kind. And buy some slaves."

"Slaves," echoed the Durpa-Bane dully. "I'll never get used to this place."

The Red-Bird snorted. "You may not have to," she replied nastily. "Maybe Fane Rampad will kill you on sight. Or one of these Sirenese. They're supposed to be good swordsmen-"

"That'll do," said the Earnest Enquirant, very quietly. "No more bickering. We've enough to do just fitting in, without being spotted for the outworlders we are." A pointed glance at the Durpa-Bane, who ceased fiddling with the straps on his mask. "Stick with me," he continued. "I'll do all the talking. We need supplies, and quickly. This expedition may take off sooner than you think."

They argued plans for a few minutes more, then drifted out of the alley toward the shipyards.
Msg#: 34               Date: 04-30-96 
From: Blue #21 
Subj: From above 
A blue masked figure watches from the rooftop of the confectioner's shop as the conspiratorial trio departs the alley.
Msg#: 35               Date: 04-30-96 
From: Kwangpard's Dolorous Folly 
Subj: Pedestals and Pedestrians
The Dolorous Folly peers briefly at the odd mask of the Jaseroque, with its fierce bulging eyes, chisel teeth, whiskers and antennae, and at the waistcoated figure who wears it. Mentally marking him as a possible candidate for the enterprise, he turns to reply to the Welcome Rain...

When a ludicrous figure, wearing a great and cumbersome mask of cyan hue, addresses those present in condescending tone, unaccompanied by instrument and lacking entirely in strakh. In the smoothest of movements, the Dolorous Folly draws his sword and pinks the viking-horned offender neatly through the eye. The pestiferous Cyan the Great falls, slain instantly. Intricate discourse is favored by all Sirenese; none enjoy the brainless, boring eructions of psuedo-intellects who cannot even pretend to be stupid and do it well. The crowd sussurates with approbation at the Dolorous Folly's act.

Tossing a cleaning cloth into the air, KDF divides it with his sword, removing all traces of the befouling blood, and swings the weapon in a reddened arc, flittering in the setting sun, down at the Welcome Rain, who brings forth his own blade in answer. (It is noted by some that the Dolorous Folly presents the unsharpened edge of his blade to his foe; this is perhaps best interpreted as homage to the Hero whose pedestal the quest-promulgator now occupies.) The rhythmic swish and clang of the two weapons (an even older traditional method of discourse before a crowd) accompanies the Dolorous Folly's sung reply:

"He who wears the Welcome Rain
Safely can that visage stain
Its strakh is but his to maintain-
Or spill!


In strakhless precipitate, lies are sown!
These give falsehood when giving their own!
To such, I shall oppose [kshhing!]
My will!

Cowards hold a fourth offense,
That of feigned legevolence.
Welcome Rain would in this sense


Who would an impartial footing fake
But merely takes part, that he might partake!
To such, I shall impose [kchakh!]
My might!

The Welcome Rain feints at his opponent's abdomen, then swings to strike at his ankles. The Dolorous Folly leaps over the attack, and with a nimble twist lands on the ground, facing his foe. The crowd roars, singing encouragement to one or the other combatant; sometimes both. Swords flicker, flare and meet...

Fane Rampad did what, he asks,
Save presume Hueindo's masks?
Or burn ten ships or more? Relax!
What's wrong?


These noctal atrocities all enbane!
Save one who's greeted as the rain,
And him, I shall depose [snk-snak!]
In song!

His chin pendant wagging merrily in the fray, the Dolorous Folly spies through the lenticular windows of his mask a blue figure skulking upon the rooftops. For the briefest of moments he wonders, Wherefore? Then, sighing, returns to the fight...

___ Blue Wave/QWK v2.1
Msg#: 36               Date: 05-01-96 
From: Blue #21 
Subj: Alley fight 
A large man wearing a Tavern Bravo turns into the alley. A blue cloaked figure drops from the rooftop to land behind him. The man turns at the sound, "You!"

"Who did you hope to meet here Darden? Friend or foe?"

The man wearing the Tavern Bravo stands a head taller than the Blue Mask.

"Damn you!" he shoutes, and grasps a huge battle ax.

"Return my property and I'll let you live. After I remove some appendages." Replied the Blue Mask withdrawing his rapier from it's scabbard.

The giant swung the ax at the Blue Mask, who sidestepped and thrust his point into the man's forearm.

"Burn in Hell!" said the Bravo, hanging the ax on his belt, he pulls a large saber, and swings for the midsection.

The Blue Mask parrys the blow, and punctures his opponents kneecap.

The giant attacks fiercly, the Blue Mask dodges back, ducking and turning aside each thrust, while piercing the Bravo. Soon he is bleeding from a dozen holes. The man throws his saber and turns to run out the other end of the alley. In ten steps the Blue Mask has caught him, and stabs him in the buttocks. The giant turns with a yell of rage, and swings the ax. The Blue Mask thrusts the rapier thruogh the biceps of the arm holding the weapon, leaves it there, and draws a dagger as he slams the Bravo against the wall of the confectioner's shop. He grabs a handful of hair and holds the edge to the man's throat. "Where is it?!"

For a second the giant stares back. Then he tries to shove aside the dagger. The Blue Mask cuts his throat nearly severing the head from the body.
Msg#: 37               Date: 05-01-96 
From: Blue #21 
Subj: Alley fight 
The Blue cloaked figure examins the fallen giant. He removes a folded letter and two small vials from the body, obviously disappointed not to have found what he was looking for.

He leaves the alley and heads in the direction of the crowd along the esplanade.
Msg#: 38               Date: 05-01-96 
From: The Welcome Rain #18 
Subj: For the Love of the Game 
The Welcome Rain keeps KDF's beat going for a few more seconds, then alters the pattern of sword-clashes. At first it sounds arrhythmic, but the bystanders presently realize that TWR has adopted a five-seven-five pattern and is using the Seventeen-Point* style of vasa fencing accordingly.

The intricate swordwork dazzles the onlookers as The Welcome Rain recites:

Quick to judge, to rage,
Far too slow to understand.
Folly is well-named!

Boats are up in flames:
This must be Fane Rampad's fault!
So goes his thinking.

And when one objects,
Questioning his reasoning,
He panics-shows steel!

Let us find the truth!
I shall forgo any claim
To Hueindo's masks.

I now undertake
To determine Rampad's guilt
Once and for all time.

Will you do the same?
All who come with us should swear
A similar oath.

What is our purpose:
Limpid justice, or mere theft?
Surely the former!

If Kwangpard's spirit
Dwells within the wearer of
Its honored visage,

Let him take a stand
Against banditry disguised
As altruism!

Will he take the pledge?
And Jaseroque-what of him?
Will he also swear?

If so, let him come.
But better I should die here
Than give my consent

To dark villainy
Done in the name of justice!
Will the Folly yield?

The Welcome Rain abruptly ceases his assault and throws his blade aside, implicitly invoking a Sirenese custom. If the audience finds his request just and his opponent attacks him regardless, the crowd will descend upon the evildoer. They will do their best to prevent Kwangpard from murdering his challenger.

That does not mean The Welcome Rain will not be killed.
Msg#: 39               Date: 05-01-96 
From: The Welcome Rain #18 
Subj: Footnote from previous post.
Footnote on the Seventeen-Point school of vasa:

This is a uniquely Sirenese form of swordsmanship. It is more complex than the standard eight-point fencing technique taught on Old Earth. Some hoplologists dispute its efficacy, doubting that any human can distinguish seventeen different arcs of a circle. This in spite of the Test of the Hides, in which a blindfolded vasa expert pokes seventeen holes and makes seventeen cuts in a stretched piece of leather, then duplicates the pattern exactly with subsequent hides.

Even vasa's most ardent offworld enthusiasts, however, acknowledge that its usefulness is limited:

"The Seventeen-Point technique is only appropriate when the fight is rapier against rapier. Even then, much of its advantage is lost unless both parties are using vasa rapiers, the blades of which curve slightly in a manner reminiscent of the Japanese katana. If these conditions hold, however, then the Seventeen-Point style is nigh unbeatable. Its refinements could, perhaps, be adjusted for other styles of rapier, but the Sirenese are happy with their vasa swords-and not without reason."

Marc Marroquin, _The Dimicatory Science_
Msg#: 40               Date: 05-02-96 
From: Jaseroque #12 
Subj: A limited oath
As the two opponents clash to the dithyrambic murmurings of the appreciative crowd, Jaeroque observes attentively. "Remind me," he mutters to himself, "never to draw rapier against either of these. Daggers in the dark are another matter, of course." As The Welcome Rain's dagger clatters to the cobblestones, Jaseroque steps forward adn begins a lone applause. Soon, the clapping reaches a crescendo as the audience (for such they have become) releases its pent-up tension.

"The Welcome Rain," orates Jaseroque, "has requested an oath from his prospective companions. I, for one, have already stated my position. I seek only to assuage my curiousity. I neither covet nor design to steal the masks of Rampad. The history of this personage interests me, as do his unusual visages. It is information I seek rather than the dubious strakh attendant to the thieving of artifacts. I state my motives openly. Let my word carry its own force of moral suasion; I have no need of oaths."
Msg#: 41               Date: 05-02-96 
From: Darkwalker #38 
Subj: A dark observer 
Behind the crowd, in the shadows, stands a dark figure cloaked in a black cape and cowl. He does not seem to lurk within the shadows so much the shadows appear to eminate from the observer.

He is given a wide berth by the crowd and passers by as it has become a well known fact that his very presence emits a bone numbing chill that would cause Death itself to shiver.

Darkwalker watches the gathering with apparent detachment. He responds not at all with the throng. Only stands among the shade and watches, his plain mirrored mask turning slightly from time to time.

As three members of the crowd remove themselves from the crowd, Darkwalker notes the masks they wear and nods his head slightly as if acknowledging some signal or perhaps marking some event as correct. Then he turns his gaze back to the events in the Esplanade.

He starts visibly, as if suddenly startled. He had seen Kwangpard's attention briefly diverted in his direction. More specifically towards the roof of the building in which who's shade Darkwalker stood. The black clad figure turns his back on the crowd and seems to examine the wall before him, as if searching for something. Then he steps forward and, were any to have seen, appeared to melt into the shadows, becoming the shadows.
Msg#: 42               Date: 05-02-96 
From: Darkwalker #38 
Subj: Dilema 
A figure leans over the sprawled form of a man with his thoat cleanly sliced, laying in a growing pool of blood.

The figure searches the still warm corpse and retrieves a few items then stands to reveal itself as the wearer of the Blue Mask. The air chills suddenly and the Blue Mask looks around him an apparent alarm. He turns to leave quickly only to be confronted by a scene from nightmare dreams.

The shadows themselves seem to gain life and cohere into a living form only a few feet from Blue Mask. A figure which seems to drain the light from the air. Or perhaps it casts a darkness.

Blue Mask, visibly shivering, begins to reach for his weapon. "That would not be wise." A voice eminates from the black shape in a voice that is flat and without humanity. The Blue Mask shivers again and withdraws his hand from his sword.

"You have acted out of turn. That one was to have died later in his life." Darkwalker glides across the alley to the prone form and peers down at the bloodless body.

"Fortunately, his seed has already been planted and the time line is not in complete jeapordy." The Dark figure turns to face Blue Mask. "Had you killed him days sooner, you would not exist and the time line would have been cast along a different, more deadly road."

Blue Mask involuntarily steps back as Darkwalker steps forward. The metallic, emotionless voice pierces the air yet again. "Your anger and need for revenge could still hold dire consequences. For now, another must take this dead one's steps. Fate will decide who will be chosen." Darkwalker begins to fade, yet his voice still drives ice daggers into Blue's mind. "Remember why you were allowed to come back. Refrain from acting in haste. Use wisdom for you are a part of this world's history now." Blue Mask stares at the space at where Darkwalker stood only seconds before.

He takes a moment to calm himself before leaving the alley.
Msg#: 43               Date: 05-03-96 
From: Dragon Sorceress #37 
Subj: Piqued 
RE: A limited oath
BY: Jaseroque #12

>As the two opponents clash to the dithyrambic murmurings of the appreciative
>crowd, Jaeroque observes attentively. "Remind me," he mutters to himself,
>"never to draw rapier against either of these. Daggers in the dark are another
>matter, of course." As The Welcome Rain's dagger clatters to the cobblestones

Standing nearby,the lady of the Dragon Sorceress mask withj fire red hair smiles,her canines showing.She plays a small cord on a hand-held ddulcimer,a rather low one at that [the cord] and says "Oh,aye,I shall surely comply to do so for ye,but I may challenge them some day myself" [please see earlier post for details on my appearance] Smiling,she walks away,whistling some odd tune and playing an eerie counterpart on her dulcimer..

Dragon Sorceress

Why Jonny can't Smurf
Msg#: 44               Date: 05-03-96 
From: Dragon Sorceress #37 
Subj: Repost 
RE: A motley <or is it motled?> form appears...
BY: Dragon Sorceress #37

>A pure,silvery tone rings out and the dark figure stops,mabye stricken,mabye
>unsure,it is yours to guess.A head covered with flaming red hair moves through
>the crowd and the muterings of "sorceress' and "heathen witch" escape from the
>mouths of the crowd and a philanthropic mood settles along the people as she
>steps partially into the sunlight.She is wearing a dutch type maiden's white
>blouse with a vest of many shades of brown&tan.Her skirt is a varied
>assortement of greens,and when she walks,it makes you think of dragonscales.
>In her hand is a white staff,which some of the crowd reach out to touch,drawin
>their hands back quickly muttering "rowan wood" and "witch wood."She wears man
>pouches around her waist,and wears a necklace with a singal dragon's claw on
>it.Her smile is decidedly draconic,and her eyes glitter with a mischievious
>look in them.If she wears a mask at all,you decide,it is very closely fit and
>adapted to show her moods and facial expressions.

There.That's my description....

Dragon Sorceress "It's hard to work in a group when you're omnipotent"-A vampyre on the 'Net
Msg#: 45               Date: 05-03-96 
From: Dragon Sorceress #37 
Subj: The Dragon Sorceress shifts uncomfortably
and then steps backwards into the shadows,rushing down the alleyways to a secluded dead-end street.She raps three times on the wall,then pushes up her sleeves,practicing refined&unique quarterstaff moves,with a seeming urgency.A door opens,just a deeper shadow,and a tall,well-muscled blonde man carrying a quarterstaff steps out.He fingers a set of chimes standing nearby and whispers "Ah,my student.You have returned" SHe nodsstiffly,totally centered on the lesson,or was it on something else?The blonde man starts doing warm-ups,then moves on to the finer styles of his art.The lady puts down the butt of her staff for a moment to watch the man,then immitates him,but adding a flair all her own.

After they finish with that....

The Lady leans her Rowan staff against the wall and holds out her hands "Knives" she says plainly,striking a series of chords on a small harp hung at her waist.The man smiles,taking out a series of ornate ceremonial knives out of a box.DS looks dissapointed and he points out "Learn the religious practices first:those priests knew how to use their knives..." DS works through the lesson,applying magic,prayer,and raw determination where needed.Nodding to her teacher when it is finsished,she departs the alleyway with a new addition to her collection......

Dragon Sorceress

"It's not a poem,it's a WORD!!" -me,of course...<grin>..darn typos...
Msg#: 46               Date: 05-04-96 
From: The Welcome Rain #18 
Subj: The Welcome Rain turns to Jaseroque... 
RE: A limited oath
BY: Jaseroque #12

His awkward posture is the Sirenese equivalent of a blank stare.

"Of course your word is sufficient," TWR replies. "A man may swear by any god and lie; when his lie is discovered, the strakh he tarnishes is his own. This is all the oath we ask.

"Since we appear to have arrived at a resolution" (with a wry scratch on the kamanthil), "I shall leave it to the proposer of this quest to dictate its terms."

He bobs his mask briefly at KDF, which is as good as a bow on any other planet, and awaits his reply.

Msg#: 47               Date: 05-04-96 
From: Blue #21 
Subj: Darkwalker presumes too much... 
The Blue Mask has walked a short distance from the alley when he hears a sound. "What can this be?" he thinks, "Darden is surely dead." He turns to see a dark cloaked figure climbing through a window of the confectioner's shop. The figure trips on the sill and falls into the alley. He hops up and begins to jump from one shadow to another, shaking a bag of icecubes, speaking with one hand cupped over his mouth. There is glitter glued to this one's face, which passes poorly for a mask.

"Do I hear correctly?" wonders the Blue Mask, "Does this fool lecture me on when and where I shall mete out revenge?" He heads for the alley, intent on providing some experence with consequences.

As he approaches the glitter face walks directly into a wall. His forehead hits the masonry with a hollow thud, he falls unconscious into the dirt of the alley.

With a shrug the Blue Mask turns and once again heads toward the croud gathered along the esplanade.
Msg#: 48               Date: 05-04-96 
From: Kwangpard's Dolorous Folly 
Subj: The fight resolved... 
(The Welcome Rain must be skilled in the Seventeenfold way indeed, to contest a rapier with a dagger...)

The ring of the fallen weapon cuts the air, dividing time. For a silence of three hearbeat's duration, the Dolorous Folly's blade hovers over the Welcome Rain's clavicle, and the crowd is mute. In the next instant, KDF's rapier is resheathed as he shakes his zachinko forth from his sleeve:

"No show of skill is it to duel with one disarmed; thus, I refrain also from further argumentive discourse! I concede that the Welcome Rain has shown worthy intentions, and accept his presence in this enterprise."

Here, he retrieves the fallen sword and returns it hilt-first to the Welcome Rain.

"While agreeing in spirit with the Welcome Rain's suggested oath, I refrain from a literal acceptance. If Fane Rampad is guiltless, there is no need for the oath; if guilty, thos who hunt him down should be free to do with what remains as their strakh dictates. "Although the original Kwangpard was responsible for occasional defalcations, I wish to promulgate no such aspect of my character! To assuage doubt, I propose a compromise. Rampad may flee; the situation may multiply in complexities. Allowing for whims of the wind, I suggest we return here, at the statue of Odsei in the Esplanade at Fan, at year's end, bearing any and all items of disputatious ownership which may arise in the course of truth-ascernment. There, let all who participated tell their stories to the multitude, and permit any awards or castigations to be made by the assembled crowd!"

The people murmur; apparently the compromise is acceptable. KDF assumes a pose of determination, sings louder:

"In two days, we sail for Zundar! Let all who wish make their preparations without laxity! Remember - Fane Rampad may be surrounded by henchmen, dangerous to approach..."

Here, the Welcome Rain's mask assumes one of the five recognized attitudes of verbal irritation...

"... and plan accordingly! Let all querents gather at the Pier of Destiny Written in Flame-Mist of Dawn, there to embark!"

He releases the zachinko, reaches for his strapan. Twirling it upon his thumb in showy style and plinking the strings as they pass with his other fingers, he addresses the Jaseroque:

"The traveller from afar who visits Sirene encounters incredulity, restriction, hostility. He accompanies a voice unaccustomed to melody with instruments unsuited to felicitous discourse. In cities other than Fan, such a person may, if not extraordinarily prudent and demurrant, reach the finality of his existence.

"He Who Sings nonetheless detects strakh behind the mask of the Jaseroque, and so will not object to his presence, subject to his own conditions. The Jaseroque must note, however, that his conduct - and his life - are his own to preserve."

KDF finishes with a flourish of the strapan that sets it jittering like a cymbal, and returns it to his belt. He then turns to join the Welcome Rain; both stroll off down the esplanade...

___ Blue Wave/QWK v2.1
Msg#: 49               Date: 05-04-96 
From: Dragon Sorceress #37 
Subj: Dragon Sorceress 
RE: The fight resolved...
BY: Kwangpard's Dolorous Folly #11

She sets a determined pace out of the allwyways,her staff tapping on the coblestones.Sighing,she sits at a bench nearby the recently stoop upon statue and pulls out a long,thin and delicate ivory-colored flute and plays a haunting melody unaccompanied by words.

A sudden gasp is heard in the crowd and a marred&emaciated body is brought forth to the Dragon Sorceress.Sighing,she puts away the flute and tends to the man's wounds,whispering steadily to him.When all wounds are treated,she looks up and says "Murder is in the alleyways." She turns to KDF,strumming a very low chord on her small harp "I am sorry;I wouldst come,but I have pressing matters here to attend to,as you can see.." she motions towards some people moving thorugh the crowd,carrying injured bodies.Once finished with attending the wounded,she stands,wiping her hands on a cloth which she burns afterwards,heading into the shadows and the allyways,beckoing all with a searching glance to follow if they dare....

-=Dragon Sorceess=-

Why Jonny can't Smurf

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