is a glorious day within Britannia today! The sky is a deep
azure and the clouds have an incomparable white fluffiness
about them seldom matched. I am standing before the anhk
of the Chaos Shrine contemplating a paradox. Chaos does
not equate to evil this much I know and firmly believe.
Yet this shrine will even resurrect evil people while all
of the others reject these folk out-of-hand. It is 'well
known' that those of evil persuasion are permitted to heal
those of non-evil bent while the good cannot return the
favor. Is it any wonder then that many of Britannia's citizens
consider chaos to be evil? But the thought of a shrine attempting
to better its station in life by healing the good in atonement
for extending this boon to the evil does not sit well with
I am surrounded by dwellings of varied design and construction. A veritable village of the disreputable has sprung up here. A tribute, perhaps, to the effectiveness of the ongoing campaign against the people killers. Consequently, this place is somewhat unhealthy for those of my persuasion. It is early in the morning, however, and most of these night creatures are still abed so whatever danger may be possible is still unlikely.
As I stand here I hear a noise behind me. I turn and behold a wonder. There, standing a little way off, is a naked man holding a wand in a menacing manner. I quickly ascertain that he is holding a Wand of Identification and that he is not truly naked but is disporting himself in his underwear. How curious. Methinks he is either daft or has some twisted notion that running about thusly he is somehow immune to the Insta-death Syndrome.
"That's my box!" he states accusingly.
"Box?" I look around me and spying nothing meeting that description, add: "What box?"
"The box ye took!" He tries to look menacing; quite a feat while dressed in one's underwear and ludicrous into the bargain but I refrain from laughing. Charity is my middle name.
"I have no box fellow. Surely thou hast mistaken me for someone else."
He looks puzzled. "Just a second," he says and darts off.
I think that he is, perhaps, fetching his older brother or someone to translate for him since he seems not to understand me. He returns in a trice clutching a box.
"I see that thou hast found thy box."
"Ye can have it," he offers.
"'Struth? And why pray?" Knowing full well what he has in mind. His dastardly state is written all over his sallow body. A jailbird if there ever was one.
"Well…" he says hesitatingly. Not bad really. Just the right flavor of embarrassment and chagrin. "... because. Because I offended thee with mine accusation."
Yes, well as to that, I am not that easily offended. "I care not for thy box. I was not offended."
"But I insist!"
"Dost thee now? And I suppose that were I to accept it, thee might suddenly remember that thou hast left a precious family heirloom within it? And would I please return the contents therein?" I sheath my axe and hang my shield upon mine shoulder.
"Ah…well…," he stammers. What a clod! Do I really look all that young and foolish? The naked man suddenly decides that he is wanted elsewhere but before he can move I utter the words "An Ex Por" and he is rooted in place.
"Help!" he cries. "Let me go!"
"Very well. Kal Vas Flam!" Swoosssh! He can go to blazes.
"Eeeeyaaah!" The searing heat and pain of the Flame Strike burns through the paralysis spell and he begins to run. But not quickly, his health is down to almost zero, and not far.
"Vas Flam!" Zap! it is a waste of mana but I prefer extra crispy.
"Oooooggghh!" He collapses in a smoking heap. I walk over to his ruined body and take the wand; it has 20 charges left. I put it in my pack; it is fair compensation for my labors and I do so hate these types of 'indirect' killers. Even though he is a mere inept wannabe he deserved his fate and he needed the lesson if he is to make his way in life. I am nothing if not a teacher at heart. What can I say? It is my nature. I leave the box of course, along with a worn pair of ringmail sleeves. Neatness counts or so my mother always taught me. Behind me a latch turns and I whirl to see a fully armored man standing in his doorway. His red aura practically blinds me.
"Cor Por" Blam! The force of the energy bolt hurls him back into his dwelling but he manages to slam the door shut. I doubt me that he'll be back any time soon but I move off a little way into the forest and call out: "Kal Ort Por!" and hide. My reaction was involuntary. I do not normally attack evil persons on sight though the reverse cannot be said. Dreads are not overly talkative fellows I've found. Unsociable to a faretheewell. Most of their conversation is filled with single syllable words such as: 'Cor Por', "Vas Flam', 'Kal Vas Flam' and the like. I do have an uneasy truce with some of evil persuasion even onto Dread Lords but these are few and only because these have shown a surprising degree of honor exceeding that of many Great Lords. I have said it before: 'Tis a funny old world.
I have been well and truly instructed in the art of hiding by that Master Thief Barstal Thane. He would say that he is a bard and a rogue, but thief he is and no mistake. As a result I can stand, sit, lie, and perch in one position for hours. It has come in handy too many times for me ever to eschew it.
My patience is rewarded before too long when the door to the nearest house opens again and a head sporting a reddened face and scorched hair peeks out and scans the vicinity. The eyes stop when they light upon the spot where the body of the late wanna-bomber-in-training had lain. The eyes narrow as they contemplate the box and the ringmail sleeves. Greed springs eternal! Slowly the door opens wider and the slightly worse for wear individual creeps cautiously out onto the stoop and looks warily about. Seeing no one in the immediate vicinity the man makes a quick dash for the loot and scoops it up. As he does so I shout "Cor Por!"
"Yikes!" I must confess that I have only seen a cat perform this maneuver and I've always marveled at it. The fellow leaps straight into the air, turns completely around in midair and sprints for his house. I swear his legs were moving before they touched the good earth. He flits through the doorway and slams it shut behind him; I can hear the loud exhalation of relief from within. He needn't have hurried; he was in no immediate danger in any event. I confess to being completely struck in awe at his gyrations and too amazed to move let alone speak.
I creep closer to the house and can hear: "An Jux". Wrong! But who am I to interfere with fate? The sound of those words does confirm me, me however, in my firm belief that to say your average PKer has the brains of a gnat is to insult the gnat. Can you say cretin? 'Tis a puzzlement.
There follows a loud bang surprising in its intensity and one of the windows blows out; the glass whistles by my head as I duck low. A small puff of blackish smoke issues from the fractured window and I beat a hasty retreat into the forest. There is a time to linger and a time to go I always say. Methinks it is time go and to see what else is happening in the world. Angry bees ain't in it. As I make my way through the now hushed forest, I take care not to make too much racket. I can hear a gabble of voices behind me as I go: "Wtf?", "Kalin! Kalin are you in there?", "Anyone got a key!", "Steal it off his vendor!", "Kalin!"
I wonder what Kalin's walls look like as I cross the Old North Road. I look up at the sky. It is a beautiful day in Britannia today.
It could be said that this first tale is really the Tale of Two Scoundrels but I have still to tell the tale of the other thief.
However, many have asked for directions to the Chaos Shrine so I will digress momentarily. Since most of those who inquire are of honorable persuasion or above, I can only surmise what their interest in this place might be. For these and for others, here are the directions to that place:
To the north and west of Britain lies a mountain range. This range is divided into the East and West ranges. It is the West Range, the one that sweeps around Britain on the north and the west, that we are concerned with. The eastern part of this range is in the shape of a "U". Lying within the arms of this "U" is a large forest.
Running along the northern border of this mountain range and connecting Yew and Cove is the Old North Road. This road dips down in a long arc as it bridges the eastern and western arms of the "U". As it approaches the western arm it takes a sharp northward bend. If a traveler were to continue straight on at the start of this bend instead of following the road, they would come up against a small declivity in the cliff wherein is situated the Chaos Shrine. It is difficult to miss in any event since it is totally surrounded by dwellings as I have said.
Were the traveler to bear southwards at the shrine and stay along the base of the cliff, several cave mouths would be seen. One of these opens into the tunnel maze which takes one to the entrance teleporter to the fabled city of Wind. Still farther south is a narrow pass that leads to the dungeon of Despise.
Damn! it is that little shit Flint!
It's been a beautiful day in Britannia and a profitable jaunt through the swamps west of Cove. I could easily have Recalled to the bank but as I said, it is a beautiful day; a day to savor and to enjoy. It is getting on to late afternoon as I spot through the trees, the distant spires of Britain. As is my wont, I have stayed off the road entirely, preferring instead to wend my careful way through the forest. 'Tis more prudent to do so. I have avoided many an ambush in that manner.
As I am wending and drawing closer to town, I spot a movement off to my right.
Damn! it is that little shit Flint! I can smell him! Will he never bathe? The filthy scoundrel!
Of late, he's taken to accosting travelers close to the city and enticing them to attack him. He almost always succeeds and then runs back into town screaming for the guards at the top of his lungs. Should the irritated traveler not pay close attention and continue his attack, it is almost certain that the guard will come and dispatch the attacker. This occurs both because the Rule says that death is the lot of any person who attacks any other person within a Justice Zone. Since, as I've said, the Justice Zone drawn about a town is elastic in the extreme and never the same from one day to the next, this brazen ploy almost always succeeds. Flint (and others who employ this trick) then loot the body and get off Scot free.
But I am ready as Flint lunges out from behind a tree. I have positioned myself between him and the city limits and as he makes his move, I make mine. I cast Gate. I then proceed to swing at him with my war axe, narrowly missing and driving him away from the city. He laughs and sprints away with me in hot pursuit. As I swing my axe again, he dodges and doubles back toward town. But that swipe was close and he's not laughing now. Besides, for some reason I seem to be gaining on him. He therefore does the sensible thing and darts through the Gate one step ahead of me. As for myself, I twist aside just as the Gate snaps shut.
Damn! I don't think. Flint must have thought that I had cast the Gate to the bank as a bolt hole not knowing who was attacking at first and so I had. But careless me! I had 'accidentally' used my rune to the 2nd level of Hythloth! How silly of me.