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A Bard's Tale of a Deep Sea Adventure
In this week's Spotlight, a mysterious scroll draws Lady Geno and her Nightmare companion, Ebony, into an intriguing adventure upon the high seas of Britannia.

"'This isn't a good beginning to what is supposed to be a good day,' grumbled Lady Geno. Ebony, her Nightmare and companion, had been fretful and obstinate at a most inconvenient time this morning. Ebony's banishment to the stables seemed too mild a punishment compared to the beating Geno's feet took from outrunning the efreet. 'Dang near killed me,' steamed Geno.

"'Ah well, maybe that's enough adventure for today,' sighed Geno as she gazed across the water from her home. The morning seemed poised to be blessed with peace and quiet. The only noise was the gentle slapping of the water upon the land and its retreating swoosh. Geno began to drift into sleep.

"Clunk - ca - clunk. Clunk - ca - clunk.

"Startled into sudden wakefulness, Geno bellowed, 'Ebony, follow me! Ebony, guard me!' She jumped into combat mode, pulling magic from the air to surround her in protection and draining strength from the Earth to bind her unknown enemy. As quickly as she summoned the magic, she released it, remembering she was safe and sound at home. 'Been too long in the field,' she muttered. 'I need a vacation.'

"Clunk - ca - clunk.

"'That noise. Never have I heard such a strange sound.' Climbing to her rooftop, Geno gazed about her domain.

"Clunk - ca - clunk.

"The odd noise emanated from the direction of the water! Her eyes swiftly examined the shoreline.

"Clunk - ca - clunk.

"A flash of red that undulated with the waves caught her eye. Intrigued and sensing no threats, Geno left her house to investigate. There among the reeds and grasses was a small, red, metal cylinder, hitting the rocks as the waves jostled it. Jutting from the cylinder was a scroll. 'How strange that the paper was not wet from being adrift in the sea,' she mused. 'It must be magically imbued to protect it from the elements.'

"It was indeed a strange message in a strange bottle. Geno grinned. Tiredness forgotten, the thrill of adventure coursed through her veins, empowering her with vigor. She reached down and picked up the container, 'Smooth… cool to the touch… very pretty,' she murmured. 'Mmm. Unique decorations. This will be a nice addition to my collection,' she smiled. She pulled out the message and put the container in her backpack. Unrolling it, she perused the writing. 'I can't decipher this,' she said. 'I need a cartographer to transcribe it. A quick trip to Fancy's house is needed. But first a stop at the stables to get Ebony. Maybe she wants a bit of exercise since she's been cooling her hooves. You never know what types of monsters hang around Fancy's house. Best be prepared.'

"With a muttered spell and a ready rune, Lady Geno transposed herself to the Stables. 'I'm here to pick up Ebony,' she stated softly to the resident stablehand. Presently, a magnificent Nightmare strode out of the barn's open double doors. Her glossy coat shone with such a deep blackness it looked like the eternal depths of a fathomless pit. Eyes red with fire flashed like jewels with swirling, magical power in her irises. Ebony greeted her mistress with a whinny and a snort of distain.

"'Ebony love,' cooed Geno. Ebony's ears twitched forward. 'I regret having put you in the stables.' She spoke that last through teeth gritted against the preposterousness of apologizing to the mare for almost getting her killed. Ebony shook her head and turned her back to Geno. 'Here, Ebony dear, is a treat.' Ebony looked at the bribe of raw, dripping beef ribs. All injustices were forgiven in a moment as the bloody mass disappeared down her lovely gullet. Quivering with delight, Ebony nuzzled her friend and allowed Geno to mount.

"Summoning a gate, Geno went to Fancy's house. All quiet today, thought Geno. The calm before the storm. Fancy's door opened in an unspoken invitation. Stepping inside, Geno saw her friend sitting down among stacks of maps, parchments, and empty bottles. 'I see ye are a bit busy, Fancy. But can ye read something for me?' queried Geno.

"'Sure, no problem, Geno,' Fancy replied. 'What cha got?'

"'A magical parchment I found outside my house,' said Geno as she handed it to Fancy.

"'Mmmmm. Most interesting. Intriguing. Fascinating,' stated Fancy as she quickly perused the paper.

"'What? What? Stop keeping me in suspense, Fancy!' grumbled Geno.

"'Oh, sorry,' smirked Fancy. 'Here ye go dear. I would love to go with ye, but as ye have that hulking brute Ebony with ye, I'll stay home.'

"Gratefully, Geno took her message back and began to read:

Fulfitner -- Please help me.
Come to 14° 23' W 6°50' S
I am injured by small fierce creatures.
Be wary, they attack unprovoked
Bring the healing seeds of Xenchu

"How utterly fascinating, thought Geno. Is there no end to what appears in our land? Who is this person? What strange monster now invades us? 'Well Fancy, I'll be off to investigate this. See ya in a bit,' said Geno.

"'Sure, sure. Be careful, my friend,' Fancy admonished.

"'Uh huh. Bye.'

"A muttered incantation brought Ebony and Geno quickly back home. 'Regs, gold, potions, rune books…' Geno began her inventory, '… scrolls, healing, cure, gate, invisibility, paralyze… well, I guess we are ready.' Ebony nickered, pawed the ground, and shook her head. 'Hmm? What? Oh yeah, right. More ribs. Bread for me. Ye never let me forget your stomach, eh, Ebby love?' she smiled. Geno boarded her boat, which was anchored near shore, and handed the coordinates to the tiller man.

"'Aye, aye Captain,' came his surly reply, and then they were off.

"The voyage seemed dull, boring. No sea serpents appeared, and the water elementals avoided the ship once they saw the proud, black profile of the Nightmare standing at the bow like a living figurehead. As they approached their destination, Geno saw more and more boats, but no land mass. She saw a large group of boats maneuvering into a wide circle. On their decks, mages and warriors stood ready for battle, and the air was heavy with anticipation. A smaller boat bobbed and scuttled around the circle's perimeter. Hailing its captain, she inquired what was going on.

"'Aye, I'll tell ye. Such strange goings-on there is,' the sailor began. 'A foul creature from the deep was seen. Never afore nothing like it. Bigger than any boat, it wrapped itself around Short John's boat and nearly pulled it under! Got tangled in his nets, it did. Poor guy. Took a fright and 'e fell into the water! He did!'

"'Indiana Jane, she saw it all. Called out for help and brought her guild mates! We're going to rid the sea of this demon-spawn. Mark ye! Ye here to help? Hope so. Your mare, she's one fine beauty. I'm sure she can give the creature its just due.'

"Ebony, vain creature that she was, preened under the praise and obvious adulation of the human. Just then, the sea began to roil and churn. Boats were tossed like tub toys and an emerald green, scaly head jutted out of the water. Behind it, a serpentine body undulated in the water in an ungainly fashion. Holding onto the rail, Geno saw the entrapping nets binding the creature. Its writhing motions only worsened the trouble. Such beauty and power could only be admired. An unholy scream of agony and an angry hiss drew Lady Geno's attention to its head. A baleful eye bored into hers, communicating anger, fear, pain and hopelessness in that one gaze. There was such intelligence and emotion in that gaze. A surprised light came into its eye. In her thoughts, Geno heard a word. A name. Veruvihurph. A stillness becalmed the sea.

"'Veruvihurph,' she said aloud.

"'How come ye by my name, creature?' Veruvihurph's words came not by sound, but rather, they simply appeared in Geno's mind. It was telepathic!.

"'Be still,' she soothed.

"'I who am about to die from your small, fierce kind should be still? How ridiculous,' he sneered.

"'Nay, be still so I can remove the netting.' corrected Lady Geno.

"'Rather ye wish to take your puny sword to my scales and kill me without honor or battle. Oh, nay, ye deceitful little worms of existence!" Veruvihurph bellowed audibly.

"Ebony had had enough. Agitated beyond endurance from seeing her mistress and companion seemingly mesmerized by this creature that was about to attack her was too much to be endured. Roaring and bellowing a challenge of defiance, Ebony's eyes blazed with battle rage and she attacked without a second thought. Defend! Protect! Fire from the depths of the world spewed forth from her mouth and directly hit Veruvihurph in the face. Arching back in agony, jaws agape, he lunged at the Nightmare.

"While they battled, they forgot Geno. She quietly pulled out her harp and began playing a soothing tune. Stillness overtook both creatures as quickly as did the battle rage as the magical melody transfixed them. Geno leaped to Ebony's saddle and grabbed the reins to prevent another spontaneous attack.

"'Whatever have ye done to be-spell me, little one?' Veruvihurph whispered into Geno's mind.

"'I have come at your summons.'

"'Nay, I never summoned ye.'

"'Here, this letter arrived at my shoreline. Was it not written by ye?'

"'My letter was to my kind, not for ye.'

"'It was meant for me, else why would I get it?' countered Geno.

"'It matters not little one, for I am near death.'

"'How so?'

"'I needed Xanchu's seeds to restore my health and to cure me of a deadly disease that has invaded my body. I was correcting a devastating pollution to my sea, and the poisons overwhelmed me.'

"'How tragic,' she said softly.

"'I was investigating a foulness that was destroying my water world. My people were becoming ill and I was asked to find the cause, and to cure and correct the problem. As I backtracked this foul stream to its source, the disease polluted my body. I used my seeds, but had not enough. Unless I obtain more, I cannot make it back alive. So, I spied some seaweed where these seeds spawn. But this seaweed was really your nets and I could not get away. As I twisted and turned to free myself, I became hopelessly entangled. Your kind pulled me up and began attacking me. I tried to explain, but they became more frightened and called others to kill me. That is why you surprised me. Ye can talk to me while others of your kind cannot.'

"Geno smiled. 'Yes. I am gifted with animal lore. I can understand all species.'

"'Ahh! Truly ye are a rare and a marvel, little one. Too bad I will be dead soon. It would have been nice for us to talk and achieve a better understanding of each other.'

"'Tell me, what do those seeds look like?'

"Veruvihurph projected a picture into her mind, and recognition came instantly.

"'Yes, Veruvihurph, I know where they grow!'

"With a practiced motion, Geno selected the appropriate page in her rune book and vanished behind the incantation, 'Kal Ort Por!' Barely a minute passed before she reappeared by her ship's mast. 'Here you go. My name is Geno, by the way.' She popped a few green seeds into Veruvihurph's great maw. His eyes closed in blessed relief and a sigh escaped that great mouth.

"'Thank ye, Geno. I can now return home. I shall tell my people about ye.'

"'Well met, Veruvihurph. But be cautious. My kind is not tolerant of creatures that are strange and new. For many years, our land has been invaded and people have been killed. My kind no longer trusts and is quick to act."

"'I wish to give ye a token, Geno.'

"'Gladly will I accept, my friend.'

"'I will be back in a moment.' With a swish of his tail, he sank below the water without making even a ripple. Geno marveled at how gracefully and fluidly such an immense creature could move. Lost in thought, his quick return startled her. They laughed together.

"'Here Geno, take this as a token from my treasure trove. The deep blue is the color of my ocean, the white is our waves, and yellow represents the sand. This ring has all 3, so with it think of me.'

"She gazed upon the ring and then slipped it onto her finger. It magically adjusted to fit."

To this day, I keep the ring as a reminder of my Deep Sea Adventure.

- Lady Genodyf of Pacific

Congratulations to Lady Geno, who won honorable mention at the recent UODisney luncheon for this delightful tale. Keep an eye out for future spotlight topics, as we look forward to hearing more of your tales of excitement and adventure in the world of Britannia!

Published: April 2002
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
Ultima Online ESRB Rating
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