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Old 01-18-2006, 04:51 PM   #161
Eomer of the Rohirrim
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Eomer sulked. He was not enjoying this at all. Moreover, his fingers ached, because he had not had access to a guitar and thus could not play bar chords. This was particularly gruesome because, much like continuous drinking of alcohol will evade hangovers, continuous playing of bar chords (which was strongly encouraged by the Mordorian authorities) would stave off the inhumane physical effects of playing bar chords. As a result, Eomer's fingers were now totally deformed, bruised and bloody. He was feeling extremely sorry for himself.

He looked up and caught Fordim staring at him. What a freak, thought Eomer. Who's he trying to impress with that snout? And he had the temerity to look disgusted at Eomer! Well, insofar as such an odd face could look disgusted. Eomer shuddered and turned away.

He practically jumped out of his boots as he noticed that Nilpaurion Felagund had crept up behind him. With long straggly hair and a wholly mischievous look in his eye, he winked at Eomer.

"Hello, good sir" he said in a curiously cultured voice, which sharply contrasted with his filthy and bloody appearance. "Might I campaign for your vote?"

Eomer just gaped at him. "You want me to vote for you? But....you'll be killed if you get votes. Are you out of your mind?"

"That is such a complicated question I would advise you not to let me explain the answer" said Nilp, all the while making strange and unsettling faces at Eomer. It was as if a bunch of people were trying to coexist in that head. "Shame about your fingers; here, hold this against them." He tossed some raw meat to Eomer but Eomer was too bewildered to act. The slab of meat—which was not especially dainty—landed on Eomer's delicate hand, forcing him to yowl in pain.

"If I vote for you will you leave me alone!" wailed Eomer. Nilp just winked again, and scuttled off.

What an odd person, thought Eomer, as he kissed his poor fingers better. When he was quite over the shock of the injury, he walked over to the Dwarf's Stick'n'Stone arrangement, and cast his vote.

++NILPAURION FELAGUND

As he did it, he thought that the Offending Party Members would all vote for a newcomer. Would the newcomers be clever enough to strategize against this? "Hopefully no-one would vote for such a handsome and poorly man as myself" he mumbled, still sucking his fingers.

As he walked back over to his favourite 'alone place'—a crumbled wall quite near the well—he overheard someone say "Whoa! Check that guy's fingers! How sick is that!!!" Eomer didn't make eye contact, but he at least took some pleasure in knowing that whoever said it deserved to be assigned to Mordor.

"Not like me..." he sighed.
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Old 01-18-2006, 05:05 PM   #162
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Fea looked a lot more with it after her long nap, Alli decided. She looked slightly concerned for unidentifiable reasons, but other than that, she was pretty chipper. Alli watched her take a stone and toss it from hand to hand a few times. In a short amount of time, attention was on her. Sai questioned her.

"Have you decided who to vote for?" Fea looked confused for a moment and then realized where she was. Sleeping through the middle hours of the day was slightly disorienting, she realized.

"Yes..." she said hesitatingly.

Carefully she set her stone in place. She wasn't confident about her vote, but she at least knew who she didn't want to kill.

++Mormegil

"As I lay half asleep, I thought of something as though it were from another lifetime. I saw an image of Mormegil garbed in fur with sharpened teeth and a demonic glint in his eye. I saw myself as a wolf beside him, conversing in low growls. I saw his martyrdom and I saw the werewolves ruthlessly slaughter the villagers. I've seen what he is capable of. I know that I have never been a werewolf... not in this reality that we live in... but I cannot help but feel like my thoughts had some sort of meaning."

"Are you the Seer?" the crowd clamoured.

"The what? Oh, Seer... no... remember, I wasn't actually asleep, therefore it wasn't a dream, therefore it's occurrence has no importance except that I can use it as an excuse to vote for him."

Alli didn't like this logic at all, but was at least happy that she didn't see any Offenders dying. Maybe tomorrow she'd vote for Feanor of the Crazedhil, but until then, she'd made up her mind.

++Nilp

"Yes... Nilp." said Alli. "He's crazy. We can't trust a crazy person. Even if he's innocent, he'll no doubt vote out of sheer lunacy and his lack of logic and compassion could mean the difference between our escape from Mordor and our untimely demise."

Aimè nodded at her choice and Nilp ran up and kissed her. Alli smacked him and said "Down boy." He wagged his tail.

"Good, good," he muttered. "That's four. Vote Rate 25%. Lynch rate uncertain. Shut up Alice. No you shut up Adam. Be quiet, both of you, do you want us to die? Yes."

Alli looked at him and rolled her eyes. The rest of the group fully understood her vote.

Tom now spoke. "I'd like to vote for all of these ++FANGIRLS."

He gestured toward the hundred or so drooling lasses that stood some fifteen feet behind him. Another hundred or so ogled Mardil and many dozen others stared longingly at the mysterious Aimè. Forty-two looked hungrily at Flein.

"You know," said Fea... "If we vote off a few dozen fangirls every night, we'll never even have to kill each other. We'll be rid quite a plague of idiocy, we'll all live, and... well... it'll be sort of like watching The Darwin Awards. If we kill them before they can procreate, we'll be helping ensure that the gene pool isn't tainted by them. We'll never be haunted by guilt that the reason that our grandkids are dumber than rocks is because we let these idiots reproduce and their offspring hooked up with ours."
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Old 01-18-2006, 07:05 PM   #163
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Well, well, well, thought Wilhelmina as she noted that Nilpaurion Felagund had received yet another vote. She tried to reason out whether she should support that bandwagon. It was never a good idea to gang up on people, she knew, but Nilpaurion, or Adam, or Alice, or whoever he was, did not seem to be in a state of mind that had ever known sanity.

If Nilp was really a wolf, why would he want to get lynched? Therefore he had to be an innocent. But he might be a wolf pulling a clever bluff, knowing that people would think a wolf would never vote for himself. Therefore, he had to be a wolf. But a wolf wouldn't be so reckless, especially not so early on. Therefore, he had to be an innocent. But neither would an ordo, who would want to stay alive long enough to help catch the other wolves. Therefore, he had to be a wolf. Or perhaps he was completely crackers, and thought it would be better to get killed off now before the wolves got him. Or perhaps that made sense -- he wouldn't want to risk being slain, or even turned into one of the beasts?

"Inconceivable!" Wilhelmina said, shaking her head in confusion. Although there was no way of knowing whether he was actually a wolf or not, he was bothering her to no end. That kind of confusion and uncertainty would only throw them off the trail of getting the rest of the lycans.

And with that, she cast her vote for

++ NILPADALICION FELAGUND

"Thank you very much, ma'am," Nilp said to her with a courteous bow. "You've made the right choice." He gave her what he probably thought was a winning smile, but was really just a baring of blood-stained fangs.

"I'm sure I have," said Wilhelmina, taking a small degree of comfort in the fact that there was someone else in the world a bit loonier than she.
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Old 01-18-2006, 09:13 PM   #164
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"The sun has set upon the proceedings," Anakron intoned, and got up from his lazyboy. "And no, I am not going to vote, for I am not part of the villager, per sé. I am the Grand Anakronist, and that is enough. Let it be known and understood that Hookbill the Goomba and Mardil have chosen not to vote.

"We do have two villagers who have received the most votes. Nilpaurion Felagund, and Mormegil. Lynch away." Anakron resumed his chair and popped popcorn into his mouth in eager expectation of the grisly lynchings of the two top vote getters.

The crowd of villagers stared at Anakron (except for the fangirls who all continued staring and drooling at various hot hunks as if thinking, "This is it? Now we have to do it?" They suddenly all seemed rather reluctant to go through with it.

Elempí's blackened tongue and vocal chords were hopping around again, yelling at the top of their missing lungs: "Assume nothing! Assume nothing!"

"Oh hush, you," said Anakron. The tongue quit hopping and moped.

"Fléin the Dwarf," observed SpaM, who had sobered up appreciably as the day had lengthened, "has provided us with the means for the lynching. And we cannot exactly use the gallows, as nobody as bothered to remove Elempí's body from it. Anyone willing to do so?"

They all looked at the maundering, fly-bitten corpse, and shook their heads 'no'.

SpaM picked up the first stone and heaved it at Mormegil.

"Hey!" cried Mormegil, most unoriginally, backing away in a most sane manner.

"Stand still so we can hit you!" yelled Nilpaurion Felagund.

"Idiot! You received more votes than I!"

"So throw a stone at me!" Nilp retorted.

"Make them both shut up!" cried Hookbill. Suddenly sticks and stones broke many bones, and names had nothing to do with it.

Soon there were two mangled corpses lying beneath the gallows.

"Well done, my pretties," Anakron drawled. "Now bury all three bodies. We're not uncivilized here; at least, not yet."

Darkness fell.
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Old 01-19-2006, 02:40 AM   #165
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After giving the order for the burial, Anakron turned and walked towards a large hut in the middle of the little village. Mardil hurried after him. Upon reaching the door, Anakron turned and faced Mardil, who had caught up. "Well- are you going to explain just what in Mordor you've been up to?" asked Anakron. Mardil smiled and nodded. "And should I assume you have completed challenge number three?" Mardil nodded again. "Well, come inside and tell me everything at once, then."

"It's getting late, Anakron," objected Mardil. "Couldn't we just make sure challenge three is taken care of tonight and leave the full story until the morning?"

"No, absolutely not!" said Anakron. "I think you've been rather rude, avoiding contact with me and the other escapees all this time. I think you owe me the full tale tonight," said Anakron as he entered the hut.

"All right then, I'll summarize it for you," said Mardil as he followed Anakron through the door. The hut was one large room with a bed, a table, and two chairs. Anakron motioned for Mardil to sit as he sat down and pulled his chair up to the table. Mardil took his seat and immediately began talking.

"It all started with Roggie. As you remember, he carried me to Mount Doom along with Sai and Alli, only he wasn't nearly so gentle with me."

"Yes, yes, squeezed you quite a bit, didn't he?"

"Yes, he did, but I'm glad. You see, I had never been so close to death before. Or, well maybe I have, but the other times it was over so quick and with the adrenaline and all it didn't have that much of an impact on me. But this time was different. I had time to think about it. One of my knives was held in such a way that a lethal squeeze from him would deal him a deadly dose of cold virus, but that didn't make me feel any better. I mean, taking him with me wouldn't bring me back to life. I was in a situation that I was not in control of, and you know how I hate that."

"Anyway, after a bit, a roadside advertisement happened to catch my eye. I think it was for some sort of video game system. It said 'Life is a game'. And that got me thinking. If my life is a game, and I die right now in Roggie's hand, then I have lost the game."

"Well, Mardil," interrupted Anakron, "That's always true. If life is a game then you lose when you die."

"No no no, that's not it!" objected Mardil. "Everyone dies, but it can't be that everyone loses, right? I mean, what kind of game is that? No no, dying is just the end of the game. Whether you won or lost is determined by how many points you scored before you died."

"And how exactly do you 'score points'?" asked Anakron, rolling his eyes as he settled back in his chair. "A cute brunette is worth five, a foreign model worth eight, and a wealthy sexy actress worth ten, I suppose?"

Mardil grinned and shook his head. "Very funny, Anakron, but I'm not talking about that sort of game."

"Then what are you talking about?" asked Anakron.

"I'm talking about doing what you are supposed to do, what you should do, and what you can do. For some people, that isn't much. They aren't in a position to do much of anything. But me, on the other hand. I could really do something great for Gondor! That's what I need to do in order to win."

"Why do you want to play this game, anyway?" asked Anakron.

"What do you mean by that?" returned Mardil.

"What I mean is, why are you worried about winning this game? Why don't you just do what you want to do? Have fun, relax, lay out in the sun, hop in the hot tub with some cheerleaders, you know?"

"I don't know," answered Mardil. "I'd certainly like to do that. That's all I've done since coming to Mordor, and I looked forward to doing it even more once I got back home- that's the main reason why I wanted to leave Mordor. But after being close to death, I sort of... I don't know... rearranged what I thought was important."

"Say no more, Mardil, I know exactly what you mean. I was just wondering if you truly had a thought altering experience, and it is now clear to me that you have." Anakron leaned forward onto the table. "Now- tell me what sort of things you did while at Mount Doom. I know you were up to something."

Mardil smiled broadly and leaned forward, and began talking in a low voice. "Mount Doom was the perfect place for me to cut some deals and send messages. As you know, it is illegal to carry a message in or out of Mordor without direct permission from the King, which is for me more than anyone else impossible to obtain. However, the casinos and resorts of Mount Doom are home to quite a few organizations that specialize in illegal activities, like message carrying. So, I got someone to take a message to my father and he returned an answer."

"What did he say?" asked Anakron anxiously.

"He's preparing for my return. His staff and speech writers are preparing a campaign that denounces the King for sending me to Mordor despite the fact that I did not speak an anachronism. He will also start an ad campaign blaming the King for all the corruption that has engulfed Gondor's government, as well as the weakened state of the military."

"Is he preparing fighting forces, just in case?" asked Anakron.

"Oh, yes, but it's being done quietly, and we hope it won't come to that," answered Mardil.

"What else did you do while staying at Mount Doom?" prodded Anakron.

"I forged a key alliance with a head of state and took over a powerful criminal organization," answered Mardil with a tone of general boredom.

"And how did you manage that?"

"Well, Roggie and I had to work together on that movie you put me in, and while we were together we got to talking. I admitted that my initial hostility towards him was very much based on stories of balrogs in the past, who were always pure evil. Roggie, however, is different. As soon as I saw him interacting with Alli that evening he carried me to Mount Doom, I realized he had some amount of goodness in him. After getting to know him, I found out that Melkor had duped him into servitude, and that he was happy when Angband was destroyed. Anyway, to make a long story short, Roggie and I reached an understanding, and after he was appointed the new Lord of Mount Doom, I made a little treaty with him. He pledged the support of Mount Doom and the surrounding area to me and my father, and in return I will, when I have taken hold of my destiny, make him Prince of Mordor. He will no longer be under the authority of the Grand Anakronist. But you won't mind, Anakron, because by that time you won't be the Grand Anakronist anymore- you'll be relaxing in Minas Tirith with servants at your disposal. So, did I do well?"

"Yes, yes, you did," said Anakron. "That explains the 'treaty with a head of state' thing, but what about the part with you becoming the head of a criminal organization?"

"Oh, I nearly forgot. I bumped into Khamul in the hotel. You know Khamul, right?"

"Of course!" snorted Anakron. "He's one of the three remaining Nazgul, and wields more illegal power than any other being in Middle Earth."

"Precisely!" said Mardil. "I arranged a talk with him, and he agreed to hand over his organization to me in exchange for a couple favors. Favor one- I didn't kill him. As you know, my family has a history of killing Nazgul. I have a couple of knives especially designed for it, and he knew it. Favor two- I told him I'd allow him to retire to Minas Tirith to stay in the Hospital for Recovering Evil Wraiths. As you know, he was downright horrible for centuries, but have you noticed that the last couple hundred years he's been doing illegal things such as money laundering and tax evasion far more than killing and stealing? I think Sauron's corruptive influence is beginning to wane, and he also thinks that is what is going on. He wants to try and find himself again- the way he was before Sauron and the ring Sauron gave to him."

"Well," said Anakron, "That's great and all, but what are you going to do as the head of a criminal organization? I didn't think you were that sort of person."

"I'm not. I'm going to use it's resources and influence to help my father and I, and when we have accomplished our goal I'll destroy the organization for good!"

"Excellent, Mardil, I assume you have detailed plans for everything?"

"Oh yes, never fear," said Mardil.

"But what about the third challenge," reminded Anakron. "I cannot let you leave Mordor unless you complete all of your tasks by the end of the final day of the escape. That's what the rules say. Now, you say you completed the challenge, correct?"

"Yes, I did."

"All right then. What did you take, and who did you take it from?" asked Anakron.

"During the making of that movie, I got to rub elbows with one of the other stars, J K Rowling. I coaxed her into giving me her most prized possession- the plot to her next Harry Potter book!"

Anakron's jaw dropped. "You're kidding!"

"No, I'm not."

"Then, you know what Professor Snape-"

"Yes."

"And if he's a-"

"Yes."

"And what all the horcruxes-"

"Yes."

"And if Malfoy-"

"Yes."

"And if Harry is-"

"Yes."

"And if he-"

"Of course."

"Wow! Are you serious?"

"Ask J K."

"All right, I will. I hope you don't mind, but I simply must, in the interest of running a fair escape, check your claim," said Anakron apologetically.

"I don't mind at all," said Mardil. "Look, I'd love to stay and chat, but it's really getting late. The werewolves will be out in another hour or so."

"Oh, thanks for reminding me!" exclaimed Anakron, standing to his feet. He shuffled over to his bed and pulled from beneath the mattress a small green stone. He tossed it to Mardil, who caught it.

"What is this?"

"This stone forces werewolves back into their human form when they get within ten yards or so of it. That way, if the wolves try to come after you, they will turn back into humans as soon as they crash into your hut," explained Anakron, "And I know you can deal with three humans quite easily," he added, eying Mardil's vast array of weaponry.

Mardil walked over to the door and opened it. "Thanks," he said over his shoulder before closing the door.
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Old 01-19-2006, 11:17 AM   #166
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Dawn arrived and, unlike the previous day, everyone was up with sun, anxious to see what the werewolves had done.

"doubleyouteeyef!" said Alli.

Strewn across the entire village were the bodies of all the fangirls, in various states of manglement.

"It would seem that the werewolves have done us a favor," remarked Panakeia.

"Well, that knocks down the number of innocents a good bit," CoD said, who had miraculously developed the ability to speak overnight. "So much for lynching the lot of 'em."

"So who are the werewolves, benevolent as they have been in getting rid of the worst sort amongst us?" said the completely inebriated SpaM.

And so the discussions began.

Last edited by littlemanpoet; 01-20-2006 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 01-19-2006, 11:45 AM   #167
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Fléin's voice was loudest in the ensuing conversation. "That CoD simply cannot be trusted!" he yelled over and over again, ignoring the shouts he received in response. The pond where the fish dwelt drenched all those nearby as CoD thrashed about in response to the accusations, most of which nobody could hear due to the volume of the debate.

"Quiet! Quiet!" the voice of Sai chirped to no avail, barely audible. "Please... be quiet! Please!" Then, she was queit herself for a second, followed by a piercing whistle even louder than that of yesterday. Fléin was sure he felt part of his brain melt in protest.

Silence followed, and everybody turned to look at Sai on the outskirts of the group. "Well, now that I've got your attent-"

Two wails cut her off. Tom Felton and Mardil - the two who had been standing closest to Sai - were the twin sources. It was soon ascertained that Sai's whistle had deafened them, and they were led off to sit on the side and learn to lipread, if they could.

"Well, that's suspicious and no mistake," Valde announced with the air of one stating the obvious. They all turned to look at him, and he duly feigned ignorance of their confusion.

"Well?" Alli interrogated.

"Hmm... what's that?" Valde continued his theatrics.

"How is deafness suspicious? Wolves have a better sense of hearing than humans."

"All the easier to render them deaf with!" Valde exclaimed triumphantly. "Yes, I'm certain of it."

The noise of mass debate erupted once more at this comment, with the two accused staring on, clueless.

"Quiet!" Sai screamed over it all, and this time they all fell silent instantaneously. Nobody wanted a repeat performance of The Whistle. All heads turned to her. "If this is to work," she said slowly, "we need to act like civilised people." Fléin sniffed at her, but she ignored it. "We need a judiciary system."

"We have a democracy!" various voices cried out.

"Yes, we do, but we have no judicial process. All we have is a rabble of noise that nobody can hear over. It's ridiculous. I can't cope. We need a System."

"What I propose is this: We form a circle, right here, opposite the sticks and stones that hurt our bones. When somebody wants to make an accusation, they step forward into the middle of the circle and present their case, unimpeded. Thereafter, the accused may offer his or her defence."

There were murmurs of approval. Fléin had to admit that the girl had brains, even if she did choose to disguise the fact most thoroughly. Then again, he thought chauvinistically, lesbians were almost men, and men were, of course, far more intelligent than women.

A short while later, a circle was established, and everybody had a log to sit on. CoD had a space at the corner of the circle. Special arrangements would be made if he wished to present a case: a small plastic bowl was placed next to his pond.

--------------------------------------------------------

Fléin was the first to present a case, against CoD. He wandered into the centre of the circle and attacked the fish for at least ten minutes. There was no way, he told them, that they could trust a creature so prone to transformation. From beast to fish to talking fish, he seemed to morph every few minutes. Being a lycanthrope was probably as easy as sleeping for him.

There was a general murmur of agreement from the group. Fléin particularly noticed Valde vigorously nodding his head. Though CoD was given the chance to defend himself, most people were too bemused by the presentation of a talking dinner to actually listen to what he said.
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Old 01-19-2006, 02:40 PM   #168
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For a while it looked like there would be an all out war in the village, but soon cooler heads prevailed, and the villagers voted to take a twenty minute break in order to consider the recent happenings. Twenty minutes had come and gone however, and still the group was not all present.

"Well, there's SPaM," said Sai as SPaM came stumbling up the path from the tavern, "But we're still missing Mardil."

"Yes, and that Fea girl," added Wilhelmina.

"I think I saw the both of them headed over that way," said Panakeia, waving in the direction of Mardil's hut.

"Yeah," sniggered Fléin, "I'm sure they're having a nice little chat."

"Yes, yes," agreed Valde, "The two of them looked like they were getting quite cozy after dinner yesterday."

"I'm going to go fetch them back," said Alli through gritted teeth. She began walking briskly towards Mardil's hut.

"Wait, I'll go too," said Sai, hurrying after her.

When she reached the door, Alli pounded on it as hard as she could. "Mardil! We're all waiting for you!" From inside the hut came the sound of clinking metal, shuffling feet, and unintelligible whispering.

"Just a minute!" called Mardil's voice. "I'm almost ready! I'm just picking up some things in here. I'll be there shortly!"

"Well, why don't you let me help you?" asked Alli fiercely.

"No, no, that's really not necessary!" answered Mardil. "Look, why don't you run along and-"

"Oh, don't be silly, Mardil, Sai and I will help." Alli pushed the door open forcefully and took in the scene. Mardil was standing in the middle of the room, halfway through pulling his shirt on. His light leather armor and cloak were lying in a heap on the floor along with his weapons, as well as a navy long sleeve t-shirt and a leather jacket, both of which belonged to Fea. Fea was seated on the table clad in a tight black t-shirt and faded jeans and was pulling her socks and shoes on.

"Come on, Alli, let's go back like he said," suggested Sai, anxious to avoid any sort of conflict. Surprisingly, Alli allowed herself to be led away in silence.

------------

"Well Mardil, I certainly hope you're proud of yourself," whispered Sai as Mardil sat down next to her. Alli was sitting apart from everyone else on a tree stump.

"I am proud of myself," said Mardil.

"Excuse me? Why in the world would you be proud about-"

"Spare me the lecture and take a look at this, Sai," said Mardil cutting Sai off and shoving a small black book into her hand.

"What is it?" she asked.

"I spotted that Fea lass reading it on several occasions, but only when she thought she wasn't being watched. Every time someone came around, she'd stow it in her jacket. But, as you can see, I managed to get it from her while she was occupied with, well... me."

"Well, that's very clever and all," said Sai as she thumbed through the pages of the book, "But what good does this do? The book's cover and pages are blank."

"They just look blank, m'dear," said Mardil. "I did a bit of spying and figured out how to read the book. Whenever Fea pulled it out, she waved her hand over it like this, and said 'I solemnly swear that I am up to no good'."

Sai gasped as golden words appeared on the cover of the book. As they became more clear, she read them out loud. "The Phantom's Comprehensive Guide to Slaughtering Villages."

"So, what do you think?" whispered Mardil.

Sai began flipping through the book, its pages now filled with writing. Much of the book was highlighted. The highlighted sections said things like the first priority is always killing the seer, it is nearly always a bad idea to kill a fellow wolf when there is another choice, don't make kills that leave an obvious trail whether it is false or not, and don't lie- tell truths that don't lead to the truth.

"Well," said a shocked Sai, "This is some pretty good evidence."

"Yes it is," agreed Mardil. "Let's go ahead and present our case right away."
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Old 01-19-2006, 03:17 PM   #169
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Fea grimaced over the dead bodies of the fangirls. She'd grabbed her jacket on her way out of Mardil's, pulling it on and shoving her shirt back into the bag that it had fallen out of. Now that she'd had a hot cup of tea to soothe her mood and a clean pair of socks to sooth her obsession with cleanliness, she was ready to combat werewolves again, whether the villagers agreed with her plan or not. She reached into her pocket for her dusty guide on how werewolves think (knowledge of this historically helped to fight them) and found it missing. She must have lost it when she was visiting with Mardil and learning about the politics of Gondor. Fea was a New York girl, after all, and was always interested in foreign politics and customs. But the book was gone... she'd have to be even more resourceful now.

Alli watched in wonder and intense hurt as Fea lit a fire and added some sort of shimmering powder to it. She held back tears as the flames leapt high, spraying sparks at all those close. The group backed away hastily, abandoning their seats and leaving Fea shrouded in smoke and glittering fire. She was sillhouetted starkly and seemed not to fear the flickering danger bare inches away from her. She chanted in a language foreign to all present.

Shapes began to appear in the fire. Fea greeted them with a crazed grin as she continued to conjure.

"Lycaeus, trickster of the divine, I welcome you more than did Zeus. Peter Stubb, may your horrifying ways be more productive to us than they were to you in Cologne. Thiess, you are welcome to us. Vereticus, regards. Raimbaud of Auvergne, welcome. Romulus, Remus... Fenrir Greyback, Sinfjotli and Sigmund."

The villagers, Alli not least, watched in horror as Feanor of the Peredhil called past and present werewolves to her. Condemnation was inevitable.

"We must kill her!" screamed Alli in fear and confusion. In terror of the werewolves before her, Alli even forgot what she thought she had witnessed behind Mardil's door. "Before she brings death to us all!"

"No!" shrieked Feanor, lost to her own arrogance and impatience. "They will not kill the villagers! I will not let them! They owe me their existence in this place... they will not turn on me!"

"Then just what is your plan, oh great one, that you can call upon magic and witchery in order to summon ancient legends long passed into the forgotten histories of our worlds.. and that you can steal so easily the mythology of other cultures for your own pedantic uses!?"

"How do you not expect them to kill us all? Mardil was right about you!" shouted Sai over the roar of the fire, madly brandishing Fea's handbook.

"You do not understand!" cried Fea. "My logic is undeniable!" Mardil looked at her with a pitying smirk. Her eagerness to learn had played right into his hands. He'd gotten her guide. She was a lycan. There was no doubt of it in anybody's minds. "No, listen to me!"

The group was moving in. Fea was protected only by the lethal heat of the fire and, of course, the large and impressive group of werewolves that were standing beside her.

"We will kill them, one or more each night! We will not sacrifice our own, we will sacrifice those already gone! Do you not understand? It is for the good of the village. They cannot kill more that the three wolves already present could. Our death toll will not go up each morning, however we will be able to slaughter known werewolves every night until this nightmare ends!"

Alli was quite certain that Fea was certifiably insane.

"++FEA" she screamed. "And ++ALL OF THOSE DAMNED LYCANS!" While she was quite certain that she wasn't allowed more than one vote, she was also pretty certain that breaking rules had been assigned to Mordor at least once, so she didn't really mind doing it. And her vote for Fea couldn't possibly have had anything to do with the betrayed tears that freely flowed down her cheeks. She couldn't possibly have let her emotions cloud her judgement. After all, it's not like she even liked Mardil, right?

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Old 01-19-2006, 04:19 PM   #170
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Fléin watched, dumbstruck, as Mardil and Sai took centre stage and came out with point after point after point against Fea. Her little book of mischief alone was enough to warrant instant condemnation; it had been passed around the circle twice and was currently on its third circuit. Fléin thought it might be a bad idea letting the other wolves read it, but it was necessary that everybody see the evidence.

Once it was over, nobody spoke for a while. Then Fléin jumped up and cried "That's more than enough evidence for me!" He strode over to Fea's post and placed his stone there.

He was followed by SPaM, who once again cast his vote with the Dwarf. But Fléin was puzzled to see the others sitting still upon their stumps. "Come, Men! We have a wolf here, without a doubt!"

Again a pensive silence, but this time it was broken, after a minute, by Wilhelmina. "Well, Fléin my dear, you do have a point but I see two small flaws with your plan."

The Dwarf nodded, encouraging her to continue.

"Firstly, we must multiple lynch. If we all vote for Fea, I don't know what Anakron will do - but it won't be pleasant, I can promise you that. So we need a second candidate with at least one vote."

The Dwarf nodded. "Fare enough," SPaM said, indicating his assent.

"The second problem," Wilhelmina continued tranquilly, "is the fact that Fea's run off."

The villagers looks around, stunned. Fea had indeed slunk off - there was an empty stump right there, where she should be! What were they to do now?
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Old 01-19-2006, 08:40 PM   #171
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Panakeia was throughly miffed. The efforts to identify werewolves in the village had been unsuccessful. And now she awoke to more death. Not that she missed the fangirls. Their constant shrieking throughly irritated her. Nor had they been interesting in purchasing Panakeia's beauty products. Orli didn't buy his cosmetics from her, so why should they? Nevertheless, she was frustrated by the village's failure. Not only was her pride injured by the fact that she helped lead the charge against an innocent (if insane) Nilp, but the nagging thought that she might not survive the next few days was growing.

Why did the wolves eat the fangirls? Panakeia had heard rumor of a powerful Seer in the village's midst, gifted to identify the wolves in dreams. This individual was the most dangerous to the lycans, yet they had made no move to attack. Unless, of course, they thought the fangirls were collectively the Seer, hiding by trying to act as silly and frivolous as possible. Or maybe the werewolves had just been hungry and picked the most obvious snack - there was no other way for them to gobble down so many villagers at once. Or maybe it was completely random.

The conflict starting between Mardil and Fea upset her. A line she had heard Valde (at the very thought of his name, her stomach began turning somersaults again. Must be the stale coffee, she thought) muttering popped into her head. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." Surely Fea wouldn't permit Mardil's attack to go unchallenged. If she started a Mardil bandwagon, that would open the way to attacking other members of the Offending Party. Not that she particularly cared for the Gondorian noble, but Panakeia was aware that she was not the most popular member of the Mordor (attempting) escapees. Once any of the Party earned votes, none were safe.

Should she vote for Fea, then? Panakeia was tempted to do so. Fea might become influential later and start a Mardil bandwagon. Lynching her now would preclude that possibilty. But something about the girl spoke to her innocence. Was her odd behavior enough to cast a vote in her direction? Panakeia already had the answer to that question in the form of Nilp's fresh grave. No, Fea would be safe from her, at least for today.

This is annoying me. Circular thinking, danger all around, and not even a decent salon in the whole place. Must...get...out. Suspecting that she at last had a glimpse into the mind of a fangirl, Panakeia found herself absolutely clueless. She decided to go after the safest candidate. Snatching Sai's whistle, she blew a loud, screeching note and stepped into the circle.

"Listen, everyone," she said. "We've made it through one night. We just need to survive tonight and maybe tomorrow. And we've nothing to go on to spot the wolves from the deaths of the fangirls. We have to have a double lynch, thanks to Anakron." She rolled her eyes at the mention of his name. "No one wants to kill innocents. So what I say is this. Fléin, as mush as I hate to say it, had a point eariler. For our second lucky candidate, let's lynch CoD. He's a monster turned fish, for crying out loud. So he's already proved his talent for transformations. Maybe he can turn into a wolf too. And if the fish isn't a wolf, at least we've saved ourselves some work. No need to bury a fish. We can eat it! Broiled cod!"

"No. Not broiled." said Mardil. "Florentine is much better."

A smirking Tom Felton said, "Bah. Eat it raw and wriggling." He was promptly pelted with wadded-up papers.

SPaM opened a bleary eye. "Anyshting's goos (urp) wish (urp) wine."

And as CoD splashed wildly in protest, the conversation turned to an argument over the best way to cook a seafood dinner.

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Old 01-19-2006, 09:37 PM   #172
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"Now, nobody worry," said Wilhelmina calmly, standing up to address the group. "I'm sure Fea's just gone off to do something completely not related to lupine behavior. But in the event that she had, perhaps we ought to lynch her, as she seems quite mad."

Mutters of "Seems?" and "No kidding" drifted across the circle.

"We do have to lynch someone else as well, though," she continued. "And I would suggest SPaM for that position."

"Balderdash!" the drunkard slurred. "That'sh rid-- ridi-- that'sh shilly. How could I be a lyca-- oh, buggrit -- a wolf?"

"You could just be using the drunkeness as a cover!" she accused. "Trying to get us to think you're harmless, while you slaughter in the night! Or," she said, "I could be entirely mistaken. Either way, I think those bathtubs you wear upon your person are rather unusual. Might I recommend that you avoid the eggshell in future? It doesn't suit your complexion."

"Egadsh, woman!" cried SPaM. "The only mad pershon I shee here ish you!" Then he shook his head and tried to focus his gaze. "Although I do shee three of you. All three of yoush! There'sh the wolvesh!"

"Poor man," Wilhelmina said with pity, casting her vote for ++SPaM nevertheless.
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Old 01-19-2006, 10:34 PM   #173
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Panakeia blinked sadly at SPaM, curled up with a bottle of tavern beer in one of his bathtubs. What a shame, she thought. I'm sure he's brilliant when not hitting the sauce. I wonder why he does that? Wilhelmina's suggestion of drunkeness as a cover for lupine traits was not entirely convincing to her. SPaM's alcohol driven escapdes only made him more conspicuous, the last thing Panakeia figured a wolf would want to be. Though she thought she could understand why an innocent would take to drinking. The pressure of living in a werewolf infested village, however briefly, was too much.

Then another idea came to her. But she feared to give voice to her thought. Werewolves might be listening. Instead, she merely said, "Really, I don't think we should lynch SPaM. He doesn't seem like a wolf to me. Just an innocent, hapless drinker. And who knows? If we get him away from the tavern, he might sober up into a useful ally. Here. Let's get things rolling." She picked up her stone and cast a vote for ++CoD. A loud splash from the pond informed her that the fish was not pleased.

Then she tiptoed up to a newly snoring SPaM. Panakeia carefully took the bottle of beer from under his arm and poured the contents into an empty bottle from her sample case, then refilled the beer bottle with Formula 250 Energy Boosting Drink. I hope that helps some. Just sugar water, but it is better than booze. Then she grinned at CoD. Tapping the beer, she said, "Marinade, my friend. Marinade." CoD turned a dull, angry eye toward her. As he tried his best to splatter the pond water over her dress, she walked impassively out of range to await further developments in the village.
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Old 01-20-2006, 06:22 AM   #174
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Hookbill's cameo in Dol Gaurgauroth, (by unpopular demand)

“Well, I’m a cobbler,” said the rather defensive Hookbill as he moved behind a chair away from one of the villagers. “I’ve been here for three years. I’m not a new character, or even a cameo.”

“Then why,” enquired the villager, “does your post title say ‘Hookbill’s Cameo?’”
The little man stopped and thought. Too many questions so early in the morning, only four o’clock pm! Did these people have no respect? “You’re not supposed to be able to see that.” He mumbled eventually looking at his shoes and seeing an interesting pattern in the creases of the leather.

“Well, I don’t like this,” continued the villager, now getting rather annoyed, “You had better not meet me again, or you’ll be sorry.” The villager stormed out leaving footprints in the floorboards and breaking the door as it was closed. Hookbill slowly sunk to the ground and hummed to himself until a brick flew through his window and hit him on the head.
Awaking some time later, Hookbill found a note attached to the brick, ‘Shut up’ was written on one side. On the other was ‘Welcome to Dol Gaurgauroth. Please enjoy our snack bars’. He sighed and got back to work.

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Old 01-20-2006, 10:50 AM   #175
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Anakron slouched in his lazyboy, fanning himself with a left over piece of autograph paper taken from a fangirl corpse.

"Tut tut!" he said. "This is all getting rather undemonstrative. Where is the famed Alli? Where has Fea gotten off to? The Tragic Lead Actor has been rather quiet. And Mardil has been conspicuously quiet ever since he flamed up suspicion against Fea. Aimé is hiding again, and Fordim has gone sniffing after strangely scented opinion polls, no doubt.

"But that is nothing, my listeners, to compare with your sudden lack of creative imagination as compared with the last three challenges. What has come over you? The threat of death instead of mere failure to leave? What difference does that make?

"Assume nothing!"

Anakron lapsed into silence after this mirthful diatribe. The remaining villagers eyed him with obvious malice, clearly wishing they could lynch him. Anakron grinned as he snacked.
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Old 01-20-2006, 12:18 PM   #176
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"Well, Mardil, when are you going to cast your vote?" asked Eomer, flopping down beside Mardil during a village recess. "You're the one, after all, who led the way in accusing Fea."

Mardil took out one of his knives and began twirling it. "Oh, I suppose I'll go ahead and vote when everyone gets back."

"For Fea?" asked Tom Felton, scooting over closer to join in the conversation.

"No, probably for CoD," answered Mardil.

"Why not Fea?" asked Tom.

"For one thing, she's almost certain to get lynched anyway. Second, she's hot."

"I know what you mean, Mardil," agreed Eomer. "There's a shortage of hot women in the world. It would be a pity to damage one so hot as that without absolute proof."

"But she's as likely as anyone to be a wolf!" said Tom. "The object here is to kill wolves, not keep ladies alive. We need to vote for her."

"I'm sorry, Tom," argued Eomer, "But my noble Scottish spirit simply will not allow me to kill a young damsel without more proof than this."

"You're Scottish?" asked Tom, noticing Eomer's kilt for the first time.

"Of course," answered Eomer.

Tom leapt away from him in disgust. "I can't believe I was talking with a Scot- filthy mudblood! Wait till my father hears they're letting Scots into Mordor." Tom stomped off mumbling curses under his breath.

"What in the world was that about?" said Eomer in surprise.

"Oh, it's probably just in-a-rut-casting syndrome," answered Mardil. "It happens to actors who really only play one role all the time- they begin to, out of habit, act like their onscreen characters in real life."

"How horrible," shuddered Eomer.

"Yes, yes," agreed Mardil. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go get something to eat. When I get back, I'll cast my vote for ++CoD."

"Wait, wait!" called Eomer as Mardil began walking away. "Before you go I want your opinion on something. Since you aren't voting for Fea, does that mean you like her werewolf summoning plan?"

Mardil started laughing and turned back to look at Eomer. "Her plan would be excellent if not for the fact that she summoned far too many wolves. The amount of wolves she summoned, if incorporated into the village, would lead to an instant werewolf victory since there would be more wolves than innocents. Right now the count is nine innocents and three wolves. If we're going to summon wolves, we wouldn't want to summon any more than five, and we'd need to then lynch two of them today, but seeing as so many votes have already been cast, I don't think we could pull that off."

"So you think it would be foolish to support the plan?"

"Most definitely," said Mardil emphatically. "Now, I really need to go. If I don't hurry, I won't be back in time for the start of the next round of arguments."
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Old 01-20-2006, 04:12 PM   #177
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Fléin could hardly believe his ears. Here was solid evidence against that Fea harlot, and the entire village was ignoring it! What the - what was the Mordorian equivalent of Hell? - what the Mordor, then, were they playing at? As if owning a book on Werewolfing weren't reliable evidence pointing to one's guilt!

As much as he regretted saying so, his belief in the innocence of his fellow Offending Party was escalating with the suspect voting. Wilhelmina voting for SPaM had been a huge surprise - and had almost broke his heart. The woman of his desire voting for his only male company. Where could that have come from? They were best friends just yesterday. He felt Wilhelmina was hiding something.

Mardil was also acting quite oddly. It was he who had discovered the book of mischief - yet he didn't think it incriminating enough to vote for Fea, instead casting a vote for that fish. What was up with that?

Panakeia too voted for the fish, despite all the evidence arrayed against Fea. Fléin felt he was the only one sticking to sanity and logic, though he did, of course, have the perpetually inebriated SPaM by his side. Better a drunkard than nothing.

And, of course, Alli and Sai were... Well. There was definitely no trusting them.

That only left Valde to reside in; yet the man was so easily detestable that Fléin decided it wasn't worth the bother. He sat moodily on a stump, staring at a stick and contemplating suicide. Or homocide. The latter was more appealing by a factor of several million. He sighed.
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Old 01-20-2006, 04:29 PM   #178
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Alli sat alone and unhappy on the outskirts of the group. She wanted to sit by Sai... the only one that she felt she could trust in this whole group... but she was by Mardil. Fea was still gone... it was a good thing, truth be told. Alli wasn't sure if she could handle her emotions at this point.

Now Illamatar arrived, clad in purple spandex and baaing fiercly. Alli looked around and was passively miffed that nobody else could see him.

"You know, O Lord, that if people keep seeing me converse with empty space, they'll call me a loony and kill me?"

Illamatar looked at her with pity.

"Do you really think they care what you're doing?

"Way to crush a girl's confidence, O Lord. What have you to tell me now?"

"Jennifer Lopez has been rendered harmless."

"What?" Alli was confused. Since when were a pair of buttocks considered dangerous? And what in the world did this have to do with anything?

"She is harmless. The girl with whom you travel has taken care of her unwittingly."

"You mean that Sai is innocent?"

"Of course."

"But... I don't understand... J.Lo. isn't in the game... she just happened to..." Alli stopped, something dawning on her. Shortly after her epiphany, she looked at Illamatar.

"Do you understand?" he baaed.

"Sai is innocent of all crimes in Mordor. J.Lo. has been rendered innocent though she does not play in this game. Mario...?"

"A bloody great threat to the world. You must ally yourself with the Scotsman."

"I'll take care of it. But what does Sai have to do with my side-plot?"

"You'll figure it out."

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Rather far away, in another dimension, in another time, place, and thought process, Fea had rather been enjoying herself. After she disappeared, she'd gone to a gathering of friends, expecting laughs, but not the boys that arrived.

Her night had grown longer than she'd expected after this, infused with laughter, flirting, and stories by starlight until past midnight, when she decided that homework was in order and socialization for the day was at an end. She'd meant to return to the village quickly, but she had to admit that this diversion had really been a lot of fun.

Now, after classes were over and the opposite sex was sufficiently out of her mind, Fea returned to the little Mordorian village and wondered about her previous logic at releasing a bunch of werewolves on an already werewolf-infested village.

She looked around, catching a lethal glance from Sai. She had to give the girl credit... she certainly stood by her friend. Though at the moment she sat by the guy that her friend was upset over. Fea wondered what was going through Alli's head. She wondered what was going through Sai's head. She especially wondered what was going through Flein's head. What was going through Mardil and Aimè's heads was easy to figure out... if they were any more obvious, there would be a stream of drool involved.

She casually stood, twirling a heavy staff. While she didn't have as much strength as would be needed to defend herself against the entire village, she suspected that she wouldn't require it. She knew that she would soon die... she had accepted it as soon as the phantom had requested permission to accuse her of guilt. But she wasn't going to go easily. She was going to do something to make the Offenders gasp in shock. She didn't know what it was yet, but she hoped pretty hard it wouldn't end up being anticlimactic.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Tom was busy in his little bit of space moping over his recent encounter with a Scotsman. Aimè was the enemy in his book. He wondered if Aimè knew why Tom hated him so much and wished him so much ill will... it didn't matter. What did was that he could not speak with nor look at the Scotsman without feeling a certain growling menace unfold deep within him. He was pretty certain that it had something to do with the way Aimè was now eyeballing Sai.

Aimè couldn't have Sai... Tom wanted her.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Alli saw Fea as soon as Illamatar disappeared. She hated her with a passion. Arrogant. She was arrogant. And the worst part was, she was perfectly well allowed to have such a high opinion of herself because everything that she believed of herself was true. It was most annoying. She seemed to believe that she could get everything she wanted.

Well... maybe she could and maybe she couldn't, but apparently she was capable of getting exactly what Alli wanted, even though Alli couldn't manage it.

It didn't matter any more... she would soon die. Alli would soon die... Mardil would soon die...

Life is short and full of pain, she thought. Fleeting... grief-stricken... nobody is meant to be happy, least of all me.

She fell into a bit of despair over the trust that Illamatar had placed in her as well as the basic stress of having to keep yourself alive on your path along your only chance of ever finding your way back home while being somewhat in love with a guy with whom nothing seemed to be going right and who apparently had been undressed in a confined space with another girl very recently. Silent tears forced their way through her stubbornly focused eyes. Her whole body shook as she tried to repress her emotions. Finally, she gave way to the tears and curled up defensively as she cried, hoping that Illamatar was right when he said that nobody cared what she did.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Tom strode over to Sai, offering his hand and when she made to shake it, brushing hers with his lips. She blushed slightly and Tom grinned deep inside.

"Will you work with me, pretty girl, to rid the world of werewolves?"

His charm seemed at first to be working. He was well pleased with himself. Sai's attention suddenly shifted. She pulled her hand from his and went to Alli. She put her arms around her friend and whispered soothingly as Alli sobbed into her shoulder.

"It's okay, Alli... it's okay... it'll all be okay..."

"No..." she sniffed. "I don't understand it. I mean... I understand it, but how can he expect me to... how can I possibly measure up? I can't take the pressure. I'm not good enough. I'm so afraid... I'm so afraid..."

Sai had no idea what was going through Alli's mind, but she suspected that she was comparing herself... possibly to Fea. Unsure of what to say, Sai fell silent. She held Alli as the girl released all of her bottled up emotion through flowing tears.

"Now then," said Sai quietly once Alli had finally stopped weeping. "Didn't that make you feel better?"

"I suppose..." she sniffed, her head on her friend's shoulder. "But even with the emotion gone... I still have to find a way... I still have to... I'll never be able to live unless I see this through. It's too important for me to ignore. I've never felt this way before. I've never felt like I had a purpose... a special role in life. I never thought that I would need Aimè like I do. Who would have ever thought?'

Sai was truly confused now. Surely she meant Mardil? Surely Alli was in love with him and had broken down over his seeming indiscretions with Fea?

"You... you mean Mardil, right dear?" she asked hesitantly.

Alli looked at her and another tear leaked out. She wiped it away impatiently.

"No... I meant Aimè. I must speak with him. And it must be privately... I have so much to tell him."
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Old 01-20-2006, 05:54 PM   #179
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Sai was now completely, utterly and totally confused. So confused in fact she was even willing to use three words that meant the same thing in one sentence. First she and Alli had walked in on Mardil and Fea doing . . . something. Not being one to judge Sai had been as restrained as possible with Mardil after Alli had run off, and was glad for the reprieve from taking the moral high ground when he presented her with Fea’s book of wolvery. Then there was Fea and her conjuring of past wolves. Sai wasn’t sure whether she had really thought that would help her case or whether she had simply given in to the insane impulses within her. Then Tom with his sickenly charming behaviour toward her. She couldn’t believe she had nearly fallen for it, and had been extremely glad when Alli had suddenly collapsed as it gave her an excuse to get away, even if her escape was accompanied by yet another ominous glare from Fléin.

Not that she was glad Alli had collapsed of course. The poor girl was obviously distraught over something though Sai couldn’t get a word of sense out of her. She had assumed all day that Alli’s foul mood had been caused by the event with Mardil and Fea earlier, as well as having to deal with the two of them on their own. But now she was going on about Aimè and having to get him alone to talk to.

Whatever the case Alli certainly wasn’t going to stay still until she had got what she wanted. Hating to see her friend upset like this Sai pulled Alli to her feet and led her off in the vague direction that she had last seen Aimè heading in. Coming across him after only a few moments she left Alli with him and headed back to the circle, again ignoring the glances the guy was sending her way.

She stood for a while in front of the sticks and stones that had been steadily added to that day, and tried to work out what she should do. There hadn’t been many votes so far and for that she was glad. The fact that their two lynchees the day before had both been innocents had shocked her. She thought it was perhaps a kindness that Nilp was dead, he had seemed a pretty unstable sort of chap, and morm would have continually irritated her until she would have been glad to see him dead, so maybe it was better this way. Nevertheless with who knew how much time they had left in this place (well, except Anakron who didn’t really seem in the mood to share – you could tell he had siblings) she would have preferred that two wolves had died. At the very least she would have felt safer.

Sighing, Sai sat down and waited for Alli to return. While she would never listen in on a private conversation, she did want to know what on earth all this with Aimè was about, and why Alli kept having conversations with thin air. That comment she’d make about trying to look sane had obviously not sunk in, and Sai was sure that a lot of these troubles had begun with the arrival of Fea. Rolling her stone around between her palms, she stared at Fea’s stick, and wondered whether it might be better for all concerned if she were to be lynched today.
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Old 01-20-2006, 06:42 PM   #180
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Alli spoke hurriedly to Aimè, filling him in on everything that had been going through her head before her epiphany and everything that she was now certain of. She was very relieved that Sai hadn't stuck around... while Illamatar had mentioned her innocence, Alli wasn't yet certain just what her place in the side-plot was. Nevertheless, Alli had hugged her tight before she left, whispering "Thank you." in her ear.

Now she looked at Aimè who seemed a little shell-shocked at the suddenness of everything.

"Does it all make sense now?" she asked.

He looked at her oddly. "No."

She explained it all once more, using smaller words. He looked at her oddly again, using narrower eyes.

"And you're certain of all of this?"

"Yes."

"How do I know that this isn't a joke meant to play me as a fool?"

"You must trust me. No... I would never accept that as proof. Here... a token, to show that I mean what I say."

They chatted for a bit longer, making clear to the general audience that the writer was going to hang on to the suspense as long as possible by keeping details under lock and key.

Aimè held the small object up to the light, keeping it tucked into his palm and out of sight of all others. Finally he smiled and threw his arm around Alli who grinned happily.

"So we'll need a way to let each other know when it happens. Something that people won't expect..."

Aimè pondered for a moment before speaking.

"I love you."

"Pardon?"

"I love you, Alli, I love you. It's a good way of putting it, don't you think?"

"Aimè, it's perfect... especially when you say it in that accent of yours. I don't think I can mimic the accent, but the phrase works quite excellently. And when either of us says it, we'll know for certain, correct? No saying it except unless we really mean it?"

"But you'll know before I will."

"That's true, maybe, but I trust your intuition. You understood the importance of the little fat Italian hobbit before I understood aything. You might just realize other such important things before I do. Shall we practice?"

"I love you, Alli."

"I love you, Aimè."

And so they walked back to the group, their plans still secret, with confident grins and the words "I love you" still floating mysteriously between them.
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Old 01-20-2006, 09:34 PM   #181
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Despite what seemed like unfinished business between various members of the village, not to mention of the Offending Party, the sun set.

Anakron rose.

"Feanor of the Peredhil and CaptainofDespair, otherwise known as CoD, have been elected for lynching.

"Before you proceed, I have this to say. All of you assume too much. Now lynch 'em."

Anakron turned with a swish of his cloak and a doff of his wide brimmed hat, and entered the cottage with the sign "Grand Anakaronist" over the door. Nobody had noticed that sign before, but there it was.

"Now then," said Valde, "how do you suppose we should lynch these two?"

Feanor of the Peredhil stood before them. "I would like all of you to know that I am prepared to die. I've been expecting it. I knew all of you couldn't resist. The envy amongst you is palpable. I've got it, and you don't, and you can't have it, so you might as well kill me."

The villagers fell into a rage and attacked her with bared hands, and fought with each other to get at the girl. Finally, quite a few minutes later, they backed away. Mob dynamics left them. Sanity returned. They looked in astonishment at what they had done. It was not pretty. Nor did it swivel back together and turn into a werewolf.

"We had better bury her," Fléin said.

"You get her head," said Mardil, "I'll pick up her arms."

"I got a leg over here!" said Sai, waving it about triumphantly.

"Ugh!" Tom Felton said, and lost his supper.

Once they had retrieved the entire mass of that which had been Feanor, they dug a shallow grave and tossed bits and pieces in until nothing of which was Feanor of the Peredhil was above ground.

"Yuck!" said Wilhelmina. "I need to wash up." Everybody else agreed. They went over to the little pool and saw CoD swimming in circles, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible.

"Hey! CoD has to go too!"

"Cook him!" cried Panakeia.

"No! No!" cried CoD. "I don't taste good!"

"How would you know that?" Fléin asked.

"Regardlesh," said the village drunkard, "I shink we all need to get our beauty reshts and shtart off on the right foot tomorrow. Lesh hope that we have a werewolf in CoD."

"But then we'd all have a bit of werewolf in us!" cried Alli. At that very moment, two people popped into view and floated in the air behind Alli, one looking over her left shoulder, the other looking over her right shoulder.

"We do not approve of your behavior, my dear," they intoned in unison.

"Augh!" Alli cried. "Hovering parents!"

"Exactly what have you been up to? Why are you standing on that line?"

Alli looked at the ground where they pointed. Sure enough, there was a line painted white, and she was on the line. Alli rolled her eyes. "Hovering parents. They want to know exactly what you're doing on line. So they stand behind you and watch." She rolled her eyes even more fiercely.

"Sho," said SpaM, "you're one of thoshe offshpring who don't fully undershtand the difficultiesh of being a parent, or that part of being a parent ish a conshtant, never-ending and shometimesh irrational worry over their children, or that when they sheem to be shpoiling your fun they usually only have your besht intereshtishtishtish at heart."

"Oh!" cried Alli. "You must be one of those adults who seem to think that moody teenagers are going to care one whit about the difficulties of being a parent. If they didn't want to worry endlessly, they shouldn't have had kids. So there! No wonder you're in this Illamatar forsaken place!" Then Alli stopped a moment and thought that since she was having visions of Illamatar, it couldn't exactly be considered an Illamatar forsaken place. She closed her eyes tight and forced herself not to think about Illamatarology; it gave her headaches.

"That'sh fine by me," SpaM retorted. "Enough thingsh have been shent here to keep me happily amushed for many a day and I get a break from my kidsh. How'sh that CoD coming? All cooked up?"

"Yes," Panakeia said, "and so far it has stayed fish-meat." She cut up the fish into enough pieces for all the remaining villageres (except Anakron whom she had no intention of feeding), and they partook.

Fish did not turn into werewolf in their stomachs.

The sun finished its descent and night closed in around them.

As Alli walked to the hut she was sleeping in she cast a dour look over her shoulder at SpaM. "We're not done with this discussion, drunkard!" Her parents continued to hover, one on each side. She gave them a black look which could be interpreted as murderous, or just wishing they were somewhere else. They did not leave.

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Old 01-21-2006, 02:06 AM   #182
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Hookbill wandered aimlessly about the village. This whole thing was very confusing for the little man. Mind you, making the decision between cereal and toast for breakfast was rather confusing for him. The looming gallows cast a cold shadow over him. He felt quite sick.

Eomer dashed past, knocking Hookbill over into the mud. Splat. Slowly he opened his eyes the catch a glimpse of Eomer dashing beyond his sight. Hookbill rose and tried to dust himself off, but only succeeding in spreading the mud around. He sighed and wandered along towards a small gathering.

A hand hit Hookbill on the shoulder quite heavily. He slunk down and covered his eyes saying, "Look, for the last time, I don't know who to vote for! Its all too confusing." the figure shook its head as the little man sat down in the mud and began to slowly rock back and forth.
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Old 01-21-2006, 12:04 PM   #183
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Day Three dawned bright and sunny. Well, sunny for Mordor, which meant mostly cloudy with just glimpses once every six hours or so.

The villagers arose and gathered at the village square. It was easy to see who had been killed during the night. These werwolves were nothing if not unoriginal. Tom Felton was hanging from the gallows, all of his fingers and toes removed. He wore no glasses, so apparently the werewolves were responsible for the big, bloody "0" emblazoned on the middle of his forehead.

"Zero?" asked Sai, as confused as ever.

"No werewolvesh?" SpaMi asked.

"Then who killed him?" Mardil said, pointing.

"Anakron!" shouted Fléin. "It had to be! I say we lynch him!"

Cooler heads prevailed, however, and he was reminded that the Grand Anakronist's person was necessary for the Offending Party to achieve its goal.

"But I needed him!" cried Alli. "I had plans for Tom! Now he's dead!" She got all teary eyed and began to murmur unintelligible words to the thin air.
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Old 01-21-2006, 12:04 PM   #184
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"Hello there," Wilhelmina said to Fléin, who looked like he was very deep in thought, though his beard made it hard to discern the subtleties of facial expression. He glanced up at her but said nothing.

She tried again: "Pondering something, then, are we?" Still, he did not reply. "Goodness, someone's feeling a bit introverted today."

"There's nothing wrong with being introverted!" he growled like someone being forced to wear a Christmas sweater with pom-poms on it.

"I never said there was," Wilhelmina said primly.

Fléin asked the question that had been bothering him for some time: "Why did you vote for SPaM?"

The old woman shrugged. "Does there have to be a reason?"

"For stoning someone to death? I'd say there ought to be," he commented, choosing not to bring up the incident some hundred years ago when the Dwarves had approved of the stoning to death of all those who had died prematurely -- eventually they had realized the futility of this action, and chose to stone writers of generic, uninventive Tolkien fanfiction instead.

"I don't like bandwagoning," she told him, fiddling with a feather in her hat. "I like bands very much, and I like wagons just fine, but the two put together often end in disaster. Trumpets falling off the back of the cart and bumps in the road making flutes get stuck through the bass drum and things."

Fléin cracked a sardonic smile. "That's not what bandwagoning is."

"Isn't it? It makes perfect sense to me." Mr. Swanky chose that moment to emerge from Wilhelmina's hat and climb onto Fléin's shoulder.

"Argh! Take him back, Wilhelmina!" he cried. "That animal has no concept of people's personal space!"

"He's just trying to be friendly," she said reproachfully, plucking the ferret from his shoulder. "So what were you pondering, anyway?"

The Dwarf frowned. "Do you think Alli and Sai are lesbians?" he asked gloomily.

Wilhelmina made a scoffing sound that couldn't quite be expressed through the letters of the English alphabet. "Why would you think that?"

"Oh, I don't know..."

She eyed him sternly, completely ignoring the fact that he was rather a bit older than she. "If you've been sitting here imagining those nice young girls doing naughty things, then you can take your fantasies elsewhere, mister."

Fléin spluttered in shock, a sound that also could not be adequately expressed through the English alphabet without afflicting the transcriber with some degree of mental illness. "Of course I wasn't! I was just... never mind." He sighed heavily, feeling very misunderstood. "I hope we don't kill another innocent today."

"Who do you suggest we vote for, then?"

"Actually, I was thinking about something Anakron said. About how we assume too much."

"Oh? Do go on, my dear Dwarf."
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Old 01-21-2006, 12:29 PM   #185
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Panakeia spent a troubled night tossing and turning in her sleep. Her dreams were not comforting. Nilp/Adam/Alice floated in a cloud of flying dust, chatting with Mormegil about stone throwing techniques. The fangirls ran behind them, bodies reassembled in curious contortions, legs dangling from their shoulders, arms from the hip. And Elempí was there, looking as fresh as on the first day they met in Dol Gaurgauroth. He grinned.

"Hi. Good to see you again. How have you been? I've been fine. I still think you should change that makeup you're wearing."

"How can you be fine? You're dead. I saw."

Elempí just grinned at her again. "Romance in the air. How sweeeet and rosy. Isn't it great? Wouldn't you like to have one too? Sure you would. Where's Valde?" Panakeia started, though she didn't know why. There was something odd about Elempí's statement, other than the fact that he was supposed to be dead and that Valde was none of his business anyway. "I think Anakron's annoying, don't you? Well, I should go. Been nice talking. Bye."

"Wait! There's something I have to ask you." But it was too late. Panakeia awoke. "What a strange dream," she murmured. She unbarred the door to her room and walked out into the gloomy village square, only to discover the latest casualty. And she started to sob. "It's just no good, no good at all."

SPaM asked, "No werewolvesh?" And then something went 'click' (or was it a snap?) in her head. No werewolves? Is that what he was trying to tell me? Of course, that's it! Her hand flew to her pocket, and she pulled out the Drekkie guide. There, there it is. Episode 56. She started to laugh, a bit unsteadily, but she laughed all the same. She waved the book aloft.

"Look, look everyone! It's all a trick. We're not really here, here isn't really here. Nothing's here. It's all in our heads. Think about it! How could wolves kill all those fangirls without our hearing it? And? And alter-egos don't just materialize out of thin air, then talk after they're dead. All of this is just one of Anakron's tricks." She looked around. The Grand Anakronist's cottage stood to her left. "See. That wasn't there before either. I'm sure of it. How could a cottage show up out of nowhere?" Truthfully, Panakeia didn't know if the cottage had been there or not. But in her present mood, there was no use telling her otherwise.

SPaM tapped Fléin on the shoulder. "I tshink she's gone batty. She should have visithed the tshavern more oftshen."

Panakeia continued to laugh, her voice reaching a high-pitched crescendo. "Look, it's not real. And if it's not real, nothing can hurt us here, right? As long as we believe it isn't real, we'll be fine. I'll prove it." She ran forward, racing for the row of sticks and stones.

"Someone really should stop her," offered Mardil. Valde stepped forward, hurrying to catch her. He arrived just in time to prevent her from casting a vote for herself by grabbing her wrists and dragging her away.

"No, no! Stop that! Don't you see? If we die here, we aren't here anymore. We're there, wherever we really are. But we're not dead, just out. Escaped. I want out!" The last words were a scream.

Fléin snickered. "She has gone batty." SPaM shook his head and took out a bottle of his strongest tequila. "Have shome of thish," he offered. Pointlessly, as it turned out. Exhausted, Panakeia collapsed on the street.

***

Running, running, through the dark. Something frightening, terrifying with claws and teeth, was behind her. There was a dim light ahead, a light that meant safety. Just a few steps more would bring her there. Panakeia entered the circle of light. And found herself standing in front of a burned house with a young girl moving in the charred timbers.

"Oh no, not this again." She looked for a place to hide. Panakeia ducked under a bush and as she did so, a small, warm hand brushed her shoulder from behind. Gasping, she whirled to come face to face with...herself.

"Hello, Panakeia. Been a long time, hasn't it?"

"Wait. You're me?"

"In a manner of speaking. I, my dear, am your conscience. And I am seriously displeased." The younger Panakeia glared.

"Displeased? Whatever for?"

Young Panakeia sighed. "Have you forgotten? Was it that long ago that you, we, vowed never to enter the family business of, of, scamming?" She shuddered in disgust. "And look, just look what you've done to us! And worst of all, what about this latest business in the village? How could you participate in something so horrible? Casting votes for who was to die and who wasn't? You should have just stayed out of the whole thing."

"Well, you haven't exactly done much to stop me."

"No, I haven't. Because you left me here sleeping. Dreaming." She paused. "And what beautiful dreams they were. I stood with a vast company, singing songs of peace, love and brotherhood." She started to sing a little melody. "Come on people now. Smile on your brother. Yes, it was beautiful. Then I heard a strange sound, like a cat crying, and I woke up here to find out about all of your terrible deeds."

A cat? "Anakron!"

"I don't know. But I've been trying to come back to you ever since. I almost succeeded once. The last time you were here. And I've had some influence. Remember when you wanted to rescue Alli? And when you came to Valde's aid? That was me." She smiled in triumph.

"You?"

"Yes. And that's just the beginning. We're going to be back together again. A team."

"I don't know. I've been getting along fine without you all these years."

"Fine? You call this fine? Maybe you don't mind being a charlatan, but I don't like what you've done to our reputation. And I'm going to do something about, like it or not." Young Panakeia came closer to her current self.

"No, no. Leave me alone!" Panakeia shut her eyes tight and struggled to escape through the hedge.

***

Panakeia's eyes reopened to Valde and SPaM leaning over her in Dol Gaurgauroth.

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Old 01-21-2006, 02:07 PM   #186
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Alli had dreamt of Mardil that night. She woke up in a bit of a snit because of it. In her dream, everything that she was trying to blame on him was clearly her own fault. He was innocent and it annoyed her. She'd even seen him moping over her. That made her smile, at least. And then she woke up and found out that Tom Felton was dead. It had to be... it couldn't be... She'd have to contemplate this. Why had the wolves killed Tom Felton?

He hadn't done anything, really... at least not to deserve death. Not that Alli knew of, anyway. From her pocket, Alli pulled her cellular phone, hitting the number "2" on speed-dial.

"Khamul, I've got a problem."

"Speak away, young Alli."

"I need some information."

"I see you're being secretive."

"Always, Kam."

"What information do you require?"

"Are you familiar with one Thomas Felton?"

Khamul caught his breath and then laughed.

"Miss Alli, I should learn not to be surprised by you. I am indeed familiar with Master Tom. What information do you wish me to divulge though I should not?"

"Hello Tom." Alli heard a gasp from the background. "Khamul, you should really know that when a person is on speaker-phone, they can usually tell. And when you want to keep a secret about who's listening in, you shouldn't choke when you're asked about it. Tom, I take it it was a simulation?"

"Indeed." said the young actor, sounding sad that his ruse had been uncovered. "Did you think I really wanted to die? I've got more important things to do than rot beneath the grounds of an idiot-infested village. I simply allowed them to kill "me", be pleased with themselves, and we'd all get happily along with our own lives. Do you plan to reveal this?"

"No. I merely called Khamul to see what he knew about you so I could find out why the wolves would kill you. It's your own fault that I found out you weren't dead. But don't worry... your secret is safe with me."

Hanging up her phone, Alli wondered why Tom Felton had been careful enough to plan a simulation of himself in advance in order to stay alive. Oh well... she was sure she'd find out eventually. In the mean time, she grinned a bit over last night's death of Fea and her epiphany. Life was about to get really interesting and now she had Aimè on her side. The dreary sky had never seemed more beautiful.
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Old 01-21-2006, 03:26 PM   #187
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Fléin's talk with Wilhelmina had left him feeling better, but not by much. He still felt unable to trust her - the vote for Spiced Ham remained as mysterious as ever. He'd ended up not voicing his idea that perhaps, just perhaps, there were no werewolves. The zero and the assuming too much pointed to it, but... who else could be killing all these people in the night? Even he didn't believe it anymore. So he just made something up about the werewolves actually being kamuraorcs - they still hadn't left the offending party, and were filming everything for T.V. Wilhelmina had responded by setting Mr Swanky upon the nearest one before Anakron himself intervened. In the ruckus, Fléin had slipped off, uncomfortable around her presence.

Later, Panakeia going a little nutty had confused him further. One other villager, at least, was thinking along similar lines to him. But oh, how they laughed at her! He wouldn't bring that upon himself, that was for sure. He suppressed the thought further still.

So he had fallen back upon plan two. Gathering the entire village, he had forced everybody to take a seat once more for a formal accusation.

"My fellow villagers," he started a little hesitantly, but gathered stength as he continued. "My fellow innocent villagers, I believe I have some evidence that may be important - though, there's not much evidence. But I have seen - things. Disturbing things. Things that lead me to doubt the purity of some persons in our village, that lead me to doubt their honest intentions."

"I will cut to the chase. Sai and Alli are lesbians."

There was a shocked silence as all eyed turned to the girls, sat next to one another. Sai jumped out of her chair. "But this is preposterous! It's nonsense! We're not lesbians!" she said loudly. The reaction from the village was mixed. Some started laughing at Fléin, causing him to redden a little, but a few faces turned questioningly to the girls.

Mardil stood up and walked over to Alli. "Are you absolutely sure, Alli?" he asked, clearly disappointed. "I mean, look at her legs!" he said, causing Sai to scowl at him.

"Actually," Alli responded, commanding silence from the murmuring circle, "Sai can speak for herself. I am a lesbian."

There were gasps all around. "But Alli!" Aimé cried, "I thought you loved - somebody," he finished lamely.

"Aimé, the world isn't all in black and white. There are many shades of gay." And then - only Fléin was at the right angle, standing as he was, to see it - Alli wink at Aimé. What was she playing at? "And if you must know, I've taken rather a fancy to Wilhelmina."

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Old 01-21-2006, 06:33 PM   #188
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Sai had been angry at Fléin's condmenation of her and Alli, but not because he had assumed that they were lesbians, because he had assumed that all lesbians were evil and therefore ought to be lynched! Just the type of comment to come from a small minded chauvinist. She wondered whether she ought to tell him that dear old Freud would have told him that being scared of lesbians meant that he was insecure due to over or under stimulation in the oral phase of life as an infant, but feared that bringing such things into the conversation might cause even more difficulties.

Then she heard Alli proclaiming that she was a lesbian, and had to stifle a snort of laughter. She didn't know where the girl was going with this but wasn't about to interfere with what was clearly a new plan until she knew what going on. She saw Fléin gearing up for another attack but Alli's comment about having developed a liking for Wilhelmina seemed to bring the Dwarf up short.

She was most concerned though about the events of that morning, when they had been told (via various not so subtle subliminal messages) that there were in fact no werewolves. This information had been rattling round in her head all day but she wasn't sure what to do with it. Ignoring the growing tension around her she tried to think what it could mean. She murmured quietly to herself.

"Perhaps, if there are no wolves . . . well if there are no wolves lynching people is no use, so what happens if we don't kill anyone today? Would this 'game' end?"

"I don't know." Came Alli's voice from her right making her jump. "Where's that nasty little creep Anakron got to - maybe he can answer that."
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Old 01-21-2006, 07:35 PM   #189
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"What happened to you?" Valde queried. He extended a hand to help Panakeia to her feet.

The hand eagerly accepted, she stood and brushed the dust off her dress. "I'm not sure," came the doubtful reply. So far, she felt like her usual self. That is, if her usual self had been accustomed to places like Dol Gaurgauroth. At least she didn't seem to feel the effects of that nagging voice. Not yet.

SPaM thrust the bottle of tequila toward her. "Here. Drink thiths." To her surprise, Panakeia accepted. A few dainty sips later, she gratefully returned the bottle and sat down, her head in her hands.

SPaM smiled. "Strong sthuff?"

"Yes. No. I was just thinking." She looked around the village. "I know I was acting a bit off earlier. But I stand by what I said before. I don't think this place is real. Nothing makes sense."

"But sthill, Panakeia. Sthink of what you're suggthesthing. A colleshtive delushion?"

"I wouldn't put anything past that Anakron," she snapped. "Well, maybe one or two things. For one, I don't think he's a murderer. And if there aren't any wolves here, who else is left for the nighttime destruction? Just Anakron and his minions. But if this is all a dream of some sort, there haven't been any real deaths." Panakeia faltered for a moment, thinking over the past two sets of lynchings. "And I don't think he'd make killers out of us. Because, let's face it, if this is real, that's exactly what we all are."

Valde spoke up. "Maybe that is what he wants."

Panakeia shook her head. "No, there's something else. Elempí. He was harmless, nice even. And he's part of Anakron. I can't believe that Elempí could be Anakron if Anakron truly were that brutal. That's why I want to test my theory and vote for myself today."

"But suppose you're wrong. Then you die. Curtain down. Finis."

"I know. But if this is real, I don't know if I want to go on with blood on my hands."

"Don't do it. You can't afford to take the chance." With a shake of the head, SPaM concurred.

Panakeia mulled it over for a minute or two. "Alright. But I won't risk anyone else's life either. I refuse to vote." She raised her voice and stood tall. "Do you hear me, Anakron? I won't do it! It's not right!" Then, feeling a bit dizzy, she sat down.

And the voice in her head began to speak. Good for you. Didn't I tell you we make quite a team?

"Oh, shut up."

"Who, me?" Valde looked surprised.

"What? I'm sorry. Nevermind. Forget it."

You may be here to stay, but there are going to be some adjustments. We can't go soft all the time. Understand?

Of course. Now about that sample case of yours...


Panakeia groaned internally. This was not going to be easy.
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Old 01-21-2006, 07:59 PM   #190
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Alli stepped forward with a big smile. Mardil's reaction had been fantastic, but everybody else's were equally classic. Wilhelmina had a truly odd look on her face after Alli's revelation. Aimè was wondering just what she was playing at... Alli hadn't informed him of this little extra. Sai looked as though she were trying to suppress laughter. Anakron was nowhere to be seen.

"Yes... I've taken a fancy to Wilhelmina, or as I like to think of her, Minnie." Sai's eyes were watering at the effort of not smiling.

"Minnie... I know that... well... I'm not the perfect specimen... After all, my waist is too thin, my legs are too long, my bosom is too ample, and my skin is just too flawless... but would you... would it be too much to ask for you to consider... to consider something?" Alli winked at Wilhelmina who seemed to be in shock. Flein was about to fall over, though he'd seen the wink. Did he have competition? Sai tried to hide her grin with a sudden spurt of fake coughs.

Mardil simply looked bemused now.
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Old 01-21-2006, 11:10 PM   #191
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"Minnie... I know that... well... I'm not the perfect specimen," Alli said. "After all, my waist is too thin, my legs are too long, my bosom is too ample, and my skin is just too flawless... but would you... would it be too much to ask for you to consider... to consider something?"

Wilhelmina's initial shock turned to amusement as she caught Alli's wink. She decided to play along:

"My dear, you're very lovely, but I'm afraid I'm just too old for you," she said kindly. "I could very well be your grandmother -- how could we ever be together? I'm sorry."

She admired the way Alli faked holding back tears. "I understand," she said, putting on a brave face and smiling weakly at all of them. "I think I'd like to be alone right now."

They watched her run off towards her tent. Some sat in awkward silence; others, who had gotten the joke, were chuckling to themselves. And Fléin? He had at first looked disgusted, but was that jealousy she now detected on his face?

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Old 01-22-2006, 06:17 AM   #192
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Fléin had left the circle, desirous of solitude. He had found a small clearing not too deep in the nearby forest, and sat himself upon a stump. It was a pleasant space, next to a small but clear stream, and grass was growing here. The situation was just too confusing.

Panakeia stuck to her beliefs about the situation not being real. And Fléin couldn't help but concur - though he didn't think it was a collective hallucination. And there was something soft about that Panakeia, despite her razorlike exterior. She underestimated all of them. He was certain that Mardil could kill without a second thought. No, actually, the lad was smart. With a second thought, but without much remorse. He knew that he could kill. And if Anakron was too soft to kill, then he was a possum.

But there was something surreal going on. The hints were there - no wolves. And how could they kill so many fangirls anyway? Panakeia had a point there. No, Anakron was up to something. But he didn't know what. And what would happen if nobody voted?

And on top of all this, there was his love life, if such it could be called. Wilhelmina... sigh. It was too confusing, just too confusing.

Deep in thought, he didn't notice the small beaver that had climbed up the nearest bank until it nudged his foot.

He looked down at it. It looked up at him. And then, to his amazement, it talked.

"Athtlam iththun thvoob" it hissed up at him, or so it seemed. He looked down in puzzlement.

"Sorry?"

Once more, a similar reply. Fléin frowned. "A man is on the roof? What man? There is no roof here. Do you mean the village?"

The beaver hit its forehead with its paw, clearly exasperated. He had apparently misunderstood.

"Thath Sllam ith inn a roove!"

"That SPaM is in a groove? No, you're mistaken there, he's not quite buried yet."

The beaver attempted to get the message across once more, this time accompanied with frantic waving of the forelimbs.

"A flan is never good? Of course it is, you idiot. Oh, I don't have time for this, I need to think." He stood up and unbuckled his axe from his back. The beaver backed away, spittling all the while.

--------------------------------------------------------

Perhaps only thirty seconds after he had sat down, Alli rushed into the clearing at the opposite end.

"Fléin!" she panted. "Urgent... message... from Illamatar... says... trust the beaver!" By now she was opposite him, and catching her breath. "Urgent message. Trust the beaver."

She looked down, puzzled at the apparently squishy consistency of the ground, to find her foot in half of a perfectly sliced beaver. "Oh, buggrit!" she swore. "Eww," she added as an afterthought, cleaning her foot on the grass nearby.

Fléin watched the act, emotionless. "Did you say the message was from Illamatar?" he demanded.

Alli mumbled, Fléin thought in response at first, before realising she was talking to thin air. He caught odd phrases such as "Don't think it wise to tell him" and "Might think I'm" and "Idiot thought I was a lesbian."

Once this was done, she swivelled around to face him. "Yes, the message is from Illamatar. He... speaks to me," she sighed. "I'm an oracle of sorts, I guess."

Fléin snorted. "Ha! And why would the Great Llama choose to speak through a lesbian?

Alli snorted in response. "I'm not actually a lesbian, you idiot. I just said that to see the look on your face. What's so wrong with lesbianism anyway?"

"It's unnatural," he replied immediately.

She sidled next to him on the stump. "Fléin," she said softly. "Is it natural for alter egos to jump out of one's body and start talking. Is it natural for monsters to turn into fish?"

"No," he admitted.

"You're in Mordor, Fléin. Even if you can't accept the unnatural, learn to tolerate it. Is it natural for Dwarves to puke up cats?"

"No."

"There you go. By that logic, you're unnatural too."

She paused for Fléin to absorb this. He had to admit, she had him there.

"Anyway, who are you to judge what's natural and what isn't?" she continued.

Fléin sighed. "You have a point, I guess. Wilhelmina said something odd to me, by the way," he attempted to shift the subject.

"Oh? What was that then?"

"Well, I asked if she thought you and Sai were lesbians. And she said... what did she say? Ah, yes. 'If you've been sitting here imagining those nice young girls doing naughty things, then you can take your fantasies elsewhere, mister.' What's that about? Why would I imagine you two being naughty together? Are lesbians notorious for playing practical jokes? And why's it so wrong to think about it?"

Alli didn't reply for a while, trying to shape her response as well as possible. "Well... that's not quite what she meant by naughty things. You see, she meant... well..." She made a sign that it would be wholly inappropriate to describe.

Fléin's eyes widened. "But why would I imagine such a thing?"

Alli shrugged. "It's a male thing, at least for humans. They think it's hot."

Fléin frowned. "Why would it be so? Surely two lesbians together would maintain their temperature of thirty-seven degrees?"

"They think it's attractive. Hot means attractive."

"Oh. Stupid homophones. Why is it attractive?"

Alli shrugged. "Well, would you prefer one cake or two?"

"But women aren't cakes! And they would be lesbians. It would be like a cake entirely for show, one that you could not eat."

Alli shrugged once more. "To be honest, I don't really get it myself."

"Do human women not feel like this about their menfolk?"

"Nope."

"Oh."

They both sat in silence for at least five minutes, each one pursuing their own thoughts.

---------------------------------------------------------------

"Is that another beaver? I completely forgot about the beavers!" Alli cried, pointing to the bank. Fléin hastily stood up, gathered the two beaver halves, and shoved them out of sight behind a tree.

The new beaver sidled up to them. They both stared intently, keen to hear what it had to say.

It spoke.

Fléin heard "A man is in a groove." Alli heard "A span wide as the moon." They both sighed. This was going to be difficult.

"Beaver!" Fléin said. "Do you understand me? If so, nuzzle Alli."

The beaver rubbed its head across Alli's calf.

"Okay. For each syllable we get right, rub your head against her left leg - that's the one you're on. If we get it wrong, rub yourself against her right. Got it?"

The beaver nodded.

Eventually, they had got the message out of the beaver. A Slan is on the move. But what was a slan? According to the dictionary Fléin had on his body (he had bought it at the doors of Mordor to learn English before realising that, in Mordor, he automatically knew the language and had been conned) it meant "without place, year, or name of publication." So a mysterious... thing was on the move.

The beaver, meanwhile, was pulling at their legs to go back to the village. They followed blindly.

They rushed on, through the clearing, to the edge of the forest. Emerging from the treeline they found - Anakron, waiting for them. The rest of the village was out of sight behind some huts.

Anakron smiled. "So. A spy," he said simply. Alli and Fléin looked at one another, confused. The beaver, meanwhile, had turned tail and was running at full speed back to the forest. But before it could make it - Anakron aimed his staff at it. The cat yowled. Flash! Blue light. And the beaver was turned to stone.

Anakron turned to face the two members of the offending party. "Forget everything that beaver told you. She is a liar." He turned, and stalked off back to the group, leaving Alli and Fléin gawping.

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Old 01-22-2006, 08:55 AM   #193
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After Alli and Flein's heart to heart, she felt much more kindly to the Dwarf. He was, after all, even more a stranger in these proceedings than she. At least she understood quite a bit of human nature, even though it often annoyed her. He was left thinking about the average temperature of lesbians.

Now she was very curious to know why Illamatar had appeared to give her a vision that had nothing to do with her mysterious side-plot. Beavers? A Slan? Alli had a random idea, but she doubted that she was right. Though maybe... she'd speak with Flein once Anakron had put away his pokey-stick of doom and destruction. Alli had avoided death and dismemberment thus far... she didn't feel the need to turn into stone.

Walking back to the group, Alli shared a meaningful glance with Aimè and a wink with Sai. Mardil was gone.

Valde could be heard mentioning the suspicious nature of his disappearance... Alli knew better, or thought she did. She wasn't worried that Mardil would kill them all... but she still wanted to know what he was up to.

"Sai... will you come with me? If not, I can ask Aimè. I need to find out what Mardil's doing."

Sai looked worried... Fea was missing, but she was dead, so Sai knew that there wouldn't be a repeat performance of that particular fiasco. Slowly she nodded.

"Okay."

They walked to Mardil's cabin and knocked on the door.

"Please come back later. I'm in the middle of something." sounded Mardil's voice.

"Sure you are." muttered Alli rebelliously. She still hadn't managed to get over Mardil's perceived indiscretions. Sai looked nervous.

"What?" called Mardil.

"I'm sure you're in the middle of something. Who's in there with you?"

"If you must know, child, I'm trying to get some work done in here, so run along and play."

"Work is it? So that's what you're calling it these days? I'm so sure." Her voice took a sing-songy pitch as she made fun of him. "My name is Mardil and my idea of work is locking myself in my rooms with beautiful women. I have no morals so it's absurdly simple for others to condemn me. They don't even need an excuse. I'll kill and sleep around and break girls' hearts and whatever else floats my boat because I'm a stupid chauvanist like James Bond!" Alli finished at almost a yell, losing most of her temper and her maturity in one sentence.

Finally Mardil lost his temper a bit as well, shouting "If I have to tell you to leave me alone one more time I'm going to drag you into the woods and tie you to a tree!"

Alli yelled through the door. "You think you'd be able to do it so easily? Yeah right. I wouldn't let you. You'd LIKE IT too much!"

Aimè came up and put his hand on Alli's shoulder. "You okay?" he whispered. "Anything I should be worried about?"

"No... he's harmless enough... he's just being stupid." She wasn't smiling, but she wasn't crying either. Aimè's influence was helping to curb her emotional outbursts. She was beginning to owe him, if owing it could be called, for in this sort of partnership, neither of the pair owed the other anything but trust and equal commitment. "No..." she repeated. "Everything's fine. I just want to know what he's up to when he's pretending to be all macho. I have a feeling that he's very sweet underneath... I wonder why he tries to hide it so often."

Aimè patted her shoulder. "Guys are odd like that." he replied, shrugging. "Come on, girls... he'll be out when he's ready."

Alli and Sai walked with Aimè back to the circle, one grinning on each arm of his. He didn't seem much upset to have two pretty young girls as his escorts.
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Old 01-22-2006, 03:12 PM   #194
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After Alli left with Sai, Fléin receded back to the woods to think. Panakeia's ideas had gained strength in the village. Almost nobody believed in the wolves anymore, and as a result, nobody was voting. What would happen was anybody's guess. Indeed, many of the villagers had tried to guess, and each suggestion was - to Fléin's mind, anyway - as downright ridiculous as Panakeia's.

A sudden movement made him jump off of his stump and grasp his axe. He stared, eyes wide with wonder, as a dryad, frail and wispy, approached him. "Pray, put down your axe, good Dwarf," she said, and her voice was as the song of the Vanyar before the feet of Manwe upon the Hallowed Mountain, not that Fléin would ever know what that was like. He lowered his weapon.

"Are you an ent?"

"Nay, good sir. I am a dryad, a spirit of the trees. I am come to tell you that A Slan is on the move."

Fléin bowed his head. "My lady, I had heard this news before, though I know not what it forbodes."

The dryad's bell-like voice rung over his form, warming him. "Do you not then know who is A Slan?"

"Nay," he replied, bowing his head. In her presence, he felt uncouth and ignorant.

"My, you are uncouth and ignorant" the spirit replied.

"Tell me what A Slan is! Tell me what it means!"

"I must go!" was her response. There was a burst of wind, and the spirit seemed to dissipate.

Fléin rushed towards where her form had stood, only to see Anakron stalking towards him.

"There you are!" he said. "Most antisocial of you, staying here. Come back to the village with me."

Fléin had no choice but to be escorted away. He cast a last longing look around the place, searching for the dryad, but finding only two halves of a beaver.

Grudgingly, he returned to the village, but his thought was with the beautiful spirit - and with A Slan.
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Old 01-22-2006, 04:08 PM   #195
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Aimé (which had become quite a lovely and frequently-used nickname) remained quite moody. He had found a banjo of all things in one of the run-down cottages; almost like a slap in the face considering the horrific state of his fingers. Bar chords: the new fashionable drug, apparently.

The reason for this moodiness was more obvious to him now. Alli had made it clear to him that she—and not her alone—needed him. Aimé couldn't quite handle responsibility; and now he had a barely conceivable amount of the stuff (as he saw it). How was he supposed to take it? Whatever happened, he wasn't going to be happy about it.

And now he had heard about the crazed wizard's machinations concerning werewolves or the lack thereof or whatever it was that was happening in this village. Indeed, what was happening? And more importantly: Why was Aimé involved in it?

It wasn't all bad, though. There were a few pretty girls around. And what's more, one of them had even given Aimé a plausible romance to work with. Not that he was going to get too involved, though. The relationships between certain members of the Offending Party were very hard to decipher, especially the ones Alli was involved in. Aimé didn't know too much about them, and made it clear to the others that he didn't. He was outstanding in that he was so obviously 'to the side', a cameo, if you will, in the lives of these people.

One thing Aimé had experienced a lot in Mordor was after-date paranoia. This is something which, he argued, had its good aspects as well as its bad. It gave him something to think about. Alli gave him a hell of a lot to think about.

But he wasn't going to get too involved. He couldn't.

Right?

Aimé slouched by the well, and sighed in a rather melodramatic manner.
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Old 01-22-2006, 04:32 PM   #196
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Mardil's reaction to Alli hadn't been entirely unexpected mused Sai as the two of them were led away by Aimé, especially after the recent shouting matches and the insults Alli had just thrown at him through the door. Mardil's response had been patronising and over the top and Sai couldn't blame Alli for the way she reacted, but it wasn't going to make things any easier.

It was getting close to lynching time now she was sure of it, but no one had voted and Anakron hadn't been seen inside the village all day. She was worried about what was going to happen when he found out that no one had voted. Would he just pick two people at random? Or would they finally be freed from the need to tear people apart that seemed to take them over each day?

She had sat down next to Fordim, but only realised when she started to sneeze. Cursing allergies and all of their varied symptoms she quickly moved away and saw Aimé over against a wall, looking thoroughly unhappy. She wanted to go over, and find out what was wrong, but wondered whether he wouldn't rather be left alone. While she was continuing this internal debate Aimé looked up with such a mournful expression on his face that she couldn't for shame leave him be, so she joined him in propping up the wall.

"Want to talk about it?"
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Old 01-22-2006, 06:52 PM   #197
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'The way is shut.'

'Huh?' Nilpaurion said.

'The way is shut. It was not made for those who are mentally diseased.'

'Who are you?' he asked while looking all around the gateway, fearing that his alter-egos were playing some trick on him.

Out of the foggy air in front of the gate materialised a grim-looking spirit. He grinned creepily, revealing a row of decaying teeth.

'I am Mandos, gatekeeper of Mandos. The way is shut.'

'But . . . but . . .' he stammered, wondering how someone could be a gatekeeper of himself, or how a gate could keep itself. He dismissed the irrelevant thought, and tried to find a loophole. 'Wait, what about Fëanor?'

'He's really not here. He's in a Happy Farm at the feet of the Yellow Mountains.'

'There's a Yellow Mountains?'

'Why, yes, there is. There are Rainbow Mountains even.'

'Oh.' Nilpaurion was clearly baffled. 'But I'm cured already! See, no more alter-egos!'

'Liar.'

'Oh, dear.'

'See?'

'Don't I get another opinion?'

'Okay then . . .'

Moments later, Nilpaurion found himself in Máhanaxar, the Ring of Doom. Around him were seated the Aratar, the eight Valar that really held power in Arda. Why they were needed when there was a more powerful deity--after all, he created Arda and everything in it--was beyond him. Well, there was that theory that Eru was a Warg (or a llama), and could not rule over humanoid life-forms. Hmph, specieists. Such people should be sent to Mordor.

'You asked for another opinion, right?' Mandos said. 'Well, you'll have seven of them.'

'What's with that crazy "Lynch me!" campaign?' asked Manwë. 'There's something wrong with your head, boy.'

'And he has that Lhunatic for a sister,' Varda added.

'Absolutely crazy,' said Aule.

'Stark-raving bonkers,' agreed Yavanna.

'Madman,' pronounced Ulmo.

'Mad Elf,' Oromë corrected. Another specieist, Nilp snorted.

'Boo hoo hoo! . . . Uh, what?' Nienna said. Now she's crazy.

'That's six votes. That's enough. You need to bring your torch,' Mandos said with the formality of a reality show host.

'What? But what about my TV shooooooooooooooooooo . . .'

. . .

Nilpaurion woke up. He was lying on something soft and comfortable. It was too bright here--wherever 'here' was--, and he found himself blinking as his eyes tried to adjust to the light.

'Welcome, Nilpaurion,' a strange voice said. He suddenly thought of men clad in strange black suits with wide foreheads and huge black eyes, doing impossible hand-to-hand fights. He angrily shook the thought off.

'Welcome to Dol Gaurgaurhoth.' Nilpaurion's eyes had fully adjusted, and he saw Anakron standing over him. 'Where have you been?'

'It's a long story,' Nilpaurion said diffidently.

'I'm already bored,' the Dweomer replied.

'Hey, get off my back, 'less you wanna bleed to death,' a creepy voice said from behind him--

What? But he was in bed! Who could be behind him? That creepy voice . . . He slowly rose from where he was lying and turned to see Adam Smith, or at least half of him, attached to his hips like they were Siamese twins. Well, this is interesting . . .

'And watcha lookin' at? If my arms could reach you I'd've throttled you by now,' said Adam unitalicisedly.

'I see, still insane as ever. Now, on to the game,' Anakron said as he sat back on his lazyboy.

Hmmm . . . If his first lynching has separated part of Adam from his body, then surely killing himself again would remove the obnoxious alter-ego completely.

But the villagers would now surely know that he's innocent. I need a new plan for this . . .

Wait, where's Alice and Emily?


~*~

Meanwhile, back in the ruins of MoUnT dOoM . . . errr . . . Mount Doom Casino and Resort, Alice and Emily were standing over the rubble, watching the tortuous lava flows surround them. They held hands as the molten rock slowly crawled its way up the hill where they had taken refuge.

'I love you,' said Emily.

Alice nodded. 'I'm glad that Fléin guy's not here to see us . . .'

~*~

A few minutes of re-acquainting himself with the village led him to discover that everyone had been questioning the veracity of the game. It seemed that the ModeVayor has failed to assign the roles, and that Dol Gaurgaurhoth was a hoax.

But the most important thing that he had heard was . . . nobody has voted yet. The DAY may be ending soon.

This is his chance. A life free of strange voices inside his head.

He takes it: 'I vote for

++Nilpaurion Felagund

again.'
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Old 01-23-2006, 09:05 AM   #198
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Aimé started (as you may have inferred, he was a very twitchy sort) when he noticed Sai approach him. As she sat against the wall, Aimé summoned up a killer smile and, just as she asked him if he wanted to talk, he showed it; positively glowing, he smiled such a radiant smile that it took Sai's breath away. At least that's how he imagined it.

The reality was slightly more mundane, if still glad; because Sai smiled back at him and seemed a lot more comfortable. "I thought you looked rather unhappy" said she.

"Oh, it comes and goes" replied Aimé. "Sometimes, in moments of clarity and/or honesty I realise that I quite like being—if not sad then...wistful. Don't you know?"

"Oh yes" said Sai, looking ever so slightly confused but even more like she wanted to put her arm around Aimé's shoulder and say 'There, there!'

And so Sai and Aimé had their first important conversation, where stories were told, laughs were shared, and oaths of fellowship were taken (sort of). Aimé now trusted Sai totally; and he figured that, even if he shouldn't, he didn't ask for the responsibility which he had recently been saddled with. What bad thing was likely to come of this friendship?

Aimé looked out onto the village and espied a flock of pigeons. Now, the fact that Aimé quite liked pigeons has nothing to do with this scene. All he did was ponder how remarkable it was that such anakronisms would pop up at this particular time. It strongly reminded him of the practice of assigning things to Mordor purely for utility in, say, an RPG. It was like an anakronism-sibling, and it was certainly evident here in the not-too-busy village of Dol Gaurgauroth.

"Sai, you have cheered me up" he said, and hugged her. "Now, what the devil are we going to do now?"
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Old 01-23-2006, 05:11 PM   #199
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"I suppose we wait for Anakron to turn up." Replied Sai. "Only that madman Nilp has voted and that was for himself, which means we only have one candidate for the lynching."

Aimé nodded, but didn't look too worried. Taking her cue from him, Sai decided to leave the panicking til after the event. Still, she couldn't deny that she was worried, and it must have shown on her face for Aimé took pity on her and began to chatter about what he thought of the various members of the Offending Party so far.

Sai was soon helpless as he gave her his interpretations of previous events (which he had only heard about) and how he imagined Fléin reacting to overzealous political correctness and Valde having no cameras on him. And as he began to impersonate Alli's mood swings Sai found herself sliding down the wall, barely able to breath for laughing.

Aimé stopped to give her time to recover, and stood there grinning as she tried to regain her breath.

"Thanks Aimé. I needed that. Now what do you say we get back to the others and find out just what's going on?"

They walked back, and found pretty much everyone waiting quietly for the outcome of the days events.
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Old 01-23-2006, 09:11 PM   #200
littlemanpoet
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littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Anakron walked into the village square; which wasn't really square but you had to call it something that didn't sound overly latinate. Without preamble he started right in on the issues of greatest import.

"All of the Offending Party have passed this test. Not one of you have cast a vote today."

Mardil was walking into the square and overheard this last comment. "But you told us that we had to lynch two people each day."

"Not so. I never said that you had to lynch anyone. Rather, I told you, after one of your number said 'we must lynch them', that in Mordor, because of the Dweomer, all lynchings in Mordor must be multiple. Never did I say that you must do so. Blame the moderator of this rpg if you like, but not me."

Mardil rolled his eyes and mumbled, "Technicalities."

Anakron smirked, then held up his staff. "Let the Dweomer be conveyed!" Suddenly, the ground swelled and rumbled wherever they had buried a fangirl, a nightly death, or a lynch victim. Fingers clawed at the air from beneath the ground. Girls screamed. Fléin retched rats. Arms pulled their own bodies out from beneath the soil until a host of fangirls, lynchees, and nightly victims were standing around, dusting their clothes of excess dirt. Even a beaver that had been two halves, became whole ... and stared evilly at Fléin.

"Juth waith thill a thlan geth heya, Thwoff! Th'a wonther thnow dothn't follow you!"

"Shut up you little orc," Fléin retorted.

"How's everybody feeling?" Anakron asked.

"Alive and well, no thanks to you!" cried Elempí.

"Tut tut, I merely convey."

"But how-" started Alli, "-how did they die if there aren't any werewolves, and how did they all come back to life again?"

"Through the secrets of the Dweomer. But this much I may reveal. The Dweomer functions as a conveyor of entities and items from another time in the future; but not just one single microsecond of time. Rather, the conveyance can be from any of a few million million seconds of time. Two nights ago, for example, the Dweomer conveyed a time when these fangirls were all no longer alive; and this morning, the Dweomer conveyed an earlier time, when they were alive."

Panakeia said, "So ... this village is real? This game?"

"Yes. But it was a very creative solution to the problem, even if it was not quite right."

Nilpaurion, here, was a special case, as he always seems to be, and even though he voted for himself, game's over. Sorry, too bad. Why do you want to be lynched, anyway, Nilp?"

"To be rid of my obnoxious alter ego once and for all, Sir Dweomer."

"Don't call me that. I only convey it. What makes you think being killed a second time will achieve this?"

"You mean it won't?"

"'Twould be far simpler for me to convey the Dweomer from a point in time when you and your alter ego are separate."

"You can do that?!?" Nilp asked, wide eyed.

Anakron held forth his staff. "Dweomer be conv- .... Oh." Anakron lowered his staff. "There is not point in time when your alter ego is completely separated from you. Sorry about that.

"And now to the point totals," Anakron continued. "Ten points for surviving; but subtract one for each individual you voted for that was lynched. Panakeia add one point for moral development. That is all.

"Oh, not quite all. These points do make a difference. Do not doubt it. That is all.

"Well, not quite all. Tomorrow morning, bright and early, meet here to be conveyed to Urukapolis for the final test. Good night all. Sleep tight. Don't let the CoDs, beavers, and betrayers bite. Elempí! Get over here!"

Elempí hurried after his master into the dusk.
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