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  2. "... jokes? Like... seriously, Akari?" - in the corridors of the Sunbird Manor, the ever-snarky Dime was having a conversation with the ever-stoic Akari. "Yes." - the Living Weapon replied - "Through my errands and adventures in this world, I have been constantly reported as 'boring' and 'unfunny'. Although this should not be a matter of concern, I cannot help but worry about the progression of my final mission, given to me by my master. So, it is crucial that I become 'funny'." Dime chuckles a bit: "Y'know, the seriousness you show about 'trying to be funny' is funny by itself. ... Alright, I'll help you out. First of all, you must show everyone that you have a great sense of humor!" Akari: "....................................................." Dime: "You... don't have a sense of humor, right?" - Akari: "In my severe training, there was no space for jokes or laughing." Dime: "Oh boy, someone grumpier than Baroness Zoe... wait, that's not even grumpiness, that's... kinda... nothing at all!" Akari nods: "It was crucial to rid myself of all unnecessary emotions in order to fulfill my tasks." With a look of pity... and a thought that this would be harder than he thought... Dime continues: "Nah, your sense of humor is still there. You just need to remember ir. Or, as you probably would see better, 're-train' it." Akari: "Interesting choice of words. ... What do you suggest?" Dime: "Let's go to my apartment. I think I know something that might help you out." --- For the next few hours, Akari meditated while Dime was working on something in his room. Akari opened her eyes when Dime reappeared: "Done!" And then Dime gave something to Akari: "Here, this is for you. Maybe this is all you need to learn how to be funny!" It was a small notebook. With a slighly confused look in her eyes, Akari started to read its contents, while Dime was saying: "If you need to pull out a joke out of nowhere, use this. I wrote lots of funny stuff that I know, and there are even stuff I just made up right now. I even made a session for when you face specific enemies, like The Guardian or aunt Adu-- er, I mean, Adunaphel." Akari kept reading, her confusion becoming even more apparent: "... I... would never banter like this in the middle of a battle." Dime: "EXACTLY! They will NEVER see it coming! And then you strike and win!" Akari then looks at Dime: "Are you telling me those jokes also provide a psychological advantage in combat?" - still stoic, but her eyes were sparking with interest... maybe even joy! Dime: "Well, if you wanna see it this way--" - Akari bows: "You have my gratitude, Dimestus. Pardon my urgency, but I need to start my training at once." And she rushes to her apartment. With the speed of a monk. Dime smiles: "No problem!"
  3. Day 6: I woke up with rays of sunlight coming through the window. I slept! I shouldn't have to! I still got things to do and time now is running shorter than ever! I rush back to Annakol City. Time to summon the heroes! I'm not important enough to use the Annakol Gazette. Perks of being a rogue: good ones are usually unknown. And I don't like the idea of being known. ... as if I have a choice in the matter. And since I can't use the Gazette, let's go to the next big thing: the message board. Time to write a message. Call to Arms! Looking for extremely experienced adventurers to rescue The Horselords! Hear ye, hear ye, adventurers. The legendary Horselords were imprisioned in the ninth circle of Hell, thanks to an evil scheme that came from a servant of Loki. Veteran warriors, mages and healers are needed in this dire moment to rescue our protectors! However, I can't stress enough that only highly capable adventurers can survive Hell, or even keep their sanity intact. And even to those veterans: this is not a mere trip. Most of us might not come back. That is a place of overwhelming evil. That being said, I am going alone if I need to. But if you are capable enough and kind enough to help me, then meet Dimestus Timalar, in 5 hours, at the Feisty Chicken Inn. And may the Gods bless us all. Done and done. Just then a voice echoes behind me. Prime, my older brother, sounded... quite abashed: "Dime... what's the meaning... of this?!" I sighed a bit: "It means exactly what I wrote." "The way you wrote this... I might be a bit oblivious sometimes, but I do know you. You don't have hopes of coming back, do you?" "..." "Then I'm going with you. Until the end of--" - "No. Galandar still needs you. And I need you too right now." Prime nods: "Speak, my brother." I... hesitantly hug my brother before continuing: "I need you to continue a task I started. Some good friends of mine need protection. Otherwise, the world is doomed, regardless of our success or failure in Hell. ... I need you to go and meet Hero Sharpe, Darla Drowbane, Professor Valence Cogg, Daisy Meadows, Ikaro... and Piety Helback. She's going to tell you 'the truth about Tyr'." Prime looks at me with a shine of doubt in his eyes: "The truth about... Tyr?" "Sorry, brother, but I don't have time right now. ... Forgive me about everything." And, with a last hug, I give Prime a map and then I head to the main gate. Everything is in place. I did everything that was in my power, and now I can only pray it was enough. In my personal rock-spot, I rest a bit. Gazing upon the horizon until I sleep.
  4. Day 5: I spent the whole night at Miskatonic U, ignoring the claims of ghosts and apparitions in the already dark corridors. I don't know if those were true. Nor do I care right now. I was at the alchemy classroom, preparing some special (and nasty) weapons. The amalgam of two researches: the Fletchers' and mine's. I look at them, not knowing if they'll do me good down there or not. I also don't have time for testing. This will have to do, me liking or not. I also made 5 (five) runes of recall, just in case we have to make an emergency retreat back to the surface. It's unlikely we gonna use them, but I read somewhere that "a good strategist antecipates the worst and proceeds with the best". In Hell, there's no such thing as being "too prepared". I left the University with dark circles in my eyes, but I don't have time to rest. In the same day, I got the ship back to Tharbad, then the ferry back to the Shire. Spent some time in the kitchen. I still workship St. Marcus after all. And I was trained by the best cook in all worlds. And I mean it. I actually have been in other worlds and I still didn't find food that could match the one cooked by Ms. Peony Brewer! Pies, pies, some deer meat, cookies, more pies... after all, I'm counting we're gonna spend a LOT of time down there. We need some things to keep your sanity intact and our stomachs full. After all of that was done, I collapsed in a nearby chair...
  5. Day 4: Ah, Halfling Heaven. No matter how many times I visit this place, I always feel at home here. Sure, the Halflings here enjoy a normal, simple life where, if not for Slick, the most exciting event in the year would be the snail races. They are also a bunch of overcapable guys whose the most normal villager would give any outlander adventurer a run for its money. Case in point: the Fletchers. They do what their surname makes you think: fletching. Their arrows are legendary, and some are so unique you can only find with them. To this day, I still don't know how to make what they call "Parasitic Arrows", so I came straight to them to get a bunch. A big bunch. Mr. Fletcher even advised me those are not for hunting, because the meat would be... not good to eat. I looked at him with a "?" face and he said the tips of the arrows leave a... not so good smell in their victims. I smelled one of the ti-- ... I woke up at Nurse Fleetfoot's house right before she'd put me inside the "thingie". That smell knocked me out. Just like a certain Steinhammer dwarf always does... ...! I think I found the missing link. I pack my stuff, said bye and thanks for everyone and zipped to the ship. Time to do some smelly research, and I know the perfect place to do it. With Parasitic Arrows in special quivers, and with my essay about Grit and Grime's smells in mind, I head to Arkham. Time to visit the Miskatonic University.
  6. Day 3: Vampires. Pit Fiends. Hook Horrors. And, of course, Drow. This is the city of Erelhei-Cinlu, deep in the Underdark. Many got lost in the endless tunnels, trying to reach this place, or were devoured by the Kuo-Toans in the way. And many would expect the City of the Drow to be a place of pure and ancient evils. Well, they are right and wrong. Most of the guys who live there are pretty chill and lively... Lolth cultists notwithstanding... and live their lives like anyone else. I was actually chatting with said Drow, Vampires, Pit Fiends and Hook Horrors about one nice barbecue in the next few days (the vampires are out. My fault. I shouldn't have mentioned garlic). As much as the social gathering is nice, I was there on a purpose to fulfill. I went on to look for the best blacksmith I've ever met. And boy, he doesn't dissapoint. After all, when you're a Fire Elemental Blacksmith, everything regarding molten steel becomes a masterpiece. And lemme tell you, for a fire elemental, he's pretty chill. Ok, bad pun, you can kill me now. Anyways, I told him of my urgency and we worked on some stuff. ... Maaaan that place is hot. And whenever my fiery friend saw me sweating like a pig, he let out a strange noise that I think it was a chuckle. An elven friend called Lire took care of the design. I let her know I wanted to mean business. Well... Lich King Masterius, eat your heart out! My fashion is edgier than yours! But, of course, I don't intend to engage my hellish opponents in melee combat. I'm still a kid and I would be whacked like one. Super spiky armor or not. My best weapon is still my bow. And I need some fitting arrows that I can't craft. Time to visit a certain archer family that I know. On my way to Halfling Heaven!
  7. Day 2: Very few people know, but I'm actually trained in magic and wizardry. Nowhere near the level of dedicated super-spellcasters like Zamboni, but I know the basics. And more importantly: I know how to use magic scrolls. At Amberflame Castle, Mr. Silig was quite scared, because I was buying half of his stock in magic scrolls. Of course, the ones I could carry and the most important ones for my mission, but still a significative number. And about the chosen spells... again, I'm not a dedicated caster, so I didn't pick quite the number of damaging ones (but I still got some of those just in case). Instead, I chose ones that could help in supporting, either enhancing my friends or disabling my foes. I'm not the best at dealing damage. My business is being annoying. Tomorrow is time to work the steel, be it covering me or the one I'm going to wield. Next stop: Erelhei-Cinlu.
  8. Day 1: Magic missiles hit a boulder. And another. And another. And another. Emeralds, rubies and rough diamonds. Catch. Rinse. Repeat. Luckly, Staves of Missiles are in good demand. I needed to mine those gems, but in a way that I could save my strength for what's yet to come. And shooting magic at boulders proved to be quite effective. I grab whatever I can and hasted to the jewelry. Lente, the jeweler, was quite abashed with the amount of shiny stones I brought. ... and a bit concerned. If there are too many, their value starts to drop, so he said. At least I could grab enough coins for my side project. Time to rest for a bit, and tomorrow, gonna visit Amberflame Castle.
  9. In the distant past, Realms of Annakolia was connected to DSL with a static IP address. Times Change Current IP provider is AT&T and we are supposed to be connected to fiber optics. (As If - not so much) We are actually connected to a copper wire that travels about a mile before it connects to the fiber optics hub - which is a severe limitation on speed and reliability. I have no other workable option for internet that is reliable and workable for running the NWN Annakolia server. I would change in a heart-beat if there was a good fiber link option. AT&T is about to give me a double wire option that, if I lived closer to the optical hub, would double our download and upload speeds - but NO - we are a mile away and the copper wire downgrades the data too much - BUT - with the paired line we should improve our contact enough to maintain what we are supposed to get currently (which we NEVER get). Server is direct connected to the router - we just need better internet - STUPID AT&T.
  10. I ended up coming back to Barrydale on my own two feet. I had to come back and look after those two after everything that happened. Canon and Aruncus were in beds. Canon was still mentally and spiritually exausted after opening so many portals to Hell, but I think he'll be fine. But Aruncus... well, if I hadn't seen myself, I would say she was in a coma. She wouldn't wake up not matter what. ... Of course she wouldn't. Her soul was trapped in Hell. And now, the Horselords are trapped there with her. And if it wasn't for Zamboni, me and Kothgar would be trapped there too. I should've been able to do something! Anything! I should've been able to prevent... THIS from happening! Safia... Vindul... Gus... Tobin... Some of Galandar's greatest heroes are now trapped in Hell. My mind keeps saying it's not my fault. My heart keeps saying the opposite. And even if it's not my fault, I can't help but think it is. I looked at Canon and Aruncus... thinking, maybe thinking too much. I grabbed a feather, some ink and started to write a letter. "Canon, if you're reading this, then I already departed back to Annakol City. I messed up big time. Long story made short: you're fine, but Aruncus and the Horselords are trapped in Hell. And I'm going to rescue them. Not by my lonesome, of course not. I'm daring, but not stupid. I'm gonna rest a bit and re-supply my stock of... everything. Then I'm gonna speak with Zamboni about all of this mess and reunite the most formidable adventurers we can find to undergo this super-task. You just stay there and be the guy you've always been. I'm glad you're safe, I really am. You might be a little bit of an airhead, but I always knew your heart was in the right place. Now rest and don't you dare leaving this bed until you're fully recovered! Don't make come back from Hell just to put you back in this bed! Be safe, buddy. - Dime" I left the letter on Canon's bedside table and departed. There was no time to waste. The Horselords were still fighting. I must keep on fighting too. I'll reunite the most powerful adventurers I can find to go through the nine circles of Hell, trample Asmodeus and rescue the Horselords. ... ... and break every single rule I imposed on myself about fighting goblins. Hell goblins. Glory goblins. They'll all be there, waiting for us. ... and the single thought of myself killing a goblin... when I noticed, there were some tears on my face. So this is how "failing" feels. But it must be done. I'm sorry, Glory.
  11. The troop of questers, trying to find the last two objects needed for the magic wedding spell that breaks the cruse, are now on Alisha Island where they have made their way to Alisha Village. Along the way they did encounter a small few Ruin Spiders and have some silk sacks but not enough required to make the Dahke Halfling Wedding Cloth. They encountered a ship captain in Alisha Village by the name of Kylon Lionset (yes the author of Simple Sailing). He informed the questers that he was fishing to find another gold ring. Apparently he found a fancy gold ring in the belly of a fish he caught and as he described it to the questers - a ring with a Baronial Crest and the name Drowbane on a banner underneath the crest (BINGO that IS the ring they seek). He then proceeded to tell them how he traded the ring to a hobbit for a magic rabbit foot mounted on a bunny egg.(edited) Obviously, the lucky rabbit foot will allow Captain Lionset to catch more gold rings in bellies of fishes - so he continues to fish. A company of Baroness Zoe troops met and attacked the company - they were heard to say: Kill all but Darla. SOOOOOOOOOOOO Who is this halfling who has the ring now and where did he/she go?
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