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Chapter 22 - New Horizons .
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Chinaren



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 8879
Location: https://www.NeilHartleyBooks.com

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 5:18 am    Post subject: Chapter 22 - New Horizons .  

Chapter 22 - New Horizons .

Synopsis:
The Dark Queen Phang and her Evil Horde have invaded the Silver Lands and taken the Gnomish Capital city Chundyer, forcing the King to flee north to unknown lands. Only an artifact known as the Black Heart has the power to defeat her Dark magics.
Duke Reg and a small party are hot on the heels of Duke’s small sister, who has been abducted by the mysterious Sorrow, and his eight headed goose. Already they have had a brief and brutal encounter, which left both parties injured.
Further on, in a secret mountain lair searching for the Heart, Homer and Shanty met a talking Ass who directed them down the Path of Water and into another realm.
Phang is also looking for the Heart, and has sent a hideous Demon to search for it. Homer and his party, including witch Stoat fought the demon, but he got away with the witch, who he later killed. After this debacle she ordered her army to move out once again on the path of conquest…


Cast (in no particular order):
Evil Homer as ‘The Paladin Hero’
Chainfire as Homer’s sword.
Araex as Homer’s steed.
Shanty as Captain Shanty.
Dragon Fire as The Dragon Guardian.
Kalanna Rai as the Bad Ass.

DukeReg as Oaf Duke Reginald Percival Thunderking Harwobble the Fifth.
Key as the Magical Dignified Chamber Pot.
D-Lotus as the Elven special forces commander
Solomon Birch as a misguided AlbinoDrow.
Random as The Thing.

Sorrow as a mysterious robed figure.
Mother goose as a hydroose
Sunbellina as Duke Reg’s little sister.

Ingrothechundyer as Ingro Chundyer the Gnome King.
Reiso as Gnome Prince Reiso
Cantolope as King of the Fairies
Author as Gnomish Wizard.

Phang as The Dark Mistress
Muaddib as a wheely thing.
Lord of the Night as an Evil Demon Warrior.
Powers That Be as General Powers ‘the perverted.’
Luvd and Mr Moochie as ‘The Ravens’
Dean as the Dean the Head.
Smee as the Smee Slug.

The Fallen – Lest we forget..
Jnmrcs as the High Commander
Hyperion as the Mage.
CowofDoom666 as the Cow of Doom
Idea Master as the Wretched minion.
Shady Stoat as the Twisted Witch.
Ethereal Fauna as Ethereal Slug.


And introducing…
Duffman666 as Duff (man).
Jack D.Mented as Darkness Mented. (Jack).
Cryzmon as Baron Crymzon.
Ravenwing as the Elven envoy.


King Chundyer.

“Are you sure there is no other way?” gasped Reiso, wiping sweat from his brow.

“Where else can we go?” panted the king. “Let’s take a rest here.”

The small party slumped down beneath the dubious shelter of a mostly dead tree. Around them the land was rapidly turning into parched and cracked earth. The sun beat down overhead submitting them to unwavering heat.

“If this keeps up we won’t have enough water. We have to turn back now, whilst we have the chance,” gasped Author, wiping his brow with a wizardly sleeve.

“So it be water ye want is it?” A reedy voice came from apparently thin air.

Author jumped up, startled. “What? Who said that? Show yourself!” He raised his hands, ready to cast a spell.

“Hold your fat self Gnome, I da know, ye wizards, alus casting magics, as if there wasn’t enough in the world already.” A small thin figure, smaller even than the Gnomes, appeared from behind the tree they had been sitting under. It was dressed in loose clothes which had certainly seen better days.

“Who are you pixie?” Asked King Chundyer.

“The name is Duff, an’ I am no pixie ye tub o’ lard. I is a man! A full grown hume.” The small figure pulled itself up to his full height, coming up to Authors belt.

“Indeed” said the King, raising an eyebrow. “Well Duff, man, you mentioned some water. Would you happen to know where we can gather some supplies?”

“Mebe I does, mebe I doesn’t.” Duff kicked at the hard floor. “What’s it worth to ye?”

Reiso stood up. “Do you know where there is water or not?”

The King held out an arm and steadied his son. “Now now Prince Reiso, no need to come on heavy handed. He isn’t a cow after all.” He waited until the prince subsided and turned to Duff again. “We can pay in silver and a couple of gold, if your information is good little pix…er, man.”

Duff looked at the king a moment, then walked around the tree to reappear a few moments later with a broad brimmed hat and a small pack. “Follow me ye scregs” he said, and set off north. The Gnomes looked at each other, rose and followed the little man into the blazing heat.

Phang.

Phang stared into her scrying ball at the small party. She made a face and then waved her hand in dismissal. “A little problem eh Wheelie toy?” she patted Muadibb’s head and thought for a moment. “Lord of the Night is busy, but we don’t need him for this anyway. Perhaps...mmm, yes, I know the very Thing!”

So saying she jumped up and moved to the center of the room she was in. Breathing deeply she spoke words of Dark Power. Overhead black clouds gathered, and people in the city looked up in fear. Now what was the Queen doing? Lightning, black in color rather than the usual white, crackled around the tower that she currently occupied. Thunder tore through the air and the ground shook.

Inside the room became gloomy, and a shadow, darker than the rest, formed almost hesitantly in the corner. Phang smiled. “Don’t be shy now, I have a task for you, with sweet Gnome blood as your reward!”

The darkness somehow solidified, bubbling like pure liquid evil. Slowly it rose and began to form a shape. A mouth, complete with bright jagged teeth appeared. Blank white eyes formed above them as the head slowly solidified. A gray tongue whipped forth snakelike, and the thing hissed. “You have summoned meee. State your bidding mistress.” The puddle rose, oozing upright into a form which evaded the eye.

Phang made a gesture and a picture of the Gnome King and his party appeared in the air. “These little people have… annoyed me. I wish to have them removed. Am I clear?”

“Yesss mistress” came the answer.

“What do they call you black thing?”

The creature hesitated.

“TELL ME!” Phang’s voice reverberated with power.

“Mented. Darkness Mented” said the thing, reluctantly.

Phang smiled a playful smile. “How nice. I will call you Jack. Now, begone and do not return unless your task is fulfilled!”

Jack D. Mented hissed again and slowly retreated until there was nothing to show he had been there, except a dirty stain on the floor…

Powers.

The General staggered back into his tent. His side was on fire, but after a quick examination he had determined it was not as serious as it looked, just a burn. It could have been worse. Much worse.

He was heading for his medical supplies when a sigh from his bed stopped him. He looked over and saw the naked and delectable* form of the old witch, bleeding over his bedcovers.

“Stoat!” he said. Forgetting his own injury he rushed over to her.

She looked up at him, breath wheezing from her ancient lungs. “It was… ah… good while it lasted eh General?” She laughed a gasping laugh. “Why do you persist in your dedication to Phang? Why… why not come over to our side? You could be a powerful man you know.” The witch stopped as a bout of coughing interrupted her.

“No! I cannot betray my queen, just as you can’t go witch! Who will I play with?”

“Ah…I am sure you will find plenty of victims for your perverted ways General.”

“Thank-you, but none who can handle a paddle like you!”

The Stoat smiled weakly. “I reckon… I reckon I may have one more hard pounding left in me general, unless a bit of blood puts you off?” She smiled to show how ridiculous that suggestion was.

General Powers didn’t hesitate but discarded his garments quickly and climbed onto the bed. Soon the sound of two people crying out in desperate passion issued forth from the tent. A little while later one of the voices stopped. The other didn’t. Once General Powers got going something as trivial as the other party expiring was hardly a reason not to finish the job…

*Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Don’t be ageist!

Dean.

“Once I get some legs back you little farking wheel thing, I am going to kick you from one end of the land to the other” Dean shouted obscenities as Muaddib smirked at him from outside the slug pen. The head lay upside down in a pile of Smee slime helpless to do anything except shout.

Suddenly a shadow fell over him. Dean craned his eyes and saw the sad face of the giant slug looking down. There was a dim intelligence in those eyes which told a tale of misery and despair to match his own.

Dean fell silent as Smee slug slimed around to face him. From his vantage Dean saw the slug ripple, small bulges could be seen in his sides. He gasped. “My my! You are going to be a father aren’t you?”

The slug smiled, a sad smile, and nodded his head.

“You can understand me?”

Another nod.

“Listen, maybe we can work together. I have a…well, not a friend, probably about as un-friend as you can get really, but I have been promised my body back if I report on Phang’s movements and plans. Will you help me? Perhaps you could be returned to your old self too?”

The slug leaned forward, a glimmer of home seemed to show on his face. It was only a glimmer, but it was something that had not been there before.

Dean smiled. “We have an alliance! Now then. Any chance you could tip me the right way up? No offence or anything, but this slime…”

Crymzon.

The Mad Baron, as he was often called*, loosed the arrow and watched it fly straight and true into the deer.

“Ha! A hit!” Keeping his eyes on his quarry, he thrust the bow into the arms of a henchman and strode forward to where the poor animal lay dying on the forest floor. “Venison tonight lads!” he called out to cheers as he drew a long dirk and dispatched the creature.

Baron Crymzon wiped the blade on the carcass and stood up. His lanky black hair waved wildly in the breeze. He stood tall and straight, not too fat, not too thin, but with the fitness of one who excelled in any outdoor activity. A long blade hung by his side. It was well used.

“Baron** Sir!” a lackey ran up and bowed. “The Elf envoy is awaiting your pleasure in the receiving room.”

The Baron spat on the floor. “Damn politics. Still, better see what the thing wants eh? They are still a force to be reckoned with, and I don’t want my neighbors pissed off with me.” They was a general chorus of agreement from the court toadies. Crymzon gestured at the deer. “Get that up to the kitchens. I want in on my plate for dinner.” With that he headed up to his castle.

>

The elf stood at ease in the room as Crymzon strode through the door. She was dressed in green leather armor, with a long bow slung over her shoulder. As the Baron entered she bowed low from the waist.

“I hope I am not interrupting important affairs of State your majesty” she said.

“Ha. Just sorting out some local food supplies” Crymzon slumped back into a large chair and poured himself some wine, waving off a servant. “What can I do for my esteemed colleagues from the west?”

The Elf sat in another seat at Crymzon’s gesture. “My name my Lord, is Ravenwing Goeth Mar-Syneth. I have been dispatched here by the High Elf to both warn you and solicit your aid in countering a threat to both of us.”

Crymzon may have been mad, but he wasn’t stupid. “You mean the Dark Queen’s forces to the east? What about them?”

“Our latest reports put her army once again on the move. They are heading west, towards the human lands. Towards you.”

The Baron took a deep swig of wine and let out an enormous belch. They are no threat to my lands. We have defensive positions on all approaches, and they still have to come through several kingdoms before they reach here.”

“My good Baron, Phang has already defeated the great fort at Cra-yon pass, as well as the Gnomish Capital. You think you can withstand her?”

“As I understand it, it was a close thing at the Fort, and they only took Chundyer by deception. I have my spies too Lady Ravenwing.”

“Never the less, they will no doubt attack you, if only to get to the Elven lands. We would welcome your aid in fighting her.”

Baron Crymzon wiped his mouth with his sleeve. “I will think it over. You will have my answer shortly.”

Ravenwing stood and bowed, then left the room silently.

Crymzon was sipping his wine in thought when a movement caught his eye. Standing in the middle of the table stood a woman. She was dressed in robes and was by no means unattractive, apart from the fact he could see through her.

The image spoke. “Baron Crymzon I presume?”

The Baron squinted at her and thought a moment, remaining calm. After a pause he spoke. “I assume you are the so-called Dark Queen Phang? I am impressed. My mages have told me their wards were not penetrable here.”

Phang’s image shrugged. “A trifle my dear Baron.”

Crymzon scratched his chin. “And to what do I owe this honour my Queen?”

Phang walked forward a step, gliding through the wine jug. “Baron. Your lands are the strongest of all the humans. You hold a full third of this region.” She smiled. “I have no argument with you, and I can see you are a man of breeding. Deserving of great power.”

“And you can offer this I take it?”

“In return for your assistance, helping my forces cross your lands, I will help your army conquer all of the human kingdoms. I am offering an alliance. One that could be profitable to us both.”

“With no offence Queen Phang, what is to say you won’t betray me and turn on my army?”

Phang shrugged. “You are a clever man with a large army of your own, behind strong defenses. I am sure you can manage to aid us without putting yourself in a position of vulnerability. I am after the Elves after all, not you, and my forces would be stretched to take you both on.” She frowned a moment. “Though rest assured, I could.”

Crymzon raised his eyebrows. “Indeed. Indeed. An interesting proposition. May I ask you give me a day to think on this?”

“Of course Baron. I hope to hear from you soon. Between us we would be an overwhelming force! Enjoy your wine my lord.” Phang bowed a slight bow and disappeared.

Crymzon stared at the space she had just vacated and then raised his goblet. He stopped short and looked at the wine a moment before putting it down carefully on the table.

“Steward!” he shouted. “Bring some ale!” Crymzon sat back and raised a finger to his lips. The Elves or Phang? Maybe neither. Who was it to be?

*Though not within earshot, unless you wanted to walk home with no legs.
**In-fact the rank of Baron was not an accurate description of Crymzon. (Baron being below Earl, Count and Viscount in the scheme of things.) He could claim to be king, and in reality he was. However, he had heard the word Baron and had decided to call himself that. No one (left alive anyway) had seen fit to correct him.

>>>>>>

Lots of new characters this episode folks! And Smee, your bid for Stoat’s last fling has been completed. (hold our hand and coughs).

Well readers. There is a dilemma for you. Who should Baron Crymzon side with? Should he side with either? Suggestions please!

<<<<<<
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Shady Stoat



Joined: 02 Oct 2005
Posts: 2950
Location: England

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 5:37 am    Post subject:  

Good chapter - again. Nice to know Twisty went out with style :P

This one's difficult. I don't see any signs of the Baron being particularly greedy or power-hungry - but he IS complacent and... well... mad.

Anyone sane would realise that Phang is just playing delaying tactics until she can afford to launch a full-scale attack on his lands - but, as I've already mentioned, he's not sane.

Still, he IS a ruler, and wouldn't still be in that exalted position unless he could think straight. I reckon he should ally with the elves. If he stays on his own, his Kingdom will end up getting trampled, if he allies with Phang, he'll see other potential allies disappear one by one until she turns on him last. If his own people and the elves combined aren't enough to defeat the Dark Queen, then at least they'll go down fighting. :)

On the other hand, he could agree to Phang's request, then betray her later, when she has committed her forces to marching through his lands. His own armies could turn on hers, leaving them trying to fight on two fronts at once.

It all depends on how sneaky he is (or thinks he is)...
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Jack_D.Mented



Joined: 22 Jan 2006
Posts: 958
Location: Hiding out in the woods of Washington

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 9:27 am    Post subject:  

Quote: The darkness somehow solidified, bubbling like pure liquid evil. Slowly it rose and began to form a shape. A mouth, complete with bright jagged teeth appeared. Blank white eyes formed above them as the head slowly solidified. A gray tongue whipped forth snakelike, and the thing hissed. “You have summoned meee. State your bidding mistress.” The puddle rose, oozing upright into a form which evaded the eye

Cool! I like! *does a funky little dance* I'm the evil henchman, I'm the evil henchman...*stops*

But the general? hmmm... He should go with Phang simply because she is the more powerful of the two, and, well, that seems like what he'd be more likely to respect and recognize. Sure it may get him betrayed and possibly killed, but he is more than likely a man willing to take risks. So go for the one with the massive army of darkness or Jack will eat your brain! There's him an offer...
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LordoftheNight



Joined: 11 Aug 2005
Posts: 5276
Location: Hell

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 11:33 am    Post subject:  

F5 jackyboy, he should go with Phang as the more powerful
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Solomon Birch



Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 1562
Location: England..... but Japan beckons.....

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 12:21 pm    Post subject:  

Nah, I agree with Stoat. He may be mad, but he seems content with what he has, and he knows that even if Phang helps him now, she will probably turn against him in the long run.

Cos' shes like that. Int' she? ;)

Another good chapter by the way, keep em' coming Mr. China man!

*holds breath* :shock:
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Phang



Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Posts: 2160
Location: Phang's House of Mints

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 12:30 pm    Post subject:  

Go with me. Durr! :D
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D-Lotus



Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 4123
Location: Hollywood, USA

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 2:03 pm    Post subject:  

I think trying to trick Phang isn't going to work. Best thing is to contact your human neigbors, ally with them, and stay unattached from the rest. Then if Phang attacks the humans, then no doubt the elves will help. If she doesn't...well, then we could or could not attack her.
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LordoftheNight



Joined: 11 Aug 2005
Posts: 5276
Location: Hell

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 2:35 pm    Post subject:  

just because phang is evil, doesn't mean she will break her word

he could become a client king for her, its hard governing all by your lonesome
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Key



Joined: 08 Feb 2004
Posts: 2652
Location: The Royal Palace

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 3:20 pm    Post subject:  

I'm sure the Baron has enemies, or at least people who are jealous of his power. If he turns Phang down, she'll just ally with one of them instead.

Go with Phang. Better to be on the winning side.
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Chinaren



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 8879
Location: https://www.NeilHartleyBooks.com

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:40 pm    Post subject:  

Hm, you guys always suprise me.

Yes, there is the other option of course, try and form an alliance with the other humans. However, as Key said, a majority of the other kingdoms would be suspicious of Crymzon's motives I think, though there would be some signups.

Of course, that would mean he would be against Phang, so he may as well team up with the Elves in that case, though he could do both of course.

I mean to do a map of the human kingdoms, but I am a bit busy, and Chinawoman's monitor has just died, which means she has mine* for now, and typing without a screen, meaningfully, is quite hard.


*In the interests of a quiet life.
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LordoftheNight



Joined: 11 Aug 2005
Posts: 5276
Location: Hell

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 6:56 pm    Post subject:  

yes, i can see how typing blind-fold *would be difficult

*figurativly
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Ravenwing



Joined: 18 May 2004
Posts: 3750
Location: Virginia

Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:43 pm    Post subject:  

Nice to know I am elvish. *grins* I have not had the pleasure of reading the whole storygame quite yet.

I going to take the part of devil's advocate, and say go with the elves. And it is not just because I am an elf. :cool:
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Dobs
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Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 1:12 am    Post subject:  

Hey chinaren, im still here and reading. Good chapter!
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Smee
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Joined: 16 Oct 2004
Posts: 5215
Location: UK

Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2006 3:22 am    Post subject:  

Great Chapter :D

I'll go and look up what I owe you.


I'm with Stoat - I think he's happy with what he has. Trying to trick Phang is a good idea, but not something he'll put himself out for.

So that means joining with the Elves.

However, I do believe he's an accomplished enough politician to attempt to hold off saying the one word answer to Phang until he absolutely has to.

Happy Writing. :D
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Falconus
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Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:24 am    Post subject:  

Maybe he can form an allience with everyone but the dark mistress herself and smash her forces with the combined weight of all the armies
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Chinaren
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Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:30 am    Post subject:  

Helo Falconus! Welcome to the story. :D

He could ally with the elves and some human states, but others would not trust him and others would join the enemy just because he joined the other side!

Still, it is an option.
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ethereal_fauna
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Joined: 16 Feb 2005
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Location: USA

Posted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 4:06 am    Post subject:  

Not much to add that others haven't already said...but still some thinking required as to what exactly the baron will decide to do.

:cry2: I'm worried for my babies.
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Chinaren
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Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:01 pm    Post subject:  

Okay, I stuck a poll up. Please tell me if I have missed anything!
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LordoftheNight
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Joined: 11 Aug 2005
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Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:25 am    Post subject:  

voted to go with phang, though everyone else didn't#

damn
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Suneila
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Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:04 am    Post subject:  

I voted to accept the alliance with the elves because Crymzon isn't stupid (china even said so). He knows that Phang would never share her power with anyone. As soon as they have power over the human lands, she'll crush him like a bug and take whatever control he has.

~sunny
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Suneila
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Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:04 am    Post subject:  

I also tied the votes, three for elves, three for delay and two for phang.

~sunny
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Chinaren
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Posted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 6:47 pm    Post subject:  

Okay then, so far it is accept an alliance with the elves, which is totally against the comments, but there you go!

I will start the next chapter soon, so any last minute votes etc, get em in quick!
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DukeReg
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Location: Australia

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 6:41 pm    Post subject:  

I voted for the Elf-Human Alliance.
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Chinaren
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Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 6:45 pm    Post subject:  

Okay, looks like Crym is going to go with the Elves. However, I have only started writing the next chapter, and I don't have to write in the decision yet, so it is still open until I do that bit!

Thanks for voting y'all.
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Chinaren
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Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 3:56 am    Post subject:  

Okay, chaper 24 is ready, so I am locking this one down.

Thank you for all your comments.
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