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Welcome to Imaginary Realities' mythic memoirs. Each month you will find here a new story; tales of astonishing adventure, daring deeds, surprising success or terrible tragedy - the stuff of myth and legend.
Your story is kept in here for posterity.
As is to be expected, our narratives are connected in some way to muds. Some are real epic adventures that actually happened on a MUD, recounted in a grand style. Others might be taller tales based on MUD events or merely inspired by a MUD world.
Yet, these stories do not simply leap forth, fully formed. No, these are your stories, sent in by you so that your words and deeds will live forever rather than fade into obscurity. This means this column will die a rapid death if no one sends anything in... Here's your chance - if you want us to continue presenting mud-fiction, contribute something. It doesn't have to be a fully fledged, polished product - anything is better than nothing and we can always work to give it a shine ourselves.
The city in which I live is a great, sprawling mass of humanity. We have all colors, creeds and races within our walls. It is an ancient city, built and rebuilt upon itself many times as flood, fire and visiting barbarians deem necessary and it supports thriving Guilds, the famous Unseen University, many businesses and markets and a population as diverse as you could hope to find. My home is Ankh-Morpork, two cities, really, which flank the Ankh River on its way from the Ramtop Mountains to the Circle Sea.
My name is Mr.Tulip, and I work for one of the biggest, meanest fellows in the city, Crysophase the troll. Crysophase has fingers in many pies; illicit gambling, dwarf renting, extortion and of course, crystal smuggling. My associate and I, Mr.Pin, are responsible for keeping things running smoothly within the city. In an environment where the only way to the top of the scum is by killing your fellow keeping sharp is a way of life, not an option. Relax for a second and you are nothing but fish-food and a fading memory. Most of our fellow residents are quiet, law abiding people, but when the Watch is as poor as it is, and the pickings to be made from murder and looting are so tempting, the temptation is too strong for some.
As the right hand man for Crysophase, I am a prime target for any young fellow trying to make his mark and gain another rung on the ladder. Not a day passes without some assassin trying his luck from the shadows, or a thief hitting me for the merchandise I carry for business. Sometimes it is simply a thug from the Warriors' Guild, or even a magic user, chucking spells about. I tell you, fireballs, angry bees, even rabbits with fire coming out of their butts, I have seen it all. Nothing surprises me. Luckily, Pin and I are from the school of hard knocks, and we can pretty much handle ourselves, so it's out with the crowbar and wham - you're nothing but a new smear on the pavement.
People say we're bad guys, but I don't hold with that. We're just making a living, doing what we do to make ends meet and look after our own. We have family, we have friends, and we're not the dumb-ass thugs we're painted as by some people. We try to keep the streets safe. It's not a case of legal and illegal, it's a case of what's right, and what's wrong. We don't, for example, like swearing, and if we catch you doing it, you're going to end up hurting.
Sometimes, of course, people get the better of us, and I suppose we're fortunate that death is an inconvenience, rather than a terminal destination. I'm not entirely sure how that works, but I'm glad it does. The Assassins' Guild seem to have a constant supply of people paying them for my life - I guess I must have upset them. Still, whoever up there it was that made me, it must be gratifying for them to know that I'm worth something to someone.
I can't understand why people want to hold a grudge lasting for year after year. Today at work, I visited the neighboring shop, looking for a magical ring that would suit my needs when the Guildmaster of Thieves himself rushed in from nowhere and stabbed me. I fled, bleeding slightly, and was able to push him away until I was inside my own safe shop. He still remembered my past career as an Assassin, I guess. One of the lives I took was one dear to him - but to me, it was just my job. I wonder how he knew it was me. Probably another secret leaked from the Guild's thin wall of privacy. One reason I quit that profession.
I wanted to go do something today but with that thief in my way I doubt I'd enjoy it much. Can't a man take a walk in the city without having someone trying to cut bits off him? Ah well, I decided to go for broke. I gave my daughter to a co-worker to care for - it was a bit unnerving to have her with me with some bugger trying to stab me.
With practiced speed I rushed from the store and shoved the Guildmaster out of my way, shouting "QUIT IT!" I left in a blinding light, or at least I thought it was blinding. Other people would say it was a yellow blur with all the yellow I wore that day. Fortunately the thief was too caught up with his companions to catch up with me. I was out of the shop and in the middle of the plaza. Now what was it that I was going to do?
Actually, what I wanted to do was get a breath of fresh air and now that I had it I wanted to go back to the shop. Seeing as the thief was still laying siege to it, I decided to travel to Ohulan-Cutash, a nearby city. I like it better than Ankh-Morpork. For one thing I can steal whatever I want without getting into trouble. Another reason is the alcohol shop. You have yet to drink scumble until you try the one in Ohulan-Cutash. I'd also heard tales of a new doctor who perform miracle surgery there - I wanted to meet with him purely out of curiosity.
I kept my daggers on hand, expecting mercenaries and warriors along the way. I was planning on killing them all of course. No one cares if they die. They live by the thousands and it is as if there were an unlimited amount of mercenaries and warriors to replace them. It's like someone up there breeds these types in a vat and let them loose just for me to kill. Don't get me wrong, I don't kill them because of my Assassin's nature. It's just the natural thing to do. Everybody does it. People were born to do it. I mean, my daughter's already killed her first cockroach. You can't explain life's basic instinct of killing. It's like trying to explain language. You'd need a whole science to understand it.
Expecting warriors, I discovered trolls. Curses! I stabbed in the darkness and killed three but my daggers were notched by their silicate skin and eventually became blunt. I was quite proficient in using the blunter cousins of the dagger myself but caring for the future of my weapons I stored them away and made haste. The trolls kept on coming so I hid in the bush and waited. Luckily it wasn't long before a scrawny priest passed by and attracted the attention of the evil trolls. As he screamed for his life and ran one way I whistled and skipped the other way - onwards towards Ohulan-Cutash. Of course I could have easily snuck by the trolls, but the expression on the priest's face was well worth the wait.
There's a blacksmith in Ohulan-Cutash - convenient for me. All I'd need would be money to fix up my daggers. When I finally reached Ohulan Cutash I hurried to the blacksmith only to find my pocket was full of dollars and they wanted shillings. Stepping outside, I looked up at the sky and sighed at my god. Money isn't hard to get in this city, the problem is separating the people in town into the two important groups - victims and trouble. I walked carelessly towards the carriage shop and spied on every passenger getting off. The priest looked poor. They always were. There was a warrior but all she was wearing was a g-string and some loincloth barely covering her bits.
I was about to give up when I spotted a familiar outfit. All black. Black cloak, black hair, black shirt, black eye. A cocky assassin, I mused. I walked towards him and walked away a few moments later with a fishing rod, 5 shillings, and a green fuzz in my hand. I really should practice my pick pocketing skills more often. I hurried back to the blacksmith and had my daggers quickly put to rights. I wanted to visit the alcohol shop right after but thoughts of being murdered while in a drunken stupor felt unattractive.
The long journey to Ohulan Cutash had sapped my strength and I decided to go back home, but not until I'd met the famous doctor, Ralph Womblefluff. His shop was located in an alley, which I found easily enough. The doctor was some sort of retropherenologist or something similar. He fixes up old people to help them deal with the changes that have happened since their time. The idea was disgusting to me, but at least it brings some light into some old chap's life. I introduced myself and was acquainted with his practice. I guess if I ever get too old and moldy I could always come here and retrophit myself... or something similar.
The stab wound I had received from the thief was throbbing. I had forgotten it was there for a while. I placed my hand on the wound and it healed with a glowing light. All my years of traveling taught me a few things and one thing was that you can never find a good priest in the middle of nowhere so learn some healing rituals. The wound reminded me of my daughter, whom I'd left back at the shop. I took the next carriage back to Ankh-Morpork.
Finally, I set foot on the soiled soil of Ankh-Morpork once more. I walked slowly towards Tarnach's shop. I peered in the shop and it was empty. That's good. I snuck in and went through to the back to embrace the child sitting there, on a high chair, cooing to herself. One day she'll be someone special. I'll dedicate the rest of my life seeing to that.
This column will depend on your contribution - all of you out there who are exploring, adventuring, creating legends on muds every day. Send in your stories and become a part of the bigger myth. We can polish any rough spots, smooth out any bumps - or if you wish, even write your story for you if you give us enough detail of what happened and why. Simply use the form provided, or send in your story via email.
October 2000 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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