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Liberus Legendarum

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.
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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.

This month...

Our tale this month comes once more from Discworld. This time we have a somewhat morally ambiguous exploration of how some of the more powerful citizens of Ankh-Morpork spend their time. The author of our narrative is Damian Campbell, who plays a wizard on the Disc. - Scatter ///\oo/\\\

The Exercise of Power

by Damian Campbell

My day began with a light breakfast in the Great Hall of the Unseen University, just before noon. After half a dozen pancakes, eggs, bacon, porridge, fresh bread and fruit, I felt more myself and ready to attend to the plans of the day.

Nodding a quick farewell to colleagues on either side, I made my way back to my room, absentmindedly avoiding students along the way. I grabbed my staff and backpack full of components and stepped out into the hall. A quick spell opened a portal and I was now just a step away from a shop in the central part of the city of Ankh-Morpork, on its infamous Short Street in fact.

The proprietor was far from alarmed at seeing someone step out of empty air into his shop - instead he looked eager to close a sale. He seemed more than used to the practices of wizardly clientele by now. After handing over a fair amount of coins, I took possession of the alchemist's entire stock of purple mineral nuggets - ready for use later that day.

Stepping out into daylight for the first time, I moved along the street of small gods towards the Plaza.I needed to visit the jeweler there, to fix a ring of mine. As I walked, I idly honed my magical skills, creating flowers, food and drink and distributing them to the populace.

However, just before I reached the plaza, I noticed a thief hiding behind a barrel, apparently treating some wounds. I'd run across this particular shady character before and you might say he wasn't one of my favourite people. I wondered who had inflicted the wounds and wished them the best of luck. As I rounded the next corner, my musings were answered. Standing there was an enraged dwarven warrior, blood dripping down his (or possibly her, it is difficult to tell) left arm.

Smiling to myself, I moved over to the warrior who was peering around the room, evidently trying to locate the thief. I mentioned what I'd seen and took a few moments before the warrior left to cast a few spells. A single zap from my oak wand healed the cut on his arm and a scattering ash around him protected him from harm - a magical impact shield. I'm sure I would have enjoyed seeing the thief's reaction when the warrior managed to locate him. Even more so when he saw his daggers being stopped before they reached the warrior's flesh. I hope it will make him more careful about choosing his targets in the future. Assuming he gets one.

Once at the jeweler's, I removed my emerald ring and submitted it to the expert skills of Mr Rendtnor. He quickly restored it to perfect condition. I thanked him for the service and as I prepared to leave, he asked me if I might do a favour for him. He told me that for the last four hours an angry troll had been waiting outside his shop. He feared that the troll planned havoc, thievery, murder, or perhaps all three. Stepping outside, it was easy to spy the troll in question.

My first thought was to destroy a nearby flea-bitten dog with a single spell and hint not-so-subtly to the troll that the same could happen to him if he did not move on. However, one look at his vacant eyes convinced me that, like the majority of trolls, he was simply too slow witted to comprehend. I decided upon a more direct course.

I took a torch from my backpack and prepared myself. Focusing my mind and chanting words of power, I hurled the torch high up into the air. The ensuing lightening bolt was quite effective and put a sizeable hole through him. In typical Ankh-Morpork style, several passers by had stripped the corpse of anything of value almost before it hit the ground.

With my ring restored to top condition, I could safely focus magical energies on it without fear of it being destroyed. Through doing so, I opened a portal to the Illusionary Institute of Learning in the foreign city of Khot-lip-khin, where I had agreed to meet someone. That someone was a young hedge wizard who focused on the practice of illusion and was temporarily residing in there.

The aspiring illusionist had gone as far as he could at the hands of his colleagues in the field of enchanting. He had asked me, as one of the more skilled wizards at the University - most of my contemporaries and seniors having either retired or gone on extended vacations to far away places such as Howondaland, to teach him some of the finer points of the discipline. After all, enchanting, far from being simply the making of magical weapons and armours, is a state of focus and technique used in many different spells.

Nonetheless, after spending several hours tutoring him and improving his skills, I offered him a practical demonstration of enchanting. I retrieved the purple nuggets I had purchased earlier and, explaining as I went, prepared them for use as a source of power. This done, I traced out an octogram on the ground with my staff. The next hour was an exhausting one as I painstakingly enchanted a pair of wicked steel stilettos to the highest level. They were to be a gift for an acquaintance of mine. My student assured me he had learned much by observing the process and thanked me heartily for the demonstration.

After bidding him farewell, I began to open a portal for my return to the university. As I did so, I heard someone in the building to my south trying to get my attention. I aborted my return and went to see who it was.

Peeking furtively through the door as I entered was a junior wizard from my own order, just past graduation. He babbled incoherently at me but eventually I calmed him down and got his story out of him. He'd been on the run from priests for most of the day after a wayward fireball of his accidentally incinerated one of their number. They of course, wished to throw him into the river to give the crocodiles a free meal, he naturally wished to avoid that.

I advised him that he had only two courses of action, he could leave the city and never return since they would never forget; or he could allow them to throw him in and have a way of surviving. He wasn't keen on the first option so I set about helping him with the second, as much as I could.

Firstly, I set about improving his defenses. I cast an impact shield about him and followed that by turning his skin to stone - which might give a hungry croc a nasty surprise and hopefully break off a few teeth as souvenirs of the encounter. His physical skills were noticeably lacking so rather than making him rely on them to climb out of the river, I removed one of my rings and handed it to him. This ring was carved from a single piece of blue crystal and was empowered as a ring of recall. With a single twist of the energies inside it, the user could be instantaneously transported back to the University. It was certainly this ring which would save him, the defensive spells would merely serve to give him time to use it.

After carefully instructing him in its use, I returned once more to the Unseen University. Back in familiar surroundings, I engaged in some thoroughly enjoyable sniping attacks (verbal, of course) on my wizardly colleagues over the evening meal. Dinner was also an excellent time to catch up on the comings and goings of other wizards - you won't believe what I heard the other day about the Dean of... Well, perhaps you would.

Submitting your own stories

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.

Damian Campbell is a player on the fabled Discworld mud, where he spends his time as a wizard called Sekiri.