Pub Crawl: The Search for Balance

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Pub Crawl: The Search for Balance

Postby EarthWard » 04 Feb 2005, 18:15

This Pub Crawl brought to you by:


Defend wildlife and restore the balance of nature...or something like that.


Just letting you know that you get to freeze your @$$ off for another six whole weeks. Thanks Groundhog you stupid woodchuck!

And by:


Drink milk and build strong muscles just like Crow!

In the pub dusty dirty people stirred around drinking purple slurpies. It was a special day. A day among specials. After the Imbolc party died down and all of Wolfwalker's Yule cookies had been passed around we sat and talk of simple plans and what was astir on foreign lands when all of the sudden a rabble occurred.

"Rabble rabble rabble." Was all that was heard.

Extra Extra! Wolves being hunted by helicopters over Alaska Crow reported

"What an outrage! A disaster! A crime!" The shouts retorted

"We must restore the Balance" one Druid cried

"What balance?" another replied

"Is there not a sense of balance in this world. To think not must be obscured"

"There is none. No balance my dear. Balance is a myth of one which we hear."

"Ring the bells and call all Druids here. We go in search of Balance this year!"
Last edited by EarthWard on 06 Feb 2005, 20:45, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Beith » 05 Feb 2005, 01:34

"Balance?" said Beith, looking doubtfully at her shoes - 14 inch stiletto hiking boots in mauve pink and tortiseshell trim.

"Are those gyroscopically stabilized?" asked Azrienoch as Beith teetered unsteadily above him.

"I guess not", replied Selene, as Beith keeled over sideways and hit the floor with a bump.
Alferian, gallant as ever, materialized just in time to pick her up.
"Do you always have to wear such improbable footwear?" he mused, stroking his beard and gazing pointedly at her feet.

"Well" began Beith, "it's my business"

"There's no need to be rude!" snapped Alferian, "I wasn't being too personal "

"No - it's my Business!" exclaimed Beith, and with a flourish, produced a smart paper carrier bag emblazoned with a purple sequined flipper logo and the words "Beith's Impractical Shoe Emporium"

Selene gasped. "You haven't?"

"I HAVE!" repeated Beith, grinning like a happy clam. "I've opened up a shop!"
"Where?" asked the others in amazed chorus.

"Foggy Downs....near the Foggy Duck Pub" smiled Beith, daintily twisting her ankle around to show off the tortiseshell trim. "I figured people would be staggering out of there anyway, so they might as well do it in style!"

Azrienoch giggled. Beith ignored him and carried on. "I supply shoes to the impractically minded. This season's collection includes kitten-heeled bowling shoes, stiletto flippers with faux-fur trip and caterpillar traction wedding boots with lace and organza fringes - very popular with the bridal set. And of course - these-" she trilled, modelling her footwear with a pirouette.

Wolfwalker howled as she trod on his tail.

"And you think the business will take off?" enquired Alferian thoughtfully

"Of course!" said Beith "how can it fail?" and suddenly hit the floor again with a bang.
"There's one thing missing, for a start" replied Earthward

Beith looked quizzically at her shoes. "They've got style. They've got colour. They've got sequins and heels and fur and bows and lacy bits -what more could anyone want?!" demanded Beith

"Balance", grinned Earthward.

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Postby Crow » 06 Feb 2005, 01:37

For the third time in the past hour, Crow looked out his second-story office window at the rush of activity across the street, where it appeared that Beith's Impractical Shoe Emporium was almost ready to open for business. Crow saw that a worker was painting words on the window that read:

Professional Shoe Balancing Offered at Nominal Charge with Each New Pair

From his vantage point, Crow could see Beith running frantically up and down the sidewalk, directing workers as they moved boxes and boxes of shoes into the store from their truck parked at the curb. When the redhead tripped and went sprawling for the second time in five minutes, the old reporter just shook his head and walked back to his desk.

It was a slow day; nothing much to do. Crow picked up yesterday’s copy of The Pagan Press to see what he’d missed. Probably quite a lot he thought, since he didn’t like reading the stupid rag himself, even though he got it for free.

Crow scanned the headlines:
Foggy Duck roof repairs under way
Patrons deplore hiring of cheap non-druid labor
Hmmm, too boring, thought Crow, as he continued to scan the paper. …
Texas cowboy has his own brand of druidry
Billy Joe Bob again, Crow thought. I’ve read all I want to about that galoot. He turned the page. ...
Irish wench puts her sole (and foot)
into Foggy Downs business venture
Another pun headline, thought Crow. I weep for the state of journalism today. He turned to the back page. …
Pagan Press
for reporters
“What the …!” said Crow aloud, rising from his chair. He sat back down and started to read the short story at the bottom of the page.
The Pagan Press, already the world leader in covering news of importance to the pagan community, is expanding its operations and is now accepting applications for reporter positions.

Have you ever wanted to experience the exciting career of journalism? Have you ever wanted the thrill of receiving a fat paycheck and the recognition that comes with having your name in the newspaper every day? Have you ever wanted the opportunity to work nights, weekends and holidays for the rest of your natural life? Then don’t miss this chance!

Mr. Charles Payne, editor of The Pagan Press, will be conducting interviews tomorrow from noon to 4 p.m.

Applicants must be able to read, speak and write the English language. Good spelling a plus, but not required. No experience necessary.
Crow threw down the paper. Replace me will they? I’ll see about this! he thought.

He stalked across the newsroom to Charles Payne’s office, where there was a long line of applicants waiting outside the door. There was Moon Cloud, raining Skittles all over the floor in her excitement. There was Kat Lady, a résumé clutched in one paw. There was Forestmonk in his trademark cloak, the numbers 3966 stitched in red letters upon it. Some day I have got to ask him what the hell that means, Crow thought. There was Branbeith and Mandahr, apparently planning to apply as a team. And there was EarthWard, who caught Crow by the wing as he marched past. “Hey Crow,” he said. “Man, I saw that story in the paper where they’re looking for new reporters, and I just knew that if you can do it, then I can, too! This is my big chance!” Crow shook free and marched to the head of the line, where he shoved past Emrys and into the office.

“What’s all this?” shouted Crow at Charles Payne, who was sitting behind the desk. “Replace me with this rabble will you? After all the years I’ve spent here? After all the sweat and blood I’ve sacrificed to this hellhole?”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” interrupted the editor-in-chief. “Who said anything about replacing you? We’re just going to change your job a little bit. Now, in addition to your reporting duties, we’re making you an editor and job coach. These new reporters we’re going to hire will be rookies, and we’re counting on you to train them up right! And we’re going to give you a 0.025 percent raise on your current salary, so cheer up for chrissakes!”

Crow was incredulous. “You want me to keep the same reporting duties, AND you want me to be an editor and trainer to this bunch of greenhorns? Well it can’t be done! How can I possibly do it all?”

Charles Payne stared up at Crow. Finally he said, “You have new duties. I suggest you find a way to balance them.”
Last edited by Crow on 06 Feb 2005, 04:15, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Ruthie » 06 Feb 2005, 03:52

"You know the editor won't be very impressed," mentioned Kat Lady as she brushed away some blue skittles, "you should try for some other colors. Maybe red."

Moon Cloud was crestfallen. She had thought her chances were good for this job, because transportation would never be an issue. Her unique abilities, tireless spirit, and adventurous attitude suddenly seemed less important than the color of her skittles. But, determined to put on a brave face, she turned to Kat Lady and said, "why thank-you, a red skittle would be very appropriate. I've often heard reporters say if it bleeds, it leads, and a red skittle would demonstrate that idea very well."

She focused on red. Red, Red, c'mon Red! she thought.

Green. Hmpf! what's green? Well, it certainly isn't red, and she tried and tried again.

Yellow - getting closer - yellow's closer to red, "I think I'm making some progress," she said to noone in particular.

then orange,

and at last, she rained out a single red skittle. Kat Lady picked it up.
"See, Dear, you can do anything you put your mind to!"

"I did it!" Moon Cloud shouted in her jingle bell voice, and all eyes were upon her, and she exploded into a shower of multi-colored skittles.

"It's like a rainbow," said Earthward, "better than just the blue ones. Seems more - balanced."

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Postby Crow » 06 Feb 2005, 16:39

With so many good candidates, Charles Payne was unable to eliminate any of them, and so hired the whole lot. At the rate he was paying them, he could afford it.

After the paperwork had been completed, all of the new reporters were summoned into The Pagan Press conference room for an orientation meeting.

“Okay everybody, if you could all quiet down we can get started. Thank you,” said Payne. “First let me welcome you all to The Pagan Press and to the exciting world of newspaper journalism. I’m sure you’ll do wonderfully and will make us proud.

“I would like to introduce you now to one of our veteran reporters who will be working closely with you to kind of show you the ropes and give you a little bit of guidance. So without further ado, I’m going to get out of here and turn the proceedings over to Crow, whose abilities I’m sure you will all exceed in short order.”

Charles Payne turned and left the conference room, while Crow got up and stood behind the small lectern. “Well,” said Crow, “You’re all in for it now, and I guess it’s my lot to make sure that you get it, so let’s proceed.”

EarthWard nudged Moon Cloud in her hazy ribs and whispered, “Look at him, that’s a true newspaperman there, and we’ll want to emulate him in every way. Do you see how he looks disgusted with everything, even life itself? That’s how we should try to look now.” Moon Cloud nodded her foggy head and immediately stopped her rain of Skittles, adopting the same scornful look that Crow, and now EarthWard, presented.

“Excuse me,” said Kat Lady, raising her paw in the air for attention. “I just took this coffee mug from the shelf there, as I see there’s an urn of coffee here for us, but the mug is really filthy, and I’d like to wash it first. Can you wait just a minute until I get back?”

“No, sit down,” said Crow. “Lesson Number One, REAL journalists ALWAYS drink coffee from filthy mugs that haven’t been washed in years. The darker the patina inside your mug, the better it is. It shows that you are single-minded about getting the paper out and that you’re too busy to do something frivolous like washing a mug. There will be no mug-washing on my watch.”

Kat Lady slunk back into her chair.

“Now, to get you all started, I’m going to pass out some story assignments. You will be expected to go out and interview the people involved, get both sides of any disagreement. We want fair and balanced reporting. When you have gathered all your material, you come back here and write your story.”

“You mean we don’t get to write what we want to write about?” asked Emrys.

“Uh, no,” said Crow. “Well, sometimes you do, but to start off, you’re going to have specific assignments. Remember, if this was fun, they wouldn’t call it work.”

There was a little grumbling at this, and Crow nodded his head in satisfaction. Good, they were starting to get the right attitude at least.

“Okay, Emrys, here’s your assignment. Since it looks like you’re kind of crippled up there, I’m not making you go very far. All you have to do is go across the street and do a follow-up story on that new shoe store. Talk to the ditzy owner, get a few quotes about what her store has to offer that the hundreds of other shoe stores in London don’t, and try to dig up a little dirt if you can.”

Emrys took the slip of paper on which Crow had written the assignment and hobbled out the door. The reporter-turned-editor hurriedly passed out more assignments, and each new reporter hurried away, intent on doing a good job. Soon, Moon Cloud, EarthWard and Kat Lady were the only new reporters remaining in the room.

“For you three, I have a bigger assignment,” Crow said. “It involves some travel, and you won’t have to file your story right away, as it is more of an investigative piece.”

“He sees our potential,” whispered EarthWard to MoonCloud, who despite clenching her teeth in an effort not to, rained a small shower of red Skittles onto the floor.

“We have received a report that looks interesting and we want to look into it,” said Crow. “There’s a woman in Florida, she goes by the name of Lady Nimue. She says that her pigeon was killed by a hawk, and that the pigeon had been shunned by the rest of the flock, and so made an easy target. Now obviously you’ll want to look into the dead pigeon’s family history, try to stir up some pathos for it. Take a camera with you. We don’t want any bloody, gory pictures, but if you can get pictures of Lady Nimue crying, or any of the dead pigeon’s family members crying, that will really pull at the old heartstrings, so that would be a good thing.”

Crow was happy to see that Moon Cloud, EarthWard and Kat Lady were writing it all down, so he continued.

“Now once you get to Florida, you probably will want to split up. One of you take the pigeon angle, another of you follow up on the investigation with the hawk, and maybe another of you will do a profile on Lady Nimue herself to see just what she’s up to. She sounds a little shady to me.”

“How do you spell her last name?” asked EarthWard.

“Last name? She doesn’t have a last name,” answered Crow.

“But you said her first name is Lady, and her last name is Neemoo or something, and I want to know how to spell it,” said EarthWard.

“No, no, she doesn’t have a first name or a last name. That is her whole name: Lady Nimue,” said Crow.

“But on second reference, do we call her just Neemoo, or do we use her first name, Lady?” asked EarthWard.

“Well what do you call yourself?” asked Crow. “On second reference, should I call you Earth, or Ward, or maybe just Idiot!?!?? Now get out of here, all of you! Go!”

The three fled the room, headed for the airport and Florida.

“Did you see how he got mad and yelled at me?” EarthWard asked Kat Lady. “That is just SO like what I’ve heard about the newspaper business. But I still don’t know how to spell Neemoo.”

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Postby EarthWard » 06 Feb 2005, 20:17

Beith it is so great to see you around and crawling again. You were missed. And thank you to everyone who writes in the pub crawls and shares stories because truly it is from storytelling that we see what substance our dreams are really made. Thank you.

Sleeping deeply, deeply sleeping. Floating on waves harvested by moonlight beams and ocean tide streams. Deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. Where she stops no one knows.

He uncloses his eyes and blinks away a mist remnant of occurring scenes. Lifting his head to look around, hearing not the faintest sounds pound.
"Where am I?" he says to no one
In a spindle wood chair he sits surrounded by tables and unlit candle chandlers. Dust covers all surface and the bar flat lies open with no service in site.
"Its some kind of saloon. Abandoned and unused. How did I get here for surely this must be a ruse."
From a window the Moon looks in. Beckoning for him to go out into the midnight air into her light so soft and fair. Outside he steps among the frog and cricket creeks and silently he weeps for being so far from a home alone lonely and unknown when from the light of the moon an image swirled like ocean foam. From the mist a Lady walks out. From out of the Lady the mist rose about.
"I know you do I not? Lady Moon Chaser the one the Moon sought."
With a silver dress and sparkly shoes. Magic wand and hair in crimson hues.
"Aye it is me for me you can see. No others know where you be."
"What others I see no more. Who knows not this heart ache I bore."
"Put these glasses on they will help you to see. To see the figures that prance all around thee."
With a slide over the eyes the glasses go on. And what does happen but things are transformed in vision reborn. The dusty floors gleam bright at sight. No more cob webs, hob webs, or rabbit webs. No more broken tables uneven stables just splendor and creatures from childhood fables.
"Look! I see them. There is Crow the bird smoking a cigar. And look its NightHawk look how she flies. Singing her songs so beautiful they are. And its FallingLeaves made of no more than leaves. And look there behind the bar its Merlyn with a big mustache and black hair of ash. Hey its Selene with that pumpkin medallion and there is Beith a dryad with red shoes and a dress. Kat Lady is a cat. I see a rhino too. Theres MoonCloud high she does loom. Hey there above the bar the picture of the Piper whose pipes cry from afar."
"Not everybody sees it like you do you know. Everyone sees differently in this world they sow."
"You mean its not but imagination a stagnation of the brain. Hallucination a fabrication no more real than backwards falling rain?"
"Aye it is but where does that power come about? Not from your world of math and politics it comes from the world of fairy tales and actually walking sticks that converse with talking bricks."
"But I see knights and maidens. Scholars and hear poetic masked bards holler. Hey! Hey guys its me why don’t you see? Why don‘t they see me in my own dreaming of a dream"
The bar bustled about with a story that went on but none looked at him to shout his absents from the tale. Busy bees and walking trees walked right through as he stood to pout.
"They don’t see you" Lady Moon Chaser replied "You are without your robe for it’s the EarthWard they know for without it from their eyes your face does hide."
"Where is my robe then?"
"Its there on the stool where you left it when you came unglued. From that world you slipped your membership not renewed."
"I want my robe back! That’s the world I want to be. Fairy tales and wizard spells. Talking birds and Fairy nerds. That is the place for me don’t you see?"
"I do see but a balance must be set. One foot in one foot out is how this hokey pokey goes about. Some people fall in some fall out. Better out than in I would say but if you want back in I’ll tell you the only way. Somebody and someone has to see that robe and remember your name. If they hold the robe and call out your name remembering you and all that you do then open the gate that magic will do and let you go back through. But if they forget then there is nothing to do. You’ll be locked out and never see the Foggy Duck again. No more adventures or hopeless causes. No more Pookas or Snail smoking hookahs. No more flying horses or magical forces. No more wishes and spells no more pink sugar ginger ales. Their story has started so we just have to wait. Wish that they remember before its too late and that old robe gets sold in the new shop Beith bought. Come on lets go and on the moon we will wait while they play out this story of fate."
So up to the moon the two flies. Down from the light peers four little eyes.

This piece of writing is dedicated to my friend Linda whose help has allowed me to keep my focus on both worlds without being fully aborted by one or the other. She has helped me to achieve a state of balance that will help me all my life. Thank you Linda!
Last edited by EarthWard on 07 Feb 2005, 22:58, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Crow » 06 Feb 2005, 21:23

“Chicken or beef?”


“Thank you.”

“Chicken or beef?”


“Thank you, ma’am.”

“Sir, chicken or beef?”


“Thank you, sir.”

“Sir, sir … excuse me sir, chicken or beef?”

EarthWard shook his head; the drone from the jet engines was like a nest of deep cotton that he’d sunk into, but now a voice was forcing him to climb up and out. His eyes fluttered open and he saw that he was not on the moon as he had supposed, but still onboard the Boeing jet as it flew high above the Atlantic Ocean, bound for Florida. He looked around, saw that Kat Lady, shunning a cat carrier for this trip, was asleep and drooling on his shoulder, while Moon Cloud sailed along just outside the window at 36,000 feet. The cloud smiled, squirted a few Skittles, and waved.

“Sir, please excuse me sir, but do you want chicken or beef?” asked the voice again.

EarthWard, at last sure of where he was, looked up at the flight attendant, and in an instant, flight attendant and passenger recognized one another.

The flight attendant standing in the aisle and balancing two trays of food was none other than LadyMoonChaser.

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Postby EarthWard » 06 Feb 2005, 21:38

"Chicken please" said EarthWard "These plane rides always put me to sleep. But I had the weirdest dream you guys would never believe."

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Postby Kat Lady » 06 Feb 2005, 21:54

Kat Lady awoke with a start from Earthward's words, realizing that she had been asleep on EarthWard's shoulder. Again she had suffered the indignity of doing something very unladylike with bodily fluids as she wiped the drool from her mouth with her napkin. She sighed and realized that she needed to learn to balance her late night communications online with her friends with her need for sleep. After all, as a kat, she needed more than the usual amount accorded to the human lot. She looked up and saw LadyMoonChaser taking the dinner order from EarthWard and smiled. This was her Kat-Storm's grandmother after all.

Lady Moonchaser asked them, "Why are you all going to Florida?"

EarthWard responded by saying that the world was out of balance and they were attempting to find it in gator country. Kat, patted him on the arm, shaking her head. "There, there, EW. It isn't all that bad." Turning to Lady MoonChaser she proceeded to explain that EarthWard was a little overwrought, what with having just finished his bardic course and all, and was exaggerating a tad. "We are going there to investigate the murder of one of Lady Nimue's pigeons by a fanatical hawk and hoping to find out if this was a random killing or a 'hit'."

Just then, the plane hit turbulance, causing LadyMoonchaser to be off balance and land in EarthWard's waiting lap.
If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.--Mark Twain


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Postby LadyMoonChaser » 07 Feb 2005, 04:32

LMC jumped up so quickly that Earthward barely knew she had landed in his lap. She had gone to 'The Dragonbreath Institute for Druid Stewardesses' where they taught her how to balance several trays of food and drinks while doing double backflips, so a little turbulence was nothing she couldnt handle..... even with her new silver sequenced rhinestone encrusted heel 7 inch stilletos, which she had managed to get on sale at Beith's new 'shoetique' before they took off. They looked especially nice with her new blue & silver sequenced bardic robe she was required to wear on the druid charters. Luckily, she finally got rid of that fruit bonnet after losing the Chiquita Banana commercial to some young bimbo Carmen Miranda lookalike.

She was extremely happy and surprised when she realized that the passengers were many of her good friends from the old days in the pub. It seemed like months since she had last enjoyed their company in other adventures, and actually, it was much too long since she had any type of adventure other than flying about in EW's fantastical daydreams.

After managing to get everyone served & comfortable for the flight, she was able take a few minutes to ask for some more info on what was going on. Everyone began talking, squawking, meowing, cawing, rumbling & tapping at the same time, so she put her hand into the sleeve of her robe and pulled out a beautiful sparkling crystal wand which she raised over everybody's heads and as they all watched the wand feeling completely mesmerized by the beautiful white glow it emitted, she drew 3 circles, clockwise of course, over everyone's heads and as if by magic, everyone fell into a deep peaceful slumber where they were all transported to their own happy places.....

Except for Crow, as she had planned, whom she knew the spell would not affect because he was rarely ungrumpy enough to find his happy place. She had taken notice that he seemed to be the one in charge of this group.

"Alright Crowmeister, you and I go back a long way, so dont hold back on me...what the heck are you all up to this time?" as she leaned in close enough to hear muffled giggles coming from several of the sleeping happy campers.

" Balance my dear, balance is what we are up to." in his best Sherlock Holmes voice.

" Balance?, well hell, I was the most advanced in 'balancing tray' class at the institute. what is it you need balanced? I can balance anything, well, er....except my checkbook." shrugging her shoulders .

"NO no, silly woman", thinking to himself that even without the fruit on her head she was still a tootyfrooty. "We dont need you to balance trays or your checkbook, as Kat already told you, we are seeking for an answer to a very serious question, involving Lady Nimue's.."

" OH NO!!! LALALALALALALA !! I CAN'T HEAR YOU..LALALALALA"...LMC was plugging her hears and jumping up and down trying to block out Crows words.....she had already heard the heartbreaking story and just the thought of a poor innocent bird being so brutally taken from it's family was more than she could stand. As she lost her cool, the rest of the group woke up coming out of their peaceful slumber, feeling totally refreshed, but unable to remember falling asleep.

Crow was flapping his wings at LMC trying to get her to stop making holes in the floor of the plane with her spiked heels .

"'OK, settle down lady, sorry, but you asked, this is a tough business. Not for the weak of beak or gizzard.
I know you are very sensitive when it comes to our animal families, lord knows you take enough of them home." thinking that he felt sorry for Mr. LMC who had to work 3 jobs just to pay for all the animal food and vet bills.

"And how do you think it makes me feel?...I mean some of those hawks can get peritty big and they HAVE been known to eat crow too! We aren't talking little sweet Night Hawks here, we are talking BIG hawks." explained the always serious Crow.

"but here is our quest. all of our companions here have been hired by the Pagan Press, and the big boss put me in charge of the lot of them to try to turn them into real reporters. It ain't somthing I wanted to do but orders are orders. The assignment begins in Florida where we will be looking for clues on whether there is a real balance in life and nature."

"OH OH OH!!! I WANT TO HELP!!! PLEASE can I be your photographer?" excitedly jumping up and down, again LMC was punching more holes into the floor of the plane. " I promise not to get in your way, but this could be my big break as a nature photographer and maybe get noticed by National Geographic Magazine!!!"

Once again, the rest of the group seemed to fall into a deep sleep, however, they were all just pretending because they did not want to get in the middle of this. They knew Crow wasn't happy about babysitting the group as it was, let alone with the sometimes, quite nutty LMC.

Crow's brow furrowed even deeper than it's normal depth, even tho he had no brow, and had to give this a bit of thought, HELL, a LOT of thought, since he remembered the last time he saw LMC she was quite inebriated, no, ...she was just plain ol' stinkin' drunk and throwing her melons in all the men's faces, well, they actually just kind of fell out of her fruit bonnet.... but ,, on the other wing, it would make a good balance to have a more even amount of women to men as far as balancing emotions, hmmmm, and if worse came to worse, she could always do one of her balancing bar acts whilst she juggles her, SOME melons.

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Postby Crow » 07 Feb 2005, 17:29

Meanwhile, Emrys hobbled across the street as fast as an old man could move. He stood on the sidewalk in front of Beith’s Impractical Shoe Emporium and watched as the box-carriers, who turned out to be Azrienoch and Alferian, sweated and cursed while Beith drove them like galley slaves.

Emrys decided that this wasn’t a good time to conduct an interview, and even feared that he might be roped into carrying boxes himself. Watching Azrienoch and Alferian was making him thirsty, so he thought he’d just go down to the Foggy Duck Pub and wet his whistle, then come back later and do the interview once things quieted down a little.

The distance to the Foggy Duck Pub wasn’t far, as it was within the Foggy Downs District of London, and Emrys made the hike in about half an hour.

On the sidewalk outside the pub was Forestmonk, and he was interviewing Gladys about the roof repairs. Emrys hustled past and heard Gladys say, “If I’d hired druids to do the work, it would have cost twice as much and then I’d have had to charge more for me cider, and then the same lot what is complainin’ about not hirin’ druids for the roof repairs would be complainin’ about me prices …”

Emrys hurried past, not wanting to interrupt Forestmonk while he did his job. He walked up the steps, opened the door, and sighed as the cool dark of the pub washed over him. Gorn was tending the bar, and Emrys ordered a Guinness. Just one, he told himself, then he’d get back to Beith’s and do that interview. He didn’t want to screw up on his first day.

Looking into the mirror behind the bar, Emrys noticed that there was a turtle at the other end, sitting directly under the hole in the roof, and with a half-empty mug of Druid’s Ruin sitting in front of him. Upon closer inspection, Emrys saw that it was Greymore.

“Good gods, Greymore, we thought you were dead!” shouted Emrys.

“No, I’m quite alive, as you see,” said Greymore. “My shell protected me from the exploding jewel, and the roof there cushioned my fall somewhat. I’ve been sitting here for the past week drinking this Druid’s Ruin, but the fizz seems to have gone out of it. Forestmonk just finished interviewing me, so I suppose the world will soon know that I am still among the living. Good show on so many of you getting jobs over at The Pagan Press. That tired old rag has needed an upgrade in the writing department for a long time.”

“Well come on then, I’ve finished my beer and I’ll carry you back to the new shoe store that’s going up across from the newspaper office. I’ve been assigned to interview the owner, and just needed a little refreshment first. After I’m done and I’ve written my story, we can talk over old times.”

Emrys strapped Greymore onto his back, and left the pub. With the weight of the turtle on his back and having a game leg himself, it was a bit hard to balance, but he managed. Forestmonk had just finished up his interview with Gladys, and the three walked together – slowly – back to Beith’s Impractical Shoe Emporium. They went inside …

* * *

An announcement came from the cockpit that the pilots had started their descent, and would be landing at Miami International Airport in about 45 minutes.

LadyMoonChaser was ecstatic after Crow told her that she could quit playing with melons and come along as a photographer. He’d seen some of her work and knew that she could handle a camera, and besides, she’d no doubt be fired as a flight attendant after her bosses saw all the holes she’d made in the plane’s cabin floor.

He hadn’t meant to come along on this trip, but at the last minute Charles Payne had changed his mind and ordered him along. “Those rookies need closer supervision on an assignment like that,” the editor-in-chief had said.

Crow sighed. He supposed they’d rent a car and drive over to Lady Nimue’s estate. He’d just stay in the background and make sure everybody did their jobs. It would be safe, he was sure. On balance, things could be a lot worse …

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Postby Merlyn » 07 Feb 2005, 17:41

Meanwhile, at the Foggy Duck an odd event, one that reminded Merlyn of some strange things he had eaten at the 'Duck, began to happen.

"Damn! My drink fell over again!" Merlyn looked with surprise, "All the bar stools have fallen over too!"
Merlyn proped one of the stools back up, and it flopped right to the floor! Rancid seemed very depressed, each time he got up, he fell over!
Not even the cat of twenty claws seemed able to keep his balance.....

"Very odd indeed!" Merlyn set his staff aside and *wham* right to the floor he fell!
"Heck Gladys! What did you put in that Knoblin's glob!!"


Merlyn looked about, pulling himself back up with his staff
"Who said that??"

Merlyn peered over the bar to see Gladys on the floor unable to get up

"It wasn't me Gladys! I haven't set any 'unbalanced spells' here.... there is most definately something afoot!"

"I seem to remember some one speaking of how there is no balance, only change"


"Indeed Gladys! Indeed!" Merlyn grabbed his staff, casting a circle about the 'Duck and began to chant..

Last edited by Merlyn on 07 Feb 2005, 19:23, edited 2 times in total.
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Dyro, Dduw, dy nawdd;
ac yn nawdd, nerth;
ac yn nerth, ddeall;
ac yn neall, gwybod;
ac o wybod, gwybod yn gyfiawn;
ac o wybod yn gyfiawn ei garu;
ac o garu, caru Duw.
Duw a phob daioni.

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Postby Lady Nimue » 07 Feb 2005, 19:17

At home, in the peace of Merlyn's Grove at Avalon Glyn..Lady Nimue is still deep in meditation about her visit from the Hawk. All the questions, and is there dtill a deeper meaning in such a harsh lesson?

"My lovely pidgeon..why couldnt balance come in a more kind manner? she asks her guides.

Suddenly, she felt that familiar feeling, that comes when something is about to happen.
She looked at her animals.."Something is afoot, m"loves..something is afoot"
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Guardian of "MERLYN'S GROVE AT AVALON GLYN"...... a Certified OBOD Sacred Grove and Certified National Wildlife Refuge.
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Postby Crow » 07 Feb 2005, 21:08

And before Lady Nimue even got the last “afoot” out of her mouth, the doorbell rang.

She ran to the door, looked through the peephole, and saw nothing but fog. Finding that curious but not threatening, she flung open the door and saw that there was a cloud standing there, and it was raining red Skittles on her porch. Though their presence had been hidden by the cloud, she now also saw a cat holding a pen and notebook in her paws; a young man wearing a fedora with a card that said “PRESS” stuck in the band; a grizzled old crow who was smoking a cigar and standing to the rear; and lastly, a woman with a camera and flash attachment, who stepped from behind a large fern, aimed her camera and pressed its button. A flash exploded in Lady Nimue’s face, and she staggered backward, blinking at the spots before her eyes. “What’s all this?” she demanded.

Crow watched with satisfaction as his students went in blazing. He thought, not for the first time, that the very people who complained about invasion of privacy by the press would do the very same things if given the chance; Moon Cloud was ruthless.

“You’re Lady Nimue, correct?”

“Yes, er, who are …”

“We’re from The Pagan Press and we understand that there’s been a killing here and that you know something about it.”

“Killing? No, I mean yes, but …”

“Our sources say that you forced a white pigeon into an unprotected place where it would be easily killed by a hawk. Why did you do that?”

“My pigeon? No, you’ve got it all wrong, I …”

“Where did the hawk come from?”

“Why, it was the first thing in the morning, and it flew in from that direction over there,” Lady Nimue said, pointing.

EarthWard took over the questioning. “Are you trying to tell us that a hawk flew in from the east, early in the morning?”

“Yes, that’s exactly true.”

“Are you alleging that this innocent pigeon was killed by THE hawk of dawn?”

“No, I never said it was THAT hawk, well, I suppose it might have been, but you see he didn’t leave his name, and I …”

“I think next you’ll try to tell us that you have the stag resting from the heat of the chase somewhere in the south part of your yard!” said Kat Lady, writing furiously in her notebook.

“Stag? I’m afraid I don’t know …”

“And how about the great bear of the north? Is he around here somewhere, too?” Moon Cloud asked mockingly.

“My poor pigeon died, can’t you show some mercy?” said Lady Nimue, now weeping uncontrollably. “It’s all about balance, don’t you see?”

“Balance huh?” said Moon Cloud. “When we’re through with you, we’ll see how you balance 20-years-to-life as an accessory to murder!”

Lady Nimue wailed, and ran out into the yard, hotly pursued by Lady Moon Chaser with her camera.

Crow just smiled. Yes, these rookies did have potential!

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Postby Laurelin Tauregwaithalion » 07 Feb 2005, 22:08

Just then, a mysteriously fierce female voice seemed to emenate from the all of the trees outside Lady Nimue's estate.

"Predators kill for life. Prey is killed that the predator may live. A life is taken that another may survive another day. The sick will perish. The strong, prevail. So say the Dauntless Tree People; the Tauregwaithalion!"

Then, silence.
"It's a very rare person who is taken for what he truly is." --Schmendrick The Magician

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Postby Ruadh » 07 Feb 2005, 22:33

From high up in the live oak that bordered Lady Nimue's property, a large, red-tailed hawk sat gazing with mild interest at the scene far below her.

Ruadh lightly fluttered her feathers and muttered softly to herself "The Lady certainly has interesting guests.....but what's all this talk about murder and balance? Ah, well, none of my business!"

"It doesn't look like the Lady will be serving pidgeon surprise again today," spoke Ruadh after briefly watching the antics of the group below. "All that running around, screaming and flashes of light will have the pidgeons too frightened to approach!"

Ruadh spread her great wings and flew off to the east. As she caught the updraft and sailed on towards the park, she said "That old, bearded fellow with the bag of peanuts will probably have quite a gathering of pidgeons by now. I'll feel ever so much more balanced with a full stomach!"

With a piercing "skreeeeeeeeeee", Ruadh soared majestically off towards the park for her dinner.

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Postby Lady Nimue » 08 Feb 2005, 05:25

"All these guests and still I have offered no beverage...can you all ever forgive me?" said Lady Nimue as she went into her Old World kitchen to brew some tea (mixed with a touch of lavendar and vervain, of course). While Lady Nimue served the hot libation, Crow noted that she was much different than they had assumed....
"Please all of you, understand, I have many "guests" here...both seen and unseen...why just look at the Dragon slumbering at the hearth"....(Dragon had looked up at the ruckus, then returned to his peaceful slumber) pidgeon was killed, that is the quest is to figure how this act brought about balance"...
Just then all heard a skreech from the Glyn.
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Guardian of "MERLYN'S GROVE AT AVALON GLYN"...... a Certified OBOD Sacred Grove and Certified National Wildlife Refuge.
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Postby Crow » 08 Feb 2005, 22:35

What Merlyn didn’t realize was that when he’d asked Alferian to give his staff a tune-up last week, the Druid had given the job to his apprentice, Azrienoch, and being an apprentice, the young man had been a little over enthusiastic when he gave the staff a final buff with a paste wax made from lavender extract and penguin guano. And so when Merlyn cast a circle around the Foggy Duck Pub in preparation for his balancing spell, the circle in fact extended far beyond the pub, encompassing the entire Foggy Downs District of London. Merlyn started to chant. …

* * *

The wand and staff business was traditionally slow during this time of year, and the Merlyn job had simply not paid enough to make ends meet. And so Alferian and Azrienoch had answered an ad in The Pagan Press looking for temporary help in setting up a new shoe business. They hadn’t been surprised to see that Beith was their new temporary employer, but they were stunned at the amount of work she was demanding of them.

When the tinkling bell above the front door announced the arrival of the store’s first customer, Beith reluctantly allowed Alferian and Azrienoch to take a break while she ran to try and make a sale. Exhausted, Alferian and Azrienoch collapsed onto the floor to watch.

“Seleeeene! Oh, this is so grand! You’re my first customer,” trilled Beith as the administrator stood looking around with interest.

“Hi Beith,” said Selene. “I saw the story in The Pagan Press and I decided to come over because I’ve been needing a new pair of shoes to match my pumpkin medallion.”

“Selene, you’ve come to the right place! Things are in a bit of a turmoil right now – you just can’t get good help these days – but there’s never a bad day to buy shoes, and I’m sure I can find just what you’re looking for!”

“How about those?” asked Selene, pointing to a pair of orange, stiletto-heeled pumps with white lace accents.

“Those?” said Beith. “Oh, well, I really don’t think so, but, well, okay we can try them I suppose. She brought the shoes over and helped Selene into them. The administrator got up and walked around, admiring them in a mirror that Beith held.

“I like them! I’ll take them,” said Selene. “What’s the matter, Beith? You don’t look so good.”

“Well, it’s just that I sort of had my eye on that pair for myself,” said Beith, “ But …”

“No, that’s all right,” said Selene. “Why don’t you show me some of your other inventory? How about that pair over there?” The administrator pointed at a pair of thigh-high lace-up boots made from a bright orange patent leather.”

“Those over there?” said Beith. “Well I’m just not sure that it’s you, but, well, okay …”

After doing up all the laces, Selene strutted around the store. “Yes, these will do fine, and look how they match the medallion just perfectly! I’ll take them! Beith? Beith ...?”

“Well Selene, I don’t know what to say, but I’d best tell you the truth. I saw that pair when they came in, and I just have to have them, and I’d written out a tag to say ‘Not For Sale,’ but in the confusion I hadn’t put it on them yet.”

“Can you believe this?” said Azrienoch to Alferian as they sat watching.

“Yes, I can,” answered Alferian.

“Well, how about this, Beith,” said Selene. “You tell me what pair I can have.”

“Oh, Selene, I have just the pair for you! It must have been a mix-up from the warehouse, because this pair, although lovely, can’t really be said to be impractical, as they only have two-inch heels. They’re made from faux alligator hide, and dyed with orange dye to give this interesting tiger stripe pattern, and as you can see, the heels have rhinestones, and they also have cashmere insoles!”

Selene eased into the shoes and walked around. “They’re fine. A little boring maybe, but fine. I’ll take them, if you’re sure you’ll let me have them.”

“Well yes, I’ll let you have them,” said Beith, tearing up. “But it’s just so sad, so hard to say goodbye; I hope you understand.” Beith got down on her knees in front of Selene, looked at the shoes, and began to croon:

Hush little babies
Don’t you cry
Mama’s gonna sing you a lullaby.

If this lady makes you walk
I’m gonna …”

Just then the bell over the door jingled again and Alferian and Azrienoch, their mouths agape, watched as two men walked inside, one of them wearing a turtle on his back.

“Hello, my name is Emrys, and I’m here from The Pagan Press, and I’d like to interview the owner of this store,” said Emrys. He took Greymore off his back and put him on the floor. “And these are my two friends, Greymore and Forestmonk.”

“Yes, I’m the store owner!” said Beith, getting to her feet. “Welcome, and yes, I’d love to do an interview, but first, excuse me, Alferian, could you please come give Selene’s new shoes the free gyroscopic spin balancing? The machine’s right over there.”

“Oh Beith, I don’t think that’s necessary, these only have two-inch heels,” said Selene.

“No Selene, this is for their benefit, not yours,” Beith said, indicating the shoes.

The administrator saw that it was futile to resist, so she gave the new shoes to Alferian, who took them and placed them on the Gyroscopic Spin Balancer. He flipped a switch; the machine started to hum and whir.

“Hey Greymore,” said Forestmonk. “I got a bad feelin’ about this. Let’s go."

The cleric’s “bad feelin’” could probably be attributed to the fact that he sensed Merlyn’s balancing spell, which by now had extended to include Beith’s Impractical Shoe Emporium. And when the shoe-balancing machine, with its load of faux alligator hide shoes, started to spin in the opposite direction, a vortex in the time-space continuum was quickly established, and everyone in the store, along with Merlyn back at the Foggy Duck Pub, were sucked up into the swirling wind.

* * *

Inside Lady Nimue’s kitchen, Crow, EarthWard, Kat Lady and Moon Cloud continued their questioning while LadyMoonChaser snapped pictures.

Suddenly there was a loud splash from outside the window.

“That sounds like something just fell into my alligator pit,” said Lady Nimue.

Everyone ran outside …

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Postby EarthWard » 09 Feb 2005, 22:56

What will happen next?!?

Will the shoe store gang land in the alligator pit?

Will Lady Nimue discover the balance from the death of her pet bird?

Will the pub crawl gang make it as serious reporters?

Will we find out that Reporter Crow has to under go serious surgery and his life hangs in the balance?
Find out after these messages

:guinness: :guinness: :guinness:
Never has there been a more balanced beer.
Drink Guinness! Its good for your heart.

and by:


Scales. They are used to balance things when you need to.

and by:


Treat your family to a balanced diet using this great cook book.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program

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Postby Crow » 10 Feb 2005, 00:35

When they heard the splash and Lady Nimue said something about an alligator pit, everyone ran outside. But in his haste, EarthWard knocked over Crow, who fell over onto a bougainvillea that their hostess was growing in a pot by the door.

The beautiful plant was climbing up a sharpened stick that Lady Nimue had thrust into the soil, and when he fell, the stick entered his chest and Crow lay there, skewered and unseen.

He could see a lot of people and animals thrashing around the alligator pit, and his last thought before passing out was, I hope my rookie reporters won’t let me down …
“You can't study the darkness by flooding it with light.” ~ Edward Abbey

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