DUELMASTERS NEWSLETTER

Date   : 02/28/2004    Duedate: 03/26/2004

XOCHITHLAN ARENA

DM-39    TURN-192

This Weeks Top Honors

THE DUELMASTER IS

TAMMY FAYE
WITLESS WONDERS (419)
(39-3520) [14-5-0,117]

Chartered Recognition Leader   Unchartered Recognition Leader

TAMMY FAYE                     SKULK
WITLESS WONDERS (419)          CHEAP SHOTS (426)
(39-3520) [14-5-0,117]         (39-3603) [5-0-0,80]

Popularity Leader              This Weeks Favorite

MYRON NAGEL                    ULRIK VORN
THE MIDDLE WAY (385)           THE MIDDLE WAY (385)
(39-3316) [23-21-0,90]         (39-3556) [10-9-1,41]

THE CURRENT TOP TEAM

CHEAP SHOTS (426)

          TEAMS ON THE MOVE            TOP CAREER HONORS
Team Name                  Point Gain  Chartered Team
1. CHEAP SHOTS (426)           43
2. CRIMINAL ELEMENT (379)       9      CRIMINAL ELEMENT (379)
3. WITLESS WONDERS (419)        9      Unchartered Team
4. THE MIDDLE WAY (385)         9
5. OPHIDIAN ORDER (328)         0      CHEAP SHOTS (426)

The Top Teams

Career Win-Loss Record           W   L  K    %  Win-Loss Record Last 3 Turns    W  L K
 1/ 1*CHEAP SHOTS (426)         27   4  0 87.1   1/ 1*CHEAP SHOTS (426)        10  2 0
 2/ 2 CRIMINAL ELEMENT (379)   134  82  7 62.0   2/ 3 CRIMINAL ELEMENT (379)    8  7 0
 3/ 3 WITLESS WONDERS (419)     41  29  1 58.6   3/ 2 WITLESS WONDERS (419)     7  4 0
 4- 4 OPHIDIAN ORDER (328)     133 104  6 56.1   4- 4 ATMAN PROJECT (391)       5  5 1
 5- 5 BLUE DIAMONDS (237)       29  31  4 48.3   5- 6 OPHIDIAN ORDER (328)      3  1 0
 6/ 6 THE MIDDLE WAY (385)     125 149  6 45.6   6- 5 BLUE DIAMONDS (237)       2  0 0
 7- 7*FIVE FELINES (190)        20  25  1 44.4   7- 7*FIVE FELINES (190)        2  3 0
 8- 8 ATMAN PROJECT (391)       35  49  3 41.7   8/ 8 THE MIDDLE WAY (385)      2 13 1
 9- 9 THE CATS (427)            25  37  3 40.3   9- 9 THE CATS (427)            0  2 0

    '*'   Unchartered team                       '-'  Team did not fight this turn
   (###)  Avoid teams by their Team Id          ##/## This turn's/Last turn's rank

                                    TEAM SPOTLIGHT

          + ]H[ + ---:--- + ]H[ The Dark Federation #4 ]H[ + ---:--- + ]H[ +

Rodeki:

     Tirisha Dulake looked around the suite--the one hotel's best suite--and sighed.
It wasn't what she was used to, but until she and her husband could move into the
governor's mansion, it would have to do.  She glanced at her husband and her lush
mouth flattened in annoyance.  He had been the governor of Rodeki before--before
Gryzash--so why couldn't he accept that she would make him governor again?  She would
make him PRINCE of Rodeki, if he would just stop worrying!
     She sighed faintly and moved toward him, to explain--again--why this was a good
thing to do.

     In the anteroom of the suite, Sue E Syde, Lady Protector from Xochithlan and
escort of Princess Tirisha, sighed also.  Not that she knew what was going on in the
room behind her.  Or cared.  Her job was to guard King Feyen's cousin.  Or maybe she
was his sister.  Arenamaster Xoron hadn't been clear about that.  Or maybe Tirisha
was both his sister and his cousin.  Elves were like that; everyone said so.  Not
that it mattered.
     What mattered was the job.  And the people she had to work with.  Her teammate,
Lord Protector Rob A Ree, for instance.  Not the person she would have chosen to work
with.  Too full of himself, Rob was.  But at that, he was better than the Rodekian
Lord Protector Adabemis & Balmador.  The man was a fruitcake, and no two ways about
it.

     "The whole shape of the Federation is changing, Devon," Tirisha said urgently.
"It's as though Gryzash was the keystone of an arch, and now that he's gone, the
lines of power are shifting.  Everything is changing.  Rodeki could be the center of
the shift, the point around which the new structure forms--and you could be--"
     Dulake shook his head.  "Rodeki?  Not a chance, it's a backwater.  Important as
a mining center, but it would never be the heart of the Federation, or even of the
Mordanti Alliance.  Besides, Queen Talissen wouldn't like it.  She'd be angry, really
angry.  And she's got a man here already, Gryzash's deputy, uh, Milvares, I think his
name is...."
     Tirisha could have shrieked and stamped her rage at her husband's over-caution,
but she held it in.  He never responded properly to such displays.  "A flunky."  The
elven woman dismissed Milvares with a contemptuous gesture.  "He will be dealt with."

     Sue E Syde looked up as the captain of Princess Tirisha's personal guards
emerged from deeper in the suite.  Captain Shirivien was an elf, of course, just like
the princess herself.  Well, Sue could live with that, as long as the man was
competent.  As he seemed to be.  But right now, he also looked annoyed.
     "Get the rest of the gladiators," Captain Shirivien snapped.  "We have a
mission."
     Sue raised an eyebrow in question.  Until she knew what had the man wound up,
she wouldn't know how to deal with it, and with him.
     Shirivien grimaced sourly.  "We're going to arrest the governor of Rodeki."
     The gladiatrix's other eyebrow joined the first.  "On what grounds and with what
authority?" she asked.  She had nothing against arresting a governor, generally
speaking, but if it was going to cause trouble, she wanted to know which direction to
watch to see that trouble coming.
     The captain's frown deepened.  "On the grounds that Princess Tirisha wants him
arrested, and by her authority."
     Definitely trouble coming.  "Does this governor have any guards of his own?" Sue
asked.
     "Of course he does."  Shirivien released his scowl suddenly and sighed.  "This
is going to make a lot of trouble."

Mordant:

     Faceless, a gladiator of The Black Company of Mordant, settled onto the small
ledge and leaned back against sun-warmed stone.  There was room here for her to sit
comfortably, and for a small satchel beside her (today it contained a bottle of beer
and a few slabs of bread and cheese), and a small but powerful crossbow on her other
side.  That was enough.  Her stint on watch here was only a few hours, after all.
And nothing was likely to happen.  Oh, sure, there were RUMORS, but you couldn't
count on a rumor to produce a good fight.  Her position had been formed by the
ornamental stonework on an old mansion overlooking the Feyranse River where it flowed
through Mordant.  Just across the river was the Queen's palace.  That was what she
was watching--the palace.  There were rumors of an intention to assassinate the
Queen, and Her Majesty's Herald, Allech Rabo, had taken the rumors seriously and
enrolled gladiators along with his regular men to cover the possible approaches.
     The Queen's official guards hadn't been pleased!  Faceless grinned, remembering.
Especially, it hadn't pleased that part of the Royal Guard which was composed of the
younger sons of Mordanti noble families.  Very insulted, they'd been.  Young snots.
It served them right, they'd had things too easy all their lives.  THEY didn't have
to enter the arena to make a place for themselves in the world.
     There'd been one especially, Ferris Kor, younger son of the Duke of Sharm.  Not
bad looking, if he'd ever had a pleasant expression on his face.  Which he probably
never did.  One of the other gladiators on guard, the Homicidal Maniac Babyface, had
told her that Ferris's older brother had wanted to marry Queen Talissen himself.  And
Ferris acted like that had actually happened, like he was royal himself.  What a
brat!
     But while her thoughts had wandered, Faceless's attention had stayed strictly on
the job, and she now heard someone making a quiet approach to her position over the
mansion's roof.  Faceless levered the crossbow to full cock and braced one foot under
herself in case she had to move quickly.
     "A friend coming."  The voice was low but familiar.  Marian of Ravenskeep, who
had graduated from Mordant arena and gone on to Lirith Kai.
     Faceless glanced quickly toward the voice.  It was Marian, all right.  She
lowered the crossbow as the woman settled into the angle beside a dormer window, the
nearest place to Faceless's little ledge that a person could sit.
     "Something may be happening," Marian said quietly.  "Word's come along that
there's someone on the river who isn't acting normally."
     Faceless quickly scanned all the river she could see.  There was a lot of
activity; there was always a lot of activity.  Barges hauling grain or coal or who-
knew-what.  Yachts belonging to noblemen.  Smaller boats, all the way down to canoes,
coming in from the swamp, or up or down the river from one of the outlying villages,
or just darting around on mysterious business of their own.  How could you tell who
was "acting normally"?
     "We're all supposed to watch for a green houseboat with a patched tarp over the
roof," Marian went on.  "If it goes on by, that's fine, but if it tries to land
anywhere along here," she hesitated, "well, we're to treat it like a proven enemy.
That's the order, anyway."
     "There it is!"  Faceless watched for a moment.  "Yes, that must be it, just
coming into sight around the coal barge."  The boat was barely moving, drifting with
the current; although one man stood at the stern sweep, he was steering rather than
driving the boat ahead.  He was keeping it well out into the center of the river,
too.  She tracked its slow progress down the river, sometimes losing sight of it for
a moment as it passed one of the larger barges.  At no point did it swerve closer to
the shore--either shore--or change its speed.  A false alarm....
     A faint movement, barely glimpsed from the corner of her eye.  Her gaze raced
back to the palace.  HAD something moved, something that should be there?  Something
along the waterline...something near the lower end where there was a low watergate
into the palace grounds.  Into the dungeons, more likely, but it must connect
eventually....
     THERE!
     Her crossbow moved without her conscious thought.  The string slapped against
the arms and a bolt sped across and downward.  Faceless dropped another bolt into the
slot and searched the shore again while she levered back the heavy bowstring.
     "What was it?" Marian asked, peering across the river as intently.  "I don't
see...."
     "I'm not sure, but something moved near the watergate.  Could've been a muskrat,
but what if it wasn't?"
     "You're thinking someone might have dropped over the side of the boat where we
couldn't see?"  The older woman was already signaling to one of the other gladiators
on watch.
     The signal was relayed with mirrors, and presently a shape moved in the shadow
behind the watergate.  Opened it.  Two men in the uniform of Royal Guards stepped
through and looked around.  One knelt and reached into the water, dragging a body to
the surface.  Faceless could see her bolt sticking out of the man's back.
     "Good work," Marian muttered.

            + ]H[ + ---:--- + ]H[ Out of the Past #1 ]H[ + ---:--- + ]H[ +

Off the coast of Andoria:

     Towers rising out of the misty dawn.  They had sailed due east from Skaithvarn,
so that had to be the coast of Andoria, but Raoul couldn't remember any coastal city
with such slender, pearl-colored spires.  Those looked more like the skyline of a
dream than practical stonework.  They caught the growing light and glowed.  They were
beautiful, but unearthly.  Unreal.  Not residences for practical folk.  Raoul thought
it a fitting destination for the boat Khaldren had made with his magic, though.  The
boat was, in its way, as dreamlike as the city ahead;  The hull was mother of pearl,
the sails were webs of cloud.  Magic, of course.  Powerful magic.  Raoul wondered
uneasily what Khaldren had done to assemble that power.
     The exiled Kraelian had already demonstrated that he was ruthless in pursuit of
his goals.  Raoul shifted slightly, uneasily aware of the waves of magic that seethed
throughout the uncanny vessel.  Khaldren had not hesitated to cast a spell on the
three gladiators when they entered his tower in Skaithvarn.  A binding of loyalty and
obedience, the Lord Protector guessed.  He had not resisted at the time.  In truth,
he had been taken completely by surprise.  But he sensed that the spell had not
gripped him so thoroughly as the wizard intended.  He was fairly sure he could break
it, and very sure that he wanted to be further away from Khaldren when he did that--
THIS spell, he could break, but what if the wizard immediately countered with
something stronger?  And the fate of the two women with him was unknown; they might
be as lightly held as he was, or belong to Khaldren body and soul.
     "That is Zorpunt," Jeri Northwind said.  Her voice was calm, emotionless.  Very
certain.
     Zorpunt?  Raoul blinked and controlled his impulse to question that statement.
True, there were towers in the coastal city, but nothing like those slender spires of
glass!  Without turning his head, Raoul looked sideways at the wizard.
     Khaldren's face was set in lines of effort, sheened with sweat.  Using his magic
to turn the work-a-day port city into this dream?  Wasteful of energy...unless he had
some inexhaustible source at hand.  And why?  "Krael shall be reborn," he muttered
through clenched teeth, "and Celestinvael, and Orgillat in the south.  But this shall
be my seat of power in the new world that will be...."
     The ship of pearl glided to a stop beside a dock that had been transformed
into...agate, Raoul decided.  Or something like that.  It was the kind of thing the 
Chaos contamination might have done in the recent past.  Maybe that was part of
Khaldren's power, that he could harness the residual Chaos energy?  Not a comfortable
thought, although the gladiator supposed it was better than using lives to fuel
magic.  So long as it didn't get loose.
     There was no one on the dock, no one moving anywhere in sight.  Khaldren stepped
ashore as an emperor might step ashore in conquered province.  The gladiators
followed, and the ship dissolved into mist behind them.
     The Assassins' Guild's Black Book appeared in the wizard's hands, and he smiled
at it coldly.  "I note that 'Arenamaster Kai' has a secret he would not like
advertised," Khaldren murmured.  "For a price, I will keep his secret between these
covers.  Bring him to me."  He didn't look at the gladiators at any point while he
spoke.
     Raoul felt the magic sliding around him, urging him forward, and he was willing
to go.  Once out of the wizard's sight, he would test the binding, but not here.  He
and the two women walked quietly into the city.  Jeri, a native of Zorpunt, was
slightly ahead of the older gladiators.
     The streets were filled with mist even though the sun must now be up.  The
buildings, even the street underfoot, showed the effects of transforming magic.  They
were ethereal, idealized.  Unreal.  Nothing and no one moved that Raoul could see.
     Jeri turned a corner.  Looking up the cross street, Raoul saw what he guessed
was the arena, although no arena of his experience had ever had those delicate arches
of gold-veined marble.
     Raoul stopped, setting his feet firmly when the magic tried to force him onward.
It scrabbled at his mind, feeling like a handful of energetic bugs.  But he wasn't a
puppet.  He would not BE a puppet, especially not for a man who should have been dead
centuries ago!  He served his manager Generalissimo Puerco, King Mickeal of Andoria,
and Sheila Greywand.  The oath he had taken when he first reached the Isle shimmered
in his mind.  Khaldren's magic shrieked against it, fingernails on a slate, then fell
away.  The wizard would--must--know that he'd broken free.  Raoul turned set off at a
run down the first street he saw.  A real street, this one, with cracked paving
stones, and rubbish piled against the curbs.
     Someone was running and panting beside him.  He risked a glance.  Hallie O'Dene,
the Delarquan Lady Protector.  But not Jeri.
     They ran for several minutes, but at the first sign of people ahead, living
people, they dropped to a walk without needing to discuss it.  Running people are
conspicuous.  Neither of them spoke of their problem, either.  Time enough for that
when they were out of the city.  Zorpunt was a narrow city, stretched along its
river; and they were crossing its axis.  There was a bridge ahead, which would put
them on the south bank and that much farther from the arena and the dock where they
had left Khaldren..  That much closer to the countryside.
                       ***     *****     ***     *****     ***
     Hallie O'Dene leaned back against one of the trees at the edge of the road.  She
was breathing hard.  "Do you think we're far enough away?"
     Raoul dropped onto the grass beside her and glanced back toward Zorpunt.  The
city's skyline, barely visible in the distance, shimmered slightly but otherwise
looked normal.  "I think so, doll," he answered.  "I hope so!"
     After a minute, Hallie sat up straighter.  "I wish we could have brought Jeri
away, too!  I didn't realize until it was too late that she wasn't with us."
     "I don't think we could've done it, doll," Raoul said quietly.  He took off his
hat and stared at the dusty crown for a moment, then put it back on.  "I think it's
Lady Greywand's magic that saved us--the oath we took when we got to the Isle.  Jeri
might be a Lady Protector, but she never went to the Isle.  She had no defense
against...his spell."  He found himself reluctant to speak the wizard's name here, as
though it might draw the man's attention.
     "People have to be warned--"
     "And there's only us to do it," Raoul agreed.  "I'm heading for Andor by the
fastest road."
     "And I for Delarq Tor.  We are menaced, too.  Celestinvael and Orgillat!  Gods 
protect us.  If they're anything like the histories say...."  She shook her head.
     "I've heard of Celestinvael," Raoul said slowly.  "It was between Ardivent and
the Federation, and it existed at about the same time as Krael.  But Orgillat?"
     "Near the mouth of the Selwin river," Hallie said.  "It was of the same time.
We remember it--when we must--as a place of power and fear.  If...that man would
recreate the Empire of Skorlos, he must be stopped!  By any means that we can."
     Raoul nodded.  "The legends of Krael are dark legends, too.  I should be able to
reach King Mickael with the warning.  Who would be equivalent in the Delarquan
Federation?"
     "No one has complete power," Hallie said, frowning.  "Princess Chrysanth, maybe,
but...."  She sighed and shrugged.  "It's a place to start."  She got to her feet and
held out her hand as Raoul rose also.  "Good luck."
     "To both of us, we'll need it," Raoul agreed, standing.  He grasped her hand
warmly for a moment.  "May all your gods go with you."
                       ***     *****     ***     *****     ***
     Arenamaster Kai of Zorpunt glared at the stranger, hands twitching with the urge
to reach for his sword.  But the damned wizard had already demonstrated that he could
get a spell off faster than even an arenamaster could attack.  At least, Kai supposed
it was a spell, even if it was like nothing he'd ever seen before.  And nothing he
ever wanted to experience again.  "What do you want?" he croaked.
     "Your obedience.  This 'arena'--it will now be run for me, instead of Sheila of
the Grey Wand.  The blood will be spilled in my name, not hers, the power from that
blood will come to me, not to her.  This will be the beginning of a new Alastari, and
I will rule it!"

            + ]H[ + ---:--- + ]H[ Out of the Past #2 ]H[ + ---:--- + ]H[ +

Zorpunt:

     If anyone was aware of a difference in the air of the city, or in the texture of
life and death in the arena, they did not mention it.  Of course, with a stranger
holding a wizard's staff and guarded by...some kind of monsters sitting in the
arenamaster's box, who was going to mention things, even if they DID notice?
     And who, dying messily in the Dark Arena, would mention strange lights and
unexplained whistling noises?  If Arenamaster Kai saw fit to lay down pentagrams and
other designs of colored sand on the arena floor before each fight...well, he WAS the
arenamaster.  No doubt he knew what he was doing.
     It was known that a few managers intended to protest that they had not ordered
the actual, literal death of their warriors, but only formal dismissal from the
gladiatorial system.  But when they came back from the arenamaster's office, they
looked pale and shaken, and they had nothing to tell anyone about the situation.  And
one or two of them didn't come back at all.
                      ***     *****     ***     *****     ***
     "There IS something going on," Penok muttered to Jessie June as they waited in
the ready area for their fight to be called.  "Something bad.  I can feel it in my
bones.  I don't care what the Rau says."  She jerked her head sideways slightly,
indicating Tijiss Rau, the arena steward waiting in the archway just ahead of them.
     "You know Rau," Jessie June muttered back.  "'All for the best in the best of
all possible worlds', that's Rau.  He wouldn't know 'something bad' if he ate it for
dinner and got sick right after."  She eyed the crystals set into the wall of the
arena.  About a third of them were black, the rest were blood red.  They reminded her
of the eyes of spiders.  "If those are purely ornamental, I'll eat 'em."
     "Magic," Cane Toad said flatly, coming up behind the two women.  "Blood magic.
You can smell it in the air.  At least, I can.  There's a lot of it down south where
I come from, and I'd know that smell anywhere."
     "I thought all magic was screwed up because of the Chaos and the Arcanum and
all!" Penok protested.
     The poisonous Toad shook his head firmly.  "Not blood magic.  You spill enough
blood, nothing else matters."
     "And there's always a lot of blood spilled in the arena," Jessie June whispered,
horrified at the possibilities.
     "And the arena's been bloodier since those crystals went up," Cane Toad said.
"There's something bad going down here."

Valamantis:

     Hallie O'Dene went overland from Andoria to the Delarquan Federation.  It might
have been faster to sail--if she could have found a ship going where she needed to
go, or hired one.  But she found herself distrusting the Trier.  The mage Khaldren
had come out of the Trier, after all.  He might have some power over it.  And he was
bound to notice that she and Raoul hadn't come back from the errand he'd commanded.
But these were all logical reasons that she had arrived at to explain her decision to
herself.  In fact, she simply hadn't trusted the Trier at an instinctive level.  She
made her way on foot along the coast to Gelafan, then hired horses as needed for a
fast ride south.  Well...fast!  She might have laughed if she hadn't been so worried.
Six days to Valamantis.  What horrors might the mad wizard have accomplished in six
days?
     Her plan was to take a riverboat up the Feyranse past Mordant to Sibikhas, and
then go by horse again to Delarq Tor.
     But there were towers behind Valamantis, where no towers had been for hundreds
of years.  They had none of the dream-like unreality of the vision towers that
Khaldren had raised over Zorpunt, and that was alarming.  Valamantis was much older
than Zorpunt.  There had once BEEN towers--it was called Old Valamantis now, and it
was in ruins except for the arena where the Bloodgames were held.  On that thought,
Hallie froze briefly, horrified by the realization that there had been Bloodgames
recently, lakes of blood spilled on that ancient soil.  What might Khaldren have
conjured out of that?  She didn't think she wanted to know.

Aruak City:

     The return of a wizard from drowned Krael was news that should reach Andor as
quickly as possible.  It took Raoul two days to reach Aruak City from Zorpunt, longer
than he would have liked, but faster than he had feared.  The Aruaki countryside had
suffered badly during the civil war and from the Chaos contamination just before
that.  People were getting it back into shape now, but there were no horses to be
rented or bought.  Or stolen, come to that.  Walking was faster than riding a plow
horse would've been, even if he could've gotten hold of one of the plowhorses.
     But he was damned glad to see the towers (most of the towers, some were nothing
but stumps) of Aruak city ahead.  He compared their slightly battered appearance with
the towers of Khaldren's Zorpunt and found this much better.  This was REAL.  Maybe
not perfect, maybe not as beautiful as a dream, but real.  He'd take this over the
perfect illusion any day.
     His first goal in the city was the Bulldog Inn.  He needed news, he needed to
contact his manager, and he wanted to alert Adie, the manager of the Tuft Tuggers, to
the danger.  Adie was a magician of some kind--he'd never bothered with the details--
and she could be an important part of the opposition to the Kraelian.  EARLY
opposition, too, before the man got entrenched in Zorpunt.  That might make a
difference.
     The Inn was jammed.  Odd, that.  Aruak City had always had a vigorous dueling
community, but...this many gladiators?  He could barely SEE across the common room,
much less move quickly.  But there was a table of managers in an alcove at the back.
He'd find news there, if he could reach it.
     The Lord Protector took a last look at the crowd, shook his head, and plunged in
under the elbow of a Shew.  The man was too tall for most managers, but there were
always one or two who would give a large gladiator a chance.  From the looks of the
scars, this man had been at it a while, but he was nobody Raoul recognized.  Well,
he'd been away for a long time.  Quite a long time, actually.
     "Raoul!"
     He paused and looked toward the woman whose hand was on his sleeve.  Hair like a
sunrise and wide violet eyes.  "Lady Adeolar!  You're one of the people I wanted to
find.  There--"
     "Not here in the middle of the floor, Raoul."  She drew him to one side and
through an inconspicuous door.  "Jhordeal will be glad to know you are well, but
that's not what you came for, is it?"
     "Glad to know I'm...?"  When had he been in Aruak City last?  Mantor, it was
years ago!  Before the civil war, and he had died....  He took off his hat, looked at
the rounded, dusty crown, ran a hand over his head, and put the hat back on.  No time
to go into that now.  "No, doll, that's not why I came this way.  There's magical
trouble.  Serious magical trouble, I think."
     "You came from Zorpunt?"  She twisted a lock of hair between nervous fingers.
"I have felt something happening there--something dark--"
     He nodded briefly.  "I saw it start, and it's going to be damned dark," he
muttered.  Quickly, he sketched in what he and Hallie had learned of the wizard
Khaldren and his intentions.  "I don't know how he's doing that much magic," he
finished, "because everyone says the Arcanum is in decline and spells aren't working,
but--"
     "He's using blood magic."  The woman's beautiful face hardened.  "It is the
oldest magic and the most primitive.  Almost always used for darkness and
destruction," she muttered, frowning, "even though it doesn't have to be....  It's
the least dependent on the Arcanum, unfortunately, the easiest to pervert, and the
hardest to control once it gets started."  She frowned, twisting the lock of hair
harder.  "In the hands of a powerful wizard with no scruples...."
     "That's what me and Hallie figured," Raoul said, nodding.  "I'm headed for
Andor--the king has to be warned.  And Hallie's taking the warning to Delarq Tor."
     "Yes, of course.  Definitely the right thing to do.  But you need to see your
manager before you leave town, Raoul.  He's been worried about you."  She patted his
arm absently, still frowning.  "I will gather as much information about this wizard
and his spells as I can....  I wish Shania were here, she is so good at that.  Well,
I must work with what I have."  She patted his arm one last time and opened the door
to the inn's main room.  "Off with you, and tell the other managers that...tell them
I have things to do, and I'll add to your news later."

      * }%|[-----+O+-----]|%{ * }%|[-----+O+-----]|%{ * }%|[-----+O+-----]|%{ *

                         ---===DELARQUAN REGIONAL NEWS===---

                                     Duelmasters
                                     -----------
 DM   1 MORDANT (turn 489): FACELESS of THE BLACK COMPANY (Darkfist, mgr.)
 DM   2 NIANIA (turn 374): TOOFLESS of GLORY BOUND TROLLS (DeGotti, mgr.)
 DM   3 OSKSI (turn 494): DREUBRA of THE BALROGS (Poppa Balrog, mgr.)
 DM   4 JHELUM (turn 490): MARCH MADNESS of SPORTZ! (Guardian, mgr.)
 DM   5 KALTOS (turn 489): DERBIE FOYLE of THE MIDDLE WAY 5 (Nick, mgr.)
 DM   6 TRANSEL (turn 493): MEDUSA of BATTLE BEASTS (Sensei Jan, mgr.)
 DM   7 BONSUR (turn 490): RED NO. 40 of WASTELAND II (The Muffin Man, mgr.)
 DM  10 KOLACT (turn 485): AERYN SUN of FARSCAPE (Keldon Blackfang, mgr.)
 DM  18 TALCAMA (turn 476): CADEX CFM of THE BIKE SHOP (Malaquar, mgr.)
 DM  21 SUNSET (turn 475): TAISHO of YAKUZA (Sensei Jan, mgr.)
 DM  36 JHANS (turn 449): TARGEN of IRON TIGERS (Jinx, mgr.)
 DM  38 CLIFFHOME (turn 440): NUTCRACKER of ALL FINESSE (Mannequin, mgr.)
 DM  39 XOCHITHLAN (turn 191): ZOOLANDER of WITLESS WONDERS (Berylstar, mgr.)
 DM  42 RODEKI (turn 427): PROBLEMATIC of FLAGG'S FIVE (Flagg, mgr.)
 DM  51 TRICORUS (turn 375): TSOMEGH of DARK HORSEMEN (Nick, mgr.)
 DM  54 TROCAR (turn 178): RUBBER BULLET of USELESS TOOLS (Crip, mgr.)
 DM  59 ILLIS (turn 166): DUFF of ISLANDERS (Nick, mgr.)
 DM  62 VALAMANTIS (turn 325): HOLLY MACKEREL of FISH MONGERS (Ghoti, mgr.)
 DM  72 DRAGONHEAD (turn 143): 2 PHAT TOO of VERMIN (Sultan, mgr.)
ADM 104 DARKHOLM (turn 368): LARGE SPINNY GUY of DIABLO TOO from TI (The Muffin Man)

                                      Top Teams
                                      ---------
 DM   1 MORDANT (turn 489): THE BLACK COMPANY (Darkfist, mgr.)
 DM   2 NIANIA (turn 374): THE GOLDEN FISH (Nick, mgr.)
 DM   3 OSKSI (turn 494): SIMPLY DESSERTS (Sweet Tooth, mgr.)
 DM   4 JHELUM (turn 490): DOGS OF WAR (Nick, mgr.)
 DM   5 KALTOS (turn 489): THE TAKEN (Silver Stroke, mgr.)
 DM   6 TRANSEL (turn 493): DARK PANTHEON (Doc Steele, mgr.)
 DM   7 BONSUR (turn 490): SUGAR AND SPICE (Mannequin, mgr.)
 DM  10 KOLACT (turn 485): SIR AGLIO (Sultan, mgr.)
 DM  18 TALCAMA (turn 476): none
 DM  21 SUNSET (turn 475): SONS OF SATAN (Damion, mgr.)
 DM  36 JHANS (turn 449): BLITZKRIEG (Polarius, mgr.)
 DM  38 CLIFFHOME (turn 440): ALL FINESSE (Mannequin, mgr.)
 DM  39 XOCHITHLAN (turn 191): CHEAP SHOTS (?, mgr.)
 DM  42 RODEKI (turn 427): FLAGG'S FIVE (Flagg, mgr.)
 DM  51 TRICORUS (turn 375): DARK HORSEMEN (Nick, mgr.)
 DM  54 TROCAR (turn 178): USELESS TOOLS (Crip, mgr.)
 DM  59 ILLIS (turn 166): THE EXPLORERS (Kellog, mgr.)
 DM  62 VALAMANTIS (turn 325): THE DEN OF SWORDS (TMoney, mgr.)
 DM  72 DRAGONHEAD (turn 143): EPOCHOLYPSE (Brewmaster, mgr.)
ADM 104 DARKHOLM (turn 368): DARK PANTHEON (Doc Steele, mgr.)

                                   Recent Graduates
                                  -----------------
 DM   1 MORDANT (turn 488): MURGEN of THE BLACK COMPANY (Darkfist, mgr.)
                            MUMPHY CHICK of LEGENDS OF STEELE (Doc Steele, mgr.)
 DM   3 OSKSI (turn 493): THOR of AESIR (Buri, mgr.)
 DM   4 JHELUM (turn 489): G.A. CUSTER of DOGS OF WAR (Nick, mgr.)
 DM   6 TRANSEL (turn 493): DELAPP of NIGHT TRAIN (BPR, mgr.)
                (turn 492): DARK THUNDER of DARK PANTHEON (Doc Steele, mgr.)
 DM   7 BONSUR (turn 490): RED NO. 40 of WASTELAND II (The Muffin Man, mgr.)
 DM  10 KOLACT (turn 485): AERYN SUN of FARSCAPE (Keldon Blackfang, mgr.)
               (turn 484): SHYLAYLA MINOR of PRAETORIAN GUARD (Shocking Toad, mgr.)
 DM  18 TALCAMA (turn 476): HE HATE ME of WASTELAND (The Muffin Man, mgr.)
                            PEON NECROMANCER of SRETSAMLEUD (Phat Phat, mgr.)
                (turn 475): NEOSPHINCTER of WASTELAND (The Muffin Man, mgr.)
 DM  21 SUNSET (turn 475): JADE of I MAGI (Street Legal, mgr.)
               (turn 474): VEG-O-MATIC of TRANSGRESSORS (?, mgr.)
 DM  39 XOCHITHLAN (turn 191): ZOOLANDER of WITLESS WONDERS (Berylstar, mgr.)
 DM  42 RODEKI (turn 427): PROBLEMATIC of FLAGG'S FIVE (Flagg, mgr.)
 DM  51 TRICORUS (turn 375): TSOMEGH of DARK HORSEMEN (Nick, mgr.)
 DM  72 DRAGONHEAD (turn 142): MISSY MAYHAM of ANGELS OF CHAOS (Lord Chaos, mgr.)

                                      SPY REPORT

     You elder fighters surely remember me.  The younger ones may call me Olaf 
Modeen.  I return to XOCHITHLAN once again!  What's with SKULK?  It actually beat 
WITLESS WONDERS' DAMOK, and walked away with 17 more points from the fight.  Major 
screwup at WITLESS WONDERS.  DAMOK lost 12 points to SKULK.  Some new strategies, 
perhaps?  Maybe DAMOK will provide more easy wins...  MYRON NAGEL was reminded on the 
sands why ZOOLANDER is Duelmaster.  Advice to fighters with a 1 will--give up 
fighting!   
     If at first you don't succeed, avoid.  That'll get you in the Spyreports.  
XOCHITHLAN thinks ATMAN PROJECT and their 35-49-3 is too much!  If at first you don't 
succeed, give up...  In my day, no team with a 35-49-3 would scare me off!  What's 
the problem, CHEAP SHOTS?  How well I know the feeling of being the most challenged 
warrior, TAMMY FAYE!  Don't make idle boasts, they may come back to haunt you.  
Fighting is a better craft than farming, QUIA RAYNE, but you have to pay your dues.  
Being challenged by IGNORE, 26 points above you, is dues.  IGNORE defeated QUIA 
RAYNE.  CHEAP SHOTS calls this fighting?  In my day...   
     There have been some calls to lengthen the time limit.  Do you want the fighters 
to walk away, or not?  How long have I been here?  I got people to see, places to 
go...   
     Many other cities have retirement homes for aged warriors.  Any plans here?  The 
end of another Spyreport!  That's cause for celebration in my book!  Time for my 
medication, so I'll leave now.  Practice, practice, practice!-- Olaf Modeen  

DUELMASTER                     W   L  K POINTS      TEAM NAME                  
 TAMMY FAYE 3520              14   5  0   117       WITLESS WONDERS (419)

CHALLENGER CHAMPIONS           W   L  K POINTS      TEAM NAME                  
-TIGER 3629                    9   6  0    93       THE CATS (427)

CHAMPIONS                      W   L  K POINTS      TEAM NAME                  
 MYRON NAGEL 3316             23  21  0    90       THE MIDDLE WAY (385)
 LAHRS ENNY 3400              15  12  0    90       CRIMINAL ELEMENT (379)
 SKULK 3603                    5   0  0    80       CHEAP SHOTS (426)

CHALLENGER ADEPTS              W   L  K POINTS      TEAM NAME                  
 HOMEY CIDE 3594               8   3  1    65       CRIMINAL ELEMENT (379)
 DAMOK 3538                    9  10  0    63       WITLESS WONDERS (419)

ADEPTS                         W   L  K POINTS      TEAM NAME                  
-SILVERTOOTH 3360              7   3  2    51       BLUE DIAMONDS (237)
-ANACONDA 3382                 7   2  0    50       OPHIDIAN ORDER (328)
 SMIRK 3606                    5   1  0    48       CHEAP SHOTS (426)
-LUMINOUS NIGHT 3340           8  11  1    47       ATMAN PROJECT (391)
 CHUCKLE 3602                  6   1  0    44       CHEAP SHOTS (426)
 ULRIK VORN 3556              10   9  1    41       THE MIDDLE WAY (385)
-LATE KNIGHT 3359              5   5  1    39       BLUE DIAMONDS (237)
-BLACK ADDER 3373              7   3  0    38       OPHIDIAN ORDER (328)

ADEPTS                         W   L  K POINTS      TEAM NAME                  
 MYSTI MIENER 3578             7   7  1    37       CRIMINAL ELEMENT (379)
-EYE RAISE 3604                6   0  0    36       CHEAP SHOTS (426)

CHALLENGER INITIATES           W   L  K POINTS      TEAM NAME                  
 IGNORE 3605                   5   2  0    31       CHEAP SHOTS (426)
-WARRIOR NO 3417               4   3  0    31       ATMAN PROJECT (391)
-IRONWOLF 1845                 5   9  0    30       BLUE DIAMONDS (237)
-QUICKSTRIKE 3380              6   4  0    29       BLUE DIAMONDS (237)
-SHIFTING LION 3427            5   1  1    28       ATMAN PROJECT (391)

INITIATES                      W   L  K POINTS      TEAM NAME                  
-PROUD PANTHER 1454            3   4  0    21       FIVE FELINES (190)
-SPOKEN SECRET 3634            2   0  1    17       ATMAN PROJECT (391)
 GIB HOLGIN 3611               2   4  0    16       THE MIDDLE WAY (385)
-TYSON 3592                    0   2  0    16       WITLESS WONDERS (419)
-BIG BOBCAT 3614               2   0  0    13       FIVE FELINES (190)
 KAHR, JACK 3637               1   0  0    13       CRIMINAL ELEMENT (379)
-PYTHON 3608                   1   0  0    13       OPHIDIAN ORDER (328)
-SEA SNAKE 3609                1   0  0    13       OPHIDIAN ORDER (328)
 A. SALT 3610                  2   3  0    11       CRIMINAL ELEMENT (379)
-LARGE LYNX 3613               2   0  0    10       FIVE FELINES (190)
-CLEO 3570                     0   1  0     9       WITLESS WONDERS (419)
-CUNNING COUGAR 3615           1   1  0     8       FIVE FELINES (190)
 QUIA RAYNE 3636               0   3  0     8       THE MIDDLE WAY (385)
 YOLANA X 3631                 1   4  0     7       THE MIDDLE WAY (385)
-BOA 3595                      1   3  0     6       OPHIDIAN ORDER (328)
-JUST JAGUAR 3616              1   1  0     6       FIVE FELINES (190)
-PANTHER 3618                  0   3  0     3       THE CATS (427)

'-' denotes a warrior who did not fight this turn.

THE DEAD               W  L K TEAM NAME             SLAIN BY             TURN Revenge?
STREET SCUM 3633       1  2 0 CRIMINAL ELEMENT 379  SPOKEN SECRET 3634    191         
SELA TIMM 3537         9  9 0 THE MIDDLE WAY 385    LUMINOUS NIGHT 3340   189         

                                     PERSONAL ADS

Myron Nagel -- So, were you pleased? -- Lahrs

Ulrik -- Settle down there, old chap, you'll give yourself a heart attack. -- Homey

Zoolander -- I meant that I probably couldn't beat you not that I could, and lo and
behold, I was right.  Well fought. -- Lahrs

Luminous Night -- Lights out, buddy. <grin> -- Homey

Spoken Secret -- Oh you will pay for your insolence.  Or maybe I will pay for your
insolence.  Well, either way.  Prepare to meet your maker, Secret. -- Fizban

Cleo -- Will you tell me my fortune now, Miss Cleo? <grin> -- A. Salt

Skulk -- Wh...Wh...What happened? -- Mysti

Mysti -- You were just too lovely to allow to sit there and go to waste. -- Skulk

Gib -- Whatever would I do without you? -- Eye Raise, The Epitome of Cheap-
Shottedness

Tyson -- You Witless Wonder, apparently you had a fine tournament to jump up so many
points like that.  After all, you certainly haven't shown much in the arena.  I do
hear, though, that you have a big bite. -- Smirk

Warrior No, well excuuuuuuuse me while I pay no attention to you. -- Ignore

Quia Rayne -- That was quite funny, don't you think?  I loved the matchup.  The gods
are right! -- Chuckle

Zoolander -- We all loved your Duelmaster Column!  It revealed everything you know.
-- All The Cheap Shots

Fizban -- If you offer us enough, we'll consider giving it back for a while. -- The
Cheap Shots

May you have had an illustrious Valentine's Day and completely forgot about your
loved one. -- Us Cheap Shots

Eye Raise -- May you trip over a lost initiative in the sands while going around with
your eyes raised. -- Gib Holguin

Tammy Faye -- Luscious little thing, aren't you? -- Myron Nagel
P.S.  That's why I let, and I mean LET, you win.  If I'd made an effort, you would
not have had a chance, grinch though you may be.

I like capturing nomads.  Then I have my way with them. -- Ulrik Vorn, planning to
busy this afternoon, so don't drop by

Shifting Lion -- The roar was especially effective. -- Yolana X

Chuckle -- I don't think that's really a chuckle you were doing.  I think it's just
your gears clicking because you need oil. -- Quia Rayne

Homey Cide -- No, I wouldn't.  Frankly, I thought you were named after something
comfortable and "homey." -- Youlana

4 February 2004
Greeting from Jhans, DM 36 -- In 2 turns the kLk will host our first annual "St.
Valentines Day Massacre" in Jhans, arena 36.  (Kill Contest)  The contest will begin
on turn 450.  It will run for 10 turns.  On turn 461 the winners will be announced.
There will be 3 separate categories, the team with the most kills, the alliance with
the most kills, and the warrior with the most kills.  For the manager of the team
with the most kills a PRIZE of 10 ROLL-UPS will be rewarded (or $50 deposited into
his account).  No need to declare yourself in the personals.  If you are in DM 36,
you will be part of the contest whether you like it or not.  We encourage as much
trash talk as you'd like.  All teams, managers, and alliances invited.  Please
contact Polarius (mgr. of Blitzkrieg) in DM 36 with questions.  Or you can email me
at jamieptmo@hotmail.com.  Good luck and see you in the sands. -- Polarius

25 February 2004
Readers, and especially those who volunteered warriors -- My apologies for the sudden
lack of episodes.  I've been sick, but expect to be back at the keyboard soon. -- the
Scribe

                                  LAST WEEK'S FIGHTS

SKULK devastated DAMOK in a 1 minute gruesome mismatched Challenge fight.
SMIRK luckily beat ULRIK VORN in a exciting 4 minute gory Challenge melee.
LAHRS ENNY was vanquished by TAMMY FAYE in a 1 minute Challenge Title brawl.
IGNORE luckily beat QUIA RAYNE in a 3 minute veteran vs. amateur Challenge fight.
ZOOLANDER overpowered MYRON NAGEL in a 1 minute one-sided struggle.
MYSTI MIENER was bested by CHUCKLE in a popular 5 minute gruesome competition.
HOMEY CIDE vanquished RIRORNI HORSEMAN in a 2 minute gruesome uneven duel.
A. SALT was defeated by GIB HOLGIN in a 3 minute gruesome duel.
YOLANA X was overpowered by KAHR, JACK in a 1 minute one-sided fight.

                                    BATTLE REPORT

             MOST POPULAR                        RECORD DURING THE LAST 10 TURNS     
|FIGHTING STYLE               FIGHTS        FIGHTING STYLE     W -   L -  K   PERCENT|
|TOTAL PARRY                      3         TOTAL PARRY       20 -   7 -  0      74  |
|BASHING ATTACK                   3         BASHING ATTACK    22 -  13 -  1      63  |
|STRIKING ATTACK                  2         STRIKING ATTACK   27 -  17 -  1      61  |
|PARRY-STRIKE                     2         PARRY-RIPOSTE     11 -   7 -  1      61  |
|LUNGING ATTACK                   2         AIMED BLOW         4 -   4 -  1      50  |
|AIMED BLOW                       1         PARRY-LUNGE        8 -   9 -  0      47  |
|PARRY-LUNGE                      1         PARRY-STRIKE      14 -  17 -  2      45  |
|PARRY-RIPOSTE                    1         LUNGING ATTACK    14 -  17 -  1      45  |
|SLASHING ATTACK                  1         WALL OF STEEL     13 -  16 -  0      45  |
|WALL OF STEEL                    1         SLASHING ATTACK    7 -  16 -  0      30  |

Turn 192 was great if you     Not so great if you used      The fighting styles of the
used the fighting styles:     the fighting styles:          top eleven warriors are:

AIMED BLOW         1 -  0     PARRY-LUNGE        0 -  1         3  PARRY-STRIKE   
STRIKING ATTACK    2 -  0     PARRY-RIPOSTE      0 -  1         2  STRIKING ATTACK
TOTAL PARRY        3 -  0     LUNGING ATTACK     0 -  2         2  BASHING ATTACK 
BASHING ATTACK     2 -  1     SLASHING ATTACK    0 -  1         1  PARRY-LUNGE    
PARRY-STRIKE       1 -  1     WALL OF STEEL      0 -  1         1  WALL OF STEEL  
                                                                1  LUNGING ATTACK 
                                                                1  TOTAL PARRY    

                               TOP WARRIOR OF EACH STYLE

FIGHTING STYLE   WARRIOR                     W   L  K PNTS TEAM NAME                  
STRIKING ATTACK  TAMMY FAYE 3520            14   5  0  117 WITLESS WONDERS (419)
PARRY-LUNGE      MYRON NAGEL 3316           23  21  0   90 THE MIDDLE WAY (385)
PARRY-STRIKE     LAHRS ENNY 3400            15  12  0   90 CRIMINAL ELEMENT (379)
BASHING ATTACK   SKULK 3603                  5   0  0   80 CHEAP SHOTS (426)
TOTAL PARRY      SMIRK 3606                  5   1  0   48 CHEAP SHOTS (426)
LUNGING ATTACK   ULRIK VORN 3556            10   9  1   41 THE MIDDLE WAY (385)
Note: Warriors have a winning record and are an Adept or Above.

The overall popularity leader is MYRON NAGEL 3316.  The most popular warrior this 
turn was ULRIK VORN 3556.  The ten other most popular fighters were MYSTI MIENER 
3578, QUIA RAYNE 3636, HOMEY CIDE 3594, SKULK 3603, GIB HOLGIN 3611, SMIRK 3606, 
TAMMY FAYE 3520, KAHR, JACK 3637, LAHRS ENNY 3400, and IGNORE 3605.

The least popular fighter this week was YOLANA X 3631.  The other ten least popular 
fighters were A. SALT 3610, MYRON NAGEL 3316, DAMOK 3538, CHUCKLE 3602, IGNORE 3605, 
LAHRS ENNY 3400, KAHR, JACK 3637, TAMMY FAYE 3520, SMIRK 3606, and GIB HOLGIN 3611.

The following warriors have traveled to ADVANCED DUELMASTERS after fighting this turn:

ZOOLANDER (39-3523) WITLESS WONDERS (419)