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We continue onwards and upwards along the winding path towards the looming Bone Kingdom without any further incident.
Before long we are almost alongside the walls and now search for a flat piece of ground near to its entrance where we can pitch our small festive camp.
Time to unload the wagons and get some semblance of order in our offerings.
The main entrance to the Kingdom is but a few yards away from us.
Cap’n Bob bellows out orders as is his want, but the real organising is being done by the ladies of the group.
I am there with my broom to make sure that the place is kept neat and tidy.
A few of our aerial friends soar off with bunches of leaflets to distribute them all over the Kingdom.
These will surely attract the citizens to come and see what we have to offer?
Several worthy MC citizens visit us on their way, stopping to see what we are up to and giving us encouragement in our endeavours by donating a little gold.
All goes well!
That is until Nose comes bounding up and burrows itself into Charlie’s blankets.
Trouble once more!
But this time it is not a bunch of ruffians in our way but a phalanx of well-armed soldiers emerging from the front gates and rapidly approaching our little camp.
We go into defensive positions but leave it to the Cap’n to prevent any trouble through diplomacy!
A large gnarled fist holding one of our leaflets is thrust at the Cap’n.
“You in charge?
”You can’t come in here!
“We don’t like strangers and we particularly don’t like animals!”
I see a little gleam in the Cap’n’s eye as he replies.
“Good sir! We are a travelling circus and come only where we are wanted
“We always camp outside the walls of the realms we visit to keep the places clean and tidy
“So we have no intention of coming into your Kingdom
“We rely on your citizens to come out and visit us for the fun and festivities”
This reply seems to mollify the man and his fellow guards now relax.
One or two of them even stroll over to our offerings and get their fortunes told by Angel.
Our wily Cap’n unfolds his plan.
“But good sir. As you see we have a few pets to feed and we are running out of food for them.
“We need to replenish our stocks. We have gold and diamonds to pay and we pay well too.
“Everywhere we go the local traders welcome us with open arms.
“In particular our big cats are getting a bit hungry and we daren’t let them forage for themselves as they find human flesh rather tasty!”
The head guard who had at that moment been idling stroking Spice’s head hastily moves back.
Spice of course had been purring loudly at this and I mutter to the man
“That is because she is hungry and you smell nice!”
The Cap’n continues:
“So kind Sir, can just myself and the cats keeper enter to sniff out the best meat from one of your worthy butcher’s shops?
“The rest of our menagerie will stay outside and entertain all who come to visit.”
We get our agreement to enter the Kingdom and wander its alleys “in search of pet food”!
Yes! Our Cap’n has succeeded.
As I am talking to a very smelly angry oaf with a crumbled flyer in his hand I reach for my Sai just in case but I have to be careful he is not alone.
After a talk to him/it I get his jittery nerves to settle down
Now good sir I hope this makes our journey here clearer and to show we are of no threat to anyone just going from place to place doing our show and perhaps spread some joy entertain everyone and along to way repair old wounds and make many many friends.
I thank you for allowing my assistant and myself to enter The Bone Kingdome so our Lions can hunt as you see they get kinda cranky when hungry but are big kitty cats when there bellies are full is there a way you could give me a pass to enter and have them hunt if they get hungry late at night ?
It would make it easier for us and the dwellers inside your gates and I promise both my assistant and I will make sure they cause no trouble there is also a little dog who is very attached to one of the lions and they never travel apart if you see our show you will see the lill dog is in the Lion act as well he rides the bigger lion and does tricks on his back .
I have an idea have you ever had Honey Rum?? the big oaf shakes his head no ,, well kind sir you are in for a real treat please join me in my tent for a sample and let me know how you like it .
I shudder and my skin crawls thinking I have to have this in my tent ,,, I will have to burn it after to get of his stench.
He downs the drinks faster then I can pour I want to say slow down ,,, I do not need this mess passing out in my tent *** just the thought makes my belly want to hurl.
In no time I see his eyes rolling in his head now is that from the rum ??
Any way his tongue gets very loose and in no time I get a lot of information ,,, Draw things on the table cloth and when he slams his huge fist on the table and growls WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? I calm him by saying I kind sir am just marking the areas you have told me that will be good for our Circus to preform and where we will be allowed to enter we do not want to cause any trouble nor go where we are not allowed and you sir are being very helpful ** as I refill his glass,,, a huge stomach churning belch fills my tent it is all I can do NOT TO HURL.
I am saved by the bell so to speak as one of his buddies charges in saying he is needed inside,,,, it takes three of his buddies to walk him out ,,, I say thank you kind sir for your company and here take this as a thank you and share it ,, I hand him a jug of my Honey Rum diluted of course .
I give them a few minutes run outside and *THERE SHE BLOWS and gulp massive lung full of fresh air then turn and find the boys and tell them take my Tent and burn it .
They look at me and I say yes burn it and every thing inside I will never get rid of that smell ,, thankfully my bags where still on the cart and I had the table cloth in my hand ,,, ewwwwwwwwwwwwww here copy this and burn it to.
Where can I find water to wash this stench off of me??
A mud pound good enough I strip and jump in,,,,,,,, NOT thinking about when I get out ,,,, OH DEAR the gang will love this a neekid Cap AGAIN I grab my clothes on the shore gag then bury then deep in the mud.......
I slather myself in mud hair and all oh craponacracker my mooseiestach and my fake scars what to do what to do ,,,,, Nose spy's me and barks or is that laughing at me *** if dogs can laugh *** he boy it is okay it is me Da Cap I need some help here can you go get PTG for me ???
Good boy as he heads back to the main Tent,,,,, I sit and wait mud getting a tad cool,,,
I wait behind the temporary curtain as PTG reads the announcement I had already prepared for my entrance.
"Ladies & Gentlemen, we travelled many lands & at great expense have procured the delectable & enchanting Bloody Mary to entertain you.If you are of a nervous disposition might I suggest now would be a good time to partake of our reasonably priced refreshments".
The crowd moves in closer as I walk up & curtsey to the applause.PTG is still frowning at the speech.I raise my head & suddenly there is silence as the crowd notices the Eye Patch over my right eye!!!
I whip off the cover from the Fortune wheel & ask for a volunteer from the audience as my knives are set on the little table by my Reliable Helper.As previously instructed he then disappears behind the wheel.
The crowd quietly mumbles but no-one is eager to join me, hmmm.....
I see the Little Match Girl in the corner trying to earn a few coins so I purposefully stride over, take her hand & walk back to the wheel.
"Have faith in me sweetie" I whisper into her ear.
"Will you gamble with me on the wheel?" I say to the girl but loud enough for the crowd to hear.
"I have nothing but matches & 20 coins" the girl replies.
I call out that we will gamble for 3 boxes of matches.The girl places them on the table next to the knives & stands to the side.I ask her to pick two items on the wheel so she chooses the Plain Stamp & the Blood Lotus which she badly needs.I pick Ancestor's Spirit then call out to my helper to spin the wheel.
I pick up three knives, cast an Almighty Luck spell under my breath & throw the knives in quick succession!
The crowd roars when the wheel finally stops spinning to reveal that I have hit all three items on the wheel.
I thank the Little Match Girl & give her 20 Plain Stamps, 3 Blood Lotus & an Ancestor's Spirit which can be sold for 2000 coins.
I take a bow & disappear behind the curtain with PTG at my heels.
"How did you do that?" He asks.
I laugh as I turn the wheel around to show the magnets that had been positioned by my Reliable Helper,behind the three items selected.
"I never leave it to chance when playing the Wheel of Fortune ha ha".
Before PTG can reply he is distracted by a little dog so I leave him to it & go to find a nice cup of tea.
Yap! Yap! A very small dog is tugging at my trousers and trying to pull them off!
A very dozy owl flutters down from the crown of my tent and flies to the door. There it looks at me and "toots" while the dog keeps yapping and pulling.
It dawns on me that perhaps it wants me to go somewhere!
So I get up and follow the dog out into the adjacent field.
There in the middle of the mud wallow that Beau has created sits a weird site - a mud man!
Most of him is plastered in the wet stuff but his face has dried and now cracks as he speaks.
"Come and get this *&%!!"__+(*&%%$$XXXX! stuff off me and get me my spare set of clothes that Charlie knitted for me"
Well I am not going near him with this gluey mess around him and I have an idea.
Beau created this wallow so perhaps Beau would like to replenish the water!
I rub my amulet and explain to Charlie what is required and within minutes there is Beau, somewhat larger than normal with a great deal of liquid sloshing around in her trunk!
I call to the Cap'n: "come to the edge of the depression and we'll get you clean!"
A lily white torso soon appears with the Cap'n bellowing in rage.
"Do you want to get clean or not? If so then stop complaining!"
Beau returns with another load and finishes the cleansing job off.
She then starts to trumpet and a stream of warm air dries him off.
"There! Now stop muttering and get dressed again!
"You need to get on your travels before any of those so-called guardians of the Realm change their minds!"
A sparkling clean Cap'n and Charlie leave and pass through the main gate together with two large cats and a dog.
I sit by the main tent greeting citizens as they pass by and entertaining those, who love petting animals. Some of these are so cute and have been taught tricks to make you laugh. Charlie has worked wonders with them.
I keep a watchful eye on any citizen who strays near to Beau or Blossom, not because of any danger from them but because Egor who is somewhere on one of them is in a very excited mood at the moment and is capable of any mischief. Both Beau and Blossom are also watching out for him.
Everything is going so well, especially when I pop into Angel’s tent and see for myself the pictures that Charlie’s cats are now sending back from inside the Kingdom as she and Cap’n Bob climb upwards onto the higher levels of the realm.
Why must I have such thoughts? They only bring on disaster!
And disaster is what happens next!
A long dark shadow casts over our little encampment as a long expensive carpet sinks to the ground and two men approach me. One of them is wearing a VERY expensive suit and the other is rather scruffy in an old pullover and jeans.
As they get near I can clearly see that they are wearing badges that put mine with Chief Sweeper Upper of the Midnight Castle emblazoned on it to shame.
Underneath the logo Midnight Castle gold badge reads Development Team and is worn by the suited guy. The other badge reads Midnight Castle Technical Support Team.
“I see you are in charge of this expedition at the moment?”
Without pausing for a reply, he thrusts a sheet of inscribed vellum into my hands and stands back so I can read it.
“You have been charged and found guilty of stealing Midnight Castle property to the detriment and dismay of all those who are now playing the game!
“This is not your first offence fo doing this and you were warned not to do it again
“As you have done so, this is now your FINAL warning and any more infringements will result in the owners of the game withdrawing your ID.
“There is no appeal
“Furthermore in accordance with Rule 74 subsection a (101), you have been fined 1,000 diamonds and $1,000.000. This has already been deducted from your account”
He stands back and as I am speechless and only able to get out a few incoherent syllables the scruffier guy steps forward.
“We want it back! And we want it back NOW!
“If it is not still in perfect working order YOU pay for its repair!”
What on earth are they talking about? What have we done?
He continues as he pulls out a screwdriver and a lamp.
“Come on, this is URGENT! There are several dozen concerned citizens who are unable to continue with their games until you do give it back”
I manage to croak a question:
“What are you talking about?”
And get that particular sympathetic look from them that I know so well:
It means that I am a simple moron!
“OUR WHEEL OF FORTUNE you cretin!
“You have removed it illegally to use as a prop on this expedition.
“So return it NOW!”
The ‘penny drops’. I had wondered why Roo Roo was so smug when she said she had a circus act to end them all.
She must have borrowed the item and not told us.
Then “Toot, Toot”
Which is owl speak for “she’s not here”
I rush to her tent and there it is propped up against the far wall.
I wheel it back to the waiting MC guys who look it over, tinker with it for a while, then sniff and load it onto their carpet.
And they leave.
Now where is ROO?
Why is it always when I am left in charge that things happen?
With my letter from the smelly one .. that will have one banger of a headache tomorrow lol ,
Roo and I stroll through the streets making sure the cats are getting as many shots as they can man this place is huge and so many side streets and I say to Roo we have our work cut out for us.
We hand out flyers as we pass and enter a few shops checking things out and asking if we could hang a poster in the shop and invite them to come have some fun be entertained and have some great food and bring the kiddies for we have rides and they can pet and feed most of the animals
Nose nudges my leg several times and the two Lions get very irate and they fur stands on end ,, sign of DANGER ,,,
A huge burly brute jumps in front of me with his sword drawn and jabs the handel into my chest ..
STOP YOU CAN NOT ENTER HERE...so I show him my pass but I get a humph NOPE NO GOOD HERE TURN AROUND AND LEAVE OR ELSE ,,,come on Roo he means business but I am sure Sugar and Spice got the pic's I need ,, They growl at the burly beast and him like an idiot growls back and I say I would not do that if I were you and feel them both pull and growl harder and see Sugar's paw lase forward just missing the idjiots leg.
craponacracker he thinks he can fight these two?? I pull as hard as I can and yell easy easy easy come on we are leaving Spice takes a swipe #$%^&*&^% wish CHARLIE was here as I am fighting to hold Sugar and Spice I call CHARLIE WHAT IS THE COMMAND TO BACK OFF THEY ARE ABOUT TO ATTACK AND I CAN NOT HOLD ON MUCH LONGER AND WE DO NOT NEED THIS RIGHT NOW .
The burly idjiot starts to sweat and his hand starts to shake ,,, I can see he is having second thoughts ,,, so calmly I say put down your sword slowly and back away and we will do the same.
I try and tell him do NOT run but he is off like a shot.
Well Roo I hope this does not cause us any trouble and get us banned from here come lets get as many pictures as we can and get out of here I will come back with Nose tonight.
We check out a few more ally ways then not to push our luck I say okay lets head back we need to calm Sugar and Spice here and I bet they are hungry like us so lets go eat.
Charlie and I make sure the Zoo is fed and watered when I hear a crash bang BOOM from the TEMP food Tent,, I go flying Sai drawn ready for battle.
OMG what the hell's going on here Opel has PTG's broom swinging it all over the place,,, it on turn is trying to get out of her Hugh hands ,, PTG is frantic trying to rescue his broom from Opel ,,, Muss Katt Angel and Roo are hiding under a table so as not to get bombarded with ballons filled with water and bananas
Bananas ???????????????????? EGORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR where are you fur ball ,,, I follow the broom in Opel hands up to the cross beams and there he is the lill devil playing hide and seek pitching bananas and water balloons then swinging to an other steel grid EGOR GET THE !@#$%^&*()_ DOWN FROM THERE AND STOP THAT SPALATTTTTTTTTTTTTT I GET A FACE FULL OF GOOGY BANANAS ,,,,
WILL SOMEONE GRAB THAT NUTSO MONKEY ,,,,
Charlie to the rescue as she brings in Egor's play mate and gets him down with out any further flying objects,,
Okay Egor you are grounded now get back to the closer Charlie has set up and Charlie keep an eye on him.
Man what a mess as everyone pitches in to clean up so we can eat ,,, AHUM Miss Opel may I please have my broom back now??
She hands him his precious broom as he checks it over from bristle to stack end and coos it is ok I got you now ,,,,
I look at PTG and just shake my head.
All is cleaned up and we all get to eat in quite ,,,, I call Charlie to come join us and bring Nose please*** she likes to eat her meals with her Zoo***
As I am waiting I clear the table and lay out the maps and pictures we have so far,,, okay gather around ,,,
Heres the plan,,, Nose and I will do a night recon here as I point to entrance to The Bone Kingdom,,,, I need get a look at the inside ,, what is this a Ball Room ,,, Yes says Roo and up the stairs are The Hounds over three doors ways what and where they go I do not know .
Okay that is my plan Charlie can you fasten the pearls to Nose's collar ? I need to look as if we are on a nightly walk if we are spotted.
And Charlie you will be with me tomorrow as my assistant I will have one Lion you the other ,,, I have the pass if we are stopped and questioned ,, we just say we are here for meat for the Lion's and that we have permission and this pass.
We can get Sugar and Spice to growl a bit as if they are really hungry .
Okay every one clear on the plan??
I go with Charlie to get ready for my night recon with Nose.