Abandoned Codex MUD
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By way of explanation

Malthus was tired. He had just returned from fighting in the strange lands of Prehistoria, far to the east of Xantheus. He needed time to allow his wounds to heal. He needed time to recover his magical energies.
He needed a drink.
Reaching into the burlap sack he carried, he withdrew a bottle of cheap whiskey and removed the cork. After glancing around to see that no one was watching, he took a healthy slug of the rough liquid, grimacing as it burned its way through his insides.
Malthus recorked the bottle and replaced it in his sack. He had learned the hard way that a little whiskey was enough. It was far more potent than the delicate wines he had grown up drinking. Even after one drink he was light-headed. No matter -- that was the condition he desired.
Before Malthus stretched out to sleep, he remembered to cast a spell of invisibility about himself. It took him a moment, as he fumbled through the words the first time. Invisibility was generally easy enough for him to achieve, so he was a bit surprised that it took him two more attempts to properly complete the casting. With the spell in place, he made himself comfortable upon the floor and was soon dozing peacefully.
Malthus awoke several hours later to the sounds of conversation in the room. It took him a moment to recognize the voices, but he soon made out the melodious tones of Tirre and Magyana. The two were debating some point of vampiric ethics with the room's other occupant, BloodWart. Whereas the voices of Tirre and Magyana were soothing, the voice of the half-troll was like the scraping of stones one upon the other.
Malthus quickly stood and walked across the room. None of the three took note of him, so he took this as sign that none were utilizing enhanced vision at the moment. That was one of the troubles with vampires -- when they wanted to, they could see right through most weaker concealment spells. Malthus longed for the days when he would be further along in his studies, a time when he would feel able to defend himself against such creatures should the need arise. Just standing in the room with them made him uneasy. "At least," he thought, "There is a code of conduct that keeps me safe from them." Although all three of the vampires had pledged themselves as Deadly, Malthus had nothing to fear. As long as he kept away from that path, none would be allowed to harm him. The code was very clear on this. Deadlies could do whatever they wanted to one another, following certain provisions concering stature, but they could do no harm to him or any other non-Deadly. Malthus considered the path he had chosen upon entering the lands of Arathnos and decided that he had chosen wisely. He had no desire to kill another adventurer, and he certainly had no desire to be killed by another. Let the Deadlies carry on with their affairs; he would keep to himself.
Malthus made his way through Xantheus, leaving the sounds of the vampires' discussion behind him. As he made his way east, he tried to shake the irritating sound of BloodWart's voice out of his head. Something about it just stuck with him, rattling around the inside of his head like the aftermath of an avalanche.
He reached the east gate of Xantheus only to find it barred shut. Malthus took a quick look at the sky and realized that it was still a couple of hours before dawn, and the gate would not be opened for at least another hour. He was frustrated at the thought of missed sleep. "Damned arguing vampires," he thought. He considered forcing the guard to open the gate but thought better of it. The man could have thrown Malthus about like a toy without breaking a sweat.
"At least I can wait in comfort," he thought. He reached into his sack and withdrew the whiskey. He knew that he really shouldn't have more until thought, he quickly uncorked the bottle and downed a hefty mouthful.
The guard was no longer smiling at his discomfort. He was smiling at Malthus' brilliance as an adventurer. Surely he musthave recognized the mage. Who else meandered about Xantheus completely enshrouded in a hooded blue robe, with naught but the point of his chin showing? As he watched, the guard opened the gate for him. "That's more like it," he muttered. "Nice to have a little respect."
As he walked away from Xantheus, Malthus could hear the guard telling a townsperson about his encounter with the illustrious mage. Malthus beamed. He didn't know what was so funny to them about his hiccups, though.
After a long walk, Malthus came to the lands of Prehistoria. Tribesmen eyed him suspiciously as he wandered through their lands. "Don't mind me," he thought. "I'm just here to fight a few of you for the chance to improve my stature back in Xantheus. But one at a time."
He moved further into the lands, looking for a lone tribesman or some other creature that wouldn't stand much of a chance against him. A reptilian bird flew by overhead, screeching as it passed. Perfect.
Keeping one eye on the bird, Malthus prepared one of his combat spells. He quickly wove his hands through the necessary motions and began to recite the arcane words that would release the power he had summoned to him. It took him a few moments to remember all of them and speak the proper syllables in the proper order. He finished the last of them and waited. Nothing happened. He had forgotten something. One key "something" had been left out, and he couldn't remember what it was.
As he pondered, he was startled by the parting of the brush to his left. A young woman of nondescript features emerged. Malthus knew her from somewhere, but he couldn't remember exactly . . . the name . . . of course . . . that was the missing bit . . . Taliesia.
Malthus sensed that something terribly wrong was about to happen about a half-second before it did. In an instant that seemed to stretch too long -- yet not long enough to allow him to stop -- Malthus' hands were lifted by the powers he was releasing, and bright shards of color sprang from them and slammed into Taliesia, wounding her terribly. She responded almost instantly with an attack of her own, and Malthus almost didn't get his own blade up in time to beat hers aside.
As he fought back, Malthus tried desperately to recite the words that would recall him to the center of Xantheus. The confusion of the battle and the slowness of his thoughts combined to keep him from properly reciting the words on his first attempt. Meanwhile, he ducked and parried and tried to keep his combat reflexes from pushing him to further injure Taliesia. She was fighting under no such restrictions, and it was all Malthus could do to avoid her blade as he tried to recite the words again. This time it worked and, in a bright flash of light, Malthus was back in Xantheus, standing before the figure of Mirza. He tried to collect his thoughts, think of how he was going to explain his attack. Already, he knew that his name and hers had been sullied. He paused for a moment to let his mind drift and focus on the names of those actively adventuring in the lands of Arathnos. Yes. Both names bore the mark of Attacker, indicating one who has broken the code of conduct between those Deadly and those non-Deadly.
  "It wash a mistake," he began.
  "Yeah, right," she almost shouted.
  "No, really," he said. "Jusht calm down and I can eksplain."   Taliesia did not calm down, but she indicated with a flip of her hand that Malthus should try to explain.
  Malthus idly wondered whether the only thing keeping him alive was the strictly enforced rule forbidding combat between adventurers within the city limits of Xantheus. He decided he'd rather not know. "When you arrived, I wash working on a spell," he said. "Somehow, I got mixed up and w-wove your name into the cashting."
  "Your voice is slurred," Taliesia observed.
  "I don't know what you're talking about . . ."  Malthus' voice trailed off as he stared at the floor.
Taliesia shrugged.
  "Okay," she said. "Say, you didn't mean to attack me. Why is it that both of us have been branded Attackers?"
  "Maybe becoss you returned my attack?" he suggested.
  "I was defending myself!"
  "I know," he said. "Still, the code ish very strict in theesh matters."
  "I'll take it up with one of the immortals," Taliesia said.
Malthus sighed. Although recent events had led to the estrangement of gods and adventurers, there was still sometimes a need to call upon them. Malthus concentrated for a moment, and tried to ascertain the presence of any of the immortal gods within Arathnos. There was one -- Daoushiinan.
Taliesia called upon Daoushiinan and, after some convincing, he agreed to review the matter. Taliesia's name was cleared, after she explained what had happened and Malthus verified that it was his mistake that had led to their fight.
As for Malthus, Daoushiinan made no clear decision. After a time, Malthus asked what he should do, and the immortal suggested that perhaps he could live with the mark for a time. Then the god vanished in a swirl of light and color.
Taliesia soon left the lands, and Malthus was once again alone in the center of Xantheus. He reached into his sack and withdrew the whiskey again. The bottle was nearly empty. Enough was left for maybe one good swallow. He considered dropping it and consuming it in the fires of a sacrifice to the high immortal, Gareth. Of course, it was just the one drink left. . . .
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