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Moths to a Flame
MOTHSMsg # 1 of 18                    Date: Thu  2/05/1991,  2:40 pm

From: THE PALADIN                Read: 109 times

     To: All
Subject: Moths To A Flame

Suppose I should clear up some of the inaccuracies that seem to abound with
some of you.

This is not a D&D area, though you can be forgiven for thinking so; the
names in use from the two principal characters are somewhat fanciful.

However, only somewhat. Paladin and Hecate are real people, not just
characters. This subbie is sitting here as what could best be described as a
medieval fantasy romance area. Hecate and myself have exchanged various
forms of mail with each other, ranging from sublime to sordid, and I
mentioned to the sysop here (that's you, Aimee, take a bow) that this would
be more fun brought out to public view.

That's what this is here for. After a lot of discussion, things seem to have
settled on an ongoing story line to match Hecate and myself together. Feel
free to add to the events already detailed. Be warned, however, that any
action taken by our characters that seems out of place or unlikely to our
natures, will likely result in a short sharp rebuttal.

Anyway, we currently have the Paladin at a crossroads, seeking the favours
of the moon, and with Dianna fleeing the scene (thanks, Mikali). What shall
he do? Will he win her favours? Just how torrid is this going to get????

You tell us. Surely you each have thine own interpretation of what shouldst
come next. Let us know, also...


MOTHSMsg # 2 of 18                    Date: Thu  2/05/1991,  3:04 pm
From: ADRIAN NEILSON             Read: 89 times

     To: All
Subject: The Paladin's Quest: The Coming

as the paladin rose from his watching place, wondering when he would see
dianna next, he watched a lone figure walking toward him from the south
through the medow, as it grew nearer he could make out the figure, he was a
tall young man of a haevy set build wearing a grey robe matching his

The figure walked up to the cross road looking around, ignoring our noble
paladin, and then addressed the open air in a rough husky voice raising his
arms lights started to swirl around him as he chanted his incomprahensible
language.The lights turned to a ball of light untill it was painfull to see,
he then turned to face the paladin with a wicked grin, spinning his evil


MOTHSMsg # 3 of 18                    Date: Thu  2/05/1991,  9:00 pm
From: MIKALI                     Read: 78 times

     To: All
Subject: The Paladin's Quest

AN>The figure walked up to the cross road looking around, ignoring
AN>our noble paladin, and then addressed the open air in a rough
AN>husky voice raising his arms lights started to swirl around him
AN>as he chanted his incomprahensible language.The lights turned
AN>to a ball of light untill it was painfull to see, he then turned
AN>to face the paladin with a wicked grin, spinning his evil web.

The Paladin tensed his right arm slightly.  Those who knew him (but were
there any that truly knew him?) could see fury rising in him. Hecate would
test him sorely before showing herself to him, but his gorge could not help
but rise at such a test.  It were more an insult than a challenge.  He
reached for his sword caressing the cold steel with his gloved palm.  The
cold, cold steel.  The fire within him burned furiously.  He reached and ...


Now a strange noise emerged from his sealed helm.  Dianna, who had hidden in
the top of a mighty oak, was puzzled?  It was... laughter?

"Too close, Hecate," the Paladin cried.  "But I will not lose my control so
easily for your amusement."  The figure charged the Paladin, claws
outstretched.  The Paladin barely regarded the sorcerer as he pushed him
away, the sword firmly seated in its scabbard.  The dark figure fell against
him, and recoiled at the chill of the steel.  There was a moment's pause.
The figure stared at the Paladin,  but the Paladin's eyes encased in his
accursed helm were not to be seen.  The dark figure smiled, stepped forward
and vanished.

"Hear me Hecate..."  the Paladin began again to the winds...but Dianna was
distracted.  Despite herself she stared at the heart on his arm.  She sent
an elk walking across the meadow.  The Paladin saw the elk and drew silent.
Straightening himself, he bowed in mock formality to the majestic animal.

Dianna's thoughts drew confused.  Was he mistaking the elk for herself?
Possibly, yet he was looking around the crossroads.  For her?  For Hecate?
Oh, but could she just see inside that helmet.  She was intrigued.  She
caught herself, what was that?  She was actually intrigued.  That hadn't
happened for a very long time.  Idly, she notched an arrow.   So Hecate
would toy with him, would she?  Dianna arched her back catlike, and purred
at the anticipation of what was to come:  voyeur and votary.

"Hecate..." the Paladin thought almost audibly.  Dianna laughed despite
herself.  No, he was both stronger and weaker than he first appeared.  So
you seek Hecate. Be careful what you wish for, mortal, you may have your
wishes granted...

MOTHSMsg # 4 of 18                    Date: Fri  3/05/1991,  2:30 am
From: DALAMAR                    Read: 80 times

     To: All
Subject: The Paladin's Quest (Continued)

Turning Paladin walked towards what he thought was a noise, a noise that
could possibily be Hecate.
Standing below what seemed a oak tree, Paladin knelt, 'Will thou, just
once, show thy face to me, Oh lover of the moon, show thy face and grant me
the only wish I have had since my loins surged, for the first time I saw

Grasping his sword the metal burned with a inner heat, Paladin easied the
sword till the tip touch his the metal plate covering his heart, 'For thee,
I would kill myself, For thee I would bring down the stars to enhance thy
Loveliness, Nay, Even the fairest Star could not compare to you'

Hecate, Smiled, Breathing sharply, She stopped herself from dropping down
from the tree into Paladin's arms, Trickery, She wispered to herself, He
thinks he can win me over, by Words!'
Slipping the Robe which barely covered her body Hecate lowered herself down
from the tree.

Paladin gapsed, A sharp pain echoed through his body, Here she was, Naked
before him, Waving to him to come closer, His body moved without thought,
His brain fired warning shots through his system, 'Danger' This was a
Goddess, Someone with perfection.
Paladin's Soul screamed aganist the Over powering will of Hecate, 'My lover,
Do you not see what you have wished for?' Hecate whispered.

'Can this be death? There's bloom upon her cheek, so pale, so cold and yet
so fair'
Slowly Paladin stepped towards perfect pleasure and perfect agony, Death
would be the only escape from the embrace of Hecate..........
MOTHSMsg # 5 of 18                    Date: Fri  3/05/1991,  1:15 pm

From: THE PALADIN                Read: 68 times

     To: All
Subject: The Paladin's Quest (Continued)

Diana's seeming stood before him, naked, oh so gloriously naked! His blood
rushed in his veins, a yearning ache spread through his loins. Not since the
twin gods had last sanctioned a conjugal rite had he felt thusly.

And then the heart on his sleeve pulsed once, a sharp burning pain driving
through his flesh, clearing his mind of the lust that threatened to bring
out the most bestial of his nature. The heat was reflected in the sudden
ruby glow that wrapped the clearing in a fist of fire, hell-light burning
the mists clear from the ground and his eyes.

In that light, he saw the truth. There was no maiden before him, nor
huntress either. The image wavered and disolved. The seeming had been just
that, an artifice from the goddess, designed to search out his weakness and
turn his own strengths against him by burying him in his own mortal
passions, locking him into a phantom embrace that would have carried him far
from the world he knew, never to return.

The heart on his arm, sigil of the favour of the gods he worshipped, was all
that had saved him. Without its burning heat and penetrating light, he would
have lost himself in fantasy, doomed for eternity by a shade of his own

Still on his knees, he raised his arm to his lips, as if to kiss the heart
etched there on the steel. Lips moved soundlessly behind the helm, as he saw
the result of that searing pain: the heart was gone. The steel where it had
been was melted clear through, and the flesh below was charred in a perfect,
blackened image. No longer was the heart to be on his sleeve; now it was
once more a part of him, seat of his emotions, balance of his desires.

Thoughtfully, he bound a layer of strong leather across the hole in his
armor, staring all the while up at the oak. So, the goddess wished a
testing, hmmmm? Well, then, he would last this night (for dawn was not far)
gainst all she could bring to bear. And on the morrow would be a testing of
his own. For the new day would be Beltane, when the juices of mortal and
immortal ran rampant.

He rose to his feet and bowed towards the oak, certain by the warmth of her
gaze on his face that the goddess resided there. His lips moved to a wry,
lupine smile; Hecate it was who hunted men. How, he wondered, would she fare
when the hunted became hunter, and she herself was the prey?

Still smiling, he turned to the forest and gathered a bundle of fallen wood,
with which he made a large bonfire at the centre of the crossroads. He had
wood enough to last the time required, and the crossroads post would suffice
as a maypole. The dew would collect on Hecate's form where she was, so that
part of tradition would be served. And as the forces of nature combined to
conspire against her own desires, he would be the only candidate for the
indiscretion this rite demanded.

And thus Hecate would be bound. For this rite of Nature would brook no
dissension. Though she fight, forces which even she was subject to would
bring her to his arms. The favours would be his.

"Test me as thee will, Lady!" The paladin cried into the night. "I shall
prevail, and the morrow thou shalt have a test of thine own! Defend thy
heart as thou will, for in the end, by its very beating it shall betray

MOTHSMsg # 6 of 18                    Date: Sat  4/05/1991, 12:13 am
From: DUNGEON MASTER             Read: 69 times

     To: All
Subject: The Paladin's Quest (Continued)

>"Test me as thee will, Lady!" The paladin cried into the night. "I shall
>prevail, and the morrow thou shalt have a test of thine own! Defend thy
>heart as thou will, for in the end, by its very beating it shall betray
Hecate's testing would not end here, he knew. It was a while later, when he
felt the sound of life and heard the color of darkness, as he fell into
the stupor of her sending.....

.....Slowly but surely the dizziness began to overcome the Paladin as the
cool enbrace of Hecate smothered him. Warning lights started to flash in his
brain as the world slowed, and time stopped, but the inner core of the
Paladin's being refused to give. That which was sworn would not be released,
even in death. Speeding against the Reaper he again began to organise his
thoughts into a new pattern.

The first he saw anew was the flash of his sword as as flames danced
through the forest. Coming to full awares, the new Paladin was aroused by
the sounds of combat. Hecate's corpse was left lying in the wet moss under
the tree, after seeing Death to it's new charge. Within seconds, the flames
of an anicent Red had turned the place into a funeral pyre. Still groggy
from the misty hand of darkness, and the awakening of his new being, only
his trained instincts, honed to the level of skill required by a grand
master, saved him at that last minute.

As his dive took him spinning to the right, the hard rigid claws dug into
the place he had been, ripping the oak from it's birth place. A battle
scream echoed across the hell on earth as the prey escaped. With a flash the
sword was out.......

The return from delusion was quick, and sharp. Chores forgotten for the
while, the Paladin layed down in rest and thought, under the very tree in
the sending........

/* Dungeon Master */

MOTHSMsg # 7 of 18                    Date: Sun  5/05/1991, 12:04 am
From: THE PALADIN                Read: 56 times

     To: All
Subject: The Paladin's Quest: Musings

The Paladin had to loose a wry chuckle, examining the memory of the
goddess's latest testing. It had all been in his mind. All of it, so far,
nothing more than dream and nightmare. He began to wonder what prowess this
goddess truely possessed, that images were all she had sent against him.
Could it be that this was the extent of her power? Or was there something
she had yet to show?

Images he could deal with, had, and would. Hecate could bring as many
sendings to bear on him as she could birth from her immortal immagination.
He would prevail against them all; he had sworn to stand through this
night's trials, and on the morrow bring the goddess to a testing of her own.
He would not by any power be foresworn.

How, he wondered idly, would she appear to him? Tri-formed she was named, no
doubt with reason. Which face would she wear for him, as she came to him in
the woods for Beltane? Would it be the face of the old crone, the wise
woman, or the fair maiden?

Time would tell, and soon. For dawn was now near enough to silver the
horizon, bring a pearl lumeniscence to the mists. If Hecate were to test his
limits, it would have to be soon...

MOTHSMsg # 8 of 18                    Date: Sun  5/05/1991,  2:11 am
From: DALAMAR                    Read: 61 times

     To: All
Subject: The Paladin's Quest: Trumpets Sound

Listening to auite around him Paladin, was startled by loud Trumpeting and
laughter all around him.
His heart wrenched aganist his chest, 'No' not the Wild Hunt, Hecate had
sent {Him}, Nature's pure wild forces pulled together in a inhuman body of
terror and Evil, No, Not evil, Only someone who had no moral's, Nothing,
{He} lacked any emotion apart from lust and hate.
Paladin Knew that, what he faced was the second test, The test of might
aganist Might, Death once again looked in the face and laughed.

Standing, and drawing his sword, Paladin Sighed, For this would be a battle
that even Zues and Thor would be proud of.
Screaming a man dressed in Leather and wearing what seemed a Deer's head, a
18 pointer, Unknown to only the mightest of Stag's.
Shouting down from his horse, The Creature spoke 'Death?, What would you
feel, when your life force drain's from your body, and when Even life looks
and walks away.' The creaure paused 'Feel?, You will feel, only what I can
give, Death!"
With the sudden movment the creature charged Paladin Knocking him to the
ground, Quickly jumping off his Horse the creature proceded to Pull out his
wickly curved sword.
Paladin Stood, a look of pity hidden by the cursed helm, 'Death? Why would
I fear something that I know will never happen to me?, Do you try and scare
a turtle, about the near attack of it's head?, when it perfectly know's
that without a thought It can bring it's head within it's shell and protect
it self, As such you threaten someone who faced death, and laughed directly
in it's face and survived' The creature stopped, Showing somewhat a look of
Doubt, But once again the Trumpet's sounded, and his Queen demanded that he

MOTHSMsg # 9 of 18                    Date: Sun  5/05/1991,  3:14 am
From: THE PALADIN                Read: 59 times

     To: All
Subject: The Paladin's Quest: Herne Challenged

The Queen called her champion forth. No more bitter foe could she present
the Paladin with than this: Herne the Hunter, Captain and Lord of the Wild
Hunt. A creature fey as the birth of the world. Only barely restrained by
the Power that summoned him, son of the Wild Magic that could tear down even
the gods from their mighty estate.

And yet the Paladin felt pity for this creature, tormented as it was down
through the ages by the dichotomy of its nature. Lust and hate tore it in
different directions. Destruction of life was a part of the warp and weft of
its existence, yet it yearned eternally for the passions and compassions
that were the birthright of humble Man.

The great broadsword rose slowly from the Paladin's side, tip pointing
unerringly to Herne's heart, held steady as a sworn oath within the
Paladin's gauntleted fists. Unwavering it remained as the Paladin released
one hand from its hilt, and used the edge of his own blade to slice through
the leather that bound about his forearm.

The hole in the Paladin's armor stood forth like a well into the soul of
humanity. It captured Herne's gaze and drew it, swallowed it and consumed
it. And from it he felt the wellspring of all his desires, that brushed
Baside his thoughts of death and destruction and confronted him with the
awesome calamity of his own fearfullness.

"Be ye warned, Huntsman. Thy Queen uses thee most sorely this night. Stand
not ye gainst me, else thine own existence shall be forfeit, and the Pack
without its leader! By mine oath and by mine faith, thou shalt not prevail,
though thou leadeth me to Death's dominion, and beyond!"
MOTHSMsg # 10 of 18                   Date: Sun  5/05/1991, 10:49 pm

From: ASH WEDNESDAY              Read: 57 times

     To: All
Subject: Paladin Re: Lyrics

Ok, you want to keep posting lyrics into here, try this one:

                       FIRST  LOVE
                       (W B Yeats)

Though nurtured like the sailing moon
In beauty's murderous brood
She walked awhile and blushed awhile
And on my pathway stood
Until I thought her body bore
A heart of flesh and blood

But since I laid a hand thereon
And found a heart of stone
I have attempted many things
And not a thing is done,
For every hand is lunatic
That travels on the moon.

She smiled, and that transfigured me
And left me but a lout,
Maundering here and maundering there,
Emptier of thought
Than the heavenly circuit of its stars
When the moon sails out.

So, noble Paladin, beware, for your playmate has yet to be courted/won.
Enough of the games, she may enjoy the hunt more than the kill, and as yet
you have not even laid eyes on her.

MOTHSMsg # 11 of 18                   Date: Sun  5/05/1991, 11:56 pm
From: THE PALADIN                Read: 56 times

     To: All
Subject: Courting?

How now, villein!

There has been no courting (as thou hast phrased it) since there has yet to
be a response from Hecate. Have I passed her tests? Well, they are not over
yet, it would seem. Nor has she herself yet been tested.

Only after these events are done may courting begin. Yes, it's a game. It's
the manouevering done BEFORE courtship starts, where you find if it's
reasonable to make the attempt.

Let play continue...


MOTHSMsg # 12 of 18                   Date: Thu  9/05/1991,  2:31 am
From: HECATE                     Read: 54 times

     To: All
Subject: The Paladin's Quest: Hecate's Views

She watched the tension mount as the two beings faced each other.  Her
decision of calling Herne to help was no easy task, she would owe him more
than she cared to pay out, but she could handle it in her own time...

The mere thought that The Paladin feared death intregued her, as she had no
memory of the fear, she feared nothing.

Watching, she saw the two men sizing each other up, judging weaknesses, it
would be a long battle, as neither was the weaker, neither was the stronger.
It was all planned wonderfully.  She need not uncover herself to this man,
he seemed to be sufficently engrossed with her visions that she sent her,
she just hoped that he realised that Herne was not a vision, but made of
substance... somehow she feared for this Paladin, not knowing why.  She
would be sorry to see him dispatched so early in the game.

Unexpectantly he removed the binding that sat where the heart was, she had
helped him in that respect, it made things too easy for both of them, to
have such a weakness displayed blatantly to the world, so she made it a part
of him.  There were other weaknesses that should be sought out before the
battle was won.

Herne was transfixed, that much was obvious!  This was not going to plan!
He must have realised that Hecate had had a part in this absorption, and she
would pay for that dearly.

She waited to see who the victor was, wondering which man she would give
extra power to.  Chuckling to herself she guided the powers equally, they
were both so weak!  She would have to temper her next tasks to give more
strength and power to this Paladin, if he survived this one.

The two men circled each other...

MOTHSMsg # 13 of 18                   Date: Thu 16/05/1991, 11:57 pm
From: THE PALADIN                Read: 56 times

     To: All
Subject: The Paladin's Quest: The Challenge (Cont

The tawny eyes deepset beneath the antlers stared back impassively at the
paladin, then Herne's cruel lips parted in a low, scornful chuckle.

"You think you can challenge ME, mortal?" The being taunted. "I, who have
hunted gods and brought kings and their realms to ruin? Neither your faith
nor you paltry vow carry any weight in my sight; I am here at the request of
Hecate, that 'dark queen' of mine as you refer to Her, to extend my aid in
removing you from Her trail. No power YOU may call on will aid you against

There was a moment's pause, then the paladin inclined his head fractionally
in acknowledgement.

"Thou art correct; mine own force at arms could never gainsay the passage
of thy fury. Yet mine own honour forbids me yeild to thee." Slowly, the
great broadsword held in his gauntleted fist was lowered, until its tip
sheathed itself in the moist, loamy soil at the paladin's feet. "Yet,
wouldst thou deny me the death-song in my heart, ere we two battle?"

For once, Herne was startled; death-songs and those who sung them had long
since passed away in this land. And yet, he could yet remember the glory of
those days, the triumph his prey could find in holding the sum of a life in
the span of a few lines of verse moments before death claimed them. A
strange melancholy filled his being, a longing for those heroes gone down
into darkness, and a dim hope that this one mortal could, even if
momentarily, resurrect those days of courage and legend.

Herne lowered his own sword, stepped back deferentially. "Nay, I would not
deny even a mortal the time to make his peace with his life and his gods ere
he lose both. I would hear your life."

The Paladin bowed. "I thank thee. Though this shall not be MY life, but the
life of the land, and of the world, and it's legends that shall pass into
mystery." And then, before the Lord of the Hunt could protest, he lifted his
voice to a wild cry, and a mournful chant rose from his lips.

"The red flame flickers on the wall of the cave
(smeared with ochres, berry dye, charcoal)
Making the great elk move
Making the mastadon breathe
Making the hunters race and kill.

Watch them seeking to placate, and understand the world above
This they know:
This they understand:
There is darkness, everywhere, outside.

The dark is everywhere; and though the sun comes up,
And though the fires blossom, and are tamed,
The darkness is there,
The darkness is waiting.

And the things in the darkness
That whisper before they feast
They are to be placated and persauded
They are to be loved and sacrificed to
They are to be prayed to and distrusted.

In the Nile delta the sands whisper
Of dog-faced gods
Azure scarab beatles
Tall shadow women
That pad like great lions across the dunes
Blood and honey dripping from their paws.

From far Chin and distant Chu
By the waters of the yellow river
The dragons are walking
Discoursing in sage dialects
"Revere spirits, but keep them at a distance."

In the lands of olive and laurel
Where the gods walk
"At the heart of every mystery,"
Whispers the twice-born boy who rose from the dead,
"Is the grain of my corn, and the wine of my blood."
Drama, vines and goat-feet follow him into the world.

The witch-queen always has three faces
Who waits at the crossroads for your sacrifice
Waits in the underworld
In the sacred groves
In the moon.
She sits beneath a dead king hanging from a tree branch
And will show you all manner of charms."

A long silence ensued when the paladin had finished. And then, without a
word, Herne mounted back up on his horse, and rode off into the mists. A
barely heard hiss of displeasure drifted from the direction of the oak, and
the paladin turned to face it.

"I know thee, and name thee, Hecate! Wouldst have ME as thy sacrifice? As
thy dead king? Nay, I say! For 'tis dawn on Beltane, and ere sunset this day
shall I have tasted THY sacrifice, in THY sacred groves! Come, now, and show

(with thanks to Neil Gaimon for the words)

(BTW, Hecate, 'tis thy turn for a posting, methinks!)

MOTHSMsg # 14 of 18                   Date: Fri 17/05/1991,  3:03 am
From: PUCK                       Read: 59 times

     To: All
Subject: The Paladin's Quest: Laughter

Springing from behind bushes, a figure stood within reach of Paladin,
Laughing the figure Bowed and spoke 'You would seem to be at a loss, My
friend?' the figure sneered as uttered the word freind, 'Would that I could
help thee?, I would, But it would seem, that you have as much trouble, as
you could possibly handle eh?'
Paladin stood silently, waiting for further hints, towards what kind of test
stood before him.
Again the figure laughed, 'Can thee guess who I am?, Would it be that you
have no idea who or even what I am. Would that be the dam stopping the
Paladin clenched his jaw, 'What do you want Fiend?'
'Fiend?, Oh what joy, Fiend?' The figure laughed, and as he fell to his
knee's in amusement, Paladin saw his face.
Puck stood, 'So, You finally know, Well so be it, I made the mistake, And
you have found out who I am, But tell me Fair Knight do you know what Power
I represent?. I think not, I will not be as easy to deter as Herne, For he
is a fool, that tries to live in the past. No I have no feeling's bar two,
Hate and Lust!'
Paladin pulled out his huge sword and saluted Puck, 'As you said, so be it,
Let us fight'
Puck sneered, 'Fight?, What do I need for fighting?, I want one thing
Paladin, If you are willing to give that One thing up, Nothing will stand
between you and what you dream, exepct the dream it self'
Paladin drop his sword, 'Name your price demon'
Puck smiled, 'You, I want you Paladin, Not your soul, But your body, Your
brain, I want you because I lust after you. I have no need for your soul and
it's attachments, I need you for more carnal Pleasures!'
Paladin choked, 'You disgust me, do you think I would allow you to do,
whatever you would do, Even if it wasn't aganist me. No Puck, Demon, Fiend,
I will not allow you do anything of the kind'
Puck's smile vanished, biting his lip, Puck stood unsure of himself, a
feeling that he had never felt before, A feeling that with it, was another
feeling that was close to lust, 'Prehaps I erred, I ask Thee this then
Paladin let me taste you once, Just once and I will leave you to your dream'
MOTHSMsg # 15 of 18                   Date: Sat 18/05/1991, 10:59 am

From: THE PALADIN                Read: 65 times

     To: All
Subject: The Paladin's Quest: Puck

The paladin chuckled, "I had not known that thou wert so indescriminate,
Master Goodfellow. Still and all, thou hast appealed to the base lust that
burns within myself. How could I be true to myself, my gods and my faith, if
I were not also capable of such indescretions? Ahh, but lust is the only
true path to follow!
"And yet, miscreant, thou hast waited awhile too long! Thou hast missed
thine oppurtunity; for 'tis dawn, when thou must needs depart this realm for
fairie, back to the side of thy king. A pity, for we two could have dallied
with the gods' approval in the name of lust.

"Another day, perchance?"


MOTHSMsg # 16 of 18                   Date: Sat  1/06/1991, 10:52 am
From: THE PALADIN                Read: 90 times

     To: All
Subject: The Paladin's Quest: On Hold

Puck's smile faded as he heard the Paladin's words. "But...if one day, why
not now?" He began petulantly. Then started in dismay as a green flash in
the sky heralded the rising of the sun. His time in this realm was done.

Muttering dark impreccations on the foibles of human lusts and the folly of
their intention's, Puck dived for the bushes and away. But he would be back,
this he vowed!

The Paladin stood and stared after the merry wanderer for a moment, then
turned to face the growing crescent of sunfire over the distant hills, arms
outstretched as if to embrace. And as the sun's orb came fully into view,
and rosy light spread across the land, he threw back his head and laughed, a
rousing, booming sound full of the joy of life he could feel throbbing
within his veins.

Then his hands were flying to the belts and buckles that held his armor in
place, letting it fall where it may, while he rolled naked apart from his
helm through the dew-laden grass. Body glistening in the rose-gold of
morning's light, he rose to his feet, catching up a green cloak to sweep
about his frame. But not before the goddess, watching from her perch within
the oak's branches, had seen that he was triumphantly erect.

"Hecate! Goddess! 'tis as I said 'twould be! This night agone I have meet
thy seemings, thy minions sent to cow me, to distract me from my purpose.
And they have failed thee, for I shall not be swayed from my chosen path ere
I reach my goal. Thus we reach this moment, set aside by the Powers for thee
and me. Beltane, it is. Canst thou not feel the life stirring within thy
perfect loins? Canst thou resist thine own desires? Come, join me here, with
the bonfire and the maypole, where we shall celebrate together as tradition
demands, and then ourselves partake of the little dance of life!"

The goddess in the oak shivered slightly at his words. The Paladin was
right, Beltane was a force not even she was immune to. Already she could
feel the fire within her blood, the growing ache for completion.

And yet, too fast this went! She was not finished with this demanding
mortal, nor yet satisfied that he should be the one. For the first time in a
long time, Hecate was uncertain. The mortal was appealing, yet what he
offered was too much, too soon. And with the wild magic of this day about
her, could she be certain that her choice would be her own?

She could not. And so the goddess raised a hand and pointed at the figure
below, and felt the moontide of power course through her, a wild cateract
channeled only by her will. Silver flashed from her hand, and filled the
clearing, moonlight at dawn.

And below her the clearing was silent, with the stillness and peace of
distant stars, the Paladin caught out of time between one breath and the
next, held for the goddess' pleasure.

MOTHSMsg # 17 of 18                   Date: Mon 23/09/1991,  9:36 pm
From: HECATE                     Read: 78 times  [1 Reply]

     To: All
Subject: The quest continues

Hecate saw the figure, maddened by her hiding and scheming, and decided that
enough was enough.  She was tired of these games.  More so as he had passed
the tests that she had befallen upon Paladin.  Knowing that more tests would
just test her own patience she decided that a personal match was in order.

She leapt down from the tree, which was concealing her, and stood afore him.
Clothed, lest the sight of herself affect him unfairly.  She also clothed
him, in a fine mist, lest he affect her.  And prepared herself for the

"You would play this game?  You know the stakes, or are you an imbecile,
seeking only for personal gain."

He replied "I have come to claim something of my own choosing, and in so
claiming, win an advocate worthy of my own propensity for lust and pain."

She looked down at him, she was a forboding figure, not quite tall, but with
a stature that belies height and structure.  He was goading her, he MUST be.
Well, if that is his game, then she would make the stakes a little higher,
she was tired, and weary, seeking only an end to this game, such as it was.

Holding out her wrists she cried "Then do it!  Let the blood wash over these
hands, for there will be blood spilt with this game.  I will not surrender
without it, as I'm sure you won't.  For us to merge, there must be
physicality, and that is both of our weaknesses.  Let us be bare for
ourselves and each other, for that is the only way that it can be done."

She said this knowing that he could not take off part of his armour, and
would not dream of removing it for fear of death, and thus was safe.

"That is not part of the game, dear Hecate, as you may be bare, and armed,
whereas I shall just be bare.  Let us make a decision that is true to BOTH
of our forms."

She waited for the decision.

(Paladin, Paladin, wherefore art thou?  It's your turn!)

MOTHSMsg # 18 of 18                   Date: Wed 11/11/1992, 11:05 am
From: WITCH WON                  Read: 70 times

     To: HECATE
Subject: ...true to both forms?

   "That it should be true to both forms," replied Hecate, "would be an
abomination to the woods and fields that see us. The rivers will halt their
murmering ways and raise themselves into the downfalls of ages. The earth
in all her being would burn beneth our feet, renting and ripping aghast
where we were to touch her, and Diana of the moon would wain forever, her
light lost to your kind for an eon of eternity"
   "While much may happen between us dear Hecate, you speak falsely of
much; Diana will shine upon us with a brighter light than that of the sun
at it's peak, and the earth would embrace us as you well know."retorted
Paladin, stepping forward with raised hand towards the suns first rays.
   `This mortal,' thought Hecate, `knows much, or has the bravery of a fool
and the tounge of the village idiot,... that he should be so wise...'.
After a moments hesitation, "And what powers think you that I would hold
over thee? Or want you to be equal with me?", `Or,' she thought, `does this
mere mortal want more than just the power itself?'
    "I," responded Paladin without hesitation, "want thee only, as I stood
to thyne test to prove, and I shall yet have that for which I came."
   "Perhaps,",Hecate cutting him in mid stride,... she cast him into a deep
sleep, spread with the dreams of love he seeks, while she settled herself
into the cleft of a near red ash to think.

   {Having already had more than a year to think, perhaps she should have
come up with more by now. But then,...}
     Witch Won.

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