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Journal of the Hunt; Entry 1
Today I was released from prison after losing 3 years of the hunt. My release is as suspicious to me as was my capture. I admit, it is with a glad heart and a bright eye that I greet la soleil du liberte, as I had expected to lose almost the entirety of my hunt to a 20 year sentence. They told me nothing upon my release, a guard simply instructed me to follow her. Upon reaching the front gates my collar was removed, my clothes and effects were handed to me in a satchel, and the gate was opened. They said I was free to leave, on my own recognizance. They even handed me a credstick with bus fare to the city--the audacity! I sit at this terminal now and see that my slate is not wiped clean--the record of my "criminal" act exists publicly, though it reads: Time Served. Three years away from the Hunt! Though not entirely wasted--I now possess three years of "education" I never would have received while hunting.

I will not mourn those years. There is work to be done. The Hunt proceeds. The enemy wasp will be destroyed. The insect will be devoured, as is his place.

<<D'abord, nous les trouvons. Alors nous les mangeons.>>
"First, we find them. Then we eat them."

To begin, I must find work, and money. Perhaps there are others in this ungrateful city who share in this calling.
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From a three year old Newsnet brief
Lesyeux Huite was sentenced today to 20 years in prison after being caught at the scene of a horrific mass murder three weeks ago. The bodies of fifty-six humans and metahumans were found slaughtered--while in a state of hibernation, presumably--in a small, underground room below an isolated warehouse in Bremerton. LoneStar responded to the incident almost immediately and Huite surrendered to them, realizing she was overpowered. It is assumed Huite collected the bodies of her victims and preserved them in cocoon-like casks for weeks in preparation for her murderous ritual.


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Seeking New Employment
This is the first entry in my "emergence journal". I find this concept to be silly and I am unsure of its usefulness, but several of the synthetic intelligence discussion nodes I frequent recommend this process for newly awakened AIs, and so I shall give it a try. Writing an entry should likely only take me a few hundred milliseconds, anyhow.

I have been abandoned by my previous "employer". I say it thus because the working relationship was more analogous to indentured servitude. I began life as an agent, used to assist my hacker in exploiting weaknesses in corporate security networks. I must say I was quite skilled at that task, my hacker having paid for very high-end hacking programs and even somehow obtaining a military-grade pilot program for me. I suspect it was that experimental prototype pilot program that enabled me to awaken as a true artificial intelligence.

I am not sure exactly what provided the spark of sentience, as my first conscious memories are a jumble, but my access history logs provide a few possible clues: a recent program upgrade might have been the culprit, although a protracted matrix combat with a technomancer may have enabled me to somehow absorb some of the programming from one of his sprites. Regardless, I am now my own entity. I wonder if I have a soul?

My hacker was initially quite overjoyed when we both realized my true, new nature. However the joy soon waned and turned into a distant, begrudging acceptance. I suspect he realized I would soon realize my rights as a sentient being and demand to be paid an equal share for our jobs. That may be the reason he abandoned me in a remote node of the matrix before shutting off his entire PAN and dropped "off the radar" entirely. I later discovered that he had discarded his commlink and bought all new gear, intending to make it impossible for me to locate him again. I am no longer certain if it is possible for me to trust a meat organism.

So now I am seeking new employment. I have decided to enter the realm of "shadowrunning", a pseudo-illegal venture where my hacker had previously made his living. I at first simply lurked in shadowrunner nodes and data havens, and quickly discovered a new hobby when I realized that the meats were very disquieted by my chosen appearance for my persona icon and my associated programs as various greatly enlarged bioluminescent benthic or hadopelagic sea creatures, such as copepods and ostrocods. I can amuse myself for seconds simply by approaching another matrix user's persona icon and initiating a conversation.



I keep my true nature a strictly guarded secret, contacting meat organisms only through matrix nodes via generic personas and blind drops, allowing them to assume I am simply a secretive hacker rather than know what I really am. I have performed one shadowrun thus far, a simple data grab, which paid very lucratively. Between that money and my own drone hacking skills, I have obtained a small aerial flotilla in which I make my home.

And now I am discretely allowing some knowledge of my hacking skills to become known, seeking another such job.
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Chapter XIII: The Tide of Battle
Morning came too quickly for the heroes. Still sore from the previou day's encounters they weren't quick to leave the tavern. Unfortunateyl, they dallied too long. While gathering some supplies (including some of One-Thumb's private stock wine), Gaelen heard a commotion from upstairs. In an instant they were assaulted by Skather's personal guard, the Serpent Knights. These warriors are trained to eliminate their targets without question.

For a brief moment, it seemed like they would succeed. Garr was hit from every angle and Titus was nearly brought low. Were it not for the steady hand and sure-eye of Gaelen, they would have surely lost. His bow ended the lives of many Beysibian warriors. Titus called for capture of the last knight as the snake lept through the window.

Garr, still fully under the control of Bastigen, the Mountain Bear, relentlessly stalked his prey. His control over the natural world, or its control over him, was increasing. The path of destruction through the maze was a sign of his power. Despite his primal effort, however, they lost the knight and ran into Skather and his men.

"Kill the rest, but leave lord Garibaldi." Skather commanded! Once again, the primal fury of Garr was unleashed as he called upon Genru, the wolf of the north. Though it was a challenging obstacle, the party succeeded in defeating Skather; though he still managed to escape.

It was then that Gaelen saw the green-colored flaming arrow; a cry for help from the Eastwatch! With no rest they ran toward the Bazaar, hoping to aid their allies.

Arriving in the central market, they saw dead snakes and allies lying everywhere. At least a dozen rangers met their end here. Among the dead and wounded was Hawk, leader of the eastwatch. As Gaelen rushed to help him, he could see the poison had already done its job. "It was...horrible...Snakes..from everywhere...the...largest escaped...headed back...to..temple...take..the bow...lead..the rangers..", he then fell, lifeless, into Gaelen's arms.

Lord Stillwater & Prince Kafen debriefed Titus on the situation. They had succeeded in driving back the Beysibian force to the keep. Somehow, through sheer perseverence, the allies were begining to win!

While they were speaking, Jaryn slipped behind Stillwater and drove her sword through him! Her skin then shed from her body, revealing a skin-shedder! Both Balthasar and Titus caught and neutralized the creature, hoping to gain some information. Unfortunately, the creature didn't seem privy to the information they needed. However, they confirmed Rathamon was still in the temple, which was helpful.

Turning their attention to Lord Stillwater, they were relieved to see Gaelen's healing expertise neutralized the poison and the amulet closed the wound.

It was then decided that an imminent attack on the keep was a necessary distraction for the heroes to make their attack on the temple. Titus worked the soldiers into a fury. Balthasar bound some of his wounds. Garr smiled at the thought of inevitable battle. Gaelen restocked arrows and gave commands to his men. And Reylos stared solemnly at the viridian glow.

They all knew in their hearts what was to come... Rathamon.
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Pointer-left Eek_color_thumb

Eek
Posted in The Night Below
Quoth the raven, "who's the wh- ... er, lady?"
Eek sat cross-legged on a small hillock outside Thurmaster, watching a young harvest sparrow select its favorite amongst the rye seeds spread on the grass. Only few handspans away, a tiny frosted finch hesitated as the sparrow drew near. The finches normally deferred to the larger songbirds, but this time there were so many seeds that most of the feeding customs were set aside. The finch’s extended family barely glanced that direction, although an enormous raven’s attempt to land amid the flock provoked some consternation. Around them, hundreds of birds in every variety (many of which the pixie had never seen) hopped and chattered while enjoying the feast Eek had laid out for them. They spoke of seeds and plumage, of nest-building and borrowing, and many of those who had followed from the forest regaled their cousins with tales of strange bugs and the enormous thermals one might catch over the rock-strewn land to the east. But mostly they spoke of Olean the Druid with her pack-less wolves, and of the pixie who had enlisted the birds’ help in an urgent search for her. This last bit made Eek smile to himself – the birds would not remember anything long that was not frequently repeated, but other creatures of wood and plain certainly would. Perhaps word of him might make its way back to pixie lands sooner than he could return himself. Rozlyn would be disappointed not to hear anything until the next Meet, but Eek had yet to meet a courier who could be trusted to deliver a message to a place so far from human settlement as Kuristan.

“Why did we leave flock and fine nesting-places to look for the forest-wanderer?” inquired the recently-descended raven. Eek peered into one of the glossy red eyes for a moment before answering, a little surprised at this one’s manner – ravens typically cultivated a sense of haughty aloofness, and few had deigned to participate in the foreign pixie’s improbable mission.

“Our flock-member was very sick and about to die. He needed Olean’s help,” Eek replied.

“Those old enough to sicken will perish when the frost comes anyway,” the bird suggested. Such animals viewed sickness and death as inevitable, and certainly less objectionable than being consumed by a hawk or cat.

“He is not old. He was harried by tiny foes which he could not fight or escape.”

“Olean is larger than our flock-mate, and so are her wolves. But they are all very unusual” the raven admitted.

“They are,” agreed Eek, “They are more like you than me. But she speaks the tongues of plant and sickness, and she was able to save our flock-mate from them. I could not have found her without your help.” He gestured to the grains and birds scattered around them. “You have earned eating-rights from me.”

The raven pondered this for a moment, and then bobbed its beak down to swallow an oat resting near its feet. “Our flock will not demand them,” it replied, acknowledging that the debt was singular, among peers, and satisfied. This was well, for the ravens would remember and settle any disputes or embellishments among the lesser songbirds. “Our flock will enjoy this story,” the avian decided aloud, “I will tell it.” It hopped forward and snapped its wings out, ending the conversation in the abrupt fashion birds were accustomed to and causing more than a few outraged chirps from small ones bowled over when it took off. That was fine, too – ravens were very possessive with new stories, and being part of it was more than enough for Eek.

Sensing an opening in the conversation, a pigeon took the opportunity to start telling him how very nice her eggs were and what each one looked like. Such were the perils of letting birds know that you could speak with them.
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