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The Way of Moderation has ended (page 566)

Posted Jun 5, '11 at 7:14pm



5,718 posts

Sounds awesome, though it has also come to my attention that I am most likely going to be graduating from high school before this whole thing ends which for some reason I find kind of funny. I honestly didn't expect to find myself writing about this on an alienware desktop when I started. Regardless real life keeps getting in the way and that's understandable.


Posted Jun 5, '11 at 10:04pm



2,599 posts

And then **** gets real!

Little scares me more than unrealistic ****.

Posted Jun 6, '11 at 4:20am



14,025 posts


Dear WoM (thread), congratulations on the amazing delay that has caused you to grow into a full 500+ pages thread with two years behind you, and a huge number of views.
I would have made you cake, but I am far too lazy right now for that, so probably not.
As many of the other involved with you, you can be sure that I had no idea you would grow this... mature, and two years is more than any other thread would have been allowed in most cases, especially with the lack of feedback at times.
To think that you should have been done and over with by Halloween, then Christmas, then summer, then October, then January, then today is... perhaps a little too optimistic, now that I think about it. But that is how it is, when you are young and naive.
Either way, I congratulate you on your anniversary-slash-birthday (though the idea was birthed a lot earlier... Jeez...), and hope you... live long and, or, get a conclusion soon.

For the thread/WoM!


Posted Jun 6, '11 at 8:01am



4,437 posts

Happy Birthday WoM (thread),

It seems like yesterday when I first wrote on your pages (page 7 by the time I got back from my camp or something...I don't know, I have a go at you back there for something Strop)...thinking that you would would be just like the MWT but awesomer.

Back then, I was fifteen. So young, so naive. Wtf that was 2009 and I was in year 10! Gosh, now I'm in year 12 and doing exams and stuff.

We must also remember our great host-thingos/people/animals...we'll go with things...who have been running (putting it off) all this time. Without them this whole thread would not have happened.

So yeah, lets find a conclusion.

Happy Birthday WoM


Posted Jun 6, '11 at 2:46pm



11,104 posts


Happy Birthday WoM! I had something in the works for you but that'll have to wait just a little while because I was working on something more important... THE UPDATE!


In the previous installment: the moderators had some kind of plan, but struggled to reach the Armusement Park. Strop detoured to cut a shady deal with Hermit, but caught up with them to find most of the people of AG disheartened, but reassuringly safe.

The Value of Folly

Statistics never lie. They may be omitted, misinterpreted, or even misleading but data is as data always was: raw information. The Aristocrat Alley may have stood as the pinnacle of the individualistic desires of the aspiring AGer, but the truth of the matter was that it was the figures that nobody cared about that spoke the strongest. In fact, most of the deeds and happenings in the city at its prime, had nothing at all to do with the exchange of currency.

And that was why the Armusement Park was the location of choice for an evacuation in an emergency such as this. Being utterly unproductive, it had been completely overlooked in the raid. Now, though, it had taken on a new life as a refugee camp. The vast expanses of grassy greens and trees just starting to regain their cover had been swamped by tents, people and animals, all looking lost and forlorn as they milled around in disorganised swirls. The occasional motivated person flitted from place to place trying to be helpful... but the doldrums were just too overwhelming, and those bright sparks were swallowed up in a sea of malaise.

To this scene the moderators eventually arrived, convening at the top of a small hill that overlooked the entire park. Stealthily, a scaffold was set up, some canvas thrown over the top, so they could look out without being looked in on. Perhaps they were even trying to wall themselves from the oppressively despondent air that gripped the place.

Huddled around a single lantern, the silent six sat, twiddling their fingers. For seconds, minutes, so uniformly did the moments pass that it was impossible to tell, they didn't utter a word. Occasionally, one would lean over, peel the flap of the tent aside, peer out, then look back in.

Finally, the dwarf broke the silence. "What happens if he doesn't come?"

The Dragonmistress hunched defensively. "He will. There's no way he won't hear my call."

Dank seemed to engage in some internal struggle for a moment, before peering out the flap in the tent again. "I don't mean to be a downer, but you do realise that time is run-"

A meaty hand shot out. "It's okay, Dank. We know. But we have to be as patient as we can for now," Asherlee reminded him.

"But the rains..." Dank trailed off into meaningless gesticulations.

"If it makes you feel any better, I can try again." The Dragonmistress sighed, bringing a small metallic whistle to her lips.

Right at that very moment they were alerted to a sudden outburst of screams and cries from outside. Fearing the worst, they rushed out of the tent and saw thousands upon thousands of people, their eyes and pointed fingers glued on a rapidly growing black mass in the sky. At first nearly indistinguishable from the storm clouds from which it emerged, it soon became apparent that this mass was far blacker, more sinister, more positively evil than any cloud could ever be. And when it coughed, and blew a giant plume of fire that singed the hairs of many an AGer, there was no more doubt as to its identity.

The horned Western dragon, Devoidless the Ancient, landed directly on top of the mod tent, crushing it into the hilltop, settled on his scaly posterior, and took a drag of his cigarette.

"You guys make too much noise, you know?" was all he said.

"Well how nice of you to show up," Dank grumped, obviously remembering their previous meeting. "Did you finally get over yourself?"

"Say, I think I've gone a bit deaf in my old age," Devoidless shot back, "Was that the wind I heard?"

"Is that a tear in your eye?" Dank pointedly asked.

Devoidless did not reply, but a quivering slowly became apparent. It originated from his lower lip, then migrated to his whole jaw, then neck, then sholders, until he looked like his own seismic tremor. Then he threw himself wholly onto the Dragonmistress.

"I thought I'd never see you again!" he choked out between sobs. "The first time you called I thought I was hearing things!"

"You were, you big lug," DM said, chuckling a little as she attempted to fend off his crushing embrace. "You're never out of range of my whistle." Strop couldn't help but notice that despite her words, DM's expression was that of relief.

"And Asherlee too! That makes two of my favourite people in the whole wide world!" Devoidless suddenly dragged the lot of them into a giant group hug, where they all suffered each others' BO, plus abrasions from the dragon's scaly plates.

"If you please," Dank interjected, extricating himself. "Everybody is staring."

"Yes," Moe added," I expect they want us to say something, now that we've been noticed."

Indeed, the spectacle of their reunion had drawn the attention of most, if not everybody at the park, meaning some hundreds of thousands of people were now staring at them (or at least looking in their general direction trying to figure out what they were looking at). Each and every one of those people looked on, hoping for some direction or anything they could latch on to other than the thought of impending doom.

"Well," Zophia shrugged. "We should at least tell them something." With that remark, she raised the 'fone to her mouth and cleared her throat. "Ahem." Then she announced:

"Hi guys. This is the one safe place left in the whole city. Stay put until the trouble dies down."

Then she clicked off the 'fone. The announcement, predictably, was met with a large round of confusion.

"Well, what else was I supposed to have said?" Zophia protested, before finally rolling her eyes and clicking the 'fone on again.

"What I mean is, we have a plan. But it's dangerous out there so the best thing for you to do would be nothing. We'll let you know when it's safe again."

Then she clicked it off again. "Guys? We do have a plan, right?"

Strop scratched the back of his head. "Well, seeing as 'voidy has returned to us in our hour of need, we can proceed, I think."

"Proceed with what?" Devoidless asked.

"In case you haven't noticed," Strop waved his arms around, "The city's in a spot of bother. We're going to save it."

"And we need you because we can't leave this place without getting swamped by rioters and looters." Zophia chimed in.

"Wait a minute," Devoidless growled. "I don't like the sound of where this is going."

"That's right!" DM announced. "You're going to be our taxi."

"I'm a dragon!" Devoidless immediately objected. "Not a-" He stopped just as quickly when DM whipped out her whip. "You're not going to make me do that are you?"

The great dragon Devoidless bowed his head. "No, mistress."


Arms folded and slumped against a tree, Nill had been silently observing the spectacle of the moderators at the Armusement Park, and their eventual departure on the back of Devoidless. She wasn't particularly impressed.

"I can't believe they'd ignore the users like that," she muttered to herself. "Whatever happened to people power?"

That said, one glance around the perimeter of the park said it all: there wasn't much power in the people. Not the way they were, anyway. This served only to infuriate Nill further. How could everything crumble so badly in the face of one emergency? That a change in circumstance could change a people so thoroughly, she could not accept it. All that it would take would be their attention and some choice words, and they would be well on their way to seizing their fate from the jaws of death. Only it would be all the harder for the fact that, in her current state, she was not a moderator.

But she didn't need to be.

A young man passed by her field of vision and she did a doubletake. He looked more alert, more motivated than most of them, and she could have sworn that he was asking people if they needed help. One man among hundreds of thousands offering help was nothing more than a drop in the ocean, but if they could be organised somehow... thinking about it some more, she realised that she recognised him as a contestant in Strop's godforsaken tournament that arguably caused every single trouble she could think of at this moment. Not just that, but a contestant who had made the final four. Surely there was a resource just waiting to be tapped!

"You, yes, you!" She pointed directly at him, and he looked up, surprised. "You interested in helping out? There's something I need you to do."


Here you have it, the stirrings of a people-powered response! I shall send through some emails to touch base (because I lost contact for a while), and will continue updating throughout this week as much as I can. After all, you'd be wanting to see what this vague and risky plan of the mod team is, wouldn't you?


Posted Jun 6, '11 at 5:00pm



4,696 posts

it's the wom's birthday?


i've never watched anything grow from birth like this.

it's... rather rewarding.


Posted Jun 7, '11 at 7:23am



11,104 posts





Yeah, seriously dude. You haven't been around in this thread since months ago.


Posted Jun 7, '11 at 8:33am



4,437 posts

*pokes Manta*

Nice writing Strop, rather eloquent in parts, which I liked.

Will watch the email inbox.


Posted Jun 7, '11 at 12:44pm



11,104 posts


I was hoping to plonk this all in one go but it seems there's a limit to how much I can produce in a single day. At any rate, this was the update that was supposed to advance the plot, but hey, we're really shaking now!


The Fellowship of the Banhammer

A blast of fire was enough to convince the stragglers casing the innocuous looking H-shaped brick house to scatter. With a thud and another roar of flame, followed shortly by a round of coughing, Devoidless landed at the front entrance.

"Right kiddies, off you get," he grunted, shrugging his passengers off his shoulders. Strop, Zophia, Asherlee, Dank and Moe all tumbled down, but DM managed a more graceful landing. "And be darned if you get me to do that again."

"Uh," Strop started, before Devoidless threw him off with a burning glare. "I don't mean to impose but it's kind of a really important part of our plan," he managed to squeak.

"What do you mean, important-" Devoidless was about to square off on Strop when DM wrapped the whip around his neck and tugged him towards the doors. "Let's continue this inside."

Much pushing, pulling and cursing later, the crew managed to squeeze Devoidless through the front entrance, effectively hiding him from view. "Actually, first up," he said, his face uncomfortably close to the rest now that he occupied most of the lobby, "Why did we have to come here in the first place?"

"There are two reasons," Strop enumerated with his fingers: "One, it's safe. This building houses a non-profit organisation, so it was surprisingly immune from the rioters and looting, like for the Armusement park. Two, it's close to everything that's important right now."

"And that is...?"

Strop started counting on the fingers of his other hands: "First there's the castle. You may have noticed that all that's left of the courts is a pile of smoking rubble."

"Yes, I did notice that," Devoidless mused. "A shame that, we worked hard to get it built, right Moe-"

"Anyway," Strop glanced hastily at Moe while cutting Devoidless off. "What's important is that it's hot now but the coming rains will cool it right off, meaning that the castle will be open to attack, and if that happens..."

"So we need to find a way to defend the castle or else solve this riot problem before it rains?"

"Kind of," Strop made a box with his fingers, as if about to outline his big plan (which was precisely what he was doing.) "We already had enough trouble keeping a single crowd of maybe a thousand rioters under control. There's maybe a hundred times that from our neighbors, plus half our own citizens running amok and looting everything in sight. We needed a temporary solution that would neutralise everybody long enough for the administration to bring in the backup."

"And that is...?" Devoidless could have sworn he just asked that question but being so far behind the times, it was not a relevant concern.

"We're going to put everybody to sleep." Seeing Devoidless' look of bemusement, Strop was compelled to explain further. "As in, literally to sleep. If everybody's asleep, nobody's moving, nobody's rioting."

"You have a plan to make that happen?"

"Yes. Yes, we do."

"Does this plan include avoiding putting ourselves to sleep too, just in case something goes wrong?"

At this everybody started coughing and looking slightly nervous. Strop stopped in his tracks, then waved his hand dismissively.

"I have it all figured out: don't ask questions! Zophia, are you ready?"

Zophia produced a dangerous-looking box. "Carlie would have to be blind to miss the distress signal this bad boy's gonna produce."

"Good." Strop nodded slowly. "Remember guys, as soon as that thing goes off, every troll, looter and miscreant in the land is going to know where we are, and it'll be safe to assume they're going to be gunning for us. Our mission, however, is a cargo run. Our friend the Hermit has our salvation gathered in a private field well hidden away outside the walls of the city. Devoidless, you'll be flying DM and I there so we can cover you while Hermit loads you up. Once you've done that, fly over the giant fire that is the Freemarket, drop it, scatter and pray for a miracle. Sounds simple but I know for a fact the raiders have aircraft. Can we count on you?"

Devoidless stared at the rest of the crew for a very long moment, before realising that this was not a joke. His eyes narrowed as the gravity of the situation finally sunk in for him. "What will the rest of you be doing?"

Zophia raised her hand. "I'll be making as much chaos as possible with these fireworks. The one you need to watch out for will be in your likeness, that'll be the drop point."

Asherlee raised her sword and banged the hilt on the floor. "The rest of us will run cover until the drop is made, then we skedaddle too. I'm on melee duty, just like old times." She laughed, short and harsh.

Dank smirked. "Certainty of death, small chance of success, what are we waiting for?"

Finally the faint creases of a sardonic smile appeared on Devoidless' visage. "What can I say, this sounds like more fun than I've had in a long time."

Strop smacked his fists together with a resounding crack. "Alright. Let's do this."


A plume of red fire shot into the skies, penetrating the clouds and far beyond. Sparks trailed behind it, and its distinctive whine echoed over the lands. Suddenly, an unholy thunder rumbled through the sky and the clouds themselves were lit up red, embers spreading in a spherical formation before fading and eventually dispersing entirely.

"That was one hell of a firework," Devoidless muttered, smashing his way back through the front entrance of the building.

"And that's just the first one," Zophia exclaimed, slinging her brush over her shoulder. "We should get moving, the raiders will be here any moment now."

"Yeah," Strop said absently, sniffing the air. "We better hurry."

"Come on then," DM called him over, already straddling Devoidless' neck and grasping his horns. Strop scrambled up his scaly hide and sat himself between the spines on his back. "Keep it steady, 'voidy," he quipped, "I'm your tail-gunner today!"

Devoidless was heard to mumble something vaguely grumbling as he coiled up and took off, clambering into the sky until they disappeared among the clouds.

As the wind started to pick up, Asherlee strapped the brain-in-a-jar Moe onto her back, before stretching and twirling her swords twice.

"Sorry," Moe said suddenly.

"Sorry for what?" Asherlee frowned.

"I haven't been myself lately, and now all I am is a burden to everybody."

Asherlee tilted her head back, gazing at the brooding clouds. "Moe, I never understood how one couldn't be themselves. You may have changed, but you're still you, aren't you?"

"I percieve an undeniable difference, and I have justified knowledge of its origin," Moe argued.

"But," Asherlee slid the swords back into their sheaths at her belt. "You can't directly compare the experiences as you live a singular existence, right?"

Moe did not reply. Asherlee smirked. "No need to bother," she murmured. "You taught me that yourself."


Haven't sent those emails yet, keep waiting!


Posted Jun 7, '11 at 5:24pm



4,745 posts

"Certainty of death, small chance of success, what are we waiting for?"

Gimli quote FTW?
Awesome two part update to read Strop. Good luck to the other writers as well.
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