Dirk Blackpool in Dungeon of Death (7_38)

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Birthday Greetings

Anna M.C.
Vector's Monocle


From: Galen
Subject: The perfect gift

"Happy Birthday, Anna," Galen boomed as he entered the tavern. Following closely behind him were several servants all straining with a very large, flat object that was wrapped in bright paper. "Just hang it over there on the main wall." Galen commanded the servants.

"Galen?" Anna said as she looked on at the spectacle of the men struggling with the ungainly object. "What is that thing?"

"Your birthday gift of course," Galen replied. "I wanted to get you something really nice but was having trouble deciding what. Then it hit me." As he spoke, the servants finished hanging the gift and Galen walked over to where it was hanging. He took hold of the corner of the paper and pulled the entire wrapping off with one dramatic flourish. "Ta-daa!"

Anna looked up at the immense portrait of Galen Blackpool that now hung in her tavern. "You shouldn't have, Galen," she said. "You really shouldn't have."

"Think nothing of it," Galen said smiling. "Nothing's too good for you, my friend. I'm afraid I have to run know, but once again - happy birthday." And with that he left.

Galen Blackpool

From: Dirk Blackpool
Subject: Birthday Greetings to Anna


CJ and Galen have just taken it upon themselves to inform me that today is your birthday. You can imagine my shock at hearing this bit of news. How could I have been so remiss? To allow you to make it to another anniversary of your birth is quite reprehensible of me. Iíll make a note to take care of that tiny detail before your next one. Of course the destruction of the Greystones takes precedence but be assured I wonít forget about you.

In honor of your continued existence, I would like you to join me for dinner. It seems one of the regular serving girls was vaporized when Vectorís new spell went awry. You just canít keep good help with an experimenting wizard in the castle. With your vast experience waiting on the rabble at your familyís tavern, I am certain you will have no trouble filling in for her. Be on time. I get very nasty when I have to wait for dinner to be served.


Prince Dirk Blackpool

From: Anna M.C.
Subject: Re: Birthday Greetings to Anna

Oh, my. Where to begin?

First of all, thank you to Val/Crownhelm, Tigger, and everyone who wished me a happy birthday. I'm touched. So are most of you, but that's beside the point. ; )

Mo, the portrait you created is truly lovely. Certainly not as lovely as Galen's gift portrait, but my humble features can never hope to rival his godlike perfection. *insincere gagging noises* The picture of Kiri and Anna Winslow will be proudly posted on my profile page this weekend. The portrait of Galen will remain at the tavern, safely hidden -- I mean, protected -- behind a large red velvet curtain, as befits its priceless grandeur. We wouldn't want it to fade in the sunlight, now, would we?

As for your royal highness, my dear Prince Dirk, I see you are as charming as ever, with that unique personal touch (usually a slap, a punch or a kick) that so endears you to your subjects. I can hardly believe that CJ and Galen took it upon themselves to remind you of the occasion. It will take days for me to think up an appropriate way to thank them as they so richly deserve. Perhaps Tigger has some suggestions.

I do apologize that I was not on hand to respond to your "dinner invitation," such as it was, but you know how we Winslows are; I confess I was busy celebrating. In honor of my birthday, the drinks at the Wild Rose Tavern were on the house. Literally on the house -- Kiri and I put free drinks on the roof and had a grand time watching Justin try to climb up for them. CJ made us stop after he fell off for the third time, though. Party pooper.

However, I am quite willing to make it up to you, my lord. How about tonight? Tell you what: as a proper apology for my tardiness, not only will I serve you dinner, but I'll cook it, too. I guarantee you've never tasted anything like my cooking before, and will never taste anything like it again. In fact, it's quite possible you'll never taste anything at all again -- Wait, what's that? You say you have other plans tonight? Why, Prince, I'm hurt, but I understand; you're a busy man, so many people to kill, so little time. Perhaps next year, then.

Bye ; )

Anna M.C.
A year older and not a whit wiser.


From: Galen
Subject: Important birthday announcement

Hello all,

On this, our beloved Anna's birthday, I thought it would be nice to give her the ideal gift.

(Anna steps forward) "What exactly would that be?"

Why, a perfect birthday dreamdate.

(In a burst of magic - Anna is whisked off to a romantic setting.)

Now, if anyone wants to see how Anna's date goes...and who it's with, go to Anna's card.

And everyone give credit to Kiri for doing all the coding and design on that page. (Yay, Kiri!)

Galen Blackpool

From: Anna M.C.
Subject: Re: Important birthday announcement

Just wanted to send a huge thank you again for this wonderful surprise "dream date" -- it was late enough last night that my immediate reaction note was hardly wordy or even coherent (plus, I was exhausted from running away from seductive smirking homicidal maniacs, by the look of things).

May I salute you for your skill in simultaneously indulging my Multiple Villain Fixation (sounds like a serious psychological disorder, doesn't it? Heck, let's be honest, it probably is) while yet miraculously allowing me to survive unscathed (and exploiting more in-jokes than I would have thought possible). This was truly hilariously inspired. You outdid yourself, Galen -- and thanks for coding it, Kiri. : )

Gotta go -- I think Giles finally made it over, and I have just the thing for his sweet tooth. ; )

Anna M.C.

I was only talking about chocolate! Get your minds out of the gutter!
Especially you, Crown!

From: Dirk Blackpool
Subject: Birthday Greetings for Anna


Hmm. Yes, Vector. I think that stone box is exactly the right size.

Ah, greetings, Anna. Once again a year has passed and still you escape . . . umm, avoid . . . the gifts Iíve left you each natal day anniversary. This one, I think, will be more to your liking. And mine.

The gentleman who will be delivering your gift is a bit of a puzzle - unfortunately we canít understand what heís saying Ė some foreign language, no doubt. Not that he hasnít repeated the exact same phrase continuously since we brought him to Aperans. Rather focused Ė a nice trait, I think. Vectorís conjured him up from some other realm after weíve made note of your fascination with this smirking, barely clothed behemoth in the visual scope. And no, I hardly consider it a case of spying. Iím sure you wouldnít consider your covert operations at the Wild Rose to be spying, now would you? I thought not.

Iíve heard youíre fond of shiny things and this will certainly fit the bill. I think youíll like these little jewels. Take care to open the box in front of all your friends at the Wild Rose Tavern. I wouldnít want them to miss out on all the *fun* youíre sure to have. I only wish I could see the expression on all of your faces. Hmm, then again.

Vector! Fire up the visual scope!


Prince Dirk Blackpool
Ruler of the North

From: Anna M.C.
Subject: Re: Birthday Greetings for Anna

Oh, dear Prince Blackpool. No matter what else may change in my life, I can always count on you to be so . . . *thoughtful.* And here I thought you'd be offended by my rather critical reaction to your latest stab at the poetic art. "Stab" being the key word.

The messenger you dispatched was truly charming, particularly after Kiri worked a whammy or two (or three) on him. I know Imhotep's not much for conversation, and he certainly can't compete with you on the touchable-hair or the loads-of-leather front, but at least he's cheap to maintain; he won't be racking up the hairspray bills like Erik does (something to think about, Tammy), or bringing home those gargantuan bills from "Monsieur Claude's House of Exotic Leather Goods for the Discerning Gentleman (and Adult Video Shoppe)." He seems to be fitting right in, the language barrier notwithstanding. He's with Marko right now, discussing (well, "gesturing about," really) the finer principles of insectine communication. Speaking of which . . .

With regards to your principal present, I'm afraid that it would hardly be appropriate for such a humble personage as my peasant self to accept something so valuable as "jewels" from royalty. People would talk, and you know how we Winslows value our chaste reputations more than our lives. And Justin, if you don't stop snickering, you can just pay your bar tab and leave *right now.* Thank you.

So at any rate, I've taken the liberty of redirecting your gift to a far more appropriate recipient. I can almost hear Bethel's screams of . . . delight, among other things, when she receives that "token of your profound esteem!" Oh, and since the attached card was addressed from you to "the fairest woman in all Aperans" (you shameless flatterer, you), I'd suggest you refrain from explaining to her that it was actually intended for me.


Anna M.C.
Who's Learned a Thing or Two about Covert Operations.

From: Dirk Blackpool
Subject: Re: Birthday Greetings for Anna


*clears throat* Well, Iím quite disappointed that you felt you had to send the gift along. I expect that Bethel will be understanding of the re-gifting. Sheíll be able to control her new little pets and use them in entertaining ways. And, no, I wonít be mentioning that it was first directed to you (completely by mistake, of course Ė these messengers from foreign lands obviously canít be trusted).

As for your reference to my purchases at "Monsieur Claude's House of Exotic Leather Goods for the Discerning Gentleman (and Adult Video Shoppe)" Ė I pay my bills and what I do in the privacy of my own castle is my own business. However, I do need to stop by the shoppe and personally thank the clerk for sharing such privileged information with you. Heíll be breathless by the time Iím done, Iím sure. My words often have such a reaction in those that I heap praise upon. Or perhaps itís the action that accompanies them? Ah, well. No matter.

Oh, and since you commented on my "stabs" at poetry Ė Iíve written a little something especially for you.

Down in the dungeon, I wait for you
Your birthday present is in full view
Heated coals and hot iron spikes
These are my gifts that will make you say "Yikes!"



Prince Dirk Blackpool


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