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Author Topic: Leif Terskun / Avennorian / Orator  (Read 3620 times)
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Leif Terskun
Golden Wordsmith
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« on: July 18, 2010, 07:56:27 AM »

Name:  Leif Terskun

Gender: Male

Age: 17

Race: Human

Tribe: Avennorian

Occupation: Orator

Title: Golden Wordsmith

Overview: Leif grew up wanting desperately to be a warrior, and moved from his little village on the banks of the Olantani river, Aesthran to Marcogg in order to realise that dream. However, when he arrived and applied for such a post, he was persuaded into following the path of words rather than that of swords.  

Height: Leif stands a nailsbreadth or so above one ped and two fores.

Weight: One pygge, five hebs, a hafeb and an od.

Hair: Dark blond

Eyes: A piercing Baveras' Eye rings a deep and empathic pupil.

Physical: Standing just two fores over a ped, Leif may be accounted by many just a youth, although it is unlikely that he will grow any more - the Avennorians are renowned for their small stature. He is not skinny, though no-one could call him overweight. Likewise, he is not muscular at all, but he still carries with him a sense of presence, derived from his poise honed and developed through years of speaking to crowds and groups on diverse subjects.

Clothing: Leif typically wears one of two outfits. When he is doing his day to day tasks, he wears a fairly utilitarian outfit, conservatively coloured in dark green and brown, but with perhaps a splash of colour in the form of a red or blue sash. He has sturdy sandals for the summer and boots for the winter.
However, when he is speaking in public or at a formal occasion, Leif likes to dress a little more smartly, and change out of his ink-spattered day-to-day wear. He usually wears on these occasions a Vontromarine blue tunic with Aeruillin red trousers, tied off at the waist with a Strata yellow sash to complement the outfit.
For a very smart event, Leif will step up a further notch. In this case he wears a short Cyhalloian snow tunic with Nor'sidian trousers, and a cravat of Xaxure blue, Sognastheen green, or Teki red fabric to finish. Unlike his other two outfits, Leif has only one of these and is very careful to keep it clean and neat.

Personality: Leif's personality is not one prone to nerves - their keenness was robbed by constant talks and debates through his early teens. He can weigh arguments for and against a position fairly and rationally, but is also able to sway with the force of his speech. His master broke speaking down into three components, which Leif memorised and learnt to apply. Firstly, words and argument. Secondly, eyash and connection. Thirdly, trust and sincerity. These range from the immutable and objective (words and argument) to the individual and subjective (trust and sincerity), with connection as the linking factor. The ability possessed by Leif to make this conviction carry across to his audience was noted by the man who was to become his tutor and change his life forever. Leif is fair-minded and abhors suffering in all of its forms, which has led him to a choice not to consume flesh. He both weighs his words carefully and is able to deliver a witty riposte in an instant, though in the latter case he sometimes wishes he had kept his mouth shut. His training has given him an ability to see straight to the pertinent points in an argument and test whether they hold up to scrutiny; as such, he is not given to prejudice.

Strengths:

Public Speaker - Thanks to his training in oratory and his natural talent, Leif is a model speaker and is an expert in giving a speech, whether it be an impassioned rhetoric on slavery in Shan'Thai, or a powerful rebuttal of an opponent's points in an organised debate. He has a quick tongue and a clear head, and can readily win over an audience.

Confident -  Thanks to his training at public speaking, Leif rarely if ever suffers from nerves and has a natural and easy poise, which helps him in many ways, not least if he were ever to lead.

Literate - Leif did not only train in rhetoric, he also learnt in his training how to read, write and count. Though he is no great mathematician,  he took hugely to writing and can write as well as he can speak.

Weaknesses:

Leg - When Leif was four, he fell and broke his left leg. It was a bad break, just above the knee and healed badly, giving him a slight limp, an inability to run fast - or at all for more than about ten blinks - and a slight irritating twinge, especially on wet days. It can also, on occasion, hurt very badly if he lands on it wrongly, and so he is very careful of it.

Self-Effacing - With regard to his physical capabilities, Leif is quite self-effacing. While his strength and suppleness are nothing out of the ordinary, if you were to take his word for it they would be most definitely below average. This can result in his failing to undertake tasks that he could quite easily achieve, and in others forming a misinformed opinion of him.

Argumentative - It could be argued that Leif's early training in debating was too successful, as now he will never hesitate to pick up an argument. It's not that he wants to be unsociable, it's just that he doesn't know when to let something be.

Opinionated - Leif's education naturally led him into contact with ideas that most never encounter, and these have left their mark on him. He cannot bear the sight of ill treatment of animals or exploitation or abuse of women, and this coupled with his argumentativeness can get him into trouble. He also has a strong aversion to the eating of animal flesh, and this can give him dietary problems when eating in inns and other places where meat is the staple of the bill of fare.

History: Leif was born in the usual way, and grew up in the small but prosperous fishing village of Aesthran, on the Olantani river. His mother was named Ithlone and his father Geir - Leif was named after his paternal grandfather. His life, in its essence, consisted of fish, fish, and more fish, and he was sick of it. He didn't want to be like his namesake, whose only achievement had been catching as many fish as he had drunk pints of beer the night before; he wanted to be glorious; he wanted to soar; he wanted to escape monotony for a world that was never dull; he dreamt of glory; in short, he wished with all of his heart to be a warrior.

His parents were indulgent and loving to the boy, and the only marring of his childhood occurred when he was four. In mock battle with one of his friends he fell awkwardly onto his left leg, and broke the bone just above his knee. The momentum of his fall twisted the two pieces, and also forced his kneecap out of place. Though the bonesetter did his best, the leg healed badly and gave Leif a permanent limp and an inability to put too much force on his knee. He never had another serious injury, though it failed to dissuade him from his mock sword fights or his dreams.

On the eve of his fourteenth birthday, he told his parents that he was leaving to travel to Marcogg, where under a scheme being put in place to increase the training level and effectiveness of the army he could enter primary training as a warrior at 14 before enlisting at 16. His parents were upset but accepted that they had to let him do what he truly wished, and loved him too much to try to force him. He set out on foot, but hitched a ride to Marcogg with a cart driver who had just traded fish for grain in the hamlet of Aesthran Station, and within a week was in Marcogg.

Leif wandered around in wonder, staring at the huge buildings in awe. At last he came to the High Bridge, and saw the huge Thane's Palace. Staring in awe, he saw to the side a smaller building, into which were going a group of soldiers. He walked up, and asked one of the guards at the door if this was where he could enlist. Being a fisherman's son, he found the metropolitan tones of the guard hard to understand, not helped by the fact that the clearly bored man was not bothering to articulate his words properly. Leif caught a reference to an "old man" and a "desk". He thanked the guard and entered tentatively.

Leif stepped around the guard with his left foot, and saw an old man sitting behind a desk over on his right. He walked over to him, confident - or at least trying to appear so.

"Hello, sir" he said.
"Hello, boy, who are you?" asked the old man, lifting his eyes from his papers.
"I'm called Leif, sir"
"Leif, eh? And what do you want, Leif?"
"I want to become a warrior, sir."
"Do you, now? Let me ask you a question, boy. Who starts a war?"
Leif hesitated a moment.
"Uh...the king, sir."
The old man tutted and shook his head.
"Wrong. Fighters start a war, bloodthirsty brutes who wish only to bathe their blades in blood and kill until they can kill no more. And if the king is a fighter, well then, then there is certain to be a war. Let me ask you another question, boy. Who ends a war?"
Leif considered a moment longer before answering confidently:
"The king, sir; when he has finally tired of slaughter."
The old man nodded approvingly.
"Good, good. Completely wrong, but all the same good: the confidence, the conviction, yes, very good. But still, wrong. The king does not end a war; how could he? A man to start a war could never end it, even were he so inclined. You are right, when the king is tired of war, he will try to end it, but how could a fighter do this? As often as not this occurs when a new king has ascended the throne, a king who is not a fighter. But in any case, who carries the messages to the enemy? Who talks and writes and talks to bring peace? I'll tell you who, boy: the diplomats. War is brought about by warriors; peace is brought about by diplomats. Under a king who is a warrior we are plunged into futile fight after futile fight, ravaging the country; under a king who is a diplomat, trade flourishes and the arts are nurtured. Always remember this, boy: You can kill a man by chance but you cannot dissect an argument through fluke; you can slash a muscle with sheer luck, but luck will never write a dissertation on comparative theology, or the mining techniques of the Mitharim Dwarves."
Leif stood in dumb silence.
"Tell me, boy," said the man, "have you ever done speaking?"
Confused and not sure whether to be offended, Leif replied.
"Yes, sir, I'm speaking to you right now."
"You are indeed talking to me, that is true, but that is not what I mean by speaking. Have you ever spoken to a crowd, a group? Presented a speech?"
"No, sir." Leif responded.
"No indeed..."
The old man fell silent, and for maybe ten blinks all was quiet.
"In any case, boy, do you still want to be a warrior?"
Leif did not respond.
"Think, boy, think! Use your head! Which would you rather be, a mindless killer or a silver-tongued orator, a poet and a writer? Leif, aren't you? Well, would you rather have people remember Leif the Bloody or Leif the Golden Wordsmith? I tell you truthfully, Leif, if you chose this path there will be nothing you cannot do. You have the spark, and if you exploit that you will go far, dazzlingly so."
Leif hesitated. All his dreams of glory flashed before his eyes, but now he saw them through a different lens. He saw men with their guts spilling out where before he had only seen shining armour; he heard screams of agony where before he had heard only the adulation of thousands; and he smelt the stench of death where before he had smelt only the tang of victory.
And then a different image rose before his eyes. He saw himself, stood in a huge amphitheatre, a crowd hanging on his every golden word, and the adulation he heard had no scream of pain beneath; he saw a scroll, with his name formed in elegant calligraphy at the top, and the beauty was marred in no way; and he knew, in that instant, that even if it meant giving up all of his childhood hopes and dreams, that that was the path he wished to take.
The old man watched in something close to amusement, mingled with satisfaction.
"Well, then, there's no need to tell me, I can read your face like a book. Come back tomorrow at Sunreign."
As Leif turned to go, he saw another old man sitting at a desk on the far side of the room.

The next day, Leif returned to the man and began his lessons in the arts of literacy and oratory. It transpired that the man was a senior member of the Thane's Diplomats and was responsible for training the brightest young sparks in the art of words. At first he was clumsy and introverted in front of a crowd, but his natural talent and patient coaching from the man whom he had met on his first visit, who seemed to have become his patron of sorts, won through in the end, and he became among the best. All continued well. Leif learnt how to read and write, not to mention how to count. His head for numbers was never exceptional, but he grasped letters in comparatively little time.

By the age of fifteen, Leif was habitually writing and performing two or three speeches per week, divided between at least one debate on topics as diverse as "Are the W'aer and the Nune outdated coins?" and "The position of Thane should be hereditary", and myriad other formats such as a simple presentation on Shan'Thai slavery or a short and humorous speech on the Avennorian wealth-based caste system. Leif's tutor's theory had been that the most important exercise was to get the boys he had standing up and learning first-hand about nerves as soon as possible.

On Leif's sixteenth birthday,  a disaster struck. His master, by now a very old man indeed, fell from the High Bridge in Marcogg. He had been peering over the edge to get a better look at the small Fuzzle mouse engraved in the stone, as part of some research he was doing on the Fymbels, the artisan guild who had built the bridge and taken the Fuzzle as their emblem. Tragically, he slipped and fell, striking his head on the bridge on the way down - he was unconscious before he hit the water, and his body was found at the bottom of Foot Fall. He had been swept along for over seven hundred peds, and fallen fifty peds in one drop as he passed over First Fall1.

Stricken by grief, Leif saw Marcogg through weary eyes. He no longer took joy in the sounds of the city. The hitherto reassuring rush of the river brought images of terror and suffocation to his mind, or worse a feeling of drowning so strong he could barely stand. The masterpiece that was the High Bridge now seemed a treacherous death-trap and the citizen who smiled at him as he walked past no longer filled his heart with the joy of acceptance but with doubt. Was this smiling stallholder on the bridge, one who did nothing as an old man fell to his death? His paranoia increased; he became inarticulate and worse the new master - though Leif never regarded him as his master -  was a falsely smiling man, an urbane man with urbane prejudices, unable to believe as Leif's true master had in the son of a fisherman's potential.

Lastly, damningly, Leif realised that he didn't even know his master's name. Sir had always been the respectful way in which he addressed this man who had saved him from a future of blood and supposed glory. Despite the fact that he must, somewhere, have seen it on documents and the like, his master was so rarely the object of personal correspondence that he allowed his pupils to see, Leif could not have told you his name for certain. When he saw the death documents related to "Vild Garskun", he realised how little he knew of this man, having been trained by him for two years but still having to ask to whom the document referred. When he realised this, he writhed in an agony of indecision, but a week into his seventeenth year he realised that this city had no hold on him now that his master, like his childhood dreams, was dead. So he packed his few possessions into a bag and set out for a city of opportunity. He began to walk to New Santhala, seat of the Santhran, where he might put his diplomatic skills to some use. He left a simple note with one of his fellow students, with instructions not to open it for a week. As Leif had expected, as soon as his absence was noted the note was reported and seized upon and was being perused at the exact moment that he climbed aboard a cart heading north-east. In it he simply stated that he was leaving and going "where his heart led him". And thus it was that he passed out of their lives.

And thus does his tale to this point end, and the ever-continuing saga of Leif Terskun, the Golden Wordsmith as his master had predicted, articulate and literate, leaves the past and becomes the present and, perhaps, the future.

Weapons: Leif has no weapons other than his quick wit and ready tongue.

Belongings: Leif has a few personal effects in addition to his clothing, such as a small sketch of Marcogg which he was given after admiring it on a classmate's pad, which he keeps in a sturdy canvas bag. Around his neck he wears a thong on which he keeps the first coin he ever earnt from speaking in public - a Copperbard which he was awarded in for winning a class speaking competition. He also has a small pen case containing a functional quill, stripped of its feathers, and a couple of spares, and a small amount of ink.

1More about the river in Marcogg and the falls can be read here.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2010, 04:31:58 PM by Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin » Logged

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Leif Terskun
Fu Luft
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2010, 04:06:02 AM »

Hi Leif,

No need to welcome you to Santharia, then!

I think this is a great CD. It's well written, extensively researched, and witty. The discussion of Leif with his future master at the gate of Marcogg is a gem. Your character idea is original, too: as far as I know, Leif is the first orator on this board. And if you are who I think you are, you'll be great at roleplaying him, too, not being averse to an argument or two yourself?!  ;)

I've only got two small comments:

Quote
His parent were indulgent and loving to the boy, and the only marring of his childhood occurred when he was four.

... parents ...



-- How can he not know his master's name, after two years of studying with him? He must  have heard other people address his teacher by name, even if he himself did not. He must have seen written documents with the master's name on.

Even before stumbling over the master's namelessness, I had wanted to comment that the master could maybe get a little bit more 'face': for example, it is not clear to me why this old man chooses to teach children, trying to mould them into diplomats. Maybe the master is a senior scribe or other official at the Thane's Palace? Maybe he has some reason to think that what his city needs is more people skilled in rhetoric?

But these are details. I think this CD will make the moderators' job an easy one.

Good luck,

Fu

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Leif Terskun
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« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2010, 06:31:56 AM »

Yes...Fu being Shaba and me being...well, me of course evil

The typohas been fixed.

And the master's name...I couldn't get one that fitted, to be honest with you! Nothing leapt to mind, and I was trying to steer clear of irritating ones with "j" that no-one can pronounce!

Oh, and I had intended for the idea of a senior scribe to be as you say - the meeting is not at the gates, though.

Leif wandered around in wonder, staring at the huge buildings in awe. At last he came to the High Bridge, and saw the huge Thane's Palace. Staring in awe, he saw to the side a smaller building, into which were going a group of soldiers. This is meant to be a small building to the side of the Thane's Palace (which I invented out of whole cloth) where Leif has his conversation. He walked up, and asked one of the guards at the door if this was where he could enlist He wants to enlist but mark the sequel.... Being a fisherman's son, he found the metropolitan tones of the guard hard to understand, not helped by the fact that the clearly bored man was not bothering to articulate his words properly. Leif caught a reference to an "old man" and a "desk". That's all he hears.He thanked the guard and entered tentatively.

Leif stepped around the guard with his left foot, and saw an old man sitting behind a desk over on his right. He walked over to him, confident - or at least trying to appear so.

"Hello, sir" he said.
"Hello, boy, who are you?" asked the old man, lifting his eyes from his papers.
"I'm called Leif, sir"
"Leif, eh? And what do you want, Leif?"
"I want to become a warrior, sir."
"Do you, now? Let me ask you a question, boy. Who starts a war?"
Leif hesitated a moment.
"Uh...the king, sir."
The old man tutted and shook his head.
"Wrong. Fighters start a war, bloodthirsty brutes who wish only to bathe their blades in blood and kill until they can kill no more. And if the king is a fighter, well then, then there is certain to be a war. Let me ask you another question, boy. Who ends a war?"
Leif considered a moment longer before answering confidently:
"The king, sir; when he has finally tired of slaughter."
The old man nodded approvingly.
"Good, good. Completely wrong, but all the same good: the confidence, the conviction, yes, very good. But still, wrong. The king does not end a war; how could he? A man to start a war could never end it, even were he so inclined. You are right, when the king is tired of war, he will try to end it, but how could a fighter do this? As often as not this occurs when a new king has ascended the throne, a king who is not a fighter. But in any case, who carries the messages to the enemy? Who talks and writes and talks to bring peace? I'll tell you who, boy: the diplomats. War is brought about by warriors; peace is brought about by diplomats. Under a king who is a warrior we are plunged into futile fight after futile fight, ravaging the country; under a king who is a diplomat, trade flourishes and the arts are nurtured. Always remember this, boy: You can kill a man by chance but you cannot dissect an argument through fluke; you can slash a muscle with sheer luck, but luck will never write a dissertation on comparative theology, or the mining techniques of the Mitharim Dwarves."
Leif stood in dumb silence.
"Tell me, boy," said the man, "have you ever done speaking?"
Confused and not sure whether to be offended, Leif replied.
"Yes, sir, I'm speaking to you right now."
"You are indeed talking to me, that is true, but that is not what I mean by speaking. Have you ever spoken to a crowd, a group? Presented a speech?"
"No, sir." Leif responded.
"No indeed..."
The old man fell silent, and for maybe ten blinks all was quiet.
"In any case, boy, do you still want to be a warrior?"
Leif did not respond.
"Think, boy, think! Use your head! Which would you rather be, a mindless killer or a silver-tongued orator, a poet and a writer? Leif, aren't you? Well, would you rather have people remember Leif the Bloody or Leif the Golden Wordsmith? I tell you truthfully, Leif, if you chose this path there will be nothing you cannot do. You have the spark, and if you exploit that you will go far, dazzlingly so."
Leif hesitated. All his dreams of glory flashed before his eyes, but now he saw them through a different lens. He saw men with their guts spilling out where before he had only seen shining armour; he heard screams of agony where before he had heard only the adulation of thousands; and he smelt the stench of death where before he had smelt only the tang of victory.
And then a different image rose before his eyes. He saw himself, stood in a huge amphitheatre, a crowd hanging on his every golden word, and the adulation he heard had no scream of pain beneath; he saw a scroll, with his name formed in elegant calligraphy at the top, and the beauty was marred in no way; and he knew, in that instant, that even if it meant giving up all of his childhood hopes and dreams, that that was the path he wished to take.
The old man watched in something close to amusement, mingled with satisfaction.
"Well, then, there's no need to tell me, I can read your face like a book. Come back tomorrow at Sunreign."
As Leif turned to go, he saw another old man sitting at a desk on the far side of the room.

So Leif meant to talk to this second old man, the warrior, but spoke to a mentor in the "Diplomatic Corps" - this was what I was try to convey subtly. Perhaps a sword leaning against the second man's chair to make it clearer?

The next day, Leif returned to the man and began his lessons in the arts of literacy and oratory. At first he was clumsy and introverted in front of a crowd, but his natural talent and patient coaching from the man whom he had met on his first visit, who seemed to have become his patron of sorts, won through in the end, and he became among the best. All continued well. Leif learnt how to read and write, not to mention how to count. His head for numbers was never exceptional, but he grasped letters in comparatively little time.

So I hope that is clearer. I will try to make it more so and if I get a name I will christen my "man" - but I think he might (at a stretch) never have heard the name, always being referred to as Sir...some more explanation would however be needed I think.

Thanks for the comment.

I think I am who you think I am, and I think therefore I am as Descartes said.

Goodnight all.

Leif Terskun
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2010, 06:13:24 PM »

Well, I have added a few sentences that I think do the job. I quite like him not ever really "getting" his master's name, but if it is too improbable it will be changed. I wanted to leave him no ties to the city at all, I think.

May I ask, if I am who you think I am then how did you guess? Is my writing style so distinctive?

Leif
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« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2010, 02:25:11 AM »

I've asked myself the same question. Actually, I had a hunch even when I read your character name. Not so many people bother to make up a genuine Avennorian name, I suppose, and your predilection for matters Avennorian has long been apparent. Reading your CD, I found nothing to disconfirm my hunch, and plenty of things to confirm it. Some details about the High Bridge in Marcogg are contained only in the Fymbels entry - and I doubt whether more than a handful of people have read that to date.

But your style did play a role in betraying you: fluent, rich in vocabulary, elegant in expression, the wit used occasionally and inobrusively like well-measured seasoning, hardly any mistakes ... Also, there was the combination of general description with direct speech and detailed situational storytelling, which reminded me of the biography of a certain morally ambiguous pirate.

Hope you get to play Leif soon!  :)
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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2010, 05:32:01 AM »

Well, thank you very much for the compliments! I like to have a name which "fits", and I suppose that my liking for "matters Avennorian" is rather obvious, and then the Fymbels and other things...well, seals the deal really, no?

Again, the compliments of my writing style are quite something - you don't stint with the praise there, I quite like the sound of this guy!

I'm hoping to play with Leif as soon as is possible too, and hopefully your prediction of being "easy for the Mods" will come true!

Leif
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Leif Terskun
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« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2010, 05:47:06 AM »

Hi Leif,

A superbly written CD, in my opinion, and one that with which I have no issues.

Here's a first approval for you.

Dek
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2010, 05:51:51 AM »

It occurs to me that Leif's vegetarianism might constitute another weakness?

Well deserved approval, nonetheless.
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2010, 06:24:56 AM »

Second Approval!  Pet
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2010, 06:42:20 AM »

Wow, I go away for two hours and get two approvals, that's nice and fast! Thanks both!

And Fu, the vegetarianism is a weakness - did you mean a discrete one?

Anyway, thanks again.

Leif
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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2010, 07:06:36 AM »

Congratulations, Leif!

Yes, I meant to suggest that his vegetarianism could be listed as a separate weakness. I had overlooked that you write about it as part of the 'Opinionated' weakness. Anyway, you're twice approved now, so don't worry about it.
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« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2010, 01:54:05 PM »

Leif,

Don't forget to remove all your editing colours, and that sentence you've got along the top of the CD could possibly go as well. :)

Dek
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« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2010, 03:52:34 PM »

Ooops. I should probably have remembered, not being a newbie, but I guess  was waiting for the go-ahead. That has been done, Dek.
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« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2010, 04:32:52 PM »

Titled.  Congrats. :)
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Favorite Cartoon Quotes
"It was a dark and stormy night."  - Snoopy
"Ack!" - Bill the Cat
"I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinski." - President Bill Clinton

My Character can be viewed @Angelina Jolie's house.  But knock first, in case I'm in my underwear.
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