January 14, 2001
Crime, Underground! - By Mhordamis
Vonliege sat at the head of the oaken table, furnished with dimly lit candles
and plates holding slopsoup with bits of meat in it -- the table was furnished,
I mean... not Vonliege -- along with several of his partners in crime -- er,
Vonliege sat with his partners in crime... his partners in crime just sat at
the table... the table sat with no one; it had no partners in crime.
At the farthest end of the table, opposite Vonliege, sat Imrah the Nose. To the
left of the Nose was Billy the Dark, and next to Billy sat Nephalis the
Banelar. Across from Billy was Tim, who had no nickname yet --and Vonliege
would have to do something about his regular name -- and sitting next to Tim
was Celdspar. Shaelin and Herosai decided to stand at the door, guarding the
room from unwanted attention.
"Now, then," Vonliege said, drumming the table with his knuckles, "lets get
this thing going."
He stood up and began his speech. "I've called upon you all to announce that I
am creating a sanctuary for thieves and crooks alike. A place where our kind
can go to live for awhile, perhaps, or seek shelter, or find partners who want
to do a job -- that sort of thing. It will also be a training ground for
newbies who want to learn the art of thievery and such. It'll be underground,
secluded, and in a secret location. It'll be magnificent!"
"OOOoOoOOoOooOOOooo!" everyone at the table exclaimed at once.
"What's it called?" Celdspar asked.
"Crime Underground," Vonliege announced grandly.
The men at the table scratched their heads, looked bewildered, and blinked in
"Like, uhm..." Billy began. "Crime, Underground?"
"Nono," Vonliege was quick to correct. "Crime Underground."
Tim hesitated before he spoke. "So... there's going to be stealing and other
things of that nature in your sanctuary -- this Crime, Underground?"
Vonliege sighed. "No. Nothing like that. It's just going to be called Crime
"So there will be crime -- like stealing and other things -- going on, but
underground?" Tim persisted.
"No!" Vonliege shouted. "It's just going to be called Crime Underground, for
no other reason except that it's a catchy name."
"Crime, Underground!" Billy said cheerily, clapping his hands and grinning
foolishly at his companions. "Heh, heh!" He stood up and high-fived Imrah.
Vonliege shook his head, and decided to give up on the matter. "If anybody
asks, just say it's called Crime Underground. Got it?"
"Crime, Underground; Crime, Underground; Crime, Underground!" Tim repeated,
burning the name into his memory. "Got it!"
"Anyway," Vonliege said, "we're going to need some scary names, so people and
authority alike are scared of us, plus to keep our real identities hidden.
However, I will be keeping my name, to show that I am not afraid of authority,
or afraid of disguising myself. It'll be a statement -- a bold, brave one, in
"Billy," Vonliege said, "stop high-fiving everyone and sit down. You'll need a
new name -- Billy is too wholesome sounding."
"Hrm," Billy said, his face contorted in an expression of thoughtfulness and
confusion. "How about Vonliege?"
"Er," Vonliege said, "no. That's my name."
"Yeah, but, I'll be making a statement -- a bold, brave one, in your
Vonliege almost let his head smack down to the table in frustration, but he
kept on. This was too important -- this sanctuary -- to surrender so easily.
"Listen, Billy," he said, "Vonliege is my name. You cannot have my name, it'll
be too confusing."
"Right," Billy interrupted, "confusing to the authorities! Heh, heh!"
Vonliege could not believe Billy was serious. "You can't have the name
Vonliege, and that's final! Think of something else!"
"How about Billy?" Billy asked excitedly.
"Forget it! We'll move onto Tim."
Tim looked emotionally hurt. "What's wrong with my name?" he pouted.
"It sounds as puny as Billy -- not scary at all."
"But I was named after a great, great man! An ancestor of mine! Maybe you've
heard of him? -- Tim the Enchanter!"
Tim was killed instantly as a Book of Copyrighted Material appeared from
nowhere and thunked him on the head.
"Now where do you suppose that came from?" Imrah quizzed.
Vonliege shrugged. "Who knows? From Gamina's office, maybe?" He turned to face
Nephalis. "You'll be known as Nephalis the Viper from now on, got it?"
He frowned. "What's wrong with Nephalis the Banelar?"
"Banelars kill newbie traders and little ones who get lost in the forest,"
Vonliege informed him. "You don't want to have that sort of repu --"
"The Badger!" Billy interrupted, jumping up from his chair. "Billy the
"Nono!" Vonliege said quickly. "You have to change the Billy part -- and the
Badger is weak!"
Billy grimaced in sadness. "I like Billy the Badger. It's catchy!"
"But it's not a bold name," Vonliege said.
"Hrm," Billy murmured thoughtfully, sitting down. An instant later, he shot up
again and exclaimed,
"What?" Vonliege asked, frustrated.
"No, I mean, I'll be known as Vonliege!" Billy said excitedly, grinning like a
"I already told you that you couldn't be Vonliege -- I'm Vonliege!"
"Oh, right," Billy said, scratching the back of his head as he ponderously sunk
back into his seat.
"Imrah," Vonliege said.
"Let's remove the Nose, okay?"
"I like my nose," Imrah informed him. "I smell with it and everything."
"I mean your nickname, 'the Nose.'"
"Oh. Uhm, why?"
Vonliege shrugged. "It just doesn't work."
"My nose works fine," Imrah said disdainfully, sniffing loudly to prove that
his nose did indeed work.
"I mean your --"
"Tim the Enchanter!" Billy exclaimed, jumping up from his chair as the Book of
Copyrighted Material went flying by his head.
"It's been done already!" Vonliege informed him. "Billy, from now on, you'll be
known as the Spider. Nephalis, you're Nephalis the Viper. Imrah -- you're just
Imrah from now on. Celdspar, you're the Master Thief. And I'm Vonliege."
"How come you get the coolest name out of all of us?" Billy asked evilly,
"Because it IS my name!" Vonliege roared. "My name IS Vonliege!"
"Oh, right," Billy said sheepishly.
The door opened and Herosai entered, studying everyone before he closed the
door behind him. "How is everything going?"
"I'm the Spider!" Billy said, grinning wickedly. He high-fived Celdspar.
"What happened to Tim?" Herosai asked.
"Storyline revamp," Vonliege said.
"Ahhh," Herosai ahhhed. "Well, we should get going. Shaelin says she saw Gamina
creeping outside -- you know what that means."
"Well, that explains the Book of Copyrighted Material, then," Vonliege said. He
turned to face the table. "We'll hold another meeting in a week, same place.
Make sure you're not followed."
"Can I have my own theme music?" Billy -- the Spider -- asked.
"What the hell?" Herosai said arrogantly, glancing unassuredly at
"I mean, like," Billy said, "every time someone sees me, I want the Eye of the
Tiger playing in the background."
"And I'd like the Imperial March from Star Wars," Celdspar said with a
"Yeah!" Billy exclaimed. "Woo!" He stood up and high-fived Celdspar. "Right on,
Before Vonliege could yell at them both for being complete dolts, he stopped
himself and wondered why the Book of Copyrighted Material didn't suddenly
appear that time. Maybe the joke was overdone, perhaps? "I'll see you buffoons
next week. Until then, good-bye."
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