Cake. Ale. I know of few things that make for better birthday parties, but somehow the citizens of Berg found a few more. ...and I stood at the street corners selling loaves of bread for 5 gold apiece.... ...and the gate spell, well, if you could cast such magicks, you were mighty indeed! ...So I went looking for a "John". Found one. Attacked him with a pickaxe. Heard these words: "Murder! Help!"... ...and then the god turned to the warrior and said you will give her back all you took and you could see him trying to leave but he was rooted; and above my head appeared all my armor all my gold... In an evening filled with nostalgia and good companionship, citizens gathered together over last weekend to celebrate Britannia's 13th Birthday! Hosted in the County of Berg Castle, attendees were treated to specially decorated cakes and an evening of stories of some of the guests first memories of Britannia. Special guest judges Andrasta and FalseProphet joined to award prizes for the best story of the evening, as well as the best costume. James made off with third place for his tale of interesting uses for pickaxes. Once upon a time, I woke up on the outskirts o' Minoc with this here pickaxe in m' hand. I walked into town not knowing what I was doing. Someone called out to me: "John hates me. I hate John. Bring me the head of John and I shall reward thee!" So I went looking for a John. Found one. Attacked him with pickaxe. Heard these words: "Murder! Help!" and then all was shades of gray for me. No reward, no bringing back of head. So... I went to the mines, for that doth be what thou shouldst be doing with a pickaxe (and not hitting of people with it). There was a girl there, Cassandra by name. "Thou canst mine here if thou dost give me a share of thine ingots" and she proceeded to demonstrate by killing another miner, and then gutting him. Entrails all over the place! Oh my goodness. I mined. I paid. I ran with the ore to the local smithy... and there learned a bit of smithing! After a long long time, and much taxes of ingots being paid, I was repairing the armor of warriors. They would bring back wondrous tales of a cave nearby that had adventure and riches untold! Oh my goodness! Ah, the forge and the mine.. seemed humdrum and commonplace. I yearned for adventure. I crafted the finest set of chain mail and the finest sword thou didst ever see, and girded my loins (and the rest) and then... I sought the cave! 'twas Covetous. I in my shiny armor strode forth fearlessly, then I came to an interesting part of the cave with treasure chests... and out from nowhere,... a dresser appeared behind me! Blocking me in!! I heard these words Vas Flam Vas Flam... ...and all was shades of gray. Lord Carnivore, bane of Covetous had done me in! I lost my armor, over which I had slaved for months and my fine sword, ... and OoooOOooed all the way back to Minoc. And so I swore a mighty oath... never ever to leave Minoc again. And I haven't. This is Minoc, right? Second prize went to Magdalena, for her tale of bat-hunting. Long ago while I was in the bakery in Britain (because my brother decided I'd be a chef), I got horribly bored. So I wandered up to the forge near the path to the cemetary which was one of the the hopping places back then. There I met Flint Fireforge and a Lord Exodus, who would stand there and fix armor all day. Exodus was one of the first people that I had met on Baja and he was quick to help anyone who he thought might be new to the land. *laughs* Not wanting to seem like I had just arrived and was completely clueless - he asked what he could do for me and what I "was". I blurted out "swords" (standing in what I'm wearing now, of course). He made a sword for me, and offered armor... which I promptly dropped at his feet because I couldn't hold it. *blushes* He paused, seeming to see through the ruse and said, "I think this would be better for you" and made me a katana. Then he started talking about monsters and such and asked where I was going. "Moonglow!" I blurted, because it was the only other name I had heard at the bank, and he said, "Watch out for the mongbats there. They fly." So I nodded, pretending to understand and set off for Moonglow looking for something that resembles a bat. As I was walking around glow, with the katana in my pack, I saw a small brown thing by a tree and it had friends. So I went over to look (keeing an eye out for anything flying or battish). I walked over, accidentally punched it instead of petting, and 4 of his angry friends came to his defense. Two days old, I was ganked by a group of mongbats. I went back the next day to the forge and Exodus and Flint and he asked me how the training was coming along. All I could say was, "I was looking for a BAT!" Eventually Exodus made me armor, better weapons and sent me up to the cemetary to train. But in the spirit of his kindness and seeing how people really helped newbies I try to do the same when I spot the robe and spellbook holders walking around. And, finally, the first place prize went to... Congratulations, Peter! Here's the winning story from teenage master Tarrant: Long, long ago... In a Galaxy Far, Far Away...! Er, wait. I found myself plopped right in front of the Sweet Dreams Inn, with not more than a brown robe, a katana, and a wooden shield. I had no idea where I was. I felt like... Such a newb! And then, out of the blue... this Golden hand started floating in front of me! *...dramatic gesture.* It had to be either God, or I was on drugs. Probably the latter. Anyways...! So I decided to follow this mysterious Golden Hand, and it led me near Britain Ba... *Connection Lost.* So I log back in! Damn America Online! So I decided to avoid this evil Britain Bank for the next 5 or so years, anyways! So moving on... I decided to walk into the woods North of Britain! And I decided I was hungry! And what to my wondering eyes did appear, but... but... A Cow! So I decided I would kill this Cow. I walked up to him. And I started poking him but he just... wouldn't... Die! He just kept falling over! *...groans* So anyways, moving on! I decided to consult the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom, otherwise known as the Renaissance Playguide! Oh, War Mode? *...Clicks on Warmode.* Oooo! The Hand turns red! *...Clicks Cow.* *Connection Lost!* GAH! So I log back in, again. And lo and behold, not only am I dead, but I am in Cove! And it is being invaded by Frightened Orcs! Eep! But then I felt really powerful, because they kept running away from me. So, I wandered around, and would pick up everything the warriors during that Scenario left, and then I decided, "I must get back to Britain!" So I began running North! North, until I became lost. And then, I saw something in the distance. It was... It was... *Sees the Red Name.* A MURDERER!? *SCREAMS!* ...Ok, so it was a Brigand, but I didn't know that at the time! So I began running the other way. Running, and Running, and Running. Until, at last, I came upon a strange place called Vesper, though I didn't know it at the time. And there, I was confronted by a man named Gandalf, and another named Dachra, and also, some strange Councilor from 'Heaven's Forge', named Darius. Little did I know at the time, these three individuals, would have such an impact on me later. These three roleplayers, especially the first two, would introduce me to Ravenshire, my home for many, many years. And that, my friends, is how a total newb became a Roleplayer in Ultima Online. Sort've. After the storytelling, everyone who had come in costume lined up to be judged. Congratulations to Hawkeye, JillOfAllTrades, WildStar, and X for the winning costumes! Finally, the Count of Berg reminded everyone why we had all gathered... Some of us began this journey when moongates rotated, when stones were planted to get from fel to tram, others before any such things existed. But we have a common set of experiences: wandering as a ghost (once we figured out how to walk) in the wilderness, lost and stupid. We each found someone or they found us. They fed us. Clothed us. Armed us. Showed us how to heal ourselves. We can probably still remember their names after all these years. Mine was Fortax, may he rest in peace. For all those who aided us then For all those who took up their banner and repeated their kindness For others For all those who stayed up late listening to the sobs of mundane troubles We thank you Thank You for this time Thank You for this escape Thank You UO for 13 years and thank you here for listening. Thank you, Count of Berg and Amber Witch for hosting such a grand event and Happy 13th Birthday, Ultima Online!