Hound and I returned to my House of Sosarian Delights yesterday evening after an uneventful day training. Hound is my Cu Sidhe, and while young, has proven a faithful companion. Taking a moment to enjoy my view of Brit Bay, something caught my eye in the trees by my house. It was a WANTED poster, tacked there by some group called The Dark Outlaws. It read: "Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Reward given for the capture of a ferocious grizzly now terrorizing Safe Haven and surrounding hamlets. If slain, present to The Dark Outlaws for reward." "Here's a chance for you to prove your mettle Hound. We'll catch this bear!" Inwardly my mind was already spending what I assumed would be a handsome reward from the timid citizens of Safe Haven. Gold! Scrolls! Milk-fed farmer's daughters! I knew that Safe Haven could be found northeast of the House, and we quickly raced that direction. Soon a mass of castles and keeps confronted us. These giant structures dwarfed my humble House. I paused a moment to speculate on what treasures might be found inside, but this delay proved disastrous. Hound sniffed the air and whined just as the iron doors to the fortress in front of me flew open. Like a terrible issue of Angband, a frenzied warrior rushed me at full speed. I barely had time to notice the house sigil, Feanro or Feanor or some other ancient name, but he could have been called Bob for all I cared, I just needed to get away. My young Hound bolted but the pursuer trapped us in fields of magic and slammed me off my mount. I was assaulted by bolts of energy. Hound yelped as pillars of fire scorched us both. Just as I thought I could take no more, the attack stopped. The vicious lord pulled me up, dusted me off, and lifted me bodily in the air to place me on Hound. With a slap to Hound's haunch that sent us racing, I heard the assailant shout "And stay off my lawn!" Shaken, we continued our journey and were much more careful to avoid other houses. Just as the sun began to set we arrived at a crossroads that I recognized as Safe Haven. "Well ol' boy, that was a bumpy start, but we are here now. See if you can pick up the scent to this grizz." Hound began circling the area, nose to ground, and then stiffened. "Get 'em boy!" Baying, he sprinted southeast. I followed close behind and we didn't run far until I came to a large castle. What I took to be an innocent townsfolk stood in the shadows, and Hound hesitated as I caught up. The townsperson spoke, still concealed, "I am Freja's slave. The Mistress is having one of her affairs tonight. Enter guest, and accept your punishment." These Havenites are peculiar bunch, I thought to myself, but whatever. Hound has the scent and I have an empty strong box, so onward! We turned the corner and immediately stopped short. In the lawn ahead of us, a circle of torches illuminated a gathering of people around what appeared to be a rack. Remembering my last trip to Dungeon Wrong, I shuddered. The outer ring of the crowd parted and I was surprised to see a Stormy - looking young lady tied to the device and exposed for all to see save the leather straps. A Singularly notable male stood close by, leering fiendishly. Beside his somewhat inebriated stance, a Dark Lady stood. Whip in hand, her leather armor didn't seem substantial enough to provide much protection, but it did give plenty to look at. Hound looked at me and I could see in his innocent eyes he was as confused as I was. The Lady with the whip noticed us. I realized that, while mostly disrobed and probably inebriated, this was a veteran crowd. The Stormy lass bound to the rack looked new to this crowd. What was going on here? Were these veterans abusing this poor girl? Then the Stormy one shouted "Why did you stop? Don't stop!" That was enough for me, I jumped on Hound we rushed out the way we came. We did not get far before Hound crashed into some kind of invisible barrier and sent me flying through the air. Picking myself up out of the dirt, I looked back to see a naked man on a llama. (You can't make this stuff up!) "Sorry about that," he offered. "I didn't see you there," I explained, "who ARE you?" I emphasized that last part and I looked at him again just to be sure my eyes were not playing tricks on me. "The Scoundrel Rico, naturally." Naturally was a good way to explain his outfit, at least. "What are you doing here?" I assumed naked men riding llamas get that question a lot, but I still was not prepared for his answer. "Why, stealing panties, of course. Like these," he said as he held up a leather smallclothes. He continued, "Not much challenge with this lot," nodding back towards the gathering. "They will all but throw them at you. I'm looking for more of a challenge befitting a scoundrel of my stature." He began eyeing me intently. I felt very self-conscious all of a sudden and pulled my robe close. "Well I've got to get back to hunting bear," I offered, hoping to make a quick escape. "Oh?" Rico said directly in my ear. I jumped straight in the air with fright, because in the blink of an eye he had moved immediately beside me. How did he do that? I began freaking out. Rico continued, "I hear there's bear in Luna." Sensing my mounting unease, Hound leapt forward and we didn't look back. As soon as the coast was clear I opened a magic gate to Luna. When the world materialized around me, I stood in front of a respectable mansion. Music and laughter spilled out of its windows. By lamplight I could read the sign above the door. It read "Welcome Luna Interior Decorators". A burly man in expensive garments greeted me. "Welcome! Are you quite all right? You looked terrified." "Sorry, I just came from another party and it shook me up a bit." "I do hope it wasn't those TDO savages. Freja and her gang can be SO punishing to the inexperienced," he said reassuringly. I didn't mention that 'the inexperienced' seemed to be enjoying it. I asked, "Have you seen any bear? I'm hunting for a bear?" "Oh Indeed?!" He responded much more enthusiastically than I expected. "Yes, yes, the grizzly bear terrorizing Safe Haven to the exact," I said. "Oh, indeed." His tone had completely change to a flat disinterestedness. "A good evening to you," he said curtly, and returned back inside. I stood in the dark confused and no closer to the treasures I had dreamt of earlier. In the bushes nearby I heard retching, and out stumbled Rico. "For Blackthorne's sake, DO NOT go in there!" He looked pale and kept nervously watching the mansion. He continued, "There isn't a single pair of panties in there I tell you. You didn't see me here. We did not have this conversation." And in a blink he disappeared again. I had no idea what that was all about, but based on the increasing weirdness of the evening I was becoming less surprised by the moment. "I don't know about you Hound, but I've had enough, treasures be damned! Let's go home." We had walked for miles in the dark when glowing windows shone through the forest. Approaching closer, I could smell the pleasant scent of cookies. Hound was practically slavering, and my stomach grumbled loudly. "Who's there? If that's you Chad, I'm going to kill you!" The house door opened and a young girl stepped out holding a large frying pan. "Oh, sorry about that, thought you might be someone else. Would you like a cookie?" Hound and I could not resist, but after the evening we'd had, I was hesitant. "Maybe just one, that would be great." I sat on the edge of the porch and Hound plopped down at my feet as the girl stepped inside to get the cookies. "Here you go," she offered and I turned. Silhouetted in the door, the girl held out a small plate of cookies, but from my position I could see behind her into the house. Standing in the back, grinning ear to ear, Rico held up a pair of underwear in one hand and gave me a thumbs up with the other. The girl must've seen the look of horror on my face, and whipped around quickly. Rico's smile vanished instantly and was followed by a yelp as the hurled frying pan crashed into his face. The girl turned back to me, shouting "Conniving thieves!" Before things could get more violent I once again leapt onto Hound and fled into the night. This time I didn't stop until I got home. "Well Hound, we're still poor. But at least we survived the night." Exhausted, Hound collapsed on the step and immediately went to sleep. I moved inside but was dismayed to find the House of Sosarian Delights a complete wreck. Moving back into the kitchen, I passed furniture thrown about and broken, chests overturned, and the books damaged. What happened here? Moving into the storeroom I found the reason. A giant grizzly bear lay collapsed in what had once been my stores of honey. The motionless beast seemed too still to be sleeping, and when I cautiously approached I saw that he had choked on my copy of "Greetings from the Yule Drake". I don't care how he died, I tagged him, bagged him, and will be dropping him off at Safe Haven in a few days. Riches here I come! He was a hefty fellow at 660 stones, and exhausted from carrying his body out of the storeroom, I made it to my bed just as the sun came up. But as I undressed, I realized I was no longer wearing panties! Hound woke startled to my shout at full volume, "RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"