When Bears Attach http://www.uo.com/spot_88.html They say a picture's worth a thousand words, but often there's a story behind the picture that's just as good as the picture itself. This week's spotlight features one of the most humorous shots we've seen, and the delightfully devilish story of how it came about. "I'm tellin' ya, it's a piece of cake! Just pop that head off, skin it back, and mount it on the board. Five minutes, tops!" Lord Randum was serving drinks behind the bar as these words erupted from the mouth of Doug Deep, resident taxidermist of the Heroic Stoic. He was well into his second keg and regaling the crowd of adventurers with tales of his prowess. "Well, then, Doug. Show us how it's done!" spouted Doom Monsterbane from the corner. "All right, but I'm out of taxidermy kits. I'll make a run into town and when I get back, you'll see just how easy it is to pop the heads off those dang bears!" Being too drunk to remember the words of power for the recall spell, Doug set off on foot toward Vesper, weaving through the trees until he was out of sight. "That man chaps my hide sometimes," growled Lord Randum, " I kill the bears, and mark runes for him so he can make his trophies AT NO CHARGE, and he takes the credit for the kills. Sheesh! We all know Doug couldn't fight his way out of a paper bag!" "Well, I have an idea," said Dragoneer, one of the local tamers. "Why don't we play a bit of a joke on ole Doug? I'll go tame a couple of bears and Chyna here is a craftswoman. She can make a hole or two in the wall back there where Doug keeps his display trophies, and maybe make up some trick plaques to put around the bears’ necks. I'll get the bears lined up with the holes and keep them calm. When Doug gets back, Randum can ask him to take a look at the books or something to get him into the back room. When he sits at the desk, I'll poke the bears and make them growl. We'll see how brave Doug is then!" "Excellent!" cried Monsterbane. "That sounds like a fine idea. I'll follow him and make sure he doesn't return before we're ready." "Hey, how are we gonna hear what he says?" asked Bastian, another patron. "He always locks the door when he drags out the books. I guess he thinks Lord British will sneak up on him and demand a piece of the action. Hahaha." "I've got an idea," said Lord Randum. "I'll put a comm crystal transmitter in back under the plants and hide some receivers out here so we can hear him scream like a little girl." The crowd erupted in laughter, expecting this to be great fun. All went as planned. Doom kept Doug busy in Vesper while Dragoneer collected the bears and Chyna and Lord Randum got things ready at the Stoic. The only snag came when Dragoneer attempted to coax the bears into sticking their heads through the wall. As one can imagine, he had much "help" from the patrons, who had really gotten into the spirit of things by this time. Finally, a mighty shove with Dragoneer's shoulder planted firmly against the bears' posteriors accomplished the deed. With everything in place, all returned to the tavern to await Doug and Doom's return. A few rounds later, in came Doug and Monsterbane, back from their trek to town. "Hey Doug!" bellowed Lord Randum, "There seems to be a problem with the books, boss. You wanna take a look right quick before you take off?" "Sure, but it'll have to be quick. It's getting dark and I want some nice trophies." "It shouldn't take long," Lord Randum assured him. "There just seems to be a problem with the inventory." Doug muttered to himself as he closed the door to the office and the crowd snickered as he drew the bolt. A cheery "Greetings" rang out from the front door as in walked one of the partners of the Stoic, M'Dam Midnight. "I thought I heard the books opening, so I thought I'd come in and bug Doug for more dye tub funding." "Sure, he's in the back. You've got a key, right?" asked Lord Randum. "Aye, I'll let myself in. I can see you're busy." The crowd snickered more loudly this time, realizing a new twist had entered the plot. Robyn slipped out of her place the crowd and dashed outside, rounding the tower to tell Dragoneer it was time. Dragoneer, anxiously awaiting this moment, prodded the bears, slapping their hindquarters and twisting their stubby tails. Inside the crowd was silent, straining to hear every word. "Hey, Midnight!" said Doug. "I'll be right with ya. Just gotta check the inventory right quick. Seems we've got two extra bear trophies and I don't know where they came from." "No problem. I've got plenty of time," said Midnight as she sat on a stool at the workbench. Then the crowd heard a growl from the comm crystals, eliciting a roar of laughter that was quickly hushed by Lord Randum. "Was that your stomach growling?" queried M'Dam Midnight. And as if on cue, the bear directly over Doug opened it's maw, roared, and cleanly bit off the head off a screaming Doug Deep. "My goodness!" exclaimed Midnight, bolting from the office to get help. As she slammed the door wide, she was almost blown back into the office by the gales of laughter flowing from the patrons. Through the comm crystals, she and the rest heard a puzzled Doug Deep, now ghosted, moan and say, "What's so damn funny?" It was easy to res him, and he was none the worse for wear, but to this day, Doug lifts the trophies behind his desk before he sits down. Just to make sure... -Randum, The Heroic Stoic, Baja Do you have stories to tell of your deeds in Ultima Online? Whether it's tales of great courage, ballads of lost loves, or raucous stories of laughter among friends, we want to hear from you! Be sure to keep an eye on FYI for more Spotlight topics in the future.