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Over on the KnightFight Forum, of all places, there's an "RP" section. Very little to do wth playing the KF game, more like shared story-writing. Most stories that start get half a dozen posts at most before dying. Some annoying kid or other has started adding posts like "And then they all died - the end" to anything he doesn't like. So I dealt with one of those over lunchtime: he'd said something about "and then his stomach exploded - the end", I noted that he hadn't specified who "he" was, and wrote a post in which the exploder was an orc. All good fun.

Same annoying kid decided to start a story.

"ok so it starts like:
jack and jill went up the hill to fetch a..........
this is a very complicated story and you may try and write the next part if you like. "
He claims not to be taking the piss. So I took it seriously, and wrote the continuation: part over lunch, and then, after ideas had fizzed, simmered, and matured a little, moved on to my second viewpoint and opened up a load of new ideas.

"jack and jill went up the hill to fetch a.........."
pail of water. They went together, hand in hand, for neither wanted to stay at the foot of the hill, with the strange knight who had stopped there, nor the horse he rode, that didn't seem... quite right. Jack wanted to protect his sister, because that was his job, as the man of the family now, even if he was not quite ten. And Jill, five years older, had heard stories about what strange men might do, and did not want Jack to find out about them. He took his responsibilities so seriously - too seriously, for a child.

The horse must be a real horse, not a demon, mustn't it? It wouldn't be thirsty, otherwise.

Vaurien watched them climb, marvelling at the innocence of youth. Of course, this place was all either of them had ever known. They had no reason to wonder at the spring that flowed from the extreme top of a steep hill, or to puzzle over the way the water vanished into a marble basin. They lived within sight of the Forest of Shadows, and thought nothing of it, nor feared the things that lived within.

Things such as the sucking flowers that had poisoned his horse.... He hoped the water from the sacred spring would cure the poor beast before the malady that was creeping up its legs got much further. He didn't know quite what the results would be, but anything that turned hooves into claws had to be bad.

And the children had seen it, and remained unconcerned. Nothing could touch those who served the sacred spring, they knew that - and yet something had. He had seen their father, in that cold chapel, laid out for burial. Not a mark on him, nothing to show how he had died, and died before passing on his secrets. If only he had lived a few more days, long enough for the girl to come to adulthood and pass into her power.

They were coming back down the hill now, laughing. He watched her move, with the freshness of youth that promised beauty to come, and vowed to himself that nothing, nothing, would harm her in these last days of her childhood, nor as she learnt, as she must, somehow, what it was that she served.

"Note to next writer: I have no idea what killed their father, whether the horse will be cured, what Jill needs to know to take over as the Guardian, how she's going to learn it, what's going to attack next, when Jill and Vaurien will marry (well, at the end of the book, presumably), where their mother is, how Jack inherits the throne, breaking a crown on the way after falling down, or anything much else. Go ahead and find out."

Sadly, no-one ever did.

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