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 Urban Nocordia

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PostSubject: Re: Urban Nocordia   Sat Aug 19, 2006 12:16 pm

wow, sorry haha, i must have been REALLY OUT OF IT when i copied it from my comp ... oh well, here it is ... again cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Urban Nocordia   Sun Aug 20, 2006 5:39 pm

Okay, that's better. So now Miriah is missing, and we got to see part of Joseph's dark side, cool.
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PostSubject: Re: Urban Nocordia   Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:33 pm

Chapter 30: In a bind

Angels, I’ve decided, have got to be the dumbest dumbasses in the whole cosmos. Their negotiating skills leave something to be desired. Here I am, sitting around thinking of ways to get Azaza’el out of wherever the hell it is he’s at, and the featherhead has to spoil it all by doing something stupid like threatening Miriah. Talk about disappointing. Not unexpected, really, but disappointing. Now, of course, I’m going to spend the next two days finding her and showing Azaza’el that, really, he’s in no position to bargain.

Then I’ll help him. He just might not appreciate my ‘help’ by the time he gets it. I really am a nice guy, but I don’t take too well to threats.

I tell as much to Joseph as we sit in the back of the cab. It’s a bit too daylight to go bouncing from rooftop to rooftop, and I couldn’t be arsed running anyhow. Two days is two days.

Joseph, for his own part, snorts indignantly. “How can you still think of helping after…” he’s livid, really livid, and antsy being stuck in the cab. Having had too much drama for one day, I’ve got my influence locked down in the cabby’s head. Drive the car, don’t notice the demons. Easy stuff, when it’s just one person.

I shrug. “I’ve been there, bought the t-shirt. I can’t say it’s anything I wouldn’t’ve done, back in my day. Do you want to know what it’s like? Eternal torment? I can show you if you want. A thousand years of pain and frustration and impotence.”

Joseph looks away.

“Thought so.” I turn to the driver. “Whoa, whoa! Turn left here.” He does so, pulls up short in front of a white-clad figure that turns sharply as the car rolls up. She’s holding a gunbelt.

I wind down the window, stick my head out. “Hop in, luv.”

“You! This is all your fault! Something to–”

“We know. Hop in.”

Reluctantly, looking back and forth between the cab and the alley, Templeman eventually climbs into the front seat. I tell the docile cabbie the address of our apartment, making a mental note to pay him triple the fare for his time.

––

“Goddamn you! This is all your fault! Ugh, if I could just… Argh!” the Snow Bitch trails off into impotence.

I wave a hand, bored. “Yeah yeah, Cassie-luv, I’ve heard it all before and more besides.”

It’s about half an hour later, back at the apartment. Joseph’s spent most of that time filling Templeman in on what’s been going on, the rest of the time has been spent shouting at yours truly. I’m used to it.

“What’s done is done. Blame and anger never bought little girls home, so everyone better sit down, shut up and start thinking. The first priority is getting Miriah back. Way I figure it we’ve got a day–”

“Azaza’el said two…”

I look at Joseph. “Do you trust him? Anyway, corpses to crinolines he’s gonna be having his magic floatie eyes on us, and when he figures out we’re more interested in cutting his strings than dancing on them, Sun-girl’s fingers’re gonna start turning up in boxes.”

Templeman and Joseph both look horrified. “How can you be so flippant about it?”

I shrug. What else am I going to do? “Second, we need to find Duda’el. Azaza’el says it’s somewhere that can only be found, not shown. So either he’s a lying whore – likely – or he’s a lying whore telling the truth this time. There’s got to be some record of where it is, physical or metaphysical, and if you can get me a general direction I can sniff out the rest of the way. My bet is that it’s not somewhere on this physical plain, which would be handy, because if we need to buy a plane ticket to Israel in the next two days… well, it’s not gonna happen, now is it?”

“They might be in the same place,” Templeman muses. “Miriah and Azaza’el, I mean.”

“Maybe…”

“I will search for information on Duda’el,” Joseph chimes in. People always get more amicable when they think there’s a Plan.

“Good. Me and the Snow Bitch”– Templeman looks like she’s about to slap me –”here will go looking for Miriah.”

I stand, walk to the apartment’s kitchenette, rip open two packets of salt, and pour the stuff out onto my palm. First things first. I mutter some words in a tongue older and more sacred than anyone here, then throw the salt out across the table.

“Hey! I hope you’re going to clean that up.”

“No,” I say, distractedly watching the curves and shapes the grains have created. “I’m not.” Satisfied, I straighten up. “All signs point to go. I’m getting some lunch. Coming?”

I walk out without waiting for an answer.
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PostSubject: Re: Urban Nocordia   Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:54 pm

Snow Bitch! I wonder where he came up with that. Hehe, just kidding. Good story/book. 30 down 59 to go.
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PostSubject: Re: Urban Nocordia   Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:57 pm

no, 32 down, 57 to go Smile, ur forgetting the 2 prologues u've read
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PostSubject: Re: Urban Nocordia   Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:59 pm

Chapter 31: Searching

Miriah rolled onto her back and coughed the dust she had breathed in out of her lungs. Her head pounded, a throbbing ache that matched the pace of her pulse. She blinked a few times until she was sure she was seeing properly. This was because the light, wherever she was, was fairly dim. Still bright enough to read by, however, which she supposed was decent. Far above her head was a slit of pure blue; one either side of her, huge cliff faces. They were smooth, with no footholds. She clumsily got her feet, and looked further down the gorge; there was little to see. It looked like it twisted a bit, but went on for quite a while.

Miriah breathed in deeply, feeling the air; it was arid. Dry. She recognized it as desert air; the last time she had been in a desert, she remembered, things went very badly. And, it seemed, that trend was going to continue. Behind her, she heard the fair rattle of chains, accompanied by a moan that chilled her blood. She very tightly shut her eyes.

“Don’tlookdon’tlookdon’tlookdon’tlookdon’tlook…” she chanted, but found she was turning around, despite her better judgment. She opened her eyes slowly and was presented with Azaza’el – the real Azaza’el. His arms and legs were both bound in rock; chains crisscrossed around his body, and around the jagged spires of rock that jutted through his flesh; one was wrapped around his throat and part of it served as a gag; his teeth gnashed against it, his tongue found no rest. The sound and sight of him was pitiful and sickening. His eyes were especially hard to look at; he was blindfolded, but where his eyes would be behind the cloth was marked with deep rust coloured stains, which also trickled down his cheeks. Blood also flowed from the ragged holes made by the sharp rocks. And even after all these years, he still writhed in agony, as if he hoped still that his movement might loosen his bonds. His wailing was the sound of every being that could feel pain crying piteously in unison. Miriah spun around, braced herself against a cavern wall, bent at the waist, and vomited.

“Yes, I don’t imagine we’re much to look at, no not at all,” a broken voice beside her said, clicking its tongue in disappointment, “And I assure you, it feels very much worse.”

Miriah spat, and wiped a few flecks of spittle from her mouth with the back of her hand. She turned her head and saw Azaza’el standing next to her, looking at the chained husk on the rocks and shaking his head. She had to stare for a few moments to process that yes it was indeed he.

“How? Where am I?” she gasped.

“Oh-hh no no no no no, we’re not allowed to let the humans have knowledge, knowledge is power and only the Powers have power and humans having knowledge is oh-so-very bad,” the Fallen started, sounding like a small child trying to do what was proper. He paced a little as he spoke, making frightened gestures with his hands close to his chest. Miriah had to rub her eyes when she saw him moving in double; she thought she may have screwed up her vision, but she saw it wasn’t so. Slowly, she lowered her hands down to grab her pistols, and felt her fingers close over nothing. She looked down and cursed when she saw she was missing her gunbelts.

“No, I don’t think we’d let you take those along,” said the Azaza’el-who-Wasn’t, sounding remarkably calmer than just seconds before. “I want to get free of these bonds, I don’t want to be unmade by the fruits of my own teaching.” He grinned, and though he sounded stable, Miriah knew that it was the grin of madness. Tara had worn it herself several times, and Miriah had marked the look of it well. He walked over to her slowly, his desperate eyes locked with hers. He touched a ghostly hand to her chin, and she was chilled there.

“Such a lovely girl,” he said, softly, “So lovely. Human women can be so absolutely beautiful…” he mused, tracing his ghost-fingers over Miriah’s jaw line. Despite the odd sound of his voice, it still sounded like one of the finest songs Miriah had ever heard. “I would hate to spoil that loveliness. Hope that the Chainbreaker, He-Who-Is-Free, can release me soon, lovely, for your story may come to an end if he cannot.”

A tear rolled down Miriah’s cheek; she was terrified, but tried so hard not to show it. Gav would have been so proud of her for it. “So you’re going to kill me, huh?” she asked. He just continued to let his eyes feast on the look of her.

“So absolutely beautiful…”

––

Joseph cradled the phone between his shoulder and his neck, holding a slab of paper in one hand and a fountain pen in the other. He looked weary; it had been two hours already. Templeman and Loki were still out and about, and Joseph was running out of sources to call. The most he had figured out was that Loki had been correct in his idea about it existing in another plane; the bitch about that one was that there were practically an infinite number of planes one could visit. Still, Joseph didn’t feel they would have to go to a totally different reality. He didn’t know, but he felt it. He knew that, in this realm of existence, there could sometimes exist pockets of reality; several of the old ones, the ancient demons before the time of man, had temples that now existed in these pockets. It would explain what Azaza’el had said about it being a place that must be found and could not be shown. It was a long shot, but Joseph was usually lucky in his hunches.

However, considering that it could be practically anywhere on the globe, though, it was still a frustrating search. He hung up on the phone hard, slamming it into its cradle, and threw his notes down next to it. He plunked down in his seat – something he’d been doing a lot of that day, and put his head in his hands, carefully. A horrible thought dawned on him, then.

If he couldn’t get help from ‘above’, maybe he could get it from ‘below’.

He put the kettle on and sat, thinking. Thinking very hard indeed.
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PostSubject: Re: Urban Nocordia   Tue Aug 22, 2006 6:37 pm

So she is with Azaza'el, I knew it. The plot grows thicker...
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PostSubject: Re: Urban Nocordia   Fri Aug 25, 2006 8:37 pm

Chapter 32: Foot to the Door

The Snow Bitch stares at me all the way through my lunchtime, and I do my best to ignore her, instead focusing on the large plate of Turkish food in the center of the table. Another long strip of shaved kebab meat vanishes into my mouth. Followed by a sip of hot, blacker than black coffee. This is a good little café; must remember to look for it in my world.

Eventually the glares get too much. “Oh would you please relax,” I snap.

“Relax? Relax! Miriah is God-knows-where having God-knows-what done to her and you want me to relax?”

“Yes. Damnit, woman, it’s hard to eat with you boring holes in my skull with those eyes.” I spoon some green minced salad onto her plate. “Here, have some tabouli. It’s very good.”

Templeman sighs and starts to eat. Eventually she says, “Does anything bother you?”

I think for a bit. “It bothers me,” I start slowly, chewing thoughtfully on some bread, “that by necessity my company occasionally engages in shady business in third world countries. It bothers me that the relationship I have with my wife isn’t particularly down-the-line healthy. Global warming bothers me. The fact that I have a great-great-great-something-granddaughter I didn’t know about until recently bothers me. The fact that most of the rest of my children are dead bother me. My brother bothers me.” I think for a moment. “And SUVs. They bother me too.”

“Is that it?”

I shrug. “More or less.”

“But that’s all so…” she struggles for a word. “Mundane!”

“This”– I gesture around –”the whole thing with Azaza’el and the God Squad or what-have-you, does not bother me. This is what I do, what I’ve done for longer than you can ever possibly imagine. It always works out, because it’s a story, and stories always work out; especially back when I’m from. It’s everything else you’ve got to be worried about.” I add, somewhat more quietly, trying not to think of Sigmund and how long I’ve been gone for. “Eat your lunch. Everything will be alright.”

––

Everything was alright, because I had a plan. I came up with it halfway through the rice – they cook it in butter somehow, so delicious, I really must learn how to do it – and couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before.

I didn’t tell Templeman about it until we’d made out way back to the alley I’d first picked her up in. Lunch had been just what I’d needed to get the fire roaring and the colour back into my hair again. I suspect it had something to do with the hummus.

“So,” she says. “Back to the start?”

“Sort of.” I pull one of Miriah’s guns from the holsters thrown over Templeman’s shoulder. “Miriah told me a funny thing about these guns. Can you think what it possibly could be?”

Templeman’s eye widen. “They always return to her!”

I grin, wiggle my eyebrows Marx-style. “Pretty dumb to leave them behind, eh?” I can’t sense Miriah anywhere around – that was the first thing I tried – but that in itself could mean either she’s too far away or they’ve got her shielded somehow. It’s hard to break that kind of shielding if you don’t know exactly where you’re looking.

When I look for it, the line between Miriah – wherever she is – and her guns is weak. More like the first few inches of a laser sight than the silvery rope I remember. But it’s enough to get me started. I dragged us back out here because my common sense suggested Azaza’el’s whipping boys couldn’t have taken Miriah all that far before we showed up – by Templeman’s reckoning she was only out five, maybe ten minutes – so they must have dropped out of sigh somewhere near by.

This is where the trail starts.

Following the leys from the gun, I pace all the way down to the other end of the alley. To a brick wall.

This is where the trail stops.

“Hm.”

“What? What’s wrong?”

“We appear to be there.”

“A brick wall? The mystical tracking skills of the gods and all we can find is a brick wall?” she sounds amused rather than annoyed. She knows it’s not the end, I suppose, but can’t resist the jibe.

“Maybe…” Witty comebacks are for people who aren’t working.

I run my fingers along the brickwork. I’m not sure what I’m looking for – a secret button to open a portal to Diagon Alley, maybe – but I find it when I pull my fingers back. Chalk. Not much, but it there was something here.

“Here,” I hand Miriah’s gun back to Templeman, the turn and start walking out of the alley.

“Hey, hey no fair. What’s going on?”

“I need a drink,” I say. “Stay here.”

“What?”

––

The bar is, surprisingly, still open and not nearly as dead as it should be. I guess that for nocturnal creatures this is the equivalent of a late night out. At least some of these things must be nocturnal. I mask myself very carefully as human, and approach the bartender.

Fifteen minutes and a hundred (stolen) dollars later, I walk out with a bottle of scotch whiskey, a beer glass, a sheet of butcher’s paper, a stick of chalk, a plastic canister full of salt and information.

“Well?”

“‘Bout the time you had your nap this morning patrons reported feeling a strong flash of magic. A couple of Fallen were milling about, and a guy inside – weird kinda fish-looking dude – says he came out for a quickie and saw the back wall in the alley was emitting weird greasy smoke.”

“You think they opened a portal?”

“I guess so,” I shrug. “We don’t really muck about with that shit where I’m from, but I watch TV.”

Templeman points to the various bottles in my arms. “And those?”

“Testing a theory.”

Truth be told, I don’t like magic very much. Most of the stuff I do isn’t really magic; when you’re a god it’s the equivalent of sleight-of-hand. Takes practice, but anyone can do it, and it’s not really ‘magic’ in the strictest sense. Real magic – as in, high-brow ritual magic – is something I try and avoid doing as much as possible. It’s sort of my equivalent of algebra, and reminds me way too much of a long string of stern-faced tutors from when I was a kid. A long time ago.

But I guess you never really forget. I hope.

Sitting myself down cross-legged in front of the brick wall, I pour a good portion of salt into the bottom of the glass. Followed by the stick of chalk, mashed up in powder, and a good dose of my own blood.

“Come over here for a sec.”

Templeman walks over hesitantly.

“I think you’ll like this one. I need you to knock one of my teeth out.”

“…Really?”

“Yeah.” It’ll grow back pretty quickly, but I don’t think she’s really worried about that. “Give me a good whack with one of Missy Sun’s guns.”

“Sure.”

It actually takes three whacks, then a good deal of pulling, but eventually I have one curved tooth – root and all – and a very, very sore and bloody mouth.

“Ow. I ‘ate ‘ag’k.”

I fill the rest of my glass with the scotch – then down a good portion myself – and set about scratching runes into the side of the glass with the tooth. Eventually, I drop it into the mix, where it promptly dissolves with a little ‘poof’, turning the whole thing an alarming iridescent blue.

“That’s good, right?”

“I hope so.”

“You hope so?”

I stand cautiously, poking about in my mostly-healed mouth with my tongue. The new tooth is pushing its way through nicely. I think this should be safe.

“Now, I want you to pick up the paper, and hold it up in-front of the wall over there. No, a bit lower. To the left, no other left… okay, right, hold it there and don’t move no matter what. I promise you’ll be safe.”

“Safe from what, exactly?”

Before she’s even finished I’ve downed the contents of the glass and spat them straight at the paper; they burst into bright blue flames the second they leave my mouth. Templeman shrieks, but it’s over before she’s had the chance to move too much.

“Holy shit you could’ve warned me!”

“I told you you’d be safe. Show me the paper.”

She holds it up. The imprint is a little blurry and the left side is cut off slightly, but mostly it’s still usable; a complex series of lines and circles and pictograms scored into the paper in neat, shimmering blue lines.

“A map?” Templeman guesses.

“A magical map,” I tell her. “Of the formulae and ritual of whatever it was those Fallen used out here. Magic broken down into its basic mathematical principles.”

“What’s it say?”

“No idea.”

“What? You don’t know?”

“Hey, do you remember everything you learnt in High School Physics? No, you don’t, do you.” I take the paper back and roll it up carefully. “But I’ll work on it. At least we’ve got our key.”

“Now we just need to find the door.”
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PostSubject: Re: Urban Nocordia   Sun Aug 27, 2006 11:12 am

Interesting magic. This was a longer chapter too. Is there any more magic to come? Wait, keep that a secret. Can't wait for chapter 33.
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PostSubject: Re: Urban Nocordia   Sun Aug 27, 2006 6:58 pm

cheers yes, it's a secret, but yes you will see some interesting magic ...

Chapter 33: Wish Upon a Star

Cassandra Templeman, whose real name was still unknown to her even this long after her birth, was not usually such a harsh woman. When it came down to business she could be a little stiff, but only because her business usually consisted of making sure no one around her died. She knew that she was being unfairly harsh to the god Loki, but she couldn’t help herself. Miriah was someone she held dear, someone who was a link to a life she may have had in another world. And though she had only known her for a couple of years, she was very dear to her. It worried her enough that she had been playing the same role as Cassandra for years now, without any of the special gifts Cassandra was blessed with. And that Loki was being so flippant about these matters burned Cassandra. She had to work with him, though, she knew that. She told herself that of course someone who had known nothing but these matters for so long would find them trivial, and the every day life matters that Cassandra found mundane would be causes for concern.

It’s his lot in life, she thought, which makes him like this. And you have to work with him to get her back. I still just wish I knew if this was what was intended when the Powers brought him here, or if it’s merely the plan gone awry. At least he’s true enough to his word; and he’s completely true about his godhood. Anything less than a god would have been sent spinning into the black when I hit him like that. Lucky to have one tooth left, never mind only one out. I barely just managed to loosen one.

“You’ve gone from staring at me to staring into yourself,” Loki said to her, interrupting her thoughts, “don’t get too lost in there, sweetheart.”

“Please, I’ve already told you once. My name to you is Miss Templeman,” she said, in the sort of tone only the English seem to carry so well, “Or at the very least, Cassandra.”

Remember, Cassandra… play nice.

––

Miriah had finally been able to pull herself away from the Azaza’el-specter and now sat beside a pile of stones at the side of the gorge. Azaza’el had continued to speak, but after twenty minutes of listening Miriah had just stopped paying attention. He’d gone from admissions to infatuations to flatteries to ramblings and then sometimes to what Miriah could only describe as gibberish. So many years down here had completely splintered the Angel’s sanity, and Miriah was starting to wonder if there was more than one Azaza’el in that mind now. There were two definite personalities, she could tell; one who was like a scared, repentant child, who spoke as ‘we’ and seemed timid to answer even her simplest questions. The other was a far more assertive, though still unstable – maybe even more so – Azaza’el, who spoke as ‘I’ and seemed to be the mastermind of this attempted escape. He spoke of Loki like an evangelical Christian would speak of Jesus; that his coming here was the most important of portents and that soon he would be free to do as he wished, to love humankind as they deserved to be loved, as he had tried in the days of old. As he had tried and been punished for. Some moments, Miriah would sympathize with him as Loki had, and felt remorse for being a part in the opposition of these matters. Then the Fallen would say something that chilled her deeply, or his tone – despite the broken quality of it – would make her wary again.

He spoke of love as an abusive lover might; like mankind was in need of it, and must have it. That only he could love the people of this world as they deserved, and that no one else could be good enough. Miriah wondered just what Azaza’el’s love would push him to do; especially when he finally saw the inherent ugliness of mankind. What would he do then?

Her hand flicked through the pile of rocks beside her, and eventually closed around one with a jagged, sharp edge. If Loki couldn’t get him out, she’d be damned if she was going to die alone. Her eyes drifted from specter-Azaza’el to his true body. She may not have the strength Cassandra did… but she knew it didn’t really take much pressure to cut flesh.

––

Joseph sat and sipped his tea. He’d just gotten off the phone with Eliza, who he made swear that she would not tell the others about what had happened to Miriah. Over these years she had become quite knowledgeable

(obsessed)

in these matters, and perhaps she could help the search for Duda’el along. Joseph wished he had the time to bring the Coven into this matter as well. They were powerful enough to find it, though it would be a drain on them. There were still powers on this plane he had not faced. He wished he could shake this feeling of impotence he’d had since Azaza’el made his demands. He wished…

“When you wish upon a star…” a man’s voice sang from the window behind him. It was lyrical and soft, but it still chilled Joseph’s blood to hear it.

“Makes no difference who you are…

anything your heart desires will come to you.

If your heart’s in your dreams, no request is too extreme…

when you wish upon a star as dreamers do.”

It was a child’s melody, but the singer was no child. Joseph turned, trying to hide his discomfort. The singer sat in the window, smiling and well dressed. Black suit, red tie. Red hair that was straight, and came down to his shoulder blades. A closely cut red beard grew on his face, and behind dark – but stylish, of course – sunglasses his eyes burned with what may as well have been fire, though it wasn’t.

“Yosef… all the big guns called down and you didn’t even think to ring me?” he clicked his tongue, disappointed, much like Azaza’el had when speaking to Miriah in the abyss. “I’m starting to think you don’t love me anymore.”
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PostSubject: Re: Urban Nocordia   Mon Aug 28, 2006 7:23 pm

You can't stop it like that!! Well you can, and did. Great spot to stop it. Keeps me wanting more.
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PostSubject: Re: Urban Nocordia   Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:02 pm

For godssakes, SnipSnap, how many forums did you repost this at?

Sorry for being late to the party, but this is Alis Dee; one of the actual authors of the Urban Nordica series. Our friend SnipSnap here has a habit of reposting our story around the place without our permission and claiming credit for it. He was banned from the TeenageWriters.com Forum for exactly that.

My co-author and I would be appreciative if the mods could please take down this thread, as we are currently attempting to commercially publish Chainbreaker (this story).

Myself and my co-author, Random, can be found at the following websites:

Dee (a.k.a. A.S. Vaughn)
- void-star.net
- UN @ Badfic
- LiveJournal
- deviantART

Random (a.k.a. Jesse Powell)
- LiveJournal
- deviantART
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PostSubject: Re: Urban Nocordia   Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:30 pm

Hahaha, oh wow, at this again? Can't believe how much of a mess it seems we have to clean up.

Yeah, I'm with Alis Dee here; please have these posts deleted, as I'm currently in the process of editing this book to have it sent to a publisher. This guy's been caught doing this before, and they were kind enough to help us out in that case.

I wonder where we'll find this next. Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: Urban Nocordia   Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:33 pm

I scoured Google pretty hard this time... doesn't help that he has a habit of spelling the book's name wrong, though. [rolls eyes]
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PostSubject: Re: Urban Nocordia   Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:48 pm

True. Might be time to start punching intentional typos into Google.


At least it looks like, as at the last forum, it's being enjoyed. That much is encouraging. ^^;
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