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Ultima Online Spotlight: "Spring Festival"

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Babbling Loonie
Stratics Veteran
Stratics Legend
Spring Festival

One of the few things more enjoyable than a holiday is the chance to spend it with friends. And even better than that is the opportunity to win lots of gold!

This week's story tells of a unique holiday celebration, complete with polymorphed chickens and tame rabbits. Curious? Read on for more about springtime festivities at the Golden Brew.

"I started my morning with great anticipation of the day's events. As I entered the Brew I could smell that my chef, Inga Bjurnfude, had risen early to prepare for the feast. I had been up late decorating the night before and looked at my handiwork. I laughed as my old friend, Washburn, entered the pub for breakfast and shaded his eyes from my newly painted pastel tables and chairs.

"My day was full of dashing back and forth from Moonglow, Skara Brae and the Brew making sure I had all the ingredients ready for Inga, and also making sure I was stocked up on plenty of liquid refreshments. I prepared the bags for the egg hunt, counted pies for the pie contest and collected the checks from the bank so I'd be ready for the contest winners. All day long visitors stopped by, anxious to find out more about the evening's festivities. I could tell by the steady stream of newcomers that this was going to be a very busy night for us.

"Soon enough, guests began arriving. New friends as well as old came through the door and greeted each other with happy holiday wishes. Inga came down from the kitchen carrying a roasted pig and smiled at the 'oohs and aahs' of the diners. The tables were heaped with servings of ham, veggies, bread and other goodies as guests dug in and filled themselves with the delicious food.

"As I watched everyone enjoying the food, I sent Kita and Brother Duncan out to hide the colorful eggs. Hearing the moans of overstuffed bellies, I jumped up and announced it was time to begin the contests. The first event was to be the egg hunt. Contestants were instructed to search for eggs in brightly colored bags that were hidden along the shore of the lake not far from the Brew. I had also hidden a special item in one bag that was worth an extra ten thousand gold. I yelled 'GO!' and the hunters raced off in search of as many bags as they could find with the vision of twenty-five thousand gold pieces dancing in their heads.

"Laughter and shouts of 'I found one!' could be heard coming from the forest. Egg gatherers came to me wondering how many had been found, then racing back out to find more. Soon Beo returned and proudly declared he had found seven bags. Inspecting his finds, I did confirm that he was ahead so far with seven bags. Rimlock Valcite ran up behind Beo, shouting he had the bag containing the special item. Indeed, Rimlock had found the special item, but he had come up one bag short of the highest number so far. Not to be outdone, Rimlock raced outside in search of more bags. By the end of the hunt, Rimlock's diligence paid off and he was awarded the grand prize of twenty-five thousand gold for finding eight bags, including the special item, making his total winnings thirty-five thousand gold.

"Up next was the best holiday costume contest. On the roof of the Golden Globe Theater, entrants modeled and explained their outfits to the judges. Aaron showed how he was The Spirit of Spring, dressed in pastels, carrying a torch and shooting fireworks from a wand, while Nanaki played the part of an egg. Dressed brightly in a jester suit, he suddenly 'cracked' and holiday candy fell from his shell. Nox polymorphed into a chicken while having a tamed rabbit follow him, explaining that he and his faithful companion, Flopsy, spread Holiday Cheer all over the world. Mirabel showed how she was the true definition of Springtime Sassay in a leather skirt and bustier, even dying her hair pink. Xel…well we weren't sure what his costume was saying… except that he seemed to be in touch with his feminine side. After the judging was done, it was announced that there was a tie! Nox and Nanaki were awarded twenty-five thousand gold apiece for their creativity.

"Stacks of Peach Cobblers - one hundred of them - were then placed in ten rows of ten pies. The pie eaters' eyes grew wide in anticipation. Aaron looked the serious competitor as he tied a bib around his neck. As I called, 'On your mark, get set, GO!' the pies were consumed at a rapid pace. Xel looked up, juice dripping down his chin, proclaiming, 'I'm too full to eat anymore!' In the end, after stuffing themselves at the feast, no one was able to eat all ten pies. A quick count though showed the judges that Aaron and Rimlock Valcite both had managed to stuff in six pies. Again a tie was declared and Aaron and Rimlock were awarded twenty-five thousand gold apiece. Truth be told, Aaron was just happy to walk off with a pouch stuffed full of leftover peach cobbler.

"After the contests, we made our way back to the Brew to talk about the fun of the day and visit with friends. Hugging the last visitor goodnight, I turned back to the main room cluttered with bowls, plates and eggshells. I was exhausted from all the activities and felt my bed calling to me. Resigning myself to putting off cleaning for a day, I shut the lights off and locked up the pub. Walking through the forest to my home, I smiled to myself. Yes, I was tired, and my feet ached, but I had spent a whole day with friends, and meeting new people. Climbing to the steps to my bedroom I wondered why I put myself through days like this. As I tucked my downy blanket under my chin and laid my head on my fluffy pillow, I thought of Kita, Brother Duncan, Pasque, Rimlock, Aaron, Xel… and as I closed my eyes, I knew the answer."

-Ursula, The Golden Brew, Baja

It is with great pleasure that we spotlight tales of friendship in Britannia, and of player-run gatherings. Keep an eye on FYI for more spotlight topics, and we look forward to hearing about the groups that you call friends, and the places that you call home.
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