Oh, and it's pronounced VIHree, not like the plural of "virus".
I think I like this new place (Overdrive -- telnet to overdrive.concentric.net 5195) where I'm spending my time. I initially resided in the realm of Mystic, but it wasn't amenable to my needs, so I've moved. But enough about me, here's stuff about me before I became me! (It's a bit long, so jump to the end if you're bored) *cackle*
Then came the dark time. The Dread Pirate Roberts had broken from his ways, and, this time, instead of wreaking havoc with the merchant fleet of the neighboring kingdom of Florin, he turned his sites on Guilder. And this time, it was rumored, he was getting help from the Forest of Fear, and his attacks were almost unstoppable.
As soon as the legion had disappeared from sight, there came a tremendous rumbling! The castle shook, and Viri was tossed to the floor. Not knowing what else to do, she hid under the bed. Then came a sound Viri knew she would never forget. The sound of ten thousand men and horses all screaming! The sound faded away as if they were all galloping away in fright, yet no one came out of the forest. Not then, nor the next day, nor the next week.
Two weeks later, Viri just had to leave the castle and walk in the light forest again. She couldn't stand hearing her mother cry all day. She cried a lot, still, but she thought maybe the forest would cheer her up. She walked for hours when she suddenly felt a chill. She knew that meant she was approaching the Deep Forest of Fear. She turned away and then saw a strange sight. Seventeen field mice were sitting there looking at her. One was in front, and the rest formed a square behind the first one. Viri smiled. "Quite a little legion you have there, Mr. Mouse," she said to the leader. She held out her hand so it would climb up her arm, but this one didn't. It just looked at her, its eyes widening and whiskers twitching furiously.
Viri was a bit put off by this mouse, since most were very friendly. She turned away, walked over to a fallen tree, and sat down on the soft earth, resting her back against the tree. A loud squeaking noise soon came, and when she turned her head to see, there was the leader mouse, right in front of her face, staring at her. She started, then looked at the mouse again. It had such a serious expression! It almost reminder her of....
"Stanley?" she said softly, her eyes wide. The mouse stopped twitching its whiskers, crawled up to her nose and licked it gently. "Stanley!" she said. "You're alive! But you're a mouse!"
Just then, Stanley scurried off the tree and ran towards the Forest of Fear. Viri hurried after him, not wanting to lose her brother. She found Stanley with his legion, and when she put her hand out this time, he scampered up her arm and sat on her shoulder. She pet him and stroked his fur. As she looked into Stanley's eyes, she had a vision of a warty, old witch cackling with glee! Then, Stanley hopped down and ran into the Forest of Fear! Viri, stunned, waited a moment before following. She knew Stanley needed her help.
She followed Stanley deep into the Forest until she came to a small thatched hut next to a dark cave. She would have preferred going into the hut, but she saw other mice and newts exiting the cave, so she went in. It was very dark, but if she concentrated, she could see. She realized later that she was seeing through Stanley's eyes.
After what felt like hours, she could hear a strange whispering sound and see some real light up ahead. Cautiously, she approached and peered in. Inside stood cages of men! Her father's knights! And in front of one cage, whispering a spell stood the witch! Garbed all in black with a wart on her nose and crooked, yellow teeth and a small silver amulet around her neck, the witch crooned her spell and waved her arms in the air. Viri watched, fascinated. The spell reached a tremendous crescendo, and a beam of energy leapt from the witch's hands and struck the man in the cage. He writhed and screamed his agony. In moments, he had transformed into a newt. The witch tilted her head back and cackled with glee.
Viri couldn't help but gasp at what she had just seen. The witch stopped and turned, spying her. "What is this? A young maiden!" the raspy voice of the witch exclaimed. "My sentries wouldn't notice such a small intrusion. Well then, dearie, I will take care of you myself!!" the witch hissed and her eyes flashed red. A web of power started forming between her hands.
Viri, frightened beyond imagining, froze. Fortunately for her, Stanley was ready. He jumped down, ran over to the witch, and bit her ankle just as she was pointing to direct her fury at Viri. The witch, in pain, moved and her bolt hit the cavern wall, splintering it. A word formed in Viri's mind: Amulet. She darted forward, grabbed the amulet and tore it from the witch's neck. The witch howled and wailed her misery and then disappeared (*POUF*) in a cloud of greasy smoke.
The cloud hung in the air, then seemed to form into a face.
"Foolish mortal," it intoned, "I cannot be destroyed. I am the spirit of this forest, and as long as it lives, I will remain. And now, I will take me another vessel!" The cloud surrounded Viri. She screamed, to no avail. In a flash of green lightning, Viri was transformed into a witch, the silver amulet around her neck.
"I will take your mind as well!" screamed the voice inside her head. So, before it could take her over, Viri released the remaining men. "Tell my father that I was killed freeing you. I cannot remain here." She then picked up Stanley and ran from the cave, laughter echoing in her brain.
She ran all the way down to the harbour of Guilder. There, she stowed away on a ship bound for Florin. On the trip over, she felt insanity creeping in. She fought as best she could, but mischief soon was on her mind. She heard of a new queen to be crowned in Florin, so she spent a night plaguing the princess's mind with bad dreams. She took glee at calling a queen-to-be "The Queen of Slime" and "The Queen of Filth". She was coming into her power now, and soon forgot her past. Only Stanley remained with her.
And then one fateful day, she breached the dimensional gate and entered the land of Overdrive....