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"Just because it says READ ME doesn't mean you should"

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MY DIARY
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The Oracle
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Keep Out!
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(If found, return to: The Oracle, Oracle Level, Level 7ish, The Dungeons of Doom)

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1st January
Dear Diary,
I've decided to keep a diary! You're the first to know (of course). Izchak gave me such a lovely notebook for my birthday that I felt I needed to find something really worthwhile to do with it. And it's New Year so an excellent time for starting new endeavours. So here we are! I'm writing in you. It will make a change from only ever inventing eternal verities or ambiguous prophecies to be fully understood only as your possessions are identified. Frivolity here we come!

2nd January
Dear Diary,
One of my other presents was a desk calendar from Vlad. Every day there is a new, supposedly witty, aphorism. Today's was: "An umber hulk can be a confusing sight." I must start trying to work these into my routine! So helpful and yet so unhelpful at the same time. Yesterday's was: "I smell a maze of twisty little passages." Comedy gold!

3rd January
Dear Diary,
Today's adventurer was not amused when I told her "If you're lost, try buying a map next time you're in a shop." But she did only pay me 50 zorkmids, I don't know what she was expecting. I hid behind a fountain until she was gone.

4th January
Dear Diary,
Cleaned up the fountains today, they were looking a little dreary. Got rid of a load of algae and polished everything up a bit. Can see my face in the caryatids now. Maybe I need a hobby? Calendar says, "Someone's been spiking the pits!" - not a good hobby suggestion, too vindictive. Apollo knows the adventurers have a hard enough time as it is.

5th January
Dear Diary,
Not much to do today. Squashed a few grid bugs (nasty scuttling things) and pointed a golden naga in the right direction. The calendar says "Dilithium crystals are rare indeed" but that's also a terrible suggestion, I don't have the time or money for rare gem collecting. Something more frugal would be better.

6th January
Dear Diary,
Finally, a useful suggestion! "They say that Medusa would like to put you on a pedestal." I could learn stone carving! There's no shortage of rocks around here, and I can ask Medusa for tips. Plus a few extra statues would make the temple look a bit more respectable. I wonder whether Enniscorthy has any books on the subject? I see a trip to Minetown in my future.

7th January
Dear Diary,
Trekked down to Minetown today to buy supplies. Had to traipse round all the shops in the place before I found what I wanted, but Asidonhopo had a pickaxe, which he reluctantly let me have, and a couple of scrolls of earth, so the trip wasn't wasted. "Inside a shop you better take a look at the price tags before buying anything" - too true, calendar, too true. Also dropped in on Izchak and picked up a few extra candles for lighting my studio.

8th January
Dear Diary,
Today an adventurer died on my level, unprepared for a baby red dragon, and I wouldn't normally but I just happened to spot a wand of digging poking out of his pack... "Grave robbers sometimes get rich" as the calendar would say. (Did say just this morning, coincidentally. Maybe that's where I got the idea from?) The statuary plan is go!

9th January
Dear Diary,
Quiet day today, so I had my first go at carving. I picked a grid bug, partly inspired by the calendar: "They say that a grid bug won't hit you when you cross it." But also they have nice straight lines and a simple shape, perfect for a first attempt. It came out a bit wonky but overall I'm quite pleased with it.

10th January
Dear Diary,
Tried something else simple today - a floating eye. Not sure how I will get it to float, I'm fresh out of levitation potions and obviously it can't wear a ring or boots. "They say that wiping its face is impossible for a floating eye." Thanks, calendar.

11th January
Dear Diary,
Felt confident to tackle my first quadruped today. I let the calendar choose, and it said "It would be peculiarly sad were your dog turned to stone." My way was much more work than getting hold of a cockatrice egg and a dog would have been, and ultimately a bit of a mess. Considering just giving up and paying gargoyles to fill the alcoves instead, I'm not very good at this.

12th January
Dear Diary,
Decided to have one last go before giving up. The calendar says "They say that dragon scales can be quite enchanting" so I tried a dragon. Bit ambitious, but. Actually it came out OK! I'm pleasantly surprised.

13th January
Dear Diary,
Invited Medusa round for tea and to show off my dragon. She was guardedly impressed! I think. She says she prefers a more naturalistic style, and likes to "capture things as they are". Lucky for some, I suppose. "They say that in the dungeon you don't usually have any luck at all." She invited me back to her level to see her work; must take her up on that offer sometime.

14th January
Dear Diary,
At a loose end today (no adventurers due for a week, apparently) so popped down to see Medusa after all. Seriously awed by her work! Such a range of subjects and poses. Natural talent, I suppose. ("Psst! It's done with mirrors!") She had a particularly nice centaur statue that I might have a go at, I think it might go very nicely in the temple.

15th January
Dear Diary,
Have decided to give centaurs a go. I think that might strike the right balance between imposing and technically impressive without being too outright monstrous. Have to keep the temple at least slightly welcoming! I wouldn't want adventurers mistaking it for Medusa's level and trying to destroy the place. "They say that dwarves lawfully mind their own business" but I'm not sure I can trust everyone to be so considerate.

16th January
Dear Diary,
Busy carving today. Phew, tiring! Not much effort left for writing, need to get to sleep. First centaur nearly done. As the calendar helpfully says, "They say that some stones are much much heavier than others."

---More---

20th January
Dear Diary,
Been too busy to write! Three and a half centaurs done so far. The calendar obliquely reminds me that I will need help to get the statues into their places ("They say that in lighter moments you could think of ways to pass a stone.") Still, that's a problem for another day.

---More---

25th January
Dear Diary,
Finally! All the centaurs are finished. Got a passing pony to help me pull them into place today. "They say that no one notices the junk underneath a boulder" and you would not *believe* how dusty it's been getting round here. I must have a good sweep up.

26th January
Dear Diary,
After a giant dinner and a good night's sleep I'm feeling very pleased with myself. The temple looks lovely! Really pleased that all my hard work paid off. In fact it's so nice I'm wondering whether I ought to have some sort of official opening party and invite everyone round to admire it. Spent the day whistling to myself and when an adventurer came past I told him "A blindfold can be very useful if you're telepathic" and if that's not actually useful advice I don't know what is. May he go far.

27th January
Dear Diary,
I mentioned my party idea to Rodney and he thought it was great, so I have preparations well underway! Went down to Minetown to pick up some fortune cookies and potions of booze, and made myself a nice sign, "Temple Closed To Adventurers - Private Party". "They say that a wand of locking can close more than just doors." Wonder if mine could do an entire level?

28th January
Dear Diary,
The big day! I hope people come... "They say that the Delphic Oracle knows that lizard corpses aren't confusing" but I certainly don't know quite what to expect from tonight.

29th January
Dear Diary,
Well that went well! Absolutely everyone came, which was good as I was worried I might have over-catered. "Spinach, carrot, and jelly -- a meal fit for a nurse!" The high priest of Moloch even popped in for a bit! And I know how terribly busy he is. Master Kaen was *very* complimentary about my work, and it's not like he's known for his bright and kindly nature. The Minotaur said he didn't know we had a budding artist in the dungeon and would I like to cast my eye over his maze at some point and see if I had any thoughts about livening it up a bit? Croesus took me to one side and offered me quite a lot of zorkmids for a commission. All in all a very successful evening!

30th January
Dear Diary,
ABSOLUTELY LIVID. Some snotty-nosed adventurer came by this afternoon and reduced all my beautiful statues to smithereens! He said he was looking for spellbooks. I said did he want his possessions identified because he was going the right way about it. "They say that a summoned demon could improve your game" but I think it's highly unlikely to improve *his* game, unprepared little nobody. Hopefully it'll chase him downstairs first, too, so I won't even have to mop the floor.

31st January
Dear Diary,
The calendar had the right idea in the first place. I've ordered eight statue traps; the next lot of statues will be able to fight back. "There is a Mastermind deep in the dungeon" - little will they suspect it's me... And next year? I'm asking Vlad for the *false* rumours calendar.