by Kevin J. Anderson
Copyright (c)1989 by Kevin J. Anderson
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To Ginger LaJeunesse
(Charles Dickens said it best ... )
Many people have offered encouragement and comments during the writing
of this book. I would like to thank especially the members of my writers
workshop for critiquing above and beyond the call of duty: Dan'l Danehy-Oakes,
Michael C. Berch, Clare Bell, M. Coleman Easton, Lori Ann White, Gary
Shockley, and Avis Minger. I also express my appreciation to Chuck Beason,
Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Doug Beason ... for a whole bunch of things.
"Always remember this: every character on Gamearth was created by the
Outsiders. We exist solely for the amusement of those who Play our world. Our
ambitions, our concerns mean nothing -- everything is determined by the roll
of the dice."
-- _The Book of Rules_
Melanie blew warm breath against the map of Gamearth, trying to make
the paint dry faster. She didn't want the other players to see what she had
changed. David would probably call it cheating -- but their game would keep
playing itself, no matter what they did.
Melanie wanted to win.
A shoebox of acrylic paints lay on the card table in the study. Some of
the colors had dried up, with lids cemented by hardened paint. But the bottle
of deep forest green had some sluggish drops left at the bottom.
The map's hexagons of terrain were bright and vivid colors, like some
lost Arabian mosaic. They represented mountains, forests,