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While we can use the <.convnode> tag to have an NPC move into a Conversation Node in the middle of a conversation, and perhaps pose a question to the Player Character (PC) at that point, you might want a truly proactive NPC actually to start a conversation. To achieve that, you can call the NPC's initiateConversation(ActorState, node) method, where ActorState is the ActorState you want the NPC to change to (normally an InConversationState), or nil if you don't want a change of ActorState, and node is the Conversation Node that you want to become active. Note that the node parameter can either be the ConvNode's object name, or the quoted string used at the ConvNode's tag. We'll illustrate both below:

We'll start with the ghost; we'll handle his entire appearance through ConvNodes, and we'll get him started with a call to initiateTopic(). First change the definition of graveyard.roomDaemon so it now reads:

     if(!ghost.moved && !statue.isPulled)
       ghost.initiateConversation(ghostTalking, ghostNode);

Now we may define the two ConvNodes for the ghost, together with their associated topics. Note how we have a very simple threaded conversation, that progresses from the first node to the second once the player accedes to the ghost's request (not that he has any real choice in the matter).

+ ghostNode : ConvNode 'ghostQuestion'
  npcGreetingMsg = "<.p>A pale ghost rises slowly from one of the tombs, 
  then turns to you, pointing its ghostly finger straight at you.
  \b<q>You!</q> the ghost cries,
  <q>Yes you - the disturber of my statue! You are the one who must
  carry out the sacred task! You are the one who must retrieve the
  Golden Banana of Discord and cast it into the fires of Mount Gloom
  before it falls into the hands of the Cabal! Will you carry out
  this sacred quest? Will you?</q>  <<gSetKnown(goldenBanana)>>
  canEndConversation(actor, reason)
       case endConvTravel:
         "You are rooted to the spot. ";
         return nil;
       case endConvBye:
         "<q>Oh no, you don't get rid of me that easily!</q>
         cries the ghost. ";
         return nil;
         return nil;    
  npcContinueMsg = "The ghost lets out a low moan and whispers
   <q>My answer! My answer! I will have my answer! Do you
   accept your quest?</q> "

++ NoTopic, SuggestedNoTopic
  "<q>Er, no thanks. I'm off sacred quests at the moment...</q>
   you begin feebly.\b
   <q>No is not the right answer!</q> the ghost interrupts you,
   <q>By toppling my statue you have shown you are the one!
   So - will you accept your responsibilities and take up the

++ YesTopic, SuggestedYesTopic
  "<q>Well, if you insist...</q> you begin.\b
   <q>I <i>do</i> insist!</q> roars the ghost, <q>So,
   you have accepted the quest. Do you have any
   questions about it?</q><.convnode quest-questions> "

++ AskTopic, SuggestedAskTopic @goldenBanana
   "<q>What is this Golden Banana you're on about, anyway?</q>
   you ask.\b
    <q>It is that which you must find and destroy in your
   quest!</q> the ghost answers, <q>Now, does this mean that
   you are accepting your sacred task?</q><.convstay>"
   name = 'the golden banana'

++ DefaultAnyTopic
  "<q>Trying to change the subject will avail you nothing!</q>      
  the ghost tells you, <q>When you've been dead as long as I have
  you become <i>very</i> single minded - almost monomaniac -
  so I <i>will</i> have my answer and you <i>shall</i> not leave
  this spot until I do. So, I ask again, do you accept the Sacred
  Quest of the Golden Banana?</q><.convstay>"  

+ ConvNode 'quest-questions'
  npcContinueMsg = "<q>Do you have any further questions?</q> {the ghost/he}
   asks patiently. "
  canEndConversation(actor, reason)
      "You are too absorbed with {the ghost/him} to leave right now. ";
      return nil;
    return true;
  endConversation(actor, reason)
    "<q>Well, goodbye then.</q> you say.\b
     <q>Farewell, Banana-Quester!</q> {the ghost/he} replies,
     <q>if you are sure you have no further questions?</q>\b";

++ NoTopic, SuggestedNoTopic
   "<q>No, I don't think so.</q> you reply.\b
   <q>Very well, </q> he sighs, <q>Then I may depart, my job is done.
    Should you need to know more, consult the Great History in the Old
    Library. Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine... </q>
    With a final moan, {the ghost/he} fades out of sight. ";

++ YesTopic, SuggestedYesTopic
  "<q>Yes, I do.</q> you reply.\b
   <q>Would you care to be more specific?</q> {the ghost/he} suggests. 

++ AskTopic, SuggestedAskTopic, StopEventList @ghost
   {: "<q>Yes, who are you?</q> you demand.\b
     <q>I am - or was - <<ghost.makeProper()>> the Banana-Bearer.</q> he
     tells you. <q>I it was who countless aeons ago - or last week - ghosts
     don't have such a good sense of time, you see, time doesn't mean much
     when you're dead. Ah, where was I? Oh yes, I it was who countless
     ages ago chanced life and limb and sanity itself to snatch the
     Golden Banana of Discord from the slopes of Mount Gloom, and smuggle
     it past the dread demons of Hell-Fire Cavern into the world of men!
     A great hero men thought me! A great fool I was. Oh woe! Woe! Woe!</q>
     His moaning complete, the ghost enquires, <q>Right, any more questions?</q>
     <.convstay>" },
     '<q>But who are you?</q> you ask.\b
      <q>I told you I am - or was - Benedict the Banana-Bearer.</q> he
      reminds you. <q>Anything else?</q> <.convstay>'
  name = 'himself'

++ AskTopic, SuggestedAskTopic, StopEventList @goldenBanana
    '<q>So what exactly is this Golden Banana thingy? And why\'s
     it so important?</q> you enquire.\b
     <q>The Golden Banana of Discord is the most Awesome Artifact in
      the Universe!</q> cries {the ghost/he}, <q>When I fetched it from
      the slopes of Mount Gloom I thought I was conferring immeasurable
      benefits on my fellow man - health, wealth, happiness, power -
      everything. Fool that I was! Oh yes, the Golden Banana is powerful
      all right. Too powerful! And it is a terrible power! It is best
      you do not know too much about it, lest you be tempted to imitate
      the folly of others. But know this, should the Golden Banana of
      Discord fall into the wrong hands, then all is lost, all! It will
      be the end of life, death and Interactive Fiction as we know it!
      Horrible! Terrible! So I implore you, find it and destroy it as
      soon as you can - the only way it can be destroyed, by being cast
      into the fires of Mount Gloom! So, is there anything else you
      would know?</q> <.convstay>',
     '<q>Is there anything else you can tell me about this Golden
     Banana?</q> you enquire.\b
      <q>I have told you all you need to know.</q> {the ghost/he}
      assures you. <q>It is a terrible, powerful artifact that must
      be destroyed. For you to know more is too dangerous. Any other
  name = 'the Golden Banana of Discord'

++ AskTopic, SuggestedAskTopic @tCabal
  "<q>Who or what is this cabal you're so worried about?</q> you wonder.\b
   {The ghost/he} looks distinctly shifty as he replies, <q>That's the
   problem, no one knows!</q> he tells you, <q>That's why they're so
   terrifying - they could be anyone, anyone at all! But whoever they 
   are, you <i>mustn't</i> let them get the Golden Banana - or else -
   or else we're all doomed - doomed!</q> He blinks a few more times,
   then asks, <q>Was there anything else you wanted to know?</q><.convstay>"
   name = 'the Cabal'

++ DefaultAnyTopic
   "<q>Such things no longer concern me,</q> {the ghost/he} sighs,
    <q>I am dead, after all. Now, was there anything else?</q><.convstay> "

tCabal : Topic 'cabal' ;  

When copying this code make sure that the final line (the definition of the tCabal Topic) doesn't get mixed up with your objecty hierarchy; you might want it to move it to somewhere safe, such as the end of the file.

Note the use of the endConversation method in the second ConvNode to call a nested No command in the event of the player typing BYE; this way the code in the NoTopic is run whether the player leaves the ConvNode by typing BYE or NO. Note also that in order to make it work properly we have to give the first ConvNode a name property ('ghostQuestion') even though we entered it by referring to its object name (ghostNode).

If you try this out you'll find there's a small problem: if Sarah is accompanying the player character when the two of them encounter the ghost, an initiateTopic is triggered on Sarah, so she becomes the current interlocutor, with the result that if the player directs a response to the ghost or tries a TOPICS command, it'll be taken as directed at Sarah, which isn't what we want. There may be more than one way round this, but the way we'll use is to modify Sarah's InitiateTopic so that it deflects conversation back to the ghost, like this:

+ InitiateTopic @ghostAppearingEvent
    "\b<q>Eek!</q> cries {the sarah/she}, clutching at your arm. 
    replaceAction(AskAbout, ghost, sarah);

Now we need to add an appropriate AskTopic in the ghostNode ConvNode to field this question:

++ AskTopic @sarah
   "<q>Never mind her,</q> the ghost insists, <q>just answer my
   isActive = (gPlayerChar.canSee(sarah))

This will work fine after Sarah clutching the player character's arm, but will also be fine as a response to ASK GHOST ABOUT SARAH.

Well, that's quite enough about the ghost. Let's move on to the king. When the player character suddenly walks in on King Solomon, appearing as if by magic out of his hitherto empty bedroom, it's likely to give the monarch a bit of a shock, so you would imagine that Solomon won't wait to be addressed, but will ask who the intruder is. Again, we can use initiateConversation to handle this:

++ solomonExamining : ConversationReadyState
  specialDesc {inherited; stateDesc; }
  stateDesc = "He's staring at the table, deep in thought. "
  isInitState = true
  afterTravel(traveler, connector)
    if(traveler==gPlayerChar && !getActor.isProperName)
      getActor.initiateConversation(solomonTalking, 'solomon-surprised');


Then we then add a couple of ConvNodes (located in solomon) to get the conversation started:

+ ConvNode 'solomon-surprised'
  npcGreetingMsg = "{The solomon/he} looks up, startled at your
   appearance, and then says something that sounds like:
   <q>Shlomo ani, melek yisrael, ha-hakhim ha-gadhol.</q>
   At that point your ears mysteriously tune into the ancient tongue and
   you realize that what he just said was, <q>I am <<solomon.makeProper()>>,
   King of Israel, the great sage.</q> He continues, <q>Who are you,
   where are you from, how did you get here? I know my bedroom was empty
   just now, and no one could have got in, so who are you?</q> "
  npcContinueMsg = "<q>I'm still waiting for your reply.</q> {the solomon/he}
   reminds you. <q>Who are you? Why are you here?</q> " 
  canEndConversation(actor, reason)
    return dontEndSolomonConversation(reason);
  limitSuggestions = true

++ SpecialTopic 'explain that you are from the future'
   ['explain', 'that', 'you', 'you\'re', 'from', 'the', 'future']
   "<q>Actually, I'm a time-traveller, from about three thousand years
    in your future.</q> you tell him.\b
    <q>You travel in time?</q> he queries, <q>Then you must be some kind
    of angel, a messenger of the Lord? So what message do you bear?
    Speak!</q><.convnode solomon-angel>"

++ SpecialTopic 'lie' ['lie']
   "<q>Well, actually I'm an angel in human form.</q> you lie.\b
    The king nods sagely, <q>Well, you certainly look like no man
    I have ever seen.</q> he concurs, <q>So perhaps an angel is what you
    must be. What message do you bring?</q><.convnode solomon-angel>"

++ DefaultAnyTopic, StopEventList   
    '<q>I think we should establish who you are before we attend to
    anything else.</q> the king insists, <q>After all, it\'s not every day
    that strangers suddenly emerge from my bedroom. So, what account do
    you have to give of yourself?</q><.convstay>',
    '<q>First tell me who you are.</q> {the solomon/he} insists.<.convstay> '
+ ConvNode 'solomon-angel'
  limitSuggestions = true
  canEndConversation(actor, reason)
    return dontEndSolomonConversation(reason);

++ SpecialTopic 'warn him about his son Rehoboam' 
    ['warn' ,'king', 'solomon', 'him', 'about', 'his', 'son', 'rehoboam']
   "<q>I've come to warn you about your son Rehoboam.</q> you improvise,
    <q>If you don't keep the lad in check, he'll split your kingdom after
     you've gone! Er, Thus says the Lord, because Rehoboam will chastise
     my people with scorpions, I shall tear them out of his hands, but I
     shall leave two tribes only for the sake of my servant David.</q>\b
    <q>You have been sent to warn me about my son?</q> Solomon muses,
    <q>Then I must watch him. It is true the company he keeps is not
    everything I could wish.</q><<hiramNode.npcGreetingMsg>><.convnode hiram>"

++ SpecialTopic 'condemn his foreign wives'
   ['condemn', 'his', 'foreign', 'wives' ]
   "<q>Er - Thus says the Lord, because you have not been content with a
    few wives, but have taken many unto yourself, and because you have allowed
    yourself to be led after the foreign gods that are no gods that these
    foreign women worship, I shall turn my face from you, and the kingdom
    shall be torn in two!</q> you improvise.\b
    <q>My wives!</q> the King tries to sound indignant, but looks more than
    a little guilty.<<hiramNode.npcGreetingMsg>> <.convnode hiram>"

++ SpecialTopic 'complain about his labour policy'
   ['complain', 'about', 'his', 'labour', 'policy']
   "<q>You've been using too much forced labour on your building projects.</q>
   you tell him, <q>The Lord is not pleased with this social injustice!</q>\b
   <q>Social injustice?</q> Solomon echoes, <q>What kind of language is that?
   Besides, I am building a Temple to the Lord, and the people are happy to
   participate in this great work!</q><<hiramNode.npcGreetingMsg>>
   <.convnode hiram>"

+ hiramNode : ConvNode 'hiram'
  npcGreetingMsg = "<.p>Solomon frowns at you thoughtfully for a moment,
   then continues slowly, <q>Angel or no angel, perhaps you have been sent
   to me to solve my problem with Hiram.</q> "
  npcContinueMsg = "<q>Yes, Hiram,</q> Solomon nods, <q>you must be here
   about Hiram.</q>" 
  limitSuggestions = true
  canEndConversation(actor, reason)
    return dontEndSolomonConversation(reason);

++ DefaultAnyTopic
  "<q>Your majesty...</q> you begin.\b
   <q>If you can solve my problem, I'll reward you whether
   you're angel or no.</q> Solomon continues, evidently totally intent
   on this topic. <q>My neighbour King Hiram of Tyre has donated
   a fine bronze vessel for the temple. Unfortunately it has gone missing.
   This is very unfortunate; Hiram was displeased with the Galilean cities
   I gave him in payment for his contributions to my work on the Temple,
   and he is coming to discuss the matter. If he finds that I have mislaid the
   bronze bowl he specifically sent me to be dedicated on his behalf, he
   will <i>not</i> be pleased - and I cannot afford to upset him. So,
   you must recover this vessel for me.</q><<gSetKnown(bronzeBowl)>>"

    case endConvTravel:      
    case endConvBye:
      "Even you realize that you don't just walk out on a king. ";
      return nil;
      return nil;      

Note how we've defined the dontEndSolomonConversation function to avoid having to repeat the same code in three ConvNodes. In both the above examples we've really only offered the player the illusion of choice: the path through the ConvNodes is the same whichever response the player chooses. It would, however, be possible to devise a branching conversation by having the NPC switch to different ConvNodes depending on the topic chosen. Note also the calls to <<hiramNode.npcGreetingMsg>> in the various SpecialTopics in the previous ConvNode; after some experimentation this proved about the only method of getting this message displayed in the right place. The point is to give the player some illusion of freedom in conversing with Solomon, but to have the preoccupied king discuss Hiram and the missing bronze bowl no matter what.

Since Solomon introduces these topics into the conversation, it might be as well to add a couple of AskTopics in Solomon's solomonTalking state to handle them:

++ AskTopic, SuggestedAskTopic @bronzeBowl
   "<q>What is this bowl you've lost, exactly?</q> you ask.\b
    <q>It's a vessel for the temple service - a sacred vessel.</q> the
    king tells you, <q>About a cubit in diameter, and decorated with
    rows of pomegranates.</q> "
    name = 'the bronze bowl'

++ AskTopic, SuggestedAskTopic @tHiram
  "<q>So why's this Hiram fellow so important?</q> you want to know.\b
   <q>Tyre is a rich and powerful neighbour.</q> Solomon explains, <q>I
    can't afford to offend them. Hiram has been most co-operative in
    supplying material for the building of the Temple, but if he
    thinks I've spurned his gift...</q>"
    name = 'Hiram'

tHiram : Topic 'king hiram/tyre';