Sometimes I was a great warrior. I would walk into the battlefield and with a flurry of axe swings kill my mortal enemies. Or I would venture into dungeons to fight great evil hidden within – and enjoy the spoils after such endeavours. I was not a noob like the others – those who were farming for herbs or meats, never in danger or combat – hah – I would not trifle with such nonsense. I was warrior. My livelihood was fighting.
Until 10 PM when my damn parents would tell me to stop playing and go to bed. Usually, I played for longer, until I was finished with a quests or some task I wanted to do, and would occasionally notice the screen going black – with my father standing beside me, the end of the electricity plug in his hands.
– Time to bed, – he would say angrily. – You have school tomorrow.
I would not reply, just run away angrily straight to bed, unwilling to talk to anyone.
The school was a torture for me. I had but a few friends, whom we’d talk about the same game as I would play after school. The other’s were bullies to me, laughing and picking on me.
The game was an escape, and one I felt happy to escape to.
Sometimes I was a great ancient elf druid. I would walk into the battlefield and heal my allies, who suffered wounds in the hands of the enemy. Or I would venture into dungeons, mending the wounds and protecting my friends against the evil within. Then the screen would go black.
“Time for bed, – father would say, angrily. – You have school tomorrow.”
I would keep thinking about what I was going to achieve later in the day, when I’m back in the world I loved and one that loved me (unlike the one I was in). I had plans to do, monsters to conquer, battles to win.
Sometimes I was an archer. I would walk into the battlefield and send hailes of arrows on my enemies, dropping them one by one. Or I would venture into dungeons, where I would hunt the evil beings within and bring home their trophies. Then the screen would go black.
I looked around, to where I’d see my father, yet who I saw was an older man, clad in armor, with a golden exclamation mark above his head. Seemingly, just standing there, waiting. I turned to him:
“Hello, Dick1337, we need your help. The orc scouts are stealing our livestock and killing our villagers, please help us! We need you to find and dispose of 10 of them.”
Kill? I looked at myself – my sweatpants turned into tough looking leather pants, my t-shirt with a Batman sign – a leather jacket and red shirt underneath. I held two daggers, roughly made.
“Hah, I’m a rogue it seems.” I said out loud. Never was much into rogues, but why not. Maybe I would try them out, if I liked their playstyle. After this crazy dream, obviously.
I tried to bend down some, as if hiding, taking small light steps.
“This is pretty neat.” I thought to myself.
I walked for 50 or so meters towards the nearby treeline. There I saw an orc, clad in black robes, daggers out in his hands. I came closer, yet he didn’t seem to react.
“I’m so sneaky.” I thought to myself.
I walked even closer, and closer, until I could reach him. And smell him – the smell was horrendous, of sweat and unwashed clothing, rotten meat – all of them mixed up. Disgusting. Yet even at this range, he did not appear to see me.
I held the dagger in my right hand – thinking where to stab. Or better, slice. The neck? Stomach? Straight to the heart? That could work. I aimed and pushed the dagger as hard as I could. The tip hit the leather armor, yet it did not pierce through enough – I was in my body still (and sports were never my thing).
And that moment he moved. He blurbed something in his language, shouted angrily and stuck his daggers straight through my body. Blood gushed out. I always was afraid of the dentist, as the pain they inflicted was great. The pain I felt just now was incomparable. I lowered my head down and saw the daggers deep in my flesh. The orc then pulled one out, aimed again and pierced my stomach. I could smell the stench of rot, the pain overwhelming all other senses. I passed out.
When I had nightmares – I remembered – I would usually wake up on death. Yet this time, I felt nothingness for a second. Empty void, where nothing happened, nothing was. And then light. And then I stood again, surrounded by tombstones, huddled together in a small graveyard. I checked on my wounds – there were none. I felt fine. Made a few steps forward and saw, some meters ahead, the same quest giver. Standing there. Waiting for my return.
I did not want to do that again. The pain was excruciating. I tried to wake up, slapping my face, closing and opening my eyes, yet nothing changed. I could still see the damn quest giver, and.. And I think I can still see the orc, still standing at his spot, unmoving, waiting for someone to attack.
I dared not move any closer.
I weighed my options. I could try to complete the quest, yet the chance of success was low. Or I could just run somewhere and hide – I could see a path leading out. I chose the latter.
Following the path was easy, as no orcs or monsters seemed to wander close to the road. Be as it may, the forest where this “adventure” took place was beautiful, with deer wandering about, boars peacefully digging the earth for roots. I would also hear wolves, howling in the distance.
After ten or so minutes of walking I reached a small town, with an inn, a blacksmith and more quests. A bunch of other people, warriors clad in heavy armor, archers and wizards stood there. Talking, trading. I thought that visiting the blacksmith might be a good idea – if I got some better equipment, maybe I could fight off the orcs somehow. I checked my pockets for money and found only a few copper.
I walked to one of the richer looking ones and asked if they could give me some gold. No response. I tried another one, and another one, yet in the end it seemed I was completely ignored. You’d think that people would be helpful to someone in trouble, yet it seems to not be the case.
I am a rogue though. A thief. I’ll try to steal something. That moment I realised I haven’t eaten for quite a while, and noticed a fruit vendor. I tried asking for something, but there was no reply. So I just edged towards the stall, checked whether anyone was watching and grabbed an apple.
Not sure whether attacking an orc or trying to steal was a worse idea. Moment later I could see a group armor clad guards running towards me and the first who came sliced me halfway down.
At least the void came faster this time and felt less pain.
Seconds after I stood in a graveyard, huddled to the side of the small village.
Nothing changed in the town. I could walk around freely, guards peacefully patrolling along the road. I checked for signs – directions to other villages. Thunderwind was to one side, Blueridge Mountains to the other. Thunderwind sounds kinda neat, let me follow that path.
It seemed to be as safe as before, yet I had this odd feeling that it was not safe. And I swear I heard some noises, like whispers coming from the bushes off the path. I kept running, increasing the pace, weary that something might happen.
Just before my eyes, a rogueish fellow appeared in the middle of the road. He held two daggers, seemingly dripping with some green liquid. He removed his mask – and revealed a rotten face with a tongue dangling down. He laughed. And disappeared again.
I started dashing, as fast as I could. I was not into sports, nor I ever liked running. I could hear giggles following me. I ran this way for close to ten minutes, not daring to turn back and have a look. Eventually, I started to see gates to a city – roughly a few hundred feet away. For a second I thought I could outrun that rogue. But when I got closer, I felt a stab in the back – sharp pain went through my body. I did not die outright. I stumbled for a few seconds and my blood started burning, spreading like wildfire across my whole body. I fell to the ground, started convulsing and died.
A second in the void and I’m back at the small village and its graveyard.
I tried reaching the town a few more times, but the same happened – just before the gates I would be stabbed and die.
I asked for help – yet again, as with the money, noone agreed to help. The guards ignored me, for the most part – they only offered me directions, nothing else.
So I just gave up and stood there. I would argue that I got used to the pain somehow. Sure, it’s painful and all, but it does not last that long. It’s a wonder what you can get used to..
I needed something. Either to become stronger, or get better weapons. Or both. Instead of trying yet again to reach the city, I walked straight into the forest. I saw a bunch of boars, roaming around, nibbling at the roots. I saw real boars with my uncle once – protective of their youth, somewhat aggressive, yet afraid of humans as much as I was afraid of them. The boars here were different, they seemed to not mind me at all, much like the orc before.
I walked around it, thinking maybe I should try to kill him. Or her. Whatever.
I held my dagger out, aiming somewhere around the neck – and sliced open with a swift movement of the blade. I have never in my life seen so much blood. And the sound the boar made was even worse – the loud squealing, gurgling, getting quieter and quieter the more time passed. I froze, just standing there, while the beast slowly died. I was soaked in blood. I started crying. I dropped down on the ground.
“What have I done..” A couple of boar piglets appeared from the bushes some meters away, hobbled to the dead boar and nuzzled their noses to its body.
I remembered that old South Park episode, where the characters would farm the boars until their level was high enough to defeat their nemesis. No way I’m killing any more boars. I just can’t. One was more than enough for me.
I walked to the nearby river, sat on my knees and started rinsing my hands and face with the cold river water. Now shivering both from the bloody encounter and the water itself, I looked around. It was actually a very beautiful forest. Peaceful, with the wind blowing the leaves of ancient looking trees. I just sat there, thinking. When playing games I would rarely stop and enjoy the view – it used to be mostly about rushing to the harder challenges, to better loot, to higher prestige and whatnot. Not just enjoying the view amazing artists have crafted for the players.
To be continued.