Realms of Valeron - Chapter 9 by CyberaWolf

Realms of Valeron - Chapter 9

Chapter Nine

The billowing clouds of snow danced softly across the mountain range. Before him, Roka strained to see the path before him, blanked out as it was against a great and infinite canvas of white. The wind billowed around him, forcing the canine to clutch his cloak tighter for warmth. His breadth exuded from his lips in strong plumes, but he urged himself ever onwards, following the dim trail of half-faded footsteps that wound their way towards his destination.

Roka had followed the main quest of the game here, pursuing mission after mission until they lead inexorably to this moment. Here, on the verge of Vitreous Crag, overlooking the charred forest of Angnor, he strode beneath the light of the mystical Imperial Moon. Finally, in the distance, he caught sight of a flickering light. He knew that he was close.

He had fought his way hard to get here, fending attacks from mountain trolls and yetis. He clutched in his paw a tall stave, a recent acquisition to his collection of prizes. The stave, named the 'Journeyman's Staff' was far stronger and more resilient than his old broken mace, and capable of channelling far more magic with its enchanted oak wood.

As he approached the light he found himself at the mouth of a great cave. From within the mouth of the craggy opening emanated a shimmering hue, like the light of many candles. Roka felt a rush of excitement. This, he realised, must be the Cavern of Yore. Had he reached the Tundric Plateaux already? This was it, then. This was his moment. He entered the cave, his heart pounding.

He remembered the myths that the mage in the village had told him about the cave. He checked his backpack. The gilded token was still inside. People came from all across the kingdoms, the mage had said, to seek the Hermetic Gypsy and hear her wisdom. Roka had been excited, eager to hear the words of this strange woman and perhaps even catch a glimpse of the future. He was so excited that he didn't even pause to worry about the little voice in his head that told him that a Hermetic Gypsy was a contradiction in terms.

As he entered the cave, he caught a glimpse of shadows flickering against the walls. The chamber that he found himself in was bright, full of vibrant candles. Behind a tall, resplendent table bedecked in items of a peculiar and mystical nature the cleric could see her. She wore a flowing robe that seemed to cover her plump frame, and her eyes bore with them all the power that wisdom could give. "Ah, humble traveller" she the aged mouse, "cone, sit by the fire. Tell me, have you brought a token?"

Roka nodded, proffering the item with a shaking paw. "Please, wise one" he asked, "What do you see in my future?"

The woman let her old, wrinkled fingers wrap around the token. She slipped it into her gown, and stared at the cleric. For a moment, he felt as though she were peering into his very soul, searching out any secrets that he may be hiding. Then, slowly, she spoke. "The stars ally themselves to you, young Roka."

He felt a chill. He had not told her his name.

With a trembling paw, the old mouse reached her fingers across the surface of the table. She searched with them, probing gently, and the canine came to the sudden realisation that she was blind. With careful, aged fingertips she found what she was searching for; a deck of cards. With the well-practised movement of decades of practice, she turned one of the cards over. She touched its upturned face with her paw. "Destiny has chosen you for great things, cleric."

Roka blinked. "Me?"

"You" she said, "and you alone can stand against the darkness. Only you can prevent the forces of chaos from devouring all of the kingdoms of Valeron. None other can hope to success."

"But" said Roka, "I'm just one cleric."

The mouse pointed at him. "You are the Chosen One!"

Roka didn't know what to say.

As he struggled to find the words to express himself, the old woman reached into the many folds of her gown. She pulled free a small object no larger than a marble. "Take this" she said. "Give it to the mage who sent you. He will know that you have spoken with me, and aid you in your journeys. Go, now! Time runs short, and you are the world's only hope!"

Eagerly, the dog clasped the bauble. It felt curiously cold to the touch. For a moment he wondered if he could use it in his jewellery. Dismissing the thought, he pocketed it, and turned to leave.

Emerging from the mouth of the cave, Roka looked out at the plateaux. It would be a long trek back down, he knew. He hoped that -

Running into view, a tiger rushed up to Roka.

The sight of the figure caught him off guard. This was a quiet area, not one often travelled by others. The tiger was a tall and muscular looking, wearing plate mail of several gaudy colours and no shoes. Pausing at the mouth of the cave, the tiger jumped several times. "Quest Inside??" he asked.

Roka nodded.

Without another word, the tiger rushed past Roka. Turning to glance behind him, the cleric caught sight of the tiger as he spoke with the old woman. "Ah, humble traveller" she said, "cone, sit by the fire. Tell me, have you brought a token?"

"Omg Yes!" said the tiger. "Hurry Up! So Boring!!"

Roka sighed.

The old mouse took the token from the tiger as well. "The stars ally themselves to you, young Biggusdickus69" she said.

Roka turned to leave.

"Destiny has chosen you for great things, knight" continued the old woman as the canine trudged away. "You and you alone can stand against the darkness. Only you can prevent the forces of chaos from devouring all of the kingdoms of Valeron. None other can hope to success."

"Omg Shut Up!! Give Gem!!" intoned the tiger.

The woman stressed once again, "You are the Chosen One!" But by then, though, Roka was already out of earshot.


The mage that the old woman directed Roka towards had accepted the bauble and, with a wave of his paw, conjured into existence a fine white gown that distinctly illustrated the dog's position as a cleric. Wearing it, Roka not only felt dignified but also more confident. Somewhere along the way, Roka found that he had reached level fifteen. He had barely even noticed his progress, competing quests as eagerly as he did. It wasn't until the shimmering golden glow that signified his increasing power surrounded him that he thought to check his new abilities. Roka was impressed with what he saw. He had learned several new spells. One of them, 'curse', diminished an enemy's strength over a period of time, much like a fire witch spell, but also halved the amount of damage that the victim of the curse could do in combat. Roka wasn't sure about the idea of a cleric using a curse, but he nevertheless reasoned that this would be useful if he ever came across any other brigands, like the PvPers he had encountered days bef
ore.

He had even made an effort to look at his character screen to find just which of the game's multiple gods it was that he was supposed to worship. He promised himself that he would actually remember the name of the god, seeing it as his duty as a godly priest of a holy order of some sort or another.

The next day he had completely forgotten the name of his god, but he was sure that the god would forgive him for it. Or smite him. One or the other.

Freshly un-smote, Roka pushed on with the game's main quest. At the request of the mage, Roka was tasked with the mission of killing an arbitrarily chosen number of eight fangtooth terrapin. The mage had not offered any reason why killing exactly eight of exactly this variety of terrapin would aid Roka at all in the game's main storyline, as it didn't particularly seem that killing exactly eight random terrapins would prevent any machinations or plans from the wicked mind of Abbadon the Scourge. Nevertheless, Roka had just whacked a truly epic curse onto one doubtless-very-evil terrapin when he got the message from Gunnar inviting him to the guild hall. Roka was feeling rather bored that evening, and was spending more time wondering if all terrapins didn't technically count as fangtooth terrapins, so he quickly accepted the invitation.

The guild hall did indeed started to look much bigger, occupying a space better described as equal to a decent apartment. He also noticed that several small antechambers started to appear, blinking into existence alongside the presence of new guild members. Sycorax had already installed into one of these rooms a small alchemy bench, much to Exra's satisfaction.

Roka's contribution to the hall was a bean bag chair, which looked utterly out of place in the otherwise mediaeval fantasy dwelling. Shortly after he placed it, Exra attempted to improve the bean bag by dyeing it blue. Sycorax, eager to give the bean bag chair a darker and more menacing hue, dyed it red. Both shades promptly mixed and as a result the bean bag chair nestled somewhere between both colours, an unnaturally brownish grey that ensued that nobody wanted to sit on the thing.

Gunnar waved to the canine as he entered. Roka hurried over to the group. The other five sat around a rectangular oak table perched in the middle of the main room, an item that Biggie had donated after he had found it on the dead body of a desert hydra, which Roka had found rather confusing. Upon the table, however, sat an object that caught Roka's eye.

With the gold that sat in the guild bank, Gunnar was able to purchase a 'Guild Naming Certificate' from the Guildmaster. It cost two hundred gold, an amount that Roka suspected was deliberately set so high in order to demand that the guild members work together to achieve it. The cleric thought that if it hadn't been for the warlock's contribution, they would have had a difficult time achieving this high fee. It had, since its purchase, sat on the table, unsigned, until all six core members of the guild could agree on a name.

That time, it seemed, had come.

Gunnar looked from one of his cohorts to another, letting the silence build throughout the guild hall. "This, my friends" he said finally, breaking the hush with a strong timbre, "is a momentous moment."

Placing his strong paw down upon the table, the buffalo continued. "Each of us stands here together now, bound together by fellowship. We are warriors of one blood, one destiny. Tonight we seal that pact forever. Tonight, we..."

"BIGGIES BEAR BUTTZ!!" insisted Biggie.

The warrior held up his paw, "We're not at that part yet, friend Biggie. First, we must set the tone. Ensure that all of is here understand the path before us."

"YOU TAKE FOREVAH" complained Biggie, "GO FASTER!"

"I can't speed up the wheels of fate" said Gunnar, a little perturbed. "Now, please let me continue."

"WE ALL KNOW WHAT YOU SAYING" retorted the golem. "BLAH BLAH FORGE MIGHTY DESTINY BLAH BLAH BREAK DOWN EVIL BLAH BLAH CARVE OUR NAMES IN STONE OF HISTORY. IS THAT WHAT YOU SAYING?"

Gunnar glanced down. "Well, I guess that's the essence of it." He shook his head, recovering his focus. "Okay, so does everyone understand the importance of what we're doing here?"

"Yes" said Exra, pausing from her usual bout of jumping up and down, "I'm sure everyone gets it. Let's just vote on the guild name?"

"BIGGIE'S BEAR BUTTS!" announced Biggie.

"Try again" said the fire witch.

The golem thought. "BIGGIE THE AWESOME PLUS OTHERS" he said.

Aria played absent-mindedly with the edge of one of her daggers. "I really don't care," she said, "as long as it sounds dangerous. Something that will strike fear into the hearts of enemy players as I gank them."

Roka glanced over at Aria. He knew so little about her, he realised. Of the group, she was the quietest, although she spent a good amount of time in the game. Her focus seemed mostly to be dedicated to the PvP battlegrounds. He had no idea what she did there, but he imagined that she was an expert in the art of the stealthy kill.

"The Acolytes Of The Skinless One" suggested Sycorax.

The cleric leaned closer. "Any chance of anything a teeny bit less evil?"

"Rancid baby-eaters?" Sycorax tried.

Roka held his paw up. "I'm a cleric. Could we maybe do something involving that? Maybe 'The Punching Priests' or 'The Ecumenical Elite' perhaps?"

The warlock thought. "Nuns in a blender?" he suggested.

"Forget it" grumbled Roka.

"How about 'The Azure Assassins'? That sounds catchy and deadly" suggested Aria.

Exra shook her head. "Most of us aren't assassins."

Aria replied, "Alright, 'The Azure Avengers' then."

"What are we avenging, exactly?" asked Exra. "Besides, that would make us sound like a comic book."

Aria sighed. "Alright, the bloody 'Azure Assailants' then."

Exra paused for a moment. "We're not wearing azure, though."

The cat assassin gave an annoyed sigh. Roka was sure that, for a moment, he caught a hint of smugness from Exra. The cleric was no expert in reading people, he would readily admit that, but his observations of the two women over the last few days had left him with the distinct impression that they only barely tolerated each other. There was, he was sure, a sense of one-upsmanship between both of them.

Now that he looked at them both, he noticed that Aria was not wearing her levelling attire. She had, he realised, turned up for this meeting in clothing that she had received for a seasonal quest, a piece of low-cut brightly following fabric that the game described as a 'breezy summer gown'. The top revealed more than a subtle hint of the assassin's feline shoulder, making the ensemble look subtly enticing. Aria had doubtless spent a considerable amount of time on crafting her avatar, ensuring that the shade of her ebony hair offset her dazzling eyes to create an exotic sense of mysticism. When the assassin moved, she moved with the light airiness of the wind. When Roka looked at her, he found himself wondering if all cat avatars came with the same sway of the tail when they walked, or if it was something unique to Aria.

Exra, meanwhile, wore her 'alchemist's leather apron', a dull grey piece of a material that was already splattered with stains and grime. It gave the fire witch a bonus to her potion making skill, but left her looking as if she had spent the last hour trying to feed Fluffy a healthy lunch of buckets of paint.

Gunnar held up his paw, "We need a good name, and I quite like Azure Avengers. Could we make a name with all the same letters?"

"MINE IDEA WAS" said Biggie, hopefully.

"How about 'Elite Avengers', then?" suggested Exra. "They're both vowels."

Aria shot her a sceptical look. "I thought you didn't like 'Avengers'?"

"What about 'By Divine Fire'?" tried Roka, hoping to prevent the two from getting into an argument.

"What about 'By Infernal Corruption'?" interjected Sycorax.

"I still think that we should have the word 'elite' in it somewhere" said Exra.

"'Elite Enchanters'?" asked Roka.

"I'm not a magic class" said Gunnar, "and neither is Biggie or Aria."

"We had a guild back during the beta who were composed entirely of magic classes" said Exra. "It was a roleplay guild, just a small group but theafssedssdswsaaaaaa"

Silence descended on the hall for a moment as all eyes turned to Exra, confused.

"Sorry" she said eventually, sheepishly, "my cat jumped on my keyboard."

"Look," said Gunnar, "we have some good ideas, but throwing them into the air isn't helping us to choose the best one. Let's try to combine some ideas here. How about we go around the table, and each of us say a word. Then we can combine them together and see what we create. Sound like a plan?"

The plan was met with an indistinct grumbling.

"Okay, moving clockwise around the table, one word each. I'll start." Gunnar stuck his chest out, striking a heroic visage. "Mighty."

"Cutting" said Aria.

"Flesh-eating" proposed Sycorax.

Roka glanced at the undead, and then said "Divine".

Exra added "Elite".

"BUTTS!" intoned Biggie.

Gunnar sighed. "Okay, lovely. So we have 'Mighty cutting flesh-eating divine elite butts'. Can't help but think that we can do better. Let's try again, but this time try to choose words that go together. Something that fits, like 'teenage mutant ninja turtles', or 'mighty morphing power rangers' or something. Okay, let's try again." The buffalo took a long, deep breath, as if trying to recover his composure. "Majestic."

"Teenage" said Aria

"Mutant" said Sycorax.

"Ninja" said Roka.

"Stop!" said Gunnar. "Okay, maybe I wasn't clear. We need to choose something different. Not that one, it's already taken."

Everyone nodded along.

"Right," said Gunnar, his voice starting to sound a little frayed. "Heroic."

"Cutting" said Aria.

"Flesh-eating" proposed Sycorax.

Roka glanced at the undead, and then said "Divine".

Exra added "Elite".

"BUTTS!" intoned Biggie.

Gunnar buried his head in his paws. "For the love of the ten lost gods..." he grumbled to himself. He inhaled heavily. "Okay, once again. Different words, everyone. Different words. Do we all understand this?"

Everyone nodded.

"Okay" he sighed. "Brave."

"Ganking" said Aria.

"Mass-murderous" proposed Sycorax.

Roka said "godly".

Exra added "epic".

"BIGGIE!" intoned Biggie.

A long silence descended. After a time, Gunnar said "Okay, that's better. Technically."

Exra read it aloud. "Brave ganking mass-murderous godly epic Biggie?"

Gunnar held out a paw, "Please, let's not repeat it. Let's just forget we ever uttered it."

"I LIKE IT" stated Biggie, contentedly.

Gunnar looked as if he were about to cry. "Okay. Let's try this one last time. But this time, let's go around the table counter-clockwise. Right." He inhaled, summoning up the final scraps of his reservoir of patience. "Legendary."

"BUTTS!" stated Biggie.

Gunnar slammed his paws onto the table with a loud, nonsensical wail. "Blaaaargh!!" he cried, whimpering. "This is hopeless! Hopeless!" The buffalo started to sob. "We're just a bunch of hopeless, crazed losers!!"

A quest, uncertain silence descended upon the hall, interrupted only by the Buffalo's defeated sobbing.

Roka looked back and forth. Then he said "Losers isn't too bad."

"It would certainly humiliate them after I waste them" said Aria.

"The Loser's Legion?" suggested Exra. "I like it."

Gunnar peeled his head up from its resting place on the table. He glanced around. “Are you guys joking?” he asked. “You really like The Loser’s Legion?”

Roka nodded, enthusiastically. “It suits us perfectly, don’t you think?”

The buffalo thought. “Everyone loves an underdog, and losers are the biggest underdog there can be. Aye, it’s a good name.”

Biggie nodded, frantically. "IT'S NO BUTTS BUT IT'S STILL GOOD"

Aria nodded. She looked over at Exra. They both smiled to one another, confidently.

"Shall we sign on it?" asked Sycorax.

Roka reached for the pen. "Okay, 'The Loser's Legion' it is!"

Realms of Valeron - Chapter 9

CyberaWolf

15 March 2019 at 16:11:26 MDT

Welcome to the next chapter of "Realms of Valeron". A new chapter twice each week!

It was the biggest MMORPG ever created, and took the world by storm. With billions of players from every corner of the planet, 'Realms of Valeron' allowed anybody to interact with one another within the gloriously realized online world.

But for Roka, a young healer, it was more than that. It was a gateway to make friends. Friends like Exra, the hyperactive rabbit rogue; Gunnar the loyal buffalo, Sycorax the maniacal warlock, and many more.

What adventures lurk within the game? In a world full of quests and dangers, the truest and greatest loot is yet to be discovered. Bound together by the oaths of their guild, they would face brutal trials, savage enemies, and more than a few bugs that the game's play-testers really should have caught before release... But this is no trite story of players trapped inside a video game! Our heroes can turn off the game and leave at any time. But why would they, or any of us, ever want to leave when you have friends like these?

Realms of Valeron is a comedy fantasy, part sit-com and part epic adventure, which explores the bonds of friendships in a digital age.

Look here if you would like a story commission of your very own! - https://www.furaffinity.net/view/30458500/