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Thread: The Archeage Time Line

  1. #431
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    Secrets within Diamond Shore's Library

    I spent some time chasing after the Kraken Temple. I would not relent in my quest. I would not stop. I would not die.

    Not until I had what was mine.

    I waited until the winners of the housing contest were announced. It was no secret where the Thunder Isle was. Locating it was not difficult. But discovering what the Dragon archer was scheming? That was something altogether different. When I arrived a the Kraken Temple there was no one to be seen. So it was left to me to piece together the clues from the journals and find out what to do next. There was a vast amount of knowledge to thumb through on the Archeage Time Line so it was difficult and timely process. At the time, only the bard in the entries mentioned knew where to go next. And so, my mission was to find the bard that held the knowledge of the dragon archer in legendary armor. Not an easy feat to be sure, but I would see it done.

    No matter the cost.

    Before I had left the Kraken temple, I had taken all of what I considered the most valuable secrets. Knowledge is power after all, and what man doesn’t desire power? Once again, I had established a reputation for my knowledge in all manner of subjects. In time, I had gained the title of Criminal Mastermind, same as the dragon archer and his followers. Rather on the nose to be certain, but I cannot deny that I enjoyed the title.

    It suited me.

    The selling of these secrets had allowed me to amass a fortune so large that it allowed access to nearly any and all resources that I desired. Most people would be satisfied with such a large amount of wealth.

    I’m not, nor will I ever be, most people.

    No. It’s not gold that I wanted. Even after all of those years, my desire had never changed. Solving the hidden quest was the real prize. Using each and every resource at my disposal, agents, scholars, spies, farmers, guild officers, guild leaders, nation leaders, anybody, and everybody who had a story to tell about the bard in the timeline, and I had them search for clues.

    In time, I finally found the whereabouts of the bard's guild. On Saturday, one of my scouts was sent to the (Facets of Erenor) village in Solzreed, right on the coast near Nymph Sanctuary. He found another stealthed spy a little outside of the main village. The spy was working in an east guild named (Paradox) who had information on the bard.

    The guild members were understandably hesitant to share their secrets with an outsider. I did try to reason with them. Truly, I did. I offered them food, potions, and riches beyond anything they could’ve possibly imagined. They were adamantine in their stubbornness. What choice did they leave me? I offered them an olive branch, and they knocked it from my hand.

    So I put them to the sword.

    It wasn’t long before their bard conceded defeat. He offered me the location of the dragon archer in exchange for the lives of his people. I accepted his offer. After all, I’m not a monster.

    At last. After all those years of searching, I had the location.

    I readied my gear for the trek into Diamond Shores. I had been prepared for that moment for quite some time. I made my way alone to that ancient library. Purpose filled my chest. If I had to bear the weight of Conviction on my shoulders then so be it.

    I would have my prize.

    As I began the long trek into the unknown, I thought about what the bard said to me. One does not simply go into the library, happen across the dragon archer and have all revealed. No. If such were the case, several people would already have completed the hidden quests. The only way to gain favor it is to have your intended destination and follow the path that was set by the ancients. Now, I’ve never held much stock in the concepts of ancients and legends, but one thing I did believe, was that it wouldn’t be so simple a thing as just walking up to the library, entering the most coveted source of information in known existence, and having the dragon archer tell me everything.

    So, I continued on my path.

    Days later, I was out of potions and labor. My back and feet ached. For the first time in years, I felt my age creeping up on me. If I were a younger man, I’d have found the path difficult, never mind how I am now. But even so, I continued ever onward. Nothing would deter me from my path. Not the elements. Not the hunger, nor the pain.

    I would have what was mine.

    I don’t rightly recall when the storm started, but before I knew it, I was surrounded by howling winds and swirling snow. It obscured my vision. I could hardly see and could feel nothing but the sting of the snow on my face. I heard them talking about a need of urgency to complete the Ayanad earring.

    Then I saw it.

    The Library, there it stood. Tall as a mountain, unlike all the others that surrounded it. It was completely untouched by the elements. Not a single snowflake touched its surface. There it was, dark as a starless sky. Clouds swirled around its summit like a crown fit for a titan.

    When I saw this, I forgot my pain and fatigue. With a renewed vigor, I pressed forward. As I approached the base of the library, I thought to myself: I’ve done it. After all this searching, I’ve done it! Now, I would have what I’ve searched for.

    At the base of that dark, primordial, library, I saw an entrance portal.

    As I entered the library portal, I felt the cold leave me. The wind died down and Conviction grew silent. I turned and saw doors on all four sides of me in a square room. It was as if this piece of land was not restricted by the laws of nature that govern the rest of the world.

    There is was, drawing me in. Like a moth to the flame. I saw group after group enter heading to collect unknown orbs, to begin the Orb of Secrets quest, and fight against the guardians. The guardians of the Ayanad Council Manaprints. In rooms where a boss waited, the walls were lined with men and women preparing to take it down. Dozens had transferred to Conviction to complete the earring quest. It is said that the earring is one of the required items for the hidden quest line. After entering a hidden section of the library I saw the dragon archer near a strange portal. With one last deep breath, I stepped forward and became enveloped by the shadows within.

    At once, I lost all sensation. No pain. No hunger. I felt nothing. I saw nothing. I was nothing. Just a thought. Floating in an endless void. Then, I was myself again. I opened my eyes.

    What I saw was...there are no words.

    How does one describe what I saw in that moment? What are the words that can capture the sheer beauty and scale of what I saw? It became all too clear to me in that moment. Why they had never described just what it was. It simply was indescribable. It would be like trying to describe sound to the deaf. Color to the blind. There are no words. One must experience it for themselves in order to understand. For this was not just some simple archive. It was a marvel beyond human comprehension.

    I stood there and beheld sights that dazzled my mind. At both times there was a floor, yet not. Walls, yet not. I imagine that the closest thing one could imagine it as would be exploring one’s own mind. Yes. That’s it. It was if navigating my very own dream space without the fog of sleep clouding my mind. Fleeting images and sensations that seemed familiar yet different.

    But then my wonder was cut short. The darkness returned. I felt a heavy pressure weigh down on my very being. I was not alone. I could feel the presence of another. Then I saw it’s face. It was an impossibly tall figure. It’s body covered in dragon scales of a red so pure that the abyss that surrounded us both paled in comparison. It’s head was hidden in a red helmet. It loomed over me, staring straight into my eyes.

    And then it spoke.

    “Who are you?” it asked in a voice that entered straight into my mind. It was neither male or female. Human or beast. It was something altogether unique unto itself. I told the creature my name and my purpose.

    The creature remained silent. I sensed that it wished to know more. So I told it my story. About my life as a mage, my discovery of the Kraken Temple, and the path that led me there. After it heard my tale, it spoke again.

    “Long have I waited for one such as you. Long have I had a guest. I welcome you.”

    I blinked and found myself on solid ground for the first time since I entered that place. I looked around and saw that I was back at the archive. At least I thought I was. But then I realized that it was different from how I remembered it. The ceiling was so far up that I was unable to see it at all, and the shelves rose with it. The aisles were also impossibly long, stretching out as far as the eye could see. I turned to the creature and it spoke again.

    “I’ve given this place a form your mind can comprehend,” it said.

    I nodded in reply and noticed another key difference. The inclusion of windows.

    I approached one of them and saw the outside world. But it was not one that I could recognize. It was a desolate place. Ash fell from the sky, covering the ground with its embrace. In the distance, was a lone figure, walking among the shattered landscape that was it’s world. It had the appearance of a man, but where flesh and bone belonged, was instead replaced with steel and gears. {Memories of The Machinist haunted my mind}


    I stepped back and looked through another and saw two vessels in the void of space. There they were, suspended in the ether. Locked together by a metallic bridge of sorts. I stepped back and looked all about me. These windows were but a few of the innumerable amount that covered the wall. Through them, I saw all manner of things. I saw an island floating on a mass of clouds. I saw a city at night with a lone figure flying through the sky, as though weightless with a small light chasing after it and so much more... I turned back towards the creature which hadn’t moved an inch.

    “Just what is this place?” I asked, unable to contain my wonder.

    “As you know this place, the library. An apt name if ever there was one. For this place is filled with knowledge.”

    “And these?” I asked gesturing to the windows behind me.

    “Windows. Windows to what is, was, will be, and could be.”

    Though I didn’t fully understand what was being said to me, I simply nodded. Besides, I was forgetting my purpose for finding this place.

    “But you didn’t come here for sightseeing.” the creature said in that voice that wasn’t a voice.

    “No.”

    “Well,” it said. “You’ve more than proven yourself worthy of having access to my collection.” It gestured to the massive archive that surrounded us. Then it asked me a question. “What do you wish to know?”

    This question the creature asked was simple yet held so much weight to it. In truth, it was a question that had plagued me long before I had begun my quest. What did I wish to learn? I had asked myself that question my whole life, and every time I did, my answer was always the same. I looked up into the and said a single word.

    “Everything.”

    The creature glowed red as if amused with my answer. It said nothing in reply, but the next time I blinked, I saw that we were in another area of the archive. The creature extended it’s red gauntlet outward and with a sweeping motion, revealed a door behind it.

    I approached the door and rested my hand on its handle. Just before I opened it, I turned and asked the creature what was on the other side.

    “Everything,” it answered.

    Like before, I took a deep breath and passed through. There were no shadows to swallow me up this time though. No. What I experienced then was light. A warm light. Bright beyond all measure, but not painful in any way. This light was comforting, soothing in its way. I imagine that it’s similar to the experience of being in the womb. Then the light faded.

    I woke up on a patch of grass that was softer than anything I’ve ever laid on before. Confused, I rose from my resting place. I looked around, taking in my surroundings. It appeared that I was in the middle of a grove. But this was no ordinary grove. No this was a place altogether different from any on Conviction. Everything about this place held a level of beauty that even the most talented of painters could not hope to capture if given a century to do so.

    Everything from the flowers on the ground to the clouds in the sky was so much more...vibrant. The very air seemed so much cleaner and filled me with such energy that it seemed to allow me to capture my youth again. If only for a moment. I looked around for the creature, but it was nowhere to be seen.

    But then something else caught my eye.

    There in the center of the grove, was a tree. Massive in size. On its branches was a fruit unknown to me. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Without thinking, I plucked it from the tree. It was a strange thing. As I held it, I felt a familiar sensation. A heavy air weighed down on me just like when I met the creature for the first time.

    Then it hit me. Where I was. It couldn’t be, I thought to myself. As I’ve said before, I’ve never put much stock in the ancients and legends. But as I stood there, holding a fruit of knowledge, I could no longer deny the truth.

    There I stood, fruit in hand, facing a choice. I thought back on all I had gone through. All of the sins that I bore on my shoulders in my search for this. I thought of the girl I had killed all those years ago. Of those eyes forever frozen in time. Forever asking me why. Now, I held the answer in my hands. Would I sacrifice everything for the sake of knowledge? I looked down at the fruit in my hands and knew my answer.

    I would sacrifice all for knowledge.

    The moment I bit into the fruit, the secrets of the universe were made known to me and the person I was ceased to be. I became something altogether different. I heard a voice in my mind. It was the creature’s. And it was mine. I was he and he was me. Such it was and had always been. From the moment the first of man had sinned, there had always been a watcher. A collector. A criminal mastermind. I was not the first to sacrifice all for the sake of knowledge and I wouldn’t be the last.

    This story is just one of many. There is so much more to be collected. To be told. To be learned. So I have one question to ask you: What do you wish to know?

  2. #432
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    May 2016
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    Pokedex Loses Castles

    I had the strangest guild mate in Pokedex. Despite being otherwise normal and even a bit shy, he would, every so often, become frantically possessed by a sudden overwhelming need to lock the door by setting the house to private, or to pot up when no one was around. Wherever he was when the fit came upon him, he would leap up, run and change the guild home to private. People who stood in his way were screamed at. Anyone who tried to stop him would get attacked. He became a ranting sweaty madman until his mysterious sense of vulnerability passed—but the moment it was gone, he would apologize profusely, sink timidly into himself, and scurry away embarrassed. For that reason, it was hard to hate him.

    But it became a little easier to despise him each time to the guild homes to find myself locked out. Similarly, each time I brought him to a friend's home and he had one of his episodes, I inevitably lost potential allies and friends because I was friends 'with that guy'. Halfway through the year, after the third friend ghosted me because he scared them, I bought my own property in another housing area and washed my hands of the poor guy.

    That was a long time ago now, so when he whispered me and said he was trouble and had run into some issues, I decided to give him another shot. I'd always felt sort of felt bad about how I'd treated him in the end. So, I took a portal and picked him up.

    I remember pulling up to the edge of a high cliff to see a skinny silhouette waving at me. He was leaner than I remembered, and somewhat more in shape. I saw his face glisten, and I laughed. That was him alright—sweat was sort of his hallmark.

    "Sorry, man." He got situated "Thanks for coming."

    I shrugged. "No problem at all. What's wrong?"

    "Yeah, been having some issues trying to get ready for the siege. We got the East, the West and other player nation teaming up to try to snuff us out. I am not complaining though, I love the challenge and the non stop combat."

    "Great." I gave a slight cough to clear my throat, and we took a portal and rode my horse in awkward silence until he brought up a joke from the past. Just like that, we slipped into memories before, with all its new experiences, hilarious misadventures, and surprise pressures. By the time we reached the castle, I'd remembered the good things about him, and I was glad I'd decided to help him out. On the way in, I pointed to the crystal. "Not sure if we would be able to defend this without walls."

    "Gold these days, eh?" he said, before evaluating the area. "This'll do fine. I can't thank you enough. I'll get out of your hair as soon as the siege is done."

    "No problem at all sir."

    "Actually, I am working on alchemy now. I have to make everyone in the guild potions so they are ready."

    Good for him. He'd definitely grown as a person from the socially fearful outcast I remembered. I grinned. "Then no problem at all."

    I went to the library to speak with the dark ones without a single worry. It seemed like his issues had been resolved by maturity, and who was I to judge someone for trouble beyond their control? That was in the past.

    Of course, I was completely wrong.

    I got up to rotate the crops. I knew the area, so my footsteps were pretty much silent, but he still sighed and stirred by the castle as if something was bothering him. I stood in the guild farmhouse, gathering the seeds from the guild chest, as he whimpered, struggled, and then leapt up. In a mad terrified dash, he ran to the door and set it to private. He gave out a deep breath of relief and remained there with his head down while I tried to figure out the best way to let him know I was present. Well, if he was having a fit, there was no good way to do this.

    "Sir?"

    He seized up mightily, gasped in as much air as his lungs could hold, and then slowly turned around. His face was obscured in dimness, but I could tell he was sweating profusely. After a long moment, he managed to breathe again. Finally, he said, "Oh. Hey. Didn't see you there."

    "Yeah." I put my seeds back in the storage chest. "You alright, sir?"

    He meant his laugh to sound nonchalant, but it just came out nervous and high-strung. "Same old, same old, you know how it is. Everyone on Conviction is trying to team up and wipe out Pokedex. They say they are going to bring even numbers to the battle field, but I know better. They will come in and bring in every man available. I know what they are planning."

    I went around and approached him. He moved back a few steps, and I touched the door. "Its safe. There's nothing to worry about."

    He nodded awkwardly.

    Unsure I believed his calmness, I asked him to set the house back to guild so I could finish planting the crops. I wanted to make sure he wasn't going to get weird while I was asleep if I went back to bed.

    He made a sudden half-halted leap toward me, hand out. "No!"

    At that moment, I was starting to remember the times I'd seen him attack people during an episode. "There's nothing out there!" I pointed at the door, but a very slight shadow moved somewhere in my vision. The heck? No, it couldn't be. Reacting rapidly, I put my eye to the peephole.

    My brain made sense of the curved panorama just in time to see a sliver of a silhouette disappear along the side on the left.

    He moved closer, bringing the smell of his panicked sweat with him. "Did you see something?!"

    "No," I lied. I kept staring out through the peephole, watching the quiet night in my otherwise unremarkable area. The ground glimmered darkly under the stars while distant torches cast long shadows across grass. "Remind me again, what makes you suddenly want to lock the door?"

    Now that I wasn't actively trying to unlock it, he seemed slightly less manic. "I never told you because I thought you were starting to hate me, but, uh, when I was younger... I was giving a guild mate some charcoal I had in a chest. I set the chest to guild access... I had a sudden feeling that I should lock the door. I didn't, and, uh—" He shivered. "—a spy broke in a moment later and robbed the chest I set to guild."

    I frowned at his glistening shadowed face. "There was a spy in the guild waiting for you to change access to the storage chest?"

    He nodded between audible breaths. "Yes." Another three breaths passed in the otherwise silent darkness. "She tricked me."

    "Damn." I didn't know what else to say. "Just—damn. No wonder."

    "No wonder?"

    Before I could elaborate, the sound of something skittering outside reached us. He turned and listened in one rapid motion like a startled animal, and I had to admit, I was none too calm either. Still, I couldn't risk amping up his anxiety.

    He whispered, "Where was that?"

    "It sounded like it came from the back." I whispered, too. "I'm sure it's nothing. Let's go." I led the way, and we crept to another building, and once inside, he set it to private. He made sure to mimic my steps, but he was still louder than me, and I nearly winced at every movement. My nerves were raw.

    The window was fitted with stops that prevented it opening all the way; I usually left it open for the breeze, even in the winter. We sat in total darkness in front of that thin rectangle of cool air. Looking and listening, we sought any sign of what had made the noise.

    Have you ever actually listened to the sounds at night? What I'd gotten used to as silence was actually anything but. Soft wind stirred a rustling in the nearby bushes. Someone stealthed in the unknown distance. A monster lost its aggression. Briefly, a portal could be heard opening across the horizon. Under it all, a constant low haunting wail emanated across Conviction from Diamond Shore's library. I'd always hated that noise whenever I'd accidentally become aware of it because I thought it sounded like a thousand ghosts screaming from very far away, but I wasn't about to tell my friend that.

    The siege was about to begin on Pokedex. Waves of enemies were arriving. The walls were unbuilt and the stone was already half destroyed.

    It was about that time that my gaze landed upon something among the trees. When I'd first seen the closely bunched collection of white pinpoints, I'd assumed they were reflections from somewhere. Now, though, as I watched them carefully, I was nearly certain I was seeing them rotate upward. It was as if someone was spinning a wheel of lights whose narrow side was facing us; from the size and distance, the wheel must have been two or three feet in diameter. I whispered, "What is that?"

    After finding it with help from my pointing finger, his stare deepened. "I've never seen anything like it. What could that possibly be?"

    I couldn't make sense of it. While I watched, it grew slightly dimmer, then slightly brighter. "It's definitely casting light around it. I think I saw some leaves above it."

    "Is it changing?" he clutched my wrist as he stared at those strange up-wheeling lights. "Is it getting bigger?"

    I couldn't be sure, but how could it be getting bigger unless—

    Jumping up, he placed his fingers on either side of the window and brought it down swiftly and quietly. Then, he made sure the building was set to private. "Whatever it is, we're secure in here. We'll be fine. It's probably just some trolls playing or something."

    He sighed, but a visible change came over the silhouetted contours of his head. An instant later, he whispered me and said don't use local chat or guild chat just whisper me.

    He turned around and put his back to the door. I could tell he was wild-eyed from the way he whispered. "Be quiet! It's here!"

    The adrenaline spike from the situation made me a little angrier than I wanted to be. "What? What's here?"

    His frantic whisper was nearly a hiss. "I don't know! I just know that we have to keep this door locked!"

    I was fuming, but if I spoke, I would have said something I regretted, so we stood there in the dark for a solid few minutes. I began to calm down as those minutes passed, and, once I was in control again, I opened my mouth to whisper. "Hey, I'm sorry, I—"

    The floor creaked outside.

    I froze.

    He backed away from the door and faced it alongside me.

    It was nothing but a dark rectangle in front of us, but I stared at it for any hint of motion or change. The crazy thing was, I had no idea what I was even looking or listening for. What could possibly have been out there? If there was someone or something out there, what would we do?

    Dim light began to move across the walls of the room. As we watched the door, brighter light began to roll upwards around us, again as if someone was spinning some sort of lit wheel. It didn't take long for us to realize that whatever we'd seen in the distance outside was growing closer to my window. Beyond the blinds, something was coming nearer, but neither of us dared look away from my door for even an instant.

    Then, I saw it.

    Between moving lines of shadow and light, I could have sworn my door handle had changed angles.

    I backed away; a look at the blinds showed definite lights spinning closer, as if they were right outside the window and about to come up against it.

    My heart was hammering in my chest to the point of actual pain. Grunting my whisper, I asked, "What the heck is happening?"

    He shook his head. "I have no idea."

    "Are you sure?" I asked him, squeezing his wrists. "This all started with that robbery and attack on your guild, right?"

    "No," he whispered back.

    Hints of rotating light began to appear beneath, as if that insane impossible wheel had somehow entered without opening or breaking the window. None of this made sense! "It has to be you somehow."

    "No!"

    "It has to be!" I shook him violently. "Is your fear making it real? Is something after you?"

    "You don't understand," he whimpered. "I didn't finish the story. It didn't start with that incident. I'd been getting the urge to lock doors for years before that. The first time I didn't—that's when they came."

    I couldn't understand exactly what he meant. "The robbers?"

    He shook his head.

    Oh, god. "They weren't robbers, were they?"

    He shook his head again.

    My voice dropped to a razor hiss. "What's out there?"

    All he could say was, "They want in."

    Something about the way he said it finally made me understand. "It's not about the door, is it?" I looked out through it. "It's not about the literal entrance to the room you're in."

    The rotating light below began intensifying as whatever was out there approached our hiding spot.

    His panicked grip on my hands told me I was right. "Then why do you lock real doors?" I shook him until he looked at me despite his fear. "Is it a metaphor? Does it make you feel better? Does it close them off somehow? Why isn't it working this time?"

    He began to cry, sending mixed drops of tears and sweat onto my forearms. "I couldn't take it anymore. I'm tired of the constant struggle."

    The high cliff where I'd picked him up flashed through my mind clear as crystal, and the fear that had been building since the moment I saw him wake suddenly left me. He'd gone to that cliff for a reason, and he'd probably had second thoughts as he stood there alone in the dark. Completely calm, I asked,

    "You messaged everyone, didn't you?"

    He nodded.

    "And I was the only one that responded."

    He rocked back and forth in front of me. "I just couldn't take it anymore. They want in. They're always out there. They want in. I always lock them out, but they never stop. I'm tired of being terrified every minute of every day!"

    Air began moving under the door as the lights reached peak intensity outside; whatever it was, it was almost upon us. "There's nowhere to go. Let's open that door. Maybe you're constantly terrified because they want you that way. Let's face them. Let's be unafraid—and it might just work."

    He didn't respond, but I dragged him to his feet. I had never wanted to do anything less in my entire life, but there was nowhere else to go.

    I don't care if you believe me. That's not the point. But I'll tell you what I saw: the lights were eyes. They were bright enough to obscure the grotesque moving body beneath. I still can't understand how it was spinning like that. Snakelike curves connected things in shadow. Every blazing pinpoint swung up, flashed us with images of hatred and fear and paranoia, and then continued past, moving on too fast to process. That was the thing: the images were lies. My girl was cheating on me. My guild thought of me as a failure. My leader hated me and only put up with me because he hadn't found a replacement yet.

    But each individual lie raced past too quickly to pick apart and resist. I knew they weren't true, but they just kept coming. At the heart of this creature, I sensed a hunger for fear; I kicked a wide grasping mouth away, getting a few feet past whatever the heck that thing was. It turned toward us again as I flung the door open.

    I'd been right about the door handle turning. That much I knew in that instant.

    The madly spinning shadows and light failed to illuminate the beast that lay beyond that door. Immediately, I knew the thing behind us was just a servant to this, because this was so, so, so, so much worse. The only thing I truly registered was its dragon armor. Its gaze seized the beating heart muscles in my chest and filled me with absolute terror, as if it had the power to reach inside me and dredge out all the blackness and animal fear in the corners of my mind.

    I knew: these things didn't want in the building. It wasn't so simple as that. They wanted in to our world, and my guild mate was some sort of conduit for that nightmarish goal. He always had been. I had the knife-keen vicious sense that I needed to kill him immediately.

    But maybe that urge came from the emotions those creatures were giving off.

    As the creature with the red dragon armor began a rising scream that threatened to deafen me, I did what I had to do: I had my guild mate open the window. The creature grasped at me, its hand landing square on my back. I could hear my skin burning. Then jumped from a burning grip of the dragon gauntlet to escape.

    That was this siege.

    The burn from the that creature refused to heal. My stats were messed up since that. The clerics of Pokedex couldn't make heads or tails of it, mirror light did nothing. Something had burned the shape of a hand on my back—and continued to burn as they studied it. They could find no acid, no catalyst, and no heat. Eventually, they had to release me. Of course, their lack of understanding didn't lessen the hefty Pokedex bill any.

    The next day, I told my guild mate to stay strong and remain unafraid. We lost the castles, but beaten the forces of hatred and paranoia personified and escaped with our lives. He seemed unconvinced, and repeatedly said that we hadn't done anything, that I'd dragged him out of there, and that without me he didn't know if he could do it. "But I have a life to live," I told him. "Got to pay off that Pokedex bill and find a new place for my lands."

    He understood—or at least, he said that he did.

    Today, I saw him again. He didn't know I was there, because it was just a chance encounter. He was in a raid doing a speech. I stood outside and watched him through the window for a moment, awed at the change. He was sitting with new friends. He was wry, confident, and completely ignoring the door of the instead of nervously looking at the entrances every so often. It was such a positive change that I actually went inside with a smile.

    But I stopped about ten feet behind him as, I began to hear what he was talking about.

    His words floated in the air with a nearly perceptible stench; sludge dripped from the back of his sentences, burning the ears of those near his group. His new friends agreed happily and haughtily, replying noxiously in kind.

    A disgruntled customer nudged me as he passed. "Ignore those trolls."

    I turned away with misting eyes and walked out into the chill night. I hadn't saved him at all. He'd found refuge, not in standing up to those creatures, but by going down a path I hadn't even considered. I looked through the window one last time. The dragon archer that had burned me with its touch grinned back from the shadowed corners. It had found the entry into our world that it had craved for so long.

    I'd unlocked the door, but it was our guild that had let them in.

  3. #433
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    What its like to start on Conviction

    Seeing as you guys like real dark stories on here, I think you'll really enjoy this one. Its been said many times that Conviction is on top of Archeage in its ability to terrify and disturb new players. I think that's why this timeline is so popular. Stories of encounters with serial killers, or mysterious players, or just weird things that happens in the woods are always scarier. This one has all of those things and is 100% true. it all happened to me while I was on Conviction.

    Usually you have four kinds of guild less players. I'm not one to make generalizations, but they definitely fall into four categories usually. First, you have the crazy players. You ever walk past some guy sitting in a peace zone, too zoned out to even farm? Or maybe that guy wearing a ghost costume and babbling about the dark one? They are definitely the worst off, and don't last long out there. Then there is the honor/event addicts, who are sometimes more coherent than the crazy people. They can be helpful sometimes because they never run out of genius methods to make quick honor. The problem is they will also steal from you, and they can get very violent at short notice.

    Then you have the truly unfortunate, just regular people who have no bad habits at all, they just suddenly lost their guild or source of income and had nowhere to go. They are usually the most friendly type, but seeing as they aren't used to being guild less they are afraid of the others and don't hang out with them. You find them at Auroria, and unfortunately they are frequent prey for the other two categories I mentioned. I'll explain later why you should NEVER go to Auroria.

    I was the fourth type. What I like to call the Rebels. I was guild less their because I was fed up with participating in society and wanted to live my own way, off the grid. I was no crazy, My family had suggested I go a popular guild early on to gear up. They thought because I didn't do trade runs and didn't like the popular guilds that I was “on a downward spiral”. After my family's enemies came to Conviction, things got hectic. I suppose I learned some survival skills for what came after.

    After some time I made some decisions. I learned how people acted on Conviction... So I couldn't go west. I didn't want to. I gathered my gold and started out my adventure.

    I had about a hundred gold, a cloth and plate set of Arcane-Unique armor, a stack of consumables and a warehouse full of basic resources I gathered. It was mostly ore, a few stacks of wild crops I found growing, and some logs. I even convinced a guy to sell me a stack of Jujube he had on the shelf after telling him my story. I would be dead if it wasn't for that guy at Rokhala Mountains. He gave me a great deal on everything, and threw in items for free.

    My most precious memories on Conviction was farming with my friend. We were both avid outdoorsmen. I didn't whisper him when I decided not to join the popular guilds, I was still angry and I partly blamed him for me getting put in that place. I decided that I was tuff enough to survive out on my own. Boy was I stupid.

    After I portaled in Auroria, I bought a library scroll, and just wandered around the first floor. It can be tricky, finding a place to farm in the library if your guild less. You see, Conviction has a lot more predators that will wander into your room and try to steal all the monsters. I found what I thought was the perfect place. I found a nice spot a few rooms away from one of the corner.. If you've ever been guild less before, you know that certain players love to mess with guild less people. Its best to stay somewhere they can't easily see you while they cruise around at night.

    But I didn't count on the second group of predators. I got settled in for the night, had fought in the library for a while, and treated myself to a library index and a nice Jujube. I went outside to gather components for my cloak. I watched the sun set behind the rocky mountains, I felt very content. I was finally free. I went to sleep at around 10 pm.

    Suddenly I got woken up by someone bloodlusting nearby. It turned out to be two players from a larger guild, couldn't have had much better gear than me. They dragged me out and started kicking me on the ground. I remember what both of the little tools look like to this day, and if I see them ill bloodlust on them. I didn't know back then, but its common practice in the streets for punks like that to beat up guildless people. They beat me up some more and took over my spot. Then they said something about joining whatever degenerate guild they were from and walked off.

    So there I was, it was about 3 am, I was bleeding, I probably had a fractured rib, and a black eye. I genuinely needed help. I gathered up all my belongings from the monsters I killed. The idiots hadn't bothered to stop me from getting my loot. The loot gave me the strength to walk to the recruiters. BAD IDEA.

    I don't want to insult anyone who gives their time to help the guildless...They are all wonderful people. But the recruiters are usually corrupt. I was lucky I came to an area that had a friendly cleric on duty at a public fellowship, and she did a decent enough job treating my wounds from the two clowns. My left foot was also itching and it had become hard to walk on.

    As I took my boots and socks off for the first time in about a month, the poor girl almost feinted. On the side of my left foot was an infected cut. As soon as she had it cleaned and stuffed with bandages, they gave me new boots and a public bed in the corner of a huge room full of beds. it was almost all the way full of some of the nastiest people I had ever seen. It smelled like broken dreams and despair. Somehow I managed to get to sleep that night.

    I was lucky, my foot and ribs were healing well. This place sucked, but it was better than being forced to farm ore and plant single crops. I slowly began to get my strength back, and I started repairing my gear with some silver one of the volunteers graciously provided me with. I knew I had to decide which way I was going to go. The big guilds were starting their talks in faction. That night was when the first of many very scary things happened to me.

    I remember when he came in. The biggest darkrunner I think I've ever seen, 300 pounds at least and easily 6 foot 8. Everyone was a afraid of him, and at lunch and dinner we all avoided him. There was just something creepy about that guy. The biggest one being the creep wouldn't quit staring at me. I guess one of the saddest parts about being guildless then, was that I was good looking. I could've gotten a lot of dates if I had a guild and socialized. But instead I was here and I attracted someone all together horrible.

    I woke up at around twelve with the darkrunner next to me saying horrible things . The first thought I had wasn't fear... it was rage. I'm not going to get harassed, I thought. Some players had tried it while I was in diamond shores and they found out quick it wasn't worth it. So did this darkrunner. Due to his size, maybe nobody had ever fought back, or maybe he was just stupid. But I messed him up royally. I attacked back, bit into the hand he was covering my mouth with, and he removed it and screamed. Then I pulled the knife out that I kept just for this sort of problem. It was a nice slender delphinad knife, very sharp. I opened a huge gash in his forearm he was holding me down with. When that didn't work, I swiped it across this face, cutting through one of his eyeballs.

    The others quickly came to my aid, pulled him off of me, and started beating him. A guild member of his ran in. There was blood everywhere. I was told he survived but got removed from his guild and was now a pirate. Apparently he was known for harassing new players. No political reprimand from the player nations, but I didn't exactly stick around to player nation diplomats. As soon as I got free from the big darkrunner I grabbed my gear and bolted. I never went back to that place.

    Fast forward, I had a friend and we lived in her one room 16x16. It actually wasn't far from the guilds would gather their top fighters to do skirmishes. We snuck into a castle in the same area once I think. We did a lot of stuff like that. Although we had a place to stay, neither of us had a farm wagon or skills to craft. I sold wild crops I gathered and my friend spent labor on taxes, we had virtually no gold. When we weren't running around the city, we spent long nights watching the political drama unfold. It was actually a very happy time for me. But this was also when I saw some of the scariest things I encountered during my stay in Conviction.

    I was out very late, walking to a friend's house. He was this old Harani dude who had the best mid grade charcoal. You could get a stack for 20% off. It also made me a healthy profit if I sold half of it in 10s and 5s. Only problem was he was smack dab in the middle of a pvp area. Player nation territory. I was about to witness what I think is the reason why people are afraid to start on Conviction, and it sends a chill up my spine to this very day.

    I was coming out of my friends neighborhood, sack of charcoal stabilizer safe in my backpack. I rounded a corner and saw a troll pvpers sitting around. I knew if I approached them I would get beaten up. So I settled into the bushes nearby and waited for them to leave.

    It was about midnight when another group showed up. It was lead by an archer wearing dragon plate, unlike any I had ever seen. But he didn't straight up attack the trolls. He silently creeped up, with two other archers and made their way to the trolls. Then they pulled out their bows and in a split second they killed every guy. Only one/two arrows per person. The bows must have been at least legendary, because they didn't last long. After checking to make sure all the trolls were dead, one said a few words I couldn't make out, and then they made a portal and disappeared. I was dumbfounded. I just witnessed what looked like 3 crazy archers murder 12 trolls.

    I ran into a house and found the owner, cowering.

    “did you just see that? Call someone!” I yelled at him

    “The player nations are already coming... this isn't first time.” he said, with a horrified expression on his face. Then he fumbled around on the shelf and handed me some healing potions.

    “good stuff! Here you take free! Just get out of here!”

    I looked at him for a second then looked at the potions, and bolted out the door. He didn't have to tell me twice. If there's one good tip ill give you for Conviction, its don't stick around and talk to the player nations. EVER. From the distance I saw 10 people of the player nation

    To this day I'm not sure what that was. That night I went to my friend's 16x16, and we watched faction chat. Apparently there had been something going on Conviction. I never told my friend what happened that night. I have my theories. There are rumors in the community about these players.

    Most people think its an urban myth. The person(or in this case persons) is selected by some private group for whatever, and they set up a staged murder. I don't know if that was what I saw. Maybe the player nation had a grudge against these guys and were pulling something. All I know is Conviction is dangerous. Be careful out there guys. If you wanna hear more let me know, I have seen some things.

  4. #434
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    Starting in Conviction - When Player Nation Denies Content

    Thanks a bunch to everyone who read my last story. I wasn't expecting so many people, it means a lot to me. I guess the idea of being alone with no gold or guild on Conviction is terrifying to some people. Indeed I saw a lot of terrifying and strange things while I was guildless. But to me I was never really alone. I just didn't live the way most people do. I still don't.

    When I was starting out, it was stick to the safe areas, or live with the big or crazy guilds. Some guilds speak about the ancients, some go on 48 hour farming binges, some think monsters actually talk to them, the whole nine yards. If you wanna read about how messed up they are and what they did to me, read the story above. I don't think I mentioned before, I have trouble saving up gold and some guilds expect big gear gains, so yeah. They weren't exactly warm and loving towards me. But back then, it was me vs the world.

    You see, the trick to being a successful guildless person, is to never actually be 'guildless', in the non-literal sense of the term. I know some guys that have friends in two or three guilds, there's the classic “I'm guildless, but I'm working on my gear so one day I might join you”, or my personal favorite, “I'm just hoping you guys merge guilds so I don't have to pick sides”. There's that guy on Conviction who even made himself a little hunting party made up of multiple guilds. I lived with my friend in a 16x16 for awhile. We had virtually no gold, but half the time we went to events for honor. The abyssal was rarely a go because of a player nation denying it. I still had to stay out and grind till late at night for us to have enough gold to gear up. I met my friend while I was farming in the library. It was where all the people would show up who wanted a library earring. It was a great spot to hang out, especially because even though I had a cloth and plate set, I looked like a new player.

    I had a few good lines when people came by my hunting spot. My favorite one to use was “new to server, grinds are tough” for obvious reasons. When your not popping wild ginseng, or are a regrade addict, you easily can save up 100 gold from grinding and talking with people out there, as long as the trolls don't bug you. Seeing as I was cute and sad looking, I had gathered 300 gold. I would've stop farming that night, but instead... I met my friend. A couple of you were interested in how we met so I'll throw that in before we get to the scary stuff, its relevant to what I'm going tell you about later in this story too. One of the most amazing person I've ever known.

    One day we sat down and we started talking. I told my story, and it turned our stories were similar. My friend started off with the wrong class and decided to switch classes. My friend was like me, had trouble with guilds. We got together and started farming. First time I spent so long farming with someone else. It was a bit awkward at first but I did pretty good.

    We made a good team. During the day we would get into all sorts of mischief, we used to grab trade packs, sneak around, etc. My friend was afraid to walk around at night, and didn't like it when I did.

    But sometimes you just can't get everything done during the day, especially if you have to get through conflict or war zones. I was definitely on the gold chase. There is a number of ways to make good gold in the streets, almost all are sneaky. I actually generated a solid income buying items that dropped in price during events, then reselling them later for more profit. The only unfortunate part of this was sometimes I had to keep my gold invested in items for some time. I literally covered half the auction house almost every day. The reason for all this effort of course was I wanted to save up and get a nice house.

    It was on one of these late nights that I had a close brush with something much more terrifying than anything else I thought was out there. I saw them. Well, more than saw I guess you could say. Like the incident I described in my last story, they are another horrifying denial enigma on Conviction that normal people think is an urban myth. I thought it was just a story. When I first heard about it I didn't give it much thought because the denial fleet on Conviction are well known. But I assure you its very real. From what I know, on Conviction there's actually a few of them. One of them was seen regrading several mythics just the other day.

    People on the West were seen in faction saying:

    “There is no way that is legit... something fishy is going on right now”

    “What happened? Where is all this gold coming from... why are they using gold now?”

    “Wonder if he broke those mythics”

    The ship, as it is called, refers to one or more ships that cruise around during Abyssal or Leviathan. When the ship stops, they normally jump out of the ship from the same side, attack you, and stop you from helping with the content. I first heard about it from my charcoal stabilizer connection. He was an old guy and was prone to long yarns about anything and everything. He claims he was once part of four different player nations. Judging by his bad dancing and duels, I don't think he was.

    But then I started hearing about it from other people. Same thing every time. They draw a lot of attention to themselves and usually one of their ships appear around a major event. Always close to the same number of guys. Nobody seems to know what happens. They have a couple of sooth sayers who will bring back the dead over and over again

    I started hearing about it everywhere. I was selling charcoal stabilizer in sacks of 10's to the crafters that hung out at mirage, a small safe isle that you can find portals to, when I heard the first disturbing story about the ships I actually believed. One of the guys there said he'd seen it take some girl and recruit her.

    “I knew her man. She was a runaway, hung out with that group and those wanna-be elite.”

    Another one spoke up when he recognized the name.

    “Damn!! what the heck? That's her! I know her! She used to go to raids. You saw them like legit kidnap her?!”

    “Yah. She was standing on her duck boat, and they pulled up beside her, 2 dudes grabbed her and they sped off with their oars. I'm not messing with you man it was scary. I ran and asked a player who sits nearby but he just wrote a report and told me they'd look into it. Nobody has seen her for like a week! The only witness said he saw an archer standing at the back of the boat firing dozens of arrows at people chasing”

    That's when the oldest one of the group came and joined the conversation. He was a dwarf, but some people called him a clown, I could tell why, he was a big fat dwarf that loved hitting that regrade. He had been out there longer than anyone.

    “I'm not surprised. Its been going on for a while now. They first started denying events when the dragon archer spread [{a dark shadowy obsidian substance over the crew}]. I did some research and the once peaceful guild was known to help other guilds do content, but since this incident they have become increasingly violent. They usually go after key targets. First there was only a few ships, but now there is two more. Many guilds are even afraid of them.”

  5. #435
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    I found a strange storage chest in my farm house... (Puzzle)

    Hey guys, I bought a house. It was about as bland and suburban a house as you can imagine. I mean, I like it fine, but it’s a farm house. It’s got wood siding in an inoffensive shade of white, and brown. The family that lived here before was an older couple who were starting to have trouble with taking care of the crops, and they’d been in the house since it was built. The husband had a few fishing trophies and the wife collected decorative items. They had pictures of their grandchildren up on the walls. You cannot possibly picture a less haunted house.

    I’m making that point to explain why, when I found a weird storage chest hidden behind furniture last week, it never occurred to me to wonder where it came from. You know those Auroria storage chests, the metal things with one big latch on the side? It was one of those. It definitely wasn’t mine. I didn't even own one of those chests.

    I figured it must have belonged to the previous owners, and they’d missed packing it up when they moved out. It was pretty well hidden, tucked way back in a corner behind a bunch of furniture. I never would have found it myself except that I heard a player or monster or something running around outside, and I moved the furniture to make a better defense and that’s when I caught a glint off of the metal of the box. I first tried to message the original owner, but it seems that they either deleted their character or changed their name.

    Who doesn’t love a good mystery, right? I examined the wall behind the Auroria storage chest. There was an image of three intersecting rings. I looked the picture up later and apparently they’re called a type of Burrian link. They’ve been used to represent everything from religion to beer, neither of which seemed likely to be inside my mystery box.

    I tried to open it, but either I was trying to open it the wrong way or it was glitched or something. Whatever the case, it wouldn’t open. So I relogged and fiddled with it a bit more in better lighting. Still no dice, though. It was as if it was just a décor item.

    Turns out those things are built pretty well, so my first few hits did nothing. As I was setting the chisel for my fifth or sixth hit, though, it skidded sideways on the box and I sliced into the side of my hand with the edge. You know the webbing in between your thumb and forefinger? Got myself right there, a nice little nick. It started bleeding immediately, and I hopped up and ran over to the sink to wash it out and disinfect it. I don’t know what diseases you can get from things that have been collecting dust in an attic, and I don’t want to know.

    Funny thing is, when I came back to the table the latch was open. I must’ve popped it with the chisel as I was setting it that last time, or something. Maybe that’s why it skidded in the first place. Anyway, the box was unlatched, and it opened and closed easily when I tried it. No squeaking or stiffness in the hinges or anything. I even tried relatching it, and it worked just fine.

    I took out the contents before I latched it again, just in case it did get stuck. Here’s what was inside:

    1. a book bound in dark leather and tied with a stange ribbon
    2. two giant Ayanad rings wrapped up in a dark fabric
    3. a six-inch long steel needle / dagger
    4. a tiny jar full of some sort of mysterious putty
    5. a slip of paper with a string of numbers.

    The paper was on top of everything else, so it was the first thing I saw. It was handwritten, and it said “10 02 2018 1530 00 44 00 04 00 00. 0315” The other side was blank. I held it up to the light in case there was something else hidden there, but couldn’t make out any watermark or hidden text.

    So the first three numbers were obviously a date, October 2nd 2018. And that meant that the fourth number was probably a time. Not sure what the other numbers could mean... I am hoping that you guys can help me figure this out.

    The other items didn’t make any more sense. The needle was exactly what you’d expect a needle to be: pointy at one end, a small hole at the other.

    The Ayanad rings fit perfectly on my thumbs, which means they must have been made for a really big guy; they’re too big for most people to wear on any of their fingers. Unless they were designed as thumb rings, which is a pretty weird. And even so, I’m above average height, so I think they’d be loose on most people’s thumbs.

    The jar was weird. The putty in it was flesh toned and very stretchy. I couldn’t manage to pull it free of the jar or break a piece off. I got knife to try to cut a piece free, but they sank partway in and got stuck. It took me almost a minute to get them out again afterward, and the putty showed no lasting marks once the knife was gone. I crammed it back into its jar and closed the lid.

    But it wasn’t until I got to the book that I really started to get creeped out. It was maybe a hundred pages long, with those three overlapping circles were stamped into the leather of the cover. The pages were all made of some sort of heavy linen-feeling paper, and every page was covered in symbols in a heavy black ink. Occasionally there were diagrams, circles with intersecting lines and the like. Every few pages had a few larger symbols at the top, like a title.

    I couldn’t read it, obviously. I don’t even think it’s a language. But you know how sometimes you’ll hear a song that you haven’t heard in years, maybe even decades? And if someone had asked you if you knew the words, you’d have said no. Maybe even said you didn’t know the song. But as soon as you hear it, you know the words. Not ahead of time, but if you open your mouth and sing along, they just come flowing out?

    Reading this book was like that. I didn’t know what it said, or even how to pronounce it. But I was certain that if I opened my mouth and starting talking, I’d be saying it correctly right along with the text.

    I didn’t do that, mind you. I was too unsettled by the feeling. I tied it back up and put it back in the storage chest with everything else. I planned to leave it there.

    That was early this week. Toward the end of the day, my raid leader asked me to come talk to him. Seems they didn’t need my services any more, and while I could certainly count on them for a good reference, if I could leave the raid that would probably be best for everyone. Nice, right? I’ve got a bit of gold saved up, but not much, so I was going to have to find a new group fast. I took a bit of time to mope and feel sorry for myself, but then I was hitting the auction house. Spent the morning checking on prices, polishing my spreadsheet and then looking for any trends. By early afternoon, I was starting to get a little cross-eyed, and my attention was wandering.

    I am afraid with all this drama about getting kicked out of raids and trying to get gold is putting a toll on me. Maybe you guys can help me figure out what I am supposed to do with these items or with the strange piece of paper with numbers. I think this is part of something I don't fully understand... I can't figure out what these numbers mean, but I know it has some significance.

    “10 02 2018 1530 00 44 00 04 00 00. 0315”

    STORY UPDATES


    Update 1: (Paradox Tips) I made contact with a Paradox, East guild, member. He suggested that I look into the inside cover of the books for clues to decipher the sequence. I don't see anything in the book that will help me decode this mystery. I really appreciate you guys trying to help me out on this. I am at a complete loss on what I am supposed to do here.

    Update 2: (Player nation speaks up) I made contact with a member of one of the player nations here on Conviction. She said that the 10 02 2018 looks like a date and the 1530 could be military time. So it might be a good idea to be attentive during that time frame. When I asked her if she could tell me anything else she said that she couldn't figure out the remaining numbers. I asked her could this have something to do with Leviathan? She mysteriously disappeared without answering...

    Update 3: (Mechanist's Creation - Encounter)I made contact with a guildless mechanist's creation. The creation was a strange entity metallic in nature, similar to that of a lost metallic crate. I was unable to determine whether the responses were part of an advanced AI or if it was magically enchanted. The mechanical creature began to speak...

    “10 02 2018 1530 00 44 00 04 00 00. 0315”

    THE MASTERS WILL DESCEND ON FEBRUARY 10TH 2018, SEEK SHELTER, THE PORTALS WILL OPEN 50 WILL PASS AND 45 WILL ROT.

    “10 02 2018 1530 00 44 00 04 00 00. 0315”

    BE WARY BE WARY FOR WE ARE COMING AS THE GUARDIANS LEAVE. BE WARY BE WARY MY GOOD MAN

    After hearing these words I suddenly realized that I may have been incorrect when I assumed the date was October 2nd. Whatever this event was seemed to be only a few days away.

    “Is there anymore information you can get out of the numbers?”

    Gears within the machine seemed to whirl faster as if it was processing the question and then a moment later it responded

    44 INCLUDES ESTIMATED NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS , 4 OUTLIERS, TIMES 3:15AM TO 3:30PM, FOUR PAIRS OF 0'S IS UNCONFIRMED FILLER.

    I asked the creature to wait a moment and showed it the contents of the chest to see if it could help solve that portion of the puzzle.

    QUERY: YOU WISH TO KNOW MY FEATURES? ARE YOUR SENSORY NODES DAMAGED?

    I feel as though the robotic creature was somehow mocking me, asking me if my nodes are damaged. Now what is that supposed to mean. Before I can respond the creature continues.

    THE NUMBERS MARK THE END OF THE BEGINNING

    GOOD DAY SENTIENT BEING.

    SIGNING OFF

    Beeping occurs and within seconds smoke rises out of the back of the mechanist creation. I had so many questions to ask it. I wonder if it shut itself off or if its creator was preventing it from telling me more. I still don't know what I am supposed to do. I feel as something might be happening soon and I need to be somewhere on February 10th . If you guys think of anything else please let me know!

  6. #436
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    Puzzle Leads to Esya Dena Volcano.

    It took me a little while to figure out, but the set of 6 numbers finally clued me in; the next six numbers are coordinates, latitude and longitude. 00 44 00 , 04 00 00. When I plugged them into a website, I got a shock: displayed on the screen was Esya Dena Volcano.

    I laughed about it a second later. I mean, I found this in my farm house. It’s not surprising that it’s got latitude and longitude on it. Whoever put it there obviously knew something. It’s a weird thing to do, but not difficult.

    The last four numbers didn’t make any sense to me at all. I puzzled over them for a few days, tried all sorts of possibilities—monsters to kill? Price of item in AH I'm supposed to search for? Steps to take?—but came up blank on all of them. So I basically forgot about it for a little while.

    I was thinking about going out for a walk, so I opened up the window to see what it was like outdoors. Not bad for a February stroll. I stood up to get my jacket, but as I did, my eye fell upon the slip of paper; I’d left it out when I put everything else back in the box. The numbers leapt out at me: 10 02 2018. February 10th 2018. I checked the clock. It was close to 15:30.

    So I traveled to the coordinates indicated and when I arrived I saw something. Three guilds were battling on the outskirts of the volcano. One guild was trying to stop people from entering while two other guilds were fighting each other and the defending guild to try to gain entrance. I went into stealth and snuck in past the battling guilds.

    There were people inside the volcano. They had solved the puzzle. From the distance I could make out two people standing near molten rock. Pillars of magma were floating up toward the sky as if defying gravity itself. [Snapshot of people]

    I got a chill down my spine. That slip of paper, 010 02 2018 1530 00 44 00 04 00 00. 0315 , was essentially saying “On this date and time, at these coordinates, something will happen.” I traveled to the location and saw people were there from different factions and different guilds. It was completely correct, and somehow predicted the specific details. I tried to get a little closer to see what I Could. [Close up snapshot]

    This probably should have terrified me. It was completely impossible, after all. And I was definitely shaken. But then I thought about that book, and the things I’d half-known flipping through it. I’d caught a few of the titles—their meanings, anyway. Wealth. Sight. Harm. Fetch. Knowledge. The armored creature began a 25 minute channel. Just as the channel began the sky began to darken. [Snapshot of channel]

    I took the book back out and, with a frisson of fear, untied its ribbon again. I sat down and read silently, the strange symbols converting into words in my brain. It was a book of power, of spells. If it could do what it promised, I’d never work again in my life. Seeing remote locations, predicting the future, material transmutation—all this and more. Page after page detailing the necessary ritual, the preparations, the words. A floating sphere descended on the volcano at the end of the 25 minute channel and a third individual appeared. [Snapshot of third person and strange orb in volcano]

    When I turned the final page and looked back up from the book, the orb had left and the color of the world colors returned. I snuck behind the people to try to make out what they were doing [Snapshot of changed environment]

    I looked back down at the book in my hands. When I flipped through the pages, I could still read the symbols as clearly as ever. This chant to become undetectable. That ceremony to extend my gear score. And through it all, a drumbeat: wealth. Power. Life. The magma increased in temperature and smoke began to bellow out fiercely from the volcano. [Snapshot of increased smoke at volcano]

    I knew how to make the book work for me. I took the steel needle and pierced my left index finger with it. When the blood welled up, I touched the swollen drop to the rightmost of the interlocking rings on the cover. The blood flowed swiftly around it, staining that circle red. It represents my art and my commitment, and enters me into a pact with the book. Twenty-four hours to let the blood set, and we’ll be linked.

    I do not yet know what the other two circles represent. I’m eager to find out.

  7. #437
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    383

    True Love

    When do you know when you’re in love on Conviction? For me, it just sort of… happened one day. While sitting in Rokhala.

    Well no, that can’t be right. I guess I just noticed it one day. Noticed that this fiery, longing love had been laying quietly inside of my mind all this time, and I needed to lose him to know it. Ironic right? At least, I think that’s what ironic means. I’m not very educated, so excuse me if I mess up a few words. I read a lot though.

    I’d been with him for a long time but most of that time I spent resenting him. Resenting him for taking over my life. For being so needy, having me take on his last name. I said “I love you” every morning and every night, but I never meant it. In fact, at first I hated saying it. It didn’t feel right. But I did it anyway. I had to. He needed me to. And I needed him to take care of me. I needed him to feed me, clothe me, keep me safe… I was being greedy. I didn’t know it at the time. Now that he’s gone, I don’t know what to do. I’m worthless. I’m selfish. I’m nothing without him.

    The moment I knew I loved him happened in the morning. It started out just like every other morning. I used my labor for him and I sat in my chair. I watched him use the materials I made for him, wood chips landing on his beard as he crafted bows. I sipped my glass of water. We listened to the faction chat. Like every morning before this.

    Every morning.

    Isn’t it just crazy that the minute before your life changes, is just like any other minute? Indistinguishable from the millions before it? Like when trade runs suddenly changed from the donkey and farm cart stage into the upgraded vehicle stage, in the otherwise dormant land trading time.

    Nothing will ever be the same again.

    He stepped away from crafting bows and leaned back on his chair. His calloused hands resting. I used to hate those hands. It’s funny to think of that now.

    He was laughing at what someone said on faction chat. I don’t know what it was. It was a nice though.

    He looked down at his extra charcoal stabilizers “want it?”.

    I nodded.

    “It’s yours”.

    He traded the charcoal to me.

    I thanked him and gingerly placed them in the storage chest next to my chair. He watched me organize the charcoal.

    He always had a few extra.

    “It’s yours” he said.

    The last words he said to me.

    “It’s yours”.

    Such a silly thing, but those two syllables keep replaying in my head. “I’m yours” is what he meant. I’m not just his, but he is mine too. How did I not know?? How was I so blind for so many years?

    We had more in the family awhile back.

    They ran away and changed their names and I was angry for it. But he was right. They weren't really part of the family if they ran away.

    We had to give them up. He said a nice guild adopted them. I think about them sometimes.

    I really hated him after that. I loved the idea of having a family with our last name. Playmates. Someone to keep me company. My whole life was him, and I wanted something for myself. But I was being selfish. So selfish. Oh I’m just cringing thinking about it!

    “it’s yours”

    There was a hard, loud knock at the door. Which was unusual, because he rarely had visitors, and those few times he did, they weren’t very nice. I was afraid it was one of them.

    He stood up and looked at me. I shrugged. He gestured for me to stay quiet. I obeyed.

    He’s brought others to the home a few times. It was always strange. And it would always be after I was being disrespectful. The first time it happened I was sleeping when I heard the commotion upstairs. He had just gotten home. I heard his voice and then I heard another voice. Whispers of a dominion, and something happening at a volcano...

    I stayed quiet.

    I was jealous though. I was so jealous. And I remember being surprised that I was jealous. Yet, I still didn’t figure out that I loved him.

    The next morning they were gone.

    He knew I heard. How could I not?

    I heard it all the other times too.

    We never talked about it. Not once.

    There was another loud banging on the door and I could vaguely hear a muffled yelling outside. I looked at him, confused.

    He got up from his chair quietly. He grabbed his bow and walked towards the main door. I heard him take out his keys and unlock the door. And then

    BAM!

    There was a huge crash and voices yelling. A struggle.

    And then combat sounds.

    Not like the sound of arrows. I knew what those sounded like... Spells from a mage.

    I stood up from my chair to run to him but the chains on my ankles kept me in place. I screamed out his name. But he didn’t answer. He never will. He’s gone.

    Poof.

    When the people came in they kept telling me it was going to be okay. “He’s gone” they said “It’s okay.” they said. It’s okay? I didn’t know how to respond. I didn’t know how I felt. Am I okay? Is this what okay feels like? Maybe I’d forgotten. Who knows how many years it had been.

    Anyway, I’m in a guild. They are nice I guess. They didn’t recognize me at first because of my eye and my nose and teeth, but they look the same, just older.

    But it’s hard because I don’t really remember them. They keep crying and touching me. I hate being touched.

    They told me they found our old family members buried in the farm. Underneath the crops I planted and harvested with, like he told me to do.

    But I’m not mad. He was right. If they were part of the family they wouldn't have left.

    They also found several others buried close by. I think it was the people he brought home and spoke with about the volcano.

    It was nice to hear that. It’s like a parting gift. He would never do that to me, but he did it to them.

    Because he loved me.

    I have so many regrets.

    He kept me because he loved me.

    I was worthless.

    And selfish.

    And nothing without him.

    But I had to lose him to know it.

    I love you.

    And I always will.

  8. #438
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    383

    Hidden Quest Clue Is In The Gallery

    Did you miss me? I missed you, I really did. Oh, did you forget about me? You look like you did. This makes you confused, does it? No no no, that’s not fair. I’ve never forgotten you! I thought you will remember me as well. Now you’re frowning. Does it mean you’ve really forgotten?

    Don’t you remember the time when you saw me for the first time? I do very well. Riding on a farm cart in the night, you were so sweet. That day you were at your first raid with your guild. Returning back to the art 'gallery' in Rokhala. I’ve met you for the first time when you were traveling through the 'shadow forest' by 'the towering fellowships'.

    You were looking out to the side. You flinched when you saw me and I thought it was sweet, the fear. Then you turned away. You probably told your guild. What did they tell you? Others were lying about glitches, shadows and hollow trees. Did they tell you some nonsense like that? You didn’t trust her; I know you didn’t. You have me and I like you. You are my special one. And yet you’ve forgotten me. I’m upset. Oh I really am. How could you forget me?

    Don’t you really remember? I was always there when you saw something strange out of your window and it was me what you’ve seen in the dark corner of your 'room' when you woke up in the middle of the night. I was watching you 'sleeping'. I was always there, near you. You were so scared, I liked it. You did it for me, I know it, you were scared so you would make me 'happy'.

    And then you left. You disappeared and you left me there. I was confused, you hadn’t told me where did you go. Soon there was a sign, it appeared at the 'art gallery'. The sign had a clue. People were coming in, but you weren’t one of them. I realized you were gone when some people with a gifted one saw me. It saw me, they became scared and tried to get rid of me. I was waiting for you all the time, but they wanted me gone. The know where to find clues... I will find you before they do.

    They did the summoning at the volcano. I liked the gifted one very much. Now they are outcasts. The man and the gifted one are left alone and the gifted one doesn’t want to see me any more. The woman is destroyed, the same as others I’ve met.

    There was nothing for me at the volcano any more and I wanted to see you again. Don’t you worry. I’ve never stopped looking for you. And I’ve finally found out where you are. That summoning at the volcano alerted me to your presense.

    I don’t forget, but I do forgive. I forgave you... And now I’m back. It got pretty dark outside while you were reading this.

    And I really like you, I found you and I’m waiting. Would you like to see me again? Come wave at me. I will find the way inside soon, I promise. I’ve already found 'the window', I know where to wait for you, but now I need to get in the house to be closer to you. They don't 'love' you. I am the only one who loves you.

    I was searching for you for so long, but now I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be here with you forever and ever.

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