Avatar of Death

Discussion in 'Original Stories' started by Stardust, May 9, 2017.

  1. Stardust

    Stardust New Member

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    “You don’t honestly think you can beat all 30 of us, do you?”



    A lone figure stood in the path of a host of players. It was wielding an intimidating looking sword in its right hand. They were enroute to raid the town of Lothriel in the name of the Halfad Empire. The game of Warblaze had 3 large factions constantly in a state of war. Often many players in a single faction group together to attack the opposing factions for gold, armor, and to increase their standing in the faction. The path was a wide forest road but this stranger chose to be directly in the path of the group, a sign that he wanted to stop them. There was no movement from the player except for the small movements of the cloak in the slight breeze.



    There were 3 species that were available to the players to choose and while no race is barred from any of the factions, there was definitely a more beneficial faction to go to for each race. The humans mainly populated the Halfad Empire while the Baros Horde was populated mostly by orcs. The third and smallest was the Demon Dominion but to make up for their numbers, the strength of a demon was greater than either an orc or human. The group that approached were mainly human with a few orcs in the mix.



    “That’s exactly what I intend to do,” called back the figure. The leader of the rag tag group started laughing and more and more of them started to join in.



    “We average around level 750 with some even in the 800s. What hope do you have against us, noob?” The stranger readied his sword in response and waited for the fighting to begin. The leader, Vicus, was amused by this but there was uncertainty in the back of his mind. No one could be this stupid, it had to be a trap. He had played the game for a few years now and knew to trust his instincts here.



    “Beras, Flex go deal with him. Everyone else watch the treelines. This might be a trap!” The stranger scoffed in response at the thought of asking for backup. Warblaze had no true level cap but nearly all abilities are maxed out when the player hits around 1200. The requirements to level up began to demand more and more from the players around level 350. Most casual players were in the 400s after a few years with more of the serious players in the range of 600-800 range. Some of the original players were rumored to be in the 1000s if they were serious enough throughout all this time.



    Beras was dressed more like a standard warrior with a large claymore taking up both his hands while Flex was using 2 long daggers. Both players sprinted at the stranger, Flex was in range to attack first as he was not slowed down by heavy armor and weapons but as his daggers were about to impact the stranger, he noticed the stranger had yet to move. A spark of pride filled the owner of Flex as he felt it was just his speed being too quick for this noob, as he had many points invested in both his movement and attack speed. The spark was replaced by confusion as the stanger’s image began to shimmer and faded as his daggers hit where the body used to be.



    The stranger used Afterimage! A utility spell that required a good amount of points to unlock. The moment of confusion was enough time for the stranger to appear behind Flex and stabbed into him. Red flashed on the screen of Flex’s owner as he tried to dodge. He was an experienced player and yet he only had time to avoid a blow to his chest. The sword sliced across his character’s shoulder right through the armor! It only nicked him but it drove him to a red state. That was only possible when a player was below 5% hp. Quickly assessing the damage, Flex was shocked that his hp was nearly gone from a glancing blow! Fear spread through him as he realized he was outclassed...miserably. A player with the strength to nearly one shot a level 776 from a glancing blow was way beyond him. His screen turned grey only a moment later as a martial arts skill was used as a follow up to the sword attack. Death in Warblaze was signified by a grey screen of the defeated player and all text and voice chats were disabled. He could only watch helplessly as Beras arrived and he could not warn his friend of the danger he was in.



    Beras stopped in his tracks a few meters before the stranger. He watched his friend Flex die in a matter of a few seconds. He cursed loudly in anger but he held his emotions in check. Rushing in against this unknown enemy was stupid. In a traditional mmorpg, Beras would classify more as a tank and Flex more as a damage dealer. Naturally Flex had a lot less health than Beras but a level 776 still had hp in the hundreds of thousands.



    Warblaze did not have a traditional class system but rather gave the players the freedom to choose their own stat increases via skill points. As Beras was a tank of the group, he had invested heavily into armor, health and strength with points in his taunts, personal buffs, and mitigation for the high end boss fights and pvp (player vs player).



    Taking that into consideration, Beras opened with a leap and a wide swing in order to attempt to hit the stranger. He could afford to take damage as he wanted to test what this player’s capabilities were. His attack left him wide open and as expected, the player struck. What was not expected was the damage nor the grey screen that followed. The player stabbed him straight through the chest, players could only do that if their target was within one shot range of their weapons damage. It was a flashy animation the developers put in to make the players feel more badass but was rarely used in combat because it took time to finish the animation and the player was exposed to counter attack from other enemies.. That’s impossible! He was a tank, very few people in the game could oneshot a geared tank and they were the high end original players. He was in the presence of one of the god-tier players of old. But which one? Only a few dozen still played the game. That answer was given to everyone as soul orbs began to leave the bodies of the fallen and entered the gem placed in the crossguard of the sword of the god tier player. Legendary weapons only existed as a single item. Only one player at a time could hold one and all were known to the elite players as they all had dreams of acquiring one. Legendary weapons could not be hidden in the banks of players and will drop 100% of the time of the wielders death. This was to keep the weapon in rotation and prevent someone from keeping it away from the general populace forever. It would also disappear out of a player’s inventory if they did not log in after a month and reenter the game as a boss drop.



    The sword before them was Soulbane, Drinker of Souls. Every time it killed a player or npc, it takes a piece of the victim’s soul and it absorbs small percentage of the fallen’s stats and adds it to its own. It was an infinite scaling weapon that was only reset on its drop. It is one of the most sought after weapons in the game and has been in the hands of 1 player since it was awarded to the player for winning the first world championship.



    The player they attacked was known as Aeldan, the Avatar of Death!



    The remaining 28 players froze in horror at the identity of the player before them. Aeldan was considered one of the greatest players to grace the game. The game has been out for 8 years and Aeldan had attended all 8 championships. He was the winner of 3 of them and many considered him the king of Warblaze. Soulbane is only one piece of Aeldan’s deadly arsenal. Besides the weapon, he has some of the best gear collected over years of grinding and battling but what is perhaps scariest all is his race. After his 3rd title, the game developers of Warblaze decided to award Aeldan with a truly priceless gift, his own race.



    His character was transformed into a Shald, its more akin to a vampire as he looks human and has many of their fabled abilities such as unnatural strength, stamina, shape shifting, etc. Many stories were spun on what he could do but many believe it to be an exaggeration as the class specifics are known only to the game developers and Aeldan’s user. What was known was the light did not affect him like a traditional vampire as he was seen during the in game daylight hours, and that he did not drink blood but rather fed off the souls that he collects in his sword. In order to balance the race, it required to feed off souls to maintain its form and strength and so it required to kill many npcs and players to remain in its dominant state or else it would be weakened significantly. A loophole to this was his sword which could store souls for later use, there was no telling how many were in it but the number was not small.



    The group’s collective recalling of the stories of Aeldan disappeared as the distance between them and Aeldan diminished quickly as he transformed to a cloud of bats and surged toward them with great speed. He was upon them in seconds.




    _______

    Mark allowed himself to relax after killing the last of the raid group. His wrists ached slightly at the overexertion of killing those players. His constant playing for 8 years had given him some serious carpal tunnel issues.



    Mark laughed bitterly as the pain began to subside. A 22 year old should not have serious carpal tunnel issues. Nothing of note was dropped by the players but that was expected. Their equipment was too low level to give any kind of stat increase to him. The souls were much more valuable as they did give stat increases. The experience bar barely moved after the encounter as 30 player kills were nothing to the mountain of experience required by a level 1052 to progress.



    Taking note of the time, Mark moved off the main road and deep into the forest to log out. He was not due to turn in his success to the player in charge of Lothriel for another hour; he had time for a quick snack.



    Mark walked the cluttered halls of his childhood home toward the kitchen. Mark’s life could be considered both tragic and lucky. His parents won the lottery when he was 13 and he fondly recalled them jumping for joy at their luck but a ticket to the good life was not in the cards for them as only a week after they collected their lump sum winnings of $40 million, they died in a robbery attempt for their money. Mark’s parents already put the money in the bank system but some guy assumed that they would keep large amounts on them and shot them for the money in their wallets.



    Mark’s aunt moved into the house for a time to raise the 13 year old as she was listed as next of kin. She had no husband or children so the move was a simple affair. His parents’ death drove him to quit school and have his aunt hire personal tutors to teach him. The following year, he discovered Warblaze, the newest mmorpg on the market. It was like love at first sight as the game soon consumed most of his time. He hurried through his lessons just to get back to playing. It helped him overcome his depression but it could not be considered just his savior but his addiction as well.



    When he finished his schooling at 18, he dove himself fully into the game as he did not have to worry about money for the rest of his life. His aunt, knowing she had no control of the young adult or his addiction to the game, grew increasingly frustrated with Mark until she decided to move out. Mark sent her a portion of the money he inherited from his parents as a way of thank you but after that he rarely saw her. He did get a postcard from Hawaii a couple years down the road but their interaction ceased beyond that.



    Mark soon entered the kitchen but stopped in his place at the sight before him. A 40ish year old looking man was casually sitting at the kitchen table, staring at a cup coffee. What kind of robbery was this? Mark cautiously tried to reach for one of the knives next to the door but froze in his place as the man looked up from the coffee.



    “You look well, Mark.”



    Mark was caught off guard by the compliment but quickly recovered. “What are you doing in my home?” The man leaned back and sighed.



    “Oh, where to even begin. I suppose I’m the closest thing to God that anyone can encounter.

    “Right and I’m Santa Clause, now tell me who you really are before I call the cops. You obviously came here to talk if you have been just sitting here, drinking my coffee, waiting for me to come out of my room.” The man seemed amused by that answer as a faint smile on his face appeared.



    “Mortals put so much faith in their beliefs and yet they never believe when actual divinity is staring them in the face. At least you are clever enough to pick up on that I mean you no harm. Now come have a seat cause I came on urgent business.”



    “I’m good right where I’m standing, creep.” The man sighed as he raised up a hand and produced an orb of light. He sent it toward Mark and Mark flinched as it entered his body and emitted warmth in his chest that he had not felt in years. Mark’s eyes widened and slowly gave into curiosity as he made his way to the chair on the opposite side of the table.



    “So...God, why are you here?”



    “I need your help and I think you would enjoy the task.”



    “And why would an all powerful deity need my help?”



    “Here’s a quick history lesson. In the start, there was an all powerful being that created many universes. You humans are kind of close with your “multiverse theory” to a point but as more and more universes it started to become a lot of effort to keep watch over the universes and keep their existences grounded. It’s a constant effort as everything wants to become nothing as it was taken from a thing called The Void and it wants to return there. That being split itself into many different pieces, some to manage the strain of keeping the fabric of the universes in tact while others keep vigil over scores of universes. As time went on, the pieces of the original began to develop their own personalities. Some began to hunger for more power and began to take over universes that belonged to other fractions of God. It’s complicated but as we are tied to our universes, each time one is lost, we start to lose some of the power given to us to manage that universe. When all of a god’s universes are taken they fade into nothingness and are cast into The Void.”



    “You could say that there is a war of universal proportions going on and now mine are under attack. As my power fades, I cannot protect my dominion as I once could and it puts this universe and many others at risk as I am tied to them.”



    Mark took a minute to take it all in but the same question kept popping up in his mind. “You mentioned you needed my help, yet I cannot foresee how I can be of service.”



    “Think of the alignment of universes as a spider web. You need to follow the strands to get anywhere and some universes are like hubs and have multiple strands to other universes which lets one spread with greater ease. The rogue gods have reached one of these hub universes that is under my control and I need to protect it at all cost or it will be like opening the floodgates and they will be impossible to stop as they spread to more and more of my territory. A universe is lost when its prime planet, or the planet that is designated as a capital of sorts is taken as there is a font of energy at the core of the planet. For this universe, it is Earth but it changes universe to universe. This hub universe is a near identical replica of your game, Warblaze.”



    “How is that even possible.”

    All universes in a god’s territory are connected and through something called the ”bleed effect” where thoughts, ideas and images are sent and some are received by other sentient species. This occurs more often with prime planets as their power sources are nearby and projects images of their planet to other connect universes. Many of the artist and game developers of Warblaze got some of the feedback from that and created that world in the form of their game.”



    “You are the most renowned expert of that world and I know you are not tainted by the war. The rogue gods already sent scouts to infiltrate Warblaze’s planet of Aldir and I cannot trust any of the populace to not be corrupted, thus I needed a mortal from a different universe. I can create an empty shell replica of your character Aeldan with its skills and abilities intact and put your mind and soul into it. I only have enough power to do this once and if I wait too long the opportunity will be lost. Your life is a tragic one and I know you aren't happy with your lonely existence on this world so I’m offering you a chance at rebirth, a clean slate. Will you save the lives of not only the populace of Aldir and its universe but your own as well?”



    To say Mark was overwhelmed would be an understatement. Leaving his home, his life, his universe to save another. The idea was sounding more appealing as he thought more on it. He didn’t really have any connections with anyone here so he wouldn’t lose anything on that front. He would also get to live the life of his character in the world he enjoyed. Memories of the game flooded his mind as he thought of all the good times he had in Warblaze. This world existed and it needed his help, is that not the core purpose of the game? He had dedicated years of his life fighting on the virtual ground of Warblaze and would this not be an opportunity to prove his dominance on a whole new level?



    “I’m in.”



    God blinked in mild surprise at the quick decision but smiled his approval.



    “Very well, check your bag when you wake up.” God lifted a hand and emitted a powerful beam of light that forced Mark to close his eyes. He felt a lurch in his chest and he suddenly felt extremely dizzy. His mind was being overloaded with information and he soon gave into the bliss of the unconscious world.
     
  2. billy mayes

    billy mayes New Member

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    I really like where this book is going keep it up :)
     
  3. Stardust

    Stardust New Member

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    Chapter 2: A New World

    Mark senses returned to him one by one. The nearby chirps of birds indicated that his hearing had returned. It didn’t seem as annoying as it normally is back home. Next came his sense of smell, the air was so much more clean than any city he had visited in America.

    Mark’s eyes opened and he saw the world through his eyes and yet they did not feel like his own. Everything was so much sharper and he could see much further than before. He was lying on the ground in the forest. The area around him seemed eerily familiar as if from a long forgotten dream. Realization struck him as he realized that this was the location he logged out from Warblaze. Talk about picking up where you left off.

    He picked himself up and felt surprised that it took no effort to turn over and jump to his feet in armor and all. His hands trembled slightly as he reached for his beloved sword, Soulbane. They steadied just before he reached the handle of Soulbane. Aeldan would not be nervous to grab his own weapon. It flew out of its sheath with little to no effort and its silver blade glimmered in the sunlight.

    The dark crystal in the crossguard of the sword seemed to hunger for more souls. He felt a calling from it in the back of his head. Mark shook his head to clear it then stood up. He put the sword back in his sheath and reassessed his surroundings. Before he logged off, he was in the forest outside Lothriel. Information was key right now, he needed to found out the current situation of the world as he doubted it was a true exact replica of Warblaze.

    “Check your bag when you wake up.”

    The final words he heard from god rung inside his head. He looked around and saw a small bag next to where he woke up. He peaked inside and saw that it carried a strange looking coin. He pulled it out and held it up to the sunlight. As he was examining it, it started to shine brightly and to his surprise, it began to fade away into a purple dust. That purple dust flowed toward him and entered his his head and began to burn. His mind suddenly began to overflow with information that was previously not there. Aeldan’s skills, his knowledge of using his abilities, and a … heads up display all filled his mind. The pain left as soon as it came but he felt very different after the event. If he wanted information on his status, he simply had to call it to his attention and in the corner of his vision. His health, mana, and a green dot to signify that he wasn’t affected by a curse, poison, etc were easily viewable. That’s handy. What was even more useful was that he could pull up his skill tree. It seems even though he got moved to a land of fantasy, he could still gain experience (xp) and upgrade his skills. The fact that he retained this progression ability meant only that there could only be more difficult enemies in his future. God must have known that even the current power of Aeldan wasn’t enough to combat all threats that loom in the future.

    Judging by the sun’s position, it was late afternoon and he only had a few hours until the sun was down. Mark knew the layout of this world like the back of his hand and instinctively turned toward the city and began a light jog toward Lothriel. While he thrived in the dark as a Shald, most of the other races slept during the night and his information gain would be severely hindered in the short term as he would have to wait until morning to learn anything. With that in mind, he needed to move quicker. Bats at this time of day would definitely arouse suspicion so he could not transform into his swarm of bats as he preferred to do. He would just have to settle for quickening his pace.

    During his run, his thoughts drifted to his current situation. He was afraid for one. He also noticed a definite change in his attitude upon arriving here. It must be from his personality merging with Aeldan’s when he had that head pain. He could feel to distinct personalities inside him , slowly merging together to become one. The thought of losing who he was scared him but he was also glad because he did not know if he had the strength to do this naturally.

    _____
    Even at his great speed, it still took him over 2 hours to reach the city of Lothriel. He was never a very athletic guy back on Earth but thanks to the body of Aeldan, he wasn’t even breathing hard. The stamina of his character was simply astounding. Actually doing the actions instead of controlling them made Mark realize that Aeldan was truly amazing.

    Lothriel was the third largest city in the Demon Deminion and it was quite a sight to behold. Its towering white walls and the buildings behind it looked beautiful from a distance. As one got closer, the began to notice the blemishes on the walls, the battles that were fought over the centuries had taken its toll. Then there were the unseen factors behind the city that were even scarier. In Warblaze, it was known as the most corrupt city in the Demon Dominion. While he had previously called it a town, it was merely a remnant of the past. Back when he started Warblaze, many of the cities were small enough that town just seemed more fitting. The player base called everything outside the capitals towns because they were very small in comparison. But as the game progressed, the creators added more content to the cities outside the capitals. Making them mighty in their own right and starting to deserve their title of city. He smiled fondly at the memory, Lothriel will always be just a backwater town to him.

    The guards at the gate stopped him immediately as they saw him. While it was not uncommon to arm oneself when traveling between cities, Aeldan gave off a dangerous vibe and his armor was beyond that of an ordinary traveler. Aeldan in Warblaze diod not wear a bulky plate armor set that many did as it gave the best stats for survivability nor did he wear all cloth or leather as more mobile classes wore but rather a mixture. His chest piece, shoulders, and bracers were of fine mail quality while his legs, greaves, and boots were a tough leather. He wore a deceptively simple black cloth but it had hidden magical properties as did all his armor that enhanced its durability and strength. It was quite a mixture of armor and a strange sight to many but Mark never cared in the game nor would he care here. It suited his style of fighting perfectly as it was both lightweight and strong.

    The demons had 3 different archetypes in appearance. You had your standard tall, red bulky demons with large horns that were both tall and intimidating, a slightly shorter grey version with wings and horns, and a more human looking demon that often had very sharp, angular features and more abnormal hair and eye color. Six of the first kind of demon was before him, they were often seen as guards and made up the military backbone of the Demon Dominion. The grey ones often took to necromancy and were seen working in the shadows. The human looking ones took to a broader magical approach and were considered some of the finest spellcasters in the land. During his run here, he had prepared a story explaining his appearance.

    “Halt, traveler! What is your purpose here?”

    “I am a mercenary for hire looking for work. I came here to check the work boards and restock my supplies.” Mark hoped that his armor setup could help sell the story due to a mercenary’s pay. They often have enough money to buy an upgrade here or there but rarely a full set.

    “Hmm very well but keep out of trouble, we’ll be watching you.” The guards parted for him to talk through the gate. The path led into a marketplace that was bustling as people headed home for the day with fresh treats for themselves after a long work day. He gained a few looks of curiosity but he never stayed in one place long. The best place to gather any information was always the tavern. Drunk patrons always spilled the most current gossip and information.

    He wandered the streets in the outer district as journeying further in without a plan seemed foolhardy. Sticking near the walls for a quick getaway seemed the most logical and the scum of the city often held the most reliable information. He noticed a crowded looking one called “The Red Barrel” and decided to squeeze his way inside. He feigned tripping and was able to snatch a coin pouch off a drunken patron.

    He managed to acquire a table near the back wall and claimed it for his own. A human looking barmaid with purple hair and eyes noticed him soon after he sat down and made her way over.

    “Welcome to the Red Barrel! What can I get for you?”

    “Just water please.”

    “Right away, Sir.” She disappeared into the mass of people and came back shortly with his water. He handed her a copper coin and she walked off to continue about her business. He turned his keen hearing to the nearby tables switching his attention every now and then.

    He sighed as many tables seemed intent on merely sharing their thoughts of the barmaids or complaining about their aching muscles from a hard days labor. As he was about to give up and move on to the next tavern, a slight whispering near the fireplace caught his attention.

    “The assassins are enroute now, her ladyship should be captured within the hour.”

    “Good, with her as a hostage, her father will agree to our boss’s plan to take over the house of Runefield. Where are they going to strike?”

    “She comes home from her magic tutor through the Bjorn Square. There is a back street that she uses as a shortcut to get to the next main street over.”

    The demons struck their tankards together and began to down their beers in celebration. It seems a lady of a demon house was in danger. A favor from a demon house had the potential to be useful in the near future. He blinked in surprise at the cold calculation that was made almost naturally. Aeldan personality and thought process were still merging with his own. It surprised him how much his character was affecting his own thought process. Coming to the tavern seemed a natural idea to him but as he thought upon it, he realized that that plan also came from the Aeldan part within him.

    He needed to get to that girl before it was too late. He would most likely have to kill to save this girl. It was no longer a game and a slight sickness at the thought began to take form. He felt his mind suddenly take a backseat and the dark personality of Aeldan began to take over. It must have sensed the slight fear and weakness coming from the incomplete bond and decided to take the reigns. Aledan detested weakness and he would not stand for it inside of himself. The cloaked figure of Aeldan seemed to melt into the darkness as he seemingly disappeared from sight. It was dark out already, the sun had set almost an hour ago.

    Aeldan took to the skies in his bat swarm form and made a beeline for Bjorn Square. He was familiar of the layout of the city as he had been here many times over the years. He had a job to do and a life to save.
     

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