Notice: This is a fan fiction of based upon the stories in Lilith Langtree’s “Comics RetCon Universe”. The story is mine, but some of the characters are not. Mystique from Marvel Comics’ X-men are trademarks of Marvel Comics. All rights reserved. The Riddler, Joker and Green Arrow are trademarks of DC Comics. All rights reserved. To the best of my knowledge, all the other characters are fiction. Any resemblance to a living, dead or undead person is completely random.
A special thanks for my Beta Readers! Wren Phoenix and Salrissa. Any mistake(s) are my own and probably because I ignored their excellent advice. I would also like to thank all of the CRU authors for providing such an interesting Universe to play in.
** Chapter 2 **
Jenny sets up her recorder on the coffee table and I hear it beep.
I take that as my cue to continue. “Okay, so where was I?”
She puts her finger on the side of her mouth, as if she needs to think about it. “Umm...Oh yeah, something about you being an ass?”
“You didn’t have to agree so easily ya know?” I say. It comes out sounding more petulant and girlie than I expected.
She smirks. “Yeah I did, but I’m sorry about me being a royal bitch too.”
“Oookay.” That’s the last admission that I expected to hear from her. “So, anyway. After you rightfully left my sorry ass...”
“I over compensated for my sudden lack of a meaningful relationship, “ I glance up and notice that she is still smirking at me. I take another sip of wine before I continue. “So, I played even more DBO and I somehow managed to convince myself that I was better off without you. My motto was ‘Go to work on time, get home to play DBO on time!’ That got me into one of the top PvP teams, umm Player versus Player.”
She interrupts me. “Yes, I know what PvP stands for, but thanks.”
“Okay, well, as you probably know then, my team came in first place on my server.”
She nods her head in agreement.
“So, then my team had to fight the other server’s winning teams and we ended up winning the trip to San Francisco to compete in the finals for 50K and a new gamer laptop at the DBO-Con. I was pretty damn excited about the money.”
“So, what happened?”
“Well, I guess I should start with the funny thing that happened on the flight to Cali...”
I couldn’t wait to get to LA for the DBO-Con. It’s been a few years since I’ve flown and I wasn’t looking forward to going through airport security. I’ve heard some pretty bad horror stories about the TSA, but security was actually a breeze. All the restrictions were pretty stupid, but I was careful to not bring anything even remotely useful in my carry-on bag. Just a few days worth of clean underwear, clean socks and clean t-shirts along with my shower kit. My cell phone with all my MP3’s was the only thing electronic, so I had nothing for the TSA dudes to even look at.
The cool part was when they started to board the plane. I heard my name being called over the PA.
“Would the passenger, John Wilson please report to the gate agent?”
I was a little worried. What if I was getting bumped from the flight?
“Hi, I’m John Wilson. Is something wrong?” I asked, nervously holding my boarding pass.
The agent smiled at me. “Oh, no sir. I’m just letting you know that because the flight is currently overbooked and that your ticket was bought with a corporate account. We are going to be able to bump you up from coach to First Class.”
I felt stunned. I’m never this lucky. “Really?”
“Yes sir. Here is your new boarding pass and seat assignment. You can board right away. Please enjoy your flight.”
Just sitting in First Class was awesome. The flight attendant brought me a drink right away, but what really freaked me out was when Milla Jovovich sat down beside me.
“Bullshit.” Jen says in total disbelief.
“No really. She really did and we had a blast. We talked the entire flight and she invited me to be her date at a party she was having in LA.”
“Oh. My. God. Ally. Now I know that you’re full of shit. There is no way that really happened. What really happened?”
I sigh. “You’re no fun. Okay, where was I? Oh yeah...”
So, I was in coach and the flight sucked. It was the longest flight I have ever been on and I vowed to buy a first class ticket for the return flight if we won. DBO must have got me the cheapest ticket they could find. I was stuck between two dudes who could’ve been football players.
I wasn’t looking forward to the hotel. If the flight was so cheap, I expected the hotel to suck balls too, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. The hotel and the room was actually nice. The hotel was hosting the Con, so I could attend all the parties and not have to worry about getting back to my hotel.
After I got checked into my room, I went and registered for the Con where I got my name badge. It felt kind of weird to have my character’s name, a girl’s name, on my badge. “Vylencia - Level 80 High Elven Priest - Dragonsbane Server” I decided to just grin and bear it. Besides, I could probably p0wn any other player that decided to make fun of me. Well, in the game anyway.
Before I had left, my team made arrangements for us to all meet in the hotel bar at seven PM and it was almost seven. Plus, without our character’s name on the badge, how else would we recognize each other? It turned out to not be a problem at all. I’ve never actually seen any of my teammates in real life, but due to all the time spent using the team voice chat system; I recognized Jake’s booming voice from all the way across the bar. Jake is our team leader and warrior. He’s the heavily armored one who gets out front and stops the enemy from attacking the squishy casters, like me. Well, he usually stops them. Players are much harder to distract than computer controlled monsters.
He and two other guys were sitting at a table drinking some beers. I’m so glad that everyone on our team was over twenty one. It was so nice to play with adult players instead of the usual kiddies who got upset over every little thing.
I’m still not one hundred percent sure that he’s who I think he is. “Jax? Is that you?” I asked, using his character’s name.
He looked up as the other to guys turned to look at me too. He squinted at my name badge. “Vylencia?”
“Yeah.” I felt a bit embarrassed, but I knew that he knows that I’m not really a girl. I wasn’t so sure about the other two dudes though.
He smiled. “Hey John! Awesome to finally see you!” He pointed to the long blond haired dude on his right. “This is Mark aka Stiletto.” He played our team’s rogue.
Mark nodded at me. “Hey John. Nice to meet ya dude.”
Jake pointed to the short, almost military cut, brown haired dude. “and, this is Andy aka Blastr.” He played our wizard. He simply smiled and toasted me with his beer glass.
“Now that you’re here, the only one we are missing is Darren slash Stout.” Darren played our dwarven paladin. Hence, his character’s name, Stout. He also talked about beer a lot when we played together.
“So, grab a seat dude. Need a beer?”
I grabbed one of the empty chairs and at first, I felt pretty nervous, but everyone was super cool and before long we were all deep into talking about the game and our plans for how to win the match. Darren showed up about thirty minutes later and we ended up going back over some of our ideas with him. He ordered one of those heavy dark beers and proceeded to demolish them all night long.
The more we talked about DBO, the more we started calling each other by our character names. Jake was Jax. Mark was Stil because Stiletto is just too long to say when you’re in a rush. Andy was still Blastr since his name is pretty easy and the same for Darren with his character, Stout. That topic is what lead into the dreaded, “So why did you make V a female?” question.
We had all drank more than a few beers, so I was feeling pretty relaxed. “Well, I’m not sure really. The female models are just hot.” They all nodded their heads to that assessment. “and I liked the idea of watching a hot chick blow crap up.”
That one earned me a toast. “Hell ya! Nothing hotter.”
“Samus from Metroid was a chick.” Blastr said. They all nodded sagely at that statement.
“It did cause me one problem though.” I said, sadly looking down at my beer glass.
“What? Did you get harassed by other players?” Stout asked.
“What could be worse than having some perv hit on you?” Jax asked.
“My ex-girlfriend hated V. She said that V wasn’t real and no woman could ever look that good. After three years of dating, she broke up with me and mostly blamed it on DBO and me playing V.”
“Dude, that’s harsh.” Stil said.
“Yeah, well, not dating her let me play more DBO, so I guess it’s not all bad, right?” I said with half of a smile. I still wasn’t certain on that point.
Jax raised his glass to toast us. “To DBO and may we all find women who play or don’t mind us playing!” We all clinked our glasses to that.
It surprised me to learn that Jax was married, happily even and had two kids. His wife didn’t play, but it looked like she didn’t mind him playing. What a lucky man. Stout’s girlfriend slash fiance played, but on a different server. Blastr and Stil were both in the same boat as me. Well, except their girlfriends didn’t leave them and blame the game. However, we all ended up agreeing that it might be a good idea to cut back on our play time after the competition.
The competition wasn’t scheduled to start until after lunch the next day, so we were able to stay up pretty late shooting the shit and talking about strategy. I managed to sleep in and still have plenty of time to wander the floor and visit some of the game play and developer sessions before the match.
The best session was the one were the developers gave out some hints about what was planned for the expansion coming out in six months. Some of the dungeons sounded pretty bad ass and the level cap increase from eighty to ninety had a lot of people excited. I know I was. I ran into a few of my teammates randomly throughout the morning, but never saw a sign of Stout. He put down twice as many beers as anyone else at the table, but I wasn’t too worried about him. It looked like he knew how to handle his beer.
Sure enough, he appeared during lunch and we all sat together again at a huge round table with six other random players from our server. One of them was even a real girl. A very attractive one at that. I felt shocked when I recognized her character’s name, Mode. That’s it. That’s her character’s name. I thought it was pretty damn cool. Simple and to the point. Mode was one of the top warriors on our server. I had never actually seen her character and always thought she was a guy. I might sound a little sexist, but I never thought that I’d meet a real female player who was good looking and also known as an excellent player.
I’ve seen pictures of these mythical gamer girrrls, but I always assumed that they were just publicity photos made up by DBO to get more women to play. Needless to say, I was too embarrassed to talk to her. Jax, he had zero problems talking to her. They talked about warrior stats, gear, tactics and had a good time. She really knew her shit and I think that they both walked away knowing a little bit more about their class. I know I did.
Once Jax realized that he was hogging all the conversation, he introduced us all to her. That broke the ice and caused all the other players sitting at our table to open up. I didn’t really play an active role in the conversation. I just sat and occasionally offered my opinion on something, but only when I really knew the answer from personal experience. Since I was the only priest at the table, I didn’t have a lot to add.
“So, Vylencia?” I heard Mode ask me. I was startled that she would even address me and once again, I felt weird being addressed by a female name. “From what I’ve seen and heard, you’re a pretty damn good healer. What do you think makes a good tank?”
That’s pretty high praise coming from her. I glanced over at Jax for a second. “Well, from my experience, the best tanks are the ones that keep the mobs hitting them and not me.” That earned me a smile or two. “I once teamed up with a very well geared level fifty tank who wouldn’t taunt the enemy to attack him and we kept wiping on simple fights.” They all nodded their heads. “He blamed me for not keeping the group alive. Said I sucked as a healer. I asked him why he wasn’t taunting and do you know what his response was?”
They all nod their heads no.
“It’s kinda funny now, but he said and I quote. <I don’t like to use taunt because it makes them hit me.>”
“A level fifty said that? Really!?!” Mode said, incredulously.
I nodded my head. “Yep. He disbanded right after that. The team got a new warrior and we rocked.”
Mode smiled at me. “He must have been an auction twink. Well, if you ever need a tank for something, just send me a tell. If I’m not on a raid, I’d be more than happy to lend ya a hand. Hell, if you want to join a raid, lemme know. We can always use a good healer.” She had a very pretty smile. Did I mention that she was hot too?
I was feeling pretty good about myself, until some weight-lifter super fit looking dude drug a chair over and squeezed in next to her. “Hey Jasmine, introduce me to your friends?”
Her eyes lit up. She stood, gave him a quick kiss and a hug before she sat back down. “Matt! I thought you wasn’t going to be able to make it. When did you get here?”
I felt a little depressed and everyone else is just looked at the scene with an amused expression. On a more positive note, at least I learned her real name. Jasmine. Such a pretty name.
I was knocked out of my fantasy when the Matt jerk laughed. “Oh, I just got here. I managed to get my car fixed and miraculously, it even made it all the way here from Sack of Tomatoes.”
Mode smiled at him. “Awesome! Anyway, since you haven’t bothered to read their badges, let me introduce you to Dragonsbane’s soon to be DBO World PvP Champions.”
“Vylencia.” She started with me and I raised my hand. She continued around the table and received similar acknowledgements from everyone else.
“Okay, everyone, this is my boyfriend Matt,” All my hopes and probably the hopes of a few of the other single guys were suddenly dashed. “or as he’s known in game, Terik. The guild leader of Parley.”
I couldn’t help it. I was surprised. I knew that Mode was in Parley and that the guild is the number one ranked guild on our server, but I never expected to actually meet our server and DBO famous guild leader. I’ve heard about him and I have even seen his character a few times. “Wow, really?” I asked and immediately felt like an idiot.
He laughed, but it felt like a friendly laugh instead of the mocking laugh that I expected from him. Maybe I was still mad at him for having a girlfriend like Mode and I wanted him to be an asshole. He wasn’t. He was actually very friendly and spoke to everyone as an equal instead of like the know-it-all game expert that he was renowned to be. Hell, people say that he gets called by the DBO dev team on a regular basis for advice on how to best tune a difficult fight.
After about ten minutes of good conversation, he turned to me. “So, Vylencia. What do you think of your team’s chances of winning this afternoon?”
“Umm, I think that we have a pretty good chance. I’m a little worried about their healer though.”
He raised an eyebrow at me. “Oh?”
“Yeah. They have a druid and while they aren’t the best single target high damage healers, they rock at healing the entire group at once. That could make Blastr’s AoE ( Area of Effect ) damage less effective. Plus, they are hard as hell to take out. They have so many escape options. All I can do is pop a bubble and pray that my team is able to take down whoever is hitting me before they break through.”
He nods at me with agreement. “Yeah, I don’t have a ton of PvP experience myself. Mostly raid stuff, but Druids can be a tough nut to crack. On paper, your opponents are the perfect mix. Tank plus druid healer plus rogue and two wizards.”
I glanced over at Jax and he looked like I felt, worried.
“With that kind of damage output, the other team should win, but as Jasmine is fond of reminding me when my head gets too big, the game isn’t played by computers. It’s played by people and people aren’t always predictable.” He looked over to her and was rewarded by a smile and a quick kiss. “Sorry that I can’t tell you all the best strategy. PvP is not a predictable raid fight. Best I can recommend is: Don’t be predictable.”
His advice was actually pretty good and it did end up helping us. I’d just wish he wasn’t so nice so I could hate him for having a girlfriend like Mode.
The time to start the contest finally happened. I felt so damn nervous. They had us all up on a huge round stage in the middle of the convention floor. Giant projection monitors surrounded the stage so that the audience could see every angle. We finally got to meet our opponents and I have to admit, the sight of them made me a little worried. I think that the oldest one there was maybe twenty-five while it looked like the majority of the team was still in high school. That worried me because it meant that they probably didn’t have nearly as many life commitments as we did.
They smiled at us, but I could tell that they were looking at us with a little contempt. Like we were too old to really know how to play the game, even though we were here on stage with them. I hoped that we could use that against them. You know, the old “Age and treachery” thing.
The biggest surprise came when I saw the computers we were going to be using. They were top of the line LexCorp HyperX-5000 models complete with their new VR-360 gaming headsets. I really wanted one of those HyperX models, but they sell for over three thousand and the VR things aren’t even on sale, yet. I read some leaked reviews of the VR headsets online and the buzz was making them sound pretty drool-worthy, but I heard that they will probably run around a thousand each. Way out of my price range.
Needless to say, I was itching to try them out and see for myself. Unfortunately, we had some paperwork to sign and rules to go over. The paperwork turned out to be some standard liability and image release forms, but one of the forms was specific to the LexCorp VR-360 helmet. The form looked like it was primarily an NDA ( Non-Disclosure Agreement ) which I could understand considering that they hadn’t even put them up for sale yet, but it was the injury and liability waiver clause that they tacked on at the end that made me pause for a second. That part sounded pretty serious to me, but what else could I do? It was just a VR display helmet. What could happen? Plus, I had to sign it if I wanted to play.
I wasn’t the only one on our team that took some extra time with that form, but the other team never looked at it twice before they all signed it. Hmmph! Kids these days.
The actual contest rules were pretty simple. It was going to be the standard, five versus five, best-of-three, arena death-match contest. The first team that killed everyone on the opposing team won. The arena map for this fight would be a new and never before seen map that the DBO dev team built especially for this match. That meant that the first fight will be the worst since neither team would know the map well enough to use all of the terrain features effectively. After the first fight, things would be much harder.
I felt so excited! Here we were, at the DBO-Con and on the main stage in front thousands of other DBO geeks. The announcer sounded like one of those professional wrestling show announcers. It was pretty cool.
“Aannnndd on the maaain stage, from the Dragonsbane server, we have Jax!” The announcer dude shouted out to the crowd. It was so amazing to hear the audience cheer and clap as we were each announced. I wished that all the women in the crowd weren’t there with their boyfriends, because I was so sure that I could have cashed in on my fifteen seconds of fame with the ladies.
Jen interrupts my story by laughing at me. “Oh, please! Ally. There is no way. You would’ve been just as tongue tied as you were with that Mode girl you talked about.”
I feel a little indignant as my manly charisma is challenged. “Hey, it could happen! I’m sure that with the win, I would’ve been pretty popular at the bar that night.”
“Oh sure, you would’ve just sat in the background like you always do!”
“What?!? Hey, I got you that way didn’t I?”
“Well, yeah, but only because I felt sorry for you.”
“See! It could happen.”
“Okay. Time to cut you off. You clearly can’t hold your liquor anymore!”
“Phhhpppht.” I say as I hold out my mostly empty wine glass expectantly.
She smirks at me and makes a big show of refilling her own glass. She starts to put the bottle back on the table.
I clear my throat. “Hmmmmpph. I know you’re not planning on leaving me empty here. I won’t be able to continue my story without something to quench my thirst.”
“Well, Since your so obviously underage and I wouldn’t want to get in trouble with the law for contributing to the delinquency of a minor...”
I can’t believe that she is being such a brat about it. “Hey! Don’t hate me because I’m younger and more beautiful than you.” The gloves are off now. “Besides, I understand. It’s totally not your fault. Not everyone can look as good as I do.” I say as I flip my hair with a huff like I’ve seen other teen girls do. It takes everything I have to not laugh.
“Why you little!”
I struggle even harder not to laugh as she acts indignant. “What?” I ask, innocently as I blink my eyes with fake confusion.
She finishes putting the wine bottle down before she turns back and snarls, “I outta come over there and...”
“And what dear old Aunt Jenny?” I clasp my open hand to my chest with concern.
“Don’t make me spank you young lady!” She looks so serious and threatening, but I can see the smile trying to escape from her eyes.
Time to turn up the heat. I eagerly lean forward and give her the biggest and happiest smile I can manage. “A spanking?!? Oh can you? Please, Please, Pleeaaase!” I bounce up and down a little bit to add more to the giddy and excited girl effect.
Her jaw drops to the floor with shock as she struggles to reply to that. I can’t help it. I giggle. I accidentally let an honest to god, real girlie giggle escape from my mouth. I’m so surprised that I instantly stop and cover my mouth with my hand. That causes Jen to start giggling too. I gulp down what is left of my wine to try and stop my giggles. It works for a second, until I see Jen still struggling to contain her giggles. The giggle fest lasts for a few more minutes and might have lasted longer if I hadn’t forced myself to get up and pour myself a refill on my wine.
“So, where was I?” I ask, still trying to not giggle.
“Umm, you were mentioning about how you could have won over all the ladies?” She giggles at me again.
I imperiously sniff as I take another sip to stifle my giggles. “Well! If you’re going to be that way about it...Did I forget to mention that Milla was going to meet me after the contest?”
“Ally...” She growls at me.
“Okay, Okay...So, the fight. Right. Geez!” I say in a huff.
She giggles at me again.
The computer setup was so bleeping cool! I totally wanted one of those PC’s when we won. The VR-360 helmets were a little heavy and clunky though. I could tell that they weren’t completely ready for prime-time yet, but they were close. The helmet felt solid in my hands. Not all cheap and plasticly, but it had that slightly unpolished prototype look with a thick, bulky cable that ran from the back of the helmet that housed both the power and the sound and video cables. When I looked at the cable a little sceptically, the Lexcorp tech smoothly assured me that the production version would have much better cabling and that the prototypes we were using were over engineered for safety.
That kind of made me feel better, but the cable still felt a little too bulky back there. We had about ten minutes to get used to how the helmets worked and felt. That ten minutes made me feel glad that a normal match wouldn’t last more than five minutes each. Wearing that helmet for more than an hour would be torture. I didn’t let the Lexcorp tech know that.
I must admit though, the display was amazing. The graphics were so crisp and immersive. I only had to turn my head to look in whatever direction I wanted too. Plus, it was in 3D too! I couldn’t believe how much that added to the feeling of being ‘in’ the game.
I couldn’t help it. I took a few seconds to look at Vylencia in 3D. I didn’t take her clothes off or anything pervy like that. Not with the audience there. Who knows what people would’ve thought? I did rotate my camera around to check her out though. Her High Elven features looked so different in 3D. Her long golden blond hair was done up in an elaborate braid that really showed off her delicately pointed elvish ears. I think that it made her look a little prim and proper, but her bright almond shaped green eyes, eye cheek bones, pert nose and cupid bow lips really looked good. Her priest robes hugged every digitally perfect curve of her body. When she walked, she was like grace and eloquence virtually personified. Put her in a woman’s business suit and she would look like a super model CEO or lawyer. Maybe Jenny was right. There is no way that a woman this perfect could exist in real life.
I forced myself to put my voyeurism on hold and practice getting used to the helmet again. The surround sound built into the helmet and I really did feel like I was ‘in’ the game. Well, except for all the rest of my senses, like smell, taste and touch. I could still smell the convention center air and not the trees and forest of the game world. I could still taste my nervousness, but I guess that wasn’t something a helmet could do anything about. Plus, we still had to use the keyboard and mouse to select our spells and abilities though.
That part was a little tricky since the helmet display completely covered our faces. Fortunately, Lexcorp built in a little window that showed a view from outside the helmet that looked down to where our hands sat on the keyboard. It took a bit of practice using that view to get completely comfortable with the view point. I asked the tech about that issue and he confidently claimed that they were already working on an idea for the VR-360B that used some VR gloves with a fake keyboard and mouse that would be integrated with the display to give the wearer a virtual look and feel of using a keyboard without really using a real keyboard.
The first match went well for us, mostly. The arena layout was very good with plenty of sneaky places to hide or run around in the middle of a battle to help break your opponent’s line of sight. Breaking line of sight would stop a caster or archer from hitting you. The devs also put in some handy teleport circles that would instantly port you to the other side or to a different level of the arena. The best thing about using the ports was that they not only broke line of sight, but caused anyone who was actively targeting you to lose their target lock on your character.
We won the first match, but it was close. It came down to the other team being a bit too cocky and using their character control breaking item too soon. By control break, I mean, I feared them and they used their break item to regain control of their character right away instead of letting it run it’s course. That meant that they couldn’t break being rooted or frozen in place until the duration of the effect ran out or the re-use timer on their item reset. I had a slight advantage with the item. As a Priest, I had an instant cast spell called ‘Broken Chains’ that duplicated the item’s power. So, with my break item, I had two breaks that I could use. Priests got feared, rooted and frozen a lot though, so my extra ace in the hole wasn’t a game breaker.
The reset time for any break power was a fixed three minutes, so they were screwed until then. We used that time to kill one of their wizards first, followed by their druid healer. Dropping their druid got Stout killed, but after their druid dropped, the match was pretty much done. It became more of a mop up mission until their team leader conceded the match instead of making us waste the time killing the rest of his team.
After a ten minute break, we started the second match. They didn’t oblige us by making the same mistake. This time they took me down almost right away and that forced Stout into healing mode, which reduced our damage, which got the rest of the team dead pretty fast. My death usually didn’t cause such of a problem for us. I died a lot in our preliminary matches. It’s what healers do, but at this level of competition; my early death was fatal for the team.
Having a paladin in the team was pretty handy. It was nice to have someone who could heal if needed. When he was in Crusader Aspect, his heals were pretty small, but in a pinch, they made a critical difference. When he switched to Life Aspect, he became a pretty good healer. Not as good as me in Life Aspect, but still nothing to sneeze at. His biggest advantage in Life Aspect was the fact that he still wore full plate armor. He was a bit more survivable than me in my cloth robes.
The bad part was that once the match started, the game wouldn’t let you switch from one Aspect to the other. So, Stout was locked into trying to heal the group with his puny Crusader Aspect heals. Picking the best Aspect and mix of Aspects for the entire team was a critical part of your match strategy. Everyone had a primarily defensive Aspect and a offensive Aspect to choose from. My defensive was the Life Aspect which gave me all my big heals and super team Vitality buffs. My offensive was the Death Aspect which gave me all my vitality drains, diseases and direct damage spells, known as ‘nukes’. I had some offensive powers in Life Aspect, but not enough to do more than piss off someone. A priest in Death Aspect mode could do some serious damage to a single target, but I couldn’t heal. Well, I could heal, but it wasn’t generally enough to really keep someone alive when things went bad.
All that meant for me is that, I never really used my Death Aspect in PvP since we needed my heals more. I only used Death Aspect when I played solo. Trying to kill monsters in Life Aspect took too damn long.
So, it wasn’t a big surprise that we all looked a little defeated after the second match. Even Jax looked down and he’s never that way. I don’t think that any of us thought we could win the final match.
“So, what do you all think?” Jax asked with a sigh.
I looked to Stil and Blastr to see if they had any ideas. What was it that Terik said? Something about being unpredictable? We had to do something different for the final match. Something that they would never expect.
I was the first who looked up and I wasn’t happy about our odds. I sighed. I wasn’t comfortable taking the lead. “Okay. Maybe Terik was right. We have to try the unexpected. What is the one thing that a professional soldier fears the most?”
Stil looked at me, confused. “A tank?”
“Nope, it’s the amateur that a professional fears the most. Pros are predictable. You can count on them not doing something stupid. It’s the amateurs that you gotta watch out for.” I looked over and I saw Jax smiling at me.
“Exactly!” Jax said, causing the team to refocus on him. “The biggest newbie mistake we could make would be to go in there with us all in our Damage mode Aspects. No defense, all offense. If we could take down both of their wizards before we lost any of us, we could win! My friends, it’s time for The Spanish Inquisition!”
“Yeah, but what would we do for heals?” Stout asked. “I mean, I can heal some, but if fit hits the shan, we are totally screwed.”
“Well, V can still heal some in Death mode, but you’re right. If fit hits the shan that bad and we lose someone before we take down their wizards, we are screwed.” He looked to each of us individually and I nodded my acceptance when his gaze met mine. “It is a gamble. A huge gamble. Maybe we could win using the standard strategy. Maybe one of them will screw up and none of us will, but I don’t think that we can count on them screwing up like they did in the first match. Do you?”
Sadly, none of us disagreed with him there.
“Okay then. Here is what we do. V, you go Death. I’ll go Vengence. Blastr, you go Ice.”
“Righto!” Blastr said with a fake British accent.
“Stil and Stout stay as you are. Blastr, you cast inviso on everyone just before we zone in. Ya all got it?”
There were a lot of ya’s and yeps in there. The initial team mood was a little grim, but as we started getting prepped; I think that our optimism levels improved some. Jax’s Vengence Aspect was his damage mode. He lost a lot of defense, but gained a lot of damage. He was still hard to kill and he couldn’t do as much damage as Stil, but it was still nothing to sneeze at. The only one who wouldn’t be in all out damage mode was Blastr. He normally fought in Fire Aspect, which is were he gained a lot of his high damage nukes. His Ice Aspect gave up the high damage for more control. He could freeze and slow our opponents while doing okay damage too them instead of just burning them to the ground.
Changing into a Dark Elf was pretty noticeable compared to Jax swapping out his shield for a sword when he changed. I never could figure out why the priest class had to change races while all the other classes stayed the same. Well, okay. Maybe not.
One, it was cool and two, the druid class changed forms when they switched out. I guess if I’m going to change races, at least I change into a race that is nice to look at instead of a giant furry owl bear like the druid does when they switch into their version of Death Aspect.
Aside from the change to Dark Elf form, one of the biggest pains about switching was the need to carry around two completely different sets of equipment. Life Aspect equipment was just different enough in the stats to make me need to carry and use an entirely different set of equipment for Death Aspect. That was the real pain. All that gear took space from the limited inventory space in my bags. That cut down on the amount of loot I could carry. Switching the gear out was the easy part. When I switched Aspects, all the extra equipment in my bags that I had marked for Death Aspect automatically changed too. Way easier than getting dressed and undressed in real life. I only mentioned that because in Dark Elf form with the Death Aspect gear set, Vylencia looked evil and hot in her black and blood red trimmed robes that showed off her figure even more than her High Elf healing robes did.
That also had the effect of making it impossible for the other team to not notice that I was in Death Aspect mode. Hence, the need for Blastr’s invisibility spell. The invisibility wouldn’t really do anything. The other team would detect it almost right away, but until I started blasting away, it would keep them from seeing me in Death Aspect form.
As I entered the arena, I watched the other team come at us like they did in the last match. As we charged them, I watched as their two wizards stopped to cast Detect Invisibility on everyone in their team. Sa-weet! They separated themselves from the herd for us!
“All on Frozzon! Drop him fast!” Jax yelled as we all ran through the other team to hit the one of the two wizards who stopped to cast.
I wish that I could have heard the other team’s screams when we all dropped out of inviso and unloaded on Frozzon. Blastr froze them with his Cone of Frost spell. They both burned their Control Items to free themselves. Then, they both tried to run, but Stil managed to land a Sap on Frozzon which stunned him and prevented him from running.
Wham! That was all it took. I managed to get my one big nuke in followed by my big disease spell, Burning Fever. Just as I got Fever to stick, Frozzon died from the combined hits of everyone in our team. Since he died with my Burning Fever active, his body collapsed into a burning skeleton. It was so awesome!
That’s when their team’s counter attack started to hurt us.
“V! MD! Heelir!” Jax yelled. I cast a quick Mass Dispell on the other team to drop as many of their buffs as possible just as the rest of the team slammed into their druid, Heelir. I thought the plan was to drop the other wizard next, but no plan survives contact with the enemy unscathed.
I slapped my Vampiric Embrace on the druid and proceeded to light him up with my disease spells. The burning flame graphic that surrounded their druid was cool to look at, but it was also hard to see amongst all the other spells hitting him. I smiled as my team started to gain some healing from the Embrace spell. Embrace worked by converting any spell damage that I did to my target into vitality for my team. It was only twenty percent of the damage I hit for, but over time, that added up. Every three seconds, until cured or they ran out, my disease spells kicked in and did damage to the druid. My team got a small heal. Every time my big nuke hit, once again, my team received a small heal.
So, I really smiled when my first nuke landed for three thousand and critted for another one thousand. Yeah, so I only healed each person in my team and myself for eight hundred vitality points, but times five, I just landed a four thousand point heal. That’s not too shabby for not actually casting a heal spell. Only seventy eight percent or twenty five thousand vitality points to go until the damn druid died.
I don’t think that the other team knew what to do. What we were doing was something that only a completely unskilled newbie team would try because as a tactic, it would only work once. The only reason it was working for us this time is because we caught them totally by surprise.
Oh, it wasn’t just me doing all the work. Stout, Jax and Stil were also wailing on the druid. His team tried to cut us down, but Blastr’s ice spells and plus me smashing my Fear button every time it refreshed kept the other team’s counter attacks muted. The druid tried to not die. He pulled out every trick he could and his Regen spell would’ve been stopped us from killing him. If I hadn’t kept dispelling it every time he cast it on himself.
I noticed that Blastr’s vitality was starting to get dangerously low. I popped a bubble on him to try and buy him some more time. My ‘bubble’ is really called Shield of Deflection that I can cast on myself or a team-mate. It prevents all damage to the shielded target until the damage wears down the shield. It managed to stop him from taking damage for a few seconds and he even gained a some vitality from my Embrace, but it wasn’t enough with everyone on the other team focusing their attacks on Blastr. If I was in Life Aspect, my bubble would’ve lasted twice as long and I could have landed a big heal on him to keep him alive.
We lost him just as we got the druid down to twenty percent health.
Instead of Blastr, they should have taken me out first, but I guess they were a little pissed by Blastr’s annoying Ice based slows, snares and freezes. I got a little worried when we lost Blastr, but Jax got a good Cleave and Obliterate combo attack in and Stil landed a good Backstab and Eviscerate. The druid fell.
That’s when they finally decided I needed to die. My Fear was still on refresh, so I couldn’t use that. I could only shield myself and Vampiric Drain one of the dudes hitting me, hoping that I could heal enough to outlast the damage. I didn’t. My shield dropped in two seconds from the combined onslaught of the remaining three opponents. I died pretty fast after that.
“Move them to the other side of this column!” Jax yelled.
I saw what he wanted to do. He wanted to try and make them forget about me while I resurrected myself. That power was one of the advantages of my Death Aspect. Unlike when I was in Life Aspect, I could self-resurrect myself once per game world day, which worked out to one real world hour.
Our damage output dropped a lot without me and now it was three on three with our team having a sort-of healer with Stout. If he stepped back to try and heal, our damage would drop. The fight could go either way right now. It was that close.
Jax finally managed to maneuver the fight to the other side of a giant column to block our opponents view of me. As soon as that happened, I hit my Rise from Death ability and watched Vylencia stand up again. I only had twenty five percent vitality and essence. An attack now by even one of our opponents would probably kill me. I quickly re-cast my buffs and sat to eat some vitality and essence food. I couldn’t wait too long. I anxiously watched as my team’s vitality and essence bars continued to drop to dangerously low levels while mine slowly rose.
Once I hit sixty percent, I jumped up and looked for Blastr’s corpse. As soon as I spotted it, I started to cast Animate Dead on him.
“AD on Blastr, Inc!” I yelled.
“Sweet! Bones Bones Bones Bones inside of you!” Blastr cackled gleefully.
Even in Death Aspect, I could resurrect other players, but I couldn’t cast that spell during combat. Animate Dead wasn’t a resurrection spell. Instead, it turned a dead team-mate into an undead skeleton for two minutes. He could cast all his spells during that time, but he only had half of his normal amount of essence and vitality. It wouldn’t take much to kill him again, but it would tip the battle in our favor. As soon as my spell completed, we both ran over to the other side and re-joined the battle.
Jax only had ten percent vitality remaining, Stil was down to below fifty percent and Stout was the same. I shielded Jax and Vampiric Healed him. I vibrant green beam of pulsing, twisting energy that reminded me of an octopus’ tentacle struck Jax, healing as it also drained my vitality. It hurt, but it was the most efficient heal I could cast. For every point of vitality that I lost, Jax was healed for two points.
Jax had a boat load of vitality! It took twenty percent of my vitality to heal only ten percent of his. With Jax out of the woods and Blastr back in action, the other team started to wilt under the combined onslaught. Blastr’s character was a riot to listen too. Every time he cast a spell, his skeletal wizard would cackle maniacally.
I picked the surviving enemy target with the most health, slapped my Vampiric Embrace and followed that up by stacking my diseases on him before I walloped him with my big nuke. I smiled as my team’s vitality increased a few percent. I needed more vitality though. I was pretty low from healing Jax. I cast my Vampiric Drain on the target and a sickly looking, pulsing, green tentacle shot from my hands and latched onto my target.
It worked exactly like my heal, except in reverse. For every two points of vitality I took from the target, I gained one point of vitality. So, every second, my spell took eight hundred vitality points from my target and gave me four hundred in return. Unless I canceled it, the Drain would last for five seconds. Four thousand points of damage to the target and two thousand points of vitality for me. At one hundred percent vitality and fully buffed, I only had twenty six thousand vitality points, so healing myself for two thousand really helped. Since he was Embraced by me, as I hurt him, I healed myself and my team. It was definitely an evil power to have, but it was so cool and it was just a game.
I really wished that I could have listened in on the other team’s voice comm. I’m sure that their leader was pissed. Especially when their second wizard died, followed by their rogue. After their rogue fell, my Animate on Blastr ran out and he collapsed into a pile of bones with a pitiful wail over the sound of his bones knocking into each other.
“Hell ya!” Blastr shouted.
Even the normally reserved Stil couldn’t contain his enthusiasm. “Fucking A!”
“Hemp! All on Hemp. Drop the bastard!” Jax said, unnecessarily as we all worked on killing their fighter.
The match might be in the bag, but Hemp wasn’t going to go down easy. I think he was pissed at me, because he activated his Charge ability and slammed into Vylencia, stunning me for a second until I could hit my control item to break the stun. I bubbled myself as soon as I could and started draining him. He dropped my shield in less than five seconds and my vitality started dropping like a rock under his onslaught.
“I think he likes you V. Are you flirting with the guys again?” Blastr said over our voice comm. He was dead, but he could still watch and talk to us.
“Ha ha, very funny, not. Have you lost some weight Blastr? Yer looking a little bony there.” I said, laughing as I frantically pushed the key to keep my drain going on Hemp.
“Ha! You let me die just so you could cast that on me. You harlot!” Blastr said with mock anger.
“I love you too Blastr!” I said with saccharine sweetness just before Hemp fell to my feet, ending the match. “Phew! That was close. I only have three percent vitality left.”
Blastr laughed. “Lucky Beatrice!” He said using his euphemism for ‘bitch’.
I heard the crowd watching the match start to cheer. It was muffled from the helmet, but they were cheering pretty loudly. Then, I felt the chair start to shake and the crowd stopped cheering and I heard some screams.
“What the hell?!” I yelled. I didn’t know what was going on. Was it an earthquake? We don’t have those things in DC.
I felt scared when I realized that I was still wearing the helmet and until I took it off, I would be stuck here in the chair and unable to see as the building fell down on me. I’ve seen enough earthquake thrillers on TV to know that I would not want to be here when that happened.
I reached up to pull the helmet off and as I tugged at it I felt a small shock run through my fingers. Oh crap! I needed to get the damn helmet off now! I pulled and just as I got the damn thing off my head I saw the lights flicker. I tried to let go of the helmet, but just as I thought that, I felt a huge jolt of electricity enter my body from the helmet. I screamed and fell to the ground, convulsing in agony as the electricity coursed through my body. I wanted to let go, but I couldn’t. My hands were locked onto the helmet. I started to smell burnt plastic mixed with the horrible scent of cooked meat. I was smelling my own body cooking. The pain felt indescribable, but just as I thought it couldn’t get any worse, every nerve in my body exploded into white hot agony.
Thankfully, everything went black after that.
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudo!
Click the Good Story! button above to leave the author a kudo:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.