April 5, 2010
Luxxe, Vayos, and I left the Elven Marketplace of Riverton with our pack mules on our tails in a hurry, eager to reach our destination and earn our gold. This was my third time trading the Dark Woods that day as I'd just learned how and we were enjoying the easy gold. I'd finally learned how to travel the wilderness using the live maps on the Medievia web site, and now I knew our current route by heart.
We crossed the bridges over the first two rivers northeast of Riverton and came to Crystal Lake. It sparkled and glistened in the hot sun, beseeching us to plumb its depths. But we had a mission to accomplish. We headed northeast across the green plains separating the Dark Woods and the lake. We sped on past lurking hyenas and bandits, invisible to the naked eye. It was a curious sight to see them become alert, their ears sticking up as hooves pounded around them, seemingly coming from nowhere.
We reached the forest with very little trouble killing only a single baenlyr along the way. While we could easily traverse the forest on our own, it was far too thick for our mules. So we headed north, rounding the massive green forest. We had been stopped only once so far, which was a good sign; it usually meant there was a good chance we would make it the whole way without seeing any mob factions.
We crossed the four streams that flowed south into the forest. The water was so shallow that our pack mules were able to easily cross it. A baenlyr surprised us in the middle of crossing the fourth stream by hurling a fireball toward us. The fireball was meant for Luxxe, but a combination of wind and bad aim sent it hurtling into my mule. The horses reared and whinnied. I quickly chanted, 'Quas Corp,' and the baenlyr fled, a look of terror spread across his face. My mule had become frantic in the encounter, but Luxxe had quickly doused the flames and calmed it by the time I turned around. I whispered, 'Vas Quas Lor,' and a blanket of invisibility fell about us. We rode on in haste.
I knew that two baenlyrs were just the snags we needed to catch a mob faction. I also knew that off the road, out in the wilderness like this, the only thing to come after us would be Centaur Bandits...a very greedy breed of Centaurs.
We were making our way through the murky field of tall grass that precluded the entrance to the Dark Woods. A second too late I noticed the head of a nymph-like creature with orange skin ducking in the grass. Two fireballs launched toward us and glanced off of our manashields. I knew it couldn't be much longer...
You hear a Centaur Bandit running not far from here from the south.
There they were. Right on time. We killed the sunsprite and prepared our shields just as they fell upon us. They rode by swinging their blades, cutting us, and piercing our flesh with their arrows. In return, we pounded them hard with shockwaves and gave them acid baths until their bones sizzled and popped. Their fur was burned and charred black and they screamed in agony. Blood spattered the ground in an almost terrific kind of way.
You notice a Centaur Bandit backing away in the immediate area from the north.
I chanted the familiar words, 'Vas Ort Grav' and felt the magic flow through me. It expanded from my chest into a large glowing shield surrounding us and our mules. We could hear the loud, deep calls of their horns as they blew them all around us. We tossed heals back and forth, repairing each others' bodies as best we could. "Keep Luxxe healed," I ordered Vayos. I threw another blanket of invisibility over us and we moved swiftly but silently south through the grass.
A Centaur Bandit draws blood from Vayos!
Round after round we fought them, shockwave after shockwave we delivered. The battle was hot, the air whistled, and the ground was blackened from the magical acid it had been drenched in. The grass was trampled all around and blood covered everything. The stench of burnt flesh and fur was nauseating. Bodies lay strewn through the grass, including Vayos' whose head had been chopped off during the fight. When we went to resurrect him, he had fallen away to the land of mortality. We could not wait for him. Luxxe and I pressed on to the Dark Woods alone.
I realized that I had forgotten to stop by the bank before heading out. I had over six million gold coins on me. If everything went according to plan, this would not be a problem, however...if I were to die in one of the chaotic player killing rooms we were about to enter, I would lose all of my gold. The last few runs I had just done would be for nothing. The stakes grow ever higher...
We came upon the entrance to the Dark Woods and dismounted, tethering our horses. It felt good to stretch my legs. We looked around, surveying the area to make sure no one was lying in wait for us. Many people have been ambushed while traveling through the Woods and we did not intend to join that group of people. This was...the most dangerous part of our journey.
We renewed our shields and charged towards the rocky shore. A feeling of chaos and uncertainty settled deep in my chest as we entered the woods. I knew exactly where to go and we wasted no time, sprinting down the shoreline and into the Blood Sea Portal. A heavenly, blue light engulfed us and we found ourselves moments later in The Glacier Temple...a thousand miles away from home. The feeling of chaos had subsided. We had made it. We had past the short yet treacherous woods and now had only a few miles to travel across the frozen tundra. We grabbed the reins of our mules, and stepped outside into the icy wind.
We cast the quickness spell on ourselves and began to plow our way across the northern side of the island, singing as we went. "Good job!" I shouted to Luxxe over the frosty air. She smiled and shouted back. We were coming around the base of a small mountain when it suddenly moved--and attacked us! It wasn't a mountain at all, it was a mammoth! The creature reared and made a fierce, deep bellow, it's tusks swinging with deadly force. We jumped and rolled out of the way and began to pound it with shockwaves. The beast kicked me hard in the chest and I flew backwards into the snow. Luxxe cried out, 'Vas Nox!' and the beast choked, uttering some muffled noises. Its front knees bent and it fell forward as the plague took hold of its central nervous system. We took the opportunity to hammer the mammoth with shockwaves. The beast was down and we did not want it getting back up. And then, out of nowhere...
You notice Centaur Bandits surrounding people in the immediate area.
I had never encountered a mob faction this far away from the City of Medievia. I knew that it would be vastly powerful, as all creatures far away from the fair city are. There must have been at least fifty of them. Our destination was in our line of sight. What could we possibly do?
The Undead Corpse of Luxxe's body slowly rises from the ground. Whatever it was before, it is no longer human!
We returned to The Glacier Temple from which we had just come. We prayed to the Gods and were returned to our bodies. We threw on our gear and sat down to discuss the options we had. We thought about using an elemental stone to conjure an elemental. The elemental could take damage while we pounded the Centaurs with magic. Then we remembered that elementals don't work with Centaur Bandits. The Centaurs will charge and knock the elemental from our form. If an elemental gets unformed from its conjurer, it dissipates. It cannot live unattached from its life source. So that plan was out.
We then thought that perhaps we could sneak past them. We warmed ourselves and then approached the Bandits with what we thought was the utmost level of caution. Centaur Bandits, as it turns out are very sharp, as well as fast. They spotted us almost immediately and ran us down like dogs. We didn't stand a chance, as it was becoming more and more apparent.
And then the Dungeon Master took pity on us! A ray of light from the Gods on this dismal day! A group of white Centaurs appeared out of the darkness, summoned like knights in shining armor. Finally, we were saved. The battle was intense. The battlefield consisted of fifty white Centaurs and fifty dark Centaurs, cutting, slashing, stabbing, piercing, and maiming each other. It was an incredible sight to see from my mutilated corpse. I was re-animated and began to make my way back to the Temple but before I even reached it, I could hear the victory shouts of Centaurs from behind me. I looked back and not a single white Centaur remained standing. My corpse felt nothing, but should I have been in my living body I surely would have cried.
Sitting back at The Glacier Temple again, we thought, "If we die enough times, the Dungeon Master will have to realize our plight and take pity on us." So we picked up our equipment and walked out into the icy air to die. We died, and we died, and we died again. It was not a pleasant experience. It is very rough on the soul being torn from life and then forced back into it so many times. The sheer anguish of being slaughtered by steel once, let alone sixteen times leaves a permanent scar on the mind. It was at this point when we simply could not take anymore, we realized the Dungeon Master wasn't going to help us. We were on our own and we were about ready to give up.
All of our friends had told us to simply wait it out in Medlink for about thirty minutes and then they would be gone. I considered it for a moment but decided I would rather just abandon my freight and go do something else. I walked outside to call a dragon and then quickly returned inside to wait for him. For some odd reason, the Centaurs couldn't come inside the Temple. My dragon arrived and I went outside to greet her. As soon as I stepped outside however, I could see the Centaurs bounding towards me in the distance. I swung my legs over the dragon and clicked my heels to her sides, holding on tighter and she shot upwards into the sky. And then, high up in the air with a bird's-eye-view, I realized: the answer to finishing this trade run was a series of deft maneuvers on the back of a dragon.
I flew to the southwest end of the island and banked hard, landing in the snow. I had to wait only a few seconds before I could see the Centaurs charging towards me with a primal rage. Right before they reached me I launched into the air, flying low and fast over the mountains to the other side of the island...towards my now unguarded freight. I landed next to my mule and grabbed the reins, charging towards the NaeraMae trading post.
Sure as sunshine, the Centaurs knew exactly where I was and were ready to destroy me. They traveled to the other side of the island in mere seconds. I was ready though. My dragon jumped and caught wind in her wings, gliding on the cold wind towards the other side of the small, frozen island. They followed like clockwork, and I repeated the process, this time dragging my mule through the final stretch to the NaeraMae trading post.
You help servants take 7 jars of honey from your mule.
All this...for a lousy two and a half million gold coins. Well...back to Riverton!