I have taken the time over the course of several months to write a short story entitled "Threat Level Dump" or "Threat Level Phoenix."
I have spent hours of my life crafting a journey that exposes several laughable features of the game, spreading from topics such as deed farming, reputation, questing, story line (most extensively The Fallows), and most notably, players in the game. There are only a few named individuals within the story, but all likenesses are in jest and not accurate to their true selves. I must note that there are several graphic scenes with blood, gore, and potentially offensive material that includes a depiction of a sinister individual known as Dancuru, who may be described as a severely sadistic person. So I ask of you - Come! Take a journey and immerse yourself in a world where all is not as it seems. Where heroes may rise and fall, and where there are more twists and turns than you can count. I apologize for any grammatical mistakes. I believe my writing is coherent enough to follow, if not a bit redundant and overusing of diction at times.
To Turbine: You have abandoned all that I love in the game. And my depiction of your mechanics and quest line is meant in jest but is also most sincere. You recently offered the ability to buy level 50 characters from the turbine store. The fact that you don't want players to play your game, and just want them to hand you money and receive everything they need without any challenge whatsoever, solidifies your desperation. You have fallen far. You make me sick, and your tactics are as repulsive as some of the activities of Dancuru (which you will have to read about to uncover).
Without further ado I present to you the legend of a land so dazzling, so deprived, so putrid, that you are likely to need a shower after encountering its society.
I will make posts in one chapter segments.
Chapter 1: A Date with Dancuru
In the darkest night the horse trod weakly. The lone rider wavered in hunched position over the bridle as he clung desperately to the reins. Had not snow fallen illuminated by the moonlight, he would have ridden onward unnoticed upon his black steed. Chill winds raced through the snow drifts alongside the road and scattered against his coarse and cloaked face. Numb minded he road and below by hoof prints, droplets of blood leaked trailing in the snow as a crimson hourglass. Each drop, another moment passed and the remaining life within him stretched thin.
With each step his spurs rattled over the wind and the elven blades at his sides hummed gently as they sliced the thin air. It was this low hum that alerted the watchman on the wall; it was this low hum that spared the horseman’s life.
The guardsman stood looking out over the wooden wall of The Fallows. He walked steadily and with trained eye sensed that the night was astray. As clouds drifted over the night sky, the moon peered bleakly through the wisps and spared his watch from being consumed by complete darkness. All that has touched this land has been darkness, he thought. We know not peace for slumber – Shrouded in the distance the enemy watches and no victory has been gained without great loss.
He thought of his family and the faces of his children. Ache of sickness filled him and though brief were his nightmarish dreams, within their confines he saw the pale and lifeless eyes of his beloveds in their graves and this stirred him to madness. He dropped the torch he bore and leaned over the city wall to vomit. In the distance his keen eyes sensed movement. He wiped his lips with his cloak and retrieved his torch, shouting out to the abyss of winter:
“May ye of ill intent beware of these lands, for great has been the blood of man on the sword of mine kin and no such burden would be bore in wetting its edge this night!”
He listened. In the distance, hooves beat lazily against the road.
He reached for both the bow and arrow on his back and drew with precision against the darkness, aiming precisely at the ground above the clops. He held his aim steady, and slowly from the dull white of snow, the silhouette of a rider cloaked in black upon a steed the shade of night emerged. It took not long to decipher the nature of this unknown traveler, who without any attempt to brace himself slumped out of his saddle and onto the cold ground, clattering blades and armor alike.
The Guardsman raced along the wall to the nearby steps and before descending rang the bell of alarm. The city came alive as blazes of torches lined the circling watchtowers and the shouts of men broke the silence of the citizens in their homes. Doors creaked and blades drew, and gathered at the city entrance there grew a group of fierce men expectant of Orc or foe alike.
“How many?” one asked with gritted teeth.
“None,” the Guardsman replied. “A lone rider fallen prey to some ailment. His dark steed lays yonder not a stone throw from our wall. I know not of his intent, nor his condition. Our enemy is keen to our hospitality and I fear trickery. What say you?”
“Leave him to rot if that is your fear. He may already be dead.”
“There is something amiss this night, but greater is my fear that a man with iron heart should die alone an arm’s reach from saviors.”
“And what says the Thane of your heroics? Should you then die naught but to save the enemy time in skinning your bones?”
A booming voice shook the stillness and the crowd turned with great attentiveness to its source.
“I say that as clan we admire and honor those who uphold heroism at expense of their own life, even if it is for those as putrid as the Duvodiad. To those of you, who cannot stomach the thought of a kinsman dying for Duvodiad, stand on the wall with arrows trained so that might this be trickery we may spare our beloved Guardsman from ill fate. Go now and make haste!”
The Guardsman turned and standing in the gap of entrance against the night his cloak flapped out beside him. He drew his blade and with hand clenched tight against its hilt he charged out into the night, fading out into the black like a quill into ink. The eyes of his kinsman with arrows drawn focused on the grunt of the Guardsman as he gathered the ill figure from the ground and lifted him on his shoulder. The horse in an act of loyalty carried onward behind its master. As quietly as the night had consumed him, it released him, and the guardsman emerged with horse and Duvodiad. With no threat apparent, those along the wall drew forward their bows and replenished their quivers with the unused arrows.
“He is no man!” shouted the Guardsman as he laid the stranger down onto the torch-lit ground. “He is an elf!”
Shutters and shivers split through the crowd and even the greatest of the warriors among the men spewed forth from their stomachs the contents of their evening meals.
“An elf?!” a large-gutted man with one eye exclaimed. “Might it be much trouble to drag him out into the night once more?”
The crowd erupted in laughter.
“Silence!” yelled the Thane. “Intriguing to me this Duvodiad has become. Take this specimen to the Doctor’s quarters. Tomorrow we will have our answers yet.”
When the elf woke, the smell of medicine pushed his nerves into spasms and he rose upward out of a small cot in a fit of coughs. The sheets were wet with both sweat and what he smelled to be urine. His backside burned and he viewed his surroundings with disgust. Scattered over tables were tools and jars the likes of which he had never seen and the contents of the jars reminded him of distant swamps where all life forms were birthed in filth. Standing by the foot of his bed he saw a man robed in white peering down at him.
“Rise and shine, Duvodiad!” the apparent Doctor said. His voice was high and a certain tilt of his smile sent shivers down the elf’s spine.
“Where am I?” the elf asked. “And who are you?”
“Well my dear friend, my love, you are in The Fallows. And I? Well it is my pleasure to present myself to the likes of an elf such as yourself. I am Dancuru.”
The elf sat back in the bed, at rest knowing that he had indeed reached his desired location.
“And what do you call yourself?” Dancuru asked with sickening inflection.
“Vrael. My name is Vrael.”
“Oh yes! What a splendid name! And I have so much – “
“Did you touch me? While I was unconscious?”
“Well but of course! To examine you and such? But not in such way as to harm you!”
“Then why does it feel as though my rectum has become The Rift of Nurz-Ghasu?”
“Well silly boy, I am certain you do not recall your fall from your dark steed?”
“Enough of this! Where is your Thane?”
“Thane Thimaran is in the Mead Hall. But you need your rest!”
“Where are my weapons? My armor?”
“Vrael, need I remind you, you are in no condition – “
“There slumbers in the dark abyss of your land an evil the likes of which you have not fathomed even in foulest dream. I lie here in sweat and filth while you tend to what you deem injury, but let me make myself clear: I have seen the Enemy. Conceive what pain I have shown you as what you will soon cling to as a sliver of hope once your agony has peaked to what your enemy shall inflict. Give me my weapons, my armor, and my steed. I will be on my way soon after I see your Thane.”
-“Oh Duvodiad, your naivety could make even the lowest jesters cringe. Answers must be sought first before you may simply ride from The Fallows unscathed. You see, we have not seen your kind for quite some time. And lest you be blind, deaf, and dumb all at once I doubt that you have forgotten the terms of which our races last met?”
“Listen to me. The chaos cultivating outside these walls will consume you. It will consume this entire region, as far as the Eastemnet; we are the last line of hope. I bid you no burden other than to warn your Thane and return to my people.”
Dancuru stood pensively and narrowed his eyes. This particular specimen had quite a feisty attitude. His mind focused and in its darkest corner clung to the sinister secret that must never be uncovered by either man or Duvodiad. Let him see the Thane? Could it finally be time to release the machine? No, it isn’t ready. But if I had more time. . . Oh yes, my love, more time I shall have. Vrael will play the games of the Thane whilst I finalize the dastardly design. It took all of Dancuru’s might not to unleash a squeal of delight, but he managed to maintain his countenance and suppress his plan.
“A warning, is it?” Dancuru asked, walking slowly around the edge of the bed towards the elf. “The enemy has grown ever stronger? Long have messengers sought The Fallows baring the ash of blazed city on their cloaks. Yet time passes – Oh yes, Vrael, your race has seen it pass so slowly. The children of men born to grow old and die and but a blink of an eye has passed for you. You speak of an Enemy that has never gathered forces to triumph over this icy labyrinth of mountain, despite the cries of your kin claiming such atrocity was but a day from our doorstep.”
Dancuru leaned in close to Vrael’s face. The smell of his breath pungent, he offered naught but sickening rebuke.
“How does one such as you spew lies to men who must cherish every moment of life before it is swept away by time? Your kin, despite having lived thousands of years, have never stood as some say ‘The Test of Time,’ because you have never felt its edge against your throat. You do not watch your father and mother age and weep in death beds; you know nothing of Age even having lived through many. You are nothing but a pawn, Vrael, and yet you still believe we would have ourselves die when by your own measure of life we are already dead. Go now, see our Thane. But a warning I have for you: There is a storm coming, and it is not alone.”
Vrael stood up, angrily. He thought of dispatching this ignorant and arrogant man standing in front of him, but he restrained himself. Instead, he shoved him aside and scoured the room for any indication of his belongings. He saw a cabinet in the corner and hastily walked toward it, opening its doors with great vigor. A fraction of his rising frustration was put at ease when he found his clothes. Without speaking to Dancuru, he walked out of the room onto the wooden floor landing that overlooked the ground floor. The walls were bare, but the fireplace roared with flames and Vrael immediately took the side stairs down to stand in its glow. To his left, he saw another room, and within minutes he had emerged from it fully clothed. When he stepped back out into the living room, Dancuru stood above with his arms stretched out over the bannister. He spoke no words; his staring eyes and crooked smile conveyed all that lied within his foul mind. Vrael took one last look at him before walking to the front door and swinging it open.
The daylight stung his eyes for a few moments, but when they finally adjusted to the bright rays of the sun that reflected off the soft snow that blanketed the ground, he saw that the house was located on a hill overlooking the city. A path leading down wooden stairs traced itself back down to a square where many townsfolk bartered goods and conversed. As he stood upon the hill looking down, he caught the eyes of many onlookers who stared back with much interest, clearly knowing that he was a Duvodiad. In the center of the town, he saw a great mead hall with smoke rising lazily into the chill air from its vents atop its thatched roof. He hesitated only briefly and then made his way down the hill.