Week Long Hiatus

Imm 3.10
I apologize  but I need to take a break for a week to get my life back together.  I was recently involved in a hit and run,  I’m  fine, I wasn’t  in the car at the time,  but the driver sped off after hitting my car and causing over nine thousand dollars in damage.  Luckily I did have comprehensive insurance,  but the deductible is quite high.  :/ If he hadn’t  run my uninsured motorist policy would have kicked in,  but unfortunately  in California,  where I live,  and two other states they explicitly disallow uninsured motorist insurance from covering hit and runs. So while I figure out how I’m going to afford this I’m putting Fuzion Life on hiatus.  I’ll be back next Wednesday,  February  4th barring no further accidents.

Thank you  for your understanding,  and here’s a picture of my sad car just in case you were curious.
image

Feel free to re-read and theory craft  on what’s  about to happen here. I wonder if anyone will get close?

Immersion 3.10

Imm 3.9              Imm 3.11

I grab Asla’s hand, dragging her out of the Lucky Night Inn. In the space of time it takes us to leave there are no more screams, instead a silence of sorts has settled on the village.

I can hear our footsteps pounding against the wooden floorboards, as we flee. What I see upon exiting the inn makes my blood run cold. Boars surround Thorton, with tusks as long as a man is tall. They were enormous creatures, and ones I had never encountered in Fuzion before.

I’m unable to see their level, but just from seeing their appearance i knew that they would be no push overs.

“Those are the monsters that injured me.” Asla touches her stomach where the gash had been. ” They were much faster than me, the only thing that saved me is that it suddenly stopped chasing me, like it had reached a tether.”

Frowning I take a deep breath. “Asla… he let you go once, maybe he’ll let you go again.”

“I’ll restrain him, you should leave.” I know i have a very high chance of making it past the boar, but even if i did I wouldn’t be able to help her. They would easily resist my attacks and attempts to distract them. Struck by inspiration I press my palm against her solar plexus and try out a new spell. I use the sigils for [Reinforcement] [Air] [Imbue] the sigil for reinforcement alone takes an eighth of my available mana, with three sigils total the cost of every sigil is doubled twice, resulting in half my mana bar dissapearing to reinforcement, and another third being lost to the rest.  I have far too little mana remaining for my liking, but i gain a new skill [Enchanting]. Hopefully i survive long enough to find out what it does.

“Go!” I don’t look back, focusing on the minotaur slowly walking toward the village.

I rush forward, intent on buying time. I rapidly create walls in front of the monster with my remaining mana, causing stone to erupt from the ground like spines from a porcupine.

I hear a bitter laughter coming from beyond the walls. “Don’t stop me human! I’m doing god’s work here.” Boom after resounding boom can be heard coming from beyond the walls. Clearly they wouldn’t stop him for long, as the earth itself was quaking from his onslaught.

“Hurry everyone! Run!” He pointed toward the east and the lake. If they were lucky he wouldn’t follow them that far.

The villagers moved surprisingly quickly, despite the crying and the general feeling of fear stuck in the pit of everyone’s stomach.

The boars started to get antsy as the villagers raced toward them. As high level creatures they were unused to being ignored.

Waving their heads in frustration they started to charge the helpless villagers, resulting in the net surrounding the village disappearing. I quickly cast swamp, causing thee boars to fall or lose their balance, as i create a stone floor on top for the villagers to run upon. Like that we manage to make it to the lake just as the minotaur catches up. “RAAAAAAA!”

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Immersion 3.9

Imm 3.8            Imm 3.10
We rush to Thorton, ignoring most of the trash mobs. I use earth wall to create smooth floor in front of us as we move, laying it flat so as to cover pitfalls, mud pits, and sometimes make bridges over antlion pits.

We make surprising progress, almost rivaling my speed when I’m alone. I attribute this to our familiarity with the route as well as my reckless use of mana. The journey is expediated even more by the platforms already made in the cliff face.

The sun is just starting to rise when we arrive in Thornton. I’m exhausted physically and mentally and I’m certain that Asla is as well.

The villagers greet us kindly, excited to see an adventurer. It kinda pisses me off to see their reaction when I compare it to their initial reaction to me, but I bite my tongue, as it seems to be soothing Asla. I leave her to chat with them and buy a half dozen antidotes and store them in my inventory, as well a full dozen potions. It took a substantial amount of money, at one gold and 50 silver, depleting the majority of my reserves, but I didn’t want to be put into that situation again.

****

It’s a relief to see smiling faces  again after the tragedy at Bestle and to just talk. Addle was a godsend, saving me and helping to look for survivors, but he was a rather dour man. Businesslike, focused. I know our situation is unusual, and we should be on guard, but we barely exchanged words as we traveled to Thorton. I just wanted to be hugged and told it would be alright.

I know he was capable of it from back at Bestle. I blush a little the memory of crying into his well formed chest. He was strong, that I was certain of. Making up my mind to follow him and solve the mystery of our entrapment together I come to, realize i had been quiet for several seconds, “Asla? I’m sorry if I offended you, I hadn’t realized perfume was a touchy subject for you” a young girl says apologetically.

I shake my head. “No no! I’m sorry i was preoccupied.” I see Addle walking toward me and apologize to the girl, sarah was her name I think. “I’ve got to go, but it was fun talking.” I place my hand on hers, and clasp it “I really needed it.”

Addle smiles at me and leads me to a house near the center of town. “This is the elder’s house. I think you should tell him what you saw.”

As we retell the tale to the elder I once again relive the horror. My mind starts to go blank and Addle takes over, massaging my shoulders from behind. That helps snap me back to reality as he finishes the story.

“If what you say is true we may be in grave danger. I’ll send a runner to the far reaches of our land where the Capitol lies, and request aid, but that will be many months in coming.” He hesitates a moment. “I don’t want to ask this of you Addle, with all you’ve done for us, but will you help defend the village of this creature comes?”

He pales greatly then declines the chief. ” I’m sorry sir, but the only thing any of us can do if we encounter it is to run. If there was anything I could do I wouldn’t hesitate.”

My eyebrows shoot up at that, surprised at how noble Addle looks right now. “I’m sorry to hear that Addle. I understand as well though.” He looks us up and down. ” You two should get some sleep, you look exhausted.” His eyes crinkle in the corner as he chuckles slightly. “I’m going to gather the villagers and form an evacuation plan.”

We head to an inn and chat about our experiences in Fuzion so far. As we head up to the room I blush slightly and whip around as i catch a faint sound that makes my hair stand on end. “Oh no…”.

It’s a scream.

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Immersion 3.8

Imm 3.7                    Imm 3.9

As we approached the ghost village that was once Bestle, subtle details that were unobservable from so far away started to take shape.

Metal spikes studded the corpses, reattaching limbs and chunks of flesh, while simultaenously pinning them to the tree, like a grisly insect collection done oh so wrong.

“Oh god. What did i leave them to…” Asla looks close to tears from the horrific images assaulting her one after the other. However she soon hardens her gaze as something dawns to her.

There were a distinct lack of children hanging from the tree, returning to us the hope that the children might remain safe in the church. That hope that was lost upon sight of the tree from afar.

As we finally enter the town proper an impossible amount of blood greets us, coating the entire road in a thin layer of it. I take point, keeping Asla close behind me with my spear held out in front of me at the ready. The squelching sounds coming from our steps is disconcerting putting me on edge. “There’s a fork in the road ahead, which direction is the church Asla?”

She points to the north side of town.
“It’s the tallest building in Bestle, and next to the elder’s house which has a green dyed thatch roof…. Do you think they’re alive?” She asks me with a whisper.

I stop and plant my spear into the road, while turning to her i grasp Asla’s shoulders and say, “I hope they are. But even if they aren’t it wasn’t your fault Asla. This act of brutality is far beyond the scope of what Fuzion was. This was the act of a monster. Even if it was a human.”

We continue our trek through the village remains, assured of our safety by the terrible silence. As we finally near the church I vomit, losing 30 hp and a ton of satiety from my bar. On the walls of the church are the remains of the children.

They had been methodically dismembered, and very purposefully pinned to church. Written out in English was a short letter.

They knew their crime and said nothing.

Now they’ll witness mine and cannot

Love, Jack The Redeemer

Asla and I both break down into tears, realizing that there were no survivors. An entire village sacrificed by a single man, for what, a message? The absurdity of the situation gets to me. I involuntarily laugh, tears still streaking down my cheeks.

“We need to get stronger if we want to avoid this fate.”

“Then let’s start. Come back to my town with me. I don’t feel right staying here.

With that we leave Bestle and it’s dead inhabitants behind.

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Immersion 3.7

Imm 3.6                    Imm 3.8

He was like a whirlwind of death. His ax cleaved through the villagers one at a time, spreading pink intestines from the tavern on one end of Bestle, to the weapon shop on the other side.

Asla stands behind the last remaining villagers, bow in hand, and an empty quiver on her back. None of Asla’s shots came even close to injuring the beast in front of her, they glanced off it’s skin and he smiled like he didn’t even feel them.

An eight foot half man half bull held a resplendent ax loosely in one hand while slowly approaching the villagers. A single blade made it exceptional at chopping, reminiscent of an executioners ax, an exceptionally lavish one with the image of fat children eating one another while in turn being eaten.

Crimson blood slicked off the weapon, giving the illusion of a red glow and highlighting the children’s faces as they ripped into one another.

His skin was criss crossed with scars, on every conceivable surface of his skin, some visciously vibrant, from what must have been terrible wounds.

Each step he took caused the ground to shudder. Boom! Crack! Boom! Crack! The ground lay broken beneath his hooves as he moved forward. Holding out the ax he pointed at Asla. “You may leave. Or you may die. The choice is yours.”

Asla’s knees were quivering in fear, as she looked at the villagers. One woman with long blonde hair and an apron shakes her head. “Please don’t Asla! He’ll kill us all!” She hesitates for a moment but ultimately steps forward, head down in shame.

“Please spare me. I… I don’t want to die!” The minotaur smiles cruelly, gesturing behind him.

“Go. But I can’t gurantee you’ll live, the monsters surrounding  the area are of a much higher caliber than usual. However your odds of survival are better than staying here, which is zero.”

Asla fled to the terrible music of the screams of innocents. She couldn’t look back as they were literally ripped limb from limb.

*********
“Oh my god. That’s…” I stop. I’m at a loss for words. I take a deep breathe and calm myself. “I think you’re right that he was a human. But why, why would he do that?”

She shakes her head, tears welling up. “I just… I don’t know!”

She hugs me, shaking like a leaf. “There has to be survivors! Maybe the children who took shelter in the church… We should hurry, maybe we can do something together.” I finish breaking down the fort and wake Castellum up.

We rush toward Bestle, Castellum in the lead. We didn’t stop for any monsters, either Castellum’s teeth stole the lives of the wolves, or my fire balls burnt the ant lions to a crisp.

Once we finally break free of the tree line we see something that once again leaves me speechless. In the centre of town a tall crude tree made of iron has been erected. And hanging from it’s branches are the people of Bestle hung from it’s branches, like a macabre and grisly fruit.

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Immersion 3.6

Imm 3.5          Imm 3.7
I slowly wake up from fluffy oblivion.

It’s pitch black inside my makeshift fort, forcing me to create a small flame in order to see.

As the fire bursts into life I see that despite being the last one asleep, I’m still the first to have woken up.

Asla looks to have regained a bit of color, the wound on her side has disappeared so it should only be a matter of time until she awakens.

Castellum too looks to have healed, evidenced by the soft snores escaping him. It’s great to hear that noise, in comparison to the deathly silence from before.

I start to laugh.

I can’t stop.

This entire situation is so ridiculous. Mortal wounds heal in hours, magic and adventure in limitless quantities. Even a total ability to overcome disability or death. If it weren’t for his unusual circumstances  that is.

Why did they have to fight so hard to restore the material world? This was living here. There are literally limitless possibilities in virtual reality to cater to any type of person. It required relatively little resources to keep running, and if there was one thing I’d learned from my science and history lessons it was that nature would always find a balance provided there wasn’t any forces working against it.

Arguably the easiest way to fix the world…. would just be to leave it.

Quenching the flame, I wake up Castellum and Asla by shaking them.

She rubs her eyes and stretches herself to consciousness. “Where
…” she yawns. “Am I?”

“Somewhere in between…”  Asla screams and stabs me with something before I can finish. It hurts like bloody murder, but I still have the wherewithal to produce a flame. “Easy, easy! Holy shit woman, calm down.” I rip out what I can now see is an arrow from my shoulder and continue, grimancing at the sore burning sensation that remains. “I found you lying in the path toward your village. You never showed up to our meeting so I rushed over  to see if you were alright.” I can’t tell her I got impatient and  nearly died… nope, that never happened.

“It just seemed prudent to set up camp, since I didn’t know what caught you, or for that matter what sort of trouble laid between here and your village.” She nods, “That’s sensible. Let’s get going now though, I’m sure between us the monsters won’t….” A look of horror crosses her face. “Oh god that’s right! We have to hurry! Bestle..  it was under attack!”

“Calm down and explain. What is attacking it?” I cut through the walls with a few well placed water beams while she explained the situation.

“Bestle, it’s… it’s under attack by another player.” I stumble a bit upon hearing that. Not good. “He didn’t have a human avatar, but I’m certain he was a player. Monsters…. they don’t behave like that.” She shudders as she recounts the story. “It was horrible. We tried to resist but…”

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Immersion 3.5

Imm 3.4            Imm 3.6

I rush through the forest toward our meeting spot in the hope that Asla had arrived during our fight.

My hope seems to be in vain as she isn’t there. I make way toward her village, sprinting and teleporting, heedless of the mana costs. I almost trip over a ragged log as a result, but I catch myself when it starts to cough.

I continue rushing forward to find help but I know I’m not going to… find any… this… wait did that log just cough?

Doubling back I  kick the log again, and as it gasps I realize that it’s actually Asla, who had disguised herself after being severely  injured.

Blood is leaking from her side, originating from a nasty gash in her abdomem. I kick her again to try and wake her. She moans but her eyes remain closed, so I try again, harder This time. She is assaulted by a terrible set of coughs, but her eyes fly open. “I need an antidote.”

“What… Where.You….”

“Now! Or we’re both as good as dead!” My health had entered the single digits, adding a sense of urgency. It wouldn’t be long until the next tick of poison. She slowly reaches her hand forward and it disappears as she rummages around. Another tick passes. Two hp remains between me and oblivion.

A cold sweat breaks out and my forehead grows damp. My hands feel clammy as I lean closer to  Asla. I see a wolf stalking us, sensing weakness.

I cast a series of walls between us, surrounding Asla and I. I begin to count my breaths one, two, three. I nearly have a heart attack when she pulls out a green vial, which I snatch and guzzle, accidentally swallowing the cork.

The world speeds up again, and I fall onto my back cuddling Castellum. I breathe in his doggy scent, relieved that we had survived.
A shadow passes over me, as a white wolf descends, having jumped over the wall. His fangs are bared, and I have just enough wherewithal to summon a giant stone spike, impaling it like some sort of macabre and giant roast. Blood leaks down, sprinkling us with it’s death fluids.

I pull Castellum and I closer to Asla while pulling out my old clothes. I use the shirt to help stop the flow of her blood from the gash, then summon a final stone wall, to cover this area and drop us into darkness.

Sleep comes surprisingly easily to me. There are two warm bodies to either side of me, the grass is very springy this deep into the forest, and… tomorrow I’ll… Umm… I gasp awake, feeling something is wrong. There’s no perceivable danger but I’m gasping for breathe. Something is very wrong.

Are we under attack? Or…. I realize sluggishly what’s going on. We’re suffocating. I labor to concentrate and control a beam of high powered water, cutting a quick and easy hole into the ceiling. Starlight greets me as it becomes slightly easier to breathe, I repeat the process a dozen times, twice on each wall, and four times on the ceiling.

The moment of danger passes and I fall back to sleep. That would have been an awful way to die…

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