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 The Great Ragnarok Story

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Ivory
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PostSubject: The Great Ragnarok Story   Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:50 pm

WARNING: This piece of writing contains major character mutilation and possible bashing of real life individuals. Please do not take offense, and if you think you might get upset by having a character named after you being portrayed as evil, insane, psychopathic, mentally redundant, stupid, inhuman, money-laundering, clichéd, laaaame, of certain religious beliefs or an honest work of complete and utter crap, then you might want to hit the ‘Back’ button right now. Well, I warned you.

WARNING II: This is a parody of the MMORPG Ragnarok Online and involves fictional versions of real people. Please take all pathetic jokes and jabs in good humour.

RATED PG, FOR THE PROFANITY, INNUENDO, VIOLENCE, AND EXCESSIVE STUPIDITY WILL NOT COME...

[b]NOTES FROM THE AUTHOR
: I can’t really believe I did this. And somehow, it seems I get inspiration when I’m half-asleep, or in the bathroom (I’m sure you wanted to know that). Be aware that this is subject to rewrites, no proof-reading (though I do spell-check), long hiatuses for school or boredom, random clichés, anime references, and is filled to the brim with utter crap. Feedback is love, criticism is a chocolate-covered banana - but please don't reply to this post, as it will interrupt the story!


P.S. I have an entire plot outline and character casting list with details on personalities, quirks, and future storylines, but I'm not sharing any of that so HA.

Acknowledgements:
Ragnarok (manhwa, Korean comic book) by Myung-Jin Lee
Ragnarok Online, Gravity Incorporated
ratemyserver.net, monster information
Wikipedia, for your springs of knowledge on Norse Mythology
Dragon Ball, can I say spot the reference?
King of Bandit Jing, same as above
Kingdom Hearts, same as above
Full Metal Alchemist, same as above


Enjoy reading Ragnarok Online: The Epic Adventure!


Last edited by Ivory on Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:23 am; edited 10 times in total
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PostSubject: Chapter One   Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:00 pm





The Winds Of Fate are stirring,
And a great storm will descend upon the land.
The world is awakening from a 1000 year slumber;
Many great powers long-forgotten are returning.
Soon, a new master will rule over Midgard…

















Chapter One: A Beginning




During the reign of Tristan III, Rune Midgard had evolved into the adventurer’s paradise. The lands of Arunafeltz and Schwartzvalt were discovered and became open to the public as places of wonder, from the flying city of Juno, high in the clouds; which could only be reached with state of the art airships, to the canyon village Veins and its sister village Rachel, entrances free for travellers to come and go as they pleased. Groups of adventurers journeyed far and wide to behold the towns, the new monsters surrounding them, and the quests that the townsmen always asked of those with good hearts.

However, these sights were new to even the most skilled and persistent of warriors, which lead to many a downfall because of the unknown skills and abilities the creatures possessed.

It was because of this determination and overconfidence that yet another young man found himself stumbling through a forest west of Hugel, clutching a bleeding shoulder and muttering angrily to himself.

With a muffled curse, he tripped over a tree stump and landed on his knees, yelping in pain.

“Are you alright there?”

The man looked up from his position and blinked twice at the strange image that had appeared before him.

A dark-haired novice sat atop a floating cloud, sitting with his legs crossed and arms curled around his knees protectively, staring down at him. Instead of the usual novice gear common to most trainees, he wore an ebony turban and black ripped cape, faintly resembling that of an assassin cross. His job class was only barely recognizable because of the beige tunic and the Midgardian symbol for novice, a darkly-inked arrow head covering nearly half of the cloth.

“My name is Matt, and I am attuned to the energies of this area. Perhaps you would like to tell me which of the creatures here has caused you harm?”

The man continued to stare.

The novice, Matt, sweated nervously under his gaze, and his cloud wobbled slightly in the air.

“My name is Epyon Dark,” the man rumbled suddenly, startling Matt with the quietness of his voice, “and I apologise most sincerely for halting your travel.”

“Ah, it is alright, my friend,” Matt said with a smile nervously, “I am a Zaoist Master, and it is nature’s will that I help all those who cross my path in need of assistance.”

Epyon stared a little more, as it was unusual for anyone but a swordsman class to act this chivalrous unless under the watch of a Royal Guard.

“I was attacked by a monster,” he said darkly, “A monster I had never seen before. It seemed human at first and I called out to it, hoping for company in these bare forests, but when I caught sight of it, I realised my mistake. The skin of its body was green and mottled, covered with scales! Why, a wing protruded from its side, black and taller than a small tree in these parts.”

He stopped to grasp weakly at his shoulder again, the blood clotting fast and staining his clothes. Still, he continued with his story. The trees in these parts were tall, but few and far between. Both of them knew that information was more important than treating his wound at this point, as a monster could spot them from a distance and attack at a moment's warning.

“I didn't want to attack it, so I started to run in the other direction. Alas, it summoned a powerful fire spell that sent me flying, crashing through the trees and ripping through my shoulder.”

“I see,” Matt nodded wisely, “It must have been the Sarah. She gets easily aggravated during these seasons, as there are no others of her kind nearby.”

Epyon looked startled. “It has a name? A gender?”

Matt laughed merrily, “Of course! Why, she is perhaps the most famous Mutant Dragonoid, protector of the entrance to the Abyss Lake, where the Elders dwell.”

“I … do not know what to think.” Epyon shook his head, obviously out of his depth. “Perhaps we should start again. My name is Epyon; I am a follower of the church of Odin.”

Matt’s eyes crinkled in pleasant surprise. “My! Odin’s children are as common these days as Sarah. May his blessings follow you wherever you travel.” He bowed his head in appreciation, the cloud bobbing with him.

Again, the novice has shown an unusual quality by not realising which job class the other man had belonged to. His hair was cropped short and he wore a long robe in blue and gold, the colours of priests, precisely those who worshipped the god Odin. He carried a staff in the hand not clutching his wounded shoulder, which looked far too heavy for him to possibly carry with his injury.

“I would like to say the same, but I fear Odin’s blessings have failed me today. My party was dispersed as soon as we entered these woods in search of monsters to fight, and I became lost whilst trying to find my way back. I had forgotten to bring blue gemstones, and I had naught but my staff and the clothes on my back.”

At this point, Epyon’s sullen recount was cut off by a monstrous roar. Heavy footsteps became audible, shaking the leaves from the tall, shadowing trees around the two.

Epyon’s eyes widened. “It is the creature! The … the Sarah! She has come for me,” he cried out and attempted to run past Matt and deeper into the forest, but crumpled to the ground quickly, writhing from the pain his actions had caused.

Matt turned to the Mutant Dragonoid which had entered the small clearing. “Draconic beast, guardian of the Elders! Cease your pursuit of the one who has disturbed you this day!” Matt’s words resounded harshly and commanding, but he was clearly panicking, sweat running down his brow.

‘Sarah’ roared, wing sweeping in a large, nightmarish arc, swiping in the direction of the novice and his cloud.

“Begone, I do not wish to harm you!” Matt shouted and looked desperately to Epyon who lay still on the ground.

The dragonoid fired up a breath and let loose, breathing a stream of red-hot flames at the floating novice.

Heat rushed by Matt, but his cloud swerved at the last moment, though his skin shone with sweat from the warmth.

“You have given me no choice. May your soul be cleansed in the eternal cycle. Soul Destroyer!

A bolt of midnight light crackled through the air and struck the Mutant Dragonoid. For a moment, it stood completely still. Then, its whole scaly body convulsed sickeningly, and it fell backwards into the vegetation, eyes glassy and unseeing.

The magical cloud that Matt was riding lowered itself in the air until it disappeared completely, leaving him in a sitting position on the ground next to the abandoned tree stump. Clearly, Matt was in no better position than Epyon, sweating profusely and limbs shaking with the effort of keeping himself upright. A heartbeat passed, then two, and he slumped to the ground, exhausted from his single attack.

A shadowy figure rustled from beyond a tree, previously hidden from sight. A foot slipped from behind a tattered cloak, adorned in a heavy boot clearly cut from a monster’s hide. With a smile, he crept towards to two unconscious figures-

-and tripped on the tree root Epyon had previously fallen on.

Quickly standing again as if nothing had happened, the cloaked figure carefully lifted both men as if they weighed nothing and proceeded to carry them off into the forest, leaving behind nothing but a bloody tree stump and the seemingly comatose body of a monster.





Last edited by Ivory on Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:20 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Ragnarok Story   Sun Mar 08, 2009 4:14 pm






Chapter Two: The Ultimate Sword




When Epyon came to, he sat up slowly and looked around the room, noticing the crisp bandage over his right shoulder. His robe had been removed and was folded neatly over a wooden chair in the corner of the room. He must have been in an inn room, because there were two identical beds and a small room to his right that must have been a bathroom.

The other bed was empty, sheets tossed to the side and bandages askew, half-under the covers.

Epyon stood stiffly, making the bed and donning the robe with a shrug of his shoulders, hands quickly searching through the pockets to make sure all his possessions were in order. Sighing in relief, he opened the door to the room and passed through the empty reception to outside.

“Nimbus Cloud! Where are you?”

Matt cupped his mouth and yelled at the thankfully empty streets of Prontera, the capital of Rune Midgard. Unusual though that was, dawn had only preceded Epyon’s awakening by an hour or so.

“Niiiiimbus!”

Epyon broke in, “What are you doing?”

Matt spun around and grinned sheepishly.

“Well, when I woke up there wasn’t anyone in the inn except you, so I went outside to look for my Nimbus Cloud.”

“Your … Cloud?” Epyon frowned. “Wait, there wasn’t anyone in the entire inn? Not even the staff?”

“Nope,” Matt said, cheerfully, “It was completely empty. Don’t know why, either. Don’t they have a maid or somethin’?”

“That’s… strange.” Epyon shook his head bemusedly, making a mental note to bless the inn in the name of Odin later in case of a curse.

“Niiiimbuuus! There you are!” Matt clapped joyfully as a faint white speck grew larger in the distance, barely visible in the early morning sky.

“Nimbus has been with me for a long time,” Matt explained, jumping onto the cloud as it floated down, a cushy pillow of cotton, still floating a few feet off the ground.

“Only those who have had their minds defiled can ride the Nimbus Cloud.”



Epyon broke the silence, “Do you know who brought us to the inn?”

Matt frowned, “I thought perhaps it was you…”

“I brought you here.”

They both turned to see a cloaked figure step out from behind a small flower pot. The figure approached them and offered a hand in greeting.

“My name is Magista, and I have brought you here to talk to you about the stunning display of power you displayed yesterday.”

Epyon blinked. “What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about the cloud-rider. You showed unusual skill and power for your class, decades above your years,” the hood of the cloak was pulled back to reveal an older man with scruffy red hair and bright sparkling eyes.

Matt grinned, “Thanks. Though I may appear to be a novice, I am actually a Zaoist master.”

Both Epyon and Magista tilted their heads in confusion. “You don’t perhaps mean Taoist Master, or Taoist Hermit, do you?” Magista said finally, eyebrows crinkling.

“No, no. Zao is the power of nature and life, it is the reason that I can communicate with the world as you see it. Few have heard of it, let alone mastered it. And I, my friends, am one of the few masters in existence,” Matt said, assuming the lotus pose and looking absolutely ridiculous.

Magista coughed. “Perhaps I should tell you what I brought you here for. I am on a quest to find a fellow guildsman of mine. He disappeared less than a week ago, saying that he would search for the perfect sword on his own, but he never returned. Because I was closest to him, it was my duty to find him and bring him back – he’s missed two Wars of Emperium, and we’re already short on men!” His eyes flashed as he ranted, waving his arms in the air to emphasize the importance of it all.

“Do you have any idea where your wayward comrade went?” Epyon asked, already accepting the plea for help.

“None, except that the day he left, he was headed northeast. He could be in the monk training grounds, the Monastery.” He frowned. “I don’t know why he’d head there for a sword, though….”

“It’s worth a try,” Matt said, smiling brightly, “Let’s go!” and zoomed off on his cloud.

“Argh, wait! Wait for us!”






Magista panted heavily, half-bent over on the ground. “Where – are – we?” He managed in between gulping breaths.

Epyon looked around, also a bit worse for wear. “It seems we’re in a graveyard, only…” He reached a mound of dirt and pulled out the grave marker. “There aren’t any headstones. These are all swords.”

A frustrated scream echoed in the distance.

“WHERE IS IT?!” A young man was rushing about, uplifting sword after sword in his wake, running in frantic zig-zags.

“I know it’s here some—Magista! What are you doing here?!”

“Bobby,” Magista grinned at him and waved in greeting as the three approached him. Bobby was obviously a knight, but he was not riding a Peco Peco and was wearing only the simplest, cheapest of armors.

“Magista,” Bobby sobbed, “I still haven’t found it! I thought it was here, but… I can’t find it! The perfect two-handed sword, that townsperson told me. It’s name is… Excalibur!” He stroke a pose as he said that, fist in the air and eyes shining.

Matt blinked down at him from his cloud. “Are you sure there’s even a sword called that?”

“Yes, of course I’m sure! The townsperson told me it was in these parts, so it must be true! I’ll find it, and once I do… I’ll be invincible!!” Bobby cackled to himself gleefully. “Then all I have to do is find the ultimate armor, the ultimate cards, the ultimate potion supply… and then, my life will be complete!”

“Friend, could we help you in your quest?” Epyon asked saintly. “It seems it’s been taking you a while, and this field is vast.”

“How long have you been here, anyway?” Magista asked, worried for his friend’s health.

“Six days,” Bobby replied, an insane expression flickering across his face. “I fainted on the third from lack of food or water, but a kindly monk passed by and gave me a share of his bread and drink. I have not stopped searching since.”

“I’ll check from the sky,” said Matt, “Maybe I can find a sword that outshines the others. What does this particular sword look like?”

“It’s amazing – it cuts like an eagle diving for its prey, and is just as majestic as a lord knight in his prime!” Bobby grinned to himself stupidly. “Most probably, even the most foolish of warriors could slaughter a field of Nightmare Terrors with a sword like that.”

“…So you have no idea what it looks like, huh?” Matt said, frowning at the dilemma. “I guess we’ll just have to prey we find the right one.”






“Do you think this is it?”

Epyon showed Matt his findings, a long sword so incredibly battered that it had at last twenty dents on each side of the blade, more hole than steel. Large rectangular chunks were missing all over it, and the handle was rusted with age.

“I think your eyes are broken,” Magista said worriedly, “Have we been here too long? You do remember that we’re supposed to find the Excalibur, a blade outweighing all the others in its beauty, power, elegance, and so on?”

Epyon sighed, “We’ve been here for hours on end, and the sun is starting to set. Perhaps we should simply choose one and tell Bobby it is Excalibur so we can leave.”

“Hey guys! I think I found it!”

Matt’s cry came from nearby, and soon enough the snowy cloud floated into view, carrying the novice and an incredibly large sword that he was having trouble carrying.

“It’s really – oof! – heavy, but it looks like it might be the one we’re searching for,” Matt said breathlessly, excited.

Bobby ran up to them, clutching five swords to his chest. “I heard the shout and --- Oh, Excalibur! You’ve found it!” He wept, dropping all the swords and nearly impaling his feet.

Snatching the large golden sword from Matt (which was no easy feet at the height he was floating), Bobby attempted to swing it in a large, impressive arc, but could barely lift it from the ground where it had fallen.

“It, it seems – hah! – that maybe I need more training to wield this sword properly. However, I’m sure than once I do, I’ll be invincible! No one will stand a chance against me, not even those fiends from that other guild.” Magista and Bobby both shuddered.

“Other guild?” Matt looked confused.

“Though not entirely common, some guilds have… antagonistic relationships with each other, going out of their ways to target each other at War of Emperium and actively taunting or refusing to help members.” Epyon tilted his head to the side, looking thoroughly displeased. “I must say that I do not approve of such behaviour, but it is becoming more commonplace as new guilds crop up into existence each day. Which guild are you talking about, perchance?”

“They’re the most horrible, uncouth guild in all of existence! Their members are all despicable, stealing our healing spells and generally making a riot at any guild events. And the guild leader! Surely, there is no person with a worse nature than him in all of Midgard… yes, that Eternity is the worst!”

Matt startled, “But I’m a –“

“What in Tristan’s name is THAT?!”

Bobby’s yell resonated throughout the field of swords, alerting the three other party members to turn in his direction. Bobby was scrambling towards them, away from a hulking figure.

Clearly made of metal, this figure was nothing less than an automaton – a robot. Vaguely human in shape, its four heavy limbs clunked at its sides, blue symbols etched into the back of its fingerless hands. Twice as tall as a man, atop its body was a hemisphere with four spinning flat circles on it. The disks were white, and each one was etched with three deep holes, resembling faces in different states of emotion. Moreover, on the ‘forehead’ of each of the disks were small spherical holes with coloured rings around the edges.

Each step it took rocked the earth under its weight, sending Bobby sliding down the gentle slope.

“That could only be…” Magista gasped, “An Apocalypse! One of the feared monsters of Juperos. This is a terrible omen!”

The Apocalypse screeched, metal gears grinding inside it as it lumbered towards them. Its steps were slow, but the sheer size of it meant that each stride covered a huge distance, very nearly at Bobby’s pace as he finally reached them, panting heavily.

Bobby lifted his sword with great determination, stumbling under the weight.

“Let’s do this!”

He ran at the Apocalypse blindly, and managed to strike it hard in the chest. Metal on metal clanged loudly, ringing painfully in everyone’s ears. With only one hit, the great golden sword’s blade snapped clean off.

“No! Excalibur!” Bobby cried, sinking to his knees and hugging the jewelled hilt to his chest.

“Move!” screamed Matt, the Apocalypse nearly on Bobby. He began to chant, “Flames of Muspellheim, strike from the skies! Firebolt!” He raised his hands commandingly, a glowing spiral of heat appearing in the sky.

Thinking fast, Epyon prayed for Odin’s good will and sent a bolt of light towards Matt. “Angels of Valhalla, send me your faith! Blessing!” The fluttering of wings flittered around Matt’s head and his body shone blue with celestial light. The red spiral grew brighter and bolts of flame rained down on the Apocalypse.

The robot halted, standing stonily as it withstood the attack, then continued forward without even the slightest burn mark.

“It’s not working!” yelled Magista, “Run to higher ground, maybe we can trap it if it can’t reach us!”

Magista and Epyon quickly turned and started running for the closest hill, Matt close behind on his cloud.

“Bobby! What are you doing?!”

Fearing that he had frozen in shock and was about to be mown down, Epyon sent him a speedy “Agility up!” but he did nothing but sit there.

“BOBBY!”

Yet, it seemed that Bobby did not hear them. As if in a dream, he dropped the jewelled hilt to the floor and reached over to pick up the sword that Epyon had previously held, full of scratches and holes. The bronzed sword gleamed brightly under the layers of rust, and Bobby was struck by a sudden thought.

The blade was much lighter, and he sprung to his feet soundlessly, facing the enormous monster with a look of determination. With a single leap, he jumped onto one of its huge shoulders, boots gripping firmly on the smooth surface.

Bobby lifted the blade in a clean stroke and cut down, into the circular hole on the forehead of the Apocalypse. Then, with a twist of his wrists, he turned the sword as if it were a key.

One moment, the scene was still. The monster ceased to move and Bobby jumped off, landing on the soft grass, one knee bent to brace the impact. Then, the Apocalypse toppled to the ground, effectively shut down.

Magista gaped, “What did you do?!” awed at the rare display of strength.

“That sword… it looked like a key,” Bobby explained slowly, looking a little confused himself. “I just… put it in the keyhole. And it worked.”

Matt glided over on his cloud, shaking his head bemusedly. “You have a sharp mind, friend. None of us would have thought to do something like that!”

Bobby beamed proudly and Epyon grinned in return, “Certainly, there are few people in all of Midgard who would fight so recklessly! Thank Odin it worked!”

They all erupted into laughter as Bobby’s smile fell, sputtering angrily at them.





Last edited by Ivory on Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:20 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Great Ragnarok Story   Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:59 pm






Chapter Three: The Goat Herder




“I don’t think this is Juno.”

Matt frowned and gazed tiredly at the repeated scenery: rocks and trees, trees and rocks and… oh, maybe some water. Endless brown terrain stretched in all directions, the occasional rise and fall of a hill only barely obscuring the horizon.

“You know, I think we might’ve gone in the wrong direction,” Bobby said, frowning, and turned the map in his hands sideways.

Magista groaned, “Oh, really? Was it the fact that you’ve been reading the map the wrong way up, the complete lack of civilisation, or the fact that we should’ve arrived in Juno three days ago?”

Bobby sweat dropped and held up his hands defensively, “Hey, at least I’m not the guy who forgot which way he came from in the first place! We could’ve been in Prontera a week ago if you’d have bothered to leave a trail.”

“It was me who set out to find you after you ran off, you ungrateful –“

“Settle down,” Epyon said wearily, even his unending patience wearing through. “If we argue now, the path of destiny will only wind into darker territory before we reached our destination.”

“What does that even mean?” Bobby said incredulously.

A bag of supplies fell from the sky, narrowly avoided Bobby’s head and he jumped backwards in surprise, landing on his butt.

“Maybe we should set up camp,” Matt said, covering a yawn with a clothed hand. “Everyone’s getting a little short-tempered, and a bit of rest could do us all some good.” He grinned lopsidedly.

“Agreed,” Epyon said, and took out his own travel pack, unrolling a sleeping bag.

Magista and Bobby eyed each other for a moment before huffing and turning in different directions.

“I’ll get the firewood!” Bobby yelled without bothering to turn his head, heading off into the closest thicket of trees, shouldering a moderately tempered blade the party had recovered.

Magista snorted, “You do that. I will refill the canteens,” and set off to the stream they had passed by earlier that day.

Watching the two part stiffly, Matt sighed and prepared a cup of autumn red tea, muttering a spell under his breath to heat the water and stirring in the leaves.

Epyon reached for the belongings of his fellow party members and unrolled their sleeping bags too, busying himself until he heard, “I do wish they would stop doing that.”

“I hear you, friend,” Epyon smiled gently, turning to face Matt.

Matt hiccupped.

“I mean,” he said morosely, “it’s bad enough that we’re low on supplies, but if they keep arguing, I’m gonna crack. And the last time that happened, it took three months before the building repairs were paid.” His eyes glimmered in melancholy.

“Now, now,” Epyon patted him on the shoulder, “It’s not so bad. Only a few more days and we’ll be out of here – look, these trees are only native to the Schwartzvalt Republic, and the call of Giearths is distinct only on the outer edges of Juno. Give them a little time and our friends will cool off their worries.” He smiled reassuringly.

“I know but…” Then, Matt wibbled and clung to Epyon’s shoulder and sobbed, “It makes me so sad to see such good friends fighting!”

Epyon stared at the usually aloof and cheerful novice.

“Are you… inebriated?” He asked incredulously.

Matt hiccupped again and giggled slightly. “I’m not sure. The merchant said the tea raised magical powers, but it tasted a lot like a Tropical Sograt.”

“…I do hope they return soon,” Epyon said glumly.







“Bend your elbows… wrists steady… brace! Aaaand – swing!” Surrounded by trees with thin, flaking bark and trunks small enough for a child to wrap their arms all the way around, Juno fields were perfect for target practice. Autumn was slowly settling in, and the thin, low hanging branches were easily obtainable as firewood for camps, but equally as useful for sharpening as arrow substitutes or stripping the bark to make various spears or utensils. The yellowed leaves crushed pleasantly underfoot and a sweet breeze whistled merrily in the evening air.

Letting out a shout, Bobby swung his two-handed sword in a steady arc, landing a firm blow on the trunk of a tree, cape fluttering from the impact behind him.

Smiling triumphantly, he let go, the blade lodged firmly in the bark, and stepped back to survey the damage.

“Hoo! Doing alright, if I do say so myself! A few more chops and I could slice right through it.” Grinning, he attempted to pull the two-handed sword free. Only, it didn’t seem to be in the cooperative mood and he ended up bracing his whole arm on the trunk and pulling with the other.

“C’mon… get… out… ha!” With a sharp tug, the blade freed itself and jolted Bobby backwards with the momentum.

Reflexively preparing to hit the ground, Bobby braced his body and shielded the back of his head, only to land on something soft.

Soft and… woolly?

“Ba-a-a-a-a.”

What the… Metal armour digging painfully into his behind, Bobby stood and turned to face whatever had cushioned his fall.

At first, all he could see was white. Rubbing his eyes in disbelief, momentarily thinking that he must have been having a hallucination of Matt’s cloud, the swordsman stared as the giant white fluffball turned to glare at him with mean, bloodshot eyes.

Thick twisted horns protruded from a brownish head nearly hidden beneath all the wool. Four stumpy legs poked through at the bottom, short, but masculine, and sporting wickedly sharp hooves that were perfect for crushing itty bitty swordsman bones.

Finally, the last noticeable feature was, surprisingly, the teeth. Goats were generally considered to be gentle, herbivorous creatures – good in stew, yiros, and various other dishes that could be sold by food vendors along the highways of marketplace Prontera.

These teeth, though awkwardly placed at the narrow end of the Goat’s muzzle, were sharp. Small elongated canines also became prominent as this particular animal beared its teeth and growled menacingly.

Bobby scuttled backwards on his hands and knees, clutching the blade loosely against the ground. Wide-eyed, he watched with baited breath as the goat pawed the ground with a front hoof.

It charged.

Reacting like lightning from sheer fear and adrenaline, Bobby twisted from his position, grabbed his sword firmly, and ran.

Dodging between trunks and ducking beneath branches, he nearly tripped on a tree root, stumbling, but quickly regained his speed.

The goat roared and stampeded after him, smashing through the low-hanging branches that inevitably got stuck in its fluffy white coat.

Legs straining under the pressure, Bobby panted and struggled to keep going, turning sharply in his sprint to avoid a tree trunk and crashed into someone from behind.

“M-Magi?!” Bobby blinked the stars out of his eyes and shook the body crumpled to the floor in front of him. “Wake up! Wake up! We’ve gotta move!”

“Ugh… w-what? Bobby?” Magista shook his head and blinked blearily, looking over at Bobby and instead of seeing an armoured knight, saw glowing red eyes and a menacing set of fangs.

Magista screamed.

Both of the young travellers stood up and started running in perfect synchrony, leaping over the tree roots and speeding along as if their lives depended on it (which they sorta did).

Gradually, they slowed down, and just as they were about to fall to their knees and thank the gods for sparing their lives, the goat crashed through the foliage right next to them, sending them both crashing into a tree and sliding down the base to land in a crumpled heap.

Dazedly, Magista locked eyes with the goat and began to chant, “Pure and unrefined, elements of the frozen skies! Snow, ice, and blowing winds, combine as one! STORM G–”

Suddenly, the goat stopped altogether and stood still, completely silent. Magista, stunned at the sudden turn of events, quietened and looked around nervously to see what had caused such a change in behaviour from the previously wild animal.

With a warrior’s battle cry, a woman leapt out from behind the tree Magista and Bobby lay next to, brandishing a curved dagger. Stabbing viciously at the air and yelling angrily, she herded the goat backwards until it was clear of the two.

Turning gracefully, she raised an eyebrow at the bedraggled pair and stated in a rough voice, “My name is Allie, goat herder of the southern Junovian plains. What is your business here?”

Magista stared at her for a long moment, then hung his head in defeat and had the last thought, This is all Bobby’s fault, before all went dark.







It took all of two hours for Epyon to convince Matt to go to sleep, and another thirty minutes to get him to stop talking and actually go to sleep instead of lying around in his sleeping bag, imitating a worm or sobbing to Epy about all the cruelties of the world.

In truth, Epyon was rather worried for the two missing companions. Despite the fact that he had only known them for a very short time, it seemed unusual that anyone would wonder around an unknown area that surely had monsters in it, alone, after dark, and without any supplies or idea where they were going.

With Matt asleep and incapacitated, Epyon had no choice but to stay with him in case some creature attacked him while he was down. Had they still been in a party of four, it would have been a simple task to allocate members for a night watch.

Sighing, Epyon prepared for a long night and took out a holy scripture to read by the waning light from the campfire.







Magista opened his eyes and then immediately closed them again, blinded by the ray of sunlight that was filtering through the window. Groaning softly, he turned onto his back and shuffled a little, enjoying the feeling of the soft covers and mattress instead of twigs and brambles beneath a travel-thin sleeping bag.

Wait… a bed?

Eyes shooting open, he sat up sharply, and then groaned again, this time in pain. His back ached, and his memory rewound to the moment when he and Bobby were slammed backwards into a tree.

Bobby!

Glancing around, he sighed in relief when he saw Bobby asleep on a nearby bed, the only other one in the room. Much like an inn, only the beds, a short dressing table and a small closet were present in the room. There were no curtains, but a lightly dyed cloth hung from a metal rod above the window, which could be pulled down with a cord.

Searching his memory further, he recalled a woman introducing herself before he had passed out the night before. If his assumption was correct, this would be where the woman lived.

Carefully lifting himself from the bed, Magista donned the clothes that were folded neatly at the foot of the bed and started on his way to the door. Stumbling only once from the sharp pain emanating from his spine, he twisted the doorhandle and was met immediately with the face of a young woman surrounded with bushy green hair.

He blinked.

“Good morning?” He offered, nervously, the greeting sounding more like a question.

“A good morning to you too, traveller,” the woman said, smirking, and pushed past him to check on Bobby. Carefully, she unwound a bandage from his forehead and replaced it with a clean roll she was carrying in one hand. There was no blood on either bandage, but a bruise was clearly visible on Bobby’s forehead from the tumble last night.

“You and your friend are not from Juno. Were you hoping to find Al De Baran? If you were, it’s my duty to inform you that you were going the wrong way,” the green-haired woman said, dryly.

“We were heading to the flying city of Juno,” Magista said, carefully. “But as you have said, we have never been to this area before, and our party was temporarily separated. The beast attacked my friend and me while we were away from our camp, where our other two friends were.” He frowned worriedly, his mind flickering over the possibilities of what could have happened to Matt and Epyon briefly.

“The beast? Why, you make it sound like some sort of demon!” She laughed unabashedly even as Magi worried as to whether he had offended her.

“In case you’ve already forgotten, I am Allie, and those ‘beasts’ are my dear goats that I’ve raised and trained all these years.”

“You raise goats?” Magista blinked in confusion, wondering absently how she got a hold of such a strange job in the first place.

“I raise them and sell them when they’re in prime condition. They’re my fighting goats, capable of taking out a knight in full armour! The highest bidder gets his very own tame pet that’ll protect him until he snorts his last breath, and they make some good milk and cheese too.” She grinned toothily, obviously proud with herself.

“I… see.” Strangely enough, it was easy enough to imagine someone buying a goat to help them fight – such things were actually rather common in Midgard, adventurers and rich folk inventing weird and wonderful ways of protecting themselves or surviving in the wilderness quite often.

Although, the image of a goat ramming some poor fellow in a War of Emperium was quite an amusing picture, Magista filed that under ‘amusing things to contemplate later’.

“Have you perchance seen my other two travelling companions? One is a priest, and the other rides on a cloud.”

“No, I don’t believe I have,” Allie scratched her head, unfazed by the unusual description, “but if they have been waiting the night for your return, then they’re probably still in this area. It takes someone familiar with this area to navigate their way to the stairway leading to Juno. You know this whole place is built on top of a canyon? It doesn’t seem like it, but you’ll find some metal bridges around to connect the pieces of land.”

With that, the goat herder finished tying Bobby’s bandages and left the room, returning a moment later with a cloak slung over one arm. “Well, are we going? Your other friend,” she nodded at Bobby, “is out cold for now. He’ll be up in a few hours, but until then we should go looking for your friends in case they’ve gotten in trouble with my goats like you had.” A dark look came across her face. “Or across some of those poachers who’ve come to steal my goats. Even without saying that I’m the one who owned them, a man attacked me out of the blue a few days ago! Bastard must’ve come for my goats,” she muttered angrily under her breath.

Magista followed after her as she stomped out of the house and into the daylight. With a small cough to stop Allie’s rant, he started to lead her to where he thought the party had last set up their camp, the lady cutting in occasionally to give directions.

With an internal sigh, Magista wondered if he and his friends would ever reach civilisation.




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