Theodore breathed deeply, and looked at his pod. The game was ready to be played; only he had to be ready. Never in his seventeen years had he felt so anxious and scared. He changed his clothes, and ate the remaining of his food.
He stood in front of his pod, thinking, his grey eyes not leaving it.
He activated the pod and chose Origin as the main game.
The inside of the pod was full of an unusual shade of blue liquid. He took away his cloths, and wore the suit that came with the pod. He took a mask from the side and wore it. A long tube was attached from it to an air container.
He slipped his body into the blue liquid, and grabbed the sides of the submerged chair, pulling his body toward it. He pushed a button on the side, and the liquid started shining. It was a very unusual and beautiful shine. That blue color was of a shade he had never seen before purchasing the pod.
A screen above him flashed, and a long message appeared in it. Theodore remembered Eduard’s words. The company that made Origin was talking about not taking any responsibility while the player is inside the game. It was filled with a lot of crap lawyers loved to analyze to find loopholes in. He touched the screen with the palm of his left hand, waited for a few seconds, and drew it back. By doing that, he had accepted the contract.
He felt a bit nervous.
The world around him turned white, and then he appeared in a gray room. A window appeared in front of him.
|Choose a name for your character
The young man didn’t even think about it. He entered Theodore. He always ignored the talk about not using his real name in games. His name was a priceless thing to him, one that held many dear memories and meant many things. He wasn’t going to give it up, even in a virtual world.
A new window appeared, demanding from him to choose his starting country. The list of countries only had five. He spotted Gobath and Brenton. His finger went to Brenton.
He noticed that he had forgotten to ask his friend about the city he was in. He wondered about which city he would start in. Unexpectedly, the window that appeared wasn’t about his starting city.
|Congratulation Theodore! You are now a player of Origin! You will be transported into Brenton in twenty second. Have a good game.|
Theodore frowned, but he decided to just wait. He looked at his body. It was exactly the same as in reality. He was completely naked. His body was quite tall, with a slightly above average musculature. He did train once in a while. Shouldn’t they have asked him about making his avatar, and personalizing its appearance? Was this a game you played with your real appearance? As he thought more about it, he face palmed. He had forgotten to ask Eduard about the game mechanics, and he didn’t check the net for it. He had been too distracted with the burning thing.
He didn’t mind playing with an avatar completely similar to his real body. He always made his characters very similar to him. As for the game mechanics, he’ll check the game first, and think about it later.
His body started shining with a blue shine, and the world warped around him. He blinked his eyes a few times, slightly disoriented. At the top of his sight, he could see his health bar, filled with a bright red. Below it was a white bar, probably for mana, stamina, energy or whatever the game developers felt like implementing.
He looked around him. It was night. Some people were walking around. Definitively players. Only players had no sense of night and day. He was inside what looked like a medieval city, a bit different from the one in the video he had seen.
Windows started appearing, but as he was about to check them, he saw some people coming at him. He sharpened his eyes. One thing he was sure about was that he should never trust someone until he had a good grasp on the whole situation. Three players. They looked a bit shabby in their equipment, but he was still a novice who just started the game. It would be challenging to take them on.
He looked at his clothes. He was wearing exactly the same as the starting people he had seen in the video. Shitty leather armor, wool pants, and a crappy rusting dagger. He wished he knew how to check his inventory.
The three players showed a smile as they approached. It looked pretty honest. They stood in front of him, and one of them said, extending a finger in the direction of Theodore’s clothes:
“I assume you are a new player, right?”
Theodore just glanced at him, not bothering to respond. Even if their motives were honest, he could never trust them. This was a player versus player game, and each one was on his own. He patiently waited for them to explain what they wanted of him. One of the players started fidgeting under his look, and the other two looked at each other, not knowing what to do. One of the two opened his mouth to talk again, but Theodore’s cold voice cut him off:
“What do you want?”
The player seemed startled by the tone, and just left his mouth open for a whole second, before getting his bearing and giving a strained smile:
“We apologize if we have annoyed you. You seem in a hurry, so I’ll be direct with you. You know that Brenton is at war right now right?”
Theodore furrowed his eyebrows. Was player killing allowed in cities? The player took his gesture as an affirmation and continued:
“If you already know, then you should understand that it’s mandatory for each new player to join the defense of the city for at least two weeks. Players can’t enjoy the protection we are giving them from NPCs for free”
The player left him words unfinished, believing it was enough for anyone to understand. Theodore’s gaze turned cold. They wanted to force him into something. He sighed and turned away. If it was his classmates, he would at least try to be polite and civilized, but those were complete strangers. He had no obligation to care about them.
One of the players caught his shoulder and said with an annoyed face:
“Hey, we’re talking politely to you here. Stop acting so arrogant, newbie”
Theodore almost took his dagger to stab the player’s hand, but he stopped himself. It would be difficult to kill those three. It would be outright impossible to kill all the players that will gang on him once he did that. He sighed. He turned toward the player touching him and said in a low voice:
“And what does that shit have to do with me?”
The player looked confused for a moment, and then said:
“You understand nothing do you? If they catch you, they’ll burn you asshole! They’ll camp near your save point, and each time you come back to life they’ll fucking burn you again! You will never escape from it till someone come to save you”. His friend put a hand on his shoulder, shaking his head, and the player calmed down. “If you join the city’s defense, the player’s army will come save you. If you don’t, you will never be cared about. We marked all those that joined the defense with a spell. We will recognize you, and you’ll never get help as it is”
His mouth was throwing spit while talking. Theodore was impressed by the game realism. They didn’t forget to add spit to the equation. Really interesting. This “nobody cared about” game seemed to be at the latest, most popular, most expensive and mind boggling games’ level. They were the only ones that sported such realism. He sighed, showed a dazzling smile to the player, and said:
“Then the matter is solved, right? It’s not like I’ll come asking about your help, and I have no time to waste here”
He had no plans of staying here for long. He had to look for Eduard. Maybe his friend would agree to play together. He had forgotten to ask him about which city he was in. Damned was his stupidity.
He shook off the hand of the player that was on his shoulder. The player glared at him. He opened his mouth, about to interject, but his friend stopped him. He stepped up closer to Theodore, then looking at him in the eye, he said:
“This game isn’t a joke like all others. If you go out of the city as you are now, you won’t survive. Its war and not petty wars like what you’ll find in other games. It’s a real war. Once they find you outside, you’re done for. And they will find you. They are excellent at tracking us”
He closed his mouth, awaiting Theodore’s response, but the young man just stared back at his eyes, not flinching. The player opened his mouth again and said:
“One thing you’ll love in being a city defender is the food. We give all the players food enough to satiate them while they defend the city. And you will understand how precious that is a bit later. If you ever change your mind, go find the barracks near the east gate. You’ll find the way easily. We accept anyone, even jerks like you”
The player turned and motioned toward his friends. They nodded and as he left, they followed him. They didn’t forget to send a glare toward Theodore. He smiled. It was a genuine smile. A jerk huh? His smile got a bit wider. He had made his choice in his life, and he wouldn’t back away from it, even if he remained alone because of it.
He was grateful for the warning though. It seemed like he shouldn’t go out without sufficient preparations. That spoiled all his earlier plans for the night.
They did seem a bit too pushy about the defense thing. Were things really that bad? A new player appeared in the plaza; a bit to his left, and the players from earlier went to him. They must be recruiters. He couldn’t understand why one played a virtual game to do such boring tasks.
He noticed the look on the new player’s. It started with wariness as he spotted the recruiters coming toward him, and in moments, it turned into panic. He took his dagger from his belt and tried to cut his own throat. Theodore looked quizzically at such an action. The recruiters had panicked looks on their faces, and they ran toward the boy. One of them, the last one that was talking to the young man, grappled the boy, taking his dagger. Another player of the trio approached the boy, and then told him something. The boy’s eyes widened, and after a moment, he sighed, relieved. They helped him get back to his feet.
Theodore just looked at the scene unable to comprehend. Why did the boy act that way? It struck him then, and hard. There was a war with NPCs in Brenton. If he had appeared in a city ruled by NPCs, he would have been burned. His hand went clawing at his left arm, and his body shuddered.
At least, the game developers weren’t so keen as to fuck them over. They had directed all new players toward cities where players were in control.
He wasn’t planning on staying online for long. He only wanted to have a peek through the city for now, until he formulated further plans. Shouldn’t this game have a tutorial first? He shook his head in resignation.
He started walking toward the wall, high enough to be seen at a distance. The city around him was quite medieval looking. All games used this setting nowadays and it became boring. Houses here looked like they were made of wood. A forest must be somewhere close to here. Roads weren’t paved, and were full of mud. He didn’t mind though. He had seen worse looking cities in the earlier games he had played.
He passed by something that looked very similar to a tavern. It was filled with laugher, and the smell of beer reeked of it. A board with some papers attached was close to the door. Theodore approached it, a little interested.
He dismissed some of the papers, just looking at their titles. They were about recruiting hunters and trackers to bring food. One of the papers was interesting though. A tournament in the coliseum. He smiled. A tournament in times of war? Only players could do that, as they would just revive afterward.
He decided to attend it tomorrow. He turned around and started strolling toward the walls again, enjoying the high realism. He could see some merchants selling in shops or on the road. One curious thing was that only a few sold foods, and it was mostly old looking spoiled vegetables. He remembered the player’s words earlier about food and frowned. The other merchants were selling weapons and armor. He got slightly closer to them, just enough to see their wares, without having to talk to them or act like a potential customer.
The weapons looked quite good, compared to the rusty dagger. He wondered about crafting skills in the game. Would the player have to recreate the same original process of crafting as in real life to create things, as this was a game with very high realism, or should he just use a skill to make things? He had some experience with real crafting in games, and he was sure of one thing: these weapons weren’t made that way. They looked like they were made by some skill, or maybe magic. He sighed. That seemed boring.
As he walked, he looked at the stars. He wasn’t someone to remember the names of stars or something, but he at least remembered their general positions, and he was sure they were different here. He shook his head. Why did the game developers make such an awesome looking world, yet didn’t add monsters or anything that will make it enjoyable as a game?
Some buildings on his path looked burned, and some of them had people trying to build them again. The closer he got to the walls, the more buildings were burned down. He fully understood the reason as he got a full view of the wall. It was made of black stone, and a huge part at its base was broken. Just what happened here? The wall has a height of six meters, and a thickness close to half a meter. How could something completely break its base that way? That did explain the burned houses though. The city had been under attack, he realised, and the wall broken through.
Some players were carrying stones, trying to fix the broken part of the wall. Some other players were patrolling around. This didn’t look like a big city, and it didn’t have many players.
Knowing Eduard, he must be in the thick of action. He sighed; remembering that he had to look for a moment his friend wasn’t playing to ask him some questions. Eduard had a tendency to start playing nonstop once he got holidays. He had it easy, as his parents always sent him money.
The young man suddenly stopped and face palmed. He had forgotten to check his inventory or anything pertaining to the game. He then noticed: he didn’t know how to do it. He made the sign he saw the player doing in the video, and a window appeared, asking him about whether he was sure he wanted to log out. He pressed the “no” button.
Looking at his side, he saw numerous windows, and realization hit him. They had appeared when he had just logged in, but he had ignored them as he had to deal with the recruiters. He had forgotten them afterward. He smiled wryly. Something was off with him tonight. He was never this easy-going. His finger went to them, checking them out one by one.
|Welcome to Origin!|
|Unique class unlocked!|
|You have unlocked the unique class: Jorlutgär
All related novice skills have been unlocked.
New related skills will unlock as the expertise in the already existing skills rise.
Quest log updated.
|You have unlocked the novice active skill: Artifact smiting.|
|You have unlocked the novice active skill: Refining fire.|
|You have unlocked the novice passive skill: Soul mirror.|
|You have unlocked the novice active skill: Locked space.|
|You have inherited the true Jorlutgär’s legacy, duties and belongings.|
Theodore just kept staring, making a stupid face. His mind shut down for a second, and then started giving many hypotheses. It must be a glitch. Maybe all players got a unique class once they started. He took a deep breath to calm himself. He started thinking rationally.
The idea of anyone getting unique classes was impossible. A game could have millions of players, and to give each one a unique class, it was unconceivable. Maybe they got random classes, and few lucky ones had rare or unique classes.
Jorlutgär. It was in Bhama. It meant “The one who balance”. It kind of made no sense.
His finger touched the windows about skills, hoping for more information. He got nothing but a new window with the name of the skill in it, its level, currently 1, and a round 0%. He frowned. How would he get more information about them? Maybe he just didn’t know enough about the game.
He looked at the last window that had appeared. He touched it with his fingers, but it just disappeared, without adding anything. He hoped those belongings were something good, but he didn’t have high hopes. It always went that way in games. This true Jorlutgär would maybe leave him a diary or something. Just enough to generate a class quest.
Theodore showed a sad smile. This was the reason he was bored with games and everything. The games were getting repetitive. He could already predict the future content of games the moment he started it, and predict what developers had in mind while making the game. Once in a while, someone will add something new and novel to the game industry, but he would be able to predict it too after trying it once.
He wondered though about why he had gotten a unique class.
How would he use the skills? He didn’t know. He knew nothing. He was too caught up with the burning thing, and he forgot to check the net about the game. Damned game that didn’t even have a tutorial. Maybe the company had put something on their website; else the five first players wouldn’t have known how to log out.
He wondered about what to do now. He couldn’t progress further, as he couldn’t check his quests or inventory or anything. It was a stupid way to be bored. He sighed. He could start shouting skill names or start making random signs in the air, but it would be embarrassing, and he wouldn’t ask anyone besides Eduard in any circumstance.
Theodore felt really curious about the class he got. He thought for a moment. He then made a sign in the air, and pressed the “yes” button, and logged off.
He opened his eyes, and pushed a button a button to his side. The blue liquid around him stopped glowing. He got up from the pod and took off his mask, taking a fresh breath of air. He couldn’t lose time in Origin doing nothing. It would be better to check the net about the game mechanics and the class system. He took off the suit. It was made with a cloth that never got wet from the blue liquid. He looked around for his clothes, and wore them.
He walked toward the kitchen, where he had left his pad. He felt a little dizzy while walking. He must have been really tired. That day was the last day of the school year, and he had a lot of fatigue pent up. Virtual games, with their time dilatation of one minute in reality three minutes in game, were very taxing on the mind. Maybe he’ll go sleep after checking the net. Playing would wait for tomorrow.
He looked up at the corner of his sight, and saw a red bar. He rubbed his eyes. He was too tired. Something was off tonight. It was surprising to know that his last day at school tired him so much. He turned around, went to the bathroom with sluggish steps, washed his face, and finally felt a bit refreshed. He looked up again, and saw a red bar, and below it was a blue bar. He frowned, his thoughts coming to a stop. Very fast, he made a sign in the air. A window appeared in the air:
|You are unable to log out|
A stupefied voice went out from his throat:
“What the fuck?”