James apologized to his party as he cooked them breakfast over the fire. The Ingo meat sizzled and spit angrily, but his party members did not. They all waved off his apology. Everyone was keenly aware that their situation was stressful and asked James not to mention it again. James thought his behavior the previous night was unbecoming of a leader, and was therefore ashamed of it, but it was clear that his party couldn’t have cared less.
James finished cooking and sat down on his fur pile. He mentally navigated to his interface and printed out a map to look over. He could see that they had traveled about half of the distance to the other side of the Great Savanna, directly across from his own village. James knew from Dreng that if they kept traveling on their current vector, they would eventually run into the other human village. Still, though, it would be a long journey, especially if the other village was close to the mountain range that closed in the Great Savanna. It meant that if the party went back and somehow got the mounts from Frey they would have to travel much faster than the party thought possible to warrant going back and getting them. The party almost unanimously decided it was a bad idea to go back. Patrick who was the only one that didn’t agree, even reluctantly pointed out that all the games he played in the real world had low-level mounts in the beginning levels that only offered mediocre speed boosts until you became higher level and found better mounts. The red-head still wanted to go back for them though.
All in all, there were just too many unknown variables, so the party would press on. They needed to find a way to protect their souls from the Lich King so they can free the humans trapped in his dungeon. James hoped they would find someone that could help them with that in the other village.
The party finished up their breakfast with minimal groans over eating the same Ingo meat meals and set off. They traveled the ‘Great Tundra’ as James had begun to refer to it, for hours in relative silence until they came across a frozen Ingo’s nest. The lake at the center of the nest’s clearing was frozen solid. There were no Ingos to be found anywhere in the vicinity, a fact that James was equally excited and worried about. It was true that the Ingo’s were truly annoying creatures, but they were also an important part of the ecosystem. It was that ecosystem that the Martyr’s were tasked with protecting and if it was the Martyrs responsibility, then James considered it his own as well.
James wondered where the Ingo’s went as he watched Patrick try to break the layer of ice over the lake with his True Iron Maul. The sound of the maul impacting the ice echoed across the Tundra and stood out in stark contrast from the quietness of their journey. James couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable.
Maybe that is what the Savanna needs James thought to himself. The Great Savanna just needed life again. Noisy, loud life. The Savanna was so dead and lonely that it almost felt like Patrick was ruining the sanctity of a temple by creating so much noise, and that wasn’t right. Hopefully soon, the Savanna would return to its former glory. Before Frode left he had mentioned that the Oana Mystic was siphoning the energy from the Savanna to power her spells. If he was right then the Savanna should begin to heal.
James prodded the snow with his foot as he considered the level of power the Mystic must have attained to be able to suck the energy from an entire zone, especially one as large as the Great Savanna. He couldn’t help but wonder if his party got lucky by defeating her. The Mystic surely had a large retinue of spells at her disposal. If she would have chosen a different spell then it was very likely that they all would have died. It was only due to James’s weird body temperature situation that he wasn’t affected by the blizzard that froze his party.
Am I immune to fire or am I immune to cold? James asked himself.
There was nothing in his interface that mentioned immunities of any sort. It was possible that his body temperature was just naturally high so that when he was caught on fire it didn’t hurt him and when he came into contact with cold temperatures his body just quickly warmed whatever he was touching up.
James shook his head. That explanation didn’t make much sense either. If anything, coming into contact with cold temperatures would hurt James even more since his body temperature was so high. Was it possible that he was just immune to changes in temperature in general? If that was the case why didn’t his interface let him know about it?
James stopped prodding the snow with his foot and rolled his eyes. It was all just another game mechanic nuance that James would have to investigate.
It's almost like I was dropped in an entirely new world with its own set of rules James joked with a roll of his eyes.
Looking up, James could tell that Omero was having an uncomfortable time with the loud bangs of Patrick’s maul hitting the ice. Every time it did so, Omero cringed and started. James watched amused. Omero was watching Patrick and could clearly see when the next bang was going to happen, but still, every time it did, Omero jumped. James amusement slowly transformed into a concerned worry as he watched Omero struggle with the noise.
“Okay, let’s move out!” James commanded. Alex and Michael, who were patiently waiting for Patrick to fall into the frozen pond immediately nodded and set out in the direction of James’s pointed finger. Omero and Patrick followed shortly after.
James returned to his thoughtful walking. For some reason, it was easier to travel long distances deep in thought. It was almost like James was on autopilot. That is why when Omero bumped into James he never saw it coming and fell to the ground.
“Ugh, what was that all about?” James complained as he struggled to untangle himself from Omero and stand up.
“Did you hear that?” Omero whispered.
James stood up and motioned his party to halt. When the crunching of snow under feet subsided, James did, in fact, hear something. It was a low rumble coming from the East. James knew it was East solely because of his map. Without it, the party would be completely lost in the white Tundra, as there were no landmarks and all the mountains were out of sight range.
By the worried expression his brother gave him, James could tell Michael heard the rumble as well. Slowly, the rumble turned to a soft growl. The party whirled around, trying to gain vision of whatever was growling at them.
The soft growl grew louder and James looked around more frantically. “What the hell is that?” He mouthed to his concerned party.
Alex shrugged. Behind the veteran, James could see a frightened Omero running away. Before he could yell after the Italian, the growling creature exploded from the ground, showering everything in a layer of dirty snow. His party, minus Omero, reflexively grouped up and drew their weapons. The days spent practicing battle scenarios in the training ground wasn’t wasted as the party squared up to the giant beast. James gasped as the snow in the air finally cleared and he got his first picture of the creature. It was bigger than the No-No that killed him when he first found Patrick and covered in white shaggy fur. It stood on four legs, but James could tell its front legs where more akin to arms from the creature's posture. It stood like an angry silverback gorilla, ready to defend its territory. Two extremely large horns jutted from the creature's giant head and twisted into the air.
Suddenly, James realized what the creature was. The horns on its head were the same type of horn that was used in his village to signify the start of feasts and ceremonies. It was the same type of horn that Dreng pulled from the Abominar that was hunting his villagers so many years ago. The name tag about the creatures head reflected James realization.
James struggled to recall any more details about how the legendary chieftain defeated his Abominar but came up short. The only thing he could remember was that Dreng was only a cub when he killed it. A sliver of hope filled James at that thought. Surely if Dreng could kill one of these massive beasts when he was only a child then his party wouldn’t have too much of a problem doing the same. They were all adults after all and had a decent amount of gear and abilities between them.
The Abominar let out a war scream so terrible that the sliver of hope James had shattered and disintegrated like it was never there to begin with.
Debuff Received - Terrified - 10% slow effect when fighting & 10% speed increase while fleeing.
Did Omero get this debuff before I did? Is that why he ran away? James thought in an instant before instructing his party to fan out and flank the creature.
He couldn’t have gotten the debuff. Was he just truly afraid? James thought as he shuffled around the giant beast, who was busy beating its chest. Before James was able to get around the creature it leaped into the air. James craned his neck and watched the beast soar to impressive heights. Then James was filled with dread as he realized the Abominar was trying to leap ONTO his brother.
“RUN!” James yelled, but it was too late. The Abominar came crashing down right on top of Michael with a shower of snow. A sickening silence rang out. No moans or screams could be heard. His brother was dead. James didn’t even have to glance at Michael’s character icon to confirm it. There was just no way he would have been able to survive. The Abominar easily weighed a couple tons.
James’s face twisted into a snarl as he activated Martyr's Rage. The skin on his back welcomely parted and James's muscles throbbed with pent-up aggression. James locked his eyes on the Abominar, studying it. The creature, whose back was facing James, jumped up in the air, turning to face James in the process. It landed with a soft thud, placing the final nail in Michaels coffin… and in its own.
James’s legs curled beneath himself as the Abominar’s did the same.
James could hear Alex yelling out to him, but whatever he was saying was irrelevant to victory, so it was filtered out. The Abominar leaped into the air and James’s face twisted into a smile. James released his newly added strength from his legs and launched into the air to meet the Abominar, fueled by his frustrations over the being trapped in the game and his inability to save the Earth humans still trapped in the Lich King’s dungeon.
If the Abominar was surprised at James’s boldness, it didn’t show it. James’s eyes were still locked on the creature, and he could see that the flying monster’s face contained nothing but aggression and hate.
James’s face mirrored that sentiment.