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Kragathor extracted the contents of the other three boxes, and carefully arranged them so that each box was sitting next to its respective crystal. First, he meticulously inspected the crystal. It was a flawless piece of quartz, cut and polished into a pyramidal shape. It glowed a faint green. Physically, the other three were identical, except they glowed blue, red, and yellow. Each one’s glow matched the color theme of its packaging.

Next, he incanted an analysis spell. A small avalanche of gold coins attested to his surprise. The layered magic was like nothing he’d ever seen before. It rivaled the complexity of the Administrative Datachest enchantment he had devised to simplify managing his thousand level dungeon and its many contracted employees. Kragathor had never seen anything of this level created by mere mortals.

However, the complex weave of enchantment was for naught before his mighty intellect. The object before him was linked to another, and its primary functions would open an astral connection between its user’s mind and the targeted device. It also made slight changes to the user’s perception during the astral connection, allowing for it to modify sensory feedback. A minor extra function allowed the user to interact with the device without engaging the astral connection function through the use of projected illusions.

It truly was a fascinating piece of work, and its complexity alone made it worthy of Kragathor’s collection, even if it failed to deliver upon his expectations. He confirmed that the other three crystals were identically crafted, except they each connected to a different target.

Next he examined the promotional text on the boxes. He set the first one down almost immediately, barely noting that it was named Lumelle. The world it described was too much like his own. It would probably not hold his attention long. The second one, Hoxland, showed promise, describing a world with terrible and alien gods, limited magic, and a level of craft that far surpassed what existed in his own. It sounded like it had a rich cultural background and complex history. The third one, Labyrinthia, was an immediate rejection, being set inside a dungeon that encompassed an entire world. No thanks. The final one, however, captured his attention as he read and reread the description.


CIRO — A world of technological marvel and industrial horror. Visit cities with sky scraping towers of steel and glass, or horrid wastelands contaminated by industrial toxins. Ciro is a world of dichotomies, filled with magnificent splendor and squalid horror. You may end up fighting against grotesque mutants or sleek war robots. As you Travel in this world you will find endless opportunities awaiting you to experience the best and the worst this world has to offer.

    • High technology, null magic setting.
    • Dozens of available classes, from Cyber Rogue to Golem Operator.
    • Generous multi-classing system
    • Fast paced combat with Skill Assist System.
    • Revolutionary instantaneous communication network.

Kragathor gathered up all but the Virmo crystal for Ciro, and deposited them on a shelf in his personal collection.

He returned to his favorite gold pile, settled in, and gave the activation command. “Virmo, activate.”

A screen appeared, displaying an emblem of a pyramidal crystal which then faded and was replaced by a list of mortal languages. Scanning through the list he noticed it even had Modern Draconic and High Draconic, the languages used by the lesser dragon-kin and by true dragon descendants, respectively. While Kragathor was well versed in other languages, there was no reason not to go with the most familiar one — even if it had been corrupted over the millennia by slang and foreign terminology — so he selected High Draconic.

Briefly, he wondered if any of his own descendants still lived. It had been at least six thousand years since he was last visited by one of his many grandchildren, which left him with a faint sense of melancholy.

Brushing that thought aside, he looked at the new prompt asking him to select the country that he resides in. This was troublesome as Kragathor was not familiar with any of these names. Mortal empires had a habit of rising and falling in the span of just a handful of centuries, so it was always difficult to keep track.

So, he contacted his resident expert on the subject, forging a temporary telepathic link.

“Shifty. What is the current name of the mortal nation Deep Thousand is in?”

“It is called Austland, Your Wrathfulness. This one is pleased to be of use.”

Kragathor severed the link, and selected the relevant entry and was then taken to a screen to set up his account.

 

 

Please create your account:

Name*:

Kragathor Tenset Malevolous

Username*:

KragHoardsSwag

Password*:

ILoveGold1

Confirm Password*:

ILoveGold1

Race (Select One):

Dragon

Age (Select One):

500+

Occupation:

Other: Dungeon Master

Household Income:

Other: Incalculable

*Required field

 

He submitted the account information, and received a notification that his account had been created successfully and that he could now begin playing.

Finally ready to test out the new game, Kragathor took the Ciro Virmo crystal, and set it on a small platform that he’d enchanted to hover near his head.

“Virmo, log in,” the dragon heard his voice rumble across his lair before his awareness of his surroundings faded to nothingness.

<^INITIALIZING^>

<^ERROR - COULD NOT TRANSMIT PLAYER MESH - FILE SIZE TOO LARGE^>

<^UNHANDLED EXCEPTION - CONTACTING PLAYER SUPPORT^>

Kragathor found himself floating in a neutral void of neither dark nor light, embodied as a small luminescent mote.

Suddenly, the scene changed to that of a cozy little office, complete with a wooden desk and plush chairs. Kragathor’s non-form hovered over one, facing a ruddy skinned dwarf with a neatly braided beard.

“Hello, thank you for contacting Virmo Player Support, my name is Oren, and I will be assisting you today.” Oren briefly scanned the file in front of him. “Hmm, it says here that your player mesh could not be transmitted due to file size limitations. Let me see what we can do about that.”

“What is a player mesh?” Kragathor’s voice came out tinny and hollow rather than pants-shittingly thunderous.

“When you log in for the first time, it scans your body shape, so you have a comfortable body shape to use during the character creation process. It failing to load is why you’re presently represented as an orb of light. Huh, this is odd. I’m not finding any documentation on this particular error. I’m afraid I’ll have to send this over to development for them to review, but I’m sure we can find a suitable short term solution for you. I’ll just need to gather data to include in my report to the development team. Mister er… Malevolous, it lists your race here as dragon, is that accurate?”

“Yes.”

The dwarf’s face paled a little bit. “Right. If you don’t mind asking, sir, what age category are you in?”

Kragathor paused to think. “Hm, about ten thousand years ago I was classified as one of the eldest of the ancients. I don’t really know what comes after that.”

The dwarf’s face drained of all color, and his face became a bit strained. “Eh, erm, eh… And, if it pleases you, sir, could you tell me your approximate length?”

“Two thousand and nine hundred feet, last I checked.”

The dwarf’s breathing started becoming a little ragged. “Right. I, uh, I think that’s plenty of information. I’ll send that off to the development team and mark it highest priority. As for right now, if you do not wish to wait for them to patch the issue, I can set up a temporary avatar for you. It’ll just be a blank humanoid template, but it should work for getting through character creation. In fact, I’ll even add on the premium character creation package at no charge, as some small apology for this inconvenience. I’ll have to get authorization from a boss before I am capable of any further compensation for wasting your invaluable time.”

If he’d had a hand in this form, he’d wave it dismissively. “That is fine. I would like to get started on trying out this Virmo game thing, so whatever is most expedient.”

“Yes, right. Right away! Immediately, sir.” The dwarf began furiously tapping away at a crystalline screen which looked remarkably similar to Kragathor’s scrying panes.

Moments later office scene faded to nothingness.

<^INITIALIZING^>

<^LOADING TEMPLATE-A.MESH - LOADED SUCCESSFULLY^>

<^ENTERING CHARACTER CREATION^>

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A note from Michael Dale

If I hit my writing goal for the day, I shoud have next chapter up tonight or early tomorrow.


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Michael Dale

  • Austin, TX

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