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 Chapter 3 – Back in Black 


*Ding*
Grand Curse of Shattered Trust
A grand curse created aeons ago by the darkest of minds. Can only be cast if deep trust is abused in the name of greed and selfishness.

Effects: Chains will bind the target, taking away his freedom and burning his flesh with the memory of a betrayal so deep he will carry it for the rest of his life


*Ding*
You have gained a new title


*Ding*
Title : Paranoid
The betrayal of your friends scarred you for life but you learned a lesson to choose careful who to trust and are now a little bit tougher than before.
+50 hp
+5 wisdom
When equipped:
People think you’re insane because you are frowning all the time




*Ding*
You have gained a new skill


*Ding*
Skill Name:Skill Rank:Skill Level:Skill Experience:
Chains of Sorrow (passive)Beginner10%
Betrayed by those you trusted most a curse binds you to the place that shattered what you believed in.

Effects:

  • You cannot leave the walls surrounding the tower

  • Your hands are bound by chains

  • Severe reduction in speed due to imprisonment depending on skill proficiency and strength
    (currently speed -90%)



Skill Name:Skill Rank:Skill Level:Skill Experience:
Shackles of Sorrow (passive)-0/100-
Betrayed by those you trusted most a curse binds those who carry the same fate

Effects:

  • Your soul is bound to the Banshee

  • Pain and Suffering is shared between those connected

  • As the Banshee has no hitpoints you take damage if she is harmed

  • You lose all your mana as the Banshee drains you of it unwillingly

  • Unknown 



A black chain drilled itself into Halls chest and linked him to the ghostly woman. The shackles didn't reflect any light but glowed in a sickening purple shade and oozed black sludge that would make ones skin crawl. Out of nowhere shot the same dark chains winding themselves around his arms pulling him down to the ground with a force he was helpless against.

Hall was still in a daze. The wound on his chest hurt and blood seeped out but he hardly felt it. In front of his eyes Bale grinned like the devil. Salena didn't even look in his direction. What caused him a stabbing pain in his heart was the sight of Belinda. She looked happy, threw him just one pitiful glance and walked to Bale. "It worked, haha, amazing, I can't wait for the reward."

Bales grin became even darker. "Yeah, I can't believe that sap fell for it. You did really great Belinda, couldn't have done it without you." Belinda became even happier and even blushed, already forgetting about the bleeding Hall. Bale went over to him raising his huge sword. 

"And of course I have to thank you too you piece of s**t. Hope you got the message, know your place and stay away from us." But the banshee that was still at Hall's side let out a scream that pushed Bale back several feet. He made a grimace but then he shrugged indifferent. 

"Well, have fun bleeding to death, let's go guys." In the meantime Ryan and Nayr joined them to check on everything unfold and showed insane grins on their faces, happy to see the guy they hated suffering. Salena was already nowhere to be seen. Before Belinda could leave he was able to press a single word over his lips. 

"Why?"
She stopped, turned around for a second, shook her head, her eyes filled with a mixture of contempt and pity and blew air through her nose. Without saying a word she left him lying in his own blood while he slowly felt the cold creeping into his weak limbs. 'Damn damn damn, why, god damn it.’

The sadness and pain, the loneliness and confusion, the sorrow and suffering, everything accumulated inside of him. It started to boil into a hot, burning lump inside his chest. He felt glowing hatred and flaming anger surging inside of him. It all was just too much. 

Overwhelmed he opened his mouth and let out an otherworldly, bloodcurdling scream. Even the banshee took a few steps back. No, the word scream didn't come close, it was the release of so many emotions, so much wrath and despair. 

It wasn't just because his avatar in the game was now practically worthless. It was the loss of his oldest friend. The betrayal of the women he loved, of the girl he thought about during his darkest hours. The light he held so dearly burned his soul and heart. He just couldn't take it.

Dust all over the tower, not touched in decades or centuries, was raised and dispersed all over the dilapidated floor and furniture. Even Belinda and the others outside the tower started to shiver and Salena had to stop for a few moments after getting soft knees. It was a scream that would raise millions against oppression and injustice.

*Ding*
You have gained a new skill


Skill Name:Skill Rank:Skill Level:Skill Experience:
Blast TyrantBeginner10%
A deafening roar filled with anger and despair but also with the promise of defiance. 

Effects:

  • Enemies are confused and their morale will be reduced depending on skill proficiency and enemy strength

  • Allies are filled with new hope:
    health and mana regeneration doubled for 10min
    one negative effect is lifted randomly


Cost: 50 mana


As he looked at the new skill he started to laugh hysterically.
“Am I a lucky guy or what? Getting such a cool skill hours after starting the game, too bad I DON’T HAVE ANY F***ING MANA TO USE IT” 

He realized he needed to calm down and get a clear head. The woman he loved tricked him. He prayed it was only a bad joke, a prank, because she thought it was only a game. It shouldn’t mean anything, right?

But he knew better. Her attitude after what had happened to him. Her indifference and her smile. Oh that smile, her happiness over his pain. This image would probably haunt him for a long long time.

Taking deep breaths he slowly regained control over his emotions and was able to think straight again. “Wait, why am I not dead?” The wound he received from Bale should have killed him or at least the bleeding effect should have.

“I closed the wound while draining your mana, guess it cauterized or something, oh and sorry for taking it, but I can’t really do anything about it.” Surprised at hearing a female voice next to his ear he jolted up looking around with wide eyes.
“Forgot I was here, hm? That’s not very nice.” It was the banshee. He blinked a couple of times. “Cat got your tongue lad?”

He cleared his throat and looked at her. “Sorry for that, I was told you were an insane spirit captured by evil and only looking to destroy anything living. Guess I was misinformed.”
She started to pout but then looked at him understanding. From close up she was rather pretty, at least for ghost standards. Her nose was petite and her lips full. He thought she looked really cute. Though her sad eyes almost made him tear up. 

He looked down at his chest and at the chain connecting the two. “Do you mind explaining to me what exactly happened to you and me? I’m still really confused… and angry. Don’t forget angry.”

Although she felt anxious, it had been ages since she really had a conversation with someone after all, she eased up a little bit thanks to his somewhat unconstrained attitude. She even smiled a little bit, also the first time in decades, even if it didn’t reach her eyes.

“Yes, but it’s a long story so please listen calmly.” He nodded, sat himself up and looked her in the eyes.
“As you already figure out, the Banshee you mentioned is me. My name is Lilith and as you read the story in that cursed book over there” she pointed at the pedestal “you also know what happened to me. The man I loved most in the world, the man I was supposed to marry, betrayed me, killed me and chained my soul to this cursed place, it has been so long ago I can’t even remember why he did it. But you know, after a couple of decades you just fall into a deep slumber.

As a matter of fact I just woke up a couple of days ago when your … well they are not your friends anymore I guess, those guys from before, walked into my tower, looked at the book and found out they had to trick someone who trusted them and spill his or her blood on the accursed writings. I guess you would know as it just happened to you.

You are lucky you are still alive, as you can see I was killed back then. Over the years I tried to find out how to break the curse. The answer should be in the books around us, but it took me too long to learn the runes and the language. My soul was drained of its energy and fell asleep for a very long time. Guess I was lucky, living centuries alone and awake, I don’t think I could have kept my sanity.
That was the short version, do you have any questions?”

Hall thought about it a moment. “Can I call you Lily?” 
After a couple of seconds she started to laugh, she laughed so loud and hard she started to shake. Tears rolled down her face and she started sobbing but started to laugh again. Only after a minute she got a hold of herself again. “Thank you, I needed that, I really did.” 

Her smile changed, when it reached her eyes and the sadness was pushed back it was like her face was glowing and he felt a pinch in his chest.

*Ding*
Your skill Shackles of Sorrow leveled up


He lifted a brow. “Show information”

Skill Name:Skill Rank:Skill Level:Skill Experience:
Shackles of Sorrow (passive)-5/100-


‘Well, whatever, this character is broken anyway. I’m sooo going to delete it.’ Though he really hated the idea of that as it would mean acknowledging his defeat and stay down where those bastards put him.

He also looked at the Banshee, no, at Lily. What would happen to her if he would disappear? She was only a NPC, not real, but still, the pain in her eyes just seemed so heartbreaking. Could he really just abandon her? Wouldn’t that put him on the same level as those douche bags that stabbed him in the back?

“Yes, you may call me Lily.” She said still smiling and interrupting his train of thought. So he decided that for now he would look around the tower to maybe find clues on the curse. 
“That’s good, so guess we should find some clues on how to break the curse.”

She looked surprised and was speechless for a moment. “What do you mean?” 
“Well you and I are cursed, we are chained to this place and can’t do a lot more than to find a way to solve this crisis or do you have another idea?” The shock was still obvious in her face.
“No, it’s just, you’re not the first voyager to come here, I mean you are a voyager right?”
That was the term NPCs used to describe the Players, so he nodded.

“There were a handful over the last year, but it’s more like a dream as my slumber wasn’t disturbed, they usually just ran away as soon as they got here, guess their trust in their companions wasn’t strong enough.” 

Hall laughed without a hint of humor. 
“Yeah, good thing we are different and didn’t stop believing in the people we put our trust in.”   She just put on a bitter smile and continued.

“Anyway, I was surprised you decided to stay, as I know voyagers live by different rules.” Now it was his turn to be surprised. “If you don’t mind me asking, the voyagers should have appeared around a year ago and you have been imprisoned for centuries. How do you know about them and that they are different?”

“We were told a long time about their arrival, as the gods foretold that one day people from another world would join us, able to change the fate of the world. Some would be strong enough to rival armies others may even challenge the gods themselves. Some would be devils, others angels.”

‘Well I don’t think that will happen anytime soon.’ As the game was designed to last for decades and the gods were powerful AIs the world wouldn’t change so fast. 

He made up his mind. Filled with confidence and determination and just a little bit of malice a grin appeared on his face as he responded to her pleading. “Don’t worry, I won’t abandon you. So let’s get to work, I don’t want to stay here longer than really necessary and I have a lot of payback to dish out.”
Lily’s eyes lit up and at least a flicker of hope started to burn inside of her. “Thank you so much.”

*Ding*
Quest: Carry on my Wayward Son
You refuse to give in even if the situation seems hopeless. Not only do you want to break free in the name of vengeance but you take responsibility for the one cursed beside you and promise to break her chains that bind her to this wicked place.

Difficulty: C
Quest requirements:

  • your absolute trust was betrayed

  • survive the Grand Curse of Shattered Trust

  • you refuse to accept your fate

  • promise Lily to free her 


Rewards: Unknown

Failure: abandon Lily

If you die while chained you will spawn inside the tower, penalty is still applied


‘Wow a level C quest, although that’s probably because I have to accomplish it alone.’
He nodded with grim determination.


Quest accepted


Before standing up he grabbed a half-eaten bread from his inventory and started to chew it while drinking some water.
Lily made a face of disgust. “What the hell are you eating, it tastes horrible.”
“Huh, how can you taste it?” Hall asked surprised. 

“Did you forget the properties of Shackles of Sorrow already? We share pain and suffering.”
‘Wow, so eating this bread is some kind of torture? Who knew?’ “Sorry about that, I don’t have anything else and if you don’t want me to drop dead you have to put up with it for a while and I also need to fill up my health”
She nodded a little dejected but accepting. “Just so you know, outside the tower are a lot of smaller animals and some edible weeds, even that should taste better than whatever you ate just now and I think there is also a small well for water.”

He was quite relieved to hear that as he only had around half a canteen of water and a couple of loafs of bread to quell his hunger. Though he didn’t know how to hunt anything as he didn’t have a weapon. ‘Guess weeds it is, great’

“Alright, Lily please get me a couple of the books you used to learn the language and the runes. I guess you need to teach me before we can start solving this predicament we found ourselves in.
I will start looking around if I can find something useful.”

As he stood up, the chains around his wrists and the one in his chest started to rattle with a sound that made him tremble after he almost forgot about them. ‘Wow that sounds like it comes straight from the grave, creepy.’ He took a couple of quick steps and was yanked back so hard he fell on his back and rammed his head so hard on the ground that he saw stars and had to gasp for air.

-5hp


Shaking off the dizziness he felt from falling so hard. ‘Stupid chains, shouldn’t I be able to walk inside the wall surrounding this damn tower?’
He stood up again and tried to take one step after the other but a lot more careful this time. Soon enough he felt harsh resistance and needed to put in his whole weight to gain even a couple of inches.

Funny enough it didn’t pull him back when he stopped. It wasn’t like a rubber band. No, it felt like there were huge weights at the end of the chains he had to carry with him. The chains went directly into the ground beneath him, so he thought they were anchored to the floor somehow and as the length wasn’t changeable he couldn’t even raise his arms above his waist. It was horrible. After a couple of steps he was already out of breath. It would take forever to get around this way.

He tried grabbing the chains but his hands went right through them. ‘What the hell?’
Lily saw his wasted efforts. “You have to concentrate on the chains, they are partly made by the curses magic but also contain the very essence of your soul. Focus and feel that energy and you should be able to touch the shackles. Though you should be careful, touching a part of your soul is painful beyond almost anything else.”

Nodding he tried to calm himself, he closed his eyes and focused on something that was different about him. As he thought that he didn’t have any soul energy in real life, there should be an abnormal feeling.

After a couple of minutes he could sense some kind of warmth leaving his body. He still couldn’t get a clear image so he continued for what felt like a couple of hours until he could faintly see a stream of blue light leaving his wrists flowing into the ground beneath him. He slowly let out his breath and opened his eyes causing the light to vanish.

*Ding*
Your skill Chains of Sorrow leveled up


“Show Information”

Skill Name:Skill Rank:Skill Level:Skill Experience:
Chains of SorrowBeginner217%
Additional Effect:
You can now see your soul essence that is entangled with the chains of sorrow


These weird skills surprised him again. ‘That was fast, what is up with those weird skills, guess it’s because they are related to the curse’

Hall didn’t even notice Lily facing him and almost dropped on his behind when he saw her face only a couple of centimeters in front of his.
“You’re pretty good, I think it took me half a year until I could see my essence.” She admitted impressed. “Now try touching the chains while focusing on your soul energy but be careful.”

Nodding he closed his eyes again and tried to repeat what he just achieved. Within a minute he saw the stream of light again. A serene blue, lightly pulsating. Hall let go of his breath and grabbed both chains with one hand each. He should have been more careful.

Gruesome pain flared up in his chest and his wrists were burned by the fires of hell.
“AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH…” A scream filled with heart shattering pain came over his lips and his eyes filled with tears. ‘Isn’t this supposed a game? Why the hell does it hurt so badly?”

Hall barely could stay conscious and fell on his knees. Lily rushed to him and hugged him in an attempt to ease his suffering.
“It’s alright Hall, you don’t have to hurt yourself on my behalf, please, it’s enough already. You can leave. I’m already thankful you just stayed with me today.”

After she released him from her arms he saw in Lily’s eyes how hard it was for her to say those words. 
Tears were streaming out of them and he knew she felt for him and although she couldn’t bare the loneliness anymore, she still urged him to quit so he didn’t have to suffer. 
He was glad the pain from the soul itself wasn’t transferred through the shackles that bound them together or else the following words wouldn’t be so easy for him. 

“What are you talking about Lily? This much is nothing.” He tried to laugh but failed miserably. 
She looked at him unconvinced, her head looking at the ground. “It may just be as that cursed book said. Trust is for the weak and I guess we are weak.”

Now it was his turn to grab her shoulders to give her the courage she lacked. “No Lily, put your faith in me and I will show you, trust is not for the weak!” And he added with a terrifying grin “But mercy may just be, at least for those who wronged us...” 
His heartfelt words reached her and when she raised her head she could see in his eyes and feel through their connection that he was serious.

*Ding*
Your skill Shackles of Sorrow leveled up


But he ignored the message and with a roaring promise he raised himself from the ground. 

“I swear to you, we will get out of here. Together! 
But first I have to disturb some brats at their dinner table.” This time his grin was filled with resolve and blatant malice against those who betrayed him. 

“Wait for me, because here and now I promise you: NO POWER IN THE ‘VERSE CAN STOP ME! “

While looking in her tearful eyes that started to shine with hope he said smiling.

“See you in a couple of hours, Log out!”




------------------------------------------------

Author's Notes:

Here you go, chapter number 3, I hope you will enjoy it, it actually riled me up a bit while i wrote it^^

Again, I'm always grateful for suggestions and corrections as I always try to improve my writing

A really small spoiler:
Spoiler :
for those worried our hero is a pansy, don't be, he is far from it  :grin:


I just started writing the fourth chapter and hope it's finished by tomorrow evening
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Sturmwalzer

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