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Daertalmos Online

Faclarebal

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a part of Daertalmos Online, by ~Living-Dead Doll~.

A large city where all new players arrive. There are tutorial quests, as well as race/class specific quests. There are also many merchants here. The town is known as the town of beginnings.

~Living-Dead Doll~ holds sovereignty over Faclarebal, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

379 readers have been here.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

http://swordartonline.wikia.com/wiki/sword_art_online_wiki http://dothack.wikia.com/wiki/.hack//wiki celtic and other mythology lore

Setting

A large city where all new players arrive. There are tutorial quests, as well as race/class specific quests. There are also many merchants here. The town is known as the town of beginnings.

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The city is build branching out from the castle. There are many things to do in the town.

Outside the bridge to the castle is where events are held. This place is called the Heart.

There are three exits from the town.
To the right, leads to the Dark Shade (For Levels 6-12).

To the left, you enter the Bale Forest (Levels 1-8).

Finally, if you exit the city from the bottom, you will journey on the road to the next town, a small village of houses that players can buy and live in.

NPCs:
East side of town:
Blacksmith - Repair or disassemble weapons, as well as learn new crafting skills and buy crafting items.
Weapons Merchant - Buy weapons for all classes and races.
Heavy Armour- Buy heavy and medium armour, crafting skills, and crafting items.

West side of town:
Potions Merchant - Buy potions, crafting skills, and items for crafting.
Light Armour - Buy light and medium armour, crafting skills, and crafting items.
Cloth Armour - Buy cloth armour, crafting skills, and crafting items.
Fishing Expert- Buy fishing skills and equipment.
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Faclarebal

A large city where all new players arrive. There are tutorial quests, as well as race/class specific quests. There are also many merchants here. The town is known as the town of beginnings.

Minimap

Faclarebal is a part of Daertalmos.

3 Places in Faclarebal:

1 Characters Here

Da'len [1] (WIP) 'Sly as a dog? No way, I'm as sly as a fox!'

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Setting

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A circular large city where all new players arrive, thus the nickname 'City of Beginnings'. There are tutorial quests, as well as race/class specific quests. Numerous merchants call Faclarebal home and sell various items for all levels. The city is build branching out from the castle. There are several rings that make up this city, radiating out from the castle.

Outside the bridge to the castle is the inner ring known as the 'Heart of Faclarebal'. A town square type area used for a meeting place for in game events, competitions, and prizes. This is a popular place for newbies to meet up and get help. The NPCs there guide new players and hand out leveling and tutorial quests to get used to the game.

The second ring is full of places for more social actions. There are several popular pubs, inns, libraries, restaurants, and other places to meet up with friends. This is also a very popular spot for those who like to roleplay and stay in character.

The third ring is the most popular area for merchants but is also home to Job Skill NPCs. This is where a characters can select their job, perfect craft skills, buy items for crafting, or select a secondary job (once a player reaches level 20). There is also an auction house for selling items and buying items.

The final ring is the thinner than any of the inside rings. This is where players will find quests for the classes. There are also NPCs of the different races who hand out race classes.

There are three exits from the town.
When heading out of the city, taking a left from the Heart, you enter the Bale Forest (Levels 1-8).

To the right, leads to the Dak Bale Forest (For Levels 18-24, inaccessible to players under level 18).

Finally, if you exit the city from the bottom, you will journey on the road to the next town, a small village of houses that players can buy and live in (Accessible at level 20, house prices vary).





About thirty minutes after Daertalmos Online launches, there are suddenly massive disconnections from users around the world, though many in the game stay connected. Those who were booted from the game found they could not log back in. Those who were not booted, however found they could not log out.
A text box spontaneously appeared in front of the remaining player with bold red text and a 15 second countdown.
"-Event Announcement-
You will be transported to the Heart of Faclarebal in 15 seconds..."

Within 20 seconds all remaining players find themselves in the Heart. Despite the thousands who were present at the initial launch, there were only around 400 remaining. There was confused and some furious at the interruption and begin asking other players about the event. Anyone who tried to leave the Heart found all exits had been blocked with a invisible barrier. Panic began to spread through the players, while others simply waited for the event to begin.

A small orb could be seen floating over the bridge of the castle, simply hovering over the players. As the chaos grew the orb finally exploded, engulfing the area in a blinding light.

It wasn't long before the blinding effect subsided, leaving a slender woman hovering where the orb had been. She was partially transparent, however the sorrowful expression on her face was clear. She sighed as she gazed at the players, tears swelling in her eyes. Her green hair was tousled and messy and her eyes were red as if crying for some time. Once creamy skin was now too pale and had red blotches. However, she still looked slightly composed. Those who had read about the lore of the game would recognize her as Nantos, creator of the forests, valleys, and mountains.
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"Children of Ait Naofa." She began, gathering the attention of most players. A few tears slid down her pale face as she gazed upon them. "My dears, I hate to call upon you, however we are in need. Ait Naofa has been attacked and the mother to you all, has been taken from us. Those of us left in Ait Naofa are struggling to hold back the evil. It is time for you to put aside differences and help us. You chosen few have been bound to this system. If you die here, you will be brought back and sent to a safe location. You will feel the pain of this death, but will not die. I have activated the headgear so that even if removed, your conscious will stay here. The only exception to this is those of you who face Vyrlo and his monsters. Somehow, he has modified the system and can kill you, along with your real body."

The crowd burst in uproar at the absurdity of this message, but Nantos continued.

"My time is running out and I must leave you. Other from Ait Naofa will try to help those who are willing to assist us." Fear washed over Nantos' face as she turned to look behind herself, as if she heard someone coming. There was a small shiver in her appearance, like a glitched image. "We are under attack! Children of Ait Naofa, please help us!"

In another burst of blinding light, the woman was gone, leaving the players to converse. The barriers fell from the exits of the Heart, allowing the players to leave if they wish.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Aoife
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#, as written by Feyblue





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The First Day ~ The Impossible Dream

|| Location ✦ Daertalmos Online - Faclarebal ||
|| State of Mind ✧ Shocked ||



Ooh, spooky ghost text!Image





Clack-clack. Clack-clack. Clackity-clack-clack.

The metallic sound of her faulds brushing against the pavement filled her ears, distinct from the hard footfalls of the leather-booted crowd of novices rushing about to and fro before her. She glanced upward, watching as a small white bird circled overhead far in the distance, barely visible against the clouds that gently crept across the sky. Shading her eyes against the unanticipated brilliance of the sun's simulated rays, a lone figure took a few cautious steps out of the small alley in which she'd found herself standing upon coming to her senses. Her movements were uncertain - clumsy, even - like the stumbling of a sleepwalker. Her senses felt ever-so-slightly dulled, as though realty had been naught but an unpleasant dream, and she was still in the process of awakening from it. She rubbed her eyes, blinking several times as she accustomed herself to the daylight. The young woman hopped in place once, then twice. The cobblestones beneath her feet felt hard and firm. The weight of the armor strapped firmly to her upper body seemed real as well. That was the point of Virtual Reality, she supposed, but still, she couldn't help but be astonished by how detailed the fake world around her was. Everything she felt in this virtual body felt exactly as one would expect it to. This was more than just a game. This seemed more like she'd just taken the disorient express straight from Earth to Ait Naofa.

I couldn't have asked for a better world than this, the girl thought, a smile brighter than the blinding sunlight breaking out across her face. Rushing out into the busy street, she joined the throng of players wandering to and fro through the enormous city.

Glancing down at her character menu, the young woman in blue gave a smile at the name that appeared there - "Aoife." It sounded similar enough to the name she was used to going by, so it probably wouldn't be difficult to adjust to. And, since she felt reasonably confident in her ability to move around in her new body - it helped that even if she was a bit more well-proportioned in this form, her height and build were roughly the same as what she was used to - all that remained was to figure out how to interact with the strange new world around her. The most obvious skill she'd need to learn was combat, but for the time being, she decided to forgo a blind rush into the wilderness in favor of exploring the starting city. Ideally, she'd want to learn the rough locations of all major NPCs like storekeepers, class trainers, and main story questgivers, as well as memorize the general layout of the area. However, she doubted she'd have enough time to dally like that. After all, time was of the essence. She wanted to get as far as she could, as quickly as possible. Somewhere beyond the streets of the town in which she wandered aimlessly, there were untold wild lands filled with bosses to fight, loot to claim, and quests to complete! She wanted to go to those places before anybody else, to blaze a trail and make a name for herself. And, if she was going to do that, she certainly couldn't afford to waste time strolling around aimlessly.

She had a basic idea of what the city's layout was. So far, she hadn't seen any obvious signs of quest giving NPCs, which meant that they were probably either in the town square or at the gates. She was on the wrong side of town to head into the beginner area, anyway, so she decided she'd check the former location first. Turning off the busy shopping streets, she headed straight for the heart of town. Moving quickly, she cut through the crowds of players milling about, and soon found herself at the very center of the area. The vast expanse of the town square, like the heart of some sort of coliseum, unfolded before her. But just as she set foot within its boundaries, something happened.



The instant Aoife's foot touched the pavement of the town square, it felt as though an electrical shock had rushed through her body. The air seemed to flicker and tilt, causing her to stumble as the world seemed to somehow shift by 1 degree on its axis. She was standing stock still, upright, but her stomach began to turn with nausea as though the once-solid ground beneath her feet was slipping away. She gasped in surprise, yet the air that filled her simulated lungs felt stale, as though she was drowning in dust. Her eyes went wide in confusion, one hand clutching her throat as her gaze darted back and forth across the plaza, looking to the crowd around her for help. Yet, the throngs of people around her didn't seem to even notice her presence, every single one of them frozen as though petrified. It was as though time itself had stopped.

A blur like TV static tore a gash across the sky, and the sun, for a single instant, forgot to shine. The once vibrant world was now lifeless and dark. Aoife struggled to move, but found that her body wouldn't respond. She tried to scream, beg someone, anyone to answer her, but all that came out of her mouth was a barely-audible, choking rasp.

The static began to pour down from on high like rain. The sky disappeared beneath a curtain of surging, writing black and grey. Buildings vanished beneath it as it oozed over everything. Soon, all that was left was the streets, and the countless people frozen motionless all around her.

Then, the static crept over them, too. Aoife watched in horror as, one by one, the people around her disappeared beneath it, their shapes vanishing completely from view. In one moment, she was surrounded by fifty motionless figures. In the next, thirty. Whether it was a few seconds or an eternity, she couldn't have said for sure, but soon enough, she was alone amidst a collapsing world. She struggled, desperately trying to move as the distortion came closer, ever closer to her, but her body felt numb. She could only watch, helpless, as the static finally surrounded her, covering everything. She didn't know what was happening, or why, but in that moment, she had forgotten that the crumbling fantasy around her was just a game. Aoife was, in her bewilderment and terror, certain of exactly one thing: she was about to die. She tried to shut her eyes against the encroaching darkness, but whether or not it worked, she couldn't have said. As the twisted blackness consumed her, she could see and feel nothing.

And then, just as she was certain that her end was at hand, something appeared: a tiny, transparent screen, the blood-red glow of which was the only light she could see. As she recognized the announcement for what it was, her overwhelming terror began to dissipate. In an instant, she remembered where she was, and realized what must have been happening. She must have lost connection to the server, right? Without any data being transmitted to her brain, it made sense that the virtual reality around her would vanish. It had been scary, sure, but she was about to wake up, right?

But the screen didn't say that. Aoife squinted her eyes, trying to make out the words on the screen before her as the characters blurred and twisted beyond recognition.

-乇Џ乇刀イ ム刀刀ԾЦ刀ζ乇ᄊ乇刀イ-
-リԾЦ Щノレレ 乃乇 イ尺ム刀ㄎアԾ尺イ乇Ð イԾ イん乇 ん乇ム尺イ Ծキ キムζレム尺乇乃ムレ ノ刀 15 ㄎ乇ζԾ刀Ðㄎ-


A single bar of static tore its way across the screen, scrambling the letters momentarily before they reformed, coming into focus at last, and revealing...

-EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT-
-Yᴏᴜ ᴡɪʟʟ ʙᴇ ᴛʀᴀɴsᴘᴏʀᴛᴇᴅ ᴛᴏ ᴛʜᴇ Hᴇᴀʀᴛ ᴏғ Fᴀᴄʟᴀʀᴇʙᴀʟ ɪɴ ₁₅ sᴇᴄᴏɴᴅs-


E... Event...? What? What was happening? Before Aoife could fully comprehend what she was seeing, the clock reached zero, and the window disappeared. Suddenly, in a flash of light and motion, the static surged back into the sky, concentrating at a single point that erupted in vibrancy and color as the sun glared down from above and time began to flow again. She released her throat, coughing hoarsely as the air flooded back into her lungs. Looking around, she heard a wave of confused murmurs of consternation beginning to spread through the once-again crowded square. For a moment, she felt relief beginning to set in, before she realized something that sent a chill running down her spine.

None of the people around her were the same as the ones who'd been in the area before the momentary connection disruption had set in. Every single one of the people she'd seen disappearing into the static were nowhere to be found.

Her eyes darted around her as she frantically tried to catch a glimpse of any of the carefree players who had been romping aimlessly about a moment before, to no avail. Her vision was blocked by the new arrivals, scattered haphazardly around the gigantic courtyard, as though simply dropped there at random from on high. Everybody else seemed as confused as she was, people calling out for their friends, or asking what was happening.

The second question, at least, was soon answered, as the ball of static above the area coalesced into a roughly human shape. Is that... a hologram? Aoife wondered, staring as the being overhead blurred into focus, revealing a mature-looking woman with bright emerald green hair, into which was woven a wreath of gold. Aoife recognized her instantly as Nantos, the game world's nature goddess. The young knight gazed on in consternation, wanting to believe that this was all just some elaborate setup for the official start of the game's story. Yet, if that was the case, then where were all of the people who had disappeared just then? Moreover... why was the avatar of Nantos that now addressed those who remained crying?

"Children of Ait Naofa," She began, her voice resounding across the plaza and drowning out the murmurs of the crowd. "My dears, I hate to call upon you. However, we are in need. Ait Naofa has been attacked, and the mother to you all has been taken from us. Those of us left in Ait Naofa are struggling to hold back the evil," She continued, giving a hurried explanation of what the Paladin, at least, knew from reading the story materials posted on the game's forums. The "mother" to whom she referred was probably Airnmid, the Goddess whose wish had given life to Daertalmos, while the "evil" that had attacked and taken her must have been Vyrlo, Dark Lord of the Netherworld, and ostensibly the main villain of the MMO's story. So far, nothing that had been said surprised Aoife. That is, until the goddess began addressing her as a player rather than as an avatar, saying things that no NPC should have known.

"It is time for you to put aside differences and help us. You chosen few have been bound to this system." What did she mean by few? Could it be that the scattered crowd assembled in the courtyard were the only people logged into the server? But how can that be? There were enough players online to fill this entire city, let alone the town square, before they... before they disappeared... Aoife's eyes went wide in horror as she realized that during what she had thought was merely a connection issue on her end, at least 50,000 players must have been dropped from the game. And yet, Nantos said the remaining players had been bound to the game's system. There was only one way Aoife could interpret that. Frantically opening her player menu as everyone else in the crowd gaped, she found her paranoid suspicions confirmed as she saw that the bottom of the player menu was missing a button that had prominently been displayed there the last time she'd opened it.

The "log out" key was completely gone.

"If you die here, you will be brought back and sent to a safe location. You will feel the pain of this death, but will not die," Nantos continued, to cries of protest, confusion, outrage, and disbelief from the crowd. Aoife merely stared at the menu before her. Did this mean that the game would transfer feelings of pain over to the player, just like it would replicate other sensations? Then, supposing she was stabbed, or slashed, or lit on fire... She would feel that as though it had actually happened in real life? Could that even be called a "game?"

Still, she told herself, trying to stay calm. They could have disabled more important features. At least, if Nantos was to be believed, the respawn mechanic was still working. Death would hurt, but it wouldn't be permanent... Right?

No such luck.

"I have activated the headgear so that even if removed, your consciousness will stay here. The only exception to this is those of you who face Vyrlo and his monsters. Somehow, he has modified the system and can kill you, along with your real body." Really? Was this some kind of joke? This had ceased seeming like an ingame event, or even a glitch. Now, it was more like some sort of elaborate prank. While she supposed that hardware with direct access to the user's brain, like the virtual reality headset the game ran on, could theoretically kill its users through some form of brain damage or another, there was no way that a game-NPC-turned-rampant-intelligence could manipulate that at will, let alone cause it to happen in conjunction with the player's ingame death. That wasn't even plausible in the realm of science fiction. The only way that could happen was if Daertalmos Online had ceased being virtual and had somehow become some kind of parallel reality, complete with gods and magic that could influence the real world. As much as Aoife's player would have liked to be able to just hop into a new world with the same ease as logging into a game, that simply wasn't possible.

No. Wait, Aoife realized. There was one other explanation for all this. Even if it didn't seem feasible, it certainly made more sense than what Nantos had claimed. Namely... that trapping its players as hostages and threatening them with death if they failed had been the entire point of the game all along. If that was the case, then it certainly could have been possible that the headsets used to play the game would kill their wearers if they died under certain circumstances. But even so, there were still glaring holes in that logic. For example, why would the company that produced the game choose to do such a thing? Aoife supposed they might be making demands in the real world, that they wouldn't release the players they had trapped in Daertalmos Online unless their terms were met... But even then, what would they demand? Money? They'd already become one of the richest companies on the face of the planet through the sheer amount of revenue generated by their VR franchise. Their own personal country, maybe? That seemed like something only a cartoon supervillain would ask for, though. That question aside, even assuming they did have a reason to hold their players for ransom, why would they drop so many from the game before doing so? That just gave them less to bargain with. Moreover, Nantos had also said that even if their headsets were removed, their minds would stay within the game. Since the headset was what controlled the transfer of data to their brains, there was no way that was possible. She supposed it made sense to tell them a lie like that as a bluff to keep the players under the impression that they were trapped, but people on the outside would try removing the headgear sooner or later, wouldn't they? When that happened, the people who'd been wearing it would logically have to wake up. Once people realized that, everybody in the outside world would unplug those still trapped in the game, and the company, or whoever was behind this, would lose all their hostages.

Now that she thought about it, what reason would they have to lie to the players anyway? Why try to keep with the theme of the story when they could just say, "All of your lives belong to us, and if you do anything out of line, we'll kill you." By telling them the rules and explaining what they had to do, they'd only make players feel like they had a chance of escaping. They would either succeed at doing... whatever it was Nantos wanted them to do... or die trying, which would only lose whoever was keeping them here even more hostages! No matter how she looked at it, Aoife couldn't find anything in what she was being told that made any sense. And yet, regardless of that fact, she was still stuck here, with no sure way out.

The goddess in the projection seemed to hesitate, casting a frightened glance over her shoulder, and seeming to see something there that terrified her. She turned back to the utterly baffled crowd of players assembled beneath her before giving one final, desperate-sounding plea. "My time is running out and I must leave you. Others from Ait Naofa will try to help those who are willing to assist us... We are under attack! Children of Ait Naofa, please help us!" With these words, the image vanished just as suddenly as it had appeared, and the once-again crowded square was left alone in silence.

Reactions to the goddess and her message were mixed. Some people remained calm, assuring those around them that everything they'd just heard was some sort of prank. They must not have realized that the login button was gone, or seen what Aoife herself had upon entering the plaza, when she had nearly disconnected from the server. Others flew into a panic, screaming for the goddess to come back and explain what she had meant by her cryptic words. Yet more came to the conclusion Aoife had, and began cursing the game's administrators for tricking them and leaving them trapped here. Others simply wandered about, calling for friends and family members who had either disappeared or been displaced when the lagspike had hit.



But it didn't matter. There wasn't any point in doing any of those things. Although she still couldn't rule out that this whole thing was just a practical joke taken too far, there was something about the bizarre static she'd seen that still disturbed her. The way everybody else had disappeared... it seemed foolish to assume, but somehow, Aoife couldn't shake the feeling that there was something unnatural at work. She'd been given a set of rules on how she could avoid both permanently dying and suffering the pain of an illusory death. So, without any better option presenting itself, she'd follow them. Regardless, the announcement clearly wasn't coming back, which meant that this was all the information she'd be getting. She could neither prove nor disprove that the company was to blame for this bizarre twist of events, and even if she did manage to find out the truth, she could do nothing about the situation while her mind was still trapped within this virtual gilded cage. She had nobody to look for, nobody to count on. That meant that first and foremost, her priorities should be preparing herself for a long stay within the not-so-fictional world of Daertalmos.

To most people, this realization might have brought with it feelings of despair and powerlessness. In her shoes, another girl might have mourned that the things she loved in the world outside were lost to her, or wept for the knowledge that she was alone in a dangerous world she couldn't even begin to comprehend. Yet, as the full gravity of the situation dawned upon her, Aoife felt... nothing. So what? She had come to this world to escape from reality in the first place. Nothing had changed for her - not even her reason to fight.

That's right. This world can't be called a game anymore - but a game isn't what I came here looking for, She thought, gazing down at her hands as she opened a tab off the player menu idling in front of her, viewing her inventory and equipment. The name at the top of the transparent screen caught her eye, and a shaky smile began to return to her lips. What I wanted... the reason I created this body, this name... it was all because I wanted to really, truly live! She dragged the glaive sitting idly in her inventory into its appropriate slot, causing the weapon to appear within her outstretched hand, manifesting in a shower of azure pixels that sent the crowd around her scattering in surprise. Her smirk broadened as she slung the weapon over her shoulder, lowering herself to the ground like a beast about to pounce. "Then that's all there is to it," She murmured, nodding to herself, satisfied with her answer. "I'll live." These words vanished amidst the crowd, as did the shape of one Dame Aoife, Paladin of Light, as she continued walking the path she had first set out upon. Parting the masses before her with the mere sight of her drawn weapon, she advanced purposefully through their midst even as they stared in disbelief, never once looking back on what she was leaving behind. She simply continued walking at a brisk pace, down the main avenue and towards the gates that lead to the Bale Forest.

Truth be told, she still wasn't sure about her actions. Even if basic enemies couldn't permanently kill her, they could still hurt her, and there were few things she dreaded more than pain. Yet, something compelled her to keep walking, never questioning the assumption that it was too late for her to give up on the dreams that had brought her to where she now stood, trapped within an inconsequential and fantastic world. It would have been easy to just stop, step into the first inn she saw, and rent a room for a few nights to wait and see if anybody outside would pull off her headset and free her. If nobody did, she could always look into other options. As of yet, there really wasn't any reason to risk herself in the wilds... but even so, she still wanted to go. Not because she wasn't scared, for in her heart, she was well and truly terrified of what the future might hold. Rather, she wanted to go because it seemed somehow wrong not to. She was trapped within the world of Daertalmos, but not within the walls of Faclarebal. In a sense, at least, she could thus still expand her horizons, freeing herself and the others who were trapped here in some small way. If, by facing danger herself, she could make everybody else safer, then wasn't that the right thing to do? And a Paladin, or a hero, or whatever it was that Aoife was supposed to be... it was their job to always do the right thing. That was why people respected and looked up to them as heroes.

Somewhere, perhaps, deep in the back of her mind, she was aware that her reasoning didn't make sense, that this wasn't at all what she'd wanted. But even so, it was a chance to do something, to be something. That chance was an opportunity she'd only get this once, and so even if it meant facing dangers the likes of which she couldn't even begin to imagine, she'd take it without a second thought. So, she kept walking, even as the cobblestones of the city streets gave way to a dusty dirt road that stretched out to the distant horizon, and beyond, into the unknown reaches of a dream that had become all too real...

Setting

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Character Portrait: Veran, The Ranger
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#, as written by RCJJ23
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Veran rolled out of the way of the charging boar as it barreled towards him, before pulling another arrow out of his quiver and firing it at the boar as it swung around to face him again. It caught it in his flank, but nowhere near anything vital nor did it hit anything that would impair its movements. It just made it angrier, though it definitely got hurt. Along with the two other arrows that stuck out of its body, he'd need to place another two arrows to kill it. Or get lucky with a critical hit and finish it that way. He managed to put another arrow in his hand before needing to dodge the boar's charge again. It got close enough that Veran could have patted it on the back for a good attempt.

Wonder if stabbing it with an arrow by hand would do anything? Veran's player thought before shooting the arrow into the boar's back. It connected, leaving the boar with only 13/90 hitpoints. One more arrow would have killed it, so Veran nocked another arrow into his bow, and aimed it at the boar's head. In real life, it would have penetrated its skull and bury itself into its brain. In the world of Virtual Reality, it would deplete its health bar and let it shatter into a few million crystals. Or fade. Or whatever mechanism that it used to despawn destroyed objects. With that knowledge in mind, he let go of the bowstring to let loose the killing blow.

At least, it would have had the world not grind to a halt, the arrow half way between the now frozen boar and the now frozen Veran.

Odd.
Veran's player thought. He had a very good connection, fast enough to ensure no disconnects would happen, or any latency occur at all. Yet here, the tell tale signs of the VR failing to feed any data into his brain, was still happening. It stayed like this for five whole seconds. He'd counted them. Then a brown and green window popped up in front of him, his theme changed from the standard red. More suitable for a Ranger like him.




=Event Announcement=
You will be transported to the Heart of Faclarebal in 15 seconds.




He stayed frozen for the next 10 seconds, but at the start of the last five, his game finally started to play out, and the arrow burrowed into the boar's head, leaving only a few centimeters sticking out. Veran smiled as it toppled over and slid to a half at his feet. At the last three, the boar's corpse shattered into a few million crystals. At the last one, a notification floated over where it was originally.

+ 10 EXP

Then his wold went white.

Five minutes later

Veran sat down on one of the benches that was around the town square and processed the information that he got from the game's goddess Nantos. He'd selected her to be his patroness, it fit with the theme after all. He was trapped in this world, he could not die besides being killed by any of the main story arc bosses, and he had to win the game to get out.

Seemed to him like it the storyline out of some anime or movie.

Still, it seemed true enough. He had checked and there was no log out button, but everything else was there. He preferred not to think about the mechanics of how they would keep them in there if the headgear was taken off, but living with his family, he hoped that they would not try to test the company's words, no doubt being broadcasted on all news channels and being written about as the players started to play through the game. Like he would do in due course. For now, he would hang around the area for a few more minutes, maybe someone might approach him, before he would go to pick up a few quests to run.

For now though, he just sat on the bench, leaning back and enjoying the feeling of the breeze flowing through the square.

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Character Portrait: Kissa of the Fel Forest Character Portrait: Veran, The Ranger
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The disembodiment she felt when creating her character subsided, and Kissa heard the soft pat of her boots hitting the pavement. Within seconds of appearing, the new surroundings had bombarded her senses. Distant conversations of random players sounded much too close. The warm sun sent burning rays at her cool pale flesh, making her cringe at the heat. The ears on top of her head twitched, swiveled, then folded down, trying to block some of the various sounds out. It was overwhelming at first. The music that had played while she had been creating the character was pleasant and soft. Here in the city though, everything was too loud, since her heightened hearing didn’t kick in until she had arrived.

Her ears twitched again and she found this the oddest sensation she had ever experienced. Subconsciously, her hand went up to touch one of the neko ears, but she refrained from touching them. Instead, she tried to control them. At first this seemed impossible, but she remembered reading on the forums that if you envisioned your muscles, it made movement easier. Of coarse, in the real world she didn’t have neko ears or muscles to control them, but still, she envisioned them. Folding them was the hardest thing to do, and would be something she would have to work on controlling. However, she had moved them decent enough to feel like she had accomplished something.
Her lips curled into a small grin as relished in the prospects the game held for her. The limitations of her other life did not exist here. She was someone new, different, and no one knew her. A different person, not held down by the stigmas she had in the real world. The new life she had been planning for months, was finally a reality.

A passerby bumped into her, interrupting her thoughts and knocking her off balance momentarily. The grace she had in her movement was instinct for the character, and she found herself a few feet away with her fists at the ready. “Whoa, sorry about that. I’m still getting used to the new body.” The guy laughed before stumbling off.
Kissa assessed her muscles in astonishment. She knew the character’s race would make her quick but it was still mind blowing that she was too. Her legs had power and speed, more then she had ever had before. A few more players almost ran into he as she stood there assessing herself, reminding her she should have a look around.

The city was magnificent and booming with life. Characters of all races and classes could be found in every corner of the city. She glanced in the direction of several groups having conversations. She didn’t mean to listen to them, but with such keep hearing, it was hard to ignore. While entering an open area, a gentle breeze tousled her long pink hair. On her neck, she could feel small beads of sweat pooling due to the heat and the thickness of her hair. Though she liked the way her long hair looked, she wished she had chosen short hair as it would have been cooler. The fringe on the short cut off pants tickled her legs as she walked. It was amazing how realistic the game truly was. Every one of her senses were active. As she passed a player making potions, she nearly gagged at the stench. Maybe everything was a little too real.

As she continued sightseeing, she started to recognize a few of the buildings from screenshots found on the forums. she was in the second ring, social district. It seemed this was already a popular area, with more people than the last. Her ears swiveled in different directions as she picked up on other’s conversations. That was starting to get annoying. Her pace quickened as she longed for a quieter place. Shadows cast from signs made her eyes constrict at the abrupt light when she passed them. Her senses were becoming too overwhelmed, but she fought the urge to run. I just need to control it. That was a lot easier said then done.

Trying to escape the noise, she forced herself to try and focus on something else. She focused on the patter of her feet as she walked. After a few minutes of aimlessly wandering, Kissa decided to find the center of the city. It took a few tries to access the menu, but she opened the map. The wrinkled parchment landed softly in her hands. The center of a town normally had events, which could mean special quests and rare items, so that is where she wanted to go. She found she was on the right side of the second ring, so she needed to go left in order to reach the Heart. It didn’t look very far, so there was no need to run.

As she headed towards the heart though, the ambient sounds of the city weren’t as prominent. Several people she passed looked frozen, as if lagging hardcore. It made her appreciate all those months she had saved to upgrade her system. However, the further she ventured, it seemed like more players were having problems. This too had a rational explanation. It’s probably just the server is overloaded. I bet they didn’t anticipate this many people logging in at once. In spite of this logic, she couldn’t shake the creepy feeling that was washing over her. A few players vanished in pixelated bursts, just before she passed them. This fueled the eerie feeling building inside her.

Her pace quickened until she was slammed with a pain in her stomach. The suddenness of it made her knees buckle and she found herself kneeling in the dirt of the street. She instantly felt sick and thought she might throw up, but it was gone as soon as it had it had appeared. Was it a glitch or some kind of warning for the server being overloaded? Why would they make a player feel sick and collapse to warn about servers?

Closing her eyes, she took deep calming breaths, though it felt like she wasn’t getting enough oxygen. She took deeper breaths, but it didn’t help. Opening her eyes she gasped at the site of the ground. There were several jagged lines of static that looked as if it had been slashed open by a huge weapon. Instincts told her to move, however she found it impossible. The muscles she once had full control over were now unresponsive.
“No! Not again! Not here!” Her desperate screams echoed in the silence around her. It was impossible to control the panic flooding her. Every attempt to control her body, failed. Tears rolled down her cheeks, bursting in pixelated crystals halfway down to the ground. This was even more troubling then not being able to move. The system was still working. She could feel the warmth of the tears as they fell. “Oh gods no. Don’t let it happen here. This was supposed to be a new life.”

In silence she sobbed for what seemed like an eternity until a small chime ringed in her ear. Her ears twitched and her arms gave out, letting her fall face first into the dirty street. Trembling, she wiped under her eyes and pushed herself up, in time to see the message that had made the sound. There was only one second left when she had finished reading the message.
=Event Announcement=
You will be transported to the Heart of Faclarebal in 15 seconds.



Within seconds, she arrived at the Heart. Her eyes darted around at the other players who had received the message too. For the first time, she appreciated her acute hearing. Slowly, she tried to move into the center of the crowd, listening as she went. Unfortunately, no one else knew what was going on either. There was a burst of light, causing her to wince slightly, before turning her attention in the direction it came from.

“Children of Ait Naofa.” Floating above the crowd, Kissa saw the source of the light. Her eyes went wide and she knelt on one knee, closing her eyes and bowing her head. Despite the feeling she should show respect and not look directly at the goddess, Kissa couldn’t help but to glance up in time to see a few tears fall from her emerald eyes. She felt an overwhelming sadness that nearly brought tears to her eyes too.

“My dears, I hate to call upon you, however we are in need. Ait Naofa has been attacked and the mother to you all, has been taken from us. Those of us left in Ait Naofa are struggling to hold back the evil. It is time for you to put aside differences and help us. You chosen few have been bound to this system.”
It took a moment for Nantos’ words to sink in. The mother to all, including Daertalmos itself, was Airmid. How could anyone capture Airmid? She is one of the highest goddesses in Ait Naofa! And bound? As in, we can’t log out? The question was answered before Nantos could explain, when she noticed a player beside her opening her menu and finding the logout option had been removed. Furious cries from behind her made Kissa step forward, hoping she did not miss what the goddess might tell them next.

“If you die here, you will be brought back and sent to a safe location. You will feel the pain of this death, but will not die. I have activated the headgear so that even if removed, your conscious will stay here. The only exception to this is those of you who face Vyrlo and his monsters. Somehow, he has modified the system and can kill you, along with your real body.”
“Vyrlo?” Kissa gasped, remembering all the lore she had been reading up on. He truly was a terror, and not one she ever wished to face even if it was just a game.

“My time is running out and I must leave you. Other from Ait Naofa will try to help those who are willing to assist us.”
A breath hitched in Kissa’s chest. This was serious and no longer a just an escape from reality. This now was reality. She took a step forward without realizing it, hoping to get closer to the goddess. However, she froze at the immense panic that washed over Nantos. Something was wrong, very wrong. The goddess was not acting like herself. In lore, Nantos was a calm woman who never lost her composure. Yet, this woman looked as if she had never been composed. There was a ripple of static in the goddess image as she turned to face the crowd again.
“We are under attack! Children of Ait Naofa, please help us!”

Kissa lost all other thoughts as she ran closer to the goddess, just as she dissipated. Despite the fact she was gone, Kissa continued until she stood under where Nantos had been. “Please come back!” Shallow tears that had been swelling finally rolled down her cheeks.
The noise of the rioting crowd pulled her from her thoughts. There was widespread consternation and discord throughout most of the people. Kissa, however, did not feel the same trepidation. Her mind had trouble grasping the seriousness of it all, which could be why she felt a different fear. She feared not being able to help. The fact she could not return to her other life had little effect on her. Contrary to nearly everyone else, she was actually a little glad.

With the back of her hand, she wiped under her eyes. I am Kissa of the Fel Forest. The simple thought made her smile. It was time to leave the Heart. Despite the absolute fear of ever encountering Vyrlo, Kissa was compelled to at least do something. For now, that would be leveling up her character.

She made her way to the edge of the Heart where there were less people and benches lined along the sides. It took a few tries to open the menu before she was able to look at her equipment. Everything was really basic and low grade. She only had one rune to add to her armour, which wasn’t much. The ’armour’ she had was a mix of cloth and light leather. It would need to be upgraded, soon. She equipped everything she had before gazing down at her weapon. On her hands were leather gloves with short bronze spikes. They weren’t intimidating at all. With a sigh, she pushed this out of her mind. Just something else to add to her to-do list.

Finally, she turned and looked around. Almost everyone was still in an uproar, but she found a few people who were rather calm about their new situation. A few benches from the one she stood in front of, looked to be a hunter, enjoying the breeze. Human hunters usually didn’t associate with Caith Duine in a friendly way. At least the ones in the forum didn’t.
Her gaze moved from the benches to the characters still standing around. Most were crying, moaning, and complaining about the things she would miss in real life. Kissa nearly snickered at a few of the things. Yet, she noticed a few players trying to form groups. Upon listening in, she realized they were actually recruiting to form guilds or gangs. This was something she wished to stay away from.

It didn't take long to lose interest in finding players in that area. She figured most of them would stay in the safety of the town. With no one of real interest in the area, it was time to leave and head towards the outer rings.

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Character Portrait: Da'len
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The anticipation she felt upon hitting the ground in this strange world was indescribable. Everything felt real. She could hear the chatter of people in the distance and...what was that? She took a step forward, ignoring the zing she got from stepping on this dirt that shouldn't exist, and raised her nose. Ah. There it was. An intake of breath and she could smell it again.

Food.

Before running off however Da'len took a good look at her body. Everything was as she wanted it to be.

Short? Check.

Long amber hair? Check.

Fluffy tail? Check.

She threw back her head in a loud laugh. Her mind still couldn't wrap around the idea that while her body was really laying in her bed, her subconscious was here. In this body. In this world.

Shaking her limbs Da'len took off in a run. She'd bump into a few players continue without apologies. Da'len just didn't have time for that. The scene was getting closer and she found her nose had led her to a stall. She licked her lips and reached out a hand.

Then a scream.

Da'len reeled around foodless. A player next to was frozen in fear. Swallowing her own she poked him arm, only to jump back as he exploded into pixels. Hands up she went to babble on how it wasn't her fault though stopped as others began to follow suit. Her jaw went slack. Just what was going on? Was everyone having problems with their WiFi or Internet? That wouldn't really make sence as her own was probably one of the worst here. So why was she still here?

The answer came in a pop up message.

=Event Announcement=
You will be transported to the Heart of Faclarebal in 15 seconds.





Not so unlike her first entrance Da'len found herself in the Heart as the message stated. This must of been where everyone was taken when they turned into pixels. Her bad Internet was the reason she was last....right?

She shook her head. Of course that was it. It couldn't be like they all just logged off or something. Who'd wanna log off from here? It was beautiful and the food smelt so realistic. Her stomach growled and she frowned. Hopefully whatever event happened was over quick.

Thankfully a woman appeared in a burst of light. A few players be her knelt causing Da'len to raise an eyebrow. The woman must of been someone important, probably mentioned in the lore books she hadn't bothered to read. It didn't matter who she was though as long as she got to leave soon.

“My dears, I hate to call upon you, however we are in need. Ait Naofa has been attacked and the mother to you all, has been taken from us. Those of us left in Ait Naofa are struggling to hold back the evil. It is time for you to put aside differences and help us. You chosen few have been bound to this system.”

Wait..

What?

The woman continued despite the murmurs of the crowd. “If you die here, you will be brought back and sent to a safe location. You will feel the pain of this death, but will not die. I have activated the headgear so that even if removed, your conscious will stay here. The only exception to this is those of you who face Vyrlo and his monsters. Somehow, he has modified the system and can kill you, along with your real body.”

Her heart skipped a beat. They could....die? As in for real? She had expected something to happen in your character did lose a life but she thought it would be a painless respawn. Not pain and in whoever Vyrlo was case, die IRL. 'What the hell....?' She muttered, her voice growing louder as the woman disappeared. 'What the hell!? They can't just keep us here!'

If there was ever a time she cursed her lack of the want to read it was now. But would knowing Vyrol whatsit even help? Ignorance was bliss after all. Maybe not knowing who it was could be even a good thing? And by the looks of some if the other players it was probably someone she didn't want to meet.

Sighing Da'len slipped away to sit on a bench. She was mad, confused, afraid, and did she mention mad? All she wanted was a place to have fun. Mess with other players without fear of backlash. But know it seemed she could die here. At least by scary unknown guy and his monsters. What Da'len needed was a body guard. It shouldn't be hard really. She could easily trick someone into taking a poor innocent girl with them.

Mind made up Da'len pushed her hair back, took a deep breath and began to sob as loud as she could. That oughta grab someone attention.

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Character Portrait: Danriel Thanamor
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Danriel Thanamor is stalking a hunt for his quest, a level 14 beast with a vicious bite. He is stalking it through the jungle and being careful not to step on any thing has he walks and listens to the beast. He has been stalking it for about five minutes and he now has a visual on it. But it's not right to just attack, for a sorcerer, directly challenging an enemy rarely turns out well. He is squishy after all. As Danriel is creeping up behind the beast there appears to be some lag and everything freezes.

You have got to be flipping kidding me! He thinks to himself as he is frozen in spot.


=Event Announcement=
You will be transported to the Heart of Faclarebal in 15 seconds.



"That's weird." He says as he furrows his brow. "What is going on?"

Danriel merely waits paitently for the 15 seconds to pass. When it does he finds himself in Faclarebal, surrounded by surprising few players, and suddenly there is a bright flash and a voice rings out. "Children of Ait Naofa" Danriel looks at the source of the voice and sees a hologram who proceeds to tell them that they are needed to defeat this evil god named Vyrlo, and that the stakes are either victory on one hand, or death in real life on the other. "This is serious." He says to himself amidst the din of the cacophonous crowd.

"It might be best practice to find some people to get through this together. Though, I shudder at the thought or working with races below me. For such high stakes, such as real world death, we ought to find a way together."

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Character Portrait: Kissa of the Fel Forest Character Portrait: Munio
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The first thing that hit Munio upon coming to this new world was him was the amount of people. People talking, laughing, swinging weapons, walking, and countless other things people would do in this new world or any world. He stood still, taking the humans, elves, duinehithe, and relatively few duneil like him into account. In hindsight, he should have expected this. Daertalmos Online was the best-selling game of the year, so it made sense that so many people were playing it. The chaos threatened to overwhelm him for a moment, but he took a deep breath through his mouth and mastered the unrest he felt. There. He may not still like all the noise and bustle, but he could tolerate it.

Anxiety quelled, he took a step forward and fell into another problem quite literally, for he fell face first onto the street he was standing in. Someone laughed at his fall and said, “Newbie, huh?” Munio looked up into the grinning face of a Cusidheach Duine, who was holding a hand out to him. “Everyone starts with some of that, especially if your body is quite different from your real body.”

Nodding, Munio took the hand of the Duine – yes, he reassured himself, he could lift his arm – and heaved himself up. ”Thank you,” he said. He held the Duine’s hand for a tad longer than necessary, marveling at the solidness and texture of it. When he noticed the Duine looking at him, he dropped his hand. ”S-sorry. I just thought your hand was cool. I mean not what I expected. I mean, a hand’s a hand, but in a virtual re-“ Munio cut himself off and took another deep breath. Man, he must be more shaken than he thought he was with this new situation. Trying again, he said, ”I didn’t expect this to be so real.”

The Duine chuckled. “Yeah, it’s pretty awesome, isn’t it? So glad I got to beta test this game. Well, see you around.” With that he left.

Munio took the next couple minutes getting used to his new body. First he tried to master walking, which was more difficult than he expected. Duneils had feet that seemed to be a cross between that between a chicken’s and a hawk’s, which he had known about, but they also had backwards knees like a bird. He was starting to get comfortable with walking, and decided to try to jump. He leapt into the air, leaving the ground by what seemed to be a higher height than he had ever jumped in than in reality. Then he floated, as if his body had forgotten to go be to the ground. Curious, he tried to take a step, but found that he couldn’t move at all. He was so perplexed by this apparent glitch that at first he didn’t notice that other people were paused as well.

Then the noise started. It was static-y at first, a comforting white noise compared to the menagerie of sounds that had been going on moments before. As it progressed it various strands of sound mutated and became syncopated and cacophonic, and loud, louder, far too loud. Then grey static – Bugfights, that’s what Evan calls it, right? – rained from the sky, oozing over and swallowing up everything.

-Event Announcement
You will now be transported to the Hear of Faclarebal in 15 seconds.


As the static consumed his body, all Munio could think was Are all events announced like this?

Then, as if nothing had happened, Munio found himself on his feet, albeit in a different location and with surprisingly less people than he would have expected for an event. Then a glowing light starting dancing above them all and it exploded into a green-haired woman. Was this Nantos? One of the game’s goddesses?

"Children of Ait Naofa. My dears, I hate to call upon you, however we are in need. Ait Naofa has been attacked and the mother to you all, has been taken from us. Those of us left in Ait Naofa are struggling to hold back the evil. It is time for you to put aside differences and help us. You chosen few have been bound to this system. If you die here, you will be brought back and sent to a safe location. You will feel the pain of this death, but will not die. I have activated the headgear so that even if removed, your conscious will stay here. The only exception to this is those of you who face Vyrlo and his monsters. Somehow, he has modified the system and can kill you, along with your real body."

Munio flattened his ears against his skull, an action more subconscious than conscious. Bound to the system? Didn’t Nantos know she was a character in a game who wasn’t supposed to look beyond the flippin’ fourth wall? Apparently not, because when Munio checked the game’s menu the log out button was missing.

"My time is running out and I must leave you. Other from Ait Naofa will try to help those who are willing to assist us. We are under attack! Children of Ait Naofa, please help us!"

With that, Nantos vanished in another burst of light, leaving the stunned crowd of trapped players. Munio stared blankly at the place the goddess had been. He was stuck in this game. For some people, he guessed, this would be a good thing. There were probably gamers who would love the excuse to lose themselves. While Munio enjoyed videogames, he wasn’t a fanatic like his brother, and getting stuck in one definitely wasn’t in his life goals.

But what could he do? There wasn’t any quick way to get out of the game, so he had to search for one. Searching would likely take a while, for he had to level up and explore. And what if, god forbid, he had fun while doing this? He may not want to be stuck in a game, but he definitely could accept it. If he accepted it as a fixable problem, he could figure out a solution. Discovering solutions to problems had always been entertaining, and now he was in a problem that was designed (at least somewhat) to be fun. In any case, he had a choice. He could sit around and ask why me all day or he could actually do something.

He chose to do something. He turned and walked out of the heart. The noise and lamenting of all the people was starting to get at him, so he needed somewhere quieter to think. Still, though, it would be good to have a companion of some sort. It wasn’t called a multi-player game for no reason. He saw a pink haired Caith Duine ahead of him, walking the same way he was. He caught up to her and called out (very eloquently, mind you), “Hey… uh… do you want to team up?”

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Character Portrait: Veran, The Ranger
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After a few more minutes of sitting on the bench, Veran decided that the time for doing nothing was over, and he got up to head towards the NPC called the Old Hunter, who gave out class quest to Hunters as part of the Hunter's guild. As he approached, the Old Hunter looked up.

"Ah, Veran, I was looking for you." the Old Hunter said in a fairly deep but raspy voice.

"Yes? Do you need something from me?" Veran said, his voice otherwise unheard among the havoc happening not too far from him.

"Well, I actually do. You know about the problems our less skilled hunters are having with the forests since the monsters have appeared? I'm sending our best Hunters out to deal with them, and you're one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of training. So will you go and help the guild and go thin some of the monsters out? You need to kill about five of these Slimes, and two of these Boarorcs for it to be any help."

"I'll do it."

"Thank you, Veran. I'll see to it that I can reward you somehow when you get back."[/color]

Veran nodded and moved away, opening up the quest screen in the process and re-reading it before heading to the weapon's shop to upgrade.




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Character Portrait: Danriel Thanamor
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Danriel Thanamor had decided that he was tired of waiting as the thinning crowd meant less people to team with. He'll just play as normal until he met people that he'd like to work with, which would be other elves. Danriel smiled to himself as he began walking in the direction of the blacksmith. He needed to get some shopping done anyway, so since he was in town he might as well get it done.

As he is walking he tries to check if it's true that he's really stuck. He opens the menu and sure enough, there's no log out button. That's disconcerting. He thinks to himself as he continues to take steps. Then, just out of curiosity he checks his quest log and finds that it has been erased. "That glitch erased my quest log!" he declared in rage.

He grits his teeth as he looks for another quest to take on before leaving the city. It isn't long (especially in Faclarebal) before he finds an NPC giving out quests. Danriel walks up and speaks to the NPC.

"Hey, what kind of quests do you have for me today?"

"I'm trying to cook something for my wife but I don't have the right ingredients. Could you go to the Dark Bale Forest and get me [5 Edible Pollens] [2 Earthly Tracies] and [2 Firmament Essences] please?"

"Definitely, I will see you when I get back! And then he leaves for the blacksmith.