Wizardry Online - Journal of a Survivor
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Journalist
(Special thanks to Alicja Chrena http://tirramisu.deviantart.com/ for her continued support of OnRPG and making some of the most amazing gaming related commissions I've ever seen. The original cover image can be downloaded at her page HERE)
Journal Entry 1:
Zero the Proud, slayer of 1,000 adventurers that dared challenge him in 1 on 1 combat. Nemora the Cunning, a young magi that rallied the 10,000 elf army against the demonic assault that nearly destroyed Itox in the early days after its founding. Toradek the Wise, the dwarf who successfully revived 100 fallen warriors of legend including Garon the Lion Heart, the smallest Porkul of his clan that carried the spirit and voice to unite the warring races against Zed and his Orcish Legion. None of these great warriors of legend have the slightest inkling to do with me. I'm Kurumu of the Korono clan. Granddaughter of Windrush the Greedy, a dwarven thief that blew himself up picking his first treasure lock. Niece of Lina the Short-Sighted, last seen tying her armor on in the city sewers on her first mission for the Adventurer's Guild. Presumably devoured by zombies. Great granddaughter of Duufas the Clumsy, infamous for tripping over a rock and falling to his death in the Ruins of Mir. Well you get the idea. Adventuring runs in my family like a cancer. Generation after generation has been lured into it by the promise of fame, gold, and the occasional infatuation with a sexy gnome, but up till now it's resulted in a 100% fatality rate. It's honestly a miracle the lineage has survived long enough to give me a chance.
So one might ask why I'm writing this journal entry with a brand new adventurer's badge pinned to my breast plate without even having a youngun of my own to follow in my fateful steps? Pride I suppose. Stubborn dwarven pride that makes me believe that I would be the one to finally rise from the humble line of the Koronos. No I suppose it's fear that drives me more than anything. A fear of a fate worse than death. To be lowly shop keepers like my mother and father; my only remaining kinsmen to carry breath in their lungs. I can't bear the thought of living that dull danger-free lifestyle serving potions and wares to true adventurers day after day. I have goals and a dream. A dream to one day stand amongst the regal Dwarven Priests of Dimento's Arcanum. Perhaps meet the son of a Goldstein or Siegel and have a forbidden romance behind the ministry's back... <3 Honestly anything beyond rotting on that street corner in Iffalo would be fine by me.
But the ministry is no charity. They only welcome the great human warriors and elven magi to their ranks. A dwarf has to buy their way in and that is never happening with the meager earnings from our poor family's general store. So I decided after a terrible fight with my father, Palo the Cautious, that my days of rotting behind the forge were over. I now rest under the roof of my only remaining friend from my school days, Wodan Lokkju, great great "grand" descendent of Nemora the Cunning. The sleepy town of Iffalo sees him as its greatest hope of a hero of fame in decades. I still see him as the clumsy elf that blew our school house apart at the age of 9 while ignoring our assignment and trying to impress me with his so called 'mastery' of flame. To think the teacher sent him home with accolades after such a spectacular disaster. He has yet to learn his lesson and has plenty of scars across his forearms and chest detailing a history of many successive mistakes he's made with fire since that day. That and he drinks like he carries the liver of a dwarf and is twice as flammable because of it. Honestly if I didn't worry so much about him I might have never had the courage to confront my father and strike out on this crazy adventure. That maniac would probably blow himself up at the first sign of danger and then Iffalo would be out another would be hero and I'd be out of a place to sleep.
He is cute in that elfish way though. Always talking about his grandiose plans of fame and fortune, putting his name down in the books as surpassing his great great grandmother. I can listen for hours while he talks about his future exploits and tells stories of how he is going to rid the slums of thieves and put an end to the bandit gang that's turned our dismal sewer system into a den of thieves and prostitutes. Not that I'm interested in him beyond being friends. Elves dating Gnomes is rather unheard of after all and quite frowned upon by our people. We have higher standards unlike those slutty elf wenches that hang around the local tavern feeling up the muscles of visiting warriors that downed a bit too much mead. Though I'm sure if Palos knew I was staying here he'd be at the front door at first daylight asking for a dowry from the Lokkjus to marry me off. All he cares about is status. I can't believe he still wears that flashy white robe with golden trim to our store like he's a member of the Arcanum or something. I better call it a night before any more crazy ideas start popping into my head. Who knows who might someday read this thing.
I didn't get much sleep last night. A brick with a note was thrown through my window, shattering glass across the sheets. I was lucky to get out of bed with only a few minor scrapes but whoever threw the brick put enough force into it to take out a panel of wood on the opposite wall. The letter read as a threat to the Lokkju family claiming their era had come to an end and the bandits would soon be claiming our town as their own. Wodan was out the door before his parents could even read the note. I knew what was coming but my stubby legs and heavy unwieldy armor took longer than expected to tie on. By the time I reached the Adventurer Guild's office I was too late. Wodan had accepted the bounty placed on the head of the bandit's leader and was on his way to the sewer. The clerk explained he had told him it was suicide for a novice, even one of his caliber, to take on such a request that so many veteran adventurers had failed before.
I immediately turned to rush to the front gates but was taken aback by the wanted poster on the wall. The sum placed on the bandit leader was astonishing. Unable to fight my dwarven sense of business instilled by my father, I had to stop and run the numbers in my head. I could cover my first two months of tuition in the Priest Guild with that bounty! I pocketed the poster in my satchel and rushed to the front gates in hot pursuit of Wodan. Now I await as the creaky old wooden carriage filled with novice adventurers lurches towards the dark ominous opening to the City's Sewers. The porkuls and young humans riding beside me seem to carry nothing but their weapons and street clothes. Muttering with excitement rumors that Wodan had been seen leaving the town moments prior with a staff in hand. I doubt these recruits will last a month in the field. Their families likely sheltered from the loss adventuring brings and lured by the recent bounties the Ministry was throwing around like candy. I've read the tales of my ancestors repeatedly. Learned the signs of orange glimmers indicating traps. Read books on zombies, werewolves, monstrous insects, and other horrors of the world to learn their strengths and weaknesses. Hardened my core and biceps against the unforgiving face of the anvil to the point that father complained it was unladylike. My equipment may be poor but I've tested it and maintain it tirelessly to assure it won't break on me in the middle of combat. The carriage is coming to a stop. This is my day! Don't die on me yet Wodan-
The door seems to be holding steady. I barricaded it with every piece of wood and furniture I could grasp in this hole in the wall. My mind is racing... I don't even know where to begin.
I found Wodan exactly where I expected to find him. Surrounded by zombies on all sides taking a swig of his flask with one hand while blowing waves of fireballs from his staff in the other with a small band of elf girls staring on in awe. What surprised me was the look on his face wasn't the carefree fun loving Wodan I knew. He glared over his flask with anger in his eyes, locking on and blasting each zombie with extreme prejudice. I had never seen him get serious prior to this and it was.. frightening. Limbs and heads rolled with each blast. Zombies could scarcely crawl after one firefall and usually a single tap of his staff after was enough to turn them into a pile of dust and bones afterwards. A loud sound startled me to my right as a large rugged man stuck his sword into a zombie's mouth that had snuck up on me. He struggled with it and could barely push it back. I froze momentarily, unable to think. No I wasn't like the others... I thrust my old sword straight through its skull, stopping its movement as I swiftly returned my blade to my side.
"That elf is something else." I clearly remember the middle aged man say. As I watched Wodan slay 5.. 6... 7 zombies in the time it took the two of us to tackle one, I couldn't agree more. But I was smarter than the useless girls awed by his power. I rushed forward and grabbed him back the hood of his robe and pulled him from the zombies as they reached, ripping cloth from his robes in a near miss. I saw an ominous staircase with some scattered bugs scampering around a fallen corpse and decided it would be a good place to hide while we got our bearing.
"Stubborn fool as usual!" Perhaps I was too harsh... "You know you have no stamina from all that drinking."
"I was fine. I can't be stopped by a small legion of zombies. I need to show these bandits that the Lokkju name stands stronger than ever before. " He held his staff in the air and laughed as he took another swig of his flask. A dark shadow loomed behind him. It happened too fast. I was powerless.
A club swung from the darkness, crashing into Wodan's skull as his fresh hot blood scattered across my horrified face. Before Wodan's limp corpse could fall into me, the massive lumberjack of a man.. or was it a beast... gripped Wodan's cloak and held him in place like a sick puppet master testing a new toy.
"A Lokkju here? Huuh huuh huuh. Boss will be happy." He went to leave but stopped as he noticed the shock in my face boiling into rage. "Shoo girl. I don't need your poor gnome ass staining my club."
I can't really recall what happened next. Whether it was my rage blinding me or the pure amount of blood shrouding my eyes I can't tell. My blade swung forward faster than it ever had in practice, my adrenaline fueling me with speed faster than any porkul. The hand grasping Wodan was limp and falling to the ground in slow motion. I caught Wodan as he coughed blood onto my chest. He was alive after a blow like that?! I froze as the bellowing voice of the beast man fell to the floor.
"Aggggh! Aggggggh! You! You!! I'll kill you!!!" The massive figure was pressed against the wall pushing his club against the ground trying to regain his balance. His huge figure completely knocked off-kilter by the missing weight of his left forearm. That's when I saw it, the orange gleam I had trained my eyes to spot all these years. I picked up a pebble and threw it at the giant of a man just as he began to regain his balance. Sure enough a mechanical sound echoed through the narrow walkway as a mass of large stones fell from the sealing, pinning his leg beneath them. Hopefully it would buy us enough time to make a run for it. I was going to need it to carry Wodan all the way out of the sewers to safety. I turned to run with Wodan gripping my shoulder but crashed into something sturdy and fell to the ground.
I can't express the fear as Wodan, I, and a bewildered zombie rolled around on the ground together. I managed to get a grip, on my sword hilt that is, and slam it through the zombie's skull. But the angry horrified shouting of the injured buffoon were doing us no favors as the massive wave of zombies Wodan had been tormenting were now lumbering up the stairs towards our pile of fresh flesh and Wodan's delicious blood scattered on the ground. I pulled Wodan onto my back and made a 180* spin as I dodged a powerful swing from the bandit. Bones and ash from the now shattered zombie flew through the air. Ugh I'm still picking it out of my hair now.
Wodan's last words before falling unconscious were some incomprehensible muttering that I left his staff behind. I had no choice but to make a leap of faith off a nearby ledge. I can hardly move now as my shins are throbbing with pain from the landing. I imagine my left ankle is sprained if not entirely broken but at least our light weight allowed us to make the jump. The bandit was stuck up there to battle it out with the zombies and we had time to make a break for it.
So here I am... barricaded inside this tiny room with no food or water. Wodan's bleeding has stopped but I doubt he'll ever be the same after taking a hit like that. I don't know if the banging on the other side of the door is bandits or zombies. Hopefully they give up soon so I can get some rest and wake up in the morning from this nightmare... Wait there is that sound again. Like cool air blowing through a tight passage. I think there's a hidden exit to this room!
Editor's Note: Hey guys hope you enjoyed the first part of my newest column here at OnRPG! I'll be continuing this with around 4 more installments, one per week, until I complete the tale of Kurumu's journey. Hope you come by to check out part 2 next week! And feel free to leave comments, suggestions, or even screenshots of your own in-game characters if you want to get included in a future edition!