Today is Day 3 of NaNoWriMo!
I'll be getting to writing today during my lunch break and after work, but I'm not sure how I'll be able to top the impressive count I managed last night. I don't know where it came from, but the ideas wouldn't stop coming. It was almost too much for me to keep up with. My total for day 2 of NaNoWriMo was 7,011 words! Crazy right? That's usually a number I'd make on a weekend when I have all day to dedicate my time. I don't know if I'll be able to top that, or get anywhere close, but I'm going to try! And if I keep going at this rate, I'll need to think about another book to write because I'll finish before the event is done XD.
All passages were in order from yesterday's post, so here's what I wrote:
He threw one of his axes at my decoy and I took the opportunity to quickly close the distance between us. He was taken aback when his weapon flew through the decoy and then disappeared from the attack.
"You're an idiot," I said.
He whipped around like I hoped and swung his remaining axe at me, but I maneuvered around the attack and stepped on the head of his axe to launch myself above him. His heavy armor prevented him from being able to grab a hold of me, and when I landed on his back, I didn't hesitate with my assassination. I plunged the dagger into his spine and sent a lighting spell from my hand, through the weapon, and into his body. He yelled in pain and I jumped away as his armor began to conduct the electrical element. It appeared the armor set he had chosen wasn't warded against lighting. I should have thought of that. Didn't matter now. Tyden wasn't doing too well and I was all too happy to give him another shock.
Mustering up another lightning bolt, I sent it straight at him and listened to him scream in pain some more until his health drained to zero. Knowing it was best to dawdle, I opened my menu and logged out before the computer could congratulate me on my win. If the system needed me to stay to keep score of my win in order to transfer it to my actual account, I didn't care. It wouldn't be worth it if Tyden logged out quicker than me in the rage that was no doubt building in him.
When my mind was released from the game I did my best to remain calm as I pulled my gaming helmet off. Even though I was prepping for the worse, I needed to make it look like nothing was wrong with this situation…since there wasn't. Tyden threw his helmet on the ground and jumped to his feet. Here we go.
"You cheating bitch!" he roared.
I rolled my eyes and stood up. "Don't be such a sore loser."
"Rogues can't beat warriors," he said. "You couldn't have won with that class."
I sighed. "If you had half a brain you'd know, that I used a multi-class. I traded out some skills of my rogue class I wouldn't utilize and used those extra skill points in another class at a higher cost rate. Your armor set has no warding against my lightning based attack I dipped into from the mage skill set. Not only that, your weakness was easy to pinpoint. You focus so much on your brute strength to take out your opponent, you forget about the weakness of the warrior. Your plate armor is heavy and bulky, slowing you down and making it harder for you to protect weak points in the armor. Your neck was easy to spot and since you're so stupid, you easily fell for the most basic rogue trick in the book with that decoy spell. You made it too easy to get between you and your only way of harming me."
"No girl has that kind of--"
"That's enough!" Vesser barked. "Tyden, you're way out of line!"
"Don't you dare start barking orders at me," Tyden warned.
I rolled my eyes as the two bickered and walked off. I knew this had been a bad idea. It's why, even though I really want to, I never believed I'd ever get on a team. And it's why I stuck to PvE. That part of the community was judgmental, but not as bad, and easy to prove your worth to. But PvE didn't pay the bills. Not yet anyways. The creators of Evenstar had made mention multiple times they were trying to implement tournaments for PvE, but it wasn't something they were having an easy time with.
I jumped over the railing and walked past Ramos. "We're leaving."
"I said we're leaving, now let's go."
He sighed. "Sorry."
I didn't want to stay at the convention anymore. There wasn't any point. Nothing ever changed with this community. Guys thought they owned it, and women--I glanced at a few team booths with women as "teammates". They dressed in ways to bring attention to themselves or the guy they were hanging off of. That was the only way women could get on a team these days. If they agreed to look pretty for the members or date them, then they'd be listed on the roster, but they never participated in the tournaments or official skirmishes. I wasn't going to stoop to that level. I had standards, and the gods damn me if I didn't uphold them.
"You'll get there, Rinneth," Rashta encouraged. "I know it."
"I hope so…"
I couldn't believe Tyden. From the start of this match he acted out of line and now here he was trying to defend himself to me. That female didn't deserve that treatment.
"That's enough, Tyden!" I roared. "I've had enough of this. You're constantly out of line and making this team look bad. You're done."
"Excuse me?" Tyden asked.
"You heard me. You're fired. Get lost," I said.
"You can't just make that kind of decision on your own, Vesser!" he shot. "The entire team has to vote on that."
I watched as the rest of the team raised their hand in vote. "There's your vote, Tyden. Now get out of here."
His face reddened in anger and he spit on the ground at me. "Screw all of you. I'll go join a better, less pathetic team anyways. Good luck replacing me with the big tournament coming up in a few months."
I ground my teeth together. He was right, getting a replacement for him would be tough, but not impossible. But I couldn't think about that right now. I had to track that female down and apologize for Tyden's behavior.
"I'll be back," I told the team.
I ran off the battle platform and pushed my way through the crowd in the direction she had disappeared in with her…friend. No mistake with that one, he had been a Black Dragon. But for the life of me I couldn't figure out what he was doing with a Human, let alone at some gaming convention. It didn't matter. As long as I could find her to give my apology, I could wonder about it later.
I searched and search, but couldn't track her down. Don't tell me she left already… She had obviously been upset, but who wouldn't be after that? What impressed me, was how calm she had stayed. She had given good reason for her win, and everyone out here had seen it play out as she described. It had been remarkable seeing her work. Besides Thuldren, I'd never seen such a skilled multi-classer before. Multi-classes were easy to create, since the only limitation on choices were skill points and dipping into another class's skills cost a larger amount, but rarely were they made just right to be effective.
"Vesser…" a feminine voice in my head said sadly.
I blocked it out. This wasn't the time to deal with that, and that was another issue itself. That voice, the voice of my destined mate, matched this Human female. I sensed a change in the air while we had been setting up for the Q&A panel. And then, while Rial sat down to battling that young kid, the air changed again, and that's when I noticed her push her way through the crowd to get a better look. When Thuldren's turn came up she leaned on the railing of the battle station and to herself about better moves each player could have made. I couldn't hear her voice, thanks to the loud crowd, but I could read those…lovely lips of hers. And those intent…captivating green eyes… everything about her was beautiful and captivating. I couldn't look away from her.
Vamir had volunteered me for the next round because he had noticed my distracted state, not that it helped much. I had just wanted to get the fight over with so I could figure her out more, but I knew I needed to do the fight the right way. Plus, I figured she'd be looking for ways to correct my fight as well, so I felt it best to put on a good show.
I had hoped, she'd volunteer when I made the invitation, even though I knew it was an illogical hope with how the community acted. It's what made me glad her friend had volunteered her. Then, when she had spoken to him, I had be caught so off guard. It didn't help that when the crowd started to grow during her match with Tyden, many onlookers were cheering for her by name. Rinneth. My mate's name. But this female smelled Human--or--mostly Human at least. There was something different to her scent, but I hadn't had time to process it.
I sighed with aggravation when I had scoured half of this convention center with no luck. She had to have left in her anger. I couldn't blame her if she had. Females weren't treated well in this community, and I hated it. As skilled as she obviously was, not many would take her seriously, and it sucked.
"Excuse me, sir, can I help you with something?" A male security guard asked when he noticed me looking around.
"I'm looking for a young woman," I said. "Average height, black and red hair pulled back in pigtails, a couple piercings, green eyes, wearing a cropped racking jacket, white shirt, and jeans."
"Ah, you're talking about Rinneth," he said.
I nodded. "Yeah, that's her. You know her?"
"Sure do! I've run a few raids with her. Man she's good."
"Yeah, I know. I need to talk to her about something."
He whistled low. "Sorry to disappoint you, but she just left. Looked rather upset too."
"That's why I was looking for her. I wanted to apologize to her on behalf of my team for what our now ex-teammate did."
The guard nodded. "Well good luck with that. She's someone you really don't want to be on bad terms with."
He began walking away but I stopped him. "Wait. If you've run with her as much as you say, then you have her contact right?"
"Well yeah, but there's a rule we all abide by. Rinneth doesn't give out her contact on a whim. You have to prove you're trustworthy, and if she gives you that contact, you don't share it with nobody."
I sighed and nodded. "Alright, thanks."
That just made things a whole hell of a lot harder. I'd have to get Rial to do some digging and see if there wasn't a way to salvage this situation.
I walked back to the team to find the crowd that had formed for the skirmishes has nearly disappeared. Those left lingering, were just being nosey or asking the team a few questions.
Vamir smiled at me but then frowned. "Didn't find her?"
I shook my head. "No. Security guard said she left."
"That's all right. We got some information that should help us get that apology to her."
"If the lass be willin' to hear us out, dat is," Thuldren said. "From what that lad said, it won't be easy."
"Guy? What guy?" I asked.
Rial looked up from his personal computer and pointed to an athletically build male leaning against the railing of the platform. "He has quite the interesting information on our mystery woman. Why don't you tell him what you told us?"
The male beckoned me closer and I complied. Once I crouched down so I was more eye level with him, he spoke. "She's pretty secretive, so not a lot is known about her, but I can share what I do know. Her name is Rinneth. She's one of the best PvEers you'll find in Lumaraeon."
"Define how good," I said.
"She has the legendary title, Dragon Lady," he said.
"From that near impossible quest line during that one time limited event?" I asked. "The one only a single five-man team managed to complete?"
He nodded. "Yep, that's the one. She led that group and everyone who turned her down is still beating themselves up over it."
I ran my fingers through my hair and sighed. "Don't blame them."
The male continued. "She likes to dabble in the PvP side of the game, but due to the way the community is, she's pretty much stuck with what she knows. She's a great multi-classer. I've never known her to fail on making one. But she's most well known for her beast tamer class."
My brow rose. "Beast tamer? No one rolls one of those anymore because of their complexity."
The male chuckled. "Trust me, Rinneth does. She's highly sought after in a lot of guilds because she's that good with it. But she's not interested in guilds right now."
"Okay, what else can you share?" I asked.
His eyes darted around and then he lowered his voice. "This is something that most don't know, because she tries to keep it a secret. You know who is sponsoring the big tournament in the next few months, right?"
"Yeah, Fallon Industries. They're a major push for technological advancement and opening a sponsorship to a team, but no applicant has lived up to their expectations."
The male nodded. "That's right. And the CEO of that company, Fallon, he's Rinneth's father."
I stared at the man in shock. "What?"
"You heard me."
"But everyone knows he's a Dragon."
The male nodded "And she's Human right? Or so everyone thinks at least. No one is even sure if she's Fallon's legitimate heir, but the paperwork has him listed as her father. So either he adopted a Human, she’s a Halfling, or secretly a Dragon. That's the secretive part about her."
That explained the Black Dragon following her around. Fallon would want to make sure his daughter was safe from any harm with the kinds of enemies he was bound to make. "Why are you telling me this?"
"Because Rinneth, holds a grudge, and unless you can get back in her good graces, you can kiss any potential sponsorship from that company good-bye."
The male walked off without another word. I stood up and pondered what he'd told me. If he was being honest, we did have a problem. It also complicated things for me on a personal level.
I walked back over to my team and rubbed my neck. "So what do all of you think of this?"
"That he's telling the truth," Rial said as he spun his computer around to face me. "Tyden really screwed us over with her. Not only are her stats in this game, some of the most impressive I've seen, her connection to Fallon Industries really is true. She holds a lot of power in her hand and yet no one knows."
"Shows her kind of character, lad," Thuldren said. "She wants to make her own way in life, without her da's help."
"I found something else," Rial said. "Looks like she has connections to a really high stat player."
"Who?" I asked.
He struggled. "That information is locked down. Whoever it was, they were big on PvP and they haven't logged into this game in ten years."
I rubbed my chin. I wonder who that could be…
"So what are we going to do?" Rial asked. "We're down one member and we've got to get on Rinneth's good side if we want any chance of her father granting us a sponsorship."
"Do you think she'd really screw us over on that?" he asked.
I crossed my arms. "I have a feeling she wouldn't, but her father would be far less forgiving."
"So what do you propose we do?" Vamir asked.
"We need a new teammate, and need her to forgive us. Why not kill two birds with one stone?" I suggested.
He nodded. "Not a bad idea. She's got the skill. I don't object to it."
"Nor I," Thuldren agreed.
"I don't either," Rial said. "But there's the snag of getting her to accept. She's not going to just up and think we're being serious with her. You know how these other teams are."
I nodded. "I'm aware, and that's why I think we should do a tournament. We'll send out VIP invites to PvPers who we think would make a great addition to the team, and then open it to all to sign up. This way, no one, not even her, can see it as anything else but a legitimate hiring."
"And how do you propose we go about getting her to accept?" Vamir asked.
I scratched my head. "Still working on that part."
"I'll help," he offered. "I have a feeling you'll need it."
"I'm not dumb," I defended. "I'm fully capable of figuring it out."
"Okay, then tell me, how many women have you talked to, besides your mother and sister?" he asked. I opened my mouth but then shut it when nothing came to mind. "That's what I thought. And we both know you've never been good at smoothing things over with them after you've ticked them off."
"All right, all right, I need help. I get it," I said reluctantly.
Thuldren nodded. "Sounds like ye lads got that part. Rial and I will get the tourney all set up and we will go from there."
The four of us nodded and went about packing up. I really hoped I could fix this issue. Even if she didn't join the team, I needed things to be good between us, just in case.
Vamir unlocked the door to our game lounge we rented at the gaming center down the road from the convention center. I followed him in and sat down on one of the couches to think about how to word my apology to Rinneth while Rial tracked down her contact information. Unfortunately, nothing came to mind. I didn’t know the first thing about her. How was I supposed to convince her my apology was sincere if I didn’t know the right and wrong was to talk to her?
“You’re over thinking this,” Vamir said as he sat down on the other side of the couch. “I figured you would.”
“What am I supposed to say?” I asked. “A plain ‘I’m sorry’ isn’t going to cut it.”
He eyed me. “How about the truth? Tell her Tyden has been taken care of and we’re truthfully sorry it happened. Then work from there based on her responses.”
“And if she doesn’t respond?” I asked.
He shrugged. “Then she doesn’t. We can’t make her believe us.”
I ran my hand through my hair and sighed.
“Are you sure you want her on the team, Vesser?” Vamir asked.
I looked at him sternly. “Of course I’m sure. I’m the one who proposed the idea.”
“True, you did.” He paused. “But I’m not stupid, Vesser. We’ve been friends long enough for me to know when something's up, and you’ve been acting out of character all day. Spacing out and not being able to focus on the Q&A and the skirmishes. Then there’s the fact you wouldn’t stop staring at Rinneth.”
“It’s her, isn’t?”
I looked away. “I don’t know…”
“You don’t know? Did you always tell me you’d definitely know when you met her?”
“Yeah, well, I thought it’d be that easy.”
“And you still want her on the team. You do know our team rule prevents--”
“I know the rule, Vamir. I made that rule. But this team needs a player like her. And if she’s not my mate, and I chose not to give her the chance to be on the team”—I rubbed my temples—“I’m not willing to let this team suffer on a ‘what if’ and I won’t let her be teamless for the same reason.”
“And if she is? Then what?”
“Then I continue my plan to retire.”
“Rial and Thuldren won’t be happy to see you go.”
“And you will?” I jested.
“If this was taking place two hundred or more years ago, I’d say you’re being crazy. Wanting to settle down. Who does that?” Vamir chuckled. “But now…well, we’re not getting any younger, and you have a chance—”
“Vamir, don’t you start that,” I warned. “You’ll get there too, if that’s what you really want.”
“We’ll see.” He looked at his watch when it pinged. “Hopefully that’s Rial with some good news.”
I smacked my forehead. “I still don’t know what to say to Rinneth if it is.”
Vamir chuckled and pressed a button to activate the hologram display over his arm. “You sound like a nervous teenager. Just relax. Bingo, Rial struggled to dig something useful up, but it’s better than nothing.”
“Tell me it’s not her communicator signal…” I begged. When he didn’t reply I thought I was going to have a heart attack.
Vamir laughed raucously. “Your reaction was too perfect. Don’t worry, it’s not her communicator signal. It’s her messenger information. You really are acting like a reluctant love struck teenager.”
He smirked and pointed to my watch. “Better start writing up your little love note.”
I glared at him and then active my messenger. Several minutes passed with me just staring at a blank new message screen. What would convince her I was telling her to truth? Truth. Maybe Vamir was right.
Words typed across the screen as I wrote how I tried to find her but failed to do so, and then wrote out Tyden’s fate. I then deleted that part and simplified the explanation to us handling the situation appropriately. Then came the apology. My fingers typed on their own and resulted in a horrifying letter that would unfortunately meet Vamir's love sick teen wise cracks. I'm a grown Dragon. Am I really that pathetic? I didn't even know anything about her. Did this behavior happen to all Dragon males? Maybe that was why they avoided their mates for so long…
I erased what I wrote and came up with something far less creepy. When I was done I looked it over and contemplated showing it to Vamir, but decided it would be best to just go with what I came up with and see how it went. I couldn't rely on him to fix things like this all the time. No matter how bad I am at this.
"I need her contact," I said.
"Don't want me to read your love note?" Vamir teased.
He snickered. "I don't think you want that, lover boy."
"Just give me the damn contact."
"Alright. Here's to hoping your message doesn't scare her off. For you sake."
I opened the door to the house and was greeted by four happy wagging tails. A smile came to my face as my dogs greeted me with slobbery kisses. No matter what, they were always there to help cheer me up.
"You're home earlier than I expected." A tall, tan man with dark hair and sapphire eyes came into the foyer. He smiled at me but it went away when he notice my sour mood. "What happened?"
"Doesn't matter, dad," I replied as I headed up one of the two stairs on either side of the foyer.
"Rinneth, come back down here and talk to me about it," my father begged.
I ignored him and headed for my room, my dogs eager to follow. Ramos would end up telling him anyways. Couldn't keep his mouth shut around his leader.
Shutting the door behind me I looked around my spacious room, which was more like an apartment than a bedroom. To my right was a small kitchen with a bathroom next to it. Next to that was my queen sized bed and before me was my living room with couch, TV, and in the far corner, my gaming station. The portable game helmets were nice at conventions, and good for those who couldn't afford a gaming station, but they weren't nearly as reliable as the game stations. And since you could lay down in well made gel padding that conformed to your body type, you didn't have to worry about your body moving anywhere and risking any injury. Though, I did have a few game helmets lying around for use. Not that I had anyone to share them with…
I gave each of my dogs a loving pat on the head before going over to visit my sun conure, Sparkles. She squawked happily when I opened the cage and she eagerly climbed up my arm and nuzzled my neck. Giving her a good scratch on the head I decided to make something to eat to help me calm down. I looked at a photograph in a frame I had sitting on the counter and frowned. In the picture was me with a older woman who looked near identical to me. Mother… I could really use you right now.
It had been some time since she had died, but sometimes it felt like it happened yesterday. It was hard, not having her to talk to. Left me with Rashta to confide in all the time. I didn't have many friends. Hard to have them when your father was a wealthy business man who wasn't Human, and severely overprotective. Not that I could blame him with what had been going on for the past few years, but it still sucked. Not even Ramos was a real friend. My father had him guard me to keep me safe. And sure, we had some common interests, but Ramos had a habit of telling my father my secrets. It had been a long time since I'd confided in either of them how I felt. They didn't get it.
"He tried to defend you," Rashta said as I made a sandwich. "That Dragon, Vesser."
"I know. My issue isn't really with him."
"But you're still upset."
"Of course I am. I hate being treated like I'm worthless because of my gender."
"What if that team gave you a chance?"
I snorted. "No way in hell that'd happen."
"And if it did, would you accept?"
"Probably not. No way would I work alongside Tyden, or a team that would allow him to stay on as a member after the way he acted."
"Why don't you go play Evenstar?" she suggested. "Taking a few kill quests usually makes you feel better."
I laughed. "I don't think it'll ever stop sounded funny hearing you encourage me kill things."
"Well, they're not real, so I don't see the problem with it."
"And if I have to kill another player?"
"You're not killing the real them, so again, not a problem with me. Though my disapproval never stopped you in prior lives."
I chuckled and ate my sandwich quickly. Once satisfied, I set Sparkles down on her perch and made sure she had what she'd need to occupy herself before getting the game pod started up. Making sure Evenstar was the loaded game, I went to hop in, but my watch pinged--twice, indicating I had been sent two messages at the same time. Curious, I pressed a flat button on my sleek metal watch and a hologram projected over my arm. I touched the new message icon to take a look at what was sent to me. I had a new message from Ramos and…Vesser?
I quickly looked at Ramos' message. His message was brief and inviting me to join him in Evenstar. I sent him a quick reply and then focused on Vesser's message. How in the god's name did he get my contact information?
I opened the message and read what he had to say.
I was hoping I'd catch up with you before you left so I could say this in person, but that didn't happen. Tyden was beyond out of line and we've handled it appropriately. I'm sorry that happened, I really am. I shouldn't have allowed him to battle against you when he started acting up to begin with, and for that, I'm also deeply sorry. I hope you can forgive us.
I contemplated if I should reply or not. He said he took care of it appropriately, but for all I knew, that just meant temporary suspension or a slap on the wrist. Ignoring all this would be something I'd normally do, but something nagged at me to reply.
"Send the forgiveness reply," Rashta encouraged.
"Do you have a legitimate reason?" I asked. "I'm not counting your theory of him being my other half as a legitimate reason."
She chuckled. "Because he defended you back at that convention in front of everyone and is going out of his way to make sure you got his apology. I do believe he's sorry it happened and not just trying to save face. You are hard to track down, meaning he had to go through some trouble to be able to contact you."
I chewed on my lip and then decided I might as well forgive them. It's not like I'd ever deal with them again after.
It's whatever, really.
"That wasn't much of an acceptance," Rashta chided.
"It's the best they'll get."
She sighed but dropped it. I went to deactivate my messenger, but it pinged with a new message. Vesser again. I had a feeling my reply opened a can of worms.
We're hosting an in-game tournament. We'd be happy if you attended.
Pity party…even worse than a can of worms.
I deactivated my messenger and ignored the new message ping when another message came in. Instead, I hopped inside the gaming pod and shut the lid. I closed my eyes and let the system pull me into the game. I opened my eyes again when the pressure in my head dissipated and was met with a wooden ceiling. I sat up and looked around at the inn I had logged out in earlier this morning. Small but quaint, it was perfect for the average traveler looking for a place to rest for the night. A little small for me, but I couldn't beat the cheap price.
My tamed striped Calacour, Zaro, lounged in front of the door, his large body making a great barrier to prevent anyone coming in while I was gone. To most it would appear he was sleeping, but the large antennae whiskers growing off its face waved in a synchronized fashion, telling me he was being faithfully watchful. He was the main reason this room wasn't exactly big enough.
I whistled low and Zaro lifted his head and then waved his antennae at me in greeting, not willing to give up his protective vigil just yet. My ear pinged and I lifted my hand to active my menu. Ramos had sent me a party invite. I accepted and waited for the group chat to activate. I'll be happy to have that new gaming station.
"I was beginning to wonder if you had lied to me about jumping on," he teased.
"Sorry, was finishing eating a sandwich," I half lied. He didn't need to know about Vesser's message or invite. I didn't need that kind of headache. "Harder than it looks with four dogs wanting in on that."
He chuckled. "I'll take your word for it. You up for some questing?"
"What class you running right now?"
"Beast Tamer of course."
"All right. I'll pick up some quests and meet you in Ravenward at the cathedral?"
I agreed and slipped off the bed. "C'mon, Zaro. Time to kill some baddies."
Zaro purred and stood up. We left the inn and I looked for the nearest gryphon master. Once there, I gave Zaro a quick rub on the head and paid the gryphon master his flight fee to Ravenward. While I got situated on the half lion, half bird creature, the gryphon master placed a spell on Zaro, shrinking him so he'd fit into a small pouch for me to tie around my waist. He gave the gryphon a pat on the head when I was all set and it took to the skies.
The gryphon set a clam pace over the forest of Hartzell towards a large mountain range where the city of Ravenward resided on the other side. The smell of the Lagra Ocean lingered in the air. I had a feeling a storm had passed through while I had been logged out. Depending on the type of quests Ramos picked up, that could either help or hinder us.
My in-game messing system pinged and I opened my menu to take a look. I had two messages. One was from Vesser, as I expected, and the other was an official Eventar letter. I opened Vesser's message to see what it said.
I snorted. I didn't know what his angle was, but I wasn't going to give in. I then opened the message from Evenstar to find it to be a tournament invite for Maiden Sacrifice. I rolled my eyes and closed my menu. I really didn't know what their angle was.
"Are you almost here?" Ramos called in. "I'm bored."
"Keep your toga on, your Holiness. I'm just making it over the mountain," I teased.
"I'm a holy knight, Rinneth, not a scholar or some healer class. I don’t wear robes."
"Too bad. I could have used that kind of help in my questing early this morning."
"Well, if you had just waited for your tank to be awake, you wouldn't have needed either."
"Aw, is someone upset I left him behind."
"Of course I am. Now I have to do that all on my own and you know how slow questing is for a solo tank."
"You could switch classes for once, or ask Erin to help you."
"Yeah, I'll pass thanks. That runt is more trouble than he's worth. I don't know why you keep helping him out. He's a lost cause."
"That's not true, Ramos. He's learned a lot under me. Besides, I like him. He's fun to have around."
With a smirk, I activated my menu and searched for Erin's name on my friend's list. Finding it easily, since my list wasn't that big, I sent him a quick message. "What are you doing?"
"Sitting in Ravenward," He responded back. "Learning."
"Want to join Ramos and me on a few quests?"
"Is that alright? He doesn't seem to like me much."
"He's a stick in the mud. I want you to join us."
"Okay, I'll consider it, if you plan on some fun quests. Meet me by the news boards. There's something interesting going on."
"Should you have done that?" Rashta asked.
I nearly jumped out of my skin. She usually left me alone while I was in here. I had a habit of forgetting she followed me inside the simulations. "I don't see why I can't."
"Ramos isn't going to be happy."
"Like I care."
I looked around as the gryphon began to descend. "I'm nearly there, Ramos. I hope you have some fun quests to go on."
"I have a few I think you'll be interested in."
"I hope they'll be good for three people."
"Oh, c'mon, Rinneth, you didn't invite the kid, did you?"
"I asked if he'd be interested in joining us on some quests and he said he'd consider it."
"Deal with it. That's what you get for insulting my friends."
"You don't even know the kid in real life."
"Well, it's not like I can have friends outside this game, so he's the closest thing to a friend I'm ever going to have at this rate."
"I'm your friend, Rinneth." When I remained quiet he sighed. "Rinneth…"
I looked around the gryphon roost as my mount landed. "What did you tell my father?"
"I didn't tell him anything."
"Don't lie to me."
Ramos sighed. "I just told him we ran into trouble with a ranked team, and if he wanted to know more he'd need to talk to you about it."
"Rinneth, I'm telling you the truth."
"I landed and am heading to the cathedral."
I gave the gryphon an affectionate thank you pat and then removed Zaro from his carrying bag. The tiny, kitten mewed and then struggled to get me to put him down. I complied and watched as he scampered over to the gryphon master to be turned back to his adult size. He hasn't done this a million times or anything.
Once Zaro was restored to his normal size, we ventured into the sea port town towards the tall cathedral in the center of the town. NPCs, Non Player Characters, and live players moved around and mingled in the rustic town. Ravenward, although small, it had access to boats, land, and air travel, making it a popular place for players to meet up in and head out on adventures. Ramos liked the cathedral here, said it had been placed just right to be a great place for prayer to power up his abilities, and I liked the woods and mountains, as it made for great food sources for my tamed pets.
Several NPC merchants shouted to me to encourage a sale, but I didn't want to buy. I could do that later.
Ramos waved at me from where he sat on a fountain when I entered the cathedral square. "Ready to meet up with your little rogue friend?"
I nodded. "Yeah. He said there was some interesting stuff going on and wanted us to meet him by the news boards."
"Well, that's one thing I can say he's useful with. He'd make a killing on starting a private job in this game gathering information for players."
I chuckled. "He already does that. He just gives me free information because I include him."
"Fair enough." He bowed gracefully. "Lead the way, my fair lady."
I shook my head and lead the way towards the harbor where the news boards were posted. The harbor was unusually crowed and it made it hard to track Erin down, but I eventually located the teen sitting on a stack of crates playing with a throwing dagger. He looked at me as we approached, his crimson eyes piercing through me. I suppressed a shiver. Evenstar, unlike other games, didn't give you avatars. You played as yourself, with the only body change modifications allowed being muscle to body mass ratios. Any other modifications came from the class or gear you had and Erin didn't have either of those going for him. It was still hard to believe the Half-Elf kid had naturally red eyes.
"Rinneth!" he greeted happily.
"Hey, Erin. What's the word?" I asked.
"Something big." He jumped down from his crate. "Word surging through the game, Tyden Cero was fired from Maiden Sacrifice today."
So they did fire him. I should have been convinced, but for some reason I wasn't. Probably because it meant I was the reason. "Got proof?"
Erin held up a flyer. "They're holding a tournament later to obtain a new member."
I shrugged. "And? It could mean they're trying to get a backup in case one of them can't make it to a match. They're one of the only teams without any backups."
Erin wagged his finger at me. "Rinneth, Rinneth, Rinneth. Did you forget you've been training me to be the best rogue possible? I did some digging, and Tyden isn't on the team roster anymore. Not just that, but I found a video someone took at the convention today of Vesser firing him right in front of everyone."
I chuckled and shook my head. "You're getting good, Erin."
He rubbed the back of his head. "I hope I'm doing you good with all the time you've spent helping me. Still don't know why you'd help a complete loser like me."
"You're not a loser, Erin."
He smiled sheepishly. "Thanks. But, Ramos, why aren't you acting all surprised by this?"
Ramos chuckled. "Because I knew it'd happen after the way he treated Rinneth earlier."
Erin looked at me. "Say what?"
I shrugged. "I might have had a one-on-one with him at the convention today and kicked his ass."
"Get out of here!"
"And he might have thrown a temper tantrum because not only am I a woman, but I beat his warrior class with my elemental rogue mult-class."
"Rinneth, you are so amazing! You should try out for this tournament. You've been saying you want to go professional in PvP. If you're good enough to beat Tyden of all players, you could certainly hold you own against the players signing up for this tournament."
"Well…" I pat Zaro on the head. "I did get a private invite to join the tournament."
"You what?" Ramos and Erin asked simultaneously.
"How did you get an invite?" Ramos asked. "You're good at keeping your contact secret.
"I don't know, but Vesser sent me a message apologizing for what happened and then sent me the invitation."
"And you didn't accept?" Erin asked with disbelief.
I shrugged. "I figured it was some sort of pity invite after what happened today."
Ramos shook his head. "You are something else, Rinneth, you know that? That wasn't pity. You should have seen the way they watched you play. You completely impressed them with your tactical skill and had Thuldren cheering for you the entire time. I swear he was the happiest observer in that area when you won and the team was nowhere near mad at him for being so. This is your big chance to get on a team. A real team."
"You should join the tournament," Erin encouraged. "Even if it's just for fun. It'd be funny to watch so many guy get beaten by you."
I chuckled. "I don't know…"