Rise and Rescue – Volume 1 is an anthology of LitRPG stories is being sold to benefit WIRES, which is an organisation working desperately hard to rescue Australian wildlife caught in the current bushfire crisis. There are twenty-one stories for you to enjoy, with a second volume to follow soon. The book was the brainchild of Stephen Landry, and he has been the driving force behind its creation…
An excerpt from one of the stories in the anthology, Star Divers Burst and Bloom, by Stephen Landry
…When I was young I fell hard against a sharp piece of broken asphalt that splintered upward and into my knee. My father picked me up into his arms and carried me inside while my mother took a small pair of tweezers and picked out the small pebbles that had embedded themselves in my flesh. In that moment I thought the bleeding would never stop. My mother stitched it up with the last first-aid kit they had brought with them from the raft. After it was all said and done, my leg scarred over and to this day I carry the scar with me.
When I created my avatar I copied all of the scars. Surface details. Small things that meant something that I carried forward into the virtual world. My memory of falling has since faded but not the memory of my mother and father taking the time to care for me to carry me through the mud and darkness and put me back together. Their reassurance that I was going to be alright. My scars, new and old, and those to come, all of them carry me, a reminder that even in a cold world there is still hope.
It was the beginning of spring and for the most part there were dozens of events taking place across all 76 quadrants. Each event varied, from gathering resources, racing, arena-beast battles, to hunting large alien monsters as each world held their own different celebration. Flowers, sunshine. The real world wasn’t what it use to be but the seasons had started to return to normal. Even in a world as cold as Bane this was something of a surprise. Many players called it the Spring Festival while others called it ‘the Gathering’. Celebrations were to be held on the streets with fireworks in the sky. Even the Corpse Divers were planning to gather for a large festival near the Spire. A short armistice had been called between many of the major guilds though that didn’t stop raiders from preying on the weak. Many guilds were taking extra security work to defend the less fortunate and guard high traffic areas in Quads 1-5.
It would have been nice. Taking a break from the action. Damien had been right. After the new year began and the Winter Festival ended I was leveling up faster, taking higher risk missions, and gathering more loot quicker than ever. After a few trips to the black market on the Spire, I even made a few extra scrip for myself. The black market wasn’t quite what I thought it would be. There were no guards planning to crack down on us and most of our business was held in shops or by vendors on the street. Overpriced artifacts and weapons. I bought a few mods the first time we went and some small cosmetic items I thought looked cool. A chalice with a skull that I kept in my room on the Ibanez. I also bought a kendo stick and began training in melee again. I also bought a baritone guitar. It provided a nice break from hunting, gathering, etc. I had been playing Bane for almost two years and was not a stranger anymore. I even started to feel like I had really started to make friends. Never sure if I liked all of them or not but I had become a part of a family. I was a professional player and this spring that meant no breaks, no shortcuts, no easy way out. When we got an SOS and reports of an echo in an unexplored area of Quad 6 I was one of the first called up….
This excerpt from Stephen’s afterword explains rather neatly why you should stop reading this and go buy the anthology:
I have three rescue animals in my home. One of them is completely blind with severe medical problems. I remember when she was given to us as a hospice foster. Staying awake long into the night, helping her become familiar with the house. Training her to respond to the sound of my voice. They told us she only had six months to live. It’s been over two years now and she’s alive, healthy, and happy. Sometimes the small things you do make a huge difference.
When I started this project a lot of people told me that I was wasting my time, that this wasn’t going to make a difference. Between work and writing my own stories when would I have time to put together an entire anthology? Together we are stronger. Myself and over twenty other authors answered the call and have come together to give back.
You can pick up Rise and Rescue – Volume 1 now and help support Australian wildlife as it recovers from the fires – and enjoy some thundering good GameLit stories too!