Sunday Serial: Wrathburnt Sands 7

Because life can be interesting when you are a character in a video game…

Milla had given up trying to understand all the Visitors said and focused on what really mattered.
“Yes, but String…”
“Is a healer.”
String nodded enthusiastically. “I’m a canting chanter. Mostly HoTs, some wards. Can wear chain and use two-handers.” He reached to his back and drew a huge double handed sword from nowhere. It pulsed with runes and had a blue flame that danced up and down the full length of the weapon from the skull-shaped pommel. “Yep. See it and weep Pew. I gave this toon a legendary blade.”
“I thought they were an OP pet class?”
String grinned and made a gesture into the air. A black boar with steel tipped tusks and wearing some kind of harness, armoured with plates of obsidian and onyx, popped into existence beside him, then stood there snarling at no one in particular. “Yup. Total OP class.” String’s expression was close to ecstatic “Tank pet. Two-handed melee. Uber-heals. What’s not to love?”
“Do we have to take him?” Milla asked, wondering if it were possible for a ryeshor to puff his chest out quite so far and still breathe.
“Much as I hate to say so, we could really do with heals and a tank pet would be useful too. Trying to root and nuke a boss could be tricky, they tend to be immune, and can’t really kite mobs in enclosed spaces.”
Milla still wavered. Yes, she was new to venturing and these Visitors had much more experience that she had, but the thought of having to put up with the two of them talking gibberish was almost more than she could bear. Then she thought of Ruffkin. If he was hurt he might need healing.
“Alright. You can come then.” She gave String her two-eyed One Eye glare. “But no more spitting.”
“Deal!” String executed a sharp salute and his spikey crest shot up vertically. “Canter Chanter Stringvestheals at your service fair Lady Milla.”
Pew rolled his eyes and turned to stomp off towards the unguarded gate. Milla extended her stride to catch up.
“Is he your friend?” she asked.
“Not really.” Pew sighed. “Well sort of. We’ve been guildies since vanilla.”
“Vanilla?” It was one of Milla’s favourite flavours.
“Yeah. Before the devs had their first massive egostorm and fragged it all up.”
His tone made Milla wonder what kind of cataclysm that had been.
“Was that a long time ago?”
Pew snorted as they went through the gate. “You could say that. Anyway, after that he stalked me. Mention any MMORPG and we’ve probably been there.”
“What’s an Ememoharpeegee?”
Pew stopped by the imposing door to the pyramid, tracing the serpentine decoration on it with the end of his staff. In the centre of the design was an odd shaped keyhole. Pew frowned, clearly distracted by that as he answered her.
“They are like this. Only different. Different worlds. Different magic systems, combat systems. Different lore.”
Milla’s thoughts went back to what One Eye had said about Visitors coming from a different universe. Perhaps he had been right.
“You’ll need this,” String said helpfully, holding up a large golden key. “Body drop from the gate guard.”
Pew’s arm holding his staff froze in place and he turned his head to stare at String.
“You soloed the gate guards?”
String puffed his chest again and preened “What can I say? OP class.”
Milla took the key from his outstretched hand and examined it. “This is the same as the inlays on the polearms they left those by the gate. You removed it from one of those.”
String looked completely unembarrassed. “Did I say I got it any other way? Not my fault if Pew leaps to the wrong conclusion.”

We will return to Wrathburnt Sands by E.M. Swift-Hook next Sunday.

Wrathburnt Sands was first published in Rise and Rescue: A GameLit Anthology.

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