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The Court of Concience

By greggles All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Adventure

Ch1

  Wooden wheels bounced off the cobblestone streets as a horse drawn carriage rolled past the Dragons Head Inn. A drunkard stumbled out into the night, and past the man’s reverie all manner of commotion could be seen in the bar. Food and drink were served out to tables full of weary adventurers turning in for the night; wooden tables supporting the weight of tall tales and heavy armor.  Candles flickered on the wall, keeping the room illuminated so that none could sneak in the shadows, which is why a couple of hooded figures entered through the back, passing the bustling kitchen and directly into a back room. The two unrobed and revealed themselves. One was a tall figure clad in heavy black and red armor, with spikes and horns protruding from the joints and head, while the other was of smaller than average size, with long knives lining the back of her leather armor. They took the two remaining seats around an old wooden table. There were eight in all. Besides the knight and the assassin, there was a monk, tattooed head to toe in what appeared to be a mixture of Native American and Maori patterns, wearing a cloth robe with a bone staff slung over his shoulder and under his arms. To his left, a grizzled veteran ranger, with a short thick beard only broken by the scars on his face. To his side was a shortsword, on the back of his leather jerkin was a crossbow, and behind his chair lie a backback full of traps. Next, a wizard robed in purple with silver designs stitched in. He was heavier than the others, with grey hair and grey beard matching the color of the smoke coming out of his pipe. Then there was a barbarian, as tall as the knight but scantily clad. Her woad paint boasted no need for protection. At the head of the table sat a swordsman in a rusted gold tunic with a hand and a half backsword strapped to him. And then there was an incredibly nervous cleric staring down at the table, wondering how the hell she got herself wrapped up in this shit in the first place. The eight sat silently at the table for a couple seconds until the swordsman got up.

“All right, that’s eight. Finally enough people to start a guild! Now as we all know this game is supposed to let you do anything within its rules, like a real life with magic. So, let us embark on the ultimate act of freedom, TO DESTROY THE WORLD!”

“Are we sure we can actually destroy it? I mean, wouldn’t the GM’s stop something like that?” Asked the knight.

“Pfft. They can’t stop us if we do it within the games parameters! I mean, they can’t stop mining guilds from delving to the depths of mountains, or pk guilds from ruining peoples day can they?” Replied the swordsman.

“Wouldn’t they just restart the game if we do somehow do this? I mean, couldn’t they just revert it back to an earlier save or something?” Asked the barbarian.

“Yeah, uhh, don’t think that’s how this works, but let me just ask the last group that blew up the fucking world. Oh wait. NO ONES DONE IT!” The swordsman snapped in annoyance. “Now are you guys done bitching or can we continue with the plan?”

“Well uhh… I don’t think I should  really be here…” Whispered the cleric, who no one heard.

“Allright, so there’s a very simple plan to how we do this. First, we build ourselves a guild building somewhere far far away where we can’t be bothered. Then we create Jacko’s giant death laser.”

“For the last time, its not a laser. A laser emits light through an optical amplification based off of stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation. This is magic beam cannon, which is totally different!”

“Yeah yeah, it shoots a big beam at something and said something dies. It’s a laser, moving on. We then launch the laser into orbit and rain death from above on everything.”

“Okay, besides the fact that we aren’t going to be able to get the materials to build the laser, this is a stupid fucking plan because how will we get it INTO SPACE!” Jacko said with an annoyed laugh.

“Well do you have any better ideas?”

“Yeah, how about we, I don’t know, crash a giant meteor into the planet and destroy everything. Or at least crash the game because the physics engine won’t be able to keep up. All we would have to do is put together a large enough magical power source to be able to summon a meteor large enough.”

“Except that you’re forgetting the whole ‘magic only does what it’s told’ rule. The standard meteor spell already summons a big ass rock and puts a pretty big hole in the ground, but nowhere does it say that the hole will go deeper, let alone deep enough to smash the world in twain. We’d need to find some work around.”

Jacko looked around, and his eyes widened when he was a very familiar design on his robe. In his excitement, Jacko jumped out of his chair as he exclaimed his revelation.

“We just do what I always do, like you said, a workaround. Summon a rock to hit someone and it’ll only do the damage it says minus magic resist, but grab a rock with magic and chuck it at someone and the damage could vary drastically based off of any number of factors. We just have to grab a giant rock so the physics engine takes effect. And what bigger rock, than the MOOOOOOOON!”

Everyone stared dumbfounded at the wizard, now standing in his best doom bringer pose, palms upwards with his fingers clenched, shacking his arms up and down as he drew out the last word. The silence dragged itself along as the wizard stood with a childish grin on his face. Finally, the silence was broken by the ranger when he said,

“That’s a stupid fucking plan”.

Immediately the swordsman interjected with “yeah that plans crazy, so crazy it just might work! Sorry, ive always wanted to say that, but seriously that might actually work. Plus there are a couple comets that swing by every couple months, we could test this out with one of them first.”

The group all sat and nodded in agreement, except for the cleric, who was mortified. The swordsman once again took the lead and said “so its settled then, were going to crash the moon into the world. Any questions?”

This time it was the knight who spoke in a voice that was both raspy from the armor, yet friendly and energetic when he said “Yeah, so are we going to go over backstories now?”

“Backstories?” Replied the swordsman, “Why the hell do we need those. Its pretty cut and dry here. The devs gave us the ability to do anything, so were doing the penultimate thing.”

“Wait, I thought we were going to do backstories as well. I had this whole story planned out where I watched my parents get killed at a young age, sending me into a life of hardship and misery until I grew so bitter I decided to join you in destroying the world” The ranger explained, disappointed in the news.

“Hey me too, except instead of living a life of hardship I was taken into the monetary where I was beaten and trained to become the perfect martial arts killer.” Exclaimed the monk excitedly.

“Wow, you guys are making a big deal about this and yet you came up with the most cliché backstory ever. Though I’m not sure if I should really be surprised about you being cliché”, he said as he looked over at the ranger; an obvious amalgamation of all the different stories he knew of lone foresters. “Seriously, just throw on the eyepatch already and make it obvious you’ve lost all your friends to the monsters you fight. Though I guess that’s not as bad as just throwing random shit together” he said as he pointed to the monk, “Like seriously, what the hell are you supposed to be. I mean you’re an Asian themed class with Australian and Indian. Pick one theme and go with it, come on.”

“Well you don’t have to be a dick about it” Said the monk, obviously hurt by the words.

“You know, doing the backstories could be fun. I think we should go around the table and introduce our characters. You know what they say, all great adventures start in a tavern.” Said the assassin, who was met with resounding agreement; only the swordsman did not immediately agree, but let out a reluctant “fine” when he saw everyone was against him. He was wrong however, because the cleric still said nothing as she sunk further into her chair. “Okay I’ll start. I’m Helicia Stormrose, an orphan who was brought in to be trained as a spy and assassin by a local lord. Eventually she became too powerful for even him to stop so she killed the nobleman and made off with his wealth. She lived as an assassin for hire to the wealthy for a while, but found that between all the killings there was nothing but corruption. So she decided it all had to end.”

The room applauded. When the clapping died down the swordsman said with an annoyed look “Ok, before we continue, raise of hands of everyone that’s a fucking orphan in their backstory.”

Everyone rose their hand.

“You know what, Helicia and Derviss get to use that in the backstory. No one else is allowed to be an orphan.”

“But I am an orphan…” Muttered the priest to herself.

“Next!”

The knight in all black stood and said in a Canadian accent “Okey guys, so I’m Kalreth the Doomlord. I am not an orphan, not an orphan, and instead I am a… demon. I am a demon who wishes to destroy all of humanity because I cannot find a worthy opponent and see all humans as weak and meaningless trash that deserve no amount of respect or dignity, only the right to be beaten like a sick puppy you find on the side of the road that you kick when no one is looking.”

“Okay… well that was interesting. Again pretty cliché but fuck it, lets just get this over with, next!”

The monk stood up next, speaking from a goofy grin on his face. “I am Da’Rogh, a monk who is ALSO not… an… orphan…. He instead was brought up in the monastery taught to combat evil in all of its forms. Eventually after travelling around the world for some time, he became convinced that there was nothing but evil in the world and that all of it had to be eradicated, which is why he’s here.”

“Wow, that was actually a pretty good one. Derviss?”

“Okay, so as I said I saw my parents killed before my eyes by bandits”

“You never said that” Helicia chimed in.

“Okay so I’m saying it now. I saw my parents killed before my eyes when I was young, which taught me the cruelty of the world. After that I lived day to day doing whatever I could; hunting game, picking pockets, killing people if I had to just to survive. Eventually I became a bandit. When I was finally captured I was given the choice of patrolling the edges of the Deepwoods or be put on the chopping block. Naturally I tried to escape, but when that failed I chose the Deepwoods despite the warnings. The monsters there and the deaths I saw slowly twisted me into a deathseeker, amazed every time at how no matter how many times I threw myself in harm’s way, someone else would always die. I started to blame myself for it, blamed myself for my parents death too, started to think I caused that. Now I just want to see if I can actually die.”

“I really like how you tied in the class quest area with your story, makes it more believable” Said Kalreth in his cheery tone.

“Please don’t bring your ptsd into this” Said the swordsman. “Next.”

“So as you guys know I’m Jacko” The wizard said, using his arms to emphasize the words. “I am a mage who has reached the height of his hubris, looking to prove that he is better than all others by destroying the world itself, and then probably moving to another plane so that he can sit there and smoke his pipe and drink tea while he gloats about it.”

“Okay, next”

“I’m Gael, a barbarian from the north. My… brothers died when I was young and my mother was too weak to give birth to any more kids so my father raised me like one of the men. Eventually I became the greatest warrior in the tribe and was kicked out for being a girl. I then became a mercenary until I found out that my whole tribe had been wiped out. After that I grew angry and sought revenge because even though the tribe abandoned me, they were still the ones that raised and trained me.”

“Wait, I thought only Helicia and Derviss got to be orphans. If Gael gets to be one than I want to add it back into my backstory too.” Complained Da’Rogh

“She’s not an orphan. Her parents didn’t die while she was still a minor. Her parents raised her till she could leave on her own, so its fine.” Replied the swordsman.

“You know, barbarian tribes, and moreso celtic women had rights and were allowed to fight. It was actually pretty liberal.” Said Jacko.

Gael looked both pleased and surprised, “Oh cool, didn’t know that. Wait then do I have to change my backstory?”

“No, your tribe is a fantasy tribe from fantasyland, they can do whatever the fuck they want.” Replied the swordsman. “And now me. I’m Apollyon, and I started this as the ultimate act of freedom. You can’t prove your freedom in a game more than by doing something as controversial as this.”

Apollyon thought that maybe this was why he and so many others liked to build and destroy In sandbox games; the freedom to be able to do both, only determined by your ability to continue forward with your plan, not outside rules telling you who or what you can or cannot hurt. He suppressed the thought immediately because he thought backstories were pointless and stupid and didn’t want to admit otherwise.

And so that’s everybody” Apollyon said. “I guess that’s meeting adjourned. We’ll continue next time with finding a location for our base once the 24 hour wait time on guild creation is over.”

“What is our guild called anyways?” Asked Helicia.

“Well I wanted it to be Armageddon” answered Apollyon

“Told you it’d be taken.” Chimed Jacko

“Or Ragnarok”

“Also taken like I said. By a heavy metal band and its fans no less. I was tempted to join” Said Jacko again.

“Or shut the fuck up Jacko before I practice my Vlad the Impaler impersonation by shoving Da’Rogh’s pole up your ass and out your mouth. But apparently that was over the character limit, so I went with the first badass sounding name I could find that was close enough to the apocalypse; the Court of Conscience.”

“Surprisingly not taken by a Christian fundamentalist guild.” Said Jacko. Apollyon immediately moved over to grab Da’Rogh’s staff and shake it menacingly at Jacko. The rest of the group, however, seemed impressed and delighted by the name. “And with that, our meeting is adjourned.” As Apollyon said this, the players one by one logged off the game to return to their real lives. Except the priest, who said while on the verge of tears, “I was just looking for the bathroom”.

...
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