Chapter 1 - Where is the fun in that?
Hi, my name is Drake!
I’m a 17-year-old high schooler who managed to get stuck in a virtual historical fantasy game world.
Well, this is a weird start for my game journal, I guess.
But no matter, I need to start somewhere.
To start things off, let me tell you a bit about my interests and hobbies which directly landed me in this situation.
I enjoy everything under the genre of history and fantasy. Fictions, nonfictions, movies, tv shows, and games are all included in the list.
Side note, I have been stuck in my body for the past year...
I am giving you a few seconds to let that line sink in.
Geez, this is going to be hard to explain.
A year ago, my older brother and I had gone to the premiere of a historical movie. The first show was scheduled to release around midnight on a Friday in the middle of December.
I was adamant about watching the film as soon as possible. I somehow convinced my brother ‘Damien’ to come along with me to satisfy my parent’s warnings, who felt it was not a safe hour to walk the streets. They were a bit overprotective, but since I was living with my brother in a different country, they could only rely on him to watch out for me.
Damien was reluctant at first, but after I spent hours fanboying his ear off, he agreed to take me to the movie in his car and be done with it.
The movie was about Spartacus. The slave turned Gladiator turned rebel who challenged Rome and almost won. His story had changed Rome’s view of slaves who they never thought would or could rebel against their masters who forced them to fight to the death for their amusement. It was well worth the wait if you ask me. The film production team did a fantastic job of recreating an ancient world along with a possible scenario that led to Spartacus’s rebellion.
Sadly, we ended up becoming victims of a mugging in the parking lot behind the theater. Two men covered in hoods and bandannas armed with a knife and baseball bat surrounded us. They demanded we give them our phones and the cash in our wallets.
Damien obliged immediately, but I had the insane idea of not cooperating with these thugs. I remember it had something to do with imitating Spartacus along with the urge to make them back off.
Dumb move, I had zero qualifications to challenge them to a fight.
Damien was immediately stabbed in the leg while I got struck by a baseball bat at the back of my skull. Everything went dark for a long time.
I remember opening my eyes in a brightly lit hospital room and not being able to turn my head to look towards the voice of Damien talking to a nurse.
I tried to call out to him, but my throat and mouth did not respond.
It scared the crap out of me!
The medical machines that were hooked to my vitals spiked and triggered an alarm when I began to panic.
Damien called for a nurse to get the doctor before rushing to my side to try and calm me down. Tears flowed from my eyes as I saw my reflection through his eyes.
My head had been shaven bald. I was dressed in a hospital patient gown. Several tubes had been stuck in various places in my body to drip-feed fluids and monitored my health.
A doctor rushed into the room and asked my brother to move aside. He ordered a nurse to inject me with a sedative. The nurse followed the doctor’s instructions which soon made my mind feel drowsy.
“Calm down,” he repeated a few times as he used a small pocket light to examine my eyes.
A few seconds later, the machine showed my vitals had returned to normal.
After a few minutes, the doctor nodded and said everything was excellent as the drugs put me back under. I slept for a few more hours before Damien was allowed by the staff to have a talk with me. He told me about what happened after the mugging incident. The muggers stole his phone, making it difficult to call for an ambulance. He managed to drive me to the hospital in his car with a bleeding leg. They were able to stitch him up pretty quickly as the injury wasn’t too severe. Later, he informed me about the condition my body is suffering from, which resulted in me panicking once more.
The strike caused a stroke to occur in my brain, which is called a Bilateral Pontine Stroke which he learned from the doctor. My mind got disconnected from the rest of the body. I regained control of my eyes after a long while. They term this as Locked-In Syndrome, which is pretty hard to treat. It meant I would be a similar condition to a coma patient except I would be aware of everything that’s happening around me.
For a while, I cursed myself for the stupid stunt I pulled. I spent days wishing I could go back in time and stop myself from ruining my life. Then maybe I would have just ended up losing my cheap phone and a few dollars at most.
I cursed the muggers who assaulted us and found out later that the police managed to arrest them. They used Damien’s memories to draw up pictures of their faces and managed to find their profiles in their criminal database. I lost track of what happened to them as it would not change my situation.
All the doctors said that only time could tell if I would free myself from it or not.
My parents were devastated after several months of no change in my condition. On the other hand, Damien began researching ways of communicating with me.
In the beginning, he tried to see if I could communicate with my eyelids. This method limited my responses to one blink for no and two for yes.
Then he tried applying my blinks to Morse code which let me make a word or two before we all found out it wasn’t practical as yes or a no blink. It brought him relief, but he wasn’t satisfied with that and started researching about mind-reading technology and virtual reality.
Every time he visited me, he would read out various articles and research papers regarding the benefits of virtual reality would have for those with conditions like myself, but the tech seemed like fiction to me.
After a year of living like a vegetable, my brother brought in a game cabin which he said would allow a person’s mind to go into a virtual game world called “Second Life.”
“Drake! I think this will let you move and talk again.”
I had been waiting to hear those words for a long time. But now I knew it had to come with some price. He then explains to me where the game cabin came from and what it is meant to do with it.
A few months ago, he wrote a letter to the head of a virtual gaming company called ‘Oblivion Gamers’ about my condition. He asked them if they would allow me to use their technology to transfer my mind into their virtual world, and they replied with a yes.
The technology was still in the prototype phase. The first generation of the game cabins would be released to the public a year from now. The cost for one cabin alone required a fortune as the intended demographic were the rich and spoiled.
Thankfully the marketing team of the company saw me as a potential brand ambassador or Beta tester for their game and decided to give me a free cabin to use. It also helped that my unique condition would put them in the front pages on every newspaper. They would record my playthrough and distribute the footage to the media through their marketing team. This would generate the hype and create a new demographic of medical patients who might be interested in using their game cabins.
I would be the first person to enter the game and show off a tutorial of how the game would function. The worrying part is the game company has set some conditions that I have to meet. If I refused to comply and ignore their requests, then they would take the cabin back. They even mentioned in the letter that they would cover my medical expenses if I agreed.
“Please blink yes or no if you want to go through with it,” Damien asked.
For a few minutes, I didn’t blink as I thought about what I put him through this year and could not think of a reason to say no.
So, I blinked yes.
After giving the consent, he proceeds to take out a contract and signed his signature at the end of it as consent as my legal Guardian while my parents are not present.
He calls the doctor and informs him about the game cabin and that I needed to be hooked into it immediately. The doctor is not happy. But in the end, he saw the desperation in his eyes and the toll my medical expenses had affected him.
So, he ordered the male nurses to transfer me into the game cabin and checked to see if I could receive my fluids while in the game.
Once he was satisfied, he told my brother that he needed live footage of my playthrough for medical research as this would help persuade the higher-ups in the hospital admin wing.
Even in a hospital, there is a price for giving one virtual freedom. They were worried about the after-effects or withdrawal symptoms that could arise if I got addicted to life in the game cabin.
At first, I wondered why it was such a big issue as it seemed like overkill, but my brother pointed out on his own that the technology was still in the development phase.
He went into detail about the user interface and the command words for me to get out of the game if I needed it.
Damien then promised he would try to find a way to message me while I’m in the game or maybe get a game cabin when it gets released to the public.
I do not know how he will be able to afford it, but if he could get me this opportunity, then I’m sure he will keep his promise somehow.
I started looking forward to us meeting up and going on adventures in the virtual world.
Wait a minute! No one has told me anything about the game world.
This is the part where it sucks to be in the condition where you can only say yes or no. People don’t know when you want to ask questions.
Well, it’s too late to regret not looking before leaping, I guess.
Maybe it will match my taste, or if not, I could grow to like it in the long run.
“Are you ready, bro?”
I blink yes to him.
He closes the game cabin, and I close my eyes to wait for the loading screen that my brother mentioned.
It took a few minutes before I felt the hum of the game cabin engine kick in, and my awareness drifts into a black hole type vortex.
I felt the sensation of falling for several minutes before landing gently on a starry black floor in an empty auditorium.
“Huh! Am I standing?” I asked myself as I looked down, but to my surprise, I heard my voice.
“Oh, wow! I can talk again!” I yelled in joy as I began flexing my body and running around.
My hands grabbed my head to feel the hair that I used to have before the accident; even my clothes had reverted to the one I wore to the movies.
“Welcome to my world, young Drake.” A strange male voice filled the space.
The empty auditorium magnified the voice as if three people were speaking at the same time.
“Who are you?” I asked, looking around for the source of the voice.
“I am the God of this world.”
That line struck me as being a little weird. Was it a game character or a game developer?
“Do I call you God or something else?”
“God will do fine.”
Well, that is not weird at all. I looked around to see if there was a doorway to get me out of this limbo. My main goal at that moment was to get away from the egotist.
“So... how do I start the game?”
“Forgive my silence. I was examining your body condition.”
Why would an A.I be examining my body? Unless he is not an A.I.
“Oh, so you are a real human then?”
“Of course, I am a real human! But in this world, I am the one true God.”
“I see, well it’s nice to meet you. But why are you checking my body condition? Should I not start beta testing the game?”
“Your journey will begin shortly. I am surprised that you have no requests from me.”
“Why would I? I am grateful for the game cabin your company provided me.”
The voice remained silent for a few minutes.
“Normally, one would ask God to cure his ailments. You should be asking if I can cure your old body right now.”
I paused for several seconds to process his line of thought.
“You can cure me?”
Bull shit he can do that, not even the best doctors know away.
“It is within my power, but I have hidden that power in the ancient lands of the world I created for those who desperately need it.”
Is this guy being serious right now or just trying to hype up his game.
Not cool man! I am living in hell in my real body.
“Why hide it there? Can’t you give it to me? You would be in the newspapers if you did. ’Game creator’s invention cured a patient with locked-in syndrome”.
The space around me turned a fiery shade of red immediately.
“Where is the fun in that? Do you think I care about fools who live in the old world? I am a being who has transcended such petty thoughts.”
Where is the fun in that? Ok, now I’m starting to get pissed!
“Then why do you want people from the ‘Old World’ playing your game? Won’t it be a waste if no one plays it?”
“I only wish to seek out those who are willing to embark on an odyssey that will take them across my world to find what they can’t live without like the stories of heroes of old. ”
Is this guy off his meds? He is taking his game a bit too seriously.
“So, you want players to grind, explore your world, and save it from an evil boss or something like that? Will you give me the so-called cure then?” I asked.
This is the generic mission every game boiled down to in the end. Unless it is a quiz game which is hardly likely.
“Yes, I will, but you fail to understand the fact that I am looking for a champion who can represent my will to the people of the new world.”
“Basically go around completing quests and saving NPC’s. I guess you want high leveled players who can move the story of the game.”
“Are you trying to mock me?”
“Well, is that not what all games are about? You know, kill enemies, find cool loot, level up and become the hero who saves the world. What is so unique about your game?”
“Screw those kinds of games and players! I am sick and tired of people calling themselves heroes in games where all they think about is having some fun or getting some shiny stuff and calling it a day when they finish a minor quest.
It is pathetic to see people call themselves heroes when all the actions they commit is for a selfish reason like EXP, rare loot, and to level up. There is no real character development or understanding of the cost their actions inflict upon the residents of the world they go about killing like lunatics.
What I want is someone who has no choice and will do anything to explore every nook and cranny of this world to find his object of desire.
I want someone who will take this world I created as their SECOND LIFE!”
I can hear heavy breathing from God as he tries to calm himself down after that little rant.
“Is that why you chose me? Cuz I have no other choice right now?”
“Yes, it is the only reason I have allowed you to come to my world. But your behavior is lacking a lot of gratitude for the blessing I am trying to bestow on you.”
For a self-proclaimed god, he is dumb.
“I would have dropped down to my knees and kissed your feet if you had a body. However, I do not like talking to people who give me false hopes of recovery.”
Silence for several seconds before space turns bright white and a figure of a man appears dressed in a black suit.
“What I said was truth young one, the world creating engine we are in is powerful enough to transfer precise electric impulses into one’s mind at the cellular level. But, it needs time to learn everything about you. The journey to find the code will directly assist you. It could theoretically find the part of your brain that is blocking you from controlling it.”
“Why didn’t you just say that in the first place?”
“Where is the fun in that?”
My eyebrows twitch when I hear that line.
“Good, you do not wish to take anything lightly. I was concerned about you being one of those people who take what I have created to waste time and make some virtual money for self-gratification. The only way to reach the code is to carve a path through the game to an area where no one dares to go.”
“I still don’t know anything about your world.”
The man smirks.
“In the letter, your brother spoke about your love for anything related to ancient Rome. Coincidently my world is inspired by Ancient Rome as well. I even went out of my way to create a tutorial that would let you live the life similar to your favorite character, Spartacus.”
Shock and joy gripped me at that moment. Could I virtually live his life? It’s a dream come true! The history buff inside me was ecstatic.
“God, I swear to you I will treat this as my second life. But, please tell me how to get to the code.” I begged.
Game God made a genuine smile as space consumed us in a brilliant flash of light.
“All will be revealed at the end of the tutorial, my child.”
Sheesh, talk about being overdramatic.
A cinematic scene plays out where a baby is born to a mountain tribe chief’s wife in a little mud hut. A few days pass before a celebration takes place. It is the naming ceremony for the baby who is named “Ekard.”
Seasons pass, the tribe is prosperous in their hunts and begin increasing in numbers.
The child is now ten years old. He plays around the mountains with all the other children of the tribe like a natural-born leader.
His father is getting old and starts taking him on hunting trips to teach him archery and tracking.
Ekard is a natural he earns many kills during hunts and catches the eye of tribe girls in their teens along with jealous rivals.
Again, the seasons pass the mountain tribe is now at war with another tribe who recently entered their territory.
Ekard has turned 15 years old, now a warrior who scouts the enemy tribe movements.
He uses his father’s tamed partner the Thunderbird (Pelagornis Sandersi) to scout their locations and screech around the areas where it finds them.
None in the enemy tribe dare to attack it as it swoops down and grabs men before dropping them from a height that is sure to kill.
All they can do is run whenever the bird spots them.
Ekard sometimes sneaks into the enemy location to set their camp on fire or poison their food.
Most of the time he escapes unnoticed but now and then he ends up getting seen then has to fight his way out.
Soon the other tribe is forced to leave from the constant harassment but vows to come back in more significant numbers.
Ekard is now destined to become the new tribe chief and marry the most beautiful girl in the tribe.
They get married according to tribal custom and start making a home for themselves.
Seasons pass, now the young man is 20 years old, he has become the head of the tribe as his father is no more.
His wife is teaching their children how to skin meat and cook them.
Ekard seems to be content with the life he has right now and tries to make every tribesman happy as him. He looks up to the sky to find his father’s Thunderbird. He spends a couple of minutes struggling to see it before hearing a blood-curdling scream as it is shot out of the sky by a massive spear and falls to the ground.
War horns blow from the base of the mountain before hundreds of soldiers in metal armor rush along with the defeated tribe people from years ago.
Ekard rallies his tribesmen to stand their ground for a fight while the women and children flee through the hidden caves in the mountains.
Fireballs fired from catapults fall from the sky all over his tribe’s home, setting everything ablaze. Screams of agony are heard everywhere as he finds his men burning to death, getting stabbed by multiple enemies or crying at the loss of everything they had built.
By now the soldiers in metal armor have surrounded the most stalwart warriors who managed to survive the fight who numbered 12 in total out of 40 men who woke up this morning.
Ekard challenges the leader of the armored metal soldiers to a fight.
Unfortunately, he is outclassed by the enemy warrior who spares his life at the last moment. They tie up Ekard and the rest of the survivors. Ekard tries to memorize the face of the one he lost to, but it is hidden under the helmet faceguard. Failing to get a good look at his captor, Ekard looks at his armor and weapon to see if there was any distinguishing trait. He notices the enemy leader carried a war hammer with the symbol of a bull on it.
The invaders begin celebrating their victory over the mountain tribe. They soon become drunk on wine before they come over to the holding pen to laugh at the survivors for surrendering. One of Ekard’s men yell out insults at them in defiance, but to his dismay, his actions led to all of them rushing to beat the captured tribesmen who are unarmed and chained. Three of the prisoners die from the brutal assault. This breaks the spirit of the rest except for Ekard, who was still requesting the leader to fight him.
The leader is impressed and orders his men to separate Ekard from the others.
Ekard yells to his tribesmen to stay alive so that they could find each other one day. He promised to rebuild what they have lost today. But as Ekard is being taken away by the armored metal soldiers, he could notice his men were turning a deaf ear to him or had begun pleading for mercy as they were dragged away by the tribe they had defeated years before.
Ekard knew their fates were sealed and none of them would survive what was in store for them. He cursed his fat while getting shoved into a metal cage on the back of a wagon which is heading to the desert plains.
A few days later, Ekard’s body shows signs of starvation and physical abuse. The invaders meet up with a slaver caravan which is headed back to the capital. Ekard is sold to them for a sack of silver coins.
Ekard is then tied to the humain chain at the back of the leading wagon, which has hundreds of men in similar condition towards the capital city where the armored soldiers must have come from initially.
At this moment, Ekard’s will is broken, and my mind takes over his body entirely. I watched Ekard’s life and experienced his joy’s and sadness from the very beginning. I cannot treat this body as an avatar but a person whose life experience has left a deep impression on me.
“I will get revenge for you, Ekard! Don’t you worry, I will make sure that asshole leader, his men, and the enemy tribe gets what’s coming to them when I am strong enough.”