Winter's Tale

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Assessing the Tale

“First things, first,” Kyle said to himself in the light melodic voice which he was beginning to recognize as his own. Unwrapping the bundle that the old woman had shoved into his arms, he saw that it was a bundled up cloak made with a vibrant white, thick silk, with an emblem of a blue sun blazing brightly on both sides. What appeared to be a fruitcake and a leather waterskin bundled inside it. Slowly, he sat the waterskin down and then placed the fruitcake on top of it so it wouldn’t get dirty while he wrapped the cloak around himself. Herself. If Kyle was going to have to play a female in the game, he was going to have to start thinking in feminine terms.

The cloak was warm and soft as she pulled it up around her neck and fumbled with the lacy silken strap that fastened it in place. The cloak basically bunched into a single long strip of cloth which dangled down the center of her back, and didn’t seem anything like what Kyle expected. Twisting it and turning it a few times, she noticed that it had another set of lacy silken straps on each of the far corners at the top of the cloak, and those could be tied around the top of the forearms, near the shoulders, to hold the cloak in place better. This wasn’t a cloak to wrap completely around one’s self; it was merely one which offered some minor protection to the back and fluttered decoratively and majestically behind the person wearing it.

The old woman had grabbed what Kyle assumed to be a decorative, but rather useless, cloak used for royal ceremonies. It looked nice, but was almost worthless in protecting against the rain, weather, or cold. Taking a quick look at her starting gear, Kyle was completely downtrodden. “Inventory,” she whispered in a small whimpering voice, hoping that it wouldn’t be as bad as she imagined.

Looking at the small window that popped up, it was worse. Silk Nighty -- Durability (3/3), Silken High Heels -- Durability (3/3), Silk Cloak -- Durability (3/3).

“Shit! Damn! Fuck!” The fact that her voice even made cussing sound songlike didn’t do a thing to help sooth Kyle’s mood. He was stuck playing a completely crap character! No armor, no weapons, no spells – or even skills – for offensive or defensive use. No town. No starting quest givers. To be one of the most hyped games ever, he was finding it to have a completely shitty intro!

“Quests?” Kyle asked, while feeling hopeless. Expecting nothing to appear, he was surprised when another window popped up in front of him with a few different entries.

The first quest listed was for a Rank F quest called, "Naming Rites". It was to "complete the traditional ceremony to choose a name for yourself," with a reward listed as being just a character name and 100 experience.

The second quest listed was called, "Survive!". It's goal was, "
Do not die. The elven council has ordered your death, and you should not bow to their whims and wishes.", and the rank on it was "Special -- Increases in difficulty, over time." This quest's reward had a double edged feeling to it as well, as it offered a "increased experience bonus over time", with also a "increased experience lost to death, over time". Dying wasn't something that Kyle would normally want to do anyway, and this second quest simply cemented that feeling for him.

His third quest was a " UNIQUE – Game altering quest; of the highest order", called "Kingdom Reclamation!". The description for it was truly daunting! "The council’s order to execute you was not well received by the king. His refusal to obey the council’s decision has led to the elven nation of X’entia falling into rebellion, revolution, and chaos. Reclaim the kingdom for your family!"

“What the hell…” Kyle couldn’t believe what he was reading. Who starts out with a quest to reclaim a whole kingdom?! Shouldn’t that be one of those quests you get after gaining tons of levels, wealth, and power in a game? How the heck was she supposed to do anything about a quest like that, when she was basically naked, helpless, and alone in some god forsaken forest somewhere! Even the quest for the naming rite was impossible for him at the moment, and it was supposedly a simple rank F quest! Just what the heck was a ‘traditional ceremony’, and how did one perform it? He didn’t have a clue!

Frustrated beyond words, Kyle flopped and sat down on the ground. Of all the games he’d ever played in the past, this one had the crappiest beginning of any of them – and this was the game he was supposed to be getting paid for playing! Honestly, he didn’t have any enthusiasm for even trying to do anything with the pitiful excuse that was his character, but what choice did he have? Kyle thought he was going to have the best job in the world – playing an awesome game for money – but instead he was stuck in this dismal place, with this dismal character for at least the next month. He didn’t have something that he could play enthusiastically; he was stuck in an endless mire that he didn’t like at all.

It was heartbreaking in its own way. Kyle got to play games everyday now, but he couldn’t enjoy it. It was simply his job, and like most jobs, he just knew it was going to be dull, tedious, and a pain in the ass! Way to go, Winter’s Tale! Take all the fun out of a game, and turn it into work!

Worst game, ever!!

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