Into The Game: A Call For Heroes
AN: Still doing minor rewriting and clean up of this story and condensing stuff, mostly to buy me time to get my life in order which is the sucks right now :\
Robert entered the small building seeing various maps of the district posted up here and there, each with small pins denoting things of some kind. "..Who goes there?" A cool collected voice asked rising from behind a desk. Robert walked around the corner, and was about to introduce himself when the woman spoke again. "..Who are you, why did the guards let you in? Identify yourself!" She said obviously under some stress considering the current state of affairs.
"..Lady Sebos I presume?" Robert asked. "..Names Robert Archer, Lady Aribeth has assigned me to Militia duty. I'm out here looking for the Waterdavian creatures, and also to lend you some extra bodies to help calm things down around here." He added.
"..Are you now? Well I wont rightly turn away extra help." She said. Coming around the table and shaking his hand. Far as Robert could tell she was in her early thirties or so perhaps a bit younger given the stress she was under. "..Problem I got here is that we dont have enough militia to put an end to this riot. We really could use the help in getting someone inside if you're interested?" she asked
Robert nodded. "..Sure alright what you got in mind?" He asked.
"..Those prisoners are running the place like a fortress, using hit and run strikes to keep us off balance, plus some lock genius changed the sets on the prison doors. We cant get in even if we could get close enough. Way I figure it one of the leaders of those hit and runs has to have a set of keys, likely you could use those to get inside." She explained.
"..Any other ways in?" He asked with a pondering tone.
"..Well bits of rumors I heard from the locals here in the district say that there might be a secret passage in through one of the mansions here. But hells if I know which one." She replied.
Robert considered this all getting in by some back door would certainly be easier then going through the front and likely the prisoners wouldnt expect it. He was about to say this when...
"..Ah blimey there you are!" A voice behind him near the door said. A quick glance that way showed Tommy and Linu coming in.
"..About time you two got done arguing.." He said turning back to Sebos. "..We'll do what we can to get things settled. We'll return when we can."
Sebos nodded then returned to her paper work behind her desk.
Walking back outside with Tommy and Linu in tow, Robert filled them in on what was going on. "..So we either go through the front or find that secret entrance." He said. "..Suggestions?" He asked to the two.
"..Eh I always prefer the attacks on the flank and rears. Easier to get those critical strikes on in." Tommy said with a mock jab of his daggers.
"..As much as it pains me to admit it the thief has a point, we are ill prepared to tackle a whole prison garrison." Linu said.
Robert nodded in agreement. "..Alright we'll finish our circuit of the outer areas now, then try to find this noble house that the people we rescued talked about." He said.
The three nodded then and continued their search heading deeper into the prison district.
Robert, Linu, and Tommy made there way through the fringes of the district, occasionally battling a few scattered groups of escaped prisoners. The few people they had saved all seemed to belive that the Lady Tanglebrook's estate would be the place to go. To that end the trio had decided to continue there round about skirrting of the main prison area. They had just rounded the corner and the trio saw several prisoners ahead. "..I see bout six of'em.." Tommy said as the three hid behind a large series of crates.
Robert looked the scene over carefully. Most of the men didnt seem to much of a threat, except for one of them seemed to be the ring leader of this particular group. He was tall, broad shouldered, and definetly strong as an ox. Added to this he seemed to have a decent mind about him too, as he ran his group in strict no nonsense attitude. "..Shit.." Robert said ducking back down.
"..So what now boss?" Tommy asked fiddling with his small daggers in preperation.
"..We should deal with these miscreatents, before they harm others!" Linu said with a hopeful tone.
"..Alright, you're right there Linu but there's four thugs plus that big strong fellow, plus those sewer grates could have others hiding in wait. We could be walking into an ambush. Or get wrapped up in one." Robert said.
"..Well we can't just sneak around!" She said back.
"..True, alright here's the plan, Linu we'll all head back around to the last block, I need you to cast whatever protection blessings you can upon myself, you and tommy. Blessings that will benefit all of us are preferable, but ones that will also help guide my blade here for myself would be useful as well. Think you can manage that?" He asked.
Linu nodded. "..Grant me a few moments then to prepare." She said as the reached the previous secured block, and she kneeled in prayer to Sephaine.
Robert turned to Tommy. "..Ok Tommy I need you to flank the ones I get to focus on me, as we get into things keep back and snipe from cover, Linu and I will keep them occupied. With a little luck there wont be any others in those sewers." He said.
"..And if there are?" Tommy asked.
"..Hells, well then we'll do what we can to handle them and if things go really sour well. I just hope that Recall Stone Aribeth gave me really works." He said, mentally he added. "..Otherwise this wont be some thing I can go back to the last save point for."
Linu rose from her prayers and began her prayers over the group. "..May Sephanine grant us guidance, and her blessings, may she grant our hearts virtue of faith, and protect us from the evils that we may face." She said.
Once the blessings were in place Linu and Robert crept in close and sprung upon the group of prisoners. At first things were going well. With their ad hoc plan in place they slowly slew one prisoner after another. However, then the gates nearby slid down and even more came pouring out. "..Sonva Bitch!" Robert said in a curse, ducking under the swing of one of the reinforcements. Before Robert could utter a word though for retreating, there was a searing pain in his ribs, and then another along his neck. Soon after he felt the beating of his heart failing and his knees then chest hit the cold wet ground as darkness faded over.
There was wet soupy darkness all around him with a soft, gentle, but strong firm male voice calling to him. "..Come back.." It whispered. "..Your time is not yet done.." It went on. There was something about the voice that compelled him to listen to it, to travel from the darkness back through it to a gathering light. It was a warm encompassing feeling, something one could wrap around them and sleep forever. Yet at the same token Robert felt himself growing aware, in pain true, but more and more aware. Imagery and memories slowly reformed back into solid thought. He recalled driving home from work, there was a lot of fog, a deer or…something ran in front of him, then a tree. Pain, light, darkness, had all overcome him once more. Then there had been fighting, screaming, two others following him. Pain in his ribs, and neck, then…where?
"..Open your eyes Robert open them and receive Tyr's blessings of life once more." A tired and different male voice said.
"..Will he make it priest?" A woman's voice asked. It was friendly and full of deep concern in tone.
"..He shall, his body it seems is not one often exposed to the blessings of life. Give him time he shall awaken shortly.." The male voice said as the drifting sounds of foot steps came to his muted hearing.
There was silence then and Robert had the vague feeling of drifting above himself, but eventually the feeling past and he painfully opened his eyes slowly. "..Urgh...Where?" he barely got out before another body racking pain spasmed through him.
"..Robert, dear? You are awake?" A familiar female voice asked.
"..Who..who is that?" he stammered out trying to get his eyes to focus.
"..Its Linu, dear do you not remember? I'm so sorry! I failed to protect your flank and back when those other prisoners came, you died, and it's entirely my fault!" Linu said almost sounding on the verge of tears.
Robert was silent again as he digested this information. His memories were a jumble, at first he never recalled meeting anyone named Linu, of course his memory had always been fickle when it came to names. Slowly though his present state of mind, and where he was came to him. He was in the city of Neverwinter in the world of Faerun, and if one was to believe, in the game of Neverwinter Nights. Robert reached out and slowly, albeit painfully sat up, resting a hand on Linu's left shoulder. "..Its ok Linu, we couldn't have fully prepared for a rush like that. I am sure you and Tommy did the best you both could given the circumstances." He said gently with as good of a smile as he could manage. "..Speaking of which, how are you and Tommy?" He asked with genuine concern noting the lack of the halfling thief.
"..We were ok, we managed to retreat when the prisoners over came you. We…ran. I hadn't wanted to but I had no choice! I couldn't get to you.." Linu said again almost sobbing by this point.
Robert admittedly was never one to be good at touchy feely things, as his brain worked to put together replies and ways to comfort Linu's distraught present nature. "..Look Linu its fine honest, I'm alive now, you and Tommy are safe. We now can continue our quest to recover the Waterdavian creatures." He said
Linu was quiet as she took this all in but then nodded rubbing her eyes. "..You're right dear, forgive me. It's just I hate failing in my tasks.." She said trailing off, and looking down at the ground.
Robert took in the room, as best he could tell he was back in the Temple of Tyr in the City Core, further more in one of the small rooms off to the side where patients had been kept. It was empty at present, though the stench of death still hung in the air strongly. Robert himself was sitting on a cot with Linu on a small bench next to it. In his honest feelings he felt bad for Linu, since he had never used the henchmen during his game plays, he knew little about her. In an attempt to cheer her up and get her mind off their current predicament he asked. "..Linu, uh mind if I ask a question?" He said.
Linu looked up. "..Of course dear! Ask away." She said wiping at her eyes some.
Robert crossed his arms about his chest rubbing his sore ribs a bit. "..So where is it you came from? I mean, originally, like before coming to Neverwinter here?" He asked.
"..That would be the elven homeland, Everska. Surely you've heard tales of the legends?" she asked.
"..Well, not much really, I uh know elves come from there often, but rarely leave without a reason." He said, he knew a bit more then that from his dming days.
"..Evereska is a beautiful place, dear. I had good and bad memories growing up. I honestly never fit in well, mostly because of my... accident-prone nature, I guess you could say." She said. "..I still remember falling during childhood games of Tambaliya and all the children dancing around me chanting 'Human, human, Linu is a human." She sniffed a bit. "..Elven children can be so cruel. I put up with that for 60 years."
Robert blinked at that, in a way it was ironic of his own teen age years in school. He had always been the social outcast. In support he put a hand on her shoulder for a brief moment as he moved to sit on the bench. "..I know that better then you think.." He said softly with a gentle smile. "..There were good memories too though right?" He asked with a tilt of his head.
She looked up and smiled slightly. "..Oh yes, there were good times too. I loved the mysteries and magic of my homeland. When I grew up, things were quite different." She said.
"..How so?" He asked leaning back against the wall to be more comfortable.
"..I had worked in the Temple of the Full Moon of Evereska for about six years before I left my home. I loved the peacefulness of the temple." She said with a warmed smile. "..From where you come from Robert are your people religious?" She asked curiously then looking at him with an inquisitive gaze.
Admittedly the question caught him a bit off guard, a brief look of surprise passing over his face. "..Back home? Yeah there's quite a few religions around. I though never was very religious. No offense, I just never got into the faith and higher power of a being or deity." He said.
"..It's ok dear, not everyone finds faith in a higher power, for some it is simply a purpose of duty or code that drives them. Anyhow, sorry I just was curious. Though if you ever wished to learn or accept such a faith let me know, I do know somewhat of such things" She said with a bit of a small smile of humor on her face.
"..It's fine and if that moments comes I'll let you know. So anyhow what was your service like at the temple over the years?" He asked, wanting to deflect anymore questions about where he had come from. He still wasnt sure how he would explain that were it to come up.
She sighed a bit. "..Well even there, accidents and tricks of fate made life difficult. It wasnt usually anything big, just me being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don't know why, but I just didnt have any luck." she said.
"..Well bad luck hits us all at some time or another Linu, given elves have really long lives, way I see it, it would hit you more then other races to even things out." He said with a smile, his hope being that he might get her to laugh at his joke.
Sadly though the joke was missed or else its meaning went over her head, Linu continued with barely a pause. "..It's not always bad luck though. Sometimes I can be a little gullible. That's what got me into trouble and sent away from Evereska." She said.
"..Oh? What happened?" He asked.
"..I was collecting tithes one day, when a heavily cloaked figure came begging at the temple. He looked like a starving child, so I took him inside the inner sanctum to get him some food and when I came back, he was gone.." She said.
Robert frowned a bit, adjusting his posture on the bench to be more comfortable. "..I'm guessing he took something?" He asked.
"..Yes! Something was missing, something very precious to the church." She said in reply.
"..What was it?" Robert asked. "..Maybe if.." He continued but Linu cut him off.
"..Please, forgive me Robert. I can talk no more about this. We barely know each other, and I can't share my most embarrassing moment with a near complete stranger to me." She said. "..Excuse me I should go talk to the priests. Aribeth said she wanted to speak to you when you felt up to it." Before Robert could say anything else she stood and quickly left the room.
Robert sighed a bit. Laying back down on the cot then to stretch the sore spots out. He figured that when the time was right and Linu had calmed down, and the two gotten to know the other a bit better she would continue her tale. He laid there for another hour or so, just gathering his thoughts and trying to plan out how they would overcome all those prisoners, when he decided he may as well go see Aribeth. Getting up and taking careful stretches to work out the store spots again, he donned his armor and weapons. He exited the small room and entered one of the off side temple areas. Looking around he saw a few more people had been admitted with the plague. Most were even more sadly children. Again Robert was struck on just how he was supposed to recover these plague cure regeants. Heck he couldnt even handle some prisoners. He sighed a bit feeling depressed again. Even with all the basic trainings he had from the Academy he had to face facts, he just wasnt some hero.
Then he recalled his words to Pavel. "..Just try your best, if you fail then you fail knowing you did your best.." He thought.
Rounding the corner he entered the main temple area. Looking around further he saw Aribeth rising over the small form of a child, pulling a blanket up over the head. She had a even more sad look to her eyes. She noticed his approach and turned to face him. "..I am glad to see that Tyr has granted you life once more Robert. Tyr knows we need all the help we can get to find the cure regents." She said. "..How do you feel?"
"..Sore mostly, kicking myself that I failed against just a bunch of prisoners." He said rubbing at a sore spot on his left elbow.
Aribeth gave a reassuring smile. "..We are just glad you were able to be brought back to us, to continue your quest to recover the cure regents." She said.
Robert gave a polite nod. Again he wished there was some way he could tell Aribeth about what was going to happen once the cure was recovered. But there was no way she would believe him without proof. Aribeth seemed to sense his hesitation, "..Was there something else Robert?" She asked.
Robert looked away conflicting emotions on his face, and in his eyes. "..It's nothing Aribeth, just ...worrying over what is going on back where I lived." He said.
Aribeth seemed to want to press him more by what he meant by that, but Fenthick leaned his head in from the other room. "..My dear Aribeth, Desther wishes to speak to us. If you could please?" He said.
Aribeth hesitated a moment then nodded. "..I'll be there in a moment, Fenthick." She said. "..Robert we will speak more on these matters later.." She said then turned and left.
For this Robert was glad, he didnt like lying when he didnt need to, but he simply couldnt fathom how to tell Aribeth what he knew. Maybe in time he would. Just as he was getting ready to head out to find Linu and Tommy a militia guard came in carrying a person wrapped in a strange coat. For a moment Robert couldnt place it, after all it sure looked different then others around here. Then it struck him, it was a bright orange fluorescent color. The carried man was strongly built, broad at the shoulders, but a bit stocky. "..Priest I need your aide!" The milita man said laying the figure down on a pallet nearby.
One of the Tyrian priests came over to check the man over, as Robert came closer. As the figures hood was removed he was stunned to see it was one of his college friends. "..Sam?.." He said confused just how the hell he had gotten here. From appearances he was in hunting gear, looking at the priest he asked. "..Is he hurt?"
The tyrian priest shook his head. "..No just unconscious. I have tended to what small bruises he had, he should awaken shortly." He said. "..Do you know him?" he added.
Robert nodded. "..Yes, he is..a close friend from my homelands. Where did you find him?" He asked the militia man.
"..Near one of the back alleyway's here in the Core. He was just laying there like that." He said.
"..Leave us please, I need to have words with him." Robert said which the two did thankfully without question.
Sam groaned a bit, slowly stirring and coming around. "..Gods how am I to explain this one?" Robert muttered as his friend opened his eyes.
"..Ro..Robert?" Sam said in confusion trying to sit up then seeming to wince in pain as it struck his body.
"..Yeah Sam ole buddy its me, keep still till you get your head is on straight. Or least as straight as its going to get now.." He said keeping his voice low.
"..Why are you whispering?" Sam replied.
"..I got a lot to explain Sam, just close your eyes and rest for a bit, I'll return shortly. No matter what till I get back dont open those eyes ok?" Robert said.
"..Uh, ok?" Sam said doing so, his tone obviously very worried and confused.
Robert rose and went outside, having to get a breath of air before getting his mind set to explain their current predicament. "..Ok, whatever gods are out there, that just want to keep on screwing with me, feel free to make me keep questioning my sanity.." He muttered. Heading back inside he found his friend still laying there as he had asked. "..alright Sam let's go, oh and you can open your eyes. Just dont ask about the surroundings yet."
Sam did so and remained quiet as the two headed for where Robert had been before, shutting the door Robert turned to one of his few, and closest friends. "..Guess your wondering where we are eh?" He said.
"..That, and wondering just where you went this past month or so. Your parents are worried sick! Not to mention all of us too!" Sam said, referring to the rest of his college friends. "..About a month ago the police found your car wrecked against a tree, but no sign of you, your Mom is practically having a break down last I heard looking for you."
"..Ok Sam, I'll try to explain just whats going on, about a month or so ago, yeah I was in a wreck. I was on my way home from work when a deer...or something or someone ran in front of me on the road.." He said going on to tell Sam the whole tale up till this point. "..So essentially we're either IN the game, or else in some weird cross dimensional...thing." Robert said summing his tale up.
Sam just seemed stunned, slumping onto the nearby bench. "..This is..just crazy Rob." He said.
"..Maybe, but least I got a plausible way to explain how I ended up here, what about you? You look like you were out hunting." He said.
"..Chopping wood behind my house actually, was cold out and the hunting coat and clothes were easy at hand. It was morning, about seven I think, folks werent up so I went out to get things done, you know how it is." Sam said as Robert nodded.
"..So what happened?" Robert prodded.
"..Well it was cold that morning like I said, but there was some fog on the ground, creepy too," He said with a bit of a chuckle. "..Anyhow I was chopping wood, when that fog got more noticeable, reminded me of all those campaigns you ran in Ravenloft. I must have gotten distracted though with thinking that, cause when I brought the ax down again for the log I was working on I misjudged it and it sailed up and into my head." He said indicating the small bruise mark. "..I blacked out and when I woke up you were standing over me. And here we are."
"..Well hells whatever got you here its good you are. I'm having a hell of a time just getting that first cure regaent." Robert said with a chuckle.
"..What?" Sam asked.
Robert filled him in on the cure components. "..Oh right, sorry forgot those things names, its been a while since we played the game." Sam said.
"..No worries," he said waving it off, "..anyhow. Had my first brush with death and resurrection. Aint a fun experience let me tell you." Robert said.
"..Well you sure know how to reassure someone." Sam said with a smirk.
"..Bah I aint some paladin here, anyhow look, you've always been handy with that ax and certainly stronger then me, think if we got you a similar sized ax from the supplies here, some armor and what have you, you could handle yourself to help me out? Way I figure it only way we're getting back home is to save Neverwinter." He said.
"..Well, yeah...I guess, not like we got much choice right?" He said.
Robert nodded. "..Good, I hired Linu, the elf cleric, and Tommy that thief to help us out too. Shame Brandon and the others arent here, least then we'd have someone to share this craziness with that would understand it all. Oh, and speaking of which I suggest you be vague where you came from too, dont go giving away what we know of the world here. Doubt anyone would believe us anyhow." He said.
"..Right sure, makes sense." Sam said with a nod.
Alright come on, lets go find Tommy and Linu, then we'll head back into the peninsula district, and hopefully wont get our asses handed to us again.." Robert said hefting up his blade and shield. "..With a bit of luck we'll all get home before your Mom has the National Guard combing the country looking for you." He said with a slap to Sam's shoulder.
"..Oh god.." He said with a facepalm.
Robert just grinned a bit. "..Come on let's go.." He said again.
And so the two trusted friends set out to find there two henchmen and resume their quest to find the plague cure.
AN2: Good spot to cut off here, R&R please! The more the merrirer!