Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Plague

It was 2008, Year of our Lord, the month was that of Septem, on the Julian Calendar. I had been staying at my brother's place, as I had recently been honorably discharged from the Motherland's service. That was under the rule of the Bush Dynasty, and was a generally busy time for military. My brother, for instance, felt the effects even in the Navy. A particular tricky job, fighting a desert war in a sub. He had offered me a place when my lease ran out on the apartment I had funded on stored army funds. This was a particularly lethargic time in my life, and 6 months at my brother's was exactly what I needed to acclimatize myself with the general populace once more. That may seem counter-intuitive, living with a navy brother and his 2 submarine buddies, and the addition of my sister Britt-Britt. But this was no barracks, like I was used to, this was a house on a hill. A glorious retreat somehow far away from the city a mile away, and just outside his base. What ended up happening was more of a glorious college experience, without all that messy college. But I stray, a story for another day perhaps, my friends. One of our old friends happened to be coming up to our area, attending a local LARP convention. For the unintiated, that stands for Live Action Role-Play, and has been avoided up to this point in my life. But this friend of ours was hot, smokin' hot, and she had hot friends who also enjoyed dressing up in skimpy costumes and hitting each other with padded clubs. If you still need a clearer image, think American Gladiators meets a sorority Halloween party. In short, we were willing to give it a shot.

    And so the adventure began to the nearest halloween outlet, where we purchased gaudy medieval-esque attire and bad-ass plastic weapons. I was an assassin with an irish brogue, and my brother was a swarthy pirate, bandana style. The hats were much to expensive, that place jacked it's prices to no extent. We arrived there, and were briskly informed that our weapons were much too dangerous, the hollow rubber blade wasn't to regulation with their foam-based lawsuit defense. This would be a problem, you see this was an old campground they had rented out. Woody, with dirt roads and wooden bridges. The buildings were made to look like a forest town well enough, but the dozens of garbed persons really sparked it into life. With my face mask pulled over my Orbicularis Oris, which always gives me away in a lie, I could really immerse myself in the fantasy world they had crafted. And danger was EVERYWHERE. We got jumped by two goblins just going to the cabin to make our character sheets, two dead goblins which I looted of their 2 meaningless currency counters. Meaningless for right now, I had no idea what was in store for me. They had me roll a twenty sided die to determine my general luck as a character, and in doing so determine how good my character is. One out of twenty chance to become an instant legend? I think so, good sire. As if time slowed down, I watched it roll out of my pretty awesome hands, picking up freedom in the open air as it tumbled down with the flood of gravity it suddenly had to deal with. The earth shook, a thunderous cracking sound echoed out through the eons, hear even by our ancestors long past so deep was the anticipation as it clattered across the foldable card table in the nurses station. The woman watching over my shoulder had a wolf shirt, but had enough meat on her to feed a pack of wolves... Winter was coming. She was the head of the show, and the puppet master, she had spotted me immediately as an important player in the main storylines. For one,  I stunned her with my charismatic brogue and illegal plastic weapons, my brother double teaming her with a touch of flirting. We'll do anything to take the prize. The dice clattered down, and a sonic boom blasted our eardrums just a decimal too low for anybody to notice. It was a twenty, and I was to start out at level 2. This may seem like a very small thing, but I could be hit 2 more times in combat, for a total of 4 brutally stubborn hit points. As well, I got another skill and ability. Looking through the list, wearing my ninja mask and assassin garb, I carefully decided upon a character. there were many to choose from, and many would automatically place me in social cliques within the world. Naturally I chose the assassin,  and specialized in backstabbing, lockpicking, pickpocketing, and 'Feneran Sword Style' which translated to wielding an off hand dagger.

   I think it's important at this point to point out the other reason the whale of a woman knew I'd be important to the story line. I was attractive and in fit condition, my army chisled abs and cocky grin were a rare commodity amongst the men. Most were either terribly scrawny, terribly pimply, or terribly obese. The girls, half of them at least, were smoking hot. The rest had big ass tits busting out of their fat-people's corset, and thus weren't all that bad. I was to be in the pictures that year, it seemed, they wanted good appearances. All of this wasn't said of course, I admit I assume a fair portion of her thought process. But she seemed to be really excited about that twenty I just rolled! I was to be placed with the Undathos group, a group of worshippers of the dark god Undathos, Lord of Chaos and Strife. I was down for that, but as it turns out, it was a couple of Forest Rangers with hot girlfriends and a quiet pair of men in knight outfits. They all had goatees, making me glad my face cloth covered my impetuously shaven face. My brother informed me that the adventure was over for him, he couldn't handle having his world rocked by the sudden change in environment. He also seemed a little bit ashamed, but we all must bear our crosses. Mine was in the shape of a twenty sided-die. I was born for greatness, I couldn't squander it now.

   Before I knew it, I was swept up into the stories of my cabin-mates. the one Ranger was names Zak, and was one of the more respected warriors in the community. He was staying with the Undathos, because his wife Raven was an evil bitch, who was wearing just a thong and corset when I met her. This whole trip so far has really confused my sense of normal, and I was only an hour in. Knowing a good thing when I saw it, I befirended the guy who knew what he was talking about. As it turn out, that was a choice move, for we were about to be swept up in the biggest plot they've put together. He was supposed to be the main character, being the best swordsman, but he soon found that I could not only hold my own, but outright humiliate most here with my two blades of foam. He, a level 25 Ranger with no less than 12 real-world years in the making, and an hour old lucky twenty newbie. We made quite the team, I won't lie to you. Perhaps the best part of the whole system, is that no matter how high level you are, swords still require skill to wield. This propelled me to victory against an ogre warlord and two of his cronies who had me pinned away from my group against a woodshed. I got out of there with just a single HP left, and a bag full of coins. I took down five in the great melee, where an band of marauders were raiding our cabin. From their leader, I found the blade 'Night-Rose', which was this beautifully hand-made foam dagger with a curved blade and handle, black with delicate rose vines painted along the hilt and handle. I was growing, and fast. Soon we found out what all the havoc was about, there was a necromancer moving to conquer this land, and he was plaguing all living things to do his bidding. This played out like a zombie outbreak, and every infected had different ways they could infect you. Some do it with food, some with little beanbags which act like projectile vomit, some by touch. You didn't know all the ways they could pass it on, so the whole weekend became a very clique based environment. Secluding ourselves, and shunning those that have been made unclean. As the game progressed, my brother in arms Zak showed my the black spider he had inked on the back of his hand, warding him from getting the plague. Him, and a few others were being given the limited supply of tattoos available. I tried for most of the weekend, but I never did receive an immunity charm. And so I had to be careful, more careful than my level 25 friend with battle armor. I had thin black cloth, and my natural stealth and skill to keep me alive. I stalked the forest paths, for night had fallen on our first day out. Watching some pass by, I would backstab any loners that travelled along. As I awaited my prey, I overheard the knight in my cabin talking with a staff-run priest character. "Zak's got a new buddy, and he's been upsetting the balance of things." The priest laughed, I had met him in the tavern, shared a mug of frothy root beer on my own coin with the man. "Indeed, Knight Emery, the Commander has already been informed. I believe the Undathos house is going to get plagued tonight." Treachery! Letting them past, I slipped out through the shadows of the thick forest, weaving my way down the steep hill the campground was built on. Busting my way into the Undathos house, I roused our group of Rangers and evil female Clerics, with their skirt slits going up to their ribs. Zak took me br the forearm, and I grasped his in return. "I owe you my life, Outlander. I do not forget such honors. Smirking, as I was well into my role by now "But of course me brother, me blood for yers. If'n we all dinnae 'ave each other's backs, not a one of use will survive the night." And that was very true, as no more than a couple minutes after we left, almost a dozen vomiting zombies were clambering against our cabin, but we were already long gone.

The numbers dwindles, weeding out the weak and unwary until only a handful of people were left uninfected, fighting just to make it through the streets alive with every trip. The entire village was being over-run by people who could hide their symptoms for a time. You never knew who was your enemy save from a close inspection, which invited attack. That, or f;lashing your spider tattoo, proof of your immunity. But me and just 5 other people didn't have spider tattoos, we were the rare few left. But times weren't all high stress, I remember some strangely clear memories of sharing a smoke with Zak out back of the tavern, out woolen cloaks drawn tight against the rail, water matting our hair to our foreheads, and our cloaks to out bodies. We smokes with the few others who had cigs packed away in medieval looking hip pouches. In the morning, we went to the field to practice swordplay. Out in the open, where we could see anybody coming. It was here that disaster struck. Good-Wife Matilda always brought home-baked goods and meals for the LARPers, selling them for the currency. Not out of greed I suspect, but because it was an awesome environment, and nice people like her do exist. Good-Wife Matilda gave us hot, delicous food in a dark, rain-soaked, plague ridden land.  My Ranger brothers and their girls were eating, save for myself and Raven, who was tending a wound I received fighting a wraith off from our party. Her wandering hands felt up my manly physique discreetly away from her boyfriend while she healed me, leaving me unaware to the tragedy that was befalling my comrades. Good-Wife Matilda had become plagued, and had plagued the food she was handing out. Four more uninfected joined the ranks that day, leaving only me and the twelve tatoo wielding chosen ones. Twelve main characters that were chosen by the gods to save the village, and the Outlander that would not die. It was now, that I was hunted down more than ever. The entire village wanted me to join their ranks. Zak, having not forgotten what a comrade is, stuck by my side and kept most from trying to infect me. If it wasn't for him, I likely would have succumbed to the plague as well, and if not for me, he would be dead and in need of ressurection. The other 11 were mostly in 3 groups, all of which served good Gods. And thus, it was only me and Zak. To make a long story short, the necromancer launched an all out attack on the Chosen Twelve, and the Outlander while we were holed up inside of the tavern. An epic final battle to really cut our numbers down. Ten of us escaped, and Raven rose spells of protection. We'd be safe for now. Safe, if not for the Plagued among us, the virus had adapted to take over two of our numbers, and those two rose a riot against Zak, saying he was plagued and trying to backstab the survivors. Zak, who was always a defender of the village, was suddenly like me, hunted by all. They had him in the tavern, pinned down and chanting. They were going to sacrifice him. Me and Raven crept through the night's cover, peeking through the window. There were indeed 8 of them, and the situation dire. It was then I realized that Raven had also visited this place for twelve years or so, as she rained down the highest level spell available in the world, striking down the cult leader with a Word of Death. Bursting through the door, I brandished Night-Rose and my long blade defensively, keeping them off of my Lady Raven. She had in each hand, a spell of Fireball. And a Mexican standoff suddenly took place in a medieval tavern. The plague had driven the town mad, and we weren't to be swept up in that madness. Clearing a path slowly, I helped Zak to his feet, and the three of us retreated. Locking the door behind me, glad I had taken those lock-craft skills, we dashed off. The night was almost over, and there were now only 3 left. Two other met up with us, having been forced to take part in the sacrificial ceremony for fear of being discovered as plague-free. And thus the game ended, with the Chosen Four of the Gods poised to find the cure, and save the village. All else had fallen, save for those protected by the gods with their immunity. All else, save for the Outlander. The foreigner with no face, no past, only the legend to tell his tale. He had survived, where all else had failed. Where dieing meant getting touched, by projectile, food, or a bump in the street. He survived with no armor, base weapons, and came out one of the richest in the village. You see, I had been breaking into cabins while they were asleep, and stealing their coin purses. I'd find the rich ones, and just take from them. And thus, me and Zak and Raven, and a Ranger and Mage all ate our fill, and drank our thirst away with mugs of cream soda. Paid for by the now plagued nobility, toasting our good luck.

   And that's my story, the time I went LARPing. A time of intrigue, action, and legends. Of battles fought with foam and beanbag spells. It was a strange time, but a triumphant one. Teaching me a valuable lesson in becoming somebody else other than who you think your suppposed to be at this point. It's been awhile since we've spoken, my friends reading this, but fear not. Many tragedies and glorious have filled my life since, and I plan on immortalizing them in text in the coming weeks. Good health to you all, leave some comments if you like the change of pace, or if you want a different kind of post next time.

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