Puerto de abrigo

October 19, 2010

A journey to Frostcovered City

Filed under: Uncategorized — CopyLife @ 5:53 pm

Up into the north of this perfect world of ours, there is a place that separates the young from the experienced; the weak form the strong; the bold and the wimp: Frostcovered City.

For a long time Tenar and other members of my guild has been going over there, because they say that there are treasures beyond a panda’s imagination, so every other day many adventurers raid that dungeon in their search for loot and fame.

Every time I’ve wanted to go, the other members of my guild, Tenar included, has said to me that I was too young. I can’t even begin to tell you how many nights we have gather in the local tavern, other guild members, Tenar and myself, and I have spent all night, bore to my furry toes, listening to their exploits in the dreadful Frostcovered City. But every time I said I wanted to go, their answer was the same: “you are too young, you are not ready”.

Not many things make my level of frustration rise as this, maybe the other thing that really drives me nut, to point of wanting to rip the fur right out of my head, is listening to Tenar’s stories, and how her “something” Toten, was the best adventurer to ever set foot in that dungeon. That story was right for the first couple of times, but try hearing it a thousand times and you end sick of it.

Anyhow, one day I convinced Tenar, against all her good judgment to take to the Frostcovered City. I know I am not old enough, but for the good old Turtle God sake, I am smart, smarter that other untamed. What I lack in age, I have in wits and that as to count for something.

She said yes, against all that she thought, because she felt responsible for me, and if I died, she was going to be very upset. But that didn’t worry me; I have not intentions to die in dungeon that looks very much like one of those magic freezers the magi use in Archosaur. I am an adventurer, a fighting panda, a warrior; I can take whatever a dungeon throws at me.

I was afraid though. I remember being a little sick the day Tenar went to my hut and said:

“Gear up; we are going to Frostcovered City”

I know it is not very bold, but my first intention was to pretend I had the flu, and find an excuse to get out of that dreadful trip to a certain cold dead, but after a moment I realized that this was what I’ve been wanting for a long long time, so I put on my best plate armor, grab my trustful axes, and head north with Tenar.

From where I live, FC is two days of serious traveling. We make it to our destination in a day and a half. I didn’t realize, but the excitement had been growing inside of me, so practically I ran all the way.

When we arrive to FC, we met with the rest of our party: a veno called Yessenia; Lunka, the sister of our guild leader; Aldeano, one of the best blademaster ever, a real pro; Tenar, whom, by the way, make me a lot of pots and special concoctions; and me.

As soon as we arrive we entered the fearful Frostcovered City. At the moment the door opened a shiver went down my spine. It was not only the cold that felt in those parts of our perfect world, it was the stench of dead, and that sticky feeling that pure evil left in your skin when you face it.

With the squeaking sound of the door, I saw one of my worst fears come true: the place was infected with all kinds of wraiths.  I remember thinking to myself that this truly was a terrible place, where demons roam freely, and good and kindness rot in just minutes. For a moment I fear for my mortal soul.

Then I heard the scariest phrase I’ve ever heard in my life: “We have no tank, so you will have to do all the work”.

—Wait a minute —I said— I didn’t sign up for this, there was supposed to be a pro tank with us. I don’t think I am ready, I am too young.

But nothing I could say matter. I took the job or lose face in front of Tenar and the squad. So I put a poker face, grab my axes as if there was no tomorrow, and say: “Yes, I will do it”

Tenar doesn’t know this, but at the minute I said those words, I could see her face turning paper white. I want to think that was because she was afraid for me, but it could also be the reflection of the snow on her skin. For all purposes I will stick to the first.

A tank’s work in this god forsaken place is to run around, making all the evil monsters pursue him, the he gets all of their attention and gets beaten while the others sneak upon the wraiths. No wonder why many tanks die, in my first run a bunch of those monster started to hit me really hard. But I stood my ground and did not die. At that moment, though, an old poem, the one that my granddad used to tell me before I went to bed started inside my mind:

“I have a rendezvous with Death

At some disputed barricade,

When the spring comes back with rustling shade

And apple blossoms fill the air –

I have a rendezvous with Death

When spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand

And lead me into his dark land

And close my eyes and quench my breath—

It may be I shall pass him still.

I have a rendezvous with Death

On some scarred slope of battered hill,

When spring comes round again this year

And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows ‘twere better to be deep

Pillowed in silk and scented down,

Where love throbs out in blissful sleep

Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,

Where hushed awakenings are dear…

At midnight in some flaming town,

When spring trips north again this year.

And I to my pledged word am true

I shall not fail that rendezvous.”

This words where all I heard as I stated to bleed under the swords of our enemy, as I felt punch after punch against my body. But I also made a pledge, no one will die, so I had to hang on, fight with all my might, reap the flesh with my axes, my hands, even my own bare teeth. Seconds passed by as if they where ours. And then, all of a sudden, the rest of the party arrived, throbbing steel as if there was no tomorrow. Faster seconds passed and the first wave of wraiths lied dead at our feet.

At that moment I felt alive. I turn to Tenar and so her in the eye. She had a mixture of proud and fear, I could tell, but she didn’t said a word, she just gave me a thumbs up and show me the way to the next room.

We faced or first big boss at exactly midnight. I remember because I thought that the hour was the most appropriate for the task ahead. All of a sudden: chaos.  The boss attacked us with all his might. In seconds many of the party members suffer from the terrible effects of some dark spells. They struggle to stay alive as I tried to keep the boss attention focused on me. He was hitting me hard, but I take it. He didn’t put a spell on me though, maybe he thought I was not a worthy adversary, or maybe he was more comfortable hitting me with all his might, but his over confidence played to our gain. After some bloody minutes he lay dead at our feet. His treasure was ours to take.

I started to feel very comfortable in that place. Tenar had told me that I was doing a very good job, also the rest of the squad. I felt happy

But happy and comfort are not the best aid in a place like that. All of a sudden, as I was pulling a group of wraiths into a corner, so my companions sneak up on them, a sudden blow to the head threw me to ground.

As the blood ran down my temples I saw Aldeano grab all the monsters and start to kill them. Blow after blow of his fists wraiths fall down. His armor started to look weak with all the dents that the enemy swords made. He was holding the best he could, as well as Yessenia, but I knew they could not hold much longer. “I failed them” I thought. Then I remember the light and the warm of Tenar’s hand on my head. I remember how life filled me up again. I stand up and look at Tenar. We didn’t say a thing; we just look for a glimpse of time. I transformed myself into my tiger form —an old untamed trick— and jump over the first wraith I found. I closed my jaws with all my might and felt the monster skull break, her body loose as life had left it. Literally I spat it to the ground and throw my talons into a new victim. One after the other the wraith fell to our still and claws. At the end of the battle we stood exhausted. We triumphed, and as we started to celebrate a wraith, that was not dead yet, casted a spell upon us. Her words were cold, and sharp, and they filled with sorrow our very souls as Aldeano disappeared in front of our own eyes. He just vanished. Lunka raised her staff and deliver a killer blow to the wraith’s head, but it was just too late.

We had to keep going. There was no time for grief, not in there at least. So we kept going into the next chamber, with the next wraith’s boss.

We stood in front of him. I remember I had to look up for a long while to see all of him. His wolf like face had a glance that could break any of the brave men of the Archosaur guard. But not us, and if it did no one say nothing. We hold his look as he started to wave his arms around, those handless arms, as his hand where replaced with long bloodstained blades. In a second the fight started.

We took turns to hit him as Tenar heal every one of us. Lunka shoot lightning bolts from her hand as Yessenia send her pets to attack the terrible beast.

I managed to sneak upon him and deliver a terrible blow to his lower leg. I heard the sound of flesh and tendons reaping under the weight of my axe. The beast was grounded to that very spot; his left leg was completely useless.

Under Tenar’s cares the deed was an easy one. It took time as the wraith boss was a tough one, but my lucky blow to his leg, and our bravery tilted the balance to our way. As the beast exhale his last breath and felt to the ground with a deafening sound, the door to the master chamber open, revealing an enormous treasure to our eyes.

Mountains of gold; more that we could carry stood there, waiting to fill our backpacks. I stood in there, amazed, as the other loot the treasure. Without any explanation —I think magic doesn’t need explanation, or I am just too dumb to understand it— Aldeano appeared in front of our own eyes. I like to think that we broke the curse of the dungeon and he came back from wherever he was. His eyes where different though, and he haven’t spoke about the place he went, no matter how much you ask, he always change the subject, anyhow we were happy to have him back.

We left Frostcovered City at dawn. For me it was a rite f passage, earning my place in the guild.

As we started the journey back home Tenar allowed herself a moment, for she was brave and didn’t show concern in our entire ordeal, but when it was over, she told me that I did a good job and held me close in a tight hug. Then, in silence, we started to walk, leaving in the snow a track that was meant to be covered by the blizzard and the step of other adventurers.

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