The Tipsy Troodon was on the far edge of the town, down the muddy road past vine covered buildings and a variety of trees interspersed between the buildings. It was difficult to catch sight through the storm but some lightning flashes showcased a sprawling market, mostly stalls shuttered against the storm, as they hurried past and individual homes across from it. As the few who braved the storm pushed on, they’d notice a small ball of electricity floating around them that continued to expand. A status icon called “Static Charge” appeared and a player near Cecilia was suddenly struck by lightning after the orb grew to the size of his head. A few seconds later, a few more players were struck, most of their health disappearing as the wind snatched their strangled cries from their throats.
A quick duck into a door frame almost immediately dispelled the effect but drastically slowed their movement. Eventually, they made it to their destination: The Tipsy Troodon a flapping wooden sign declared. The few stairs up to the building’s porch could be heard over the storm as they protested under the weight of any adventurer. A few rocking chairs laid on their side, obviously forgotten before the storm.
The inside was rather small, only five or six round tables scattered around, and the bar stools had seen better days. The bar itself had long gashes cut into it and chunks and bits missing around the sides. A few pictures hung askew around the otherwise plant filed walls, a variety of flowers decorating the creeping vines, and more than one pot collected the drips that leaked through patches in the ceiling.
“What are you foolish creatures doin’ outside when the Rathan is lurking here 'bouts?” An older woman snapped form behind the bar, glaring at travelers that let the rain in for even a moment. “Even those bothrian know better! ‘Ey girl, we have company!” The woman, name tagged as Nerile, shouted back into a door behind the bar. A brief clanging could be heard and a young woman, tagged Anu, came dashing out, a bright smile on her face as she zipped around and welcomed the adventurers in out of the storm while taking orders for drinks and food. She frequently pointed to the sign above the bar, where it listed options and prices. Nerile gave a fond huff as the younger woman scurried about before she turned her attention to River, casting a critical eye over him.
“You look like a drowned Chitter. Nerile commented bluntly as she cleaned out a glass with a not so clean piece of cloth. “Whatcha havin’?
Chitter and Java root stew: 4 cp
Bread: 2 cp
Sliced Boni Fruit: 3 cp
Wekke Ale: 5 cp
One Night: 3 cp
One Week: 1sp, 8cp +Room includes single bed, unlocked chest, bedside table with candle. +May purchase bath water for room for 2 cp or warm bath water for 4cp
Suddenly, the lightning ceases and the wind and the rain quiet down. A massive roar ripped across the town, buildings and trees shaking slightly in its wake, and the Static Charge debuff vanished.
The NPCs stilled for a moment as a mighty roar resounded in the Inn, holding for a few moments before sighing in relief, and resuming their duties. Anu nodded as he accepted the payments and rushed off to fill their orders. Nerile nodded at the calming storm outside.
“The Rathan’s a mighty beast full of lightning and fury. Always know when its here abouts when the storms so bad. Lurks in the rivers and comes out to feed on the Chitters and the Welkin and sometimes the big Maledoeons when its belly pains demand it.” Nerile shrugged as she took the coin and deposited eight room keys in front of him. They were all in poor condition, a bit dented and bent. Each one had a big wooden tag with a number between 1 and 8. “Let me know when you’re ready for the water and which room you want it in. Anu and Drash will bring it up. Fruit will be out in a jiffy.”
More people started meandering in once the storm let up and the bar filled up quickly, most people edging away from a great axe wielding guy at the end. He wore low grade armor and stared into the bar after ordering a cup of ale in a small voice.
“Don’t cause no trouble or I’ll haul you out myself.” Nervile warned him as she slammed down his cup, sloshing some of the ale onto the bar.
His name was red.
As Cecilia ran, feeling the wind whip around her as she pushed herself faster and faster against the odds, her static charge grew and grew and grew. She stepped onto the bridge just past the first watch tower on the edge of town and the heavens opened up. In a blinding flash of white, a deafening roar, and boiling heat, lightning arced between the clouds and struck.
Next to Cecelia.
Half a hair to the left and Cecilia would have been struck. The small “Evade!” notice popped up and the charge restarted. The air around her still boiled for half a moment before the wind and rain whisked it away and the sharp cold returned. Another flash of lighting in the distance and another…
No boom, no epic crash. Instead, a roar that shook the ground reverberated across the storm torn world and in the next flash of lightning, Cecilia could see it. A towering monster half submerged in the wide river the bridge spanned. A massive fin rose from it’s back with lightning dancing across it and the worst of the storm writhed above it. It let out another mighty roar and sank into the depths of the river. As it did, the storm lessened, the wind all but stilled and the rain slowed to a drizzle. The Static Charge notice vanished.
The Guild Hall was only a few minutes past the bridge, with nothing more than a little mud hampering the journey. Unlike the rest of the town, the Guild Hall was a towering building of marble and stone but various plants still climbed it’s surface. A towering double door opened as a Player approached it and inside was as elegant as it was on the outside. A long single hall ending in a set of stairs and a full sized window overlooking the story sea greeted all those who entered, a variety of doors on the left side leading further into the building while a long counter was on the right and a few NPCs sat behind them. Two NPCs however, Dracion and Rania, stood towards the left side and seemed to be discussing something serious despite Rania’s periodic chuckling.
“You are single handedly the reason I drink.” Willow sighed at River. She would have preferred everyone took the night and rested. Just because their stats were topped off, the game still demanded they sleep and eat. After a huge battle, she’d rather play it safe but if everyone was insisting they push on then they would push on. She downed the rest of her drink before sending out a message to Cecelia.
Did you at least take a moment to eat? A level up doesn't stop the game from hitting you with hunger. We're about to head out once we finish up here. Did you want me to pick you up some bread and fruit?
Can you also keep an eye out for Prome? He was with us freaking out and now he up and vanished.
Stay safe please.
"I need to pick up the rest of the body line anyways. I overestimated how much my stat would influence it's healing power." Willow grumbled, sending the message and picking at her stew. "We really need someone working on the numbers. Wonder if that's capped behind that arithmetic skill."
The inn was still noisy, Players coming and going as they wanted. Renn was flowing freely and the alcohol was right behind it. People were really going all out.
"Our condolences for your losses. Rania said, Dracion lifting his hand off her shoulder as she stood down. Both of them have him a wary look as he continued to blather. "I am Rania Hawthorne and this is Dracion Wildbron, second to the Shaman Chief. It an interesting choice to brave the Rathan's scorn. What brings you here with such purpose?"
Meanwhile, Dracion hauled Prome up by the arm off the floor. The weight of his suit didn't seem to bother the man all that much. He patted the Tinker hardily on the back.
"Stand up, you strange man. Around these parts we look each other in the eye. We don't bow down and grovel like beasts scrounging for food." Dracion boomed with a frown. "Now 'fore I can help you, need to know a few things. One, what tower? You talkin' about the ruins on top of the mountain right. Well, that there-" Rania smacked him lightly on the shoulder.
"I can handle this, Dracion. Go do your rounds." Dracion shot her a curious look and she just shook her head. He shrugged, said his farewells, and made his way out into the rain only to be stopped by other players. Rania turned back to the pair.
"Discussing the universe's layout with the unenlightened will only confuse them further." Rania spoke quietly as her tag blinked, changing from Rania to Rania Hathorne, Shifter Trainer. "Ultimate power is an illusion of your own creation. Ascension can only be achieved through the concurrent use of many powers, not a singular one. A single fish among the sharks is sure to die but when they swim as one, they may escape. At the cost of some of course."
Quest Accepted. A Mechanist's life for me! See Professor Ratshrew in his home in the residential district to unlock the Mechanist subclass.