Accepted. I will now commence quest. Welcome aboard, peeps! Hold on to your hats!
"Hawke? You there?"
There was a moment's silence over the phone, then he spoke. "Yes, but shadows dwell within.
Zara nodded slowly. "They say it'll snow today," she replied carefully.
"Yes, sometimes so cold it burns. You'll want protective gear?
"Not too warm, but enough I don't get frostbite."
"I'll be there in half an hour. Click!
Zara, grinning, put the phone down and logged into Infinite. She'd left it in sleep mode earlier in order to make that call. She'd located the Dragon Emerald, and was about to set about getting it when...something happened. Well, the IFF was on their way, she'd just enjoy the ride from here out.
45 minutes later, she was lying bound and gagged on the stone cold floor and thinking, "Hawke, you're 15 minutes late.
Kiari, as she was known in the gameworld of Infinite, calmly considered her position. In her hunt for the Dragon Emerald, the first of the six dragon gems, she had discovered to her dismay that her arch enemy had captured it. She'd followed him to his stronghold in the Tanmul Mountainrange and had attempted to steal it. Unfortunarely, he'd anticipated her and had successfully caught her. now he had apparently decided to leve her to rot while he cleaned up the mayhem she'd created.
The door suddenly opened. Two burly men - NPCs most likely - came in, seized her, and dragged her to her feet. They tried to propell her forward but she stumbled.
"You tied my ankels together, boys," she said, having loosened the gag 25 minutes ago. "I can't walk. Wanna untie me?"
Instead o being nice guys, they grabbed her by the arms and carried her out. She was trying her darnedest not to laugh, thoroughly enjoying herself. Since she could log out at any time, she was in no danger, so she was simply enjoying herself. She wouldn't log out if she could help it, she wanted that emerald so darn bad.
Out of the dark stone passages carved into the mountain they came and entered the only room in the whole place lit by daylight, due to a ceiling made of a special glass that was strong as iron but still retained the qualities of glass. It wasn't a big room, more of a sitting room really, containing various chairs, cabinents, tables and trophies.
And he was there.
Dressed in white and red, he stood in the center of the room, staring up through the glass. He turned when they entered and smiled. "Kiari, its good to see you again," he said warmly.
"Mithos," she replied. "You're looking well." She glanced around at the fancy room. "Too darn well..."
He grinned, amused. "Passible. Now that we've finished with the usual pleasantries, on to the inevitable question. What in the world shall I do with you this time?"
"Just sent the scouts out sir. So far, everything has been quiet."
Softly, Caesar nodded. "Very good. Dismissed." Listening to the whispers of the wind, he heard the guard go. Grimly he considered his next move.
Everything was falling apart. Just when he'd finally reached the point where he could settle down, maybe even "retire" and enjoy the luxuries he had collected for himself, Cyrano had received open support and approval from the mods to tear down the guild. All thanks to the rogue mod who'd sided with the hackers and had used the guild during his work. Before that, Cyrano had been working by himself, with the occasional group to help him. Now the mods had risen from the shadows and given him the commision personally. Now here he was, struggling to keep the last remnants together.
At least he'd spoken personally to the mods about his position. He'd honored his end of the bargain all these years, keeping a fairly clean slate. They knew he hadn't been involved in the Cataclyst four years ago. So they'd told him they wouldn't move against him, but he was on his own.
Then they disappeared. Even theri homebase had vanished. But at least that meant Cyrano didn't have their support anymore and was once again having to use his own resources. Just like himself.
But what next? What could he do next?
Softly, he inspected his base. He'd almost finished moving out, he just had to get those maps...
Those maps, those precious maps...he had to get them out, had to keep them safe. They had some of the most valuable information in the whole Infinite universe. Thousands of treasure hunters would turn into assasins if they knew he had these.
"Amazing what you can barter off of random NPCs," he murmured. He folded them up and carefully hid them in the hidden pockect inside his shirt. He felt the crisp paper scratch his skin as it slid into place. These would sell for a lot, if he could find some non-crazy buyer who'd be willing to pay thousands for it.The problem would be finding one willing to not simply try to cut his throat.
He heard a noise outside and whirled around. Someone stood there, someone he recognized.
"Valerian? What are you doing here?"
"This is my base. Why shouldn't I be here?" he retorted. "If Nescala's hosting another draft, I'm not interested. I want to keep my head attached, thank you."
The man shook his head. "You won't be able to continue like this for long. You know how crazed some of these people are."
Valerian nodded, sighing. "I know Jaques. I know. I'm almost fully moved out. If I could just reach the mountains in safety now..." he hoisted his pack over his shoulder. Jaques watched him silently.
"I'll join you, when I make my getaway," he said softly. "I've had no luck finding a shipmaster willling to take us. But I haven't given up yet."
"We'll make our own if necessary," Valerian promised. He shook the man's hand. "Good luck Jaques."
"Good luck Valerian. Godspeed."