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Dragon Lance - Prelude

by Christine 'Kitabug' Cates 4 years ago in anime
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~Prelude~

Three Years Prior

A door slammed behind hurried footsteps as they rushed toward their destination. Through the foyer, they entered a small walkway that divided two rooms in the home. Turning to their right, after a few steps, they flung open another door revealing a flight of steps that descended to the basement. With heavy footsteps they bolted down into the depths of their home, jumping to the platform as their feet missed the last four steps. Their body twisted, turning to their left and jetted off through another room, only taking a second to stop and open yet another door as it flung open and a young boy of twelve stood firmly with his hand lifted high over his head, a bag in his hand.

“I finally got one, Ash! A full year of my paper route, lawn work, and dog walking and I finally got one!”

A young girl of fifteen turned in her chair and looked at the young boy, her little brother. His eyes danced with excitement as he looked on at her as she sat at her desk where she was doing her essay.

She chuckled lightly with a bright smile. “That’s great Jeffery, but I really have to finish this. It’s due first thing Monday morning.”

“But it’s Saturday.” He lowered his arm back to his side. “You can take a small break can’t ya? I want to play Dragon Lance with you,” Jeffery informed her as he walked toward her.

Ashley sighed and pushed up from her chair, her hand going to the top of her brother’s head as she looked down at him. “You know if you let me finish this we will have the rest of the day to play and all day tomorrow.” Ashley smiled warmly as she ruffled her brother’s hair atop his head as he looked up at her with his bright, milk chocolate colored eyes, his short, unkempt, jet black hair framing a sweet innocent face. He was a boy genius at the eager age of twelve. Though he was easily excitable be it with joy or anger, and he did not like if people opposed him. At times he could be short-tempered, but no matter how annoying he got to be he was still her little brother.

“But...” Jeffery growled as his hands clenched at his sides as the bag he held crinkled in his tight grasp. “I want to play now. I have waited for a whole year to play, just listening to you talk about Dragon Lance.” His hand with the bag lifted as he shoved his hand and the bag toward her. “You said once I got an AmuSphere you would play the game with me.”

His older sister, Ashley Kass, had a good three or four inches in height on him with a thin, toned build to her, or as some of the guys would tell him, a sexy figure which pissed him off. He hated when the guys talked about her like she was some object to be admired because she wasn’t. Yes, she was a very pretty girl with her long raven hair and soft hazel eyes, but she was smart, very smart, and she cared about the people around her if she knew them or not. Her heart was so big at times he wondered how it fit in her chest. Though he knew he was only thinking metaphorically on the subject because her heart did indeed fit in her chest. Though he still wondered how his sister could be so kind with so many jerks in the world. Though he would admit she could be quite sarcastic at times, and she had a fire to her worse than his own if you upset her. At times she was hard to read, not knowing if she was joking or serious over things, but it did not stop him from pursuing something he wanted. Even if she could kick his butt, he was not giving up just yet.

“And I told you we would, Jeffery but I have to finish this. If I don’t, it will never get done,” Ashley stated firmly.

“How long will it take?” Jeffery asked her.

“I should be done in another couple of hours,” Ashley reassured him as she turned and stepped back to her desk.

“But in a couple of hours, it will be dinner time.”

“So we eat, clean up and then we have the rest of the night to play. That’s a good four or five hours. Long enough for me to teach you everything about the game and then tomorrow we can spend it playing.”

Jeffery smiled nodding his head. “That will work.”

Ashley took her seat and turned back to her desk and her homework. “Alright then,” she told him picking up her pencil to get back to work. “Now get lost so I can finish this.”

Jeffery nodded as he turned to make a path toward the door, but before he could exit his sister called to him.

“Jeffery…”

His head turned as he looked at her. “Yeah?”

“Go download the game while you are waiting on me and get everything set up. So after dinner, we can get started without any hang-ups.”

He nodded with a bright smile and a quick nod as he darted out the door, it closed behind him as he was off to his room on the second floor to get everything set up to play Dragon Lance after dinner.

---

It was after dinner, Ashley and Jeffery returned to their rooms. During dinner and clean up after, Ashley had explained to her brother what he needed to do before he would spawn into the world of Dragon Lance. She told him to choose wisely when it came to his avatar and username because once it was made it could not be changed unless he deleted it and started over. She also informed him that the avatar he picked also determined what provenance and hemisphere his avatar would spawn in to. He nodded in understanding, and she moved on explaining the VR game he was about to take part in. As she explained everything to him, she told him that once he spawned in he should PM her and let her know where he was. That way she could retrieve him and take him to Whitehaven, the provenance in which she was located.

Once all the initial information needed for signing-in and entry of the game was out of the way the two parted ways with a simple, “See ya in Dragon Lance…”

Ashley spawned in first as her human avatar, Tanya, appeared in the provenance of Whitehaven. It was in a little village called Dawnmeadow located in the Central region of Tarragonia, the world within Dragon Lance.

Designed on the Western side of the river of the Central region of the map, Dawnmeadow was home to both Players and NPCs. The village itself looked mundane with its blackened rooftops, half rotten walls and ominous scarecrows out in the fields and held a desolate atmosphere. The main attraction though was the church, which supposedly was one of the oldest buildings in the world of Tarragonia. Though it too was falling apart like the rest of the village.

Dawnmeadow though, even with the Pubs, Inns, and Merchants, had a poor economy, which was mainly supported by armorsmithing. Which was not saying much since the village was so centralized, making it to where it didn’t see much in the way of work. Though no matter the overall economy or the appearance of their village, the villagers were cheerful with uplifting spirits.

Waving at a few villagers she knew, Tanya made her way to the Crystal Pub in the center of the village. She walked in making herself comfortable as she waited for her brother’s PM.

“Hey Tanya, can I get you anything?” A friendly voice called to her.

Taomar was the keeper or well, owner of the Crystal Pub. He was one of the many in the village that accepted her with open arms when she first started playing her avatar, Tanya about five months ago. He was a real sweetheart with dark brown hair that he combed back over the top of his head and soft brown eyes. He was not human though, like her. He was a Wood Elf, and his Pub reflected that with the Earthy and nature like setting inside. All the tables looked as if the tabletop was cut out of the center of a tree trunk and the chairs look as if they were woven together with twigs, branches, and vines. There were plants and greenery throughout the Pub and the floor was dirt.

Tanya turned toward the familiar voice with a wide smile. “Hello, Taomar. Yeah, iced tea would be wonderful. How have you been by the way?”

Taomar nodded as he stopped by her table. “So nothing but an iced tea? And I have been doing great.”

Tanya nodded slowly. “Yeah, I am waiting for someone to sign-in, so we can go out and level up. Don’t want anything too heavy to weight me down or something I can’t finish, and it goes to waste.”

“Going out to grind, are you? And without me.”

Tanya looked the way of Aaron who walked into the Pub. She smiled with a soft chuckle. “I would not call it that, but you’re more than welcome to join us. You could even be a big help with teaching them.”

“So you’re waiting on a N00bie, huh?” Aaron questioned as he took a seat at the table with her. He looked to Taomar with a bright smile. “Hey Taomar, how about a Pint.”

“Got it,” Taomar replied as he turned to go and retrieve their drinks.

Tanya looked back to Aaron as Taomar walked away. “It’s my little brother. He has been waiting for this day for months.”

“You got one of those too, huh?” Aaron chuckled.

Tanya nodded chuckling softly. “Yeah, he is a pain in the butt, but I don’t know what I would do without him.”

Nodding, Aaron smiled. “I hear ya. Same with my little brother. Though mine is too young to be playing Dragon Lance. He still has a few more years.”

“Mine is three years younger than me and has been saving for the last year to get his headgear.”

“So he just got it today I guess,” Aaron asked with a soft chuckle.

“Mhmm,” Tanya hummed with a chuckle of her own. She looked to Taomar as he walked up with their drinks. “Thank you, Taomar.”

He nodded his head in recognition as he handed them their drinks.

“So do you know what Avi he will be taking?” Aaron asked.

“Nope, I just told him to read over each one and make a good choice. Because he would have to delete it and start all over if he did not like it once he got in to play with it, and he would lose everything with deleting it.”

“Yeah, I did that when I first started this VR,” Taomar added jumping into the conversation.

Aaron chuckled lightly. “I think everyone has. If I would have been paying better attention Aaron would have been a Moon Elf, but Aaron was too far advanced and there was no way I was deleting him.”

“Speaking of Moon Elves. Celty was here the other day.” Taomar swooned with a dreamy look in his eyes making Aaron and Tanya chuckle softly.

“What?” He retorted. “She has to be the most beautiful Elf in existence.” He looked to Aaron. “Right? You have seen her, you know.”

Aaron shook his head still laughing. “You won’t get me to lie about that one. She is by far one of the most attractive of that Species.”

“I love her hair,” Tanya stated as she looked at the two lovesick males at the table. “I don’t think I have ever seen that many blues together and it is so long. I don’t know how she fights with it. It has to get in the way.”

“They say her partner Creed has hair just as long.” Taomar sighed as he looked off into space. “Too bad she is a Moon Elf. She would never give an Elf like me a second glance.”

“You never know, Taomar,” Tanya said encouraging him.

Aaron laughed aloud as he sat his beer to the table. “Just don’t make a move on her when Creed’s around or the Crystal Pub might be looking for new management.”

Tanya reached across the table and smacked Aaron playfully as the three of them shared a chuckle. The three sat in conversation as Tanya waited for the message from her brother.

---

Standing in front of the sign-in panel, Jeffery flipped through the choices of avatars he could pick from in the game of Dragon Lance as he sighed softly.

“They got some pretty cool avatars in this game, but I don’t know which one I want.” He sighed again with a short pause in movement. Suddenly he then started swiping at the screen taking it back to the beginning of the avatars.

“I want something cool, and I have to make sure I spawn in close to Ash.” When the screen stopped at the first avatar he started reading the description to give him a better idea of the character.

“Well, other than the Human species, it looks like the Elven species are first.” He let his eyes scan the details on the first Elf in the list. “Moon Elf: These Elves have no real location that they belong since they travel throughout. Though the elders of the Clan have settled high in the mountains of the North. Moon Elves tend to be more impulsive than the other elves and dislike remaining in one place for any length of time. They are happiest when traveling, especially across the expanses of untrodden wilderness. They are drawn to adventure through sheer wanderlust, desiring to see and do everything possible during their long lives. They are mysterious and elusive creatures that are connected to the magical energy of the Moon. Their natural abilities in stealth and speed make them well-suited to the work of assassins. ... On the night of the full moon, Moon Elves are at the height of their power -- and can become nearly invisible.” Jeffery’s head bobbed. “They sound cool.” He moved on to the next one reading it aloud as well.

“Sun Elf: These Elves are mostly found within the East, West and Central Provenances. The most arrogant, haughty, and patient, believing they are the true elven race, the builders and leaders of the elven realms. They feel the other elves fail to live up to the solemnity and dignity of their ancient stock. They also feel rushing a job or finishing a project with anything less than perfection is betraying the elven ideal. As a result, they tend to have a much narrower range of skills than other elves, but they are the unrivaled master of the skill, art, or craft to which they turn their efforts… They sound pleasant. Not.” Jeffery replied moving to the next Elf in the list.

“Wood Elf: These Elves are mostly found within forest areas of the North, West and Central Provenances. They are calm, serene, and difficult to surprise. They are at one with the world of nature, using what naturally occurs in the world to shelter or defend themselves, and thus are uncomfortable in cities. They have lost the urge to build and replace nature with walls and palaces. Even the cities built by their elven kin seem foolish to the wood elves, who have come to believe that buildings of stone are transitory in nature and that in time, the forest returns to overgrow the greatest of cities… Nope, not a Carpenter. Next.” He swiped the screen.

“Sky Elf or Avariel (Winged Elves): These Elves are mostly found within the East, South and Central Provenances. More delicate than their earth-bound cousins, with hollow bones to aid their flight. They have pale, often porcelain white skin, and white, black, brown, or speckled wings. The Avariels’ society is split into two groups that coexist together: Warriors - geared towards war and power, answering to war chiefs who govern Avariel society equally with the religious leaders who live by a complex code of honor and spend their lives defending their race. Scholars, philosophers, and artists - intellectuals who believe in solving problems through reason and diplomacy. The Avariels spend much time researching magic and history, contemplating religion and worshiping their gods… Another cool sounding Elf, but I really don’t think I want to be an Elf.”

He moved on to the next group as a heavy sigh escaped him. “I really don’t want to be a Fairy.” He swiped through them reading to himself, just grazing the descriptions starting with the Water Fairy.

These Fairies are mostly found within the Eastern Provenances. Water-talent fairies can manipulate water in astonishing ways. They are able to control it, forming it into various shapes or using it to create fountains. Water fairies are also able to create bubble messages. Water fairies are often found exploring waterways. These fairies also have a knack for divining and can seek out hidden sources of water. Only water-talent fairies can make bubble messages, which burst open only for the one who is meant to hear them. They have more water in them than other fairies, and as consequence tears and other fluids run more easily. Although water fairies cannot swim, they find ways to frolic near water. Many water fairies spend time near the Babbling Brooks.

Nature Fairy: These Fairies are mostly found within the Northern, Western and Central Provenances. Nature fairies spend most of their time outdoors. If there is a colorful garden around, you can be sure there is a nature fairy around somewhere. Nature-talent fairies can sense what a plant needs and have an intuitive understanding of how to care for plants, and with a bit of fairy dust, they can make plants grow and blossom in an instant. Nature fairies occasionally work with animals. They sometimes train earthworms and ladybugs to help them, and they are highly respectful of bumblebees.

Tinker Fairy: These Fairies are found anywhere within the Provenances. Tinker-talent fairies fix everything using a strange array of tools. Tinker-talent fairies are curious, love metallic colors, and use their magic to aid in the repair of objects and things that might need fixing. They also invent and create special tools to help the nature fairies. Every tinker has their own talent mark and will always stamp their work with it.

Animal Fairy: These Fairies are found anywhere within the Northern, Western and Central Provenances. Animal-talent fairies have the unique ability to speak with any animal in its native tongue. They are extremely sensitive and can "read" an animal's thoughts or emotions. They know when an animal is frightened or sick and can tend to its needs to help it feel better. Like the animals they work with, animal-talent fairies have a keen sense of smell and excellent hearing. They are skilled trackers and are frequently called upon to help find people who have lost their way in the woods. All animal talent fairies are deeply integrated into the animal world and strive to keep it harmonious.

Making it to the end he swiped to the next species. “Really, Imps.” He started to chuckle loudly as he read the Imp’s description. “Imps are found anywhere mischief can be had. Imps are mischievous more than seriously threatening, they are usually lively and having a small stature. Imps are not the best on the battlefield. They are more likely to moon the enemy then wound them… That’s great.” Jeffery still chuckled. He looked at the next species as his eyes widened slightly. “Oooh, this might work. Magic Wielders.” He read on. “A magic wielder can be found within any Providence within Tarragonia. There are three groups in which the Magic Wielders can fall. Light: Practice done with all things pure. Specializes in healing and protective arts. Dark: Uses things born of malice and corruption. Used to harm. Specializes in dark arts. Elemental: Uses the elements in their practice and can summon/cast these elements to fight, heal, and protect… Cool.” Jeffery swiped to the first magic wielder.

“Mages: Deal with curses, talismans, charms, healing, divination, mediumship, astrology/astronomy. All three types can use mediumship, divination, and astrology/astronomy but must perform them within the parameters of their type. Sorcerers: Deals with spells and typical magic. Can do some of the same things Mages do, but with spells and incantations rather than chants and rituals. Alchemists: Crosses the border between magic and science. Uses materials and catalysts in their magic and cannot create something out of thin air but can ‘bend’ the laws of science with magic.” Jeffery thought long and hard before he swiped to the last avatar on the list.

“Fathach (Giant): The Fathach are mostly found high within the Mountains of the Northern Provenances. They are beings of human appearance, but of prodigious size and strength. Giants loom large in the world, frequently representing the most ominous of foes... Nope.”

He swiped back to the Alchemists and picked the Elemental group. “Now a name.” He stopped in thought as he cast his eyes upward. “I got it. C-e-r-b-e-r-u-s. Cerberus. Cool Alchemists name if I do say so myself.” He then dressed him in a blue hooded trench coat with gold trim, black pants and a black blouse like shirt for men that laced up the front. It reminded him of something he saw the Three Musketeers wearing. He then put him in a pair of black boots that came up to his knees.

“Hmm, now I need a weapon…” He rubbed his chin and looked at the list coming a crossed a Quarterstaff, embellished with silver tips. “Nice. I like this. Mine.” He chose the Quarterstaff as his weapon. After a few more things to check off in the creation of his avatar he tapped ‘Accept and Save’ and the game spawned him into Tarragonia.

He looked around the mundane village with its blackened rooftops, half rotten walls and ominous scarecrows out in the fields. “Wow, this place could use some help.” He shook his head and opened his panel, looking at the map before he messaged his sister. Once he learned where he was he PMed her.

---

As Tanya, Aaron and Taomar sat there laughing at their conversation, a soft chime went off causing Tanya to open her game panel. “About time…” She mumbled opening the message and reading it. “Rock on.”

“What?” Aaron asked looking her way.

“He spawned in here in Dawnmeadow,” Tanya told him.

“Cool, no running around to go get him.”

Tanya nodded as she messaged her brother back telling him where she was. Closing the panel, they waited for his arrival. It was no time and he walked in the door. Tanya was surprised when she saw an Elemental Alchemist walking toward them.

“Cerberus?” Tanya asked standing from the table.

“Sis… I mean Tanya?” He asked stepping up to her.

The three chuckled lightly as Tanya nodded her head. “You’re fine.”

“Wow! I can’t believe how much you look like you. Well, all but the blue eyes.” He reached out and played with a lock of her hair that hung over her shoulder. “I like your hair like this. You should do it in real life.”

“It’s not long enough IRL,” she told him as she lightly pulled her lock of hair from him.

“IRL?” Cerberus questioned.

“In. Real. Life.” Aaron replied standing offering his hand.

“Ahh,” Cerberus replied nodding his head as he looked to the tall guy sitting with his sister. He had short dirty blond hair and green eyes. He wondered if this is what he looked like in real life. He then turned to his sister. “Do I look the same?”

“Don’t be rude,” Tanya scolded him, giving his arm a smack and gesturing with her head to Aaron’s hand.

“Oh, sorry,” he replied shaking Arron’s hand. “Cerberus. Tanya’s little brother.”

“Aaron, and I was informed of this.” He chuckled lightly. “Have a seat and we will fill you in on a few things before we go out.”

Taomar stood quickly and offered his hand next as Cerberus shook it taking a seat next to his sister. “Taomar. I am the owner of this fine establishment. Would you like something to drink?”

Cerberus looked to his sister as she nodded her head. “Do you have coke?”

“Sure do, we are not set too deep into the dark ages here,” Taomar replied as he turned to go get his soda. “Be right back.”

“So what do you want to cover first?” Aaron asked Tanya as Taomar walked off.

Tanya shrugged. “I guess the basics and move on from there. He can ask questions as we explain things.”

“Sounds good to me,” Aaron agreed as he looked over at Cerberus. “First off. Please tell me you read all the character details?”

“You mean the Avis you can pick from?” Cerberus asked as Aaron nodded his head. “Yeah, I read them all.”

“Good so there is one less thing we have to cover. You at least know the ones that can be friend or foe. Now what you do not know are the ones that are nothing but foe. Those are the ones we go out and fight to level up, and they can be found anywhere.”

“And they are?” Cerberus asked.

Aaron’s hand lifted as he counted them down on his fingers. “The Fomorian: Hostile and monstrous beings who come from the sea or underground. They possess the power over certain natural phenomena in particular destructive elements. The Banshee: The spirit of a woman who acts as a messenger of death. The Doppelganger: A faceless creature that always appears as an anti-thesis of the person who fights it. If it kills them, it claims their appearance until their next encounter. The Basilisk: A very large serpentine lizard resembling a king cobra that can petrify and kill those it looks at. Its fangs carry a fatal poison that dissolves whatever it touches. The Chimera: Beast with a body of a lion, a snake for a tail, the head of a goat. The Goblin: A grotesque, troublesome little creature with a strong greed for gold and jewels. The Wraith: Evil spirits of the dead who could not pass on. And last but not least the Wendigo: An evil spirit that possesses humans.” Aaron paused in thought as he cast his eyes upward, recounting and renaming the creatures under his breath, making sure he had them all.

“One Fomorian, two Banshee, three Doppelganger…”

Taomar walked back up to the table with Cerberus’ drink looking to Aaron, then to Tanya and Cerberus. He slid Cerberus his drink as he looked to Aaron once more. “What is he doing?”

“Trying to make sure he named off all the creatures we fight to level up and get treasure from,” Tanya informed him.

“Ahh,” Taomar looked to Aaron. “You get the Bosses?”

“Not yet,” Aaron replied after rattling off the last couple of creatures.

“So there are Bosses too?” Cerberus asked.

“Well, of course, that’s where the big prizes come from.” Taomar grinned madly at the boy.

“What are they? The Bosses that is, not the prizes.” Cerberus asked him.

“We have Medusa and her sisters, the Thunderbird, the Kraken, the Valkyrie, the Centaur, the Hydra, and the Minotaur. And ain’t none of these guys pushovers.” Taomar chuckled. “Plus, you got the Dragons if you piss one of them off. Though they are fairly friendly since this VR is to protect them.”

“But if a Dragon does come at you and you kill it you have to report it,” Tanya added to their conversation.

“Huh, to who?” Cerberus asked. “And why?” He looked to his sister.

“Any breeder. They are the ones that keep track of the dragons in the Tarragonia world. If you don’t report it, you are marked as a Dragon Slayer for the life of your Avi.” Tanya explained to him.

“For just one dragon?” Cerberus questioned.

“Yep, this VR is all about the dragons. Though there is an upside to this.” Aaron said quickly.

“There is an upside to being a Dragon Slayer?” Cerberus asked as he took a drink of his soda, they snickered softly at his question.

Aaron shook his head still chuckling lightly. “No, to reporting the Dragon.”

“Oh,” Cerberus replied.

“If the Breeder is not in need of the Dragon they will pass it on to the person that reported it,” Taomar told him. “Or at least split it with them.”

“Ok, and what is someone going to do with a dead Dragon?” Cerberus asked.

“Believe it or not quite a few things,” Aaron spoke up. “The bones, scales, talons, skin, and the gems and crystals of a dragon can be used to make potions, armor, weapons, and medicinal medications.”

“And the flesh of a dragon is a delicacy. You can make a fortune off that alone if you sell it to someone with a Pub or Eatery. Not to mention the Inns that serve food would buy it, Markets and even individuals.” Taomar added his bit of enlightenment.

“Can you own a dragon?” Cerberus asked.

Aaron nodded his head as he set his beer to the table. “Sure can. I have one. His name is Un. I found him a little over a year ago, give or take a month. Poachers killed his mother. He was only a few months old. Poor little guy was so scared.”

Tanya smiled brightly as she sat listening to them explain things to her little brother. Her chin was resting on laced fingers as her elbows were propped to the tabletop. She tilted her head slightly as she looked to Cerberus. “He is so awesome.” Her looked drifted to Aaron. “Un is an Obsidian dragon, right?”

Aaron nodded slowly. “Though you can’t just go out and pick one. The ones that are adults are not so easy to obtain. You have to find them as an egg, infant or adolescent. At that point, the real work starts.”

“Oh, fun,” Cerberus mumbled. “So I guess you have to train them and all that good stuff?”

“There are two reasons for someone to have a Dragon. Breeding and Battle. They can’t be used for mounts until you have Mastered your Dragon skill, and that comes in five stages. The second you have obtained a dragon and it attaches to you, you will be prompt that you are about to be marked with the Dragon Acquaintance skill. Once this happens, you’re then asked where you want this mark. For the women its upper thigh or shoulder blade. For the men, it's forearm or bicep. You can pick left or right after you pick the location. The first mark is teal and of course the Acquaintance level. As your skill grows the color and level changes, the next level is Friend, its blue. Then the next level is Comrade and its red. Master is the fourth level and its white, and the fifth and final level is Familiar. The marking then changes altogether and is the color of the dragon with a lighter or darker outline. Once you reach this level your prompt that you are about to be marked with the ‘Noble and High Honor’ of Dragon Familiar, this, of course, being the highest marking from a Dragon. Some call it the Dragon’s Kiss. If you are marked as a Familiar, you have finished all five stages. Once marked with this high honor by the Dragon you're bound to the beast till death.”

“Sounds simple enough,” Cerberus replied confidently as he lifted his glass taking a drink.

Aaron chuckled. “You think so? I have had Un for a little over a year and just leveled up last month to Friendship Status. I have been reading up in the Dragon Lance Forum on the Dragon Control skill, and it only gets harder with each passing level. I dread the Comrade level. There is more training involved with it then there is in training yourself to be a Knight or Warrior.”

Tanya chuckled as she sat up, lifting her drink to take a sip. “I think it would be fun. Definitely a challenge.”

“More like Mission Impossible,” Taomar chimed in with a chuckle. “I don’t have time like that to spend it with training a Dragon.”

Tanya nodded slowly. “It would be hard with the things we might have going in real life but think of the payoff. How many people can say they have a Dragon for a companion.”

“None,” Taomar rebutted with a chuckle. “Because they don’t exist IRL and if they did I doubt they would be as friendly as the ones they have here.”

The four of them shared a laugh then settled as Tanya looked to her little brother. “Any questions?”

He thought for a second as his head started to shake. “I don’t think so but let me get going in this and see what comes up.”

Tanya and the others nodded their heads as they turned to their drinks. “Did you explain the origin of the game to him?”

“What I could remember, yeah. I think I covered the biggest part of it.” Tanya confirmed.

“Why don’t you go over it again,” Cerberus responded. “It was a while ago she told me. Refresh my memory.”

Aaron chuckled nodding his head. “Can do.” Aaron went silent for a second taking the last drink of his beer.

“The title, Dragon Lance, refers to us. We as the players are the protectors of the dragons. We are their lance. With over thirteen known Elemental Dragons in existence--we have been chosen to protect and help the existence of the Dragons flourish. If even one of them goes extinct we have lost an important link within their existence. Though out of fate there is a chance that the lost breed could be reestablished, but it could take hundreds of years before that could take place.”

“How is that?” Cerberus asked.

“With the Divine Dragon. There are only two left in existence and they are as important to the Dragons survival as air is to us to survive. The Divine Dragon is the origin of all dragon kind. All dragons’ powers begin with the Divine Dragon and end with it. The Divine Dragon, like any dragon, can live for thousands of years. It lays one egg every hundred years and one Divine dragon egg is laid every thousand years. The normal eggs hatch within six months, but the Divine egg takes one year to incubate and hatch. However, it cannot be told as of what type of Dragon will be hatched from the egg until the baby dragon is at least one month old. The power of the Divine Dragon is that of all dragons born into existence. Including their own divine power. This power is that of Aether, the raw, untainted energy that is the origin of all dragon powers, also known as Divine Energy. It is said that this was the power that gave birth to the first Divine dragon, which in turn gave birth to all generations of dragons now in existence. A Clan of Spirit Dryads protects the Divine Dragon since there are only two, and they have entrusted the others of this world to be protected by us. In doing so our job is not only to make sure the dragons are safe and go unharmed. We are to hunt and do away with anyone that might do harm to the dragons or go searching for the Divine Dragon.”

“Wow, and what is the name of this world the dragons live in and how big is it?” Cerberus asked.

Aaron shook his head. “It’s epic in size. I don’t think anyone knows how large it really is. As for what the world is called, you are now part of the world known as Tarragonia. There are the four hemispheres, the Northern, Southern, Western, and Eastern. Including the Central region in which you are right now. The Northern hemisphere is that of the mountains, the Southern hemisphere is that of the flatlands and deserts, the Western Hemisphere is that of the forests and hills, and the Eastern hemisphere is that of the seas and oceans. The Central region is a mixture of it all but the seas and oceans.”

“Are there Guilds here?” Cerberus asked.

“Of course there are, but they’re small ones. Nothing to really boast about. I don’t think I have ever seen a large Guild in Tarragonia.” Aaron explained.

“If you asked me I think there needs to be. If each region had a large force ruling over it things might shape up. The Villages are so run down not even the NPCs want to live in them.”

Tanya chuckled. “That’s a bit of a stretch don’t you think, Taomar?”

“No,” Taomar spoke without hesitation. “There are thousands of players in this VR. If we could get even half of them to start pulling together and working on the quality of life around here. Tarragonia would be a beautiful world.”

“That would take, five, ratherlarge Guilds to pull that off,” Aaron replied.

“But it could be done,” Taomar voiced.

“I’d like to start a Guild,” Tanya spoke up as the two looked at her. “What? I would.”

“But nothing that big, right?” Cerberus questioned.

Tanya shrugged. “Who knows. Maybe. Either way, we could be based out of Dawnmeadow and at least help out this village. With building it up maybe others will see, and it will catch on. You never know.” She shrugged again. “All it takes is one person to get the ball rolling.”

“Very true, Tanya.” Aaron smiled at her.

Drinking the rest of his soda Cerberus looked to his sister and Aaron. “Well, I am ready to head out as soon as you two are.”

Tanya and Aaron nodded standing from the table, Cerberus joining them. Bidding Taomar goodbye after paying for their drinks, the three of them headed out to do a little leveling up.

---

One and a Half Years Later

It had been two years since Ashley had started playing Dragon Lance, and so much had happened since she started, and it all started a year and a half ago when her little brother, Jeffery, finally got his headgear to play VR games and it just so happened he wanted to start off with playing Dragon Lance with her.

She remembers it like it was yesterday…

It all started with setting her brother up in the game and teaching him the ropes, from there things only progressed and the best part, it was all for the better. Not just on her part but for everyone that got involved…

Stumbling as she entered the Conference Hall of their newly refurbished castle, Tanya looked down to see a small black dragon dart under her feet. “Musashi,” she scolded the year-old dragon as he jumped to the top of the large meeting table of the Knights.

She chuckled softly walking over to him, dipping her hand into a small leather pouch on her hip. The small dragon turned in circles in excitement then stopped suddenly when her hand withdrew from the pouch. Her hand was balled in a loose fist.

Tanya chuckled softly as Musashi’s head tilted to one side and he looked at her hand then started nosing it with his muzzle. Opening her hand slowly, a small shimmering cube sat in the palm--a sugar cube.

“Gentle now,” Tanya told him as she lowered her hand more, so he could lap it up.

“You’re going to spoil that dragon, Lady Tanya.”

In hearing her being addressed she turned to see Aaron walk in with two other Knights. Second Knight, Sir Crelan. He was the Judge of Dawnmeadow Village. He had dark brown hair and slate gray eyes. His hair neatly slicked back and was wearing a proud and stoic expression. The other was Third Knight, Lady Zirathie. She was a tall woman with long, thick strawberry blonde hair that bordered on a pinkish red and she had hazel eyes. She was a curvaceous woman, though a bit of a flirt. She was from Silkfall Village, another of their proclaimed villages that rested within their jurisdiction of Whitehaven. They were two of the seven Knights that belonged to their Guild, Knights of the Mystic Dragon. The very Guild she talked about over a year and a half ago with Aaron, Cerberus, and Taomar.

“You know he is right, Lady Tanya. He will be the first dragon known to be a pampered pooch,” Lady Zirathie added.

“Vice Master Aaron always tells me I am going to spoil Musashi.” She looked from Lady Zirathie to Aaron.

“I think Vice Master Aaron is just jealous, Lady Tanya.” Sir Crelan chuckled as he elbowed their Head Knight. “Isn’t that right, Vice Master?”

Aaron flushed slightly as he combed his fingers through his hair, quickly he changed the subject. “Are you ready to go, Lady Tanya? The men have our horses readied and we can leave at any time.”

Tanya nodded. “Yes, we need to be on our way. The ride to the South is long and hard.” She then turned and looked to Musashi once more stroking under his muzzle as she leaned over him and kissed the top of his head.

“You be a good boy for Cerberus. I don’t want to come back and see he has changed you into a toad.”

Lady Zirathie and Sir Crelan chuckled lightly as they shook their heads. Quickly Musashi jumped down off the table and scurried across the floor and out the doors of the Conference Hall.

“I guess he is off to find Cerberus.” Arron chuckled looking to Tanya as she stepped toward him. “You are going to have to stop bringing him into the castle, my Lady. He is going to think he belongs in here, and when he gets bigger he is going to destroy the castle with trying to get in.”

“He is still a baby, Vice Master Aaron. I am sure he will learn when he gets too big to get in the door,” Tanya said defending Musashi.

“Dear Lord, let’s hope so,” Aaron replied as he and Tanya turned and walked toward the doors to leave. Lady Zirathie and Sir Crelan falling in behind them as they followed.

Exiting the castle moments later, a few of Aaron’s men, along with half of Sir Crelan’s troop, waited for their appearance. Tanya stopped and looked at Aaron. “Vice Master, don’t you think this is a little much just for a treaty signing?”

Aaron’s head shook. “If you remember when we went to the North to sign the treaty with them, we were attacked.”

“And we faired just fine with the men we had with us,” Tanya reminded him.

“Only because of the swords Aaron had forged from Musashi’s parents,” Sir Crelan rebutted.

Tanya nodded as she listened to Sir Crelan speak. It was a sad thought about Musashi’s parents, but their bodies were indeed used to forge the very swords they fight with. To protect themselves, the dragons and the people of Tarragonia. It could even be said that the Mystic Dragon leads them in their endeavors to make their world a better place.

“Not to mention the Southern terrain is much riskier than the Northern, my Lady. We are out in the open with no cover as we move further South.” Sir Crelan finished.

“Lady Tanya.” Lady Zirathie bowed to her, her arm crossed over her chest. “You gave us this position because we are the best of your men and women. You trust our judgment. So please, trust our judgment now. This is not a waste of manpower.”

Tanya looked to her with a sigh as she nodded her head slowly. “I do trust you. All of you. I just don’t want to overwork the troops. Everyone has been working so hard at rebuilding or just building our Provenance.”

Hearing the men in the troop voicing their opinion on the matter, she turned to them. We are fine. Don’t worry, my Lady, and We are well rested. Were a few of the comment she had heard come from them.

Tanya nodded her head as she turned back to Aaron. “I guess we should be on our way then.”

She turned back to the troop looking to the men and women as she crossed her right arm over her chest, her hand balled into a fist at her left shoulder.

“Then on our journey, May the Strength, and Wisdom of the Mystic Dragon be with us.”

A loud resounding “HOORRAAH!” was heard from the troop throughout the courtyard. Tanya smiled brightly and mounted her horse as she and the others road off to the South to treaty with them as they did the North.

Things were moving along great within their VR world. They had come such a long way in just the last two years she had started playing. She could not wait to see how far another year and a half would take them.

anime

About the author

Christine 'Kitabug' Cates

I am a writer, or well, I would like to think I am. I have enjoyed writing since I was very young. I guess you could say since I picked up a pencil. I have had many good comments on my stories, so I hope you enjoy them as others have.

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