Written By: Lambert of Siege Perilous
NOTE FROM AUTHOR: This story is fiction! Neither the in-game parts nor the real life parts of it happened exactly that way. Exaggeration is an author's legitimate tool! Please, never forget that when reading the story, especially the more advanced chapters. This story starts in 1999, a month before Siege Perilous was born. What it has to do with Siege will be visible in the second chapter. Today the story starts on another shard - but not for long. And if you read the in-game parts please pay attention to the fact that the story plays in the UO we had in 1999. This was _very_ different to what we have today. And please accept that Eglish is not my first language. So some parts might be written in a somewhat poor English. Some grammatical errors might occur. Simply ignore them. I am not perfect. :-)
CHAPTER ONE: LAMBERT IN BRITANNIA
"Hello! If you are looking for a computer game you are in the perfect place right here. We have everything the market offers. What kind of game are you interested in?" The vendor was very kind. As Horst Schweigert currently was the only customer in the shop, the vendor could concentrate on him. Yards of shelves were filled with totally different computer games, one more colorful than another. Horst could not imagine that somebody could ever have an oversight about that.
"I didn’t have anything specific. But everybody talks about these online games now. As I am working the whole day on my PC in the office this seems to be an experience I should check out. I simply want to know what everybody is talking about."
"Well, are you a roleplayer, or do you prefer realtime strategy games or 3D shooters?" The vendor really seemed to know what he was talking about. "Hmm, can you ask me something easier?" Looking at his face must have made the vendor believe that Horst must be a complete idiot.
"Look, in realtime strategy games you have to build up something and then kill your opponent with the units you created. At the moment Micrososft’s Age of Empires is leading this market."
"Isn’t that a bit too much brutality?" Horst wanted to know.
"Oh, if you already think this could be too brutal then we should not mention the 3D shooters. I would recommend this game here. You will have a character in a fictious world of fantasy. You decide for a profession, trade with other players and hunt monsters. But the most important fact: You do not play alone against the computer. Instead you will be playing together with thousands of other players and even more non player characters in a vital and exciting world." Horst recognised that the vendor was really enthusiatic when he talked about that game.
"Ultima Online. It has an attractive showcase. If the game is what the package promises . . ." Horst was very interested in what he saw and heard.
"It is the special edition and it will only cost twenty Deutsch Marks. Included in it is the fee for the first month. Of course there will be the additional costs for the internet and usage of the telephone line. But I think you already know that, if you are interested in an online game."
Yes Horst knew that very well. He had heard real horror stories from others. Telephone bills about several hundreds of Deutsch Marks per month only caused by playing a game. Players became addicted to the game. But that would not happen to Horst. Horst is cool, always being able to control himself. He was a nonsmoker, not drinking too much alcohol. Becoming addicted is something for other people, not for him.
"Please follow me to this computer." The vendor started a program and Horst saw an impressive animation on the screen, telling him the story of the creatiion of a world named Sosaria, in which he will play now. The text was spoken very mystical and the background music had some additional impact on him.
"And this is the world you are born, in which you will live and die."
The words of that intro still were in his ears. "OK, with only some 20 German Marks I cannot make a big mistake, I think. If it is not a good game I return next week and buy something else."
"Oh, I am sure you will love it. I myself play this game every day. If you need some assistance in the beginning, then decide for the shard ‘Drachenfels’ and you will find me every night at 9pm at Britain East Bank. Mein name in the game is ‘Slaughterer’."
"I am not sure if I really will find that bank. But thank you very much for this offer. Maybe I use it faster than you think." Horst payed and already awaited eagerly to test his new achievement.
After the game was installed, Horst started his internet connection and the game started. In the beginning Horst saw the animation he already saw in the shop that introduced the game. In that animation somebody explained that there once was a sorcerer named Mondain who ruled this world with a magic emerald and tried to destroy it. He learned about a hero named Avatar. Nobody knew where he came from. Avatar saved this world named Sosaria by killing Mondain and breaking the emerald into 1000 shards. Now each shard was an precise copy of Sosaria and these worlds in these shards were named Brittannia.
In the reality each of these shards represented a group of servers needed to play the game. These shards had phantasy names like Catskills, Drachenfels and Chesapeake or simply marked the place they were build as with ‘Atlantic’, ‘Europa’ or ‘Great Lakes’. Thousands of players log in to such a server simoultanously and play with each other or against each other.
The next step was to decide for one of these shards. This decision was very easy as he did not want to dispense with the help of the vendor. So he chosed Drachenfels as most of the German players did.
Now he had to decide for a name for his character. He did not really know what the inspiration was, but he typed in ‘Lambert’. This sounded as if it would belong to such a world. It was a world with many english words and that name had an english sound.
Deciding for a profession was a bit more difficult. But then he voted for a tamer and so Lambert started as a tamer at Magincia, one of the many cities all over Brittannia. This was a random selection.
"Hail thee!" The character in front of Horst was really frightening. His formidable mask and leather armour gave him a strange look.
"Hail!" Horst replied. He already had read that the old english language was used in that virtual world. Even if he did not know more old english words than this one, he was willing to follow these rules. "You are new in this game, aren’t you?" Horst was happy that the other continued in german. At least no language problem.
"Yes, I live here since 20 seconds, hehe", Horst replied.
"I know what you feel. Everything is a bit strange in the beginning. Wait here!" The other steps towards a goat, fought a while against it, fetched some meat and leather out of it and crafted some shoes from the leather. "Look. That is the way it works here."
Naturally, Horst was willing to do the same. In the guide he had read, that a newborn character should start with some easy tasks. The only animal he saw around was a llama. So he attacked it. After a moment the screen turned black and white.
"Rofl", the other player laughed about him. What now? Obviously Lambert was dead. Was this already the end of the game? Already lost the 20 Deutsch Marks? Seemed not as he still could walk around as a ghost. In the guide they wrote that one should look for a healer. It took some time until Lambert found the healer in Magincia in that unknown country. But the healer brought him back to life.
But how to continue? Horst decided to ask somebody. He clicked on a character and saw the name: Brad. Horst lead Lambert in front of Brad and said "Hail Brad".
"I am very sorry friend but I don’t understand thee.", Brad answered.
"Brad, can you please help me?"
"Excuse me but what art thou saying?" Again these old english phrases. Somebody who knows that should be able to understand english otherwise he would not be able to answer that fast in perfect old english. But why can’t this player understand Lambert? Lambert’s english cannot be that poor!
But then Horst recognised that this wasn’t another player but a NPC, a non player character. This is a character the computer plays. From that character you cannot expect much conversation. So Lambert scouted through the island that Magincia is build on. He saw beautyful buildings. Some ordinary like a bakery, a provisoner or an inn. But he also found a shop with magic items, an alchemist and a weapon vendor. Then there was a landing stage, a beautyful, sandy beach and a tropical forest with many animals. This town already was huge. But Horst knew that this was only a small part of the gigantic country. Horst had read that one needs more than an hour to walk from one end to the other. It would take weeks until he would have explored it all. But he also knew that not everything in this country would be as peaceful as this town.
During the evening Horst made many new experiences until he finaly steped into a public moongate some minutes before 9 pm. Such a moongate is the public transport system in Brittannia. You step into such a gate and then you find yourself in a different part of the world depending on the current location of the moons. After some tries he reached Britain, the capital of Brittannia and a bit later he found the East Bank in that huge town.
Slaughterer already stood right next to the bank offering some goods to other players. "Hello Slaughterer! I am the client who bought Ultima Online in your shop today!"
"Great fellow! And what is your opinion about this game?" Now he spoke much more intimate to him compared to the shop. What a game can change in the behaviour of people. It brings them much closer together.
"Real exciting. But you can die very fast here." Horst still thought how easy he died against a llama.
"That’s right and it will not change for a while. You need to increase your STATs and train your SKILLs and then this world will look totally different."
He could have told Horst something about the universe and he would not have understood less. Slaughterer must have noticed the big question mark in Horst’s face through the game, so he continued: "What starting values did you chose when you created your character?" Horst told him that he decided for the tamer template and explained the settings that went along with it.
"Oh yes, a typical mistake for a newbie!", Slaughterer said and explained Horst the key topics he would have to pay attention to when creating a new character. But then he stopped and meant that Horst should better train with the existing character and eventually he could create a new one later. Slaughterer handed a set of armour to Lambert and both went into Slaughterers house. Now Horst told him to spank him with a club. Horst hesitated as Slaughterer had no weapon to defend himself and then there was his natural resistance to hurt somebody else and be it in a game.
But Slaughterer meant that Horst should not care about that. Again and again Horst beated with his club on Slaughterer while he defended himself with his wrestling abilities without taking severe damage from Horst’s club. Lambert of course sometimes was near death, but Slaughterer healt him again and again with magic spells. The effect was that Lambert’s skills raised very quick, especially strength and mace fighting. Aber some time Slaughterer said that Lambert now will be a bit better prepared to explore this world and they both should go into the near forest.
In the forest east of Britain Lambert hunted some animals Slaughterer declared as possible targets: eagles, wolfs, goats and a bit later brown bears. All the time Slaughterer healed him with magery.
Then they continued exploring this interesting world. They already walked very long when Slaughterer stopped: "Hey Lambert, do you notice something?"
Horst looked around, being prepared to see a new monster coming along. But he saw nothing.
"Lambert, have a look at your radar map!" Horst looked on the small map that showed the surroundings and noticed that the clearance around was formed as a heart.
"This is the heart of Sosaria", Slaughterer explained.
Whereever they walked to, there was always something new to explore and Slaughterer explained every detail. When Lambert once again had killed a bear, it was a grizzly this time, and then grabbed the meat and leather from it, Slaughterer explained that it would be necessary to loot much faster to be successful in this world.
"What do you mean with ‘looting’?", Horst wanted to know.
"Loot is what you find in your victims. Meat in animals, gold in monsters and nearly everything in other players, hehe. And if you are not fast enough then someone else will come and get it all. So train to loot fast!"
Then Slaughterer explained Lambert that a tamer should not kill animals but tame them instead. At the moment Lambert would only be able to tame rabbits, cats, dogs, sheep and goats. But soon he will become more expirienced and eventually he once will be able to tame a dragon, the most powerful creature in this world. But for now he should tame wolves and feed them the other animal’s meat. When Lambert had a team of 3 wolves he sent them to attack an Ettin, a big monster with two heads. It was frightening and without his pets he would never had attacked it. The Ettin only fought against the wolves and so Lambert wasn’t hit when he also started to beat on the Ettin. After a while he had killed his first monster. Lambert was very proud.
"Thank you, Slaughterer, I bet I never would have tried that without your many hints. You helped a lot and now I feel I should try it alone."
"Sure. But pay attention to red players!" Slaughterer warned him.
"Why are they red?" Lambert wanted to know.
"Our beloved Lord British signed some laws. Those who get in coflict with such a law turn grey for two minutes. Those who kill five or more other players turn red. Grey and red players are attackable and murdered – if you are able to do that. But expect that these players know how to defend themselves. Those players who saw everything in this game, killed every single type of monster and explored each dungeon often only have one more challenge: other players. They are called PKs, player killers. They hunt you to get your belongings, but it also gives them the extra kick. You will notice that when you fight against other players. You become nervous, react totally irrational, become wet hands and independend of win or loss you will have to pee afterwards. So run if you see reds and do not be involved when you see greys."
"Ok, let’s hope that they will spare me. I have nothing they could be interested in." It was more hope than belief that Slaughterer heard in these words.
"Well, in the guarded zone, mainly in the towns, you will be safe. When a player or monster attacks you then run into a town and guards will whack it. That will be fast as lightning. Nobody can survive the hit of a guard."
"I really hope that I always will manage to reach a town in time". Horst feared about Lambert’s health.
"Lambert, take this. These are greater heal potions. A product made by alchemists in Brittannia. If you are close to death, disarm your shield and drink one of these yellow potions. This will keep you alife for some time, possibly long enough to reach the next town. I think these hints will help you to stay alive in these lands."
"OK, thank you very much. Hope to see you again soon!"
"Good luck, Lambert, CU!"
"What does CU mean?"
"Simply speak it: see you – People are lazy when typing and so they founded many abbreviations! You will learn them soon!"
With all these informative details and with an equipment that was extraordinary good for a new born character, Lambert returned into the forest. He tamed some more animals and killed others to feed them. Then he finished his first day in a mystic country, born from a programmer’s and designer’s phantasy. Horst had to confess that this game attracts him much more than he had admitted before. In the night he even dreamed of this game.
Tanya was Horst’s big love since he was 17. Even if their relationship changed a bit over time, they were a couple since years and everybody around thought that they would marry soon. They planned to have an apartment together. Resulting from her job in the university hospital in Aachen she often had night shifts, that made meetings impossible for days. Each time Horst yearned for her. For this Saturday, warm and sunny weather was announced, they both had agreed to drive to a lake. He would be able to spend the whole day with her, something he awaited eagerly the whole week through.
As usually he had turned on his PC and entered the game. That’s what he did in every singly minute he could spend since he had bought Ultima Online. This morning it was really hard to get away from that game and so he was a bit late when he arrived at Tanya.
"Oh oh! Mister Perfect is 23 minutes too late!" Impossible to ignore the tongue-in-cheek. Before Horst always complained about Tanya’s behaviour to be too late.
"Excuse me, but the red-green-coalition (coalition of the two German political parties SPD (the Social Democratic Party) and Bündnis 90/Die Grünen ("the Greens")) convert the whole city of Aachen into a single pedestrian area. This excuse was according to the current temper of many inhabitants of Aachen especially of the opposition in the city council and therefore it had a believeable effect, especially on a Saturday when everybody wanted to get into the city for shopping.
"No problem, darling. If I am late next time you simply have to shut your mouth!"
"OK! OK!", he would survive that too. It would not be the first time.
"OK, I have everything: Swimming things, something for a small picnic, a chess game. Do we need anything else?" Like always Tanya was the perfect organiser.
"No! What lake did you want to drive to? To Düren?" Horst let her decide. Anyways it would happen only what she wants. So he could skip a long discussion.
"On a saturday Düren is too much crowded. Let us go to the small lake on the left side before we reach Düren.
Was it ‘Echz’?"
The ride was fast and as they arrived early enough they found a good parking lot and a quite place on a meadow between some bushes where they could rest apart from the children playing ball.
Tanya spreaded the blankets. When they lay down Horst looked deep into Tanya’s eyes when she said: "Do you know that this is the first time since 4 weeks that we can meet the whole day? I really hate that we often can only meet that short!"
Horst kissed her signaling her that she is right. He looked at her, fascinated as she slowly peeled off of her clothes under which she had a small bikini. She was the prettiest girl he knew and more important: This was his girl. Years ago they were the first sex partners for each other and the only ones since today. Horst really loved moments like this. Could someone imagine something better than lying so close to such a beautiful girl in the sun at a beach?
Tanya turned around on her belly and opened her bikini top, so that her back would not get stripes. "Can you please cream my back, honey?"
He massaged the sun lotion in a luxurious way. Neck, back, legs. He enjoyed it as much as she did. "You also were very busy during the past weeks!" Tanya insisted.
"I am working hard at my PC. You know, I hope to get a better position and work hard at home on my computer."
He thought that he had found a wording that was not a liar while not revealing too much. He still had a bad conscience that he was not able to get away from his PC this morning. A computer game nearly was able to prevent him from making this real experience? That feeling he had this morning was as unreal for him now as Brittannia itself was.
Tanya suddenly turned around and her bikini top remained on the towel. She now crossed her arms behind her head. Apparently this was not a mistake. She planned to keep that position.
"Can you put sun lotion on this side as well?", she asked him.
"Tanya! What if somebody comes along and sees us?" Horst noticed his jealousy. Nobody should see what was destined for his eyes only.
But Tanya let not mislead her. "Horst. Please stop being that prude. I am not the only girl being topless here. Nobody will complain. Start putting some lotion on me."
As much as he enjoyed to put the lotion on her velvet breasts, so much he still felt his jealousy growing. He carefully looked around but there was no face he knew. The people here do not know him and vice versa. So he calmed down again. When he put some lotion on her femorals she whispered: "That titillates very nice!" Horst loved that day!
Tanya snoozed in the sun and Horst looked at her. He was unable to take his eyes away from her beautiful body. This was better than a computer game ever could be. In Ultima Online there also were males and females. There even were marriages between player characters, arranged complex with the games’s means. But reality was better than a computer game. He had to laugh when he started to think about that all female chars in Ultima Online must be virgins. There was no sex in the game. And if a female char stripped then at least her slip and bra remained at her body. Americans are somehow prude, not tolerating the smallest indication of sex in such a game. It looks as if otherwise such games would be forbidden immediately. Even obscene words like ‘ass’, ‘[censored]’ and ‘tits’ were replaced by different characters. This also happened if they are a part of a longer word as in ‘[email protected]$$word’. Seemed that Americans had a maximum of reservation with such things and abusing other player was bannable. On the other side they had no problem with blood squirting over the screen. Horst thought that this was a strange moral.
Tanya and Horst played chess when it became a bit louder behind them. Tanya looked up and so Horst turned around to see what was happening there. Three of his friends stood next to him. He wished to sink into the ground as he felt shame because his Tanya still was topless.
"Hello!" Horst’s voice nearly failed.
"Hey, you old philanderer. Don’t you want to introduce the girl to us?" As always Rudolf was the spokesman. This was the clique Horst formerly belonged to – before he started to spend much time in Ultima Online.
"Tanya, these are Rudolf, Martin and Ernst, who I know from university. This is Tanya, my", he hesitated a moment, thinking about what word would be the best word, "my girl friend."
The three stepped to Tanya and shaked her hand one after another. Rudolf even got at a handkiss. Of course this was a chance these three wouldn’t want to miss: looking at Tanya that close. Horst turned red but for Tanya this seemed to be quite normal. She did not seem to be embarassed. Horst thought that Tanyas job as a nurse in the hospital resulted in having no problem showing her body. Possibly he himself simply was unusually uptight. In fact he had no real reason to hide her and should be proud that this was his girl friend.
"OK, then we want to keep you alone. You don’t want to be disturbed, do you?"
Horst was happy that they left. Nothing could have destroyed the day more than having these guys around longer.
When they were alone again Tanya asked him: "You hesitated when you introduced me to your friends. It seemed as if you did not know how to refer to me?" Tanya noticed that and obviously she thought this was mentionable.
"Yes, the words ‘girl friend’ sound to childish, so inadequate for our long relationship, but I had no better idea. Is that really the right name for our relationship after all these years?", Horst wanted to know.
"Well this only depends on you. You never formally proposed me.", she replied.
Horst hesitated. Suddenly he was in a situation he never before thought of. Certainly he would marry her immediately. But how to find the right words? So he stuttered: "Would you really want to marry me?"
"Oh, Horst, I always hoped you would ask a bit more romantic. I think you should train that a bit longer and then ask again!"
Horst could have slapped himself in the face that he had bungled this unique situation. He though about getting on his knees and formally begging her to become his wife. But normally someone gets on his knees to become smaller, to express humility towards the adored. But she was lying on a towel. If he begs on his knees he would grow beyond her. This was all so disastrous that he discarded the idea. He decided to try it again in the future much more skillfully. From this situation he took the sureness that if he only manages to ask her in the right way, she would say yes.
They snoozed the whole day in the sun and only went into the lake for a short time as the water still was very fresh. When they packed their things he asked Tanya: "Will we go to my appartment?"
"No, Horst. I would love to do that but this is impossible. I have the night shift and have to go to work soon."
Horst hated that hospital as many people in Aachen hated this ugly bunker. He only had some other reasons than everybody else.
Some days later, Slaughterer took Lambert to the dungeon Wrong.
"What is Wrong?", Lambert wanted to know.
"Wrong is a dungeon!", Slaughterer answered.
"Thank you. Now I know everything!" Horst hated if someone explained one unknown word by using another one.
"A dungeon is a cave with monsters inside. So many strong monsters that you would die immediately if you enter it alone. But with me you may not fear."
Already their ride to the dungeon was very dangerous and they nearly died. Suddenly several red characters appeared on their screen. Against this superiority they would have been powerless. Slaughterer might have been an excellent player but nobody could survive in such a situation. Horst planned to let his character Lambert escape but Slaughterer made no tries to escape. Instead he only said "An Jux In Ex". Horst already knew such words. These were magic words. But while all other magic words are accompanied by lightnings, fireballs or explosions this time nothing happened. But as soon as the reds appeared, they left again without attacking them.
When Horst looked on stratics later he was unable to find this sentence. Was this an undocumented spell calming down all PKs?
"What a strange spell was this?", he wanted to satisfy his curiosity.
"It would be the best for you if you simply forget this. It was not intended for your eyes or ears.
Slaughterers answer had nothing to do with the helping nature he showed before. "Lambert, never use that sentence, it would be of disadvantage for you and me."
In the dungeon they found many monsters. There were Ettins, giants with two heads, poisoning giant snakes, rats, lizardmen, trolls and much more.
In fact only Slaughterer really fought here. Lambert still was much too weak and once he died. He was very surprised that Slaughterer was able to ressurect him. He did not know that Slaughterer was such a healer. If someone had such abilities he must be an excellent player.
For the rest the dungeon was really frightening. What a luck that this was only fiction and that there were no dungeons in real life.
Horst sat in his office and did his monotonous work as his phone ringed. It was Tanya: "Hello Darling! I can take a day in lieu of overhours. What do you think of taking a day off as well and accompaning me shopping a bit in the city?"
Only some days ago he would have been happy to hear that she would want to meet him. But today that sounded not very enticing. He had a date with Slaughterer and he had given Horst the hint that today would be a very special day Lambert shouldn’t miss.
"Oh, Tanya, how glad I would be to do that, but so much work has to be done. It would have bad consequences if I would desert now from my work." He knew that she would accept this excuse. And Tanyas hospital already was a common reason why they were unable to meet in the past.
"Very bad, but I understand that. Then I go to the cinema with Marion. Her boy friend is on a business trip and so we are comrates in kismet.
Horst was happy that he got rid of her that easily. The game attracted him magically. He was unable to await leisure time, hurried home and turned on his PC.
The event, Slaughterer had announced, was the return of a good friend of Slaughterer. Slaughterer’s guild, a group that belonged together in this game, met in a large house. All characters were grouped around a large table, decorated with plates and cutlery. Everybody received a bottle of beer and something to eat. Horst never knew that the game really had these items.
"A warm welcome to Maniac, our guildmaster. His return is the reason that we all meet today!" When Slaughterer was a bit less involved later, Lambert asked him:
"Why was Maniac away for so long?"
"He had some problems with German Telecom!", Slaughterer answered.
"No, he simply was unable to pay his telefone bills. So they turned off his line."
"Oh! And now he payed all?"
"Of course not! He simply has a new line using a friend’s name."
Horst thought that this would not be a friend for long if he again would be unable to pay the bills. But he said nothing.
He maundered through the area as he suddenly noticed an enemy. Of course his first thought was to flee. He ran into the close forest but his chaser kept close behind him. He ran deeper and deeper into the forest. The first arrow hit him in his back. He was severely wounded. Still running he tried to use a bandage to heal his wound. The next arrow missed his target. He knew that behind that forest was a cemetary and behind the cemetary was the town where he would be safe. Also the third arrow missed his target. He started to hope. He already was able to see the cemetary behind the bushes. Suddenly he ensnarted in a bush and his chaser came nearer. His bandage healed his wounds a bit but he did not survive the fourth arrow. There he lay dead in the dust. The chaser looted all his belongings and then disappered as fast as he appeared before.
Lambert had died again. Sure, Lambert only was a game character in a virtual world but Horst had a pulse of 200. It was as if someone attacked him personally and not his character. His reaction was blindfolded. He still had the greater heal potion Slaughterer once gave him, but he did not use it. That was pure nervousness. He was hopping mad. This potion would have enabled him to reach the town. Now his murderer had it.
Like aswoon Horst hang in his chair and stared into the monitor. Only slowly he became able to concentrate again. The program asked him if he would be willing to pay a bounty on the head of his murderer. He gave 2000 goldcoins from his savings in the bank. The bountys are published ingame on special boards and he hoped that a high bounty will turn his murderer’s life into hell.
Then he sent his Lambert to the healer. It was not that bad to die in this game and it was not the first time Lambert died. But this time it hurt him more than dying against monsters.
This was one of these player killers (pk) getting a kick from killing other players. Yes, Slaughterer was right. Horst had wet hands and went to pee.
Before Horst had bought Ultima Online he payed attention to every single minute he was online as he had to pay for it. Not only that the time he spent online grew significantly, he also let the computer run all night sometimes and resulting from that his character learned more and more. He started some macros and so his character repeated to do the same again and again. That unattended macroing was strictly forbidden and those who were caught were banned from the game. But the risk seemed to be small compared to the temptation of having a perfekt skill the next day.
During the next weeks Horst’s character Lambert met his teacher Slaughterer again and again and his tamer became better and better due to Slaughterer’s hints. Lambert owned his own horse that he tamed himself. His only fear were other players who might try to kill him. Not that it was that bad to die. You only lose some belongings and can easily reequip. But it always hurts the player a lot. Horst then always was close to forget that this was only a game.
How much Lambert already was adicted to this game he did not really notice. So he played day after day and lived to see wonderful adventures in a mystic land. He found new friends in that game and together with them he crossed the forests and they killed bad monsters. They received gold that they shared. Brittannia was a harmonic world if only these murderers, the PKs would leave. But fortunately that did not happen too often. Especially when travelling in groups they were relatively secure.
The next telephone bill revealed a result Horst had to bargain for. But when he saw it black on white in front of him, he was somewhat shocked. Nearly 600 Deutsch Marks the German Telecom wanted from him. Of course he knew that online time would cost some money. But this only were some cents per minute. But 8 hours a day, much more at weekends summed up terrible. He already had read that online costs brought people to bankruptcy. He remembered what he heard about Maniac, Slaughterer’s friend. Now he felt that at his own body. That was an ammount that really hurt him. That was not part of his financial plan. His girl friend Tanya would be aghast if she would know how much he spent for that game. She saved every nickel for their dream to have an appartment together soon. This game would not help him to reach this target which was so very important for him in the past. But Horst did not consider to stop playing Ultima Online. He already was too adicted and wanted to be as perfect as the Avatar. But he decided to search for a company offering a flatrate without additional costs for being online. He hoped that this would safe a lot of money for him in the future.
CHAPTER 2: I SHALL DEFEND THE VIRTUES
Once again Lambert met his rolemodel Slaughterer at the east bank in Britain, where he always offered his goods. Often Horst had asked himself where Slaughterer always got these wonderful goods from. He assumed that Slaughterer might hunt bigger and stronger monsters with such items.
"Hail thee", Slaughterer greeted him as usual, "in the future we will not meet that often. I’m going to move to a different shard. By tomorrow there will be a new shard named Siege Perilous. The world on Siege will look the same as on Drachenfels, but only the best players will play there and everyone starts from the scratch. There are no houses and, compared to other shards, it will be more difficult there. Sorry, but I shall not be able to help you in the future like I did in the past. But I think you do not need my help any longer as you became very familiar with this world."
"Sure, as long as no PKs come along.", Lambert replied.
"After having played this game for a while you will realise that these PKs are a part of it. And it would be boring without them. Who really wants to hunt monsters every day?"
Horst did not share this opinion. For him, PKs only were players who try to ruin other player’s fun. And as a symbol they stole what their victims worked hard for.
"Should I also move to Siege Perilous?" Horst started to be interested as Slaughterers fascination jumped over to him.
"That shard has much harder rules. That is a special challenge for veterans. Nothing for a wimp. There will be real action. And there’ll be a big emphasis on the fight of players against other players, called pvp. You already dislike PKs on Drachenfels. Siege would not be the best choice for you!
Horst was a bit piquet. Nobody loves being called a wimp. Incited by Slaughterers backbiting Horst decided to move to Siege without informing Slaughterer. Possibly he would show up as soon as he succeeded with something impressive and Slaughterer then would have to accept that he was wrong.
"Fare thee well", they discarded from each other, "and stay alive!"
The whole night Lambert thought about the starting values for his new character on Siege Perilous. He studied several websites with hints about Ultima Online like 'uo.stratics.com' and he read all available forums. While he had thought that he would learned a lot during his first weeks in Ultima Online, he now recognised that he still was at the very beginning and that he still would have to learn a lot in the future.
At first Horst wanted to make a mage, as magery impressed him most. Mages seemed to be the strongest characters in the game and all real good PKs were mages. But after a long analysis he decided to train Lambert as a swordsman because on a new shard with higher prices for reagents he would never be able to get the reagents to train a mage. He even did not know where to get those 8th circle scrolls from if there were no scribes. But a swordsman would be profitable from the first day on. That sounded attractive. He also knew that the swordsman had the fastest weapon in the game, and that this could be poisoned and with hitting that often a mage could be disturbed. The longer he thought about it the more Horst thought that a swordsman would be the hero he wanted to create.
Of course Lambert wanted to become a better player than Slaughterer to show him how fast he could learn. This increased his ambitions. On Friday afternoon he verified every minute if the shard was available and so he was one of the first players logging in. This time he wanted to concentrate all his experiences into this new character. He decided for maximum strength and the skills swordsmanship and healing. A single point in parrying would give him a shield. So he started at Moonglow and walked out of the town into the wilderness. He had no fear that other players might attack him as everyone started from the scratch. As nobody had a competitive character they had to fight together against simple snakes. So Lambert found new friends in this new world where he knew nobody when he started. His new friends talked to each other about the glorious lords they had on other shards while running away from an aggressive rabbit the very next moment. They all were at their very beginning.
"Hail thee Lambert, u from Catskills?" Horst knew that Catskills was another shard and it looked as if there also was a character named ‚Lambert’.
"No, sorry, I am from Drachenfels", Horst answered.
The other player explained Horst that on Catskills a char named Lambert was one of best bounty hunters, killing those red players who kill innocents. Each time Lambert died on Drachenfels Horst’s anger had grown a bit. Now he heard by chance that there was a rolemodel on Catskills with the same name. From this moment Horst knew that he would play the role of a bounty hunter on this shard. Justice only can win if someone will fight for it. Aloud he said: "I shall defend the virtues!"
CHAPTER 3: REAL LIFE DISTURBS GAMEPLAY
That weekend Horst played continously and did not sleep much. He fought against infinite numbers of wild animals and low end monsters to increase his skills. The skill Anatomy supported his ability to heal himself and to hit the opponent harder. Healing already allowed him to heal his wounds and soon he would be able to cure poison with it. Hiding was indespensable in a land with so many dangers. Swordsmanship was Lambert’s weapon skill and for training, Lambert had chosen the fastest weapon: the katana. So his second hand still was available for a shield to protect himself from the monster’s attacks. His knowledge about Tactics would grow over time and increase the damage his weapon dealt. With every single fight against an animal, a monster or even a player his skills would grow until he became the perfect fighter.
All Horst ate the entire weekend were two slices of bread and a can of sausages. Unfortunately he did not have much more in his inventory stocks. But his character was fed very well, as he believed that his skills would grow better if his Lambert ate to his fill. So he only slept a little bit and soon he thought that his character was more developed than most others on this shard. He felt proud thinking that soon he would compete against the best characters from all shards. When he went to bed at Monday morning 4am, it still was difficult for him to find an end, so much he was addicted to this new shard.
When he arrived at work on Monday morning he definitely was not well rested. The whole day he thought about his online adventures. What should Lambert do tonight? How could he train him faster. It was obvious to everybody that Horst was not very concentrated at work. Was he too tired or too distracted? Horst used the advantages of the flexible time program his employer had and hurried home as soon as possible. Everybody in the office sympathised with him, as Horst really must have looked bad and bleary-eyed.
Home again Horst turned on his PC again. He met his new ingame friends and they made a trip to the swamps near Trinsic to hunt lizardmen. This made skills grow fast and they were able to heal each other easily what was much more effient than healing oneself. Lambert’s companion was Sir_Avatar and he soon recognised that he also was a German player. He lived in Cologne, only some 60 km away from Horst. Sir_Avatar said that he was a great player on Drachenfels. He had a PK there. He claimed that his PK was one of these old school chars who never killed newborn chars, but this still was a shock for Horst. But Sir_Avatar declared that on this shard he would be a good aligned player, a hero hunting murderers. His rolemodel was the Avatar and like the Avatar once rescued Sosaria from destruction by Mondain, so Sir_Avatar wanted to rescue Brittannia from PKs. He only created a character on Siege Perilous because he expected to have much more pvp here than on Drachenfels.
Mentionable was that Horst was very tired during the whole day but he managed to play concentrated until 3am. While his new american friends only had early evening, he had to force himself to find an end. After all he would have to be at work the next morning.
"Mister Schweigert, do you have serious problems?" Horst’s boss left the mark that he was really anxious.
"No, I am only too tired. I suffered from insomnia the last few nights."
"Yes, I see that. You should peg out tonight. Take a hot bath and then go to bed. This will always help!"
Different to his usual behaviour, this time Horst was willing to believe that his boss was really anxious about Horst’s health. Has he judged his boss unfair in the past?
"How is your wife? You have a son, don’t you?" This debunked his boss. Only two weeks ago Horst had asked for a salary increase as he planned to have an appartment with his girl friend and his current salary was too small for that. Horst did not have a son and that only proved how little his boss remembered from this discussion two weeks ago. Being interested only seemed to be played.
"No, I am not married, you remember the . . .", Horst stopped as his boss was called for a telephone conference by his assistant. Discussions with his boss always ended that way: suddenly, without result, simply unsatisfying.
Home again, Horst just had turned on his PC, Tanya called him. This time Tanya seemed to be somewhat displeased. "Where have you been last Saturday? We had planned to read advertisements and then take a look at these appatments. You left me in the lurch and I never could reach you via telephone. Your line is always busy. Is it out of order? Or did you simply put the earpiece on the desk?"
Oh! Oh! Horst had totally forgotten that he had an appointment with his girlfriend and due to his online game his telephone line always was in use.
"Tanya, excuse me please. I totally forgot our appointment. I am working hard as my boss currently demands a lot. But I do not want to remain an assistant forever. I really hope to be a project manager soon and that would result in a better salary. With a bit more money we could affort a much better domicile." Horst knew that this would be the only way to becalm her and in fact he did not miss the result he hoped that would have.
"I understand that, but you could have called me!"
"You already mentioned that my telephone line was disrupted!"
"What was the problem?", she wanted to know.
"I don’t know. German Telecom never says a word."
"But next Saturday we really meet and find an appartment?" Tanya really seemed to be happy with him again. That took a load from his mind.
"Of course. I am already looking forward to be able to hold you in my arms every night. And you know how frustrating it is for me when you have to leave in the middle of the night as you often do."
"You know that your bed is not really made for two and a long night on it is not only fun for my bones. But we already discussed that a lot in the past"
"Yes, I know. Tanya, I long for being with you!" In the moment he said that definitely nothing seemed to be more attractive for him than holding her in his arms.
"I am already in my nightshirt and you know that I have to get up very early to be in the hospital when my shift begins. And I have to be fit then."
"You wear that see-through nightshirt, where your bosom and slip always shines through so erotically?"
"Horst!", she replied, "This is not a 0900 erotic calline!"
"What a pitty. That would have been the first time they call me."
"You use such numbers?", she wanted to know.
"No, this only was a joke. Tanya, you know I only love you and I only can think of you."
"Wait a moment, possibly I can manage to come to you." Horst recognised his excitation by only thinking about holding her in his arms. Curious he waited until she returned to the phone.
"No, daddy is using the car and without it it would take too long. So not today, but we catch that up."
"Sure, we’ll meet on saturday by all means. Looking on my calender this seems to be the best day for finding a new domicil. Last Saturday would not have been as good."
"I only hope that we really find something affordable!"
"I know we will!"
"Ok, good night and dream a little dream of me.", Horst said.
"Good night, darling"
As long as he had the telephone call with Tanya, his greatest wish was to see her and to feel her. As soon as the call ended he privily was glad that she could not manage to come as he now would be able to continue to rescue Brittannia. Many new adventures waited for Lambert.
CHAPTER 4: YOU HAVE TO SET PRIORITIES
This time Lambert and Sir_Avatar went to the Hedge Maze south of Britain. The animals running around there were not what they came for. In the centre of the maze was a building with an evil mage which they wanted to defeat. Together they were successful and that way they gathered the first scroll for Sir_Avatar’s spell book. He wanted to become a battle mage, having the magery skills and mace fighting. So he needed reagents and scrolls. Still proud of their good teamwork they decided to start a new guild soon which would hunt evil players. Sir_Avatar also had some hints how to increase the skills much faster than normal. These bareley legal possibilities should only be used when the american GMs sleep, otherwise they could be banned for that. Horst said that he would have to work during these times, Sir_Avatar was very disappointed. So finally Horst agreed to train with Sir_Avatar and reported himself sick the next morning. But he made very good progress in the game. You have to set priorities.
Sir_Avatar and Lambert went through a valley in Britannia, commonly known as the Orc Valley when they were attacked by 5 red players. Both were already injured by the orcs they fought, the fight did not last long. Horst was unable to say something when he recognised that one of the attackers was Slaughterer, the one who sold this game to him not long ago. In deed this only was 4 weeks ago, but Horst felt that as an eternity. He nearly was unable to imagine what he had done in his leisure time before he had begun to play UO. Sure, he still watched TV sometimes, but it mostly was parallel to his ingame activities. Now he did not consciously watch the news and most of the time MTV was running. He spent much time with Tanya in the past, but now he sometimes saw this as a painful obligation. How much he had missed her when he had to be on a business travel for 2 weeks. Nothing similar he felt now. Sosaria had to be freed from evil. When this would have been done then other activities can come a bit more into foreground again.
Sir_Avatar was shocked about the dastardly way these beastly PKs outnumbered them. Both swore that from now on they would concentrate on reestablishing law and order in this country. Both renewed their oath to found a guild soon. But they would need a house for that to place the guildstone in. Horst did not know what his real intention was, but he did not tell Sir_Avatar about Slaughterer and his relationship to him. Horst’s feelings towards Slaughterer were very assorted. On the one hand Lambert owed Slaughterer so much. All he knew about the game, he only knew because Slaughterer explained that to him. But now Lambert remembered Slaughterer’s previous statements about what he did ingame. Curious that Lambert realised as late as now that Slaughterer is not a name for someone playing with cuddly toys. He always had killed more than only animals and monsters. Slowly Lambert’s picture of Slaughterer changed and the longer he thought about it the clearer it was that Lambert and Slaughterer were standing on opposite sides of the laws in Britannia. If they wanted to defeat the evil they would have to defeat Slaughterer. He would be one of their opponents. But Britannia was huge and Horst hoped that they would not meet each other again.
In the office Horst applied for leave. He said that he would have to relax a bit, to recover from a burnout and he would not want to skive off work in an unethic way. He asked to have yesterday, today and the two days remaining until the weekend as holidays. He would be back on Monday, recreated and motivated. His boss seemed to enjoy that and announced that he would have a surprise for Horst when he will be back on monday.
Ingame Sir_Avatar wanted to visit the Lost Lands. Unfortunately Lambert was unable to follow him. Sir_Avatar explained Horst that he would have to buy the new expansion named the Second Age (T2A). This would be worth the money as they would spent most of the time in these new lands. There they would be able to get the money needed for the house much faster. Horst went back to the shop where he once bought UO and there he met Slaughterer who also recognised him imediately.
"How is it going on Drachenfels?", Slaughterer wanted to know. "I lost the contact to Drachenfels a bit as I am playing only on Siege Perilous now." From this question he clearly derived that Slaughterer did not notice that it was Lambert whom he killed ingame last night.
"It still is fun. So much that I want to buy T2A today."
"A wise decision. Only with T2A you can play reasonably: Better resolution on screen, everything in German and access to the new lands. These 69 Marks are really worth it."
"Compared to the price of the basic game this is expensive.", Horst replied. The original game only costed 20 Marks and the expansion more than 3 times as much?
"Well, I do not set prices and you often cannot understand Origin’s decisions. But it is really worth the price. There are maps of the old and new towns in it and included in the price is an additional month of gameplay. And keep in mind that compared with your online costs this is nearly nothing. Imagine how much time you spend with the game, divide the price by the hours you play and compare it with a visit in a cinema. This is really cheap!"
When Horst still seemed to hesitate Slaughterer meant: "Give me your address and I write a bill that says that you bought office supplies. This way you can get back some money from the finance office."
When Horst held the game in his hand he awaited eagerly to install it. Now he would be able to follow Sir_Avatar into these new lands.
In the evening Sir_Avatar and Lambert went on a sightseeing tour in the Lost Lands and discussed the history behind it.
"Once upon a time an inhabitant of Britannia found a passage leading to this new world. Lord British, the sovereign of Britannia, then initiated an expedition into these new lands. Resulting from the dangers in these new lands all but one died. This last one was able to return to Lord British and tell him about his discoveries before he also succumbed his injuries. Lord British then decided to open these new lands for everybody, so that all inhabitants would be able to explore them.
This is Delucia, a fortified city in the mountains. Not far away is the city of the dead and right next to it the orc fort. Going south we reach the Terathan Fort. Here lizards and arachnids, hating one another, fight an eternal battle. Next to it is Papua, the Lost Land’s second city. Now we reach a river and not far away is the entrance to fire dungeon. A bit more north is Ophidian Lair and west of it Oasis a real money spinner."
There was so much new and he really was impressed. While the old world Britannia already was exciting, this new one was even better. The fact that Sir_Avatar and Lambert were able to collect so much gold in Oasis made this impression more intensive.
Horst played almost all night, and at 9 am he got up again and continued playing. At the bank in Papua he met Sir_Avatar.
"Well, you late riser!", Sir_Avatar greeted. That was inhuman. Sir_Avatar also had played until 4am and already seemed to be up again since a while.
"You never sleep?" Horst wanted to know.
"Two hours are enough. At noon at serverdown I have 2 hours again. That must be enough. We want to be successful, don’t we?"
"Of course, I took holidays for that. We can play until Monday morning." Horst thought that he overdrew.
Once again they both went to Oasis and again their yield was very satisfying. They already wanted to return to Papua when Lambert came with 4 lizardmen and another 4 ratmen appeard right next to him. Normally a player easily can outrun these monsters. But Lambert only could walk in slow motion. Soon he was surrounded by these monsters impossible to escape. So Lambert died and had to return to Papua without his belongings. That was bitter. Sure, this only was a game, but if a character dies, a player focus on for days, then a bit of yourself dies as well. You’re suffering along with your ingame character.
"That is lag", Sir_Avatar explained. "That can happen and you have to live with this risk. Nobody is immune to the caprices of the internet. Being killed by conloss is more common than being killed by PKs."
Horst recognised how his own concentration degenerated. It already was the third time he had to return to the bank because he forgot something important. He again had played the whole day and night with Sir_Avatar and already had too little sleep the night before. When he layed down to bed at 8am he set his alarm clock to 10am. If 2 hours are enough for Sir_Avatar then it had to be enough for him as well.
But Horst did not hear his alarm clock. When he woke up at noon he was very hungry. Now he realised how long he had not eaten something. He ordered a pizza, as this would not distract him too much from playing.
In the evening Sir_Avatar and Lambert met at the dungeon Shame. At level 1 there were earth elementals, but killing those was not very profitable. So they ran through that level, dexteriously avoiding the single earth elementals spawning there. Using a teleporter they reached level 2 where they hunted air elementals that they already killed without problems as they were two and able to help and heal each other. This fight was excellent for their magic resistances. And each air elemental carried 450 goldcoins. After 2 hours they both had more gold than they could carry. They planned to walk over a bridge when several PKs appeared.
Horst remembered that Slaughterer once used a sort of password on their way to Wrong. Desperately he used it: "An Jux In Ex". Indeed the pks hesitated a bit. This was long enough to pass the bridge and the pks using the teleporter to get to level 1. Obviously the PKs did not seem to follow. But this time in level 1 was not only the usual single earth element but 9 of them. All attacked them simultanously and resulting from the huge lag they caused that the game was more likely a dia show. Horst was unable to react. While Lambert died not far away from the teleporter, Sir Avatar managed to get out of the dungeon and from there to the safety of Yew where he stored the gold in the bank.
Horst was astonished that he had that lag while Sir_Avatar still was able to run. That always happened if many players or monsters appeared simultanously on the screen.
"That cannot be the internet lag, as I never have problems when you crash.", Sir_Avatar fathomed. "What type of computer do you have?"
"I have a 166 mhz Pentium with 64 mbyte memory", Horst said proud.
"Then everything is clear. It is simply to weak. You need to have something better. With T2A you have more screen resolution and this needs more cpu power and memory. Lambert, PCs go for a song. Buy a better one and your problems are gone."
What Sir_Avatar explained as ‚go for a song’ was a lot of money for Horst. But when he died again to the lag monster he made his decision. It was too late on Friday to buy a new PC, but early next morning he would do it.
Sarurday morning Lambert called Tanya off, because he had to work for his boss. Being ill would not have been a good excuse as Tanya was a nurse and would have tried to come and care for him. Tanya was very disappointed. He would not be able to do that often. He would need a good idea to calm her down. He was not planning to lose her.
Horst went to the next computer shop and bought a new PC. He installed the game and his online software again and a couple of hours later he was prepared again. 500 MHz, 3 times of what he had before, were no comparison to the old performance. Of course Tanya should not hear about that as the 1,500 Mark that he spent were previously dedicated to new furnitures of the domicil they were searching for. Horst had no idea how to explain the new hole in the budget. But he spent it to safe Britannia and along with it many lifes. It was an act of self-defense. You cannot have wrong respect if such an important thing is needed. He still had some pangs of conscience but when he again was in the game he forgot his doubts. Lambert was fast as lightning now!
CHAPTER 5: WHO LIKES TO SEE HIS OWN SLAUGHTERER?
A lich is an undead creature in human form with a taunting laughter. Such a creature appeared right next to Lambert and sent a fireball towards Lambert, injuring him seriously. While Sir_Avatar healed Lambert they both tried to kill the lich. Then a lightning hit Lambert and Lambert’s health bar was very low, but fortunately Sir_Avatar’s bandage helped him. In the next second Lambert was poisoned by the lich. He used a cure potion that he had found in an ettin the day before. This lich was tough. The seconds they fought extended eternally until finally the lich died in a huge fireball. The loot was excellent. 250 gold coins for some seconds of fight were a treasure on such a young shard. But the risk was high. If one lich died the next one appeared immediately only a few steps away. And again the lich attacked Lambert as if he knew that he did not recover from the previous fight. But as a result of Sir_Avatar’s bandaids and their good teamwork they also defeated the next one. With each lich their skills grew and they were very proud to defeat such strong monsters. The lich room in the City of the Dead became a real bonanza for them.
So they collected nearly 10k gold in a very short time. They planned to kill a last lich and then they would return to the bank, knowing they did a good step towards their new house. Exactly in that moment 5 players came into the lich room. All of them were red, so these were PKs and their intention was pretty clear. One of them was Slaughterer. Horst tried to start an explanation, to explain who he was but died too fast in the ebolts these attackers sent to him. All the treasures they had collected were lost. Sir_Avatar and Lambert went back to Delucia as ghosts and resurrected there at the local healer. Horst was very angry about Slaugtherer. Should he tell him whom he killed in his computer shop on Monday and ask to get the gold back? The longer he thought about that, this idea became more and more absurd. It’s all only a game and you should separate real life and ingame actions. Horst remembered what he read in the Time Magazine about players being addicted to computer gaming. That would never happen to him. He is working in the computer market. He was a mental worker. He would be able to make a clear difference between real life and a computer game. If Slaughterer does harm to him ingame then he would take revenge for that ingame only.
Sunday morning Lambert met Sir_Avatar again in Papua. He proudly reported: "Lambert, while you were sleeping I visited MP’s website, especially their internal forum."
"What is MP?", another one of these ugly abbreviations players use in the game, Horst thought. When would he finally know all these terms?
"Master Planners, of course! The guild that killed us in the lich room. There is the shard’s vernim combined in a single guild. And now we have all their private information!"
"And what can you read there?", Lambert wanted to know.
"Now we are informed what they plan and able to ambush them. Also there is mentioned that they will have a real life meeting next weekend. That will happen close to where you live, in Aachen. We also should organise such a real life meeting as soon as we established our own guild."
"What happens on such a real life meeting?" Horst was very curious.
"They normally only meet ingame, but then they see each other in real life. Some very attractive blond sourceress already outed herself as a beardie type on such events, hehe." Everybody knew that there were 4 times as many males than females playing online games and many femal chars were played by males. As if some people were living their travesty dreams here.
"I once was on a meeting," Sir Avatar adored, "where everybody had nearly the same clothes as his ingame character. The hottest was an austrian girl named ‘Pussy’, wearing a sexy female plate ingame. She appeared on that meeting with a latex part looking excatly like this. During the entire meeting I did not know where to put my eyes at. Very attractive!"
Horst imagined Tanya having such a sexy outfit. A very exciting idea. If he should tell Tanya about that game? Maybe she would like it as well?
"But most important is, that you place your PCs close together when you play.", Sir_Avatar continued, "Communication is much better then. You know how long it takes to write a sentence. You can speak much faster. So we have to be very careful next weekend as MP will be very active then."
"Well Horst, I promised you a surprise and that is the reason why I ordered you to come here today. I want to say in advance that this is the chance you were waiting for so long. But before I start, I want to know whether your last week’s problems – these were health problems, right? – are completely cured?". His boss seemed to be interested but as always he left the mark as if the employee’s problems were not really what he was interested in, even if he asked exactly that. Also today he had the appearance that there were different reasons to ask that.
"Oh, thank you very much, my stomach, you know?. Everything OK again. Nice of you to ask!"
"Well Horst," it was sort of weird that his boss always started his sentences with ‘Well Horst’, must have been an old foible, "You requested a salary increase last month. You said that there will be some good news regarding your girl friend, but I was unable to offer something concrete in the past." That was a very elegant paraphrase. Indeed it had been much more a definite denial. A frustration that Horst put off from work and as a result he had bought a computer game . . .
"Well Horst," once again that way to start a sentence. If he himself would ever notice that? "I have the highest respect for you ability and I love to see if someone has ambitions. You know that I love to support engaged employees in our company and I am very happy to be able to offer you something very interesting today. This will also give you the financial scope for your familial aims."
Horst really longed for a task that was more interesting and payed better. His previous tasks were not very challenging. The hope to get into a better position was his own motivation to keep this job. And accepting a job at a competing company would have meant to move away from Aachen, away from Tanya who was bound to Aachen by her job. Only in Aachen in the university hospital were the possibilities to use her knowledge of the special medical equipment, that barely was used in smaller hospitals.
"Well, Horst", he could not suppress a smile hearing the repetitive start of the sentences, "here is your big chance. You know that we won the IBM deal last week." The whole company talked about that and Horst missed the party when he was off the week before. "Originally we planned to assign Harry as the project manager but he is still needed in the Thyssen project. So I thought to give you a chance. What do you think?"
Horst’s hesitation must have confused his boss. So he continued without awaiting Hort’s answer: "Well Horst, this is your big chance. And it is a big financial advantage as well. No reason to explain that the company now expects your full engagement. As you are a young man this is not a problem, is it? Young and independent. If I only were in your situation. Your girl friend must be very proud of you."
4 weeks ago Horst would have given everything for that offer. He would have jumped for joy. His career. An opportunity for an advancement. More salary. A self-contained task and not only an assistant and with a project of that size one of the newer employees would have to assist him. Finally he got everything he always had dreamt of. For a second he was the happiest man in the world but then disillusion returned. This new project would mean that he would have nearly no time to play Ultima Online. He would have to work very long every evening and if his boss explains it the way he did, then his weekends would also be used to work. At least! The time pressure in this project was well known in the whole company. Nevertheless Horst had begruged Harry to have that project only a few week ago. Even as his assistant he would have loved to work in it as it was so much more interesting than his current work. But now when it seemed that Horst reached all he ever wanted, it seemed to be a burden to him, something that prevented him from more important taks. Of course he would not be able to call off and so he pretended: "You cannot imagine how happy I am to get that chance. I shall talk to my girl friend Tanya tonight and will let you know my decision tomorrow morning."
"Well Horst, take your girl frind to the Quellenhof tonight. A table will be reserved there for you two. Drink a glas of champagne with her and tell her about the new project. Enjoy the evening to the full. But you should also explain her that evenings like this will be much rarer in the next weeks as the project and the related milestones are extremely important."
"Thank you very much. I don’t know how to thank you for that." Horst was surprised, really impressed. This noble gesture was not commonplace for his boss. This project must be very important for him.
"Well Horst, you should know that I count on you in this project and tonight you will have the possibility to explain this to your girl friend. Will she understand that you will have to concentrate on your business during the next months?"
"Yes, of course. I know how to make her understand. Finally we have plans which need the financial prerequisites."
"I am glad that you see this the way I do. I am sure that you are the right one for this project. And I know that there is no need to explain what reputation you will acquire in our company and above all."
Horst walked down the Adalbertsteinweg, a long shopping mall in Aachen. Since some time shops were alloud to be open after 6:30 pm but only a few used that possibility. Many empty shops showed that the out of town shops are more profitable than those in the city. He already had stopped at two jewellers and now all his hopes were concentrated on this one small shop.
"Good evening. I am looking for 2 rings for my engagement. The problem is that I need an engraving today. It is very urgent!" Horst hoped imploringly that the vendor would not put him off to the next day.
"Well, take a look on these fine rings here. Do you prefer a simple ring or may it have a stone?"
"When Horst recognised the price of those ring with emeralds, his decision became very easy. "It is a ring for my engagement. It is usual to use something simple for that, isn’t it?"
"That is only correct for wedding rings, but you are right: A plain ring can also have a high value. There are the symbolic values that really count." The vendor, an elder man, was very empathic. Horst felt himself in good hands. From the wide line of goods he decided for two identical rings of white gold. Both were engraved with "Tanya & Horst" by the jeweler.
"Should I engrave the date behind it? That is usual!" The vendor really wanted to be a help and advised him very well while remaining retaining. But Horst never had thought about that. Would he really have the bravery to ask her tonight? After he had called her off last saturday she might be somewhat angry tonight and possibly she might not be in the mood for such a question. Then two rings with today’s date would be unlucky.
"No, thank you, only the names!", Horst decided.
He was very happy that he managed to get these rings that fast. The vendor himself was the goldsmith and able to engrave both rings within minutes. When Horst had these rings in his hands he felt much better prepared for this important evening with Tanya.
Tanya was enthusiastic that Horst took her out to dinner, especially when she heard that they would go to the ‘Quellenhof’, one of the best locations in Aachen. Tanya loved such an ambiance. They both took a seat at the table that was reserved for them and when champagne was brought unrequested, Horst was willing to wave aside.
"Mister Schweigert, your company ordered that for you. They want that you both enjoy this dinner and I am told to place emphasis on the fact that you are invited!" Not only Tanya, also Horst was impressed. And so the transition to the real topic of the evening was very simple:
"My boss arranged all that to convince you that it is extremely important that I have to work a lot during the next three months, and we cannot see us very much then." Horst awaited, yes hoped for Tanyas indignation.
"What kind of project will that be?", she instead asked really interested.
"In a project that IBM gave to us, I have to realise a web shop. You will be able to buy there all around the clock. This project has a high time pressure. During the next three months we will not see us often and will be unable to find a domicil." Horst believed to have combined all in a single provoking sentence. That must drive her crazy. He expected that she would explode the very next moment and would tell him that this is simply unacceptable.
"You would earn a bit more then?" Horst did not count with that reaction. He never before noticed her so cool and accounting. Else she always thought about the time they spend together and their new domicile. With parents and parents-in-law they already frankly discussed their marriage next year. And now she ignored all that and only was interested in his new salary. For a moment he hushed.
"Well, I shall have my own responsibilities, possibly an assistant and significantly more money. But the boss did not speak about concrete numbers."
"And to convince me, your boss invited us for this dinner tonight? I would be glad to have such a good boss. This project must be very important for your company. I am very proud. These 3 month are up soon and then we can find a better domicil, not paying too much attention to the lease. She was not depressed facing a 3 months disjunction. She really seemed to walk in the air. Horst had expected everything but not this. In secret he had hoped that she would protest against it so that he would have a reason not be become too much involved in the company to have more time for Ultima Online.
"Horst, I am very proud of you!" Tanya beamed with joy.
Horst thought that this would be the right moment: now or never! He stood up and he did not miss the astonishment in Tanya’s face when he walked around the table and kneed down in front of her. The whole restaurant was able to watch him but he did not care. Only Tanya was important for him.
"Tanya, you know that I love you more than everything else in this world.", with these words he took her hand.
"We are together since so many years and I would like to ask you", he hesitated as if he tried to read the answer in her face before he posed the question, "Tanya, do you want to marry me?"
"Yes", she said nothing else as tears rolled over her cheeks. At least this was successful, Horst thought. He took the sheath out of his jacket and put one of the rings on her left ring finger.
"The jeweler said that you can let him make size adjustments if necessary." Naturally he was unable to let it make for measure.
"Oh, Horst, I am so perfectly happy!" She smiled as still tears were rolling down her cheeks.
Horst already was back at his seat when Tanya still looked at the ring.
"With it we really can marry soon and maybe we shall be a real family next year – I mean with three of us . . ." Tanya was bogged in her dreams and Horst played a leading part in them.
"Your career is moving forward, we shall have more money and we shall marry as soon as you finish your project. You make me the happiest girl in the world." He noticed the order in which she mentioned these topics. Career and money were the first two. He never before had notice her so greedily. Tanya made it really simple. He only was a means to an end. Earning money and conceive a baby were what he would have to do from her point of view. Horst was shocked. Tanya was not interested whether or not Horst himself was willing to accept his new role and if he was willing to surrender during the next three months. That seemed to be no valid question for her. He had to take over his new role and his other commitments did not count. She could not know about his concerns in Ultima Online, but she could have shown that first of all she would accept Horst’s own decision. Instead she began to dream of what they both could do now that Horst advanced in his job.
"I saw a wonderful kitchen in the furniture store. You must take a look on it. It’s a dream. Saturday I feared that we would never be able to afford it but now it might become possible, right?" She spoke about nothing else. She already spent his money before he had earned it. The lobster that she had ordered was the most expensive item on the menue card, but she only commented on it with the words: "If your boss pays, we should take advantage of it. I also shall have to surrender during the next weeks.", and while she said this her foot stroked along his femoral. He felt a bit sheepish about it. She was totally psyched. He never would have put all that past her.
He wanted to bring her home, but her reaction was clear and accepted no contradiction: "We go to your appartment. Your project has not yet started. Starting tommorow I shall lend you to your boss, but today you exclusively belong to me. You can train to perform your marital duties!"
In his small appartment she immediately got into the act. They often had sex with each other, but in the past Horst had to convince her everytime. She always had put up a fuss and without a long foreplay, which had to make her a nice time, she never before had agreed to have sex. But this time it was totally different. She undressed him so hastily that a button of his shirt came off. Before previous intimate contacts she always spent at least five minutes in the bathroom but this time she roundly pushed him into his bed. When he tried to start to undress her she pushed him a bit harder and undressed herself extremely fast. That had nothing to do with the romance they normally had. The climax always was an award for a long and intensive engagement. Today it only was brute sex. She was wild and frolicy. How often he had dreamed that she would be a bit more active. He once took her into a sex film a couple of years ago hoping this would give her some inspiration. But without success. And now that she showed more activity than he ever dreamed of it also did not suit him. That wasn’t the Tanya that he knew. How a single message could turn a woman. When he came she wasn’t finished and the next moments were extreme tightness for him until she always reached her peak level.
"I shall have my menstruation the next but one week and then I stop to use the birth control pill." That wasn’t a question. She had decided and again the way she said it did not allow dispute. He kissed her and she took it as the answer.
Late in the night he took her home. Tanya still lived at her parents. She did not like long nights on the small bed in his appartment and in the past he always regreted that she was not willing to stay the whole night. To step into the cold night to take her home instead of perceiving her right next to him always was a real pain for him. Today he was not unhappy that she once more wanted to get home as there was another task on his desk waiting for him: Ultima Online.
Tanya lived in Burscheid in her parents mansion. When they arrived there he stopped on the wrong side of the street, went around his car and opened her door. So they both stood in the middle of the road when she wrapped her arms around his neck and they kissed each other dearly. She really was the most beautiful woman he ever could imagine. She always was everybody's desire but only he was able to conquer her and she preferred him above everybody else. In this moment he was unable to imagine that a simple computer game was able to motivate him to bring her home as soon as possible. Lying in his arms, looking up into his eyes, that was the Tanya he loved so much.
Suddenly a car honked. They both were so concentrated kissing each other that they did not notice that car. While there were cars parking on both sides of the street the car could not pass them as they were blocking the distance between them. The driver opened the car’s side window and wanted to start to shout but immediately interrupted himself and instead he said: "Hello Lambert! That is very risky what you both are doing there. I almost didn’t seen you." They stepped aside and the car drove away. What a hazard. Slaughterer here at that strange time.
"Why did he call you Lambert?", Tanya wanted to know.
"Certainly a mistake in name!" Horst replied.
CHAPTER 6: GUARDIANS OF LIGHT
The project already began to reduce Horst's online time. Due to the dinner with Tanya, following his pre-marital duties in his small apartment, he came online as only as recently as 1:00am. Certainly Sir_Avatar complained that Horst did not tell him about his planned time out. Being alone, Sir_Avatar was killed by a PK. Horst had pangs of conscience that he let Sir_Avatar down so much.
This time at least their combined trip to the lich room was considerably more successful. So they made a good step towards their new house. In the meantime there already were other players who managed to build a house in Moonglow. Two thieves placed a historical building: The first house on the shard Siege Perilous. Their own house wouldn't take long either.
When Horst laid down in bed at 4:00am he already suspected how tired he would be at 7:00am when he had to get up again. This would be his great day, the start of the IBM project, his career jump. Also his good-bye from UO for some time? He did not tell Sir_Avatar about it. How could he tell him this in the best manner?
In the company everything happened as expected. He got his own room and a new pc with an internet connection. At least one significant advantage: Now he would be able to read the forums during the day to get new hints, tricks and inspirations for his online gaming. Markus Kramer became his new assistant and his reputation in the company was increased from one day to another. When he gave a secretary a tape to write the text, she no longer slandered but instead she immediately promised to have that finished within the next two hours. The job started to be fun and indeed he was able to finish a huge part of his detailed draft within the first day. It was planned to spend the whole first week on it. When his boss came into his room at 9:00pm, and he showed him the draft, he was more than impressed.
"Well, Horst, I recognise that my decision to put you in that position was right." He browsed the draft. "This is excellent work. That appeals to me. Really good. A man grows with his tasks. I am proud to have you onboard!"
Finally home again Horst logged in immediately.
"Where have you been, bastard? With two hours a day you cannot be successful on Siege Perilous. If we really want to meet targets we have to concentrate on it a bit more. In the meantime I collected another 10k gold. I was in the dungeon Shame and killing these air elementals was very good for my skill magic resistance.
The group Sir_Avatar had joined on that trip to Shame consisted of more german players. It was a surprise how many European players moved to this US-based shard as there were also two European shards. These players were willing to join the team as soon as the new guild was founded and they all would defeat unjustness together.
"Sorry, but I have a real life amd I cannot deprive myself of it. I would prefer to play only but that is not that easy. You are a student. If you miss a lecture nobody will complain about it. But it would be noticed if I am missing in my job." Horst knew that he was right but there still was the impression that this was a cheap excuse being unable to apologise that he left his friend in a lurch with his difficult tasks.
Sir_Avatar had collected some gate scrolls from these air elementals and proudly demonstrated his ability to cast moongates. This way he escorted NPCs (non-player-characters) to their destinations and collected the rewards for it. He also owned some runes to places that were difficult to reach like the Islands Serpents Hold and Occlo. This way he always found NPCs without problems. Using Sir_Avatar's moongates Horst also escorted NPCs now to collect some more gold.
Later Sir_Avatar demontrated how much his magery skill was improved. He also had increased his evaluate intelligence skill far above 90 with the result that his spells did much more damage now. Not many other players were able to develop their character that fast and Sir_Avatar was very proud.
"Look what I am doing with that Ogre!" Sir_Avatar casted two spells on that Ogre and it died. Lambert would have needed two minutes with his sword to do the same and in the end his own armour would ghave been damaged a lot. "These are FS", Sir Avatar commented it.
"FS? What's that?" Horst wanted to know.
"Flamestrike. It makes 60 hitpoints damage at a time. Two of them and you are dead. Magery is extremely strong and different to melee skills you never miss your target. I wrote a macro with magic arrow, explosion and a flamestrike. This kills every of these young characters on this shard. But flamestrike still fizzels often, so I am using a scroll for it.
Horst knew already that there was a spell that could reflect the next spell. So every mage started his offense with magic arrow. Such a magic arrow made nearly no damage as it was one of the weakest spells. Its only intention was to deactivate the magic reflection and the heavy spells followed after it.
"Avatar, you are extremely good. I am impressed." Horst was happy to have such a good partner.
From another player Sir_Avatar could buy a rune to Bucaneer's Den. Together with the other German players they all made a trip to this village and hided next to the bank. Bucaneer's Den was the only bank in Britain without guards. Without a house all murderers had to come here to store their loot. At all other banks they would have been killed by the guards immediately.
The group waited some time. Finally a moongate appeared next to the bank and three red characters came out of it. They attacked them immediately and it was a huge success. These three must have killed another one before and tried to store the loot. Now it belonged to Lambert and his friends and without access to the bank these three would have some difficulties to get away from that island. With such activities these German players made a name for themselves being a synonym for right and order on this shard.
Some more PKs were caught this night and as a result of the huge loot they managed to place their new house and a guildstone. They named the guild 'Guardians of Light'. As the light was the oldest symbol for the good alignment, this guild would become the symbol of the good aligned people of this shard. They swore to remain good aligned and to help whenever a player would be in need. "One for all, all for one!". Somebody thought to mention this musketeer slogan and they all accepted it immediately.
CHAPTER 7: ALL FOLLOW ME
As the most experienced player of all 'Guardians of Light' Ulukaji rised to speak: "Friends. Now we are one guild but becoming a successful team of pk hunters still is a long way. I want to teach you, so that you know what your opponents think and feel and what they plan to do next. I was a pk on other shards and I also managed to kill the leader of the bounty board. I tell you how we will not only be one guild by having the same guild tag, but a team that plays together and not only randomly the same game at the same time."
They all respected Ulukaji and knew him as a player who started with the beta version of Ultima Online. His success on other servers was put about and nobody ever dared to interrupt him. So he continued:
"There is a leader. Not only that he leads your team, no! . . . he is your god outside there!!! The leader will tell you what to do. No 'if', no questions! He says 'all follow me' and all follow wherever he will go. He says 'my target' and there will be no other target in uo than his!
When he commands a 'regroup' then you immediately leave the balron with 2 hitpoints left and run to your leader. A 'regroup' is an imperative! Like 'all follow me', 'my target', 'gate' or 'block'. Whatever your leader's next stupid command will be, you will have to follow.
A leader is a leader!!! . . . read my lips…!
If your leader makes a mistake, give him at least 5 more possibilities to learn. A leader learns by commanding the team. Each team reacts and plays different.
If a leader continues to fail then elect a different one. But you never do that during a battle. Start an election in an inn or your guildhouse. But on the battlefield the elected leader in invulnerable in his decisions.
Concentrate your skills, stats and all you knowledge on a single target!! . . . and which target this should be will be defined by ONE!
And start to complement each other.
In the beginning your leader will throw around his commands. .. no, stop. . . In the very beginning he might give too few commands. Then he will improve his people skills and one command will follow another. You sometimes might not know what the last command was and agressions will come up between the guild members.
Mistakes and advantages will be discussed at a bank or in an inn. Only in the guard zone the leader will lose his god-like status and democracy reigns.
Then, after some 4 weeks, if always the same players play together, and eberybody knows the others and their possibilities, you will notice that the leader rarely needs to give a command. On that level it simply is no longer necessary to shout commands. Now the team is a single weapon. A reaction on a situation (attack) must be converted in fastest action and so the team begins to dominate again by its own strength.
Now the team is ready . . .
The skills of the single members will be added to the skills and knowledge of the others. Marginal moves result in automatic reactions of the other members.
Often a command will be prepared or executed before the leader was able to give it. Thinking as a team will start to dominate the disastrous selfish thinking.
Righ, now you are on the level where the good pks are, those who you fear that much but look up underhand. Those pks who say nothing, they only act, force you to react, loot you and disappear through a gate after 40 seconds.
Now you are on the same level as these pks, but possibly you still do not play in the same league?
Just an example:
If a team member casts MA (magic arrow) to deactivate MR (magic reflection) then there is no need to do the same. So open up your eyes.
If the pk casts a FS (flame strike) and member 2 is weakened, if a disturb by melee is impossible, nobody else casts, then what? Cast a GH (greater heal) to prevent member 2 from future damage? Or cast a MA (magic arrow) to disturb the pk? Throw a GE (greater explosion potion) to force the attacker to interrupt? Throw a number of GEs by risking that member 2 will also die? Cast poison to force the pk to cure himself? Drink a greater refresh to shove through to the pk and attack him wih melee? What does the terrain say to that situation? What now?
You have the choice! A decision please, immediately! You have some half or full second for your decision. You have the possibility to make a decision if you registered the complete situation. Then your time is gone as the pks flamestrike will then be casted. If you are able to say that you have seen that all and decided for the best option then congratulations. Now you entered the premier league. Now it will be a dream.
After a fight your hands will be warm, but no longer wet and the exitement will no longer force you to go to the bathroom.
You even will not talk about the bad pk. It is nearly awkward - he simply did not play in the same league."
Ulukaji's speech now became the guild's prayer book. The same evening they started to train that teamwork again and again. When they left the town they always acted like that. Of course the pks had the same rules and comamnds, so this guild would have to train better.
It was a day of many successes and for a very long time the pks would remember that right and order on Siege Perilous started that day. The name 'Guardians of Light' will command respect. Horst was proud. Proud to have founded that guild, proud to be a member. He had the dim feeling that, if he ever achieved something in his life, then this. This evening gave Horst endless satisfaction, more than everything else he ever did.
The next day Horst installed Ultima Online on his office PC. He definitely was not planning to play during work. He only wanted to occasionally catch a skillgain or restock his vendor. As he already had completed the draft, his duties did not press him that much and so he had time to spend for other things.
When finally most colleagues went home and he believed to be alone, he started to play a bit more seriously and totally forgot the time over it. It was 10pm when his boss came in.
"Well, Horst, still at work? I think you can make a cut for today. We are in time and the project still is long. I don't want that you go for broke at the very beginning."
"Oh, you are right, I did not notice how late it is. I really will finish now!" Horst would have wanted to curse his boss. Of course he had to switch to a harmless picture with ALT-TAB as his boss could have entered a bit more. So he was unable to see how the game continued. When he ultimately switched back he was dead right next to a group of monsters. What the hell had his boss to be in the office that late? Frustrated he went home.
Back home the first thing he did was turning on his pc and going to a healer to resurect Lambert. Then he met the other players and this time they went to Covetous, a well known dungeon in the north of the continent. There were already 2 pks waiting for some victims. One managed to escape but they caught the other one. The loot was poor this time. In this focussing on loot quality there was no difference between these fighters for justice and the pks but they would never have thought that there would be an analogy. They were fighting for right and order in a land and otherwise all innocents would have been lost. The group hided again and after a while 3 more pks arrived. Horrified Horst recognised that one of them was Slaughterer. He would not show respect to this as Slaughterer was a criminal in this game, killing other people and Lambert will have to be loyal to his guild. After all Slaughterer also killed Lambert twice.
The fight was short but violently. In fact Sir_Avatar also died because as a magician he weared no armour and therefore he was more vulnerable. But his belongings could be safed and the pks's loot was very valuable. Obviously they must have killed some others before and looted their reagencies, armour, weapons and gold. Suddenly Slaughterer appeared right next to Lambert as a dhost. For most characters it was impossible to understand what ghosts say and so above Slaughterer's head only the characters 'Ooo Oo Oooo' appeared. Lambert was clear in his mind that this time Slaughterer had recognised who was playing the character Lambert. A german speaking Lambert on a central american shard was enough indication. The name Lambert was not that often and there were not that many german players. But this was Slaughterer's own responsibility. He had dealed ill.
After turning off his pc Horst still was awake for some time. The success of this night still agitated him. The next morning was hard. After only a 3 hours sleep getting up was a pain. He drove to the next pharmacy and bought some stimulant drugs. The coffee he had before did not show enough impact. During the past days he never had more than 4 hours sleep per night. He was young, but now his body started to take revenge.
When he arrived in the office he activated his ICQ, a messaging service in the internet. He immediately recognised Sir_Avatar. He really seemed to play always. If he really was studying sometimes? On the other hand it could have been possible that he had semester break. That would be an explanation for his uninterupted activities in Britannia.
Suddenly a message appeared, send from someone with the name Dirk: "Hello Lambert, how are you?"
"Thanks, fine. Do we know each other?" Horst wanted to know.
"I am Slaughterer! You also play on Siege now?"
"Yes, we had a little fight yesterday?"
"Hmm, I never thought that you would kill an old friend outnumered. I always thought you would sneer at gangbangers?" It looked as if Slaughterer tried to play the naive.
"Well, we fight for right and order on Siege Perilous. We hunt all murderers and I regret to recognise that you are one of these." Horst did not mention one of their previous meetings. He wanted to savour their last night's win over his role model.
"Do you really think that there is a difference between you and us? And UO would be boring without us pks. Fighting dumb monsters all day can't be everything."
"You kill new player's fun!" That was Horst's justification for what he was doing. If a character turns red he must have killed 5 other players before, otherwise he would be blue. If someone respects law for some time he will turn blue again. Therefore red players are criminals. And if someone is able to kill others he cannot be a beginner. This made the 'Guardians of Light' so much better than these PKs.
"Hey Lambert. We lost yesterday, but mostly we win. We have good booties. We already have a big house and most of all there is a thrill fighting other people. Interested in joining us?"
Horst did not count with that invitation. That was in his honour. His former role model asks him to join his guild. Of course he would decline. Deep in his heart he felt that being a pk was not what he wanted to do and he had to keep the word that he gave his guild. "Sorry, Slaughterer. I am a 'Guardian of Light' and I plan to remain being that. You should keep away from us and try to become blue again."
"Hey, Lambert, not that arrogant! You won once last night and with 8 against us 3 it was not that much of a surprise. But consider: We fight with all available means and we do not plan to put up with that. I brought you into that game. And it would be a pitty if you would have to dissuate you from playing it." Horst did not know what Slaughterer really meant with that but the threat in it could not be missed. But Horst felt very strong with his group. Nothing could do harm to him. Even if he would die sometimes it would not be a problem. For him it was most important to fight for the right goal.
"Sorry, Slaughterer. You know my opinion. Fare thee well and stay alive!"
"Lambert, I really hope that you will change your mind!"
On his trip back from the office Horst nearly had an accident. In a second being unconcentrated he nearly drove into a group of foot passengers. In the last moment he managed to stop far behind the red traffic lights. His pulse quickend like it did when he was player-killed ingame. For Horst this was the proof that his body needed more of these stimulant drugs. Anyhow he still had to do a lot today.
In the evening the guild met and gated to Deceit. Immediately an intense fight started between them and UDL (UnDead Lords) who waited here for victims. In the meantime the Guardians of Light had become a good team and Ulukaji was their perfect leader. The players healed each other and concentrated on the opponents, blocking and defeating them. Several times Lambert was close to be dead but always managed to be rescued by a greater heal potion until a teammate brought him back to full health.
Both sides had multiple deads and the fight ended with the last four UDL escaping into their nearby house. The Guardians of Light who died ran to the nearby shrine to be resurrected. As the other Guardians of Light stayed on the battlefield as the winners they were able to loot their victims. They all gated home as they expected UDL to regroup and come back soon. Deceit did not become a safer place after that but they made a brand towards that most powerful of all pk guilds of Siege Perilous.
CHAPTER 8: EASY COME EASY GO
Sir_Avatar had read in the internal forum of CE ('Criminal Elements') that this guild had placed a big tower. It seemed to be true what Slaughterer had said: Most times the pks won and obviously their business was the most profitable of the whole shard as nobody else was able to build a big tower that fast. So the 'Guardians of Light' walked into the area where the tower should be and prompt they ran into a group of CEs. Slaughterer was their leader and unlucky for him that he once again was outnumbered. Ulukaji immediately attacked Slaughterer and gave the command 'my target' so that all only attacked Slaughterer. This included Lambert and this time Horst did not hesitate to let Lambert attack Slaughterer. Slaughterer died soon and as they lost their leader the other CEs fled into their tower where the 'Guardians of Light' were unable to attack them. The group looted a vanquishing katana from Slaughterer and handed it to Lambert as he was the best swordsman in the guild. The vanquishing katana was a rare weapon that inflicted much more damage with each hit than normal katanas do. On this young shard such an item was really unpayable. In a fight one versus one it nearly made invincible. The Guardians of Light only were able to win as they outnumbered their opponent. Taking such an excellent weapon from Slaughterer did not cause Host to have pangs of remorse as Slaughterer himself would not have acquired it honestly.
In the office Horst spent the whole morning with the customer explaining his technical draft. After the business lunch they had he managed to get access to his pc and started icq. A message already waited for him:
"Lambert, one of your guild has my weapon. I am not willing to accept that loss. Return what is mine!"
Horst replied immediately: "Slaughterer, I do not believe that you would return such a booty to your victims. I think I keep it as it looks nice at my character." Saying this he also owned up to have this weapon himself and not another member of the guild. But after the previous successes he felt so strong that he was not about to something bad. What could Slaughterer and his Criminal Elements do against him?
"Lambert, please take the consequences of your behaviour into consideration! I cannot ignore that. That was not my weapon. It would have severe consequences if I could not return it to it's legitimate owner, our guildmaster. Lambert, do not make a mistake that you would have to regret forever!" Slaughterer must have waited in front of his pc, otherwise he would not have been able to reply that fast. Losing this weapon must have affected him much.
"Slaughterer, you lost, simply accept that. In the beginning you caught me twice. The last two times we won. I think it is a tie now. Turn blue and everything will be ok again."
Slaughterer did not show any reaction. In the forums now everybody spoke with respect about the 'Guardians of Light', the only guild that was able to defend against the pks on Siege Perilous. Horst was proud to be one of these heros and nearly daily new players asked to become a guild member.
In the evening when Horst turned on his pc at home, another ICQ message from Slaughterer reached him:
"Lambert, this is my last try. I beg you, please return the weapon. If it would have been mine you could keep it, but in this case I have to demand that.
"Slaughterer, you know what my opinion is: Now you get an impression of how your daily victims feel!"
"Lambert, I really tried everything to convince you. I also begged you, something that I never did before. It is your decision. It is war now!"
'Well, that war would not change much', Horst thought. Slaughterer's Criminal Elements attacked them anyway and they always chased reds. Certainly CE would declare GoL a guild war and they would have to decide how to handle that but this would not change much.
This night again was very successful for Lambert and his 'Guardians of Light'. Horst did not notice as time passed by. Suddenly it ringed at the door. "Hello! These are your pizzas!"
"Sorry, I did not order pizza, that must be a mistake." Horst wanted to close the door but the pizza boy was persistent.
"Are you Horst Schweigert, Von-Görschen-Street 18?"
"Yes, I am!"
"Then you ordered 34 pizzas a little while ago. I get 368 Marks for it. Here are your pizzas. The wine is free!"
"I did not order that shit! Look around: I am alone. What should I do with 34 pizzas? That is a bad joke!"
"Your Telefone number is 409033?" the pizza boy asked.
"Yes that is my telephone number. But it is not my pizza."
"When we get such huge orders we always write down the telephone number. We used a second telephone to check that you are really the one who is calling. Your line was busy when we received the order. A good proof that you were the one who called."
"Currently I am in the internet. Therefore my telephone line is always busy. That is the reason why I was unable to order a pizza."
"If you do not pay the pizzas you ordered, we shall have to make a report to the police. And you will be marked in our central business unit and nobody will ever accept your order again."
"If you think so!" Horst closed the door with noise. Name, address and telephone number were correct. Someone must have made a bad joke with him. He returned to his pc. The short nights during the past weeks showed some results and the stimulant drugs he used during the day lost their effect. Sitting in front of his computer he felt into sleep. Suddenly the door ringed again. He looked on his wristwatch. It was half past four in the morning. Who rings that early?
"Taxi!" The driver only called into the corridor and immediately returned to his car. So Horst went down the stairs.
"Sorry, I did not order a taxi."
The taxi driver was very contritely. He also verified name and address.
"Sorry, That all is correct, but someone seems to make bad jokes. Somebody else already tried to deliver 30 pizzas that I also did not order. I have no idea who could do that."
Displeased the taxidriver drove away.
"One should report that to the police," Horst thought. But back in his room he was too tired to do something. He turned off his pc and went to bed.
Next morning Horst was waked up by the bell again. It was Fleurop with some flowers for him and a card. He read from this card: "I hope the pizzas were delicious and the taxi came in time? S."
S must be Slaughterer. Horst thought if there could be somebody else, but with S he only knew Slaughterer and it seems as if he was a bit mad yesterday.
"Well, he had his fun and now that was it.", Horst thought.
He changed his cloths as he slept in his cloths being too tired last night to get them off. His suit was wrinkled up. He would bring it to a dry-cleaner as he anyway wanted to get to a super market.
His car, parked on the street, left a wimpy mark: four dissected tyres, both ouside mirrors broken and stamped headlights. He called the police immediately. The considerations against Slaughterer were not accepted by the police. Due to the huge speed the police was working Saturday nearly was over when he returned to his appartment. Of course he neither had been shopping nor to the dry-cleaner and his car still was damaged. His anger about Skaughterer was huge.
Horst thought a long time about his message to Slaughterer. He knew that only Slaughterer could have done that. It seemed that Slaughterer was so addicted by the game that he was unable to make a difference between ingame and real life. Then he only sent this one question via ICQ: "Slaughterer, were these your flowers?"
Immediately the response came: "If you return the katana we can forget that!"
"Slaughterer you are nuts! You make that only because I defeated you in a game?"
Even though he knew that before, this indirect but obvious acknowledge appealed him again.
"I do not know what you mean. But now you know the gravity of the situation. Let's meet ingame and you return the katana and everything will be ok again."
Horst did not answer. This one was nuts and you should never carry on negotiations with such people. Now he would return the weapon less than ever. What would Slaughterer do next? Maybe he would do something that the police could catch him? Horst saved the ICQ database but that would not be enough to prove that Slaughterer was guilty.
Ultima Online would distract him a bit. He did not tell his guildmates what happened. That all seemed so unreal. The guild went to Ophidian Lair, an area around a broken house where giant lizards lived. This time they wanted to hunt monsters, not pks. As a group they were very strong and so they became braver the longer they fought. Ophidian warriors, ophidian enforcers, ophidian apprentice mages, ophidian shamans and finally ophidian matriarchs. Then they attacked a wyvern, a sort of dragon that spawned in that area. The group would have succeeded again but suddenly they were surrounded by pks. Against the wyvern and the many pks nobody escaped. Lambert tried to run away but the flamestrikes of two UDL mages killed him before he could escape. These americans simply have the better connection and trying to escape was hopeless.
As all died they had to walk back to Papua as ghosts. UDL had taken revenge for the battle in Deceit. That had nothing to do with the fight against Slaughterer, except that the vanquishing katana now was owned by UDL. Horst did not have it for long. So rare such a weapon was, its value was highly overestimated as one could lose it so easily. Easy come easy go.
[TO BE CONTINUED]