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Gunther the Red
In this week's spotlight, Gunther the Red finds himself in a heated situation. With orcs behind him, and something more sinister ahead, will he survive?

"Things of late had gone in his favor. Gunther had acquired a great deal of wealth in the form of gems and gold. It seemed as though he had weathered the worst of the trails and he was on his way home.

"Gunther made his way along the range. He had been traveling a long time, but was happy with his decision to avoid crossing the mountains directly. Going around might have added some time, but he wouldn't have to endure the extreme cold of the mountain pass. As night fell across the land, Gunther decided it would be wise to find a safe place to camp. He noticed a small crack in the side of the mountain, a natural shelter from what looked like a soon-to-be thunderstorm. He stepped from the trail, and headed for his new home for the night.

"Upon reaching the crack, Gunther was amazed at how much he had misjudged its size. What looked like a large crack was actually a huge opening that led to an even larger chamber. He entered just in time; there was a flash of light followed by a bone-jolting clap. The rain came down like a solid stream of water. Again, Gunther felt like his luck had changed.

"Gunther was just about to settle in and make a fire when he heard sounds of somebody coming. He listened carefully. He had learned how to discern the size and race of a creature, or a group of creatures, just by listening. Orcs! Orcs were on their way into his newfound shelter, but this time he would have to keep his wits together for he was vastly outnumbered.

"He knew he couldn't go out the same way he came in, so he made the decision to venture deeper into the cavern. Quickly gathering up his belongings, Gunther started to move, but it was too late. The lead Orc let out a loud grunt, and then the entire group started to ready their weapons and shout out the cry of battle. Gunther ran deeper into the cavern and as he did the chamber seemed to get larger and more open. This wasn't what he was hoping for. A few twists would be nice, maybe even a few different openings. He was hoping for anything that might separate him from the Orc force, giving him a chance.

"The light from the Orcs' torches closed in on him; the mob was moving faster. Gunther knew he had to keep going. Then, in the distance, he noticed two swirling flames. Could these Orcs have outsmarted the great Gunther the Red? Gunther cursed his arrogance, but he would stand a better chance against the few in front than the two dozen behind him.

"As Gunther closed in on his new target, the swirling flames seemed to rise into the air. These were no torches; they were eyes. The light from the Orcs following him cast an eerie glow, allowing the first look at what was ahead of him. The situation had gone from bad to worse. He knew of these creatures only from myth and legend. He never thought he would actually come across one. Its scales glistened a pearly white, and its wings spread out for what seemed an eternity. He saw its chest take in a huge breath, leaving all at the cave floor gasping for air.

"The creature stepped forward and stretched out its neck, holding its head just past Gunther's position. He dared not move. His only hope was that the Orcs' torches would attract the creature, allowing him to escape. Then the creature released a roar unlike anything he had ever heard before.

"The cave behind him filled with flames and the Orcs that survived the first blast were quickly running away. The creature was in hot pursuit. He could hear their screams as the creature let loose unending bursts of fire. Gunther could barely breathe, but he made his way to his feet. This was his chance. Moving as quickly as he could through the smoke, he could hear a horse approaching, but whatever was in front of him now could not be any worse than what was behind him. Readying his axe, he prepared to take his shot. Suddenly, there was a familiar laugh. Could it be?

"'Is that how you greet your great uncle?' Out of the smoke came the flowing white hair of Gunther's Uncle Caitnop. Gunther was overcome with joy, but he quickly regained his composure.

"'Uncle, we must make haste before the beast returns!'

"'You mean leave Reckless here?' Caitnop grinned, 'After all he and I have been through together, we'll just let him have his dinner. Then we can go.'"
Want to tell us fantastic stories of your own pet dragons? You may get your chance! As always, keep a close eye on FYI for our future Spotlight topics. We look forward to hearing all of the epic tales of your adventures in Ultima Online.

Published: September 2001
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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