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When Foolishness Strikes
In this week's spotlight, an adventurer discovers that on the path to riches and fame, it's always important to be prepared, and to not underestimate the potholes that may be encountered along the way.

"The light around me dimmed until there was nothing but a faint glow haunting my periphery. I stood on the brink of unconsciousness, my swollen cheek pressed against the hard-packed dirt of the ground. The soil reeked of them. It was enough to send my stomach tossing and turning within my limp form. How I wanted to scatter that dirt, that stench, away from me, but I could not move. My battle-worn body would not comply with the wishes of my mind.

"As I lay there, vulnerable to the world, scenes flashed throughout the murky shadows of my mind - scenes of a glorious fight, and a promise. But what promise? Ah, yes, the promise. It was the reason I ventured to this forsaken place: the promise of riches and fame. If I could have drawn enough breath, I would have laughed at that particular thought, but I was too weak… too close to death.

"'You must find the secret orc mining cavern,' the old man had said in the Britain tavern. 'Once there, kill the orc brute that guards the area and collect two fingers from the corpse. Bring those fingers back to me and I will reward you beyond your wildest dreams.'

"Beyond my wildest dreams. Who would turn down such an offer? With a toast and a handshake, I accepted the old man's task and went about collecting the necessary equipment I would need for the adventure. I was so confident that this would be a simple matter of running in, laying waste to a few measly orcs, and then running back out again, that I didn't take my usual hunting companion with me. Foolish confidence. Look where it led me: facedown in orc filth.

"It all started out just fine. With music and magic, I was able to get by the various orcs and orc lords that awaited me on the first level of the cave. However, the deeper I went, the more difficult the task became. Orc choppers alerted the others, and before I could even see them coming, mages blasted me with their spells. It took all my strength to stay mounted atop my fleet-footed steed, Jet, as he made a quick escape to the next level of the cave. There we hid until I could heal my wounds.

"It was then that the ground began to shake as the heavy footsteps of an orc brute carried it close to my hiding spot. This was my chance! Emerging from the shadows, I let loose a barrage of spells that noticeably rocked the brute back on his heels. He had been caught off guard. Weaker orcs attempted to distract me, but they were quickly disposed of. Nothing would keep me from completing this task. With one exception: I failed to keep track of my reagents. As I began fizzling spell after spell, I peered into my reagent bag and noticed, much to my horror, that there was nothing left but a few tattered scraps. It was time to make a quick escape. Spurring Jet past the brute, I was nearly knocked from his back as a large, orcish fist was slammed into my shoulder. Crying out from the pain, I clutched my arms tightly around Jet's neck as he practically flew through the exit, carrying me away from danger, and right into the arms of death itself.

"We were met by a patrol of orcs: choppers, bombers, mages… all of them focused on one thing - my demise. There were too many, and I was quickly brought down. And as I lay there, clutching at the fading light of consciousness, I thought of my foolishness and of that old man in the tavern. His worn, crinkled features and laughing eyes stayed imprinted in my mind as the world around me turned into the muted grays of death. I walked free from my fallen form then, in the familiar threadbare shroud of a ghost, and made for the exit. As I left the cavern, I paused just outside and turned to lift an incorporeal fist at the dark entrance. I would be back… and better prepared.

"Moral of this tale: Reagents - never leave home without enough of them."

-Spyder of Atlantic

Have you ever done anything foolish in-game? Let us know! Send your tale to [email protected]! And please join us again next week as we share another of the many stories of Britannia that you have created. Please keep an eye on FYI for new spotlight topics!

Published: September 2002
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
Ultima Online ESRB Rating
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