Around 2:00 pm, Sasha and Winter make it to Sacred Hills. It's a town a little bigger than Hartford. It has a bunch of houses, two inns, and many kinds of different shops to choose from.
It's also nestled inside a valley between two hills, that's littered with multiple caves big and small. The two women come to a cross section in the town with two dirt roads leading in different directions. "So which way do we go now?" says Sasha.
"Well let's just pick one and see where it leads." Says Winter, as they choose the left path and start to head down it. They pass a couple shops and come upon the inn called The Broken Antler and decide to stay there for the night, so they can start out early in the morning. There is another notice board in front of this inn, just like the last one. Sasha stops and looks at it for a moment, a notice that was posted piqued her interest.
The notice said Calling all Dragon Hunters- We're hunting The Ruined Ice Princess. (Either professional or amateur. This dragon out here has been kidnapping and killing villagers.
Many teams have gone up against this dragon, and only few have returned. It can shape change, and turn into a hybrid, though there are some characteristics that it is still a dragon in human shape (eye iris shape, or nails, or dragon scales as tattoos.) The women both give each other a short glance and Sasha asks" Should we still do it", Winter nods her head in agreement and they turn and walk into the inn.
As they walk through the entrance, their nostrils are greeted by the smell of smoke, sizzling meat and mead. Even though it looks cheaper than most, it has a somewhat comfortable feel to it, the tables are organized for the right amount of people, there is laughter and conversation through the inn, there is a huge fire roaring in the fireplace near the Bar.
It's loud and boisterous and just the kind of place Sasha likes. There are multiple tables to choose from, Sasha chooses one that's right in the middle of the room, so she can see the door. She hands Winter some coins and she goes and gets some food and beer for them. After a few minutes of waiting, she's handed the food by the innkeeper and then she walks back to the table to Sasha.
On the way back to the table Winter sees a man sitting at the table next to theirs. He has medium length shaggy brown hair, he had a thick blackish/brown beard and he was tall, maybe 6'3" or so, and very muscular with huge broad shoulders. He was wearing a black cloak, red and black kilt that had an armored belt on it and an armored red sash going from right shoulder to left hip.
There were black leather gloves with armor on the knuckles sitting on the table near his plate. He had thick boots on and a double-bladed axe strapped to his back. He was drinking heavily from a beer mug. Multiple empty ones were cluttering the table. He was handsome though, in a rugged way, even though he was drunk as a skunk and getting drunker with every sip. Winter passes him, and sits down at the table with Sasha and starts talking about the dragon flyer they saw on the notice board outside.
"Let's do this Ruined Ice Princess notice, it sounds interesting and there is a pretty good bounty on it (20,000 coin). I'm sure we'll be able to beat it, we just have to find another dragon hunter, or at least someone who has seen it in person." The man next to them leans over and says drunkenly while slurring his words "I'm Gerald.
I'm an adventurer and dragon slayer. I was in one of the last groups to fight the dragon, and I'm the only one left. I was in a guild of 12 men, I was the only player in our group that wasn't an npc, but that was never a problem before, we had dealt with many dragons in the past.
We always had a plan and if anyone was seriously hurt our healers could handle it, and I always said to not worry about me so much because I could revive, but my friends couldn't.
I was considered a tank basically, I was always jumping into battle to protect my friends. I can handle massive damage and deal out even more with my axe. There were three healers and clerics in the guild, who were amazing at long range attacks. There were also a few other tanks, who did up close and personal damage, with me.
There were two Elves, highly trained archers, they were amazing, best archers I have ever seen. They could hit an enemy from over three hundred yards with amazing pin point accuracy.
There was also a merchant who travelled with us, who was able to buy and sell potions for me, weapons and other things for to use, and whenever we came across a surplus of weapons or we wanted to get rid of some of our stuff, he would take it from us, and sell them to other merchants in towns we went to and was able to haggle better prices.
A smith also traveled with us, he repaired our armor and weapons whenever they needed repairing. And there was one last amazing person, he was a fully trained mage. He didn't do any healing, but he was able to do up close, and far range attacks. He could wield any weapon at all. We all trained together to fight dragons, we were closer than brothers. We had almost killed her, when the dragon transformed into a beautiful woman. The men were so entranced by her looks they quit fighting her and just stood there under her mesmerizing spell.
She just slaughtered them one by one until there were only two of us left. Since they were npc's they couldn't revive like we can.
We were able to injure her enough that she wasn't able to transform into a dragon and we were able to run away.
My friend Simon who was one of the ones besides me who lived, killed himself afterwards, by hanging himself. He couldn't handle seeing all our friends die in front of us. I'm the only one left of my friends, and I want to be able to kill this dragon. I want my revenge." Sasha turns and says "Hello, I'm Sasha, and this is Winter. You said your name was Gerald?" "Yes, that's my name." he says. "Sorry, I overheard you guys talking about possibly wanting to go do the dragon quest.
It's going to be very hard, one or all of us might not come back alive. Which I'm hoping all of us will. When do you think we can leave by?" "Well, we're going past this town and over to the next one, we're trying to get Winter back home. She was taken by bandits as a slave, and I rescued her while on an escort mission a week ago. We were planning on leaving tomorrow morning, and going there, but since you want our help, and we agreed to help you, we'll just wait until that quest is done." Says Sasha.
Sasha and Winter finish their food, and Gerald keeps drinking. The two women grab their things and head to the bar to talk to the innkeeper about getting a room for the night. By this time, it's after 5 pm, Sasha didn't realize how long they had been talking to Gerald.
Sasha hands the innkeeper 3 coins for the room, and she's handed the key for room 3. It's at the back of the bar, closest to the bathrooms. They turn back around and pass Gerald again and Sasha says, "We'll meet you outside the inn tomorrow morning around 8 AM if that works for you." Gerald says, "That works perfectly fine for me." As he keeps drinking another beer. After sleeping for a few hours, Sasha and Winter wake up at 7:00 am and Sasha tells her "Grab your bow and arrows, I'm going to give you a really quick run-down of how to use it.
I know you said you remember how to do it, but it shouldn't take too long for you to do. Especially since we are meeting Gerald in an hour." Winter grabs the bow and quiver of arrows, and Sasha grabs her shield and they walk out of the inn and down the street a little bit towards a hill and field of grass. "Shoot a couple arrows towards the grassy hill, to warm up and then let me see what you can do!" says Sasha as she grabs her shield and holds it in front of her.
Winter pulls out 4 arrows, notches one and shoots. You can tell she's rusty at it, but by the fourth arrow she has got the hang of it again. "Shoot an arrow towards my shield." Winter grabs an arrow out of the quiver and notches it. She pulls the bow string back, and lets loose.
The arrow flies straight towards Sasha but at the last minute it veers off to the side missing its mark. "Good start, but let's try again!" Winter notches another arrow, and pulls the string back. She sights down the bow looking straight at the shield.
She lets the arrow fly, this time it hits the mark perfectly. The shield is just a cheap one, so the arrow pierces it and is lodged halfway through. "Great job!!" says Sasha excitedly. "That was awesome." Winter starts to get excited, "That felt amazing, I did a pretty good job though. I didn't hurt you, did I?" she asks. "No, I'm not injured, and we should probably head back to the inn and take a quick shower, because I'm sure it's almost time to meet Gerald." Says Sasha as she starts to pick up Winter's arrows for her, and hands them to her.
The two women hurry and head back to the inn, and quickly jump in the shower. They get redressed and grab all their packs and go outside to wait for Gerald. At 8:30 he finally shows up, he's slightly staggering, his eyes bloodshot and he reeks of alcohol.
"Hello ladies. How did you sleep?" he asks. "Are you even fit to do anything, right now?" asks Sasha. "Because you are still hung over, if we go try to fight this dragon you're going to get killed.
And we slept okay." The three of them start on their journey. Sasha says, "We have to go by the river really quick, we need more water before we go anywhere." Winter says, "We already have enough water, why are we going to the river?" "Don't worry about it, I have a plan to wake him up." whispers Sasha to Winter.
The three of them head out of town towards the river that's about. Gerald leans down to take a drink, and to refill his water pouch and suddenly feels a kick on his lower back. He pitches forward and before he's able to catch his balance he falls face first into the cold water. The river isn't that deep, it's more of a semi deep creek, but it's deep enough that Gerald is soaking wet.
He comes up out of the water sputtering and spitting out water. He's pissed and says angrily "Why the fuck did you do that? Now I need to go back to the inn and change my clothes." Sasha yells at him "You were shit faced drunk, and hung over this morning. I understand the pain of you losing people you care about, and you must have one major death wish, because no one in their right mind would come on a journey to fight and kill a dragon hung over!" Gerald has the decency to look ashamed, and he is slightly humiliated.
He has known for a while that his drinking has gotten a little more out of control each day, and everyone he has asked has turned him down when he asked for help in defeating the dragon. He just couldn't cope with it all. Until now. Sasha starts piling wood up in a small area, and lights it with her magic.
"Here, just dry off here for a while, we need to strategize anyway about how to deal with the dragon." Gerald takes off his boots and lays them by the fire, and takes a rag out of his pack and starts to wipe down and dry off his double-bladed axe. "Well, what would you like to know about the dragon?" "Everything." Says Sasha. Winter sits down next to the fire and starts to warm up, it's not too cold outside but the warmth feels good.
Gerald starts speaking in his low voice, it almost become hypnotic. "Well, the dragon is a female. She's about 78 years old, which is young for a dragon, though she doesn't look her age.
In human form she looks no older than 27. She is an ice dragon, she can shoot ice from her mouth in either her dragon form, or her human form. When she's a human you can tell something is different about her, because her nails are still dragon talons, as are her toe nails, she still has an electric blue tail, though she can make that disappear if she wishes, her hair is so long it falls to her ass and it's an electric blue streaked with a royal blue color.
Her eyes are as golden as the sun, and shaped like a viper, her ears are pointed, and she has blue dragon scales going down from her left shoulder, over her breast and down her stomach and back to her left hip and butt cheek.
She's weak against fire, arrows and swords. She is very quick, and has no problem in making herself appear weak to use it against you if she can. She's very beautiful, maybe the most beautiful creature in this side of the world." Sasha sits down listening to Gerald talk about the dragon.
"What's her name?" she asks him. "Her name is Ruined Ice Princess (I didn't come up with the name, some of the villagers did.)" he says. "So, tell me a little about yourself." She asks.
"Well, he says. I'm Gerald. I'm not a npc, I'm a person just playing this virtual reality game that just came out. I'm 26. I enjoy hanging out with friends, eating good food, and drinking every now and then, I work in a small officer building just doing menial office stuff full time, it's a fun job and I enjoy it. I've been doing it almost 4 years now. What about you?" he asks Sasha. "I'm 25, so you're only a year older than me.
I am also not an npc, I am playing this game through the virtual reality system. I enjoy all the same things that you mentioned, and I am an avid gamer and reader, I also have a small library." She says with a laugh. "I am also an amateur writer. I don't think I am very good, but I try. I work as a waitress in a diner, and I have been doing it for almost 3 years now, I'm trying to save money, so I can buy a better car, and maybe afford a vacation trip some time." "So weird question, but where are you from?
I think this is crazy that we met, and we are both just players in this game. I live near Fountain Ville." "Holy shit! I live right outside of there about an hour away in Greensboro!" "I just wanted to say wow, I never would have thought I would have met someone like you in this game. You sound amazing, and especially since you're a gamer like me." He said excitedly.
"Well this is awesome, that we met. Are your clothes dry?" Sasha asks him, while standing up. "Yeah, they're dry, and I'm ready to go now. Just, please don't push me in the river again." He says with a laugh. Sasha makes the fire go out with one wave of her hand, she shoulders her pack and they start to head away from the river and towards the fields, hills and caves in the distance.
The three of them make small talk, and after walking over the hills, and the fields start turning into rock, Sasha turns to Gerald and says, "Lead the way, since you know where to go." He steps in front of her and says "It shouldn't be too much farther now, only a couple more miles to go. They start to head up a barely seen path, it's more than an animal track than anything else, and they start to head higher and higher up this mountain. "What is this mountain called?" Winter asks Gerald.
"It's called Icy Draconic Mountain, since the Ice dragon we're trying to hunt lives at the cave at the top. She frequently comes out and freezes anyone who comes up here towards her cave. Or she would if she was able to transform herself. Lucky for us, Simon and I were able to injure her enough, that she hasn't been able to transform for a while" The three of them continue walking slowly up the mountain, weapons drawn.
There wasn't much cover unfortunately from anything that might attack them, though there were small rocks here and there. The three finally got to the top of the mountain, there was a huge cave right in front of them. It was pitch black at the entrance, big stones standing guard at the entrance. There was a roar of water from somewhere within the cave. Sasha uses her fire magic to create an orb in the shape of a lantern that lit up their path as they start to traverse into the cave.
The light made it easy to see the water running down the walls, there were giant stalagmites on the ceiling and bats were flying around their heads and the ceiling screeching in annoyance because their cave was being invaded by light and people.
They just ignore the bats and keep walking deeper into the cave, stepping over rocks and a small stream. To be continued.