To New Heights - Chapter 1 - BoulderDash (2024)

Chapter Text

To New Heights - Chapter 1 - BoulderDash (1)

You played a Sylvari Berserker, a plant person who was born from The Grove. Sylvari were peaceful, your motto was “Everything has a right to grow,” but that included kicking evil’s ass to prevent them from stopping others from growing.

You had a mushroom cap for hair, bright red with white gills. You chose an innocent but confident looking face for your avatar. Her white body and red head resembled a red russula mushroom, which led to her name. Red Russula. Original, you know.

You wore heavy armor, in silver, gold, and red. You looked very regal if you didn’t say so yourself, with your lion-faced pauldrons and flowing white and gold cape. It took a long time to unlock the skins you wanted, but now that you were one of the last at the endgame you had time, money, and resources to acquire them all.

Berserkers as a class were f*cking tanky. Their health was low, but when you struck, you struck hard and fast. You raced against others’ health bars in a bid to kill them before they could do any of their more damaging spells. You had spells like <<Bull’s Charge>> and <<Whirling Axe>> to increase your movement speed temporarily, and your healing spell healed as much health as damage you caused.

Your guild specialized in roleplay, and you in particular enjoyed the mount system. You collected mounts and decked out your guild’s stable as soon as you could. You had a mount for every occasion, but your favorite was your Grand Lion Griffon. Griffons were known for being extremely fast, and you practiced trick flying for thousands of hours. A small group of friends you dubbed the Sylvari Soarers learned complex group moves. You were the in game equivalent of the blue angels but better in your opinion.

You walked among your mounts. The first four, your Haku Raptor, Jumping Bird, Kirin, and Floating Manatee, were given by your story quest. The rest were achievement or location based. You were proud to acquire all of the mounts offered by the game, including the fabled Moth Chagra.

Your mounts didn't offer any acknowledgement of your presence. You didn't expect them to. The dialogue mod only affects NPCs, not mounts.

However, their idle animations made immersion possible. They ate their food, stomped their feet, swatted imaginary flies, and made various animal noises.

You decided in the last bit of time to go on a jaunt on your Racing Turtle, a two person mount that allowed you to shoot projectiles from the rocket launchers on its shell. It also had a set of boosters that allowed it to fly for short bursts of time. It wasn’t particularly fast unless you used a speed boost, and it was hard to turn, but it was fun. You named it Tank after Rainbow Dash’s pet tortoise.

From there you enjoyed the scenery from your mount, navigating the rollerbeetle race track with only minor difficulty.

It was a beautiful game. You wish you could have seen a tree in real life, or grass, or dirt. The thought of clean water and space was alluring. None of the smog, and concrete of real life.

You made your way back to the stable and back inside.

Your damn guild hall sat empty, the proud days of community and merriment long gone. You were left to wait out the destruction of what you and your friends poured your life into. Well, your f*cking life, anyway. The others grew out of Yggdrasil long ago. Fancier games on better consoles were available now, cheap and plentiful.

But you couldn’t f*cking just leave what you worked so hard to build. Countless hours, countless memories in this hall. The resources you had to ass around to collect for the rollerbeetle and griffon race track, the birthday parties and raid planning.

Now, The Grove, a multi leveled tree which used to have Sylvari as plentiful as there were leaves on its great branches, fell dead for all but you. You and your guild’s guardians.

“Every f*cking thing I put my soul into, f*cking gone. Everyone I ever cared about, f*cking LEFT,” you rant to your NPC’s, pacing in front of them as they stand at military attention on the bottom floor.

You line up the guild’s NPC’s in a line to look at them all one last time. It was too bad you couldn’t don yourself with the finest your treasury had to offer, since you weren’t a high up member of the guild. The guild leader just stopped coming before he could assign the role to anyone else, and the officers left in a hurry after that. You couldn’t claim to be the true highest ranking commander, you only received that title because you were the last.

And truly, it wasn’t even your best achievement title. That was the title “God Amongst Mere Mortals” which took years for you to earn, much like crafting your legendary gear and weapons. Years that you can’t take back.

You felt resentful, but also nostalgic, in this last half hour. You felt a speech.

“f*ckin–…Elios,” you gestured to the radiantly white pegasus centaur, her flowing rose gold hair draped in flowers that accentuated her femininity. She was dressed in enchanted studded white leather battle armor covering her back and tender underbelly especially, but her wings were free. The light armor was to prevent hindrance for flying, but it was still intricately tooled and beautiful to look at. Everything about her was beautiful. She straightened at her acknowledgement. “You, my guardian of the ninth level of the great Grove, have always been our first damn line of defense against invaders. I am proud to say that none have ever gotten past you and your Valkyrie. I am grateful for your loyalty and your service. You have always been like family to me, and hold a special place in my heart as our first Guardian.”

You awaited your modded AI dialogue response. The delay really put a damper on RP, but it was the closest thing you had to friends in this game right now. It took a lot of care to mod the game in a way the developers wouldn't ban your accounts for.

“Commander, you will always have me by your side for anything you might need,” she says robotically. You sigh, you’ve gotten that response before. You were saddened by it, her backstory involved being rejected from her choir, living alone as an outcast for years before your guild stumbled upon her hidden location and bound her to your guild hall as your very first NPC. From there you built her minion army of holy flying unicorn knights known as the Valkyrie. You hoped she had some dialogue related to feeling happy for being part of your company. Seen as an equal.

You move on to Rohbin. Rohbin was an Orc, designed by guild member MaddHatter to be a civilized accountant in charge of the guild’s resources and numbers. Rohbin was written to be perspicuous and a problem solver. He was the brains and the brawn, able to use his mighty hammer to beat players into submission if need be. His lack of armor showed a muscled grey-green skinned chest covered in an arctic lion’s mane, his white furred pants and boots contrasting his color nicely.

“Rohbin, you have been there for me to help with my schoolwork on more than one occasion. Your math skills are unbeatable, your algorithm is fantastic. I would thank Nyan for creating you but…she’s not here,” you scoff, “anyway. You, guardian of the eighth floor, are f*cking irreplaceable.” Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry.

“I will always be there to support my Commander.”

You move through all your guardians: Huracles, your anthropomorphic magpie archer, the best sniper you had. Tera, your peaceful nature golem. Dream, your faithful Manticor priest with a temper. Phantom, your fierce Demogorgon. Aarin, your moody Mordrem guard with his loyal raptor-like steed. All the way to the head of your guardians. Omodamos.

Omodamos was your design. He was slender and unassuming, his fawn legs protected with digitigrade armor. He was a bard, able to play all instruments but he specialized in the mandolin because it was your favorite. He was your healer by nature, but he had a secret phase that would be unlocked if he lost half his health bar.

You made him kind, understanding, and patient. All the things you weren’t.

“Omodamos, I made you to be what I can’t. I hope that you can forgive me for all the work that entailed. I’ve always felt for you what I would call respect, pride, and affection. You’re my creation and the one I hold dearest to my heart because I put all that I am into making you. I’ll miss you the most when we’re gone.”

23:59:55

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“It’s been a pleasure fighting alongside all of you.”

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23:59:59

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00:00:01

“...What? We didn’t disappear?” You looked around, and patted your body.

Your body!? It felt solid.

“Commander?” Omodamos asked gently. That was weird. The dialogue AI wasn’t able to engage unless prompted, and it sounded way more fluid.

Well, it made RP a lot better.

“Something’s happened. Something big. We need to check to see what’s the same and what’s different.”

“I think that’s a wise decision, commander,” Rohbin, the Orc, agreed, nodding his head. Yeah, that wasn’t normal. This was all too…natural.

Before you could get an order out, the Grove began to shake.

A large piece of wooden roof came tumbling down, narrowly missing your group.

“Everyone, to me!” You command, and all rush to do just that. You grabbed the closest guardians and they all got the drift, putting a hand on each other so they were all connected. You use your ring to teleport to the ninth floor just as the ceiling began to fall to pieces.

The door is on the other side of the floor, the ring didn’t have the energy to teleport so many people all at once straight there. f*cking sh*tty guild leader giving you the cheapest guild ring.

“Run!” You shout, and all obey at once. Elios galloped with ease ahead, and you thought she might make it. She would have, if she hadn’t turned back. Why had she turned back? You look behind you to see Rohbin, tripped and writhing on the ground. You stop to turn as well and help but Omodamos catches you and slings you over his shoulder, continuing to run.

“f*cking hell how’d you get so strong? Omodamos! Put me down! That’s an order!” You struggle, which is difficult in your heavy armor.

Omodamos just glared at you.

“No.”

He ran swiftly to the other side, faster than the others due to his racial traits being deerlike. Which was unfortunate for you because you had less time to fight him and change his mind, unable to do anything but watch as your troops struggled to escape the enormous falling trunks and branches to make their way to the door.

You both reached it and swung it open, which destabilized the wall it was attached to.

Omodamos looked at you with a face you knew was bad news. As the wall crumpled, he pushed you out of the way at the last moment, sealing the rest of the Guardians inside with a final sickening crunch as the entire tower fell on top of them.

.

.

They…they could survive that…right?

No. None of them had guild rings of protection.

They would have survived, if you could have used the treasury to equip them. But you couldn’t. You didn’t have access. You couldn’t protect them.

Just like that, your forces were gone. It was just you. Alone. In a strange world, with none of your friends, in a strange body…

You fell to your knees, threw back your head, and cried.

-

After crying your fill, you picked yourself up by your bootstraps and went through the labor of looking for anything and anyone that survived the collapse. You used your magic to pick up rubble and called everyone’s names you could think of, but there was nothing.

A blue aura caught your eye, it was obviously some kind of shield. You got your hopes up, it could be one of the Guardians!

You quickly freed the shield from its wooden prison to discover the contents.

No, it wasn’t a Guardian. You felt a sting of disappointment.

It was a room.

The treasury, with all of its spells to ward against outside intruders and all manners of ways they may try to penetrate it, was still intact.

The door appeared in front of you.

And it recognized you as a successful raider, giving you full access!

There was something bitter about only being able to access it after losing everything and everyone.

Regardless, you stored everything you could get your hands on in your inventory. Better in your hands than some thief. Money, armor, weapons, even things you couldn’t wield.

Finding the mount armor and accessories was a boon.

There was nothing of note you found in your continued search for others, so you moved outside to see what outer buildings survived.

Most of them had, besides your winemaking hut. That was crushed by the mighty branches of the world tree. Well, what was left of the world tree.

You were excited to see if the stable survived. It was the place where the guild kept all of their mounts when they weren’t in use. It made the place feel more lived in. The Grove was the center of a small town that your Guild created.

There! The stable survived! All of your mounts! All your friend’s mounts!

You hoped they would let you take them.

“Hey there you guys, do you know me?” You questioned timidly, knowing that a majority of these creatures could seriously injure you.

Your Grand Lion Griffon that you named Doomfanger approached you and you forced yourself to calm your nerves. His black mane accentuated his golden body with white accents. His flowing peaco*ck-like wings and tail were glorious to behold. You tentatively reached a hand out for him to sniff, which he did.

Then, he broke out into purrs and rubbed his catlike body all over you, making you stumble and laugh.

With that, you used <<Stow>> to reverse summon your mounts in order to take them all with you and protect them from the unknown. Mounts in the game couldn’t die, but you had no idea what their HP would be in this new world.

Which left you all but Moth Chagra, essentially a celestial giant moth that breathes an acidic green fire at enemies. It wasn’t the fastest, but unlike your griffon that lost altitude over time, your Moth hovered above danger if need be.

Selene, the Moth, allowed you to mount her without issue, and took to the air when asked with a light click of your teeth.

You were glad for Selene, the desert would have been unpleasant for you, a Sylvari. Though you had resistance to extreme temperatures, the sun was still oppressive.

She rose gently and off you went, in search of what, you didn't know.

To New Heights - Chapter 1 - BoulderDash (2)

To New Heights - Chapter 1 - BoulderDash (2024)

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