Boomslang Vin: Part 2 — The Tutorial
It’s a bit sloppy and longer than I wanted it, but here’s my rewrite of the Guild Wars 2 tutorial, closer to how I feel it should be. As always, comments/criticisms are welcome. I’m new to this style of writing, so any and all advice is helpful. As before, a video of the current tutorial (subject to change before release) is linked at the end.
“Everybody get to the Inn!” someone shouted, “We’ll protect you safe there!”
It was a Seraph Lieutenant. If anyone could fend off the centaur, it would be the Seraph.
I followed the stream of frantic villagers into the Inn in the center of town. Priests of Dwayna tended to wounded soldiers while families huddled together for comfort. Nobody paid me any mind as I weaved through people, looking for a shadow to hide in.
I felt a tug on my pants and looked down to see a young boy, staring up at me with red eyes set in a dirty face.
“Do you know where my mommy is?” he asked.
I knelt next to him, “Are you sure she isn’t in here?”
“I was out playing when they told me to come here. But my mommy was cooking! How will she know to bring the food here?” he spoke between his sniffles.
His mother was probably still in her home, in terrible danger if she was still alive. That meant this boy was in terrible danger of becoming an orphan. An orphan like me.
“Sergeant! There are more centaurs on the other side of town. Captain Thackeray’s calling for reinforcements at the garrison!” I heard a Seraph say.
“It must be serious if he’s asking for help, but I can’t spare anyone.”
The only memento I had from my parents was the broken amulet I wore around my neck. I didn’t even know their names. The Seraph couldn’t help find this boy’s mother, but I could. If I could find his mother and return her safely, I could save this boy from losing everything.
“Where is your house?” I asked him.
He pointed out the inn door. “Over there, on the hill.”
I recalled passing that hill on the way into the Inn. Several houses stood upon it, overlooking the garrison.
“I will go find your mommy and tell her you’re here, okay?”
“Really?” a smile stretched across his face.
One look at that smile was enough for me. “You bet,” I ruffled his hair and made my way to the door. My confidence surprised even myself, but if there was one thing I was good at, it was sneaking around. I’ve infiltrated enough hideouts to make sneaking past some dim-witted centaurs easy.
The hill was on the other side of a wagon-sized road. I was past it in seconds. There were several houses, but a tree had fallen on one of them, caving in part of the roof. I made my way for that one, first.
The door frame had warped a bit, keeping the door from opening. I found the nearest window and crawled through, landing in the living room.
I stepped through a bent doorway and into the shattered kitchen. A woman lay on the ground near a table, not visibly injured but unconscious. I ran to her side.
“Hey, are you alright?” I asked, seeing her start to wake as I lifted her body.
“I… yes. I think so,” she said once she came to, “What happened? Who are you?”
“The Tamini centaurs are attacking Shaemore. A tree fell on your house. Something probably hit your head and knocked you out.”
“The Tamini? Nicholas! My son, where is he? He was outside–”
“He’s safe at the Inn, I’m here to take you to him. Can you stand?”
“Yes, I–” the woman stood up, but faltered when she put pressure on one of her ankles, “Ouch, I think I sprained something.”
“Put your arm around my shoulder, I’ll help you walk. Do you have a back door out? The front door won’t open.”
“Yes, just there,” she pointed around the corner, “Though it leads to the garrison.”
I heard the sound of hooves nearby, somewhere near the house.
“That’s fine, we just can’t stay here.”
By the time we got out the back door, the centaur was at the front of her house, blocking our easiest path to the Inn. Only the path past the garrison remained open for us. I motioned to the woman to remain silent and led her down the hill to the garrison. If we continued following the path, it would lead us back to the Inn on the other side of the hill. Yet once we reached the bridge to the garrison, another centaur blocked our path, sword bared.
“We might have been safer inside my house,” the woman said.
I could abandon her, I thought, and run back the other direction. Yet I didn’t. I couldn’t. If she couldn’t run, nor would I. I would not leave her to die.
Something in the dirt caught my eye as it reflected the afternoon sun. It was a single, worn dagger. Whether centaur or human make, I didn’t know.
I came to Shaemore looking for a better life, not death from a donkey. I didn’t survive my years on the streets, dealing with gang politics and stealing food to keep from starving to death, just to die here.
The woman’s arm left my shoulders as she whispered a prayer to the gods. As if they still listened to us.
The centaur charged, and I did, too. I picked up the blade and rolled beneath a swing of the centaur’s blade. As I stood, I plunged the dagger into its abdomen. Warm blood poured from the wound and over my hand. I pulled the dagger from its flesh and the centaur fell.
I stared at the body, blood dripping from the blade in my hand, shocked at what I had just accomplished.
“Another!” the woman shouted.
I turned to see a second centaur coming down from the hill. It must have been the one from outside her home.
I Shadow Stepped to it and stole one of the pouches it carried. It was blinding dust. I threw the pouch to the ground and a black cloud surrounding the centaur and myself. It would only last a moment, but it was enough. I swung the blade at the centaur and cut open its flesh, but it was not a lethal blow.
The beast cried out and lunged at me. The blinding dust was already fading.
I managed to dodge, but a fair fight would see me killed.
An arrow whizzed by me and sank deep into the centaur’s chest. The beast dropped nearly instantly.
“The Seraph!” the heard the woman say. “Thank the Six! My son is at the Inn and–”
“The path to the Inn is blocked, you’ll have to stay here,” the Seraph archer responded, “the gates will open in a moment.”
My heart raced. I killed a centaur. I could hardly come to terms with it, but couldn’t escape the comfort I felt wielding the dagger in my hands.
“More come!” the Seraph said, “Help me defend the gate!”
It took me a moment to realize he meant me. Centaur approached from both sides, and he expected me to be useful?
I had killed one, I could kill another. And if I couldn’t, I would die. The boy’s mother would die. My dreams would die. I couldn’t let that happen.
I rolled back to avoid an arrow, and the Seraph landed one between the centaur’s eyes. Another centaur came close. I dodged its blade and sliced at it until it was dead. I may not have been skilled, but the dagger was quick and I was quicker. Blood splattered on my face, but I didn’t care. There was another centaur that needed to die.
We killed six or seven centaur between us, the Seraph more than I. I found the practice… exhilarating. Maybe I could find opportunity in Shaemore, after all.
“The gate is opening!” the woman said from the bridge and I remembered my original purpose. The Seraph and I helped her beyond the gates, though she seemed to be faring better now.
“You’re not much of a fighter, are you?” the Seraph asked once we were within the garrison walls.
“I’ve never done this before,” I admitted.
“Oh? Well in that case, perhaps you have potential. Have you ever considered joining the Seraph?”
“Man the defenses!” Captain Thackeray shouted. The Seraph rushed to defend the southern gates, the ones opposite where we had entered.
“Go help them,” the woman said. She was sitting on the ground against the wall, nursing her ankle.
“I don’t know how to fight,” I said.
“You’ve done well so far. You’ve already helped me, now they need it more than I do.”
I nodded. She was right, though I still wasn’t sure how much help I could be. I ran toward where the Seraph fought the centaurs. I Shadow Stepped in and stole another pouch, this one had something gooey inside. I threw it at the centaurs’ hooves and it released a type of acid, slowing the centaur and eating at their hooves.
The Seraph dispatched them quickly, but another wave came. I helped them fight and soon learned the best places to strike the centaur to cause the most damage and keep them bleeding for longer. I began to feel useful, something I’d never felt on the street, working for Two-Blade Pete.
“Enough of this! I will deal with you myself!” an incoming centaur shouted. The chief.
“Take down their leader!” Captain Thackeray ordered, and the Seraph began to attack him immediately. I quickly joined in.
He did not go down easy. Just when it seemed we might overwhelm him, the chief pushed us all aside and fled back across the bridge toward the barren fields beyond it.
We chased after him, determined to win.
“Pathetic humans! You think you can defeat me?” The earth rippled out from him and two massive stone hands erupted from the ground near him. The hands held a massive ball of energy between them. Chunks of earth rose up and circled around it like a whirlwind.
“By the Six!” I said, “What is that thing? It’s huge!”
“That, soldier, is a threat,” someone said from next to me. I turned to realize it was Captain Thackeray himself. “And we’re going to take it down. Forward!”
Soldier, huh? The Seraph charged with their Captain. Adrenaline urged me forward, but sense held me back. I could die here. In fact, it was very likely I would die. But if I didn’t fight, if I stood here and let the Seraph handle it, what did that make me? A coward. Someone who would rather let the Tamini, let this earth elemental, consume a defenseless village instead of fighting for it.
I didn’t know much about fighting for other people, people I would steal from on any other day, but I knew about being defenseless, and I was tired of it. Maybe if I made a stand here, I could make a stand against Pete. Maybe I could get out of the gangs. Maybe I could get off the street and into a home. Maybe I could be something more than a common thief. Maybe I could find my parents. Maybe.
Those thoughts fueling my courage, I ran at the elemental. As little as I knew about fighting, I knew even less about fighting a giant rock. Nevertheless, I stabbed and slashed and thrust my dagger into the stone, not knowing if my actions made the slightest difference.
One of the heavier stones flying around collided with my side, throwing me off-balance.
I grabbed my side in pain as something else grabbed my shoulder and threw me backwards. It was a lesser elemental, and this one was out for me.
I tried to stand, but was too hurt.
The lesser elemental came straight for me.
I was certain I was dead, until another Seraph came to my aid. She dispatched the lesser elemental with ease and helped me to my feet. Without waiting for a thanks, she jumped back into the fray.
She saved me as if it was as much her job as killing centaur.
“Fight!” Captain Thackeray’s voice echoed over the battlefield, “Fight for everything you hold dear!”
I turned to help a Seraph destroy a lesser elemental, then returned to hacking at the large one. The hands crumbled a few seconds later.
“It’s not dead yet!” Captain Thackeray shouted.
The massive ball of energy they once held pulsed in the sky far above our heads, expanding and growing brighter. The chunks of earth that had floated around the hands clung to the energy ball, defying gravity.
“Brace yourselves,” Captain Thackeray said, “I think it’s going to explode!”
I tried to duck and cover my head, but it was too little too late. The last thing I saw was the tremendous flash of light before the entire thing came crashing to the ground.
To be continued…
Posted on May 4, 2012, in Fun and Games, Ishy Writes! and tagged Boomslang Vin, Guild Wars 2, If this was a book this is not how I would write it, Video game fan-fic. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.