Fane stood inside a massive wood-panelled hall with a high elf, an orc, and a mouse person. Tables crowded with a variety of beast people, elves, and other races sprawled across the big room. A few waved and called out to Ishan and the team.
“Who’d you invite into the Jeweled Lantern, Bostock?” A tall male human greeted the group. Fane turned between Ajay and Ishan, wondering which one went under the player name Bostock.
“New player who’s never been in a nerve suit. A friend.” Ishan waved to Fane.
“Take it he hasn’t even registered a name yet?”
“Not yet. We wanted to get his level assessed.”
“Right. Carplady’ll help you out. You know the drill. Nice to meet you, newb. I go by Chip on here. I act as a mod in Jeweled Lantern. You get trouble from the older crew, you let me know. But you’ll meet my axe if you give us gruff.” The man pulled a cartoonishly large double-bladed axe from an invisible space to emphasise the point.
“Noted.” Fane waved a goodbye and followed Ishan to a counter where a woman with dog ears greeted them.
“Hey, Lady. Got a bit of time to register a new member?” Ishan leaned against the counter.
“Sure, Bostock! Let me pull up his gear’s creds and I’ll get his form filled out. This his own gear or?”
“No. He’s borrowing one of mine.”
“Alright, so a server account then. Ah, found the ping. Okay. Here you go. Fill this out.” The dog woman pushed a silver rectangle towards Fane. A sensor in the nerve gear picked it up and translated it into a window. It was a basic form, asking for name, sex, and gave him an option of spells, armour, and other characteristics. “Hey, it has this name, Lamp Sleeper. Is that what you were thinking, um…I actually don’t know your player name.” Fane turned to Shelly’s character.
“Oh! I completely forgot. Here, if you look above our head for a minute, a coloured name shows up. The colour shows your level.” Shelly pointed to a spot over her head. A second of concentration revealed a yellow font. “Mrs. Potter?”
“That’s me!” she waved.
“And you’re yellow?” Fane continued.
“Been in here for five years. I’m finally a level twenty!” She preened her lace bell sleeves.
Fane turned to look at Ishan’s player name. “Bostock45. Yours is like a lavender kind of shade.”
“Yep, level 30. The colours increment every 10 points you go up.” Ishan nodded.
Ajays was red. “LarimdaBoy?”
“It’s admiral boy backwards.” Ajay rubbed at his arm in embarrassment. “You’re red. Where does that put you?”
“I’m level 40. I might have put in a few more hours over vacation last year.”
“Why can I understand you so clearly?” Fane checked his setting menu to find it set to English.
“There’s a translator control in this that renders our voices into whatever language you set your preference to. So, Ajay and I can speak New Punjabi, and you wouldn’t realize. Or, we can go play on the BeijKong server, and you’d be able to play with them without the need to know Canton. Convenient, right?”
“Yeah.” Fane turned back to his form. “So, my guess is that you won’t know my level until I set a name in here?”
“Pretty much.” Shelly, Mrs. Potter, shrugged.
“Right, give me a minute to think so I don’t feel silly having ya’ll call me something.” Fane stared at the form, mind drawing a blank. A nickname from the base came to mind. “Red King” he tried. The system pinged back a denial. It was already registered. “RedKingsRightHand” he tried next. It accepted, throwing a waiting wheel up on his form while he selected his starter weapons and spells. There were quite a few to work through. More than he had expected.
“Holy crap, man! That’s just what the gear picked up?” Chip stared over the top of Fane’s head.
“It says level 92?” Fane asked.
“RedKingsRightHand? Mind if we shorten that to RK?” Shelly asked.
“Yeah. Thought I’d just go with Red King, but it was already taken.”
“Riiiiighty then. You got a gold hoard for that level range, newbie?” Chip asked.
“How do I check that?” Fane patted down his pockets.
Ishan taught him how to flick his gloves to open up his inventory storage and activate his spells. Fane told him how much he had as a starter set and the list of spells.
“At least it makes sense to your starting level. I mean, if I was a level 92 and started with three spell slots and a throwing knife, I’d be so freaking frustrated.” Ishan shrugged.
Carplady let them into the testing grounds where Fane learned how to utilize his controls, and proceeded to scare the crap out of his teammates.
“I thought you said he was a bard,” Ajay complained at Shelly.
“That’s what the orb said,” she protested.
“It’s in my form. A Lamp Sleeper Bard.” Fane nodded, flicking a line of fire at a mannequin where it burned away along the wall to sear the rest of them on either side. “Ok, why can’t I just hit the one?”
“Your class level?” Ishan grumbled.
“No. I mean, why can’t I control it down to pinpoint. I don’t like it.” Fane shook his hand and stared at his fingers like that would tell him how to achieve the accuracy he desired.
“That takes a bit of practice. There are sensors on your glove, and depending on where you press will refine where the fire goes.” Ishan settled on a bench to the side of the field.
“Did you want to take me out of here and go after a dragon?” Fane tried again with the fire, this time flicking the fingerprint of his middle finger gently with his thumb. He only took out half the mannequins this time.
“Dude, at our levels, compared to yours, we’d just kite monsters and die. I’d need to get you into a different guild to actually see you go up against a dragon and then sit on an obs-screen to watch it so I didn’t just KO this avatar.” Ishan leaned back against the wall and sighed in frustration.
“Always behind the scenes?” Ajay chuckled.
“Seems to be a curse when I’m around this man.” Ishan nodded.
“But I want to see it.” Shelly joined in.
“Same. Alright, let’s go talk to Black Parrot and see if they’ve got a team rounding at your levels. Chip came over from them when they started only accepting players over level fifty.” Ishan rose and stalked out of the training grounds.
Chapel Orahamm (C) 2022-2023. All Rights Reserved.
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