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[UO Herald] Stirrings in the Dark

Discussion in 'UHall' started by UO News, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. UO News

    UO News RSS Feed
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    By Vincent Hatcher

    A lone and hooded figure walked through the streets of the Royal City, a living ghost among the shattered buildings and empty streets. Crushed, useless wings hung like wilted petals from its back; silent and broken, Zhah was a pale, shattered shadow of her once powerful self.

    The broken and mangled bodies of her people littered the streets, their blood staining the very ground they had fought so valiantly to defend. In the end, it had all been futile. All around her, the agonizing screams of those who had not been fortunate enough to die quickly assaulted her ears, damning her for failing them. She clutched her hands to her ears, shaking her head like a madwoman, wishing that the cries would end and the tortured remnants of her people would be granted the one solace remaining to them: death.

    Zhah closed her eyes as the tears began to fall again. How had this come to pass? She had been so careful, so diligent. For the past thousand years, she had pushed herself beyond the limits of her own body and willpower, honing herself into a potent weapon. Sacrificing any semblance of comfort or happiness, her life had been consumed by one desire: the eradication of the Void and its threat to her people. Her relentless studying, training, and determination had granted her countless victories against the darkness but, when the battle she had been training for came to pass, she had been defeated as if she were naught but a wingless babe armed with a feather.

    She was so lost in her misery that she did not hear or notice the massive, hideous daemon that descended from the sky behind her, a twisted smile upon its grisly visage. Cursing herself, she was oblivious to everything but the suffocation of her own failure. It was the cessation of the screams she had only moments ago been praying would end that brought her back, but it was too late. Seeing the shadow that eclipsed the light behind her, she spun around to face her assailant, knowing that it the Defiler had finally found her.

    The daemon’s smile grew into a maniacal laugh is its claw, covered in blood, reached out to her…

    …and she shot up in bed from the nightmare, a cry escaping from her. Zhah desperately scanned her surroundings and clutched the sheets to her chest, trying to calm the anxious beating of her heart. The cool night breeze chilled the beads of sweat that glistened across her scarlet skin, returning her to reality.

    As her breathing became even, the gargoyle queen gazed out the nearby open window, surveying the horizon of Ter Mur. It was a beautiful, calm night, and there were no burning pyres lighting up the night and no screams carried upon the wind. Relief filled her, and she sighed, realizing that her people were safe.

    For now.

    Zhah knew that it had not just been a dream; it was a message, and one that she must heed. Rising from her massive bed, she quickly threw on a robe and strode to her bedchamber door. Pulling the doors open, she leveled a penetrating gaze upon the two guards stationed outside. Turning to her, they bowed with respect to their Queen.

    ‘Summon Linzrom to me, please; I must speak to him at once.’

    The guards saluted her and one immediately departed to summon her guard captain. Zhah turned to the remaining guard and advised him to allow Linzrom immediate entrance to her chambers when he arrived.

    Returning to her rooms, Zhah immediately began donning her armor. When the knock came, announcing Linzrom’s arrival, Zhah was standing out on her balcony, her gaze concentrated off in the distance, as if she were trying to make out something in the night. As instructed, Linzrom did not await her invitation to enter but strode into the chamber, a concerned look on his face.

    ‘My Queen?’

    Pulled from her silent reverie, the Gargoyle Queen turned to her guard captain.

    ‘The Defiler is stirring.’

    The Guard-Captain was a seasoned warrior, hardened by battle, and not one used to fear. Nothing else Zhah could have said would have conceivably instilled the dagger of ice that her words caused to run down the veteran’s spine.

    ‘Are you sure?’

    Zhah nodded, her eyes distant.

    ‘I dreamt of him this evening, Linzrom. In truth, it seemed more a vision than a dream, of what will come to pass if I fail.’

    ‘I take it you are departing once again?’

    ‘Immediately. I will be gone only a few days, but I would like you to send a regiment of troops to the Athenaeum. ‘

    ‘The Athenaeum, my lady?’ The captain’s voice now held shock; the queen had forbidden any but herself from visiting the isle centuries ago.

    ‘Yes, Linzrom. I would go myself but it is more important that I resume my gathering. I will reactivate the portals so that they may reach the isle. I want them to investigate the entire isle, along with the spell site, and report back immediately if they find anything out of the ordinary. I cannot shake this feeling the dream left within the pit of my stomach….I fear we may have even less time than we hope.’

    Shaking, the guard captain nodded his assent.

    ‘It will be done, my lady.’

    ‘Thank you, old friend. Please leave me now, as I would like a few moments to myself before I depart.’

    Linzrom bowed gracefully and exited the chamber. Zhah stepped out onto the balcony, bracing herself against the railing. Her gaze travelled over the buildings of the Royal City, and she smiled at the breathtaking beauty of her city at night. Her gaze met the horizon, and the smile slowly faded from her face. Glancing in the direction of Athenaeum Isle, the dread that had been plaguing her since she awoke flared up once again.

    ‘I will not let this city fall to you, daemon. This time, I will defeat you.’

    Taking a deep breath, the gargoyle queen launched herself into the sky and flew off into the night, her destination known only to her.





    More...
     
  2. King_Fisher

    King_Fisher Journeyman
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    Dun Dun DUNNNNNNNNNN!!!!


    Time to call out The Bat Squad!
     
  3. Yalp

    Yalp Guest

    Rut-roh!
     
  4. nynyve

    nynyve Guest

    May I cordially recommend Diana Wynne Jones "The Tough Guide to Fantasy"

    It may spare us another demonic, leathery winged avians, dark lord trying to destroy the world, major cataclysm that wipes out half the people we are supposed to save. I am now taking bets on which major city is next on the destruction list.

    What I am saying here, is that the way to liven UO up is not yet another invasion. This is not a "When all else fails have someone/something come through a gate/alternate plane/void/abyss" situation.

    The last major event I played in was camped, full of lag, dominated by players looking for cash, designed for ultra powerful players, and gave the impression of: "Please take a number. The quest giver will be with you shortly." The last event we inadvertently participated cost our characters millions of gold due to a game glitch. Thanks to the policy "Of not replacing missing, lost, or stolen items," we were forced to spend real life cash to replace our things--something we would normally never do.

    Frankly I feel left out.
     
  5. olduofan

    olduofan Guest

    if they are going to have an invasion I would like to see more items like the colored armor weapons of generals and spell books also if they going to destroy anther city rubble would be cool. maybe a new mount or just put the dread mares back in
     
  6. Sevin0oo0

    Sevin0oo0 Guest

    I remember those, had a few sets too. Cal said they'd have a use. Never heard what they were for, and finally just threw them in the trash
     
  7. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
    Reporter Professional Governor Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend Campaign Supporter Royal Knight

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    I would like to see the Dread Mares given a permanent home... Somewhere they can spawn freely.

    I'd also like a place to tame the Fairy Dragon... But maybe that's just me.

    I'd like Skree's to come in a variety of colors too...



    But enough of what I dream about...

    I'm more into what Zhah is dreaming up... Good story... gives me pause and makes me wish to prepare for her call to arms.
     
  8. Ancient Sosarian

    Ancient Sosarian Journeyman
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    Hail Sosarians,

    Are we expected once again to pour ourselves into a predetermined outcome ... involving garbage and pies???

    Or to merely die a Thousand death's losing insurance gold and items to bugs the demigods refuse to fix???

    164 months, yet increasingly I struggle to find ANY reason to visit my Beloved Sosaria!!!

    I am long past fed up with facing Immortal or near Immortal foes who one hit kill us for weeks only to then have the antagonist disappear to be trotted out another day.

    It is true that I want content that is interesting, rewarding (satisfying not items) and FUN, but we NEED something that brings New and Returning Players to swell our populations.

    Give us FUN for however long we may have. Give us decades more if possible. But give us more than garbage and pie!!!!!!!!!

    An SoS
     
  9. nynyve

    nynyve Guest

    So is black obligatory for Queen Zhah's funeral? Or will somber colors do? Has the date been set yet? Who is the official heir?
     
  10. Viquire

    Viquire Crazed Zealot
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    This actually smacks of the presence of a "live" team working on weekly additions and a story arc.

    Good Lord, I can only hope. So, hmmmm, that might bare a little looking into today. This is the part of the game I love the most.
     
  11. olduofan

    olduofan Guest


    maybe we could all show up died and the color would then be grey rolleyes:
     
  12. nynyve

    nynyve Guest

    Well I commend your optimism. I don't think that even with live teams that there can be significantly different outcomes on different shards. The "outcomes" have already been decided and will likely be based on player participation and performance.

    Ask anyone who played on Legends during the time there was a live event at the conclusion of another invasion. The outcome: Yew became a swamp. The reason--enough players didn't participate in the live event to stop it. This is not speculation--the Devs at the time told us this outright.

    I find this performance art of the worst kind. Players who elected to have a life outside of the game or not participate in an event that didn't interest them were punished for their non participation. This is why, although I own the Abyss Expansion, I have not entered it. After paying for the supplement, I resent being told that my characters have to jump through yet more hoops (performance art again) to enter the dungeon.

    On the other hand, any over powered characters with fast cons will probably reap rich rewards.

    I know I sound cynical. But my overall take on stories and in game plot lines is that I find them unnecessary. I have been playing for 10 years, and the only supplement that I have enjoyed is the Samurai Empire. My characters can always find things to do and tell their own stories. That's just my view. Sometimes, in fact, I resent the game fiction merely because I am so busy and have to read it to keep track of what's going on. I would rather be told: "Major bad guy is coming back. Queen Zah will probably die. Certain towns will be no go."
     
  13. Viquire

    Viquire Crazed Zealot
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    ...*blink*

    I was talkin bout pixil crack. Just sayin.

    *edit* BTW- the island portion of Ter Mur appears to be just as inaccessible as it has always been. I have seen no sign of porters in the queens palace nor in the barracks directly to the east of it.

    Moongate still has only one option for the Ter Mur facet.
     
  14. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    I have also advised them against having another potential cataclysm as the storyline; I think we need a couple of years of different kinds of storylines.

    However, this is a decently-written story, and that goes a long way with me. (Presentation goes a long way in fantasy, a genre where originality is pretty much a myth; even Tolkein had a lot of influences he drew from.)

    Also going a long way with me is that it is not Britannia's fate in the balance, but one of the other maps. To me that's a pretty major change, and a welcome one.

    -Galen's player
     
  15. Yalp

    Yalp Guest

    Does anyone but me remember the good ole days when Fridays would roll around, and you'd get comfy in your chairs and get your connection on, cause there would be some really cool "Five on Friday" release followed by some mini-events? We had such fun! We knew the shard would go down for a good 30 minutes while the patch went live, only to be followed by some exciting and shocking good times trying to defeat/defend/decipher/degrade someone or something?

    I wish those times were still upon us, and this storyline would involve that kind of game play!
     
  16. Tina Small

    Tina Small Stratics Legend
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    Who is the "Vincent Hatcher" that wrote this story? Does anyone know?
     
  17. Tina Small

    Tina Small Stratics Legend
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    Eh, never mind. I think he is a Senior GM. Check the UO Stygian Abyss credits....

    (And for whatever it's worth, I like the story.)