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[UO Herald] The Beginning of the End - By EM Drosselmeyer

Discussion in 'UHall' started by UO News, Mar 24, 2011.

  1. UO News

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    Virtuebane towered over those who had followed him devoutly, his Bane Chosen, as he stood in front of them where they had assembled. They looked to him anxiously and eagerly awaiting his latest commands, curious as to the reason they had all been summoned here. Virtuebane spoke to the gathered in a voice that commanded their full attention, and all other chatter was silenced in a moment.

    “Our time is at hand, my chosen! The Britannian’s leader, Queen Dawn, has fallen! They are losing morale, and soon will lose everything! I have promised you all that your faith and your devotion would be rewarded. Are you ready to follow me in this final step towards our victory?”

    A resounding chorus of cheers and assent rippled through the vast army of Bane Chosen, the dragon riders rearing their ferocious mounts back on two legs while the hound masters commanded their pets to let out a harmonious howl. The clamor of metal on metal rang through the air as warriors and recruits smacked their weapons along their shields. Virtuebane’s face adopted as wide a grin as his inhuman features would allow.

    “You have all been chosen, and your loyalty will now be rewarded! You will serve me in a greater capacity than you could ever have imagined.”

    With that, Virtuebane extended his hands and gestured towards his army. At first, it seemed that nothing was happening, but then a change began to take place. Rank after rank of the Bane Chosen found their bodies pulsating with power, their forms seeming to shimmer. Then in a moment of dazzling brilliance, what had been an army of dragon riders, recruits, and hound masters had transformed. Before Virtuebane now stood a vast swath of new troops, completely loyal to their master. Virtuebane gestured with a hand, and the horde of ancient hellhounds all rang out in one voice together. With this task complete, he stalked away to finish his preparations.



    “And what would you have us do, Taranath, sit back and wait for the Bane and those who ally with them to destroy us?”
    The Meer Elder who was addressed gave his fellow across the table a sneer. “Do not presume to put words in my mouth, Shavanth. I believe that we should never have gotten involved with the Britannians, and that all our problems have been brought upon us by that same involvement! And now that Rathanra’s sent an envoy to the Ethereal Fortress without the consent of…”

    “I do not require your consent nor do I require the council’s consent to send an envoy. It is not a matter that required a vote to see where they stand. I sent one of my huntresses to see if they would stand with us or not. I have not pushed us to any action.” Rathanra interrupted coldly. “And as to your point, it was the Britannian’s assistance that allowed us to push back the Juka, and prevent our own destruction many years ago, if you recall. And so it is that even now, the Britannian’s have stood alongside us.”

    “Stood alongside us! Did you not see who was aiding the Bane in their attempts to eradicate us? It was these selfsame Britannians whose livelihood you now seek to protect! If the Britannian’s want assistance, they can seek it from the gargoyles.” Taranath’s words flew from his mouth vehemently as he continued to speak, a sneer masking his face. “The humans and the elves are not to be trusted! They have time and again shown their fickleness and evil!”

    Rathanra slapped her hands onto the table for emphasis, her fur standing on end in irritation. “I believe, Taranath, the case here is that you have clung too long to your ideals of non interference. Some of the Britannian’s helped the Bane, but many did not! Besides that, whether we help the Britannian’s or not is not the issue here. We are fighting for our own livelihood. The Bane Chosen have already made us a target, and despite this brief reprieve, I have no doubt that if they succeed in conquering the humans, we will be next. And with Queen Dawn dead, it’s possible that the Britannian’s will be further divided…this may be our last chance to claim victory against the Bane Chosen, and Virtuebane himself.”

    The Ancient Meer who sat at the head of the table slowly rose in the midst of Rathanra’s speech, and raised her hands in a calming gesture. “I believe that we have discussed this particular topic enough over the past weeks. Rathanra, yours and Taranath’s ideas have been clearly stated for all repeatedly. I also believe that more importantly than rehashing these things is welcoming our guest whom is waiting outside. I bid you enter our chambers.” This last was spoken loudly, and the doors opened to admit a young Meer huntress. The huntress kneeled as she reverently addressed the council.

    “Thank you for admitting me. I, Trathara the huntress present you with a missive from Ambassador Charpris, of the Ethereal forces.” With that proclamation, she rose and handed the sealed envelope over to Drathava.

    Drathava opened the envelope and read it silently, her face betraying no emotion as she did so. After a brief pause, she smiled benevolently to the young huntress. “Thank you. You have done your duty well, and you are dismissed.” Trathara bowed once more, and Rathanra thanked her as she left. Drathava then spoke to the other council members. “I believe that the time has now come for us to make a decision and stand by it. The Ethereal forces are unwilling to commit either way at the moment. That means that we are the ones who must take the initiative. I petition each of you that we should not wait until these Bane are once again kicking in our proverbial door. We need to bring the fight to them. Council members, your decisions?”

    Rathanra clearly nodded in agreement, and after a few moments thought, Shavanth also agreed. Taranath snarled and glowered, but in the end he too voted with the council’s majority.

    “It’s settled then. We have cast our lot, and we shall have to wait and see how the dice come up.”



    Travis watched the gathering of the Bane Chosen with careful eyes from his hidden perch. He’d been tailing their movements for several days and finally found where their destination was. He took careful note as Virtuebane himself addressed them, and watched with disbelief as the colossal giant somehow changed the people into a bestial form. He continued to watch as Virtuebane walked off in the other direction, and he very quietly snuck away in the opposite one. He spared a glance behind him, and as he turned back to face forward he fell down in shock as the beast himself was in front of him. “That’s impossible! You were…” Travis’ cry of disbelief was cut short as Virtuebane grasped and lifted him up in one massive hand. Virtuebane then hurled the spy into a tree, and the bone shattering impact caused Travis to see stars. As his vision began to clear he spat blood, and found he couldn’t move his legs. “*******…Kal Ort…” Travis’ chant was silenced as Virtuebane brought one massive hoof down in a devastating stomp that ended Travis’ life. It was then that a second, identical Virtuebane approached.

    “It seems that not all of the Britannian’s have lost their morale from their Queen’s death.” Both of the Virtuebane’s looked down to the glowing bit of azure crystal in their hands. One of them moved to check over the rest of the area, while the original knelt and turned over the pulped corpse of Travis. “You should be grateful for the privilege to have died at my hand. Your entire world will be mine…since it seems that none of your defenders carry the sword that wench Dawn imbued with Humility, or they would have used it when I took the crystal at the funeral. And because of that, there is nothing left that your forces can muster to cause me the slightest problem.” Virtuebane chuckled darkly to himself before standing once more, and he regarded the corpse again. He took a moment to gather up the lifeless body in one hand, and in a few massive strides hurled it into the midst of the hellhounds. With a noise like the ripping of wet canvas, the body was quickly devoured. Virtuebane then strode towards the area where the rest of the identical Virtuebane’s were gathering. Now was the time to claim a lasting victory over those who stood in his way.



    More...
     
  2. Amber Moon

    Amber Moon Seasoned Veteran
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    Seems rather out of sync with the events on Origin which I am familiar with...

    *scratches head*
     
  3. Viquire

    Viquire Crazed Zealot
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    Very well written. *applauds*
     
  4. kelmo

    kelmo Old and in the way
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    Good luck! *wonders if Siege falls below the radar again*
     
  5. Demonous

    Demonous Rares Fest Host | Ches Jul 2010
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    woot chessy EM represent ! good job dross
     
  6. Martyna Zmuir

    Martyna Zmuir Crazed Zealot

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    FAR superior fiction to anything else put out this year.

    This piece and the Scalis story is the bar all future fiction should be measured against.
     
  7. RawHeadRex

    RawHeadRex Slightly Crazed
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    made my neeeeples hard :p

    uh oh im in trouble...
     
  8. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    Well done.

    -Galen's player
     
  9. olduofan

    olduofan Guest

    this is really good, but when and will we see this in game?
     
  10. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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    Interesting story!

    Can you please remove the wrong apostrophes (like "Britannian's")? It somewhat hurts my eyes. ;)
     
  11. Well written.

    But I thought the bane event was over?

    2,687 defiliers spawned.

    4356076 crystal spawned and sashes.

    over 3267 armour sets spawned.


    Is that what the event was about?
     
  12. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    Nope.

    Virtuebane is still alive.

    One of the bad things about this event cycle is that on most shards it's been so occasional and so scattered that it's hard to keep track of. Great Lakes has been an exception, because the EMs there picked up the ball and ran with it, and added a great deal more depth and meaning and intensity to the cycle.

    For many reasons I feel that the switch to shorter and less epic story arcs, which the team has mentioned, is the correct decision.

    But that's later....For now we still have to kill Virtuebane.

    -Galen's player
     
  13. Mapper

    Mapper Crazed Zealot
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    Virtuebane is still around.

    EM on Europa said last night that a call to arms to strike would be ordered very soon. So some sort of finale event due. :lick:
     
  14. whiterabbit

    whiterabbit Stratics Legend
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    OMG weees gunna dies again and again
    ozog




    very well writen, meees peepers could not stop reading
     
  15. Martyna Zmuir

    Martyna Zmuir Crazed Zealot

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    Unless it means that we will get less official fiction and/or chances to interact with the story in a meaningful way.
     
  16. Maybe I am kind of wicked, but I love the part that Dawn was killed! At least that's someone not many ppls were expecting during that time and it brough some excitment on the storyline....

    It seems the end of Virtuebane is coming shortly.... and I feel sorry about it.... personally, I think what ultima storyline lacks of is a STRONG bad guy. :scholar:
     
  17. canary

    canary Guest

    A lot of people hated Dawn. Much of that comes from the meta fiction and dev team driven events made her look like a moron.

    Malachi, GL's EM, tried his darndest to make Dawn a viable, likeable, competent character, but even then it was not by any majority whatsoever that she was accepted due to the meta fiction and events surrounding her that the main team dictated. And when your option is to back and support a character who consistently makes stupid decisions it makes players, especially 'good guy' players, look just as dumb for having to go with it. Though it appears on many shards there were still good guys abound who were able to call a spade a spade, though by the meta fiction were still having their hands tied.

    I would say there is still a sliver of a chance she can be brought back, but honestly? I hope not. She serves better (imo) as a symbol of something than an actual, existing persona. I mean, she was required to do some things that were really, really dumb.

    And I agree we need more strong evils in the game, rather than simply lurking in the shadows for years on end.
     
  18. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    I never liked her because they had her kill Blackthorn - I thought it was a waste of a good villain, but then again there was a lot of stuff that went on around the Blackthorn storyline(s) that was tacked on that maybe shouldn't have been tacked on.

    One good thing with the shorter arcs is that we hopefully won't get into stuff that takes years to resolve.
     
  19. canary

    canary Guest

    Agreed, not only do casual players get lost with loooong storylines but it seems that often the UO themselves forgets things, LOL.
     
  20. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Even if the dev teams remained the same, you can write yourself into some serious corners if you have these huge story arcs that span years and that may involve the deaths of major figures.

    I mean I know UO is a different timeline from the later Ultimas, but Blackthorn was such a major character that it just bugged me the way he was killed off. If you were to pick between which of those two - Dawn or Blackthorn, would still be around over a decade later, I'd pick Blackthorn in a heartbeat.
     
  21. Martyna Zmuir

    Martyna Zmuir Crazed Zealot

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    Remember, Blackthorn was killed off for a similar reason to why Lord British left for the Void. Starr Long was no longer with UO, and Blackthorn was "his."

    Also, Blackthorn wasn't much of a leader. He toadied for a greater evils.
     
  22. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    *nods* In Ultima Prime, the Shadowlords. In UO, Exodus.

    I am actually not a fan if the idea of a consistent, recurring villain that never dies. I prefer the Buffy the Vampire Slayer approach, a big villain for awhile, then it's defeated, then another one next season. Sure you could say that The First Evil was recurring but even it was defeated eventually and, at least as far as I recall, it wasn't like he was behind everything, he just appeared periodically then finally came into focus himself.

    The In the Shadow of Virtue story arc wasn't bad; just executed questionably.

    In outline, it's actually kinda cool.

    Magincia destroyed, as incidental to the coming of the Shadowlords. Years later, the force behind the destruction finally reveals itself. This force, Virtuebane, exists to subvert as much as to defeat the Virtues. It offers us cool rewards for fighting on its side, then gradually reveals itself.

    Remember, Mark said the theme of the story arc was, "how good are you when no one else is looking." In other words: What goes on in the shadow of virtue, rather than in its direct light. We pick sides in the Ophidian/Bane war on the basis of getting rewards; we attack the Meer, on the basis of getting rewards; and sooner or later we realize that at least some of us have misread the signs and have picked the wrong side. If you look close you'll see that the rewards slowly shifted; fighting for the Bane side offered better rewards at the outset (the Wyrm Bracers or whatever they were called; the customized, corrupt Book of Truth), then eventually the good guys' rewards were clearly superior. To the point where even the reward that is triggered by negative karma came exclusively from fighting VB's forces.

    This is a great concept.

    However, key points of the storyline's moral core were far, far too easy to miss. And that led to a lot of totally unnecessary and hurtful confusion about what was going on and why.

    A triumph of conception. A failure of execution.

    I like that we're shifting to shorty story arcs....Let the big villains rest for a couple of years.

    In a couple of years when things stabilize, and I am indeed reasonably confident UO will still be around in a couple of years, they can launch a big storyline wherein we finally kill that ***** Minax. I'm glad it wasn't her this time, she's more of a full-on assault villain (as I recall anyway) and a lot of what went on in this arc was all wrong for her, but sooner or later the wench needs to have her guts ripped out (by a really nice imbued Leafblade of course).

    But give it a couple of years. Hey team, write this down: "The Abyss Hath no Fury: The Second Revenge of the Enchantress, storyline 2013."

    -Galen's player
     
  23. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Blackthorn was around before Starr Long joined OSI/EA. Actually, probably before Starr Long was even a developer, since I think Blackthorn came about before Ultima VI. I didn't like the way Blackthorn came into UO and was portrayed in UO - I thought he was a much more interesting character in the Ultimas.

    I guess in a way, Blackthorn is still with us, since it was the expansion based on him that introduced the virtues into UO as well as the ability of players to affect in-game events, and those have both followed interesting paths that are still playing out even now.

    I like the idea of Minax driving a future expansion or story arc. If they redo the quest system to be more meaningful, it might be interesting to tie part of it into a Minax-driven story arc. It wouldn't be bad if they let it play out over say 1-2 years maximum. I know that sounds like a long time, but it would depend upon how it was introduced into the game and how Stygian Abyss plays out - it's a year and a half old and there's still things left to do with it. It would have to be like a hard limit of 2 years maximum - 100% resolved.

    Speaking of old Ultimas, sounds like EA is trying to corral Ultima IV on the web:

    Concerning Ultima 4 | Ultima Aiera
     
  24. Martyna Zmuir

    Martyna Zmuir Crazed Zealot

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    Right, but Blackthorn was 'only' played by Starr much like LB was 'only' played by Garriott. When the two left, so did their avatars.

    Blackthorn was far more interesting after The Serpent Isle, though how he became the Guardian's lapdog after finding humility with the Xenkan Monks is a bit of a mystery.


    Exodus would make a far better long-term villian for UO, IMHO.
     
  25. G.v.P

    G.v.P Stratics Legend
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    qft :D go Dross!