Running was a good idea at the time but after ten minutes of constant pursuit, fighting probably would have been better. It would have saved them so much time and effort really. After all there was no real reason not to fight except that Korin was almost out of Mana and Bear was still recovering AP. It was Korin’s idea to flee and they managed to keep up their pace, but there was always a chance they could aggro any NPC on the way back. In truth all of this was Bear’s fault. Korin just wanted to get back to the tavern and get some rest but Bear had to get that Golden Axe; or at least try to get it. The drop rate was in the single digits and the axe itself wasn’t the best. Not to say it wasn’t great but there were others that didn’t require assaulting a mine. If it were a dungeon, they wouldn’t have followed them out of the instance but being simply a location on the map, they were not as fortunate. Korin couldn’t explain why he decided to go with Bear while they waited for Katlyn, Mora, and Wub Wub. Perhaps it was because he was bored or just that he wasn’t thinking. Whatever the case, he was now running through the forest while being chased by angry kobolds.
Kobolds weren’t particularly strong, especially in this region but they swarmed and that was the problem. They always attacked in groups. The MOB resembled a bipedal mole armed with pick axes and shovels. And you never found a Kobold on its own. If you did see one, there would no doubt be half a dozen nearby. Knowing this they should have waited for Katlyn, after all she was a far better healer than Korin; if for no other reason that she actually was a healer. Sure, he had a few spells but they barely held a torch to hers. His specs were devoted to DPS not healing and running into a Kobold cave without a healer was tantamount to suicide.
“I thought they were supposed to stop following us after we left their spawn location.” Bear shouted as he glanced behind him. They continued to follow, never gaining but never slowing either. He struggled to keep up with Korin, his Dwarven legs far shorter than his Elven friend’s.”That was before the world lock!” Korin screamed back. Unlike Bear who spoke with a deep, gruff roar, Korin voice was projected with a lilting quality. It was fairly similar to what it sounded like on the outside but he didn’t find that to be a particularly good thing. He never cared for the tone and the obvious frontal lisp that went with it. He sounded more Andre the Giant than Vin Diesel. Not to say it was a bad thing, he just would have preferred the latter.
“Don’t you have any potions in your bag?” Bear shouted.
“Yes I do, but if we stop we would initiate before I can access them!” Korin replied.
“Even with the shortcuts?” Bear called.
“They’re empty… thank you very much!”
The two kept a decent pace, but so did the Kobold group that were now over a mile outside of their territory. The two had led them from the mines of Gor where these particular Kobolds lived and into the Plains of Myra. The high canyon walls were replaced with expansive, rolling fields of lush green. The wind swept over the land, pulling at the fabric of Korin’s violet blue robe. The hood had fallen back the moment they started running revealing long pointed ears. He moved quickly, gracefully as he pumped his arms and legs. Bear wasn’t as fortunate as his friend. A thick beard, heavy plate armor and an axe that was almost the same size as him, left him feeling encumbered; though technically he wasn’t, and he moved with a more lumbering gait.
“You don’t have potions preset?” Bear called.
Shooting him an annoyed glance, Korin shouted in return,”I did but we used them all just to get through the mine. You said, ‘don’t waste time healing. Kill Kill Kill.’” His tone shifted to a mocking deepness, that held a more foolish quality, a Derpish quality as Korin often called it. The annoyance was obvious and Bear knew that he would be paying to repair everything and replenish their potion supply once they returned to town. After all it was his idea to raid the Mine and retrieve the Golden Pick Axe but he honestly didn’t think it would be such a problem. Especially since he actually managed to retrieve the Axe. Of course that wasn’t the first time he misjudged his skill and if it weren’t for Korin he would have been killed. So choosing not to argue, they kept running and prayed that the Kobolds would eventually give up.
In the case of Korin and Bear, fortunate favored the bold. As the two crested a hill, they ran saw three people running towards them. Never before had either felt such relief. One figure was tall, with a leather tunic and pants, wielding a crossbow, as a long pony tail trailed behind. Another was adorned in a white robe, clutching a staff in one hand and with a talisman bouncing from her waist. The third was a tall, lanky sort with long ears, a pointed snout and light blue skin. This figure was dressed in a leather tunic and slacks with a small dragon flying behind him. Seeing them, Korin and Bear changed course to meet up with the group.
“Do something!” Bear cried as they closed the distance between.
“Shoot her!” Korin shouted, boasting the worst Australian accent one had ever heard.
As they drew close, the woman in white waved her staff and instantly Korin and Bear both felt lighter. Their growing exhaustion was almost instantly gone as they were suddenly filled with a rush of energy. The gauges that appeared in the corners of their vision refilled, gaining both Health as well also their respective action pools. Bear, feeling a surge of power, skidded to a stop, kicking up clumps of dirt. Korin followed more out of reaction to Bear than any real desire to fight.
“Bear!” Korin scolded, more annoyed than afraid at that point. Bear said nothing, only screaming as he immediately ran back toward the Kobold group and initiating combat. Korin, rolling his eyes, removed the wand from its narrow leather sheath on his belt. Waving it around, it began to trace a purple line through the air, creating an ornate design that floated in front of him. It had taken him much time to learn the precise movements for such a powerful 3rd level spell. As the spell was complete, the symbol collapsed into a small ball before erupting outward casting a devastating Shadow wave towards the Kobolds killing three outright and dazing the others.
Bear took advantage of this reprieve and raised his axe over his head, bringing it downward into the closest Kobold with a two handed cleave. The blade ripped through the Kobold, rending it in half. He then pivoted and taking a horizontal slice, Bear activated his Whirlwind attack, slicing through the remaining dazed Kobolds. Those that weren’t cleaved in two were sent flying outward from the gale force wind that followed.
In spite of witnessing their fallen brethren the remaining Kobolds continued their charge. Prepared to assault the remaining enemies, Korin raised his wand to cast his Flame spell but felt a slight breeze kiss his cheek as crossbow bolt slammed into the one of the Kobold’s foreheads. It fell lifelessly to the grass, never to move again. Turning, Korin saw Mora lower her crossbow. Next to her, Katlyn was waving her staff and cast Ray of Light. From the sky, three beams of pure white light shone down upon three of the remaining Kobolds. With a brilliant flash, the Kobolds dropped to the grass to join their fallen brethren. The final Kobold continued to blindly attack them but Wub Wub raised his hand and the small greenish dragon flew forward. Opening its mouth it unleashed a surprising large jet of flame consuming the Kobold and turning it to ashen statue. With a light breeze, the figure was cast into the wind leaving only a shimmering spot where it once stood.
“Show off.” Korin cried as he slipped his wand into the pouch. Katlyn, Wub Wub, and Mora exchanged a wry smirk.
“So whatever happened to ‘we’ll meet you at the tavern’?” Katlyn said, in a mocking tone. Her gown was a flowing white with blue embroidery that framed her body. The hood was lowered this time revealing a long head of burning red hair. Bear glared at her, knowing she was mocking him.
“You guys took too long.” He shouted but much of this ire had been diminished by the fact that he was busy looting the bodies in search of items, coins, or any other type of resource that may come in handy. Kobolds of that level generally didn’t have much on them except a few coppers and some common trash, but every so often you got lucky. That was how Korin found his Stinger Wand.
“You know if you’re going to insult us, you could at least look at us when you do.” Mora told him as she tossed her crossbow away, almost instantly it vanished only to reappear on her hip. The short, pixie cut was new, something that neither Bear nor Korin had seen before. It was a good look but Bear certainly wouldn’t say it aloud.
“What were you three doing anyway?” Korin asked, turning back to his friend. The two exchanged a knowing glance and smiled.”Seriously?”
“What can I say?” Katlyn asked, wrapping her arms around her girlfriend.”She’s beautiful.” They shared a brief kiss as Korin turned away rolling his eyes. Bear paused in his pursuit for more loot, to watch the rather personal exchange.
“Nice.” He said with a whistle.
“Wub wub. Wub wub wub wub.” Wub Wub said gesturing wildly.
“He wasn’t with you, was he?” Korin asked shooting a thumb towards their troll friend.
“No we saw him in town, he was buying supplies.” Mora told him. Korin looked back to Wub Wub who ceased gesturing but instead folded his arms across his chest, clearly annoyed.
“We really should get on that Babel quest.” Katlyn noted as she glanced over to Wub Wub.”I mean he did it and so he can understand us, we probably should do the same. Especially if we’re going to be stuck here for an extended period of time.”
“But it’s funnier this way!” Bear said.
“Plus he was in the Beta and got to do the quest on his own.” Korin added as he joined the others who laughed along with him. Wub Wub glowered and raised several fingers and began to gesture.
“Four words.” Korin said. Wub Wub pointed to his ear.”Sounds like…” Wub Wub rotated his hand and shot the group a collective middle finger.”Well that’s just rude.”
“Hey don’t get mad at us because you chose the wrong race when you registered.” Bear said.”We said we were going to TROLL people not be Troll people.”
“To be fair, we didn’t want to troll people in the first place. That was all you.” Mora noted. Bear offered a dismissive wave.
“Well thank you for finding us.” Korin said returning to the matter at hand,”We probably wouldn’t have made it to town before they Kobolds caught us and I really didn’t want to deal the death penalty.”
“Or something else, like a Grazer Beast or a Roc.” Katlyn added. The plains, while open and vast, were home to many wild MOBs and while most didn’t attack indiscriminately, some were very hostile if they even caught sight of you. The aggro range was impressive at times.
“Well I think this has been a very productive day.” Bear said. Wub Wub simply rolled his eyes.
“Anything good?” Katlyn asked.
Bear swiped his hand upward and instantly a screen appeared several feet from his face. The screen was broken down into a twenty by twenty grid. The majority of the squares were full with icons and symbols that they all had grown accustomed to. Next to the grid were several other indicators notating various stats. One was his current health and Action Points. Another showed his current balance of platinum, gold, silver, and copper. Below that was a small figure that bore an exact resemblance to Bear that had small lines that were connected to various items of his armor and weapons with percentages indicating durability. At the top was the name Bear and his race, a Level 10 Dwarf Warrior.
“Someone got a bigger pouch.” Mora teased.
“We had to.” Korin said,”I was getting tired of having to port back to town just so he can dump off his trash. I even footed the bill for it because I was so sick of it.” Katlyn laughed, knowing how much Korin hated backtracking especially when it was due of laziness.
“How much did that put you back?” Katlyn asked.
“50g.” Korin said in a flat, annoyed tone.
“Jeez.” Mora exclaimed.
“Worth it though. We haven’t had to jump back all day.” Korin told them.
“Let’s see, I got…” Bear suddenly said analyzing his contents.”Nothing.” He grimaced slightly but knew that it wasn’t the end of the world.
“Besides the pick axe?” Korin asked. As the question reached his ears, Bear suddenly took great interest in what little valuables he had. Stroking his beard his eyes traced the lines on the stack of bandages in one slot, following the crosshatched nature of the fabric while wondering how long it took to design such an icon.”Besides the pick axe…right?” Korin repeated but receive no indication that Bear even heard him.
Swiping his own hand up the same menu pulled up like Bear’s only this time it contained his own belongings. Like Bear’s his was filled with the same format, his own items and accessories as well as his belongings that were in his inventory. At the top was the name Korin with the words Level 10 Elf Wizard. Touching a tab, the menu changed from the inventory and status screen to a list of words. At the top was colored text, one Orange, another red. Below those was greyed out text, some with a small circular arrow at the right of it. It was their quest log, displaying all quests that were currently open and those they had completed. At the top, the very first quest was a Dark Purple indicating an Epic quest: Freedom. Unlike those that bore a different color, save the gray ones, it was locked in the log, unable to be deleted or moved. It was bound not only to Korin but to the others and all players in the world. Korin touched the text that read: Kobold Down Under. The text expanded showing only one item of interest: Retrieve Golden Pick Axe. Next to it was a box that normally, if the task had been completed, would have check mark next to it. That box, however, was noticeably blank.
“Where’s the pick axe, Bear?” Korin asked, eyes alight with ire. Katlyn, Wub Wub, and Mora took a step back from him knowing that what was going to happen next would not go well.
“I thought…” Bear started, closing his menu,”You were…”
“Oh come on!” Korin shouted. The others roared with laughter as they all realized that the entire purpose for their journey to the Mines of Gor, was to get a quest item and no one picked it up.
“Hey it was an easy mistake.” Bear defended.
“You had one job to do!” Korin shouted.”It was your mission! Your axe! And you forgot it?”
“Well…” Bear started but couldn’t find the right words to defend himself. In truth there was nothing to defend. Instead he just shouted,”Shut up.”
They knew that all in all, the trip was a total waste. Not only did they waste an inordinate numbers of high level potions, bandages, and food, their weapon and armor durability was getting low, they got practically no experience and wasted half the day trying to run the mine by themselves. And after all of that, they had nothing to show for their work.
Seeing the obvious tension, Mora stepped between them. Korin was furious and Bear though covered most with hair, was red faced. It was embarrassing but they all had done something like it. The entire world was one giant learning experience and things could have been far worse than it was, but they were fortunate. Not many were stuck with their friends. Not everyone had that luxury. Even the one stuck as a race none of them understood was still handling things far better than most. They were together and though they may drive each other mad, they were still at your side.
“Relax.” Mora said smiling,”We can just do the mine again.”
“Yeah, it’ll be fun!” Katlyn added stamping her staff into the dirt.
“Wub Wub!” Wub Wub cried as his pet dragon that remained perched on his shoulders unleashed a high pitched squeal.
“Yeah, I guess.” Korin muttered as he was about to swipe his menu down when he noticed something in the menu once more. It was the same icon that had existed since the World Lock, since they had become trapped in their digital world. It was a small stone with no description, no quest information or flavor text. He tried to have it investigated in the Town of Aura and even the major human city of Targo but no one could decipher it. He tried selling it, trashing it, trading it but it was soul bound and unsellable. He didn’t know where it came from or what it was for but all he knew was that he was stuck with it. The most annoying part was that it took up valuable real estate in his inventory.
There was a brief pause as Korin considered this. While he hated the idea of doing the run, again, it would certainly be a lot easier with the added damage. With Katlyn acting as healer, Korin could go back to what he was best at doing: DPS. Mora, Bear, Wub Wub and Korin could wipe out any Kobolds that got between them and the Golden Pick Axe. Nothing would stop them.
“Man, it sure is pretty out here.” Katlyn said as she looked out upon the plains. The sun was well overhead, a light wind never seeming to cease its flow. The flowers that filled the plains swayed and danced; some even shedding their seedy petals to take root elsewhere and bloom. In the distance were several herds of Taurins, a cross between bulls and buffalos. They were large, wide creatures, the males possessing three horns but were relatively docile if you kept your distance. Overhead were what appeared to be a flock of Phoenixes, the feathers burning brightly in the brilliant sun.
It was as she stared up at that she noticed something. Above them, in complete contrast to the brilliant blue, cloudless sky was a large creature. Enormous wings were spread as the figure soared over them. She looked at it and for a moment thought that the creature was growing larger as the seconds passed. It took her several moments to realize that the creature wasn’t growing larger but instead coming closer. With a single powerful flap, an enormous gust of wind struck the party from even that great distance overhead. The others looked up, their attention stolen by this sudden burst of air.
Looking upward, Bear asked,”Is that…”
“The Emerald Dragon?” Korin added, panic-stricken. Above the figure ceased its forward motion and began to make lazy circles in the sky. With each flap, the area felt the power of the creature’s wings.
“Wub wub wub wub.” Wub Wub exclaimed as his pet dragon coward, peeking up over his shoulder.
“I thought the Emerald Dragon spawned in the south?” Katlyn asked.
“Normally, but I heard that it can spawn around this area as well.” Korin said.
“I don’t see what the big deal is?” Nora asked,”It’s all the way up there. I mean there is no way we’re in its Aggro range.”
As she uttered the question, the Dragon suddenly swooped downward with a ballistic trajectory. With every foot the dragon descended it grew in size and clarity. The dragon’s flesh was a light green, each scale embedded with a glistening emerald that glinted in the morning light. As the sun struck the beast, it appeared to sparkle wildly like jeweled fire.
“Well balls.” Nora muttered, stepping back quickly.
“Guys…” Bear cried. Normally the most brazen and headstrong of the quintet was all but running as the dragon approached.
“Oh god, GO!” Korin screamed. No one argued. The five adventurers ran as far and as fast as their legs would allow. However no matter how far and how quickly they moved, the dragon gained. With every step they took, the dragon gained a hundred more meters.
“Wub wub! Wub Wub!” Wub Wub screamed as his pet dragon clung to him unleashing a terrified shriek.
“How close is it?” Mora screamed, not daring to look back. Katlyn did, tempting fate. The dragon’s nails were almost touching the ground, each talon bigger than the five of them combined. The Emerald Dragon was a level 100, fifty person, raid boss. They were sorely outmatched.
“What now?” Bear cried as he ran as fast as his short dwarven legs would carry him. Before anyone could speak, the dragon opened its maw and unleashed an enormous plume of fire, engulfing their party in a matter of seconds.
Sitting at the Moonlight Tavern in the town of Grandie Wine, the group sat and partook in some dinner. Their home town was that of Aura, a neutral town where both the Guild and the Kabal could live in peace. It wasn’t a major Guild city like The Shining Sword or Kabal city like The Flaming Pit. It was a small village where people of all races could live in peace.
The tavern was bustling, everyone ordering drinks, talking, dancing, and gambling. This was how the tavern was when the day was over and everyone was tired from living. Wrought iron chandeliers illuminated the tavern as both the players and NPCs spent the evening, reveling over the day’s minor victories and mourned their defeats. Their small group: The Bastards had found themselves with a bit of notoriety as being the first ones to see the Emerald Dragon in the northern plains. Players came up to them asking where they were and how powerful the beast was. They told them the location but found little pride in telling them how quickly they were incinerated; which was not a hyperbole. After respawning in the town cemetery, they decided that they were done questing for the day and just gathered herbs, gather lumber, and mining ore was all they wanted to do that day. There was something quite humbling in getting destroyed by a veritable god.
“Did you hear that people actually tried taking on the dragon?” Bear asked as he down another pint of ale. It tasted like crap, but the alcoholic effect was all he was looking for. Unfortunately his dwarven constitution made it difficult to get drunk.
“Yeah.” Mora said, popping another berry into her mouth.”While you guys were farming I parked outside the cemetery to see how many people showed up there. You know… for fun.”
“You have a weird idea of fun.” Katlyn noted but only received a light shove from her girlfriend.
“Did you see anyone?” Korin asked.
“Everyone!” She cried drawing out the word, perhaps far louder than she should have, but no one around them really paid much attention. Wub Wub clapped furiously appreciating the reference while his dragon which the others only called Torchwick, lay in his lap asleep.
“So what is the plan for tomorrow?” Kaitlyn asked.
“I figured we could meet up with the Black Rose group.” Korin said. The others immediately booed the idea giving their own ideas of how bad the suggestion was ranging from down turned thumbs to upturned middle fingers.”So that’s a firm no?”
“I hate those guys.” Bear said.
“Wub wub. Wub wub wub.” Wub Wub added.
“Yeah what he said.” Katlyn said which made Wub Wub simply roll his eyes.
“They’re just a bunch of elitist pervs.” Mora told them.”They keep asking me and Katlyn if we wanted to join them in a sausage party.”
“Charming.” Bear said.
“I know, I know.” Korin said,”They’re assholes but a bunch of other groups are teaming up for a fifty man raid in Mount Slavic. They’re going after Gravic the king of Lizards.”
“Oooo, I heard he drops a legendary shard that you can craft into a bad ass sword.” Bear said.
“Well… if there are going to be others there, it might not be so bad. Who’s leading?” Mora asked.
“Diablo from the Burning Crusade. If anyone can keep the Black Rose in check, he can.” Korin told them. The group looked to one another, considering this before finally agreeing. If they were successful then each would get a legendary shard and plenty of gold and experience, not to mention any other loot they may get along the way.
“So… any news on how to get out of here?” Katlyn asked.
“Not that I heard.” Korin said.
“Wub.” Wub Wub added.
“I just still can’t believe Quests of Azalore, the world’s first fully immersed, virtual reality simulation where you are able to connect on a neural level locked us in.” Mora said.
“Sounds like a lawsuit to me.” Bear said.
“Sounds like copy write infringement to me.” Korin added raising a one man toast.”A little Sword Arty… that’s all I’m saying. The whole ‘if a player was disconnected from the outside it was tantamount to a complete neural shut down’ seems kind of derivative.”
“And that is the word of the day.” Katlyn said. The others laughed which in turn made Korin join them.
It was true that they had been stuck in the game, in the world of Azalore for over three months. Many players opted to just continue playing, doing quests, leveling, anything just to pass the time. Others decided to set up home in the towns where players could purchase houses and live in them. Players didn’t need food, but sleep was a must. Like reality, the brain could only be active for so long before it started to suffer from fatigue. That was why the Bastards returned to the tavern as did many. Those that did not buy a home, foregoing it for the call of adventure, could stay in one of the infinite number of rooms until dawn and then repeat the process over and over again.
Korin glanced over at Bear who had actively been eyeing a human female, a warlock by the looks of it. He noticed the two had a silent exchange but neither made any effort to speak. Seeing this Korin silently caught the attention of the others, Wub Wub included, and motioned towards their Dwarven friend.
“Making new friends I see.” Korin said. Bear choked on a pull of ale, coughing and sputtering.
“What?” He managed through his lungful of ale.
“The Warlock.” Korin said,”Why don’t you go say something?”
“No I’m sure she doesn’t want to be bothered by a Dwarf.”
“What’s the big deal with being a dwarf?” Mora asked, sipping at a glass of wine. The taste was both sweet and dry, something she relished. Unlike Korin and Bear who were still in their teens, she and Katlyn were in their twenties and had a more refined palate when it came to drink. Korin and Bear preferred the ale because it got them drunk faster. She and Katlyn took taste over inebriation.
“It’s nothing.” He muttered.”I just don’t like being… smaller.” He replied. Mora and Katlyn exchanged confused glances as they attempted to decipher the statement. It was Wub Wub and Korin who startled chortling, fighting back mounting laughter.
They all knew the game was meant to be highly immersive and so depending on which race you chose, you could modify physical body types which would then affect particular stats. Essentially you could craft a highly detailed avatar. Of course since it was meant to be immersive, the creature had a character design that was not accessible to the players during their initial customization. However after the world lock, the feature sprung into effect. Each player was granted genitalia of random size and shape to correspond with the preset gender that the player identified with when first creating the avatar. The effect was race specific so for whatever reason, the creators gave dwarf males, particularly small genitals.
“Oh my god this is hilarious!” Korin laughed, slapping the table harder than he intended. Given the noise, it was just one more sound to the cacophony. Wub Wub was practically falling over in his chair, laughing. He was so loud that Torchwick woke up and climbed onto the table before falling back to sleep.
“Shut up!” Bear shouted shooting him a spiteful glance.
“I don’t know you two walk around with those things anyway.” Mora teased.
“Meh.” Katlyn added.”I prefer my Mora here anyway.” Mora rolled her eyes as she gave her a gentle push. In real life the two were married. They were together for over two years before getting trapped in the game. Despite all of the stress and trauma that the game had induced, they remained strong and grew closer.
“It’s okay, micro-peen, I still love you.” Korin said, patting the dwarf’s shoulder. Bear only slammed his head down on the table in utter defeat.
“When we get out of here, I am going to find you and kill you.” Bear threatened, not bothering to raise his head.
“Well the last time I checked there was a lot of space between Texas and Maine.” Korin said,”So good luck with that.”
“I forget you two didn’t even know each other until you met in the game.” Mora said.”I would have guessed you two were best friends given the way you act.” Korin laughed taking a long swig from his ale.
“We just get along, right?” Korin asked Bear, but only received the finger.”Fair enough.”
“Wub wub. Wub wub wub.” Wub Wub said.
“I second that!” Korin cried raising his drink once more in a toast. The others raised their own, not knowing what Wub Wub said but he too raised it, if not a little reluctantly.
For the rest of the evening they talked about how life was before the game and how things would be after they got out. They were completely cut off from the world and everyone they knew and loved. While being a part of a virtual world was truly spectacular, they missed the outside. Simply reading a book, walking around a real park, feeling the real sun on their skin was something that the game replicated well but it wasn’t the same. There was a dullness about it that the system couldn’t get just right.
However, they did not want to just sit and mourn the life they lost. They were a part of a world just as large if not larger than the real thing. They were not those who bought homes and settled down. They were not like the Lost who had essentially gone crazy and attacked anyone that crossed their paths. The Bastards were adventurers. That was why they played the game in the first place. They wanted to experience the world that was impossible in the real life. This was their chance to do what was otherwise impossible. Korin the Elven Wizard, Bear the Dwarven Warrior, Mora the Human Rouge, Katlyn the Human Cleric, and Rogeth, AKA Wub Wub, the Troll Beast Tamer. They were adventurers, champions. They were the Bastards.
So for the rest of the evening they just sat and chatted, and planned for what quests they would embark on tomorrow and the day after that, and the day after that. After all there was still so much left to see.