It was inevitable… as it is in all shards of Sosaria, Catskills soon became extremely boring.  This hardly came as a surprise to Mu; in a place where there are no real achievable goals outside of a meaningless title or a house full of loot, where morality is at best tenuous and completely subjective, where the King is dead, there is not much to look forward to day after day.  None of Mu’s old comrades were present here, and although he had made some passing acquaintances in Kinship, most of them tended to stick to their own and gave Mu funny looks when he mentioned "shards", as if he were interfering in some sort of fictional play universe they had set up for themselves.  Mu had also sadly been unable to locate his new friend Kull again since the cartoon scene at the bank.

"Why did I think that this place would be different?" wondered Musashi… then he remembered.  That damn Magnus with his infuriatingly witty Top Ten lists and mastery of semi-roleplaying had first brought Mu’s attention to Catskills.  Maybe Mu could go pester him for some advice… but then again, Magnus lived on Occlo, and Mu was staying in a dingy room in Skara Brae.  What a problem… Mu could always go and buy some reagents and train in magery so that he could recall there, but that kinda sat wrong with him in his new life.  He could also go and buy a boat, except that he had no idea how to sail one and had bad memories of being constantly seasick on Santiago’s weatherbeaten scow.  He could also try and get someone to transport him there… provided the person was honest and didn’t send him instead to the tea parlor of the Lord of the Abyss.  In the end, he decided that it was better to try and ask someone for help; he had done this from time to time already, but no one seemed to have heard of this "Magnus of Occlo".  Perhaps he wasn’t real after all?  Some mythical creation involving the arcane arts of Fuse?  One way or another, Mu had to know… in any event, it would alleviate his boredom for a few hours.

Magery is as common as water, albeit a little more expensive.  So common, in fact, that feats which would normally be considered miraculous and awe-inspiring are viewed as mere inconveniences, as shopkeepers and artisans sidestepped summoned water elementals in the street as individuals in the back of the herbalist’s ebolted themselves for hours on end.  How difficult could it be to find someone to provide him a simple gate to Occlo?

Mu stepped out of the inn and almost immediately ran into a fellow who seemed most intent on a pyrotechnic display.  "Kal Vas Flam" he would intone, producing either a majestic column of fire or a cloud of ineffectual smoke.  From Mu’s recollection, this fellow should be able to gate.

"Excuse me…" said Mu as he approached.

"guards" said the mage.  Mu looked around, but saw no one in the area but himself and the ever-oblivious town crier, who was standing stock still despite the crowd of bright-eyed anatomy students poking and prodding her most rudely.  Rude yes, but not criminal enough to warrant a conference of superhalberds.

"Umm, nothing to fear sir, I’m no criminal…" explained Mu.

"Kal Vas Flam" and another cloud of sulphurous smoke, making Mu’s eyes water.

"Umm… if you’re not too busy, could you provide me with a gate to…"

"guards"

"Look, I already told you, I’m NOT a thief… all I want is a…"

"Kal Vas Flam"

Grumbling, Mu decided to assist the mage in his endeavors, and went on his way after lighting 8 campfires at his feet.  "guards" echoed in his ears as he strolled away in search of someone more lucid.

A couple dozen yards away, Mu encountered yet another mage, this one involved in the practice of summoning water demons in the middle of the street for no good reason, a common pastime amongst these insane people.  As he watched, a young warrior in mismatched armor walked up and, without a word, began to attack the elementals in the street, causing him to be assaulted by magical energies.   Noticing Mu’s curious look, he explained, "resist" and continued to do battle.  Mu shrugged and approached the mage, who was in some sort of meditative trance, judging from the gong sounds that seemed to emanate from him.

"Pardon me sir, can ye perhaps help me get to Occlo?"

The man said nothing for a while, and Mu eventually began to trudge away, not surprised in the least, when he finally said, "sorry meditatin", then "no rune =(  Kal Vas Xen An Flam".  Another elemental appeared.

"Ah, no problem then, thanks for your time," said Mu, just beginning to notice the young warrior bleeding heavily.  His few attempts to heal himself were interrupted by the elemental, until he intoned the word of power "HEAL".

"no mana =)" said the mage as he watched the water elemental chase the young man down the street.

Mu walked around a little bit longer, but the mage crop today was a little thinner than usual.  Finally, he took the ferry across the channel and walked to Kinship, where he began to sort through the various shops, finally finding a rune that was marked "Occlo Bank".  For all he knew the rune would lead him into the middle of the Shadowclan Orks or into the Lich Lord room, but the Kinship folk seemed trustworthy enough not to sell false runes, and if he was killed, all he would lose would be some heavily scarred studded leather armor and his ability to see in color.  Rune in hand, he ran back to the ferry and navigated his way through the streets of Skara Brae.  Stepping around the dead body of a young man clad in mismatched armor, he found the mage again.

"Scuse me again sir, I found a rune for ye," said Mu.

After the usual 30 seconds of silence, the mage replied, "k ill gate drop rune".

Mu just handed it to him.  "Keep it… I’ll never be able to use it."

"thx.   Vas Rel Por"

After a few seconds of "in-betweenness", Mu emerged through the gate on Occlo.  Sort of a resort island for mages, Occlo looked much the same as every other town in Britannia, with the usual shops, the usual people casting repetitive spells in the streets, and the usual assortment of animals named "a".  However, now that he was here, what should he do?  Like most residents of Britannia, Magnus no doubt was only out and about on the order of 2 or 3 hours per day on an irregular basis, and there was no place he really had to go to ambush him.  There was little likelihood that Mu would encounter him in the woods while chopping logs or hunting for food; no doubt Magnus was above that sort of labor and subsisted primarily on magic hams.

Like a moron, Mu went about his daily routing, chopping wood, being attacked by animals, selling bows nobody wanted, but would stop and ask people if they had heard of the Tank Mage Magnus.  Too often his replies went along the lines of "I know nothing of that" or "Eh?", from those who were polite enough to answer.  A few people claimed to have seen a Magnus around, but it usually turned out to be a different Magnus ("That guy who PK’s in Deceit with guild UsUk?").  Sigh…

Mu was wondering how to proceed, and how the hell he was going to get off this godforsaken island, when he spotted a man in black plate walking out of the mage’s shop.  He appeared to be talking with another fellow in black plate, this one a smith, and Mu thought he overheard his name… "Exodus".  Hmm, could this be Magnus’ companion, the former dark lord, Grandmaster Mage and owner of a Halberd of Nuclear Destruction?  Perhaps he would be able to help Mu find his target… unfortunately he was away before Mu could make some awkward attempt at subtle interrogation.  An opportunity lost.

Mu was depressed; that was his first and only clue as to Magnus’ whereabouts in about 3 days, and he had no idea how to go about getting in contact with such a person.  He could post a message on the public bulletin board, but soon realized that nobody ever actually read those things, and his poor message would have been obscured by huge wanted posters that proclaimed such things as, "DARTH VADER hath killed too many!…" and "The foul scum known as St0n3 c0lD must be brought to justice!…"  Could he bribe a town crier into shouting his message?  "Hear ye hear ye!  Loser backwoods hick seeks tank mage for satirical stories, top ten lists, and long walks on the beach!"  Nah, it would never work… besides Justine the crier was completely walled in by people who were trying to gague her intellect and checking out her… umm… anatomy.  Why is it that everyone seemed to be so hot for the town crier?  Must be that hat.

Hmm… perhaps another way of leaving a message?  Some way that would no doubt be annoying enough to garner Magnus’ attention, yet not so annoying that Mu would be greeted by the words "Flam Kal Des Ylem" or somesuch.  What to do… aha!  Magnus was somewhat literate, a trait to be expected of anyone who had advanced far along in the field of magery (although this axiom had been disproven again and again).  Mu set about the task of writing a short panphlet, creating several copies with a small printing press he had fashioned using EZ Macros, and titled them "Where is Magnus?", which would hopefully get the attention of Magnus or someone who might know him.  While he did this, he was careful to speak in a very heavily affected accent of indeterminate origin, as doing so tended to avoid the scorn of the horribly snobbish "roleplayers" infesting the land, who would confuse it for one of their own mixed dialects, and allow it to be overlooked by the more predominant class of people, who would brush it off as "some dman npc bs".  No doubt soon Mu would be staring into the face of the Magnus that PK’s in Deceit with the guild UsUk… unless he was lucky…

(It should be obvious that his time on the incredibly boring isle has brought out the jaded part of Mu’s nature.)

Dropping several copies of this annoyingly bad volume off at the sorceror’s guild, Mu set about walking around the isle, hoping to catch someone who might know where the infamous tank mage might be.  He took to scouring the island, looking for edifices that might bear the name Magnus on the front door sign.  He carefully looked at every person that walked by in black plate.  He put off his all-important studies of camping and cooking in order to facilitate his search.  From time to time he noted that the books he left at the shop had been taken (or else disappeared through the floor or something), and he wondered if in fact the person who took them might be able to assist him in his search, or if they thought it was some quest item.

This dragged on for several days, a most frustrating time for Mu.  Sure he could always go chop wood, and the nature of the island’s inhabitants meant that there was usually plentiful timber for him, but if there is something that gets more boring than tailoring for hours on end, it’s lumberjacking for hours on end.  There were no petty murderers to tangle with here either, and most of the populace seemed somewhat unfriendly, just hurrying about their business, summoning more elementals in the street, and cleaning out the shops before recalling somewhere else.  And, once again, Mu was stuck here.

After a while of this, Mu decided that perhaps Magnus would never appear, perhaps trapped in the body of some absurd comedy character on Lake Superior reading poetry as a ghost or fishing in Destard.  It would be understandable… isn’t that why Mu was here, wearing this ridiculously tattered and smelly studded leather instead of a ridiculous plate set?  Perhaps Magnus had grown bored with his life as a grandmaster mage… with Lord British encouraging everyone to kill each other, there may not be anything for a non-murderous mage to do after his training is done.  And if that was the case, why was Mu trying to live here as a retiree when he should be fulfilling the King’s wishes and killing people all the time?  Lost in his mire of ennui and existentialist angst, Mu trudged back to the bank to ask someone for a gate to anywhere else, when he spied two folks in black plate coming out of a house just next to the bank.  Fighting the urge to run inside and steal whatever was there, Mu paused to look at them a bit  more closely.

"It’s… YOU!"

Naturally, it turned out the tank mage lived in a little house right next to the bank… the ONE place on the whole blasted island the misguided Mu had failed to search.  Of course, the label on the house sign wasn’t obvious enough for Mu even if he had looked ("Magnus’ Big and Tall… for the hard to fit tank mage").  Unable to escape the encounter, Magnus and Exodus (in disguise as a manufacturer of black armor) were forced to hang around with the insane hick, who was blathering like a moron and drooling on his smelly armor now that he had found Magnus… the ultimate quest on Catskills.  Although a rather silly and humble-sounding goal, at least it turned out to be about 400% more interesting than any quest that the dark ones at OSI ever bestowed on him.

As soon as his elation at making a fool of himself had subsided, Mu was left with more empty langour than ever before.  What was there to do now?  Perhaps start over… Mu knew the role, as he donned a deathrobe and orc helm and began running around the bank shouting "IM NEW ADN WUZ PKD CNA I HVAE FREE STUFF???///".  But he had just done that merely a week ago.  Study magery?  That was the beginning of a long and expensive road that would lead to all the nuisance trappings of his old life… reagent shopping, hoarding cash, housing, house break-ins, and hours of summoning rabbits.  Perhaps finding Magnus and Exodus was the signal that his time was at an end.  Quickly running around behind Exodus, he prepared to plant an arrow in Magnus’ cloak, thereby calling the guards to end his suffering in grand fashion.  (Naturally Mu was too much of a chicken to pull this off.)

After some time and conversation had passed, Magnus finally said that they had to be going to Exodus’ tower, a plausible excuse for ditching their moronic fan.  Magnus even offered the young Mu a gate to somewhere else *coughHyth4cough*, no doubt to make sure Mu was away from Occlo for sure, which Mu foolishly declined, feeling that this might be too much of an imposition.  This naturally led to Mu being stranded on Occlo for another few days as he ran around, finding a rune, and repeating the whole song-and-dance that had gotten him here from Skara Brae.  Magnus was unavailable to help him later, as he was hiding in Exodus’ tower until he was certain Mu had left the island.

 

 

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