Font size: - +
I stared at the boy in shock. "We're in the Kingdom of Merlin?" I asked slowly.
The boy nodded, oblivious to my discomfort.
The pieces started falling into place. "When will lunch be served?" I asked, quickly changing the subject.
"In about an hour, milord," the servant replied.
"Please call me down when lunch is served," I requested. "That will be all," I added in dismissal.
Gendun took the hint; he offered a deep bow and left my room.
Once I locked the door, I stared out the window again. Yesterday, I was playing a new computer game called, "Merlin: Mage Supreme." In this game, King Arthur had died while defending the continent of Britannia and the foreign invaders took control of the kingdom. When no aristocrat was able to raise an army to repel the invaders, Merlin made his move and stepped up to liberate the kingdom. With his supreme magic and an army raised under his banner, Merlin forced the foreign invaders to leave the continent. He then renamed the country "The Kingdom of Merlin," to emphasize that the territory was now under his magical rule. The game began after King Merlin had disappeared, throwing the kingdom back into chaos. The player's objective was to become the new king and reunite the kingdom.
The problem for me was that the game was brand new. With only one day's worth of playing time, I wasn't able to progress very deep into the game. Thus, I didn't have as much knowledge of the game and its lore as I would have liked. Of course, it wasn’t like I had a choice to enter the gaming world, to begin with.
However, the revelation that I was inside the Merlin game gave me a fundamental understanding of what I needed to do to beat the game. Simply put, I had to become Merlin's successor as King and Mage Supreme. That being said, I recognized that it will be an incredibly challenging goal to accomplish. But that was the end game. Also, it was likely that once I achieved this objective, I would be allowed to leave the game and return to my former life as a fantasy writer back on Earth.
Of course, there were many things I must accomplish in order to achieve this goal. First, I had to raise my character level and learn different skills in order to survive and eventually become a mage. Since I was a solo player, I could NOT start the game as a mage; that would be the quickest and surest way to getting killed because the mage class' starting health was too low and lacked decent starter spells to use.
Obtaining spells was often a quest in and of itself, and I simply lacked the resources to pull this off. Sure, I could buy some spells with 10 platinum coins, but I needed to gain experience in order to advance to higher levels and gain access to the higher tier spells. Walking around with a bunch of Level 1 offensive spells was the equivalent of carrying water guns to a fight. It wouldn't be enough for me to survive as a solo player.
Second, I had to develop trading and commercial interests and utilize other means to become one of the wealthiest men in the kingdom. Personal wealth was essential in order to afford my own private army and to pursue the Crown. After all, the strength of my army could be a determinative factor in persuading others to support my claim; a weak army won't help much in pursuing my claim on Kingship.
Third, I had to develop alliances and relationships, both public and private, while looking for opportunities to ruthlessly eliminate my rivals before they could do the same to me while in pursuit of the Crown. Being a nobleman will help enormously in pursuing alliances with other members of the nobility.
With my long term goals set, I finally took a moment to recall the game's lore for Tregome. It was an outlier, border town on the western edge of the Kingdom. Beyond this town laid forests and mountains and beyond those mountains was the ocean. It was a starter town for humans and non-humans alike. There were river streams to fish and draw fresh water from. There were roads built along the river heading east to other parts of the Kingdom; these roads were well traveled by merchants and regularly patrolled by soldiers of the kingdom. In other words, just beyond Tregome, there were ample opportunities for players to develop their professions as hunters, fishermen, tradesmen, guards, trackers, miners and more. Thus, for a level one character, like myself, landing in the border town of Tregome was actually a blessing.
However, there was little in terms of magical resources near Tregome aside from the ley line running under the river stream. According to legend, the continent of Britannia had many ley lines running throughout the territory; Merlin was adept at tapping into these lines as one source, among others, for his magical powers. Thus, in order for me to follow in Merlin’s footsteps, I had to learn to tap into the ley lines as well. The problem with using ley lines, though, was that the spell caster had to be physically standing near the ley line. While the spell was being cast the mage would be vulnerable to attack; thus, he would need the protection of bodyguards.
Since ley lines offered benefits to many creatures, both living and non-living, such locations were often guarded by monsters. Additionally, many creatures created their own dens on or near these lines. Also, the monsters found near ley lines were often more powerful than normal for their species due to their subconscious absorption of energy radiating from these lines. In summary, I needed to locate the ley lines, then clear out the monsters’ lairs in these locations and, finally, become attuned to using the ley lines as energy sources to cast magic spells. Yup, it was easy as pie. Not.