Morland: Blood and Sweat

Awake, Where The Hell Am I?

– ORIS, OUTSKIRTS –

Darrel suddenly jerked awake then cringed and squirmed on the ground as the feeling of pain jolted around his abdomen like an alien parasite, he gripped his chest and shoulders as he tried to stop the pain.

He did not know how long it had been since the pain had started, but the excruciating feeling began to subside until it stopped entirely.

”Gah! What the hell was that? Pain? ” He exclaimed as he examined his upper body to see if nothing had been gouged out from his chest. ”Fuuuck! ”

Darrel screamed several more exotic curse words towards the sky, and when he stopped to calm himself from the horrible experience, his breathing suddenly paused when he noticed the peculiar surroundings. He tried to get up to his feet quickly, but the pain had made him wearily so he laggard till he was standing up.

As he looked at the area around him, his expression shifted from barely sane, to a more twisted and confused face when his gaze finally glued itself to the looming peak that nearly blotted out the light of the sun from across the land beneath it.

”Where the hell…? No, no, no, no! This has got to be a joke. ” His lips barely parted as he tried to voice out his thoughts.

The last thing that Darrel remembered was him taking a nap on his couch at home, he had not expected anything odd to occur as he quietly slept off his daily fatigue.

Now what felt like moments later, he found himself sleeping right beneath this very tall mountain with a huge crater around him as though he had fallen out of the sky like a meteorite from space.

”I don know what the hell happened, but I know there is something off about this place, ” Darrel muttered to himself, at the same time he felt a strange feeling in his gut telling him to leave the area.

To keep himself from any more phenomena Darrel decided to listen to his gut, and he quickly scaled the mound of dirt lying around the crater and then scurried away. He had to find someone who could assist him, but with no sign of civilization in sight, he had no way of knowing which direction was the right one.

Darrel stood atop a berm near the crater and looked across the land, but all he could see were dusty plains, rugged hills, and an extremely tall mountain that seemed to ascend beyond the clouds and overshadow the entire region.

It was obvious that he had to start walking, and the only feasible direction was towards that enormous wonder. However, before he could start on this perilous trek, he ran back towards the crater he had risen from hoping he would uncover some hidden answers.

Darrel stood on the edge of the large crater and examined its entirety, the first thing he noticed were strange symbols that appeared to have been carved around the craters edge.

I have never seen any chisel that could do that. Darrel noted that the indents were tracked with cinders as though the inscription had been charred into the ground with fire.

”Feels like I have seen these before, ” As he took a closer look, he noticed that the symbols had an odd similarity to those he saw in books and a few role-playing video games. ”Video games yes, but where else did I see them? ”

Strangely enough, Darrel recalled what these Video Games were, however, he could not put his finger on which ones he had encountered them in. When he thought hard about it, he began to hear strange noises as though electric sparks had been set off.

These symbols do look like… He pondered even harder until the words were dragged out of his mind.

”Magic sigils… ” He sputtered after closer examination, this was exactly what had been gnawing at his mind.

In most role-playing games he had played, symbols of power were the cause of virtual disasters and the basis of magic combat. He recalled that even characters that were not magic-oriented could use these magic sigils for other purposes, be it healing, protection, or teleportation.

This was quite the revelation on his part, as he reached out to push the dirt covering up a part of the symbols, he suddenly heard the sparks in his mind again, but this time it felt like a circuit had been connected and no repercussions ensued. Darrel felt like a piece of himself had been restored to his being and this happened after he touched the magic sigils and now, some memories he had not been able to recall earlier all came flowing back to him like a stream.

”Wait a minute… ” Darrel started to fiddle about with the clues he had found and the fragments of his newfound memories. ”But how could magic sigils appear in the real world when they were originally from video games? ”

Originally? The word seemed to tumble around in his head that he had to question himself once more.

”No, the real world… My original world had historic evidence of magic, texts and symbols have been dug up over the centuries and even with the modern age, many people have witnessed magic in plain sight, ” Darrel pictured all the strange events and recorded experiences. ”So magic could not have originally been from video games, that meant this was not a video game of any sort… But where was here anyway? ”

Darrel was a smart guy and he was no pushover either, even people back home used to call him a fusion between a nerd and jock though he belonged to neither group. If he could describe how he lived the entirety of his years in high school, he would be considered a jack of all trades.

There was no sport that Darrel could not play, and no game he would not try without displaying a hint of potential. As he recalled additional fragments of his former world, more questions continued to pile up one after the other until the noise in his mind became a hum and his head started to hurt.

The pain quickly escalated and Darrel began to feel a warm and tickling sensation coursing through his body.

”What the? ” The veins in his arms suddenly glowed a light blue hue, as a similar color appeared in his vision.

The strange feeling and the unusual sight were things that Darrel had never experienced in any dream or virtual world before, not even the most extraordinary adrenaline shot could compare to the sensation he was experiencing right now.

As the feeling continued, Darrels hands started to emit tiny blue sparks, that appeared like the cackling of electric cables. As the surge of energy continued to build up in his body, the sparks from Darrels hands enlarged in tandem.

”Could this be magic…? ” This was the only logical explanation that could match the insanity that he had encountered since waking up in a crater a moment ago. ”So these sparks, are these the only things I can conjure with this… With my magic? ”

Darrel looked down at the extravagant glow he was emanating, what were these sparks exactly? Could he use them to attack? Or perhaps defend against other magic attacks?

Darrel could barely contain his glee and immediately started to come up with various phenomenons that could have induced his body to acquire magic. His first thought was the agonizing pain he had experienced earlier, so he wondered if it was a part of his transformation.

There was also a possibility that the runes around the crater had induced his new powers, but there was no definite proof of it.

”I guess I will figure it out eventually… ” Darrel muttered.

After pondering on the might-be cause of his current state, Darrel proceeded to stretch out his hands. His fingers twitched as he readied himself to fire his magic to the sky, however, before a bolt of lightning could be released, he heard the sounds of horses galloping like a flood of water and a person shouting above the noise.

”Over there! ” A grown mans voice boomed in the distance.

A moment ago, Darrel had been trying to find a clue as to how he could find a way back to civilization, but his mind had suddenly been engrossed in his acquisition of magic that he could care less about who was coming his way.

Unfortunately for Darrel, the individuals seemed keenly interested in him.

”Could he be one of them? ”

The first individual muttered cautiously, but the second one had spoken in a much bolder tone, the speakers voice sounded more composed like the voice of someone with authority.

”A magic-user? How convenient. ”

”I don recall seeing him among the others, ” Another in the group added, but Darrel was yet to mind their presence. ”Perhaps he slipped out with the escaped prisoners. ”

Prisoners?

The statement caught Darrel by surprise and he immediately turned to face the people that had accused him of being as such.

Four riders approached as they descended the hill on the back of their horses while looking down at him, the individuals wore fancy-looking armor like those worn by knights from fantasy animations.

The first two from the group wore a set of helmless silver-plated armor lined with golden trims, while the other two wore a full set of gold gilded armor with unique inscriptions carved on each one, however, both of their helms had a different design as though to indicate their individuality. These two also wore golden capes which fluttered lazily behind them as the wind blew past.

”Surrender yourself prisoner and no harm will come upon you. ” One of the helmless riders bellowed pridefully at Darrel.

Darrel froze on the spot as he gazed at the knights in awe, for a moment he thought the individuals had come to rescue him, but the thought perished a moment after realizing what the knights were talking about as they glued their focus squarely on him.

Im guessing this won end well. The exuberant force of magic he had manifested earlier faded faster than a temporary high and before long, he realized that the knights had been speaking to him all along. Darrel felt slightly guilty after ignoring them when they called out to him earlier, but he justified his actions with one single thought. I am no ones prisoner.

”Are you deaf fool?! ” The knight bellowed with displeasure.

”Who the hell are you? ”

”What is this Hell he speaks of? ” The knight murmured back to the other.

”Not sure, ” The second rider replied. ”He must be drunk on mana, I will take him. ”

One of the knights in silver armor drew his sword out then charged at Darrel on his horse.

Magic users were known to have a significant disadvantage in close-ranged combat, especially against heavily armored and riding opponents. The knight appeared experienced, as he immediately discerned Darrels weakness and proceeded to exploit it.

What am I standing still like this for?! Darrel pondered in shock. I have to find a way to fight back.

In a split second Darrel assessed his options then recalled how horseback opponents had a hard time with nimble foes who used the horses linear speed against its rider.

”Haaaa!! ” The knight on the horse charged closer with his sword waving in his right hand.

Darrel quickly jumped left to dodge but ended up getting heavily brushed by the horse as it charged past him, and was sent crashing to the ground. Pain shot up quickly across the side of his body that had been hit after getting knocked back, but the pain he felt this time quickly faded away as fast as it had come.

”So this is how it feels to lose Health Points… ” Darrel squirmed astonished by the outcome. ”Was this part of the physical laws of this world? Or did my body get bestowed with pain-suppressing abilities? ”

In the real world some virtual games gave users the feature to experience their avatars pain, however, even though this granted users this trait, the device was still incomplete in that only pinching sensations that lasted for no more than five seconds at most were felt when the highest level of pain was received on such devices.

All that pain in such a short burst… No device could fully replicate the pain that avatars took for players when they take damage from various attacks during the game. In that short time, I am sure I felt every bit of pain that I was supposed to feel… but briefly.

As Darrel continued to contemplate on what may have kept his pain duration earlier to a minimum earlier, the knight that had attacked him slowed and veered around.

”Tch. I suppose thats what kept in-game characters going even after receiving brutal life-threatening attacks. ” He got up from the ground slowly weary of the knight who was now circling him like a vulture.

Darrel looked at his hand confused about how his magic was no longer available for him to use. On the other hand, he barely knew how to fight and had no actual combat experience apart from thousands of visualizations on how he could beat up his local town bullies who had tormented him for most of his early childhood.

At this moment in time, Darrel was as helpless as a baby bird and his only logical move was to escape from there. Fortunately for Darrel, his opponent did not know this and was cautious enough to give him some breathing room.

”Finish him! ” The bold knight from earlier exclaimed at his comrade who seemed to be taking his time.

The knight nodded his head and looked down at Darrel then pointed his sword at him. ”This is your last chance, surrender now and you will not be harmed, prisoner! ”

Again with the prisoner stuff? Darrel glared at the knight defiantly, then shuffled slowly as he shot swift glances at the other three in case they chose to intervene. Even though they underestimated him, he knew that his opponents could easily gang up on him if the situation called for it. After all, there was no law that kept them from not doing so.

”Or was there? ” Darrel muttered under his breath.

Normally a cavalry unit would consist of more than four riders, and only a handful of them would be dressed in such extravagant armor. However, even though their appearance was like that of nobility, these knights had a dignified demeanor, and Darrel could feel the imposing aura they gave off.

This was enough to warn him that these men were no average calvary.

I don know about these guys, but ranks and titles are a must-have in any game, not only did this give individuals authority, but it also provided them with new powers and abilities. Darrels heart raced, instead of coming up with a solution for his inconvenient situation, he was only scaling it up by giving his brain a more complicated scenario to work out.

One thing was certain in Darrels mind, if he had somehow appeared in this world like that from a game then perhaps his first encounter would be scaled down to his level. Unfortunately, that had not been even made clear to him, especially since he had no health bar, no mana scale, no level chart, e

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