silberstreif: (Listen to Prowl)
[personal profile] silberstreif
Title: Lord Darth of Darkness
Fandom: G1, pre-war, AU
Genre: Humour, romance, litrpg
Beta: [livejournal.com profile] wicked3659
Warning: none
Note: Written for September Anniversary Challenge at [livejournal.com profile] prowlxjazz

Summary: Prowl discovers why exactly no one starts in this remote town... and he meets someone that might need his help.


Lord Darth of Darkness

ARC 1: The Zombie in the Wood
Chapter Two - Enter the Dark

The four-legged foxhound jumped towards him. Prowl stumbled back and managed to barely escape the attack. To his horror, more of the creatures appeared out of the shadows of the alley and not a single one looked friendly. More instinct than anything else, he turned around and ran.

Behind him, dozens of paws hit the cold ground, and the hunt was on.

~

He barely managed to escape. Panting he found himself on some flat roof, hiding from the prowling creatures below. Why where they hunting him? Why was no one helping him? Worse, some of the mechs (he assumed they were mechs, even if they looked quite differently) tried to attack him as well!

In the eternal twilight that engulfed the village, he finally saw something bright in the top right of his visual field, but when he turned the head, the light moved as well. Finally, he just touched it.

In front of him appeared a glowing blue window, which rapidly filled with glyphs.

[Message from the Honorary Magician Tophlex. Do you wish to open it? Yes / No.]

Prowl touched the ‘yes’ in the window and it expanded.

[Hey, Prowl! Great to see, that you have used my silver code. Please accept my friend request, we can play together later. In which city are you? I think I forgot to mention that the silver code is only given to mechs that have helped develop the game, like me. I evaluated the psychological impact of some scenes. Anyway, for you the silver code means that you simply get a boost or special quest in the beginning. It’s random, I have no idea what you’ll get. Write me! ~ Pharma]

A new window appeared. [Honorary Magician Tophlex would like to be your friend. Do you accept? Yes / No.]

Prowl was pretty sure that through being friends inside the Game world Pharma would be able to see if he was inside the World or not. As much as he didn’t like his own doctor following him around, Pharma was a friend… and the only one who knew that Prowl was playing. Hopefully, he would remain the only one.

He pressed ‘Yes’. Then he slowly stood up and decided to move to the next roof. He refused to hide like a coward inside a game.

~

After two nights of running away, Prowl was very sure that he was doing something wrong. The foxhounds had stopped hunting him, just so a swarm of rat people could take their place, and they too were replaced by two empty armours that were able to swing their very sharp swords accurately nonetheless.

Last recharge cycle he had even contacted Pharma and asked for help.

[You’re in Albenhus?! What possessed you to start there? It’s in the middle of nowhere, dirt poor, and doesn’t even have a port point. And without one, I can’t visit you. I’m on another continent! I’m afraid you have to search for a solution alone… or restart your avatar. Don’t forget the check-up appointment in two orns. Good luck. ~Pharma]

A restart? Prowl was no expert on games and Worlds, but even he knew that they were designed that players could succeed. And would he of all mechs fail here? No! Even if he had to run away for decaorns, he would find a solution. There had to be one. … Right?

Prowl started to search in earnest. He looked into the poor houses, which were mainly populated by rat people and the richer houses (recognisable through such luxury items as a functioning door and less trash), which were mainly populated by mechs and creatures that seemed to favour the all-purpose colour black. So, why ever was he hunted? The colour wasn’t the reason. Prowl’s character was just as alien and black and monstrous as them.

While he was mapping the city, he noticed one special building. It vaguely reminded him of a castle, and harboured the lord of the area. Prowl hoped to find a solution there, but the guards at the entrance didn’t even wait to answer his questions and simply attacked him. Great.

At least they screamed after him to leave Albenhus or else. He now knew the name of this cursed location.

Running again from the guards and then later from the crowd of monsters that patrolled the streets, he escaped into a building with a black door that stood open. To his surprise, none of the monsters followed inside. Anxiously, he looked around, but it was dark and all he could vaguely see were a few banks, and in front of him something tall, a statue.

“Welcome,” said a voice suddenly behind him.

“Ah!” Prowl jumped forward and turned around, spark racing. Where he had just stood, was now a surprisingly normal looking mech that smiled at him. Prowl took another step backwards, nothing in this World was good news when it was smiling at you. “Who are you?”

“Just a servant of this temple.”

Prowl blinked. “This is a temple?”

“Indeed. I take you aren’t a worshipper of Boron?”

“…no.” Who was Boron? Some god? There were gods in this game? Well, fantasy game, of course there were, after all if you needed another world to be happy, you needed different gods too. Most players probably thought Primus boring.

“I see,” the mech scrutinised Prowl. “You are a faithless.”

“I believe in no gods that is correct.”

“A sad fate,” the priest paused, “and a dangerous one. It’s amazing that you’ve survived so far.”

Prowl’s hand met his face with a low ‘thud’. “You’re telling me that is why everyone hunted me?”

The priest nodded.

“But why? It makes no sense, I have never said anything against their god.”

“You do not need to. The dark gods are strict in their rules. Only those who gave their sparks to darkness can enter these lands. Everyone else is an enemy and must be eliminated.” The priest snipped with his fingers and the temple lit up. It was mostly built out of stone with barely any decorations. The statue Prowl had seen previously was covered in an entirely black cloak and held a staff with a white crystal on top of it. “Not that death is a horrible fate. It simply is the end.”

“Right.” He would prefer not to die, anyway. “Any way to become ‘dark’ and a not-enemy?”

“Several.” The priest walked past him towards the statue. “But I can only offer the two my god Boron provides. I doubt that you will like them.”

Prowl on the other hand doubted that he had any choice but to take them. “Tell me anyway. Then I can decide.”

The priest looked as if he wanted to say more, but then nodded. “I can kill you, and then purify your body from all light and call back your spark.”

He would be killed and resurrected. It sounded horrible. “I wouldn’t be a ghost then, right?””

“No. But you might be a bit more… rotting,” admitted the priest. “Also you would have to obey every one of my commands.”

Prowl nearly recoiled. “And the second option?” That one had to be better.

“You are to swear fealty to Boron, to obey his rules, to spread his words, to be his tool in the world of living. You become his servant like I,” the priest shrugged. “For most it is too much work, with too few benefits.”

So… his choice was to be the servant of a priest or to be a servant of the god of said priest? Just why hadn’t he entered that chess tournament world he had heard about just last orn? It would be less complicated, that was sure.  “If I become a servant to Boron like you, what are the downsides?”

The priest smiled in obvious amusement. “You really know nothing about Boron, do you? Boron is the god of Death and Dreams. As such you can’t search corpses anymore, neither animal nor monster nor mech. Also must protect places such as graveyards.”
Prowl frowned. “Corpses usually drop items if I defeat them, right?”

“Yes.”

Listening to others in passing, they had often mentioned a ‘drop’ or a ‘found item’. It seemed to be a big part of the game, and if he couldn’t do this anymore… on the other hand, at the moment all he was doing was running away. It would be an improvement.
Hoping that he wasn’t making the wrong decision, he said: “I want to become a servant of Boron. How do I do that?”

The priest was surprised for a moment, then waved his hand and out of the shadows appeared a hidden door. “Come with me, future novice.”

It followed a few joors of lectures on how to behave as a novice, what Boron’s will was, what to do and even three separate rituals in which he was washed, danced in the night and killed a small harmless animal. Then, finally, he was a novice of a dark god.

[Congratulations. You have gained the Rank Novice within the Church of Boron. Your Allegiance has changed from Neutral to Darkness.]

When he stepped out of the temple and entered the village, no one looked twice his way. Prowl smiled.

~

A decaorn later Prowl had to admit that maybe, just maybe, the World wasn’t so bad. Yes, there was plenty of magic and illogical things, but they acted on a certain in-game logic system. Which made it a bit better.

Even more helpful was the fact that the village he appeared in was so remote and far away from the big quest-cities that he had met so far only three other players – and two didn’t even notice that Prowl was a player as well, which was maybe contributed to the fact that the two were too busy running away.

The third player, travelling seemingly alone, nodded towards him and said, “Greetings fellow novice of the dark gods,” and went on. Prowl was too stunned to answer in kind.

Of course, outside of Albenhus his protection of being a novice failed fast and he would be attacked by pretty much everything. He even found a mud monster and promptly ran away. Prowl wasn’t big on fighting and the god business hadn’t changed that at all. The only problem was there wasn’t much else to do in the city.

Bored out of his processor, he decided to help that crying werewolf pup that he had found in an alley the night previously. Looking at that harmless ball of dirty fur, he thought that most players that probably just thought the little one was a rat… or something. Carefully he knelt down, a bit away.

“Hey, are you alright?” he asked as softly as he could.

The pup sniffed.

“Little one, do you need help?”

It looked up, its yellow eyes shining. With a soft asking yip, he acknowledged Prowl, but also backed away into the trash. Prowl didn’t move.

“My name is …” Why, why hadn’t he thought about it a klick or two longer? “Lord Darth,” he forced himself to say. “I want to help you. A young one like you shouldn’t be here, alone.”

“Mama, I want my mama,” said the pup.

“Did you lose her?”

The pup nodded, becoming bolder. On far too big paws it made a small step towards him. “Yes… we were in the woods and a big, reeeeally big boar attacked us! I ran, but … but mum wanted to fight.”

“I see. Maybe we can search for her?”

“You would do that for me?” The pup stared at him with big eyes. “But I can’t pay you!”

“I have no need for money,” said Prowl amused. “I just want to leave the village and have nowhere to go. This is as good as any other destination, especially if I can help you.”

“Oh.” He made a few steps towards Prowl. “I’m Alrik… and… and thank you.”

Prowl found himself smiling. He knew it wasn’t real, but the pup was just too cute and it made him feel warm. “Please to meet you, Alrik,” he rose. “Let’s go now. Your mother is probably very concerned already.” Or dead, but he didn’t want to say that out loud.

[Quest received: Find the mother of Alrik! The pup got lost in the wild after boars separated them. He fears the worst and really just wants to see her again. Help them. Rewards: Increased standing with the werewolves.]

Well, at least he had found out how to gain quests… which he assumed were in-game missions that he had to complete.

Together they left Albenhus and entered the wilderness. Protecting a pup was definitely not as easy as Prowl thought, and he found himself enjoying the task. He had always wanted to protect mechs, which was why he became an Enforcer and this wasn’t so different. Still, when they crossed the first stream, Prowl captured the excited bouncing pup and made him take a bath. The stink from the trash was just getting too bad.

=====
Author's Note: Albenhus and Boron are another reference to "The Dark Eye" (DSA).

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