Roleplaying, where does it end?

This article was submitted and posted as an opinion editorial at During a site upgrade, there was a major crash, and the original boards were lost. At the time, the names of the person I wrote about (Altariel/Katie/Rob) were changed (Sundancer/June/Steve) because this was written immediately after the incident I describe, and because there was no reason to use RL names. This is the original text that was submitted.  Continue reading

A Kiss Goodbye

Originally posted on Crossroads of Dereth Tales Forum, Summer 2000
This is another of my AC Darktide stories, one that I had forgotten about until a chance link from the TAO website lead me to find this and the “Promise Fulfilled” story.

My character – Lady Rhyssa Fireheart – was devoted to her lord and patron, Steele. When the player of Steele decided to quit AC in the summer of 2000, he wrote a story about his demise and return to the lands of his birth. This story is about how my character knew of what happened without being told.

Rhyssa lit the candles, curled into the large chair, and began to read. She was behind on the stories in the library, and tonight she finally had the chance to catch up. The hours of the night ran by quickly, and the candles had burned low when she felt it. Suddenly, pain hit her and she thought she would pass out, before realizing that this wasn’t physical, nor even mental pain. This was a tearing apart of her soul.

She felt an emptiness in her heart, and tried to find the source of this feeling. It was then that she realized that her ties to her lord were missing, gone completely, shattered. She could no longer feel him in her soul, but the feeling was different than when she had been pulled back to Ispar. Then, she knew he still lived and they would be reunited, but now…

Tears began to run from her eyes and she rubbed them away almost angrily. Then she felt it, a gentle, soft touch against her cheek. The touch came again, this time against her lips, and she knew. It was her lord saying good-bye to her, one last time. He was no longer in Dereth. He was free. She began to sob more openly now.

She remembered all the times they had sat on the mountains overlooking Stonehold and simply talked, about themselves, their lives, their dreams and hopes for this land they now lived in. He had told her of his past, and the charge given to him by the One. She’d vowed to help in his quest, to fight by his side forever. Now it seemed that forever had come. He had completed his journey, and now was granted peace, finally. She had known that she was to lose him one day, but hadn’t wanted it to come so soon…

She continued to cry, but the sobs softened, becoming more of a benediction now. They became tears of joy, for her lord had won his dream, and been rewarded. They became tears of sadness, for now she was required to walk this land alone, without him by her side, until she too was released from her duties and could go to join him.

Rhyssa finally fell asleep in the chair, exhausted from the emotions that she felt. Tears still stained her cheeks, but her face was peaceful now. She didn’t stir when Viztor walked into the library looking for her, to tell her the sad news. He saw her asleep and gently picked her up from the chair to take her to her own room.


Originally posted on Crossroads of Dereth Tales Forum, July (?), 2000

I used to write more roleplaying stories when I first began playing Asheron’s Call. I started playing on Darktide – the full PvP server. Back in the beginning, there was more RPing on the server in general, and I enjoyed writing. This story was written “visually” in an attempt to help convey the franticness of the words. Yeah, sounds really highbrow, doesn’t it? I just thought it was a neat thing to do at the time.

  My entire existence narrowed to that one thought.
             Don’t stop.
                                                If I stop…
                   They will kill me.
                                   The quiver bounced against my hip, and the straps of my pack cut into my shoulders.
                                                                     The cramps in my legs.
                                                                                            Rasping, gasping for air.
                                                 To fill
My starving lungs.
My sweating palms slipped on the stave of my bow, my father’s bow, my father…
Don’t think of that now.
                                            Sweat dripped into my eyes and I swept it away with trembling fingers. I didn’t look at the blood that I knew was there as well. Pain flared in my ankle, and I couldn’t stop my fall. Rocks pounded my body as I fell to the ground. I cried out at the pain, but pulled myself up quickly.


                                                                    The noise started to whine in my ears, like a cloud of gnats on a hot summer night. My mother always put out sweet incense to keep them away, but it never seemed to work. I can see her now, sitting quietly on the porch, calmly waving her fan back and forth. Back and forth. The surprise on her face when the band of men came out of the forest and ran towards the house…
             The sound kept getting louder, and a flickering purple glow lit the twilight. Was it still only dusk? It seemed like forever since the men came.
                                  My feet slid on the gravel as I ran down the hill. I flailed my arms in an attempt to keep my balance. It worked for a moment. It was the sight of a purple swirl that was my downfall. The noise that I hadn’t been hearing rose suddenly in a screaming triumph. Distracted, I tripped and fell once again.
                                           Not pain.
                                  A streak of violet shot towards me. Dark tunnel walls, beyond black, leeched of all color, rushed past my head. The dizzying swirl of not-color bruised my vision, and I shut my eyes to block the pain.
                                           The call of a hunting hawk
Wind through the trees
                                            No pain.
                                                                     My lungs didn’t gasp for air.
                                            My legs no longer ached
                  Grass against my cheek
                                                                     The humming of a bee after flowers
No safety.
                                            Or die.

The old man caught me when I ran into him, almost knocking us both over. His kindly face was lined with wrinkles, setting off his smile. I could only gape foolishly at him, amazed by the warmth in his eyes.

                   “Rest, daughter of suns, you are safe here.”

His hands were strong yet, but still gentle where they held my arms. I could feel the calmness emanating from him. He held me gently until the need to flee drained out of me, leaving me spent. He then lead me to a fire, seated me in a chair and then began to move silently about the room, busy with tasks I was too tired to notice. All the while he spoke to me, his deep, soothing voice falling into the sing-song cadences of a true master.
                                            I can’t remember all he said, but the words slipped into my head, eased into my thoughts, only to surface later when I least expected them.
                   A day?
                                            Two days?
                                            Who can remember.
                                                                     But finally it was time to go.
I remembered all he told me, all I was taught by this master, but still…
Always alone now

                  “Not forever, daughter of suns. You will find a new family one day. Not to replace the old, but to continue it. There will be a place for you, Waiting to take you in.”

                                            I shook my head, No. I could not accept that. Not yet. The pain was still too new, too raw for me to believe that it would ever fade. I kissed him good-bye, for soon I would not be able to visit him. And then I stepped through the door, walking towards the twirling blue stone outside. He had told me what it’s purpose was. But I was still free to not do it, not touch the stone, not bind my existence to this world. If I died, perhaps I would return to my home…

To what?
                   I touched the stone, and found my center.
Now, this was my home.

                                            I walked along the path, heading towards the town ahead. Shoushi, he’d called it. Perhaps I will find a home there.

                      Up ahead, I saw several figures in a group. Their voices were distant to me, I kept myself wrapped up in aloofness. One of the men, noticing me, walked over to block my path. He looked me over with insolent eyes. I stared back, uncaring. This ‘man’ was a mere pup compared to the others I’d seen
                                  Don’t think of them. Think of the now only. The past is done, the future will come.

                  “And who are you, little girly?”

                   Mute, I only stared at him.

                                           “Your name, girl!” His anger lashed out at me quickly, searingly, but it had no effect.

                  “No one.
                   I am no one.”

“Dare mo? That is a funny name, little girly.”

                                           His ugly laughter rang out.
And then


Journey’s End

Originally posted on Circle of the Eternal Dragon’s Guild Forum, July 2000

I wrote this story while I was on vacation in California for my brother-in-law’s wedding. I managed to catch an upper respiratory infection while out there, so instead of partying and having fun, I felt like I was trying to hack up a lung. Joyous.

I also wrote it in response to another story that one of my guildmates wrote. He was someone that also enjoyed RPing, and so our characters interacted together a lot. He wrote several other stories (very good ones at that), but they are his writings, and as I haven’t had any contact with him in close to two years now, I have no way of asking for his permission to post them.

Rhyssa paused wearily, resting a moment before continuing her journey back to town. She had left over a week ago, to take some time off to be alone. She had been tired, both physically and mentally, before leaving. It had felt good to simply travel across the land, not worrying about anything in particular. Despite the break, she still felt unsettled, the peace she had been hoping to find had eluded her. To make matters even more enjoyable, while staying beside the ocean for a few days, she had managed to catch a cold. Luckily, none of her friends had been around to comment on her voice sounding like the croak of a frog.

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A Promise Fulfilled

Originally posted on Crossroads of Dereth Tales Forum, Month Unknown 2000
This is another of my AC Darktide stories, one that I had forgotten about until a chance link from the TAO website lead me to find this and the “A Kiss Goodbye” story.

I think I wrote this mostly to celebrate finally learning some of my level 6 spells (then the highest level spells available). I learned the ones that let me buff my patron first, so that he’d be more effective in battle. I wasn’t the greatest PvP player because looking back now, I got myself stuck into the mindset of playing a support character. It’s taken me a long time to try to break that mold, but I’m learning. 🙂

The young archmage sat quietly on the ground, looking out over the desert town spread out below her. The occasional cry of a bird could be heard, but otherwise silence was her only companion. The breeze played with her hair, tugging the silvery strands into knots around her face. Sitting here like this reminded her of how much she missed the mountains of the Northlands. She missed her former home in Stonehold, where she had first met her Lord and patron. This lonesome spot reminded her of that place.
The two of them used to sit together under the night sky, simply talking and enjoying each others company. Those days were long gone now. Almost constant warfare and new dangers swept the land of Dereth, and much had happened to her since those days. Now, she lived by the edge of the western ocean, helping to carve out an oasis of peace for the Light and her fellow dragons to live in.

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Rebirth, Part IV (Final)

Originally posted on Crossroads of Dereth Tales Forum, April 2000
The final part in the “creation” story for my Asheron’s Call character, Rhyssa Fireheart.

Playing this character, and writing stories like this one (several of which I can no longer find, sadly), are a few of the reasons why I ended up “becoming” Rhyssa Fireheart, and why that name is now the one that I use regularly in other games and on message boards. Rereading the story now, over 2 years later, I have to restrain myself from doing some touch up editing. I see so much that I could have written differently, or better, but this is how I wrote it originally, sappy sentimentality and all.

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Rebirth, Part III

Originally posted on Crossroads of Dereth Tales Forum, March/April 2000.
Part 3 of the “creation” story for my Asheron’s Call character, Rhyssa Fireheart.


Mountains again. And ruins surrounding this lifestone. She touched the stone to set her soul to this place, and realized that she was probably even farther south again, further away from her beloved patron. She still could not hear his voice, nor feel his presence, and she hoped that he was all right. Protecting the Prophet of the Light was a hard job, and his duty to the Circle would always come first; she had finally accepted this, although it had caused a bit of strife in their relationship at first.

Legolas met her at the ruined city, and told her to follow, he had a place for her to stay and fight creatures. Following him, they began to run north, but only for a short distance. Legolas obviously knew the area well, for he avoided monsters with ease. Climbing a short slope, she saw a tower and low building, and between the two, another lifestone. She reset her soul to this one, and then Legolas showed her where to hunt and introduced her to a few of the other people there. This would be her new home again for a while, until it again became necessary to leave and go elsewhere.  Continue reading

Rebirth, Part II

Originally posted on Crossroads of Dereth Tales Forum, March 2000
Part 2 of the “creation” story for my Asheron’s Call character, Rhyssa Fireheart.


The portal seemed to last forever, but eventually she found herself staring at one of the twirling blue lifestones. Looking around, she didn’t recognize anything; this dry, desert land certainly wasn’t her lovely mountain home in Stonehold. She found a sign pointing off into the distance, “Samsur.” She had returned to Dereth, but far, far to the south of her home. She slumped to the ground in despair, almost sobbing from the thought of the task ahead of her. A noise off to her right made her jump up in alarm, grabbing for her wand.

She shook herself, muttering about fools who deserved to be killed, and headed out towards the city, using caution every step of the way. She reached a point where she could see into the town, but decided to go hunting drudges and shreths instead, to build her strength and power back up. She felt so… diminished somehow, not nearly as strong as she had been previously. Moving north from the town, she soon found monsters to fight, and the words of power came easily to her lips. Drudges fell easily to her warmagics, but she did not come away without injury herself.

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Rebirth, Part I

Originally posted on Crossroads of Dereth Tales Forum, February/March 2000
When my RL friends and I started playing Asheron’s Call retail back in December of 1999, we filled all our extra character slots with mules, and chained them together to form a tree. One of my characters was a mage that I named Rhyssa Fireheart. It was a name I’d previously used in D&D, and I thought it was a good choice for a mule. My main character was an archer named Daremo, which was my original online name that I used for FPS games like Quake and Tribes.

This story is one I wrote in in February/March of 2000 after I made the hard decision to reroll my character. She was a mage with almost no magics, and the ones she had weren’t enough to help her much. So I completely deleted my character and recreated her. This is the story I wrote to explain what had happened to “me” when it became apparent Rhyssa wasn’t the same anymore. I’m not sure if I should be proud or scared to say that I still play Asheron’s Call, and Rhyssa is still my main character.

We joined a guild called the Circle of the Eternal Dragon on the full PvP server Darktide. A chance remark by one of my guildmates got me thinking about role-playing, which many of us did back then. Steele was the personal protector to Monsignor Father Lucas Upright, the Prophet of the One, and he joking remarked on the message boards that all the ladies fell for Father Lucas, and paid no attention at all to a strong man-at-arms. Right then, the “idea” behind Rhyssa was born, and I became two persons in game – shy, silent Daremo, and flirtatious Lady Rhyssa Fireheart.

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