Bitter 15

“What’s your name?” Britta asked the nun.

The nun’s eyes seemed to light up. “Why, I’m Sister Florence. So lovely to meet you… B.” A white tag appeared over Sister Florence’s head that had her name written on it. Did this mean something significant? Or just that she had met this character?

“Are we in a city?” she asked Sister Florence.

“The nearest city is New City.”

That didn’t really answer the question. “What city is the Church of Roha in?”

Sister Florence stared rather disconcertingly at Britta for a second, and then repeated, “The nearest city is New City.”

Playing a game like this wasn’t really about doing what you would in real life. It wasn’t a world created over a long time where things had developed organically, it was a world created by a bunch of boys over a couple of months. You had to think like they would think, which meant poorly explained ideas, the belief that what was obvious to them would be obvious to everyone else, and an unnecessary amount of references to books and movies no one had ever heard of outside of the geek community.

“What is the location of the Church of Roha?” said Britta.

“The Church of Roha is in New Town.”

Typical. It wouldn’t tell her which city the church was in because it wasn’t in a city, it was in a town. Was the whole game this pedantic? At this rate, it would take forever to get information out of any of the characters, even the ones designed to provide information.

“I’d like to leave now,” said Britta. The nun just stood there, smiling inanely. “So, bye then.” Britta walked to the door and opened it. The nun didn’t try to stop her, so Britta assumed it was okay. She was probably in a safe zone so it was unlikely there was a monster on the other side of the door, she told herself.

On the other side, there was a large room with benches. Pews. It was very much like a church. There weren’t any people. No other nuns and no sign of the healer Sister Florence had mentioned, but quite a few doors which might have interesting things behind them. Or they might be empty rooms.

Light came in from grimy windows that were made of stained glass with depictions of various creatures it was hard to identify through the dirt. The designers had gone for a very ‘earthy’ feel. Even the light felt dirty, the reds and blues making the church feel quite sordid.

Britta walked down the central aisle towards the larges door, which she assumed was the exit. She had no weapons, no money and only very basic clothing, so her chances of defeating the enemy (whoever they were) and saving the world were very slim. She didn’t really care. She wasn’t here to save anyone, just to pass the time. It had to be better than the crap she had to put up with in the real world.

The door was huge, big enough for a giant, perhaps literally, but there was a smaller door built into it which she pushed open. When she stepped through, the noise hit her first. The glare from the sun also caused her to react after the gloom of the church interior and it took her a few seconds to be able to see.

She was in a town alright. A town full of people, for want of a better word. There was a large street in front of the church, and the citizens of New Town filled it. She had no idea where they were all going, but they seemed in an awful hurry to get there. Hundreds of them.

It was quite an amazing sight, not only because there were so many, but because of the different types. Humans were not the only inhabitants. There were lizardmen and cat-people and an assortment of skin colours. Some had horns, others had wings.

There were horses being ridden, but one green character with a large fin on top of his head rode by on what looked like a sabre-toothed tiger.

Britta wondered if these were other players. It didn’t seem likely. They were probably computer-generated characters like Sister Florence, which meant they’d each have a set list of responses to questions and some useful information if you could figure out what those questions were.

Britta could have quite easily just stood there and watched all the unusual creatures go by, but there was something else that caught her attention. Across the street was another building with a large sign that said: Adventurer’s Guild.

That made sense. You die, you resurrect, you go to the guild to get another quest. Classic designer thinking. In there, she would definitely be able to get a lot of the answers she needed. Maybe even a some decent clothes.

She walked down the wooden stairs from the church and stepped onto the road. Her foot sank into the very realistic mud and got stuck. She didn’t have any shoes and could feel the mud in between her toes. Was it really necessary to put in this level of detail?

People walked around her mumbling and complaining.  Some even gave her threatening looks, although it was hard to take seriously when they had the head of a gerbil. Slowly, she managed to release her foot, only to get it stuck again with the next step. At this rate, it would take her all weekend just to cross the street.

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