Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Game That Changed Her Life

Image source : here


NightQueen wandered through the plains of Sholazar. She and her allies were looking for some Hyldnir to kill.

Night Queen was a level 79 Blood-elf Mage (spell-caster) along with her allies consisting of hunters (ranged weaponry and beast taming), druids (metamorphosis) and rogues (Stealth and melee). She was on the verge of her last quest to level up and become a fully-fledged level 80 Mage which unlocks a plethora of spells and attacks.

The entire faction followed NightQueen because of her decision making and because of the fact that she could easily kick each of their butts in combat with ease.
NightQueen led her faction into the Brunnhildar Village where the Hyldnirs were found in abundance. As they progressed into the village, as surreptitiously as they can, they spotted a Hyldnir oblivious to their arrival. Quick as she was, NightQueen spotted two others, not far away. But sadly, the same could not be said about other members of her clique.

Before she could communicate with the others, one of them, a druid called BlackHand, whose powers include transformation, quickly altered into a bear and launched an all-out attack on the unwary Hyldnir.



Now, the faction always remained a group and they always had each other’s back. NightQueen didn’t even have to order the others to attack; they were already onto the comparatively huge Hyldnir.

Hyldnirs are basically troll Death Knights that attack through melee. They have the strength to easily decapitate anyone foolish enough to go near them with a mere swish of their maces. Druids have the advantage of transfiguration, due to which they can easily turn into flight forms and continue the attack.

While this attack was mounting, the other two Hyldnirs came to the rescue of this one. NightQueen was afraid of this. She knew she could handle one Hyldnir, but she had her doubts about two.

They fought valiantly, but the emotions each one of them carried were mixed. Some cursed BlackHand, while some thought of retreat. But NightQueen wasn’t one to give up. But after a while of gruesome battle, she knew. She knew that it was a losing battle. They had managed to silence only one of the trolls, whereas she had already lost two of her allies.

Meanwhile Strider was ambling through the Dark Forests of Numengrad. He was trying to get as many factions as possible for his guild to attack the vast army of the Ungrads. He had already won over nine such guilds and was hoping to find some more, as he was in dire need of paladins and healers.

Strider was a level 82 Blood Elf Warlock. His powers included Dark Arts and spell casting to enslave other beasts. He could also summon minions out of thin air and make them do his bidding.

He had already captured two demons and had enough mana to summon an entire army of minions. He usually rode on his mount which was a Dreadsteed (A horse-like animal with horns and fire erupting from its hooves and tail), which gave him more speed.
As he wandered around the forests, looking for factions to join him in his quest, his map showed a red blinking dot, which usually meant an undergoing fight. But this was in the neighbouring village of Brunnhildar. And he did not have his trusted guild members with him either.

He decided to go help whoever it was regardless of his situation. He figured, that even if he lost the battle, he may gain trust in the faction and thus maybe he could make his grand total to a ten.

NightQueen had lost two more from her faction. Now the battle was between three of them and one fully strengthened troll. She too, had thought about retreating and coming back with everyone’s mana and strength replenished, but that would mean accepting defeat, and she was not one to do that. They had managed to slay two of the trolls at the cost of four of her guild mates, and almost exhausting her mana completely. If her mana was empty, she would be useless, for she would be brought down to doing melee attacks only, which was a weakness for her.

The troll swished his mace one more time, to kill one more of her comrades. As if on cue, Strider came into the scene riding magnificently on his Dreadsteed, with an army of his minions, to help the proverbial damsel-in-distress.

The minions and Strider kept the troll busy while she replenished her mana and then joined the fray. Two of her comrades were back after they’d been re-spawned in the Valley of the Dead. And they finally managed to exterminate the troll and thus level up. Strider didn’t take any of the mana or the goods as he didn’t need any. NightQueen thanked him and accepted his offer to join his guild against the unruly Ungrads.
She had observed him tackle the troll and the way he had ordered the minions to go in simultaneous batches, and how he retreated the first batch when they were exhausted, sent in the second batch and so on. She was highly impressed by his tactics and his leadership qualities. The chivalry he portrayed in not accepting any of the goods or the mana helped her in making her decision to join forces with him.

***************************************************************

Meghana walked into the huge DLF building with her briefcase in one hand and her daily morning coffee in the other. This was the daily routine of the MBA graduate from one of the premier B-schools of the country. The receptionist greeted her with a “Good Morning ma’am” to which she nodded and walked to the elevator with an air of superiority that bordered on arrogance. She walked into her office without so much as a “Hello” to her subordinate co-workers.

Meghana was the vice president of her company. A position she prided upon. The only respect she had for anyone in the office was for her superior and the CEO of the company, to who she reported to. Her behaviour to her subordinates notwithstanding, she had immense focus on her career and complete faith in her analytic and strategic manoeuvres as a vice-president.

Priyanka, her assistant, had reached office half an hour prior to her arrival. She went into her boss’ office to get her assignments for the day. Meghana efficiently assigned the tasks looking at her computer not even bothering to give Priyanka as much as a look.

Priyanka nodded as she noted down her assignments and left. She was working on some analytical numbers when she hit a snag. Instead of reporting this, which would result in an embarrassing scene, she decided to call Arup, who apparently had a solution to every problem.

Arup was a thirty-two year old (which incidentally was Meghana’s age) who had to drop out of college due to familial pressures and had to obtain a degree through correspondence, and thus earned a job as an assistant technician in the company. He had to struggle his way up to the senior IT technician position he was currently in.

Arup came into the office and went straight over to Priyanka’s desk, to look over the setback. He realised the problem immediately and set up a proxy IP address, in order to solve it. He smiled at Priyanka and nodded to her appreciation.

As he walked over to go back to his station, he noticed Harish, a software tester playing online scrabble.

“You know, you could add a ‘pre’ to ‘requisite’ and get a triple word” Arup said.

“Huh?!” Harish looked startled.

Arup smiled and winked at Harish and went back to his station to get back to his job.

Soon enough he got another call. This time it was from the boss. Meghana had trouble connecting to the main server and had called Arup. As he went over to her cabin, he smiled at Harish who mouthed “Best of Luck!”

“Umm… Did you type the password correctly, ma’am?” he asked Meghana after listening to her complaint that she couldn’t access the server.

“Of course, I typed the password correctly! How stupid do you think I am?” she retorted angrily at what she thought to be mocking.

“Sorry ma’am, I didn’t mean that. We changed the passwords of the server last night and had sent everyone an email regarding the same. I was just wondering whether you had forgotten…” he looked at her slightly embarrassed but with confidence.

“Oh, okay. Yeah, maybe…” she replied sounding sheepish.

“Is that it, ma’am?”

“Yes that’d be all. You may go now.” She replied curtly.

“It wouldn’t kill you to say ‘thanks’” he muttered to himself on his way out.

***************************************************************

NightQueen and Strider completed many quests before they reached their final destination. In each of the quests, both of them had each other’s backs. Strider was far more advanced, technically and strategically planning each and every move. The respect and adoration NightQueen had had for Strider only increased with each quest. By the end of their journey, she practically revered Strider.

She was taken aback at the size of the clan Strider commanded. There were at least 11 factions, standing ready, awaiting orders. Each faction either as big as or vaster than her own.

Strider rode up to the front and sent out their battle plan. The plan, as expected by NightQueen, was fool proof. Every contingency was meticulously planned out by their remarkable leader. And the way he communicated was such that every single person in every single faction understood their duties. If this couldn’t win them the quest, then nothing could.

Strider commenced the battle by leading from the front, followed by his own faction. The battle went on for hours, where people died, re-spawned and came back and fought again. There were times when Strider had to break his plan and rescue some other people, who would’ve otherwise cost a lot of damage and man-power. Healers needed to be healed, mana was to be supplied, minions were sent to help those whose energies were down, and many more such obstacles to be crossed in order to win this battle against the Ungrads. NightQueen had helped whenever she could, but Strider was written all over the battlefield. He had performed advanced magic and conjured demons to do his bidding, while his minions kept the Ungrads busy.

 After hours of fighting, the last Ungrad fell and victory was theirs! Everyone had levelled up and this victory was to go down in the Hall of Fame of the best battles in the virtual world.

**************************************************************

Arup was a bit late showing up to office today. He wondered whether anyone would notice.

Just as he reached his seat, and had logged in, he got a call from the boss. He fumbled on his way up to her office. He noticed Harish pointing to him and slicing his throat with his hands, to indicate that she was going to kill him.

Arup knocked on the door and asked permission to come in, and got it instantaneously.

“You called, ma’am?” he asked, innocently.

“I’ve been calling you since I got here. Where were you?” she asked, with a strong 
tone.

“Umm… I’m sorry ma’am I got up late and I…”

“Whatever. Don’t repeat it again.” She said without waiting for an answer. “Why is it that I don’t get my mail when I want it?” she continued.

“What is the problem ma’am?” he asked, confused.

“The problem is, my mail client has decided not to show me my mails anymore” she answered with a gesture that screamed annoyance.

“Oh… may I?” Arup asked pointing to her laptop, asking permission to work on it.
She gave him an inviting gesture, giving him permission.

“Umm… Your hard drive seems to be full ma’am” he said after opening her explorer.

“No, it isn’t. I have around 20 GB of free space. Here look” she said, showing him the free space.

“No ma’am, I meant in your primary hard-drive. The one in which your mail is stored. May I?” he explained and asked permission to open the directory.

“Yeah, go ahead” she replied.

“Oh! It’s mainly because of this game! It is a huge game, but a good one at that!” he said, concealing a smile.

“Hmm… You play? What are you, a level 10 dwarf?” she chuckled at her own joke.

“No ma’am, I’m a level 82 warlock” he replied, this time not bothering to camouflage his smile.

She looked at him as though lightning had struck her.

But it can’t be! Strider is so much cleverer and wilier. Arup can’t be Strider. Can he? Strider has to be someone far better than this guy! He’s an IT technician for crying out loud!

“And what quest did you complete recently?” she asked, half expecting an answer that would confirm her notion.

“Well, I and my clan just defeated the Ungrads to go into the Hall of fame!” he replied as his face lit up with jubilation.

But how could he? I always thought…

“Ma’am?”

“Yeah” she replied with a jolt, as she was disturbed from her line of thought.

“I asked, what character do you play?” he repeated his question, a bit apprehensively.

“I’m Nigh… umm… It’s none of your business” she replied sounding a bit shaken but aggressive.

Awkward silence followed, as both of them contemplated over the recent turn of events.

“Right… umm… I’ve downloaded and installed this software” Arup said returning to reality first, “All you have to do is run it and it will clean up some free space.”

“Yeah, right. I’ll… umm… I’ll do that” Meghana replied, seeming flustered.

“Is that all, ma’am?” he asked.

“Yes that’s all, Arup” she replied.

As he turned to leave, she called him back.

“Umm… Arup… thank you!” she said and Arup felt like she really meant it which left him flabbergasted.

He tried to smile through his bewilderment which resulted in a weird facial expression that made him look as if he was constipated.

He closed the door behind him and stood on the doorway, thinking about what just happened. Unable to make any sense out it, “Women and their god-damned mood swings!” he chuckled to himself as he set out to his desk.


This post is written as part of IndiFiction Writing Workshop based on the plot given by The Fool.

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