Fizzle Goes to School (6-11-18)

[WP] Depending on the level of the spell and the mage, spells can frequently fail. You’ve earned the nickname ‘Fizzle’ because even your low level spells often fail, and your greatest desire is to discover why. [Link to post.]

“This is my stop,” the Elven guide said. Fillip “Fizzle” Zillmew stared at the giant, metal, black door the guide led him to. “Here’s a key, good luck,” the elf handed Fillip a small dark iron key. 

“Hey,” Fillip called the guide’s attention. “Is it as dangerous as everyone says?” He fidgeted with the key in his fingers while his gaze moved between the elf and the door five times his size. 

“Yes. No.” The elf shrugged. “Everyone’s experience is different, but everyone learns something. One way or another.” The elf waved over his shoulder as he resumed walking away. Fillip stared at the door to gather his courage, to remember the reason he came. He created his character months ago, and in that time he never managed to get a spell to resolve. He was laughed out of guild halls, and no group would pick him up. One evening during an event, a fortune teller suggested he could find answers in the School Yard. 

Fillip heard stories about the School Yard, an abandoned section of the AlterNet overrun by lawlessness, since he first logged in. Nanos flowed freely, but there were no rules to contain them like in the proper game. Anything that can be done in the game can be done in the School Yard, and then some. Fillip steeled his grip on the black key, then stepped forward. He took a deep breath, then touched the key to the door. A portion of the door swung open leaving a hole just big enough for him, then he stepped through and released his breath on the other side. 

After all the stories he expected dingy, dirty, wet slums. He found a wide open field under a bright purple sky. Roller Derby arenas seemed to be the most prominent, but he recognized other game setups too. He walked to the corner just beyond the metal door, then continued walking when he did not get mugged right away. He weaved through the crowds, taking in all the sights. One arena in particular caught his attention; he did not recognize the game. A female dwarf greeted him when he approached the court. 

“Interested? Winner gets my best work,” the Dwarf said. She gestured to an open black box with a red velvet interior. An ornate silver and gold pistol sat within the box. Fillip looked from the box to the game. A tall and wide rectangular, transparent pillar protruded in the middle of the court, but nothing else gave him a clue how to play. 

“How do you play?” He asked. The Dwarf’s smile grew wide enough to reach her ears. 

“Ah, you’re new the the School Yard. Careful with that information, it’s safer for you if everyone thinks you’ve been here before,” she said, then turned her back to him and walked to the center of the court. She turned over her shoulder and encouraged Fillip to follow her. She turned to face him again and gestured at the transparent pillar with her hands, as if presenting it to him. 

“This is called Combo Drop,” she said. The Dwarf snapped her fingers; brightly colored cubed crystals filled the inside of the pillar, then the glass around them disappeared. Each cube breathed one of four colors. Red, blue, green, or yellow. The tower resembled a skyscraper with different colored windows; it towered at least three times Fillip’s height. “C’mon!” she said. She walked around the pillar. “All you have to do is give it a shot,” she said. The dwarf pulled a golden gun from somewhere and shot at a yellow cube on the tower. The yellow cube disintegrated, then the blue cube above it fell into the empty space to land between two other blue cubes. When all three cubes made contact, a rush of blue energy ran through all three, then they disappeared. More cubes fell into the empty spaces, but no other colors matched up. “Got it?” she asked. 

“Oh, a match-3. No sweat,” Fillip said. He cast his lowest level fireball spell at a green cube, but the spell did not reach. “Oh yeah,” he said. The adventure, and the new game made it easy for him to temporarily forget why he was there. 

“So then, you don’t want to play?” The Dwarf asked. 

“I do, but my spells never work,” Fillip said. He found it surprisingly easy to talk to her. 

“They don’t work how? The nanos always cast the spell,” she said. 

“You just saw it, right? That pathetic attempt at a fireball? I picked a wizard because I wanted to do magic, but I’m a failure even in a virtual world.” The Dwarf burst into giggles while Fillip stared at the ground. He looked up at her once he heard the laughter. “Thanks. I’m gonna leave now,” he said. He turned to leave, but the Dwarf scurried up to him and grabbed his arm. 

“No, you don’t understand!” she said. She started walking somewhere while pulling Fillip along. “I’m a gunsmith and one of my abilities lets me recognize everyone that can equip one of my guns.” They reached the edge of the court, then the Dwarf pulled out the silver and gold gun and handed it to Fillip. “Now try your spell,” she said. 

“What?” Fillip hesitated. The Dwarf walked behind him and turned his body to face the pillar of colored cubes. 

“Use your fire spell, and pull the trigger,” she said. Fillip did as instructed. He aimed toward a red cube, cast his fire spell and pulled the trigger. A giant fireball shot from the gun through the colored pillar. It cleared the top third of the tower of blocks, then all of the disintegrated into sand. “Destroying more than one block is cheating, but it looks like you got it sorted out,” the Dwarf smiled at him. 

“But.. how? Wizards don’t use guns?” He asked.

“Something must have glitched out when you made your character. You’re not a wizard, you’re a spellslinger. They’re like wizards, but you need guns to focus your magic. You can keep that one,” she said. 

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