Gestalt took a dangerous journey to the player killer server of Darktide. But having racked up an enviable vitae penalty in this hostile place, Gestalt soon decided it was time again to return to more green and pleasant lands.
And so this week we bring you "Part Three : In which Gestalt is filled by the joys of spring"
Any similarities to real events or persons living or dead is purely coincidental, yadda yadda yadda...
Spring Time In Dereth
So was born Gestalt into the world of Morningthaw...
Spring had now sprung. The sun was shining and the snows that had still covered the land when Gestalt first entered Dereth had now retreated to the far north. Flowers grew from the muddy ground, and vast clouds of pollen floated in the air out in the grassy Aluvian plains.
Luckily Gestalt did not suffer from hay fever, but still all was not as calm as it at first appeared, for hiding amongst the trees and scattered across the prairie, a vast plague was taking shape... Rabbits! Hundreds of the infernal rodents massing for God alone knows what sinister purpose.
Until now the rabbits had been content to merely sit and munch grass, waiting patiently for some great hero to come along and cleave them in twain, but now they grouped together in gigantic hordes that stretched for as far as the eye could see. And they bred, producing ever more baby rabbits which their elders now defended vigorously, leaping to attack any man who attempted to slay their young.
Gestalt sought to warn the world of its impending doom, as Dereth seemed certain to be buried beneath a vast furry blanket of vicious rodents, but nobody would heed his prophecies of disaster, and the rabbits went on breeding...
The Rodent Menance
And so Gestalt decided he must take on this rodent menace single-handedly, wandering far and wide across the plains and through the forests of Dereth as he tried to control the rampant rabbit population.
Sadly this brave attempt ultimately proved to be in vain though, for the rabbits appeared able to breed faster than Gestalt could slay them. And meanwhile the rest of Dereth's attention was distracted from the rodent menace by the sudden appearance of vast spires, which had apparently erupted from the ground near several towns and now floated eerily in the sky.
Clearly the rabbits are behind the whole conspiracy, acting in unison like some kind of hive brain as they spread across the land without check, their natural predators oblivious to the danger that they face as they stare at the strange skies, unable or unwilling to see the real threat that sits at their feet.
Fear not though, for Gestalt will not rest until this terrible truth is revealed to the disbelieving world!
Vast rodent conspiracies were not the only threat to engulf Dereth at this time though. Recently the behaviour of the monsters in this land has been altered in a strange way.
Sages mutter about "patches", "state of the code", "play balance", and other arcane gibberish, but Gestalt has discovered the real reason for the sudden ability of monsters to effortlessly chase and kill fleeing humans. They have discovered the art of rollerblading!
Monsters now grab hold of you as you run past them, and simply roll along behind you, beating you over the head with whatever weapon they have to hand. At times you can find yourself at the front of a vast train of monsters intent on braining you, each holding on to the one in front and rolling along merrily as you struggle to escape their grasp.
At times they will lose their grip on you and abruptly stop, only to suddenly slide up behind you once again. In these instances the monsters are being given a helping push by their friends, or else have succeeded in attaching a rope to your back which allows them to reel you in again when they lose contact...
If You Go Down To The Woods Today...
Unfortunately it was at this point that Gestalt had decided to go camping in the woods to the north of Arwic, venturing far into the wilderness and atuning himself to a lifestone in a small temple surrounded by monsters.
This had seemed a good idea at the time, and he had reached the outpost almost without injury. But now Gestalt found himself trapped there as the monsters were suddenly able to chase him down and kill him as he tried to get back to civilization.
On his first attempt to return to Arwic to sell his loot, Gestalt ran into a family of Banderlings who were enjoying a picnic out in the woods. Sadly Gestalt was destined to be a part of this meal, as he discovered to his great surprise that he could no longer out-run the banderlings without fear of retaliation.
Returning to life at the lifestone in the woods, Gestalt again made a break for Arwic, bursting through the line of drudges and shreths that surrounded his camp site and dashing headlong through the forest.
At first he seemed to have succeeded in avoiding the creatures that lurked amongst the trees, but suddenly he found himself face to face with a herd of reedsharks! These foul monsters may only be short of stature, but they are fast runners and lethal enemies.
Half of a dozen of these creatures now stood between Gestalt and freedom, charging straight at him. Turning, Gestalt ran, but it was to no avail. The beasts soon caught up with him, and within seconds his remains were scattered across the plains, along with his favourite platemail leggings.
A Bridge Too Far?
Seeing the plains and woods to the south to be over-run by monsters, Gestalt next attempted a sortie to the west, attempting to reach the bizarre looking bridge which had but recently appeared spanning the river.
This he succeeded in doing, but on reaching it he found another group of banderlings waiting at the far end of the bridge, blocking his route to Holtburg. Bravely Gestalt made a run for it, but he was cut down by the banderling hunting party and their pet shreths before he could reach the safety of the road to Holtburg.
Returning to the bridge safely again, Gestalt met with a fellow adventurer more experienced in the ways of combat than he. Together they took on the monsters that were camping at the end of the bridge, and Gestalt succeeded in recovering his corpse. But on reaching the road beyond the woods he found that it too was now plagued by banderlings, and before he could escape he was again slain.
By this point Gestalt was despairing of ever reaching civilization again, and was afraid that by the time he returned to the town it would have been over run by rodents and its unsuspecting inhabitants slaughtered.
But he made one last dash for freedom, this time once again running due south through the woods and plains. And by some miracle this time he succeeded in avoiding any entanglements along the way, even stopping to recover the platemail leggings that he had earlier dropped.
Reaching the outskirts of Arwic he said a silent prayer, and slaughtered a herd of rabbits to remove a little of the vitae penalty which his repeated deaths had caused him to suffer.
And there was much rejoicing!
The End Is Nigh!
But already there was cause for concern as, on arriving in the fair town of Arwic after his wanderings in the wilderness, Gestalt discovered to his horror that the cows have become part of the evil conspiracy of the rabbits.
These domesticated animals have previously been placcid creatures, happily munching the grass (as do the rabbits .. hm, is there some connection here?) and providing a source of combat experience and beef for passing adventurers. But in Arwic one of these animals had apparently slain a man, whose corpse still lay in the paddock alongside them.
This sinister turn of events is indeed a cause for concern, as cattle can be found in most of the towns of Dereth. The towns are still largely free of rabbits, which seem to prefer to lurk around the edges of civilization, but if now the cows are involved in their plotting then there is nowhere but the deepest dungeons where we may truly be considered safe.
And all the while Dereth believes that the threat comes from the floating spires above, not the innocent seeming rodents burrowing below. If they cannot be made to see the true danger, then we are all doomed!
John "Gestalt" Bye