Chapter Three: Helvetica Receives Her First Quest

Posted by | March 4, 2007

Helvetica felt overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and throngs rushing all around her. Surrounding her, dozens of other stick thin blood elves slid past, their glowing eyes skittering by as luminous blurs. Once and a while a blue name floating above a pastel head caught her attention, such gems as “Bubblehearth,” “Omgelf,” “Dulcewynna,” and “Toosexyformysword.” She stared in awe at the alabaster ponderous curves and sweep of the tower she stood next to, a yellow inlay etching flitted playfully across the opalescent surface and transitioned across blood red pincushion bubbles before finally reaching the summit of the goldenrod and red roof.

The sight of the tower captured her attention so totally she didn’t look where she was going—or maybe it was the male blood elf, dancing and stripping down to his skivvies. None of this mattered, of course, because while admiring—and backpedaling—she bumped into someone else. They went down together in a mass of easily fractured limbs, bleached hair, incandescent eyes, and even managed to tangle their eyebrows.

“Just…just hold still,” the blood elf woman said as she carefully prized their eyebrows apart. “Do my ears look okay?” she asked, delicately touching the overlong points of cartilage that extended well above her head.

In sympathetic response, Helvetica checked her own ears and found them to be undamaged. “They’re fine,” she said. She would have gone on, but something floating above Magistrix Eona’s head (her name displayed in prominent green also above her head, but that wasn’t as interesting as what hovered above it.) “Did you know that a giant, neon-yellow exclamation point is bobbing above your head?”

“Oh yes, I know,” she said. “All of us who give out quests have one of these.” She held out a little device that looked a lot like a remote control. “Watch this.” Press. The exclamation point vanished. Press. It reappeared. Press-press-press-press. As Helvetica watched it rotate through a various set of symbols and colors: yellow and grey question-marks, a grey exclamation point, a pound sign, an ellipsis—Brraa-Zzt!

She winced away from the bright flash of light and the smell of ozone filled the air. Erona smacked the remote in her hand a few times mumbling curses.

“I think you broke it,” Helvetica said.

At that moment, above the Magistrix’s head appeared, blazoned in orange: “!@#%”

“I guess I’ll live,” she said. Then she looked at Helvetica like a stranger about to offer her candy. “How would you like a quest, little girl?”

“Um. Sure.”

A clipboard appeared from thin air, along with a quill pen sporting a crimson plume. Eona looked up at Helvetica, noted her name, checked something off and finally nodded.

“Welcome to the Blood Scouts, Helvetica. It’s time for you to earn your first merit badge! Isn’t that keen?” She clasped her hands together and bounced on her heels. “Today we’re going to work on basket weaving, blood elf style. That means you get to kill a lot of stuff! Isn’t that keen? The Burning Crystals—the green floating objects to the west of the Sunspire here—have long been used to power the isle’s experimentations. The mana wyrms were their guardians, but…driven them errant from our lack of magical control over them.”

“Mana what?”

“Wyrms,” the Magistrix said. “You’ll understand when you kill a few. Bring me ten mana wyrm spines and I’ll show you how to weave them into a lovely carrying basket. You can keep all the junk you kids pick up along the way in it.”

Helvetica looked in the direction Eona had pointed. Peeking out between several columns of alabaster and gold, hovered a large, green crystal that effervesced with emerald malevolence. The crystal appeared slightly lopsided and reminded her of a shard of green glass—a very angry shard of green glass. Floating within the sea of Mt. Dew carbonation, a pair of burning red eyes glared at her. The crystal seemed to lean around the column just so that it could glower. Blue lights flitted about the base of the crystal like eels swimming through coral; she guessed those were probably the mana wyrms.

“I’m going to guess that’s a Burning Crystal,” she said.

“Yes, yes,” Eona replied absently. “Now get a move on. Bring me back those spines. Just do it soon, you’re blocking my view of Gregory. He’s stripping again.”

Helvetica glanced behind her and that same male blood elf from before was dancing again and taking off his clothing.

Magistrix Eona cheered and egged him on. Helvetica drew her sword, deciding it wasn’t worth staying to watch—even though he wasn’t bad looking—and headed warily towards the Burning Crystal and those yet-liberated spines.



NEXT >> Chapter Four: In Which Helvetica Receives a Bump on the Noggin

The author Helvetica writes the Helvetica Venture and Hellvetica Chronicles for Vox Ex Machina and proudly supports the works of Kyt Dotson, whose writing includes Mill Avenue Vexations (a gothic webserial featuring cab driver Vex Harrow), Black Hat Magick, and Helljammer and invites you to check out the novel, The Specter in the Spectacles by Kyt Dotson.


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