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An Unsettling Encounter
Oh yes, we were all new here once... I believe the term was 'newbies' back when I was one. Running around in there with the other folks, trying to adept the skills and spells you had just practiced. Killing those mobs, tryin' so hard to get that experience so that you could gain a level... Hopefully learn a couple of new skills or spells that would help you get that much further in your progression. Oh yes it was a glorious time, with everything to learn, everything to see, the whole realms waiting to be experienced.
I remember knowing there was great stuff out there, I could hear the talk of adventurers chatting about what they'd been up to. All of us 'newbies' must have known that there was so much to be discovered. I was certain, back then, that if I could just keep at it, kill the mobs around me 'fast as can be', that I'd be ready to go out and be the master of it all 'fast as could be'. Well, let me tell you of one thing that I'll certainly never forget. I found it a little bit too easy to get caught up in the rhythm of running from room to room attacking the mobs as I came across them, I knew about the helpfiles, and HELP KILLSTEAL as I had seen mention of it in the ask channel, but until that day, I'd really not thought about why the laws existed or why they were so important.
In that routine of running through the rooms attacking the mobs, I accidentally ran in upon and attacked a wolf that was already engaged in combat with another young adventurer. I realized that I had made a mistake and was committing the crime known as killstealing, but didn't know what to do. I thought of the possibility of fleeing from the fight but I knew it that would cost me experience, and I valued experience far too much... I hesitated in my state of not knowing what to do. Well, as it turned out, while I stood in hesitation I struck the last blow, killing the wolf. The rightful opponent of the mob, a mage lower in level than myself, had spent quite a bit of time in preparation for that battle and was absolutely furious. I tried apologizing to him immediately, explaining that I knew I had made a big mistake and that I really did not mean to steal others' victories. He wasn't interested in my appologies or excuses, however, and he shouted in public channels his opinion of people like me, using my name and all the other words that he could come up with that he considered obscene or objectionable. It is probably because of his language that it became a scene I'll not forget. Suddenly from out of nowhere, a wizened woman stepped between us, curious to know what the bustle was all about. I realize now that she was an IMM, one of the immortals or gods of the realms, the people who keep our world in existence. At that time, and because of her grand entrance, all I knew was that she must be very important.
She asked what was going on, and since I was already in an interrupted story of apologetic explanation, how I had found myself in the act of KILLSTEALING from the mage, I continued the speech... Allowing her to understand what had caused him to become upset. He let fly with another verbal assault into the CHAT channel about my having a rather unusual relationship with my mother as I tried to come up with a way to word more of an apology.
Suddenly he was silent and all that had been him, standing there before me, disappeared in a flash of hellish light. Well, that was unsettling enough that when she too vanished and told me from afar "You don't move", I didn't ask "For how long?" or question why... I simply complied. Hellish light is really rather awe inspiring, even when it doesn't make people suddenly vanish. I just stood there, I didn't move. Another wolf came in to the room, I was alone with it for a while, but I did not move. I thought about it, I think I could have killed the wolf fairly easily and have gotten the experience, another step toward gaining another level and that had been so important minutes before. It dawned on me that my having been in such a rush to get what was inevitable had really upset the victim of my carelessness, and in turn had caused this IMM to also became upset.
After a short time another wolf came in to the room with me, but I was a little wary still about doing anything... She had made the decision that "I don't move" and I was absolutely willing to prove her right. While the wolf still in the room, another young adventurer came in. He asked "You gonna kill wolf?". Well I thought that was very polite of him, I hadn't yet imagined that people would have the wherewithal for manners in such a hurried world of 'Kill and be killed' adventuring. I said "No, Please feel free." (Trying not to move while I spoke) and he did. And it was nice to have had a pleasant, and polite exchange, even if it was brief. I suppose it was calming for my rather unsettled nerves. With a smile he left, off to clear the area of more beasts.
She returned. As I stood there, I swear to you, the immortal woman shot down from the sky like a fiery bolt from an exploding star and landed before me, poised calmly as if she had merely stepped from a carriage. I still stood motionless, hoping that she had noticed my adherence to her suggestion. She introduced herself, making sure I realized why she had gotten involved and asked me if I knew about HELP KILLSTEAL and the various LAWS files. Certain that I was in trouble, I told her of the ones which I did in fact know but I had not discovered that typing the word LAWS gave a list of files.
I typed LAWS to see the list and assured her that I would read the files associated with that command. Then, and I kid you not, this entity which had made such unbelievably startling entrances and exits for both the mage she needed to speak with and herself, who could seemingly just be anywhere at once and do anything at all... She smiled at me. I apologized to her for having broken the LAWS KILLSTEAL law but she stopped me saying "You've apologized to the victim very well. He can not speak right now but he has calmed down and has forgiven you". I didn't know what to say, so I began trying to come up with the wording to ask how I would serve my punishment for my crime, or in fact to determine what ever my punishment might possibly be. She however, just said these words to me "Be careful, there's a lot going on around you at all times. Be sure to look after yourself and others, and we'll just have hope that they can do likewise." She stepped into a fold of the sky and was gone.
That was a very long time ago, and although I have seen her wisdom spoken in channels and her deeds done upon our world, I have not seen her since. So, just as I'd made certain that "I don't move", the first time she had gone, since that day I have Been Careful, I have Looked After Myself And Others and have continued hoping that Others Will Do Likewise.
The mage? What happened to the mage? Yes. He was back amongst us 'newbies,' in a short time, he was unable to communicate in any other ways than to just speak to the people in the room with him for a day or two more, but he did return from his punishment and willing to forgive my killsteal. We even grouped together, to help each other get a few better items with which to equip ourselves. He had been to a village of gnomes where he'd found rocks that could make you magically hard to hit, and he showed me. I showed him a manor house where you could find a very sturdy shell of armor that helped your own physical endurance. It was with him, because of that terribly unsettling yet pivotal day, that I learned to slow down. Instead of rushing to attain all that experience, to just acquire all the knowledge that's around you and allow the experience to come easily from the experiences one can find. I no longer strive to be the master of it all, quick as can be, by gaining experience as quickly as possible, I have slowed down and learned to experience what is there for us. Thanks to a woman, an unsettling experience, the broken law and my sentence. Be careful. Look after yourself and others, and we'll just have to hope they can do likewise.