Disclaimer: As if I would be writing fan fiction if I owned Harry Potter. Heck, if I did, I'd be completely revamping the series to be HPDM slash, JPSS slash, SBRL slash, DTSF or BZSF slash, etc, etc. Not that I'd make any money off of it, but it's good to dream. Really good.
Warning: Slash themes, blood, violence, gore, occasional pre-smut, etc, etc. This is based on my life experiences and .sign and the RPG that I play… Occasionally.
Chapter One: As the Clock Struck Eight
Every Thursday night, as the clock struck eight, seven people wandered to the seventh floor. The came from different houses, from different backgrounds, from different lives. They came to enjoy themselves and lose the world of today and yesterday and tomorrow.
Every Thursday night, as the clock struck eight, they'd gather in a room, smoky from incense, and play a game involving dungeons, dragons, magic, and mystery. They came to lose themselves and become someone new. The came to be free of the constraints and masks of everyday life. They came to be free.
And every Thursday night, as the clock struck eight, seven people cast a charm on themselves, to disguise and hide them from the world. There would be no pre- or misconceptions. There were just four people escaping from the world.
The only genders they had were in the game, the only challenges they had were in the game, the only relationships and fears were in the game. They had nothing to fear, nothing to think about, nothing to know beyond.
And every Friday morning, as the clock struck one, seven people left, much happier than before.
This is the story of their Shadow World, the world of their own creations, the world of mystery and lies, the world that they embraced as their own, even though there was another waiting for them just outside the door. This is the story of dreams come true and unwanted dreams come to surface. This is the story of the truths that can be hidden and veiled and revealed. This is the story of love and hardship and pain.
And so we begin.
The disguised voice of the Dungeon Master filtered through the smoke and into their ears. "Everybody ready yet?"
A chorus of "Not quite" filled the room. Same thing, week after week… The Dungeon Master, known as Lorne, barely hid his grin. Some things would never change. Five years… Five years of masks and character changes, from his own second year. He regretted separating from his sibling, but they were separate people. And such was understandable.
The rustle of paper, rather than the typical parchment, filled the room. While parchment was sturdy and all, role-playing like this required erasures, and since it would be too easy to hand someone homework with a character sheet or an item list or just adventure notes attached, their lives would be blown.
So they used paper, and pencil, and lived.
As usual, the person who went by Jamien was the first unpacked. Carelessly, he scattered his Shadow World 'equipment' all over his own little area of space. The character sheet peeked up at him from beneath his adventure notes, and he glanced over his statistics… A ninja- his brainchild, his escape. As usual, the curiosity that had plagued him since they could first think coherently caused him to glance mildly around at his companions- always the same. Never had anyone shown their true selves while in this room. There was too much at stake to do that.
Thes came next. His fashion was to look in his back, squawk, think back to where his things were, and then stupidly berate himself for forgetting the charmed extra pocket in his knapsack in which he kept everything he needed. The swordsman/mage looked up at him, and he grinned at the image before him- so unlike the person hidden behind the masks of smoke and spell. So unlike his true self, and yet it was his true self- the only self that had friends, that interacted with anyone. His own customary glance at Jamien proved that, yes, every person stuck to the routine they had set from day one.
Sparrow and Bailan always raced to see who would be done first, but always made sure to start after Thes and Jamien had deposited their things. It was a rivalry between the two girls- alignment Lawful-but-not-quite-really-Good versus Chaotic-and-proud-of-it-Neutral. They hated each other and loved each other like sisters, but only once a week. That was all they ever saw of themselves.
Silver and Kieron were always meticulous and precise. They always put everything in the right place- and the one time that one of them hadn't (Kieron), Jamien had happily pointed it out.
Right in the middle of a do-or-die battle.
Needless to say, nobody was pleased except for Jamien, who used his skills of thievery to take every scrap of loot and hide away beyond prying eyes.
Kieron always came with his homework from class- occasionally, everybody else would get into a discussion of what to do next, and he'd relax the grip on the mask over his personality. He would lounge, grab quill and ink, and do whatever homework required while keeping an ear and a third of his brain ready for intelligent suggestions. Most of the time, it was Jamien or himself who decided their next course of action.
Silver, on the other hand, was an almost androgynous, headstrong Mage (with a tendency towards potions and/or chemistry in any shape). She had gotten her name from the silver eyes and hair she wore as proudly as jewels, and the way that her potions ability was as precious as said valuable gems.
And so the group gathered around a table, pencils ready, arms light, ready to rock.
Lorne spoke up. It was time to move. "Alright, we know where the next amber shard is, and we know what we're up against, basically. Who's coming?"
Bailan piped up. "Ralen needs to be left behind on this one. She can't move her pinky without nearly killing herself!"
"Yes, that would be best… But what's our game plan?" This from Kieron.
Sparrow, put out at being unable to voice her own idea, snidely spoke. "Bailan should baby-sit, and we need to use our potions… I think I'll take the green one…The green one is gorgeous- like the Avada Ked- I mean, like the fresh green of spring. Um, yeah. And, the white one shall go to… Tomas."
At the near mention of Avada Kedavra green, Jamien began to twitch. He always did- it hit too close to home. And the name, Tomas, didn't help. He was among the few who knew the name of the person who affected the lives of these people most, and so he twitched with the name, but accepted it. If he mentioned something, they would know who he was, and his mask would be gone.
Kieron also twitched, but his were more subtle and inward. Eyes that very same shade haunted him in his dreams, and the curse stretched over vast regions of time and space to kill the people he loved the most in his nightmares.
Every single person in the room was uncomfortable after that close calls and almost-made connections to the outside world, but ignored the tension in the room. As they always did. As they always would.
In the end, it was a party consisting of Spike (the resident vampire and ally in their current quest), Thes, Kieron, Sparrow, Tomas, Beaner, Jamien, and Kieron. Bailan was mildly peeved at having to baby-sit Ralen, as per Sparrow's suggestion, but did anyway. And so the part set out on their quest.
Jamien looked at the basin- exactly as Lorne had described it. Plastering his mask of innocence and youth on his face, and lightening his voice, he blatantly paraded down the hill, making comments about 'guided tours'. Inside, the boy was smirking. If the Paladins had been intelligent, they would have had long-distance weapons of some sort ready- but these are military. Oxymoron, anyone?
"Down the hill, cross the ditch, confront the moronic Paladins… Muahahaha! I am Evil Incarnate!" And so did Kieron believe as he watched the nondescript ninja brandish the Katana he had begun with, the Katana that had served so well for so long.
The battle raged on as ten Paladins lost their lives, and Lorne began looking twitchy. How did Jamien and Thes get such good strikes with such low-level characters, while a centuries-old vampire is near death?! One after another after another, the players slaughtered the Paladins until ten were dead. Jamien quickly brandished his magic ring and healed everyone, save Spike, adamant not to be healed by that particular item.
They headed inside the compound with a few well-placed spells, killed three more Paladins, and took Spike's book. That particular item was taken by Beaner, a person who used leather balls filled with sand for weapons. He had been taken under Jamien's wing and treated quite well.
Which was why Jamien was going to regret assassinating the poor fellow, but what's done is done.
He just didn't want another companion to die at his orders.
The shard that was meant to help cure Ralen was simple- blast through the ceiling, lift the glass dish, and presto! Shard in hand.
As the clock prepared to strike one, Lorne handed out the experience. 16,000 experience points each per involved Player Character.
20-25,000 experience points as the ranged totals for those involved.
And as the clock struck one, the friends-for-a-day whooped and left in different directions.
And seven people smiled a scant bit wider every Friday.
Thank you for reading. If you enjoy this, or any other story of mine, I would appreciate your feedback. I am sorry if my work is unappealing, so please leave suggestions if such occurs. I apologize that it is so general, and probably not worth a PG-13 rating (yet), but please bear with me. I will not respond to reviews unless you leave your email, so don't expect it, and I am heading this story in a direction all my own, so please don't be too miffed if I don't take your suggestions to heart. Also, I will be revealing, one at a time, the people involved in the Shadow World in relation to their character. If you have guesses, you may leave them in a review, but I might not contact you and I might not mention you to anyone if your ideas are right or wrong.
I am so cruel.
And if you can guess what those numbers mean, I'll give you a chocolate-covered Jamien with caramel.