Freedom Online: From the Ashes

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Prologue

If I had ever been asked “what do you think the world of Freedom Online is really like,” and believe me it isn’t a question that I hadn’t thought to myself on too many occasions, I don’t think that I would ever have been able to say just how immersive the game was. I had been inside my FIVR pod for over six months and every day had been faced with new challenges, sensations and emotions. Coyote Creek and my small family of primarily goblins had become both my home and my raison d’etre, and I wouldn’t have changed a single part of it. Well, that isn’t entirely true; if there was one thing that could be changed it was the fact that other people - most notably Sano, Theodore and their band of merry bastards - existed.  Without them, Freedom would probably have been a veritable paradise, if not a little boring, but who really wanted all that excitement anyway.

It was a little difficult to gauge the passing days and even more impossible to know if the days within Freedom matched those within the real world, but my internal calendar definitely suggested to me that I had been in the game for months rather than weeks. It didn’t really matter either way though, as even when I did pass the one-year minimum term within my game pod, I knew that I wouldn’t be making any moves to leave Freedom any time soon thereafter. Besides, if I left who would look after my new home and family?

The battle that had waged just weeks past had left a very sour taste in my mouth. I knew that nothing was really final in the realms of Freedom – or at least that’s what I had hoped for in most cases – but the simple fact that people, actual people, could be so malicious, so… evil really made my blood boil. I couldn’t think of a single scenario where I myself would carry out the actions that my enemies had taken against me and my people; it seemed like the possible millions of lives extinguished by their direct actions alone was nothing more than a good laugh to them.

It took me days to get over the mental images that plagued my mind from the battle that had waged and brought such destruction all around me; to rid my mind of the mental scarring that I had suffered when watching some of my closest friends cut down, their lives extinguished before my very eyes. The peaceful tranquillity of all that I had worked so hard to build had been ripped from my hands and plunged into conflict and death.

 

Quintus, who had been a very strange character indeed, and one that I didn’t fully trust in any sense of the word, had been our saviour, rescuing us from whatever fate our enemies had in store for us and I could only assume that that would have been a fate worse than death.

The name ‘Brendan Phillips’ was all but a distant memory to me now. I was still the same person that I had always been, but in the world of Freedom I had friends, responsibilities, goals and a whole host of other things that adults were expected to do or know in their lives. It was strange really, within the game I felt like I had done more living than I had ever done in my apartment back in London, England, where if it wasn’t raining it was cloudy. No, in Freedom I was Tandy. Friend to all, city builder, defender of all that is good and well-meaning and dire enemy to the wicked. If only I was a little stronger…