Chapter 14: Going In
It was still nigh impossible to communicate with my undead companion, but I was able to convey 'follow me'. And we made our way to the coast of the Zoram Strand where we met Vrand. The young night elf druid greeted Nakutk with the minimal amount of trepidation and Nakutk looked equally uncomfortable as he returned the greeting. Then we headed into the depths of the Black Fathoms.
I have to admit that the Black Fathom Deeps, or BFD, has always been my favorite instance as a player. But exploring a dungeon through a computer game isn't quite the same as personally diving into underwater caverns filled with snake people and giant turtles. Not to mention the warlocks and three headed dragon. But it wasn't the fear or wariness that affected me the most as we made our way through the underwater caves. It was the awe. I've never, in my wildest dreams, seen anything quite as beautiful as the Black Fathom Deeps. The water is a brilliant blue and it lights up the cavern walls as if the walls themselves are made of crystals. At first the ceiling is low, giving the impression of a secret world more than a hidden hideout for an evil secret society. Eventually, we came to a sight that shot a shiver up my spine and made me feel more like Alice in Wonderland than a computer game character.
As we rounded a corner in the tunnel, I stopped short to keep from running into a copy of myself. I blinked and reoriented myself. We found ourselves standing in front of a… doorway (there's no better word for it) that looked like a cross between the Stargate and Alice's looking glass. The door had a rippling, fluid-like appearance, but it reflected the tunnel where we stood back at us, as if we were staring at our own reflections in the surface of some vertical pond.
Vrand and I exchanged glances, but before we could react further, Nakutk stepped forward and disappeared into the doorway. Vrand squeaked with surprise and I rubbed my eyes.
"That must be the entrance," I said at the same time that Vrand murmured, "the instance!"
I stepped forward and reached out a hand, palm forward, towards the instance. No sooner had my palm touched the rippling surface than my entire world turned upside down.
Imagine how it must feel to be beamed up in Star Trek, or how using a port key is supposed to feel to Harry Potter, or how it must feel to travel light years through a stargate and you'll pretty much be right on with how it feels to enter an instance. Ironically, when I found solid ground beneath my feet again, I hadn't traveled light years, or even to another town. In fact, I hadn't moved more than a foot. But the change felt immediate. The ceiling was much higher and there was a silence much deeper than anything I'd ever felt before. It reached under my skin and gave me the distinct impression that I was the last person on earth. That is, until Vrand came through the instance right on top of me and shoved me forward, causing me to trip over Whisper, who meowed in protest.
Ahead of us, Nakutk had already begun to move down the hall and there were already two corpses of snake people littering the tunnel.
Vrand snorted. "What level is he anyway?"
"My guess is sixty," I shrugged. "Let's go."
Our trip through the Blackfathom Deeps was quick and painless. We were careful to inspect every nook and cranny for a possible quest item and after a while Nakutk must have figured out what we were doing, because he began to look too. But we didn't find anything until we reached the giant three headed dragon at the end of the massive dungeon. We cleared away the turtles that guarded the dragon's lair and were about to start in, when Nakutk got my attention and shook his head violently. He made several motions that I didn't understand, then in the next moment he… disappeared.
There was a long silence between Vrand and I because we were both too surprised to speak. Finally, my friend cleared her voice. "He's gone? Disconnected, do you think?"
"I…" I cleared my throat. "I guess? If we're the only ones in the game, maybe the other player characters will have to disconnect for dinner and work and such?"
"And social lives."
"What social lives?" I retorted. "We're Warcraft Addicts."
I took a deep breath. "Well, we can't stop now. Let's take down this dragon."
I won't go into a great deal of detail about the fight with the dragon, because it's embarrassing. At level 37, I should have been able to solo the beast, elite or not. But trying too hard to keep my companion alive distracted me and… well, you try fighting a three headed dragon in real life! It's not the same as using the computer! Even so, I'm not sure what happened, I just know that one minute I was sending Whisper in to tank and the next, I was down.
"What? What happened?" Brecki demanded as I fumed over my body.
"I died. Vrand?"
"It's okay – hey wait!" I heard Vrand's laugh, "Nakutk's back!"
A few seconds later, I was able to release from my corpse and I sat in the graveyard, waiting for confirmation.
"He's down!" Vrand cried. "And… DING!"
After a chorus of cheers, I sobered and asked, "Any sign of our water aspect?"
"No, not that – hold on." Silence. Then: "Nakutk found it. Yes! We got it!"
(X-posted to wow_ladies)