Frankie wakes up AS his Avatar, KILRANN COLDIRON, who basically shares his face, but is a much more mature, manly, handsome older brother of himself wearing a leather cloak, chain mail, and carrying some really scary WEAPONS, including a very large dagger and an extremely beautiful BEARDED AX (that bears a striking aesthetic resemblance to the iconic guitar carried by Angus Young, among others).
Frankie wakes up in the high branches of a TREE, where he dangles precariously for a moment before plummeting below into a wagon full of timber on its way toward LAVARIAN CASTLE, high on the hillside. Frankie takes stock of his new…persona…and surroundings, as the wagon gives him a first hand tour of this world as he passes by peasants, soldiers, farms, and mythical creatures.
\\In the REAL WORLD Turner, Frankie’s primary IN GAME friend, will be notified that Frankie is in game, which surprises him, and he jumps in, further surprised that Frankie is both in the wrong server and headed toward the Castle of their most hated enemy, LORD SYNTAX LAVARIAN, who has been waging a broad campaign to have Frankie, and his clan, outright killed for over a year. Frankie’s a warrior rogue, not a King or a Lord, so slinking into Lavarian’s castle is essentially suicide.
//IN GAME, Frankie is just getting his bearings as the castle nears. A series of screwball comedy hijinx ensue that keep him in the wagon as it enters the castle, which continues so that Frankie is unloading timber with the other peasants, now fascinated double whammy by how fucking REAL everything is AND that he’s smack in the middle of his arch-nemesis’ territory. Further fascinating, Frankie discovers a large portion of Lavarian’s forces working frantically to battle against a STRANGE BLACK PESTILENCE that is rotting away a section of their wall, seemingly bubbling up from underground.
Frankie slinks around the castle, seeing the REAL versions of all these characters and defenses that he’s only seen in game from the outside, when TURNER, taking the form of a RAVEN, perches on a stone wall and accosts Frankie, what the hell is he doing? Why didn’t he tell Turner about this? Is he turning traitor on them? WTF?!
Frankie tries to explain, but sounds totally insane. That he’s actually IN the game, not just like…in the game. Suddenly, Frankie is distracted by a girl that’s being escorted through the yard by Lavarian’s guards—she’s incredibly, almost supernaturally beautiful. Her presence has an immediate, intoxicating effect on Frankie. Turner as the Raven nags him–he’s got to go, to run…and just then, Lavarian’s guards nab Frankie, when he instinctively bounces into warrior action and an ALL OUT RAGER BATTLE commences in the interior of the castle walls, as all of Lavarian’s foot soldiers turn to defend in the opposite direction all their weapons are aimed against ONE MAN with incredible powers.
As ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE, Turner rallies his online posse IRL\\ who, tune in, kind of a la THE TRUMAN SHOW, and mount up to drive toward Lavarian Castle in order to save Frankie/KILRANN COLDIRON from himself…or whatever.
As the battle rages inside the keep, Frankie is shocked by his abilities as KILRANN—leaping over his enemies, tossing six of them aside at once with his sword, ripping them in half with his ax—which is fucking terrifying because they’re a lot like real dudes in this world.
CUT TO: Literally the other side of the world. This flat world reveals Engines of Victory’s Dark side of the coin. Just 30 feet through impenetrable earth, are the hard-scrabble, soot-skinned DARKSIDERS, a random handful of wild, unpredictable evil races, the vast minority of EOV players and AI, because life on the Darkside is unrelentingly harsh (and you never get to level), they live in permanent midnight, and the atmosphere corrodes all precious metals within days, so the vicious Darkside tribes use elaborate bone weapons carved out of the carcasses of the Giant Monsters that roam the marshes and ash deserts without obstacle.
FLINTLOCK, a diminutive, jacktoothed, saberclaw-wielding soot-goblin from the Stone-Nose Tribe, sniffs the bubbling black cauldron of the marsh in front of him, and identifies a strangeness occurring in the Lightside world. Just as quickly, he growls and scuttles off to his superiors.
CUT BACK: Turner and the rest of CLAN RAVENCLOUD ride on magic and flying creatures toward Lavarian Castle, where Frankie is finally enjoying this battle a little bit, just when he’s KNOCKED SENSELESS by an arrow from SMALL GREGORY, Lavarian’s head Man-at-Arms, and Lavarian’s men swarm him, and drag him into the throne room.
Wherein, Lord Lavarian, a grand and opulent medieval king, gives a brief monologue, but is clearly distracted by his advisors, and has KILRANN/Frankie tossed into the dungeon until they have a moment to dispose of him. Frankie gets another glance of the Most Beautiful Girl in the World (Build in game logic about how you can’t just logout when you’re currently captured)
Clan Ravencloud descend around Castle Lavarian, which itself is insane/suicidal, and cause another dustup as some of them sneak toward the dungeon to rescue KILRANN, when, escaping the dungeon, he stumbles upon a CONSPIRATORY CONVERSATION between Small Gregory and ELDER WORMWOOD, Lavarian’s wizard advisor, that doesn’t sound particularly positive toward Lavarian.
Just then, Kilrann’s eavesdropping is interrupted by his “rescue” by the Ravencloud group, but just as they’re out of the dungeon, Frankie is AWAKENED by his MOTHER pounding on his bedroom door and killing his buzz.
\\IRL , Frankie tears out of his house on his scooter to go see Gordon, ranting about the episode—is he insane? We become aware that while it seemed to take a whole day in the EOV world, Frankie was actually out of reality for about an hour IRL.
Frankie drags Gordon down to the video store which is closed in a comedic/mindwarping way (“closed due to war in alternate dimension”), as if it had been vacant for decades, etc., which only contributes to Frankie’s paranoia.
Frankie then heads to Turner’s Place, which is an incredibly nerdy gaming store where mega-dorks converge and waste as much time as possible. Frankie doesn’t interact with his clan-mates in real life, and Turner can tell that this situation is serious, in at very least because Frankie might be insane.
The three of them head toward Frankie’s house to try and re-enact the scenario, but of course bump into Kathryn outside the mall (where Turner’s store is), and Frankie is forced to try and explain their hurried nerdiness, which is yet another epic failure.
Turner, Gordon and Frankie return to Frankie’s basement, and attempt to re-enact the circumstances by which he went into the game. At first they fail, until Frankie gets stoned again, at which point he launches into EoV, to the fascination of Turner and Gordon, who are still there watching his comatose meat-body as his Avatar hustles about on screen.
Frankie again falls into EoV completely at random, into a totally gross marsh. He’s immediately plunged into a few feet of black and green miasma, hacking, coughing, Frankie drags himself into the woods, where he happens upon a TEAM OF Lavarian’s underlings, led by Wormwood, as they investigate the EDGE OF THE WORLD, the very edge of the EoV landscape that just drops off into endless blue sky and clouds, inhabited by DRAGONS that nestle the way cats do in piles of clothes.
Frankie waits out the team that just seem to be looking around, and then suddenly march away…he trots over to the edge of the world, which is creeping and crawling with the blackening pestilence, literally eating the edge of the world alive. Even more notable, the edge of the world is now festooned with gigantic rings. They pierce the edge of the landscape like fifty-foot eyebrow rings of solid steel, gleaming in the sun. In the middle of his fascination, Frankie spots the MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN THE WORLD, hiding in the brush. He chases after her, but she flees, and he tries to follow her into a weird, magical cove, with a waterfall (that isn’t unlike the lake from EXCALIBUR, I would imagine). He gets close enough to her to have a frozen encounter that feels more like trying to befriend a skittish cat, but she says something enigmatic, and escapes via magic.
Frankie attempts to chase after the girl, but gives up, meandering down the road where he again encounters Wormwood with a group of Lavarian’s soldiers, who is having a very heated argument with a scary, face-painted WITCH DOCTOR BABE, who carries what is clearly a fucking magic scepter, and is backed by a very frightening posse of frozen, gray soldiers. After a brief, but intense exchange, Wormwood appears furious and orders his group back in a huff.
As they lope away, Frankie attempts a better look at the Witch Babe, when one of the stoney foot soldiers hears him, and plods over to the trees. Frankie uses some of his Rogue powers to hide, but when the stone soldier is within inches from his face, he panics and runs his blade through his throat. Unfortunately, this doesn’t have the intended effect. The Stone soldier abruptly punches THROUGH the nearest tree trunk, then snaps the sword in half—still in his throat, and tosses it away, brandishing a terrible spear that he crashes here, there, and everywhere. Arousing the curiosity of his stoney comrades and the Witch, they tromp into the woods, spears into everything in sight, which causes the terrifying effect not of splintering the trees and rocks, but infecting them with the gray pestilence that is rotting away the whole EoV world, and they disintegrate into piles of dust in seconds.
Still largely invisible, Frankie dodges a spear that nearly takes off his head, and retaliates by cleaving off a significant portion of the Stone Soldier’s head off with his ax. After a few moments of examining his own partial headlessness, the soldier returns in an unaffected barrage of spear lunges.