A young one-eyed mage wakes up on a carriage headed to Ragni with no memory of his past. What adventures await him in the province of Wynn? Spoiler: Info I was reading up on the lore, and came across Fruma, and how the mountains around it affect memories. Inspiration struck, and I wrote the first chapter of this. This will be a story about a Mage character and his friends, and unlike Wynncraft woven into a cohesive narrative. Nothing ill meant, MMOs are meant to have hundreds of random plots that go nowhere, but I feel like the world has a lot of potential that's wasted. I'll be using my own interpretations of the lore, along with some artistic licence (especially concerning the Corruption) so don't get your knickers in a twist if something doesn't line up exactly with the game. I have a vague plan for where this is going, and hopefully I can stay motivated enough to get there in the end. Enjoy! Spoiler: Chapter 1: Awakening I awoke to shouting. “Wake up, recruits! Wake up, wake up!” The owner of the voice, a female if I was correct, sounded ridiculously excited and loud. I heard shuffling around me, which I assumed meant that there were others she was also directing her orders at. I opened my eyes groggily, sat up, and looked around. Then I started panicking. I was rather sure I should have more than one eye open, but my right one flatly refused to do anything. I lifted my hand to my face and tried to touch around the eye, but I felt nothing in my face and my hand told me the texture of my skin was wrong. It felt... charred. Shit shit shit shit... I was distracted from the eternal mystery of my facial features by another realisation. I had no idea where I was. I was sitting in some sort of wooden carriage, tangled in a blanket. Through a gap I could see outside. We were in a valley, the mountains on either side reaching so far into the sky that I couldn’t see the top, the snowy mountain sides fading into a deep blue. It looked beautiful, but I had no memory whatsoever of falling asleep here. In front of the wagon I could see a middle-aged woman, presumably the one who woke me up. I think she was shouting something, but the combination of confusion and other noise kept me from noticing. Then I had a realisation that horrified me more than my apparent lack of an eye. I couldn’t remember anything at all from before I woke up. Now that I thought about it, I marveled at how I hadn’t noticed earlier. I obviously had certain memories left, or I wouldn’t have known that I should have had two eyes, but where my mind should have been filled with memories of the past there was only a gaping void. I opened my mouth to start shouting (a mix of questions and expletives), but was interrupted by the same voice I had heard earlier, having finally dropped her peppy tone. “Everyone, calm down and SHUT UP!” The last two words hit me like a shock wave, leaving a heavy ringing in my ears afterward. The surrounding noise had completely stopped after her outburst. I realized it had probably been other people panicking too. There’s no way she could have made that kind of noise herself. Must have been magic, I thought. Wait, how had I known that? Before I could think more about it, the woman started speaking again in a more quiet voice, having taken back her excited tone. “Hi, I’m the Caravan Driver! You can call me Driver! I know you’re all confused, but I’ll try to answer most of your questions. I’ll be brief, but you can ask me more questions later. Is that okay?” Without waiting for an answer, Driver continued. “You are all citizens of the glorious province of Fruma. Our neighbors in the province of Wynn have been at war for centuries against a force called the Corruption, and you volunteered to be sent there to help! However, the mountains between our two provinces have an enchantment on them, making anyone who crosses them forget everything about their lives before crossing. This caravan is currently heading toward Wynn’s capital city, Ragni. Any questions? The shouting started before she had finished speaking, descending into a cacophonous din within a few seconds. “Stop talking.” Driver didn’t shout this time. She didn’t need to. Pointing at me, she said: “You! You didn’t start shouting! Ask me a question and I’ll see if I can answer it.” I had a million questions, but I simply asked what was at the front of my mind. “Who am I?” I noted my voice was a bit raspy. She gave me a smile. “Sorry, I don’t know that. But I do know someone who does! You! Or at least you did. But before you left Fruma, all of you left messages and gifts for yourselves! I’ll go get them!” Driver walked over to the front carriage of the caravan and got out half a dozen sacks of various sizes before handing them out, one to each person, telling them their names as she went along. “And this one is yours, Matt,” she said as she gave me a sack I noted had been the smallest of the bunch. Matt. So that was my name. I tried saying it out loud, but I didn’t feel any recognition for it. My curiosity took over and I opened the sack. Inside, to my dismay, was only a worn book and a length of wood about half a meter long. I looked inside the sack, even turning it inside-out, but there wasn’t anything more to find in it. I saw that most of the others had letters, presumably from themselves and loved ones they had left behind. I was rather miffed, but didn’t say anything. The book was bound in leather and seemed to have been through a lot. I barely made out “Introduction to Magecraft” on the front. I started flicking through it, but paused. There was something written on the inside of the front cover. Unlike the rest of the text, it stood out clearly against the paper, like it had been added recently. The only thing I didn’t want to forget. I quickly leafed through the rest of the book for more messages, but there was nothing else except for a few notes written in the margins pertaining to the subject matter of the page. I was starting to really not like the previous me. I was curious as to why half my face was burnt off, but I was apparently not getting any answers. The other recruits were still looking through their things. I noted that each of them had gotten a weapon. The two girls sharing my carriage had a long spear and a bow, while the two guys in the other carriage had a bow and a dagger. I looked at the stick that had been included in my sack, turning it this way and that. It looked battered, probably as old as the book. A wand, most likely. The book must have described how it worked, but right now I didn’t even know how to hold it properly. I guessed I had known until recently, which would also explain why I recognized use of magic when I saw it. With nothing better to do, I decided to get started on the reading. An hour later, I knew how to hold my wand and was ready to start practicing. I tried to get up from my blankets, but stumbled. Driver saw me and came over. “Slow down a little, kiddo! The Fruma mountains aren’t nice at the best of times, much less after-” She stopped suddenly. “Right. Sorry, can’t tell you that. Here, let me help you down.” She took my hand and led me down from the carriage via some steps. I must have lost my right eye soon before leaving for Ragni if I hadn’t adjusted to the lack of depth perception yet. “You don’t talk much, do you?” Driver asked. The question caught me by surprise. “I don’t think so.” My voice was still raspy, but it was getting better. Driver laughed. “Listen. Don’t worry about all of this. I’ve brought dozens of groups over these mountains, and most of them have been just fine. You should get some practice on your magic before we get going again, by the way. Trust me, you're gonna need it.” She let go of me and started walking away. “Why do you remember?” I asked her. It had been bugging me for a while now. If the mountains took people’s memories, how did she remember everything? Driver stopped walking and gave me a sad smile. “Sorry, kiddo. Wish I could tell you.” And then she left. After what would have been the most unsatisfying answer in history if not for the rest of today, I turned around. More questions swirled in my head, but I needed to clear them out if I was going to be able to do this. I grasped my wand in my right hand. It was much lighter than it looked, which might have had something to do with the magic embedded in it. In any case, it was very easy to hold. It felt like the most natural thing in the world. I closed my eyes and cleared my mind as Introduction to Magecraft had told me. It was easier than I thought it would be. Although the questions remained, there wasn’t much else to take up space. With the distractions gone, I could feel the flow of mana inside me. With some effort, I directed it to my wand. While it was possible to shape it into certain forms, right now I needed to get the basics down. I opened my eyes, pointed my wand at a nearby boulder, and used it to channel a decent fraction of my mana as pure force. I felt the force leave my wand. This wand was a horribly inefficient channeling tool, but the force was still visible in the air as a ripple of distorted light. When it struck the boulder, the boulder exploded. That wasn’t meant to happen. The book told me that the amount of mana I had channeled, the boulder should have at most gotten a small hole in it! But the gravel raining from the sky said otherwise. I marveled at the almost tangible feeling of power. That felt good. A gasp behind me told me I had an audience. I turned around to see the four other recruits gaping at me while Driver looked on with the same sad smile. “Oops?” I said, with what I would later realize to be the stupidest grin of my life plastered on my face. Spoiler: Chapter 2: Learning I closed my eye and turned my sight inwards. Feeling my mana inside me, I directed a tiny amount of it up through my arm. I carefully lined up my wand to point at a largish rock in front of me, still not used to only having one eye, before pushing the spark through the wand. The rock shattered. Damn it. I sighed. While I had tried to practice controlling my blasts, it was difficult to get them any weaker than this. I had made progress, given that the rock was still recognizable as having been a rock, but I still needed to get better. While huge explosions could be very useful in combat, unless I wanted to kill literally everyone in the area I hit I would need to practice with smaller blasts. Still, it felt amazing to see rocks break like that. The sense of power I got from it, and the knowledge that it was my power, made me feel unbeatable. I tried to concentrate in order to fire another blast, but a throbbing headache made itself known. I tried to think of how long I’d been at this, but came up blank. That was probably a good sign to take a break, I decided and headed back to the caravan. After my display with the boulder earlier, the other recruits decided it might be a good idea to start training as well. After all, as Driver had said, the five of us were technically soldiers. As I crested the hill between me and the caravan I saw two of the other recruits, Heather and Max, sparring. At first glance the fight might have seemed unfair. Heather towered over her opponent, probably more than two meters tall, and built to match. Her blonde hair was tied back and she had an expression of concentration on her face as she readied her spear. In contrast, Max was tiny. He was well over a foot shorter than Heather, and probably only half as wide. His face showed a determined, but notably more relaxed expression framed by red hair, and he held his dagger at his side. However, while the fight might have looked skewed toward Heather, the reality was anything but. I didn’t know much, but I was pretty sure that was not how to use a spear. I guessed that due to a spear’s length keeping one’s distance was a must, but Heather was swinging it at her opponent. As I watched she hit Max under his arm with the shaft of the spear, making him wince, but he responded by grabbing it and and using it as leverage to put his dagger to her chest. “Oh come on! That’s like the sixth time you’ve won!” Heather said after Max had disengaged. “No offense, Heather, but I don’t think you know how to use a spear,” Max replied. “What are you talking about? You didn’t know how to use that stupid dagger when you started either!” “That’s different. Yeah, I didn’t know how to use a dagger when I woke up, but once I started practicing it was like I’d been using it my whole life. Which I probably did, before. You don’t seem like you’ve ever used a spear.” “But I must’ve used a spear before, right? Why else would I have one in my bag? I just need some more practice!” “Fine. Your funeral, I guess. You might want to learn before we need to start properly fighting, though.” “I will! And then I’ll beat your sorry ass!” Heather said before flinging herself at Max, spear at the ready. He sidestepped her, used her momentum to push her to the ground despite her far larger build, grabbed hold of her by the hair, and held his dagger to her throat again. “That’s exactly what I’m talking about, Heather! I hardly even needed to think about doing that and I still beat you.” “Shut up! I just need to train more!” “He’s right, you know,” I interrupted quietly. “I didn’t even know how to hold my wand at fir-” “Shut up!” Heather shouted at me and stormed off. Max sighed and turned to me. “You’re Matt right? Pleasure to meet you.” He held out his hand and I took it. “Nice to meet you too,” I said. “Hey, what’s got her so mad?” I turned around to see the two bowmen, Ava and Drew, come out from the copse of trees where they had been practicing their archery. They were both rather short, with Drew being the stockier of them. Ava had her long black hair tied in a braid. As I turned around, Ava flinched. “Have you guys had any luck relearning archery yet?” Max asked. “Yeah, loads. Why?” Ava replied, eyeing me. Or more accurately, the right side of my face. “Heather hasn’t made any progress on relearning how to use her spear, and she’s being too stubborn to realize it,” Max told her. Ava chuckled. “Sucks to be her, I guess.” “I don’t think it’s that she’s bad at it though. She seemed to have good technique, but her spear really didn’t complement it.” I added, “We think she’s gotten the wrong weapon somehow.” “Huh. Hope she manages to fix that,” Drew said. He looked thoughtful for a second before cracking up. “Would probably be funny to watch though.” Max frowned, but kept silent as Drew and Ava headed off toward the caravans where Driver was snoozing. He sighed. “Great. I don’t have a sparring partner now.” He turned to me. “Do you mind filling in?” I winced. “Sorry, I’d kill you.” Max laughed. “You could try!” “No, seriously. I haven’t figured yet out how to properly control my attacks. If I hit you, you’d die.” Max’s laughter dies down. “Ah. You meant it like that.” We stood there in awkward silence until I decided to follow Drew and Ava, leaving Max alone. --- “Hey, kiddo!” I looked up to see Driver walking toward the carriage I was sitting in. “You doing okay?” “Yeah,” I replied, not looking up from Introduction to Magecraft. She laughed. What was it with her and her laughing? “Just checking up on you. We’re setting off in an hour, so be ready to leave by then!” Then she walked off. I would have been more polite, but I was currently reading about healing magic, which I felt trumped pleasantries in importance. I was trying to learn a healing spell the book told told me was very simple, but if too much mana was funneled into it... there was an illustration of the effects. They were not pretty. I thought I had the theory down, but I really didn’t want to try it out unnecessarily. A few minutes later I decided to try something else. I wouldn’t make any more progress on the spell without practice, but that was out of the question at the moment. As I flicked through the book, looking for something useful to learn, I glanced up and saw something lying on a shelf. An idea came to mind as I grabbed it and headed out. I needed to talk to Max. --- Heather was practicing with her spear in the forest. She was holding it wrong and she knew it, but no matter how much she fiddled with it the spear never felt right. She tried a stab, but it just felt awkward. This wasn’t right! She was a warrior! She knew how to fight, she just needed to figure it out! In frustration, Heather tried to throw the spear at a tree. It flipped around in the air and hit the tree sideways, clattering to the forest floor. Heather screamed her anger at the sky. As her voice was running out, she heard a thunk behind her. Turning around, she saw that something had somehow been dropped there without her noticing anything. She went to see what it was, and was surprised to see it was a small metal hammer. Heather tried to pick it up to look at it closer, but as her fingers closed around the handle, something clicked. Heather marvelled at the feeling, swinging the hammer around. She knew what Max had been on about now. This felt, while not perfect, far better than the spear had been. She laughed with delight. Further away, Max and I watched her swing the hammer around with a look of absolute glee on her face. Max gave me a thumbs up and we both slipped away back to the caravan, leaving Heather to enjoy her newfound weapon. --- Half an hour later, the caravan was ready to leave, but Heather hadn’t come back yet. We were just about to go get her when she came out of the forest, still holding her hammer. The spear was nowhere in sight. “What’s got you so happy?” Max shouted. “Shut up!” Heather yelled back before getting into a different carriage. With that, we set off toward Wynn and whatever lay there. Spoiler: Chapter 3: Goodbyes Something I quickly learned about horse-drawn carriages: They are slow. We’d started driving many hours ago, and the sky was just getting dark, but it felt like we’d hardly moved any distance at all. Heather had gotten impatient, run up to the front carriage and asked why we were going so slowly. Driver had laughed and told her that the horses would tire out if they went any faster. Heather was currently sitting on the outside of her carriage, cradling her hammer and looking bored. Max was inside the carriage, having switched with Ava a few hours ago. Heather had forgiven him for beating her after the first time we stopped, when she had soundly beaten his sorry ass with her hammer. Meanwhile, Drew, Ava, and I were in the other carriage. Ava was still rummaging through her sack. She’d gotten dozens of letters from herself, and was still trying to work through them all. I was sitting at the back of the carriage, alternately leafing through Introduction to Magecraft’s chapter on elemental infusion and watching what barely qualified as a road pass by. I heard some shuffling behind me as Drew came and sat next to me, joining me in my boredom. “Hey,” he said. “I don’t think we’ve met. I’m Drew.” “Nice to meet you, Drew,” I said almost automatically, still staring at a rock that had made the carriage jump. After a few seconds, I added “I’m Matt.” It seemed like Drew had expected me to carry on the conversation, as he proceeded to sit next to me in silence for several minutes. I was in the middle of reading about the properties of elemental fire for the third time, still not taking it in, when he asked me, “How are you?” “Fine,” I replied. A few minutes later I decided that this pathetic excuse for a conversation had gone on for long enough, and to try to repair it. I had little better to do. “Have you ever used magic?” I asked Drew. “Can’t remember,” he replied. “Oh. You should try, it can be really useful.” “Okay.” And with that, the conversation resumed dying a slow death. Eventually I came up with something else to say. “That tree looks like a top hat.” I never said I thought of something intelligent to say. To my surprise, Drew laughed. “Yeah, it does!” “How do we even know what a top hat looks like?” “I have no idea.” “I guess we must have known about them… before. It’s weird how some information sticks around and some doesn’t.” “Yeah.” And then our conversation lost any momentum it had. We sat in silence for couple more minutes until Drew said, “Top hats are weird.” “They are,” I said. We talked like that for hours. Brief bursts of discussion of utterly random things intermingled with minutes of awkward silence while watching the road pass by under us. Resuscitating the conversation on the brink of death every time. It was a nice feeling, having a friend. --- I watched from a carriage as the trees slowly moved past us. The sun was shining into the valley for once, and the way it made the trees glow was absolutely breathtaking, only slightly spoiled by the way the road was making the carriage shake. The sun itself had been beautiful too at first, but I’d learned that looking even in the vague vicinity of it with only one eye was not fun. We had been on the road for three days now, only stopping to let the horses rest and to sleep, and we still hadn’t gotten out of the narrow valley us recruits had woken up in. I’d made progress in reducing how much mana I used in my spells, but I still wasn’t close to a low enough level that I’d ever use it with allies nearby. I had tried some other spells I’d found in Introduction to Magecraft, but none of them were any weaker than my basic force spell. I lost my train of thought as the carriage stopped. Strange. We’d started going again just an hour ago, so there should have been no reason to stop now. After a few minutes of still not moving, I jumped out of the carriage and walked up to the front of the caravan. Drew took my lead and followed me, and Ava followed the both of us. In front of the head carriage there was a huge wooden gate, in the middle of a stone wall covering the entire width of the valley. It looked like it had been there forever, standing far taller than even the highest of the trees with its stone weathered and cracked in places, but still looking like it could hold back an army. Driver was arguing with a group of guards in chain-mail armour. I took in their appearances with some interest. Both were men, covered in metal except for their faces. On their chests they had some symbol I didn’t know. What struck me most was that they seemed intimidated by the short woman standing in front of them. I noted that Heather and Max were already here. “What do you mean we can’t pass?” Driver said with a note of frustration in her voice. “W-what we mean, m-miss, is that we have orders to not let anyone but new recruits pass through the gate. From g-general Hammond himself!” One of the soldiers stuttered. “Why then? I am the Caravan Driver. I have always been allowed through here, Steve,” Driver said with an impatient tone. “W-we don’t know! He didn’t tell us!” Steve replied quickly. Driver sighed and turned to us. The two soldiers seemed to only now notice that there were more people than Driver. A twinge of annoyance flared up when both of their gazes gravitated toward my face. This was apparently going to be a regular thing. “Listen up, recruits! These numbskulls aren’t letting me pass, and I’d really prefer to not escalate this diplomatic incident further than it already is. So you’re gonna have to walk the rest of the way!” Ava and Drew groaned. “Oh, toughen up!” Driver said, her smile back on her face. “You’re soldiers! You can handle this! It’s not even that far. Now go pack everything you need to bring with you, because I’m taking everything else with me back to Fruma!” --- Half an hour later, we were ready to go. I’d had very little to pack, just my sack with Introduction to Magecraft stuffed inside it and my wand. In terms of clothes, I only had the one robe I was wearing. I would have had more if my previous self hadn’t been an utter idiot, but I guessed that I’d have to make do. Meanwhile, Ava had trouble carrying her sack due to how full it was. She said it was only important stuff, but I could swear I had seen a dress in there. I didn’t blame her though. It was important to her, and she was reluctant to leave anything of her old life behind. I’d have brought everything too if I had anything more. We watched the caravan head back along the way we had come, having already said goodbye to Driver. It was strange, knowing I would probably never see her again. I had gotten used to only knowing about five other people, and now one of them was gone. I glanced over at the two soldiers by the gate, who still seemed tense. Once the caravan was a sufficient distance away, they visibly relaxed and led us to a smaller door to the side of the gate. “Sorry about all that,” Steve said. “She freaks us out,” continued the other guard. “Why?” asked Max. “She’s really nice.” “We’re not allowed to talk about it. Wynn and Fruma have a weird relationship, and that’s all you need to know.” With that, Steve knocked on the door, which promptly opened to reveal a rather cosy room on the inside of the wall. The two guards led us through a few rooms with the occasional guard, finding their way through the labyrinthine corridors inside the wall with ease. The wall was much wider than it had seemed on the outside, taking us a few minutes to get through. “I don’t expect you remember anything about Fruma?” I was surprised to see that Steve was looking at me when he said that. “No.” I answered candidly. Steve groaned. “No, of course you don’t. Why do I even ask anymore.” We arrived at another door, which the other guard opened to let us out the other side of the wall. “Just continue on the road and you’ll find Ragni. Signs are everywhere, you can’t miss it. Oh, and welcome to Wynn.” And with that, Steve closed the door, leaving us alone. I took in the scenery. The Fruma Wall had been situated at the lip of the narrow canyon-like valley we had been in since waking up, which opened up into a much wider valley on this side. The sun was properly showing here, bathing the crop fields in a golden glow. Various houses placed haphazardly across the valley, and there were many of them on the ledges of the mountainsides for some reason. A path snaked through the valley, eventually going around a bend in the valley to the left. I jumped as I heard unfamiliar sound. I looked down to see some sort of small white-feathered bird with a yellow beak and no wings. No, wait, it had wings. They were flush with its sides. It made that bizzare sound again. I was like an anatheropterix’s squawk, but also different. I looked back to see the others still looking around, except Heather, who looked bored. Another one of the birds had walked up to Max, who was petting it with a smile on his face. In the end, Ava took the lead. “What are we waiting for? Let’s go!” She started walking, a bit slowed due to the weight of her sack, and the other three and I followed her. “I can take some of the stuff in your sack,” Max offered. Ava sighed in relief and promptly gave him her whole sack. He tried to give her his in return, since it was much lighter, but she had already started walking again. Without saying anything I took Max’s sack, put mine in it, and threw it over my shoulder. Max gave me a grateful smile before the both of us ran to catch up with Ava, Heather, and Drew. We were off to Ragni. If you have any non-spoiler questions, feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer. This is my first proper writing project, so any feedback is appreciated. What you liked, what you didn't. Is my writing good? Bad? how could it be better? What's your impression of the characters? Are they interesting? Boring? If so, why? Anything helps, positive or negative. Thanks! Edit: Name of the story has been changed from Recruits to Corrupted Memories.