It was an ordinary morning in Tibia. The sun was already shining brightly, some trolls were grunting outside the city walls of Thais and a small dog chased birds through the alleyways, yapping excitedly. Tibicus had got up early and was on his way to the depot. He was going to meet up with some friends to start one of those indulgent hunting sessions he loved so much. He strolled through the streets, sold some stuff at Sam's and then decided to pay a quick visit to his favourite bartender, Frodo.
"Tibicus, my old friend!" Frodo welcomed him. "It's a little early for a beer, don't you think?" "Nah, don't worry Frodo, I'm just checking in to kill some time. I'll be out of town for a while now to have some quality time with my party! Man, I haven't been out in the wild for almost a week now!" "Yes, I know, after that last incident you practically made this bar your second home." Frodo quipped.
"Shush! It's really frustrating to know that I just sneezed away a book filled with unknown memories of the four gods. But anyway, thanks for bringing that up again." Tibicus answered, peeved.
"Well, what's done is done. Gosh, look at the time! I have to go, take care Frodo. Till we meet again!" he said, leaving the bar. Down the lane, he saw his friends were already waiting for him near Benjamin's post office. Fridolin the Paladin and Tabea the Sorceress waved to him from the distance but he could not see Emilio the druid anywhere. When he greeted them, he instantly knew that something was wrong. "Where is Emilio?" he asked. "Haven't you heard? He's in the temple! Quentin is taking care of him. It doesn't look good!" Tabea sobbed. "Even if he survives, it will take a while until he will be able to hunt again." "What?! But how?! What happened?" Tibicus had no idea that his friend was on the verge of death.
"Remember Beefo and his gang? The bunch of troublemakers living in Venore? Well, those cowards ambushed him when he was on his way home from his daily solo hunt yesterday. I swear to Uman, I will destroy them when I get hold of them!" Fridolin raged. "Let's go and avenge Emilio! What are we waiting for?"
"Calm down, Frido!" Tibicus tried to defuse the situation. "They'll get what they deserve, but at the moment we don't have a healer! If we encounter them unprepared, we will end up in the temple right next to Emilio. I already lost all my party members once due to bloodthirsty demons." He lifted his armour and uncovered the ugly scars on his breast. "I'm not going to lose you too!"
"You're right." Fridolin frowned, "it's just... What should we do now? I've been looking forward to this day for ages, the four of us hunting together and here we stand without a healer. Even you are not able to carry enough health potions to make up for Emilio's healing spells."
"I guess it's time to find a temporary replacement for Emilio. There's no point feeling sorry for ourselves. Let's do this hunt to honour Emilio!" Tibicus tried to motivate his remaining party members. There was only one problem. None of them knew an elder druid with a skill set comparable to Emilio's. "I've heard about a very common method to find people to hunt with" Fridolin said, "I haven't done it myself, but I guess it's worth a try." He turned around and went to the middle of the depot, cleared his throat and shouted at the top of his lungs "LF ED... LAST SPOT!"
"And now we wait." Fridolin grinned as he returned to his friends. Tibicus was sceptical "Are you sure this is going to work? I have my doubts that anyone will get in contact with -" "Hey, I heard you're looking for an elder druid! I'm your man, where are we heading to?" A young druid was standing in front of the group. "Wow, hold your horses, young man! How about you tell us something about yourself first? Do you have any experience with party hunts?"
"Of course I do! I'm very experienced; exura sio, exura gran, exura vita… I've been practicing those spells for ages! Don't worry you can count on me!" he assured the party. "Okay, my name is Tibicus, make sure you remember the name correctly, I am the blocker of our team." Tibicus tried not to sound too sceptical but he had a bad feeling about this.
"We're heading to Rathleton first. I'm feeling lucky on hydras today. Organise your equipment first, it's going to be a long trip!" he said. Everyone went to their depot boxes to stock up their resources.
When they arrived at Rathleton, Tibicus could feel the thrill of hunting rushing through his veins. "Finally, I am back!" he thought as he felt the fresh breeze run through his hair. He took a deep breath and tasted the salty sea air. "Off to new adventures! Let's go!" he cried to his party and began to walk briskly west. It took them two hours on foot to arrive at their destination. "Here we are, beautiful peppermoon bells guarded by deadly hydras! What beautiful scenery!" Tibicus laughed. "Fridolin and I will get rid of the bog raiders while Tabea and... what's your name again?" "Songro" the mage answered, subdued. "While Tabea and Songro perform their magical power thing to deal with those hydras! Hey Songro, are you alright? You're looking a bit pale."
"Don't worry, I'm fine." Songro replied and they went down the hole. After they had reached the bottom, they found themselves in an uninviting cave. An acidic smell permeated the air and filled their nostrils. Songro threw up the minute he tried to breathe. Just as he was getting back on his feet when he saw six red eyes staring at him from a dark corner. "HYDRA! HYDRA!" he screamed and started to throw avalanche runes at the creature. The hydra was not impressed by the attack and started to run towards Songro. Tibicus jumped in front of him and blocked the incoming attack with his shield. Tabea threw her energy runes and Fridolin shot numerous bolts into the monster. Tibicus drew his sword and decapitated the stricken creature with a single blow. Covered in hydra blood he turned on Songro and shouted "What the hell was that? Avalanches?! Are you serious?!"
Songro took a moment to recover from his encounter with the hydra. "No, I was just kidding, just wanted to see how good you guys are. Haha, seems like you are quite talented!" he said. "Do you think you are playing a game?!" Tibicus was furious "Pull yourself together!"
They cleared the rest of the level and Songro managed to do what he was supposed to do Heal the party.
"Are you ready to go in deeper?" Tibicus asked, pulling his sword out of a hydra's skull.
They went down the ladder and found themselves surrounded by an even larger number of hydras and bog raiders. Tibicus charged into the fight to take the full heat of the enemies' aggression. Songro repeatedly cast "exura sio Tibicus" as fast as he could to keep Tibicus alive while Fridolin and Tabea tried to kill the creatures which surrounded the knight. Songro was absolutely focused, another mistake and everybody would be in danger again. He had been able to hide his lack of experience in team hunts before and now he felt ashamed that he had not told them the truth from the very beginning. He knew his spells but he lacked knowledge about creatures and their weaknesses. On his own, he always went hunting in places where no monster was strong enough to seriously harm him. Fighting hydras took things to a completely new level. "Focus Songro, they cannot know the truth! Now it's too late to tell them anyway!" Suddenly he felt something dripping on his left shoulder. He turned around and looked straight into the open mouth of a hydra. Slimy mucus dripped from its fangs while it came closer and closer and Songro was stunned by fear, unable to move a single muscle. He felt the hydra's teeth sinking into his flesh and he cried out in agony while his bones were crushed.
Tibicus was pleasantly surprised. After some initial problems, it seemed like the druid was able to keep up with the rest of the party. Some healing spells could have been better timed but overall, they were able to hunt efficiently. In the middle of that thought he noticed that he was taking more damage from the monsters than before. Well, not really more damage, but he was not recovering fast enough. "Alright Songro, a little help would be great!" he shouted but heard no "exura sio" in return.
Quickly drinking some ultimate health potions, he slaughtered his way through the hordes of monsters to find his healer lying on the ground, covered in blood and barely conscious. He shouldered Songro's body and shouted "Let's fall back! Tabea - withdraw! Fridolin – cover our retreat!" They made it out alive, but Songro was in a really bad shape. His gill coat was ripped into pieces and his pulse dropped lower and lower. They brought him to Azalea, who was able to provide the help he needed. It turned out that Songro was not experienced enough to wear the gill coat properly which is why it failed to protect him from the hydra's attacks. Tibicus and his friends had had more luck than judgement.
A few days later, Tibicus, Fridolin and Tabea were sitting at Frodo's pub again reflecting upon what had happened. Everybody had survived but Songro was so ashamed of his actions that he did not want them to visit him. He was very thankful for his rescue and swore that he would continue his training until he was able to keep up with Tibicus and his party. They were about to finish their drinks when the door opened and a familiar face popped in. "Emilio! You're back!" Tabea exclaimed and they pulled up a chair for their old comrade. "How are you?"
"I've been better to be honest. Ouch!" Emilio groaned. "But I guess a few more days and I'll be as good as new! I'm sorry that I missed our hunting trip, but you know - unexpected circumstances." "Doesn't matter, my friend." Tibicus said, "We're glad to have you back! Just concentrate on getting well again! I promise you, one day, we will be avenged on Beefo and his gang!"