The Seraph ran. Charging through the fields of Watchtower Coast, he held a Fellblade in his right hand and a black Oppressor’s Shield in the other. His brothers in arms had all been slain defending Beetletun from a bandit onslaught. Now he was alone, chasing the bandit leader. The Seraph would not let him escape. Not today. And suddenly, he was there - the bandit had slowed and now they came face to face. In a flash of midnight the Seraph swiped his shield to bash this most vicious of criminals. He would make him suffer. He raised his sword.
“Jaaaack! I don’t want to play this anymore! I always end up getting hurt!”
The young boy put down his wooden stick.
“SOPHIE! You’re doing it all wrong! You always find a way to ruin this game just as I’m about to win! Of all the sisters in Tyria, why am I stuck with this one?!”
“But you’re faster than I am and it’s not fair! I’m going to play with the others.”
Sophie pushed her brother aside and ran back the way they’d come. Her long blonde hair trailed behind her as she ran, hoping to catch up to her friends back in Beetletun. Jack sighed and began to follow his sister at a deliberate walking pace, dragging his stick on the floor as he went. He knew he’d be forbidden from going out tomorrow if he let his sister just waltz off by herself.
“Now Jack, you must take care of your little sister for she is still only young”, his mother had said. “And if you don’t, you know what will happen...”
It had taken about half an hour before he reached the edge of Beetletun. Sophie was sitting just outside the eastern entrance surrounded by a gathering of girls of similar ages. As Jack approached, he just began to make out what they were saying.
“My daddy used to run GuildMag, look!”
“Guild-what?” another girl asked.
Sophie was holding a piece of parchment that had clearly seen better days. “It’s a piece of parchment from the very first GuildMag issue. I think it was called the Firs of Tyria.”
“That’s fires, idiot.” Jack walked up behind her. “And it wasn’t just a piece of parchment either. GuildMag used to be the thing that connected all of Tyria and beyond and it was our father who founded it.”
“Who’s your dad?” One girl asked, with an odd smirk.
“Well... his name isn’t important. It’s what...”
“Dutch Sunshine!” Sophie blurted out. The group sniggered and Jack shot Sophie a piercing glare.
“Just because he has a funny name doesn’t mean he’s any less normal! And I bet you couldn’t start another GuildMag to the same greatness either!”
“Pfft, what made it so great anyway?” The same girl asked.
“Do you really want me to tell you? I mean really?”
Jack didn’t wait for a reply. He began the story.
* * *
The norn had always known how to run a tavern. Large kegs of ale were scattered about the place and swaying bodies clashed their half-full tankards together before drinking the lot in one gulp. In the centre of the room lay a roaring open fire which enveloped the entire tavern in warmth, mixed with the unmistakeable stench of too much alcohol. Over the brutish sounds of norn laughter came the rusty squeak of a wooden door opening, and with it came a shivering human clad in the already-melting snow of the Shiverpeaks. Humans were becoming more common nowadays; nobody took any notice of him. He walked over to the bar his metal boots softly thudding on the stained floor.
"What're you drinkin'?" asked the bartender, staring at the human.
"A Witch's Brew - shaken, not stirred."
The bartender placed a flask of the orange liquid on the bar and extended his hand. The human paid him. The Brew itself cast an eerie glow on the wood, but the human grabbed it and consumed it in one click of the mouse. He climbed onto one of the nearby stools and turned to face the rest of the world. He took a long breath.
"Norn! I am human! My name is Dutch Sunshine and I am here to challenge you all! Every. Single. One." The human shouted, as the rest of the tavern stared back in bewilderment. "My challenge is this: I bet fifty platinum that not one of you has the courage to found an idea with me. The idea is for regular parchment-based notices to be delivered to every human, norn and asuran citizen of Tyria! To connect the world and offer a force of good in these desperate times. The Krytan War left us almost defenceless and Cantha grows quieter by the day!"
Silence reigned in the tavern.
"Well? What say you?!"
Laughter erupted in the tavern. Slowly, Dutch's face turned red and then to a shade of deep crimson. He began to climb down, but before he knew it, a stool had been thrown in his direction and hit him square on the nose. His vision went black.
When Dutch awoke, he was lying face-down in the snow. It was the sound of a door smashing shut that had woken him, and suddenly he could hear the crunch of boots.
"We accept your challenge" said a strange voice.
Dutch's vision went black again, followed by a heavy boot kicking his side.
"Did you hear me? I said we accept!"
He groaned and turned to face his saviour-come-tormentor. Staring down at him was a scantily-dressed norn male with long blonde hair. Dutch didn't ask what had happened to the rest of the norn's clothes for he feared the answer. Behind the norn stood others, all of whom were staring at him: humans of all professions, tiny asura and more norn.
"All of you? But you laughed..."
"Not everyone thinks you're crazy," an asura cut in.
"Well then... with everyone gathered here today, I hereby found TyriaMag. May Lyssa bless our minds with the creativity we will need."
Dutch got up. Even now the blonde norn was a good deal taller, but at least from this height less things were flapping around in Dutch's face.
"Cold isn't it?" the norn asked.
Dutch stared at him. From behind the norn came the sound of the tavern door smashing shut again.
"You! You dirty, thieving bookah! How very dare you steal the Great Glaxx's ideas! How did you do it? I bet you used a psychotransitional flux matrix! Yes, that's how. It must be. No, you can't. Oh, stuff it Lesser Glaxx! I'm incharge right now! YOU CAN NOT SPEAK TO THE HUMAN! Now, where was I? I apologise for... NO! GO AWAY! I FORBID YOU!"
Dutch and the norn didn't know what to say in response to this angry asura. They looked around to see who he was shouting at, but apart from themselves and the other TyriaMag members, they saw nobody.
"As for you norn, you've been looking at me funny all day! SHUT UP GLAXX! I KNOW WE HAVEN'T BEEN HERE ALL DAY! I SWEAR IF ONE MORE THING... AHHHHHH!"
With that, the asura screamed. His voice was a mixture of high pitches and deep growls never heard before. He waved his hand in the air and a bright purple bubble encased Dutch. Through the bubble he could see a similar one encasing the others as they attempted to break free, their shouts muffled by the aura. Everyone apart from the norn was trapped. The asura charged at him, his little legs pounding the snow. His open mouth exposed teeth that had been sharpened to a point and before the norn could react, the asura had buried his teeth in the his leg. The norn tried to shake off the asura that was still screaming, but to no luck. Meanwhile, Dutch Sunshine stared in amazement at what he was witnessing - was this asura really taking a bite out of a norn?! Worse. In one bite of his jaw, the asura had gobbled the norn's entire left leg, and he showed no signs of stopping. By now, the norn was lying on his back in the snow. The asura stopped, stood up and picked the norn up in one hand. He then proceeded to eat the rest of the norn, savouring each mouthful. When he was satisfied, he let out a load burp before suddenly exploding into a million tiny pieces of asura. The purple bubbles encasing the others faded, as did Dutch's, and they stared in horror at what they'd just witnessed. From the group, a dervish guised as Grenth emerged. He strolled over to where the asura had been standing and muttered a peculiar spell before waving his scythe in the air. He slowly began to make his way towards Dutch. His name was Nightshade Special.
* * *
Nightshade Special sighed.
“He would’ve been a great asset to this magazine of yours, not to mention a hit with the lady norn!”
Several hours had passed since the norn’s passing and by now Dutch Sunshine and the rest of the new TyriaMag members had travelled through the asura gate into Lion’s Arch. They were all sat around a burning fire in a room above a tavern Dutch was renting for the night.
“I know. I just... how did that asura... was his mouth even big enough?” Dutch replied.
“It’s a little-known fact that a very talented asuran mesmer found a way to enable mouths to stretch limitlessly,” came a shy voice from a corner of the room. It was another asura.
“Great, more crazy little-folk,” came the voice of a human.
Silence. Dutch stood up.
“Listen up. If we’re going to make this magazine work, we need to get ourselves organised and then visit the Lion’s Arch council for support. Myself and Nightshade have been talking and he’s going to be in charge of distributing the magazine to the public for each issue. That leaves the jobs of writer, editor and designer still open. Who wants what?”
Clearly everybody wanted everything. Shouts flew across the room and quickly ears began to bleed to the extent that a rather nervous looking male passed out on the floor.
“Wonderful!” Dutch thought to himself.
Five minutes later and the noise had died, with many people in opposite ends of the room engrossed in the sulk of the century. They wouldn’t even cast a glance at each other.
“Everyone, stand and line up behind this desk” said Dutch as he moved a wooden desk and chair into the middle of the room and placed a piece of parchment on it. “Now, I want each of you to state your name and your desired role then sign this parchment. Who’s first?”
“I am,” came the voice of the asura from before.
“No, your name, not your race.”
“Please, I don’t have time for this! I want your official name and nothing more at this stage. If you can’t give me that then clearly you don’t have the intellectual capacity to work at this magazine.”
The asura’s face began to turn red.
“Now look here bookah, nobody insults my intelligence and lives to see the next day, especially not a foul-smelling, empty-headed, meat-gnashing human. My birth name is A-S-U-R-A-N and you are going to write it correctly on that idiotic piece of parchment before I turn your head into a pile of WOBBLING PRIMORDIAL OOZE! And as for the rest of you, should anyone have a problem with me then you can all kiss my hairy a-”
“Can I just stop you there?” Dutch butted in.
“NO! My hairy anthropomorphic-gigatrizer one thousand, three hundred and thirty seven.”
“Oh. Lovely! And erm... what role are you looking to fulfil?”
“Well, the way I see it, you’re going to have hundreds of pages all floating around in no particular order. Therefore, I’d like to be the one who puts it all together at the end by harnessing the extraordinary power of... glue!”
“Don’t you think that’s a bit of a waste of your talent?”
“Oh, not at all! Everyone else here would only find some way of mucking it up – this job requires somebody with brains!”
And so it came to pass that Asuran the asura joined the magazine.
“Wait, Jack, I’m confused. Why are all the asura so mean?”
“They just are, Sophie. All beings born asura have a mean streak through them, it’s quite sad really. Now shut up, we’re nearly done.”
* * *
A month had passed since that night above the tavern. Since then, the team were renting their own building in Lion’s Arch and had gone to see the Tyrian Council for Written Communications Amongst Tyrians in Tyria. They’d been told to change the name to GuildMag due to over-usage of the word ‘Tyria’ and shortly afterwards they’d begun work on the first issue: the Fires of Tyria. Nightshade Special had resorted to being called Jonny10, though nobody could fathom why, and many more people had begun to shine in their roles. To name a few included Free Runner the future fantasyologist, Draxynnic the lore lockkeeper and Daelin Dwin the asuran autopsy specialist. In time, other Tyrians would begin to send in their own articles in an attempt to reach fame, though fortune was severely lacking. Even the partly-digested norn had returned, reborn in Glaxx’s image due to some mysterious forces of the Eternal Alchemy which would take even the brightest asura one hundred and one years to fully explain – so I won’t.
After the success of the first issue, the pressure kept mounting to keep each issue after that as good as the first. After many months, GuildMag had grown to much more than a magazine: two team members known as Malchior Devenholm and Sabre Wolf decided to begin making things known as podcasts – short recordings of their voices captured in magical envelopes the asura had named ‘pods’. These could be sent quickly using the Asura Gate network and delivered to people’s homes to let them know the latest news much quicker. Eventually, an extremely attractive ritualist, with several jiggly parts, known as Izari joined in the podcasting. Many more people joined the magazine as it grew to reach thousands of readers and this legacy continued strong for many, many years. Nobody knows what became of GuildMag after Dutch retired. One thing’s for sure though: to this day, somebody, somewhere, will be continuing the work...
* * *
“Jack, that’s got to be one of the most boring versions of the story I’ve ever heard! Even Daddy tells it better than that and he dribbles all the way through it!”
“But I thought you said you’d never even heard of GuildMag before?”
“I lied. Partly because I wanted to hear the story again but mainly because I’m just such a cruel bi-“
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