The Precipice of Choice
“We still need one more!” Lyrra growled angrily. The callicoe charr flicked her tail vigorously. She glared at her companions, “We’ve been in this jungle for hours, we should just call it a night.”
“I rather like this jungle. The atmospheres are roughly equivalent to those of my lab in Rata Sum.” Dipps’ jungle moa companion chirruped in agreement. “Besides, Alex has yet to recruit a healer for us.”
At the mention of her name, Alex looked up from the series of maps she was nearly buried in. “Holy burning beard of Balthazar! I’ll put another notice up. Calm down.” She took out a vial of dye and a particularly unhelpful map and scrawled the message on the back of it before using her great sword as a makeshift signpost: GLF 1 HEALER TO GO. Einarr, their norn companion, looked up from the turret he was customizing long enough to nod his approval at the new sign before returning to his work. The charr glanced at the new sign and a low rumble was audible in the back of her throat. She resumed her pacing.
Several other adventurers had passed by but merely scoffed at the group. After another half hour of idle time, Alex sighed and prepared to call it quits for the night. Before she could speak, Dipps spoke up, “Hey, I think B.Y.R.R.D. hears someone coming!” They all glanced in the direction the curious moa was peering and sure enough a slender green figure stepped into the small clearing. The figure wore a robe and carried a long staff like a walking stick.
“Salutations, fellow adventurers, I am Kelery. I’ve come to purge this foul jungle cave of the Nightmare’s taint. Perhaps you are similarly minded?” The sylvari smiled politely as they sized him up.
Alex’s knees cracked as she stood up, extended a hand, and introduced the team. “We are indeed interested in the combing the depths of this dungeon, however I fear we will not make any headway if we do not find a healer to keep us in one piece. According to my information, the vile inhabitants of this cave have plant cannons and you never know when you could stumble across a jungle troll in a cave like this. I will be holding off most of the attacks,” she rapped a fist against her sturdy plate armor, “and the rest will be lending supporting fire.”
Kelery took a moment to ponder what he was hearing. “I … am an elementalist. I know my way around the rejuvenating water element, of course. But I wonder if our efforts might be aided if we each practiced some role diversity. I would hate to limit us by tapping only a quarter of my arcane reserves.”
The charr snorted. “What the heck is diversity?”
“Allow me,” chimed in the ever helpful, ever knowing asura, “Well I could be wrong, but I believe that diversity is an old, old wooden ship that was used during the guild war era.”
“You mean that Lion’s Arch dungeon?” Einarr asked.
Kelery smiled, “I think I know the ship to which you are referring, but no… What I am talking about has more to do with strategy and tactics.” Dipps let out a humph which the sylvari promptly ignored. “There is no way that we can succeed in this fight if we are not all using all of our abilities to the fullest. By making use of different fighting styles, be it weapons, gadgets, or the elements in my case, we can each access a wide array of potent abilities. Surely you each have methods of combat that your current plan would be restricting. I am most certainly capable supporting a group—to a limited extent—with my water magic, but to be honest I feel more happy and helpful while I am preventing foes from reaching my allies by stunning them with electricity. Electricity also has the pleasant side effect of being terribly damaging. Einarr, surely you, an accomplished engineer, must have some objections to limiting yourself to using purely damaging weapons and gadgets.”
Einarr nodded solemnly. “Aye. I have been concocting various elixirs of late and would really like to give them a shot. But Alex is a seasoned leader and I trust her judgment. If she tells me to stand in the back with my rifle and turret I will oblige.”
Kelery turned to the asura and moa. “And are you also content to sit in the back with your bow? It seems a waste of your obvious talents.”
The asura perked up. “Haven’t I been telling you to let me help you with the sword play, Alex? You nearly get yourself killed in every battle. I’m quick with a blade and I’m sure my extra mobility would allow me to distract and harry any opponent while you take a moment to recuperate on the back line.”
“I am also ready to help on the front lines,” Lyrra volunteered. “When you are being overcome by foes it is not shameful to rely on the skills of your comrades. I fear that my daggers will rust in their scabbards while my pistols fall apart from overuse!” The charr pawed at the daggers on her belt, practically purring with excitement.
[Note! The following paragraph was somehow omitted when I uploaded this originally, sorry about that! Frankly, I’m appalled.]
“Your friends seem to be ready to fight with their full range of powers, Alex. I don’t know about other elementalists you’ve met but I also fancy myself somewhat of a connoisseur of conjurations. I love summoning weapons that can be used by myself or my companions. I feel they make for a great change of pace! For example…” Kelery focused his mind and uttered an ancient, arcane command. Two icy bows appeared in his hands. He handed one to Alex, “Take one of these. It’s very easy to use; practically fire all on their own!”
Handling this strange weapon brought back Alex’ memories of combat training. She had mastered every type of martial weapon, including the longbow. It wasn’t until now that she remembered how much enjoyment she got from raining down swarms of arrows on her enemies. “You may have a point,” the warrior quietly ceded. She took a deep breath and hardened her voice. “New plan, everyone. Employ a strategy that you are particularly fond of, but be ready to change your fighting style if needed. For this to work, I won’t be able to hold the front line all the time. We’ll need to be careful and quick on our feet. Don’t let your guard down and stay mobile.”
Kelery nodded, “Indeed. There is no need to limit yourselves. Employ any tactics that you are able and we will easily be able to adapt to whatever this dungeon can throw at us. By the way, Alex, I have to hand it to you for having such a diverse group, very Destiny’s Edge. I like it. However I have heard tales of a group comprised solely of warriors that were able to traverse the most dangerous dungeons through a combination of diverse weapons, combat abilities, and teamwork.” At this scornful laughter erupted from the adventurers. “Really! I do not aim to deceive you.”
Einarr finished fastening a large vat of colorful liquid to his broad back and gave the puzzled sylvari a firm pat on the back. “You’re alright Kelery. Can’t say I’ve met a sylvari with much of a sense of humor before, but you’re alright.”