Dead In The Dark, a creepypasta by Youtube user PenguinMountainEdit
Guild Wars 2. Michael stared at the stark white box in his hands, the game that he had been waiting months to play. Ever the gamer, he had spent countless hours in the worlds of Final Fantasy and The Elder Scrolls, but this summer, he had decided on something different. His first foray into the world of online gaming.
He had already chosen his race and class, before even installing the game; the necromancer class appealed to him the most, and he loved the look of the charr.
Once the game installed, he hurried through the account creation process, eager to begin exploring the world of Tyria. The first choice he had to make once he was ready was which server he would call his home. He scrolled through the list, eventually noticing one with a rather low population: Mournhold. He recognized the name in an instant; it was a major city in The Elder Scrolls. Couldn't ArenaNet be sued over the use of the name for one of their servers?
Unable to resist getting the chance to say "I played Guild Wars 2 in Mournhold before it was shut down", he selected the server as his home. The next step was the one he was looking forward to, almost as much as playing the game itself: character creation. He spent nearly twenty minutes tweaking his character, making sure he looked perfect. Finally granting his character the name 'Argus Bloodthirst', he entered the world of Tyria.
He was immediately thrust into the world just outside the Black Citadel, instructed to protect the surrounding area from the ghosts of Ascalon. He considered grinding for XP against the ghosts, but in the end, he couldn't; they only gave three each, it would take far too long to level up even once against them. So, he guided Argus to a meeting with Rytlock Brimstone, a charr he had seen in several videos of quests from the game.
After helping Rytlock and some of the other charr deal with a powerful ghost, he returned to the Black Citadel and set about killing weak enemies.
He lost track of time. Hours after he had begun, he reached level six and decided that he was done for the night. He logged off and headed for bed with no prompting from his parents.
The next day, he was back on the game again. He breezed through a couple more of his personal story quests and several events before deciding that it was finally time to begin exploring the rest of Tyria, making contact with other players along the way. The region nearby - Shiverpeak, home to the norn race - would be his first stop; he had always liked snowy areas, seeing very little snow at his Arizona home.
As he wandered Tyria in the general direction of Shiverpeak, he noticed other players going about their business; gathering materials, killing monsters, completing events, et cetera. He said "hello" to many of them, even getting the occasional "hi" back, though most were too busy with their own situations to pay him much mind. Something nagged at him as he passed them, though. He had seen mesmers, guardians, warriors, rangers, elementalists, even an engineer and a thief at one point, but never any other necromancers.
That changed when he reached Shiverpeak.
Just outside of the norn city, he encountered a group of necromancers - a rather small group, yes, but they were still fellow necromancers - of all races, each with the same tag next to their names; "[DITD]", a guild tag.
Surprisingly, they welcomed him with open arms, immediately inviting him into a party. When he greeted them, he heard a voice in his headphones - somewhat gruff, likely an immitation of a charr - respond with "Hey, how's it going, newblood?"
Michael nearly jumped out of his skin; he had never heard anything about the game having any kind of voice support, but he brushed it off after a moment, figuring that it was just one of the features that had been glossed over in favor of more exciting things. He had never partied with other players; perhaps voice chat was available on private party lines. "Uh, hi?" He replied.
"So, you're a new necromancer?" Another player - a female asura, her name displayed as 'The Venom Queen' - asked. "What did you die of?"
Michael paused, his brow furrowing. Die of? Realization hit him after a moment; they were probably roleplayers. Guild Wars 2 was an MMORPG, after all, so it wasn't that hard to believe. "Well, I-I fell to my death..." He answered, going with the first thing he could think of.
"Bummer." The charr commented. "I burned." His character turned, his torso armor disappearing for a moment, displaying large burn scars across his back.
Michael was stunned; he didn't know it was possible to get scars on character models.
The asura girl tilted her head back, revealing her own scar, across her neck. "Somebody cut my throat."
A human male standing nearby held his hands up, his gloves vanishing, displaying the scars across his wrists. "Did myself in." He explained.
The other necromancers spent the next few minutes telling Michael about how they "died". It creeped him out a little, but they seemed like nice enough people, so he tried to ignore the feeling.
Eventually, they invited him to meet their guildmaster, so he could formally join their guild. Michael wasn't sure about the meeting location - Timberline Falls, to the south, populated by enemies that ranged from level fifty to level sixty, far too high for him - but the others seemed to be willing to make the trip with him, so they would probably protect him, too. He agreed, the asura girl leading the way.
"Come on, keep up, slowpokes!" Venom Queen called to them. "The dead stick together, and that means not falling behind!"
The necromancers led Michael to - and through - the Timberline Falls area, until they reached a small village-like area in Krongar Pass. Before they entered, the other charr addressed him again. "Hey, try to be nice to the leader, alright?" He asked, still using that gruff immitation of the voice of a real charr. "He's only, like, eight. Plus, he's been through some... stuff."
"Okay..." Michael agreed. It struck him as somewhat odd; creating a guild at only eight and actually having people willing to join? Still, he shrugged it off, deciding that it wasn't the strangest thing he'd ever heard of. "What kind of stuff?"
"His parents apparently didn't pay much attention to him when he was alive, so now he latches onto anyone that joins. He's desperate for friends." Venom Queen said. "Are we done talking about him behind his back? Yes? Good. Come on, he should be just up ahead with the others."
Michael decided not to ask more questions about the leader of the guild, instead following the asura girl past the NPC with the Renown Heart quest and up to another group of necromancers. One of them was a male asura - incredibly skinny, almost to the point of being emaciated - still wearing the Mark of the Skull, a beginner necromancer item, despite being the only group member with a downward arrow next to his name, indicating that he was at a higher level than the area they were in. His name displayed as 'Warren of Orr'; Michael assumed he was the guild's leader.
"Venom, Blacktongue, Damien!" The boy's voice squealed in Michael's headphones. "You guys are back already? And you brought a new playmate?"
Michael grimaced at the use of the term 'playmate'. "Hi, I'm- erm, sorry." He began, before catching himself; he assumed they would like it better if he followed their example and roleplayed his introduction. Beginning again, he tried his own version of a charr's voice. "Argus Bloodthirst, at your service."
"Are you here to join my guild?" Warren asked.
Michael quickly activated the 'shrug' emote, unable to keep from smiling as Argus shrugged his bulky shoulders. "I guess so. I mean, I might as well; I came all the way out here."
"Alright, I'll send you an invite." The asura said. Seconds later, Michael was a member of the guild, the leader a member of his party. "Welcome to Dead In The Dark, Argus. Will you play with us every day?"
"I think I can do that." Michael said. "Until summer's over, at least."
"Let's get you leveled up, then!" Warren said, darting off to the north, leaving the rest of their guild behind. "We'll do some dungeons first! Just stick with us, get a few hits in, and you'll be leveled up in no time!"
Michael palmed his face, but followed, the three necromancers that had found him close behind; he hoped he wouldn't regret joining the hyperactive little guy's guild.
Over the next couple of weeks, Michael played with his guild, quickly rising in level. It took only about a week for him to hit level 80 - the cap - with the help of the four other necromancers that had quickly become his normal party. Among them was Warren himself; he couldn't help but wonder if the other guildmembers didn't spend much time actually playing the game or doing quests with their leader.
Michael was quite shocked when the leader was ready to arm him and garb him in the highest-level gear; he hadn't imagined that anyone in an MMORPG would ever just give another player anything for free, let alone legendary-tier weapons - especially those that could be used by their own class - and the gold to buy their level 80 cultural armor. Venom Queen's words repeated themselves in his mind; "he's desperate for friends".
Michael wondered if the gifts and gold were the kid's way of trying to keep him around, make him feel like he needed to stay with the guild. He tried to ask about it, but the only explanation he got was the same phrase that he had heard from several other guildmembers over the previous weeks.
"The dead stick together."
Each time he signed off for the day, among the "later"s and "seeya"s from the guildmembers, he always got a "please come back soon" from Warren, only making him feel worse for needing to sleep. He wouldn't have been as shocked by it without the "please"; a "come back soon" could be taken as a half-joking request, even from someone that was apparently starved for friends, but "please" made the whole thing seem that much more sincere.
He had, at one point, signed off earlier than usual, developing a headache from staring at his screen for so long. When he returned the next day, his inbox was full to its maximum with messages from Warren.
"Where did you go...?"
"Did I do something wrong?"
"Please, don't leave the guild or anything..."
"Aren't we friends?"
"Please come back."
"I'll give you one of my rare dyes if you don't leave this early anymore!"
"I'll give you ALL of my rare dyes!"
"Aren't you having fun with us?"
"I guess you're going to bed...?"
"I'm sorry about all the messages. I don't want to lose my friends."
Despite the borderline-clingy behavior of the guild leader, Michael found himself having quite a bit of fun with the game and the guild, even when he failed events.
Then, one day, Michael's mother called him into the living room, away from his game. Thankful that the guild wasn't in the middle of a dungeon or an important event, he quickly excused himself and joined his parents.
There was a story on the local news about a shooting at the nearby mall that had killed a teenage boy, leaving several others wounded. Michael was rather shocked, and felt lucky to be alive, and even luckier that he had obtained his game when he did; it was the same mall that he frequented before purchasing the game. He probably would've been at the mall when it happened, had he not joined his guild, and may very well have been among those that had been shot.
According to the news report, the killer was small, skinny, and wearing some sort of hood and paint to conceal his appearance. He was apparently still at large.
Michael didn't stay much longer. He hugged his parents, then returned to his room, eager to get back to his game and take his mind off of the event.
Things were normal for the next few days, until another new face joined their guild. A sylvari, with a large hole in his head, just below his left eye. He explained that he had been shot and killed while hanging out with his friends at the local mall.
Michael couldn't help but feel disgusted; while he enjoyed the occasional horrible joke, he thought this one was definitely in poor taste. It was just way too soon, and to think someone could try to spin a tragedy like that into a cheap backstory for their character was horrifying. The fact that none of the others called him out on it made it even worse, but Michael didn't want to start a fight with any of his guildmates, so he quietly slipped away, jumping to a waypoint in the Black Citadel, his home region; a few silver was a small price to pay to get away from that.
He began to wonder if the necromancers were the right crowd to be hanging out with. Deciding that he needed some time to cool off, he stepped down, no longer displaying the guild's tag. The next step hurt a bit, but - if he felt he was in the wrong when he was feeling more level-headed - he could always join again; he left the guild.
He spent nearly an hour trying to adventure on his own - ignoring the influx of messages, no doubt from Warren, until his inbox filled and no new messages could be received - but it just didn't feel the same without the others to watch his back, without the mass of undead minions overwhelming the enemies.
Finally fed up with dying, he jumped back to the Black Citadel and checked his inbox.
"Where did you go?" Fifty-three minutes old.
"Why did you leave?" Forty-eight minutes old.
"Argus, please come back." Forty minutes old.
"Was it something I did?" Thirty-two minutes old.
"Please, tell me if I did something wrong." Twenty-eight minutes old.
"I'm sorry." Twenty-two minutes old.
"You'll come back soon, right?" Nineteen minutes old.
"Please don't leave the guild." Fifteen minutes old.
"The dead are supposed to stick together and be friends!" Ten minutes old.
"You'll be sorry." Five minutes old.
He didn't reply to any of them, but the newest one made him sure that he wouldn't be returning to the guild. He shut the game off, turning off his computer and heading to bed early.
The next day, he didn't even feel like playing his game, in case members of his former guild found him. Instead, he headed to the garage, retrieving an old RC plane that he hadn't touched for almost a year; maybe flying the thing would take his mind off of what his games couldn't.
He had fun. He hadn't expected to, but he did. He had no quests or events to worry about, no guild to keep up with. A couple of hours flew by before he even realized it. The only thing that stopped his fun was a lack of luck; as the plane was flying over the house, the batteries died, the RC vehicle crashing down on the roof. One of the wings clattered down and landed in the grass.
Michael sighed, trudging back to the garage and retrieving his dad's ladder, dragging it out to the backyard; he would need to go up after the plane, as - even if they had extra batteries, which he doubted, given the amount of time the thing had sat there, collecting dust - he wouldn't be able to fly it back off of the roof.
He set the ladder up, climbing up the rungs and scrambling up onto the roof. He leaned down to grab the RC plane, wondering if a bit of glue and duct tape would be enough to get it in the air again. As he looked up, his eyes widened. He came face to face with a skull-marked asura.
"I thought you said you'd play with us every day." He said. "Why did you leave?"
Michael backpedalled, nearly tripping over the roof's tiles.
"The dead stick together, Argus." Warren smiled, approaching him with steady steps. "We stick together, because we're all the same."
Michael took another step back, shaking his head. It wasn't real. It couldn't be real.
"The dead stick together." Warren repeated.
"I don't want to be in your guild anymore..." Michael said, trying in vain to keep his voice from quavering.
"The dead stick together!" Warren yelled, lunging forward.
Michael couldn't help it; he screamed, falling backward. Unfortunately, this sent him tumbling off of the roof, head over heels. He landed awkwardly on the ground below, cracking his head against the ornate stone of the patio, everything turning black. The RC plane landed next to him, smashing against the stone.
Tyler couldn't wait for the game to finish installing. It felt like it was taking forever, and he wished it would just hurry up. Finally, when it did, he hurried through account creation and selected his home server; 'Mournhold'. It was a weird name for a server, especially one that wasn't run by Bethesda, but it would work; it wasn't very heavily populated, so he figured there was less of a chance that he'd run into anyone that would give him a hard time.
He created his character - a norn necromancer - and began the game.
He pushed through the first story quest in a rush, eager to get out and explore the world. When he stepped out into Shiverpeak, he spotted a group of four other necromancers, hanging out together. Each of them were displaying the tag "[DITD]".
As he approached, he nearly jumped out of his skin as one of them - a charr by the name of Argus Bloodthirst, a scar running down the side of his head - addressed him, speaking to him through his speakers, as if he were another NPC.
"Hey, how's it going, newblood?"