Our tiny boat bobbed in the clear, foaming waves. The bunnies' paddles rolled forward in steady rhythm, their tiny white paws rowing with surprising strength.
On the dais behind me sat the captain, easily twice the size of a typical bunny. Her body was a ball of well-toned muscle concealed beneath a thick coat of silky white fur, like the rest of her crew.
And then there was me. Scheil of Corundia. A hapless adventurer who had somehow caught the attention of a spectre. Who had stumbled and tripped through Terraria's perils, just surviving by the skin of my teeth.
No. That wasn't right. Skeletron's defeat had come about through determination. Through repitition. Through innovation and skill.
What about that vision? What should I make of the vision which rose from Skeletron's corpse? Of the city swallowed by Corruption and snow?
I lay my greasy, sticky crimtane blade across my lap. I preferred my chain-knife, but it seemed I would be replacing it soon. "Say--do you know where we're going, ma'am?" I asked the captain nervously.
Her nose twitching, the great rabbit nodded happily. Taking a well-preserved palm-frond sheet, the captain showed me a detailed map of the surrounding lands.
Up until now, I'd always imagined Corundia, Alabaster, and Minaria as very linear; now, I could see that each territory was a piece of a larger continent-- which was, in turn, part of a larger universe.
Alabaster had a natural border with Corundia, at the south edge of the tundra; but Minaria--by far the largest territory--was separated by snowcapped ridges and a lush valley with a lake. The grass-cave must be connected to Minaria's focus-point for me to be able to travel between Corundia and Minaria.
Across the western sea from Corundia lay another continent--our destination, I realized. This land had a wavy coastline, sandy beaches spread between jagged ridges like a bat's wings. "Avalon." read the map label.
Avalon. The name was familiar. But why?
My pulse grew heavy and ominous as we approached the distant shore. Though my days in Corundia were not over, a new adventure was unfolding...
Paddles sloshed heavily alongside the boat as we traveled upstream A thick fog surrounded us, tiny droplets of condensation on the bunnies' fur. I heard distant growls from roaming zombies in the woods.
The boat was slowing, drawing close to the bank, gradually coming to a stop. With a small snuffling sound, the bunny captain took hold of a length of rope with her teeth and cast it around a nearby boulder.
After securing the loop, she looked up at me expectantly. I could feel the entire crew's gazes on me. Placing a handful of coins in front of the captain, I smiled in thanks, gathered up my weapons, and stepped out onto the foggy bank.
The mist began to lift as I walked through the woods, leaving the river behind me. Light was gathering on the horizon, the glow of the sun--stronger than all the fires of the Underworld. Slowly, its rays began to play across the land. In the wind, birds chirped a soft, uplifting melody.
"Fancy seeing you here."
A familiar accent, a familiar voice. Wincing, I turned around to face the adventurer behind me. "Rose," I said after a moment.
She wore a pharaoh's robe and a white rain-hat, a jellyfish necklace glowing on her chest. Her belt carried a several pouches of throwing knives, all stained with green poison. And in one hand, she held a gleaming pink sword witb a gold star on its hilt.
This was the woman who ravaged Corundia and left it in shambles--or so it had seemed. The one who taught me invaluable lessons, yet left me with numerous problems. I stared at her, conflicted, not sure how to respond.
She chuckled. "I suppose you got the distress call too," said Rose lightly. "Shall we go exploring, good chum?" Without waiting for an answer, she took me by the hand and led me off.
Though the trees were tall and green as any on Corundia or Minaria, their branches drooped as if burdened with some great sorrow. As we moved through the woods, I though I could sense someone else in the foliage, a third set of footsteps, a third pair of eyes...
Crossing another river, we came upon a large hill in the west, a chedt laying in the mouth of a beckoning tunnel. Further down, I discovered more chests, one at each turn, each containing money, potions, and supplies. It was enough to make me wonder: Was this tunnel someone's home?
Checking each chest along the way, I had trouble keeping up with Rose--and like before, she was out of sight and gone.
The tunnel opened into an icebound cavern--a world of undead vikings, ice bats, and snow flinxes. "Rose?" I called nervously as I slid down the rope.
There was no reply.
At that moment, several jets of ice struck me painfully in the back, causing me to lose my grip on the rope, a chill penetrating the warm platinum-and-meteor armor. As I fell, I caught a glimpse of a glittering ligjt-blue slime with a shell of jagged ice shards.
Numb and frozen, I broke through the ice and plunged into the water. Once again, everything was trying to kill me.
Perhaps I shouldn't panic. Perhaps, I should just... wait for the spectre. For the ghost-like figure who snatched me from death, and drew me back to safety.
The pain in my lungs intensified. There was no sign of the spectre. Was this to be my true death?
A pair of arms grabbed me, dragging me up and out from the water, Gasping, coughing up water, I was hoisted up onto the ice, icy water streaming out from my armor.
An unfamiliar face stared down at me, a jungle rose adorning red hair tied back into a ponytail. She appeared to be wearing crimtane armor under a now-sodden set of gold robes. "You okay, kid?" she muttered.
Numb and shivering, I nodded gratefully. "Sorry about your robes," I managed to say as my meteor armor began to warm me up again, chilling water dripping down around me. "I'm Scheil--you?"
She was already on her feet, scanning the ceiling. "Never mind the robes, they're cheap," said the girl, taking out a silver handgun. "So you're Scheil, then? The name's Avilin. Where's your beacon?"
"My... my what?"
Crack! Crack! Two gunshots rang out, and a pair of bats' remains hit the floor with wet squelches. "Your beacon," repeated Avilin. "It lets you talk with other adventurers in the same area."
She snapped her fingers, and a tiny crystal light appeared near my head. My eyes widened. I'd seen it before once, when Rose visited Corundia. That time, it was glowing green; now, it was colorless.
There was another crystal light floating near Avilin's head, this one a deep blue. "Beacons have four colored faction settings, in addition to the colorless default setting," she told me. "Set yours to blue. Just imagine the color blue when you touch it."
I reached out to touch my beacon, thinking of the alluring color of the open sea. At once, the tiny crystal light turned blue, and a glowing blue triangle appeared over Avilin's head. Some sort of locator spell, perhaps?
My eyes fell on another blue mark glowing in midair, and I suddenly remembered Rose. "Rose? You there?" I said into the beacon.
A momentary pause, then Rose's voice came through. "Right here. What's up?"
"I just ran into--" I stopped and frowned. "Where did you go, anyway? I lost track of you."
She snickered. "Are you still back in that other tunnel, you chump? Don't bother, there's nothing else of value. I've cleaned it out."
"Rose? You're talking to Fuwaa?" Avilin was suddenly staring at me. "She's here too?"
I blinked. "You two know each other?"
"Well, I know 'of' her." Avilin sounded as if I should know this already. "I'd have to, considering where I live. I've heard of you too, of course."
I stared at her "I... I don't understand. This land is Avalon, right?"
"That's right--Avalon, home of the Adventurers' Guild. Or at least, it used to be." She hurried through that second sentence. "Let's see--your world was Corundia... oh, Jack's world."
Ah! That was where I'd first heard of Avalon! The Guild of Adventurers in Avalon had sent the guides to Corundia: Jack, then Kyle, then Bradley. And the guides in other lands answered to the Guild as well: Luke, Seth, and Zach.
I was beginning to feel warm and cosy within my meteor armor. Still, something prickled at me. "Did something happen to the Guild?"
Flinching, Avilin slowly nodded "The Corruption has existed in Avalon since our earliest records, but it was never a problem until now. One year ago, the Corruption emerged from dormacy, rotting away the earth beneath our shining city in the snow..."
The vision! The vision of the city in the snow, collapsing into the Corruption... "Though we fought hard, we had no chance against the forces of nature, however twisted they had become. And thus... our city--our Guild, our pride--was swallowed whole."
Avilin's hat slipped, obscuring her face--but I heard the cracks in her voice as she spun to face me and clasped my wrists, reeking of raw emotion. "The Guild has fallen, Scheil--and I want you to help me bring it back."