Tug of War: Rise of the Dire. Пролог

Май 24 2019 12 min read

Tug of War: Rise of the Dire. Пролог ⚡⚡⚡ Игровые и киберспортивные новости, аналитика, обзоры, репортажи на WePlay! Самые актуальные новости!

... Wrapped up in a stained piece of cloth, which served as a cloak back in the day, a skinny fugitive waded through overgrown woods. Slouched and tired, he continually stumbled over the gigantic roots of ancient oaks or running into sharp boulders sticking out in the sod. Heavy breathing came from under the low hood, his left thigh was tied with a rough cloth, blood was oozing through the tissue. The wanderer, clutching to himself, carried an elongated object in his hands, wrapped with a sacking cloth and tied with a travelling rope. Despite the poor condition and painful bruises, the man stubbornly continued on his way.

A few minutes later, the fugitive came to an airy cross-forest. A few blackened stumps, a trampled spot and an equipped fire with earth-covered coal pointed to an abandoned camp. The stranger leaned on the massive oak trunk with his free hand and caught his breath. It was clear that the crossing isn’t easy for him. In the rays of the setting sun, the traveller grabbed his load and moved to the northeast …

A small fire crackled peacefully in the middle of a meadow hidden in a dense row of ancient trees. The handiworked fire pit illuminated the nook well, driving away the twilight that descended to the forest. The warm spring air hid a bouquet of wild, mysterious smells that filled the virgin grove - the flame on the oak wood did not leave much smoke.

A little more than two months have passed since arrival in the Nightsilver Woods. The old spot was abandoned as unnecessary. The familiar wooden cart-counter was transported to a new place and now stood leaning against a meter stump and covered with an old travelling canvas. The merchant, the bigger one, sat, leaning on the wheel, slightly squinting from the uneven light of the flame. The second, the tall one, was nowhere to be seen.

Four people gathered by the fire. In the morning, barging into the camp, they introduced themselves as free mercenaries, but it was evident by their appearance and conversations that they were local gang representatives. Armed travellers continually glanced at the cart, asking its owner to ascertain if he was waiting for someone and whether he could resist.

Three more stayed a little away, on the very edge of the meadow. They arrived here three days ago and proved to be skilled hunters and travellers accustomed to road life. The merchant knew what had led them to the camp. Like two months ago, adventure seekers flowed into Qaldin from all adjacent paths. The Nightsilver Woods was, as before, the final point of the adventure. The city guards could breathe a sigh of relief: everyone, who had been here months earlier, had disappeared without a trace in the forest maze, and therefore it would be the same with these ones. But the character of the new guests showed the opposite.

Rogues and thugs, mysterious creatures, casually and without much enthusiasm posing as ordinary people, horsemen covered in terrifying armour, magicians and wizards wrapped in black clothes. They were accompanied by strange animals laden with a deadly arsenal. The tension in Qaldin and suburban taverns was like a bowstring taut.

Two more settled down at the foot of a giant oak to the left. Judging by the simple clothes and worn hands, the random guests were builders or bricklayers. Finally, closest to the cart, a young man, who arrived last night, sat in a little distance from the fire. He went to inspect the neighbourhood in the morning and returned only in the evening. The young man missed the mercenaries’ advent, and he asked the newly arrived company with interest, unaware of the small crowd right line of work.

“About two months ago,” continued the largest from the gang, who was the leader taking his weapon armoury and equipment into account, “just like now, travellers and small squads began to wander into the forest ...”

“Oh, what a profit we made then,” quietly added his small build companion to the approving squad’s hum. The leader grinned predatorily, but then he kicked the talkative comrade by the outside of his foot. Adhering to the minimum conspiracy was necessary. The gang was in a critical minority with the young swordsman advent. The intentions of the three travellers, who settled on the edge of the meadow - the leader considered them namely the main competitors in the upcoming dispute over the loaded cart - were also not clear.

“So,” continued the condottieri, “they all disappeared at one moment, the neighbourhood was empty ...”

“And no problems with complaints,” said the boaster. Having caught the leader’s angry gaze, he immediately loudly, addressing all those present, added, - “they say, only five of the arrived brotherhood remained. And they are somewhere in this forest.”

Two artisans who were located under the oak joined the conversation.

“... In the Nightsilver Woods, yes ... a little to the south and a little to the west from here” said the first. It was evident that he, like his companion, was worried about something.

“They settled around a huge green Crystal,” picked up the second one, and then, looking at a friend, he added, “we were there.”

The gang quickened. There were rumours that the previous wave of travellers was hunting for treasure, exceeding in value the lost treasury of the Hidden Temple.

“The camp they set up doesn’t look like an ordinary rest spot.” They build real bastions and barracks. We were among the builders, but ...

The merchant at the cart frowned.

“We fled from there,” finished the second.

The travellers on the meadow exchanged glances.

“We have seen how those who have been with the Crystal for a long time lose their sanity. They stopped communicating with the new arrivals, did not eat or sing anything, but only worked. Even at night. Their skin was hardened and began to resemble woody bark. Their backs were covered with leaves ..." - the artisan stopped himself.

“What a ridiculous tale?” - The leader at the campfire laughed vigilantly, - “you just ran away from hard work! And I suppose you don’t forget to grab the salary,” - the mood of the mercenaries’ leader improved: these two did not pose any threat.

“They say there is another Crystal in the forest. The red one. No one has got to him yet ..." - one of the three travellers, who were keeping a distance, entered into the conversation.

“So, no one has yet managed to put their hands on the promised riches, which everyone is talking about” - added the gang’s leader, scratching his chin.

He had a challenging plan in his head. As if reading the thoughts of their leader, the mercenaries lounging around the fire straightened up and began to put their weapons in order busily.

Taking advantage of the pause, the young swordsman began to tell that not a single treasure of the world could compare with the glory gained on the battlefield, but no one, except himself, listened to him.

The merchant who watched the conversation realised that the current situation was flying to its junction faster than the bolt made in Candoness. It was not a good time. It was evident in his anxious mind that he was waiting for someone or something, and could not leave his improvised post until he received the necessary result. At the same time, it was dangerous to stay on the meadow. It was criminally stupid to risk content of the load.

Suddenly, the branches rustled on the south side of the meadow. The merchant turned his gaze into the darkness, praying to the heavens, but he didn't expect to see the one, who appeared from the thicket. A colossal figure, wrapped in a dark cloak with a hood, breaking branches, fell out in the orange-yellow light of the fire. A double-edged axe hangs behind the big man.

The camp instantly fell into silence, all eyes were on the new guest, and everyone viewed his appearance in their own way. The gang leader flashed his eyes, the travellers rose from their seats, and the artisans regretted once again that they hadn’t continued their way into the Stone Hills yesterday.

“Drink!” - the guest growled in a bass.

The owner of the cart immediately took advantage of the chance to get some time and pulled a bottle of dark glass tied with linen rope from under the floor with a deft movement of his hand.

Quath’s red,” - sounded loud and calm, as if the merchant was talking to his old friend.

While the massive figure crossed the camp, everyone noticed that the ground is trembling under the giant’s feet. Once the stranger is near the hospitable merchant in the blink of an eye, he snatched the bottle, pulled out the cork with his thumbnail and drained the vessel in a few powerful sips. While the intruder quenched his thirst, the merchant noticed that the big man had red skin.

Quenching his thirst, the giant, without removing the hood, wiped his face with a big hand in a glove and looked around the meadow.

“I am travelling from Thousand Tarns,” the stranger introduced himself, “I arrived here through the Stone Hills,” the artisans exchanged glances, “and Qaldin.”

With his greeting, the giant removed the seal of silence, which covered the meadow. What could not be said about everybody’s tension - the warrior didn’t name himself, and anything can happen.

“O mighty warrior, what’s going on in Qaldin?" - the merchant played his role convincingly, competently.

“The martial law was imposed in the city,” the giant growled, “no one is allowed in anymore. All because of stupid vagrants who just couldn’t stay away!”

The travellers couldn’t take their eyes off the new guest.

“Small and weak hands,” continued the giant, “weapons are weak, too. Only a true warrior can answer the call of the Ancient!”

Three travellers silently approached the fire, where a gang of mercenaries sat like a compressed spring. Graceful compound bows were in the hands of the hunters, strange arrowheads gleaming in the flame of the fire.

“Weak weapons, mighty Khan? And what about bows and arrows?" - asked the first one, who spoke about the Red Crystal.

The giant threw the bottle to the ground and reached the axe, hanging behind his back.

“Hey, chieftain,” the second traveller spoke loudly, “you watching this cart all day long! Help us, and it’ll be yours. We need a big guy, keep your junk!”

The leader, overjoyed at such a sharp turn, quickly figured out that there seven were more than two, and growled menacingly:

“To arms!”

The farmhands who watched the battle rushed to the cart in fear and were ready to hide in the forest, but a slim figure in a dirty cloak with a package in his hands had appeared from nowhere and blocked their way.

Everyone was surprised by the sudden appearance of a new character. All of them, except the merchant at the cart — he had so desperately awaited the one that finally appeared on the meadow.

Companions quickly have spoken some phrases-commands to each other in an unknown dialect. Hunters instantly came to their senses and pulled the string without hesitation. The mercenaries immediately jumped up from their seats and drew their swords, grinning. The exhausted wanderer managed to throw the bundle to a merchant who, with agility uncharacteristic of his profession, exposed an emerald hidden in a cloth.

... At this moment, a loud rumble struck in the distance, as if Mount Joerlak had split. A blood-red stream of light flew into the sky in the north above the forest's upper boundary. The dark red light highlighted the meadow, the attackers covered their ears and fell on the knees. Both merchants - a thin stranger who appeared in the camp at the last moment, an old companion to the cart guardian - looked at the pillar of scarlet flame with eyes covered with their hands. Only the giant under a cloak remained motionless and confidently squeezed his massive axe in his hands.

Glancing over the meadow, the merchant saw the young swordsman, perplexed, sank to one knee and covered his face with his arm bent.

“Glimmer cape! Hurry up, brother,” - shouted the cart owner to his partner, who had already managed to throw the veil off the cart. After receiving the artefact, the merchant grabbed the young guy by the hand and lifted him. At this time, seven attackers dropped their weapons and were breathing hysterically, standing on all fours. Their bodies began to change.

“Do not take it off until you get out of the forest!” - the merchant tied a short cape with purple gems around the leather armour of the poor young man who chose the wrong place at the wrong time - “Run!”

The young man looked back at the creepy figures of his recent talkers. Their hands stretched out, tearing their clothes, cloven hooves blackened instead of their shoes. The ribs pierced the armour and crawled out of the back. The young swordsman took off running.

Dire acts faster than his brother,” remarked the thin one, and wiped the stiff blood mixed with soot from his forehead, “Out of the frying pan and into the fire!”

Two traders and a giant hooded stood in front of nine limp and disfigured creatures - fugitive masons joined the attackers. Evil rock already caught them up, and it was impossible to save artisans.

The hunched figures, led by the last thought, frozen in a lifeless gaze, moved toward the cart.  The motionless giant dropped the hood and grabbed the axe.

“I told you!” - the warrior growled, - “unworthy rabble!”

The merchant whispered something to his friend, and they quickly retreated to the counter on wheels.

The giant jumped into the enemies’ crowd, swinging his axe, thereby forcing the doomed to switch to him. The mighty giant cut two of them with the first blow, knocked the third one with his shoulder and broke his neck with a massive boot. The next axe wave ripped the belly of three more - the big guy wielded with the axe as if it were a weightless walking stick. The giant snarled and screamed the insults. After breaking the rib-cage to one of the remaining opponents, the heated fighter nailed the second and, leaving the axe in the bleeding carcass, moved to the last. Judging by what’s left of clothing, it was the leader of the gang. The campfire was put out by his long and disfigured face. The nauseous stench of fresh blood and caked meat hung in the air.

“This day belongs to me!” - the berserker roared, glancing at the battlefield.

“Wow, this is power,” the thin man whistled, now, at last, there is time to deal with his wounds.

“What is true is true,” said the counter owner in a good mood. And, although he recognised the mighty axe owner, the merchant added - “Probably every army dreams of such a fighter?”

“I don't need an army!” - Mogul Khan answered ingeniously, - “I am the army!”

* * *

Do you want to know what happened next with the Red Mist General and the mysterious travellers? Follow the Tug of War: Dire news!

No circular rounds and boring group stages! A dozen challengers will fight in a battle for life and death in the Single Elimination Bracket between May 28 and June 2.

Eight teams will be invited to the first round, the top four will begin their journey immediately from the quarterfinals. All matches, except the final, will be held in the best of 3 (up to two wins) format. The winner will be determined in the Super Final best of 5 series (up to three wins). Tug of War: Rise of the Dire champion will get a rich Treasure and a well-deserved place among the participants of the long-awaited WePlay! Tug of War: Mad Moon LAN-final.

WePlay! Tug of War: Dire first round schedule

Note to clarify the schedule a bit: Preshow actually starts on May 27, an hour before May 28. That's the general pattern for each day.   

May 28, Tuesday

23:00 CEST (14:00 PDT) — Preshow 

00:00 CEST (15:00 PDT) — Team Anvorgesa vs Gorillaz Pride

03:00 CEST (18:00 PDT)— Team Xolotl vs Vega Academy

06:00 CEST (21:00 PDT) — Geek Fam vs EVOS Esports

09:00 CEST (00:00 PDT) — Invictus Gaming vs Royal

May 29, Wednesday

23:00 CEST (14:00 PDT) — Preshow

00:00 CEST (15:00 PDT) — EgoBoys vs SKOL

00:00 CEST (18:00 PDT) — Black Sheep vs Nic Cage

06:00 CEST (21:00 PDT) — Neon Esports vs BOOM ID

09:00 CEST (00:00 PDT) — Newbee vs Team Serenity

The games will be broadcasted on our official Twitch channel: https://www.twitch.tv/weplaydota 

The standoff in both brackets will last the whole week and will end with the Sunday Super-final. The list of participants and talent crew are already known!


Don’t forget to follow us on social media to get the latest news and take part in the giveaways: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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