"You're trespassing on our territory, Cyndal," Matt stated emphatically, adding a thrust of his gleaming pyrotic sword in the Hierdul's direction for effect. "You and your entire flea-bitten guild are in direct violation of the RGD treaties you yourself signed. The Crimson Swords have laid claim to this dragon according to the rules of that treaty and your very presence here on the night he pops is an act of war." Matt was proud of his unswerving calmness. Had this been his real life job, he'd have stuttered through the entire spiel, but here he was King Matthias of the Crimson Swords, one of the largest player guilds in Ars-Perthnia.

"Your precious RGD treaties don't mean shit," Cyndal replied curtly. Even through the plastic surrealness of the GlobalNet's avatars, Matt could read the contempt Cyndal held for him. The Hierdul, a race of super-evolved, dark-skinned mages, came out of the virtual womb with a haughty, superior air, and running a guild of hundreds exacerbated the douchieness. The long-standing bad blood between Matt and his former guildmate Cyndal had honed that arrogance into palpable loathing. "We are in pursuit of a wanted criminal who escaped capture earlier tonight. Our scouts have confirmed his location in the dragon's cave."

"And it just so happens he sought refuge in this dragon's cave on the very same night we had announced our plans to take down the dragon. I'm sure there's no coincidence there. And when you've accidentally killed the dragon and stolen all the loot, I'm sure that'll be a coincidence too. No damn way." The troops were getting restless. If Matt didn't get them moving in the direction of the dragon soon, they'd take the next available targets, which just happened to be Cyndal's gang of thugs.

Matt wasn't worried about his group's safety. They could hold their own with any army in Ars-Perthnia. But the political shitstorm created by such a battle would render him sleeplessly busy for weeks. All because Cyndal had beef with Matthias from way back. Nothing to do with roleplaying, nothing to do with the game. It was just metagame bullshit from their former association, useless drama for drama's sake. Matt prepared a telepathy spell, intending to call upon the world's elder mods to adjudicate the situation.

And then the world went blank.