Torunn was tough to convince that an expedition into the Great Savanna should be launched but eventually agreed. It helped that Freydis and Frode also thought it was a good idea, seeing as how the Martyrs were still feeling trapped and cooped up in the village walls. The noble race also wanted more information on the Great Savanna itself. They had lived generation after generation within the Great Savanna and had never seen it covered in snow before. The sudden change had shaken the Martyrs to their very cores, so much so that James received a quest from Frey.
Heal the Great Savanna Quest Accepted
Description = The Martyr race has protected the Great Savanna for thousands of years against those that wish to take advantage of its lush resources. Now though, the Martyr race is all but extinct and unable to keep their ancestral oath to protect the land. Freydis, mother of the Chieftain of the sole surviving Martyr clan, tasks you with investigating the current state of the Great Savanna. Venture out into the white tundra and uncover the evil that seeks to destroy the Martyr’s home.
Quest Difficulty = Extraordinary
Quest Reward = (Variable) Mount
James stared at the prompt, struggling to digest all the information contained within. The Martyrs have been around for thousands of years and took an oath to protect the Great Savanna? How did he not know that and where did all the extra lore come from? Suddenly, James recalled the boon he received after reaching level thirty in wisdom. He received the adventurer's interface. That could be the only reason his interface now included so much more background information. Before, James only got the barest of details when he received a quest. With his new adventurer’s interface, quest prompts seemed more like the quests given from role-playing games back on Earth.
James briefed the rest of his party on the quest and was surprised to find out that they all received the quest too, but with much less detail. That meant that as long as they were all included in the party, they would receive the same quests, but only James got the quest details.
“My prompt says that the difficulty is extraordinary in purple text. It also says that the reward is a mount of variable rarity…” James said as he studied the reactions of his party members.
“A mount, we have mounts?” Patrick exclaimed loudly.
“Yea, I guess we do. I wonder what they would be though. I am pretty sure Frey doesn’t just have mounts lying around to reward us with. If she did I am sure she would have gave them to us already,” James said as he studied his quest prompt. He made sure to place special emphasis on the fact that his version of the quest description said that something evil was causing winter to plague the Great Savanna. He didn’t really understand how it was possible, but the fact remained that this expedition would certainly be more troublesome than they originally counted on. Still, though, everyone agreed to the new risks.
“Well, let’s get to it then! Hopefully, my mount is big enough to carry my heavy ass,” Patrick commented with a chuckle.
James held out a hand to stop his party from stepping through the archway of the village, “Hold on, I have something to do that I have been putting off.”
The party halted impatiently, and James navigated to his interface to finally choose a class. He had been putting off the decision in hopes that he would discover some new source of information that would make the choice easier, but he hadn’t. If he was going to finally leave the village, he needed to choose now.
Congratulations! You have surpassed level 20! You can now choose to pick a class.
Class 1 - Embrant, increases the rate at which you master the fire element and allows you to augment your skills and abilities with your fire mastery.
Class 2 - Controller, unlocks a skill tree of command and crowd control abilities.
Delay Choosing - Choosing to delay your class will award you 20 stat points at the risk of permanently losing the option to choose the above two classes. Upon reaching level 30 you will be given another option to choose between two classes or subclasses depending on your actions and skills.
James was already familiar with the Controller class from talking to Torunn, so he knew he didn’t want to choose that option. After seeing Torunn use it to take control over the villagers, James thought it was more trouble than it was worth. He admittedly hadn’t got the chance to see it used in battle, or at least that he knew about, but he still couldn’t bring himself to double up on a class. Torunn already had it, so James would choose something else.
The Embrant class was James’s first choice, but the option to delay choosing was making the decision difficult. If he delayed once again he would get 20 whole stat points. That was huge. So far he had survived long enough just by increasing his stats, and got extremely helpful upgrades in the process. His builder and adventurer interfaces were both great additions and didn’t even require a class. What was more interesting however was that James suspected that if he did continue to delay choosing a class, the stat reward would increase every time. If he delayed at his current level of 20 he would get 20 stats points, so it was easy to believe if he delayed at level 30 he would get 30 stat points and so on. If he continued with that strategy, his potential to unlock new interface upgrades was huge. The only problem was that James didn’t know if there was a character level or stat level ceiling. If he could only reach level 100 in a stat, his strategy of delaying wouldn’t be as effective. Following that logic, his strategy to only invest in wisdom so he got more experience wouldn’t be as effective either. That is why James had decided to start investing in his other statistics. He had hoped to find out about possible level caps in the library, but so far he hadn’t been that lucky and know it was too late to keep holding off on his decisions.
James mentally selected the Embrant class and a pop up appeared asking him to confirm his decision. James laughed and selected the confirm button. A wave of heat slowly washed over James’s body causing his skin to break out in gooseflesh. James reflexively pulled up his interface again to see if anything changed but found no new information besides the Embrant class listed next to his name.
“Did you finally choose your class?” Patrick asked with a roll of his eyes.
James nodded, “Yea, touch my skin, does it feel weird to you?”
Patrick raised an eyebrow at the request but stepped closer to lay a hand on James’s outstretched arm anyway, “Uhh, yea actually you do feel a little warm. Maybe you have a fever!” Patrick said in a mocking tone.
James dismissed the redhead with a wave and announced that he was ready to set out.
“Awesome,” Alex commented as he, James, Patrick, Michael, and Omero walked through the stone archway of the village wall for the first time in weeks.
The sight beyond the wall was blinding as the sun reflected off the smooth snowy surface of the Great Savanna. Tufts of determined grass could be seen breaking through the hardened surface of the snow occasionally. The party halted for a moment to get directions from James, who consulted his map before pointed the way.
Every step the party took left a foot-sized hole in the hardened layer of snow, leaving clear footprints. James cringed at the fact that there was no way to cover his parties tracks and just hoped his plan would be successful. Even if it wasn’t though, and his party got discovered by the Oana on their way to the human village, James was confident that his village would be able to defend itself, so he decided to let the worry go.
Alex had managed to create metal hinges so the Martyrs should have a gate installed in the stone archway in a day or two. By James’s calculations, the party wouldn’t even come close to known Oana territory for at least a week, so even if the Oana discovered the party and traced their steps back to the Village, they would be met with an insurmountable wall defended by Martyr’s that could throw giant rocks to devastating effect, one human magic caster, and more than a few humans equipped with throwing spears. The spears were not metal, but Patrick had done a good job sharpening his stones into dangerous points nonetheless.
Once the party got out of sight of the village, they set up camp. James immediately took out the wood he borrowed from the village supplies house and made a large pile of it. James cast a firebolt to light his pile of wood as he had hundreds of times before, but was surprised by a subtle change in his firebolt as it left his hand. The actual firebolt was a little bit larger than usual, but the feeling he got when he cast the spell was what drew his attention. He felt the heat gather within him and burst from his hand. When the firebolt left him, he felt somewhat colder.
“Everything alright?” Michael asked.
James realized that he was staring at his outstretched hand and quickly placed it back to his side again, “Yea, the firebolt just felt a little different this time, probably just because of my new class.”
Michael nodded at his brother in reply and nonchalantly continued shoveling snow out of the camp with his foot. James watched his brother work and soon drifted off in thought, all the while clutching his firebolt hand.