“What… happened… Did we win?” Patrick groggily asked as he regained his consciousness.
“Yea. We killed all the Oana soldiers that Omero saw on his scouting mission,” a blood-covered Alex confirmed as he helped Patrick to his feet, "At least we think we did."
“See I knew we could beat them!” Patrick said proudly with a puffed up chest.
James rolled his eyes as he covered everyone’s wounds with some of Torunn’s healing poultice, “You literally just had to ask if we won…”
Patrick ignored James’s comment and studied his battle-worn party members. In comparison to the rest of the party, Patrick looked like he just walked through a car wash. The party stared down the redhead until his resolve broke down and he admitted that he was impressed that the party won the battle without him.
“So what happened?” Patrick asked.
James shook his head, “We’ll talk about it later. We need to get into the village before someone closes the gate. Let’s go.”
The party moved into the village in a sprint. Omero lagged slightly behind, picking up the loot drops and stuffing them into his bag just as he had in their other battles. James could see that Omero’s report of the village had been correct. Numerous small huts and tents hugged the inside of the earthen wall. They were mostly the same buildings that were in the various camps outside of the village, each having only slight differences. Some of the tents had spots where a different fur or skin had been patched to seal a hole. The huts were decorated with different tribal colors in odd designs that were unfamiliar to James. Some of the huts even had support beams that were replaced with large bones, no doubt due to the fact that wood was scarce in the Great Savanna. There was no snow on the ground, letting James know that the village had a lot of foot traffic at one time or another. In fact, even the grass had been worn down in the inner circle of the village leaving nothing but dirt. The center hut was much larger than any other Oana buildings James had seen before; its outer walls lacking the same lizard graffiti as the other buildings.
Omero caught up to the rest of the party and whispered, “Don’t step too close to the outer buildings. I think they have aggro zones as well.”
“Why not? Don’t we have to kill them all anyway?” Patrick asked.
“No, we might not have to, at least not yet,” James instructed as he stepped closer to the tall hut in the center of the Oana village and placed his hand on its rough wooden surface. James moved his hand around and inspected a strange bone strapped to the outside of the hut. It wasn’t clear why the bone was there, and it didn’t seem to be adding any value to the framework of the building, and yet James got the feeling that it was still a necessary component. James closed his eyes and inspected the building with his other senses, just as he had when he learned the building plans for the Sturdy Oana Tent.
Congratulations! You have begun to unravel the mysteries of a new building style - Oana!
Baneful Oana Summoner’s Hut (Undergoing Upgrade) – A necessary building for casting the Summon Malicious Oana spell.
Available Spells – Summon Malicious Oana – Siphon surrounding energy from the land to summon Malicious Oana Warriors and Scouts. Can only be cast by an Oana Mystic. This spell can be upgraded by upgrading the required building.
James opened his eyes, even though he didn’t need to in order to read the prompts, and dropped his hand back to his side. It was clear that the Oana were summoning warriors in the hut before him. What was worse was that there was bound to be an Oana Mystic inside. The only other Mystics James had heard about before was Salmaana and her followers who banished the various evil factions into Spirit Battlegrounds. If she was powerful enough to do that, then the Mystic inside the Baneful Oana Summoner’s Hut was probably very powerful as well. James turned around to tell his party what he just discovered when he got a notification. He could see that everyone else got a notification as well, and were all reading it.
Heal the Great Savanna Quest Updated
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.
Update 1 – You have discovered that an Oana Mystic has invaded the Great Savanna and even managed to build a Baneful Oana Summoner’s Hut. Worse yet, the hut is drawing vast amounts of energy from the land in order to upgrade. Once this upgrade is complete, the Oana Mystic will be able to summon more powerful Oana to her command. Stop the Mystic before this upgrade is complete!
Quest Type = Chain
Quest Difficulty = Extraordinary
Quest Reward = (Variable) Mount
James closed the prompt and immediately asked his party members what their prompts said.
Alex answered first, “My Heal The Great Savanna Quest was updated. It just said that an Oana Mystic was the cause of the changes in the Savanna and that she must be destroyed before she can get stronger. The rest of us don’t have Adventurer’s interfaces, so I am sure we all got the same update.”
The rest of the party nodded, confirming that they got the same quest update as Alex. James briefed them on the update he got, complete with the additional lore.
“We have to fight now, with everything we have,” Alex said solemnly.
Omero coughed nervously, “If the Mystic is as strong as you say, shouldn’t we go back for reinforcements?”
James studied the Italian. He got the same information as the rest of the party, so James knew that Omero knew they wouldn’t have enough time to get reinforcements. The Summoner’s Hut had already pulled enough energy from the Great Savanna to cause it to snow, and the entire party knew that. If they took the two-week journey to come back with reinforcements, there was a good chance that the upgrade would be complete and they would be greeted by even stronger warriors. So why then was Omero afraid?
“No. We don’t have the time. We need to fight now. The only question left is if we should use my ability to summon a Martyr to help us?” James said, waiting to see if his party understood the risk in doing so.
He could see that most of them did, except for Omero, who just stared off to some unattainable location in the distance. James clarified, “If we do summon the Martyr, and they die, they won’t respawn. Do we want to take that risk?”
Patrick nodded, all semblance of his cheery attitude lost, “Yes, we should summon a Martyr. I think they would want to take a part in this battle. Besides, if we lose right now, there is no telling when we will get this chance again.”
James agreed with a solemn nod and instructed everyone to make sure they learned any new abilities if they have the choice waiting for them and to spend any available stat points they had in reserve. James did the same.
James – Level 25 (3 levels gained since last open)
Constitution, Level 12 – Controls how much health you have and the rate at which you regain health. (add 6)
Strength, Level 15 – Affects your ability to use weapons, lift objects, and your size.
Endurance, Level 11 - Controls how much energy you have and the rate your endurance regains.
Agility, Level 10 - Controls your movement abilities in battle, dodge, critical strikes, and unarmed combat damage and your ability to resist character controlling abilities.
Will, Level 10 – Affects your ability to tap into health, endurance, and mana reserves.
Intelligence, Level 34 – Controls the data you can gather from your interface, the world, and how much mana you have.
Wisdom, Level 35 – Controls the rate at which you gain all types of experience, and more.
6 statistic points ready to distribute.
James considered how he would spend his statistic points and smiled at the realization that it was finally smarter to invest in something other than wisdom. Previously, James had always been able to survive while investing in wisdom, but now he wasn’t sure he could survive the battle ahead of him. He would have to increase either his constitution or his intelligence for the battle ahead. He could already cast a decent amount of fireballs before his mana ran out though and the damage was decent as well. What he really needed was more health. His fighting strategy had been to cast firebolts from afar until his mana ran out then jump strike into battle and activate Martyr’s Rage. If he was going to be fighting a Mystic, that most likely had a huge amount of magical power and abilities then James wanted to stay in a Martyr’s Rage for as long as possible so he was immune to the Mystic’s magic.
James dumped all six of his free statistic points into constitution and immediately afterword took in an involuntary gasp of air. He felt like he could hold in more air now and had previously only been using half of his lung capacity. James took in a few more full breaths, enjoying his new lung capacity and navigated to the main page of his interface.
James focused on his skills list and mentally gave the command to sort the interface by types of skills. He had been mulling over the ways skills should be categorized based on their limits of sub-skills, augments, and the like. After a second or two, James’s mental request to change his interface must have passed some sort of hidden intelligence check because his skills tab broke down into smaller tabs right in front of his eyes. Battle skills, Gathering Skills, and Miscellaneous Skills tabs were now available. James selected his battle skills.
Sneak, Level 9 (1 level gained recently) – Visibility & sound decreased by 9% while sneaking.
Fire, Level 31 (5 levels gained recently) – Your mastery of fire is increased by 31%.
Fire Bolt Spell - Damage is equal to 2.5x Intelligence.
Short Swords, Level 35 (2 levels gained recently) – Damage done with short swords increased by 35%.
Jump Strike Sub-Skill, level 15 (1 level gained recently) - Chance to stun 100% (25% + 5%/lvl).
Meteor Augment - Land with such force the ground trembles beneath you. Surrounding enemies are slowed for 1 second.
Dual Wield Sub-Skill, Level 10 (1 level gained recently) - Damage penalty from dual wielding decreased by 6%. Current damage penalty when dual wielding equals 54% for both weapons.
Party Leader. Level 8 - Damage taken by party members reduced by 8% (1%/lvl)
James’s thought the new view of his skills list was much more informative without all the clutter, but quickly came up with a way to improve it further. He realized that his Fire Bolt Spell could be upgraded without an augment, while he was pretty certain that his Jump Strike Skill could not. The only way he was able to upgrade his Jump Strike Skill was to practice it, but he never got the option to choose an improved Jump Strike Skill like he did with his Fire Bolt spell. That is why he decided to break his skills down further. He was sure their limitations were different, even though they were all technically battle skills. James focused on changing the way the information in his interface was displayed and attempted to further break the battle skills tab into Magical Skills, Physical Skills, and Party Buff Skills, but was met with a disappointing notification.
Attention: Further interface customizations are not available until intelligence level 40.
James sighed in frustration. For the life of him, he couldn’t understand what the point of creating a game without a decent interface was. Why couldn’t he just have all the information right off the bat, all presented in a logical and intuitive way? Even if the game was still supposed to be in a beta testing phase wouldn’t the interface be one of the first things the programmers designed?
James shook the thought from his head. It wasn't the time to worry about such things. He needed to prepare for the battle ahead of him.
Congratulations! Your Fire Mastery has surpassed level 30. You can now choose from the below 2 spells or augments.
Weak Fire Trap Spell – Inscribe a magical trap onto any surface. Enemies that step on the invisible trap take damage equal to your intelligence.
Fire Curse Augment – Place a curse of fire on your target, causing your firebolt to follow them. This curse increases the casting time of your Fire Bolt.
No matter how much James wanted to protect the outskirts of his town with fire traps, he couldn’t bring himself to choose the new spell. He needed a way to make his firebolts target and follow his enemies and finally got one. James chose the fire curse augment.
He told his party he was ready and was answered with quiet nods, letting him know that everyone else was ready and just waiting on him. James closed his eyes and activated his Mark of the Martyr. After a few seconds, a slight rumble could be felt in the ground. James’s whirled around to find out which Martyr was summoned.