Chapter 5 Civilization
Ilea felt ready when she woke up. She filled her rusty canteen with water from the fountain, put on her boots, her cloak and left. ‘So let’s see what I’ll find today.’ with a smile on her face Ilea tried to blink in every possible direction from any room in the temple. Sadly no hidden places were found. ‘I did find two chambers and the treasure room already, so I guess this was to be expected.’
After that she entered the forest in the direction of what she defined as south. It was a nice day outside, the suns were dimmed by the thick forest. Birds were chirping and the occasional roar sent them flying away. Ilea walked at a normal pace, enjoying the finally achieved freedom. Not just simply being outside, but being confident enough to not die on the first encounter with the wildlife.
She walked for half an hour until one of the roars filled her ears. ‘That one’s close...I really want to know their levels...’ starting to quietly run in the direction of the roar she soon came across a Drake. It was eating whatever was left of its prey. ‘Hellooo there...now let’s check’
[Drake lvl ??]
‘Hmm, still can’t see its level. I could beat the Guardian though so I’m not really sure about this. I think I won’t mess with any until I know how important the level of a creature even is.’ The Drake looked up and roared in her direction. “Yea yea, sorry for interrupting your meal.” leaving, she looked back and saw the Drake continue its meal ‘Seems like they don’t really care as long as there’s food...kinda reminds me of myself...as long as that food isn’t Grass.’
Leaving the Drake behind she continued on through the wilderness. She only came across some wolves that left after growling at her. ‘Yea you better leave, puppies.’ After four hours of walking Ilea started to run. ‘As long as I keep mindful of my Stamina I should be fine for a couple hours like this.’ her speed was extraordinary, at least for a human on earth. She sped through the forest, occasionally climbing a tree to stay in the right direction. Climbing wasn’t hard with her current strength and dexterity. A simple use of Blink would remove the climbing altogether but she wanted to save her Mana, just in case.
The mountains gradually creeped nearer but Ilea soon realized that something was wrong. ‘Either I’m tripping or these mountains are ridiculously huge...I should have reached them by now.’ shrugging, she continued on. Night eventually fell and Ilea climbed a monstrous tree to find a place to stay the night. ‘The slope ended around an hour ago...’ Ilea wasn’t sure if she should continue on.
‘Maybe I should first fight a little and get stronger...’ she couldn’t shake of her curiosity though. Even if she didn’t really have a problem with staying alone for extended periods of time, it was months since she talked to anyone. ‘I’ll get some necessities if at all possible and then go back to train. Maybe some food...I hope the money is enough...’
It took her three more days to finally exit the forest. It didn’t end abruptly but it became less densely populated with trees, until only a few remained in the vicinity. ‘Maybe I overdid it...hopefully I’ll find my way back again.’ eating only berries and drinking from any stream she could find, the three days had passed without any major incident. The roars stopped after the second day. The forest became more populated after that, mostly wolves and harmless animals. Nothing really bothered her on the journey.
Reaching the plains before the mountains, she once again marveled at their size. ‘This journey won’t be over for some time, now will it?’ continuing on, a worry that had bothered her more subconsciously was vaporized in an instant. “A street!...well...a road...I guess.” her mood now sky high again she started to follow the road. For three hours she didn’t come across any travelers, the mountains now seemed actually close, the terrain becoming steadily more rocky.
Seeing movement in the distance, Ilea strained her eyes ‘It’s people!’ starting to walk a little faster she saw wagons and a lot of figures walking around next to them ‘Why are they stopped though? Maybe something broke?’ then the smell hit her. ‘That’s blood...’ slowly backing up she suddenly heard a noise from her right. In the bushes a man in armor motioned her to come closer and to be quiet. She used identify on him.
[Warrior lvl ??]
He didn’t ambush me so I’ll trust him for now...first human I see in months yey.’ crouching lower and hurriedly going to the man she nodded towards him. He nodded too and talked to her in a whisper.
“Greetings, you’re lucky we caught you just now. There are some rogue adventurers down the road. We’re about to ambush them and could use a healer in the battle. If you accompany us we’ll compensate you for the services.”
“Who are you people exactly?” looking around she found around ten more people hidden around her. Some wore armor, some robes. Using identify on them told her there were some warriors, mages and rogues. Surprisingly no healers. She couldn’t see any of their levels. ‘Seems like my 13 levels aren’t that impressive after all...’
“Guard team from Riverwatch. Been hunting these guys for a week now already. Seems like today’s our lucky day.” the guard looked a bit curious at her attire but concentrated on his task.
Ilea nodded and the Guard motioned her to stay behind the team. Slowly they started creeping towards the people she’d seen before. The smell of blood started to get stronger. Advancing further they were now only around twenty meters away. Seeing how the adventurers had lookouts scanning their blind spots as the others looted the wagons, the guard made some signals with his hands.
Two of the guards nocked arrows while heat started to gather around the two mages. In a flash the arrows were released and shortly after, two scorching fireballs were launched. Two of the plunderers were struck by the arrows, one immediately dead. One of the fireballs set an adventurer on fire while the other one was skillfully dodged.
Noise filled her ears as battle cries were shouted all around her. The guards charged while more arrows and fireballs were released. After being stunned for a second, Ilea started to move. A smile on her face, she joined the fray. ‘I won’t use any skills, just punches and maybe healing my allies. There’s no telling if my magic is somehow seen as evil or whatever...medieval people are crazy.’ her cloak fluttering a little behind her, she ran behind the guards. Swords flashing in the sun while arrows flew around her. The smell of smoke and fire mixing with the blood already penetrating the air.
Jumping over the ridge Ilea stood on the road. Looking around she barely dodged an arrow fired at her “You fuck!” running towards the attacker he fired another one. Dodging to the right she found herself standing next to a one on one fight between one of the guards and a rogue. The rogue managed to sink his dagger into the guard, who answered with a heavy swing of his claymore. The swing nearly cleaved the rogue in two as his shoulder split. Blood colored both the guard’s armor and Ilea’s face. A quick scream escaped her lungs as she fell backwards, hitting herself on the wagon standing there. The guard barely took notice of her as he looked for his next target, his shining metal armor newly colored in red.
Her senses overloaded, Ilea tried to calm her breathing, nearly hyperventilating in the process. Not able to take her eyes off the newly made corpse before her, she closed them. Covering her ears with her hands she simply sat there, tears forming in her eyes. ‘Come on Ilea, move! You’ll die here if you don’t!’ getting a hold of herself she started running back to the ridge and jumped over it.
Walking to the mages and archers of the guards she simply stood there, watching the carnage from afar while her heartbeat drummed in her chest. The mages had stopped using fireballs, probably because of the not very precise way of attack while the archers sometimes still fired arrows.
Calming down Ilea’s eyes glazed over a bit. Ten minutes passed and the noise came to an end. The smell was still there, worse than before. A hand on her shoulder woke Ilea from her dizzy state.
“First battle it seems? I’m sorry to say this but our healer was injured last week and we do need your support here. Do you think you can work your magic?” Ilea looked up and saw one of the mages that stood next to her. After locking eyes for a couple seconds she hurriedly nodded.
“Can you walk on your own?” she nodded again to his question. He motioned her to follow and she did. Trying not to look too closely at the corpses around her, she knelt down next to a guard with a huge cut on his thigh. The man only grunted while nodding to the healer.
Activating her Reconstruction spell, her hand glowed a pale blue. She touched his leg and watched as the wound closed. The blood stopped pouring out and slowly the cut disappeared. Before she could finish though, a hand stopped her.
“That’s enough for me, save your mana for others.” the man again nodded to her and then rested his head while closing his eyes. Continuing, she healed three more people in immediate danger. None of the guards seemed to have died. Removing an arrow from a guards arm, she healed him.
‘ding’ ‘Reconstruction has reached lvl 3’
“That’s everyone I think. Thanks.” holding his hand out to her the guard that talked to her first, offered his name
“Dale, you saved us some expensive potions by being here lady healer. And that blue light magic is very interesting. Haven’t ever seen anything like it.” she shook his hand and offered her own name
“Ilea Spears, no worries. Glad I could help. I can finish up healing the badly injured people if you want to.” he shook his head
“They’ll heal in time. Let them suffer a bit. Even though they’re all experienced it’s good to sometimes see again that you’re not immortal.”
She nodded at that and looked around “You can come back to Riverwatch with us. Maybe we can get you some proper clothes.” Dale said and smiled a genuine smile at her
“We’ll clean up here and then move back. Don’t stray too far if you want to come. Payment for your services is in the city.” he finishes. Nodding at him she started to walk around the road, quickly finding what she was looking for.
The corpse still laid there, blood coloring the road. Guts flowing from the open wound. The shoulder was split, nearly to the stomach. Trying to keep herself from retching, Ilea made herself look at the corpse.
She stood there for a long time. The guards around her stripped the adventurers from any gear and loaded both the corpses and the gear on some still working wagons. The broken ones were burned. Someone nudged her on the shoulder. Turning to her right one of the guards motioned to the corpse in front of her “You wanna keep that?”
Shaking her head she simply turned around and nodded to herself. ‘This’ll need some time to get used to...fighting against people as a sport is one thing...killing though….’
The road cleared fast, the guards obviously experienced. Looking at them, Ilea also guessed they were all veterans. ‘They clear the corpses like it’s a job.’ a shout made her look up “Let’s get moving people!” Dale shouted and so they did.
Walking next to some of the guards, Ilea stayed silent. They joked around but still seemed ready to react at a moment’s notice.
“So what makes a healer travel these roads alone?” Dale appeared next to her
“I’ve been traveling alone for quite a while now already. I’m a pretty fast runner though.” she finished with a smile.
Laughing, Dale continued “I suppose you are. Heard you darted in and out of the fight at the start. Impressive, I won’t ask about why you did that though. Just don’t recklessly risk your life like that.” she nodded at that “And just saying...if you were one of my own healers you’d get cleaning duties for a month for that.”
Feeling a bit ashamed Ilea only nodded at him. ‘I did freeze in the fight and I suppose not knowing about my abilities it did look like a healer joined in close quarters fighting….which is incredibly stupid. Better not say anything else about that.’ Dale didn’t pry further and simply walked on.
“Can I ask you to show me a place where I can get some cheap clothes and a backpack?” hearing her question Dale nodded.
“You’ll get a couple silver for your service today. And I suppose nobody will miss a couple things looted from the adventurers...there are several shops if you don’t want to search through the stuff.”
“Thank you, I’m a bit short on money at the moment. Would be glad to take that opportunity.” thinking on it she smiled ‘I don’t really know HOW I’m doing on money exactly. Guess I’ll find out soon enough. This guy is a good man though, thankfully. Wouldn’t want to stand against this squad.’ Walking for two hours, the sound of a stream grew in her ears. Slowly it became louder, until a river could be seen in the distance. Some trees dotted the green landscape. It was already early evening, the sky darkening into a deep orange.
After another half an hour, Ilea could spot the supposed Riverwatch. A walled city built half into the mountain she’s tried to reach for the past week. ‘I was right after all...’ the river flowed at the city and then turned a sharp right, parts of the city open to the river. She didn’t talk much with the guards, still processing the fight and especially the rogue dying in front of her.
Arriving at the city the group was greeted by some guards at the gate. Passing through quickly on account of her present company, they walked through a market district with hundreds of people around and soon entered a separate walled off section. Dale again was walking next to her
“I assume you’ve never been to Riverwatch.” after not getting a response he continued “This is the southern guard station. You can have one of the rooms for the night, it’s not amazing but better than outside. With the festival so soon most inns are probably full too.” Ilea nodded
“Thanks, appreciate it. The clothes...” he again looked at her ragged pajamas
“I assumed you wanted to sleep first. You can search through the stuff now of course. Leave some for the others though.” he laughed and walked off. “I’m in the common room for another couple hours. Find me there as soon as you got your stuff. Just follow the wagon!”
Watching his back she turned around and followed the wagon with the gear. A quick glance around made her realize that the corpse wagon wasn’t here anymore. ‘Church? Or maybe burned. I wonder if there are zombies or something here. Would be amazing for necromancers to have that wagon.’ Reaching their destination, the two guards leading the wagon got off and started to move the things into an empty room.
She started to help. “Thanks, we’ll leave the stuff in there till tomorrow at least. I’ll wait outside for a while. Just show me the stuff you get afterwards. We might have to deduct some of your pay if it’s too valuable. I hope you understand.”
Ilea simply nodded ‘If I find anything good it’s even better. Won’t have to search through all the shops to get what I need.’
There was a lot of stuff. At least twelve ex-adventurers were killed in the attack. ‘Now let’s hope there were some people my size.’ It took the better part of an hour to search through the things. She found a rather nice intact set of leather armor and some brown traveling clothes for underneath. The clothes fit and the armor was adjustable so it was pretty good. In addition she took a small backpack with a clean canteen, some blankets, rope and a sturdy looking knife.
She kept the boots she had already on, liking them more than any of the ones available here. Getting out of the room she showed the things to the guard that had talked to her before. “Hmm, I’ll have to report the leather armor. That’s pretty good quality. The rest you can keep, wouldn’t want you to keep walking around in those rags.” he winked at her
“Anywhere I could wash this?” he simply pointed her in a direction after her question.
“There’s only the well. There should be some cleaning tools at the hut nearby. Use that stuff freely. If anyone asks you what you’re doing there just mention Dale.”
Ilea said her thanks and went to the well. Cleaning the clothing took an excruciatingly long hour. There was plenty of blood on it. ‘I hate not having a washing machine available...’ finishing up she took her things and went to the common hall. There weren’t many people in there. ‘Might be nicer to go to an establishment outside of the guard center...’
Dale was drinking a beer and talking to two other guards. He nodded at her as soon as he saw her. “A drink first or your room?”
Nodding back, she closed in on the table and sat down “A drink would be nice right now actually.”
“Oy Robin! A drink for the healer!” an affirmative shout was heard from somewhere behind the bar and soon she was drinking mead from a huge jug
‘Wow this is actually pretty good stuff.’ finishing half of it in one swig the guards stared at her and then started laughing.
“Been a long day eh?” The woman in front of her asked.
Ilea nodded “Never seen a man get killed...” they all were quiet for a moment after that
“To surviving.” the man next to her said while lifting his jug
“Aye” Dale agreed and they all took another swig.
She listened to them talk about the day and some gossip. Apparently they were still trying to find a guy selling poison in the city. Most of the talk was about the coming festival in three months. For the guards it meant a lot more work for the time before and after. Ilea laid out her clothes to dry next to the fireplace in the common room. Dale had noted that she got some nice things and that he wouldn’t deduct anything from her pay. ‘I don’t know why he’s so nice but I’ll take it nonetheless.’
They stayed there for a couple hours. After that, Dale showed her the room she could stay in for the night. “Thanks, appreciate the help Dale.” he only nodded
“No worries Ilea, you were a great help today.” closing the door she looked around the room. There was a rudimentary bed, a mirror and an empty chest. ‘The bed is still better than that old thing in the temple.’ putting her things into the chest, including her cloak, she glanced at the mirror and was immediately startled.
“What the fuck?!” looking away she nearly cried “I’m a fucking mess!”