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Chapter 11 City life



Ilea felt like she was in a dream as she woke up. It was the evening of the same day. “I love this bed.” she stayed in it for another thirty minutes. Getting up, she checked her things. Both backpacks were there. ‘She didn’t take anything with her...’ stretching herself, a yawn escaped her lips ‘Well might as well just leave it here.’ putting on her cloak, she left the room. Walking outside, every servant greeted her and one of the guards even nodded at her. Out of curiosity Ilea Identified the guard.

[warrior – lvl ??]

Nodding back, Ilea left the estate. “I can come back whenever?” asking one of the guards outside.

He nodded at her “You’re welcome here as long as you live my lady.” ‘I don’t blame Alice lying to me about this being some sort of class trip. With guards like these, she’s probably worth a ton of gold.’

“Well that’s kinda creepy but thanks. When does the tournament start?” Ilea asked with a slight smile.

The guard didn't react to her comment “It’s supposed to start in two days my lady. The seat arrangements are being taken care of as we speak. You will be informed about it tomorrow.” thanking the guard, Ilea started to explore the city. Being at a higher point, she had a good view of much of it. Wanting to go higher, she climbed up one of the nearby houses. Three jumps later, she had a view of most of the city. The sun slowly setting in the horizon.

“Breathtaking...the noise...it’s a bit different than my temple. But hey...there’s good food here.” jumping down from the house just as one of the guards noticed her, she ran off into one of the nearby alleyways. ‘I guess standing on top of buildings isn’t exactly allowed.’ turning a couple corners, she put up her hood and started to walk normally again. “Now what to do, what to do...” deciding to just stroll around a bit and see what interesting thing she finds, she soon entered a blacksmith’s shop. There were several people inside already, looking at various displayed weapons. ‘Look like adventurers...’ Identifying the people inside told her they were warriors in the level ranges of thirty to forty.


 


They looked at her a little stunned but soon continued their inspection of wares inside the smithy. “And what might a level 47 healer do in my smithy?” a burly man with a mighty beard greeted her from behind.


[smith – lvl 55]

Grabbing his outstretched hand, she smirked as he tried to squeeze it. “Oho, as I suspected, you don’t exactly have the eyes of a helping healer...” getting closer to her and whispering “...got me one of those battle healers didn’t I?” smiling at each other, he let go of her hand “Well what exactly do you use then to smack your foes heads in while you heal your own wounds?”

‘So battle healers are not as foreign a concept as Alice had me believe...’ showing the smith her hands, she answered “These babies right here.”

Laughing, the smith stroked his beard “What a rare sight...well you’re the first battle healer that has graced my shop. I’ve only read about one of your kind in a story once. Always liked the idea though...but your hands??” clapping his hands together, the other customers looked up from their business “I LOVE IT!” the smith exclaimed to the whole shop and part of the street outside. “I’m Earl by the way. I like you. What are you looking for?”

“Glad you like me Earl. Ilea’s the name. I was looking to sell a sword and some daggers. Might I be able to do that here?”

Shrugging, Earl walked back behind the counter. “Sure, you got them here?” shaking her head.

Ilea looked at some spears next to her “Not right now, no. Will get here tomorrow then. Oh and any ideas what to do with some Charred Drake scales?” one of Earl’s eyebrows rose.

“Well they’re certainly rare...and very hard to work with. Best used for armor improvements. I wouldn’t suggest weapons, though arrowheads would fetch quite a price. If they have a great base, a shield improvement is worth it too.”


 


“That sounds great. I’ll go with some armor improvement I guess. What would you suggest for a fast moving, close combat...healer?” smiling at that Earl again stroked his beard.

“Hmm, well you need mobility, so nothing full plate. Something light to be sure. A hide maybe...the scales are great at deflecting slashes, fire and even magic. Something that would absorb a lot of shock then. A Windpuma’s hide would be perfect. That’s something even rarer than your scales though.”

“How much would the Windpuma’s hide cost? And how much the manufacturing of the armor?” calculating in his head, his response was as expected.

“The hide itself, maybe four gold if you’re lucky. The armor I’d make for you for three.”

Frowning, Ilea looked down and then back at Earl “Well where can I find a Windpuma?”

Leaving the smithy, Ilea had another goal added to her list. Hunt down a Windpuma on the mountain of Karth. Looking up, the mountain stretched higher than she could see. ‘At least I’m at the mountain’s base already...yeyyy.’


Night falling, Ilea returned to her bed again and slept until morning. She was not particularly tired, having slept right before but the bed was too good to pass up for her. ‘A nap is a nap.’ she thought, as she drifted in and out of sleep thinking of all the things she should do during the festival.

She got up bright and early, managing to somehow sleep the whole night even with her growing ability to need less of it and left to explore more of Riverwatch.


Getting some food from a stall, she ate as she explored the city. ‘There are more guards around than last time I’ve been here it seems.’ entering a shop that seemed interesting, Ilea found herself inside a deserted bookstore.

“Greetings young adventurer.” the old man behind the counter greeted her.

“Good morning sir, this is quite a nice store you have here.” looking around, the shelfs were stocked with books, not a speck of dust on any of them.

“Why thank you, it’s not every day an adventurer like yourself comes to a literature only bookstore.”

“What do you mean literature only? Aren’t all books literature?” he looked up at the ceiling and then nodded.

“Well you’re not wrong but most people seem to differentiate between a novel or history book and a book about magic theory or fighting stances. They’re more of a tool to them. I think the difference is how you read them...for a goal in mind or simply for the pleasure of reading.”

Nodding to him Ilea grabbed one of the books nearby [The dragon’s tail] “Yes I suppose a lot of people don’t appreciate a good story...” putting the book back, she looked back at the man “I’m new in the city and was wondering how much one of these books might cost. Can you give me a generalized price, I’m sure they differ in worth greatly.”

“The lowest prices are around 30 Silver, I’d say most books here range in the 50 Silver category. There are some that cost much more because of the rarity or special materials used. Or simply their historical worth.”

Walking up to the counter, Ilea wondered “Hmm, well that’s not really in my budget right now but I’m sure I’ll return sometime. I have a question though. You seem rather knowledgeable. Ever heard of the Azarinth order?” seemingly thinking on it for a while the man nodded.

“I do believe so, an old cult of healers if I recall correctly. They’re mentioned in a very old story. I don’t think anyone could prove to you though that they really existed. Magical orders like that are very secretive anyway, I don’t doubt that many are hidden away and long forgotten in some ruin.” looking at her inquisitively he got a little closer “Might you know of the Azarinth order then miss...”

Ilea smirked “Ilea...and perhaps. Theoretically speaking, what might one get for some diaries and history books from such an order. Theoretically speaking all original and very old tomes...”

Ilea had no intention of sharing any of the stances or healing books though. ‘If anyone finds the chamber and has a similar experience as I did, then fine but I won’t go out of my way to share my skills and abilities.’ she had the man on her hook now

“Miss Ilea. You may call me Splicer. And that is quite some theoretical proposition there. Well theoretically finding such books could prove rather valuable to the historian and literature communities. I would say they’d be worth as much as an expensive armor or high quality sword might be.”

“Even diaries?” there were mentions of the Bluemoon grass in the diaries but with the lack of grass now, it would take years if not decades for anyone to repeat her skill leveling feat. Weirdly the initiates of the order didn’t talk about the skills from the class in their diaries, only about the process in the chamber itself.

“Yes, well diaries are likely even more valuable. An original account of events could be used in many ways. If very old, it could prove or disprove current theories. And the story I know the Azarinth order from is over a thousand years old.”

She smiled at him “Well then Splicer...” ‘what a peculiar name’ “...I guess we’ll theoretically see each other someday again and I might or might not sell some old diaries...” waving to him, she started to exit the shop.

“I’ll be here miss Ilea of the Azarinth order...” out in the street, Ilea turned right and continued exploring ‘He figured it out...well I am a healer at lvl 47 and I don’t exactly look or act the part I guess. I look like an adventurer who stumbled on some old ruin and found a strong healer class...which is exactly what happened. Well not an adventurer, more a frightened college girl.”



Checking out some more stores, she tried any food she didn’t recognize on the way. Entering another bookstore, she frowned. ‘It’s packed in here...’ identifying all the people around, she noticed that mages, warriors, some lone healers, rogues, monks and many others were inside, browsing the books. ‘So I guess these are the immediately useful books for classes and skills. Might as well check some of that stuff out.’ grabbing books at random, she read about different fighting styles and magics. Staying nearly three hours in there.

Someone poked her on the shoulder as she was reading about a staff fighting style. “Excuse me miss, you’ve been in here for over two hours now. You’ll have to either pay a fee or buy one of the books to keep staying. I hope you understand. The contents of these books is our business.” he smiled at her awkwardly, obviously uncomfortable with the job of kicking out adventurers.

“Sure, I understand. Can I ask about the general prices by the way? For example this book here?”

The man seemed relieved “Thank you for your understanding. The prices are mentioned here.” motioning to some small scratches below the books.

She frowned ‘How did I not get that...’ looking at the scratches that were below the book she just put back, she saw three lines. “So three gold I assume?” the attendant nodded

“Yes, that’s the price for that particular book.” smiling at him, she left the store. ‘Didn’t really find anything I’m particularly interested in today but there are a lot of books in there. Will visit again.’



It was already early in the afternoon by then. Finding a nice restaurant, she sat down in a balcony seat and ordered something similar to pizza. The place was overlooking a plaza, perfect for watching the daily business of the Riverwatch people.

Asking the waiter where to find the adventurer’s guild, she paid and left in the general direction of her next target. It was a huge building, near the center of the city where the main library was. Inside was some sort of pub, with more business like counters on the far side of it. Bored looking people processed the lines of adventurers, handing out papers, money and information. Other people in the room were drinking and laughing together. Two men were playing instruments very similar to guitars.

A smile on her face, Ilea took in the sight. ‘I like it...a lot.’ they weren’t kidding about it being hard to level up identify. She had used it on hundreds of people in the city today and yesterday, yet it didn’t level even once. Checking a wall with several dozens of papers on it, she read about odd jobs ranging from collecting rare flowers, to helping to seduce a woman. Normal ones like groups looking for people or requests for killing a beast or pests were the more common ones though. ‘Lots of people looking for a healer it seems...heh.’

It wasn’t long until a gruff looking warrior approached her “Excuse me miss, are you perhaps looking to join a group? We’d be happy to accommodate a high level healer like yourself.”

Checking him, he was at level 58. Shaking her head, she declined “I’m not looking for a group currently, thank you though for the request.” he looked like he expected the answer and returned to his group at one of the tables with the expected news.

Standing in one of the lines, Ilea was approached two more times, once by a mage with a very wizardly hat and once by a knight in shining armor. They only showed question marks in their level.

‘Seems like even higher leveled groups lack healers...’ Ilea observed while she waited for what seemed like an eternity, but was really only ten minutes to get to the front of the line.

The attendant greeted her. “How can I help you miss?”

“Hi, I’m pretty new here and wanted to ask about becoming an adventurer. What’s the process and payment involved?” the attendant rattled down the options and prices, in a professional and practiced manner.

“Depending on your level you can become an adventurer immediately. A minimum of 10 for Bronze, 30 Silver, 50 Gold, 75 Crystal, 100 Ruby. Higher than that needs approval first. Joining with level 30 to 49 has a fee of 10 Silver. You’ll get a tag that will identify you as an adventurer with the corresponding level. You won’t get any bounties or payment if you don’t have a badge. That’s basically the main function. It’s just a fee that keeps us going. If you lose it, you have to get a new one. We get 10% of every job you do.”

“Additionally you can take a test, basically you fight someone we provide, to get a higher rank than your level. That costs fifty silver, plus the 10 silver once you get a tag.”

Listening to the information, Ilea nodded “So if I find a higher level tag I can just use it?”

The attendant smiled “Yes of course but you’d be putting yourself in danger by doing so. Stealing one isn’t easy either because you’d have to fool a higher level adventurer than you should be. Additionally the tags show your general class, so you can’t use one from a warrior for example. You might get lucky but it’s a sure way to destroy your reputation or get your whole team killed. If you’re on that level anyway then go for it. All you save is 10 Silver though, so I’m not sure if that’s worth it.”

‘Seems like a pretty simple yet effective system to me. They must be making bank anyway, seeing how many people are in here. Regulations can be this lax.’ seeing no reason to wait, Ilea got ten silver from her pouch. “Then I’d like a silver badge please.” handing over the money.

The attendant grabbed it and searched through something below the counter. “Ahh, seems like the silver healer badges are out. Give me a second please.” going over to his colleague, the attendant there handed him a badge which he then handed to Ilea. “There you go. Good luck on your journeys.”

“Oh by the way” Ilea asked “Why are healers so rare here? I got three requests to join teams in the past twenty minutes.” the man looked at her a little confused

“You don’t seem from around here...well healers are often employed by the cities, military or colleges. It’s a much safer prospect for them and the pay is very good. They’re integral to any fighting formation really, thus a very valuable asset to have. Not many adventurous souls choose to pursue healing either, not being able to effectively defend themselves is by and large why many choose other paths. Even though your team might value you.”

“What about hybrids? Like a warrior with a healing class as his second one?”

Nodding, the man answered “Well it’s not unheard of but sacrificing your second class for that is often just as bad as simply being a pure healer. At least from a fighting capacity per level perspective. Body enhancement or weapon enchanting multiplies the capabilities of an already graceful swordsman or woman. Losing out on that multiplier isn’t often a wise path to choose.”

“Oh I forgot to tell you about the prices for general information. This one’s for free but if you need more, that’ll be ten copper per question.”

Waving him off, Ilea prepared to leave, putting the tag around her neck. Checking it with Magic Perception revealed nothing. A small herb was engraved in it, likely the symbol for healers. “That’s all, thanks for the info.”



‘It’s already pretty late. I’ll have to inform myself about the tournament tomorrow.’ going back to the Forkspear mansion, she talked to one of the guards.

“Yes lady Ilea, your seat has been reserved. The necessary documentation is waiting for you in your room. The arena is in the north east part of the city. If you wish for someone to escort you there tomorrow, we’d be happy to comply.”

Thanking him but declining the offer of an escort, she checked the things in her room. Some papers with wax seals on them were on her bed. ‘They even glow with my magical perception...’ asking a servant it was apparently a verification for the arena to ensure the authenticity of the papers.



Going out again, Ilea spent the rest of the day loitering about, eating various foods and enjoying some live music in a pub near the city center. ‘Well I guess all music here is live...’ having a slight buzz from the ale she drank.

Ilea walked back to the mansion, only occasionally staggering because of her drunken state. In a bout of drunken brilliance she used Reconstruction on herself and found the effects of the alcohol swiftly vanishing. ‘That’s reassuring but now I’m not drunk anymore...oh well.’ returning to her fluffy bed, she dreamt of gladiators fighting in a roman arena.

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A note from Rhaegar

2019 June: Updated to address issues with tenses, spacing, paragraphs and dialogue.


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