Chapter 97 Change
The metal hold of the spear like arrow laid cold against Ilea’s hand as she carefully pulled the string of her massive bow backwards, focusing on the moving targets set before her. The last bit of breath left Ilea’s mouth and she let go, the wind enchantment of her bow coming to life in the last moment, giving her arrow just a bit more speed. She watched it fly and punch through three targets before the metal arrow buried itself inside the wall of the training hall.
A dull noise resounded and then silence came to the hall as Ilea breathed in her next breath.
“Passable, at best.” came the harsh verdict from her teacher. Ilea smiled brightly as her bow vanished inside one of her bracelets and she went for a big hug. Martha’s dodging skills weren’t quite up to dealing with the agile Ilea and she quickly found herself caught in her pupil’s embrace.
For the first time in three months Ilea had been deemed passable. She still sadly lacked any archery related skills but still it was a big achievement for the healer turned warrior standing inside one of the Hand’s training halls, hugging her teacher.
“Thank you so much for teaching me!” Ilea exclaimed, finally letting go of the woman who was already gasping for air. It had been a fun time for Ilea. Next to her more serious and demanding training in all her other skills and learning about monsters living in Elos, she found archery to be a surprisingly fun past time. Additionally it would add a somewhat dangerous ranged attack to her arsenal of skills, even though she didn’t have any related skills to enhance it.
“Don’t get so excited. You still lack any skills. Why do you even focus on this, it’s a waste of bloody time.” the woman commented but Ilea was already not listening anymore, still happy about her previous comment. She left Martha to her negative blabbering to wait in another hall for her team fighting lesson. Tomorrow they would get their first mission after everybody had agreed, considering their skill growth. Kyrian had delayed the whole thing another week as he wanted to get his second class’ skills just a little higher.
Not just her archery had improved in the past three months and Ilea quickly checked through her skills and stats as she sat waiting in the training hall where team 34 would soon join her for their daily lesson. She was ready to level her classes again and if she was honest she was itching to finally get some real action again. They all had a lot of close calls in their bouts but there was something exciting about the unknown that simply wasn’t there anymore fighting against her team members.
Name: Ilea Spears
Unspent statpoints: 0
Unspent 3rd tier skill points [Azarinth First Hunter]: 0
Class 1: Azarinth First Hunter – lvl 203
- Active: Destruction – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Hunter Recovery – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: State of Azarinth – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Blink – 3rd lvl 2
- Active: Azarinth Hunter Sphere – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Body of the First Hunter – 2nd lvl 16
- Passive: Azarinth Fighting – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Hunter’s Sight – lvl 18
- Passive: Azarinth Perception – 2nd lvl 16
- Passive: Azarinth Reversal – 2nd lvl 2
Class 2: Ash Wielder – lvl 199
- Active: Shroud of Ash – 2nd lvl 10
- Active: Form of Ember – 2nd lvl 14
- Active: Ash Surge – 2nd lvl 4
- Active: Body Heat Manipulation – lvl 12
- Active: Wave of Ember – 2nd lvl 3
- Passive: Ash and Ember Manipulation – 2nd lvl 9
- Passive: Ashen Wings – 2nd lvl 2
- Passive: Eyes of Ash – 2nd lvl 12
- Passive: Body of Ash – 2nd lvl 11
- Passive: Ashen Warrior – 2nd lvl 4
- Elos Standard language - lvl 5
- Identify - lvl 7
- Meditation – 2nd lvl 15
- Poison Resistance – lvl 17
- Heat Resistance – lvl 19
- Pain Tolerance – 2nd lvl 4
- Mental Resistance – 2nd lvl 8
- Fear Resistance – lvl 1
- Water Resistance – lvl 6
- Wind Resistance – lvl 7
- Lightning Resistance – 2nd lvl 5
- Ice Resistance – lvl 7
- Crystal Resistance – lvl 6
- Earth Magic Resistance – lvl 5
- Arcane Magic Resistance – lvl 6
- Corrosion Resistance – lvl 8
- Light Magic Resistance – lvl 2
- Mist Magic Resistance – lvl 1
- Curse Resistance – 2nd lvl 2
- Mana Drain Resistance – lvl 18
- Health Drain Resistance – lvl 16
- Blast Resistance – lvl 12
The big changes were of course the new second stages for Azarinth Reversal and many of her Ash Wielder skills.
Passive: Azarinth Reversal – 2nd lvl 2:
You have learned of Destruction and Reconstruction. Now you will learn of their Reversal.
Upon activation, Destruction will send a part of the struck enemy’s mana into yourself. No mana will be released on impact, rendering Destruction’s offensive potential to zero.
Upon activation, Hunter Recovery will send a destructive force of channeled mana into yourself or an enemy you touch, the healing aspects are reduced to zero.
2nd stage: You may have both aspects activated at the same time.
Category: Body Enhancement
Ilea had already tried this and it effectively meant that she could drain a small amount of mana with every attack using Destruction, nearly making it pay for itself. Additionally every prolonged touch would lead to destructive mana being forced into her opponents, without having to consider her ability to heal herself. The skill became something she started using in every single fight compared to the occasional surprise it had been for her enemies before.
Active: Ash Surge – 2nd lvl 4
Create a wave of ash and ember with you at its center. Distance, density and speed depend on skill level and mana invested (max 60 Mana).
2nd stage: Focus the direction and density of the surge.
Category: Ashen Magic
The second stage of Ash Surge added surprising diversity to the spell. Ilea could now summon ash in a controlled manner in front of her or to her side to manipulate it. Additionally she wouldn’t blind her team mates whenever she used the skill. The density addition to the second stage made it usable as a distraction even in the last moment of an attack and there was little reason for Ilea to hold back on using the spell, except of course for the mana cost.
Passive: Ash and Ember Manipulation – 2nd lvl 9:
Your control over Ash and Ember increases dramatically. Bend it to your wishes and shroud the path before you.
2nd stage: Ash and Ember have become your ally. Your control increases greatly.
Category: Ashen magic
Ash and Ember Manipulation was a little strange to define for Ilea. Even before it reached the second stage she wasn’t sure if it was a viable skill to have. It had come from Fire Manipulation she had gotten with her Fire Mage class. With the second stage she was now much more in control of any ash she summoned through her Ash Surge or even through her wings. When Ilea found herself in front of a mirror and summoned her black elven armor while she controlled some ash around her, she was determined to never lose the skill. It simply looked too good and she had the feeling that it influenced all her other ashen skills.
It was only reasonable to assume that Fire Manipulation increased one’s power of fire spells, why would this be any different?
‘Passive: Ashen Wings – 2nd lvl 2
Your understanding of Ash Wielder allows you to form wings from ash and ember. Strike your enemies from above and close the distance to deliver your wrath.
2nd stage: Your wings become more dense and tangible, able to help you defend and attack.
Category: Body Enhancement – Ashen Magic
This one was perhaps Ilea’s favorite change. She could now slap people with her wings. Considering her speed it was a force to be reckoned with as well. Not remotely comparable to her fists but certainly helpful. The defensive capability the wings added weren’t too shabby either, making her able to block smaller projectiles without taking any damage, like Kyrian’s small needles. The two wings were like an added layer of Shroud of Ash, although much weaker in defense they weren’t affected by at least curse attacks.
Passive: Eyes of Ash – 2nd lvl 12:
Increases your perception by 45.5% when fighting without a weapon [Effect after bonuses 182%].
2nd stage: Effects apply with weapons as well. Opportunity calls, you notice possible critical weak points on enemies with more ease.
Category: Body Enhancement – Ashen magic
Passive: Body of Ash – 2nd lvl 11:
Increases your reflexes and speed by 45% when fighting without a weapon [Effect after bonuses 180%].
2nd stage: Effects apply with weapons as well. Your instincts sharpen and your ability to avoid damage to your vitals when dodging increases.
Category: Body Enhancement – Ashen magic
Body of Ash and Eyes of Ash went hand in hand. With their second stages the focus on the hand was reduced by quite a bit but they added very noticeable additions to Ilea’s fighting. She became more efficient, more fluent as soon as she had reached the second stage for either of the skills. Neither would she slow down anymore whenever she used her bow or gauntlets.
Passive: Ashen Warrior – 2nd lvl 4:
You are familiar with the fighting style of Ash. Damage inflicted with your own body and while shrouded in Ash is 61.5% higher [after bonuses 246%]’
2nd stage: Shroud your weapons in ash to produce various effects. Shrouded weapons deal additional damage. Affected by Ash and Ember Manipulation.
Category: Body Enhancement
Ilea was a little hung up on Ashen Warrior’s second stage. Azarinth Fighting had given her a reaction time bonus of 40% which was ridiculous. With time she learned to value the new addition to Ashen Warrior. With her higher and higher level of Ash and Ember Manipulation it was a simple manner to shroud any of her weapons in a dark mist of ash. Her hands luckily counted as weapons as well. Not her head or her knees sadly but her hands and feet were affected.
The part about various effects was great as well, letting Ilea produce small spikes to increase armor penetration or even blades similar to her Blue Steel Gauntlets, not close to as damaging but it was something. Most of all it looked impressive and Ilea couldn’t stop herself from giggling as she combined her Ash and Ember Manipulation with the newly shrouded hands and elven armor to form quite the spectacle to look at.
The stats Ilea had gotten went straight into Strength, with the eventual goal to be able to use her heavy gauntlets but also because it was behind her other stats and she learned specifically when fighting against Claire that her normal skills were sometimes not as effective as pure physical force.
To round it all up, Ilea’s Resistances were heightened as well. The main magic types used by her teammates at least, some of them even reaching the second stage. Contrary to Pain Tolerance, the other Resistances didn’t completely nullify the damage taken but it still felt like a massive boost with all of them.
Mental Resistance now reflected a part of the damage done to the attacker, making it much harder to attack Ilea that way. Lightning Resistance now let her body harness a part of the energy used in the attacks to fuel her Mana and Stamina. This was especially useful when fighting against Trian. The pauses needed by each of the fighters was now close to even. As Trian’s skills grew as well, the distance of sustainability wasn’t quite closed though.
The last Resistance that had reached the second stage was Curse Resistance and it simply halved the duration of any curse’s effect on her. The effect was much more noticeable than she had anticipated at first. Kyrian had explained to her that a curse’s main strength came from its lasting effect. One of his classes’ attacks was effectively half as effective on Ilea than before she reached the second stage of the Resistance.
All in all it made Ilea question why not more people leveled their Resistances. Either there were no healers available or people simply weren’t willing to go through the agony of the process. Specifically Pain Tolerance wasn’t easy but it was the one necessary to quite simply level the rest. As long as a healer was available of course.
The team didn’t quite agree with Ilea pushing them to level their defenses as well but had found her and her Resistances to be perfect for their training. They did agree to go through some pain and had to fight each other constantly anyway but nothing was quite as efficient for skill training than to push all of your power into attacking someone who could take it. Apparently the training got much less efficient as soon as Ilea reached the respective second stages of her defenses, explaining why not all noble houses and cities simply used a high leveled tank type for everyone else to attack.
For the skill to grow there had to be damage done and each and everyone of team 34 found it increasingly hard to damage Ilea. The Resistance sessions were still continued of course but they became more willing to attack each other as well, to Ilea’s delight. She had grown to like them over the past months, even Trian and it would be quite disappointing to see one of them die because of low resistances.
Ilea summoned one of Keyla’s meals and started eating. Contrary to what she had feared, the food stayed as amazing as the first time she had tasted it. The cook explained that with her high level in the class, everything she prepared would hold a certain edge that others wouldn’t have. The dishes didn’t improve ones stats or skills but Ilea believed a happy belly was a happy and focused mind. And a focused mind won bouts.
She was halfway through her dish when the first of her team arrived in the hall. Kyrian, clad in his newly forged full plate spike armor that had extensions and separable parts complimenting his growing control of metal. Both his defensive and offensive capabilities skyrocketed with the addition of the armor, made by Balduur, enchanted by Iana and paid for by Ilea. It took nearly a week for her to convince him that she would be paying and another week to convince Balduur to actually produce the armor.
Kyrian nodded lightly at the waving Ilea who still had a spoon in her face. One of Kyrian’s conditions on letting Ilea pay was that a cape would be added to the armor. A cape weaved with metal. This had been the main reason Balduur was so hard to convince but Ilea was just glad that her mate got the armor in the end. Both armor and cape were made with a high quality alloy that sported both durability and penetrative power when used in attacks. The high weight of the armor was a detriment for Kyrian at first but his mobility wasn’t one of his strengths either way.
It was a good way for him to train his body as well and considering his nature as a mage that had certainly been necessary. His gray eyes shone from the slit in his helmet, intensified by the otherwise dark and nearly black color of the armor.
“Nobody here yet?” he asked as Ilea put down her bowl and got up from her sitting position.
“Wanna start?” she asked, her wings forming behind her as she smirked at the man. Both Form of Ember and State of Azarinth came to life as a burst of ashen mist was released above Ilea, quickly twirling downwards and around the woman.
“Sure.” Kyrian answered in a typical manner and walked towards the middle of the hall. The quiver like metal object strapped to his back moved a little as dozens of metal spheres came to life inside of it and flew out to circle the man. Four of the spheres splintered to become floating needles, thin enough to perform surgery.
Contrary to the earliest encounters Ilea had with the man, the needles flowed downwards and in a circle around him before they scratched into the stone floor, producing an orchestra of screeches. Ilea was wearing a Hand training leather armor as she had for the past three months. Many hadn’t survived their bouts and today’s copy would struggle to hold up as well.
She flew upwards as the ash twirled around her, an additional and much denser shroud formed around her just when the screeching came to an end and a cold feeling filled the hall. A dull green light was emitted from the scratches in the floor around Kyrian for a second while mana flowed into one of Ilea’s bracelets, making her bow appear with an arrow already placed in her hand.
From her position in the air she saw the beautiful work of scratched runes in the floor and drew back her bow, aiming for his head. The arrows were still stored in her necklace but she had the others believe they were inside of her bracelet as well. The spear like arrow reached her ear before she let it fly.
One of Kyrian’s spheres flattened into a disc and intercepted the attack, deflecting the spear just enough for it to miss him. The sound of metal upon metal signaled the start of their training session while both of the contestants smiled with focused eyes and tense bodies.