Patch notes 1.0.4: General skills now ordered alphabetically.
Chapter 235 Tunnel Vision
Ilea had lost track of time and space, all her focus on the knight before her. The knight that had ignored her ash, flying into his eyes and helmet, had taken hits with her heavy gauntlets to his knees, whose shield blocked all of her attacks with ease. His sword cut through her ashen limbs and left deep cuts and dents in her armor. A set she was proud of and hated to see this damaged but at some point there had to come an enemy where it wouldn’t hold.
The dull light of the suns had long passed, the two warriors facing each other in complete darkness, neither inhibited by the circumstances nor the passing of time. Their only purpose the destruction of the other as they danced through the once glorious field of roses, now turned to muddled earth. Glints of silver shined briefly when Ilea’s enhanced fist smashed into the knight’s side, the impact of ash and metal against his heavy armor creating sparks that withered quickly in the air.
A spectacle of balance and endurance, the two skilled warriors battering each other continuously without either knowing the limits of the other. Ilea refused to believe the enemy was a sentient being at this point. Either cursed, controlled, undead or just a monster. No grunts nor signs of exhaustion showed after all this time. Ilea was nearly spent, her brief respite in meditation not quite enough to keep her completely stacked. Again, she moved through one of his openings, sacrificing a hundred points of health to enhance her strike that she moved past his shield and into his shoulder. A blink followed to avoid his retaliation.
She was one with the knight, his movements, his sword and shield mere extensions of his limbs were now familiar to her. Like long lost friends she had found them again as they slashed and danced around her in their endless desire to take her life. Her mistakes had lessened and her footwork got better with every hour they fought. Every mistake punished with a strike that bruised her body and armor or a shield bash blinding her from the sheer force of it.
Ilea wondered how a warrior with all his stats in Vitality, Endurance and Strength would hold up and she more and more believed he at least somewhat represented an answer. No magical power, no sudden teleportation, trick weapons or anything else. Just a man with a sword and shield. Ilea doubted she’d be able to have a chance without her ashen limbs, his reach and control of the space around him coupled with near perfect and consistent footwork made the difference between a sword and fist clear.
Still. With time, she was learning how to exploit every weakness, how to move her body to bring his slightly taller frame into awkward positions. Long enough to get a hit in, never more than one. Most of the time she was forced to blink away right after to avoid his swift response but if she had learned anything in this world then that she should use every trick and ability she could to exploit an enemy’s weakness.
This knight had few but Ilea wasn’t one who needed to fall back on tricks to win her fights. Ashen limbs allowed her to get consistent damage into the knight while all the rest of her skills kept her alive, close and ready to exploit every opening. She had tried enveloping him with ash and simply using her reversed healing but she needed to be able to blink quickly which made that tactic more bothersome than anything else, her connection to him making her unable to use the teleportation skill.
A heavy step dug into the dirt, the knight closing the distance between them. His sword moved, its point aimed at her chest. A small step forward made his attack even quicker, just a bit more deadly while his shield was already poised to take any ability she would use against him. She side stepped the blade as she had many times before, waiting for the very last moment to avoid a faint that had nearly cost her an arm earlier. Neither his leg nor shield moved which still left four possible movement open as far as she remembered but she kept focusing, her sphere informing her about every little movement her foe made.
His elbow moved, a split second after his sword had come to a stop. Ilea had found that dodging to the left of his right handed sword strikes would leave her at an advantage compared to his shield side which both made it hard to get around it but also left her open for an attack. Pushing her right foot into the ground, she moved her body to the left, feeling his arm pass over her. A fist rushing up moved his arm a little, destructive mana forcefully pushed into it before she blinked away, waiting for his knee to strike her back.
Appearing thirty meters down the meadow, her meditation kicked in, Ilea’s breathing heavy and coarse. Waiting for the next attack, she instinctively tensed up, her skills deactivating as all her buffs pushed to the max. Weirdly, no attack came. Breathing out, she needed a moment to adjust. Listening while poised for another strike, all she could hear was the winds moving through the last remaining blades of grass. She stood and waited for a whole minute, refusing to check the notifications in her mind. One blink of an eye could be enough for him to get a deadly strike in. My armor has suffered enough.
The thought was clear enough but if he was recovering somehow she had to get in and stop it too. Taking a step forward and then another, she carefully closed in on the previous position before finally seeing the knight in her sphere. He was not standing anymore. The man had fallen, his sword and shield lying to his side, unmoving. Ilea checked her latest messages and smiled before she too found herself falling. That was fun.
Her consciousness fading, meditation and her healing activated, the pleasant feeling rushing through her as her mind focused. Buffs rushed through her blood again as she opened her eyes, only darkness staring back at her. I can’t. She thought and forced her body to move. The rush from the fight was fading but her rational mind told her to check for dangers, not to sleep so close to enemy territory. What about the elf?
Spreading her wings, she willed them to move her closer to the cathedral entrance, right on top of the steps. Neither there nor behind the doors could she see the elf. He had either left or was still sitting in his chair. She felt a weight fall from her back. Maybe this time she hadn’t been betrayed. And of course it was an elf…,
Ilea woke up when the first sunlight reached down into the deep caverns, bringing with it the comprehension of her battle. Shooting up, she checked behind her again, healing and meditation flowing through her body as well as all her enhancing abilities. She had fallen asleep, her stamina and mana dangerously close to zero when she had finally beaten her opponent. The knight…, He was still there, lifeless and eerie. His rusty armor, now even more damaged than before fit well into the scene Ilea surveyed before her.
A city spread, well at least it started spreading. Downwards into the dark on the steep side of a mountain. Splendid architecture flowing into the abyss before it vanished, the sunlight reaching no further than a couple hundred meters past the field of silver roses. Field of silver shreds. Some were still standing near the edges of the meadow, unbent and uncaring of the events that had transpired. The elf had not entered the dungeon or at least hadn’t murdered her in her sleep. Ilea couldn’t help but start laughing. The clear sound rushed down the mountain and into the city below but she didn’t care if anybody listened. This one was for her alone.
‘ding’ ‘You have defeated [Knight of the Rose – lvl 289] – For defeating an enemy fifty levels or more above your own, additional experience is granted.
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 231 – 5 Stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 225 – 5 Stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth Reversal reaches 2nd lvl 19’
‘ding’ ‘Embered Body Heat reaches 2nd lvl 5’
Calming down a little as she read through the messages, a smile blossomed on her face. The first step. She thought back on the first drake she had killed, the first levels she had gained from killing alone. The rush of adrenaline and her joy for battle. It had been so easy, blinking around the Drake as she delivered strike upon strike, unaware of its movement before her bones were shattered. Good times.
And now she had taken her first step towards what she would become. Her body tingled with excitement. Not primarily for more levels, eventual class evolutions, third tier skills or better gear but for the next knight she would face. For the next battle that would take everything from her, from her skills, mind and body. The next time she would dance on the tip of an unseen blade with an opponent worth fighting. She had missed the feeling. Missed the rush, the danger of being alone in the unknown. To be truly and utterly free.
Savoring the excitement, she let the moment pass, remembering all the people she had met and the places she had learned to love. A small grin remained, her mind imagining an invisible Eve looking on with an annoyed frown. Kyrian giving her a thumbs up and smiling, likely stuck in a similar situation as she was in currently. Trian who would shake his head at the recklessness and of course Claire who would lecture her on either the tactics employed or the lack of teamwork. Not that there was a team to work with.
They were the ones that understood, at least somewhat. What it meant to be an adventurer. To go beyond and fight things as unimaginable as a dude in armor. Can’t wait to freak out Dale and Walter when I eventually return. She hoped the human kingdoms would still be standing when the time came, if only for the few individuals she cared about. Experience showed that the worst enemy to humanity, in Elos as on Earth were they themselves. Nothing much she could do when all her friends chose to surround themselves with their mortal foe.
Who’s the reckless fool now? Standing up, she walked to the downed knight and checked on him. He was indeed dead. The helmet came off with a little more force than she expected, the thing flying off into the distant void after she had finally pulled it free. There goes a cool looking helmet. It was rusty anyway but would’ve perhaps fetched a good price still. Now that she had her necklace there was no reason not to store everything she could sell within. Claire will get herself some more work buying up the whole empire when I’m back. Just need a couple more lost civilizations adding to the Ilea townbuilding fund.
The face below the helmet looked dead. Deader than it should’ve looked. She had seen her fair share of corpses and this one was old. Some of his skin was coming off in places, yellow and cracked teeth showing through one of his cheeks. “Undead fellow hmm?” There was no response. I know terribly little about the undead despite having necromancer friends. Maybe I should lend myself to some more exposition.
She sighed and put her ten stat points into Intelligence as she checked her sheet.
Name: Ilea Spears
Unspent statpoints: 0
Unspent 3rd tier skill points [Azarinth First Hunter]: 0
Unspent 3rd tier skill points [Inheritor of Eternal Ash]: 0
Class 1: Azarinth First Hunter – lvl 231
- Active: Destruction – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Hunter Recovery – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: State of Azarinth – 3rd lvl 3
- Active: Blink – 3rd lvl 5
- Active: Azarinth Hunter Sphere – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Body of the First Hunter – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Azarinth Fighting – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Hunter’s Sight – 2nd lvl 9
- Passive: Azarinth Perception – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Azarinth Reversal – lvl 2nd lvl 19
Class 2: Inheritor of Eternal Ash – lvl 225
- Active: Veil of Ash – 3rd lvl 1
- Active: Form of Ash and Ember – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Ash Creation – lvl 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Embered Body Heat – 2nd lvl 5
- Active: Wave of Ember – 2nd lvl 17
- Passive: Ash and Ember Manipulation – 3rd lvl 1
- Passive: Ashen Wings – 2nd lvl 16
- Passive: Eyes of Ash – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Body of Ash – 2nd lvl 19
- Passive: Ashen Warrior – 2nd lvl 20
- Arcane Magic Resistance – 2nd lvl 2
- Blast Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Blood Magic Resistance – lvl 8
- Blood Manipulation Resistance – lvl 4
- Corrosion Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Crystal Resistance – lvl 15
- Curse Resistance – 2nd lvl 2
- Dark Magic Resistance – lvl 1
- Dust Magic Resistance – lvl 1
- Earth Magic Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Elos Standard language - lvl 6
- Fear Resistance – lvl 5
- Harmony of the Drowned – lvl 1
- Health Drain Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Heat Resistance – 2nd lvl 3
- Heavy Archery – lvl 4
- Ice Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Identify - lvl 7
- Light Magic Resistance – lvl 16
- Lightning Resistance – 2nd lvl 5
- Mana Drain Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Meditation – lvl 2nd 17
- Mental Resistance – 2nd lvl 11
- Mist Magic Resistance – lvl 7
- Pain Tolerance – 2nd lvl 4
- Poison Resistance – lvl 20
- Silver Magic Resistance – lvl 1
- Veteran – lvl 6
- Void Magic Resistance – lvl 7
- Water Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Wind Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Wood Magic Resistance – lvl 1
Maybe six hundred Int first? More of a punch would certainly help but Ilea doubted the impact forty more points in intelligence would have. Vitality, Endurance or Wisdom seemed better alternatives but in the end all four helped her win that fight. Strenght and Dexterity had fallen a little off her priority list but again, she doubted winning against that knight would’ve been possible with lacking flexibility or the strength to move efficiently with her heavy armor.
Sighing, she could only imagine the battle if her Strength and Vitality had matched the knight’s. Someday perhaps. At least he didn’t seem to have any regeneration capabilities. Grabbing him by the rim of his chest plate, she dragged the heavy corpse towards the double doors and pushed them open. She grinned when she saw the elf sitting on his chair. “Hey elfling, not a book but maybe interesting still.”
He didn’t react. Is he asleep. Do elves sleep? Dragging the corpse towards the other side of the cathedral, she chucked him right next to the sitting elf, metal clanking as it hit the stone floor. His eyes opened before he looked towards the corpse and then her.
The elf sighed theatrically, “Do I need to explain to you what a book looks like?”
“This isn’t one?” Ilea asked, trying to look as confused as she could. He just shook his head and summoned the one he had been reading when she had found him the day before.
“Leather usually but it can be other materials. Inside are pages made of paper, usually letters or sketches, even paintings stored within.” He explained seriously, opening the book to show her. “Do you know those words. This is a letter here.”
Ilea stared at the book and blinked, “Aaaah, a book. But you can’t eat that. You can eat that thing.” She pointed to the corpse.
One of the elf’s eyebrows rose before he hissed, his tongue visible for a split second, “Sarcasm. Of course it is. You are most bothersome. Right you are with this corpse at least but the meat of an undead… a thousand years… maybe even older. It won’t be very tasty. Human warriors usually aren’t.” He looked at the corpse and then at her. “That was sarcasm as well. I forget that you don’t eat your kind. A peculiar thing but not the weirdest I’ve seen.”
“Took me a while to kill that one, you know its age? The gear is enchanted I’m pretty sure.” Ilea commented, sliding a nearby chair behind herself and sitting down.
He stared at her and put away his book again, crouching down near the corpse before he touched it, “Your armor is damaged. I surmise this exploration will take some time.” He murmured the second part. “It is old but the rust makes that much obvious. Similar to modern enchantments I’ve seen. It does however look suspiciously dwarven. Mana intrusion defense as most warriors would use. It is finely connected but the helmet is missing.”
“It just flew off, no idea how that happened.” Ilea commented while shaking her head. He looked at her and went back to touch the knight’s armor.
“This is something at least. As per our agreement I will answer a single question of yours.” He said. Ilea had kinda forgotten about that part, simply proud to have slain this foe.
The closest question she had ready left her mouth, “Do you eat each other as well? Like other elves I mean.”
That’s a stupid question Ilea. She thought but her mood hadn’t diminished in the slightest.
He walked towards the altar near the end of the cathedral, the undead knight lifted and moved through the air by a shimmering barrier below, “Of course we do. Hunting and not eating the kill is a waste.” His mouth remained open for a split second but he didn’t continue. “Does that answer your question human?”
Ilea nodded, “I guess.” Her arms were pushed into her sides. Gonna have to think of some more interesting things for later, I could’ve guessed that one myself.
“Oh well.” She murmured and left him to his devices. Back through the double doors, she closed them behind herself. As much as he hadn’t betrayed her yet, the thing was an elf still. Their reputation towards humans was questionable at best. Now where is my next fight…