Chapter 292 Forges and Armor
Ilea juggled the two steel spheres she had bought from Catelyn in her hands as she walked into Goliath’s smithy. They were similar constructs as Elfie’s fire cube. One for water and one for fire. Neither could really create the element but they could siphon the necessary molecules to form them. The water rune sphere for example wouldn’t work in a desert while the fire rune likely wouldn’t underwater.
“The friend of ash returns. Welcome. Your power grows… I can feel it.” Goliath commented, its yellow eyes sparkling with joy at seeing the woman. “Oh please… do refrain from using those in my smithy. The balance is exquisite.” He actually sounded worried, as much as the ethereal whisper allowed.
“Don’t worry.” Ilea said, putting away the spheres. “Thought I’d pop in. How are you doing?”
The smith recoiled physically, its eyes focusing on her as it mulled over her question, “How am I doing? Do you have no purpose here… but to… care for me?”
Ilea smiled and wondered if hugging the smith would freak him into a coma, “I mean I have some things to talk about I guess but isn’t that what friends do sometimes?”
“I had not considered the possibility. Of being a… friend.”
“How do you like it?” Ilea asked, genuinely curious about his thinking. She decided to think of him as a man then and there, at least until proven otherwise.
The smith thought about it for a whole minute, Ilea in the meantime sitting down on a workbench and starting to eat a meal from Keyla. Apparently the heat it gave off didn’t irritate the oh so particular balance Goliath had talked about moments earlier. Or he simply didn’t care.
“I have not decided.” He said, a metal triangle appearing in his hand before a little bit of mist was released into the room.
“Sorry.” She said, looking at the food.
“Do not mind it human. I know those of flesh cannot live without their sustenance.”
Ilea smiled, “Still, I could have waited for later. Let me know if I should put it away. Another thing I just thought about. Are you male or female, or something else?”
“Peculiar. Humans do like to categorize do they not? Sex is what you are describing? It holds no relevance to me. Think of me as you will.”
Ilea swallowed a mouthful of food. A chili, or something close enough she thought. Some of the veggies were unknown to her but it tasted nice, hearty and with just the right amount of spiciness. “I found a Taleen manufacturing plant… they make Centurions there. Level three hundred, some even higher. The facility is massive… spans kilometers in each direction and I have no idea how many floors it has. Thought you might be interested.”
“Indeed. That does sound intriguing. The dungeon to the northwest I suspect. Izna I believe was the name. Too dangerous for me I suppose. One Centurion I might face but their numbers are higher there, are they not?”
Ilea nodded, “Yea… hundreds, thousands probably. Already killed so many I lost count. Well I cleared the first level and it doesn’t seem like they come up there so you could check it out. The way there is dangerous too of course. How fast can you fly? Any teleportation abilities?”
The smith chuckled, “That won’t be necessary. I trust you, wielder of ash.” He floated to the center of the room before a one meter high black obelisk appeared. “Perhaps this will finally have a use. Too long has it been.”
She walked closer and looked at it, “What is it?”
“It is a creation related to a skill of mine. A gateway, a focus perhaps. I may travel through it freely, to any other obelisk of my creation.”
“A long range teleportation network? You know people would kill to have this ability.”
“Little gain would it have for them. It is only usable by me. The range is limited too but if my geographical knowledge does not deceive me it should be possible. Should you wish for me to inspect this… facility, place this inside and I will find my way there.”
Ilea nodded and tried storing it in her necklace, failing at the task. “I am afraid you will have to carry it.”
Scratching her head, she nodded, “Once I go back. Just leave it here for now I guess. Gonna be a day or two alright?”
“Thank you. For such an opportunity. The taleen manufacturing sites are well guarded, well hidden. I would cherish the chance to see one, feel it.”
Well don’t get sexual here. I thought it wasn’t a thing for you. “I’ll let you know. Any way I can warn you before you use it?”
“No. I will wait for seven days. Should you fail to place it safely you may return and warn me or… well… I will have to deal with what is on the other side.”
“You can’t just teleport back?”
The smith shook his head, “Once only per day.”
Damn, that’s much better than my skill. And I can’t even place multiple anchors. Well I guess mine isn’t restricted by distance. Otherwise we might’ve been stuck in the demon realm for quite a bit longer. She nodded.
Goliath held up a hand, “Oh… I forgot. Your armor. You have asked me to craft something of my choice. With some of the metals you have provided. I have finished it.”
“Oh.” Ilea simply said, having forgotten about the suggestion she had made a couple months ago.
“Yes. Well I have thought about it. Functionality is important, speed and practicality. Your mold coupled with a strong metal is the best you can get. Especially with the light weight it provides. At least for now. So I thought… instead of trying to improve on your armor that you will inevitably destroy in a matter of months, I have decided to make armor so cumbersome and limiting that the sheer ability to wear it will be a challenge worth completing.”
Ilea wasn’t sure where he was going with this when a massive two and a half meter colossus of steel appeared. Black in color and simple in design, two legs and two arms all smooth and bulky. She couldn’t discern any of the partsconnecting to each other, instead it was one seamless piece of steel. No holes for eyes and no fingers on the hands. “Impressive… brick.” She said, walking up to it and touching the thing. “How exactly am I supposed to use this without any connecting pieces? I won’t be able to walk.” It towered over her as she stood there, higher than even the guardians protecting the bridge.
The smith’s eyes glowed and sparkled, “I will let you discover the secrets this creation holds. Enjoyment like this, well I haven’t felt it for simple armor in many many cycles.”
Calling this armor…, She nodded and smiled, trusting Goliath and his experience. Somehow she felt this armor was a more dangerous foe than the Centurions waiting for her back in the dungeon.
[Armaments of Trials – Ancient Quality]
“Holy shit it’s ancient?” She said and put it into her necklace, the thing taking up a solid ten points of storage.
“Many days of labor… a high amount of quality steel and my expertise went into it. I will be interested in your progress.” He said, his eyes dancing to convey joy. Or sadistic malice. She wasn’t sure.
“Thank you.” She said. “I’ll get he Obelisk later then.”
On the way out Ilea thought to check in on the expedition after she had brought Catelyn to Maro and Elana. It was possible she could gain some rare resistances from them. Walking up through the tight alleys of Hallowfort, she quickly checked on the levels she had gained in the past month.
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 273 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Azarinth First Hunter has reached lvl 279 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 267 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Inheritor of Eternal Ash has reached lvl 275 – Five stat points awarded’
‘ding’ ‘Destruction reaches 3rd lvl 6’
‘ding’ ‘Hunter Recovery reaches 3rd lvl 7’
‘ding’ ‘Hunter Recovery reaches 3rd lvl 8’
‘ding’ ‘Hunter’s Sight reaches 2nd lvl 20’
‘ding’ ‘Veil of Ash reaches 3rd lvl 8’
‘ding’ ‘Embered Body Heat reaches 2nd lvl 19’
‘ding’ ‘Embered Body Heat reaches 2nd lvl 20’
The difficulty in leveling up third tier skills really showed, after a full month of fighting Centurions. Granted they weren’t the most difficult enemies for her to kill anymore.
‘ding’ ‘Arcane Magic Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 3’
‘ding’ ‘Blast Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 4’
‘ding’ ‘Health Drain Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 17’
‘ding’ ‘Health Drain Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 18’
‘ding’ ‘Heat Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 4’
‘ding’ ‘Heat Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 5’
‘ding’ ‘Heat Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 6’
‘ding’ ‘Mana Drain Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 15’
‘ding’ ‘Mana Drain Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 16’
‘ding’ ‘Mana Drain Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 17’
‘ding’ ‘Mist Magic Resistance reaches lvl 18’
‘ding’ ‘Mist Magic Resistance reaches lvl 19’
‘ding’ ‘Mist Magic Resistance reaches lvl 20’
‘ding’ ‘Mist Magic Resistance reaches 2nd lvl 1’
‘Mist Magic Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
Mist magic is a rare talent, found in students of the arcane adept in both wind and water magic. It is an elusive power, difficult to wield yet ultimately destructive and impossible to avoid. You have faced it and lived. This skill will help you do so again.
2nd stage: Through increasing exposure you have learned to stop the elusive mist from passing through you.’
Another resistance in the second tier. Of her seventy stat points, she had put forty five into Strength and the rest into Dexterity. Before reaching there hundred, she would have at least Strength at five hundred but while Dexterity was only boosted by Form of Ash and Ember, she felt like it shouldn’t be left behind too far. Ilea smiled at her status and entered Catelyn’s shop.
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 279
- Active: Destruction – 3rd lvl 6
- Active: Hunter Recovery – 3rd lvl 8
- Active: State of Azarinth – 3rd lvl 9
- Active: Blink – 3rd lvl 8
- 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 20
- Passive: Azarinth Perception – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Azarinth Reversal – 2nd lvl 20
Class 2: Inheritor of Eternal Ash – lvl 275
- Active: Veil of Ash – 3rd lvl 8
- Active: Form of Ash and Ember – 3rd lvl 2
- Active: Ash Creation – 3rd lvl 4
- Active: Embered Body Heat – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Wave of Ember – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Ash and Ember Manipulation – 3rd lvl 3
- Passive: Ashen Wings – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Eyes of Ash – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Body of Ash – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Ashen Warrior – 2nd lvl 20
- Elos Standard language - lvl 6
- Harmony of the Drowned – lvl 1
- Heavy Archery – lvl 4
- Identify - lvl 7
- Meditation – 2nd lvl 19
- Veteran – lvl 6
- Arcane Magic Resistance – 2nd lvl 3
- Blast Resistance – 2nd lvl 4
- 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
- Fear Resistance – lvl 5
- Health Drain Resistance – 2nd lvl 18
- Heat Resistance – 2nd lvl 6
- Ice Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Light Magic Resistance – lvl 16
- Lightning Resistance – 2nd lvl 6
- Mana Drain Resistance – 2nd lvl 17
- Mental Resistance – 2nd lvl 13
- Mist Magic Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Pain Tolerance – 2nd lvl 4
- Poison Resistance – 2nd lvl 9
- Silver Magic Resistance – lvl 1
- Void Magic Resistance – lvl 7
- Water Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Wind Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Wood Magic Resistance – lvl 1
“Ready to leave then?” The fox asked.
“Yea. I hope you know that you owe me for this.”
“That depends on who and what exactly you will show me.” Catelyn replied and appeared next to her.
“Can you fly or should I hold you?” Ilea suggested.
The fox looked up to her and started floating, “I dislike the sensation and my speed is greatly diminished. Would you like to hold me human?”
“I would.” Ilea said and grabbed her, putting away her armored gauntlets to feel the soft fur. Glad it’s not steel or something. She thought with a smile and walked out of the shop, spreading her wings before the two of them were on their way towards Tremor.
Elana stared at Catelyn with cold eyes. “What did you bring this time?” The question directed at Ilea.
She rolled her eyes, “Catelyn, council member of Hallowfort.” Gesturing to the queen, “Elana Invalar. Queen of Rhyvor. Have fun you two.” Walking to Maro, she greeted him with a wave.
“I would wave back but you know.” The king said.
“Funny.” She replied.
“Terribly. Hey you brought a dark one, never seen a fox… and at level three twenty eight. Not bad. Did he force you to bring him?”
“It’s a female. No, she was the one I asked for books and a map. Either she’s going to suddenly attack and slaughter you or she’ll actually provide good info. We’ll see.” Ilea replied.
Maro laughed, “Well I hope she doesn’t go crazy. Most dark ones I’ve met in my time were more reasonable than humans.”
“Hey I was wondering. Some of my general skills are getting close to the end of the second tier-”
He interrupted her, “No idea. The ones I had have been at second and twenty for years and years. If you find out anything, do let me know. It’s been driving me crazy. Not even now at three hundred…,’
“Ah, that sucks. I’ll let you know but if you’re not even there yet I’ll get you out before anyway.” Ilea said.
He raised an eyebrow, “You intend to fight the kingsguard… apparently now triple mark enemies… at three hundred? I like your guts but don’t overdo it ok? I’ve grown to like you and it would be a shame for you to die.”
“You mean it would be a shame if you had to stay down here any longer than necessary.” She suggested with a smirk.
“I mean yes, that too. But now I have a fox to talk to. Hello there.” He said, his gaze moving towards Catelyn who had walked up to him with Elana.
“Greetings, king of Rhyvor.” The fox bowed, “Long has it been since your kingdom ruled in these lands. I am Catelyn, a dark one as you surely know. I have long since been a part of the council of Hallowfort, a town founded long ago, for scavengers and exiles seeking power and adventure in the north. Lands I must add, have changed greatly since you have walked them.”
She looked at Elana and then Ilea before continuing, “I must ask. Have you been down here, conscious of time and waiting to escape?”
Maro chuckled, “Greetings Catelyn, one touched by fire. No, my wife was mostly but not me. Feels like a couple months have passed but not more. I must ask… does your fur feel as nice as it looks?”
Ilea gave him a thumbs up while Catelyn sighed, “It does.” The fox simply confirmed, “The lands you once governed are no more. If you want to build a new kingdom amongst humans I suggest you travel south. You are welcome to join Hallowfort but know that survival, even for one of your strength is not guaranteed anymore in what once was called Rhyvor, later Kalin and later once more part of the Red Church’s territory.”
Maro looked at Elana but the woman had her gaze locked on the fox, “I did what I could for this kingdom. I am done with being a king. Many questions remain as well as the circumstances I find myself in. Perhaps you might be of help in those regards. My wife will have her own questions. I will be in your debt should you help destroy the kingsguard and knights keeping me bound to this place.”
“I will not risk myself for you. I apologize for this. Though I believe you have found a capable warrior to help you along, charming one.” Catelyn replied.
Charming one, what the fuck. Ilea thought. So perhaps it really was something graspable, a skill or a hidden stat even. If such a thing existed.
“Certainly. Then I will wait for her to grow in strength.”
Elana spoke up then, “Perhaps with your magic, one with fire, you might be able to help me get out of here already. I will help where I can in Hallowfort should you cooperate with me.”
Me, not us? Ilea wasn’t sure what Elana’s goal was here. She wanted to learn about the current situation but with all that she had heard, confirmed by several random people, she couldn’t think to rebuild Rhyvor here?
“I might be able to help with that, one shrouded in mist. I must know however… will you challenge our sovereignty?”
Elana looked at her, “No. These lands are lost to me. I have been trapped in these halls for too long, let me learn what happened to our kingdom, our people. At least what still remains to be learned.”
The woman’s voice cracked a little at the mention of Rhyvor and its people, perhaps a glimpse at the real Elana hiding behind her mask. Or a calculated move. Ilea didn’t know but she was pretty sure Catelyn knew what she was doing.
“I will aid you, queen Invalar.” The fox replied promptly, to Ilea’s surprise.