Chapter 295 Change of Plans
“The guardians don’t provide enough of a challenge. Plus I need some advice from Maro regarding the great hall’s gate.” Terok said as he looked around the facility, waving to Goliath who was immersed in examining one of the machines.
“He asked me to check out another Rhyvor city, maybe we can go there together after I killed some of the monsters in Tremor.” Ilea replied. “And don’t worry about him, he’s barely been talking for the past two months.” The smith and their rare conversations had been good for her mental health coupled with Meditation.
Looking at the dwarf, Ilea nodded, “I see you’ve come a long way too.”
[Mage – lvl 205]
His laugh resounded thought the forges, “You bet your ass on it lassie. I assume you’ve made leaps too. Three hundred yet?”
“Not quite but soon.” Ilea replied, “Any cool new shit you can do?”
“Still not? Damn you’re taking ages.”
“Not even a year has passed since I’ve come north Terok.” She said, rolling her eyes. It’s getting close though. She wondered if the war was still going on and if Ravenhall was still standing. Don’t think too much on it Ilea. You’ll be roped into ten new things if you show yourself there. Focus on the tasks at hand. On yourself.
The dwarf shrugged, “Well I’m sure you’ll get there. New cool shit you ask? Well you’ll have to find out. Maybe we can have a bout later. Did you get new abilities at least?”
“Some.” She simply said, checking her status.
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 290
- Active: Destruction – 3rd lvl 8
- Active: Hunter Recovery – 3rd lvl 12
- Active: State of Azarinth – 3rd lvl 10
- Active: Blink – 3rd lvl 9
- Active: Azarinth Hunter Sphere – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Body of the First Hunter – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Azarinth Fighting – 3rd lvl 3
- 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 288
- Active: Veil of Ash – 3rd lvl 9
- Active: Form of Ash and Ember – 3rd lvl 4
- Active: Ash Creation – 3rd lvl 5
- Active: Embered Body Heat – 2nd lvl 20
- Active: Wave of Ember – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Ash and Ember Manipulation – 3rd lvl 4
- Passive: Ashen Wings – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Eyes of Ash – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Body of Ash – 2nd lvl 20
- Passive: Ashen Warrior – 3rd lvl 1
- Elos Standard language - lvl 6
- Harmony of the Drowned – lvl 1
- Heavy Archery – lvl 4
- Identify - lvl 8
- Meditation – 2nd lvl 20
- Veteran – lvl 6
- Arcane Magic Resistance – 2nd lvl 3
- Blast Resistance – 2nd lvl 4
- Blood Magic Resistance – lvl 14
- Blood Manipulation Resistance – lvl 4
- Corrosion Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Crystal Resistance – lvl 18
- Curse Resistance - 2nd lvl 2
- Dark Magic Resistance – lvl 12
- Death Magic Resistance – lvl 5
- Dust Magic Resistance – lvl 1
- Earth Magic Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Fear Resistance – lvl 5
- Health Drain Resistance – 2nd lvl 20
- Heat Resistance – 2nd lvl 12
- Ice Resistance – 2nd lvl 2
- Light Magic Resistance – lvl 17
- Lightning Resistance – 2nd lvl 6
- Mana Drain Resistance – 2nd lvl 20
- Mental Resistance – 2nd lvl 13
- Mist Magic Resistance – 2nd lvl 5
- Pain Tolerance – 2nd lvl 4
- Poison Resistance – 2nd lvl 9
- Silver Magic Resistance – lvl 1
- Time Magic Resistance – lvl 3
- Void Magic Resistance – lvl 7
- Water Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Wind Resistance – 2nd lvl 1
- Wood Magic Resistance – lvl 1
The improved Strength and Dexterity had made the normal Centurions even more of a joke. Ilea wasn’t sure where to put the remaining points she would get to three hundred but Dexterity, Vitality and Wisdom would be her priorities. Strength at five hundred was good enough for now she supposed. The evolutions might change things up again anyway.
“Enough to fuck you up just the same.” She smirked and looked at the dwarf.
He snorted and shook his head, “We’ll see about that young lady.”
“We will.” Ilea said, pretty sure about the outcome, even with his evolution. “How are the elves doing? You said Guardians aren’t enough but weren’t they lower than them in the first place?”
Terok started walking towards the middle section and the exit above. Ilea looked to Goliath, “I’ll be out for a while. Stay safe old forged one.”
“I am not forged young human. Do not fret. This one has survived more dangerous environments.” The smith replied, continuing his work.
I’d like to see those very much. She thought, stepping up to Terok with a smile on her face.
He crossed his arms and started floating, Ilea in turn spreading her wings as they made their way towards the center of the facility, the abyss reaching down farther than the eye could see. “To answer your question, while certainly capable to take down Guardians, higher numbers make it difficult. They’re overconfident, arrogant, lack good healing abilities and gear. Of course they come out on top but if you struggle against enemies below your level as much as they do, you’ve got potential to work on before trying to level up.”
The two of them landed near the guardrails at the top of the facility, walking towards the elevator. “Well they have improved enough that the teacher suggested training against more difficult foes. I suggested Tremor and its knights.”
“You want to see if you can beat one?” Ilea asked, “Didn’t think you’d want a challenge like that.”
“Well for starters.” Terok said and activated the elevator, the thing lighting up in green, “I don’t have to face them in close quarters. Their archery isn’t exactly the best I’ve ever seen.”
“That’s an argument. How’s Elfie doing?”
Terok shrugged, “Not seen him very often. He mostly gives advice and apparently I’m more experienced than the group, even though they’re not much younger. Well I guess that comes from living in a forest all their lives.”
What’s that supposed to mean? Ilea was a little confused but didn’t ask, not in the mood to spark a conversation about dwarven racism.
Elfie nodded when they walked out of the dungeon, the three other elves already waiting. Their levels hadn’t changed by much in the past months, Ilea noted. “You will join us in Tremor?” The elf asked.
Ilea nodded, “It’s getting tedious… perhaps I can face some of the higher leveled monsters there.”
“No way to provide Centurions for them to train against?” He asked.
Ilea shrugged, “I don’t feel like baby sitting. They can help Maro out by defeating knights. Harder enemies to face anyway, it’ll be worth it.”
He shook his head and sighed, “A selfish creature. How very human of you. Very well then. To Tremor.”
“You’re free to go in and lure Centurions out for them.” Ilea countered, the elf ignoring her statement as he started floating. Didn’t think so. She thought, all of the elves starting to float, Heranuur sprouting fiery wings. The occasional meetups with the fire elf had been rather enjoyable. Nothing groundbreaking but a nice change of pace in the few times it had happened. Ilea thought of the upcoming battles, her wings flapping in the wind as they flew through the night, Tremor the target of the quickly moving group.
Four elves, from the feared and legendary race of ruthless killers, a dwarf in his mech suit, equally as mysterious to most humans she had met so far. And out of all of them she had the highest level. A bizarre thought. Not a situation she had expected to find herself in. They won’t be any help against the Kingsguard… not against the undead rose knights either, let alone the Soul Ripper. It was difficult to gauge what the best enemy would be to face. Ilea supposed the undead rose knights as they had no known way to regenerate like the kingsguard. Their defense against mana intrusion wasn’t comparable either.
“You plan to face a Soul Ripper?” Maro looked thoughtful. “The Kingsguard is still out of reach?”
Ilea smiled, “The elves as well as Terok will face the remaining knights. I’ll give it a shot too Maro but with their defenses and the recovery you so generously provide… I doubt I have the necessary damage output.”
“How very pragmatic… where’s the passion, the lust for battle?” He smirked as he asked the question and Ilea was sure he would have added a theatrical gesture with his arms had they not been trapped inside his little necromancy machine.
“I’m close Maro. And with all my skills and Resistances I’m sure my evolutions will do quite a bit. Plus I think the Soul Ripper is a more dangerous opponent. My gut tells me as much.” Ilea said, sitting down on the nearby chair.
“I never faced them you know.” The king said seriously, “Suddenly these monsters appeared in the closest dungeon to the capital. Right in front of our doors. At night some would come out, murder everyone they came in contact with… consume parts of their bodies. Next to all the other problems and enemies we were facing. It felt like the whole world was turning against us.”
He sighed, “I thought about leaving sometimes, justgetting my team back together and moving away from all the politics, the wars. Everything we had built.”
“Why didn’t you?” Ilea asked silently. Her smile was nowhere to be found.
The king laughed, “Well I’m the king.Couldn’t just let my people and friends succumb to chaos.” His green eyes sparkled.
Ilea looked at him then, “Would you have stayed had you not been king? You lived long enough to know one or the other crisis would come to the city and kingdom you were living in.”
“Perhaps. Who knows. In the years where I had been at three hundred? Probably. I don’t believe in any gods Ilea, not in a higher power or anything of the like. I don’t believe there is a greater purpose to us here. I believe we forge our own path, set our own goals and find our own meaning. If there is something out there then fuck them. I have fought… have fought and bled for decades. I have been a part of so much, so many people’s lives. I’m not terribly fond of humans as a species, or any other race for that matter. Yet I can’t deny what I am, who I am.”
“Through the power I bear I can change the world to my liking. More than anything else I have learned that in the year before activating all this.”
Ilea smirked, “That’s pretty cheesy.”
“Cheesy? You mean romantic perhaps? Disillusioned. Mad even. Yes, I have heard many of those things. From nobles in my own court, especially when I had them executed for treason, for holding slaves or murdering citizens they thought below themselves. I didn’t grow up among them, had learned of different values, had lived a different life. Perhaps that is precisely why it was good in the end. That I was king.”
She didn’t reply, instead just looking at the wall behind him. “I would chose different today. Being king is exhausting but perhaps I could find someone suitable to fit the post while I was doing more than sit in a throne and listen to my people.”
“Didn’t sound like you sat there very often.”
He rolled his eyes, “I didn’t say I was a particularly good king. Though in my time I have seen worse, much worse. That was the main reason I didn’t give up the post.”
“What do you plan to do then? Once you’re out? Will you overthrow governments and set up laws adhering to your own code of morals, oh great king?” Ilea asked.
Again the king laughed, his eyes focusing on her, “Is that your plan? Why are you here then warrior of ash? To gain the power to accomplish that? To change the world to your own liking?” She didn’t reply as he paused, “No. I intend to listen first, see and understand. I have seen revolutions, have seen kingdoms change rapidly because of few influential people. No first, I think I would like to see what has become of this world in my absence.”
Ilea nodded, “I’m here to gain strengthbut not to topple any governments. I simply wish to have the power to choose.”
“The power to choose. I see. Well I doubt either of us would be very successful taking on the empires and kingdoms of this world. Not yet at least. Not alone.” He paused and smiled, “Know that no matter how strong a person is, there is always a choice. I believe what you wish for is to be free. Yet the freedom you seek might destroy you, take away all that makes you human. I have seen them, people I had called friends. Their unending greed for more power. In the end they fled, scared to lose what they thought they had. Listen to this old king young warrior. Cherish your humanity, your frailty and the connections you have, the people and values you care about. If you give all that up, what different are you to the monsters roaming these lands?”
It took her a minute to think about what he had said but Ilea found she had no answer for him. She had no reason to participate in the empire’s war, had slaughtered people in blind revenge. People she had met along the way used her whenever they could, only her increasing power changing the situation. Would they really have cared had she not been an asset? That’s not true. She heard herself think. Dagon didn’t ask for your help yet Ravenhall has recovered, the demons destroyed. Thanks to you.
The time she had intervened in Virilya, prevented dozens of people from being raped or murdered. It had meant little in the grand scheme. She shook her head, “Tell me about the Soul Ripper.”
He looked almost disappointed, “Of course. We found they use Void magic, move quickly to pin down their opponents before they rip out parts of them.”
“Of Their soul?” Ilea interrupted.
“What? No, their heads usually. Chests or whatever they could. If a soul exists then perhaps that too but as a Necromancer I don’t believe such a thing exists. They were durable, level estimates were between seven and nine hundred, perhaps higher even.”
“Did your troops ever manage to kill one?” She asked.
He shook his head, “No. We closed the gates at night, avoided the territory altogether but in the past months they grew more aggressive, climbed the walls instead or ate through them. When they were injured, they would flee. None of our mages could hold them long enough.”
“You think someone was responsible?”
He snorted, “Of course. They appeared in that dungeon out of nowhere. As did other dungeons in the area change. Not all of them but a select few. As if testing the surrounding forces, kingdoms and guilds. Elana was hell bent on it being dwarves.”
“What do you think?” She moved a little forward on her chair.
“I don’t know. Nobody did really. We had enough to deal with as it was. The dungeons were just another thing, one that could easily be ignored. At least at first. Now you tell me they reside in the city. I don’t think you should engage them. Not before you reach three hundred… same perhaps with the kingsguard. As much as it annoys me.” He chuckled.
“I’ll try anyway… done similarly crazy stuff since coming here.” Ilea said.
He squinted at her, “I doubt it. I haven’t… well not quite. And I’ve done some… stupid shit in my lifetime Ilea.”
“Ever faced down a dragon?” She asked, making him laugh again.
“No… well I have never found one, otherwise perhaps I might have tried. Just to be sure, don’t do that. The few records we had on them were everything else but reassuring. I simply denied their existence.”
“Why? Because you would have wanted to fight them?”
He smiled, “No. Because if it really is as powerful of a creature as the legends tell, there was nothing humans as we were could do to stop it.”
“A lot of time has passed. I’m close to three hundred… after two and a half years, give or take a month. I’m sure there are humans or people of other species out there much more powerful than me.”
Maro smiled, “That is true. Who knows how many powerful necromancer kings are hidden below the surface, just waiting to be dug up. Well more than anything else it makes me excited to see it all. To fight you, see how strong you really are. My wars are over, my people dead and forgotten. Perhaps you’re right. Maybe I would face a dragon if I ever found one.”
She nodded, “First I have to get you out. Haven’t even checked out the city you asked me to find. We were busy.” Ilea said and looked away, “Sorry.”
“Don’t mention it Ilea. You don’t owe me, if anything I owe you. My life and whatever I can give. Elana is free thanks to you and Catelyn. I can’t thank you enough for that.”