Still caught in the grip of rage, Thorn’s eyes fixed on the throne where the greater werewolf had lounged when they first arrived. Carrying the corpse of the greater werewolf in one hand and dragging the six foot long metal spike in the other, Thorn stalked to the throne. A warm golden light surrounded Thorn as he advanced, stabilizing his injuries and restoring his strength. Sitting down on the throne, Thorn gave off a barbaric air.
His ruined and bloody armor and the massive rusty spike resting against his leg presented a frightening picture, reinforced by the body of the greater werewolf dangling loosely from his other hand, its legs splayed across the steps leading up to the throne. Across the room, Velin kept Mina back, continuing to heal Thorn as she watched the blood in his eyes fade.
After a few minutes of frozen silence, Thorn woke from his rage, the day’s last light peeking through the window and bathing the room in a soft glow. As he blinked, the room changed, its dungeon-like air vanishing, replaced by decoration one would expect in an ancient castle.
Old but regal tapestries adorned the walls, faded and moth-eaten. A red carpet ran down the center of the room from the large double doors, leaning precariously on their hinges, all the way up to the platform where he sat in a large wooden throne. Around the outside of the keep, the thick, gloomy mist that had blocked out the sun slowly faded away. A ripple seemed to pass through the valley, lifting the silent, oppressive air that had once smothered the forest.
His mind still bleary, Thorn ran his hands over the chair, marveling at the detailed workmanship that had created the lifelike wolves that formed the armrests. The corpse of the greater werewolf had disappeared from his hand and turned into a large black wolfskin carpet, its scarred head staring at the door from under the wolf throne. After blinking a few times, a notification caught Thorn’s attention, and he clicked it open, resulting in a torrent of messages blocking his vision.
By the door, Mina slowly calmed down the frantic Akira, stroking the ailuridae’s fur as she observed the changes in the dungeon.
“Boy, am I glad we’re his friends,” she mumbled. “He just soloed a boss with no effort.”
“On that, we agree. Apologizing to him was certainly the best idea you have ever had.” A small smile grew on Velin’s lips as she watched Thorn, who was frowning on his new throne. “Come on, we should go greet the new Lord Greymane.”
As they approached, Velin watched Thorn carefully. She had seen a frightening rage in his eyes as he ripped the greater werewolf apart and was slightly worried that rage still consumed him. Seeing that his eyes were clear, she gave a small sigh of relief and bowed her head slightly as Mina spoke.
“I can’t believe you killed that monster by yourself!”
“Only thanks to your help.” Thorn smiled, standing from the wolf throne and walking down the steps. “Velin, if it wasn’t for you and Akira healing me, I don’t think I would have survived.”
“Happy to help. Did you complete the quest?”
“Yeah, though we still have to go back to the temple in the village to unlock it as a respawn point.”
“It looks like you unlocked your title, though.”
“Yup. I’m officially the new Lord Greymane.” Thorn swiped through the notifications that had popped up after the fight.
A cunning wolf chooses to avoid the strikes of its enemy. But when they must take a blow, they rely on their tough hide to minimize the damage. Due to gaining twice the necessary favor, [Wolf Hide] has unlocked, and you have cleared the penalty for unlocking [Wolf's Rage] out of order.
[Wolf Hide] increases the defensive capabilities of any armor you wear.
Quest Updated - Lord of Greymane - Complete
Elder Thomas, the Greymane Village leader, has asked you to break the curse hanging over these lands in order to claim your position as the Lord of Greymane. In order to break the curse, sit in the Wolf Throne while wearing the Ring of the Wolf Lord. As an added requirement, defeat all of the werewolves in the castle.
1/1 Greater Werewolf
Title: Lord Greymane
Area: Greymane Castle
Area: Fang Forest
Area: Greymane Village
Area: The Twins
Lord Greymane (Unlocked)
You have defeated the previous Lord Greymane in battle and claimed his castle as your own. You are now known to natives in the surrounding area as Lord Greymane, ruler of Greymane Castle and the surrounding lands.
Unlock Ruler Management Screen
Ruler Management Screen Unlocked
All good rulers need to be able to manage their territory. Access the [RMS] by saying RMS. As you gain areas, they will be added to your [RMS], allowing you to manage them more effectively. Currently your [RMS] governs the following areas:
Greymane Village has been unlocked as a starter village. Players who start the game as Wolfkin or become Wolfkin will start in Greymane Village. Return the statue of Hati to the temple in Greymane Village to enable it as a respawn point.
Due to the opening of a new starter village, Wolfkin has been unlocked as a playable race. New players or players with a corresponding race change token will be able to select Wolfkin as their race in 14 days.
Sorting through all the various alerts took a while, and by the time he reached the end, Thorn had a better idea of what was going on. By killing the greater werewolf and sitting on the Wolf Throne, he had completed both of his objectives. Not only had he lifted the curse for the quest that Elder Thomas had given him, but he had also unlocked his [Lord Greymane] title, and now he was officially the Wolf Lord, ruler of Greymane Castle and the surrounding lands.
Mina and Velin had gone to explore the rest of the second floor of the keep while Thorn looked through the [RMS]. Opening it up, he began to scan its options. The basic menu was divided into four sections, each representing an aspect of governance. In the bottom right, there was a timer showing there were fourteen days before players would be able to select Greymane as their starting location.
The [RMS - Economy] tab controlled things like taxes, trade goods, guild rules, and various agricultural sliders that determined what seeds the native farmers had access to. After that came the [RMS - Citizen] tab that controlled various decisions related to the population of his land as well as containing statistics on the levels of happiness, wealth, health and other factors that his subjects currently enjoyed.
The other two tabs were the self-explanatory [RMS - Military] and [RMS - Diplomacy] tabs. All in all, the [RMS] was complex and as highly detailed as Thorn expected. The only things that took Thorn by surprise were the fact that the Diplomacy tab also contained a plethora of options for running an intelligence agency and that the Military tab already had a number of soldier natives listed as waiting to be claimed.
Curious, Thorn selected the name of a captain and pressed the button to claim his soldier. A moment passed, and then, with a slight popping sound and a bright flash of light, a large wolfkin stepped out of the air.
Easily standing 7’ 6”, the muscular but lean wolfkin looked quite dashing in his brown and grey leathers, a massive longbow slung across his back and a sword at his side. Black fur from the top of his ears to the end of his tail, except for a section around his neck where the fur was tipped with silver, created a striking contrast with his green eyes. His status appeared about the same time he did, and Thorn noticed that the native count in the [RMS] rose by one.
Titles: [Vassal of the Wolf Lord]
Abilities: [Wolf’s Howl], [One with the Shadows]
“My Lord,” said Del’har, falling to a knee, his right hand over his heart and his head bowed in a typical warrior salute. “I am here to serve.”
“Oh, eh...rise?” Thorn coughed embarrassedly at the unexpected action.
“Thank you, my Lord. Have you decided how I may best serve you?”
“Uh, no. How would I go about doing that?”
“Simply select the citizen tab in the [RMS] and select what role I should be assigned next to my name, my Lord.”
“Oh, got it, thanks. What sorts of skills do you have?” Thorn asked as he fiddled with the [RMS] interface.
“My Lord, I am trained as a ranger, with a focus in using a bow and tracking. I am also trained as a leader, and before my fall, I was the leader of the Greymane’s First Company.”
Thorn mused for a bit, considering various options before finally deciding that Del’har would take up his old position. Just like that, Greymane Keep gained its first captain. Going back to the military tab, Thorn found that the other soldiers listed were now grayed out. Seeing a symbol in the top right corner of the screen with a zero next to it, Thorn realized that he was out of the resource he had used to purchase Del’har.
Putting that aside for the moment, Thorn looked through the other tabs. As he did so, a couple of things really stuck out to him.
First, the economy of the area was in shambles. Currently, the castle required 300 gold a month to upkeep, but since it hadn’t been paid in years, there was an absolutely massive amount of work that needed to be done to restore the castle. On top of that, the surrounding area brought in a bit less than 400 gold a month in taxes, but taxes hadn’t been collected in years, either, which resulted in a completely empty treasury.
Second, Thorn currently only had one subordinate, Captain Del’har, and the whole region only had 65 people listed as citizens. The castle alone needed a minimum of 75 people to operate normally, and while the surrounding lands could easily support thousands more, at least 50 people were required for Greymane Village to operate.
The first problem was easy enough as Thorn had incredibly deep pockets and could simply finance his new land indefinitely without any issue. The second problem was trickier. The lack of population meant that he couldn’t just throw money around and hope to succeed. While it looked like he could buy the currency he needed to hire native soldiers, he really needed builders, hunters, farmers and other skilled craftsmen, which were much harder to come by. Facing a massive shortage of people, there did not seem to be an immediate way to improve the situation.
The girls returned from looking around the keep. As they approached Thorn, they were stopped by the tall wolfkin captain, who rested his hand on the pommel of his sword as he watched them warily. Seeing the protective gesture, Thorn smiled and waved him aside.
“Captain, these are my companions Mina and Velin. You don’t need to stop them. Mina, Velin, this is Del’har, the captain of the First Company.”
His eyes still alert, Captain Del'har greeted the girls with a warrior’s salute and stepped to the side, staying at the bottom of the steps leading up to the throne.
“Well, aren’t you moving up in the world,” Mina teased, laughing. “You have your own minions and everything.”
“Came with this ruined castle and tons of debt. The whole region is an absolute wreck. I’m honestly not sure if this title is a good or bad thing.”
“Definitely a good thing,” Velin assured him, handing him a silver statue. “We found that in the lord’s chambers. It looks like the statue you need to return to unlock the spawn point. So far, things have turned out as we planned. What are you worrying about?”
“The valley is in shambles, and we only have two weeks until players start to show up.”
“Sure, but if we can weather this first rough patch, controlling the region will bring a lot of money,” Mina chimed in.
“Eh,” Thorn responded with a shrug, uninterested by the earning potential of the region. “It looks like the first issue we have to deal with is the lack of people. Rebuilding the castle, expanding Greymane Village, and harvesting the resources of the region are going to take a large population. Given what we know about how valuable controlling a region is, we will soon have people coming to see if they can wrestle this area away from us, and we need people of our own if we want to stop them. But, to support people, we need infrastructure, which we need people to build. See the problem?”
“I do, but it is nothing that can’t be dealt with.” Velin nodded. “It seems like the biggest issue facing us is time. Do you know how long we have until the region unlocks?”
“Let me check.” Pulling up the notification, Thorn looked at the timer that was counting down.
“Thirteen days and twenty three something hours. So fourteen in-game days. Two days in the real world.”
“That is not much time.” Her brow furrowing, Velin thought for a moment. “Normally, situations like this are handled by guilds because of the need for manpower and financial resources. Honestly, the easiest route is to sell this information to a guild and let them deal with it.”
“Would they let me keep my position as Lord Greymane?”
“Probably not.” The elven War Priestess shook her head. “Not unless you joined them. And even then, they may not.”
“Then that isn’t going to happen.” Thorn smiled, his glinting teeth reminding Mina of a wolf.
“My Lord, I might have some ideas regarding this situation,” the wolfkin captain said, dropping to a knee.
“Please stop doing that,” replied Thorn. “If you have to, just salute or something.”
“Of course, my lord.” The tall Wolfkin stood and crossed his right fist over his heart in a warrior’s greeting. “During my youth, the castle’s upkeep was the responsibility of the residents of Greymane Village. As Lord Greymane, you can assign them to work on the keep.”
“True, but honestly, they will have their hands full with rebuilding the village, so we cannot count on them for much.” Thorn rubbed his chin. “There is a lot to do everywhere and not nearly enough hands to do it.”
“Well, uh.” Captain Del'har paused for a moment and looked like he was lost in thought. After a serious internal struggle, the tall wolfkin looked at Thorn and spoke in a subdued tone, “My lord, we should take a trip to the lands beyond the valley.”
“You mean the mountains?”
“Yes, my Lord. There is a group of my people who used to live here but were forced to move after the curse twisted the former lord. Now that the curse has been lifted it might be possible for us to bring them back, if you’ll accompany me to go talk to them.”
“Are they soldiers?” Mina asked, remembering the group that they had encountered in the tunnel leading to Davyos’ Fall.
“No, they are the descendants of the monks who used to live in the Temple of the Moon. They were once warrior monks, but, due to the strength of the werewolves, they fled to the mountains where they have lived ever since. If you could bring them back to the valley, you would gain a strong workforce.”
“Are they still monks?” Thorn asked, curious. “Are there still Night Walkers among them?”
“Yes, my Lord, though there have not been many Night Walkers for the past few generations, ever since the last Temple was moved from the valley. These monks are a mix of the descendants of the Moon Guardians, who were tasked with protecting the valley, and the remnants of the Night Walkers. Over time, as the memory of Hati, the Moon Wolf, faded, so too did their power. By the time the werewolf arrived and corrupted Gargish, the monastery was nothing but a shell of what it had once been, and the few remaining Moon Guardians had no choice but to join them and flee.”
“What makes you think they will join us?” Velin cut in.
“The Wolfkin are a proud race, and we serve the Greymane.” The captain bristled at Velin’s question. “My Lord, as the one who freed the valley from the werewolf’s curse and claimed the wolf throne, you are the only one the wolfkin will follow.”
“Excellent.” Thorn nodded. “Let's go tomorrow. I am going to head to Greymane Village. I’ll be back once I’ve had a chance to talk to Elder Thomas.”
“Should we come with you?” Mina asked.
“No, you and Velin can stay here. I’ll move faster by myself.” Thorn shook his head at Mina’s question. “Captain, please help these three ladies take inventory of what in this dump is still usable.”
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Bio: My name is Seth Ring and I am a writer. I create worlds and tell the stories of those who inhabit them. I love exploring these new worlds with other people. To get advanced access to chapters you can support me on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/SethRing.