Jim closed the interface and found the two older men looking at him expectantly.
“Well then, James,” the captain said, a smile on his face, “I wonder if your rabbit-slaying prowess applies to larger game. How would you like to join my men on a boar hunt? You could learn much from them.” The alderman nodded his approval at the words, evidently looking forward to roast hog for the evening meal.
Quest received: We’re going on a boar hunt. We’re going to catch a big one.
Join the mercenary forces on a boar hunt. The caravan needs food and you need skills.
Jim almost choked when he read the quest’s title but managed to cover it with a cough. He briefly considered turning the quest down due to the lack of experience, but the rewards and the encouragement he’d received from alderman Andrew made him think otherwise. The mercenary captain smiled again when Jim accepted the quest.
“Corporal Langdon.” The corporal that Captain Jonathon had called for hustled over and came to attention. “The caravan is running low on food. Take ten men and Mr. Cartwright here and head into the woods. The scouts reported sighting boar tracks to the south.”
“Yes, sir!” The corporal saluted, gestured for Jim to follow and walked toward the back of the column. Jim focussed on the man.
|Langdon, level 5 Human soldier.
“Martin tells me you’re the reason we got a hot rabbit for dinner last night. That right, Mr. Cartwright?”
|Bonus objective: Corporal Langdon has initiated a dialogue with you. Subtly inquire about him and his background to find personal or hidden information.
Rewards: You will learn the ‘conversation’ skill; +1 charisma.
“That’s true, Corporal Langdon… Are you and Martin…close?” Jim felt incredibly awkward prying into the man’s life.
“He’s my cousin, ya see. His ma’ had him join up to Jonathon’s lot ‘cause of me. Told me to keep him safe.”
“…Will he be joining us on the hunt?”
“Course! He’s great with a pig-sticker. Grew up on the farm, ya see. We both did. Gotta be careful ‘round him though. Likes to get right in close; got gored last time. He was lucky, though. I got it worse from his ma’ than he did from that boar.”
“Would you like me to have a word with him, Corporal? I may have some sway over him.”
“Would ya? I’d appreciate that a lot.”
|Bonus objective complete: For questioning Corporal Langdon, you have learned that he would like you to keep his cousin, Private Martin, safe.
Reward: You have learned the ‘conversation’ skill; +1 charisma.
|Conversation: Conversation is the basic ‘charisma’ skill. Conversation allows you to discover hidden details and quests from people that you talk to. Your success in finding hidden conversation topics is increased by charisma.|
Corporal Langdon led Jim over to one of the mercenary wagons. In short order, Langdon had gathered Martin and nine unnamed soldiers. They quickly outfitted themselves with the standard mercenary dark leather and long boar spears with crossbars beneath the blade.
|Level 5 Human soldier.
The first thing Jim noticed about the unnamed soldiers was that they were much weaker than any of the named people he’d encountered from the game: They had less health than him and he was a 66-year-old cripple! Whatever the case, they marched in an orderly manner to the right – the south, evidently – side of the road; the opposite of the way Jim had gone when hunting rabbits.
Once the men crossed the tree line, the formation they’d marched in split apart, and the men’s steps became quieter and less regular. Jim followed Langdon and Martin, unsure of what they were doing, for ten or so minutes, before one of the unnamed soldiers returned.
“Corporal, we’ve spotted boar tracks and fresh spore. It’s a big one,” the man whispered excitedly.
“Lead the way.” Langdon hefted his spear and gestured for us to follow. Jim tried not to make too much noise, but the steady clomp of his walking staff ruined any hope of stealth. After more minutes of hiking through the brush, they reached a copse of trees where the other eight unnamed soldiers waited. The men made a series of hand-gestures at Langdon and, while Jim couldn’t understand them, he got the gist of it.
The boar lurked in the clearing.
The nine unnamed soldiers, Langdon, and Martin distributed themselves among the trees in a rough semicircle. Rather than shadowing Langdon as he had been so far, Jim decided to follow Martin, remembering the corporal’s earlier request. The boar’s snuffling penetrated the soft sounds of the light forest. The soldiers got closer. Martin got closer still.
Jim followed only two steps behind Martin.
The instant Martin rounded their tree trunk, the boar charged. Jim wasn’t sure if the boar targeted them due to the over-eager Martin, or the pounding drum that passed for his movement over rough terrain, but, either way, they were in the shit.
Martin lowered his spear and looked behind him. There was nothing to buttress the haft. He and Jim had scant seconds to act.
|Hidden objective: JUMP ON THE SPEAR!
Reward: DON’T DIE!
Jim jumped onto the spear.
A heartbeat later, an immense force shoved against Jim. He willed the spear to stay put. He willed himself downward. The spear held. Jim didn’t even realise that he’d clenched his eyes shut until he opened them and saw an enormous boar, its tusks inches away from Martin.
|Giant Boar, level 1 Critter (Elite)
Status effect: Impaled (unable to move); bleeding
Martin backed away slowly from the boar, straining to hold the spear in place as it bucked and heaved against the weapon. He turned his head and smiled at Jim.
|Hidden objective complete: Neither you nor Martin died.
Reward: +1 strength
The other soldiers swarmed the stricken boar, thrusting into its sides repeatedly. Jim watched closely as Langdon ordered the men around.
“You there! Back away from the head. If he breaks loose, you’re a goner! You! Watch the hooves!”
Langdon brandished his spear, thrusting deep into the boar’s belly, but, at the same time, he used his body and light touches to guide the other soldiers into safer attack patterns. The man was very skilled at leadership for a corporal.
A stream of -12s and -13s poured from the pig’s sides as the soldiers set to. As the giant boar weakened and ceased thrashing, Martin stood up from his crouch and, with a mighty strike, slammed the spear he and Jim held deeper into the boar’s chest. -24 (Critical hit).
|Private Martin has slain Giant Boar. You receive no experience for killing a critter. Loot: 1 Large Animal Corpse.|
|Large Animal Corpse
Forage (requires foraging to harvest)
Jim was a little surprised by the loot: The body of the boar itself. Not only that, unlike the rabbits, the boar’s corpse was listed as rare; he hoped they’d get a better reward when the returned. The soldiers had to tie a rope around the thing and half-drag the corpse all the way back to the road.
When they got to the road, Jim’s heart sank. The caravan was already underway. Lugging the boar behind them, there was no way the mercenaries would be able to catch up before the wagons stopped for a midday meal.
They made better time dragging the beast on the road than they had in the bushes and were able to catch up to the wagon train without losing much of their own lunch time. As the hunting party came within sight of the sentries, lunch in tow, the men of the caravan cheered. Soldiers and refugees alike patted Langdon and Martin on the back as they passed. Even the old crone Anne smiled at Jim when she saw the boar he’d obviously helped kill. They hauled the dead pig up to the front of the caravan, where a stained, open-topped wagon was pulled by two horses.
Langdon called a halt to the driver, briefly, and had the unnamed soldiers heave the giant boar into the bed of the wagon before he dismissed them. He beckoned Jim to join him in the wagon and, with difficulty, Jim joined Langdon.
|Quest complete: We’re going on a boar hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. You have delivered the required Large Animal Corpse to the caravan and observed crucial skills.
Reward: You have learned the ‘foraging’ skill; you have learned the ‘tactics’ skill; You have received a set of light armor; 20 copper coins. Assist Corporal Langdon in skinning and dressing the corpse to receive your Animal Hide and Large Animal Meat.
|Foraging: Foraging is the basic resource-gathering skill. Foraging is a required part of all crafting professions, and, with it, you may gather and process raw materials including skins, cooking ingredients, herbs, metals and other rare resources.|
|Tactics: Tactic is the basic leadership skill. Tactics is required to lead group combat, and, with it, you may lead up to ten others in battle. This skill can be improved by the ‘leadership’ talent.|
Basic Equipment: This set of basic equipment will equip you with the basic gear required to adventure within Platinum Online
“Come here, James. Help me skin this beasty. If we’s quick, we might be able to get it cleaned and dressed in time for dinner.”
Jim slowly worked his way around the giant animal and sat next to Langdon.
“Ya any good at skinning?” Langdon asked.
“Here. Take my knife. I’ll show ya.”
1—2 slashing damage.
Jim sat and learned how to skin and dress the boar from Langdon. Jim suspected that skinning in-game was much simpler than real life, as all he had to do was run the knife around the boar and cut away at the flesh that held the skin to the muscle. The sky had started to darken by the time Jim felt comfortable with his new skill and they’d finished skinning and butchering the boar. The rare quality of the corpse, it turned out, meant that the boar had more meat, four instead of two, and a tougher hide. Jim offered the knife back to Langdon.
“Nah. Keep it. I haven’t thanked ya for saving Martin’s arse yet. Take the hide and one of the legs, too. Ya’ve earned em.”
Jim slipped the hide and meat into his inventory.
|Large Animal Meat
|Tough Animal Hide
Jim sat with Langdon as he talked of how terrible life was under the new human king until the sky truly darkened and the wagon came to a halt. Jim bade farewell to the friendly corporal and walked back to his wagon. He helped the driver guide the wagon into its spot in the defensive circle, then joined a group of refugees by one of the bonfires.
Jim lowered himself gently onto a log between Vanessa and Anne. Looking at Anne, who scowled at him, but not as viciously as she once had, Jim smiled and pulled out the massive haunch of hog-meat he’d accepted from Langdon.
“I don’t suppose any of you know how to cook this?” Jim asked, holding the meat aloft.
Anne snatched the haunch out of his hands, muttering about “the best, damned roast he’d ever eat.”
After a few hours or so of conversation, again about the terrible human king, the smell of roasting meat drew dozens more refugees to their bonfire. Alderman Andrew approached Jim.
“I see the hunt was a success. May I join you?”
Jim sat, ate and laughed with the Alderman and refugees late into the night until all the others had begged off to sleep. Jim wasn’t tired, but he also didn’t feel like hunting rabbits tonight. He lay back, relaxed by the dying firelight, and watched the unfamiliar stars twinkle overhead.
Support "The Forgotten Man -- Platinum Online"
My name's Tim and I'm writing Forgotten Man Online, a game-literature light novel web-series that I plan to release here, on Royal Road, and eventually hopefully through Amazon's Kindle platform.
I studied writing at university for three years and then became a high-school English teacher in Australia (6 years in). Hopefully, that means you will find my content to be of a high standard and that you will enjoy it, provided you can stand the British spelling of words :).