General Experience Earned
Stamina Use: 35
Mana Use: 2416
Skill Experience Earned
Extend Aura: 286
Amplify Aura: 286
Detection: 1200 [Rank Up]
Aura Focus: 24
Intrinsic Clarity: 2416 [Rank Up]
Richmond Rain Stroudwater
Refrigerate (3/10) Exp: 194/400
23-26 cold (fcs) damage per second to entities and environment
Sufficient damage causes slow
Range: 3 meters
Cost: 15 mp/s
Extend Aura (5/10) Exp: 316/1100
Extend aura range by 5 meters
Multiply aura mana cost by 200%
Purify (6/10) Exp: 1357/1600
Purify poison, corruption, and contamination
Range: 6 meters
Cost: 60 mp/min
Winter (2/10) Exp: 116/200
Multiply M.Regen by 120% for all entities
Range: 2 meters
Cost: 2 mp/hr
Intrinsic Clarity (9/10) Exp: 1306/3700
Multiply base mana regeneration by 280%
Amplify Aura (5/10) Exp: 307/1100
Multiply aura intensity by 150%
Multiply aura mana cost by 200%
Detection (5/10) Exp: 65/2200
Sense selected items of interest
Not occluded by mundane materials
Resolution: 0.6 meters
Range: 5 meters
Cost: 5 mp/s
Aura Focus (1/10) Exp: 24/200
Focus on an aura to boost its output
Multiply aura intensity by 120%
Multiply aura range by 120%
Multiply aura mana cost by 120%
User loses all external senses while focusing
Free Skill Points: 1
Rain was sitting in the guild tavern trying to decide what to do with his skill point. He already had his plan for the day all set out. He was just finishing his breakfast of eggs and bacon as he flicked through his menus, looking at skills and trying to decide where to invest his last point.
Velocity is tempting, but I kinda want to save this point in case I need something later. I guess I can just leave it free for now. It isn't like I don't have enough skills to practice. What happens when a skill gets to 10, I wonder?
Rain closed out his menus and waved to Khurt as he got up to leave, starting to take his plate over to the counter. Khurt stopped him with a hand and told him to just leave it on the table, thanking him again for cleaning his kitchen the night before. He'd made Rain breakfast for free as a reward for the spotless workspace he had found waiting for him when he opened up the tavern that morning. Gus had apparently explained the arrangement between Rain and Rankin about free lodging to all of the guild employees, but Khurt was so happy with the results that he had thrown in a free breakfast as a special, one-time, personal thank you.
Rain thanked Khurt again for the meal and left the guild, trading his pack for a large basket of torches on his way out. When he had gone to the quest hall earlier that morning, Gus had flagged him down and pushed a quest slip into his hands. The man had seemed a little on edge as he had explained the quest to Rain. Gus had been sweating, so Rain had decided to help him out with the request instead of exploring the city as he had planned. The reward helped with his decision as well, and Rain had accepted the quest to Gus’s relief.
Ten Tel, just for changing out the dead torches in the sewer? Is it really so important that it had Gus on edge like that? Maybe he couldn’t get anyone to take it? There must have been more to it, it felt like he wanted me out of the guild for some reason. He almost choked when I told him I was going to have breakfast first. What is going to happen in the guild today, and why doesn’t Gus want me there? He didn’t even let me ask; he just ran off as soon as I promised I would leave after I ate.
Rain turned upstream when he reached the bottom of the sewer stairs and started to jog along the flowing water. He was being a little careful with his footing in the dim light, but nothing like his former, slow exploration. He knew this section of the tunnel, and he really couldn't bring himself to be cautious about slimes after the encounter with the dark hounds. The basket of torches had straps to carry it on his back and it was weighing him down quite a bit, but it was manageable.
“Jog jog jog, I hate jogging, this is my jogging song,” Rain huffed and puffed as he moved down the tunnel, making noise deliberately to attract slimes. He wasn't sure if they had a sense of hearing at all, but there was no harm in it, so he decided to humor himself and make the attempt. He was really feeling out of shape. All the walking he had been doing had convinced him to try to make an effort to improve his fitness a bit so he wasn't so sore and tired when he went to bed every night.
No cars in this world, and no subway, so my own two legs better be up to it. Fuck I hate jogging.
Rain pulled to a stop as he heard the sound of a slime detaching from the ceiling and plopping to the ground behind him. He had run right under it, too fast for it to land on him. Grinning, he spun and activated refrigerate. The slime died before it had a chance to recover from its fall, large chunks of it freezing and tearing its outer membrane apart. Rain canceled his aura before it froze solid and sat, disregarding the growing puddle creeping towards him. He activated purify with aura focus, the smell of the slime vanishing along with his other senses.
Get wrecked, slime.
He gave it a good 20 seconds before he canceled his aura and opened his eyes. The tunnel was spotless, no sign of the battle remaining other than a single Tel shining from where it lay near the edge of the waterway. Rain smiled, climbing to his feet and collecting it, adding it to his supply.
Mana isn't even below three quarters. The focus ring was the right choice!
Dusting off the knees of his leather pants unnecessarily, Rain resumed jogging down the tunnel, singing his jogging song. Killing the slime had been easy, trivial even.
I can do this all day! Ok, maybe not. Gah, my knees. Fuck jogging.
Rain continued down the tunnel in this manner, occasionally using detection to look for slimes and Tel whenever his mana got near full. He didn't find any before he reached the tunnel that he had helped to unclog before. Pausing to rest, Rain listened for any sound of slimes but heard nothing.
Carefully, he stepped down into the ankle-deep flow of water in the side tunnel, crossed it, and climbed up the far side of the channel. He used purify to clean off his shoes, relieved that his boots were water-tight enough to keep his socks dry.
He set a slower pace as he continued down the tunnel, partly out of caution at the unfamiliar section of the waterway, but mostly because he was out of breath from the exercise. He lit a torch from one burning on the wall, seeing that there were no more spots of light off in the distance.
Time to get to work.
Rain looked for sconces on the wall as he walked. He swapped out the exhausted torches with fresh ones as he found them, lighting each one before moving on as the request had indicated. While he was working, Rain was interrupted by a group of three more slimes that had squirmed their way up out of the waterway behind him. He dispatched them easily, though only one of them dropped a Tel. Over the course of the morning, he found several more groups of slimes as he continued replacing torches.
That last group brings it up to fifteen slimes in total today. These things are everywhere around here. They must like the dark sections more than the torchlight. Maybe that is what this quest is for? Light the torches to keep the slimes away?
Rain came to a halt as he reached a large intersection in the waterway. He only had one torch left, the burning one he was holding. Relieved to be done, he swapped it for a dead one on the side of the tunnel and threw the burned out torch into the basket. He hunkered down, waiting for his mana to regenerate.
By his reckoning, he should be somewhere near the center of the city. He had passed several more side passages feeding into the main waterway, some carrying filthy water and other things into the channel to be swept out of the city.
There must be a system of pipes from the river to keep all this flowing. I'm impressed. This must have been hell to build without an excavator.
Just as he was about to start heading back, he was startled by a brilliant flash of white light from down the left branch of the intersection. Listening hard, he thought he could hear a man yelling. The sound was muffled, and came echoing along the stone arch of the tunnel. Another flash of light brightened the darkness and in its light Rain saw that the tunnel was blocked by a dark mass of some sort.
Shit, there is someone down here. Sounds like they are fighting.
Rain grabbed the burning torch back from the wall and clambered up the ledge into the side tunnel, the basket of spent torches forgotten. He could hear the man’s shouting more clearly as he approached, along with the sound of splashing and a slurping, sucking sound. Rain quickened his pace, his torchlight revealing the blockage to be a wall of slime holding together sticks, dead leaves, and other detritus. It filled the tunnel completely on his side. The water in the channel was flowing through a gap at the top of the barrier on the other side of the tunnel. It splashed down onto the far walkway before flowing back into the channel. The shouting could be heard coming from the gap in the barrier, along with intermittent flashes of white light.
“Hey! Are you OK?!” Rain shouted, studying the barrier and trying to think of a way through it.
“Hey! Where are you! I can't… Gah, damn thing, die already!” came the voice from the other side of the wall, followed by another flash of light.
Rain activated purify at maximum strength, not using aura focus as he needed to be able to see. He threw his torch to the ground to dig at the slime with both hands, pulling free branches and clumps of filth and hurling them away. His aura was helping quite a bit, loosening the slime and letting him break it up with his hands. Soon, the barrier started to give. The force of the water was breaking through it and rapidly widening the gap.
“Fuck! Should have thought this through!”
Rain grabbed for an empty iron torch sconce as the barrier gave way completely, the water rushing into the tunnel. The flow extinguished his torch as bits of the barrier broke off and were carried down the tunnel.
Rain hung on desperately as the water tried to tear him from the wall. As he yelled in the darkness, something heavy crashed into him, breaking his grip and knocking him over and into the waterway. He clung to the object, identifying it as a person as they both were swept rapidly down the tunnel. The water was overflowing the banks of the channel and giving him no way to get back to his feet. Rain pushed the man away and fought to keep his head above water as he was swept back towards the intersection. The flow washed him straight over the small ledge and into the larger channel in a wave of fetid water.
Rain swam hard to get out into calmer water, spluttering and choking as his feet found purchase on the bottom of the channel. He was able to push himself to his feet once he got out from under the waterfall pouring into the intersection.
A glowing white light was coming towards him down the passage rapidly. The man had summoned some sort of light and Rain grabbed for him as he was swept over the waterfall. He caught him before he could be swept away and yanked at the fabric of the man's clothes, dragging him out into the calmer water. The light was coming from a glowing ball hovering around the man's head. Rain heaved, throwing the man's torso up onto the dry ledge of the walkway, then levered himself up and out of the channel. He grabbed the man's arms and pulled him out of the flowing water as the man coughed and spluttered.
Rain panted, watching as the flow into the intersection continued unabated. Abruptly, the water cut off, the flow rapidly dwindling to nothing.
Something blocked the passage again.
Rain retched and fought not to vomit, re-activating purify as he coughed and tried to clear his throat of the foul water. The skill quickly removed the horrible taste from the back of his mouth, but he left it running. The light from the orb flickered worryingly and Rain looked down at the man he’d pulled from the water. He had rolled over on to his back and was coughing weakly. There was a line of blood running down his face from a large gash on his forehead. The man's eyes rolled back in his head and the orb of light winked out of existence.
Rain cursed and moved over to the man, trying to see if he was breathing by the faint glow of purify. He was relieved to see that the man seemed to be just unconscious, his chest rising and falling weakly. Rain pressed his hands to the wound on the man’s head, trying to stem the flow of blood while not jostling him too much. The cut didn't seem to be too bad; it was bleeding a lot, but it didn't seem life-threatening.
Shit, he must have bashed his head against the side of the channel. I hope he wakes up, I don't know how to treat a concussion. I really need a healing skill.
Slowly, the flow of the blood stopped, and the man's eyes flickered. Rain slumped back in relief, letting purify drop and plunging them back into darkness. The man groaned and shifted, trying to sit up.
“Hey, careful!” Rain said, reaching out and pressing the man back down, trying to keep him from falling back into the waterway.
“Aaah, who...” the man managed, clearly disoriented and in quite a bit of pain.
“It is ok. Stay still.”
The man fought him for a moment, then relaxed, slumping back to rest his head against the floor.
“Oww,” he said, weakly.
The two stayed like that for a few minutes as the adrenaline drained from Rain's system to be replaced by exhaustion and pain. He had acquired quite a number of bruises, and he was freezing from the icy water saturating his clothes. Purify had taken care of the mess, but it did nothing for the moisture.
Fucking hell, feels like I was flushed down a toilet, ugh.
Rain leaned in as he heard the man struggle to speak. “What?”
“...thank..you,” the man managed, weakly.
“Any time,” Rain replied, smiling in relief.
The injured man coughed out a weak laugh. Suddenly there was light as the orb returned to float around the man's head.
Rain watched as he slowly pushed himself up into a sitting position, wincing and holding his hand to his head as he inspected the damage.
“Are you ok?” Rain asked again, concerned.
“No,” the man replied, wincing, “I <something> to <something>.”
“Sorry, I don't know that word,” Rain said.
Damn language. At least if he is using sentences, he is probably fine.
“What?” the man asked.
“My language is not good. Sorry,” Rain replied.
“Oh. Well <something>, I <something>. Thank you,” the man said, scooting over to the wall and leaning against it to rest with his eyes closed.
Rain joined him, watching him carefully in case he passed out again. The man had dark skin with long, straight black hair tied back in a ponytail. He looked to be about Rain’s own age and his black robe was sodden from the water. He was clearly a mage of some sort if the glowing orb of light wasn't enough of a clue. There was a bronze adventurer's plate hanging from around his neck.
“Hello, my name is Rain,” Rain said, offering the man his hand.
The man took his hand and shook it, “Val,” he replied, then let his hand fall back to his side with a wet thump.
Rain paused to catch his breath at the top of the stairs, worn out from having hauled a semi-lucid Val all the way back to the entrance. The man could barely walk and Rain was already tired from the morning's exertion. Not knowing where else to bring him, Rain started towing Val towards the guild, their steps slow and plodding, both of them at their limits.
They had made it about halfway there when Rain suddenly felt the burden of the wounded man lessen. Looking up, he saw that a man wearing a boiled leather jacket had come up to the struggling pair and draped Val's other hand over his shoulder, supporting half of his weight.
He smiled as he saw Rain looking at him. “Where to?”
“Guild,” Rain managed. “Thank you.”
The three of them set off, Val barely managing to keep his feet moving at this point. They made better time with the stranger’s assistance, reaching the guild after a few minutes of walking. Rain turned to thank the man as he steadied Val on the steps of the guild, but to his surprise, he was gone. Rain searched the guild square with his eyes, but the man was nowhere to be seen.
What the? Where did he go? I didn't even get to thank him...
Val groaned, and Rain put the mystery out of his mind, pushing open the door to the guild hall and guiding the bedraggled man inside.
“Help!” Rain called out, causing a bit of a stir in the quest hall. A few people rushed over to their aid, helping the pair over to one of the benches. He guided Val down, then collapsed right next to him, his stamina totally spent. Rain saw one of the guild attendants disappear down a hallway as he was assaulted by a barrage of questions. He didn't answer, feebly waving them away and looking concernedly at Val, who had passed out again.
Soon, a man Rain didn't know appeared wearing Guild blue. He placed his hand against Val's head, giving a displeased grunt before repeating the motion on Rain. As he did so, Rain felt a pulse of foreign mana invade his body and sweep through it before returning to the man's hand.
What was that?
“What happened?” The man asked, staring at Rain.
“Sewers. I found him. We fell in the water. He hit his head.”
The man gave Rain a skeptical look. “Fell in the water? I don't think so. What did you do?” The man was fingering Rain's collar, which was of course clean. The fabric had even dried out during the slow journey back through the tunnels.
“Wallace, it’s fine. He is the one I told you about. The one who cleaned the Guild.”
Rain was relieved to hear Gus's voice as the portly man joined the circle of people surrounding them.
“Humph,” Wallace said. “OK, fine, I <something> you. Healing is 20 Tel, stamina restoration is 10. Cough up.”
Hurriedly, Rain reached into his pocket for his vial of Tel. He knew he had enough to pay for healing after defeating the slimes. Not finding the vial, he checked his other pocket, then panicked, finding only the quest slip and nothing else.
Someone stole my money! I had it, I'm sure! It was still there after I got out of the water. I checked.
Rain slid off the bench to search the ground, hoping that he had dropped it somehow. The floor was bare, with no sign of the vial anywhere.
“No money, no healing,” the man called Wallace said impatiently. “Well?”
Rain pulled out his quest slip and threw it at the man, turning to check the pockets of Val's robe.
“What is this? A quest?” Wallace asked, handing the slip to Gus.
“Worth 10 Tel,” Gus informed him.
“Not enough for healing. You want stamina, boy?”
“No! Val needs…! He … He can die!” Rain insisted, pointing at Val's limp form.
Fuck! His brain is probably swelling or something. Isn't that what happens with concussions?
“He won't die,” groused Wallace, turning away with a harrumph and disappearing into the crowd.
Dude! What the actual fuck?
Gus placed a hand on Rain's shoulder, steadying him.
“Don't worry. I will get him a bunk. Wallace <something> him, it will be ok. You and you, come on.”
Gus called out two of the gathered observers, directing them to lift Val. He started leading them toward the bunk room. Rain climbed painfully to his feet and followed the pair carrying Val’s limp form.
“In there.” Gus stopped Rain and pointed him to one of the consultation rooms as the two adventurers maneuvered Val into the bunk room. Gus left them to it and followed Rain in, closing the door behind him. Rain slumped into a chair, the fight having gone out of him.
Taking a seat across the oval table from him, Gus gave Rain a level look. He waited for Rain's breathing to steady out, then spoke.
“He was fighting... something. I... the sewer was... the water...” Rain searched for the words he needed, failing to find them as he tried to explain the situation. “Stopped!” he blurted, seizing on the word as it came to him. “The water was stopped by a… thing. I… broke the thing. Water came out and... we fall in. Val hit his head. I carry him here.”
“What was he fighting?”
“I don't know. Dark.”
“OK. Wait here,” Gus said, getting up and leaving Rain alone in the room.
Gus said he would be ok, and so did that guy Wallace. They wouldn't just let someone die, right? Charging for healing? What the hell is that? Do I need to buy fucking insurance now?
Gus returned to the room, hurriedly shutting the door behind him. He had a worried expression on his face as Rain looked up at him.
“Rain, the Guild <something> is here,” Gus hissed in an urgent whisper. “Don't tell him anything about-”
Gus was cut off as the door to the room slammed open violently, rebounding off the wall. A huge man wearing blue enameled plate armor was standing in the doorway. He had the symbol of the guild embossed in the center of his breastplate in gold, as well as a golden adventurer's plate hanging around his neck. His rugged face seemed strangely familiar for some reason.
“Is this the one? Gus. Move,” the man spoke and Gus leaped to obey. The man came into the room, standing before Rain and regarding him coolly.
“Listen, I didn't hit him, he fell,” Rain said, starting to grow a bit concerned.
The armored man looked at Gus. “What is he saying?”
“He brought in a man who was hurt, Wallace says he will be fine.”
“I don't care,” replied the armored man, turning back to Rain. “You broke guild law.”
“What? I don’t...” Rain was caught off guard, having no idea what the man was talking about.
“You used magic in the city.”
“What? No, I just...”
“You did. You caused a disturbance in the square. An angry <something> called the Watch, and the Watch called me.”
Is this about yesterday? Gus said it was fine, and none of the adventurers… Rain gulped. No, wait, he just said that it wasn’t against the rules of the city and that I was an idiot. What is ‘guild law’?
“Guild Law? What...” Rain asked.
“The guild is only <something> in the city because we have a <something> with the Watch. You made them call me. Guild law is what I say it is.”
“I just… It was only purify...”
“I don't care.”
“I. Don't. Care.” the man cut him off. “Pay the <something>, or get out. 500 Tel.”
“Five hundred!? Someone took my money! I can't, I don't have…”
“Then you are <something> from the guild until you pay.”
Rain turned to Gus for help. Gus jumped as if remembering something, then handed the armored man the quest slip which Rain now noticed he was still carrying. The man glanced at it and snorted, crumpling it in a fist and tossing it onto the table.
“490 Tel. Out,” he said, standing to the side and pointing to the door. “Move, or I will move you.”
He scrambled to his feet and tried to protest, but as soon as he started to speak the man grabbed him by his shirt collar, tearing it slightly and lifting him off the ground. He bodily hauled him from the room and across the quest hall. Rain was helpless to resist the man's massive strength.
When he reached the door, he set Rain down, then tore his guild plate off of the leather cord around his neck along with a significant portion of his shirt. The man violently shoved him out the door. Rain stumbled and fell backward down the stairs to land hard on the ground. Rain cried out as he felt his leg twist under him, sending a sharp pain shooting up his spine. The door slammed and Rain was left sprawled on the cobblestone of the guild square in the twilight of the slowly setting sun.
The square was deserted as Rain laboriously pulled himself to his feet, wincing at the shooting pain in his leg. His health had dropped noticeably, and his stamina was practically empty. He waited, hoping Gus or someone else would come out to help him, but nobody came.
He must be stopping them. What the fuck is that guy's deal? A 500 Tel fine, just because someone complained to the Watch? That is insane! Purify is harmless! I didn't even break a real law! I saved that guy, too. He would have died down there if I hadn’t brought him out. That asshole didn’t even care!
Rain slowly limped across the square, heading for the city gates. He had learned from Jamus that the Watch's punishment for vagrancy was hard labor and he wasn't hopeful about his chances of convincing an innkeeper to let him stay for free in his bruised and battered state. He was too exhausted to go back to the sewer and hunt slimes until he had enough Tel to rent a bed.
He trudged his way through the city, passing several patrols of the Watch as the sun continued to set. He kept his head down and tried to walk without limping, not wanting to catch their attention. The guards let him out without comment when he reached the gate. There was still a bit of traffic despite the late hour, but people seemed to be giving him a wide berth as he limped down the road leading away from the city.
Rain was in no mood to try approaching one of the other travelers to beg shelter for the night. His opinion of humanity was riding pretty low at the moment, and he just wanted to find a safe spot to rest and lick his wounds. His thoughts had cooled a little bit, but he was still fuming. The target of his anger had shifted slightly, however.
Idiot, idiot, idiot! I should have known that using magic like that was a bad idea. I got greedy and I brought too much attention to myself. Damn it!
He kept himself going with sheer stubbornness until he found a low hedge running along the road, marking the border of some farmer's field. There was no sign of the Watch, so he got down on his knees and peered under the branches. He wriggled himself under the hedge until he was hidden from the road. He didn't want to have to explain what he was doing out here if a patrol came around, so he pulled himself deep into the hedge and tried to find a comfortable place to curl up for the night.
Rain shivered from the cool air as he closed his eyes, thoughts spiraling in a dark vortex of anger and self-reproach.
My pack was in the guild. That asshole has my blanket.