Advertisement
Remove
Settings

A note from Vincent Archer

It turns out I forgot TWO Profession descriptions, those on chapter 7 (Fullmore's Mender) and the interlude after (Wales' Calculating Tactician).

(I'm still fixing the spreadsheet that generates the classes)

I re-added those, which means I have to post a new chapter to add this notice. And then, there's the interlude that comes after.

With the Recall mechanic available for them go back to the Plaza at any time, the team found its horizons wide open. They went back to the marsh to slaughter pigs, get some meat and berries, and see if they could find an elite.

Over the next two days, they’d managed to find only two. They had multiple veterans, as the piggies roamed all over the marsh. The first elite did not drop anything, not even a single piece of meat. The second one had a piece of equipment… but a disappointing one.

 

Light ringmail gloves

Hand

Basic equipment

Requires: Level 4

Provides: +2 defence

 

“Well, at least those are slightly sturdier than your previous ones,” said Jonas to console Ira.

Without the immediate need to find a gate, they’d raised their levels quickly to 8, and Ira insisted to head back to the Plaza where he’d left the sword from their lair descent.

After seeing the lights disappear around the vanishing Ira, Jonas looked at the rest of the team and shrugged. They all shrugged back and light started swirling as recalls began.

 

Jonas found Ira swearing and looking around frantically.

“It’s gone! It’s not there!”

Laura laughed and pointed out to the far end of the Plaza, where a small glint of light was visible. Ira ran then plucked the sword and kissed it.

Jonathan came to Jonas, shaking his head.

“We pop all over the place. He should have put it next to the gate arch, to be sure to find it.”

Jonas turned to his teammate.

“You know, for a second, I thought it would be lost. The Labyrinth is weird all the time. Maybe some badgers would come out of their cellar and steal it back.”

“Don’t tell that to Ira.”

“No way,” smiled Jonas.

 

The team gathered. Ira smiled then winced looking at Laura.

“Sorry. I think… your gloves need one more level, right?”

“Yes, but don’t obsess about those. I think your sword is probably more useful to us than my little gloves.”

Jonathan looked hopefully.

“So? Do we check the cellar again?”

 

Team

 

Professions

Health

Mind

Jonas Sims

Arcanist (8)

196/196

204/204

Jonathan Gilbert

Watcher (8)

196/196

178/178

Ira Heard

Defender (8)

268/277

204/204

Guss Fullmore

Mender (8)

194/194

206/206

Laura Harvey

Breaker (8)

204/204

196/196

Alton Raby

Pointer (8)

214/214

206/206

 

Jonas raised his hands, trying to moderate the ardour of his friend.

“Laura’s glove was still one level higher. And maybe the next item will be one higher again.”

Alton made a pout.

“No sense wasting our time against those badgers if we can’t use what we find. I agree.”

Guss added, “Besides, we haven’t found another lair yet. We’ve just been back to the marsh, and now we got plenty of meat and roots. We should explore more. Maybe there’s another Gate?”

Laura looked around, toward the hills surrounding the Plaza.

“So where do we go,” she asked.

“Let’s follow the river, but toward the source this time,” proposed Jonas.

He looked around, but nobody seemed to disagree with the suggestion. Source it was, then.

 

 

They reached the brook’s source by mid-day. It came out gurgling from between stones, and next to it was a cave entrance. Ira risked a peek in it, and a pair of eyes met his.

 

Nocturnal Wolf

Level 24 veteran

Health: 468

Mind: 193

Endurance: 352

Aether: 0

 

“Oops.”

“Combat order,” called Jonas.

 

Nocturnal Wolf: 660XP/6 contributors = 110XP

 

A quick check showed that the cave went slightly deeper.

“Another lair,” concluded Guss.

“Sounds like. But much higher than the badger one.”

“That’s two lairs, just in case. But let’s keep searching for an easier one. This one is too far above our level for now,” added Jonas.

 

 

They kept walking in the same direction as the river had come from. They crossed the top of the hills and saw that the hilly area ran downward toward plains. It took them a bit over an hour, punctuated by two cats wandering around before they reached the end of the hills.

The plain was covered by some sparse grass. Every now and then, there was a small copse of a dozen trees, all bunched up together, and scrub and saplings around, but nothing else.

They spotted quickly roaming packs of three or four dog-like creatures looking like nothing they’d ever seen. The critters were named Plains Hyena by the Labyrinth. While the packs were larger than their usual encounters, they featured usually only a single normal accompanied by two to four minion-type hyenas.

The team pressed on across the plains, moving and hunting any pack they spotted. Usually, the dog-like creatures would see them coming and immediately turn toward them.

They also checked the tree copses. They were a handful of trees around two or three apple trees, which allowed them to stock on lots of fruits. One of the copses also had a pack of three veteran hyenae, which they cleared out before setting for the evening.

 

“At least, got level 9 with those dogs. The glove fits better now,” announced Laura.

They had gathered some wood from the tree saplings and Jonas had proceeded to light the campfire using his usual carefully aimed Fire Bolt.

“We should be getting at least that level 15 for our first Milestone,” he said.

Most team members opined, but Jonathan seemed more dubious.

“Not convinced?” asked Jonas.

“No. It’s just… it’s been five days, and I feel like we’re still not getting anywhere.”

Jonas remembered that Jonathan Gilbert had probably someone in London. He and Ira had only casual friends, Alton was a poor scavenger with probably no one else either… but Guss had family, at least his Professional cousin. And maybe Laura as well. They seemed both more accepting of their circumstances, but who could really know.

“We’re making progress, Jonathan. I hope there are more Gates, and one that maybe Guss will recognize.”

Guss raised his hands defensively.

“Hey, I don’t know the Labyrinth that well. Cousin Luther talked about it, but the only name I know is this Grailburg zone.”

Jonas immediately deviated the conversation to avoid depressing Jonathan further.

“We’ll find it. Laura just got stronger, and we’ll be soon capable of crossing that Gate. And she’ll be able to whack her shop’s looms soon to make them work.”

Laura snorted.

“I hope not. I mean…”

She paused, looking wistfully into the flames of the campfire.

“It’s not that the loom is that important. Me… me and the other girls, we worked good there, and we made the best cloth in London this side of silk. But… the Labyrinth is different.”

They all turned to look at her.

“I mean, it’s horribly frightening when you have those numbers… drop. And you’re worried about Guss being out of Aether, or Ira not making it. Or some critter jumping on you from behind. But…”

She went silent, trying to get her words in order. Jonas watched her mouth making a kind of pinched smile.

“But you care about things. You care about people. At the shop, I only care about whether or not the looms are going to crash and pop a gear, and how much work we have to do for today. It’s all about… machines. Not people.”

Jonas waited a bit, then added his own perspective.

“It’s a bit of the same with my shop. We do leather by hand, but that’s all that is important there. How much leather do we use, how many bags and boots we make.”

Laura picked up the discussion.

“In the Labyrinth, it’s about you. About us. Not some cloth or anything else. That’s so much more…”

She turned toward Guss.

“Is that what Professionals are about?”

Guss looked pensive.

“Luther… he always sounds like he loves the Labyrinth. He’s married to another Professional. But I don’t know…”

He shook his head.

“It’s a different life, that’s sure.”

Advertisement
A note from Vincent Archer

London citizens of the era would have never seen a hyena. At best, they might have heard about them.

 


About the author

Vincent Archer

  • France

Bio: Vincent Archer wrote his first story around age 11. On a mechanical typewriter, with carbon paper for a mimeograph to distribute in class. His teacher knew enough to make vague encouraging noises rather than really tell him what she thought. He wrote more stories afterward, but Time has thankfully managed to erase every trace of them.

Now that his career has settled in a mix of routine and insanity and that he's figured out that herding cats would probably be easier, he's finally started to write stories again on a media rather than inside his brain. Some of those are even potentially good enough to show to other people.

Silvergates is his first attempt to finish one rather than admit defeat against the usual writer's block.

Achievements
Comments(2)
Log in to comment
Log In