In the grand scheme of things, my kidnapping didn’t last much longer than a day, and in some ways it wasn’t a large thing. However, the trauma was a much larger thing and I don’t think my family has ever recovered from it. Mother and my brother found themselves having nightmares, Father seemed to withdraw from socializing with his neighbors and friends as much, and I found myself irrationally afraid of men I didn’t know. Even having a good idea of what was going on in my head, knowing that didn’t make it go away.
I took up meditation - which I remembered from my last life, even if I hadn’t practiced it then - and taught my family to do it as well. It helped a little bit, but there was no magic cure, we just had to live with the memories, and the effect they had on us.
A year later, Kalvin went through his Awakening Ceremony and received [Militiaman] as his class, determined to become a [Guardsman] instead of serving House Felius like our father did. He had apologized to me endlessly, and I never could convince him that I forgave him.
And I absolutely had forgiven him, although I didn’t think of it as his fault in the first place. He was a mere nine years old; while he had no choice but to have responsibility because the medieval world didn’t have the concept of proper working hours. There was no one else to look after me, and our parents had to work.
And there was nothing that could have stopped this kidnapping. If they hadn't grabbed me, they would have taken him. And, as far as I was concerned, I was the better choice.
It had been seven years since then, and Kalvin had evolved his class into [Guardsman]. He had moved out and into his own home and a girl he had grown up with was looking more and more like she would become his fiance. From a gangly kid who was left in the dust by a [Rogue], he had turned into a tall and muscled young man, who had Skills that would allow him to chase a criminal tirelessly and relentlessly.
I was told that our Classes and Skills depended on our most important parts of our lives. I never said anything, but I knew that his Skill was the result of his memory of failing to catch my Kidnapper festering in him. I was proud of my brother though. As sad as that was, he had turned it into his own strength and was a rising star in the city guard.
Our family was doing very well, and I think there was no better evidence for this than today. Because today was my Awakening Ceremony, and the entire family (plus Caroline, my brother’s girlfriend) was here to watch. We all had shoes - boots in my brother’s case - and were dressed cleanly although not richly.
The Awakening Ceremony took place in a large cathedral near the city center, and while most of Vurden was not impressive to someone with a modern eye, the cathedral took my breath away. A towering and gigantic white marble building with large stained glass windows depicting the gods and ancient heroes. It was covered in detailed carvings both outside and inside, with massive paintings on the ceiling illuminated by massive chandeliers that held magical lights. Even the floor was artful, with scenes depicted in mosaic throughout the entire building.
Of course, we weren’t allowed to loiter long in the main hall and were shepherded off to a side room by a [Priest] soon enough.
Before my kidnapping, I was too young to go anywhere. After my kidnapping, my family’s fear and my own fear kept me from ever wandering far. So I was something of a sheltered child, and most of the things my parents and brother talked about I had not seen myself. Today, I got my first taste of the inherent classism and Classism of my new society.
Outside the cathedral I had seen a line of people that had been stopped by the [Temple Guard]. Serfs, or Freepeople too poor to have shoes and nice enough clothes, were stopped from entering the main doors. They had to wait and were allowed to enter only through a side door. The [Temple Guard] had merely given my family and I a lookover without bothering to stop us from walking up to the main doors.
Another family had entered before us, equally well dressed, but I saw a [Acolyte] showing them to another side room where they could wait for a [Priest]. Despite them arriving sooner, we were to be seen first and it was probably because the [Priest] Class was able to see the Class of other people, and my parents had evolved their Classes.
Mother was now a [Senior Maid], and while she didn’t like how it made her sound old, it was a very good Class for a commoner woman to have. Most people failed to evolve their Class unless they had some kind of apprentice class like [Apprentice Blacksmith] or [Militiaman]. Class evolution, even in a servant-type class, was considered proof of a superior individual. Having a [Senior Maid] was a point of pride for the nobility, and Mother now often attended nobles who visited House Felius as a way for House Felius to show off.
Father, on the other hand, had gotten the Class [Faithful Servant], which had catapulted him to working as a personal [Servant] to Lord Felius himself. A [Faithful Servant] could be trusted with even the most sensitive tasks and performed them well, making him incredibly valuable to Lord Felius.
And, of course, Kalvin was a [Guardsmen], which was considered a very respectable Class for a commoner. Caroline was an [Apprentice Seamstress], but considering my parents and brother, that didn’t matter. As a group, we simply had superior Classes and so we were treated better.
Of course, our treatment wasn’t the best by a long shot. There was a reason we were hurried out of the main hall. A Freeperson could get a glimpse, but no one wanted us to actually hang around when actual important people might come through. Nobles didn’t even come down to the cathedral, instead they hired a [Priest] to tutor and Awaken their children from their manors. Wealthy merchants and those who were expert at their trades would pay to send their children to the cathedral to be taught by the [Priest]s, giving them a leg up in their Awakening and more of an understanding about how to get Skills and evolve their Class.
Essentially, we had just enough status to not be treated like scum.
“Greetings and welcome,” the [Priest] smiled at us. “You are here for an Awakening Ceremony?”
“Yes, your Grace,” Father gave a light bow. “Our daughter has turned ten today, and we seek the guidance of the gods.”
“Of course, of course! Come forward, young Annora, I am Reviri, a [Priest] of Exkathun. Today is an important day, the most important day of your life. Choose carefully, and choose slowly. Do not be afraid to ask and talk to myself or your parents, this will determine the path of your life.”
No pressure, right? At the very least, I didn’t need to be afraid of Reviri because his ability to pull my name out of thin air was proof of his Class. I was still afraid, but I stepped forward anyway. Reviri held out his hand and an orb of light formed, floating off his palm to hang in the air in front of me.
I took a breath, stretched out my hand and touched the orb. Suddenly, my Menu was visible to everyone for the first time, but with a bit of an addition...
Name: Annora, Daughter of Elvid Age: 10
Class: -- Level: --
[First Words] (Incarnator Skill, hidden)
[Better First Impression] (Incarnator Skill, hidden)
[Congratulations! You are able to Awaken and Choose a Class!]
[Available Class List: Choose Wisely!]
[Commoner] (Common): The basic Class of a Freeperson. Commoner’s have few things they are exceptional at, but they have flexible Skills. Even a normal person can do more than what people would believe.
[Cleaner] (Common): You clean, and you are good at it. The [Cleaner] Class will make you better at it. No dirt or stain can resist you and you clean quickly and easily! This Class is considered an apprentice-type Class and can more easily evolve.
[Apprentice Seamstress] (Common): You might not be good at it yet, but you have a talent for sewing. A few more pricked fingers and you might be able to do more! This Class is considered an apprentice-type Class and can more easily evolve.
[Laborer] (Common): There is always a need for someone to lift heavy things, and that is where you come in. A strong back and the will to use it is all you need to get through life!
[Apprentice Dancer] (Common): So you might be crushing a few toes right now, but they didn’t need those anyways, right? You need to move, and you want to do it beautifully one day! This Class is considered an apprentice-type Class and can more easily evolve.
[Apprentice Singer] (Common): Most people can’t carry a tune with a bucket, but you can. Eventually, you might even learn how to sing without people covering their ears and running away! This Class is Considered an apprentice-type Class and can more easily evolve.
[Thief] (Uncommon): The easiest way to own something is often just to take it, and you see no reason why you should mess with that formula. This Class will help you move unseen and remain unnoticed while committing theft.
[Maid] (Uncommon): You can clean the floor, serve a visitor tea, set the dinner table, dust a dozen rooms, and refresh your employer’s drink all at the same time. A [Maid] can do many things, and do them well. The ultimate housekeeper, this Class will make it possible to do the impossible when it comes to cleaning and service.
[Assassin] (Rare): Sometimes, someone needs someone dead. Sometimes, they need them dead quietly or to die in a certain way to send a message to certain someones. Sometimes someone might be willing to pay for someone to do that service. The [Assassin] Class will help you remain unseen, move quickly, and strike powerfully for the kill.
[Battle Maid] (Rare): The [Battle Maid] is equal parts housekeeper and bodyguard. Ensuring both the safety and comfort of their ward against any and all threats; a [Maid] can clean, a [Battle Maid] can clean up bodies. As a hybrid Class, a [Battle Maid] is not as powerful in combat as other (Rare) combat Classes, but they still retain the cleaning and serving capabilities of a (Rare) [Maid] Class.
“That is quite the list Annora,” The [Priest]’s eyebrows rose as he read my options. “Although I confess I am a little worried by seeing [Thief] and [Assassin], you should be careful about the life you live to keep dark Classes away.”
“You have two (Rare) Classes available,” my brother was awed, his mouth open as he stared at my Menu. “I can’t believe it…”
Mother and Father seemed stunned too; they had told me before that chances are I would have one (Uncommon) Class, and that only because Mother had worked hard to teach me the duties of a [Maid] before I had this ceremony. Having a (Rare) Class was beyond the wildest dreams of a lower class child like myself. A child of a rich [Merchant] or of a [Noble] might have a (Rare) Class, but for me to have two options?
“I know you told me to choose carefully Monsignor Riviri, but I think that there is really only one option for me here,” I spoke while my family was recovering from their shock. “I choose [Battle Maid].”
[You have chosen a Class!]
[You are now a [Battle Maid]! You have reached level 1!]
[You have gained the Ability [A Maid’s Discipline]!]
[You have gained the Ability [Alchemical Intuition]!]
[You have gained the Ability [Chemical Intuition]!]
[You have gained the Skill [Improved Cleaning]!]
[You have gained the Skill [Work Is Never Done]!]
[You have gained the Skill [Elegant Movements]!]
[You have gained the Skill [Maid’s Sense]!]
[You have gained the Skill [Dangersense]!]
[You have gained the Skill [Weapon Proficiency: Short Blades]!]
[You have gained the Skill [Menu Camouflage]!]
[You have gained the Skill [Burst of Speed]!]
“Monsignor Riviri, would you mind if I asked you what the difference is between an Ability and a Skill?” I ask as I am assaulted with a deluge of information, I’ll have to check what my new Skills do later; I hadn’t expected to get so many, but then, I hadn’t expected a (Rare) Class.
“Mmm,” the [Priest] hummed as he watched my notifications with interest. “Abilities are exclusive to certain Classes and cannot be learned otherwise. In truth, they are much like Class Skills, except they are often far more restricted.”
“I am sorry sir, what is a Class Skill?”
“Ah, excuse me,” Riviri tore his eyes away from my Menu and turned to me again. “Now that you have a Class you can gain three things: General Skills, Class Skills, and Abilities. Anyone, in any Class, can learn a General Skill if they put the effort in to do so, whereas Class Skills can only be learned by specific Classes. Abilities, on the other hand, are not learned by the individual but granted by the Class. Every, um, [Battle Maid] that you meet will have the Ability [Chemical Intuition], for example. However, they might not have the Class Skill [Burst of Speed] and you could find a [Commoner] with the General Skill [Improved Cleaning].”
“Thank you very much for your instruction,” I say as I remove my hand from the orb and my menu fades. I curtsy to the [Priest] and ask, “Is there anything else I need to do?”
“No, the Ceremony is complete. Congratulations, it is always wonderful to see a (Rare) Class so young.” Riviri says as he moves to leave before he turns back saying with a laugh, “be a good girl and help your parents get outside, will you? The shock seems to have overwhelmed them.”
That comment snaps them out of their daze, and my family begins making bows and curtsies towards the [Priest], but he has already left. Mother pulls me outside quickly, not even slowing down to admire the incredible cathedral hall as we leave. When we were finally outside, my Mother squealed in joy! She picked me up and spun me around like she had when I was a little baby!
“I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it!” She shouted, not caring at all that we were attracting attention. My Father was smiling like a fool and my brother started thumping me on the back as soon as Mother set me down on the ground.
Oh God, there were entire crowds staring at us. I hadn’t really been in crowds for a decade! How do I handle this!?
“Mother, please stop,” I mumbled as I tried to hide my face. “I am embarrassed!”
“My dearest daughter gets a (Rare) as her first Class and you expect me not to shout it to the high heavens?” Mother laughs out loud, “Today the gods smile upon us more than ever!”
“That’s right Ann,” Kalvin joins in with a smile. “Plus, it is partially a fighting Class, so we don’t need to worry about you so much anymore!”
“She still has a lot of leveling and growing to do before I will stop worrying,” Father interjected, but he also had a smile on his face. “Honestly, as a father I am not sure I will ever stop worrying, but it is a good start.”
I hope he does stop worrying, I have barely explored this world and I am honestly going a little stir-crazy at home! Of course, despite the current celebration, it wasn’t like I would have much free time after this. No, our next stop would be the manor of House Felius, to talk to the [Head Maid].
On the way, I checked my new Skills and Abilities.
[Alchemical Intuition] and [Chemical Intuition] weren’t very interesting, the short version was that I could detect poisons mundane or magical. Which sounds useful, if not very interesting. [A Maid’s Discipline] was more interesting, but honestly I found what it did to be a little disturbing. As long as I was working - or fighting - I could ignore injury and exhaustion, although I would eventually collapse if I kept pushing myself. It seemed a bit dangerous to me.
[Improved Cleaning], [Elegant Movements], [Dangersense], and [Weapon Proficiency: Short Blades], did exactly what it says on the tin. Even now, I could feel the difference as we walked. I walked into the cathedral, and then it seemed like I glided out because my movements were so graceful.
No, the ones I were interested in [Work Is Never Done], [Maid’s Sense], [Menu Camouflage], and [Burst Of Speed].
The first of which, [Work Is Never Done], complemented [A Maid’s Discipline] well. The Skill gave me a boost of energy and even health whenever I completed a task. It sounded so amazing I had to read it twice to make sure I had it correct. It was a workaholic’s dream, not that I was one.
[Maid’s Sense] was like [Dangersense] but for [Maid] related things. It basically allowed me to sense dirty and unclean things, and I am honestly not mature enough to promise that I won’t use it to make jokes about my brother later. It also let me know if my employer wanted food or drink, or even if they were uncomfortable. It would be very useful in my new job.
[Menu Camouflage] was also pretty interesting. Basically, any Class that could use some kind of an examination skill would see me not as a [Battle Maid], but as a [Personal Maid]. However, it didn’t work on my employer and it also only worked on people who were less than five levels above me, so it wasn’t very useful yet.
Finally, [Burst Of Speed] was basically bullet time. I could spend my energy - which I wish I had a stat for on my Menu - to increase my personal speed and slow my perception of time. Which was pretty neat, but based on the name I guessed it wouldn’t allow me to become the Flash or anything like that.
We use the servant’s entrance to the manor and soon I was talking to the [Head Maid], a severe looking older woman. However, she greeted Mother and Father with a warm smile and was happy to hire me. However, it turned out she had some kind of Skill that allowed her to see the Classes of the worker’s under her.
Which was how I once again found myself in front of Lord Felius.
“Well, well,” he seemed amused as he leaned back in his seat. We were in his study, and he was sitting behind an ornate desk. Behind him was a large window looking out over Vurden. “Little Annora, has it been so long already? Don’t get old, the years always seem to slip away.”
“I am at your service, My Lord,” My curtsy seems to amuse him even more.
“I can see that your Awakening Ceremony was blessed, that isn’t just a (Rare) Class, but it is also a rare one,” he chuckled as he saw the confusion on my parents and my own face. “Some Classes might be (Rare), but you can always just throw money at people and make those Classes appear. Other Classes are a little more tricky, and [Battle Maid] is one of them. It is odd to find an [Assassin] who wants to be a [Maid] or a [Maid] who wants to be an [Assassin].”
I’m not surprised that the Baron already knew about my Class. More surprisingly, he remembered about his idea from years ago to assign me to his daughter. The plot to poison his family hadn’t been the end of the intrigue that he had been involved in, and my Class was absolutely perfect for me to become his daughter’s attendant.
But that would be tomorrow, today I was going to explore.
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