Kahari barely slept during the night. His mind was full of too much doubt, too much fear. He got some rest, but likely not as much as his new teachers wanted him to. Still, when the sun started rising the next morning, he got out of the bed for the first time in four days. His legs were surprisingly stable, the one winter he’d caught pneumonia after four days in bed he had struggled to walk at first. Must have been the magic or the medicine, maybe both. He didn’t want to waste Nissa or Bedora’s time, so he didn’t dawdle, and stepped outside, where he was met by a most shocking sight. Marge and Toin were already waiting for him, with a pack, and a second bundle. Beyond that, so much of the town was in shambles, and many homes remained shuttered, empty of residents, either dead or captured. Reality weighed heavily on Kahari, but he had no choice but to shoulder the burden. At least he wasn’t alone in it.
“Kahari, the Townspeople pitched in all the supplies they could spare, and I dipped into the town armory to give you some basics. Please, help bring our people back, bring my granddaughter back.”
Toin’s voice was strained, and his eyes red with thick dark circles under them. Kahari shouldered the pack before eyeing the bundle that Marge held out, easily fitting in one hand for the massive Ogress.
“A decent sword, a simple breastplate and arm guards, a small wooden shield, a dagger, and a spear. Not much, but it’ll get you started and cover the basics in your training. Those bastards killed my own son, and took so many of us. You have the hopes of the town behind you, listen to Bedora, she has a good head on her shoulders.”
“And Kahari, when you find the girl with the amber eyes, I want you to give her no mercy, as she gave us and you.”
Kahari bowed to the two people in front of him.
“Thank you very much, both of you. Thank the others for me please.”
He straightened and Toin nodded, it was obvious to Kahari that Toin and Marge were going to have it rough, rebuilding and protecting the town till the Association got new members out here to help rebuild. The fact that they had given him anything at all was a surprise, but they both had their own vendettas backing them. Kahari was not leaving to just follow his own goal, he had the hopes of the whole town on his shoulders now. He waved goodbye, and tucked the equipment under his arm, moving off to where Nissa and Bedora were waiting to leave. They’d all be carrying their own equipment and supplies, Nissa and Bedora didn’t have a cart or wagon with which to load them into.
As he approached, he saw for the first time what the equipment they were wearing was. Bedora had a large steel warhammer on her back, while she was wearing heavy if simple scale mail from head to toe, with a helm on her head. Nissa next to her had a pair of wicked looking daggers strapped to her waist, it seemed like magic was her main weapon. Nissa waved as Kahari approached while Bedora waited patiently.
“Good to see you up Kahari, it’ll take us about two weeks to get to the nearest Association branch in Ixul that can register you, at least if we don’t want to get further away from Fota, the city the Night Talons are in. Once we stop to set up camp near sunset, your training will start. We’ll get a proper look at your stat and skill levels then.”
Kahari nodded, and the three turned and started walking down the road. Kahari himself had only ever taken the south road past the boundaries of the valley, this road led north into the forest, the very forest they struggled to get lumber from because of the stronger monsters roaming it’s wilds. Nissa and Bedora talked with each other while they moved, taking breaks every hour or so to make sure no monsters that picked up their scent were a threat, the breaks only lasted about five minutes. Just a little after noon, they settled under the shade of the trees to eat, and talk a bit more.
“You’re rather quiet, tell me, what’d ya do before all this?”
Bedora spoke to Kahari first, she seemed as if she was a kind woman, despite her rough appearance. She wasn’t gruff or overly rude, though everyone had their exceptions. Kahari swallowed the jerky he’d been chewing on before answering.
“I was an apprentice under my dad, working in the forge. I can’t forge with materials above F grade yet, so I’m mostly stuck with the mundane basics like steel and bronze.”
Bedora nodded and gestured at Nissa who stood up and moved over to crouch in front of Kahari.
“I’m going to cast a spell now, it’ll tell me your stats and skills, any that are notable anyway.”
She raised her hand, and a purple light glowed before a screen appeared in front of her. Bedora looked over her shoulder as they could now see Kahari’s status sheet.
Personal name - Kahari
Family Name - Miraki
Primary Job - Smith (Unlocked)
Sub Job(s) - None
Race - Human (Continental)
Level - 1
Height - 5’9” (176cm)
Weight - 150lbs (68kg)
Age - 19
Status - No Active Effects
Literate - Basic
Strength - 15 (Level 1)
Vitality - 16 (Level 1)
Dexterity - 14 (Level 1)
Magic - 16 (Level 1)
Wisdom - 10 (Level 1)
Perception - 11 (Level 1)
Skills - Smithing 2 (Level 2), 1H Hammers 15 (Level 1), Foraging 8 (Level 1), Stealth 12 (Level 1), First Aid 7 (Level 1), Spears 4 (Level 1), Shields 3 (Level 1), Light armor 8 (Level 1), Woodcutting 10 (Level 1)
Both women blinked for a moment.
“A level 2 skill? But he’s only level 1.”
Nissa shook her head.
“Happens sometimes, a lucky masterpiece for the level, or some other finished task gives multiple skill points and pushes them over the level barrier, but the skill locks till they level up. Not common, but not exceedingly rare either, especially with crafting skills.”
Bedora smiled, and settled into her spot in the grass.
“Then we’ll start our first lesson, I’ll explain what your options are for training, which the physical stuff will start once we camp later today.”
Nissa stood up, and moved deeper into the woods, looking for some privacy while the two talked.
“Your stat spread is unusually balanced and even, most untrained civilians have their best stat at 10, but that’s your lowest. Likely because your parents were adventurers, but this is good. It means we can skip conditioning and focus on combat skills. Given your stat spread, you can go into Martial, Sniper, Support, or Arcane with us. We don’t have any contracts, so any of the Patron Jobs are locked, but you don’t seem the type to make a deal just for power. In particular, I’m a martial job called Mauler.”
“Right, Samurai and Knights are the commons beyond the classic Fighter around here. Maulers have slower gains with lighter, one handed weapons than most other martial jobs. We have penalties to shields entirely, and no bonuses to armors that aren’t heavy. We also have penalties with most ranged weapons, though not Javelins or Throwing Axes. Our trade off is that we get progressive damage boosts the more damage we take, which isn’t reset by healing but instead ticks down steadily over time. We are a poor solo job because of that, but with a dedicated healer we can start putting out serious amounts of damage, I think the maximum boost is like five hundred percent, or something like that. I’ve never gotten that high, the highest I’ve hit is two hundred fifty percent.”
Kahari nodded, trying to memorize all of this. It was a lot to take in, he knew there were dozens, if not hundreds in each job group, and some jobs were considered multi grouped, like Druid was a Arcane/Support, while Samurai was a Martial/Sniper.
“We can’t train you for a specific job right now, you have to select that at the Association hall when you apply for your license. Instead I’ll be teaching you how to use the weapons you have with you, how to dodge and block, as well as how to properly wear and move in armor. Considering you’re basically literate, only the lowest ranked spells are available to you until you become fully proficient. Nissa can explain that better, you’ll do that studying when we’re camped at night after I’m done with you after a few days to get used to the new routine. With the low amount of armor you have, and low funds in the party in general, we’ll focus on training you with the spear without the shield, though having the basics with all your weapons will be important. Right now the distance the two handed spear provides will help you avoid injury.”
“But wouldn’t a shield-”
“Absorb more damage, yes. But it’ll slow you down more than it defends, with light armor dodging is always your best option.”
Nissa returned and picked up her pack, it looked like it was time to get moving again. Bedora got to her feet, and Kahari noticed that she moved like she wasn’t even wearing heavy armor, while Nissa’s steps were far lighter than his own. He wondered what their levels and stats were, as well as what Nissa’s jobs are. Bedora took the lead while Nissa fell into step next to Kahari. She smiled, seeming much more laid back than her adoptive sister.
“I’m a Druid/Wizard, with druid as my primary job, with just the two of us we couldn’t have me on pure support. In particular I focused on air and nature magics. When it comes to spells, with some exceptions depending on the branch, you can select any element when you’re learning an effect. A firebolt is the same spell as an iceshard, just cast through different elements, though you do have to train both magic types to learn it as both elements. I’ll explain the basics in a few days after Bedora has her rhythm in training you down, but with your magic stat you’ll pick up the basics quickly enough.”
Kahari nodded, his eyes trained on the ground. Nissa sighed and put a hand on his shoulder, another reassuring grip. The fairy girl was good at dealing with people, and did the talking between the two of them, though Bedora seemed competent in her own right.
“Look kid, things are rough now I know. We’ve been there, not quite the same situation, but everyone has seen hardship. Keep your chin high, don’t be afraid to cry when you need to or ask for help. There will always be those that mock you, but most Adventurers have seen the dark side of the world, most of us can empathize with what you’re going through. For most of us it’s while we’re questing, not before, but we’ve all been there. We’ve all lost friends and family to this world. Me and Bedora...we have our own grudge with the Night Talons, they took our father from us, and orphaned us to begin with. We get it, it’s why we’re going to push you, so you can pay them back for everything they took from you and then some. I’m not going to say put on a smile, but keep your eyes on the road ahead, not on the cinders behind you. That way you don’t wander off the path.”
Kahari nodded and gave a smile, a genuine one.
“Thanks Nissa, I’ll keep that in mind it’s just...not that easy.”
“I know, but you can get through it, you have a good heart, don’t let this world freeze it.”
“What did you two do before this?”
“We were raised for this really, though I still remember my birth mother, and learning to care for the plants in our old home. Bedora wasn’t so lucky, all she’s ever known is this life, but she’s not that bad at heart. I caught her sneaking candy into an orphanage more than once, don’t let her size fool you, she’s a teddy bear underneath all the muscle.”
“Hey! I heard that!”
“I am not a teddy bear!”
“Yes you are, even dad called you that.”
“It was your entrant title during the test.”
“Shut. Up. Nissa.”
Kahari let out a genuine laugh as the siblings started to squabble, remembering his own fights with his sisters. Nissa reminded him of Aiyoko if she was a bit more outgoing, while Bedora was a bigger, nicer Tanaya. He tightened his straps on his bag as he watched the two continue to argue, including playful swipes from Bedora that never even came close to hitting Nissa. With these two helping him, he felt like he could actually do this. Like he could actually save his sisters and the others.