A note from Hannibal Forge

Okay, this chapter is heavy on exposition, so I apologise. We'll get back into action soon, but I can't bring myself to force it. The story has to be told the way it wants to be told, and I'm just the guy telling it. That's how I rationalize it, anyway. Heh.



Congratulations! You have unlocked Awakened Bloodline (Passive, Level 1)!

Congratulations! You have unlocked Trait: Primogenitor's Blessing (Passive, Level 1)!

Congratulations! You have unlocked Trait: Aura of the I̷̜̊/̴̯̿|̶̶̺̚̚͝p̶̑̋3̸̜̅r̷͚̚@̵̯͗7̵̏̿0̸̿̄9̸͂̍ ̷̘̽$̶̋͊5̵̌̓n̵̽̕6̵͚́u̶̘͂1̵̧̏n̴̛͕3̶̉͜ (Passive, Level 1)!


Awakened Bloodline

(Passive, Level 1)

The truth of your Blood has been called to the fore by the S̵̊͠0̴̒̈?̵̋̕7̵͊̍&̷̈́͠l̴͖̅4̷̛̂?̵̎̍3̴̱͌ within yourself. Guided by the genetic lineage of your bloodline, its own roots more ancient than you truly understand; you have tapped into a power of a calibre you are not even remotely prepared to properly wield! As the first scion of your bloodline to Awaken in over a thousand years, you have also gained new traits!

Trait: Primogenitor's Blessing

(Passive, Level 1)!

Despite your own ignorance to its sources, your Blood's ancient position of prestige and authority has translated down through your genetic line. As the first to Awaken your bloodline in an aeon, you have been gifted the ancient blessings of your bloodline. Due to your ignorance, however, and certain secrets yet to be uncovered: You are unable to make use of this trait. Until you find the key to unlocking its secrets, you cannot realise your full and terrible potential!

Trait: Aura of the I̷̜̊/̴̯̿|̶̶̺̚̚͝p̶̑̋3̸̜̅r̷͚̚@̵̯͗7̵̏̿0̸̿̄9̸͂̍ ̷̘̽$̶̋͊5̵̌̓n̵̽̕6̵͚́u̶̘͂1̵̧̏n̴̛͕3̶̉͜

(Passive, Level 1)!

Having taken the first steps to unlocking the secrets of your bloodline, you have managed to tap into something ancient and beyond your comprehension. When pulled to the fore by the right circumstances and frame of mind, all of which you are hopelessly incapable of fully understanding at the present time; this Aura will compel the obedience of even those who might normally crush you like a bug.

Arcturus stared at the notifications in front of him with a mix of curiosity and confusion. Curiosity because of the nature of what he was reading, and confusion because it was the first time such notifications had not simply popped into his mind using the voice of his subconscious. The only logical conclusion was that setting up his HUD had changed how the System sent him alerts. Given the ease of management that offered, he was more than happy to accept the change. After a moment of perusal, and a promise to better investigate all three later, he minimized the notifications to better focus on his surroundings.

He was seated on a spacious sofa-lounge in Maurice’s lavishly decorated living room above the tailoring shop, having accepted the clothier’s offer of a place to speak in private.

The reasons behind that need were seated near and around him: Adam, Andy, Danica, and their Terran companion whose name Arcturus had learned was Caeara (pronounced Kay-are-ah). His friends from Earth appearing at the one clothing store in Luxanium he would patronage, at the exact right time to encounter him? Arcturus darted a knowing look at the ceiling and away from the notification.

Order was playing games. He was almost certain of it.

You really believe the ostensible Creator of All is choosing to spend time solely on you?

It wasn’t like there were any real coincidences in Terra, after all. Fate was real.

And you think I’m conceited.

Arcturus rolled his eyes and tuned into the on-going conversation again, listening as Adam spoke.

“I can understand your immediate trepidation, Lady Archon, but I can assure you that we are by no means going to be an impediment to you or to Arcturus.”

“Nephilim are trouble. It is well-known that the few among your kind gifted with an Archon’s might have been the source of several of the most contentious events in the Empire’s history.”

“With all due respect my lady, that’s an unfairly broad brush to paint us all with. We are no more collectively responsible for the actions of a highly visible few than you are for the actions of distant, recalcitrant relatives.”

“I have no recalcitrant relatives.” Tylariel responded dismissively.

“But you nonetheless understand my point.” Adam asserted. “It also merits mentioning that unlike you and your sister — a woman I firmly believe stopped my friend from accidentally getting himself killed — we have known Arcturus for most of his life.”

“Then what are you proposing, Nephilim? To put yourself into my service?”

Danica snorted at Tylariel’s assumption, and Adam shot her look as Tylariel’s expression hardened.

Arcturus tried, and failed, not to smile: That was Danica to a tee.

“When Arcturus claimed us as his ‘allies’ and mentioned adding us to his ‘Court’, we received a kind of… divine insight.”

“Divine insight?” Tylariel asked skeptically.

“It would be more sensible to call it a quest prompt, but whenever we try to explain the System to people on Terra—”

“Yes, yes, we are familiar with your abnormal ability to guide your aetheric growth. Skip to the point, Nephilim.”

“—they don’t want to hear it.” Adam said with resignation, glancing at Arcturus with a wry look.

“The point Adam is trying to make, your hotness—”

“Excuse me?” Tylariel sputtered.

“—is that we were given a prompt, very likely from The Highest, to accept or decline an official allegiance as part of Arcturus’ Court.” Andy finished unapologetically, smiling confidently at the glaring redhead.

“W-while I cannot say I received the same guidance, my lady, I can attest to something happening!” Caeara interjected hurriedly. “I know not what kind of divine machinations the Nephilim are privy to, and personally I find their attempted explanations somewhat bewildering. However, I can attest that I was somehow included in His Highness’—”

Andy and Danica groaned.

“—proclamation, and I felt a suffusion of Aether that I knew instinctively would create a bond between myself and the Prince if I accepted its presence.”

Tylariel was still glaring at Andy’s grinning face when Caeara finished, but to Arcturus’ relief the redhead didn’t attempt to obliterate his friend on the spot and instead seemed to lend far more weight to the native Terran’s words than anything Adam had said up to that point.

“An aether-forged oath of loyalty? I’ve heard of them. Supposedly the original Houses in the Dominions gave them to the Kings that ruled them at the founding of the Empire, but this is the first I’m hearing of one between Nephilim.”

“I know you are still displeased with me given what happened earlier, Mentor.” Arcturus said as Tylariel sat back thoughtfully. “But I would be lying if I said I am willing to part with my friends, even if it costs me your tutelage. I already lost them once. I won’t lose them again.”

Arcturus attempted to ignore the flush of embarrassment his words roused in him, especially when he peripherally noticed Adam, Andy, and Danica grinning at him with both gratitude and a promise of relentless teasing to come.

Charisma Check successful!

“Not even a day as my apprentice, and you throw more complications at me than anyone I’ve met in my life.” Tylariel muttered irritably, though Arcturus could detect her heart wasn’t in it. “Very well. If these Nephilim and their companion wish to give their loyalty to you… As the true heir to the Valarian Throne, you are entitled to have their oaths. I have no true power to interfere with that, Mentor or not.”

“How delightful.” Maurice said from nearby, having remained silent throughout the exchange. “We may very well be watching history being made. The prodigal prince and his loyal companions’ first steps on the path to glory.”

“I never took you for a playwright, Maurice.” Tylariel sniffed.

“Who doesn’t love some dramatic fare, my lady? Especially when it’s so very uplifting.”

I like how he thinks. Why can't you be more like him?

Arcturus ignored them as they spoke and focused on his friends, watching as their eyes darted in the way that told him they were reading a prompt. They seemed to be scanning through something he could only guess at, and he wasn’t sure what would happen until Adam — presumably the first to finish — spoke.

“I, Adam Warman, do hereby pledge my fealty and loyalty to Arcturus Regis Valoura. I shall be his blade, his shield, and his faithful companion. From now until the Ending, unless he should release me of this Oath, I shall agree to be bound to him and adhere to his will. I make this pledge in full awareness of its immensity, and with the glad acceptance of the weight of such a duty upon my shoulders. In the name of Order, let my pledge be sealed.”

Arcturus looked at Adam in surprise for a short time after he spoke, and was about to speak when something hit his core like a hammer to the gut. He gasped out in pain as something burned within him, vaguely noticing Adam constricting in a similar fashion as a connection flared between them with inexorable progress. It felt like he was being branded. No, being branded would be pleasant by comparison. His existence felt like it was being boiled, frozen, and then boiled again. His blood grew hot in his veins, and he tasted blood as he bit down on his lip to distract from the pain.

Until suddenly it was over.

Arcturus found himself on the floor on all fours, and looked up to see Tylariel on her feet with a sword of what appeared to be elegantly braided and extremely condensed vines pointed at Adam, who was panting and half-hanging off of his chair. Andy and Danica were also on their feet; the former holding a blue-bladed shortsword in his right hand and a wicked looking red-bladed dagger in his left; the latter gripping a ludicrously large white staff topped with a disconnected golden halo floating where the top of it should have been.

Caeara was checking Adam, while Sumeko and Jess were flanking Tylariel with guns in their hands.

As for Maurice? The Tailor was simply sipping his tea, as if absolutely nothing was wrong.

“Stop!” Arcturus wheezed, freezing everyone in place as every eye turned to him.

Tylariel’s eyes darted from Arcturus to Adam and back again, her lips pursed in anger.

“What happened, Apprentice?”

“I have no idea, Mentor.” Arcturus responded honestly, realising he’d started sweating. He rose to his feet unsteadily, frowning at the tingling in his body. It felt like he’d been put through a scalding hot shower, except on his insides. “Something happened between Adam and I. I… can’t really explain it, but it wasn’t an attack or anything. It’s hard to properly put it into words, but I can feel him.”

Ah the jokes one could make...

In his mind’s eye it was like a tether of light between himself and his friend. When he focused on it, he could tell exactly whom the tether belonged to and how strong it was. In fact, a prompt opened in front of his eyes when he thought about seeing more information.



Oathsworn Tether Adam Warman

(Passive, Level 1)

This tether connects a Liege with their Oathsworn. As the loyalty level of the Oathsworn grows, so too will the mutual benefits of the tether. If loyalty level reaches 0, the tether will break.


Sense Location

(Active, Level 1)

By focusing on the tether, the Liege may identify their Oathsworn’s map location. This effect will change from exact positioning to a cardinal direction outside of effective range.

Current Range: 1,000 metres


FEALTY POINTS 10 / 50 20% Progress to Level 2

“Woah.” Arcturus said as he looked over the information panel and read the details carefully. “That’s awesome.”

“Apprentice?” Tylariel prompted.

“Sorry.” Arcturus said as he dismissed the notification. “I just gained a new ability, I guess. Adam and I now have a tether I can use to find him. It also has the potential to grow and give us new benefits as it evolves. It’s surreal, but if I focus I can feel him right there. I could be blindfolded and point to exactly where he is, and whether or not he’s alive or dead.”

Tylariel pursed her lips as she looked between the two of them, until her posture relaxed marginally and her vine-blade vanished as she clipped her intricate hilt back to her belt. “I suppose what’s done is done, then. It’s lucky you roused yourself, though the conduct of your Nephilim companions was unacceptable.”

“You’re the one who pulled out the aetherblade, lady!” Danica said angrily while shaking her staff at Tylariel.

Ooh, this is going to be juicy!

“That will be quite enough of that, I think.” Maurice said placidly as he sipped his tea. “I believe the Nephilim were in the middle of something before emotions started running rampant?”

Tylariel looked at the calm clothier for a moment before abruptly settling herself back onto the chaise she’d claimed and gesturing with a manicured hand towards Arcturus. “Proceed with your oaths, Apprentice. We have more stops to make today, and we’ve no time to dither unnecessarily.”

Arcturus blinked in surprise at the jarring shift of atmosphere and looked curiously at Maurice. For all that he could see, his grand-uncle was little more than a regular shopkeeper — yet a single statement had been enough to dissuade his Mentor from even responding to Danica’s provocation. Until that moment he had seen only deference towards Tylariel, yet something about that interaction tickled him. There was far more to Maurice, he suspected, than what was visible to the naked eye.

Spoilsport is what he is.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be the same process with you guys.” Arcturus said as he shuffled the thought away and turned to Danica and Andy. “So let’s go one at a time, if you guys are still interested.”

“Yeah…” Andy said as he slowly sat back down, his weapons somehow gone as fast as they’d appeared. “Not going to lie, definitely rethinking the whole ‘horrible agony’ part of the de—Ow!”

He shot Danica an annoyed look as she smacked the back of his head, her staff firmly planted and held in her right hand while she poked his temple with her left. “We made a promise, Andy. Don’t even think of chickening out!”

“A promise?” Arcturus asked automatically.

This is going to be so sweet I'm going to feel sick, and I'm disembodied!

“When we learned you were supposedly forever dead.” Adam said as he readjusted in his seat and clenched his hands over and over, an action Arcturus assumed was to handle the left-over adrenaline from the oathbinding. “We swore that if we ever found a way to get you back, no matter how far-fetched or insane it was, we’d take it. You died trying to keep us safe. Even though you technically failed, you paid for it with your life dude.” He shook his head. “Even on Earth, you don’t just forget that sort of debt. We’ve been grinding hard trying to get strong enough to try something — anything, really — for a chance to get you back. Finding you like this? I can’t even tell you how surreal it is, but—”

“We’re not letting you get away from us again.” Danica finished fiercely. “No way in hell. We’ve had to deal with not having you around for nearly two years. It was awful, Arcturus. Especially after we learned about the Houses and I started connecting the dots. We didn’t tell anyone about it, of course. That would’ve put a target on our backs.”

“Dots that Andy, Caeara, and I were admittedly skeptical of.” Adam admitted with an apologetic shrug. “It just seemed way too convenient.”

“It was… challenging to believe that my Nephilim companions had grown up with the scion of House Valoura.” Caeara admitted nervously. “Very challenging. To a Terran, your family is…”

“It’s like being told someone grew up with the Windsors.” Andy supplied. “Seems like complete bullshit unless you have solid proof. Especially when the Windsors in this scenario use magical fucking lightsabers.”

Tylariel hissed in annoyance at Andy’s lack of decorum, but his only acknowledgement was a very provocative wink in her direction.

“We ended up just researching the Valouran bloodline and recognised the patterns.” Adam said matter-of-factly, distracting Tylariel from glaring at Andy. “The naming conventions, the sketches, even the records of each personality. When we realised that your Dad matched the description of the presumed-dead Prince pretty much exactly…”

“Why didn’t you try to come forward even then?” Sumeko piped up curiously. “Nephilim are divine-touched. The Church would not let you be harmed for simple conjecture.”

“They were wise not to.” Tylariel interjected with grudging respect in her tone, as if the words were being dragged out of her. “Leon Fortunis has the Church eating from his palm. No one would ever think to break Valaria’s laws with Arcturus Titus alive, but with the Iron Prince gone…”

“I’m sorry, ‘Iron Prince’?” Arcturus asked incredulously. “You never told me that!”

“He had a reputably rigid code.” Tylariel said as if that explained it all.

“Plus almost the entire Gilded Aegis was lost when he was.” Maurice said sadly. “A true loss for the Dominion, that.”

“The Gilded Aegis?” Arcturus’ stared at Maurice. “Hold on, they were real? I thought those were just stories he made up!”

“Understandable, given your previous frame of reference.” Maurice said benignly. “No doubt the tales would have seemed fantastical and implausible to a youth from such an Aether-starved source-shard.”

“They were your Dad’s bodyguards or companions or whatever.” Andy said with a nonchalant wave of his hand. “Sort of like Achilles and the Myrmidons. Real badasses, and all with the same kind of crazy devotion to the traditions and laws of your family.”

“The Aegis were often a sore spot for the Imperial Crown-Prince.” Maurice commented idly. “He never liked that people in Valaria saw them as superior to the Praetorian Guard.”

“Egotistical bourgeois. ‘How surprising!’ said nobody ever.” Danica commented sardonically.

“So wait. You guys mentioned researching, but… What about Amélie? Or Alanna for that matter?”

His friends exchanged glances, and Arcturus’ heart clenched for reasons he couldn’t quite articulate.

“They both made it to Terra, but…” Andy trailed off and glanced at Danica for help, who promptly shook her head and jutted her chin at Adam.

A flat look was given to both of them before Adam turned back to Arcturus.

“I’ll admit I was trying to avoid this discussion a little longer.” He clasped his hands together and leaned forward as he spoke, looking Arcturus in the eyes. “Amélie took your death a lot harder than the rest of us, Arc, and it… changed her. When we came to Terra, we were all given a kind of ‘tutorial’ at the Shrine of Order where we emerged. Every Nephilim gets the same, though I guess you’d be the exception. We were all given ‘paths’ and ‘classes’ to choose from, based on our personalities and aptitudes.”

“I got the Path of Secrets and Classes ‘Rogue’ and ‘Arcanist’. When I hit level 10, I got the option to advance my Rogue class to Assassin, or to wait and level my Arcanist to 5 and then take the Mageslayer Class. As you can probably guess—!”

“He was too edgy to refuse it.” Danica finished derisively.

“Rude.” Andy groused.

“Danica was given the Cleric and Arcanist classes and Path of Serenity, and she eventually also chose a combination class: Battle Cleric. It’s an off-healer and DPS role.”

“And it’s awesome.”

“It’s definitely useful.” Adam agreed as Danica stared lovingly at her halo-topped staff.

“What about you, Adam?” Arcturus asked with an amused glance for Danica.

“Path of Knowledge. Got Arcanist and Warrior, chose Battlemage.” Adam said without preamble. “Mix of magical and martial skills, primarily focusing on the former. Spellblade is the other option I had, but that inverts the focus from magical to martial, and I’ve always liked the idea of going full Gandalf on someone — so I went with Battlemage.”

“And Caeara?”

“That’s another thing. Terrans don’t get Classes.”

“What?” Arcturus asked. “But Tylariel—?”

“Archon is as much a rank or position as it is a ‘Class’.” Adam interjected with a wave of the hand. “It’s the closest thing we can see to a tangible Class, but it’s still not really classified as one. Something goes… weird… when you try to apply System logic to Terrans. It’s like it doesn’t know how to quantify them, or can’t quantify them. Kind of weird, really, when you think about everything else. You’d assume it’d be as accessible to them as it is to us, since you need Terran blood somewhere in your lineage to qualify for reincarnation as a Nephilim… but nope.”

“How does that make any sense?” Arcturus questioned. “I get Charisma, Perception, and Intellect Checks all the time.”

Intellect Check unsuccessful!

“Yeah, but I think it’s less of a value-based system and more of a… guiding point. Your stats don’t actually control anything, they just inform on your growth and how people perceive you, I reckon. It’s just like working out back on Earth and building muscle. The difference is that here we can use ‘experience’ to nudge our development where we want it to go, and in a way more manageable timeframe. With Aether, it also means we can achieve feats of strength or acquire longevity that would normally be impossible.”

“Are you two quite done with your nonsensical talk?” Tylariel asked with mild irritation. “As much as I enjoy being the subject of Nephilim gibberish and pseudo-scientific postulation, we have objectives to achieve. Answer his question about your other companions, swear your oaths if you intend to, and let us leave poor Maurice to reopen his store. My apprentice is still in need of an Aetherblade.”

Danica rolled her eyes with slow and deliberate emphasis, and Arcturus struggled not to wince as Sumeko and Jess glared daggers at her.

“The Lady Archon is correct, I guess. We should cut to the case.” Adam sighed. “I’m sorry, I keep finding excuses to veer away from the topic. The point is, we all had our induction and Amélie… Well, Amélie got the Path of Justice and the Classes ‘Warrior’ and ‘Cleric’.”


“She chose to take an Advanced Hybrid instead of a Base Advanced Class.”

Perception Check unsuccessful!

“What aren’t you telling me, Adam?”

His friend closed his eyes for a moment, as if looking for strength, before returning his focus to Arcturus.

“Amélie really didn’t handle your death well, like I said. It made her depressed, angry, volatile… She started looking for something to fill the void. For a… purpose. We tried to help, but she wouldn’t have any of it. Her and Alanna became close. Really close. When Alanna got her Oracle class, she had a vision about something she wouldn’t tell us, and she and Amélie just… shut us out.”

Arcturus’ heart started beating faster as he listened.

“A few weeks later Amélie went to the Inner City Cathedral and… Well, we don’t know what happened, but she went in and next thing we know we’re being told to leave the Cathedral grounds immediately.”

Perception Check unsuccessful!

“What? Did something happen?” Arcturus asked.

“Something happened alright.” Andy said bitterly.

Adam’s voice was tight with emotion. “She joined the Inquisition, Arcturus. Amélie became a Valkyrie, and if what we heard yesterday is true... she’s been assigned as a bodyguard.”

Perception Check unsuccessful!

“So what?” Arcturus asked in confusion. “Who cares if she’s guarding some rand—?”

“Leon Valoris Honorum. She’s given her loyalty to the guy about to inherit your throne.”

Cue dramatic music.

“What are you—?”

“She’s not the same girl you remember. You need to be ready for that. To accept it.”

Adam fixed him with a determined stare, and emphasized his words.

“Amélie is our enemy, Arcturus.”

A note from Hannibal Forge

Love to hear feedback on this one, folks.  I admit I'm way deeper into the exposition rabbit hole than I wanted to be, but I can't really say I regret it.  This has been incredibly productive, and useful for my own story progression mentally.  I know we're all eager to see Arcturus acquire a proper weapon, and I promise you it is coming!  Leave some comments, maybe even reviews!  I'd love to see your thoughts.  Reviews help a lot, too!

Support "The Vitaean Chronicles - Volume I: The Sanguine Prince"

Are you getting sick of the exposition?
No! I love learning things. Hit me with that knowledge!
54.74% 54.74% of votes
It's becoming a little tedious, but as long as it doesn't go on for another Chapter it's an okay amount.
28.42% 28.42% of votes
16.84% 16.84% of votes
Total: 95 vote(s)

About the author

Hannibal Forge

  • Chief Failure at Writing

Bio: Hannibal is an extroverted nerd from the greater British Commonwealth.

He fell in love with books and writing from a young age, and has been failing his way towards some level of literary competence since his pre-school years.

The Wheel of Time is his all-time favourite book series, and he's a big fan of LitRPG, High Fantasy, and Hard Sci-Fi.

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Azteriel ago

Really enjoying this story! Can't wait for more!

Duskuro ago

huh. the comment got deleted?

Bence491 ago

My problem with the exposition is that our MC should be a person of interest for everyone. Treating him like a spoiled child by his Mentor does not help them in any way. They all are in a very delicate situation and quite frankly the Mentor treats him like a 8 year old while expecting him to soon solve her problems. How can she expect him to do anything if she dismisses half of what he is (being a nephelim), and ignore/disrespect his heritage as well. She does not treat him like he is a/her future king.

Unless there is a very pressing need to go only with minimum info this just doesn't work for me.

It is probably the hardest part of any plane travelling/isekai story, to make the integration both fast, reasonable and interesting and I have no idea how it could be better. All I know is that the interactions between them are problematic at best and especialy here in the shop totally unreasonable for me.

Other than that I really like the story so far!

GoldeNeedle ago

With this chapter, there is clearly a "frame/silhouette" for what the end of this arc, or a future arc would be. AKA being introduced to the King, and fight Amélie and her protégé, I guess. Just putting my observations out there. If that nets you referencing, all the better.

Old_Man ago

the tediousness is due to them beating around the bush. It's not because of excessive exposition, but the needless inefficiency of it.

Zweivoss ago

I don't mind exposition, and I understand that weird luck and bending fate is part of the plot...but this all just feels way too convenient.

PTPogg ago

Mmmmmm... twisty!......Me likes!😎

MTB ago

“Amélie is our enemy, Arcturus.”

My first thought was, especially when the Oracle was mentioned - Amélie got told about Arcturus. But that's unlikely because Arcturus is outside fate, and it happened a long time ago (likely when Arcturus was still bein reborn / drifted as fading soulwhisps in the True Nothing).

Still don't think that Amélie chose to serve the guy who's most likely the cause of Arcturus' death (and her's).


And the archon continues to show a personality that screams 'obliterate me'. Does that system allow Terran's to use dumpstats? Because it seems she used CHA as dumpstat.

mr.nobody ago

these bastards (the nephilim) are infuriating to heights I have not reached in a long time although I have read another novel in which the protagonist asserts his culture over another, he does it with some tact. these idiots are taking culture shock to another level the suicidal behaviour infuriates me. if arcturus decides to promptly lose the protection of Tylariel he will get recognized his friends will be in danger and he'll be dead so will his friends.

but the novel is great. I honestly commend you for being able to piss me off so much.

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