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Monthly Experience
Calculating...
Relevant Skills Training: +300 Exp
Physical Exercise: +115 Exp
Sparring: +115 Exp
Knowledge and Understanding: +40 Exp
Life Experience: +600 Exp
Total Monthly Exp: 1,170
Level Up!
Level Up!
Experience 355/600

Reivyn woke up to a new notification. He had known that people gained experience in their Classes over time, but he hadn't known exactly what form that took place in. Now he learned that the System did monthly calculations based on their activities and life experiences.

He noticed that Life Experience was more than double all of his other sources of experience combined. He surmised he had gotten such a large boost due to all of the new things he had done combined with travelling and fighting for his life. He couldn't always expect to get such a large boost to his monthly experience calculations.

Reivyn looked over his Status page, contemplating on what Stats to use his unassigned points on. He had just been increasing his Strength and Dexterity in equal measure, but he looked at his Intelligence and Magic Stats and remembered that they were his highest Stats that he was born with. He would gain points in his physical Stats automatically per level gain no matter what, so he made a snap decision to go ahead and place some points in his mental Stats.

It was important to focus on his physical Stats at this point in time of his life because of his circumstances, but he didn't want his advantages to completely fall by the wayside. With that mentality, he resolved to place a few points in his mental Stats every few levels going forward in the future.

Reivyn donned his armor and grabbed his weapons as he headed out of the tent with Brace. He was excited for the day, because it was the first time he was going on patrol in the mountainous wilderness with his squad.

Most of the other squads, including the ones from the cavalry unit, had already done a tour in the field, and each one of them had had to engage one or two ferocious beasts at least. The area surrounding their little mini fort was still not "off limits" to the local wildlife.

Reivyn and Brace met up with the rest of the squad members after grabbing a quick breakfast. Corporal Decker performed a head count and reported to their sergeant that they were good to go, and they set off into the sparse brush.

Corporal Decker had already explained the mission parameters the night before, and he didn't want any delay when it was time to begin the excursion. The men lined up in 2 columns, roughly ten feet apart with a point-man leading the way.

Reivyn kept his eyes open, surveying the land around him as they moved out. Even though they were still in the immediate area of the pallisade, it was a good habit to get into to always be alert.

The terrain was fairly rocky and open, but there were smatterings of tall grass, boulders, and some isolated clumps of trees that blocked the line of sight and provided concealment for anything lurking around. This close to the base camp, they didn't need to inspect each area thoroughly as to walk up to each individual one, but once they gained some distance that was exactly what they would be doing. The purpose of the outing was to drive off and deter any beasts, and with no final destination or timetable, there was no rush to not do so.

Reivyn walked along with the others up the gentle slope. He looked out over the plains expanding outward before him to his left. It was a vast sea of green, and the sun reflected off of a distant river that fed into a lake like a polished mirror. The blue sky with scattered clouds contrasting with the green below made for an idyllic scene.

The ridge that they were travelling along was extremely wide, and even though it was a spur of a much larger massif looming in the distance, Reivyn could see its own spurs darting off to the plains below on either side. On the right side of the ridge, the main line was a straight cliff into a forested valley, and the offshoot spurs were extremely steep. It would be a nightmare to navigate without proper gear and planning.

Reivyn could imagine that in a couple of years, after the outpost had become a proper city, this would be one of the most coveted areas to live in. It was simply stunning.

 



The morning passed without incident, and the squad settled down for some lunch. They had yet to encounter anything that would be classified as a ferocious beast, though they had run some local predators off, mainly mountain foxes and other small fry.

"So normally a ridge would be considerably less wide than one attached to such a large mountain range as this one," Brace leaned over to engage Reivyn in conversation. The squad wasn't operating in total silence, as they weren't performing any stealthy maneuvers or trying to remain undetected from an enemy.

"This ridge is very wide with a gentle slope, and it actually has more concealment from any watchers below in the center," Brace continued. "On a smaller ridge, it would be more narrow and almost come to a point at the top. In such a situation, anyone walking along the top would stand out like a sore thumb to anyone looking from the bottom, as there would be nothing but sky behind them. We call that "skylining," and we would typically move downslope a ways so as to avoid any prying eyes."

"That makes sense," replied Reivyn. "What about for anyone above you? Wouldn't they be able to see you no matter what?"

"Yeah, that changes things," answered Brace. "When confronting an enemy with a superior terrain position, cover and speed are much more important. Someone above is gonna spot you, but the key is to keep as many obstacles between you and them to prevent any archers or, in the case of a true professional army, mages from having line of sight and to close the distance as fast as possible."

Reivyn cocked his head to the side a little in confusion. "A 'true' professional army? I thought this was a professional army, though."

"While it's true that we're professional soldiers, we are not a professional army. We're structured similarly, and if the Kingdom ever issues a conscription, a portion of our unit gets sent up the chain just like any non-professional levy.

"Technically, we're part of the Lord's retainers. Most people join our outfit not just for the superior training and resources, but also because of the superior land that can be granted after a successful stint of service, which is typically around a decade, but it can be longer depending on the circumstances.

"The biggest difference between the professional army and the various retainers is access to the Kingdom controlled dungeons. They have the ability to send the men into various difficulty level dungeons to gain combat experience and levels. Knight-Captain Reifold served as a junior officer, but he's not the best person to gauge the effectiveness of the practice, because apparently he was quite exceptional even then."

"Why would he leave such an opportunity to come be a member of a lord's retainers?" Reivyn was puzzled.

"I don't know the details, but rumors are that, with anything involving nobles and benefits, there are some politics involved," Brace concluded.

Reivyn nodded his head and finished eating his lunch. They still had a few minutes of break, so he got up to go off a bit of a distance to relieve himself. As he finished up, he felt a thud against his shin along with the ting of something hard striking metal.

He looked down at his leg to investigate what had caused the sensation, and he saw a three-foot snake coiled up, ready to strike again. After careful observation, he realized it wasn't poisonous, it was just aggressive. A smirk crossed his face as he got an idea.

Reivyn turned to look over his shoulder and called out to Brace, "Heads up!" He scooped the snake up with the butt of his spear and launched it at the sitting man. He was only trying to play a prank on his friend, so he was careful to aim in such a way that it wouldn't actually land anywhere close to him or become a danger.

"Ahhh! Sonuva-gah," Brace toppled over at being startled to find a snake, fangs bared, flying through the air towards him. He gave out an eloquent rebuttal to the shenanigans his younger compatriot got up to, and the other squad members paused in their conversation to see what was going on. Upon realizing the situation, they just laughed and continued with what they were doing.

"Real funny," Brace said as he got up, patting the dust off of himself. He took his spear, and copying Reivyn earlier, scooped up the snake and sent it on its way.

Despite what some people assumed of military men, they weren't bloodthirsty murderers. They didn't just indiscriminately kill everything they encountered.

The rest of the break was spent tidying up and checking gear. Soon the squad was mobile again.

 



-ROAR!-

Reivyn darted in at the flank of a large, black bear as it took a swipe at the man in front of it with his shield up. The man took the hit and allowed the force to drive him back as another man took his spot. Reivyn jumped back as another man with a shield covered for him as the bear turned its attention towards the attacker.

The men had stumbled upon the bear some minutes earlier. It wasn't a ferocious beast, but bears were still deadly dangerous animals. They took turns rotating in defenders and attackers and harassed the bear. They weren't attempting to kill it, as it could actually prove beneficial towards keeping other animals and weak monsters in check.

They had their orders, though, and its home was within the radius that they were tasked with clearing out. The combatants harassed it for several long minutes until it finally must have realized it wasn't getting anywhere, and it turned and fled further up the mountain.

Reivyn lowered his spear and panted to catch his breath. Even though they took turns rotating out and not much Stamina was spent overall, it had still been a physically demanding activity. He took out his water skin and took a swig. He wiped the sweat off of his brow, popped his neck, and rolled his shoulders to relax his muscles.

As he was performing his little stretches, a glint off to the side near the cliff edge caught his eye. He frowned as he looked over and couldn't quite make out what had caught his attention. It was around a couple hundred yards to the side and further up the slope, so he was surprised he had seen anything at all. He elbowed Brace to his side and nodded in that direction.

"I think I saw something over there. No idea what," he told the man. Brace looked over in the direction and then walked up to Corporal Decker. He bent his head together with the corporal, and then Decker signalled the men to form up.

"Might be something unusual over by the cliff, so we're going to walk over there and check it out as we continue on our way," the squad leader commanded.

The men did a quick double check of their gear, and then they resumed their patrol formation. As they walked along the path leading to the location, a group of unfamiliar people suddenly came hurrying out of the brush right next to their intended investigatory destination. They were attired like Adventurers, though not like any of the several groups that had arrived at the pallisade that Reivyn had seen.

The group of Adventurers spotted the squad and came to an abrupt halt. They turned towards each other and gesticulated for a bit before a flurry of activity ended with them producing what looked like collapse-able kites out of their packs. They then did something very puzzling: They took a running head start and launched themselves off the cliff side. The contraptions were actually gliders, and Reivyn and the other squad members watched as they floated down into the forested valley below.

"I've got a bad feeling," Corporal Decker had a frown on his face as he muttered to himself. Louder, he continued, "Let's hurry and see what's up there."

The men broke into a jog and headed for the spot the strangers had jumped off the cliff. They clearly hadn't originally been planning on taking that route of descent, but the arrival of the squad had prompted them to abandon their plans for expediency. It was very suspicious.

Upon arriving at the edge, the men finally saw what had at first grasped Reivyn's attention. A line of spikes were driven into the ground and ropes attached to the spikes led down into the valley.

"Cut these ropes," Corporal Decker pointed and ordered.

"What are these for?" One of the men asked as the squad drew their utility blades to sever the ropes. There had to be at least thirty, minimum.

"Don't know, don't care," responded the corporal.

Reivyn ran to one of the ropes and bent down to grab it in his off hand. He steadied the thick rope as he sawed through it, his Weapons Master Skill activating and speeding up the process. When he finished cutting the rope, he glanced down as he put his hand down to help push himself up into a standing position, and he paused.

Some of the loose gravel was shifting about, and as he bent down for a closer look at the puzzling phenomenon, he noticed larger and larger pebbles also start to bounce and dance around.

"Corporal!" He shouted as he quickly stood up. Corporal Decker held up a hand to acknowledge he had heard him but to wait. He was staring up at the brush line spotted with clumps of trees. The terrain formed a fairly solid break to line of sight.

A crashing sound came from the brush followed shortly after by the sounds of a large animal grunting and whoofing. Suddenly, the black bear that they had run off moments before came charging out of the brush down the slope. It looked at the men as it ran by at an astonishing speed, but otherwise it completely ignored them.

"Everyone, stop what you're doing," Corporal Decker waved his arm in an up and down motion to get his men to stop and be silent. Reivyn watched his expression as he looked at the running bear, the dancing pebbles on the ground, and then finally up at the brush line. Reivyn witnessed the blood completely drain from his face as he turned and yelled at the men.

"RUN!"

The men immediately stowed their utility blades and took off running at full tilt back down the slope. They had only managed to cut about half of the ropes. As soon as they entered a dead sprint, a giant shadow fell over the fleeing men as a huge flock of birds shot up into the sky, previously having been concealed by the brush line and other obstacles. With their shadow came the screeches of innumerable birds chirping and cawing at one another.

A cacophony of sound barraged Reivyn's ears as he put the entire fiber of his being into running down the slope. A quick glance behind him showed a similar scene on the ground. A horde of wildlife, ferocious beasts, and low-tiered monsters came surging out of the brush in an endless tide.

Reivyn's eyes opened wide in panic, and he felt Mental Fortitude assert itself as he faced forward once again. He tucked his head down and silently chanted, run, run, run, run... over and over again to himself.

While the squad had managed to travel a considerable distance during the day, they had snaked and meandered up the slope in order to investigate all of the little hidey-holes something could be lurking within. The absolute distance walked was a lot, but the relative distance away from the pallisade wasn't too far, all things considered. It could be seen as a tiny square off in the distance still.

"Emergency signal!" Corporal Decker yelled between breaths. He didn't specify who should send one, so three of the squad members fired off a magically enhanced signal flare in the direction of the pallisade. Because of the slope and distance they had travelled, instead of firing the signal flare straight into the air, they aimed more in front of themselves so as to allow the projectile to expend its acceleration moving towards the encampment.

Three flares shot out almost simultaneously nearly parallel to ground level. Mere moments later, large globes of extremely bright, orange fire exploded into being, hopefully alerting the base below.

Reivyn felt nearly weightless as the men hurtled down the slope of the mountain. He felt like if he ran any faster, he would simply run out into the open air in front of him instead of down the ridge. If he didn't have decently levelled Balance and Running Skills, he wouldn't have been able to handle such a pace without ending up tripping and rolling the rest of the way.

We can make it, Reivyn thought to himself. His lungs were on fire and his legs were growing weary, but he had hopes as he could see their destination getting closer and closer while they maintained a lead on the beast tide.

But Reivyn had forgotten one thing: he shouldn't give voice to these thoughts in his head.

A swarm of birds came plunging down on the men, careening into the fleeing squad as they made their escape. Reivyn felt rock hard beaks and sharp claws crash into his head and upper back, causing him to stumble and barely catch himself. He and the others unstrapped their shields and ran with them held aloft to fend off as many of the avian assailants as they could.

The birds were extremely nimble, however, and many of them simply swooped down under the protection of the shield to scratch and peck at faces and upper bodies as they flew by. Reivyn knew that if this continued, the harassment would lead to a catastrophic loss in speed resulting in them being submerged in the horde.

Working off of instincts he didn't know he had, Reivyn spun his internal mana through his body faster than he ever had before and pulled it in the palm of his right hand. He discarded his spear as a hindrance and lashed his hand out as fire mana synthesized into a long, thin strand that he wielded like a whip.

He struck out at the birds flying in above him and lassoed it out over his companion's heads. Reivyn's mana dropped precipitously as the maneuver burned through 10 points per second. He could only maintain the assault for a total of 30 seconds.

The fire whip didn't make physical contact so much as it simply passed through the birds. The flying beasts that were passed through with the whip caught on fire, causing them to lose their ability to fly as their feathers burned up. The other birds enroute to perform their dive-bomb attacks quickly abandoned the thought of continuing to harass the men, and Reivyn quickly released the technique.

He had used up just over one hundred mana and was down to two-thirds of his total pool.

There was no time for thanks or any kind of examination on what had just happened, and all of the men kept their heads down as they continued their sprint, their shields now pumping back and forth along with their arms.

Sweat poured down Reivyn's head and face as his entire body was drenched from the exertion. The sweat stung as it fell into his eyes, and he could taste the salt as it landed on his tongue as he gulped down his breaths. He looked towards the base, and they were finally close enough that he could see a flurry of activity as the men still there were doing something on this side of the wall.

Despite the hiccup with the birds harassing them, he still maintained hope that they would somehow make it to safety, but one form of disaster never strikes alone.

Reivyn heard a muffled curse followed by the sounds of armor striking the ground from behind him. He turned and saw Corporal Decker rolling down the slope. Like a responsible leader, he had been bringing up the rear, keeping an eye on his men, but he had apparently been too focused on the others and had failed to spot a rock that caused him to roll his ankle and trip.

Reivyn had no conscious thought as his body moved on its own. He activated his Class Skill Charge in the direction of the Corporal and his momentum was immediately altered towards a full on sprint in the opposite direction.

The Active Skills afforded by the Classes were peculiar. With some experimentation, he had found that he could activate the Skill in any direction from any situation. He could even enter a full charge while jumping in the air. The System worked in mysterious ways.

As Reivyn made his way towards his downed corporal, he spotted a duo of large wolves that were obviously on the cusp of being classifed as beasts accelerate away from the front line of the horde. They had spotted prey and had seized the opportunity to pounce. Reivyn flung his shield away as he simultaneously entered a ready battle stance above his fallen comrade, grasped the sheathe of his sword in his off hand, and drew the sword in a lightning quick arc.

He felt resistance as his blade passed through the first wolf, completely decapitating it, but the weapon had lost enough momentum that it simply bashed the other wolf off trajectory with a deep cut on its neck. Deep, but not enough to be fatal. The surviving wolf managed to rake its claws across Reivyn's unprotected midsection, tearing cloth, leather, and skin in a spray of blood.

Reivyn didn't have time to care about the wolf or acknowledge the burning sensation in his side as he scooped up the Corporal, sword still in hand, and started running back down the slope. He could practically feel the breath of the many beasts that were now hot on his heels. His recent Stat gains and adrenaline coursing through his system allowed him to shoulder the other man with only minimal added effort.

"Put me down and escape on your own!" Corporal Decker tried to convince Reivyn to save himself.

"No," was the simple reply.

Blood was pouring down his side, his Stamina, and now Health, were draining at unprecedented speeds as his vision was obscured by the sweat continuously pouring down his face. Any minute now he would be caught by a trailing tide of death.

His vision began to swim and he could only focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

A strange sound entered his ears that he couldn't focus on enough to think about, and it was followed by louder shrieks from the many creatures chasing after him. The weight of Corporal Decker on his shoulders suddenly disappeared, and his vision tilted to the side as he felt himself falling sideways.

No, that's not right, Reivyn thought. I'm not falling, I'm flying.

He was completely spent and could hardly focus on what was happening to him, but he suddenly felt his weight return to him as he was securely placed onto something moving and jumping about.

"Don't worry, I got you," a voice calmly told him as his vision started going dark around the edges.

He had been picked up by a member of the cavalry.

They had made it.

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Kyfe

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