Atop the city walls of Sorrow’s Shield, a line of centaurs stood watching the plains. They could see the many short figures on the distant horizon, with numbers uncountable. They were like a plague that had washed over their fields. The Kathar, or ‘Night Killers’, as the centaurs called them. Out of any beast or monster seen to date, they were the most fierce.
Few people truly knew at this point how the fighting began. All they knew was that the kathar had been hunting their people for months, wiping out any herd that dared wander beyond the walls of safety. Even the flying pegasus variants were sometimes brought down from the skies when they attempted to convey messages to the other cities.
Sadly, none of the Knights of the Round Stable had been stationed at Sorrow’s Shield, as they were always kept in the capital of King’s Hope unless dispatched. And by this point, it was far too late to expect them to be dispatched. The guards along the walls had the feeling that merely the kathar that they could see on the horizon numbered more than the entire population of Sorrow’s Shield. Yet still, they did not despair. Although they may have hid within their stone walls, they had hope, and that hope was precisely those guards.
The tales of the kathar in the ‘Battle of First Blood’, as the centaurs had come to call it, told many things about the abilities of the kathar. They possessed great stealth and strategy, and the ability to control the creatures of the wild. Yet, the stories spoke very little of any magical use.
Using this information, the guards of Sorrow’s Shield formed a special defense, a defense of unicorns, stationed regularly along the walls. As the first Knights of the Round had done in the Battle of King’s Hope so many years ago, they fought numbers with strength. They took the high ground, and launched their spells and arrows at any who dared to approach.
Like this, the kathar had not dared to approach the city walls, for every time they did, fire and ice rained mercilessly upon them. But at the same time, the centaurs were unable to leave the safety of their cities. The kathar were able to camp safely beyond the range of the spells, making their presence known along the horizon, a clear warning to any who would approach.
Unknown to them, a similar situation had arisen around both Tryval’s Hold and King’s Hope, though the latter had a slightly better result. With the presence of the king and his knights, they were able to extend the range of safety by a good degree, forcing the kathar to recognize their power and make their camps further away. However, even the Knights of the Round Stable dared not leave their walls.
Well, that went about as well as I had expected. I said with a sigh, shaking my head as I finished fast forwarding through the lesser skirmishes of the war between the halflings and the centaurs. By now, the forest had been almost emptied of halflings, leaving only a few behind to manage the Rests. As for every else, they had begun to construct new cities just outside of the centaur towns.
They called these cities Battle-Holds, for obvious reasons. Each one was hastily constructed, and had to be remade whenever the weather turned fierce. Yet, it housed a population of halflings that could easily wipe out any centaurs that left their cities. But at the same time, they were unable to attack, for two reasons. First, they had no method to scale the large stone walls around the cities. But more importantly, the centaurs carried a major advantage over the halflings whenever they brought out the unicorn variants.
Although the halflings had no innate properties that made magic hard to learn, the way that they established their society led to that result. After all, magic is grown through shared knowledge and research, but they spend so much time apart that they do not have the luxury to share such information. Even those that do end up getting the mage class don’t take it very far, often favoring the classes relating to exploration or monsters.
This led to a stalemate that could last forever, or until the centaurs starved within their cities. Although they had learned how to tend fields, that would only last for so long without the proper techniques, techniques that they have simply not had the time to discover. Which meant that now was the time to move.
“Terra.” I called out to her, looking back to find her still laying groggily on the bed. “Which city is your incarnation near?”
It took her a moment to open her eyes and register my question. “Hmm… I was taken to Tryval’s Hold.” She answered with a yawn. At some point, it seemed that Aurivy had squirmed her way out of Terra’s arms, to be replaced by an actual body pillow.
I nodded my head, writing a message to Ryone. I sent her the information about the reputation system, and let her know that I intended to buy it. There was currently a rather pressing need for it, so I didn’t wait for her approval. I knew that she would ultimately agree to me buying the system, as it would be a great help in the long run as well.
After buying the Easy Repuation system, I was left with exactly 607 points, though I was sure that number would increase if I checked my notifications to receive any royalties or rewards. Instead, I hit the great pause button of the world, turning back to Terra. With the world paused, it seemed as if someone had suddenly splashed water all over her. She was instantly awakened, looking at me with bright eyes.
“Are you getting ready to intervene?” She asked hopefully, and I nodded my head. “Okay. Since you paused the world, I take it you want my help with something?”
“Yeah.” I nodded again. “I want you to look over my idea for a backstory to use for when I descend this time.” As I said that, I created a pencil and a paper, and began writing. Though, what do I really write? “Okay, first.. Is there a way to check the history of people? I know you’ve mentioned having the worlds’ histories archived in your memory, and being able to review what has happened after the fact.”
Terra nodded her head with a smile. “It’s actually pretty easy, once you get the hang of it.” She explained. “Just focus on someone like you would when you want to read their thoughts or check their aura. Then, imagine a little clock over their head, and rewind it. You’ll be able to see the situation surrounding that person for the time period you view. Oh, and you can use it on locations too, if you want.”
Well, that definitely makes this easier. After thanking her for that information, I went through the important people in Tryval’s Hold, reviewing their past for important details that I could use to seamlessly appear. Thankfully, the faking my death part is really easy for me. All I have to do is use the World Host, and there will be no question that I actually died.
After I spent a few hours reviewing personal histories, I began writing out the details of what I wanted for the reputation. To summarize, I was the elder brother of the city’s guard captain, a unicorn who had specialized in magical research. Although I spent most of my time alone, in order to create less issues with the new system, I never acted without confidence. This eventually led the guard captain to have a great deal of trust in me.
Once I was done writing the entire story down, I had Terra review it. She glanced at it a few times before nodding her head. “You won’t be able to use any of your powers besides the mage class if you do it like this, you know?” She asked, looking at me.
“I know.” I replied with a smile. “I’m not going to be working alone. I’ll get others to help on my end. On your end…” I had chosen Tryval’s Hold because it was the city where Terra was stationed. “This is a difficult request, but I need to create as much fear as possible in the halflings. I’m going to lead the centaurs out of the city, and slaughter the halflings stationed there. I need you to make sure you are among the ones that get away. Once I’m done, I’ll need you to spin the story and try to warn the others outside King’s Hope, and finally Sorrow’s Shield.”
Taking a deep breath, I shook my head regretfully. I did not like the idea of what I was about to do, and I’m sure I would like doing it even less. “We’re going to turn the situation around, and put the halflings back in the forest.”
Terra looked at me doubtfully, before raising a question. “Won’t that just lead back to this situation all over again? This won’t end the war, you know…”
“I know. This is only the first step.” I smiled slightly. “This is just to make sure that they see each other on equal footing, rather than as monsters or beasts. After that, we’re going to start opening up a dialog between them, let them gradually come to understand each other’s languages.”
Terra made a soft sound of understanding, seeming to follow my thoughts. “Okay… that can work. It won’t lead to extinction for either race, at least. Even though they won’t really be friends for a very long time, it is a good start.”
Thankfully, we had the perfect system already in place that would allow languages to be learned easily with enough time and effort. Though, that also wasn’t the end of my plan yet. However, before I could move on to the final step, I would have to wait and watch how things develop after implementing this much.
Now, on to creating a body for myself. I thought as I turned back towards the computer. By the time I noticed, I saw that I had a reply from Ryone, giving me the approval I had expected for the new system.
For this trip, I immediately purchased a World Host, dropping my total by another thirty. That way, I could get out of the body whenever I wanted, and there would be no problems. After that, I began working on the body myself, though even I considered the body to be strange this time.
The main oddity of the body was its coloring. While most centaurs had a rather normal mix of colors that could almost be compared to horses of the previous Earth, unicorns were different. In almost all unicorns, their fur and hair were only a single color, but that color was not limited to the normal spectrum for their breeds. There could be unicorn centaurs with bright red fur, pitch black, or even a light blue.
The fur that I chose for my Host this time was a vibrant pink. Why? Because this was another reason why he hid himself away in seclusion, not interacting much with even the people of his own city. At the same time, it caused others to somewhat mock him for his coloring, but at the same time they recognized his abilities as a mage and a scholar.
When I looked at the body I had created, I shivered uncomfortably. The image of a muscular male frame attached to a bright pink horse body… I hope I never have a reason to use something like this again. Even Terra was shaking in laughter on the bed, though that stopped when I unpaused the world.
“No fair…” She yawned, immediately tired again. “It was… just getting good.” Shaking my head, I fast forwarded the world again, looking for the proper timing to introduce my ‘character’ into the world.
Guard Captain Carlak Hardback stood atop the walls, gazing out at the distant kathar camps. He had been trying to come up with some way to defeat this encirclement for months, but to no avail. Anyone he had sent out would be lucky to return alive. But he knew that they could not simply sit here and wait forever.
“Captain.” One of his guards trotted up the stone ramp to meet him, getting his attention.
“What is it Havak?” He asked, glancing over to the guard. Suddenly, he felt a strange energy washing over him for the briefest of moments, but afterwards continued as if nothing had happened.
“I have a message from your brother, Dayul.” The captain nodded when he heard that, a sudden hopeful look in his eyes. “He said he knows a way to push back the kathar.”