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Alphonse "Al" Sahalin

"Alphonse or Alistaire... it doesn't really matter to me, either way. Just call me Al."

0 · 527 views · located in Life Untold

a character in “Life Untold”, as played by Feyblue

Description

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"Fighting in a game - even if the combat is 'real' - all boils down to reading the patterns of your opponent and striking at his openings - that's all there is to it. Still, I can hardly call this virtual reality easy. Dealing with people is as troublesome as ever. Ah... what a pain..."





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Name: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin
Description: Tall, lean, and ordinary. These are three words that describe the young gamer, Alphonse. With short, roughly straight black hair generally ruffled up in an unkempt bird's nest of dark locks, somewhat pale skin, and a build that is generally rather scrawny compared to his rather large height of six feet, three inches, he possesses long limbs and broad shoulders, but not so much muscle as you might expect from someone of his stature. Actually, despite his size, he's rather unassuming, simply because most people just see a kid in unremarkable dark clothing with black hair and a bored expression usually adorning his face, and then their attention moves on.

His only two really distinctive features are his youthful, smooth skin that seems to violently refuse to grow any more facial hair than the occasional tiny amount of stubble - which he usually shaves off anyway so as to keep unsightly hairs from growing in on their own - and his eyes, which are bright blue, and almost seem to shimmer in the light - that is, when his glasses aren't reflecting it and blocking his eyes almost completely from view. Speaking of which, these, too, are ordinary - not too large, nor too small, or even particularly colorful. From his black shoes to his black slacks to his customary dark hoodie - worn to protect him from the sunlight that burns his skin so easily, as he's never bothered himself to tan - to his black hair, he seems very monochromatic, and generally, quite dull.

This isn't to say he's unattractive. At the very least, he isn't ugly, as despite his scrawny stature, he has a generally good, respectable look about him, with an amicable half-smile maintained perpetually out of habit that shows he's not entirely averse to interaction despite his formidable height and dark wardrobe, and his eyes and the softness of his hair could certainly be called charm points. It's just he's definitely not the sort of dashing, manly prince that you would call "handsome." He's just a guy - a very, very normal guy.

Age: 16
Sex: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Height: Six Feet, Three Inches.
Weight: 170 Pounds.
Hair Color: Jet black.
Eye Color: Bright, sapphire blue.
Body Type: Tall and lanky.
Blood Type: AB.
Skin Tone: Pale.
Voice Type: Actually, surprisingly deep - befitting somebody of his stature, but perhaps not someone of his youthful appearance. It fits his avatar Alistaire much better than himself, in any case - so he thinks, anyway.
Voice Example: Yeah, it's Levi. Deal with it. XD

Character Class: Myrmidon
Starting Weapon: Wooden Longsword.
Starting Level: 2
Starting Stats:
  • HP: 27
  • ATK: 8 - 1 Stat point spent, 1 hard Stat point earned, 0 extras gained.
  • DEF: 5 - 0 Stat points spent, 1 hard Stat point earned, 0 extras gained.
  • AGI: 11 - 1 Stat point spent, 1 hard Stat point earned, 1 extra gained.
  • SKL: 8 - 1 Stat point spent, 1 hard Stat point earned, 0 extras gained.
  • SPD: 11 - 2 Stat points spent, 1 hard Stat point earned, 1 extra gained.

Starting Skills:
  • Sword: Lv 2
  • Athletics: Lv 1
  • Detection: Lv 1
  • Sneak: Lv 1


Personality: Al is an interesting person. On the one hand, he seems polite, friendly, outgoing, and even witty, joking energetically with those who engage him in conversation. Most people would call him a well-adjusted, mature young man well on his way to adulthood, and everyone who talks to him, if you asked them, would probably say that he has a lot of friends - although if you asked them to name any, they'd probably have great difficulty producing even one name. He himself, however, feels anything but. Even if he interacts with others kindly when they speak to him, he shows almost no initiative when it comes to actually reaching out to others. Possessing a hyper-sensitive sense of self, he over-analyzes any potential course of action, always doubting how he's perceived and worrying that others will only find him strange for acting, even in the way he feels is normal. Consequently, he usually remains completely silent in the presence of others, awaiting someone to give him a reason to speak before he does so. Feeling stifled by his lack of experience with other people, he finds himself crushed by a sense of dread that he'll be perceived as strange, or stupid, or a nuisance, feeling obligated to meet up to the expectations of those around him, and to exceed them, because of this. Consequently, he finds himself spending most of his time just joking around, trying to amuse the people who actually bother talking to him, so that they won't notice that his outgoing facade is just that - a mask.

Highly intelligent, he's the sort of person who sits in the back of a class, raising his hand every time the teacher asks a question, rattling off the answer, and then lapsing back into silence as he ponders the world outside the window to his right. If you asked him, he'd probably joke that he sounds like the main character of some cliche story, and then shut his mouth again as he realized he'd just hinted at his fondness of anime, something most of his peers would look upon with scorn. Indeed, beneath his studious, socially awkward exterior lies an unparalleled love of fiction - largely video games, movies, and the occasional anime. But, like so much else about himself, he hides these facts, too afraid of how people would view him to stand up and state his hobbies plainly.

Suffering from a relatively minor case of chronic depression, he's well aware of how pathetic the way he lives his life is, and of the fact that not a single person he regularly interacts with really knows, or particularly cares, what he's actually thinking. Even so, he's reluctant to step out of the mold he's made for himself, conditioned by years of avoiding others into maintaining his aloof, shy mindset. He'll help people if they ask for it, as he loves nothing more than being useful to others, but at the same time, he doesn't go out of his way to meet and hang out with his peers. It is for this reason that he hasn't actually had any notable female friends at any point in his life, let alone a girlfriend - another embarrassing secret he hides from the public. Another important thing he lacks is a goal for the future, as, aside from going to college when he graduates to please his parents, he doesn't really have any dreams or goals set for himself - a fact which worries him, as the youth he so cherishes is almost over. He knows he'll have to face reality sooner or later - he's just not sure how he'll manage it. Life Untold is an attempt for Al to escape all those things, and embrace his passion as a gamer one last time before he has to move on with life. This VRMMORPG is meant to be his last dance, and he fully intends to succeed and become one of the best players in the entire game, to give himself memories to look back on.

Strengths:
  • A former novice practitioner of Aikido, he's gotten incredibly good at maintaining his balance, predicting the paths taken by incoming attacks, avoiding them, and counterattacking. He also knows how to control his opponent's momentum, allowing him his most valuable skill: the natural talent to counterattack enemies without actually using a Sword Skill, redirecting their momentum either with his blade or his hand and knocking them off balance, giving him the perfect window to strike.
  • An avid gamer, he's incredibly good at reading subtle patterns in his opponents' attacks, finding flaws in their defenses, and luring them into exposing themselves so he can strike. He's also done extensive research on the different conditions that can be inflicted within the virtual reality, and uses every advantage he can get, throwing in random hand-to-hand combat maneuvers - even those completely unrelated to his area of martial expertise, like kicks - to break his opponents' defenses, striking precise points in their anatomy to inflict various status debuffs on them and cripple them, or locating weak points in their weapons and breaking them.
  • Determined, jovial, and charismatic when he tries to be, he can be a genuinely enjoyable person to be around, a trait which makes it easy for him to make friends and allies - although keeping them is another story.

Weaknesses:
  • Lacking social initiative, he finds it difficult to actually reach out to others, worrying how they'll react. This isn't to say he lacks confidence, as he doesn't entirely suffer from what one might call an inferiority complex - his self-image is just largely dictated by how he sees other people acting towards him.
  • He views "Defense" as a dump stat, favoring jumping around and generally going as fast as physically possible, pushing his speed stats to their limits by min-maxing towards them and equipping only a sword and light armor so as to minimize his load. While this does make him hard to hit, it also makes him incapable of withstanding more than one or two blows.
  • He's kind of a doormat, unable to say no to people who ask for his assistance. This has a tendency to get him into a great deal of trouble, more often than not.


Starting Equipment: Wooden Longsword, Novice's Basic Light Armor.

Biography: Born as an only child, Al didn't exactly have much experience interacting with kids his age due to his father needing to move a great deal for his job, which varied between the different branches of a US-spanning corporation at least once a year. Consequently, Al spent his first six years of school taking courses from his mother, who stayed home to keep an eye on him and make sure he didn't get lonely. Introducing him to video games as a means of passing the time when he didn't have anybody his age to play with, he started with puzzle games and... never really stopped, moving on to strategy games, then action games and RPGs. Even when his father finally managed to get a stable job in one place, and they settled down with Alphonse going to public school for the first time, he kept up his hobby.

He wasn't very good at sports, and hated the heat due to how often he ended up sunburned while playing outside, and so avoided baseball teams and basketball games - the latter especially, as he was often scouted or otherwise pressured due to his height - like the plague, favoring swimming as a physical hobby, and pretty much nothing else. He felt awkward in public school, as many people disagreed with the more "uptight," conservative worldview his mother had taught him, and mocked him for staying true to his ideals. Not really able to relate to the experiences of anyone else, he found himself turning away every time he made eye contact with someone, and avoiding anybody who didn't directly approach him. Taking up more and more gaming hobbies to pass the time, he found himself spending most of his days staring at a monitor and browsing the web. He stumbled across anime, and became quite a fan of it, as it was a medium that ran almost entirely on the mechanics he was familiar with from his roleplaying experiences. He also became a major fan of the game "Dark Souls," a difficult, challenging experience which shaped most of the strategies he uses today, and gave him the experience to dominate most other RPGs, as he could predict most of the tricks, ambushes, and other threats in similar games. For a brief time, he took up Aikido, as the martial art which focused solely on redirection of the opponent's momentum rather than any physical strength on the user's part and which also contained elements of swordfighting held a great deal of appeal for the fantasy-loving, scrawny young Al. However, after rising quickly to the rank of Blue Belt, he got bored and gave it up.

But through all this time, he still found himself nigh unable to connect to others - even those who shared his passions. He could put on a smile, joke, and clown around with his classmates, to be sure - but he still never felt like he was really part of their group. He knew that, but, too afraid to speak up, he simply kept his words bottled up as he always had. He'd find a way to interact with others someday, and until then, there was no point in worrying his parents. He was probably just going through ordinary teenage angst. His problems were nothing special. He himself wasn't anything out of the ordinary. So he'd just keep acting normal, pretending it wasn't an issue, and distracting himself with amusing fancies. That was one of the reasons Life Untold caught his eye - it presented an opportunity to really cut loose and enjoy himself, free of all bonds that restricted him - even the laws of reality itself! And so, preordering a copy, he set to work immediately on beginning his grandest exploits, a final eulogy to his childhood, which was swiftly slipping away...

So begins...

Alphonse "Al" Sahalin's Story

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Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin
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#, as written by Feyblue
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With a groan, the dark-haired boy seated himself at the table, the quiet babbling of the radio on the far counter reaching him only as a meaningless, dull droning that meant nothing to his tired brain. He'd been up late last night doing some research into the mechanics of his newest and greatest gaming project, working out the system and mastering combat within it. He'd stayed in the tutorial area, dragging out his fight with the training enemy so as to master the timing for attacking and defending before he advanced. It wasn't difficult, and the Sword Skills came quite naturally to him - even one handed - from the many sword drills his Aikido sensei had made him perform. Originally, his cuts had been sloppy and uncontrolled, which had prompted his teacher to mandate him to swing the wooden bokken with just his dominant hand, forcing him to learn control and precision to the point that he could aim a blade's swing perfectly, even one-handed. The system recognized each and every one of his near-flawless inputs, and he'd swiftly moved on to testing the differences each stat gave him. Although that had forced him to forgo learning all but the most basic of skills for the time being, he now thought he had a fairly good grasp of how the stats played into combat, and a solid plan for leveling.

Which, he thought as he bit into his slightly blackened toast, meant that there was now only one thing to do: enter Life Untold and start playing for real. He had to admit, he was excited. The thrill of a real battle was new to him, but nevertheless, he'd thoroughly enjoyed his fights - both the one against the tutorial enemy, and the several duels he'd fought with other new players afterward - and was greatly looking forward to seeing what else the system had to offer. And he wasn't going to be playing alone, either. Some nearby friends he'd met once or twice from a forum he frequented had mentioned getting the game also, and, although it hadn't been his idea, one of them had suggested starting at the same time and playing through the first floors together. Although he was a little leery about joining up with others so early on, given the awkwardness of social interaction even in a virtual world, he'd reasoned that it would be better to start out prepared than to fall behind. Besides, if things got difficult for him, he could always drop out and set out on his own. So he told himself.

Speaking of that, though, it was getting close to the meeting time - 45 minutes until he was due to make his debut as Alistaire, the Knight Errant, and set out on whatever quests might await him. Well, there was nothing wrong with being early, he supposed. Hastily devouring the remains of his woefully overcooked toast, he made his way back up to his room, the silence of the house far from abnormal to him. His parents both had work to be done and preparations to be made, even on the weekends, and being an only child meant that things were pretty dull most of the time. Still, that meant he could jump right into things without any obligations to worry about, and hopefully make rapid progress for the first few days.

Starting a program on his computer and then throwing himself back onto his bed, he smirked, donning the distinctive headgear of the Life Untold virtual reality engine. Closing his eyes, he felt a slight jerking sensation on the edge of his consciousness, and when he opened them again, he was standing face to face with his own avatar as the character select screen opened. Stepping forward, he placed a hand on the shoulder of his immobile, lifelessly floating other self as his own "body" - just a blank simulated slate through which he was able to select options on the menu - dissolved into pixels around him, his consciousness entering the painstakingly created avatar he had built - his ideal self.

"Your turn, partner. Let's seize the day, shall we?"





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As the world took form before his blue eyes, Alistaire stretched, brushing back his unfamiliar long hair as it took shape, clearing his vision as he took in the area around him. He was on the edge of a bustling metropolis, presumably the starting area. People were already rushing here and there, several crashing into walls or each other as they tried to accustom themselves to their new virtual bodies. Evidently, he was one of the logical few who had chosen a form similar to his own so as not to be encumbered by the difficulty of adjusting to a different-sized body to one a player was used to. Then again, that was probably just because most guys wanted to try creating female characters, since, from what he understood, you could do pretty much anything with your simulated body.

Eugh. That probably wasn't the best thought to begin his gaming experience with. Shaking his head as though to forcibly dislodge this errant musing, he turned in the opposite direction from where most of the players were headed, and wandered out of the city and into the countryside. He hadn't a clue where he was going, or what would await him wherever he ended up - but those questions were irrelevant. He'd have his answers soon enough.

...A few seconds later, he got an answer to his second question in the form of an arrow shooting out from behind a large rock, his quick reflexes the only thing saving him from being headshotted instantly as he leaped back, the twang of the bowstring tipping him off as to the ambush just before it happened. Whistling in admiration of the shooter's aim as the arrow streaked through where he'd just been standing, the swordsman drew back, placing a hand on the hilt of the wooden weapon hung at his belt as he searched for any sign of his assailant.

Or, rather, assailants - for in another instant, a band of half a dozen goblins emerged from hiding behind the small hillocks on either side of the road, letting out several loud squeals of delight as they drew various malformed pseudo-swords and closed in, the goblin archer adjusting his aim as he knocked another arrow to his bow. Alistaire sized up his opponents - High HP and attack, but low speed and agility - and smirked.



"Sorry," He said with a grin, not really caring that the NPC enemies probably didn't have any way of understanding him. "But it'll take at least a giant demon falling from the sky to get the drop on me!" As though incensed by his words, one of the goblins gave a wild yell and leaped towards him from behind, brandishing a curved, rusty blade that looked about as imposing a weapon as his own wooden training sword. Alistaire's grin widened. With them moving that slow, this fight was going to be easy! Twisting around, he drew his sword from a iaido stance - a form in which he had no expertise whatsoever, but which he knew from playing several video games in which it was a major feature - twisting the scabbard to use as leverage to accelerate his draw, such that his weapon was instantly out and already entering a cutting animation by the time the goblin had even closed half the distance between them. His longsword had a good two feet of length on the smaller demihuman's weapon, making it child's play to crush the creature's windpipe with a single strike. Instantly, the creature's Hitpoints dropped by 9, his total attack of 14 - 8 points of his own stat plus the modifier for his sword - subtracting a large chunk of its health bar as it staggered backward, clutching its throat. Alistaire smirked, the "Dazed" status effect appearing on the creature's information screen. He'd stopped its breathing for the time being, which would make it difficult for the creature to participate in the fight for a short period of time. He could finish off that one at any time. For now, he needed to deal with the biggest threat: the enemy archer. Another loud twang caught his attention, and he hastily sidestepped past the fallen goblin as a second arrow tore through where he'd just been standing, the other four of his enemies hot on his heels. Three of them were opposite their fallen comrade from him, which would slow them down, but another was getting between him and the archer - and that he couldn't allow. As the goblin lunged towards him, stabbing its blade straight towards his heart, Alistaire grinned, raising his empty off hand before him and stepping forward towards his enemy. A basic Aikido technique used to block punches, known as Tsuki Kotogaeshi, was to move in along the outside of an incoming attack, force its momentum forward until the assailant was overextended, and then throw them to the ground. Meanwhile, an infamous feature of Dark Souls was the ability to parry almost any attack from a similarly sized foe, even if you were unarmed, so long as your timing was good. So, Alistaire figured, why not combine the two?

Stepping towards his opponent, he moved sharply to the left at the last second, sweeping out with his free hand to guide the goblin's sword arm forward, causing the creature to stumble forward as its own impetus carried it onward as, in the same instant, Alistaire spun about with his own momentum, bringing around his wooden sword and striking out at the backs of both of the goblin's knees, smashing them in with a single strike and causing the creature to fall pathetically to the ground. Yet again, 9 of the goblin's 28 HP was depleted - but this time, Alistaire knew how many hits it would take, and had enough time to finish his foe off before its allies could get around the fallen Goblin he'd already left in his wake. Flicking his wrist, he activated another slash, striking the falling Goblin in the ribs and smashing at least two, before using the reversal of his momentum as his attack was stopped by his enemy's flesh to whirl about, dealing a third blow to the collapsing NPC's neck. 18 HP vanished in a heartbeat, and its last hitpoint soon followed as, with a precise motion, Alistaire raised his sword over his head, and then struck downward in the most basic of ways taught by almost any Japanese style of swordsmanship.

"MEN!" He roared triumphantly, calling his one-handed strike as it smashed the creature's skull, causing the goblin to dissolve into pixels as his XP bar highlighted the area between 2/32 to 7/32, displaying the amount of experience he'd accrue - assuming he won. With that nuisance out of the way, by his calculations, he'd still have plenty of time to deal with the archer before-

Twang.

Oh, right. The archer. He'd spent too long focusing on one target, and now the distant enemy was shooting at him again. He couldn't afford to leap away as he'd done before, or else he'd have too much distance to cross before the archer could shoot again, or his goons could catch up to him. He'd have to charge straight forward. The arrow would probably be a headshot, since the creature's aim hadn't faltered either of the past two times it had fired. He could already see the projectile's trajectory in his mind, and he was confident - he could stop it. Spinning around, he raised his free hand, preparing to snag the arrow out of the air as it came on, like the sort of badass action hero you saw in a movie.

...A splatter of red pixels shot into the air as the arrow pierced cleanly through his palm, stopping only inches from his face. His HP bar dropped sharply from 27 to 20 as he grimaced with distaste. Evidently, catching arrows mid-flight really didn't work in reality - or even in a virtual one that approximated it.

"Wasn't using that hand anyway..." He muttered irritably, bounding forward with his sword still clutched in his good hand as he raised it. The goblin archer didn't have time to knock another arrow to the bowstring before he was already upon it, planting his front foot and bringing up his back one to deal a vicious roundhouse kick to the monster's face, shattering its bow and sending the creature reeling, its HP bar depleting by 3 for the unarmed attack he had just landed, before swiftly dropping by 18 more as he spun about, bringing up his sword and battering it about the head with the wooden weapon before stepping forward, raising his skewered hand as a sadistic grin spread across his face. "I think this is yours!" He roared triumphantly, palm-striking the Goblin in the face, thus driving the head of the arrow it had fired right through the creature's eye socket. The +4 damage modifier seemed to carry over, since the Goblin's last 7 HP blinked out as the creature vanished with a cry and a flash of light.

Alistaire's grin broadened. "That... was the most metal thing," He said, turning to face his remaining four adversaries. "I mean seriously, did you SEE what I just did there?! Are you not entertained?!"

The Goblins stared for a moment, and then gave a scream of rage as they all rushed him at once - even the one he'd already struck, which seemed to have recovered its breath enough to attack again.

"Tough crowd, huh? Well screw you, too," He spat carelessly, leveling his sword in his working hand as the four goblins came on. They were still just a bit out of synch, two of them lagging behind the others. It would be easy to break their formation. Lunging forward, Alistaire parried the blades of the first two assailants before bringing his own weapon back down to smash the head of one Goblin. Striking twice more rapidly, he dispatched this foe, too, only for the third of his attackers to advance past his stumbling comrade, slashing his blade straight for the purple-haired swordsman's throat. Raising his arm, Alistaire took the blow with his already crippled hand, a spurt of blood-colored light rising into the air as his hitpoints depleted from 20 to 13, his bar dropping to just below half full. Pulling back his arm, he allowed the enemy's weapon to remain stuck in his own appendage, dragging the surprised creature forward and slamming its face directly into the rising edge of his wooden sword. Its nose snapped sideways with a crack as it, too, stumbled away, unable to retain its footing as a boot planted itself firmly in its gut and kicked off, sending it toppling right onto its own ally, who, panicking, skewered it, dropping its hitpoints from 28 to 12. As the two fallen Goblins flailed about wildly, trying to disentangle themselves from one another, Alister walked calmly forward towards his last remaining adversary. The creature lashed out with its blade, but the swordsman merely grinned, flicking his wrist to send his own longer weapon arcing upward, batting aside the attack before bringing his sword back down, striking once, twice, and then a third time, shattering the already wounded enemy into light as it, too, perished.

Turning about, he gave a wry smirk as the last two Goblins - one missing its sword, which was still hanging from his useless left arm - finally managed to stand. "I know, you're probably thinking something like this," Alistaire began, turning and beginning to walk calmly towards the two remaining enemies. "'But we had the advantage of levels and numbers! How could we lose like this?'" He flicked his weapon backhanded as the disarmed Goblin, confused, found itself pushed forward by its terrified ally, who turned to flee, hoping that the swordsman would be too distracted by his helpless comrade to finish it off, too. But he had no intention of letting any of them escape. After all, if he killed each and every single one of them, he'd have just enough XP to hit level 3!

"Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you," He continued, talking calmly to himself as he swept up his reverse-gripped sword, slamming the pommel into the face of the first Goblin, the impact punctuating the word 'break' perfectly. "But I'm going to be the one to break you." He swept back up his blade, striking the goblin backhandedly across the face and shattering it into dust, before releasing his grip mid-swing, sending the wooden sword spinning from his hand and flying towards the fleeing Goblin. With a resounding crack, the thrown blade slammed into the back of the retreating enemy's leg, sending it stumbling forward and falling flat on its face. Screaming, it frantically tried to stand on its broken leg, forcing itself into a kneeling position, only to find itself face to face with the swordsman who loomed over it, leaning down calmly as he reached over to the sword still hanging from his left arm, drawing it forth and sizing it up for a moment. "You see, to me, stats, numbers, and all that other crap mean about as much as... as whatever those whimpering sounds you're making are." Casually tossing the shoddily made blade, he drove it through the kneeling Goblin's chest, pinning it to the ground and silencing its mewling as its hitpoints dropped to near zero. Bending over, he picked up his own weapon and grinned. "Don't cry to me about how you lost. You're the one who picked this fight, so take it like a man and face the consequences, why don't you?" With another loud crack, the Goblin's head was driven in with a single strike.

Alister smirked, sheathing his sword as his enemy disappeared into light. "Better luck next respawn," he said, turning to walk away, his cloak fluttering behind him as he left the battlefield behind.






Ten minutes later, he'd managed to make his way back to town. Although it had taken over half of the 150 Led he'd looted from the goblins, he'd managed to buy some items to heal his wounds. It wasn't of any consequence, though. He could always look for quests to get money if he needed it. For now, stats were the most important thing - and for leveling up by defeating six monsters without assistance or using an HP recovery item, he'd gained 7 extra stat points in addition to the 7 points obtained just for leveling up. Naturally, he'd put 2 into both SPD and AGI, as well as 1 into both SKL and ATK. As for skills, he'd put 4 more points into his athletics and 1 into Detection, as well as 2 into Speech, and 2 into Sales - he figured he'd need the discounts and sales bonuses those skills could provide, while Athletics would provide an additional multiplier to his already formidable speed. Ultimately, his stats screen read...

  • HP: 42
  • ATK: 10
  • DEF: 6
  • AGI: 14
  • SKL: 10
  • SPD: 14
  • Sword: Lv 3
  • Detection: Lv 2
  • Sneak: Lv 1
  • Athletics: Lv 5
  • Speech: Lv 2
  • Sales: Lv2

...Nodding with satisfaction, he closed the menu, strolling aimlessly towards the center of town. Idly, he wondered if the others were already there. He was about five minutes early. Still, nothing wrong with that, he mused. Might as well go and see if the others would show themselves...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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"Testing the Beta of "Life Untold" was a challenge, and unlike other Beta Testers of the time I managed to accomplish something none of the others did... But I dare not tell anyone that, lest I cause more of a stir than necessary."





Kyero looked through the crowds, and one by one he spotted his friends whom he'd met online and face to face. First was Winter, who went by Valkyrie in the game. Alphonse was next, who went by Alistaire in game. Kaiden went by Kaye, and was unnecessarily tall in Kyero's opinion. And finally Delaney, who apparently went by Shannon in game as she showed up a few minutes late.

Kyero nodded to her.

"Nice to see you here Shannon," he said calmly, looking about to see that everyone else was present.

"Looks like everyone made it okay then," he said.

"Did anyone have problems logging on at all yesterday on launch? I heard that there were a few glitches for some people which prevented them from doing so." He said, glancing around to each member of the group.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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#, as written by Feyblue
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Wandering around the square, the cloaked man raised a gloved hand to scratch his cheek nervously, as amidst the bustling crowds, it was a little difficult to recognize everybody. Since he didn't know them particularly well in real life, it was going to be somewhat difficult, he realized, to distinguish his party-to-be by voices, and both appearance and character were totally subjective in this world, which meant he couldn't rely even on his limited knowledge of their faces and attitudes to tell him who it was, exactly, he was looking for. Although he knew their usernames, checking the IDs of each and every player who passed was getting a bit difficult, considering the sheer number of people playing, and the general excitement of the crowd around him. He winced as another player brushed past him, unintentionally elbowing him rather violently in the ribs as they did so, and not even seeming to notice. He opened his mouth to cry out after them, but, finding he lacked the heart to harass someone over a virtual offense, shut it again with a sigh, shaking his head as he covered his sapphire eyes against the light of the simulated sun that beat down brightly upon his brow. "Now, see, this sort of thing is the reason I dislike going outside..." Alistaire muttered to himself, his voice drowned out to all ears save his own by the shouts and yells amidst the raucous crowd. "Why do people have to be such a pain to deal with?" He pulled up the hood of his cloak in a vain attempt to shut out the light of the sun and the piercing voices of those around him, allowing his flowing raven hair to flow outward over the front of his right shoulder, billowing along with his cloak in the virtual breeze as he wandered aimlessly. He checked the time on his player menu with a sigh. Only two minutes until the meeting. At this rate, he was going to be late even though he'd been at the assigned place all along. "Meet in the central plaza, they said. Why exactly did nobody see a problem with sending me to meet a bunch of people whose avatars I haven't even seen before in the busiest place in the freaking game?" He groaned, massaging the bridge of his nose as though adjusting the glasses that his avatar quite notably lacked. "Maybe this is just their idea of a practical joke. I mean, they seemed to all know each other really well in real life. Why the hell would they invite some guy along that they've only met a couple times? Geez, if even the nerds are hazing me, how low have I even fallen?" Finding an unoccupied bench, he was about to seat himself, resigned to the fact that his supposed teammates probably weren't going to show themselves after all, when a voice amidst the crowd caught his attention. Being someone who didn't talk much, he had developed the mindset of habitually listening to everyone around him, picking up snippets of conversation at random and making hypothetical guesses as to the subject of the discussions he heard to amuse himself in his self-imposed isolation. And so, even amidst the noise around him, he caught four words a short distance to his right that drew his attention in that direction.

"Valkyrie! Is that you?"

Valkyrie? That was the username of one of the players who had invited him. Turning to face the speaker, his eyes swiftly picked out the username of the one who had spoken - Kaye, another name with which he was familiar. Alistaire smirked beneath his hood - now he was getting somewhere. His cloak swishing in his wake, he slipped through the crowd, walking purposefully towards the two names displayed amidst the unknown mass of people around him. As he did so, two more names soon revealed themselves - Shannon-6 and Kyero.

"Huh. Guess they really did show," muttered the swordsman, brushing back his hood and raising a hand casually in a wave of greeting. "So this is where you all were," He said coolly, striding up to them as he sized up each in turn. It seemed he was far from unique in his choice of character class, as it seemed Kaye and Kyero had both chosen the Knight class, while Valkyrie Rose displayed as a Guard. The only non-sword wielder in the group was Shannon-6, who had evidently chosen Cavalier instead. A tank, two variable Tanks and Damage Dealers, and two high mobility DPS players, huh? He supposed it was a solid layout, although the lack of ranged players disturbed him somewhat.

However, although their classes were largely similar in playstyle, their appearances more than made up for the lack of diversity between them. Kaye most resembled the protagonist of some sort of RPG game, with the ordinary, short-cropped and somewhat unkempt brown hair you might expect of someone in that role, and also the tallest member of the party, clad in bright armor and a fittingly dramatic cape. Kyero, meanwhile, seemed... ordinary? His dark hair and powerful - yet not unrealistically so - build seemed like they were probably based on his real figure. The only thing that really jumped out at the young swordsman was his eyes - bright scarlet, and bearing the sort of determined glare that seemed to challenge any who looked upon him. Alistaire really didn't like the look of those eyes, and found his attention moving on to the other two party members almost immediately after he met them.

Valkyrie Rose was the next person he noticed - a girl whose distinctly fantastical appearance put her directly at odds with the red-eyed knight. Her silvery hair was almost as long as she was tall, with her icy blue eyes just a few shades shy of gray. Her figure was lithe and curvy, with equal endowment to both her bust and her legs in a manner clearly meant to appeal to most senses of beauty. Her attire was equally "pretty," consisting of a blue-trimmed white furisode with its distinctive billowing sleeves detached at the elbow, worn over a lacy, western-style white gown. He had to admit, he would probably have chosen a sarashi himself, if she'd been trying for a "Yamato Nadeshiko" sort of appearance, but the gown did work out well when combined with the thigh-high socks she wore - grade A Zettai Ryouiki at its finest, he had to admit. The elevated Geta sandals she wore, meanwhile, increased her apparent height much in the way that high heels or platform boots might without imposing the difficulty walking of the former or breaking the traditional image she'd worked to create for herself. Geta also would work wonders for use as a secondary weapon, since they were heavy enough to make a kick from them quite painful, and, if a certain anime ronin was any indication, you could also use them to block between the two blocks on the bottom of the sandals. A girl in a furisode the length of a yukata using high kicks and blocking with her feet, huh? It surprised him that he couldn't actually think of any fictional characters who fit that description. Then again, he probably just didn't play enough fighting games. Still, fanservice characters like that didn't exactly appeal to him. They seemed too bland and overdone, not to mention unrealistic. While he supposed he could understand the fantasy behind it - why else would he be playing as a bishonen swordsman with freaking purple hair? - it seemed a little uncomfortably close to his own habitual escapism. Come to think of it, though, wasn't that outfit more than just a little impractical? As a Guard, she was supposed to be a damage-soaking tank who could take any number of hits and still stand. The phrases "skimpy kimono" and "protection from damage" seemed mutually exclusive to him, at least.

Surprisingly enough, it was the Cavalier, Shannon, who actually looked the part of a Tank character, wearing close-fitting red and black armor. Although her thick attire obscured her figure somewhat, it was plainly obvious that her appearance had been designed both for function and appeal, with an athletic, compact, and yet curvaceous build and legs that were quite long and firmly built for her height. Yet, at the same time, she was the shortest member of their little group - probably a good thing for a horseback class, since reach wouldn't be an issue for her and making herself as lightweight and as small of a target as possible would allow maximum effectiveness in battle. Her helmet removed, her short tail of bubblegum pink hair - the only truly fantastical thing about her appearance, serving much the same role as his own purple hair by injecting a hint of the unusual into his own real world image - shone brightly in the morning light, providing a pleasing contrast with her emerald green eyes. Alistaire nodded slightly to himself in silent approval, appreciating the attention she'd paid both to making her appearance distinctive and beautiful while at the same time ensuring that both her gear and physical build would be practical in battle.Valkyrie was, without a doubt, the most sexualized member of the party, but if Alistaire had to say, it was probably Shannon whose appearance he liked the most. And so, it was her he first greeted, stopping before her and sweeping an arm out from underneath his cloak, placing it over his heart as he gave a respectful, rather formal bow, deciding that he might as well start getting into character now if he was going to be interacting with other people. He'd be less nervous if he wasn't playing as himself.

"Piacere di conoscerti, belladonna," He said respectfully, using two of the three or so Italian phrases he actually knew. Strictly speaking, if he really wanted to go the whole nine yards and play his "character" to the fullest, he probably should have kissed her hand, but his issues with physical contact with people he didn't know well made him too self-conscious to do so, even under a false identity. Raising his head with a slight smile, he spun about, repeating the gesture in the direction of the silver-haired wallflower. "Anche tu," he added, once more sweeping away his cloak and bowing with a rather dramatic flourish. Giving a rather cheeky half-smirk as he raised his head, he glanced back at the other two members of their newly assembled party. "It's a pleasure to work with you as well - although don't expect me to give you any pet names. Nothing personal, you're just not adorable enough." He grinned at his own little sarcastic comment. In this place, he didn't really feel so worried what people must have thought of him, because he wasn't himself. He could do what he wanted and act as he pleased, safe in the knowledge that ultimately, it was just a video game, and nobody would take his actions particularly seriously, or care about what he did. "Still, if any of you would like to call me Al, feel free to. Alistaire is a bit of a mouthful, and besides, it's what I'm used to, anyway," He said with a carefree shrug, abandoning his previously flirtatious demeanor as his words took on a more serious, casual tone.

"Looks like everyone made it okay then," Chimed in Kyero, evidently unfazed by the swordsman's facetious remarks. It seemed he was the serious, driven type - or at the very least, that's how he was acting. "Did anyone have problems logging on at all yesterday on launch? I heard that there were a few glitches for some people which prevented them from doing so," he added, evidently trying to make conversation now that they were all there.

"No, I was fine," replied Valkyrie, her voice quiet and gentle. Huh. Maybe "Yamato Nadeshiko" was a more accurate analysis of her character than he'd expected. So, why were we meeting again? Were we going to see the opening ceremony or something?" She asked.

"I haven't encountered any difficulties either - unless you count trying to get used to combat," Joked the swordsman, scratching his cheek once again with a sheepish grin. "As for what we're here to do... your guess is as good as mine, Miss Valkyrie - is it alright if I call you Val? No? Rose perhaps? I have a feeling conversation might be much less stifling that way." Clearing his throat, Alistaire continued. "In any case, whose idea was it to party up in the first place? All I know is that I was invited to join in, so I don't really know any of the details of what exactly we're trying to do here, either."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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"Testing the Beta of "Life Untold" was a challenge, and unlike other Beta Testers of the time I managed to accomplish something none of the others did... But I dare not tell anyone that, lest I cause more of a stir than necessary."





Kyero looked to Alistaire.

"I asked everyone to come here, Alistaire. The game creator is going to hold a Ceremonial Greeting of sorts to inform everyone of the vast majority of the game's mechanics as well as some changes which have taken place since the release of the Beta six months ago. Those who were Beta Testers know almost everything he's got to say, but we don't so I highly suggest that we all take part. It's happening at 11:30am, in around twenty-five minutes. Once it's over, those in attendance are going to have free access to the Game Manual, a special item which will cost other players around five hundred Led to purchase. That Manual is going to be invaluable for continuing through the game, so that's why I called everyone here."

He took a moment to look around, making sure everyone was paying attention.

"However, I never asked everyone to party up, so let's not jump to conclusions about that." He said to Alistaire.

"I know the Ceremony is a little ways off, and I'm sure most of us what to work on leveling but you shouldn't worry too much about it right now. Instead, I suggest we head to the meeting place, which is just outside the city's North gate. Any objections?"

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Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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#, as written by Rarikou
Valkyrie listened as she had earlier, keeping the most important points and letting the rest fall out of her ears. She was mentally playing a tactics game in her head, working out every angle of every move from both her side and the computers… even taking into account that the computer often cheated. ‘So, a Free Manual? I guess that’s important enough for me to check out- anything to further explain the mechanics.’ She said as she continues to watch the fountain.

“Wait, you called us here this early in the morning…to make us wait another thirty minutes? It’s not like we’re planning a raid, you literally could of just said ‘Hey, Ceremony , let’s all go to that…silly.” She said, thinking to her self so more until she finally surveys everyone here.

She was the only guard… Al was a purple haired knife fighter, She supposed there was nothing wrong with that, but it just looked, weird on him. Maybe it was because his booming voice did NOT match how he looks at all. “Thief class… he’ll be insanely quick.’ Valkyrie thought. ‘Best to keep to keep eyes off of him and place him with areas with lots of cover…he’ll be at home in the forests and swamps.’

Shannon looked like your average foot solider with that lance, though Valkyrie knew that eventually she’d be out maneuvering everybody with a mount. “Not as powerful strength wise, but lances are far superior to other weapons, making her versatile… danger later game, as areas that impede movement, like mountains rivers or swamps will impede mounts movement, and thus her own It’s best to use her to kill secure those that would otherwise, as we have no long ranged attackers.

Her eyes then turned to Kyero and Kayden, the two knights. “Semi Tanks, lower DPS than Alistaire, less movement then the cavalier, not as much defense either. Survivability is higher, but only once source of true DPS will drag a fight out… ‘She thought, sighing to herself. If even one of those two had picked an Archer, this would be a perfect team in any way. She didn’t even know if they were going to party or not…it was always nice to have battle tactics planned out beforehand

“Well, I’m going then.” Valkyrie said, turning and walking off to catch a better view of the city, and that meant the roughtops. She activated sprint, then jumped on one of the stalls, using that to jump on the roughtop. She takes a short breath. “Well? Best place to view anything is from above, am ui right?

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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#, as written by RCJJ23
Kaye listened to their conversations, not butting in to say something stupid or unsavoury. Kyero asked them if there were any objections to going outside the north gate.

"Objections? No. No objections."

Then Valkyrie jumped up onto one of the stalls nearby, before jumping up onto a low rooftop. He looked at her.

"I guess. I'll just stay on the ground. I'm near the max height anyways so I don't think there are too many tall people standing in the crowd. Might be wrong though. After this if anyone wants to party with me then that's fine with me. I've read this isn't built or meant for solo play. Guess it would be easier if we group up and take on larger groups of enemies.

He looked at the group around him. He knew most of them, at least their real faces anyways. He still preferred to call them by their usernames, he felt no qualms with saying their real first names but he didn't know if they'd let him say their names out loud in a public environment. Kyero however, had no qualms against people knowing his name even if they didn't know it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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"This is quite the tale, five companions, each with his or hers individual "color scheme" for his appearance and all whom are impressive and fantastic about it at the same time". Thought Shannon as she now saw each and every one of her new fellowship. Maybe this was the appeal of the game? Without a central story or plotline to confine a player's character identity and concept, everyone had a place where they could feel special.

The first companion she noticed was of course Kyero, whom she had been actively searching for. Shannon's first impression of their assumed leader was a bit of an awkwardness for her lateness, which felt was made more distinct when Kyero seemed to… note it; saying that it was nice to see her, in a manner which left Shannon wondering if he had meant the words as a criticism.

Shannon had to hand it to him though, Kyero was immediately perceived by her and apparently by the others as the "leader", precisely what he was leader of? Or if his position stemmed out of everybody else just going along with what he had to say? Shannon could not say for sure. He seemed to lack the personal touch she thought was prudent to a leader, though it was unfair to judge based on her superficial experiences with him. For now, he made up for it by sounding like a sensible responsible sort and explaining his decisions.

Shannon decided she would go along with it, she was still too new for the game mechanics and frankly had no desire to assume responsibility in game – part of the fun was escaping it.

"Did anyone have problems logging on at all yesterday on launch? I heard that there were a few glitches for some people which prevented them from doing so." Shannon heard Kyero comment, she was a bit surprised since she hadn't heard anything about this and nor did it seem at all connected to their meeting.

Shannon thought about it and wondered, she did recall something funny going on with the logging on process yesterday, a marked slowness and a momentary bar on access. Shannon wasn't sure if it was a real problem or if it had been just her own unfamiliarity with the system, answers from the other people in the group made her dismiss her experience as a simple case of unfamiliarity with the game.

Shannon answered in a resigned but casual tone:" Well, it is a new game so, we might as well expect there to be some teething troubles…"

The second person to attract her attention was Valkyrie, she was after all another girl and though there were plenty of perverts who had apparently taken up a female character, the clear majority of the game population where still male.
Of her appearance, Shannon could only gaze… with some jealously. Valkyrie seemed a bit mystical, reminding Shannon of "the lady of the lake" in the tales of king Arthur , her build seemed unnatural – maybe some realistic players would have been annoyed, but this was a fantasy game and Shannon thought it just added to the mystic. Her white hair in the meantime seemed to surround her with an aura of the supernatural, age in an ageless person, a statement of immortality maybe.

Valkyrie's player had clearly put a great deal of effort into the character since is paid not even a passing resemblance to the base models or those you were likely to get through the random choice button. Shannon had spent about 1- 2 hours creating her own character, she did put a lot of personal effort into the process, but generally she went along with what seemed to work and used herself as the starting base of the work to begin with. Valkyrie was clearly the sum of at least several hours of construction, and Shannon could only guess that such an effort clearly told a tale of someone who cared for the game and how she would be perceived in it.

Shannon felt a bit of a distance from her, like she wasn’t altogether paying attention but a certain "flashy" introduction by one suspiciously charming Alistaire disrupted her chain of thought.

When she had first noted him, she could only "raise an eyebrow", not necessarily in the technical sense (or at lease… she hoped she hadn't!!!), but yes in the sense of a certain measure of interest.

Of all the men in the group, Alistaire seemed to be the most distinct… true, Kaye's size was undeniably… very distinct though in her opinion such an extreme of tallness was a bit disrupting in a way. Alistaire seemed to have a bit of a dreamy appearance about him, as if he were a young prince in some fairy tale. Alistaire's very… particular greeting to her seemed to be more than just a matter of simple random choice.. thouse 50 – 50 between herself and Valkyrie where not such immense odds and Shannon would have expected any male to fall for Valkyrie. But, in Alistaire's case there seemed to be a very calculating thought process going on, and Shannon felt as if she had just received a mark of approval rather than what appeared to be a simple case of "in game flirting".

Shannon didn't really know how to respond to the greeting, but didn't pause for too long. She smiled, deciding to play along with it rather than plainly dismiss the gesture and said in a uncertain but warm tone, mustering the use of her recollections of her studies in French: "Je vous remercie, mon seigneur". Shannon returned a similar though less distinct bow, mostly consisting of a slight nod and a similar "knightly" acknowledgment by placing her own arm over her heart . Though she had thought to style herself as a bit of a "John of Arc", she did not want to spoil Alistaire's chivalric gesture. Shannon chuckled quietly at Alistaire's comment to the other men, simply not adorable enough, so he would be that sort of college. Though he did propose a shortened nickname for himself, Shannon knew she could only call him Alistaire, it was the chivalric and upright thing to do.

She listened attentively to Kyero words, and nodded her agreement, it seemed as good a plan as any and besides, she would need that guide.

"Makes sense, besides this opening sounds quite exiting, would we ever forgive ourselves if in turned out we missed something really good? Also, I am a no go on Stamina so... I am in no rush to go bash something at the moment".

Setting

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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#, as written by Feyblue
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The raven-haired swordsman gave a quiet chuckle, a smile crossing his face as his greeting was returned in kind by the lancer, his own randomly chosen greeting in Italian met by a thankful reply in French as Shannon matched his introduction with a bow that was just as knight-like as his own. He nodded, and would have returned to his earlier conversation with her. However, at that moment, Kyero decided to speak up again, answering the question posed by their adorable little tank, Valkyrie, as well as his own.

"I asked everyone to come here, Alistaire. The game creator is going to hold a Ceremonial Greeting of sorts to inform everyone of the vast majority of the game's mechanics as well as some changes which have taken place since the release of the Beta six months ago. Those who were Beta Testers know almost everything he's got to say, but we don't so I highly suggest that we all take part. It's happening at 11:30am, in around twenty-five minutes. Once it's over, those in attendance are going to have free access to the Game Manual, a special item which will cost other players around five hundred Led to purchase. That Manual is going to be invaluable for continuing through the game, so that's why I called everyone here." Alistaire raised an eyebrow. He'd already done most of his research based on materials released about the game's mechanics online, so he couldn't really imagine what particular importance an ingame copy of the manual would hold aside from simple utility in checking things without logging out in case he forgot them. Besides, who ever read the instructions? He mentally shrugged, supposing that the opening event would still be the most likely place for any sort of starter quest or founder bonus to be passed out, so just to be safe, he'd probably have suggested going anyway. He might have said so, had Kyero not cut him off rather sharply. "However, I never asked everyone to party up, so let's not jump to conclusions about that," He said with a pointed glare in the swordsman's direction, those unnerving red eyes of his flashing as he spoke with... what was that, exactly? Condescension? Smug self-assurance? Either way, it seemed pretty clear to Alistaire what the intended message of his statement was - "I don't need you, nor do I care to work with you. I only invited you here out of pity, so don't get any ideas. Just shut up and get back in line, and above all else, don't question me." The swordsman grimaced. Maybe his earlier musings about the other players trying to haze him hadn't been so wrong after all. Either way, he was rapidly finding the red-eyed warrior to be utterly and completely disagreeable to him. "I know the Ceremony is a little ways off, and I'm sure most of us what to work on leveling but you shouldn't worry too much about it right now. Instead, I suggest we head to the meeting place, which is just outside the city's North gate. Any objections?" Concluded Kyero, evidently satisfied with his little bit of mockery.

Alistaire opened his mouth, then closed it again, gritting his teeth. If this guy didn't want to partner up with him, it didn't actually matter all that much to him. He wasn't a particularly social person in the first place, so even if he got kicked out of the group after the opening ceremony, or if Kyero himself left, all that would mean was being right back where he'd started from. It wasn't a major setback, nor did it particularly matter. For that reason, it wasn't worth falling for the other swordsman's provocations and picking a fight here. He'd be the better man and follow without question for the time being, since ultimately, his cooperation with the arrogant Knight would be so short-lived as to be utterly insignificant. No matter how things turned out, it was already clear he wouldn't need to put up with this for much longer. And so, taking a deep breath, he gritted his teeth, responding quietly and with equal coldness and hostility to that of the other warrior, what pride he had preventing him from standing down without making any sort of show of himself.

"I have no objections. If that'll be all, then there is no point in remaining here." In an instant, his demeanor had gone from friendly and calm to a pointed, icy sort of tranquil yet unmasked distaste that was clearly directed towards Kyero, even though the tone with which he spoke had barely changed, as though to say confidently "If all you wanted was to look down on others, then you should have invited someone other than me, because I'm not going to just stand here and take it." Turning with these words, he swept out his cloak, shooting a silent glare over his shoulder as he turned away, his mantle sweeping out behind him like a black cloud as he vanished into the crowd, pulling up his hood once more.

Although somewhat overshadowed by his rather dramatic exit, a moment after he'd left, two small notifications appeared on the player menus of Shannon, Valkyrie, and Kaye, stating that he'd just added them as friends. These were followed shortly thereafter by a simple message from him to each.

Although I'm unsure whether or not Kyero plans on partying up with any or all of you, if there's anyone else without a group by the end of this, I'd be more than happy to work alongside you.

I'll see you at the ceremony.

-Alistaire


Sighing, the swordsman closed his player menu, sending the messages as he did so. He grimaced, massaging the bridge of his nose as though to push up the spectacles that he was so used to having there. "Smooth, Al," He muttered, pushing his way through the bustling throng as he made for the north gate. "Pissing off the guy who invited you to actually join a group within twenty seconds of meeting him. How do you even do these things?" He asked himself under his breath. Although, come to think of it, how had he angered Kyero, exactly? Maybe one of the two girls in the group was his girlfriend, or his crush, or something, and he was mad that Alistaire had flirted with them, even as a joke? Well, it was either that or something he'd done in one of his earlier encounters with the boy in real life - although he'd only actually spoken to Kyero in person once or twice, and didn't know him well at all - that had made the other player dislike him so much, but try though he might, he couldn't actually think of anything he'd done to anger the young man. So then why had the red-eyed knight gone to this length just to mock him? Alistaire just didn't get it. There didn't seem to be a reason behind it. Still, he supposed, he was probably over-thinking this. Maybe the knight had just assumed that he was a wuss who wouldn't stand up for himself and had decided to try to take advantage of him? He supposed he didn't exactly present a very strong image, appearance or personality-wise. Still, that seemed like a pretty lame reason to invite someone to join you, only to essentially tell them you were just kidding.

But either way, it didn't matter. Alistaire didn't plan on sticking around any longer than he had to if the other swordsman was going to try and make things difficult. And, he supposed, it hadn't been a complete loss, regardless. If even one of the other group members was willing to team up with him, he had the assistance he'd been looking for. So, even if he'd failed at social interaction, he might well still succeed at making a good start on Life Untold, at the very least.

Somehow, though, that didn't make him any less perplexed by the whole situation.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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"Testing the Beta of "Life Untold" was a challenge, and unlike other Beta Testers of the time I managed to accomplish something none of the others did... But I dare not tell anyone that, lest I cause more of a stir than necessary."





Everyone seemed to be in agreement, so Kyero nodded with a smile and walked with everyone to the outskirts of the city where the Ceremony was to be held. There were hundreds of people present to witness the event, and plenty of whispers and rumors floating around about other "special" deals coming through for those who were to watch the event. Kyero knew that there was nothing special outside the manual except for the knowledge which came with the game creator's announcement, but still he didn't feel the need to correct anyone he heard talking about such things.

Time ticked by slowly, and he enjoyed some small talk with everyone before the announcement finally began.

The game world paused, but the players did not. The sky turned a bright golden hue, and finally seemed to open up as if to let a God through the skies and the light which shone down brilliantly on everyone present. The figure of a woman floated down through the light, becoming visible as the light dimmed but the sky remained just as golden as they had when the event started. The woman's figure was that of a Japanese woman in her mid thirties, few to no wrinkles or signs of age and she was quite the beauty in her own way. Her measurements were average, but obviously her intelligence went far above the norm for her to create a game like this. From what Kyero had found through research, she had created the game with minimal staff and funding which was quite the feat. He wasn't certain if it was true, given the game's depth and impressive graphics, but almost all rumors had a spec of truth in them somewhere.

Some of the guys in the crowd who had a thing for mature women started drooling, and Kyero scoffed while shaking his head at the sight.

The woman smiled, and bowed to everyone as she looked down at all of them.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I bid you welcome to 'Life Untold!'" She said, opening her arms to everyone in a gesture of greeting.

There was a roar from the crowd, and Kyero watched with a quiet smile as she began to explain to everyone their places in this world.

"Each of you know by now that this world has no rules regarding what you can become. There is a storyline with an ending, but it is entirely optional and not required to live and love this game world in which you now stand."

Another roar from the crowd.

"Each of you is a unique individual, and will never live the exact same life as anyone you've met before nor even yourself should you create another account and start fresh. Even leveling the same stats and going through the same quests, your adventure will never be the exact same as before. The game world is constantly changing and will not be the same from one adventure or character account to the next, so I humbly and sincerely wish that you enjoy your stay in this world!"

The roar from the crowd grew even larger, and Kyero almost had to cover his ears from the decibel levels coming his way.

She raised her hands to silence the crowd.

"Thank you everyone, truly. Now, for the reason you are all truly here today: the information about the games basic mechanics and the details on changes made since the Beta."

The crowd cheered, but not as loudly this time which was a great relief to Kyero's ears.

"So, to begin, I will discuss the surface layer of the leveling and questing mechanics. Leveling in this game is fairly simple, and runs on a rather simple algorithm which makes leveling a challenge, but manageable even into the higher levels. There was a rumor that there would be a level cap of 100 as there was in the Beta, but that is no longer true. Now, your character has no level cap, and can level as long as you can stand to grind for the experience."

There were a few murmurs from the crowd at this news, as the level cap in the Beta was said to be a staple of the game to make it harder. But apparently, that was no longer true which didn't exactly surprise Kyero, but it was a pleasant change.

"Another aspect of leveling is that the algorithm doesn't change regardless of class or equipment. That was a part of the Beta which was done away with, as it created some conflict between players and their experience with the game especially when their favorite class took the longest to level. So I hope that you all enjoy equal leveling opportunities."

This time there was a roar from the crowd, as many of the Beta testers had complained about this mechanic. Kyero himself had remained quiet, but he didn't enjoy it either so this was a most welcome change to know that each class leveled the same and didn't slow down or speed up compared to others just to appease certain types of players.

"Next, the questing mechanic. Quests can be acquired in a number of ways. Some of them are class based, and can only be initiated by a specific class, however I will have something to say about that later. Next is the NPC specific quests, which exist for all players when talking to specific NPC's. Another method is the "Advancement" Quests, which only come in the storyline and come with some rather special bonuses. Even though the story is not required for the game, it is encouraged that you take part in it. And lastly, there are quests which come about when you create a friendly, working, or even a romantic relationship with an NPC."

The last one got a lot of murmurs from the crowd, and even Kyero had to raise an eyebrow at this one as this was entirely new to him.

"Yes, everyone. You heard me correctly. You can enter into relationships with NPC's, be they professional or personal. Your relationship with certain NPC's will reveal hidden quests which can only come from them, and many of them come with very special and specific rewards."

The murmurs went on but were silenced when she continued to speak.

"Now, about another set of changes from the Beta. Something which did not exist in the Beta was the concept of changing one's class, which has since been added to the game after the conclusion of the Beta."

This got the crowd going. Murmurs, cheering, and everything in between.

"Please, everyone, calm yourselves. I am almost finished. Changing your class requires you to build a relationship with certain NPC's which are occupying the class you wish to become. These NPC's must also be at level fifty or above. Should your relationship with these NPC's bear fruit, your character will be offered the chance to change classes. All of your equipment not relevant to your new class upon changing will be sent to your inventory, or if you have acquired a home, the offer to send it there will become available as well."

"Your new class will begin at level one, but all of your acquired items and your old Skills related to your previous class will remain unchanged. So if you reach level fifty with a sword class and change to another sword class, your old Skills will still be there and you will still have access to them making it easier to level your new class. However, there is a price to pay for this kind of carry over of Skills. Though your Skills carry over, that weapon Skill's level will not increase until your new character class reaches the previous class's level. So if you were a Myrmidon class and change to the Knight class, both of which can use swords, and your Myrmidon class was level fifty with a level fifty Sword Skill, the Knight's leveling will not affect the Sword Skill level until it reaches fifty and continues leveling from there. In other words, your weapon Skills carry over from one class to another when allowed, but the weapon Skill level does not."

Again, murmurs abound in the crowd but Kyero found it fairly straightforward and very fair. If a player class changed and were able to push a level 50 Sword Skill to level fifty one by leveling a new character class from level one to level two, that would be highly unfair. This development was most welcome in Kyero's eyes for the sake of fairness.

"Everyone, I would like to conclude this welcoming ceremony by once again thanking you all for coming and for enjoying this game which myself and my staff worked so hard to create. It is truly a blessing to watch you all play and grow within our world, and as a present from myself to you I present you all with a new Game Manual with all the information you could possibly need to play this game as well as a guide for the storyline with information on all the relevant NPC's to speak to along the way, all the dungeon maps, bestiary's and more."

"From the bottom of my heart, Welcome one and all to 'Life Untold!'" She said, once again opening her arms as her form disappeared into a shower of lights like multicolored rain. The sky returned to normal, and just like that it was over.

Kyero checked his inventory and found the manual, giving it a quick skim through and finding the information she was talking about. In the back, there was more information about changes from the Beta, and he made a mental note to check it often as he knew that playing solo would require a lot, and that meant a LOT, research to ensure that he never placed himself in a situation where he would be overwhelmed by enemies or put himself in a position where groups who enjoyed singling out other players could ambush him.

He looked to the others as the crowds died down, nodding in silent approval of what had just happened.

"So... That was kind of cool," he said with a chuckle.

He sat down on a stone bench a few feet away and put his elbows on his knees as he thought to himself for a moment and sifted through the information in his head regarding what he remembered from the Beta's early quests and EXP farming spots. New players would not find "Farming Spots" in the manual, he knew because he just checked and ran a search for it and came up with nothing. But he knew the best farming spots for the game's early stages, as well as a few others from the game's midsection.

He looked to the others, checking their faces to see how they reacted to the intro.

"So... it looks like I'll be eating my words now," he said with a slight smirk.

"If I may suggest it, I'd like to propose a party between the five of us. Now that the intro is out of the way I bet everyone wants to start leveling, and I know a great spot to do that if you're all game to try. It's a bit high level, but it'll be more than worth it for our early game. So what do you say?" He asked, checking the group to see if they'd be up for it.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman
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"holy shit..." thought Shannon as she saw the angelic figure emerge from the sky. Though in a game world, everything and anything could be possible; Shannon could not dismiss or belittle the spectacle and for a moment she simply stood on the spot speechless, her eyes gleaming against the blast of light and her thoughts frozen in the moment like much of the game world.

Several minutes passed until Shannon's dreamy state was finally relieved. When the angle had revealed herself and began to speak so commonly Shannon was a bit disappointing, her entrance had been perfect but once she had actually arrived there was nothing really special in her appearance at all. She wasn't a dull sounding woman, but as far as Shannon could see she hadn't made much of an effort...

The crowds started cheering, literally at the end of her every sentence, frankly Shannon had trouble hearing her at all and what she did hear she didn't completely understand. After two blasts of cheering though, Shannon could not stand the feeling of being the grumpy one and stepped into the crowd and started cheering with everyone else.

She felt silly, but it was fun to go along with the crowds energy, one fateful sentence made her stop immediately though.
Romance with an NPC?, Shannon had heard about it but figured it would just be an "Easter egg" designed to satisfy curiosity and weirdo's. But to fully implement it as an integral part of the game? To offer rewards for going on a date with some bucket of ones and zeros?

Shannon took the time to look around her to make sure she hadn't ended up in some cult, the crowd kept on cheering but some appeared to be as perplexed as she was so her real concerns where laid to rest. Hell, though she would not do it, going out with another PERSON in game she could accept but with the game itself? Shannon had to draw the line, and she did so, though she secretly wondered exactly what was included in this romance mechanism, and then abruptly shook her head and walked back to her groups corner.

When the game creator made concluded her speech, Shannon didn't join the cheering crowd to send her off. Instead she washed her face in a small dragon shaped fountain, Shannon noiced Kyero access the game manual and quietly walked to his side and looked over his soldier to try and see exactly what he was looking at - it didn't seem to be anything new but Shannon opened her own manual and looked over it for a few seconds until she got bored from doing so.

Shannon was about to note her approval of Kyero's plan, but decided she wanted to hear a second opinion on the plan.

A bold plan, what say you, Seigneur myrmidon? said Shannon, the latter part directed at Alistaire, as she gauged him to have a good enough understanding of the game to ether accept or dismiss Kyero's plan.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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#, as written by RCJJ23
Kaye watched intently as the woman came down from the sky. He didn't pay much attention to the crowd, with most of them being shorter than his avatar. He absorbed the information from what she said, taking in the most about Class Changing. He wondered why you could only have access to a few classes when he knew there were more than just the initial starting classes.

After she left, he opened up his player menu and he noticed Alistaire's friend request. Reading it, he was slightly surprised. He accepted it before checking his inventory, and there it was, a Game Manual. He took it out, flipping to the contents page, reading through the headings, flipping to the class changing section. Then Kyero asked them if they wanted to form a party. The incentive of a challenge and faster leveling made it quite obvious that it would be in his best interest to join Kyero.

"I would be happy to join you. It'll also lessen the chance of us dying from being overwhelmed."

He looked around, listening as Valkyrie also said yes to Kyero's offer.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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#, as written by Feyblue
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Throughout the little presentation, Alistaire had remained silent, checking the announcements against the things he'd read about online prior to beginning the game. As expected, there was a mechanic for changing classes - given the difficulty in making and subsequently adjusting to a virtual avatar, he'd predicted that a class change mechanic would be added so that alternate accounts wouldn't be made necessary in order to experience the various different playstyles. Somewhat more surprising was the removal of the beta's level cap of 100. Theoretically, level was irrelevant when it came to PvE, since boss encounters - the only thing endgame PvE players would likely focus on - and their dungeons all scaled in difficulty based on the abilities of those attempting them. However, they would make PvP a nightmare for those who didn't spend the time to level up to match the highest leveled characters, since without a high enough attack stat, killing powerful enemy players would be literally impossible. Alistaire might have found this fact disappointing, were it not for the fact that he hardly intended to be left behind.

However, there was one announcement that took him completely off guard. The ability to interact with NPCs to the point of making them party members, personal friends and allies, or even romantic partners seemed completely without precedent in any game he'd ever played. How would that even work? He wondered to himself. Would interacting with NPCs work according to some sort of dialog wheel like in any other game? Or had the game developers simply programmed in a basic personality for each NPC that would meet given triggers in dialog and otherwise simply repeat basic scripts over and over again when event flags hadn't been set with with? It would certainly be awkward to play a game populated by a bunch of players standing around motionless humanoid facsimiles and professing their love to them, only to be met with responses of "Welcome to the village of Ald! Welcome to the village of Ald!" over and over again. That thought almost made a bare-bones dialog wheel system seem preferable by comparison. But, considering how big a deal this was apparently supposed to be, the GM evidently had a great deal of faith in the "realism" of the NPCs. Although Alistaire was skeptical, he had to admit, he was looking forward to testing whatever system was in place to see how it worked. Not to fulfill any sort of perverse romantic attraction to a computer program animating a fictional character, of course. That sort of thing was for people who played dating sims and got into flame wars about their waifus on online imageboards. He just wanted to experience every aspect of the game and see how it lived up to the hype... and possibly was hoping he could use NPC relationship values as a means of getting discounts on literally every single item he could possibly need.

In any case, the opening ceremony did not take long to completely, and, since he had nothing better to do, he found himself strolling back towards where he'd last seen the others, hoping to ask the three players who didn't seem to have a grudge against him about their opinions on partying up. To his frustration, however, he found that once again, Kyero beat him to the punch.

"So... it looks like I'll be eating my words now. If I may suggest it, I'd like to propose a party between the five of us. Now that the intro is out of the way I bet everyone wants to start leveling, and I know a great spot to do that if you're all game to try. It's a bit high level, but it'll be more than worth it for our early game. So what do you say?"

Wait, what? Hadn't he just specifically made a point of saying that everybody else - Alistaire especially - wasn't welcome as his party member? What had prompted this swerve? He was about to shoot down the request immediately, reasoning that any sort of party he could establish with someone this fickle wouldn't possibly last, and would probably only be profitable to him. However, before he could open his mouth, he found the others agreeing one after the other. Valkyrie and Kaye both assented instantly, but, to his surprise, Shannon turned to face him with a slight smile and asked him for his input. While he didn't know enough about the game areas to make a fully informed decision, he was no novice to MMORPGs. Teaming up, finding the best grinding spots, and leveling as quickly as possible were all important. In a normal game, he'd probably pursue story quests, but since those were not forthcoming, leveling up and getting money was the first priority. And, if the others were joining... It was either team with them or reject the plan in the hopes that Shannon would choose to join him instead, in which case he'd still have the support he wanted. But in that situation, he'd only have one character to back him up, and she'd be one who shared his combat role, limiting her usefulness. No, for the time being, the only practical option was to team up with the annoying red-eyed swordsman, although he had a feeling he'd be regretting this choice later.

"Although we'll lose an extra stat point per level for fighting with assistance, I believe that the amount of extra enemies we'll be able to safely face at a given time will more than make up for the difference, mio belle cavaliere. For now, it appears our best option to work together." Although a hint of distrust still lurked in his voice, he sighed and resigned himself to having to work with the unpleasant swordsman. He wasn't sure what grudge the Knight held against him, but he supposed that giving him a reason for his apparent dislike would only be counterproductive. The benefits of alliance outweighed those of isolation, after all, although the somewhat antisocial young man was a bit reluctant to admit it.

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Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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Shannon nodded quietly upon hearing Alistaire's agreement with the scheme, and accepted his friend request thereafter.
"Alright then, I am in" said Shannon briefly, clarifying her commitment to the newly created band, accepting Ky's party request.

She then listened intently to what Ky had to say, concerned that if she missed a bit of it she might not understand it at all. Though she was not so experienced with the game, what Ky described sounded quite intimidating; level 3 enemies? five for each, a boss and even an option for "reinforcements"?. Together, they could collaborate their attacks for maximum effect versus cost, but Shannon felt the point needed to be raised.

Shannon raised her hand up, as if she where in a class room asking for permission to speak, when she saw Ky warp up his story and pause for questions she stepped forward and addressed her comrades.

"Well, Kyero knows I am still a bit of a noob around MMO's so, I won't hide that fact and pretend to be an expert. As I see it, we could take on the swarm monsters individually and the boss in a joint effort but I think there are some issues we really need to consider. First, not all of us have a Stamina which can deliver too many blows, I for example would be out of steam after five. If we need to fight five opponents each, I could only go that far assuming they can be beaten by one attack - which I doubt. Stamina potions are rather expensive, but we might want to get some despite that fact. I also think we should plan our attack strategy here, maximize the damage we can do in relation to how much it costs us. Some of us are still in level 3, or not so much beyond that, maybe we aught to consider some boar hunting to level one or two levels before we go ahead with this?". Said Shannon, dreadfully concerned she might have missed the gist of what had been said.

Shannon felt a twinge in her stomach and realized it was the artificial feedback from her avatar rather the her real body, she then noted that her stamina bar was rather low "By the way... talking about Stamina, I am out, could use some "rest". Ohh, and I got some meat from the shops, how about we restore our stamina in the tavern? I could then cook that meat? I understand it does help in a small way and besides, an army does march on it's stomach you know, and I am quite hungry apparently".

She gestured towards a small tavern which went by the name "King's Arrow" :"That tavern over there is fairly small but nice enough, most players lay off at Bloody Roses because of the drinking games so we should not be disturbed there".

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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"Testing the Beta of "Life Untold" was a challenge, and unlike other Beta Testers of the time I managed to accomplish something none of the others did... But I dare not tell anyone that, lest I cause more of a stir than necessary."





Kyero listened to Shannon's inquiry, and he nodded at her.

"Your confusion is understandable Shannon, but you have been overusing your Skills. Regular attacks do not require stamina to perform. They do less damage, but are free. Your stamina is just for Skills which add to the strength of your attacks and are best used on enemies such as the boss we're going to encounter. Against the swarm, I doubt very much that we'll be needing any Stamina potions between the five of us but if you'd like to stop at the inn to rest and restore your Stamina or go to the Tavern to eat and restore it that way even if it's more expensive you're welcome to do so. The Inn would be easier. Just ask for a five minute rest and it will fully restore your Stamina bar. I think we can all wait five minutes for you to restore your Stamina before heading off."

He looked to the others, giving them a chance to speak up.

"Before we take on the Swarm, however, I'd like to go to a good leveling spot to grind. I've only got 15 ATK and this enemy has 16 DEF so I'll only do around three points of damage to it right now with a wooden broadsword. I've spent more of my Stat Points on Player Skills than my actual stats so if anyone else needs to level their combat Stats, then let me know and I'll send you the location to where I'm heading. I'm sure we could all use some extra points and levels. These Swarm monsters are going to hit like trucks if we're at any level below around 6 or 7, so we'll need to grind a bit before we take them on.

He looked to everyone.

"Anyone against some grinding before we come back to rest and restore out health and Stamina and then take on the Swarm at around 1pm or so?" He asked as he started heading off.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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"Testing the Beta of "Life Untold" was a challenge, and unlike other Beta Testers of the time I managed to accomplish something none of the others did... But I dare not tell anyone that, lest I cause more of a stir than necessary."





Kyero headed off out into the open plains beyond the border of Lillium. The grasslands were so realistic it was almost enough to make him want to cry. The feeling of the wind on his face, the sounds of nature all around him... It was breathtaking. He had played the Beta and knew the final product would be good, but he didn't know it would be this good. He stopped for a few moments to enjoy the feeling of the sun and the wind before pressing on. He walked for the better part of around ten full minutes to find his ideal hunting ground. It was a small and fairly private location which he discovered during the Beta that most players overlooked because of the lower level monsters which spawned there.

The monsters he was after were Level 2, and were called Wild Dogs, and they were one of the lower tier monsters in the Level 2 category for this floor but they typically wandered in groups of 2-4 and if you were lucky enough you could find a group of 5. The wild dogs had a total of 20 ATK when factoring in their “Fang” weapon which meant they’d do 8 points of damage. But with 64 HP, Kyero was in the perfect spot to endure their attacks and take control of the battles so long as they came in low enough numbers.

They had 10 DEF. With Kyero’s 15 base ATK and 4 ATK from his weapon, he could do 9 points of damage with each strike and they only had 36 HP which mean four shots and it was over. Surely he could handle that much. He was only two points away from a level up with 53/55 EXP. If he could kill even just one of them he’d level up and be able to better prepare himself for what was to come.

He made his way to his hunting spot, which was on the top of a boulder overlooking a small and somewhat hidden circular clearing where the Wild Dogs spawned quite regularly. They’d give him 10 EXP per kill, as well as 12 Led. It was a very lucrative spot for the early game grinding which only a few people ever took advantage of because it was out of the way of quest spots and the path forward through the story.

He waited on his rock, sword drawn as he patiently observed the spawn location. Sure enough, within a matter of seconds he saw a total of three of the dogs spawn right away. He grinned, and crept silently off the rock. He inched forward before finally yelling at the dogs, all of whom turned on him and began attacking as a group. This would be tougher than the last few fights, as he’d focused much more on his Athletics and Swimming than he’d expected to early on. The long term purpose would be well served, but the short term meant he was more vulnerable than most players to combat casualties.

The first dog came at him and he moved to a position where the other two had to try and work to get around their companion to get at Kyero. His positioning was the key to his survival against three of them at this stage, as they were all solid objects and could not pass through one another to reach him all at once. He slashed the first dog, kicking it in the chest to keep it at a distance before slashing again as fast as he was capable of moving. The dog recovered and started to come in to bite, but he put his sword horizontal into its mouth and shoved it back, slashing it again leaving it with only 9 HP remaining. He fought to reposition himself, taking one good bite to the leg before finally hacking down the first dog.

One down, two to go. He’d lost 8 HP, leaving him with 56/64 but he was still doing well enough to finish this without too much issue. Leveling up would automatically restore his health and save him a valuable healing item.

The next attacks would be more difficult as there were only two of them now which meant that the dogs would now find it easier to move about. Already it was starting to show that this was more difficult with fewer enemies. Kyero liked larger groups because he could use their own numbers to bottle neck them into attacking him one at a time when he positioned himself correctly. But with only two of them he had less control of the field.

The first dog came at him and he sliced its forehead and kicked it away, but was not fast enough to stop the other dog from tackling him and knocking him to the ground and biting his left arm as he brought it up to shield himself. He saw his HP go down from 56/64 to 48/64, and again down to 40/64 when the other dog came in to bite his leg again. He rolled to the side and threw the dog on his arm into the other one, then slashed its legs twice knocking it to the ground where he stabbed it and finished it off. The other dog managed to rush in and bite him on the shoulder, dropping his health further to 32/64. He grabbed the dog’s ears and pulled it around in front of him before punching its throat and pushing it back.

The realism was astounding, and the dog actually started coughing to catch its breath which gave him time to strike it twice before it came back at him. He dodged the attempt, and rammed into it knocking it down. When it was down he managed to slash it again before it surprised him. The dog whipped itself around on the ground and rushed his legs, managing to slam its shoulders into his knees which knocked Kyero to the ground. He struggled to right himself, and the dog bit down on his shoulder again dropping his health further to 24/64. With his health dropping this low, the Fatigue started kicking in causing him to move slower. However, as with before, he was used to it and had learned to combat it mentally by adjusting his mental speed to compensate for the perceived drop.

The dog came in and managed to latch onto his arm which caused another 8 point drop to 16/64 but he reached up with his weapon and stabbed it in the chest, bringing its HP to zero. The dog disappeared, and Kyero watched as his EXP bar filled up from 53/55 to 28/71 and the “Level Up” notification appeared. He was granted 7 points for the battle, 3 for the enemies, 1 for not fighting alongside anyone, and 1 for not using any items for a total of 12 Stat Points. He retreated to the rock to give himself space so that if the Wild Dogs spawned again and he wouldn’t have to worry about them attacking him while he was adjusting his stats.

His ATK increased naturally from 15 to 16, and he used two points to raise it to 18. His DEF from 12 to 14, and he used one point to raise it to 15. His AGI from 12 to 13, using one point to raise it to 14. His SKL from 12 to 14, without using any points to raise it. His SPD from 13 to 15, again without using any points to modify it yet. His HP rose from 64 to 89, which was a much needed beef in that department as well as his HP being refilled. With 89/89 HP and an increased arsenal of stats, he was ready to continue leveling up. The increase in defense was a welcome addition as now they’d only do five points of damage, and with 89 HP that was almost nothing. 36 Led was also a plus, bringing him from 116 to 152. He used only four out of his twelve Stat Points, leaving eight left over for later.

Kyero waited for the next batch of Wild Dogs to spawn, and he got two of them to do so in less than two minutes. Taking them down was cake walk, and Kyero only suffered a couple bites along the way bringing him down by 10 points to 70/89 HP. He gained twenty more EXP, bringing him to 58/71. He waited once more for the Wild Dogs to spawn, and was lucky enough to find another group of three waiting for him when they did. It was time to level up again, and they were being more than generous. This group was almost but not quite as hard as the first, and Kyero’s HP dropped down to 44/89 when it was over. However, he defeated them without issue. Taking them down earned him another level up and his EXP rose from 58/71 to 17/92.

This time, from Lvl 5 to Lvl 6 was the same as before with a grand total of twelve Stat Points to use. He brought up his menu once he was back on his rock overlooking the spawn area and adjusted his stats once again. As before, he let most of his natural progression take hold. His STR rose to 19, his DEF to 17, his AGI to 16, his SKL to 16, and his SPD to 17. He had a total of twenty unused Stat Points to use now, but he chose to save them for the time being.

He earned 36 more Led raising his stores to 188. It was not much in the grand scheme of things, but early game it was important to save as much as possible for later. Led was hard to come by, even in questing early game, so saving as much as possible was a must. To buy himself a new Steel Short Sword would cost him 300 Led, and he was only a little over half way there so far so he had a ways to go for that. If he wanted an Iron Short Sword, he’d need 750 Led. He didn’t need an Iron sword yet, but he did want to get himself a Steel Short Sword for the Swarm. The extra boost to ATK wasn’t much, but it was better than nothing and would give him +7 ATK over the 3 he got from the wooden sword.

For now though, he had to focus on the Wild Dogs. He fought another group of two, earning him twenty more EXP and 24 Led bringing him to 37/92 and 200 Led respectively. Another group of two, 57/92 and 212. A group of three, 67/92 and 248. Another group of two, 87/92 and 260.

Just one more and he both leveled up again, but would still likely need a bit more to reach his 300 Led for a new weapon.

And luck be with him, he found a group of four waiting for him upon the next spawn. He grinned, and he launched himself into battle right away. Killing the four of them was a bit of a chore with one of them constantly managing to get around to bite his arm. It brought his health down a bit more than he was liking early in the fight, but once he thinned their numbers and defeated them it didn’t matter anymore. he gained 40 EXP raising him from 87/92 to 35/120 and giving him his level up. To his great delight, he gained 48 Led and now had 308 which was just enough to buy himself a new weapon.

His level up brought him seven Stat Points, the last time it would do so before giving him eight next time. Coupled with the four stat points from the enemies, one for not using items, and one for not fighting beside anyone else, he gained thirteen Stat Points to use for his skills both combative and non combative for a total of 33 unused Stat Points. His ATK rose naturally to 21, his DEF to 19, his AGI, SKL, and SPD to 18. These stats were enough for these low level enemies, but not the Swarm they'd be facing very soon. He knew he had to do some more with his stats, but he wanted to leave some for his Skills as well because leveling them early was always a good idea.

Kyero raised his ATK to 25, his DEF, AGI, and SPD to 24, and his SKL to 22. He raised his Leadership Skill and Speech Skills to Lvl 5, and was finally out of stat points to use.

Now boasting fairly well rounded combative stats and a few minor boosts to his Skills, he knew he'd be ready for the Swarm once he bought himself a better weapon. His speed was now a tiny bit above that of the enemies they’d face, and with his ATK being 21, coupled with the +7 ATK of the new weapon, he’d have 32 total ATK to use against their 16 DEF which would bring their HP down by 16 each time he attacked. They had 64 HP total, so they’d lose a full fourth of their HP with each ATK. They were fairly clumsy enemies, so defeating them one at a time would be cakewalk. But taking them on five at a time would prove very difficult even if they weren't the most graceful or skillful of enemies.

To prepare for the Swarm, he knew he’d need something a bit more than his current stats, so he continued grinding for another half hour until 12:40pm when he finally headed back to the city of Lillium to prepare to meet the others and prepare for the Swarm battle. He had defeated a total of seven more enemies, bringing his EXP up to 105/120 and giving him 84 more Led for a total of 396 Led. He stopped by the shop buying himself a Steel Short Sword and bought himself two more Heals which brought him down to only 6 Led when it was over. Back to square one monetarily, but worth every single Led spent. The three Heals would go a long way towards keeping him and his now 154 HP high enough to make it through the battle. The enemies would take 11 HP with each strike, so while he could take one or even two in a fight without much help taking on five without a few healing items was foolhardy to the extreme.

He knew this would be a very difficult battle for everyone, but if they could make it through they’d be in a great spot level wise and Led wise. The boss alone would grant a bonus of 800 led to all party members, plus 400 Led extra for the one who killed it to say nothing of the extra item that individual would receive. Once they finished the Swarm battle, Kyero would doubtlessly level twice, along with everyone else and they’d all receive an enormous Stat Point bonus to use to increase their stats and Life Skills. 25 Stat points for the total number of regular enemies, 5 for being involved in a Boss fight, if any of them could get through without healing items (which he knew would not happen) that’d be one, but they wouldn’t get any for fighting alone. All in all, realistically they’d all receive 30 Stat points with just the combat stats. Including the levels from seven to eight, Kyero would get 8 more, and if he levels twice as he expected he would, he’d get 8 more for a total of 16.

Add all of that up (and again presuming he leveled twice) and you got a whopping 45 Stat Points to use towards Skills and combat Stats. He knew he’d leave at least twenty five of those for Life Skills and the rest would be spent on combat stats.

If they all made it through this, it was going to be a very good day.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman
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"Sorry," Said the swordsman, giving a wry smile and shaking his head at Shannon's invitation. "Eating and resting up sounds nice, but as it seems I'm currently the lowest level of our jolly band, leveling up is even more imperative for me than for all of you - so I'll have to decline your invitation in favor of making the most of what time I have. Hopefully, by the time I return, I'll be prepared for the battle ahead of us. Until then, arrivederci." Waving over his shoulder as he turned away, Alistaire left the plaza behind him, making his way down the same road he'd traveled before. Evidently, this way wasn't one players traveled much, as shortly after leaving town, he soon found himself alone on the road. I guess everybody is too busy in town to go out monster hunting yet. They're probably swilling themselves on simulated alcohol they're too young to drink in real life, and maybe breaking in their new dream bodies a little... Ugh, I can't even finish that train of thought without quitting this game on the spot in disgust. I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. Quick! Distraction! I need a-

Twang.

...distraction.
Spinning to face the source of the sound, he found his hand snapping up in front of his face, instinctively clamping down on an incoming projectile. The arrow stopped just centimeters from his face, and he stared blankly down its shaft for a moment before erupting in nervous, yet triumphant laughter. He wasn't sure why he felt so proud of himself, considering that the goblin's weapon could only be called a shortbow, even in comparison to its own small size, thereby making the speed of the arrows it fired only slightly more impressive than the projectiles launched by a child's toy. Nevertheless, he didn't let that bother him. "Hah! I knew it! I knew I could catch arrows! How do you like me now, eh?!" Snapping the errant arrow like a twig, he placed a hand on the hilt of his sword in deliberate mirroring of his posture in his earlier encounter as six familiar green heads popped up from behind the hills on either side of the road. Alistaire smirked. "Why, hello again. Up for a rematch already? Well, if it's a fight you want, then it's a fight you'll get! But, I must warn you... this will end the same way as the last time you tried to kill me."

The goblins merely chattered and howled in reply, brandishing their weapons and charging forward. The swordsman responded in kind, drawing his own sword, and leaping into the fray...




Two such encounters later, and he found himself staring at his stat screen with a smile. Having memorized their attack patterns in his first battle with the Goblins, he had found his second and third bouts against them much simpler to win. By kiting them away from each other using his superior speed stat, he'd found it almost laughably easy to cut them down one by one as they came, ending both battles without sustaining a hit. This sort of battle was where he excelled, and his excellence had been rewarded with a shiny new set of 15 stat points to be used as he saw fit, as well as a bonus stat point for his Skill, Agility, Attack, and Speed stats - statistically speaking, it had only been a matter of time before these started piling up, but he counted himself lucky nevertheless for receiving so many in one level. Grinning to himself, he thought for a moment how he should use them. Kyero had said that leveling up combat stats was the most important thing to do at this point in time... but Alistaire disagreed.

"I like to think of myself as a genius," He said with a smirk, hitting confirm and allocating two points to Speed, two points to Agility, and the other 11 to his Sneak and Detection skills, before closing the menu. Normally, this decision would have seemed incredibly counterproductive. With only a small boost to his attack, he'd have just as much trouble dealing damage now as he would have at level 3. But there was method to his madness. Having read the Classes section of his player manual in depth, he had already determined that Myrmidon would only be a stepping stone to a much faster, more powerful class - Swordmaster. Thus, since any and all stat points he allocated to his combat abilities would be lost when his level reset itself, focusing more on Life Skills that also had combat utility - in this case, getting system assist on his situational awareness so as to help him manage his speed at higher levels, and the ability to conceal himself and get the advantage of surprise - would be the more efficient way to use his levels. After all, once he could monitor any and all enemies in the area while moving at high speeds and blinking in and out of their awareness using stealth, it wouldn't matter that he could only deal damage in tiny increments, or that he could only take one or two hits before biting the dust. He could strike countless times in succession with impunity while dodging everything his opponents threw at him, thus making damage numbers irrelevant! If there was one thing Dark Souls had taught him, it was that if he could deal damage and dodge incoming attacks, he could kill literally anything - assuming he was willing to give it the time and effort. Besides, getting a better sword would offset his lessened damage output somewhat, while the bonuses provided by skills would be invaluable.

The swordsman soon found himself wandering the plains, plans for how he would develop his skills filling his mind while his attention drifted, until he found himself standing in what looked to be some garden - if, that is, said garden consisted exclusively of rather suspicious grass tall enough to hide a thousand Pokemon in, and gigantic lurching things that looked like some sort of bizarre fusion between a rose bush and a Venus Flytrap. Judging by their stats, they could kill him in about six hits, while it would take him approximately nine hits to kill each of the aptly named Monstrous Flowers, and about five to kill the Feral Grass plots - although where exactly he was supposed to hit those he had no idea.

...So, he did the only smart thing he could do, and strolled casually up to a Monstrous Flower and whacked it twice. In an instant, three others had already begun assaulting him, and two of the Feral Grass plots had joined in. In a shower of flailing, thorny vines and piercing spears of grass, Alistaire found himself almost immediately surrounded, forced to leap into the air to avoid being ensnared by the Flowers and then skewered a dozen times over. But in an instant, their thorny appendages had followed him. Landing on one of the branch-like "arms" of a Flower, he hastily ducked back behind its pod of a head to shield himself, slashing it twice more for good measure before jumping away, barely fast enough to avoid its counterattack as countless thorny vines lashed through the space he'd just occupied.

This was not going to be easy.




"I am not a genius!" Shouted a panicked Alistaire, darting to the side as the grass shot up behind him, very nearly impaling him. Instead, it merely tore yet another hole through his already ragged cloak as, frantically, he swept up his sword, bashing through yet another blade of grass and at last dispelling whatever malevolent intelligence it was guiding that thicket of tallgrass in its attacks as the second patch of Feral Grass finally disappeared. But he had no time to rest easy, for in an instant, the last remaining Flower had caught up to him, swinging a thorny vine like some sort of flail down towards him. He raised his sword to defend himself, only to find the whiplike tentacle wrapping itself around his weapon and raking across his chest, sending him stumbling backwards as another large chunk of his HP faded, leaving him at 2/75 health. He could barely move, fatigue burning through every fiber of his being as he struggled to stay upright in the face of the adversary that was now closing in for the kill. Opening its gigantic, pod-like maw, the head of the so-called Flower bent down to devour him whole. Forgetting for a moment that his plight was simulated, Alistaire found himself transfixed by exhaustion and terror, unable to even raise his sword to defend himself. Even had he the strength to keep fighting, there was no possible way for him to take down a full health Monstrous Flower when he himself was having trouble so much as standing. It seemed that he was about to experience defeat... when something strange happened. A flash of fiery orange-red blurred across his vision, moving too fast to be seen as it slammed into the head of the looming monster and shattered it in an instant. Amidst the glimmering pixels, Alistaire saw the small form of a person, clad in a concealing black mantle like his own, a hood pulled up to hide their face. Utterly spent by the desperate struggle, he allowed himself to collapse, splaying himself on his back as the battle ended and a level up message flashed across his screen, saying that he'd obtained 13 Stat points for his trouble - evidently, he'd lost two points for being assisted and not getting the kill on the last enemy, but he hardly cared. He was just glad he hadn't died and lost all of his progress.

Footsteps reached his ears as, looking up, he found him staring at a figure made indistinct by the light of the sun glaring down from behind it. Slowly, from amidst the folds of his rescuer's concealing mantle, a hand wrapped in a thick red glove reached out, offering itself in support to help him stand. Accepting this gesture, Alistaire gave a quiet groan of discomfort as he forced his body to move and rose to a seated position, while the cloaked figure crouched opposite him. Although he tried to get a good look at who exactly had saved him, he found it nearly impossible to determine any of the other person's features. Whoever it was seemed rather short, especially in comparison to his own avatar's formidable stature. He estimated their height to be somewhere in the five foot range, but as for their build, he had no clue, as their cloak completely obscured their form from view, aside from a few brief glimpses of white and red cloth. Their face was similarly impossible to see, as their hood covered it like a veil - although there was a faint glimmering from within that suggested that whoever this person was, they were wearing glasses - a rather unusual accessory for somebody in a fantasy RPG setting. He couldn't even determine his helper's gender, as they seemed to confidently cross their arms over their chest as a matter of habit, making it difficult to tell whether they were male or female.

At last, the hooded figure spoke, breaking the silence with a voice that, although low and quiet, was succinctly feminine, answering at least one of his many questions. "Good. It seems your injuries are not so grave as to threaten your life," Said the woman, breathing a sigh of relief. "Can you stand?" Alistaire raised an eyebrow slightly. Granted, he'd just been pretty frightened of the prospect of being eaten alive by a carnivorous plant just now, but even if he had died, he would have just respawned back in town. What was she so worried about? Come to think of it, who talked like that, anyway? Was she some kind of roleplayer? But what sort of roleplayer already had the necessary levels to move so fast that she couldn't even be seen when the game had only been out for a day? Was she a beta tester? An admin? But if that was the case, why couldn't he access her player information page? Besides, if she was a beta tester, wouldn't she be off in some difficult area working on leveling up, instead of wandering the starting area bailing out newbies in danger? He supposed she might have just been on her way out of town following the opening ceremony, but with speed like that, there was no reason she'd still have been so close to town. And if she was a game moderator, wouldn't she be too busy dealing with questions from new players or bug reports to be wandering around saving people from monsters? Then... wait a minute, was this woman an NPC? He decided he'd test his theory by answering her question, but adding some unexpected detail any real person would immediately fixate on, but which probably wouldn't trip any dialog flags for a computer program.

"I think so," Responded the swordsman. "Rather than being crippled, I just feel... tired. Besides, compared to last time, this is nothing. At least both my arms are working." Throwing in this little joke to see how the woman would react, he was surprised to find her cocking her head to the side in confusion.

"You were just nearly killed, and that's all you have to say?" She asked incredulously. "It must be quite the exciting life you lead. In that case, I have a feeling that you need this much more than I do," Said the cloaked woman, fishing what looked to be some sort of potion out of her cloak and placing it in the confused swordsman's hand. What he'd just said couldn't have been on a pre-programmed dialog list, so if she was an NPC why had she responded so... realistically? He pressed a few buttons on his menu with his free hand, trying to access her character data again - but once again, he was unable to. Come to think of it, didn't NPCs have character displays, too? So, then, why couldn't he see any data regarding this strange woman? Was this some sort of privacy setting? Unable to figure out for sure who exactly it was who saved him, he found his attention turning to the potion he'd just been handed - and when he realized what it was, his eyes nearly bugged out of his head. The item's name displayed in red, which was basically shorthand for "I am rare and valuable." Reading its description, he found its name to be Divine Elixir, with the effect of healing HP and restoring Stamina to full, as well as purging any and all negative status conditions. He couldn't even begin to fathom the Alchemy level it would take to manufacture something like this, or where one would get the necessary materials to make it. Its value was probably somewhere in the hundred thousands of Led, but just as he was getting excited over the wealth that had fallen into his grasp, he felt a gentle shove against his hand.

"What, are you going into shock? Hurry up and drink it before you bleed yourself to death, you fool!" Alistaire glanced up, finding two blue eyes gazing intently at him from beneath the black hood the woman wore, although they were obscured by the orange lenses of... were those sunglasses? Seriously? Where did she even get something like that in a fantasy setting? Still, it was abundantly clear that he wasn't going to be able to get away with hoarding the potion and then selling it for a profit. He sighed. It was such a waste when he could just go back to an inn - even if that would be difficult when he could barely stand - and rest to recover his HP and Stamina, but he had no choice. He opened the bottle and gulped down the potion, which, oddly enough, tasted strangely like some sort of generic cherry flavored medicine. He had to say, his simulated senses were quite well done, as in an instant, he felt reinvigorated, his awareness expanding as his body once again felt mobile and generally not half dead. The woman seemed to be satisfied with this, as she sighed, sitting back on the small, grassy hillside atop which he'd finished his fight, having run quite far to escape the attacks of his assailants before finally succumbing to his wounds.

Feeling a bit awkward at the silence between them, the swordsman spoke. "Er... Thanks," He said uneasily. "If you hadn't showed up, I'd probably have died back there. And... uh... Sorry about using up that elixir. I'd imagine it was pretty expensive. What do I owe you?"

"You don't owe me anything," Replied the woman decisively, shaking her head as she once more crossed her arms, casually leaning back against a large stone overturned by the advance of the floral giants. "It's just something I found lying around somewhere." What sorts of places did she go where she could just find a Divine-class item "lying around," exactly? Wondered Alistaire. "I didn't need it, and you did - so I gave it to you. What exactly do you take me for when you speak of debts? Do you think I am the sort of unscrupulous miser who would haggle even with a dying man over the price of his medicine? Such unconscionable behavior is beyond me, I assure you."

"Er... sorry?" Apologized the purple-haired Myrmidon, taken rather aback by the woman's unexpectedly forceful response. Even if he'd been conversing with her for several minutes now, he still had no clue whether she was a player or an NPC.

"No, I should be the one to apologize," Replied the lady, taking a deep breath and seeming to compose herself. "Of course that was not your intention. But, if I may ask, what exactly was your purpose in coming to this place? What madness drove you to attack so many monsters with naught but a wooden sword?" He winced slightly at this jab, well aware that his "plan" had been a little lacking, but nevertheless satisfied with how it had turned out. Either she was roleplaying or she was an NPC, so he decided he'd respond in kind, and answered her question with the fourth phrase on the list of lines he had always wanted to say in context at some point in his life.

"I know it was foolish of me, but even so... I want to... no, I have to become stronger," He said resolutely. "I don't want to have to rely on people like you to protect me from monsters. Rather, I want to save other people who are in danger. That, I feel, is the reason I'm alive in this world."

"An admirable goal, but how will you protect anyone if you die in the attempt to better yourself?" Asked his rescuer pointedly.

"I'm well aware of the risks involved in my actions, but even so, I'd much rather die trying to become a hero than live the rest of my life wishing I'd had the courage and stand to fight for my ideals," Replied Alistaire firmly.

"I see. Then, if I cannot dissuade you from your recklessness, the least I can do is make your fight a little less hopeless. Here, take this," She said, rising once again from where she had seated herself as she reached into her cloak and withdrew a small pouch. "Go back to the city and buy yourself a better sword before you try anything like that again, at the very least. I think you'll find protecting the people you care about a bit easier with a real blade."

"Another gift? Let me guess, is this another thing you found 'lying around?'" Asked Alistaire, eying the money pouch a little uneasily. He didn't want to take advantage of this woman's generosity, but since she merely nodded and placed it in his hand, he reluctantly took it, adding it to his inventory. It was only 200 Led, not a large amount by any means, but enough combined with the 100 or so he had left over from his earlier battles that he could use it to buy a basic Iron Sword. Shrugging, he smiled to himself. Whether she was a quest NPC whose parameters he'd met, or just a particularly kind veteran of the beta, he didn't know, but in any case, this would save him the cash farming it otherwise would have taken to get a decent weapon for the Swarm fight. "Well, in any case, let nobody say I'm ungrateful," Alistaire said with a respectful nod. "Is there anything I can do for you in exchange for all of your assistance?"

"I already told you, you don't owe me anything," Said the woman pointedly.

"No, but I'd still feel rather rude if I didn't give you anything after all you've done for me," Replied the swordsman. "I don't have much to offer save my gratitude, but if there's anything..." He trailed off, noticing the woman looking slightly to the side under her hood, as though she had something she wanted to say, but wasn't sure if she should say it. He cocked his head to the side, gently prompting her to speak her mind. But when she did so, her demand was the last thing he'd expected.

"...Food," She said quietly, as though ashamed to ask for such a thing. "Do you have any food?" As a matter of fact, he had a roll and a drumstick he'd bought along with some other items to replenish his stamina after the encounter with the Goblins, but had never used, since his bar had filled up faster than expected. He'd been saving them for when he needed them, but the way he saw it, feeding her was the least he could do after what she'd done for his sake. So, opening his inventory, he extracted the two items and handed them over, along with a canteen of water. Taking them eagerly, the woman pushed back her hood and cloak, sending a cascade of red-orange hair flowing out on the passing breeze as Alistaire got his first good look at her since she'd appeared.

She may have been short, but what height she did have was slanted largely towards her limbs. Her physique was athletic, yet lean, with distinct curves that, had she not worn the mantle to begin with, would have told him in an instant her gender. Her skin was pale - or at least, what he could see of it was, as her rather unusual clothing left only her face bare. She was even younger than he'd expected, given her mature manner of speaking and low voice, appearing about his own age, with bright blue eyes and hair the shade of leaves in autumn, or the sun at dusk, or the hue of a lively campfire, which, although straight, seemed to flow wildly upon the slightest of breezes. But, although her appearance was fairly ordinary, her clothing was anything but. It looked like she was wearing some sort of very close-fitting crimson mail beneath her attire, but primarily, she was clad in a lightly armored white and red bodysuit that looked as though she'd just stepped out of an anime or a super sentai show, clashing completely with the medieval setting of the game. The fact that she appeared to be wearing a pair of orange sunglasses and that her inner layer of armor went up the sides of her neck and chin to cover her ears like a pair of headphones only enhanced this bizarre, otherworldly image.

The woman - or perhaps it would have been more accurate to call her a girl, considering her youthful appearance - grinned, her face lighting up at the sight of food. In an instant, she'd scarfed down the bread roll, and in another few seconds, had started on the drumstick. "Er... how long has it been since you last ate, exactly?" He asked sheepishly as the girl quickly took a long draft of the canteen before devouring what was left of the drumstick.

"Four days," Responded the young woman bluntly. "I travel the land, so it's not often that I can enjoy such a meal as this. I have to take the opportunity when it presents itself!"

"I... see," Said the swordsman. Two days? But the game only started last night... The beta closed several months ago, so she couldn't have been playing then... Then, wait, does that mean... this girl really is an NPC?! Seriously?! But all of her dialog is so fluid... it's not pre-programmed at all. No, it can't be pre-programmed. It's physically impossible to account for all the ways a conversation can go and create options and voice files for all of them. So, that means... she's a fully sentient AI? Is that even possible?
Marveled the Myrmidon, gazing at the NPC whose true nature he had finally discovered in awe.

"Huh? What's the matter? Is something on my face?" Asked the woman, cocking her head to the side curiously.

"Eh?" Asked Alistaire, realizing he'd been staring. "Oh, um... it's nothing. I just realized that we hadn't introduced ourselves yet."

"Oh. So we haven't," Said the redheaded woman, rising to her feet. "My name is Fraga. It's a pleasure to meet you." She gave a courteous bow, a gesture which, the Myrmidon noted, completely failed to dislodge the sunglasses from her face.

"Alistaire," The swordsman said, extending his hand. Fraga looked at it for a moment, then tentatively shook it. "Likewise, it's a pleasure - redundant though it may seem to say it, considering you saved my life."

"Alistaire, hmm? I'll remember your name."




Shortly thereafter, he'd parted ways with the NPC who'd saved his life, returning to the city square to meet the others. He hadn't made as much progress as he'd have liked - having only reached Level 5 by the time they were scheduled to meet - but nevertheless, he didn't regret the way things had gone. Meeting Fraga had certainly been an interesting and eye-opening experience, and he was sure that the sword he'd gotten thanks to her more than make up for his low level in the upcoming fight.

Opening his player menu, he checked his stats, muttering the numbers to himself under his breath as he allocated the 13 points from his fight with the Monstrous Flowers and Feral Grasses. Having obtained an extra point in Attack, Speed, and Agility for both levels, as well as a bonus Skill level for the first, his stats had remarkably improved - at least, considering that he hadn't actually put any points into any of them save Speed and Agility.

  • Level: 5
  • HP: 88
  • ATK: 14
  • DEF: 8
  • AGI: 22
  • SKL: 13
  • SPD: 22
  • Sword: Lv 5
  • Detection: Lv 10
  • Sneak: Lv 13
  • Athletics: Lv 5
  • Speech: Lv 2
  • Sales: Lv 2

Looking up, he noticed a few of the others already loitering around the plaza, and so quickly approached them, waving slightly as he did so. "Hey! Sorry if I was a little slow. I hope I didn't keep you waiting," He called as he walked up.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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"Testing the Beta of "Life Untold" was a challenge, and unlike other Beta Testers of the time I managed to accomplish something none of the others did... But I dare not tell anyone that, lest I cause more of a stir than necessary."





Kyero made back to Lillium in good time, arriving shortly before 1pm and taking a seat on a bench to wait for everybody. One by one they all showed up, a few of them matching him at Level 7 though it would be interesting to see how their differing stats and classes played out in the upcoming battle. Kyero knew that he was as fast if not a tad faster than the enemies they'd face, but still, it was not going to be an easy fight by any stretch of the imagination.

As they all gathered back around, Kyero greeted them and stood up from the bench.

"I may presume everyone is fully prepared now to continue on to the Swarm, correct?" He asked, looking about the circle of friends/acquaintances.

When satisfied with their answers, he nodded.

"Great, then let's get to the Swarm location. The enemies we're facing today are Goblin Scouts. They're Lvl 3, have 19 base ATK with a random weapon though all of them add 12 points to their base for a total of 31 ATK. Their DEF is 16, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem to start bringing them down to size since they only have 64 HP. Their SKL and SPD are both 20, and their AGI is 21. Something the game manual won't tell you, and something I had to learn from another friend of mine, is that once mobs reach 20 points in any combat Stat, their AI's aggressiveness and precision increase by a small percentage. To intermediate and advanced level players, it's unnoticeable, but at our levels this small increase in those two percentages will make it very obvious very fast that these enemies are harder than any we've faced yet. The fact that they come in numbers is also a concern, but you're all still here so I take it the challenge is not enough to make anyone back down which is excellent," he said.

He looked about, making sure everyone followed.

"I know I said it earlier, but I'll repeat it just in case: Stay away from the Boss until all the adds are dead. Leave even one and it will call for reinforcements, one of which is too powerful in numbers for us at this stage. If left alone, the Scouts can summon Goblin Vanguards, who have a total ATK of 40 and I can guarantee are faster than any of us. So take the adds first. Once they're down, we can concentrate on the boss. Be wary when inside his weapon's reach though, as he's got 53 ATK aimed right at us. Not only that, but he has a hidden 4% critical hit rate as well. If you see his weapon glowing red, get away from him as fast as possible and avoid any strikes that come your way whatever the cost. If you have to throw your weapon into his path so he attacks it instead of you, do it. You can't let his critical hit land."

He checked the group.

"Any last questions before we head out?" He asked.

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"I, also, don't deal very much damage, but unlike Miss Valkyrie, I can make up for my lack of power through repeated hits. I've also recently acquired some stealth abilities, so I can use those to hopefully get the first strike and even the odds somewhat. After that, I'll try to deal with whatever comes my way personally. If I can manage that, I'll move to assist anyone else who needs help," proposed the purple-haired swordsman, calmly analyzing his best course of action. Although the enemy's stats would be close to his own - oh how he wished he could just have put all his stat points into speed and outmaneuvered his foes in the blink of an eye - assuming that Goblin Scouts had similar attack patterns and strategies to the Goblin ambush party he'd fought three times already, predicting their attacks, kiting them out individually, crippling them, and then eliminating them shouldn't have been too much for him to handle... Or, at least, so he hoped. There was no margin for failure, at any case, since if he couldn't pick off any Goblin Scouts he aggroed, and if his allies couldn't do the same, those Goblin Vanguards would probably overwhelm them nigh instantly. Even if they did manage to pick off the Scouts, the Boss would appear before it was all over. He just hoped he could get the swarming Goblins off of himself and Valkyrie before it did. If he could manage that, then maybe the two of them would be able to draw the Boss' aggro away from the others while they cleared themselves, since that task, in particular, would be made much more challenging by the presence of a gigantic boss monster hell bent on their destruction.

In any case, come what might, Alistaire fully intended to give it his best showing. Anything less would only serve to undermine his own goals in the game world. He had to say, though... Kyero seemed to know a lot about the game. He kept talking about things he'd heard that weren't in the manual from "a friend." But the only way that was possible was if that player had vastly more experience than the day or so Life Untold had been released for would allow. Was he friends with a beta tester, or something? He supposed the advantages that connection presented would make their partnership at least somewhat more bearable, at least.

...He still didn't care much for the guy's attitude, though.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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Kaye looked at the group for a moment and thought before speaking. He had a good enough damage stat, even with only his wooden sword and with his armor he'd only take one damage from their attacks.

"I have a decent damage amount and I can still deal decent damage even with this wooden thing. I'll help Valkyrie out with her Goblins after I'm done with mine but otherwise I'm fine with moving out now."

Kyero had mentioned a lot about his friend but Kaiden wasn't one to pry into other people's business. He'd ask later but if Kyero didn't want to say anything then he'd let it go.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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"Testing the Beta of "Life Untold" was a challenge, and unlike other Beta Testers of the time I managed to accomplish something none of the others did... But I dare not tell anyone that, lest I cause more of a stir than necessary."





Kyero nodded, happy that they were all in agreement.

"Very well, then let's get going. The location is a fair distance away from here, but the trip should be well worth it in the end so long as we keep out heads on a swivel," he said.

With that, Kyero turned and led them out of the city towards the northern mountains in the distance.

The group walked for over three hours, well into the late afternoon and early evening until around 4:45pm when Kyero finally brought them to a stop at the base of a smaller mountain range. The tallest peak was only around eighty feet height off the ground level, and there were only about six peaks in the immediate area in line ahead of them serving almost like a natural barrier to anyone seeking to go further. It was isolated, quiet, and the perfect place for an ambush style encounter.

Kyero sat down on a boulder, placing his elbows on his knees and leaning forward to put his chin in his hands. He looked bored.

"We're going to be here for a while, just as a head's up."

And he wasn't lying.

The group waited until nightfall, more than three hours later at around 8pm before something finally began to happen. Kyero had been laying down on his boulder, and promptly sat upright and hopped off to draw his blade.

"Everyone, weapons up! Here we go!" He said loudly so that they could all hear him wherever they had been around the clearing.

The sound he'd heard was almost inaudible, just a tiny "ping" almost like one would hear from a microwave oven letting you know that your ramen was finished from a great distance away. To most, the ping would be inaudible, but Kyero's time in college had given him experience with critical listening in the Recording Arts program and he had trained himself specifically to hear such high pitched yet low volume sounds as this "ping." It was almost a guarantee the others would either not hear it at all, or dismiss it as just one of those moments where the human ear makes you hear a high pitched noise for no reason as it happened more often than most realized.

But Kyero knew what he heard even though nothing happened for over thirty seconds.

But true to his word, weapons up was the order of the day as suddenly the group was surrounded by Goblins who appeared from flashes of light as if from nowhere as a massive "SWARM" message appeared at the top of every player's FOV with a swell of ominous music playing in the background. Once the music subsided, the attack began.

The first of five Goblins in Kyero's range, which was near his boulder, came at him from a nearby tree to his right. Kyero was a little surprised at its speed, as he hadn't fought anything with speed anywhere near his own for some time. Not since the Beta, actually. It was a rush to feel that sense of danger as the swing of the Goblin's axe just barely missed cleaving his chest open as he stepped to the side. The breeze from the weapon alone was a new feeling, or a renewed feeling really, and he kneed it in the stomach causing it to double over as he chopped at its head and jumped away.

With 25 base ATK and +7 from his weapon, he had 32 ATK to use against their 16 DEF which meant he took off 16 HP each time. They had 64 HP total, and that meant that he took a quarter of their health with each shot. It was good to know, but the other four Goblins in his area were closing fast so he had to get this first one out A.S.A.P. Kyero hacked at its legs as it started turning on him, and as it flinched from the shot he stabbed forward into its chest, activating a new mechanic of the game he hadn't told the others about yet which made him somewhat angry at himself for forgetting it.

Stabbing an enemy and embedding one's weapon into any part of their upper body for more than one full second caused what was called the "Impale" ailment. It was a hidden ailment, much the same as the hidden Fatigue ailment when your health dropped too low. But the difference was that Impale ailment caused a rather rapid drainage of health over time. In fact, the drain was 5% of your maximum health every second which, for the Goblins, meant they'd lose 3 HP every second. Given that Kyero had already hacked it twice for 32 damage and now stabbed it for a base 16 damage, it was now losing almost a fifth of its healthy every second. 16 HP dropped to 13 immediately, then to 10 as Kyero backed away and defended himself from the other attackers.

The thing was, the player's ATK had to be equal to or greater than twice their enemy's DEF for the Impale ailment to take effect. Anyone not with 32 ATK vs the Goblin's 16 DEF would not be able to accomplish this ailment in this fight. They would be able to stab them, yes, but it wouldn't cause the ailment. They'd have to wait until later.

Again, Kyero was angry that he'd forgotten about this ailment. He'd gotten so used to it in the Beta that he had forgotten it was even a factor. He paid more attention to the damage he dealt right away than that which happened over time anyway.

However, as he dodged the attacks of the next Goblin headed his way, he had to reposition himself near his boulder to prevent them from attacking him from all sides. As he made his way towards the boulder, the Goblin affected with Impale had a glowing gash on its chest as it raced towards him with its axe ready. Kyero didn't move as it approached, letting it try its hand as he'd been counting in his head and he smirked as it reached him at last and swung its axe only to disappear in a flash of light as its health hit 0. The axe never made it to Kyero, vanishing with the Goblin a few inches away from his body.

One down, four to go... He thought.

He just hoped everyone was doing all right given that they were now facing five enemies each with speed almost equivalent to their own and with a healthy ATK stat to boot.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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"Heh. Took them long enough," Said Alistaire as their guide abruptly dropped into a combat stance, barking a warning even though seemingly nothing had happened. The swordsman, seeing his cue, engaged his sneak skill, stepping back into the shadows of the underbrush, his dark cloak concealing him amidst the half-light of dusk as he placed a hand on the sword at his belt, waiting for their opponents to show themselves. And, sure enough, about half a minute later, the swarm arrived, closing in from all sides on the clearing. But, as they charged out from "ambush" on the "unsuspecting" players waiting in the clearing, they missed the motionless swordsman crouching amidst the darkness. As his blade flashed forth, they only regretted their mistake too late. Rushing silently from cover, he carved upward with his new blade, slashing one scout across the backs of his legs, dealing a fairly deep cut that sent the goblin stumbling, falling to his knees as his left leg momentarily gave way. Alistaire didn't expect it would stop the scout from attacking, but it would at least slow him down - something that would put the creature, already encumbered by the two-handed sword it carried, at a great disadvantage in the opening stages of the battle.

Still, even if he'd managed to wound its legs, its hitpoints were still at 59/64. Only five damage per swing? Oh, this was going to be troublesome. Leaping forward, he pressed his momentary advantage, aiming to strike one of the other ambushers who was still rounding on him, taken by surprise, in the skull - only for his blade to be turned masterfully aside by the estoc the creature carried, sending him stumbling past as the other three quickly moved to encircle him, the estoc-wielding scout lunging at his back. Twisting aside with the momentum of his own attack, he frantically parried, turning away the viciously pointed weapon from his vitals, only to hear a rushing of air from behind him as a spear was thrust straight for his exposed back. Thinking quickly, he did something seemingly counterintuitive, stepping backward, and to the side, such that the head of the lance merely grazed his cloak harmlessly as he quickly brought down his free right hand, catching the haft of the spear and twisting it downward, planting it harmlessly in the dirt as he then brought back his elbow, slamming it into the lance-wielding goblin's jaw. Given that the creature's defense was higher than his base attack, it didn't actually deal any damage, but it stunned the enemy for a moment, allowing him to pivot about, hoping to strike its throat and make up for the damage he'd failed to deal - only to find his blade blocked by a small buckler shield as one of the remaining two scouts leaped in the way, deflecting his attack before retaliating with a longsword. The swordsman, frantic as he stumbled backward, planted his foot on the head of the spear he'd embedded in the dirt, kicking up its haft into the path of the goblin's descending sword, managing to avoid taking damage for the time being. But, even as the spear and longsword wielders stumbled backward, disengaging themselves, he had no time to catch his breath, for the estoc-wielding scout and a fifth enemy wielding a falchion were already closing in from the rear. It was from this latter opponent that the next attack came, his elegant weapon whistling as it descended towards the back of Alistaire's throat. Whipping up his right arm from under his mantle, he sent the heavy fabric billowing upward, momentarily obscuring the goblin's vision as, his hand somewhat shielded by the thick cloth, he slammed the palm of his free hand into the flat of the descending blade, knocking it to the side and leaving his opponent wide open as, with his left hand, he ran his sword clean through the creature's gut, a spurt of crimson pixels scattering around him as he perfectly executed the barehanded parry-impalement maneuver that, as a player of Dark Souls, was so familiar to him. Twisting his sword in the goblin's torso, he gave a roar of exertion as he slashed the blade outward, using it as leverage to fling his wounded foe right into the path of its Estoc-wielding comrade, forcing it to cut off its attack, while the swordsman goblin's hitpoints were further depleted to 54/64. Having momentarily opened a hole in the enemy's encirclement, Alistaire took this chance to distance himself, sprinting away before rounding on the three enemies that hounded his footsteps, their spear wielding comrade just a few steps behind after he finished extricating his weapon from the dirt, and the limping goblin that Alistaire had wounded at the start of the engagement a short distance behind.

Their coordination was certainly impressive. They focused first on surrounding the opponent, then attacking from all sides at once while their shield-carrying ally kept on the defensive, protecting his comrades. But, with the falchion-wielder still dazed from his wound, and the fencer goblin momentarily stalled by running headlong into his comrade, the swordsman had a momentary window in which he could press the offensive on the shield-carrying goblin. Lunging forward, he brought his sword back over his shoulder, then spun forward, using the momentum brought on by extending his arm to vastly accelerate his blade in the blink of an eye, cutting diagonally towards the goblin's head the very instant it entered his reach. Raising its buckler, it tried to block, but the swordsman managed to catch the edge of its shield with his slash rather than merely having his blow deflected off of the surface, thus sending the goblin stumbling backward, its shield momentarily forced aside by the force of the blow. Continuing his rotation, Alistaire stepped into his slash, dropping into a crouch as he came completely around and then rose to his feet once more, bringing up his blade as he did so and sweeping it across the goblin's chest, sending a spray of scarlet pixels into the air as the creature was knocked backward, falling to its knees as it lost its footing. His sword already raised, he reversed its momentum, placing both hands on the hilt as he chopped violently downward, his sword like the blade of a guillotine as it slammed into the goblin's head, smashing it into the dirt and dealing a deep gash across its entire front. The creature screamed and tried to rise to its feet, only to be struck a third and fourth time as Alistaire dealt a diagonal upward slash across its collarbone, then twisted this back into a horizontal blow straight across its throat. The creature's hitpoints dropped sharply, 20 points vanishing in an instant as it fell backward. But, before the swordsman could press his attack any further, the fencer and swordsman goblins were already closing in from the sides. He ducked backward as the falchion came sweeping over his head, turning this motion into a complete roll as the fencer dealt another thrust straight for his heart. Finding himself on the edge of the clearing, he leaped to his feet, reaching back with his free hand as he did so to part some of the entangling branches behind him as he continued his retreat, parrying two more rapid attacks as he did so, then releasing the rather large branch he'd laid hold of, sending it snapping back and striking the falchion-wielder in the head, knocking it back into a rather large shrubbery. The estoc-wielder ducked to avoid being struck, but the swordsman had no intention of letting it rise again. Sweeping out his leg, he glided forward, kicking the opponent's feet from under it. The rough ground offered it no purchase as its legs gave way, sending it staggering backward, frantically trying to stay standing as Alistaire thrust once, twice, and then a third time, sending three more pinpricks of scarlet scattering into the air before two waves of blood-colored light followed a moment after as he spun with the third lunge, carving downward across its body and using the momentum of his own strike to send him skidding past it on his back, catching his foot on a root and using this to force himself into a crouching position as he rose, dealing a matching cut across the enemy's back. The enemy's HP was nearly halved as 25 points vanished in this flurry of blows, collapsing atop its fallen comrade amidst the hedge as the swordsman turned just in time to deflect the lance of the third goblin as it, too, reached him. He tried to bat its spear aside and advance, closing the distance, only for it to draw the weapon back and lunge again. Alistaire grimaced as he was forced to retreat, parrying once again. These enemies were certainly something. Although individually, their attack patterns were hardly any different from the opponent's he'd already faced, they were almost as fast as he was, and unlike the last batch of Goblins, these actually knew how to use the weapons they wielded. The one with the buckler deflected his blows and only then retaliated, while this spearman kept him back through rapid, precise lunges with little to no delays between them, preventing him from neutralizing its advantage of reach by closing the distance between them. The estoc and falchion wielding goblins each employed rapid attacks in tandem in the hopes of overwhelming him. If he hadn't used the scenery to split them up and keep them from attacking him more than once at a time, they probably would have succeeded, too.

A sudden impact from behind him sent him reeling as a large blade carved across his back, forcing him to drop to the ground and roll to avoid being caught by a wide sweep of the lancer's spear. Oh, right, there had been a fifth goblin, hadn't there? Having crippled the two-handed swordsman at the start of the engagement, he'd managed to keep his distance until now, but it seemed it had finally caught up, and his carelessness had cost him 21 of his 88 hitpoints. On the bright side, though, he'd finally managed to close the distance between himself and the lancer, giving him a brief chance to strike. Rising to his feet, he caught the haft of the goblin's lance before it could attack again, yanking it forward - right into the path of his rising blade, which impaled the goblin through the gut as he spun around behind it, slashing the blade out through its side, then carved deep into its back once more. Panicking, the goblin tried to retreat and come about, but Alistaire had no intention of relinquishing his initiative. Taking his sword with both hands, he rushed forward, ducking past the two-handed swordsman as it tried in vain to intercept him, then carving upward, striking both goblins in a single blow. The swordsman fell forward, planting its sword to keep its weakened legs from giving out beneath it, while the lancer staggered, trying in vain to raise the haft of its spear to parry the four quick thrusts that followed, piercing it once, twice, a third time, and finally a fourth, before once again using his blade as leverage to hurl it into the crippled swordsman, this ninth attack sending both to the ground. Its HP bar, for the most part, vanished, only to continue plummeting as Alistaire flicked his blade around backhanded, standing over his two fallen foes and impaling both once, twice, and then raising his sword for the coup de grace - only to be interrupted as a green blur from amidst the trees came barreling into him, shoulder-charging him from the side and sending both himself, and his falchion wielding assailant, rolling. He rose to his feet just in time to intercept a slash from the goblin that hurled itself at him with the desperation of one whose comrades' lives were at stake. The swordsman faltered, retreating once again in the face of his enemy's desperate assault. These were just basic enemies, but they displayed such devotion to the lives of their allies... the thought of the generous NPC he'd met earlier that day came to his mind, unbidden, and he couldn't help but wonder what sorts of lives these Goblins had lived before he and his party had found them. They were the enemy, but he almost hesitated to kill them, even if they would just respawn later.

The falchion-wielding goblin drew back, blade still raised to protect its fallen friends as its comrades picked themselves up, slowly assembling themselves once more while Alistaire took a moment to catch his breath, sizing up his odds. Although enemies had slowed their movements a great deal from the many wounds he'd dealt them, he still hadn't actually managed to kill any of them, while he himself had already lost almost a fourth of his own HP from taking a single hit. It would only take one more error like the last one he'd made to put him out of the fight permanently.

"Whew... You guys sure are ruthless," He murmured to himself, smirking across his blade at the goblins as they gathered for one final rush. He probably should have attacked them before they could assemble, but, seeing their dedication to one another had made him question his own underhanded methods. He would at the very least show these opponents the courtesy of allowing them to fight as one, even if that did put him at a disadvantage. "But I can't exactly afford to show you any mercy, either. Sorry, but it looks like you guys are gonna have to die." The two-handed swordsman leveled its own weapon, and gave a growl of what might have been mutual respect in response, stepping forward alongside the falchion and estoc wielders while the two most gravely wounded goblins hung back, instead moving to the left and right, encircling the swordsman while their three companions slowly advanced on him directly.

Then, giving a roar, the falchion-wielding goblin leaped at Alistaire, and the battle commenced anew. Raising its weapon, it ignored the sword held roughly horizontally before him, seeming to notice that aiming for his body would only make it all too easy for him to block. He'd thought as much. These AIs weren't like the others. They were reading his movements, searching for openings in his defenses to strike and aiming solely for the places he didn't seem to be protecting. The reason they'd nearly overwhelmed him at the beginning of the fight was because with his sword at his side in no stance at all, any attack from any angle was fair game. But, if they would only strike where they thought they had a chance of hitting, then with his sword held in a defensive stance in front of his body, their options were severely limited. In that case, the next blow... would be aimed for his head!

The falchion-wielder drew back its arm, then sent its weapon cutting downward diagonally from his left, aiming to carve from his temple to his throat. Of course. A simple vertical strike could be easily deflected by just raising his horizontally-gripped sword, while a horizontal blow could be parried with a flick of his wrist, sending the tip of his weapon up to intercept the much lighter falchion, redirecting it with minimal effort. But, by aiming diagonally, it would force him to raise his weapon in front of his face and twist away from the attack, leaving his entire right side open for the Estoc wielder to make a follow-up. Of course, that assumed he was going to block - and why would he do that if he already knew where the attack was coming from? Instead of drawing back from the attack, he lunged forward, twisting instead to the left before the goblin had even begun its attack. As its stroke carried it past him, he whipped out his sword, dealing a horizontal slash across its side, then reversing his momentum to catch it across the chest and send it stumbling backwards, momentarily putting it between him and the estoc wielder. Ideally, his cut would have continued and struck the advancing two-handed swordsman as well, but it had more than enough time to raise its own blade to block his strike head on, its sword locking against his as it pressed down against his weapon, its strength almost instantly pushing him back onto the defensive as it tried to force him to his knees. But he didn't need to overpower it... All he had to do was redirect it! Abruptly twisting sideways, he abruptly stopped pushing against the enemy's much larger weapon, simply using his sword to guide the enemy's much larger weapon just a few inches past him as the two-handed swordsman staggered right into the falchion user he'd already struck, both of their HP bars swiftly dropping as two more shallow cuts carved across each of them. Alistaire spun, hearing the footsteps of the shield and sword bearing goblin rushing in from behind him, its blade already raised and its defenses momentarily down as it expected to take him by surprise. Slashing straight upward, he cut it from waist to chin, then flicked his wrist to send his sword arcing back out across its shoulder, shearing away 10 more of its hitpoints as it hastily retreated, the estoc-wielding goblin leaping past its stumbling comrades to buy it time to escape. The swordsman, not wanting to give it the leverage to press its attack, bounded forward, forcing its sword arm away from him with his right hand before spinning around to cut it twice from behind, then flicking his sword backhanded and stabbing under his arm, impaling the two-handed swordsman yet again as it tried to counterattack him from behind. He danced amidst his foes, throwing the two-handed swordsman into the estoc-wielder with another sweep of his blade, and then rounding on the falchion-user, striking in vain against its upraised weapon twice before he at last forced its defenses aside, piercing its gut with a thrust, and then following up with two more slashes. Then the others were on him, striking from all sides, forcing him down, blades striking again and again for his head as they tried again and again to bypass his defenses, only his foreknowledge of where the opponents would strike allowing him to react quickly enough to turn aside the violent hail of strikes. He lashed out, forcing back the estoc-wielder and the two-handed swordsman with several more sweeping blows that grazed each of them, then rose, leveling his weapon as he sized up the enemies encircling him.

  • Goblin Scout (Two-Handed Sword) - 14/64 HP
  • Goblin Scout (Estoc) - 19/64 HP
  • Goblin Scout (Lance) - 9/64 HP
  • Goblin Scout (Sword and Shield) - 34/64
  • Goblin Scout (Falchion) - 19/64

He was close, now. Just a few more blows to each, and he could finally end this fight. With 67/88 HP left and a full stamina bar, he was still in fairly good shape to fight the boss, but just as he was getting complacent, a battle cry resounded all around him as he realized, to his dismay, that he'd been surrounded again. In an instant, the goblins began rushing towards him from all sides, their weapons raised to strike him all at once.

"Oh... shit!"


(OOC: Nobody jump in just yet. I have a plan to finish all this up in my next post, although it's going to leave Al in pretty poor shape HP and Stamina-wise. Also, I hope I didn't drag out this fight scene too much. I needed to get everything set up for the final clash, which will basically make up the entirety of my next post, so there was a LOT of scratch damage and running around and detailed attack combo stuff going on here. Hopefully, you weren't bored.

...I hope.)

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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Kaye readied himself as Kyero stood up, telling them to get their weapons up. He saw Alistaire sneaking into the shadows, but still able to see him because of their party status. Kaye decided to put himself facing away from the peaks and towards the woods. Then the large swarm message appeared and Kaye stood, ready to attack. Five Goblins came out of the bushes to his right and so he rotated to face them, two were armed with large axes, two with large swords and one with a lance. They all fanned out to surround him but before they could start their attack, Kaye moved first.

With a shout he slashed at the Goblin furthest to the right, which was wielding an axe. To his surprise however, the Goblin managed to barely roll out of the way of his attack before the other Goblins roared and charged at him. Kaye tried to roll out of the way and he did manage to do as the two sword wielders slashed down at him, but the lance wielding one at the rear managed to get a stab in on him, and the damage counter came up in his vision, indicating only one damage had been dealt.

"Only one? Damn."

He continued his roll away, trying to let see if there were any openings that he could take advantage of. He backpedaled as one of them, wielding an axe bore down upon him, delivering a hefty blow but Kaye managed to bring up his Wooden sword as the blade bit into the side of it. Locked in, Kaye could not move or risk getting hit, and he did not want to get hit as he preferred to have as much health as possible before fighting the boss. Driving his knee upwards, his knee slammed into the Goblin's stomach, causing it to double over. He took advantage of this, knocking the Goblin onto his belly with a hard slam with the hilt of his sword and delivering a stab downwards, not activating the skill however. The sword caused a bright red gash to appear in the center of the Goblin's back as it squirmed. Kaye pulled the sword out and delivered two more slashes to its back. A kick sent it rolling away, alive but barely.

During this, Kaye had forgotten about the other four Goblins. He only remembered them when he felt the hard crack of an axe slamming into his back. He flew forwards, rolling and coming to a halt. A measly one damage was gone from his health, now standing at 152. He shook his head by instinct and looked back up. The looming figure of two sword wielding Goblins filled his vision, their swords bearing down on him and he could only watch. The two swords slammed him back face down taking another two health from him. Slightly irked, Kaye waved his sword about at the two and they jumped back as he got to his feet.

"Really? Now that's just mean."

Kaye readied himself, getting into his practiced stance and glared at the two. He was knocked into a small inlet that would only allow two of the Goblins to come at him at one time. Then one of them moved, launching a horizontal slash which Kaye parried and replied with a fast slash gouging a red gash from shoulder to hip but at that moment the other Goblin moved and knocked Kaye back with a slash dealing another point of damage. Kaye just kept on pushing forwards, continuing to push the two back as they tried to get away from him. Kaye managed to reach one of them and sliced into its leg, causing it to fall over.

"Game over for you friend.

He finished the fallen one off with two slashes to its back, causing it to disperse into a small cloud of red crystals before disappearing. Kaye looked at the remaining four, and narrowed down his sights onto the already nearly dead one as it was barely able to stand. Ignoring the rest of them, Kaye charged straight at it, delivering the final blow as he ran past. He spun back around when he heard Valkyrie shout.

"Anytime now, people!"

He turned his head to look as the four Goblins approached her, their backs turned towards him. He smiled, looking back at his own approaching Goblins before running to the back of the closest Goblin and slashing it quickly thrice before spinning it around and thrusting his sword into the Goblin. Then he jumps away, returning to face the last three Goblins that approached him.

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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"Testing the Beta of "Life Untold" was a challenge, and unlike other Beta Testers of the time I managed to accomplish something none of the others did... But I dare not tell anyone that, lest I cause more of a stir than necessary."





Kyero leaped to the side, but was too late to avoid the slashing of three blades all trained on him. One of them caught him in the side, cutting through his flesh just under the ribcage and leaving a glowing red line. With 31 ATK against his 24 DEF, Kyero suffered 7 points of damage from his 154 HP leaving him with 147/154 left. He was still in great shape for the fight, but the sting of the wound was immediately distracting and caught him just long enough for one of the others to follow up with a second attack that cut him almost in the same spot. Another 7 points down for 140/154 HP remaining.

Kyero slashed back with force, knocking the enemy back while also taking off a fourth of its HP, but its cohort jumped in the way with a lance at the ready. Three swords, one lance. Not fantastic but not horrible either. It was the Boss he was truly worried about, but that came later. For now, it was time to refocus.

He zeroed in on the one he’d wounded, faking to his left as the lancer tried to stab him as he darted right and shoved it with his shoulder. The Goblin tripped on its own feet and fell to the ground leaving his companion open as Kyero lunged in and ran it through for another fourth of its health. Also, in keeping with the difference in their ATK and DEF, the Impale ailment once again took effect as Kyero retracted his blade. But as he was doing so, the others both attacked and struck him in the back for 14 damage leaving him with 126/154 HP left. The constant trade off of attacks was not what he was hoping for, and he was beginning to grow flustered.

He leaped away from them to gain some distance to restate himself. The one Goblin’s HP was draining at 3/sec thanks to Impale, and would soon be no factor as it was already down to 26/64. It would take only another 9 seconds before it too faded away leaving his companions down one more weapon. Kyero decided now was the time to focus on the the lancer, as it was the most dangerous of the bunch with its reach. As it came in, Kyero turned his blade downwards using the flat to push the spear to one side before he rolled the blade over the top and slashed across the Goblin’s upper chest causing it to stagger backwards as a fourth of its HP disappeared. The others rushed in, but Kyero was already moving away so as not to let himself get slashed in the back again.

Keeping his cool despite his frustration, he took a breath to reassess his situation. Three swords, one almost dead, and one lance. Good odds with 126/154 HP still remaining. The one with Impale was fast approaching death… 3… 2… 1… Done. The Goblin disappeared beside its comrades leaving only three of them left to face Kyero’s blade. The two swords rushed in as the lancer came in behind them in a reverse triangle attack. Kyero moved to the right side, and they shifted their pattern to keep the triangle in front of him despite his best efforts.

Tricky little… He thought.

The two swords both tried to stab him, so to counter Kyero used the flat of his blade once more to push the two swords into one another and used his right foot to do the exact same thing to the spear as it came in closer. Using his right hand, he pushed the Goblin with the spear into the other two, knocking all three of them to the ground. As they squirmed, he slashed once, then again, and again before the one with the spear managed to kick him away. One of them was down three quarters of its health, the spearmen down one quarter, and the other at full. One more to rid himself of another swordsman, but the spear was more immediate.

Kyero rushed the spearman but was rammed off his feet by one with a sword who summoned a rather surprising burst of speed to stop him from completing his attack. He hit the ground and found himself being stabbed by the spear and the two swords, taking of 21 more HP leaving him with 105/154 HP. He kicked the spearmen, but took another shot from the swords before he managed to roll away. Losing 14 more and leaving him with 91/154 HP left. He distanced himself from the sword wielding Goblins and isolated the spear wielding Goblin, enticing it by lowering his guard so that it would attack him and once again parrying the weapon to the side and rolling his sword over the top to slash its chest. However, it remembered the move from last time and ducked, using the spear’s return to swipe his feet out from underneath his body.

Kyero went down, but as it came in to stab him again he used his foot to kick the spear to the side and into the ground, grabbing the spear with his left hand, and stabbing the Goblin in the chest twice as he got up and one final time as he made it to his feet. The Goblin disappeared in a flash, leaving just the two sword wielders left. Kyero let them charge and jumped to the side, rolling on his shoulder and slashing the stomach of the one with only a quarter of its health and causing it to vanish in a flash of light as well. He stood up and kicked the last Goblin away to give himself a few precious seconds to analyze the field. So far, everyone seemed to be doing fairly well. The Boss would soon arrive, but for now it was best to let everyone handle their business.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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#, as written by Feyblue
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Suffice to say, at the center of a horde of five angry goblins was a very bad place to be. Alistaire froze for a split second, analyzing the situation. The terrain was roughly level, with no prominent objects he could use to cut off angles of attack. The enemies had him outnumbered and overpowered, surrounding him on all sides and making escape impossible. Had he a higher agility stat, it might have been possible to leap over their heads, but as things stood, his capabilities were still fairly limited in that regard. Then, his only option was to counterattack, creating an opening to escape their encirclement. His eyes darted frantically between the oncoming goblins, and, in an instant, he realized that they'd made one mistake. Their reaction times may have been fast, but there was still a delay between the first goblin - the spearman - charging at him and the others, realizing that their victory was assured if they attacked as one, following its lead. Furthermore, although the spearman had initially been unassailable due to its long weapon, it seemed the many wounds he'd inflicted on it had left it dazed, angry, and reckless, for it was now simply rushing headlong at him, with no semblance of its earlier form. He grinned. As it was, it had over-committed to its lunge. It wouldn't have time to draw back its spear and retreat to keep him at a distance before he was already upon it!


Turning to face this first attacker, Alistaire threw his legs forward, at the same time allowing his upper half to fall backward, barely ducking beneath a sweep of a familiar two-handed sword as he skidded across the slippery grass, sliding right past the goblin spearman as it stumbled, trying to stop its attack far too late. The swordsman gave a roar of triumph, slashing his sword at its legs as he passed and dealing a deep gash to both ankles, sending the creature toppling forward as its own momentum caused it to overbalance.

Forcing himself to his feet, Alistaire spun with the momentum of his own earlier slash to face what was now a line of four goblins scattering around their fallen comrade as they tried to press their assault before he could recover. But, with the delay caused by their fallen ally, they were scattered, losing the advantage they'd fought so hard to gain by surrounding him. Even so, the swordsman had taken a moment to get his footing again, and by the time he rose, his first assailant - the estoc-wielder - was already upon him. Frantically spinning to the left, he continued his prior slash, barely fast enough to slam his own longsword into the flat of the wickedly pointed thrusting sword, turning it aside at the last second. A shower of simulated sparks rose into the air as his own weapon grazed along the edge of his enemy's, and the swordsman's smirk broadened. The estoc may have been well made, but he'd already realized a major flaw of its design - it lacked a crossguard! His sword reached the end of the enemy's blade, and kept going, carving deep, deep into the goblin's sword hand. Two fingers flew into the air as they were cut through in an instant, but despite the swordsman's intentions, he wasn't strong enough to sever the creature's arm completely with a one-handed attack, despite his momentum. The goblin screamed as his blade struck simulated bone and was deflected, carving a gash out through the monster's elbow, the creature's sword falling from its three remaining fingers as they went limp, its hand paralyzed. Alistaire reached out his free hand as he passed, catching the Estoc backhanded as he stepped into his slash, continuing this single, continuous motion as he gave a wild roar, slamming his blade into the shield of the next goblin, which only barely had time to raise this defensive ward before it was forced upward, sending the creature stumbling as the swordsman, his right side forward, plowed into it with a violent shoulder charge, knocking it off balance as, in the same motion, he drove its comrade's estoc clean through its leg just below the knee, skewering it with enough force to drive the point of the thrusting sword clear into the ground behind it. Bringing back his own weapon, its blade flashed with violet light as he activated the Stab skill, running the goblin clean through the torso before chaining on the activation of the Slash skill, ripping his blade out of his enemy's collarbone and sending a veritable rain of scarlet pixels showering down around him as the goblin exploded from the inside, its health completely depleted. That was one down.

He had no time to celebrate this small victory, however, for in the same instant, the two-handed swordsman recovered its precarious balance from its earlier missed attack, drew back its sword, and struck once again, dealing a second wound to the swordsman's back to match the first it had inflicted. Giving a wordless roar of frustration and anger as his health depleted to half, Alistaire rounded on the wounded goblin, still staggering from the weight of its own weapon, and unable to defend itself as, with the force of a tempest, his blade carved across its upper face, a broad swathe of scarlet covering its visage as he tore a large chunk of it off, causing the creature to drop its weapon, clutching its now-blind eyes as it screamed in agony. "That's the second time you've cut me - I won't let you live to regret it!" Roared the swordsman, slamming the heavy pommel of his sword into the creature's gut with enough force to break at least some of its ribs, toppling the creature onto the spearman he'd already knocked to the ground. Raising his backhanded sword high over his head, he plunged it downward with both hands, skewering both goblins at once, causing both of them to vaporize in the same manner their comrade already had. But the swordsman realized his mistake only too late, for as the goblin whose hand he had crippled drew forth a dagger with its working arm and charged at him in desperation, he found himself unable to pull forth the sword he had driven into the dirt. Grimacing, he leaped backward, releasing his immobile weapon as he raised his bare hands to defend himself as the goblin came on, knife stabbing straight for his heart. Acting on instinct, he planted himself in an Aikido Hómi stance, with his feet forming a T-shape as he raised his hands, gliding to the outside of the incoming knife thrust, deflecting the goblin's arm with his inside hand before bringing down his right hand to lay hold of its wrist, twisting it around at the joint. Deciding to indulge in his new role as a martial artist in a fantasy setting, he loudly declared the name of the technique as he used it. "Tsuki... Kotogaeshi!" He bellowed. Normally, an Aikido practitioner would take caution in this position so as not to break his opponent's wrist, or to cause the enemy to stab himself with his own weapon, instead lowering him into a harmless but incredibly painful pin so as to disarm him - but, as Alistaire was trying to kill the creature anyway, he did neither of these things, instead using the goblin's own momentum to twist its hand around nearly parallel to its own arm, driving its own dagger into its wrist with a spurt of red as he whipped around, bringing up his left fist - normally simply done as a deterrent to force the opponent to guard his face with his other hand, but made into a genuine attack by the fact that the goblin's other arm was already crippled - to strike the goblin square in the temple before switching to a different technique. "Tsuki Kokyunage!" He roared once again, grabbing the creature by the face and violently slamming its head into his shoulder, keeping it there as he pivoted once again, bringing up the goblin's arms and pinning them against its chest as he glided past it, extending his own arms over its shoulders so as to overcome its precarious balance, hurling it backward - right into where his sword was lodged in the dirt. The creature slammed into the flat of the blade, then rolled for several feet, the force of the impact wrenching the weapon partially out of the ground. But just as the swordsman reached for his weapon, he found himself face-to-face with the falchion-wielding goblin, its blade already descending straight towards his head. Yet again, his counterattack had taken much longer than he'd planned, leaving him open. He threw himself to the side, sweeping out his right arm to catch the incoming blade with his wrist, which he then twisted sideways to dislodge the weapon and force it aside. Fortunately, a falchion was a light weapon that revolved more around using its momentum to cut than its weight, meaning that by redirecting its force rather than fighting it directly, he managed to avoid having his arm crippled by the impact. But he wouldn't last against many more such attacks, for his hitpoints had already dropped to 25/88. As the goblin brought back its weapon to strike again, Alistaire frantically continued his retreat, rolling to the right and barely avoiding being struck by placing his own sword, still stuck in the ground, between himself and the enemy whose reckless slash collided with this instead, further loosening it from the dirt while simultaneously sending the goblin stumbling backward, its overly violent and wild slash taking it off balance. Now was his chance! Lunging forward, the swordsman laid hold of his weapon with both hands, ripping it from the ground and sweeping it upward as the goblin brought down its own blade. The two swords met, and Alistaire grinned triumphantly. He'd already won.

A falchion, contrary to common belief, was not a heavy chopping sword, but rather a light, sharp weapon that dealt precise, shallow cuts to unarmored targets by using fluid motions to conserve momentum between attacks instead of sheer weight to tear though an opponent's body. Its blade was thin, and, compared to his own heavy western-style longsword, fragile. With a crash, the goblin's sword, already weakened by slamming into his blade when it was planted in the dirt, shattered from the force of his mighty, two-handed blow, while his own blade continued its arc right into the goblin's upraised arm. This time, Alistaire was using both hands, and putting all of his strength behind one overwhelming attack. His sword bit deep into the goblin's flesh, severing its hand at the wrist. Drawing back his weapon, the blademaster's longsword once more became wreathed in his trademark purple hue as he dealt a precise horizontal Slash across the goblin's waist, using his added attack points to tear through its body like wet paper as the system itself kept his sword from ever deviating in the slightest from its precise course, cutting through the goblin's entire frame with maximum efficiency, and bisecting the creature at the waist. It didn't even have time to hit the ground before he'd already drawn back his weapon and skewered it through the heart, what little remained of its body dissipating into light as Alistaire swiped off his blade... driving it into the throat of the crawling goblin whose arms he had crippled in a single fluid motion. Almost as one, the pixels that had made up all five of his enemies turned blood red, and then scattered into nothingness as the swordsman stepped forth from amidst this cloud of crimson light, wounded, but unbeaten - although, with only 25/88 HP and 24/55 Stamina remaining, he wasn't exactly in very good shape for the upcoming bossfight.

"Requiescat in Pace," He quoted, once again lapsing into Italian for no real reason. With that settled, he began to look around himself, wondering if the others had finished their opponents off already. He'd certainly taken much longer than he'd anticipated to eliminate his own enemies. By the look of things, that annoying knight Kyero had already dealt with his group, but Kaye and Valkyrie were still fighting. It was towards the latter of these two that he made his way quickly, sword already raised to offer support. His damage output might have been low, but together, they should have been able to make short work of her opponents.


(OOC: Rarikou, if you'd like to work together on a combat post, then send me a PM and we can discuss things on the chat pad. If not, then feel free to have Val finish off her Goblins before Al gets there. Otherwise, let the Val-Al teamup commence! :D

...Yes, the entire point of this OOC segment was just to say the phrase "Val-Al teamup," why do you ask?)

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Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Alphonse "Al" Sahalin
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#, as written by Rarikou
Damn it, she hated swarms already. Too many annoying things at too low a level. Doubtless, when it was time for her to tank everything that moved, this wouldn't be a probelem but there was something called 'risk versus reward-. At the rate they were going, it would have just been easier to grind all the way up to a higher level, rather than deal with this. That boss had better grant a ton of experience and Led, or she'd be rather annoyed.

Thankfully, her technique of deflecting and hard countering was an effective one. She took hardly any damage when she diverted a blade and struck back. Even so, she still took the ocassional hit. Kaye had been a definite help in lessening the amount of punishment he took, as he had found the time to rush over and execute one of them. That left three to go. From the looks of it, Alistaire had done a grand job of taking out his group and was dutifully rushing over to help her. That was good, if he went to help someone else, she'd be rather...mad that the tank hadn't been the primary support target.

She smiled, deflecting a goblin's blow off her shield, knocked the blade away with her sword, and kicked the goblin straight in the gut, causing it to stagger back near her assistant's present location.

Alistaire closed the distance between himself and the small pile of Goblins that were, at this point, practically throwing themselves on top of the tank, who had, to her credit, planted herself firmly and done her best to repel pretty much everything the swarm threw at her. Unfortunately, as she'd focused as much on her DEF as he had on his AGI and SPD, her attack power was roughly on par with his own - which was to say, it was pretty much useless at dealing any sort of significant damage to the Goblin Scouts who were pretty much raining blows on her with impunity. Since she hadn't the nessecary mobility to get herself clear of the swarm, as he had, she'd been forced to weather their attacks with few openings for a counterattack.

...Well, that was about to change. If she wanted an opening, then she'd get one! Leaping into the fray just as Valkyrie kicked one of the three remaining Goblins back. Its armament appeared to be a scimitar - a short but durable and heavy cutting weapon, the sturdier brother of the more elegant falchion he'd just broken. Well, although he couldn't so easily dispose of that particular armament, he wouldn't necessarily have to, since his own weapon gave him a vastly greater reach.

As the creature staggered backward with the force of the Guard's kick, the Myrmidon shouldered his sword, and then twisted forward, using his entire body to give him the leverage to start his swing, then extending his left arm as the blade held in that hand began to move, so as to vastly accelerate his opening strike. The creature had no idea it was being targeted until his blade carved a scarlet swathe from the back of its head clear to its waist, twisting into a second slash as the swordsman wrenched his weapon free, then took it in both hands, chopping directly into the creature's throat and severing its head as its HP depleted to zero. Stepping through its disintegrating body as it vanished into brilliant red light, he advanced, spinning with his completed slash to come around again, dealing a vertical cut upward that collided head on with the blade of a second goblin trying to strike the Guard from behind while the third remaining enemy continued to press her from the front. Deflecting this attack, the swordsman stepped into place alongside his comrade, his weapon raised to guard her back as well as his own torso.

"Sorry I kept you waiting, mio poco Valchiria. You needn't worry about your back any longer!" He said, shooting a confident smirk back over his shoulder.

"My hero." Valkyrie laughed, stepping up to face her final goblin. " The boss shoulud arrive shortly, since most of them are down now. Let's hope i can pay back your assistance said, taking a breath, and readying herself for the coming conflict... the one in which she was probably oging to be kicked around so others could kick back.