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Delaney Coleman

"All that matters is to know where the enemy is and decide what to do, what the enemy does is unimportant"

0 · 135 views · located in Life Untold

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

Description

Image


Description: A fair lassie from the old dale-valley, though her muscler mass, alas, from bone to skin, will not have the bards of her exploits sing, she be not a flabby sorta thing. Her stature, is a modest, if short, though not a extraordinarily particular sort. Her surface skin, is moonlit bright. Her dark eyes, offer an earthbound site. A sunset hair, of orange and strawberry descends to from head to collar, tamed, kept and orderly.

This poem, one of the first written by members "The Marcus poet society" was an exercise in which members of the group wrote descriptions of one another. Though Delaney has issue with the bard singing claim (she run's every night!, sort of), it's fairly accurate.

Name: Delaney Coleman
Age: 17
Sex: Female
Sexual Orientation: heterosexual
Height: 5ft 4in
Weight: 140 pounds
Hair Color: Red
Eye Color: Hazel
Body Type: Mesomorph
Blood Type: O -
Skin Tone: Light - North European
Voice Type: Mezzo-Soprano
Voice Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNQ2NwLgAgY#t=430

Character Class: Cavalier
Starting Weapon: Single tip wooden lance
Starting Level: 3
Starting Stats:

HP: 43
ATK: 10 (spent 1 + growth of 2)
DEF: 9 (spent 1 + growth of 2)
AGI: 6 (growth by 1)
SKL: 9 (+2 from growth)
SPD: 7 (spent 2, growth by 1)


Lance skill: Stab, level 3

Animal handling: Level 1

Cooking: Level 3

Fishing: level 2

Detection: Level 1

Speech: Level 1, unlocked basic negotiation

Athletics: Level 1, unlocked Stamina boost

Personality:

Delaney is a very involving person, involving in her humor, wit and the light hearted and confident way she conveys herself to an audience, which sometimes form around her from time to time. Some people call this charisma; her ability to put people at ease or to involve them in an issue they didn’t know or care enough about a few minutes ago. Charisma is a very general world though, which just defines the effect of something a bit more complicated in a person's character. Some may be dominating, posing impressive tall figures of strength, while others may be the opposite but commanders of empathetic foresight of the right smile and the correct kind word

Delaney is fairly ordinary in comparison, and isn't all that different from her peers. But she took responsibility and has grown to understand how to get others to maybe to the same. Self example didn't really work as a means, nether did words and speeches, but just being around and talking the lead in situations or leading situations in brought her other people's confidence - self example and words keep it going. She isn't a magician, Delaney often says that she is only as good as the argument but she is good at delivering herself. Delaney also tries to listen to most people when they have something to say, or at least used to and has a good enough memory to recall quite a few of these conversations, which is a useful thing to bring up in the next conversation, it shows involvement in his concerns.

Beyond her iconic image, there is what Delaney is to herself. In the past there wasn't all that much of a difference between the two, she was class president and that is as good as any summery of her personality – involved, serious, fun and maybe selfless (all those "make an example" cleaning duties). She can be best described as being energetic,she despises inaction and would have been challenging to deal with ,hadn't it been for the constraints of society. Delaney likes to be liked and wants to be helpful if she can be.

As a person, her role and her popularity are as much a part of her identity as any other aspect. As a result, her position is something to be guarded, Delaney does not cross the unwritten rules of society. She follows the same cultural norms, she wares the same clothes, she does not involve herself with "the freaks" and tries to be fun. Which one of these traits made her tell Marcus's secret? probably the latter, Delaney wanted to be fun, it was after all a very funny story.

Since the Marcus incident, Delaney is less of herself then before. She does not "create a discussion" as she used and rather joins one in progress, she does not involve as much as get involved if she feels she should. Since stepping down over the Marcus incident, Delaney talks and laughs but she is more of a loner now then in the past. Delaney feels guilty, people think it's because as class president she failed to stop the Marcus incident but Delaney blames herself for causing it, but is too ashamed to tell anybody. Delaney likes to be alone, an hour, two hours or maybe five and just have the comfort of silence. In game, Delaney tends to be a bit more childish and playful though she does base herself on the knight in shining armor code of chivalry kind of routine. She is harder to deal with in game since there are no constraints in the game world, she is as energetic as she wants to be


Strengths: Self Confident, Charismatic, energetic and emphatic

Weaknesses: Is tensed up inside (though confident, is liable to mood swings and their changes), Is in game still a bit noob without the best understanding of how MMO's work in general, tends to rush (or charge, literally) things in game "All that matters is to know where the enemy is and decide what to do, what the enemy does is unimportant". Does not take the game as seriously as "the nerds" , though she loves it's world's features.

Starting Equipment: Wooden lance, Beginner's baic Heavy Armor

Biography:

Delaney was raised in a relatively wealthy family, 5 years the eldest of her siblings and encouraged to be responsible since an early age. In school, Delaney was a well liked personality in the class. Many class parties where celebrated in her house, or she was involved in arranging it somewhere else. Once she had made high school, Delaney did not find it too difficult to find relationships where she wanted them and was also elected as class president.

There were of course students who were not as fortunate as she was; such as Marcus, a social outcast. Delaney could not remember when it had begun, but small things such as being useless in football and being so easy to pick on made him no friends. Though most the bullying was over by high school, he was not made welcome by society. Delaney did not actually participate in any bullying or at least, she does not think she did. But she never said anything beyond what she had to, and whenever there were any awkward moments in which they talked, Delaney often took the first option to get out of these, like everyone else, though a bit more politely.

Towards the end of the 10th grade, Delaney who was at the time cleaning up the class found a crumbled note; the note was from Marcus, and in it he confessed to a girl, way out of his league though, thought Delaney. She had intended to toss the note aside, but gossip being gossip, she gossiped and the story went around the school the next day. Two days later, Marcus was found in a river – quite dead. The rumor regarding Marcus's note had gotten around, and had reached the girl and her friends. They in turn thought it would be fun to play along with it and arrange a date between the two. Marcus was apparently quite hesitant at first but went along with the ploy hardly believing his luck, until the girl and her friends exposed their prank in a pre-arranged gathering of many students in the class in a place where Marcus and the girl where supposed to "meet in private". Ashamed, following the spreading of pictures of the event on the social media, Marcus wrote an extensive note to his parents explaining why he had decided to take his own life before he jumped from the bridge.

Marcuse's parents addressed the police on the issue, arrests were made and the story was quite big in the press for a time, but Delaney was never implicated and at the time kept silent over the affair. Delaney later visited Marcus's parents, she never confessed her part in the story but she did ask after him and tried to discover what manner of a person he really was. Delaney discovered that Marcus had been a talented artist, drawing many portraits of people in the class including herself and particularly of the girl he liked. Delaney also found poems, short stories and a world of fantasy and fiction in which Marcus often hid.

Delaney and others in the class who felt guilty for Marcuse's death created a society dedicated to learning about him, together they made similar artwork and played games, particularly MMO's which Marcus had been particularly keen on. The group later started to tour the country to tell Marcus's story, though Delaney only participated in the logistics and never spoke, afraid to expose the true measure of her involvement. Though her friends in the society have focused on delivering Marcus's story in a message against bullying and largely stopped their earlier gathering involved dedicated to getting to know Marcus and playing his games. Delaney kept playing them; she did not run for the class presidency in her 11th year of school and instead distanced herself from it's social aspects. Recently, Delaney has brought a copy of Life Untold, a game Marcus wrote columns of anticipation about, and regret that he hadn't been selected to Beta test it. In away, Delaney is playing the game because Marcus didn't get the chance to play it, but since getting into MMO's, Delaney is discovering she actually quite enjoys them.

So begins...

Delaney Coleman's Story

Setting

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Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman
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Coleman, are you paying attention? Said a vaguely irritated voice to her right, Delaney shifted in discomfort, trying to prevent herself from answering her eye's request from her hands to rub them appropriately; after such a long nap.

Coleman saw she wasn't fooling anyone on the table, she had clearly fallen asleep. So, it was better to just admit it.
"I am sorry professor, didn’t sleep so well last night". Said Delaney apologetically, she had been in fact playing Life Untold for hours, up until 2 AM.
The professor, a suited and clean shaven elderly man with an inappropriately youthful hair merely nodded and sighed.
He probably though, why do I bother to convene this editorial meeting for the school newspaper? Nobody ever reads it any way. Delaney didn't want him to dwell in his disappointment for too long and spoke up, mustering her last recollections from the discussion before she dozed off.

"I met Larry yesterday, our report into the growing number of missing footballs and basketballs is finished, turns out it was the regional teams which where "misplacing them". Since the principle managed to avoid an interview with us, again, we might as well put that as the main article on the front page, have the full story on page 3 so Jane gets a bit of exposure and then say something outrageous about the next school trip's arrangements to keep the classes reading the next addition…hopefully ".
The professor sighed again, but smiled – probably cynically but in the end glad of the job, dreary as it may be:" I suppose so, very well then send me your final draft and I shall have it printed. This meeting as adjourned hurry up and go home now you lot".

Half an hour after the meeting, Delaney had returned home. The meeting had taken longer than she had expected but she still had about half an hour before she was supposed to meet her… friends in Life untold. Delaney opened the door and was surprised to see her father reading the paper by the dining table; he usually went on a hike during the light hours of Sunday.

"Hi Dad, anything interesting on the paper?" Asked Delaney, conscious of the passage of time but not keen on giving her father the worry that she was getting addicted or something to these games by rushing to her room immediately.
Delaney's father closed the paper but remained seated, his features now revealed told a story of an aging man in his early 50's, though his features still revealed a similar red hair and hazel eyes, just like Delaney's, though she didn't match his imposing height.

"Not particularly, Russia is mad at some group of Finnish computer hackers and the President has brought a new suite, I hope we did not pay for that. What about your paper, any more budget scandals about the next school trip?"
Delaney grinned: "maybe, I think you will like this week's edition".
Father nodded, but his earlier exhilaration seemed to have subsided, Delaney knew the look, he was worried about something, about her; but didn't know how to put his point across without seeming to be overbearing. "I will look forward to reading it then…" answered her father, he seemed to have wanted to say more but then stopped himself and returned his gaze to his paper.

Delaney turned towards the staircase and ascended towards her room. The light's where off, Delaney turned on the switch and decreased the luminosity of the lights, so as not to harm her eyes once she woke up from the game. The dimly lit room was tidy, but relatively small comprising of a desk, a pc, some draws, the bed and a number of drawings and pictures hanged sporadically on the wall. Delaney used to have some book shelves, but she had sold these off once she had converted to digital viewing, now these shelves housed copies of the school newspaper, dozens of them. Delaney kept the game visor inside its original box under the desk so it would not get damaged, she now opened the box and set up the system, just as Kyero; a next door neighbor had shown her. By the time she had finished, Delaney looked at her watch and noted she might end up being late for a meeting with Kyero and some other people, though she wasn't so familiar with them.

Delaney placed the visor on top of her head and lay down on her bed. As the system came online and the real world began to fade, Delaney felt a bit nauseous; being disconnected from your body was unnerving, just the other day Delaney's brother teased her that every time she went on "a dive" he wondered if she would even come back. Such fears nudged her mind, but just as Delaney's instincts had started to send out these alarms, these stopped the moment she gazed at the fantastic tunnel of colors between the Real world and life untold. This was magical and Delaney's worries where banished as she awed at the view before her, as if she were inside the eye of a hurricane, crossed by the a dozen rainbow threads.

Delaney reopened her eyes, she stood at the outskirts of Lillium, the bustuling city. She admired the city for a few moments, taking the time to make a few screenshots of the view. She then walked by the river, taking the time to gaze at her reflection, though others where in character the moment they logged on – only now did Delaney remember she was Shannon now rather than herself. From the other side of the river, Shannon could see some wild boars grazing. 15 minutes until the meeting, Shannon thought of her options and decided to go on and kill a few. Shannon crossed the bridge slowly, trying to avoid attracting too many of the bores at once and brought her lance down, so she could dispatch individual bores from a safe distance.

Sure enough, the first two boars soon crossed her path and headed towards her, Shannon sent her Lance forward towards the closest one, the lance hit the beast through it's head, crippling it with a reduction of 20 hit points. The second Bore carried on undeterred and died from the onslaught, maybe some other player had damaged him before or maybe Shannon had just been lucky. Shannon would have gone on to dispatch other boar of it's misery, but a Goblin raiding party suddenly came out of the woods and charged.

There where 3 of them altogether, and Shannon only had enough Stamina left for three more attacks, not enough to kill them all.
Shannon decided to conserve her Stamina and waited for the Goblins to come closer, once they had she held her Lance and swung it widely, pushing two of the goblins backwards and the other into the river, and faraway land to the west. Shannon ran backwards, gaining some distance and re assumed her "phalanx", as the Goblins came, she managed to kill one with two of her remaining strikes and then broke off the fight. She seemed to had lost the Goblin, but was then given an unpleasant reminder of unfinished business when a familiar boar struck her from behind – causing her in a preemptive strike, dealing 12 points damage.

Shannon turned and delivered her final remaining blow at his side, slaying the beast and avenging her physical injury… though not her wounded pride. "The others will not hear of this" she said to herself as she left the scene, disgusted with herself for having been caught unawares by a freaking boar!

Shannon was still saying that to herself when she arrived at Lillium Square, 5 minutes early. She had barley noted that she had gained 13 experience points, bringing her up to 27/42 – some of this accumulated the day before. Also, 30 led were added to her purse for slaying the goblin, bringing her up to 90. Shannon entered a shop and brought a herb, bringing her stock up to 3, until she used one of them to cover up her shaming wound – leaving her with the two. Additionally, she brought some raw meat and some carrot juice, bringing her total expenditure to 41. Shannon enjoyed the cool drink, as fresh and "real" as any she had tasted as she wondered through the square looking for any familiar usernames. She then noticed the familiar avatar of Kyero, whom she had met both in game and IRL before.

Shannon waved, and put some speed into her pace of walking as she tried to navigate her way to Kyero through the roving crowd. Coming to a stop as she caught up with him, Shannon grinned, glad to have found someone familiar :"Hi! It's me, Dea…m…, I mean, Shannon. How have you been?". Said Shannon, 6 minutes late to the meeting schedule, but there in once piece.

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: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Kyero Di' Nelma Character Portrait: Winter Rosette Character Portrait: Delaney Coleman Character Portrait: Kaiden "Kay" Lofren
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#, as written by Rarikou
Valkyrie had mostly stayed quiet, as she was lost in thought. She wasn’t thinking about anything in particular, more of just a silence that would make people think she had flicked an off button or some other nonsense. The sound and sight of the water was all that could could really be seen for Valkyrie. It’s for that reason that, when Kayden first asked her, it took her quiet a while to respond.

She blinks, looking at him. “Oh…sorry, I didn’t notice you there… I guess I have a lot on my mind.” She says. Indeed, the others were gathering around… she could see Al’s avatar, Kyero was there too… now all that was missing was….
Shannon appeared a few minutes late, but she gave it no real thought. This place would doubtlessly be confusing for someone who hasn’t played too many of these games. Kyero spoke something, but she wasn’t really paying too much attention to it all. She did, however, manage to get most of a grasp on what he said. ”No, I was fine.” She says, as if talking about glitches was actually of any importance. “So, why were we meeting again?” She asks. “Were we going to see the opening ceremony or something?

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?"

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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#, 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?

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 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

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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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

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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."





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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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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#, as written by Feyblue
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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.

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 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.