Chapter 5: Forged in Battle
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Arthur staggered slightly as the fireball from the Goblin Shaman washed over him, thankfully the Void Shield absorbed the damage. He looked up to see Penny hew another Goblin Scout in half as her brother Rob continued to pepper their ranks with arrows.

The two Goblin Shamans were keeping the fight up and eventually, they would wear the Travelers down. "Rob, concentrate on the Shamans!" he called to the other man as shadows swirled around his outstretched hand as he conjured and fired a Bolt of Darkness.

"My sister." he hissed at Arthur, but the Dark Magus shook his head.

The tank had over half her health left, and while they could kill the Goblins with one or two attacks, if they survived the first attack the Shamans would heal them. "Kill the Shamans and end the fight!" he snapped at Rob as his target screamed in pain of the Bolt of Darkness slammed into the Shaman.

Black energy started eating away at the Goblin's body as the Blindness and Shadow Corruption Debuffs went to work. Rob grunted and focused his fire on the second Shaman as I launched another bolt towards my target. The Goblin was still reeling from the first attack and was completely blindsided by my second one.

Arthur looked at the second Shaman, it looked laughably like a porcupine at this point and had collapsed to its knees as it bled out. A horn sounded from the nearby woods causing the few surviving Goblins to flee in terror leaving the Travelers alone and exhausted.

"That was fun," Penny called out as she moved away from the corpses and sat down, she had a quarter of her Health left, but she was alive. While Arthur wasn't physically tired, casting multiple spells rapidly was still mentally straining he learned over the last two days. Thankfully Vale Hearst wasn't that far, and we could rest and resupply there, he pulled up his waiting notifications as he helped loot the bodies.

Spoiler
<<<System Alert>>>
The following Proficiencies and Skills have increased...

Unarmed Combat has increased to Level 3
2-Handed Staves has increased to Level 5
Light Armor has increased to Level 4

Dodge has increased to Level 4
Stealth has increased to Level 5
Sneaking Steps has increased to Level 3
Sneak Attack has increased to Level 3
Crystal Vision has increased to Level 2

2 X Level up!

Class Bonus: +2 to Intelligence and Spirit

You have (10) free Attribute Points.

You have (6) free Talent Points.

Note* New Talents have been unlocked! See your Talent Trees for more information.

<<<System Alert>>>

[collapse]

Arthur read the prompts, getting to Level ten finally unlocked new spells he could use which would increase his effectiveness. Both Penny and Rob had been Level ten when they had left Vindomora, now Arthur was sure they were higher than that after multiple ambushes over the last two days.

Arthur smiled and dismissed the information, most of the gear dropped by the Goblins was trash to sell to recoup some money. The few Shamans they had downed was a different story, all three dropped some gear they all could use. 

Spoiler

Armor Name: Leggings of the Dark Acolyte
Armor Type: Light Armor; Leather, Silk; Pants
Armor Class: Uncommon
Equipment Slot: Legs
Base Defense: 20
Primary Effects...
--- +5 Intelligence
--- +5 Constitution

Armor Name: Boots of the Dark Acolyte
Armor Type: Light Armor; Leather, Silk; Boots
Armor Class: Uncommon
Equipment Slot: Feet
Base Defense: 10
Primary Effects...
--- +5 Dexterity
--- +5% Evade

Armor Name: Gold Band of the Mind
Armor Type: Jewelry; Gold; Ring
Item Class: Uncommon
Item Slot: Finger
Base Defense: N/A
Primary Effects...
--- +5 Spirit
--- +5% Spirit Regeneration

[collapse]

While none of the pieces were over the top, and Arthur was certain there were far better items out there, all of them were upgrades boosting critical areas at this point. The boots alone made the Dark Magus happy, the increased chance to Evade incoming attacks was a huge bonus.

"Nice duds," Penny called and Arthur chuckled as he extended one leg to show off the leather boot.

"It increased my chance at avoiding someone swinging a weapon at my head, I will gladly look like a pretty boy for that," Arthur told the tank as he pointed to her new shoulder guards and breastplate. "What about you?" he asked.

She smiled as she tapped the solid metal plate, "Increase to health and stamina, with Resistances to Blunt, Piercing, and Slashing damage. Sadly, no Magical Resistances but it's a dam whole lot better than what I had." Penny replied as she shouldered her sword.

Rob chuckled as he showed his new bow and quiver that went along with it, "Yeah well these will help keep us alive, quiver has a chance at creating a specialty arrow and creates new arrows, but it banks some of my Spirit to use. The bow boosts my Dexterity and Critical Hit Chance and decreases the Stamina cost to use Aim which sucks up stamina like a sink drain." the Ranger reported as we started walking down the road again.

"What are your long-term plans?" Arthur asked the siblings.

"We either want to found or join a mercenary Clan, it will help us earn a steady income," Rob replied as Penny nodded her head in agreement.

Arthur stopped as he absorbed that information, "Seriously? Are there any merc Clans already forming?" Arthur asked as he started walking again.

"What rock have you been hiding under Arthur? This game is huge! Everyone wants to get in and test it out, but it's limited because Paramount can only make the headgear so fast." Penny responded as Vale Herst came into view. It was a small farming community, maybe two dozen homes within the actual village itself with twice that in farming homes within a mile of it.

"Well, whatever they are doing, I hope they keep doing it." Arthur absently commented as he enjoyed the view of the valley below. "They did a damned good job designing all of this, both the creepy monster types and the view from a hilltop to a 'T'," he added earning nods from the others.

"So, what are you going to be doing?" Rob prodded as they started walking.

Arthur shrugged his shoulders, "I just got fired from my job so I have no idea." he replied earning grimaces from the others. Arthur chuckled and waved away their worries. "Don't worry about it, I was wrongfully terminated based on lies and plan on suing the company for wrongful termination," he told the others.

Penny looked at Arthur like he was crazy but shrugged her shoulders. "Well, we can always use some magical support until we get our feet under us. Right now, player Clans are capped at one hundred members, but Paramount is thinking about expanding that number," she informed the Dark Magus.

Arthur smiled as he nodded, "Well since even when I win, I won't go back to that company I have no problem sticking with you guys." Arthur told them as they neared the village. He spotted an Inn and led the others towards it. "Let's get some food then we can sell anything before purchasing supplies." the brother and sister nodded as they followed Arthur into the Randy Goat.

Arthur, like before, moved towards the back wall while the others went to order some food and drinks from the bar. While a Dark Conclave might have been here at one time, that didn't mean the people of the village knew about it or accepted them. As he waited Arthur pulled up his Talent Trees to review any new spells.

  Shadow's Power Talent Tree  
Bolt of Darkness (Level 1)   Void Shield (Level 1)
Drain (Unlocked) Shadow Touch (Unlocked)
  Bog of Darkness (Unlocked)

Drain was a single target DoT while Shadow Touch had both a Passive and Active effect. It increased the chances that Shadow Corruption would trigger and increased the Critical Hit Chance with all my spells, and it allowed me to cast Shadow Corruption on individual enemies as well. Bog of Darkness was exactly what it sounded like; it conjured a large pool of shadows that hindered the movements of any enemies within the AoE. 

  Shadow's Balance Talent Tree  
Shadow Sight (Level 1)   Dark Adept (Level 1)
    Shadow's Strength (Unlocked)

Shadow's Strength was a Passive Talent that increased the Dark Magus's Resistance to Shadow-based Damage and Effects as well as helped Arthur recoup some of the Spirit cost for spells he cast. Overall, all four new Talents could prove useful, and Drain and Bog of Darkness could prove crucial to his survival. Arthur quickly invested four Talent points and banked his last two, for now, he wanted to see how the new spells worked with what he currently had before he invested the last two points.

Spoiler

Shadow's Balance...
Talent Name: Shadow's Strength
Talent Level: 1
Talent Type: Passive
Talent Description: Death and destruction are staples of any Dark Magus despite their choices. With this Talent, you can resist almost any Shadow-based Damage, and dealing damage with Shadow Spells will increase your Spirit.
Damage: N/A
Effect 1: +15% Resistance to Shadow-based Damage and Effects.
Effect 2: 5% of the Shadow-based damage you deal is returned as Spirit.
AoE: N/A
Range: N/A
Duration: N/A
Cast Time: N/A
Cost: N/A
Cooldown: N/A

Shadow's Power...
Talent Name: Bog of Darkness
Talent Level: 1
Talent Type: Passive
Talent Description: Summon a bog of creeping shadows that temporarily ensnares your enemies, badly hindering movement.
Requires: 2 Hands
Damage: N/A
Effect 1: Enemy Attack/Movement speed is decreased by 70%,
AoE: 10 Yards
Range: 60 Yards
Duration: 30 Seconds
Cast Time: 3 Seconds
Cost: 125 Spirit
Cooldown: 2 Minutes

Talent Name: Drain
Talent Level: 1
Talent Type: Active
Talent Description: As a Dark Magus, you have access to unconventional and dangerous magic. The Drain spell attacks your enemy's life force and body while empowering you with some of the damage you inflict.
Damage: 10 + (SS X 0.1) Shadow Damage per Second
Effect 1: Damage bypasses 50% of your enemies' defenses.
Effect 2: Enemies will suffer Minor Desiccation Debuff decreasing their Attack/Movement Speed by 50% and their Stamina Regeneration by 10%. (Duration 30 Seconds)
Effect 3: 50% Damage inflicted is recovered as Health.
Restriction: Cannot stack effects on a target.
Range: 10 Feet
Duration: 10 Seconds
Cast Time: Instant
Cost: 75 Spirit
Cooldown: 45 Seconds

Talent Name: Shadow Touch
Talent Level: 1
Talent Type: Passive/Active
Talent Description: Being a Dark Magus, you call upon the darker aspects of the Shadowverse. With this Spell, you can corrupt the flesh of your enemies causing damage over time.
Damage: 10 Shadow Damage per Second
Passive Effect 1: +10% Chance that Shadow Corruption will trigger with the appropriate spells.
Passive Effect 2: +3% Critical Hit Chance with Shadow-based Spells.
Range: 30 Yards
Duration: 30 Seconds
Cast Time: Instant
Cost: 25 Spirit
Cooldown: N/A

[collapse]

"Happy you finally got over the Level ten hump?" Rob asked as he sat down.

Arthur smiled and nodded his head, "Yeah it opened four new Talents, one which will help with any crowd control if this run turns into a Dungeon." Arthur replied as he dismissed the new spell information.

Penny came over and joined them, "The owner wants to talk to you, apparently the Dark Conclave was no secret to the people here at one time. According to him it's been dormant since some Crusaders came through here back in the day but another party showed up around a month ago and everything went to shit after that." the tank told Arthur as she pointed to the man waiting by the bar who was staring at Arthur.

Arthur groaned as he pulled himself to his feet, after two long days of walking his feet were getting sore. "Ok, I will be back in a minute. If you hear anything odd, run." Arthur told them as he headed for the man and hopefully answers.

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