My name is Alec, but my friends call me Ace. I am your average everyday guy that gets up, go to work, comes home, and goes to bed. My social life has been a train wreck since my last girlfriend, and I broke up after I caught her with my best friend. Since then I focused my attention on work leaving the worlds problems to fix themselves. I work in the IT industries as a server administrator, and my office is located in the nice server room of my office building. My day is spent by myself away from people just the way I like it because the machines don’t talk back to me, or…cheat on me.
I’d get invited by the other IT guys to go out for drinks, but I’d usually give them an excuse not to go. After a while they stopped asking me thinking I thought I was better than them. If they only knew it was just because I didn’t want to go maybe they wouldn’t constantly damage my desk, and computer gear. By the time my twenty-second birthday came around I had made enough money to quite working entirely thanks to my well-paying job. I put in my two weeks notice, and promptly vanished from the world living off the massive amount of savings I had.
I spent my free time now reading books, or playing video games to pass the time. I started investing in different up and coming technologies to see if I could make a bit more money just in case. One day, I was driving over to speak with my investing agent to discuss exploring new investment options when I was hit head on by a semi truck.
It was over in a flash, and I thought I had died. I felt a cool breeze run across my face like I was outside, but as I opened my eyes I found myself in a castle. My surrounds were dark, dreary, and above filthy. I sat with some resistance which was unexpected. Patting myself down I realized my clothing had been replaced with plate armor.
“The hell is going on?”, I thought standing up.
One of the few windows I was able to see out showed me a place far different from my home. The outside world was litter with machines, and even objects that appeared to be ruined spaceships.
“I must be in the hospital unconscious…”, I said nodding my head to convince myself.
As I continued looking out the window a group of soldiers came into the room. The window was only five feet off the ground so I leapt out the window, and took off towards one of the ships. I would have thought the armor would slow me down, but for some reason I didn’t notice the weight. Looking back I noticed the soldiers weren’t following me. I didn’t want to risk anything so I hid in the debris field.
I climbed into a school bus sized ship shutting the hatch behind me. The interior lighting kicked on as I heard the hatch lock. I found a chair to sit in to catch my breath.
“A dream where I have to flee for my life sucks.”, I said looking around the interior.
I spotted a computer which I promptly attempted to use. When the screen came on it asked for a password.
“Shit…”, I said, “I can barely read this as is, and I am running out of time.”
I was watching the monitor watching the guards approach the ship. With no means to get the ship to start I decided to look for weapons on board. Looking around I managed to find a skin-tight suit that appeared to be made for combat. I had tried stabbing it several times without even leaving a scratch. The other items I found were conventional firearms which seemed out-of-place.
“I wonder if whoever crashed here wasn’t the actual owner.”, I thought.
I attempted to start the engines one last time by kicking the control panel. It felt like the best choice at the time given my emotional state of mind. The floor started to vibrate as I felt the ship lift off the ground. I was confident in at least attempting to fly it by using the joystick that appeared out of the floor. Leaning the stick forward the ship moved ahead smoothly at a good pace. Leaving the area I felt much better about things, and started to relax. As the building I fled faded away alarms started going off on the control board. Red lights started flashing which to me meant something broke. Kicking it again only made things worse by putting the ship onto a collision course with a forest.
As the trees drew near I dove onto the floor covering my head. The moment of impact the ship was sent into a rolling spin through the trees. I felt like a bingo ball in the tumbler about to be selected as the winning number. When the ship slammed into a boulder I was thrown against the wall, and knocked unconscious. It was several hours later before I came around again. When I opened my eyes I was laying in a room with a bandage on my head. Judging by the massive stone walls I was in a prison for reasons unknown to me.
“My head…”, I said rubbing my forehead while cracking my neck, “I wonder how long I was out.”
“Roughly five hours.”, a voice replied from behind the cell door.
“Thanks for the update.”, I replied sarcastically.
“Do you have no shame fleeing from the Summoning Temple?”, the voice replied.
“Listen, I was in a car accident then…POOF…I wound up in a dimly lit building in the middle of nowhere.”, I stated, “Next thing I knew some guard burst in, and I didn’t want to be caught for trespassing. I fled like any normal person would in my shoes.”
I heard more footsteps coming from outside my cell. The door suddenly flung open as seven knights walked in each in different armors.
“If this is supposed to be an execution get it over with.”, I said continuing to rub my forehead, “At least my headache will disappear.”
“We are here to kill you.”, the one on the far end in red armor said, “We are here to bring you to the throne room.”
Looking outside it was dark out so I tried to say no, but I was dragged out anyways. Halfway there I started walking by myself because I was tired of being dragged. I was lead into a throne room filled with dozens of people who looked at us weirdly. It wasn’t like they thought less of us, but didn’t think highly of us either. Looking at the King and Queen they were easily in their forties, and next to them was the woman I saw at the Summoning Temple.
“So this is the Eighth one, yes?”, the King asked the woman.
“Yes, Your Highness, that is correct.”, she replied.
“Did you test him for his abilities?”, the King asked.
“I did…the testing tool broke when he touched it. I tried several tools each had the same result.”, she replied.
“So what does that mean?”, he asked.
“Two things actually…he either isn’t a Hero or his class isn’t assigned.”, she responded, “The fact he may be unassigned is good. That means he isn’t limited like the other Heroes, but can’t completely master all the skills without a lot of training.”
“As it stands is he an asset or a burden?”, the King pressed.
“Well…a burden as we don’t know what he can do.”, she said.
“I see…very well throw him out!”, the King ordered.
I had a bad feeling in my stomach as I was once again dragged against my will. Hauled to the nearest window the knights picked me preparing to through me.
“No hard feelings…”, the red knight said.
“Attempted murder comes with consequences just remember that…”, I said looking at the knight as they literally through me out of the castle.
Falling roughly sixty feet I splashed into the moat outside the castle. At night when there was no warmth from the sun being soaking wet was a death sentence. I scrambled out of the water, and into the nearby forest to try to find some shelter. A large fallen tree, a lot of leaves, and some moss was all I had to make a bed for the night. I laid there shivering my ass off until I finally fell asleep. The next morning brought to light a serious problem.
“They didn’t even let me keep my guns…”, I said disappointed, “I will have to find another weapons. If I get jumped here in the woods I am good as dead.”
I promptly head off into the forest to try, and find a weapons of some kind. Wandering around aimlessly eventually paid off big. I stumbled into a small village with just the clothes on my back. The blow to the head must have knocked the written language into my head because I could read the signs now. I needed money so the first thing to do was find a job.
“Hm…maybe asking an innkeeper would be the best course of action.”, I thought.
I walked around till I found the Dancing Orge which was the local inn I assumed. Walking in the front door I asked the innkeeper about any locals hiring people for work. She thought for a moment before giving me a reply.
“I believe the blacksmith is looking for an apprentice.”, she said.
I asked for directions before leaving. Fortunately the directions were simple enough as the blacksmith was only four buildings down. Walking down the muddy street I found him hammering away on his anvil. The blacksmith was a Dwarf who had a long gray beard, and bald head. Wearing the standard black blacksmith apron he looked like he had been doing this straight out of the womb.
“Can I help you, lad?”, he asked.
“I was told be the innkeeper you were looking for an apprentice.”, I said politely, “I was hoping to try out for the position.”
“No need. I have been looking for months, and you are the first to ask me about it. I will give you the job at seven coppers a day.”, he said.
I was broke so any money was good money. Accepting his offer, and he put me to work right away. He told me I was to keep the furnace hot while he made the days orders. Nodding I threw some wood in, and pumped air in with the bellows. I continued this process throughout the rest of the day.
As the sun started to set he told me it was okay to stop. Exhausted I gladly stopped leaning my back against the wall. This was the most physically demanding job I had ever had to do. It wasn’t to bad because I didn’t have to work with a lot of people. He paid me my daily wage before starting to leave.
“Is it alright to mess with today’s mishaps?”, I asked, “I’d like to practice.”
“If you are only using the scrap it is fine.”, he said walking out of the building.
Turn my attention to the forge I decided to make a sword. I needed some form of protection so I wouldn’t die. Without any knowledge other than a few documentaries, and watching the blacksmith I started my work. Starting off I melted the scraps down, and while that was happening I got fresh water to harden the metal. Once the metal was hardened I poured it into an ingot cast, and waited for it to harden a little.
Watching the metal the words “Blacksmith Skill Acquired” appeared in front of me. I fell backwards startled by the appearance of the words. Not knowing what do to I just ignored it, and focused on the weapon. When the ingot hardened enough I took it out to start working it. Each strike of the hammer the words “Blacksmith Level Up” appeared which became annoying.
“When will this stop showing up?”, I said irritated by it.
I had been so fixed on the words showing up I failed to realize my hands where moving on their own. When I did realize it the sword looked amazing. Dropping the sword into the water to flash harden it I then proceeded to clean it up with the grinding stone. The sword on completion looked, and felt amazing. I wrapped the grip with leather, and found an old scabbard in the back which I polished up for the sword.
By now I was exhausted, and found a comfy spot to sleep in the shop. The next morning I was awoken by a scared Dwarf.
“Who left the sword here!?”, he asked showing me my sword.
“I made it last night.”, I said stretching out.
“You made this!!”, he said in disbelief.
I partially removed the sword to reveal my initials that I used to mark the sword. His jaw looked like it was about to fall off from the shock. When he asked me where I learned how to smith I informed him I had seen several master smiths forge weapons before. The Dwarf was the one that gave me the opportunity to try smithing with those techniques which is how I made the sword.
“So you have no formal training?”, he asked.
“None at all.”, I replied.
He nodded before telling me to leave. The thought of someone better than him living in town was too much for him. I was allowed to keep my sword as I had made it. This was my second time being thrown out of a place which pissed me off. The sword was attached to my left hip ready at a moments notice.
Returning to the inn I asked if there was any other place to work. She asked what had happened with the blacksmith so I showed her the sword I made. The look on her face sparkled as she saw the blade. Gently holding the blade she looked it over with a fine tooth comb. After being satisfied with it she returned it to me, and made a suggestion to me.
“Since you are a top class blacksmith you should a village that needs one. You could very easily find one out on the frontier.”, she said.
“Eh…anything within a few days travel?”, I asked.
“Well actually you may find villages on the other side of the border. We are only a days travel from the border with the Kingdom of Tabula.”, she said pointing in a westward direction.
“Any places you could suggest?”, I asked.
“Not really I have lived pretty much my whole life.”, she replied.
I thanked her for the information, and quickly left town. If the King discovered that I hadn’t died they may pursue me anyways. Unknown to me things had changed in my status in the castle.