I decided to form a party along with Tris and Reia and called ourselves the Void Walkers. We began taking on a few quests and training as a group and were very successful. Our teamwork seemed to flow naturally and our party of three possessed a good deal of firepower. We mostly took on small quests since we were currently waiting for the dungeon expedition to start.
Also, I decided to compile a notebook of information that I had obtained about the various political and economic situations throughout the region. I tried to get a sense of how large the world I was in was, as well as how the process of getting stronger worked. I spent several days compiling the information while gaining contacts with various merchants in the town of Enrain, especially with those of traveling caravans who had more information about the various nations in the area.
I was currently in the kingdom of La’gun, and there were six other kingdoms in the general vicinity who were constantly vying for power and influence with each other. To the far south was the Reginar Homen Empire which was separated by large mountain ranges and a vast swamp. The Reginar Homen Empire was currently fighting a war against a so called “demon lord” to the south of their empire. This war, as well as the difficult geographical terrain separating the empire from the kingdoms, kept the empire’s attention to the south.
In the past, the Empire had tried to invade the north, but they were repelled due to the various kingdoms at the time uniting to defeat them. The empire had suffered a significant defeat in that war. There were several complications which had hindered their invasion and with the kingdoms standing united against them, they were eventually driven back. This didn’t stop the Empire from having ambitions of conquering the North, however, but an opportunity had not presented itself for them since then. Nonetheless, the Reginar Homen Empire considered themselves to be the hegemony of the continent, being descended from the old Empire.
The seven kingdoms in the North were named La’gun, Alercon, Triv’al, Jaspel, Quijon, Anderus and Indran. In the north, the kingdom of Triv’al was the largest of the seven kingdoms in the region. In the past, they had absorbed two other kingdoms in order to grow to the size that they were now. Their advance had been stopped when the other six kingdoms had signed an agreement to stand together if Triv’al attempted to conquer any of them. This had kept Triv’al in check for two decades now, but they were only biding their time.
The other six kingdoms were constantly at war with each other. This never became total war as each kingdom was afraid of another taking advantage of any significant losses to invade. This kept wars small and they would usually end quickly, only to be started up again just as quickly. The region had been at peace for an abnormally long time as of the past two years, but tensions were on the rise lately and war could break out at any time.
In terms of economic and political might, the kingdom of Triv’al was the most prosperous and they had the largest military, but they were not renowned for their military prowess. They had mostly relied on political means to expand their lands and authority and as such, their military was somewhat underdeveloped from the other kingdoms who had spent the last twenty years fighting each other.
However, if one were to compare the economic and military power of each individual kingdom, they would pale in comparison to that of the empire which had a much more developed infrastructure as well as trade network. The economies of the seven kingdoms was frail and their individual wealth was pitiable. As a whole, the seven kingdoms would be slightly more than half as powerful as the empire in both military and economic might.
That didn’t mean that the land and resources of the North was poor. The land had rich soil and abundant resources, but the kingdoms lacked the knowledge, or perhaps opportunity to fully utilize this. The constant strife meant that each kingdom had to spend the majority of their efforts on increasing their military power and everything else was neglected.
They had no real infrastructure in place to cultivate farming technology or to even utilize the vast metal ore deposits in their lands. They had no institutions for higher learning or to develop magic and other technologies period. Most of the people residing in the north received only a very basic education from their family members or none at all. The literacy rates for the north were less than one percent and only an extreme elite could read and write.
However, some of the adventurers, mainly those who could use magic, could in fact read and write and had obtained some level of higher education. This was mostly done through apprenticeships. Those who wished to use magic needed to find someone willing to accept them as an apprentice. They would then learn how to read and write as well as magic theory from their mentor. This was why there were so few magic users in the north, even among adventurers and most magic users were given important positions in the government. The Empire, on the other hand, nurtured and cultivated magic users through government funded magic academies.
The harsh reality was that this world was extremely dangerous for humans to live in. The population of the various kingdoms was quite small given the enormous amount of land that each kingdom possessed. Most of that land was wilderness and had not been developed at all. There just wasn’t enough people to settle the vast amount of land and the nations did not have sufficient power to keep their lands safe enough for new settlements to grow. Most of the people lived on only a small amount of land relative to the total size.
In terms of population, the population of the entire seven kingdoms was approximately 750,000, this was half the population of the Empire. The Kingdom of La’gun was the smallest in terms of population and the Kingdom of Triv’al was the largest. Birth rates in the seven kingdoms just barely outpaced the death rate even though families had on average seven children. The constant wars, monster attacks, lack of food and diseases kept the population from increasing too much. In the Empire, it was a little better because the Empire was more secure and had a better understanding of medicine and hygiene than the north. Even still, they had a difficult time increasing their population much, too.
To the west of the seven kingdoms was the enormous forest where Reia’s tribe lived and beyond that was the Plains of Sorrow. Many Demihuman tribes lived nomadic lifestyles on the Plains of Sorrow and because they lived nomadic lifestyles, their numbers were few compared to the human kingdoms. Demihumans were much stronger than their human counterparts and were able to live on the dangerous plains, but they didn’t have a very sophisticated level of civilization. One could compare them to the roaming nomadic tribes of mongolia or perhaps to the Native Americans during the time of European colonization. There were many different tribes scattered about, but they were not united and often fought in small tribal wars. Little was known about how many Demihumans actually lived on the Plains of Sorrow.
This was as much of the world as most knew in the kingdoms. They knew of other lands in even further parts of the world, but only through rumors and hearsay. Not much was known about these distant lands and the people of the kingdoms had no means to come into contact with them. There were some port towns throughout the eastern coasts, which bordered the ocean, and some of the kingdoms had small navies, but their ships could not traverse far out to sea. Ships needed to follow the coast in order to avoid being swept away by the ocean. This was the extent of the knowledge that I had acquired in terms of the nations on this continent.
Other than the political and economic situation of the continent, I wanted to find more information about the system of gaining levels in this world and of acquiring new skills or even abilities. I also needed to learn more about adventuring in general. From what I had been able to gather, most children who would eventually become adventurers or soldiers, began training very young, but it was difficult for them to advance in levels because they needed to fight monsters in order to do so. However, they could learn skills which would later be useful for when they began the process of leveling. Levels and skills were acquired and advanced differently.
In order to acquire a skill, like with a sword or spear, one needed to train enough in order to obtain the basic level of 1. Each skill had ten levels which represented mastery in that skill with level 1 being a beginner level and level 10 representing a supreme master. However, supreme masters were only in legends and the highest most could ever achieve might be a level of 6 or 7. Only a rare few ever made it to a level 8 master level, and none made it beyond that.
The only way to improve a skill was through extensive use and practice. The more you used a sword, and the more enemies you fought, the higher your skill would rise. Your skill would also grow through training with a teacher who was more proficient than you at that skill. This system was the same for all skills and this included magic.
In order for Humans to learn magic, one must train in magic theory and learn spells from a spellbook or master. Magic was somewhat different from other skills in that knowledge and research was required more so than practice. Practice was important for developing the power of a spell, but actually acquiring new spells and doing magical research was more related to knowledge and study. This also depended on what type of magic was being used and mostly dealt with the normal types of magic. There were also other types of magic which were learned and improved upon through different means.
Demihumans had a completely different system of magic and they could not learn spells as Humans did. Instead, they were born with affinities and could use magic related to those affinities. Not all Demihumans had such affinities and only those with affinities could use magic. There innate talent was usually very good on average, but it was more difficult for them to obtain mastery over magic since that depended on the strength of their affinity.
Humans could gain stronger magic through research and learning and therefore their potential overall was greater, but they were weaker on average. Humans also didn’t possess as great a variety of magic types due to the restrictions of learning magic requiring so much time and effort. Simply put, a Human that focused on a particular magic type could eventually obtain great power in that type, but no others. Also, the mages that might pursue study in exotic magic types were extremely rare.
In regards to improving your overall strength, such as increasing health, magic power, and attributes, leveling was required. I was the exception to this as I didn’t level through the normal means. Usually, both Humans and Demihumans would grow stronger by gaining experience from fighting monsters. It was actually a far more technical system than it seems. Divination crystals were able to pry into your conscious and subconscious mind and somehow reveal the information recorded in your brain as visual information that you could easily understand.
Only through killing monsters could you level, which wasn’t fully understood. Killing other Humans or even Demihumans provided no experience, although skills could still be improved this way. It was the same for me, killing other Humans would not provide me with any ‘Dark Matter Contamination’ and I wondered if this had something to do with the leveling system for normal Humans as well. Perhaps by killing monsters, they were also exposed to this power and it provided benefits to their development without their knowledge.
This was the culmination of my studies over a period of a month and was all recorded in my leather bound notebook.