Leadership is Hard 5

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By the end of the first day, Frederick was quite done with walking or riding in wagons. Brick had a lot of energy, but even he was tired out at the end of a long day of running around the wagons. Lunch was trail rations- jerky and dried fruit- but as they started setting up camp for the night cook fires were set up and real food was made. There weren’t that many days where they would have fresh food to cook. Magic wasn’t so common that a random group of settlers could use it to preserve food, though Fred thought about an ice box… if ice magic existed that might work. He knew ‘water’ was an element, but he didn’t have any memory of whether that included ice… but theoretically there had to be some way to remove heat with magic. Even if it took effort, keeping an icebox stocked for a while wouldn’t be so hard. 

Fred wondered if anyone in the caravan could actually do magic. He hadn’t been told about it, but theoretically there could be people who knew a little bit of magic even if they didn’t practice it all that much. If points were distributed randomly, theoretically most people would end up with some bit of magic or magical potential. If it was somewhat less random… in a group of thirty or more like they had, at least one person should have some. Asking might be fine, but Fred wasn’t sure if someone with just a little skill in magic would admit to it, and they might be ashamed to bring it up.

He looked around at people, trying to guess their skills. Reln was quite strong, but was that a skill or just practice? Skills amplified the abilities of people and described where their talents and training were… but Fred didn’t think just being strong was a skill. Though he had memories of something like ‘Great Strength’ which would amplify the muscle power of people who had it. Fred looked at Brick. Did dogs have skills?

 

Name: Brick
Level: 1
Points available: 1
Skills:

Natural Senses (5)

Loyalty (1)

Great Strength (2)

Aptitudes:

Hunting

Perception

Body

 

Fred blinked for a moment. The ‘window’ in his mind wasn’t something he could entirely see, but if he focused on part of it he would obtain the information in it. He hadn’t expected to actually get something. Now that he thought about it, he hadn’t considered his own abilities. Though… he shouldn’t have much of anything.

 

Name: Frederick Hughes
Level: 1
Points available: 1
Skills:

Animal Handling (1)

Organization (1)

View Status (1)

Aptitudes:

Leadership

 

He knew it would look something like that, but seeing that his status window had less than a puppy was… discouraging. This world didn’t even recognize all the work he had done in his previous life. No skills in cooking or anything like that. However, that didn’t mean he was incapable… but he didn’t get any increases. Each skill level was theoretically about a 5% increase. That was common enough knowledge in the world, though the more arcane details were unknown by Fred.

If he looked at things another way, Fred supposed it wasn’t so bad. After only a couple of days he had level 1 skills. That wasn’t inconsequential. He wasn’t sure if he started at level 1 or not, and Brick’s status didn’t indicate anything either way. What he did know was that spending the available points required people with other special skills. Maybe he should have thought about that. Typically such a person would be a priest, and people would visit them to spend points just a few times throughout their life. After all, if you only got to level 10 or 20, making sure those points were spent on something you would actually use was important. Wasting your entire lifetime’s points on something you wouldn’t use was a big mistake. Two or three level 5 skills could make a big difference. If Fred had been 25% better at any of his jobs… he might have actually made something of them instead of flowing between them.

Fred looked at the half-orc driver of the wagon he was traveling with. Nothing. Then again, he didn’t even know his name. Had they even exchanged a word? He should really take the initiative there… but now he was curious. Could he see Brick’s status because Brick was his dog?

His eyes flicked over the rest of the people in the caravan. Helvia’s name showed up, as did Theobald and Maiele. He wasn’t sure if that confirmed their names were real or if he was just using his memory. Only the shaved man who had worked with him for several days, Reln, showed something more.

 

Name: Reln ???
Level: 10
Points available: ???
Skills:

Durability (2)

Great Stamina (1)

???

Aptitudes:

Stoicism

???

 

The information wasn’t much. All it really told him was that he could have information he hadn’t found out. Though he wasn’t sure if the information was accurate. Perhaps he could ask about it. Some people might not want to speak about their level, though. It was one of those ‘private’ things for some, and there was no way to know for sure. Maybe he should just talk with Reln more and see if it came up naturally. Though talking with Reln didn’t seem to be something that happened unless it was just the two of them, and not much was said even then.

—–

The ground was uneven under his bedroll, but it at least avoided one problem that the inn’s bed had. Brick couldn’t take up the middle third if there wasn’t a middle. He still snuggled right next to Fred, but that actually kept him warmer throughout the night. Being awoken by the occasional twitching paw was something he was already getting used to.

—–

In the morning Fred redoubled his determination to be more proactive. He’d already chosen leadership as his aptitude- costing him all of his points- so he might as well train it. Did just talking to people fall under leadership? At least some of it had to. Reln seemed to not be much for talking. The dwarf… had made it clear he had no interest in even telling his name. Fred might work on that at some point, but for the moment he might as well try the next closest person. “Sorry, I neglected to introduce myself yesterday. I’m Frederick, or Fred if it’s easier.”

He held out his hand to the half-orc driver before he got up in the wagon. The man took it and shook his hand. “Eustathios.”

Fred repeated the name in his head a few times. “Not a local name, for sure. I’m a bit of a traveler myself.” Fred waited for a moment but didn’t get more than that. “Have you been anywhere interesting, Eustathios?” He climbed up into the wagon and offered his hand.

The man took his hand and climbed up into the seat. “I once traveled through the Great Stone Forests of Uskus. Pillars of rock climbing straight into the sky.” He smiled, “The way the light reflected off of them was most magnificent.”

Eustathios had a bit of an accent- but that was to be expected. Uskus was far to the east, and languages would change quite a bit especially closer to where orcs were more common. It would make sense for him to be from somewhere around there, though Fred certainly didn’t know the details. He listened to the man talk, prompting him with questions about his journeys. It was quite likely he had been wanting to have a conversation but found no one would speak to him. He was a half-orc after all, and while Fred couldn’t say Earth had solved racism he was at least aware of how pointless it was. It wasn’t like anyone else got to choose their parents any more than he did… though here in Igeliv parents had an even more pronounced effect on physical appearance. Beyond his looks, Eustathios had none of the traits the people in the area commonly associated with the orcs… except maybe strength. Even then, it wasn’t as if he was hulking… and he wasn’t born strong.

 

Name: Eustathios
Level: 22
Points available: ???
Skills:

Swords ▼ (7)

Blacksmithing ▼ (5)

???

Aptitudes:

Swords

???

 

Eustathios only alluded to his fighting, and didn’t speak of using a sword at all… but somehow Fred knew how good he was at it. There were a number of subskills that averaged around level 7 total… which would bring him close to being a master. Fred didn’t see him carrying a sword at the moment, but he wasn’t sure if that would be something he should bring up. It was quite possible that he disarmed himself to seem less threatening in Lubreca. 

Fred hoped he wasn’t learning anything he wasn’t supposed to. However, he could certainly determine that he got information because Eustathios had opened up to him. Reln wasn’t exactly the most talkative, but apparently the few lines they had exchanged meant something to him. He’d try to find a chance to chat soon… and maybe he could get to know some others. Even the dwarf. Hopefully he would recognize his sincerity.

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