I spent a week considering what class I should choose, but one stood out from all the others. It fit my requirements very nicely, with a high emphasis on Strength… and I had a convenient teacher at hand. That was of course the Barbarian class. Sgar had already been helping me out by teaching me- it made sense to go the next step and ask him to train me in the class. I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of training to expect, but I knew I could handle whatever Sgar would have in mind.
After one week of training, Sgar looked at me and frowned. “Llyr… you’re strong, no doubt. I admire your determination and hard work… but…” That was the kind of thing people said before saying you were fired. At least, in theory. I wasn’t old enough to have a real job, and I couldn’t have performed one on Earth regardless. “But you don’t get angry.”
I shrugged, “Not really, no.”
“An important part of being a Barbarian is the rage ability. Without it, you aren’t really a Barbarian. Or rather, you literally cannot become one. If you acquired it, you could obtain the class right away, but if you don’t…” Sgar shrugged, “you can never become one. There’s nothing around here that particularly makes you angry… but what about in your past? Surely there have been things.”
I thought about it. I remembered being bullied in the past. It made me angry… I wanted to punch them in the face. But now… I was over it. That was all in the past, and really they hadn’t been too bad. Sometimes I got angry at myself when I couldn’t do something. I couldn’t stand, I couldn’t reach high things, and even if I could reach something I usually had trouble lifting it. That made me angry, but it had just been an unpleasant reality I had accepted. Given the chance to make it go away, I had jumped on it. I wasn’t angry now, though.
What else made me angry? Injustice? War? Poverty? I certainly got angry about those things, but not in a violent, beat-someone’s-head-into-the-ground way. It was much more abstract than that. Perhaps I might occasionally get angry enough for that, but I would quickly get over it and let it go. I shook my head, “Mmm… not particularly.”
“Alright.” Sgar nodded, and then he punched me in the gut. I didn’t really have time to react… so all I could do was double over on the ground in pain after I got hit. “Angry now?”
I was… a little bit. It took me a few moments before the air got back into my lungs and I could speak, “Kinda.”
Sgar crouched down over me. “I just punched you without warning. Doesn’t it hurt? Don’t you want to rip my head off?”
“Eh…” I coughed, “It hurts, but I know you did it specifically to make me angry… which makes me kinda less angry.”
Sgar shrugged. “I give up. I’m sure you could be made angry enough, but even if you somehow learn rage and become a Barbarian, you’ll probably always hold yourself back.” He shook his head, “It won’t be as good.” He patted me on my side, “You should just give up.”
Being told to give up could have made me angry. It could have made me feel he was saying I wasn’t good enough… but even if it had, I would have only been a little bit angry, and mostly at myself. As it was, it just seemed like good advice. I sat up, slowly. “You’re right. Sorry to disappoint you.”
Sgar shrugged, “It’s alright. What am I supposed to do, cry that my student is too in control? I’ve learned to harness my anger when I need to, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get angry other times. I just don’t let it control me. Meanwhile, you simply aren’t that angry. I would be more disappointed if you became a Barbarian and it held you back. I can tell you have a lot of potential… and maybe a blessing from the god of war himself.”
I nodded, “You’re still my teacher, even if I couldn’t become a Barbarian. You taught me how to fight… and I’ll always have you to thank for teaching me Bash… and your advice in general.”
“Good. Just make sure to chop something in half for me with that halberd.”
“I can’t promise that.” I shook my head.
“Why not?” he raised an eyebrow, “Don’t tell me you’re going to give up on being an adventurer just because one class doesn’t suit you?”
“It’s not that… it’s just…” I held up the halberd, “The blade isn’t that wide. I could chop a rabbit in half, sure, but that’s not really an amazing accomplishment.”
Sgar nodded. “A fair point. Just remember to dedicate something suitably impressive to me.”
Failing to become a Barbarian wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened to me, but it was disappointing. I had already been thinking about whether I was really suited to be an adventurer to begin with. Sure, I was strong, and decently good at fighting… but I felt weak. Sure, I could easily kill wolves, but even though they were near my level, I still got injured fighting them.
The biggest problem was just that… they were near my level, but were my attributes near my level? A level 5’s attributes weren’t really much to speak about. Certainly, I could have a significant increase to one ability… but if we looked at Strength, I was really something like 10 levels ahead of someone who was already naturally strong. Even so, I still struggled to fight sometimes. I kept thinking about it, and wondered how the other adventurers safely fought against things at their level.
I spent a week thinking, but it was when I was walking through the adventurer’s guild one time that I realized I had been wrong about the whole thing. I saw people who were bruised, bloodied, and bandaged- but they were still going out to hunt. As long as injuries didn’t hinder their fighting, they were basically ignored. Everyone had scars, and many of them were even proud of them. The real problem wasn’t that I couldn’t distribute anything to Toughness or Constitution… but that I thought I could be safe. Sure, being in a larger party helped alleviate the danger, but there were no guarantees. That realization should have made me more afraid, but instead it steeled my resolve. If others could do it, why couldn’t I? I had become strong- far stronger than I had any right to be. I couldn’t just let myself take it easy when others were working so hard.