Chapter 2 – The Demon Of Saroon Bararm
Saroon Bararm was the first town outside of the Forest of Origins. Normally home to twenty NPCs it was overflowing with more than two thousand people. With nowhere for them all to go a nearby field was opened. They had little to no food and the best equipment was made from sharp stones. The natives of the village looked at them with pity but could do nothing for them. Despite the large number of people that made it out the number that didn’t was by no means small either. When the survivors fell to despair it was the heroes Choon Hoar and Hawk that saved the day. They were responsible for evacuating a number of people from the forest and urged everyone to work together. Choon Hoar was a mage who focused on ice magic and held a wooden staff with a several small blue gems inlaid around its head. She wore a long draping rope made of the skin of a deer like creature. It was a gift from one of the people she saved and its brown colour well suited her fair skin and deep black hair. In contrast her partner Hawk was exceptionally tall with hair dyed blond. He used a two handed longsword made from a piece of sturdy wood with sharp flint daggers inlaid to form the edge. He wore thin stone plates over a boar skin hide that worked for a chest piece, gauntlets and greaves. The pair didn’t know each other before they died but when they met, each helping a group of people leave the forest safely, they knew they could work well together.
The pair worked without rest to hunt as many creatures as they could to feed the village. Their actions spurred others on and by the end of the day hunting parties were formed. A few people chose support skills, such as cooking and armour crafting, and worked around town to ensure the hunters success. Although most people were working together there were still plenty of people who didn’t. There were cases of people running through the field attacking as many people as they could before they were killed and others who left to get stronger in places with less people. The former simply couldn’t come to terms with the idea that they died; the latter not willing to have to. Although the attacks were taking lives and lowering moral there was an understanding that the ones who left were the greater danger.
Early in the following morning a meeting was called. During the night several hunting parties went missing. Search parties set out with the hopes that they simply got lost in the massive sea of trees. When they found the bodies a new rumour rapidly spread through the village. The bodies were found missing their heads, braced against trees. The bodies were ripped and torn to shreds but drained of blood. Some of the survivors had played Lost Church Online and were familiar with the monsters that could be found in the forest of origins, but the scene wasn’t like any they could think of. The damage to the bodies could only have been caused by claws and teeth but the blood drain and beheading was more demonic. The word around town was that there were new creatures in the game. The Demon of Saroon Bararm seemed to only attack small groups and people that acted alone. Although it was safer to only move in large groups, smaller groups had a higher efficiency when hunting and some people were simply too suspicious of others so changes were slow to come about.
When the heroes Choon Hoar and Hawk declared they’d hunt the demon cheers rang out. They left by themselves, knowing that the more people they travelled with the harder it would be to find the creature. Confident in their power they entered the forest once more.
Marigold Snapdragon had reached level five before night time came on the first day. She was disappointed to find that she only got one Major Stat points on even number levels. The Point she got on level four went into Mind also. When the Minor Stat ‘Voodoo Staff Use’ reached level three she was able to get the Skill ‘Blood Magic’. Blood magic allowed her to control the movement of blood. With her level however she could only move the blood in her own body and the recently dead. She moved the blood of her victims into some wood and stone containers she had taken from a body. The containers resided in a small bag that was also recovered. Her usual attack worked quite well; when they players saw her skipping and humming through the forest they tended to lower their guard. By the time they see the wolves behind her it was usually too late. Some mistakenly believed she was caught unaware and going to be attacked. Stepping between in front of her the heroes who saved the damsel in distress were rewarded with a bloody arrow through then back.
At some point in the afternoon the wolves had stopped trying to attack her. They might have started to see her as a monster like them or simply made the pragmatic decision that they were hunting more successfully with her. The reason didn’t matter to Mari; unlike the ghosts that were standing in her way the wolves were simply part of the environment. It was lucky for her that they were there, as she found out that her staff was fragile at an inopportune time. As she went to attack someone that tried to protect her, the skull shattered into pieces sending a harmless spurt of blood into the person’s back. The target wasn’t oblivious to the intent however and swiftly changed targets. She had barely managed to avoid a lethal attack when the wolves caught up and started eating him. It was then that she started replacing the skull after each battle. Not long after that she tried attacking a small group.
They were lightly equipped with spears and leaden with game animal. She didn’t want to risk the damsel act failing and instead hid and waited for the right moment to attack. She hadn’t thought about it before then, but they all seemed to only speak in Korean. Having no idea what they were saying she couldn’t understand that they were talking about the families they each left behind. When one of them tripped over a tree root she took the chance to strike. She started the attack with a barrage of blood spears lowering her health to its lower limit. As what little cover they had fell apart under strain they were easily overrun by the wolves. As she sat back and revered her health she noticed a Skill on the list that interested her, ‘Staff Element Absorption’. It allowed the user to absorb the element from around it instead of using mana or, in the case of Voodoo staffs, health. Since at that point she had yet to acquire the ‘Blood Magic’ Skill, Mari used the blood in the bodies up to gain experience instead of storing it. The efficiency was much worse with bodies. Although she could shoot eight times with her own body, only one shot could be managed from ‘Element Absorption’.
She decided to have a short rest before beginning again at night. As she lay down in a bed of leaf litter, curled up next to a wolf, she looked over her Status Window.
Status Window: Marigold Snapdragon Lv.5
Animal Control Lv.6
Blood Magic Use Lv.3
Healing Magic Use Lv.2
Silent Movement Lv.2
Staff Creation Use Lv.3
Staff Element Absorption Use Lv.2
Voodoo Staff Use Lv.4
Staff Element Absorption
Voodoo Staff – Blood Spear
Small Bag – Deer Pelt
3x Stone Jar (Blood)
2x Waxed Wood Jar (Blood)
That night she attacked more and more groups. It irritated her that the ghosts were getting better equipment all the time. When she saw a mage with a staff with gems it really annoyed her. After the wolves finished eating the bodies and they were drained Mari would prop them up against a tree. Any excess blood that she couldn’t store was then used to pin the bodies there. Any equipment that she didn’t want, or couldn’t carry was destroyed. In the case of the mage’s staff, she couldn’t identify it and didn’t meet the requirements for the relevant identify skill, and so she had no idea how to use it. Mari used the flint dagger she pulled of an earlier body to pluck the brown coloured gems from the head. She found during practice that the more magic ability the person whose skull she used had the more damage the staff dealt. Also, the more strength the person had, the more charges could be fired before it broke. Mari found it unfortunate that people that used magic tended not to put points into strength. She kept collections of skulls in several points throughout the forest as an emergency supply. In the early hours of the morning she followed the wolves to their den for another nap.