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60 The complexity of fate 1



"Why?" Brock asked with an uncertain expression.

"Why did I agree to work with the northern churches? You only ask me this because you aren't aware of what is going on. I don't blame you though, you have been busy with other concerns and this isn't really your area of expertise." Replied Aleks calmly.

Their guests had already left for some time and the tent had become quiet after everyone left. It was only Aleks, who was still seated on his makeshift throne, and Brock present in the large and spacious tent. They had spent some time discussing a partnership between Aleks and the northern churches, something which seemed to go against Aleks principles. This caused Brock to be faced with a bit of hesitancy and confusion at his actions.

"You have never spoken a word of praise for any church and often condemn the gods, I can't understand the point of this…"

"Brock, you don't know this but two nights ago an assassin attempted to poison me in my sleep."

Brock was shocked by this revelation. He had no idea that had transpired and the way in which Aleks spoke was too calm, as if the assassination attempt had been a joke. Clearly he was still alive so the assassin had been unsuccessful but nonetheless, he imagined one might be shaken by such a thing. Aleks seemed completely unconcerned, but Brock was the opposite.

"What do you mean someone tried to assassinate you? Why wasn't I told about this? What happened?" Brock fired off questions in rapid succession. He was quite perturbed by this.

In the past, it had been Brock's job to keep Aleks safe. In recent days, his job had become more like a butler or a manager overseeing Aleks's day to day necessities and managing his affairs. Even in the past he had done these things as well so it wasn't too jarring of a change, but his primary job had still been to keep Aleks safe.

"Relax, as you can see, I am alive and well. The assassin obviously failed to kill me, and there is no need to really hide this from you anymore but Nelay took care of the rest."

Aleks continued to relax as he spoke, casually sipping his cup of wine which he had been sipping for a while. It was more for appearances rather than anything else. It wasn't as if he could get drunk off of it or even that he especially enjoyed drinking wine.

"Took care of the rest…. Do you mean?"

"That's right, those involved are mostly dead. As for the others, they are our new partners. Well, in name only."

Brock considered Aleks words carefully and gleaned a thing or two from them but he was still uncertain on a few points.

"On the same night and the following day that the assassin paid me a visit, there were several other high key assassinations that took place. Some were killed in their sleep, others while traveling the city. There were even some killed while fucking.. even shitting. You have been quite busy organizing the purchase of slaves and supplies as well as other matters so you may have only heard a thing or two in passing. In reality, it's not so strange for a few to disappear in a city like this when such a big event is taking place. Of course, if you piece things together, it isn't so much a coincidence as something planned. If you are paying attention, you can see the threads and connections. There were several influential and powerful individuals with significant wealth who were hoping to create an independent faction, one which would not be attached to any of the churches with presence here currently. So, the clergy in charge of their churches expeditions made sure to make them disappear. They are consolidating power and killing off any who do not wish to get in line. Nelay has been busy gathering information for me over the past couple of days, she found many interesting points of interest."


Brock was silent, but it was clear that his mood was gloomy. He wasn't expecting what should have been a simple thing to become so muddied and convoluted. Originally, they had made plans without taking into consideration that the beginnings of a crusade might take place. There was no way for them to know at that time and things had become tricky because of it. Brock hadn't expected the churches to go so far.

"I see. So is aligning with the northern churches a means of keeping ourselves safe? But surely you must know they will only treat us as expendable. They will only value us as long as they see us as a means to achieve their goals. Is this really a good choice to make?"

Aleks chuckled as he held the wine cup and swirled the wine within in a circular fashion.

"You think too much, but you aren't entirely wrong. We have only aligned ourselves on the surface, just to buy a bit of time while we finish our preparations. I already have a plan in place to deal with these churches. Their so called crusade will fail and not a single one of them will escape my clutches. They may think to use us to do their bidding, but in the end, only I will prevail. Their souls shall be my sustenance and their might my strength."

Although Brock didn't know everything about Aleks's strange and unique power, he still remembered that day when Aleks had been surrounded by Federation Dragoons and had somehow come out unscathed. He remembered the hollow look in their eyes and their deformed bodies which looked like they had been sucked dry of their very essence. He couldn't help but shudder at his young master's words.

What were his mysteries? Perhaps it was better if Brock didn't know. There were many things he didn't understand, like the two powerful young women at his side. He had no idea Nelay was an assassin, but he had witnessed her power in the battle earlier. She was clearly a peak advanced class assassin. Where was his young master finding such powerful subordinates that were so young?
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"You seem confident, then I will say no more."

Brock bowed slightly to Aleks and then left the tent to carry out his duties. There were still more slaves to purchase and supplies coming in daily. There were many things which needed supervision and careful planning. There was also the training of their newly burgeoning army.

Aleks watched Brock leave and there was finally silence. Only Aleks still remained in the tent. He sighed deeply and put the wine cup down on a small table which had been placed near his throne.

"Acting is such tiring work. I no longer know which "Aleks" is the real me and which is the fake. I have been playing this game for too long that I don't know who I am anymore." Aleks mumbled tiredly to himself.

He felt a moment of depression weigh him down mentally, but he shrugged it off. He had spent untold lifetimes in misery and he now had the chance to free himself from his fate. He couldn't surrender himself to despair at this moment when everything was beginning to come together. He couldn't help feel pressure though, the pressure of an insignificant being looking up at the vast and endless sky. That was the mountain he had to climb and he had to do it relatively all alone. No one could share his burden, even the beings he created were only a substitute for all the things he had lost.

"Enough, it is time for the next stage of my plan."

Soon after, a rowdy Orc came stomping into the tent after having been summoned by his master.

"Master, you need me?" Grobak grunted.

"Yes, I told you before that soon I would increase your level and class. Now is the time, and I also have a very important mission for you. Have you settled in the Orcs I placed under your command?"

Grobak gave a guttural laugh before replying, "I bashed some heads, they will listen to me now."

Aleks nodded, "Good. I will increase your strength to peak advanced class. Come here."

Grobak was visibly excited and rushed over to Aleks's side. There was nothing he wanted more than to grow stronger. He hated the fact that there were two Human women who were stronger than him even if they were his companions. Orcs loved to dominate and it was almost unbearable to him that he was so weak. He had taken his frustrations out on the other Orcs who were now his subordinates. There was no question about the fact that he was establishing his dominance over them.

Name Grobak

Class Barbarian Berserker Berserk Lord Advanced Rank

Level 30     30 30 90

Vitality 300 750 750 Total HP 1800

Magic 0 0 0 0

PHY. ATK 66 99 110 Total PHY ATK 275

PHY. DEF 32 63 74 Total PHY DEF 169

Agility 30 45 60 Total AGI 135

MAG RES 25 50 60 Total Mag Res 135

Abilities

Rage (When using the rage ability, PHY. ATK. increases by 15% but PHY. DEF. decreased by 5%, Once rage ends ability user becomes fatigued suffering a 5% decrease in PHY. ATK., PHY. DEF., and AGI until short rest)

Flurry of fists (Attack in rapid succession when unarmed ignoring 10% of PHY. DEF., chance to stun)

Ignore Pain (While in Rage, ignores pain from damage taken allowing one to use abilities even when vitality required is insufficient)

Increased Rage (Rage lasts double the amount of time, PHY. ATK. increases by another 10% but PHY. DEF. decreases by an additional 5%)

Whirlwind Strike (Using a Two-handed weapon, swing the weapon in a whirlwind, attacking multiple targets in a radius around the ability user, knock-back effect with each hit)

Fearless (While in Rage, Immune to the effects of fear, stun, intimidation, and confusion)

Extended Rage (Rage lasts until incapacitated but drains vitality as long as in effect, PHY. ATK increases by an additional 10% but PHY. DEF. decreases by an additional 5%)

Ram's charge (While in rage, charge rapidly towards the opponent, knock down effect and stun effect vs. AGI)

Elephant Stomp (Causes a quake in a radius around the user, targets around the user become physically unstable lowering AGI by 25%)

Fighting stances

Unarmed

Two-Handed

Great Axe Proficiency