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Oaths to Keep
A System Apocalypse tale full of sex, swords and sorcery.
All characters in this work of fiction are 18+ years old, all events and characters are fictional, any likeness with anything real is entirely in your head, but probably hilarious.
There will be acts of violence, of depravity, of courage and debauchery.
Oh and sex. Probably even anal sex.
The story takes a while to get to the sexy bits, I hope you enjoy the journey.
This kind of story is a bit of an experiment for me, so if you think it would be fun to read more, please leave a comment, send me a message, or leave me a five star review.
My breathing was ragged, blood trickled from a few wounds I had not really noticed until now.
Four corpses lay around me, their emerald blood looking strange in the light from the moon.
Not very large, fortunately, about the size of a ten year old kid.
But these were no kids.
The staple of RPG's everywhere, and now they were part of reality. Strange times indeed.
As I caught my breath, I took a brief moment to check my notifications.
I was down to 18 health out of 80, and my mana was at 33 out of 100. And I had only received exp from 3 of those goblins.
With alarm, I willed the blue screen to fade from my vision, and I was almost too late.
A dagger was flying straight for my face, a critical hit for sure, if I had still been focused on my notifications.
By reflex that had been developed surprisingly fast during this past week since the world changed, I managed to utter the word of power and cast Magic Barrier.
The dagger hit the field of glowing cyan energy that sprang up between us at the very last instant, and slowed to a fraction of its speed, allowing me to easily get out of its trajectory, even if it did manage to break through.
Magic Barrier was not meant to be used to stop non magical attacks or thrown daggers, but it was my best allround "oh shit" defense, so I had practiced and practiced throwing it up if I was startled by anything. It might waste mana, but better mana than blood.
The goblin cursed at me, and looked around for something else to fling at me, clawing at the belt of one of its fallen brethren.
I was not feeling generous enough to give it the time.
Briefly considering finishing it with a spell, I felt I had better conserve the mana for healing, or I would be out of it for a long time.
Instead I rushed it, skewering it with my trusted arming sword.
It was already heavily injured, so it could not do much to save itself, trying feebly to ward off my strike with its empty hand.
More emerald blood gushed, and it lived no more.
This time I stabbed it an additional time, just to be sure. Or petty. I was probably just being petty.
My notifications revealed I had gotten the experience from it this time.
And I was down to 28 mana. Only enough mana left for a single healing spell. I really sucked at healing, each of them cost 25 mana, and only healed me for up to 10 points each time.
It would almost seem like it was not worth healing myself for that low an amount, saving the mana for more combat, if need be. But the first healing spell after you were wounded was the sweet one. Once your body got a little bit of healing in, most of the pain went away, letting you operate and think more clearly again.
So without spending more thought on it, I healed myself once for... dang... only 3 points this time.
Still, I sighed with relief, as most of the pain went away, and all of my bleeding stopped.
It would be almost an hour of rest, before I could cast another, with 5 mana regained per 10 minutes of rest.
I wanted to improve that, and there were numerous ways that I could.
For now, I was going to save up for the Meditation skill book, that would let me multiply my mana regeneration by the skill rank of Meditation, if I felt safe enough to use it. Meditating where you might get attacked at any moment was just a fancy way to commit suicide.
For that reason, and a hundred more, it sure would be nice to have someone to form a party with, someone to watch my back, but sadly, my entire gaming crew seemed to have been thrown to different reality shards, when the System Apocalypse happened, as people had been calling it.
I had not had a lot of success getting anyone to form a party, most people, the authorities included, seemed to think that sheltering in place was the way to go. Like this was something the government could somehow fix.
They couldn't even fix potholes, and yet people expected them to get a handle on this?
It was hard to fault them, I guess. Most people were in shock, having lost loved ones so recently. Ninety percent of the population had been zapped away by the System, to some other version of reality, if the System Messages were to be trusted.
They had been replaced by monsters, though thankfully not many spawned inside the towns, as anywhere within a hundred yards of a human was considered off limits for spawns at that time.
As I pondered the craziness that had become the way of the world, I knelt down next to each goblin, placing a hand on them, and willing the System to give me their loot.
As I did, their body would dissolve into rapidly fading motes of light, leaving behind whatever the system thought was an appropriate award.
I got a few silver coins for my troubles, and another poor quality iron dagger that I could probably sell to the System Shop next time I got into town.
It wasn't much in terms of loot or experience, and falling into their ambush like a stupid amateur, it had been far too close.
I should have been able to stomp them with ease, as I had for these last few days with many like them.
Shaking my head, I started to carefully make my way back home, taking my time to be extra sneaky, as I did not want any combat at all on my way home.
Just as a precaution, I had a mana potion in hand, ready to quaff it at the first sign of danger.
I was not going to use it just because I was pretty much out of mana, as they were so far a very limited resource to me.
Taking it slowly and cautiously, it took me pretty much an hour to get back to my home, giving me enough mana for another healing spell, but being an experienced gamer, and feeling well enough, thanks to the pain relief of the first spell, I would always try to wait casting my healing spells until I was near full mana, giving me plenty of mana for emergencies.
At least when things were looking peaceful, and I had enough hitpoints left to probably not get oneshot by something stupid.
So when I got close enough to my home to hear the ruckus, I was at 21 health and 33 mana. Not a lot, but slightly more health than I had had back at level 1, and with much better spells at my disposal, even if the mana pool could have used a bit more.
As I got close to my new home, a small homestead that I had shamelessly expropriated, once I was certain the previous owner had been whisked away by the system. It had belonged to a guy named Jefferson, who was convinced that some calamity was coming, so had been one of those crazy prepper guys. Or I guess he turned out to be right, in a way.
It was stocked to the gills with canned goods and all kinds of supplies, including a lot of handguns and ammo, that I did not dare touch, since word around town was that gunpowder was not very stable or predictable under the new laws of the universe. While the laws of physics still did apply, mostly, they were subservient to the laws of magic and the elements, so certain forms of chemistry and more advanced technology like anything electronic, was likely to not work, malfunction or be a hazard to life and limb.
The entire property was surrounded by a chain link fence that was partially covered in most places by a tall hedge. I had been meaning to add some wooden spikes or a moat or something, but with only hand tools, and a lot of other things that needed doing, that particular idea had fallen by the wayside.
Perhaps that was not such a bad thing, at least not for Amber.
As I rounded the corner, I could distinctly recognize her as the one straddling the top of my 12 foot tall fence.
Amber, my old highschool crush, had not in any way become less gorgeous since then. She had left for college a year ago, but I guess she had been home for a visit when the System came online and ruined our world.
She was a 5'6" natural blonde, blue eyes with just a hint of green when the light was just right. Her chest was somewhere a B and a C cup, which fit perfectly on her well trained 110 pound frame. Most days she would be dressed like she was about to hit the gym, favoring leggings and sneakers, often with a tank top, plus a hoodie if the weather was cold.
Today she was no different in that regard. Sneakers, a pair of black leggings that hugged her legs like a coat of paint, a pink hoodie that really stood out in the dusk, and a small black backpack that I had never seen her with before.
Now she was sitting on top of my fence, trying to kick the snarling creature that was trying to climb the fence to maul her.
It was second nature now to activate my Appraise Enemy skill, and a small blue window briefly flashed to life and faded again, informing me it was a level 4 Dire Badger.
That was the strongest critter I had yet seen this close to town, to my property even.
And I was not in good enough shape to take it.
Sighing with regret, I downed first a healing potion, then a mana potion, knowing that there would be a price to pay for taking two potions so close together. Still, it would be better to be alive to pay that price, than be dead and not having used my potions.
If it were not Amber, and if they were not fighting on my actual fence, I might have just backed away, rather than expend the ressources.
Most of the townspeople were not going to survive anyway, and they seemed unwilling to face the fact that the old ways were gone. Without adapting to the new ways, a lot of people would die.
Only ten percent of us had remained after the System came online. I doubted more than ten percent of those left would still be alive in a year.
But I was not willing to stand by and let some creature eat Amber.
"Get away from her, you filthy.. uh... beast!" I yelled, as I made my presence known.
I followed my exclamation with a few words of power, and a trie of fire bolts streaked from my hand towards the badger.
It really had no way to dodge it, as it was about halfway up the fence, so each of the bolts struck it perfectly, lighting its fur on fire, causing it to howl and hiss with pain and anger.
It looked very impressive, but the badger was clearly not out of it.
Abandoning its meal to confront the larger threat, it dropped down off the fence, rolling once to put out some of the fire, before starting its charge towards me.
The still smoldering form of the dire badger, crimson eyes glaring at me, yellow fangs bared and snarling, was enough to make my bowels turn to water, but fortunately I had gotten a lot of practice at being terrified lately, so I did not let it stop me.
I managed to cast another Fire Bolt spell before it reached me, causing it to stagger just as it reached me. Its face was lit on fire by the single bolt of the three that struck it. Moving targets are always a lot harder, as the spell is not very precise and the bolts are kinda slow.
It was enough to give me an advantage, and I took it. Sidestepping to avoid the charge, I drew my arming sword and chopped at it as it passed, my off hand on the pommel to add extra strength to the blow.
The badger took it, a solid blow to the shoulder and leg, that probably would have been enough to cripple someone before the System, but with the hitpoints the System brought with it, things like damage was often more abstract. It was still possible to be crippled by an injury, but the risk was low until your hit points were below twenty percent.
Two Fire Bolt spells cast so far, that left me at 60 mana. I was trying to keep count in my head, rather than have to call up my status. I found the bars distracting and imprecise, so I was trying to train myself not to use them.
The badger ground to a halt about two yards away from me, turning towards me, as it pawed at its still smoldering face.
"Shoo! Go on! GIT!" I tried, willing it to work just this once. I had managed to not take a hit from it so far, and if I didn't have to, I would rather not.
If I thought I would have been able to make it, I might have tried to scamper up the fence myself, as shooting it with Fire Bolts from such a vantage point would make it a lot easier to take it.
Alas, no luck. Badgers were known to be stubborn beasts, not willing to let go of prey even in death.
For a moment, it seemed like the world slowed down, as we each studied the other.
I made sure to keep my sword in a low guard, point towards the beast's heart, allowing it no opening to rush me.
In turn it crouched low to the ground, leaning this way and that, seeking to find an opening.
Clearly it knew either from prior experience or from my blow just now, that the blade in front of it was a mortal danger.
Suddenly things sped up once more.
Crouching lower to the ground, it suddenly leapt up high, arching towards my face.
It took me off guard. I had fully expected it to try and feint one way, then rush the other, not this attempt at being a furry meteor of claws and teeth and death.
Unable to process fully in that very instant, I fell back on reflexes, and cast Magic Barrier while also dodging frantically to the side.
As the badger reached the field of glowing cyan energy, it slowed down a bit, enough to let me almost dodge out of the way.
The spell was meant to stop magical energy, so its effect on physical objects was not amazing, but it was the best allround defense I had.
It did buy me just enough time to not get my face bit off, but it still managed to strike me with a claw, as I tried to get out of its way.
From a normal badger, I doubt a claw attack would have done anything other than leave paw prints on your jacket, but from this System enhanced Dire Badger, it was a lot worse.
Razor sharp and with powerful muscle behind, it tore a gash through my pec and front of my shoulder, ruining my already messed up jacket even further.
I tried to punish it, swinging my sword at it wildly as it passed me by, but as there was no real strength in my swing, it bounced harmless off of its thick hide.
Having found no target to land on, and being thrown even further off balance by passing through the unexpected magic field, it stumbled as it landed, struggling to get its feet under it.
I was on my ass myself at that point, so I was not one to give it points for style.
Instead of spending the time to get back on my feet, I took a foolish chance, and cast another Fire Bolt spell at it.
With its back turned for a moment, and at this short range, it would not be able to dodge in time.
Aiming all three bolts just a tad lower than its tail, the evening once again turned bright as the fiery missiles flew the short distance and slammed into the Dire Badger.
It howled in agony, as at least one of the bolts hit its nuts. That had to be a critical hit for sure. While it was not easy to get crippled under the System Rules, critical hits were a thing. Going for the head or other particularly vulnerable spots would do extra damage, and the balls on anyone or anything male was most definitely considered a vulnerable spot.
The badger howled in pain, and rolled over to get its injured part away from me, with its entire rear in flames.
Before it could protest further, I managed to lurch forward a yard on my hands and knees, and slammed another Fire Bolt straight into its maw, mere inches from my hand.
Its head exploded.
Most of it was blown away from me, fortunately, but I did take a little damage as a few bone fragments lacerated my hand.
Checking my status briefly, I noticed I was at 82 percent health. Damn, I had not needed to take that healing potion after all. What a waste.
On the other hand, it was a good thing I had taken that mana potion. I did not have enough left in the tank for a healing spell, let alone another Fire Bolt.
Standing up on unsteady legs, I let out a breath of relief.
Glancing up at Amber, I spent a moment to loot the badger, dismissing the corpse as motes of light into the ether.
What remained was a roll of dire badger pelt and a pile of fangs and claws. I briefly regretted not butchering it myself, wondering what dire badger would even taste like, before deciding I was probably better off with just the system loot.
It is not like I was starving or anything, what with the stash of food Jefferson had left me.
I guess it was just the greed drilled into me from countless RPG sessions. Never leave loot behind.
Still, the roll of pelt was going to be worth a lot more than what would have been the result, if I had tried to actually skin it myself, so overall I should just be happy and count it as a win.
Amber had fallen silent during my battle with the Badger.
Now she was just sitting on top of my fence like a kid having been caught stealing apples.
It looked uncomfortable straddling a chain link fence like that, and she was using both hands to support as much of her weight as she could.
"Evening, Amber, what brings you to my humble home?" I quipped at her, as if nothing had happened.
"You killed it!" She stated, rudely ignoring my question.
"Ah yes. I did. I do apologize, I did not realize it was your pet."
"It wasn't! It was going to eat me!"
"That is rather ironic, considering that is exactly what you told me to do, last time we spoke. After I told you I was not going to be your chauffeur or servant, if you were not going to so much as give me the time of day when other people were around."
Yeah, it had been a few years, and I had grown a lot wiser. She had been my crush, and like many other boys throughout the ages, I had thought that waiting on her hand and foot would make her love me back.
It didn't, and when I told her I wouldn't put up with her using me anymore, she had told me to 'eat me', flipped me the bird for good measure, and walked out.
Back then I had been rather on the fence about it, wanting to beg her for forgiveness, just to be able to be near her, but in the end pride won out. She moved on. I did too, after a fashion.
"Uhm.. yeah... can you give me a hand getting down from here?" She replied, looking rather sheepish, as she started to try and make her way back down again.
"Sure, why not. Then you can tell me what it is you are doing here, assuming you did not get chased all the way by that dire badger."
"Is that what it was? Ow, careful. No, I was already coming here when it attacked."
As I helped her down the last few feet, lifting her down by her waist and planting her on her feet, I noticed she winced in pain and favored one leg. Examining her more carefully, I saw a couple of gashes on her leg, blood running freely from where the badger must have caught her.
"Lucky you managed to climb the fence, or you would have gotten worse than that." I commented, as I gestured to the wound.
"Gotten worse than... oh? OW!" As she became aware of the injury, the pain suddenly started to register. It is funny how adrenaline does that.
She started to pale, and it looked like she might even faint, which would be rather annoying.
Rolling my eyes, I picked her up and princess carried her all the way inside my house. I would not have been able to carry her so easily before the System, but having put a few points into strength as I leveled up this last week, had done wonders.
She did not protest, just kept whimpering and asking me to bring her to the doctor, which I would not do, of course, as it would be crazy to carry her that far while she was bleeding, luring in all kinds of critters, and besides, I would be able to do more than the town doc anyway, once I got a bit of rest.