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Chapter 1: The World as we Know It

David Grimdark
Jun 10, 2022

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Chapter 1


"She paused her lecture midway and stared at a figure in the back, sleeping face down on his desk. She stomps over and looks down on him, trying to rouse him through a deadly gaze, it doesn't work. Out of all the students in her class he was the most troublesome, but also the most kind-hearted. She smiled briefly, then replaced it with a scowl as she prepared to wack his head..."


"Mr. Yule! Wake up!"

Something hard hits the back of my head.

"Ouch! Tch..."

I snap awake and quickly look up to see who disturbed my sleep. There I see Mrs.Sanders glaring down at me, arms crossed and holding a ruler in one hand. I look around, oh yea Im in class right now, all the other students are staring at me. Tsk, I don't like being the center of attention. Mrs.Sanders smacks her ruler against my desk bringing my attention back to her.

"No sleeping in class Yule! You're here to learn, not to doze."

She looks upset! I panic trying to think of an excuse.

"But Mrs.Sanders, you told us we do the most learning when we are asleep, I just wanted to apply what you told us."

"You simpleton, you have to learn something while you're awake first, how can you hear any of what I'm teaching if you're asleep!"

"Oh, truly? And here I thought It was working quite well..."

A vein seems to pop on Mrs.Sanders forehead and she squints threateningly at me. She seems about to snap at me again, but then her face lights up like she just had an idea.


"Hmmm very well. Come to the front of the class Yule. This week we were learning about the history and geography of the world, let's see how well you know the material."

"No no, that's okay, I don't want to take up class time, you go ahead."

"Nonsense, class, do you not feel that having Yule summarize the material we've learned would prove beneficial to your studies?"

I look around, the class is all smiling and nodding.

"I think it would be helpful!"

"Sounds great, go up Yule!"

"This should be fun!"

Tsk, traitors, you all just want to enjoy my misery. Mrs.Sanders is looking at me intently, looks like I have no choice. I stand up from my seat and walk to the front of the class where the chalkboard is. It's a senior class for 17 year olds so it's not too full, just twenty students or so.

As I turn to look at them I blush a little bit, aahhh It's so embarrassing to be the center of attention like this. I'll never sleep in class again Mrs.Sanders so please let me go back to my seat, please !?

"Let us begin."

Ahhh, my internal feelings are ignored.

"Let us start simply, where are we Yule?"


"At school!"

Mrs.Sanders smacks her desk with the ruler!

"No you buffoon, what country!"

The class laughs and my face grows a bit redder. Oh, that's what she meant.

"Oh, oh! We are in the Holy Empire, one of five countries on the Ufan continent"

"Mmm, good, tell me more about the Holy Empire."

"The Holy Empire is ruled by the High Inquisitor and managed by the Holy Knights. They get their power from the three Holy Gods: Healing, Justice and Purging. Our Empire takes pride in our fairness, education and civility."

"A good start, but lacking in details, tell us more about the gods."

"Oh okay, the gods are all powerful beings who have transcended this world long ago. There are two important facts regarding gods, how they gain power and how they give power. Gods gain more power the more people pray to them. Gods can then give that power to their followers as they wish through a contract, they could give it all to one person or spread it equally among many followers, it's up to them and their whims."

"Tsk, be a bit more respectful to the gods Yule. What happens if a god no longer has anyone praying to them, and also, what type of gods are there?"

"Ah yes, sorry. If a god no longer has anyone praying to them they still exist, but only have their original power, so compared to other gods they would be very weak. There are many types of gods, gods of farming, smithing, brewing, thunder, poison, fighting and even dancing. The list goes on and on and nobody really knows all the gods, however, some are considered good or bad based on their practices."

"Practices come from contracts, explain contracts to us."

"Contracts are the way gods give us power. There are two forms of power a god can give us, active vs passive.

Active powers are usually things like spells or temporary enhancements and you can only use them a certain amount of times a day based on how much power a god gives you. The average Holy Knight trainee gets one spell with three uses a day. While the average full Holy Knight has 3 spells with five uses each.

Passive powers are traits or effects that are constantly active. For example constant super strength, speed or even charisma auras. These are much more rare than active powers since they never run out. However, as a result gods demand certain practices to maintain them, for example, the god of poison could give you poison immunity but as a result you must always test new poisons on live subjects. Only Inquisitors, the level above Holy Knight, start having passive powers."

"Good detail, how do you get contracts and what happens if you break them."

"You can get contracts by praying to gods, usually this is not enough though and you would need to achieve something noteworthy to the gods. Usually the more power you get the more noteworthy the achievement was. Many people join the Empire's Normal Armies for the chance to prove themselves in battle so they could become a Holy Knight trainee. If you break any contract oaths you will lose your powers and be smited by your god, usually this leads to death."

"You mentioned the Normal Armies?"

"Yes. A Normal Army is just like it sounds, an army full of normal people without contract powers. People can still become quite powerful if they train their bodies and normal skills. Also, contracts are rare so there are only so many Holy Knights and they can't be everywhere, that's why the normal army exists."

"Hmm good, good. Let's move onto other countries, tell me a bit about the overall status of the Ufan continent."

"Okay. Ufan is split into 5 countries, with one in each corner and one in the middle."

"In the North-West corner is the Cru Kingdom. The kingdom of Cru is a mercantile kingdom that is ruled by a merchant king. They pray to the gods of commerce. They have good relations with everyone but have a bad habit of always looking at things in terms of profit and loss. They love their money and protect it well with many expensive mercenary companies. It is mostly inhabited by humans, however anyone with the ability to make money is welcome."

"In the North-East corner is the Zox Federation. It's a collection of various demi-human and human clans and settlements. They pray to various different gods depending on the race and culture. The federation is led by leaders from respective settlements and generally tries to avoid conflict with any nation. The Zox Federation is known for its excellent craftsmanship and its goods generally sell very well, the Kingdom of Cru loves to trade with them."

"In the South-East corner is the Dirk Kingdom. It's inhabitants are exclusively non-human. It's a very harsh land filled with few fertile fields and filled with many monsters. The Dirk Kingdom is hostile to any humans due to past persecution and being forced to settle in horrible lands. They generally pray to fighting gods due to constantly having to fight monsters and themselves, positions there are held by power. Sometimes they send raids into our Kingdom so the border is heavily guarded."

"In the South-West corner is the Gerf Kingdom. The Gerf Kingdom is a very loosely governed kingdom. It has its own 'Knights' but what gods they pray to is up to them. It's generally regarded as a lawless kingdom and many questionable individuals move there for that reason. It is also a kingdom ravaged by monsters and as a result they generally dislike demi-humans and especially anyone from the Dirk Kingdom due to past issues. The Dirk Kingdom and Gerf Kingdom are constantly waging war at their border."

"In the middle of these four countries is the Holy Empire, it is the largest country, but due to being in the middle it has a border with each other country. There are normal armies stationed at each border with a focus on the Dirk Kingdom and Gerf Kingdom borders. We are an extremely lawful country guided by the Holy Orders, rules provided by the Holy Gods to help guide us. We have extensive fields for growing food which we trade with other nations regularly. Oh also, we are currently in the border town Itzes, a town near the border of Gerf."

Ahh, my throat is sore. That was way too much talking, I don't usually talk this much. Mrs.Sanders was looking at me with a surprised face. Guess she didn't expect me to know all that stuff, hah, to be honest I only know all that stuff because my father is a historian and he always babbles to me about his work during dinner.

"Mm, very good Yule, you can take your seat again. But no sleeping or else I will have you recite all 99 Holy Orders to the class!"

"Hk! Yes Ma'am!"

The class laughs again as I return to my seat, ah, at least that was over. As I sit down someone taps my shoulder, it's Nel, a girl with braided black hair wearing a simple black dress, her brown eyes looking at me sparkling as she whispers to me.

"Wow Yule! I didn't know you were such a historian, did you really learn all that in your sleep?"

Nel is a bit too innocent and believes everything. However, it's fun to tease her. I whisper back.

"Yes indeed, don't tell anyone but I can relive various historical events in my mind when I'm asleep. I even saw your birth."

"Woah no way! I don't believe you, how long ago was I born then?"

Nel, everyone in this class is 17, please try harder.

"17 years ago."

Nel's mouth opens in surprise, she then looks at me suspiciously like she just saw a heretic or something.

"Hmph, I still don't believe you."

No no, I'm pretty sure you do Nel. I smile as I return my attention to the lecture. Mrs.Sanders had begun talking about post-graduation, in the Holy Empire, all children are required to go to school until age 17 after which they are encouraged to find an occupation.

Mrs.Sanders was still speaking in front of the class.

"Your graduation is soon approaching class and you will all have to choose an occupation to work towards in the future. I know you are all bright individuals, yes even you too Yule, minus your dozing habit. I encourage you all to give it some thought, you are all dismissed."

Rustling ensues as all the students start to leave the room, as I am leaving I see that Mrs.Sanders is looking at the class smiling, there seems to be a happy glint in her eyes. I stare surprised, why does the snappy Mrs.Sanders have such a motherly look? Could she be happy for us? When she sees me looking she quickly hides it, scowling at me.

"Remember Yule, no dozing!"

I stare at her for a moment, then I smile and reply.

"Of course Mrs.Sanders and thank you for teaching us."

Mrs.Sanders looks at me wide eyed for a moment, then that happy look returns for her face as she nods.

"It was my pleasure Yule."

And I believe it.


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