>"So, you pledge yourself to an evil god, and it grants you great power?"
>"No, not exactly. They're not gods, they're something else. The Archmages call them the Those Who Play Games. And what they give you is, basically, the ability to gain power from death."
>"Right, I got that part. Creepy. Like, you chop up some wolves, or kill a bandit, and you get stronger?"
>"Stronger. Tougher. More skilled at everything. The more you kill, the more powerful you get. And it happens FAST. I mean, you could stay a guard, keep training every morning, maybe in a dozen years you'll have mastered that cleaving-swing trick Captain Tolbor knows. Or you could give yourself to one of the Players, go out one night, show up the next morning covered in blood and able to beat Captain Tolbor into the ground with one hand."
>"So... why didn't you take the offer? I mean, it sounds bad, but there are so many monsters and cruel people out there, you could just hunt them, use your strength to help people."
>"You wanted to stay to protect her? But if you were stronger..."
>"I wanted her to stay alive. The Chosen, the Played... every one of them I found out about, their past was in ruins. Hometowns burned down by monsters, family dead or kidnapped or turned evil."
>"So, you could have been a hero... flying carpets and fights with demon princes and saving the world. But you decided to stay here. Straw mattress and armor with one strap that keeps breaking and morning training with me."
>"Yeah. And now maybe the town gets wrecked and my sister gets taken and I don't have the strength to do anything about it. I asked, but no one knows what happens to people who say no."
>"So... what are you going to do?"
>"Morning training. Every day. Until I learn that cleave."
>"...need a sparring partner?"