Krissu is a fairly short guy for being 16 years old, but at least he isn't unusually thin. His hair is bushy with just the slightest hint of curls, and a blonde color with a sort of red tint to it. His face is pretty thin and usually a friendly and carefree one, unless when he is alone and begins pondering his deep thoughts about this world; then he suddenly looks intimidatingly mature. His brightly green eyes are as wide and alert as they come, as good as always. He often makes different grimaces or expressions, so it's fairly easy to read what he's feeling at a given time.
At the moment, his preferred attire is a black leather vest over a blue shirt. The vest was a drop from a dungeon monster and has a higher defense level than it looks like. On his feet, dark leather boots are worn. The boots are crafted by an in-game friend of Krissu's. He wears slim black pants with no special qualities and always carries around a waist satchel for crystals and other things that won't need to be taken out via the inventory menu. His weapon of choice at the moment is a broad sword that is of a bright metal that seems to gleam in a coral shade. But it's just a two handed Broadsword with a flashy design, even though it cost Krissu a lot to buy.
Real life Christopher Ikara used to struggle to live up to his family's expectations but didn't really think much about what other people thought of him, even if they found out that he worked hard. In SAO, things have changed somewhat. Now, nobody expects him to do anything anymore, because they are all in the same situation. Krissu realized that he missed having people relying on him and wanting him to work, so in lieu of that, he now set in his mind to be better than others at something. To show his worth. But he quickly realized that a majority of players focused on fighting and become really strong during the first month. He would have to work twice as hard as in the real life to stand out in that crowd. So instead, he chose to be different.
The Alchemy skill wasn't as popular as Forging or Speed or some other weapon or battle oriented skill. So even if it sounded a bit complicated and even boring, Krissu took Alchemy up with the intent of becoming unsuspectingly good at it eventually. He wanted to surprise people. And it turned out that he did have a knack for it. When his mind floods with troubled thoughts about SAO and life, performing Alchemy calms him down. It has become a way for him to escape from himself and immense himself in dealing with details, letting him escape the worries of the virtual world around him for a while. Another great thing with Alchemy is that it gives him a reason to venture away from the city now and then to gather ingredients. Many alchemists buy their ingredients and sell their products expensively; Krissu gathers his own ingredients most of the time and annoys his rivals with lower prices and exotic wares. But there's a downside to this style as well: since he's doing fieldwork now and then, customers never really know when he's available for making purchases and when he's away.
The Hiding skill is something he picked up a bit later, this time to stray from the popular choice of becoming a "tamer" with the Taming skill that had risen recently. He was a bit afraid that people would label him as sneaky if he picked Hiding for a major skill, since it could be associated with bandits and thievery. But it was really nifty when he was racing fields to gather common ingredients and wanted to avoid annoying low level monsters. He'd just leap from shadow to shadow and go by unnoticed.
These skills wouldn't help him become a strong player who could do battle at the front lines to try and save everyone from SAO, Krissu realized this. But as a month passed by, he started to get used to life here and thoughts of the old, real world felt more and more surreal. It was fine. It was a good thing that he got used to this life, because who knows if they would ever really escape? But at the same time, his whole being hurts when he realizes that he's starting to let go of his past self. Whenever he thinks too much about this, he easily becomes frustrated and that's when he feels the need to escape the confines of the safe city and venture out into the nature - to feel alive. Krissu is torn between what guts and reason tell him.
Why would he, who is relatively small for a guy in his upper teens, choose to wield a large greatsword for weapon class, by the way? Well, he used to train kendo very diligently, and while a single handed, smaller sword might be closer to that, Krissu wanted something more now that he got the chance to change. Him training kendo had not been his own choice. This was. If he was to have a sword, he might as well have a REAL and BIG one. Plus, it might help clearing him of being labeled as sneaky. I mean, what thief goes around wielding a huge weapon?
Christopher Ikara was a hard studying boy with top grades as well as a diligent practitioner in the sport of kendo. It was not that he liked kendo for real; his father, and grandfather even more so, forced him to practice it since it was a family tradition that they did not intend to lose in this modern age. His family had a long history of being advisers and servants to the old leaders in feudal Japan and thus lived in a very traditional way, even though Christopher's parents and older sisters embraced modernities more willingly. The reason that he is fair haired is that his mother is British and her genes seem to have fallen upon him almost entirely, apart from the shape of his face and his body build. His older sisters looked more Japanese and were very ambitious and popular. Christopher always had to work hard to follow in their footsteps, while he kept up the charade of it not being a problem at all. But his sisters were practicing a special kind of dancing instead of kendo, and in his eyes that was not at all as much hard work as his occupation was.
Christopher's time was divided into three parts. One was for studying. The other was for training. And the last part was for gaming. He did not look like a nerd, but his favorite thing next to receiving top grades or getting a break in the middle of a tough training exercise was to roam a vast and beautiful fantasy world, playing as the adventurer he knew he could never be for real. He used to play as both female and male characters - it didn't matter much what his avatar looked like, actually. He liked to play in first person just to make it feel like he was really there. In online games, he often teamed up with others and tried to show off his skills and strengths... and whenever someone turned out to be better or stronger, Christopher got upset. He did not like to be odd and choose difficult classes, though; just like with school and kendo, he struggled within the lines of normality and what he was expected to be and do, and tried to come out on top no matter what. That totally changed when he found himself stuck in Aincrad, though...
The Nerve Gear was the ultimate invention, to Christopher. Once he got his hands on the hardware, he started to have trouble keeping his focus up in school and during training. Sure, the games available weren't exciting at all, other than that they actually let it feel like you were in a completely different place, but he kept hoping that something some day would come that would radically change everything. And then Sword Art Online came. Christopher didn't manage to become a Beta Tester, but he did manage to get his hands on an online copy of the game when the real thing finally released.
- Panicked when it was revealed that everyone could die for real and were unable to log out. Hid for a while, until he found likeminded people and bonded together out of necessity.
- 1st week after revelation: made some friends in Starter City and partied up to go out and train on the fields. Still shaken and not really in his usual mood of trying to be the very best. He was more afraid of getting himself or someone else killed and was protecting his party members with almost annoying diligence.
- 2nd week: realized that this wasn't something that would be over soon. They would likely be stuck in Aincrad for a long time. Couldn't stand being stuck in Starter City any longer and took with him the people who dared to follow to the second floor. They were not the ones to beat the boss and advance the front lines, though; they merely teleported and started leveling there instead.
- Start of 3rd week: Krissu was starting to get back into his old self, no longer protecting his party members at all costs but rather trying to be up front and in the spotlight even more than he had when this was just a game. Eventually continued to the third floor on his own since none of his friends thought there was a point to putting themselves in danger when there were people who actually wanted to do that. Krissu soloed in Floor 3 for a while and could only think about wanting to get back to the real world and end SAO.
- End of 3rd week: after frantically having roamed Floor 3 for a while and partying up with random people, Krissu watched another player die in front of him and finally collapsed, mentally and physically. He was found and brought to Blues Village. There, he was forced to rest for a while, under the care of an unusually old player who was an alchemist. Krissu did a lot of thinking and decided that it was pointless to try and be the best player in the usual sense here. It wasn't a game anymore. It was a life. He had to find his own way through it all. When he felt ready, he returned to Celedona on Floor 2.
- 4th week: adopted Alchemy for a major skill and quickly grew good at it. He and some of his acquaintances from Starter City and Celedona formed a base camp in Celedona, without yet forming a real guild. They all decided to focus on different profession skills rather than battling. Eventually picked Hiding as another major skill.
It was unreal.
The earth was solid underneath my feet and straws of high grass brushed against my legs as I ran. A wind rustled my blonde curls, which looked exactly the same here as they did in real life, and a sunlight from a source I couldn't define shone into my eyes, forcing me to squint. But it was alright. The field was vast and open and I could run and run for hours without stopping. This world was huge, and I was free to go wherever I wanted to. That alone was a thing unreal.
Rushing towards me in opposite direction was a dark blue boar with eyes gleaming red at him. We were only a few meters apart now and closing in fast. The boar looked angry, but I suspected that it held no emotion at all. It was just programmed to angrily attack any player that went within its range. Just as we were supposed to defeat it and grow in levels. Everything was governed by rules here. Even my motions.
I raised my large sword over my head as I ran, feeling the strange sensation rush through my arms and make the blade glow faintly red. I'll probably never get used to the feeling experienced as a Swort Art activates. It sure had taken me not a few swings to learn how to pose to activate them correctly. This was an easy one, [Swing Down]. Probably the simplest thing you could do with a Greatsword.
The boar leaped, letting out an angry squeal. I let out a battleshout; not because it actually could power up my attack at this low level, but because it made me feel stronger. Mentally, at least. In the exact right time, I twisted my body to the side and swung the greatsword down at my foe, letting the game system direct me. The boar soared past me but had a large cleavage in the middle of its body now. Instead of blood, a red, glowing and strangely striped substance poured out for a moment as the creature's image froze in midair. Then the boar's body sprung into a thousand glittering pieces of data, or whatever it really was. It was defeated and I was still standing.
A screen popped up in the air in front of me, showing how much experience I got from the fight. Not enough to get up to level 3, but still good. Soon, I would be too strong for these small creatures and would need to advance to the next Floor of Aincrad to keep getting stronger before I got bored. I couldn't stay here for too long if I wanted to be in the top! I knew other players had already went into the dungeon and tried to find the boss room. I wouldn't try yet. Several players had died doing that and had to face the awkwardness of respawning in the Starter Plaza. I wouldn't do that! When I went into the dungeon I wouldn't come out again until I had visited Floor 2.
"Oi!" the player who had been watching me fight called out. I turned around with a content gleam in my eyes and was greeted with a thumbs up. "At this rate, it won't be long until we have to go into the dungeon or find some hidden ruins or something here, in order to grow stronger!" he said, mirroring my recent thoughts.
"I know," I said. "I just want to hit Level 3 before we go."
"That's right!" the other player laughed heartily. I took at moment to watch him more closely. He was a tall, strong guy, aged 20 in the real world and with skin black as the night. We had partied up at random in the Starting Plaza today, because both of us just wanted to go out into the wilderness and grind for experience for a while. After this day, I doubted that I would see him again. With ten thousand players, and probably more to come as soon as more copies of SAO were distributed, I could change partners every day for a long time without having to face the same person twice. It was a relief and a bit sad at the same time.
He was the first person I added to my friends list. I'm not sure why I did it. In the real world, I wasn't too eager to get and keep close friends. My life was busy enough as it was, with my family and all. But as it would turn out, having friends in this world would be crucial for survival. At least for me.