The Town of Beginnings (はじまりの街, Hajimari no Machi?) is the main settlement on the 1st Floor of «Aincrad», the beginning point for all players in «Sword Art Online» (SAO), and also the largest town in Aincrad. This town originally housed roughly half of the game's playerbase, consisting of players who refused to risk their lives by venturing outside safe zones after the official launch of the game, although the town's total population decreased to roughly one third of the surviving playerbase (approximately 2,000 players) toward the end of Sword Art Online.
The Town of Beginnings takes up twenty percent of the 1st Floor's surface, large enough to hold a Tokyo district, thus it is capable of housing over five thousand people. It has large stone paved roads, surrounded by street-lights.
There is a central circular plaza in the city. The north side of the plaza leads to the Black Iron Palace, a large black palace that is the biggest structure within the city and it is the first building seen in the game by new players and the place where the players gathered themselves when the game started.
- Black Iron Palace - Home Base of the Aincrad Liberation Force
- Monument of Life (Official SAO)
- Room of Resurrection (SAO Closed Beta)
- Monument of Swordsmen (ALO)
- Black Iron Castle Dungeon
The Town of Beginnings was the site where all Sword Art Online players spawned after logging into the game at 13:00 on November 6, 2022. Just after 17:30 that same day, Kayaba Akihiko forcefully teleported all players back to the city and announced that SAO had become a death game. When Kayaba finished his tutorial by 18:00, Kirito chose to leave the place to gain an advantage over other players by rushing to begin leveling his avatar at Horunka Village. Despite Kirito offering Klein to join him for more efficient leveling, the man refused due to some of his friends still being in the plaza, and wished Kirito luck, before returning to the plaza to find his friends.
On April 22, 2024, Agil, Asuna, and Kirito came to the Town of Beginnings to visit the Monument of Life and check whether Grimlock was alive before searching for him. They also confirmed that a player named Kains had actually died that same day due to continuous piercing damage over time (DoT), although the player himself was later revealed not to have actually been the victim of a sham murder in Marten on the 57th Floor.
On October 31, 2024, Asuna, Kirito, and Yui traveled to the Town of Beginnings in hopes of finding people acquainted with Yui. Following a tip from a player they encountered in the streets, the three visited a church serving as an orphanage for child players, where they failed to learn anything about Yui's acquaintances. Not long afterwards, Asuna and Kirito saved several of the orphanage's residents that had been captured by corrupt members of the Aincrad Liberation Force (The Army). Two days later on November 2, Asuna and Kirito held a barbeque with Thinker, Sasha, Yulier, and the child players after helping Yulier rescue Thinker from a hidden dungeon under the Black Iron Palace, before returning to the 22nd Floor.
- Although the Town of Beginnings has a lot of facilities essential for adventuring, with generally low prices and all sorts of inns, making it the best town to be used as a home base in terms of efficiency, none of the higher level players had stayed in this town till the end. One of the reasons for this was the oppression from the «Aincrad Liberation Force» (The Army), yet the main reason was actually the fact that most players would recall the events of the first day in the SAO official service whenever they visited the central plaza.
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