Month: June 2017

2.5 – Falling to Pieces

“Stop them! Don’t let them into the camp. Frick, there’s not even that many of them. We’re being over run. Argh! Ug. Stop Ret, go help Sam. I’m alright. It just grazed me. Go, go, he’s being swarmed. I can handle it here. RAAAAAAAH. Die you stupid things! This is why I told that ridiculous official Bakers that an outpost can’t be set up in the Rhew, no matter how rare amber gold is. It’s! Just! Not worth it! Noooo! Dang it, Hubert! Kale, Hubert’s down! He went under! That wretched monster cracked a hole in the ice and he fell in. What? No way. He’s dead Kale. You can’t get him. He’ll have frozen to death in seconds. Stay here and guard Lilith! We need her alive! She’s the only thing keeping the freaking eira at bay! So stay at your post!”

– Georgian Millt, failed Rhew expedition

 

So, Little one wants me to fight?

“That’d be helpful, yes. I’ll help, but I don’t really have the means to fight off that many at the moment…”

“I’ll help too. I’ve got nothing better to do, and this looks like it’d be fun!” Nattiq grins. “Ah’m, give me a ride, will ya?” He launches himself onto the whale dog’s back and pulls out two short, slim swords from… somewhere. One moment he had nothing in his hands, and the next, with a slight twist or something, he was spinning the short swords in his hands.

“How…?”

“Oh, you mean these? I’m not a mage or anything, just quick with my hands is all.” He gives a wink.

Idiot ’tis wanting to look impressive for Little one. Ah’m blows out a puff of air in exasperation.

“I am not trying to show off. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

I know. I ’tis many cycles older. He puffs himself up.

“Yeah, and who here has messed up? You, you stupid whale dog.”

I kill more.

“Yeah? You think? Wanna try that out? There’s a whole army waiting outside for us to test that on.”

I ready for challenge. ‘Tis idiot?

“You bet your gills on it.”

I ’tis not have gills, though.

“You’ll wish you did though, ’cause soon you’ll be too scared to come up for air,” Nattiq says smugly.  (more…)

2.4 – Safe Harbor

It’s a goal in my life to travel to all the wonders of the known world. Each one offers something unique, and I plan on experiencing all seventeen. From the floating isles of Hardiff, to the hanging temple of Jo Goth–and those in between: Platimenia, the city at the edge of the world; the giant Edith Statues that dominates the Milana Mountains; and the Carepen Gates, the massive structure that spans a continent. I’ve been to the Tolk Mushroom forest, to the unusually sized shells at Seashell Cove, and to the Balancing Pillars at Fare Caolan, but there are so many others I long to see, and new wonders I long to discover.

– Iolian Yosef, Wanderer

 

I’m miffed. The sun’s going to come up in a couple of minutes or so, and my stupid guests aren’t going to be up to see my magic show it looks. I use my perception to wander around my domain a few minutes more, occasionally having Niko nudge them to see if they’ll wake, then reluctantly give up. How someone can sleep so long, I’ll never know.

I glance at them once more, then gather all the ice around my core. I want to see everything with my own eyes. I take a deep breath, and then I surge. Like a tidal wave, a geyser even, I burst out of the ground surrounded by ice. The sun peeks out from the horizon at that moment, reflecting off the prisms in the ice. Everything sparkles, and it hits me harder than the magical underwater world. An overwhelming feeling of nostalgia assails me.

I’ve lost something. I stare at the sun, slowly growing higher using my ice, the massive pillar already dozens of feet above the ground. The hole in my heart only grows wider as I realize for the first time, I don’t belong here. This was never my world. I look up at the stars that are beginning to fade with the sunrise, searching desperately for home. Which star was mine. Where did I live? What was my life like before I was stolen away? Was there anyone there that longs for me? Do they long for me like I long for them? Is it possible to miss something you don’t even remember?

There’s nothing here to answer my questions except the sun glinting off the ice for miles and miles. I am an alien to this world. My home, far away and out of reach. The sun flares even brighter and the feeling I had down in that underwater world returns in force, the sadness banished from my mind. I will rise like this sun, shine over everything on this planet, and make a world like it has never seen before. If I can’t go back to a home I can’t remember, I’ll just make my own and thrive like no one’s ever seen before.

For an instant, I see it. My domain spreading for miles and miles on this unforgiving terrain, budding with life and people. I grin, my ice pillar reaching 300 feet into the air. I pause for a second, gathering more ice around me in a bulb on top of the pillar. Movement on the ground catches my attention. Ah’m and Nattiq are up and outside my caves below, standing on the open ice and staring at my pillar rising in the sky. I smile again.

Here goes to the first step. I take another breath and then burst outward. Huge offshoots of ice strain out from the enormous bulb of ice atop the pillar. I branch them. I branch them again and again and again, over and over, intertwining them in a similar way to my roots down below. I branch them until they become so thin, they turn into |ice silk| drifting in the wind, so long that when they float down from their sudden growth, they brush the ground. I pull at some of the little beads quickly forming on the |ice silk|, shaping them into long thin leaves thickly decorating my swaying branches, then make everything glow with |aura of light|.

I pause cover the whole construction with my influence and then to take a look at my handiwork. A slight breeze causes my branches to sway and rustle, drifting to and fro like those underwater jellyfish. It’s calming. I can almost smell the green. It smelled of life. Ah, |aura of souls|.

It felt like a breath, |aura of souls|. I gathered the aura together, tightly winding it and compressing it, filling it with thoughts of life and growing, thoughts of a teeming forest, damp and fresh after the rain, and when I was ready, I released it like a breath into my massive ice tree. And the tree breathed it in. It rustled and moved and came alive. It was a simple life, even more so than a true plant, but it was alive nonetheless. (more…)

Torrents

Torrents.
It pours.
The sound thunders, muted in its steadiness.
The scents waft upon a slight breeze–
green, growing, damp, then drenched.

The world ceases to exist for a moment.
Then, the rain passes.
The heavy downpour is gone.
The buckets that once were fade away,
and a light drizzle replaces it.

The sun shines in the shower.
The thundering silence of the blanketing squall a memory,
but the smell of it remains.
A reminder of the brief, fleeting
torrent.

2.3 – Under the Banyan

Oh, the Aoyin sits under the old Banyan tree
Eating all the turtle-cattle he can see.
Shake, turtle-cattle, shake.
Flee from the four-horned beast.

– Hiisi Nursery Rhyme

 

When one wants to go up, one must first go down. Why? Stability! And, well, resources too, but mainly stability at the moment. I hesitate, staring anxiously at my obnoxious, unwanted hole. For a second I wonder if I really want to do this. If I do, there is an enormous possibility that I will have just landed myself in another whole heap of trouble, but if I don’t, I feel like I’ll stagnate and die whenever the next wave of whatever comes. Most likely eiras at the moment. Then again, they’ll swarm anyway if I do this.

Think positive. Be proactive. I’ve been just riding the flow, and that needs to change if I want to survive in this world. So, time to face my fears. Ice powers, activate!

I reach out and tug at the ice around the hole, pulling it down and at the same time widening the hole. I grit my teeth in my head as I do. There’s a war of instincts raging in my head, the desire for growth versus the absolute loathing to expand this cursed hole. But I keep going, pulling the ice down and down and down, picking up more and more ice as I go, and packing the sides of the hole so they’re thick, hard, and stable. It’s a long way down, but not nearly as long as I had hoped. Looks like my buffer between me and the sea below wasn’t as thick as I once thought. Soon enough, my influence has flooded the whole expanse of the hole and I’m through to the waters below.

Hesitantly, I look around with whatever sense I use to view my domain remotely. I hadn’t ever taken notice of it before, but that sense was quite a bit different from the one I used to view the immediate surroundings around my core. It was like my remote viewing was in black and white without any sound, or maybe more like if you could somehow see what the feeling of something walking across your skin looked like. It was strange, not at all like the bright colors and normal vision I used to see my immediate surroundings.

Underneath the ice was even stranger. I could feel the lighting was blue tinged with green even if I couldn’t exactly see it. And it was cold. So, very cold. But not desolate like one would think. It was thriving. I could feel the life pulsing through the water even though there was nothing living in my direct vicinity except strange clear anemones grasping the underside of the ice.

(more…)

2.2 – Of the Lost and the Soul

We were lost. There was nowhere to go, no place to turn. Everything looked the same. I about broke down, but I couldn’t allow myself the luxury. Not when she needed my help just to keep sane. She was already losing it, already starving for lack of food these past fifteen days. My only gratitude was that we did not lack water. The morning dew was plenty to keep us quenched throughout the day as we wandered. Only, it also chilled to the bone, and each day her cough was growing worse. So, I plodded along with her on my back, hoping desperately for some sort of salvation. I thought it a hallucination at first when I stumbled upon the salvation we had been granted. It rested there inconspicuously between the massive boulders of our continued maze, a strange tree of ice.

Tennik Farthen

 

I didn’t even think about moving for a long time–or rather than moving, I just stared at the wall, not even daring to think. I had this weird feeling that if my brain began processing again, that something, that terrifying stare would come back and rip through everything that I am. It was a feeling similar to a child afraid to move out from under the blankets because of the monster under the bed. I knew that something was long gone. I knew it wasn’t coming back, at least not for a long while, but the fear to move out from under the blanket was still there. So, I stayed, staring at the wall, thinking of nothing while my nonexistent heart still pounded in my imaginary throat.

I didn’t come to my senses until I found Niko nudging me, informing me that he and all the other fishes were hungry. It broke me out of my reverie, and the childlike fear drifted away. I sigh and sent half of them down the hole, then turn my attention to my two guests. They were still conked out on the floor. How long had it been? A few hours at least. It was getting close to sunrise. I could feel it.

“Grow towards the sun, huh,” I mumble. And with that thought, [Elemental Manipulation] was brought back to my attention.

The elements are an unusual classification with a set of rules not determined by the laws of the universe, but by the strange manipulations of the System. In short, they are not at all logical. – Althea the Astronomer

Congratulations! Your affinity for the elemental is astounding. Your domain knows no bounds.

 [Elemental Manipulation X]: You now have control over any of the four main elements–Fire, Water, Earth, Air–as well as any of their subsets that you understand for a slight cost of mana. (highest level, 10 cmR/ 1 mana; requires actual element for manipulation)

Current Understanding:

Fire: Main Water: Main, Ice Earth: Main, Plant  Air: Main

(more…)

2.1 – Bone-Faced Worg

Canis Osvultus, or the bone-faced worg. Often colloquially called a skulldog or a skullwolf, the bone-faced worg is smaller than its worg cousin (Canis Vargr). Hardier in nature than true worgs, with notable regeneration, the bone-faced worg is an often difficult enemy to face. Bone-faced worgs are characterized by dark brown to black fur with little to no fur on their faces–creating a skull like appearance–as well as what many have said to be glowing red eyes. 

– Compendium of Monsters, 778

 

Some may call me an angry man. They’d be right, and they’d get a broken arm for it. It isn’t my fault my father is Curo Llid. The Curo Llid, greatest wall commander in all the Seven Sisters. Ha. People talk about him like he’s some kind of hero, all because twenty years ago, he managed to drive off a dragon. It was only a lindwyrm.

What’s so great about driving off a lesser dragon? Killing it would’ve been better. People who disagree with me can shut their trap, or I’ll shut it for them. Sure, tell me I have anger issues. If you have a problem with that, you know where to find me: Third stool from the wall at the bar of the tavern The Lamia’s Scale, located in a worse part of Celaeno.

Tonight, I’m on my third mug, and the thing I hate most right now is being disturbed, with my father as a close second.

“Dicter! Dicter Llid! Is Dicter Llid in here?” I studiously ignore the man, but my fist tightens around my drink. Whoever it is stomps into the room and asks a regular the same question, then continues his floor-bruising march in my direction. A hand slams down on my shoulder.

“Are you Dicter Llid?”

“Tsk. Can you be any louder?” I can feel the man scowl as I stare into the amber liquid of my drink.

“Are you Dicter Llid?” He repeats.

“What’s it to you?”

“Your father is Curo Llid?” I nearly punch him then and there. This man. My taboos. He did both. He interrupted my drinking, and then, he had the gall to mention my father to my face.

(more…)

1.10 – River of Souls

There’s something different about the System than it was in times of old. Long ago, the ancients made use of the System to create massive civilizations that spanned continents, each city a piece of art more wondrous than the next. Now, we are little more than tribal beings, content to war with our neighbors. The System used to inspire to create, to reward those that did. Now, it rewards senseless slaughter for something as little as experience. We used to be one people no matter the race. Now, we fight brother against brother. What caused this change?

– Petra, The Sage of the Wild

 

I need rejuvenation. I need to see the sun. It’s been too long. I think I’m getting winter depression. If my internal clock is right, though, it won’t be up for another four hours. I content myself filling in the other half of my garden with silt. It doesn’t take long, and I figure out that I can add bits of |aura of warmth| to hopefully help my plants grow. And grow they have! The banana sprout has grown. Little leaves are poking out of the soil.

And the lichen, my lichen. It’s completely ignored the soil in the dish and latched onto the rock itself, looking like little grey explosions of growth. I give a little laugh. My plants are growing. Peace floods me. This. This is what I’m meant to do. Raising these little guys, protecting them. Giving them a safe place in this unforgiving wilderness. Grow well, little guys.

Then I growl, my happy mood dissipating instantly. Something once again has entered my domain. Really? I can’t even go two hours without something intruding? My fish swarm, sensing my agitation.

Little one! Little on! Call your guards off!

“Ah’m?”

Yes, Little one. Call them off. I apologize for intruding once again. I have need to speak with Little one. 

“Fishies, let Ah’m up,” I sigh. Ah’m lumbers into my garden after a few minutes with difficulty. I almost laugh. The whale dog is covered in silk webs. Looks like Niko did his job. I’ll have to reward him later.

“Watch the plants.”

Plants? Ah’m looks at me in confusion. Ah, greens, little little greens. Little one has grown much to make greens. Much like land-dwellers. The whale dog swings its head around and grunts in appreciation at my plants. It’s then I notice there’s something hanging from its mouth that was covered my silk earlier. Is… is that a seal? Please don’t tell me it brought its lunch…

“Ah’m.” I jolt. The seal just spoke. It’s not dead? “Ah’m! Let me down already!”

“What? Why?”

See. I brought Land-dweller. Ah’m drops the seal and gives a grin of self-satisfaction, showing a mouth full of threatening teeth which I tried to ignore. Did it just call the seal a land-dweller? That makes absolutely no sense.

“Oh, come on, Ah’m,” the seal harrumphed. “How long have you known me now? Do you really not remember my name? Now, where’s this Little one that you wanted me to meet? I’d like to introduce myself, but I don’t seem to see her, though I heard her voice earlier.”

The seal suddenly stretched itself with its face pointing to the ceiling, and then something… happened. It’s skin spit straight down its stomach. That’s the best way I have of describing it. It was disturbing. I watched in rapt horror as two pale arms reached and lifted the head of the seal away like a like the hood of a coat. The thing stood up out of the seal skin, and I realized it was a man standing there with pale blond hair and dressed in various animal skins. He reached down and picked up the seal fur and draped it over his shoulders.

There. ‘Tis Little one. Ah’m gestured to me with its snout. What the heck just happened?!? (more…)

1.9 – Floundering in the Deep

I was thrown into this world, unsure of myself. I knew not where I was headed, or even worse, how to get there. Someone somewhere had a plan for me. Why else was I given the skills I have? I am no hero. Yet my path says otherwise. I am no savior, yet countless behind me I have saved. Where am I supposed to go in this world? What was it I was meant for? I feel a lack of satisfaction for everything I do. Here still I am. Here still I’ll be, floundering in the deep.

– The Melancholy of Annabella, 656

 

Okay, okay, okay. Evolution is a pretty crazy thing. How much can I evolve plants, then? I mean, look at how my sliver fish changed just from adding on |ice silk| as an attribute. I got a notification not long after it evolved that the attribute changed into a skill called [ice silk weaving]. Will all of them do that? How come I don’t have that skill? Is it because it falls under [ice manipulation] somehow. That makes it so broad…

Now that I’m thinking about it, [ice manipulation] is colored blue under my status. Some other things are colored blue, but none of my other skills. [Karma] is colored purple. Could the colors mean something? I haven’t thought about it before.

Colors are used to indicate the rarity of a status item:
Common, Uncommon, Rare, Unique, Mythic, Legendary 

 

Oh, my gosh! That makes so much more sense now! So, the rarer ones are harder to get? And I’m assuming the rewards are better. Well, in most cases. [Karma] is debatable and |aura of fury|… well, it has some pretty obvious drawbacks. Man, now I kind of want a legendary skill. I wonder what kind of bad luck I’d have to go through to get one of those. No, never mind. I’d rather not get one.

Let’s think about something else. There’s too high of a possibility of jinxing myself. Yeah, um, let’s think of a name for mister gurnard, shall we? Um… Gurnard. Heck no! Flip the table! Can’t I do better than that? I mean come on! Even Fluffy is better than Gurnard. Niko? It sounds stupid. I think for a few more minutes, but I literally can’t think of anything better than Niko that doesn’t sound even more ridiculous. Am I really that bad at naming things? Really? Niko’s the best I can do? I’m sorry fishy.

(more…)

1.8 – Eira and Evolve

What is the main difference between man and monster, for it surely isn’t the shape. Many races of man are more strange, more obscure, than some monsters will ever be. Is it intelligence, then, or perhaps the ability to cast skills. No, my dear sirs, that cannot be the answer, for how well documented are the strange beasts that come nigh unto man’s intelligence, as well as the various skills they employ. No, there’s only one difference, and that is a monster’s ability to evolve.

– Of Monsters and Men, 883

 

I need more silt. Also water. I need water. I had originally wanted to fill the other half of my garden-in-process with water and create sort of Feng Shui effect… I decided against it. It’d look funny. Let’s go with just more soil instead. Maximize planting space. I’ll create another room as a pond and resting spot for my fishies. Although they’re fine swimming in the air, I think it’d be better for them to be where they are naturally supposed to be. You know, underwater. Besides, plants also need water. I really need to figure out an irrigation system for my garden, but I have no idea how to get water that’s not salt water.

For my fishies, it’ll be fine, they live normally in salt water. Maybe I can send them to find some salt water plants under the ocean for their pond later, if there are any. But that won’t work for my lichen, I think. It’ll need fresh water, at least every once in a while since it’s already a hardy plant. But I’m still not sure where to get fresh water. Melting ice is an option, but I can’t really melt ice at the moment. Hmmm let me chew on this idea for a while.

I send some fish down the hole with the pots for more silt. I also create some more pots to send down for water, even though I can’t do anything with it at the moment. Maybe having some nearby will give me inspiration. While I’m waiting for them to come back, I start to think again.

I also need to find a more viable food source for my fish. It’s not really practical to keep sending them down the hole, not to mention dangerous. And I still haven’t figured out if they can eat plants. I don’t really think that lichen will cut it, though. If only there was a plant that grows meat. Ug! So many problems have begun to pile up recently. It’s making me wish for back when my life was simpler. It’s all the whale dog’s fault. Stupid whale dog.

(more…)

1.7 – Winter Lichen

The greatest feeling of all the world is when something you’ve planted for the first time sprouts. It feels like you are worth something, that you are needed and loved, because each man knows that plants are the only thing in this world that love unconditionally. They will care for you just as much as you care for them.

– Therian herbalist

 

You know, when they’re not attacking you, sliver fish are pretty to look at. I’m not scared of them anymore. Scratch that. I was never scared of them. It was more like… just a nervous feeling, you know? ‘Cause I don’t get scared. Nope, have never once been scared in my whole life. Ahem. Back to the pretty fish.

It doesn’t take me long to notice that after bonded with them, their scales took on a slight green tint. Adding to the green lighting from my ice berries, the fish almost seem to disappear if they’re not moving. Once they move, a bit of light catches on them and their scales flash silver. It almost makes it feel like my room is underwater now. Huh, I think I can use this. They’ll be great little guards for my hole. If anything scary tries to climb up the hole while the fish are in it, it’ll be like trying to climb through a garbage disposal while it’s on. They’ll be shredded! Muwahahaha!

As I’m thinking this, one sliver fish comes up to me and nudges me with a feeling. Hungry. 

“You’re hungry?”

Hungry. Suddenly, all the sliver fish turn towards me and stare at me with their wide eyes. Hungry, They all nudge at once, HungryHungryHungry. 

(more…)