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.

Long nights I have carved, yet no one shall know of what I make until I am long gone. But they’ll know, and they won’t forget. – Creator of the Screaming Pillar at the edge of the Suon Kiin deserts

Congratulations! You have made a significant change to the world.

Level [17]!: You have created a wonder. (Choose: +50 health; +50 mana; +20 path points (As of this point, full restore is no longer in effect))

You have earned the achievement: |Creator of Wonders!| – Create something classified as a wonder of the world. Your wonder is now designated as a pilgrimage site. (+20 path points; |Calming Aura|, {Architect I (0/50)} path; 20% less danger traveling to your wonder)
|Calming Aura|: People will feel peace within. 30% less aggression under aura. Status effects reduced and have a 10% chance of being removed under aura.
Please name your wonder:        »|

 

Eh? Eh?? Eeeeeehhhh? No, wait, what the heck??? I’m honored that my tree was classified by the system as a wonder, but my–my full restore! Why did you take it away! It was the only thing keeping me alive! I dissolve into a puddle of tears.

You know what? Fine! I didn’t need it anyway. But why take it away at level 17? That’s such a random number, it doesn’t make sense. And all of a sudden making me choose! I thought you were systematic, blue screens! Not random! Or at least, not as random as this. I curse you to trip on every stone you come across. You keep insisting on making my life more and more difficult! Grrrrr!

Please name your wonder:        »|

 

Let me think, for goodness sake! Gosh! Can’t a girl have a little peace around here? This is a serious problem after all. I have no idea how much damage creatures do in this world or how it corresponds with levels. I could be taken out in one hit after all. But, the faster I build my domain, the less likely something will get close enough to attack me. So far, with full restore, the only thing that will keep me alive is regeneration then, if I can stay alive long enough to kill whatever’s attacking me.

Don’t get me wrong. I abhor killing. It’s the last thing I will do, but I’m not so moral that I won’t kill in self-defense. I have already. I want to live in this world too much to hang on to desperately to morals like that. I have a feeling that even in my previous life I was like that.

The question is, which to choose. Health will help me survive heavier hits, and I have a feeling that health has something more to it than just that. Mana will help me fight, grow, and overall, protect myself, so having more of that is always helpful in casting heavier attacks or moving more stuff around. Thing is, regeneration is even more helpful than either. Health regen will allow me to last longer in fights, and mana regen will allow me use of more mana than just getting more mana. The thing is, I’d really go for more regen, but that isn’t an option. The only place I’ve seen more regen as a reward is really the paths. If you add on all the other rewards I tend to get when completing rewards, more path points seems to be the best choice at the moment. I only hope that the path rewards hasn’t changed like the leveling ones have. That worries me.

On the other hand, I feel like I’m getting the hang of this world, finally, if I can actually reason like this. I won’t say I’m perfect at it. I still feel like I’m missing a whole lot, and I could be doing way better, but I can say I’m doing the best I can.

It’s weirdly mathematical, the way my life has turned out to be. I’m not sure how much I like that. It gives structure to my life, but I feel like I’m loosing something in that exchange. I know for a fact that my life didn’t use to be like this. Well, whatever. I can mull over that some other time. I choose the +20 path points. Question is, do I want to spend them now, or save them. I do have a new path open now… Too bad it costs 50 points. I only have 43. I could fill out either {defender} or {beginner}… hm. {beginner} tends to give me starter things: plants, animals, information packets. It could be useful to see what else I can get. {Defender} so far has given me auras. I don’t really think that’ll keep happening, but it could. What the heck, let’s get {defender} and then save up for {architect}.

In the dungeons of old, there existed two types of named monsters: The fixed floor bosses and the wandering Guardians. Of the two, Guardians are the more dangerous. – Holbalt Ulrick, Dwarven treasure hunter

Congratulations! {Defender III (20/20)} Path: Complete. (+30 health regeneration; +30 mana regeneration; {Defender IV (2/30)} path; Choose: |Aura of Reflection| or +1 random Guardian (named monster))

Migh’y terrible, ’em owl cats. ‘Em silent like night, but’ll play with ‘ere food righ’ viscious like. My’a friend, Yacob, ‘e was snatched up righ’ in front’a me. – Goteb the Gremlin

Congratulations! You have chosen +1 random Guardian, type: Flying Owl Cat (also known as Owl Griffin); Name: Timp

 

I–what? What the heck is going on with these screens? Please. Just please stop messing with me! When the heck did I choose that? Huh? When? Tell me. Just exactly when was it? Don’t arbitrarily choose for me!

And what is going on with the two points in {defender}? I never put them there. I quickly check my status. No, I still have 23 points. Where did that come from? Now that I think about it, the first {valiant} path also had a random point in it. Do these screens glitch? I gulp.

I can’t rely on them.

Please name your wonder:        »|

 

Fine! If it’ll shut you up! Since you’re already freaking out on me, why don’t you just name it yourself or something!

You have named your wonder: Harbor»|

 

I was being sarcastic, though…

Little one! What ’tis this? ‘Tis like a cave but not! ‘Tis still part of Little one’s domain? Ah’m calls.

“Um, yeah! Wait just a sec.” I mold some of ice into a flowing staircase spiraling around the trunk of the tree to the large bowl that formed at the base of the all the tree’s branches. I’m currently resting there. It’s a quick make, so not my usual craftsmanship, but it’ll do. As Ah’m and Nattiq begin climbing the long staircase, I weave|ice silk|into rugs and pillows to line the bowl and hang brightly glowing strings of beads across the branches above. Pillows are the best.

“Woah, this place is cool!” Nattiq says when they reach the top. “You can see everything from here.” He glances around.

Look. River of souls. Ah’m points with his muzzle.

I see it, fading into the early morning light, the river of souls. It’s flickering faintly in the western sky, a dim streak of twisting rainbow streams. It seems weak, like it’s about to flicker out of existence.

“The world is dying?” I ask. It’s a suspicion I’ve had for a while now, that the lights were somehow connected to the state of the world, and looking at the lights, that feeling only grows.

Little one notices.

“Wait, the world’s dying?” Nattiq says concerned.

Yes. ‘Tis dying bit by bit. World’s soul ’tis only as big as all souls living on it. River of Souls dims. I watch. Much less than cycles gone by. Little one feels it, too. Less souls born each cycle, world’s life ’tis being sucked out. Ah’m says gravely. I must say, he has a knack for the ominous. Stupid whale dog. But I can feel what he talked about. The world’s energy is slowly dimming every second like a cooling ember. We stare quietly at the streaming lights for a few moments longer before Ah’m speaks again.

Rin Khult ’tis there. He seems surprised, as if he didn’t realize this before he said it.

“What?” I say.

Rin Khult ’tis there.

“Wait,” Nattiq waves his hand. “Rin Khult’s the naitaka that was chasing you and ended up attacking Haven, right? You said–you said the river of souls hasn’t had a new soul in years. You said that mam-gu–that mam-gu wasn’t up there. My grandmama didn’t go to the river of souls! That’s what you said! Then you go around and say that some naitaka is up there while my grandma is who knows where! That’s what you’re trying to say, you stupid whale dog? Why?!”

Ah’m grumbles in thought for a second, then turns abruptly to face Nattiq.

I know not. But ’tis true. River of souls ’tis not have new soul for cycles till Rin Khult. I know not reason why Rin Khult ’tis different, but I think, have thought for long while… he turns to me, that saving souls ’tis something to do with Little one. Little one different from world somehow. I know not how.

We stare at the whale dog in confusion.

“How do I have anything to do with all this. Look, yeah, maybe I am different from everything else. I’ve been kinda feeling like that, but how could that possibly have any effect on souls…” I trail off, my new aura is brought to my mind. |Aura of Souls|… I look at the massive tree swaying below us. It seems to dance with the life pulsing through it.

Calm. Save talk for another moon. Eira now approach and number ’tis not small. I look below and sure enough, there’s a whole crowd of eira moving closer to my tree. They’re hard to see against the ice, but they’re there.

“There’s got to be like more than fifty of them down there,” Nattiq says. I groan and then turn my attention to Ah’m.

“You know, you owe me, whale dog.”

For what?

“For setting the stupid horse snake on me,” I harrumph. Nattiq grins.

“Haven’s got you there, whale dog,” he laughs. “She’s got you there.”

 

Status Menu
Name: Haven [Locked] Race: Legendary Dungeon Level: 17*  Attribute: Green
Health: 309/309 (2.6/min)* Mana: 195/318 (2.6/min)* State: Normal
 Biomes: 2 Floors: ?%Ξ] Named Monsters: 2*
 Monsters: 35 Animals: 24,921 Plants: 130,500+
[Ξ]
Path Points: 23*
Paths: {Beginner V (0/20)} {Ingenuity II (0/60)} {Valiant II (0/120)} {Defender IV (2/30)}* {Architect I (0/50)}*
Skills: [Influence V] [Incorporation III] [Ambient Aura VII] [Plant Growth I] [Green Thumb I] [Tamer II] [Karma II] [Natural Projectile III] [Core Teleportation] [Epithet] [Elemental Manipulation X] [Biome Creation] [Fluid Floors]
Achievements: |Ingenuity!| |Powerful!| |Dauntless!| |Against the Odds!| |Crack Shot!| |Breeder!| |Safe Guard!||Creator of Wonders!|*
[Ξ]
Auras: |Aura of Light|, |Aura of Warmth|, |Aura of Fury|, |Aura of Souls|, |Aura of Protection|, |Aura of the Lost|, |Calming Aura|*
Fire: Main Water: Main, Ice Earth: Main, Plants, Minerals  Air: Main

 

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AN- I’m hoping that through my flavor texts you guys get some hints at just how massive Haven’s world is. I’d like to be able to explore it soon. I will say, there’s at least a hundred different races able to become adventurers, and even more monster races. I’ve only mentioned a few so far.

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