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.


“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. 

Idiot ’tis not make sense. Little one, Idiot ’tis idiot, ’tis Idiot not? Ah’m gives a breathy laugh.

“Your making fun of me. I’ll make you regret it, stupid fish.

I ’tis not fish. Idiot ’tis idiot once more. Matter not, I banter long enough. ‘Tis time to go and sink teeth into prey. Be safe, Little one. Nattiq gives a yelp as Ah’m spins and launches himself and Nattiq down the stairs.

I shudder as the first eira enters the area beneath my tree, pushing through the thick, layered strands of |ice silk|. It’s tangled for a couple of seconds as it twists and turns, pulling and snapping angrily though the strands, and then it’s through. A sharp pain flows through me, like someone plucking out several strands of my hair. It’s uncomfortable.

More and more come, tearing through my barrier of tendrils. I grunt and grit my mind’s teeth. The feeling of ripping hair continues. It hurts. Why does it hurt? It never used to before.

Eira horde [Snow Spirits]: Level (18+) – Beings of ice and snow. Form when there are strong natural currents of mana. As one of the few things living atop the Rhew, Eira are used to solidarity. They have strong senses of territory, defensive nature, and large amounts of hate towards anyone that intrudes or changes the landscape of the Rhew. Rarely, they put aside their lone-wolf nature to gather together, form a horde if they find a large enough threat to their world. Beware of their strong ice based skills.

(Warning): Your changes to the landscape have triggered an attacking wave. Eira (approx. 64) have now entered your domain.


Ah’m launched down the last few flights of stairs, crashing directly into the oncoming horde, tearing it apart and sending several flying through the curtain of my tree. It billows outward, allowing those eira to pass through uninhibited. I wince as I feel two souls float free of their bodies as these ones are crushed under his feet. Ever since I got |aura of souls|, I’ve felt a growing connection to the souls around me. The feeling wasn’t exactly… pleasant. The souls floated out of my domain and disappeared from my vision.

Ah’m leaps up like a fox and Nattiq flips off of him at the top of his arch. The whale dog slams down again, squashing another eira and injuring several more. They bombard him for his efforts with little effect. Nattiq lands lightly on the ground, and with a blur, the four eira around him collapse, their souls drifting off. Several eira launch icicles at the selkie, but they never reach him. Every single one was split in two, shooting off in different directions after passing him on either side. One of the remnants pierced an eira all the way through its head.

I can’t help swallow. It’s clear that they’ve worked together before. They’re a devastating force, ripping through the eira’s defenses like paper. As much as it’s cool, I can’t help but grow cold inside. Life is disappearing all around me, and yet I can’t ask them to stop. This world won’t allow those kind of niceties, and I refuse to be naive. These things came here to kill me, and if they weren’t prepared to die, then so be it. I just wish it didn’t have to be this way. But when a wolf starts attacking humans, it is put down. I don’t suppose this is much different, even if it still pains me.

And still, I let Ah’m and Nattiq rampage. Nattiq dances through the horde like swimming through water, leaving a trail of eira behind him like bubbles in his wake. Ah’m takes a less graceful approach, smashing through everything in his way, launching eira after eira into the air with his massive tail and scattering them in every direction. Soon enough, there’s a wide berth around him and the nearest eira. They keep their distance and shoot icicles from far away, trying to keep him away from an ancient eira in the midst of chanting. Nattiq begins to wade his way over to the whale dog just as the eira casts its skill.

Massive icicle spears shoot up out of the ground towards Ah’m belly. Most block his path, pinning him in a cage of thick spears. A few pierce directly into his flank, and one deep into his stomach. Blood begins to flow. It steams in the cold air as it drips down the icicles to puddle and freeze solid on the ice. It looked strangely like a red carpet.

“Ah’m!” I scream.

Ah’m roars. He shatters the icicles and launches himself at the group of eira around the old one. They scatter and flee out from under my tree, using the curtain as a barrier. He charges through after. Nattiq follows quickly after him.

I feel the first one he kills, and I flinch. The next one and the next one and the next one wash over me like a chilling wave. I feel it. I feel it all. It feels wrong. It’s grating, like fingernails on a chalkboard every time one dies.

This isn’t right. Stop. Stop killing them. Stop. “Ah’m stop!!!” I bellow.

Little one. ‘Tis angry. Ice ones die. 

“No! Ah’m stop!!!”


“Ah’m! Their souls! Their souls are disappearing!”


“Ah’m they’re gone! Something–something is taking them! It’s chipping them away. Stop killing them!”

All of a sudden, I’m assaulted by a massive, jarring screech. It sounded like metal on metal and it jolts my vision.

You have received a ΦüεδΤ from δγ§ΓêΜ: *#2!^&*∉‡ ΔþÐ ∂∀∅∝¾ ‰µΘ ℵφ℘〉⌉∴.

~ Φ∪∃∫⊥ ⌊Θ& ~

“∫avè Ομr Sou¡δ” – You have realized that δômèΤλíηg in this world is ∃∀Γîηg the inhabitant’s Šõµ⌊ς. Find out the c@use and find a way to fix it.

Requirements: Return $θµΙς to the River of Souls, or st0p the §øμΙš from being ëΔtεΝ.

Rewards: (+&*3+*][!; +_Æ∃≈≅¼¶μκ⇓@⊗ú%; or +&^ç‡5Θþ)


{{{{{{[I canNot hold this for ··Much 1onger’“”]}}}}}…..

••••∏[[#þþïð% ñò\ãfî]]]   . {{{[Ó≈æ$|]•••• 

{{{[This iS the bEst I aM @ble To do.]}}}……


{{{[ Please, little Haven, y0u hav3 to try.]}U}}}…….


Accept?: (y/n)


The screeching noise continues until I hit yes. The silence that follows is almost as unnerving.

I feel like throwing up. My head. It hurts.

Little one. ‘Tis sorry. Ices ones already all dead. I know not. I ashamed. Forgive me, Little one. Ah’m pants heavily surrounded by a pile of corpses. They’re all dead. He didn’t leave a single eira alive.

I stare in horror. This is somehow different. It’s not the same. When they died under my tree, it felt like a peaceful release. They drifted off like jellyfish in the sea. But when they died out here, it was like someone was ripping their souls to shreds. I begin to hyperventilate. True hyperventilating, even though I have no lungs. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe at all.

“What was that? What happened?” Nattiq calls out. “Ah’m, are you alright? You’re bleeding.” He grunts as the whale dog slumps on him for support. He helps Ah’m back under the tree. They start-up the staircase. I finally find my breath and stop them.

“Take him back inside the caves,” I say with difficulty. I’m still try to calm down. Ah’m hurt. The past can’t be changed, but I learned something direly important from it. This world… There’s a reason it’s falling to pieces.

“Haven, you alright? You sound a bit hoarse,” Nattiq says through gritted teeth. He’s doing most of the work. Ah’m is barely moving to help him, so Nattiq is just up dragging the whale dog along on his back.

“Give me a second. I’ll–I’ll be right down.”

I feel a cold wind brush my core. Something is behind me. I whirl my attention around. Floating there is a diminutive eira, the smallest I’ve seen yet. It has more masculine features than the first one I met. Short hair, with a flowing shirt and shorts rather than a dress, but still rather feminine. A young boy, perhaps, or a tomboy. It’s thin, pale skin even paler. It’s weak, its bones sharp and defined. It’s frowning at me.

“One’s still alive,” I whisper.

Eira runt [Snow Spirit]: Level (3) – Being of ice and snow. Form when there are strong natural currents of mana. As one of the few things living atop the Rhew, Eira are used to solidarity. While being creatures of mana and ice, they often mate and bare young. However, though Eira raise their young to adulthood before leaving them on their own, they will not care for those they deem weak. This Eira is one such example. Left to die at a very young age by its parents, it miraculously managed to thrive out in the froze expanse. Expect differences from the standard Eira.


With a snarl, the runt rushes me and lands a solid punch on my side with a crack. Argh! That hurt, you freaking punk! I launch an ice pellet straight into its face. It reels back from the blow, pulling up its hand to feel its cheek. Tears begin to pool in its pitch black eyes. They drip down its face and land on the rugs below, turning into ice as they fall. It sniffles, then grits its teeth as it swoops down for another go at me. It misses. just glancing off my side, and I hit it with another pellet. It freezes, its short hair drifts through the breeze. It turns and looks at me, and I see a gash dripping with clear blood tinted green flowing from its cheek. A wronged look crosses its eyes. I’m caught off guard as it begins to wail.

“What the heck? Wait, what kind of tough survivor are you? You’re making me feel like a bad guy. Stop. Please stop crying.” I don’t have the heart to kill it. Not after all that. I activate |calming aura|.

The eira calms, taking great hiccuping gasps in between whimpering sounds.

“I’m sorry. You’re family’s all dead now. That really is my fault. I can’t make that up to you. I’m sorry. You can hate me. I’m so sorry.” The eira flutters down and slumps over my core in a puddle of tears. It begins to cry again, the type of cry that makes my heart ache.

“I’m sorry,” I say again, my voice choking. “I’m sorry.” Pretty soon, the eira’s crying dim and then die out, and I’m the one wailing instead. The eira awkwardly pats my core, making comforting noises.

[Eira runt (lvl 3)] would like to make a contract with you. This will allow the eira to become one of your Guardians.

Accept? (y/n)


Surprised, I turned and looked at the eira. It–no he–gives me a sweet smile and nods. I hit yes.

The Everman Empire was bound to fall. It grew too large, took over too many territories, and most of all, it angered every other nation around it. It had no allies, so it was assaulted on all sides. There was no choice in its fall. – John Aldman

Congratulations! Allying yourself with others is key to a successful domain.

Level [18]!: You have contracted with your first monster. (+10 health; +10 path points; 20% evolution chance; +1 extra evolution attribute slot or level eira twice)

One of the strongest races is that of the Tennin. They have evolved and perfected the art of the monster contract. They are a force to behold, fighting alongside their army of monsters. I would rather wrestle a brucha than march against them. – Haruime Ro, Tengu war lord

Congratulations! Contracts are one of the only things binding in this world.

[Tamer III]: In your first contract, the creature was the one to initiate. (+10 path points;  +1 evolution attribute slot; contract monster’s characteristics as addable attributes; added skill to contract monster: [Leading I])

Please name your Guardian:           »|


“Name it Oroesi,” Nattiq says. I hadn’t heard him come up. I brighten a little in greeting.


Since I’m already getting an attribute slot from leveling [tamer], let’s choose to level him twice.

Congratulations! [Eira runt] has accepted the name [Oroesi]. [Oroesi] is now designated as a named monster. [Oroesi] is now level 5. 

|[Attribute Slot] + [Attribute Slot] + [Attribute Slot] + [Locked]|

(42% evolution chance per slot)

Addable attributes availiabe (24): |Ice Silk|; |Aura of Light|, |Aura of Warmth|, |Aura of Fury|, |Aura of Souls|, |Aura of Protection|, |Aura of the Lost|; |Suction|, |Crushing Bite|, |Tenacious x2|, |Untiring|, |Rage|, |Thick Skin|, |Jet Stream|, |Focus|, |Blunt Force|, |Bludgeon||Razor Scales|, |Carrion Feeder|, |Air Swimming|, |Swarm|; |Ice Flurry|, |Icicle|, |Ice Spear|, |Float|, |Ice Mist| (Oroesi already has these attributes)


I ponder which attributes to choose. Let’s go with these.

You have chosen |Thick Skin| as an addable attribute. You have chosen |Ice Silk| as an addable attribute. You have chosen |Focus| as an addible attribute.

[Oroesi] has failed to a acquire |Ice Silk|.

|Thick Skin| has changed to [Thick Skin I]: Skin becomes more durable for a short period of time. 5% chance to shrug off attack with no damage. (5 sec/ 15 mana)

|Focus| has changed to [Focus I]: Mana attack power boosted by 25% for a short period of time. 10% less chance a mana intense skill will backfire. (5 sec/ 15 mana)


I let out a shaky breath…


Status Menu
Name: Haven [Locked] Race: Legendary Dungeon Level: 18*  Attribute: Green
Health: 297/319* (2.6/min) Mana: 211/318 (2.6/min) State: Normal
 Biomes: 2 Floors: ?%Ξ] Named Monsters: 3*
 Monsters: 35 Animals: 24,921 Plants: 130,500+
Path Points: 43*
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 III]* [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|
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 – Yay blood, battle, death everywhere!!!! Just kidding. Hope it was enjoyable



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