The Journey - Part 2 - Unknown location outside the Umbral Woods - 6:37 PM
Penumbra, Custosa and Dahm recovered from the fight with the bandits and were finally outside the Umbral Woods. Their first fight was a hard one as they weren’t prepared and they haven’t escaped unscrapped.
While neither Penumbra nor Dahm knew anything about treating wounds, they bandaged Custosa’s eye to the best of their ability but even they could say with certitude…her eye would be lost forever. Custosa was, of course, not the only one injured. Dahm and Penumbra were as well but those were paper cuts in comparison to the loss of an eye.
“ Deep lines drawn gently; A subtle but growing pain Red stones fall gently down ” said Dahm, the Bard in a sad voice before starting to humm a sad song.
Custosa, who was in great pain and in general disliked Dahm, ignored her feelings about him and joined in, humming under her breath as a way to focus on something else than pain. Penumbra just walked a bit further away from the group, head down and a frown on their face. It was them that asked these two to join, it was them that led them on that path and of course, it was their quest. Their responsibility to keep them safe, a responsibility they failed to uphold.
Looking back at the two, Penumbra went through the list of their supplies that they still had. Food for a week, water for a few days but that wouldn’t be an issue for now but a major issue presented itself, they didn’t know in which direction to go. North and up the mountains, hoping to find a pass or closer to the coast but with more chances of danger. They still had some time until they would reach the point of no return for either direction and as such, Penumbra’s mind switched subjects of focus.
Level ups. Themselves and Custosa each got 4 levels up for their fight with the bandits while Dahm, got five levels for his instrumental role in the fight. In Penumbra’s mind, they ran through each person’s current and new abilities.
Class - Champion Level - 6 Abilities -
[Inspire] ability which inspires the user’s allies to fight until their last breath, to forgo fear or tiredness.
[Shadow Javelin] ability which enhances the user's shadow manipulation to allow them to take out a spear made out of shadow and throw it at their enemies.
[One with the shadows] ability which allows the user to hide inside a shadow becoming invisible to sight and odourless to smell
[Passive - Low Resistance to Mental Attacks] a passive ability which makes the user a bit more resistant to mental attacks
[Blink+] ability which enhances user's already existent ability to teleport allowing him to take one person with them at the loss of distance
[Strengthen Shadow] ability which allows the user to make their shadowy form impervious to attacks for 3 seconds.
Class - Protector Level - 7 Abilities -
[Enhance Reflexes] ability which enhances the reflexes of the user to allow them to make moves at unnatural speeds to dodge attacks for a few seconds
[Increase Defence] ability which increases the natural defence of the user against physical attacks
[Taunt] ability which allows the user to shout at nearby foes to attract their attention
[Passive Ability - Enhanced Hearing] ability which is unlocked after a user loses one eye, allowing them to focus on their hearing more.
[Passive Ability - Poison Resistance] ability which makes the user highly resistant to most types of poisons or venoms
[Full Counter] ability which counters a physical attack with double the power back at the attacker, can only be used once a day
[Magical Full Counter] ability which counters non-physical attacks and throws them back at the caster
Class - Bard Level - 6 Abilities -
[Song of Confusion] ability which makes the user sing a song of confusion, making anyone who can hear the song (as long as they’ve got the ability to hear) see shapes at the edge of their vision, hear howls etc
[Song of ignoring Pain] ability which makes the user sing a song full of adrenaline and mighty deeds which in turn makes allies who can hear it, ignore whatever they may have until the song ends
[Goddess’s Song] ability in which the user sing a song which calls upon the power shadowy powers of Ashevelen to cover a small area in them
[Song of Charm] ability which makes the user sing a song of love which makes the target believe the singer to be their best friend for a few minutes
[Passive Ability - High Resistance to mental attacks] a passive ability which makes the user highly resistant to mental attacks
[Song of Pain]ability which makes the user sing a song of pain that gives mental damage to three targets which the user wants
All these abilities meant that they should be more than ready for any kind of encounter in the future with bandits or whatnot. If something else doesn’t happen, of course. As they kept walking, light appeared in the sky. Blinding light at dawn. A bad omen. The group stopped to catch their breath and made camp, better to walk in sunlight in these unknown lands.
" What was…" started to say Custosa before wincing in pain. Penumbra replied before she could try again to speak.
" I don't know but that much light at this hour? Either some kind of beast or divine magic. One of Ashevelen’s siblings, the Goddess, wouldn't do something like that. Not without at least talking with her champion. We'll have to tread carefully. Bandits won't be the only threat we'll face in this quest…"
Before Penumbra could say anything else, Dahm the Bard used his ability [ignore pain] and started to sing.
" And if eternity is the time And forever we must wait Then we will wait all eternity For even as the earth crumbles away We are indestructible."
And the party ignored their pain and fell asleep soundly as Damh took the first watch, still singing their pain away.
" Oh pain, my mistress Oh pain, why you court us so Oh pain…oh pain.
The Journey - Part 2 - The edge of the Lightwoods - 8 AM
The party of 3 walked and walked through the unknown forest, deciding to keep closer to the coast than venture through the mountains. One their way there, Penumbra went into the Shadow Bazaar looking for Ashevelen, hoping for some divine aid but quickly found out that she wasn’t there. Either way, not wanting to leave empty handed, they bought some healing herbs from a stall and some food from some elves.
Applying the herbs wasn’t as hard as they thought initially but it was painful or would’ve been if Dahm wouldn’t have sung as much as he could to make Custosa forget the pain and stop struggling while the herbs were applied on her eye.
Eventually they arrived at the location where the light came from and they were amazed. A whole forest that shined with light in many different colours and intensity. Penumbra, ever the obedient servant, grabbed some plants and quickly discovered that the plants had teeth which they tried to use to bite them. “Killing” the plants quickly, they threw them into a shadow and uttered the words of the Goddess sending the plants into the Shadow Bazaar.
“ What is this place? Plants that have teeth and are carnivorous? The Dark/Umbral forests do not have anything of the sorts and neither have I heard anyone telling stories about them. ” asked Custosa, a perplexed look on her face.
“ Never seen something like this either. I’ve sent some in the Shadow Bazaar, when the Goddess is back she will come and check for sure. ” answered Penumbra.
“ How far must the honey bee roam To find an elusive flower, And return to his honeycomb?
How long must a tumbling stone Through a lonely landscape scour, To realise its conclusive home? ” sang Dahm, as elusive as ever.
Custosa turned towards him with a frown upon her face. Anger was clear in her voice. “ Dahm! I beg you in the name of Jeon and all the over divines out there, please start making sense. I don’t understand a word and you’re talking in my language. ”
Penumbra came between the two as they stared at each other and shook their head.
“ Easy there. Easy. Calm down, Custosa. What Dahm means is that we are far from home and that we don’t know when we will be back. I think he said something about not knowing if the Goddess will find us alive when she’s back but not sure. Did I get that right, Dahm? ” explained Penumbra while looking at Dahm for confirmation. A tiny nod was all the answer he gave and all that was needed.
After some more bickering between the confused Custosa and Dahm, they started their journey through the forest and it wasn’t an easy one. Howls, grunts and movement kept everyone on their toes add to that the occasional burrowing dino that literally kept everyone on their toes as they would be biting at their feet before coming out in a shower of dust and gravel to swallow the party whole.
“ I don’t like this forest. People back home were afraid of the shadow monsters when your Goddess transformed the Umbral Woods but they don’t compare to this. Dahm, stay close to me. As much as I’d like you to stop singing every 2 minutes, I wouldn’t want to see you eaten by whatever lives in this forest. ” said Custosa as she saw Dahm lagging behind the group for a few steps.
“There's a sad loneliness about my heart,— A deep, deep solitude the spirit feels Amid this multitude. The things of art Pall on the senses—from its pageantry, Loathing, my eye turns off; and my ear shrinks From the harsh dissonance that fills the air.” sang to the yet-again annoyed Custosa, Dahm, before nodding at her, pointing around them and then made a shhh sound.
Custosa shook their head and she realised something as well. It was too quiet. Too quiet for a normal forest and way too quiet for this forest. Penumbra, who led the group and was just further up from where they were using their pre-existing abilities to the full, came back running.
“ There’s something out there. The wildlife ran away which means that whatever it is…it’s the apex predator of this forest. No more scouting, we keep close…very close. I’ve seen something moving in the canopy above us, stalking us. ”
Custosa took a sharp breath and focused on her passive ability [Enhanced Hearing], closing her right eye. Sure enough, the sounds of the forest could still be heard but farther away…and then thum. thum. thum. thum. a rhythmic beat. It continued and continued until it stopped for a few seconds, only to start again faster and in their direction.
“ Get ready. Whatever made everything hide is closing in fast on our location. ” said Custosa while she got her spear ready in the direction of where the sound came from.
Penumbra hid behind a tree, activating their ability [One with the shadows] ready to jump from behind and attack the new foe while Custosa would keep it focused and Dahm would sing his songs at it. Alternating between support and attack abilities.
Just then, a towering monstrosity burst through a nearby thicket, its head an oversized version of the chompy plant that had tried to bite Penumbra,its body thicke as three tree trunks, its legs stomping the earth and its tail ending in yet another mouth.
It roared loudly upon somehow spotting them with its far too many eyes despite the party's stealth skills. It skid to a halt before it simply trampled over them and ducking its head low as if it were about to try and bite them. Instead of this however, this bow revealed upon its back a lounging figure: Jeon, the god of forests and adventure!
He gave them a casual wave and a “Sup”
As soon as the monster spotted Penumbra and approached its head to bite them, Penumbra vanished and appeared just above them in the trees. Their whole arm, a spear pointed at the head of whomever was riding the creature, ready to use their [Shadow Javelin] skill. Custosa let out a shout to them and dropped to one knee almost immediately while Dahm, for once in their lifetime, was quiet and watched the divine with caution.
“ My prince, it’s an honour to finally meet you in person. I am Custosa, the one above is Penumbra, the champion of the Lady of Trade and Shadows and this…Satyr is Dahm. A bard. ” said Custosa, reverence in her voice clear.
Penumbra jumped from the trees and offered a friendly bow to Jeon and threw a coin in their direction. A sign of respect between the Umbra.
“ Greetings! The Lady of the Trade and Shadows offers her regards and wants you to know that she’s saddened that you haven’t yet met but would be more than happy to host you in the Shadow Bazaar at any time. ”
The god snatched the coin from the air, gave it a raised eyebrow, before giving a little grin and joking “Well I’ll have to do so, now that I’ve got some spending money” before tucking the coin into his pocket.
“ I am unsure if you know how to reach the realm. Look at any shadow that may fit your size, think or say that you wish to barter with the Lady of the Trade and then throw your offering in the shadow. A portal will open and take you over there and when you wish to leave, just wish it and you’ll be transported back to where you entered. ” explained Penumbra.
“Good to know,” the god replied with an appreciative nod. He had know already, but didn’t seem to feel it necessary to put down their helpful instinct
“Now then, up up all of you, that’s enough respect showing for one day” the god baid them, slipping off the back of his monstrous steed so he could stand evenly with them… or, well, shorter than them, as two thirds of the party stood taller than the divine, not least of all the Custosa, who towered thanks to her elven physiology. It was the elf that he addressed next, saying, “and lovely to meet you at last too, Custosa, I’ve heard so much about you after all” with a wink.
“ I hope you’ve heard only good things, prince. ” replied Custosa sheepishly, trying to hide her missing eye with her long hair.
“So, I totally have not been stalking you, I just happened to see you in the area and thought I'd ask something of you” the god said to them all, before stopping himself and instead saying “oh but first, where are my manners? How is your journey going?”
Penumbra stepped forward as Jeon asked his question, ready to answer.
“ We’ve had a few ups and downs but we’re getting better. Not my first adventure, as you might’ve heard that the Goddess ordered me before to establish peaceful relationships with your subjects. Either way, we are good for now. What is it that you wish to ask?”
“Well, you need to get better at storytelling if you want to impress anyone with tales of your adventures buuuuut that’s fine” Jeon derided their lack of rendition of their story before getting on with it “So, here’s the thing, there’s this settlement about, oh, a few days travel thataway” He pointed generally westwards “and it needs your help. I’ll mark it on your map”
There was a pause.
“I’ll also give you a map” he added, before pulling out a big leaf and rapid fire painting a picture of the landscape onto it using elven paints before handing it over. As the map consisted mostly of forest, it wasn't exactly the most informative, but it did give the lay of the coast line, and a few notable landmarks, notably a dot where this settlement was, sitting right on the western edge of the forest, where it met a vast yellow expanse they’d come to learn was a desert.
“See, there’s these things called Cortex Flowers, looks like a seed pod the size of a shed growing out of the ground, and they can control animals in order to get them to hunt for them. Now this settlement’s set up just, way too close to a big ol grove of those, so what I need you to do is head on over there, meet up with the locals, and then go deal with that big plant for or with them. Then after that they should be safe-ish, and I’ll just bet they’ll be helpful when it comes to the next leg of your journey. You do not want to go into a desert unprepared, trust me” the god explained, adding a little drawing of the cortex flower to their map next to the settlement as he talked.
Penumbra and the party listened closely to Jeon’s words and as soon as they finished talking, Custosa started to accept the quest but got interrupted by Penumbra almost straight away.
“ Apologies prince but this doesn’t seem like our problem and if you’re offering a quest, then what do we get in return? You wish to trade with an Umbra after all. ” swiftly said Penumbra, remembering their Goddesses teachings.
“And a quest needs a reward as well, so don’t you worry, I’ll make it worth your while” the god replied with a grin, before hopping up onto his monstrous steed, grabbing a big leaf based bundle that had been tied to its side but that had gone unnoticed up until now, and then said “promise to do this, and I’ll give you the gear to do it” as he laid the contents out on the ground before them
For Custosa: a bronze helmet, a full set of chain mail, a scale mail chest plate to go on top as well as a set of pauldrons and a reinforced tower shield and a battle axe
For Dahm, well, he got a lute. That, a foppish hat with a big father in it, a short sword, a short bow, and finally some light chain mail of his own.
“Now you, you’re tricky” Jeon said to Penumbra, “but I think this might just do the trick”, as he gestured to a gambeson made of shadow cloth. What might be considered the poor man’s armour by a layman, the fact that it was made from the Umbra’s own shadowy material meant that it wouldn’t interfere with the [champion]‘s own skills while also offering an impressive degree of protection given that it was, well, cloth. It also came with a nice sewing kit as well for repair proposes. Finally it also included a set of glass vials containing poisons that would not harm the shadow, but would harm their biological foes quite badly.
Before Penumbra could say anything, Custosa tapped them on their shoulder. A begging look on her face. “ I said I’m going to follow your lead until this divine quest is ended but I beseech you, please accept this side-quest. It…means a lot to me. ”
Dahm soon followed-up with a song of promise of aid and help of his own.
“ Lend a hand to one another In the daily toil of life; When we meet a weaker brother, Let us help him in the strife. There is none so rich but may, In his turn, be forced to borrow; And the poor man's lot to-day May become our own to-morrow.
Caught between a good offer and the requests of their party, Penumbra nodded.
“ I accept your trade, Prince of Adventures. Just keep in mind that the Lady of the Trade will eventually hear of this and I hope that you’ll explain the need for delays in her quest. ”
“Then I’ll be sure to tell her that it’s not about the destination, but the journey and experience you earn along the rode” Jeon replied, before leaning in just a little and adding ominously “and trust me, the way you’re you’re going, you’ll want all the experience you can get”
Then he stood up, flashed them a grin “now then, I must go away. Godhood’s a busy life, and I’m sure I’m needed elsewhere” he said before hopping back atop his steed “I look forward to hearing of your tales of bravery, so don’t let me down now!” he told them, then gave them a two finger salute and a “toodles” before thundering away into the woods once more
Armed with new weapons and armour which fitted perfectly, the group started walking towards the village they were meant to protect. Penumbra kept the map close and would hide it within their form when creatures would appear.
…..To be continued
Penumbra’s party gets a few level ups, they venture into the forest where they’re constantly being attacked by creatures and they meet…JEON! The Prince of ADVENTURE! which gives them a quest and equipment to complete the quest, the quest being “Last Stand - A Village in Peril”. Penumbra wishes to decline the quest but Custosa begs them to accept, which they do.
Starting Spirit: 11
+1 Spirit - Appeared in the post +1 Spirit - Longer than 5k characters +1 Spirit - Longer than 10k characters +1 Spirit - Creator doesn’t appear in the post
Ending Spirit: 15
Jeon: Start: 2mp/1ap
1 ap: gifting Penumbra and co iron age adventuring gear
At the Chosen Gateway a small ship appeared, its arrival anticipated by a message just an hour ago. Waiting for them is a vast array of orbital defenses and large warships, all pointed at the newly arrived ship.
“Greetings, we are from the Hyginian Federation arriving from the Cygni Geminae System, we come in peace.” The survey ship stopped in front of the sheer intimidating mass of weaponry making the survey ship look tiny in comparison, inside the ship the crew is panicking and decide not to activate their own ship’s weapons, they know they would do nothing and choose to pray instead.
The Chosen were surprised when the message came through the Gateways. A new nation, 6 months after the initial awakening of the gates. Prepped as they were for the upcoming war with the PUNT, they expected all kinds of subterfuge but when the ship passed through the Gateway they realized their fears were unfounded. It was indeed someone new, another group of humanity’s survivors.
The Seraphim, Ashevelen’s flagship, was quick to respond to the ship’s message.
“ Greeting survivors of the Hyginian Federation. This is Ashevelen Ben’Ghazad and I am the leader of the Chosen. If I’m permitted, I shall get a shuttle and my bodyguard and will board your ship in order for us to speak clearly. ” quickly came back a message from the Goddess.
The Hyginian delegation was absolutely NOT ready to meet a foreign leader after not even 10 minutes of exiting the portal, even more so the leader of such an overwhelming force.
“Greetings Ashevelen, we inform you that this vessel is not properly equipped for such a diplomatic encounter, we will ensure someone arrives to meet you soon.” The crew is straight up panicking and scrambling to inform the other side of the Gateway of what was going on, and hoping they send help before the foreigner’s patience runs dry.
After a while they received a response from base, an unexpected but welcome one. “Our leader has been confirmed to be on her way for this meeting, ETA 15 minutes.”
A third voice chimed into the discussion over the radio waves, one affected by a strange, almost buzzing timbre as though two voices spoke ever so slightly out of sync. “This is Sister-Speaker 3-17 Vetrisin Sings The Ancient Songs of Wisdom, representative of the Commonality of New Ishtar. We have stationed a contingent of vessels alongside the fleet of our allies the Chosen, I would join this meeting if you would permit it.”
17 minutes later
This seemed like a bad joke, first the survey ship sent distressed signals of a massive fleet, then they tell us they are peaceful and wish to meet the First Star Admiral, who is quite funnily going to the meeting on a single ship, a large capital ship but still. The Senate didn’t trust to send anyone at all let alone a full escort fleet, they didn’t even consider conducting actual diplomacy.
So the First Star Admiral jumped through the portal on her capital ship, she thought it would have been rude not to show up and if she was to die, well that’s what the Second Star Admiral is for or at least that’s what the high-officers think.
”This is the Hyginian Flagship, we are here to conduct diplomacy with Ashevelen Ben’Ghazad leader of the Chosen and the representative from the Commonality of New Ishtar. Please send a shuttle to the hangar at the front of the ship.” The Hyginian capital ship sat there after sending the message, alone amongst the swarm of unknown warships.
The survey ship starts moving all the way around the newly arrived capital ship, hiding behind it not unlike a scared puppy.
The Chosen fleet was ready to meet any combatants that might pass through the Gateway as Ashevelen and Julius were getting ready to board their ship. Murmurs against this decision were in the minds of all of the Chosen witnessing it but they knew better than questioning the Goddess.
“Sister Vetrisin, we’ll pick you up on the way. Better for them to see one shuttle instead of two. I’m sure Tiamat taught you well, but I feel the need to say it. Expect peace, prepare for war. Between the three of us and our fleets, they shouldn’t try anything but if they do…be ready. ” said Ashevelen to Vetrisin via a message.
The reply came swiftly, “No need to worry, Ashevelen, I expected you might request as such. I have but one guard, as you said there is no need to fear anything from them, surrounded by us as they are.”
The shuttle left the Seraph, went over and picked Vetrisin and together approached the Hyginian flagship.
After a short communication to confirm their identity the shuttle is given permission and lands in the hangar, the foreign diplomats are led to the main meeting room through the short route (that still takes a couple minutes).
As they move along they are the focus of the crew in the hangar as they are not used to such… exotic individuals. On their way is a regular human-sized door that they pass through with some difficulty due to their size.
Ashevelen went out of the shuttle first with Julius closely behind her. His massive size made the Hygianians look like babies in comparison to him. As they let themselves be led to the meeting room where they would meet the admiral a small obstacle appeared in their path. A door. A normal, human sized door.
“ Julius, do you wish to stay outside? It looks a bit too small for you. I can barely go through that. ” said Ashevelen with a tiny smile on her face. The Chosen have long learned to adapt their architecture to fit all the types, but it looked like the Hygianians…didn’t.
Julius grunted and looked a few times at the door. Half crouched as he was, he went on his side and pushed himself through. His armor scraping the doorframe and potentially damaging it a bit. Ashevelen followed close behind, her eyes straining for a second or two to adjust to the light in the room until eventually, like everything in her body, adapted to fit the situation.
Vetrisin, in turn, watched the two squeeze through the doorway with her lips pursed. The large Gorgon Strain woman, five meters and thirty centimeters from end to end, studied the aperture with an expression of immense distaste. Doorways. Always, these foreigners had the tiniest doorways. Eventually distaste gave way to resignation as she contorted her long snakelike body to squeeze through the opening, momentarily becoming stuck before, after pulling with all four arms, she managed to force herself through.
Behind her, her guard, a Shinchu Strain, simply walked through with a poorly disguised grin at seeing her boss flummoxed by something as simple as a doorway.
The meeting room is bright, maybe a bit too much, the walls are an equally bright white and the room overall lacks most other colors, the only exceptions being two small plants at the entrance, some red coming from the chandelier and the Hyginian leader with her red and purple uniform. ”Welcome, I’m the First Star Admiral of Hyginus, you can call me Reecka. Please take a seat.” Reecka motions to the seats and couches in the room.
Dressed in her golden clothing and Julius’s golden armor, they stood out in the room. Size didn’t matter in this case, most of the other nations looked tiny in comparison to the Chosen.
“ I am Ashevelen, the leader of the Chosen and this is my bodyguard, Julius. We apologize but we won’t take a seat. Nothing against your customs, but as you can see, your chairs aren’t accustomed to fit us. Behind me, the Ishtarian committee will be arriving soon.”
As if on cue, the two Ishtari followed up behind them. Vetrisin’s immaculately pressed dress uniform was ruffled and slightly disheveled from the squeezing she had had to do in order to force herself through. She glided serenely into the room all the same, seeming for all the world not to notice the errant strands of hair in her eyes or how the gentle pulsing of the glowing filaments that grew from her body had given way to a stronger red as her twin hearts beat with the suppressed anxiety and indignance from her inconvenience.
Behind her walked her single guard, primary arms tucked neatly behind her back, and secondary claw arms folded at her side. Where the crisply starched uniform did not cover, much of her primary arms could be seen to be covered in chitinous plates or downy white fluff, while even hidden by cloth the secondary arms were unmistakably natural weapons. Her wide, purple eyes glowed with a gentle pulsing light as did the swirling markings that cascaded across much of her skin. Her mouth seemed human at first glance, but closer inspection revealed a tight series of lines where the lower jaw could split into two pieces, doubtless concealing rows of razor sharp teeth.
“As I mentioned over our comms, I am Sister-Speaker 3-17 Vetrisin Sings The Ancient Songs of Wisdom, representative of the Commonality of New Ishtar in Chosen space.” The massive snake-woman said to Reecka, bowing to her slightly, “A pleasure to make your acquaintance, First Star Admiral Reecka.”
Looking at the foreign delegation Reecka nodded her head ”That is not an issue but if there is something I can do to make you more comfortable please tell me.” she said towards Ashevelen and her bodyguard. Aliens, probably, could have been worse Reecka thought looking at the weird bunch in front of her, everyone looked from a different race, was it an intergalactic alliance of sorts? Even then Ashevelen looked much more human than anything else.
”I think we should cut the pleasantries and explain the current situation, as you may have deduced from our… hasted explorative mission, a Gateway residing in our system has opened and brought us here. We are not sure whether someone was behind the event and what their intentions might be, we believe this threat might come from a civilisation based around Earth, also Terra or Gaia if these names perhaps remind you of something.”
The Star Admiral took a moment to look at the alien delegates once more, they were attentive and quite importantly it seemed they were not thrown off by what she said, do they know of Earth already? ”We wish to form friendly relations if possible, we still need to discover the rest of the galaxy and trade would benefit all of us.”
Vetrisin nodded. “Correct, both the Chosen and ourselves, as well as numerous other surviving colonies of the Great Exodus, have found our ways back to old earth. We have established a large space station in orbit around it and have begun the formation of an interstellar community of sorts.” She smiled, “We’re glad to find more of our brothers and sisters from earth have survived to meet us. As far as the opening of the Gateways - that is something we have yet to understand. All of us have scientists working to decipher their mysteries, but for now we unfortunately can offer you nothing in regards to that.”
She looked to Ashe for a moment, waiting to see if the leader of the Chosen wished to speak, before continuing. “We would welcome another member of our galactic community.”
Ashevelen nodded at Vetrisin, motioning her to continue speaking.
”I’m glad we all agree to form friendly relations.” Reecka said before thinking of the implications of what the snake-woman just said, they come from Earth!? Does it mean that Vetrisin’s ancestors were both human and snake before… also how can moths mutate to get that big?
”I see…” the Star Admiral said, still confused, at least the issue of a terran enemy might be solved, maybe, but one can only wonder how other survivors of the disaster have become.
”Then we can ascertain there is no Terran threat, correct? Also we will be sending a diplomatic ship on Sol to get in this galactic community, I will personally make sure the diplomats are competent and open-minded.” She finishes while looking at her personal device to see that the survey ship just jumped back to Cygni Geminae. ”And somewhat braver as well.
Julius studied the galaxy’s newest newcomers, looking for anything that might prompt him to intervene but finding nothing and looking at Ashevelen before making a grunting, Ashe nodded gently and soon his body started to release pheromones in the air. A sweet smell soon filled the room.
“ I hope you don’t mind the smell. I can assure you, it is peaceful. A sign of trust, you may call it. ” said Ashevelen in a polite voice, making a smell break to breathe in her sweet perfume and then continued “ Before we answer that, I think it’s worth stating the obvious or the not so obvious. Both the Chosen and the Ishtarians are human, originally from Earth. Same as yourselves. Through biological, cybernetic and something else for the Isharians, enhancement we have surpassed our original human forms. In the Chosen case, our goldilocks planet wasn’t that at all. RADX-001 is indeed a good planet, lush forests, a massive ocean and a multitude of lifeforms…the only problem is that everything on our planet is deadly to humans, even the atmosphere. As such, I’ve devoted my life, even before the Great Exodus, to the enhancement of the human DNA and I can say I’ve been successful. ”
Ashevelen waited a few minutes for the realization of her actual age to sink in before continuing “ I am over 300 years old before you ask but that’s irrelevant. Now, back to the Terran threat. The threat exists currently, just not from Earth itself. There’s another nation out there that wishes to enslave everyone. Kill them if they don’t accept enslavement. Vetrisin, does that summarize it enough? ” said Ashevelen while slightly turning her head towards Vetrisin.
Vetrisin’s expression turned to one of immense distaste at these words, not at Ashevelen or those around her, but of the subject at hand. “Yes.” She said after some delay, “The People’s Union of New Terra specifically. A human supremacist, violent, authoritarian nightmare of a nation. We have obtained footage from surveillance probes of the slave camps in which they work millions to death and where millions more are held against their will for no crime of their own. We, and the Chosen, are preparing for war.”
After a moment, she nodded to Ashevelen, “And on that original lighter note, yes, both us and the Chosen originate from Old Earth just as you. Our people were trapped by the gateway collapse whilst mid-transit, resulting in us being trapped in… what is difficult to describe as a place outside of the universe itself. I do not wish to speak of everything that transpired within but our present forms are largely the result of that time. Much like the Chosen, however, we have augmented ourselves extensively through biological and cybernetic means. New Ishtar itself is… well, a hellhole for those not adapted to it, should your people wish to visit our space they will unfortunately be required to keep to the orbital stations for their own safety.”
Pheromones in the air, this better not have any medical complications, the whole section of the ship has been quarantined anyway and the air is likely to get thrown out into space, but if they find anything wrong with her health statistics it could mean staying stuck on this ship for a while, which is annoying.
”If that is the case we can safely assume most of your people also arrived via a generation ship, correct?” Reecka looked at the camera for a split second, what might be going through the security guard’s mind? Hopefully she isn’t the only one who reached the same conclusion about how the Ishtari… came to be like this. Some oligarchs are probably going to call the footage fake until they see a snake woman themselves.
”I’m sure we can exchange our respective stories at a later moment.” Reecka said, coughing up a little, a bit embarrassed of her own thoughts.
“ Everyone with certain exceptions arrived via generation ships. Feel free to ask any question you may have of us, Admiral. Both Ishtar and my Chosen are happy to answer any and all questions you may have about us, our nations or simply the state of the galaxy. I’m sure it must be hard from your nation’s POV to meet two great nations so soon after your Gateway opening and not only that, but to find out you are not alone at all anymore. ” quickly replied Ashe.
”It will take some time for everyone to adapt to the new state of, well everything, going to the meeting place and becoming part of this galactic community will definitely help. Then again what is the current state of Sol and the galaxy as a whole? You did say there is Terran threat , just not from Earth itself, that honestly seems to be a complicated matter.”
“ We’ve got the Terran threat as a major concern. Other than that, we’ve got the Yulzan and the FRA. One alien species with some humans and a human colony alongside other types of aliens fighting each other, in fact, that was the first contact the Chosen had with the other nations. Two battlecruisers, one from each faction, burst into our system shooting missiles at each other. As for the others…” replied Ashe and reached inside her clothes and pulled a data-storage device from a tiny, almost invisible pocket.
“ We were prepared for this, please accept this gift. It’s similar tech to what was used previously on Earth, it should work on any type of computer. The details of each of the galaxy’s current nations. You’ve got contact information, details about their home planets that are available to tourists etc. ” continued Ashe while leaving the data-storage device on the table in front of them, bending slightly to put it there.
Vetrisin nodded. “If you wish to know the full gritty story, I’m sure many of our people would be happy to talk your ear off for an afternoon and fill you in on everything. The simple explanation of who we are is that our Ark was trapped… elsewhere for a very long time, and we were mutated while within it, and we made some extra changes after that. A more pressing matter, as Ashevelen mentioned, is the People’s Union of New Terra. An autocratic, imperialist nation bent on interstellar conquest. The full information should be contained within Ashevelen’s drive there, but we think you ought to know what you’re dealing with. We expect war to erupt sooner rather than later. You’ve found the rest of humanity at an inopportune time, unfortunately.”
”Conflict was the common state of things in old earth was it not? I can’t make any promises right now but it’s very possible we’ll help you in a war with these imperialists from New Terra.” Reecka looked at the small device on the table, it’s probably best to test it out right now and also find a good place for it where it would not be lost.
”Is there a problem if we try this right now?” Reecka asked, taking the small data-storage device.
Ashevelen nodded slightly and replied “ Conflict is a common state of things between all humans. Earth wasn’t destroyed by people but by greed of a few. Something I sought long and hard to abolish.
Not at all, feel free to try it. ” ended Ashe with a smile.
”Alright then.” Said Reecka trying to plug it into a computer on the wall. ”This is connected to the big screen behind you, right on top of the entrance. Now this is a non-standard plug , for us at least, it’s got internal pins so I’ll just take this converter… Reecka kept fiddling with connectors and a couple adapters for a minute while muttering to herself. ”Aaand we’re done, this should work fine for later as well.” with that the large screen flashed to reveal what was in the portable database, while Reecka controlled it with her device.
On the screen images started to appear and soon the Meeting Place was shown. Each image showing a different part of the station and the nations that have chosen to take part in the project. As soon as an image was pointed at, it would open up a screen with multiple options that could be selected, history, location in the galaxy, known relations with the other nations etc.
“ Nothing there is secret and they’re taken from public databases, so, feel free to peruse it at your own will. Take it as a welcome package to the wider galaxy, if you will. ” replied Ashe.
Looking through all the different sections there were descriptions and data for over a dozen civilizations that many?, the presence of all these nations within one galactic community is a massive development, surely it’s best not to make enemies out of them, this New Terra will probably discover that soon enough.
”Well then, we’ll make sure to send ships and material to expand the station for our entry, for the time being we will also need some time to analyze all this new information.”
“ That is understandable. Take as much time as you want. If you need help with materials, the Chosen stand ready to help and I’m sure that my Ishtarian counterpart will say the same. Also, in the Chosen sector of the meeting place, we’ve set up a hospital. Any and all injuries can be healed. Missing limbs, cancer and what-not. If it isn’t something we’ve seen before, our Clerics will devise a way to treat it. Free of charge, of course. ” replied Ashe with a smile.
Vetrisin nodded. “We and the Chosen possess, without hyperbole, the most advanced medical science of any of earth’s children. If you have any sick or injured, old or infirm, and cannot help them - we will take them in and heal them. All are welcome - and we welcome you.” She smiled, “Glad to have another nation join the galaxy.”
”We do in fact have issues treating things like cancer, lung damage and missing limbs, once we get confirmation and the paperwork done we might send them over, even better if we could gain this medical knowledge and treat them at home.” It was sure an odd offer to make in a first contact with another nation, how many would have said no due to how suspicious it is?.
Well this is fortunately not a big issue, sure most Governor-Generals wouldn’t want words spilling out but at the same time a lot of them would probably be happy to rid themselves of those people, and surely they would select the more fortunate and the recently injured. Exchanging human lives has never been a problem, and with the prospect of saving in the long run it should not be even for the few who still have moral integrity.
Raising an eyebrow, Ashevelen smiled and put a hand inside her dress once again, this time, taking out a small vial (for a Chosen).
“ You’d be asking us to send over tech our people have been working on for over 300 years, you do realize that? But, I do understand the caution. What if this is just a big ruse for you to send your people over and then we’d enslave them or use them for experiments? ” replied Ashe, sharply but not without diplomacy. She held the vial towards the light a second and pretended to look through it, then put it on the table.
“ This is one of our earlier types of medicine. It will cure most minor diseases, cuts and illnesses. I’m more than happy to exemplify, if you’ve got anyone with something like this on the ship. ”
Vetrisin nodded, “We are happy to help, but you ask us to simply give you technology and capabilities we have developed over centuries. These are some of our most prized capabilities - would you turn over the blueprints to your most advanced warships to us? I would offer you something smaller, but Ashevelen has beat me to it.”
They were cautious as well, it makes sense but it seemed a bit weird after such a proposal, then again they had a massive fleet outside their gate. ”That is understandable, perhaps we can arrange something different in the future. Now about this, vial? Does it work by injection, consumption? I would be sorry if it gets wasted by someone using it improperly.”
Ashevelen smiled at Vetrisin, " Hasn't Tiamat told you? I'm always prepared. She was the one that would stay locked up in her room while I was the one prepping for the unavoidable. "
Turning towards the admiral, Ashevelen added. " It works in any way you can think of. Contact on skin, injection, consumption. You shouldn't feel bad, this is something we give our babies when they're sick in the first stages of life. We've got more than we need and it's easy to produce…for us. " smiled Ashe as she explained. Truly this medicine was a parlor trick in comparison to the other stuff they had.
" As I said before, if you've got someone sick on the ship, bring them here and see the medicine in action. If it proves that it kills the person or whatever devious plot you may think we have, don't forget you've got the leader of a very-very loyal nation to its leader, in your ship. They won't shoot you down or anything of the sorts while I'm here. " The truth was that between the four of them, they could easily escape the ship if that was needed.
”Oh do not worry I’m not one to doubt others, unless you really insist on it. Is there anything else you wish to talk about?”
“ I particularly do insist. I understand the caution, but, give us a chance. ”
”Alright then, give me a moment.” Reecka said while getting up and walking up to one of the guards at the entrance, speaking low so not to be easily heard but to those with a keen ear, or biologically enhanced hearing, it would sound like a drunk azulvistan speaking gibberish and changing cadence midword.
The guard ran off and sure enough after a couple minutes they returned accompanied by a man with scars on his face and two fingers missing in his right hand. ”In this ship we don’t have people with grave illnesses or missing large limbs for obvious reasons, but it still would be hugely impressive if it can regenerate fingers and such.”
Ashevelen approached the tiny man and looked at him with a doctor’s eye. Looking at the scars, fingers, everything that could determine the medical status of the patient.
“ Hmmm. Very much deteriorated fingers, bad overall health…not that much variety of food in your home system? This should heal him up a bit and if not, I’ve got something stronger on me…just in case. ” replied Ashe, her voice neutral.
With a smile and a murmured “sorry for the pain”, she took out a syringe, put it in the vial and inserted it directly in the man’s hand, where the two fingers were missing. Initially nothing would happen but then the man would start to feel pain as the body would go into overdrive. The scars were the first to be healed, his face becoming as it was before them. His hand would start to itch and from the place where his fingers were, a red area would appear which would burn him badly and then, his fingers would start to grow back. Slowly but surely.
“ In about 10 to 20 minutes, your fingers are going to be back as they were previously. Any other internal injuries should be cleared up as well. Oh’ and for the pain…” said Ashe and then snapped her fingers. Almost immediately, Julius grunted loudly and pheromones would start to flood the room. Anyone in it, would soon forget about whatever pain they had as the pheromones would trick the brain into forgetting that it was there in the first place.
Vetrisin smiled at the two. “Perhaps you wish for a more dramatic demonstration?” Looking to Ashevelen for confirmation for a second, she rolled back her sleeve and held her arm out horizontally. Pheromones flooded the room from the glands on her neck, giving a calming sensation to the Hyginians.
With a moment to process her request, her aide raised one of the bladed secondary arms, the limb flashing through the air in a blur of motion towards the outstretched arm of her commander. Vetrisin gave no sign other than a grunt as the bladed arm shredded through flesh and bone in an instant, the severed limb - nearly the size of many people’s legs - dropped to the floor. Obligingly, she bent down and retrieved the amputated arm, passing it towards her commander, before subconsciously wiping the bloodstain from the natural blade that made up her arm and returning it to its folded position.
Vetrisin looked at Ashevelen with a smile, seemingly showing no pain as she held the heavy limb in another arm. “If you would?”
Ashevelen looked in disbelief at Vetrisin. While she knew very well that she had the means to repair it on her own, doing a move such as this in front of new people that they were to impress…it was just the crazy type of plan that Tatiana would try to convince her of in their teens.
Julius quickly approached Ashevelen and a small hatch opened in his armor, inside were emergency supplies, as Ashe was always prepped for things going awry and just in case she would be injured too much, these would allow Julius to heal her enough for her body to do the rest.
“ You’re lucky I’ve planned for something like this. ” quickly said Ashe as she took out two vials from the med-kit and one syringe. Quickly calculating how much she should use on a body Vetrisin sized, she took a bit of each vial in the syringe and moved her hands at an inhuman speed to mix them together.
She took Vetrisin’s arm in one hand, noticing that it was heavier than it looked, and injected Vetrisin’s stump with the concoction from the syringe. Holding close the previously detached arm to the stump, the bone, muscles, skin and everything that holds an arm together started to regenerate and link together. In less than 5 minutes, the whole arm would be back to normal. Of course, if it would’ve been anyone other than an Ishtarian with enhanced biology, they would’ve experienced lethal side-effects considering the concoction was made specifically for emergencies.
As the scene was taking place the reactions were pretty much what you would expect from regular humans, a guard went out the door, two more instinctively went for their guns only just stopping themselves and the newly arrived crewman who just got his fingers back stood there in utter shock. The admiral similarly watched the demonstration with wide eyes and a face of shock and partial disgust, staying almost immobile.
Only when it was over would she shake herself off and speak. ”That was… please don’t do it again, or at least warn everyone beforehand.” at least it was now clear to everyone they not only look weird but they also act weird.
Vetrisin grinned, “A dramatic demonstration was in order. You were doubtful. What better way to demonstrate the capabilities of our technology than a demonstration like that?” She gestured about the room, the freshly reattached arm showing no signs of damage or impediment. She paused, “I sense I have made an error. Are such displays frowned upon where you are from, then?” She asked with genuine curiosity evident in her words. “If so, please accept my heartfelt apologies.”
Reecka nodded slightly ”It is not ordinary for us that’s for sure, but I understand things must be… different where you are from. I suggest you at least give a warning next time, could help in your diplomatic endeavors. Well, are there more demonstrations you would like to show us?” She said a bit worried for what might happen next.
“ I’m sure that’s more than enough. I assure you, the Chosen are not like the Ishtarians from this point of view but Vetrisin made a valid point. You were doubtful, now you’re not. Technology-wise, between the Chosen and the Ishtarians, there are no others in this galaxy that know the human body as well as we do. I don’t think there’s any need for more demonstrations. You’ve seen our technology and you’ve seen a part of our fleet. What’s there more to say? ” replied Ashe.
”Nothing else for now, the achievements of your technology are clear to us now and I’m sure we’ll get to know more of them with time. We're also thankful for your cordiality and invitation to the meeting place. I sure was not expecting this meeting. Now if you have any more questions or points you’d like to bring up, I’m all ears, otherwise I’d say I don’t have anything more to ask.”
“ Nothing from me and if nothing from Vetrisin, I shall be taking my leave. Thank you for your time. ” replied Ashe with her usual smile
Vetrisin nodded, subconsciously smoothing out the wrinkles in her outfit as she thought of having to squeeze through the doorway once again. “Likewise, I have nothing more to add. If you wish it we will contact you through official channels at a later date to further discuss that which has been brought up here. If that is all, after you, Ashevelen.”
The Journey - Part 1 - Now - The edge of the Umbral Forest
" I told you we should’ve followed the river and not gone through those bushes. We’re lost now. " the elf said annoyed to her companions, just after she stepped into some animal droppings.
" Every time you leave home, Another road takes you Into a world you were never in." replied the Satyr to the confusion of the elf, in a sing-song voice.
" That doesn't make any sense. What road, what world? ” said the elf, more annoyed than confused now.
“ Quiet you two. Do you hear that? ” said Penumbra with raised hand. Their shadowy arms moulding into swords as they prepared for battle.
“ An invisible hawk circles, an invisible tree, prey could it be me? ” asked the Satyr, continuing his musical tune.
More rustling of the leaves, bushes moving and a whistle, followed up by more. Almost immediately after the whistles ended, some shapes could be seen moving closer to the group.
As the figures approached, a spear suddenly flew into the air right towards the elf’s body but before it could hit, the elf [guardian] uttered a word and activated their enhanced reflexes skill and her own spear moved as if by magic, breaking the spear at the tip but it wasn't enough, more spears were being thrown at them from different directions at once. It seemed that the group was close to meeting their end…
4 hours ago - Outskirts of Shadowton
Days passed after Ashevelen went inside her realm and in this time, Penumbra searched for companions. Not knowing how the journey will be but expecting danger lurking at every, especially upon leaving the Umbral Forest, they looked everywhere for someone willing to follow them. 'Alas, they refused to use the Goddess’s favour to force anyone to join them which meant they were short of allies. The Umbra citing different reasons as to why not, while the Satyrs simply refused outright. All but one that said he might be interested but never showed up to the meeting place.
The time to leave was almost nigh when fortune smiled upon Penumbra. This fortune was in the shape of a tall elven woman. A level 3, [protector] class red-haired elf with a long ponytail, two differently coloured eyes and barely any clothing on her.
“ Sorry, I no away speak apple language, you. You, tree Penumbra? Leaving? ” said the elf in Black Speech, her accent heavy most of the words came off weirdly from her mouth as she struggled to pronounce them, causing them to sound different than what they supposed to.
Penumbra looked at her with curiosity and confusion. They barely understood what the elf spoke and the elf was speaking in Black Speech or something of the sorts as they barely understood what they wanted. Shaking their head, Penumbra replied back in the elven language, kindly.
“ Apologies but I barely understood a word of what you said. Can you please repeat? ”
Relief was obvious on the elf’s face. Quickly regaining her composure, she smiled at Penumbra before replying, in a very happy voice.
“ Ah! You speak elf! That’s going to make things easier then. I was already prepared to just follow you around until you get the idea. ”
“ I still don’t know who you are and what you require, elf. ”
Casually facepalming herself, the elf replied quickly.
“ I’ve got no manners, apologies. My name is Custosa, a level 3 [protector] class of…nowhere. No tribe. ” her voice turning sour at the mention of her being tribeless.
“ Greeting Custosa, I’m Penumbra as you figured out. Level 2 [champion] as recognized by the Goddess herself. You said leaving earlier on in Black Speech, if you were asking if I’m leaving, the answer is yes. Embarking on a divine quest given by the Goddess herself! ”
“ Perfect! That’s exactly what the other elves were saying from what I heard. Do you require another companion? I wish to leave these forests but no one else shall take me. ”
“ It seems we’re in the same situation, Custosa. I would be honoured if you’d join me and no, I don’t want to know why none others will take you. Do you wish to know where we are going? ”
“ No need. Call it a fair trade, you shan’t ask me about my past. I shan’t ask you about the quest. Now, when are we leaving? ” impatiently asked Custosa.
“ Agreed. My time is running out and I seem to find another person to join the party, so we’ll be leaving as soon as you gather your equipment. ”
Custosa looked at her body then around herself in embarrassment and shook her head.
“ This…is all I have. What you see on me. ”
“ I can’t accept that. We go out like that, we won’t end up far. Come, I’ve earned quite some money out of the trade with your people. I’ll buy you some equipment and you’ll owe me a favour. Agreed? ”
As soon as Custosa agreed, they went over to the marketplace. After half an hour of haggling with a young Umbra, they finally were on their way. Custosa, now dressed up like a [protector] with thick clothing covering her whole body and armed with a long shadow-wood spear, looked more like one than a homeless person.
2 hours ago - Somewhere in the Umbral Forest
“ You’re telling me you never had beer? Never tried it? Not even a sip? ” asked Custosa in a very surprised manner.
“ Nope, never. It sells well between the Satyrs and elves but I’ve never seen an Umbra that liked the taste of elven beer. There was talk about someone trying to copy your method and changing the ingredients, in the living quarters, the other night but don’t know if they will do it or not. ”
“ I can’t believe it. We sold you the technology and you already try to modify it. ” quickly replied Custosa with a grin.
“ How long will I wait? Most of life is time. When is my moment to shine? ” a person from above the party sang, their voice sweet like honey.
With a raised hand, Custosa jumped in front of Penumbra, her spear pointing forward. Ready to skewer any foe that might come.
“ Easy there, Custosa. I know that voice. He’s the third party member that I thought he decided against coming with us.. ” said Penumbra to the over-protective Custosa before raising their voice and shouting “ Hey, Dahm! Come down. ”
Soon after Penumbra finished shouting, leaves started to move above them and then with loud THUD a small Satyr, fell to the ground. Giving him a hand to stand up which he took gracefully, Dahm gave a quiet thank you (in rhyme) to Penumbra before looking at Custosa and giving her a proper bow.
“ Those two dreamy eyes Full of determination Yes! She'll win all the fights. ” sang Dahm with a grin. Clearly enjoying the view of Custosa, she in turn gave him a look of confusion.
“ What? Why is he talking like that? ”
“ We don’t know. Last member of a scouting party that went missing. They found him like that, can’t speak a word without making a song out of it. Somehow. ”
“ Truth is good, Truth is soul, Truth is well deeds of life and soul. ”
“ I thought you weren't coming anymore. This is Custosa, a level 3 [protector] and our new companion for the road. ”
“ I think a lot day by day The more i think, The more I am confused, I want to explore, But I got lost,” replied Dahm with another bow towards Custosa.
“ I’ve got no idea what he’s saying. Not sure how you understand him. So, he’s a bard of sorts? ”
As soon as the words came out of Custosa’s mouth, a notification could be heard in Dahm’s mind.
[Class Unlocked - Bard] [Level 1] [New Ability - Song of Confusion]
“ Facing a new day. Taking the risks of living. No choice but courage.” said Dahm the Bard as received the new level.
“ I think you’ve just levelled him up. We’ve called him the poet before but the bard works too. Dahm the Bard, has a nice ring to it. ”
Now - The edge of the Umbral Forest
Custosa proved herself true to her class as she protected Dahm from the spear. Dahm simply squealed and scrambled for cover, only to be grabbed by the shirt and lifted in the air by a massive elf which appeared behind them. Other elves quickly surrounded the group, their leader was a short elf which stepped in front of his group.
" Look everyone. One of them Umbra creatures. I bet this one can be traded for a lot of stuff. " proclaimed the elf bandit with a grin while pointing at Penumbra.
Custosa was staring daggers at the group and gripped her spear tightly while Penumbra’s own form twisted and changed, spikes and long spears appeared instead of their hands and all over their body.
" I am the Champion of Ashevelen, the Goddess. You would do good to leave us alone. 'Lest you attract the ire of the Lady Of The Trade and Shadows. " replied Penumbra with a threatening tone.
The bandit leader looked around, then at his companions, very seriously before starting to laugh out loud. His companions soon joining him in laughter and joke making.
" I don't see any Goddess, dumb shadow and if you're so precious to her, let her come over and trade with us for your life. "
As soon as the elf stopped talking, Penumbra uttered a word and activated their [champion] class, skill called [Inspire]. Almost instantly Dahm stopped trembling in fear and activated his own skill [Song of Confusion] which made the bandits for a few seconds to hear howls, see shapes in the forest and pretty much anything that would confuse such a low-level foe.
The effect of the skill was clear, their grip on their weapons tightened, their eyes scanning the forest for threats and it was enough. The two skills combined gave the Penumbra party a massive advantage, one they wouldn't waste. A spear here, a bandit cut almost in two there and soon the battle war over. The Penumbra group was victorious but not without any injuries, a deep cut over Custosa’s eye, Dahm was covered in small cuts from the spears he barely managed to dodge…when he could and of course, Penumbra. Their first real battle left a mark on their shadowy form, barely seen with the naked eye enough for them to feel it for months to come.
The heroes quickly bandaged their wounds to the best of their limited abilities and continued their journey.
To be continued…
Penumbra doesn’t have a party but eventually finds one poet to go with them on a journey but then the poet doesn’t show up. An elf with a potential dark past joins Penumbra and they leave, only to meet the poet in the woods who only spoke in haikus or verse which confused the elf who didn’t understand a word even if they spoke the same language. The elf names the poet a bard and lo’ and behold’ that’s what everyone else was calling them ‘thus they gain the [Bard] class.
They get attacked by bandits and everyone gets injured…one way or the other but still win and then they leave.
Starting Spirit: 8
+1 Spirit - Appeared in the post +1 Spirit - Longer than 5k characters +1 Spirit - Longer than 10k characters +1 Spirit - Creator doesn’t appear in the post
And time passed once more. Shadowton grew once more, adding two more circles around it to support the growing population and of course, the growing trade. The elves proved true to their word and they brought goods, technology and different other stuff from their side of their woods, while the Umbra traded their building technology. All in all, it was a profitable trade for both nations.
In all this time, Ashevelen travelled the world under whatever guise the mortals she met needed to be trustful of her and she did what she knew best, trade. Ever looking for someone to outsmart her, her travels brought her all over the world but she was mindful, no more intruding over the domains of different divines. No more distractions.
But, it was time to go back to Shadowton. Penumbra and the others were left alone for far too long and mortals being mortals, they need constant supervision ‘lest they end up breaking themselves somehow. Summoning her shadows, Ashevelen flew over the world at an impossible speed and reached the Umbral Forest in mere minutes.
A celebration ensued as the Umbra/Satyr mortals found their Goddess waiting in the “Trade Square”. For a few days and a few nights, the Umbra stayed in line to trade with the Goddess. Maybe-maybe one of them would manage to profit, but, of course, they still had a lot to learn before they could best their creator.
After the party ended and the line of merchants reached an end, Ashevelen raised her head from the ground she used as a “pillow” when she heard a polite Aham . One more Umbra, last one. Opening her eyes, she was surprised to see Penumbra himself. Recently returned from a trip down to the coast, the champion raced back home as fast as they could when they heard the creator came back.
“ Great Goddess it’s an honour to lay my eyes upon your form. ” said Penumbra with a low bow.
“ Penumbra, my champion. You’re back from the new village site. I was lost in my thoughts, apologies, what do you require? A trade, perhaps? ”
“ It is I who should apologise, my Goddess, for disturbing you. Surely whatever you were thinking about was certainly more important than me. I did not come for trading this time but to ask questions. ” replied Penumbra with a very apologetic tone.
“ My thoughts involve you, Penumbra, as a matter of fact. But, go on, ask away. I have a few free moments before I start my work. ”
“ I am humbled to hear that I’m in your thoughts, great Goddess. My question is this. What’s my purpose? Why have I been made your champion? I am not the best merchant in Shadowton, surely there were better choices. ” Ashevelen stood up from her place on the ground and Penumbra kneeled straight away, thinking that they angered the Goddess.
“ You dare question me? ” replied Ashe while laughing gently and before Penumbra could start apologising, she continued “ Don’t worry. You have not angered me. It’s a good question. One I asked myself multiple times. In truth, I made you on a whim. I wished to see how the Umbra will grow if I give one some actual power. I haven’t made a mistake in promoting you if that’s what you’re thinking. Does that answer your question? ”
“ It does, Goddess but it raises more questions. I want to prove to you that the Umbra deserve to exist, we know that you can erase us from existence with a mere thought and I can speak in the name of all Umbra that we’re honoured that you’ve chosen to give us life. That is all I wished to ask of you, unless you wish your forever servant to stay here, I shall leave you. ”
“ Some of those questions you’ll have to answer yourself, Penumbra. I can’t provide you all the answers even if I wanted to do so and as I said, I do have something in mind for you. A quest. ”
“ Anything you want, I shall do. ”
“ Leave Shadowton and take two more people with you. Anyone you wish, tell them it is my will. Walk this world as I did until now. Travel to the desert city in the north-west, meet the Umbra there and see how they fare. Afterwards, go north and keep north until you reach the ice glaciers, see if Umbras can live there. Mark a spot for a future village then come back. In this journey, you’ll find answers to your questions. Is that clear? ”
“ That will take a long time, my Goddess but I understand. Your forever servant will do what it must. I shall gather a party and leave by nightfall. ”
“ Yes, it will take a long time for your mortal legs. Don’t leave by nightfall. I give you a week to prepare. Take whatever you need in your journey. ”
And so, Penumbra, now charged with a divine quest and more questions than answers, left the Goddess to her own plans. Oh’ and mighty plans she had. For it was time for the lady of trade and shadows to make her own realm. Maybe advance the Umbra a bit more in the meanwhile.
Raising a hand in the air, a shadow ball lifted into the sky and it went up and up and up. Darkening the whole town of Shadowton. Initially the villagers rejoiced thinking that their Goddess blessed them with something before the ball made a circle in the air and started, with increasing speed, to approach the village. Becoming bigger and bigger as it approached the village and that's when the screaming started. Umbras and Satyrs ran in all directions before being stopped by a clap from their Goddess.
The shadow ball stopped above Ashevelen’s finger and slowly started to absorb the Goddess and the Trade Square until eventually either remained. Only the shadow ball, to the bewilderment of the gathered Umbra/Satyrs. They circled the shadow ball but were too afraid to touch it ‘lest they draw the ire of their creator. The shadow ball made weird sounds, akin to a vum-vum-vum-vum , around it and seemed to be in constant movement. Spinning and spinning until it spewed out solid strings of shadow which the Umbra around were more than confused about but thinking it’s a gift from the Goddess, collected it for safekeeping.
Things were different inside the shadow ball for a realm was being formed. Stretching as far as even Ashevelen’s divine sight could see, a cube was being formed. Taller than tall and wider than the wide, it stretched in all directions and in the center laid the Goddess herself.
As the cube was finally formed, market stalls would appear out of the ground. Millions of them, each currently empty but in time, they will be manned and filled by mortal goods and Umbra hands. Buildings would appear as well, shadowy versions of those that Ashevelen has seen in her travels, a mixture of mortal architecture and style. A place where anyone could find something that will remind them of home.
Ashevelen concentrated even more and a massive tower rose beneath her feet, forming around herself, marking the center of her realm and the seat of her power with a view of all of her realm. But her work was not done. More had to be done, more and more!
Chanting some words in forgotten languages, she conjured a massive amount of divine energy and reached across the world to every shadow in the world. Every single one of them, from the smallest shadow done by a candlelight to the biggest shadow of a mountain at noon. Ashevelen touched each and every single one of them with her power, moulding them, changing them from mere shadows to a portal to her realm. Inert initially but upon uttering the words “We wish to barter with the Lady of the Trade” in any language that mortals know or thinking about Ashe’s realm and trading there and an offering thrown in the shadow, they would allow passage to her realm. To her bazaar.
And even more, all the Umbra would feel the knowledge in their mind. They all would end up, if they followed their commandments, in her realm upon death as merchants. Their souls forever trading with the other mortals, always looking to enrich their creator. Once an Umbra approaches the moments before their, any and all objects they stored within themselves would be brought before the Goddess herself for one last trade. If the Goddess would find their object worthy or if they would sell them properly, the objects would then be taken to be sold once more in the bazaar but if not, then, they would be thrown out of their dying body. Discarded as useless.
What felt like an hour of work for Ashevelen, for the mortals outside her realm, it was a week or two. Finally coming out of her shadow ball, Ashevelen noticed that walls were being built around it. Walls which she almost broke as she came out of the ball in her full form, before realising and changing shapes. Her arrival was met with surprise which then turned into yet another celebration.
Explaining to the Umbra the new rules was harder than she thought initially but after a few tries, they understood and some even scrambled to bring objects to her that they thought useful to buy a place into her realm prior to their deaths which was refused straight away.
It was finally her time to be surprised when she noticed a Satyr wearing something covering his body made out of shadows. Questions were asked and answered straight away, Penumbra had an idea about how to use the solid-shadow strings that would come out of the realm’s entrance and taught it to the others. The result was clothes made out of it. Very crudely made clothes but it was a spark and that would be enough to grow into a proper fire .
During her time creating the Shadow Bazaar, Penumbra already recruited 2 companions and made their way towards the desert but not before teaching the Umbra. Getting the idea from their own flexible limbs and the clothes that the Satyr would make, it took a few tries until they learned it themselves.
Ashevelen creates her realm and makes it accessible to everyone via the shadows of the world which she enchants to allow passage to her realm and back again to the same exact spot provided they think/utter the magic words and offer something to the Goddess. At the same time, the entrance to the realm, spews out a string of solid-shadows which Penumbra teaches the Umbra how to use in order to make clothes.
More importantly, Penumbra receives a divine quest.
Starting MP: 5 Starting AP: 5
-2 MP Created the Shadow Bazaar Realm -4 AP (Discounted from 8 MP) - created a shadow teleportation system -1 AP (Discounted from 2 AP) - Blessed the Umbra with the ability to enter Ashe’s realm exactly beforing dying for one last trade if the death is natural -2 MP (Discounted from 3 MP) - Created a monument which generates strings of solid-shadows which acts as an entrance
Ending MP: 1 MP Ending AP: 0 AP
Starting Spirit: 14
+1 Spirit - Appeared in the post +1 Spirit - Post is of medium length -8 Spirit - Taught the Umbra how to weave the solid-shadow string into rudimentary clothing
Penumbra and the wood elves, now temporary allies (and/or comrades), went towards the Umbra village to learn about trading and to show the benefits of having the Umbra as allies. Somewhere along the way, about twenty minutes away from the village, dark energy filled the sky and the voice of Ashevelen could be heard once more throughout the forest.
A few seconds after Ashevelen finished talking, a dark bolt of energy hit Penumbra and their upgrade was complete. Instantly afterwards, the knowledge of currency and how it works filled their mind as well.
“ Goddess! We thank you! ” shouted Penumbra happily as two legs grew from their body, quickly touching the ground.
The elves were a little freaked out by this at first, leaping away from Penumbra when the Umbra was struck, and then gradually re-approaching once the coast was clear. Several of them gave Penumbra’s new legs a curious and/or weirded out look over while the rest just wanted to know what was up.
“So, ah, what was that about?” the charismatic but low level [adventurer] Fang hesitantly asked them “Your goddess gave you… legs?”
Penumbra shook their head and smiled, kindly.
“ Not only legs but new abilities. I feel their knowledge in my mind and I know how to use them. For example, I’ll try something new because I’m very curious…” replied Penumbra as they got close to Fang’s shadow and went inside it for a few seconds, only to reappear a few metres away, from a tree.
“ I can now do this! ” they exclaimed while laughing.
The closest elf to their appearance was suitably spooked by Penumbra’s sudden re-appearance, while the rest were suitably amazed by the skill.
“Are divine blessings always that… zappy?” #bfafb2berry, the raven haired [shadowland survivor], asked “It didn’t hurt, did it?”
“ I don’t know, truly. The only blessing I received, prior to this, was when I was dying and the Goddess brought me back to life. I don’t remember much but it felt…strange. Like a burning sensation, same as if you put your hand in a fire but instead of pain, it was warm and gentle. I cannot explain it but I can tell you how I became a champion if you wish? ”
That got unanimous agreement from the [adventurers], and so, Penumbra told the tale of the “rabid” Tarsk and how they threw themselves in front of it, saving the life of a warrior even if they weren’t one.
The elves were equal parts impressed and amazed, and asked several questions for clarification or more details. But perhaps the most important ones ended up being “So what kind of class is a [champion]? It sounds really strong! What kind of skills did you get from that?”
Penumbra looked at the elves very confused. They walked in silence for a minute or two and then turned around to them.
“ I’ve got no clue what you’re talking about. What is a class? What’s [champion]? I don’t…” replied Penumbra, not understanding the question at all. Skills? Classes? And before, #bfafb2berry mentioned “levels”...all these questions were upon their mind and it was time to get answers.
It was the elves turn to be confused, the [adventurers] glacining between themselves. “Do you not have…? Not know…?” Fang asked, and when it was obvious the answer he’d get was no he tried to explain.
“It’s like, well, it's what you are. I’m an [adventurer], snail over there is a [spearelf]” he started with a present example and then got bruiader “the people who dedicate themselves to hunting are [hunters]. [gatherers] gather. And by doing the work related to your class you can gain experience. And when you get enough you gain a level in it. So I’m just a level 7 [adventurer]”
“And I’m a level 22 [shadowland survivor]” #bfafb2berry, the highest level of them, butted in to point out.
“Right, and then when you gain a level you sometimes get skills that can do all sorts of stuff. [forest traversal] makes us better at moving through the woods without even thinking about it. I think we all have that one” he checked around and got some nods “yeah, comes with being an [adventurer] looks like. Where as you can also get more unique stuff like my [calm] or #bfafb2berry’s [shadow slayer strike] she almost used on you”
“And does this sound more familiar now?” Fang asked, and again found no recognition to be found “Weird. The prince made it sound like this was just how things were. That to do a thing, to, um specialise, then you need a class”
“Maybe it was more like, you should get a class?” #bfafb2berry suggested “I can't imagine doing adventuring without all the skills we get to help. And I never would have escaped these woods if I hadn’t level up and my class had changed to give me more specialised skills to survive here on my own”
The Champion listened closely to the elves as they described what levels and classes were. Trying to the best of their ability to understand the idea behind them first and then how it would work.
“ Let me see if I got this straight. Say, I’m a normal Umbra fishing in the river, I’ll get this class thing, called [fisherman] and if I continue fishing, I’ll get these level things which will make me a better fisherman? ” asked Penumbra before continuing, “ And these abilities I’d gained from [fisherman] class, I’d just get them? Just like that? Similar to how the Goddess just blessed the Umbra with new abilities? Like, poof and I have them? ” added Penumbra.
All this time he mimicked, using his shadowy arms, the whole scene. A fisherman fishing then getting a level and new abilities to the best of his shadowy ability.
“There’s a little voice that speaks in your head that comes in when you're resting, well for us it's when we rest, other less dangerous classes just come in whenever apparently, and say, um, well ‘level up! [Fisherman] class level 4 to 5” #bfafb2berry explained “and then if you are lucky it will also go ‘skills gained: um, [fish…. Detection] and… [favoured foe: fish]’ or something and then from then on you just kinda know what skills and classes and stuff you have”
“I heard there was a [gatherer] who fell out of a tree and lost all her memory, even her name, but she still knew what her class and skills were,” Fang added anecdotally.
“ And how does one get a class then? Do we just do stuff and suddenly this “voice” starts talking to us? Do we need to trade with your divine for this power? If so, what do we need to give him or her? Our souls are given to the Goddess, already. Maybe fruit? No, no, shiny rocks? ” replied Penumbra, their voice getting high pitched as they went through different objects they could provide to Jeon and then almost instantly answering back to themselves that it is impossible.
“Huh? No no, you just get someone to initiate you in it and that’s that. Either people who already have the class can do it, I got my [adventurer] class when I joined up with my party a little while ago for example, or you get like the tribe to do it. I was a [gatherer] before, and to get that me and a bunch of others had to find these painted rocks the other [gatherers] had hidden during a little ceremony” Fang said, and then defended his tribe’s variation of the initiation with “It was symbolic!”
“ Hmmm, I think I understand. I’m not sure if I do, but I'll have a word with the High Archon, our Umbral leader and see if it’s something we can do on our own. Or, wait, I have a better idea. ” said Penumbra and then stopped abruptly, turning towards Fang and #bfafb2berry.
“ You wish to understand what trading it and we wish to know how to get this class thing. Let’s do a trade for it when we get to Shadowton. You give one of our Satyrs a class, in whatever way you see fit and we’ll teach you how to trade. Maybe we can add something else as well. Would that work for you? ”
“Um… sure?” Fang said hesitant, then seemed to think for a moment and then decided more confidently “yeah sure why not could be interesting”
“ Thank you, Fang. #bfafb2berr-” started to reply Penumbra before they were cut-off by the blood-chilling howl, followed by a few others. Shapes could be seen moving through the forest, rapidly approaching.
“What the? Barkwolves?” Fang asked/guessed but #bfafb2berry was already a step ahead when it came to alertness, commanding “Spears! Now!” and setting the elves moving. They backed up together, spears raised while one of the [spearelves] used “[quick spearwall]” to speed up the [adventurers]’ feet as they carried them into a defensive semi circle facing the source of the sound.
Penumbra quickly transformed their hands into sharp blades and stood as tall as they could, looking in all directions for the threat, only for them to stop almost straight after as the shapes they’ve seen proved to be a group of six Tarsks, that approached the group and circled them, growling at the elves while throwing a look at Penumbra and then fully ignoring them.
With a raised hand towards the elves, Penumbra quickly said, before they could take any aggressive action and potentially get themselves killed, “ Easy there, easy. Don’t attack them or you will die. They’re thinking you’re about to harm me. Put the spears down, easily. No sudden moves. Their keepers should be approaching soon and then they’ll pull them back. ”
Fang grit his teeth as the elves backed into an even tighter knot, the [adventurers] most certainly thinking about fighting rather than cowering till #bfafb2berry spoke up: “I… I trust you” she said, with a shaky breath, before she dropped her weapon. With what would have been the lynchpin of their fighting force surrendering, the rest gradually followed suit, with Fang, once he too followed, spreading his arms wide and tentatively trying to “[calm]” the situation
The closest Tarsk to Fang, continued to approach him. Slowly and stopped right next to his face, giving him a few tentative sniffs before it made a whining-like sound and gave him a big lick all over the face before settling its massive body - in comparison to Fang’s - down, next to him.
Penumbra let out a hearty laugh upon seeing the scene and as if on a queue, a whistle could be heard and a few Satyrs came from the same direction as the Tarsks could be seen approaching in a rush. Anyone could see that they were out of breath and that they’ve been running for a long time already.
As they started talking to Penumbra in #bfafb2 Speech, a long conversation followed quickly exchanging words. From time to time, as their conversation continued, they would point at the elves and the Tarsks. After what seemed like hours but it was actually a few minutes, Penumbra turned towards the elf group.
“ Sorry for this situation. These are the Satyrs, the guardians of the Umbral Forests and those are Tarsks. The ones from the story I told you before. They’ve told me off for bringing you to the village without announcing it in time and that the Tarsks would have ripped you to shreds if I wasn’t here. We’ve got free passage to Shadowton now and we’ll get an escort as well, just in case. ” explained Penumbra to the elves.
“So have these things ever actually protected anyone? Because currently that is 2 for 2 on near death misunderstandings” A wet, stiny, and ever so unamused Fang had to ask.
The Tarsk closest to Fang, growled playfully at her and, while on all fours, jumped from side to side while letting out a howl each time it landed. The Satyr Keepers looked at the scene and let out a hearty laugh before chatting between themselves. If one would take a closer look at the Tarsk, they would see that they were smaller and overall younger than the other ones.
“ Ha, ha! It looks like Tusky likes you. It wants to play! ” laughed out loud Penumbra.
“ But, to answer your question. Yes, they did. The Tarsks can eat pretty much anything and are extremely loyal, in normal conditions. It just took us a minute on how to train them and we still don’t know how to properly but in time…” answered Penumbra, as it urged the group to gather their stuff and move on towards Shadowton.
Soon, the Circle could be seen. Watch towers, walls and quite a few Satyrs manned the walls looking out in the forest for any threat. Tarsks could be seen outside as well, patrolling the immediate area. A whistle and a few howls could instantly be heard as they could be seen by the sentries and a series of different whistles came from the Satyr escort the group had.
Behind the Circle, different buildings could be seen and Umbra moving around, trading with one another, talking or simply going about their business.
“ Behold! The Satyr Circle and Shadowton inside. ” exclaimed Penumbra.
The elves were most certainly impressed by all this. A few even climbed up the watchtowers to get a better look, much to the annoyance/amusement of the satyr guards. Fang was too busy internally cursing about his new [Tarsk Tamer] class to do any diplomatting or question asking, so it wound up being #bfafb2berry who enquired “How’d you make this stuff so big? We have meditation nests and little shelters and things but this? How does it stick together and not just blow down?”
The Satyr sentries were ready to attack the elves as they climbed the watchtowers initially but Penumbra calmed them down using their status as champion and the idea that this was all for better trade opportunities.
“ That, #bfafb2berry, is something that our Goddess taught us how to do. I personally don’t know how it is done but I’m sure you can work out a trade with our builders and they can teach you. Fear not the shadows or anything at all while within our walls. We are not a warrior people as you might've guessed, it is in our nature to trade and amass knowledge. " said Penumbra as Umbra and Satyrs gathered and watched the group from a distance.
Turning towards Fang, they smiled and said " I shall speak with the tamers to see if they'll allow you to keep the Tarsk as a sign of goodwill or a favour in the future. "
“Joy” the [Tarsk Tamer] replied, as the horror he was now inseparably bonded to scampered along after him. The rest of the elves gave his new pet a wide berth, when they weren't too busy taking in the strange world they had found themselves in.
#bfafb2berry and a few of the others gave the citizens of the town a wave before the [shadowland survivor] replied to the explanation “We won’t be scared, and I’m sure the tribes will be very interested in learning how to build like you do” she and the other [adventurers] weren't exactly the kind to settle down after all “once we teach them how this ‘trade’ thing works”
After a few minutes of walking, they passed from the Circle and entered Shadowton. While the architecture was the same between the Satyrs/Umbra, anyone could see things were different. The building placement was in squares within squares, occasionally if one would look closely, they could see a gap between buildings which would allow the easy transportation of goods.
Umbras initially minded their business but as the group approached, some stopped looking at the elves with wonder, fear or greed. New people meant more trade after all. An Umbra approached the group and bowed their head to Penumbra before engaging in conversation.
“ It seems that both of the leaders are away with business and the Goddess is not here either. But that’s not a problem, I shall take you to her temple. Someone there will explain trading better than I can. Ah, and let me show you around before we get there. We are in the living quarters now, all the Umbras live here. We’ve got the Hunting quarters to the west, that’s where our hunters bring all the food they catch to be cooked. In the south east, there’s the warehouse quarters, everything we find, everything we make is stored there…and to the south west, we’ve got the craft-umbra quarters. That’s where we build our weapons, get things ready for the buildings etc. ” started Penumbra, pointing out the different places as they mentioned them.
“ And…this. This is the most important part. The temple of Ashevelen and our marketplace ” said Penumbra after walking for a few minutes.
The marketplace/temple was a normal looking place for a market. A few stands where Umbra were peddling whatever they’ve managed to find or build on their own, different objects, shiny rocks and so on. Exchanging the objects for coins was maybe the most peculiar thing to be noticed. In the middle of the marketplace square, laid another square. This one was currently empty and none dared to go inside. The seat of Ashevelen herself.
Some of their kin might have found the whole place rather off-putting, and longed to return to the cover of the trees, but the [adventurers] had no such instincts, or at least they were smothered by the fascination in the new. The elves fortunately did not gain a single level in [tourist] but they certainly acted like they had several as they strolled about, wide eyes and pointed ears taking in each and every thing as they were shown around the town.
They also proceed to get in everyone’s way, several crowding around to watch a sale going on, while another had to be physically stopped from crossing into the forbidden square due to being in a daze of newness that prevented them from picking up on the context clue that you did not go in there. Once that was learned, the first thing #bfafb2berry did was ask “So what is the middle square and why is it forbidden?”
“ That is the seat of the Goddess. Only when she’s there we are allowed to cross the square and trade with her. There isn’t a single Umbra here that hasn’t tried to outsmart her and “win” a trade. Even the Satyrs tried without having the same know-how as we do about trading. We once tried to get 10 of us to trade with her at the same time, thinking that if she’s distracted, she will make a mistake while haggling with one of us…turns out she was just playing us against each other. What arguments the first said, she told to the second one and so on, by the time we picked up on it…we already lost. Now, tell me, what do you wish to learn exactly? Each trade is different. Pacts or bartering of goods? ” explained Penumbra patiently
“Let’s… start with the simplest and work our way up from there?” #bfafb2berry suggested unhelpfully, though in her defence, neither pact nor bartering had translated pertiguarly well into the elves’ tongue.
Penumbra smiled and realised their mistake in asking which one to start with. For the elves, either was as good as the other but for the Umbra, bartering was more useful. In their mind, a trade was already being formed and they had to win it.
“ We’ll start with the bartering of goods as it will be more useful for both of our villages. Pacts can be tricky, wording is very important as some might have a double meaning. Agreed, I’ll act as a translator once more. ” replied Penumbra as they guided the elves to a stall where an older Umbra stood. The difference between Penumbra’s young appearance and the older Umbra was obvious even for someone who wasn’t an Umbra. The shadowy substance that the bodies of Umbra was formed of, was hard in many places, looking more like a crust than liquid.
After a few moments of talk between the two Umbras, the older Umbra, named Brax started to talk in a slow and monotone voice. It was as if even their voice hardened and if one would listen closely they could notice this.
Penumbra, ever helpful, started to explain to the elves how trading works, the ups and down, the good and bad. The explanation took over an hour and food was brought eventually by another Umbra to the group as Penumbra offered to provide them a favour in the future.
Once things had been talked out in exquisite detail the first issue arose, which was that the [adventurers] had not exactly carried trade goods with them. They had their weapons, a few odd tools, clothes, all important paint and rations and that was about it. At the very least, the elves had an idea of what they could have brought with them that would have had worth, but as it was it looked like the first trade of the elves was to be made with a handful of nuts.
“Didn’t you say something about us teaching about classes as a thing we could trade for?” #bfafb2berry suggested after she decided that this nut bartering was probably not going to leave a good impression.
They translated and translated and watched with curiosity, how the elves were trying to figure out what they could sell. Occasionally Penumbra would interject and give them suggestions before eventually they stopped as it would disturb their thinking process.
“ Yes, I did and that was one of the first tests . Remember everything you can when speaking with one another. An off-hand comment today, can mean a successful trade tomorrow. We’ve taught you how to barter, you teach us how to get this classes things. ” replied Penumbra, praising #bfafb2berry for her memory.
The elf nodded, though her expression was caught between being proud at the praise and feeling just a little patronised. Either way, she now had a new goal: class first, then get some of this ‘money’ thing from that to do a trade for goods.
“So, hmmm,” she pondered for a moment and then asked “maybe I could show you how to make a [hunter]? I had that class first and still remember how I was inducted. How much would that be worth, do you think?”
“ In money or knowledge? As much as I see, we have taught you how to trade. It would be a fair deal as it is but, and don’t let the Goddess know I’ve done this, I’ll add from my personal connection, 3 coins. As for the class, why a hunter? Can you do something else? What are our choices? ” quickly replied Penumbra.
“Well you mentioned that you have those, and I know how to do it” #bfafb2berry said simply, “As for your options, well, most people start off as just hunters, gatherers, or adventurers, and then the classes grow out from there as you level up. My basic [hunter] and [adventurer] fused into my [shadowlands survivor] after, well, your goddess did her thing”
“There’s definitely way more than just those three starting ones mind, I heard they had things called [herders] up north for example, and presumably there's all sorts of other ones too. You just have to work out what kind of thing counts as an initiation, and have people who acknowledge it. Case and point, I just got a [Tarsk Tamer] class” Fang added informatively from where he was crouching and very carefully petting the monstrosity he’d accepted was a part of his life now.
A small group of Satyrs and Umbra gathered around Penumbra as soon as they raised a hand in the air. If they were to learn classes, it would first be used on others. On those that need one first.
“ Graxx, step forward please. You shall be the first, have no fear. This is a safe trade. ” spoke Penumbra in #bfafb2-Speech as a Satyr stepped forward. Graxx was a big fellow, broad shoulders, #bfafb2 hair and with more scars covering his body than one would think it is possible, each in different stages of healing. Behind Graxx, a big Tarsk stood which followed him closely, making Fang’s Tarsk look tiny in comparison.
“ Please proceed in making Graxx a hunter or a Tarsk Tamer if you can. Graxx has been handling the Tarsk ever since we’ve received them from the Goddess. ”
“I’m not sure I can replicate it, seeing as I just used the [calm] skill enough and it kind of happened,” Fang said, but #bfafb2berry was already on point with passing on her bit of knowledge.
The elf borrowed one of her fellow’s spears and tossed it to the satar “maybe once you see how this works, how it feels, then getting other classes will too” she said, before setting up the initiation.
“It’s simple. Stay behind this line” she instructed the satar as she drew one in the dirt with her own spear. Then she rummaged around and pulled out a warped fish from her pack and carfly attached it to her own spear and stepped to the side and held it up a fair distance before him, using the spear to wiggle it a bit in a facsimile of life.
“Now, first off all you have to do is strike forwards and skewer this” she instructed simply, though it turned out to not be quite that simple, as the elf was primed and ready to make the fake fish a slippery customer. “Just think of it as a game,” she added encouragingly.
Penumbra translated to Graxx, word by word and even imitated the moves #bfafb2berry did, away from the actual fish. Graxx approached the line, nodding to #bfafb2berry in respect and then started skewering the fish which didn’t work initially. Grunting in frustration, he tried again, this time managing to scratch the fish but not fully skewer it.
After a few minutes, Graxx closed his eyes for a few seconds. Soon after he opened them back, he looked different. Focused. With a few fake strikes of the spear, he finally managed to skewer the fish.
He got a little round of applause and, just like that, a little notification was announced in his head:
Class gained: [hunter] level 1 Skill gained: [intuit direction: prey]
Along with a set of intuitions about levels, classes and skills worked.
Graxx looked around for the voice that spoke the words but Penumbra quickly interjected and explained what would happen if he gained a level and true enough, Graxx did gain a level and an ability. Pondering on what exactly he did, he approached his Tarsk.
“ Sit. ” he uttered in a very direct and strong tone.
The Tarsk looked at him and growled strongly.
“ I. Said. SIT. ” shouted Graxx, adding his own growl.
They continued doing so for a few minutes and a notification was announced in his head:
Class gained: [Tarsk Tamer] level 1 Skill gained: [Tame Tarsk] He then nodded to Penumbra who watched the whole spectacle with a pondering look.
“ It seems it works on Satyrs. We’ll try on our own with some Umbra but it seems like you’ve held your end of the bargain. We thank you. ” said Penumbra, passing 3 coins to #bfafb2berry. y. The elf slid them apart and admired them for a moment, before storing her now rather perforated fish for later, and then finally turning around and using a set of gestures to buy some fresh herbs to go with it.
She found that she rather enjoyed the whole process, and was already thinking about how this would be handy, and how she might be able to ply her certain set of skills to get more of this money stuff, or even head north, grab some stuff she’d heard about, and head back here with it to trade that way, when she too got a notification.
Class gained: [Trader] Skill gained: [Deduce worth]
She blinked a few seconds, looked at the herbs, and muttered the skill and found out she’d been kinda ripped off. Still, the annoyance that was caused was more than made up for by the euphoria of levelling and gaining a new class.
She had not expected this but, if she thought about it, it made sense. It was as if the class system had been introduced to this new culture by their contact, and it was rapidly improvising and coming up with classes and skills to reflect their various occupations.
“So I’m a [Trader] now. How about that?” she informed the others when one asked what that skill she had used was.
And so, the elves and the Umbra/Satyr people taught each other very important things. Classes and trade would certainly go a long way in making the two “nations”, good allies. As time would pass, a trade route would be formed between the Umbral Forest and the Darkwoods and travellers from both nations would walk the resulting beaten path with no fear of ever being attacked.
The Elven-Umbra gang approach Shadowton but get stopped by a group of Tarsks. Fang gets a new class and a new pet. Penumbra teaches the elves how to trade, with some help from a very old Umbra and in exchange the elves teach them how to use classes. Graxx, a Satyr, gets the [Hunter] class and then adapts the idea and gets a level in [Tarsk Tamer].
After everything was said and done, the elves/Umbra set up a trade route between the nations.
+1 spirit, awarded to Penumbra for appearing in the post +1 spirit awarded to Penumbra as this is a collab +1 spirit for being away from their deity +1 spirit due to +5000 characters +1 spirit due to +10000 characters +4 spirit can be awarded as a lump sum if a champion embarks upon and completes a significant mission, quest, or personal goal of some sort that they either set for themselves or were given by another champion or mortal.
Darkwood [Adventurers] Guild: Start: 12 +1 prestige awarded from playing a major part in the post +1 prestige awarded as this is a collab +1 prestige due to +10000 characters End: 15
Also known as : Ashevelendar/Ashevelen/AsheTheReborn
Best compliment so far from [@Tortoise]
On the brilliant roleplay : [url=https://www.roleplayerguild.com/topics/185726-through-the-gateways-humanity/ooc] Through The Gateways [/url]
Playing as the Goddess of Trade in Divinus 7
Playing as the Goddess of Shadowy-Trades in Divinus 7
<div style="white-space:pre-wrap;">Also known as : Ashevelendar/Ashevelen/AsheTheReborn <br><br>Best compliment so far from <a class="bb-mention" href="/users/tortoise">@Tortoise</a><br><img src="https://i.ibb.co/qdK70br/image.png" /><br>On the brilliant roleplay : <a href="https://www.roleplayerguild.com/topics/185726-through-the-gateways-humanity/ooc">Through The Gateways</a><br><br>Playing as the Goddess of Trade in Divinus 7<br><br><img src="https://i.ibb.co/QjWNXR4/Ashevelen-Token.png" /><br><br>Playing as the Goddess of Shadowy-Trades in Divinus 7<br><br><img src="https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/1006946263599677521/1014229630783340544/ShadowsAspectToken.png" /><br><br>Thank you!</div>