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A note from puddles4263

444 made me laugh.

1/14

There were relatively few Skinshifters, but they grew ever brighter, and the other lights around them were quickly snuffed out. Instantly, his fury blazing, Randidly began blessing. It was a minor thing, a small increase in… perhaps strength, perhaps intelligence, perhaps even intuition, Randidly was not sure. But it was all he could do. Each Minor Blessing wasn’t difficult, but it did take a small amount of mental strength to execute, and Randidly had to focus on a single light.

In a fit of fury, he began to bless, over, and over, and over again.

It was draining, and not in a way that he was prepared for. About 100 Blessings in, he blacked out, losing focus on what he was doing. He only regained consciousness a split second later, as the Glittering Leaves of Yggdrasil kicked in, getting rid of some of the mental strain that Randidly had so brazenly undertaken.

Gritting his teeth, he pushed that Skill to the max, and brought his Perception back into the Progenitor’s Influence screen. There, carefully, he began to bless once more, doing his best to ignore the fact that more and more lights were fading away. Even taking his time, going slowly one by one, the strain began to creep back up on him.

Sometimes his vision would swim for a second or two before his mental healing could catch back up with it. But still, he continued, focusing. There was a point that time stopped mattering, and there was only the act, and the deep, righteous rage against whatever was moving within his Soul Skill.

And the fear and frustration, knowing that he was locked out of this struggle.

It was almost a relief when he ran out of lights to bless, and a notification popped up.

Your Grace has descended upon the world, and it has not gone unnoticed! Calculating effects…

The Weavers suffered heavy losses in the war against the Skinshifts, likely because they were identified as the race that would be the easiest to subvert, once its ranks were infiltrated. It is anathema to move against the interests of the Weave, and it took the Weavers a long time to discover the traitors in their midst. The war to purge them was a bloody one, and although the Weavers succeeded in purifying themselves, they were unable to assist in the greater war.

Aside from the Weavers, the monsters were the most decimated. The Skinshifts originally used the monsters as scapegoats for what was happening, placing the blame on the monsters’ violent nature when the deaths became too numerous to hide. Perhaps they would have become completely under the thumb of the foreign invaders if not for the Monster King. Hearing of his people’s plight, the King moved, annihilating all traces he could find of their evil. But his court was a gutted, suspicious wreck of what it had been.

The White Hunters were well off and had warned the Golems, leaving both races relatively untouched. They then turned their attention to the Spriggit crisis, as the Skinshifts discovered and unleashed the mechanical war machines that were created at the end of the war against the monsters, but never used.

Working together with the Spriggit Thief, one of the Chosen of the Progenitor, two young Earth Golem women with martial talent not seen since the Emperor defeated the great mechs, ending the internal threats.

For a great prophet has arrived to the world, a woman with lilac hair, speaking of the crisis coming towards their world. Only by banding together underneath the banner of the Progenitor can they survive. Although most were originally skeptical, the Blessing of the Progenitor descended upon them, both giving them strength, and by absence revealing the last few holdouts of the Skinshifts.

When the first Blessings came, the Monster King clenched his hands into fists and his halls echoed with his rage. When the Blessing took him, he began to weep, silently and softly.

But the invaders have not been idle. The Skinshifts were the most insidious of their weapons, but they were not the most dangerous. Aether Thralls march by the thousands, moving towards the remnants of civilization, mobilized by the Two-Headed Reavers. And leading the host is a Decimator, a hulking monstrosity that aims to devour the world...

Time Slowing... stabilizing...

It has been eight cycles since this world’s creation. Would you like to add anything to the world? (Warning, the added qualities will be taken from a Skill. A single Skill Level will be consumed in the taking. Other side-effects are unknown).

All at once, the bubble around his Soul Skill was gone, and he descended. The sky was thick with Progenitor’s Influence to be harvested, and Randidly wasted no time gobbling most of it up as he streaked across the sky, searching. Very quickly, he could see the armies moving, and couldn’t help but notice how even things were.

It really could go either way. And he didn’t want to know what would happen if his side lost the battle for his Soul Skill.

He had 1200 Progenitor’s Influence by the time he located Lucretia, and instantly he descended, more like a comet than a person, spearing his way through the ceiling of the building she was in, ignoring the physical constraints of this place. It was, after all, his world.

Lucretia was speaking when he moved through the ceiling, and continued for a bit, because it took her some time to notice his arrival. “Although the forces are split, we don’t have a choice. They can move through the river and strike at too many soft spots; we need to leave at least a ¼ of our forces-”

“Don’t bother,” Randidly said, interrupting, glancing around the room. There was a man in the corner with 6 orange horns, the Spriggit Thief, two Earth Golems, one rather small Weaver, and a White Hunter, that was missing its arm. “The main part of the army is double-timing it across those big plains towards the Weaver swamps.”

Lucretia whirled around. The other people in the tent came to their feet, pulling out their weapons, looking uncertainly at him. Randidly resisted the urge to awkwardly scratch his head. Mrs. Hamilton had reprimanded him on falling back on nervous tics, especially in front of people he was supposed to be leading. And these appeared to be the leaders of the army of his soul, so-

“Where the fuck,” Lucretia said, sagging with relief, “have you been?! I’ve been stuck in here, managing this shit storm-” Then she cut herself off and took a calming breath.

Randidly grinned. “I never thought you would be glad to see me.”

“Consider it a one time thing. It’s been almost a year, what happened? At first I thought you had…” A cloud passed over Lucretia’s face, and Randidly abruptly realized she had thought him dead. But she continued speaking, so Randidly didn’t press the issue. “But then your Blessings, at the right time… god, ha, literally god. Hopefully you can tip the scales in our favor, eh?”

“It was System shenanigans. Not directly, but they accelerated time here. And I thought-” Then Randidly paused, because everyone else was staring at him, with so much intensity that he couldn’t let it continue without acknowledging it. And as he shifted to look at them, he felt them all, somewhat, falter, looking away from him.

His head ached. The mental strain hadn’t had much time to heal, he was just so flooded with adrenaline that he hadn’t noticed it. And now… the weight of their expectations… it made him want to turn away, run and hide. But they would be the ones on the ground, fighting for the control of his Soul Skill. Although he had passed 1000 Progenitor’s Influence, letting him appear before them, it wasn’t enough to directly influence much.

So he activated Indomitable Will of Yggdrasil and stepped forward.

****

Tziech Exodus, the Monster King, lost himself in a memory as he stared at the Progenitor.

This was before the strange Skinshifts, before the great war, before he was grown. Originally Tziech was a baby that was abandoned due to the strange horns poking out of his head. Contaminated by the Energy Wells, people assumed, and they were likely right. But one haphazard bachelor had walked past the abandoned Tziech and picked him up on whim, changing the fate of the world forever.

Very few people, even in his monster inner circle knew it, but Tziech was raised by a Spriggit, and a rather pious one, at that. Growing up, Tziech wore hats to blend in, keeping his head down, trying not to draw attention to the way he was different. But that didn’t work all of the time.

After a particularly brutal incident where other kids had discovered his horns and wanted to use his head to carve their initials into the back wall of the school, Tziech had come home crying. Vallun, his adoptive father, was doing what he did most days, sleeping off all the liquor he had drunk the previous night.

Although generally, Tziech avoided waking his father during these times, he had so much fear and rage… and slowly hate, hate for the Spriggits, doing this to him.

“Do they think they are better than me?” Tziech yelled, glaring at Vallun. “I could-”

But his threats were cut off before they could even take form. “They don’t think they are better than you. Why would you think that?” Vallun had asked, scratching his stomach.

“Well-” Tziech paused. Then he thought about it for several seconds, and followed the fear to his deep, inner core, stemming from Vallun himself. Tziech looked at the ground and said, “...because the Progenitor made them. But I’m just a mutation.”

And, of all reactions, Vallun had laughed. “Why does being a mutation mean the Progenitor didn’t make you, Zeke? The Progenitor made all things. Some on purpose, some not, but always by giving of himself. Don’t take away your own worth.”

Those words had stuck with Tziech for a long time, making him stall in his violent vengeance for dozens of years.

Those words had softly floated to the surface of his mind when the blessings from the Progenitor came down from heaven, and one had descended upon him. Something had shifted in Tziech then, and he began to weep.

And now, standing before the Progenitor, taking in his emerald eyes, his strange ivory cloak, and his conspicuously bare feet, Tziech opened his mouth to say something. But he could find nothing to say. This was the being that he had spent years agonizing over. Did he exist? Was he out there? Had he… created the monsters?

Some on purpose, some not.

Tears formed in Tziech’s eyes. Then, slowly and deliberately, letting the strange, almost palpable aura of the Progenitor wash over him, Tziech got down on his knees. The rest of the council followed him, genuflecting before the Progenitor.

After several seconds, the Progenitor sighed, and the presence was withdrawn, as easily as it had arrived. “Get up. There is work to do. We will work together, but I don’t have much time to spare for this issue. Tell me what you need.”

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