A note from puddles4263


Congratulations! You have completed the Steps of the Godling II Path! The bar to having even this Path open to you is extremely high. Your influence over a people must have grown to the point that they have become inseparable from you. But from there, many paths exist forward. Will you teach and nurture them? Will you guide and challenge them? How will they see you? Will they feel your hand, follow your back, notice your footsteps?

To finish this Path, you have begun to find your answer. Proceed with great care; to know this Path is to give up control of your own fate.

Congratulations! Endurance and Resistance +20. Willpower +50. You will experience increased resonance with those from your inner world. You have gained an ability in your Soulskill to sense the intention of others. Additionally, gain a further 50 Progenitor’s Influence per Level.

Having the Willpower he had previously lost so quickly replaced was nice, but that notification…

... to know this Path is to give up control of your own fate…

What did that mean?

At the same time, Randidly had always known what it had meant. It was a little intimidating to think of it this way, but for the last several years Randidly had been opening up himself to other influences. First, through his four blessings, but then through his Aether Connections and Soulseeds, Randidly had created within himself a space where others held sway.

His Soulskill was perhaps the most sizable example of that. And during the Ashen Image aftermath, he had gone into his internal space and seen that changes that were happening there. In his mind, the Soulskill had shifted to become a reflection of himself. It was his own images expanded and connected to uncountable lives and forces.

For his true body, it made his images incomparably sturdy. Already, he could feel that. Not only were people clashing with his new images struggling with the images themselves, but also the weight of the entire world built on those images. But by the same token, it was relatively easy to move things around in the Soulskill to adjust his images. It was akin to the concept of mechanical advantage.

Of course, that required one to have access to his Soulskill, but there was at least one obvious example of that already happening, so Randidly had no illusions as to the sanctity of his inner world. Now that he had begun to view himself in this way, that image was slowly coming true. And one painful truth of that was that he was giving up some measure of control over himself.

Well, outwardly.

Randidly grinned and opened his eyes. For a few seconds, he could wait to choose his next Path. Instead, he tightened his hands into fists. His grip was so strong that his knuckles popped. Above his head appeared the Crown of Cataclysm and Gloom. Although night was falling, a fel light seemed to spread from the low hill on which Randidly was sitting. Then he activated the Cruel Indignation of Yggdrasil. He felt that dreadful, unwilling howling spread in the immediate area. The air warped. The hill underneath him shuddered, as if in physical pain. Randidly’s grin only spread wider.

There was a dull, barely perceptible whine in the air as Randidly slowly increased the intensity of his Skills. With deliberate viciousness, he pressed his Will harder and harder. The full force of those sturdy images was brought to bear against this small hillside. With wide eyes, Randidly let his vision fall away.

Once more he was plunged into the darkness of the prison. That shred of helplessness filled his heart. The powerless struggle as he was deprived of his faculties. And in that dark and desperate state, he conjured the crown.

With slow strokes, he filled the darkness with the cold grey-white metal that would make his crown. Seven vicious spikes, each more twisted and barbed than the last. A thin circlet of the same metal, clean and wholly unlike the spikes that adorned it. As if this crown had been part of something larger, once. Before it had been forcefully ripped away and twisted into its current state.

Once that image of a crown was completed, Randidly willed it bigger. And bigger. And bigger. It became the sky. It became the terrible weight that had kept Randidly near motionless from exhaustion. It was the jailer and the bindings, a terrible seal of violence and near darkness that slowly ground away at the sanity of all those that witnessed its terrible majesty.

Because that was the thing. The longer that Randidly lay beneath that crown in the darkness, the more there seemed to be something else there. Something vast, almost infinite, and filled with an ancient strength. A twisting, gnarled tree.

And that tree wouldn’t care if the entire world collapsed beneath its weight. That was its prerogative as the God that wore the twisted crown. It would-


With his image broken, Randidly’s eyes flickered open. It had been difficult, working both of those images together, but it was undoubtedly effective. The hill beneath Randidly had been riddled with cracks. The nearby stones were flattened, or twisted, or warped into strange horrifying shapes. There was a ghost of a smile on Randidly’s face as he stood and stretched. Lightly, he hopped off of the hill.

After he left, it was with a whimper that the hill collapsed slowly, sundered by the weight of that image. Strange, spectral images of crowns floated above the shattered ground. Just to look at them, Randidly felt a small twinge of pain that was a ghost of the agony Cruel Indignation of Yggdrasil could cause. It seemed that Randidly's brief image experiment had left an indelible mark on the area. It would take a long time to heal.

“Let them come if they want to change me. For them, it will not end well.” Randidly swore to himself. Then he crossed to a small tree and sat under it to finish choosing his next Path.

It was a measly 24 PP that Randidly had remaining. He couldn’t even finish the extremely short Evolution of Self I Path. But what he would choose was his next direction. As he expected, the Path of the Godling III was not immediately available. It seemed he would need to grow closer with his Soulskill before the next leg of that Path was available.

Of the options, Randidly only had eyes for three: Evolution of Self I, Limitless Will, and the Ashes of Ulaat. Randidly scratched his head in annoyance. Right now, he valued the flexibility most of all. Although Limitless Will would have huge benefits for his images generally, and the Ashes Path for the Ashen Image…

With a sigh, Randidly put his PP into the Evolution of Self I. After all 24 was gone, Randidly had an aggrieved expression on his face; of course, he wouldn’t earn a single bonus stat from his choice. Such was his luck.

After cursing enthusiastically for a full minute, Randidly stood and glanced around. There were a few more things that Randidly wanted to accomplish before he was ready to walk back toward Hastam, but…

One of those things was reacquiring Acri and Sulfur. Through his connection with them, he could generally sense their location. They were located to the East of him.

Very, very far East.

Through his connection with Azriel and Helen, Randidly could trace their Aether and have a pretty good idea where Hastam is located. It was pretty close to where he was now. Meanwhile, Acri and Sulfur felt almost twenty times further away from him to the East.

Randidly pursed his lips. Had his jailers truly been forced away…? Yet it seemed that they likely kept a hold on Acri and Sulfur. Was that just his bad luck? Or perhaps had the individuals who attacked the prison where he had been kept taken the equipment?

Rubbing his forehead, Randidly had to accept that he had no idea what had occurred. Perhaps if he had spent some more time learning to read tracks… but that had never been his game. He had sharp senses and a sharp mind, but he had none of the training or experience to try and comprehend what had occurred on the farm. And of course, it didn’t help that the first action that Randidly had taken when he escaped was to rip the place to bits…

Also from their connection, Randidly could sense that Acri was angry, but not afraid. Not that a spear need fear much. Especially one that was effective a hyper strong wood/metal hybrid that was also alive. Sulfur was useless; all that Randidly felt from his armor was a vague sadness that it hadn’t been hit recently.

“Fucking masochist,” Randidly muttered. But he then raised his gaze and looked around. It wasn’t feasible to just skip Hastam and search randomly for his equipment. He supposed the best bet was to return and check in. Afterward, he could hopefully get information as to where Acri and Sulfur might be.

Besides, it had been almost a month since Randidly had fought Helen. Without him, the tournament had continued. He wondered how they were doing.

So Randidly set off to the East. But before he went, he took a long look at his Status screen. Truly, nothing felt better than a big power up.

Randidly Ghosthound

Class: Lord of the Baleful Wood (+x5)

Level: 35 (99%)

Health(/R per hour): 5173/4443 [+730] (2437 [+165])

Mana(/R per hour): 3333/5204 (1926 [+9])

Stam(/R per min): 4299/4436 [+60] (769 [+45])

Vit: 510 (+15)

End: 193 (+20)

Str: 517 (+52)

Agi: 564 (+24)

Perception: 444 (+20)

Reaction: 507 (+15)

Resistance: 448 (+45)

Willpower: 585 (+10)

Intelligence: 580

Wisdom: 409 (+9)

Control: 757

Focus: 352 (+4)

Progenitor’s Influence: 59,911

Skills (Soul Skill): Seven Lands of the Spectral Tree Lvl 2917

Combat: Spear Mastery Lvl 197, White Phantom’s Half-Step (Un) Lvl 86, Heavy Blow Lvl 110, Iron Skin Lvl 47, Dodge Lvl 106, Fighting Experience (Un) Lvl 154, Block Lvl 75, Phantom Onslaught Lvl 42, Calculated Blow Lvl 97, Roundhouse Kick Lvl 74, Idiosyncratic Cut (Un) Lvl 115, Stalemate Breaker Lvl 45, Talon Strike Lvl 89, Counter Lvl 81

PoFE Class Skills: Grasp of the World Seed (L) Lvl 217, Spray Holy Sap (Un) Lvl 25, Sharpness Lvl 90, Call Grove Defenders ® Lvl 34, Earthquake (Un) Lvl 47, Invigorating Call (Humanity)(Un) Lvl 14, Reach of the Jade Slag (Ru) Lvl 95, Erode Image (L) Lvl 10, Spriggit’s Tinkering ® Lvl 87, Aether Understanding (A) Lvl 56, Summon Lava Golem (Un) Lvl 46, Aether Infusion Lvl 45, Volatile Ash (A) Lvl 31, Visualization ® Lvl 169, Fruit of the Planting of Enmity (L) Lvl 22, Absolute Timing (Ru) Lvl 44

The 7 Kata of the Ashen Spear (L): The Spear Advances, Ash Trails Lvl 101, As the Sun Stills (A) Lvl 69, When a Shadow Departs, Fireflies Dance (Un) Lvl 63, All is Ash (L) Lvl 92, Frigid Ash, Extinguishing Storm (Ru) Lvl 28

The 6 Signs of the Spear Phantom ®: The First Sign- The Inevitable Phantom Arrives Lvl 111 (Un), The Fifth Sign- The Wild Phantom’s Embrace (A) Lvl 194, The Sixth Sign- The Breath of the Spear Phantom ® Lvl 72

Aether Skills: Aether Detection Lvl 119, Aether Manipulation Lvl 119, Living Aether ® Lvl 108, System Interference Lvl 25

Spells: Yggdrasil Soul Seed ®, Inspiration ®, Ignition Bolt ® Lvl 101, Verdant Nova (Un) Lvl 76, Plantomancy Lvl 35, Burning Footsteps Lvl 23, Touch from Beyond ® Lvl 37, Influence of the Molten Core ® Lvl 74, Eruption of the Blazing Leyline (Ru) Lvl 69, Ignition of the Emerald Essence (L) Lvl 13

Crafting: Potion Making Lvl 73, Farming Lvl 34, Analyze Lvl 29, Refine Lvl 72, Extract Lvl 58, Mana Engraving Lvl 171

Yggdrasil, the Tree of Upheaval: Glittering Leaves of Yggdrasil (L) Lvl 129, The Golden Roots of Yggdrasil (L) Lvl 156, the Emerald Sap of Yggdrasil (L) Lvl 143, the Yyrwood Flesh of Yggdrasil (L) Lvl 163, the Deific Mien of Yggdrasil (L) Lvl 141, the Cruel Indignation of Yggdrasil (L) Lvl 133, Crown of Yggdrasil: Cataclysm and Gloom (L) Lvl 85

Auxiliary: Sneak Lvl 56, Acid Resistance Lvl 22, Poison Resistance Lvl 21, Pain Resistance Lvl 82, Fire Resistance Lvl 102, Sewing Lvl 11, Digging Lvl 5, Cooking Lvl 77, Clockwork Mastery Lvl 25, Aether Connection (A) Lvl 15, Soul Bond Lvl 106, Chef’s Palette Lvl 33, Nether Resistance Lvl 20, Child of the Rain (Un) Lvl 45, Chosen of Ash (A) Lvl 119, Engineering Savvy ® Lvl 103, From Darkness, Genesis ® Lvl 1


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