After breathing and looking at the stars for about an hour, Randidly felt his heart settle. If Randidly was a pond, the ripples had stilled. Neveah loomed over him, hanging above him in the air. Lucretia organized her notes, utilizing markings that she had made in Randidly’s Soul Skill world.
They were as ready as they would ever be. Or rather, the other two were. Randidly was just a pawn, he thought with a twisted mouth.
This time, when Randidly agitated his Aether, he did not have a hole in the seal, that let it surge into the world. He simply pressed with his high Willpower, activating a portion of his Battle Intent to create a great whirlpool within himself, having the Aether spiral downwards in himself to form a huge current. Slowly at first, but Randidly kept his will pressing, urging it onward.
Not too much. Came Neveah’s silent warning, as she intently monitored the situation inside of himself. Grudgingly, Randidly nodded, allowing the vast majority of the Aether to slowly drift back to stillness. It honestly made him sweat, as he did so, because he suddenly realized how much Aether he had gathered. He had reached with his hand and just ripped forward, and almost everything had moved to his will. Sure, having this much Aether was a good thing, but…
Highly concentrated Aether reacted with itself, and Lucretia needed it in amounts that she could control and weave. If the Aether latched onto the other strands, or rejected where it was in the greater weave at the wrong time, all of the previous work would come to naught.
Breathing through his teeth, Randidly released his Battle Intent. After all, the Aether that would become his Class needed to be clean and free of images in order for it to form correctly, as both Neveah and Lucretia informed him. Once the shape was formed, that’s when they would require Randidly to imprint the image onto the Class, giving it the shape he desired. He felt that he was a bit off of what he truly wanted, in that regards, but there wasn’t anymore time.
The image needed to be ready.
“Alright there,” Lucretia confirmed, as Randidly shaved off a further amount of Aether, leaving only the Aether closest to the surface whipping around at high speeds. Neveah leaned forward, focusing on the Aether that had been gathered, and began to… for lack of a better word, comb through it, removing the stray images that had settled into it during its time inside of Randidly. They were mostly small things, embedded into his Aether, that had probably been deposited there by the people Randidly had connections to.
Rather bored, Randidly just maintained the speed of the Aether while the purification process was occuring. Then, at Lucretia’s urging, Neveah began to syphon off small tendrils of the Aether, forming strands that would be actually used during the weaving. These strands were folded and retied, made flat and uniform, able to be easily manipulated.
More. Neveah hissed, and Randidly pressed again with his will, gathering more Aether.
Again and again this happened, until Lucretia had gathered a decent amount of Aether strands, winding them into neat pools, floating in Randidly’s soul space. It was to her limit, and it would be a little short of what was needed to finish the weave, but there was nothing they could do. Neveah and Lucretia seemed to exchange a meaningful glance with their forms in Randidly’s Soul Space.
“Relax,” Randidly whispered, annoyed he had to reassure them at this juncture. “If you need to take a break, I can follow the pattern.”
They said nothing, but the reluctance was clear. Once more, Randidly smothered a sharp flash of annoyance. It wasn’t worth the time and effort. Better to focus his energy on annihilating the problem in front of them.
The base of the Class was the “belt”, for lack of a better term, that would wind around the whole of Randidly’s soul space, restricting non-Class Skills and adding some inner stability to his area. In addition, Lucretia theorized that this would help deal with some of the Aether resonance that occurred when Randidly moved too much of the Aether at once.
Once this belt was in place, a seed could be created, which would serve as the anchor in Randidly’s soul space, and then the trunk would be made by weaving Aether, slowly growing it into a tower. Now of course, the tower base would only be constructed by them, because the goal was then to allow it to grow naturally, with experience, but that tower base was composed of Aether so thin that it was nonexistent when pressed flat. So the layers they would be forced to make might be somewhere between 20-30, so the way that they were weaving his Class would take.
Currently, they had enough Aether to form 20 layers. They proceeded anyway.
Growing, Neveah grabbed a huge current of Aether, apart from the stuff that Randidly was keeping clean and pure. This she twisted and pressed, battered and bent, folding and forging, until it began to glow with a strange blue energy.
Randidly felt a strange trembling in his chest, somewhere between the sensation of being poked, and nostalgia. It was as if… something in his heart called out to it. Called out to have it. The implications of that…
Neveah was moving, wrapping it slowly, carefully, around Randidly’s Skills. Then she began to press, and they slowly shifted towards each other, crowding inward. Randidly grimaced as a dull pain emerged behind his eyes. As expected, even moving the shattered Skill had consequences… But he could feel the Emerald Sap of Yggdrasil running through him, fixing the problem, even though it was spiritual in natural…
Through it all, his Soul Skill floated, built on a different layer, impervious to the changes.
Slowly, Neveah stopped, now that Randidly’s Skills were much more closely gathered together, but still not near enough to touch or merge. There was even a sizable area, about ⅓ of the total space surrounded by the belt, where Randidly could create new Skills. This would let him have another 20 or so new Skills, that weren’t a part of his Class.
This number filled Randidly with a certain amount of alarm, to be hemmed in like that, but both Neveah and Lucretia were adamant that stretching it farther might hurt the integrity of the Class base, causing it to collapse into useless Aether, binding Randidly’s soul space.
Of course, with Randidly’s ability to manipulate Aether, he was in much less danger than most people, but it still wouldn’t be quick or easy to fix that little disaster. With the looming time limit of the Raid Dungeon, it was a mistake they couldn’t afford.
Almost unwillingly, Randidly’s mind flashed back to Nathan, and he shook his head, clearing his vision. Both Lucretia and Neveah hissed in annoyance at him as the flow of Aether faltered, and he pressed with his will and refocused. His portion of this was to provide the tools, while they handled the delicate work. It was tiresome, but…
But it was the safe choice.
Randidly bit his lip.
Lucretia and Neveah worked together to wrap the end of the belt and bind it, causing it to flow into the rest of itself seamlessly. It was now one whole, surrounding him, supporting him. It would be the base of what would later grow inside of Randidly.
Randidly’s inner world shuddered, causing his vision to briefly blur. Blinking, Randidly reached out through his Soul Bond to see what was going on, but Neveah’s emotions didn’t have a trace of surprise or nervousness. Was that because this was supposed to happen….? Or because she couldn’t feel it…
The shuddering grew worse for a single second, and then faded to nothing, leaving Randidly breathing heavily, but otherwise unharmed. That was… peculiar.
“The seed.” Lucretia said, looking at Randidly.
After blinking, it took him another few seconds to realize what she wanted. Then he gasped and nodded, closing his eyes. There was ONE portion that was all him, and that was the seed. It would form the anchor between the Class and his soul space, and be the energy source, the engine, for everything that followed. It would somehow convert Experience into growth, which Randidly wasn’t too sure about, but they had examined plenty of people with Classes, so Lucretia had already made the apparatus.
What Randidly needed to provide was the image, just to start. They cautioned him, however, to keep the image relatively simple. The more basic and clear, the stronger the base. So, although it was somewhat cliche, Randidly closed his eyes and pictured a seed.
It was small, but strong and burning with life and potential. Lines of hot emerald ran through it, glowing, the promise of a bright and strong future. If it was planted, it would explode into growth, rising and shaping itself, until it became a spear of emerald and gold, the most powerful weapon that the world had ever seen…
Randidly opened his eyes. A glowing circle of Aether was forming, the soul space around it warping, connecting to it, and to the base apparatus that Lucretia had prepared. Sighing, Randidly moved back, before the purity of the image was tainted by the other things spinning through his head.
Aemont’s back as he disintegrated to ash. The strange, monochrome cast that came over the world as Randidly used Ashes to Ashes. The spear, advancing forward. The hanging promise of death, delivered by the Spear Phantom. That strange Aether construct, still ticking, still sitting at the heart of Randidly, in his Soul Skill. Potion making. Roots…
Shal’s hands, heaving Randidly to his feet. The taste of Helen’s mouth. The burning violet of Lyra’s eyes. The Creature’s empty smile.
The people of Donnyton-
“Keep up the good work Randidly.” Lucretia whispered, and Randidly snapped back to himself. Luckily, he had maintained the rotation of the Aether for Lucretia while she worked, and she had gotten about 5 layers of the Aether down already. Neveah was already moving to syphon off and purify more strands.
The strangest thing was… Randidly felt nothing, looking at what was occuring in his soul space. Instead, he felt profoundly… detached. Then he shrugged.
Perhaps… it would have to wait until he imprinted the greater image upon the Class that it would feel like his own. Now it just seemed… strangely beautiful, like a tapestry.
Heedless of his thoughts, Lucretia continued to weave, her eyes narrowed.