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A note from Mighty Moushie

Didn't want to mention before because of spoilers, but this would be called Drakeling's Rage.  Hope you enjoy the chapter.  It's a little early, but this will be Friday's chapter. Next chapter hopefully Monday.

Chapter 2

I woke up in the same decrepit church that I chose my character in. Sure enough, the old priest was there. “How’s it going, old man?”

“Oh? So you’re the one who went and upset the natural order. Good for you.” He said, smiling. “Sometimes you need to flip the table over to even the game, no?”

“Yeah, that’ld do it.” I said, slightly unnerved by his smile. “So, you here to give me info on my new race?”

“Nope. Still wanting to take the easy road. No, I’m here to change you to your new race. Have fun!” He said before smashing me in the forehead with a cane he pulled out of nowhere. It musta been goin’ pretty fast, judging by the flames painted on the bottom. I was shoved out of my kobold body, and I watched as it was wracked with black bands of energy. Swarming around it, pulsing through it at random angles, some of them eventually trapped within and making the skin swarm. Eventually it was completely coated, and the blackness receded. Razor sharp claws tipped each finger, and black pentagonal scales covered my body. I had the same set of short spines travelling down my back to my tail tip, and also small growths that looked like my claws on the back side of my elbow, pointing away from my forearm. I had the same horns as what the golems had in the video, and my eyes practically glowed with a golden light. I flashed into my body, and found myself elsewhere.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

When I came to, I was in the courtyard of a barracks. Several people noticed me right away, but went back to their spear drills. I opened my status screen to see what I could about my new race.

Shadow-Walker Dragonling

 

An extraplanar relative of the dragons, they were exiled from this world with the sealing of the mana wells. Masters of shadow and earth, their might was impressive. Their full scales provide resistance to physical and magical attacks, though not nearly to the extent of true dragons. Though monsters, they suffer no experience penalty nor technological restrictions, and can reach a maximum level of 80. Bring overwhelming force should you decide to fight one, as the weakest of them are elite ranked.

Species abilities:

 

Shadow magic resist 75%

Light magic resist -15%

Negate 15% of physical and magical damage

 

Congratulations!

 

Due to your choice of evolution material, your rank has changed. You are now a demigod rank monster, and as such will gain 5 points in each attribute per level in addition to your normal gains.

 

As I was checking out my new race, I got a ping letting me know I had mail.

Player Angus,

Through review of your game logs, it seems that several of your skills were not gaining the experience they should have. This bug has been fixed, and changes have retroactively been added. You will receive a popup with the new skill ranks, as well as racial skills you have been granted. Thank you for your understanding in this matter, and please enjoy the game.

Arctic Storm representative 57208

Skill

Previous level

New Level

Effects

Lethal Blow (Passive)

Beginner lvl 8

Advanced lvl 8

Chance of instant kill increased by 24%

Mana shockwave

Beginner lvl 4

Advanced lvl 9

Damage increased by 49%, durability damage reduced by 49%

Crossbow mastery (passive)

Intermediate lvl 5

Advanced lvl 9

Range increased by 29 m, chance to hit increased by 29%, damage increased 10%

Windless Trajectory

Beginner lvl 3

Intermediate lvl 7

+17% to critical hit, +30% chance to hit

Keen edge

Intermediate lvl 3

Master lvl 1

75% damage, increased amputation chance

Battlefield control

Beginner level 5

Intermediate lvl 1

Damage received reduced by 16% when controlling the number of enemies attacking simultaneously

Mana infusion

Beginner lvl 8

Grandmaster 10

Infusion speed increased by 75%, maximum mana infused increased by 75%

 

Racial Skill

Level

Effects

Earth mastery (passive)

Grandmaster lvl 10

Mana costs 50% less, damage increased by 100%. Earth resist +15%

Shadow mastery (passive)

Grandmaster lvl 10

Mana costs 50% less, damage increased by 100%. Shadow resist +15%

Stone manipulation (replaces Mana excavation)

Advanced lvl 1

Can shape stone up to 30 meters. Mana cost reduced by 15%

Shadow manipulation

Advanced lvl 1

Can shape shadows up to 30 meters. Mana cost reduced by 15%

 

That, was a lot of upgrades. I had completely forgotten most of those passive skills, but it was nice to see some of the ones that I used a lot got a boost. I also had a few ideas to try out after seeing that movie. Wanting to test some things, I reached out and imagined a stone fist rising from the ground in front of me. To my surprise, one immediately raised itself up, mimicking my hand motions, and barely took any mana. I didn’t get a skill for it, although I knew that most geomancers learn the skill [Stone grasp] fairly early on in the game. I guess I could now cast any and all spells in the earth and shadow spell tree as long as I had knowledge of what they did. Or maybe this was just using stone manipulation? I would have to check it out.

“It’s somewhat rude to use a skill in a common area like that, Angus. You should return it to how it was.” A stern looking drakeling was walking towards me, leaving his pupils to keep spear training.

“Sorry.” I said while fixing what I had changed. “But how do you know my name?”

“You forgot? Well, when we first met in the dungeon I was a kobold.”

“Khaliss?” I said uncertainly.

“None other.” He said with a feral grin.

“But, how?”

“Well, I guess when a crazy adventurer uses a divine tier object to fuel his evolution in the middle of town, every kobold in the vicinity will be evolved with him. Which reminds me, I am instituting a new rule, and it’s all your fault. When you bring a divine tier item into the city limits, you must inform the Captain of the Guard. Namely, me. Think you can do that?”

“Heh, yeah. Sorry about that, I just wasn’t thinking with the game announcements and all.”

“Understandable, just try not to do crazy stuff in town. I know Djarleen is training you as an alchemist, and it takes a special kind of crazy to do that, but just, try. It’s all I ask.”

“Sure thing. I can do that.” I said, glad he wasn’t ripping into me like I probably would have in his place. “So, have we had any visitors from the light side?” I asked, hoping the answer would be no.

“That, is an unfortunate yes. We had several adventurers try, as well as a few emissaries from the other races. The emissaries are worried, but seem neutral so far. The adventurers seem to be a mixed lot. Several of them have been killed outright, those golems are able to sense intentions and their bolts really don’t leave much left of the bodies.”

“I see. And our stance?”

“Neutral for now, but tensions are high. Try not to start anything?” He asked hopefully.

“I’ll do my best. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to swing by the temple and also check in with Djarleen.” Shaking his hand, I continued, “Khaliss, I’m. I’m glad everyone evolved with me. I would have missed you.”

“As am I Angus, as am I.” He said with a smile, before turning back to see to his recruits. “DRAGAN! YOU CALL THAT A THRUST! MY MOTHER COULD DO BETTER AND SHE’S MISSING HER RIGHT ARM!”

Smiling as I walked away, I headed towards the temple. Time to see what I got when I upgraded my standing. “Greetings brother!” I said, happy to see another familiar face as I entered.

“Oh? So you finally returned. Lord Thanatos said you would be gone for a while. Ready for your rewards?”

“Yes, yes I am. But first, I need to advance my rank.”

“Most impressive, brother. Place your hands upon the altar, let us see your new rank.”

Following his instructions, I once more felt the burning in my chest as my tattoo changed.

Congratulations!

 

You have advanced to the rank of High Priest. Those in tune with the spirit world will be able to feel the aura of death that clings to you. Some will fear you, some will welcome you. You have also gained one more skill towards your repertoire, use it well. With increased rank comes increased responsibilities.

 

Weekly kills: 0/25

Church favor: 194/5000

Champions killed: 0/10 or Elites killed: 0/1

 

New skill acquired!

Cold grasp of death

Death’s Raiments (1 of 4)

 

Most people believe that certain animals will become paralyzed with fear when death approaches. These people cannot see the spiritual world. Those that could will see spectral hands of bone holding the victim in place. Skill paralyzes target for five seconds or until one blow is struck. The strike will automatically be a critical hit. Critical damage increased by 100%. Cooldown is one hour.

 

Oh, this was going to be so much fun! A crowd control spell that guarantees a critical hit? I already had several bits of equipment that added to critical damage, and as far as I knew there wasn’t a physical damage cap in the game. Though if there was, I would be ecstatic to be the one to find it, then spend my time trying to find a way to blast through it. Pulling my armor aside, I checked out the new tattoo. Where they were flat before, the robes now seemed to be billowing in an unseen breeze, hinting at the bony skeleton beneath.

“Congratulations brother, you are now the same rank I was when we first met.”

“You ranked up too? Congratulations! That is fantastic news, brother. Is there some form of celebration for reaching the upper ranks?”

“No, though I thank you for thinking of me. Now, I heard you dispatched that necromancer? Place the dagger on the altar.” Following his directions, I got one more popup.

Divine quest completed!

You have slain the necromancer, and trapped his soul within the Dagger of Thanatos. In addition, you discovered the method by which he was raising the bones of fallen heroes. Using a linked runic array of startling complexity as well as harnessing mana from a sealed mana well, the necromancer managed to fuel his ritual with no danger to his own life. Until you arrived, of course.

Quest

Rewards

Next quest

Slay the necromancer.

Determine the requirements of his ritual (optional, completed)

Enough experience to raise your level from 40 to 45

Bonus: Death moves unseen through even the most crowded rooms. He has given you a portion of his knowledge of stealth, increasing your skill from intermediate 5 to Master 1.

Death comes for all III:

Once a mortal, an ancient magician bound his soul to a phylactery. Through countless years, his corruption has spread across the land. Go, find him, and make his next death permanent.

 

I got a popup congratulating me on reaching level 10, answering whether the leveling requirements dropped. Oh, I was going to enjoy running into PvPers. I looked like a noobie, but had a level 50 weapon and most likely stats in the 70s. Before I went too far down that road, I asked the new Cardinal, “So, brother, do we have any leads on this lich? I’m sure his domain was resonating with the shadow mana well I unleashed last week.”

“We actually do. In the desert to the west, a place the locals call the Deadlands, is where you will find him. It will be at least a week traveling by foot.”

“Thank you, brother. That is most helpful information. Now, if there’s nothing I can do for the church, I need to see several others today if I can.”

“We are fine, Angus. Thank you for always asking.” He said, while making a shooing motion with his hands. I noticed his hand had a ring that was a skull and the band itself was fashioned into a scythe. Must be his proof of office.

Heading out, I made my way over to where Dharkiss’ smithy was. As I went, I noticed little nods of deference in my direction from people I never knew. Guess they must have recognized I was the source of the evolution.

“Angus! Yer’ back!” Dharkiss shouted as soon as I got there, rushing to envelop me in a hug.

“Good to see you too Dharkiss. How was the week I was gone?”

“It went crazily. The craftsman’s guild came out, seeing what they can learn from us.”

“Oh? How did that go?”

“Well, aside from some of the blueprints for the weapons and traps we worked together to make, terribly. As we could only access and work steel earlier, they were most disappointed. When asked if they were willing to send someone out to teach, they practically wanted to bleed us dry.”

“Figures. They get a monopoly of something, and want to charge you out the nose to get in on it.”

“Aye, that be the truth of it. I could get some training in exchange for the blueprints, but only enough to make me a journeyman in one type of metal, and they refused any mithril trainin’.” He snarled, shaking his head.

“I hope you turned that shit down, right?”

“I haven’t said anything yet. I really want to, but it would be incredibly difficult to learn any one new metal on my own, let alone all the ones I don’t know. I just can’t see doing that. You’ll be needing new armors and things, and I’ll feel like a failure if I can’t help you out.”

“Well, I have something for you. Before I give it to you, I want you to let me be there when you tell them to go fornicate themselves with a metal cactus.”

“HA! HAHAHAHAAAAA! And just, why would I be tellin’ them to do that?”

“Well, because I have the blacksmithing and smelting notes of a legendary dwarven blacksmith and I’m going to be giving it to you?” I said, pulling out one of the notebooks, this one on steel smithing and handing it over. Dharkiss thumbed through it for a second, stopping midway through the book.

“Angus, do you know how much this book alone is worth? I would give ya my firstborn, and probably the second and third as well. How many of these do you have?”

“Well, you have the steel there, then there’s orichalcum, adamantine, mithril, and bronze. Add one for each to smelt it, as well as a general smithing and preparing for enchanting techniques, that’s another eleven.”

“I can’t acc”

“You can, I insist. I wouldn’t have made it nearly as far as I have without you and your equipment. If it makes you feel better, we can call it a loan. Learn what you can from them, and when you have mastered them you can return them to me. In exchange, give me a small discount.” I said with a smile, though he continued to look conflicted.

“Aye.” He said at last. “I can do that. I’ll be making all your custom orders, and everything will be 75% off while I’m learning from these books. Can the apprentice look at them too?”

“Of course, but are you sure at 75%? That’s awful high.”

“It’s worth it, just for giving me a reason to thumb my nose at those stingy bastards.” We heard a tinkling from the bell above his door, and he winked at me. “Speak o’ the devils.”

I turned to see three dwarves walk in. One was decked out in fine merchant clothes, while the other two were in full plate mail that covered every inch of their bodies. The masks were cut into glaring visages, and I could even see tiny strands of wire crossing the eye slits to prevent people from trying to thread an arrow or dagger in there for an instant kill. These body guards were serious, as they kept the oversized axes on their backs but had hands on dagger pommels for close in fighting. They had small buckler type shields forged into the forearm parts of their gauntlets, freeing them from needing a shield.

“Think those shields are forged that way? Or welded on later?” I asked Dharkiss, quickly putting the book into my inventory so they couldn’t see it.

“Trade secrets.” The well-dressed dwarf grumbled. “So, have you come to a decision on our generous offer, blacksmith?”

“Indeed I have.” He said, leaning on the counter. “You can go fornicate yourself with a large, metal cactus.” Smiling, Dharkiss leaned back as I tried to fight off the giggles. The dwarf’s face scrunched in, and with his beard it seriously resembled a cat walking away.

“BWAHAHAHAHA!” I couldn’t hold it in anymore, and the dwarf glared daggers at me.

“Is this some sort of joke? We came with a good faith offer, hoping for mutual aid.”

“Bullshit.” Dharkiss interrupted. “You came here, looking to line your pockets. You offer a paltry sum for innovative blueprints, and charge an arm and a leg for information you already have. No, I’ll not be doin’ business with the likes of you. Now, get gone from my store.”

“You’ll be regretting this, blacksmith. With the fall of the Stonefists, the Mountain Crusher clan be the best blacksmiths around!”

Hearing of the Stonefists, I perked up. Wasn’t that the name of that dwarf blacksmith I killed in the Bone Citadel? Once the dwarf and his attendants had left, I turned to Dharkiss. “Hey, Dharkiss. Got an important question for you.”

“Go right ahead Angus.”

“Those books I showed you were written by a Stonefist dwarf. I ended up saving his remains on a whim, and I think we should invite a representative of them over here to learn with you. Help them put the Mountain Crusher clan back in their place, what’d’ya say?”

“I think that sounds like a fine proposition, a very fine proposition indeed.” He said with a smile. “We will have to get an okay with this from Khaliss, but I’m sure he would be fine with it. I just wonder what they could offer us?”

“Well, I don’t have anything for our other craftsmen. Maybe we could have them bring in trainers for that?”

“Tis perfect! We aid in taking down those cocksure bastards, they get their clans secrets back, and we get caught up in techniques for advanced materials. The dwarves will even be happy that they can offer us something near to the same value in return, and not be in our debt.”

“Great! Now, before I go, I have two things I want to run by you. See what you think.”

“Ha! Of course you do! Let me get the pencil and paper, one second.”

We spent the next half hour going over things, shooting holes in each other’s designs. It was nice to be back in the swing of things with a friend. I ended up leaving him all the books except the one on steel, as well as a portion of the ingots that I had from the Bone Citadel. Once we had everything hashed out, I headed out to see Djarleen.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

“DAMNIT! DON’T COME ANY CLOSER IDIOT APPRENTICE!” Djarleen screeched at me when I entered the store. I took two steps to my right so that I wasn’t in the doorway, and sat down so I wouldn’t get in trouble. Not really how I wanted her to greet me, but I did disappear on her for a week with no notice.

“Good to see you too, Djarleen.”

“It’s not that, idiot. You went and increased the potency of your death aura, and I’m sitting here trying to brew a top tier rejuvenation potion. If you come any closer, you risk ruining my work.”

“Oh. Sorry about that.” I said, feeling a bit glum.

“Stop moping. You didn’t mess it up, and I’ll be done in a minute. Then we can talk about important things. Like not disappearing when you have the head of the alchemy guild selling things on your behalf.”

Oh shit!” I thought to myself. How awesome would that staff have become after sitting in a room filled with mana for three days? Damnit, I could have been the first with a divine tier item for sale! I could probably buy a country or two for that!

“There we are, all finished.” She said, putting the vibrant red liquid vial into a secure rack. “Now, the last I heard of you, there was a world announcement about you playing with forces well outside your hand. What do you have to say for yourself?”

“Ummm, I regret nothing?” I said, shrugging my shoulders.

“HA! That’s the right attitude! You’ll make a fine alchemist if you keep that in mind. We push the boundaries and we try new things. So what kept you away for a week?”

“Adventurer business. I couldn’t come back before today, believe me I tried.”

“Very well, you haven’t lied to me yet. Now, let’s head over to talk with the guildmaster, he’s been getting impatient.”

“Okay.”

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A note from Mighty Moushie

So I need to work in the ranking system for the metals, as that should probably be important in the story.  I'm thinking of doing it as an argument in one of the chat rooms, but am open to suggestions.

Here's how they rank.  They get both a hardness rank that gives physical damage and a magical rank that tells how strong the enchantment that can be placed on it is.  Base metals only, you can have variants like the bloodsteel that can have slightly better properties.

Steel:  Physical rank 2-4, Magical rank 2-4

Adamantine:  Physical rank 6-8, Magical rank 4-6

Orichalcum:  Physical rank 8-10, Magical rank 1 (This stuff literally eats magic.  Weapons of this are usually called magekillers.)

Mithril:  Physical rank 4-6, Magical rank 6-8

Electrum:  This is split into two parts.  Natural elementum, which is roughly 55 silver: 40 gold: 5 random mix.  This is the better alloy, and gets Physical rank 1, Magical rank 10

Artificial Electrum is 55 silver: 45 gold.  Physical rank 0, Magical rank 8-9

Thoughts?  Likes or dislikes?


About the author

Mighty Moushie

Bio: I'm a chemist that gave writing a try, and loved the results. Everything is mostly for fun right now, though I might try and get some things published eventually. Certain traits of my daughter have made it into bits of my stories, and she sometimes keeps me company when we both have trouble sleeping.

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