After I had inspected my totally awesome newby armour, I looked at the rocks I had gotten to start with. Those impressed me quite a bit more.

Simple Runestone: Ice
This Runestone is inscribed with the simple Ice-Rune and can be used to instantly substitute a single Ice-Rune in a Rune Formation without the need to inscribe or charge it.
Simple Runestone: Blood
This Runestone is inscribed with the simple Blood-Rune and can be used to instantly substitute a single, simple Blood-Rune in a Rune Formation without the need to inscribe or charge it.
Simple Runestone: Darkness
This Runestone is inscribed with the simple Darkness-Rune and can be used to instantly substitute a single, simple Darkness-Rune in a Rune Formation without the need to inscribe or charge it.

Those were the three pre-inscribed stones, the last two were

Simple Runestone: Blank
This Runestone is blank. You can inscribe a single, simple Rune and charge it to later instantly fit the inscribed Rune into a Rune Formation. Afterwards the Runestone needs to be recharged but the inscription is permanent.

So, magic works by basically writing what I want to happen in runes, charging Astral Power into the runes and bang? But how do I know the exact meaning of my runes? Wait, when I got the True Mage-Trait I gained two Special Abilities, Rune Meditation and Rune Comprehension. My arm was still bleeding so I checked my HP and was quite surprised that I hadn't regenerated a single HP. I opened the menu and got myself floating HP, Stamina and Astral Power bars in the upper left corner of my eyes and floating buff and debuff monitor in the upper right. The debuff monitor told me that my health-regeneration was zero until I stopped the bleeding. I also added a small floating log into the lower left corner, telling me about skill increases and made every blue box during combat appear in a small version in the bottom right corner.

Now, about my bleeding. Trying to block the bleeding with my other arm as good as possible, hoping it would be enough I went back to my magic machinations. I emptied my mind, trying to focus on the shape inscribed in the blood Runestone, the feeling of blood in my right hand and the memory of the red, pulsing runes that I'd seen during the test. Slowly, I got a feeling, the rune on the stone simply said blood and could be used to target blood or vitality.

Then the runes I'd seen in the test became clearer, one was a combination of Blood and Spout and could be used to cause blood to shoot from a wound, worsening the wound and possibly introducing a bleeding-effect but the blood needed a channel, I couldn't just make the blood of an enemy explode, at least not yet. The other pair in the test was Blood and Clot, basically the opposite of the rune I'd just considered. It would take a bloody wound and make it scab over. Again, only worked with flesh wounds, for more complex wounds I'd need different, possibly more advanced runes.
But the two-rune combinations somehow felt incomplete to me, and one of my special abilities said that a Rune Triangle is the basic unit, so they'd need something more to work. I sank back into my meditation and one of the dull runes in the test came into focus and I had a feeling of closeness of touching. Then I got a splitting headache, I guess there was a limit on how many runes I could gain at a time or maybe in a period of time.
Yes, that might work. I washed the new blood away and, using the blood I had on my hand I wrote the three runes on my arm, in a triangle around the wound. After they were on my arm, I'd need to charge them, so I tried focusing on them and imagined them glowing in the same pulsing, red light as the runes in the test. I felt something flow out of my hair, through my arms and into the runes on my arm and not only did the bleeding stop, the wound scabbed over and looked like a week or two old. The blood that had made up my runes changed into powder and simply dropped away. I also saw my Astral Power bar drop by quite a bit, on closer examination healing the small wound had taken up 25 Astral Points. But I now had a self-heal, nice.

Skill gained
You gained a skill: Blood Rune-Mastery 1/100
Blood Runes are some of the most versatile runes, they can be used to target most living beings, they can be used to damage or heal and they can be used as a carrier for other effects if you can introduce the other effect into the targets blood, can be used to spread the effect rapidly affecting the target everywhere. Due to their horrible potential for abuse and misuse, Blood Mages are widely feared.

Ok, before going on I should regenerate my mana, er, Astral Power Points thingy, and figure out some icy-cool damage spell. Again, I went back to meditation, this time with the Ice-Rune in my hand and feeling the chill around me. Yes, getting my mind focused on ice and cold should be easy sitting in a tree in a fake-Siberian tundra.
In a surprisingly short time, I had the silvery-blue shining runes from the test floating in my mind and was able to understand some of them. The rune on the Runestone was unsurprisingly simply Ice. Still, with the runes I now had meaning for, I created two spells, one simple the other more complex.
The first used one rune for Ice, one for Hail and one I read as shatter. So if I didn't muck up, the spell should create an icicle shoot it out like a hailstone and after hitting it should shatter. At least that was my intent, no idea if it would work.
The second spell was a combination, using Ice and Blood, first again Ice and Hail but then Chill, Blood and another chill rune. I'd prefer something along the lines of 'contaminate' or 'spread' but beggars can't be choosers.
As my APP were full again, I focused on a tree, about a hundred feet away and wanted to cast my Icicle-Burst spell. But how to make the runes in thin air? Oh, well, it's a kind of magic. So I focused on the flowing feeling I had before, when healing my wound letting it flow out of my finger and as soon as a silvery glow appeared I slowly started to draw the runes in a triangle formation into the thin air. And lo and behold, the moment I finished my air-painting, in the middle of the triangle materialised an icicle and shot forward, hitting the tree with a dull 'thuck', and then shattering, ripping a hole into the bark of the tree. To my happy surprise, it only took sixteen APP so I could actually use those to hunt
Before I could test my second spell, I heard a shuffling at the trunk of my tree and looking down, I saw another Young Wolf.
Yes, it would make a descent target for my new spells. First, the Icicle-Burst. Again, I drew into the air, intensely focused on my unaware quarry and after a short moment, the silvery glow was there again and another deadly Icicle burst forth to bring destruction to my enemies.
The Icicle hit my target in the side and in my lower right corner, I read that I had dealt 8 Damage, Piercing to the Young Wolf and caused a minor bleeding-effect and that I'd gained the Ice Rune-Mastery.

Now, the wolf knew I was up here anyway and observing it would not warn it.
In my lower right corner appeared “Young Wolf, level 4, 89/98” Oh, great, that would only take another nine, maybe ten Icicles, yay. Then I tried the other, more complex spell, making a pentagon instead of a triangle, I inscribed Ice – Hail – Chill – Blood – Chill and the projectile flew off, this time with a mixed glow of silver and red but sadly my target did not simply let itself being hit and the spell took quite a bit more APP, to be precise it took 48 APP, not cool for a miss.
Still, I kept trying, figuring that I could use the training both of my aim and my skills. When shooting the next complex Icicle, yes, I wanted to see the effect, the flowing did not come from my hair as it had all the time, it came from all over my body. Then I realized what it was, I had indistinctively used the Astral Power stored in my hair first, now I was using the power stored within my body. Cool, I'd have to check if my hair changes with stored power or not.
The second Icicle was a lot better aimed or I simply got lucky but anyway, it hit. This time, it was a lot more effective, dealing 8 damage piercing but also 12 cold-damage and applying a strong slow effect to the wolf. Still, the wolf was shivering from the cold attacking it's insides and stumbling, not able to dodge at all.
I shot two more of the Blood-Chilling Icicles and was rewarded with two hits, each dealing eight piercing damage and fourteen and sixteen cold-damage bringing the wolves health down to eighteen as it had bled a bit from the first wound. The cold-effect had wrecked it however, after the last icicle it was simply lying there, shivering. I climbed down a bit and then simply jumped down, dagger in hand after checking that no other wolf was close. The first wolf didn't even look at me, it was just lying there, shivering. I felt bad for it, especially knowing that I had caused it but at the end of the day, it was dog eats dog, or maybe mage eats wolf. I simply went next to the downed wolf and with a swift cut, severed it's throat.


Young Wolf died
You gain 9 EXP. (10% diminishing returns)
For killing an opponent 3 levels above you you gain 3 Bonus EXP
For killing an opponent without a Traveller in your party, you gain 1 Bonus EXP


Skill increased
You increased your skill: Blood Rune-Mastery [2/100]


Skill increased
You increased your skill: Ice Rune-Mastery [4/100]

So grinding would be pretty much impossible if I was already running into diminishing returns,
At that point my real body was sending distress signals so I climbed back onto my tree, wrapped myself into the cloak and logged out.

A note from Tsaimath

My battle with the blue boxes continues...

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