***Noth - Mortal World, Northern Mountainrange of Capital City***
I did it! After weeks of training, I succeeded for the first time! This is a huge step forward! I talked to a group of men! And guess what!? They didn't try to rape me and they didn't start fighting each other to the death, which sadly became one of the two inevitable outcomes when training my abilities.
Hell, yes! Maybe my life will really take a turn for the better! I am so happy that I could almost cry!
If I wasn't in the middle of nowhere. On a mountain. And somewhat lost.
“Why is she looking at us like that? Is she addled in the brain?” The merchant on top of his cart addresses his men, a group of adventurers who are guiding him through this mountainous region.
“I don't know...” the paladin, a man in full plate armour replies. “She looks a little crazed if you ask me – like someone who was living in the woods for a few months too long. A few men in my company became like that after spending too much time on their own.”
I come out of my delirious exhilaration, clearing my throat to make sure that there is no power in my voice, a skill I worked on ever since I separated from the villagers who almost got enslaved with me. “Ahem, I am sorry about my state, but you are partly right regarding my predicament. I won't ask you to take care of me since I am doing reasonably well on my own. But... could you spare a map... and tell me the direction towards the sacred mountain's peak? I will pay? I lost my way during my hunting trip.”
Their archer, a middle-aged woman, looks at me with pity in her eyes and pulls a large map out of her backpack. “Of course, girl. And if you want to get to town, just follow this road. To the peak, it's back in the direction we came from, then the first path to the right.”
I smile at her, taking the offered map before rummaging through my well-filled pockets, producing a few silver coins.
“This is too much for a simple map!” the woman complains.
“Don't worry,” I reply, lying through my teeth. “I trade in rare alchemical ingredients which I gather in the forest. My pockets are full.”
The adventurers look at each other before the merchant complains about losing time, and so they set out again, leaving me at the roadside. It's nice to come across people who don't want to rob, rape, or hurt me. They were even reasonably friendly for strangers, so I wave them goodbye.
The archer turns around one more time. “Watch out for yourself, girl. These woods aren't safe.”
“Yes,” the paladin calls out. “There is a strange Siren out there which is killing off all the bandits and even some of the caravans. The rumours tell of truly horrible massacres. Dismembered corpses and very bloody scenes like in some horror story for little children.” He laughs, making it clear that he doesn't truly believe in the rumours.
I sigh in relief, proud of myself. Another group walks away, alive and none the wiser that they were close to becoming part of the rumours.
I turn, heading the other direction while rummaging through my backpack which is filled with the loot from bandits and unlucky wanderers who crossed my path, falling victim to my ability. It's not like I am trying to be a menace on the world, but sometimes things just... go wrong. There is no way that I would intentionally kill people.
While looking like a scoundrel, I am also richer than I ever was in my entire life. I may have accidentally used my ability on some undeserving victims and was too greedy to leave their belongings behind, but I let all of my 'test-subjects' go if it was possible.
A little pang of guilt stabs into my heart at the thought of all the people who had to suffer because I was unable to control my ability, but I force myself to go on. What are the lives of a few bandits compared to my happiness?
I start trilling a little song on my way up the mountain, skipping along as the morning's sun rises high into the sky.
That is... until I realize that the road is gone! Looking around, I find nothing but hills and wilderness, confirming that I did it again! I lost my way! How much of a clutz can a girl be!?
A tear starts forming in the corner of my eye as the familiar feelings of fear and insecurity return. This world is so unfair!
Then a great shadow falls upon me and I look up to find a dark cloud smothering the sun.
I try to backtrack, but within minutes the temperatures fall and it starts snowing, which takes me entirely unprepared! The wet cold of the watery snow creeps into my clothes, sapping my strength and taking the last of my orientation. Half an hour later, I am on the brim of despair.
It's not as if I didn't know that the weather in the mountains can be dangerous.
I sit down on a rock and try to think of a way out of my situation. After I met Miruliru, I travelled further south while trying to get a grip on my abilities, leaving the villagers to their fate. But their home was close, so they shouldn't have had any problems.
Somehow, I managed to arrive at the capital with the rumoured Academy. I was very well supplied because I had looted the slavers, leaving me with no worries regarding equipment and money.
The Academy was a little disappointing, but I managed to make do by writing my wishes onto a sheet of paper when in male company. It was very troublesome to find any female teachers who were willing to give me private tutoring.
Furthermore, they didn't have any hard information on the gods. They just had those esoteric books which sounded like some guy had made them up. They didn't have any information about Miruliru or Angrod. It was like those gods don't even exist!
After reading up on multiple gods and smaller deities, I reached the end of their library.
Well, at least it wasn't a complete waste of time.
During the year which at the academy I spent my time researching magic and spellsongs until my funds ran out. My female teacher was most impressed with my abilities as a songweaver, a special type of mage who concentrates in casting spells and buffs by singing.
This really made me happy! It was the first time I learned something which wasn't directly connected to doing something improper. Unfortunately, my curse is heavily involved in this ability. It's infuriating! I really like singing and my proficiency in it is directly related to my curse.
On the other hand, being a songweaver gave me the perfect set of abilities to hunt down bandits in the woods and to repel strangers, filling my pockets with their money.
After a year, I decided on a new plan. If I couldn't find a hint on the gods from my own kind, then I would have to directly petition a deity, since Miruliru never showed up again after saving me from the slavers!
Following an old record, I made my way further north to the highest mountain in the world. It's said that adventurers who manage to climb this mountain and meditate on its peak will be able to talk to Nazareth.
Nazareth is the god of mountains and travellers. If you pray to him, he will see to your well being during your journey.
“Kukukukuku!” A mad laugh escapes my lips as I catch myself lamenting over my fate once again; something which Miruliru expressed her dissatisfaction with.
I look up to the mountain's peak, so high and rocky, and beyond my reach! I will never meet this Nazareth!
At the thought of giving up, I turn my attention in the other direction, but everywhere are cliffs and impassable terrain, making me wonder how I even got here! I will die up here, all thanks to zoning out during my travels.
Unable to go on, I sit down on a rock, too tired to take another step.
The next adventurer coming this way will find my frozen body... which makes me wonder if my abilities will work despite being dead. Will I actually lose my virginity thanks to a necrophiliac act!?
Shivers shake me and I am not sure if it is the idea I just had or the cold. I am tired and too weak to go on. Maybe I will sing one last song before I fall asleep.
“~Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis...”
I sing and sing until I finally slide from my rock and fall asleep, telling myself that at least this end wouldn't hurt. Then I slowly close my eyes.
Something shakes me and I shoot up, looking around. I am still on the mountain, but a small area around me is green and blooming as if it is spring. More importantly, it is warm! Further out, I still see some of the icy landscape of the mountain looming, a dense snowstorm barring the rest of my sight.
“Is this the afterlife?” I talk to myself in wonder.
“Hell no! The afterlife won't be much different from this one, you clutz!” a voice is raised behind me. “Honestly, how hard can it be to survive on your own for a day or two!? I am not asking for much, just a few hours so that I can sleep properly.”
I whip around and crawl backwards, away from a small, little green kobold-thing who is now sitting on my stone, studying me with expectant eyes.
“Who are you?” I ask the creature with a wary voice. “And what are you talking about?”
“What? Don't you recognize me!? I am Nazareth! The god of mountains and travellers! For a bombshell like you to not recognize me, it truly hurts my feelings, especially since I had to play your guardian angel since you were born!” The little gnome wipes his eyes as if wiping away tears. “And let me tell you, you are a full-time job.”
I pout, feeling a little hurt at the nonsense he is spouting. “B... but the texts describe you as a little man in a cloak. And it isn't like I can't survive in the woods. I did fine until I came up here.”
The gnome shudders. “Bääh! The texts, the descriptions, and your stories! You mortals make up so much about the gods.” He shakes his head and makes a dismissive gesture. “And don't think so much of yourself, foolish girl. You have literally no sense of direction – making me wonder what's up there in your head.” As if to mock me, he scratches his groin at the words. “Believe me, not a single day went by without divine intervention saving your life. I suppose that's why he forced this duty onto me.”
He sighs so dejectedly that I can practically feel the dissatisfaction coming off of him in waves. “So, what brings a hot babe like you to my sacred mountain? Originally, I didn't plan to talk with you, but your devotion and your song moved me...” His eyes wander lower. “And those breasts. I must admit that your figure is a little counterweight to the pain of watching over you.”
This little, green kobold is bad news! “I wanted to talk to the gods in order to lift the curse on me. And what about this devotion and guardian business? Are you implying that you watched me day and night for my entire life – like some stalker!?”
I admit that I lost a little control at the end, putting some power into my voice.
Thankfully, the deity is unmoved by my ability and only raises an eyebrow. “Well. Usually, the mortals march up to my preferred vantage point and pollute the air up there until I talk to them in an attempt to drive them off. It's the best view from up there, you know?”
He leers at me. “And who would curse such a beauty like you? Violet hair, perfect skin, baby blue eyes and an unbelievable body with two huuuge mountains as-”
My hand moves before I can stop myself, resulting in a resounding 'Whack!'.
“Hey! What was that for!?” Nazareth rubs his cheek.
Oooh! No! I went and did it! I hit him without thinking!
I throw myself to my knees and bow down. “I am sorry! It was a reflex! Please don't smite me! It just infuriated me to hear how the gods see me!”
Nazareth rubs his red cheek for two seconds longer while glaring at me. “Never mind. I didn't think that you are actually so pure at heart, Sharid.”
I look up. “You know me?” Then I stop myself. The creep was stalking me, so of course, he knows my name. “Then, can you answer my questions? You must know my motivations if what you say is true.”
The little man looks somewhat embarrassed. “I am sorry. Nobody can help you. You got cursed by Angrod – as I believe you know.”
“Then tell me why!? Tell me that at least! I will assemble all the gods if necessary! Even the major ones. This Angrod cursed me and never even bothered to explain why! And he didn't even show up for my whole life!” I glare at Nazareth, knowing that I lost it, but I don't care anymore.
The gnome starts laughing with tears in his eyes, making a mockery out of my determination.
“Sorry, gal. I hate to pop your sweet little cherry bubble, but all the gods on this world aren't enough to go against Angrod. When you were born, he actually dragged all of us together and explained in no uncertain terms that you are off-limits.” The little gnome shudders while I look at him agape.
“He is stronger than all the gods assembled?” I let myself fall into the dirt. There is no hope for me.
“What do you expect of the King of Gods? All gods of this world are just flies compared to him and his pantheon.” The gnome shrugs. “There are things that require the power of an adventurer, a hero, and some few tasks require the power of a god, girl.”
His expressions turns serious. “Like, end of the world stuff. But even then you wouldn't bother Angrod with it. You bother him only if there is more at stake than that. He is a soul mage on top! And if you learn one thing as an immortal, it is to never mess with a soul mage! You just have to take a look at yourself to see what happens if you step on a soul mage's toe. Be happy that he is busy with the war and doesn't have time to play around with you.”
“War?” I ask.
“We gods have some problems with demons and soul eaters and so on. The higher realms have their own troubles. Nothing that should concern you mortals. Just be happy that you are being left to your own devices.” Nazareth waves his hand, dismissing the matter as irrelevant.
It doesn't help. I am still lost.
“Oh, don't be so down! I will lend you a hand! Such a devoted mortal as you should get at least some help. To actually walk fourteen times around the mountain until you almost drop dead. Such faith has to be rewarded!” Nazareth rubs his hands. “As they say: If you don't have it in your brain, you have it in your legs!” He looks down, appreciating my shapely stalks.
“I walked fourteen times around the mountain?” Fuck! Why!? Am I really that disoriented?
“You didn't know?” Nazareth raises an incredulous eyebrow.
“Well! I was so happy when I managed to convince the perverted monks at the foot of the mountain to show me the way,” I explain, remembering the many people who helped me out on the road – whether they wanted to or not. It is like that with someone who has a compelling voice. “I just had to do a little dance for them and they looked so happy! They didn't even try to rape me! It was the first time that I managed to control my abilities that well!” I bite on my fingernail while recounting the story.
Nazareth nods sagely. “I was watching that dance – though I think they reacted only to your swinging, ahem, singing assets. Did you know that they actually took a vow of silence? The guy who gave you your directions broke with his faith to do so.
“And regarding your sense of direction, it is the worst! You are running around in concentric circles like a chicken without a head! At least those drop dead after a few metres. I know that the people down in the village are trying to make a show of it, but this area is actually a tourist trap. There are signs everywhere! This is a well-visited holy place! It's practically impossible to lose your way up here and you did it anyway.”
He grumbles, “Angrod must have messed something up when he played around with your soul. On the other hand, it would be like him if he did it intentionally, just to torture me!”
“What?” I gape at the little man. My desire to run away in shame grows with every word he speaks.
“Never mind.” He rolls his eyes at me. “I will help you to get those abilities of yours completely under control. Angrod forbade us to lay hands on you, but I guess a few guiding words from time to time should be fine. We may even be able to guide you back to godhood.”
“Really!? Really? Really? Oh, thank you!” I bow to him, hoping that this is the right choice. “I have no idea what's going on, but this might be a path forward.”
“Call me Master!” Nazareth nods.
I hope I am not making a mistake here. “Yes. M- m- Master!”
“Oh, and one more thing about those perverted monks at the foot of the mountain,” Nazareth raises a finger. “Just so that you know how far away from truly controlling your abilities you actually are.”
“...they are eunuchs.”