I am an idiot. But, I am the smartest of all the idiots. Trust me, I checked. After Gungnir let all the animals out of the cavern and shut the vaulted stone door, I went back there and began crafting like a maniac, experimenting with the different stones that were warped by Chaos, playing around with the twisted trees that were suddenly hungry after their encounter with a dead god’s death throes. It was beautiful, my very own trip to childhood for a few hours. The only cloud in the sky was the fact that Spot was still stone, but it looked like the crack in the petrified exterior had some normal dog hairs poking out. My magic didn’t reveal too much, but it did feel like some kind of metamorphosis was going on there. I put Gungnir on full time organization of the dead dragon’s brain while I carefully examined the changed gems and trees.
“Ok, gold mixed with Chaos seems to have some kind of incredible power storage,” I muttered to myself, standing over the collection of gems, “Might want to consider making epic batteries out of this. Man, hope it’s a magical equivalent to a superconducter!” I kept sorting them, using earth sorcery to feel out the differences between them. “Silver, huh, feels kind of alive,” I kept on, poking it with my finger, “Almost seems to respond to my thoughts. Maybe I could make a true artificial intelligence and stick it in a staff to control the spells. Gungnir 3.0.” The whole talking to myself definitely wasn’t helping my own view of my sanity, but it did allow me to organize my thoughts.
“I heard that!” Gungnir screamed from its docking station in the crystal vault holding the brain. “No stinkin staff is gonna replace me! I am you! Or, a piece of you. You know what? Screw you!”
“Calm down. I’m just kidding, sheesh.” I retorted. “Besides, I got enough on my plate. Keeping track of one crazy magical orb is enough.” I turned back to the layout of jewels. “The ruby, huh, that one’s got its own glow.” I said as I reached out to touch it. I quickly pulled my finger back, the ruby putting out enough heat to actually burn me. “What the friggin hell!? It’s like, eating mana from the other gems to produce heat!” The weirdest part of all of this was that the crystal shards seemed soft somehow, like a shell or a seed with fruit inside.
I spent the next three days cataloging all the changes in the stones, tending the tree nursery, and eating the bare minimum of canned food to keep me going. The more I learned about the gems and trees, the more a special idea took hold. Looking up from where I was wolfing down a can of soup, the adolescent trees thirty feet away from me where emitting some kind of psychic whine that my nature sorcery barely picked up. The damn things were hungry. Very tentatively, I extended a tendril of nature sorcery towards them and felt the primitive thoughts make themselves known. Now, all trees are are pretty much after the same things, water, sunlight, soil, but these ones wanted a bit more iron in their diet in a form I didn’t really want to provide. Blood. They wanted blood. Actually, they wanted my blood, something about the magic in my blood just made it smell better to them. It was honestly starting to get a little creepy.
Turning my attention back to the gems, I picked up the sapphire and then picked up the sapphire I had covered in gold. The first one seemed to be completely different from the latter. The naked sapphire was full of energy, but in a watery kind of way, whereas the gold covered one was filled with water aspected sorcery itself. I shook the gold covered crystal, hearing a rattling inside. I started to shake. “Holy shit! Gungnir! Get over here and check this out!” I yelled, “I might have actually done it!”
“You yelled at me yesterday for leaving the brain, and now you’re telling me to leave the brain?” Gungnir complained, “I ain’t no idiot, besides, I bet what I found is much better than what you did!”
“Fuckin doubt it,” I said breathlessly, moving on to check the other crystals. The same results seemed to bear out across the gems. The naked ruby held fire energy, but the gold covered ruby felt like fire sorcery. The granite held earth energy, but the gold covered granite held earth sorcery. The weird ones were the pure quartz and diamonds, seeming to hold pure energy, but the gold covered quartz and diamond crystals seemed to have a tiny piece of rapidly shifting Chaos inside of it, a solid piece!
“Dude, trust me, I’m totally right.” Gungnir said, the mental smirk carried over our link. “I know how to use the World Tree sapling to travel like a gate. Rath’s brain showed me that nature, water, and earth dragons regularly use it to find new realms or worlds to nest in. And since your sorcery is right along those lines, shouldn’t be too hard for you to go wherever the hell you want!”
“Uhm, anywhere?” The words rang in my head, again and again. Anywhere. The World Tree could take me anywhere. What nerd doesn’t want to see the universe? What Star Wars or Star Trek lover wouldn’t give their soul for this opportunity? What star-gazing layman wouldn’t trade their left-nut for the barest close-up glimpse of an alien system? Gungnir may be right, this might be cooler than holding literal sorcery in my hands. Because not only can I go anywhere I want with Yggdrasil as my house, but I can pop in anywhere the World Tree touches.
“So what’cha got huh? What beats vacationing in Nirvana?” Gungnir teased.
“Uh, well, the possibility of more sorceries?”
“Shut up.” Gungnir deadpanned, “That’s not funny.”
“I’m serious, but I’m not really sure what I’m looking at exactly,” I said while gently putting down the strange creations. “These things don’t look like what I thought they would.”
“And how would you know?” Gungnir said, exasperated at my obvious ignorance, “You’re a baby sorcerer on the World Stage with no knowledge in your brain or information in your bones. Let me see that.”
It undocked from the crystal vat and bobbed over, peering at the carefully laid out experiments. “Crap, crap, double crap, useless crap, worthless to you crap, ooooh! Wait, still crap.” Gungnir turned towards me and said, “All of this is crap to you, except for that one over there.” A soft beam of green light illuminated a small silver covered shard of quartz off to my left. “I don’t know why, but there is some kind of solidified pure Chaos in that one. Might be useful for getting a light-based magic, but the others,” Gungnir paused for a second, “The others are different. They’re a kind of self-recharging battery for different kinds of preset magics. You could set it up to run on its own while you’re out.”
“WHAT?” I yelled, “All that effort, a damn animal revolution, and I get stuck with shit I can’t even use?”
“You can use it,” Gungnir clarified, “Just not for what you wanted. Those aren’t sorceries, those are crystals for holding purified elements. The Chaos inside of them is minute. The only purpose it serves is to change ‘wasted’ energy into whatever type it is.”
“English man. Not following.” My glare showed the orb I meant business.
“Think about it this way. Make a flamethrower that runs off of magic. Stick that fire stone in there. Works like a battery. When it runs out of power, it will self-recharge from the ambient energy that you can’t use or feel in the environment.”
The light bulb slowly sputtered on. “I’m so glad all the crystal lovin hippies are gone,” I muttered, “They’d be insufferable if they know that their beloved crystal shit is worth something now. Freaking rechargable magic flamethrowers! Finally, something cool!”
“But wait, there’s more!” Gungnir said, adopting the voice of Billy Mays, “You could use these crystals to create all kinds of things. Rechargeable weapons, that’s for kids.”
My sentient weapon levitated to about six feet off the ground, sending out beams of light to create projections on the walls around us. “Giants of magic and steel that grind our foes to dust!” Gungnir announced as images of several story tall machines wrecked a modern city. “Living flames to ravage wastes of the Undead!” A fast-forwarded segment of the old show Game of Thrones played on the wall where a dragon blazed a zombie horde to ashes. “Or bring the gods to their knees with a cleverly crafted trap!” Dizzying images of various rituals scrawled in blood and parchment flashed by, ancient and powerful things pouding at the bars of their cages, howling for release and murder.
“You don’t have everything you want here,” Gungnir whispered, “But you do have everything you need.”
Those words stopped me cold. The images flashing across the wall stilled, as if a giant hand stopped the ticking of time itself. “For what exactly?” I said, narrowing my eyes as my hands clenched so hard that knuckles began popping on their own. “I have many needs,” I said, my voice steadily growing louder. “Stop the eventual flood of the Hungry Ones at the northern border of the continent? Survive the last freaking Ripple? Figure out how to actually claim this continent so the Elder Races leave me alone? Learn how to use my power to its fullest potential? Kill a goddess?!”
Sweat dripped down my face, my raw anger unconsciously using my own water sorcery to banish the irritation. “Or maybe,” I said, my voice dropping down to just above a whisper, “A way to stop my own abilities from altering my mind?”