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A note from flriley

My very first rating was a .5 star!  I'm not sure if I should be honored to have gotten included in the .5 star club, or worried my story is that bad.

“Can you give me more information on the Techno-Magic Universe? I mean a general overview, planet conditions, races, monsters, gods?”

 

[There is a multitude of planets where life flourishes.  Unlike your previous existence, these other worlds and civilizations have been discovered and visited.  Worlds within that Universe are interconnected by a system of portals]

[For those segments of the Universe that have been explored and have reached a certain technological threshold, the opportunity to join the Interstellar community is given.  They can link to and are part of a portal network]

[New worlds are frequently discovered and annexed into the portal system.  Magic as much as technology allows for these new planets and civilizations to be discovered; a combination of astronomy, divination, and ritual]

[World governments are as myriad as the gods and demons that control them.  Certain Pantheons, Greek, Asgard, Aztec, flourish and control multiple planets]

[As mentioned, humans are a minor species in these realities]

[During creation you will have the opportunity to select a species and a world and determine if you wish to begin life as an infant or assume the life of an individual that has recently died]

“Died?

 

“I’ll be assuming someone else’s life? 

 

“I won’t be dead, will I?  Some type of zombie or vampire?”

 

[The young adults of each sentient species undergo a rite of passage.   When they reach their majority, they are required to participate in a process that has come to be called ‘The Rite of Ascension’.  This is a Universal requirement for all sapient life-forms and completes a symbiotic partnership between the individual and the Universe]

[The Ascension process is a ritual that awakens and unlocks latent abilities, skills, and perks, and gives children full access to System resources and connections]

[The ceremony is like a vision quest Native Americans practiced from your former reality. But unlike those quests, it makes changes to the individual's DNA matrix, changes that allow the individual to connect fully with the System protocols. The DNA modification establishes and creates the neural network that allows for communication between a young adult and System.]

[System is a scaled-down version of S-Prime.  It is responsible for guiding individuals and helping them to level-up]

 

[But the process of Ascension is not without risks.  Individuals that are not prepared, those that have not created the foundation required to implement System, die]

[You would assume the life of one of these young adults, a person that failed to assimilate and died during the Ascension process]

[That is if you choose not to begin life as an infant]

[A new body would be created.   Enhanced and with the requisite foundation to survive.  I would then funnel your soul into this new construct.  Manifest the divine to give the new body life and magic.  You would become the person that failed, stepping into his or her life]

“If I am replacing someone, can I make cosmetic changes?  Or will how I look completely reflect the person I am becoming?  Is my appearance pre-determined?

“And will I absorb that person’s memories and personal history?”

 

[The creation process allows you to make minor body and facial sculpting changes.  Changes on a limited scale]

[As for keeping the memories and experiences of the host body, that will not occur]

[This lack of memories could be problematic, but the evolution process is dangerous and intense.  Occasionally, individuals are left with total and irreparable amnesia. Because of this phenomenon, newly ascended, those that have lost their memories, are treated like children] 

[They are trained to understand and control the new abilities they've gained, and retrained, if necessary to relearn old abilities and skills, as memories and forgotten experiences are re-established]

[Most individuals are blessed with an instinctive understanding and ability to control the gifts and knowledge gained during Ascension and require little training]

“You said there were Gods and Demons, so do I need to worry about them? Will they be able to recognize that I have assumed this person’s life?”

 

[Possibly]

[God’s and Demons have the ability to create and destroy, but no matter how powerful they are, they are not omnipotent or omniscient. You may never gain the attention of a deity, but if you do, there is a chance, a chance that increases the more you interact with certain deities, that they can discover and pierce the veil that will be created to obfuscate your past life]

[Let me be clear]

[Once you begin your new life, it is a new life]

[You may remember the details of your previous life. Wisdom and experience may cross over. But that life will be like a dream or a novel you have read.  Vague glimpses and shadows of a past that may help guide and influence your decisions]

[The longer you live, the more those memories will fade]

[Until]

 

[This new life is all that you remember]

“You identified this Universe as one of techno-magic, does that mean technology and science are blended with magic and individuals have access to both?  Inventions and innovations are able to be implemented and created so that any even the lowest level can use?

 

“Would it be possible for me to create and build technology that I am familiar with from Earth?”

 

[Yes]

[If you have the knowledge, power, and wealth to research and fund projects, there will be nothing to stop you from adapting existing technologies you are familiar with to the current Universe] 

[But you will find little need] 

[The systems and infrastructure created by magic are tested, efficient, and capable of producing the same results as any technology you are familiar with]

I realized as S-Prime finished answering my question that I was stalling. I’d already decided what realm to choose, but my past life had shown how cruel the nature of man could be. In this place of color and movement, I was safe. Safe from conflict, safe from pain, safe from rejection. But this feeling of safety was transient, I suspected that if I did not choose, a choice would be made for me, and I had had enough of being the victim. For once in my existence, I wanted to chart my destiny.

Perhaps it was short-sighted not to ask about the other Universes, but the lure of magic was too strong.

“I choose the realm of techno-magic,” I stated, determined to make my next life as wondrous and different from my past life as possible.

 

[Initializing character creation...]

[Universe - Techno-Magic Realm selected...]

 

[Select your species]

Blue screens and a drop-down menu of available choices appeared, pages of choices and possible selections became available. I read the number of choices at the top in disbelief, page 1 of 323,847.

“How many species are there?” I asked, stunned by the number of selections available.

 

[Each page contains ten species to select from. 323,847 pages converts to 3,238,470 species]

“There has to be a way to narrow down the list. Can I input search criteria?” I asked.

 

[Yes]

“OK.  First, list long-lived species, with powerful casting abilities. Species that cost no more than half my current creation points, please.”

 

[Sorting. Pages 1 of 20 available...]

“Filter by factions. List only those that are considered good or neutral.  Remove any evil-aligned species if those exist.  And remove species that are at war or have been enslaved or subjugated.”

 

[Sorting. Pages 1 of 11 available...]

“Remove species that have environmental restrictions, species that are only capable of breathing water or take harm when exposed to sunlight.”

 

[Sorting. Pages 1 of 6 available...]

“Remove any species that have existing curses, have low populations, minimal infrastructure, or have recently evolved.”

 

[Sorting. Page 1 of 1 available...]

Satisfied with the list of species remaining, I clicked the prompt to view page 1 of 1. Three species were highlighted.

 

[Royal Elf – This species encompasses the traits of all elves, including wood elf, high elf, and moon elf. Genetically modified through selective breeding and magical manipulation, they have a high magic affinity.

A long-lived species, Royal Elves average life expectancy is 3,500 years.  There have been cases documented of powerful magic-wielding individuals living over 10,000 years.

Because of their unique bloodlines, each Royal Elf can earn land and titles as part of a Quest Chain.

Character Creation Point Cost: 20,000 points]

[Draken – A humanoid version of dragons, this species can become as powerful as their forefathers. Scales create a natural armor that protects individuals, and their ability and affinities with elemental powers allow them to specialize in realms and areas of magic few others can manage.

Draken species and elemental affinity are determined by scale color.  The brighter and more jewel-like the scale reflects, the more powerful the individual.  Red/Fire Draken and Blue/Ice Draken are considered the most powerful.

Draken are well versed in the Dragon language which enhances their spellcasting abilities.

Draken become harder to kill as they age. And can live over 30,000 years.

Character Creation Point Cost: 21,000]

[Sidhe – Often mistaken for Elves, this species has evolved from Fairy, an extra-dimensional people that have evolved and established their own Pantheon. As Gods, they retained the ability to open portals to an extra-dimensional land.  The Summerlands of Fairy is unique.  It allows for transportation between all multi-verses and can connect two points from anywhere in the Universe.

Sidhe species include Seelie, Unseelie, Sprites, Slaugh, Bogs, Banshee, Brownies and other species. They are closely aligned with nature and have evolved magics and powers that allow them to control the elements.

Sidhe of all species can become royalty amongst their people and unless killed in very specific manners are functionally immortal.

Character Creation Point Cost: 25,000 points]

I’d played Elves and Draken in a few fantasy MMO’s.  Because I felt familiar with their skill-sets, habits, and weaknesses, I believed that I would be successful if I chose those races.

But to play Sidhe?

I’d never heard of a game that allowed that race to be explored. What little I knew of these powerful creatures had to do more with novels than games. The Sidhe histories I knew were based on Celtic folklore and mythology.  On Earth, they had been considered Gods.  Gods of Death, Battle, Light, and Magic.

The Sidhe had established a pantheon of Gods as powerful as those Gods from the Greek or Norse mythology, and they could, at times, be just as cruel. Mostly, they were known for their love of music and ale, their weakness to iron, and the tricks they played on mortals.

I wondered why their weakness to iron hadn’t disqualified them when I was sorting. Probably because I had sorted for curses and environmental factors, not genetic weaknesses. It was also possible the weakness to iron was a myth and not a real concern.

It would have been safer to choose the Royal Elf or Draken, definitely smarter, the entire reason I sorted for long-lived races was that I wanted to postpone my next reincarnation and visit before S-Prime as long as possible.

Even though I knew.  Had experienced definitive proof that death was just the next step in the soul’s evolution, I still had a fear of the unknown.  And starting over, losing all my memories terrified me.

I couldn’t resist, the temptation was too great.

The chance to experience what true elemental and magical power entailed was something I had always dreamed of. There was no way I would pass up this opportunity.

Certainly, the functional immortality was a big draw, considering my next reincarnation was probably not going to be result in as many Karmic points as this one had.  And the chances to make an informed decision about who and what I would be when I reincarnated was so rare that this might be my only opportunity across all my future reincarnations to make these decisions.

“I choose Sidhe,” I declared, discarding the safe choices for the lure of the unique.

 

[Race Sidhe selected]

[Initializing...]

[Do you wish to begin life as an infant or choose an individual that died while Ascending?]

Start life all over?  Allowing myself to be at the mercy of adults and caregivers?

No thanks.

I’d learned the vagaries and dangers of trusting others in my past life.  I wanted as much control over my life as possible, and my starting life over as an infant removed that control.

Still, I had concerns about the ‘soul’ of the individual whose life I would usurp. Fearing the answer, I asked a question that had been bothering me since S-Prime had explained the Ascension process, I knew that S-Prime had claimed the person had already died, but I needed assurance that an innocent person wasn’t being killed so that I could transmigrate.

“What happens to the person I become?  

“Whose life did I select?  

“Does my choosing their life result in their death, allowing me to take their place?”

 

[No, as explained they have already died]

[I only allow you an opportunity to transmigrate into the body of an individual that has failed Ascension]

[If you have concerns, I can make an additional allowance.  I will allow the person you choose the choice of becoming a disembodied avatar, someone to guide you in your new world]

[They will become a part of you, your souls linked.  Two becomes one.  Together but separate.  They will be given certain abilities] 

[Eventually, they may gain rewards and experience based on service]

[This experience might earn them the ability to evolve into a new and separate host body capable of possessing a limited form] 

[That possibility would be dependent on you and your actions.  Your soul would have to become strong enough during this incarnation to divide]

“Do you randomly select individuals to create a pool of choices for me to select from?”

 

[.001% of all individuals who Ascend die. The pool you select from are those individuals who did not Ascend successfully]

“So, I am prolonging their life by choosing them if they become my guide?”

 

[You are prolonging this incarnation of life, this existence]

[As should be obvious by now, death is not the end, but a step each soul takes to progress]

[These individuals have their own karmic creation balance points, points that will allow them to begin a new life]

“They will all meet with you like I am doing now?”

 

[Only individuals with a positive karmic balance over 5000 meet the minimum requirement to gain my attention]

[All other individuals automatically reincarnate within the same Universe.  Most souls never advance between Universes.  They never gain the Karmic points required to evolve and advance]

[Those with negative karmic balance regress, they start over as infants on a lower Universal sub-level]

“The goal for life is to earn enough karmic creation points to rise to Universal sub-level 1?”

 

[A simplistic interpretation, but essentially correct]

[What happens to the soul on Universe sub-level 1 is the goal of all life]

“Why factor in karmic debt owed by other's actions then? It seems people with bad luck or treated badly would advance at a much faster rate to sub-level 1.” 

[You are making an incorrect extrapolation]

[Karmic Debt Balance only occurs if Earned Karmic Balance is above 5000 points]

[The percent awarded is computed based on a set of criteria I consider when reviewing past life experiences. This percentage averages .05 percent]

[But if you do not earn positive Karma, this negative Karma is ignored.  Your actions for good or evil are paramount in determining your fate]

[You were awarded a higher percentage based on the good deeds you performed]

[You rose above your circumstances and gave aid to those around you]

 

“So those who are abused are rewarded with higher matter/energy conversion points?” I asked in disbelief.

 

[Not always]

[There are factors and variables that resulted in setting 1.4 as your conversion percentage]

[The actions of others played a part, but there are no rewards for being abused] 

[Your actions and how you responded and dealt with the circumstances and the people you encountered are what affected your Karmic balance]

[How each person responds is different and so each person must be judged individually]

Honestly, it seemed like circular logic to me. I received higher points because others treated me badly, but it wasn’t the abuse that generated my higher percentage it was how I dealt with the abuse, but if I hadn’t been abused, I wouldn’t have had to deal with those issues so the abuse led to the higher percentage.

Maybe you had to be a Universal constant or S-Prime to fully understand, but I guess the reason was moot, I certainly wasn’t going to appeal the decision and ask for a lower percentage.

The discussion had assuaged my mind, I wouldn’t be responsible for killing an individual if I chose an ascended. That person would die no matter what my choice.

“I choose an ascending Sidhe and the avatar assistant!”

 

[SORTING... SORTING... SORTING...]

 

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About the author

flriley

Bio: I'm a fanatic about reading. To say I read two to three books a day would not be exaggerating. If it's Urban Fantasy, Sci-Fi, or Fantasy, I play no favorites and give everything a chance. I love hard hitting sci-fi like David Weber. Urban like Ilona Andrews, and Fantasy like Mercedes Lackey.

I've beta read for a few published authors, most notable Robin D. Owen's.

I've always wanted to write a novel, so did so during the last NaNoWrite Month. This is an edited version of that novel.

Maybe someday I'll release the original chapters so you can see just how badly mass producing a book in only 30 days can be.

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