His eyes snapped open and despite the fact that he hurt just about everywhere, there didn’t seem to be any reason to do anything other than sit up and try to figure out what to do with his time. Ruth cast a look at the bodies beside him, noting that the blood hadn’t crystallized or frozen but it had long since lost its warmth.
Brief lamentation for the earlier outburst where he had challenged the two little usurping god Goblins without understanding their, or his, motivation. Hindsight provided explanation enough; which was that he was fed up and looking for an outlet and hadn’t really needed the clothes or the meat. Ruth should have just walked away at a brisk pace so that he could have been the bigger former dragon, and they could all keep their pride from getting bruised.
He lifted his arms up off his thighs from his sitting situation and looked down. Utter disgust filled his face when he realized that blood coated him. Dried but undeniably from both the Goblin and himself. There was a brief moment of pleasure to find that his pale skin seemed as if it were mending at a faster rate than he might have expected.
Something on the edge of his vision caught his attention but he looked away from it, squinting with distrust and suspicion. This fragile form was probably slightly damaged from blood loss or something, and that was the reason. Yep. That would be it. He would just ignore it for the moment and make the good of a situation.
First, recognize that his body had mana again and was quietly topping him off at a small amount. That it was maintaining was a good sign. He was bleeding it off naturally just by existing as most creatures did, and now he was a little less concerned with just dropping dead since the minuscule amount he felt himself using was easily replenished by both the corpses and the chilly air.
Second, get up and take the two Goblin tunics and inspect them. Continue to ignore the strange phenomenon that was starting to persistently bounce out of the corner of his left eye. The two tunics were mostly just one sheet of leather or animal fur apiece that had been stitched together with one lazy line of stitches by a very long and skinny piece of leather or rougher hide. He peeled the stitching out and now he had two longish leather strips and two pieces of hide with holes running up and down either side.
A quick adjustment and he stitched one of the pieces to the other one, wrapped it around his waist(lift that sassy tail and…), brought it around his front. He did his best to stitch the remaining two flaps together and pulled them tight. It hung off his waist below his tail while keeping the area just above his knees to his waistline secured. He felt warmer already.
Third, confirm that the Goblins were pieces of crap. Kick them once or twice. Stub toe but show no remorse. Check.
Lastly, take a look at this strange thing that seemed to be patiently lurking and doing its best to get in the way of his vision.
Former Dragon: Ruth (Level 1) (Puny/Unawake)
★ Unlock Mana Circulation. 5/5 Spells A Day Maximum. 1 Spell Regenerates Every 4.8 Hours.
★ Choose School Specialization
★ Speak Language (Draconic)
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Patron Bonus: Wish 1/1
The scribbles themselves were infuriating. He focused on the top line of script and memories as well as impressions filled his mind until the scribbles slowly began to merge into meanings. He was no longer a dragon. He was puny? He almost hissed at the audacity of this lurking instigator. The way it didn’t move at all as he looked at it told him it had no fear. He reached out experimentally and drew back when he realized that his fingers went right through it. So not dangerous, other than insulting, and he couldn’t seem to hurt it.
Well if he wasn’t a dragon what was he? He was pretty sure he wasn’t a sn-
Planar Tiefling: Ruth (Level 1) (Puny/Unawake)
His mouth opened in bafflement as the meanings updated themselves. It was the most useless thing he had ever seen. Like he knew what the hell a Tiefling was or a Planar. The images came of bright balls of light and movement through space. Dark holes in a void of already cosmic nothingness that ate things of unimaginable power and spit them out from other dark holes. The Tiefling imagery was far less brain tumor-inducing but it just showed him the image of a slightly ‘coloured’ race of what seemed to be humans mixed with lizard parts. Or Ram? Those horns were curved over the ears and protruded from their, his, our heads?
His fingers scrambled and he already dreaded it. Of course. He was a crossbreed between a human and some sort of lizard that had not been able to quickly escape. Or a ram that was kept in much the same manner as humans kept anything. In the yard, with a fence, guarded by lazy looking mammals that made ‘arf arf’ noises at him when he flew by.
A sick thought churned in his stomach. Humans were just disgusting.
His mouth gaped as he considered. Did that mean there were furry ‘arf arf’ mixtures of humans running around somewhere as well? His dragon mind refused to accept it, though a part of him became painfully aware of how certain things were making more sense now. Strong mana luxurious humans were often humans that initiated or sought violence. His inability to feel magic originally was probably because he hadn’t yet killed something for no reason; a behavior that he had seen in many strong humans.
At the time he was a dragon he hadn’t thrown stones though. Who didn’t let off a little steam once in a while? Especially when the humans seemed to enjoy it as well. Self-proclaimed and pompous little humans with magic swords or wielding higher level spells often made trips up his mountain to challenge themselves against his might. Sometimes they brought long scrolls with pictures. He’d done his best to follow along with the stories and was amused to note that there were a lot of the little pictures depicting dragons eating … or dragons burning things … or dragons being slain by humans in very shiny armor.
Though he was puzzled at the anger they all seemed to possess, he wasn’t going to overthrow their weird religion or tradition just because he found it strange they sent people with high mana up the mountain to test.
The weirdest was when the females of the humans, well that wasn’t fair sometimes the males too, shrieked and covered themselves in certain, and, in Ruth’s opinion, alarming ways when things weren’t going well. It made him a little uncomfortable to scorch or eat something that was covering up what could only be described as their private parts eliciting such panicked distress noises.
Now that he knew that humans would breed with damn near everything it made it a little more obvious to him. His eyes widened with the epiphany and a shudder ran through him.
★ Choose School Specialization
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Patron Bonus: Wish 1/1
The ominous immortal scrolling pictures moved up and down slowly trying to get his attention. He had been spacing out with a horrified look on his face for long enough it seemed to be checking on him. Ruth was strangely touched at its concern.
“You gave him… a helper spirit?” Arathan winced. “That’s outside the rules, isn’t it? For the competition?”
“It’s not a helper spirit. That would be part of my consciousness. It is not autonomous or a system in any way. Am I not allowed to interact with my chosen?” Tamara raised an eyebrow. “I just thought this would be less,” she hesitated, “problematic than trying to talk to him face-to-face.”
The crow spirit couldn’t seem to argue with that, but, “...you’re granting him a wish?” That definitely, absolutely, could not be right.
Tamara turned with blazing golden eyes and grinned at the crow. The crow straightened after a moment, recognizing the pure mirth in her eyes and answered her own question. “Of course you’re not. Caw-caw-caw-caw! Do you even want him to win a seat in the god candidacy summit?”
“Who cares?” Tamara shrugged. “It had never been my intention to deal with any of that. The rules lightened up for the upcoming festivities and I could make something to enjoy. I don’t give a damn if he does anything about the other chosen.” A pensive look appeared on her face as she considered, amending quietly, “at least not yet. I haven’t thought about it.”
“Caw-caw-caw!” Arathan laughed, imagining all the other gods being terrified of Tamara and wondering about her choice of chosen. What would be so special about it? Would the cosmos run with blood once more? Should they be concerned? Should they get gods of war and slaughter ready in the eaves just in case?
In her head, Arathan pictured Tamara staring at all the powerful entities who were lined up to fight her in the future because of the bloodshed and power and uncertainty she represented, and she simply said… “I did it for the laughs… You all seem quite serious.”
“Very well. I wish Tamara was dead at my feet.” No use thinking too much about this. It was better to just deal with things immediately so he could move on with his life. It was one thing to be somewhat relieved that you had a thin piece of cloth covering your ass and be worried for the future and another to know that something had dragged your soul out of your perfectly warm and beautiful dragon body and could likely do it again anytime it felt like it.
For the moment he was also ignoring the fact that his mouthparts seemed to form words in sounds that made ‘sense’ to him. There was still quite a lot of hissing and clacking, but at least it was draconic. Highly accented, shameful and vulgar, but Draconic. It brightened his mood that he could converse with a dragon if it came up. Not that he’d have the nerve to do so with such horrid pronunciation.
“No? I wish Tamara was dead,” he tried again thinking maybe he had been too specific. Ruth supposed he really didn't need to see the body if the little invincible being could deliver.
“No.” Ruth turned away from the box and the weirdly starred thing that said he could wish for something. It remained where it was as if waiting for him. It would have to keep waiting.
Both Tamara and the crow laughed as Ruth strode into the stream of water once more and began using his fists to rain up and down hand smashes against the top of the water over and over and over in a pique of rage.
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Bio: I'm not by nature a very courageous person. If you have been around enough you might have surmised as much on your own. I started writing these gaming books because I was frustrated, and in desperate need of a way to give voice to the ideas and concepts that I hope to see in a game some day. I'm also trying to write a book about a former dragon without making him into too much of a murder hobo. I hope you enjoy them. If you don't, that's alright too. :)