Wooden Gem

by

Raelik

Chapter 62 Blood for the War Goddess.

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A note from Raelik

Another short chapter but it's been only a few days.

Just changed the poll to two votes each since this will let me get a better feel since people want a combination in alot of responses. Didn't know I could do that.

Poll at the end (since it reflects the chapter as a whole). This a warning for the Grammar people :P

I'd also like to encourage people to read the chapter itself before filling the poll :P 

"Hey, Ashley can...thank you," Lynn asked, cutting herself off when Ashley passed her the short bronze rod she had clasped in her fist.

"What's that?" Chess asked Lynn though she suspected she knew.

"Command rod. Now let's see if it's an overseer's or a master's. Though I believe…" Lynn sat up and leaned over to dip the end of the rod into the mush that remained of Gwen's head before touching the rod to the collar around her neck. With a faint click, the hidden fastener unlocked and the collar slipped off and fell into her lap.

"Yep. A master's," Lynn said with a wide smile of relief as she stared down at the object.

Lynn's eyes grew distant for a few seconds before slowly filling with tears despite her wide smile.

"Still Level 15," she breathed her eyes flickering back and forth as she read notifications. "And oh. Oh no, but... I see," dismay quickly replaced by resignation filled her voice.

"What is it?" Ashley asked, turning away from the vine-choked cleft and back to the others.

Lynn didn't answer.

A quiet sob escaped a few minutes later when Lynn broke her silence and answered the question. "My class is locked," she whispered, slumping back onto the vines and crushing a bunch of flowers, their scent mingled with the coppery tang of blood muting the nearby horrors. "My new ability choices and perk are held until...well. They warned me of the dangers of straying..." she mumbled the last.

"What? How's that possible?" Chess studied her friend, at a loss on how to help.

Lynn took a deep breath before answering. "I'm an oath-breaker, a heretic," she said simply.

"How does that affect your class?" Chess asked with a frown. "Wait, what is your class?"

"True-Light Priestess," Lynn mumbled her answer.

"Kinda pretentious name," Chess observed dryly. "Priestess of light huh? But your magic is shadow manipulation?"

"Luminous is kind of a pretentious God," Lynn said, matching Chess's tone. "And you need light to create shadows."

"Fair enough," Chess conceded then grew thoughtful. "What are you going to do? Can you make amends somehow?"

"No," Lynn drew the word out with a sigh. "No, I think it's better to lean into it," Lynn answered and leveraged herself to her feet.

"It seems I have work to do before we leave," Lynn seemed to gain a new sense of purpose as she started for the tunnels.

"What do you mean? Do you need help?" Chess asked after her.

"No, not yet. I was warned about this possibility. This is my burden to bear," she said over her shoulder.

Lynn returned shortly with most of her equipment strapped back on and a few of her pouches in her hand.

Seeing this Ashley quickly disappeared into the tunnel herself.

"Can you make me a dagger from this?" Lynn asked while taking off one of her vambraces.

"Sure?" Chess shrugged taking the item. Lynn insisted on a thin leaf blade without a guard. It took only moments before she handed it and some light silk cord over, letting Lynn deal with the grip wrap herself.

The group then got to work dragging the bodies of their foes into the main cavern, stripping them of their gear while Ashley harvested their pyths from them.

"Any cores or anything rare?" Lynn asked Ashley when she'd finished.

"No," Ashley said. "Gwen only gave some binding, quick-step, and penetration. I think Chess destroyed a lot of it with her head. She might've had something good."

Chess felt a blush touch her cheeks at the reproachful tone.

"Okay, we'll deal with that later then. Chess if you'd store them?" Lynn said.

Chess nodded, storing the large bag of pyth bags before returning to her task of digging out all the coins and adding them to a single purse.

 

"What are you doing?" Chess asked when Lynn started cutting the vines binding the still-living woman.

She started around the unconscious woman's shoulder first before probing at the nasty injury with a frown then standing with a firm nod of her head. The woman had gone pallid and was sweating profusely. Chess figured she'd likely die soon, without help, but felt it hard to care, after how the sadistic woman had treated Lynn.

"A moment," Lynn said, then moved to inspect the man, Flemming. She slapped his cheek a few times eliciting a moan and some muffled sounds. "He'll be fine," she murmured to herself then shook her head.

"What are you doing?" Chess repeated when Lynn returned to the woman and started cutting her free but the leaving the vines around her legs, arms, and face.

"I need sacrifices," Lynn explained.

"What?" Chess asked, bemused before focusing on the woman Lynn was in the process of moving.

Her eyes widened.

"No," Chess drew the word out with a breath.

"You," her breath hitched. "You can't do that!" Chess protested.

"Why not? Are you telling me Freya doesn't accept blood sacrifices? She is a Goddess of war for ancestor's sake!" Lynn asked, dropping the woman's legs to study Chess.

Chess swallowed then pulled at her hair remembering some very detailed shows on the Vikings. "No. I mean. That is to say, she did, but..."

"Good," Lynn said, cutting her off and picking up the discarded limbs.

"But! You can't!" Chess paced beside her friend.

"What did you expect we were going to do with her? Take her with us!?" Lynn raised her arms again in exasperation before continuing softly. "Look, she's not long for this world. It's better to slit her throat anyways. This way her death is meaningful. Trust me, Freya will more than welcome the sacrifice despite the condition she's in."

"But," Chess began to protest further. "It's different. Wait, Freya?"

"How? No. You're being unreasonable and short-sighted. Sure, being a mage, she's likely got a decent assortment of pyth or even a core but I need a worthy sacrifice before I can even hope this will work. A powerful enemy is perfect for many of her aspects," Lynn said.

Wait, what!?

"No, no, no! that's not what I meant at all! You can't just go sacrificing people!"

"Why not!? How else do you bless the crops or prevent droughts?" Lynn argued.

Chess rocked back on her heels. Waaait, does magic make it so that actually works? Do real active gods mean… a wide chasm opened in her belly at the true horror such a thing would mean and all the other implications. Chess's thoughts spiraled further and she fought against the impulse to be sick as her head spun.

It took her a while to gather her thoughts and offer a rebuttal. She needed clarification. She needed to know how common such practices were.

"You can sacrifice nearly anything other than a living thinking person. Pyth, carvings, food, gold, gems… I can think of a million things," Chess said.

"None of which will be as potent as the lifeblood of a true foe will be to a Goddess of war and fertility. She's even a beautiful woman," Lynn said gesturing to their captive.

"That does nothing to change my mind. On the contrary, that only makes it fucking worse!" Chess cursed. Great. Way to make me feel like we're the villains here. Sacrificing beautiful women to our pagan Goddess.

"Lynn's right," Ashley said, laying a hand on Chess's knee after inspecting the woman's injury herself. "She is dead either way. Her shoulder and a few of her ribs are in pieces and her breathing is all wrong. I used both my heals on Lynn already."

Not you too. Chess met her daughter's eyes.

"Even if she lives and we take her with us no one is likely to buy such a damaged slave or hostage and getting her healed would be expensive. And if we let her go, she'll tell her friends everything about us. You're being unreasonable. Let me do this, it will be a mercy," Lynn implored.

"But..." Chess muttered.

"Chess," Ashley said reproachfully. "You sacrificed the bodies of the bandits that killed my parents to a dryad!"

"That's different. They were already dead," Chess argued.

"I knew you grew up sheltered but this…" Lynn said, shaking her head, then she grew thoughtful while studying Chess intently.

Chess frowned at the anthropomorphic skunk. "What's that look about?"

"You said Freya brought you here when your family was done with you, from your world right?"

"Yeah?" Chess furrowed her brow and drew the word out. She'd said something like that. "Where are you going with this?"

"You have a nearly pointless smattering of skills, an almost supernatural beauty, coupled with this baffling innocence of yours." Lynn tapped her chin. "Yeah, it fits. Almost too well. You're not a true blood elf and I'd swear you haven't known a day of true hunger until recently. "

"What fits?" Chess wondered.

"You were raised as a sacrifice. It explains everything. Well, everything except why Freya chose to save you but I'm sure she has her reasons," Lynn said before meeting her eyes seriously. "Though come to think of it. Did your family do something to anger her?"

"What? No, it's not like that," Chess protested.

"What is it like then?"

Chess opened then shut her mouth unsure how to explain or where to start to unravel the half-truths she'd been spinning.

"Right. You're trying to tell me Freya didn't require sacrifices when she brought you here?"

"Uh yeah, but not...people…" Chess began, remembering Freya asking her to sacrifice aspects of herself before Lynn cut her off again.

"See! She was replacing the power she would've otherwise gained."

"No, listen," Chess snapped. "Where I came from people stopped sacrificing other people centuries ago."

"Why would they eliminate a potential source of power?"

"Because it doesn't…didn't work. It was just wishful thinking," Chess said, feeling her argument coming apart in the face of real magic and real gods that paid service to their followers.

"Maybe, you said magic was rare, nonexistent even, but I suspect you were merely sheltered from the reality so as to not taint your purpose."

"No. It's just not done anymore. It's wrong." Chess struggled for a way to make herself clear, to make Lynn understand but drew a blank. She could even appreciate how flimsy and lame her argument sounded. You can't because it's wrong? I sound like a six-year-old.

She knew that Lynn was likely to kill the two or even insist she or Ashley does it as a lesson. When you take morality out of the equation it makes a sick sort of sense. I never in a million years thought I'd need a prepared argument against human fucking sacrifice.

Chess let out a weary sigh of inevitable defeat.

"I fail to see how it's any different from slitting her throat to save her the pain," Lynn said more compassionately.

"I guess it's not really..." Chess grimaced. "It's just the morality of the action."

"Morality is a framework of customs dictated by the strong. Not some intrinsic value, known by all instinctively," Lynn said. "A value, I might add, that you've been misled in the current understanding of. If I simply killed her then sacrificed her body it would be a lot less potent and a waste, since she's dead either way. Good and bad don't enter into that equation."

Chess didn't agree with that argument one bit but failed to see how she could dissuade her friend from going through with her plan. Lynn seemed set on killing the woman no matter what Chess said.

"Fine, start your murder cult," Chess said throwing her hands up in the air. "I think it's a slippery slope you're starting on. If this becomes a regular occurrence..." Chess let the sentence hang with a scowl.

"What are you going to do with Flemming?" Chess made sure to use his name in order to humanize him. She only wished she knew the woman's so that she could do the same.

Hurt flashed across Lynn's face but she quickly replaced it with a steely smile.

"If he wakes up fully, I'll offer him a collar and binding. If he won't submit fully to Ashley's magic, he'll share the same fate." Lynn gave Chess a cold level look.

Chess took a long-ragged breath.

Lynn cut her off before she could speak.

"You don't allow enemies like these to live without making sure they would never dare dream of crossing you again. We don't have the luxury of dragging along an uncooperative captive that will turn on us at the first sign of his friends and we don't have the power or reputation to dissuade him," Lynn finished and turned back to dragging the woman.

Freya's jiggly junk, I hate this place. I miss Canada... I miss Gramps, Chess decided while hugging herself. She suddenly felt very alone, lost, and powerless.

Chess refused to make an altar when Lynn asked out of stubborn spite but Lynn just shrugged and asked for the spinnerette core and a few mundane items. Chess grudgingly handed them over including a small roll of pink silk and a pair of the folding stools that Lynn and Ashley preferred.

As she sat and stewed, Chess realized that Graventy could very well have wanted them for a similar purpose regardless of what he'd said about his father's breeding program. Especially if she had continued to fight or defy him. The thought made her shiver with a cold sweat.

Still, the realization did little to change her mood. Only increasing her dread and weariness.

I need to get stronger faster. I will never be someone's sacrifice, Chess vowed. Freya's right we need proper training. Even if it costs every cent we've earned so far.

Is there anything I can make right now? She racked her brain for any ideas.

A repeating crossbow of some sort? Use a crank of some sort? It won't have the power to punch through armor but could still be useful on unarmored opponents.

Chess dug a bunch of stuff out of her inventory and set to work. She knew it was possible because she'd heard they existed but she had to work from scratch since she had no idea how. She purposely lost herself in the work as Lynn with only token help from Ashley worked.

When Chess finally braved a look up, Lynn had set the two stools beside each other before pulling lengths of vegetation from the pool of vines and flowers on the floor and draped them over the seats to make a low altar. She and Ashley were in the process of cleaning the comatose woman that now lay on the altar which they'd draped in the shimmering pink silk Chess had given her.

The vine bindings had been replaced with pink silk as well and Lynn had removed the blindfold and gag.

"Did you really need to strip her naked?" Chess asked.

"I will not be offering a dirty sacrifice. It's bad enough I'm doing this without a proper sanctified altar and using an injured foe," Lynn snapped then promptly ignored her again instead casting some sort of magic on the woman.

"I thought your class was locked?" Chess asked.

"It is. I have a Mend Flesh Pyth, I don't want her dying before I'm ready," Was the curt reply.

The woman looked peaceful lying there like she was ready for some perverse sexual encounter, spread out and tied with silk ribbons. Chess had to admit Lynn was right the woman was beautiful and not as human as Chess had first thought when she'd been armored.

She had the soft wet nose of a cat, though it and the fur that covered much of it was the same tan color of the rest of her face making it hard to notice at first. Same with the round black ears that blended in with her shimmering blue-black hair. Otherwise, she looked very human if in slightly larger proportions. She was very well endowed.

The observations made Chess's stomach flip flop and the acrid scent of bile filled her nostrils as she turned away.

When Lynn stood before the finished and ready sacrifice and altar, Ashley's Heliwr finally returned. The two females carried some sort of white rodents in their mouths. Which they then proceeded to share with the male in the corner. Making quite the racket as they ate.

After taking the time to hone her new ironwood dagger to a razor's edge with stone and a leather belt, Lynn spent a long time kowtowing to the altar and speaking softly while placing various objects around the woman including the spinnerette core and a piece of armor and blood collected from each of the dead bandits in small bowls before she rose to her feet and gestured for Ashley to bring the first of five-empty bowls, she'd laid around the woman.

Lynn worked with the confidence of someone who'd done this before.

"You've done this before," Chess accused.

"I've helped. Proper sacrifices are rarely necessary for a fertile kingdom like Brastia so I've only had the opportunity to assist a sentient sacrifice once but we often sacrifice animals," Lynn explained.

"How rare?" Chess asked fearing the answer.

"We always sacrificed a goat on the first day of summer and a pheasant at the start of winter," Ashley supplied.

Lynn nodded her agreement. "If the seers predict a good summer, a goat, horse, or hmil is a common sacrifice. It's hard and costly to raise a proper sentient sacrifice for Luminous or Helgrew and it's best to save them for a bad year. Freya's aspects are simpler to satisfy from what you've said."

Chess nodded numbly more than a little sick that they were talking about people like this. They do embrace slavery quite readily, she forced herself to remember.

"But you're sacrificing a person now?" Chess prodded.

"I'm asking for a lot. I'm a disgraced Priestess of another god. The offering needs to reflect my sincerity. No God or Goddess should rightfully trust me after such a betrayal but Freya said she'd give me one opportunity," Lynn explained. Chess heard a note of fear and uncertainty in Lynn's voice then but didn't know how or what to feel about it. She still felt lost.

That's when it became all too real.

With a gesture to Ashley Lynn approached the woman's thigh. A quick slice and blood started bubbling out. Ashley set the bowl on the ground to catch the majority before they quickly moved to the other side and repeated the motions. Then they slit the woman's wrists and placed two more bowls.

Then the final largest bowl in hand, Lynn waved Ashley back and placed it below the woman's head then slit her jugular on both sides.

It took only a moment for the woman to finish bleeding out while Chess's gut clenched tightly.

Lynn then reached forward over the woman's head and sunk her dagger into her heart the moment the blood trickled to a stop.

Lynn fell to her knees again and pressed her head to the floor before speaking firmly. "Freya, I offer you all that I am and all that I rightfully possess. I offer you the blood and souls of our enemies. All I ask is that you let me serve you."

Nothing happened for long seconds.

Then Lynn carefully stood and retrieved her knife from the woman's heart.

"I swear on my blood and soul to never stray," Lynn said. Then using the knife she slashed down her own wrists, opening her veins before holding them out over the exsanguinated woman, letting her blood pool above and into the hole in the woman's heart.

"Lynn! No!" Chess and Ashley said with horror, stepping forward in unison. They made it a single step before an amber dome popped up obscuring Lynn and the altar from her and Ashley.

Then behind them, the bodies of their dead foes burst into amber flames filling the cavern with a coppery glow and the scent of caramel.

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A note from Raelik

This one sort of just happened and I’m not sure if I need to apologize for where it went. It was kinda fun to write. It's a different headspace to occupy.

It flowed out in under 2 hours. Took quite a while to refine though :P A lot of thinking was done beforehand on how would Lynn think given her background? What are Luminous and co like? How do they bestow their gifts and power? How do sacrifices actually work when magic and visible gods are in play? and where can I fit in any of Ashley's pov in this heavy topic? She seemed to fall by the wayside in this one because the heated argument was largely between Lynn and Chess. And as seen in the past she doesn't like when they fight but at the same time doesn't know how or when to interfere. She is 12. Not sure her helping Lynn with the ritual was right but Chess was having none of it and Ash is a local and becoming dedicated to Freya.

I hope people don't think badly of Lynn now. We are all the results of our upbringings in a large sense. Like removing the heads of loved ones being normal because of inheritance needs. The Vikings were also known for sacrificing Christian captives. I looked that one up. Can't just trust TV.

I guess the poll will tell. 

Speaking of which. I have a handful of ways the next scene could play out in my mind and I am having trouble deciding on just one since they all seem fun so I'd like to see how you all think and largely it doesn't affect the rest of the near story much.

Cheers. 


Choose two?
Lynn dies and Freya takes her soul to her afterlife leaving something very useful to Chess and Ashley on the altar.
9.83% 9.83% of votes
Lynn awakes as a renewed, younger version of the woman on the altar. With the same classes as the option below.
19.46% 19.46% of votes
Lynn is reset to a level one Amber Tears Priestess but is offered a Brísingamen Paladin subclass and the Spinnerette core is changed to something useful for her but at rank 1.
29.09% 29.09% of votes
Lynn retains her level and Freya accepts her as an Amber Tear Priestess. Allowing her to heal herself. None of her existing skills change. Spinnerette Core loses two ranks and she gets one enchanted item from Freya.
13.1% 13.1% of votes
Lynn soul is transferred to a Phylactery Gem. Taker gains a sentient mental companion (Lynn) if they don't lose against her mental dominion. If she wins she gains complete control of the host and the person effectively dies leaving her with their body. Not undead though. The Gem can either be inherited upon death of the host, harvested, or Lynn can choose to die with her host body leaving the gem empty. It doesn't lose ranks.
5.97% 5.97% of votes
Lynn's fur turns a brilliant red or white where it was black and Freya accepts her as an Brísingamen Paladin Leaving the spinnerette core as is. No subclass.
22.54% 22.54% of votes
Total: 519 vote(s)

About the author

Raelik

  • Canada

Bio: I'm a Canadian carpenter that doesn’t understand the metric system. That spends most of his day swearing every other word at the philistines he works with, and writes in his copious amounts of “cough” spare time. When I'm not busy scratching my balls and having cold baths.

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Dopplerdee ago

While I get the sacrifice thing I'm not sure how much a goddess of war would want unarmed prisoners as opposed to dedicating your kills on the battlefield to her.

    Raelik ago

    Ah you're the first to pick this up. Reread the last paragraph it's a hint of Freya's true desires. Also Lynn did offer the blood of the dead enemies which in my head lends more power than the sacrifice.

      Dopplerdee ago

      Makes sense. Freya is also worried earlier about getting Spiders as an aspect in this world and I'm guessing she wouldn't want Human Sacrifice as an aspect when out of combat. Kinda intresting that she hasn't asked Chess to push her worship in any direction.

      Raelik ago

      Gods have rules too? Or are at least restricted by available power and the wishes of their followers.

bob925 ago

Thanks for the chapter!

Didn't see any real issues with the sacrifice and debate. As others mentioned, it makes sense in the context of this world.

Voted for the last choice, but I'd prefer any of the options that don't have Lynn dying or turning into some sort of ghost/soul construct. I'm sure I'd enjoy those also, just my preference...

Also happy to hear Chess is going to bring Lynn in on the truth of her origin.

darkdrake ago

wohoo thanks for the chapter. one thing i thought of was that Lynns choice of how to beseach Freya would influence her class more. if she went into battle and sacrificed someone in the middle of battle would she get a different choice of class vs sacrificing someone already dying on an altar? i really like the chapter though and i don't want to see Lynn gone, I think she is really needed for her perspective.

    Raelik ago

    Alot of her behavior in this chapter is tinged by the loss of her class and the need to rectify that loss.

    She also thinks like a Priestess.

      darkdrake ago

      i understand Lynn's thinking, i think Chess could have made a better argument but i think the outcome was always going to be the one we got with Lynn going thru with the sacrifice. i did vote for Lynn to be reset to lvl 1 but maybe she can get some deferred experience to make her lvl 5 like Chess and Ashley (i think she is lvl 5). i think some combination of your the choices that you listed should be the outcome, some sort of physical change to go with the class change.

      Raelik ago

      Yeah I uped the poll to two votes because of how many people want a combination. I'm open to more suggestions on physical changes also. I could literally make her a combination of her and the woman on the altar. Two bad I didn't think of it before now :P a bear, cat, skunk human cross.

      darkdrake ago

      i dont think she needs to become the other woman or a combination. i was thinking of an upgrade to her current race like Crimson Skunk-Kin or something. i think it just depends on what her class will utilmately be and how her race should influence her class or vice versa.

      Raelik ago

      That's another valid reason. Or a Amber skunk. Make her fur like the stone...

      darkdrake ago

      i feel like amber is associated with the dryad (can't remember their name). if Lynn is going to get a class and possible new race from Freya is should be something more centered on her. possibly around what she did (the sacrifice) so Crimson Skunk-Kin w/ a battle priestess or even bloody priestess class.

      Raelik ago

      Amber is Freya's stone. That and she was said to cry tears of redgold.

      Edit. Her necklace BRÍSINGAMEN was said to be amber and gold. The gleaming amber fire torc.

      darkdrake ago

      Ok, i didnt realize that. that makes sense then. Amber Skunk-Kin w/ a Crimson Priestess class or something.

      Raelik ago

      Uh kinda wrote the chapter already just letting it percolate overnight. I can send you the Google doc link if you want to tell me what you thing of how it went.

HamsterDesTodes ago

I voted for the level 1 priest. Keeping her at level 15 is a no-go IMHO, she would have to overshadow the rest of the party too much or levels don't mean anything. I hate stories where the level 1 character kills off hordes of 99s without breaking a sweat, I think you showed the power of higher levels very well against that one mage, so I don't want Lynn to keep her levels.

If it were only Chess and Ashley, level 1 would be too low and make Lynn more-or-less useless (she would lose a lot of stats I presume), but given that we will (hopefully) find Stacey and grandpa soonish, level 1 would kinda fit. I have no clue how big of a deal a subclass is, or how hard it is to rank up a core, so no opinion there. Turning her fur red would be kinda cool though, so I'm not far away from the last option either (as long as she loses at least half her levels).

    Raelik ago

    She wouldn't loose any skills, except those gain from levels but with her aversion to spending them, however just her class abilities level granted status points and experience.

    msng ago

    Also voted for the same. For the part about level making Lynn more-or-less useless, she will still have all her previous knowledge that the others (i.e. Chess, Ashley, Stacey and grandpa) lack. She might also be able to level up relatively quickly much like how Chess has.

    Also I thought that switching gods that affect your very class should have a 'cost'. Otherwise there would be more poaching of high level followers of other gods.

    Barnmaddo ago

    IMO levels aren't a problem if she's devoted to power leveling the others. Which also helps the others quickly get to 'average' levels of power for their age and goddess' chosen status, and thus deftly sidesteps all the "mc forced to fight way over their level" or "mc coincidentally only meets stronger enemies after they level up..." or "mc randomly does in six months what everyone else needs twenty years to do" Preferably with some time skips and training montages.

    That said I'm also in favor of broader level match up's. Trolls still die to fire and assassins to a fair fight.

    Rydenius ago

    I voted and was thinking similarly.

    The change to level one (in addition to representing a cost paid/sacrifice of her own) could also be a representation of Lynn learning and growing in her new faith.

    The fur color changes are interesting, but I don't think the body changes should happen unless Lynn has a complex about her appearance, and that hasn't been foreshadowed as far as I recall. And, even if you did go the body-change route, giving her the body of the one sacrificed is creepy--like having to face your choice in the mirror every morning.

    As far as the power of sacrificing others, such seems less than sacrifices that have personal consequence. The point of a sacrifice is to give up something, with the power derived from how important that something is to the person offering up the sacrifice. When sacrificing someone else, it's the someone else paying the price, that's hardly a 'sacrifice' for the one offering the other person up.

    In the case of livestock sacrifice, money, time, and care went into raising the animal. The person offering up the sacrifice is giving up the fruits and emotional investment of that labor. Similar would apply to desired equipment or items sacrificed--the more the person had struggled to obtain the item and the more useful the item, the more powerful the sacrifice.

    Consider a starving or malnourished man giving up the money that would buy his meal versus a rich man paying his usual tithe, even if both amounts are the same the tithe is of little consequence to the rich man, so which sacrifice is more powerful?

    From a war god's point of view, I could see blood of one's enemies being a proper tribute (not a 'sacrifice' as the offerer doesn't care to keep it), but the killing of an already defeated enemy seems dishonorable. Valuing valor would mean trusting in your ability to defeat the enemy again in proper combat should the need arise. Or so I would hope.

    The core, levels, valuable items, and her soul/personal dedication/future service seem to be the more valuable sacrifices, with the tributes treated more as shows of respect, proof of deeds of merit, and materials to possibly give direction to or aid in physical manifestation of the sought blessing.

    Just my thoughts on the matter, hope that gives you some ideas and cautions on direction. (Of course with a game-type system basing the reward on actual value in place of relative value wouldn't be out of place either. 🤷‍♂️)

     

      Raelik ago

      I could have Lynn explaine it as both. Truthfully tribute is a better word for what the sacrificed woman is.

      In the actual ritual Lynn offering her own life is the real sacrifice. Her act of slitting her wrists only emphasises her dedication to this path. It's you accept me or I'm willing to die here and now.

      Also the spinnertte core is a true sacrifice because it represents something she's dreamed of acquiring her entire life.

      You're right Freya is likely to value these things more.

      Why else did she wait until Lynn offered herself before she responded?

      Rydenius ago

      From the way you wrote it, Lynn and Ashley clearly consider the woman a sacrifice--which is the point (and argument in favor) of her being offered alive. So, changing that might be problematic. Maybe best to have gramps handle the moral argument and possibly help Lynn with her potential confusion on why Freya was upset (if she was)?

      It's you accept me or I'm willing to die here and now.

      Hmm... Lynn has to be careful that's not an ultimatum or demand, as that would decrease the value of her sacrificing herself (besides being an act of defiant pride: accept me or else!). Though Freya could be understanding and view it as a cute concession to pride that Lynn made in her desperation at having been forsaken.

      The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of Lynn being reset to level 1 as both punishment for her wrong-headed assumptions and a kindness that grants her desperate wish while encouraging humility--sort of a gentle(?)/indirect chastising and nudging that she should rethink things and change her ways. (No idea if that's a direction you're interested in taking things.)

      The change in coat color could be symbolic of Lynn being given a second chance and starting anew separated from her past sins (or beliefs)--though that also fits with the 'gift' of being level 1 again.

      Interesting could be if Lynn's previous god became less and less responsive to her because he disapproved of the direction Lynn was headed morally. (Or conversely, the god of light might be a rigid prick who didn't like the way Lynn was starting to question things. 😉)

      There's also the option that Freya doesn't have to accept the woman as a sacrifice and can heal her, setting conditions that the woman be allowed to go free (left behind in the cave?) such that they would have to test themselves in battle against her again in the future. Though that might be too much of a sop to modern values and could unnecessarily alleviate the moral impacts of Lynn's choice (and the resulting tension with Chess). In the idea's favor, Valkyries and such are often portrayed as bound by a code of honor, this could be an opportunity to establish that. (Lynn would hate it as impractical and naive. 😄) Or alternatively accept the woman as a sacrifice in a different way, where Freya could make a pact with the woman unknown to the MCs and have her placed back into the world (after the MCs leave the cave) with an important task in exchange for her survival/freedom.

Banarok Lionrage ago

The philately gem seems like it can take the story interesting places, if there was a option i would have picked one where Lynn got a cat shape, not cat girl but simply cat like the hiliwyr, with a skill that made her able to turn "human" only a short while every day.

Means they'd not be able to rely on her explaining everything while still having her around important moments, and she'd be able to scout.

    Raelik ago

    Huh, that's an interesting idea.

      Banarok Lionrage ago

      I like the idea because Chess would feel she had to "fix", Lynn, Lynn herself might not care or even like it after a while, but it give Chess more motivation to roam the world looking for a "cure" or satisyfy Freya enough to "fix" Lynn so would make chess feel more pressure to actually act rather then basically just go with the flow of least resistance.

      Now chess have had things happen to her rather then do things herself, I think a good story need something that push the protagonist forward. After the introductory chapters.

      Raelik ago

      I'm looking to move Chess away from her go with the flow attitude and towards something more proactive. This chapter was a needed punch in the gut by those she's grown to cre about.

      Not saying it'll be an easy or even fast road. It's hard for people to change. That's in part what Chilkuy was foreshadowing in her parting to Chess.

Barnmaddo ago

The power=morality always feels like a joke, since even the characters which say that generally have a common morality or make appeals to morality when it suits their interests.

    Raelik ago

    Never claimed it was a strong argument. It felt right for Lynn to use it here since Chess was already on the back foot in the argument.

    That said you're entirely correct. That does seem to be a prevailing theme.

Zielscheibe89 ago

Chose the third option for the reset to level 1 since the reset to level 1 sounds just fitting considering she is changing her class pretty much. Though i do think a combination of that option with the last one where the spinnerete core remains would be even better. Freya once stated that she hopes all the spider based sacrifices would make spiders one of her aspects and it would be just poetic if the core, which is pretty valuable being a core and all, would be the final straw that causes exactly that.

Also her black fur turning white sounds pretty neat.

IrateRapScallion ago

The "Lynn awakes as a renewed, younger version of the woman on the altar" choice is the most interesting, imo. You can play around with Lynn's sense of self and the feelings that would come with an unexpected new and different face and body. You have the "disappearance" of Lynn, which would put her old organization against them (possibly). You have the new options that come with the new body's previous connections. There's a lot you can do with it. But people don't seem to want that, sadly. They pick the boring choice.

    Raelik ago

    Only 61 votes atm. Time will tell. I also wont have time to write for a couple of days so...

    Banarok Lionrage ago

    Well raelik is the ultimate arbiter and under no rule to pick the one with most votes, and I agree the priestess angle are among the least interesting it would also subsume some of chess role as spreader of faith since Lynn will then gladly fill that role.

    Or "fur change paladin" is the most boring, and death is good to develop Ashley and chess but well Lynn will be dead.

      Raelik ago

      The body change could be in retaliation for the living sacrifice. Freya takes her instead but still needs Lynn to care for Chess and Ashley atm. A compromise as it were. Would totally kill non battlefield sacrifices too.

      Yabint ago

      In a historical sense, I don't think Norse mythology would have put Freya as beening against live sacrice. Remember that Vikings were not nice people by our standards. As a people from a cold harsh climate, they formed cold harsh morals. The name Viking comes from the Norse word for raiding. These raids along the coast of Great Britain and Europe were for plunder in the form of goods, horses and slaves.

      With poor resources, the weak were also discarded. Children that were born deformed were 'given to Odin' i.e. left out to die from exposure.

      This is probably why the Norse people were also such great traders and colonizers, there is some evidence to suggest that the Norse longships even made it as far as North America.

      Banarok Lionrage ago

      i don't think she'd be very much against human sacrifice either, if we run with the real norse gods, but i mean she might have been influenced by the last 1000 year of earth culture, but human sacrifice to anyone but odin i think was pretty rare if it happened, since odin was the head honcho and humans were the "best" sacrifice, from what i've read they were basically only sacrificed to him because of that.

      aka you don't give subordinates something better than what the king recives, that would be disrespectful.

      but i'm unsure about that, had lots of viking studies when i was in middle school (due to being a swed) but that was quite a long while ago now.

    BillyPC ago

    I voted for the reset to Level 1. Still a "rebirth", but I think the author should leave the transformation of race/gender/age to people who have been transported to this world/dimension. Just my 2 cents.

BillyPC ago

A War Goddess accepting the sacrifice of enemies (or a brave voluntary self-sacrifice to achieve a worthy goal that is greater than ones own life) works for me. Having the goddess smite down a person sacrificing someone outside those parameters in her name also works for me!


Of course other gods (like Loki) would have other requirements as to what constitutes as an acceptable sacrifice...

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