The group of four – three hawks and a human – arrived safely back at Haven. Sylphie stuck to Jake the entire time as he carried her on the flight. She was awfully quiet the whole way, and he was pretty worried about her.
Once they got back, she didn’t leave him but stayed cradled in his arms. Jake just sighed as he went to his porch and sat down. The two parent-birds joined him as they also looked worriedly at Sylphie. Nobody said anything, Perhaps it was just Jake being callous, but he believed this was something she had to work through herself. Whatever she was working through.
In the end, she looked up at him questioningly. Jake wasn’t sure what she wanted but just rubbed her feathers a bit. She blinked and made a quiet screech. Shaking his head, not understanding what she wanted, Jake could only keep petting her in reassurance as she was figuring stuff out.
“Just do whatever you think will make you happy.”
That was all the advice he gave her. She ruffled a bit at his words and seemed more content as she got up, looked at him one more time, and flew up to land on his head.
Not what I had in mind, but okay.
He just shrugged and took out his cauldron, deciding he may as well get some crafting in as they were relaxing. He was getting closer to level 130, and he would soon use the upgrade item on his boots, but not yet. While he had resigned himself to not reaching 130 before the Treasure Hunt… he would get as close as possible.
Jake had barely begun his crafting when Sylphie on top of his head just… disappeared. He was alarmed for a moment, but quickly he understood – she was going to get her stat-boost thing.
While she was already technically D-grade before, reaching level 100 remained such a spike of power, it still required one to enter that evolution space. Jake smiled, and Mystie and Hawkie also looked happy.
Go get them stats, Sylphie.
Sylphie had gone to the evolution space, but also somewhere else. She took a pitstop as she experienced something many other unique or powerful individuals did around evolution-time. Because the time for evolution was a time where access was most easily established. The foundation based on Records was expanded, and it was a great time of change.
And when Sylphie got the message, she didn’t see any reason to say no. The wind – still present in the evolution space – whispered that it was a good thing, so why should she?
*Stormild has invited you to her realm. Accept?*
She did think Stormild was a bit of a weird name, though.
At first, she couldn’t hear or see, only feel her surroundings. She thought it was very windy, which was nice. She liked the wind. Oh, but then it got hot. She didn’t like that; it reminded her of the bad biggest eagle… oh, but then it got tingly. That reminded her of the lightning that dad made, so it was nice again.
Sylphie finally opened her eyes.
That was her first thought as she saw the figure before her.
The wind was blowing, space burned, and everything crackled with energy. In front of her, a figure spanning the cosmos floated as it looked down at her with eyes the size of stars. The entire shape of the being was everchanging but always seemed to revert to that of an avian. Perhaps that was the chosen form the god had decided to adopt the majority of the time.
All of this was lost on Sylphie, who only cared about the bird-like thing looking big and feeling super strong. She wasn’t sure if the big bird was as strong as Uncle, though. Uncle was super strong, after all. But then again, the biggest eagle would only look like a tiniest eagle in front of the big bird of wind and fire and lightning.
Uncle still stronger, she affirmed. Mom and dad had told her that how someone felt was super important. Uncle felt stronger than the big glowy wind-bird, so he had to be stronger, right? Well, this bird did feel stronger, stronger, but it didn’t make her feel scared. Uncle didn’t either, of course. Uncle just always felt strong.
Sylphie thought all this as she stared up into the big glowing bird-eyes. The bird-eyes stared back at her too.
Nothing really happened. They just stared at each other. Sylphie was the first to get annoyed as she puffed herself up.
“Ree!” she screeched, to show she wasn’t scared or anything. She knew the big birdie couldn’t hurt her. Why? Well, the weird wind and fire passing through her all the time made her know. If it could hurt her, Sylphie would have already been hurt, so it only made sense.
The big bird seemed to recognize her as it made a weird booming sound that wasn’t at all a proper bird sound. Well, it wasn’t really a bird. It was more like those cloud-things mom and dad had taken her to fight up at the tree dad liked sitting on.
Except this bird-like thing was super-much bigger and super-much stronger. And on fire. Weird fire. Sylphie didn’t really get it.
What she did get was that it was a friend-bird. Not a bad bird. So she happily flapped her wings in response and screeched back. Dad and mom had told her making friends were important. That was how they had met Uncle after all, and Uncle was great, so friends had to be great.
It made another weird sound that Sylphie totally got. It wanted to give her a friend-thing. That sounded nice, so she agreed with a few more wing-flaps and screeched. The big bird seemed nice and even asked her a few questions. Oh! Oh, big bird knew Uncle too! That made sense, Uncle was strong, and the big crackly bird was strong. Wait, she knew Uncle’s friend? That also made sense as Uncle having cool friends was just normal. Uncle was great.
Finally, the big bird raised its talons that shifted and shrunk until it looked almost to be the size of the biggest eagle. Then, it lowered the talon and poked Sylphie’s forehead.
*You have received a Lesser Blessing by the Primordial Stormild*
SYLPHIE WASN’T LESSER!
Renounce Stormild as Patron? All faith-based skills, titles, and Blessing will be lost.
To Sylphie, that was just rude! Stormild was the big bird’s name – she just pieced that together now – and Stormild wasn’t being nice! Maybe it was Uncle’s friend’s friend, but that didn’t make it okay!
“REEE! REEE! REE!”
She sure gave that big bird a piece of her mind as Sylphie made it clear just how rude it was to do that. Finally, the big bird seemed to recognize its mistake, and after a moment of confusion, it made another booming sound. It said Sylphie would get something even better, but she wasn’t sure she trusted the big bird on that.
It poked her again with a talon.
*You have received a Major Blessing by the Primordial Stormild*
Major… Sylphie wasn’t sure what major meant. Did it mean big? Sylphie wasn’t a big bird, so that one didn’t suit her at all! The big bird was major, not Sylphie, as Sylphie was a small bird. What if it tried to make her into a big bird? Sylphie couldn’t have that; that would make it harder to sleep on top of Uncle’s head.
So she made that one go away too.
The silly bird looked confused as Sylphie didn’t feel like she needed to give any explanation. Her logic made sense; it was just the big bird being a silly bird.
She did know it was a bit rude to say no to a gift, but wasn’t it also rude to give a gift that did bad stuff?
Once more, the big silly bird looked sillily down at Sylphie. Sylphie gave it a good screech, explaining how she wasn’t a major bird. The big bird seemed to understand that as it poked Sylphie a third time.
*You have received a Greater Blessing by the Primordial Stormild*
Renounce Stormild as Patron? All faith-based skills, titles, and Blessing will be lost.
SYLPHIE ISN’T FAT!
“REE! REE! REE! REEEE!” Sylphie angrily screeched and puffed as she flapped her wings in indignation and anger. Sylphie wasn’t a fat bird! Uncle never said Sylphie was too heavy, and she was super fast too and not at all slow! Stupid big bird was just mega-rude now!
The big bird just silently looked down on her and took her complaints in. Then it made another booming noise that made Sylphie stop. Oh. So it was like that.
Sylphie now felt a bit bad. The big bird explained these were good gifts and not bad gifts. The big bird then told her that she could get a better gift if she wanted, but not the best one. Big shiny lightning bird only had one best gift to give away and had already given it to someone else. Sylphie knew it would be rude to ask for that as someone already had it. Sylphie was not a thief.
Also! The big bird said to just call her Stormild. So big bird Stormild.
“Ree, ree, ree ree, ree?”
Sylphie introduced herself properly as Sylphie. She was polite like that. She also made sure to ask if this meant they were now friends?
Another boom confirmed big bird Stormild wasn’t sure that was the right word. Sylphie wasn’t sure if that was a yes or no. Either way, Sylphie understood. Big bird Stormild was still a bit silly, but that was okay because they were now friends.
Big bird Stormild then began talking with Sylphie. She asked silly stuff, and Sylphie happily answered. Big bird asked a lot about Uncle, but also about Sylphie herself. That made sense. Both Sylphie and Uncle were great, and now they were all friends, right?
In the end, the big bird asked Sylphie a weird question. Weird because why did she need to ask such an easy question to answer? Big bird Stormild listened and seemed satisfied by her answer as she moved her big foot again. Her big bird foot.
Sylphie got one final talon poke as it popped up with a new message.
*You have received a Divine Blessing by the Primordial Stormild*
That one looked okay to Sylphie, and she would have been happy with that without the explanation. Divine seemed like a nice word. She looked at it, and it all seemed nice.
[Divine Blessing of Stormild (Blessing – Divine)] – You have made yourself worthy in the eyes of the Primordial Stormild and received her Divine Blessing. What you do with this blessing or what the Primordial wishes of you, a mystery. Through a strong karmic bond, you have tapped into her powers of nature. +10% Agility +10% Intelligence. Grants access to many new paths. Only one blessing can be held at a time.
Even a nice title thing! She only had a few others of those.
[Holder of a Primordial’s Divine Blessing] - Obtain the Divine blessing of a Primordial. Among the vast universe, many gods exist, many pantheons rule, but the Primordial are few. To obtain the Divine blessing of a Primordial, an unobtainable feat for all but the select few. Grants the skill: [Ritual: Union Oath of Stormild (Legendary)]. +5 all stats, +5% to all stats.
The two of them kept floating there a bit more, just talking and having fun. Big bird Stormild was nice and super smart. She told Stormild about how awesome she was, so that was great. Sylphie could do a lot of stuff, and of course, she knew that, but big bird Stormild still had some super-smart ideas!
After a while, Sylphie had to go, so she said goodbye to big Bird Stormild and went on her way, having made a new friend and gotten a nice gift.
Not long after Sylphie disappeared, elsewhere, outside Stormild’s realm, a voice boomed through the cosmos.
“I knew you’d be interested.”
The void split as a figure walked out. Vilastromoz stood in space as he observed the massive storm in front of him as it bent and churned. The entire storm soon twisted and imploded into the form of a bird-like creature. Sparing thousands of planets from being consumed. For now.
“What a weird bird,” the new form said as it regarded the Malefic Viper. “Did you make her? A new alchemy thing? Same as that new Chosen guy of yours?.”
“I believe calling that hawk the result of an experiment is not entirely inaccurate, yet not accurate either. The creation was accidental, at least partly. As for my Chosen? Well, he is deeply involved in this whole thing and a big part of the reason,” the Viper said with a light smile.
“It’s fine; I always liked those half-elemental, half-beast monsters. Also, she was totally immune to my presence. Not scared at all. That’s kind of awesome. Oh! Did you see how she rejected, like, all my blessings? Never tried that before,” Stormild said, clearly in a good mood.
“Heh, I reckoned you would like her. I hadn’t expected that level of blessing, though,” the snake god said, shaking his head.
“Well, she was fun. She even kept insisting her Uncle is stronger than me. That would be your Chosen, I reckon? She can’t really feel how strong I am, only my presence – which she wasn’t scared of – so does that mean your Chosen has a presence able to rival that of a god? One at least equal on a qualitative level? A Transcendence? Bloodline? Ah, I’ll guess I’ll figure out soon enough. I am really looking forward to meeting this Uncle of hers; he sounds pretty fun,” Stormild ranted.
Vilastromoz’s smile deepened. Stormild has always been like this. An incredibly childish and immature lifeform. Elementals gaining sapience usually were like that - flighty souls who cared little for normal conventions but only cared about having fun and enjoying themselves. One could say they never really grew up, but that didn’t make them stupid - far from it.
Ultimately, Stormild knowing about Jake having a bloodline or not was inevitable if she blessed the Sylphian. The hawk and Jake were too close, and Stormild would be able to put two and two together eventually. The bloodline wasn’t the easiest thing to hide due to the effect on others. Both his brother and now the Sylphian had been affected. Many others he regularly interacted with were also passively building up a resistance. Stormild wasn’t going to do anything, though. At least he didn’t think so. If he thought she would, he wouldn’t have made her aware of the hawk’s existence. Also… maybe it could even act as a shield. If the immunity to presences were all they believed it did, it would still be viewed as monstrous… but it was better than them knowing the full thing. Not that he thought Stormild would share it around.
Then again, a sapient natural disaster wasn’t always the most predictable of entities.
“I’m sure what the future holds is interesting. Anyway, it was nice to see you again,” he said to his old acquaintance.
“Okay! See you! I’m happy you stopped being sad. Or as sad. Still a bit sad? It’s better for sure. Bye until next time!"
Stormild’s form slowly spread out again as she grew in size a thousandfold every second until she was back to her true form once more – a giant cloud of thunder, fire, and wind. One that soon floated away, devouring every planet, solar system, and galaxy in its path.
The Viper smiled a bit as he shook his head. Dealing with his fellow Primordial had always been a bit complicated, but weren’t they all?
His own avatar dispersed soon after. Showing up with his true form in front of Stormild rarely ended well as she tended to get a bit… excited. Besides, his other body was busy elsewhere.