Warning This fiction contains:
  • Gore
  • Profanity
  • Traumatising content

All humans possess a Pith, the essence of a mind where consciousness, reason, and emotion reside. Those who study its power can control their surroundings, move from body to body, and alter the very fabric of another’s thoughts.

On the continents of the Eight Oceans, the magicians wielding this energy formed secret societies, ruling nations from the shadows.  Ten years ago, the public exposed them, plunging the world into chaos.

In the industrial empire of the Principality, Anabelle Gage has dreamt about Paragon Academy for as long as she can remember.  An exclusive magic school, that can hone her abilities and cure her terminal illness.

And then they reject her.

She has one shot at saving her life: Enter the city’s cutthroat underworld, and make enough money to buy a new body.  By any means necessary.

Ana forms a band of desperate exiles: A banished noble with dimension-warping power, a mind-reading mercenary, and a twenty-year-old bombmaker in an eighty-year-old body.

Together, they will uncover the secrets of this world.  The true face of Paragon Academy.  The drowned ruins of an ancient utopia.  And the ocean, slowly rising, swallowing the planet beneath the waves.


Vote for Pith on TopWebFiction

Discord Link: https://discord.gg/4WcFQN7

Join Pith's Patreon to read one chapter ahead


Updates once a week on Monday nights.  You can also read it at the main site here.

Warning: This story contains mature, potentially traumatizing content.  Violence, mind control, genocide, bigotry, body horror, self-harm, suicide, addiction, existential horror, and more.  Read at your own risk.

Note: As a heads up, this story also includes LGBT content.

Cover art by Tithi Luadthong

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madwhitesnake

madwhitesnake

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Word Count (15)
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Table of Contents
Chapter Name Release Date
1-A The Caterpillar's Dilemma ago
1-B The Caterpillar's Dilemma ago
1-C The Caterpillar's Dilemma ago
1-D The Caterpillar's Dilemma ago
1-E The Caterpillar's Dilemma ago
2-A The Problem of Names ago
2-B The Problem of Names ago
2-C The Problem of Names ago
2-D The Problem of Names ago
2-E The Problem of Names ago
2-F – Samuel ago
3-A The Empty Book ago
3-B The Empty Book ago
3-C The Empty Book ago
3-D The Empty Book ago
3-E The Empty Book ago
3-F The Empty Book ago
4-A The Mortal Soul ago
4-B The Mortal Soul ago
4-C The Mortal Soul ago
4-D The Mortal Soul ago
4-E The Mortal Soul ago
4-F - The Broadcast King ago
5-A Copycat ago
5-B Copycat ago
5-C Copycat ago
5-D Copycat ago
5-E Copycat ago
6-A The Bombmaker ago
6-B The Bombmaker ago
6-C The Bombmaker ago
6-D The Bombmaker ago
6-E The Bombmaker ago
6-F - Tasia ago
6-G - Clementine ago
7-A The Blue Charlatan ago
7-B The Blue Charlatan ago
7-C The Blue Charlatan ago
7-D The Blue Charlatan ago
8-A - Isaac Brin ago
8-B - Florence Tuft ago
8-C - Rowyna Ebbridge ago
8-D - Grace ago
9-A Silver Letters ago
9-B Silver Letters ago
9-C Silver Letters ago
9-D Silver Letters ago
9-E - Matilla Geffray ago
10-A The Wrong Side of History ago
10-B The Wrong Side of History ago
10-C - Samuel ago
11-A The Breadbasket ago
11-B The Breadbasket ago
11-C The Breadbasket ago
11-D - Max ago
12-A The Ant and the Beetle ago
12-B The Ant and the Beetle ago
12-C - Florence Tuft ago
12-D - Max ago
12-E The Ant and the Beetle ago
12-F The Ant and the Beetle ago
13-A The Butterfly's Dilemma ago
13-B The Butterfly's Dilemma ago
13-C - Max ago
13-D The Butterfly's Dilemma ago
Prologue - Free Waffles ago
14-A Imposter Syndrome ago
14-B Imposter Syndrome ago
14-C Imposter Syndrome ago
14-D Imposter Syndrome ago
14-E Imposter Syndrome ago
14-F The Wingtrooper ago
15-A The Jump ago
15-B - Leizu ago

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qal
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Pain and loss; hope and courage

Reviewed at: 4-F - The Broadcast King

The world is filled with suffering and pain. How can you have hope when everything you love is fragile?

Pith is an agnostic novel seeped in tragedy and heartbreak. It is excellent for its kind.

The agnostic truth is that life is short and painful, and that in this world there are the fortunate and unfortunate. The unfortunate cannot crawl out of their misery through sheer hard work and will. Life is not fair. You are not special. The fortunate can only enjoy their fragile happiness by ignoring the suffering all around them, and even then their happiness is flawed and difficult and brittle.

The protagonist of Pith must compromise, hurt, maim, suffer humiliation and remorse, and wake up everyday to more pain -- all for a distant hope that life will improve. That she might one day be able to make amends. That she might one day make the world a little bit better.

Somehow, she has the courage to get out of bed every day.

That is the agnostic hope; the paltry candle in the night. But it is a light.

Religion says: Have courage, for God is with you. Agnosticism says: have courage, for what else do you have?

Brell
Overall

This story is an utter delight to read. It's a unique blend of golden age superheroes, fantasy, action, and war, in a world that is fragmented, sad, and drowning.

Action sequences are thrilling. The powers and underlying mechanics are both thought-provoking and intuitive. The cast is smart and deep, Transhumanistic themes are used very effectively throughout.

Schadenfreude
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

More than filler arcs and Op characters

Reviewed at: 6-B The Bombmaker

Are you looking for an OP main character that slaughters fields of enemies with never seen before powers that he was honestly just lucky to have? Don't read this. 

Are you looking for a story with depth nuance and multiple interconnected yet seperate events that leave you wondering? Give pith a chance this could be the one.

Style: I gave this the lowest rating but still a rather high one. I suppose this is because the style is really good but its not amazing or unique. Its nice and clean easy to picture descriptions without being boring. Sharp and without frills.

Story score: I filled this up to the max! And for that I'm guilty. Despite the many chapters released the story still feels like its beginning like every arc so far is just a part if a larger more inclusive maga arc! Which is why I filled this up! Its got me wondering what next the end of each 'arc' leaves room for another simply put it gives the feeling of a well planned plot.

Grammar: Good. No problems. English has not been defiled here. 

Character: This may be the best part of the book. The characters drive the story and everything in it. They don't fit together like a well placed jigsaw or come with a flawless intellectual or moral code but its these flaws that make them realistic. They help you identify with these hyper intelligent magic wielding dudes. They have logical fallacies, fail to consider each others feelings, but they also make clever insights, strive to improve and they do.  That act of rising and falling both emotionally and intellectually, having strengths and weakness in more than just their magic styles gives them the semblance of life! It LIVESSS!

Overly long message completed!

Arthropoda
Overall

Honestly the best story on this website, definitely something worth publishing officially in the future. I've been lurking on this website for years now and it was this story that made me decide to make an account to review it. Nothing so far has left such an impact on me and I can't wait to see how it finishes up

 

RoseButter
Overall

"The enemy's gate is down."
"Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die."

Throughout fiction there are some stories that truly capture the imagination and burn forever in our hearts. There are truly iconic lines that forge our memories in their image. In my mind, my spirit, my pith, I believe whole-heartedly that Pith deserves to be classed amongst the greats.

The characters are so lifelike, so memorable that I cry. My heart bleeds a little for Annabelle Gage. Excitement and shock leap to my throat every time the iconic antagonist introduces herself. I cannot say who. I cannot recite her line or I will spoil the magic, but she gets me every time.

I quote the parables, the stories, and morals through which the characters assess each other. "Be an ........... not a ............." I see the parallels with reality. I empathize with the transhuman themes and issues the other protagonist grapples with. They are so human it hurts, it resonates like a stake driving home atwixt my breast.

I recite the precepts when grappling with issues of global complexity. I refer the wisdom, the nuggets of truth within this story to any and all that I can. Because it is applicable.

Be careful. Once you start reading Pith you will be unable to put it down. Go now and read it. Strive to become an Exemplar. May you forge the stars in your image.

incendiavox
Overall

One of the best stories I have read lately.  A super well built universe whose mysteries you cant wait to explore paired with fun and interesting characters.  Pith takes some of the elements I loved in wildbows Twig and grounds them much better in reality while also not taking a full length novel or two just building up the characters.  I would recommend this to anyone who likes intruiging worldbuilding and a tightly well paced story.  

3rdPinEye
Overall

Probably the best novel on this site

Reviewed at: 14-E Imposter Syndrome

The story is mostly dark and most of the characters have gloomy and elaborate back stories that are explained thoroughly. But this isn't one of those stories where the author tries to pull you in by making you empathize with the self loathing poor main character and throw you a satisfying euphoria packet by concluding things in the main characters favor. No, this story have a very realistic plot with realistic cast accompanied by an enormous dystopian universe that isn't a big pile of @#$&. Both positive and negative elements are balanced throughoutly, there aren't any nonsensically dumb and stereotypical characters, the author aced the character development, the plot is unpredictable etc. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed after reading this. 

JamesArk
Overall

I LOVE IT. 

I've binge-read this in 2/3 days. It is a drug.

The character are so well made that in certain moment you don't know who is in the right and the wrong. Who is simply broken, who wants recognition, who merits to live or to die, who wanta to live or die, who wanta peace or war, family or friends.

They have so many aspect, faces. They are so complex, they don't seems fake, they can't be fake. You, author, made me live with them trough they hardship. Now I must wait at least a week for return to them. I hold them near my heart.

You did a very gooh job, you must be proud. English is not my first lenguage, I don't know if my message is arrived. I hope it is and thanks you from the bottom of my heart.

This masterpiece deserve to be publish. It deserve to be read. 

Lah-hallah-hal
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

Complex characters and Engaging World Building

Reviewed at: 4-B The Mortal Soul

This is perhaps the most well-written story I've read on Royal Road. The plot unfolds slowly and there is a lot here to surprise a reader and keep the interest going. It's clearly well thought ought, and although there are some issues in the beginning, the story gets much better as it goes along. It helps that the world is complex and interesting and the magic system is really quite incredible. There is so much under the surface and it unfolds slowly with the story. There are very few instances where it feels like an info dump (and even those are really in the beginning). The reader is presented everything organically and alongside the plot. There's a great deal of payoff for the emotional rollercoaster ride that this story puts you through, and you'll find yourself rooting for the villains as often as the protagonists, although the line between them is barely distinguishable. These are deeply flawed individuals who will frequently frustrate you, but it’s always worth it to power through the lows in order to get to the highs. I would strongly recommend it to all readers of RR. There’s a lot of material already up at the time I’m writing this review and the story is well on its way, with the first book complete.

CremeCrimson
Overall
Style
Story
Grammar
Character

A Fast Paced Thriller Killer

Reviewed at: 4-A The Mortal Soul

With just the first chapter the story's fast pace is unveiled, hurtling readers into an unstoppable downward spiral of binge— Which is my kind of jam, second to fig and wild berry.

The characters are shown to be creative with their given powers, using their tools in a flexible way that is satisfying to watch. The story's pace reminds me of Wildbow's Pact or Worm. If you're a fan of his stories, you'll probably grow to love Pith (I'm pretty sure the author was also inspired by him).  The characters are also ruthless, well, at least Ana. Nell, well, I don't know enough about her yet.

And I've justed noticed putting their names together results in a synonym for sodomy. Hah.

Worldbuilding is awesome, it's set around in the 20th century (as a reference point) and I think it's also in line to deconstruct stories like Harry Potter, where we see the aftermath a decade after the wizard society is revealed. As well as the consequences of similiar types of magic, mind "control", illusions, the usual fire-ice-metal-elemental control. Characters come with with a single speciality? I think?

I'm only on the fourth chapter, but I really am amped to see where this is going to head. The characters themselves have the energy to go out and do what they need to fulfull their ambitions while we root for them. Guessing they're going to be dressed as anti-heroes or even anti-villains. Even better.

I was hooked by the end of the first chapter and honestly, that's the sign of the beginnings of a fantastic story, so here we go, ladies and germs!