Tunnel Rat


The Walrus King

Chapter 32: Actions have Consequences


Racing through the water, swimming ahead of death. His brothers raced with him. The fast would live, the slow would be eaten. This was slow-water. It dragged at you; made you work to move through it. The start of life was in slow-water. Those that wanted to live moved towards live-water. And moved fast. The slow were food.

The transition from slow-water to live-water was quick and bright. Left behind were the predators in the dark. Ahead were the eels, they who breathed lightning and later soared the skies. He hated the eels. They used the energy of the live water to gain power, then waited here to feed. Again, the slow died. He and a few others grabbed the power of the live water and drew the runes of speed on their skins. They wouldn't last long, but skin-runes would hold until they were past the eels. The speed run burned as it absorbed the bright mana of the live-water and they raced upward.

They almost made it this time. They broke the surface, feeling the still-wind on their backs and shot towards the outcrop of stone that marked where live-water ended and high-stone began. They wanted to climb the high-stone and find where it held the world-blood. Then they would be safe. But here at the start of the high-stone, they were seen! A winged eel swooped down and caught them all up with it's sharp-fins. The others died, he pushed hard and slipped its grasp, tumbling down to the live-stone, landing hard and striking the rock. Rock broke. He had used the hard-rune on his bones. He was slower now, but he was alive. The eel had stripped off his old skin and with it the speed rune. No matter, that was for live-water. Being hard was better when on high-stone.

He stayed in the cracks as he crawled higher and higher. Small, scampering creatures made their lairs here, using the husks of dead plants. Little things that ran on two legs and made homes from the grass. They amused him, so he only ate a few and tried not to step on their little lairs. Legends said they grow to kill eels. Silly legend. Too small. But it was enough that he didn’t eat them all.

A land eel caught him. It already had its land legs and boasted it would soon have its wings. He didn't care. He had the hard-rune in his bones, and the sharp rune on his claws. When the eel pounced, he didn't run. That surprised the eel. He grabbed it with his so-sharp-claws and didn't let go. He bit its throat and held on. The eel tried to bite him, but it only took skin and muscle. It clawed at him, but his bones did not break. He killed the eel, and roared out that he had done so. More eels would come. Some with wings, some without. He would be gone. This time he would make it to the top of the high-stone. This time he would dive into the world-blood and let it burn and devour him.

He would enter the earth and become strong. He would return to fight the eels pitting his runed bones against their fire and lightning. They would not rule for long.

Milo woke up. He looked around him. He was held down by chains to the floor. There was a considerable amount of blood on the floor and his side ached. Cichol was sitting on a stool, looking at him curiously.

"So, tell me about that old bone."

Milo felt his side. "It's old. Very, Very, very old. And...."

Cichol waiting a minute as Milo thought hard on something. "And what?"

"And it's not a rib bone."

Cichol looked very curious. "And what bone do you think it is?" The old Bonecaster unlocked the shackles and tossed him a wet cloth, indicating he should clean up the floor.

"I think", Milo said, a bit of awe on his face, "That it's one of the little bones from inside the ear."

  Congratulations! You have lived through the First Ritual of Enhancement: Extra-Rib!

This ritual grants you increased magical power as you add a fraction of the rib-donors mana to your own.
+100 Mana per Tier. You may not gain of a level of this abilities past the final Tier the rib-donor attained.
Max tier: 9

You have gained abilities associated with the runes on the petrified bone you stuck into your body. You have gained ...complications...associated with the ancient race the bone came from.

Warning: You have gained the enmity of an ancient race: 'Eels'

The world simply is not big enough for you both. You will hunt them. They will hunt you. Double EP and CSP for killing 'Eels'.

Hard-Runed Bones: Your bones are hard. Falls and blunt trauma do far less damage to you. 50% of force damage, and blunt weapon damage is mitigated. Mana will power the rune, costing you one mana for each 10 damage negated.

Sharp-Runed Talons: Your Talons are extensions of your bones. Use your sharp talons to hunt the eels wherever they are. Claw attacks will do +20 damage per Tier.
You may not gain a level of this abilities past the final Tier the rib-donor attained.
Max tier: 9

Speed-Runed Skin: You swim very fast in live-water. Fast enough to out-race an eel!!
As long as there is mana in the water to power the rune, you have a swimming speed of twice your speed over land.

You have gained 10 Core Skill Points. You will need them.

Hic iugulandi dracones, hic lucri praemia divites; si quaerendo perimus, quare mors quantula est?




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The Walrus King

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