I decided to rest for a little while to prepare for what I had to do next. First, I had sent a message to the beastkin sisters, asking them to come up with a reputation for me that would ensure that I would be chosen to be a part of the voyage. That would also give me any information that I needed to know regarding the beastkin customs.
At the same time, I asked if any of the gods or goddesses wanted to join in as well. However, most of them didn’t even have an incarnation prepared in beastkin territory, so only two chose to accompany me. To my surprise, it was actually Udona and Keliope that chose to join in. When I asked the others about it, I learned that those two had never actually created an incarnation outside of their own race.
Still, this would give me more time to spend with the two of them, to get to know them better. Assuming we even ended up on the same ship, that is. After taking care of that, I began sending out messages directly to a few of the residents of the world. It was time to teach the Wraiths again.
Kady Sorn stood amidst the open plains, a strange white fog surrounding her. She had heard tell of this from the ancient legends of the Wraiths, passed down through the generations. Combined with the message she had received earlier, she was completely shocked that these legends indeed were true.
A male voice had spoken to her, directly into her mind. Much in the way that she heard her spirit roar and growl when it was upset or excited, yet this held far more intelligence. It told her that it was time for the Wraiths to move again, that the time to act had finally arrived.
It would be a lie to say that Kady wasn’t excited. In all her years as the official leader of the dwarven Wraiths, she had never truly seen a sign of what they were meant to do. The Angels of Death came for any spirits before they had the chance to become dangerous, and no threats from beyond the veil had arrived in their many generations of service.
However, they still continued. Some out of a sense of duty to the legends and their ancestors. Some, simply because of the contract that they signed, forbidding them from allowing the Wraiths to die out.
“Kady.” The male voice spoke again, and the mists cleared in front of her. A handsome young dwarf, his hair neatly combed and beard down just below his chest. If it were any other circumstances, she might want to get to know him more. However, she knew the truth of the matter.
Kady’s arms snapped to her sides, her head looking forward seriously as she stood at attention. This was the same appearance that the ancestors had described. Kady knew that this man was an agent of Lord Tubrock… or something more. “Sir.”
“No need to be so formal.” He spoke, though his voice seemed hoarse from age, despite his apparent youth. “I asked you here today because it is time to show you something, which I trust you to pass on to the rest of the Wraiths.”
After the young dwarf spoke, the mists rapidly cleared from their surroundings. “There are new creatures that walk these lands as of recent times. Do you know of them?”
Kady wracked her brain as she considered the man’s question. There were many new monsters that were constantly appearing, so it was hard to determine exactly which ones he meant. But, if it was related to the Wraiths… “The sky children, and the blood beasts?” She recalled two specific creatures that each seemed to control a trace of spiritual energy, though it seemed different from what she was used to.
“Good, good.” The other dwarf nodded his head. “So that is what you call them.” He closed his eyes for a moment, and one of the ‘sky children’ appeared above his head. A small girl, no bigger than her palm, with wings like an insect and golden hair. It looked at the two of them strangely, before hovering down and sitting on the man’s shoulder.
“These are the spirits of the world given flesh.” He told her. “Right now, they are pure and kind, but also easily angered when one of their own is hurt. The more of them there are in one place, the stronger they become. One of your jobs will be to monitor these little creatures, make sure none of them stray down the wrong path.”
As he spoke, the sky child simply kicked her legs playfully from his shoulder, leaning side to side as if she didn’t understand anything they were saying. “I… see.” Kady nodded with some difficulty. It was true that they were specialized to fight spirits, and if these things truly were a form of spirits, that made it their responsibility.
“Now, next up…” The dwarf said, before turning to gaze at the sky child. The little creature had pouting expression on its face for a moment, before it simply vanished from view. Instead, a white mist slowly rolled into the surroundings. Kady knew what this meant, and simply waited to see which figures would emerge.
To her surprise, what came through were four small creatures, looking like dwarves but far too thin. Their entire bodies were only as thick as a dwarven man’s arm. Among them, there were two wearing the dress of females, and two wearing male dress. There was no doubt they were intelligent, however, as they turned towards the male dwarf and spoke words that could not be understood.
After a brief conversation that Kady could not hope to take part of, the five of them all turned towards Kady. “These are the spirits of blood, the strongest among the ‘blood beasts’, as you called them. I have asked them to help control the weaker ones, but there is only so much they can do. So, when a blood beast becomes too powerful, or there become too many of them in an area and they begin to endanger the people nearby, it will be the duty of the Wraiths to destroy them.”
Kady felt a chill at his words, but could only nod her head in agreement. She had noted that several blood beasts had begun appearing more and more frequently lately, so this order wasn’t so much a surprise. “I understand, sir. I’ll pass word along to the others when I return. Uhm… how am I returning exactly?”
A mysterious smile was on the dwarf’s face as the mist rapidly pooled around Kady once again, and she again found herself sitting in her home in the heart of the mountain. It took her a moment to adjust, but then it was all she could do not to scream from excitement. Finally, the Wraiths had purpose! And it was in her generation.
A great disturbance filled the land, strange white smoke rising from the forest floor. Our hunting party clenched their fists, their life flowing and creating the glow of blood. Our eyes could not pierce the fog, but we could feel the power it held. Powers of the ancient spirits.
When the smoke cleared, the seven of us stood among a wide field. The sky had turned dark, and the beasts had all gone silent. Only one stranger stood before us. A heroc of unknowable strength. His central eye glistened with an intelligence that we could not help but notice. A being of wisdom and power, who wields the world as he wished.
The glow of life fled from our hands, and we dropped down to our knees, fists heavily impacting the ground. Our eyes closed as we lowered our heads. All at once, the seven of us shouted together. “Da’hu!”
That one of the great spirits had descended upon us was an incredible blessing. Many had heard the whisperings of Da’hu in their dreams, telling them the secrets of the world. Yet none had ever seen him in person.
Da’hu remained silent for a long time before he began to speak. “Rise. I have work for you.”
As commanded, the seven of us all rose to our feets, but we only opened the center of our three eyes. To gaze fully upon a great spirit was a sin that we could not bear. “What would you have of us, Da’hu?”
“Tell me, have any of you seen the spirits of your fallen?”
Da’hu’s question made us look to one another, after which we all nodded. It was not an uncommon sight to see the ancestors, before the envoys came to take them to rest. Many even saw the spirits of the beasts wandering the forest as well.
“And have you ever attempted to make contact with them?” These words sent a dangerous chill down our spines. It was known that one must never attempt to speak with spirits, for the act of doing so may cause them to be unable to find rest.
“I see… You do not know the way.” Da’hu shook his head strangely as he said that. “I will show you. A way that will let you borrow the power of the fallen, to fight against the creatures who would use that energy to harm the heroc.”
After he said that, Da’hu began to speak. He told us of how we could pull the spirits of the fallen into our bodies, to use them to fight with us. Even showed us how they could be turned into strange tools when his right arm reached out and grabbed a shining spear.
However, he also swore us to secrecy. He said that we had been chosen, and bound us by leather writ to uphold our promise. We would fight the beasts of blood when they became a danger, and the little fairies if they became evil. But we would let none know of our presence, unless they had been chosen to join us. And they too would be bound by leather writ.
The last thing he said before the smoke engulfed us once again, which would last with us until our dying breath. “Farewell, my Wraiths. Protect your kin, and uphold your task.”
I let out a long sigh when I returned to the Admin Room. It had taken me most of a day to get all of the races’ Wraiths up to date, and even create a similar group within the heroc. Honestly, it was my first time taking on that form, but I could already feel that it was incredibly powerful.
Thankfully, by the time that I returned, there was already a small stack of papers waiting for me on my computer desk. Rather than just one suggested background, it seemed like each of the four beastkin sisters had created one, and wanted me to choose. The only thing that they really all had in common was that I would be known among the beastkin as the most powerful druid, able to easily control the wind and tide.
It seemed a bit amusing how they each arranged a profile for me, so I took my time to look through each one. On the bright side, this gave me all of the information that I could need about the beastkin culture, since each profile contained its own backstory.
From the four, I decided to choose the one that had been written by Accalia. It had me known as a powerful, but reclusive druid with unknown powers. I had wandered through the various towns as a child, seeing the different sights, but never settled down. I had never been seen with any family or friends, so it was believed that my family had been killed when I was just a young boy.
Although I was friendly, people often refused to bother me unless something was important, because they were fearful of my power. Nobody knew exactly where my strength ended, just that the rain had never touched my house. The wind had never broken it even in the harshest storms. I could walk through a blizzard and not be cold, stand amidst the burning sands and not feel the heat.
Honestly, it seemed like the perfect mysterious character to me. And it would let me pull out any of my other class abilities or wisdom without seeming too suspicious. At the same time, it’d be exactly the kind of character that would make people in power nervous enough to want to send me away at the first chance they got, on a voyage with little hope of ever returning.