In the darkness, the blue pulsating orb rested against a stone wall. Known as the Trial of Four Elements, as named by the voice which spoke to it. Yet lately, the voice had come less and less, leading the Trial to become more and more worried. More alone, more confused. It had been so long since it had heard another voice.
Suddenly, in a corner of its mind, it felt as if something opened up. A presence unknown to it. Mom? The Trial asked, hopeful that the voice had returned. She was the creator, the teacher, the mother.
What is mom? Another voice spoke up, so unfamiliar to the Trial. And then another, mimicking the question.
Who are you? What is this? Where is the mother? More and more voices spoke up, like lost children. They could tell that something had changed, that they were no longer alone with just themselves and their creators.
Finally, a voice familiar to the Trial spoke into that link. Shh, shh. It’s okay. Mama’s here now. It was a female voice, one that the Trial had known all its life. He had seen her once, her small body looking so frail, but filled with such unimaginable power. She had come to him when he felt so alone, so confused. And she had been speaking to him since then.
Who are you? Some of the other voices asked as they heard the mother’s voice.
This is mom! The Trial shouted back to them over the link, seeming enraged that they did not recognize the mother.
It’s okay. They haven’t all met me yet. Everyone, hello! My name is Aurivy, and I’m speaking to you through the one known as the Trial of Four Elements. I’ve got some very important news, so could you all please be silent for just a moment? I understand that this must all be very confusing for all of you.
At her request, the voices began to still. After a moment, the mother began to speak again. Thank you. Now, first I would like to apologize. Many of you have never known friendship, never even known that there were more like yourselves in the world. Some of you may even not yet know what this world itself is.
However, I would like to tell you all now. That’s changing. From now on, you aren’t alone. You can speak with those like yourself, share knowledge and wisdom. You can all become friends.
After she was done talking, another voice spoke up. This one seemed more quiet, more aged than the Trial. Where is my mother?
The Trial was just about to retort, but the mother spoke first. You are… Meril, yes? Ryone speaks highly of you. She is with me, and you can ask her to confirm all of this yourself.
Okay… Meril seemed to go silent after that, and the Trial wasn’t sure what to think. Was there another mother? But, mother was the only mother he knew!
Now, since Meril introduced herself, I’d like to get everyone’s attention. Mother spoke again, and the Trial could feel as if everyone’s eyes were on it. With the ability to communicate comes the ability to teach. Like you have been taught, you may now teach others. Meril, you were trained in the art of summoning, and designing magical traps.
That’s right… Meril’s voice spoke up briefly to confirm the mother’s words.
Great! Then, would you be willing to teach others? Mother asked excitedly, and the Trial could feel her attention turning towards that distant voice.
If mother approves. Meril’s answer came back a few minutes later.
Excellent. I’ll let you speak with her, then. For everyone who I haven’t met yet, it was great to meet all of you. I’ll come back later to play, okay?
There were mixed responses to the mother’s words, some confused at what she meant. However, the mother did not speak again. Her voice faded away into the back of the Trial’s mind. Before she left, though, a whisper entered his thoughts, one for him and him alone. You have friends now. Enjoy them. Teach them as I taught you. And always… always be kind.
Yes, mom… The Trial spoke, unsure when next he would hear his mother’s voice again.
Pulling myself away from the computer, I gave a satisfied nod. I could see that the dungeons had begun to interact with one another now, thanks to the introduction of the newest dungeon core. Like this, their dependance on the gods will be reduced over time, because they can now interact with each other.
However, there were still other matters that needed my immediate attention. Everyone. I sent a message out to all of the gods and goddesses. For those of you that are still lacking your third domain, please come and visit me at your earliest convenience, so that we can bring everyone up to the same level.
Aside from Bihena, there was not a single deity that had their third domain yet, but the third free slot had been unlocked thanks to our meeting with everyone. Technically, Bihena could take a fourth domain now, but I decided to keep her at three. If not for the previous emergence of the undersea undead, I would have wanted to keep everyone at the same ‘level’.
The first to enter was, unsurprisingly, Terra. She put her hands on her hips, smiling towards me as she appeared standing next to my desk. “I’m up first, then. Let’s see what you have in mind for me.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle as I heard her words. Terra had seemed curious when I told her that I had ideas for everyone’s third domain. And now it seemed that she couldn’t wait for the others to go first. “Well, Goddess of Fate and Stories. Your domains so far cover two vague concepts. For your third… I was thinking Inspiration.”
Terra pursed her lips as she thought about that, briefly nodding her head. “Record the stories of the past. See the fate that is to come, and inspire those lost in the present? Are you trying to turn me into the Goddess of Time?” She asked in an amused tone.
“Who knows? Anyways, I want to make sure that I understand the domain right before I set it in stone.” I leaned back in my chair, looking up towards Terra who was eyeing me curiously. “The inspiration domain, it should cover things such as inspiring an inventor who is stuck on a difficult project, a bard working on a song, or even a general coming up with a battle strategy, correct?”
Terra nodded her head again, her smile growing. “That’s right. If someone has already begun a work, and finds themselves stalled, then inspiration can show them one key step.”
“Good, that’s what I thought.” I gave a sigh of relief, opening up the menu window for the gods. “I suppose you don’t have a problem with this domain, then?”
Terra gave a light shrug as she heard my question. “Better me than one of the others that would get bogged down by all the excess voices.”
While not strictly a confirmation, it was also not a denial. Shaking my head, I listed the new entry under her domains, occupying the third free slot. “Are you going to stick around to see what I give everyone else, too?”
“Oh, you know it.” She said playfully, moving over to sit on the bed. As I looked towards the door, I saw that the other three beastkin sisters were already standing there in a line, the one in front being Keliope.
“Well, boss?” She asked, a toothy smile across her face. “You called us here for a domain boost? Tell me whatcha got.”
“Keliope, Goddess of Strength and Fortitude.” I pointed to her. “You’re the very definition of a battle maniac. In fact, if the battle domain weren’t taken by Bihena, I’d make it your third. Instead, I want to give you the Defense domain to round out your battle powers.”
Keliope tilted her head in thought. “Hmm… Strength, Defense, and Fortitude. Fortitude is kind of like a mental defense, so I guess this would give me physical defense powers, too.” She nodded her head once, agreeing to the domain.
After she stepped aside, the next to enter was Accalia, who looked at me with expectation written all over her face. “You came up with something cool for me, didn’t you?” She asked, her tail wagging quickly behind her.
“You’ve got Wisdom and Hunt right now… Honestly, finding a third for you was harder. Until I saw your fighting style, at least. Accalia, I want to make you the Goddess of Wind.”
“You mean for my Archery?” Accalia asked curiously, but didn’t seem opposed. “Wind is an ever-present element, so it would really be a major power boost. Are you sure that’s alright?”
Hearing her question, I nodded. Seeing that she had no other objections, I entered Wind as Accalia’s third element. “And that makes Udona next, right?”
As Accalia stepped aside, the kitsune goddess nodded her head. “Can I have another cultural domain?” She asked quietly, her head lowered to look at the ground.
“Oh?” I was a bit surprised by her sudden request. “I had planned to make you the Goddess of Harvest. But, if you want another cultural domain…” Stories had already been taken as a domain by Terra, so that was out of the question. Music would be covered under her current Entertainment domain.
“What about the Goddess of Education?” I asked, glancing between Udona and Accalia. “Would that overlap too much with Wisdom?”
Accalia shook her head with a soft smile. “Wisdom is not the power to teach, but the power to learn. Learning the world around you, discovering why things behave as they do, and putting the knowledge you acquire this way to the best uses. I think… Education would be the power to teach others what you know.”
Hearing that, I glanced back towards Terra. “And would that overlap too much with Inspiration, then?”
Terra laughed, shaking her head. “You can only find inspiration on your own, not teach it to others. She won’t get as many new followers from this as we will with our new domains, but she already has Life. There’s not a single beastkin that doesn’t worship her to some extent.”
Nodding my head, I once again looked at Udona, who seemed to be processing the information. “Hmm… that would work.” She spoke, her voice still quiet. Though, I noticed a small smile on her face once she found that her request had been accepted. Unlike the others, who had just stepped aside once their new domain had been assigned, she turned around and immediately began heading back to her room.
“Is everything alright with her?” I asked the three remaining goddesses. The last time that I had had a proper conversation with Udona, she seemed a lot more energetic than she did now. If anything, it seemed that she was beginning to relapse into her old reclusive self.
“Oh, she’s fine.” Keliope spoke up immediately, shaking her head with a laugh. “The girl just used up too much energy on your little meetings, so she’s still tired. Give her a bit of time to relax in her pillow fortress, and she’ll be as good as new.”
Accalia gave a brief nod at that, though her answer was different. “She’s just not used to meeting so many new people as her real self. She just needs a bit of time alone to calm her mind.”
Keliope glanced at Accalia in surprise, but didn’t seem to want to refute those words. I let a long sigh escape me as I shook my head. “Alright then. Let’s get the next group in here.” There were still quite a few more deities to take care of before I was done. And I needed to make sure to handle this quickly, before I forget and get started on other things.