I stared at the window in front of me, announcing the achievement. What… why… Fuck. As soon as I really thought about it, I realized that my announcements had an effect on the population I had been hoping to avoid. They now saw the announcements as something all powerful, which honestly wasn’t far from the truth. Still, I had been wanting to avoid this achievement, because the aura it provided would make interacting with my inhabitants more difficult.
Guess that’s something else I’ll need to ask Terra how to block. I gave a mental sigh as I thought about that. Well, either way, there was still one more thing that I wanted to take care of before I went to relax with Terra and Aurivy. Opening up the Keeper forums, I navigated to the entry for the previous quest system, and began typing in a review.
EarthForceOne: System needs an update, especially for worlds of low technology levels. Defaults to issuing quests unless rejected, even during casual conversations.
Naturally, I wasn’t doing this to advertise my own quest system, just to make sure others were aware of the issues before buying. Though, with that taken care of, I set my world to fast forward another fifty years before going to relax with the others. I didn’t want to raise my own status even higher by doing more to mess with the world within such a short period of time.
Days passed, and people lived in fear of the all-powerful voice. With the appearances coming sooner and sooner, they naturally expected another announcement to arrive before too long. However, such a thing never came. The voice seemed to disappear just as quickly as it had arrived, and people were allowed to return to their normal lives.
But none would forget the power displayed, or what it had caused. Over the coming months, at least half the population experimented with the new ‘menu’. Once they focused on the word ‘quest’, that voice again appeared in their ears. Many trembled in fear, thinking another announcement was here, but the voice simply asked for the details of the quest.
Like this, many learned how to create the leather scrolls with seemingly random scribbles. Perhaps, the group that used this the most were the humans. Among them, the Bihendor clan found a rather unique use.
Roughly thirty years after the first passing of the voice, there was a new system in place for the human empire. Thiana Bihendor, the current leader of the Bihendor clan, stood before a group of fifty men and women, clad in leather armor. Each was holding a weapon, either a wooden spear or a bow. In their other hand, they held a rolled up scroll of leather.
“Do all of you swear to fight for me, for the good of the clan?” Thiana scanned the crowd with a firm gaze. In her hand, she held not one leather scroll, but a full stack of them.
“We swear!” The fifty people gathered shouted in unison. They were Thiana’s most trusted elites, those from families that served for generations.
“Then, in the name of Thiana Bihendor, in the name of the empire of Thuul, I accept you all into my service!” As she spoke, the stack of leather scrolls began glowing. Those held by the soldiers showed similar effects, before that glow covered their bodies as well. When Thiana’s scrolls shattered into fragments of light, the glows all faded away. Now, the fifty men stood there, no longer holding any scrolls.
They had chosen to give their lives for their people, and willingly created quest scrolls that placed themselves in Thuul’s army, so long as they were accepted. When the idea had been brought to Thiana, she was shocked by it, and had first tested it out on the one who suggested it. Even when he had been ordered to inflict an injury on himself, he did so without hesitation. This was a contract of absolute loyalty, but only when the orders were given in the name of the empire.
Others found uses for this new system as well, the next most creative likely being the dwarves. When mining, they found that they were no longer restricted in the amount they could carry as they had been. Once a large pile of ores had been arranged, one miner simply issued a quest to another to walk to a storage area, with the ores themselves as the reward.
Like this, the large pile of stones vanished, transforming into a pair of scrolls. Now, all the miners had to do was continue in this manner until they were loaded down with leather scrolls. Once done, they simply walked to the designated location, and the ores again appeared around them.
Another innovator in the use of quest scrolls was the halfling race. Like the dwarves, they set their quests to store items. But, they held both copies of the quest scroll, with the reward being a small shelter they made. When they were ready to rest, they tore one of the scrolls, and their shelter appeared in front of them.
I spent the rest of the day in the living room, watching TV with Aurivy and Terra. Once she noticed I had joined them, Aurivy squirmed out of Terra’s lap to sit between us. It felt good to relax like this, when I wasn’t trying to figure out what I was going to do with the fate of the world…
The next day, I decided that I would be giving Bihena her personality. I still had just over a hundred points left after getting that achievement, so I could easily afford this. After Bihena, the only civilizations lacking a god or goddess with a personality would be the elves and the dwarves. I just had to think about what type of personality I wanted to give Bihena.
Naturally, I wanted her to love Terra and myself, that way she’d stay loyal, and viewing Aurivy as a little sister. However, I also needed her to control her people. As the Goddess of Battle, she should value strength, but also wisdom. A battle is won by more than just brute force, after all. She needs a good tactical mind, while also valuing peace.
Do not fight a battle for the sake of fighting, but to end the fighting. When you must fight, fight with wisdom and strength. I nodded my head at that, and focused to summon Bihena to the bedroom. She appeared in a flash of light, standing as still as a statue, her eyes still as lifeless as ever.
Once I verified my choice with the system, a golden glow surrounded Bihena, as it had the other deities before her. I watched as her lifeless eyes gained a spark of wisdom, looking slowly around the room before landing on me. “Yes?” She asked, crossing her arms under her chest, sending me a glare.
I was taken aback by her attitude, thinking I must have gotten something wrong. Seeing me staring blankly at her like that, Bihena’s face reddened, and she turned her head to the side to break eye contact. “S-stop looking at me like that, okay?!”
“Ah… Sorry. Anyways, would you mind looking after your people? Aurivy said they were getting a bit too battle-hungry.”
When she heard what I said, Bihena looked at me and raised an eyebrow, before rolling her eyes. “Fine, I’ll see what I can do. But I’m not going back in that room with the others!” She glared more fiercely at me. “I want my own room, got it?”
I could only nod my head slightly in response. I wasn’t really good with this kind of woman. Well, if how easily Terra manipulates me is any indicator, I’m not really good with any kind of woman. “Alright, I’ll set it up.”
Bihena gave a firm nod, turning around and walking out of the room quickly, muttering something under her breath about punishment. I had a bad feeling about what was going to happen. Just in case, I turned to the computer screen to make sure that nothing too major happened.
Among the hills, a fight raged. Clarissa Bihena, heiress to the clan, stood behind her line of soldiers. Ahead of them was a village which had repeatedly refused to submit to their rule. While the Thuul army fought with full leather armor and weapons made of wood and stone, the villagers wore cloth rags, fighting only with their bare fists. It was obvious who was going to win this battle.
At least, that’s what everyone thought. “Enough!” A booming voice rang out among the two forces, the ground shaking as if the earth itself feared that voice. Clarissa and the other humans instinctively knew who the voice belonged to, but did not know why she was finally speaking after generations of silence.
From the heavens fell the figure of a large woman, her body covered in black leather armor. Atop her head she wore a helmet fashioned from the skull of a great beast. In her hand, she held a spear, made not of wood and stone, but of a strangely reflective material. When she landed on one knee, her fist striking the ground, those gathered could truly take in her stature.
Bihena stood tall, at least five times the size of any man on the field. Her fierce gaze swept across the battle, before she turned towards Clarissa. “What is the meaning of this fight?”
With her appearance, not a single soldier dared to advance towards the village, everyone motionless as they stared at their goddess. Clarissa was no exception, and only managed to regain her senses after a short while. “M-my Goddess. These filthy villagers refused to accept our rule, so we set out in your name--”
Bihena’s eyes narrowed, causing Clarissa’s words to pause in midsentence. “In my name? You say this battle is being fought in my name?!” She took a single step forward, arriving before Clarissa. “These people have offered you no offense, lacking any ability to properly resist, yet you say this battle is fought in my name? If you wish to continue claiming my name, then go back where you came from. If I see another battle being fought in my name that I do not approve of, I will be back.” Her eyes turned to scan over the battlefield. “And you do not want me to come back angry.”
Before the human heiress could say anything, Bihena jumped into the sky, vanishing into the heavens above. “P-pull back.” She ordered weakly, unwilling to anger Bihena further by prolonging this battle.
The villagers, who had themselves been sure of their impending deaths, stood and stared at the spot the goddess had recently vanished from. They dropped their stones, clasping their hands together and praising the goddess that spared their lives. They knew, Bihena had never before appeared in the world, and her first action was to save them.
As for Clarissa, she soon reported this to her mother, who stood in shock. For generations, they fought to unite the humans under one rule, having believed that it was the will of Bihena. However, Bihena had never truly spoken her will, with Thiana and her ancestors believing that she was giving silent approval. But now, she had not only appeared before her daughter, but had openly reprimanded and threatened her.
In an attempt to appease their goddess, Thiana told Clarissa to gather any craftsmen she could find. As someone who had personally seen Bihena, she was going to direct them in building a monument to her. Clarissa accepted this task, truly feeling as if her life was on the line. If she failed to get the forgiveness of her goddess, then she may in fact be struck down the next time she set out to battle.
I sat with wide eyes as I watched Bihena appear on one battlefield after another, reprimanding the commanders before leaving. Although the human population was small, they had spread out over a wide area. There was no longer just the Thuul empire, as other nations were beginning to rise up as well. And with each nation that rose, blood would be spilled.
When she was done quelling the various fights, Bihena walked into my room again, back in her white toga. She again crossed her arms under her chest and leveled a gaze at me. “There, that should keep them friendly for a little while. Happy?”
“Ah… yeah. Thanks.” I nodded slightly, at which Bihena again walked out of the room without saying a single thing. I guess I need to set her up a room now. Great, the goddess of battles has a temper...