257 Knock Knock Knocking on...

    The old man was asking him for a sacrifice. Dave took a moment to think. He didn't have anything valuable in-game, he'd lost all his properties when the legion died and the Underworld was closed to him. He didn't think the oracle dude was interested in money or things anyway, dude was an ascetic if he'd ever seen one.

    "I don't have much, Old Man," Dave shrugged, "The important things were taken from me. But I'll give you anything that is mine to give."

    A broad smile appeared on Balaam's wrinkled face and his eyes twinkled.

    "Wisely spoken, especially for one so new to this world."

    Dave looked at the skinny old man expectantly, waiting for him to reveal Eleanor's location.

    The oracle nodded affirmatively in response, but looked troubled.

    "I owe a debt to the young divine for a blessing he bestowed. I will speak the truth to you, but you will not like the words I have for you.

    "What you seek I cannot see, though I have searched with my Inner-Eye since I foresaw your coming. A divine force clouds the perceptions of my Eye and prevents me from finding the Truth you wish to hear."

    Dave stared at the oracle in disbelief for a moment, then his hands clenched so hard his knuckles popped.

    'Of course. Divine beings are screwing with my quest. Again.'

    With an effort he unclenched his fists, trying to regain his composure.

    He hadn't gotten a quest-failed notification, so it could still be completed if they figured out what to do. The sample of Eleanor's blood was the final component needed to revive the legion...IF the little punk's claims were the truth. Asking Balaam for Eleanor's location was plan B to acquire the blood sample, he didn't see any way there could be a successful plan C if divine beings were blocking both the god of undeath and a super oracular old hermit. He needed to talk to the punk god, hopefully the little ** would come up with another backup plan for the backup plan. He also had to figure out a way to get the mohawked menace to spill the deets on why the gods and their ridiculous divine 'rules' kept messing with Dave's game.

    Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, Dave looked up.

    The oracle had been watching Dave's inner turmoil with sympathy.

    "Good, young draugr. You realized the Truth that Hope is never far from Despair if you have Wisdom enough to nurture it.

    "And so it is time for you to return to the young divine. Take with you my apologies and tell the young god I consider myself still in his debt."

    "Thanks, Old Man, I will. You're pretty cool for an ancient hermit guy. See ya."

    The oracle chuckled and returned to his circle to resume walking. Dave headed for the white stone stairs and resigned himself to another unpleasant desert pilgrimage. At least Grumpy would be waiting at the bottom of the sand fall.

    "One more thing, young draugr."

    Dave turned back to the oracle.

    "Tell the young divine that every time my Inner Eye's vision was blocked I saw a great golden door-"


    The enraged, screeching voice came from a tornado of dense shadow and purple lightning. The whirling funnel had appeared without warning. The tirade of insults and curses continued without pause, the rage and volume swelling. The language changed to something guttural and unpronounceable by human vocal cords.

    Then the language changed again. This time to something other than the mortal concept of language and words, sounds were uttered that were not meant to be understood or heard or even known about by any beings lesser than celestials.

    The Words twisted out of the shadow vortex as if they were malevolent lifeforms.

    The first Word plunged deep down into the rock. Mt. Glory shook and rumbled like it was going to erupt, throwing Dave and the oracle to the ground.


    You have resisted [Terror] effect.

    -10,000 HP


    Another notification appears right afterward.


    Local server announcement!

    Wrath of a God!

    A deity has become enraged. An apocalyptic event is imminent.

    The area around Mt. Glory is in an Apocalyptic status. The likelihood of natural catastrophes, unnatural catastrophes occuring and the probability of the appearance of various world threatening monsters are increased in said location.


    Dave looked up at as the mountain continued to rumble and shake.

    'Fuck me!'

    The second Word rose straight up until it was lost from sight, then it became visible as a soundless burst of grey.

    The day turned pitch black as if someone had thrown a switch. Fissures grew across the dark starless sky, oozing lurid red light, insane laughter leaked through the expanding cracks gradually growing louder.

    Sprawled across the stone of the mountain top, Dave watched, weak and unable to move. Visceral dread and a feeling of imminent and unopposable doom rose within him, while an oppressive force pressed upon his spirit, assaulting him from all directions and sapping his will.


    Dave gasped in relief and looked around, it was the oracle who'd spoken. He stood calmly against the flood of malevolence, like an immovable boulder, the same skinny old man with wrinkles and liver spots. But the heavy iron chains that once weighed the oracle down now hindered the frail ancient as much as tissue paper.

    "Enough young divine. This is most improper. Remember who you are."

    The funnel of swirling shadow dissipated instantly. The god of undeath gestured, and as if the switch was flipped again, the sky returned to normal, another average, blazing-hot day in the desert.


    Local Server Announcement

    Event, Wrath of a God, has ended

    Thank you for playing, and have a nice day!


    Dave took a shaky breath and got ever so slowly to his feet, panting.

    The oracle was standing with the punk god, very near, speaking too softly for Dave to hear. The teenager was looking down, scuffing at the stone with a booted toe and nodding occasionally.

    The oracle finish talking and stepped back.

    The punk god raised his head and gave Dave an abashed look.

    "Ahem. I'm really sorry. I shouldn't have said Bad Words."

    'Shiiiit. The little **er did all that damage. With words. Bad Words. I gotta start being nicer to this little arsehole. So what the bleeping **ety-** are Bad Words?'

    The teenage punk was still looking at him.

    "Oh, right. Okay, no real damage done...I think?"

    The oracle snorted and shook his head at them, "Youth! Go! Both of you! You have things to do and I must tend to the wheel or the cataclysms will be loosed upon the world before their time."

    The punk god grabbed Dave by his chest plate and lifted the draugr effortlessly off the ground, his feet dangling in midair.

    "Holy...!" Dave squeaked, still not recovered from the traumatic effects of the Bad Words event.

    "Unholy is the more usual reaction, though neither is exactly right," the god smirked.

    The slender teenager's strength was disconcerting. But it made sense, a 'god' would be stronger than any boss monster. And by extension, be frightfully stronger than a lowly draugr.

    But the teenager's appearance and behavior were so contrary to what was  expected of a god. It was just off-putting.

    The young deity was still holding Dave in the air as if the weight was nothing.

    "Okay, kid. We're gonna go get this cluster** unravelled. Whatever happens stay close to me. Be ready, yo, 'cause ** be goin' down na', mofo."

    Wannabe gangsta talk. Dave rolled his eyes, way to go punk, keep going against everyone's expectations.

    The teen deity stepped forward and reality blurred around them.

    They were in deep space, the stars emitted celestial music in divine harmonies as they shone down on them from the heavens. In front of them was a golden door that dwarfed the mountain they had just been standing on.

    "We're heeeeeere."

    Dave looked at the teenage deity sharply, wondering if the god had been observing his interactions with Winter Rose and Omni.

    The punk god marched right up to the massive metal door.

    "Open up you poncey git, I know you're in there!" he shouted.

    He lifted a fist and struck the golden door three times. Each knock shook the door in its frame and boomed like a danger-close lightning strike.

    The reverberations from the knocking faded away. They waited.

    Nothing happened.

    Even aside from his ringing ears Dave was shocked. Lifting a draugr in full-plate like he was no heavier than a newborn baby was one thing. Shaking this titanic structure just by knocking on it was a whole other ballgame. A different league.

    The punk's strength was...god-like. Shit. He was going to stop expressing himself so freely to the powerful divine entity. No more insulting him. At least not to his face

    'Hmph, it's not like any of this really matters anyway, gotta remember it's only a game.'

    The undeath god snarled and Dave winced, afraid more Bad Words were going to spew out of the godling.

    "You know why gods never have to knock twice, kid? Because if we don't get an answer we do this!"

    The undeath god raised a foot and kicked the golden door.

    The massive double-leaf doors were blown in and apart. One door-leaf broke off its hinges, sagging down at an angle against the frame.

    'Fuuuuuckkkk! First the Bad Words, now this. That's it, I'm keeping my mouth shut when I'm around him. Just monkey see, monkey do and tip my cap, yessir.'

    Dave shaded his eyes against the beams of brilliant golden light that shone through the open portal.

    "Come out, poseur!" the undeath god thundered.

    Two slender figures appeared from within the golden light and positioned themselves in front of Dave and the godling, crossing their long-spears to forbid entry. They wore pearlescent white robes under glowing gold armor and their six rainbow feathered wings extended outward from their backs.

    Dave, tensed. Angels.

    "Who disturbs the domain of Lord Demiurge, the Most High, the Most Great?" the voice sounded like a choir singing in multi-part harmony.

    The undeath god snorted and rolled his eyes at the titles, "Don't start. Just get demi-cup out here."

    "The Most-High Lord is attending to otherworldly matters."

    "You mean he's napping. Out of my way," the undeath god said, stepping forward.

    "Crave pardon, Dread Lord. But Lord Demiurge ordered us to stop anyone from entering."

    The god of undeath glowered at the angel.

    "Demi-crap!" he yelled past the divine messengers, "Get your ever-expanding ass out here! Don't make me turn your silk swaddled messenger boys into fairy dust!"

    There was a long silence, then a curse and some indistinct grumbling reached their ears. The angels kept their eyes forward and their expressions blank but in some mysterious way their embarrassment of their 'Lord' was obvious to Dave.

    'Serves 'em right, self-righteous goodie two shoes, butting their noses where they don't belong.'

    Dave may have felt some residual resentment against angels.

    "Oh. My. Good-Self! What did you do to my DOOR, you filthy hooligan?! I had to special order that and it took them centuries to deliver it!" a deep voice boomed in strident tones, disrupting the stars, which had just re-harmonized after repeated disturbances..

    The light inside the open doorway shifted and grew brighter.

    "Ugh. This guy's holy-light shines wayyy too bright for my taste."

    The teenage deity made a plucking motion like a street magician performing a coin trick and there were two pairs of sunglasses in his hand. He tossed one to Dave.

    The sunglasses filtered the light from Demiurge to a manageable level. Dave could see a man-shaped figure in the doorway now, it was proportionate with the golden door. Bigger than Drahma at his maximum size.

    "Demi-cup," the undeath god said with a sneer as he adjusted his sunglasses.

    "It's DemiURGE. Maker of the Cosmos. Prime Architect of-" Demiurge sputtered to a stop as he caught sight of Dave.

    "You brought one of your undead with you!? HERE?! Haaaaaaa! This time you're the one that broke the rules, pipsqueak," the glowing figure actually did a little jig, laughing gleefully and pointing at the god of undeath.


    The Surgebinder class:

    There are those who believe that the first Surgebinders came to our world from a different reality, bringing with them power and abilities unknown to the world.

    Infused-light, or I-light, is a synthesis of psychic energy and elemental Light and Gravity. Surgebinders use I-light for both Surge and physical skills. Accordingly they have a large reservoir of Infused-light instead of stamina and mana pools.

    Surge skills are much more costly than physical skills and reckless use of Surge skills will quickly exhaust the Surgebinder's reservoir. Brief, precise bursts of Surge skills used in conjunction with physical skills is the accepted combat doctrine among Surgebinders.

    All Surgebinder skills are channeled and sometimes require an initial amount of I-light to activate. The I-light cost per second of Surge skills increases with distance; and the rate of I-light consumption keeps increasing as long as the skill is active. On the other hand, Surge skills are instant cast and do not have cooldowns.

    Contrary to popular belief, Surgebinders only have a handful of Surge skills, but they are endlessly adaptable.

    Respite Spryte: summons an elemental spryte to catalyze I-light regeneration. The summoned spryte orbits the meditating Surgebinder until dismissed. At higher levels the Surgebinder does not have to stay seated to meditate. This is the only known method to generate I-light.

    Push & Pull Surge: forms an invisible I-light tether controlled by the caster, the tether can exert a push or pull force, most often used as a movement skill. The uses for this skill are limited only by the user's imagination. A favorite Surgebinder Push-Pull tactic is to boomerang combatants (allies or enemies) around the battlefield.

    Anchor Surge: a static skill, it binds the Surgebinder to a surface he is in physical contact with, similar to Pull but consumes much less I-light.

    Vortex Surge: a chaotic casting of I-light, causes incapacitating status effects such as vertigo and severe disorientation. At higher levels the skill can cause blindness and hallucinations.

    Light-Sculpt (S tier): allows the Surgebinder to create objects made of 'solid' I-light; armor or simple weapons, see requirements.
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