“The limits of my language means the limits of my world.”
- Ludwig Wittgenstein
Wow. Of all the things that had happened to Caden recently this might be the most important. He had died and moved to a new world. And now… he could see what had actually been moved. He knew he had a soul, simply because his status page said so, but it was not the same as seeing it. It had been the most beautiful, intricate thing he had ever seen, and he had only scratched the surface. For this alone he wished he could go back home. How would the world change if he could show everyone that they had a soul. That there was more out there. That they were a beautiful intricate creation.
He remembered the feeling from just a moment ago, when his soul had seemed to go on forever in every direction. He felt like he should be crying. That moment when he knew that the singularly most amazing thing he had ever seen was his own soul. It took time for him to recover. He wanted to dive right back in to exploring his soul but his emotions felt brittle. He felt drained and overflowing with energy all at once. It was probably best to give himself a break. He would delve into his soul again later.
He looked at his mana slowly ticking upward with annoyance. And then wanted to bang his head against the wall. He had the feeder stored away. He felt like an idiot. Well… he had known he needed to meditate for a reason. If he wasn’t careful he became overwhelmed and started to miss the obvious. He decided he needed a room where he could collect his thoughts and place anything of importance. He aimed his crystal at a nearby wall and merged with it seamlessly as he headed for a large volume of solid stone.
Even before he arrived he was clearing the space away, breaking down the rocks in the interior and then condensing the stone in the walls to be dense and impenetrable. A few minutes later he hovered in the center of an enormous cube. Below him he placed the feeder. He sunk the bottom of it an inch into the stone so it would be absolutely stable and then brought up a tendril of stone and turned it on. He left the tendril there so that he could turn it on and off with a thought.
The crystal on the bottom of the feeder glowed with a steady white light. The feeder started up and the crystal on the top started to glow casting faint colored shadows on the ceiling above him. Huh, he had completely forgotten that it glowed. The lights on the ceiling in his prison had always overshadowed the light even when they were dim.
He took out the mana drain stand and placed it off to the side, letting the white crystal on the bottom gently light a small corner of the room. There he placed the various statues of Tam, his spells, and the various shapes that he had cast into stone. They were rough, but he decided to leave them that way. He could always make more perfect versions if he really wanted too. He decided to place the chair there as well, and ate a few small areas of the chair before repairing it. Hmm… he did gain information on some kind of tree but he was fairly sure he could create some kind of varnish now too.
He had all kinds of seeds and eggs stored away, but they were in no particular order. He brought out all of his seeds and there were dozens of different types. He created a series of tiny stone boxes. He amused himself by bringing out his artistic side. With his ability to precisely shape stone it was simple to make what he visualized reality. Even perfectly fitting hinges and a simple sliding lock were no trouble. He made a different box for each type as he sorted them out. A box made of solid obsidian had a delicate flower on the top; the leaves and petals were razor sharp and so thin that light passed through. Other boxes featured different designs of nature and pure geometry. Fractal patterns were contrasted against landscapes from Earth or animals from his past life. The materials varied just as much. Clear gypsum crystals, sandstone, basalt, marble, and more matched and blended with his designs to either complement or contrast.
Some seeds only had one to a few total. These he put in the tiny boxes and stored away once again. Some types of seed had a dozen or two. He would take a few seeds and crush them, absorbing the remains, and then storing away the rest. A couple types of seeds were incredibly numerous. He divided these in half, crushing roughly one half and storing what remained. These seeds were all tiny, and from what he absorbed he was fairly certain that they were mostly different types of wild grass.
He wasn’t quite sure what to do about the eggs. He would need to recreate the environment they lived in to be sure they were not damaged when he brought them out of storage. He could create the appropriate environment, but it would take a large amount of mana given that he would need to create organic materials and bacteria. He decided that hatching the eggs should probably wait for the moment given that he should be able to gain a number of levels fairly easily with the feeder running and leveling up might give him better tools to work with.
For a minute he debated what to do with the various enchantments he had stored away. Optimally he wanted to understand what they actually did, but he really wanted to absorb the silver metal too. Well… he pretty much knew what each one did, and he could store them away should any problems occur. He raised a pillar a fair distance away from himself and placed the stone altering rune array on the far side away from himself. He waited a moment and could clearly see the threads scanning an area the size of his old prison. Good. It was still working just fine.
He put the rune array that had created a barrier a little away from the other array and set it into the floor. He could feel that it still had power, but it was erratic. He still had the runes he removed from it. He was fairly sure he knew where they were supposed to go. He consulted one of his statues to make sure of the positioning and slotted the missing runes into place. The enchantment snapped back together and activated fully. He would need to look at that later. It was interesting that an enchantment could be disassembled and then put back together. He wondered it you could take too much out of one and make it collapse completely. Something to consider and experiment with in the future far away from his core.
He considered what to do with the four aura holding enchantments. Well, he did want to study them, but he probably only needed one. If he wanted to experiment with the structure it would be good to have extras though. Okay he would eat one right now, put one out to examine, and hold on to the other two for experimenting.
He began to absorb one of them. He tried to absorb all of it at once in the hope that would help him understand it as a whole. It was consumed with exquisite slowness. As he consumed it he was first aware of the metal. It was almost crystalline, he could feel the rigid structure firmly holding itself in place. And woven in and around that structure he saw mana being firmly anchored. Mana was knotted and twisted up around the structure. And the runes, they were not just symbols, they were words, no… It was a series of commands. It told the mana how to behave. And the rune order, the location, the relative size, he could see that everything mattered. Tam had obviously been a master of this language.
This was a magic that he needed to master. He was not sure if he could do normal magic with incantations and waving the arms, for obvious reasons. However, this was something he should be able to create directly. As he finished absorbing it he could vaguely understand a little of it. How the shape reinforced the idea the commands made, but it was very fuzzy. At least he knew how to make the metal. He considered for a moment. He knew his absorption skill could need to consume something more than once to understand it. In fact it had specifically mentioned that for enchanted items. And he did still have three of them…
He checked his mana. It has increased a tiny amount. He could not say that he was surprised. The runes had been holding a large amount of mana, but the absorption had been incredibly slow. He was fairly certain he had spent almost as much mana as he had gained taking it apart. Since the net mana result was positive, he decided to go for broke. He pulled out another one and began to absorb it. When he was done he felt much closer to a true understanding and a blinking notification icon appeared.
He willed it open.
Skill Available: Emblem Symbology
Skill acquisition will take some time and you will be unable to perform any other tasks.
Would you like to learn this skill now?
He thought about it for a moment. Obviously he wanted to learn the skill, that was not even a question. He just needed to make sure he was safe. He scanned through his aura. Nothing new. Just in case he dropped down into the stone until he was several meters from any open area and hardened a shell of stone around himself. That should protect him from any unforeseen circumstances. He chose yes.
His mind filled with symbols. Many became like old friends, he knew them intimately. Others appeared and became slightly familiar. As it continued he gained more and more knowledge. His mind felt stuffed with relationships of symbols, and spatial proximity, modifiers, exceptions, shapes, and more. Eventually the flood of knowledge trickled to a halt and he became aware of the world once more.
The notification icon was blinking again.
You have gained a new skill!
Emblem Symbology II
You know a part of the language of magic. Combining symbols together you can create emblems to create effects. The medium used affects the persistence of the emblem.
Huh, not enchantments then. They are emblems. He looked at the simplest of the emblems. He could understand certain parts of it now. He saw the word for mana, connect, and light among the symbols. He was fairly certain the symbol after light was specifying the type or range of light. Or maybe a couple of the symbols were modifying light? He knew enough of the language now to know how little he really understood. The others were even more indecipherable. Again he saw mana, and he could see various symbols that could represent earth and stone depending on context. Other than that they were still so much gibberish.
He felt like a caveman with a club. The first emblem was like a crossbow. He could see a bit of how it functioned, but had no hope of making anything like it. The other emblems might as well be a car and a TV, he knew they worked and he had no idea how. Actually… most modern people did not really understand how those worked either…
Well that was not important. What was important was that he had rudimentary knowledge of this language now. He was not going to be performing any miracles with it, but he did know enough that he might be able to make a few useful items. Even without any monsters he might be able to make a decent trap dungeon.
Language. Words. Order. I see. Know. I Exsan. Core is self. You Exsan not Exsan. Who?