Arc 2 – The Parting of the Ways
Initial Difficulty Assessment: Severe
+ Quick Completion
+ Initial Escape Unnoticed
– Damaged (Deduction Removed: Damage Integral to Escape)
+ Evaded Active Detection
+ Difficulty Level Escalated During Escape
+ No Escape Specific Skills Purchased
+ Low Level
+ Escaped on First Attempt
Rewards: Severe, Upgraded to Titanic with Bonuses
Hidden (Reward Deferred)
All Skills Start at Level II
Current Skills Below II Raised to Level II
Skills and Abilities Returned
Some formerly disabled abilities are now available for purchase.
| Continue reading “Saga of the Soul Dungeon – 2.1”
Gnaeus’s allowed his spell to dissipate with a sigh. Otga’s devouring maw, now what should he do? The core was gone. The room looked barren now, sections of the wall stripped away to remove the statues, chair, and spell emblems. He looked at the only object that the core had left behind. It was the statue of himself examining a smaller Gnaeus even as that smaller self examined the core. It contained a new addition, a large copy of the core behind and above the larger statue of himself. Continue reading “Saga of the Soul Dungeon – 1.9 – Interlude”
Tam came back without his staff or rings, though the spells swirling about him remained. Caden tried to memorize the various spells, but they were intricate and he doubted he would remember them from this limited exposure. Tam entered Caden’s aura and he could sense the familiar chalk and metal. Tam turned to the beam array and twisted with his magic somehow. The threads lifted so they did not cover the floor anymore. Caden really wished he understood how that had worked. Tam knelt on the floor and started drawing on the ground with the chalk. He first created a circle that encompassed most of the room. Within he created a second circle around Caden. On the outside edge of this inner circle he drew runes, and then a second layer of runes farther out. The runes were still nonsense as far as Caden could tell, though he did notice a few of them were the same as in Tam’s other arrays. Continue reading “Saga of the Soul Dungeon – 1.8”
Of course, nothing was ever that simple. Caden soon learned he did have a limit to how much he could split his attention. He could only focus on a few things simultaneously. Only. Caden laughed to himself, if he could do that as a human he would be beyond a genius. However, Caden assumed that at some point this ability would improve drastically. He was only level two, was it related to that? Or would he be able to do more later with some skill at a level up? For now, he had no idea; he was just going to keep trying to add an extra perspective every now and then and see if he could make progress. Caden focused on what he could do for now. Continue reading “Saga of the Soul Dungeon – 1.7”
The diagnostic spell attached to Caden must have told Tam about the acquisition of a new skill, as he did his usual song and dance. However, Caden was paying Tam only the slightest attention. Caden was focused on how much more he could suddenly see.
For the first time Caden could actually perceive parts of his aura clearly. It was a spider’s wet-dream. A vast intricate web that became ever finer. The thickest strands were, however, far finer than spider silk, and each of these was directly connected to Caden; thousands of them. Hooks, slightly thinner, branched tree-like from these main strands. Countless thinner strands were also attached to each strand, and each had their own hooks. And each strand had more strands, with more strands, until they went well past his ability to see them in an endless fractal pattern. Past a certain point all Caden could see was the faint glittering fog of their presence. Continue reading “Saga of the Soul Dungeon – 1.6”
When Tam appeared again the next morning he gave Caden the usual cursory check. Caden had expected Tam to notice his increase in skill but there was no reaction. Huh, maybe Tam only sees the name of the skill but not how advanced it is? Caden moved some earth and stone around with the mana, but still did not see how he did it. Tam, meanwhile, had started to draw with more chalk on the walls. Caden tried not to worry about it too much. The last few times Tam had done something Caden had gotten too worked up about it. Other than the rune array on the wall he had drawn last time, everything had been a pleasant surprise. Not like there was much choice about doing nothing anyway.
The areas Tam was drawing on were all outside of Caden’s aura. Each of the new designs was much smaller than the beam array. By the time Tam was done he had drawn four arrays, each of which was identical as far as Caden could tell. Caden tried his best to memorize them, but he suspected that a large portion of what went into them was in the spell Tam cast on them at the end. After making sure each one was perfect Tam burned them into the walls. He then repeated the process he had done before, filling them with silvery metal and ridiculous amounts of mana. Caden did not notice any immediate difference. Continue reading “Saga of the Soul Dungeon – 1.5”
Despite how excited Caden was at the thought of finally making some progress and gaining a level, Tam continued at a slow pace. Admittedly Caden had no way of showing his excitement, so it’s not like Tam knew. Showing his excitement would actually be a bad idea, because it would show that Caden understood what Tam was doing. Tam was obviously studying Caden, and as much as being a research subject sounded like so much fun; Caden would rather not. Tam cast a couple more of the longer lasting analytical spells that Caden was fairly certain measured his aura boundaries. It was a good thing Caden had left gaps in much of the room so Tam thought Caden’s aura was limited. For the moment, Caden was not going to try expanding his aura anywhere he thought Tam might sense it.
As Tam made his preparations Caden made his own. Caden opened up both his status and the AP purchase menu. Caden was going to try to level up and buy the skill at almost exactly the same time. Hopefully Tam would think it came from Caden’s level up, not because Caden was actively planning how to get better. Caden thought Tam believed Caden should have done something special by now. Admittedly learning directional mana control might well be abnormal, but Caden thought Tam might have attributed that to Caden’s situation. Caden had nothing else to do but practice absorbing mana. Continue reading “Saga of the Soul Dungeon – 1.4”
With most of the night was still ahead, Caden focused on controlling his mana. Turning the flow on and off had produced no progress in halting the mana drain, but he thought he might actually get some help from his new and improved Directed Mana Absorption. It appeared he had actually tried to improve his skill backwards. Now he was going to try to hold onto the mana in a small area and stop it from moving while draining actively from everywhere else in his aura.
Caden started with a section of stone in the back wall. The mana was more sluggish in the stone anyway, so he figured it might be easier to keep it from moving. At first he did not notice any improvement, but by morning the mana he was concentrating on was moving incrementally slower than the mana around it. Caden was essentially captive, so any success in getting better was a step towards freedom, even if it was minor. Caden was not practically rabid over it like his dungeon instincts, but freedom was his first and most important goal. Continue reading “Saga of the Soul Dungeon – 1.3”
Caden assessed his options. He admitted that without any mana to work with they were more limited that he would like, other than spending AP. There were two skills that he had seen after some research that he really did want to buy. The problem was that he was fairly certain that the man had some idea of Caden’s skills from analysis spells. That made everything harder and, for now, Caden decided to hold off on buying anything. However, that did not mean he couldn’t approach the situation as intelligently as possible. The first thing he tried to do was stop everything that he was doing by instinct. He stopped the flow of mana towards him after a few minutes of trying. It felt very strange, almost akin to stopping in the middle of going pee. It felt natural to draw in mana continuously. Continue reading “Saga of the Soul Dungeon – 1.2”
When Caden found himself staring down at his own body he felt conflicted. Certainly there was the usual denial, anger, disbelief, and so on, but there was also the feeling that the moment was almost tawdry, pedantic. It felt so cliché. The scene of the scattered car wreckage and the distant sound of sirens approaching could have come from a bad movie. The world started to fade away and become a bright light. It was in this moment that the cliché was disrupted. Caden felt himself yanked sideways through the world, suddenly seeing the inside and outside of car, his body, and the concrete simultaneously. He was moving in a way he did not know was possible and then everything snapped back into place. Continue reading “Saga of the Soul Dungeon – 1.1”