First World: Mortals.   Posted by The Great Painter.Group: 0
The Great Painter
 GM, 120 posts
 Use Common Sense
 Don't go too Zany
Thu 5 Oct 2017
at 18:07
irst World: Mortals
Like the gods. The mortals themselves have stories. Here are some of them.
 player, 194 posts
 9/20 ap
Thu 5 Oct 2017
at 20:33
First World: Mortals
The Arya Syrene named Ametrine walked as he always walked: slowly. His movements seemed particularly slow compared to the swifts flitting around him over his head. But... he liked their darting around. They were birds, after all, and Ametrine liked birds. There weren't many species of birds in the Crystal Labyrinth. Mostly bats. And not a ton of those, deeper down...

Ametrine began to sing a song as he walked, a sort of ode to bats. How nice they were to have around, how squeaky...

"Hey! You! Crystal... guy?"

Ametrine looked up. A swift was landing. "Yes?"

"I was talking to God Noric a few days ago... that way." The swift pointed to the south, and a little to the east. "I told him about you. He said he might like to meet you some time. He sounded kind of interested."

"The god? Truly? Than... thank you for speaking of me to him!"

"Hey, don't mention it. He was kinda asking me what was new... you came to mind. For him, I figured, you'd be new."

Ametrine had lived among the swifts for twelve years, but he understood-- everyone grasped that, when they weren't performing miracles, the gods percieved the world more slowly than mortals. It was said that a week to a god was as a thousand years to a mortal, which was certainly more than a nap to even an Arya Syrene. "I understand. Well, I shall go and see him, an he stay in one place long enough."

"Great. He's up in a tree... he's a silver swift, or was when I saw 'im. You'll know 'im when you see 'im... ask around, if it's too high up." The swifts often had trouble giving directions to the earthbound, and tended to just point and say ask another swift when you think you're getting close.

"Thank you again, o swift..."

"Sure thing... man?"

"I am a man." The swifts also often had confusion regarding Ametrine's gender. He was used to reminding them.

"Okay, awesome. See you around!" And the swift took to the sky again.

Ametrine started his slow walk in the direction that the swift had pointed...

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 00:19, Fri 06 Oct 2017.

 player, 196 posts
 9/20 ap
Thu 5 Oct 2017
at 21:17
First World: Mortals
In reply to Noric (msg # 2):

Noric sat for several moments, watching the clouds, the stars, the clouds again, the stars again, thinking bemusedly to himself about the brief conversation he'd just had with the bard...

And then, an unusual thing happened.

He heard someone singing his praises.

He blinked. It was not like a swift would do it. The song was fast, but the voice was very low, deeper than any swift. It sang of Noric's speed in making plants grow so quickly, it sang of how fast he'd organized the swift civilization, it sang of how Noric had made the Great Forest in just minutes, it sang of how Noric had made the stars with one shake of his silver hair.

Noric went to the edge of his treetop boughs, and looked down.

There was an Arya Syrene down there, and sure enough, he was the one singing. Of course.

Noric flew down in front of the creature, and prepared to speak to him.

As Noric did so, of course, the song slowed down, losing its breakneck speed, its zippy 180 beats per minute dropping to something more like one beat every five minutes.

"Hello, Arya Syrene," said Noric. "I take it you are the one I have recently heard about."

"Surely, God Noric," said the crystal man. He was all sharp angles and straight lines, a sort of violet crystal with orangish bits here and there. "My name is Ametrine."

"I see," said Noric. "I once searched for the goddess Mirae, to meet her, but she seemed to have disappeared."

"She has not yet reappeared, so far as I have heard. Many think her dead. I do not grieve, for you seem the god for me. Ever since I stepped into the daylight in search of knowledge and beauty and new things, and heard one of your bards singing your praises, I have known that you were the god I wished to honor."

"I feel flattered. As indeed I feel when any of my own swifts sing of me. But it was interesting to hear your song even as I sat above."

"I could have tried to climb, but I feared you might decide to fly off any day now. I thought my song would reach you faster than I could. I am not a terrible climber, but a skytree is a very daunting prospect."

"Yes. I would not want to have to climb one if I was not in swift form. Although..." Noric switched to his other form, in which he resembled the Arya Syrene more closely.

"Ah! Yes! This is another reason I revere you! This is something I have always wanted to see for myself!"

"I'm glad I could fulfill that wish. ...So I hear you wish to be a bard."

"I do. But I accept that the swifts have their own cultural ideas about musical beauty. But I am slowly winning them over to my ways of singing. I have the time..."

"You do no magic?"

"I do not seem to have been created with that ability, God Noric. Fewer of my people seem to, compared to the swifts. It... it seems to me... if I may speak at length for a moment?"

"Please do." It was easy for Noric to listen to the easy, measured way the Arya Syrene had of talking... so much less intense than talking to the swifts.

"It seems to me that there are only so many roles one can have in life... A swift may be an archer, or sling-stone thrower... a hunter... a priest, if one has the magical ability to draw on the power of one's god... a healer, if one has that gift of life magic... a mage, if one has that gift... and then things like craftsperson, cook, parent, teacher... Some of these are not practiced by my people, such as cook, since we do not eat as others do... we live on the magic of the elements... We watch, we listen, we learn... we discuss... a rare few of us can heal or do other magic... I can tell you more about that sometime... but for me, bard seems the perfect occupation." Ametrine paused. "But... but I do not expect you to make me a bard... I feel I should win the annual contest on my own..."

"I will honor your wishes, and let you do it yourself," said Noric. "Tell me, have you traveled very much?"

"I have. I have seen the Great Waterfall of the rainforest, and drunk deeply of its energies... I have seen the nests the swifts make on the sides of the mountains... I have seen the ocean... I have seen the great city, from a distance, from a mountaintop... I have seen the edge of the wasteland... But sometimes it feels as if I have hardly travelled at all... I have never been to the swamp... once, I met another of my kind who said he had walked the width of the wasteland, and traveled it until he found an ocean on the other side, or perhaps the same ocean, and came back... But I have seen little of the plains... There are still many dangers in this world..."

This message was last edited by the player at 00:20, Fri 06 Oct 2017.

 player, 197 posts
 9/20 ap
Thu 5 Oct 2017
at 22:05
First World: Mortals
"Are there?" Noric asked. "Such as what?"

"There used to be many dangerous predators... lions in the plains, wolves in the plains and around the mountains... but the lacerta and the Fatherless have thinned them out quite a bit. Now, the lacerta and the Fatherless are the danger. They aren't always friendly to strangers... sometimes they tolerate them, but sometimes they don't. I might not have made it if the bards didn't tend to keep an eye on me as I traveled, as they do for many who travel alone... another reason I deeply respect and honor the bards. I can still be harmed, destroyed, by a hard enough blow from a club or a stone..."

"This is all very interesting. I'm glad you made it through all your travels."

"Well, these days, I mostly stay in the Great Forest, learning all the songs the swifts sing..."

"...I should talk to more mortals. I never talk to any but swifts... I should talk more to all sorts of mortals."

"...Have you ever spoken to a shifter?"

"...I have not. I have seen them, am aware they live beneath the skytrees, in huts of sticks and branches and stones..."

"They've gotten fairly good at that, these days... partly because they sometimes get the swifts to help with construction. You'll see many shifter huts these days that are partly made of the hard stuff that swift-spit makes..." Ametrine smiled. "You might get a swift to recommend you to a shifter chieftain, or one of their medicine men... you might find them interesting..."

This message was last edited by the player at 19:19, Fri 06 Oct 2017.

 player, 206 posts
 14/20 ap
Fri 6 Oct 2017
at 19:38
First World: Mortals
In reply to Noric (msg # 4):

Noric expressed a desire to meet and talk to a shifter, and Ametrine said he'd let Noric go about it. Noric said a happy farewell, became a swift again, and flew back up to the treetop he'd been on.

He let time pass normally again... the sun and stars noticably alternating once more with their usual steady rhythm.

He looked around him for the nearest shifter. The trees got in the way, mostly, so he gave up on finding the literal nearest shifter.

But what he found... was surprising.

He found... towns. Dwellings, clustered into tight little knots of activity.

He flew upward, soaring, higher than most swifts ever bothered to fly, and looked down. He counted... 3. Well, 4. 5, if one counted the one in the forest and the one below it as two seperate things.

Is this Erot's doing, or something the new god of the city has caused to happen? He looked more closely at the forest town. Nothing seemed to be going wrong... everyone seemed to be getting along well. He flew down to it, slowly, noticing the towns grew a little more, very slowly, even as he descended...
 player, 207 posts
 14/20 ap
Fri 6 Oct 2017
at 20:11
First World: Mortals
In reply to Noric (msg # 5):

Noric landed on a rope-and-wood bridge connecting two large branches. There were many swift dwellings nearby.

Noric caused quite a stir when he landed. Two red priest swifts rushed up to him, and he listened to what they had to say. "God Noric! We welcome you. How may we do your will today?"

"There is no special crisis right now. I am merely... travelling. I am surprised to see this place... but you all seem quite content..."

"Yes, God Noric. We call this town Foresthome. It is well-situated near the sea, for fishing."

"...You have a seagull on your shoulder."

"Yes, God Noric. He is my companion. I call him Bitey. Animal companions are common these days..."

"Are they? How... nice." It's a little like they have their own versions of Regret, he realized with bemusement.

"Yes, God Noric."

"Things have changed lately."

"I suppose so, God Noric, but it seems to be for the better. Come, let me show you." The priest took Noric on a little tour of the town. "Over there, you can see one of our mushroom farms... we give them a reserved space to grow, and we make sure to water them... I myself used my magic to make the tree limb expand outward in this way, and we carried soil up here from below..."

"I see... so this is convienient for you."

"Very much so, God Noric. And here is one of our finest woodcarvers, working on a bow. We have started using coins to help trade with people for the finest stone tools from Mountainhome-- that's a town out to the west, up in the mountains." Noric just nodded. It seemed that Erot had finally started getting the hang of developing his domain.

This message was last edited by the player at 23:33, Fri 06 Oct 2017.

 player, 210 posts
 14/20 ap
Sat 7 Oct 2017
at 20:15
First World: Mortals
In reply to Noric (msg # 6):

Soon enough, Noric wanted to move on. He thanked the priest for the tour... but before he left, he said: "Soon, I plan to descend to the town below this one, on the forest floor."

"Floorhome. Shifters. Just going to be looking around? I could have someone show you around down there, too...?"

"I want to meet more... people. I want to meet a shifter, talk to it."

"Oh? They're kind of hard to know... they aren't really a bad people, the few I've met, but very... private. Always make me feel like I'm intruding on them."

"Do you know any you would recommend I talk to?" The priest didn't answer right away. "A chieftain? A shaman?"

"Mm, I guess you could talk to old Bristly-boar. He's a shaman, and he's in Foresthome right now... they all move around a lot, you know, but in patterns... when they move out and leave, they almost always come back eventually... I saw Bristly-boar just... Hm. Do you plan to go straight there, from here, God Noric? Because otherwise, he might move on..."

"It does not matter. I will ask for Bristly-boar. If he is absent, I will see who will speak with me..."

"There's a fellow who trades in dried herbs and things... tree roots that the lacerta like when they're feeling moody, unripened cloudfruits, black swamp toads that the shifters like eating when they're tired and need a boost..."

Noric frowned. "A seller of vice."

"I'm afraid so, although, like I say, he also does a lot of trading in tasty herbs and spices for cooking... His name is Hissy-snake. If he's not in town when you get down there, anyone'll know where to find him... er, if you go soon..."

"I will not wait for years... what is your name...?" The priest sang a little tune... a cheerful melody, but much longer than the name of the swift who'd told Noric about Ametrine. Catchy, though. "I will not delay long, even by mortal standards," said Noric, and he sang the tune back to the priest.

"All right then, your divinity. Well, I'll leave you to it, then... I'm using floral magic to grow out a new branch for an expansion to the east-- a family who specialize in fishing want to build a home here in town..."

Noric walked to the end of the rope-and-wood bridge they were on, and descended to the forest floor, making sure to let no more than a few weeks of mortal time go by...

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 20:22, Sat 07 Oct 2017.

 player, 211 posts
 14/20 ap
Sat 7 Oct 2017
at 21:37
First World: Mortals
In reply to Noric (msg # 7):

Just before reaching the forest floor, Noric once again adjusted his thinking to local time. It made the divine energy he got from being worshiped and revered seem to come to him much more slowly, but he knew it wasn't really coming in more slowly than usual, it merely seemed that way to him. As long as he kept on not using up his divine energy in any shows of flashiness, he should continue to get by just fine...

Looking around, various people were staring at him... mostly the swifts. The shifters looked at him with mild interest... then went back to whatever they were doing.

Everywhere amidst the extremely massive treetrunks there were... dwellings... the oldest ones were made of wood and thatched roofs, often patched with a bit of swift-spit here or there... the newer dwellings were made of... not stone, exactly... but uniform rectangles of dried mud.

"Anything I can do for you, God Noric?" asked a new priest, a female. Her orange beak was short and cute. "I'm--" She whistled several happy, jaunty, high-pitched notes.

"Yes. I am visiting. First... what is that material?" Noric asked, pointing.

"Ah. Those would be new, to you, I suppose... those are called 'bricks.' They're made out of clay... the shifters use their fire-arms to bake 'em. They stack better than stones, and don't even require our spit to make 'em stick in place like that, although shifters often trade with us to get us to help with the roofs." It was true-- the newest buildings were brick with swift-domed roofs.

"Ah. Another new concept. My next question is that I am here to speak with a shifter, one I have never met. Is a shifter named Bristly-boar here?"

"Sure, I know which one is Bristly-boar. I'll take you to him..."
Abraoigi, The Helping Horror
 player, 68 posts
 5/16 ap
Sun 8 Oct 2017
at 02:55
First World: Mortals
Bristly-Boar was in her hut when the Swift came to get her. As she left she tucked her arms behind her and sent a quick message out through the Spy network: 'Noric is here.'

The swift woman approached the God cautiously. "You are Noric yes? What can I help you with?"

This message was last edited by the player at 16:28, Sun 08 Oct 2017.

 player, 216 posts
 14/20 ap
Sun 8 Oct 2017
at 16:35
First World: Mortals
In reply to Abraoigi, The Helping Horror (msg # 9):

Noric had already thought a little about what he would say, so he had a simple reply ready. "I created this forest. So, from a certain point of view, it could be said that you shifters are like my guests here. So, like a good host, I wished to speak to a shifter, since I have never done that before. ...Tell me, are you... happy?"

This message was last edited by the player at 16:35, Sun 08 Oct 2017.

Abraoigi, The Helping Horror
 player, 71 posts
 5/16 ap
Sun 8 Oct 2017
at 23:15
First World: Mortals
In reply to Noric (msg # 10):

The shifter woman eyed the God suspiciously. He was very unlike the one that had created her species. "Happiness comes and goes. When food is plentiful we are happy. When it scarce we are sad. We are content."
 player, 217 posts
 14/20 ap
Sun 8 Oct 2017
at 23:31
First World: Mortals
In reply to Abraoigi, The Helping Horror (msg # 11):

"Content is good, to a point... but do you have enough food?"
Abraoigi, The Helping Horror
 player, 72 posts
 5/16 ap
Mon 9 Oct 2017
at 04:07
First World: Mortals
In reply to Noric (msg # 12):

"When we do not over harvest or when we do not forget to let the marked trees heal so that the bugs may return, yes. We have learned that as long as we do not strip the land bare of its bounty, there is enough."

The shifter woman did not understand what the god of the swifts was trying to get across to her. The concept of a diety looking after their creation after they had made it had never crossed her mind.
 player, 218 posts
 14/20 ap
Mon 9 Oct 2017
at 11:38
First World: Mortals
In reply to Abraoigi, The Helping Horror (msg # 13):

Noric realized that the swift priest who had led him to Bristly-boar was still standing there, listening. "If they are a private people, then go back about your business... perhaps she will feel more comfortable talking to me if the two of us are alone," he said quietly... but not so quietly that Bristly-boar would not be able to hear.

"Yes, God Noric," said the swift, and she took to the air and flew off.

Noric turned back to Bristly-boar. "Do you need more insects? I am the god of Abundance and Generosity. I could make more insects for you, for all shifters, if you wished..."
Abraoigi, The Helping Horror
 player, 73 posts
 5/16 ap
Mon 9 Oct 2017
at 17:37
First World: Mortals
In reply to Noric (msg # 14):

Bristly-Boar was beginning to understand the nature of Noric. "God Noric, thank you for your offer. It is a kind gesture to give to any people, and especially kind to a people who are not your own. It is not our way though. We do not wish to be reliant upon the gods. We are our own selves and choose to be so. Should you wish to barter with us as your swifts do we will happily do so, but it is not within the nature of us to accept charity. We have what we need, and that is all that we need."
 player, 219 posts
 14/20 ap
Tue 10 Oct 2017
at 00:16
First World: Mortals
In reply to Abraoigi, The Helping Horror (msg # 15):

"I respect your ways... perhaps a bargain, then...? What if I make a few new species of tasty insects throughout the world... and in return, the shifters will promise to help defend my swifts and the skytrees if they ever need it...?"

"...Say, do I use the right term? Do you call yourselves shifters?"

Abraoigi, The Helping Horror
 player, 74 posts
 5/16 ap
Tue 10 Oct 2017
at 04:55
First World: Mortals
In reply to Noric (msg # 16):

"That would be a fair trade indeed. The swifts have been more accepting of our kind than most. We do call ourselves shifters. It is shorter than the full name we were given when we were created."
 player, 220 posts
 14/20 ap
Tue 10 Oct 2017
at 16:58
First World: Mortals
In reply to Abraoigi, The Helping Horror (msg # 17):

"All right then..."

Noric thought for several moments, and then waved his hand. A table appeared, with seven insects on it. They were alive, but some seemed a bit stunned or sleepy. "Here, taste these. They are all male... they can produce no more like themselves... yet. Tell me which seem the most tasty to your palate, and I will alter the world to create many more of whatever kinds you like best... choose any five species? Or, if you feel particular, any four or three?"

The seven species of tasting:

1. The earthgrub, a fat white grub. "This grub grows to about a foot in length. It burrows under the soil. It should make for very healthy eating. If not eaten, it invigorates the soil for crops wherever it passes."

2. The etherfly, a large silver butterfly. "This insect will migrate from the skytrees to the rainforest, and back..."

3. The lunar wood moth, a large moth with dusty pink wings. "This insect will be attracted to lanterns at night, which should make them easier to catch..."

4. The giant silver mantis, a mantis slightly less than a foot in length: "This large mantis should be able to be bred in captivity fairly well... I also tried to give it a spicy flavor... I hope it's not too hot for you..."

5. The silver spotted beetle, a sort of three-horned silver beetle almost a foot long: "These should be really crunchy, but with a soft center. The females will have black spots..."

6. The giant sweet bee, an orange-yellow/black-striped bee about two inches long. "I don't know if you'll like these, maybe you'll think they're too sweet, but I thought we could use more nectar-drinking insects... the hives will produce lots of sweet stuff, too, and wax..."

7. The emerald stick insect, a bright green stick insect: "With this one I decided to go for crunchy again... and if I've done it right, I think it should have a slightly salty flavor... I'm afraid they'll usually climb pretty high up in the trees, but a few will come down lower, and I'm sure you can trade with the swifts for the rest... They won't be too hard to find, even amongst the leaves, because as you can tell, they have a strong, pleasant smell..."

This message was last edited by the player at 17:19, Tue 10 Oct 2017.

Abraoigi, The Helping Horror
 player, 75 posts
 5/16 ap
Tue 10 Oct 2017
at 17:48
First World: Mortals
In reply to Noric (msg # 18):

The shifter woman immediately began tasting the bugs. To her they all seemed delicious, but she did not wish to seem greedy and chose the two she liked the least. "You are even generous with your trades god Noric. Your creations are all quite tasty. Out of the seven the five that are best suited for my people are the earthgrub as it shall invigorate the soul in the off season when we do not harvest, The lunar wood moth as it will allow those who cannot hunt for themselves to set traps. The giant sweet bee as the was it produces will be useful and it shall help pollinate for our harvest. The etherfly as it will help train our young ones for the pilgrimage they shall make to the swamp. And for both our peoples and a show of good faith the emerald stock insect as it encourage trade and cooperation with the swift people."
 player, 221 posts
 14/20 ap
Tue 10 Oct 2017
at 18:01
First World: Mortals
In reply to Abraoigi, The Helping Horror (msg # 19):


--Earthgrubs: I'll try to make sure they are most plentiful when shifters don't normally harvest.

--Lunar wood moths, because they come to you (that is, to lights at night).

--Giant sweet bees: for the wax and their roles in helping with other crops.

--Etherflies: I'll make sure they pass through the swamp on their way to the rainforest and back (both ways).

--Emerald stick insects: as a sign of cooperation with the swifts.

I'll toss in some extra flowers for the giant sweet bees and the lunar wood moths and the etherflies..."

Noric raised his arm... then lowered it, and looked at Bristly-boar. "Just so we understand one another... we are entering into a mystical agreement... the shifters agree to do their best to defend the skytrees, and the swifts, up to and including helping swift organizations, heroes, champions, organizations, and swift society in general... in return for the creation of these new insects and flora?"
Abraoigi, The Helping Horror
 player, 76 posts
 5/16 ap
Tue 10 Oct 2017
at 21:19
First World: Mortals
"If you are to go to war we shall aid you,  and your swifts. We shall not attack the swifts less they attack us. We shall defend the skytrees so long as the swifts aid those below them. We will aid as we are able with the endeavors of the swift people. We are a nomadic people, but I will ensure other shifters will know of our pact and honor it to the best of our abilities."
 player, 222 posts
 14/20 ap
Tue 10 Oct 2017
at 21:41
First World: Mortals
In reply to Abraoigi, The Helping Horror (msg # 21):

"I think that's a fair enough answer that covers all the situations I could want."

Noric stretched out his hand, and used his power to alter all the lands of the First World that weren't covered by ocean or the wasteland.

New species of insects and flowering plants came to exist: earthgrubs, which would be the most plentiful in what had been the lean part of the shifters' food cycle, began burrowing throughout the fertile lands, wherever there was topsoil. Likewise, pink lunar wood moths prepared to fly by night, and hives of giant sweet bees, with queens and drones and all things beeish appeared. Etherflies, in all parts of their cycle, appeared, as did a great many emerald stick insects (though fewer of each of these last two in the plains and mountains).

Noric made three new types of flowering plants, to make sure the insects would flourish: the blue swamp lotus, beloved by the etherflies in part of their migratory cycle; the flowering nectar cup vine, found everywhere, but especially prominent in the jungle rainforest and the swamp but also to a slightly lesser degree in the Great Forest; and the hardy light blue starflower, found everywhere.

(Note: two additional exceptions are that most of this new life cannot be found:
--in the Crystal Labyrinth, especially not the farther in one looks, although one will find the occasional subterranean earthgrub or emerald stick insect, and
--not in the Eternal City.)

"There. Let this agreement, for your people to aid mine, last for as long as both peoples exist... and, as always, the bards will stand ready to aid your people if needed."

Spoiler text: (Highlight or hover over the text to view)
Alter land: -1 ap: As part his end of the bargain between Noric and the shifter people, Noric creates new insect life and flora in the rainforest, swamp, Great Forest, plains, valleys, and to a lesser extent in the mountains, and to a much lesser extent in the higher parts of the Crystal Labyrinth.

For their part, the shifter race agrees to do their best to help the organizations, heroes, champions, individuals, and society of the swifts, and to likewise protect the skytrees, if any of these are ever in need of help. (This involves no AP expenditure on Noric's part, since the concept of a mystical contract has already been created.)

This message was last edited by the player at 02:11, Wed 11 Oct 2017.