Two hundred nineteen years ago:
Urolon swung his hammer down, shaping the ectoplasm and bonding it to the metal beneath. Again and again, he swung his hammer bending reality each time with his Bond, too absorbed in his work to notice another presence enter his forge.
“Ohohoho! Practicing, are we?” Like an ancient tome repeatedly being shut, the laughter of an old man greeted Urolon’s ears.
He stopped forging mid-swing for a moment to register who it was before he started again.
“What do you want, Venaro?” Urolon asked, not wanting to deal with the other god’s antics. “Get to the point.”
The God of Knowledge and Wisdom stroked his long beard for several minutes, but Urolon wasn’t interested in playing his game and chose to ignore him.
“Alright. Fine! I’m here to convince you to take our side,” Venaro said, sounding a little bored.
“Why should you care?” Urolon asked. “Once you get the memories of the Archive, its state doesn’t matter anymore to you” Urolong put the ingot in the forge to reheat it before finally turning towards the other being.
Venaro wore a wide-brimmed, pointy hat and long grey robes. His face is mostly obscured by a long white beard save for his silver eyes. The backdrop of the void can be seen through the windows of the forge.
Venaro smiled mischievously which caused Urolon to frown. “Because I value knowledge. What will this soul bring to one of the realms with the knowledge they have? Legacy souls often bring change, but what will such an old soul accomplish? What insights do they have that we lack?”
“And why should I care about all that? That soul is Mythic tier, I can bring much greater and more effective change to all we know.”
“Ohohohohoho! Is that so?” Venaro’s smile widened. “Tell me, do you know what you even need to make a fabled tier item?”
“No, but I have time to figure it out” Urolon crossed his arms. He didn’t know it at the time, but everything he worked towards would be made meaningless.
Venaro reached into space itself and pulled out a fist-sized ore, and tossed it to Urolon.
“You blocked the information” Urolon glared at the other god, who laughed again.
“You know how to bring out the full potential of every material, right? Then go on, do it; make the best weapon that ore can become.”
This was the exact thing Urolon didn’t want, but Venaro always managed to find a way to force his games on others.
“Come back in three days” Urolon took the ore. At least he gained something from playing these stupid games.
One hundred six years ago:
“Still can’t make a Fabled item with the World Core?” Venaro teased
“Shut up! I’m just missing something, that’s all!” Urolon said with frustration and anger. “I’m so close! The items are on the verge of Fabled tier!”
The mysterious ore that Venaro had first given him was part of a World Core that had fallen to an inhabited world in one of the realms. A city is built there now, but they can easily go in and take a few pieces. The world core will regenerate; it is primordial, after all. Pieces of Timeless and Primordial tier materials are never Primordial or Timeless, which meant they can’t make more regenerating materials.
“You do not lack skill, Urolon. You lack the knowledge to make a Fabled tier item.” Venaro said
“So do you!” Urolon growled.
“Yes, but I’m not the one banging my head against a wall. There is something more about the magical process that we do not understand, we must pause and think of the solution.”
“There is honestly nothing you can see with your [Sense Divinity] that I am missing? This item should have the necessary requirements to become Fabled, right? You’re not playing another one of your stupid games, right?” Urolon said, getting more and more frustrated at the situation.
“Your item’s divine framework should only barely have the requisite divinity needed to become Fabled, but it is like I said, there is something about the magical process that we don’t understand.”
“Then we need someone with [Sense Magic]” Urolon calmed himself. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, and it’s useless to try. All he can do is experiment and stumble upon the answer. “What skill enhances into that?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” Venaro shrugged. “I thought [Sense Mana] did, but it enhanced into [Sense Divinity]. Mana does fuel magic, but Divinity creates it, so that’s probably why. I assume something like [Sense Miasma] will work, but I haven’t been able to get that.”
Five years ago:
Ting! Alysara, the Runalymo, has reached unparalleled knowledge and mastery in the Sense Mana skill!
The freedom of Alysara’s soul faction met after this world notification. No one had expected this, and other than Myrou, no one had even bothered to check on her. Venaro wore a wide grin, his silver eyes gleaming with glee.
He had blessed her to develop mentally faster, making her smarter. In a sense, he is nurturing a tree so it may bear sweet fruit.
Myrou was likewise happy at the growth the girl is showing and gave a report on recent events.
“I thought you wanted her to be in a safe place,” Urolon teased the greater goddess after she mentioned the recent disasters in the Nexus.
“Silence!” Fathlyr, the God of Law and Justice, said. “I still don’t understand why you were even invited here! You are just looking for the chance to use her!”
“Calm yourself,” Venaro said. “He won’t do anything; I can assure you of that.”
Fathlyr growled, his golden eyes pierced right into Venaro. “Myrou, we can’t trust him either. Once he gets her memories, he’ll no longer support us!
“It’s to show Alysara’s worth, Fathlyr. We can only gain more allies with this.” Myrou said.
“I’m interested in those Airships,” Varath, the God of Battle and War, said. “It’s not the first time something like it was made, but the way she did it is new.”
Urolon had to agree. Alysara was showing her genius and making things he didn’t even think to consider.
The meeting went on for a long time, and they agreed to invite a few other gods from the neutral faction in this conflict who might now show favor toward Alysara.
Things became even crazier years later when Alysara managed another world notification.
One year ago:
Ting! Alysara, the Runalymo, has reached unparalleled knowledge and mastery in the Manipulate Mana skill!
“Ohohohoho! Do you know what this means?” Venaro said, entering his forge.
“That you are annoying?” Urolon said dismissively.
“That, in just fifteen years, she has managed to surpass you in crafting with mana, even though you started a hundred yea— Whoa!”
Urolon threw his hammer at the annoying God of Knowledge and Wisdom, who shifted his mana out of the way, making a hole in his body for it to pass through.
“You should treat your tools better!” Venaro teased, dodging the hammer’s return in the same manner.
Urolon caught his hammer and continued his work. That girl may be good at crafting with mana, but he has his sights set on the World Core material and making a Fabled item from it. Unless she can solve the ‘magic conundrum’ as Venaro put it, her actions mean nothing to him.
“I like her,” Omyran, the God of Healing and Rest, said after hearing what she did after the battle between the dragons and the cursed being.
Many neutral gods became favorable toward her after this. However, it wasn’t until just a couple of weeks ago that he had to admit that Alysara has far more potential for greatness than what her soul is worth.
Ting! The Saintess of Mana and Magic, Alysara, the Runalymo, has freed the Saintess of the Runalymo, Kayafe, the Runalymo, and completed the Mana Arc!
The Saintess of Mana and Magic. Until now, he and Venaro had assumed she had [Sense Divinity]; however, it is now undeniable that she knows something about magic that even Venaro doesn’t, and it shows as he lost his bored playfulness.
“Her altruism gave her the saintess part of her title, but the only way mana and magic is in there is because she has significant knowledge on those subjects. That’s the only thing that makes sense!” Venaro paced back and forth in Urolon’s smithy.
“Do you think she can solve the ‘magic conundrum’?” Urolon asked.
Venaro stops before turning toward him. “If not, then she should have the missing pieces of the puzzle.”
“You can’t wait, can you?” Urolon asked. “You want to know now.”
Venaro nods, greed in his eyes.
He knows Venaro; however, Myrou is quite protective of Alysara, but if he can convince her that he’ll officially join her faction if he knows that Alysara has the knowledge or the potential to gain the knowledge of how to craft a Fabled item, then he’ll be able to lord this knowledge over Venaro, he’ll have knowledge that the God of Knowledge and Wisdom does not.
“Then hide the information of two pieces of the World Core. I want to see if she herself is capable of even getting close, at least, to see her mana craft.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Tasked with relocating the cursed item, the first thing that comes to mind is simply putting it in a box, which I make from supersolid mana and decorate with depictions of chains. Next comes the task of actually putting the cursed weapon into the box.
I can potentially use my clones, but will that work? I am linked to my clones so it may try to consume one of my minds through the link. That or it will consume the mind of the mind piloting the clone, so I want as many degrees of distance between it and me as I can afford.
I’ve tried being a little more risky but that has just backfired, and nothing good comes from curses. Furthermore, this is a true magic item, so who knows how strictly it enforces its cost and how it considers it being ‘wielded’.
That said, I am probably the only one other than Yrania who can afford the cost of touching it, so it should be I who moves it.
I conjure two automated clones, making sure I am not piloting them, and make tongs for them for which they can use to pick up the cursed sword spear and put it in the box.
The presence of the Saintess’s Anguish flares up in anger at being denied its meal, and a headache assaults my, and from the looks of it, Kayafe’s mind as we bring our hands up to our temples.
With it now safely enclosed, I maintain my two degrees of separation and order an automated clone to follow us as we fly over to Safyr. Urolon just landed next to Safyr as well, but even the mighty dragon reels back and hisses once she feels the Saintess’s Anguish presence.
“I’ve never felt such an insidious presence, and I’ve accidentally created a cursed weapon before.” Urolon says, eyeing the box with caution. “Just how strong is this weapon?”
I have the box opened to show Safyr the cursed weapon. She and Urolon stare at it, and for several moments they remain silent before Urolon speaks up.
“I’ve seen many cursed items before, but most are far more subtle. A sword that instills bloodlust in its wielder slowly over time. A king’s crown that makes the wearer more ambitious, greedy, and paranoid. A ring of healing that ensures all future children of the wearer are stillborn. The most important thing to note is that these effects are never stated in the item’s identity; they hide the worst of their curses. So, what manner of cruelty is this weapon hiding if it openly states a cost?”
“Do you know of a way to destroy it?” Safyr asks Urolon.
“Cursed items are indestructible, but there are ways to purify them. It is incredibly hard, and the method is specific to each item, but it is possible. It essentially boils down to pacifying the malice of the item, but I have no idea where to start for this weapon; the one with the best knowledge on how to do that is Alysara, but many times doing so is not worth the effort, and it’s simpler just to seal it away forever.”
“How do we do that?” Kayafe asks.
“By locking it in a container of greater divinity than the cursed item has magic. In most cases, only a heroic or exalted tier item is sufficient, but I feel this one will require a container of high legendary tier to contain fully.”
“Isn’t that basically trying to make a magic item?” I ask. “How can you make a magic item if the magical process is unreliable?”
“That’s the hardest part,” Urolon says, looking toward me. “It often takes years, even decades, to make one item. Most craftsmen do not spend that amount of time to make something, so it’s even rarer for them to make a magic item.”
I raise an inquisitive eyebrow. “Why does it take so much time? What if you reach atomic perfection before then? If the item is perfect, it’s done; you can’t spend more time on it.”
“Often, it is the planning that takes up most of that time.” Urolon answers. “Taking the proper steps and deliberation to think your craft through is just as important. Your execution of crafting may be the best in the world, but if you work spontaneously and haphazardly, throwing ideas in and out as you craft, then you will never be the best.”
Ouch, it’s almost like a critique of how I went about this. But to be fair, he sprung this whole challenge on me! He had all this time to think of what he wanted, but I only had three days!
"And you expected me to complete this challenge in three days?" I accuse, but Urolon just shrugs.
“Technically, you win; your weapon is stronger. However, Venaro did the same to me a couple of hundred years ago, and I wanted to see if you could match what I did back then. In a sense, I never intended to win this challenge, rather I was testing you. The thing that I actually came here for is your knowledge on magic.”
“I was curious too,” Safyr interjects. “Your knowledge is valuable, but we don’t know how valuable. If you hold the secrets to making a Fable tier weapon, you can gain a lot of allies, or at least you know your worth for when others come and seek to trade for your knowledge.”
Urolon nods. “I am in possession of a Fable tier material, yet for hundreds of years, I have yet to make something that powerful; Venaro and I came to the conclusion that we lack information on the magical process that makes what you call magic items. In essence, I am willing to protect you from the other gods because it matters not how valuable your soul is if I can never realize its potential.”
In actuality, what we call ‘magic items’ are not true magic like the cursed weapon in front of us, but ‘apotheosic item’ doesn’t roll off the tongue as well; plus, it’s a holdover from when I didn’t know as much about magic and magic items. However, this also means that the gods are aware of apotheosis, the fusion of divinity and magic, right?
“What do you call magic items, then? What do you know?” I ask.
Urolon raises an eyebrow. “The ‘magic’ part of magic items comes from the magical process that turns an item into a tiered one. However, the Tier is like a divine rank; those with [Sense Divinity] can clearly see that. What we don’t understand is what the magic is doing, it should destroy the divine mark like when a cursed item is made, but it doesn’t.”
I see. So they have someone with [Sense Divinity], and they think that the magic framework is purely divine because they only see the divine side of it. The divine mark is probably what they call the magic framework, and since too much magic destroys the magic framework, they are under the assumption that magic can’t be in the framework.
It will be hard for them to believe me but my inscriptions are proof that magic frameworks are part magic. The question is: What are they willing to pay for this knowledge?