chapter 124: the dark and golden age

As I closed the page describing the Martial Spirits and their usefulness, I couldn’t help but shudder inwardly. Okay, I dodged a bullet there. I didn’t have any doubts about whether or not I would have been able to convince one of the rank 10 children to form a pact with me, but there were probably any number of ways to cause a Martial Spirit to go out of control.

Maybe if I had a situation similar to Leowynn’s, it’d be different. The Aki Seppou martial art is one of mutual trust and dependence. Even if something happened and Leowynn decided to turn against me, it wouldn’t be a situation that would endanger me any more than it would her.

Out of curiosity, I decided to check the information on the World Spirits, to see if they had some similar abilities. Like before, it wasn’t hard to find a descriptive post about them. Though, there wasn’t all that much new information here.

World Spirits are a good class to consider placing within any game world, especially one with either no afterlife system, or one that leads to spirits being left behind. Though, in any world that perfectly recycles all spirits, they will see very little use.

In order to create a World Spirit…

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I skipped past the creation information, as I already discovered the process firsthand. Instead, like before, I went straight to their abilities and how they could benefit a world.

World Spirits naturally create an alternate world where only they can live. Typically, this world is shared between every World Spirit, though some may choose to create their own to isolate themselves. These are rare cases, however, so we will not look into them too deeply.

The World of the Spirits, as the system tends to call it, is one of the key components to increasing the strength of a World Spirit. This world will grow larger the more World Spirits connect with it, the energy inside growing more and more dense. Although the efficiency is low, simply spending time in this world is enough for a World Spirit to gradually become stronger. However, there are also other requirements.

An obvious requirement to grow stronger would be to actively practice the abilities of the World Spirit. Many of these abilities seem like upgraded forms of the Druid class, though there are some unique differences. Like a Druid, a World Spirit is able to control nature. However, the energy they control is naturally mixed with their own Spiritual Energy, which causes two big changes. First of all, it enhances the power of nature in various ways, depending on the elements used. And second, it gives them a defined limit on the amount of energy they can use, unlike Druids.

Another big difference would be in relation to a Druid’s portal ability. World Spirits do not have this ability, but instead have something much more powerful. They are able to travel anywhere in the world, and to any world connected with the one they were born in. This does not include the worlds of other Keepers, in the case where one has the Cycle of Reincarnation. However, it does include afterlife worlds owned and operated by the same Keeper. As long as Natural or Spiritual Energy exists within the world, the World Spirits are able to travel there, so long as the connection is maintained. For Keepers wishing to remove this function, they should buy the World Isolation system, which allows them to block certain world travel abilities.

Finally, the last difference between a World Spirit and a Druid, and one of their key features. Whenever a World Spirit enters a certain range with another of its own kind, they enter into a unique type of hive mind, allowing them to combine their powers. These hive minds follow a hierarchy of strength, so the strongest World Spirit will be the king, and allowed to determine what the rest of the hive does. A World Spirit can only break free of the hive if they are given an order contrary to their nature, such as if the ‘king’ demanded that all others sacrifice themselves to increase its power.

Again, not a lot of new information there, as most of it I had already seen first hand. Though, it did offer some explanations. For instance, it allowed me to better understand how the many World Spirits had joined forces to create a giant tornado that could kill a high level human.

One thing I did need to check quickly, though. Terra. I sent out a mental call to Terra, waiting until I felt it connect. Oddly, I had found this to get easier and easier lately. Does Ashley’s world have Spiritual or Natural Energy? I was worried that it might, since it was still connected to the afterlife, but I didn’t want the World Spirits to be able to access it yet.

It took a few moments before a response came back, but when it did I was able to sigh in relief. Not in a usable sense. Right now, there is no supernatural affinity for that world, so the energies aren’t present in the same form as they are on Earth. There are still spirits, but they are closer to what you would know as lingering ghosts than the masses of conscious energy that are found on Earth.

Okay…I decided to cut to the chase, just to make sure that there was no misunderstanding. So there is no chance of the World Spirits making their way there, then?

Right. This time, her answer came back much faster. If they tried to force their way by joining one of Irena’s patrols to gather spirits, it’d be like going to an alien atmosphere. They wouldn’t be able to breathe, and would likely die within a few minutes, unable to get back on their own.

Well… that opened up an entirely new question. Then, how do the spirits and Daeva survive long enough to do their jobs?

Easy. They use their own Spiritual Energy like an air supply. Only the elites are sent to Desbar, those that have enough energy to survive and make the trip back with plenty of room to spare. At the same time, Desbar doesn’t have to worry about the spirits turning into undead like Earth does, because it doesn’t have any kind of supernatural affinity yet. It’ll take at least ten times as long for enough spirits to pile up to create an undead, and by that time the patrols would be able to round them up in bulk.

Only allowed on

Terra’s words did help to relieve most of my worries, though I still planned to check in from time to time to make sure that Ashley was doing alright at managing the world. I sent a mental thanks to Terra, before turning my attention back towards Earth. I could safely say that I had done what I set out to originally, which was creating something to influence the world.

Whether it was the Martial Spirits or World Spirits, either one was able to drastically alter the course of future events. I’d need to keep an eye on things for a while, to make sure that their presence wasn’t too disruptive. There was a big difference between shaking things up and destroying civilization, after all.

In an effort to check this, I fast forwarded the world again. This time, five hundred years, ten times as long as my previous leap forward. I also set several alarms, specifically to warn me about any large scale activities involving either of the two new types of spirits.

To many races, these years would come to be known as the Dark Ages. The centuries where the gods and goddesses let them handle business on their own. Altogether seven hundred years, the longest that the deities had ever gone without giving instructions.

Many were lost, unsure if they had done something to disappoint their respective deity. They still answered their prayers, assured their priests that they had done nothing wrong, but would not answer the questions that they used to. If an architect, a mage, a bard, or anyone else asked for their aid in overcoming an obstacle in their study, the deity would give a similar answer.

‘You must discover the answer on your own’. These words became a nightmare to researchers of every field. Because, for the first time in their recorded histories… they had to come up with the answers themselves. The deities hadn’t always just handed everything to them, but they would at least point them in the right direction. Like parents, they would show the path to the correct answer, and trust in their people to be able to go the distance.

But now, it was as if they had been thrust into the world, all alone without the guidance they had grown so used to. In some ways, this was for the best. Those wiser scholars, the ones who already would seldomly ask the gods for aid, realized the folly of man. They were able to understand that the past had caused them to become dependent on the gods, to the point where many were unable to have new ideas of their own.

For these people, the Dark Age was not a time of despair, but one of progress! There were many kings and queens, lords and ladies who were able to take advantage of the heavenly silence to encourage their people to develop new ideas. Things that they would have never considered before.

One example, perhaps the best, would be the Tower of Communication erected within the elven kingdom. This Tower was the most powerful guild in all the elven lands, because it distributed important news everywhere. Similar branch towers were established in every city, and whenever anything of import happened, they would spread the word to every tower, which would then use special magic to announce the news to their city.

Like this, the elven lands were more unified than ever before, able to send and receive messages anywhere. For a small fee, they even allowed the public to send messages to friends and relatives in other cities. Just this service alone was enough to fund the construction of more than half of the Towers.

Another grand example was an organization which formed among the humans. They called themselves the Spearhead, and represented the strongest powers among any kingdom. Each one was not only at or near the pinnacle of power, but they were among the strongest who had reached that level.

The Spearhead devoted themselves to serving Bihena’s justice in cases where she herself wouldn’t. This was primarily through one law of war, written by man instead of the goddess. ‘The strong shall fight the strong, and the weak shall fight the weak’.

Although the wording was ambiguous, its meaning soon became clear. Those at the pinnacle were forbidden from abusing their powers to bully the weak. And if they broke this law, the entire Spearhead group would join together to stop them. Through their efforts, no less than ten tyrants had been removed from power, those who got into their position purely by abusing their personal strength.

Yet another great example could be found in the lands of the dwarves. Although they did not create a guild like the Tower of Communication, or an organization like the Spearhead, they had their own share of discoveries. For the most part, the dwarves had never relied on asking Tubrock for guidance, as one of his doctrines had always been to try to find the answers to your questions yourself.

For the dwarves, their main discovery was how to smelt alloys. They learned how to mix different minerals and metals into new, unique forms which were stronger than their base components. The previously clumsy work of the blacksmiths became more refined, many walking the path of a mage or a monk in order to enhance their work.

Items forged with mana or ki gradually began to appear more and more in the dwarven lands. Although such things were seen as a rare commodity, their popularity increased as their power was shown. In the hands of a monk, a bloodforged sword could topple even the greatest of foes, while a mage could take an enchanted item and use it to its fullest potential.

Like this, the Dark Ages gradually made way to the Golden Ages. And after the seven hundred years of near silence, the gods finally spoke again. For those who had shown their ingenuity, they showered them in praises. For the churches who had never lost their faith, they gave their thanks. But for those who had turned away from them for their silence, they did not cast blame. Like a parent, their arms were always open to welcome their children back into the fold.

“Okay… that was… surprising?” I muttered to myself, glancing at the various advancements that had been made. At first, I was worried that telling everyone to stop actively guiding their people would lead to a few civilizations self-destructing, but it seems like that didn’t happen.

Even the Martial Spirits and World Spirits didn’t show any startling signs during that time skip. If I had to guess, the World Spirits were happy just with playing around in the world, and didn’t seem to have any designs on anything bigger. As for the Martial spirits, most of them were too unintelligent to hatch such plans, though… I did notice one change when I looked at their information.

Rank 10 Martial Spirits: 4

Somehow, they had managed to finally create another one. And now I had to go back and find out how and when! I almost wanted to pull my own hair out for missing that, but instead simply decided to go back and view the ‘records’ as Terra had taught me… This should be interesting.

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