As the voice finished, the blinding light finally started dimming out. And from the pure white, a lively mixture of green and blue was born. A warm zephyr tickled his legs before transforming into a violent gale that catapulted him upwards.
“Ah” Letting out the breath that he held for the longest time, Mark gasped.
Slowly opening his eyes, Mark found himself high in the sky. Even though he experienced this scene thousands of times already, he still felt his adrenaline pumping as he looked at the green grass on the ever dwarfing plateau.
On his left, Mark heard an eagle’s cry. Turning around, he wasn’t surprised when he saw the monstrously big wing, covered in brown feathers that blocking his view. The creature then accelerated with incredible momentum, revealing itself to the world. It was a griffin, 4-meter wide one that stood aloof in the sky. Knowing what to expect next, Mark looked all around him. Surrounding him was a drift of Griffin, 30 of them to be exact. It was a sight to behold. Flying with such mythically strong creatures would excite even the most nihilistic of souls.
Suddenly, Mark’s lips cracked into a grin.
From below the plateau, a 2 meters red, reptilian paw slammed on the ground. Its razor sharp claws emitted an air of hostility and hidden danger. A yellow eye opened, and from underground, a titanic creature emerged.
A brick red dragon, 30 meters long, soared into the sky. Looking at the drift of griffins, it roared, anger clear in its voice. It opened its mouth, and with contempt in its eyes, it gathered fire mana from all over the mountain range. The magical particles gathered into a ball of fire that Mark could feel the heat of even a hundred meters away. That hot wind for some reason turned into a warm breeze. The gentle zephyr as with last time became more violent and grew into a strong gale. The gust of wind blew him to the side, away from the danger of the dragon.
As Mark was trying to balance himself, a bright light came from the direction of the monsters. Looking up, he saw the dragon’s fire breath clashing with the wind blades of the Griffins. The standoff lasted for a few seconds before the Griffins’ attack faded away, leaving them defenseless against the inferno that was about to befall them.
The last cry of the griffins was full of sorrow, it was as if they tried to imprint their memories, their souls into this world that they were about bid farewell to. The fire then engulfed them, a giant ball of flame that spanned 40 meters in diameter. The Griffins were evaporated, even their bones were being melted by the raging fire.
Mark stood before the fiery hell, looking at the remains of the Griffins. The dragon, seeing that its work was done roared one last time before diving down towards the canyon. Suddenly, something strange happened. The fire that was eating at the remains of the griffins suddenly started glowing golden. The fire intensified and rose from the ground. A mixture of orange and golden flames intertwined. Finally, letters emerged, letters made of fire. When written they made: Ashes Of Gods.
The scene paused and he was teleported into deep space, where a beautiful six-winged angel descended gracefully and said.
“Hello Adventurer, welcome to Ashes of Gods. I am the messenger angel, Gabriel.”
With a swipe of her left hand, an avatar that looked the same as Mark, albeit naked, appeared in front of him. “You can adjust your appearance to a limit of 20%. You can see the percentage of adjustment of any part of your body if you focus on said part.”
Mark already knew all the mechanisms behind the character creation, and it was for this reason that he knew that it was a treasure trove. For example, a hidden mechanic that wasn’t discovered until years later was that the color of your hair, and eyes were pre-requisites for certain early game hidden and unique quests.
Thinking for a second, Mark asked Gabriel.
“Hey, Gabriel. Can I ask you something?”
At his question, Gabriel answered smiling.
“There are few things that I cannot answer, but yeah, you can ask me anything.”
Thinking for a few seconds, Mark finally said.
“In this game, are there kingdoms and empires already in place?” To start, Mark wanted to probe the depths of her tolerance. If he started with the true questions he had in mind, he might get in trouble for it.
“Yes, yes there are. I can give you the names and a basic description of these kingdoms since you have access to it when you will choose your birthplace. However, for information further than that, you need to check out the libraries.”
At the mention of the library, Mark’s eyes widened for a second. So, she does have the ability to give information that we, players do not have access to until we enter the game.
“Do I need to create an avatar before choosing my place of birth?” Mark already knew the answer to his question. However, he needed to keep up this facade of ignorance if he doesn’t want to arouse suspicion.
“No, not really. If you want, we can skip the character creation process for now, and later on come back to it.” Gabriel suggested with her ever smiling face. At some point or the other, she started bouncing up and down with her six, purple-feathered wings.
Stopping his urge lay her still, Mark answered with gritted teeth.
“Then, let’s do that.”
Hearing his confirmation, Gabriel finally stopped bouncing. Again, with a swipe of her left hand, Mark’s avatar turned into particles of light, scattered by a non-existing wind. Then a globe formed, showing the map of Ashes of Gods.
“You can check the description of each country by focusing on it,” Gabriel stated before leaving the floor to Mark.
Looking at the globe, Mark already knew which country he is going to choose. But just for the sake of keeping his facade, he decided to check a few other empires first.
The map was split into four continents and two poles. The continents were named Eudrea, Solon, Auruboth, and Qiunis. The strongest empires for each of them were Oqibalon, Furix, Red Moon, and Agios. Each having their own set of beliefs and, for some of them, their own race.
However, Mark wasn’t interested in any of that at the moment. His eyes were set on a certain kingdom on the Eudrea continent: Pliyx Stal Kingdom.
Focusing on Pliyx Stal, a description of the Kingdom filled the interface.
“Pliyx Stal kingdom is ruled by the Stal family, thus the name. The Pliyx came from a legend of a relic long lost. The properties of the relic differ depending on who you ask, and what their region is…”
Seeing that the description will take a thousand year to finish, Mark just skimmed through it fast. He already knew whatever was written on the description due to past life experiences.
Finally finding what he was looking for Mark read.
“Nobles in Pliyx Stal kingdom are decided at birth. Those who are born with golden hair only, are low nobles. Those who are born with golden hair and golden eyes are high nobles. Traces of someone being born with only golden eyes have not been found, but the current consensus is that they would be considered high noble, if only due to their rarity…”
As Shesmu read those words out loud, he looked at Gabriel.
“I choose Pliyx Stal as my kingdom of birth.” He affirmed.
At his declaration, Gabriel smiled and said.
“Understood, and for your town?”
Mark faked his hesitation for a second, before looking back at the map to make it seem as if he is checking it again.
“Hmm, Make it the Stal Capital City.”
At his antics, Gabriel chuckled for a second before answering.
“Understood, but please understand that for the first 20 levels, you’ll stay in a beginner town affiliated to the City of your choosing. This applies to all players and all cities.”
With a swipe of her hand, the world map disappeared to leave a place for the naked avatar.
At this sight, Shesmu grinned.
Finally, everything is set into place.
The first thing Mark did was will his eyes to change color to golden. He was at first thinking to play it safe and just go for the golden hair and eyes combo, but since this was just the beta, Mark didn’t mind spicing things up a little.
From the corner of his eye, Mark looked at the angel. Gabriel’s face almost didn’t betray her inner thoughts, only the amused smile showed her true reaction to the events happening before her.
I guess that’s a pass… Now, for the second phase of the plan. Hopefully, it goes well.
Crossing his fingers behind his back, Mark turned to face Gabriel.