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    Into the Greenscape (p)

    Solmar
    Solmar

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Rising Star- Demon Slayer- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
    Lineage : Draco-Demon Soul
    Position : None
    Posts : 301
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 136,550

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wældfire Demon Slayer
    Second Magic: Swordsman of Light
    Third Magic: Solch-o Gúl

    Into the Greenscape (p) Empty Into the Greenscape (p)

    Post by Solmar on 7th September 2019, 1:13 pm

    A few hours had passed since Solmar had first stepped into this odd new realm, a place he figured was no longer inside of Fiore. As it had been the place the elemental node had opened the portal to, he believed that this was what he desired in his heart, a place that seemed to be completely free of humans and technology. It was free of any kind of industry that was slowly killing nature, a place where nature had taken the reigns and had not given it away to anyone or anything else. To Solmar, this was truly the perfect location to spend his time and maybe even live. Being a man that belonged nowhere and had no real friends or family to return to, he figured no one would miss him if he were to disappear and stay in this place forever. Knowing full well that forever was a very long time, even more so for those that were not mortal and therefore not bound by their sense of time. Knowing that his life would not last nearly as long as that of a demon for instance, he had to be much more considerate with regards to how he spent what time he had.

    Looking out across the forest that sometimes moved a bit, he felt that now would be as good a time as any to start his exploring of the place in greater depth. What with the strange bird-like creatures he had encountered in the widespread forest earlier, he was not entirely certain as to what he might expect to run into this time. Luckily for him, these predatory birds had not considered him to be food, probably because they had never laid eyes on a human being before. As such, there was a chance that if he were to venture back into the place, at least one of them might try to get a shot in at him out of sheer curiosity, in which case he would certainly need to defend himself. Preferring not to have to kill anything as he passed through the forest, he would keep his sword at the ready, being able to summon it to him in a split second if need be. With that thought in mind, he descended into the forest from his perched position.

    Starting to make his way through the woodlands, every rustle of leaves he heard put him on edge, knowing how fast those tree birds could strike after seeing one of them snatch up some sort of outlandish deer. Given their speed and size, Solmar figured that his senses would pick up on them as soon as they might even think of making a move on him, or so he hoped. Having grown to become quite capable, there were few things in the world the young swordsman feared, though there was one thing wrong with that current mindset that he was quite aware of. He was no longer on that "world", and there was no telling exactly what he might be running into once he got deeper into the forest. As much as this idea bothered him, it also spiked a certain curiosity that overcame his feelings of inadequacy. If he could handle himself in Fiore and Earthland, how big would the chances be that he might actually meet his match and killed here. Figuring he would be fine as long as he remained cautious and weary, he continued moving through the forest.

    With every creak coming from above, he looked up ever so slightly, watching as large round avian eyes were staring down upon him. As threatening as they might have appeared, it seemed that they still did not consider him food and therefore just allowed him to continue along his merry way. As the minutes started piling up, he put quite a few kilometers between himself and the portal that had brought him here. Luckily for him though, he was quite adapt at finding his way around things, which was also why he had never gotten lost in all of those years he spent growing up in the wilderness. Although he was on his guard every second of the journey, he was amazed at how relatively uneventful it all was, almost as if he were wandering through an enchanted version of the woods in Fiore. But just when he started feeling like the local flora and fauna were harmless to him, he heard a loud crash beside him at a distance of little over ten meters. When he looked over in the direction of the noise, it seemed that some of the trees had fallen over, or so he thought.

    Closer inspection showed that it was in fact one of the predatory birds that had been toppled over by a large reptilian creature. What made it stand out where the stripes it had, as well as the hair that seemed to form manes near its head, making it seem like some kind of cross breed between a tiger and an iguana of some kind. One thing was certain though, it was large, fast and lethal as it had easily thrown off one of the rather large birds and seemingly killed it before it had the time to fall to the ground. But just as how it had alarmed Solmar to the presence of a greater threat, so had it done the same to the other predatory birds that had taken residence in the area. Though he believed the lizard was the greatest threat to him at this time, the sound of many dozens of footsteps drawing closer like a rumbling avalanche was even more dangerous. Spooked by the sudden attack on one of their own, it seemed that all of the other birds had decided to make a run for it, causing trees to get knocked over, shrubbery and smaller animals to get trampled, and if he wasn't careful, Solmar himself being trampled as well.

    Having no time to keep an eye on the strange reptilian creature, the young mage started making a run for it, hoping that he could somehow remain ahead of the birds that were a whole lot taller than him. As two third of their length seemed to be all leg, it wasn't at all surprising that these beings were incredibly fast and nimble. However, due to their frightened state, they did not care for whatever what was in their way as their only thought right now was about their own survival, and who could blame them. Barging forward, they crashed over one another as all familial ties went out of the window. All these creatures cared for was themselves and nothing else, others be damned. Being all too aware of this fact, there wasn't a thing in the world that could keep Solmar from running for his own life right now. While he could use his magic to protect himself, he would risk not only setting a large portion of this marvelous forest ablaze, but also killing creatures that were really just looking to stay alive.

    While he too was just looking to survive, he did not want to do so at the cost of this whole portion of the forest, and so he just kept running as fast as his legs could take him. Due to his training and his lifetime of having to survive and outrun creatures larger or stronger than him, he managed to somehow keep himself ahead of the long-legged predator birds. When he looked over his shoulder, he saw how the massive lizard was still where it was before, feasting on the one it had taken down, though another one of its kind dashed out from behind some large rocks and started chasing the already frightened birds with vigor. Continuing to run, it was as if his legs were going even faster now that the jaws of death had chasing both him and the birds that were threatening to crush him underfoot if he so much as tripped or slowed his stride. Making his way through the forest where it changed for a more rocky terrain to his side, he saw a large cavern and plenty of rocks tall enough for him to hide behind and maybe get a break from all of the running.

    Figuring that it was better than the alternative, which was to keep on endlessly running until he no longer could, he altered his trajectory and made his way over to it. Dodging and dashing between some of the tree-sized legs of the birds as he ran past them and leaped into the rocks, he barely managed to hit the floor before the massive reptile dashed into the side of one of the birds and caused it to crashed right on top of the rocks he was hiding under. With a rush of blood washing over him like standing underneath a waterfall made of the red liquid, he kept his mouth and eyes shut as he crawled further underneath the rocks. Getting a few meters away from the drowning pool of blood to the point where he could breathe again, he gasped deeply in an attempt to fill his lungs and put some distance between himself and the two creatures that were locked in a fight for survival. Though already mortally wounded, the bird still snapped its scissor-like beak at the creature, clipping some scales and a bit of hair, but not managing to land any truly painful blows.

    Watching the struggle, the bird kept snapping until the reptile managed to place one of its paws on top of its throat, right beneath the head, allowing it to close its large maw around the long neck of the bird and snap straight through it like bolt cutters. Meeting little to no resistance at all, the lizard severed the head from the neck in one single bite, thus ending the struggle and killing its prey. With that much done, it let out a loud howl that did not seem like the kind of noise a reptile would make, being more akin to the roar of a lion, mixed with a strange gurgling noise. Regardless of that, it was quite an amazing spectacle to behold, especially for someone like Solmar who was basically just a visitor to this new place that had next to nothing on it and any of the creatures living inside of it. Waiting for the animal to stop boasting about its kill and started eating his prize, Solmar started putting a bit of distance between itself and the creature so that it wouldn't notice him and consider him some kind of scavenger that needed to be taken care of.

    As he scurried away from it and drew closer to the cavern, it was there that his eye fell on something equally if not more interesting. Strange markings on the rocks that were partially covered in moss, as well as other signs of some kind of tribe living here. In many ways, it reminded him of what he had encountered when he followed up on a job and ended up finding a tribe of Kappa hiding deep inside an underwater cavern hidden deep inside of an ocean cove. Though they eventually became friendly to him, he had no reason to believe that the beings living here would greet him with the same kind of friendliness. After all, by all accounts, he was a being that came from a different dimension, so there was no reason to believe that they would greet him as anything other than an alien or a threat, possibly both. Regardless, that would not keep him from researching the place in greater depth, hoping to encounter something or someone that might help him along and get him closer to the point of figuring out whom he was dealing with.

    Noticing what seemed like crude weapons or maybe tools to help whatever used them eat or prepare food, he combined it with the markings and strange kinds of symbol based writing along the walls to make the educated guess that these creatures were at the very least sentient. But to what degree this sentience went, that much was something he could only be sure of once he actually saw one of the things that lived here. Aside from that, all he had to go off of were the things he found left and right that told him a few select things about these people. The sheer amount of moss that grew in this place, along with some large holes in the floor made him believe that these beings might be in hiding or were merely living beneath the ground in these holes, which was why they had taken up residence close to the large cave beside him. But again, there was really no telling whether he was even remotely right about any of this until he got to see and speak to the ones that actually lived there.

    It was not until he encountered more and more of these holes in the ground that Solmar started to wonder whether the beings dwelling here were for some reason subterranean. With the tribal architecture that surrounded these holes and the larger cavern in the back, he saw drawings upon the stones. Some of them had likely been created from plants carrying colorful pigment, though other drawings had clearly been made out of blood. The strong scent of iron he could sense with his highly capable nose told him all that he needed to know, and his nose was rarely wrong when it came to such things that he himself was quite familiar with. Though the spilling of blood was nothing to be proud of, it was something he had unfortunately been forced to do quite a lot, doing so often making the difference between surviving another day, or simply not surviving at all. As a self-proclaimed hunter, he had already been hired to do quite a few hunting excursions and went after all sorts of monsters and creatures so gruesome they could not even be classified as a monster.

    Some of the Eldbitch creatures he had encountered so far were, after all, not from Earthland to begin with. They came from some place beyond the stars, maybe from another dimension even, though one thing had become quite clear to him at the time: they had come for the sole reason of devouring all life in their path. One of those encounters in particular came to mind when he looked at the holes in the ground and the cavern that seemed to go quite a long ways down. It had been close to the beanstalk village, within a portion of the monsterlands where some Eldbitch abomination had started to create a lair among the deep roots of the beanstalk that people revered to as a holy plant of god. Among the roots, it had been laying countless eggs which hatched into creatures with hooves, tentacles, claws and maws that devoured the very life force from within the beanstalk, causing it to slowly start withering and dying. As they too were subterranean creatures, Solmar hoped that he would not have to face these creatures in this place too. For as unlikely as it sounded, this world was a different dimension too, so there was no telling whether their reach had stretched as far as this place too.

    Leaving the thought for what it was for now, a mere thought, he started venturing into the main cavern while keeping both ears and eyes open. Not looking forward to the possibility of running into something large and dangerous, he still felt the need to find out what kind of people might be inside of the caverns too. After all, no monsters he knew took the time to craft crude weaponry out of wood and stone, took to drawing pictures and markings on walls and lived somewhere dry as opposed to just living under the open sky. Finding it wise to leave the open space for the time being, at least until the large reptilian beast was done feeding on the large predatory bird outside, he left the scene of the massacre behind. Changing the scenery of the forest for a far darker and more damp place, it wasn't long before the darkness was being lit by brightly colored fungi that grew out of the stone walls. Captivated by their appearance, he figured this glow was due to some form of bioluminescence similar to the fish he had seen when out in the sea waters of Cedar.  

    Paying closer attention to it, he wanted to touch one of them, only to be alerted to the sound of a high pitched noise echoing through the cavern. Wondering what it might be, he heard something shuffling past the wall near him, though he could not see what it was that made it. Believing that it might have been moving around inside of the wall, he shrugged it off for now and ventured deeper into the place. Paying close attention to the glowing mushrooms, he passed a few turns and forks in the road, finding out first hand that this place reached even deeper than he had actually imagined they might. When the high pitched noises were starting to become a faint memory, Solmar made his way to where the cavern ended, allowing him to look out across a vast and open space beneath the forest. This massive subterranean place stretched out incredibly far, further than his eyes could see. What stood out about this place the most was that there were no trees here of any kind, though there were various kinds of fungi, mushrooms of different shapes and sizes that all had the same form of bioluminescence about them to illuminate a place that would otherwise be covered in darkness.

    Finding this place to be far more outlandish than the world above it, which was already very much that, Solmar figured that it was unwise for him to head any further down. Still not knowing all that much as to what he might encounter in the world above, it was unwise to head down into this place when there would be nowhere for him to go if he got himself in trouble. Once he was more certain as to what he could expect, he was absolutely going to be coming back in order to explore this place in far greater depth. For now however, that was simply not the wise thing to do, but at least he knew this place existed and how to get to it. As he turned around to make his way back, he picked up on a slight screeching sound from above him, but when he looked, there was nothing to see, just like before. At this point, Solmar was starting to doubt that there was actually something inside of the walls, and that he might just be hearing things that weren't there. Though unlikely, he wasn't going to rule out that maybe there was something in the air due to the mushrooms that made him see or hear things.

    Whether this was truly the case or not remained to be seen, though it only further fueled his drive to get out of the caverns for now and collect his bearings on the surface. With a bit of luck, the large predatory reptile was gone by the time he got there. If not, chances were that he was either going to be in for a fight, or might have some luck at sneaking around the creature as it just ate. Not knowing a thing about the beast, he did not want to assume that it was the kind of predator that would take a nap after hunting and eating, though that was most certainly what he was hoping for at this point in time. Given the size of the creature, it would not have any problem with following him into the cavern system, and there was no doubt that it would be able to sniff Solmar out if it really wanted to follow him. That, and it would be quite hard to take it down since it seemingly had some dense scales, large fangs and an agile shape, meaning it was likely fast and nimble too. Not about to get ahead of himself or the situation at hand, he moved himself towards the direction he believed he had come from. Had he not possessed the greatly enhanced sense of smell and hearing of a slayer, chances were that he would have certainly gotten lost in the labyrinth of different passages within the cavern system.

    Walking for a few minutes, he stopped in his tracks, knowing for sure that he heard a few quick and nimble footsteps behind him. Barely registering at all, his ears were not fooled quite so easily. Back in Hosenka, he had managed to hear a bunch of trained ninja sneaking around and actually managed to find them before they could strike and assassinate him based on his hearing alone. As soon as he turned his body, he heard the strange and high-pitched screeching again, this time coming from different locations at the same time. This time however, there was something else that was different about it, namely that it was more audible and seemed to be in response to him turning to face the footsteps he heard. If what he thought right now turned out to be true, it meant that something had been stalking him ever since he first registered the screeching noise, which had been for quite some time now. Hoping that this did not come from whatever species it was that was living around the cavern, at the very least it meant that they were smart enough to stalk him before attacking him, which meant that he might be able to speak to them before things escalated.

    "To whoever is out there, I mean you no harm. But if you want to talk, show yourself. If you don't, I'll consider your skulking as an act of hostility."

    Speaking up to any who might hear it, it fell silent for a little while, which proved to him that they were capable of understanding what it was he said, or merely registered that he was capable of making noises from his mouth too. Whichever it was, he hoped that it was the former of the two. When the chattering and screeching continued however, Solmar knew enough as nothing showed itself to him, meaning they chose to be enemies rather than friends. Given the time they had spent following him around from the shadows, which had been since the very moment he first set foot inside of the caverns, chances were that these beings had a plethora of chances at lashing out at him, but had for some reason chosen not to do so just yet. Running his mind over the possible reasons behind this, the most prominent one he could devise was that they were sizing him up, figuring out what his strengths and his weaknesses were before pouncing at him from wherever it was that they were hiding. Not about to give them a chance to pull this off, he figured that since his surroundings were all rock and stone, using his magic couldn't hurt.

    As such, a towering amount of white fire rose up from Solmar, reaching all the way up to the ceiling as the magical light it shone started illuminating the creatures that seemed to be hiding through means of camouflage. Screeching at the idea of being found out without having had a chance to attack him properly, Solmar got a good look at their physical features, which made the lizard monster outside look like the kind of animal one might try to pet. Looking into what seemed like a gaping hole in their head, a large maw with rows of sharp teeth and tall yet slander body types, they reminded him of some sort of ape that had mutated beyond recognition. They were certainly clever, sentient and capable of using some kind of camouflaging method to hide themselves from being seen, though they were not planning on communicating with him, and so they were his enemies by choice. And by that extent, he too was their enemy. Releasing the pillar of flame, a wave of fire burst forth towards the side of the cavern, causing one of the green, moss covered ape-like beings to screech in a hellish tone as it was in great paining.

    Running towards the exit, more of the creatures dropped down from the ceiling as they attacked the young mage with their claws. Doing his best to remain away from their reach as there was no telling what kind of filth might be accompanying their scratches, he summoned Sunvaar Kriid to his side. Using the massive greatsword to both keep some distance between him and the creatures and cut down those that came too close to him, it was at that point that he figured out some other interesting features these beings possessed. For whatever reason, when an arm got lobbed off or deep cuts were inflicted upon them, a regenerating factor kicked in that rapidly grew back limbs and closed their wounds, making it seem like there hadn't ever been one in the first place. To Solmar, this seemed like it made them more or less impervious to damage, though there was a weakness to it that he had already registered earlier; Fire. So far, those that had been hit with his fire magic hadn't gotten up yet, meaning it was a way to stop them from regenerating. And luckily for Solmar, fire was something he had plenty of.

    Tightening his grip on the hilt of the greatsword, he let his fire magic flow into it as the blade super-heated to the point where it radiated heat and took on a white glow. As was always the case with his demon slaying magic, the white hue was something that just more or less happened as he had no idea how to tone that down. Regardless, the light radiating off of his blade gave it that magical appearance that made people want to avoid it even more than normal, and he figured the same went for these creatures. After all, they were sentient and had the mind and thought process to learn from the mistakes of others, which became notable when the other creatures kept at a distance from his blade after seeing a few of them get killed on the spot. It was at that point that he figured out that they had been doing quite a bit of learning as a pack, because as they were incapable of closing in on him from the front or the sides, they started increasing their numbers and started circling him. Actively looking for a place from where they could strike at his back, Solmar was gradually starting to lose his composure as he felt like he might need to let out his magic and burn all of them to death.

    That was however not something he wanted to do to the locals of a new location, a new world even, one where he was a guest and not the reigning specimen. Still, they had decided to make an enemy out of him when they presented themselves as a carnivorous bunch that had just been stalking him this entire time to kill and eat him. What with the bloody markings and bones outside, the tools that seemed to have been made simply to make eating and preparing meat easier, he should have realized something was up sooner. But being the person that he was, he had decided that it would have been better if he stepped into things from a kind perspective and gave the indigenous people a chance. Narrowing his eyes as he turned and twisted his stance to keep up with the creatures that were circling him and approaching him from different sides, waving his blade around to keep them at bay for the time being. Just as he was about to blow them all away with his fire, an object got thrown to the floor in front of him. As it exploded, it sent a deafening noise throughout the tunnel that seemed to completely throw the creatures off guard, but not just them.

    Due to his own heightened hearing, it was as if someone had taken a hammer and smashed it into his eardrums. Leaving him dazed, he felt something grab him by the shoulder and tug at him. Seeing that it wasn't one of the carnivorous creatures, he decided to follow this person away now that he had the chance to make a break for it. Following the strange looking person back towards where daylight was breaching through the darkness, the two did not stop running until they were some ways away from the caverns. By the time the shouting and screeching could no longer be heard and he was certain that there was nothing following them this time, Solmar turned his attention towards the one responsible for helping him out of that heated situation. Taking a moment to catch their breaths, Solmar unsummoned his blade, figuring that it would have been quite odd if this person chose to attack him now after going through all of that effort to get him away from those cave dwelling monstrosities. The more he thought about it, the more it made him wonder as to what they were, and if they were in some way demonic. From what he could see, they were certainly sentient to some degree since they had an odd sort of architecture, used weapons and could communicate with one another with high pitched shouts and screeches to organize their hunts.


    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Solmar
    Solmar

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Rising Star- Demon Slayer- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
    Lineage : Draco-Demon Soul
    Position : None
    Posts : 301
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 136,550

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wældfire Demon Slayer
    Second Magic: Swordsman of Light
    Third Magic: Solch-o Gúl

    Into the Greenscape (p) Empty Re: Into the Greenscape (p)

    Post by Solmar on 7th September 2019, 1:14 pm

    As there had never been species like that or anything remotely like it on Fiore, it was safe to say that he had been caught off guard by their violent tendencies. Though he could be considered as trespassing, the things he had seen in their lair made them seem hardly friendly even if he had knocked before entering. One thing was clear, whatever those things were, they were violent and had no time to talk to people before attacking them, even though there was a chance that they might actually understand him and what he was trying to communicate to them. Not planning on going back there any time soon, if at all, the mage was still quite interested in learning more about them and what made them tick. As such, he believed the quickest way would be to address the one dressed in an armor of bark and see what he knew, after he figured out who this guy was obviously. When the man turned towards him and started talking to Solmar before he had a chance to do so himself, he picked up on a rather subtle deviation to what he had perceived, namely that the bark was no armor at all.

    "You should never venture into those tunnels again outsider, the trolls have grown increasingly irritable as of late, leading them further and further from their regular hunting grounds and even raiding villages only a few hours away from their cavern homes."

    Taking a moment to let all of this information sink in, one of the strangest things about all of this was that he was talking to a man that seemed to have been made up entirely out of wood and plants instead of flesh and bone. Wondering if this was for the same reason that the large birds with tree-like legs seemed to be part flora and fauna, Solmar felt it to be quite odd to ask the man about it. After all, chances were that Solmar looked just as odd to him as he looked to Solmar, so he figured he'd best leave such things for another time. Due to the fact that this plant man had brought up nearby villages, it made him wonder if the people living there were also plant folk like this one here, or if maybe they were a different kind altogether. Wondering if he would get to see them with his own eyes, the idea of those trolls preying on these villages like they had done to him made him rather weary of the situation at hand. Another thing that was quite interesting about this whole situation was how this plant man was capable of speaking the same language as him, knowing that the common tongue in Fiore was most likely not a universal language.

    For now, he just nodded at the being and followed it towards the direction in which it was leading him. Even though the last somewhat sentient race he had ran into had tried to kill and eat him, he figured that this one was not that harmful to him, or at the very least wasn't interested in eating him. That alone was a good thing. So while he still had a metric ton of questions that needed answers, he figured that if there was a village of other plant man such as this guy, he owed it to himself to at the very least check it out. As he thought about it some more, there had to have been some reason as to why the elemental node had opened a portal that brought him to this specific place of all other places it could have sent him to. Keeping that much in consideration, this place couldn't have been all bad. Besides, if the sentient species that lived here all turned out to be violent, he wouldn't feel all that bad about having to kill more of them. After all, there would come a point where he would need to kill in order to eat too, that much had seemed quite clear to him as most of the things he encountered here were alive. For instance, what he believed to have been trees before were in fact large, land-locked birds of prey.

    If this was the case with everything, he could only imagine that even doing things like looking for nuts, berries and fruits might in some way or shape end up harming or upsetting a living being, though that was just something that would take some getting used to on his part. Over the years, he had been forced to do a lot of stalking and killing in order to survive after being cast out of his home town due to the influences of the demon Vetis. Whether it was fish, turtles, snakes, wolves, deer, rabbits and hares or even a bear when the situation got really dire and food was scarce during the winters,  as this was when most plant based food was very hard to find. At first, he had felt quite bad about having to kill just so he could survive, though he soon learned that this was the law of the land as literally every species did some form of killing for the sake of living. Humans did it in bulk as they grew animals just so they could kill them and harvest their meat, though creatures such as wolves and bears all killed so they and their offspring could live, that was just nature doing what it did.

    As the minutes started turning into hours, Solmar and the plant man did not really talk a whole lot. They did however speak enough for him to learn that his name was Dogeld, and that he had been sent to investigate the emergence from an outsider in the Greenscape. Though he wasn't sure as to what the Greenscape was at first, it did not take him a very long time before he learned that the world he was now finding himself in. More importantly, he also learned that the people Dogeld belonged to called themselves Treefolk, a rather simplistic name but on point none the less. They were tree people after all, so the name made sense. As to why Dogeld was able to speak and understand anything Solmar was saying however managed to elude him as even Dogeld did not have an answer to this. All he kept saying was that the Heartstone willed it, and so it had happened. Having no idea as to what a Heartstone was and why it would want for the treefolk to speak to Solmar, he had just continued following him all the way to what he could only describe as a village made from the woods, rather than being made out of wood.

    If he knew any better, he wouldn't have believed what he saw was actually the case, but since he didn't, he could have sworn that the trees in this new area of the Greenscape he had wandered into had been grown for the sake of acting as housing for these Treefolk. Though they had no windows or doors, they had openings in them that let in light and larger openings that acted as doors, save for being able to be closed. Noticing a small stream that was passing through the village square, more treefolk of different shapes and sizes came outside to greet Solmar as he was brought in by Dogeld. Going down on all fours so he could get a few sips from the stream, the other treefolk looked at him strangely as they hadn't seen such a thing before. Apparently, they were capable of hydrating just by resting their feet in the stream for a bit, not needing to actually ingest it through their mouth. As such, seeing another sentient being that needed to actually drink the water down that way was quite an interesting sight to behold. From that point on, most of the treefolk did not really see him as something to be feared, but rather something to take pity on as he could not even enjoy something like water the same way they could.

    Once the gathering crowd started thinning out a bit as many of the treefolk returned to their homes, it was time for the village elder to make his way to the scene. Accompanied by a few very bulky treefolk that were most likely his bodyguards, he could already imagine how hard it might be to fight one of them in close quarters. This elder, called Jogumold, explained to Solmar that his coming here had been foretold by the Heartstone, and that it was the reason why Dogeld had been sent out to meet him at the portal. However, since he had appeared sooner than the Heartstone had foreseen, the two of them had walked around one another which explained why Solmar had been wandering about on his own for at least an hour or two before Dogeld finally found him in the Moss Troll territory. Not knowing what the Heartstone was, Solmar just nodded as he continued listening to what the old tree man had to tell him, which turned out to be quite a lot. For some reason or another, this Heartstone had asked to speak to Solmar, though the elder had decided that now was not yet the time for such a thing. Not knowing nearly as much about the "fleshling" as they'd like to, Jogumold told him that he would be housing in this village for a while.

    Once they got to know him better and could determine that he was in fact not a threat to the Heartstone, Jogumold told Solmar that he would take him to meet with it in person. Though it was quite nice to know that he now had a place to go to where he could at the very least spend the night away from marauding moss trolls, predatory birds and reptiles, he wasn't really sure how he was supposed to feel about the fact that the people there were keeping a close eye on him to see whether or not he was worthy enough to meet with this mysterious Heartstone that supposedly wanted to meet up with him straight away. Given how much these beings revered the thing, it made him wonder whether or not they were risking punishment by keeping him away, but figured that it wasn't up to him regardless of that. For now, he just nodded at the elder to show that he could agree with these terms and would abide by them until the treefolk felt like he had proven himself in their eyes. With that out of the way, Jogumold told Dogeld to take Solmar to his lodgings and inform him about whatever it was that the fleshling might want to inquire about, which was obviously quite a lot.

    With the orders given, the elder bent his head for a moment before turning and leaving towards a rather large tree home further from the center of the village along with his two bodyguards. Doing as he had been instructed, Dogeld took Solmar towards the home that had been reserved for him, finding that it was completely empty on the inside when they got there. Apparently, treefolk did not need seats, tables or beds as they did not eat or rest like people did. Where as a human would need to eat, sit down or lay down in a bed to sleep, the treefolk just delved their roots into the ground and went into a comatose state for a few hours as their roots took in nourishment. Though he had maybe been expecting too much, he figured having a roof over his head was by itself something to be quite happy about. After all, he had spent most of his young life sleeping under the ground in a cavern by using his thick coat as a blanket. Compared to that, this was going to be a rather luxurious stay. But as one might imagine, now that he knew where he was going to be staying, he had quite a few questions that needed answers.

    So as per elder Jogumold's orders, Dogeld stood ready to answer anything he could. One of the first things he inquired about was in regards to the local wildlife, both the flora and fauna as he needed to know of ways in which he might get his hands on food. Claiming that all life in this place was there due to the Heartstone, it was generally frowned upon when a creature was killed and many of the treefolk that actually killed something were punished for their actions since they did not do it in a way that benefitted them. The way Dogeld put it, only animals were allowed to kill other animals, which was why it would most likely be okay for Solmar to go about hunting and killing exactly as much as he needed in order to survive. Since he could not just put his feet into the ground in order to draw in sustenance through his roots, an exception was to be made for him. Delighted in the knowledge that these people and their ruler would allow him to make due for the sake of his own survival, he started inquiring about some of the things he had already encountered up until now and how to best deal with them without having to use his fire magic.

    Because harming the forest was apparently something that could be punished by incarceration and even death depending on the gravity of the offense, Solmar was to use his sword as well as controlled versions of his other magic, which was based around light. Fire was most certainly out of the question. Figuring that he'd be able to make do with that, Dogeld continued by summarizing the kind of creatures he might be encountering up in the Greenscape when out scavenging for food or hunting for the same purpose. Starting with the Phoruzoan, which Solmar had come to know as the large terror birds with the legs that seemed like tree trunks and feathers that seemed like they were made of a leaf-like organic matter, it was said that they were very well aware of what kind of prey they could take down based on experience. Living together in large packs ranging between ten to fifty Phoruzoans, they learned from one another as they killed and ate something. If one of them accidentally killed something that turned out poisonous and got the bird killed, the others would know not to try and eat one of those animals again. Although morbid, Solmar figured that it was a good way to learn.

    As such, unless Solmar put himself into a vulnerable position or god forbid, another human were to wander in and get killed and eaten, the Phoruzoan wouldn't bother attacking him as he was an unknown variable, which wasn't something they liked. They hunted only that which they knew they could take, meaning humans were not on the menu for that very same reason. Continuing on, there was the creature Solmar had encountered as well, one that primarily hunted in groups from two to three at a time and focused their hunts on Phoruzoans due to their size and the fact that they'd have quite the meal if they managed to take one of them down. Speaking of the Rynchosaur, these large reptiles were considered to be the apex predator of the Greenscape area located above ground. Though it begged the question as to what kind of life could be found beneath the surface, Solmar decided to keep this question and hold on to it for until after he knew everything Dogeld knew about this Rynchosaur. Though not a whole lot was known about these large lizards as they did not share a whole lot of plant features like the Phoruzoan and since they did not allow people to get close to them without being killed, a few distinct facts were uncovered.

    One such thing was the fact that they hunted in pairs of two to three, that they were surprisingly fast and nimble in spite of their size and slow looking posture, and that they could live for well over a hundred years with ease. An example of this was a specific Rynchosaur that had been dubbed "Barkhide" due to the fact that it had a skin that had the texture and hardness of bark. After encountering a tribe of Moss Trolls while finding something to eat, it had been observed by a young Jogumold that the trolls did a good number on it by stabbing and carving into it, but had eventually all been killed and devoured by the creature. To this day, the same specimen can still be found wandering around to the far south of the village, and Jogumold, now in his old age and roughly ninety years after this encounter, still goes down to look at the beast from a distance. As such, it was believed that the average Rynchosaur could easily grow to be over a hundred years of age. Aside from that, they did not know a whole lot about their breeding habits or whether or not they were territorial, though that wasn't really something Solmar needed to know right now either.

    No, with this kind of information with regards to two of the creatures he had encountered that might pose a problem to him, he figured that maneuvering safely through the woodlands would be a whole lot easier. If it came to having to actually fight and kill a Phoruzoan in order to prove that he was not food, he figured that it might actually be a good thing to do as it would assert his dominance towards all of the others and would provide him with enough food to last several days, weeks even if he managed to figure out a way in which to preserve the large amount of meat that would otherwise be left to rot. Figuring other creatures would end up eating what remained, he decided not to dwell on it for too long, though there were still things that he wanted answers to. Instantly being shot down when he asked questions regarding the Heartstone, Dogeld made it clear that Solmar would come to find out about it once he proved himself worthy of meeting it, and that all of his questions would be answered if that time were ever to arrive. Until that time, all questions in regards to the Heartstone would be met with indifference and would not be provided with an answer. Pouting a bit at this rather harsh display, Solmar decided to drop the topic for now.  

    Instead, he continued asking questions with regards to the local wildlife that wasn't carnivorous, more importantly, the herbivores and omnivores in particular. Figuring that these would most likely become the targets of his hunts, he saw how Dogeld was pondering on the matter for a bit before he started talking. Starting with the Mosschid, which were a kind of deer that could be found in pretty much every region of the Greenscape, as well as a creature Solmar had already laid eyes on before. Stating they would often be found in groups as they grazed in more open terrain, they were also the targets of both Phoruzoan and Rynchosaur as they were relatively easy to sneak up on, were generally quite stupid and did not learn like the Phoruzoan did. This meant that if one of them got killed in the forest, another might try passing in exactly the same spot a few minutes later, only to find themselves meeting a similar fate. Aside from this, they were very fast runners and were easily spooked, causing the entire herd to make a run for it and find a new place to graze and lay down in. Figuring that these would become his preferred targets as the larger predators likely had learned this through experience, he still wished to learn more.

    With a deep sigh of frustration, Dogeld decided to just keep on talking and provide Solmar with more information, as that was what he had been tasked with doing by the elder. At the time, it seemed like something he'd like to do for Jogumold, but after finding out just how inquisitive Solmar really was, he had grown to regret it in a matter of minutes. After a momentary pause, Dogeld started talking about an omnivorous creature that could breathe under water for days without having to come up, and when living by riverbanks, it could breathe through strange protrusions growing from its back. Talking about the Castuphar, a strange mammal that had a tail shaped like a water lily and hair that looked like water plants, the protrusions through which it could breathe were shaped like reeds. This allowed it to sit submerged by the waterside, hidden in the muck while waiting for something to pass by it either underwater or above the surface. Since smaller animals often used water lily-pads as a place to rest, it would alert the Castuphar and bring up its large maw to devour it in one go. Aside from eating anything that landed on top of the tail, it also ate fish and other marine creatures that could fit into its mouth.

    Apparently though, the Castuphar were a rather docile species that did not care enough to attack larger animals that ventured into their territory, nor were they the slightest bit territorial to begin with. Though they did not stay with their relatives after being born, they found a spot in the many watery regions of the Greenscape and settled there for life. If other Castuphar were to encroach upon their bit of soil, they were often kind enough to settle down a few meters away from one another so as to not take food out of the other's mouth. Being rather gluttonous however, Castuphar sometimes choked on prey too large to swallow in one go as their massive teeth make it hard for it to properly chew. Finding it quite interesting how life had found a way to evolve in such a manner, Solmar couldn't wait to see one of these creatures with his own eyes once he started wandering outside of the village in search for food. Even though he had only seen a select few creatures out here, he had already become infatuated with the place as it was everything that Fiore was not. For the time being, Solmar felt like he had heard enough and was ready to venture out into the place and see for himself what else it had to offer him, though one last thing came to mind that simply needed clarification.

    The Moss Trolls. Just thinking about them made him somewhat angry as he had tried to befriend them when he first encountered their markings and tools laying outside of the cavern he had ventured into. Once they had attacked him however, he had come to learn that they were not a kind of species one befriended, even if they were sentient and likely understood his intentions. When he asked Dogeld about it, he just went on to state that the Moss trolls were a strange people that had been around for a very long time. Where the treefolk were living plants, he stated that there was also a third kind of sentient being that could be found at the bottom of the caverns he had passed into, looking after and shepherding the area called the "Underglow". Being called the Mycelians, these mushroom people were created by the Heartstone, just like how the Treefolk were made by the Heartstone in order to look after and maintain the balance within the Greenscape. Where the Treefolk were more well equipped to dealing with the Greenscape, the Mycelians were more equipped to dealing with the Underglow, which was why the two species rarely met until something dire enough to bring their leaders together were to transpire.

    This was where the Moss trolls came in, as they were originally made to look after the Greenscape and the Underglow, but started warring with one another as they violently craved to become the leaders of the others. Being greedy and violent narcissistical creatures, they eventually stopped listening to the Heartstone and started fighting among themselves in order to assert their dominance and rule over the Greenscape and the Underglow. Killing large amounts of other creatures, they drove many to extinction and created entire cities out of the bones of these creatures, as well as adornments and weaponry they used to further their wars among themselves. This created the tribes, each having their own leaders that switched from time to time when another of the duplicitous creatures killed their leader and usurped their throne, regicide being something that came naturally to these creatures. Though it had initially decided to stay out of things as it had made these creatures to rule in his stead, the Heartstone eventually intervened when yet another one of his species went extinct. Striking the creatures with a curse that made them wither away in direct contact with light, they were forced to retreat to the caverns that connected the Greenscape and the Underglow.

    Incapable of coming up and settling in the Greenscape as the daylight would slowly kill them, heading into the Underglow where the bioluminescent mushrooms did the same meant that they were forced to remain in the caverns, living in the dark and only being capable of coming out at night. In these caves, the creatures started to devolve, losing their eyes and growing larger ears, longer fangs and possessing elongated limbs and claws. From this point on, the creatures created to rule over the entirety of the Greenscape devolved into the Moss trolls they were known as today. With their regenerative healing factors, enhanced hearing, sense of smell and camouflaging abilities, they made it next to impossible for the Treefolk and Mycelians to reach one another, which was why both ruled their own portion of the world without the interference of the other. In a way, part of him felt bad for what had happened to the Moss trolls that made them turn out the way they did, though he figured they had it coming for the things they did. Besides, if they were fully capable of reasoning and thinking the same way he did, it just made him that much angrier with them that they had decided not to communicate with him but just aimed to kill and eat him.

    They had made their choice, and if he were to come across them again, he would make sure to kill as many as it took to make them realize that he was not something for them to feed on, but something for them to fear. With the history lesson out of the way, the young magician felt like he had suddenly grown to learn a whole lot more about this new place in very little time. Truth be told, he hadn't imagined he would ever learn this much about it at all, though that just went to show how quickly things could change if one kept an open mind and did not treat every unknown being with distrust or hostility. Thanking Dogeld for his time, as well as for helping him deal with the moss trolls, Dogeld merely responded by saying that he wished he hadn't as that would have meant at least ten fewer moss trolls for them to deal with. Nodding at the treefolk, it seemed that Solmar had been watched for longer than he had initially realized. As now there was only the matter of figuring out which  berries, herbs, nuts, vegetables and fruits were edible and which were poisonous, Dogeld decided that enough was enough. Pointing him towards a small building not too far from where he was staying, he said that the druid would be able to explain in greater detail.  

    Thanking him for his time, it wasn't long before Dogeld disappeared in a hurry. While it was nice of him to point Solmar towards this "Druid", he figured that the treefolk had just been fed up with answering questions and having to deal with the human for so long. In a way though, Solmar felt that it was quite funny how much he managed to ruffle Dogeld's feathers just by asking the questions he himself deemed important, mostly because they were exactly that. He needed to know things such as these for the sake of his own survival in this world, which was also why the first stop he'd make before actually venturing out into the woods was the druid. As the village itself was rather small, as one might expect of a village, it did not take the young swordsman very long to get there. Once he did, he saw how the roots of the tree house were actively moving around in a way that was quite visible to his eyes, which wasn't something he had ever seen before. Looking past the moving roots, he saw how an insanely old looking tree man was chanting while waving his arms through the air, almost as if guiding the direction of the roots that way. Figuring that this was some sort of magic, it was also the first kind of magic he had actually seen within this Greenscape world.

    What was so odd about this was the fact that, back in Fiore, literally everyone seemed to possess some sort of magic to some degree, yet here it all seemed to work quite differently. The moss trolls, the phoruzoans, the rynchosaur, even most of the treefolk he had seen so far did not seem to possess anything aside from physical abilities that were beyond that of the average mortal being. To name a few of these things would be to state the enhanced hearing, regenerative factors, camouflaging abilities and more, though none of that seemed magical in origin. Though he could have kept pondering on the matter for a little while longer, Solmar believed that actually asking the druid about these things would likely be the quicker way of dealing with things. As such, he rose up his hand in an attempt at greeting the druid, though it did not seem like the old treefolk even noticed him as he was locked deeply inside of a trance. Strangely enough, his eyes were following Solmar around wherever he went, though he at the same time did not seem to register the human being at all.

    Waiting for the druid to finish, he watched as the roots were coming together like clay, connecting to the tree home and slowly growing and attaching itself to it as it expanded the building itself. At this point, Solmar stopped wondering how it was possible that these homes the treefolk lived in seemed to have been grown out of wood instead of being made out of wood. In any case, it was quite clear to see that this was a much more nature friendly way of building homes as it did not resort to having to cut down trees for wood, but rather manipulated the trees to grow in a specific way to make living areas such as the village he found himself in. During the time in which he waited for the druid to round up his work, Solmar actually came to think of how he had managed to miss out on asking a rather important question. As things were, he had no idea what this village was even called, and figured that it was a rather odd thing for him to not have asked about. After all, if he were to get lost and ran into another treefolk, he couldn't exactly ask for directions when he had no idea what to call the place he wished to return to in the first place. At times like these, Solmar felt rather stupid for letting his mind run with all kinds of questions while forgetting to ask the most basic ones.

    Once the building process had been completed, Solmar heard a deep sigh as the druid lowered his arms and closed his eyes, taking a seat on a stone. Panting deeply, it seemed like the whole growing process had taken quite a lot out of him, so the young swordsman figured he'd be gentle in his approach. Sitting down on the ground in front of the druid so it looked that much bigger than the treefolk actually was compared to the human, he waited for him to notice him, which took a surprisingly long time. Once he did however, the druid thanked him for his patience, claiming that he and the Heartstone had already seen him, but were too busy to speak earlier. Though it wasn't said in so many words, and he knew he wouldn't get the answer he sought even if he were to ask, it seemed that this magic the druid used was somehow connected to the Heartstone, which explained the trance he had been in while casting it. Introducing himself as Nolemad, the druid asked whether or not Solmar had any questions for him as there were still a good amount of things he needed to do before he could root himself in and get some rest and nourishment for the day.

    Clearly still having some of those up his sleeve, the human asked the druid about the kinds of plants that could be found within the Greenscape, more importantly the ones considered dangerous and the ones that could actually be eaten by someone like him. Looking him over for a bit, it seemed that the druid did not really think like a treefolk for now, but rather thought for Solmar's sake. When he started talking again, he brought up how he had seen the Moss Trolls eat particular kinds of fruits and berries, as well as nuts and certain roots for the sake of nourishment. While he did not like being compared to those dreadful beings, the mage understood that, for these people that did not actually need to eat the way he did, the moss trolls were likely their only point of reference as they had the same "shortcomings" Solmar did. Waving his hand above the ground between Solmar and himself, the druid caused a few small plants to grow at a highly accelerated pace, reaching maturity in a matter of seconds. Finding that they did not at all look like the plants he was used to back in Fiore, it seemed that the plants had all been grown in two distinct camps. Though he couldn't be sure, he figured one side was the edible one, while the other was not.

    Pointing at those on the right side, the druid pointed at a plant that had silver colored petals and small berries that took on a blue color. Calling it Silversage, he made it clear that these plants had edible berries called Sage berries, but that the actual Silversage plant had venomous glands within the leaves. So when picking any sage berries, one had to either wear protective gloves or be extremely careful as the poison coming from the silversage itself could render his hands limp within minutes. Depending on how susceptible one was, it might even make that person lose all feeling in their hand for an undetermined amount of time, meaning it might not ever go away again. From there, he went on to point to a plant that grew on the other side, which seemed more like vines than anything. Explaining that this was called Wildvine, the druid explained that if one were to pick off all of the bark, one could actually eat the green insides of the Wildvine as it were a sort of paste that possessed high levels of sugar, making it taste rather sweet. Explaining that the Wildvine was one of those plants that attracted the smaller Nectarites. Noticing the wonder in Solmar's eyes, the druid went on the explain.

    Claiming that the Wildvine had bright colored orange flowers growing from them, the Nectarites, small flying and fuzzy reptilian creatures were drawn to them and drew out the nectar with their long tongues, which was what they had been given their name for. As opposed to Dogeld, it seemed that Nolemad was actually quite happy to provide Solmar with the information that he was looking for and more. But that much stood to make sense, considering how this Heartstone thing was apparently looking at Solmar through the old treefolk while the two conversed. That, and a druid like him most likely knew just about everything there was to know about the Greenscape, so sharing a fraction of that knowledge with him was but a small gesture for him. For Solmar however, it was a big deal as he actively wanted to learn everything he could about this place before he went hunting or decided to just stay here forever and not return to Fiore at all. Even though he had only been here for a short period of time, less than a day even, the lack of humanity and more importantly the lack of demons in this place made him feel a lot more at home here already. Figuring that it was up to whether the treefolk would find him worthy enough to meet their leader or not, all he could do right now was his best.

    Continuing with his herbology lecture, Nolemad continued with a dark red flower that had small sacs located on the inside of the large petals. Aptly named Bloodblossom, the sacs growing inside of the flower kept growing until after the petals themselves fell out, leaving only some brightly colored sacs the size of a fist. At this point, the sacs became a fruit that was very rich in moisture. Nolemad however made it quite clear that eating the fruit before it was ripe, which was something one could tell by touching it to feel whether the exterior had hardened up or not, could result in a rather serious case of food poisoning that would last for several days. Once he had made sure that Solmar could tell the difference, he continued by pointing at two plants that seemed nearly exactly the same, though both had different colors about them. The green one was called Fadebloom, while the brown one was called Briarbloom. While the berries growing on the Fadebloom were highly toxic, those growing on the Briarbloom were considered a delicacy for smaller woodland critters such as the Nectarites, Mosschid and Frogflies, the latter of them being another species he hadn't heard of before.

    Picking up on this, Nolemad smiled a bit before drawing a picture in the dirt with his long, wooden finger. Drawing two pictures side by side, one of them seemed like a fierce kind of dragon, a creature he had come to learn quite a bit about in the past couple of months due to people constantly reminding him of the fact that they existed. First pointing at the larger, more draconic looking of the two, he called it a Chytridrake, a creature that could be considered the apex predator of the sky, the waters, the Underglow and the Greenscape alike. Though they rarely ventured into the Greenscape and stuck to the underwater regions of the Underglow, they only came up when it was mating period, after which they lurked around long enough for the eggs to hatch so they could eat the offspring of other Chytridrakes, thus ensuring their offspring to be the only ones getting a chance at growing up. Being incredibly territorial and violent creatures, Nolemad considered it a good thing that they did not come out of the water much and stuck to their own regions throughout most of the year. And from there on, Nolemad the druid made his way to the Frogflies he had mentioned before, these being the perfectly harmless offspring of the Chytridrakes that ventured inland in order to avoid being eaten by other Chytridrakes.

    Being omnivorous, they seemed to mostly focus on eating plants, nuts and berries as they did not have the means to kill another animal aside from those so small they could more or less instantly be swallowed as they had no teeth for cutting meat, just for chewing. As things stood now, Solmar could not wait to venture back into the Greenscape in order to learn more, though it also made him that much more interested in venturing into the Underglow. That said, he knew that doing so meant he would need to pass through the cavern systems again, which in turn meant that he would have to face the Moss trolls again. This time though, if he were to have to face them again, he knew better than to try and reason with them, instead just not taking any chances and burning them all to cinders where they stood. Given the description passed along to him by Dogeld, Solmar figured that no one would actually end up missing those creatures, even if he were to kill literally every last one of them and drove them to extinction like they had done to so many other species that the young mage would now never get to lay eyes upon. For that alone, he felt like the moss troll species was beyond salvation and unworthy of being left alive.

    But considering how they had not yet been killed off as per the orders of this Heartstone they all spoke so highly of, he imagined that they still served some kind of purpose within this dimension, one that eluded him but was clear enough to the thing that oversaw all things within this world. To that end, Solmar came to conclude that he should only kill the ones that chose to attack him when passing through the caverns rather than just actively seeking them out and systematically wiping them all out as he had originally planned. Having explained a good deal to Solmar, Nolemad felt like he had earned his much needed rest and told Solmar that if he wanted to know more, he could come back early in the morning. For now, he would not be answering any more questions, or so he said as he entered into his home and closed the entrance behind him like only someone who could manipulate nature could do. Thanking Nolemad by yelling through the walls, Solmar figured the druid had most likely heard him as he started making his way back to the building that had been bestowed upon him through the wisdom of the Heartstone and the hospitality of Jogumold the town elder.  

    Upon arrival, he did what every other human being often did when they came into possession of a new home. Exploring whatever there was to it, he started picturing in his head what could be made out of it all once he was finished. Deciding that he wanted to sleep on the upper level rather than the lower one as it would allow him to hear any potential threats coming as they ventured up, the room that seemed to be underground would function well as a place where he could store his loot from the hunt. Whether they be fruit, vegetables, nuts, berries, meat, bone or hides, as long as he could just store them away down there, the other treefolk would likely not be all that bothered by it as they considered such things to be morbid. Placing his fur coat in the room he had decided would be his sleeping quarters, it made him wonder as to what Fellis might have thought about this place now that he was no longer around. Figuring that he would probably meet him again someday, he made his preparations for tomorrow, as that would be the day he started scouting and hunting for real. For now though, he had a lot of information that he still needed to process properly while also needing to get some sleep. After all, tomorrow was the start of a new adventure.


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    Solmar
    Solmar

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Rising Star- Demon Slayer- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
    Lineage : Draco-Demon Soul
    Position : None
    Posts : 301
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 136,550

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wældfire Demon Slayer
    Second Magic: Swordsman of Light
    Third Magic: Solch-o Gúl

    Into the Greenscape (p) Empty Re: Into the Greenscape (p)

    Post by Solmar on 10th September 2019, 7:52 pm

    Two weeks later…


    Moving through the vast woodlands of the Greenscape, the young mage from Fiore was dragging a large bag behind him that seemed to contain some rather questionable content, content only he was really aware of him. Over the past weeks, he had been given quite some time to adjust to the new world that was all nature and therefore possessed quite a few dangerous creatures and even some dangerous plants here and there. Due to the things Dogeld had told him during his first visit to the village he now knew was called Marshknot, continued sessions of questioning and answering with the local druid Nolemad had provided him with everything he needed and more in terms of knowledge. Thanks to him, he knew which plants he could eat and which he needed to stay away from, which explained why he was casually eating a fruit from the Bloodblossom. Thanks to the teachings of the druid, Solmar knew that these fruits were ready for consumption once the outer layer hardened to the point where they needed to be peeled open before one could eat what was inside. Working it down slowly as there wasn't anything rushing him here, he continued dragging his makeshift bag through the woods.

    Stopping for a moment when he passed by the river, which eventually branched off to the left as a small stream that passed through the village of Marshknot, he looked out across the water to see a few Mosschid grazing on the other side. Not really caring much for his presence, some approached the water and drank for a bit, standing on what they believed to just be muddy soil. When that soil started moving however, the Mosschid startled themselves into running back into the forest when it turned out they were actually standing on top of a Castuphar. Being somewhat grumpy at being disturbed, it stuck its head above the water and looked around to see Solmar, which was a creature it had most likely never seen before. Not sure whether to stay or run, it seemed the docile creature decided to just stay where it was, which was more or less what the Castuphar species was known for. Reaching into his bag, Solmar took out a bit of meat and tossed it into the water in front of the amphibian. Once the scent reached his nose and the taste of blood in the water triggered it to know that it was food, it opened up its large maw and worked the meat down in one gluttonous gulp.

    Watching as it did so, he could imagine why some of these relatively harmless creatures sometimes choked on their food due to their own gluttonous and lazy lifestyle. Shortly after it had fed, the Castuphar allowed itself to submerge back under the water, sliding and slipping the brunt of his body under the much and taking on the appearance of what seemed like nothing more than reeds and other aquatic plants. With that, Solmar was more or less left alone again as the creature had returned to being only semi awake and waiting for new prey to pass it by. Getting up from his kneeling position, he grabbed the large bag and continued dragging it through the forest. From above, he could tell that there were a few Phoruzoans watching him, though they no longer posed a threat to him in the slightest. One of the first things he had done after he had finished with his introductions to the Greenscape under the tutelage of Nolemad and Dogeld had been to go into the forest to fight and kill one of the large terror birds for the rest to see. Due to their limited intelligence, they were capable of learning from such things, so when one died doing something or fighting something, the others would know not to bother.

    With the death of that Phoruzoan, he had been given various new insights into what possibilities were at hand in terms of food and storage. As simply storing the meat as it was would not help him much due to the vast majority of it just rotting away in the basement of his borrowed woodland home, he had come to use his fire magic in small portions so as to dry the meat to the point where it became his own custom kind of beef jerky. Though it wasn't quite as nice as it was when roasting meat over a fire and eating it fresh, it had at least allowed him to fill out his stores with the jerked stuff in case he came to the point of actually needing it. Now, he more or less just used the jerked Phoruzoan meat as a snack, carrying several strips of the stuff in his pockets as he went around hunting. Sometimes he even used it as bait for certain types of omnivorous animals, the Mosschid included. Though they most likely had no idea what they ate, it seemed that those that had fallen for his bait had liked the taste of it quite a bit. Given the fact that it was the last thing they'd ever eat, it was a good thought on Solmar's part to know that they had died eating something they enjoyed.

    Still wandering along as he reached the place where the river branched off a bit to let a small stream escape from the quickly and violently rushing waters, he made sure to follow it all the way back to the village of Marshknot. Once the village was in sight, it seemed that some of the other treefolk that had ventured outside of their homes had already seen him coming with his bounty. Some frowned a bit and kept on moving, though others were interested in seeing what would come out of it this time. Kindly nodding at them as he struggled to pull the bag along with the contents through the front door of his home, he eventually managed to do just that after a lot of violent tugging and pulling. Tossing the large bag down into the basement, he followed up after it while snapping his fingers, causing white flames to appear and burn away at some makeshift candles and torches. Looking around at some of the trophies he had stashed away, one of them was the skull of the first Phoruzoan he had killed, plucked, skinned, gutted and turned into jerked meat. Covering the exterior of the skull were all sorts of markings and lines he had carved in as part of his new hobby.

    While the other treefolk thought of it to be somewhat morbid, Solmar had taken up the hobby of bone carving, either using the tip of his finger and a tiny, superheated flame as a blowtorch or simply using one of the knives he had made for the job. Primarily relying on his finger and magic as it allowed for a lot more precise work, it was one of those things he did when he wasn't out hunting or studying the local wildlife. Because two weeks had already passed up until this point, he had actually been wanting to go further from the village than he had gone up until now, though he wasn't allowed to by Jogumold, the elder and leader of Marshknot village. This was because the villagers were all keeping a close eye on him to see what kind of person he was, and whether or not they considered him worthy of meeting with their overlord, the Heartstone. If he were to venture too far, no one would be able to keep an eye on him, and there was also the risk of him getting lost, thus taking the option of judging him out of their hands. At the time of his arrival, the treefolk had been afraid of what damage he might have wrought on the woodlands if he were to be left alone, mixed with the fear of losing him and failing their precious Heartstone. Still knowing as much about the actual Heartstone as he did when he first came here, which was exactly nothing, he gradually become more and more impatient.

    While his new hobbies were starting to fade in terms of how much enjoyment he got out of it, he could say that the past two weeks had made him rather proficient at the carving process, as well as helping him better control the size and intensity of his fire magic spells. And that was by itself one of the many things he had learned here that came not a moment too soon. What with the destructive power of his fire magics and the fact that he took to living in forests, the slightest lack of control could have made him the cause of an ecological disaster, something he had been quite aware of for some time now. It was also for this reason that he hadn't used it at all, and why he had learned to split the light portion of his slayer magic away, branching it off into a secondary form of magic that let him bend and control light, creating swords of light magic and even allowing him to blast someone with so much compressed light that it would wipe them clean off of the face of the earth. In truth, it was the only magic he had learned to really control as it was the only one he could use that had no risk of burning down the forest. That, and the other magic, the one his father had passed down to him just like the magic of his sword came from his mother, was something he could not yet control.

    Up until now, that magic, the one he had not even been able to name yet on account of how it only seemed to pop up from time to time, had only done so instinctively when he was either in danger or when he was really interested in something. As such, it had gone as far as to implement a water god slayer technique and a few earth demon slayer techniques into the magic itself, though Solmar at this point had no idea how to actually use them. To him, the ability to take spells and magics used by others felt strange, though it also made him feel stronger and more versatile at the same time. Once he learned how to actually bring out those spells at will, he felt that his actual slaying capabilities would grow exponentially as he wouldn't just be limited to using fire to do it with, but would also be able to use earth against those demons that did not really feel all that threatened by fire. On the other hand, he'd also be able to slay more than just demons as even beings of light wouldn't stand a chance against his god slayer spells. While the thought of it felt strange, Solmar had been raised to believe that demons were evil, which was something he had seen firsthand twice now.

    On the other hand, he wasn't dim enough to believe that just because something was angelic in nature, that that automatically made them into one of the good guys. Since he himself also wielded light magic and a form of anti-darkness magic, that did not make him into a good person by default, as he figured both being of light and beings of darkness had their own agenda that served to further their own goals. And if he were to ever fight against a being of light, it would be good to be armed against that kind of thing, at least that was how he saw it. It was also in part why he was both looking forward and at the same time not looking forward to meeting this Heartstone entity or whatever the hell it was. Being something that was revered by the treefolk, as well as by the other sentient beings called the mycelians that lived within the Underglow, it made him wonder what exactly it wanted with a human. Possessing some kind of clairvoyant abilities that had allowed it to foresee Solmar's coming to the Greenscape before it actually happened made the young mage wonder as to what else the being was capable of. But no matter how hard he tried or how many times he actually tried to ask, the treefolk kept their lips sealed and only seemed angry whenever he asked.

    So, after that first day of being a resident of Marshknot, he had just figured he'd stop asking questions and would go about doing his own thing so as to not make the other villagers upset with him. Their secrecy regarding their apparent leader made him all the more worried and interested in meeting it, though as he had previously pondered in regards to demons and angels having their own agendas, so did this thing likely have an agenda of its own to live up to. For the time being though, there would only be so much that he could actually do aside from hunting, and since he had just come back from a hunting trip, it seemed wise to focus on the contents of his bag before continuing to ponder on and worry over something he had no real control over anyways. And so, he placed the bag on the floor properly and released the cord that kept it closed, or rather, pulled out the rugged piece of wildvine doing the job as a makeshift robe. As the cloth fell to the side to reveal the contents, it went to show that much of it, if not the vast majority of it were all Bloodblossom fruits, Wildvine innards, sage berries from the Silversage plant and raw meat from a Mosschid he had baited and killed.

    While it seemed like all that he had taken were merely fruits, vegetables, berries and meat, there were also a couple of rather specific parts of the Mosschid skeletal structure found within as they'd serve for the purpose of bone carving some more trophies to display in his basement. One of these parts was a pristine skull, the antlers still attached to them as the antlers of a Mosschid were unlike those of Fiore's deer. The deer located in Fiore dropped their antlers every once in a while so they could grow in a new pair, though the Mosschid seemed to have theirs for life as they were much more tightly interwoven with the rest of the skull and were made from the same bone matter as the rest of their body. This was something he had managed to figure out after he had killed, skinned, gutted and deboned the beast, something that granted him greater insights into the rest of the species as a whole. Since he was the only one who had this hobby in the village, or maybe even the entire Greenscape, and was one of the only sentient beings that ate meat to survive and did not want to actively kill you when approached, Solmar was likely one of the few to know about things like these.

    And it wasn't the only thing he had learned after he had started taking an animal apart in order to take out the bad bits and get to the parts he needed. For instance, when he slew the first Phoruzoan he encountered in battle two weeks ago, he found out the reason as to why the creature had such a strange physical appearance. As it turned out, the reason why they had feet looking like trees was because of the fact that actual plant-like tissue grew out of their bones in certain locations of their body, which was also why their feathers resembled leaves rather than actual feathers that other birds had. While it made it harder to actually carve out solid pieces of meat from the creature's corpse, and therefore also the first and last time that a Phoruzoan would be his target for the sake of gathering food, it was a very interesting find for someone who was not used to seeing this kind of thing in animal anatomy. Taking the bones out of the bag and placing them near the finished trophies, he placed the raw meat on top of a few large leaves he had taken from a massive tree so he would not need to place it on the dirty floor.

    Creating a sword of light in his right hand, he held the large piece of meat in place with the left and started carving the solitary piece into many smaller sections, preparing them so he could cook them up later. Taking him a good few minutes before he was entirely done with this chore, he then started sorting the sage berries from the bloodblossom fruits and the wildvine innards, figuring it would be best if he put everything of a kind together. It did not really serve any specific purpose, though he just felt that it looked more neat. Continuing to clean up his basement and make preparations for dinner, it was at that point that his ears picked up on someone moving around a level above him. Leaving everything as it was, he ventured out of the basement and into his borrowed home, seeing that two brutish looking treefolk accompanying an older looking one whom he recognized from two weeks ago. It was Jogumold, the village elder and the one who was to decide whether or not Solmar was considered as mentally fit to visit the Heartstone. Once Solmar stood face to face with Jogumold, he nodded his head at him as a form of greeting, getting a similar nod in return as the two were not exactly friends, they were hardly even acquaintances.

    Making no efforts at any form of small talk, Jogumold shrugged his throat and quickly cut to the chase, his visit had been regarding Solmar's worthiness. Trying his best not to look in any way offended that this much had even come into question, he kept his face as stoic as possible, even though it bugged him quite a bit. To be judged by someone like this who wasn't really as liked as he himself had believed himself to be, knowing for a fact that Nolemad the druid wasn't his biggest fan either for constantly disregarding his views on village affairs. It was for that same reason that it came as quite a bit of a shock to hear that Nolemad had heard various tales about him, some good, some not quite as good as the people didn't understand the human or why he was spending time in their village, most of them stated that he hadn't been any trouble to deal with and had been quite friendly whenever he was actually around to begin with. Figuring that this much was probably true due to the fact that he hadn't been in the village itself that often and spent most of his time hidden away in his basement to work on his hobbies or out in the woodlands to hunt or learn more about the local flora and fauna, there couldn't have been a lot wrong with him in their eyes.

    So once the verdict had been made and Solmar was deemed fit to meet with the Heartstone, he nearly dropped the Mosschid skull that he had been holding on to, much to the dismay of the elder. Making it clear that the four of them would be heading towards the sanctum of the Heartstone right away and that he was to finish whatever he was doing at some later point, Solmar just rose his shoulders as if to say that he couldn't really care about that a whole lot and was ready to go whenever. With that, Jogumold, Solmar and the two bodyguards started walking towards the village, most notably the town hall that stood at a slightly elevated position when compared to the other houses. Because he had been doing his best to avoid the place before, he had never really gotten this close to the place before, let alone inside. Being one of the biggest trees he had seen in his life, it seemed even bigger on the inside. Noticing many kinds of different runes spread across the place, there were even more different doors leading to smaller rooms within the main building. Wondering what might be stored inside of the place, Solmar figured that he would probably have time to check this much out at a later time.

    Venturing into a passage that was guarded by two equally large treefolk as the ones that were accompanying the village elder, he imagined that this was likely where the Heartstone was going to be, as it was what made the most sense to him. Walking at a steady pace, he could tell that the tunnel stretched out for quite a distance as he couldn't see the end of it from where he was right now, though the elder wasn't really all that mouthy about it either. Figuring an elder like him would likely not want to walk too far due to his own old age, he imagined that getting to their destination would not be much of a strain on someone who was as physically fit and in shape as Solmar was. It was after all one of those things he took a lot of pride in, and for good reason. After a few minutes of what felt like gradually walking further and further down, he started seeing strange lights ahead of them in the darkening tunnel. Much to his surprise, it seemed like these were the same kinds of mushrooms causing the eerie glow as the ones he had seen when he was at the end of the caverns in which the moss trolls were dwelling, if not much, much smaller in size.

    Wondering if this tunnel went all the way down into the Underglow or not, it seemed that they were no longer heading any further down, only going further ahead. Looking around at the brightly colored and glowing mushrooms, he really enjoyed seeing this kind of thing. Thanks to Nolemad the druid, he knew that these kinds of fungi possessed an ability called bioluminescence to make light out of the darkness, it seemed that the ones he had seen some time ago during his onetime visit were supposedly all over the Underglow, just like how trees were found everywhere in the Greenscape. Even though he still had so much that still needed to be discovered within the Greenscape itself that he hadn't gotten to yet due to the fact that he had to remain close to the village and under the supervision of Jogumold and the people of Marshknot, the Underglow was a place he would really like to visit and explore at some point too. Continuing to ponder on it for quite some time, it was after a fifteen minute walk that they finally got to a point where Solmar could see the literal light at the end of the tunnel, though something seemed off about it. Normally, light wasn't supposed to be green, yet there was no way around it as that was what it was.

    By the time they finally stepped out into it, it seemed that they had gone to a place in the forest that had been hidden quite well, yet was still somehow in possession of an open roof as he could clearly see the clear blue sky above them. But that was not what was the most impressive here, not by a long shot. What was however was the massive amount of branches that were coming from various directions and were growing together to connect and wrap around a massive chunk of what seemed like emerald. Clearly being one single piece, he estimated it to be at least thirty meters in height and about twenty meters wide, making it the largest emerald he had ever seen in his life. But that wasn't all there was to it, as it was the origin of the green light he had seen from inside of the tunnels, radiating with it in a very visible manner. But as he looked up at it, it wasn't that the light being bright hurt his eyes. In fact, it felt warm in a soothing manner, and for some reason it took away any and all forms of fatigue he had felt from running around in the woodlands for the past two weeks as even small nicks and scars he had sustained in the Greenscape slowly closed and disappeared. Whatever this stone was, it carried some serious power.

    When Solmar saw that the elder and the two bodyguards both took a knee and regarded the large emerald with the name "Stonelord", there was only one thing possible here, and that was that the emerald he was looking at was in fact the Heartstone he had been hearing so much about. Not really sure as to what to do, he considered taking a knee as well, which was clearly what the elder wanted him to do as he tried to draw his attention by whistling at him and gesturing to lower his posture. Once he tried doing it, the stone started chiming as he heard a voice speaking to him in his head, which was a very strange thing to experience as one usually only heard their own voice in such a place. When he tried to think back, it did not seem like the stone's manner of speaking went both ways, meaning Solmar would actually have to speak up if he wanted to converse with the stone, which sounded strange no matter how one went about it. Listening as the stone spoke to him, it seemed that there was a reason why Solmar had been brought here, though it was not exactly what he had imagined it to be.

    In reality, he had never really given it as much thought as one might have imagined one should when being brought through a portal to a strange new place. For as far as he was aware, the only reason why Solmar was here was because the elemental node he had collected by slaying the four elemental lords had read his heart's desire and brought him to a place that seemed to be all natural and had no humans in it whatsoever. Once the Heartstone explained that it had felt something reaching out from beyond his dome of power, he had allowed it to connect to it, meaning the Heartstone was just as much to blame for pulling Solmar here as the elemental node was. At this point, it also became clear to him how it had been foretold that the mage would arrive in the Greenscape, he had been the one that decided to let him in in the first place. Wondering why the stone would make his people believe that it was clairvoyant was something he did not know, nor was it something he was going to ask about with three of the treefolk being no more than three meters away from him. No, he had far more pressing questions, though they needed to wait until the Heartstone was done talking.

    Due to the fact that it spoke to him within his own head, it was very hard for him to formulate any sentences, so there was really nothing for him to do right now but to listen to what it had to say. As it were, the Heartstone had decided to let him in because there were things happening to the Greenscape that were out of his control, and that was not something he enjoyed in the slightest. Over the past couple of months, he had felt how certain areas within the Greenscape and the Underglow went dark, meaning his influence no longer reached there. And since it was the lord and master of this entire dimension, the fact that it no longer had any power within those specific areas was quite odd, to that much Solmar found himself in agreement. Claiming that a sickness infested his world and slowly spread its influence throughout this world, he needed someone that was not made by him and was a being not made from the Greenscape to investigate and do something about it. When Solmar asked why the Heartstone had gone through so much trouble just to get him here, it responded by saying that he had already sent some of his most trusted shepherds in to look for it, but had since lost contact with them as well.

    Fearing the worst, the stone entity believed that whatever was at the root of all this, the denizens of the Greenscape were all at risk of falling prey to it. Believing that Solmar, being a being of flesh and blood rather than plant or fungi, was among the only ones who might stand a chance at finding out what had transpired and could do something about it without risking to fall to corruption. Not knowing what he could possibly do about it as he had no idea of what he was supposedly looking for, where he was supposed to look for it and whether or not it was even something he could handle, the stone remained quiet for a moment as if formulating its next words very carefully and considerately. Continuing by claiming that this feeling had started somewhere deep within the Underglow after a strange object had fallen from the sky, crashed through the surface of the planet and remained within the subterranean cavern system. From there, it had first started spreading out across the Underglow, though a few weeks ago, it had also started coming out through the hole in the ceiling, from where it had started to spread throughout the forest. Hearing of this, Solmar was not exactly sure how to feel as he had no idea what this kind of corruption actually was.

    If it was something that was slowly killing this dimension, than obviously he was going to want to do something about it, though the young mage clearly had no idea what to do about it. If it was something that spread from place to place, he could go about burning away the corruption and the corrupted with his fire magic, though that meant doing untold amounts of damage to the forest for generations to come. When he asked as to what he could do, the Heartstone painfully admitted that it too had no idea, but that one of his most trusted and oldest friends might be able to help him out with that. When the ground started to move beneath his feet, a few roots came up from the stonework, holding some strange kind of scale the size of Solmar's chest. Not sure what to do with it, the Heartstone told Solmar that this friend of his was called Feykroreyth, and that it was the original creature created by it to look over the place and act as his eyes and, if need be, his wrath. The way the Heartstone explained it, it was Feykroreyth that had been responsible for culling most of the moss troll population after they were cursed to spend the remainder of their lives and that of their offspring in darkness.


    (5233 // 6584)


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    Solmar
    Solmar

    Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- Rising Star- Demon Slayer- Complete Your First Job!- Player 
    Lineage : Draco-Demon Soul
    Position : None
    Posts : 301
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 136,550

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Wældfire Demon Slayer
    Second Magic: Swordsman of Light
    Third Magic: Solch-o Gúl

    Into the Greenscape (p) Empty Re: Into the Greenscape (p)

    Post by Solmar on 10th September 2019, 8:09 pm

    Since Feykroreyth could not tolerate most other sentient beings since that time, the Heartstone made it clear that if Solmar was to get to him and survive the encounter, he would need something that would prove that the Heartstone was responsible for sending him there and that he had a message for him. When the Heartstone requested to see Solmar's sword that he had used to kill the Phoruzoan and several Mosschid with, he choked up for a bit. Feeling like he might have overstepped when he killed living beings within the Greenscape, the stone quickly made it clear that it wanted to see his sword so as to give him a gift for doing this job. Once Solmar summoned the sword, the stone chimed at a high pitch, though the reason for this was unknown to the mage. A few seconds later, it seemed that the entity knew exactly what metals had been used to create the sword and that a certain type of magic had been woven into it. Claiming that it could strengthen the sword by fusing the dragon's scale to it, it said that this would alter the way it looked quite a bit, though it would empower the magical powers it had by quite a fair amount. Though the item had been an heirloom from his people that was meant to be used to actually slay dragons, Solmar reveled in the irony of a dragon's scale being used to make it more powerful.

    Agreeing to the terms, Solmar handed Sunvaar Kriid over to the branches and roots that had been extended from the Heartstone's mass. Taking it from his hands, it drew the weapon and the scale into the air where roots started coming together, fusing together to form a strange kind of pod. Placing both the scale and the weapon inside of it, Solmar watched with interested how the pod closed up and started radiating with an intense green glow. This time, the glow actually hurt his eyes, forcing him to look away for a bit until the light died down again. Taking a few minutes, the young mage had decided to sit down and wait it out, looking over at the three treefolk men that were still waiting around without any real purpose. Figuring that they were quite curious as to why a fleshling had been brought into their world, they most likely wanted to learn all they could so they could return it to Marshknot village as gossip. Snickering at the thought of wooden men gossiping about what a talking stone had told them, it seemed that the Heartstone had finished doing what it had promised as the branch attached to the pod came to where Solmar was standing. Taking place on the ground, it opened up to let the young swordsman reach in and take out his new sword.

    As he did so, he held a greatsword that was a good bit shorter than the original massive size of the blade, though it seemed to still maintain a similar weight to it. Waving it around a bit, it seemed that this new sword could be used with both hands and even with one, which was somewhat of an improvement over the last form. Believing this place would likely not be the best one for practicing the casting of his magic through it, he chose to take the Heartstone up on its word while looking it over. While the blade itself was quite normal in appearance, it seemed that the handle of the sword had taken on an almost organic look at the scale had fused into it, clearly having taken over those properties as the guard seemed like scales and nails. Finding this new appearance to be quite brutal, if not more elegant than the last, he looked back at the Heartstone and nodded in an agreeing manner. Returning the sword to its place of storage with a bright flash, the stone explained what it had done, though most of the things it said sounded like an altogether foreign language to his ears. When it claimed that the sword had been reforged from Sunvaar Kriid into a newer and stronger version, it had taken the liberty of renaming the sword, now calling it Caladbolg.

    Figuring a new name for a technically new sword was fitting, he didn't really know what it meant as it was a language he clearly did not understand himself, though that did not matter. Judging by the Heartstone's intentions, he doubted the thing would give his sword a name that translated to something silly like "poopstick". With that out of the way, the chiming of the stone changed from the gentle light noise to a more audible and deep one as magical energies were starting to form in the space in front of Solmar. As it did, roots were coming up from the ground to form what seemed like a perfect circle, acting as a guiding force through which the magical energies centered themselves. As it all came together, it created a portal that was much like the one he had traveled through back in Sakuramori, leading him to believe that the Heartstone maybe had more of a hand in him coming here than he had initially admitted to. Abandoning those thoughts for now, he placed the deer skull that he was still holding on to on the ground next to the portal, entrusting it to the Heartstone and his three treefolk followers for now.

    Once the Heartstone had made it clear that this portal would take him to the front of Feykroreyth's lair, it would be up to him to find and convince the dragon of his intentions from that point on. Feeling like there was still something the entity was not telling him, he merely nodded at the massive chunk of emerald wrapped in roots before turning his attention back at the portal. His ancestors from his mother's side of the family had always held a grudge towards the dragon that had sank their native homeland, which was why they had given him the sword that had just been altered and renamed Caladbolg. That said, the person he had met called Adalinda that actually claimed dragons were rather fantastical creatures in spite of actually being a dragon "slayer" made him wonder as to what to expect from this Feykroreyth. After all, he had heard about dragons from various sources, some praising them and some condemning them, though they all seemed to agree on the fact that they were powerful creatures that were a lot like humans in more ways than one, particularly in terms of personality and whimsical attitudes. But he had one thing going for him, and that was the fact that he now already knew about the dragon not liking sentient beings such as himself.

    Sighing deeply as he just knew how this was likely going to turn into a whole situation he wanted no real part in, if it meant doing his part in saving this paradise of nature from corruption and eventually death, he felt that it was something he needed to do. And with that, he stepped through the portal, leaving the inner sanctum of the Heartstone behind and changing the scenery to a far different one. Though it seemed like another cavern, he came to find out that it was actually a chasm that was leading quite deep into the mountain range he hadn't been allowed to enter during the two weeks he spent in Marshknot. Looking around the chasm, he could hear a loud and strong wind blowing from the far end of it, clearly coming from above with an equally loud rustle. If he didn't know any better, he figured that this came from the dragon, though he couldn't be sure. If it were in fact the dragon, that would mean that the beast was massive, far more so than he had actually imagined it would be. Gathering up his courage, he started moving forward, heading deeper into the chasm that seemed to be rather inhospitable, or maybe it was just meant to look that way to keep anyone from trying to approach the dragon in his own territory.  

    Wandering through the edged rocks that seemed t o make up most of the terrain, he could clearly tell that these were not natural formations and that they had been created by something big, clearly for the purpose of keeping people away from him. More importantly, the closer he got to the end of the chasm, the more the place was littered with all kinds of bones that had been picked clean and dropped down from a considerable distance. From what he could tell, the bones were those of Phoruzoan of varying sizes, though there were also a couple of large Rynchosaur bones among them. Proving that this dragon actually ate the apex predator of the Greenscape for lunch just made it that much more of a formidable foe, if it were to actually turn out to be an enemy as opposed to being a friend. Though friend seemed like a rather big word at this point, Solmar would be quite fine with just not being turned into food, or having to actually fight the beast as that wasn't exactly his cup of tea. He fought the undead, he fought monsters and predatory animals from the time to time, though dragons were not exactly on the list of beings he's fought and beaten before, and he was quite aware of how that might become somewhat of a problem now.

    Upon reaching the end of the chasm, it was time for him to start making his way up, which was actually quite hard. Though there were some protrusions in the stone wall and some roots sticking out here and there, there was no clear way for him to get to the top. Then again, that was probably because of how the dragon had chosen this location and made it so reaching him would be one hell of a chore. Once he was done with all of this, Solmar would certainly have a thing or two to say to the Heartstone entity, among which the question as to why it did not just open a portal for him that would have taken him straight to the dragon instead of making him go through all of this effort just to deliver a message and retrieve some information. Beginning his climb, he made sure to scan as much of the surroundings as he possibly could before starting to leap from one place to the next, using the roots as a means of climbing up as high as they could possibly take him before he would need to look for a new place to jump on over to. Though this was not that much of an issue at first, it became exactly that once he got higher and higher up to the point where making a mistake would actually cause him to plummet to his death and become just another skeleton resting in the chasms until the world ended.

    Instead of being afraid of falling, he kept his head up and refused to look down, knowing from experience that this was the point at which things might start going downhill, literally. Within five minutes, Solmar managed to leap and climb his way to the top of the chasm, from where he could already see the target of this somewhat different hunt of his. Just up ahead, he saw the dragon curled up between some large rocks and tall trees, though that was not all he saw. Noticing large glyphs carved into the rocks that were glowing with the same green light that seemed to radiate from the Heartstone. Wondering as to what that meant and why the dragon had chosen to make his perch here of all places, it seemed like it was no coincidence. With the dragon being vast asleep, Solmar figured that walking up to him and risking it waking up would surely put him into a foul mood, there was not a whole lot that he could do to keep that from happening. However, if he awoke the dragon on his own accord, he might keep himself from being eaten if the beast lashed out in a hurry after sensing an invader in his perch. As such, he summoned his sword, Caladbolg, and released a large amount of light from it at a brightness that would wake the dead.

    While he did so, he called out to the dragon by his full name, Feykroreyth, hoping that that would do the job. When he noticed something stirring with his ears, the snoring stopped as a rumbling could be felt within the earth beneath his feet, almost as if saying that the beast was not happy to be woken up like this. But seeing as how there was nothing he could do about it and that the dragon's master had called for him, the young swordsman stood his ground, holding the blade tightly and reaching it out in front of him to let the dragon have a look at it. Narrowing its large eyes, it stirred once more as it rose from his curled up position and took to standing on all fours before continuing to move until it stood upright on its hind legs. Figuring that this dragon stood at a length of roughly fifteen meters tall, it dwarfed Solmar by quite a bit to the point where the young man must have seemed like a mouse holding a toothpick. Bringing its head closer to Solmar, it took a closer look at the sword that he was holding, and when he realized that his own scent came from the weapon the fleshling held, its eyes widened as it realized what might have been the cause of this. For the time being, it held off from any sort of hostilities towards the young man and allowed him to speak.

    Letting a deep sigh of relief escape his lips, he unsummoned his sword and thought about where to begin, figuring that it was best not to keep the creature waiting for too long or bore it with too much information that was of little to no consequence to it. As such, he started with the things that were actually important, namely the fact that the Heartstone had called him in from another world called Earthland so that he could help them look after the forest. Responding with a bellowing laughter, it brought in its large paw and poked Solmar in the chest with its large nail, causing him to nearly tip over and fall on his ass. Barely managing to stay upright, it heard the dragon call his bluff by asking how such a little fleshy thing could do anything that it could not do by itself. Remaining silent for a moment, there was a part of him that wanted to call it out, though Solmar soon realized that picking a fight with an elder dragon such as this one was very unwise as he hadn't even fought a regular dragon yet. Taking a deep breath to center himself again, he continued by saying that the Heartstone believed that all of his creations risked falling prey to the corruption that was spreading through the Underglow and had now reached the Greenscape above too.

    Putting its paw to its chin as if stroking some kind of invisible beard, it seemed that the dragon was pondering on what Solmar was saying and saw some kind of reason to it. After all, if the Heartstone believed that this was the case, Feykroreyth knew better than to call the wisdom of his master into question. This time around, it was the dragon that sighed deeply, causing loose branches and stones to fly about and drop down from the ledge into the chasm below. From that point on, it seemed that the dragon would refrain from eating him, making a rather heavy burden fall from his shoulder as he no longer had to walk on eggshells around the mighty beast. Asking Feykroreyth as to what it believed Solmar could do about it, the dragon merely stated that Solmar was asking the wrong questions. To know what he was doing about this, he would need to know what it was that he was supposed to be doing anything against, which was where everything started. Once he had that knowledge at his disposal, the next thing would be to look for what it was that he could do about stopping the corruption from spreading any further. Figuring that the dragon was right, he asked it as to what it was, to which the beast chuckled a bit before lowering his head and turning it towards the east where the blight had first been seen in the Greenscape.

    Though making it clear that he had no idea as to what it was, it did turn out to be the case that Feykroreyth had seen the object as it came falling towards the woodlands from the sky like a huge chunk of black rock which had an odd red glow emanating from cracks along the stone. Believing that whatever was at the core of the rock was nothing short of malignant, it did not doubt that whatever was inside of it had been what was corrupting the creatures and blighting the land. Unfortunately for the dragon, it had been incapable of following it and doing something about it as there was not a single passage anywhere in the Greenscape that was big enough to fit him through it, meaning there wasn't a thing it could do to get to the origin of the problem all the way down in the Underglow. As even the crack in the ceiling was not big enough for him to pass through, the blight surrounding the hole made it dangerous for the dragon to even get near it anymore, making Solmar their next best chance at dealing with it for the sake of them all. Not really liking how all of this was falling into his lap as the sole person to be capable of this, he knew that he would need to get some help if he were to do anything about it, be it in fighting it or learning more about it.

    As the dragon was clearly not going to be able to help him fight down there, the only thing it could really do was provide him with whatever information it had in regards to the rock that had fallen from the skies and the exact location from which the blight had originated. Knowing that there was not a whole lot that the dragon could do for him from this point on, Solmar planned on leaving and making his way back down, though it seemed that Feykroreyth still had something to say. Bringing up the name "Sporeback", which was apparently something it referred to as a "Toadstool  Shaman" was a friend to the dragon and to the Heartstone, even though it was a hermit that lived a reclusive lifestyle down in the depths of the Underglow. Because of his connection to the local wildlife and the fungal growths, it knew just about everything that was going on down there, making Sporeback the person Solmar should be looking for if he wanted more information as to what he was fighting and whether there was really something he could do to stop it from destroying the Underglow and the Greenscape once it was done down there. Nodding to thank the dragon for this information, the dragon thanked him for his service by picking him up and placing him on his back.

    Instead of making him climb all the way back down and force him to look for the best place to venture down into the Underglow from, Feykroreyth seemed to be more than willing to set him off on the right track, believing that doing so would aid the rest of the Greenscape too. Setting off, the dragon started swooping down from his perch as it gained a lot of velocity. Holding on to the hard scales that seemed like bark, it seemed like the dragon itself had been composed of some organic type of wood, though it was at the same time reptilian, making it yet another one of those strange creatures one would only ever encounter within this dimension and never in Fiore. Covering a lot of ground in little to no time at all, the large beast eventually set Solmar down by another cavern system, a different one from the one he had been in before. Knowing that the treefolk would not venture down there, nor would the mycelians come up from them, the only creatures making places like that their home were the moss trolls. As such, shortly after putting Solmar down, Feykroreyth turned his head towards it, breathed in deep and exhaled a massive torrent of fire down into the cavern. Feeling the heat that was blasting off of it, it seemed unlikely that anything would survive coming into contact with it.

    Breathing for a solid thirty seconds, the dragon closed its maw and retreated from the cavern, telling Solmar that if he went down here and just kept on walking, he would soon be out of moss troll territory and reach the vicinity of a mycelian settlement going by the name of Thruld, from which he might be able to get some leads as to where he might find the old toadstool shaman. Thanking the dragon yet again for all the things it had done for him, he wasted no more time with pleasantries and started up a solid stride towards the entrance of the cavern. Hearing the dragon wish him good luck on his journey, followed by the flapping of large wings that took it back up into the sky, it meant that Solmar was on his own yet again. Though this might feel somewhat disheartening for some, Solmar was more or less used to doing things on his own, generally not being that much of a team player to begin with. For him, this was just another day on his own in the wilderness, though there had never been this much at stake before, there never had been so much riding on him succeeding in his mission. After all, it was not every day that one could say that an entire world was at stake and might be lost if they failed at doing what they had been tasked with.  

    Picking up the pace, he could still feel the heat lingering in the cavern after the breath attack from the elder dragon, as well as the many scorched remains of the moss trolls. When he witnessed the scene of the massacre, he did not really feel for them as he moved through the place, knowing that if they had been left alive, they would just come after him in an attempt at killing him, meaning he would in turn have been forced to kill them first. It also proved one thing to him, and that was that Feykroreyth really did not care much for sentient creatures as this had not been the first time he had murdered a large amount of moss trolls, and it most likely wouldn't have been the last time either. Continuing to move along for a solid thirty minutes, he eventually came to the end of the caverns as they opened up to show a massive subterranean wonderland that was located directly beneath the Greenscape. Looking up, it seemed that the roof was incredibly high, which explained why the journey down to it took him as much as thirty minutes even when moving at a rather high pace. Believing it to be nearly half a kilometer from the floor to the ceiling, it just made the Underglow look that much more massive. The fun thing about it was that the floor was up so high that the rock itself seemed pitch black, while the mushrooms growing from the ceiling looking like stars.

    It was funny to him that nature could pull these little jokes from time to time. The more he looked around, the more he saw things that seemed almost as hard to believe as the things he first encountered within the Greenscape two weeks ago. The humongous glowing mushrooms ranging from about thirty centimeters to well over thirty meters in height for instance were quite the sight to behold. Upon closer inspection, he could also see some rather large spiders which had their backs riddled with mushrooms lurking within the large fungal growths, hidden beneath the spore caps which lit up as brightly as they did, making them the perfect hiding spots from which to leap down on prey. Deciding that it was likely best not to walk underneath any of the larger mushrooms, he made his way into the actual Underglow for the first time since he had come to this world. While the dragon told him that he would be quite close to one of the settlements at this point, it made him wonder if that meant close for something as massive and fast as a dragon, or close in relative terms. As the only real way right now was to just go forward, he kept his guard up and ventured deeper into the subterranean cavern system in search of Thruld and the toadstool shaman.

    Getting further from the entrance that had brought him to the Underglow, he saw that there were lakes down here too, which seemed somewhat odd. The closer he got to these sources of water, the closer he got to floating blue and red lights, which were things he could not exactly make out in terms of their origin. Drawing closer and closer to it, it seemed that they came from small flying reptiles, most likely the creatures that Jogumold the druid had referred to as "Frogflies". Being young Chytridrakes, that meant that these were the lakes within which the adult drakes roamed. Not feeling all that safe, it was then that he realized that the fact that there were already so many of the young ones roaming about that the mating season had already come and passed. Just to be safe, he ventured closer to the water, which went to show that these lakes down here were not like the ones above in the Greenscape. No, there were more like massive sinkholes filled up to the brim with water, going down for what seemed like an eternity. Seeing a lot of larger lights moving around in the darkness, it turned out that there were also stationary lights in the depths, likely from a different kind of underwater fungi.

    Truly, Solmar's eyes had never seen a place that was as beautiful as this in Fiore, yet the Greenscape seemed filled with wonder and beauty in ways Earthland would never be able to live up to. Rising back to his feet after peering straight down into the depths for  a while, he could have sword that he had heard a noise coming from a ridge not far from where he was. Focusing on his hearing for a bit, he actually heard someone talking. Or rather, he heard various voices communicating with one another. Wondering whether that meant that he had been getting closer to the town of Thruld or not, he started running into the direction of the ridge, made his way up there and went to look for the origins of the voices. As soon as he got there, he was greeted by three strange looking men that were like the treefolk, except for the fact that they were made entirely out of fungal matter. Knowing for a fact that these were the mycelians he had been told about, these people were supposedly the shepherds of the Underglow, working in service of the Heartstone just like the treefolk looked after the Greenscape above. When they asked him whether he had been sent here by the Heartstone or not, Solmar shortly replied by saying that he had been sent here by it and by Feykroreyth, and that he was to be taken to the town of Thruld in order to obtain specific information.

    For a moment, the mycelians looked at one another in confusion and anguish before turning back to Solmar, stating that the town of Thruld had been destroyed by "the Blighted" over a month ago, and that the refugees had built a new settlement not far from here called Khruldruc. Fearing that the situation down here was a lot worse than it was up in the Greenscape, it seemed that he hadn't arrived a moment too soon as they came under attack by strange mushroom men, covered from head to toe in strange black goop and red, tumorous growths. Summoning his sword, Solmar activated the white flames and carved down the first of them, setting them on fire as they fell to the ground in two burning halves. This however did not seem to keep them down as both halves continued fighting as their flesh started warping, growing into strange tendrils that were flailing about. Watching how another of the mushroom men got pinned down and injured. Trying to get to it as soon as he could, he felt something hard bash into the back of his head with a lot of force as a wave of pain moved through his body, followed by a paralyzing sensation and a loss of footing. In the blink of an eye, he suddenly realized that he had fallen to the ground and that his vision was getting darker and darker, up until he no longer saw anything at all.


    (4971 // 11555)
    (Claiming 11,000 for 10 year job)
    (555)


    P.S: Made a mistake, thought 10 year jobs were 11,000 words each instead of 10,000 words.

    (2555)


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      Current date/time is 16th September 2019, 11:17 pm