70 Chaos Contribution
Stars wink all around as I find myself once again floating in the center of a vibrant supernova.
No other loading screen will ever compare.
"Welcome back, Idiot."
The company leaves something to be desired, however.
"Well that's just uncalled for," I tell the fiery Fate Atropos.
The redheaded Fate snips her scissors aggressively. "No, what was uncalled for was you wreaking more havoc on your first day as a Hero than Eris managed in a millennia."
Eris, Greek Goddess of Chaos. I try to feign innocence, but I can't keep my overwhelming smugness contained.
Honestly, it's one of the greatest compliments I've ever received.
Atropos's red eyes flash and her grip on the scissors tighten until I start to feel like she's one step away from pulling a KnB Akashi* and slicing my face open.
Luckily, middle sister Clotho glides forward and smiles down at me, diffusing the tension. "Hero Erebus, would you like to re-enter at your last saved location [Tara, GAEL]?"
"Yes, please," I say politely.
When Clotho turns to the youngest Fate Lachesis, I pull down my lower eyelid and stick my tongue out at Atropos.
Because I am an adult.
Without looking, Clotho grabs one of the leather straps crisscrossing Atropos's shoulders and holds her back from stabbing me.
Lachesis tuts. "No stabbing Chosen Ones with the Scissors of Destiny," she chides, shaking her long white hair. "You know better."
"No rule says a Chosen One needs all his fingers, is all I'm saying," Atropos grumbles.
"Tsk tsk. So violent." I shake my head disapprovingly.
I also hide my hands behind my back, but that's just because I wanted to, and has absolutely nothing to do with anything.
Atropos barks a laugh and spins her scissors like an expert marksmen wielding a revolver. "Pot, meet homicidal kettle."
"Erebus, you killed more creatures in your Foundation Village than some players have killed total so far," Lachesis says.
"You've also made twenty-two minor deities cry, caused three nervous breakdowns, and driven seven to collapse from exhaustion."
Clotho's referring to the devs there. In-game, NPCs refer to them as minor deities who keep the World Tree thriving.
"Whoops," I say.
Lachesis shrugs. "Builds character."
Damn, she may look angelic, but that cherubic Fate is stone cold.
"In fact," Clotho says, "the primordial being Nova has deemed your actions worthy of a new Title, and the Great-Father has allowed it."
*Happy Ding of Incoming Goodies*
[Unique Title Acquired: Chaos Incarnate]
You are either mad or brilliant. It's remarkable how often those two traits coincide.**
|| An individualist who values your freedom, you avoid authority, resent restrictions, and challenge traditions. You have a penchant for flouting prescribed plotlines, yet your harebrained schemes somehow lead to success more often than not.
You regret nothing, ever.
The devs cry at the thought of you, yet cannot help feeling intrigued by whatever insanity you'll think of next.
Clearly, you're Chaotic Aligned.
When equipped, Title grants the opportunity to Follow Your Chaotic Whims. With direct access to the Nova AI, you may input alternatives when presented with certain predetermined options. Title does not guarantee 100% response rate for whimsical requests.
At all times, Title grants +2 Charisma and Random EXP Bonuses when your Chaotic Contributions directly necessitate a system update or patch||
If this is what I think it is, the Nova AI is going to allow me to deviate from planned plotlines.
I'll have a dedicated line to the game's central AI. While equipped, I can request options different from the ones automatically supplied by the game. It will be like when I asked Anansi if I could change the parameters of the Main Storyline Quest and have my Party join in later.
As long as the AI thinks my request is feasible, and it doesn't negatively impact the gameflow too much, I could end up creating new code for this game as I'm playing it!
I thank the Fates, but Atropos cuts me off, "Yeah, yeah, no need to get all sappy. Time to make some moves, big shot. World to save, and all that."
And with a final snip of her scissors, I'm whisked through the star-filled vortex to Gael.
The shadowed figure peers down from the star he's hiding behind.
"Didn't you tell that programmer you were going to thwart Erebus? This doesn't look like thwarting."
"Poor man. On the one hand, he seems to hold a masochistic fascination with the boy who derails all his carefully-laid plans without breaking even a metaphorical sweat."
"Can you blame him? So much chaos in one small D'Raven package." The shadow-man sounds thrilled.***
Nodding thoughtfully, the shadowy figure agrees. "Why did you label it unique though? Didn't you give similar titles to seven players?"
The shadow-man slices the air with one of his many appendages and opens a portal to Gael. "And with any luck, that evolution will trigger even greater changes in the world outside."
The towering elven architecture of Tara welcomes me home, and the familiar scent of lavender, chamomile, and mint fills my senses with calming delight.
It's been a long few days away.
I stretch to the tips of my fingers, toes, and wings, and reacquaint myself with my D'Raven body. There's a comforting lack of face-planting this time around.
I missed most everything, but the realistic dirt flavor still hasn't grown on me.
Since I've beaten Taliesin home, I take advantage of my early arrival. I send him a message telling him to meet me across the bridge outside the city and hurry off to enact a little revenge.
I don't have to wait long. Little Dude doesn't want to waste any more time in the real world than I do.
He's cheerfully whistling and honest-to-gods SKIPPING across the bridge when I finally see him.
It's so stupidly pure and adorable I almost feel bad about murdering him.
Somehow, I swear I feel Zen sending me a reproachful energy hum from way across town in Vulcan's forge.
"Hush, you," I hiss in Zen's general direction. "This is vengeance."
Taliesin crosses the bridge's halfway point, officially leaving the [Safe Haven] border, and I whisper, "Nox."
A black shadow descends upon the Pu`ca, enshrouding him in darkness so profound, it even renders Excalibur's shine useless when he instinctively draws it.
"Eep," Taliesin squeaks in surprise, and no, that's not cute, and no, I'm not the asshole here.
Thanks to my high Perception, I can see perfectly within my own spell, and I engage Stealth to move silently.
(I am the mothafuckin' Darkness.)
I freeze, dagger drawn. "How'd you know?"
Taliesin shrugs. "Because you're the darkness."
I feel so *seen* by this blind child right now.
"This is an amazing spell, by the way," he adds. "I keep trying to counter with Lux, but it consumes any light I create."
"It's a permutation of Lux, so as long as my INT and PER are higher, my shadow will beat your light."
"Impressive," he says, a hint of his earlier hero-worship back in his voice.
I grunt in agreement, because yes, yes it is impressive, and how lovely of him to notice.
"Any chance I can talk you out of murdering me?" he asks.
"Any chance you can unmake a viral video featuring me in hot pink short shorts with HERO splayed across my ass?"
He sucks in a breath between his teeth. "Yeahhh...no. Not possible."
I tighten my grip on the blade Logane had thrown at my head. "Didn't think so. Good news for you, I'm feeling charitable. Let me stab you twenty times, and that should make me feel better. Then we can move on, all happy-like."
He winces but then sighs, looking resigned. "Okay, fine, I guess I deserve that."
He lowers Excalibur and closes his eyes.
Honestly, it kinda harshes my vibe.
I was hoping to get the jump on a swordsman capable of engaging me in a deadly fight, gaining the upper hand, then stabbing the shit out of him to relieve stress.
You know, a normal, healthy coping mechanism.
This is the emotional equivalent of kicking a defenseless puppy. Zen would obliterate me on the spot for being a monster.
When the strike doesn't come, he peeks open one eye.
"What if..." he begins hesitantly. When I still don't stab him, he continues, "What if I make another viral video? One that's cooler? Makes you look even more awesome?"
"Are you insane? That kind of thinking started this mess in the first place!"
"Clearly I have mad vid skills," he insists. "Boxers Bro and its several remixes are in the top ten most-viewed posts from Day One."
With my Nightvision, I can see the tiny smug smile tugging on his lips.
I recognize it. It's a cute baby smartass version of mine.
(I'm not smiling, You're smiling.)
"Now imagine what I could have done with footage from your battle with an ACTUAL FRIGGIN' DRAGON," Taliesin adds, and I can legit hear the angst in his voice over missing out on that fight. "DEAR GODS MISSED OPPORTUNITY, BRO."
Damn. Didn't even think about it.
Honestly, didn't think I was gonna survive that one, so...
"Fine," I relent and bonk the moron on the head.
The Nox shadow disappears, and I sheathe my dagger.
"Yippee!" Taliesin cheers.
"Ugh," I whine.
Then I spin-kick his ass with one leg and swipe out his feet from under him with the other.
"Ahh!" he cries, as he crashes to the ground. "Unnecessary violence!"
I smile for real this time. "Dunno, kid. Sure felt necessary in the moment."
I rise up into another healthy stretch, feeling alive. Then I look down at him, mischievous (evil) glint in my bright gray eyes.
"Now, you ready to start some shit with some Ranker scumbags?"
He answers me with a mischievous grin of his own.
"Thought you'd never ask."
*Akashi Seiijiro - Psychopath/Naturalborn Leader from Kuroko no Basuke
**quote adapted from one of my all-time fave Chaotic Neutrals, Captain Jack Sparrow
***Deleted Joke (So bad, I had to share):
"Can you blame him? So much chaos in one small D'Raven package." The shadow-man sounds thrilled.
(Somewhere, across the universe, Erebus feels distinctly annoyed, though he doesn't know why. "It's not a small package, per se," he says, to no one. He adjusts his trousers. "I'm a grower.")