Blacksmith of the Apocalypse

Chapter 14: The Choices

”This is Starta Village, a frontier village of the glorious Chrona Empire! ”, the guard said motivated.

”Empire? ”, Seth repeated perplexed.

As different as Urth was from Earth, it was a civilized world with advanced technology that had left behind this kind of system a long time ago.

”Hoh, you don ’t know? ”, the Guard gave him a glare that felt as if he looked straight into his souls.

”No wonder! You are an Ori Huma! Of course you wouldn ’t know! ”, he laughed a lot more friendly than before.

”You should have seen the oracle of the system right? This worlds boundaries have collapsed and it is now open to the Pathwork. Many people and races use this network of random paths to explore new worlds opened to the system. Our Empire is one of them! The best, if i may say so! ”, he explained eagerly.

The young man could only look confused at the suddenly enthusiastic guard. Remembering the goblins his gaze sharpened and he frowned.

”You say that as if it was a good thing. Don ’t those monsters like goblins also belong to the ’races ’ that came over? ”, he said bitterly.

”Ah! Err-yes… ”, the guard stuttered and scratched his neck. ” I-I think our priest would be better in explaining the situation than me! Please come in. You just have to follow the main street, straight to the church. ”

With that the guard stepped out of the way. He still seemed a little embarrassed and tried to stand straight with a serious face, which made it look quite awkward. Seth ignored the guards misery and entered the town. Within the boundary of the city wall the streets were covered in cobble stone. The houses looked more or less medieval and were neatly build along the wide streets. The town looked open and well planned out.

Seth did as he was told and followed the main street. He came across all kinds of shops. There were colorful signs written with foreign symbols on the shops. Seth couldn ’t read them, but they somehow translated themselves in his head. He saw a bakery, a pharmacy, a general store and even a black smith!

This was definitely worth checking out later. This place made him feel more like a transmigrator, than a survivor of the apocalypse…

The church was standing at the end of the main street. It wasn ’t big or pompous like some churches he knew from history lessons. It was a big, but simple building and gave more of an office building kinda vibe. A simple sign hung above it´s door which actually just said ’church ’.

He entered and immediately felt reminded of an administration, not a place of worship. There were several counters with clerks, definitely not clergy! Seth felt a glare, similar to the guards and was approached the next moment.

”Hello there, my young friend! ”, Santa Clause said! Wait no, not Santa Clause. It was a tall and wide man in his later years. He had no hair on his head, but the bushy rim of gray hair on the sides made it look like a shiny egg in a nest. What he didn ’t have on his head, he had in his face. His beard was well groomed, voluminous and easily reached his big belly. He wore a wine red robe with white and golden accents. It made him totally look like Santa Clause.

”Hello… Are you- the priest? ”, Seth lifted his eyebrow and looked at him questioning.

”hum hum, yes, that is correct. I´m Simon Carrel, the Priest of this little Starta Village. Did the Guard sent you here? ”

”how did you..? ”

”hum hum. I can see that you are an ori huma ”

Seth looked at himself. He was dirty and sweaty all over. His clothes were ripped and dirty in many places.

”Is it my clothing? how did you know? What does ori huma even mean? ”

”hum hum. Come to my office, let´s not talk here ”, the priest invited. Seth just shrugged his shoulders and followed him.

They entered a big office. The walls were covered in book shelves filled with all kinds of interesting stuff and big old books bound in leather. There was also a big fireplace, but it wasn ’t burning at the moment. Simon sat down behind a big desk made of dark shiny wood. He groaned as his old bones could finally relax.

”Ok, Seth, lets start with how i know your race and name. ”, he smiled mischievous when Seth´s eyed opened wide upon the mentioning of his name, ” It´s a skill called ”Observation ” ,anyone can learn it. ”

It was literally an appraisal skill for creatures. The higher the skill´s level and the user´s level, the more information from the target´s status could be seen. After the priest explained to him how the skill is learned, Seth tried to concentrate mana in his eyes and looked at Simon.

< Name: Simon Carrel Level:- Race: Huma Sex:Male Age:67 Affiliation: Church of the System >

This was all he could see, the rest off the information was either not there or glitched. Seth also had the inkling, that Simon let him see some of it on purpose.

”Now that this question is answered, there is something i will have to do. ”, Simon stood up from his chair and came to halt in front of Seth. He bowed to him.

”I´m very sorry ”, he apologized to the young man in front of him. Seth was baffled.

”What are you apologizing for, old man..? ”

”Even though we see it as a blessing to a dying world, when he Pathwork is opened to them and the survivors become part of the System, it is also true, that the situation won´t immediately improve. We know that with the Pathwork a lot of foreign monsters will also enter this already battered world. On behalf of our god, i ask for your understanding. ”

Simon looked at the young man sitting in front of him. His face didn ’t betray any of his thoughts, until the dam broke and a flood of words flowed from Seth.

”Say…you always speak about races and monsters. What about those weird trees?! Can you please explain this crazily growing menace? The whole city was completely overgrown in a few hours! And then that hanging tree-thing!? What kind of dipshit crazy world brought out a tree that decorates itself with the sucked dry corpses of it´s victims!? ”

Simon smirked a little. ”Yours. ”

”What?! ”

”Yours, is the dipshit crazy world that came up with that kind of thing! ”, Simon said with roaring laughter.

” Your ’Hanging Tree ’, was one of the dangers the system had warned us about, before we entered your world! And you actually came out of that place! You are really lucky. Maybe even special. ”, he continued after having a good laugh at Seth´s perplexed face. It took Simon a while to catch his breath.

Simon went to one of the bookshelves to the side and came back to the desk with a thick folder. The thickest there was on the shelf.

”Similar to the vision you had, when you entered the System, we have oracles given to us before we enter a new world. Yours is very special. Normally these folders only have a few pages. Look at this thing! ”

Simon smacked it on the table with a loud thud, to show how humongous the collected oracles of Urth were. It was easily thicker than any book Seth had ever seen in his life. You could probably bludgeon someone to death with that!

The priest sat down and started to browse the giant folder in a way so Seth could not see the contents. At some point he took out a few pages and slid them across the table to Seth.

”There, see! It´s a native apocalypse scenario. But we don´t really understand the full text. Some words have no meaning to us. ”

Seth looked down on the pages. There was a hand-drawn pictures of the giant Hanging Tree, that towered over dark ruins and oceans of trees.

The first pages described in depth the phenomenon of the , which read almost like the setting of a horror movie!

It started with an attempt to stop the climate change. Using advanced technology like genetic engineering they tried to create variant species of trees for any climate that would grow a lot faster than usual, given the needed nutrients. During the Breaking-Point-Event-

”What is the Breaking-Point-Event? ”, Seth asked confused.

”Oh, it´s what we call the point in time when the events that lead to the apocalypse reach the point when they start to exponentially increase and spiral out of control. ”, Simon thought for a moment, ”Take your climate change for example. You see it slowly change. You register weather phenomena and temperature variation. They get stronger and worse, but there is that one point in time when everything escalates to a stage people won´t be able to cope with anymore. That´s the Breaking Point-Event. ”

”hmm.. ”

– During the Breaking Point-Event the laboratories and test sites working on this solution were hit by natural disasters. What came out of the destroyed laboratories and test sites where mutations of prototypes that could grow with a speed visible to the naked eye.

The papers also mentioned that other scenarios had intersected with this and worsened it even more. It also mentioned several spells and magic formations that could stop the forest from expanding, which was probably, why Seth had reached these plains at some point and was not trapped on a continent drowning in trees.

The next pages were about a special Mutation . It described it´s characteristics like the position in the center of a vast biome of fast growing forests. That it matures within a matter of days. The eternal twilight below it´s crown and that the area will be filled with solanum, once the previous vegetation died off from the lack of sunshine.

Of course it also described the vines Seth had come across and how exactly it hunted and digested it´s victim, that dared to enter below it´s canopy.

The reports were too detailed to be just made up. After reading these few pages Seth understood, that these trees were quite super natural, but they did not come from another world. His eyes fell on the thick folder. These were just a few pages of this tome that described the changes of his world.

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