Ruling Another World
Anodyne stood in the middle of a perfectly spherical cavern with a large orb of light illuminating the diverse rainforest below. Around him, tribes of people were tending to what little they had.
“Hmm, seems that instead of planets, this universe has air bubbles inside an endless expanse of earth and stone. Wonder how this affects the development of civilizations.”
Anodyne closed his eyes for a moment and held concentration. When he opened his eyes again, they were human eyes. With limited vision, he looked around the cavern once again.
“Alright, so that light sphere blinds me to what is behind it. I guess that will lead to speculation of what is above. There should still be the concept of gods, then.”
Anodyne returned his eyes to normal, turning his head to the very near wall of stone beside him.
“But judging by the crude ladders scaling the cavern, they have at least attempted to figure out what is beyond their vision. Which is more than the Greeks from Earth attempted.”
As Anodyne was analyzing his surroundings, he failed to notice one of the tribal men approach him from behind. The man moved silently, carefully placing his feet to avoid stepping on anything that would make noise. Spear in hand, he tapped Anodyne’s shoulder and got him to turn.
“Goh alar sho?”
Anodyne stared blankly at the man’s request. He repeated his words and shook his spear angrily.
“Ok, ask again. I think I have figured out your language.”
Again the man repeated; this time, anodyne understood.
“What clan are you?”
“I am no clan; I am a god. That is why I am dressed differently to you.”
Anodyne flourished his coat showing off his pants and waistcoat that resided beneath.
“You are not a god; it is god.”
The man pointed up towards the sphere in the sky, making Anodyne sigh.
“Fucking typical, always worshipping the floating ball of light and heat.”
Anodyne got an idea and ran away from the tribesmen. He did so in such a way that he would appear human, trying not to raise any more suspicion towards him.
Easily he manages to run blindly, losing the individual behind him. Quickly after feeling no eyes on him, he turned invisible and flew upwards. He flew right up to the large sphere in the sky, investigating it.
“If I turn myself into this material, I could pose as their sun god. Should make for a good laugh.”
Anodyne touched the hard stone that was their sun.
“Odd, I have no idea what this is. Why can’t I replicate this? What a strange material.”
The longer he examined the material, the more he realized this was no simple matter. As he was taking his hand off the stone, he felt it change; it became more like a thick putty and started to stir. Rotating and mixing, the thick putty slowly stopped and became solid once again.
“Hmm, ok, so I can’t replicate this matter. I guess I can play god for a while as I study this orb. If I can’t be this matter I will just look like it.”
Anodyne removed his clothes and gave himself a godly physique, changing his skin color to that of the strange sun. Finally, he made himself glow lightly like the sun. He slowly started to make his way down when the sun started to change again. He turned to see the sun starting to churn violently. The color faded from a bright yellow to a dim blue, Anodyne making sure to match the color.
“So that is how night time works here, this actually works well for me, good time to descend.”
Anodyne took this time to his advantage and started to lower his form above the rainforest, ensuring that he was glowing particularly bright. All around, tribesmen started to swarm around. Looking around, Anodyne could see the different colors of all the opposing tribes.
“six tribes here, and about another twenty can see me. This should make for some fun times.”
After a drawn-out time, Anodyne landed in the forest; as he passed through the canopy, he made the trees walk away from him. Clearing the forest floor below him and making a small barrier of trees, he dragged a circle altar from the ground and rested upon it. Taking a pose of crossed-legged meditation, he waited for the tribes to appear.
Slowly peeking through the tree lines, the tribes started to make their way into his small area, each staying in their own groups. Five groups of tribe members entered his sanction while the last tribe fled back to where they came.
“You five are worthy; you have taken the first step to please me. You were brave enough to approach me; I sense great strength in you all. You shall form one large tribe and rule over the others.”
The tribesmen all looked around, confused.
“Which one of us shall be the one to claim the other four tribes?”
“None; you shall form a new tribe under my name. I am Anodyne, god of shadows and night. You shall all become my Anodytes. Give up your old names and start your new life as the dominant tribe of these lands.”
The members of the different tribes all returned to their respective homes, telling the story of Anodyne. Anodyne, still sitting felt a small boost in energy. The same feeling that he felt when he first brought humans to Hollow. The five tribes fully made their way back to Anodyne, bringing all their people with them. The leaders of each tribe climbed into Anodyne’s small clearing as the remainder of their people waited eagerly just outside his tree line.
“What you want, Anodyne? Why did you choose us?”
“I have seen this area as the strongest; one of your fellow tribes failed to brave my appearance and will be left out of our rule. You shall all form one united tribe under my name, and with that, you shall rule over the other tribes. They shall give you offerings as you shall be the only ones I will allow to contact me. You will become my acolytes, and your children shall take over your rule.”
All the tribes gave a cheer and started to rejoice, but one of the leaders did not join in the celebrations.
“Who will lead? We have five leaders. Which tribe becomes home?”
The other leaders heard what was being said and turned to await for an answer, each one of them hoping to be acknowledged as the sole leader.
“You will rule as five, always five. Only to be replaced when another challenges you to combat. If anyone out of these five tribes challenges to rule, they must fight all five at once. You are to move your home here. I am to be your center; you shall build your new tribe around me. I shall be a beating heart, giving life to all who live in this tribe. Now go, migrate your supplies. Join as one.”
As Anodyne spoke his last phrase, he stood with his arms outstretched to the orb in the sky, which currently maintained the image of a moon.
“I shall remain in meditation for the rest of the night; once the day comes, I shall return to the sky to light your world.”
Anodyne returned to his meditative seat, and those around him bowed before rushing off to their homes. Again Anodyne waited till he felt no eyes on him, leaving behind an image of himself. He rose and flew to the sphere in the sky, leaving behind a decoy to distract the tribals.
“Ok, so with the savages distracted, let’s figure out this orb.”
Years passed, and Anodyne observed the orb, trialing his knowledge so that he may replicate it. All through the years, the tribe’s people migrated their wears and surrounded his decoy with everything they could carry from their original homes. Establishing a powerful religious tribe that started to govern the other tribes. Come one morning, the orb started to churn and turn back into the bright yellow sun. Anodyne’s decoy turned yellow and stood without a word; those around him started praying. The decoy rose back into the sky and merged with the sun again. Anodyne watched it as it went. As it disappeared into the sun, Anodyne noticed someone floating nearby the sun.
“Who are you, the deity of this universe?”
The individual disappeared, then reappeared behind Anodyne, peeking over his shoulder.
“Welcome, my dear friend, to my traveling store. Looking to buy rare materials? I can help.”
Anodyne spun on the spot and summoned a scythe to his hands.
“I am sorry; what did you say? Did you say you are a shop?”
“Yes, I travel universes collecting rare materials and selling them on to others. I see you are looking at some of that DNC stone. I got enough to make two whole suns if you are interested in buying.”
“How do I buy what is used as currency for deities?”
The individual floated around Anodyne, forcing him to turn to maintain eye contact.
“Well, I can see you have traveled a few universes; each time you visit a universe, you pick up the energy of the governing deity. If you acquire these, naturally, they are bound to you. They naturally form around you, and if broken through force, they will eventually reform. Us deities use these forces as shields to defend against attacks; they can be unbound from you to be traded or even forged into items, among other uses.”
Anodyne went to respond as the individual took a long-winded breath but was interrupted by more explanation.
“However, if you were to be given one of these energies, it will not stick to you and so can be destroyed. So if I were to buy some off of you, I would either have to be careful not to be hit by great force, or I would have to store it in one of these for later use.”
The individual pulled out a cracked jar that seemed to be pulsating with energy.
“Now, these are rare, mine ain’t in the best condition, but she still works. The material to make these pots are insanely rare, not to mention the ability to craft it or the tools. So what do you say, friend, interested in buying?”
“Do you have anything else?”
“Sadly not, my wares are low due to high sales. You won’t find this material in many universes. Besides, I have enough for two stars; it is a good start. For the low price of 10,000 energies, I can sell you one star’s worth.”
“Let me get this straight, we are currently in a universe where this material naturally is generated, and you want to sell me some?”
“Yes, this is a rare material. Quite valuable.”
Anodyne leaned in close to the individual.
“I have explored this universe; there are a few more than two stars worth here; I could harvest myself. If this material truly is as rare as you say, I assume that you would not sell it where it forms; I am guessing this is your universe.”
“Yea, this is my universe. I was lucky enough to spawn in this material when I created this place. But harvesting them takes so long, saving up to buy some better tools to harvest faster.”
Anodyne turned to the sun orb; he pushed his hand into it to attempt to harvest it. Quickly he discovered that this material magnetized to itself and made it very difficult to remove.
“I see what you mean. I assume that you have made some sales, seeing as your jar is glowing quite nicely.”
“Yes, actually, I have sold a few thousand stars worth, just neglected my universe to harvest constantly. Because I know that if too many stronger gods arrive here, I will lose everything. I have enough for a nice set of tools; I just need to find someone to buy them from, which has proven to be rather difficult. Gods don’t stay in one place for long, which makes it hard to follow a store.”
Anodyne changed his form back to the shape of the sun deity he had been posing as, altering his scythe to be in the shape of a divine spear. He jabbed at the opposing deity watching his defensive energies tear and peel away.
“Odd, never broke more than one when I fight Sylum.”
The other individual laughed.
“Do you know how foolish it is to attack someone in their own universe? I am going to be enhanced by my worshippers; even though you are stronger than me, I will hold the greater power.”
The new deity released the items he had, and they fell for a short distance before disappearing. He flew downwards towards the forest below.
“See, they even have a shrine of me, fight me down here, and you won’t be able to even scratch one of my barriers.”
Anodyne blinked in front of his enemy, holding form as the sun god he had used to fool the inhabitants all these years. He jabbed him with the spear again. Once again, slicing through barriers like butter.
“The thing is, you have neglected your people. I have been worshipped by them for the last hundred years. That statue is not for you. That is for me.”
Anodyne grabbed his enemy, destroying the last layers of energy as his hand made a purchase with his neck. Clenching his throat, he watched as the deity’s neck started to snap under his strength. Anodyne flew lower, allowing the praise of his people to empower him.
“This is my universe now; these are my people and you; there is no room for you outside of legends of the villainous deity that invaded our world.”
Below, the tribes started to chant as Anodyne lowered into clear sight for all to see.
“This deity tried to harvest your sun; this deity tried to harvest me. Your praise gives me the strength to win this fight. Give up your praise; allow me to crush him in my hand.”
Everyone fell to their knees and started to pray to Anodyne. With the increase in worship, Anodyne swiftly crushed his opponent’s neck, causing him to fall limp in hand. His body started to curl like a dying insect until his limbs curled in on his form, forcing Anodyne to drop his dead prey. He did not drop but instead started to generate light, and with a flash, he turned into a rugged stone that seemed to have an ore embedded in it. Anodyne grabbed it from the air and felt himself teleported away. Opening his eyes, he found himself in a small undeveloped universe; floating in its void was the pot of energies along with many other scattered items.
“Interesting, this must be the pocket universe where all his wares were hidden. I guess I am going to transport all this to my pocket universe.”
Anodyne flew around, grabbing everything and storing it in his pocket universe for later inspection.
“I should get back to Hollow; Sylum should know what some of this is.”
Anodyne opened another door in space that led back to Hollow, but as he approached Hollow, he noticed something was off.