6: Mellowed Out

Agartha, a mere seven hundred years after the bombs fell, was still mostly scorched earth, and poisoned skies.  Though enough time had passed for some recovery to take place, the animals were mostly mutants. The land was mostly deserts. The heavens were filled with ghastly mist.

Agartha nearly four thousand years after the bombs, was a reborn world. The heavenly energy that made up the planet’s core hastening its recovery.  Pushing the mundane towards the fantastical and ideal.

There were floating islands and walking mountains, and fairies, flitting humanoids that flew by in swarms.

The world was green again. Abundantly green, tall grasses and jungles grew where all the old cities used to be. The sky was blue, a shade so pure one could stare at for forever. The air was cleaner than it had been even before the old Agarthans (us pre-apocalypse humans) settled it.

The fauna and flora had adjusted to the higher energy levels, resulting in a level of vibrancy, and activities that made the skin crawl.

In short, this Agartha was an Agartha in which mother nature had stopped recovering and was now in the process of rediscovering a balance. A balance between life and death, and man and beast and heaven and earth.

Naturally if all that rampant divine energy was not completely settled, this world would never find a true balance. Meaning the continents would continue shift and the seasons would continue to be volatile, but still there would be some regularity. Even if it was of a violent and somewhat unpredictable sort.

******

Months had gone by since I’d returned to the world of the living yet again and left Potter’s Run behind. Without checking with the archive I couldn’t really till you how many months but it was long enough for the age value in my status to go up by one.

(Six….It was six months…Six months, fifteen days, thirty-six hours, and twelve minutes.)

I was thirteen now. I had even already managed to get several levels under my belt. Making for a strong start for my journey to recoup my lost progress and then move beyond that point.

I’d also calmed down a fair bit, gaining a bit of peace when it came to my current situation.

Ultimately I’d been able to accept some things and reject others, rationalizing the rest away as either out of my hands or beyond the scope of what I, as a person had a real interest in.

In the category of things I rejected, I was rejecting this gnawing sense that something beyond my ken, and capability was taking place. I was rejecting whatever plans my future-self thought he was making on my behalf.

I was rejecting that helpless sense that I’d have no other choice in this life but to fight and die and fight again, till I finally either dissolved or gave into my demon.

I was rejecting that stupid name change, no offense to Dudley, the kid I’d been before I’d gone back to being me.

For me, Dudley had the feel of a name that one would give to someone who either ate and or huffed copious amounts of glue, or couldn’t be left alone with barn animals.

In the category of things that I “was” accepting, I was accepting the fact of my past deaths and all the losses they entailed. Honestly there wasn’t much I could do about them, now that they’d already happened. Disbelieving them wouldn’t change anything. Kicking my heels and throwing tantrum solved nothing. In other words, I was going to do, what I’d been subconsciously resisting doing, and eat those L’s.

My lost home, which had also been home to all my really nifty crap. My lost job…I’d been on the verge of maybe possibly getting a raise.. My lost friends, as few they might have been. My lost looks, for I was now entirely unrecognizable from the man I one was. My lost species.

The last few months had made me increasingly sure that whether it was the new abilities, the mysterious mandates, or my fishy as hell race change from a normal human child, to a [humanoid existence] that I was now increasingly sure merely looked like a normal human child.

(Albeit with ridiculous pink hair…)

I was accepting that this Agartha was not my Agartha, it was not the Agartha I left when I first died. Nor was it the Agartha I’d been barely adjusting to prior to my second death. It was something new. A world that would have to be approached as foreign soil.

Taking the whole of my rejections and my acceptances I came to one single resolution. A simple goal to find and keep a new normal.

Were this my old world, my original world, I’d consider myself deluded to even think of it. Men made plans, and the gods did as they would. Gods made plans, and the fates did as they would. Look at the classics and any fool can see it. No one has control.

And yet, here I was in a world where rising above, progressing, “leveling” was in the name of the game.

I would never dare say I could command completely control of my own fate that sounded too much like a challenge and something warned me that those capricious three sisters were the sort not to take such things lightly.

Still, I would gain autonomy. I would have some semblance of control.  I was through with having my worlds destroyed.

I would rise to a level where even my future-self could not touch me. Where even the pre-ordained could not disturb my new normal whatever it happened to become. I would reach a place where random “Demon Kings” could not come and destroy my everyday existence.

Where outsiders could just come and trample my peace.

The first step towards this goal, would be leveling. Rising high enough to graduate from and escape the confines of the system.  

And before that, step came the matter of changing my damn name back.

After a few days of beating my head against a wall over the issue, the archive presented me with a solution that was equal parts simple and aggravating.

The Leveling system came with functions for setting up Aliases. While one was unable to casually change the name one was given from birth, one could assign an alias to oneself.

I had two problems with this solution, the first being that my real name “was” Desmond, and a stubborn part of me rejected the idea of having it labelled as false even as a necessity.

The second problem was that, if I was appraised by certain authorities or anyone of a higher level than of power than mine, which was roughly anyone I saw right now, they’d be able to see that it was an alias.


Which further dug into that sore spot of not wanting people to think my “real” name was a fake name and also brought forth the issue of not wanting to draw suspicion onto myself by walking around with a “fake” name.

The solution for this was two-fold.

If I could get my level high enough, let’s say high enough to be considered a “Master” or a “Legendary” leveller, an existence with strength equal to or exceeding that of any single nation, then I’d be given certain special privileges.

Privileges likes the ability to change my name as I pleased.

(Because what’s a name to a being that could crumble mountains?…)

The second part of this solution or thinking chronologically the first part, dealt with what to do in the meantime.

Having just regained my mental health, by deciding on what I could and couldn’t take from this world, I didn’t want to risk it by trying to carry around that most onerous of monikers, “Dudley” for however long it took me to reach Master status.

Thus instead I decided to go with an “obvious” alias. A fake name was suspicious, but a “nick” name was something anyone could have, either giving it to themselves as a flight of fancy, or getting it from friends and family as praise or as a backhanded insult.

From what the archive told me they were actually quite common operating like the social media ideas that people of the old world used to give themselves. Except often parents would be the ones responsible for giving them to their kids, giving them names that would come attached with false titles, or monikers,  that they would hopefully one day gain in truth.

Naturally they often came out stupider than the MMO and social media user names of old used to be. Meaning that the more pretentious the name was, the less suspicious, and the more taken for granted.

For example I can’t even begin to tell you how many “Emperors”, “Masters”, and “Saints” this world currently had, that were under the age of six.

Thus I gave myself a “nickname”, an obvious, non-suspicious alias, that I could carry around till I could my real name back.

Eventually I’d be Desmond again, but for now I would be “Sam” as in Samhain, as in “Samhain the Red Moon King”. An extra touch I’d added to the name,  just in case anyone doubted that it really was some idiot kid’s idiot parents’ runaway dreaming.

*****

Name: Samhain(Alias)
Age: 13
Level: 7
Race: Humanoid Existence
Affiliation(s):
Title(s): Partially-Omniscient, Child of the Emptied Skies, Red Moon King (Moniker)
Talent: 95
Attainments:
Body 342
Mind 114
Soul 114
Affinities: Time, Space, Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Metal, Light, Darkness, Life, Illusion
Abilities: Mandate of Black, Mandate of White, Mandate of Gray, Devilish Good Looks
Virtue: Temperance, Fortitude, Diligence
Vice: Lust, Wrath, Greed, Gluttony

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