The First Lich Lord - C.197


My body strengthened, my mind sped up, my legs moved in a blur as I raced up the stairs. One hand dug into my bag of holding, pulling out a bundle and discarding most of it until I clutched a small black skull. I didn’t have time to think. I entered the maelstrom that was expanding out from the top of the altar. Already it had consumed the platform where the three staircases met.

The barriers projected by my armor had briefly restored themselves as the excess death energy boiling out of my body rebuilt them. That shattered the second I entered the nova. Despite my near-immunity to dark magic, it tore at me. My armor was corroding, and I hoped the enhancements from it would last long enough for me to accomplish my goal.

The nova of death energy I was emitting helped some. It restored my armor and rebuilt my body even as it was destroyed by the divine dark power. Even though I was a creature of the dark, I did not belong in this place.

I reached the top of the stairs. Friar Brown was floating in the air above Umbri. Mercy fluidly formed into a spear with a massive cross guard and wicked barbs along its length, though it was not tipped by a regular tip. Some of the death energy swirling around me fed into Mercy.

I was moving so fast that even with Umbri being so much stronger than me she barely detected me entering her nova before I reached her. Her head was turning around, a sneer plastered across her face. I hit her at a full run. Right before impact, a beam of eldritch power only a handful of centimeters long flared out of Mercy. The eldritch power contained so much death energy, it was nearly black. It hit Umbri’s barrier and bore a hole straight through it. I had been right, divine energy was in the barrier.

I impaled Umbri, her magic faltering, letting go of the friar. Just that wouldn’t be enough. I continued to charge forward, passing underneath the friar even before he could begin to fall.

I leapt out into the air over the pool, the death energy encasing me trying to pour into Umbri. But I stopped it. Her soul clawed at mine, traveling down into my phylactery even as we fell. But my mind was focused elsewhere. For this to work, everything had to line up.

“No,” I thought I heard Friar Brown say. I looked behind just long enough to see him watching me fall.

“Run,” I said. It was quiet, but the pain in his eyes told me he heard me.

We hit the surface of the pool and I felt my doom coming. Within seconds, my phylactery would shatter. I clutched the black skull in my hand to the shaft of Mercy, the potent death energy funneling into and out of it. The nebulous power around me tore at the blood before it latched on to the blood magic contained within. The death energy within my body, now full of death magic, acted as a catalyst.

The careful balance between the light and dark divine energy and blood magic was disturbed as the blood magic and death magic went to war. The soul energy contained within the pool funneled into me as the powers compressed. I channeled it as best I could through Mercy and straight into Umbri.

Barely a few moments had passed since we hit the surface of the pool. Mercy became the focal point of the chaotic power, tearing apart the pool as it spread. The carefully woven magic came undone, all of it searching for a place to go. Something deep inside of me cracked, and Mercy turned into a pillar of uncontrolled, unbelievably destructive power.

In that same moment, I felt the doom that was Umbri shattering my phylactery as my world exploded and ended all in the same moment. I had accepted that was where I ended. My sister would hate me, but she had Maxwell now, the people of this world deserved to be saved, not fed to some mad god. They might not always like my version of saving, but that’s on them not me.

It took me several long minutes to realize that I wasn’t dead. I was floating above the pool. Looking down, the world was in grayscale. The blood in the pool had gone completely transparent, and I could see myself body being torn apart as Mercy burned brightly even in this grayscale world.

The pool was erupting all around and being funneled through Mercy exploding out the other side in an uncontrolled torrent. Surprisingly, Umbri’s body was still there, though I doubted she was alive. I could see where her torso had once been, and whatever power this mixture had created was destroying the rest of her. Her eyes were fixed on me with hate and some degree of satisfaction—after all she had killed me.

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There was a clapping sound and Ekwin stood there. “This is the second time we’ve had a conversation in the middle of a battle. Well, I guess this battle’s over. You are going to die.”

“I know,” I said. “I accepted that fate when I turned around. I just regret that it’s going to tear my sister apart one more time.”

“It doesn’t have to,” Ekwin said. “For any other of my Order members you would be right, but you are a special case.”

“You’re going to divinely intervene and save me again?” I asked, not believing him.

“No, you’re still dead, deader than dead. I’m not even sure if Mercy will survive this. You’re so dead that the fossilized dinosaur this explosion is going to uncover is more alive than you,” Ekwin assured me unhelpfully. “But you’re a Lich, you’ll come back.”

“No, my phylactery shattered, I felt it. There is no coming back.”

“Oh, that’s right.” Ekwin smiled apologetically. “My apologies, I forgot that in frozen time you three-dimensional beings can’t really do anything. I made the changes a nano second before your phylactery went poof, or tried to go poof.”

The world flickered and a notification appeared, and honest to God notification, not the broken shit I’ve had this whole time.

Journey of Mortality

Tasks Complete

3 of 3

You are a trespasser in this world. Regardless if you were brought here on accident, or on purpose, you were brought here in error. Your soul does not belong here.

Task one, Redemption’s Cost, complete. You have found and accepted who and what you are in this world. The cost of acceptance is not simple to understand.

Task two, Vindication’s Path, complete. You have accepted that this world is your own and that you must take action in it and not be a passive observer.

Task three, Absolution’s Steps, complete. You have shown a willingness to sacrifice yourself for this world with no ulterior motives or hope. For this world that is yours, you were willing to give up everything.

Rewards: Through your actions, your soul has become part of this world, though I cannot give you the immortality like the other bound souls from Earth enjoy, I can give you something close.

Traits gained:

Inextinguishable Phylactery: Your phylactery is made out of materials so immutable and perfect, anything less than a direct act one of the three supreme deities cannot harm it. Even then, it is questionable if they can harm it without great effort.

System Patch: Your system interface has been patched to more closely resemble that which bound souls enjoy. This does not make it exactly the same, but close enough.

P.S. I do this out of respect for the creator of your universe in an attempt to follow the intent of our deal and not the letter of it. So don’t go thinking I did it for you.


I read the prompt multiple times. “So… this means my phylactery cannot be destroyed, yes?”

“Exactly. Unless you somehow manage to piss off the big three, yes,” Ekwin agreed. “Unfortunately, if you die, you will still be stuck in it until you have the energy to resurrect, but it’s the best I could do.”

“Then… you’re Altor,” I said, confirming what was implied by the wording.

“One and the same,” Ekwin smiled. “This is one of the only ways I can directly interact with my creation. I am bound by rules and can only do certain things, but those things can be fun. Also, you know you can’t tell anyone.”

“I won’t,” I promised.

“No, I mean like, you actually can’t.” Ekwin shrugged. “If you try to tell anyone it will be like when you go to tell someone something but you can’t remember it.”

“I hate when that happens.” I glared at him. “You can do that?”

“Ekwin can’t.” He smiled. “And don’t worry about it. It’s not really messing with your memory, it’s more like a law of the universe. Anyways, I need to go, the excess power for the transformation should make it so you can resurrect. No waiting several hundred years this time.”

“Thank you,” I said, trying to convey my sincere gratitude.

“Whatever do you mean?” Ekwin winked and opened a door that had not been there until he reached for it. Stepping through into the gray light, the door closed, and he was gone.

The world unfroze. I did not do as expected and go straight to my phylactery. I found myself hovering above where I died, like players do. I decided to watch the show.

Friar Brown was already gone from the top of the altar. He would make sure everyone got out.

The magic took a few minutes to build, but when it finally erupted, Ekwin was right, it did dig down and find dinosaur skeletons. Unfortunately for Freya, she didn’t get to keep her temple. The explosion was so violent that it tore into the earth deep enough that it broke through an aquifer. As water streamed into the bottom of the crater, I selected to return to my phylactery.

This chapter is updat𝙚d by f(r)eew𝒆bn(o)