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Virgo laid down on a silk mattress. Master Parvus had returned briefly. He turned his hand and watched as ants tended to a newly planted flower in the corner of his room. He had brought new plants from the other world, Galbar, and had created ants to grow more of them. He stated that he liked that particular type of flower, and so his master had ordered them to plant them within his room.

The concept of owning a room was still foreign to him. He understood that Parvus had dominion over the Hive and that there were other spheres owned by different gods. He still struggled with the idea of owning a part of the Hive. It was easier to view it as the room where he went to sleep. Sleep was also a new concept. He had experienced it multiple times, but he did not know what was occurring. Parvus has explained it to him, but he still did not understand it.

He raised one of his hand into the light of the moss and examined the ring which his god had gifted him. It was a simple golden ring with runes inscribed around it. He could not read them. Parvus told him that they meant, "Protection to the Faithful. Toxins shall not harm the dutiful wearer." Some of the plants were poisonous and that this ring would protect him from them.

He showed his god his work. However, he seemed less interested in the blue paste he had been working on, and more interested in the strange, stony beetle. It upset him, but he didn't understand why.

The new plants excited him, but he was told to wait. Unlike the insects of the hive, they were not numberless. If he was not careful, he could deplete this limited resource. He was excited to continue his experiment, but for the time being, K'nell pull began to become irresistible.



Parvus had spent some time exploring Atokhekwoi. The Selka and Ihokhetlani showed promise but were both young. He felt both duty and compassion towards the people of Galbar. However, they were not his only concern. He had heard a songbird accuse Vakk of serious crimes. He could not be sure it was true, but he would remember it. Atmav was also a concern. He had heard her prayer to release her from debt but did not act on it immediately. Debt is complicated, and he is busy. He had also learned she had attacked the Selka in a fit of rage after the fact. There was much to do.

Walking around was starting to become inefficient. Parvus reached into the earth and molded a giant dragonfly, pulling it from the ground. His ichor flowed into it, granting it life. He named it Volant. It was larger than a horse and had two pairs of wings. Not only is it amazingly fast and durable, but most importantly, it is silent and difficult to track.

Riding atop Volant, he was able to travel around Galbar collecting various flowers and herbs, collecting them within a large silk bag.

After finishing, he returned to the Fel Isles, landing on the central, western island. He named it Pallium. Sentient life was starting to become more common, and soon he would have followers. He would need to ensure his followers are well-equipped and well rewarded.

He blessed a species of spider on the island, naming it the Pallium Spider. By weaving its silk into clothing, the wearer would be sneakier. He also created the Gradus snake. Gradus leather boots did not leave footprints and were quieter.

He stopped for a moment and considered his creations. He felt a pang of guilt and shame. They were created to hide things. Since arriving within this realm, he had been guarded and selective with what he had told the other gods. He could not trust them. He couldn't trust anyone.

He spent some time meditating, considering his past life, his history on Galbar, and the future. After some time, the guilt faded, and muttered the mantra, ” Stealth is a tool. I will use it well.”, as a Pallium spider wove a web into between his fingers.



Thumfatem paced around his meager hut. His elbows were as square as they could be behind his back, his wide forearms smooshed together. All around him old fish hung. Their smelly, oily bodies ripe with a clear fermented liquid often used to relieve pain. His bed was little more than dried grass and reeds. Shells decorated where they could be reasonably laced to the hut’s material with lashings.

“Where is he,” Thumfatem turned and paced again, mumbling to himself. The fur covering the door shifted slightly, as a single butterfly flew into the room and rested on the wall. Its wings had a painted quality that resembled eyes. Thumfatem seemed to pay it no mind as he rubbed his blubbery chin in thought, his grumbles continuing. A second butterfly crawled from the ground and fly on the opposing wall. The painted eyes appeared to move and watch the selkie as he walked across the room. Thumfatem turned to one of them briefly and shuddered, quickly returning to his one sided rant.

Two of the mysterious butterflies entered the tent, merely resting on the wall and glaring at him. Thumfatem peered over his shoulder at the fluttering eye pattern. His eyes darted to the first one that entered, then the second, until he had connected an invisible line between them all. He looked up to nothing in particular, “What is this?”

A voice echoed in his mind, “Does my ethereal presence displease you, Prophet of the Selka.”

The sudden words caused Thumfatem to jump, his flailing arms slapping a few of the hanging fish and emitting an oily odor, “Ah!” He quickly covered his mouth and strung a few fingers along his whiskers, “Who- who speaks?”

The voice answered, ”I am Lord Parvus, sovereign of insects and god of toxins.”

Thumfatem seemed to pale at the mention of a God, “W-where do you stand?”

The god replied, ”Insects are merely an extension of my ichor. I am within your hut, and I am outside it.”

“Oh,” The Selka stretched his imagination, “I see. Well, to what do I owe the honor?” He puffed up his chest and collected himself.

There was a slight pause, ”I am interested in the welfare of all mortal races. Is it not appropriate that I visit the prophet of the greatest Selka village? I need to ensure that all is in order. That the Selka will have a strong leader, a wise advisor, and that they will keep their god’s commandments.”

“All is in order,” Thumfatem charmed, “Father Kirron is running a tight ship through his chosen leaders and prophets. The greatest of all Selka hunters himself has sworn to capture a bird of great power for our sacrifice alone.”

There was a pause, as the strange butterflies still glared at the selkie, ”It would appear that way would it not. There is great reward for pious duty, and grave consequences for failing said duty.” the voice echoed, nonchalantly.

“Oh of course!” Thumfatem rested his hands on his stomach, “The Grottu know this best.”

There was another pause, ”As prophet, you are granted certain luxuries for your great service, but your transgressions would also be weighed greater than a common worker.” the voice continued, still in a neutral tone.

Thumfatem slipped a fat finger between his teeth, “I suppose that makes sense, yes.”

The god continued, ”I have other business to attend to, however if you continue to devote yourself to your holy work, I shall reward you. For the time being, I shall bestow a small blessing upon your village.”

“Puh- Please!” Thumfatem inclined his head respectfully towards the butterflies, “All and any help is much appreciated.”

The voice replied, "Within your waves, you shall find a colorful fish bearing the mark of the butterflies' eye. Whenever one of your peoples has a fever, find it, and grind its fins to dust. It shall alleviate their ailment." . When he was finished, the butterflies began to leave the tent, one by one.

Thumfatem stood in shock, and only after a moment, he muffled a shout, “Thank you!”

He stood still for a moment longer, and then with as much energy as the fat seal could force, he burst out of his hut in a waddle. He slipped behind the other huts in an attempt to remain incognito and with a clunky slide, he slid into the beaches waves. He scooped water before him as he swam, eyes wide and curious. It took him a while, but eventually he spotted it slipping through a reef: butterfly eyes. A toothy grin formed on his mouth and bubbles escapes. He let out a water filled yelp of joy and quickly ascended.





Virgo cautiously stirred a blue liquid within the ceramic cauldron. It was a surprisingly difficult task to boil a crushed beetle.

Finding and grabbing the beetle was easy. Trying to squish the beetle by hand did nothing. The bucket and ladle also could not crush the bug. He left to find a rock and whenever he returned the beetle had escaped. After recapturing the beetle, he was able to squish it with the stone. It wasn't ideal. It also left a blue stain on the table.

He started to pour the substance into one of the ceramic jars, using the silk strainer to filter out the solid bug guts. While the resulting liquid was blue, it couldn't dye material.

Unperturbed, he tried again, and again, and again. As he worked, he began to carve simple tools from wood to help him. He experimented with different combinations of crushed insects.

He managed to create a crude pestle that was more efficient than a rock. He tried to make a mortar. It was more difficult than he expected with such a crude knife and poor quality wood. Instead, he carved a simple board so he wouldn't need to dirty the table further.

He also learned how to control the temperature of the cauldron. It responded to his thoughts whenever he touched it. Out of curiosity, he also poured a failed batch of bug juice into the basin. After a few moments, the water levels raised forcing the contamination out and on to the floor.

The region immediately surrounding the alchemy lab had plenty of glowing moss. However, deeper into the Hive, the light was more scarce.

He was looking for more beetles when he wandered into a dark area. While walking, he stumbled. He turned around to pick up whatever he tripped on. To his surprise, it was a rocky beetle. He brought it over to light to examine it more closely. It was certainly interesting. Sadly, it was not useful for the task at hand. He attempted to squish it with his crude pestle, but its shell was too hard. He had to kill it using a large rock. He then stored it in a bottle for later.

He also began to try to separate specific parts of the bug. He would kill an insect, remove the piece he wanted, and place it a pile. He would then crush and boil that pile.

Eventually, he managed to create a blue paste. It was not a dye; however, he could smear it on stone. It was not what he had intended, but he made a mental note of how he created it. It was interesting. The jars containing his failed experiments were neatly piled up on the floor. He proudly placed the blue paste jar on one of the shelves.

There was a realization that simple tasks for gods could be very difficult for mortals. However, this did not discourage him. He was excited to continue and to learn. However, his body began to feel sluggish. His eyes felt heavy.

He had eaten while he was experimenting. He particularly enjoyed the taste of honey. He also enjoyed boiled crickets. He drank clean water from the basin. This sensation was different than pain, which he felt when he accidentally hit his fingers with a rock.

He found himself closing his eyes and laying against one of the cabinets.



Parvus left the Hive and walked around the Fel Isles. As he did, he collected snake eggs in a large silk bag. As the god of toxins, he had fully intended to create deadly poisons as tools. The threat of war simply made this task more urgent. He decided to concentrate his attention on the Fel Isle, and the surrounding region. Not only would this help protect his gateway, but he also had the greatest claim to this area.

He had found creating life from nothing to be difficult. However, even a simple base would ease the work. He dug three holes in the dirt and separated the eggs into them.

Drawing primordial venom from his chitin stinger, he separated it into three different liquids. He imbued each of the toxins which his power and filled each hole with one of them. The eggs drank from the poisons, causing them to mutate.

He took two of the clutches and stored them in separate bags. He turned to the remaining eggs, naming them basilisks, and ordering them to hatch.

Tiny six-legged lizards emerged and scattered. After a few moments, they begin to grow in size becoming three to four feet long. Their fangs imbued with a potent toxin that caused their victim's skin to harden and blood to clot.

He next walked eastward over the ocean. Dropping of the bags of eggs into the water and allowing it to sink. He named them hydras and commanded them to hatch. Tiny lizards exited the bag. They began to swim in every direction, slowly growing larger, growing extra heads, and having their necks grow into long snake-like appendages.

Eventually, they become massive, nine-headed creatures. Their blood is slightly poisonous though easily neutralized by salt. However, their bites inject a potent toxin that causes necrosis.

Afterward, he continued west to the salt marsh. He dropped his final bag on the muddy ground of the wetlands. He named them cockatrices, and order them to hatch. Chicks escaped from the silk bag. Their feet were webbed. They had ragged feathers, a snake tail, and a scaly face. After a few moments, they grew to their full size which was only slightly larger than a chicken. They are capable of breathing out a poisonous gas which causes muscle weakness. However, unlike balisisks and hydras, they are not particularly dangerous and primarily eat fish and bugs.


Parvus
___
Dwelling within the Hive, Parvus was contemplating. He remembered that he could identify an object's creator by sensing a lingering essence. Thinking about it, he recognized how this could be troublesome in the future. However, with all of his contemplating and sensing, he had only obtained vague, ethereal insights. A pain swelled in his chest, a feeling that if he could not do something this simple, he was unworthy of his position.

Calling upon experience, he attempted to hide his presence. When it failed, his chest felt tighter. His arm extended, and he nearly punched his tree before stopping himself. He attempted to calm himself, and he whispered a silent prayer.

Once again, he attempted to hide his presence, but this time he shrouded himself with his power and willed it to vanish. After a few moments, it worked. He noticed imperfections with his technique. He would need to perfect it later, while this was important, he had a more urgent task at hand.

He wandered into an empty, cavernous room of the Hive, and compelled all insects to leave. He sanctified the room. Wood sprouted from the walls and floor creating basic shelves, cabinets, and tables. Clay emerged from the wall and formed into ceramic jars, a cauldron, and a basin.

The cauldron was enchanted to warm itself, and the basin was enchanted to refill itself with clean water.

The clay began to shape itself, forming into a humanoid figure with four-arms. He dyed it blue with insect pigment and covered it in silk robes. He grabbed a hand full of soul ash and imbued it with knowledge. He embedded the soul ash into the construct and began to stir to life.

After a few moments, the clay figure turned into a living being of flesh and bone. Parvus spoke this creature, ”Are you aware of your situation.”

The blue creature paused, and replied uncertainly, "I am Virgo. You are Parvus, my creator."

Parvus continued, ”Are you aware of your purpose.”

Virgo responded, "To discover knowledge that may aid you."

Parvus paused, and asked one final question, ”Are you displeased by your situation or your purpose.”

Virgo paused, and then replied, "I am not. I would wish to begin immediately."

Parvus nodded. He waved his hand over a table, creating a bucket and ladle. He also created a silk strainer. Parvus said, ”The insects of the hive are at your disposable.”

Virgo nodded, and started to work as Parvus left the laboratory. Thoughts bounced around his mind, but he was still confused. However, he was driven by loyalty and curiosity.

He noticed his clothing was white. He had a vague, implanted memory of Parvus easily creating a dye. He decided that his first project would be to create dyes.





Parvus
____

As Parvus walked, ocean water eventually gave way to land. Consumed by his thoughts, he did not notice immediately. He continued to walk to the western shore of the peninsula. He examined the barren region. He reached into the ground, grabbing a chunk of stone from it. With his hands, he molded into a stick.

His travels eventually lead him to the southern-most point of the western shore of the peninsula. His thoughts were elsewhere, and he nearly began to shape the earth before his eyes glanced back to the rock stick he was carrying. His eyes turned to the ocean, eating away at the rocky shore. He cast his thoughts of war and destructive gods away so that he could focus on the task at hand.

He imbued the rock stick he was carrying with life and tossed it into the ocean. When it landed, it began to grow into a mangrove tree. It rooted itself into the shallows, and as it did, more of its kind sprouted. He took a leaf from his hand, crushed it into dust, and threw his fist into the ground. The rocky surface gave way to mud. As soon as the ground softened, grasses appeared over it. Reeds, mangroves, and other salt-tolerant plants grew within the marsh.

Waves broke against the roots of the mangrove trees, but the ocean water still flowed into the muddy ground. The insect god felt his energy wane, and he grew physically tired. With the remaining vestiges of power, he conjured animals from the mud. Insects, fish, crustaceans, reptiles, and birds emerged from the waterlogged landscape.

He examined his newly formed marsh briefly. He then began to walk towards the Fel Isles, slower than usual. While his mind was preoccupied with thought, his foot dipped behind the water. He shrugged this off and eventually walked into his garden. Laying under his apple tree, he contemplated.


@Kho It is rude to talk about people behind their back, that is why I would like to say I stated why I believe your newest post is objectively the worst thing ever on discord.
Among the Ashes


Parvus began to grow flustered by his thoughts. He emerged from the Hive, and cast his gaze in all directions. He decided to walk towards the Eye of Desolation, vaguely aware of a divine presence in the region. He feared going mad if he lingered within his domain for to long.

As he approached, he was better able to identify the divine presence, Asceal. He announced his presence ”Hello, Asceal.”

”Parvus?” Asceal asked, even speaking telepathically her voice had nervous edge to it, “What are you doing here?”

”I required some time away from my thoughts, and I had noticed a divine presence in this region. I merely wish to talk, if that is acceptable to you.” he said.

The Goddess’s voice seemed calmer as she replied, ”I see. Yes, yes that’s fine. I’m not far from you, would you like to meet in person?”

He simply replied with,”Yes. Should I go to you?”

“To me?” There was a long pause before Asceal continued, “Yes, that’s fine. I’ll be waiting.”

As Parvus continued towards Asceal, he noticed her energy infused the land. The island itself was scorched, and yet he saw some birds fly by him unscathed. Whenever he approached Asceal, he asked, ”While I have certain topics I believe need to be addressed, I believe it will polite to ask if there is anything you wish to speak of first.”

The Goddess swooped down to met him, her landing kicking up a small cloud of ash which she dispelled by flapping the shimmering wings on her back. She regarded Parvus curiously, “I’d ask if you did this,” she gestured to the island around her, “But it would be a meaningless question. It isn’t your essence in the ash, and I don’t think either of us are fool enough to not recognize whose it is.”

There was a slight pause, ”Yes, you are correct.”. There was another small pause, ”If I may be so bold, may I ask what you intend to do? It may not be my place, but you must understand, we are all bound to the fate of Galbar.”

“I’ll wait,” Asceal sighed, “And then when it happens again, and it will happen again, I’ll try and stop it.” She ran a hand through her hair and grimaced, “Katharsos, Melantha, Orvus, Sartravius, they can’t be allowed to keep doing this, not uncontested. I know I can’t stop them, especially not alone, but what am I if I don’t try? I’ve failed enough already.”

Parvus made note of each god she mentioned, ”Orvus is also a concern for us, nature gods. He has attacked Phystene, and thus I am forced to consider how I should handle him.” he said.

“Phystene told me of his promise,” The Goddess’s voice became serious and her body began to glow brighter, “And I swore to her that I’d be there when he tries again.”

”I believe I can trust you with this. Right now, I would rather avoid divine casualties, as it could have unforeseen consequences. I believe I learned more about the nature of divinity, I could weaken and imprison gods. However, that is more easily stated than done. I would appreciate your assistance if it is ever necessary to do this. ” he stated.

“Imprison Orvus?” Asceal asked, her voice tinged with equal parts hope and skepticism, “You think you can do that? I…” She took a moment to breathe, her glow dimming as she did, “I won’t lie and say I don’t prefer that to the alternative. Yes, I’d help you do it, but only it can be done without endangering another. If Orvus comes to finish what he started and you’re not ready Parvus, I will do whatever I have to to save Phystene. You understand?”

Parvus paused, ”I understand. At this time, I can not say if this is possible. I will need time to understand the nature of our domains.” he said, pausing to grab a broken, charred piece of wood and wrapping it in a bag of silk. A faint green glow engulfed the bag, and he handed it to Asceal, ”I wish to give you this. Be gentle with it.”

Asceal eyed the bag questioningly as she took it. The Goddess opened it slightly and looked at Parvus questioningly once she saw the grubs within, “Little animals?” She asked.

Parvus smirked, ”I guess you could refer to them as tiny animals. However, more precisely they are insects, creatures of domain and my ichor. While they may not appear to be much at the moment, they will be more valuable than precious metal.” he gestured to his clothing, ”There are various insects within that bag, but chief among them are the silkworms which make silk and honeybees which make honey. The other insects serve to nourish plant life. Silk is the material which composes my clothing, and honey is a delicious sweet.” he explained.

“Oh,” Asceal closed the bag and held it more gently. She returned Parvus’s smile, “Thank you. Istais, my island, will be richer for having them.”

With that said the Goddess paused and looked over Parvus’s shoulder at the island around them. Asceal’s expression faded and her eyes flicked to the ground where she kicked a small pile of ash over, “As for your project… I truly hope you succeed Parvus. There’s been more than enough suffering already.”

Parvus nodded, ”I need to look into a continent which has sprouted in between my isles and here, and then I will return to research. I wish you luck in your endeavours as well.” he said, bowing.

Asceal watched him depart before she too took her leave, bag in hand.



Parvus
____

After his conversation with Kalmar, Parvus returned into the depths of the Hive. He first went to a cavernous room with stone walls. He took the picture which Li had given him and placed it on one of the walls. A waxy substance emerged from his hand and sealed it in place. He snapped his fingers, and bees begin to swarm into the room, and immediately begin to create a new nest in the center of the room. A new task has been inscribed into the being, preserve.

He continued down the winding corridors of his realm until he found himself in front of his apple tree. Under its branch, he silently chanted a prayer, as though a force of habit.

While he still needed to perform his task of spreading life, he decided to rest underneath his tree to contemplate. He started to seriously consider how he should handle a god who was a threat to either himself or Galbar. He needed to have a good position in order to challenge other gods. Simple ecosystems allowed him to expand his influence. However, he would need more. Creating a complex creature, like alligators, was difficult for him. He would need to do something to alleviate that issue whenever he had the chance. An assistant could be helpful.

As for disabling gods, it seemed the most reasonable course of action is severing them from their sphere to weaken them and then imprison them. However, saying it was more simple than achieving it. He would need to better understand the relationship between gods and their domains. He also considered potential, vacant spheres. If they existed, he might be able to convert one into a prison. However, he would need to make sure this wouldn't offend the Architect or the other gods. There was so much to consider. The plan was not without any merit but was very uncertain. However, he needed something concrete to try to slow Kalmar, and hopefully prevent him from doing something foolish.

He laid under his apple tree, consumed by his thoughts and attempting to fight off unpleasant memories.

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