Chapter 194: Boundary "You can make it hatch?" said Aldrich. "That's interesting. I would have thought your powers wouldn't be able to interact with it so easily, considering it isn't from Elduin." "Yes, but there is something else here that is from Elduin, is there not?" The
Death Lord turned to Aldrich and tapped the bone of his sternum with her pipe.
Underneath his ribcage, his dark purple Phylactery was barely visible, surrounding by his passively generated aura of green energy. "Me?" said Aldrich. "Yes, my dear, you. Through my link with you, I can sense what is going on to a degree," said the Death Lord. "Now then, I am sure you understand some idea of what is happening within your Phylactery, yes?"
Aldrich nodded. To recap, the Chrysalis was essentially incubating inside of his
Phylactery. It did so as an adaptive response to mana exposure. Chrysales changed themselves to use the resources around them, and if all that was available was mana, then it would change itself to use it.
However, complex manipulation of mana required a functional soul. As a result, it had been feeding o not only Aldrich's mana, but his soul as well, analyzing it to try and replicate it.
The end result would be a being that derived its existence directly from Aldrich.
In Fler'Gan's somewhat uncomfortable wording, it was basically akin to having a child. "I do," said Aldrich. "I'm surprised you do, considering you were holed up here most of the time." "We are always connected, Death Walker. We always have been, from the very moment you became an undead and called upon your Necromancy." said the
Death Lord. She gazed at Aldrich with an inspecting look. "The more I think about it, the more my interest in you grows.
The Necromancy you practice, the Occultations of Shattered Bone and Legion and Cold Rot - all of those hail from me.
Necromancy was an old power that predated even my ancient birth, but it was I who gathered it into a proper art. To use any of its spells is to in part draw from me in the same way that a Lifelight priest draws from that ugly goddess when they cast their self-righteous little sparkles.
For you to use Necromancy necessitates my existence. Thus, I manifested, as if in response to your need.
It would seem you are quite literally a 'Nexus' point by which all of us from
Elduin may derive existence.
Hence, why I do not want you o in a hurry to die so quickly.
If you die, I fear that you, our 'anchor' to this realm, will fade, and we will return to oblivion once more." "This is mainly for my curiosity, but do you remember where you were before you came here?" said Aldrich. "Dead, was I not?" said the Death Lord. "The is the last memory I have, at the least. You and all your heroes wearing me down. I would have been ne falling to the hands of worthy heroes.
But in the end, that lthy wench of a goddess was the one to appear, stopping you when I was all but defeated. Of course, she was too coward to face me herself.
And of course, she had to preach about saving the world before smiting me down and taking the killing blow.
Gah! Even thinking about the memory drives my stress dangerously high-,"
The Death Lord clenched her st, snapping her pipe into pieces. "Ah, apologies.
That was unseemly of me." "I see," said Aldrich. It seemed that for people like the Death Lord who had died in the story of Elden World, they remembered up to their deaths. For people like
Valera who were still supposed to be alive, they remembered falling into a vague, dreamlike state of waiting.
There was not enough information for Aldrich to make a conclusion out of, but he kept all this in the back of his head. "But as for that thing you are hosting, I am assuming the Mind Eater told you to incubate it within your Phylactery. And by keeping the Phylactery close to your being, you kept conditions stable for the creature," said the Death Lord. "You would be right about that. What he didn't tell me was how long I would have to do it. I haven't received any signals from the Chrysalis that it's ready to hatch. Even trying to reach out to it with a mental link doesn't yield much of a response." "Ah, so it is called a Chrysalis? An aptly tting name. I shall tell you then: the time is now. It is ready to hatch. It simply needs an infusion of magical energy," said the Death Lord. "Really? That's all it takes?" said Aldrich. "A mana infusion? Even I can do that."
To prove his point, Aldrich swirled his mana around himself. Green strands owered all around him in rhythmic, owing patterns. "Impressive mana control, Death Walker. Unlike ordinary mages that spend long years learning how to direct the ow of mana, the knowledge seems to be directly engraved into your being," said the Death Lord. "But that alone is not enough.
The Chrysalis is held within your Phylactery, no? Then you need someone that can unseal it.
Granted, the Mind Eater can do so, considering he was the one that crafted it.
But what he does not have is the magic.
The sheer quantity of magical energy this creature needs is staggering.
Only I with the Necropolis can provide it." "What would the Chrysalis need that much magical energy for?" wondered
Aldrich. "To forge its soul? I was under the impression it could do that naturally, given time and exposure to my own soul and mana." "No, no, not that. Tell me, Death Walker, you must be familiar with the concept of a Boundary, are you not?"
Aldrich raised a brow in recognition, and the Death Lord smiled. "Yes, of course you would," said the Death Lord. "Some undead that are attuned well with the ow of spirits may create Boundaries where the owers of death blooms their strongest.
But powerful undead are all naturally attuned to spirits, to the ow of death.
Thus, they all develop Boundaries of their own as a matter of course in their growth.
The stronger the undead, the stronger their Boundary, as you can see."
The Death Lord gestured to the Arena around her, to the entire Necropolis that housed it. This was her Boundary. A massive dimension akin to an entire city. . "I know where you're getting at," said Aldrich. "If I'm following correctly, then the Chrysalis is...trying to create its own Boundary?" "Your Boundary," corrected the Death Lord. "Hm." Aldrich put a hand to his chin. "But if I remember correctly, Liches don't develop proper Boundaries until they ascend into becoming an Arch Lich.
That's level 60 at least." "Oh, please, dear Death Walker, do you compare yourself even now with the ordinary Lich?" The Death Lord rolled her eyes. "Come now. With such a strong connection to me, did you truly think you would grow like the normal Lich, wasting away in study and experimentation and training for centuries to try and replicate a fraction of my strength?
No, you receive my power directly. Your growth, therefore, will naturally be exceptional." "A boundary, hm..." Aldrich put a hand to his ribs in contemplation.
Unlike say, the [Spirit Boundary] of lower leveled undead like the Deildeghast or Ghast, Boundaries from high leveled undead were much stronger and much more varied.
A proper Boundary took, as the Death Lord described, centuries to properly develop. Liches naturally started to develop Boundaries at a certain stage in their existence, but most regular Liches could only project an incomplete
These looked like large swathes of watery darkness yet to be shaped into anything specic. But even those were deadly.
In incomplete Boundaries, Liches grew considerably stronger, gaining additional stats, bus to their units, and bonuses to some of their spells.
But that was nothing compared to a complete Boundary. A complete Boundary was quite literally like a separate dimension.
This dimension was unique to every single Lich, representing their inner world - their very soul.
Thus, most later game boss ghts against Arch Liches often involved a second phase where the Arch Lich unleashed their Boundary, forcing the player to ght them in an inner world of their making.
An extreme example was the Death Lord's Necropolis and Death Realm. These technically were just her Boundary. No other Lich came close to having a
Boundary that large and developed, but if Aldrich was going to succeed her, it meant he was destined for it.
Now it made sense. Why the Death Realm and Necropolis were merged into the
Nexus. Slowly but surely, the Death Lord was preparing to hand down this entire realm to him. "Still, even I did not expect you to develop a Boundary this quickly," said the
Death Lord. "Even with absorption of my powers. I have not given you that much yet. I was waiting, as you said, for you to reach the power level of an Arch
Lich, for I had not thought you ready.
You may thank this 'Chrysalis' for this. It seems to be a creature with an anity for manipulating space, and it has created a 'shell' of a surprisingly developed
Boundary for you.
All it requires is an infusion of magical energy that will serve as the raw building material to ll in that 'shell'."
Basically, Aldrich noted, the Chrysalis had drawn up the blueprints for the
Boundary, but it lacked the magical energy - the bricks and stones and wood - to actually build it. This, the Death Lord said she was going to provide. "How complete exactly is this Boundary?" said Aldrich. "And I thought Liches could customize their own Boundaries according to their wills. In my case, though, something else has essentially made it for me." "An oversimplication," explained the Death Lord. "Boundaries are malleable yes, but at their core, they are inexible. They represent who you are at a fundamental level, and that is something dicult, if not impossible, to alter.
What we do when we develop our Boundaries is build upon that core. We layer over it, often creating grand realms, but that core remains the same. The core of my realm, for example, is a small room no larger than a few paces wide.
But that miniscule room represents who I am at the deepest level. All of this, the elds of spectral lilies, the towering Necropolis itself, are simply accessories.
You may change some aspects of a Boundary. Increase its size, its benecial eects, and so on and so forth, but the core it builds upon remains the exact same.
The Chrysalis has shaped that 'core' of your Boundary. As for how much more development it has done over it, hm..."
The Death Lord narrowed her eyes as she stared at Aldrich. She shrugged. "I cannot tell too well.
The Chrysalis is, after all, still a foreign entity to me. I cannot sense it completely.
At the very least, you should not witness simple darkness as is common with
Liches that manage to project incomplete Boundaries for the rst time.
There will be a dened core there. A space you can interact with beyond splashing around in raw energy.
But how dened it is, how large it is, what is actually within it - I simply do not know.
All I know is that it will represent who you are. It will show the deepest, most fundamental part of your self.
I will warn you now, Death Walker. The very rst time you gaze upon the shape of your Boundary may be a harrowing experience.
It brings you face to face with the deepest parts of your being. And for very many, what they choose to harbor in those depths is not something they ever wish to see. Often, they use those dark depths to hide that which they do not wish to bring to the light.
It may very well be the same for you."