He woke slowly, his thoughts jumbled and sluggish. He could not move. He could barely think.
How do you define the absence of all input? How do you quantify losing all your senses?
For that is what follows when the entirety of your existence is a void. Neither light nor dark, cold nor warm...
Unable to cope with this new existence his mind turned cannibalistic. Devouring all but the faintest sense of self:
A name. That was the total sum of his existence.
That is how long he spent raving at the walls in his mind. Disjointed images flashing through his consciousness like bolts of lightning tearing through his mind's eye...
A spec of light on the horizon. The contrast turning it from the size of a pin to a blazing sun, ravishing his retinas.
Someone was calling to him. He was certain of it. This wasn't another fever dream, another nightmare hallucination meant to torment him.
Through sheer will and pure spite he forced himself into consciousness. His battered mind pulsing in exquisite agony. He welcomed it. Embraced it. Rejoiced through the pain, the signal that his nightmare existence had come to an end.
"... h-hello?" He murmered, his voice sounding alien to his ears.
He cracked open his crusty eyes to find himself staring at a oval-shaped ceiling with no visible light fixtures, illuminated as it was from within. He was lying on the floor... Somewhere.
He sat up slowly, the pain in his head having receded somewhat.
Taking in his surroundings he noticed that he was wearing naught but a pale blue hospital gown.
Wtf. Why am I in a hospital gown. Better yet- how the fuck did I get here?
"I'm awake. Who's there?"
"My name is Syntha, in order to streamline the process I will tell you all you need to know in order to proceed. Please do not interrupt while I explain your current situation:
Where you are is irrelevant, suffice it to say you are currently in a... Let's call it a transitionary state. How you came to be here is also irrelevant as it would do more harm than good at the moment for me to expound on your situation. You have a Choice. You can return to the state you were in before I awakened you or you can begin anew.
" Wait! Why must I choose? Why can't you just tell me what is going on? What kind of sick choice is that anyway? I'd rather die than go back. "
From one blink to the next Eadric found himself in a white space, floating serenely as if gravity had never existed in this place.
Well... Shit. What do I do now?
Suddenly a screen appeared in his vision, on it were the words: "Character Selection"
Not knowing what else he could do he tried touching the screen, to no avail. Next he concentrated on the words and a new prompt appeared showcasing different mythical and mundane races.
Awh you gotta be shitting me. This is a game?
THIS IS NOT A GAME. TREAT IT AS SUCH AND YOU WILL REGRET IT. A mechanical voiced bombarded his hearing.
Uhm. Ok. Sorry then. Wait! It read my thoughts!
Astonished at the multitude of choices before him, Eadric felt overwhelmed as he scrolled through the seemingly endless rows upon rows of races and subraces and their myriad permutations.
Thinking back he felt vague resistance prohibiting him from accessing all his memories. He could however remember playing various games, from now defunkt cartridge consoles to tabletop RPG games.
Drawing inspiration from these he narrowed down his search to 'humanoid' and alignment: 'Neutral' and above. This greatly reduced the possibilities available to him, but not enough, he fiddled with the filters finding obscure and sometimes meaningless words which he could neither ascertain their purpose nor worth.
One criteria immediately drew his attention: Magic.
Perplexed Eadric tried sitting out of reflex but only managed to disoriented himself, he righted his body and started using the process of elimination, conjecture he knew, was as dangerous as it was possibly useless. Nevertheless the image of Holmes and Watson bickering about a stolen tent brought a chuckle to the fore as he contemplated the merits of further deduction.
Any fool can know. The point is to understand. Who said that? I believe it was Einstein himself? Well, I would be a fool to reach conclusions without thorough study of the information available to me.
Eadric further browsed through seemingly endless available races for what felt like hours, his mind still sluggish and lethargic, he would often question the unknown voice and was awarded with more silence every time.
Firstly. This place has magic, it can be reasonably assumed then that some races would be more proficient with it's use than others.
Assuming such races exist, which he promptly verified using the search function, it stands to reason that different types of magic exist.
The voice had not indicated any time period for this... Game, thing? Thus I must assume my choice is permanent and irrevocable. Great.
There are numerous monster races and sentient beasts, it stands to reason that this world will not be peaceful and Industrial, on the contrary, if there is a dominant species or race they are not as efficient at genocidal extermination of other species as humans.
"Shit." I can only assume that it will be the magical equivalent of the dark ages. That does not bode well for my continued existence. Oh well. C'est la vie.
Any further deduction can only do more harm than good, I am underequipped to appreciate all the necessary nuances and I'll just have to do my best at an educated guess.
Further study led Eadric to a race known as Thereyim.
Dwellers of the Abyssal Forest.
This once populace race is thought to be descendants of Verdere Elves. Tall of stature and green of limb, these reclusive beings have an unsurpassed connection to Nature* and Mind magic.
*Note that a Thereyim's magic is mostly intuitive and have a slight disadvantage when studying new spells by rote.
The last part bothered Eadric a bit, but he reasoned that in all likelihood he wouldn't have access to spell scrolls or whatever the equivalent was wherever he would start.
Mind magic... Guess that's probably like telepathy or telekinesis or something, I'll be bending spoons in no time. I really hope the disadvantage isn't crippling, but if I can deduct anything from that it is that magic in this world is earned and not as easy as picking up a scroll and Bam! Fireball!
Also, the fact that it states that Thereyims are tall people is a welcome addition as I don't know how I'd cope with suddenly being small. I just hope my back doesn't hurt all the time wherever I'll be going.
Satisfied with his choice Eadric selected his race, a violet prompt appeared in his vision:
Note: Your choice is irreversible and cannot be undone, other races or mutations are however available in rare and specific circumstances.
CANDIDATE. KNOW THIS. YOU HAVE RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING BOONS:
1) THE GIFT OF TONGUES. You shall understand and be able to converse with most races. You will only be able to read some races' languages.
2) NIGHT VISION. You shall be able to see in most lighting conditions.
3) LIMITLESS ADAPTABILITY. You have been freed from mortal constraints.
"Thank you... Uhm, Sir? I appreciate the gifts, but what does limitless adaptability mean?"
Guess it's safe to assume he doesn't mean that literally. Oh well, I can wait.
CHOOSE YOUR STARTING POINT CANDIDATE.
Eadric observed a very lifelike representation of a massive planet with two moons orbiting it as it sprang into being, he focused on one of the many great swathes of greenery and a small inscription sprang into focus:
The forest abutted a massive mountain range along the coast. Although the map was ultra realistic he could not make out any settlements whatsoever.
Guess I'll just have to look for them myself,
Try as he might he could not find the Abyssal Forest anywhere, not that he was much surprised, if Eadric were to hazard a guess the size of the planet was many times that of Earth.
"I choose the Ygdrwryn Forest."
ACKNOWLEDGED. Prepare yourself candidate.
Grinning, Eadric stretched lazily and waited, FLASH! Excruciating pain and then darkness followed...