To tell you of my current days would be so wrongfully criminal as you would only have a sampling of the tale. First I must tease you of a world much too far from this one.
Our world was vastly different from this world, although it seems like so long ago, it is hard to remember. Our buildings were far larger and more aesthetically pleasing to the eye than the world I’ve come to know. I remember our vehicles were sleeker, designed for optimal efficiency. Our global infrastructure was, well, it existed. That’s a far cry away from what has happened here. Han and I had the usual mom and dad. We shared a lot of the same friends too. That’s what happens with twins, you know? You could say our family was pretty well off. There was definitely a steady flow of money, but that never seemed to get in the way. Dad and Mom were always around when we needed them. Graduations, birthdays, you know, all the usual stuff. To be honest, it’s a pretty wonderful family. Speaking of birthdays, that’s about when we came here. I had only just acquired the newest pod for my 61st. Our friends were envious. None of them could have dreamed of owning one the day they were released; of course, it was all due to my father’s connections within the transportation industry. You’d assume our father was a prominent figure in our world. I’m not saying he isn’t: however, Han and I never really knew what it was he did. It was a very discrete topic, even within the walls of our home. All we can really tell you is that he’d often leave with a convoy of vehicles, and anytime I’d see him outside of home, there’d be his usual security detail. My guess has always been government research. He was a great dad though, and his job rarely conflicted with the home life, so it was never a big deal. Sometimes I truly believe I took it for granted before coming here. I remember the day so vividly. It was, after all, the same day I came to this desolate world.
As sons of Hallux Condyle Ondodel, we were afforded a certain amount privileges not awarded to the usual rabble. My brother and I were experiencing the finer points of such a unique vehicle. That’s when it had happened. The wondrously bright archway had appeared so suddenly, there was no time to react. Even so, I remember there being a tremendous feeling deep within me. Something had awoken when it appeared and was stirring like fire from the very depths of my soul. I got lost in a moment of my inner thoughts, but that’s when I came to. I had merely blinked and then I was flying through the air in a forest no less, explosions from the pod’s various fuel chambers collapsing could be heard behind me. No doubt it was such an explosion that turned me into a pointy eared projectile. I remember awaking in a very foul state of mind. The searing pain in my arm had to come from one of those trees but it all happened too fast to tell. To this day the scar reminds me of that nightmare turned reality.
By the way, Han is my older brother. Don’t be mistaken though, we’re twins, and I’m clearly the better half. But that’s for you to decide. We’ve been side by side for most of our lives, getting through one scrape or the next. Our bond is that of brothers, naturally, and it is not easily shaken. Unless, of course, by one of the two of us. That is to say, if I were to ever get back home. I could not find him the day we came to this world. He might have died in the explosion, but I don’t think so. I’ve always had a feeling that he’s been safe on our world. The Rift that caused the incident came for me and me alone.
A New World
Now I was stranded. The feeling I had experienced was gone, and the magnificent archway was nowhere to be found. What had happened? I’d soon find out that this world had these awe-inspiring phenomena called Rifts. Apparently, a Rift between my world and this Earth had opened momentarily and exposed to two planes of time and space. This is what brought me here. This is what cursed me in a fleeting moment.It is a very sobering experience to be literally thrust from your world to another and to learn there’s virtually no simple way back. Then it occurred to me as quickly as I’d arrived; If the Rifts are how I came to this place, then this is how I will get back.
Or so I thought. I spent nearly 50 years searching - might I add, I had no real concept of the scale of time in this world so by my guess, it had been 50 years from my world -, traveling, sometimes aimlessly. I was searching for that of another Rift. But not just any Rift. The Rift that would reconnect to my world. The Rift that would take me home. This is how I came to learn about this world, or at least parts of it. I learned of the Coalition States. A despicable society whose vast ignorance far overshadows their rather impressive military strength. The Federation of Magic who’ve shown me a thing or two about that feeling I had mentioned, but more on that later. I’ve also heard about the Tomorrow Legion, which concerned me at first. But the rumors surround such a name are that of an almost prophetic sense of righteousness. You know, stories of grandeur where fairness and equality are heralded as the path for all beings. It’s a nice thought, but a bit naïve in this world where chaos tends to reign supreme. I’ve heard tell of other places, both far and near, people of a variety of cultures, and many horrors and wonders that could ensnare even the most intellectual of minds. But nothing prepared me for the things that would come in the latter half of my lifespan.
First I should share with you, a fact about myself that I must be discrete about when sharing. For you never know who’s listening in. Do you remember that feeling of mine? The one that arose just before the plight of this world was thrust upon me. I have come to learn that this feeling was a form of power. A power from within if you will, much like one’s soul, but a soul that I could draw upon to do amazing things. As it turns out, those Rifts I mentioned earlier all happen to form upon what this world calls Ley Lines. And these Ley Lines are where I draw the aforementioned power. I soon came to find that, within this new world, came new abilities.
It didn’t take long after I discovered these abilities to seek out other walkers. I had to learn, had to know more. It was amazing. These ley lines were everywhere and I had to merely follow my instincts to seek them out. Of course, I had always been drawn to them. This was mainly how I navigated this world when I first came here. Little did I know, that the abilities I’ve honed to this day were always with me, from the moment I drove through that cursed arch. Cursed? I suppose not. This is, after all, an amazing power that none from my home would have ever dreamed of wielding. This world was different however. There were plenty who were aware and capable of using such powers.
I traveled the world. I learned all I could about these wondrous ley lines and all that they could help me be, and as I’ve learned what help they may end up being. Through my travels, I’ve learned that I may be the key to bringing my brother and I home. My goal is clear, master the ability to open Rifts. If I can learn about this, I can learn to control them. I may even be able to control where the Rift leads. Then, I could go home. One harsh truth I’ve learned though. Earth has a funny way of complicating plans.
As I mentioned, I traveled in an effort to seek out information. As this world is virtually devoid of literature, my curiosity turned to those with similar capabilities. I knew of one place I could go to at least find some knowledge, the Magic Zone. I had learned of its whereabouts from other travelers. They spoke of a place where all manner of mysticism exists, both physical and supernatural. And they weren’t wrong. I learned very quickly that you can find a great number of things in the Magic Zone. I remember the first demon I saw. It had to be at least three stories tall and it had a peculiar number of appendages. That’s when she found me. It was quite startling for me, as I had been enthralled with watching the demon in the distance. She did not speak a word, but motioned for me to follow her. There was a sense of urgency to her actions, so, admittedly blindly, I followed her away from potential danger.
Her name was Torya Wyndalannkya. I had never seen such a person. Her blondish hair was long, but held up as to appear like horns from her head. She wore a breathing apparatus, and a vividly blue cloak that reached her calves. She had a curious emblem on her belt. A form of knot. I thought it had been Elvish, but she later would tell me it was Celtic. I’m still unsure of the meaning. She also held in her hands a staff with a peculiar ornament on the top. It was similarly shaped to the knot on her belt, but it was clearly being held in place by air, or rather magic. One of her sleeves had been torn clean off of her robe, exposing a tattooed arm. On her forearm was a type of gauntlet that had typing that ran up her arm and into her cloak. I never learned what this was, but she swore it was vital to her health. Torya, as I learned, was a ley walker. This is where I had first heard the term, and she is the one who showed me what I truly am.
Torya had found a peculiar interest in me. As she’d tell you, I was the first ley walker she’d encountered who knew nothing about ley lines. This wasn’t true, not in the strictest sense of the words, but she wasn’t wrong. Compared to my knowledge now, I truly was ignorant that day. I spent several years, traveling with Torya, and we had grown quite close. She taught me how to use ley lines for transportation, how to defend myself with the magic within me, and arguably my most important ability, how to conceal my true self. It wasn’t long before Torya had shown me what I had been searching for for so long. There was no surprise to me after all I had learned that I could control my own fate where my world was concerned. My mentor had finally divulged that my powers afforded me the ability to travel to when and wherever I desired by way of manipulating rifts.
It took some time, but Torya and I developed my abilities and was finally able to produce a rift that would bring me home. I was thrilled. In the blink of an eye, just as I arrived on Rifts Earth, I found my way back to my family’s estate. I spent some time with my family, and more so with my government. Apparently the Rift that brought me to Earth was not an isolated event. In fact, there were 13 occurrences that happened simultaneously, as far as they could tell anyway. Their only information came from witness accounts and very terrible surveillance equipment. From what I could learn though, the Annachian government, my world is called Annach, had taken measures to control Rift traffic to and from its planet. You see, I was not the only thing to come to Annach from Rifts Earth.
While the initial 13 had created a global panic on Annach, the Annachian government has encountered exactly 72 other Rift phenomena. One of those being my return home. I learned from my father, who was now the head of what my people called ROAR, or Rift Observation and Response. In my time away, there had been numerous instances of missing people returning Annach, but that’s not the government’s concern. My father’s organization was formed when a group of Xiticix had attempted to infiltrate my world. The end result was the catastrophic destruction of an entire country. Since then, the Annachian government has put forth every effort to monitor, and if necessary, deter Rift activity. As you can imagine, however, this is a difficult task. Especially when you have someone like me who can produce these phenomena at will. After my detainment was deemed non-hazardous to Annach, I was released on my own recognizance. My future comings and goings with my world were all subject to examination by ROAR now. After hearing the horrific tales that occured during my absence, I can’t blame them.
As soon as I was released, I found my way back to my father. He and I spoke for a while about the issues he’s faced with the Rifts. It wasn’t long though when my mother and brother burst into his office. Mom was overcome with tears of joy, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Han look more thrilled to see me. I told them all about Torya and my time on Earth. They were enthralled in the world I had come to know. But not one of them was happy when I told them I would be going back. You see, while I was still aware of my powers, it was very obvious to me that I was not completely myself. I could feel an hole within me. I knew it was because I was not on Earth, so I knew I must go back.
I spoke at great length about this with my family, and even more so with ROAR. Little did they realize my mind was made either way. I needed to go back and I would. I knew Torya had more to teach me, and Earth was still a very fascinating plane. So I promised I would return for holidays and birthdays. And Han has started to accompany me to Earth at times. He’s taken a liking to cybernetics and, if you can imagine, he’s quite enthusiastic to see the advances made on Earth. I was all too excited for this either way. My brother would be able to see this world with me, and I knew we would both be able to improve both Earth and Annach. After a while though, I knew I would need to refocus my efforts with Torya, so I set off with her again.
I found my time with Torya to be extremely valuable and it wasn’t long before Torya had seen me as an equal. That’s when things went south, as they say. I had been practicing for some time with a new spell I had seen another practitioner perform. It had fascinated me from the moment I saw it. This rather huge Fennodi had been causing a commotion in this settlement’s common area. Now, this was odd in and of itself. I had learned that fennodi were generally peaceful beings, but what was truly odd, was his size. This Fennodi had to be twice the size of an average Fennodi. After some spectating, I saw it happen before my very eyes. The creature simply stopped being large. It wasn’t instantaneous if you will, but it was quick nonetheless. I had learned from Tarya that this was a spell that could be learned by powerful magical entities. When I asked her, she said she had not tried. The next few days she had been very cold when I mentioned training. From that point, we started growing distant. It all came to a head when one day I had finally done it. I had managed to increase my size by over twice my normal height. I was MASSIVE. I had wanted to share this discovery with Torya, but when I returned to find her, she was gone. All I had found was this letter:
After all this time, I can’t say that I’m glad to be leaving. Watching you learn the proper use of your gifts -- and participating in the advancement of that knowledge -- has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in recent memory. Your desire to always learn more, do more and grow more made you a wonderful student, but there comes a time that a student no longer needs his tutor. That day has come.
I cannot push you any further than you have already come, and I would be a fool to try. You, too, would be a fool to try, but we must each make our own mistakes. I won’t sit back and hover while you make yours. Perhaps you and I shall meet again one day; only time and destiny will determine that. Until then, remember: every line has an end.
I wasn’t sure how to feel, but now I see it was the right direction. It was clear that Torya had shown me all she could in the ways of a Ley Line Walker. She’ll always have my respect as a teacher, but I worry about what she meant in her letter.
I would run into Torya a few more times in my travels. There were always the warm greetings, but it would very quickly change to an argument over the advancement of my abilities. Each time she’d find I had learned more, the more I felt like she began to resent me. One of these encounters, she finally explained to me that she believed that every being has a destiny and that destiny has its limits. She told me that her view was very finite to magical beings in that she believed each being could only pursue magic to a certain level of efficiency, then they would plateau in a way. I tried reasoning with her, but she wouldn’t listen. I even tried convincing her that perhaps I had not reached my peak as she believes it exists. Her ignorance will be her folly, and I do hope that she does not perish because of her unwillingness to progress in her understandings of the ley line walkers.
I continued my travels and eventually ventured away from the Magic Zone. It was clear to me that such a dangerous place would likely hinder my search for knowledge more than it would help. Odd, I know, but the Federation of Magic doesn’t exactly have the greatest reputation, even among the magical entities of this world. That brings us to the present.
During one of my exploits involving the ley lines, I have somehow become the thing of whispers. A number of rumors had popped up in certain regions in regard to my capabilities. While not widespread, this ended up putting me in contact with a rather fascinating couple. Cinder and Ember had my attention from the moment I sensed them. There was something unfamiliar about their arcana but I couldn’t quite place it. As you may already have guessed from their names, dragons have a funny way of being impressive. Word had gotten out about my exploits. The dragons had reached out to me in order to acquire our assistance in a matter that was more an immediate need than for me to get home.
You might be wondering, what on Earth could have persuaded me to abandon my search home. Well, you might say that after almost 150 years -maybe?- of searching, home seemed just as far away as ever. I’ll tell you though, when you’re on this world, the sense of adventure can be overwhelming. Cinder and Ember were in a dire situation. Despite being dragons, they needed the help from the likes of those not from within their home. They had feared that their enemies had gotten too close to the settlement of South Hutchinson. They had long been fighting with a band of mercenaries and slave traders known as The Sanguine Cobras. Now, I’ve come to learn this to mean “the blood red snakes” which I’ve always found somewhat amusing. That is until recent events, but again, I’ll get to that. So as I mentioned, Cinder and Ember needed our help with this gang. Turns out that this would be terror organization was actually pretty well funded and they got around. The Cobras had gotten wind that a pair of dragons had chosen to settle in the hills of South East of the Federation. Funnily, the local population refers to them as mountains, but if I’m to translate this properly, their mountains are tiny compared to ours. Different worlds are fascinating. Anyway, within these mountains you’ll find South Hutchinson and Ember and Ember. The two had decided they were going to mate. They had thought, being at the distance from the CS, as they were, that they would be relatively safe to mate. Unfortunately the Cobras had a different plan in mind. Soon the news had reached the dragons about a gang terrorizing the region, looking for a pair of dragons. Using a rather clever technique where the dragons transform into a more friendly appearance, they began to do their own reconnaissance. What they shared with me was truly horrific. The Sanguine Cobras had begun enslaving whole settlements, promising to only stop once the dragons came forward and surrendered. As proud as they were, Cinder and Ember decided to act thinking this was a trivial matter. For months, the dragons fought with The Sanguine Cobras toe to toe. And who wouldn’t doubt it. Have you seen a dragon fight? No thanks. Turns out, the dragons had bitten off more than they could chew. Whoever lead these Cobras was highly intelligent. He had been strategically canvasing the terrain, recording the dragon’s movements and their whereabouts. He had discovered their point of origin. Through no amount of luck, Cinder and Ember discovered this in time to summon help. I, along with countless others came to the aid of the dragons. I couldn’t name them all, and many have fallen in the time I’d been there.
It was years, and I feel them weighing on me the longer they went on. The fight had come to South Hutchinson. It’s sad to say, the youth of this settlement, a mining settlement at that, would never know a life of peace. By now, there was no secret that the dragons were safe in South Hutchinson. News had spread through the Ley Lines of their existence. Only some of us are aware, South Hutchinson was the focal point for a Nexus. Ironic is the word you’re looking for. It was useful really. I could use it daily and no one around me was the wiser, no one but the dragons and select others. I had grown quite close to Cinder and Ember over a little more than a decade. We had been fighting for so long. It was about three years ago today. That was when news came from a fellow walker. She had been spying on the Cobras and had learned of a plan to overrun South Hutchinson. We had never thought this possible. Their numbers couldn’t possibly sustain such an effort. Then the information came that changed everything. The leader of the Cobras had devised a cruel and unusual method using arcane powers to turn their captives into a fighting force. Their intent was to enslave the dragons wiht the very same power. Our task became clear. Find the method of enslavement, and destroy it. This took time of course. We’re only capable of so much.
It was a technowizard who ultimately saved the day. We had learned that the Cobras were utilizing some form of broadcasting device to manipulate the captives. The gang was fitting each slave with an implant fixed right at the base of the neck. It wasn’t hard to find the implants because the unimaginative Cobras had fixed each implant with a light, presumably to show a working functionality.
The technowizard, Amaya, surmised that however the Cobras were controlling their victims, there had to be a central, mobile device. This device would have to be vital to retaining the manipulative powers on all of the would be slaves. She said it’d be relatively close to the camp, most likely within it. We came to a consensus that we had to find a way in and determine for ourselves what the problem truly is. It was up to me this time.
We managed to ambush a patrol of Cobras not far from their camp. Using their identities, I disguised Amaya and myself. We made our way back to the camp where we were able to survey in great detail what was happening. I’ve heard of atrocities. Crimes against Elfkind wasn’t unfamiliar to me. But this was a different kind of wrong. The captives were forced to live without shelter. Barely a fire to protect them against the elements. But the eerie site, the images I will be hard pressed to get out of my mind were the calm. I don’t mean peace. I mean pacification. The captives appeared docile, almost infantile. Soulless. Amaya found a particularly interesting setup of machinery. Unfortunately, whatever it was interfered with my abilities and I saw Amaya flickering back into her natural self. This could only mean I was too. I motioned for us to leave, and I think she got the point.
When we got back to our friends, Amaya was sure that we could disable the devices without harming the victims.She had built some sort of jammer, or that’s how I understood it. It’s supposed to block the broadcaster from emitting the signal being used to pacify the captives. All we needed to do was get her close enough to implement it. The plan was to shut it down, then give a signal to begin an assault. The dragons figured there would be mass confusion among the captives, and the captors would do all they could to retain order. That usually meant violence from what we’ve previously witnessed. We figured two groups were needed, one to help evacuate the captives, and one to occupy the Cobras.
To me, it was easiest to just disguise ourselves again. We managed to work our way back into the camp, and got close enough to the emitter. Han worked his magic, and I was supposed to send up a signal so the others knew it was time. I wasn’t given that chance. Han’s device worked wonderfully fast. As soon as he flipped the switch, the captives all returned to some semblance of their former selves. And, as you might have guessed, that’s when the screaming, the gunfire, and the confusion set in. It was a madhouse. It wasn’t a moment later when the calvary came in. It’s a fine thing to know a couple of dragons are covering your retreat. In the disarray, Han and I managed to escape within the captives back to South Hutchinson.
Once we had regrouped, it was clear that Cinder was in a sort of bloodlust. Her rage had escaped her reason as she argued with Ember and the rest of us over whether to return to South Hutchinson, or as she wished it, if we leave nothing of the Sanguine Cobras save a large pile of ash. It was certainly within her grasp now, as the Cobras had made one fatal mistake. They had finally centralized their forces. Ember had finally calmed his partner down, much to our relief. It would have been so very unlike Cinder to pursue such and action. She had always shown a great amount of admiration where life was involved. Even those of her enemies. This was something new, and I’m not ashamed to say it scared me.
We had suffered a number of casualties in our assault, but the greater outcome was an overall success. South Hutchinson suddenly had a couple thousand refugees on its hands. Some elected to stay, but a large portion of them decided they wanted to find a home of their own. I think they knew it would be some time before any real accommodations could be made for them. I think the rough count was about 200 stayed in town, and the rest ventured off. A few of ours went with them, simply to provide a bit of security. Not sure how much good it would do them but off they went.
Once South Hutchinson had returned to a somewhat normal state, the dragons had asked to see me. Their nest was an abandoned mine shaft that the settlement no longer used. As I entered the cavern in which they resided, that’s when things became very clear.
There sat Cinder, tending to a rather large egg. I was greeted in my Elven tongue as they had done so before. The culmination of their decades long mission to live as the rest of their world does. It was no secret. Cinder had spoken time and time again about how they would have a child soon following the guaranteed safety of the region. Ember all but repeated those same desires as he enlightened me about the wonderful creature growing within the egg. But it was as though the happiness had left his voice when he spoke of what came next. The dragons were leaving. They knew their spawn would be safer away from them, and they were entrusting it to me.
A few weeks had passed, and I was fortunate to be the one tending the egg. Suddenly, a crack had appeared. What overcame me was nothing short of paralysis. Not that I had tried, but I found myself just watching, staring even. After an hour or two, before me stood a rather magnificent young hatchling. This was Crispinor. Now let me tell you, I was immediately relieved when she was able to hold a conversation. I thought, after the whole we’re leaving the egg with an elf, that maybe Ember and Cinder were setting me up to look the fool. They had told me that Crispinorwould be able to speak. But really, how hilarious would it have been to see a grown elf having a remotely adult conversation with an infant? I remember laughing at the thought, but then I had to explain to Crispinor her current situation. I spared no detail, the young one clearly had an advanced mind, but I got the sense that she needed some further development. There was very little empathy for the absense of her parents. I suppose that’s to be expect though. Her parents weren’t fond of bonding either. Crispinor was my responsibility now, so we made it work.
No Time Like the Present
After some years, I left Crispinor. She had grown to be a competent dragon. Able to defend herself and form her own ideals about the world. So she set off to stake her claim somewhere else.
You see, in my time on Earth, I’ve grown fond of this world. It’s made me realize that if I can help South Hutchinson and the dragons, then I could and should help the North Americas, and Earth. No longer feeling a sense of responsibility to Crispinor or South Hutchinson, I set off. I knew I wasn’t far from the Tomorrow Legion’s Castle Refuge. I figured it was time to determine what they were all about. When I arrived, I had not realized what I would find. Here was an organization Hell bent if you will on the betterment of Rifts Earth. I was met with some skepticism, but overall I was greeted with open arms. In fact I was put to use immediately helping navigate the Ley Line network. Perfect! It was here I got the nickname “Grid”. In my travels, I became familiar with a wide network of Ley Lines up and down the Easter area of the country. And because of this, Castle Refuge used me and my knowledge for a wide variety of tasks. Mostly recon or long term ventures from the safety of the castle. As you can imagine, there’s no better way to learn of this world than by being out in it; So, they sent me out into the world as often as they could, sometimes for very long lengths of time. That’s how I ended up here.
Last edited by Gridia Thorem
on Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:54 am, edited 2 times in total.