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Sci-Fi Fantasy Lore Short Story
The following short story is a fictional account of what happened many, many years ago on a remote world; a planet now being investigated by interplanetary space travelers.
It's a brief telling of a battle between two powerful elementalists, wizards of exceptional power able to bend basic elements of nature to their will. The tale is one of fantasy magic, but with a twist of science fiction and a hint of mythology added.
All characters and places in this story were made up by the author, any relationship to real peoples or places is purely coincidental.
The starship neared the red planet. Lieutenant Roger Larkin glanced at the being seated next to him and said, "So, are you going to tell me or not? Unlike you, I'm not schooled in Korzan mythology. Besides, we've got a couple hours to kill while the Captain has the science team running mad. There'll be scans and more scans, you know how he is."
The bulky and hairless humanoid seated next to Lt. Larkin grunted in agreement. "About that, Lieutenant, you are without error."
The ship's computer rang a single chime, and the two looked forward as two pinkish beams emitted from the ship and began scanning the planet's surface. The big crewman looked at Lieutenant Larkin from small, sleepy eyes set wide upon its reptilian head and said, "Very well. I shall tell you. You'll think it a fairy tale, anyway, and the Captain will find that this rock is devoid of life." He paused. "The story is actually more relevant to you than you know."
The alien crewman smiled knowingly. Lt. Larkin raised his eyebrows and said, "Oh? Now, you have to tell me. I'm all ears."
His crewmate frowned at this last, having no ears of his own. The fact seemed to supply an endless amount of mirth for the human. Nevertheless, he cleared his throat and began the tale:
The Korzan, those most ancient of universal record keepers, shared the story of this fiery planet with my people hundreds of years ago. Since my people were in tune with the elements and practiced magic, the Korzan were right that the tale would interest us. Since the telling, magic faded from my world, and today, it's banished. If it's practiced at all, it's done out of sight.
The story begins on a planet called Earth - your home world, Lieutenant.
Surprised? Don't be. Your world and mine traveled parallel paths to become populated with universal explorers such as ourselves. The only difference is that your culture buried any knowledge of magic and ours didn't. Well, they are now, but it's still widely accepted there that magic is a real harnessing of natural particles.
The planet our scanners are investigating at this very moment morphed into the state it's in now because of two archmagi from your world. You see, there was a force at work that saved your world from a very similar fate.
Thousands of years ago, a fear of those that used magic was already spreading like fever over your world. Over time, anyone that knew the craft went into hiding. Eventually, they were able to combine their magical efforts and create a hidden world upon the Earth, one only accessible by those that practiced magic.
The two magi in question were rivals. Within their ever-expanding rift, they'd created a paradise, but, alas, it couldn't change the greed and hunger for power present within all intelligent life forms, magic-users or not. These two rivals came to a disagreement that couldn't be resolved with words or gifts. Whatever it was, it was serious enough to each to engage the other in battle arcane.
Whatever force was behind saving Earth from these wizard folk knew something the magi didn't, that they'd grown too powerful to control the elemental forces they were capable of unleashing inside their rift world. The battle would result in elemental forces escaping the rift, and then devastating the Earth and everything that lived on it.
The magical struggle was actually between two wizard factions, as the magi inside their rift world aligned with one elementalist, or the other. What they didn't know was that there was a third group that still lived hidden upon the Earth. Instead of hiding themselves in the rift world, they'd formed a separate, unacknowledged organization. Its members consisted of magic-using folk from all over the world, and their leader was an unknown person who, according to rumors, had been born thousands of years before, in Mesopotamia.
This third archmage's powers were such that he was able to enter the rift world without the other two magi being aware of it. So it was, that on the day set aside for the two magic factions inside the rift to war upon one another, the ancient wizard entered their hidden world.
As the two sides assembled on a great, green field beneath sunny skies, the outsider began secretly to work a powerful spell. The others never understood what happened to them. One moment they were readying themselves for battle, and the next they were standing on a wind-swept plain on a foreign world. Their entire secret world was emptied and destroyed by the third archmage, making it impossible to reverse the spell. The other two were so hostile to one another, that they ignored their spontaneous location change and began the battle in earnest.
The Battle of the Elementalist Archmagi
The legend passed on to my people by the Korzan is considered by most to be a myth. It's hard to imagine anyone, even powerful wizards, would find intelligent life again, once banished to this planet that's so far from any other inhabited world. Still, when my species met your species, Lieutenant, many of us did believe. The legend had included the name of your planet and details about its vague and ancient history that led me, and others, to consider the tale as more than myth. Hopefully, our journey and investigation here will provide more answers.
As for those ill-fated wizards from long ago, the two magic factions from your world did not hesitate to begin their fight in their new environment. After only a few hours of preparation, the two archmagi on either side began to cast their spells.
They summoned creatures from the soil, from the depths of fiery volcanoes, and from the air. Perhaps if water had been plentiful on this planet's surface, the outcome would have been different, but as it was the forces summoned were impossible to stop.
One powerful elementalist stood on an island in a magically created lake of fire and summoned fire elemental after fire elemental. The burning creatures were imbued with mental faculties and terrible power. They surged forward from the fire pit, and they scorched the land they passed over on their way to engage the enemy.
The other elementalist stood on a mountainside and brought the spires down on his enemy, trying to quench the flames that now surrounded the mountain. Great earthy creatures composed of rock and metal shambled down to meet the fire elementals. And when they did meet, the planet's surface heaved and despaired as the horrifying powers ripped at and melted it.
The air itself became poisonous as great canyons of lava ran in rushing rivers across the battlefield. Ethereal geysers sent plumes of acrid and bitter gas into the air, some of them exploding spectacularly as fire and air collided. Whirlwinds and electric storms dominated the skies above.
A New Elementalist
Just then, a red light came on over Larkin's seat, and he heard the Captain say his name.
"Yes, I'm here, Captain, go ahead."
The tinny voice told him he was on his way fore with what appeared to be a message, written in a language native to Earth. He wanted Larkin to read it to him.
After a few moments, the Captain appeared and gave Lt. Larkin a scrap of paper. The Lieutenant had busied himself learning languages when he was a student, so he wasn't surprised that the words on the paper were written in a language, albeit archaic, that he could read.
He scanned the parchment and looked up at the Captain. He inquired, "Where did you get this, sir?"
The Captain looked at both crewmates and said, "From the surface. We can't pinpoint where the message is originating from, and we are getting zero life readings from down there, but this is the same message coming in on our scans, over and over. I thought that perhaps reading it might lead to further clues."
Lieutenant Larkin replied, "Aye, Captain. I understand. But this isn't a message, it appears to be some sort of ancient instructions. The words make little sense to me, other than the first part, which says to read the words aloud."
"Alright, Lieutenant, let's hear them."
The words still made no sense to Larkin as he read them aloud. But when he finished, a small flame appeared in the center of the paper. Larkin instinctively dropped it onto a small table at his side, and the three watched in amazement as it burned until the small paper was gone, and still a red-orange flame glowed magically on the table's surface.