By Desiree Leong & Kevin Chen, Clarion Staff
Magic has always been around in other worlds, but how much magic each person has in the clan ranges. A small glimpse into one of these enchanted realm in which magic is falling apart.
I am generally drawn to stories that include magic and a fantasy world. As such, I took on the fantasy aspect of this article. I love the mystery involved in having this mythological power. The wonder in learning about different races attracts my attention. It offers an escape to a world that feels so different, but also holds aspect I can relate to.
With fantasy, there is magic. Spells and enchantments. Mythical creatures and races. It isn’t entirely logic based or explainable. There are other worlds to explore that expand on the real world. Often times, the magical world of elves and dragons and such have issues that aren’t so different than what is faced in everyday life. There are books like the Harry Potter series where there is such a large range of magic and races. Everything is unique in the story. Other fantasy tales such as A Midsummer’s Night Dream have fairies and magic, but the origin isn’t explained. However, this doesn’t take away from the appeal of the story.
An alternative universe in which a world is falling, well at least in the midst of falling. Before every war or conflict, there is something that triggers it. This is that something; the catalyst to prevent the triggering of conflict. Unfortunately, the catalyst keeps falling, never touching the ground. What good is a savior who cannot save?
As such, Sci-Fi is a topic that’s always seems to attract my attention. It brings about this idea or theory that causes you to think about our modern society and how these changes can be implemented or developed upon in the present or potential future. Not only that but the way these futuristic ideas are utilized or could be utilized are not afar. It’s a wonderland for ideas of the future or those inspired by these inventions. For example, the iPod was originated from a device in a movie entitled 2001: A Space Odyssey and the hoverboards from Back to the Future.
Science fiction explores the concept of something futuristic, whether it be an alien infested world, time travel, or unexplained phenomena in the modern world. It uses these potential ideas to bring inspiration and attract attention towards an audience through curiosity or the theory of an alternative universe within our society. Sci-Fi explores the concept of something futuristic, whether it be an alien infested world, time travel, or unexplained phenomenons in the modern world. Many pop culture films and books such as Star Wars, Fahrenheit 451, and Transformers have proven to be incredible popular due to their interesting concepts and the process of thinking in which people may take it.
“Saphra!” Astoria screeched scornfully. Her obsidian eyes dilated, becoming more reptilian: a sure sign of her losing control of her temper. Whenever Astoria was angry, she morphed into a more scaly, serpentine form. Our magic tended to be greatly affected by our emotions.
I glanced at my best friend, not at all surprised to see her usual cheeky smile stretching across her face. She gave me a little smirk before turning her attention back to the Elder. I turned away to hide the smile on my face. I knew one or both of us were in trouble, but couldn’t help being amused by her antics.
“Child, you are a waste of our magic,” the older woman continued.
“I’m not a child. I’ll be eighteen in two weeks,” Saphra snapped. Her hand went to where her daggers were hanging from around her waist.
I connected to her mind and sighed. Saph. As often as this happened, Saphra never failed to have a snarky reply or find a way to irritate the Elders further.
She tilted her head to the side in response, her midnight hair cascading over one shoulder, but kept her sea-green gaze on the Elder.
Astoria’s eyes narrowed at the movement and turned towards me. “Aelia, what are you doing?” Her voice was far kinder when directed at me.
I bit my lip and chanced a glance at her. “Nothing, Elder.” Even though I wouldn’t abandon Saphra, I knew Astoria had always been more lenient with me. Ever since we were young, I had definitely been more favored than my best friend. Whether it was because of our abilities or how we used them was hard to say, but it was probably because of who my cousin was.
She nodded, satisfied with my basic response before turning back to Saphra. “How do you intend to explain why you stole from the Elders again?”
She shot the Elder a mischievous grin before waving a hand. I held back a short sigh.
“Saphra, I will personally bind your magic!” Astoria threatened, her voice becoming shrill. Her eyes widening cautiously at the thought of Saphra using her magic.
I recognized the anger and hurt flaring up in Saphra’s mind. Saph, don’t. I warned.
She shot me a warning glance and continued to wiggle her fingers, a sardonic grin sliding onto her face. Her temper was naturally short, and one of the main causes of her clashes with the Elders. This time, it ignited even faster. There were only a handful of reasons for why that would happen.
Astoria began to open her mouth and I quickly connected with her mind before she could say anything too rash. I still wasn’t sure what was bothering her, but decided to take over her mind and body before the damage became unmanageable. The Elder stiffened before her face went blank, completely under my spell. I couldn’t risk either of them losing their tempers, not until I figured out what was weighing on my best friend.
Out of all the Elders, Astoria went after Saphra the most. They all knew about the pranks and thievery she’d done, but none could match Astoria’s feelings towards her. The past was a hard thing to get over. Some shared Astoria’s views, but not to the same extent. There were a few who had a soft spot for her.
“Saph, what is your plan now?” I hissed, keeping my concentration on the Elder.
“Let’s go,” she said, turning to leave Astoria’s common room. I glanced at the doorway, but kept my hold on the Elder’s mind.
“Wait-“ I started. Concern for her overrode the stress of using my magic on an Elder.
“Not now, Aelia,” She snapped. “I don’t want to talk.” Her gaze was cold as it swept back over Astoria. Saphra was known for being distant and brash by many, but rarely did she treat me the same as she did others. I was one of the select few who saw the real her behind all the walls.
“I…” I bit down on my lip. Now that I’d intervened, the situation needed extremely delicate care. While Astoria favored me, there were still repercussions for using my power on her. When she was under my control, we were safe, but the longer I held her mind, the riskier it became. She wouldn’t remember a thing; it would be a blank area in her memory, a sure sign that I had a hand in what happened. I could alter her memory but in what way was a huge concern. Any little mistake could ruin the memory sweep and send us to crash and burn. Despite this commonly occurring for the amount of times Saphra got in trouble, it was still a fragile balancing act.
Astoria was constantly berating Saphra for her recklessness and reminding her to be more cautious like me, yet my own thoughtless attempts at protecting my best friend may have worsened the problem.
She looked at me and sighed. “Fine. Make it seem like I apologized and gave it back.”
I raised an eyebrow. That wasn’t the mind alteration she normally wanted.
She waved a hand. “Whatever. I don’t care.” Saphra’s walls were up. I watched her carefully, but she avoided my gaze. “Just get it over with, Aelia.”
“What did you steal?”
Her bluish-green gaze steadied on mine, but I could tell her walls were faltering. She wouldn’t keep a secret from me for long. She looked away, shaking her head. Answers would come later.
I took a breath that didn’t go anywhere and returned my focus to Astoria. I would talk to Saphra and find out what was bothering her soon enough.
Delving deeper into her mind, I located the Elder’s recent memories. Carefully, I reconstructed the memories to match what I wanted. Instead of the expected retort, Saphra reluctantly gave an apology. I blended her actual memories with my crafted ones. It was a tedious process, checking every little detail, but I was one of the few people in the clan capable of this magic. I had to keep some of Saphra’s attitude in her memories or Astoria would question it; nothing Saphra did lacked her fiery responses.
I let out another breath as I scanned through Astoria’s memories once more. Everything was in place. Slowly, I released my hold on her mind.
Astoria blinked as her eyes focused on us. “Saphra?”
My best friend raised her eyes definitely towards her. “Yes, Astoria?” Her voice was mocking.
The Elder tensed as she paused, no doubt going through her memories to check if there was any interference on my part or hers. “I will be going to the Council with this. The issue has gone on long enough.”
She nodded. This was to be expected. Astoria often complained to the group of Elders, but there was only so much they could do. Saphra was one of the strongest and most adept at using her magic. They couldn’t punish her too severely without risking the loss of one of our more formidable fighters. “Now get out!” she snarled before turning away in contempt.
Saphra stormed out of the building and stalked off toward the forest. I hurried after her, keeping an eye out for anyone who would follow us. Very few would on a normal day and even less would with the mood my best friend was in. However, that didn’t mean there were some who wouldn’t be afraid to come after us.As soon as she crossed the trees along the border of our special area, she launched herself into the air, latching onto a branch. She swung herself up and landed gracefully. Saphra pulled one of her daggers free and moved to cut off the nearby fruit hanging.
I couldn’t help but smile. Ever since we were kids, Saphra loved the smooth, light blue fruit, or Erisia as it was called in the Old Language. “Come on, Saph.”
She spared me a glance before pulling off the fruit and leaning back against the trunk, munching on her snack. “Come on, Aelia,” she mimicked. A moment later, she sighed. “I’m sorry for losing control.”
I paused, glancing at her. She was focused on the fruit in her hands. Despite her confident demeanor, when it came to matters of her emotions, she was guarded. “Saph…what’s wrong?”
She opened her mouth before closing it. “I…”
“Already hiding?” A familiar voice teased. I whipped around. Elix stood against a tree, a wild grin on his face. His black hair was messy while his cerulean eyes were mischievous.“What do you want?” Saphra replied, throwing the core at him; her feelings were tucked back away and her face was clear of any stress. A smirk crossed his face as he side stepped it. “Are you here to bother us?”
I rolled my eyes at the two of them. I pulled myself into a tree as Saphra switched to throwing her weapons at him. Many people were unable to match our fighting abilities, though that didn’t stop a lot of them from trying. There were some who were cocky enough to think that just having control of their magic or being able to swing a sword would be enough to defeat Saphra. A handful were willing to keep trying, unlike Elix who could actually keep up with her.
Without taking his eyes off of me, Elix manipulated the blade. It changed from a sharp dagger to a useless lump of metal. A hand flew up and caught it. “How’re you doing?” He gave me a gentle smile.
“Really, Elix?” Saphra groaned. ”Another one?” I laughed. This wasn’t the first time Elix had used his magic on Saphra’s toys.
He tossed the ball back at her, but as it flew, he used his magic once more. The ball shifted back into its original shape, but serrated and far more deadly this time.
Saphra caught it with ease and inspected it with newfound interest. “Hmm…nice job. I like it.” She gave it a few practice swings before throwing it at a tree. Her aim was true and it cut off a fruit before sticking into the trunk with a soft thump.
He gave a small bow and moved closer to the tree I was perched on. “I aim to please. Now, what did you guys do this time?”
“Astoria got pissed again,” Saphra answered, bitterness evident in her tone. “She threatened me and then went off to the Council.”
Elix sighed as he pulled himself onto my branch. “Will you get bound?” Despite the competitive and somewhat childish relationship between the two of them, Saphra and Elix were good friends and would always look out for each other, even if it was to just get the last say the next time they went head to head.
Saphra turned to us to respond, but tensed. Footsteps sounded and she sighed. “They’re coming,” she murmured before turning back to her fruit.
I didn’t need to use my magic to know who it was. A moment later, two girls walked over, identical in everything except their expressions. One had a calmer, almost nervous look on her face while the other was annoyed. They shared the same amethyst eyes and reddish-brown hair.
“Hello, cousin,” the older of the twins greeted coolly. “I see you’re still with the same company.”
I rolled my eyes. “It’s nice to see you too, Keiya.” From when they first met, my cousin and best friend had disliked each other. She was far more temperamental than her sister, Illyia.
Her eyes narrowed on Saphra. “You not in trouble, right now?” I bit back a sigh. The two were constantly at each other’s throats. With Saphra’s mood though, it could turn explosive faster than usual.
Saphra merely looked at her before glancing over my other cousin. “Kissing up to the Elders again or begging Laeden to spend time with you?”
Keiya’s face turned bright red. “Excuse me? At least the Elders like me!” The scorn was painfully obvious in her voice.
Saphra smirked coldly. I knew that look well. She was planning something.
Suddenly, there were more footsteps approaching. A familiar voice called, “Keiya! Where are you?”
Her face lit up as she turned away from Saphra, already forgetting the rest of us. Elix smirked.
I hid my grin, not that Keiya would’ve noticed. Saphra’s magic was finally coming out to play.
Illyia turned to us with a pinched expression. She knew it was all fake, merely Saphra’s magic creating an illusion, but we knew she wouldn’t say a thing. Not because she didn’t care that her sister was getting tricked once again, but because she was far too shy. She twirled a piece of her hair nervously before moving to climb onto a branch near Elix.
Keiya looked around as the footsteps got closer. “Laeden? Where are you?”
Elix pulled out a piece of scrap metal from his pocket. I smiled. He always had metal on him to play around with. From when we were little, he would craft little toys and such from metal he would find.
Illyia watched him, her eyes focused on the metal. I could tell by the hopeful expression on her face that she was wishing one of Elix’s creations would finally be gifted to her. I shook my head at Illyia’s obvious feelings for him, but her inability to get over her shyness. I felt bad for my cousin; Elix didn’t share her feelings and most likely wouldn’t.
“Laeden! Stop playing!” Keiya cried, whipping around to find her boyfriend.
Saphra snickered. “Can’t find him?” Her eyes were amused, but there was still a hint of coldness. She wasn’t over our latest encounter with Astoria.
Eventually, Keiya wandered off to find her boyfriend. Saphra shook her head and began flipping her weapons.
“Why do you still taunt her so?” a quiet voice murmured. I glanced over to my cousin, half surprised that she spoke. She wasn’t completely mute around us, but it was rare for her to speak up for her sister. Her eyes were still on the metal in Elix’s hands, but I knew it was directed at Saphra and I.
I had no response. It was hard to explain the relationship between my best friend and cousin at times. There were times that Keiya had done whatever trick Saphra performed to herself. Others were harder to distinguish.
I looked away, understanding somewhat where Illyia was coming from. These clashes did seem petty with the issues our clan was dealing with. I knew the pressure the Elders were putting on us did have some effect on our current moods and why the two were lashing out. The clan was highly dependant on those that had strong magic and were skilled at wielding it, which meant the pressure was high on us to help out.
I felt a nudge on my arm and turned. A rose, so detailed I would have believed it was real if it hadn’t been for its metallic shine, was held out to me. Elix smiled and gestured for me to take it. I gave him a smile in return and grasped it delicately.
“It’s getting worse,” Saphra said after a moment. “The Elders are getting even more restless. Some want to take more action.”
“What are they planning?” Elix kept his gaze focused on the trees, but I knew his mind was working to understand the problem.
“More have fallen sick and they are growing concerned that it can be easily spread through contact. They are considering that keeping us safe as a main priority than giving them medical attention.” Illyia fidgeted as she spoke. Pity for her grew. She was the strongest healer in our clan and it was taking a toll on her. So many of us were succumbing to this mysterious and ancient disease and she had no idea how to save them.
“How many lost their magic?” I asked. While we had no idea what was causing the disease or spreading it, its effect were obvious. As the illness worsened, the afflicted began to slowly lose their magic. Especially for those with strong magic, the loss of our powers took away a part of us. Some had already died to it.
“Too many,” Saphra answered as she slammed a dagger into the trunk of the tree. Her grip tightened as she let out a shuddering breath. Her cool personality had caused a lot of people to avoid becoming her friend, but she still cared deeply for the clan.
Elix glanced at all of us, making sure he had all of our attention. “We’re going to have to act earlier than we planned.”
“Doesn’t it hurt?”
The soldier lifted his head from his fallen state. The fire spreading and dense smoke slowly entering his pierced lungs. He glanced up, looking at her with pure hatred, struggling to push the remaining strength of his muscles into his arms. A sharpen knife met his neck, yet he still refused to yield his glare.
“I suppose it would.” A foot rested on his head as she removed the knife from his neck. “You’ve certainly caused me enough trouble, more than any simpleton should have ever.”
The knife found itself embedded into his back. His skin was already dangerously pale, blood leaking, armor ripped out of proportion, eyes now locked onto his saviour. Or whatever was left of her. He slowly reached for the Askar’s once shining body, seared fingers limping towards it.
“I think not!” Her foot crushed his hand, causing a crunch and more blood to leak. Pain scattered across his right arm, flowing straight to his head. “I’ve underestimated you more than enough times and lost one too many valuable pawns, no more.”
She leaned down and grabbed the pistol on the ground. “All’s well, ends well don’t you think?” It was a given that he was going to die. The bullet had entered his vital organs, leaving him to bleed out. But this was the first time she actually took the time to kill him, a completely new experience he had yet to feel.
“God, I prefer the last time where I died before I even got to her.”
“Look at you go, you’re learning to be a second class villain,” he laughed despite the terrible condition of his body, “Are you going to be a second class villain and tell me the rest of your plan so I can come back later and-” a kick in his already damaged ribs interrupted his sentence.
“And yet you still gloat, it’s disgusting.” She pointed the pistol at his head. “But you always find some way to surprise me, it amazes me, truly.” The barrel leaned closer to his head, signing his fate away. “At this point it doesn’t matter,” Her grip tightened and slowly brought him close to her face.
“You’ve failed,” she whispered – slightly blowing into his ear, “everyone that believed in you is now dead, Your team, friends, even your failure of a saviour…all dead.” She kicked the lifeless body of the female who had rushed in ten minutes earlier. A hole through her head.
The soldier’s eyes closed, whispering parting words. She leaned in closer to hear whatever his last words were, licking her lips in satisfaction. Dark pink eyes opened, with what little strength he had, he spit in her face. A weak strike against her, but it still shocked her nonetheless.
“I’ll kill you Jalter,” he whispered.
“No Tyrodin, you no longer are in position to do so.” She wiped the spit from her cheek, eyes darkening. The Askar dropped from her hand. A sickening snap filled the lonesome room, not before an echo of laughter was heard.
Pink eyes snapped open and a fist was swung. Only to meet a teddy bear lying beside him. Heaving breaths and adrenaline rushed through his veins, sighing, he closed his eyes again. His previous life would only be memories again. He’d lost track how many times he’d died, but in all honesty, if he was going to die, he preferred explosions. They were quick, suddenly warm, and painless. The only thing that wasn’t constant when he was reborn, was the timing. He could be reborn whilst in his teen years, his childhood, or even when he was a toddler. Yet his knowledge would stick with him, regardless of the life. Something changed
He remembered lives ago, where he attempted to warn high ranking members of this catastrophic event. In that life, he died as per usual. But this time, he died alone, in a mental asylum. No matter the times, death would always find him in the most particular of ways. In one life, he had killed Jalter and her companions, only for them to be replaced by a stronger force led by Legault. Another, he’d killed Jalter and Legault, only to be killed by friendly fire a week later. He had tried to ignore the prompt threat, only to prolong his death. This was only one of the thousands of lives. Sometimes he felt as if fate hated him.
Tyrodin groaned as he got off the bed and looked into the mirror, he’d gone far back into his early teenage years. Usually by then, he’d sneak off into the military to get training so he could fight the bigger fight. But he was tired. Tired of being involved in unnecessary conflict.