The morning broke. It was that simple, in the hills and lakes of Minnesota on the Mississippi Channel. Here, a boy sees ley line activity on the horizon. Brown haired, barely seventeen, the young boy looked on the Mississippi Channel. Years before the Apocalypse, the entire Mississippi river sank during the Great New Madrid Quake of the late twenty teens, causing the eastern half of the old U.S.A. to split off from the west.
But he is here for another purpose. Young, a prodigious student of magic, this boy's name was Joseph and he was about to try his new luck at creating a rift. A small rift. Just to see that he can do it and show up another boy, Jasper, who was a school yard bully.
The eager young man found the rift nexus brimming with energy. "Just a tiny rift," he said to himself. "Just a tiny rift to try it out."
Closing his eyes and concentrating on the energy flow of the meridians, he found that he could again direct the pulsing of the energy. By feeding the energy into the nexus and directing it, Joseph felt the air quiver a little funny. Opening his eyes, he saw the energy erupt and the tiny rift had opened. "This will make Jasper eat his words, I say," he said. Changing the energy flow, the rift closed down by itself.
"Jasper is so going to be surprised when I can open rifts," he thought to himself. Joseph returned to his place of habitation by simple motorcycle. Little did he know, that he was being watched. A few scouts were checking out the area, and they wore the unmistakeable armor of the Coalition States' army. A skull head, black armor, and white bone. The armor was designed to strike fear in the Coalition States' enemies. Although they did little of that. The worst of it, though, they've been watching the young shifter practice his magic, often without him taking any notice.
A few days after the opening of the tiny rift, Joseph led the other companions to the hill where the nexus was. "You're finally going to respect me this time, Jasper," said Joseph. "This time, I'll show you what I can really do."
"Opening a door way to another world, Joe?" asked Jasper. "That's just crazy. You should study ley walking just like the rest of us. Curiosity killed the cat, and you are the cat, Joe." Jasper tripped him down. "Perhaps you need another lesson in dominance!"
Karen, the second companion and the third of their trio said, "Stop it, Jasper!"
"Karen, this kid's dangerous," he said. "He's not like the rest of us learning incantations and normal wizardry. He's learning how to control the flow of the ley lines. Who knows what he can do!"
Jasper started fiddling with Joseph's pants, trying to loosen them and pull them down. Joseph wasn't about to have his innocence stolen like this. He would roll around and try to get out of Jasper's grip. Last time, he pressed down on his windpipe, and this time he was going to do something else he didn't like. He managed to tip over Jasper and then concentrate on the energy flow of the four meridians into the nexus point, if he could get it unstable, then Jasper would leave him alone.
"Stop it!" said Karen.
"No, you stop it, freak!" said Jasper. He then tackled Joseph, just as the energy surged upward and opened a rift. Joseph lost his concentration and the energy surge was enough to open a gigantic rift. The doorway opened in the air, first as a line, then an opening that bowed along a convex shape. The world it opened too looked like dusk, and there was a dust cloud heading towards them. Joseph saw what was heading towards the rift to another world he opened, and he didn't like it.
"Move, Simvan Monster Riders!" he said, and the trio scattered as a tribe of 120 simvan poured through the rift on their monsters. The monsters bellowed, and brayed as they poured through the rift. After the tribe was through, the rift closed. Then the tribe was ambushed.
Gun fire, rail gun fire, and the like poured on the Simvan mercilessly as a troop of soldiers in black and white attacked in the forests. A coalition soldier forest troop descended on the Simvan. "Oh my gosh!"
It was a slaughter. Many of the Simvan were being fired upon, and they didn't have weapons to protect them from a Coalition troop ambush. One of the troopers held up a baby simvan and shot it's head off. "Stupid simvan, coming to our world," said the Coalition Soldier. "Coming to a place where you don't belong."
Just when the father plunged a piece of metal through the CS soldier's back and out through the chest. It was bleeding. "It's become a blood bath," said Jasper.
"We need to scatter," said Joseph.
Karen said, "Quickly, make an ambush rift!" Joseph didn't need to be told twice. It was called an ambush rift because it was a short skip and a hop somewhere. Tolkeen's magic army would use it on the insect people. Joseph concentrated on a rift to another world, and opened it. Having completed the rift, the three jumped through.
"Wait, don't leave us, you have . .." One soldier started to say, just as a simvan warrior hit him on the head with a club. The battle continued with energy weapons, and even LASERs, as the rift closed.
Joseph opened a second rift behind their home with the Great Purple Mage. "You two continue, I'm going to go somewhere else," he said.
"Where are you going, Freak?" he asked.
"The Coalition States army will be looking for me," he said. "I'm going to throw them off my trail."
"Running away from a fight," he said. "Well, at least you'll live. That was the most astonishing thing I have ever seen. I hope you live."
"I promise," he said. "I'll be back." Joseph closed the rift by directing the energy away. Fortunately this was a world where Technology and Magic both entertwined. A city of Tomorrow rose against the landscape. "Phase World," Joseph thought to himself. "The one world I can safely rift to."
Joseph started walking, and using a new map of Phase World superimposed on the Earth map, he started walking towards the city hoping to hitch a ride. It was a beautiful city with high rise towers made of steel and glass. The vehicles that flew around the city was amazing. Various vehicles of all sizes and shapes, some designed to go into space, and some designed not to.
A lizard man was sweeping up his shop's sidewalk before he opened his shop for business. He looked like he was a lizard humanoid. His body was analogous to a human's. Except for the scales that ran down the back of his head, and his eyes, which weren't round but convex and lizard like. The golden irises of his eyes reflected a kind of wisdom. His scaly skin was red, and he wore the robe of a sorcerer.
He used a simple broom to sweep, and in the city of Splynn, which has a stone pyramid in the middle dominate the landscape. For this lizard man, sometimes the simplest inventions work. Even without all the bells and whistles.
"Good morning, Vollenth," said a passer by. She happened to be a young woman with a child in her arms. Wearing a pair of sunglasses, her hair - which all the strands are snakes - betrayed her true nature. The snakes were tied in a ponytail and made her look like she had living dreadlocks. No one could see her gaze, which was okay. This gorgon woman reserved looking at her food. "Sweeping up for another day, right?"
"How did you know, Maeg?" said Vollunth. "Oh yes, same thing every day. Nothing exciting happening."
"Exciting, how is that?" asked Maeg.
"I keep hoping for some adventures out there in the big wide world," he said. "But all I get to do is keep a magic shop. I don't have anyone to pass my knowledge down too."
"It's dangerous on the outside world, you know that," Maeg said, matter of factly. "The Coalition has North America and the Pan American Union has South America. Not to mention the vampires in between them. Lord Splynncrinth keeps us all safe from the terrors."
"Sometimes, though," he said. "I wish someone would make life interesting for me."
Maeg frowned, "You mean the terrorists? Hun, those people are dangerous. They go into slave pens and open all the locks, releasing all of those slaves and causing a ruckus. They are down right rotten. You're better off safe with nothing happening to you, Vollenth."
"Maeg, everyday, I stand in front of my shop, selling magic potions and charms like a heel," Vollenth said. "I do this every single day. Just once, I would like an apprentice or a lover to add variety and spice to my life."
The baby started to cry, and Maeg opened her shirt to release a good sized breast. The baby latched on to the teat and started to suckle. "I better get junior home," she said. "I love to feed and chat with you, Vollenth, but I have to get home. My man is preparing some dracosaurus tonight. Yum."
"I thought you and the hubby liked human," said Vollenth, absently.
"Nah," she said. "Human may have been a delicacy, but they clog our arteries and even though the wheat they eat makes them taste sweet and not so gamey, the extra chemicals they put into their food makes me break out in hives. Monosodium Glutamate, who wants that in their food? Goodbye hun!"
Vollenth waved off the gorgon as she walked out and down the street. Vollenth looked up at the skyline of Splynn. Dominated by towers, and skyscrapers of unusual and innovative design, the whole city glowed with magic and might. The whole place was magical, and the sky barges and the patrols of the minions of Splugorth. Not to mention the flying craft that flew around the city. Vollenth shuddered at the idea of what was beyond Atlantis, and wondered when more of his kin would come to Atlantis. Here, they would be safe, although some of his kin gave a bad reputation among humans, here they would be safe and accepted. Vollenth opened the door and turned the sign around from CLOSED to OPEN in Atlantean and went into his shop and closed the door. Just as a slaver barge flew overhead for a final preflight checkup before being deployed to the east coast of North America.
In side was his shop. It was all made of preserved wood, a cash register, and walls stacked with potions, charms, and other magical items of curiosity and war. Huddled in one corner was a young human about seventeen, young Joseph.
"You can come out now, they're gone," said Vollenth.
Joseph crept out of the corner he was hiding in. "Don't worry, they won't detect you, the place is masked," said Vollenth. The young man stood up, his frame gave Vollenth an electric jolt.
"I don't understand, why are you hiding me from them?" said Joseph. "I always been taught that your kind are selfish, cruel, unethical, and cowardly."
"Don't believe everything you hear about 'lizard mages,' boy," he said. "Chalk that up for a few bad apples that are very jealous about their magical knowledge. So, what brings you to Atlantis?"
"I come from Tolkeen," said Joseph. "I'm hunted down by the CS, so I came here via dimensional rift. I figured I could hide out here for a while and find someone to complete my training."
"What were you training for?" Vollenth asked.
"Shifting," he said. "Controling the rifts, opening them and summoning creatures from the Rifts. We are usually called shifters. I was just learning how to manipulate dimensional energy when I had to come here."
"I think I can help you with that, kid," he said. "You certainly have potential. But remember, you're in a place where not only terran humans are kept as pets, but they are also on the menu. So we need to make you look like something else. Now lets see . . ."
The lizard mage started rummaging through his pack. He pulled out a green potion. "Goo form, not that," he said, putting it on the shelf. He then looked through his pack even deeper. "Essence of Basalisk. No, that won't work. That will turn you to stone." He put a vial with a clear liquid on the shelf.
"Lets see, dracoMilk? No, that will give you firebreath and a bad case of heartburn . . ." he said, as he put a vial full of some milky orange liquid on the counter. "Ah, here we go. Essence of Elf."
"What?" asked Joseph.
"Elves are usually kept as slaves themselves," said Vollenth. "But no one will come after you after you drink this potion. Every body will think you're my slave."
"Your slave?" asked Joseph.
"Don't worry, you won't be my slave," said Vollenth, a little playfully. He gave the vial to Joseph and told him to uncork it and drink up. Joseph uncorked the bottle and then poured it into his mouth and swallowed with an audible gulp.
After two minutes of waiting, his ears began to lengthen, his eyes started to widen, as his body reclaimed its former neoteny. The result was . . . "My gosh, I'm a pretty elf!" Joseph exclaimed as he looked in the mirror. His skin was more of a peachy nature, his hair was fuller of color, and when he lifted his shirt, he noticed he was popping a six pack. His rectus abdominis was very defined.
"Perfect," Vollenth purred. "You are now a beautiful Elf. While you are here, you are to take the name of Keletheryl."
"What is wrong with a perfectly good name like Legolas?" Joseph asked.
Vollenth's face almost fell. "You can't take a name like 'Legolas.'"
"Why not?" Joseph protested.
"Heh, it's too cheesy," he said, deadpanning. "No one elf would name their kid like that. It's too old fashioned and out of date. You are Keletheryl while you stay here."
"Alright, I'm Keletheryl," said Joseph, now Keletheryl. "Wait, how come you speak American English?"
"I learned it from you, remember?" said Vollenth. "And now, my apprentice, your first lesson in controlling the rifts . . ."
Keletheryl looked at Vollenth's eyes with anticipation. " . . . watch the store and sell things. We are open for business," said Vollenth. The anticipation in Keletheryl's face turned to puzzlement. He had to sell the magical trinkets?