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A Tale of the Fragment Worlds

Copyright Marc Gilbert, 2000

Edited by Suzanne Campbell for The Guild Companion

Chapter 2 - Dazrii's Test

Dazrii's friends lived mostly in the other part of the city, the unattainable part drifting tantalizingly close in the void of space, but she knew one who lived in this area, a half-elf named Siltis. Siltis was a soldier and was frequently assigned to patrol the area near the tower. She had come to know him in her nightly escapades with her other friends about two months ago, and they had rapidly become friends.

She found him near the soldier's barracks, helping a wounded citizen. Chala was near him, healing another wounded person. Chala was Dazrii's closest friend and also a healer. At eighteen years of age, she was only one year older than Dazrii. Her home was in the other half of the city but she had surely been assigned to this area today. The healers had spread their members through the whole city in preparation for the catastrophe, to be able to help people everywhere as fast as possible.

Chala was wearing her white robe, the uniform that the healers of the city wore. She had brown hair and eyes, and looked very small compared to Siltis, who at six feet and three inches was at least fifteen inches taller than her. Siltis was wearing a plastron green shirt and pants, his long sword at his belt and his shield on his back.

"Chala! I am so glad to see you!" Dazrii hurried over and gave her friend a quick hug. "I didn't expect to see you; I thought you'd be...down there..." Dazrii gestured vaguely downwards towards the direction of the other half of the city, which was floating in the void on a fragment under this half. Somewhat belatedly, she greeted her other friend, "Oh. Hi, Siltis. Glad to see you, too."

Her friends seemed happy to see Dazrii as well. Chala smiled, but her brown eyes were red-rimmed and she looked exhausted. Her eyes flicked professionally over the rather spectacular bruise forming on Dazrii's head, and at the various cuts and scrapes she had acquired upon being flung violently into the air during the catastrophe. Apparently satisfied that the damage was superficial, she once again turned her attention to the fellow on the ground at her feet.

She spoke quietly. "Dazrii? Do you still have enough power to cast a spell? This man is suffering and I'm too exhausted to cast a pain relief spell on him. My inner reserves have been drained; I've tended too many people today."

Dazrii considered her own inner reserves before answering. "Yes, I think that I still have enough mana. I had to modify a spell earlier and it cost me a lot but I think that I still have enough power." She crouched down closer to the man on the ground.

"Fine," the young healer said. "Can you cast your sleep spell on him? While sleeping he'll not suffer and by the time he wakes, another healer will surely have taken care of him."

Dazrii began to concentrate; she could feel the essence flowing around her. She began to chant and made the gestures that would allow her to focus the power into her hands, and with the concentrated power she gently touched the man's forehead and released the spell. He fell asleep immediately.

"Thanks. You're becoming better and faster each time I see you cast that sleep spell," said Chala admiringly.

Siltis broke in, "Okay, let's put these two men in this cart and we'll drop them off at the hospital."

They drove the cart to the hospital, the three friends sitting in the front seat while the injured men lay unconscious in the back. While riding, Siltis and Chala explained what they had done after the cataclysmic event and how they found and helped these two injured men who had been crushed under a collapsed house. Dazrii, in turn, described what she had seen after she had regained consciousness. They all wondered what would become of them, their parents, and their other friends now that their world had been sundered and fragmented into so many separate pieces.

They finally arrived at the hospital. The building was in relatively good condition apart from a section that was completely missing. The hospital was located at the border of this fragment of a world, near the area where Dazrii had awakened about an hour ago. A part of the building stood with nothing under it, and about ten meters away from the border it had fractured and fallen into the void. The building was a very ancient one, maybe a thousand years old, but was reinforced with magic, like all important buildings in this city. That was surely the reason why it was possible for that part of the building to remain intact with nothing to support it.

They left the two injured men there and returned to helping the city recover from the comet. They continued to help others for the remaining of the day until they were all too exhausted to do anything else. At the end of the day, they decided to sleep at Siltis' home as his house was still in good repair; only the windows and some objects inside the house that had fallen to the ground were broken. They ate rapidly and went to bed early. They did not slept very well as the events of the day had left them with too many things to think and worry about.

*********

When they awoke the next morning, they ate a rapid breakfast and decided to attend the city council. The council of Eramist City, Capital of the Etherrazz realm, was held by the Etherrazz mages, who were the rulers of this realm. Unfortunately, the mages' towers were located in the missing part of Eramist, so they decided to go near the border of this fragment, where most of the main city buildings were located. The mages were gathered inside the children's school. There was many other citizens there too, some asking questions about the "new world", some asking them to perform miracles and rebuild the world, others to help them to rebuild with magic…

Being of higher rank than the other citizens by virtue of being part of the Etherrazz mages, even if she was just an apprentice, Dazrii was able to gain admittance into the impromptu council rapidly. Siltis and Chala were able to accompany her.

Frolmir, the third in command of the council, greeted her warmly upon noticing her presence. He proceeded to explain their situation, "I am the highest rank of the Etherrazz remaining in this part of Eramist and, including you, there are only twelve mages remaining here."

"Do you know if there's still anyone living in the other half of Eramist?" she questioned her superior.

"From the border of this fragment-world we have been able to see some light coming from the other half lying under us. So, we believe that there's some hope of finding other living beings on other fragments, but it is also possible the light is only the Eternal Light of the High Etherrazz Tower. This flame had been burning for more than a millenium, and the Tower had been built with a magic far stronger than that used to build most of the other important buildings. As I'm sure you've already observed, there are many magically built buildings that are still nearly intact, so it's easy to believe that the High Tower is still standing. As for the citizens, that's another question, one that I can't answer."

"Do you have a way to go there?" asked Siltis.

The mage shook his head with regret. "For now, we don't know of any means by which we can go there or to any other city. As well, we don't know what else is on the surface of the fragment we are occupying. We don't know if there's another city or village on this one." He turned towards the apprentice mage. "That will be your mission, Dazrii. You'll have to travel this fragment and find out if there are other living beings here or if we are alone."

"But… I'm still an apprentice! I've not the right to perform a mission for the council until I've past the final test!"

"Right. In a normal situation you wouldn't have the right, nor would I have the right to ask you to perform it, but the situation is far from being normal and there are only ten other mages here, apart from you and I. Two of them are wounded and three are too old to travel in an uncharted area. That leaves only five mages and I'll need the others who are more experienced than you for more urgent matters. Also, I think that your family is on the other half and that you would like to find a way to see them again... We must be certain of our fragment before we have a hope of contacting any others."

"Well… Okay, but…" the young apprentice tried to add more but was cut off.

"I saw you perform a spell modification yesterday, a great thing for an apprentice. You also knew that you didn't have the right to perform it before your test, but like me, you saw that this was not an ordinary situation and took the chance. Someone that can master spells like you do, and that knows when to take important risks is someone ready for her test. Your test will be to find us a way to interact with other cities or villages and, if possible, a way to travel between fragment worlds."

"But how could I find a way to travel to other fragments?"

"The portal of Eramist is on the other half, but perhaps you can find other portals elsewhere. The network is very vast; if it's still working, maybe you'll be able to travel instantly to another fragment. The network of portals is very ancient. There are some that have been long forgotten, so do not think that the portals you know of are the only ones in existence. Maybe your friends here would like to accompany you on your journey. If so, I'll see that they are dismissed of any current duties that they are expected to perform."

Dazrii looked at her friends. They nodded in affirmation at her unspoken question.

"Fine," said Frolmir, "We'll provide you with anything you'll need for your mission. Good luck to you and to your friends..."

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