Season 1, Episode 1
Written and Read by Jared Quan
If you were to walk outside right now and point towards the North Star, and then raise your finger a mere two millimeters above it, you would be pointing at the currently undiscovered solar system of Gray Asmith. It has a name because it will eventually be discovered by Trever R. Grey and Thomas D. Smith. The two men will be unable to agree on a name for the system and, due to a typo merging the names of the founders, it will be forever called Gray Asmith.
Of course, two millimeters does not seem like a great deal of distance, but when you have to travel nearly seven hundred sixty-two thousand, five hundred twenty-two million and five light years (give or take half a light year depending on Earth’s rotation), then even a fraction of a millimeter can be the distance between landing an airplane at JFK International or somewhere in China. Though the math can be mistaken in light years, it would be hard to explain to the passengers on a flight to JFK, exactly why they were in China.
As it is commonly known, the starlight we see today is millions of years old, but what is rarely thought about is that each glimmer of starlight has its own story to tell. Tragically, most stories are pretty bland, just gasses or hot liquids stewing about. However, some offer the most brilliant insights into the universe, others offer the transcendence of good over evil, and some show how evil can devour whole worlds. The variety is as vast as all the cinema in the world multiplied by a few billion.
‘Wax’ would not be the first thing that would come to mind if you could sneak a peek at the Gray Asmith. However, for the last 14,000 years of record, ‘Wax’ is what the inhabitants of the sixth planet have called their world. Glimpsing the starlight of Wax, right now you would be witnessing the beginning of its fifteenth age. Someday we will have the technology to take the glimmer of starlight and download the history of whole civilizations, to then watch, like an interactive movie, as so many other worlds have done before, and embarrassingly, are doing this very moment to our own world.
As for Wax, at the beginning of the fifteenth age, it was home to some four billion inhabitants, who resided on four main continents and several hundred small islands. Roughly half the world is covered in darkness and the other half in light. At the center of the largest and oldest continent, Mazery, sat the grandest city in the whole world.
The magic in the world is dictated from the center of this city, the city of Ormolu, in the tallest spire in the world, from a book of rules, called the Master Book of Magic. The presence of the book literally made Ormolu the heart of the divide between light and dark.
The book started as a few dozen pages of very simple rules to guide the use of magic, keeping the magic within the book from consuming everything and destroying the world. However, the book had one flaw: the authors failed to take into account that the magic was alive.
Rule #1: This book is to always be the most powerful book in the world, and will be contained in the most powerful city in the world.
This rule was left open to interpretation, and the magic would take liberties to ensure these facts remained true. As books of all sorts were compiled, the Master book of Magic grew in size, in height, width and depth. None had greater effect on the size of the book like the Grand Master Herbalist Book of Flora and Fauna of the Southern Lands of Mazery, Second Edition, by Honest Thomas, which included pressed samples of everything listed.
The book maintained its growth by breaking down rules, laws, and bylaws contained within it into the most drawn out and generic terms possible. Occasionally, while no one was looking, the magic would create a few new bylaws, which were of far less consequence, if only to add to its pages. This often created unnecessary events or traditions.
The city reacted in much the same way: as other cities grew larger, Ormolu grew in any dimension necessary to remain the most powerful.
Rule #2: The city will fairly represent the world’s status, and no violence will be permitted within.
This rule seemed to cover every facet conceived by the imagination, thanks to its two hundred sub-clauses, and sixty-two by-laws.
Every night the city would change, mostly along the middle. It would shift houses and buildings to represent whether the world was controlled by the light or dark. On the positive side, the ‘no violence’ rule was strictly enforced at every level. Swords could not be drawn, harmful spells could not be completed, punches would not land, arrows would not fly, and…well, you get the point. Depending on the severity of the offense, the city would warn you by teleporting you a few feet backwards and, if you attempted the same action seven times, it would simply teleport you outside its borders to your respective side of choice. If you had been teleported outside the city seven times for separate infractions within a seven-month period, the city would simply reject your entrance for a day, then for a week the second time, then a month the third time, and so on.
The city, though always changing, did have some constants, as permitted in the book. Such as the main spire of the city always being half shrouded in darkness and half in light, only ever changing in size and grandeur in order to remain the centerpiece of the most powerful city in the world. The main spire of Ormolu was called the Candlestick, for the most obvious reason that it was always lit up and could be seen for a great distance in every direction.
The tower reached its current height of 2,718 feet during the aggressive tower building phase of the fifth age. Needless to say, none of the other towers or spires in the city survived more than a couple of years. The dark side towers suffered from poor craftsmanship, and the light side towers suffered from over craftsmanship.
Amidst the rules, the book outlined that on the light side of the city, a building clearly labeled, ‘White Knight Tower,’ would always remain as is, and in its place, even if the world were completely dominated by the dark, it would still be light. On the exact opposite side of the city, a building marked, ‘The Pessimists Edifice,’ would also remain as is even if the world were dominated by the light. These two buildings were the homes of the official newspapers for each side, established to let people know what was happening politically and the agenda of each ruler.
As tradition would have it, there was always a ruler for both the light and dark side. On the dark side, there was the Prince of Darkness or Dark Lord. Appointment of the Dark Lord position was carefully thought out to place the most intimidating leader in power, and was mostly acquired with an assassination of the previously appointed leader. With the average odds of twenty to one, the odds were not in favor of the challenger.
On the light side, there was the King, this divine and holy appointment normally addressed by a great quest to find three relics: a sword, a shield, and a crown, which was undertaken by the heir to the last King upon their death.
Wax was destined to always be at war, as was the nature of dark and light. Great battles would rage on both sides of the contested middle line. Occasionally the light would charge bravely into the dark lands, and sometimes the dark forces would swarm out into the light. However, as irony would have it, the two sides would also always be in eternal negotiations and trade.
In the center of the Candlestick, about half way to the top, was the Great Hall, where the Dark Prince and the light side King would meet on an annual basis to review their trade agreements and negotiate minor and insignificant details.
The Dark Lord at this time was Gordon B. Twiller. And, actually, Dark Lord Twiller had been in power longer than any recorded Dark Lord in history, having ruled for two hundred years, thanks to a bit of magic. The ruler of the light side was King Timothy K. Ragamon the seventeenth, from the longest ruling family thus far of the light.
In preparation for the annual meeting of rulers, special monks would study the Master Book of Magic and memorize it end to end. This would place them in a unique position to advise the two delegations as to both the formalities and where their ideas fell within the rules, laws, and bylaws. This also conveniently helped prevent anyone from spontaneously combusting in the middle of a negotiation. There were always three appointed monks to each delegation and a head monk to sit at the table as arbitrator.
With the well established tradition of power, the largest armies in history, and the most magic manipulation Wax had ever seen, no one would suspect that a misfortunate monk, an unusual imp, and a teenager would be the ones to change everything.
As fate would have it, our story begins with the Master Book of Magic, chapter seventeen, section eight, subparagraph twelve, fourth sentence.
Gray hair topped the mostly bald head of the ninety-year-old monk. He barely made the five–foot-three-inch minimum requirement to use the various tools needed to read from the Master Book of Magic. His deep blue eyes strained to read the words through a large magnifying glass. He had only recently been given the responsibilities of head monk, as the previous one had decided to up and die at the age of one hundred and twenty-seven.
Head Monk Towe Frin tried to calculate the various mathematical variables necessary to see if one of the most obscure bylaws would apply to the annual review that was due to start in only ten hours.
“How could we have missed this?” he whispered to himself. His face was clearly filled with distraught over his most recent discovery. He quickly looked over the room to see which other monks were present. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see his most favored friend, the Honorable Monk Mussashi Gray.
With clear distinction, Towe Frin cleared his throat loud enough to get the attention of everyone in the room. He quickly beckoned for Mussashi to join him.
“Yes sir, what can I do for you?” Mussashi asked. The two men looked so very similar that one might mistake them for twins.
“Are you familiar with chapter seventeen, section eight, subparagraph twelve, fourth sentence?” Towe promptly asked in earnest.
“Oh yes, the review of death bylaw,” Mussashi replied with a confused look. “Why?”
“Out of curiosity, would not this annual event qualify for this particular bylaw to be enacted?” Towe said with a bit of hesitation.
“Let me see, um…-‘upon said year of which the Dark Lord empire shall pass the qualifying requirement of years as stated previous equals, and said light King’s family reign qualifying in years to ser septum per equivocation, then the rite of review of death shall be provided at the annual review on the year of even equality between the two, by the designated witch of Ormolu. Sub note ‘A’ dash ‘1’, please refer to reference sheet ‘2A’ for calculations.’ Or…-at least I think that’s how it goes,” Mussashi recanted while waving his fingers in the air as if reading it from the very page. “I do believe this is a qualifying year, sir.”
“I was afraid of that. How could this have been overlooked? We were so careful to prepare everything exactly, and to precise directions,” Towe said, now intently staring at the ceiling. “I don’t think we even have a witch designated for Ormolu anymore.”
“Might I mention that on page two hundred seventy-two, third paragraph, it states that if no witch is currently designated as the official witch for Ormolu then one can be temporarily appointed by a high public official,” Mussashi said in response. “I think of you as a high public official.”
“Yes, exactly,” Towe said in the high pitch of excitement. “I shall assign Monk Gorath Dale to beckon the nearest witch as soon as possible to my presence.”
“Are you sure Gorath is up to this?” Mussashi asked with deep concern. “I only ask because he has had difficulties in the past accomplishing his tasks.”
Head Monk Towe was painfully aware of the past Gorath Dale carried with him and, in fact, was counting on it. He was far more worried about one of his more competent monks being killed, or worse, being turned into some odd creature or slime for demanding something of a witch.
There were not many witches in the city, as they could not use any of their abilities, especially for devious acts. This meant that whoever took on this task would have to leave the safety of the city and wander into the dark lands. Towe had made up his mind to send Gorath.
“Here, sir. You have need of me?” Gorath answered at his name being called out.
“Yes, I have a very important task for you to undertake, one of the utmost importance,” Towe said with a solemn face.
“I am ready, sir. What is my task?” Gorath replied in eagerness.
“Go into the dark side and bring a witch to me within an hour from now,” Towe urgently instructed.
“Yes sir, right away, sir,” Gorath replied. “And…what should I tell the witch as to why we require her presence?”
“I must speak with her immediately for an important job,” Towe answered, holding out a piece of parchment. After a moment of thought, he added, “Also, take six of the underclassmen and two guards from the practice area with you.”
“Very well, sir,” Gorath said, snatching the parchment away from Towe. With little notice, he ran off through the chamber toward the stairs. It was a good thing for Gorath that the parchment was magical and that the directions of his task had already scribed themselves onto the paper.
“Might I ask why so many resources?” Mussashi asked when Gorath was clearly out of earshot.
“I’ve barely given him anything, and with reason,” Towe answered. “With Gorath distracting the dark side, I want you to go and get a witch. Take two of our best guards, and any other resources you need. We must have a witch as soon as possible.”
Mussashi replied with a slight bow, “It is my honor, sir.”
© 2012 Copyright Jared Quan
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