Chapter 9 "Portent"

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The Great Cataclysm


At the end of the twenty-first century the world was shattered. The date is uncertain, but December 21st, 2090 CE, is the date accepted by scholars in the civilized world. The people of the New German Republic (NGR) say it’s the exact date and as the only known civilization to have maintained a semblance of integrity during the Second Dark Age, most centers have accepted it.


Unlike the exact date of the cataclysm, the cause is known. Mounting tensions between two nations in South America broke out into a limited nuclear exchange. The detonations of small and comparatively clean weapons resulted in the direct deaths of less than half a million people. There are fragmentary surviving reports from the time indicating the warring powers were willing to stop the conflict and end the killing but the universe had a different plan.


Mystic researchers and theorists in Lazlo and Tolkeen have determined that if the exchange and resulting deaths happened a few days sooner or a few days later, the cataclysm would have never happened. The deaths of so many people and subsequent release of life energy in the supernatural buffer zone started a chain reaction, which brought humanity to its knees.


            - University of New Lazlo Database (Updated 100 PA)




Academy of Magic, City of Lazlo, The Free State of Lazlo

            John Anders raced through the main concourse and practically flew up the grand staircase of the Academy. At fifteen years old, his gangly, not quite done forming body, threatened to spill him to the ground at every step. He was tempted to use a hover spell and propel himself up through the wall bypassing the stairs, but the prohibition on magic use in the hallways was an ancient one. Some of the students said the rule actually predated the Great Cataclysm, they claimed there were records in the Kingdom of Tolkeen to back up the claims.

            “Where are you rushing off to Mr. Anders?” a gravelly voice called from the top of the staircase. “I would hate to have you collide with another student and end up once more in the infirmary.”

            John looked up into the weathered face of Professor Grell, Head of the Department of Elemental Arts. The tall Wolfen was ancient, his once golden fur having gone iron grey years ago. It was rumored he’d been at the academy for more than fifty years.

            “I’m sorry, professor,” John said coming to a stop and breathing hard.

            “What is so important that you were forced to race around the main concourse like an epileptic Juicer?” Grell asked, a gleam of humor in his large lupine eyes.

            “Sir,” John said suddenly sounding abashed. “I was performing a farseeing ritual and I saw something disturbing.” He braced himself and waited to be chastised for attempting the complicated ritual without oversight.

            It didn’t happen.

            “What did you see?” Professor Grell asked, all of his previous humor gone.

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