Prologue: Spring of 2015

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"Hey, listen to this," Faith said to her twin sister Hope as they walked down the aisle, flipping through the pseudo-science mystery pamphlet that she had snagged while they were waiting to board the plane; "it says seventy-five aircraft and hundreds of yachts have vanished in the Bermuda Triangle in the last twenty five years alone—with no wreckage, no emergency transmissions, and no evidence! Isn't that freaky? You know our flight's been redirected so that we'll be passing through part of it because of that storm that popped up off the coast, right? The theories in this thing range from aliens to something called 'electric fog' to methane gas bubbles and rogue waves."

"Well, I doubt it's aliens," Hope remarked calmly as they took their seats.

"Yeah, if you're gonna come all the way to Earth, there's lots of better things to do in the Caribbean than abducting boats and planes," Faith agreed with a sage nod.

"Like snorkeling and swimming with dolphins," Hope said as she slid their carry-on tote under her seat.

"Exactly. I love cruises. They're the perfect way to have a 'family vacation' without having to actually interact with them."

"Yep. We can do whatever we want on our little floating hotel, while Dad spends time with his latest squeeze, and we can avoid them completely and blame it all on bad cell reception."

"Best plan ever!" Faith said with a smirk, giving her sister a high-five as the flight attendant began the usual safety spiel and pointed out the emergency exits. Just because they had to fly down from their boarding school to meet up with their father and board the boat with him didn't mean they had to stick with him for the rest of the way. If he thought he had the girls stuck under his thumb, then he was sorely mistaken. Following the pilot's instructions, the girls buckled up and settled in for the flight; Faith with her pamphlet, and Hope with a book called The Town That Forgot How to Breathe.

"But I wonder why he suddenly decided we had to do this during Spring Break?" Hope mused aloud with a frown after they had been flying for a while. "We don't usually have to go along with his little charade of an attempt to show us he cares until later in the summer, when school's out..." Changing their schedule like this was a strange deviation from their busy and aloof father's usual policy of benign neglect.

"Yeah, he's totally cramping our style," Faith huffed impatiently with a much deeper frown. "I mean, spring break is supposed to be for celebrating Mardi Gras and hanging out with the more interesting side of the family. I was really looking forward to blowing something up!"

"Can you not talk about explosions while we're on a plane?" Hope chided her. "Some of the other passengers are starting to give us funny looks."

"Seriously?" Faith asked, glancing around. Sure enough, there were a few nervous stares aimed in their direction. "Oh, come on! Since when do terrorists fly first class and walk around wearing Lilly Pulitzer? People are so—"

"—Whoa, look at all that fog!" Hope said abruptly cutting off her sister's rant.

"Huh? That wasn't there a second ago, was it?" Faith asked as she leaned over her sister to have a look out the window.

"No, it just suddenly came up out of nowhere."

"Geez, it's so thick you can't see anything!"

"!!?" they both cried out in alarm when the plane suddenly dipped and shook. The fasten seatbelt light flicked on with a ding as the pilot's voice made another announcement:

[We would like to ask that all passengers please remain calm. We are experiencing some unusual weather conditions, and there may be some slight turbulence—]

The plane shook again, much more violently this time.

"He calls this slight!?" Faith asked dubiously as they quickly returned their trays to their upright position while the man behind them cursed about his drink having spilled all over his work laptop.

[—I repeat, please remain calm! It should all be over very soon!] the pilot finished urgently, sounding more nervous than they would have liked.

"Okay, something's totally not right about this," said Faith nervously. "This is usually the part in the movies where the plane crashes—wanna bet that's some electric fog out there? I bet it's messing with the plane's instruments as we speak!"

"It's all right, Faith!" Hope said, squeezing her sister's hand reassuringly. "Planes encounter wind turbulence all the time without—!?" Her eyes widened when she realized that their seats had been surrounded by a mysterious circle of spiraling lines of light and energy. The sisters exchanged a frightened glance as they tightened their grip on each other, and before either of them could say another word, they felt a strange pulling sensation.

The next thing they knew, they had somehow left the plane and found themselves surrounded by more of the strange fog that had enveloped their plane. Up and up they went until the fog faded away to nothing more than a small puff of cloud on the surface of the great blue planet beneath their feet, spinning faster and faster as they traveled further and further away from their homeworld. As they spiraled through a mysterious vortex the twins saw things beyond comprehension that most humans could only dream of. Stars and galaxies flew by faster and faster until they had passed so far beyond the edge of the known universe that they reached a place in the fabric of space and time where many of life's different dimensions could be found overlapping and bleeding together. And it was through one of these points of convergence that their path led.

The pulling sensation gave way to a momentary feeling of weightlessness. Then came the fall. The girls held onto each other for dear life as gravity took over, and they were hurled screaming towards the surface of another blue planet, where they were plunged down into a bright sky. The girls cried out as they were pulled apart by the shearing force of the winds whipping around them. Their eyes went wide with fear when they felt their fingers slip out of each other's grip. In an instant they were torn apart and sent flying in opposite directions.



Down on the surface below, several individuals of great influence suddenly lifted their heads to the sky when they sensed a great disturbance in the Rukh.

'I can feel it. Something just happened...' thought Ren Gyokuen of the Kou Empire as her face twisted with disgust. It was far too similar to the one she had that day twenty-nine years ago for her liking.

"What's that?" asked the magi Judar, furrowing his brow as he looked up in the direction of the strange phenomena. "The Rukh are resonating with something..."

"The Rukh are resonating. They are resonating together with a great power!" exclaimed the Chancellor of Magnostadt Academy, Matal Mogamett.

"In the East... someone... no, two people with great power have come," said Lady Scheherazade of Reim when the mass of Rukh split in two, gazing off into the distance as if she could see something no one else could.

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