The City Of Darkness

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Summary

In an alternate world where Magick exists, a magazine writer is attacked. Unsure as to why, he must use his wit, abilities and resources to survive, or fade into nothing...

Genre:
Fantasy / Mystery
Author:
Strom Nighttusk
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
1
Rating:
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:
18+

Ch.1 Nightfall

“Once upon a time”… These were once words that started children’s fairy tales. Monsters and great heroes and magic abound these stories that, oddly enough now, Humankind seems to be living in.

As America was coming up on an election for it’s next leader towards the middle of 2016 ad, there were jokes much like the year before that people wished a huge meteor would hit and wipe out humanity. ‘Be careful what you wish for’, as the saying goes, because a huge meteor did. However, it did not have the effect that people would have thought. The meteor was of an unknown metal, intensely powerful but fragile like glass. The meteor broke into chunks hitting the upper atmosphere, then split into fragments as it punched throughout the lower ones, peppering the Earth in it’s strange mineral.

For just over six days, the Earth appeared to reset itself; the scientists called it the ‘Terra-Restart’, a devastating event that was responsible for killing about 25% of the population of every single species. Storms shattered and rebuilt the Earth in a way that it had reset the Earth’s atmosphere, climate, even its orbit. Now, instead of a standard, circular, orbit the Earth now has elliptical one and for four months of our new solar year, the Earth trades positions with Mars making them now the alternating third and fourth planets from the sun. One solar year now is sixteen months, four hundred eighty-2 and a quarter days. Continents and countries were reshaped into new and unexplored wild lands with brand new flora and fauna. New lands were formed as well, some were even complete permanent biomes bringing new fruits, and vegetation. The biggest change however, was in the humans that survived.

The unknown metal that fell out of the sky began to give humans super natural powers. Most would have thought like their treasured comic books, but more accurately, it was more akin to witches, wizards, and warlocks. The metal began to germinate like grass into the Earth’s soil and acted very similar to radiation and began to alter around 10% of the humans that survived the ‘Terra-Restart’. The Humans that were altered by this began to call it ‘Arcanium’, meanwhile normal humans began calling those altered ‘Casters’. Inevitably, the concern for normal Humans then was to keep themselves separate from the Casters, believing them an omen of ill fate. The churches reformed themselves under a new name, the Haven. The Haven claimed they were the agents of their God of Light, and that the Earth was only safe ‘Haven’ to the true Humans.

The Casters fled their homes and families and wandered their new Earth for a new place to live, and many founded settlements and towns, rebuilding what they were once ostracized from. In three quick years, the Haven removed all records of anyone as a Caster from ever existing and any human that sided with them, Casters still living in Human cities either went into hiding or never used their powers and acted as humans, and the idea of Casters faded into nothing more than mere myth under the threat of execution.


Five years passed since the Terra-Restart, life went about with a sense of new normality. Alistair rather enjoyed his new home in the Kingdom of Twilight, which comprised itself of four large cities of Shade, Eventide, Void, and his city, Nightfall. The kingdom itself was situated in a forest so vast, tall, and dense that is became known as the Forest of Unending Night; Eventide was the only exception to the rule as the city itself was on the coast. Eventide was often warm and mildly humid from the dense forest, battered back by the ocean winds, and due to it’s position, was often set in red like a constant sunset. Many Casters scattered to the further parts of the world, sought refuge in other countries, but for people like Alistair, this was a chance to explore something new.

The air was fresh and clean, what sunlight the did manage to penetrate the dense treetops appeared as moonlight, bioluminescent plants were usually the main sources of light. Hydroelectric generators in the massive rivers also supplied ample power to all of the cities and even store a decent percentage weekly that companies then sold as batteries to many countries. It also helped to aid any humans that needed the extra light within the cities.

Alistair stood and breathed in deeply, enjoying the cool, afternoon air and smiled. His eyes scanned over the neon colors with his new eyes with deep purple hues. His body had been altered and had become a Shadow type Caster, primordial elements were considered somewhat rare due to their wild natures that often reflected in their Casters. Alistair saw his abilities as a gift instead of a curse like most; he loved the darkness, the night, he saw better in the night than he ever did during the day back when he was human. These days he could now see for miles at a time, blend even better into the background, and had the ability to step through shadows similar to teleportation among other abilities. He was fit and lean as magick used quite a bit of muscle and talent, living alone in a major city where he didn’t have to drive was a big help. His hair was of a decent length, normally pulled back into a single tail, of average height and weight and kept to his same sense of dress, which was usually black clothing: jeans, t-shirts, with a few trinkets and charms around his neck or in the form of rings on his fingers, with heavy boots on his feet, and his deep purple eyes framed by the glasses he wore.

He closed his eyes and smiled the bread from the local bakery on 5th ave., and heard a low rumble of thunder in the sky. It rained quite a lot in Nightfall, which made Alistair love the city even more. His cell phone rang and he put in his headphones, answering the call, “Yea? What do you need?” he asked. He simply nodded, “Yea, I got you, I’m in the shopping district now. I can get you those, no problem.” he paused, listening. “Yea, okay, no sweat… I’ll be there soon.” he said, hanging up. He raised his hood and stepped from the balcony of his second floor apartment and vanished, appearing down below in a near by alley. He walked over to the bakery and waved, “Hey Paul, how’s life?” he asked. “Same stuff different day, you know. You want the usual?” he replied. Alistair thought for a moment and said, “Yea, actually I need both my usual, and my take away orders; going to pop by before I head to work.” Paul nodded, “I hear ya, bud, be sure to say hi to her for me will ya? She doesn’t come around often, so it’s nice to know she’s okay.” He said handing Alistair his orders. Alistair nodded and paid, dropping a ten dollar note into the tip jar, “Be sure to say hi to the Missus for me.” he noted as he stepped away and vanished into the dark, leaving Paul to smile.

Within moments he had arrived out of the shadows in Eventide, he put his hood down and blinked, adjusting to the light and headed into town. Eventide, being a coastal city, had more hustle and bustle with the trading ports, and the naval base they had. He visited the local pier where he managed to get some fish, shrimp and crab legs. He looked around before stepping in and out of the shadows here, as this was a town where more Humans lived than Casters. Even though lots of casters still lived here, not all powers were often welcomed; those who used their powers to help work in the docks were highly regarded, as the blue collar working Casters could be seen as trusted. Those who worked on becoming proper Mages, meaning those working on enhancing their magick and learning new spells, were very distrusted.

Alistair finally made it to his destination and knocked on the door. It opened to reveal a somewhat shorter and stockier woman wearing an Eventide Sharks jersey and jeans. “Well hi, didn’t expect you to get here so soon.” she said giving him a hug. He hugged her back, “I know, mama. I just wanted to make sure you had enough stuff for the big game and have a little something for you to snack on.” She went inside and cheered, “My boys are going to kick butt today! Then tomorrow the race is on!” He chuckled, “Oh yea? Which one? World Grand Prix or is it your circuit boys?” She sat back in her chair and clapped excitedly, “Both.” He simply rolled his eyes putting away her food, his mom loved her American style football, and her auto racing. “Well I’ll be working today, mama. So if you need anything, text first, and call if its critical, okay?” It was her turn to roll her eyes, “Yea, yea, I know Punkin’” she said hugging him again. “So where are they sending you this time?” Alistair thought, “Well let’s see… I have an interview with the Mayor first, talk about his latest policies for his re-election campaign. After that, I have a review of that new hotel they opened over on Skyline Boulevard, supposed to be five stars… then I think I have a summer season fashion show I have to cover either today or tomorrow.” His mom blinked, “Since when does politics enter that magazine you work for?” she asked before grabbing her soda can to find it empty. Alistair took the old can and swapped it for a new one for her and put the old can into her recycle bin. “Well, we’re doing a collaborative piece sets, something along the lines of how the successful modern people organize their priorities on their path to success… or some such nonsense, I don’t know...” he said looking at his watch, “Holy crap, speaking of which, I gotta run if I’m going to be early to catch the Mayor, need to get my press pass and stuff too, kinda forgot them.” She thumped him lightly, “Well don’t forget that, kiddo. Get to work and be on your best behavior, or else...” she said waving her finger at him.

He chuckled at her before telling her about what Paul said, she thanked him as he took his order, a banana nut muffin and a cup of dark coffee, pulled up his hood and stepped through a shadow in her kitchen. He arrived back home moments later and grabbed his Modern World Magazine press badge, muffin in his mouth and munching as he hurried along. His interview with the Mayor came and went, standard political grandstanding, by his standards; before he looked at his appointment book. He had at least two to three hours to spend before he had to be at that hotel. After dropping off his belongings he went where he usually did, an abandoned warehouse where he could try out new spells he learned. At the moment he was working on a form of levitation, he figured if he could walk into the darkness, then surely he could walk on it. After about an hour or so he may no progress, puzzled he wondered what he was doing wrong, but shrugged as he would have to look it up later, for now he had to get some luggage together to stay at this new hotel. In his apartment he listened to the TV news coverage of more violent acts by the Haven as they vied for control, facing opposition from the public… and as a result facing very swift executions in some areas. “Battles seem to be getting just a little bit closer...” he thought out loud, and wondered if they were still hunting Casters in secret. He looked to his closet, hoping that someday he could finally put the secret gear he stashed away into a hole somewhere and never have to think about ever using it.

He finished packing and turned off his TV, deciding to do a little roof hopping tonight as his vanished and reappeared from rooftop to rooftop. He loved using his magick for pure fun and defense of his friends and family. It allowed him to see the world anew, to finally be able to craft his own place in this new age. He had a job as a magazine writer that he loved, his mother was finally getting more into good health, he got to travel the world and put his skills to good use. His elated revelry was quickly paused by the glimmer of something to his left caught his eye, and dodged feeling the sting of a bullet just barely grazing him. “7.62 round? Who’d want to try to snipe me?” he wondered aloud, landing softly on the next roof. He held still before waiting for the next glimmer, and found it at his four o’clock position. He vanished as the round went sailing by and appeared behind his attacker, dropping a knee into his back. “You sure have a funny way of saying hello, so how about we try it a different way.. Hi, my name is Alistair, won’t you be just neighborly and tell me who you are?” The assailant turned their head and made an audible crunch before he began to foam at the mouth, convulse wildly, and very quickly stopping. “Suicide capsule… rather amateur way of handling this...” he noted looking around, enshrouding his face as much as he could, his hood helped to conceal his face. He turned over the assailant to find a Haven logo on his chest and snapped a picture of it and his face onto his phone, sending the pictures to his buddies Andre and Jeff at the Bureau for Caster Defense. “They’ll know what they are looking for.” he noted as he looked around some more before finally vanishing and heading to the hotel.

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