Tales of Midbar: Poisoned Well

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Orientation - part 3

Narrated by Gairlia

Inside the dome, we were shown the biggest telescope I’d ever seen.

“We knew a great deal about space before the Landing,” said the astronomer with messy hair who was showing us around. “And after being here for fifteen millenia, you’d think we’d know everything. Well we don’t. There are things that change in ways we hadn’t predicted. We’re looking out for signs of intelligent life nearby, particularly after the Mysterious Monsters arrived and it became apparent the Phantoms are still in our solar system. As this has military implications, there are things I’m not allowed to tell you. We also have a tachyon communicator but it rarely picks up a signal and what we have got hasn’t been very useful.” Then he looked right at Water-Current and myself as if we were responsable and said, “It would help if teleporters would be more forthcoming about certain things.”

“What’s that got to do with anything?” I asked.

“You know how that starship was destroyed by Nuhara teleporters?”

“So I’ve heard,” I said, “but we’re Winemakers and not teleporters. We’re from southern Pax, not Aramator.”

“I’m from Hecrin,” said Water-Current.

“What?” I asked.

“Aramator expelled all the quippa Winemakers,” said Water-Current. “A lot fled to Hecrin before they instituted their current immigration laws. Then Aramator tried flooding Hecrin with Nuharas, which is why they implemented the immigration laws. The Nuharas were mostly deported to Aramator but quippas, like my grandparents, who could persuade the Hecrinis they were Winemakers were allowed to stay. You’ll be surprised how many Hecrini quippas there are.”

“But you speak southern Quippa!”

“I’m very good with languages and accents.”

We drove back down the mountain and came to Quambrim Hall. This time we stopped at a large door in the mountainside. I hadn’t seen this before. We were led inside. The door led to a huge cavern with tables and displays related to magic.

“This is Quambrim Hall,” said our guide, “commonly called ‘Mage Hall’ because most people here are magi. Not all the magi are here, mostly the more powerful ones or the ones taking magic-related courses.”

I felt as if the ground opened up beneath me. What was I doing in this hall?

Narrated by Eleprin

Grarcin theatre was a large amphitheater in the mountainside near some rather delaperdated buildings with a couple of military vehicles outside, similar to the ones Printorac and Tenacious had destroyed in Minris. There were also a couple of busses outside the theatre. Those gathering there were the largest group of psychics I’d ever seen. I put my magic detector on (I was hardly the only one) and sure enough, they all seemed to be magi. After a while some people: a woman in normal clothing, a man in a police uniform, a woman in a slightly different police uniform, a man in a ranger’s uniform, a woman in Temple Guard uniform, a man in military uniform, a hairy who I recognized as Filiticlicki and a normally dressed man. Except Filiticlicki, they all seemed to be faharnis.

After a few minutes the normally dressed woman walked forward and said, “Welcome magi. I know we’ve got most the people who should be here.”

They’d checked our names as we’d arrived.

“I believe in the main orientation talk, Chancellor Pronar said that we had magi defending the students against magic users. Well that’s you along with older students and some staff. Obviously you’ll need instructions about how to go about that, because things won’t always be obvious. Hopefully you won’t have anything to do in this protective role, but considering what’s been happening lately, I wouldn’t like to bet on it. If you’re needed, you’ll be coordinating with several other groups. Firstly we have the police who deal with emergencies, investigate non-magic-related crimes, apprehend suspects and occasionally need to kill them. If apprehended alive, they will be subjected to the legal process. There are four police forces, just to make things complicated. We have the University City police, who deal with issues in University City. Then we have the University police, who deal with issues on the University campus. Thirdly there are the Rangers who deal with crimes and emergency situations in most the Paxian mountains. Next we have the Temple Guards who deal with issues involving Trulism, they don’t enforce laws with regard to non-Trulists unless you actually commit an act of violence or destruction in the Temple. Now I’ll hand you over to the Campus police captain, Galacandin.”

Narrated by Gairlia

I made my way to the theology department where we were supposed to have a meeting. This department consisted of several ancient looking buildings around a small amphitheater in the side of a mountain. We gathered in the amphitheater. The theology students, or at least the new ones seated in the amphitheater, were an odd lot. Some were very smart and straight-laced while others were dressed rather oddly. Like before, there were several staff members on the stage but they looked increasingly agitated as the time passed the allotted start. I was still feeling shaken. Water-Current had pointed out that Flarmia was a healing student and therefore probably a mage. I’d argued that Flarmia was also a Universal Winemaker and therefore didn’t believe in using magic or psychic powers. Water-Current claimed that she couldn’t see how Flarmia could study healing without being at least a low-level mage. Well at least Flarmia wasn’t in this meeting! Water-Current should have been but hadn’t shown up.

“Sorry,” a man in the robes of a Trulist priest said after a while, “but we’re waiting for some people.”

Shortly after that, a load of people, including Water-Current and Clindar arrived and took seats.

“Sorry,” said a young man I didn’t recognize, “but we had another important meeting and it went on a while.”

“We were trucked around the University and University City, being shown things related to law enforcement and defense,” said Clindar.

Water-Current and Clindar took seats on either side of me. They both had the same sort of strong power.

“Don’t argue with the Winemaker lecturer,” said Water-Current quietly. “That’s a sure way to make sure you don’t graduate although he seems kind and friendly.”

“Yes,” said Clindar. “He’s very liberal and notorious for discriminating against fundamentalist students. We need some fundamentalists and scripturists to pass.”

“Welcome to theology,” said a woman in the robe of a Trulist priestess, standing on the stage. “I’m professor Plumin, the head of the department. We cover all the main religions in our core courses but you have options to study some less known ones. This is probably a very interesting time to be starting your careers. I’m guessing most of you have some plan to become a priest or priestess. In the next few years, at least, you’ll have to deal with these things.”

A screen at the back of the stage lit up saying:

Prophesied Ruination

First Minris Disaster

Second Minris Disaster

Siglanti Disaster

Rendamar Battle

Navinuharbilag Destruction

Beit Ha-Am Explosion

Starship explosion

Sacrifice Doll




Mysterious Monsters


Benai Nibeyim





Righteous Army

“Now raise your hands if you’ve ever encountered any of these things?” asked Plumin.

I think everybody except me raised their hands. Then I realized I’d met Sixteen so I raised my hand.

“Good,” said Plumin. “I’m sure you’ve all met healers who are all psychics and usually magi. School magic teachers are also magi and there are lots of psychics. I’ll remove those two from the list.

Psychics and Magi disappeared from the screen and about half the people put their hands down. I wanted to but I’d met Sixteen and was sitting right next to her husband.

“You,” the priestess said, pointing. “Can you tell us about your encounter with these?”

“I went to Minris before the first disaster,” purred a low, female voice.

Clindar put his hand over his eyes. He obviously knew the speaker and had issues with her.

“I totally met the Vineyard Magis and some other Haprihagfen who run the Vineyard,” the purrer continued. “Then I met Sixteen who totally harshed on me. OK, I did try to get her raped but that was because Benai Nibeyim told me to and I think she totally overreacted and killed Uttnerata but she resurrected. Then I got totally harshed on by the avatars and then harshed on by Sixteen and the Vineyard magis again. I totally had a mental breakdown and needed treatment but I’m all right now.”

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