Dawn To Dusk & Back Again

Image of Set Stories Free - 2018
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Seven hundred years ago the land of Kutuphane was ravaged by a massive war. A war that left the mountains just outside the capital of Bilgi destroyed and lifeless after a catastrophe known only as The Null. Since then Bilgi flourished and Kutuphane was restored. Not only that but it had grown beyond its borders into a grand empire. This is where our story begins. The year is 115 AN. That's After Null to you. For Kahraman Ogrenci, it was the first day at Bilgi Academy. The school where kids who have come of age begin their instruction in the magical arts. She had lived outside of Bilgi at the western border, just passed The Badlands. “I can't believe I'm really here in Bilgi! There are so many tall buildings and spires!” People were zipping by, levitating across intersections. Everyone looked so scholarly. “It's such a large place. How does anyone find their way around here? If I'm gonna find the academy I'll have to ask for directions.” Trying to get someone, really anyone's attention she tried to flag down a mage. “Excuse me. Excuse me, sir. Excuse me, please. Excuse me! SOMEBODY PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF HAYAT, EXCUSE ME!” Just then a voice from behind her responded, “No I will not.” She turned around to face the girl replying to her. “You're hollering at everyone like a crazy person and making yourself look like an idiot.” Kahraman’s face turned red with embarrassment as she looked around and then turned her gaze towards the ground. “I'm...sorry! I'm just trying to find my way to the academy.”
“New in town huh?”
“Yes, my name is Kahraman Ogrenci and I'm here to begin my education at Bilgi Academy!”
“Then why haven't you used one of the scrying pools? There's one at every intersection.” Kahraman kept her eyes facing the ground, “I’ve...never seen...a scrying pool before.” The girl burst into laughter, “You have got to be kidding me! You’re thirteen years old and you expect to make it at Bilgi Academy without even seeing a scrying pool let alone knowing how to use one!? Are you really that pathetic?”
Kahraman’s face was flushed with embarrassment, “I’m not pathetic! I just grew up far away from the large cities!”
“So you’re not one of those peasants from the dregs of the smaller cities? Figures I’d come across one of the savages from the outer villages.” Kahraman couldn’t contain her frustration, “Savage!? Who do you think you are you stuc─”
“Don’t waste my time savage. I feel bad for you so I’ll help you out this time. The Academy is to the east. Look for the building with a massive spire behind it and a large gate. Now stop wasting my time. You’re not the only one starting there first day at the academy. By the way, the name’s Kendini Dusunen. Don’t forget it.” With a swing of her staff, she floated off the ground and sped away towards the academy. Kahraman gritted her teeth, furious with Kendini.

It took some time but Kahraman arrived at the gates of Bilgi Academy. However, she did notice something odd. There were no stairs connecting the academy and the ground. She cast a levitate spell like everyone else does and floated above the gates towards the doors of the academy. Suddenly the magical effects of her spell stopped and she dropped to the ground. With a sore back, she stood up and floated towards the academy doors again. Before the placement ceremony, every student has to pass a health check by the academy healer. While the healer was scanning for any problems he jumped back, “There’s no way!”
“What’s the matter? Is something wrong?”
“There sure is. I’ve found a darkness on your soul that disrupts the energy flowing within it.”
“What does that mean!? How does it affect me?”
“Well as you know in order to cast a spell one must use the energy from their soul to initiate the process. However, because of the darkness coating your soul that energy will occasionally misfire, preventing a spell from being cast or interrupting a spell being used. It’s a condition known as Null Flow.”
“But there’s a cure, right?”
“I’m afraid not. Little is known about Null Flow and The Council of Intellects have forbidden study of Null Flow because it’s too dangerous.” All of the other students began to whisper and glare at her, “I knew there was something wrong with her as soon as I saw her.” “She seemed so off. So different from the rest of us.” “Ugh, she’s so disgusting.” “Get that thing away from me!” The other students started throwing things at her. Kahraman’s eyes teared up, “What’s wrong? Why are you doing this to me!?” Even one of the teachers threw something at Kahraman, hitting her in the head with a small orb which fell into her hand as she stepped back, blood dripping from her head. With blood and tears dripping across her face she ran, to where she did not care. Roaming the halls aimlessly, crying and bleeding she turned left, right, left, left again and right until the hallway had no turns remaining. At the end of the hall, she stopped, fell to her knees in a corner and screamed as loud as she could. As much as she wished somebody would have followed to console her, there was no one.

Sometime later when she had finally calmed down she remembered that still had to attend the placement ceremony, “Oh no! I might be late!” Running down the halls, wandering just as aimlessly she did before it became clear that she was lost. At that moment, however, she was overcome by an intense dizziness and then a bright light. Still disoriented, she looked around and quickly realized that she was at the placement ceremony, in front of all of the new students. The head of the academy, Chancellor Magus, in a cold monotone told her “This school waits for no one Ms. Ogrenci. If I have to teleport you again you will be expelled. Understand?” Her face was flushed as she timidly replied: “Yes...sir.” The other students laughed at her. For several weeks nobody talked to her, sat with her at lunch, did their homework with her or helped her study. They played pranks on her, cast spells on her to push her over, turn her into a frog, anything they could to humiliate and bully her. Between classes, she often stopped at the bathroom to lock herself in a stall and cry. It was all pretty standard at first. It was the middle of the semester, almost time for the first of two semester exams. She was doing alright, as was consistent with her work. During her Fundamentals of Elemental Studies class, everyone was quietly studying for the exam. However, Kahraman would see that this was no longer the case. Runic writing appeared, glowing light blue, “Yvorj pühü ydjd oznwr.” that after she’d translated said “The disgusting animal needs to be put down. Leave this academy you dog!” Kahraman snapped, standing up as she screeched at the class, “I have had enough! All of you keep bullying me, humiliating me and threatening me but I will not be forced out of this academy! I am here and you will just have to deal with it! If anyone doesn’t like that then I am right here! You look me in the eye and make your threats, cast your spells or push me away instead of hiding behind distant messages and faceless pranks like a coward!” Everyone remained silent, averting their eyes as if in shame. One person, however, did indeed stand. It was Kendini Dusunen and she was not ashamed of her prejudice, “We’re right ya know. Diseased filth like you don’t belong here let alone with human beings and I’ve tolerated you long enough!” She waved her wand in preparation for an offensive spell. Kahraman didn’t miss a beat, prepping a spell far quicker than Kendini could and in front of the entire class, threw Kendini across the room, into the wall. The other students gasped. After a stern lecture from Chancellor Magus, Kahraman walked to her next class. Something had changed though. The other students no longer turned away or glared at her. Nobody threw anything at her. Things were going to be different now and for the first time since she arrived at Bilgi Academy, she smiled.

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