Sacrifice and Magic

Callie yawned, looking up at her parent who was busy packing all of her things. She had decided to come back home in-between years, and it was now time to go back to the fantastic school. Her Mother was a little saddened by her little mage having to leave again, but it was for the best. Ever since they moved from Terra Austri, the horrible domed city in the southern region previously known as Antarctica, life had been better. They went from one domed city to another, vastly different one, but who cared? Normal living was boring anyway, and the Japanese Undersea Empire was worlds apart from the oppression of Terra Austri. Besides, the domes felt safer than living in fear of what might be in one of the old wastes.

The awful people of Terra Austri hated magic, and because of that, Callie was an outcast there, and it would have only gotten worse as her magic developed. Her Mother told her of her Father from time to time, how she saved her from him, but her twin sister had been kept there with him.

She wasn’t angry at her mom, just scared for her sister. She hadn’t seen her since she was five. Callie was twelve now, and as she curled her little toes off the end of her bed she thought about that. Next month, she’d be thirteen, and so would the little girl from her past she barely remembered.

An hour from now the shuttle would arrive that would take them to the floating islands. The dream school, Augurium. This time around, she’d be on tier two, and she’d finally felt like she settled into what she wanted to be. She was going the Scientificus route, planning on making advancements. The other options weren’t appealing to her, and then the more specific route inside of that one that she’d be taking was Dux, which was basically a program that’d teach her to be a leader. She’d go into science and politics, teach people how wrong they are and show them how to be right. Needless to say, her mother was incredibly proud of her.

Callie hopped up onto her feet, and after assisting her mom with the last few things to pack, she hefted her bags up onto her shoulders and arms. Time to go and wait. She wanted to get a window view as they went up out of the water and into the air. It was wonderful and she wasn’t even a little afraid of heights. They got to the station, and her mother sat with her and her bags, awaiting the next shuttle.

There were a lot of other children there, and even some adults. Augurium was cool like that. Unlike a lot of other schools on land, they didn’t care how old you were, they only cared where you should be placed based on your skill. Nothing more, nothing less. She smiled at them, wondering what their element was, and if any of them might be Duplexes, which would mean they could use two elements. Callie was only able to use one, Darkness, and it made her a Mago Tenebris. Her full title would be Scientificus, Dux, Mago Tenebris, Duo Forus… Really long, but they shorten it down to just SDMtDf, and also a pretty patch that told the teachers where you belonged. A bell rung out over everyone talking in the waiting area, and she knew it was finally time to go back to school. No trepidation for Callie though… she couldn’t wait another second!

On the other side of the globe, Terra Austri sat in what was once called Antarctica. It was sunny on the inside of the domes that contained the sprawling cities. A picture of the perfect life. On the outside, the picture was not as pleasant. Because of the war more than 200 years ago, a storm near constantly raged, whipping snow and ice everywhere. Humans could not survive out there for long, magic or not, and even if they could, the beasts that roamed would devour them before too long. These beasts were not well documented, too feisty and quick to catch, especially with the storm.

Jana stared at the cold from inside the wall of the dome. When you were close enough to the wall, you could see the outside storm, and it was scary. She wasn’t reacting though. She didn’t react to much of anything anymore. Her father had turned her into the government when she was eight years old, almost five years ago now, and they did awful things to her.

The general public disliked magic, and it was banned by the powers that be. Those who use it get shipped off to the school forcibly so that they don’t have to deal with it. If they can get away with it though… outside of the public eye, they change young children. They implant chips into them that suppresses their magic and forces them to follow orders like a slave.

Jana was like that. Magic suppressed, she was strong, she healed very fast, and with the chips, she hardly felt. She was trapped in her own mind, the outside world separated from her by a thick fog wall. It was her turn to go outside of the walls, into the storm, and clean. Inside, she was terrified. She saw the last shift come in, fingertips suffering frostbite. They’d heal in a little while, but it still must hurt like crazy. On the outside, she was the same as all the others in the line, stoic. A perfect line, a perfect likeness of statues. Sentinels waiting for orders.

This was her first ever shift on the outside, and it was about to begin. They shuffled towards the exit, the large metal door that led to another metal door that then led to the outside. Before they could get there, a group of men darted in. They were clad in thick clothing, so she could only guess that they were actually all men, and their faces were covered in old ski masks. The masks were painted in almost tribal, war-like patterns, and they took out the five attending workers.

The group didn’t take the five workers out gently either. No mercy here. She had blood on her face now, and she was standing a good five feet away. Was this what she’d overheard workers talking about? Was this the infamous revolutionaries? People supposedly from Terra Augurium, tired of the oppression of magic in certain countries. Terra Austri was a prime example of magical oppression. They preferred technology, and showed their distaste for magic openly… still… she never imagined she’d actually see these people first hand, and though she was still stoic on the outside, she wondered what they’d do now. What was next?