by Rogue

Shortly after the defeat of Magic Emperor Ghaleon...

"Now that is a mess," Jeff said to himself as he stepped through the door of Vane's Magic Library. Or at least, what was left of the door. Thousands upon thousands of books lay strewn about the floor as if someone very gifted in wind magic had had a massive temper tantrum. It was almost a sea of paper and wood, with broken bookcases, cracked book covers and torn papers covering the floor so well that Jeff couldn't have stepped anywhere without having to climb over a pile of books. During Vane's plummet to the ground just a few weeks earlier every building in Vane was traumatically reduced to rubble, and the Library was no exception. Jeff was amazed that although many of the Library's books had escaped the Library and were scattered around Vane's crash site, there were even rumors that a few novels had even flown as far as Nanza, the majority of the Magic Guild's literature was recovered and returned to the large cavity of what was now the Library.

After Magic Emperor Ghaleon's defeat and the world had quieted down the Guild's Council had set about rebuilding Vane so that the city's populace could reclaim their homes and their lives. Needless to say the task was monumental, even for the world's most powerful magicians. Artisans from Meribia and even the newly proclaimed Five Heroes came to help, however there was still a lot of work to be done and Jeff was starting to wonder if Vane would ever return to what it once was. He was doubtful that it would ever again fly in the sky. However, with the little time that had passed since the disaster, exceptional work had already been done. Several magicians skilled in earth magic had reformed most of the dirt and rock that made up the floating city into a large, flat plateau and many small houses had been constructed. Now the Council was hoping to rebuild the Magic Guild itself, along with the Magic Library.

The head builders from Meribia had assured Jeff that they had remodeled what was left of the Library into a "structurally sound" building for the time being. To Jeff however it looked like they had rebuilt the Library from blueprints a child had scribbled on, and then only half finished. He cast a spell of protection on himself before proceeding any further, just in case.

Once inside Jeff sighed. Unfortunately, because of the suddenness of the Magic Emperor's attack, the people in Vane had little time to do anything but cast the Magic of Transfer to get everyone to safety, which meant that there was no chance to save the thousands of books the Library had held. Now entire collections were crushed, ripped, or lost in the wilderness outside. As Head Librarian of the Magic Library and having the most knowledge about the vast literature of Vane, it was Jeff's job to start to reorganize an almost uncountable number of books of the Library. He would of course need many more people to rebuild the Library, but first he had wanted to take a look around what was left first, and he wasn't too optimistic. The Magic Guild owned more books on magic than anyone, even more than Damon the Keeper of Knowledge. Now they were scattered everywhere. Dozens of the books were probably damaged beyond repair, hundreds more only partially destroyed, meaning someone would have to attempt to rewrite the lost chapters, if they could. It was once said that if one were to read a single book from the Library a day, it would still take him a hundred thousand years to read them all. It was rumored that Ghaleon had been the only person ever to read them all, and with him dead, Jeff realized that probably no one remembered how most of the books went, which meant they could never fully be restored.

But he would try.

Using some levitation magic Jeff gently lifted novel after novel and cleared a few paths through the ruined library. He was mostly worried now about the books that weren't severely damaged that could become so if someone were to hurt them while trying to navigate the messy room. He would have to tell his staff to be extraordinarily careful while moving anything. Jeff worked his way to the rear of the Library lost in thought about his soon to be salvage operation until something caught his attention. A single massively thick book to his left, one with a dark teal cover stuck out of the mess. It couldn't be, could it? Jeff thought to himself. He walked over to it and very cautiously cleared off the books on top of it, picked it up and looked at it, eyes wide in astonishment. "By the Goddess," Jeff whispered. "I was sure you wouldn't have survived." The teal colored book he held was centuries old and very fragile, its ink would have deteriorated to illegibility had it not been for magical seals to ensure the writing's survival. It was part of the original collection the Library had owned, back before Althena had willed Vane to the skies. Jeff flipped through some of the pages. The book contained chapters in the rear about that very raising, how Althena had flooded Lunar to destroy the remnants of the first Magic Empire, predating Magic Emperor Ghaleon's regime.

Jeff then realized that he should recover the rest of the original texts, if any were left, and handle them with the extreme care he could only trust himself to use before somebody else damaged them. He stretched his senses throughout the Library and tried to detect the magic seals on the other originals. After a few minutes he had detected several other originals. While this was only a tiny part of the original collection, to Jeff it was a miracle that any had survived. He then set about to recover them.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Jeff lit the lamp in his private study, leaned back in his chair, and started to rub his temples. It had been a long day. While his librarian staff knew how to handle the books carefully, and did so mostly to his satisfaction, they had needed to recruit normal townspeople because of the enormity of the job. Townspeople who had no experience in grouping which volumes together and had no idea how or why to treat the books with extreme care. Head Librarians of the Magic Guild Library had a major responsibility to keep the Library's collection as safe as possible so that it would survive for centuries to come. While the Grindery's attack had given Jeff an enormous problem in this matter, these ignorant buffoons were making it that much worse!

Jeff breathed a deep sigh. I really need to calm down, he thought. Getting all flustered won't get the job done any better. He'd figure out a way to make them more careful, he had to if he wanted to preserve the Library's current books as long as the original collection had lasted.

Speaking of which, Jeff reached over to one of his many bookshelves and retrieved the first book he had found of the original collection earlier that day. He turned it over, checking for any damage and extra stresses on the book. It seemed to be in good condition, so he gently opened it up to check for damage on the pages.

However, it had been a very long day and Jeff was very tired, and flipping through page after page was very boring, so eventually he stopped checking for damage and started to relax and skim through parts of the book. It told many ancient stories of Lunar; many so old that no one remembered them. Very few had ever read this book. Jeff had in an attempt to impress the former Head Librarian for a recommendation to the position once he retired, but that was long ago and Jeff had forgotten much.

Eventually he started to get pretty groggy, and was about to go to bed, when he turned the page one more time, and was awakened a bit by what he saw. A most beautifully drawn portrait, covering two pages, was laid out before him. It showed four massive dragons in flight, followed by two bright globes and led by what looked to be an angel. Jeff guessed that the angel was Althena, because the beauty the careful detail brought out reminded him of the pictures he had seen at Althena's Shrine on his rare visits. They were flying among clouds, from a very large planet to a smaller one. Although there was no color in the picture, he could tell what the larger planet was. It had the familiar landscape and features he saw in the sky every night. It was the Blue Star.

He traced his finger along the picture, and felt that it was very delicate. More delicate actually, than the rest of the pages. Yet there wasn't a tear, not a single bit of it had been ripped.

He picked up the book and looked it over again. It was in amazingly good condition. Many newer, sturdier books, most written centuries after this one, had been torn to shreds and scattered across Lunar. It was unbelievable to Jeff that one of the most delicate, most fragile pieces the Library kept, had survived the carnage this perfectly.

A sudden thought struck him. If this book had a seal on it to keep its ink from fading, maybe there were other seals to protect it from harm. He was tired, and it was hard to concentrate, but his curiosity was too strong. He placed his hand on the drawing he had found and muttered a short incantation. With his mind he probed through the book. He found the seal on the ink quite easily, but he dug deeper that that. After probing for what seemed like forever Jeff found something. It was almost hidden, he must've missed it before, but it was definitely there. He tried to push into it, but it pushed back. He concentrated and tried harder, but it kept pushing back. Finally, when Jeff was on the brink of collapsing from mental exhaustion, he got through.

A great light exploded in his mind, and dozens of colors sparked in his vision. He felt a very strong magical presence, but could not grasp what it was because he was too overwhelmed.

Images flashed before him. Images of the recent past; collecting the books earlier in the day, what he ate for dinner, and different parts of the book he'd just been reading, but it was all a blur. A few lines he'd just skimmed over however flashed clearly through his mind: "Once, this land was a dead lifeless void… but the first Dragonmaster transformed the land by harnessing Dragon Magic," "In the days of Legend, People flew across the sky in machines," "People depended on machines, and in the end, Ruined their World with them..."

It was too much for him, he was too tired to comprehend it, too tired to take it in, it was too much... too much...

Outside of his awareness, Jeff's body sagged forward onto the desk. His head fell gently onto the book in front of him, and he did not stir.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

It was all black.



Then a pinprick of light here, then here, then another, and another, until a dazzling myriad of stars was before Jeff. It's beautiful he thought, realizing he couldn't whisper to himself. His view shifted, all the stars moving as one. It was almost nauseating, the feeling of twisting in space without anchor, but he quickly got over it. His view shifted until a brilliant blue orb shone before him. White clouds swirled above a brown and green landscape with a rich blue ocean covering most of the surface. It couldn't be Lunar, he thought. It's too big. Then he started to recognize some of the landmasses. It can't be... the Blue Star? But how is it living? Another orb came into view, from behind the Blue Star, but this orb was gray and distinctively smaller, with many, many craters. Lunar? Dead? When is this?

Then the flood of emotions came. Feelings, images, words, ideas, thousands of each flowed into him from the Blue Star, moving so fast it was there and gone before he realized he'd experienced it. It took all of his strength to not be overwhelmed. Words of various tongues he did not recognize zipped through his mind, and as his view shifted closer time on the planet appeared to be moving very rapidly. He could see great masses of people moving, building cities, destroying others, great fleets of ships traveling the seas; all happening so quickly that only the emotions he felt from what he saw could tell him what he was beholding. For what seemed like a long while he saw the events of the world play out before him.

He saw wars. Masses of people with swords, shields, armor, bows, horses, and war machines, marched against one another with hatred in their hearts, killing and pillaging wherever they crossed. It made him feel cold.

But he also saw peace, times between the wars where people built huge cities and roads. Time sped up even faster and as it did the cities grew larger, the buildings reached further into the sky, and eventually he saw carriages moving without horses. These people must have good control over magic, Jeff thought, though he didn't sense any magic from their use. Actually, he hadn't sensed the use of magic from the planet for quite a while, nor had he seen any of the four Dragons. Instead these sights coldly reminded him of the late Magic Emperor's own metallic army. But the next sight would dazzle even Ghaleon, for strange creations made out of wood and metal took to the sky and actually flew! He'd heard that Dragonmaster Alex had flown to the Goddess' Tower in a craft with a giant balloon, but most of these craft had no such balloons at all. What an advanced age.

Now machines were almost everywhere, doing more on their own and moving about the planet, some without people in them. The world before him had changed so dramatically with the use of these incredible machines that it looked nothing like it had at the start of the vision.

Then a war came, a war more horrible than all that came before. The advanced machines the people had used in peace had now turned to violence. The ground shook from giant mechanical beasts that trampled and crushed everything that stood in their way. Giant machines flying in the sky dropped large pieces of metal that pounded and cratered the land with their fire. Blood flooded the shores and rivers; corpses littered the land at every turn. Pain and anguish cried out from the planet. But what disturbed Jeff more than anything was the intense hatred he felt from many people in the war.

Then a weapon was used. A weapon with the fury of the sun, a weapon so powerful and horrible that even Magic Emperor Ghaleon with his Grindery could not have matched. The scar this weapon left on the planet and its people was devastating. Jeff could not believe how destructive it was. It killed and destroyed more in an instant than hundreds of any other weapon could do in several weeks. The war ended soon after a second of this weapon was dropped.

More years passed, people rebuilt their cities, but the weapon remained and more of it was made. Jeff could sense the intense fear the weapons caused emanating from the planet, fear of a nightmare called "n..u..c..l..e..a..r winter." Yet more were made.

Time flowed forward. Unbelievably tall buildings scraped against the sky, even more flying machines were in the air, and even more complex machines were used. There were still wars, but none like the horrible one before, none with the same intense hatred. Peace became more and more commonplace in the world, and people were more at ease.

But after a while Jeff soon sensed greed and jealousy coming from the planet. A little at first, but it steadily grew and grew. Many of the people had become well-off, but some more than others. Soon this jealousy stood out above all other emotions. People wanted more, more money, bigger houses, more everything. So intense the greed became that it drove everybody's motives; it drove entire nations.

The feeling grew stronger and stronger until everyone was consumed by it. The drive for more overtook the entire planet, until war engulfed the world again. There were no more armies of men with swords and shields or projectile weapons, instead even more terrifying machines than before drove across the land, sky, and sea and destroyed much in their paths. Stronger and stronger weapons, some Jeff couldn't even comprehend, were used and more and more was consumed by fire. Machines everywhere were tearing the planet apart. And then the terrible weapons were used again.

Mushrooms of fire and smoke bloomed in every corner of the hurting planet. Missiles flew across the sky, delivering death and pain where they landed. Soon the bombings were out of control. More missiles were launched, more destruction delivered, until the whole planet was consumed by the weapons' horrible fire.

He felt the presence of something sinister laughing in the background. It made him feel cold. In fact, it reminded him very much of something distant he had felt behind the hatred of the previous wars. He did not like whatever it was.

When the war was over, few of the original billions of people remained. There was little left that could be eaten. The machines they had used to live all their lives were destroyed. They did not know how to fend for themselves on the barren land.

He could feel the pain of the planet and the pain of Althena over her creation destroying itself. Then he felt her take action. She picked a single person, one who had a latent talent for the ancient, long-forgotten art of magic. A good person, one who had opposed the buildup of the weapons and the breakout of violence. She imbued him with the powers of the elements, titled him as Dragonmaster and gave him control of the four Dragons that no one remembered existed.

Althena transported the new Dragonmaster away from the world dying in flames, across space to the lifeless, cratered rock that was Lunar, when it was a true Silver Star. Once there, the Dragonmaster took command of the four Dragons. First, the black dragon flew across the surface, turning the rock it touched into fertile black dirt. Then it dived underground, forming caverns and drew some of the land together to create new mountains reaching far above the land. Then the red dragon dove deep into Lunar, creating at its center a molten, fiery core, imbuing it with inner heat, an essence of a planet. The white dragon circled low above the newly forming world, and with its breath expanded the very thin atmosphere to a breathable one with a height of many kilometers. Finally, the blue dragon added the last element necessary for life, water. As it commanded its element, water fell and covered much of the land and moistened the new atmosphere. Rivers, lakes, entire oceans were formed and the very ground became saturated with it.

Once Lunar was transformed into the beautiful world that it is, the Dragonmaster called upon Althena to spread her light across the land, allowing new life to flourish all over the planet. Soon, what was once a dull, gray, lifeless planet, was now a brilliantly green, blue, and brown, with a thousand other colors mixed in between.

Althena then used her power to transport the remaining life forms of the Blue Star to the Silver Star. Along with humans came the remaining animals, plants, and other living things needed to keep the fragile balance of the planet suitable for life.

In the vision Lunar had come into its brilliance that Jeff knew, with life continuing as if nothing had happened. Each of the four Dragons, their task done, burrowed into the earth and made caves for themselves, starting a slumber to last a long time. Althena built a home for herself as well, high up in the sky for all to see, a tower so beautiful that it would be the aspiration of architecture for all time.

Meanwhile, back on the Blue Star, everything that was left living had been transferred to the Silver Star, and all else was a wasteland. Once her creations were safe in their new home, Althena, with a heavy sorrow that all could feel, used the last of the dying planet's power to seal away the sinister presence she had felt before, now weakened after causing so much destruction. Something called… Zo… phar. With that done, she froze the planet over, to prepare it for a long, slow regeneration. Jeff sensed in this act a strange irony, as if the much feared "nuclear winter," had become a reality.

Next Althena placed a watcher on the Blue Star. Someone locked deep inside a palace of ice, to wait asleep for the Blue Star's rebirth, though Jeff sensed that Althena didn't mean for this person to wait quite that long.

His view shifted back out into space. There they floated, the now totally Blue Star and the no longer Silver Star, as beautiful as he remembered them. He wondered how much time had passed since all this had happened, how long it had to be for people to forget such tremendous events as these.

Time sped up again for Jeff. Lunar grew more and more, the people spread and resumed life's never ceasing course. The people did indeed forget about the Blue Star's role in their past as the years went by. Actually, the years started moving faster and faster, Lunar becoming a blur of motion that made Jeff dizzy, his sight growing more and more out of focus, and the image of Lunar became darker… and darker… and darker…

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Jeff shot upright in his seat as he woke up. Daylight from an already afternoon sun streamed in through his curtained window. Rubbing his eyes he muttered, "I slept this late?" He looked back at the book his head had rested on, not quite remembering what he had been reading… then his eyes went wide when he saw the picture of the exodus from the Blue Star, memories of the vision flooding back to his mind, and suddenly he realized what it meant about the great mystery of the past.

Quickly he packed up the ancient book along with some items he'd need for a trip. He had to get to the High Priestess at Althena's Shrine, to tell her while the vision was still clear in his memory. He wasn't quite sure what in the book had inspired the vision, but he did know the Library could wait, he could tell his staff and volunteers to stop working and focus on searching for more lost books in the mean time.

First he'd need a few of his aides, get them packed, hire a guide to the Shrine, put someone in charge, then… he'd think on the way. Jeff left his home, talking excitedly to himself on the way out.

Back to the Library of Vane.

Back to the Shrine to Ghaleon.