This is the 'pilot' for the new expanded story that you can learn more about here!
In the scope of billions of years, a day could either be so indistinguishable from the rest that it hardly seemed to have happened or be so notable to make the rest seem like they had hardly happened. It definitely seemed like today was of the latter sort—for Jurak, at least.
Jurak’s day was going rather bizarrely, which was to say completely and utterly Empirian. A day that could define ‘Empirian’ if ‘Empirian’ was not an adjective with little to no static, substantial meaning. But yet it was static and substantial and that made perhaps no sense and thus complete sense. ‘Empirian’ was such an Empirian term.
And so today was such an Empirian day. In the span of that single, minuscule unit of time the following had so far transpired:
Jurak’s home planet, Halihathrow, had an ‘issue’ with the quality of air in the atmosphere due to some Eyexierkhar influence. Which was not that surprising at all—history was indeed an indicator for things that would join it. This was common and notable for Halihathrow.
Notable and not common was the following ‘event’ of the day:
Jurak’s friend and partner, Tzah’quih had risen from the dead. Again, not really surprising at all, because Jurak had been the one to order her resurrection. The notable part of it was how Tzah’quih had been put in the situation in the first place. In other words, or more bluntly put, how she had died. It would have been more sensible for her to have died during the air quality issue, due to some irresponsibility on her part, but no, that did not happen. All this came about because of an instance of deliberate spontaneous combustion.
Which was readily explainable by explaining Tzah’quih herself: Tzah’quih was a very inquisitive Hathon mage who liked to experiment. Fire was not typically her element of choice, earth was, but she had decided to branch out and delve into the beloved element of the God-King of Magic and Magaya. Her experiments in this endeavor resulted in her accidental death.
But she was alive once more and eager to keep practicing—she had learned something quite valuable from it, after all. And so they were both back to work, taking it all in stride. His day seemed to have returned to some sense of normal after that.
That was until the sound of an explosion echoed forth while Jurak was walking around the streets of Varpesh, Halihathrow’s capital city. It was not just the sound of one—it was one.
The explosion occurred in a towering building that sprawled up and into the sky that Jurak was now staring at with intense focus and care. Bloody bits of its organic parts were ejected out of it and splattered onto the roads at its bottom. Its inorganic parts shuddered with the force and heat of the fire now raging within it. Smoke billowed out from the building.
Then both fire and smoke cleared away when beam of energy appeared, shooting straight up from the top of the tower. The energy beam was a purple-blue hue and it swirled about its source.
Its source was a figure, clearly the center of this energy beam wielding whatever was causing it and the previous explosion. They were its controller, though, it hardly seemed like they were in control. The energy was roaring out and they were quaking in place, barely rooted to the top of the building.
The situation was spiraling out of control for other reasons too. Varpesh forces were responding to this threat. Ships were all rushing out above to target them, amongst individual Halihathrow with weapons and gear at the ready hanging at the ground level and mechs on top of other buildings. The space was being swarmed and the being was being boxed in.
As for Jurak, well, although it was not his job to respond to things at this particular juncture, he prepared to do so anyway. His analytical mind might help in the end as much as the fighters and mages, no doubt including Tzah’quih, responding to this.
So he responded too. Jurak looked at the scene, looked at the surroundings, and took off on his multi-purpose transport disc. There would be no time to waste. He was intending to chase after the assailant after they inevitably escaped containment. Maybe it was not inevitably, but given Jurak’s day, it seemed like it had to happen. So he prepared and responded accordingly.
And things went according to his expectations. Varpesh’s response to this threat performed admirably, but the energy pulled back suddenly, gathering close to the entity, and then the figure lunged through the air, that ferocious energy buffering them. They broke apart a ship in their path, tearing it asunder with brutal, chaotic intent. Streams of purply-blue light trailed in their swift wake, fading moments later. It made it easy to track the being as they dropped down to atop another another building and passed right into its keep.
Jurak teleported into it promptly.
The building he had teleported into was filled with native Halihathrow plants in rows that spanned the entire length of the space. Slimy, sticky, gnawing ones that were already responding to his presence and trying to reach out to him on either side of him.
And at the figure idling in place not too far from his position. The figure was neither Halihathrow nor Mechanicha and they were armored. The armor’s curvy and slim contours, combined with the sense emanating off of them gave Jurak all that he needed to know to discern the race of this entity.
It was a Magaya inside that armor.
It was a Magaya holding a sickly purple shard in their clutches. That shard oozed out mana and the air became sticky. The plants were responding to it not him. The plants were growing, changing, and rising up at the swelling of mana in the room commanded by the Magaya.
The Magaya with a Mana Shard. Even though Jurak had never seen one personally, he knew what it was. Mana Shards were immensely powerful and dangerous and the events of today leading up to this moment articulated both clearly.
Speaking of articulation, Jurak gave the proper hail to the Magaya. He waved at them with two of his tentacles. While doing so, he sent a discreet message to Tzah’quih and the other forces about the nature of this threat so they could prepare.
The message given in return by the Magaya was not discreet. The hail came as a hoarse whisper and then a spell was cast at him, sending a burst of fire towards him and he teleported right out of its way so the fire impacted nothing of consequence. Still on his disc, he hovered on the opposite side of the Magaya.
The armored head of the figure stared at him, probably analyzing the best way to kill him. Of course, Jurak was doing the same—just not to an end of death. And soon he had constructed a plan: this type of situation merited something like a trick.
So Jurak primed his weapon of choice and waited, staring at them unflinchingly.
The armored Magaya sauntered towards him, the Mana Shard glowing ferociously in their hand. The air crackled with magical might. Then the heat began to rise, the plants shrieking out, and the Magaya reached out to seize him, dragging him forth with magical telekinesis that showed as jagged blue edges. It was a teasing pull, experimental. As if expecting Jurak to respond in some nefarious way.
Which was what he was planning on doing, but he was not close enough yet to do so. So he made himself appear frightened and leapt off of his disc, breaking through their weak force. He bounded away, getting further away from the Magaya who had seized his disc now that he was off of it. The Magaya had the disc vertical, unfortunately still too far away from her for his trick, and had moved it to their side so they could stare Jurak down.
Jurak laughed and used two of his tentacles to shoot high impact lasers at her. Predictably, they blocked with the object they were already holding: the disc.
The lasers hit the disc and so the disc was forced closer to the Magaya. And so finally, his trick activated. Corrosive material exploded out from the disc and splattered onto the Magaya. It ripped through their armor, dissolving it away.
The Mana Shard was not influenced by this nor did it react. The plants remained as they were—the proceedings did not impact them.
The Magaya was influenced as it did impact her and so she reacted. Screaming out, she, now uncovered by her armor, fixed her gaze on him and then crumpled the disc. Fire stared to flicker into being all about them. The plants began to catch fire and Jurak, well, he took that as his cue to get out of here. He bounded across the ground, the pads of his feet hitting the smooth ground and then launching themselves off of it in quick succession until he was at the edge of the building. Rather, at a wall.
He glanced back and saw the Magaya, wearing only rough blue robes, seething and moving towards him, Mana Shard still in her grasp. Her skin was a frail pale hue, flush with a purplish tint.
It would not be wise to tarry so he passed through the building and out into the world. He had no disc, so yes, he was falling now. Which he was already innately prepared for by merit of his cybernetic tentacle—it extended out on his command and latched onto a side of the building, affixing him in place. The Magaya with the Mana Shard flew out of the building, looking for him carelessly and not finding him. She found, instead, the Ashoopesh Ocean. It shimmered in the distance and must have been quite enticing to someone experimenting with magic so the Magaya launched off to it after a few moments of staring at it.
And in those moments, Jurak communicated with Tzah’quih and the other forces of Varpesh on her movements and quickly a plan was made. A trap was now being laid towards the ocean’s edge by Tzah’quih and the Magaya would be forced towards it by Varpesh’s forces. Jurak had no role in this, but still, he headed over there. He summoned another disc, letting it hover beneath him. He let go of the wall, dropped down onto it, then sped on off after the Magaya—not directly trailing her, but running somewhat parallel to her path. Ships were swarming around her and firing at her, forcing her towards where the trap was.
She did not change course and so she fell right into their trap.
Once she reached the near edge of it, a slim ship appeared from above her and sent down a blanket of enchanted stone that was quickly multiplying as it descended. She snapped her gaze upward and then focused the Shard and her magic to disposing off all the earthen matter coming at her.
At that same time, on the ground, Tzah’quih casted her spell. The Magaya, so focused on the threat from above, neglected that below her, and was thus frozen in place by Tzah’quih’s spell enough for the stone from above to smother her and form around her.
Once it encased the Magaya, Tzah’quih brought her gently to the coast ground in her stone prison. At this time, Jurak caught up to the action and situated himself not that far from Tzah’quih herself. Tzah’quih’s tentacles were gesturing about, magic swirling around her in a completely controlled fashion. Completely unlike the Magaya with the Mana Shard, wantonly using its powers and falling for all their tricks.
But, despite their plan having worked, the Mana Shard was still the Mana Shard and it was not something they could exactly easily counter.
So it roared out its power. The stone exploded away and the Magaya was enveloped with magical flames at her tenuous command. There was a fog developing from the stone being pulverized into a fine mist and there was, of course, the smoke too.
Tzah’quih was about to summon water to dispel it, but Jurak told her not to. He told them all the forces to wait and close off their organic tentacles. The day had begun with them having to do this, and, well, it seemed apt to end the same.
Tzah’quih laughed and did just that, along with the rest of the Hathon. But she did do something more—she used her magic to give the Magaya more material to incinerate and thus more to suffocate herself with.
And so a thick, bleak gray cloud spiraled and spread from their position and eventually the Magaya began to cough and cough and cough from her own lack of focus and planning. Her body and magic failed and she crumbled to the ground, Mana Shard falling from her grasp.
A moment later the air was quickly cleansed, the Mana Shard confiscated, and the Magaya imprisoned.
Tzah’quih turned to him and waved. He bowed in return. Then they pulled away from the immediate scene, letting their compatriots handle the rest.
It would soon be Jurak’s responsibility to figure out what exactly had happened today—specifically regarding the Magaya and the Mana Shard. Why was she here and where did the Mana Shard come from? What was she trying to do with it?
But those questions would be for another day. Today had enough excitement.
So Jurak took his leave for now, Tzah’quih floating beside him, chattering about magic and mana, letting the day roll away into the next.