The fields were always ripe with game. Today was a good day then, for the wolves. The beast ran chasing and elk. Human eyes watched this race for survival. The hunters were hungry. The wolf was falling behind when an arrow flew into it's prey's eyes. Where it came from, the wolf cared not. It cared only that it would feast. But it would have to reach the next plane of existence first.
The human hunter, Ben, dragged the elk into his small town of Elwyn. He had been hunting his whole life. Day after day. Ben never wanted this. He searched for adventure, danger, like in the stories. But his wife would be less than happy. Just when it seemed adventure was within his reach, Jane pulled him away. Perhaps it was himself. For Ben always remembered his children, his two daughters. Neither had seen their third winter when the war stared. The war of Chaos and Light.
The Men of Chaos were being driven away by Men of Light. Banished forever from the ground and sea, they fled to the forests. The Men of Nature and Light were known allies, a fact the Men of Chaos took advantage of. Those gifted in the way of fire burned trees to the ground. This caused the Men of Nature pain in their connection, and retaliated. A great battle took place, destroying much of the Old Forest. The Men of Light took notice, and came to the aid of the forests. They drove back the Men of Chaos, to the mountains, where they have remained since. There have been battles, sides have been taken, friendships broken, and yet the war had gone on for five years. Neither side shows signs of breaking. Ben supported the Men of Light, but did not concern himself with the war. It was of Majik, and Elwyn was far away from that.
The town was located in the Homelands, far from Majik, or anything away from normality. It had stayed the same for the past hundred years. Things grew, died, lived, were built, were torn down, but not in Elwyn. But all things must change. Even normality.
Balidor was a Castor, a master of Majik. Wide beyond his years, Balidor was a man of intelligence. Skilled in all forms of Majik, he especially enjoyed playing with the minds of others. Making them see things, forcing his will upon another, what he did mattered not. Only that he did them. Balidor was an island dweller, and only ever left his outpost inside a stationary iceberg. The only reasons were to visit the School, or practice his abilities. Even then he did not leave the region of All Majik. Something about this town though... something brought him here. What it was, no one knew.
Ben shoved coin into his pocket. Maggie was always willing to pay for fresh venison. Could have eaten it, fed it to the family, but coin was better than raw meat. Balidor bumped into the hunter.
"Watch it," he said, causing Balidor to turn around.
Ben had heard stories about the mages. The robes they wore, the light blue eyes, the gloved hands that glow at any given moment, the hood masking the veiny, pale face. Ben had heard all the rumors. And they were all true. Balidor stared Ben down.
"Impressive. Tell me, are you a mage?"
Ben was startled. Did the man even know where he was? There was never a mage in the Homelands until now. There would never be a mage born in the Homelands, and there would never be a mage born to the Homelands. But Ben had to respond. If he didn't, who knows what the wizard would do?
"Of course not. This is the Homeland. There are no mages here."
"Then answer me this. If this is a region ruled by Majik, why is this called the Homelands, and not the Islands, where all Majik lies?" spoke the wizard.
Ben didn't have time for this. Here he was, a respectable Man of Normality, talking to someone who went against everything he ever knew.
"I'm sorry, but I have to see my kids."
"Oh, I understand. Good day."
Ben walked away, looking over his shoulder every so often, almost expecting the mage to follow him. He didn't. Opening the door to his house, Ben relaxed. The wizard wouldn't follow him here. But who really knew? Ben's father always said that the Men of Majik were strange and terrible folk. He himself hailed from the islands, where all Majik was known. Ben wasn't scared of them. Well, maybe he was. These men were strange. Alien.
"Where have you been?"
Ben's train of thought was destroyed. Jane was in front of him. Her red hair fell perfectly into place. Green eyes stared into Ben's.
"Where have you been?" she asked, annoyed that Ben hadn't responded.
"Hunting. Where else?"
"I saw the mage. I just wanted to make sure you were alright."
"I'm fine," he said. "He'll leave."
"What did he say?"
"Asked if I was a mage. Don't know why he would ask that in the Homelands. How're the kids?"
"Fine. Stacy wishes to see an Undertower."
"Can she ride a horse?"
"Ben, we don't own a horse."
"Then she can't see one. Perhaps we could trek there. See the Great Arena. Place some bets..."
"You will not."
"Maggie will love it," he said, smiling.
"Maggie is too young to even see the fighters and get nightmares."
"Maggie's brave. Braver than you give her credit for."
"Even so, she is too young to-"
"Stop right there. We'll skip the arena. We can just pass. Simple as that."
"Wow Ben. I didn't expect that from you."
Jane moved forwards, wrapping her arms around Ben's neck. She leaned in, and kissed him passionately.
Balidor knew there was a Majik in this town. He knew now. That man had an aura about him. Yes, there was something Majik in him. Balidor knew he could not easily hide here. Half the people looked like they wanted to tie him to a stake and burn him. Hopefully they would take him at the inn. He had to watch that man. Persuade him to go to the School. Anywhere out of the Homelands. He wondered if the man ever did leave the Homelands. It was a beautiful land. The skies were an astonishing blue, far from the cloudy skies of the islands. The tall grasses and flat lands. The hills that rose just a little off the ground, but were still challenging for a child. The light snow that fell near the tundra. The Great Arena was a sight to see, and the Deep Pit? The Deep Pit was both stunning, and frightening. The view was great, but how deep it truly went, deeper than the stories, deeper than the paintings. It terrified Balidor that even in how powerful a Castor he was, that he himself was so small.