Party Split

The club members were stunned. “What did you say?” Nick asked, as everyone moved to crowd around Fallor.

“I was in the Blind Eternities. You know… the place… with the mists… and the emptiness…”

Nick shook his head. “You’re not making any sense. The Blind Eternities doesn’t exist, it’s just something made up to give a backstory to a game.”

Fallor simply looked around, dazed. His eyes rested on the card on the ground.

“Can’t you be a bit more detailed?” Tom asked. “Like telling us anything at all that we can understand?”

“Why don’t I just show you?” Fallor responded, reaching out and grabbing the card. An instant later, Tom had vanished. Everyone else stared in disbelief.

“What… have you done.” Nick said, not really asking at all. Fallor’s eyes widened a bit.

#~#~#~#

Tom had found himself in exactly the place Fallor had described; mists, and emptiness. Nothing else. The fact that a place like this could even exist at all was hard for him to comprehend. He took a step forward – on what? He couldn’t see the ground – surveying the non-landscape in amazement. It was at that moment he realized. If he was here, then that could only mean one thing about him… about what he was.

#~#~#~#

When Tom returned to the rooftop, Fallor was unconscious, bruised and cut. Everyone else appeared to be waiting patiently.

“So is it true?” Maytee Vinces, the club’s student government representative, asked as she stepped over Fallor’s body.

Tom nodded. “Yeah. It’s true. The Blind Eternities really exists. And that… makes me a planeswalker.”

Nick scowled. “Wait… doesn’t that also mean…”

“Yeah, I guess Fallor is too.”

Everyone looked at Fallor, then at Tom, then at Fallor again. “So why is it you two, then?” Nick asked abruptly. “I mean, okay, Tom’s alright, but seriously, out of all of us, Fallor is a planeswalker?!”

Tom shrugged. “Hey, I don’t know how it’s picked.”

“I just… didn’t see that one coming,” Nick continued, reclining on the limp body of his clubmate. “Even so… what are the odds of two planeswalkers being in the same club?”

“I think… there’s probably more than that, actually.”

Everyone’s attention was suddenly drawn to Zac. It wasn’t necessarily because what he had said surprised them that much; he just tended to have that effect on people. “See, the way I figure it, being a planeswalker probably has an effect on your life. I bet it would affect your family’s circumstances… and the things you’re interested in. So a bunch of planeswalkers, all in one world for their entire lives, would eventually end up together as a group.”

“Okay, so that makes sense,” said James, “but even if there are several planeswalkers… how would we know? It’s not like we can test it on everyone – the ones who aren’t would die.

Zac shrugged. “Hey, that’s just my theory. I don’t even play the game.”

“We’ll figure that part out later,” Zeke said, although he didn’t want to – this was something he didn’t know, and he hated not knowing something. “Right now, I think we’ve got plenty to occupy us.”

And so they did. Lee snatched his card out of Fallor’s hand, and they all returned to their respective rooms. Inside, other groups had begun looking around, claiming rooms – the D&D club was in time to save their own rooms. There were, in all, about five hundred rooms in this building, fifty per floor, all of fairly luxurious size. Anyone looking at the building from outside would be completely unable to tell; it appeared to be only three stories high, not very wide, and windowless, though there were windows in every room and the full height of the building could be experienced from the roof. The students and faculty were pleased to find that they would no longer have to share rooms in the main campus buildings with dozens of others, or try to sleep in tight, cramped offices.

Nick met with all the important people on campus – faculty heads, student government, other influential groups – to discuss the new turn of events. He proposed the building be named for the D&D club’s mascot – the Alexander O’Connor Campus Apartments. As nobody else really had a better suggestion, the motion passed. Tom set to work exploring his newfound abilities as soon as he had returned to his room. At roughly the same time, Zeke and Lee did precisely the same. Both vowed they would discover everything they could about planeswalkers. Lee summoned some creatures to use for simulations and observed them; Zeke began from the principles of magic he had already learned and tried to work his way up, casting an occasional spell to test his theories. Both progressed very slowly.

#~#~#~#

The next morning, Maytee and Peepers were discussing the situation in the room they shared on the eighth floor when a motion outside the window caught their eye. They looked at the window, then at each other. After a prolonged silence, Peepers turned and walked out into the hall with Maytee following, just in time to meet Zeke coming down the stairs from above.

“Um… did you see…” Maytee began, but was cut off.

“Someone tried to kick me out of my own room,” Zeke said simply. The other two stood and stared at him in horror, realizing what he had done. “Oh, relax,” he said, “I gave him some magical protection first. He won’t be killed, or injured, or even in very much pain, except maybe psychologically. I just hope he doesn’t decide to try again.”

Peepers nodded. “Ah. Well, serves him right for bothering someone first thing in the morning, huh?” He paused. “But, um… what’s that on your neck?”

Zeke froze, then reached up to feel his neck. It felt… fuzzy.

“Well, that’s not good,” he said. “I’ve got to meet with someone, and I didn’t think to bring a razor to school on the day it was mysteriously transported. Guess I’ll have to go as I am, there’s no time to research a depilation spell.” Muttering to himself about spells gone wrong, he turned and walked down the stairs.

“…I don’t think I want to be around him when he’s working on something,” Peepers commented.

#~#~#~#

Nick’s meetings had no apparent end. Presently, the forest was a top concern.

There had been nothing living in the forest except plants. Some of the plants were edible, enough to keep them going, but not enough to last the entire school beyond another month. The solution was obvious; with their magic, they could summon creatures that would then provide food for them. They had plenty of food now. The trouble now was that summoning enough to feed everyone was proving difficult, when everyone was still in the process of learning their magic to begin with. Fireballs and blades were one thing, but summoning a living creature was taxing, not to mention a rather precise process, and beyond that it had to come from somewhere – pulling things blindly from who-knows-where was probably unwise.

In order to ensure future supplies, therefore, they would have to create an entire population of deer to hunt in the forest. But this would bring about a situation that could easily get out of hand. Not enough deer, and they’d have to start all over again at what would surely be a great undertaking. Too many, and the deer population would grow unchecked, beyond what the forest could support.

So they would have to build an entire ecosystem. The process was going to require careful calibration, years of work, and the talent of the best spellcasters available. It would target not only the forest, but the sea on the other side of the potrero, which had been discovered to be devoid of fish. Tom and Fallor, being the only two known planeswalkers on campus, were automatically chosen, along with a few promising members of the math department. The discussion of who else would be assigned to this project continued for some time. Once the day’s business was concluded, he returned to his room.

Someone else was already there.

“You really should learn some warding spells,” Zeke said as he entered.

Nick glared in response, a threat strongly implied. “Mind explaining why you broke into my room?”

“I didn’t ‘break’ anything. I magicked into your room.”

“Give me a straight answer or I’ll break you with magic.”

“Hey, grouchy,” Zeke said, backing away a bit. “Guess I would be too, though, if I had to deal with those guys for long. Anyway, I just came to inform you that Tom is performing some sort of experiment, and he wants us to meet him on the roof to discuss the results.”

Nick nodded. “Right, okay. And you couldn’t just have used some kind of message spell to tell me that because…?”

Zeke glanced at his watch, which was in fact not his watch at all but a discarded one – timepieces hadn’t worked properly since they arrived. Analog clocks would move more or less at random and digital ones seemed to think it was 45:97 or some other nonexistent time. “I’m behind schedule, no thanks to you taking your time with that meeting, by the way, so I’ll just be going now, if you don’t mind,” he said, walking out the door.

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