A lone figure could be seen floating in the chaotic miasma of the nether, the buffer-zone between a given universe and the very substance of Creation itself. His emerald, golden-trimmed robes flapped in the chaotic "winds," as did the long locks of his ash blond hair. His powerful, aqua-green eyes were wide open, but had a vacant, almost dreamy look about them. Even so, they did not detract from his handsome, if stoic face.
Normally, no being, not even a god, could exist unprotected in this realm, but this was no ordinary man. From this vantage point, his perceptions could, and did, extend throughout the entire universe contained within this specific field of nether, which in this case was the Rhydin universe: a realm of fantastic magics, and a nexus point where beings from untold other realities, times and dimensions gathered. The being seemed to be searching for something, and appeared to be displeased with the results of that search.
As he brought his perceptions back to normal, the lost look in his eyes was replaced with a powerful and focused gaze. "How disappointing," he said to himself, in his soft, whispery, gravely voice. "I was so certain that in a place such as Rhydin, the ideal place to stage magical duels would already exist. Either my standards are too high, or all such places have already been claimed." He let out a deep sigh, thoughtfully stroking his neatly trimmed beard and mustache. "No matter. All it means is that I must create the realm myself." Effortlessly, the being slipped from the nether into the astral plane, with the intention to journey back to material realm of Rhydin. But then he paused as an idea gripped him.
"Where is it written that this place must be within the 'confines' of Rhydin itself?" he wondered aloud. "Indeed, if I make this place its own little pocket dimension, I will have unlimited freedom to shape it exactly as I will without concern for collateral effects on a local environment."
To hear a wizard speak of creating a pocket dimension so dismissively would lead one to assume madness had taken hold of him. But this wizard was Klytus of Regilius. Just as a blacksmith can make iron assume whatever form he wills, Klytus can do the same with the very substance of time, space and reality itself.
Speaking arcane words under his breath, Klytus summoned power and turned it upon the very fabric of the astral plane until a small tear was formed. Instantly, a storm erupted as the newly made vortex sucked in astral matter, yet Klytus remained still and untouched by the storm. Again, he whispered arcane words under his breath, and the vortex was turned in upon itself. Suddenly, the storm ended. Klytus allowed himself a small smile. Some minds would call what he had created a pocket dimension. Others would call it a tesseract. The end result was the same: a finite realm with an infinite amount of space.
Klytus entered this new place and began whispering words of magic once more. This time, the results took longer to achieve, but they were also far more dramatic. The nothingness was soon flooded with light, form and color. When it was all over, Klytus was standing in the middle of a flat island of stone, floating in the middle of the nothingness. A large circle surrounded him in the rock face, a circle filled with glowing jade runes of untold arcane power. In this ring, the Ring of Genesis, a wizard would never tire and would have a boundless supply of mana: the perfect arena for a magical duel.
While pausing for a few moments to recover from fatigue, Klytus surveyed his work with his green, powerful eyes. "It's a start," he whispered to himself. The next step was to create a giant amphitheater around the ring. But the more he thought about it, the less the idea pleased him. First of all, having only one ring to duel in at a time would simply never do. Second, allowing any wizard to cast whichever spells he chose within the ring would not give the sport wide appeal, as the most powerful wizards would win the duels. And last, the island itself lacked ... personality. The bare simplicity of the setting may appeal to some, but it would leave most others bored, and the idea was to give the place a broad appeal.
Since the place was already an island, Klytus went with that concept. He worked his magic once more: the area surrounding the isle became a vast sea, and a sun shone in the sky. Klytus was pleased with these results and kept going. Deciding that the direction he faced was "north," mountains sprang into being on the western, northern, and eastern shores, the tallest ones being to the East. For added atmosphere, a volcano was born and erupted in the northern mountain range. Turning to face south, Klytus reshaped the isle to create a giant, beautiful lagoon. Turning west, he worked his magic again, and created a vast plain leading to the low hills and mountains. By this time, the sun sat low in the western sky, just peeking through over rim, while starlight just started to manifest in the eastern sky. Also, the lava flow from the volcano now surrounded him. The Ring of Genesis was untouched, but magma was everywhere.
Klytus was inspired by the sight. "Perfect," he whispered. "This atmosphere created by this lighting is just too perfect." Thereafter, the sun ceased to move in the sky, thus leaving the isle in a state of perpetual twilight. With that done, he walked across the magma and carved a dozen or so new circles into the still-molten stone. When the lava cooled, the diagrams remained. These diagrams were more limited, in that they would only permit very specific spells to be cast from within. The interactions of those spells would also be strictly defined and constant. It would greatly limit the power of any mage within, but it would also make for a more fair contest, which was the whole idea.
"Of course," said Klytus, "those other circles will be useless so long as the power of the island remains consolidated in one area." With a wave of his hand, the Ring of Genesis was broken and rune-covered fragments of rock were thrown everywhere. He let out a deep sigh at the destruction of that creation, but smiled when he saw the results: the other rings briefly flared with light and fire as they came to life, and magical energies flowed through the island. Unbidden by his hand, Klytus felt the energies flow, and then gradually form into ley lines. The main node remained at the center of the isle, where the now broken and useless Ring Genesis was. Four more nodes formed, one at each of the compass points of the island. All it all, it felt very balanced.
Flying above the island, Klytus saw the newly released magic combine with forces of creation he had unleashed mesh and further shape the island. To mortal eyes, the process would have taken eons. But to Klytus' timeless perception, it all unfolded in but a few moments.
To the east, there were many majestic mountain peeks and a few plateaus that were taller than the clouds. Small streams formed from the snow-capped peeks combined into a river that fed the lagoon as a great waterfall. Hidden in those same mountains, there was a peaceful, fertile glade of uncommon beauty and tranquility. Leading to this glade was a narrow, winding pass through the mountains. A pass made dangerous by the fierce, powerful winds that howled in its confines. Wind that seemed unable to escape. The pass went in several directions, not just to the glade, and there were many caves lading to tunnels beneath the isle as well. But those tunnels were even more dangerous than the pass if and when the wind found its way down below.
The volcano never lost any of its fire or danger. Never once did the lava within cool down, or smoke cease to rise from its depths. However, it rarely erupted, and on those occasions, most of the lava found its way right to the sea via the vents and fissures on the northern coast. Once in a while, lava would flow south, but never made it as far as the lagoon. The lava either simply added to the area of the plain of cold magma at the center of the isle, or it burned through the earth to the tunnels, clogging up some here and forging new ones there.
To the west, life and taken root and blossomed. First, there was one redwood tree, then a cluster, and then and entire forest. Other trees grew as well: beautiful cedars, mighty oaks and aromatic pines, just to name a few. Other plants took root and grew, and woodland creatures mundane and magical also found life and homes. One large lake lived at the heart of the forest, plus countless other ponds and springs, including a few hot springs to the north. Between the woods and the rings, there was a vast meadow of rich soil and lush vegetation. These mountains were also rich in minerals and precious metals. So much so that many of the first trees to die on the isle had become petrified, and a small fortune could be made simply by searching the streams and brooks that flowed from the hills, carrying their precious bounties to the lakes and shores.
The lagoon had changed very little, at least from the surface. But below the surface, the magic had taken root once more, and life was everywhere. It was exactly like a normal ocean, complete with fish and sea predators. Fortunately, a great coral reef formed a barricade that kept all the sharks and other dangerous creatures out of the lagoon and away from the southern beeches.
In the center of it all were the rings. Klytus did some touch-up of his own to make it more hospitable. In the large slope where the lava had flowed to fill this area, Klytus carved what may have been large steps, but they were soon revealed to be rows of seats and benches: an amphitheater. He also leveled out the area immediately surrounding the rings. Finally, at the spot where the sand from the beach met the stone of the clearing, he carved one more magical diagram: the portal that would permit passage to the isle.
"And now, one final touch."
Klytus took the "fabric" of this pocket realm into his hands and rewove them once more. Smiling, he took a loose stone and fired it into the sky and over the horizon. Turing about, he caught it as it came from over the other horizon. Only the most powerful of magics would permit anyone to enter. And, by making the dimension turn in upon itself, it was ensured that the realm was self-feeding and could never be exhausted of its magical energies. After all, this was an infinite realm in a finite space, but now the interior had been "folded" into a finite space, giving the mana nowhere else to go. When it was all done, Klytus flew into the sky, up into the clouds, to survey what he had done.
Twilight Island was born.
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