Chapter 1. A moment of peace

Looking out into the sunset from my balcony from the thirteenth story of my apartment block. It wasn’t by any means the most glamorous building, but it wasn’t in ruins. An accurate representation of my life I suppose. I was appreciative to have what I had. So many people only blocks away lost all their worldly goods and restoration of the city was slow.

The wizards wars were only a couple of years ago, and like after most warfare, it takes people time to return to their homes. Well, what was left of them. Hundreds of thousands of people have either been found dead or presumed dead due to their bodies not materialising. This city of Forsyth was the largest in the land of Arkland. It is still the largest in land size, but the majority of people without magic have made a mass exodus from this area. The population that was nearly two million, now only houses a few hundred thousand. I suppose this is just as well, since the crater has wiped out a lot of realestate.

As I look around, all I can see is the decay of buildings, roads and powerlines. With all the magic of the magicians that took over the land, you would think they would be able to use it to restore what they have claimed. They haven’t. I am lucky that there is power in the grid section that powers my apartment block. Many places are without power. I have always meant to go and find if people are operating the power plant, or if there is a magic source that is supplying it.

The building that I have an immediate view of is half gone. There was a magic blast that had come from a magician and it had blown away a hole somewhere towards the middle of the building, just a few floors below me. The top half of the building had subsequently toppled over, leaving the remaining building to display open plan living arrangements for the view of people in my building. It would have for the building across the road on the other side of it, if there were any such building left. Its now just rubble. The whole city seems to be made from grey cement bricks and thus the dust that settles all over the city is grey too. The grey city. That’s what it should have been renamed. For any inhabitants that remained here, it certainly feels grey. The half-fallen building is just the beginning. Overlooking this you can see ‘the crater’. It is just a pit of decimated buildings that have lots of potential to house derelict magic folk or alternatively it could be a very dangerous place to explore, with the potential of collapse any moment if you move over an unstable area. There is no easy set up to get into it and there is no money to pay a clean up crew. If there were any clean up crew was brave enough to try.

The clean up of the city was entirely reliant on the citizens living in it. I guess those of us that have survived the magician wars and decided to remain, have gone on the best as we can to continue to keep living our lives. We still get imports and supplies from other cities, but since this is the city said to house the most powerful magic folk, not many people without magic stay here for very long on their journey through.

On my balcony I have set up a small wrought iron table with a glass top. Probably silly to have a glass table top, it was forever filthy with the permanent dust settlement. But it made me happy to have something so ordinary and unbroken. I sat on wrought iron chairs with plastic cushions. No point in fabric out here with all the dust. I have my coffee out here overlooking the city before I have to work night shift. Night shift in enforcement can be daunting. The intimidation of magic folk is a real problem. Not to mention that enforcement has no reliable way to contain magic folk.

I am always hopeful that the leaders of the magic folk will come sit with the remaining leaders of the non-magic folk and work out a set of rules and systems so that we can co-inhabit the land. Maybe that is naive of me. The wizard wars weren’t wizards fighting the non-magic citizens, it was wizards fighting each other. There was one wizard who wanted to take over the land. He tortured many of us who were not magical and tried to build himself an empire in the centre of the city, replacing entire blocks with what would have been his citadel.

We non-magical folk are not entirely sure of what happened and why magicians challenged him. Or what happened to him. Or the people fighting him. There were a few years of magician fighting before the big battle. People were tortured, places conquered, valuables taken. Battles, great battles. And the non-magic folk just took a giant step back and allowed it to happen. It was like one look at all that power and we gave into submission. It’s like we weren’t really sure how to fight that level of power and for the survival of the human race we just allowed atrocities to occur. There were a great many wars between magicians in the history of Arkland, but this last one was the biggest. There were a group of magicians that were against the dictatorship that was imposed. There were are great many magicians involved in the battle in the centre of the citadel. There was a great build up of energy throughout the fighting. Then there was a grand explosion of power and then so much power and decimation and then… nothing.

I drained the last dregs of my coffee. I should have eaten before the night shift, but I was always too nervous. I have been in enforcement for six years, starting when the magicians were reigning over the land. I have seen some awful things that magic folk are capable of. We lost many good officers trying to uphold the law. Our laws anyway. There was a year, the final year of magician dictatorship where we were a outlaws. My senior officers would have love to have thought of us as revolutionists fighting for a cause. But we really didn’t put up any fight. We upheld the law for people that weren’t magical. And those that were magical we could rarely punish. The dictator magician Erixon didn’t worry what we did to our own society, but if we were to even accidentally reprimand a magic folk, then the officer he deemed responsible would be tortured and made an example of what would happen if we disobeyed his version of the law.

Now days we try to reprimand the rogue magic folk, but there is still no way to contain them. Considering how dangerous it can be to catch them in the first place, most officers still don’t see it as worthwhile. The major magic leaders seem to not be around, but there is a quelling within the city. If you sit there listening into the night you can almost hear people searching for their leaders. Or maybe there are just incidental noises coming from the crater. There are plenty of magic folk around, but the big and powerful leaders that were in Forsyth, have disappeared. There must still be a ruler, because magic folk still go on living. But they live in the crater, and most of the crater has not been properly rebuilt. Considering the grandness that was the late citadel, I wonder why they choose to live in squalor.

Since many of the magic folk have gone on living their life without rules, normal society has taken over a very little. Thus in the last few years, magic and non-magic folk have tried to co-exist and share resources. It’s not a peaceable sharing, but it isn’t war either. My approach is that if you get magic folk in enough trouble enough times, they will eventually learn the acceptable society rules. Such as no stealing. No torturing. Eventually I hope the we can coexist together peaceably. That is why I do this job, and what I work towards. Peace. Eventually someone is going to have to find the current ruler of these magic folk and discuss a treaty.

Until this happens, it is still scary trying to find middle ground on a day to day basis. It’s not like you can tell who is magical easily if they decide not to display it. They look like you and me. Good thing most of them wear their magic like a badge of honour. At least it gives enforcement a chance to prepare.

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