The Rift Chapter 1: The Rift

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The Rift has been expanding for almost 6 years now. With each crack in between dimensions, the cloud of mana engulfing the earth grows stronger and thousands of Others flood our planet.

Humankind has long been knocked off the top of the food chain. At least for the pure humans, the ones that didn't evolve with the influx of mana, the ones that didn't merge with a beast or an Other.

Humans with the ability to manipulate mana became mages. Gaining the ability to manipulate the elements, they managed to eke out their own paths, desperately clinging to life.

Those without the ability to manipulate mana were almost drowned under the influx of this strange energy, it filled the air and blocked out all other senses. Pure humans couldn't use it. But they could feel it. On their skin, in the air, they breathed in. It choked them. It tingled at first, then it itched. Eventually, it just hurt. Incessantly.

Driven to the edge of desperation, humans that couldn't manipulate mana merged with the Others became one of them.

Bargaining with spirits - for what other would be willing to merge with the another but those without form of their own - was one way.

Humans that couldn't, wouldn't merge with an Other, tried to fuse with animals with the ability to manipulate mana. This was a method with varying degrees of success. Chimaera, they were called.

Humans died by the millions anyway. Each time The Rift widened, stronger beings arrived to colonise new land. They would reap resources and return to their dimensions. Earth was devastated and it was dying. The only way out was The Rift. It brought them endless agony but it was also the only route of survival.

Only when The Rift was fully open could beings traverse both ways. At the same time, many would flood in to take all the resources they could reach with their greedy grasping hands. Even with the infinite dimensions, the slow pace of the tearing of veil between dimensions could not feed the avarice of The Hundred Worlds, not to mention the other small planets picking up their scraps like ravenous dogs.

Tonight, The Rift will widen yet again. It's not the Final Tear, but that will not be far off.

Under the gaping maw of The Rift, a young woman is sprawled carelessly across the golden sands. Her eyes were closed almost as if she was absorbing the light of the moon.

The moon shone brilliantly in the vast darkness of the desert. In the quiet of the shifting sands, it was almost as if the moon shone solely for her. The few stars sparkling in the distance were all on the edge of The Rift, soon to be swallowed like their brethren into that gaping crevasse.

The icy winds of the desert blew the golden sands into shifting shapes and patterns, forming an ever-changing landscape, one could wander - lost in these dunes for the rest of their lives.

But not her.

She always knew exactly where she was in this desert. On this planet. Within the orbiting galaxies of The Hundred Worlds and the Beyond.

She always knew what was around her. Every little shifting grain registered in her senses, the patterns of the wind were carved into her memories. A sandstorm forming from tiny wisps and it's likely path. A spirit-boy with his camel a thousand of miles from her position in its path. The skittering scorpion fleeing from her presence.

Didn't it know it'll never be too far for her to reach?

She exhaled and a cloud of mist expanded into the air. The sheer awareness of every moment chafed at her.

It had been three months since a dying demon sought sanctuary inside Evelyn's body and she was so so tired. Her body might not feel sleep deprivation but she felt weary in her soul.

/ Valec, how does one sleep when the world is so loud? How did you sleep? /
// I have never slept. //

She could recall every conversation she had with the demon residing inside her with crystal clarity.

/ What should I do now?/
// Whatever you wish. I suggest you gain a grasp on my powers. //

She had to work out what she could of his abilities on her own as he submerged deep into her to recover from his injuries. Only the faint stirrings in her soul told her, he was still there.

He didn't mention the effects of his powers. Perhaps he thought it would have been obvious to her. More likely, he didn't see a reason to care.

Sitting in the dust that was once her home, she was bitterly resigned to being alone. At least until now.

I don't think humans were made to be alone.

The spirit-boy nearly a thousand miles away was making camp while chatting at his camel.

Evelyn cocked her head to the side. The light clinking of metal chains against a plate of sorts, was that gold? What was a noble doing out in the desert?

She hesitated. The sandstorm won't kill him. But if he is a noble, it'll probably blind him and the flash flood will sweep him away.

Evelyn sighed as she shook the sand off her dress. You'll think I would have learnt my lesson about saving strangers.

The huff of amusement emanating from their shared soul made her flush.

In bursts of ethereal ice, she flew towards the boy and his camel like a rocket. It's fine. I'll save him. Then I'll leave.
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