“As you know, we live in a dual world, on a motionless and still globe, illuminated by a star, called the Sun. Its light shines to our planet, the only one in the Universe, only from one side, which makes another side dark. This dark side is our home, our fatherland, full of magic flowing through the atmosphere and dwelling inside our people. Magic however is completely useless on the bright side, which is subject to so called laws of physics. Our dragons cannot fly on the bright side, while their nuclear missiles cannot do any harm to us, as they fall down just after crossing the border. We can travel to the side of the sunlight, but we lose all our magic abilities. The first thing one can see while approaching another land are wrecks of missiles, which the bright side used to launch on us, and which fell down just after reaching our land. The next thing, you can meet on your way towards the bright side would be huge skeletons of dragons, which once we sent to invade the land of sunlight as a counter attack on their missile attempt. Myself I used to work as a spy, infiltrating the hostile land, trying to find its weak points, we could take the advantage of, to conquer the bright side, and I tell you, I found nothing. Neither found other spies. As time was passing, I understood, that both sides of our planet should appreciate the balance between them, that cannot be broken.”
The words of the archmage Waligora still resounded in the mind of a young adept of magic, named Pazur. The age of spies was definitely over and the mutual hostility was lingering to turn into a less intensive aversion. The rulers on both sides of the planet shared Waligora’s point of view. The balance, mentioned by the archmage and Pazur’s master, gave both realms a kind of sense of security, the value of which they learned to appreciate.
But Pazur definitely did not. For a long time he had been on his way through the eternal twilight of his homeland towards the border. His master had to know about it, but even though he was able to draw Pazur back, he didn’t decide to do it. Probably he was sure, that in the end his apprentice would come to the same conclusion, he did, and Pazur’s escape would teach him the best lesson.
Soon Pazur approached the border zone, which he recognized on big tubes of rockets, some empty inside and some still with warheads and full fuel tanks. The scrapyard was partially grown with moss and in several places he saw puddles of radioactive material, completely harmless on this side of the globe. The area was slightly brighter, as the border was now quite close.
For a moment Pazur thought, he saw an outline of some creature, after few minutes of browsing through the waste he heard a short squeak. It repeated after another while and soon he realized, he was surrounded by a group of three gargoyles, almost just in time, he saw the bright side around the corner, covered with forest and multiple wild animals like boars, deers and foxes. He knew, he can’t make it to escape from the ambush, and so knew the gargoyles.
Every several seconds the other gargoyles were joining the squad, which had stopped Pazur. Monsters were using their bat-like wings to move. They were flying low, as thin wings were not strong enough to carry a relatively big body high in the air. On the other hand, if monsters were using their legs, they were moving terribly slow.
“Dinner, at lassst”, he heard the monsters hissing.
Now there were more than twenty gargoyles around him. Unfortunately for Pazur, he couldn’t use a teleport spell to sneak out of the ambush, as it required a great concentration of mind, impossible while he was surrounded by enemies. As the first astonishment was gone, the young magician decided to take the advantage of the number of enemies.
“Spare me, and I’ll bring you fresh meat from another side of the border. My body would not fill all your stomachs.”, offered he.
Monsters hissed and laughed.
“Think we’re ssstupid? You know, we cannot fly on the bright ssside, and sssurly you know we won’t catch you, once you crosss the border. Otherwissse we would hunt the animalsss ourselvesss.”
“I’ll make the animals not able to escape from you, and you let me go my way. Deal?”
Gargoyles looked at each other, surprised with the offer.
“OK. What are you going to do?”, finally said one of them.
Pazur was looking at the metal remains of the rockets and found several bent pieces, he could use as buckets. Each one he filled with nuclear fluid from puddles. He collected ‘buckets’ near the very border and started throwing them to the other side in the vicinity of the animals, carefully not to startle any of them.
Immediately after crossing the border, radioactive properties of the fluid in buckets were restored, and nuclear load ‘frozen’ in the world of magic was now deadly. In general, radiation penetrates a body of a living entity, inflicting damage not only to cells, but also to DNA chains, which often results in cancer. This time however, any long term consequences did not occur, since the damage caused by radiation was so big, that in several minutes most animals were lying dead, and some of them were still dying in pain. Trees and other plants seemed intact, but it was just a mirage, as all the area was contaminated for centuries and soon the doom was about to come also to plants.
However the dilemma of atomic pollution was out of gorgoyles’ interest. Starving for many days, they hastily flew towards the fresh, dead corpses of animals, landing just before the borderline and turning to a slow, clumsy walk. They knew, they should pick up as many fallen animals as possible and take them to the dark side. In the darkness the radiation ceased and meat was safe to be consumed.
They did everything according to their plan. As first animals were tossed in the dark side, Pazur slowly started to step back further into the darkness. Soon all the prey was gathered among the piles of metal waste and gargoyles started the feast. As they had been starving for a long time, they focused all their attention on fresh, raw meat.
Suddenly one short gargoyle held his belly and bent, yelling. The others interrupted their feast and looked at their fellow-countryman. Soon another monster joined him in painful writhing.
“Though there is no atomic radiation on the dark side, their bodies had already inflicted harm during their stay on the bright side. Only now they are suffering symptoms of radiation sickness.”, thought Pazur.
The picture before eyes of the young magician was terrible. Gargoyles were dying in convulsions and wild screams, which echoed in tubes of broken missiles putting even more horror into the scenery. However a few monsters were still alive and even one of them moved towards Pazur, hissing with hate.
“Traitor! You knew! You have cheated usss!”
One gargoyle is however not two dozens. Pazur cast a spell and a fireball hit the attacker. For a moment his screams could be distinguished among the others, being the loudest, but quickly the monster was burned down.
Fireball was the first and also the last spell of young adept of magic in his journey. Victorious Pazur moved almost ten kilometers left to avoid the radiation and crossed the border. Having stepped into the land of the sunlight, he lost his magical abilities.
Pazur was now walking through a cemetery of dragons. Most of big bones were lying shattered, sometimes to small, sharp pieces, but he could also walk inside a whole skeleton of a dragon. Moving under huge ribs, he felt almost like walking along a great palace hall with amazing and incredible vaulting of a ceiling.
He was thinking about his adventures so far.
“Is it a kind of curse of this land, that everyone acts to a scheme?”
He shook his head.
“Gargoyles must have been attacking many travellers and none of their victims thought about the simple trick, I have used. On the other hand, gargoyles also were so close-minded, they could not find any way to hunt the animals. Maybe minds of people living on the bright side are more open…”
People of the sunlight land were truly living in very different conditions from the people and creatures of the latter side. One of their achievements was social care. Young Pazur came to such an office and introduced himself as an orphan. He was fed, given a shelter and … sent to school.
Day by day and year by year were passing and Pazur found a new home in the world of the sunlight. Strong desire for knowledge drove him to university. He graduated the Faculty of Physics with specialization in nuclear energy and started a scientific career. The environment of scientists seemed to be open for new ideas and he was hopeful to find a soulmate. When two years of his scientific work passed, he had some reasons to be satisfied.
“I am simply amazed with your knowledge of the world.”, said Chris, who was working together with Pazur in the same scientific team, “Not only you have more and more achievements in nuclear research, but also you know a lot about the dark side.”
Pazur was sitting in the opposite corner of a small university room. He moved his chair towards Chris and spoke to him a few decibels quieter.
“I’ll tell you in secret, that I used to know people from the dark side. Both nations think, they are totally different, but I could see some chance in working together and breaking the barriers between two sides of our planet. Unfortunately we are too much close-minded, without tendency to open for a different lifestyle. If only I could break the border of night and day, I would not hesitate a second.”
“Break the border and join the two worlds? Crazy, dangerous and, above all, impossible, thank God. Probably you could write a theoretical article with your ideas, and maybe some scientific magazine would even accept and publish it, but I’m afraid that’s beyond our field of research. It’s rather philosophy, sociology, or something between.”
“I would not be so sure. Indeed I have some idea, but still need to make some computations.”
“Idea, huh? I believe, you need to hold on with it now. Haven’t you received an official letter?”
“No. I haven’t check my mailbox yet.”
“You must have been sent the same copy, I received.”, continued Chris, “All our team will be assigned to a new project for military. Soon we will move to the atomic camp, somewhere on the Fox Desert, I think to work on a new warhead, but they didn’t say it directly. That would mean a direct contact with nukes.”
Both men discussed the details of research, they were about to make in the atomic base. However, most of details they didn’t know, as anything connected with military, and especially with nuclear arms is top secret. As the talk was coming to the end, Chris dared to ask another question.
“Was it not your doing, that we were given this assignment?”
Chris was looking at Pazur for a while, thinking about something. Then he spoke.
“You told me in confidence, that you know people from the dark side. I appreciate, you trust me and also will tell you in equally great confidence, that for a long time I’ve been suspecting, you were a spy!”
Pazur was shocked with his words. Though they were not true, they would have meant troubles for Pazur, if Chris decided to inform the authorities.
Chris however smiled.
“Your impression on my words is the best confirmation for them. You come from an orphanage, have no family, all the time you spent on research. You would be the best candidate for a spy. Your knowledge about the dark side proves, that our government had once sent you to spy amids the night. And now this contract for the army. Surely you must have used your contacts to make our institute get it.”
Pazur was thinking fast. “Our government? My contacts? He takes me for a spy, working for the bright side. He doesn’t suspect, where I come from.”
He felt a great relief.
“You are wrong, Chris! I cannot tell you anything, but remember, that it is not as you are thinking!”
“Yes! Sure! Secrets above all”.
They never got back to this talk.
Two months later all Pazur’s scientific team was moved to the desert. Indeed their task was working on a load to a new nuclear head. As weeks were passing, simultaneously to atomic research, Pazur worked over his own idea.
At some point he thought, he found the way to join both worlds together, but it still required some computations to prove. The bright side, and especially the nuke base was the perfect site to perform the operation, but Pazur was sure, that neither any commander nor political leader would accept his plan. Not with their way of thinking.
A day came, when Pazur found a chance to make his plan come true. General Waligora, one of the highest commanders in the base left the key necessary to launch the nukes. Obviously it was against the regulations, and Pazur decided to take the advantage of his mistake. Two keys were however needed to perform launching. The second one was in the pocket of General Wyrwidab, who at that moment was at the command center. Pazur came to him, armed with a knife, taken from the kitchen. The commander was assisted only by one technician. They were looking at a monitor screen and discussing some technical issues. Pazur closed the door from inside, so that no one else could get in and interrupt his operation. Soon two dead bodies fell down on the floor and someone started the alarm, having seen what happened. The operation of launching the rockets was about to take exactly ten minutes and thirty nine seconds. Pazur set the similar targets for all twenty three missiles, which were still in their silos. Their destination was another desert, right on the equator of the planet. He didn’t make a double check for his calculations, since it was no time for this.
“Now or never!”, thought he and took a risk. The stake was the highest possible.
Despite the panic in the base and attempts to brake into the command post, the launching occurred without problem and deadly load was already in the air. It took about ten minutes more to the military police to break into the command room.
Mighty explosions occurred one after another on a several kilometer section of a desert. It was crucial for Pazur, that the trajectory of missiles was as flat as possible while they were hitting the ground. That made the explosions carve a huge canyon in the ground of a desert.
While the dark side was subject to magic, the science, including statistics ruled on the bright side. One of the main laws of statistics says, that among a mass of people in society always occur few extraordinary, talented units, as well as few dumb ones, the majority of people being average. Curious amateurs of classic photography definitely belonged to the second group. They were coming to see the new geographical attraction, willing to make incredible photos. Radiation was a double curse for them, inflicting harm not only to their health, but also radiating the cliches. Digital camera users were in this case more privileged, though equally harmed.
But weeks before these photographers could face the consequences of their own stupidity, Pazur was taken in custody and interrogated by General Dusigross.
“I guess, you know, that your situation is hopeless. Why did you do that?”
Pazur was silent. A messenger came into the interrogation room and saluted.
“Sir! Here is the first report. Missiles hit the desert. Huge radiation, but no human victims.”, said he.
General was thinking for a while.
“So you just wanted to eliminate our weapons, right? Well, you succeeded in disarming only partially. We still have ten times as much nuclear missiles in other secret bases.”
That was not quite true, since there were only three times more nukes. Dusigross just wanted to make impression on interrogated Pazur, but he was not successful.
“Do you come from the dark side?”, asked he after a while.
Pazur thought it would be useless to deny.
“Yes, I do.”
While he was saying this, another messenger appeared with a sheet of paper.
“Sir! We have just received a report from meteorology service. Seems important!”
He looked at the paper and reading quickly, tried to figure out the meaning of the report.
“Something happened to our planet just after the explosion… They have reported some moves of the border between the dark and the bright side, possibly caused by the missiles, which hit the ground at a very acute angle.”
He stopped and looked at the General.
“Sir! It’s incredible, but our planet… It is now evolving!!!”
The General was shocked. Pazur smiled, as he felt a great pleasure, that his plan, he spent the whole life on, was now successful. The division between light and dark was now gone and day and night were about to occur consecutively one after another, all over the globe. Creatures of the night: goblins, orcs, gargoyles, undead and others were to hide during the day to creep from their hideouts at night, when humans would lay themselves to sleep. Joining the two worlds, believed to be impossible by people from both sides of the planet was now the accomplished fact.
After a while General’s astonishment was gone.
“This nuclear explosion is one thing, not so easy to judge now, but surely he will be executed for a double murder. Take him away!”, told he to the messenger and the guards of the interrogation room.
Indeed, that was a new problem for Pazur now. He was imprisoned, waiting for the trial, but quickly he found the way to deal with a new situation.
After several hours, the Fox Desert, where the base with its internal prison were located was covered with dusk for the first time ever. Pazur’s magic abilities were back and a teleport spell set him free…