Authors: Christian Alex Breitenstein
Xandrian Stone Book 1:
Beginning of a Legend
by Christian A. Breitenstein
Prologue: DEAR DIARY
Chapter 1: AND SO IT BEGINS
This work of fiction is released and is available exclusively on amazon.
Everything, including all people, places, organizations and historical events in this publication are pure fiction. There is absolutely no connection between anything in this book and the real world.
Text copyright © 2016 by Christian Alex Breitenstein, the cover was made with the kindle cover creator.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.
Prologue: DEAR DIARY
Aaah, I always wanted to say those words! :-)
My name is Xandrian Stone, mostly known as "The Stone" though I always found that to be a bit silly. Then again, I could have been given a less favorable nickname like "The Traitor" or "The Spineless" like two of the people I met and who will be mentioned in this series of diaries. So, I guess I got off easy.
Anyway, this is the story of my life. The Swiss Federal History Office has asked me to record these diaries for the generations to come, to make sure that some mistakes will not be repeated. Ever. What you will learn will be painful, horrific in some cases, hilarious or funny in others and infuriating as well.
I will start the story of my life shortly after my 18. birthday, when I made the first ginger steps into the Swiss Federated Space Navy, into a life I thought was going to be rather boring but completely safe.
It never was either.
Classification Day. THE annual event, every youth aged 18 and above went to the closest barracks to be tested for entry into the Swiss Federated Space Navy.
There had been peace for almost 500 years, so the navy was not a place for adventurers or people thriving in dangerous environments but patient people who did not mind waiting half a life for their promotion into officer ranks. The fleet was small, there were only 500 ships that the public knew of and less than 100 covert, experimental and classified ships - so, there were a total of 600 ships at most. With magical means even Eden 7, basically a big rock in space with no atmosphere at all, had been made well habitable. So there was no need for an extended fleet to ferry goods around in the Eden system as all the planets were self sufficient.
Okay, I lied. Eden 1 was a volcanic double-planetoid, way too violent to live on. There were rumors about some sort of a secret base there, but nobody knows - now it is an asteroid belt that's slowly disappearing into the Eden Star, so nobody will ever know.
The only real reason for the navy to exist at all was to keep human face-to-face contact between the planets, to avoid a situation like the one that led to the God Wars which ended 500 years ago with the founding of the Unified Monotheistic Religion UMR.
Fighting about what name to call the Supreme Divine was deemed "not smart" immediately after that, and since then the Supreme Divine has become known by hundreds of confirmed names. There were even contests to see how many of those names the contenders had memorized and the record was 311 confirmed names. To be confirmed the name had to have been published in any way that was traceable. If untraceable names were counted the Supreme Divine would have tens of thousands of names. Mostly, it was referred to as the "Supreme Divine" for the sake of simplicity and to avoid any mix-ups.
But I digress.
Classification Day was the moment of truth for just about everyone - as everyone who was in their right mind wanted to join the SFSN, getting a job with little actual work which you could not loose (unless you did something monumentally stupid like attacking a superior officer, especially with sloppy magic) and with pretty much unofficially guaranteed absolute safety.
That unfortunately meant that if you were not magic-born in any way there was no way you could get in - unlike nowadays with the newly founded Swiss Federated War Navy and Swiss Federated Trade Navy which both need every able body they can get. I digress again. Get used to it.
Anyway, I arrived early (like everyone else) and got in line. My magic had partly manifested early in my life, it did not fully unlock itself - it hung in sort of a limbo between here and there, giving me a little bit of magic. I had been able to tell where everyone was in our house as a small child. Also, I routinely healed all kinds of small injuries all around my parent’s farm. We made sinners, Standard Naval Nutrition Rations SNNR, and variation 31-14-1 was and to this day is my favorite: Meat loaf with cooked and cut root vegetables and brown sauce. Yum.
Usually, SNNR were, as they still are, created by nutrition magic based on a bit of randomization and weighting. Coming from a farm that made real-life approximations of sinners I just HAVE to include a bit of SNNR-lore here:
SNNR are organized in a three-number code. Each number itself is a two-digit code:
The first digit describes five different kinds of main course: 1 is natural meat, 2 is in-vitro meat, 3 is ground and mixed meat, 4 is vegetable (mixed vegetables, whatever was at hand when the ration was made) and 5 is corn bread.
The second digit describes the size of that course: 1 is one large piece, 2 is a couple of medium pieces, 3 is several small pieces and 4 is a lot of very small pieces.
So, if the number 1 is 12, it's something like goulash meat, 11 a steak, 31 meat loaf, 33 meat balls and 43 mixed vegetable cubelets for example.
This number gives a hint, as when the ration was made the vegetables or fruit that were locally available were used. It's always a bit of a surprise.
The first digit describes the kind of supplement: 1 is root vegetable (potatoes, carrots, asparagus and the likes), 2 is above ground grown vegetables (cabbage, tomatoes, pumpkin and the likes), 3 is fruit and 4 is mixed.
The second digit describes the size of the supplement: 1 is raw, natural, 2 is raw, cut into small pieces, 3 is cooked, natural, 4 is cooked, cut into large pieces, 5 is cooked, cut into small pieces and 6 is cooked, mashed.
So, if the number 2 is 22 it might be a cabbage salad or if it is 16 mashed potatoes. 31 might be an apple.
This number only has one digit: 0 is nothing, 1 is brown sauce, 2 is white sauce, 3 is tomato sauce and 4 is salad sauce.
According to the first digit in the first number the SNNR were commonly known as 1-type sinner through 5-type sinner. According to studies conducted over the centuries, 1-type SNNR were the most favorite, just about on par with 2-types. 3-, 4-and 5-types were all about the same in third through fifth position, shuffling around all the time.
Desserts are just as standardized: The Standard Naval Dessert SND are organized into a numerical code as well, though there is just one number:
The first digit describes the consistency of the dessert: 1 is baked, solid, 2 is cream, 3 is jelly and 4 is raw, natural.
The second digit describes the main ingredient: 1 is chocolate, 2 is vanilla and 3 is sweetened fruit.
So, if the number is 41, it would be a piece of chocolate, 13 a fruit cake or 22 vanilla cream. Don’t get excited about the fruit cake - cakes come in all sizes, and when they come as an SND that size is usually rather small. Still tasty, though.
SNNR with an SND were referred to as "sweet sinners" and were usually served as the Friday meal. Not for any availability issues, but simply to keep the sweet sinners something special. As you can imagine, that has always been a favorite topic of rather lively discussions.
Ah, digressed again.
The magical affinity test (the acronym MAT never really took hold) found that I was either multicolored yellow and green or white. Yellow is the color of sensor magic, green that of healing magic. Yellow was (and is) rare, while green was (and is) only uncommon. White, as I almost forgot to mention, is the combination of all colors and was so rare that it guaranteed a job with the SFSN. While it is more common nowadays it’s still good to be white. White wizards, or Omni-Wizards, are not only by nature fully flexible in what magic they do, but for some reason that nobody really understood (and to this day that has not changed) they are also stronger than specialized wizards. I personally suspect that it has to do with all the things on the fringe of the colors, Omni-Wizards also include all the things that are not quite of any specific color while specialists almost always do not.
The most common color was the purple of weapons. Good weapons wizards were just as sought after as good wizards of any other color, but generally if you did not get at least a pip in the wizardry test on Classification Day you were put on a waiting list. And that list was rather long. The longest someone on that list had to wait was 63 years. So, that particular Weapons-Wizard entered the academy at the tender age of 81 years and made it to the rank of commander before retiring at the age of 106, after his 25 years of service.
I was waiting in line with lots and lots of other youths hoping to be hired by the SFSN, though my hopes were higher. If I was a sensor (which seemed likely) or even an omni, I was set. Healing was an added bonus there. Multicolored wizards were quite uncommon, but it happened every now and then.
"Watch it!" "Sorry." One of my fellow applicants had walked right into the one in front of him, obviously daydreaming. I had just been daydreaming as well, but my sense of orientation was without fault and I could trust it to run my body on autopilot without bumping into things. Neat that. Looking up, I realized that Eden 3 was beginning to rise. We were on Eden 3's first moon, usually referred to as Eden 3-1. It was a wonderful place to live - much like the original home planet most likely, based on how comfortable everyone was here. Nobody remembered its name, though. Eden 3 itself is a gas giant, by the way.
We were waiting to get to a classification desk. These were arranged in an array within a wide field, each with a clerk behind it. Those clerks wore gray uniforms, not the gray of lesser Omni-Wizards (lesser, because those omnis had a preference, meaning they had one or two particularly strong colors and the others were rather weak), but the gray of non-magic born SFSN officers. Those were almost as rare as white Omni-Wizards, because in a navy based on magic non-magic born people could basically only do desk work like accountancy or sitting behind classification desks.
Whenever one of these officers held up their hand, they were free and the next youth in line went to that desk. Then there was a bit of talking, the youth picked up the Classification Rod (with capital letters) and it would glow in any one of the colors (or, in very rare cases, 2). The clerk would make a note in the youth's service booklet, thump a stamp in it and send the youth home or towards the barracks in the back of the field.
The Classification Rod, by the way, was a marvel of modern spell inscription. In the older days sensor wizards used to test the applicants manually and try to unlock their magic. While that never led to false positives, it did lead to false negatives occasionally. If the testing sensor wizard was not particularly strong and the candidate neither, the sensor sometimes could not detect the candidates magic.
The invention of the Classification Rod eliminated that problem. It was a round piece of wood, usually about 30 centimeters long, and covered in complex runes. Whenever a locked, potential wizard touched one it somehow unlocked whatever magic he or she had. How that works I do not know to this day, I have never been good and Inscription.
Today did not seem to be a very good day for the youths, because almost everyone flinched when the officer thumped and went home sad. Very few went to the barracks, smiling happily, only to reappear a bit later, going home. Not sad, but with a smile that looked a bit enforced.
I was getting towards the front of the line, when a youth walked out of the barracks behind a hard-looking man with the insignia of a lieutenant and a gray uniform, self-consciously patting some dirt off his clothing but still smiling broadly. A non-magical officer? That must be a drill-lieutenant! That youth must have been accepted into the navy! I smiled a bit, mentally congratulating him.
Then I noticed that the officers at the desks in front of me looked a bit troubled. Their Classification Rods seemed to malfunction, they had a faint glow in all of the colors. One leaned over to his neighbor and asked "The Commodore is not here, is he?" "Nah. He knows that his magic will screw up the rods." "But that would mean..." Both looked at us, with barely suppressed excitement in their faces. "Sorry, what does this mean?" asked a candidate in front of me. "Well, young woman, the magic of an omni wizard is so strong that it affects the Classification Rods in a small radius all around them. Even if they are not yet unlocked." "How? I thought locked wizards were undetectable?" "Omni wizards control all the colors, giving them a much wider range and giving them a lot more raw power than normal wizards. That makes them able to do magic even in a locked state." "Like what?" "Healing small wounds is common, as is knowing where everyone is in the same house. Also, they usually never get lost, finding any place they want to go to immediately." The candidate chuckled. "I got lost twice trying to get here, so it is not me."
Hm... I had gone off the bus, looked at the little map I had once and walked here, never uncertain, never wavering. That got me thinking. I could not remember ever being lost, except that one time in a vacation with my parents. But then my dad had done the navigating, so that did not really count.
"He! What's the holdup?" That was another officer deeper in the field, asked with curiosity. "Our rods are acting up! I think we have an omni here!" That got everyone excited. "Maybe if you could walk along the line and get that omni unlocked, so that we can continue normally?" suggested another officer. "Maybe... though we do have three desks here that act up, this omni might be very powerful." "That would be the day!" another officer snorted.
"Okay, but don't blame me if we can't continue until the omni has left the base." That was answered by a couple of thoughtful nods, but mostly snorting, chuckling and a bit of laughter.
The officer who had started the discussion got up, apologized to the candidate in front of her (who waved it away, looking very curious himself) and started walking slowly along the line, pausing at each candidate for a second, pointing the rod at them. The glow of the rod became apparent almost immediately, and it was pure white. The further along the line she went, and the closer to me she came, the brighter the rod glowed. When she pointed it at me, it was almost too bright to look at. She squinted at me, frowned and muttering "maybe..." went on. Two or three candidates down the row after me it became apparent that the rod was glowing less brightly.
By now all the chucklers and laughers were silent, all staring at me when the officer turned back and pointed the rod at me. "Hold this." she commanded and handed me the rod.
At first, nothing special happened. "You must squeeze the handle for the spell to acti..."