Chapter 1 - Arcanium Academicus

The dark, desolate future was a bleak horizon of ruins and swirling fog, where knowledge fiends prowled like phantoms among the ruins of cities. They stalked libraries and the skeletal remains of universities, driven by their insatiable hunger for knowledge. The world had become a barren wasteland, its once-vibrant civilizations reduced to fractured memories. Towers stood shattered, and highways were littered with the remnants of lives long past. But there, amid the decay and despair, stood a citadel of light: the global institute known as the Arcanium Academicus.


Nestled deep within fortified walls, the institute was humanity’s last hope to reclaim the knowledge stolen by the ravenous fiends. Generations of scholars, researchers, and scientists toiled within, piecing together what fragments of understanding they could. The atmosphere buzzed with anxious energy, their work hastened by the ever-looming shadow of the fiends. They labored day and night, motivated by their quest to save the world from slipping into irreversible oblivion.


Within the innermost sanctum of the Arcanium Academicus, high above in a spire that pierced the leaden sky, a young researcher named Dr. Elara Verne pored over equations and diagrams, adjusting dials and scrutinizing gauges. Before her, encased in a crystalline sphere, was the culmination of their latest effort to salvage knowledge from the past. This was no ordinary technology—it was the Arcane Shift, an interface embedded within a sleek, silver smartphone capable of piercing the veil of time. It projected a limited glimpse into the present day, years before the world descended into ruin, and allowed someone in the past to steer an interdimensional rift ship by moving their phone.


Elara double-checked the Arcane Shift’s protocols before activating it for the first time. She typed in the coordinates for the prototype rift ship, “Chrono Voyager-1.” In an instant, her screen flickered, and the Shift locked onto a user somewhere in the present day, beaming data across decades. The screen displayed a location tag—Samuel Pierce, a history professor, stood in the archaeology department of a small Midwestern college. Oblivious to the dark fate that awaited humanity, Samuel found himself drawn to his smartphone screen as an unfamiliar notification flashed before him.


The message read, “Greetings from the Arcanium Academicus. We need your help.”


Curiosity piqued, Samuel swiped open the Shift. He could hardly believe his eyes as a dismal panorama of a shattered future world unfolded. Messages streamed in from the future, explaining the dire situation. The Arcanium Academicus provided him with a rudimentary understanding of the rift ship’s controls. Chrono Voyager-1 was a sleek, futuristic craft hovering at the exact coordinates where Samuel stood in the present, but in the desolate future. The Arcanium Academicus tasked him with steering the ship through this bleak landscape to gather lost knowledge hidden among the ruins.


The ship’s movement was directly tied to the coordinates of Samuel’s smartphone in the present. As Samuel wandered through his archaeology department, his movements were mirrored by Chrono Voyager-1 in the future. Samuel marveled at the immersion of the Shift but quickly realized the gravity of his task. His phone buzzed as Elara’s instructions streamed in.


“Move southeast to the history wing,” Elara’s voice crackled through the Shift.


Samuel walked quickly across campus, and his movements guided the Chrono Voyager-1 past the ruins of a toppled skyscraper. The ship skimmed above the wreckage, gathering encrypted data caches while staying alert for the fiends.


In the Arcanium’s spire, Elara watched the screen intently as Samuel’s ship collected the scattered remnants of civilization. Her fingers flew across the keyboard, assembling data into coherent files and sending messages of guidance to Samuel in real-time.


“Rift detected to the northeast. Avoid.”


“Cache of historical archives to the south.”


“Beware the fiend cluster.”


A dark shadow loomed ahead as Samuel approached a library. It was a knowledge fiend, an amorphous creature swirling with crackling energy. Samuel’s pulse quickened as he toggled the ship’s defenses, activating its spectral shields just in time as the fiend lunged toward him. The rift ship’s hull shimmered with light, repelling the assault. Samuel quickly changed direction, guiding the Chrono Voyager-1 around the fiend and gathering more caches while keeping his pace. The Arcane Shift would beam insights from Samuel’s present world to the Arcanium to restore the broken puzzle of the past. Even seemingly mundane information could prove invaluable to the scholars of the future.


Samuel’s every step and turn brought the world of the future closer to restoration. With each stride, the ship collected precious data, its lights twinkling against the ruins. He knew the fiends would never stop coming, but he also knew the Arcanium was counting on him to guide the ship safely through this bleak landscape. Every pulse of light, every cache recovered brought him closer to saving the future from the knowledge fiends’ insatiable grasp.


But for now, the fiends lurked in the fog, waiting for any misstep.

Chapter 2 - A world in shift

Coming soon…