Niyl was a world of mighty continents and vast seas, not unlike earth. One of those was Param, a large circular mass linked to its only neighbor by an isthmus no broader than a city. A fertile land, it also boasted the dubious honor of being the location for the greatest magical catastrophe ever recorded. The Western part of Param still bore in its flesh the stigma of this awesome event.

Seen from up high, the scar looked like a spot of necrotic tissue on an otherwise healthy body. A closer look would reveal a massive valley surrounded on all sides by snow-capped mountainous ranges, with the exception of a tiny gap in the south. The area was darkest at its core, though shrubbery and enduring plants gave it a greenish tint the farther one went from the epicenter. There, the Old Empire had made its seat of power, from which it had terrified the world. There, its elites had reached summits of magical ability the world had never seen, and there, they weaved their own doom. The legacy of their might could now only be found in private collections and in the languages of kings. The Old Empire had died an ignominious death at the apex of its power.

Now, only the mindless undead treaded its sandy corpse.

A cautionary tale.

Only one expedition successfully explored the old capital of Harrak where the fateful experiment had taken place, and they reported a cursed city, its empty streets still dominated by the vertiginous form of the Imperial Ziggurat. A mighty cadaver, gutted by a cataclysmic explosion, as imposing as the remains of an ancient drake.

In the throne room of the emperor, a figure stirred. It shivered in pain. Arms and legs locked in a dead grip that left its muscle straining, until two green eyes opened.

The figure let out an ear-shattering scream of pure agony. The woman scratched her naked form with enough strength to draw blood in a vain effort to push back the aftershock of the terrible experience she had suffered. It was but a memory, a remnant of an ordeal she no longer possessed the means to understand, and yet just that little was enough to make her want to kill herself. The atrocious suffering could not be explained with the words she knew. Hell, she was not even sure it was her nerves flaring up. It felt more intimate than that, a deep malaise, as if her body did not quite fit. No matter what ‘it’ was that had caused her current condition, ‘it’ had been abominable.


She stayed there for a good thirty seconds, gulping air as if it were free.

Eventually, her nociceptors must have saturated or something, because enough neurons fired to make her realize her predicament.


She stood up in a rush, pain pushed to the back of her mind by her current condition. She was absolutely butt-naked. It was cold as hell, and she already had goosebumps.

And there was a draft where there should be none.



She checked her forearms. Not one dark hair. She passed a hand on the glistening surface of her skull.


Her hand trailed down to the smooth surface where her eyebrows used to be.

“What the hell?”

She quickly checked herself. No visible wounds. No sign of external trauma, though she was shaking from the cold and her fingertips were showing signs of cyanosis. They were already blue.

Only then did she check her surroundings.

“Aaaaaah what the…”

She was inside of a room as big as a hangar with walls of massive stones covered in the tattered remains of pennants and tapestries, their colors long faded. Debris littered the ground, seemingly made out of ossified wood and cracked bones. Human bones. A massive throne occupied the far wall with the ceiling collapsed behind it. A boulder the size of a bus had crashed through the ground to her left in some distant past. It now let in frigid air and a morose winter light.

On the throne sat a crowned skeleton with its ghastly skull resting on a bony hand.

And by its side were six mummified bodies clad in black, still holding the rusty hilts of broken weapons.

Either the skeletons were pygmees, or the dead king was fuckhuge.

The woman pinched herself, because what else could she do?

It hurt.

Also, she was freezing her tits off.

Alright, alright, think. Her name was Vivane Saint-Lys. Twenty-four. Corporal and medic. Stationed inside of Mopti airport with the rest of her platoon to protect it from Jihadists.

This was not Mopti. Way too fucking cold.

The thought that she may have been captured and sent here was immediately dismissed. They had sentries, she would have been awake. No, she was clearly somewhere… Well…

She felt wind behind her. A massive opening in the wall let her see a sooty sky, the kind of nasty stuff they showed in dystopian movies.

She walked out into a frigid gale and her eyes widened in surprise.

She stood near the top of a pyramid of impossible size. The massive obsidian steps that started before her shrunk in the distance until they were humorously tiny. The pairs of statues lining it were the size of four men, but near the bottom they looked as small as toys. There were other entrances, many of them obstructed or collapsed and it was not difficult to see why.

In front of her, a city extended for kilometers upon kilometers with the exacting precision that only rigorous urban planning could achieve. There were estates and temples and churches and squares, all darkened and dead, all devoid of movement. A desert of basaltic sand extended beyond to mountains far, far into the distance. Pieces of rubble the size of apartment buildings dotted the land as if a titan had been playing weight throw. It only took a moment for her to realize that the origin of said rubble was not before her.

She turned around.

Where the top of the pyramid used to be, there was now a massive hole surrounded by the molten, ragged edges of vitrified stone. The size of the crater was not normal. It was not what she could associate with heavy ordinance, no. It was something she would have associated with asteroid craters, or the impact of a tactical nuclear warhead.

It had come from the inside.

It gave her vertigo.

She shivered violently and ran back into the relative shelter of the room, back hunched and arms held tightly. She recognized the telling signs of hypothermia.

“Right. I need to — GYAAAA”

She ducked back when white glyphs appeared in the air before her. The prompt retreat had been of no use: the floating symbols had simply followed her gaze. The only thing that calmed her down was the strange sensation that she understood their meaning, even if she knew it was impossible. They said ‘please wait’.

And then, the glyphs faded, only to be replaced by roman characters.



This did not look good.


The font had changed to something vaguely futuristic. It was just weird.

Then a window appeared, still in the same font and with a transparent background of light blue. At least it was not in Comic fucking Sans.

Welcome to Nyil, Outlander. You have been transported to a new world!

Every sapient of this realm benefits from magic under the guidance of the god Nous, via the interface now granted to you.