The last thing they remembered was a tear opening up in their world. One that they fell, or perhaps were dragged, into even before they could register what was going on.
There had been a moment of intense emotion, depending on the individual; anger, confusion, fear. Then...
Granted that was not entirely accurate. Silence implied there were sounds to hear. Darkness implied there was light to darken.
No, what they found themselves in was Nothingness.
Complete and utter Nothingness.
Time was impossible to gauge where they were. Perhaps hours, years, seconds, or maybe (a concept that would have never crossed their mind until that moment) negative time, passed as they floated.
Yet, floated was wrong too. To float there needed to be something to float on.
They merely existed there, in the midst of Nothingness, for some period of time.
It was a long enough moment to contemplate existence in its entirety. Yet, also, it was not enough time to even blink.
And then they were somewhere else. In silence. In darkness. This time truly.
They could feel presences around them. Perhaps half a dozen, maybe more, people were nearby. After that period of Nothingness they would feel hyper-aware of the signs of life that came from a living being. Soft breathing, a short rustle of clothing as someone unconsciously shifted, and just the natural feeling of “Something’s there” that one gets when in a room with another.
The room was brightened within moments. A large screen, ten feet wide and five feet high, flared to life above and in front of them.
A face appeared on the screen. Feminine in features yet still just masculine enough for reasonable doubt. The person’s lower face was mostly covered in the collar of their coat. A black, felt-looking, thing with large buttons. Their eyes, however, were in plain view. Electric blue and sparkling with excitement.
"Welcome to Rama-Indri," they spoke in a strong, husky, voice that gave an impression of constantly hinting at something underneath the surface. The kind of feeling you get from fortune tellers or pick-up artists.
“Ah, pardon me, that was sudden wasn’t it? I should start at the beginning. Or, the closest thing to it. My name is Mauvache and you are currently standing inside of my Arena.”
The walls, floor, and ceiling suddenly lit up and revealed the room they stood in. As well as the other people around them.
Every part of the room was made up of large, three feet squared, panels. Colored dark blue, with lighter blue lighting around the edges. There seemed to be no doors and, besides the screen which showed the image of Mauvache, nothing in the room.
“You are now in the city of Prana, on the planet Rama-Indri.” She paused, her eyes making it clear it was for effect. “Some of you might be confused by the latter bit. You see, Existence is made up of many, thousands and thousands, of worlds. You have been brought to one very unlike your own. In fact...It’s not even the same universe!”
Mauvache’s face vanished and, in its place, was an overhead view of a world that would be unfamiliar to all of them. If they looked hard enough they could notice there were several large patches of blackened earth across its expanse.
And then the view vanished and Mauvache appeared again. “I have brought you here, to a world craving entertainment, to partake in a wondrous endeavor.” The camera shifted, moving upwards, and it was made clear Mauvache had been sitting.
But not any more. So excited was she by the prospect that she couldn’t sit still. Standing fully, with the camera pulling back to show her entire body, Mauvache spread her arms wide. “You have been handpicked by me to compete in my Arena. The battlefields, which you are standing on by the way, will be entirely virtual. This is to keep you from coming to harm. After all we want to entertain, not maim. You will fight against each other in many unique battlefields and earn points. You can use these posts for almost everything here. Food, housing, entertainment, and, if you gain enough, even a Wish from me. Any who doubt my ability to grant such a thing...well, I brought you here, didn’t I?”
There was a slight falter to the excited glint in her eyes and, when she spoke again, she sounded more business-like. “Of course I cannot force you to fight. But, if you don’t, you’ll find it hard to do much of anything here. I’m afraid you’re stuck here for the time being but worry not, you shall, at the right time and place, be sent right back where you belong. So while you’re here, why not have yourself an adventure? Perhaps you’ll even strike it rich!”
The glint was back. “You have attached to you a watch.” If they were to check their person they’d see, as she said, a watch. However its face was larger than normal and had several things besides the time, noon, upon it. “This will allow you to communicate, send mail, though you will only be able to send each other challenge requests, tell the time, and keep track of your points.”
At the mention of points a number would light up. It would read “50“ for all except Xia, who would see “100“ and, next to it, in small print, “Points”.
“Feel free to ask what you need, I’m sure you have many questions, concerns, and comments. But please read over...this mail before. You have free reign to, most, of the Arena and the city beyond. It is currently, to use a system you’d understand, Monday. Which means no battles. But worry not about food, you will be able to eat for free today. But only today. Can’t afford to keep you fed for nothing after all!”
Everyone would see a notification for mail popping up on their watches and, a moment later, it would open up. They would have a strange sensation and the words were transmitted into their mind. Almost like reading but with less eye movement and focus needed.
It would include basic maps, combat rules, farther explanation of the point system, and various other information.
Once this was read the stage would be set and the fighters, cast into a strange world through even stranger means, would be left to their own devices.