Two words, uttered at the foot of a spiralling stone tower, stretched beyond the black of a starless sky and the white of the moisture-less clouds, piercing the heavens and further beyond in a single, solid column. Spanning out and around in every direction, for as far as could be seen both possibly and impossibly, an endless, rolling grassland, of manufactured blades of greenery, and the facade of dirt from which each sprouted, wrapped around the plane of the world, encompassing it, the tower, and the words, simultaneously. The start and the end of everything.
So too were they the last and first words ever heard by nine people. Nine strangers, humans in every right, living and breathing, venturing forth in their lives impeded by nothing more than human inconveniences and obstacles. Stopped in their paths by the trifles of being human, and allowed to walk on again by their same measure. But for one moment, their obstacle wasn't human. Or alien. For a moment, there was no obstacle at all. Just the words. Two words, uttered by a lonely woman, staring into a pitch black sky, penetrated at a single point by a towering column of stone.
In the gap between stepping through an open door, crossing into a shadow, closing and reopening one's eyes, the world vanished, and reappeared again, almost as instantly as it had left. A moment of transition between one moment and another - a split second of darkness accompanying a blink. But in it, the entire world changed, without feeling or sensation. No pain, or nausea, or sudden discomfort. Nine completely normal humans, disappeared from one world, and deposited, exactly as they were, in another. Not through death, as many a tale had led them to believe; no portals, no summoning rituals, and no gods or demons. Only two words that followed them into their new world.
Graham Stone, Miki Teruko, Andromeda Hardt, Ada Taliar, and Isaiah Ayaan all appeared in the middle of a street, bustling and filled with people. Dozens, potentially hundreds of people filled their eyes, newly blinded by the harsh light of the midday sun that glared down at the expanse of paved stone they now stood upon, unimpeded by trees or tall buildings. The street itself appeared to be some kind of merchant district - stalls and stores lined the buildings on either side of them, and a steady stream of people representing most every walk of life filtered past, occasionally broken by a horse drawn cart that rolled through the centre of the road.
The telltale signs of some kind of "fantasy world" were recognisable at their most most subtle, from merely just a cursory glance across the scene before them. The makes of clothes were markedly of older fashion, even between the suits and dresses of the visibly upper class, and the varying market stalls that spanned the busy road held wears both familiar and alien, and bore signs recognisable as language, but none any of the five could read or decipher. The architecture itself, too, was recognisably medieval, though with hints of modernism that didn't quite match up to any existing cities of Earth history. Most damning, though, were the plethora of races that numbered among the passersby. Not all were human, and though the numbers of those inhuman were significantly dwarfed by the peoples the group were familiar with, an easily identifiable number possessed fur, and ears, and tails, and horns, and any number of different combination of animalistic traits.
The five of them had simply appeared there, just off to the side of the main roadway, side by side, staring blankly into the new world they appeared in, taking in, for even just a brief moment, the sudden shift that had transpired. In the midst of coming to terms with everything, a feeling crept into Ada's back and neck - the feeling of being watched, and of having a person unseen standing directly over her, looking down from above, but casting no shadow upon her, and possessing no body for her to see.
Ryom Sung-Tae, Michael Klein, Aaron Yang, and Momiji Shirogane, instead, all appeared in an abandoned street. A place significantly different to their modern world, with distinctively medieval in design and architecture, but equally recognisable features identifying the area as a commoner district. Tall buildings with wooden windows, pulled closed against the elements, indicative of housing stacked atop one another in a similar to apartments, and roads paved but unkempt, marked with damage and built up dirt.
The place they had appeared in, though, was silent, almost eerily so. Not a single person was in sight, and not a single sound reached their ears. No system shock, no fantasy races or magic presented to them as one might have expected. The buildings around them seemed like homes rather than businesses, but nobody roamed the streets and looked out from their windows, even in the middle of the day, the sun shining high and unrestrained in the sky. No birds, no stray cats or dogs, and no people. Just the four of them, side by side on a street in a city in a world they could not recognise as their own, completely alone aside their fellow transported humans.