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I'm desperately looking for the title of a fantasy series I read in the mid-90s. Hoping someone can find a clue from the details I can remember here:

  • Series had at least 5 or 6 volumes (at least, maybe more)
  • Read in the mid-90s so could have been written in the 80's (or earlier?)
  • I believe the series was complete when I read it.

  • Story involves multiple worlds each centered on an "element" (a world with floating islands in the air, a world of lush nature, a lava world, a world made of a single giant ocean that nullifies all magic...)

  • Story involves several protagonists from different worlds, all quasi-human in nature.
  • Story starts with veteran assassin with a youngster fleeing in a castle, and I believe they are quickly involved with a sort of wizard who is actually a dragon in disguise. Wizard partially reveals existence of other worlds an world travel intervenes during 1st or second book.
  • Another key character I remember is a kind of antagonist from a people who can only practice magic through tattoos on their bodies. The only body parts not tattooed are face and palm of hands.

Later in the books it is implied that these different "elemental" worlds were actually the Earth that was divided following a cataclysmic clash between science and magic in the past.

marked as duplicate by John Rennie, Edlothiad, Mithrandir, SQB, Chenmunka Nov 20 '17 at 13:17

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    Sounds like the Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (when I saw '90s' and 'series', I had a feeling it'd involve them. ;)). If so, it would be a dupe of scifi.stackexchange.com/q/122160/65768 but we won't mark it as such unless you confirm. – starpilotsix Nov 19 '17 at 14:45
  • Please make it an answer, not a comment. – jo1storm Nov 20 '17 at 7:58
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    Indeed that's it, the death gate cycle. I'm surprised I didn't know to look into Weis and Hickman literature since I knew them for Dragonlance. Thanks a lot! – Fourchaise Nov 20 '17 at 12:19