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Introduction

What if I told you that history has it wrong?

What if I told you that, in a time long forgotten, the world was once called Eivrall, and there were several sapient species, not just humans? It’s true: all creatures had the ability to wield magic, humans included. It was woven into the tapestry of existence, a vast source of power that could be used in unimaginable ways. The world reflected the magic that existed within it. It was diverse, full of species who wandered side by side with humans as equals. Elves and other mythical creatures have long been associated with children's stories, but they once grew alongside humans, learning from and aiding them in their times of need just as humans helped them.

Of course, conflict existed, but none with global ramifications. The magic of all species was intertwined, and it was this magic that kept the world and its inhabitants in harmony. For thousands of years, this is how the world remained.

 

Those Who Wandered With Us

Kaxlese
Kaxlese by Gabrielle Decker

Kaxlese

Sculpted living constructions designed as shock troops rather than a species, Kaxlese were Eivrall's most advanced artificial sentient life form, having evolved because of an engineering flaw.

The Kaxlese discovered a hidden knowledge they called the Data Stream, and evolved into the species they are today during their training and tuning stage, the machine learning phase tasked with finding patterns in disposable data.

Krudh

An Orc's appearance is frequently seen as evidence of an overly basic, feral species, although nothing could be further from the truth. The Krudh were as brilliant and complex as any other race, and they were cunning enough to take advantage of anyone who dares to misjudge them. The Krudh kept to themselves for the most of history, preferring to vent their inherent anger through dancing.

Krudh had 3 subspecies: Dhul, Grirk, and the genetically engineered Nucroz.

Musai

Musai were usually welcomed for the role that they played in regulating the sea. The waters of their domain, The Glassy Deep, were renowned for their cleanliness and safety.

On the other hand, the opposite was also possible. Musai had the power to summon horrible storms and marine life if they felt threatened or offended. Several Musai were reported to assist sailors in navigating the seas and even served as scouts. Musai had a land-walking subspecies called Teros.

Shatar

Rumors insisted that Shatar were not natural inhabitants of Eivrall. The scientific community believed the Shatar were extraterrestrial, but the magical community believed them from another plane or dimension. In any case, the Shatar were said to come from a land of corruption and darkness, giving them mastery over the dark arts.

In spite of the fact that the Shatar were exceptionally well-educated and capable of making excellent decisions, their behavior suggested that they held Eivrall in low regard for these qualities.

Nerthach
Disú Zhile by Gabrielle Decker

Thyselie

Elves once lived in secluded peace in natural places rather than cities and nations. They secured their homelands through guile and strategy, especially as bowmen. But the threat of technology drove the Thyselie to protect their lands as a well-established nation, one that proved to be frighteningly skilled in the arcane arts.

Thyselie had three subspecies: Shalaevar, Edhelleri, and Nerthach.

Ullul

Dwarves have a reputation for being tough and dependable. Stubbornness and cynicism were tempered by the Ullul's courage and tenacity. Loyalty was more than just a word for them; it was something to be cherished and honored. Much more so, it was considered a show of honor and friendship for Ullul to fight alongside their companions, and even more so to protect them from danger.

Ullul subspecies included the Afnoi, Dahavar, and Kilukk.

Human

In comparison to other biological species, humans had the shortest lifespan. Perhaps it is because of their shorter lifespans that they seek to do as much as possible in the time they have. Or perhaps they believed they have something to prove to the other races, which is why they establish huge empires based on conquest and trade. Humans are the world's pioneers, whatever pushes them.

There were 4 distinct human ethnicities: Helvik, Ingosha, Rani, and Viampaal.

Erunit

For a long time, the Erunit, an ancient humanoid ice race native to Yudhelm, were considered a legendary species. Untested magic gave them the ability to manipulate ice and the cold.

Legend had it that their presence is often heralded by blizzards and temperature drops, and that they could freeze whatever they touched. Still, the Erunit were portrayed in these tales as world guardians.

   

As time passed, progress inevitably emerged. Imagination stoked curiosity, and the creatures of the world set out to discover their various versions of technology. Bone and clay gave way to stone and leather. Interest in magical conduits led to the discovery that combining certain materials could enhance a person's power.

The introduction of metal brought a new era, one that melded magic and steel together in a tense harmony. Those who held their magic sacred felt the rapidly developing technology was growing beyond control. As the harnessing of electricity and steam brought innovative ideas for transportation and communication, they turned away from these 'unnatural' advances in science. Further feeding their fears, technology caused others to forget their connection to magic, causing them to rely on the technology instead.

Even as the world grew divided, peace persisted.

 

We Had Great Power

Magic

On Eivrall, magic manifested from numen, or the spiritual energy of life that permeates the universe. Numen was said to have been gifted by Xoxtris, Primordial Deity of Darkness. As told in Xoxtris' Breath, it was the Deity's intention to make everything in the cosmos equal and blessed. Magic flowed through everything, and it was the simple channeling of emotional or other inner energy into outer forms of energy. It, like muscles, grew stronger with use and atrophied with disuse.

Most magically active people avoided cybernetic enhancement because it impeded the flow of numen, which was linked to magical capabilities. However, an anti-magic social movement argued that employing magic was not worth the time it took to recuperate from it. Advocates claimed people were able to do more in a day if they avoided the lethargy and mental sickness that occurred with numen depletion. Any task that relied on magic to some degree might even be made easier by using cybernetics, as was the claim of this movement at the time.

Read more about Numen

Bionumen Pathways Degradation (BPD) was a very rare genetic disorder that caused people to be born without numen. Those with the condition were classified arcanix. The number of individuals born with this disease never exceeded teen digits.

Conversely, Rampant Numen Fluctuations (RNF) was a much more volatile condition. People diagnosed with RNF were unable to control their magic and it would erupt from them sporadically, oftentimes injuring themselves or others.

   

Biocrafting

Biocrafting was a surgical specialty involving the restoration, reconstruction, or alteration of the body. Bones, muscle, and organs could be shifted around easily, and any type of skin, including fur and feathers, could be grafted, creating any desired look.


Read more about Biocrafting

Neural Patch

The Neural Patch was a kind of chip processor installed in the skull that stored and transmitted the encrypted files of the user's CMA bank account and finances. These processors could be installed for free in adolescence, but the exact legal age to do so varied between countries.


Read more about the Neural Patch

PALADINs

PALADINs, Crux Dynamico's automated personnel, were used in a wide variety of police and security roles, with the Meshev force one of their most well-known. They also played a critical role in the War of Mad Minds.


Read more about PALADINs

Technology

Science enabled the physical body to overcome its limitations by fusing it with cutting-edge technology. Procedures pushed the body's capabilities beyond what it was designed to do. Magic was life's greatest gift, but augmentations were regarded as life's greatest lie. While only a select few devoted the time to refining their magic, anybody could benefit from augmentations.

Cybernetic prostheses were originally designed for practical and medical reasons, but they became a lifestyle choice for humans and Shatar in Eivrall. They were used for a wide range of purposes, from simple technological advancements to combat enhancements and even as a fashion statement. Augmentations were commonplace, and Eivrall was a world full of beautiful people. Sure, each nation had its own trends, but beauty? Every nation, every person, everything was beautiful.

On the outside.

What happens when the world is no longer preoccupied with trying to be beautiful? Moreover, what happens when that same world has too much free time because technology had enabled much of the workforce to become automated? Yes, it's liberating at first. Then comes greed and a lack of morals. When people have nothing to work for, they become bored. In the race for the latest and greatest gadgets and body kits, the stakes can only be as high as the technology involved.

But no nation suffered as much as humans.

The Nations

United Federation of Meshev

The Puski who colonized the planet originated in the Land of Hollows, where humans and Viampaal continued to reside.

Thar'kenes Empire

The Shatar and Nucroz's home was a desolate wasteland, largely because of Meshev's pollution. They had a terrible secret to why they never complained.

Zarzarian Tribes

Zarzar was an island of jungle and volcanic activity, amd home to ancient shamanism, Dhul, Afnoi, and the last natural landscapes left on Eivrall.

Sevangesia Technate

Sevangesia, ripped from the Aecax Plateau, was the floating metropolis built by the Kaxlese high above the crater it left.

Linvean Kingdom

The Shalaevar and main bloodinlines were the the only remaining Thyselian ancestry that remained in the elven Kingdom of Linve.

Pallua Island Republic

The Ingoshan island was regarded as neutral territory because of its prominence as a global trading and mercantile hub.

Tempest Group

The Nerthach and Grirk lived on Abatesh, an island where silence is nonexistent and lightning is welcomed.

United Tribes of Synead

The unforgiving deserts that the nomadic Edhelleri and Dahavar people called home were Eivrall's third-most inhospitable location.

Republic of Kjersia

The snow-capped mountains that were dangerous to travelers were a haven for the Helvik and Kilukk.

Ranse Theocracy

The Rani and Chitlan were healers who believed in peaceful coexistence, so it's no surprise that they chose to live in Ranse's serene countryside.

Parina Protectorate

Only the Krudh were ready to call Parina's wetlands home, making them one of the few races to have ever encountered Teros'.

Kingdom of Baragdum

All Ullul could trace their ancestry back to Baragdum's treacherous mountains, which were dotted with lethal valleys.

 
Cyber-Soldier-Enhanced.webp
So, what went wrong, and what does this have to do with today?
As greed drives the people of the world, many are too consumed by their own to recognize it in others, while those who operate in the shadows take control unchecked and unchallenged. Beneath their supermodel appearances and body glitter lied a deeply afflicted people – something that humanity has yet to overcome. All nations had great technology, but only humans were willing to give up their magic for the sake of their augmentations. Humans had modest levels of magic to begin with, but technology blocked it from flowing through the body, causing many to become inert.
 

Then, the pace of progress accelerated tenfold. Devices that today's inventors could only dream of were produced on a massive scale. A fierce competition for customers and cutting-edge technology emerged between large corporations. There was little that could be done to prevent the abrupt conflicts from arising, and magic was slowly fading away.

 

And who profited from this loss?


 

Big Tech

The huge multinational businesses that manipulated numerous governments. There were many organizations which became the banner people rallied behind, but some played more vital roles than others.

 
Primedia Network
Primedia was a global news service headquartered in Thalvid, Kjersia. Primedia monitored the state of the globe using every available resource. Newspapers and news outlets around the world paid substantial sums of money to receive Primedia stories through the Primedia Network.

more
Crux Dynamico
Crux Dynamico was one of the world's most powerful corporations, with sway over several nations. Known for its corporate security, investments in military manufacturing, and in-house accounting, their weapons and equipment were coveted around the world.

more
Vinebit
Vinebit, a subsidiary of Tempest Group, was an information broker that used the best private investigators to obtain information on behalf of a client. With a team of former military and espionage personnel on staff, the Tempest Group was an expert in paramilitary contracting.

more
   

What is true feeling and what is corporate strategy, in today's world? That is the new Age's illness. Obsession with one's own image, as well as with cutting-edge technologies. Often, it's the most beautiful creatures that are the most dangerous.

Everyone's beautiful. Everyone's dangerous.

— F474 M0R64N4
Central Monetary Authority
The Central Monetary Authority was the foundation for the majority of everyday global financial transactions. Financial services were available around the world through their subsidiary Seawares, which had Central Banks in most countries.

Read more about the CMA

Gateworks
Sevangesia's monopoly over the world's travel and transportation industries was Gateworks. Their Gates could transport anyone around the globe with minimal risk.

Read more about Gateworks

Physiosystems
Physiosystems was the market leader in the design and production of neuralware and optics and had a monopoly on the market. The Neural Patch was developed by Physiosystems for the Central Monetary Authority.

Read more about Physiosystems

 
Lucentex Phenomenologies Solsticetems Envirotech Tempest Seawares Globeworks
Apexaid Bluebooks News Systems Bluesys Energence Solutions Genetitech
     

Sounding familiar yet?

 
Good, it ought to...

Imagine the Selfishness of humanity materialized. How would you feel? Difficult to imagine, isn’t it? Except, it has.

 


   

War broke out, thrusting the world into chaos. No creature was left unscathed by the fighting. Families were ripped apart, and companies were indifferent about the suffering they inflicted. Those who still believed in their magic did the only thing they could think of- they summoned a god to stop the violence before it completely destroyed the world.

You’ve heard it plenty of times: history repeats itself. Only, this time, we’ve been abandoned.

 

That's Where You Come In

 

In Zenith Athenaeum, you will find historical accounts. Our planet's past is retold through their tales, which we've all but forgotten. We have been repeating this cycle over numerous iterations of our world, recreated from the ashes of our own demise time and time again.

 

There are no more cycles.

 

To save ourselves from our own Selfishness, we were forced to sacrifice our magic during the War, resulting in the extinction of the other species. Our energy had to counter our own energy. Everything must exist dually; one cannot exist without the other. You're familiar with thermodynamics and the law of conservation of energy, so you’re aware that no more numen can, or has been, generated.

Modern astrophysics splits the universe's history into six eras, with dark energy signifying the last. Yet, dark energy began dominating the universe's energy composition when our sun and solar system formed. We've been in the final stage of the universe for as long as Earth's present iteration has existed.

To put it another way, without our cosmic glue, this was the beginning of our universe's sixth era in which everything disconnects, drifts inexorably apart, and begins to die. If we are to ever ascend, this is our last chance. It's time to contemplate more existential questions because they're inevitable. Even if we can avoid resetting humanity by breaking the cycle of self-destruction, we are still rushing toward an end in which we must account for our actions.

So long as the stable atomic nuclei and the fabric of space itself don’t undergo some sort of unforeseen decays, and as long as dark energy behaves identically to the cosmological constant that it appears to be, this fate is inevitable.
— Ethan Siegel, Ph.D. astrophysicist, bigthink.com
 

With the universe already in its sixth and final era, are you content with the way the world is?

 
Are you willing to avoid contributing to humanity’s ruination?
  Read these accounts to learn from them.
  The back corner of the Athenaeum has a reading area. Until the Archivist makes the literature available to the public,
grab an atlas or encyclopedia and start reading from the beginning.
  The world may very well depend on it.
 

What to read next?


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Author's Notes

Special thanks to Ademal Jacklyn for the header re-design and tips for optimization!
Many of the articles that are linked throughout this introduction have yet to be created or published. Please bear with me as I make more content available!


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