World and Culture
Madierna is a small continent, home to three primary races: the cat-like ailurians, the human-like sapiens and the horned caprasians.
Madierna is a continent with an interesting and dark history. To a visitor of earth, many aspects of the continent are reflective of the technology and culture that would be typical of the late 1800s. Steam engines travel through the land, though transportation by horse or bicorn is most common. Some towns are lit by gas lamps though many people rely on candle light. Those of significant fiscal means or access to magic use glow stones to light their homes.
A hundred and fifty years ago, this darkened agricultural-based society was not typical life in Madierna. The continent boomed with advancements and electricity. Powerpoles dotted the landscape. Though car-like transportation was not very popular, trains were a common form of transport and powered by electricity. Most power generation was from coal plants in the north and hydroelectric power from the numerous rivers and waterfalls. It was a completely different world with a booming service-based entertainment-driven economy.
Madierna engaged in war with Graveer, a continent of considerable size and even greater advancement. Madierna, despite its technology and mages, was not well-equipped to wage war across the planet. A series of EMP attacks took out infrastructure, plunging Madierna into darkness. The mages of Castle Nova negotiated peace with Graveer under one term: Madierna scale back its technological capability and ban electricity.
Faced with the possibility of bombing and potential annihilation, Madierna conceded. Power poles were ripped from the ground, infrastructure was burned and buried. Scientists and engineers were jailed, and in some cases, killed. Culture of the time was erased and destroyed, obliterating much of the history. The prominent political party at the time, the progressive science-loving Kyanites, were likewise stripped from the history books and snuffed out of existence.
Their continent devastated, the people found hope in two places, the religion of Aurora or the mages of Polaris. Over the decades, the political structures of Madierna changed. Communications infrastructure destroyed, local governments ruled over modern life. Variations of democracy, small republics, and monarchies spring up. Through all of these, Auroriates or mages exerted influence, depending on the region.
Outwardly, the two work in harmony. Behind closed doors, disagreement bubbles between the two. The mages have more magic users and outward influence, but the Holy Circus has greater numbers, travel further, and identify better with the common people. The mages of Polaris present themselves are champions of law and order, they serve the people, but also guide the rule of law. The Auroriates serve as a moral compass but also are the most enjoyed form of mass entertainment, bringing happiness, wonder, and a form of hope.
Trabalis is a small city in central Madierna. It relies heavily on commerce on the River White.
Hundreds of years ago, Trabalis began as a small village outside of Castle Aurumice. As the castle prospered, the village grew to a town, and then eventually because a major trade city. Through a peaceful change over, it declared independence from the monarchy of Aurumice.
The castle functions independently like a major estate, paying taxes to Trabalis. The relationship worked well until a magic strife placed Aurumice under a forcefield. The energy stretched out and covered part of the River White, making it impossible for ships to easily pass through. Crew members would be overwhelmed with fear and even the bravest would abandon their posts. Captains were faced with two options, allow their vessels to go with the natural flow of the river and risk hitting the shallows or, find an alternate route.
This trade nightmare stifled access to the Port of Trabalis and had a devastating effect on the economy. Rumors grew about the 'cursed' castle and the bad luck surrounding Trabalis.
When the forcefield surrounded Aurumice and blocked the River White, several hundred castlefolk were forced from their home. Fearing that bad luck and evil magic surrounded the castlefolk, the Trabalisian government forbid Aurumicians from owning property. Unable to establish new homes or even hold most professions, the castlefolk hid in the slums of Rockwood.
Located north of Trabalis, Castle Aurumice is a unique structure with a strange history.
Legend states that thousands of years ago, Aurumice was grown, not built from the magic of the surrounding forest.
Though this may have been true for the original structure of Aurumice, the internal structures and many external areas have been constructed by ailurian hands.
The components of the castle visible from a distance- notably the twisted spires, only make up a small part of the castle. Most of the castle spans behind the spires in a large series of chambers and rooms.
The grand ballroom is located beneath the largest spire. Castle Aurumice has several courtyards, dining rooms, and private quarters to house the casltefolk. Beneath the castle is a large labyrinth of catacombs and an underground lake illuminated by glowstones. Few travel beyond the wine cellars and much of the underchambers have been untouched for decades.
Aurumice houses several secrets. Hidden beneath an outbuilding is a portal to another universe. Most castlefolk know of its existence as well as the strange visitors from earth who travel through it. They guard the Gate as a point of pride. The Gate is not for outsiders, though it is understood that the Gate is not to be used without permission.
The inhabitants of Aurumice are an eclectic and proud group. The castle is structured like a large estate, with the Verdian family presiding over daily operations.
The castle does not have servants. Instead, each individual works at a profession of their choice. In addition, every one of the castlefolk participates in a rotation of kitchen chores, cleaning, and guard duty. As long as one works, all is provided. Three meals are served from the kitchen daily. There is a doctor in residence and teachers to care for young ones. Castlefolk will barter among themselves for items such as clothing and sell goods and services in town to purchase items that cannot be found in Aurumice.
When a member of the castle comes of age, they participate in a ceremony known as Brightpath. They have the choice to take on permanent position in the castle or take a sum of money and establish a home elsewhere. If they leave and return, they are still welcomed home.
Despite the stability of everyone's needs accommodated, Aruumice is far from utopian. Conflicts arise and are mediated by members of the Verdian family alongside a council elected by the castlefolk. Most matters are settled with an appropriate punishment befitting of the transgression. Aurumice rarely brings its disputes to Trabalis and prefers to keep its own law over its people.
Children of Aurumice are taught to respect the castlefolk and the castle above all else. Aurumice is regarded with the same reverence as a living entity, being only second to the Goddess Aurora. With the unusual magic of the castle, there are rumors of a spirits or an energy entity residing in the walls.
Without question, Aurumice has a strong magic that links all of the castlefolk. It is thought that this magic enriches the loyalty and connection to each other. Castlefolk are all bound by a castlemark. This unique tattoo is displayed on one's right shoulder. It's placed by means of a magic stamp tied to the blood of the Verdian family.
During a mark ceremony, castlefolk often see a vision relating to another mark ceremony, often in the past but occasionally in the future.
There are a few variations of the castlemark and signet of Aurumice. The primary symbol is shaped like two intertwined circles and a figure-8. Fancier versions of the mark used in jewelry and decoration have different variations of this motif including tigers and bicorns.
Some castlefolk have additional designs woven into their casltemarks. The casltefolk prize individuality, believing it makes them stronger together.
The Mages and Castle Nova
Much like the Auroriates, mages are both loved and hated across Madierna. Most mages are affiliated with Polaris Academy and Castle Nova. Even though it is not illegal to live as a mage outside this ruling body, it is frowned upon and most are encouraged to join through some degree of affiliation.
Mages work as peacekeepers to uphold the policies of Castle Nova, and Katannzarko, the capital city in which the two organizations exist.
Many cities and even some large towns have mages in residence, serving as council to local lawmakers and in some cases, judges.
Most mage posts are temporary and rotate.
Without a doubt, the mages have an interesting relationship with earth. A Gate exists in Castle Nova, tied to New York City. Few mages have access to the Gate and crossing is permitted only with permission of the High Council and for a limited duration of time.
It is known that people who cross the Gate are more likely to exhibit mage policies. For many years, it was whispered that mages crossed the gate to 'rescue' 'unwanted' children of earth to live and become mages. In recent years, Polaris has taken a strict stance against this policy. However, the concept of a 'bred' mage has become the new questionable trend. Women and men cross the gate to actively seek a pure human mate solely for the purposes of propagation. Though many of these relationships are predicated in love, some matches are questionable.
Polaris and Castle Nova encourage mage children and a childless married couple is scrutinized in gossiping circles. Out-of-wedlock mage children are welcomed and supported as necessary without social stigma.
With so many children of mixed parentage, is it not surprising that earth has a certain degree of mystery and allure. Objects, customs and news of earth is greatly prized. Like illegal drugs, a pair of jeans, a plastic toy, chocolate bars and even old records can fetch a high price in the underground trade of earth goods.
There are thousands of variations of mage, but a few types seem to pop up more than others. Polaris Academy officially recognizes three types of mage, Kinetic, Psychic and Ethereal. Many mages also argue there exists two other types, the Cross Mages and the Forbidden.
Kinetic mages are the most common of all mages. They can manipulate the world that surrounds them. Some mages have generic skills, others seem to be able to touch only certain particles. Kinetic mages often need to make a physical gesture to activate their abilities, such as a sweeping hand motion. With time, they learn greater control and can use their powers with barely a twitch of the eye.
(Rock Shapers, Mud Movers, Sand Witch)
These mages are often revered as fine sculptors. A terra mage formed Castle Aurumice in Trabalis as well as Castle Nova in the Katanzaro province. They are excellent at discerning base materials such as metals.
Water Mage/Air Mage
(Weather Witch, Gada-wry)
These mages are known for abilities to influence the water molecules in the air, granting them the ability to freeze objects. Some have additional abilities, allowing them to generate lightning, various gasses, fog and clouds. Though we often think of Water and Air as separate elements, but as mage strengths they tend to manifest together.
Examples: Lily Vance
These mages have the ability to generate sparks and control fire. The degree of control varies, but some fire mages can create snakes, walls or nets of fire. Fire mages need something to ignite in order to generate fire. They often carry flammable materials such as oils and powders for just that purpose.
The butt of all mage jokes, the glowbug is regarded as the least powerful of all mage types. Glowbugs are regarded as a subset of fire mages, though many fire mages disregard glowbugs as having any association. Light mages can cause a material to glow, emitting light, but little else. Occasionally glowbug mages gain acclaim when they pair their abilities as bards or story tellers. They create interesting camp-fire tales, spinning beautiful art in light.
(Dark Cloaks, Cloakies, Corner Crawlers, Society of Sombra)
As the name implies, these mages have an uncanny ability to move shadows and darkness. In reality, they move photons of light, but their abilities give them a strength towards pushing them away, generating darkness. Though Shadow Mages are really a variation of Glow Bugs, they have branded themselves as a distinct sect and train heavily in evading detection. Young Shadow Mages are recruited by Castle Nova separately from Polaris Academy and become part of an organization known as the Shadow Runners. They are a fiercely loyal group and enjoy privilege for their service.
Examples: Saurin Bane
True Warriors have an uncanny command of the body. They are incredibly strong and swift. Their senses are well-attuned.
These mages manipulate particles in the air to generate an illusion. Unlike light mages, illusionist mages possess greater control. Light mages can only create images that glow, illusionists can create realistic visuals.
These mages can alter the very building blocks of a substance at an atomic level. For example, they can take water, separate it into hydrogen gas and oxygen. Transmutation usually occurs at a small level, changing only a small amount of a material. Transmutation mages were once banned, now they are heavily regulated by Polaris Academy. They serve Castle Nova exclusively and rarely travel. No doubt the coffers of Castle Nova are kept well stocked by the rare abilities of transmutation mages.
The abilities of an echo mage operates the same way dolphins and bats use echolocation. This mage type can send on an energy pulse and detect its returning resonance. They detect the pulse The strongest echo mages can unleash an energy pulse powerful enough to create earthquake-like effects.
Standard Kinetic is a misnomer, as a standard kinetic mage is anything but the standard. It is rare for mages to have the ability to move any object or substance with their mind
Examples: Kaity Cosette (Kaity has a slightly stronger control over liquids than other materials)
These mages control the mind, able to manipulate people's perception of the world.
(Orrayion, Far-seers, Far-listeners)
This type of mage can utilize a person's eyes or ears without their knowledge. Some can see far, some can hear, a few can taste, smell or even touch through the senses of others. Of this type, far-listeners are the most common manifestation.
Examples: Jared Evansi (far-seer)
(Animarriea, Chitter Mages, Gryphon Talkers, Dragon Speakers, Pig Listeners, etc...)
Beastspeaking is a very common form of psychic mage. Some can understand creatures, while others can understand and make themselves understood. Many beast speakers specialize in communication with one species or subset of animals (rodents, insects, fish, etc...). "Chitter" mage is a term used in jest, implying that mages only talk to rodents. Beast speakers are often titled by the animal which they specialize in communicating with, (bicorn speakers, gryphon talkers, etc....)
Examples: Beatrix Vance (specialized in canine speak)
(Dalalune, Mind Readers, Mindspeakers, Mindlisteners)
These individuals can communicate psychically with other people. Many can read surface thoughts, others can "mindspeak" allowing for telepathic broadcast. Strength of this gift varies greatly but often requires physical contact to allow the transfer of thoughts. In some cases, True Psionics can only communicate with family members or other psychic mages. It takes many years of practice to mindspeak across a room. Very few can mindspeak across a village or town.
Examples: Elina Verdian
There are many ways ethereal mages mirror psychic and kinetic mages, however, there are two major differences between ethereals and the other two branches of mages. One, they are generally regarded as more mystical, able to manipulate "what exists between" the kinetic and psychic, or a more advanced level of psychic ability branching on mystical. Two, the effects of the ethereal have a lasting impact on the world. For example, a kinetic weather witch with the correct skill set could create a wall of electrical energy, but it would only exist as long as that kinetic mage powers it. An ethereal barrier mage can tap into ethereal energy and create a wall that exists long after they have gone.
Polaris Academy is in great debate if dreamspinners are ethereal or simply a special type of psychic mage. Dreamspinners posses the ability to influence the dreams of others. They can lull someone into a sleep and generate an artificial dream world. Some dreamspinners have been able to connect the dreams of others, or trap people in an eternal sleep.
These mages can manipulate the energy of the trans dimensional portals that connect Centernia to other realms. They can create gates and destroy them at will. Gates can be altered by a collection of mages, but more often than not you need the energy of a Gate Mage in the mix to be most effective.
Sometimes mistaken for having telekinetic mages, these magic-users use ethereal magic to generate invisible walls. A Barrier mage is different from a kinetic mage in that the fields they make can be permanent/semi permanent and have different effects. For example, the field created by Justen Wynter only permitted certain people to cross the forcefield. Barrier mages strive to work well with other mages. For example, a barrier mage may work with a weather witch to create an invisible canopy to permanently repel the rain, (as is found in areas of Castle Nova)
Known Barrier Mages: Justen Wynter
(Past Reader, Bookies)
A unique and unusual mage type, these individuals can 'read' the past history of an object. The sensation is described as seeing back in time, they can sense events and pyschic fragments of people who had physical contact with an object. Jewelry is a particular favorite of past readers as they are rich in essence of past wearers and often stand the test of time.
Known Psychometric: Corwin Evansi
These mages create mage markers, objects that possesses the ability to connect people. A binding mage was responsible for creating the marker of Aurumice. The most skilled Binding mages when working with Psychic mages can create the Mark of Corvallian, a tattoo which renders the bearer invisible to psychic mages.
Much like an echo mage, these mages can send out energy and detect if a mage is nearby. Finders and Binders will have been called into service by Polaris to permanently mark criminals, allowing mages to always be aware of their presence.
(Majikey, Spark Prism, Metanoia, Conversion Mages)
These mages are often confused for other types, including Fire and Gate mages. They have the ability to manipulate Gate energy, harnessing it into other forms. Once it has taken another form, they may find it difficult to control. Conversion Mages enjoy shifting raw ethereal power into electricity, so it is likely to assume that it was a conversion mage was responsible for harnessing the node of power beneath Aurumice and transforming it into a seemingly endless supply of electrical energy. Conversion Mages when working with barrier mages are also responsible for the creation of shadow spheres and other magical objects.
Polaris Academy does not acknowledge the concept of a 'cross mage' in their three categories of mages. Its widely accepted that cross mages exist. The following mages have been considered ethereal mages by Polaris Academy.
Categorized as kinetic mages, these individuals can manipulate blood cells. The question comes in to play as blood tends to be 'lifestuff', as bloodmages may be deemed ethereal depending on where their talents lie. Most are skilled at healing skin while others heal bone. Some refer to bloodmages as Healers, but they can often harm as easily as they can hurt.
Much like a blood mage, but can manipulate plants in the same manner. They can encourage rapid growth or crossbreed plants with rapid success.
Castle Nova and Polaris Academy have deemed the following mage types too dangerous to be allowed to live. Any individual found to have these powers are immediately executed, regardless of age or affiliation.
This mage is very similiar to a psychic mage, and in olden times had been considered with the same reverence. Sinari cannot read thoughts, but they can read emotions. More importantly, they can force a person's emotions to change without their knowledge, making them skilled negotiators, but also dangerous warlords.
A cruel variation upon a blood mage, these mages can cause blood to anti-coagulate and continue to flow through a body. The person or creature is barely alive, and very zombie-like.
Clarivoyant mages able to read the future. Some claim they do not exist, others claim they do but Polaris Academy has stamped them out of existence.
This variation of a kinetic mage is skilled at breaking down the world at a molecular level. They can destroy a person or object with catastrophic results. Once the dissolvia breaks down an object, they can very rarely put it back together. Dissolvia are sometimes regarded as transmutation mages who never gained the ability to reassemble what they have destroyed.
The Holy Circus
There are few sights that can compare with the presence of the Holy Circus. The religion of the goddess Aurora is the most dominant religion in the land.
The organization is led by priests, priestesses, and acolytes referred to as Auroriates or colloquially termed the Holy Circus. Circusfolk take this moniker well.
The Auoriates teach the ways of the goddess by two methods. Each town has a temple with a presiding priest or priestess. They hold weekly services, healing rituals, mediate conflicts or hear matters of moral strife similar to a confession.
Every year or two, a traveling circus troupe will come through, retelling the stories of the goddess Aurora with extravagant pageantry. There are over a dozen large troupes and many splinter circuses.
Aurora is motherly goddess. She has five children, an Ailtian, Sapranda, Caprarius, Vesper and Laceverde. Each child is viewed as the patron of the five races of Centernia. Many of her stories are parables about conflict between her five children. Some of the stories are humorous anecdotes and some art bitter tales of hatred and betrayal.
Most people view the Auroriate priests and priestess as good and honorable people. Some, notably the mages, look down on the Auroriates with accusations of corruption and deceit.