Shattered World - Pt. I - The Setting

A Brief Overview : Nine Months of Setting Writing, years 4,500,000 BM - 10 AM

- Thanks to Knowledge Junkie, for his excellent rewrite and copy editing.

The Setting:
Our story begins almost five million years ago- on a world not so very different from our own. A world that had survived the invention of the automobile, the television set, and now looked ready to accept the home computer.

Yet the slums their cities were populated with "street rats" of every kind, but most dangerous among them were the "Elementals", rogues skilled in the destructive use of their elemental magic. Raised on the streets and resistant to conscription into the military, they spent much of their lives fighting: the government, each other, it mattered not to them. The strongest among these, those few who managed to get old, were cagey, fighting through proxy and generally avoiding attention.

A new kind of warfare was needed to defeat them- a new weapon.

Nobody knew the name of Amalee Drath before she created The Solution, but no one who has learned it since has ever forgotten.

She had been recruited in the "Elemental" training program, but soon found she had no gift for manipulating any of the standard elements, despite passing the initial tests. However, as she bent her will to geological study, she discovered a power never before written of- never even dreamed. She could alter the composition of any metal, but only slightly. At first she had toyed with it, trying to find some proper use for it, but no such use had surfaced throughout the entirety of her career. The breakthrough came innocuously when she had been tasked with carrying a load of food and metal at the same time. As she carried it, her power began to alter the food, allowing it to liquidate encompass the metal to create a new alloy- one of superior strength that bent to her will.

Some say the military approached her with the idea of how to use the power, yet others say she thought of it herself. The result was clear enough all the same: by finding others with her talent they could create nearly indestructible golems, loyal servants capable of fighting the street elementals. The war brought on by their initial skirmishes soon spilled beyond the streets as elementals from all nations and creeds banded together to fight "the artificial army". After a long and bloody conflict, the last Elemental on the planet fell to the blade of a golem, ending the age of Earth, Wind and Fire, and giving rise to the age of Metal.

Golems were eventually made intelligent to some extent, though never quite sentient. They could never understand the feelings that other beings had. This was perhaps due to the fact that they were unquestioningly loyal to their creators, and somewhat subdued by their wills. They served their makers well, as golem armies began to fight wars in their masters' steads. These "Crafters", as they came to be known, were highly feared, as nation after nation was conquered and consumed by the golem armies until only two remained-Isobel and the Imperiatus Unificas . Isobel used golems known as "Angels", similar in form to the achingly beautiful mythical protectors from the sun. The Imperiatus used golem "Demons", in forms like the inquisitors of the olden times, bound to the will of its one religion, one emperor, one empire. It was ironic then, that the Angels were the first to resort to attacking the populous en masse.

It was then, at the height of the conflict, in the final workshop of the Imperiatus Unificas, that the final "Crafter" of the Demons built his masterpiece: the self-replicating Demon. His final orders were simple- "Kill all the bastards, and break their little toys." This new Demon quickly proceeded to build its own army and began the destruction of the Angels. It first targeted the Crafters, the workers, the very infrastructure that made the Angels possible. It was necessity that forced the Angel's Crafters to retalliate against these new Demons by inventing their own self-replicating Angel, and giving him a symmetrical task- the destruction of the Demons. For hundreds of years, these self-replicating armies labored endlessly at their tasks, leading to the destruction of all humans, but they could not seem to take the upper hand on one another. The two forces found themselves in deadlock, taking and loosing land and resources, dancing around each other but never succeeding in acquiring the killing blow.

For four million years their struggle continued, destroying the earth beneath their feet as they discovered and channeled new energies. Laying waste to entire continents with their unending warfare.

It was ten years ago that four humans from a plane even closer to our own arrived in some confusion to to this land, in the area now known as "The Valley of the Matre's Children" . They had no idea how they had come to be here, or why. They were soon set upon by a small patrol of Angels when one amongst them unintentionally used her power as an empath to split off sections of her very being and give them to the Angels... these Angels turned on one another, slaughtering themselves, thrown into a chaos of pain and anger they had never before felt. Eventually the survivors came to their senses, awakened to a new existence- to sentience. They worshiped the empath as the Matre, the mother of their new kind.

These "Children of the Matre" grew in ranks over the coming months, little by little, including outriders from the Demon camps to their west and the Angel camp to their south. The Demons who suffered the greatest losses to the Matre came to a logical conclusion: that it was time to crush this small army before they became an even greater danger. They sent Raan, an elder over three million years old and the leader of the entire region, to quell them with an army thousands strong. They had not , however, accounted for the power of the Matre. In her final act of sacrifice (to prevent the destruction of her "children"), she gave her soul to convert over one third of the Demon army, Raan included.

The ensuing battle was bloody, and all the humans except the Matre died in the fighting, but the newly converted Demons, led by Raan's awesome might were impossible to stop, leaving the leaderless Demons to flee. Though the Matre did not physically die, her body became a mindless shell, a soulless vessel in a state of perpetual dream.

Eight years after the Matre's arrival, and five years after the "Battle of Matre's Mind", as it is now called, the converts finished building their city on the Northern tip of Almony, which they named Ventrair. The city sent a small party south to build a gate that would allow them to cross into the plane from whence the Matre came, to recruit more empaths to their aid. However, the gate was destroyed almost immediately upon opening, and only the Matre's child known as Drekaa made it to the other side before dieing. Drekaa's spirit, in the form of a little girl, found a medium, and through the medium found and recruited an empath at least as powerful as the Matre was. After rebuilding the gate between the planes, they returned to Almony, in time for the ten year anniversary of the Matre's arrival in that land.

The Culture of Ventrair

Ventrair is split into many factions, but of those, two factions hold roughly seventy percent of the total population, the Purified and the Carnalists.

The Purified seek to build a world without pain or suffering, many of whom seek personal redemption for their long lives of warfare. Raan leads the purified as well as the city as a whole, being the oldest and most powerful amongst all the converted. He is, however, an even handed leader, and has seldom had complaints of favoritism.

The Carnalists revel in sadism, masochism, and wanton lust. They believe their new found empathy and choice are a gift to revel in, to use to the fullest extent of their capacity. Their current leader is the resurrected Drekaa who brought the new empath to their people. Drekaa no longer occupies the form of a little girl, but instead that of an adult- an adult grotesquely morphed to include the wicked tools of her sadism.

The Mercenarium have become a relatively powerful group, even though they represent only five percent of the cities population. They run the majority of training in the city, and trade their services as guards of some skill.

The Revivers are the last group of any note, roughly four percent of the population comes under their sway. Their goal is to repair the environment of the world, to support plant and animal life again. They plan to do this by re-engineering every strain of plant and every breed of animal themselves, then testing their survivability and adaptability. It has been slow progress at best, but they have managed to maintain a small nursery- the only place on the planet to support living plant life.

Though the factions do not always get along, none will fight one another in their "holy" locations. Of these, the Matre's shrine is the holiest of locations, where hundreds visit every day to see the Matre, wishing to touch her as a testament of faith, though none but her care takers are allowed to do so. Another sacred ground lies at the location of the first conversion, where the first Angels were given the light of empathy that all factions hold sacred. Finally, the battlegrounds at Matre's Mind, where the vast majority had their own conversion, and where the Matre spoke her last words- these grounds are held in the highest regard.

"Do not cry for me after this, daughter, for you will never be alone." - The final words of the Matre.

Part II

Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI
Part VII
Part IX

Some Additional Backstory

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