Life in Zyphr
A place of amazing beauty and power, Zyphr is a place where the mighty have fallen. Floating islands drift in the air only held together by great chains, millions of stars gleam with the clouds below and above. Their history only extends to a little over a hundred years because the cataclysm didn’t only take their land, it also took their memory. Despite this, the average person from Zyphr doesn’t care too much about such “distant” past. Instead, they feel that they have far more pressing matters. Once, even the weakest person in all of Zyphr was able to perform feats that would amaze anyone who wasn’t from this world of magic. Now, most magic is captured and enchanted into various artifacts and the trickles down from the well of souls. All of this is proof of one irreversible fact: Zyphr is dying.
Paradiso is a sprawling metropolis of 8.5 million people living and working in an island-city that spans 304 square miles. Tons of grain and food is brought in daily to feed this massive population. If not for the magically enchanted and extremely nutritious food being brought in, the people would have a massive famine. The people of paradiso use magic in almost all parts of life. Magical medicine keeps the populace healthy and productive while the lowliest blacksmith may chant an incantation over his anvil every morning.
Paradiso is divided into several neighborhoods with Old town, the towers, the grand boulevard and underfoot being the largest. Underfoot is especially large because it is being carved out of the ground beneath most of the other neighborhoods. The sprawling neighborhoods are built upwards far more than they’re built outwards. Structures five or seven stories high are the norm with buildings in the towers reading thirty.
The architecture is one that favors curves. Straight lines often giving way to arabesque curves and domes of shimmering silver and gold. Arcing buttresses of wood make up a canopy over the major streets and paths. Ivy and flowers wrap around lattices along the sides of buildings to create colorful decorations throughout the city. The city of paradiso was created with a combination of craftsmanship and raw magic that is unparalleled.
Aether is the city of the angels. Rarely do humans ever get to visit Aether and those who do are mainly there to undergo the ritual of incarna. The city is made up of marble spires topped with gold capstones and other angular constructions. The angels tend to prefer form over function and so spend little time on frivolous and ostentatious decoration. They have nothing to prove.
This doesn’t mean that the city of angels is drab and dull. Indeed, it is quite the opposite as beautiful and somewhat animated frescoes depicting important events in the short history of this world. The city is rather small in comparison to Paradiso but still quite large, spanning 10,000 square miles and housing over 80,000 angels the city is still quite a bustling place. Many of the angels go to and from Paradiso regularly so there are many portals scattered throughout. Though anyone can enter from Paradiso to go to Aether, it is greatly frowned upon and very few do.
Some of the major places are the hanging gardens, the font of the well of souls, the grand halls and the holy armory. These places are essentially neighborhoods in and of themselves. With a great many angels living and working within them and never even coming into contact with humanity. Other areas are small homes and simpler buildings than those in Paradiso. The angels are fond of grand hallways, plazas and other open areas. They use these areas to discuss events and share their ideas.
The splinterlands are the name given to the underdeveloped country and farmland islands that are connected to Paradiso. These islands are filled with green rolling hills leading into dense forests. Many of them are roughly basin shaped and have mountains bordering the edges. This keeps animals contained within the bounds of the island.
A great many people in the splinterlands occupy their time with the simple acts of working the land. These farmers are the backbone that allows a city like paradiso to survive at all. They take short trips to Paradiso to draw from the fountain of souls only rarely (mostly during planting season and harvest time) and do so with great trepidation. Country folk are often both curious and suspicious of city dwellers believing that city dwellers spend too much time talking and not enough time doing.
Living in Zyphr
Zyphr may sound like an idyllic paradise but it’s mainly filled with humans and humans are flawed. Conflict does occasionally break out and feelings are hurt. Sometimes property is taken without asking and rarely, actual violence breaks out. The angels are aloof and mysterious and keep their secrets to themselves. Let it not be forgotten that Zyphr is winding down. Zyphr is not a perfect utopia.
This isn’t to say, this is some dystopian hell with a pretty facade. The people of Zyphr are a kind people who primarily want simple things like comfort, justice and peace. Although a minimal level of living is entitled by all people, most are not content to simply sit back and ignore the plight of their brothers and sisters. Zyphr is filled with craftsmen, teachers, poets and musicians. Everyone has a place in Zyphr and the goal of every child is to find their niche and be the best that they can at it.
The main conflict within Zyphr is the lack of space. The population is growing in staggering amounts, and the elohim have began to put in laws to deal with the population. Laws that limit the number of children a family can reproduce and the result of what will happen when you break such laws. There has also been a high number of disappearances and of children especially. Many of the Zyphrens do not agree with the harsh new laws but none will challenge them. This creates a small underground of law breakers and human traffickers. Some Parents would rather give or sell their babies away then never knowing what will become of them with the elohim.
Angels of the first sphere and the second sphere tend to run most of the government of Zephr. The second sphere handle the actual work of directing public works projects and making laws while the first sphere acts as judges and interpret the laws. The first sphere can be seen as being composed of lawyers and judges. They arbitrate disputes with one angel acting as the defense attorney, one acting as the prosecuting attorney and the last acting as the judge and final authority on the matter.
Legal matters are dealt with quickly and without fanfare. Most cases take place in under a day while more complicated cases will be assessed in about a week. The rule of a judge is law and no judge will ever revoke the sentence of another judge. Minor cases such as simple property disputes and oath breaking are handled by ofanim, with major cases that affect all people being judged by the seraphim. Anything that lay between that is handled by the Cherubim. Angelic attorneys are often overworked as there simply aren’t enough of them to go around. Because of this, it is common for them to use mortal intermediaries that gather the facts and act as paralegals.
Everyone has a purpose in Zyphr but not everyone will choose to follow. If one Zyphren can make baked goods then he is expected to make those baked goods for all of his fellow Zyphrens. In return, his fellow Zyphrens are to provide him with whatever they can and needs. No one is to go without and for the most part, everyone is expected to have the same. It is greatly frowned upon to do nothing or provide nothing to the community because the idea is, everyone has to give one way or another. Everyone must work. That doesn’t stop some from mooching over others but this is uncommon and usually dealt with either within the community or within the court system.
Overall, everyday life involves Zyphrens making goods, delivering goods and trading speciality goods. Children take care of their grandparents while their parents take care of the trade. It is the job of the grandparents to teach their grandchildren with as much knowledge as they know. Spells and skills are passed down within families and communities. Zyphr is all about togetherness therefore much of the normal family moments are usually done with smaller villages. Things like having dinner, bathing, and family affairs are all dealt within the communities. These things are much more common among the Splinterlands who have much more smaller and close-knit communities.
The citizens of Paradiso will often have communities involving maybe a neighboring family or two but because Paradiso is so large, it is impossible to have all of paradiso work as a community compared to the Splinterlands. Though, the citizens of Paradiso will often hold festivals and events to bring everyone together. Another common thing about most of Zyphr is most people have no baths in their homes because of needed space but it is also important that communities cleanse themselves together in public bathhouses in order to promote togetherness. These bathhouses have are separated by gender in hopes of promoting stronger virtues and lowering population.
Recently there has been a new dangerous threat to society. Through experimentation, mana has been recently discovered it can be transformed into mana crystals. These mana crystals store magic until used and will never expire if not used. While greatly illegal, these crystals have begun to be sold and traded among the younger generation of humans. Allowing greed and a sort of class system to begin between communities.
The well of souls is located at the center of Paradiso. Therefore, Zyphrens who live near the well have much more access to receiving mana more commonly than others. Those who live far away have to make trips to the well, these trips can take quite some time and the further away the more time is needed. This causes those who live far away to either learn to do without magic or learn to conserve it a great deal more than those who live near the well. Then there are those who for unknown reasons, are either unable or cannot store much mana within them. This creates a sort of class system that many Zyphrens refuse to acknowledge.
The country folk live islands away from the well of souls, causing them to have less mana than nearly any other Zyphren. Conservation is key to all of the Splinterlanders. Magic is usually used to help with labor and any important needs like heals. Using magic for anything showy is not common to splinterlanders and very much disliked.
They say age makes you wiser, this is not the case magically in Zyphr. Old age seems to harm a Zyphren’s ability to harvest mana from the well. The older the person the less mana they can store or use. Eventually, elders can no longer store mana at all and must depend on their children to care for them. This can happen even as early as fifty years old but commonly it is among the much older Zyphrens who truly lose their mana.
These group of people are what many would consider second class citizens. They are seen as the mistakes of the world. These people are unable to harvest any mana from the well of souls by birth. Those who can store mana can only store such small amounts that it is quite useless to do so. This makes living in a magical world like Zyphr very difficult because unlike everyone else, the misfortune have to work hard.
The Younglings & The Cerca (those who live near the well)
These Zyphrens are by far the most fortune because magically the younglings can naturally store greater amounts of magic and living near the well makes it more available to restore one’s magic. The Cerca have 24 hour access to the well when a renewal is needed but they must be careful because too many trips to the well calls the attention of the law.
Economy and Magic
It has long been known that the magic of Zephr is limited and dwindling. It doesn’t refresh and it doesn’t seem to come from within it’s people. It is a limited commodity and is handled just like one. Because of this, the people of Zephr no longer work the kind of magic that they once did. Today, they conserve what magic they can. In this way, mana (the name for the raw magical essence) acts as a sort of currency.
The Splinterlands provide all of paradiso’s major resources; from meats, to grains, etc. In return, paradiso usually provides the Splinterlands with made goods; jewels, clothing, weapons, etc. Each goods can only be made in their designated lands and growing any resources in paradiso is extremely illegal. This makes a balance within the two lands, causing them to need each other. Sadly, even though no one truly goes without, some do have less than others and others may have more than usual. While, this may not be illegal, it is frowned upon by many but by elders especially.
Though Zephr has a communistic form of economy with all people sharing property and mana being distributed evenly among mortals, mana can be traded. It cannot be held for very long however. Unless held illegally via mana crystals. This means that hoarding of magical essence simply cannot occur. All mana is inevitably recycled into the general pool at the well of souls. The process of renewing the mana supply of the people is as simple as “drawing” from the well of souls.
To draw from the well of souls, the citizen must physically come to the well and perform the incantation of renewal. This takes in the accepted amount of mana and prepares the person for the day’s activities. The incantation of renewal is taught to every citizen that comes of age in a simple celebration that most of the family attends. The very next day, the new adult comes to the well of souls and draws mana for the first time. Usually, this is a great rush that causes a bit of euphoria. Then, it’s off to work.
In Zyphr, there are only two languages spoken. The mortals speak Zyphren which is a flowing language that sounds similar to singing. When written, Zyphren has a beautiful script that is dense and flows like calligraphically. Zyphren is written top to bottom in columns that go right to left. Every citizen of Zyphr is expected to know how to read, write and speak clearly by the time that they come of age. The few infirm who are unable to do so are healed magically until they can.
The angels speak a language called the First. The First is a language of musical notes that is a more beautiful and melodious form of singing than Zyphren. The first is not understood by mortals and it is thought that mortals simply cannot comprehend the First. This language has no written counterpart and as such, if an angel needs to write something down, it is written in Zyphren. When two angels are speaking, it sounds very similar to a planned duet.
Calendars & Time
Time is a fluid concept in Zyphr. Though both angels and humans see time in a linear progression, both angels and humans don’t really have the concept of a calendar. A year is a loose thing that is counted from each harvest after the first harvest in memory. This puts the current date to year 127 after the cataclysm. The average human will say that they are in the 127th harvest. This fluidity leads directly into a fluid sense of time. Mortals don’t tend to give exact times or dates for anything preferring to simply send an invitation and receive a response. Technically, they could say “during the high point of the sun tomorrow, I need to speak with you” but, the people take a more general tone.
The angels of Zyphr take this even further. Among themselves, they mark time since the last “judgement”. An angel may say “six days after the judgement of vallenfort” with vallenfort being a place that was judged. This means that they have no concept of time to properly mark a specific time of year in the future. An angel cannot really say “at some point, I will go to this place” as that doesn’t show when a judgement has occurred. Among the mortals however, the angels adopt the method of timekeeping that the humans have.
In the world of Zyphr there are several broken islands chained together. The chaining brings the islands together but not in a way that, one person from one island, can easily cross over to the next island. Therefore, it was necessary for the people of Zyphr to create some form of transportation that would allow them to freely travel between islands. The solution became clear, the Zyphrens created Portals across each major city, town, and district.
Paradiso alone holds about six different portals which they call “doorways.” These portals can connect to any other portal. While many more doorways can be made, with the current scarcity of magic, the elohim do not wish to waste resources on idle things. Traveling by portal is the most common form of travel but with the amount of people in the world of Zyphr, waiting to go through a portal can become an all day affair. Even traveling from the Splinterlands takes an abundance amount of time because unlike Paradiso, the Splinterlands have just one portal for each island. Aether, the city of the elohim, also has just one portal but unlike the humans, this portal is not used as much. The elohim use their wings and portal magic abilities to travel. The portal in Aether are for the visiting humans but since humans do not visit Aether without permission, the portal is hardly used.
The second most common form of travel, mostly used by the country folk in the splinterlands are the use of the Alicorn. These winged horses love to fly, making them the best way to travel from long distances. The farmers of the eastern and western Splinterland islands will often attach cargo wagons to the Alicorn, using a bit of magic to make the cargo float, major goods can travel to Paradiso in less than a day. Besides the use of Alicorns to move cargo, the gates of Zyphr cannot be used one day of every week to move cargo freely and much more efficiently. All of the Alicorn come from the western Splinterland island, where they are bred and traded for the rest of Zephyr. In Paradiso, Alicorns do not roam freely as they do in the county. Alicorns in the city, remain in taxi-like stable stations where a city dweller can temporarily use one for traveling purposes only.
Other than these two forms of transportation, the humans of Zyphr tend to just walk to their destination. Those in Paradiso tend to walk for miles before reaching any kind of Alicorn station. Those in the shade chain greatly favor walking even more so than the city dwellers but with no other form of transportation, the shade chain Zyphrens have found a new form of transportation; bicycles.
The shade chain Zyphrens have learned to live without magic and have begun to industrialize their way of life. The second most common way to travel for those in the shade chain are bicycles, built from recycled parts and created by a man who claims this was the many old ways to travel.
Faith in Zyphr
In Zyphr, faith is a matter of looking around you. They know that the celestial host watch over them because they can see it. They believe the deeds and actions of the 7 heroes happened because they know that the 7 exist. Denying the holiness and sanctity of the angels is akin to denying the existence of gravity. Though a few heretics exist that believe that the angels are just other life and aren’t the holy beings that most people believe them to be, those heretics are typically shamed and ignored. How could one deny the majesty of the host?
All angels are venerated as being humans that have been risen up to become the absolute paragons of holiness and piety. Many mortals are quite proud of the angels in their family and those that have none in their immediate family may talk of ancestors or more distant relatives. Any connection to the host is considered a great honor. The adoration of the angels is such that having simply spoken to an angel is a grand achievement worthy of pride.
Highest among angels are the 7 heroes. They are seven angels whose mythology has grown far greater than their actual actions. In reality they are the most powerful warriors among the angels but, they have been ascribed to feats that are far exaggerated or simply never happened. This mythos surrounding the seven is met with humility by the heroes though they never correct the stories.
It is said that Deyja Lightforger strode into the maelstrom and demanded the soul of a woman who died of old age and returned her as a beautiful youth. Among the seven, the wisdom of Elisabete Nightwatcher is so great that there is no puzzle that she cannot solve. Ezequias Sandstorm is said to have quieted an entire rebellion with a simple stern look. These stories are just the beginning of the tales and myths that the heroes have inspired among the mortals.
Ritual of Incarna
To the mortals, the ritual of incarna is a great honor and is often met with great fanfare. A mortal is chosen from among all of the mortals in the world. This mortal is visited by an angel who tells them that they have been chosen for the ritual of incarna. Typically, this is met with elation and joy as it means that they will be “risen up” to join the host. Rarely, the happiness is tempered with a sorrow at being taken from their families.
The mortal is usually given an unspecified amount of time. Often this is seven to twelve days. This is a time where the mortal fasts and studies so that they can give their best to the host. When the time comes, a group of angels arrive and take the mortal with them. This is again met with great fanfare and celebration. The moral is then taken to Aether.
In Aether, the moral is bathed and cleaned thoroughly. Their clothing and personal effects are taken from them (very few bring much anyway). The mortal is taken to the font of the well of souls and the ritual of incarna begins. This ritual is a long and complicated affair and requires great concentration on the part of the angels. It also requires an openness and willingness from the mortal.
As far as the mortals believe, the ritual of incarna raises the soul of the person to the level of the angels. They then grow their wings and join the host as an equal. This is completely wrong. In truth, the mortal soul is overwhelmed by the essence of the angel and completely destroyed. The person before is gone. Though the new angel can remember the family and connections of the original soul, it shares none of them. These memories are like a story told to them. The skills and talents of the original soul are retained and often serve the new angel well.
All people have a history and the people of Zephr are no different. They just don’t remember it. The cataclysm took not just the land but the past as well. The people of Zephr can’t wonder forever though and so they march on. The earliest mention of time would be the cataclysm. Everything after that is real history. This doesn’t mean that the people of Zephr don’t care. It’s more that the mystery has existed for so long that it has simply faded into the background. The lack of history is something that only philosophers, historians and memory hunters really concern themselves with.
Scholars all agree that the cataclysm was a world changing event. Nearly anyone who has thought about it has taken a guess as to what actually caused the cataclysm but, no one can be honestly certain. The only thing that anyone can be certain of are the lasting effects. It is clear that the ground itself was shattered and the notion of up and down became pointless for a while. Ruins have been found that lay completely undisturbed but for the fact that they’re on their side. In other splinter islands, towers have been found that float clear over the ground, held there by the strange rules of the world.
That the cataclysm was violent is clear from the ruined towns that have been found, leveled flat with ash spread throughout. This means that there must have been a great fire. The ash is sometimes piled in heaps along the interiors of buildings left standing, pressed against the doors. Some rogue scholars believe that much of the ash are the cremated remains of people, unable to escape the terrible event that occurred. The accepted theory however, is that the ash is the remains of countless possessions that have been burned away.
One thing that nags most scholars however, is why are there so few relics and artifacts of this bygone age? Why is it that so few preserved scrolls and books that have been found? If this time was as advanced as is theorized from the ruins left behind, why did these people leave no real record of their passing? Lastly, where are the people that survived? Surely, if the humans and angels of Zephr where the same as the people from the lost age, some would have remembered something? These are the questions that have plagued philosophers for over a century.
The Most High
All people start known history with the angels. Humanity was in a lost and dire state when the angels stepped in and took over. They were natural leaders and immediately, their leadership was accepted by the many islands (at that time) of Zephr. The people began to use their innate magic to build cities and generally lay the groundwork for modern life. They erected the stupendous towers that the towers district is known for and crafter a great many other marvels that makes the achievements of today pale in comparison.
The host created Aether at around the same time as humanity was the human cities. Aether was weaved with celestial magic that grew buildings from the rock. They crafted moving frescos that depict events both past and future and the beauty was astounding. They worked together to chain the islands so that they wouldn’t drift further apart. Finally, they created the well of souls in order to distribute magic equally and thus bring about peace and prosperity for all.
This was not to last however. The continent that was once called Mathir began to buckle at it’s chains. Great earthquakes sent tremors throughout Mathir and through the chains to the other lands. At first it was believed that terranus were causing the disturbances but, when slayers began delving into the caves to destroy the terranus, the quakes kept happening. Then came the fall. A great tremor struck Mathir that threw people to the ground and destroyed even the strongest buildings. Strengthening magics and protective spells all failed one by one throughout the land.
All at once, the furthest part of Mathir from the chains began to fall. At first, the fall was slow and it wasn’t noticed. The tremor was making anything but survival a second thought. Then the entire land began to quickly tip over, as if pouring a cup of tea. The continent began crumbling as entire provinces and kingdoms were lost all at once. The continent continued to break apart until nothing was left but a dangling chain. Those that could be saved, were. The tragedy was too fast however and the loss of life was immense.
It was then that the angels convened the first official meeting of the celestial host. Using great magics, they completed many experiments to discover the cause of the fall of Mathir to no avail. The meeting went on for months with no angel in sight to guide humanity through it’s pain. Finally, by looking into the well of souls, it was discovered that mana was a limited energy source. It was discovered that the whole world needs mana to operate and that without it, the world would fall to the maelstrom.
A Fallen World
This discovery rocked the angels. If all mana was finite, how could the world be saved? It’s fall is inevitable. It was decided that in order to keep the peace among the mortals, they must be shielded from the truth. The Great Lie was told. Humanity was told that Mathir fell because had fallen to impurity and corruption. The souls of it’s people had fallen long before the land itself fell. This brought a great amount of confusion and sorrow to the people who simply couldn’t accept the answer, certainly the angelic host could have done something to prevent the fall?
The angels explained that the maelstrom was an instrument of judgement and that such judgement was beyond them. The maelstrom itself was the judge and the executioner. The people were told that the key to preventing the decadence of the people of Mathir was not to hoard mana and to use it sparingly. They said that the reliance on mana is what doomed Mathir. The people were at a loss. They didn’t know how to survive without using their magic.
Because of this, the well of souls began withholding mana from the people. For a time, it worked. The mana was recycled within the well of souls and a bit of it was siphoned out in order to sustain the world. The angels believed that this solution would be enough for a while but they knew that in the long run, the energy would run out and doom all of Zephr.
The Final Solution
Then, the terrible happened. More and more continents and small islands started falling under the fate of Mathir. The chains to some continents had to be cut, lest the fall of one lead to the fall of another. Like stones, more and more lands fell. The angels were proactive this time, using the little power that they felt safe using to attempt to hold the land together while others saved the people.
In the midst of all of this horror, the angelic host convened for a second time. This time, they knew that they needed an answer that would keep what little of Zephr was left. The answer came from a human mortal. His name doesn’t matter since he was hastily given the ritual of Incarna. What matters is that in her studies, the woman had discovered the existence of other worlds. She found that Zephr, it’s sun and moon all exist in a single point across a multiverse of worlds. Most of them possessing at least trace amounts of mana.
This was met with great celebration and expeditions were sent to these other worlds through the “gates of heaven” in order to claim this mana to keep Zephr alive. It wasn’t enough though. What had once been a slow erosion of mana had become a mad dive as more and more mana was being taken by the maelstrom. It was in their darkest hour that the angels came upon a new and greater discovery, there is most mana where there are thinking people.
This discovery repulsed and dismayed many of the host but some, looked at the information differently. The angels came to a final solution. They decided that Zephr must be saved at all costs. Eventually, the rest of the host assented. An expedition was formed to enter a strange world and hidden among its inhabitants judge whether it or Zephr was more deserving of the mana. This place was a barbaric land of power mad sorcerers who consumed the flesh of their enemies after flaying them alive. The world was judged as undeserving.
En masse, the angels assaulted the world and ripped its very essence from it. When they left, the world was a dead husk. This new mana rejuvenated Zephr and the people rejoiced. Their angels had saved them! The angels decided that the mortals must never know the cost of their continued existence. They began amassing what is now called the holy armory.
Little by little the angels learned how to reap more mana from a world in order to make it’s destruction more efficient. They created weapons that smashed entire cities and created soldiers that had no conscience to make them question orders. The angels would operate in secret. They would infiltrate a world and learn what they could about it and then they would judge it against their own. No world has been found that deserved the mana more.
The Angelic Heresy
The 7 Heroes
The elohim race are all magical beings and have one same capability, to steal mana from others. Some elohim delve deeper into magic but many choose to blend their physical power with the magical. It is not uncommon to see an elohim spark a flame on their sword as they are about to strike you down. What really sets them apart is how powerful, long, large or bright that flame glows.
Eeva Inferno Sol: Copper color eyes and looks 29. She is a female elohim with bright red hair. She has a fighting style similar to dancing, with two short swords and fire magic.
The seven heroes of Zyphr were once the nine heroes of Zyphr. It is unknown to every human and even most elohim the fates of the two missing heroes. Eeva is the only one who truly knows what became of them. But the other heroes know one thing for certain, eeva was never again the same.
Eeva has begun to distance herself from the group. She is the leader of the group in large part because she is the most powerful but, the others also slightly fear her. She is very assertive, believing that her words are law. She takes command and does so always in a calm manner.
Unwilling to fully trust her fellow heroes, socially she tries to avoid them. Elisabete seems to be the only one who can get through to her when she is unwilling to back down.
Deyja Lightforger: looks 40, is a male elohim with salt and pepper hair and white, pupil-less eyes. He is mostly a healer.
In the world of Zyphr, the memories of every living thing only dates back to one hundred years. The awakening is what it was named, the time when every human and Elohim awoke on their floating islands. No one seemed to remember what had occurred but every human on Zyphr had one belief, the elohim were there to save them. The looming darkness approaching Zyphr was felt immediately by all. Their world is dying and something had to be done to save them.
For both humans and elohim, thinking about the time before the cataclysm is a waste of resource. While it is not unlawful to search for answers it is frowned upon. For Deyja, it is a mystery to solve worth more than destroying other worlds. Deyja believes finding out the history before the cataclysm and most importantly why it happened, could lead him to saving Zyphr. A belief he keeps secret from almost everyone. While Deyja doesn’t very much care for destroying worlds for magic, he also understands the present need for it. He is bound by his duty for Zyphr to do what is needed but believes their is another way.
Deyja is considered a loner. He barely speaks to any of his fellow heroes; as well as any other elohim. The one noticeable thing about him is, unlike other elohim, he constantly visits the lands of the humans. Deyja is always studying, always searching, but always ready for the next invasion. During battle, he will always listen to Eeva’s commands and no one else. Cain tries often to command him but makes no progress because as Deyja would simply put it, “You are not the leader.”
Yohann Stormbringer: looks 27, is a male elohim with blonde hair and green eyes. He fights with his fists.
Yohann is the second most powerful of the heroes. Unlike many of the elohim, Yohann does not use his magic often. The world of Zephyr is a dying world. Yohann believes that magic should only be used when necessary, like against worthy foes.
Yohann and Ezequias are close friends. Though they are quite different, they seem to get along like brothers. Though Yohann looks older, he often seems more idealistic and emotional than his friend Ezequias. Yohann tends to not go for all the poetry that his friend goes for but, he instead tries to find joy and beauty in everything (including fighting).
Although Yohann dislikes the person Eeva has become, he still believes in her leadership. He often takes her side and gets into many debates with his friend Ezequias over her ability to lead the group. Although all the heroes find Mikala unsettling, Yohann voices his opinions of her quite loudly, causing the two to clash often.
Elisabete Nightwatcher: She looks to be 22, is a female elohim with golden eyes and blue-black hair. She uses a spear and shield.
Elisabete is the glue that holds this group together. The elohim call her the matron or mother because of her maternal personality. She is easy to get along with and will protect her own from anything. Elisabete has a huge weak spot for the humans of Zephyr, literally seeing them as her children.
Elisabete, truly without any uncertainty, believes in the destruction of world’s who are chosen as unworthy. She feels that these worlds are abominations. They have misused their world and should no longer be allowed to keep it.
Before a world is sacrificed, it must be judged. Through "the gates of eden," the elohim are able to study an infinite amount of worlds. Elisabete studies these worlds with her group known as "World Gazers". Before the final judgment, every hero has a say but Elisabete’s words has more merit than anyone else. The elohim trust her judgment the most and she is never wrong.
Cain Windwhisperer: He looks to be 32, is a male with black hair and ocean blue eyes. He is a dagger-spell.
There was once a time when even the hotheaded cain could smile and get along with his fellow heroes; now that time is gone. The night the two missing heroes disappeared was the night Cain began to smile less and argue more.
Cain has eyes that could pierce the sky and no one knows that better than Eeva. The two are always at odds with everything. Cain feels he should be leader, not Eeva. He believes himself to be much more worthy of leadership than any of the other heroes. Cain is incredibly jealous of Eeva and blames her for the disappearance of his friend Abel (one of the missing heroes). He is convinced that Eeva killed the two missing heroes, which is the ultimate crime in elohim culture. The elohim do not kill each other no matter what crimes they commit but murder cannot be forgiven. If an elohim kills another elohim, the murderer is forced to reincarnate into a lesser rank. Cain feels this should be Eevas fate and hates her for getting away with what he believes is the truth.
Though cain is a bit rebellious against his leader, he does so in such subtle ways, one could hardly notice. Cain never takes up a chance to make Eeva look like a failure and she has come to notice it. He has caused the group to become split. While, all will listen to Eeva at times, if cain makes a better point, Elisabete and Ezequias will listen to his commands. While, Mikala will always follow Cain’s commands because he appeals to her cruelty.
Ezequias Sandstorm: He looks 20, is a male elohim with copper color hair and brown eyes. He uses a very heavy great sword.
Ezequias is a warrior-poet. He’s super stoic and calculating and tends to just do whatever he believes is the correct course of action for all Zephyr regardless of the short term issues.
Ezequias believes that all of life is for nothing if it isn’t for the community. Countless times, he has gone above and beyond the call of duty for Zephyr. Keeping cold logic and ruthless efficiency as the most important traits to him, Ezequias is incredibly stoic. He has been on the frontlines longer than most of the other heroes and has grown numb to the begging and screams of the dying worlds. So much so that he barely even registers the world as having “real” people to begin with.
In private however, Ezequias has begun to question if there was not a better way to acquire the energy needed. He believes that it may be possible to harvest many other worlds at once and that such an event would jumpstart Zephyr back to it’s glory. He keeps this idea a secret but researches it regularly. Eventually, he will present his findings to whomever is currently leading. He believes, only then will Zephyr truly be saved.
Mikala Frostmaker: looks 14 and is a female elohim, she has silver-white hair to go with her grey eyes. She is a powerful mage with a book of spells. She favors ice magic.
Elohim do not die. They are immortal beings who can reincarnate at the time of their deaths. Once an elohim dies they become an unseen, unconscious spirit-like energy force and will remain one till they are bound into a new body. The elohim call it reincarnation because almost nothing is the same of the now dead elohim. The only thing that seems to stay with them is their power. In order to reincarnate, a host must be chosen. In Zephyr, the humans celebrate with joy when their child, sister, husband, etc are chosen for a reincarnating elohim but none of them realize that once the elohim’s spirit is placed, the spirit of their loved ones is destroyed.
Mikala is a fairly new reincarnated elohim. She doesn’t remember her old body, but is quite glad this one was chosen for her. The young girl host was a powerful magic user, for a human, and Mikala understands any human with that amount of magic will always be chosen for those elohim who deserve it the most. The only problem is, the human mage girl is still in the body with Mikala. This mage girl calls herself Kaali and is quite vocal in Mikala’s head. Mikala knows this host is defective. She should tell the others to reincarnate her, but Mikala does not want to die.
Kaali does not like the elohim anymore and sees Mikala as a monster. Kaali has no control of her body but she still has a very active voice in Mikala’s mind. She tries to annoy her like any fourteen year old girl could. Mikala gets back at her by doing the terrible things Kaali hates. Like destroying worlds, and killing mainly children around Kaali’s age.
Mikala tries to keep Kaali a secret but sometimes she finds herself speaking too loudly in front of the others to Kaali. This has caused Mikala to be seen by the other heroes as unsettling and many of them avoid her socially. Elisabete tolerates her the most but even she finds it hard to be around Mikala. Mikala may hate Kaali but in the end they only have each other.
People of Zephr
The host is the name given to the immortal and self appointed protectors and rulers of humanity, the angels. These angels have immortal and incorruptible bodies. They do not age, they do not get sick and they do not tire in the manner that a mortal does. The angel is actually a creature of purest energy clad in an armor of skin and bone. Though they feel pain and the body that they inhabit can die, this is typically just an inconvenience to the angel as their essence need only be collected by another angel and returned to the font of the well of souls. Then, the ritual of incarna allows them to take on another body.
This doesn’t mean that the angel is the same. When an angel is reincarnated, it is joined back to the font and becomes one with the mana. The angel that is produced from the ritual of incarna is a fresh condensation of essence and as such retains none of the memories or skills of their previous incarnation. So, in a practical sense, each incarnation is a completely different person. This new angel is placed into a group of crowns and proceeds as normal. Elohim are split into three groups and can be identified by the different crowns/halos they wear.
Crown of Fire (Warriors & Judges)
Crown of fire are the most powerful of the three groups. This group is about fighting and leading. Soldiers and heroes fill up the crown of fire, they are the most adored, most feared and least known of the three.
Crown of Thorns (Spies and Spokesperson)
Crown of thorns are balance in magical power and strength between the three groups. The elohim here are more prone to be involved in espionage. They are the ones sent to spy on the worlds being judged. They also have more of a closer relationship with the humans of zephyr. Their magic is focused on illusions and altering emotions.
Crown of Light (Messengers & Researchers)
Crown of light are the weakest of the three. Protector’s of the gate, researchers of other worlds and messenger’s among the elohim. They prefer to take children as their host and adults who were great thinkers.
The Grand Boulevard
The Font of the Well of Souls
The Grand Halls
The Holy Armory
The Hanging Gardens
The shade chain is the closest one can get to a slum in all of Zephr. It it called that because most of it is quite literally within the shade of Paradiso. This doesn’t cast a never ending gloom however because the lack of a solid planet leave lots of back scattered light. Still, the day isn’t quite the same when you can look up and see the bottom of another island. This can lead to some discrimination from the citizens of Paradiso.
Those in the shade chain choose to go without the magic from the well of souls and as such eat less nutritiously and live a little shorter. That said, those in the shade chain don’t bow to angels or have to submit to outside arbitration. The shade chain is the kind of place where a person can hide and live out the rest of their days. Why people choose to live in such relatively squalid conditions is different for each person but the fact is that those in the shade chain experience an almost entirely different world.
The Seas of Wind
The seas of wind is the name given to the vast open ocean of air that abounds in Zephr. It whips around in currents of wind that carry pterripus riding men and women to and from the various islands. Though most prefer to travel along the various portals that instantly connect one place to the other, some simply enjoy the open solitude of the seas. Memory hunters ride the seas in order to find the hidden remaining islands that are scattered around the world.
The maelstrom is a churning, whirling and worst of all growing magical storm that exists at the very heart of Zephr. If one dives deep enough into the seas of wind they being to be pulled harder and harder. Those who have seen the maelstrom describe it as a malevolent thing of pure nightmare. When a person comes near the maelstrom, it begins to immediately drain the person of mana. This mana drain is faster the closer one gets. It’s been described as both like something ripping out your very soul and being pulled into a kind of ultimate peace. Which of these descriptions is the truth is unknown. All that is known is that the maelstrom has consumed islands before and left unchecked, it will completely consume the world.
Small, crumbling islands along the seas of wind sometimes contain ruins filled with strange artifacts and even stranger writings. The language isn’t understood yet but those who possess such rare relics[a] are convinced that within those things are the secrets of the past. The ruins are often made of strange materials and the architecture is completely different to that of anything known today. It is believed that these ruins are the last remaining secrets of the land before the cataclysm.
Magic in Zephr
Armament of Heaven
Creatures of the Land
An alicorn is a winged horse with a horn growing from it’s forehead. Essentially a winged unicorn. They are powerful animals that are commonly ridden by mortals to ride the sea of winds. Strong of spirit, in order to saddle an alicorn, it must first be broken. This process is long and difficult and requires intense patience and dedication to do so without magic. The Alicorn is capable of very fast flight and a free team of alicorns will often race as they play with each other. They come in colors from pure white, deep black and even a reddish brown. Free alicorns tend to stay away from mortals and angels alike preferring the company of other alicorns.
The Sylph (air elementals)
Sylph are air spirits that enjoy floating along the currents of the sea of wind. They are harmless for the most part but can sometimes cause a great deal of trouble. When enough sylph spirits join together, they strengthen and whip each other up into a tornado of rampaging destruction. These dangerous giant sylph push the floating islands, knock down trees and demolish homes. Because of this, sometimes sylph have been herded away from each other. This keeps the sylph weak and harmless.
The Undine (spirits of water)
Bound undine provide water to the cities and underdeveloped islands. They are at the head of every single endless river, bound to that spot and forced to forever give of their waters. These waters are channeled through irrigation ditches, canals or man-made rivers that spread the water around the floating islands to provide life throughout. If an undine ever manages to loosen it’s bindings and get free, the water dries out. It is the responsibility of every person to go to the rain clouds and capture a new undine to bind. It is possible to summon an undine and bind it but such a thing uses up even more precious mana.
Salamander (fire spirit)
The salamander is also bound into hearths, furnaces and places where open flames and heat is needed. The salamander provides the warmth needed in an unending fashion similar to the undine and is treated as such. The problem with salamander is that it is far more aggressive and dangerous. When a salamander breaks free, it often attempts to take revenge on the humans that have bound it. The fires that result from this retribution are swift and unmerciful. Many have lost their lives to a salamander gone rogue.
Terranus (earth spirit)
Terranus are a dying breed. They are spirits of land and form out of the dirt and stone in seemingly random times. When there were more islands and those islands were larger, there were far more terranus that roamed the lands. Now, with so few islands the terranus are rarely ever seen anymore. In combat, the terranus fights with massive fists of granite. A single blow from a terranus can kill a man.