The story is set in what the inhabitants call The First, a medieval-fantasy style world of magic, and one of three known universes accessible by Mages through portals called Gates. The First exists alongside The Second, a modern day Earth, and The Third, a futuristic wasteland of overpopulated cities and pollution.
They call this version of our Earth the First because, for the ancient Mages who learned to use their gifts to rip holes in time and space, it was the first world they knew. It was their home.
That isn’t to say that it is the first universe ever created. In the grand scheme of things, it is very, very young. The world is still new, still alive with life. The land has been uncorrupted by overmining or pollution. The core, the soul of the planet, is intact and strong. Because of this, Mages are born more frequently than in older universes, and Raukes, the beings that live between worlds and take humans as hosts to survive, are more prevalent.
The Mages traveled back and forth from the First to the Second, admiring and learning about the differences between each. When the Mages of the First met with the Mages of the the Second, just after a great war over the independence of The New World, America, they made a peaceful treaty with them. They agreed that one would not interfere with the other, unless specifically asked to do so. If the treaty were violated, the opposing party would be allowed to retaliate.
On a dark day, not many years after the Mages of the First and the Mages of the Second signed their treaty, the people of the First came into contact with the Third. The Third came to collect slaves, arriving in large rippling portals created by machines. The Third, a highly advanced world, used technology, not magic, to find their way to the First. Their world had been mined to death. No one possessed magic, and their people were so sick from the food and atmosphere they created, that they needed a supply of slaves to maintain their comfort.
The Third, unprepared to deal with the magic of the First, retreated. They later returned and offered the curious Mages of the First a gift, a machine that ran on electricity and would open a portal between their worlds. As the First had no technology or power grid, it had to run on the energy of Lightning Mages. In exchange for the Mages to have the ability to visit and learn about the Third, the First would transfer their vilest of criminals to them.
Many years passed, with the First evolving slowly, deliberately. The leaders made it a point not to let their world become corrupted like the others. To ensure this, they kept a journal of knowledge called The Book of Kings. It passed yearly from one ruler of one kingdom to the next, each king logging his thoughts and ideas for how to keep their kingdom prosperous, but also pay respects to the world they belonged to. This way of life became so vital to the existence and vitality of the planet, that the kings tied themselves to the Core. The ruler of that territory of land over which the King governed had to be a blood descendant of the King before it or bound to that descended in a ritual marriage that would tie their lives together. If someone deposed a king, the land would be cut off from its keeper, and inevitably die.
The people of Mavahan learned this the hard way when their leaders became corrupt. The nobles, hungry for power, murdered the royal family and stole the throne. Their grassy fields and lakes dried, the earth turned to sand beneath their feet. Years passed, and with no living blood relative of the old king to resume his place on the throne, it inevitably turned into a desert. No one with magic would be born there, no one with magic could use it there. Cutting Mavahan off from its King, cut Mavahan off from the Core.
What happened to Mavahan should have served as a lesson to the rest of the First, but not all the people took the warning to heart. The years passed and the fall of Mavahan’s lush land fell to legend. Other kingdoms would turn to dust in its wake. The Book of Kings continued to travel to the hands of worthy and unworthy kings alike, each one making their own notations.
After many years had passed, the friend to King Dante Vanguard of Adrid stole the throne. He made sure not to repeat the mistakes of the past. As a Mage, he heeded the warnings of the past, and took the king’s daughter, Rebecca, as his wife. He tied his blood to the earth and to the Core, so that the Kingdom would flourish on. The land beneath his feet did flourish, but the kingdom itself did not.
We know our home as Earth, it is the Second to others. We know its history, written in the pages of the books that we read. But, the record of history is written by man, and man can often be corrupt. Man can twist history to fit its own narrative, and man can use clever words to convert others to their way of thought. History forgot the people among us who quietly hide unimaginable gifts. Of course, they are few and far between now that our world is dying.
Once Mages practiced freely. But, they were persecuted, murdered, and tortured, bound with metal that blocked their powers so that they could not escape their doom. This led them to become reclusive, to use their powers sparingly or not at all. They were called witches, and shunned.
But, as the world grows more accepting of differences, they are slowly coming out of hiding. The few that exist practice more openly, and the evidence is written in the strange anomalies reported by the news.
They practice quietly, careful not to bring attention to themselves lest they might disappear. There are braver, roudier places that they go. No long are Mages needed to decide the workings of the world. Technology does that for us. They use their powers not for good, but for pleasure and for fun. They fight in underground clubs for glory and title, and lead menial lives on the surface. The clubs give them purpose, and that leads them to be addicting.
A time is coming, though, when their power will be needed for something other than fighting to please. Each one, tied to the whisper of life left in the Core, can feel it. The world is ending.
The Third is a world of progress. They expanded and their population grew. Their cities spread out across the globe until every single sliver of land had something towering upon it. The air grew dirty, the water poisoned. The smog thickened, and to escape it they built their cities higher. They built atop older buildings instead of tearing them down, until the world looked frankenstein-ish and devoid of humanity.
As the population grew, the need for food also did. They turned to cloning to fill the demand, until there was not an original living creature left. Everything, down to the vegetation, was just a copy of a copy of something real. The cost to feed the people revealed itself in devastating side-effects. The metabolism slowed to almost non-existent, and the food caused the eater to gain massive amounts of weight. For those who could afford to eat even the finest of processed, cloned food, they no long could walk without the aid of machines. But, that didn’t bother them. They had robots to do everything. Still, they felt something missing. They idealized the figure of old, and admired those that could walk and move on their own without the necessary mechanisms needed to do the basis of duties.
They began to import slaves from other universes, from the First and the Second. They called these worlds Earth 2 and Earth 3. They did not need slaves to work. They had machines to do everything for them. They simply wanted them for the sake of it. They wanted to look at them, to admire them, to own them as their ancestors owned dogs.
Over the many years of this terrible practice, some slaves have escaped. Unable to return to their old world, having no access or knowledge to run the machines that would do so, they’ve built lives in the underbelly of the Third’s shining cities, planning daily to overtake the world above and set it right.
The escaped slaves have built a clever network in the remains of the Third’s past, and stolen technology from above to make it habitable. The authority of the Third dares not venture down to the dirty underbelly of their cities, and instead chooses to leave the escapees be. This, another poor decision atop poor decision. For who better to bring change, than those who can move of their own accord.