Calendar & Time
As the Twin Worlds, Surrea and Taer’haen have established a common time measuring system agreeing to unify the months, years, and ages. Over time, most Surrean countries agreed to adapt the system, and even though it turned out eventually that it was an imperfect solution, another change would bring on too much chaos so the rulers decided to forfeit it. Due to the mistakes in calculations and conflicting reports at the time of the unification, the seasons slowly pass through the months. Still the shift is slow enough and allows for smooth, nearly unnoticeable transitions, especially with Surrea’s whimsical weather changes that are suspected to be the left-over of the realm’s creation process done by the elemental beings that didn’t mind a little chaos every now and then. Those alone bring farmers to their knees to beg for stability and allows weather diviners to make a decent living.
The year has been divided into nine months, each of them forty days long. The days aren’t named. The months go as follow: Delir, Anyr, Rishyl, Kiritian, Leteit, Vintyn, Ahnar, Hetor, Imidan.
SURREA'S HISTORY IS DIVIDED INTO ELEVEN AGES
The Age of Separation – this is the Surrean name for the most mysterious time in the Universe’s existence. Surreans decided to call it Separation to signify the birth of the Creator and the Destroyer, who are believed to have come from a singular force split into two beings.
The Age of Void – it’s the time between the creation of the Existence and the birth of the three worlds, Surrea, Taer’haen, and the third, the world without magic. The duration of this age is unknown and, for now, not even estimated.
The Age of Birth - it begins when the three worlds are created.
The Age of Bloom – first creatures inhabiting these worlds are being brought to life, first societies are being created, the worlds are being explored, the deities introduced. First chronicles and scriptures come from the Age of Bloom, though a lot of the history from this period remains undocumented.
The Age of Unison – begins with the finding of the Gate Words for the Gates connecting Surrea and Taer’haen. First arrangements are made, first alliances occur, the chronicles and time are united for the sake of creating a common history.
The Age of Choruses – discovering of the universe, extension of the knowledge concerning other worlds, gaining comprehension of the higher Layers of Reality and the divine.
The Age of Oblivion – the time, when new generations begin to change their ways, abandon alliances made by their ancestors, experiment with life and try to expand and gain more benefits for their own kind, societies or families, often by force. In some places called the ‘Age of Chaos’.
The Age of Falls – the consequence of the antecedent era. It begins along with the fall of the biggest city of Surrea, the glorious Tamesis. It’s the trigger for a war.
The Age of Resurrection – the mistakes of the previous eras are being acknowledged. Upon the sudden news of a Gate to another unknown and possibly hostile realm breaching open, the mighty of Surrea and Taer’haen decide to keep peace and begin a new cooperation for the sake of defending themselves from the otherworldly invasion. It never came, but that wide-spread paranoia was the greatest contribution to peace of all times. In Surrea rises the Great Council, the followers of Deithe and Lirian begin the Crusades of Rejuvenation. Old treaties are being brought back.
The Age of Harmony – the peaceful time, where all the big matters are being settled, the worlds, even though ever in turmoil by the inner conflicts, generally bloom and prosper. It’s also the time of the braver magical experiments and extensive search for knowledge. That prompts the attempt to open the resilient Gate to the third world and almost results in a Nenergy distaster. Age of Harmony was 797 years long.
The Age of Ashes – it began with the destruction of Taer’Haen. 11 is a number considered unlucky in both worlds. The Age of Ashes being the eleventh is deemed not a coincidence.
Magic is the name given to the act of controling the energy and the world's available energies that can be understood, but it often becomes the synonym to the universe's Energy as a whole. From world to world the way magic manifests may different and different are also the ways in which it can be tamed.
On Surrea there are three key elements to using magic. First is the caster's blood. It defines a person's ability to understand and control the energies. Thanks to their magical 'taint', the old race can achieve things in magic that other races can merely dream of. Astavans were used to controlling the energy of their homeworld, and though Surrea's shapings are different, decade after decade their innate talents are starting to resurface. Samedals are Surrea's only human race with so called 'dry' blood that doesn't work as the conduit for the energy flow making even the simplest enchantments very difficult for them to manage. Dry blood only affects one's ability to control and channel the energies and is inconsequential when it comes to being subjected to magic of another person, like, for instance, a healer.
The second element is Ak'tahriel, the language of magic. Though even skilled mages working in important fields may never use it again once they step out of an academy, without the Ak'tahriel many things would not be possible. One such thing is the inter-world travel which requires discovering specific word combinations. Ak'tahriel is not spoken anywhere in the world, does not possess any grammar, and the amount of its words known by the mages is still very limited. As far as Surreans know, the Ak'tahriel does not hold the same power in every realm and might even be bound to Surrea and its dead twin world only.
The third thing is no less important than the blood. It's the stones - six stones that the energy of Surrea chose as its conduits. Those stones are vital in shaping and properly channeling the energy in nearly any situation - the exceptions being the times where the mage wishes to only use their natural energy for a more 'mechanical' task.
One of the stones are the Topaz, used mainly as a light container and the Sapphire, which, when activated in a particular way can radiate cold or heat. Jade is the stone of warlocks working great with the destructive energies of curses - but it's also the stone used during the subject inspections. Amethyst is believed to be connected to the other dimenstions, afterlife and the divine energies. The mages know of very few uses to it, but the research never stops. Ambers are in high demand as the fertility stones - that goes both for fields and plantlife in general and supporting human procreation. The last and the most crucial of the six is ruby, the stone upon whose energy relies the entire healing magic with all of its branches.
Corruption is caused by prolonged or drastic exposure to magic. It affects all living organisms though many plants seem to be left unharmed by it, even if changed over time. To humans and animals corruption is sadly lethal and creates endless complications when it comes to prolinged magical healing and research involving human beings. On Caratana, and especially in its capitol Ruena, the problem of corruption applies to air as well and local mages are working on reducing the amount of magroscopic objects and materials that can potentially exacertabate the issue in the upcoming years. The very high usage of magic on Caratana prompts researchers to also look for ways of reducing the harmful magical influence on human bodies or even to cleanse it. So far there has been no significant breakthrough in the field.
Corruption develops in a person's body gradually, starting from manifesting in minor issues such as headaches or dry mouth and skin. With progressive exposure the symptoms get worse and more serious and though at the early stages the symptoms can be reduced or even nullified by avoiding further contact with magic, once they get serious the damage becomes irreversible. Nearly all of the symptoms can still be treated, but they need to be taken care of faily and the treatment must continue throughout the rest of the person's life as it would in the case of some incurable diseases.
There is the point at which the body becomes so overexposed to magic that the person's own energies become unhinged - that point is called the threshold. Any magical exposure becomes potentially deadly and can cause the person to go volatile: they would self-combust and often subsequently explode in a blast of uncontrolled energy.
It is incredibly rare for someone to cross the threshold unless they were subject of magical research. Those people are sent to the hospitals located on the island of Aharra called the asylums, as they are meant to protect them from magical exposure. Patient cells in the asylums are covered by cryveils - strings of pure crystals that purify the air and limit the presence of energies in it and with that that risk of people over the threshold of going volatile.
There's one exception when it comes to magic causing corruption - using one's own energy without shaping it with stones (for instance, as a medical checkup or minor healing) does not have any negative effects on the body or its energies. It also applies to one's weaved soulmate, as then the other person's energies are a constant presence in one's own stream and they are ignored by their organism.
The negative enery has been commonly called Nenergy for a long time, and for an equally long time the ACC has been trying to give it a more scientific name, but before they succeeded, a new leader took the reins of the Department of Linguistics and cut the debate short. He decided to unify this name and the names several other elements present in the common knowledge and with no need for advanced classification with their widely-used equivalents for the sake of general clarity. One of the few ACC officials known for his dislike of jumping through unnecessary hoops, though not necessarily liked or respected for it by his fellow mages. Still, whether they considered his work chaos-inducing or not, by the time he was gone, there were more pressing issues for the department to think about.
The Nenergy itself is guilty of a many a sleepless night and few severe causes of insomnia amongst the researchers - those on Caratana and those far beyond. The reason being that settling the name dispute has been the grandest achievement in this field of study for about six decades now.
At first glance, it's a concept easy to understand - the opposite of Energy. The educated know that it is not quite like that - Nenergy is not a force on its own, but in fact it's the absence of Energy. It doesn't occur in nature - well, depending on how one would define nature - and is utterly destructive to anything in touches in the realms built on the Energy foundation. Those worlds are filled with Energy to their core, it's integral to life itself. The air free of Energy is a searing void deconstructing everything on its way.
Many lives were lost to uncover this truth and Surrea itself, for a brief moment, stood at the brink of a world-wide disasster - an event covered so well that only a few suspect it ever took place and fewer yet know about for certain.
The Nenergy was discovered while the mages attempted to open the Gate to Surrea's second twin world. The Nenergy 'blasted' out through the open Gate and was barely contained by the combined power of Surrea's strongest mages. Over the several of the world's most dramatic seconds they raised a forcefield around the Gate and pushed the lethal void back before sealing the Gate shut. Most of them died during in those seconds or in the minutes that followed.
Even since, the Nenergy, despite nearly causing a small apocalypse, has been on the minds of many, many researchers, because every mage knows that with crazy danger come insane possibilities.
Souls & Weaving
Human souls, weaving, mention of curses.
To the dismay of many mages, the nature of the universe still remains mostly a mystery. A lot of what's being taught to the young is still based on educated guesses and tends to change over time. It doesn't help that the realms the Surreans know about have all been created by often whimsical deities, as different from one another as humans themselves could be. Luckily for Surreans, their own world, initially shaped by four elemental beings, does obey understandable laws. Although their logic, in a few particular cases, can be a little wonky.
There is a theory, popular amongst scholars, that somewhere out there exists a realm that came to be before any other and became the propotype other worlds were then shaped in the image of.That theory would help explain why creatures from different realms - humans included - can often be so similar to each other, and why that's possible when the realms were born from the minds of different gods or other beings of creation.
Still, the mages' theory mostly ends there, as speculating about how the Prototype itself came to be is best left to the creative philosophers, not the practical researchers. For the time being, of course.
That's the name given often to the two primary forces that affect the known universe. The Creator is the being that gives birth to the new realms; Destroyer, the one devouring them. Through in the understanding of simple people the Destroyer is a force of evil and decay, in reality he must exist to create a counter-balance to the unstoppable, ever-active Creator. In this age no human can estimate how many realms are in existence, but nobody doubts it's more than they can begin imagine.
Surrea's twin world, Taer'haen, fell victim to the Destroyer over two centuries ago. In the face of this primal force even the joined efforts of the brightest minds of both worlds were completely helpless.
But the legend says that the Destroyer has in fact been defeated by a hero from a foreign realm who went by the name of Rain Dan'Athrel. As the creature fell, the victorious hero understood his mistake. With no choice left, he gave up his own soul to take the being's place and continue on its solemn, yet vital task.
Realms & Gates
Amongst the multitude of realms not all were singular creations. Sometimes the energy meant for one realm splits into several parts - two, three, rarely more - creating so called twin worlds. Realms like that usually harbor many similarities as they are initially created by the same forces - or Creation Gods, as some prefer to call them.
Travel between all realms is possible, though often difficult, dangerous, reckless, or just plain lethal. Anyone can cross to another world, but only the most skilled mages (or energy shapers in general, not every world would have your old mages, after all) can open the Gate required to step into another world. The act requires solid preparation and intricate knowledge of the more complex concepts pertaining to manipulating the energies. It is much easier to open the Gate to the world's twin realm, and it is also usually the only Gate that is truly safe to open. The general rule of thumb is - if it can survive here, it can also survive in the twin world. When it comes to truly foreign realms all bets are off, which is why smart mages take decades to probe and prod and work with turithes before even taking a peek into the unknown. It's also why very few (close to none) of the less smart mages ever make it back to tell about their stupidity.
There are likely as many ways to operate the Gates as there are bizarre realms out in the universe, but mages of Surrea and Taer'haen learned to do it by discovering proper worlds in the Ak'tahriel, the language of magic. It's often an incredibly slow and cumbersome process, but so far, a very reliable and rather fool-proof one. Which is always a good thing.
Surrea itself has two twin worlds - or rather, had. After the destruction of Taer'haen, the one left over twin remains a mystery. It was during the attempt to open the Gate leading to it that the Nenergy broke through. As outlandish as that event was, there are just two possible explanations there. Either there is some sort of a null zone in the vicinity of the realms gate or the realm, for some unexplained and fascinating reason, is void of magic entirely. How such a thing could come to be nobody know. And what effect would that have on the world itself is beyond the researchers' wildest speculations.
Layers of Reality
Cerroes are, by far, the most common race on Surrea. They don't have any distinct racial features and over time they became the equivalent of 'human', laying claim on the word and categorizing Surrea's two other human races - the ilonites and samedals - as the 'others' at best and 'animals' at worst.
In the past there existed many words to describe cerror subraces based on various features such as skin color or average height, but as people began to mix, most of those slowly disappeared creating an impossible to categorize chaotic diversity. Now, only two subraces remain - the veenans and the locari.
Veenans: the three defining features of the veenan subrace seem to be strongly dominant in the offspring allowing the subrace to still persist, though, still, with fewer and fewer of them around. They have a fair skin, red, curly hair, and olive-colored eyes with epicanthic folds. Due to their fiery coloring, they are sometimes believed to have been the personal touch of the fire godess Insere and made in her image during Surrea's creation.
Locari: unlike veenans, locari are different from the average cerro physically and they don't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon as they create tight communities and often live in seclusion from other people. If veenans were changed by the whim of the fire goddess, then locari were touched by Riaal, the element of earth. Their skin is pale, sickly almost to the next person, their hair is dark and lifeless in shades. Their backs are usually hunched - though they can straighten up, it feels unnatural to them. It is rare to meet a locarin on the surface as they had always preferred the the coziness of and quiet of darkness of caves where they raise their magnificent cities. Often gifted artistically, they are the creatoes of world's most beautiful art pieces. And though they might not usually strike others as comely, they can easily win people over with their eyes - not only do they have heterochromia, but their eyes can also take on the most amazing colors much more vivid than those of the old race.
The old race is Surrea's one of a kind, because it, beyond any doubt, had not been created by the gods. It has come to be through the process of evolution, and so, contrary to its name, it hasn't been around since the inception of the world. Physically they look almost like the average cerroes with the only difference being their unusual heair and eye coloring that happens for them quite often.
The real differences lie underneath the surface - the old race, who evolved due to prolonged (and for generations also lethal) magic exposure, now have a special affinity towards the energies. On top of that, they became the most long-lasting race of Surrea, rivaled only by the alien astavans.
Though the old race can nowadays be found anywhere, their home country is Caratana and it's the only place on Surrea where cerroes are not in majority. Amongst other races they have earned themselves quite a bad reputation due to their nearly inbred superiority complex.
They may look strange, but few don't find them beautiful. Ilonites are often called the bird people and most of them rarerly venture out into the civilisation, preferring to stay away amongsts their native cliffs.
The three pairs of feathery wings aren't the only thing that makes them fascinating to look at. Their irises are as black as their pupils with only a narrow line of color - red, rarely on the purple side - separating the two. They possess two wing-tails covered in soft ink-black fur and ending with several red feathers and the stiff ends of their eyebrows grow small luminescent orbs. It is not uncommon that they are hunted for both of those things. The rarity and the thrill of the forbidden only winds black market prices up.
Ilonites are a peaceful race that has never partook in any war in all of Surrean's history. Their empty bones are frail and their lives short as they are - most of them die long before their fourtieth year old life. But they don't age like other races do - the only way to tell adult ilonite's age is to look at the crack-like patterns beginning to mar their skin with time.
Samedals are a physically capable race that could easily outlive cerroes by even to three centuries, but few actually manage to live this long. They are often hunted, but unlike ilonites, it's not for any spoils, but for sport and satisfaction alone.
Samedals have long fangs and sharp claws that tend to antagonize them to other races. They are prone to aggression and are excellent fighters. Though most of them do everything in their power to disprove and deny it, they do have instincts and some behavioral patterns more akin to animals than to other humans.
In some parts of the world samedals are not connected to wild beasts, but instead are seen as demonic spawns and killed on sight to prevent the taint of evil spirits, believed to inhabit their souls and bodies, from spreading.
Many samedals undergo the process called correcting where their disctinctive features are removed. That can give them a chance to lead a safer, more normal life amongst other races - often they have little choice as they do not have a country of their own.
Astavans are the refugee race. They have arrived on Surrea few centuries ago through a gate from their dying world. Their chances of finding a world able to sustain them were miniscule, but fate was benevolent to them. Unlike to the countless other races who'd perished alongside their worlds when the Destroyer decided to come for them.
Astavans' first years on Surrea have not been easy. Surreans were both curious and terrified of them and the language barrier could easily cause several distasters - and was close to doing so.
Their story has a happy ending though as astavans managed to successfully assimilate into Surrean societies. But only a fool would doubt that the biggest factor in the success was not the way the astavans look. With their golden hair, liminescent eyes and the beautiful shining patterns adorning their faces, they made it difficult to believe their intent was anything but good.
Luckily for Surreans, this time fate did not choose to be cheeky and teach the common folk a lesson about deceptive appearances. Astavans hearts matched their lovely looks.
Though Surrea and Taer'haen were created from the same energy, the elemental deities were volatile and unpredictable beings with no sense of responsibility. Taer'haen bored them first and the void in the divine influence was in time filled by two deities seen by the people as the Amerial, the God of Light named after Amer, their sun, and Arivar, the God of Darkness. Though usually at odds, as the division would have them be, they worked together to protect their realm from the annihilation at the hands of the Destroyer. In the end, they failed and ceased to exist alongside their world.
Surrea remained under the influence of the elemental gods for a long time, but as those beings were shaping the energies, more minor deities started coming to existence as a form of side-effects or side-blasts of creation. Those new gods began to take form and purpose after the will of Surrea's intelligent inhabitants. This chaotic, upredicted and unpredictable process of divine creation pleased the elemental gods, but there still came the time where for the spirits unable to comprehend human emotions and psyche there was nothing left to do in the realm. And so they disappeared, perhaps becoming one with the world melting into the primal force that gives it life.
One of them though, the goddess of fire, not completely detatched from the human spirit, instead found a way to abandon the realm completely. Not without consequences.
Remaning Divine Influence
Nowadays very few Surreans still worship the elemental gods. In many places of the world they are offerered tributes during seasonal celebrations, but it became more of a folk custom for many than a religious act of any sort. Cult and worship is much more focused on the other Surrean deities whose influence can sometimes be seen, or at least suspected. Yet so,e people believe that the only beings worthy of worship are the Primals or the singular power that stands above even the two of them. The one responsible for the existence of the entire universe and the creation of the Prototype realm. Some just call it the High Power, some go with the name Consciousness, and the ones who fancy being extra cheeky have recently taken to naming it the Evolution.
The powers of the Surrean deities and the way they influence the mortals are very varied, but for whatever reason - yet another unsolved mystery for the time being - they act rarely and when they do, it's often nearly symbolic. It's not that they do not have the power to do more, it's that they choose not to, or are not allowed to. That much is for certain. And so there is no doubt that should humanity depend on their deities for survival they'd be long gone.
Moreover, it's not impossible (and most certainly it's not a thought absent from the mages' dreams) that, given time, humans might develop powers that will make them and their gods nothing, but equal.
Elemental Aspects, Deities, Mitrels
Broken Moon & Lycantrophy
Artifacts & Touched
Research Subjects & The Office