Episode 1: History Lesson
The city of Balancor bustles with movement. People from across the worlds come here to trade, meet and generally exchange in both culture and goods. This city has become far more than what it originally was, the home of the Entralian Council. The people of this world are hardy and resourceful, a testament to the balance.
Entralia is the world that represents the balance of the elements. Balance magic is known for its spells that use any combination of the elements. The first balance is known as the spiritual, light and darkness, the second is known as the living balance and it includes the other four elements, earth, wind, water and fire. From these, the worlds came to be and later the people that populated them. Each world is unique. They are influenced greatly by the element that birthed them.
Brensur is the world of fire magic. Everything from the trees and animals, to the very people, the influence of this element is evident. The few lands that exist here are a testament of this element’s close relation with earth magic. Most seas are either enormous magma flows or pure flames that flow according to the whims of the elemental core. The world of fire is known to be the home of dragons, fiery salamanders and a multitude of similarly attuned creatures. In the case of the dragons, they have built their dwellings far from the cities of humans. Speaking of cities, the most prominent is known as Zyrias. It is here that resides the seat of power of Brensur. King Liros and Queen Brenhilde are the current rulers.
In high contrast to the flames and fire of Brensur is Ixis. Water magic dominates here with an additional influence of wind magic. Vast seas and frozen continents are common here. Large glaciers often wander these seas. Some of the villages are built upon these glaciers, turning them into roaming homes, though this also makes them hard to find sometimes. The people here, as well as the flora and fauna are very well adapted to the climate, which usually remains at constant cold temperatures. Some of these trees bury their roots in ice, others have developed roots that allow them to float around the seas. The king of Ixis is none other than King Hector IV. Part of a long line of rulers that live within the great city of ice, Ixnar.
The world of Rallion is one of the oddest. The magic of wind dominates here. A few landmasses exist, despite the low amount of earth magic. This is also why those landmasses float in the air, along with the cities that people have built. The few creatures that live here all call the skies their home and often live in seclusion beneath the continents. Water often has to be harvested from clouds directly, but wind magic users are adept in manipulating the flows. The people of Rallion are known to conjure wings to travel around. They were also the first to transition from the old monarchy to a council system similar to Entralia. For the merchants who are not adept with wind magic, many portals were built to facilitate their travel. One favored destination is, of course, the capital, called Alto.
Lush green forests, vast unyielding deserts, tall cliffs and mountains dominate the lands of Grentis. Those forests are fed with plentiful small rivers and the desert’s warmth is offset by chilling nights. This is a world with its own unique balance, despite the dominance of earth magic. Due to the diverse landscape, the variety of plants and animals alike is vast. The capital city of Grentis is located deep within a cavern. This underground haven, named Kalvar, is filled with a variety of glowing plants and mushrooms. Kalvar’s resources include incredibly large deposits of metals. Caves full of crystals can also be found here.
The remaining two elements influence the spiritual more than the physical. Their worlds can represent the complexities of the mind as well as the spirit. One of these is Jenehrtes, the world of light. Many believe that most of what is seen here is an illusion cast by the world itself. The core of light shows this world as a colorless, yet sunlit haven. Bright light always shines over the land. Its roads are built of marble. Empty columns will often adorn random areas of the world with no apparent purpose. Most trees grow aligned to each other and rarely diverge from their usual growth patterns. In fact, most of the objects, creatures and plants here follow a unique organization. Many geometric shapes can be identified the more someone stares at a particular rock formation long enough. For most, it is best to simply continue onward, complete whatever their task was and leave. The majority of the people who live here are, of course, used to the strangeness of the world. To add to the oddities it has a single moon, called Cyran, which oscillates in the sky. The capital of Jenehrtes, Lirivan, is a city filled with marble towers and glass sculptures. Little bits of color actually shine through stained glass displays or reflected on finely carved mosaics. The queen of Jenehrtes, Queen Mariella, is known as a guiding voice due to her calm and quiet demeanor, but when the need arises she can also be ruthless. For some time now she has been working with the people to transition rule to a council, but the proceedings have not gone entirely as planned.
Meanwhile, the counterpart of the world of light is named Zanathas. The world of dark magic is bathed in a perpetual night and the only faint light is that of its four moons, Corvus, Miras, Umbra and Shalis. Unlike the strict order within Jenehrtes, Zanathas is chaotic. Broken structures, cracked pillars and a multitude of shadow creatures dot the landscape. Traversal is not for the weak minded. The predatory creatures employ all sorts of magical tricks to ensnare their prey. People who have to travel to Zanathas do so with as much light magic they can muster, or a rough set of mercenaries. Feelings of fear and anger are sometimes influenced by the energies of this world, but they are to be acknowledged as a natural part of the spirit, or else they can consume it. Dahlnavar is the capital of Zanathas. Queen Parania watches over her people and ensures their safety. There is an arena situated within the city that serves as an outlet for their sometimes aggressive nature. Tournaments are held often as a form of entertainment. It is said that Zanathas has some of the strongest soldiers among the seven worlds.
The seven worlds have survived a number of critical events in the past. Many of those were resolved by a great heroine. She no longer roams the worlds and part of her legacy has been forgotten. Only a few places continue to honor her memory and the feats she performed. Those critical points in the history of the seven worlds often put the people in them at odds with each other. Recent times are much more peaceful. As such, learning, exploration and studying have become the priority. Understanding the worlds and the many artifacts left behind are what many have chosen to seek.
Laurel is an explorer. Gifted with a curious mind and an affinity for balance magic. She travels Entralia along with her friend, a wisp called Thistle. Together they’ve uncovered a number of interesting clues as to the whereabouts of unique items and artifacts. Today they seek the knowledge and wisdom of a great sage. An old man named Lumos is giving a speech at an amphitheater. The speech centers on Lumos’ research on artifacts that litter the worlds. Further back in history, in ancient times, war was greatly prevalent between the seven worlds. This forced many factions to create and refine powerful artifacts to gain the advantage. In this time though, all these artifacts were lost and only a few have been recovered. Those that have been found are placed under the strictest protection or sealed away in magical vaults.
Laurel – “We’re running late Thistle, hurry up!”
Thistle – “But we just got to the city, why are you so bent on going to some boring speech?”
Laurel – “One reason is that Lumos is a renowned sage, another is that father is waiting! Now let’s go!”
Lord Lindrel is Laurel’s father and also a member of the Entralian Council. The council is the ruling government of the world. It is composed of a multitude of representatives from across Entralia as well as a few from each of the other worlds. As for Laurel’s mother, she was lost sometime ago during an expedition. She too was a great explorer and well known throughout Entralia.
When Laurel arrived at the main entrance of the amphitheater Lindrel was waiting for her just outside.
Lindrel – “You’re late. Lumos has already begun the speech.”
Laurel – “Dad! I’m glad to see you too.”
Lindrel – “Of course dear, I am happy to see you. We should hurry inside though, we’ve missed only a few things.”
Thistle – “Hello Lord Lindrel.”
Lindrel – “Greetings Thistle, excited to learn about history?”
Thistle – “If I had a face you would be very aware that I really just want to fly around the city and marvel at the architecture.”
Lindrel – “Ah, but this is also important. Both of you will have time to see the city later.”
Laurel – “She’s just grumpy that I woke up earlier than usual and almost left her behind.”
Thistle – “Not so!”
Laurel and Lindrel sat down in one of the benches while Thistle floated above Laurel’s shoulder. The amphitheater was packed. Many people were curious to know if he would talk about the fabled weapons of power and other artifacts. Laurel in particular was looking forward to learning about more mystical items forged in ancient times.
Lumos – “…the great shrine still stands to this very day. Not much else is known of the Twins of Power. The material with which they were made has not been found again. The great heroine that wielded them vanished along with her family. They retired, in seclusion, to live a peaceful life afterwards. Surely, that family still walks among us, but none of them have ever stood forward to claim the weapons once more. Other sages and scholars have surmised that, since there have been no new problems with the worlds, then the weapons of power are not needed.”
Lumos turned to Lindrel, smiled and waved his hand in salute, then continued his lecture.
Lumos – “Not all artifacts are locked away in vaults or stuck in altars. There are a great many still lost around the worlds. Some books I found detailed a number of the ancient wars that plagued our past. In these, various items were described that contained great power. One such item is an artifact given by one of the perished gods to the original settlement of Balancor. The pages that described the item in question can no longer be read, most were either burnt off or torn. One of the few details that could be extracted was that it is most definitely a weapon.”
The great sage continued his lecture covering other lost weapons. He also mentioned special artifacts. This particular topic caught Laurel’s attention. She had heard of these items and were the few that could possibly be obtainable. It was said that, only the rulers of the worlds were privy of the information needed to find these. There were, of course, other requirements to actually wield the artifacts, but only through thorough research would this be revealed.
Lumos – “To conclude this lecture, I remind you that none of the items I spoke of are easy to obtain or master. The leaders of the worlds will not reveal what they know willingly. It is up to the adventure seekers and scholars to unveil the mysteries of the ancient artifacts. I’m sure not many of you will be interested, due to the dangers, but those of you who are, do not give up. Every bit of history uncovered is important. Thank you for your attendance.”
Without hesitation Laurel jumped from her seat to chase Lumos, who was leaving the amphitheater. Behind her, Lindrel and Thistle followed at a calm pace. Lord Lindrel had already scheduled a meeting with Lumos after the speech. He walked down a hallway that was nearly empty, since most of the people were moving to the outside through a different hall, and reached a chamber where Lumos was to meet him. When Laurel reached that same chamber, after dancing around the hordes of people moving to leave, she saw her father and Thistle waiting.
Laurel – “You know, this would have been easier if you had simply told me about the meeting.”
Thistle – “And miss your face after running around so much? Nah.”
Lindrel – “Laurel, you rushed off without warning. I couldn’t say a word and you had already taken a hundred steps away.”
Laurel – “I guess I was a bit impulsive.”
Lumos – “Well then, you all seem to be acquainted.”
Lindrel – “Oh, yes. Sage Lumos, this is my daughter Laurel and her friend Thistle.”
Lumos – “I am pleased to finally meet you my dear. Your father speaks well of you, quite the scholar from what I hear.”
Laurel – “You’ve spoken before?”
Lindrel – “Of course, Lumos often advises the council. He mostly provides historical context so that we may avoid the mistakes of the past.”
Lumos – “Yes. Now, you mentioned you have a request?”
Lindrel – “Indeed, Laurel here is very interested in researching some of the ancient artifacts you mentioned. It is also in the best interests of the council that some of these be found and protected.”
Lumos – “What has spurred this request? Surely you would have asked within the council?”
Lindrel – “To be entirely truthful we have been receiving reports of a hidden threat amassing weapons and artifacts. If we send you to investigate, as well as to seek out artifacts of your own, then we can avoid a panic among the people.”
Lumos – “Do you believe there is a credible threat?”
Lindrel – “Currently it’s all hearsay. We have found no proof in any of the locations that have been investigated. As you well know, we can’t ignore things like this. Our history is filled with conflict and the current peace time invites challenge. Sad to say, but it’s the reality.”
Laurel – “Sounds like a big adventure. You sure the old man is up to it?”
Lumos – “Hey! I’ll have you know I can still walk very long distances without much rest.”
Lindrel – “What do you say then? Will you go out and search?”
Lumos – “I will. I am curious about what we may find. Helping the council is a responsibility of mine as well.”
Laurel – “Dad, how is it you roped me into this?”
Lindrel – “I suggested you help with this, because having you there would probably deter anyone from interfering. Most people don’t want to have problems with anyone related to the council. I’m also very aware that you want to continue your own explorations.”
Laurel – “Count me in then. Thistle? Are you alright with all this?”
Thistle – “Sure, ask the incorporeal, magical little wisp if I’m up for an adventure after having a whole discussion without her. Laurel, you know the answer is yes, let’s go!”
Thistle flew off to the outside of the chamber through the small open courtyard nearby.
Laurel – “And there she goes.”
Lumos – “We should prepare to go out soon. Laurel, I have an idea of where we can begin our search.”
Lindrel – “Good, I’ll be returning to the council soon. You should leave as soon as you can. Be careful out there Laurel and take care of Lumos.”
Lumos – “I can defend myself you know. Ah, well, I might need help from time to time.”
Laurel – You can count on me dad. Sage Lumos, what’s our destination?”
Lumos – “Just Lumos is fine, and we’re headed to the ruins of an ancient city. It’s a little far from Balancor, I’ll tell you more on the way.”
Late that evening, Lumos, Laurel and Thistle had gathered supplies. Their little troupe was ready to set out. A merchant caravan promised to take them a little past a small village called Jaunr. While with the caravan, they could rest while traveling and be ready for the trip to the ruins.