Places

Mid-grounds | Overcurrent | Borderlands | Fey lands | Spirit lands

Mid-grounds:

The layer of the Earth that we live in. Also called the modern human world, though the humans of the Mid-grounds are only just now starting to catch up with the Overcurrent technologically. This layer is dominated by a large number (and growing!) of humans. There is a very small amount of magic flowing through this layer, but for creatures born in other layers with more magic, it is easy to tap into that small current. Also, a rare few humans living in the Mid-grounds are born with the ability to use that magic or at least an awareness of it.

Key places:
Risa and Ami’s city – A fictional city within the United States (specifically the Pacific Northwest) loosely based off of a mix of cities the author has been to. This is where the vast majority of UC scenes in the Mid-grounds are set.

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Overcurrent:

The closest layer to the Mid-grounds. Named because it appears to lay “over” the Mid-grounds and has a higher flow of magic in it. The Overcurrent (also called the OC), is primarily dominated by humans who’ve developed a culture based on a combination of magic and technology. There are many similarities in the technologies of the OC and the Mid-grounds, perhaps because travel between the two layers is easy enough to facilitate the bleeding of culture between them.

The OC “touches” the Mid-grounds in many different places around the world, but once a person is in the OC, it appears to be a relatively small place consisting of only one large country. From a bird’s eye view, the largest visible body of water is the huge lake near the city of Seilvant. Many of the edges of the OC are marked by large, imposing mountains. Though there is land and water beyond these mountains (normally referred to as the Borderlands), few of these areas have been traveled or mapped by humans. There are some cities and towns that have cropped up close to Overcurrent territory that humans visit, but beyond (and in some cases between) these places the danger of stumbling into Fey layers is too great.

There are those in the OC whose job it is to risk these dangerous areas in order to harvest crystals from the mountains. These crystals have their own internal stores of magic and some purer samples have a constant connection to the Earth’s energy. This makes it easy for the people of the OC to attach spells to these crystals. This serves to amplify the power of their magic and make their spells longer lasting. This serves as the basis of most OC technology. These crystals channeling the flow of magic in the world and the people using them provides energy for machines to run. These crystals can also store text, videos, and pictures, making them ideal for permanent copies of important research and history text. They can also be used to communicate with others in the OC. In addition, they can be programmed with logic in order to prevent access to the spells stored in them except under certain conditions.

Someone from the Mid-grounds visiting the Overcurrent for the first time might first be struck with a feeling of stepping back in time. The architecture style and some of the clothing (specifically the formal clothing) is reminiscent of Victorian England. Mixed in with that are influences from other Mid-grounds cultures. This is most noticeable in the food that can be found in the Overcurrent, which is highly varied and flavored with native OC spices as well as spices from the Mid-grounds.

Another thing that a visitor from the Mid-grounds might notice (though rarely right away) is that the people of the OC seem to be speaking Mid-grounds languages. In truth, only those individuals from the Overcurrent who have spent time studying Mid-grounds languages or who have lived in the Mid-grounds know how to speak these languages. The scholars in the Overcurrent’s Magic Academy and in the Guard have collaborated over years of study to develop spells that act as filters for the words spoken to and by the people of the Overcurrent. These spells take care of translation and make it possible to communicate. Those individuals from the OC incapable of using magic (as this does occasionally happen) carry with them crystals with the translation spells attached to them.

The OC is ruled by a Council of respected and powerful mages and the laws binding the OC society are collected into what’s known as the “Overcurrent Protocol”. There are also variations of the Protocol specifically for those without magic and for individuals from the Mid-grounds who become romantically involved with someone from the OC. These laws are enforced by a force of skilled mages and warriors known as the Guard. These governing bodies have worked to keep the peace between their human citizens and the Fey creatures of other close-by layers. However, they’re very resistant to change and their technological growth has stagnated over hundreds of years. The Overcurrent is also home to many varieties of drakes, who tend to destroy human towns and kill humans and livestock. As a result, the Overcurrent citizens live off of a mostly vegetarian lifestyle and the main population centers are contained within large stone walls.

Key places:
Reinvale – The capital city of the Overcurrent. Location of the Council, the Guard Headquarters, and the Magic Academy that most OC citizens who can use magic attend. Where William was born and raised and where most of his family still lives. There is a lab located just outside the city limits where most of the Angel research occurred.

Everfier – A city located in the middle of a large forest a few days travel by foot to the edges of the Overcurrent and the Borderlands. Despite this, it rarely gets Fey visitors due to the single entrance through the city’s walls. There are rumors that a Guard research facility once existed within the city. The old Ibbot family home is located just outside the city.

Seilvant – An Overcurrent city built on the bank of a large lake inhabited by aquatic drakes. It is bordered on one edge by a mountain range that wraps around the lake, though the lake is so large that the mountains on the opposite side are hard to see from the city. Has a high population of Fey and thus many celebrations and festivals throughout the year.

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Borderlands:

The Borderlands isn’t actually a true layer, merely a term for a collection of places on the edges of Overcurrent territory where the boundaries between the Overcurrent and other layers are blurred to the point where it’s unclear whose jurisdiction they fall under. Crossing into and out of the Borderlands is as easy as simply taking a walk between two places within the Overcurrent. There are numerous cities and towns built in the Borderlands where humans and many varieties of Fey species mingle and live together under Fey law (loosely). Because it’s difficult to tell when crossing from the Borderlands into the Fey lands, humans rarely travel outside of these cities.

The Borderlands act as kind of a mixing ground of human and Fey technologies, architecture, and food. Most of the buildings are built to human scale and most of the Fey walk around in shifted form. It’s easier to find meat in the Borderlands than in the OC since Fey tend to enjoy hunting and bringing back their excess meat for sale. Also, as is usually the case with any place inhabited by Fey, there is almost always a celebration of some kind happening in the Borderlands cities.

Practically anything that someone might want can be bought in the Borderlands, including antidotes to the most recent poisons developed by the Overcurrent for use against Fey and demons. Cities in the Borderlands are normally self-policed by their citizens and even the humans living there are mistrustful when the OC Guard tries to exert authority in the Borderlands.

Key places:
Raso Qanz – A Borderlands city that travelers on the Overcurrent trade roads between Seilvant and Reinvale will typically stop at to restock and get the latest rumors about the state of the world. When Zane was suffering from Vampire Root Poison during their travels before UC, the group stopped in this city for supplies and got help from an untrained medic named Calixta.

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Fey Lands:

The layer where most of the magic-using non-human species who commonly interact with humans developed. The Fey Lands is officially governed by a Council (made up mostly of dragons with some other species having representation) which is mostly responsible for settling large scale disputes between species and groups as well as handling political interactions with other layers. The leader of this Council is largely regarded to be the Dragon Lord, but some decisions are made on a majority basis. Laws are generally lax, encouraging individuals to work their differences out themselves. The families within various Fey species that are regarded as nobility tend to be well respected and many have personal units of soldiers to fight for them. This does occasionally lead to them acting on their own, as happened when dragon nobles enlisted their soldiers to hunt down phoenixes over the healing properties of their blood.

These nobles generally live and exert their power in areas outside of the eight central territories of the Fey Lands. Each territory (except for the central territory, Myrrellis, which is controlled by the Council as a whole) is under the control of a Fey Lord who oversees the maintenance of territory buildings, cities, and roads. The territory lord also ensures that Fey law is maintained within the territory through the use of a militia entirely controlled and organized by that lord. The Fey Council as a whole has no direct influence on the governing of any of the territories controlled by a territorial lord, so it’s common for territorial lords to abuse their power and use their militias to terrorize citizens and build up the lord’s own wealth.

The architecture is normally very large to accommodate the true forms of dragons and other large species, but, since most Fey are adept shape shifters, most business is conducted in human form for the convenience of the smaller size and opposable thumbs. There are several towns and cities spread out over a vast expanse of land, with numerous small merchant communities popping up in between and operating out of tents. Travel is mostly conducted by the Fey in their true forms. Because this allows the Fey to travel long distances relatively quickly and because the Fey have never bothered to undertake any expeditions to map out every location within their layer, it’s unclear exactly how large the Fey Lands actually is or how many continents it encompasses.

Beyond this, it’s difficult to generalize between the different Fey communities, all of whom have their own cultures and traditions. One consistent tradition between all Fey is having festivals whenever possible. Due to their long lives, the Fey highly value music and creativity. As often as possible, temporary festival marketplaces crop up to showcase artwork, fine food, and music from around the Fey Lands. The musicians that perform at these festivals are highly respected and even the most unruly of thugs will turn on anyone who tries to harm one of the performers.

Key Places:
Darneisera – The central location of dragon society. Built inside of a mountain range through the repurposing of natural caverns and the carving out of new caverns and tunnels. The tunnels, pathways, and many buildings are built large enough to allow for dragons in their true forms to fit comfortably. There are many conveniences and appliances which are sized for human hands, however, and the streets are usually lined with a mix of dragons in their true forms and shape shifted dragons.

Myrrellisein, Myrrellis – The location where the Fey Council meets to debate and make policy decisions. A city has sprawled out around the Council hall with buildings in all shapes and sizes. It is protected by a mix of nobles’ soldiers and general guards.

Lenisyrrein, Lenisyrr – The capital city of the Lenisyrr territory in the southeast of the Fey territories. In the past, this city was surrounded by a wall to control the flow of people and goods into and out of the city. After the current Lord of Lenisyrr took control, the wall was torn down and the city has slowly grown out of its constricted shape into a sprawling center of culture and art.

Trancyllis – Though Trancyllis is still relatively close to the Fey territories, since it’s not directly within a territorial lord’s control, the adherence to Fey law is much less strict. It’s a good place to go for information and to find rare and obscure goods. However, it’s also well known for mercenaries and assassins, so visitors have to be wary.

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Spirit Lands:

The Spirit Lands is a layer with no connection to any of the layers inhabited by humans. The only documented ways to pass into the Spirit Lands are through a handful of barriers scattered throughout the Fey Lands. The most well known and well traveled of these are located within the eight Fey territories and the areas immediately surrounding them. Of these barriers, only the ones in the eastern and western territories are used for trade. These barriers are the only ones that are considered stable, which refers to the fact that they always point to the same locations in the Spirit Lands and that they allow for travel from the Spirit Lands back into the Fey Lands. The barriers into the Spirit Lands become increasingly unstable as one travels north or south in, or towards the center of the Fey territories. As a result, the locations in the Spirit Lands that they connect to change every night and, once a person passes through one of these barriers, there is no way to return without traveling a potentially great distance. The only known connections to the Fey Lands are in the northern and southern Spirit Lands countries, through the stable barriers that connect to the eastern and western Fey territories.

As a result of these difficulties, Fey visitors are rare outside of the northern and southern countries. However, maps of the Spirit Lands aren’t uncommon, as there are many groups of Spirit Lands natives that spend their lives travelling throughout the explorable parts of their world. It should be noted, however, that among the inhabitants of the Spirit Lands, it’s quite the common belief that past the oceans surrounding all of the mapped countries in the Spirit Lands there exists more land with unknown cultures and inhabitants. No confirmation of this has been recorded, as the inhabitants of the Spirit Lands seem either to have no interest in or to be incapable of searching for these civilizations of legend.

The Spirit Lands gets its name from the species that inhabit it. These species are collectively known as “Animal Spirits”, due to their true forms being similar to regular animals and the retention of some animal characteristics after shifting into a human form. These Animal Spirits have limited magic abilities, so their cultures put a much heavier emphasis on hard work and physical strength. The governing of the Spirit Lands reflects this and violent rebellions to remove a ruler that a country’s citizens are unhappy with aren’t uncommon. In addition, there is no centralized calendar system in the Spirit Lands with every country instead having their own calendar counting the years since their current ruler took that position. There is also little cooperation or communication between the countries in the Spirit Lands, though trade between them is fairly common.

Due to a steady flow of goods from the Fey Lands, the northern and southern countries are considerably more technologically advanced than the rest of the Spirit Lands. These advanced countries and, more specifically, the cities that grew up around the stable barriers to the Fey Lands have been shaped to fit the needs and aesthetics of the Fey that visit them. Therefore, the main change noticed when traveling between the Fey Lands and these locations is that the buildings in the Spirit Lands are overwhelmingly built to a much smaller scale. All business within the Spirit Lands is conducted in a human or human-sized form. Besides this difference, the technologies and layouts of these locations in the Spirit Lands makes the transition between there and the Fey Lands practically seamless.

However, the flow of Fey goods outside of these countries has been slow. Due to the profit to be gained by being in charge of countries with easy access to Fey goods, there are almost constant struggles for power within the countries in the north and south. These unstable and rapidly changing governments control the only trade routes to the other countries and thus completely control the flow of technology to other areas. As a result of this, much of the Spirit Lands continues to use technology that is reminiscent of the Victorian Era in England, with little indication that this will change at any point in the near future.

Key Places:
Wyllewis, Wenwysel – The capital city of the Wenwysel country in the southwestern quadrant of the Spirit Lands. Wyllewis is located more or less at the center of Wenwysel and the country’s main trade routes. It’s a walled city which was quite damaged during the revolution during Fey year 7940. While the damage was being repaired, the city buildings were built sturdier and less-flammable.

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