Every beginning has to start with an ending. Thus, for this story to begin, an ending first had to occur.
A nearby star had exploded, causing a chain reaction of destruction. Every single planet in its system was reduced to rubble and launched into the far reaches of space. This was the beginning of an end.
It was the year 2112 of the former Gregorian calendar when the debris from the giant planet "Raniton" that were hurled towards our solar system, arrived.
The majority of the debris were incinerated after getting pulled into the gravitational field of the sun, however, too many, did not. The remainder scoured into the planets with unrelenting abaddon and devastating consequences.
While the surfaces of most of the planets were altered to unrecognizable states, the worst befell the planet Mars, which was from that point onwards, never seen again in our celestial body.
In this regard, one might say our planet was one of the luckier ones.
However, none of the other planets was the home to 7 billion people. It was hell on earth.
We tried to stop it, but nothing what we prepared proved to be up to the task of saving this planet. Calamity struck the world. For days, fire rained down from the skies and devastation was left in its wake. Cities were wiped from the face of the earth, nations were destroyed, and continents were sundered apart. The polar caps melted and lands were lost to the merciless ocean. The weather was out of control and horrible storms wracked what remained of the world for years.
In the span of a year, the world changed to an extent comparable to eons of evolution.
Some said it was the apocalypse, judgment day, others cried of ragnarok. It really didn't matter what they believed, everyone died equally.
Then and in the following years, 7 billion people died. Only a handful remained.
In the year 2112, when a world that used to be known as Earth, ended... And where ours began.
Due to the unstoppable firestorm, the earth's rotation and magnetic field started to change as well, changing the location of the poles almost overnight to locations thousands of miles from their original starting point. The old polar caps melted, and new ones formed at the regions they settled upon, freezing the land and sea surrounding it in a matter of hours.
When the planet finally found balance again, the storms subsided, and the survivors of the accident emerged from whatever holes they crawled in to survive. What they found, was despair. Little remained of what they once knew, everyone had lost everything. Family, friends, loved ones... Gone. Houses, food, cars, toys... Gone. Everything had just disappeared.
When faced with a situation so bleak, all that remained was despair.
But slowly, in order to survive, people started to band together, and they found a way to live on. Communities were made, using materials scavenged from the land and waters. Money was worthless, even the before treasured materials such as gold were unwanted. To get something you needed, you'd have to give something of equal value in return. In the beginning, food was the gold of the new era, however, as the planet started to develop again, the food shortages we're becoming less and less. A good thing about the cataclysm might be that the land that was left became highly fertile. Also the wild animals were in abundance as most seemed to have survived. It is believed that their so called sixth sense to feel danger coming before hand attributed to this. All in all it was a drastic change from the easy lifestyle people used to live. It was back to basics. There were no more computers, no more robots, no more machines; everything electronic had its circuits fried. And there was no one around to fix it, even all the knowledge we coveted was stored inside some form of digital storage. It was all lost. Books made of paper were a strange heirloom from days past. An oddity to talk about, but certainly not something of value or use before the cataclysm. People had to make do with what they knew. It wasn't before long however, that steam powered machines would make their reappearance. However, these constructions were erratic, luggish and difficult to put together. Not to mention, very few had the means to create it. Eventually these turned into luxuries for the extremely high class. Or an item procured by questionable means. After all, not everyone was going to work hard to survive and thus some turned to banditry. The most famous, or rather notorious, being the Guild. If you needed something you couldn't get in any legal way, the Guild would be happy to help, for a very large sum of course.
There were some exceptions to the destruction. In a large city where no stone was left standing, one single statue of a Greek philosopher remained completely unscathed. In another city, a single chapel of a Christian church had not a single scratch on it. This location came to be a pilgrimage destination to the few believers left in the world. Most of us had given up on faith after the merciless destruction.
A few more of such occurrences are known, but these were rare. However, the greatest exception of the cataclysm was a single small nation. This nation, while not completely undamaged, and certainly left with its own problems, seemed to have been able to fend off the brunt of the blast. The reason for this is unknown, but it is believed that they managed to develop some kind of protective field that defended them from the worst of it.
However political instability in this country was a major problem and people seeking to take advantage of the situation overthrew the government. The nation was upturned and dubbed a new name. Eden. Ironically, this country banished all forms of religion, claiming it was foolish to believe in such things, after all that had happened.
And as it was, one man's misfortune is another man's price. The country quickly expanded to 7 times its original size by simply laying about new borders. There was no one to oppose them, and the very few that resisted, they didn't stand a chance against a small yet organized army when the rest of the world was in chaos. Much of the claimed lands were turned into farm lands to feed the people. The country prospered under the iron rule. Huge walls were erected on the borders and the land was closed to outsiders. Eden quickly became the dominating force of the new world, and still holds this position to this day with no rival in sight.
To live in Eden became the dream of the outsiders, the land of stability, peace and prosperity.
One could only enter and leave if one had a special permit; a passport of sorts, but without, you had no chance of seeing the fabled lands of Eden.
One could obtain a permit by applying, if you had a useful skill to offer the country, you'd almost always get a permit, if not, you we're offered to 'work' for one. It was a nice way of sugarcoating slave labor. And while even those people knew it, many still accepted.
The country was governed by a single ruler, a monarch, chosen by the council that assisted the ruler. They made their seat of power in the capital of Eden, Alantir. The council consisted of one chief advisor and a dozen regular advisors that would handle their particular area of political expertise; from infrastructure to agriculture and even warfare, which was glorified to the department of Protection and Advancement. But while the council had great influence, the monarch would make the final decision. In truth this was often not the case. Because normally the leader was a mere puppet, a front of the advisors, carefully chosen by the council and brought to power by manipulating the people and politics. However, they made a fatal mistake in picking the last monarch. At first he seemed like a meek lamb until he was firmly established as Monarch of Eden. After that he refused be cowed by the councils tactics and crushed the members of the council mercilessly, many of which met with unfortunate and often lethal accidents. He took it upon himself in these trying times of misfortune to select a new council, one that would listen to him instead. He wasn't an ignorant bully though, and only selected the best suited for the stations, so that matters of politics would still be handled properly by the new council. He made sure of their loyalty to him.
With the new monarch and council, as with most important events, it also brought change.
The monarch was quick to anger and because of this he occasionally made harsh decisions. He changed laws and put in a curfew. Strengthened the military and invested in science. He also brought back a paper currency in order to establish a working economy, which he named the Farl. All in all, the freedom of the people within the walls of Eden was drastically restricted and controlled.
It was also rumored that while his two wives had borne him a healthy son and daughter, he was an abusive husband and father. He came to be known as the ruthless tyrant Farrah. A name that was whispered with fear throughout the world for decades.
Another major event in our new world was that some 50 years after the incident, a major discovery was made that changed life for all of us. It was by accident really. A man named Corrin Pavdra, a wanderer with no particular skill or knowledge, made his camping site on top of, what turned out to be, a large deposit of stones that had fallen from the sky during the cataclysm. After he had fallen asleep, his subconscious sparked a reaction from the stones he was sleeping on. He woke up to a scene where in a perfect half a mile radius, with him as the center, everything had been simply blown away. It was like watching one of those giant crop circles people used to talk about. This incident, being near a settlement, quickly spread like wildfire, and eventually a team from Eden went out there to research what exactly had happened.
From this incident it turned out that a large proportion of the rocks that fell from the sky contained some unknown form of energy.
These stones, when properly refined, were able to manipulate the elements to an extent. Earth, Fire, Water and Air, but to be able to do so, it needed a sentient, and more importantly, an able catalyst.
The rulers of Eden knew a goldmine when it saw one and immediately put most of its resources in unveiling the benefits of this discovery.
The team of scientists discovered that only a small amount of the people had an affinity for these stones. By allowing a piece of refined stone to touch their skin, they could learn to harness the powers of the elements to an extent. The extent depended on a lot of factors such as type, shape, size, density, and most importantly the person's affinity. However these people were usually restricted to a single element. Maybe 1 person in a 100 could learn to manipulate a second element. However the training and discipline for this was tough. There is a rumor going around that there is a person that can manipulate all four elements, but there is no evidence to give this rumor credence.
Because of this new found information, Eden proclaimed three new decrees.
The first being that any foreign stone could be delivered to special collector posts that had been set up in the world in exchange for food or other items, even citizenships if the find was great. This brought on an onslaught of people trying to find every possible stone in this world. The Stone Rush was a fact. Even to this day, people are still bringing in stones, many of them turn out to be useless ordinary rocks, but sometimes a gold nugget turns up amongst the pebbles. This led to Eden controlling an estimated 90% of all Stones.
The second decree was that an academy was to be build in order to study and teach about the uses of the Stones. This building would be located on the edge of Alantir, and would be able to house a thousand students, teachers and masters if necessary. Its size would rival the biggest of buildings in the city.
The third and last decree was that people could let themselves be tested to see if they were able to manipulate the Stones, those that came to be tested where rewarded a 100 Farl. If a person tested true for an element, they received another 900 Farl. They were also offered residency and a monthly wage that was above the standard, if, and only if, they enrolled as students into the Academy. Almost everyone accepted. The few that had no such interest didn't live long enough to enjoy their thousand Farl; Eden was not going to let people that could prove a danger in the future to wander around unwatched. The first months were an epidemic of people wanting to be tested. And to this day people turn up, with sons and daughters, of an age of 12 and upwards as it was decided that twelve years was the earliest age allowed to be tested. This age was chosen so that the children were able to have an actual childhood. This became a custom amongst the citizens of Eden.
For those that chose to join the Academy, they found that their studies were rough and dangerous, but the lifestyle certainly had its many benefits.
The basic learning process proved difficult to master, having to clear your thoughts and focus on exactly what you wanted done with the Stones. Any distraction could turn to disaster. Perhaps 1 in 10 ended up losing the ability to manipulate the elements completely; however this was a more humane fate then the accidents that occurred to another 20%. The worst incident recorded being a man that accidently ended up being boiled to death in his own blood.
But the gains were also great. Upon completing the training, one would become an Elementalist. This title brought great benefits in Eden. Among the ranks they were divided by element. The Fire Elementalists were called Pyrelings, the Earth Elementalists were called Terrane, the Air Elementalists were called Galelings, and the Water Elementalists were called Aquanists. Those select few that were able to master a second element were called ironically called Earthlings. These people would almost always rise high in the ranks of the army or in politics.
However, as with all major inventions and discoveries... it was first applied in war. At least if you could glorify it as a war. It was simply a massacre as Eden used its new found discovery to stretch its influence far and wide over the world.
Today we mark the beginning of the year 133; we are the fourth generation after the Great Cataclysm. This is our world, Tallea.