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The World of Calliope

The world of Calliope resembles Earth in a lot of ways, except for the fact that magic exists as common knowledge and a known science. The technology level is closer to a near-future Earth - shiny, modern sci-fi - but monarchies still dominate the political landscape thanks to magic. Large-scale democracy exists, though as a relatively new trend. Space stations and moon colonies exist too as soveriegn nations with their own affairs.

For a long time, the power of magic remained in the hands of the few. The "True Mages", those with the inborn power to shape mana to their whim, formed the noble class, those who saw themselves fit to rule over those without power. They raised kingdoms and waged endless war amongst one another for centuries, the common folk mere pawns and soldiers to their games. And so it was the law of the world, until the creation of the Jewel.

The Jewel, an arcane computing device, turned the common folk into mages. It still took skill to master a Jewel, and very few of these new "Jewel Mages" had the power to match a True Mage on their own terms. It didn't matter, for their numbers were enough to overwhelm any single True Mage. When the Tyrant King of Ophea fell to these so-called rabble, it sparkled similar uprisings all over the world. And with the Revoluion, came the Great War.

The Great War was unlike anything ever seen in the world. A line was drawn between two superpowers - the Entente of revolutionary governments led by the new republic in Ophea, and the Hegemony of monarchies led by the Empress of Linasa. They fought each other on every corner of the globe, not just with tanks and planes, but also with mages who lit the skies and fields with their spells.

The War lasted for almost a decade. And it may have gone for longer, if not for the Disaster. No one knows how or why it happened, but everyone can see the result. Eurydice, the capital of the Linasan Hegemony, was incinerated by magical blaze that reached as high as the clouds. Nothing was left, not even the Empress and her royal family. What is left of the largest city in Calliope is a grey, ashen ruin, completely devoid of life and mana.

It left such a mark on the world that the two powers agreed to a truce, but nothing had been resolved.

Five years later, Calliope stands at a precipice. The Entente and the Hegemony remain locked in armistice, yet proxy wars and intrigue among occupied territories shake the globe. The Hegemony quietly swears revenge on the Entente, believing them responsible for the Disaster, while the Entente looks forward to finishing their Revolution. Both sides continue to create weapons of destruction, ready to unleash them as soon as the truce breaks.

Meanwhile, ancient creatures known as the Sirens have reawakened from the ruins of Eurydice. They have been lured to a world broken apart by war, and they're here to feed on the carrion.

Magic

Magic refers to the shaping of magical energy (mana) into specific forms (spells) to achieve certain effects, as well as the theories and traditions that support it. Many people have the ability to sense mana, though only a few in the distant were able to shape mana to a degree that actually changed history. Those so-called "True Mages" formed bloodlines that make up many of the noble houses of the world.

Twenty years ago, magic only belonged to (a small fraction of) the population. The Jewel, an arcane computing device, amplified a person's magical potential at least tenfold. Even the weakest of these "Jewel Mages" could feed an entire city or raze armies into dust. When it became not only possible, but practical, to train mages as civil servants and soldiers, the world underwent a revolution.

The cores that power Jewel devices come in many forms and colors. Ruby, Sapphire, and Topaz are the most common, though people won't blink if they see colors like Amethyst, Onyx, and Diamond. Jewel elements usually conform to a user's personality (Ruby users tend to be hot-tempered, for example), though exceptions always exist.

Sirens

The Sirens are ancient beasts, once thought to be destroyed milennia ago by the Resonance Mages of the time. They have since reappeared after the War, in alarming numbers. It was said that not long after after the Disaster that destroyed Eurydice, a massive swarm of Sirens burst forth from the ashes and ravaged the survivors. This had led to the belief that these Sirens are restless ghosts, the numberless victims of both the Great War and the Disaster.

Sirens enter our world through strange tears in reality, though no one is exactly sure of their point of origin. They generally act as a devouring horde, seeking out sources of mana, draining them to the bone, and retreating back to their gates. They tend to hit populated areas as a result, since even a non-mage has enough mana to make quanity worth more than quality. People turn into lifeless husks when exposed to the Sirens (through touch), while places of power become magical dead zones, where magic refuses to work ever.

When a Siren launches an attack, it sings a haunting melody (always the same one), a different form of Resonance Magic. When multiple Sirens flock together, forming a choir to speak, the song becomes louder, farther-reaching, and more magically charged. Those unprepared for the song, mundane people and low-level mages, become overwhelmed by a specific emotion. Usually it is anger and bloodlust. During the early years, entire towns and villages have destroyed themselves before the Sirens come to feed.

Sirens that form a choir usually have a single Conductor, a humanoid creature that directs the swarm as if it is a singular hive mind. Destroying the Conductor causes the choir to break up, causing the creatures to rampage violently or flee back to their origin. Unit Skald's Command believes that the Sirens as a whole may well have a directing force behind them.

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