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1 Dies Irae

The Debacle

A World of Legend

Thousands of years ago, the world was a very different place. Hundreds of nonhuman races walked beside a growing human civilization. Most people know this world -- its remnants are easily seen in mythology books. Magic was certainly uncommon, even in the early years of history, but those mages that learned how to use it could become extremely powerful. Most of the nonhumans cared little for using their magic to achieve great power; magic was commonplace for them -- everybody could use, and use it about the same.

Humanity was the only race in the world where magic was not commonplace. Not all humans could learn magic. The nonhumans always thought this a bit of an oddity. Overall, humans were better at most things than the magical races; they were smarter than most of them, stronger, more adaptable, and more numerous. But the nonhumans never really felt threatened, because humans had little magic.

The Rise of the Mages

Some humans, however, could use magic. These humans, known as the mages, saw magic as a special gift, something that only they could possess while the rest of their human brothers were left entirely in the dark. Those who could wield the powers of the spirit, of the mind, of the elements often became obsessed with it. They studied it constantly, used it often, and became more powerful.

It was no surprise to the nonhumans that many human mages were more skilled than their nonhuman counterparts. It seemed as if the power of the human mages were making up for the fact that less than 1% of the human population could even attempt a magical effect. And as the human mages' power grew steadily, they were still ignored by the nonhumans. Most nonhumans were a secluded people and heard about these magicians and wizards through stories, most of which they thought to be highly exaggerated.

But they weren't. A handful of mages grew so powerful, that they learned the secret of immortality. Now they could live just as long as the elves and dwarves who remained hidden in their wilderness homes. More importantly, they now had an eternity to continue to study magic.

Time passed. Some say it was a few years, other say it was centuries. Either way, the mages slowly grew jealous of each other. Although numbering barely two dozen, the mages coveted each other's power. A few mages were brutally murdered, others were threatened, factions started to form even as Rome was reaching it's golden age.

The Incubans

A group of seven mages formed deep in the heart of the Germanic barbarian lands. Called the Incubans, the mages decided to take care of their competitors once and for all.

The Incubans came together from all areas of world; each of their magic was different and powerful in its own right. Merlyn was strict druid from the Celtic land, his power drawing from the order of nature; Thalcos was a classical mage from Rome, whose knowledge came from incantations and scrolls of the occult; Imhotep was an Egyptian priest, who knew well the ways of the dead; Medea was a strong Greek mage, who could cast deadly curses and powerful blessings with ease; Nebuchenezzer was a Babylonian mage, who knew the ancient knowledge and magical codes of his people; Whio's origin is a mystery, but his magic draws from spirits; Prospero was a Mediterranean magician, able to control and create nature itself.

The Incubans worked a century together, feeding off of each other's powers, learning each other's secrets, and all growing infinitely more powerful. After a hundred years had passed, they knew that they were sufficiently powerful to destroy the other mages of the world.

But that wasn't enough for the Incubans. They were afraid other humans would once again learn the secret of magic and that the cycle of jealousy and revenge would start over again. They were gods in their minds, many of which were twisted with paranoia and megalomania, and they did not wish to share their divinity with anyone.

The Debacle

The Incuban solution was a simple one. They would steal magic from the world and hoard it in their secret fortress. They believed that they could rip the very essence of the unknown, the mysterious, and the supernatural from the earth and keep it to themselves.

They were right.

A great storm ensued, now known in infamy as the Debacle. The Incuban spell worked perfectly, and the essence of magic spiraled into the Incubans themselves. The seven mages became the essence of magic. Now they were truly gods, for they alone held a power that not even the Holy Roman Empire held, or the greatest of the Chinese emperors could imagine.

The Debacle, however, had unexpected consequences. Even as magic was torn from the world, it was torn from the souls of the nonhumans. Empty shells of their former selves, the nonhumans found themselves stripped of magic. For most of these creatures, this was doom. Dragons crashed to the earth, unicorns found themselves without a magical horn and being tamed by humans, and vampires turned to dust.

Those whose souls were not entirely magical -- elves, gnomes, giants -- died a slow death. Magic once fed their souls, and now, without it, they died over a period of a few weeks. Their halls crumbled, unable to support themselves, and their magical weapons lost their gleam.

The only survivors of this cataclysm were the djinni of Arabia and the Middle East. Though they escaped the Debacle with their lives, they lost all of their magical abilities. In effect, the djinni became ordinary humans, and soon faded away.

Magic was gone, kept now in seven beings that were only once human.

The Sleep

Happy with their success, and not even realizing the disaster that they had caused for an entire population, the Incubans slept.

And as they rested, Rome fell. The dark ages passed, only to be reborn with the Renaissance. A new world was discovered, wars waged, humanity grew. Then the machines were built, and industry boomed. Soon, the world felt the wait of the corporations, of world war, and the loss of hope.

Some Incubans occasionally woke from their long sleep to play with their newfound magical powers. They created great storms, strange eclipses, or created odd, demon-like creatures for servants, often destroying them soon afterwards. Eventually, the lure of rest would attract the Incubans again, and they would once again sleep.

Having rested for over a thousand years, the Incubans woke, and realized what they'd done.

The Majestati

I was shocked to see five people standing in my doorway. One man, who had just recently moved into my apartment building, was in front, his long blond hair touching his shoulders just as it always did. The other four wore overcoats. All of them had long blond hair. The first thing that I noticed was that two of them, one an extremely attractive woman, the other a man who seemed deep in thought, had pointy ears! These two also wore reflective sunglasses, but something told me that they were hiding their eyes from something other than the sun.

All five of them entered my apartment. I tried to run, but the woman whirled around me with amazing speed and caught me before I could move a single step. It wasn't inhuman speed, but still amazed me. The door shut behind them. Moments later, I noticed that no one was near the door when it shut.

"We need to talk," spoke the woman in a musical voice, guiding me to a chair. The other one, still thinking to himself, silently padded over to the window and stared outside as if watching for someone.

All of them had such serious, almost nervous looks on their faces that I knew instantly they were not the insane deviants I originally thought them to be. Logic told me that they had to be police, or secret service, or maybe private investigators. Yet somehow I knew that logic wasn't applying right now.

They sat down around me and stared at me for a few seconds. No one said anything.

"We've been watching you for a long time," explained the man that had moved into my apartment a few days ago.

"Who are you? Cops?" I interrupted, somehow knowing that my guess was foolish.

The five looked at each other and smiled uneasily. The woman removed her sunglasses revealing the brightest blue eyes I have ever seen. Their very luminance seemed to give off an azure light of their own. Her pointed ears jut from her blond hair, which cascaded beautifully around her narrow face. It was the most gorgeous face I had ever seen, and somehow it seemed . . . familiar.

"Listen," she said calmly. "My name is Saela, and we're elves. And so are you."

The Awakening of the Incubans

No one is certain when, exactly, the Incubans awoke from their long slumber, but magic has been dead ever since the Debacle. Some claim that one or two Incubans occasionally woke from their nap during the centuries and would test their newfound magic. But eventually, after a few weeks, the Incubans would fall back to sleep.

Now that the Incubans are active, the world is still without magic, and the only ones that have even a hope of using it are the ones gifted by the Incubans.

After awakening, the Incubans realized what they had done. They were in a world that evolved without working superstition and magic. They were shocked to learn that the elves no longer danced in their forests, and that no dwarves hammered away at magnificent creations. The Incubans were surprised that the Debacle had such far-reaching effects, and more than a little embarrassed.

For the first time in history, however, the Incubans began to experiment with their power. They discovered that they could create great hurricanes with a thought, or see into the past, or do anything of great effect. They found however, because of their great power, they could not perform small tasks. They could not extinguish a single candle in a room without blowing the entire house down. Everything they did was large scaled, and there was no avoiding this.

Having worked together for centuries, the Incubans finally began to see personal conflicts. They could not agree what to do in this new world. Some wanted to leave it alone, some wanted to destroy the modern wonders of mankind until they were pelted back to the medieval ages. Nobody could agree on anything, except that they did not exactly like this modern world, and they wished for their old world.

The Incubans were smart enough to realize that they could not just orchestrate events that would send mankind back a thousand years. There was simply no way to send a civilization back that far without totally changing the civilization. In other words, there was no going back.

The Incubans decided to instead go forward, and to build a new world. All seven of them wanted a new "world of magic." None of them dared state what their own concept of this "world of magic" was, because each of them knew that their own perfect worlds were very different from the other Incuban's ideas, and that they would never reach a consensus. So, they decided to start from the beginning, and correct an error that they had made a long time ago.

The Requiem

The Incubans wanted to bring back the nonhumans. They wanted to resurrect a people that had been dead for over a thousand years. Even with all their great power, though, they could not simply recreate a dead civilization -- populate the earth immediately with dwarves and dragons once again. They had to do it slowly, with some degree of caution.

The Incubans created the Requiem. This magical effect, which would be the second and last effect that the Incubans would perform as a unified whole, reached back a thousand years and plucked the very spirits of the nonhumans from the past. And they allowed these spirits, or Nexuses, to be born into this modern world. Without magic on earth, these nonhumans, the Majestati were born as humans. However, because they had the Nexus of someone long dead within them, magic from the Requiem of the Incubans, they had the potential to grow and become what their spirits truly were.

If a Majestati believed in what he was, and nurtured the Nexus within him, he could become someone totally nonhuman once again.

The Nexuses of Majestati are not new souls; they are literally the spirits of the elven sage who researched his people, the dwarven craftsman who built a temple, the valkyrja maiden who took a hero from this world, and a wise djinn warrior who guarded his sultan's treasure. Though they have the bodies of humans, Majestati have the minds of someone who lived far in the past.

Whether intentional or not, the Majestati have no memory of who they once were. In fact, the only thing they actually share with the original person that lived in the past is their mind -- their basic personality. Just as a clone of a human, raised in a completely different environment will be both identical, and completely different from the original human. Upon birth, Majestati become new people, with new experiences, new friends, and new loves. If they are told that they are not human, and believe, they may grow into something totally different. Their magical Nexus may take root and begin to change their mind, and eventually even their body.

Experienced Majestati gain escape their humanity and become completely nonhuman once again, though this is difficult, and they return to their human forms soon enough. Ultimately, the Majestati seek to become permanently nonhuman.

The Incubans gave birth to three races through the original Requiem -- the races of Northern Europe, the elves, the dwarves, and the valkyries. No one is quite sure how many of each race was reborn, but the births were spread out over a period of a decade.

The Second Requiem

Extremely happy with their magic, the Incubans began a second Requiem that would bring three more races back to the word. They decided to bring back the djinni, the nagas, a Hindi race, and the leprechauns. Several Incubans, however, most notably Imhotep and Nebuchenezzer were not pleased with these choices. Imhotep wanted more Middle Eastern races to be reborn, while Nebuchenezzer, whose brother had been a killed by a djinni, didn't like the idea of bringing back that particular race. The other Incubans, however, convinced them to assist in the casting.

And so the djinn were created and reborn into the modern world as humans.

But shortly after the djinn were created, Imhotep and Nebuchenezzer pulled out of the casting. They told the others that they wanted no part in the Requiem, or any others. Imhotep had received what he wanted -- the djinni, and Nebuchenezzer was furious that he had not ceased the casting in time to prevent the djinni from being reborn. The Incubans argued and debated for months. Eventually, they all went their separate ways, some on friendly terms, others on decidedly unfriendly terms.

No one is quite sure whether or not any nagas or leprechauns were created. Perhaps a handful were born; it is sure, however, that the djinn were the last of four ancient races to be reborn in numerous amounts, and the last to have a chance of regaining their former greatness.

The Incubans Alone

The Incubans wandered the world for years in their formless bodies. As they went, each of them affected the world in their own way. Unable to bring races back to life without the help of the others, each Incuban began to create life in his own way. Some brought gargoyles to life for sheer amusement, others magically rebuilt the ancient elven halls that had crumbled ages ago, others sought out the Majestati and told them what they were, or what they wanted them to do.

Fortunately for mankind, the Incubans did not create chaos or havoc in the world. They worked their magic subtly and for their own reasons. No two Incubans did things alike, except for the creation of the Adepts.

The Adepts

The Incuban Thalcos was the last mage to join the Incubans centuries ago. He was never quite sure of the Incubans grand solution, but went along with it anyway. Now, after sleeping for a thousand years, he has grown to regret his decision. Thalcos decided to give magic back to some humans.

Thalcos wandered the world, looking for humans capable of holding some of his power. When he found them, he broke off a shard of his own magic and gave it to them. Like the Majestati, these humans now had the power to grow to use magic. They could become like mages of old. Not surprisingly, however, these humans began to grow more and more like Thalcos himself. Whether that's because of the shard of Thalcos inside of them, or because the old Incuban only chose humans that were like him to begin with, is unclear. In any case, those that received a shard from Thalcos became a disciple of the Incuban, a member of the Cult of Thalcos.

As soon as the other Incubans discovered the Thalcos, they became outraged. They were angry that Thalcos dared to attempt to undo what the Debacle had done. Thalcos defended himself saying that it was untrue, for the world still had no magic, and so "natural" mages could not be born. Still, the other Incubans were furious.

So they began to do it.

Six of the Incubans placed shards of themselves into dozens of humans throughout the world, creating hundreds of Adepts. The only exception was Nebuchenezzer, who maintained that humanity was not ready for magic again. He set up his own organization, the Servants of Nebuchenezzer, to find and kill Adepts.

With the birth of the Adepts, wizards and sorcerers once again walked the earth.

The Rebirth of Legends

Although individual Incubans wanted to bring back other races, such as the trolls, the faeries, the werewolves, and more exotic nonhumans, they simply did not have the power to do it alone without the help of the others.

So, some Incubans set out doing it slowly -- by bringing back one spirit from the past at a time. Some humans were born with the Nexus of stranger creatures, the most famous being the ogre Mei-Jin (see sidebar on p.00). The Majestati aren't quite sure how individuals from other species were brought back from the past.

Most Incubans gave up this slow process, because they found they could individually birth one spirit every month -- it would take centuries to accomplish what the Requiem accomplished.

The Incubans were very intrigued with their ability to reach back into the past, and have a spirit reborn into the present. They started to try and find particular spirits. The Incubans, particularly Medea, transferred the spirits of heroes. Suddenly, a few mortals were born with the Nexus of the great legendary heroes of the world.

In 1992, the elves discovered a man who has the spirit of the Greek hero Theseus. Shortly afterwards, Macbeth was found, and killed after a bloody struggle with several valkyrja. Other heroes, such as Beowulf, Romulus, and even Heracles supposedly walk the streets of the modern world. There is no telling how many heroes have been reborn.

The Final Separation

Eventually, the Incubans returned to where they had cast the Debacle and the Requiems to hold a final meeting. They had seen what a mess the world had become, with individual heroes being reborn, races trying to gather what their own kind, and odd phenomena taking place all over the world. Luckily, humanity had not noticed the changing world, at least not yet.

The original purpose of the final meeting was to lay down laws and rules for the modification of the world. It ended up being a huge, disorganized fight, with the Incubans accusing each other of tampering with their plans. Enemies were made quickly, and the Incubans became even more opposed to each other.

Open hostilities broke out. Several Incubans were attacked, others fled. This would be last time the Incubans would gather together.

The Majestati

The earth's magic is still empty, even though magical people walk its lands again. Born as a human with the mind and spirit of someone long dead, raised as humans in a world of humans, it is only with the help of others and the faith in oneself that a Majestati can hope to become what he really is.

With sufficient faith and training, the Majestati can access the magic of their nonhuman heritage. They can connect to their Nexus, and transform into what they truly are. They can use their Talents and their ancestral magic almost as effectively as they could two thousand years ago, even though they are still drastically limited by the Debacle-stricken world. And the more they believe in what they are, and the more they use their magic, the more they permanently become what their ancestors once were.

Unfaith

In a world without magic, faith in the supernatural is hard to come by. If a Majestati ever completely discounts the supernatural and the arcane, and actively disbelieves in it, or loses faith in his abilities, the Nexus spirit inside him -- the spirit that was born inside him in the Requiem -- begins to die. Eventually, he will totally lose all magical potential completely, and become an ordinary human.

When a Majestati loses his ancestral heritage because he cannot, or will not, believe in magic, he is lost to Unfaith and becomes a Lost Child. Lost Children can never return to what they once were; they can never receive another Nexus.

Unfortunately, Unfaith occurs not only in Innamorati -- the Majestati who do not know what they truly are -- but also in fully aware Majestati. Many Majestati, once they discover how difficult it is to maintain a dual life, hate what they truly are. They don't want to be elves, or dwarves, or djinn, or valkyrja. They have grown too used to their human lives to accept that they do not belong in human culture. Their human body and mind pushes out their nonhuman soul. Inevitably, they refuse to believe and will never be able to regain that spirit.

One of the main reasons that the magical races do not approach many Innamorati is because of Unfaith. People are not prepared to accept the idea of a magical world; only those that the Majestati believe are truly ready to handle the responsibilities and secrets of the Debacle and the Requiem are approached. Still, about half those approached by the Majestati are lost to Unfaith, diminishing the Majestati population even more.

No one is quite sure if the Incubans did this on purpose. It is tremendously difficult for the Majestati to gather their own and become what they once were. Perhaps the Incubans wanted only the strongest of them to survive and reproduce. One thing is sure; the Requiem created a limited number of Majestati. Unless the Majestati manage to survive, marry and have children with their own kind, their races will once again die. With extremely limited numbers, the Majestati must be careful. They have to make sure the people that they illuminate will believe, and that those who believe are kept safe.

Unfaith is also a reason the Majestati keep their magical heritage a secret. If a dwarven Majestati told everybody he knew that he was actually a dwarf, no doubt they would disbelieve him. They'd call him crazy. Eventually, he might start to believe them, and think that he's not really a dwarf. Anybody he tried to illuminate -- tried to tell them about the Debacle -- would disbelieve him, too, and become a Lost Child. Soon, the dwarf himself might lose his faith forever, his Nexus and magic would die, and the disbelievers would be right.

Magic in the World

Because of the Debacle, magic is nonexistent in the outside world, though it exists within certain people. This is an extremely important distinction, because it affects the use of magic in the real world.

Powerful magic of legend has been rendered impossible by the Debacle. Fireballs, teleportation, and undead armies are still a thing of myth, at least to anybody except the seven Incubans, and a few of their powerful apprentices. Even the most magical elven wizard would laugh at the thought of him ever being able to accomplish such feats reliably. He might say that he managed to teleport himself once, and only seven inches. Lightning bolts? His friend once did that, but collapsed afterwards and was dragged away by the some muggers who beat him to death.

Other types of magic, however, are possible. A Majestati, with sufficient training, faith, and willpower can connect to his Nexus, become a nonhuman, and use some of the inborn talents that his race had been given ages ago. Dark elves can fade into shadows, sea elves can breathe underwater, dwarves can design and fashion impossibly strong objects and buildings, the valkyrja are warriors worthy of Norse legend, and the djinn crafty and wise in the ways of the human world.

Still, because magic is nonexistent in the world, and because it is such a fickle entity to begin with, no magic is reliable. In fact, it is reliably unreliable. Few Majestati can connect with their Nexus enough to do it reliably.

Even an elf who has been able to use her abilities for years and who believes strongly in magic will often find it difficult to connect to her Nexus in stressful circumstances. Relying on magic is a sure way to lose your faith in it, and once that occurs, you'll never be able to use it again.

Secrecy and Seclusion

Unfortunately, in their true, Nexus form, the Majestati can be noticed. All four races are nonhuman enough to get strange looks sometimes, and if they were to openly admit that they were nonhuman, they might suddenly find the probing eyes of the world on them. Racism is bad enough in the world without the existence of several nonhuman races. Scientists might wish to study the Majestati, cultures may clash, violence may break out.

All four races were seclusive in the past. They rarely interfered with humanity and were content to live their long lives apart from the world of humans. Even in the 20th century, the Majestati want to do just that. They don't want to be involved in the materialism, warfare, and cruelty of the world. They just want to return to their old homes and live the way they used to.

In order to do this, the Majestati cannot arouse the suspicion of humanity. Unfortunately, there are still many Majestati who do not know about their heritage who are buried within human culture. That's why the Majestati live in the world and don't retreat to their hidden homes. Their limited numbers require them to find every last Majestati born during the Requiem. They have to gather their own to have a chance of surviving, and so they must contend with the real world.

So, most Majestati keep their true identities secret. To have a chance of returning to their past, they must learn to infiltrate human society, find those that remain, and then return.

The Councils

"I have a castle joining near these woods,
And thither we'll repair and live obscure
Till time shall alter this our brutish shapes.
Sith black disgrace hath thus eclipsed our fame,
We'll rather die with grief than live with shame."
-Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus

Barely a decade ago, the Majestati who had discovered their magical ancestry decided that it was time to organize. After all, it is the faith in magic that makes it real; therefore, they concluded, if more people actually believe in magic, it will once again become reality for this world, and they can repopulate openly.

Members of the four dominant races formed their own governments and leaders, from which they would make decisions about the gathering of their own kind. They discovered that when their own kind gathers together their magic becomes more powerful and more reliable.

Now the councils informally and secretly "rule" the members of their respective races. The elves are by far the most organized and active of the councils, though the other councils are slowly learning ways to find and illuminate their own kind.

The elves are the most efficient of all the races in their leadership. In the Ponthieu Woods, France, they have repopulated the ancient elven city, Elfhame, that now houses the Elven High Council. The High Council has four members currently, each representative of an elven lineage. In addition, each of the lineages has its own council that remains in active communication with its members. The only exception to this is the Ssazanthi Council -- the dark elf council remains hidden. No one, including the dark elves, knows where it is or who is in it. The fifth elven lineage -- the kayanari, or "whisper elves" -- is too small a lineage to participate in this council system.

The dwarves are much more territorial, divided into dozens of "Clans." Each of the dwarven clan kings maintains loose contact with each other. More often than not, they're threatening each other and barking orders at each other. Although they disagree more than they agree, the clan leaders are very successful in finding dwarven Majestati, although they refuse to have anything to do with the Majestati of other races.

The valkyrja Matron Council is located in Norway, where seven matrons communicate directly with a small, elite group of valkyrja, who then communicate with the others. The matrons rarely give reason for their actions, but their very loyal valkyrja sisters and volsunga brothers are very willing to carry out their plans.

The djinn are an interesting group, whose history had divided in many ways. They are separated into four ancient "winds" of djinn, and then further subdivided into allegiances to one of four djinn prophets. A single sultan named the Humblest One rules over a council of these four prophets, who then communicate to their individual members. These four djinn factions do not get along with each other at all, and fight against each other openly, even though the four prophets themselves have never been known to quarrel with each other directly. Each of the prophets' groups have entirely different motivations, goals, and beliefs, which hampers djinni organization greatly.

Illumination

All of the Majestati work towards a common goal -- finding more Majestati and telling them what they truly are. All four races do this in approximately the same way. When they find an Innamorato, a Majestati who does not know about his heritage, they decide whether or not that person is ready for illumination -- actually telling them about the Debacle, the Incubans, and their heritage. How long this process takes is entirely dependent on who is doing it.

Djinni prefer to tell a person outright, hoping that they don't disbelieve. If the Innamorato disbelieves, of course, their heritage is permanently lost.

Dwarves are slow workers, befriending the Innamorato for many months, if not years, before finally telling illuminating him. The dwarves are the most successful of the races at illumination. On rare occasions, dwarves will attempt to illuminate other races' Majestati, which does not have nearly the same success rate.

The valkyrja prefer a more subtle way of illumination. They usually arrange stressful events so that an Innamorato will instinctually use inborn magic in order to survive. A fake attack, a miracle, or perhaps a series of mysterious events aids the valkyrja in this.

The elves' methods of illumination are quite varied. Most elven lineages prefer to slowly introduce a person to magic, ensuring that they will believe when finally illuminated. The kayanari, however, are very direct in their methods, much like the djinni. And the cryari refuse to illuminate any of their own kind, and instead rely on the other elves to do it for them.

Whatever the method, if the person disbelieves, there is nothing that can be done -- the Majestati Nexus will die. If the Innamorato believes in magic, he will slowly be trained in the use of his Nexus form and magical abilities. Magic, of course, is still so rare in the world, that the use of it is unreliable and fickle. The races usually try to protect their new members, because if their feeble powers fail them in a time of need, there's a good chance that their faith will be reduced to nothing, and they'll lose their heritage forever.

The Dwindling

The past few years have not been kind to the nonhumans of the world. Science and logic taught since early childhood make it impossible for ordinary people to believe that their soul is that of an ancient nonhuman, causing many Majestati to lose their heritage to Unfaith. This is especially true in the "developed countries." It is estimated that one person in 100,000 is Majestati. Divided equally among the four dominant races, this leaves just over 6,000 elves, dwarves, djinn, and valkyrja were reborn. Those that end up not believing in their heritage lose their magical blood for themselves and any future generations. Those that never find out, usually sire children with a human, diluting their Majestati blood more. It won't be long before there are none left, which is why the councils are mobilizing to protect and gather the Majestati.

The Recessives

The four dominant races are by far the most common of the Majestati. There are, however, others. The Incubans have brought the Nexuses of individual nonhumans, from other races, into the modern world.

A few cases of ogres, giants, and trolls have been reportedly spotted. Like their dominant counterparts, these Majestati look mostly human, though they're definitely bigger, less intelligent, and usually hairier than ordinary people. Occasionally, these recessive races learn what they are and begin to grow stronger, eventually connecting to their Nexus.

The dwarves rather haphazardly informed one ogre of his heritage, and actually he believed them. This ogre, whose name was Mei-Jin, attempted to organize others that he thought might be of his own kind, but the few that he found disbelieved immediately and ridiculed him. He has not been heard from in several years, and has probably been lost to Unfaith.

There have also been a few sightings of leprechauns, werewolves, and even more exotic races. Occasionally, the elven council sends out teams to locate these rare Majestati, but they have never been successful in locating or illuminating one. The other dominant races don't seem to care about the existence of these other Majestati.

The elves, tenacious as usual, have found references to their "Gray Lineages" -- two small lineages of elves that appear not to have survived the Debacle. The High Council is actively seeking remainders of the lunari, the moon elves, and the mawari, the wild elves, who may still exist. Furthermore, the elves have recently found dug up a reference to the "neri," which translates roughly to the "Black Elves." No history or references to this lineage has been found.

The dwarves, on the other hand, frequently joke about finding the goblins and orcs of legend, just so they can enslave them and put them to work. Most dwarves find this hysterical, though the other races wonder what, exactly, the dwarves would do if they did find Innamorati of these mythical creatures. The elves are quick to point out that orcs, as they are known today, are merely creatures of the imagination of a single influential fantasy author. Whether or not this means that the Incubans can't bring one to life is not known.

The dwarves also believe that their cousins the gnomes still exist in the world. The dwarves adamantly insist that the gnomes are keeping their presence secret, just to annoy the dwarves. The dwarves keep a lookout for any Innamorato gnomes, but have yet to find one. Or, if they have, they're certainly not telling anyone else.

The Majestati have not ruled out the possibility of other, dominant races. Regions such as India, Russia, Africa, South America, and the Orient have their own myths and legends that tell of intelligent nonhumans. There's a good chance that a some of these Majestati still exist in these countries. The elves are beginning to look for these others, though they can only spare a handful of their own Majestati to do this.

The Incubans Protege's -- The Adepts

Humans have not been born with magical potential in over a millennium. However, in the recent years, several chosen humans have been gifted by the Incubans with a Shard of magic, and have discovered that they can cast spells and use magic just like the wizards and witches of legend!

Of course, because the world's mana supply is gone, the powers of the Adepts are unreliable and weak. Still, small groups of human mages, calling themselves by the name of the Incuban who founded them, have gathered to serve their masters or their own ends. Growing slowly but steadily in numbers, the Adepts must choose their destinies carefully. All Adepts have enemies -- the Adepts of the other Incubans, while others have actually become foes to their Incuban that gave them their Shard of magic. A small group of Adepts actually seeks to destroy the Incubans, thus releasing magic back into the world and into all humanity.

Many Adepts have cast their lot with the Majestati and seek to help them find their own kind, while others are jealous of the Majestati and oppose them.

Manicide

Unfortunately, more people are aware of the Debacle than just the Majestati and the Adepts. Several ordinary human groups have discovered the existence of these magical creatures and have devoted themselves to destroying them. Luckily, these groups have not organized very well, because they are limited by the same problems that the Majestati face -- no one is willing to believe in magic, and if their presence became truly known, people would ridicule them and their power and influence would be jeopardized. The danger from these groups is not especially great -- for now. These groups have several names, including the Society, the Hand, and HFF -- Humans for Freedom.

Far more dangerous than the small human groups are the ulti, or the high elves. The ulti were once the leading social class of elves, thousands of years ago. After the elves split into different lineages, the ulti's magic grew weak, and when the Requiem brought their Nexuses into the modern world, they came without any magical power.

Years later, when elven Majestati started appearing, and their magic was discovered to work, the ulti grew jealous. They hunted down the Majestati and destroyed them on the notion that if they could not enjoy the return of magic, no one could. Their goal is to wipe magic from the world entirely. Usually, this manifests itself in the wholesale destruction of elven Majestati, though occasionally the ulti turn their attention to other races.

The Ulti have insidiously begun to recruit people who initially disbelieved and rejected their heritage -- the Lost Children, as they are known; the Ulti specialize in showing them that magic is, indeed, real, and making them feel bitter that they can never have access to it. They also find small human organizations -- right-wing religious groups that would love to find evidence of "Satan's children" and destroy them from the world. This combination of people make dangerous enemies to the Majestati.

The Ulti share a common goal with the Majestati -- they look for non-illuminated Majestati. The ulti then confront them and make up a ludicrous story about magic, reality, and the Majestati, so that the subject will undoubtedly disbelieve in magic, thus losing his heritage forever. This harms the elves more than any other race, as the ulti are best at discovering elven Innamorati, and the five elven lineages are now in a life and death race with the ulti to find and illuminate Majestati.

Two radical factions exist within the djinn hierarchy that makes life extremely difficult for the djinn Majestati. There are four prophet leaders of the djinn, each with their own goals and motivations. The Water Prophets and the Air Prophets do their best to cooperate with each other and the other races. The Sand Prophets and the Flame Prophets have entirely different views on the world.

The Sand Prophets believe that they are in God's service to destroy pagan magic from the world. They see themselves as martyrs -- magical beings whose sole purpose is to destroy other magical beings, and then finally, to destroy themselves so that the earth will be cleansed of "evil forces." Conveniently, the Sand Prophets believe that the djinn, no matter what their prophet allegiance, are meant to be destroyed last. As a result, the Sand Prophets wage a holy jihad against the other races, and a fairly frequent moral war with the other djinn.

The Fire Prophets are equally as radical, though in an entirely different way. Their high prophet has declared that it was actually Christianity that caused the Debacle, for even the Koran mentions the creation, existence, and ultimate purpose of the djinn. Christianity and its mages, against God's will, has destroyed magic in the world, and only by spreading Islam throughout the world can magic return. More radical Fire Prophets use this theory as a reason to ridicule, dis-empower, and assassinate Christian leaders throughout the world. Technology is just as much a threat to these Majestati, and the Fire Prophets abhor technological developments as well.

Requiem

All four races, along with the Adepts, are now in a unique position. To the disbelieving world, they are dead. To seven immortal, angry archmages, they are alive and expected to change the world as each individual Incuban sees fit. Unable to win, the Majestati gather their own, hoping they can live again without the help of the Incubans, humanity, or anybody else. A gathering after death is often called a wake, but the leaders of the Majestati see it very differently. They see themselves as alive, beautiful, vibrant, and not willing to concede to final death.

They call it the time of the requiem.