[h3 Genetic Awakening.] Over a century ago, people started to be born with odd abilities. Some say it was the next step in human evolution, others say it was genetic mutations as a result of military testing. Only one thing was certain: [i fear]. People of pure genetics started to fear these abnormal beings. After all, some talked to the dead. Others talked to plants. There was something fundamentally wrong with that for many people and many cultures.
Eventually, radicalism started to emerge. Only the oldest of the Shamans can remember, but there were speeches about burning away the genetically impure. Little did the world know, but fire is what would ensue.
No one knows who launched the first missile. [i Was it the radicals? Was it the governments?] It really doesn't matter now. All that matters now was that two nukes were enough to end the world.
Now, the surviving world population lives in a collection of self-contained City-States, each a marvel of human ingenuity and engineering. This is where our Tall-Tale begins.
[h3 Genetic Mutations] [b Necromancers] Necromancers are tied to some deity of death, whether it be Anubis or the Grim Reaper. Deities differ from necromancer to necromancer, but there is one thing all necromancers share. [i Deities never speak.] Necromancers can sometimes interpret what their deity wants them to do, but they never speak. I will explore this is a post, but suffice to say, they are God-like entities that appear every time a necromancer chants.
Necromancers must have an object to tie them to the living realm and they usually prefer something either heavy/dense (metal) or something they have kept close for a long period of time . They heaviness of the object sort of roots them to their physical body and the transfer back works smoother if the object is something that has their "essence."
Necromancers have power over death and as such, they can contact dead people. With such a close relationship with death, necromancers can often feel when someone is about to die, although it may only happen mere seconds before the actual death. There are quite a few factors that go into it, but in order to channel a dead person each necromancer has their own ritual. Most do very ritualistic chants involving burning lavender or other herbs. When the necromancer is channeling, their minds go somewhere else and they usually meet with their respective deity. While channeling, the dead occupy their body. This allows relatives to finally say goodbye or to have a contested will rightly settled.
Now, channeling the dead can go very, very wrong. The factors to a successful channeling depend on how long the person has been dead, how violent/traumatic their death was, mental issues of the deceased, how much of the body/possessions the necromancer has to work with, and how long the necromancer has to channel the spirit. If a channeling goes awry, the necromancer and those around her can be put in serious danger. The spirit could take permanent control over the necromancer's body, the necromancer could go insane, the necromancer could inadvertently summon a "ghoul," or the channeling could simply end.
Ghouls are monstrous beings that somehow latch onto the connection between a necromancer and a dead spirit. The monster will either take over the necromancer or the dead body . They are hellish beings that warp reality.
Finally, necromancers are often thrill seekers because of their close relation to death. After a channeling, necromancers often feel the cold embrace of death on them and the only real way to get rid of the cold is adrenaline.
[b Slyphs] Slyphs are mostly comprised of females, but there are a few males out there. [right [pic https://i.imgur.com/YjVOc1h.gif]] They are one of the rarer mutants and are closely associated with water. They have power over water and can do a number of awe-inspiring things. They have unmatched empathy and can sense almost everyone's emotions as if they were their own. This level of empathy is near emotional mind-reading. They can heal by consuming water, infusing it with their essence, and then transferring it to another. They can also use water as a short range portal.
Slyphes are overt, social creatures and a slyph who is alone is not a happy slyph. Due to their high emotional empathy, they can feel others pain and, if someone were to die near them, a slyph risks the same fate. The feeling of death could actually be contagious to a slyph and that is why, although they are healers, they are rarely found in hospitals or other places where death could occur at a moment's notice. The slyphes that do manage to work in hospitals are revered among all of the UnderCity.
Slyphes do not age after they learn to control their connection with water. They continually revitalize their bodies by drinking water and infusing it. This causes slyphes to emminate a light bluish glow. It usually isn't noticeable in the daylight, but they stand out quite obviously during the night.
Ambients are the rarest of all mutations and they are rightfully the most powerful. Ambients can sense and control vibrations. They can gather and discharge electricity. Due to their power, they are often met with fear and distrust, even among the UnderCity. While they are powerful, Ambients always suffer from the loss of one or more senses. Some are blind, others are mute, others are deaf. Not much more is known about Ambients because they are so rare. There are stories among the UnderCity of Ambients defying thought and physics. Due to their fabled and unknown nature, Ambients are distrusted in the Under and executed on sight in the UpperCity. While not much is known beyond that, it is common knowledge that Sylphs absolutely hate Ambients for some reason.
Shamans have a connection with the ground and everything nature related. They have the ability to communicate with animals, summon golems, and cultivate plants with their voice. Shamans are often employed in the plant cultivation houses located near the UpperCity elevators. [pic https://i.imgur.com/5sHkJRK.jpg]
A shaman may mold golems out of mud, clay, or other earthy materials and they can then breathe life into the contraption. These golems are temporary and depend on how strong the shaman is. Only the eldest of shamans can make golems that last years. Due to the Shaman's love of all living things, many Shamans distrust necromancers. After all, how could they trust an abomination so closely related to death?
Shamans gain power over time and the oldest shamans are the strongest. As shamans get older, they start to become part of the earth.Their skin begins to turn to bark, their feet to roots. Some turn to stone over time. Due to this, many Shamans only work with only form of nature, be it stone or wood or something else. The oldest Shamans are revered among their community and usually act as community leaders.
Shamans are also noted for their singing. While exclusive, Shamans gather together on occasion to sing for their clan and for the Undercity. Each clan has their own set of songs and when they sing en masse . . . Well, it is a sight to see.
Shamans mostly stick to the parks that dot the City-Island. Shamans can communicate with animals and if you see an animal in the Undercity, it is probably a Shaman's friend. Shamans will fight fiercely to protect what is theirs.
Weres are the most populous of the mutants as their genes are the closest to human. They form large packs and gangs among the UnderCity and often control large swathes of territory. Weres have the uncanny ability to copy whatever they see or hear. They can change their voice or copy fighting styles. Weres often have heightened senses as well. Essentially, they are humans on steroids: faster, stronger, better.
"Weres" are usually named after the characteristics they display most. For example, a "were" may be deemed a were-spider if they prefer to take the likeness of a spider. Most "weres" only specialize in two or three changes as they are difficult and complex. The elder "weres" are known enemies of the city-state and leaders of many of the Undercity gangs. Their adaptability and pack-mentality makes them perfectly suited to a life of crime and running.
While they are not exactly allies, there has always been a mutual respect between the Shaman Clans and the Were-Tribes. After all, they are both usually intuned with nature and any conflict between the two most powerful mutants in the Under would be catastrophic.
There have been rumors of weres going savage, giving into their heightened feral urges. These ferals are said to undergo hyperplasia and hypertrophy at astonishing rates, resembling more beast than human. Most ferals are handled quickly and severely by their pack.
[i Where there is one were, there are many more you just are not seeing.]
Sorcerers have the ability to imbue items with magical properties. They create trinkets and fetishes that can do everything from track individuals to suddenly explode. Often curious by nature, you can find sorcerers either deep in their own research or trying to steal someone elses'. Innovation, ingenuity, and quick-thinking are held as some of the highest values within Sorcerers' circles. They can also connect with items and see events tied with that object. Major events imbue objects with a lot of energy and, over time, trivial events can also add up. The more gifted the sorcerer, the more trivial the events or the longer back they can see.
Their imbuing abilities are limited by the events tied to an object. The object has to have enough latent energy, latent power in order for the sorcerer to manifest that power into something physical. Therefore, sorcerers are always steeped in history, searching for objects that have a past. Sorcerers may also imbue energy into an object conciously, although only the talented few can do so. For example, a sorcerer may wear a ring for an extended period of time, slowly imbuing it with their own energy . They can then consume and manifest that energy into an imbuement. Often sorcerers are covered in such totems. There are also rumors of sorcerers using their abilities to somehow manipulate temperature. Some say these select sorcerers imbue the very air around them, others think it is a simple gimmicked totem.
Sorcerers usually despise necromancers and the feeling is mutual. Necromancers imbue items with their essence in order to tie themselves to reality and Sorcerers can attune themselves to that object. They can also sabotage a necro's object, whether intentionally or not. Still, touching a necromancer's object is far from a pleasant experience. Since a Necromancer's object is imbued with their self-essence, its like viewing the Necromancer's [i soul]. There have been stories where Socerers have gone mad by touching a Necromancer's totem. Some say the necro's deity did it, others think its just too personal. Most necromancers and sorcerers avoid each other like the plague.
Still, due to the nature of their abilities, sorcerers and necromancers are often called upon to solve Undercity crimes. After all, one can see events tied to an object while the other allows police to question murder victims and the like. The tension is usually palatable.
There are [i others] that prowl the underbelly of this city-like beast. They possess unique & maddening abilities, the kind of abilities that seem to defy human understanding. Some may have been human once.
[h3 Genetic Wars/Atrocities] Soon after the genetic awakening, panic and fear started to seep and pool. Atrocities started to occur across the world, so much death, fear, and malice. Who started it is something best left to the ravages of history, but it did not much matter after the first bomb fell. Turns out we did not know enough about nuclear power to have such a power. Only two bombs were used, but that was enough. The world was poisoned. Nuclear fallout quickly took to the sky and massive storms began ravaging the world. Global population took a dive as these nuclear storms irradiated whole swathes of land.
Humans are like roaches though, hardy and adaptable. Five massive, self-contained cities were constructed as a defense against the misery humans had wrought upon themselves. Those people and nations that could not afford such measures quickly fell to ruin as the world was ravaged by the toxicity of nuclear fallout.
[i That was a little over a century ago.]
[h3 A City Divided, a City Protected.]
The self-contained city that this story takes place in is the American one. At its construction, it was a marvel of innovation, built atop the urban swath of Long Island. Millions upon millions of people swarmed New York after word spread of the radiation storms.
The American city took a differing approach from those of other countries. They believed that, in order to keep the peace, those with abilities had to be separated from those without. After all, it was apparent that people could not get along and the last thing this bastion of humanity need was internal strife. An internal civil war would have devastated the city and the radioactive storms would do the rest.
[i Separate But Equal.]
[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/1SEgN.jpg]]
[h3 A City Intertwinned]
At its creation, the city was built with an internal balance system. The UpperCity, the only portion of the city with sunlight grew food and the UnderCity managed the machinery that allowed the city to function.
What its creators did not expect was the fact that neither party could survive without maintaining the radiation scrubbers or the water filtration systems. Suddenly, the UnderCity was beneath the thumb of the UpperCity. After all, what were they going to do? [i Kill Everyone?] That was hardly a practical solution.
[b UpperCity] [left [pic https://i.imgur.com/Z0b3t.jpg?1]] The UpperCity is built upon and between the towering skyscrapers of what was once Manhattan and Long Island. The mass conglomeration of metal shadows the UnderCity so much so that the UnderCity hardly receives any sunlight.
The UpperCity is divided into four main districts, with three of the districts being divided by the Hudson and East Rivers: the Union District, the Central District,
The district to the West of the Hudson, called the Union District, is the main residential district. Most Uppers live somewhere within this district. The Union District is also the closest district to the West Wall.
The district between the two rivers is called UpTown or Central, depending on who you are talking to. Uppers call it the Central district, Underers call it UpTown. This district is the seat of power for the entire city as all of the City-State buildings are located within this District.
[b UnderCity.] The UnderCity is as divided as it is shadowed. There are no overarching accepted names for any parts of the city, however, it is generally accepted that the Shaman Clans claim any and all parks, the majority of the anti-city weres stick to the west of the Hudson ,
[pic https://i.imgur.com/qnEToYE.jpg] [b UnderCity, Banks of the East River]
Underneath UpTown, you can find just about every type of mutant excluding Ambients who seem to avoid people. What was once Central Park, is now occupied by the major Shaman Clans. [left [pic https://i.imgur.com/pHb6gCu.jpg]]
The only place that the UnderCity receives any sort of substantial sunlight is on the banks of the Hudson and East Rivers. It would have cost much more resources to build over the
[h2 [b This, this is where our story begins.]] [pic https://i.imgur.com/aeL79in.gif]
[b The West Wall and Gate] The West Wall is what Uppers use to scare their children at night. There have been multiplee accounts of mysterious sounds emanating from the other side of the wall, an obsurtity to be sure. There is nothing beyond the walls other than other City-States and they are continents away. I suppose the reason many are still haunted by these sounds is because the West Gate was the last gate to close, the last gate to finally seal the fate of all those outside the City's walls. Millions died as those massive creaking hinges shut. [pic https://i.imgur.com/lNqqqd0.jpg]
[b Lingo.] So much like Wiliam Gibson's neuromancer, I want to use dialect and lingo throughout this story. As such, I am going to start a list here:
[i Underer] - colloquial term for someone who lived in the UnderCity [i Upper] - colloquial term from someone who lives in the UpperCity [i Mutt] - offensive term for mutants, comes with the connotation of having genetic "defects" [i Necros] - colloquial term for necromancers.