What Has Come Before
The Immurement War through Bottled Shock:
Two hundred years ago, the gods and their armies of human followers waged a war of extermination against the rest of humankind. Using wrightings, magical weapons powered by the harvested souls of the dead infused into nife iron, a metal of unique and mysterious properties, humankind was able to effectively fight back.
On the verge of defeat, the gods summoned mountain-sized beasts to smash flat humanity’s cities in a final, bitter act of vengeance. Half the world’s landmasses were drowned and every city destroyed in this final, climactic confrontation, but humankind ultimately prevailed over gods and beasts alike, building new cities from the beasts’ corpses. The gods were imprisoned in the Pit, the hollowed out center of the planet, in a prison designed to alert humanity should anyone illicitly worship them again.
The victorious humans never forgot the god-worshiping among them, the human traitors who had sided with the defeated gods. Identifiable by glowing eyes the color of the god their ancestors had served, these so-called Goddamned could not escape the mistakes of their predecessors. That strife has carried down through the ages, with those who fought on the side of humankind’s freedom forever dominating the social structures that followed the Immurement War and keeping the Goddamned oppressed.
Once weapons of salvation, wrightings now form the backbone of the continent’s economy, making life easier by providing soul-powered tools that can accomplish nearly any task. More nife iron is mined every day, and willing souls are harvested from Heaven and Hell by mysterious hellships and their even more mysterious pilots.
Matters might have continued this way forever had the most important discovery in two hundred years not come from one of the Goddamned. Called Bottled Shock, it allowed complex wrightings hand-forged by artisan smiths to be replaced by simple mechanisms powered by easily forged shock wrightings.
Almost overnight, society underwent an economic upheaval, with the Goddamned, now styling themselves Blazings by reclaiming their shame over their glowing eyes, suddenly driving the economy. Leveraging this financial dominance allowed the Blazings to extend their reach into the Centrality government itself, displacing the overwhelming control of the former ruling class, whom they now called the Dims.
But the culture war rages on. The smiths responsible for forging the complex, artisanal wrightings which Bottled Shock displaces are not content to go quietly into obsolescence. Some have gone so far as to form a terrorist organization, the Artisan Guild. Led by the talented and charismatic Larimaine Dunsinay, they have pledged to destroy both the Centrality and the lone producer of Bottled Shock, Fulenthe Wrightingworks. The company’s chairwoman, Cassia Lucani, is just as determined to see the Guild destroyed.
But both Larimaine Dunsinay and Cassia Lucani share a secret. As teenagers, they were once lovers across that yawning cultural divide.
And before their bitter separation, they had a daughter.