The various species that exist on both sides of the mirror, and some other important terms.
The dominant species on this side of the mirror. While humans have no magical powers (exceptions: see the human Masters, below) they have their own advantages. Humans cooperate better than any other race, and possess great creativity – something that inspires particular jealously among fae. Accordingly, humans are responsible for all technological (non-magical) advancement, and are also credited with the crafting of most of the greater magical artifacts. Though they themselves possess no magic, they are often the most efficient wielders of items containing magic power.
The dominant species in the Afterlands, the other side of the mirror. Thanks to their varied abilities over elemental forces, and over the perceptions of others, the more powerful fae have become a conglomerate of the elite, with nearly all of the continent beyond the mirror under their control.
Fae powers can be as innocuous as the ability to cure illnesses, or as insidious as the ability to overpower free will. Fae powers don’t manifest until the age of sixteen, though some with abnormal power levels can exhibit small signs earlier. Fae powers are often, but not always, hereditary. Most fae would never dream of giving up their powers, and as such very few exist in the Oncelands.
Though each individual feral may possess great personal power, their historic lack of formal structure has left them fragmented and easy prey for the fae war machine in the Afterlands. The few on this side have blended into humanity for centuries – but the gradual return of magic in the last hundred years has begun to set these refugees apart.
Feral powers are restricted to their own forms: enhanced strength, speed, and/or agility are among the most common. Occasionally ferals have outward signs of their animalistic natures, such as claws, sharp teeth, or a tail. Rare mutations include rapid regeneration, and the ability to morph appearance. Feral powers are not hereditary, and don’t manifest until the age of sixteen, though some with abnormal power levels can exhibit small signs earlier.
Cross-species couples are extremely rare. Hybrids – children born to these unions – are so rare that some still believe they are myths. While hybrids can sometimes possess powers far beyond either species they come from, they also have distinct weaknesses. They usually have very distinct, “unnatural” coloring of hair, eyes, and/or skin.
Bio-engineered beings with magic abilities, of uncertain genetic status. Created only in the last two decades, they are too new to accurately define. Their abilities are unpredictable – their ultimate potential is unknown.
Other important designations:
One of seven persistent power sources, reborn as a different person every time it is killed. According to legend, the Archetypes were created by one of the gods, as a punishment to seven mortal heroes who lost their way. Their powers were amplified to impossible levels – and as they say, absolute power corrupts…
The Human Masters
Despite the nature of humans as a race to possess no innate magic powers, there are four bloodlines that are excepted.
Hunter (Grimm) – The ancient Grimm line possesses natural proficiency with weapons and combat, enhanced situational awareness, and infallible memory. All Grimms are Hunters. After fleeing to the Oncelands, the family changed its name to Graham to dissuade fae assassins.
Prophet (Weissager) – The original royal family of Angwar, the Weissagers, very rarely produce a child with the ability to peer into the future. Prophets are easy to identify because they are born blind. Following the conquest of their kingdom in the Afterlands a hundred years ago, the Weissagers went into hiding.
Inventor (Miller) – human creativity occasionally expresses in its highest form in the Miller line, as the Inventor. A person born with this power can create most anything they wish, given the right tools. Many of the greater magical artifacts are credited to Miller Inventors. Because this trait is easily hidden, Inventors can often be hard to identify until they choose to be.
Null (Tailor) – a rare mutation of the human Tailor bloodline. A Null possesses the power to negate magic. They are immune to most magic abilities, and with proper training, can break spells with relative ease. They cannot, however, remove powers from another person – only dampen them. A Null’s power only works within a certain circumference around them. The stronger the Null, the greater the sphere of influence. For reasons unknown, Nulls are connected to Mirrormakers – when one is born, so is the other. Nulls are widely hated and feared by both fae and ferals, and the Tailors were nearly hunted to extinction before they escaped to the Oncelands.
A rare mutation belonging solely to the fae Ryan bloodline. Mirrormakers are the only beings capable of creating traveling mirrors – passageways between dimensions – and other high-magic mirrors. They can manipulate glass in all its elemental states, and are rumored to have total constructive control over a space known as “In Between” – the crease between the two worlds on either side of the mirror.
Three beings of unknown age, famously impossible to kill. Only one weapon exists that is rumored to have the power to do so – the Tailor’s Sword.
Meredith – a woman made of fire. Called “the Ender.” Presently under a spell that erases her memories every time she kills the Wolf. This is how she prefers it.
Gohei – founder of the White Lotus, a clandestine human organization dedicated to protecting humanity from hostile fae and ferals, the Archetypes, Hemlock, and Meredith. Present whereabouts unknown.
Hemlock – the Thief and legendary assassin. Powers over plant life, and can change appearance at will. Present whereabouts unknown.
Prophesied to appear as the balance of magic shifts, as heralds of old gods returning, the three harbingers are said to be born of opposing forces. Each corresponds to a different immortal. It is unclear whether the harbingers are meant to bring balance, or to bring destruction.
Imp – an echo of one who has died, who had a weak mind, but a strong heart. Imps are about the size of a cat, and possess underarm webbing, a prehensile tail, batlike ears, large, sensitive eyes, and a mouth full of needle-sharp teeth. They have a penchant toward thievery and can be very skittish. As the shadow of a heart with no higher thought to impede, they are impulsive in the extreme. Imps can show preferences of the person they were in life – favorite foods, objects, people. They can also have some sort of marking that is indicative of their identity in life.
Ghost – an echo of one who has died, who had a weak heart, but a strong mind. Ghosts are always attached to something, be it a place, person, or object. As the shadow of a mind with no emotion to temper it, ghosts are singleminded and unfeeling. Ghosts can recall their actions from their former life, but not their reasons for making them.