The setting takes place on an alternate Earth known as Elysium. The world is primarily covered in vast oceans, with a massive supercontinent and two smaller continents. Roughly sixty percent of the surface is covered in water - with a full thirty percent of the land present in the single supercontinent, which is comprised of two smaller continents currently joined together.
The supercontinent is named Arcadia. The northern subcontinent is Atziluth, the southern Beri'ah. To the west is the continent Yetzirah, and to the east Assiah.
The world has a single, large moon much like Earth's, and orbits an ordinary G-type Main Seqence Star as ours does. There are three rocky planets, including Elysium, and three gas giants. The star is named Hades, with the planets - in order - Phlegethon, Lethe, Elysium, Cocytus, Acheron, and Styx. Elysium's moon is simply known as the Moon.
The year is 2025.
Souls and Sparks
The soul is a known quantity in the world - those from the ancient civilization of Eden had mastered themselves, eschewing technology and magic in favor of their own Light. Nowadays, however, the soul is poorly understood - mankind developing new technology and magic as an alternative. While significant attempts at researching the soul are being made, nothing seems to come of it - at least, nothing significant.
Every living thing has a soul - humans, animals, plants, even individual bacteria, though the light of a human soul shines the brightest. They, above all else, have the power to cast their Light into the world and shape it directly, rather than through a tool or medium. People who can draw upon the power of their soul directly are known as the Awakened, and their powers are known as Sparks.
Awakened individuals have a number of 'common' abilities - all else being equal, they tend to be stronger and faster than non-Awakened, and can train their physical - and occasionally mental - abilities to a far greater extent than a non-Awakened. An ordinary human, in peak condition, might be able to run 100 meters in ten to twelve seconds. An Awakened in peak condition could likely do it in five or less, and physical limits tend to be broken when dealing with the Light of particularly strong souls.
Not everyone is Awakened - of a population of just over eight billion, perhaps a 'mere' eighty to a hundred million individuals are Awakened, though this number is rising in recent years. While everyone has the potential to unlock their Spark, it is not only difficult but occasionally undesirable to others - the Spark of an Awakened is difficult to predict, and Awakened can even use their powers to fuel spells or specialized technology.
Several Awakened have managed to use the Light of their soul directly, focusing it into the world as 'constructs' of their own Light, and occasionally weapons, with countless effects. An explosive projectile, a solid barrier, telekinesis or more - however, developing such abilities without a Spark to aid them is extremely difficult.
To become an Awakened, you must unlock your Spark - and there are many ways to do so. There are three notable ways - self-improvement, assistance, and trauma. Simply pushing yourself to your limits may be enough to Awaken, as your body starts to draw upon the Light of your soul to aid itself. Another individual can 'jumpstart' the soul, giving you an initial boost of power to drag you above your former limits. Perhaps most worringly is that traumatic experiences can also trigger a Spark - the soul crying out in defiance of the situation.
The term 'Spark' refers to two things - the source of an Awakened's power, from which they draw upon their inner Light, and unique and individual powers that an Awakened possesses. These powers can have many sources - an expression of who they are, or the strength to overcome their darkest times. As such, they are unpredictable - once Awakened, an individual who had their house burn down and trigger their Spark might become a pyrokinetic, or gain the ability to produce water at will, or any number of alternatives that relate to who they are and how they became who they are.
Sparks are unique - while there are many broad categories, the exact specifics of a Spark vary from individual to individual - a teleporter might step through a higher dimension, whereas another one may destroy his body at one point and reform it another. Someone producing water could draw it out of the air, another might just conjure it from nothing.
Sparks are individual - a person will not get a specific Spark without reason, though the reasons may vary significantly. A Spark is an expression of the soul, allowing oneself to use their very identity as a tool to shape the world around them.
Sparks are instinctive - while a person may need to train to use them effectively, once they manifest their Spark they can use it as easily as moving a limb.
Sparks do not change over time - while someone may become more proficient with it, or improve themeselves and grow stronger, the core power of a Spark will not change - a pyrokinetic remains a pyrokinetic, a teleporter remains a teleporter, and so on.
People have only been known to have a single Spark once Awakened - and occasionally, they do not manifest immediately.
Magic in the setting is a form of energy manipulation that relies on the soul. It obeys the laws of physics, though the actual mechanisms involved are generally non-physical. The energy cost for boiling water remains the same, whether you use a heating element, a fire, or an arcane heat source.
Magic is as varied as technology, taking many different forms. Some forms are chaotic, changing with each 'cast' whereas others are rigorous and structured, set in rituals so complex they require computer aid. However, no matter how complex a spell becomes, it still obeys the laws of thermodynamics - of equivalent exchange. Fortunately, energy can be stored in magical form - commonly known as mana - and is measured in thaums.
Arcane energy storage is in the form of specially-grown or mined crystals, though they can take any number of forms. The closer to a perfect sphere an arcane 'capacitor' is, the more efficient it becomes in terms of energy storage - however, it also becomes more difficult to input or output this energy.
While magic takes as many forms as there are inventions in the world, it obeys laws of its own just as physical mechanisms obey mechanics. A device set to conjure a fireball will not spontaneously change to shoot lightning, unless designed to do so. However, a key advantage of magic is that an actual device is not strictly necessarsy - gestures or incantations can be an effective 'device' or 'mechanism' as well.
Ultimately, magic is a tool used primarily by the soul - to manipulate the world around oneself without necessarily relying on the body. It obeys the rules of the world, but is enabled by something that does not. While magic requires an energy source, typically one related to the intended result, this energy source does not need to be provided by the world - a suitable Awakened individual, with an appropriate Spark, can provide the necessary power.
Magic is considered a viable alternative to technology. Even computers have been constructed entirely via magical means, however magic is typically used to aid, augment, enable or otherwise work alongside technology.
Advanced technology and magitek is dominant in the world. Technology is comparable to our own, though more sophisticated with a number of key inventions and developments. Personal Computers have become less popular in favor of smartphones and wearable technology, though these devices match or even exceed modern computers by a significant margin. A typical 'low end' but still modern home computer is comparable in power to the human brain.
All levels of technology are aided by magic, as it has been alongside humanity since the dawn of civilization. Furnaces and ovens often make use of pyromancy, power can be transmitted wirelessly across long distances - though not to small devices - via arcane resonance, and there are many magical components to computers even on a transistor level, aiding in the transfer and processing of data.
Medical technology is improving at a breakneck pace - thanks to the aid of new developments in genetic modification and a greater understanding of biology in general, new diseases and infections can be rapidly diagnosed and treated almost immediately. However, many hospitals and other facilities do not have access to this technology yet - it is still highly experimental.
Graphene is starting to become a viable material for many purposes - graphene-based supercapacitors and materials are in use in cutting-edge technology, particularly in the automotive industry. Graphene-based armor is starting to replace kevlar, and is being added to many composites to significantly boost their strength to weight ratio.
Space travel is surprisingly absent - while satellites are in widespread use, no manned missions have been made, nor have any long-range probes been sent across the star system. However, manned missions are planned in the coming years.
A single, commercial nuclear fusion plant exists, and is operating with no issues whatsoever. Multiple other fusion reactors are being constructed, but progress is slow - however, costs have dropped significantly. Due to a lack of helium-3 on the planet, manned lunar missions are being planned to mine the valuable fusion fuel.
Safe, fully three-dimensional holographic technology is starting to hit the consumer market, though it is somewhat expensive. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality devices are in widespread use in various industries, particularly entertainment - and 'full dive' VR technology is in development, though not expected to hit the market for at least another decade.
Many industries are experiencing significant disruptions all the time due to countless new technologies and innovations as the world continues to advance. Power consumption has remained relatively steady despite the population growth, due to higher efficiencies and various attempts to reduce emissions - many fossil fuel plants are slated for decommissioning in the coming decades as fusion reactors are being constructed as replacements.
Magitek is also used in weaponry - allowing viable energy-based weapons like high-powered focused lasers, due to the ability to transmit both energy to the weapon and waste heat to the target. Magic has also been used in weapons of mass destruction - boosting the yield of nuclear weapons even further, as well as aiding chemical, biological, or other weaponry.
This section will be added once locations - particularly countries - start being created on the wiki.