To understand what unfolds now, you need to understand Silmä itself.
Imagine, five continents, five completely different approaches to life itself.
First, there is Adegoke („the crown has been exalted“) where the Council has its seat. Vast forests take turns with sprawling mountain ridges, rivers and streams break up the green and grey, sputtering over pebbles and throwing itself from cliffs, the frothy foam dissolving into mist. The climate is mild without any drastic temperature changes.
Then, Adebayo („the crown meets joy“), the continent of marsh and wetland, dotted by small villages in the few dry spots. On its headland, Hate and Cruelty built their castle and called it Land’s End. Their dominion was made easier by the fact that there is no real capital is ruled by small fiefdoms with weaker leaders which made it the perfect place to start a rebellion as no strong alliances needed to be overthrown.
Adebola („the crown has met wealth“) is the wealthiest continent. Its crescent shape cradles the biggest port, overlooked by a city of white stone – Ciudad Blanca, ruled by the merchant queen. Trade, especially with Adetokunbo, has made its people rich and even the poorest live a more comfortable life than their counterparts on other continents.
Adebola’s trade partner is Adetokunbo („the crown came from over the sea“), the continent of ice and snow. A wide open tundra stretches far north into the icy mountains where a chill wind blows snow all year long and a man’s spit freezes as soon as it leaves his mouth. The tundra is home to lots of small homesteads whilst the upper class and nobility dwells in the only two big towns on the coast. Shortly before the mountains start, there is a hole in the frozen soil that goes down, down, down, right into Silmä’s core. This is Kur di Bin („deep under“), the most high security prison of Silmä.
Last is Adetokunbo’s opposite – Adebowale („the crown has come home“) with its hot climate. Large bazaars, imperial roofs, bustling streets in the quarters of the lower class where mudbrick houses are stacked and convoluted, paper lanterns strung between the houses, tea ceremonies and huge bustling ceremonial robes at court. Ruled from the capital by High King Arundel. In the middle of the continent is the desert Qisir Torpaq (“barren land”) which is populated by a variety of desert tribes which mostly sustain themselves by warring with each other and robbing caravans The tribes are at constant war with the giants over the oases in the desert, which are the most important places to hold if one were to rule over the desert.
The same race on one continent could be absolutely different on another. Take the dwarfs as example – dwarfs in Adegoke are short, thick and stocky, readily prepared to deal with the colder climate by way of body mass. Adebowale’s dwarfs in comparison are leaner and of darker skin, their bending abilities more focused on fire than on earth due to the scorching sun all year long and their trade as travelers through the desert Qisir Torpaq.
Differences like these can be observed in all races, not necessarily as strong as with the dwarves on these vastly different continents but definitely there. All life aims to gain the best ability to deal with their surroundings by way of adaption.
In terms of this, demons were the race best equipped for that as the sheer amount of different shapes and sizes of this race would astonish even the most seasoned scientist. From the little demons in Qisir Torpaq with their scorpion stingers to the animal shifting variations who were constantly tied to an animal spirit were such variety, such difference that no one but The Beings itself could hope to keep tabs on all of them.
From the seven races created evolved more crossbreeds over time – not all bloomed into their own races but several did. They’d still be recognized as subspecies to their maternal species when categorized scientific though:
There had not been much time for proper societies to develop in the short span between Silmä’s creation and the first wave of destruction due to Hate and Cruelty’s machinations, which had indeed spanned only a few years, even if it had seemed longer to those who had to endure it. The fights had largely been concentrated on Adebayo but had spread like wildfire by sympathizer of both parties to all countries. In fact, the Elves who were the only race to successfully establish something deserving the term ‘advanced civilisation’ had been the ones to suffer the most significant damages, their culture at large utterly destroyed and in ruins. It should take them much longer to rebuild what was lost the second time around.
Therefore in the world that was left bereft after the execution not much was left to rebuild, as it had not existed beforehand anyway. Everything had to develop anew and at first at its natural pace, accelerated only by the knowledge that a higher culture might prevent such things from happening again.
In order to ensure this, schools were funded all over Silmä to give education to everyone living there, not only in its tragic history of the first years but also in the matters most important – warfare, healing and science. This list would be expanded in the coming years but at first, those were the three pillars Silmä decided to build its society on. There were cultural differences depending on which school you attended on which continent but at large, the basics were the same.
Warfare focused on the art of war, the analysis of past battles to create strategies for upcoming ones, battle training in all weapons as well as specific tracks for commanding officers and strategists.
Healing was meant to provide a counterpoint to the cruelty of warfare and to help the survival of many.
In addition, science, last of the three, encompassed everything else, be it magical theories, biological research or just the strive for general knowledge. This was the branch that’d split the most in the future, that would evolve into so many different paths that you could never tire of learning in a full life time.
It was, however, means to an end. Educate your population, gain educated people who would be most likely to question decisions before blindly following a leader. This had indeed led to heated discussion in the Council as this very blindness was base of religion but ultimately it was agreed upon that the role of the gods would not be overly diminished by knowledge and what would be diminished would be offset by the change of avoiding a repeat of ‘the unfortunate incident of Hate and Cruelty’ as the Council had begun to refer to it.
There are two powers in Silmä one can use – magic and elemental bending. Whilst magic can be harnessed by everyone with the right amount of studies, elemental bending is a skill given to the races during creations (or not in case of giants, centaurs and humans). The base of elemental bending is written down in books. Each element (fire, water, earth and air) has three books with katas ranging from easy to hard. Most benders learn the basics of book one during their childhood and then progress up to book two, where most of them stop. The last volume is mostly considered either impossible to master or too advanced for the general public, which is why access to these is greatly limited, unless one goes through unofficial channels and black markets. Let’s just say that there are a very high number of unreported cases of death where it is directly linked to people using techniques they can’t handle (and shouldn’t handle without proper supervision).
There once was a scholar who tried to divide the katas by fighting style but that was an attempt quickly shut down and his book on the subject is considered a rarity as large quantities were purged by the purists of the original elemental doctrine.
Thus Silmä set out with bright eyes into a future that looked so much more promising