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He may not be appearing (yet) in this section, but his world is!

Seolas’ fellows live and die on a world surrounded by a ring system and two moons in resonant orbit that act to shepherd the rings, one notably larger than the other. Although the planet is distinctly larger than Earth, its surface gravity is quite similar and its mountains stand higher, thanks in the main to something known as argeft, a mineral considered either evil or of vital importance for its truly unique qualities.

An advanced civilisation existed in the past, but following a catastrophic war remembered as “The Cataclysm”, only scattered remnants of its technology survive, and civilisation has by and large had to begin again. Some of the reformed countries embrace technological development; others reject it and attempt to remain firmly in the past. One such is Ascura, an insular inland country with almost no interests beyond its own borders, where breaking tradition is frowned upon and the pursuit of knowledge not deemed ‘natural’ may result in exile or death. There is little place in Ascura for those who seek new horizons beyond the tasks performed by their forefathers; often, their only outlet is to leave home and join the guard, the unified force serving as police and military across the country. The police-like functions of the guard are as town watchmen and suchlike, but the most obvious, and most alluring to the misfits of Ascura, is the ceaseless wide patrols, trekking across the land to search for danger before it can take root. The danger they so assiduously seek is that of the winged people they believe to be unnatural demons, but little do they know that an entire city of them drifts hidden in the clouds above their heads.

Cialte, city of the sky, was created as a refuge during the war that became the Cataclysm. It began as the pet project of a master scientist-engineer, whose life had been dedicated to pushing the boundaries of technology until the fateful day that he could no longer ignore the war he had unwittingly helped to begin. He devoted all his resources to the construction of a floating city, a sanctuary hidden in permanent cloud and unassailable from the ground, and retreated with as many of his fellows as he could. Now, it operates almost autonomously, supplementing its limited food-growing capacity with the produce of hidden villages tucked away in the mountains. But every now and then, though all their other wants are met and no avenue of study is barred from them, restlessness or curiosity or frustration will drive a citizen of Cialte to fly down from the clouds above to remote parts of Ascura… and some of them will inevitably be found.

So begins the tale of two young people, a guard of Ascura and an apprentice Artificer of Cialte, two civilisations diametrically opposed yet living one above the other…

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