Lake Kingdom is one of the richest and beautiful places in Crystal World. As you can guess, the kingdom received its name because it includes more than 750 000 lakes. Also, it has many rivers and thick forests.
It is full of natural Wonders, such as Death Island where magnetic anomaly is so strong that it affects magic power in humans. High Canyons, Sacred Hills, and other isolated areas became habitats for the most dangerous animal species - the Dragons.
Picture: The map of Lake Kingdom
There are two big cities where most people live:
Middle Lake city, a capital, is the place from where the mages started building their civilization. This ancient city has many significant landmarks such as Golden Palace and the Academy for future Guardians.
Life in capital is controversial. It's famous because of its cultural diversity, as mages from all over the World come here looking for big opportunities. Many actors, musicians, and artists started their career in this wonderful city. On the other hand, Middle Lake city has criminal gangs who create troubles for local guardians. That's why many interesting stories take place here.
Santos is the second major city, and it's famous of its rough climate and ability of law-breakers who also don't make residents' lives easy.
Lake Kingdom also has many towns and villages.
Triville is a small town with big future. The Bridge of Wishes is the only local landmark; People here believe that every amazing journey starts from a sincere wish. Thus, Triville is the place where the series of stories was born.
Death Island was discovered by a mage who went to the north of Lake Kingdom to study polar dragons. He was aware that because of the magnetic anomaly, his magic wouldn’t work there, so he did his best to be ready for such trip – he took all the essential equipment, food, and a strong horse.
In the middle of his way, the mage got in blizzard and had to seek a shelter in one of the caves. Inside, he was amazed by an unusual glowing coming from the crystals growing in the rocks – they shone with dull purple color. Exhausted by his trip, he decided to inspect them in the morning and fell asleep. When he woke up, the sun outside shone brightly, and to his own surprise, the crystals had changed their color to red.
The mage took several samples of these amazing crystals and got back to the continent. In the laboratory, the mage figured out that strong magnetic anomaly on the island charged the crystals, making them change their color in a particular order, going through the whole spectrum within 12 hours. Thus, he showed the samples to the King, and the crystals quickly became popular among the mages as a convenient tool of time measuring.
However, there was one complication – crystal extraction. The same anomaly that charged the crystals of time blocked magic channels. Everyone who stepped on this land temporarily lost their powers, but this effect could become irreversible if the person spent at least a year on Death Island.
Thus, the mages came up with a solution – it was decided to send the prisoners to Death Island and enroll them into extracting labor. The government built special prisons and mines, and hired the wardens who watched the prisoners (usually it is 6–8-month contract to make sure that the wardens can fully recover after their duty).
This solution had a good impact on society of Lake Kingdoms – at first, the criminals who committed serious crimes and were supposed to be sentenced to death, now were isolated and stripped of their powers. Secondly, their labor made crystal extraction process extremely cheap, which made them very affordable around the world.
Some guardians who wanted to prove their loyalty to the crown (to get promotion or to pay for administrative offence) could use this opportunity and become a volunteer warden on the Island for half a year.
Mercy Houses are special government facilities that were designed to decrease the number of destructive Gifts in women. Traditionally, women in Crystal World were considered as prospective wives and mothers who were meant to nurture the future generations. They weren’t allowed to have strong magic that could hurt any human being.
In adolescence, when the Gift manifested and it was considered as ‘potentially dangerous’, a special Gift Hunter was responsible for catching such teenage girl and bringing her to Mercy House for further investigation. There, a specially trained mercy sister usually explored the power and decided if it can be tamed or if the girl needed to get rid of her destructive power.
As no one could take the magic away against human will, the idea of having a ‘wrong Gift’ was widely propagated in communities, especially in schools. Even though destructive Gifts were rare among women, a fear of having such Gift was a subject for serious concern for many teenagers.
In Mercy House, the procedure of removing the Gift included three stages:
1. Investigation. When the girl just got into the facility, she was given sedatives and assistance. Usually, assigned Mercy sister talked to her and evaluated the potential danger of her Gift. In many cases, there were non-fatal powers such as Hypnosis or Paralyzing, so the girls were trained to tame them and then sent back home. However, the Gifts of Flame, Poisoning, or Lightning were red flagged, so the Girls were sent to the next stage of Gift removal procedure.
2. Negotiation. The job of Mercy sister was to persuade the teenage girl to refuse from her Gift voluntarily. The sisters usually answered all the questions and soothed worries. In fact, they tried to enliven a hope that this risky procedure might end up successfully, without a full loss of magic. In fact, this chance for recovery was just a lie.
3. Loss of magic. During the procedure, an assigned mage burned magic channels completely. Later, the girls were sent away to the closed reservations for Incapables where they couldn’t even contact their families. The information about the last stage was hidden from society, and only few members of Mercy sorority knew the whole truth. Of course, until Lana figured everything out.
When the truth about Mercy Houses became viral, it was decided to shut these facilities down. The government refused to take responsibility and explained this shameful failure and miscommunication with Gift collectors. However, there was a good outcome – now women were allowed to use their destructive Gifts to protect people. Many of them chose to become guardians.
The nature of Crystal World is abundant and whimsical. All the herbs and flowers have useful elements, so mages and witches use them to prepare various mixtures and potions. For instance, chamomile and mint have strong sedative effect, so these ingredients are used as foundations for relaxing teas.
Many flowers have unique energy, so their buds open at dusk, and they glow, illuminating the space around. Mages learned to select such plants and use them for decorating their rooms and adding more colors into their interiors.
Trees also vary depending on the climate zone. In the areas where seasons change, such as Lake Kingdom, the trees are covered with moss, making the barks shine. The color of the tree trunks changes depending on the season:
Spring – from light blue to mint-green
Summer – bright green
Fall – from orange to red and dull purple
Winter – the moss fades away, and the naked barks shine with sapphire blue color
In warmer regions the barks might have brighter colors, such as indigo or magenta.
Picture: The night forest near Triville. The illustration is from Ghost
FAUNA AND DRAGONS
The animal world contains multiple species of fish, birds, and mammals. Many mages have cats, dogs, bunnies, and other small pets. Considering that the most popular transport is horse-drawn, there are many kinds of horses that people keep at their stables.
The most unusual creatures are dragons. They prefer to live in wild areas and roam free, triggering the curiosity of scientists and adventurists who periodically visit their habitats to observe them. Eventually, the mages find a way to tame these reptiles and raise them as domesticated animals.
Picture: The dragon habitat in High Canyons. The illustration is from The Academy
In later stories dragons become important companions for the guardians who are involved in defense forces.
Here is the classification of the most popular dragons:
Time is merciless, as mages say, so we must use it wisely. In Crystal World, all mages measure daytime using special time crystals.
Until people discovered time crystals in a cave on Death Island, they used sunlight to count hours and days. Now they can just look at their pocket crystal that changes its color gradually. When the day starts, it is red at 12am, then it becomes orange, yellow, and so on until it goes through the whole spectrum and becomes red again at 12 pm.
Thus, twice a day, time goes around this rainbow circle:
Picture: Time measurement guide
Mages like decorating public places with these crystals because this is how everyone in a town or in a city can keep a track of time. Plus, it looks beautiful. You will find many such places in the stories - a fountain on the central plaza in Santos, the bridge of wishes in Triville.
Crystal World is inhabited by mages but there are people who don’t have power, and they are called Incapables. Who they are and where they came from?
Historically, people who were sentenced to imprisonment on Death Island, eventually lost their magic. When these prisoners retired or deserved their freedom because of their good behavior, they were allowed to come back to the continent. But without magic and despised by society, they couldn’t find a peace. Thus, they were sent to special closed reservations, usually to the small villages hidden in the forests, where they could spend the rest of their lives with their families.
Then the real problem appeared - communities of Incapables grew and multiplied, and not only because of the number of returning prisoners. There were also natural reasons such as births of Incapable kids. Incapables were always considered as “cursed” creatures because they not only lacked magic – they also spread their curse to their prosperity. The ex-prisoners’ kids became Incapables, too, even if their chosen women had magic.
To control the population of Incapables, the royal law limited their access to the civilized world. Thus, all Incapables who wished to work in the cities, were obliged to pass a special exam and get a permit. There were many limitations on their lives. For example, they were not allowed to marry mages and start a family outside of their reservations.
With time, Incapables became a source of cheap labor. They were hired to work on farms, to clean houses, and to do other low-paid jobs, letting the mages focus on education and developing their careers. This inequality existed for centuries. Incapables kept being obedient because people with magic always were considered as superior who naturally had more rights and privileges. However, this system, as many others in this society, started cracking with time. One day Incapables will get their voice and start fighting for their freedom.
SOUL LIGHT AND SPELLS
Everyone in Crystal World (excluding Incapables) has magic. People can evoke their visible energy and use it as a foundation for different spells. This visible life energy is called Light, or the Light of the soul. It has a unique color and structure because everyone’s life energy is different and there are no two identical samples of it.
Thus, mages use their Light to create unique lockers on their doors or sign important documents such as a will, bank loan, or business contract. In terms of structure and color Light can be plain, it might contain sparkles, spots, or strips of the other shades and colors; it might be sparkling or just matte.
Magic channels are located on fingertips and people can release their energy through these channels (they usually form an energy ball in their palms). That’s why when the criminal gets caught, the guardians use blocking cuffs to prevent the usage of destructive spells against them.
All mages are able to release their Light from childhood, and they are introduced to applied magic in middle school. So, what is applied magic?
Applied Magic (Spells)
Life energy or Light is a foundation for different spells, such as Fireballs, Paralyzing spells, and all other temporary spells from the table below.
People who develop their skills and boost their stamina, usually become professional magicians, wizards (a mage of a high rank), or witches (the mages who perform illegal activity).
Most people have basic knowledge and develop only skills that are useful in their future career. For instance, guardians shoot criminals with Paralyzing spells to deactivate them; detectives use Searching spells to find the missing person; and doctors can check the patients with a special Revealing spell to figure out a diagnosis.
Picture: Kyle is trying to use Searching spell to find a missing school girl. The illustration is from Ghost
All these spells are temporary, which means that every person can create an easy or advanced spell just to use it quickly.
Most easy spells are allowed for wide usage, and some are forbidden to use against people because they can be fatal (such as fireballs) . People who use forbidden spells against other living things might be punished and even imprisoned.
Applied magic is not a tricky task, but Gifts are another pair of shoes.
Gift is a unique magic capacity that manifests in adolescence. Each time it happens under certain circumstances, often under a strong emotional turmoil.
There are many Gifts in Crystal World, some of them are common, and some of them are very rare (such as time magic). Each Gift has its limitations. Many people can’t use their Gifts against blood relatives and people they love (it is called genetic blockage or emotional blockage). The only common limitation between all Gifts is inability to avert death.
You can find more information about the most known Gifts in this table:
From early childhood, all the mages are told to use their Gift for good purposes. It is forbidden to use magic powers against living creatures if it causes harm.
The guardians are equal to police forces. They are responsible for catching lawbreakers and minimizing any criminal activity. The word Guardian takes its roots from ancient times when the primary job of defense forces was limited to guard a king and a law. Nowadays, this term is used for all the members of security and defense. Each guardian has a military rank, such as sergeants, captains, lieutenants, generals, and so on.
How to become a guardian?
Everything starts with a special Guardian Academy. After cadets successfuly complete their 2 years of studying, they receive multiple career opportunities. They can choose to become detectives, criminal experts, instructors, or to continue their training in military forces.
Each town and city have their own Guardian House which provides safety on the streets, investigates the accidents when someone uses forbidden spells, and does its best to prevent crimes. The guardians also check the areas near the town for any illegal activity of local witches. A guardian team usually consists of different talented mages, as a unique combination of Gifts lets them work more effectively.
A shift in traditions
Historically, only men were allowed to become guardians, as people believed that they make the best warriors. In the era of Mercy Houses, every Guardian House had a special Gift Hunter whose identity was kept secret. He reported about teenagers with suspicious Gifts once it manifested.
With time, women became allowed to perform the guardian duties. In Two Worlds series, there are two stories about females who made this shift possible – Ghost and The Academy.
Picture: Lana enrolls into murder investigation and occasionally shoots Richard with Paralyzing spell. The illustration is from Ghost
TRADITIONS AND CELEBRATIONS
In Crystal World, people have three most significant life-changing events:
Birth. Usually, a new-born baby brings a great joy to the family. Most mages celebrate a new birth in a narrow family circle. Within three months after birth, parents bring their child to the local church for connecting with Divine power. Mages believe that each person has a talent that will reveal itself fully in adolescence, and they pray that every child will eventually find his or her path in life.
Marriage. When two people decide to tie their lives and destinies, they pronounce their oaths in front of their families and ask Divine power to bless their union. There are no strict requirements for celebrating love, so people often organize such events depending on their personal preferences and budget. Usually, the bride wears an elegant dress of light color, and a groom wears a matching costume. They invite their families and friends to share this day with them.
Funerals. When someone passes away, family members organize a burial ceremony. In Lake Kingdom, the ashes are placed in the ground where the relatives plant the flowers. Traditionally, people wear grey to express their sorrow. Mages believe that the death of physical body is the beginning of another spiritual journey, so they send their Lights to the sky as a gesture of care and support.
Besides the key life moments, mages love social events, so they have many traditional balls and rituals to celebrate life and honor people who passed away.
Here is the list of seasonal events:
New Year Day. This is family holiday that opens each calendar year. Mages believe that nothing can be more fulfilling than starting the year surrounded by people they love. They usually wear cozy clothes and give each other small but meaningful presents.
Winter Ball. This ball is held in the last weekend of January. People gather in public hall rooms and celebrate the ending of the coldest month of the year. They dance and hug to make the ice melt faster. The dress code for this event represents all shades of winter – ladies may wear ball dresses of any shade of blue and gentlemen wear white suits.
Spring Festivals and Parties. When the year is in its bloom, farmers start getting ready for harvesting. On the other end, the students get ready for long-anticipated summer breaks. To help this transition, mages often organize house parties and decorate the yards and hall rooms with fresh flower garlands. There is no strict dress code, however, most ladies prefer to decorate their hair with seasonal flowers. Some mages believe that the beauty of spring itself is already the good reason for celebrating.
Remembrance Day. In the second Sunday of September, mages wear a red poppy flower on the left side of their chest to honor the late guardians and victims of wars.
Autumn Ball. When harvesting is over, it’s time to enjoy bright colors of fall. In the last day of October, mages organize balls-masquerades with traditional dances and hot drinks. They wear fancy dresses and costumes of all shades of flame – yellow, red, orange, or maroon. They also hide their faces under masks, making it harder to recognize them in a crowd.
Picture: Elisa gives Jackie a present on New Year Day.
The illustration is from The Academy