When The World Should Have Ended
Many Millennia ago, the world of Earth was identical to yours. The first change that deviated from your world was the rock that hit it, and annihilated the great beasts that populated its lands. In this version of reality, the impact of this rock was far less dramatic, but much darker and more sinister. This I will speak of later, but what I describe now is the day this world should have ended. The day its primitive inhabitants should have been devoured, screaming as their flesh was flayed, their minds were broken, and their souls were changed forever into something alien and terrifying.
Interesting enough, the people of Mechanika still measure time as you do and even use the same abbreviations for the abstract concept of time and dates, although the names are quite different. They refer to the time before the exodus as B.C., which means Before Calm. They refer to the time after the Exodus as A.D., meaning After Departure. The day the Earth should have ended occurred in the year 3500 B.C.
The humans of this world were still primitive, barely finding enough civility to separate them from mere beasts. On this day, the skies grew black as if the sun was swallowed by some unknown darkness; the clouds boiled and thick black rain fell. Lightning struck the earth, splitting it deep like the wound of some great beast. The hiss of steam made a sound as if the Earth itself was screaming, and the lava that burst forth was like pus and blood from its diseased body.
Some humans tried to fortify their walls and save what they had, but many more fled. They scattered like fleas on a drowning dog or ants under the foot of a great beast. This was merely the signs of their coming, of the growing darkness that gathered at the horizon. In a matter of days, the heralds of their destruction arrived, and the Nautiluses crashed to the Earth. These great husks carried within them the blight of the multiverse; the nightmares of the very fabric of reality; the creatures simply known as the Old Ones. The Nautiluses were the size of a small city, each containing a single terrible horror. Some scarcely filled the great husks; others were of such size that the husks barely contained them. Like poison or diseased pus and vomit they spilled forth from their ships and polluted the world.
Over the next five decades the Old Ones ravaged the world. Some spread out and infected the minds of the human communities, turning them into cults that blindly worshipped these unknown powers. Others infected humanity with otherworldly diseases and watched as they fell to disease and mutation. Others simply ravaged the landscapes bending them to their alien needs. For fifty years, they used both strange powers and alien technology - now known as Black Tech - to make this tiny orb of water more to their liking. This would have been the end of all life as this world knew it, if not for the arrival of another group of strange aliens known simply as the Fae.
The Fae arrived in great flashes of light known as Trods, many arriving at ancient sites that man had used for worship of their old gods long before. They brought with them thousands of strange pods that, after their arrival, began to change and bloom into strange new forms that resembled everything from trees to giant flowers. From these pods came new creatures the Fae used to embark in great and terrible battles with the Old Ones; battles that spanned entire countries. They offered alliances with the humans, and if that failed, they took the humans into service by force. They proved not to be beings of pure good or creatures looking to save this world, but certainly a better alternative than the horrors that were the Old Ones.
The Fae taught humanity how to master flux, the energy of the world, to serve them. This was the origin of magic as Earth knew it. At the same time that the Fae were teaching humanity magic, the Old Ones were mutating their cultists, breeding into them strange powers, and arming them with dark technology that harnessed flux as well, technology known as artifice. Flux was used as a weapon by men and monster alike, becoming clear that whether by Magic or Artifice, it was really just two sides of the same coin. Eventually a race previously unknown to the humans, the Fae, or even the Old Ones - came forth, calling themselves dwarves. The dwarves took up arms on both sides of the war, causing a schism among their own kind. Lastly, from somewhere still unknown, came the goblins. They were a strange race barely tolerated by either side and saw much abuse and humiliation from simply trying to survive where they could.
Over the next 250 years, the world became a battlefield; because of this, the very shape and placement of the continents shifted and moved, making it very different from your version of Earth. The landmasses of the Americas were found by ancient forces and by necessity humanity spread across the globe far earlier than in your world. Great wartime atrocities came to be, and humanity fought alongside many alien beings, worshipping them as gods or demons. Great structures of impossible horror and massive scope were constructed. The world was altered forever.
This Great War spanned millennia, and eventually the Fae seemed to pull ahead. For a while humanity and the Fae seemed to experience a great period where the Fae were worshipped as gods and the Old Ones were pushed back to dark areas of the world. The few that managed to hold out in their last remaining strongholds were viewed as demons and horrors and were not to be tolerated. This period of peace however also ended, without warning, about 1000 years ago, when almost all the Fae disappeared in what was called the Great Exodus.
This new age is called the Second Age and has been titled the Age of Blood and Steam. Horrible wars broke out as those left behind, human, Fae, goblin and all others attempted to carve out empires for themselves. This chaos created the world we have now, resulting in empires that up to 100 years ago were tearing each other apart on a daily basis. Over the 800 year lapse the dwarves had all but gone into myth, and the old one black tech had been lost to most of the world, save for a few remaining pieces in operation. The age, however, was not to last.
In the English Channel, a huge landmass the size of Manhattan emerged from beyond the depths of the ocean and came to rest, hovering a mile above the water in mid-air. It seemed to be constructed of earth and some metal unknown to any scholar. Suddenly all eyes were on this enormous piece of Black Tech, and the powers that lay within the floating city were wanted by every empire. Some even guessed this may have been the lost island of Atlantis, long ago sunk by the Fae to drown one of the Old Ones and its ilk. The empires once again turned on each other and focused on this new discovery creating a horrific bloodbath like no other. The one thing the empires couldn’t have predicted was the appearance of the dwarven aerial armada. 100’s of ships that flew in the air and were filled with dwarves and strange new technology they called machina.
What could have been another player in the war, and a force to add even more bloodshed to the entire disaster, instead led to an amazing turning point. The armada demanded a parley, and promised to share what they knew, not only of the island, but of this new technology in general. In return, each empire must acknowledge each other’s reign and must agree upon a truce to explore the great city and discover what alien power this place held. Within months, the wars came to a close, and the island was named Mechanika, as was the truce that created this uneasy peace.
This leads us to the present, a world where strange bedfellows sit in uneasy harmony, where machina has evolved with input from other races, and magic still echoes through everyday use. The island of Mechanika has become a beacon for all people, and a unique place where all empires hold equal sway. This world has also begun to birth a new social group of people, those who seem to bear greater power than the average person and use their unique talents to make their mark in the world. This group is known as the new thinkers, The Nouveau. This world is a parody of the Victorian age your world knows, but is in many ways different. I invite you to read on and find the parallels and the divergences and see what could have been if these horrors had discovered your reality.