The first settlers arrived here by boat over 6,000 years ago… and promptly found themselves in a strange land. It wasn’t the world they knew, that was certain from the first. A different moon in the sky, strange animals that wandered the plains, and even stranger people roamed this new realm, most of them speaking languages that were as alien as their appearance. Adaptation was the key to their survival. The travelers had been traders and explorers in the world that they had called home, and once the shock of dislocation wore off, they traveled farther inland from the northern coast where they had landed.
Mysteries abounded: monstrously huge ruins dotted the landscape, and all around was the resonance of an ancient catastrophe. Eventually the explorers separated and settled where they would. Calling themselves Merchant Houses, they formed from the family units that had originally arrived in this world, or had formed shortly after. They never lost track of their origins though, and always gave thought to the world that they had left behind, and the green isle that had been their home. Over the millennium the Houses prospered and expanded throughout the world. Holding fast to their ancient laws of hospitality, fairness and ethics …they became a respected moderating force in society and eventually became the society.
The society they ended up producing morphed into a hybrid of the Celtic clan system, and that of the Venetian merchant princes. Political maneuvering eventually became the rule of the day as the prevailing governments evolved into a triumvirate system of Merchant Houses/Clans, Municipal Government, and a functioning Judiciary. Eventually maneuvering morphed into open war between Houses.
Until the end of the world that is…
Over 15 years after the end of the Great House War, tensions begin to flare again as the primary instigator of the last conflict: Berand Bellisarius disappears with the bulk of his entire House in tow, ready to begin his war again.
Initially, the enemies of House Bellisarius expected their battle to be easy: they soon learned differently as they discovered that Bellisarius and his House had apparently discovered ancient technology that had been lost in the ruins that allowed them to change their form, and to literally do things that violate the accepted laws of physics.
But other people have other secrets as well: the insectoid Threllichock, one of the most recent races to reach sentience in the world, have ancient stories and tales throughout their society that suggest the current conflict mirrors another that came thousands of years before the first of the explorers reached this world; a conflict that was responsible for the Threllichock gaining sentience in the first place. A group of Urban Explorers discover an interconnecting series of ruins underneath the worlds largest city…
…ruins that contain the remains of a mass suicide that numbers millions of people.
Now independent mercenaries, teenage urban explorers, the heir to the eldest of the Houses, wealthy socialites, scientists, and a large cross section of society suddenly find themselves in the front lines of a war where existance itself is the ultimate prize…
…and death is no longer forever.