300 years ago, a mysterious, cataclysmic explosion shook the entire planet. The resulting natural disasters wiped out the majority of Earth’s population within weeks and turned most of its surface into an uninhabitable wasteland. This event came to be known as the Day of Purgation.
Years later, the largest surviving group emerged from underground shelters and established a foothold that would eventually become the World Capital, with the World Council as its governing body. As the remnants of mankind tried to rebuild a new society, they divided into four ideological factions: the Path of Progress, the Path of Harmony, the Path of Salvation and, the Path of Dominance.
Over the years, they learned to live in a fragile peace and began to prosper in their own way. All four factions walk their own path, outside the authority of the World Council, which acted as a global peacekeeping among the Paths. Their Leaders agreed to meet at the annual summit, where each of them would have influence in decisions regarding the Capital’s future.
When the first expeditions reached the desolate Ground Zero of the mysterious explosion, the explorers found an unknown material. Neutronium, as the new substance was called, became widely used as building material for the most prestigious projects thanks to its light but extremely durable nature. The first of these projects was the construction of the five Monuments, ordered by the Council to commemorate the coming 300th anniversary of the Day of Purgation.
In celebration of the 300th anniversary, delegations of the four Paths gathered at the World Capital, but instead of remembrance, they witnessed Time Rifts opening on the Monuments. This revealed the true power of the mysterious Neutronium, which is that, when exposed to energy, it is capable of opening wormholes through time. A grim message from the future made the people of New Earth realize that the Purgation was the result of the first of such wormholes, transferring back the energy of the catastrophic future impact of a Neutronium asteroid. This new impact can devastate not only humanity's past, but also humanity's future. With such a threat on the horizon, the Paths must do everything to prepare—and survive.
The huge settlement of the World Capital is considered to be the center of New Earth’s society and home to the civilized population that refused to join any one of the Paths. While the common people of the Capital live under the bunker-like dome known as the Inner Circle, the wealthiest families and the World Council are housed in the Council Tower. Their lives are relatively peaceful, and they can enjoy every benefit that the Capital’s state-of-the-art technology offers. The Capital’s dangerous and chaotic suburbs, called the Rim, house those who are stuck outside of the Inner Circle but still live under the Capital’s protective force field.
Not far from the Capital stand the Three Pillars, New Earth’s biggest and most efficient water purification system, which supplies the Capital through a large-scale network of pipelines. The mine lying beneath the mountain ranges surrounding the Capital is the result of a massive mining operation to secure a reliable source of Uranium, Titanium and Gold - and occasionally Neutronium.
The known lands of the desolate Old World are now referred to as the Outback: a deadly wasteland where traversing is ill-advised without sufficient protection due to drought, radiation, and hazardous weather conditions. Nonetheless, those who disagree with the Paths' ideologies and the World Council’s control live in constant danger, in exchange for their freedom, in small settlements scattered across the Outback. Lately, rumor has spread that some of the nomad tribes possess Neutronium, which helps them adapt to the Outback’s radiation.
The rest of New Earth’s population found home in one of the Paths' Capitals.
A lush oasis in the dry wasteland of New Earth, Wellspring is shielded by a volcanic mountain range that allowed some extremely tough plants to survive the cataclysm and flourish on for decades. This growth was centered at a mysterious spring, giving life to a wide range of strange new species of plants. The most important of these species is the Talma, the Path of Harmony’s symbolic and mysterious clambering plant that grows upon the gigantic trellis dome raised above the city, creating an effective natural protection against the harsh outside weather conditions and the toxic atmosphere. It took decades for the settlers of Wellspring to establish the safe haven that it is today but what they created truly resembles a paradise on Earth - people living in perfect balance with themselves and the surrounding nature, respecting other lifeforms just as much as their own.
At the time of the Day of Purgation 300 years ago, the Atlantean, now home to the Path of Dominance, was a state-of-the-art military vessel used to evacuate doomed cities and transport the greatest minds of humanity to relative safety. However, it quickly became the only safe place for the crew and the passengers to survive - powered by solar panels and packed with supplies, food, and a prototype water purification system, the Atlantean was equipped with everything needed to go on almost indefinitely without docking. In the following decades, the Atlantean grew from a simple battlecruiser to a gargantuan floating city that retained some ship-like features. For this constant expansion, the ship’s engineers had to use materials salvaged from ruined coastal cities and shipwrecks, giving it a fairly chaotic overall look.
If the Apex of Humanity – the sprawling, hovering capital of the Path of Progress – had to be described with one phrase, it would be "Venice of the Skies." The city’s architects carefully preserved the Byzantine, Baroque, Gothic, and Renaissance styles of the original, now submerged Italian city. However, at every corner, classical architecture is entwined with state-of-the-art technology, showcasing that the Path of Progress is second to none in scientific advancement. They also preserved humanity’s thirst for culture; with many galleries, cafés, museums, and theaters, the Apex is home to a new renaissance in art, poetry, and film. The city’s beautiful buildings are connected by the Cloudways, a high-speed transport network where Sky Gondolas are the most common form of transportation.
Today, the breathtaking, underground realm of the Path of Salvation is called Purgatory: a vast network of halls, tunnels, and caverns that sprawls deep beneath the surface. The huge subterranean halls are dimly lit with sunlight, which is channeled in through grooves hollowed in the rocks. These grooves are filled with diamonds and other kinds of precious gems – perfect materials for transmitting light, being devoid of any financial value in the new world. The subterranean city gives the mixed impression of a medieval settlement equipped with modern technology. Power and hot water are supplied by geothermal plants deep below the cityscape, circulated through the Purgatory in a massive pipeline network. Living underground for generations made the denizens of the Purgatory adapt to the harsh circumstances – they are pale and short in stature but incredibly strong and tough. Over the decades, their sight gradually weakened by the dimly lit environment, but their hearing and smelling became much better than that of the surface dwellers.
Even though she was raised in a loving family, Zaida still left when she found out she was an adopted child and sought to find her real parents. She never found a trace of them, but she learned something more important along the way: it’s not where we are coming from, but where we are going that counts.
From then on, she worked hard to become a candidate for the next election ceremony, and though she was eventually elected the female leader of the Path of Harmony, it was hard for her to get along with the new Patriarch.
She was ambitious and confident and had a natural charisma, while Haulani was more of a dreamer and an adventurer. Zaida decided to take leadership into her own hands but slowly realized there was no need to fight — Haulani was happy with her being in charge of Wellspring’s politics. Finally letting go of her competitive attitude, with time she became a wise and fair leader of her people by Haulani’s side.
Patriarch Haulani is the youngest Leader in the Path’s history. But, as wisdom and life experience are among the most important virtues of the Path’s society, it was a long way for him to earn the respect of his people and his partner, Zaida.
Haulani had always been more into adventures than politics, and the years spent on the exploration missions with the Cultivators not only hardened his resolve but also revealed his remarkable courage and prowess. Thanks to the Cultivators’ tireless work under Haulani’s command, Wellspring’s lush vegetation started spreading rapidly across the wastelands of New Earth, claiming more and more living space for the Path of Harmony.
In time, Zaida realized she underestimated Haulani, and they started getting closer to each other. Haulani’s days as a Cultivator are now behind him, and he’s leading the Path of Harmony in a perfect consensus with Matriarch Zaida.
With his mother dying during childbirth and his father subconsciously blaming him for her death, young Trenton Wolfe spent most of his time alone on the Atlantean's Bridge. Growing up around the battle-hardened crew, he gained a deep admiration for the Path's values of discipline and valor. He viewed his father as a weak leader and aspired to become a man that perfectly embodied the Path of Dominance. When the time came, he took the Captain's Oath as a man known for his strong and serious character.
His serious character, though, hides a dark secret: during one of his raids, where nomads are captured in the Outback and brought back to the ship for indoctrination, he accidentally murdered one of his fellow raiders to set free a captured woman with whom he had become romantically involved.
After realizing that he could not stop thinking of this woman, Wolfe began participating in every one of the area’s raids, hoping to find her. When he finally did, he learned that the child in her arms was his daughter. Unable to accept the dangerous life she would have in the Outback, Wolfe brought his daughter to the only place where he could keep her safe, the Atlantean.
Without any clear memories of her childhood, all Samira knows is that she was taken from the mainland at a very young age and was indoctrinated as a Treasure Hunter. How an outsider like her had been chosen to be part of the highest-regarded classes in the Echelon remained unclear to her and her fellow trainees.
Knowing that they envied and despised her only drove her to work twice as hard. Soon, her exceptional agility, endurance, and skill became apparent to everyone, and, slowly, her fellow Treasure Hunters' envy turned into admiration.
It wasn’t long until she took over the leadership of the Treasure Hunters’ class, at an exceptionally young age. Since then, she has led countless successful missions to the remnants of the Old World and she reports directly to Captain Wolfe.
Cornella became obsessed with acquiring knowledge at a very young age, spending all of her time studying, researching, and experimenting, just to live up to the image her parents had painted of her. Her isolation from others in her pursuit of knowledge caused her social skills to degrade, which never bothered her as she found relationships to be a waste of time.
When Cornella decided to become a member of the Patron’s Court, she knew she had to gain support from the right people. She expanded her knowledge in psychology, sociology, and human behavior so that she could approach people of importance in a scientific way, earning their trust through manipulation.
Each well-calculated step of hers eventually led to her securing a place in the Patron’s Court as Chief Executive Librarian, obtaining unlimited access to all of the knowledge in the Path’s possession. Today, she leads all of the major projects in research and development, and she is both feared and admired for her stone-cold ambition.
Valerian was born with an unknown disease that later manifested into physical disabilities. Although he was unable to live a normal life, his unusually high intellect resulted in him being ostracized by the other kids.
Growing up, he began to realize what a gift his genius was, and, fueled by his dedication to correct his physical disabilities, Valerian devoted all of his time and energy to studying one of the most advanced technologies of the Path of Progress: genetic engineering. Within a few years, he became one of the elite scientists, called the Shapers, with the access to tools to not only heal his disabled body to but reach a new level in genetic engineering and finally find a way to enhance the capabilities of the human body beyond aesthetic corrections.
Today, Valerian is the Principal of the Shapers' Institue, working with his team of the Path's best scientists to perfect his technology of genetic enhancements.
Twin Sister and second-in-command to Caratacus, Amena serves as the High Sunwalker to the Path of Salvation. She leads the Sunwalkers, the Path's most loyal and devout followers, on conversion missions to the surface and diplomatic missions to the World Council, where she is well-recognized and respected for her refined diplomatic skills.
Despite all of the years she has spent on missionary work, she believes that conversion may not be the only way to unite humanity under the banner of the Path of Salvation. Of course, she is still faithful to the Path and also wise enough to keep her views to herself.
In addition to her diplomatic skills, she is one of the Path’s most gifted and enthusiastic engineers. Even though her right arm had to be replaced with a mechanical one following an accident, she is still developing new models of the Pilgrim Exosuit.
Caratacus is the male descendant of the Drokhaton Dynasty and thus, by tradition, the current Shepherd of the Path of Salvation. Besides preserving the Path’s strong relation to God, he has a strong sense of responsibility for the well-being and prosperity of Purgatory and its citizens.
Caratacus has devoted his life to researching Neutronium and time travel. Through this, he secretly developed a forward-looping technique that can open the Time Rift to an infinite number of potential futures. Because of his strong sense of responsibility, Caratacus is constantly visiting these futures in order to prepare for anything that could pose a threat to his people.
Due to the deep connection that he shares with his twin sister, Amena, that causes them to feel each other's emotions and pain and the stress of his research into the future, Caratacus suffers from repeated bouts of weakness. In order to work through these periods, he redesigned his staff into a working tool capable of replacing the functions of a second arm.