Lexington, Kentucky, is a fair and wonderful city. Well educated, over the 39% of the citizens has at least one university degree, multicultural and multiethnical and proud to support the diversity of its inhabitants, it’s a small pearl in the central west of the United States. Theatres, a symphonic orchestra, multiple cultural pride parades and a flourishing economy with a very low unemployment rate, a good public university and an excellent private one, the Transylvania University, everything shows that Lexington is the most perfect city you can possibly desire to live in.
Could such perfection be natural? Of course not. Or, at least, not completely in its own.
Behind the scenes of Lexington’s politics and society, hides a well-organized and absolutely secret power called the Shadow Council. It holds representatives from various social layers of the city, from the most powerful figures to the most common ones. The goal of the Council is one, and one alone: keep Lexington a perfect place, unbeknownst from its own citizens. Their one and only reason to exist and act it’s to protect their citizens and let them live their peaceful and productive lives in peace.
That’s the main reason Lexington’s criminality rate is so low. Even if gangs and criminals do exist, when they are captured they get very fast days in courts before landing either in the out-of-town correctional facility or, for the worst cases, in psychiatric hospitals away from the city. If and when they do come back, ending their due sentences, they all are well-reformed men and women, productive members of the society, with no desire to ever come back to the bad deeds that landed them in prison or hospital, but they do look so very different, mentally and psychologically, from the people they were when they left. On the other hand, many never come back at all, and many more simply disappear, or tragically die during shootouts arrests. This is the main reason why Lord of the Flies created the UnderTown Hive: to give a resting place for those who are principally petty criminals who wouldn’t deserve a death sentence for their mischiefs. The Shadow Council promotes and protects those strange misshappens, to be sure that Lexington stays safe and protected.
William Stewart Halsted III is the eldest son of the Director General of Lexington Central Medical Center, the main hospital in town. His father, William Halsted II, is a very powerful man, and he is married with Miranda de Vallecourt, a famous fashion expert. William II has a seat in the Shadow Council.
Dorian Wellington-Harrower is the only surviving son of Richard and Emily, civil and penal lawyers of exceptional fame and fortune who dedicated their whole lives to their jobs, rising through the ranks of Lexington’s “aristocracy” both for their richness and for their innate ability to create and keep powerful alliances and friendships. As powerful and good as they are, they don’t have a seat in the Shadow Council.
Chrystabella Lee Sweetheart is the eldest daughter of Wilson Sweetheart, CEO of the Jif Peanut Butter Factory, the biggest facility in town and in the world, and of his sadly departed wife, Morgana Sweetheart, born Leshrac but since her wedding completely detached by her powerful family. Wilson has a seat in the Shadow Council, as well.
In different moments of their lives, the three kids, who had been friends since a very early age, due to the friendship of their parents, lived through an important trauma who awoke Magic in them.
The Magic of the world is different from anything lore and folklore clearly state, even if some truth can be fathomed through a deep and precise combing of tales and stories. Magic, potentially, exists in everyone. Every human being can discover his own powers, if certain conditions are meet.
First of all, there are psychological blocks that can manifest. Too much faith, for example, it’s a powerful wall between someone and its magic awakening.
Then, magic has to be unlocked in some way, and this unlocking unmistakeably happens after a severe and deep trauma that the individual overtakes, at any moment of his or her life. This creates a detachment of a part of the future wizard personality which manifest itself in the form of a Familiar, tied to a Faction Beyond the Veil, depending on the person’s tendencies and affinities.
Familiars are emanations of the wizard itself, but are self-sufficient creatures with their own goals and desires. Their only true limit is the necessity of remaining always near their wizard, but they have a will of their own. They have two main manifestations: as an animal in the real world and their spirit form, which usually reflects their Faction features.
Magic works by words of power that the magic wielder comes to know as his or her power grows. There are two kinds of words: power words and elements. The elements (Water, Fire, Air, Earth, Dark and Light) are the only powers that can be used to generate sudden surges of energy to create immediate effects of damage, utility or protection called Sorceries. For more complex spells, Power Words are required, as well as time to concoct the exact spell and physical focuses and ingredients. It usually takes a Laboratory where the Mage, or as more often Mages, can research and create the spell, usually investing less time by collaborating. Some spells become so natural and often used that the users can cast them as they were Sorceries, but they are only a limited number and with a specific set of options.
In addition to Power Words, Mages can specialize in Spell Masteries, another set of words that adds to the specific effect that a Spell must have.
The three young mages of Lexington, one by one, discovered their own powers and then came to know the fact that, by a strange turn of destiny, their best friends shared the same secret. So Dorian found himself quite good in divination and manipulation of light, William had a penchant for healing and manipulating water, while Chrystabella was particularly talented in displace things, control minds and setting fire to nearly anything she wanted. They spent years without any mean of wielding more powerful magic than their Sorceries or basic spells, though, because they lacked a Laboratory and any kind of magic books or items they didn’t even know where to start to search for.
Until, one day, Dorian had a strange vision of his…