Writers' Bible - World of Project ZEAL
The purpose of this document was to explain and codify the world of Project ZEAL, including its locations, time periods, magic, and characters. Remember that ZEAL is a dimension in which Zeal never fell, and was able to blossom into a greater civilization.
Background of Project Zeal
At some point in time, ZEAL began to research time and alternate dimensions in an extensive, scholastic manner. Upon realizing the potential of what they were dealing with, the Crown began to worry that something might go terribly wrong and that ZEAL might be brought to ruin or destroyed entirely by its own hand or that of another. To co-ordinate and monitor research on space-time, the Crown established the Centre of Temporal and Dimensional Research and created a body - the Council - to manage it. While conducting various experiments, the ultimate goal of the Council was to see to it that no harm came to ZEAL - inparticularly the Crown - in the process.
As any organization with great power tends to do, the Council wandered from its original goal of maintaining order and began to assume more and more power for itself in a slow and largely unnoticed process. While the Council was originally established in secret, over time they simply vanished from all observation. No one, save the Crown, gave them a further thought, and even the royal line had trouble keeping tabs on the shadowy collective's ongoings. Without the general populace knowing, the Council began to conduct research and rewrite history in not only other timelines, but even its own.
While the Council had been in existence for some time, it had not assumed the degree of power it holds over Zealian society now until the advent of immortality. Without anyone but the royal family themselves knowing it, the Council effectively governs the kingdom through the Crown - which has now been reduced to being little more than a puppet.
With their recent (relatively) expansion of power, talk of the Council has arisen once more. While knowing little of it, many Zealians speculate about the truth - although they know not how deep the rabbit hole winds. Within the royal family itself - who for some time have merely accepted their status as masks - there are those who now plot the restoration of their honour and seek to overthrow the Council, though they dare not go public yet with such a rebellion out of fear for their lives.
Centre for Dimensional Research & ZEAL Process
The Centre for Dimensional Research is a large complex resting on its own island. There are some underground levels, and several stories topside; within it mostly are engineers, mechanics, researchers and analysts who dissect information gathered from research. Four notable room exists -- the Dispatch Chamber, the Observation Deck, the Royal Prison, and the Primary Construct. The Dispatch Chamber contains a large Gate frame that gathers coordinates sent from the Construct and allows travel of large groups of people between dimensions (or time, if such a thing was needed). The Observation Deck, using spectator magic, is capable of monitoring a target dimension in a variety of ways, even perhaps projecting the world around a viewer (similar to Quantum Leap or the Holodeck of Star Trek). The Royal Prison is, in actuality, a branch of the REAL royal prison on the main continent, and is equipped with cutting edge equipment for research done on dimensional prisoners. Lastly, the Primary Construct, by far the most important area of the Centre, contains three vital machines -- firstly, the locator rests there, on which an object is placed and its quantum signatures examined for copies in other dimensions. Secondly, a viewing port using spectator magic exists to its left. Lastly, on the locator's right is a Gate frame that can accomodate about two people, used for immediate "service" access to a dimension if something goes awry and an official dispatch cannot be arranged.
Finally, I've written that dimensions are destroyed after full research is conducted by the releasing of the Frozen Flame within the target dimension to lock level D (a sensitive level, suggested by Chronopolis's usage of it in the Time Crash). Once that is done, a directive is established via the Flame directly to Lavos that forces him to erupt. Done in prehistoric time, this ensures that humanity will never come to pass, and the slate is wiped clean of ZEALian interference and its effects.
Combat ability and comparisons
I'm sure its crossed someone's mind exactly how Keystonians fare against the Zealians in combat, and for that matter, how various Zealians stack up against each other. Bear in mind that the following is not how EVERY SINGLE encounter would play out, but rather a rough guideline. Consider this the "definitive" list as the structure has probably changed a little since the very beginning of our considerations.
(Beginning with the weakest... Characters a tier below another have virtually no chance against the character above in a one-on-one fight to the death.)
Keystonian Citizens - The absolute weakest of the weak. These people are your genetic townfolk, soliders, shopkeepers, farmers, whatever. Pretty much fodder for anyone above them.
Zealian Citizens - Citizens of Zeal who lack innate magical talent.
Zealian Citizens II - Citizens of Zeal who have innate magical talent, but have not pursued arcane education of any sort, barring "scientific" magic.
Keystonian Heroes/Heroines - This is the class Gaspar's chosen come from. Note that this considers the characters to be at a "beginning" level of strength - as one who possesses raw talent, but has never set out on an adventure. Over the course of the fic there should be some clear progression from this category. Also worth noting that your character may be quite the veteran to adventure and thus beyond this stage to some degree.
Zealian Wizards - Although notably more powerful than the Keystonian Heroes/Heroines, Zealian Wizards are far from god-like. A small group of heroes & heroines should be capable of defeating one of these without too much difficulty - and while extraordinarily difficult, it is possible for a hero or heroine to defeat a wizard one-on-one.
Zealian Novice Mages - Those who have graduated from the title of "Wizard" and enrolled in one of the high schools of magic, but has not yet sufficently mastered their art.
Nanashi - Very dangerous. Chances are very high that if you encounter a Nanashi, you will not be getting the first shot on them. However, should a group of heroes/heroines/wizards have the chance to return fire, victory is quite possible. Note that Nanashi are highly trained assassins and have no qualms about fighting to the very end - in fact, to do otherwise would be cowardice.
Zealian Advanced Mages - Those who have completed their studies at one of the arcane schools and been rewarded their art's "true" coloured subfusc.
Keystonian Legendary Heroes/Heroines - Think of Crono & Co as they confront Lavos. Legendary Heroes & Heroines should have little trouble defending themselves from Nanashi - even Advanced Mages shouldn't be too much of a threat to these hardy adventurers. Still, they are not so powerful to be able to defeat Mages in numbers, so some caution must be exercised.
Zealian Master Mages I - These are members of the Temporal & Necrology Schools who have not only "graduated", but have gone on to teach and conduct research. They are separated from Class II Mages because their talents do not lend themselves to combat. Necrologists are much like "white mages", focusing on healing & "support" magics. The power of Temporal Mages simply does not translate to combat situations very well.
Zealian Royalty - Zealian Royalty are almost always born with tremendous magical power, although exceptions do exist. However, these Zealians almost never study the arcane sciences so their power is very raw - their true potential is not realized.
Zealian Master Mages II - Similar to Class I Mages, these are Sorcerers/Sorceresses, Summoners, and Enchantresses of tremendous power and each of these three each have an advantage in varying situations.
1. Enchantresses - Enchantresses cannot hope to rival a summoner or sorcerer one-on-one as they lack the destructive power of their peers - furthermore, their charms are noticably less effective against close rivals; however, given a few other subjects to work their magic on, they can prove to be very dangerous.
2. Sorcerers & Sorceresses - Sorcerers & Sorceresses wield the greatest destructive power out of the three, but the problem in a one-on-one match is that it takes considerable amounts of time and consentration to cast these incredibly destructive spells - however, they are so adept with elemental magic that they are able to cast multiple spells at the same time, tossing out weaker ones to hold a rival at bay until a more powerful one is ready.
3. Summoners - Summoners are the toughest to take on toe-to-toe because once they summon another being to assist them, they are free to cast their own spells with little need to maintain control over their summoned ally. While powerful summons do take time, they are considerably shorter than the earth-shattering ones wielded by the sorcerer.
Given time, the sorcerer wins. Given people, the enchantress wins. Otherwise, the summoner dominates all.
The Council - Summoners, Sorcerers, Enchantresses, Necrologists, and Temporal Mages of nearly unfathomable power. Their knowledge of their respective arts is supreme. Even groups of Master Mages would fall before their might.
While it is entirely possible that something may rival the Council's might, it is quite unlikely.
One last point worth noting - as stated above, Keystonians are at a strong disadvantage to their Zealian counterparts. Fortunately for the Keystonians, every battle is not a battle to the death. While Keystonians are used to the rough and tumble of battle and hardships of life, Zealians have developed in a world devoid of conflict and nearly all physical pain. Not only are Zealians considerably more frail than Keystonians, but they also lack the mental hardiness Keystonians possess from frequently facing danger. Furthermore, given that Zealians possess eternal life, the idea that someone could end their existence with a simple stab to the heart is particularly frightening - mortality is mortality, after all.
Unless a Zealian is indeed set on fighting to the very end (as the Nanashi are), all a Keystonian needs to do is give 'em a few bruises - maybe a black eye or a bloody nose - and they'll retreat.
As previously noted, not all citizens of Zeal are innate magic users. Over the years, arranged marriages were utilized to "breed" innates, but as arcane potential increased and a more noticable class structure emerged within Zeal, many aristocrats became concerned that widespread innate status would undermine their social power. As a result, "breeding" programs were discontinued and only ~60% of Zeal's population actually possesses the ability to use magic without the aid of the Mammon Machine.
Ideal Timeline Chronology
The Keystone Dimension essentially exists after the events of Chrono Cross, meaning the Time Devourer is long defeated, and history has proceeded normally. This is the history of the Ideal Dimension, constructed on the Best of Both Worlds theory (that when Serge merged the dimensions, they adopted the most positive history that could be balanced possible), and helpful observations by GrayLensman and myself on the axioms and corollaries governing temporal transforms. This timeline is devoid of Crono's time traveling notes, and any time someone comes in from the Ocean Palace incident, keep in mind that they're arriving from the Lavos Timeline's Ocean Palace incident. The guys in the Keystone Dimension are Time Bastard'd.
Also, if you're wondering how this is all so neatly done, remember Time Bastard and Time Traveler's Immunity. In 1006 A.D., I have it listed that Schala blows Wazuki to the Sea of El Nido to save Serge. Well, firstly, Schala no longer exists at the Darkness Beyond Time after Chrono Cross, right? So how can this happen? Well, since she did this across time as a form of time travel, its preserved in history. Regardless of where Wazuki is at this moment in time, also, he'll disappear at the date of his original departure to Chronopolis (crossing the Sea of Eden during Chrono Cross was a form of time travel) due to Time Bastard. Likewise, no matter how the new Serge lives his life up to 1020 A.D., he's going to flat out be erased from existence when Chrono Cross Serge comes back from the Darkness Beyond Time. Masato Kato was clever; the Chrono series takes care of itself pretty well.
A Brief History of the Ideal Dimension wrote: >>65000000 B.C.
-Humans and Reptites evolve and begin to war for control of the planet
-Crono wins Dreamstone from Ayla, and attacks the Reptite Lair to retrieve the Gate Key
-Laruba Village is burned to the ground
-Crono and Ayla defeat Azala
-Lavos lands on the planet, destroying the Tyrano Lair
-Lavos's impact causes an Ice Age which drives the humans underground and kills the Reptites off
-Humans find the Frozen Flame, which begins modern evolution and capacity for magic
-Some humans find the Sun Stone and create Zeal
-The Masamune is initially forged
-Magus becomes the Prophet and has the Gurus exiled
-The Ocean Palace is completed with the Mammon Machine
-Crono frees Melchior; Schala is abducted
-Crono plunges the Ruby Knife into the Mammon Machine
-Lavos awakens; Magus reveals his true identity
-Crono disappears, though saved in the future
-Schala transports the party and Magus to safety
-Schala disappears through a distortion to the Darkness Beyond Time
-Zeal is destroyed by Lavos
-Dalton takes over the Earthbound and Zeal survivors
-Crono's party defeats him and destroys the Blackbird
-The Black Omen forms and rises
-Crono destroys the Black Omen and enters Lavos's Pocket Dimension to defeat him
-Magus comes here to search for Schala
-The Ice Age abates
-The Masamune finds its way to Denadoro Mts.
-Several Zeal treasure boxes are scattered across the planet
-Though Chronopolis does not travel back in time, its staff are still seen
leaving the Sea of Eden and settling El Nido
-Chronopolis defeats Dinopolis
-Records of Fate are presumably installed, but inoperable
-Dragonian survivors live on El Nido
-Guardia is founded
-The Tyrano Lair surfaces as the Giant's Claw
-Dragonians forge Elements and the Chrono Cross
-Demi-humans evolve possibly from Dragonians or Mystic breeding
-Janus comes in from the Ocean Palace incident and is trained by Ozzie
-The war between Guardia and Mystics begins
-Queen Leene marries into Guardia royalty
-Cyrus is killed while recovering the Masamune, and Glenn is turned into Frog
-Magus breaks the Masamune
-Frog removes Cyrus's body to the Northern Ruins
-Crono saves Queen Leene and rescues Marle
-Tata obtains the Hero's Medal from a depressed Frog
-Tata is hailed by the hero; King Guardia is wounded
-Crono holds back the Mystics at Zenan Bridge
-Crono retrieves both halves of the Masamune
-Frog sojourns to Magus's Lair with Crono
-Magus's spell invokes a huge Gate that sends him to 12000 B.C. and Crono's party to 65000000 B.C.
-The Mystics lose the war effort
-Crono saves Fiona's forest; Robo helps replenish it
-Crono defeats the Mystic Warriors
-Frog makes peace with Cyrus at the Northern Ruins
-Crono obtains the Rainbow Shell, which is kept for 400 years
-Frog returns from Chrono Trigger to live out his life
-The Masamune falls asleep and may become demonic
-El Nido is discovered and colonized by mainlanders -The Acacia Dragoons are set up
-Dragonians reach extinction
-Demi-humans are increasingly discriminated against
-Marle's mother dies
-Melchior comes in from the Ocean Palace incident
-Crono and Marle first meet, and depart to eventually save the world at
-Crono is put on trial but escapes to the future
-Melchior repairs the Masamune
-Crono's party obtains a clone of Crono
-Crono's party picks up Robo at Fiona's shrine and speaks of the Entity
-Marle reconciles with her father as Yakra XIII is defeated
-Melchior creates the ultimate weapons and armor
-The Moonlight Parade is held; Crono's party departs to their own eras
-Crono and Marle probably marry
-Kid is introduced to the world with Schala's pendant
-Guardia meets a violent end to Porre; Crono and Marle are involved in
some kind of "incident" (they disappear)
-Acacia Dragoons are rumored to tear up the mainland
-?-Radius kills Garai with the evil Masamune
-Serge is attacked by a panther demon, and is taken to the Sea of El Nido
-Wazuki and Serge depart from the Sea of El Nido, though Wazuki is corrupted
-?-Radius kills Garai with the evil Masamune
-Lucca learns how to craft incomplete Time Eggs, and modifies Kid's pendant
-Wazuki attempts to kill Serge, but Kid saves him in an act of time traveling
--Note: Ideal Dimension Best of Both Worlds starts here. Mostly not fact--
-Belthasar might come in with the Neo-Epoch and stay awhile
-Fargo creates new ship, SS Dawn
-Nikki is entrusted to a traveler
-Acacia incident at the Dead Sea never happens
-Dario lives, and settles down with Riddel
-Radius is Chief of Arni
-Terra Tower doesn't rise
-Nikki tours Marbule, finds Fargo, revelations, Magical Dreamers & happiness
-El Nido is overseen by Porre, but there is not much intervention
-Fritz is in an administrative position on Zenan
-Norris becomes governor of El Nido
-Luccia preserves allegiance to new Vipers; Marcy lives with her
-Greco becomes a major voice in Termina politics by chance
-Sneff performs on the SS Dawn
-Grobyc hunts Porrean bounties
-Pierre searches for the Masamune
-Serge, Kid, and another person come in from the Darkness Beyond Time's
fight with the Time Devourer
-Schala's fate is totally unknown
-These three alone will have buried memories that Chrono Cross ever happened
-Belthasar departs with the Neo-Epoch
-Serge possibly marries Kid
-After long Porre reign, states begin to vie for power once more
-Choras principal dissenter, El Nido a hotbed of conspiracy and revolution
-Vicious attack on Choras briefly brings it under control
-Porre falls and old order of states is restored
-Nations mostly unite into the Central Regime
-Lavos's eruption never takes place
-Belthasar comes in from the Ocean Palace incident, but is Time Bastard'd
as soon as Chrono Cross's Belthasar originally departed for the modern era
to watch Chrono Cross unfold
-Chronopolis and the Time Crash no longer must be built
>>End of Time
-Gaspar comes in from the Ocean Palace incident
-Gaspar and Spekkio assist Crono in his quest
-Gaspar and Spekkio, besides Belthasar, Schala, Lucca, and Serge's party
(Kid and another who fought the Devourer) alone knows that Chrono Cross occurred
In-Depth Details of Magic Types
As noted before, sorcerers & sorceresses are the undisputed masters of elemental magic. Furthermore, outside the royal family, they are the only citizens of Zeal to be allowed to use shadow magic. A few of the more well-known arcane techniques utilized include:
1. Elemental Imbuing: Sorcerers - while rarely resorting to use a weapon themselves - begin their education by learning to endow an object with a desired elemental property. While this may seem trival, learning how to imbue a sword with fire energy without reducing the weapon to a molten heap - and at the same time allowing for it to still actually be wielded by its user - is actually quite an impressive feat. Sorcerers also use this technique to forge armour and jewelry with elemental properties - making it not uncommon to see students with surprising amounts of knowledge in the arts of blacksmithing and goldsmithing.
2. Elemental Focusing: In the process of becoming a wizard, students are taught spells in very basic, cut and dry forms. (Ice I. Ice II. And so on.) Generally, the more powerful forms of these spells are less focused and affect numerous targets. As a sorceress becomes more knowledgable, she learns how to focus or disperse her powers more effectively, striking whoever or whatever she likes with increased force. (In other words, think of Marle's Ice II being channeled at one target instead of everyone.)
3. Elemental Form: A truly terrifying sight to behold; sorcerers bursting into flames or transforming their bodies into water in order to obtain a greater measure of control over a desired element. Although these physical alterations require a great deal of focus and quickly become weary on the caster, master sorcerers are capable of maintaining elemental form effortlessly for prolonged periods of time. One must beware, however, for while changing form encreases a given element's potentcy, it also weakens resistance to other opposing elements.
4. Dual-Casting: Perhaps the most well-known trademark of the sorcerer, upon being recognized as an accomplished student, one is revealed the secret of casting multiple spells at the same time. While most sorcerers will spend the rest of their careers perfecting the technique, anyone who can semi-routinely pull off two spells at once takes great pride in being able to do so.
5. Subconscious Casting: Eventually sorcerers become so powerful - their mastery over the elements so complete - that the natural world appears to simply bow to their whim; candles ignite eeriely as they walk into the room, water freezes into ice as they approach a shore, and so on. To these few sorcerers, the elements respond to their thoughts alone - no verbal prompting or anything of the sort is necessary.
Summoning - Although for the most part, summoners create beings within the properties of their own choosing, there are a few techniques that all summoners learn.
1. Elementaling Summons: While in general, summoners do not call forth pre-existing avatars, the learning curve in creating one's own summons is incredibly difficult. Thus, new students learn to summon one of Rizasu's servants to do their bidding.
2. The Familiar: To demonstrate his competency and earn the orange subfusc, a summoner must permanently call into existence another being to serve as his companion and aide. Every summoner's familiar is unique with its own personality and limited powers. Once birthed, the familiar cannot be unmade, nor can the summoner's link to the familiar be broken - so if one desires to gain any use from his creation, he must treat the familiar with respect.
1. Emotional Manipulation: The first thing an enchantress learns is how to influence the minds of others to their liking, the two most commonly manipulated sentiments being desire and fear. While an enchantress' control over another's emotions is by no means absolute, it is a power that cannot be ignored - especially as one progresses in her studies and her ability to successfully manipulate others increases.
2. Illusionary Magic: Enchantresses are full of unconventional ways to render an opponent powerless and the creation of illusions is another example of this power. As a student becomes more knowledgable, her illusions become more and more convincing. At first they only bring into being a mere image, but in time possessing smells, sounds, and eventually substance.
3. Kobayashian Magic: Unlike sorcerers and summoners, enchantresses rarely ever use elemental power in their spells. As a result, the strength of their elemental magic tends to fade. To counteract this decay, enchantresses combine simple elemental spells with illusions. The result of this combination is a class of magic that actually fools the victim into believing they are in far more pain and sufferring than was actually caused by the elemental spell itself.
4. Possession: The mark of an experienced enchantress, one versed in this art can actually control another's actions outright, easily turning the closest of friends into the most vicious of enemies. While successfully controling the actions of multiple people - the enchantress herself included - is difficult, one eventually learns to control several people at once with only a modest degree of effort.
5. Angelic/Divine Form: While students learn early on how to change their own appearance, incredibly talented enchantresses have been known to shun human form and take on an angelic one - a form both beautiful and terrifying above all comparison.
Magic Applications & Spells
Several spells exist, the basic ones having a technical and vernacular name. Zealian magic is very organic in the sense that there aren't spells for every little thing. For example, we don't need a Cure/Cure II/Cure III framework with a different element for each step. Upon realizing s/he needed to heal someone, a Necrologist would simply apply the skill they know (Cure) and expend as much magical energy as needed to do the job, whether that energy be water related or light related.
A Zealian mage's "mental spellbook" wouldn't read Fire/Fire II and so on - it would be more along the lines would to manipulate that energy. S/he would think more in terms of how that power is being used - whether its tossing a fireball, or causing an object to explode from within. Get the drift? Think organic. Or like a colouring book. Zealian arcane theory creates lines on paper - the mage then fills it with colour (elements) as they see fit.
In the framework of magic, any specifically named spells are those combinations of magical factors that have been found to work best through extensive experimentation to achieve a certain desired result. For instance, the "Esuna" spell would have exactly the right factors to cure any status ailments from the target. This framework allows for both efficient use of magical energy (as certain combinations will tend to be most efficient) and efficient use of time (its a lot faster to simply cast the predetermined chant for Fira than to judge the enemy's health, guess how much fire energy is needed, set up and say the chant needed for this amount).
The following is a slimmed-down list of notable spells. I've kept the same level system just to give a feeling for the relative powers of these spells. Note that the power levels are of exponential order (something like level 2 is three times as powerful as level 1, level 3 is three times as powerful as level 2, etc.). I've also added level 6 spells for Fire, Water, and Lightning, but keep in mind that level 6 is so freakishly powerful that only the royal family and maybe the council have even the potential to cast level 6 spells. I've also changed the spells around a bit.
Level 4: Corona (enemy plunged into faux star) - Extreme fire damage to one enemy Level 5: Supernova (enemies exposed to faux supernova) - Penultimate fire damage to all enemies Level 6: Hypernova (enemies exposed to faux hypernova) - Ultimate fire damage to all enemies
Aside: Yes, those are the correct Astronomical terms. A Supernova is an exploding star that leaves behind a neutron star. A Hypernova is a more massive exploding star that leaves behind a black hole. These terms are sometimes incorrectly labeled as "Nova" and "Supernova" respectively. In actuality a Nova is a phenomenon in which a white dwarf star gets a lot hotter temporarily.
Level 4: A's Freezing Pulse (alternating cold/moderate to increase damage to the body) - Extreme water damage to one enemy Level 5: Absolute Zero - Penultimate water damage to all enemies Level 6: Vacuum Freeze (zero temperature, zero pressure; freeze and boil at the same time) - Ultimate water damage to all enemies
Level 4: B's Electric Dynamo (mechanism that generates a constant stream of electricity) - Extreme lightning damage to one enemy Level 5: B's Pulsar Cannon (faux pulsar shot by characters, the intense magnetic field of which causes an extremely powerful electric field) - Penultimate lightning damage to all enemies Level 6: Grand Unified Theory (strong nuclear and weak nuclear forces within enemies morph into electricity) - Ultimate lightning damage to all enemies
Level 4: Janus' Soul Render (Magus' Dark Matter spell) - Extreme shadow damage to all enemies Level 5: Cry in the Night (screech in pitch black night meant to terrorize enemies) - Penultimate shadow damage to all enemies Level 6: D's Eternal Damnation (makes enemies believe they've died and gone to hell) - Ultimate shadow damage to all enemies
Level 3: Schala's Holy Light - fully cures all allies' health Level 3: E's Natural Healing - automatic healing of wounds inflicted on ally for a short time (similar to Regen spell) Level 4: Schala's Divine Blessing - grants immunity to all status ailments to one ally Level 4: E's Second Chance - automatically revives character when killed Level 4: C's Life Stealer - kills enemy, revives ally with to full health Level 5: E's Renewal - brings back all dead allies with full health
Level 3: Schala's Sacred Aura - all of ally's attributes are greatly increased Level 5: F's Unquestioned Authority (enchantment) - enemy will do anything caster tells it Level 6: Mind Clone (enchantment) - enemy's mind is overwritten with copy of caster's mind Level 5: Rewind (temporal) - a few minutes after the spell is cast, the caster can rewind time to the moment the spell was cast, with knowledge of how this future transpired Level 6: Gate (temporal) - caster opens up a time portal
Level 4 (Enchantment): Dreamless (makes enemies lose hope) - Extreme non-elemental damage to all enemies Level 5 (Enchantment): Cycle of Pain (every action and thought causes extreme pain, and acknowledgment of pain increases it as well) - Penultimate non-elemental damage to all enemies Level 6 (Enchantment): Paradox (enemies' minds are destroyed in a forced attempt to comprehend a paradox) - Ultimate non-elemental damage to all enemies
Level 4 (Temporal): Entropy (natural decay accelerated) - Extreme non-elemental damage to one enemy Level 5 (Temporal): Temporal Scattering (random parts of enemies shunted to the future) - Penultimate non-elemental damage to all enemies Level 6 (Temporal): Banishment (enemies banished to the Darkness Beyond Time) - Ultimate non-elemental damage to all enemies
Nanashi carry finely tempered and crafted Zealian knives, a descendant in technology from the knife-wielders of 12,000 B.C. Zeal. Nanashi know arcane magic, but generally do not wish to make a huge ruckus or compromise their stealth; they thus use a system of jewels to lend a particular magic effect to the knife (for basis in Chrono series, see http://www.chronocompendium.com/Term/Jeweled_Knife ). The most rudimentary jewels simply produce an elemental effect, such as Lightning, Fire, Water, and Shadow. This would enable Nanashi to deal with enemies strong against or susceptible to particular types of magic on the fly. Additionally, some jewels transcend the basic four elements and have specific purposes, such as the detaining of souls (see above link), healing, or perhaps even temporal effects.
Religion in ZEAL
A keynote in the religion of ZEAL is reincarnation, it reinforces social heirarchy while explaining the cycle of life. It is believed that with each life, one's karma is measured so that when one dies, he or she may be reincarnated into a social position worthy of the past life's deeds. Of course, it is up to the reincarnated person to continue living righteously or become ruthlessly evil; this will be reflected later on. Aristocrats and Gentry use this system to reinforce their positions; they hold that in past lives, they were integral in the well being of ZEAL, and for this service they have been given a just reward.
II. Liquid Structure
There is no central figurehead for religion in ZEAL, as this might give way to popular stereotypes of villains and crusading, fanatic religious leaders. ZEAL's religion is more of a practical organization, demonstrated in IV. Dreams below this paragraph, meaning that while there are organized groups of researchers and practitioners, there is no one body wielding huge social power an dictating correct doctrine.
III. Divine Right
It is a common and rarely challenged belief that the royalty of ZEAL reign with the authority of higher powers. This is confirmed by the fact that royalty possess the greatest genetic ability in magic, and reinforced duly with pomp and splendor. The account within Kajar of "It all began aeons ago, when man'sancestors picked up a shard of a strange red rock...Its power, which was beyond human comprehension, cultivated dreams...In turn, love and hate were born..." has been clarified as a stake of claim by royalty to the first contact and possession of the Frozen Flame long ago.
Dreams are a way to tap into the purest and most divine essences of the natural and ethereal dimensions of existence. Enhasa is now regarded as one of, if not the holiest site in ZEAL concerning religion, due to its ancient traditions in embracing dreams and supposed perfection of dream interpretation and application. Those who study enchantment are involved in a special branch of the trade; dreamers who make pilgrimages or have had particularly intense dreams may consult them and allow them to peer into their mind to, in reality, discover causes of anxiety, heightened emotions, or problems, and thus be able to identify the root of dreams and how they relate to the solutions. They are somewhat therapists; a branch of mystics might exist as it does for nearly every religion, believing that actions visualized in dreams should come to pass regardless. They nonetheless do not engage in murder everytime they see it in a dream, but they are highly strange people who subscribe completely to the idea that dreams are an essence of life to be followed.
V. The Pantheon
This the mythology of ZEAL.
Rizasu - Collective name for Shadow/the four elements; genderless. Likable to the Force or the Tao itself, passing through us. Identifies with School of Sorcery.
The Sea of Zurvan - The essence of Enhasa, it is "the Force" or Tao of the Chrono series, believed to be flowing through and linking everyone together on a divine plane, or perhaps quantum level.
Farzad - God of Life/Death, the icon of reincarnation; depicted as a baby growing old throughout the year, and being reborn. Identifies with School of Necrology.
Kimiya - Goddess of Summoning; depicted as a fair lady, being creative, pondering, curious and studious. Shares a rivalry with her brother, Montlasalle.
Montlasalle - God of Enchantment; depicted as a man of such smooth and dashing handsomeness that his presence would make other men blush. Shares a rivalry with Kimiya, though is hardly angry with her; tends to borrow her ideas gracefully. Associated heavily with masks; "All to anyone."
Pouri - Goddess of Time; depicted as having deep, crimson eyes. One eye sees the past, and the other sees the future; she rarely ever speaks, and when she does, absolutely everyone listens. It is rare for her to speak something that is not cryptic, as it is difficult to discern whether she is speaking of the past, present, or future.
Aguirre - God of music; depicted with his eyes closed and hands outstretched.
Respect in ZEAL
Bowing & Displays of Respect
Zealians hold fast to the tradition of bowing to one's social superiors and there are several methods of bowing to be utilized depending on the circumstances.
To Royalty - When a member of the royal family is present, everyone drops to their knees regardless of what they are doing and assumes the seeza position - both knees down, arms behind the back, crossed at the palms, and torso leaning foward at ~ 45 degree angle. The idea is that one in the seeza position looks as if they are about to executed. This display of respect highlight's the Crown's power to take life and extend mercy at will. One stays in the seeza position until the royal member leaves or commands them to rise. (Yes, I'm aware this isn't actually what the seeza position is...)
This is reserved only for royalty. Period. To demand this degree of respect is to place oneself on the level of the Crown, an offense punishable by death.
To Aristocracy - Unlike bowing to royality, bowing to an aristocrat is only expected when one of lesser social standing addresses or is addressed by one. Anyone under gentry status should drop down on one knee with head bowed and wait to be acknowledged - gentry are only expected to bow momentarily.
Failure to follow the established rules of respect may or may not not lead to some minor from of punishment, such as a public apology or payment of tribute, depending whether an aristocrat chooses to complain to the Crown. It is worth noting that there are some exceptions here - some social occasions involving aristocracy do not require bowing, such as schooling, shopping, and other limited circumstances. (However, should an aristocrat enter your shop, custom does require to you attend to their needs immediately - unless you're in the unlikely situation of serving royality already.)
To Gentry - A simple bow of the head is ample degree of respect from a social inferior, although Gentry are bad for often trying to extort respect more than is due.
Among other things, an important duty of the Crown is to keep an eye on the social status of Zeal's most well-known families. While social status is in theory based off of innate arcane talent, many other things play an imporant role in establishing family honour, such as the status of one's peers, wealth, education, and so on. Should parents fail to produce offspring with innate talent similiar to their own, they need not worry about losing their status - however, if over several generations a family fails to give birth to anything noteworthy, they may be in danger of being stripped of some of their honour.
It is near impossible for someone not born into the ranks of the gentry or aristocracy to ever ascend to those social heights; however, between gentry and aristocracy, there is a strong degree of mobility.
Schools/Types of Magic
After completing elementary education around the age of eighteen, students are given the opportunity to continue their studies by enrolling at the Arcane University at Najran. (Najran being the academic center of Zeal.) Mind you, being accepted to Najran is no small task - only the brightest and most talented students are accepted. (It should be noted that while merit is the most important factor in gaining admission, family history and social status often prove to work to the benefit of Zealian aristocrats and gentry.) Once a student had been accepted to Najran, they are bestowed the title of "Wizard" and spend two more years learning the ways of magic.
Wizards - Wizards differ from innate magic users in the fact that while innate users are bound to a single element, wizards learn to overcome this barrier to the point where they can manipulate all elements with an equal degree of skill. As a note of their status, when out in public all wizards must wear a sky blue coloured robe, or "subfusc". [A subfusk is gown that extends slightly further down from the waist and is either buttoned together in the front or tied together by a sash.]
After these two years as a wizard, students are offered the chance to further specialize their talents in one of the other arcane schools in Najran, and the requirements for entry into each school vary.
1. The School of Sorcery - Those who wish to continue studying the elements themselves are bestowed the title of "Sorcerer" or "Sorceress". As well as furthering their elemental prowlness, sorcerers are the only citizens of Zeal (outside the royal family) who are allowed to study Shadow magic. (Due to royal decree, and punishable by death without honour if broken.) Sorcerers wear dark blue subfuscs to note their status. Of all the schools of magic, Sorcery is the most traditional and thus the most theory laden and knowledge-intensive. For this reason, sorcerers are known for being very conservative and overly brainy, taking every opportunity possible to display their unsurpassable knowledge.
Sorcery is unique in the fact that anyone capable of gaining admission is permitted to join. Granted, the higher classes of Zeal tend populate the school, but agents and scientists have been known to become successful sorcerers.
2. The School of Summoning - Those who wish to learn how to conjure up other beings to carry out their bidding are bestowed the title of "Summoner". It should be noted that summoning is a highly personal art - one does not merely summon a pre-existing avatar. The summoner learns how to temporarily call into existence another being and bestow it with properties of the caster's choosing. There is a tremendous learning curve to this school, and thus for most of their careers, summoners appear to be very weak in comparison to their peers. For reasons unknown, most students of this art are male. Summoners in training wear yellow subfuscs, while more experienced summoners wear orange subfuscs. Because their power relies almost entirely on other beings, summoners are known for being slackers, are somewhat lazy, and never punctual.
Because summoning tends to be such a difficult art to learn, only those with extensive amounts of free time and patience tend to join - namely, aristocrats. There are no records of anyone under gentry status ever being accepted, and even the number of gentry in its ranks are slim.
3. The School of Necrology - Those who wish to study the nature of life and death are bestowed the title of "Necrologist". Necrologists, unlike what one might be inclined to think, are not hideous, demented members of society eagerly awaiting the dawn of the dead - rather, they study life processes and learn to manipulate them to their liking. Necrologists are responsible for a number of improvments in Zealian health, including their recently inherited immortality. Necrologists in training wear grey subfuscs, while more experienced necrologists wear black subfuscs. Although they aren't your typical crackpots found in most stories, Necrologists are rather morbid and are generally frowned upon by society because of the odd nature of their research.
Necrology carries such an intense social stigma that aristocrats tend to steer clear of the art, and gentry who aspire to ascend in status avoid it as well. For that reason, most all Necrologists are scientists or gentry who see themselves as having nothing to lose.
4. The School of Enchantment - Those who wish to study the nature of the mind are bestowed the title of "Enchanter" or "Enchantress". (The vast majority of these students being the latter.) Enchantresses are masters of manipulating the minds of others through illusions, toying with their emotions, and even possessing another being outright. Most students of the art are particularly beautiful (or handsome), charismatic and tend to be artistically inclined. Enchantresses in training wear pink subfuscs, (much to the dismay of the males in their order) while more experienced enchantresses wear red subfuscs. Unsurprisingly, they are known for their exaggerated displays of emotion and competitively flirtatious nature.
If you're not a member of the aristocracy, you clearly lack the social grace to become an enchantress. Underclass citizens who are foolish enough to apply are used as research subjects.
5. The School of Temporal Magic - In short, no one wishes to join this school; you are selected to be a part of it and have no choice in the matter. Believed to be an extension of the Council itself, those who became a student of this school are bestowed the title of "Chosen" and wear one colour subfusc throughout their entire career - silver. Little is known about the chosen, other than the fact that most Zealians working in the Dimensional Observation Project are members of this school. Masters of the temporal arts are rumoured to have the capacity to call time itself into submission.
Oddly enough, Zealian gentry are the only class known to be selected into this school. Why the aristocracy is denied access isn't quite clear, but power politics appears to be the most widely accepted reason.
A sixth school exists for magic useful to scientists, including the art of teleknesis and other skills useful to scholars, but the magic used here is so basic and rudimentary that even those who are not innates are permitted to join - however, members of school are not deemed worthy of respect and do not wear a special subfusc.
Social Ranking in ZEAL
We've been thinking that since the social structure of the old Zeal depended on innate magic ablity (with the royal family at the top, naturally, and the citizens who leech off the Sun Stone and Mammon Machine on the bottom). Since 13,000 years have passed, we've conjectured that the population has surely risen, and that with the advent of further genetic evolution, different classes of society can exist. We've also been thinking that the guys in charge of Project ZEAL, in having control over time and dimensions, are somewhat more powerful than the royal family, and may be the 'real' power in ZEAL. Anyway, what do you think of this structure of power? Keep in mind that Scientists come from every rank.
1. Council Members - In charge of the time/dimensions project; shadowy. Grew from extended family of the royal family through the ages.
2. Royal Family - King and Queen of ZEAL, and most genetically capable.
3. Aristocracy - High wizards, scientists, and magically-endowed citizens, able to take on Persian names to reflect status.
4. Gentry - Inferior to the aristocracy in magic capability, but nonetheless potent researchers and magic users. Able to take on Latin/Romantic/Anglo names.
5. ZEAL Agents - Agents of Project ZEAL, fierce in combative ability to the point of rivaling some aristocracy, but shunned due to their dirty work.
5. Scientists - Dedicated scientists not part of the elite social classes.
6. Citizens - Regular citizens who display little magic ability or leech off the Mammon Machine and other power sources.
Use the sidebar to navigate to other scenes and access the "writers' bible" for the project. Discuss Project ZEAL and this feature here.