Feathers & Glass
From what my Mother told me, the World Broke when the other Houses went to war against House Nebay, because it had become too powerful and the Council was no longer balanced. She said the spirit of the world was broken in a ritual involving the Living Three, because even the walking gods knew that Nebay’s developments in sorcery had far outpaced them in their divine stagnation. That’s where the walls that surround Glass came from. My ancestors could not let the last bastion of our House fall to something as profane as the attack launched by the other Houses and so shielded the last great city from the anger of the earth, and they live on now – though disconnected from the spirit world – as protection against the poisoned air and the creatures it bred, an opalescent memorial of the world before. My mother, a Neybayan noble, a veteran of the All Houses War, disappeared some time ago – off to who knows where, looking for one reason or another to keep a sword in her hand.
The story my Father tells me differs markedly, though not surprisingly – he is a foreigner, he has no connections to the spirits or culture of Nethon. He comes from a merchant’s house from a country that once existed on Nethon’s northern borders. He is an outsider who married into Nebayan nobility and his views reflect this. He admits he does not know what caused the World-Break – only that it was well-timed for the defenders of Glass, if such a catastrophe could be described as such. He believes, for reasons he only hints at, promising answers when I get older, that the Walking Gods did not have a direct hand in the World Break, though they may have known of it. From the way my Father tells it, the Blight had its own harbingers during those last few years of the world before, far in the North. He accidentally hints that it inspired his immigration.
All I know is that the World-Break left so much of the world uninhabitable, and blotted out the sky and the stars and left the Blight in its place. The world, once thriving, now revolves around Glass, it’s Syndic, and her sorcerers, who marveled their citizens when they unveiled their new ability to hold back the Blight and reclaim lands lost. The Ghostlight, it’s called – the sorcerous field that staves off the poisonous miasma that blankets the new world, and can be seen at the edges of the known new world as a green, gossamer wall through which an unlucky observer can catch glimpses of the protean creatures which call the blighted lands home and gaze upward and marvel at the roiling purple clouds that fight against the top edges of the light, trying to again blanket the sun and stars and choke out life.
Taking after my mother, I left my life on the Feathered Isle, where my father governs a new settlement in the name of the Syndic of Glass and her nearby servant, Conlan Veisi. An old friend of my father, Veisi is the man in charge of the Syndic’s most ambitious project yet, the transformation of a newly discovered ruin into the City of Bells, the largest of the new settlements, and a port and hub from which to further expand into the Shattered Isles. The ruin, one of the most undeniable pieces of evidence that the islands south of Glass are not the remnants of the Nethonese sub-continent, are an alien mass of sky-kissing towers entangled in bridges and skyways. Much of the city is yet to be fully explored or mapped, but what has been revealed that many of the city’s chambers are still occupied by Blighted beasts and the ghosts of men. Rumors of wondrous decision engines and other massive machinery have spread through the streets, and across waters and, at the very least, kickstarted voluntary immigration to the City In Progress despite the potential danger it still houses.
I wanted to sign on as one of the city’s explorers. I was young and inexperienced, but hoped my father’s relationship with the governor and my mother’s name would help me cut through the red tape. I was wrong. My father’s people operate differently than the Nebayans, and I did not have enough clout or coin to secure an application. I left the City of Bells and went towards Eaves, one of the island’s smaller settlements, looking for adventure on the edge of the Ghostlight to bolster my application.