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A W O R L D D E F I N E D
Magic. The eternal. It all began centuries ago, the never-ending struggle to both understand it and to control it. It has been said that absolute power corrupts, and that the quest for said power can corrupt completely. Tales of the first Witches, Wizards and Warlocks eventually became the stuff of fantasy and legend. The Greeks, Romans and Babylonians were the first to recognize this power. Those who possessed it were feared and yet idolized as Gods among men.
A W O R L D T O R N A S U N D E R
In time it became necessary for these individuals to sequester themselves, either by continued elevation or by division, from those who no longer feared them as gods. Some did so within the shadows cast by thrones, others began to live apart - mythical Avalon was one example. The Quest for the Holy Grail was in fact the search for sources of pure magic - power denied ordinary men. This quest failed and the thickening veil between what was seen as reality and what truly was began to strengthen. Over centuries men were driven mad by the quest and it became easier to deny the existence of magic rather than to continue to create fantastical stories in an increasingly scientific world.
As communication became easier between civilizations magic became a partner of political strategy. Magic became something that was reserved for the elite, the royal courts of the world. Those who found themselves able to harness it via gesture or spoken word became as powerful, if not more so, than their royal counterparts. In the case of some unfortunate royal houses, or even civilizations, entire legacies were destroyed, eclipsed or lost. The most jarring case in recent memory must certainly be the house of the Russian Tsar Nikolas Romanov and his misplaced trust in Grigori Rasputin. Some have fared better, one thinks of the fables of Merlyn and Arthur, though certainly those lives were hardly without tragedy or strife. Yet, for most of us, magic became nothing more threatening than fairy tale, legend or myth.
In time, power began to rest beyond the capricious walls of the palaces and inner sanctums of traditional influence. As magical creatures and happenstance seemingly withdrew from the daily lives of the people and became nothing more than folklore, magic still found its way into the hearts and hands of a select few. Cities grew up and around the places where aether could still be felt just as those who couldn't simply create the world they wanted sought other means to that same desired end.
A U N I C O R N O N M A I N S T R E E T . . .
The California Gold Rush, oddly, became the site of one such struggle. The lure of golden riches to be had called forth the magical and mundane alike as each sought to increase their wealth. Anna Valentine was the only child and daughter of one such a man. She brought her secret love and fascination with magic and its uses west as well. Incredibly powerful and in possession of a vast knowledge of spell casting, Anna became someone to watch by those who had long decided themselves to be the authority on all things magical.
An ambitious young man sought more from Anna than her abilities - he sought to control her through marriage. She refused for reasons she initially kept private, her love for another woman. In the end their battle went public and those seeking to control the magical fallout decided that there was only one way to properly contain the powder keg that was Anna Valentine. Instigated by the would be suitor's accusations of witchcraft the residents of her California town sought to protect themselves from the 'heretics' by burning the accused witches alive within the same school house Anna's lover had taught their children.
Refusing to bow before her mortality, Anna took one last measure in self defense - even as she burned, her lips framed the words of a powerful spell. She attempted cast their very essence into the aether, the magical stream that lives and flows through all things. However, at the last moment the her rejected suitor cast a binding spell of his own. He succeeded. As a result his words hold her essence to the spot even as timber and glass became embers and, in time, dust.
Once again Hart became a sleepy seaside village. Suffering from grief and guilt, Anna's father built a new home on the same spot his daughter had seemed to perish so horribly using the riches he had obtained in gold. Stone by stone a grand chateau was transported from France, erected as a monument to Anna Valentine. Once completed the massive house was lonely, some even say haunted by more than the desire to forget.
The grand home sat empty after old man Valentine passed away. It didn't take long for thoughts of the Valentines to fade into memory. Soon enough, strange things began to happen in Hart. For the most part such things were ignored, brushed aside by the locals. In town there were occurrences that could not be explained away as mere fantasy or insanity. One day a unicorn stepped out of the forest behind the castle, ran across the grounds and then made its way into Hart. Halfway down main street the creature vanished, swallowed up by the same aether from which it had come. It was rationalized away as nothing more than a prank.
B O Y S W I L L B E B O Y S
In 1935, rather than see the grand property go to ruin, a distant relative of the Valentine family choose to establish a school in Anna's honor as a means to educate the less than fortunate. The school was called Saint Valentines School for Boys. Invitations were sent to prospective students and classes began in August 1936. Though subsequent years saw various application processes and substantial tuition increases, invitations are still sent to this day to the less than fortunate. Not some twelve years after the first student walked through its fabled doors, in 1948, a boy attending Saint Valentines manifested strange new abilities after losing his virginity to an older classmate. By the 1960s, it was becoming more and more difficult to keep such things secret.
And so it is now...
Saint Valentines School for Boys has a world class reputation as a place to send the next generation's leaders and power brokers. There is still talk of ghosts and rumors of some strange phenomenon happening within it's grounds. There are those who choose to ignore all things magical, to maintain certain prejudices against those who are different. Progress has occurred, though at what cost? While men and women may no longer be burned alive because of who they love, surely public life is not one of acceptance. Life for the magical is no different.
But that is about to change...
The world exists, just as magic does, in balance. Perhaps it is time that magic itself rises up and creates a brave new world. The same world that Anna Valentine once desired, one of freedom of expression and equality. A world of balance.