The Fire and the Light: Prologue:
Since the beginning of history, the world had lived in peace. There was the occasional minor squabble as one king would decide another was too powerful and try to take him down a notch or two, but those conflicts were quickly settled, a victor cleanly decided.
There were two races of beings on the Earth durring time, humans and Espers. Though the two races lived in separate townships from each other, they intermingled and coexisted harmoniously. The humans were extremely intelligent in the ways of science, and they built huge towers, cities that reached into the heavens, tremendous castles, and beautiful gardens with their technology. The Espers found it impossible to utilize science, but they had more than enough skill to make up for it. The Espers could use a mysterious power called "magic" to make the very laws of nature bend to their wills. Every Esper was given a title at birth according to their birth sign, and that title signified over which sphere, or spheres, they had influence. The more useful the magic, the higher a place that Esper had in the community.
All should have remained this way forever, peaceful, serene, but neither humans nor Espers were perfect. The humans soon became bitterly jealous of the Esper's magic and longevity (an average Esper lifespan stretched almost 1000 years) and the Espers in turn despised the humans for their technological marvels, which the Espers could not duplicate. Espers went on raids of human cities, killing all who opposed them, and the humans returned fire, killing the Espers. The war lasted for over 200 years, and was later named "The War of the Magi".
Finally, the humans, scared to death of the Espers and no longer even remembering why they were fighting them to begin with, chased the outnumbered Espers to the Southern Continent. The Esperailian Elders, in order to save their children, created a secret world underground, and pushed the young ones inside, sealing it magically just as the humans arrived. All who were not inside the Sealed Gate perished, Esperailian and human alike. The dying Espers used the last of their power to create the Statues and the Book of Prophesy. Not much is known about these relics, other than that great power was supposedly placed in the Statues and, for many years, brave men would go to seek it... and would never come home.
All traces of the Esper race had vanished, possibly never to return. But there is still hope. There is always hope.
That was 2000 years ago.
Mankind has gone back to living in peace, and the Espers are merely fairy tales. The War of the Magi is an old wives tale, and mothers shake their heads when their parents tell their grandchildren about it. People have settled all over the Southern Continent-not even the ruins of Esperailian civilization exist there anymore. Everyone has forgotten the Espers and no one cares about their supposed power, or the treasures that legend places in their domain.
Or maybe someone does...
25 years ago, as every tutored child knows, the previously feudal Southern Continent had a series of rebellions, and turned democratic, electing a vibrant young man named Gestahl as their leader. No one on the still-feudal Northern Continent paid any attention. Such things had happened before, and they always reverted back to feudalism once their great leader was dead. What the two kings of the North were not expecting was a coup d'etat, performed by Gestahl and his cronies. Much like Caesar, he took power as Emperor, ruling the Southern Continent by force.
Once again, no one really paid much attention. His beaten up army was no match for either one of theirs and who cared what he did, as long as he didn't try to hurt their people, or undermine their power. But then, something amazing happened. Gestahl found magic.
No one knew how. Maybe he finally found the Statues, who knows. Whatever the method, he unveiled his new creations to the delight of his subjects, and the terror of his enemies. His creations were known as Magitek, and they were machine/magic hybrids, huge tanks that lobbed powerful missiles at their targets. The world was thrilled by this discovery... but his next unveiling brought more mixed reactions.
His newest "creation" was something called a "Mage Knight"- humans implanted with magic and taught from a very early age, nearly from the cradle, to be weapons of mass destruction. On one young woman this training seemed to work particularly well. She was known to be utterly heartless, completely without feeling of any sort. People were afraid to whisper her name, for fear she might hear them. They called her "the Sorceress" and "that Imperial Witch". With her inspiring fear in all who saw her, Gestahl had no trouble pushing into the Northern continent and establishing a presence there among the outer villages of both kingdoms. Gestahl's horror did not stop there, however. Now, among the villages of the North and South continents, he began the search for any object, or person, with magical ability. Those found with any shred of magical talent were taken into Imperial service, or died on their doorsteps.
A group of people opposed to this treatment, known only as The Returners, sprang into being, and many people joined. The Empire was unable to wipe out the group, but they did finally push it underground and it was rumored to have died slowly, losing all popularity.
7 years ago, Queen Rene of Figaro, one of the two remaining feudal kingdoms, died mysteriously- reportedly by Imperial poison. King Figaro followed soon after of a broken heart. The kingdom was slated to go, surprisingly, to the youngest son, Sabin Figaro, but instead was passed on to the eldest, Edgar Figaro when Sabin mysteriously vanished. Rumors flew that *Edgar* was the one to poison his mother and presumably kill his brother, and these rumors were all but confirmed when, two years after ascending the throne, he signed a treaty with the Empire.
The time is now.
The Empire is poised on the edge of victory.
And a frozen Esper has been found in the small mining village of Narshe.