The Real History of the World
“Magic can do a lot of things well, and one of the things it does best is deceive the weak-minded. Whatever you might have learned in history class before the war, it was probably heavily influenced by whoever held the best hand of cards, magically speaking, during the era that the records were written. What I offer you is the Truth of it. How can you trust me over what society wants you to believe? You can’t. You can never really trust anyone. But you can always trust your instincts, and hopefully, they’re sharp enough to tell you that I’m right.” ~
This is the rough date when it seems human use of magic originally began. Not even the oldest cave scratchings can really tell you anything about where it came from or how we got our hands on it, but the evidence is there. Maybe we finally reached a point in our evolution that allowed us to see what had been there all along. Maybe some cosmic event created a magical field that wasn’t there before. Fuck, maybe Qetzalcoatl descended from the sun and showed some Neanderthal how to light a fire with his mind. It’s anyone’s guess.
Sometime around here, there was a magical society living on the island that would come to be known as Atlantis. They were probably almost as primitive as the rest of the nomadic humans at the time, but evidence shows that the use of magic caused them to advance past their brethren at an astounding rate. By about 5,000 B.C., they had a city that would rival our greatest modern metropolises, flourishing art and culture, a complex language that would make a Latin major dizzy, and a democratic government. Well, democratic if you were a mage. For those not blessed with The Gift, life was pretty rough on the Shining Isle.
The Atlanteans guarded their secrets well, but some few expatriates began trickling out into the surrounding societies, using their power to make themselves as gods among men. The Greeks, the Sumerians, the Celts, the Egyptians… they all took technological and cultural leaps during the Atlantean Golden Age. Chances are good that this was not a coincidence.
By the dawn of the millennium, Atlantis was gone. Vanished, without a trace. We don’t know how or when exactly it happened, but efforts by mages and mortals alike over the last 4,000 years have turned up only minor traces. The Scions of Atlantis, a magical government that claim to be the rightful heirs stretching all the way back to Atlantis itself, have their own version of the story… but for my money, that version is just about as credible as “Flying Monkeys Ate It.”
Influential Atlantean survivors would continue to work their schemes behind closed doors, from the Roman Senate to the United States Congress. Most of them were under the control of the Scions, who kept close tabs on anyone with significant magical power over the centuries. They would have you believe they’re the Protectors of Earth. If you ask me, they’re more like the bastard child of the Spanish Inquisition and the Sicilian mob (which probably both had Scions as prominent members.)
This is when the shit started to stir. The information age was making it very difficult for the Scions to stay hidden, and the increasing world population meant two things: fewer places to hide, and more people being born with magical talent. It was during this time that a group of sorcerers calling themselves the Revolucion Arcanum began fighting a guerrilla war against the Scions. Now, I have no love for the Scions, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, but these “Crusaders” are more or less just as bad. They’re terrorists, plain and simple. As in many wars, there is no “right” side to be on. As the world would soon discover.
After a long cold war between Scions and Revolutionaries, the unthinkable happened: a number of powerful Atlantean artifacts were detonated at key positions of mortal and magical power around the world over a period of a few months. No one is sure who struck the first blow, but the result was the magical equivalent of a full nuclear exchange. And if you think radiation is bad, let me tell you, it has nothing on unbound magical energy bathing the globe for weeks on end.
The “War,” if you can call it that, lasted about three years. In the three since, things haven’t gotten much better. The world population went from billions to just a few million, and the effects of the magical fallout have turned most of earth into a monster-infested wasteland. Government has returned to the era of local rule by whoever has the most firepower to assert their dominance with.
As far as whether the Scions or the Revolutionaries are still out there, it’s unclear. What is, is that neither side won. Everybody lost. Go figure.