Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tolkeen: The Sky-Blue Kingdom, A Place of Freedom and Hope For Tomorrow

Tolkeen arose on the ruins of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota. Unknown to everyone, it is one of the key points on the planet's global network of ley lines; 100 ley lines meet here, making it ones of the lynchpins of the network, and thus it is not at all surprising that some form of supernatural power base would arise here. What is remarkable is that, instead of it being dominated by supernatural creatures or alien species, it is rules by a majority of native humans in concert with a minority of off-world humans and aided by a significant number of friendly non-humans of a diverse sort.

The off-world humans are a branch of Atlanteans who decided to establish themselves here as part of a larger, longer-term effort to unseat the usurping god-like alien Splugorth who occupy the Atlantean homeland now risen from beneath the Atlantic Ocean. They are the faction that brought magical training to Tolkeen in the wake of the Coming of the Rifts, and for some time thereafter dominated the emerging community. Today they have a strong presence in the government and drive its foreign policy, but no longer hold such an overwhelming advantage.

The native humans are far and away the majority, and as many of the surivors were also trained as scientists in various disciplines they took to the magical arts--once they saw it to be beneficial to learn them--quickly. What shocked the Atlanteans was they applied ideas commonplace before the Coming of the Rifts, creating a whole school of sorcerer-engineers that swiftly seized a memetic hegemony and impressed the Atlanteans greatly, revolutionizing magical practices heretofore fossilized and stagnant in their existence.

They industrialized magical practice. Entire machines now exist that ritually resolve entire buildings into existence directly out of magical energy, following plans that the architects and engineers created and loaded into the machine before starting the machine's resolution/manufacturing process. Most people learn how to use common items that resolve vehicles, armor, whatever into existence as an outgrowth of magic tattoo technology. Tolkeen is a place of wonder, optimism and vibrancy where the only thing that's scarce is knowledge- which compels the ambitious to scatter far and wide in search of it abroad as eagerly as it does searching for it in the labs at home. In Tolkeen, one can be whatever they want to be, for magic brings freedom and autonomy no one can have without it, and thus any commitment that they make is one freely made by choosing to do so.

This is also the crack in their armor. Ambition can lead to arrogance and hubris, and the unusual openness leads to easy infiltration by malevolent agents. Tolkeen's close proximity to the capital of the Coalition States poses a severe existential threat to the States, so war between the two is inevitable despite the denial that some around Tolkeen indulge in, thinking that its cosmopolitanism and links to many other magical societies and states through the multiverse will moot any aggression by the Coalition.

In short, Tolkeen has some distressing naiveity to its culture that the Atlanteans and other more sober-minded individuals have yet failed to rectify, and that will prove to be troublesome in the years ahead. Hopefully, the Marvel Project will prove itself as effective when the time comes.

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