The story starts on Cypris, the remnants of ‘Earth’, after the blight engulfed the southern hemisphere over two centuries earlier. The blight came from currently unknown origin, and started at approximately the tip of Southern Africa. It crawled the southern hemisphere in an almost tendril-like pattern, slowly killing everything in its path over a period of 5 years. There was no discovered way to disperse the Blight. Only the northern-most nations had enough time to set up proper protection against the blight creep, called havens, with three havens that were strategically chosen by all northern nations to try spread out as evenly as possible to mitigate the most damage: one in what was once North America, approximately at the Canadian Shield, one in Europe in the Germany/Poland/Czech area, and one in northern Russia in the northern Siberian Federal District, around Krasnoyarsk Krai. The key to create these havens was actually a scientific breakthrough by the Germans in life extraction from the earth, utilizing a similar technique that trees displayed. This tangible life, crystalized in what the Germans called Urecite, a throwback to Friedrich Wöhler. This crystalized life used to line the walls of the havens was so effective that people theorized the Blight was death itself. But this is not the story. The story starts with Marcus, current president of the Russian haven, Okhrana. Marcus was one of the few men who was exposed momentarily to the blight and while afflicted did not die. During his sickness that followed, while he was bed-ridden, he had visions of beings and worlds around him. While everyone else assumed hallucinations, Marcus believed he stared death in the face and death revealed a great secret. Marcus was one of the Božský, survivors of the blight, and people believed that they had some special immunity to what killed normal man. His compassion and status spearheaded him to become president, and it was here he started on a new breakthrough. Just as death was leading to Cypris’s extinction, Marcus believed the Urecite was the key to salvation. He theorized that this mineral held the key to the visions he saw, and if he could unlock it he’d be able to create a new world for his people. Over the next decade, they started developing a stockpile of Urecite and in the center of Okhrana they built a pyre bigger than any structure in the haven. Eventually, Marcus successfully cracks the code and builds a portal of sorts. A long tunnel with a destination, but without any size. They prepare an envoy and march to what Marcus believes is a new beginning.
Praxis – Praxis is a graveyard. When Marcus and his group first arrive, it was unlike anything they had seen before. It was quiet and peaceful, but there was no green to be found, no signs of life. There were giant hulking structures, unlike anything Marcus had seen, but no inhabitants. Marcus takes in the surroundings. It was desolate, but it was peaceful. Marcus believes this is his opportunity to start a new life for his people. To get away from the blight. And so he sets up a colony. But unbeknownst to him, Praxis IS inhabited. The Delmar lurk in the shadows, watching the humans’ every move. The Delmar are machines, but machines binfused with life. Long ago, there was another race on Praxis. They were as intelligent as they were cunning, and they too were able to extract life as a tangible substance. But they didn’t have blight to combat, and so they incorporated the life into their structures. This was a major breakthrough, similar to life before and after electricity, or steam powered engines, or even early agriculture. They infused simple machines with this life, turning them into a living hulk of metal. Praxis was once beautiful, but as this old race extracted life from the world, the world slowly died. And as the earth withered, the old race was too ignorant to realize the issue until the stone was in motion. And as these machines became more and more advanced, they took on their own identity. They collectively became the Delmar. They became self sustaining, with the Delmar manufacturing new Delmar, until it snowballed out of the old race’s control. And with this, they wanted independence and equality, as life was life, regardless of origin. But the old race refused. They did not have souls. They did not reproduce. Life did not create life. This violated all the rules about what they thought of “intelligent beings”. A war erupted, and after decades, the Delmar won. The old race was wiped out from the earth, eradicated by the beings they created, and the Delmar were free. But the world was different – the Delmar didn’t need food or water, they didn’t need housing, and they are highly efficient without the same emotional range. They were programmed strictly for survival. And as they continued to grow, Praxis continued to die. With the arrival of Marcus and his crew, the Delmar felt this was a second coming of the old race, and so they planned their attack. Marcus was blindsided by the first attack, and retreated with what was life of his people back to Cypris. But the lateral, this portal to another existence, was now open. Marcus was ashamed that his vision he labored over for his entire life could be the very undoing of his people, and he vowed to seek vengeance.
Gathis -- Gathis is inhabited by two races. The faceless (who need a new name) and the Cestre. Originally, the faceless and the Cestre were the same race. The split happened when a radical subset of the race sought a compelling power: ascension. They believed that by tuning into theirselves and tuning out the noise of the world, one choice achieve an inner sanctum -- and within that sanctum, be able to mold the world around them. They were viewed as radicals, trying to play the role of god as mortals. But over time, it was undeniable they were growing in power. They started rituals. Meditations at first, but they grew more intricate over time. Eventually, they started practicing rituals where they'd blind the initiating member, or cause them to go deaf, or mute, or anosmic. And with each sense, they felt they were achieving a higher power. They learned to communicate not through voice but through instinct. And it progressed and spiraled until new members traded all their senses for this 'enlightenment'. They operated as one, like their inner sanctum was shared by all of the faceless members, with one puppetmaster controlling all the marionettes. They had successfully manipulated their actual being. They had achieved something ethereal. But the Cestre, who detested the practice from the beginning, sought a different path. Rather than looking for ascension, they believed in more worldly powers. While the faceless were busy creating rituals to find their inner sanctum, the Cestre were busy finding harmony with the earth and creating inner peace. They learned to understand plants, and talk to animals. They could cause trees to grow, pacify beasts, and cause storms to happen. While they couldn't share thoughts, they could listen to any living thing. It was attunement. The faceless believed they had seen the divine plan, the way Gathis was going to end one day, and claimed the Cestre would be the downfall of the world. Tensions escalated, until war was inevitable. From here one out, the faceless and the Cestre would be involved in their own fight for existence. But the faceless had a plan.
When the first lateral between Cypris and Praxis was opened, the faceless sensed this disturbence. How could these unknown other races open up this tunnel, they wondered, while they could not? They sought out answers, and while the war waged they were looking to take the next step in their ascension. What they came to understand was that this life force, the one they had centered and molded to achieve their so-called divine powers, was the key. Life transcended whatever they themselves could not understand, and by channeling this life force they could too exist in this other world they detected. They made one fatal flaw though: the inhabitents of Cypris/Praxis weren't "ascended beings" like the Faceless were. The Faceless assumed whoever created the lateral had to of been the same calibur as them -- why else could they sense it? But when the second lateral was finally opened, linking all three worlds, both the humans and the Delmar saw it as reinforcements, and didn't take too kindly to the additional challengers.