World and Characters

This is a reference guide to the world and characters of Victor C. Haas.  I’ll start with some basic background information, and as more gets revealed in-story, I’ll update this page accordingly.

SPOILER ALERT!

If you are a new reader, I strongly suggest catching up before reading this.  While most things won’t be true spoilers, knowing it in advance will take the fun out of certain scenes.

RETCONS!

As a rule, I’m against major retcons, since they invalidate what past readers know of the story. In practice, sometimes retcons are necessary. So occasionally, I’ll make minor changes to a chapter, usually to correct inconsistencies with something stated elsewhere, or the make things more readable. If I make any significant changes, I’ll mention them here.

2012/9/23 – Minor changes to everything posted before the hiatus, as part of my reboot process.

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The World

The Illusions of Victor C. Haas is set in the great nation of Cest-Weldersheen, with most events taking place in or near the port city of Kestral.

This world differs in several significant ways from our own.  For one, there is magic, which Victor uses to cast his illusions.  For another, there is no such thing as electricity, either in the developed or natural world.  Everything, therefore, is powered by…alternative means.

Magic in the world is divided into three major fields:

Naturalism – This encompasses elemental and physical magic. Most mages (including Victor) fall into this category. Example: Illusion is applied light magic; light is energy and is therefore a subset of fire; fire is elemental, and is a subset of naturalism. So, despite being unable to manipulate fire, Victor could technically be called a fire mage.

Life Magic – All magic pertaining to living (or dead) things. This is far less common than naturalism, but still more common than mentalism.

Mentalism – The rarest of the magic, this pertains to the mind.

Cest-Weldersheen

An enormous nation, Cest-Weldersheen occupies the western end of the continent, between the ocean to the left and mountains to the right. Beyond the mountains is a desert region, of which not much is known. In the very distant past, it was once two nations: Cest in the south, and Weldersheen (the larger) in the north. For various reasons, the two became one nation, and remained so until the secession of Sainted Isles during the Mage Wars.

The nation is ruled by the Council of Governors, which consists of two rings: the city-level officials (including mayors, such as Joel Downing), and the nation-level officials (such as Martha Chorice). An incomplete list of the national officials:

Minister of Peace (the highest official)

Minister of Foreign Affairs & Commander in Chief of the Royal Army: Theobald Jacks

Minister of Internal Affairs: Martha Chorice

In the distant past, Cest-Weldersheen was a monarchy. Though this is no longer true, the army is still known as the Royal Army.  It is split into numerous divisions, usually one or two for each city. The branch local to Kestral is known as the Kestral Armed Forces.

Some time in the recent past, the nation was torn by what is commonly and inaccurately referred to as the Mage Wars. The inception of these wars was the invasion by the mysterious Patchwork Folk from across the sea.  This sparked a rapid growth of the Royal Army, resulting in poorly disciplined and half-trained troops.  They began to abuse their power, and eighteen months into the war, in a purely symbolic movement, the southern city of Sainted Isles seceded.

This formed the beginning of the Republic, a nation that grew as further cities followed the example of Sainted Isles.  As each city seceded, the Royal Army pulled back armed support.  Eventually, this grew to be a significant danger, and out of fear, several cities of the Republic bartered with the Patchwork Folk, allowing the enemy unopposed passage in exchange for immunity.

This caught the full attention of Cest-Weldersheen, and what had been a single war became two.

Eventually, the Patchwork Folk were driven out by the war machines of the north, and less than a year later, the Republic was crushed and the southern cities brought back into the greater nation.  Magic was the most destructive weapon of the Republican Guard, which lacked the industry of the north, and this led to the propaganda labelling the fighting as “The Mage Wars.”

Immediately following the wars, many on the Council of Governors argued for mass executions of the Republican soldiers. Martha Chorice, the newly-appointed Minister of Internal Affairs, argued vociferously (and successfully) to instead grant a general amnesty, recruiting many of the former Republican soldiers into a new division of the army known as the Peace Workers. The role of this division was partly propaganda–to show the former enemy working for the betterment of the nation–and partly practical, cleaning up and dealing with the aftermath of the two wars.  The Peace Worker division in Kestral is the largest of all cities, and is headed by Sergeant Major Hattie Morrison.

Kestral

A port city and major trade hub of Cest-Weldersheen.  Home to KAMA (the Kestral Academy of the Magical Arts).  The city has little organization, having grown organically over many years.  The streets run every which way, and monorails web the sky in steel, ferrying people and cargo to all parts of the city.  Two major rivers divide the city: the North and South Pike (the latter of which is also known as the Corrobur).  These converge into simply the Pike, which empties into the bay.

The city is governed by Mayor Joel Downing, who is a fair politician, but is greatly disliked by all Peace Workers, as he argued against the formation of their division. He has since come to regret his earlier actions, and now supports the Peace Workers.

Major landmarks in Kestral include KAMA and Candlepark Station.  Candlepark Station is the largest and most active transportation hub in the city, and handles rail, auto, and air traffic from within and without Kestral, and is never silent.

The city was originally built on unstable marshlands, and parts of it sank several times before proper foundations were laid.  This resulted in the sunken “undercity,” home to rats and criminals, and avoided at all costs by the general public.  The undercity often intersects and merges with the sewer system, which runs throughout the city.  Beyond the usual filth, dangerous chemicals and abandoned machinery can be found in the sewers, as well as enormous and deadly beasts, grown to unnatural sizes by magic and garbage.  Other parts of the undercity intersect the old subway tunnels, abandoned in the past for fear of further weakening the city’s shaky foundations.

About a dozen miles north of Kestral is the tiny satellite town of Cinsa Bargo. It was originally nothing more than the new Kestral Airfield for aeroplanes. Over time, businesses, and then homes, sprang up and the area around the airfield became a small but thriving town.

Victor C. Haas

The title character, Victor is an accomplished illusionist and a Peace Worker with the Kestral Armed Forces (a local branch of the Royal Army).  The focus of the Peace Workers is clean-up and reconstruction after the wars.  Their exact job is vague, but it involves investigating remnants of the wars, and occasionally overlaps with police work.

Originally from the city of Edgesen, Victor moved to Kestral to attend KAMA. After graduating he could only find work at a printing press, a job he hated.  He joined the army after the invasion by the Patchwork Folk, and was stationed near Sainted Isles.  When the city seceded, he went with it, sympathetic to their cause.  He fought in the Republican Guard, with the 14th infantry division, for much of the war, but eventually it became too much for him, and he ran away to the fireswamps of the southeast.

It was there he met Kristopher, and began to take an interest in life once more. He returned to Cest-Weldersheen, and provided information to the Royal Army in a successful attempt to quicken the end of the war.  Now he is a member of the Peace Workers, and strives to atone for his past sins.  He harmed many people in his past, and is haunted by the memories.  He tries hard to be a different person than he once was, shying away from lies and causing others pain.  The one lie he cannot let go of is that which he tells his parents about his part in the Mage Wars.

Victor is fairly tall, and wears his light brown hair in a ponytail.  He is usually seen wearing a knee-length, light brown frock coat.

Victor’s parents are both alive, and still live in Edgesen, operating a small accounting business.  Victor has one older brother who works at sea as a trader, and a younger sister who teaches history at a college (not at KAMA).

Kristopher

A salamander, and Victor’s constant companion.  Salamanders are cousins to will-o’-the-wisps, and appear as glowing embers that float through the air.  They communicate through a musical language comprehensible only to those they have made some sort of bond with, and they are attracted to suffering and pain.  They can be severely injured or killed by water.

Kristopher played a major role in Victor’s past, and helps prevent Victor from falling too deeply into his memories.

Serah Villifree

Serah is a somewhat well-known mechanic, and has several times been referred to as Victor’s “lady.”  She is unconventional, often dressing in stained denim, and has a tendency to get lost in her own projects.  She is a little shorter than Victor, has long, dirty blonde hair (often literally), and eyes of pale blue. She has occasionally helped Victor out with his duties, though not always wittingly.

Hattie Morrison

Victor’s superior, and a sergeant major in the Kestral Armed Guard.  She heads the local branch of the Peace Workers.  She counts Victor as a friend, but an exasperating and often insubordinate one.

Scott Casterly

A policeman, and a friend to Victor.  He has worked with Victor before, and the two make an effective team.  He has a wife and a nine-year-old daughter, and his greatest fear is that they will come to harm.  It hasn’t been revealed in-story, but he also has a large and loyal dog.

Jedediah Millston

A balding, portly man of indeterminate age, Jedediah is the dean of the Kestral Academy of the Magical Arts, and is very protective of his school.  He is an impatient and impolite man, who appears to have mixed feelings about Victor.  He is also a magician, and practices life magic.

Annabella

Annabella is the owner and proprietor of Annabella’s Fine Corner Bakery and Cafe.  When Victor first moved back to Kestral, she was the only one willing to offer him a room.  As a result, Victor currently lives in the studio above Annabella’s bakery.

She is a plump and friendly woman, defensive of her friends, and rarely seen without a flour-dusted and coffee-stained apron.

Joel Downing

Mayor of Kestral, and a man not much liked by the Peace Workers, as he argued loudly for the executions of all members of the Republican Guard.  It appears he has since seen the error of his ways.  He is tall and thin, with black hair that he typically slicks back.  He is married to Rachel Downing, who recently became pregnant with their first child.

Martha Chorice

A member of the Council of Governors, the governing group of Cest-Weldersheen.  She holds the position of Minister of Internal Affairs.  She is well-loved and respected by the Peace Workers, as she was one of the very few courageous enough to argue for an alternative to mass executions after the wars.  Against strong opposition, she argued for and secured the creation of the Peace Workers, working to rehabilitate rather than punish the members of the Republican Guard.  She is an aged woman, short but strong, with curly blond hair.

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