Cam has more than enough trouble trying to pass his classes, fight off murderous monsters that only he can see, and hide his crush on his best friend. He'd be grateful just to survive his last year of high school with his sanity intact.
But when he and his friends investigate the origins of those monsters and uncover conspiracies both old and new, survival becomes the least of their problems.
Hover over the images/text for more about the characters.
TOWN OF BLACKSHORE
Blackshore was originally intended to be a resort town due to its coastal location and some rather picturesque historical architecture, but the area was difficult to develop and inclement weather for most of the year made it a bad investment. Before the developers gave up on it, they filled in most of the beaches with fine white sand. (The beaches were, at one point, comprised of rather dark and gritty sand, hence the name.) They also put in a boardwalk for the entire length of the beach and some buildings for businesses and restaurants, which remained largely unoccupied until Linden Academy was built there some years later. Since then, the town has mostly been occupied by students and employees associated with the school.
The beach becomes progressively rockier towards the north of the town and eventually becomes cliffs. At one point prior to the building of the Academy, an amusement park was built atop the cliff, but also shut down due to bad business planning.
Blackshore is located twenty miles north of a large city, Nelton.
ORDER OF THE HOLY SWORD
Initially, the Order was a small organization with very little influence, and the northern continent was ruled by a few kings and warlords. Eventually, though, the Order became more interested in gaining earthly power than religious converts, and began to involve itself in the politics of the region, beginning with its first campaign against sorcerers. Initially this was opposed by the kings and warlords, many of whom had sorcerous aid in gaining power, but the Order used that against them to gain popular support from commoners. By the end of this campaign, most of the sorcerers on the northern continent had either been slaughtered as heretics, or else had fled to the southern continent. Prior to this there had been a fair amount of commerce between the two continents and their inhabitants, but the Order's unwavering persecution of sorcerers and its conquering of the northern portion of the southern continent kept hostilities high. Mountains between that portion and the rest of the southern continent were a hindrance to open war between the Order and the southern nations, however. The Order had a great deal of influence among the lower class by this time, but still lacked allies among the rich and powerful nobility.
When the Devourer appeared, the Order used the war effort as an excuse to coerce those nobles into cooperating or else to seize their property, and those who refused to support the Order were accused of heresy and of being minions of the Devourer. And since few sorcerers remained on the northern continent and those who had fled could not risk return without risking death at the hands of their former people, the Order became the most influential political and military power on the northern continent. Leliel, officially only an aide but in reality the Order's main strategist, coordinated the campaigns in such a way that most of the casualties were among the Order's enemies and opponents. By the time the war with the Devourer ended, most of the northern continent had fallen under Order dominion.
Following the Devourer's defeat, the Order consolidated power, and with few left to oppose them, the Order became the de facto government of the Dominion. Although the rulers of the Dominion's provinces were popularly-elected officials and nominally free to act, none of those rulers could act against the Order, since the Order's military forces were stationed near every major city, ostensibly to protect against a possible return from the Devourer. Eventually, the Order's Authoritate — its religious leader and military commander — was declared the leader of the entire Dominion.
At present the Order rules the Dominion in full, though the pretense of secular elected officials is still maintained. Both people who don't believe in the Order's religious tenets and people who protest the Order's tyranny are declared heretics, and routinely are rounded up by the Order and disappear — presumably exiled or executed. Currently the Order faces only a few opponents. One consists of citizens of the Dominion who want to overthrow the Order for various reasons, working in concert with sorcerers from the southern continent who attempt to smuggle fellow sorcerers out of the Dominion and who want to reclaim ancestral lands taken by the Order. Another, surprisingly, consists of a few families whose bloodlines survived the Order's culling during the war with the Devourer, and whose current heirs resent the Order's power.
The Devourer is a mysterious entity that emerged at the heart of the northern continent and began to expand outward by consuming all living things in proximity to it. No one knows what the Devourer was, exactly, and texts written during the time of its appearance describe it as a monstrous being that birthed monsters which ate humans and wore human skins, and that the Devourer could take on many shapes. The Order claims that the Devourer was a beast from hell that was called up by heretic sorcerers; sorcerers theorize that it was a being from some other space or world.
SORCERY IN THE DOMINION
Since the Order had almost all the sorcerers in the Dominion killed and continues to execute sorcerers as heretics, sorcery is almost unknown in the Dominion. Children who have sorcerous abilities are either taught by their parents to hide and suppress their abilities, smuggled out of the Dominion by the resistance organization, or else are eventually caught and taken by the Order and never seen again. The Order spreads a lot of misinformation, so very little is known in truth about what sorcerers can and can't do, and sorcery itself has faded almost into a legend in the Dominion.