The 12 Spheres
There are three levels of access to The Myst. Rite of Passage, Privilege of Passage, and the Gift of Passage. Those with the Rite of Passage have full access to the powers and abilities of The Myst, have unlimited escort privalages, and can grant the Privilege of Passage or the Gift of Passage to those they see fit. Currently, only the Elder Gods of Atlantis have the Rite of Passage. Those that posses the Rite form the Council of the Myst, and only a majority vote of these individuals can grant or revoke The Right. Those that have the Privilege or the Gift enjoy it at the sufferance of their benifactor. Versak, the Atlantian God of Justice (law) administers the system of privilege and Gift, and can revoke these at any time, although he must immediately inform their patron of the revocation and the reason for it. The patron can then appeal directly to the Council if they disagrea. Only the All Mother, Amnis, can overrule him on her own.
Those with the Rite or the Privilege of Passage may summon The Myst anywhere on earth or Blue. The Myst cannot be called on Atlantis itself, but is easly accessed simply by traveling out into the surounding waters. Those who posses either of these two levels of access my summon a boat of an apropriate size for their traveling party. Those with the Privalage are limited to small skiffs and rowboats that hold no more than 5 or 6 people. Those with Rite of Passage can, if nessisary, summon gally sized ships capable of holding hundreds. When called on the shores of Atlantis, these boats rise up out of the water. On earth or Blue, they apear out of the summoned Myst and glide to a stop on the beach in front of their summoner. If left unatended on earth or Blue, they vanish into The Myst from wince they came. If left abandoned in the waters around Atlantis, they sink and disapear, even if the water should be too shalow for them to do so. In Atlantian Waters or in The Myst, these boats glide effortlessly across the water at the wim of their summoner. Once on earth or Blue, their ocupants must resort to mundane means of propulsion, or the individual powers of their pilots.
Outside of Atlantis, The Myst may be called for three purposes. The first, of course, is to travel to Atlantis itself. If called on land, the summoner walks into The Myst untill they find themselves on the deck of a boat of the apropriate size, which they can then mentaly guide to the Shores of Atlantis. (This works in reverse as well. By walking the deck of a boat driven into The Myst from Atlantis, an individual with the power to direct The Myst can be transported to any destination on land they chose as long as the location is on either earth or Blue.
The second purpose is to travel from any one point on earth or Blue, to any other point on earth or Blue. By simply calling up The Myst, and walking through it for a short distance, the user may travel between any to points on these spheres.
The third use for the myst is that it can be used to summon items to the individual who called The Myst. By simply summoning and walking through a patch of Myst, the individal can ‘pluck’ items out of it at will. These items are limited to generic mundane things that are common throught earth, Blue, or Atlantis. Stuff like silverwhere, articles of clothing, a water bottle (full or empty), etc… No one is realy shure if the Myst pulls unatended items from one of these two spheres to satisfy the demands of its masters (maybe that’s where all those socks that disapear in the wash end up), or if it is able to creating these simple mundane items on demand. Items can also be submitted to The Myst to be sent someplace on earth, Blue, or Atlantis for storage or safe keeping, provided the individual is familure with this location. Specific items can be summoned on request as long as certain conditions are met. The summoner must have a claim to the item. The item cannot currently be in the physical possesion of another (i.e. must be unattended), posession is nine tenths of the law as they say. And finaly, the item must be physicaly located somewhere on earth, Blue, or Atlantis although its actual location does not actualy have to be know to the summoner. If all of these conditions are not met, then any attempt to summon an item fails.
The Myst cannot be summoned in Atlantis, but those who know how to navigate this strange plane can find it there. Conversly, Travelers in The Myst cannot use it to go to The Dreaming, but wanderers in The Myst may be guided there.
Privilege of Passage is usualy granted only to servants of the gods who have a legitamate reason to be constantly going to and from the island to multiple points throught Blue and/or earth, and to the children of the gods, who are automaticaly born with it unless revoked by their parrents or Versak or The Council for some crime.
Those with the Gift of Passage may only call The Myst in order to travel to Atlantis itself, and cannot call on it for the other two purposess nor do they have escort privalages. Also, since they cannot summon a vesel, it is wise of them to secure a vesel of their own and summon The Myst from it while in the water. This only works with smaller vesels that can carry no more than 5 or 6 people, any larger and The Myst will not come. If there are individuals in the craft who do not have some level of passage granted, their pressence, and nature is instantly relayed to Versak, along with the identity of the Gifted one bringing them in. Versak has the ability to block the travel and send them all back from wence they came if he so choses (not to mention he can revoke The Gift). When given the Gift, an exit point is usualy specified on either earth or Blue for when the reccipiant leaves Atlantis. If an exit point is unspecified, or the individual choeses not to access it, then they are at the mercy of The Myst when they leave Atlantis for their destination.
The Gift is the mark of citizenship, and all true Atlantians posses it from birth (although they do not have a designated exit point). Atlantian merchants, the chosen mortal champions of the gods, and those selected as ambassadors are among those Atlantians who will end up with a designated exit point from The Myst. Foreign ambassadors and the official representatives of the other pantheons are among those outsiders granted the Gift of Passage. Since the alliance against the demons after Ragnerock, many of the higher ranking deities of the other pantheons have been granted The Gift so that they might travel to Atlantis to confer with their allies there.
Over the centuries, mortals have developed magic spells that can summon The Myst to take small boats and their ocupants to Atlantis, but only those with the Rite or the Privilage of Passage may comand The Myst in any other way. Also, the servants of Tangaroa Ru, God of the Ocean, monitor this watery passage, and sorcerers who use magic to barge into Atlantis uninvited can receave a very unpleasant reception if they don’t have a very good explination on hand.
Sometimes people enter The Myst as wanderers, with no control over their destination. Usualy this happens when someone without granted access or someone with only The Gift and without a specified exit point (or who choses to disregard said exit point) leaves Atlantis through The Myst. There are also other ways someone might find themselves wandering in The Myst, such as an encounter with one of the Anchor Nodes (see the Biography section), expulsion by Versak or the minions of Tangaroa Ru, one without a means of Passage enters from The Dreaming, or an incomplete magical incantation, but these are comparitively rare. An individual who finds themselves wandering through The Myst without any means to direct it can end up litteraly anywhere on earth or Blue. They could even end up in The Dreaming. Strangely enough, their arival at whatever location they end up in often tends to be fortuitous for that location, and usualy the wanderers as well, although often in a roundabout or unexpected way.
The Right of Passage is considered a 12-point “bestowed” ability. Characters must have the approval of the Elder Gods to purchase this ability, and doing so places them on The Council of Myst.
The Privilege of Passage is a 2-point patron. One can have the Privilege without spending points in it. A character that has spent points for The Privilege is held in good standing by the gods, and has a strong connection to their patron. Versak is likely to give the character the benefit of the doubt, and in the event that the privilege is for some reason revoked by Versak, their patron is willing to stick their neck out in an appeal to the Council of Myst and defend the characters innocence or council mercy (unless the crime was particularly heinous) in the event that innocence or guilt is not the issue. A character that has The Privilege as part of their background but has not spent the points for it has only a tenuous connection to their patron. Versak will treat the character with perfect fairness, but is unlikely to cut the character much slack if they push the bounds of their access. While the character does have a sponsoring patron, that patron is unlikely to be willing to risk their reputation in front of all the other Elder Gods just to quibble over the character’s supposed deeds, although they may launch their own private investigation into the matter on the side. Unless being banished entirely from Atlantis, those who lose their Privilege are downgraded to The Gift of Passage.
The Gift of Passage is the mark of citizenship and merely constitutes the ability to come and go from Atlantis as one pleases. The Gift does not have a point cost.
Centuries ago, the island kingdom of Atlantis maintained close ties with earth. Although located on the Sphere Blue, the island was linked to earth by two large gates just off its shores. The gates were so large, and so well blended into the scenery that they made the kingdom appear as a large island or small continent in the nearby ocean to the people of earth. The first gate was just to the Atalantic side of the Straits of Gibraltar, and the inhabitants of the area knew the island kingdom by its prefered name of Atlantis. The other gate was located just off the coasts of the Islands of Hawaii. Indeed, to the denizens of the Pacific, Hawaii apeared to be a chain of barrier islands for the civilization they refered to as Mu. Home to an advanced civilization, and ruled by the gods of the Atlantis/Hawaii Pantheon, Atlantis enjoyed great prestige and respect from the peoples of earth.
But success breads envy as well as respect. Soon it began to be impossible stem the tide of potential conquerors. Even the gods of the other pantheons of earth began to be desirous of conquering Atlantis, and even the elder deities could not protect their island paradise from the threat of multiple foreign pantheons at once.
It was decided that the only way to save Atlantis was to seal it off from the rest of the Twelve Spheres and peril. However, the gods were loathed to dispense with magical artifacts as ancient and powerful as the two gates, of which the ability to remake had long passed out of knowledge. They were also more than a little afraid of the potential energy release that might result from the dismantling of such powerful artifacts. Also, there were still other gates on Blue that were not under the control of Atlantis that, given time and the resources of the other pantheons, could be used to launch overland assaults on Atlantis from Blue itself. It was therefore decided that instead of simply trying to seal the gates, that they must be altered into some type of defensive barrier to bar access to Atlantis from both earth and Blue.
In an awesome feat of magic and power, the gods drew forth a fragment of The Dreaming and wove it through the two gates, creating an independent fragment of reality simultaneously linked to Atlantis and all points on earth and Blue. The weaving changed the gates into space-time anchors that tied the newly created Myst, earth, and Atlantis together. Of course, the alteration of the gates caused significant disturbances in their immediate vicinity, stirring up the water around them even as The Myst took shape, obscuring Atlantis and then itself fading from view in-between the realities until called upon by those granted the ability to access it. To the mortals watching from their shores on earth, it looked as if the whole continent/island has sunk in some violent volcanic explosion. Thus began the legend of the destruction of Atlantis, a wholly unexpected feature of the new set up. With Atlantis thought to be destroyed, it was a considerable amount of time before the humans or the other pantheons began exploring options to penetrate Atlantis’ defensive barrier.
The old gates, now turned dimensional anchors still had a physical presence on earth, and these were causing problems for those people (and by extension the gods who gained validation for their existence by protecting them) who dwelled there. Although they spent most of their time out of phase, it was occasionally possible for a stray ship to blunder into one of the Anchor Nodes, since they couldn’t be seen or detected by any normal means, without even realizing it. Contact with an in-phase anchor node could have several unpredictable effects ranging from absolutely nothing, to being shifted to the other node (thus instantly going from the Atlantic to the Pacific or vice versa), to being transported as wanders in The Myst, to popping, uninvited, into the home waters of Atlantis itself (essentially a one way trip to a xenophobic nation of elitist snobs, not the highest survival rate for you in that). Although this was very rare, the waters of the Mediterranean were traveled enough that over the centuries this phenomenon became noticeable. Also, high amounts of electrical energy from massive storms with high amounts of lightning would cause the node to flare. A flaring Anchor Node could produce many side effects on the space around it such as: creating pockets of temporal distortions where time ran faster or slower than normal, pockets of spacial distortions where distances are distorted, becoming longer or short than they appear at random, intensification of the normal storm to unprecedented levels, bizarre weather phenomenon, actually summoning The Myst to engulf unfortunate travelers into wondering its expanse, etc… The Atlantic node by the Rock of Gibraltar may in fact be responsible for the legends of the clashing rocks.
This was becoming a serious problem, but not having a full understanding of what the Atlantians had done, the remaining pantheons of earth feared to try and destroy these Anchor Nodes, as the consequences could not be predicted, and could well have been dire. At the very least, there was a lot of energy tied up in them, and it might not go well with the earth to trigger a sudden release through collapse or violence. It was, however, within the abilities of the gods to move The Anchors. So it was decided to relocate the Atlantic Anchor. Ideally, it would have been placed in the middle of the ocean, but this was not possible as the anchor had to be located at a node of magical power and the middle of the Atlantic was significantly bare of these. A plan was reached, where the Anchor Node was moved to a magical vertices of power off of the North American continent, where the people where far less interested in oceanic exploration than their European cousins. And thus their gods weren’t paying enough attention to the area to notice what was going on and complain. There it has remained even unto this day. Of course, in the modern era the seas of the world have become so heavily traveled that humans have once again come in contact with the Node on a regular basis. Usually, nothing much happens, but occasionally, especially during bad storms, there are…unfortunate consequences. Space-time distortions where time speeds up or distance is stretched can be particularly deadly to aircraft with limited fuel capacities. Since humanity is now so populous and spread out to nearly every corner of the global, there really isn’t anywhere else to move the Node where it will be safer. The Pacific Node is located in a small cove that pretty much constitutes the entire small island of Hawaii. The island is abandoned and so small and unassuming that no one ever bothers to go there, so there are minimal to no problems with it. The Atlantic Node is located in the center of the area known to modern man as the Bermuda Triangle.
There are stories and rumors that the powerful electrical interference generated by some storms causes the nodes to send out tendrils of dimensional energies across the boundaries of space-time in the Twelve Spheres, which are drawn to functioning gates as if they were lightning rods, creating a brief, one-way energy flow. Supposedly, this connection is so brief and inconsequential that observers at these other gates would never even notice the contact. However, as the stories go, anything that touches the flaring node at that instant would be sent to the temporarily linked gate. If this theory is correct, it means that a vessel caught in an Anchor Node Storm could, theoretically, be transported to virtually any of the Twelve Spheres. To date, this is only rumor and theory. There are no verified incidents of this.
The good news was that this new set up kept invaders out of Atlantis. Only powerful magics, artifacts, and creatures could breach the protections of The Myst, and only on a small scale, (usually allowing no more than a half a dozen creature through at any given time and often sending up a notable flare of magic through The Myst, announcing their arrival for all to see). Outside threats were virtually ended. The bad news was that getting out was as hard as getting in, and The Atlantians soon realized they had their own problem citizens and dark gods who were locked in with them.
By the time Ragnerock came around, the Atlantians had had enough of their self-imposed isolation. Ironically, their barrier had been constructed a little too well, and even they couldn’t break out on their own. The help of the other gods of earth was needed, and with the demons bearing down upon them, they were quite willing to give that help as they needed all the reinforcements they could get. Reinforcements the Atlantians were happy to provide, considering that if the rest of the Twelve Spheres fell, even The Barrier of Myst would not long protect Atlantis from the demon hordes. So a barging was struck, each side would forgive the other their past transgressions, the barrier would be broken, and war against the demons would be joined. Armed with the knowledge of the barrier’s construction, and the full powers of the surviving gods, The Barrier of Myst was transformed into a highly controlled passageway between spheres, acting as a secure method of communication, an unimpeded supply rout, and a highway for marshaling & staging troops. The alliance between the surviving gods of the pantheons would ever afterwards be known as the Warden Gods, and The Myst took on its present day characteristics (see the Description section above). Unfortunately, the problem with the Atlantic Node remains with no clear solution.