"Long ago, before the memory of humans begins, was the time of magic. The world was alive in a way that humans cannot comprehend, because the Great Spirits lived and cared for the world.
Peace lasted for centuries, until the Great Spirits began to argue among themselves. The Earth Spirit wanted to be as loved as the Sun Spirit, the Spirit of the Seas resented the Moon Spirit for the tides she made, all these trivial debates built up until they could not be any more.
The Great Spirits went their separate ways, and the world slowly began to lose its magic. Animals could no longer speak aloud, the two-legged beings could no longer do magic and became humans, and the plants became silent and frozen in their places.
The loss of magic saddened the Moon Spirit; she was a audacious, bubbly little thing that no longer got much attention from the world left behind. She wanted to feel adored again, and so she made her children.
They walked among humans, but were set apart. They shared her ethereal beauty, and changed their shape as often as she. Their power rose as she waxed, and fell as she waned.
They did not always escape the notice of the humans they lived among, and they became known in legends as 'shapeshifters.' But they will always be the children of the moon."
Moon-children have a normal life span of 300-500 years, depending on the strength of their bloodline.
The main ability of moon-children is that of changing their form. As long as they are able to picture it in their minds eye, and have the strength to do so, they can take any form they wish. This includes the appearance of specific humans, but they generally shy away from this as it is considered a little rude to tease a lesser species.
Some of the stronger lines of moon-children have the ability of energy-draining. It is a form of vampiric sustenance where the moon child takes the energy from another being. This can enable them to live without food or sleep for stretches of time. The down fall is that it often creates an affinity, like a sort of romantic crush, between the moon child and the victim, which can be rather troublesome. The victim is left feeling lethargic, but is often fine after a meal and a nap.
Moon-children, theoretically, have no limit to their abilities, but there are several factors that place restrictions on how effective they are using their natural magics.
Individual Strength: As with any species, there are some that are stronger than others. Individual strength is influenced by two things: original generation, and purity of bloodline.
The Moon Spirit poured herself into her children, essentially rendering herself non-existent. She created three generations, and because her power waned as she made more, the later generations are weaker.
As the moon-children walked the earth, some chose to mingle with humans and others did not. Shapeshifters are able to have children with humans, but not all offspring are shapeshifters. Sometimes the quality is carried several generations before it shows up, often when two humans with traces of moon-blood have a child. In any case, mating with humans produces offspring with less magical strength than their parents, as the moon-blood is diluted.
Moon Phase: In general, all moon-children are strongest when the moon is full, and weakest when it is a new moon. Individual moon-children are at their absolute strongest during the full moon of their birth month. They tend to be slightly stronger during the season of their birth, and their power tends to wane during the opposite season. Six months from their birth, in the 'opposite' month, they are at their absolute weakest during the new moon.
Personal Endurance: Changing form takes energy and thus can be taxing. Making many significant changes in a short period of time will weaken a moon child, and there is a point when they must rest before they can change again. Like an athlete, moon-children can train to expand their personal endurance, but few do, as their kind is dwindling and scattered; there are no longer groups of moon-children that live together and support one another through training.
Moon-children prefer to avoid being out when the sun is at its strongest. Some represent the traditional human idea of "night owls," being active in the evening and late night hours, and sleeping most of the day. Others tend toward the hours before and after dawn and dusk, avoiding the outside world only during the height of the sun, and still sleeping at night. The latter tend to be descendants of the first and early second generations, while the former are from the later second and third generations.
Their appearances vary, with any range of hair and eye color. Certain factions tend more toward a set appearance, but factions have fallen by the wayside and are hardly even remembered anymore. All are fair-skinned, and are naturally slender.
The moon-children have an affinity for large bodies of water that experience tides, and adore swimming in them. It can be a polarizing topic; some factions felt it is only natural to give in to the love of water, while others believed it is a betrayal of the Moon Mother. In any case, moon-children are all irresistibly drawn to the sea and find night swimming the ultimate temptation.
Moon-children are drawn to white and shades of gray, preferring to dress in and live among these colors. A select few factions adopted the color black, but these tended to die out more quickly than others as they also mixed with humans more frequently.
Many moon-children are picky eaters, preferring foods that have earthy or herby tastes. Tropical fruits are not very popular, and neither are squashes. In general, the more a food needs sun, the less likely a moon child is to like it. Coffee is a particular favorite, almost an obsession with some, since it is so readily available in their most active hours and has a bitter taste.
As the moon spirit created her children, the Children Of the Moon, the sun spirit gifted a group of humans with power that would last the centuries.
The Golden Flame was a people that lived to protect and guide humanity through the long years. They never worked in the open, and if they did they had a good cover, or explanation for the extraordinary things they could accomplish.
Much like the "Shapeshifters" they could not always work in secret, and legend came to know this group as, "Mergers"
Members of The Golden Flame were human, but would live for 300-500 years because of the magic they used, they had prolonged life.
Their most noticeable ability is their ability to take on one, two and in rare occasions three animal companions. They shared thoughts, feelings, and sight with their companions. Whatever one saw or herd, so did all the others in their group. This made them great partners in life and in battle, or tactics. They can act in unison separately or they can merge.
When merged the animal companion would disappear into a shimmering gold flame that would attach itself to the human. It didn't change the person, just added some stuff. Features of the animal would appear as golden energy. Wings and talons for birds, fins and gills for water creatures, and enhanced strength and speed for most land creatures.
The companions themselves grew in power and would live as long as the person (unless killed, but they never died of natural causes). They had unnatural strength and speed for creatures their size, as well as more natural armor and toughness.
The people would naturally be a lot like the animals they choose, so a skinny quick person might have a snake or small bird of pray. Wile a large man would find a larger creature like a lion or rhino. Over the years when it became harder to disguise companions as wild or regular domesticated animals, the exotic creatures were fazed out like lions, tigers, rhinos and so on, in favor of dogs, cats, birds, and other smaller creatures. In any case the merging between a dog as apposed to a tiger usually was the same, so it was a change that was accepted without any ill effects.
There is no bloodline in the Golden Flame. Power is bestowed based on a person to person bases. One must have a higher sense of justice and right and wrong. Usually they end up being people of law enforcement, or military.
They stick to the habits of their companions. So their habits vary from person to person.
Members of the golden flame are usually highly social, but are loners in the sense that their secret cannot be shared with normal humans. There are only 1000 in the world and if one dies or is killed the Sun Spirit will find a worthy replacement and bestow its power.
Along with all of the good that the Great Spirits created with their magics, there had to come some bad, as is the way of the world.
Lesser spirits, still powerful but not quite Great, were resentful of being controlled by the Great Spirits and their whims. These lesser spirits would grow weak and die once the Great Spirits had left the world, but their last act was to place beings on the world that would harm the things that the Great Spirits loved most.
They brought fire and drought to kill the beloved plants of the Earth Spirit, and froze the tops of the earth to sadden the Spirit of the Seas. And, for the Moon and Sun Spirits, who had loved the humans, they brought demons.
These demons took many forms at first, fantastic monsters as tall as trees, and tiny ones that ran as armies. But as the lesser spirits grew weak, so did their demons. They began to take forms similar to humans, and offer them the means to destroy themselves. Drugs, senseless violence, and hate crept into the world at the behest of the jealous spirits.
Its been eons since demons walked the earth in their true, terrible forms, and hunted humans. For as long as recent memory serves, they have been slinking in the shadows as dark-hearted humans with the means to influence others. But a shift in the magics of the world has strengthened them, and they begin to hunt again.
Demons must take a physical form on this plane of existence. Usually, this means they take over a host, typically humans. Old-world humans are not wrong in that demons can possess people. When between hosts, they can appear as crows, or black cats. Very rarely, they can gather enough strength to appear in a physical representation of their true form, usually some kind of monster-type creature.
Mullbrook is a small, coastal city about 45 minutes away from Seattle, WA. It has similar weather to the notoriously rainy metropolis, but a generally quieter area. The residential population is around 3,000, but there are a fair number of long-term tourists in the summers, "city folk" who own cottages along the beach.
The town is small enough to have relatively few officials and police officers, so the two groups share a building.
The front half functions as the town hall and even has its own meeting room for the occasional "town hall meeting."
The back half is the police station, complete with a single holding cell.
If too many people get arrested, or if someone is being too rowdy, they get driven out to county.
Just down the street from the town hall and police station, is the library and the elementary school
This little place is the town's favorite (and only) cafe and bakery.
It's open almost 24 hours a day, "closing" only between the hours of 3 am and 5 am for baking. Even then, the door is usually unlocked and they'll let you grab a cup of coffee.
They're locally famous for their chocolate croissants, cinnamon coffee cake, and warm ham and swiss sandwich.
Jim and Jean's is the town's Italian restaurant, serving large plates of lasagna and daily specials that usually involve something freshly caught from the local fishermen.
It's owned by the town's favorite couple, Jim and Jean, who were married in the small church up the street from their restaurant almost 50 years ago.
They do lunch and dinner, and are the top spot for couples on date night.
This diner is a little outside of town, closer to the highway, and has become the closest thing to a truck stop that the people of Mullbrook can stand.
The milkshakes are the best around, and they stay open until 2 am, so its the go-to place to fill up with coffee and comfort food late at night.
One of the few entertainment venues of the town, The Art has two screens, which both happen to also have a stage.
They play whatever the two most popular movies of the time are, as well as provide a place for the local high school drama club to have their plays.
Mile 7 is the only place in town, other than the grocery store and Jim and Jean's, that sells alcohol. Since Jim and Jean's only does wine, it is the only place to get a beer or cocktail after the store closes around 9pm. The place stays open until almost 4am, mostly full of tipsy locals. Without the natural light of day, it can get pretty dim, and most people agree that if you get hammered at Mile 7, people will forgive you for what you do the rest of the night.
Before the final death of each spirit, the essence of their power that is left is concentrated into a shard.
These shards fell to Earth, and eventually the knowledge of them became a guarded secret.
They hold an immense amount of power, and in the wrong hands, they could mean the end of humans.
The Sun Stone has been in the possession of the Golden Flame since it fell to Earth. It powers the Golden Grove, giving life and sentience to the willow trees that guard it. The Sun Spirit is a male spirit, who places value in a noble heart and honest spirit.
It landed originally in what is now the state of Washington, and has remained there.
It's other abilities are unknown.
Believed to be one of the two more powerful shards.
It original guardians are known as Dryads. They are tree-like creatures, with natural light magic. Many dryads care for the Golden grove, while others act as scouts for the Golden Flame. Warrior dryads were thought to be extinct after exile form the Grove, but it was recently learned that a small number managed to survive.
The Earth Spirit is known to be male, but so few have had contact with his shard that it is forgotten what he is like.
Location of original fall: Central Asia
The Earth Shard was tracked to a mountain mine near a small town called Larkspur, Colorado. It was guarded by what is believed to be the last Golam, the rock-like protectors of the Earth Shard, who died trying to keep it safe.
Found and possessed by the demon Zareth somewhere outside of Mullbrook. Once recovered, it was placed in a spring-fed pool within the Golden Grove.
The Sea Spirit is female, and is known for a fierce personality. She favors those with strong wills, joyful souls, and loyalty to their kind. She is not overly fond of humans, but adores many supernatural creatures.
Location of original fall: Australia
The Moon Spirit female, and dotes on humans endlessly. She loves those who are adaptable and clever, but the combination usually results in individuals prone to turmoil.
Believed to be one of the two more powerful stones.
Location of original fall: Antarctica