The 'living world' of Mesdos, a planet believed by many to be in itself a living entity, and the source of all life upon it. The world is comprised of eight elemental forces that shape it, and the matter that is its makeup. A ninth force heals and regenerates the world, and a certain natural physical energy governs the natural flows of elemental energy within living things.
The scholars of Mesdos have toiled for centuries to learn the secrets of the world, and one thing above all has become clear to them. Mesdos itself is made up of eight elements, but the living organisms upon it seem perpetually unable to achieve this perfect balance. Even the sentient ones are incapable of possessing control over all eight of the elements within their 'essence', always finding themselves able to control at most, only seven of them through their spirit gates.
The scholars of Mesdos believe that to attain an eighth gate, and therefore control over all eight elements simultaneously, within one being, is to reach perfection, and years of study, research, and experimentation has been devoted to this philosophy. Nothing has come of it. Every newborn creature's life force is attuned to a certain point in the elemental 'circle', giving them an innate affinity to at most two elements, never more, and even the eldest of those who study the ways of the spirit gates can never achieve more than seven at once. From this, three philosophies on life have emerged...
The first simply teaches that either the creator of Mesdos, or Mesdos itself, is the only perfect being, and therefore the only one capable of creating lesser, temporary, imperfect beings. Life must be accepted for what it is, lived well, and to its fullest, and in 'final death' one returns to Mesdos, becoming one with it. The faith of "Elimya", called for its first philosopher.
The second faith of Mesdos is one of a belief in the mastery of the ninth force, known as Aesl, the force which regenerates and recreates the destroyed. Followers believe that the other eight forces, the elemental ones, are forces that fuel destruction, degredation, and change. They also believe that only through understanding of Aesl can living things finally attain peace, eternal harmony, and everlasting life, either as part of Mesdos after 'final death, or in some more extreme cults, immortality in the physical is sought. This is the faith of 'Aeslem'.
The third faith on Mesdos is described by its followers as 'the eternal path toward perfection'. Its followers seek above all else, to find and open an eighth spirit gate, and gain control over all eight elemental energies at once, in some way, attaining perfect balance, and therefore power equal to that of the planet itself, to exist forever and create things at will. This is rarest, opposed by the Elimya on the grounds of 'challenging creation itself', and dismissed by the Aeslem because they ignore the force of aesl almost by necessity in their striving. To this day it has never been proven, but many followers of this 'Mesdina' belief say that there have been sages who did achieve this, and in doing so, instantly left this plane of existence, becoming perfect and therefore gods.
Regardless of which faith one holds, and which faith holds truth, the constant striving of the sages has led to many truths that are known. A sentient child is born of one or two elements, most lesser creatures attuned to just one. The beings of Mesdos that live as thinking ones have the ability, even from birth, to channel spirit energy of their elementa, through their bodies, as well as some other skills.
As a child grows, the distinctions between the seven parts of their essence becomes clearer as their spirit gates open, and they learn either through study, practice, or mimicry, to use these seven gates and their 'essences' to make their lives easier. By age nine or ten, essences they dislike, seldom use, cannot control, or forget, fade away, to be replaced by others gathered from their environment, innate to their race, or in odd cases, created within. By their adolescence, they will usually have learnt how to dissociate an essence from a gate at will in order to bind another, and at this point, they are ready to begin to face the world as a creature of flowing spirit energy.
"There is a little bit of Mesdos in every living thing, and every living thing is a little part of Mesdos."
Our story focuses on the center of a once great and powerful Empire on the western shore of Mesdos' second-largest continent. The Hanjian Empire's core nation of Hanjia is not very large, and no longer directly one of the most powerful nations on Mesdos, but it is a fantastically diverse place of peoples and creatures. It is here, that the fourteenth successor, Bar-nen Han-Jia, lives and rules with his wife, the empress Serebia, and their two daughters, Jaena and Lilmi.