So here goes –
It starts with the War in Heaven between the Faithful and the Rebels. A result of this great war is the Big Bang and the creation of the universe. Rebel losers cast into Hell as punishment…
But we know they don’t stay there. Many manage to escape to Earth and become Elementals: beings that draw on one of the six elements that make life possible. These elements are Earth, Wind, Water, Fire, Shadow and Time. More on those later.
Fallen Angels come across Man and, for unknown reasons, decide that mating with cavemen would be fun. Maybe they think they can make more angels so that they can defeat the Faithful. I dunno. Their motives are unimportant. What is important is that all offspring of these unnatural pairings come out seemingly human. The best I can figure it, the angel DNA cannot fully be integrated with humans so it is compartmentalized into specific genetic codes that remain recessive and dormant until a human can actually handle it. Which isn’t for a few thousand years. Humans grow and evolve and as they do they water down the Angel blood lines and cross them as well. Then along comes the perfect combination of blood and ta-da! We get our first gods. They perform miracles and have incredible powers and are worshipped as Gods by simple people. At that time, think ancient Egypt, about an eighth of the human population has these recessive genes and only a hundredth of those have an active gene. Still, the abilities don’t pass on to the next generation, or rather they do as recessive abilities, and before long the Gods are forgotten.
Throughout human history, there is evidence of these hybrids becoming active in folklore, fairy tales and many religions. We started with calling them Gods. As the blood lines are further crossed and thinned we begin seeing demigods, half-human monsters (centaurs, minotaurs, other taurs…), angels and demons. Further down we get fairies, elves, pixies, brownies, leprechauns, nymphs, sprites, etc. Most of these are just poor combinations that create a human more closely resembling an Elemental. There are a few cases where entire new species have evolved, creating stories of Vampires and Werewolves. But I’m still figuring this out, so I’ll get back to that.
Anyway, most times, the emergence of an active gene is greeted with fantastic tales and often some form of worship. This is how we have people who descended from Gods. The important thing is that after the fall of most great civilizations in the Middle East, these Earthly Gods failed to inspire such positive responses. In fact, the Jews often spoke openly against these false gods (except when they were worshipping them cuz that’s what everyone else was doing). After the prophet Mohammed created Islam (after being visited by an “angel”, btw), he also denounced any powered humans as demons. Thus, the Middle East stopped being a safe place for ‘hybrids’ for the past 700 years due to the severe orthodox religions, including Christianity, who would kill these demons even as they lay in their cribs. It got really bad about 400 yrs ago because of a sudden upsurge of active genes. So we get lots of reports of witch trials and demon hunts. Any person exhibiting special abilities was labelled a witch or demon and some of them really did need special means to be killed. The most reliable methods were burning, drowning, crushing and suffocating. For instance, someone descended from a water elemental died more quickly from fire than any other method, though the people persecuting them had little to no way of knowing this (unless the person happened to mention that she could manipulate rainfall or something). It is very important to understand that at this time most people with active genes had no idea what they had or what to do about it. Also, perhaps 10 people in the world had power to equal that of the lowest super hero in the current age. The blood was too thin.
1600-1700s preoccupied with vast crusades to rid the world of these demons, which is completely useless as approx 50% of the population has the elemental gene and only 10% of those have the active gene. And out of that 10%, .1% have an ability that is obviously a super power, like flight or super strength or something similarly obvious. Granted there are a lot of false accusations, but that doesn’t really change anything. The main result of the hunts is a mass exodus to the New World. Not just of people with obvious abilities, but also those who used to boast about how they were descended from gods or have a great-grandmother who got busy with a water sprite. Plus, the wars were bad for the people in many ways (false accusations, burnt crops, etc). North America became unofficial haven for those who had unusually good gardens or never seemed to have trouble with droughts. There were, of course, religious refugees as well. Puritans and so on who deeply suspected that the Catholic Saints were actually just another version of Demons. There were plenty of witch trials in the New World (except in a small village to the north that later became Darclann). Like I said, this trend carries on for 200 yrs almost nonstop. Middle East and N. Africa being the most conflicted (the driving out of Elementals practically created the Sahara…). It’s really only in the New World that any remnant of hybrids are seen as anything besides demons. Folk tales like Paul Bunyan are obvious examples of this. Also, most of the Natives still worshipped their Earth Gods and had mystics in their tribes with special powers.
1826 – Joseph Connor, descended from Jacob Connor (co-founder of Dark Town) and ancestor of Brian Connor (Susan’s Dad), fights off a grizzly bear with his bare hands when it wanders into the middle of the town’s summer festival. Called the father of Super Heroes. He never wears a mask or cape but he becomes the protector of his town. As word spreads around the U.S. more Heroes emerge as city protectors. Remains an American tradition until the Civil War breaks out in 1861. War is over by 1863 with over a million dead. Word spreads around the world that amongst the humble human soldiers fought men with extraordinary abilities. Entire battles were finished by the rage of one person. Though most of the South was decimated by fires and natural disasters, as soon as they surrendered it was only a short time before crops were growing in abundance again. Through all this, Heroes became a worldwide epidemic. These were the first ‘throw-back’ heroes. Not only were they much stronger than their predecessors, but they did not see themselves as demons anymore. They were simply more than human. However, Heroes were not universally accepted. Asia was still in isolation mode and the M. East and N. Africa were adamantly against these “more-than-humans”. They would always be seen as blasphemies and demons.
For the next 40 yrs after the Civil War, it is a time of rapid progression for humanity with the aid of long hidden Heroes. Earth-oriented Heroes begin working on growth and rebuilding. Few Earths have the ‘mother nature’ gift of growing but they do often have super strength. Water-oriented Heroes help with droughts and regulating rainfall. Fire-based help with controlling forest fires, etc. Wind-based help with weather issues. At the time, no one was aware of the 2 other main elements because they rarely were offensive abilities except super speed. America quickly grows to be a super power in the world along with Germany, Russia, England, India, France and Brazil.
The Great War – And all this time, the Middle East remains fighting a 700 yr old war that has roots as far back as 5000 yrs ago. The rest of the world lives in relative peace with the knowledge that they are protected by Human Gods and yet they still fight, generation after generation for no reason that anyone outside can discern. The International Council was formed early in 1903, made up of representatives from 37 governments. Their first act was to declare that war in the Middle East had gone on long enough and it was time they forced peace on the Hero-less masses there. In an act of peace (and complete stupidity), the Council chooses 5 of the worlds strongest Heroes to intervene and beg that the fighting be stopped and peace declared. The people there were extremely insulted and horrified that Demons would not only dictate orders to them on behalf of the heathen nations, but would have the audacity to try to tempt them away from their holy crusades. Thus, though the Heroes were merely messengers and under a flag of peace, they were attacked. The Heroes naturally opt to defend themselves and fight back. Thousands are killed in a few hours. The I.C. is mortified at this turn of events and tries to call the Heroes back. But the Heroes by this time are convinced that the right thing to do is to end the war by eliminating the warriors. And the I.C. can’t stop them. They’re too strong, that’s why those Heroes were chosen. So the solution is to send in more Heroes to stop them, essentially adding gas to the fire. Now there are Heroes fighting each other causing destruction on the level with nuclear bombs in their wake. Worse yet, the fighting spreads with nations turning on each other and Heroes on the front lines against normal soldiers, escalating until war engulfs nearly the whole world in a matter of weeks. And with the Heroes fighting the War, the Villains begin emerging more prominently. One Villain, Desolation, decides to enact a scheme that could only succeed because the Heroes were too busy fighting each other to do their duty. And Germany is wiped off the map in a second. The Heroes spontaneously disappear. The fighting stops almost instantly. It is later learned that all the Heroes have convened in Antarctica for a big meeting. One month later, the remnants of the I.C.are contacted by the newly formed Council of Heroes. The I.C. is informed that Heroes now fall under Council jurisdiction, their Council being made up of senior Heroes. The Prime Council, made up of the Prime Consuls of each Regional Council, had enacted a set of laws for Heroes worldwide and so Heroes were now separate from Human laws. The Heroes would still protect their cities as before, but they would not participate in any human war and any misconduct on their part would fall under the Council laws and any verdict by the Council would be enforced by an Alpha Hero, the most powerful Hero in the Region.
The Great War of 1903 lasted less than 6 weeks and over 1.6 billion people were killed. The next 30 yrs were spent rebuilding with the cooperation of the Heroes, though not to the same degree as the post-Civil War Regeneration. Heroes were warned not to be affiliated with anything but their Regional Council. The first emergence of Hero uniforms became prevalent in this time. Mask were becoming almost a requirement by many Councils as retaliation against Heroes by the War survivors threatened. In the early 1920’s, a political party is formed called the Nations Against Gods, eventually known only as the NAG’s. It was an obscure sect of people who had not only a hatred for Heroes for their part in the War but also for the Jews and Muslims for starting the War to begin with. With roots in Poland, it quickly became the National Party in control of the Country. It’s last leader, Adolf Hitler, was named High Chancellor of Poland in 1933 (because some things are fixed and have to happen in any reality) and promptly decided to invade Czechoslovakia in 1935. He declared war on the Heathens (Jews, Muslims and anyone who disagreed with his Party) and the Heroes (the ‘Failed Gods’). He managed to capture the Hero of Prague (Great Bohemian) and publicly executed him, essentially declaring war on the Council of Heroes (the I.C. had evolved into the League of Nations by this time). The Council deploys the Alphas of every Regional Council and the war ends in 6 months. This may seem like a long time but the Alphas had been instructed to use restraint in order to reduce collateral damage. After the last NAG had been found and imprisoned, the Prime Council met with the newly formed United Nations to lay down their terms with the humans. They reiterated that Heroes and Villains fall under Council jurisdiction. Any punishment warranted or justice required would be judged and dictated by the Council and carried out by the Alpha. Any unwarranted attack on any Hero would be considered an act of War and that would mean the end of the world. So Heroes and Humans would be separate but equal (not really equal, because thereafter Heroes became Super Heroes). The Treaty of Versailles is signed between the Prime Council and the U.N. in 1936. At the same time the Council writes the Super Hero Conduct Charter of 1936 which dictates the International Code and Laws of Heroes from who they protect to their uniform requirements. All Heroes will wear masks and capes (the capes being a means of dictating rank and status). The SHCC of ’36 is revised in 1956 to include mandatory Hero Registration and allowing women and minorities to act as Alpha’s and Council Members. Also dictates the responsibilities of the 3 Councils (Regional, Territorial and Continental) under the Prime Council and how they are made up.
Since the NAG Extermination, the world has built itself around Super Heroes. Entire industries exist only for Heroes. Costumes, devices, lairs, gadgets, vehicles, etc. Despite major set-backs of the Great War, mankind progresses rapidly throughout the 20th century and into the 21st with the aid of Super Geniuses. No flying cars (for public sale) yet, but emission reducing cars and lots of advances in genetic engineering has reduced the strain on the planet that just over 7 billion people makes. Their reality is very different from our’s, except for the excess of Super Heroes. Estimates put ‘hero gene’ in nearly 60% (4.2 bil) of the total population. 10% of that (420 mil) have active gene with only .01% (42,000) of that have a major ability that qualifies for Hero status.
So the beginning needs some refinement. The War in Heaven:
It did not create the Big Bang. That’s silly. God created the universe. Tada! Then God created animals and plants and everything. The rift happened when God created Man. Not only did He create Man, he gave man free will, a gift not granted to any of His other creations. Animals live on instinct, mostly. They all have personality, something owning cats has certainly taught me, but no real souls. And then there are the Angels, creatures built to love and serve unconditionally. They were made as caretakers, as extensions of God’s will, sort of intermediaries between the creator and the created. The idea that Satan started the war to take over the throne of God as absolutely ridiculous. That’s something Man would do because Man has free will. My theory is that Satan saw these people living blithely in paradise and did not understand their purpose. Why would God need those little beasts? He had His angels who love and serve without question. God’s answer, perhaps, was that love is better by choice than by force. Ah, but these humans hadn’t been given a choice, not really. That’s how Satan gained permission to tempt Eve, which led to that whole debacle. So then Satan says, “See? You ask them to do one thing and with only the slightest temptation they disobey and show their meaner natures. Surely they aren’t worthy of your love and mercy.” I think Satan was expecting the humans to be wiped out, either to make a better, more obedient race or not. But they were simply cast out of Paradise. I don’t think Satan was happy with that, or rather, he was unsure of what the purpose was. I’m not certain if the Angels were capable of complex emotions. Anyway, Satan gets a bunch of his brethren together and they decide that in order to save the Creator from the emotional pain of these creatures who could so easily reject their Maker, they must wipe out the humans. Out of love and servitude to God, Satan and his army descended on Earth to destroy the plague of Humanity. The war between the Faithful (Satan’s crew) and the Obedient was over quickly. Angels cannot resist the will of God. Those corrupted by Satan’s reasoning were cast out of paradise and cut off from God. As angels subsist solely on the presence of God, they were basically condemned to starve for eternity. Hell was manifest out of their suffering.
Most of the fallen fell to Earth but couldn’t remain. I think the strongest of them couldn’t remain even that close to God (He is connected to all living things) and the weakest didn’t have the will to fight for survival. The rest, they simply followed instinct. They ate and slept and they mated. The thing is, modern representations of angels have them all pretty much just shinier versions of people. In reality, they are the caretakers of everything, so many of them are more animal in appearance. It makes sense that not all of them would mate with humans. Some mate with humans and have pretty human offspring (I still think special abilities would be a recessive gene in humans). But the ones that mated with animals would have some very unusual results that would eventually develop into the Demon races (not vampires, they’re something else entirely). Eventually, the earth-bound angels would descend to Hell with the rest of their brethren, where Satan works still to prove that Humans are unworthy. Why are the fallen angels evil, then? To be honest, it’s hard to believe angels are anything, good or evil. They’re messengers and caretakers, bound to a will that isn’t their own. That’s like asking if a worker bee is good or evil. It doesn’t apply. The ones who were cast out, cut loose from the will of God, and the love of God, I think they are tormented by the separation and it twisted a lot of them into something much more basic than our concept of evil. It also led many of them to desperation, to finding any means of connecting with God again. And the only way to do that is to have a soul. The damned souls are drawn to Hell to be devoured by the fallen and to manifest their own damnation. Some Angels find ways to take the souls of the living (demonic possession, vampires, etc). But they will always be hungry.
Oh and I decided to drop the other two elements. Most everything can be linked into the basic four, no reason to make it more complicated. Earth encompasses strength, animals, vegetation and mineral based powers. Air is flight, and any manipulation of the atmosphere. Water is also self-explanatory and pretty uncommon, though it can have some weird manifestations (Susan’s sonar ability and the control she has over her internal fluids). Fire is really better described as Energy, as it includes any electrical powers as well as pyrotechnic abilities. Any mental capabilities are something that tends to develop as a defense ability and can fall under any element. I’m pretty thoroughly against having any ‘telepaths’. The mind isn’t a book. It’s too complicated to walk into all nimbly pimbly and take out what you want. Mind control, maybe. Empathic abilities, definitely. Telekinesis, probably.
I’m still figuring out the parameters of this world. It might take a while and loads of research (damn it). Comment please.