Name of World/Setting: Virtue, Massachusetts
Virtue is a small city located between the much larger cities of Marblehead and Salem in the state of Massachusetts. It was created after the Fall, and built upon the ruins and ashes of the old world order. Its center is right between Salem and Wyman Woods. Having been erected since the very beginning (some argue the start) of the Fall, Virtue is now considered the stronghold of “New Jerusalem” – the new world order built around the Puritan Covenant of the 17th Century.
As aforementioned, the Fall was the literal crumbling of the old world order – where every socio-political construct of the known world came tumbling down in a rain of fire and ash, approximately after the new year, in 2020. Virtue is now in its 35th year, and prospering. The year is 2055.
The Inhabitants of Virtue:
Humans make up the majority of the population, though there is versatile flora and fauna as well. The magic of the old world survived well into the new, though it is regarded heavily with suspicion and unease (some things never change). Those that practice magic must be directly tied to the place, for nowhere else will their powers flourish. Thus, they are both welcome and unwelcome in this new world. Society is separated according to ability. Those that practice magic live next to Salem Woods, while the greater numbers of humans live next to Wyman Woods. Co-mingling is strictly prohibited, unless deemed absolutely necessary by those that run the Round Table.
The cultures of the two groups of people are very different. They are both tied to land for survival and sustenance, and neither wish to give up their ideologies or practices.
The humans live a secular lifestyle modeled after the Puritan Covenant of the 17th century, which mixes civil law directly with business, social relations, cultural practices, family life, and so on. It is a lifestyle that is directly connected to religion. The humans practice the strictest form of Calvinism, tied to the political, industrial, and social fabric of their society. Their law and religion is made to force the conscience, curb any freedom of will, and most importantly, suppress the natural exuberance of youth (and bad decisions).Yet, it also recognizes the merits of a devotion to duty, exhibits unlimited courage based on faith, instills a natural love of liberty, and duly a hatred of tyranny. Essentially, these humans borrowed the practices and cultures of times long past – some good, some bad (for instance, they tend to divide themselves into class systems, with men running most of the important work). They built the city of “Virtue” because they wanted to fulfill the original puritans’ ideals of a New Jerusalem (a kind of utopia).
The magic-holders are ostracized, though they are integral to Virtue’s sustainability. In return for resources and land, those that practice magic help the citizens of Virtue survive in a world that should by all extents be dead – after the Fall, the only reason anyone survived was because of the magic that surrounded this small part of Massachusetts. It was a magic invoked by a circle of the chosen (usually female). These people rely on their skills to not only keep themselves afloat, but their unwilling neighbors as well. While they don’t share the same belief in pre-destination and that everything should be done in moderation, they do acknowledge the fact that magic should be used for good, and sparingly. They are also far more open to freedom of will, and do not place themselves in class systems, as their neighbors do.
The human part of Virtue is run by a council of the founding fathers – 5 of them in total – who have full control until they are replaced after death. They are called the “Knights” of the Round Table. The fractions of citizens who practice magic in their part of town have their own circle of the chosen, comprised of 5 individuals, who assume power until they perish or are otherwise replaced.
There is an obvious tension between the two groups. The magic-holders do not agree with the manners in which the humans live, fearing it too restrictive and damaging, while the humans think that those who wield magic have ulterior motives and cause undue troubles (things haven’t changed much since the 17th century). The ruling orders of both groups constantly clash, though they are aware that they need each other to survive this new world.
The greatest threat to Virtue is those that inhabit it. They constantly cause trouble for one another, always fighting over their beliefs and their scheming. Trouble always brews, and so the greatest threat to this city is the people within it.
Technology is replaced in part by magic. The lights that run the city at night are through magical means, and so are many of the agricultural, medicinal, and mechanical tools. Developing new technologies is something that is considered by the humans to be vain, though there are some who do so anyways. Naturally, those that hold all the magical power feel that they are due just rewards for their services, which constantly remain held at bay. Hence, more tensions.
Timeline of Events:
Jan 2020 The Fall (All is not lost)
Feb 2020 Establishment of the township of Virtue, Massachusetts
Jun 2020 Witches are sent to Salem
Jul 2020 Salem Riots
Jan 2025 The Great Blizzard – widespread crop failure
Mar 2025 Salem Riots
Feb 2032 Mysterious Deaths of Honorable Knights Silence and Order
Jul 2032 Salem Hangings
May 2035 Beltaine Births (New Chosen Circle)
Sep 2040 The Great Fire of Virtue
Oct 2043 Salem Riots
Dec 2043 Mysterious Deaths of Head Knight and family
Apr 2051 The Great Flood – widespread crop failure
May 2055 Magical Disturbances – great chaos
Faith Warren has been hiding her disturbing magical hiccups from everyone since she was a child. Practicing them in the woods has been the only way she has been able to feel truly at peace. But with a father who has aims for the Round table, and a mother dead-sent on marrying her to the Head Knight’s son, however will Faith hide her secrets? With the arrival of Raleigh Hathorne comes the possibility of escape. But escape also means leaving everything behind. What will Faith choose? Her secrets or herself?
Word Count: 1,073