In the Beginning
On the creative cosmological construct known as "Earth-27," there is a dimensional locality built into the construct's Oculus Apex known as Gemworld. Gemworld is a place ruled by magic and supposedly it is the birthplace of most of the original Lords of Order and their nemeses, the Lords of Chaos. A war raged across this land when the two factions became intrinsically opposed, with the Lords of Order supporting their founder Kismet and the Lords of Chaos supporting the scorned being calling himself Dominus. Their conflict continued to escalate until it spanned the entire construct, leaving their home of Gemworld essentially abandoned.
After its original inhabitants abandoned it, Gemworld was settled by refugees of Atlantis, led by the sorceress Citrina. As most of the refugees had some level of magical ability, sorcery and other forms of magic became a staple of Gemworld's way of life.
After settling their new world, Citrina forged a plan to cement peace and forge a united Gemworld. To this end, Citrina held a summit with the leaders of twelve houses, thousands of years ago. The sorceress took twelve gems, each with immense and equal magical power, and presented them to the twelve houses' leaders. Each leader was allowed to choose one gem to identify with their house. When the choices were settled, Citrina used a ritual to transform the gems into incorporeal soul shards which were then grafted to the souls of the twelve leaders.
These soul shards were intended to remove the politics from the kingmaking. These soul shards had the ability to transfer from one host to another in the same family, choosing the most worthy candidate of appropriate age in the bloodline. However, all twelve soul shards would only ever select a single male among all twelve to host a soul shard, thereby designating the King of Gemworld, whereas the remaining hosts of the soul shards were the de facto "Princesses of Gemworld". Whereas the King would command the citizens of Gemworld and oversee political matters and executive decisions (in the same way the Realm Lords would rule over their individual Realms), the Queen of Gems (the Gem Princess chosen by the King to be his wife and queen) would oversee the ten remaining Gem Princesses whose magical gifts often allowed them to remain among the highest ranks of Gemworld society as sorceresses, generals, champions, poets, artists, priestesses, or famous adventurers.
Each of the Twelve Houses oversees one of the Twelve Realms of Gemworld. At the center of Gemworld's continental mass is the large capital city of the entire kingdom. At the center of the royal city is the royal palace, the Crown Jewel. The castle is the seat of power of the King of Gemworld and his Queen. The castle is surrounded by twelve embassy houses which house representatives of each House.
The Royal City of Jewel does not belong to any realm, it is directly controlled by the Crown and exists on a large island surrounded by two rivers and the large Sapphire Sea. Spanning outward from the city are the Twelve Realms, each one distinguished by a different, predominant biome which is reflected in its people's traditions, attire, and architecture.
- Ruby Canyon: This realm is overseen by House Ruby. It is currently also without a princess after House Emerald led an attack on it many years ago which set off a long war which the realm has only now begun to recover from. It also controls the Ruby Bay which is a major trading hub for the western ports of the kingdom. Its castle, the Ruby Ruins, is an old red palace built by the Lords of Chaos thousands of years ago which has been salvaged as the seat of power of House Ruby.
- Sardonyx Sands: This realm, overseen by House Sardonyx, is a large desert bordering Ruby Canyon and Garnet Valley, which it holds a tight alliance with. The people of this realm are mostly nomadic and quite resourceful. Its ruling house has a large fortified camp built around a large oasis. Similar to Houses Ruby and Emerald, Sardonyx lacks a Princess of its own due to the same war which ravaged the other northern realms.
- Garnet Valley: Surrounded by the Garnet Peaks without only one easily accessible point of entry, the people of Garnet Valley have become an industrious and militaristic people, known for creating the finest soldiers and weapons in the kingdom. Many of its people are miners and its seat of power is actually built inside a mountain at the center of its valley - Mt. Garnet.
- Opal Expanse: A large realm covered in vast stretches of tundra, taiga, and permafrost. It is the most northern of the realms and arguably the largest. Much of its more remote parts have yet to be explored.
- Emerald Forest: This realm, overseen by House Emerald, is a powerful and wealthy house as it produces much of the world's lumber and is located relatively close to the Royal City. It is currently ruled by Lord Yrdur Emerald, twin brother of the missing Gem Princess, Princess Emerald.
- Amethyst Hills: This realm, overseen by House Amethyst, is located near the Royal City of Jewel. Its closest ally has always traditionally been House Emerald but the recent war has strained their relationship as House Amethyst is also without its Princess due to the effects of the war. The Amethyst Hills are made up of rolling hills, most covered in fragrant, colorful flowers of all colors and known for its grass of a light violet color. Near its many towns and settlements, vineyards and wineries are often found as the Amethyst Hills are mostly known as the vintners of the kingdom and Amethstine Wine is drunk at all major social gatherings of the wealthy and powerful.
- Topaz Fields: This realm consists of a large, flat, and grassy biome, well suited for farming crops. Its ruling house is powerful and wealthy by providing most of the kingdom's wheat, vegetables, and fruit.
- Sapphire Islands: Located in the Sapphire Sea, this archipelago of islands is a paradise of beauty, with each island equally as beautiful and breathtaking as the last. Though it lacks the population of many other realms, this realm earns its wealth by providing the kingdom's houses and wealthy merchants with luxury resources which the other realms lack.
- Moonstone Wastes: The House of Moonstone controls the "wastes", a large region covered in ancient ruins of the Lords of Order old capital city. The region is also covered in craters from magical warfare. Though the land is still infected by some magical pox that prevents much of it from being reused for agriculture, its a treasure trove for scrappers, salvagers, and the like to rummage through to find lost wonders. Where there are any signs of life, its usually a putrid swamp, decaying bog, or small oases built around a geyser or hot springs.
- Turquoise Jungle: Seat of power for House Turquoise, this thick jungle realm is filled with all manner of great resources. Its trees provide wood for the southern realms and are used best in shipbuilding. Its people are mostly tribal, living one with the land, and only taking what they must. They are also exceptional warriors.
- Aquamarine Coast: A long, narrow realm, located adjacent to the Turquoise Jungle and the Eastern Ocean, the Aquamarine Coast is made of rocky cliffs, beaches, and grasslands. It controls a major trading hub in its largest port city which controls much of the trade of the East. They are known for making the best sailors, water mages, and ships in all of the kingdom.
- Diamond Plains: The Diamond Plains is the home of the Temple of Gems, where all Gem Princesses are expected to make a pilgrimage at some point in their lives. Surrounding the Temple is a city that supports the temple, which in turn is surrounded by farms that exist only to support the one city's occupants. Stretching beyond that are pristine fields of pale blue grass, shallow hills and valleys, and natural beauty. Small woods grow here, fed by gentle streams descending from its surrounding mountains which separate this beautiful realm from the Moonstone Wastes and the Western Ocean and Sapphire Sea. As these mountains surround this realm on all sides, the only way to reach this realm is through a pass on its northern side which requires passage through the Moonstone Wastes to reach.
Trivia and Notes
- Priestess Citrina and her followers made a deal with the Lords of Chaos to allow her to open a small rift that lead here from a doomed Atlantis.
- A "Princess Gem" is a female Gemworld descended from the nobility who was born with heightened magical gifts. A noble girl who inherits the magical powers of her family takes the title "Princess of Gemworld", and then is distinguished by their House name. On Gemworld, it is a very intimate gesture to refer to a princess by her given name. A Gemworlder of a noble house who has the potential to inherit a Soul Shard is known as a Noble or Radiant Gem. They often have much higher magical potential than the common people of Gemworld. This magical potential they often hold the most powerful positions in most facets of Gemworld life: military, trade, industry, politics, academia, etc.
- A commoner is simply called a Gemworlder, or Rough Gem. They have a slightly more magical aptitude than a normal human, but that's about it.
- In the comics Gemworld is shaped like a skull.