Hallows are people (or animals or demons or aliens or etc. etc - anything that has a will can become a Hallow) who has, through their extremely powerful will, absorbed and successfully integrated with Aether. Becoming a Hallow on its own grants a few useful abilities:
- Regeneration (Low-Godly) - All Hallows are capable of reforming themselves from their metaphysical will. This means that any harm to them (including things such as transmutation, power sealing, soul damage, concept alteration and other abilities that change them in an undesired way) can be undone. However, this ability is dependent on them maintaining control over Aether through their will, and thus if their will can be broken, they can no longer maintain their physical forms. This also presents a weakness for Hallows not present in normal people, as if a Hallow's will is completely broken they will be consumed by their Aether and return to the Zeroth.
- Enhanced Senses - Hallows have improved senses. They can see farther and with greater clarity, smell and hear from further away, and experience textures more vividly. They also have enhanced vestibular senses granting them greater agility and spatial awareness, and enhanced senses of time, allowing them to react to the world faster and keep up with their enhanced speeds. However, they also have enhanced senses of pain, causing them to feel pain more and in greater detail.
These are merely the basic powers of a Hallow. However, Hallows also have something known as their Authority. Authority is less a power and more a state of being, however it must be "toggled" on. Until their Authority is activated, there appears to be nothing different about a Hallow to any normal person.
All the Aether that sustains (or forms, it's not entirely clear) the world is the Emanation of a true, absolute being, and that being has the absolute authority over all creation, in all forms. As Hallows absorb Aether (the Zeroth's emanations) and become "more like god", they gain a portion of its Authority and thus hold precedence over all lesser form of existence. To put it simply, Hallows can affect things with less Authority than them easier, and are less affected by things with less Authority than them.
- Durability Negation - things with weaker Authority than a Hallow are more easily affected by them. For example, they require less force to damage materials than would normally be possible, they can lift objects with more mass than they normally could. It must be noted this isn't an increase to their strength. Things like physical strength and the physical body are irrelevant to Hallows and Authority, so their bodies aren't automatically strengthened by the Aether - they simply become able to more easily affect things. Depending on the difference in Authority between the Hallow and the object they are trying to affect, this can range from merely affecting things with only 90% of the force normally necessary to affect them, to completely ignoring things such as mass and durability, regardless of its magnitude.
- Resistance Negation- in the same way as above, if the object the Hallow is trying to affect does not have comparable Authority to the Hallow, it becomes easier to affect despite any resistances to the Hallow's powers.
- Mind Manipulation - an ability likened to charisma, a Hallow's Authority extends to Authority over other people. This makes it easier for Hallows to control others, making commands and suggestions from them harder to resist. Again, this depends on the difference in Authority between the Hallow and their target, and is not as simple as "if you're a Hallow, normal people always follow your orders". They simply are more open to a Hallow's suggestions.
- Extrasensory Perception - Upon activating their Authority, Hallows become able to perceive the world around them even without use of their physical senses. Rather than perceiving the world by the light in their retinas or the sound waves on their ear drums, Hallows are able to sense the Aether within the world around them through their metaphysical wills. This is initially disorienting due to the two sets of information through both the physical senses, and the image and feeling manifesting in their mind of all the Aether around them. Hallows must learn to differentiate between the different "configurations" of Aether permeating and sustaining (and possibly forming) the world around them before they can effectively use their Extrasensory Perception to sense the world around them. Hallows generally find differentiating or sensing certain things easier than others, which is normally connected to their Law (e.g. Pro can easily differentiate between universes). As all things, even the metaphysical, are simply different configurations of Aether, it can become possible to achieve things such as perceiving the flow of causality and fate, or perceiving the thoughts and feelings of other people. Extrasensory Perception technically can percieve things regardless of obstacles or distance (space and obstacles are merely a function of Aether after all), but as all things within the Hallow's "sight" are perceived, most Hallows cannot "look" farther than a few metres around them without overwhelming themselves with information.
Finally, Hallows have a unique ability to themselves,
- Reality Warping - An ability known as the Authority, Hallows can warp the laws and concepts of reality in an area (known as a Domain) around them in accordance with some kind of theme established in response to their thoughts, feelings and experiences when the Authority activates. The Authority is incredibly powerful, allowing Hallows to even manipulate constructs and concepts of higher dimensions. When two or more Authorities exist in the same area, they will begin to clash, attempting to crush the other Authority and establish dominance over reality. The one exception to this is when the Authorities are sympathetic with each other, though this is extremely rare as it requires the people to have almost identical mindsets and understandings of reality. The Authority is one of the last Hallow powers to be developed, along with the Hallow Sight, and often a person's Authority can determine what and how they will perceive with their Sight, or vice versa.
Authority is the power of Hallows to enforce their wills on reality. Hallows absorb the Emanations of a god (Aether) from the world around them, and through the power of their wills maintain their individuality. In doing so, they become "more like" God, and in doing so, gain a portion of its Authority over all of creation, in all forms. At it's most basic level, Authority appears to manifests as simply making it easier for Hallows to achieve their goals. Objects will move with less force than normally necessary if a Hallow is pushing on it. Less physical strength is required to lift objects if the Hallow is trying to lift it. People can be convinced to do things more easily if it is a Hallow asking. This is the result of the Hallow wielding "authority" over anything that is of lesser Authority. Authority also allows the Hallow to interact with all aspects of Emanation equally, allowing them to physically interact with conceptual beings such as Phantasms. Later, Authority begins changing the world far more drastically. At a certain point of their development, as long as they have the will to reach it, Hallows will gain their own special Authority which is capable of remaking reality, overturning the very laws, information and concepts that govern reality and replacing them with the Hallow's own to bring about certain effects. The effects of the special Authority is generally determined by the strongest direction of the Hallow's willpower, giving them powers linked to achieving it. For example, Anthony Luciano Barone's goal is to judge and punish evil, and thus he gains the Authority of Judgement. The "theme" of the special Authority can also be determined by the Hallow's strong beliefs, such as how Anthony's strong Christian beliefs cause his ability to judge others to be themed around depictions of God's wrath from the bible. Special Authorities can also be determined by simple strong will behind raw emotions, such as the Witch's Authority of the Stake, which was birthed by her incredible rage and pain, and themed by her experience with the flames.
Aether is the divine emanations of the Zeroth (the Tier 0). Aether emanates out from the Zeroth and flows over all reality, permeating it all. Or reality itself is constructed of the Aether that emanates. Or Aether is the force that allows all things to exist. It's not entirely clear. Regardless, Aether is either the fundamental essence or the sustaining force of almost everything else in the verse. "Everything else" includes such things as physical matter, thoughts and consciousnesses, memories, abstract concepts, events, systems of causality, dimensions, existence and non-existence, etc. Even will is still composed of Aether, though it is possible to become a Transcendent Will, rising above the Aether and existing independently of it.
The Neverworld: The Neverworld is a parallel world of reality where the supernatural exists, existing on the "inverse" side of the world. The Neverworld is made of countless layers, each representative of some belief or story that has been thought of in the Everworld.
Phantasms: Phantasms are the beings (or objects) of the Neverworld. Anything that comes from the Neverworld is referred to as a Phantasm, though in conversation it normally refers to sentient creatures and beings from the Neverworld unless otherwise specified.
Narrators: Narrators are people who use Fantasy to manifest Narratives on the world. They are generally taught operatives of H.E.R.O, though there are some rogue agents or those who have gained the ability on their own merit. Due to the length of time required to activate Narratives (i.e. the amount of time required to chant the passage), most Narrators are also taught and equipped to fight in close combat with Fantasy weapons.
Fantasy: Fantasy is the essence of the Neverworld, and the source of power for Narrators. Fantasy lies within all Recessive Concepts of the Neverworld, and can be extracted from the atmosphere and objects of the Neverworld as a fluid substance. Fantasy is present within all locations of the Neverworld, and acts as its sustaining force. If enough Fantasy is extracted from a specific area of the Neverworld, that area can begin to collapse, with objects within it fading away and eventually pieces of the space itself cracking and falling into the World of Nothingness. However, Fantasy in an area does replenish over time.
Narratives: Narratives are the special abilities of Narrators. Narratives are a form of plot manipulation, expending Fantasy to overwrite the Everworld with a "plot" from the Neverworld. By focusing on a specific story (or an aspect of the story), generally by chanting the words of the story, Narrators can enforce the plot of these stories on the world around them in order to achieve a variety of effects ranging from throwing fireballs to slowing time - in essence, they have "X power via plot manipulation". There are several different classes of Narratives - World Class (which directly affects the world around the user, e.g. a time-stop), Summon Class (which summons a being from the Neverworld to fight for the user), Mantle Class (which allows the user to temporarily take on the "mantle" of a Phantasm, letting them using their abilities), Increase Class (which allows the user to increase their own statistics, such as strength, speed, and even intelligence) and more.
The soul is made by the Authority of Humanity because humanity wanted a soul. The soul exists in a balance between the Everworld and the Neverworld, allowing it to pass between both naturally. When a person with a soul dies, they go to whichever afterlife they believed in during their life. The afterlife is part of the Neverworld. If the person didn't believe in an afterlife, their soul simply ceases to exist upon their death.
The Authority of Humanity
The Authority of Humanity is the collective Authority of any sentient beings with will throughout the universe, that determines the Dominant and Recessive laws and concepts of the universe. Aether, as the source of all reality, influences the world in accordance to its holder’s wishes, and as all entities are composed of some amount of Aether, this means that the collective beliefs and desires of sentient beings determine the nature of the reality around them, creating a Authority from the cumulative collective unconsciousness of all sentient beings. This creates the Authority of Humanity (a misnomer - far more than humanity contributes to it), an abstract force that maintains the laws, concepts and events of the universe as most sentient beings believe the universe to be. Hallows are separated from the Authority of Humanity, as they are their own separate Authorities, and do not contribute their own beliefs and desires towards it.
A Hallow that attempts to cause something against the rules that the Authority of Humanity has set of how the world works is effectively fighting the Aether of all sentient beings throughout all of the universe's space-time at once.
Due to being created by the timeless Aether interacting with the minds of humanity across all of human history, the Authority of Humanity is a timeless construct that is nigh-omnipresent throughout the time-space of the universe. Additionally, the Authority of Humanity also records and determines the past of humanity. As such, the Authority of Humanity will not be destroyed unless every sentient being in the universe is simultaneously killed throughout all points in space and time.
Heaven's Fall Ritual
The Heaven's Fall Ritual is a "magical" ritual designed to summon the Authority of Humanity to the upper layer of the world in a physical form that can be interacted with. It requires 7 Hallows.
The ritual makes use of the "boundaries" that exist between Alaya and Hallows. As Hallows are separated from Alaya, they can be said to exist as a "hole" in the normal fabric of reality (including physical, spiritual and conceptual levels) that Alaya maintains. By trapping 7 powerful Hallows in the same location and amplifying this "hole", a path to the true Alaya that lies beneath all fabric of reality on the "background" can be created.
Alaya exists beyond the time axis, and records the timeline in accordance with sentient perception.
Stronger perceptions are recorded deeper into the timeline, becoming fixed events that cannot be changed except by a power which exceeds that of Alaya. However, these events are dependent on perception, and thus changes can be made to the timeline as long as they do not alter the perceptions of the event (for an example of how this works, in the anime Stein's Gate, it was a fixed event that Okabe found Kurisu lying in a pool of blood, but this did not mean she had to be dead).
Events in the timeline that exist beyond the perception of sentient beings, or are only percieved by beings not connected to Alaya, can be freely changed.
Note that this idea of the fixed timeline does not infringe upon the free will granted to people by their souls - not only are these events never entirely immutable, the events are only recorded, not predetermined.
Magical contracts are fairly common within the Neverworld. These are magically binding agreements made between two or more people. Fae specialise in magically binding contracts, and are normally called upon when people need to make them, in order to act as the overseer. Both parties must agree to the terms of the contract, while shaking hands and allowing the overseer to cast the spell that turns a verbal (or written, it can work on paper too) agreement into the magically binding contract.
Once the contract is "signed" (including a verbal agreement), both parties must fulfil their part of the agreement. In the words of Fiona Ni Sidhe, "you won't be able to stop yourself. You won't even be able to try". What this means is that regardless of how great your mind / law / magic resistance is, none of those will allow you to change your mind - because you have already agreed to fulfil your part of the contract and agreed to it, you can't even try to get out of it. It is suggested that the one truely enforcing the contract is Alaya.
However, Damian Andreas showed the ability to completely ignore his contract, killing an informant even after agreeing not to kill him in exchange for information. It is believed this is due to his Hallow nature, which exists outside the boundaries of Alaya.
The Black Pillars
The Black Pillars are massive monoliths of pitch-black stone, upwards of 200m in height. They have strange symbols that glow with red light carved into their surfaces. Their existence is a highly kept secret in both the Everworld and the Neverworld. As of the beginning of the story, two Pillars have been discovered, one controlled by The Corporation, and the other controlled by the radicalist supernatural faction, Mythos. Their existence is a main plot point (though considering the verse name, I hope you guessed that).
With enough power, and the right abilities, it is possible to punch a hole through the Grain, to exit it and attempt to ascend through the Outer Dark to Kadmon. The Archeans wished to do this, seeking to rise beyond Alaya, using Deus's soul as their catalyst.
Narrators and Narratives
To be added
Types of Narratives
- Boost Class
- Item Class
- World Class
- Mantle Class
- It is impossible for a being of the Everworld to achieve true immortality (without becoming a Hallow that is, but at that point they are no longer a being of the Everworld). While they can use Narratives to halt their aging, or seal their souls in a phylactery, or other such methods, they require Fantasy to maintain this plot, and the longer they exist for, the more Fantasy they need to spend to maintain their immortality.