HOSTILE DAWNS

A DANGEROUS ENVIRONMENT

Five years have passed since the events that marked the transition from old Earth into the new world. The spark that lit the flame was called The Pulsar. An unprecedented solar flare the likes of which science had no explanation for had emerged from our mercurial home star, blanketing our vulnerable planet and causing unprecedented damage.

The destruction of contemporary civilization was inevitable. Within just a few years, humanity had been thoroughly put in its place. The advent of new weather patterns, a direct consequence of the event made sure of it.

Megastorms would rage across the continents, powerful volcanic eruptions would char the land, and winds would slice across the earth’s surface like a scythe.

THE CHANGE

The others think it a poison of the blood that makes us what we are. They are misguided - the toxic blood is only a side effect of those with a weak constitution. When the Pulsar’s electromagnetic waves came into direct contact with humans, it corrupted the blood and slowly acidized it, dooming those affected to a gruesome fate.

However, this was not the end for a rare few - for us, the curse became a gift. Those who could withstand such energies reacted genetically in unforeseen ways. As time passed, we learned the true extent of our transformation.

We became something more.

Drawing from our very imagination, we found novel ways of manipulating the new world. All it took was the will, the urge to create change, and it would happen - like something out of a dream. We could create anything we set our minds to, be they physical objects or magical manifestations.

It was not long before our blessings were noticed. The world chose a side, and the fires of conflict broke out against us. Binders, they called us - for though our powers were great, we became bound to them. The price we paid for them was dear, and their cost would change the course of our lives more acutely than the great strength they proffered.

ASHES

Our bodies, though powerful enough to survive the blast, began to fade. Slowly at first, the skin turned to ash and the body became fine dust as we disintegrated before our very eyes. For some, the change took place more quickly - with others it would be many years before the first signs of fading. In all cases, it seemed it was unavoidable, proper recompense for the sin of daring to survive the sun’s searing touch that fateful day. Some lost their lives; others lost their minds well before their bodies failed them.

We were in a quandary - but like all tales of the sort, there always remains one shred of tantalizing hope to sustain the dreams of the penitent.

Ours were called Collectors.

SEEKING SHADOWS

Every action has an equal, but opposite reaction - so too did it go for our gifts. For though we had received the ability to manifest change - others had acquired the power to invert it. These were called Collectors. These individuals had survived the blast and had no such powers of their own, aside from one.

Collectors and Binders could form a bond - and when such a bond was formed, it halted the fading, prevented further damage, and restored us to our former health. All it required was a deep level of compatibility between the two and the willingness to consent to that contract.

We soon learned that there was more to the story; a truth far more insidious than any of us could have hoped for. The Collectors could revoke their bonds, breaking their oaths and killing their Binder counterpart. In exchange, the Collector received the Binder’s abilities as their own. It became a matter of life and death whether to trust a Collector.

And so, the stage was set for the ultimate game. Given the choice whether to remain in a corrupt and failing body, or to throw the dice against fate, what was a Binder to choose?