Common refers to all entities which naturally grow and live in the origin realm. If you happen to be familiar with worlds that are compatible with life then you most likely have a good idea of the types of beings which come to be in Caprinda. Each world will have its own dominant species, which very commonly end up being humanoid in form given sufficient time to evolve. That is, unless, the dominant species is aquatic, in which case cephalopods find themselves frequently at the top of their hierarchy.
Dominant humanoids can evolve from essentially any species of creature under the right conditions. Primates are the most common type of life to reach this state, followed, in order, by reptiles, other kinds of mammal, amphibians, avians and lastly plants. The latter two will only reach humanoid states under very specific conditions which necessitates them doing so as avians lose their aerial mobility in the process and plants simply don’t find themselves on that evolutionary path often. Even if they do, plants can easily be suppressed by other dominant species which reached that state first.
Wildlife varies so widely from world to world that it’s impossible to make a general summary for it. The state of wildlife can depend on many factors, some of them utterly unpredictable. The condition and atmosphere of the world being the most base aspect, followed by various potential world-altering events such as meteor strikes and ages of ice and fire, then the impact intelligent life can have on their own worlds has to be taken into consideration as well. Any one of these things can determine whether or not a species of creature thrives or goes completely extinct, which effects their evolutionary path and place in the environment around them.
Many assume that the magic of Almaar is simply a tool which those who are compatible can wield to make anomalous and otherwise impossible events occur. However, that definition is a vast underestimation of how magic actually effects the realms it has leaked into. Magic works because those of the fantasy realm wanted it to, in essence it is the power of imagination which has been given a more easily perceptible and wieldable form. Once magic enters one’s mind and soul, it will proceed to alter their form to the one they wish they had in their mind’s eye, regardless of if such a change is logical in terms of evolution. Those whose forms are altered in such a way are referred to as ‘Fantasia’.
Under normal circumstances, this would cause a multitude of biological issues, especially regarding the production of offspring. However, logic is no limitation for magic. While Common beings, especially first-lifers, can develop health issues as a result of magical influence, it will very rarely be severe enough to outright kill them. The same applies to offspring, which can be effected to the point of being born with odd, abstract forms, yet will survive with such bodies. They can still be effected by the likes of natural diseases but the alterations specifically caused by magic are just inexplicably smoothed over.
As one might expect, wildlife has the same capacity to become Fantasia as intelligent life. However, the primary difference between the two is that alterations to intelligent life will most often be based on indulgence while wildlife prioritizes efficiency. Dominant species will attain the forms they want while wildlife, driven by instinct, will grow into forms which are objectively more effective. This is one of the ways that monsters can be born, powerful creatures who pose a threat to the ecosystem around them. The most terrifying of these creatures can even become able to wield magic in the same way as the more developed species.
This, still, is not the limit of magic’s influence. It will not only effect one’s self but also the world around them, changing their surroundings into the product of fantasy. This process, while it will rarely effect the likes of first-lifers in any significant way, is how Almaar came to be. The Fantasia of Almaar can create entire imaginary worlds with their magic, full of artificial life which was constructed by their minds. The fantasies of Almaar’s ‘real’ residents wind and bind together, creating the ever-expanding realm which exists now. As the boundary between fiction and reality dissolves, the imaginary life that comes to be as a result is also defined as Fantasia.
While the influence of the imagination of the unwaking lessens outside of Almaar, their capacity to create nigh-anything is still a dire threat to the other realms. They can bring to life any mythological creature or entity with potency far beyond what could ever evolve normally. This is how the likes of dragons and leviathans come to be, figures of disaster who could singlehandedly ruin entire worlds. To the unwaking, however, they are little more than a fun challenge to pass the time.
There is another way in which illogical creatures can come to be, though they tend not to be quite as calamitous as the likes of dragons. Since magic is the power of imagination, creatures of folklore can manifest into reality if their stories are spread among communities of non-Almaar Fantasia. These can be very dangerous on a local scale, yet they will rarely appear at a rate which would make them numerous. In any case, this does mean that the Fantasia of Caprinda and Auroria have to remain sceptical, for if they believe in the existence of a villain or monster then it might be them who makes it real.
In this reality, the soul is inarguably the most important part of one’s being. It is the component which records all that one is and is what allows one to reincarnate across the realms. Damage to the body and mind can always be fixed but an affliction to the soul may leave it fractured forever, even after an infinite number of reincarnations where one forgets what broke it. The only way for such a soul to be reforged would be for it to go over the edge of all realms, losing all that it was in the process.
Sadly, it is rare that a Displaced soul will be able to lead itself to the edge of all realms. One’s form is intrinsically tied to and recorded in their soul, thus if it is damaged then their form is altered as well. A Displaced soul will become a monstrous abstraction of itself, cracks all across its body as if its very existence is on the verge of shattering. Yet, it is never given that mercy, and even if it is then it will only try to reincarnate again. Not even magic can truly heal a Displaced, in fact it’s much more likely to make the situation worse.
A Displaced will inevitably lose themselves within the fractured experiences of who they were and are. They’ll become spontaneous, constantly bouncing between states of mind and being that they’ve been in during their past. This isn’t a guarantee that they’ll be dangerous, though they will be totally unpredictable and meaningful communication with a being in such a state is impossible. Simpler beings such as wildlife will become messes of instinct, acting not by necessity but by the shifting state of their very being. Paired with their distorted forms, it should come as no surprise that this is another kind of monster.
Magic is extraordinarily dangerous when paired with a Displaced. The power of fantasy will mix with the rapid cacophony of lives and memories, producing horrific manifestations of the shattered existence of the afflicted. Their own pasts, their relationships, their happiness and their sorrow, the fantasy will attempt to project everything that they were and inevitably produce an aberration of untold horror. Depending on how long the soul of the Displace has existed, these abberations have the potential to be more of a threat than any dragon thought up by the residents of Almaar.
Contrary to what one might believe, those who are defined as Demons in this reality aren’t necessarily evil in nature. ‘Demon’ refers to entities whose appearances have altered to reflect the true state of their soul rather than being effected by natural or magical influences. Demonic forms aren’t chosen, they are what manifest when the intent of a soul overshadows all else. For those of Altum, their forms reflect their destructive nature, while those of Ilis are represented by their sovereignty.
In taking on these forms, the Demons of Altum and Ilis managed to gain a deeper understanding of the soul at its core. That is how the Ilis Demons were able to concoct their plan of influencing first-lifers into believing that Ilis is their promised land. Those of Altum, however, did as one might expect with the knowledge they gained. They found ways of enslaving and damaging souls, damage they knew could never be undone. They can control the forms of others and use this ability to ensure that their slaves stay inferior to them. Of course, the threat of being broken and made a Displaced is enough to keep most compliant.
It should be stressed that one should not assume Altum and Ilis are the only realms in which Demons come to be. Auroria also has figures who should technically be defined as ‘Demon’, though they are more commonly referred to as legends. When a worker reaches near-perfection in their craft or when a warrior achieves victory in battle a countless many times, they may find themselves ascending to a Demonic form. One which reflects all of the efforts they’ve made up until that point, the experiences of their soul laid bare. The countless lifetimes they spent working towards that point all culminated into a single figure worth revering, a symbol who proves that it’s worth it to keep fighting.
At first it was thought that the Darkis were just another loathsome product of Almaar that was leaking into the other realms and, to some extent, that isn’t false. Their source, the Dragon of Thelasi, was an artificial entity of the fantasy realm until its intent grew strong enough for it to create a realm of its own. One of utter darkness, the only thing that it ever knew or was able to experience. That darkness became its respite from a cycle of being made just to be unmade and it resolved to bring that peace to all other beings. Yet, it could not do this with its own power, for it could not leave the dark realm it now called home. Its solution was to create the Darkis, a hivemind of entities which could go beyond the limits of Thelasi.
The Darkis began to appear in the other realms and attempted to drag whatever they could back into the darkness. However, even in Caprinda they were too weak to make any significant impact. What they did do was help their progenitor Dragon to learn more about the things beyond darkness and it used that knowledge to build upon the Darkis. They became more powerful with some even gaining individuality as the raids in the other realms continue. In time, the Dragon aims to create five vessels based on the draconic forms it had taken in the past. These are to be the pinnacle of the Darkis, the decisive factor in the effort to bring all into the comfort of darkness.
Since the creation of Thelasi, any soul can become Darkis so long as the intent of darkness rests within. Some have already sworn fealty to the abyss, believing its darkness to be the truest way to escape reality’s cycle of souls ceaselessly reincarnating. It is the humane end to a cruel infinity, a train of thought which is further justified by how Thelasi interacts with Displaced. In becoming Darkis, a Displaced will have all of the uncontrolled aspects of its being simplified down into dark. Much of what they were ends up lost but even a supposedly unfixable soul can be molded back together if it lets itself become a part of the darkness. All worry and misery is lost in Thelasi and it is only a matter of time before all are welcomed into its unity.