There was once a time when you could walk outside to see spring flowers growing in the large meadows just outside of the castle-like Keep. Alongside the fields, a glimmering stream flowed gently. Multicolored magical eggs drifted down the stream, awaiting a young Mage who would come to raise a magnificent creature. There were times when darkness would nearly overtake the land, the only resistance a handful of Magi with their creature companions. But this is no more...
The Stream had vanished, dried up, and its magical powers have left with its water. The Etain has expanded far beyond its traditional region, though its border it still some distance from the Keep. Absent of the aura and liquid that supplied the vast fields with life, the area around the Keep is little more than a dust bowl. The tree line of Silva Forest has grown to encompass the area as well, creating an alternating dark forest and wasteland. Only the toughest, and often the most dangerous creatures survive in the desecrated forest; Enoxes, Dragons, Gryphons, Direwolves, and Hellhounds, among few others. The more peaceful creatures have left for easier grounds to live in.
As for the Magi...well, no one believes in magic anymore. There are cities with skyscrapers, underground train systems, roads, highways, vehicles, airplanes, computers -- magic is just a simple fantasy that children and old people believe in. This was the belief until recently. In secret, known only to a select few non-magical people, the Magi has remained. Hidden away in the wasteland forest of their former home, the Magi of the Keep have defied belief and lasted out the centuries.
One person born in every half-million develops magical skills, whether they can turn into a fantastic creature, force fire from their palms, or read the thoughts of others. Frightened, confused, and often persecuted by equally confused peers, these modern-day Magi find difficulty eking out a living in even the most familial environments. If they are lucky, and most of them are, a society may take them in to train, to learn, and to control their abilities.
The Modern Magi Academy and Agency now fills the same vital role of educating young magic users in the art of their trades as the Magi of ancient did. It is one of only five schools of study, all of which also actively search out other Magi to join their school. These Magi come from all over the world, different regions set out for the schools that rescue unfortunate men and women with emerging powers. They train to become leaders, beginning as Trainees and ending up, if they are lucky, as new Searchers. A Searcher's job if to find and rescue the New Arrival Magi.
But even in this world of hope and retention of bits of the past, there are dangers. Three years ago and before, a group of miscreant non-magical people took out their angers on the Magi. Led by a shady and cruel man known only as Mitch, this group of overly-zealous thugs sought to eradicate the Magi by whatever means necessary. The Angels, they call themselves, supposedly good and holy do-gooders set on a mission to destroy Demons -- the Magi. In reality, the Angels are well-funded and well-armed for battle, capable of procuring the most advanced technologies and weapons of the age. They are also highly secretive, and little is known about them by the Magi (who are now out of hiding) or the general populous. They are not well-liked, and their own discretion works against them so that the Angels are always stressed for troops. It is said that they steal away young children to raise as their minions, but these are mere rumors and most members are friends or family of the original gang of thugs. They have only one base, in an unknown location apparently close to the Keep (which has also been many times refurbished to comply with modern technology; ultraviolet lights, gas, heat, and plumbing). The Angels are highly dangerous in the eyes of many, and as a result, the Magi have been preparing for war. All five schools have their few-hundred or so best and strongest fighters camped out in the Keep, ready for battle.