The Manifold is the "world" from which all other worlds spawned. I say "world" because it's not really one world in and of itself. Like the mathematical concept of the manifold and its associated charts, the Manifold is more the conglomeration of every other world. All magic acts like science on the Manifold, and every being and object attains its complete form when it appears unprotected on the Manifold.
Properties of the Manifold
The Manifold is unlike any of the other worlds. Its spacetime geometry is very much non-Euclidian, and many of the objects in it have strange geometrical properties as well. Its planet, which has no name of its own and is often also called "the Manifold," has infinite surface area, but only finite volume, allowing literally endless exploration without unlimited gravity.
If a being or object that is not native to the Manifold finds its way to the Manifold unprotected, the wholeness aspect of the Manifold will "finish" the creature. That is, since the creature comes from a world that is merely one partial representation of the Manifold, the creature itself is a partial representation of something else. This finishing process is often fatal to living beings and destructive to animate or inanimate non-living creatures. Therefore, when a Manifold denizen or living Chart brings non-native matter to the Manifold, it has the ability to create a protective shield around the matter, effectively creating a bubble of a single reality in the multi-reality Manifold.
Magic on the Manifold
Science is the logical, fundamental underpinnings of the way the world works. Magic, on a single world, is another way the world works that is often not logical at all. On the Manifold, however, all worlds are expressed, and the magic of each intermingles with the magic of the others, and thus all magic reveals itself to be the fundamental framework of the Manifold. The science of each world is the logical physical separation of one world-chart from the next, while the magic of a world is a shard of the haphazardly shattered abstract representation of the Manifold.
Magic is, therefore, expressed on the Manifold, like it is on other worlds. However, due to the fundamental difference of the Manifold from any other world, magic takes different, often unexpected forms. What may heal a wound in Sídhe could spawn a whole new creature on the Manifold.
The Manifold denizens are the first living beings. They appeared by natural processes on the Manifold's planet, and when they had suitably mastered the magic and science of the Manifold, they began to explore the world-charts using the first Charts. The denizens quickly discovered that the limited nature of the world-charts forced them to choose what aspects of Manifold magic they wished to take with them, and which aspects to leave behind. Some of the rules for this are listed below.
- A Manifold denizen's set of magical abilities and properties taken from the Manifold cannot change until he returns to the Manifold. When a Manifold denizen leaves the Manifold, he may choose a finite subset of his innate magical abilities to take with him to a world-chart. These cannot change until he returns to the Manifold, however briefly. Upon return to the Manifold, all of the denizen's innate abilities are instantly reinstated. Thus even if the denizen did not take the ability to make reality shields with him, he may take world-chart matter with him back to the Manifold and instantly provide a bubble of protection.
- A denizen cannot take with him the ability to make Charts. This is not a single ability, but a process that relies on the complete frameworks of both magic and science. A denizen can, however, pick and choose properties of Charts (excepting the principle ability: freedom to move between world-charts) to assign to himself.
- A denizen cannot make himself into a living Chart without removing his denizen completeness. Manifold denizens are the only complete, sapient beings in the universe. Charts, by their very nature, are specifically incomplete. Thus a Manifold denizen can only make himself a living Chart if he strips himself down to a partial sapient being of a species from a world-chart. Also, because of this, a denizen needs another denizen to make him into a living Chart.
Other than these rules, the nature of the Manifold allows denizens abilities approaching omnipotency, including the ability to create and destroy matter and simpler living beings and the ability to control most fundamental and derived forces.
List of Notable Denizens
- Baba Yaga
- Baba Yaga is a manifold denizen who has mastered elven magic, chart-hopping without (visible) transition maps, teleportation, and shape-shifting, and along with having a strong oracular ability she tends to appear very fickle and bipolar, but these traits are merely a façade put on to further her own goals. She is the only known manifold denizen that can look into the future (or the past) without actually traveling there.
- As according to legend, Baba Yaga lives in a log cabin that stands atop a pair of giant chicken legs. She cannot be found if sought, but she makes herself apparent to those who she deems in need of her aid. She is easily angered by what she considers foolish questions.
- Baba Yaga is very old in appearance, with the classic large, bent witch's nose and skinny legs. She owns a giant, magic mortar and pestle that she can ride in to fly.
- Yu the Great
- Yu is a manifold denizen who acted as China's first dynastic emperor from 2194 BCE to 2149 BCE. After this reign and after successfully seeding China with what would later become Confucian doctrine, Yu retired to live as a sage in the mountains. He has since watched over China throughout the millenia.
- Before being made emperor, Yu headed a 13-year campaign to solve the flooding problem of the Yellow River throughout China, bringing the Chinese agriculture and other technologies in the process.
- Alcides (or Heracles or Hercules)
- Alcides was an ancient Greek hero. Purported son of Zeus, he spent a significant portion of his life taming or destroying many incredible beasts of the Iberian wilderness.
- He accompanied Jason and the Argonauts in the search for the golden fleece. He worked to keep the group on task.
- In actuality, he did help tame the Greek lands, but in a much more subtle way. Alcides brought the Greeks more efficient agricultural techniques and refined the Linear B script before adoption of the Phoenician alphabet. When the Greek civilization began to flourish and bring war upon its neighbors, Alcides retreated to the mountains in sadness and disgust. He has not been seen since, and is the most reclusive of the remaining denizens.
- Bilgames (or Gilgamesh)
- Ancient Sumerian king of Uruk from about the 26th century B.C.E., Gilgamesh is akin to a Mesopotamian Hercules. "Two thirds god, one third man."
- In actuality, he refined the Sumerians' cuneiform and taught them agriculture. Like Alcides, when the Sumerians used their flourishing culture to bring war on others, Gilgamesh faked his death and retreated into the wilderness.
- Sunjata (or Sundiata or Sundjata)
- Sunjata is a manifold denizen who founded the Mali empire of western Africa around 1235 CE. Prior to his appearance there, he spent significant time in Niflhel, learning various magics from various vampires.