Ashes to Dust. silence on the invisible air Plot (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Plot (open) Plot (close) UNIDENTIFIED SUBSTANCE Names: Dust, Grain, dark sand, eitr, wind demon, Ash, pillar salt, death dust, Shadow Chemical structure: unidentified CAS No.: 9999-99-9 Molar mass: 0 g/mol NFPA 704: 040BIO Appearance: Very fine matt-black dust, glows in low light conditions and when reacting Additional notes: unidentified extraterrestrial substance categorisation date: 07-18-2018 reacts in highly unpredictable ways with nearby substances is not annihilated on contact with antimatter does not react to fundamental forces with the exception of gravity melting and boiling points unknown momentary exposure to single particulate has exactly 50% chance of causing living organisms to instantly die IT CAN THINK It's 2037. It's been 20 years to the day since the first Duststorm. The first one was small. A meteorite fell and broke open in Russia. Nobody thought anything of it. Just over two pounds of Dust spilled out, and a breeze picked it up. Then people started caring. In months, shelters began to be built around the world. It didn't take much. One loose mote could wipe out entire cities, consuming them and their inhabitants in odd fountains of chaos and disorder that laughed in the face of natural laws and common sense alike. And people hid and cowered. Even in the shelters, life wasn't the same. It didn't take long to realise that even the newborn children were somehow different. Eight years went by. The fear began to subside. People grew braver. The Dust wasn't hanging over them anymore. They opened their doors. And the Dust was everywhere. It too had multiplied, permeating the entire atmosphere. The very air had become toxic, and the world had settled into something new. But it couldn't kill everyone. Just as the Dust had killed, it also brought new life. And even that merciless Dust which killed millions, perhaps billions, before, could not kill the children. New diverse creatures rose from the Dust, who bonded with it, could command it. The natural laws were decided by the Dust now. For that reason, these new beings, the Ashen, were more powerful than humans had ever been. The world was destroyed, but it was not ruined. It is only just beginning. Not all hope is lost for humanity. Some of us can still walk outside. The children from after that fateful day twenty years ago have a chance. Because we too are Ashen. From Dust we came, and to Dust we shall one day return. But until that day comes, the world of our forefathers is ours now. And we shall make it anew. Information (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Information (open) Information (close) Dust The Dust is a mysterious particle that came to Earth via meteorite, and has saturated the entire world in the space of twenty years. It randomly bends reality in strange ways and will kill any living thing that comes from a Dust-less environment in an instant just by being nearby, but appears to be sentient (although good luck trying to figure out any kind of motivation for it). It seems to be able to create its own life as part of its mysterious powers, and somehow rendered all humans born after it arrived Ashen, despite there not being a single mote of Dust in the shelters where they were born. If the Dust in an area reaches a "critical mass", there will occasionally be a Duststorm that temporarily rends its surroundings into a bizarre, headachingly incomprehensible messes called "Neverlands". It usually takes around four days for Neverlands to return to normal, and they aren't especially dangerous once the storm has subsided. In fact, finding a fresh Neverland is often a great thing for Ashen, as it allows them to gather a lot of Dust very quickly. That is, assuming they're willing to deal with a lot of newly-animated monsters, which can be dangerous for those unprepared. Not to mention, while the Ashen can commune with the Dust, it is still fundamentally lethal to living things, and so anything caught in the Duststorm, Ashen or not, can be prepared to be distorted into non-existence. The Dust is black, but glows in low light and when actively changing something. The individual motes are too small to see under anything short of an electron microscope, making any sample of Dust concentrated enough to be visible to the naked eye seem like "solid darkness", as well as being so small that despite the astounding quantity of Dust in the atmosphere, it's totally invisible in practical terms. It also doesn't appear to have any mass, and is nearly intangible, so it can't take solid or liquid forms, and any will it has is thus enacted by bringing something else to life. Ashen Beings that can communicate with the Dust. It's unknown what causes them to occur, but all life that can exist outside shelters is by definition Ashen, as the Dust will kill anything else. Even the grass is Ashen, which can cause curious things like forests that ensnare would-be explorers and statues that come to life to plant flowers. Ashen can utilise the Dust to manifest various abilities that are usually unique to themselves. Dust is naturally attracted to Ashen, so it's easy for them to utilise their abilities under normal conditions, but it's not unheard of for them to go and gather Dust for the purposes of using more powerful abilities. As such, Dust is a precious commodity for the Ashen, and given that it is the one thing it is impossible for them to be able to synthesise, it is also used as currency. Ashen aren't just humans, however. Even the ones who are human may have odd features, like strange eyes, animalistic features, or bizarre mutations. Some things are more subtle than others, but the standard of "normal" has long ceased to be come the Ashen generation. Non-human Ashen include literally anything that the Dust has created or animated, the most notable among them being animated buildings, sentient forests, talking cats, and even creatures such as fairies and dragons. Generally, non-human Ashen are hostile to humans by default, as they were not born of the Dust, only molded by it. It isn't unheard of for humans to tame, befriend, or command non-humans, however, as it has always been since the first smart monkey jumped on the back of a sabretooth tiger. Non-Ashen are restricted to underground shelters, which Dust, as a component of the atmosphere, normally won't enter. They are, on average, equipped to support a population of 5,000 for 50 years, but most shelters are just a little over half-full, since the shelters were built to outlast the Dust. It doesn't look like that's going to happen. The world is still young for the Ashen, and there is plenty to explore. Who knows how accurate those old maps still are with the Dust around? There's only one way to find out... Character Sheet (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Character Sheet (open) Character Sheet (close) Name: Age: Remember, the Dust first appeared exactly 20 years ago, so anyone old than that is not Ashen and therefore dead the moment they try to go outside. Gender: Appearance: Try for 1-2 paragraphs, or just use a picture like the rest of us. History: Try for at least a paragraph, but if you can do more, go for it. Personality: Try for at least two paragraphs. Likes: Dislikes: Skills: Neat things they can do, like cooking, tailoring, compiling bestiaries, CQCing the everloving bejeezus out of anything in their way... Abilities: Anything that they can do using the Dust. Go wild, but try to keep it balanced and within a general theme. Other: Anything else that doesn't go in the above categories?