Greetings! I am the narrator, I am omni-sapient when it comes to this particular world and I am here to explain certain things that you must know in order to understand this story. I shall tell this story from the point of view of our main characters and will be sure to notify you when I am breaking character to further explain or justify something (though I will avoid doing so as much as possible).
Before I even enter character, I feel obligated to explain the certain rules of albextrufao (magic, to you. I shall occasionally abbreviate it to ABX.), which exists in Endrulfium (that is the name of this world.), as at least a minimal understanding of the concepts is needed to understand how the world works. However, due to the time in which this story takes place, it might be preferable to skip this explanation (except the last two paragraphs, those are absolutely necessary).
albextrufao was gifted to the human-like creatures from the land of Endrulfium (Elmungs) by creatures of more than three dimensions (no one knows whether they were merely fourth dimensional or more, but everybody knows that they were at least superior to three.) that passed through Endrulfium long ago. Their reason behind this was curiosity. Some say they still watch this world, to see the outcome of their little experiment, others think they became bored with Endrulfium long ago and left (to where, I can't imagine, and neither can you due to the fact of you yourself being a three dimensional being). The truth, however, is that it is through them that anyone can use albextrufao. To the elmungs, these creatures are like gods, who give them these extraordinary abilities, though very few people see the truth in complete clarity. Not that that matters, its not like it changes the fact that they can do what they can do.
Albextrufao always has a cost and can be divided into categories depending on what each albextrufan act does and what it takes from the user.
The most basic (and commonly underrated) category is physiological ABX, which allows one to amplify their senses, strength, or resilience. the cost of this is a temporary cut off from the ability enhanced. For example; If you wanted to enhance your eyesight for twenty seconds, after you stopped you would be blind for said twenty seconds. If you wanted super strong arms for two days, after those two days were up, your arms would be paralyzed for the next two days. (side note: over time, Elmungs have adapted a slight immunity to the costs of this particular ABX, due to its over-use. Most Elmungs can now enhance themselves for a full ten seconds daily without sacrificing afterwards.)
The next category is the material ABX. This allows the user to create or move any property of the world around them. This category not only takes its price from the user itself, but rather from his surroundings. This means that nothing can be created without something else of equal value is destroyed, also, the user gets tired after a while of doing it, just like running or any other physical exercise. Telekinesis is classed under this category. Strange body movements and hand positions symbolizing the movement of the materials manipulated are commonly necessary for material ABX. (side note: this type of ABX is commonly used in repair shops and factories, as to combine materials and subassemblies without either risking the harming of a builder or having to create/purchase complex machinery.)
Possibly the strangest category (and definitely the most complex) is probability ABX. this allows someone to manipulate the probability of something completely out of their control happening. the cost of this ABX is that another action also be changed to equal the probability change, accompanied by a half hour of unconsciousness afterwards. For example; there is a 50% chance that someone will trip, I raise its probability by 25% making it a 75% chance, meanwhile, the probability of me leaving my hiding place without him noticing drops from its previous 60% chance to a 35% chance. In other words, it is instant randomized karma with a half hour nap against your will.
The least commonly studied ABX is astral ABX. This category allows you to project your consciousness outside of your body. While in this state, your body is completely comatose, and your consciousness cannot interact with the world it is experiencing. People cannot sense astral projections in any circumstance, making this ability very popular among spies. The only commonly known aspect of astral ABX is the astral protection, which makes you undetectable to other people's astral projections. The cost of astral protection is not being able to use any ABX at the same time. (side note: astral protection is often used while going to the bathroom, changing clothes or other private activities. Privacy is the main reason that the defensive style of astral ABX became the only widespread aspect of this category). The greatest masters of astral ABX can force other people into an astral state and trap their consciousness in objects. The cost of this is a permanent inability to use astral ABX afterwards.
Dependent ABX is commonly regarded as the least morally correct usage of albextrufao. It is used by channeling the powers of an effusiorem, which is an object that contains the consciousness of an elmung. The cost of using dependent ABX is not being able to use any other type of ABX for twice the amount of time of which you used said object. The abilities an effusiorem grants you depend on the natural ABX of the elmung trapped in said effusiorem (the cost of their natural ABX is also applied to the user). Effusiorems are made using a very complex style of astral ABX. (side note: an effusiorem can be any object and can hold only one person's consciousness. whoever is trapped inside can change the colors and patterns on said object, this is almost always used to communicate with people who are not in the effusiorem).
The last category is natural ABX. Every elmung has a unique ability that can only be used by him or her (unless they are trapped in an effusiorem, in which case the ability and costs are granted to the user of the effusiorem). The ability and cost vary from elmung to elmung. This is the only type of ABX where it is possible to have an ability without a cost.
That is all you need to know about albextrufao for now. In other news, I assume that you assume that Endrulfium is probably a country, if so, you are both correct and incorrect. You see. this world isn't a planet. in fact, planets don't exist here. the whole infinite universe is an expanding rectangular prism, and all gravity goes downwards, the earth runs at an average altitude of 7,000 KM deep. The universe expands in every direction except downwards and expands upwards at twice the rate of every horizontal expansion. The concepts of North, East, South and west do exist, and are all relative to the center of the universe. Endrulfium is the name of the universe wide elmung empire, which actually has people stationed at the edges of the universe and moving along with its natural expansion. This empire is not however, governed by an emperor, rather by four siblings, one for each corner. Originally, there was only one emperor, though that tradition was abandoned long ago due to the immense size of the universe and was then split into four factions. This allows each Supreme leader to watch over their own land and report to the capital every week. The capital is not (as it probably should be) in the center of the empire. In fact, the center of the empire is completely cut off from the rest of the world. Al attempts to enter it were abandoned millennia ago, when the third emperor decided to leave whatever was there to grow naturally and remain untouched by elmungs.
(The image shown above represents Endrulfium 10 years after it's creation (before it was called Endrulfium). The pink lines represent the future borders (on which nothing was ever built to specifically represent a border physically) or distinctions between the triangles that are north, east, south and west. The red arrows represent the directions of expansion of the universe.)
Спасибо за чтение!