Phantasm 0 - Prologue:
A phantasm, something that exists only in perception, devoid of any real base or foothold in reality.
But what is this reality that we speak of? Is it what we see? is it what we feel? Why do we acknowledge the existence of light then, when it cannot be touched? Why do we acknowledge of the wind, when we can never see it in truth, when we can only observe its effects as trees sway and leaves are blown away?
What is reality? Does such a thing truly exist, or is even reality itself something controlled by human subjectivity?
It is doubtful that you haven't heard of at least one of the many miracles littered throughout mankind's history, nor that you're unknowing of a few of the gods and mythical creatures that also populate it.
You could be like the average human in nowadays society and consider them as myths of past legends, stories made up for children, or to inspire awe from the uneducated populace.
Or you could be like the ever dwindling amount of people that believe that they are real, that they were truly beings of flesh and blood, that with their body and soul, they truly walked this earthly plane and left unforgettable reminders of their deeds.
Heroic Spirits, Divine Spirits; where do they come from? How is it that even amidst the modern and developed world of the present, it is still argued that such scientifically abstract things could have existed?
All the answers are held within the concepts of faith and belief, of human faith and belief.
Human belief is one of the most powerful notions in existence; it influences everything that is: Gods are past elementals, spirits that through the belief of women and men, became beings of the Divine ranks.
Youkai, Phantasmal Beasts, they are also similar: they represent the fears of humans, the fear of the unknown, the fear of what mankind does not know – all of it taken to the extreme.
AndMagic is no different - why are the sacrements of the Church so effective? Why is it that all their 'incantations' are so efficient, even though that if we were to follow thaumaturgical rules, the lesser mystery should mean a loss of power? Simple, because it is in these rituals that so many people put their faith.
Belief is everywhere, belief shapes everything.
But belief in the mythical is slowly waning. There has always been that one beast called Science. It is an interesting beast that cannot be denied... but it is savage in its advance. Well, what else to expect from the child of humanity? It reflects its progenitor perfectly.
The moment human beings came into the world, was the moment science was also born. That one thing slowly began gnawing away since then at the unknown, erasing the supernatural at a slow but steady rate – as time progressed, the shroud created by mysticism and magic was slowly disintegrated with the advance of civilizations.
It is already the 21st Century. A few more decades, and it'll already be a millennial milestone since the Age of Gods perished in Japan. Well, perished from the surface of Gaia's Japan that is; it is still alive here, existing in this Phantasm, in this Dream of Reality.
There is however the saying claiming that: "everything that has a beginning, has an end." It is a universal rule from which nothing is exempt. The coming of the Solar System's Aristoteles in the far future, does nothing but reinforce this fact.
But people break rules in the end, don't they? It could even be argued that rules were made to be broken in the first place. When one does so, things become so much more interesting.
That is why, there is a certain person - she can do many things, for she has been gifted with extraordinary powers. Reality bends at her will, physics, nature and even, magic also bend at her will – but she is still inside a body, a container that has limits.
Not everything is within her reach - not even she is omnipotent, for to seek omnipotence is to wish for the impossible in itself.
Yet, words have reached that person's ears about an "omnipotent" wish-granting device... or so it is labeled. If it really was omnipotent, that would be contradicting the previous statement, but that device's power is one that definitely cannot be ignored - when given a way to achieve something, it will achieve it flawlessly, no matter what that goal is in question.
What do belief, dreams, existence and omnipotence have in relation to the subject that I'm trying to elaborate here?
The belief and dreams of humankind, the existence of myths and magic, they are all stored in one large repository, transcending time and dimensions – a place that holds absolute power over all that has existed, all that exists, and all that is to exist.
Its name is Akasha, the Void, the Root Of All Things.
Now, a greater canvas has been drawn. A canvas that encompasses all that's been mentioned beforehand, weaving together the most flawless of arts for the technical observer and the most enjoyable of works for the generic viewer - a pleasing experience for the artist and audience.
The canvas shall be brought to life, from drawing to scene, from scene to play... and so shall begin the realization of the phantasm-
-or rather, it has already begun. It is at its first stage, and the playable character is none other than the puzzle's central piece. She, perchance, conveniently sleeps at the Hakurei Shrine.
It is time to awaken, Eternal Shrine Maiden.