Nature held its own fragile consciousness, but it was fragmented and dying, having been devastated by the divine wars. Further, those Soulless Gods who were trapped within the earth itself were poisoning these spirits of nature. The elfen, closest to the forests, first noticed this cruel fate. One elfen woman, Ellindel Treeheart, was the first to contact the fae, the spirits of the earth, who were dying. She drew these nature spirits forth to take physical form, and thus was able to heal them. She taught other elfen how to contact and heal the fae, and they worshipped the earth and called themselves the wiccan.
When the fae were strong enough to help in the healing, they taught Ellindel's hearthmate, Glinshari Strongleaf, how to control the forests in the Basin of Life. Glinshari taught others, who became known as the druids, who were the physical guardians of the forests just as the wiccans were the spiritual guardians of nature. With the help of the fae, the wiccans and druids raised the Great Trees, enormous concentrations of power that quickened the healing of the forests. Three Great Trees were raised, one in the northern forest of Serenwilde, another in Ackleberry forest, and the third in the southern forest of Gloriana. Thus were formed the first three nature communes, who together ruled the Basin of Life with a harsh compassion, borne from the struggle to survive, and bent the races to the worship of nature.
One place that was little touched by the ascendancy of the forests in the Basin of Life was the island of Celest in the Crystal Sea, small companion ocean to the Great Inner Sea within the Basin. Predominantly merian, a seaborn race, they built a great city upon the island. Their quest was to heal the waters of the sea and they did so by reaching upward or outward, seeking the elemental vibrations of creation itself. The first mages were able to transverse the ethereal waves, where all matter was in flux. Thus, they found the elemental plane of water, where they mastered the art of Aquamancy. These Aquamancers were able to cleanse the oceans and seas, their mastery over the element of water equal to the mastery of druids over the forests.
The Communes first greeted the cleansing of the waters with joy, but then looked on with scepticism as the mages plundered further and deeper into other planes of existence, travelling through the ethereal plane and tapping into other planes of power.
As the Aquamancers transversed to higher vibrations, they discovered yet another plane of existence, wrapped around the plane of water like a womb wrapped around an unborn child. It was a plane of life and healing, of angelic beings and liquid light. They called the plane Celestia and the more devout mages left the path of elemental magic to devote themselves to the Holy Supernals, the Guardians of Celestia.
Within the City of Celest, the Aquamancers and Celestines channelled the power of the planes they commanded into the city itself, creating the Pool of Stars, liquid power from which all could draw from. Thus came the Paladins, Holy Warriors of the Light, who drank from the sacred pool and were granted miraculous powers. They were charged to safeguard these mystic waters.
But Celest could not contain all those who sought to partake of its wonders, and soon citizens of Celest spilled out to other parts of the Basin, founding other cities and researching other planes of existence. The Communes watched the inevitable expansion with a growing misgiving, for the thirst for power seemed to outpace any pause for wisdom.
The next five hundred years spanned the Golden Age of the Holy Celestine Empire, when civilisation spread throughout the Basin of Life and other planes were discovered, and great cities founded, each with a nexus of power unique unto itself. Mages wielded new elemental powers, and guardians of the outer planes developed competing philosophies, perhaps evolved by the nature of the plane they guarded.
The city of Gaudiguch rose next, mostly built by the dracnari race, which devoted itself to the elemental plane of fire and the cosmic plane of the Vortex. So came the Pyromancers, masters of fire, and the Illuminati, Guardians of the Vortex. They created the nexus known as the Eternal Flame within their great pyramids.
The races of lucidian and trill built Hallifax, a city in the clouds, an architectural wonder of crystal spires and aeromantic engineering. Devoted to the elemental plane of air and the cosmic plane of the Continuum, they constructed the Matrix, a nexus of power that was a strange construct of gems and spiralling lines of power.
The City of Magnagora held sway over the elemental plane of earth and the outer plane of Shallamar, where lived three powerful beings who were said to be sisters and called themselves the Fates. Geomancers, the masters of earth, and the Fatalists, guardians of Shallamar, created the Stone of Truth, the last nexus of power.