This is a world where magic has always been a known factor – there have always been crossover between Earth and the spirit world. There are people with spirit heritage; those with natural magic; and even more who can use spells with the right reagents and words.
For the most part, spirits do not interfere with human lives – but there are always a few exceptions – during those rare occasions, civilians looked to their protectors to bring back the status quo.
Going by the regular conventions, they would, by turns be called superheroes or magical girls – heroes with hidden identities, using magic and prowess to defeat their enemies.
In this world; the most famous champions were called the Knights – five women who protected their home cities with their various strategies and takes on how to tackle each problem.
And for years, the Knights were all the protection that we needed – along with their occasional companions and friends.
Until the titans came.
The titans of Tartarus were inspired by real monsters – twelve elemental monsters that the spirits locked away in a pocket dimension between the spirit world and Earth – but over the millennia, the protections around that pocket dimension slowly wore away – with the last barriers being broken by the enemies of the Knights.
The Knights fought, and in order to destroy the last of the titans, lost.
All five of the Knights were reported dead; and haven’t been seen since the last battle.
Dozens of cities were destroyed – with even more sustaining damage that has not yet been repaired.
Countless tens of thousands of people died during the war of the titans – families are still trying to put themselves back together; and there are many more who have lost all of their original family forever.
Lost children of the war of the titans – generally called War Orphans – have become their own class of people; originally there was endless support for these children…and then the support dried up.
There was a push, and a political campaign, for people to look after their own first – due to the limited resources, people were encouraged to look after those problems that were immediately visible to them.
It was thought that, in a time where the world was still pulling itself back together, it was far more important for people to rebuild their neighbourhood, than it was to pledge support to war orphans.
If you look after your own first, said their logic, you can look after everyone else later – the ultimate – if flawed – extrapolation of “put on your own breathing mask first”.
And as people began to do just that, to reclaim their houses, their suburbs, and their cities…the war orphans, in facilities that surely came from some Dickensian nightmare, were largely forgotten about.
No more celebrities adopted a small flock of children, companies stopped sending goodwill missions with shirts and toys, and the government kept adding more and more to the bill that each orphan would eventually have to pay.
Most of the children have less than happy endings – living in the sister facilities of the places where they grew up, stuck in a cycle of debt to the government that they’re unlikely to repay.
The War Orphan, book one of the series, shows that even those children who do manage to get away from the facilities still have their own burdens to bear.