Somewhere in a daydream, there is a world that is a bit like earth was during Antiquity. It is full of vast treasured kingdoms and mythological emerald hills, and it is called Maya.
Maya is real, yet imaginary. In the native tongue there, "mya" means illusion, as they consider it a dream-world. Each inhabitant of Maya knows they came to there from someplace else, whether from another planet or heaven or hell. Each at some point settled into that enchanted land, and most did not want to leave it. If Maya were only a dream, then there is a kind and gentle rhyme to how its dream links into the soul, so that the two cannot be untied easily.
Like all lands, Maya went through epic mortal cycles, of empires and war and feuding ancient wizards. Finally it reached the end of its history, for an apocalyptic prophecy had initiated itself. And at this point, a group of immortal beings intervened in Maya's history — which appeared like all-powerful angels from distant worlds — and those beings were called the Firmament, five in all. The Firmament began to construct a new era of enlightened society, towards which all life in that realm would mystically evolve towards.
After the Firmament’s arrival, there underwent warring between their followers and adherents to the native religion of the Seven Muses derived from Maya's Creator. It was quite diplomatically declared by the high alchemists that those who followed the Firmament into the heavens would study a new science of spirituality, and those who remained behind in Maya would continue to operate within the old Creator’s order.
The history of Mandala became the story of mortal evolution. Every kingdom was decimated by the Last War, and many left completely dead and barren. The Firmament built a rainbow bridge between Maya and the afterlifes, and they ferried spirits of the dead across. This was all guided by a higher order that not even the Abode could dispute.
Many kingdoms remained on Maya, bargaining with Muses to restore their world to a fertile and livable lands. The Muses were generous towards the survivors, and granted them not only the steady regeneration of terrestrial Maya, but also the technology and wisdom to construct in the heavens above the earth.
Thus Muses presented mortals with blueprints for Mandala, the city in the sky. By constructing in the heavens, the Muses promised that mortals would come to intimately understand their magical nature of being, and to rule over their lifespan, death, and rebirths.
Mandala sits just above Maya, its foundations laying atop the cloudline. It is the overworld above the planet’s surface, surrounding much of the globe like a patchwork of heavens constructed by mortal hands. Occasionally columns dip below the clouds, and reach towards the snowy mountain peaks like a god’s marbled fingertips. From its heavens, Mandala yearns to align its magic with the earth below. For Maya's part, any evidence of old structures upon which Mandala was scaffolded, or even the ruins of construction sites, are mysteriously absent.
Indeed, life is inexplicably better upon the overworld — more opportunities, people who feel liberated and free. It is difficult to describe, as inhabiting a place like Mandala is more a state of mind than it is a sight to behold — and it is quite magnificent on both counts.