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The world of Ioyipia was a world of grand magic and imagination. It was home to hundreds of people of all types and all abilities. They lived different lives, in different parts of the world: some from a nightmare world, some from a royal world, etc. But when the Void attacked, it didn't matter where they were from or who they were. The Void came without warning, consuming much of Ioyipia and it's inhabitants. There were some who were lucky, though they only make up a fraction of what Ioyipia once was.
In order to flee from the Void that was consuming the world of imagination the beloved spirits survived in, they became a part of our world - choosing New York City as their place to settle. These embodied spirits walk among us, looking just like us, acting and sounding just like us. They've assimilated to our world nicely either because they're easily adaptable or they have no recollection of their previous life. The Spirits who remember their past selves were the lucky Spirits who managed to escape from the Void. The ones who weren't as fortunate, but more fortunate than those who vanished entirely, to remember their former lives were those the Void consumed and then spit back out into our world. They live in ignorant bliss for the most part, maybe getting some sort of deja vu if they stumble upon something or someone familiar, but they might never regain their full memory. Remembering seems to be linked with the manifestation of their abilities, though, and some people believe that there's a psychological magic involved though they can't prove it.
At first, it was slowly. One spirit received an ability here, another there. Then it started happening all over, each spirit slowly becoming aware of their abilities and some not handling it well at all. With these abilities, memories began resurfacing - not for everyone, but still a substantial amount that an underground grew. This underground became something that connected the Spirits again, with certain locations meant just for the Spirits or meant to be Spirit friendly; reminiscent of a 1920s speakeasy where they have to search for the stickers to find their kin.
Throughout the streets of New York City, you may spot an engraving, or a light, or a sign with something not necessarily out of the ordinary, but... something unexpected: like a grinning pumpkin, or a tiara, maybe even a top hat. Perhaps you'd think nothing of it and continue on your way, but the Spirits know that these symbols mark one of those underground places and a Spirit would know to look for it and find those they've lost or just find companionship among those who understand where they're coming from.