All magic is suddenly gone. No mage can sling sorcery anymore. This upsets all empires and civilizations. It is soon discovered though, trough the combined work of mystics, scholars and dreams, that all the magic has been drawn into a single orb in a vast tower located at one of the poles. Whoever gets there first wins the greatest price in history, access to all the magic in the world. But who owns the tower?
In a certain nation, no-one except the Emperor is allowed to have a name. Therefore, the people give themselves pseudo-names called "callings". Examples of callings: A family is known as the Red Sparrow family. The father is called Swooping Red Sparrow. The wife is Bright Red Sparrow Blue Lizard because she was called Bright Blue Lizard before marriage. Their daughter, until she becomes an adult, is Daughter of Red Sparrow. Their sons are Eldest Son of Red Sparrow and Younger Son of Red Sparrow.