On the Day of Transition, the empties broke and the roads on Earth became deadly to touch. The scientists who survived determined that there was a high probability the human race would become extinct through disease, starvation, and natural predation if it remained on the suddenly hostile planet. A decision was made to repair the fossil fuel-driven starships left in storage from the era of space exploration which predated the empties. Several space colonies existed, and the age of the empties had allowed them to grow and flourish. The scientists hoped that the remnants of humanity could climb aboard the starships and travel into space, looking for a friendlier planet on which to live. These survivors were named the “pallbearers” in the Talevala, the written history of mankind following the Day of Transition.
The remnants of humanity began to gather in a single place, the fields of Nova Alva, far to the North in a new land called Malvada. Malvada was far from any of the major cities of ancient man. It was a fierce land of ice and sand, difficult mountain ranges, and little water, but it had few roads and plentiful game. As the surviving population of Earth made their way towards Malvada, the scientists placed their accumulated knowledge into four conservatories at its corners. They knew not everyone would be able to make the journey to escape the Earth, and they wished to make their knowledge available to any survivors who were forgotten and left behind. The four conservatories, called the wards of the pallbearers, were Arlat, the ward of genetics, Birrigat, the ward of time, Los Lewr, the ward of matter, and Chalcis, which ruled the others and contained knowledge of the connection of all things.