An excerpt from Supernatural Flora, Fauna, and Things that Just Do Not Fit by Carlos T. Rivas:
How is one to classify magical life?
Mundane scientists begin with deciding whether or not the item of their interest is living. A reasonable starting point. They then categorize it based on its characteristics. Is it an animal? A plant? Fungus? And so on and so forth. They then further divide it down a list of taxonomic ranks until they end up with a the item’s scientific name.
However, mundane scientists exclusively deal with the mundane.
Or they did until the Lansing Incident. When the magical world’s masquerade was torn down to the rest of the world, all manner of researchers found a whole slew of new topics to explore. Since then, there have been numerous discussions on how the magical world’s many creatures should fit within biological classifications.
The simple fact is that many do not. Where is one to place the man who turns to a wolf on the nights of a full moon? If that were a sole exception, it could be classified relatively easily. A man and a wolf are not so far apart in taxonomic ranks.
Where then should the man who can turn into a tree be placed? Or the fae who turns to whatever it wishes on a whim?
Are vampires, ghouls, and liches even alive in the first place?
That has been the topic of much debate over the last few years. Many mundane creatures fit within a single classification. It might not always be perfectly neat, but at least mundane creatures do not often change domains or kingdoms.
With further study, it becomes clear that the standard hierarchy of biological classification’s eight major ranks are simply insufficient. New proposals have gone out through scientific circles to resolve this issue. From the simple adding of new categories to the extreme destruction and reconstruction of the entire taxonomic pyramid.
The most popular proposal is one of the simpler ones. A new binary rank. Any item is sorted first into mundus or magus. A cat will keep its current classification prefaced with mundus while a lamia or a goblin will fall under the magus category.
Some believe there should be another rank in addition. A plane rank.
It may come as a surprise to many, but a number of creatures living alongside us do not originate on Earth. Or at least not this Earth in some cases. These planes of existence, or realms to some, come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Some realms could be mistaken for Earth by the unaware. Some are alien enough to make one wonder if they hadn’t walked into a storybook.
Most are accessed through specific rituals. Sometimes the creatures living on the other side need us to open a door for them, sometimes they can open a door from their end.
Fae originate from the Wyld. The Wyld is an exact copy of Earth as if it were looked at through a mirror. Most fae can use mirrors to hop between their version and our version of Earth.
Mirror-Earth is at least somewhat understandable to most people, but the fae are not the only ones to come from other places that the magical community has dubbed as planes of existence.
Demons hail from Hell. Yes, Hell is a real place and verifiably exists. No, you do not actually go there when you die. While the fae all live together in a version of earth, every demon is segmented into individual separate worlds. The worlds themselves are at the beck and call of the owner.
Volve come from another plane as well, though far less is known about that side of reality. While plenty of demons will talk about their ‘domains’ with enough enticement, volve tend to be far more volatile. Few humans have braved what the magical society calls The Corruption. Most do not return. The few who do tend to be far less… helpful.
Elves lost their origin plane and are now residing alongside humans in the mortal plane of existence.
For reasons unknown even to magical researchers, the mortal realm–Earth–is the plane of existence that all the others are bound to. Here connects to everywhere and everywhere connects to here. How and why are questions best left to other researchers.
Goblins, dwarves, gnomes, and plenty of other species all come from our plane of existence. The mortal plane. Even that, as shown by the Lansing Incident, is not everything it appears to be.
Who knows what secrets could be hidden even from the secret keepers in the magical society.
Perhaps in time, more revelations will be made that require modifications to how the scientific community views the world. For now, we must deal with what we have on hand.