Arcana - Cosmology
Beyond the confines of the known world, is the Cosmos, or to some people the Great Beyond. The Cosmos is made of many different planes, each of which is their own universe with its own natural laws. Conceptually, the Cosmos is a simplified interpretation of quantum physics as they relate to our existence. Thought, energy and matter are all related and interchangeable within the Cosmos.
The Material Plane
At the center of the cosmos, is the Material Plane. The Material Plane is energy turned into matter. It consists of the sun, moons and Æustëra, the known world.
Surrounding the Material Plane is the Ether, a boundless source of both positive and negative energy. Originally, it was the thoughts of the Ealintaine that formed the energy of the Ether. Later, it was thoughts and prayers of the mortals that have continually replenished it. Within the Ether, a supersensible substrate pervading all time and space weaved its way through the energy forming the Astral Threads. Upon the Æustëra, magic is the process of using the Astral Threads to affect the Ether causing a fantastical result within the Material Plane.
Beyond the Ether resides the Void, a unimaginable vastness of timeless thought to be where the first beings of the cosmos first gained consciousness. The Void is pure thought and consciousness. It is "being without being”. In the void, individual thoughts took form and became the first Ealintaine. The Void is the manifestation of thought and is the birthplace of the immortal soul. The Ether is the pure energy, originally created by the gods and continually replenished by mortals. Finally, the Material Plane is, of course, physical matter.
The Realm of Midian
The Realm of Midian is a plane that acts as a barrier between the Ether and the Void. Within the Midian, the Ealintaine have been bound by the Magi and are unable to access the Astral Threads that lead to the Ether and the Material World beyond.
The Astral Threads
The Astral Threads are the conduits between all of the planes. Time exists on the planes within the threads, but each path across the thread is a alternate timeline. Beings can move between times and even exist in multiple times at once. Consisting of both positive and negative energy, the threads are the transitive planes made of the infinite cascades of time and possibility that interconnects the Void, the Ether, the Primal Planes and the Material Plane.
The Primal Planes are spatial anomalies within the Ether created when the Divinium used the Astral Threads to enter the Material Plane. Prior to the binding of the Ether, repetitive use of the Astral Threads by the Divinium resulted in multiple threads interweaving upon and between themselves. These convergences swelled to create the primal planes of air, blood, bone, death, earth, fire and water. If you think of the Astral Threads as a bundle of strings that connect the Ether to the Material Plane, the Primal Planes are the knots that inevitably form.
These seven planes are manifestations of the basic building blocks of the universe. Each is made up of a single type of ethereal energy that overwhelms all others. The natives of a particular Primal Plane are often made of the same energy or element as the plane itself. However, the planes ebb and flow as they meander through the Ether. Often they can warp around each other and become intertwined like a warm current in the cold ocean. Although you might not exist in that current, you felt its effect. Similarly, the different bundles of the Astral Threads that make up a Primal Plane may influence each other. Where they come close to each other and circle each other, the para-elementals can occur. So, Ice can be found on both the plane of water and the plane of air. Mud is on both water and earth. Magma on earth and fire. Smoke on fire and air.
Table: Primal Planes
|Plane||Creator||Dominants||Dominant Energy||Charge||Native Denizen|
|The Plane of Air||Calledrym||Expansive and Imperious||Lightning||Neutral||Sylphs|
|The Plane of Blood||Gaeruhn||Tyranny and Vitality||Positive||Dominant Positive||Kytons|
|The Plane of Bone||Selefahn||Repose and Renewal||Force||Neutral||Psychopomps|
|The Plane of Death||Kiravor||Hatred and Corruption||Negative||Dominant Negative||Divs|
|The Plane of Earth||Teysura||Primordial and Creation||Acid||Leaning Positive||Oreads|
|The Plane of Fire||Vra’lithe||Quickening and Destructive||Fire||Leaning Negative||Ifrit|
|The Plane of Water||Celestri||Deep and Wild||Cold||Neutral||Undine|
The Plane of Air is a swirling mass of ethereal winds that burst through the Ether traveling at impossible speeds through the cosmos and entering the Material Plane. Cities of pure light float upon translucent clouds above the maelstrom of violent storms and wind. Raging tempests of rock and primordial substrate flow through the plane destroying all life it crosses.
The Plane of Earth is a primordial expanse of jungle set within a valley that extends to the end of time. Ever present in the distance is the sight of mountains on all sides that remain out of reach no matter how far or long a Being travels.
The Plane of Fire is a flowing torrent of lava and hot magma that erupts in fire and flame. Cooled magma creates meandering igneous rock pathways and structures where the denizens of the planes take residence. At several points along the endless pathway between the Void and the Material Plane, several geysers of water burst into the plane creating putrid, boiling bogs and steam baths.
The Plane of Water is a churning current of water that meanders through the Ether mixing with the other planes to create ice flows and boilings springs.
The Plane of Blood is conceived as a vast sea of blood, swirling like a whirlpool as the ether flows into the plane as rain and is caught in the whirlpool. That liquid vortex is the gateway to the material plane. Floating chunks of scorched earth are suspended above the bloody sea.
The Plane of Bone is a desolate wasteland of bones; mortals bones, bones of mystic and mythical creatures, dragons, ancient megladons. Ominous black clouds drift across the darkened crimson sky. In the center of this abysmal place, a lazy river of tears wears upon the bones, grinding them into a fine sand.
The Plane of Death is an infinite expansion of darkness permeated by hatred and fear. Mortals, unable to comprehend the four dimensions, unknowingly orientate themselves to variant gravity; each moving in different directions.
Table: The Element Matrix
Demiplanes are generally small, finite dimensions connected to the Ether. They are created when reality is sufficiently warped that small pieces of its substrate fragment and fuse together, thereby creating a stable dimension. These demi-planes can be formed by the workings of powerful magic, be it from an artifact, a powerful mortal spellcaster, or the will of a god. All that is required is for reality to be bent and twisted to the breaking point. The Dreaming, a demi-plane created by several of the Godlings to preserve the memories of the First World, is such a place. However, in some cases, the Demi-plane can be infinitely large with access to many other planes. Such is the case with the Plane of Shadow.
|Plane||Creator||Dominants||Dominant Energy||Charge||Native Denizen|
|The Plane of Knowledge||Hazard of Haemil||unknown||n/a||n/a||?|
|The Plane of Dreams||Primogenitors||Morphic and Serene||n/a||n/a||none|
|The Plane of Shadow||Grahlithe||Darkness and Deception||n/a||n/a||Wayangs|
The Dreaming is a demi-plane contiguous with the entirety of the First Lands, the mysterious lands of violent storms and primordial creatures surrounding the Elder Forest and inclusive of some portion of the Iron Mountains. Here the Astral Threads are set to a single moment in time: the founding of the First Lands. This is related to the stability and seeming stasis of the First Lands. At some point in prehistory it was connected to the Primal Plane of Bone. Now whenever someone of the appropriate ancestry dies, they get shunted here instead of returning to the Ether through the Plane of Bone.
The Plane of Shadow
The Plane of Shadow is the darkened edges of the Astral Threads that flows from the void to the material plane. It is a transient plane that touches Midian, the Ether, the Primal Planes and the Material Plane. The perfect, secretive plane that can be used by Grahlithe, the Plane of Shadow only fails to touch the demi-planes created from the Material Plane. How Grahlithe found a way to create and enter the Plane of Shadow from Midian is as great a mystery as the god, himself.
A Demi-plane created by the Hazard of Haemil. the Plane of Knowledge
In the beginning of time, the Divinium stayed in the Ether and used the Astral Threads to affect and shape the Material Plane. Eventually all seven of the Divinium used the Astral Threads to enter the Material Plane, creating leylines at their destination. These leylines were attuned to the primal elements of their existence. While Teysura, Calladrym, Celestri and Vra’lithe entered the Material Plane at specific location upon the world, the other three Ealintaine of the Divinium accessed the Material Plane differently. Gearuhn entered the Material Plane through the blood of mortals of whom he deceived Amus into their creation. Kiravor entered wherever life was corrupted and, as a result, undead creatures came to exist. Selefahn creates no Leylines as she never enters the world but opens up the Astral Threads for those that have died to enter the Ether. For these reasons, this triad’s power is vast upon the world.
While all of the Ealintaine could directly access the Ether, the leylines became the conduits for other immortals to tap into the Ether and draw upon its energy. Over time, the Immortals began to discover how to access and manipulate the leylines to extract the energies of the Ether. They discovered primal casting forms of Aeromancy, Geomancy, Pyromancy, Hydromancy, Chiromancy, Osteomancy and Necromancy to use the primal elements in the Material Plane to gain direct access to the Ether through its associated Primal Plane. The Magi are the first and most powerful practitioners of this form of magic.
The Docti use the Astral Threads to enter the Material Plane, but their knowledge is deeper in the understanding of the Ether. As a result, their entrance into the Material World gave birth to the other Mortal Ancestries. Their transcendence across the Astral Threads into the Material Plane created the ancestral leylines, which are the point of origin of the mortal races. The Inhaerens used the Harmonic Wave to enter the Material Plane quite easily as they were conceived by Teysura in the Ether, and they understood it best. Before the Binding of the Ether, they could travel easily to the Material Plane and manifest themselves as an Avatar, at will. Their entry into the Material Plane does not create any disturbances in the Astral Threads, and therefore, does not create any leylines or planes.
The Song-Lines of Chana
A lattice network of leylines of incredibly variable strength, though usually much weaker than leylines found elsewhere. These leylines interpenetrate the First Lands and the Dream. Instead of allowing power to move between spatial distortions, they connect power bleeding from temporal distortions caused by singular events. The metaphysical “echoes” that reverberate through time from these events carries the power of these leylines. These leylines are spatially centered on natural or artificial phenomenon that some how commemorate the event that originated the event. If these memorials are destroyed than, the leyline “evaporates.” Supposedly, these leylines were first created by Chana, Eye-of-Stars, who subsequently taught the elders of the various peoples of the First Lands how to maintain those that exist and create new ones by memorializing singular events through rituals.
The Effect of Time in the Planes
The Astral Threads can also be thought of as supersensible strings through the space/time continuum. Every decision a mortal makes causes a small ripple and change to the weave of time. So, every decision creates an alternate timeline. Every mortal is tethered to their personal timeline with all the decisions they and others make. That mortal is unique among all the other instances of that mortal in the alternate timelines that were affected by different decisions. Yet, in the Material Plane, the mortal can only exist in one timeline.
The Primal Planes are created by the Divinium and do not have this effect. On those planes, all of the infinite timelines converge upon the plane, but as stated before, a mortal is tethered to her one timeline. She sees the Primal Plane as corporeal and any mortals from her timeline as corporeal. Any other mortals from other timelines, she sees as these incorporeal beings. She can see them, hear them, talk with them, but not affect them, physically. Each Primal Plane is ‘out of time’. That is, all times converge upon it, like a hub with an infinite number of timelines flowing out of the Ether into the Primal Planes and an infinite number of timelines flowing out of the Primal Planes and to the Material Plane.
The Plane of Shadow is different. Grahlithe was not powerful or capable of creating the plane in a stable manner, like the Divinium. On his plane, the convergence of the waves is too chaotic. It becomes too simple to slide between timelines and get lost. Within the Plane of Shadow, time keeps splitting with each decision, and a mortal would be pulled between multiple timelines, feeling her soul splitting with them. The longer she’s there, the more she splits and sees incorporeal reflections of herself moving and acting, like a silhouette of herself walking in another direction. The mortal would soon find themselves lost in a see of reflections.
The Avatars were the temporal manifestations of Ealintaine in the Material Plane. Celestri was the first to take the form of an Avatar, but she only imparts her dominion over the seas, taking the form of water. When Gaeruhn and Kiravor first to learned the secret of the Avatars, they returned from the Void and descended upon the world. Their arrival as Avatars began the Godling Wars with the first mortal sacrifice to the gods. Lorrynor was the next to come to the world as an Avatar. He manifested himself on the Material Plane as a dragon and taught the Godlings during the wars to take this higher form of thought. He was eventually defeated and consumed by Gaeruhn. Seeing Lorrynor devoured by Gaeruhn, Dasyra was the next to become an Avatar. However, the goddess placed her whole being within the Avatar so that she might have the power to rival the evil brothers of the Divinium. She freed Lorrynor from the belly of Gaeruhn. Taking such form was foolish of Dasyra, and when she was defeated, her consciousness was lost for a time. Selefahn learned of the secret as she escorted the First Sacrifice to the Ether. It was the goddess of the Afterlife that shared the secret of the Avatar to Vra’lithe.
The Binding of the Ether
Following the Godling Wars, Thaedymar took seven of the godlings and instructed them bind the Ether, trapping the Ealintaine within it. However, four of them avoided this celestial prison. Korlez was in hiding upon the Plane of Bone and became trapped there. The mysterious Grahlithe can use his Plane of Shadow as he wills it. Elanil knows the untold ways of the cosmos, and so she can travel with her whims without concern; and Dasyra is aware but bound into the Stars of the Material Plane until her return at the end of days.