I’ve been working on writing up a fantasy history and cosmology in outline form for a setting that I’ll be using for a tabletop RPG campaign hopefully next year. It’s pretty rough and needs fleshing out in a number of places, and the nomenclature needs some work. It’s also a little over one-third done, near as I can tell. Feedback is appreciated!
1. Before all there is Chaos alone. Within it all things are possible, and in the infinite expanse of time all things are doomed to be.
2. After an unknowable aeon a force of order arises, called the Ahn. It is not pure order, but order with the ability to change and adapt, and thus it can survive the ravages of chaos.
3. The echo of the emergence of the Ahn stirs the creation of a rival force, called the Zeh. It is not pure Chaos but chaos with the ability to maintain itself.
4. 4. Ahn and Ze have no purpose greater than to annihilate one another. Thus each strives against the other and both are destroyed, but remnants are left.
5. The shell of the destroyed Ahn forms the spheroid that is or will become Creation. This is sometimes called the Egg, with its outer skin called the Shell.
6. The fragments of broken Zeh, save one, are thrown out into the void and accrete Chaos about them, They eventually achieve sentience of a kind and hate creation, desiring the destruction or consumption of all that is, including themselves, and a return to Chaos alone.
7. The greatest shard of shattered Zeh sinks to the heart of Creation and its essence merges with the nature of Ahn’s empty husk. This is the Wellspring of Eternity. Its nature is a mystery even to the Gods, but it is Chaos and Order in equal measure, in balance. Its presence enriches creation, which becomes pregnant with possibility.
8. Three thoughts or emanations emerge from the Wellspring of Eternity. These look out upon Creation and see that it is empty and waiting to be filled. These emanations are called the Nameless Ones, and they lack form and shape but have thought and voice. Some traditions hold their number to be greater, and call them the Nameless Choir. Their song fills Creation and from its melody are woven the five primordial Gods. These five are born from the song and thus know it in their innermost essences and can hear its echoes in the Wellspring of Eternity, but the Nameless Ones are consumed in their making, and so the song ends, and it is the task of the Gods to achieve it.
9. Dyeus makes the sky. This is called the First Making and he is thus thought by some to be foremost among the Gods, but in truth all five Primordial Gods are equal and none is eldest. The sky fills Creation but is at first black and empty.
10. Mahai makes the world and the heavenly bodies, so that the Gods have places to stand and look out upon creation, for unlike the transcended Nameless Ones they have form and shape and their vision sees far, but not everywhere.
11. Cynress sets the fire at the heart of the world and perhaps at the hearts of the heavenly bodies as well.
12. Erethos, aligned to change, sets the bodies and worlds in motion.
13. Vaa, aligned with stability, sets the courses of all bodies so that these motions might endure. The laws that govern their motions she alone understands in full.
14. Cynress is genderless, or perhaps of both genders, and sometimes is male and at other times female. In the earliest days, after the making of the sky and worlds and the central fire but before all was set in motion, she dwelt with Dyeus for a time and produced a son, Ilavion, who is the Sun.
15. Later, after Erethos and Vaa had made all the worlds move, yet according to the greater pattern, Cynress lies a single night with Mahai and begets a son upon her. This is Grolm, Lord of the Mountains. Iluvion and Grolm are called the Cynraci, the Sons of Cynress, and they are close as brothers.
16. After the birth of Grolm, Dyeus and Mahai make their dwelling together and beget four children. The first is Vestandra, who was the Night.
17. Seeing that these children are strong and mighty in their youth, and aid much in the labors of the Gods, Vaa and Erethos make two Gods, first Sarmonion who was harmony and then Atrakos who was discord. They are creations rather than children, and they grow without affection, though the manner of their upbringing causes Vaa and Erethos to become estranged.
18. Erethos begins to wander in fields unknown, apart from the Gods, briefly at first.
19. Cynress, ever fluid of form, adopts a favorite shape, huge and winged, and in this form she flew above the world and set fire to the lands, which long endured.
20. Next to Dyeus and Mahai is born Vesha, of the breath of the sky upon the world. She is the wind.
21. Cynress births the first dragons. Because she is complete in herself and does not need a mate, she is to them both mother and father, but also because of this the dragons are mortal and less than the Gods, so they do not see the Wellspring of Eternity and do not hear its song.
22. The dragons are willful and fight among one another. Because they are mortal they die, and in the instant of this first death is born Erkalla of the union of Dyeus and Mahai. Hers is the underworld, and she hallows a place there for the spirits of the dead to rest until they return to the world. The spirits of dragons, however, do not return except by foulest necromancy.
23. Erethos departs for a long age, exploring the boundary between Creation and Chaos. He learns many secrets, but in his ears the roar of Chaos overwhelms the song of the Wellspring of Eternity. He begins to be corrupted by it.
24. Seeing that the world is yet aflame, Dyeus and Mahai give birth to Thassos, who is the sea, and many fires are quenched.
25. Now the world is complete in shape, but the song is not yet achieved. From the Gods come forth the spirits of sky, earth and sea. Like the dragons these are less than Gods, for each comes from one God alone and are made not of conscious choice but by the deeds of the Gods echoing through Creation within their chosen spheres.
26. Erethos begins to burrow outward into the skin of Creation, seeking after the secrets of Chaos and carving a great Abyss which spirals into the depths, in time growing of its own accord, or of those who lie without. The detritus of his digging (material left over from the husk of Ahn, and therefore mostly material or order,) is shaped by the seeping Chaos; these fragments become the demons and are animated by Erethos’ growing malevolence. The deeper the Abyss is delved, the more Chaos-infested these demons become.
27. Vesha blows upon the sea and Mahai hallows the land beneath, and thus is born Dienera, Mother of Life. She emerges first from the sea but swiftly spreads to land, and the world begins to blossom, but there are not yet beasts.
28. The Gods delight in this new Life, and all, save Erethos, redouble their efforts.
29. Atrakos has a dalliance with Dienera and begets a son, Maltheion. He is at first raised by his mother.
30. Under the light of Ilavion much could be done, but not while he rested. So he took Vestrandra to wife and birthed Zerem, who is the stars. Cynress flies high above and lights the stars with her fire.
31. Yet the Gods desire still more light while Ilavion rests, so Ilavion and Vestandra give birth to two daughters, Keris and Llyrea, the Red and Silver moons. They at first rise with the setting of Ilavion and their light is pure and beautiful, but this is later marred.
32. Heaun is a spirit of the wild who is a servant to Dienera, but who was willful and roaming and was often distracted by his own amusements. In his wanderings in the wild places of the world he came upon Llyrea, singing the Moon’s song in a sunlit glade, and is smitten with her, and he with him.
33. Erethos returns, at first in fair form, and is treated like a long-lost brother and uncle. He aids the Gods in their labors, but mars all that he touches, and speaks evil words and sows distrust among all the orders of begins. The Dragons, a breed apart from all else in creation, yet mighty, are especially prone to his whisperings.
34. Erethos lusts after Vestandra and plots to make her his own. His hate for Ilavion and their children grows great.
35. Llyrea imparts to Heaun a part of her own essence. In such manner he joins the Gods, first among the Ascended, although he is less than she, and her light is dimmed. Beasts, new life that moves of its own accord, begins to appear on the world.
36. Working in secret and by starlight (and so with the knowledge of Zerem,) Mahai and Dienera make thirteen children, the seven mothers and six fathers of the Elves. These they raise in a hidden vale far in the north, and are tutored by Zerem and Vestandra. The Elves grow numerous and wise.
37. Dienera leaves Maltheion to be raised amongst the Elves. Among them he grows fond of deeds of strength and prowess, but he instills in them a combativeness despite their serenity.
38. The numbers of the Elves begin to outgrow their hidden valley and they begin to spread across the north of the world. So they are espied by dragons flying above.
39. His allies among the dragons inform Erethos of the awakened and now strong and numerous Elves. Seeing himself as rightly their master we withdraws in rage, to where the Gods know not. But many follow him to his stronghold in the Abyss, which has grown deep and treacherous, with its deepest reaches in the outermost chaos.
40. Last to the Abyss arrive Atrakos and at Erethos’ request, Maltheion his son. On the Abyss’ topmost layer Atrakos constructs a great fortress and rears this son there in his adolescence, and this upbringing is cruel. Maltheion learns the arts of war and devastation, but he has no love for his father or for Erethos, desiring only battle and victory.
41. Of the union of Heaun and Llyrea is born Delphion, Lord of Dreams. Often his visits the Elves, though they do not sleep, and in his murmurings a shadow of the Song that was before can be heard by them.
42. Erethos’ corruption is now complete, and he styles himself the Writhing God, the Dark Master of All, and the Great Devourer. His shape is mighty and terrible ever after.
43. Erethos strikes, coming upon Vestandra when she is unawares and bearing her off to the Abyss as captive, where she remained so long as Erethos remains free. But the Gods perceive him, and made ready to war against him. The forges of Grolm begin to craft weapons.
44. In the first of seven great battles, the host of Erethos sallies forth upon Keris, the Red Moon, who had wandered far from the world. Keris is slain, and his sister, Llyrea, coming to his aid, has her face scorched by dragonfire and her swift gaid marred, and she flees into the light of Ilavion, who comes forth in wrath, but too late, as the force of Erethos retreats to the Abyss. Keris is shattered into (some say) a hundred thousand shards, some of which fall to the world’s surface in time, where they are known as the red metal, moonsilver, sacred to the faith of Llyrea.
45. Vestandra, in her captivity, bears a daughter to Erethos, who is Tathana, Lady of Murder.
46. By these evils, Erethos is named Nephrak by the Gods, the Dark Betrayer, and he is known as such ever after.
47. All the Gods swear an oath to defeat Erethos, and all take up arms.
48. There is a second battle which takes place in the heavens. One of the heavenly bodies, Nimlais, is broken.
49. Vestandra bears to Nephrak a son, Correk, Lord of Destruction.
50. In a third battle the hosts of the Gods finally take the field in full, but are defeated. Maltheion is the Marshal of Nephrak.
51. Vestandra bears to Nephrak a daughter, Rhaele, Queen of Madness. She is birthed and raised in the lower depths of the Abyss.
52. Vestandra bears Tythos, King of Tyranny, to Erethos. He and his siblings, together with their father, are called the Nepharim.
53. In the fourth battle the war comes to the world. Maltheion and Atrakos are on one side, Mahai and a host of celestial spirits and Elves on the other. Mahai is mortally wounded by the spear of Atrokos, and the army of the Gods despairs, but the Elves begin to sing a song that is dirge and lament and march at once, and Maltheion stands transfixed, remembering his youth among them. The Elves are roused to rage and ferocity, and they bear Mahai’s body away, and Maltheion is striken by their wrath and might against to terrible a foe. The Elven High King is slain but not before dealing Atrokos a grievous wound, and the last shred of respect for him felt by Maltheion falls away, and he turns on the hosts of Nephrak with a small cadre loyal to him alone, the Black Lieutenants. The fell army retreats in disarray.
54. Xeves, Lord of Magic, is born to Sarmonion and Zerem. Their pairing is not lasting, but Xeives will grow swiftly and will teach the Elves much.
55. There is a parley upon the field. The Gods are mistrustful of Maltheion, but Mahai hallows him with her dying breath and bids him seek victory for the Creation that bore him rather than for Chaos. This the Gods accept, with Maltheion’s oath.
56. Maltheion raises new armies from the spirits of the earth, and beasts and even a few dragons. These he garbs in black, in memory of his misplaced allegiance.
57. There is a fifth Battle, which is inconclusive but costly. The new legions of Maltheion are not yet ready, though Maltheion hiself fights in the battle and slays Correk, son of Nephrak. The corpse of Correk is borne dead from the battlefield by Nephrak’s army. Afterward, Sarmonion seeks a parley but is treacherously slain by Tathana.
58. Nephrak imbues the cadaver of Correk with some black spark of the outermost void, and he rises again as Maveth, Prince of Undeath. It is long before he emerges again from the Abyss.
59. Tythos becomes the Marshal of Nephrak. He begins building a great many-layered stronghold on the Outer Sphere, apart from the Abyss. He recruits those willing to follow him in absolute obedience. The fortress he calls Sheyol, but to mortals it is called the Hells. His chief lieutenant is Kassand, who knows the levels and gutters of Hell better than Tythos himself.
60. In the sixth battle, the legions of Maltheion meet those of Tythos. The two clash blades three times but are swept apart by the tide of battle. The outcome is inconclusive but favors Nephrak.
61. In the seventh and final battle, all the hosts are arrayed, and Nephrak himself takes the field. Dyeus slay Strakos but is in turn slain by Nephrak. Tythos is gravey wounded by is borne alive from the field by Kassand, who flees to the safety of Hell. The legions of Chaos are defeated and scattered. Nephrak flees to the Abyss.
62. The Gates of the Abyss are broken by the Gods in pursuit of Nephrak. In its depths they found and freed Vestandra, but she was broken and diminished. Nephrak is cast into chains.
63. As the chain is cast around the neck of Nephrak is born Rhavan, fathered by Heaun upon Dienera, who remained behind the final battle. She foretells that Rhavan will be the hands to heal the world.
64. The Gods take counsel near to the Wellspring of Eternity, and decide many matters of import.
a. By the might of Vaa Nephrak is imprisoned in the only place that can hold him, the Wellspring of Eternity. His freeing would break Creation itself. Zerem foretells that it is so doomed.
b. Great was the devastation of the heavens and the world, so the Gods make a Great Decree that no battle shall ever be done by them upon the mortal world again, though many minions of Nephrak had escaped their wrath and justice. Else all Creation might be undone by a second such conflict.
c. It is agreed that the Gods will take up residence on the outermost sphere, to stand watchful against incursions from without, though the Enemy too is strongest there.
d. The workings of Xeives and Zerem are agreed to, to place barriers between the realms of mortals and Gods.
e. To arbiter the passing of mortals into the realms of the Gods, the Gods agree to appoint judges, but they do not agree on who these should be.
65. Xeives weaves the Ether about the mortal world. It is said by some that the other mirror worlds are the shadows of the mortal world cast by the Ether’s light.
66. Zerem casts the shroud of the Astral between the world and the Walls of Creation. In part this is a barrier for the Gods, in part for mortals. The Gods might still walk upon the mortal world incarnate, if they wish, but this is now difficult and done only with great expenditure of will. Most dragons are trapped on the mortal world.
67. Vaa surveys the boundaries of Creation and learns that they have become porous and weak, and are retreating, and thus she perceives Nephrak’s true plan. All might now be lost though the enemy was defeated. Vaa surrenders herself to the walls of outermost night and bolsters them with the force of her Godhood. She is no more, but the Walls of Creation are thick and stand strong, though the Abyss grows ever deeper.
68. Grolm, long weary of making things of war and knowing that he must soon depart the mortal world forever, makes last of all things in his forges beneath the world the nine kindreds of the Dwarves. These begin constructing realms beneath the mountains, only seldom venturing under the open sky.
69. The Gods and their chosen servants begin constructing great citadels on the Walls of Creation.
70. Peace now descends, though the world would be long in recovering.
71. Tythos still reigns in Hell, but the wound dealt him by Maltheion, whose blade had been hallowed by Dienera, will not heal and he suffers from it for an age, descending into delirium.
72. The Gods meet to determine who the judges of the dead will be, for now only the most dedicated will pass to the realm of the Gods, the rest dwelling in Erkalla’s underworld. There is argument and friction over this decision. In the end it is decided that thirteen of the most discerning celestial spirits shall be raised up among the Ascended and hallowed by Cynress, for she alone among the Gods was willing to agree to the terms of the squabbling factions. These thirteen are called the Tribunal.
73. Cynress, who has given much to the Tribunal, is wearied and sleeps. She never again takes a form other than the dragon, and it is said that she will not awake until the Last Days draw nigh. The Dragons who dwell with the Gods set a watch of Platinum dragons about her.
74. A new Elven High King re-establishes an Elven Kingdom on the world. Their achievement is great but tempered with sorrow.
75. Kassand has ruled Hell in fact if not in name for many years already, and the loyalty of the devils is to him and not to Tythos. So he seizes the power and Godhead of Tythos and became as a God himself, calling himself Iblis, and is counted third among the Ascended, for he had been a lowly earth spirit before becoming mighty in the service of Nephrak and Tythos. Tythos is not dead but is now an impotent wraith imprisoned in the palace of Iblis.