Mythology Monday: Cosmology

This should be the last of the large updates to get everything ready to go.Next week I’ll put out a god/goddess and see what I can come up for them.

The Cosmology of my world is fairly simple, but I don’t have any artistic skill or talent, so we’re going to have to go with my descriptions.

  • There are a few types of planes
  • Elemental – Fire, Air, Earth (Stone) and Water (Cold)
  • The Prime Material Plane – Kasan
  • The Outer Plane – The Iron Marches
  • and the Shadow Plane

Kasan and the Iron Marches occupy, simultaneously, the center of the cosmos. Around the Iron Marches/Kasan orbits the Elemental Planes. Surrounding them all is the plane of shadow, used to travel between each plane.

The Elemental Planes

Thanks to Sae-Oon the great chaos that was the universe was separated  into the three realms. The Elemental Planes, The first of these realms, are spheres of pure Fire, Ice(Water), Air and Stone (Earth) of tremendous size. They are separated from one another physically, but bleed into each other, The Iron Marches and the Prime through vortexes of pure elemental matter. These spheres are finite in size, though of an unknowable proportion. Each is as inhospitable to life and terrifying as the next. Fire is a land of condensed soot and ash, awash in flame and choking debris. Stone is an orb of ever-shifting mountains and avalanches riddled with caves and canyons. Water is a globe of choppy seas and roiling oceans covered in colliding icebergs and vest glaciers. Air is a sky full of clouds and razor winds with powerful cyclones of air ripping through it. Very few beings can survive here, but those that do are extremely suited for the task.

The Elemental planes orbit the Iron Marches vertically, across the Known Width, each in their own orbit, which is crucially important. Each god, and each Accursed is connected to one or more elemental plane, having a conduit them from which they draw some part of their powers. With the rising and falling of each orb, the strength of the related Paltonarchs and Accursed also waxes and wanes, providing for literal tides of war on the Marches.  In addition, their orbit  also provide the seasons for the Kasan: when fire is in apex, Summer  comes, which while rare and quick here, is long and drawn in the Iron Marches and by contrast, when cold is close to Kasan, winter reigns.

The Iron Marches

The Iron Marches is a plane of fierce warfare and bitter conflict between the gods and the accursed. It is the plane which was created by the will of the gods as a prison to for the Demon Queen, the plane to which the Accursed fled to hide from the armies of the Paltonarchs, and where the Paltonarchs made a pact to hunt the Accursed for what they had done, remaining there until the deed is done. With great forests and deep oceans, jagged mountains and unruly bogs, every type of terrain is represented in the Marches. It all suffer a slight change, however. Here, the primary mediums of creation are metal. There are rivers of molten bronze and trees of iron growing on rusting mountains and fields of golden flowers. The Marches themselves, however, are bitterly divided. The Accursed control one edge, and the Paltonarchs control the other.  The thousands of miles of contested land between each edge is a gradual gradient of the influence of the respective powers. the center of the plane houses giant forests of iron trees, and great plains of gold grasses, but as you approach the Accursed lands the mountains start to rust, and the clouds howl in silver fury while drops of mercury falling from the sky to form great silver rivers raging to the edge of the corroded plains to plummet infinitely into the world of Shadow. There the trees grow leaden, blackened with the soot of a thousand molten furnaces forging the weapons of warfare from the vile tainted metals of the land. Conversely, the landscape glows and shimmers as it approaches the land of the Paltonarchs. Iron trees become great Brasswoods, and the golden grasses flow into adamant shrubs and great, shining platinum tundra’s with towering blue hued fortresses of Cobalt dominating the land. Deep within the recesses of the plane, close to the edges of their respective sides, the Accursed and the Paltonarches make their homes in vast fortresses of precious and corroded metals. Every home is always in jeopardy here, in the Iron Marches as the constant war threatens to consume everything. When there is not immediate warfare, there is the constant threat and the preparation for it. Where there is rest, there is also readiness. The war here is eternal, the struggle between the Demon Queen, and her brothers and sisters the Elder Paltonarchs, and can only end with the complete genocide of one side or the other. Armies march across the plane in constant flux dictated by the primacy of the nearby elemental planes, each side trying to take advantage of waning powers by countering with their own waxing forces.

The Plane of Shadow

The Shadow Plane is the strangest to an outside observer. Where the other planes are either hostile, or slightly changed from the basic concepts of reality, the shadow plane is a shifting, ever shifting semi-representation of the other planes. When you exit Kasan into the shadow, you will come upon a warped, twisted version of were you left. Trees will be cut or warped, buildings may be ruined or simply missing, and roads may be overgrown or paved in completely different stones. It even shifts as you look, with living objects dying or vanishing and buildings crumbling to ruin before your eyes. The same is for the Iron Marches, which resembles Kasan closely. The Elemental planes are even less stable in the plane of shadow, simply because the elemental  planes themselves are constantly shifting, making it  extremely hard to represent them in even a decayed form. This plane was the original habitat of the Demon Queen, after her birth and the creation of Kasan and the elemental planes. Within it lives shifting, terrifying alternate versions of many creatures.

Belief, The Soul, and the Armies of the Dead

The gods and accursed reside on the Iron Marches, and there they absorb the worship of their followers. While followers do not directly create power, it is through them that the domain of a god is expanded, and therefore their base power grows. Due to the Black Pact, this is a beneficial relationship for both parties. Gods gain power through the deeds of their followers, and the souls of the followers are preserved from the clutches of the Demon Queen. What is so insidious about the Black Pact is that it blocks the gods knowledge of the death an individual who does not worship them. This allows, if the person worships no god, or worship is significantly minimal so as to not heavily alert the god, the Demon Queen to use the body, and its soul, for her own purposes. Because of this, each god has their own cadre of attendants that have the sole job of collecting the souls that the god, or accursed, dictates should be brought to them. Rarely two gods will claim the same soul, and often it comes to an accord between the gods.

The soul, once freed of its mortal shell, is then able to follow these attendants to the Iron Marches to begin their eternal servitude to the god of their choice. For some this will be on the front lines leading armies, and for others it will be logistics to supply the armies or tactics to maneuver them. Each soul is put to use to support the eternal war in the heavens. One of the things that perplexes even the gods, though, is the duration of a soul on the Iron Marches. some souls are reincarnated death after death for a thousand years, yet others vanish after a single death, never to return. Piety, devotion and personal prowess seem to have some sway, but even then there have been exceptions.

The Iron Marches are huge and war torn, with massive armies of soul-soldiers tied to their patron god marching to and from war as they follow the elemental connections. its a bleak, perilous and violent life for many, but it beats an eternity of slavery to the Demon Queen, unable to make even the most simple choice.

The Goal 

Remember the goal here is to have gods that are undeniable, distant and yet still matter. It took a lot of work over many years to get this mythology to the state it is now, and I think even that can be improved. What comes next will be a look at each of the gods, goddesses, and accursed that embody the pantheon, and showing how they are involved both in the Godswar and the mortal realms. I don’t know who is next week, but we’ll get there.

Make sure to ask questions if you have any, both for clarification and for edification if necessary.