In the Shadow of the Sea
This is our world. This is the only world we have ever known. We have the skies above us, where Orn reigns as the king of his realm, and below is that endless labyrinth of underworld where lie the army of dead at Hathos’s obsidian throne. And here are we, in between, set upon this planet. It is here we make our lives and build our cities and empires.
The divine writers of the Eleven Kulthas call our home Mhydgrath.It is a land of solid rock, rivers of water, endless oceans and towering mountains. It is the home to all civilized races, and the Godlords of the seas and the mountains. Above us is the kingdom of the sky, known as Celestrael. From there Orn and his kind rule above us from his golden palace in the sky, floating among oceans of air and flame. The Skyriver, a great celestial ring that encircles our planet, connects us to him and carries to him the souls of the faithful. Below us is Shak-el, the Underworld. This is the domain of Hathos, and exists as an endless labyrinth of strange and enchanted dungeon. It is riddled with traps and terrors unknown. Few have both traveled there and returned, but those who have speak of inpenetrable magical darkness, ever shifting corridors and a descent of unimaginable depth.
Of course there is more to our universe than these three realms. Above even the sky continues the Grey Beyond, where no mortal has ever been. The Mythgarad Kulthas describes it as an endless, lifeless expanse of astral energies and formless matter. And legend tells of a realm beyond even that of terrors and darkness, from which only the things of nightmares may come.
There are realms beyond Shak-el as well. The fiery Hells burn below Hathos’s throne, and there dwell demons and foul devils of all sorts. It is for the protection of his realm that Hathos amasses his army of the dead. They protect his labyrinth kingdom from the fiendish denizens of the realm below him.
-Bilen Nirabel, Arch Sorceress of Queensmarch
THE CREATION OF THE WORLD
...And he looked down upon all he had done, at the world he had forged from his own flesh, and he saw that it was wicked and flawed as he was. And he wept.
-The Song of Creation, Mythgarad Kulthas
The ancient texts of the Divine Kulthas tell of forging of the first worlds, when the ancient gods, many now lost to time, crafted countless planets, stars and creatures. They made shimmering pieces of beauty from blackened emptiness, and shaped worlds with their divine hands. The Kulthas tell of the servants to the gods, called Khalfratu, who slaved under the will of divinity, working as ancient craftsmen for the great gods of old. One of these workers, remembered in the texts as Anhastun, grew jealous and contemptuous of his divine masters, and began searching for a way to craft his own world, one that he felt would rival and outshine the images of perfection the gods themselves had planned.
His plan was reckless and foolhardy, but through his searching he found a powerful and long hidden ritual to forge worlds. The price for the ritual was high, however, and its completion required powerful blood magics. Anhatsun cut his own flesh out and drew his own blood to cast the wicked spell, and with its power he used his flesh to make the earth, shaping it into a planet where life could live. He spilled his blood upon it, making the seas and rivers of the world.
It took many days, but finally the ritual was done and the world was made. Anhatsun, the craftsman, stepped back to watch his world, hoping the spirits of the Black would come and imbue his creation with life. Indeed spirits did come, but when they manifested themselves in the world, they found it impure and wretched, and what he hoped to be a shining land of virtue and riches crumbled into a contemptuous cesspool of sadism and wickedness. The Craftsman was appalled by what he had done as his precious world fell under the control of madness, and had no choice but to turn to the gods and beg for their mercy and aid.
The gods were enraged by what their servant had done, and cursed him to a distant prison plane. A divine council was called to discuss what to do with this wicked world. Some called for its destruction, but one god, Ghalthesius, asked for the world to be spared, saying that he and his peers could save the world from its misery and restore righteousness and order to the planet. The council agreed.
The gods found the world nearly torn asunder by the malevolent forces that controlled it, and quickly gathered their divine strength to wage war against the foul beings. Eventually the world was cleared of the evil forces, who the conquering deities carved up and hid across the world and multiverse, doing their best to ensure that the evil was never again found. Standing on the remains of the planet, the gods attempted to do right what the Craftsman had done wrong, and breathed the breath of divinity into the world. They shaped all beings that dwell the earth, including their servants the Earthgods. Thus the once wicked world was forged anew, and given a second chance to exist and thrive as a bastion of order and balance. Despite this, its old flaw still remains, haunting the world with the ever present threat of a return to the chaotic and evil place it once was.
- The Sun
- The Moons
- The Skyriver
- The Cloudkeeps
- Our World