Friday, October 28, 2011

Ages of Lingusia: The Gods and Myths in the Empire Era

What follows is a multi-part overview of several pantheons in Lingusia, more or less as they were in the Empire Era of 1,958 aw. Each of the following chapters over the next few days will focus on a different pantheon or aspect there-with. Some material that has been omitted from the Keepers of Lingusia entries either reflects material that is not yet a part of this earlier timeline, or has been cut by omission of brevity and/or because I am considering revisions in the "new" timeline.

Part One: The Primal Gods and the Creation Story
   Long before the world existed there was the primal chaos, a swirling maelstrom of destruction and creation that existed in a never-ending cycle of instant and all consuming disorder. Entire universes, realities, and entities have spawned countless times from the maelstrom, only to be consumed mere instants later.
   The first Idean Codex contains a creation story of the world, words written by a scholar who was almost certainly not human, long before man had himself crafted the rudimentary languages he would one day communicate with. This first and most ancient tale speaks of a time when there was only the eternal chaos, and out of this chaos spawned the entity called Mala’kor. Mala’kor was the first cosmic intelligence to survive in the chaos, and indeed learned to thrive. Over countless eons this enigmatic entity learned to master its chaotic environment, and even learned to delight in the constant process of creation and destruction.
   After a time Mala’kor grew experimental and attempted to create other beings like himself. These early creations were half-formed mad entities which spun off into the nether-realms, some disincorporating, some struggling to survive in the far corners of the maelstrom. It is hinted that many entities, ancient proto-gods all, came in to existence in this time, and that some of those gods may have seen fit to create entities of their own. Thus were many pantheons and pockets of orderly existence created, but all unobserved by Mala’kor.
   Mala’kor eventually grew tired of these endless games and desired company which he could relate to, beings of such great power as his own, that were permanent, and not destined to be destroyed by the maelstrom once more. Confident he could still manage his creations, he drew forth from the maelstrom to create Ga’thika, the first true god of order. Within Ga’thika he saw the goddess who would be his companion, and she, new to existence, lived with him for a great time. Together they existed as husband and wife, until Mala’kor grew restless for more companionship, and once more he reached in to the maelstrom. This time he drew forth T’Kothos, the god of death, which emobided the closing cycle of life. T’kothos would be his brother, he decided.
   Ga’thika and T’kothos were different from Mala’kor, for they were no longer truly of the maelstrom as he was, and they saw the great carnival of random creation and destruction that had been cycling for untold eons, as whole universes sprang in to being and collapsed. They decided, then that they would flee together, and escape the maelstrom. Once free of Mala’kor, they could start their own creation, one which was not subject to the dominion of all chaos.
   When the two gods winked out of existence and reappared in a new realm created wholly from the cloth of reality, their sudden absence at first perplexed and then engraged Mala’kor, who sought them out, desperate to see that his first true permanent creations did not escape him. He created a race of beings, hideous demiurges of chaos called the Skaeddrath to seek them out. The Skaeddrath could penetrate the barriers of reality, boring through the twisting nether through which the maelstrom swirled, to see corners of existence as yet undreamed by any god or being. It is said that the burrowing of the Skaeddrath was what created the porous realms that would one day form to become the extraplanar realms of existence.
   Ga’thika and T’kothos meanwhile began their own permanent creation, weaving the mortal plane in to existence, seeding the cosmos with countless stars and worlds, experimenting with their early talents for creation to create untold wonders and terrors alike at the dawn of existence. Their power was seemingly infinite, and free of the maelstrom they were the true masters of their domain.
   Over time the two grew safe and complacent. They created their first offspring, which would one day be called the Elder Gods. These gods were young and carefree, free to roam the vast creation of their parents.
   When the Skaeddrath called the Kraken bore its way in to the creation of the two primal gods, it escaped detection, but knew immediately that it had found the domain Mala’kor sought. It returned, and reported to Mala’kor of the young gods’ new universe. Enraged at their impudence Mala’kor summoned the other eleven even more powerful Skaeddrath to accompany the Kraken back to this universe, to dismantle and destroy it.
   When the Kraken and the Skaeddrath appeared, they began to dismantle reality, boring holes through the very fabric of existence, devouring whole worlds and suns, and snuffing out the life of countless beings that had been spawned as a product of Ga’Thika’s creations. Little is known of this cosmic war, but it’s resolution was certain: the Skaeddrath, ultimately, were overwhelmed by the Primal Gods and their Elder God offspring, and forced at last into a prison. This prison was a latticework of ancient energy, power strong enough to contain the twelve beings of chaos. Ga’thika and T’Kothos, realizing that only they could sustain the prison with their very beings, created the two great layers of reality which enveloped the prison. The realm above became the mortal plane of existence that men would one day call Lingusia. The realm below became the Underworld, the physical manifestation of the realm of the dead, where all souls descended after their lives had ended. Between these two realms rested the twelve prisons of the slumbering, trapped Skaeddrath. Ga’Thika and T’Kothos ordered their young offspring to stand as the keepers of the new worlds so formed, as gatekeepers to the twelve prisons.
   The elder gods were but the first of many generations of gods to appear in the coming eons. The stress of eternity, the power of the divine and the needs to oversee existence were troubling tasks, and eventually these first gods succumbed to the temptation to move on, entering the vastness of the outer planes, renouncing their existence to achieve mortality, or otherwise abrogating their positions of power. Each time this happened the gods in question were required to pass the torch to the next generation, and so they did. Today, only a handful of these eldest gods, called now the Mysteries, are still in existence, and they include Ashuar, Aurumurvox, Damortas and Eldarath.
   A succession of gods and tales followed: the Primordials, the Titans, and eventually the Young Gods, who today are seen as old gods themselves by a handful of young demiurges. In the midst of all this, there arose three distinct pantheons, and one neutral faction that chose not to partake in the conflicts of the gods. These included the so-called gods of order, who were descended from Ga’thika, and the gods of Death who were the descendants of T’kothos. A third pantheon manifested eons ago, caused by the unrelenting but subtle corruption of chaos. These gods embodied a pantheon of chaos, and they sought to steal the secrets of the maelstrom from Ga’thika, if they could but penetrate his dark realm and find his secrets. It is said that the first gods of this pantheons were Dalroth and Slithotep, sons of Naril, and that they were driven mad with revelation by their communion with Mala’kor,and when they returned they founded the pantheon of chaos, with the intent of unlocking the secrets of chaos that they could unmake all of reality, then remake it in their own image.
   Today, the younger gods are simply the gods that all men and other beings know, for they have existed for more than eighty thousand years according to the first Idean Codex. The memory of the Skaeddrath is all but lost save to those few heretics who read the Calydarin Codex and wonder at the terrors it reveals. Some claim that they are shown terrifying visions by the slumbering Skaeddrath, and worry that the gods today have forgotten their true purpose as jailkeepers for these ancient beings of destruction, caught up as they are in their conflicts between the patheons of chaos, death and order. Finally, there is a rumor that a new pantheon has appeared, a shadowy cabal of gods who have their own agenda, to steal power from the rest. This so-called shadow pantheon is an as-yet unrealized threat, and its conspirators remain unrevealed.

All text copyright 2011 by Nicholas Torbin Bergquist, all rights reserved

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