The planes of existence in Lingusia are a confusing jumble, and this is at least partially due to the curious cosmic landscape of the planes locally.
Lingusia is actually believed by most planar scholars to be six coterminous, linked planes. The center of it all is Lingusia, the vast world on which the other five realms are hinged. Tethered to the mortal plane are in order: the Plane of the Dead, the The Abyssal Realm, the Shadow Realm, the Dreamlands, and the Weirding Realm. Each of these realms appears to contribute some important component to the whole, and the fact that it was still possible to forge permanent planar gates leading from one location to another suggests that they are all intertwined in a way not easily separated.
In contrast, there are countless additional planes of existence that are not apparently part of the “local planar cluster.” The most notable locations include the Celestial Kingdoms, sometimes also known as the outer planes or the astral sea. This dimension apparently exists at an entirely different level of reality from the baser level of Lingusia and its coterminous planes.
The Realm of the Dead
This is the land of the dead, where all souls go to rest after they pass on in the mortal plane. The gods of the dead dwell here, bartering for souls in their mysterious games, moving the dead around like pieces in some mysterious game. Some souls ascend to become planar entities, while others are returned to reincarnate, and a few more are gathered for permanent duty as mysterious sentinels of the dead.
The Shadow Realm
Between the realm of the living and the dead is the Shadow Realm, where the souls of the dead must pass through to reach the Realm of the Dead. It is here that a war has raged for eons, to capture and use souls as objects of power between the forces of Chaos and Order. It is also where the rogue demigod Unarak will strike a devastating blow, for the Shadow Realm will be, like all the other planes, disrupted for a time in the future. Until this time, however, the Shadow Realm remains the domain of those gods of umbral aspect or those who seek power through the undead. The demon lord Orcus has a vast kingdom on this plane (as well as in the Abyss) for example.
The Abyssal Realm
The Abyssal Realm is a nine-tiered pit, carved brutally from the flesh of the cosmos and simultaneously its own domain and overlapping various regions of the mortal world, where on special occasion its inhabitants can burst forth in to the material plane. Within this vast pit are ancient armies of darkness, lurking in cities of pain and suffering. The demons, dark corrupted souls born out of the malice of the chaos gods long ago, dwell here.
While the Abyss is the domain of demonkind, on the vast outcropping of its crustal shelf (called the Desecrated Lands) there can be found a great tower, said to be infinite in size and scope stretching up like some hideously inverted mountain, with nine parallel layers along the mountainside and reaching to the frozen heights where it is said you could once transcend in to the Celestial Realms. This mountain is known as Hell by its devilish inhabitants, who are eternally in opposition to the demonkind, soldiers from a lost eon during the era of the prehunates, who now serve whatever dark masters will pay them the most. Set makes his home here.
The Dreamlands of Ethenur are a mysterious, haunting domain of whispery shadows, dreaming spirits and strange nightmares. It is said that the land contains a much, much older force, evident in the ancient topography and the fantastic monuments to things unknown which dot the landscape. Most famous of these is the Armageddon Tower, overseen by the Mystery Damortus, who tends to a strange Tree of Life within its immense halls, where the death of every being is made evident in stained glass, until the day when the blood-oozing clock atop the tower reaches the thirteenth hour and the final stained glass image depicting the end of the cosmos is at last completed.
Ethenur has many more weird mysteries, about which more will be revealed in the future.
The Weirding Realm
The Weirding Realm is the fae land, the domain of the mysterious elves. Elves were never of the mortal world, it is said, having been born of the womb of the primal goddess Gathika, who forged the Weirding Realm specifically to give birth to her first and fondest creations. How much of this is elf myth and lore truth remains unknown. The elves believe it, of course, and all fae beings experience a tangible sense of loss when they are away from the Weirding Realm too long.
Next: Plots and Scenarios in the Empire Era
All text copyright 2011 by Nicholas Torbin Bergquist, all rights reserved