Of Gods and Planes
After years of study in my master's tower library, with time spent pouring over ancient parchments from unknown authors, written before the Gathering, I am finally able to pen my thoughts.
The archaic tomes depict, often in rough drawings and sketches, the roles of the old gods and how they affect our world. I have attempted to construct a cohesive explanation, piecing together the drawings and scraps of parchment I could salvage, discovered many years ago, during an excavation of what we believe was one of the first dwarven cities. My life’s purpose is the quest for knowledge, these are dark and unpredictable times, I hope these documents can shed light and hope for future generations.
- Adept Lorien, scribe for Bastian the Lore Keeper
Our Plane - Athien
Our plane dwells under the watchful eyes of the four elemental gods, Forin (fire), Wellin (water), Arden (air) and Eldir (earth). Torin, the god of time, marks out our days.
The many lands of Athien are each unique, each showing the marks of one or more of the gods in its construction. The desert lands Eldirward, the volcanic lands Forinward, every land shows the mark of its creator in its characteristics and weather. If any have investigated beyond the great seas Wellinward then I have never heard of them.
In the desert Eldir rises higher and brighter in the sky than the other three and even prayers to Wellin will rarely result in the most meagre of rainfall.
The most well-known lands of Raspier and Kaeshar show so much variation accross their surface that I find it very difficult to believe that the furthest lands beyond the seas can be so uniform as we believe them to be. Perhaps beyond the deserts there are yet more lands that we've never seen, shaped by the hands of those we are yet to meet.
Torin's great work
Our days are shaped by the power of Torin that progresses accross our sky daily. The four Elder gods yield their brilliance to Torin's face during the day and dominate the sky at night.
Yet observations across a dozen societies suggest that this is only a part of the great power of Torin. Above that daily pattern is a more overarching cycle. Each of the four gods gains ascendancy for a period of near one hundred days at a time in a rotating pattern that drives our seasons accross Athien. Though I cannot even hazard a guess at the purpose of this great work, it seems that these periods are slowly shortening. I have read records that suggested two hundred or more days per ascendency was once common, while it is now very rare to see longer than one hundred days, often considerably shorter than that. What will happen if this trend continues and we eventually reach a point where the cycle is so short as to be non-existent, I do not know.
The second of our three planes is Between. Little clear information is available on Between. Until the time of the Gathering, shortly after the fall of Edarr, it was thought that Between was in fact the plane of the gods. It was not until after the sending of the Everlasting that it was realised that there were in fact three planes, which resulted in the name of Between. We now believe this to be the realm of Torin, a whole plane shaped by the hand of one being rather than four. Shaped in a manner that is completely unfamiliar to those of us that dwell on Athien.
Recently we have begun to learn much more about Between courtesy of the new Champions that have found access to the plane through summonings from the Everlasting. What we have learned makes it perhaps more confusing than ever.
This plane seems to be the home of time, ironically most obvious in the absence of the strictures of time that we experience on Athien. Those who have traveled here have reported very strange observations, from seeing the same opponent in multiple places at the same time, to even meeting (or fighting) themselves on this plane. Even more confusing is the reports that the creatures of this plane (and those who travel there) seem to be mutable, able to take a shape of their choice, even able to shape the land around them dramatically. Without having been there myself, I can only hypothesize that time and matter on this plane are completely different from what we experience on Athien. Perhaps it is a plane of energy rather than matter, in opposition to the characterisation of Athien as a material plane.
The plane of the Gods
The third plane must truly be the plane of the Gods. I cannot even propose a credible description of this plane, perhaps one day I will have the opportunity to meet one of it's denizens, though that seems extremely unlikely unless I become considerably more religious. It seems unquestionable that the Old Gods have a dramatic influence on our home plane, a much lesser influence in Between and presumably indomitable influence in this third plane.
The New Gods & the Threat to Balance
The Everlasting, in the cycles that have passed since their initial sending, appear to have changed their goals from fighting the Old Gods to fighting among themselves. I can only speculate at the potential effects of one of the Old Gods dying, given their integration with our landscape and weather here on Athien. It is perhaps for the best that it appears they will never have the opportunity to fulfill their original intent.