This reality has various planes that are separated by blank ‘spaces’. These spaces exist in such a way that one cannot physically pass from one plane to another, only magical or spiritual methods allow for inter-planar travel. There are four primary planes; the mortal plane, Etrivaal, the Underworld and Srahenna. The mortal plane is considered the main universe in which mortals live their lives while the other three encompass what it known as the afterlife. However, there are also a variety of smaller planes, many of them created by the hands of mortals. One mortal world that is significant with regards to inter-planar creation and study is Tertia, whose people developed a deep understanding of the concept after Gonel broke the barrier between their world and the Underworld. Regardless of a plane’s origin, travel between planes is monitored by the God of Gateways who is to take action if the usage of other planes gets out of hand.
The Mortal Realm
It isn’t hard to imagine what the mortal realm entails; it’s the universal space allocated by the gods in which mortals build communities and grow and evolve before reaching the afterlife. It started off with but a single world, the one on which the Firstborn were cultivated. This world was built to have the absolute perfect conditions for them and so they grew, they grew far too quickly. Not only did their kind flourish but their world and nature did too, by the time of the Firstborn downfall the world had become the core of a vessel that dwarfed the size of solar systems. When this vessel, Eavana, was toppled the space around it was cut off and it was crafted into the plane now known as the Underworld.
From then, the gods decided to allow the universe to grow at a much more natural rate. The Creator collected the scattered remains of Eavana that were left in the mortal realm and used them as a basis for the universe. These remains contained all of the necessary components for life, including magic, and with a great explosion the mortal realm truly began. The first developed species to appear after that were the Ithaksi, who the deities watched closely but swore not to interfere with. The Ithaksi thrived, not as test subjects but as true mortals and they stood as the hope for what the rest of the mortal realm could be. Their people were not strong but they struggled and persevered and used their limited lives to gain experiences and build societies. The Ithaksi still exist even to this day as an inter-galactic species that has settled on countless planets since their first.
Not all of the mortal worlds are at the same stage, some are only now eking out the first stages of sentience while others ride the cosmos on peak technological advancements. Beyond that, every world has a unique flavor defined by its natural conditions and whether or not the planet bares magic. Those who evolve with magic develop to become more odd, more ‘alien’, while those who don’t persevere with just their raw ability as mortals. Even for those who have developed the most there are further plateaus they have yet to discover, so the gods continue to watch hopefully for just how far the mortals will go.
The Expanse is a plane of pure nature that started small and since has grown to have more surface area than even large planets. A mage named Twylth created the realm by harnessing a ferociously large amount of the latent magic of one of her world’s continents to create a new ‘space’. She succeeded and the Expanse was created but the continent paid the cost of her spell. Not that she cared, the matters of the mortal realm were beneath her by that point.
At first, Twylth transferred some trees, plants and dirt to her realm as the base for what the Expanse would become. The amount that she took from the mortal realm equated to about one average-sized forest. From there, the huge amount of magic within her realm took hold and the nature expanded exponentially. Every once in a while, she will grace the mortal realm just to take a new kind of plant to the Expanse so that her magic may endlessly replicate it. Over time, she has designed sections of the Expanse to represent different seasons.
The creatures of the realm are beings of magic. Expanse wildlife appears oddly unrealistic, like artistic caricatures of real plants and animals. The best way to describe the ‘life’ produced by the Expanse as being pulled straight from fantasies and folk tales.
Yet, the realm is still missing one thing. It has the appearance of having a sky, changing between day and night and having moons and stars. However, this is merely an illusory projection of Twylth’s own design. Twylth realizes that she needs more power to be able to bring true stars to her realm. Once she has accrued enough power, she intends to gather nature from worlds far beyond her own to make the Expanse the universally perfect realm of nature.
Sleeper’s Parley is a plane created to be a hub world for dreams. The plane’s creator, Elma, took just a bit of energy from every unconscious mind on her home world Tertia to bring the realm into being. The best way to describe Sleeper’s Parley is as being a place where dreams become truth. It’s meant to be a one-way mirror, where things from outside can come in but the things that spawn from inside aren’t capable of coming out.
Elma’s intention for the realm was to create a ‘shared dream’, a realm that people would go to at night and be able to communicate even in unconsciousness. They would enter this dream by a thoughtless choice, people would be brought to the Sleeper’s Parley if they subconsciously believed they wanted to be there. As the name suggests, the realm was meant for people to settle disputes in a setting that would not harm their bodies in the mortal realm. It was, after all, only a dream.
The realm has natural inhabitants that manifest from people’s dreams, but quickly enough manifestations of people’s nightmares showed up as well. Fear turned out to be more powerful than peace and the beings of nightmare quickly took over the realm, cutting off the choice that people had to enter the realm or not. They locked Elma away in a deep abyss of people’s nightmares and then aimed to manifest themselves as real beings. It was actually the beings of dreams that showed them how to do this, when some dream manifestations escaped from the realm by permanently merging with the minds of certain people in the mortal realm.
The nightmares have now come to Tertia under the banner ‘The Deepest Fear’ and have begun their violent take-over. The realm between dream and reality has been blurred and now no one dares go to Sleeper’s Parley, a realm manipulated by nightmare, by choice. Fortunately for the rest of the mortal realm, Sleeper’s Parley was only designed to be accessible by the people of Tertia.
The Screens is an odd plane in the sense that it does not occupy its own ‘space’. It is a metaphysical realm that is layered over the mortal plane, although it cannot be seen or interacted with from the outside. It is built such that space is inconsequential, those who travel in the Screens are able to do so instantly and effortlessly. They can see everything that is happening to the outside world but cannot affect it in any way without leaving the Screens. Only those holding specially crafted ‘keys’ can travel between the mortal realm and the Screens at will. Moreover, these keys can only made by Mthunzi, the one who created the Screens. He manifested this realm when he sought out a way to be able to see his home world in its entirety, shortcomings and all. He uses the plane to spy on that world, Tertia, from behind the scenes and has brought two other powerful entities to his side. They lay in wait, pondering what to do with the world, ignorant to just how far their realm reaches and to what others kinds of beings could get in.
The Night City
The Night City is closer to a pocket dimension than being an entire plane. It was created by a mage from Tertia by the name of Kovec. She made the realm so that she could rule over her personally grown race of Magia, known as the Morus, with complete efficiency. The dimension takes the form of a silhouetted city, all greyscale and full of skyscrapers. Her intention was for the realm to be under her sole and complete rule, a place she could manipulate as she wished just as she did the Morus. As Kovec went mad from the demonic magic that found its way inside of her, her position of rule was challenged by two Morus sisters named Scheya and Rilkasha. She was defeated by the twins and they took over as the rulers of the Night City, re-purposing it as a hub to re-align the Morus after Kovec’s manipulation. The Night City is connected through planar gates to all of Tertia’s Morus settlements, so it’s the perfect place from which to govern them. Since taking over, Scheya has altered the realm to have things like casinos and dance halls. She brings in bands of Morus intermittently to use these facilities and determine if her people would enjoy seeing such things in their settlements.
The Misaligned Realm
A realm discovered, but not created by, a mage named Binko. A realm of utter chaos that is always changing seemingly at random, inhabited by creatures whose forms never stay the same. Binko became intrigued with the realm and immersed himself in it, allowing himself to be drawn into it. His interactions with the realm only served to widen the punctures between planes and eventually the Misaligned Realm broke open, causing a great battle on Tertia.
The Misaligned Realm was originally created by the Goddess of Chaos, Razdor, for the purpose of sealing away the deity of chaos that preceded her; Nyoc’Thaulh. It was designed as a realm of nonsense that followed none of the conventions of reality, a place where reality would constantly warp for the sole purpose of finding new ways to torture the sealed entity. This is what created the realm’s sick and twisted creatures. One of the most key visual aspects of the realm is the multi-colored stars that are scattered across its endless sky. Once every conceivable form and level of pain has been afflicted upon Nyoc’Thaulh, one of the stars falls and the realm resets. Nyoc’Thaulh has all of his feeling and clarity restored so that the cycle can begin again. Though the number of stars in the sky is limited, suggesting that when the last one falls the realm will cease to be and the fallen deity within will be allowed to die.
The realm has since been bent by Binko’s will and now acts as one of the primary threats to the life of the people on Tertia.
The Realm Star
The Realm Star is a living supernova that was sealed within its own plane by the God of Gateways, Selech. The reason for this is the supernova itself was an entity that had been brought to life through the influence of magic. Given the other things that magic can give life this is entirely possible, although the Realm Star is the only case of it happening on such a big scale. Empowered by its magical nature, the supernova found itself capable of endlessly expanding and devouring the worlds around it. It ate every form of matter it could, magic included, to become stronger and expand faster. It swiftly grew to the size of its own solar system and threatened to become galactic if left unchecked, so it was locked away by Selech to prevent a universal-tier crisis.
The realm star did not give up its need to devour and grow. With its will it developed its intelligence until it came to understand the magic that allowed it to exist as it was. It understood that magic could take on different forms and could be wielded by living beings. Through harnessing its magic, the Realm Star created a being that, through its own power, could transfer itself between planes. The celestial monster named Bal’noma.
Hatched of a golden egg from within the heart of the Realm Star, Bal’noma was sent out to the mortal realm to continue devouring the universe in the supernova’s stead. The stomach of the monster was a portal to the realm and it could also create other portals in the form of black holes and supernovas. Bal’noma struggled with its purpose but came to understand that, if other beings have a purpose more important than its, then it would be stopped.
As Bal’noma’s power and the frequency of its feasts grew, Selech decided to find a more interesting way of dealing with it. He created a physical seal that existed in the mortal realm and had the attributes of gemstone. He intended for the seal to break after some time, when the mortal realm was capable of defeating Bal’noma with its own power. As the seal broke and the pieces of gemstone rained down on the nearby worlds, the pieces gained life and came to be known as the Akora.
Bal’noma can manifest in the mortal realm once more, and when it does it is a threat that must be faced by mortals.
The Infinity Crossroads
A realm created by the former God of Time with the intent of being capable of sealing away other deities. The true gods are capable of existing beyond dimensional scale, so to create a plane in which they could be truly ‘trapped’ seemed impossible. To counter-act this issue, the God of Time made the realm such that it would adapt with the state of being of the entity inside of it. This means that even if a deity detached themselves from the dimensional scale, then the Infinity Crossroads would do the same to keep them in. Additionally, through paradoxical magic a one-way infinity was created around the crossroads. This made it possible to be easily sent into the crossroads but when attempting to find a way out, there would be an infinite space-time between this plane and others.
For a short time, the current Vashta of Destruction was sealed in this realm while he was still the Vashta of Death. His mind was darkened by the Abyss and he was locked away after slaughtering the Firstborn. As a result, the realm became tainted with darkness.
The crossroads were abandoned as a purpose to use it over Srahenna was never found. Then, after the God of Time was destroyed, his vashtalic disciples took control of the realm and used it as their base. The crossroads were outside of the focus of the gods, so the disciples of time could freely ponder ways to resurrect their deity even from absolute destruction.
The realm was eventually discovered not by the gods, but by a mortal by the name of Dolus. Dolus had the intention of wielding the realm to suit his own designs which resulted in a battle against the disciples of time. Due to the intervention of the Goddess of Space, who was still just a mortal at the time, the disciples were defeated. After that, Dolus continued his manipulation of the realm and came upon the darkness that lay seated within. The magic of a deity, the perfect weapon for him to use. Using his technology, he gave life to the deity’s darkness and observed how the realm would develop from there. The beings he created, seven of them, characterized themselves similarly to Dolus and titled themselves as royalty. They made a kingdom of darkness within the crossroads, yet this did not satisfy them. They turned on Dolus and attempted to invade Lethea, only to be stopped by the son of one of the disciples of time.
The crossroads have since been left unoccupied, although now that it is known to the mortal realm it could possibly be harnessed again for some kind of purpose.
A pocket dimension created by a scientist from Aelia around the time Demon God Arius broke into the mortal realm. The scientist, Paracelcus, was enamored with mythical beings and creatures and aimed to research their connections with magic and, if they were real, how they came to be. When Arius broke the boundary between planes and the warped, monstrous souls of the Underworld seeped through and sieged Aelia, Paracelcus’ curiosity only grew deeper. He aligned himself with Arius, promising to find a way to stabilize the gateway between planes so that the Demon God might fully manifest. During his research Paracelcus created the Toybox, a plane where he could create his own monsters and mythical creatures. The Toybox has no sense of balance or economy, its environment is nonsensical and chaotic as it was made just to be a realm where Paracelcus could play God. Using his pact with Arius, Paracelus became a hugely powerful Aljani and with that power he manifested a hermetic dragon of his own. This was his magnum opus, a silver dragon, a true mythical beast made by his own hands. Paracelcus and the silver dragon were defeated by the mortal incarnation of the God of Harmony, although the Toybox continues to exist. The man-made monsters lay in wait for the day the realm is discovered once more and a new ‘god’ releases them upon the mortal realm.
The Realm of the Reborn
After the battle with Arius on Aelia concluded, there were still countless monsters from the Underworld ravaging the lands. The people fought back to recover an age of peace but at the end of it there was no relief, only anger and blame. The population of Aelia did not know about Demons and the Underworld, so they fell under the impression that the ruination that fell upon them was the result of magic. Magic became an accursed thing, magic users faced discrimination at best and were executed on sight at worst. Despite these hunts there were still clans who knew the prosperity magic could bring and wished to maintain and celebrate a culture around it. Out of sheer coincidence, one of these clans came upon Paracelcus’ notes on planar creation and saw them as something miraculous. They could make an escape, a space of their own crafted by magic for the sake of magic. The clan performed rituals and eventually perfected the planar creation spell, using the power from all of their clansmen as well as drawing it from the corpses of monsters.
It was they, the Aeris clan, who took the first steps into their haven for magic users. The magic that kept the realm together was unstable and it was a harsh toll on the clan to maintain it initially, although such a trial did not deter them from the promised land they sought. They envisioned a golden city with magic flowing through every street and every building, protected by a sea of flames that no magicless mortal could ever pass through. They used magic to make water flow and plants grow, the Aeris clan was set on the idea that magic could provide them everything they could ever need. If such a thing came up that magic could not produce, they would simply open a gateway back to Aelia to retrieve such a thing and then use magic to multiply it.
Over time, the realm of the reborn became a haven for a countless amount of Aelia’s Magia clans. Vera, Aljani and Tainted who also could not find their place on Aelia were accepted into the realm as well. To account for the increasing population, smaller towns were built around the main golden city so that other clans may still gather together and practice their ways without discomfort. Though, while this culture successfully acts as a magical utopia its separation from the outside world has cultivated some issues. Mainly, elitism against the non-magical or even just those with weak magic. The hierarchy within the realm of the reborn is decided entirely by whoever is the most powerful at wielding magic, in lieu of their actual leading capabilities. This led the residents of the realm towards a tendency of looking down on others, of considering their realm a holy land that the not chosen are unworthy to step on. Though, this xenophobia has not stunted the growth of the realm and entryways to this plane have been opened on worlds far beyond Aelia. The Aeris clan still maintains their spot at the top of the hierarchy, although with the realm of the reborn’s reach now cast out to invite Magia clans from worlds away it is unsure how long they will maintain their position.
The Keystone Dimension
A dimension made by the Creator as a fail-safe of reality. The Keystone dimension is mostly just infinite void, bar one building-sized orb composed of a material known as Uninium. Uninium is a material of perfect durability, of all things in the universe it is the only object that can be known as truly ‘invincible’. It tougher than even the gods themselves, and for good reason. All space, time and reality exist relative to the uninium orb. The orb maintains stability throughout the various planes and realms and prevents them from being utterly destroyed. For example, if the mortal realm faced a force that threatened to blow the entire universe away then such a force would be nullified by the existence of the uninium orb. It automatically prevents such wide-scale calamities and ensures that some amount of support can be maintained at all times.
Referred to as ‘Heaven’ in some beliefs, Etrivaal is the realm of the gods and the place where life goes upon death. It is built as a utopia, conditioned such that its inhabitants can live there happily for countless millennia without becoming bored of their surroundings. The pure scale of Etrivaal is nigh-impossible to comprehend as it features a mesh of cultures and communities from countless worlds, as well as cultures from the histories of those worlds. Everything that ever was exists in Etrivaal just so that its inhabitants have the opportunity to experience whatever they desire. When they’re done, when a soul believes that they’ve seen everything that could interest them, they can even choose to be re-incarnated and do it all again. Past, present and future; stars and space; day and night; Etrivaal is an endless well of experiences and discovery.
The Underworld is a place of peace, a land of redemption for souls who committed dreadful crimes in their mortal lives. The souls are put to labor, not for pay but to prove a commitment to improving themselves as beings. Their prize for this is an eventual pathway to the nirvana that is Etrivaal, but the souls who do not comply will be cursed to gradually become more warped and monstrous. Continued rebellion will result in judgement from the God of Souls, Bodil. When a soul is evaluated as irredeemable then they are sent to Srahenna, a plane of true suffering. This threat of unparalleled torture serves as a fantastic motivation for the criminal souls to not step out of line.
Yet, there are some residents of the Underworld exempt from this over-arching system. Demons, beings who came to be through the lingering will of a species known as the ‘Firstborn’. Demons are a highly competitive species through the merit of their naturally absurd amount of power. They aren’t born with any goal or direction, all they have is power so they tend to drift towards using it against each other. Not in any hateful manner, just to give themselves something to do. The Underworld has been specially conditioned to be capable of handling clashes between Demons without being eradicated.
There are entire societies of Demons that are usually kept separate from working souls. Though, in some situations a soul’s redemption work may lead to them working under a Demon. Demons also act as the wardens who watch over working souls in collaboration with Bodil, a role they took over from Vashtas.
Demons have settlements and societies just as any mortal world would and over time a level of order has been created between Demons. Many Demons will live without fighting at all, some may even choose to go and live in Etrivaal instead. Demons who do train and fight tend to have the goal of taking over territories established by stronger Demons. Battling only gets particularly rowdy in the rare situation that a new Demon God could be chosen. There are schools dedicated to learning magic and combat and there’s even a galaxy-sized continent dedicated wholly to endless combat. This continent is monitored and shown around the Underworld as a show and the Demons who fight there are ranked as if they’re professional fighters.
Originally, the Underworld was a part of the mortal realm during the age of the Firstborn. It was known then as ‘Eavana’, the home world of the Firstborn. When the Firstborn were wiped out, Eavana fell and was consigned to its own plane of existence. This made the base of what would eventually become the Underworld.
The plane of eternal torment. The waste bin of reality. Known as ‘Hell’ in some cultures, Srahenna is where an entity goes when they are no longer forgivable. It began as the realm of the Overlord and existed simply as a place where the failures of creation would go to be erased. When the Overlord rebelled against creation and was subsequently sealed away, Srahenna went unused until some stability and direction was brought to the state of existence.
After Fera emerged from the Aether and aided in defining what ‘life’ should be, he was appointed the ruler of Srahenna. The Underworld didn’t exist at the time and Etrivaal was the realm of deities, so Srahenna would become the mortal afterlife ruled over by the benevolent Archvashta of Life. That mortals could be capable of doing bad and deserving punishment wasn’t even a concept at that time, and in Fera’s mind never became one. Fera was sealed away after being flung into a rage in the aftermath of the battle against the Firstborn.
Eavana fell and became the Underworld, which was purposed as the plane of redemption for mortal souls while Etrivaal would be the ‘true’ afterlife. This left Srahenna empty and without a purpose once again. However, after the debate as to what to do with the Vashta of Death after his attack against the Firstborn, it was determined that Gods could not be punished in the same way as mortals. Taking an idea similar to the Infinity Crossroads, Srahenna was turned into a prison for gods if it were ever needed and Meridian, the God of Punishment, was made to be its arbiter. Later, when the Gods realized that not all souls could be redeemed through the Underworld, higher levels of Srahenna were opened up for the sake of punishing the unforgivables.