“The body is the substance, the spirit is the conduit, and the soul is the prize for which all of Hell wages its sinister war.”
Prelude to Creation
The Chaos Domain
Before everything and anything, all that exists is nameless Chaos, a raging timeless sea without beginning or end. This is the Chaos Domain. However, it is no true domain for it is without form or bounds or realm, it is simply all that has ever been.
But into the midst of Chaos something unexpected and unprecedented occurs. Order becomes manifest in what is known as Creation, the great miracle. Timelessness gives way to the Eternal, so begins the First Creation.
First Creation, Spirit
The First Creation is Spirit and the Spirit of Creation gives birth to the Realm of Eternity.
The Divine Domain
As the Spirit of Creation takes form, Order rises like a tower from the sea of chaos and establishes the Divine Domain. At the center of all Creation, the Divine Domain is transcendent, the first of its kind.
From the Divine Domain emerges the first Realm. It is known by many names: the Eternal Kingdom, the Great Tower of Eternity, or simply Heaven; it is a holy realm of purity and Order, inhabited by divine beings whose form is solely spirit. The most predominant of these is the servants of creation, called Angels.
The Realm of Eternity, and its inhabitants, are neither Good nor Evil, for these concepts do not yet exist. The Angels possess no other motive or purpose than to serve the Spirit of Creation. Their unerring duty is to reinforce the walls of the Tower of Eternity, expanding Order while pushing back the endless expanse of Chaos.
It is the conflict between Order and Chaos that paves the way for the Second Creation.
Second Creation, Substance
The Second Creation is Substance. The Substance of Creation gives birth to all matter and physical form, across numerous Realms, but all stitched together by the Spirit. Collectively these are known as the Realms of Origin or Realms of Creation.
The Natural Domain
Chaos cannot comprehend the presence of Order and relentlessly crashes upon the unyielding walls of the Tower of Eternity. As eons pass a new shoreline is formed. Extending out from the Tower, the Shores of Eternity create the first intermingling of chaos and order. Balance emerges, and its influence reaches out into the Sea of Chaos, bringing a degree of calm to the timeless rage and establishing the Sea of Chronos [Inner Sea, Celestial Sea, or Silver Sea], the empty vacuum of the universe, and time itself.
From within the holy and divine Spirit of Creation, the Second Creation begins, manifesting first as the Spirit of Nature and the Celestial Spirit. The Spirit of Nature makes its home upon the Shores of Eternity founding the Realm of Eden, as of yet a blank canvas of Substance without true form. Meanwhile the Celestial Spirit fills the vacuum of the universe, establishing the Realm of the Cosmos and seeding the Sea of Chronos with nascent stars.
Together the Realm of Eden and the Cosmos become the Natural Domain, the first of three Planar Domains. The Natural Domain represents the laws and cycles of all Life, but Life itself has yet to spark within them.
[The three planar domains, though often presented as three separate layers of discs, actually coexist simultaneously in the same theoretical space, overlapping but not quite touching]
And so, the Second Creation continues.
The Arcane Domain
Even as creation progresses, with nothing to separate the Sea of Chaos from the Sea of Chronos, Chaos spills back into the universe, threatening to destroy the Cosmos. In response, the ongoing work of the Second Creation manifests the Spirit of Mana, creating a new realm. The Realm of Wonders rises like a ring of islands, acting as the universal Barrier between the inner Sea of Chronos and the outer Sea of Chaos. The balancing presence of the Realm of Wonders holds the worst of the Sea of Chaos at bay. The Chaos that does find its way past the barrier is much subdued, and the Cosmos is able to ignite.
The nascent stars rise up from the Sea of Chronos, spreading throughout the Cosmos. As a new Spirit manifests within each star, they give birth to Light and the Realm of Dawn, located at the heart of every star.
The Spirit of Light is an overwhelming force of Order, drawn to the Divine Domain of the Tower of Eternity. The Realm of Eden is caught between them and sitting upon the Shores of Eternity it basks in the presence of eternal Light.
However, so far from the Tower of Eternity, the Cosmos is unable to sustain Light indefinitely. To maintain the Balance of the Cosmos, Light must coexist with some other force of Chaos. The Spirit of Shadow manifests within the latent Chaos that still subtly filters its way through gaps in the Barrier. It invades the spaces that the Light does not touch with a realm of its own, the Void. In this manner, Darkness is created in response to Light. While it lacks the strength to reach into Eden, the Darkness will ever seek to extinguish the Light of every star in the Cosmos.
[some scholars believe that a balance between Light and Dark itself must therefore also exist, resulting in Twilight and the Realm of Dreams born as a bi-product]
With the Realm of Wonders, the Realm of Dawn, and the Void all having taken form, the next Planar Domain is established. The Arcane Domain represents power and imagination, and their ability to guide and influence life itself. Yet alone, they still cannot create life.
And so, the Second Creation continues.
The Elemental Domain
As the Arcane and the Natural domains collide, both throughout the Cosmos and within the Realm of Eden, latent substance is given form. Bathed in the tremendous power of eternal Light, Eden becomes a natural cradle on the precipice of accepting life. Likewise, the tangible force of boundless imagination from the Realm of Wonders touches the Arcane forces of Light and Darkness present throughout the Cosmos. Together they construct the basic blueprints of all manner of substance and life upon the natural laws of the Cosmos.
But there is still something missing before life can truly take hold in Creation. Without Elemental sustenance to grow and propagate, the Substance of Creation and life itself is incomplete and doomed to failure. Thus, the Spirits of Earth, Fire, Water and Air enter Creation, giving form to the Forge and the Furnace, as well as the Realms of Stillness and Storms. Collectively these realms establish the Elemental Domain. The last of the Planar Domains, they represent the form and fuel that will allow life to carry on, paving the way for the final, and greatest phase of the Second Creation.
And so, the Second Creation continues.
The Material Domain
With all the essential building blocks in place, the Spirit of Creation breathes life into the Substance of Creation. Throughout the physical universe, the first flora and fauna emerge. Primal instinct and sentience are born, as is the Material Domain.
[The Material Domain defines the theoretical space where all three Planar domains exist, and can be thought of as the Physical Universe]
Empowered as the second Transcendent Domain, the Material Domain encompasses all three of the Planar Domains. The Natural, Arcane, and Elemental Domains often stand at odds with each other, and even within themselves. However, held together by the transcendence of the Material Domain, their energies collectively permeate the Second Creation. This causes a chain reaction that sees a myriad of lifeforms propagate not only throughout the Natural Realms of the physical universe, but the Arcane and Elemental Realms as well.
As Creation continues, one of the first and most advanced creatures in all of the Second Creation comes into being. The mighty Dragons, who in time will come to master all Spiritual manifestations contained within the Substance of Creation, spread throughout the Realms of Origin. Meanwhile, equally powerful Celestial beings begin to explore and establish themselves in the Cosmos as primal Demigods walk upon Eden for the first time. Beyond the Natural Domain, great and terrible Elemental Primes arise to rule within their respective realms, battling against their rivals for dominance of the Elemental Domain. In the realms of the Arcane Domain the mysterious Arcanids appear, guided by forces beyond mortal understanding, they pursue their own esoteric ends.
Across all of the Second Creation and the Realms of Origin, this vast assortment of creatures are beings of both Spirit and Substance, though not always in equal parts. With the Material Domain binding together the essential components of the three Planar Domains, life flourishes, and so too does death. A balance in all things, made possible by the presence of Order within Chaos.
The Second Creation is complete.
The Abomination of Creation
As the Realm of Eternity watches the Realms of Origin take form, some angels grow jealous that the Substance of the Second Creation has not been bestowed upon them. And so, many among them choose to rebel and begin to walk these new realms of substance and spirit in physical bodies. This defies the very laws of creation and they soon discover that if their spiritual forms dwell too long away from the Realm of Eternity, they will eventually cease to exist.
In order to prevent this, some among them discover the means to bond their being with the Substance of the Second Creation, allowing them to remain outside the Realm of Eternity for as long as they desire. The lesser creatures of the Second Creation are particularly susceptible to this unholy bonding and as they merge they become something entirely new, the Abomination of Creation.
These creatures become known as Demons and introduce something never seen before in creation nor during the timeless chaos that came before it, malevolence. The angels that remain set themselves against the Demons, calling themselves benevolent.
And so, Good and Evil is born, marking all of Creation with its conflict.
The Hell Domain
These Demons have no place in either the First Creation or the Second Creation and so are cast out of Heaven into a new domain. Created by the powerful forces of the Divine Domain, this new Domain is called Hell and is intended to contain the Demons for all eternity to prevent their corrupting influence on the rest of Creation. However, imprisoned beneath the Tower of Eternity, Hell takes on a life of its own. Beyond the reach of the powers that created this prison, it becomes a place of eternal corruption, torment, and unfathomable cruelty paired with malignant violence.
With no escape the Demons sink ever further into depravity, expanding the Hell Domain in the only direction they can, driving its roots ever deeper into the Sea of Chaos. As they toil and fight among themselves, endlessly founding and conquering new planes of Hell, each subsequent plane becomes more immersed in Chaos than those above it.
In time, those Demons from the upper planes of Hell, naturally closer to the influence of Order, begin to exert their will over those beneath them. In this way the Demons of the upper planes of Hell are transformed into beings of malevolent and methodical intent, known as Devils. It is here that they establish their realm, called the Abyssal Kingdoms, bringing some semblance of Order to the Chaos of the Hell Domain. However, it is utterly corrupt, and there is no end to the plots and schemes of devils of every station.
At odds with the tyrannical order imposed by the devils, the demons fight back and lay claim to the lower planes of Hell, calling their realm the Demonic Depths. Interconnected in eternal violence, these become the twin realms of the Hell Domain; the Demonic Depths with its demons, the Abyssal Kingdoms with its Devils, and all manner of Hell Fiends caught between them.
Third Creation, Soul
The Third Creation is Soul, created and fostered at the heart of the Realm of Eden. The Soul of Creation is meant to bind all of Creation together, rendering it complete in the image of that which created it.
While it does not initially give rise to new realms, it does create new three part beings possessing Spirit, Substance and Soul [the progenitor race of all “mortal races” that would eventually follow]. The Third Creation makes its home in verdant and primal Eden, flourishing upon the Shores of Eternity.
The Soul Domain
The great gift and the great folly of the Third Creation is it’s ability to exert it’s will upon all of Creation. Among all created things, the Third Creation quickly rises to supremacy, for the Soul bestows great power upon these beings. As they focus their minds and bend Creation to their will, the Soul of Creation within them gives birth to a domain of their own making. The Soul Domain is one of boundless potential and ingenuity, but also marred by selfish ambition and vain desire. This transcendent Domain is limited only by the Third Creation’s own meager ability to comprehend it, thus providing a much needed balance to their gift.
The most gifted among the Third Creation become increasingly curious, and reach out with their souls to explore creation. By doing so they unintentionally create the Astral Realm, an empty and formless place that connects to every other realm in a haphazard and dangerous manner. Many among the Third Creation learn to project their physical bodies through the Astral Realm and travel beyond Eden into other realms. In this way the Third Creation explores and settles upon the more habitable places within the Realms of Origin, interacting with many of the dominant creatures and forces of the Second Creation.
Not all mean them well, some even covet the power of the Third Creation and seek to travel between Realms as the Third Creation does, an act that would unravel all of Creation. Fortunately, this is not possible as only the beings of the Third Creation can travel through the Astral Realm.
Even as it threatens all else, with this safeguard in place, the Third Creation is Complete.
The beings and realms of the First and Second Creations grow to view the Third Creation as the most beloved and gifted beings of all of Creation. Some, such as the Angels, seek to protect and shepherd them on to a greater destiny. Many from the Second Creation attempt to emulate them, whether out of respect, fear, or envy. But the worst are those who choose to despise them, and attempt to dominate them. None do so as fiercely as the denizens of Hell.
Trapped in their eternal prison, Demons and Devils can do little but observe as they are passed by on yet another gift of Creation. As they had coveted the substance of the Second Creation, they covet the Third Creation all the more. From the depths of their prison they scheme and plot how they may possess the Soul of Creation for themselves. But it is the Third Creation that provides a way for the Hell Domain to finally see its plans come to pass.
As more among the Third Creation learn to travel through the Astral Realm, spreading throughout creation and all the Realms of Origin, their curiosity inevitably leads them to Hell and the Abyssal Kingdoms. Despite all its power, Heaven is blind to the Astral Realm and can do nothing to prevent the Third Creation from communicating with the Abomination of Creation. While the unrestrained chaos and evil of the demons of Hell quickly warns away even the bravest souls of the Third Creation, the Abyssal Kingdoms prove appealing to some. Those ambitious souls with a unquenchable thirst for power and knowledge find the words and promises of the Arch-Devils enticing. Though they cannot leave their prison, through dark bargains and veiled lies, the most prominent among the Arch-Devils prove to be the true architects of the Downfall of the Third Creation.
[None more prominent than Lucifarious himself, the first Arch-Devil and supreme ruler of the Abyssal Kingdoms]
Their strategy is simple, but it changes the course of all Creation. The Devils teach the Third Creation the true nature of the Soul and the immense power it can grant them.
However, as with any bargain made with a Devil, this knowledge comes at a cost. The realization of the power of the Soul begins to fracture the very fabric of Creation. It is the prison walls of the Hell Domain that are first weakened. Though the cracks are small, it is enough for the spirits of Demons and Devils alike to reach out and corrupt the Spirits of beings among the other realms. Through their subversive actions the great evil of the Hell Domain is allowed to escape through the conduit of spirit and is unleashed upon all of Creation. While the Demons work tirelessly to spread the corrupting influence of chaos throughout Creation, the Devils seek to consolidate power and rule over all.
With chaos and evil unleashed, the fabric of Creation continues to unravel. This causes fragments of each of the Realms of Origin to break away and intermingle, creating entirely new realms. These take shape as planets, dimensions, and realities, each comprised of some measure of the essence of the Realms of Origin. In the turmoil, many beings of the Second Creation are scattered from their Realm of Origin. Alongside them, the beings of the Third Creation are also cast out of their home in the Realm of Eden, set adrift into the Cosmos.
The Realm of Eternity, forever working to safeguard and protect Creation, is the only Realm untouched by the downfall of the Third Creation. Acting swiftly to prevent the end of all things and a return to timeless chaos, the Angels leave the Realm of Eternity in an attempt to repair the wounded Realms of Origin. As more of the Realms of Origin bleed away and intermingle, the Angels have no choice but to cast barriers around them so that they can heal and reform themselves. While this act prevents Chaos from overwhelming Creation, all those who have been scattered or cast out of their Realm of Origin are now cut off from their homes and means of survival.
Seeking yet to save these exiles and refugees, the agents of the First Creation gather up all that they can to bring them to these newly formed realms. Among the wild intermingling of spiritual forces they find the necessary habitats for life to continue. Through the grand efforts of the Angels and all the forces of Heaven, the doom of Creation is forestalled, but not without great sacrifice. Many among the First Creation give up their eternal lives in order to save so many others. Spending too long outside of their native Realm in order to complete their work, many cease to exist altogether.
While these new realms are in great turmoil from the conflicting powers at work throughout them, the presence of a piece of each Realm of Origin ensures that most beings can survive, if not thrive in their new homes. Among them, carrying with them the disastrous knowledge of their own souls, the Third Creation has no choice but to inhabit these dangerous new realms, tame them, and make them their own.
By the chaotic schemes of the Demons, the subversive lies of the Arch-Devils, and the folly of the Third Creation itself, the harmony of the three part Creation is forever marred, ensuring that all creation will experience hardship and strife. Because of this, the new home of the Third Creation is known as the Realm of Strife.
The War of Souls
However, the Demons and Devils are never content with the destruction and suffering they have wrought. Despite their evil schemes, they are still trapped within the Realm of Abominations, left to eternally covet the Soul of the Third Creation. So they continue to reach out with their Spirits, and through deception and manipulation, they convince some among the Third Creation to willingly offer their souls to the Realm of Abominations.
As souls are secured and drawn into Hell, some among the Abomination of Creation discover that they can use the power of these Souls to subvert the laws of Creation and escape their prison in physical form. This allows them to not only move throughout the Realms of Origin once again, but also to walk upon the Realm of Strife that they have inadvertently helped to create.
At first they remain cautious and hide their presence, lest the Realm of Eternity discover they have found a means to escape their prison. But as more and more souls are acquired, Hell seeks to gain a foothold to allow for the further corruption of the Third Creation. In doing so the Arch-Devils of the Abyssal Kingdom amass a vast army of Demons, freed from the Realm of Abominations, with the goal of possessing the Soul of Creation for themselves.
However, their armies grow so large that they are no longer able to hide their presence. The Realm of Eternity responds in force, striking out against the Demonic armies and thwarting them at every turn. The Demons are no match for the Forces of Eternity once roused to war. However, victory is not assured. Unlike the Demons, the Angels and their forces can not remain in battle indefinitely; always required to retreat back to the Realm of Eternity periodically in order to retain their numbers. This constant ebb and flow of victory and retreat births a perpetual conflict, an eternal struggle between Angel and Demon.
The War of Souls, as it is now known, continues to this day. A brutal and unending war, fought over the very Souls of the Third Creation. However distant and far off that conflict may be, you remain caught up in the middle. You have no option but to live out your life; hero or villain, champion or scoundrel, Ally of Angels or Thrall of the Enemy. This is the Realm of Strife.
“The body is the substance, the spirit is the conduit, and the soul is the prize for which all of Hell wages its sinister war.”