Historian's note: This is a fragment of a text recovered from the ruins of the Library at Hawk's Peak. It appears to have been written as an introduction to the universe during the time of the Western Empire (about 700 B.C.). It's accuracy cannot be determined. The Congregation certainly won't confirm or deny any of this. Footnotes in the original text have been reproduced by insertion into the text in italics.
Author's note: The following is the best reconstruction that the priests of The Seeker in the Darkness have been able to create based on interviews with dragons, prophets, divine help, etc. Since the only one who witnessed most of these events is bound in the Abyss eternal, all the information herein should be considered second-hand at best.
Before time began, the universe/planet/local area was void. No laws governed the behavior of the unorganized matter and energy. The first being of which the stories tell is only known as The One. This being, seeing the chaos, laid plans to establish order.
He first created the 8 + 1 Primal Princes to serve as his lieutenants. Beings of unimaginable power, they each held mastery over one domain. For ease of reference, they will be referred to by their domain titles. Whether they had names is unknown and probably unknowable. The domains of the Eight were:
- Fire (Energies)
- Earth (Solid matter)
- Air (Gasses)
- Water (Liquids)
- Light (Law, Progress)
- Darkness (Memory, Stability)
- Life (Organization, Creation)
- Death (Destruction, Decay)
The domain of the remaining Prince is unknown. Some theorize that his was change or chaos, but this is strongly disputed. All real knowledge of this has been erased by powers far beyond man or god. The last Prince is only known as The Nameless.
The One gave each Prince the power to organize out of the primal chaos a host of followers. None of these had the spark of intelligence. The elemental followers are commonly called elementals--the others include animals, plants, shadow creatures, etc.
To coordinate the work of these sub-sentient followers, the One created for each Prince (save Death, who preferred the personal touch) a race of intelligent beings. The names of these beings follow:
- For Fire, Air, Earth, and Water he created the hosts of the elementals--ageless servants with the Dao (Earth), Ifreeti (Fire), Marid (water), and Djinn (Air) to watch over them and guide them.
- Light gained the service of the Lightborn, from which sprang Angels, Infernals, and (later) elven-kind.
- Darkness chose Leviathan, that distributed consciousness living in the light-less depths of the oceans and the depths of the Crystal Sphere, the living memory.
- Life and Death were set as directors of the whole work. Each got a servant race:
- The Titans were bound to the service of Life. Wielding runes they built and shaped.
- The Wyrm were bound to the service of Death. Breaking down un-needed or failed creations, they were the judges of all things.
- The Nameless got a humanoid race known as proto-humans. Protean and unstable, they were the speakers of the language of creation and mediated between the Princes.
This work took untold eons. The Princes and their followers would move throughout reality, stabilizing the planes and shaping them into a world. It was not without conflict, but all progressed until the work was nearly done. At this point the planes were not separate--all matter and energy coexisted in one.
Then there was War in Heaven--the Nameless rebelled against the One and against the other Princes. Why? Some say that whispers from Beyond reality drove him mad--others say it was out of pride and a desire to rule it all himself. Yet others claim that he saw the world approaching stasis with no place for him or his followers. No one knows. Even the eldest gods, the ones that participated in this war aren't talking. Asking that question is a good way to get struck by the wrath of whichever deity you're talking to. Author's note: approximately 300 scholars died before we stopped asking. Many of the powerful beings (of all races) joined him in his rebellion.
The Dawn War (as it came to be known among scholars) almost destroyed everything. Prince and Power fought against Prince and Power. The fighting wasn't just against the Nameless and his forces--there was division among the forces protecting Creation. When all was nearly lost, The One put an end to it. Employing the most ancient Law, the Law of Sacrifice, he broke the planes. The Primal Princes each became a Plane and was given a purpose in ordering Creation.
- Life merged into the fabric of what we now call the Prime Material Plane.
- Fire, Earth, Air, and Water became the Elemental planes which stabilize the Prime Material Plane.
- Light gave herself to form the Astral Plane, home of the Great Mechanism and the gods.
- Darkness gave himself to form the Abyss, a prison eternal for the Nameless and his legions (now called Demons regardless of their race).
- Death became the Shadow Realm, buffering the planes. The spirits of the dead pass into Shadow--only the strongest find a foothold in the Aetheric. The rest fade into the aetheric background.
- The One became the Great Mechanism which cycles soul-stuff (Aether) between the planes and stabilizes reality.
- The Nameless was stripped of his Name and Domain and exiled forever.
The intelligent followers of each Prince were given a choice: stay in the Prime and be reduced to a fraction of their selves, becoming mortal; or migrate to the realms formed by the essence of their princes. The only ones not given the choice were the ancestors of the humans. They were reduced to near-animal levels and bound to the Prime Plane.
The Dawn War thus ended. Reality was saved at extreme cost.
Note on timelines: All of this happened in deep pre-history. The latest date for the Breaking is approximately 25,000 years before the present day (ybp). Most scholars place it at 30k+ ybp.