World Building / The Beginning

The War Of the Stars

It is uncertain how the universe began. The subject itself is so arcane, so devoid of any serious evidence, that most sages and scholars argue from a philosophical standpoint, not trusting scientific evidence, if any. Some theorize that the universe is the result of opposing cosmic principles; others hold a single or group of extra-dimensional creators imposed their willpower upon the raw potential of the cosmos. Still others view it as a cyclical and eternal process from one state to the next.

Whatever the first cause may be, the ages that followed it saw many changes within the cosmos, in particular within a specific galaxy. The blackness of the universe began to fill with the brilliant glow of new stars. Planets spun themselves out of dust and gas, and life in myriad forms began to populate these youthful worlds. Even the endless void of the Great Dark saw living things of beauty and majesty emerge from the chaos.

Unfortunately, there also arose powers that were not so kindly disposed.

The first to encounter them called them the Vortumbrae, and the name remains as the only surviving relic of that long-dead civilization. Titanic starfaring beings spawned in the confluence of dark and strange forces, unleashed from prisons beyond mortal comprehension by some twisted fate, theirs was power both physical and spiritual, matched only by their capricious disregard for all other forms of life.

The emergence of these dreadful powers was incalculably horrific. Entire ecosystems were devoured to sate their vile hungers. Ancient and powerful civilizations were warped into monstrous servitors for their amusement, or sacrificed to their alien manipulations. Dying stars cast their diseased light on worlds defiled by monstrous growths and unnatural spawn, their insane populations scrabbling amongst the ruins of vanished glory for the momentary favor of the Dark Powers.

It was in this time of vanishing promise that a sheltered nebula brought a new and somewhat peculiar generation of stars into being. Unusual forces of supernatural and natural origin had played a part in their birth, imbuing the stars not only with mass and energy, but with a form of sapience, as well. As the understanding of these nascent beings began to grow, so too did their spiritual and physical potency, gradually enabling them to shed their clumsy, vast forms and assume more mobile ones.

The first explorations of these new beings were within the nebula of their birth, and they continued to grow in intelligence and personhood. Outside the galaxy continued to burn, but they were ignorant of such harsh realities, devoting themselves to learning and growing with childlike joy. The star-children had begun to proceed into true adulthood, and possessed nearly godlike power, by the time they finally gathered up the reserve and courage to leave the realm of their birth and seek their destiny beyond.

Their hope and optimism deserved better than they found.

There were those who welcomed the star-children with open arms, finding kindred spirits in their eagerness to learn and grow. It was from these friendly contacts that the star-children adopted the name Luminaries. Unfortunately, they also learned of the Vortumbrae, and their destructive ravages across the galaxy. It was not long before the Dark Powers learned of their new rivals, and they were not pleased with the na´ve goals of these interlopers. Quickly they arrayed all their power against the Luminaries, setting into motion a war over the future course of all life.

Even among those who have been gifted with some knowledge of these events- a category occupied by few on our world- the records of the war are minimal. Only fragmentary images, revealed through racial memory or inspired visions, remain- stars burning to cinders, unthinkable and indescribable forms struggling in the Great Dark, entire planets wracked with war. But although the Luminaries and their lesser allies fought hard and well, ultimately they failed.

In the aftermath of their failed offensive the Luminaries suffered their most crippling loss. Attempting to hold the line against the Vortumbrae advance, the First of the Luminaries, their eldest and most powerful, was lured into a cunning trap. Fighting within the dispersing remains of another nebula, she and several of her kin were quickly overwhelmed, beaten down, and captured with mockery by her enemies. Although their power was too great to easily destroy, the Vortumbrae had a more subtle plan. Leaving the wounded First and her kin in the center of the nebula, they bent the fabric of the stellar nursery into a tiny inescapable prison, leaving them to an eternity of dreaming.

The surface of a neutron star, several meters thick, was stripped and shaped by eldritch forces to form the shell of the prison, and such was its mass and gravity that matter when it arrived, would cling to either side of it. Heavy radioactive material, collected from the debris which was cast out when that star had first died and exploded was annealed to both surfaces so that none could dare approach it, making the fastness of that strange sphere even more replete.

The Luminaries refused to fall for the trap. Without hope of an easy victory in the material realm, they instead began to construct a realm of their own known as the Luminary Path, a selectively permeable sub-plane lying atop the Great Dark where they could safely travel between worlds to aid resistance, foster mortal life, and remain safe from the Vortumbrae. Leaving the expanses of space to the Vortumbrae for now, but swearing resistance and vengeance, the disillusioned Luminaries vanished inside to rule over their own realm and gather their strength. Unable to easily follow, the Vortumbrae sent servants inside the Luminary Path to open a path, but settled down to resume their twisted schemes in the Great Dark.

Near the center of the galaxy the First's prison lay undisturbed for aeons, orbiting a small sun. Gradually, over the ages, dust and gas began to gather to the surface.

For millions of years the Sphere took shape, over a dozen small continental plates forming on the exterior amidst the empty space of the bottomless oceans. The energies of the Prison bathed both the interior and the exterior surfaces of the Sphere with cosmic forces, fostering the unusually rapid development of life. Forests sprang out of the earth, and the seas of the Sphere teemed with life. Great behemoths stomped across the land, soared in the skies, and even floated between the interior surface and the Sphere. The influence of the Prison had created a living, breathing world from dust in a fraction of the time such a process would have normally required.

And gradually, thinking, reasoning beings began to appear...