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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The One becomes Five, and the Beyonders Come.

The One had been all, encompassing all things, undefined and undefinable. But where once was One now were Five, distinct and unique, unified in origin but separated by form and function. Yet together they worked, hand in hand completing the final desire of The One, the purpose for which they had been created, even as Identity forged within each a calling for their ultimate purpose.

Xaos, the Ever-Shifter, worked first, spinning forth the endless depths, forming the untamable waves and wilds, setting the sea to endless motion.

Braghain, the Unchanging Infinity, bound the ocean in shackles and chained it to the stars above, drawing the untamed tides into the sway of the universe.

Arete, the Excellence of Virtue, composed the sky, singing each star a note and each breeze a stanza, weaving forth the endless song of the heavens.

Ahriman, the Malign Seed, filled the stars with flame, the rain with frost, the wind with blades, and the void with hunger, outfitting the universe with deadly radiance.

And last of all Mazuda, the Ancient of Days, took hold of the sky above and the waters below, and brought them together, and locked them in place with the seal of land. And by her word their work was done, and called Finiens, for here sky and sea had been brought together as a sphere of endless horizons.

The One was the first and forebear, and The Five, or The Aspects of Existence, the Crafters of this new world. But even now, at the dawn of existence, they were not the only. Something had been in this dark pocket when The One arrived, and something had followed it here.

Perhaps it had consumed whatever had been here before, devouring it and leaving the emptiness in its wake for The One to find and to claim. Perhaps it had been attracted to the void, knowing that soon prey would be made for it. Or perhaps it was simply fate, or fortune, or random chance. But regardless, almost as soon as Finiens was forged, something came to see it unmade: Nidhoggar, the Devourer.

As the Aspects looked over their work and saw it satisfactory, and began making their plans for further creation, Nidhoggar attacked the freshly-minted world, lunging from the darkness of the oblivion and sinking its many maws into the sea and sky and stone. The Aspects, unsure of the nature and purpose of this creature, ignored it at first - in their newfound independence, they instead began to argue, blaming one another for its existence, accusing each other of creating it for the purpose of undoing the work of the others! Yet it soon became clear that Nidhoggar’s presence was not due to any act of their own or of The One, but that rather it must have come from somewhere else. United once again in purpose, the Aspects confronted Nidhoggar, who had torn through the sphere of Finiens from pole to pole like a cored apple, and had begun to ravage the planet from its southern edge upward.

While her four brothers and sisters battled with the great many-headed serpent, Mazuda called to the earth, demanding a prison be forged and a warden to rise from below to shackle the beast. The very stones of the world heeded her call, and raised up with chains of iron and magma, granite and crystal, sand and silt and mud, and grasped hold of the many coils of the Insatiable Gnawer as the other four Aspects held it still. A great, silent form grasped these bonds and dragged Nidhoggar, screaming and hissing and raging, back through the chasm it had carved into the core of the world, and sealed the prison shut behind. The wounds it caused were healed, but at its southern pole the seal remained, cloaked in ice and stone, hidden from view.

Wary of more hostile forces lurking in the darkness, the Avatars turned their gazes out to the dark twilight that enshrouded their universe, and amidst the stars and emptiness found another stowaway. Unlike Nidhoggar, however, this form meant no ill, despite the strangeness and incomprehensibility of its nature. The One had passed through many realities - and unrealities - in its search for a place of its own, and in one of those worlds between worlds, something had taken notice of it. A curious alien form had decided to follow The One in its wanderings, unnoticed and unheeded, lurking on the edges of existences where its nature could not Be and following eagerly behind like a forgotten child in places it could Exist. And it had come to this empty realm with The One and watched as The One became The Five, and observed in fascinated silence as the Aspects had worked their craft; and, being present in the universe as it was made, the reality in which it now found itself had been made to allow its existence.

The Aspects were, again, of many differing opinions about what to do with the strange interloper. Braghain wished to study it, discern how it worked and how a creature so alien had managed to retain its unique state once the world had solidified. Ahriman wanted to destroy it, claiming a desire to prevent the creature deciding to later wreak havoc as Nidhoggar had. Arete wished to speak with it on its nature, where it had come from, why it was here, and what it planned to do. Xaos paid almost no heed to it and was uninterested in his siblings’ bickering.

But in the end it was Mazuda whose desire swayed the Five to agreement. She bid the entity welcome so long as it remained peaceful, acknowledged it an established part of the world they had made, and promised it a place in the creation to come as an emissary from Finiens to worlds and existences beyond when the time came in the future for those of this new world to look beyond the stars. The entity was named Zshagothotha, Seeker Behind the Stars, and all of the black void around Finiens was given to it as home.

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