Lore > Origins
What the Learned Say …
The races and planes of the cosmos, and tales of the Dawn Times are outlined here as they are known to scholars and storytellers throughout the Archipelago, but may not be recounted or recorded consistently.
Aesir — the gods
Vanir — primordial elementals of air
Leirir — primordial elementals of earth
Hrímthursar — primordial elementals of ice
Eldrisar — primordial elementals of fire
Dísir — devils
Náir — demons
Draekhisar — dragons
Quori — aberrations
The Nine Realms
The cosmos consists of Nine Realms or planes. Miðgarðr, the Middle Worlds, contains many worlds, of which Erath, the world of the Dominium archipelago is one. As the realms draw closer to Miðgarðr, they become coterminous. This affects the Middle Worlds, infusing Miðgarðr with the aspect of the realm becoming coterminous. As the same realm becomes remote, the Middle Worlds are also affected, as the aspects that embody the realm become subdued. For instance, when Niflheimr, the realm of ice is coterminous with Miðgarðr, areas of cold become colder; when Niflheimr becomes remote, areas of cold become less cold.
Dal Quor, the rumored tenth Realm, is purported to be an alien plane of madness beyond description inhabited by the Quori, aberrations that are said to be the living embodiment of dreams and nightmares.
The Nine Realms, their names (in the dialects of their inhabitants), their inhabitants, and notable locations in each are listed below:
- The Middle Worlds/Miðgarðr — mortals: Menn, Drekansbörn
- Erath, the world of the Dominium archipelago
- Ásgarðr — gods: Aesir
- Well of Urðr
- Dís/Jötunheimr/Útgarðr — giants, devils, tieflings: Jötnar, Dísir
- Shavarath, the Battleground
- Spring of Mimir
- Faewild/Álfheimr — elves: Álfar
- Irian, the Eternal Day
- Lamannia, the Twilight Forest
- Thelanis, the Faerie Court
- Shadowfell/Hel — the dead and demons: Náir
- Mabar, the Endless Night (connected to the Abyss, realm of Erek Hus)
- Dolurrh, the Realm of the Dead
- the Spring Hvergelmir
- Vanaheimr — primordial elementals of air: Vanir
- Syrania, the Azure Sky
- Niðavellir/Svartálfaheimr — primordial elementals of earth, dwarves: Leirir, Dvergar
- Niflheimr — primordial elementals of ice: Hrímthursar
- Risia, the Plain of Ice
- Múspellsheimr — primordial elementals of fire: Eldrisar
- Fernia, the Sea of Fire
Above and Below
The Plane Above, the celestial Astral Plane, or "Silver Sea” is a sea of thought and dream, the space beyond the worlds, filled with vast clouds of a luminous silver-gray substance that is not fully a mist and not fully a liquid. Thousands of stars glitter in the distance, as well as the auroral veils of the celestial dominions. Magic, in all its forms, flows in and out of this place, born on the tides of the Silver Sea. Here dwell the celestial Aesir (gods), the Draekhisar (dragons), as well as the Dísir (devils).
The infernal Elemental Chaos is the source of the material and energy that make up every other realm in the cosmos. Air, earth, ice, and fire — and all their combinations are the substance of the Plane Below. Here dwell the infernal Vanir (air), Leirir (earth), Hrímthursar (ice), and Eldrisar (fire), as well as the the Náir (demons).
So subject to change is the Elemental Chaos that any powerful mind can shape its surroundings without magic. Islands drift, winds shift, water becomes fire, rivers change their course, and lightning carves tunnels through the lands. Travelers can’t count on a specific destination being in the same place from one day to the next, or even on its having the same shape or being made of the same substance. Some regions change constantly, hour by hour or minute by minute. Other places remain steady for hundreds or thousands of years, only to be suddenly reshaped in an instant by violent convulsions.
Treachery Before the Dawn
The Aesir coveted the elements of the Plane Below, and dreamed of what wonders they could make if only they could combine their magic with the materials there. The Dísir urged the Aesir to take what they would from the Plane Below, claiming it was the right of the celestials, as wielders of magic, to shape the elements. Some of the most powerful of the Dísir descended to the Plane Below, claiming they had been “cast out” by the Aesir. They whispered deceptions, and found willing listeners amongst the Náir. The fallen Dísir enlisted some of the Náir in a plot to steal a shard of power from the celestial’s Well of Urðr. But the Dísir intended to betray the Náir, and use the Náir’s attack as justification for a war against the Plane Below.
When the Náir and their Dísir guides burst into the celestial Plane Above at the Well of Urðr, they were met by the Aesir guardians of that place. A pitched battle ensued. Only two of Náir escaped, but they took with them two great prizes: A shard of the Well of Urðr and the head of one of the Aesir guardians.
The Aesir demanded that the shard be returned. When the Náir refused, the Aesir set about seizing the elements of the Plane Below and, with the help of the Draekhisar (dragons), crafting the Middle Worlds between the primordial planes, and the planting and nurture of Yggdrasil, the “tree” that is the Ethereal Plane that links the Nine Realms of the Astral Sea, the Middle Worlds, and the Elemental Chaos.
The Draekhisar (dragons) were instrumental in the raising of Yggdrasil. It was their magic that nurtured the tree and powered the “Lattice of Heaven” that linked the Nine Realms. A portion of the dragons’ essence lingered in everything they touched, imbuing the worlds and all things in them with souls. During the timeless era of the worlds’ youth, these souls became aware. As their creation grew, so did the power of the Aesir. In their hubris, the Aesir ruthlessly exploited the elementals, demons, and dragons alike.
It was the Vanir, the elementals of air, who resisted the Aesir first. The Dawn War began with a few skirmishes. The Vanir fought by the rules of plain combat, with weapons and the brute force of the element they commanded, while the Aesir used the subtler means of magic. When it became apparent that the elementals might have a chance against the Aesir, the Náir joined the revolt. Some of the early souls of the Nine Realms also chose sides. The Jötnar (giants) of Jötunheimr and Útgarðr, the Dvergar (dwarves) of Svartálfaheimr, and some of the Dísir (tieflings) of Dís fought for each side.
Many demons, devils, dragons, elementals, gods, and their creations perished in the Dawn War. Erek Hus (the Lich King of the Náir) split the dragon Eilífr from head to tail, cleaving him into two equal halves and planting the seeds of life and death in the Middle Worlds. At the end of the Dawn War he was banished by the gods to the mountain of Everlost in Mabar, in the Abyss of the Elemental Chaos, in what became known as the Primal Ban.
The Primal Ban
By means of this deep, ancient warding, beings of the Nine Realms—even the mightiest icons and primordials—can be restrained by the Aesir, and their essences drawn upon for Aesiric exploits.
The ancient wardings of the Primal Ban are continually renewed by the dragons, who worked with the Aesir in the early days of creation, to sculpt and bind the raw structure forged by the primordials and populate it with their own works. As the dragons grew older and stronger, the Primal Ban began to take shape and grow with them, hedging out the rampaging elemental primordials and demons, confining them to their respective realms.
As the Aesir and dragons wove the ban, they populated the realms and Middle Worlds with mortals using the seeds of Eilífr’s demise. Menn, Álfar, and Drekansbörn, as well as many other races were brought into being. These ephemeral souls were made possible by the protection of the ban, and their great numbers made them a potent source of the Aesir’s powers.
The Primal Ban is not absolute, nor is it impervious. The most powerful primordials and icons can resist or defy its effects with great effort. Many lesser elemental powers can do so in places where elemental influence is naturally strong in the realms, or when the proper conditions lend them the strength to act.