Cosmology of the Three Realms
In the beginning, before time itself, the One God was all. And out of
His fullness, He set apart a portion of His divine self. From this
divine portion, the One God formed three realms: the Realm Within, the
Realm Without, and the Realm Beyond.
The Realm Within He made for His chosen. Here they live, learn, and
grow, preparing for the day in which they join Him in Eternity. Each one
is given his allotted time and opportunities, and each one is expected
to make the most of those gifts, seeking to develop those qualities that
the One God wishes for them.
The Realm Without, after they discovered it, was named the Elemental
Planes by the chosen. From this realm flow the raw materials that form,
and the energy that powers, the Realm Within. These flows continue,
undetected, passing along the conduit known as the Ether.
The Realm Beyond was set aside by the One God for His Caretakers. The
management of the Realms, especially the Realm Within, was divided up
into various portfolios, with a Caretaker responsible for each one.
These Caretakers were selected from the best and the brightest of the
first chosen to be created. They were given power and authority to carry
out the tasks and responsibilities that their portfolios required, with
some overseeing the others. Their slightly less talented brethren were
also granted special (but lesser) powers, and became their minions and
servants as they performed their tasks.
The chosen always had access to the One God. After all, they were
formed of His essence. Their very thoughts were known to Him, and they
could hear Him speak to them in their spirits. But for those needs and
requests that fell under the responsibilities of the Caretakers, the
chosen were encouraged to make their petitions to their more powerful
The Caretakers in turn were charged with providing for the needs of
their charges in the Realm Within. Most of them worked via their
minions, sending them from the Realm Beyond through the Realm of Dreams
to carry out their wishes in the Realm Within. As each Caretaker, and
each minion, was also formed of the One God's essence, they carried out
their tasks joyfully and carefully.
It all started innocently enough. Abeo, Caretaker of Change, began
speculating, as is his nature. He wondered what would happen if one of
the Caretakers could take over all of the portfolios? Would such a
super-Caretaker be equal to the One God? The thought would have been
quickly forgotten, as were most of Abeo's musings, but it took root in
the mind of Sheol, Caretaker of Death.
In those days, Sheol was not evil. His portfolio encompassed the end
of the allotted time that the One God granted to all created things.
Death was not to be feared by the chosen, for it meant that the time of
preparation in the Realm Within was finished, and that the One God was
calling them to Eternity. As the Caretakers themselves were drawn from
amongst the ranks of the chosen, even they had their allotted times to
join the One God, at which time they would be replaced by a worthy
successor. But Sheol began to ponder, building on the thought he had
learned from Abeo.
He reasoned that since the spirits of the chosen were once part of
the One God, the One God must be weaker without them. (He failed to
realize that the chosen, though separate from the One God, were still
part of Him. Set apart does not mean excluded from.) And since it was
his task to bring those spirits from the Realm Within, through the Realm
Beyond, and into Eternity, he was in the perfect position to usurp the
"missing" power of the One God: he could steal the spirits for himself,
increasing his own power. In time, this added power could enable him to
take over the other portfolios until he was powerful enough to challenge
the One God outright.
Sheol continued to contemplate this strategy, growing dark and
brooding. Although he initially did not plan to act upon his musings, he
began to neglect his duties as he spent more and more time thinking
about them. His mood spread to the Caretakers under his authority, and
to the minions that served them all. The once-kindly escorts of spirits
became cold and aloof. Though they could not be seen as they performed
their tasks, their coming now aroused a sense of unease, and the chosen
became increasingly uncomfortable with death.
Sheol finally rebelled, bringing his underlings with him. [need to
figure out what triggers this final rebellion] Sheol proclaimed himself
to be a god, gathering worshippers from amongst the chosen. In an act of
defiance, he wrenched the Realm Beyond apart, separating himself (and
his underlings) from the other Caretakers. The portions of the Realm of
Dreams that lead to his Realm Beyond grew darkened and evil, becoming
the Realm of Nightmares.
The chosen began to form factions based on the power they chose to
follow. These factions became churches.
The faithful Caretakers named the unfaithful Caretakers the Usurpers.
They worked to undo the evil of the Usurpers in all Realms, especially
in the Realm Within. They continued to try to do the will of the One
God, but they, too, lost faith at times.
Abeo, saddened that his speculation had lead to this division, took
his underlings and tried to reconcile the Usurpers with the Caretakers.
However, he lost sight of the fact that true reconciliation can only
come through the One God, and his efforts only appeared to be a
constantly shifting allegiance between the Caretakers and the Usurpers.
In time, they become known as the Equivocators. Their portion of the
Realm Beyond also split off into a separate realm, and the adjoining
portion of the Realm of Dreams became known as the Realm of Madness.