In the Beginning…

In the Beginning…

Hey folks,

Darren here again to talk about world building and story type things. As Seth mentioned earlier, we’ve been using small flash fictions as a tool to explore and more fully develop the history of the underworld. Seth’s first fiction explored the notion that hell is not necessarily a static environment, even after the Fall, that just as on earth, perhaps in hell there are some people that can rally hope in even the blackest of hearts and darkest of hours. Nor is the idea of a rebellion in hell completely without precedent – for any fans of Yeats, the Wanderings of Oisin contains a fantastic conversation between St. Patrick and Oisin, in which (as in much of latter Celtic epic) Oisin bemoans the weakness of his people in the modern day, and waxes nostalgic for the heroes of his youth.

i{Oisin.} Put the staff in my hands; for I go to the Fenians,
O cleric, to chaunt
The war-songs that roused them of old; they will rise,
making clouds with their Breath,
Innumerable, singing, exultant; the clay underneath
them shall pant,
And demons be broken in pieces, and trampled
beneath them in death.
And demons afraid in their darkness; deep horror of
eyes and of wings,
Afraid, their ears on the earth laid, shall listen and
rise up and weep;
Hearing the shaking of shields and the quiver of
stretched bowstrings,
Hearing Hell loud with a murmur, as shouting and
mocking we sweep.
We will tear out the flaming stones, and batter the
gateway of brass…
Then feast, making converse of wars, and of old
wounds, and turn to our rest.

<http://www.csun.edu/~hceng029/yeats/yeatspoems/WanderingsOfOi>

While Oisin’s rebellion may be, as Patrick points out, as doomed as our own Richard’s, the sentiment is as worth highlighting as anything else. Perhaps there are some men, some spirits that even Hell itself cannot break, that stand unbowed still amidst the inferno. I suppose you’ll have to play the game to find out.
My own first piece of exploratory writing for the project, presented here, is an attempt to shoehorn classical mythology into our own creation myth – to give you, the reader, a look at the very roots of our world.
Without further ado, I give you the beginning of all things.
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In the beginning, there was only darkness. Not the kind of darkness that you’re picturing right now – the darkness of a starlit void absent only the stars, still somehow filled with the soft and distant glow of ambient light – but true, consuming, total darkness.
The terrifying fact of utter nothing.
And yet at some point, that empty void began to seethe with pure potentiality. It churned itself, roiling into chaos.
It was from this chaos that the Titans swirled into being, if it could be so called. They were chaos gained sentience; or perhaps it is better to say chaos gained impulse.
The titans were best understood as the first natural laws, the underlying principles of how matter and energy behave. They are realities.

The gods were the first of these to gain true sentience, the first to realize the power of choice and their own wills. They were the first to soar above the level of impulse alone .
And like all sentient beings, particularly children, their first act was rebellion. Like most children, they quickly learned how to manipulate their parents, how to direct
the primal impulses of the universe, to bend the laws of reality as we know it. Thus they are gods.
Lead by the first among them, they stepped forever beyond the veil of time.

For that eternal moment, the sea of chaos was their sandbox. They shaped it, as children will. They gave form to nothing, directing the tireless attention of their parents first one way, then another. Eventually, they began to collaborate.
They realized they could achieve more together than alone. But for one to change what another had so carefully shaped? Order and rules were called for, among the gods.
Their first collaborative work was the Earth. For millenia they gleefully molded the landscape, raising mountains like sandcastles, there only to be washed away, eroded by the steady motions of wind and wave. Finally, they tired of filling their playground with sand alone. Something more was needed to be entertaining. Thus were created the myriad forms of life, man first among them.
And with life, came the terrible inevitability of death – and something else as well, something the gods did not expect: souls. There was a spark in humanity that transcended the death of its physical container, that lingered pale and discarnate in a world of which it was no longer part.
In time, their number grew, spreading across the surface of the earth like spectral mold, an ethereal blanket of death draped across the world of the living.
Somewhere new was needed for this self perpetuating tide of the dead – and so the gods created a world within the world to house them for all of eternity, a land of death,  loosely tied yet forever bound to the world of the living.  The underworld had been created, to separate the living from the dead, and one of the gods appointed to serve as warden of passage betwixt the two.
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We’ll keep turning these out as we further develop our world. We hope you’ll keep reading.

–Darren