Tower of Babel (top) by Pieter Bruegel

The Creation Myths of Vahea

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The four creation myths of the multiverse of Vahea — Death’s Children, the Invention of Life, the War of the Five Hells, and the Seven Mortal Ages — overlap and intersect with one another. They cannot be completely reconciled. Also, they do not explain (and sometimes contradict) observed behaviors of reality. Together, however, they explain the origins of most principal phenomena of this multiverse.

The Myth of Death’s Children

At the beginning of all things there were three people: the Person Who Was Death, the First Mother, and the Heir Beloved. Nothing else existed: not light, matter, darkness, or life. In this state of pure void and nothingness they were visited by the Great Maker. The Great Maker told them that they lived in nothingness and that something, an existence, would be more fulfilling than the void. The three original people thought this was a good idea, but Death would only agree if the Great Maker also agreed to live apart from them. They all four accepted these conditions. The Great Maker then invented reality and the multiverse, creating all things that they had lacked before, including light, matter, darkness, and life. Within reality, the Great Maker created the House of Death, where Death, the First Mother, and the Heir Beloved would live. They all four were happy with what was made.

The Great Maker wanted to have a mate then, and so they began to court the Heir Beloved, and the Maker’s advances were returned. This angered Death, who began to torment the multiverse in rage. The Great Maker and the Heir Beloved left the House of Death and traveled far away to make their own home where Death could not find them. The Great Maker made this new house more splendid than the House of Death and it was called the House of Infinite Wonders. Here, the Great Maker and the Heir Beloved had fourteen children. Their love for their children was overpowering, as was their dismay that their children did not speak the same language. The parents could not speak to the children and the children could not speak to one another.

Distressed, the Heir Beloved went to Death and the First Mother, begging for them to reveal why the Heir’s children spoke different languages. Death said that this was because the Heir and the Maker had left the House of Death despite being forbidden. Because of this, Death laid two evils upon the children. For the Heir’s sin, the children and the children’s children would never speak the same language in their hearts. For the Maker’s sin, both the Maker and the Heir would be banished from the House of Death until beyond the end of time, but their children would have to return to the House of Death after some time in life.

The Heir Beloved was bewildered and horrified. The First Mother said that these evils were the payment owed for disobeying Death’s command. However, out of the Mother’s love for the Heir, the Mother granted that seven of the Heir’s children would be spared Death’s evils: they would be able to speak the same language and converse with their parents and, though they were free to visit the House of Death when they wished, they would never be forced to come as the other seven would. Given the two evils and the grace of the Mother, the Heir departed and, to this day, has never returned.

The seven children who were spared Death’s evils became the archdivines, the greater deities and rulers of the outer planes. The seven children who remained cursed became the ancestors of the mortal races, who walked upon the material world. All were loved by the Heir Beloved and the Great Maker and would be so bonded until the end of time.

This first myth introduces the concept of death, the journey of mortal souls, the difference between divinities and mortals, and the creation of reality. The seven mortal children are sometimes taken to be the seven ages of mortal beings, but this analogy fails for several reasons, the most obvious being that the seven mortal children were created at once in this myth while the seven ages happened sequentially.

The Invention of Life

At the beginning of all things there was nothing. The Shaper of Things created all that is. It isn’t known where the Shaper of Things came from, except perhaps also from nothing. The Shaper decided that they would create matter, a thing which had weight. To make matter the Shaper first made the material elements: water, earth, wind, and fire. Combining these in endless variety, the Shaper created the universe, and in this universe lived all the deities who now had something to exist in.

Soon, every deity felt how crowded this single universe was. Each being, who could reach to infinite distances, found that wherever they might reach they ran into another. To please the deities, the Shaper of Things created other universes and the places in between universes. The deities then spread to these other places and they were content.

The contentment did not last very long. The deities who existed on different planes now could not converse. Being unbounded by time, they found that their rates of motion differed so much from one plane to another that the deities could not bring themselves into rhythm. The Shaper wondered for many eons about the solution to this problem. Then, all at once, the Shaper created a new sort of element called life. This element would weave through the material elements and animate them. By life’s motion, which could not be replicated and would hold onto its own rhythm no matter its location, the gods would be able to find one another and communicate.

The Shaper of Things returned to the original universe and there planted life. Immediately, the boundless potential of life unchecked became apparent to the Shaper. To prevent the future calamity, the Shaper created death as an opposite to life. Both were put into this universe and they began to cycle one another: life high when death was low, death high when life was low. This cycle of life became the focal concept of the multiverse, with mortal beings as reality’s meter.

This myth shows the origins of the six elements — the four material and two motive — as well as the creation of mortal beings, the reason for mortality, the creation of the planes, and the centrality of the Material Plane (identified with the original universe in which life was placed). It complicates the Death’s Children myth by saying death was a creation of another being.

The War of the Five Hells

The origin of the Elder Daemons is mysterious but, however it was, they came to reality and found it created, full of planes and beings and life. The Elder Daemons tried to stretch themselves to their utmost but found that they were prevented. They discovered that this was because the many ideas which could be conceived had already been claimed by the deities. Only the undesirable ideas such as cowardice, hatred, murder, and corruption were left unclaimed. The Elder Daemons then claimed them, ensuring that they could not be forbidden from a certain amount of freedom.

With the authority of their claimed ideas, the Elder Daemons launched violent uprisings against the deities throughout the multiverse. On five planes, their uprisings were so successful that the deities fled and the Elder Daemons claimed dominion. The deities gathered together and decided that the Elder Daemons could no longer be allowed to claim any of the ideas which made up reality. The idea of war was then conceived and swiftly claimed by the First Warrior, a deity of great purpose.

The deities, led by the First Warrior, invaded the planes of the Elder Daemons and assaulted their ancient rivals. The Elder Daemons defended themselves but could not stand firm against the deities. The deities managed to retrieve all the ideas held by the Elder Daemons, and some deities claimed them in order that the Elder Daemons couldn’t gain them again. These deities soon defected from the invasions, leaving the other deities suddenly overmatched. The host of deities fled the Elder Daemons’ planes, but as they did they created the Gate of the Hells. This Gate would prevent any being bound to the Elder Daemon planes from passing into any other plane, including the Material Plane.

Being defeated by the deities enraged the Elder Daemons. They decided that they would meet their situation with force as they had the last. To accomplish this, the Elder Daemons would need all the power they could amass. The Elder Daemons gained power by oppressing others, and the greatest power available to any was the domination of a plane. The Elder Daemons created new beings, such as the tanar’ri and baatezu races, to serve in their armies in opposing their fellows.

Until the war with the Elder Daemons, souls who were deemed unfit for entering heaven or for rebirth would simply linger forever on the Fugue Plane. The Lord of the Fugue decided instead that such souls would be banished beyond the Gate of the Hells. Those souls who, through despising the torments of the hells, came to repentance could be admitted back to the Fugue and the normal journey of the soul. The listless but unharmful life of the Fugue could never hope to convert its denizens, even those of ten thousand years. The Lord of the Fugue thought that now there was at least a chance at redeeming some.

The Elder Daemons were overjoyed at the new souls they received at first, but it was soon apparent that most of these were of no quality, not fit to be transformed into a greater sort of fiend. The necessity of testing and sorting all souls received made a great deal of work for the Elder Daemons. Any power gained was also poured back into a conflict which became known as the Blood War or the Wars Between the Fiends.

This war bloomed out of the competition between the Elder Daemons to be recognized as sole sovereign. They felt no remorse for those minions who died and were similarly unmoved by the growing strength of the successful ones. Eventually, the Elder Daemons were overthrown by the races they created. This ruined any schemes the Elder Daemons had for invading the other planes in the foreseeable future. It’s believed that all Elder Daemons have been killed by their once-servants or vanished by some other means.

Those deities who had taken the evil ideas during the War of the Five Hells began to show distasteful behaviors to their fellows. In order to escape these feelings of antipathy, the evil-claiming deities moved to the Five Hells and took up residence. Not even the greatest of archfiends could oppose these evil deities and, without the Elder Daemons, there was no power of competing authority. The celestial servants of these expatriate deities became corrupted and transform into the nephilim. The deities of the Hells do not involve themselves overmuch with the concerns of others on their planes, partly because each plane is so vast and partly because each deity is a transcendent being with simultaneous concerns in other times & dimensions. This is how the evil deities and the fiends coexist in the Five Hells, the Blood War raging while the evil deities spin wider plots.

Here is described the origin of the Five Hells and their separation from the mortal world and the Upper Planes, as well as the arrival of the Elder Daemons and their rivalry with the deities. It also reveals the origin of the Blood War and the end of the Elder Daemons.

The Seven Mortal Ages

In the first age, the first people were made, and these were the People Before Light. Their whole world was in a darkness before darkness, as the dark and the light had not yet been separated. These people moved about in a restricted life, unable to truly know what they did or to observe what their neighbors did. When the Sun came and the dark and the light were pulled apart, the People Before Light came under the Sun’s great radiance. The people could not live under this new light, so they withered and they died.

In the second age, the Brilliant People were made, people who could grow and flourish under the Sun. The Brilliant People were perfect in every way and they sang praises to the gods day and night, dark and light. They discovered magic and society. They moved across all the world and made it theirs. Then the deities and the elder daemons had their great war. The elder daemons had their many demon servants, and so the deities faced them with the Brilliant People. The elder daemons were prevented from invading the world, but the Brilliant People were destroyed.

In the third age, the Metal People were made. These people came after the war between the deities and the elder daemons, and they were made so that they could not be broken. They could not sing like the Brilliant People, but they were strong and everlasting. For years uncounted they patrolled the world and all its gates. Then one by one they stopped moving and would not move again.

In the fourth age, the Proud People were made, self-moving and self-motivating. These people drove themselves to achieve things that were not even dreamed of by their predecessors. They were as beautiful as the Brilliant People and as strong as the Metal People, and they invented intellect, expertise, and ambition. They believed that their lives were unbounded. In this endless arrogance, the Proud People listened to whispers from beyond their world and they began to build a bridge. The deities themselves stopped this, seeing the bridge by which the elder daemons would storm the world. The deities cast down the Proud People and broke all of their works.

In the fifth age, the Wooden People were made. The knowledge that they could be wounded made these people cautious, but they were still strong, and they still grew as part of their essential nature. The Wooden People communed with the world itself and became its nurturers and its children. Their age was an age of peace unending. Suddenly, a Cosmic Conflagration consumed the whole world. The world remained but the Wooden People were destroyed.

In the sixth age, the Mighty People were made. They would be able to construct the immense barriers and magical works that would protect the world from any future conflagration. They could stand against the elder daemons with full confidence. The strongest of these people would become lords over the others, and the strongest of these lords would become great tyrants. There came then a tyrant of tyrants who thought that their power was equal to the deities. In an instant, this megatyrant was thrown down and the Mighty People were driven out.

In our age, which is the seventh age, the deities made the Honest People, who are also called the Children of Fate. Unlike the earlier people who sought to protect themselves against the shape of coming years, the Honest People would not seek to alter their destiny but to flow along with it. Instead of trying to be unbreakable, and thus ultimately breaking, the Honest People would bend with pressure but remain intact. They would not attempt to resist the will of the deities, but to submit and to do what they could with what they were given.

This myth discusses the progression of mortal races. Most believe that the Proud People became the dragons, the Mighty People became the giants, and the Honest People are all the various smallfolk races. The Brilliant People are usually taken to have become the seraphs, though some believe they became the eladrin.

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