An Essay: On Time, Space, and all things Conceptual
Delivered by Teo the Scribe to the Elders of Beldin Mere
the 22nd day of Winter, in the 227th Year after the Reckoning
Note: I might suggest you skip this section entirely. The composition of it put me into something of a stupor for several days. Puzzling over an enigma never did anyone any good. You have been warned. I don’t suppose I can convince you to turn back.
Our realm once adhered to a strict order. An equal balance once existed between our goddess Yahalla and the universe she had created. It was a single strand of oneness, starting from the chaotic roots at the base of creation and stretching upwards, through the great tree, and resting in the great firmament wherein her mighty palace dwelt. The land of Del Anon, the third of five realms, set in the middle. I would say rested, but it was no land of rest. Del Anon served as the battle ground between the forces of law and those of chaos. As law pulled upwards, chaos pulled downwards. As Yahalla reached down to guide mortals upward, Bael clawed from below, tempting mortals to darkness and suffering. The rise of the Cavarian Empire signaled the alignment of man with the will of Yahalla… and its terrible fall signaled its collapse into chaos.
The death of Yahalla changed all things. Her destruction didn’t signal a victory of evil; it signaled the end of balance and order. The entire framework of creation collapsed in upon itself, shattering into myriad pieces. It was a great mirror that now lay scattered across a huge expanse of floor. Each piece caught a fragment of illumination; each piece showed part of the larger image; each piece was a perfect fit to one, two, ten or even twenty other pieces. But each piece was scattered, set apart, and alone.
Some pieces were large – continents, great seas, entire regions – while others were tiny – a single island, a part of a city, a lonely tower, a single field. Other pieces were obliterated entirely, reduced to dust and ash in the shattering of creation. Nearly invisible tendrils still bound these pieces together, however. These are portals, rifts, mirrors, pools and spirit doors that turn up from time to time. Some are permanent, others appear only at certain times. Some open for a day. Others for a year. Some for but an instant. Others, seemingly permanent, close suddenly with no clear reason.
Our land is a broken mirror, and it cannot hold the entire image, no matter how hard it tries.