by Grant Smuts
When the World Was Formless
“I know of a hall that stands,
remote from the sun,
drenched in the venom
of ancient serpents,
bathed in the fire
The hall is woven
through which courses
memory and blood.
With dreams and dust
built they this world:
the Elders from
the outer dark.”
Volkas Rime-Eyes, ‘The Caelas Serpent, (second verse)’
Conjectures on the World Soul
excerpt from the work of Brother Gallius – ‘Mind, Body and World.’
…Though shrouded by myth and legend, the facts obscured by many fanciful tales, and distorted by the warping of continuous revisionism, it is universally agreed, by both laymen and scholars, that the World Soul exists, and that it draws all men, in one way or another, to consider its form.
What that form actually is seems to take several different incarnations and interpretations. The now-fabled tales to find it by heroes of myth and legend have described it in different ways.
Most stories agree that the World Soul is under a mountain, though accounts now differ on which mountain.
Cale of Strummhold described the World Soul as a formless mist of a thousand hues, through which the outer cosmos might be seen – a place of blistering cold in the Borean Mountain Range.
Graendal of Cloudrend called it a pillar of light in the darkness below the world, and placed it somewhat south of the polar Borean Range, closer to the Tropic of Khimerra.
Most famously, however, the adventurer Kaiden of Dellmeria described it as ‘a bejeweled star in the heart of the world’s darkness, a second eternally sunken sun, a heartbeat of the only god that ever made sense.’ Kaiden’s journey took him to legendary sunken land of Nemuria, and found the star in its underwater mountain in the centre of the Dreaming Sea.
The popular conjecture of the day – based on the postulation of the Mundian Philosophers – is that it exerts a ‘pressure’ on the human consciousness whensoever the mind is bent towards it. What is generally accepted is that it is the wellspring of sentience, for all history, written or oral, originates from the World Soul, which has many names across the myriad cultures of Amarith. (See Glossary)
The so-called pre-mundane world is the world that existed before the World Soul’s origin, a time of murk and formlessness. It is thought that around this swirling void, the original entities of the outer cosmos gravitated towards the mass of matter, those ancient beings we now call the Aions, the beasts of space-time.
Very little is known about these mighty precursors – only that they seem to possess almost limitless power by human reckoning. It has been thought that they are beings formed of the very essence of the universe, that they were the very first things in existence, the first entities to crawl out of the primeval void.
Are they sentient? Benevolent? Are they apathetic? Are they merely performing a natural function in the cosmos, no different from any other beast in nature? All we have is conjecture.
However, a disturbing quality that they have is that they are often hinted to appear in the nightmares of men, or in the drawings of madmen. Some name them ‘Aion’, though that is merely rote learning.
Other names were often applied to them, along with epithets. Men losing their minds spoke wildly of ‘The Pallid King’, ‘The Ghost in the Stars’, ‘The Burning Chaos’, ‘The Crawling Shadow’, and ‘The Emperor in the Dark’. It has been the inclination of many academics to dismiss these as simply the ravings of madmen – but there has been a school of thought – rapidly gaining momentum among philosophers and scholars – that holds to the belief that the strange elder beings we call Aions are the cause, that they are a subtler, malevolent intelligence haunting the darker hues of our fears and nightmares.
Yet it is through their will, that the World Soul came to be, a synergy of their collective powers, wreathing a formless energy in life, death, growth, decay, heat, cold, light and dark.
The world soul became a crucible for the very energies that would become the mechanisms of the sphere that would form around it, a forge for the world itself…
–Aion (Ey-Yon): Beasts of time and space, believed to have formed the World Soul and possibly Amarith itself, and also thought to be responsible for the creation of stars.
–Caelas : One of the many names given to one of the Aions, who is believed to take on a more serpentine form than the others.
–Mundian Philosophy: The philosophy of existentialism in the mundane world.
–Nemuria: Mythical vanished continent, believed to sink beneath the ocean at the advent of Amarith’s second moon.
-Pre-Mundian Philosophy: Attempts by scholars to understand the cosmology of the world. Referred to as Pre-Mundian to account for its attempts to understand the world as it was before the rising of Amarith’s second moon.
-Tropic of Khimerra: The most northerly circle of latitude at which the sun may appear directly overhead at its culmination. The Khimerra is thought to be named for the chimera beasts which are surprisingly numerous in the northern climes.
– World Soul: The concept that the world is formed by a vast source of energy containing its essences. It is unknown if the world itself came into being because of the World Soul radiating its essential energies, or if the Aions formed the world itself as an extension of what it was. The World Soul has a thousand names and legends across the world of Amarith, varying from culture to culture.
These names include Vallenus, K’thirik, Vol’hazara, Al’havayeh, Var’kos, Velkannath, The Primeval Fire, the Chaos Flame, The Chaos Star, the Ineffable Will, the Ineluctable Light, the World Mind, the True Chaos, the Resonance, and the Voiceless Aether