Origin of the World
Ordering the Cosmos
When the universe began, it existed without time or place. But it was not lifeless–the Eternal Ones already existed. These beings of immense power thrived in a vast expanse of chaos and energy.
Due to the unchanging nature of their existence, the Eternal Ones soon fell into a deep sleep. In this sleep they dreamt, and these dreams became substance and being. Time began, as did the universe and the first sentient life–the Great Spirits.
The Spirits brought the universe under their control. They shaped matter into suns and stars, creating entire galaxies. One particular solar system, which they named the Verdant Garden, teemed with life. Here they fashioned the jewel of the universe: the planet Earth. They brought exotic forms of life to that world, magical plants and beasts that populated the world.
Eventually the spirits organized themselves into their own factions. The first, the Celestials, believed in order through peace. The Darkborn, however, believed in control, in which for order to be achieved, all must bow before the strong.
The Rise of Spirits
The spirits wanted to attain greater order upon the universe, and needed the belief of many others to do so. Yet they did not possess the power to dream living beings into life, so they fashioned crude matter and breathed life into it instead. Thus, the mortal races were born.
At first, mortals could do nothing but follow the will of their creators. The Darkborns, who fed off of conflict, could not abide by these weak new beings. One of their members, Malach the Deceiver, entered the Celestial’s abode, the Opal Tower, and stole a burning piece of a sleeping Eternal One. Malach then fled to Earth where he spread the flame through the minds of mortals. Hence, they gained the ability to dream, and thus gained will, desire, and ambition.
Incensed by this treachery, the Celestials turned against the Darkborns. They captured Malach and imprisoned him in the blackest depths of the Earth: the Great Void. The resulting bitterness between Celestials and Darkborns soon turned to outright violence, a period known as the All Souls War. The war turned so destructive that it caused an upheaval in Partan. The waters churned and rose, drowning multitudes, and the land itself was reshaped.
At last, the Celestials and Darkborns called a truce. How this was brokered is a mystery, but rumors swirled that their strife had somehow caused the Eternal Ones to stir in their sleep. Rather than unleashing the untold disaster by waking them, the two sides agreed on an uneasy peace. This agreement was called the Ebony Pact.
The war between the Celestials and Darkborns has not ended, however, for they still wage a proxy war through the mortal races.
The ability to dream bequeathed many gifts to humans. Some gained visions of dominion, and so forged kingdoms through war and conquest. Some dreamt of beauty and created great and lasting works of art. Others dreamt of the ability to move the elements and the universe itself to their will, and these became the truly gifted ones. They were called Oracles.
The Great War
When the Celestians captured Malach the Deceiver, they imprisoned him in a pocket dimension known as the Amber Depths. Before they could seal him away, however, Malach tried to escape. In the subsequent battle, he managed to hide a portion of his essence on Earth. After a year, this wandering piece of essence turned into a being known as Immortus.
Seething with hatred towards the Celestials, Immortus sought to take revenge on his enemies and find a way to free his master. His thoughts then turned to the mortal races of Partan. For centuries, Immortus would watch them, biding his time.
As centuries passed, the races of Earth grew strong and numerous. On the continent of Partan, the coasts were ruled by the Jian Hai’an, the mountains to the west by the Avara. To the north, the Huron tribes gathered among the ice, while the Evermore clan inhabited the south. In the eastern isles, the Greymist kingdom ruled in magical secrecy. But at the center, the Galerian Clan rose in prominence, eventually absorbing the other kingdoms into its fold. Soon the Galerian Empire spanned the entire continent.
For a while, peace reigned throughout Partan. It was then that Immortus found the right time to strike.
Flitting through the dreams of the rulers of two greatest clans, Solan and Grimnir, Immortus convinced them that one was plotting to destroy the other. The seed planted, the clan leaders began to bicker at one another, and within a year they had drawn blood in a local tavern in what became known as the Redhammer Affair.
Both clans being the pillars the Empire was built on, the Emperor tried to bring both leaders to accord, but neither listened. Forced to choose, the Emperor then sided with Clan Grimnir, which proved to be a mistake. Solan seceded from the Empire with its allied clans, declaring the alliance null and void. Soon the entire land fell to civil war.
Seeing the festering hatred and conflict, Immortus dangled a prize before the warring sides. If they could defeat the guardians of the Black Tower and enter within, they could claim a power that would wipe out all resistance to their cause. For Immortus, this would mean he could would bind a champion to his cause, and thereby have a force strong enough to open the Amber Depths.
However, the Celestial Spirits discovered his plan and moved to thwart him. They sent one of their own, Augustus, to lead the Partan civilizations back to the way of peace. However, as neither side could directly interfere with mortal affairs, they could only let the mortals choose their destiny.
The fate of all civilization rests on a knife’s edge. The final battle for control of all Partan is about to begin.