Thursday, April 18, 2013

Worldpost: Shadow World- of Gods and Men

Another thing I imagine this blog will be useful for, posting setting ideas for future stories. I tend to hold on to worlds for a while before I find the right story for them, and hopefully this will help me keep track of the ones I make. Starting with...

Shadow World

I know, not the most creative name, naming the worlds and the locations within them has never been my strongest point.

Anyway without further ado:

Shadow World, otherwise known as the Godless Lands or the Land of Night and Day is a world with only three gods. One is the Allfather (The General, Lord of Radiance, King of War, Keeper of the Sun, The Watcher, etc.) and he presides over quite literally everything under the sun. He is the god of more things than anyone but his priests can count and is usually referred to as the "Holy Father" by his followers. One is the Night Mother (The Weaver, The Dreamer, Moon Mother, Forest Walker, etc.) she is also the god of many (non-overlapping) things, but most notably the god of life. She is often called "The Lifegiver" by the majority of her followers, though names are different in different locations. The last is The Farmer, the name he is referred to when anyone dares speak of him at all. He only has one domain: death, and his is the only appearance that can be agreed upon of the three (rough spun cloak, scythee in one hand, bag of harvested souls over one shoulder, appears as the person most recently dead).

Both the Allfather and Night Mother own roughly half the world, in the sense that each of their religions is practiced in roughly half the space (excluding some valiant small countries and small island nations) on the planet they inhabit, with The Farmer being worshiped (or in most cases warded away) nearly everywhere in the world.

Now for the history portion, after which will come a rough sketch of the respective "factions" economies and city layouts.

A whole world is a lot of space for three gods, so the most important question is "How did there get to be only three?" Well, once upon a time hundreds of years ago there were many gods. All around the Shadow World there were nations praying to their own pantheon of gods. Those prayers in turn became energy which, when released out into the world, entered into repositories which would eventually become sentient and fulfill the roles of the gods the people prayed to. To do so they would be constricted towards acting in a manner according to how the people believed their gods would act, but in return they gained a nearly limitless supply of energy to do with as they wished.

 Though with so many religions, there were also many religious wars. Countless men, women, and children died as countries battle to bring their religion to other, "heretic" countries or city-states. And in those days the power of gods was spread out enough that they too could participate in battles in the earthly realm, fighting for their existence. The results were catastrophic, entire cities wiped out in an instant, entire land masses shifting as the earth trembled and the sea flowed into crevices newly formed by the destruction.

In this time there lived three gods, their names lost to time. One was the god of the forge, another the god of dreams, and the last was the god of farming. They watched as the number of humans dwindled bit by bit to the petty infighting of their countries gods and goddesses and, being relatively minor gods with few worshipers they felt there was nothing they could do to stop it, no matter how much they may have wanted to.

But then one day, the gods of dreaming and forges came up with an idea. The farmer was a god worshiped for his sickle, which was said to be able to reap a good bounty anything in this world. The two gods knew they couldn't change anything on their own, but maybe, when combined with that of the farmer, they could change the world.

And so, after discussing it with the farmer, the trio of minor gods put their plan into motion. During one of the many godly banquets , where the entire pantheon would gather to make merry, the two gods poured all but a wisp of their energy into the farmers sickle.

That night, as the gods made marry, the farmer stole through all the villages where they were worshiped and, one village at a time, reaped the very idea of gods other than the three from the minds of their citizens. That night the farmer brought back a harvest unlike any he had ever collected, the future prayers of every man women and child who prayed to their pantheon. It was only at this time that the farmer would ask "Now that we have power enough to change this world, what will I have dominion over when the time comes."

"Everything in the world dear farmer," his colleagues would reply, and as the farmer did not understand the concept of a half-truth the answer satisfied him.

As gods grew wise to the farmer's abilities they would watch over the villages that prayed to them with unending vigilance, but to no avail. The prayers given to only three gods by so many people made them too powerful, and the more gods they conquered, the more powerful they became.

It would take more than a century to see their task completed, yet in the end the three of them would come to rule all the world. Now, up until this point the three had held the power of the people's prayers in trust, all drawing from it as needed without any claiming true ownership of it. But their journey of conquest had come to an end, and it was time to divvy the spoils between the three gods. The forge god took a portion of the power and said, "With this power I proclaim myself god of all under the sun. War and metalcraft and so much more I take under my province, so that the world itself will weep when it sees my visage."

Next the god of dreams would come, take another portion, and say, "With this power I proclaim myself god of everything under the stars, I will walk in the stitches of blankets, the glens and forests, and in the heartbeat of all that lives. The secret places of this world will be at  my beck and call and I shall revel in them."

Finally the god of farming would take the last portion, but his was different from theirs. As he took the power into himself his body began to wither and decay. It was an agony, through which the farmer screamed "You said I would have everything! You lied to me!"

"You will have everything," the Allfather sneered as his eye took on the glow of suns and his body became fit and lean, "At the moment of its death."

The Night Mother looked sorrowfully down at the farming god as shadows moved to become her clothing and her hair turned blacker than night. When it was done The Farmer rose to face his brethren, seeing in his eye sockets the moment of their deaths. He would leave then to some unknown realm and not be heard from again for some centuries.

In those years the two gods, and the people they protected prospered. Humanity grew from small collections of wooden buildings to cities of stone and glass. And as they grew, so too did their ambitions, especially those of the priests of the two gods, who saw each other god as an impediment to their power. It would take time, as things often do, but soon the religious wars would begin again, humans squabbling over which god was the true god.

The Night Mother and Allfather ignored this for a time, enjoying the depth and breadth of their power, but eventually they grew afraid that one of them would seek to usurp the other, as they had done to the rest of the gods centuries before.

Each of them hoped to use their power to end the war before it began, but found themselves evenly matched. For each city the Allfather could strike with beams of light hotter than the sun, the Night Mother could bury another in shadows. It was during these turbulent times that the Farmer chose to intervene, telling the two warring gods to recuse themselves from the fighting should they wish to avoid the destruction of the past. Let their followers decide who would be the true god.

Out of shame and fear of the third member of their pantheon the gods agreed, creating dimensions for themselves to reside in while they sought less destructive ways to give their followers and edge over those of their enemy's.

 Now I've noticed this post has gotten as little long (and I'm running out of steam), as well it should have when I've spent about 3 years touching up this place. So I think I'll spread it out over several posts, break it up into parts between other miscellaneous items I put on here.

Next I'll probably cover the magic systems and (if I feel up to it) the catalyst which would drive elements of plot development in this setting. Look forward to it, I know I will.

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