Primordials and Gods
In the beginning of time, there was nothing but elemental forces in the universe. Primordials, powerful beings of manifest entropy, ruled this epoch in a realm known as the Primeval Domain, forming whole worlds from raw elemental matter and then destroying them.
After uncounted eons the primordials felt the need to track the interminable length of their existence, and from this need the universe created a new being; an immortal deity, Aeos, born of idea rather than elements and matter.
After witnessing the creation and destruction wrought by the primordials for an eternity, Aeos felt a yearning to create something of his own. He gathered together the discarded pieces of countless worlds and traveled to the very edge of the universe, a place known as the Cosmic Expanse. There he fashioned a world unlike anything the primordials had made; a mixture of water, earth, fire, ice, and all the other elements. He called this world Aridol.
Aeos was worried that the primordials would find his creation and take it from him, so he took a piece of himself and split it in half, bringing into being two deities to watch over his world; Lux, the goddess of light, and her twin brother Tenebris, the god of darkness. The twins took turns guarding what their father had wrought, protecting it from the threat of the primordials. Aeos looked upon what he had created and, feeling satisfied with its safety, decided to rest. After a time, the need to create grew within the siblings, a trait passed down from their father. The brother and sister each pulled forth from themselves a piece of their head, heart, and lungs and brought into being their children. From Lux came Adhoron, the god of knowledge, Elendel, the goddess of nature, and Illyrie, the goddess of life. From Tenebris came Praxia, the goddess of trickery, Craven, the god of war, and Ammael, the god of death. Each of the twin’s children split themselves as well, creating children of their own, and thus the pantheon came to be.
Unbeknownst to both primordials and gods, there existed a race of vile entities that once presided over the remains of a dying universe. These beings of evil incarnate, now simply known as aberrants, had ruled since time immemorial. As their hunger drained their realm of life and power, they knew that their days were numbered. So it was that in the last age of their race, the aberrants used their combined powers to thin the barrier between their realm and another, hoping to push a crystal of uttermost evil through a fissure between realities. With the power of this Dark Crystal, they hoped to corrupt the most powerful beings of this new realm. After bending and eventually enslaving these creatures to their will, the aberrants would exert their control over a new realm, reshaping it in their own vile image.
Eons passed as the aberrants slowly died. When only a dozen of their kind remained, the plan they enacted so long ago finally came to fruition. When Aeos placed his world at the end of the universe, he unknowingly positioned it near the thinned barrier the aberrants had created. The aberrants felt the power of the gods and sent Paipoc, the Cunning Tongue, to whisper across the barrier, attempting to turn one of the gods to their cause. Paipoc waited each day until darkness shrouded the world, then cast his web of deceit. Tenebris, the god of darkness and protector of Aridol, was caught in that web, and he listened as Paipoc plied him with flattery.
A seed of vanity and false pride began to grow within Tenebris, fanned to a spark of arrogance by Paipoc’s words. Soon believing that he was more righteous than Aeos, the deity that had created him, Tenebris began to hunger for power. Abandoning his duty to watch over the world, he sought out and found Paipoc and the barrier. Spurred on by the demanding aberrant, Tenebris tore through the thinned barrier and seized the crystal of evil. His mind and spirit were sundered open by the aberrants trapped in their dying darkness, and the link to those foul beings corrupted him in an instant, driving the deity to madness. But the aberrants' plan to seize this new realm controlled by Tenebris and his kind was met with resistance and a twist they had not anticipated.
The aberrants demanded that the deity plant the Dark Crystal deep within Aridol, promising total dominion of the Cosmic Expanse in exchange for his fealty. Even within his madness, however, part of Tenebris still recognized the purpose of his existence, which was to protect Aridol. So instead, the mad god traveled to the opposite end of the universe, planting the Dark Crystal in the churning realm of the Primeval Domain, which he hoped to seize as his own. The Dark Crystal plummeted through the realm, forever changing it.
Birth of the Abyss
The planting of the seed in the Primeval Domain unleashed power like the realm had never seen before. The nascent evil of the aberrants’ realm flared one last time as black flame, exploding through the yawning vortex that formed where the Dark Crystal was cast down. Forced to act even though their plans had gone astray, the aberrants allowed themselves to be drawn through the vortex as their own realm was consumed and finally destroyed.
The aberrants had seemingly won their prize: a realm in which their evil could be spawned anew. But as the tear in the fabric of reality closed, Tenebris faced off against his would-be masters.
Beholding the aberrants in their terrible grandeur, the god was shielded from their wrath by the link they had forged with him. At the same time, the evil and madness of the crystal blessed Tenebris with great power of his own. The vortex that formed around the Dark Crystal was the Abyss, growing within the Primeval Domain even as Tenebris and the aberrants fought to control it.
In a battle that raged for eons, Tenebris tore through the stuff of the nascent Abyss, following the crystal of evil as it fell through the burgeoning realm. The sheer power and madness of Tenebris’ passing instantly transformed any primordial that beheld him.These creatures became the first demons. They howled fury at their creator’s command, throwing themselves at the aberrants in wave after suicidal wave.
The Dark Crystal had granted the mad god far more power than the aberrants could ever have predicted. Instead of a puppet, they faced a being of unmatched strength and absolute evil. Only by working together did the last twelve aberrants stave off destruction and, over the course of endless battles, force Tenebris into a stalemate. As both sides withdrew to plot the other’s destruction, the growth of the Abyss settled and slowed. Beings outside the newly created realm took notice for the first time.
The King of Demons
Drawn by whispers promising power and dominion over the unfolding realms of creation, the most powerful primordials entered the abyss. The shattered realm they observed within the vortex was thoroughly corrupted, but these creatures were unconcerned with morality as they pressed on, beckoned by the whispering from the evil heart of the Abyss. As they explored farther into the desolation, they came upon a great, blood-red ocean, and they knew they had reached the heart at last. Floating there in the shallows of the Blood Sea, the Dark Crystal called out for one strong enough to step forward and claim it.
The first to set forth was a petulant primordial of unbridled fury named Abaddon. As Abaddon waded into the turbulent surf, however, another being rose up from the darkened depths beneath the sea. The interloper Dagon challenged Abaddon for the right to claim the crystal, the mighty primordials clashing in a battle that turned the sea to a bloody storm. But as they fought, a third being crawled up from a hitherto unseen pit to claim the crystal as his own. Neknidez, a loathsome aberrant of putrescence and filth, had become the first King of Demons.
Despite the unparalleled power he gained as King of Demons, Neknidez was not the full master of that power. As it had with Tenebris, the crystal compelled its wielder to plant it within the heart of Aridol. Neknidez, suffering under the crystal’s powerful weight, struggled to carry it forth from the Abyss and complete the purpose for which his kind had created it.
However, not all Demons wanted to see the crystal lay waste to the Cosmic Expanse. The primordials Abaddon, Nergal, and Lamia, already in the throes of demonic transformation, feared rightly that Neknidez's actions would grant him control over the universe. They attacked the King of Demons before he could reach Aridol, flinging Neknidez and the crystal down again into the vortex beneath which the Abyss had formed. Where Neknidez struck, the Abyss was sundered, forming a deep fissure into which the Blood Sea drained away in a boiling storm.
As they followed the newly created Blood Rift into the lightless depths, Abaddon, Nergal, and Lamia were fully transformed into Demon Lords. Yet as they did so, their power began to wane, the whispers of the Abyss suddenly silenced the deeper they went in pursuit of the crystal.
Alarmed, the three quickly retreated, and since that dark day the Demon Lords have feared to seek the crystal of evil within the Blood Rift’s endless depths.
In time, more rifts began to appear across the arid surface of the Abyss. Exploration of these chasms whisked creatures through extradimensional conduits to uncharted reaches of that realm. So many of these conduits formed that some began to call the Abyss by another name; The Realm of a Thousand Rifts. The malevolent maelstrom that had formed the Abyss grew, layer by layer, as the crystal of evil burrowed deeper and deeper into the foundations of the Primeval Domain. Eventually, the Dark Crystal came to rest at the bottom of the Blood Rift, and the turbulence calmed as the Abyss reached its final formation. Within its layers, the Demon Lords established their mighty demesnes, bending the very fabric of the realm to their indomitable will.
The Dawn War
The intrusion of the primordials into the Abyss pushed Tenebris to act. He attempted to force Abaddon, Nergal, and their ilk into slavery, but their combined power proved too great for him. Rather than risk defeat in single combat, Tenebris strove to marshal the power of the former denizens of the Primeval Domain in his bid for universal domination. The remaining primordials, already angered by what had happened to their realm, were easily swayed by Tenebris’ call to arms. They believed that if a powerful being could claim the Dark Crystal now buried in the heart of the Abyss, it would ensure their triumph over the Demon Lords. Calling himself the Black Sun, in order to disguise his identity, Tenebris attracted powerful followers, only a few of which knew him as the mad god he was. The deceit he fomented rallied the other elemental creatures to his banner, and the Cult of the Black Sun grew. Chief lieutenant for Tenebris was a powerful primordial named Ukarath. It was Ukarath that was charged with assaulting the Abyss to find the Dark Crystal. But the attention of the gods had been drawn to the Abyss and the primordials that entered it.
When Tenebris’ plans were discovered, his immortal kin attacked. Though a powerful foe, Tenebris was overcome by the combined might of the gods. In a cruel homage to the name that he had given himself, they locked him away within the dark, stationary sun that hangs above the cosmic maelstrom of the Abyss. They began calling him the Chained God and struck his true name from history. Tenebris’ armies were scattered but they were not yet defeated. Marshalled by Ukarath, the Cult of the Black Sun fought on. This conflict came to be known as the Dawn War.
Queen of Chaos
Once every hundred millennia, an immense orbiting mote of elemental earth eclipses the star that Tenebris was imprisoned within, blanketing the Realm of a Thousand Rifts in total darkness. It was during the first of these rare periods of occulted twilight that the most powerful aberrant, Bhasajang, saw her chance to seize the power over which the Demon Lords and Tenebris’ followers fought.
As the eclipse commenced, a massive battle was raging on the plain beneath it. The armies of Neknidez were defending the layer’s portals against Ukarath and his forces. Ukarath and his armies cornered the weakened King of Demons and were about to gain access to a portal that Ukarath believed would lead them to the Dark Crystal. At that point, Bhasajang struck.
On the blank plain the powerful aberrant defeated Neknidez, utterly destroying the King of Demons even as she offered his reign to Ukarath. Ukarath was already succumbing to the call of the Abyss, slowly changing into a Demon Lord, and even before the aberrant's offer he had feared that Tenebris might never be freed. He thus gave his allegiance to Bhasajang, also becoming her consort, in exchange for her aid in destroying the gods of Aridol. With the combined might of the Abyss and the primordials of the Primeval Domain battering its deities, Aridol seemed lost. Bhasajang was suddenly vaulted into a position of near-absolute power, looking past the Abyss with the dream of controlling all creation.
The Rod of Law
As the gods were being continuously driven back, the children of Adhoron, the god of knowledge, formulated a plan. Adriel, Gadran, and Alphos worked together to craft the Rod of Law, a weapon forged from pure stability and ideal thought, designed to strike down chaos. With this powerful artifact the gods hoped to defeat the demonic hosts once and for all.
The Rod of Law turned the tide of war in favor of the gods of Aridol. In the end, it broke the will of the invaders when it was used by Craven, the god of war, to strike down Ukarath. With her powers diminished, her consort dead, and her armies retreating, Bhasajang withdrew back into the Abyss where she remains to this day, plotting a way to restart the war.
A New King Rises
With the forces of the Bhasajang in retreat and the Demons that served her scattered or dying, Abaddon chose to act. Though content to stand behind Bhasajang while she held power, the aberrants retreated into hiding when she fell. Having had the foresight to keep their true identities and nature a secret, the aberrants could not be targeted by the Demon Lords who saw their power as a threat. They were forced to watch in rage, however, as Abaddon asserted his claim as King of Demons.
After crushing his rivals and gathering their followers into a devastating army, Abaddon repelled the forces of Aridol from their assault on the Abyss. He realized, however, that the Demons were too numerous, too violent, and too chaotic to stay unified beneath his rule for long. Without a purpose the demons would fall upon each other with zeal, so he resolved to give them that purpose. The King of Demons decided to send forth his horde through the many portals of the Abyss in order to lay waste to the realm of the Cosmic Expanse.
The Blood War
After returning to Aridol, the gods believed the war was over and that they would be able to rest. This belief nearly cost them their realm when demons began flooding into the Cosmic Expanse, cloaked in chaos and destruction. The gods once again took up arms and waded into battle against the demons, a battle that raged for eons and came to be known as The Blood War. Gradually, the deities of Aridol began to suspect that the supply of demons was infinite. Weary of battle, they wished to move on to other projects, such as the creation of new worlds and intelligent beings. So they made beautiful winged warriors to serve them and wield divine magic, both in the endless war against the demons and in the worlds yet to be created. These beings, glorious in their diversity, were called angels. These angels were tasked with upholding law and order, and destroying demons and the forces of chaos. The gods created the Tablets of Law in order to record this directive, as well as others meant to differentiate order from chaos.
The bravest, toughest, fiercest, and most beautiful of the angels was Beelzebuth. He slew more demons that any other of his kind, more even than any deity. For his valor and dedication, he was granted the Rod of Law to aid in his exploits. But as the eons wore on, Beelzebuth and the members of his magnificent and terrible company began to take on some of their enemies’ traits, so as to fight them more effectively. Gradually, their beauty turned to ugliness, and the deities and other angels began to fear them. Eventually, the inhabitants of the celestial realms petitioned the great gods to banish Beelzebuth and the most fearsome of his avenging angels. So Beelzebuth was put on trial before Alphos, the god of justice.
The Trial of Beelzebuth
The darkest of the angels responded readily to the charges, reading from the great Tablets of Law.
“The duty of the angels is to uphold the law and destroy chaos,” he argued. “I have performed these duties better than any.”
Craven, the god of war interjected. “You have made war, and made it well,” he said. “Yet you and your company have poisoned yourselves in the process. Can you not go elsewhere, lest we become contaminated too?”
Beelzebuth smiled a wicked smile. “As Lord of Battle,” he pointed out, “you should know better than any that war is a dirty business. We have blackened ourselves so that you can remain golden. We have upheld the laws, not broken them. Therefore, you may not cast us out.”
The gods huddled together to discuss what they had heard. Great was their consternation when they could find nothing in the Tablets of Law to counter Beelzebuth’s arguments. The dark angel knew the laws better than they did and could wield their clauses like a knife.
With the passage of time, Beelzebuth and his warband grew ever more alarming in aspect. Fangs jutted from their mouths, their tongues grew forked, and they wreathed their bodies in mantles of fire. The deities built new citadels to escape them, but Beelzebuth and his followers penetrated these as well. They sued the gods under their own laws, demanding full access to all the privileges accorded champions of order. The deities were distressed but could find no lawful way to stop them.
The Folly of Free Will
The gods retreated to their great project: the creation of mortals, and of verdant worlds for those favored beings to live on. But when demons invaded these worlds, the warbands of Beelzebuth were called upon to stop them. Although the voracious hosts of the demons were no easier to vanquish on the new worlds of the Cosmic Expanse than they had been on the battlefields around Aridol, Beelzebuth and his dark angels generally succeeded in driving them back. Together, the gods and angels created barriers on the worlds to keep the demons at bay. They erected walls, threw up ranges of mountains, covered portions of their worlds with icy wastes, and buried entrances demons had used under vast oceans. Thus were the newly created worlds, like Beelzebuth and his lot, scarred and made ugly for the greater benefit of law.
Then the deities of the Cosmic Expanse made a horrifying discovery. The mortals they had created, their pride and joy, immediately set to work tearing down these barriers. They scaled walls, climbed mountains, and traversed glaciers to let the demons back in. Upon returning to the Cosmic Expanse, the demons ran riot, destroying one earthly paradise after another, until Aridol was once again the only world in the realm.
The deities were angry and confused, and they wailed and lamented until Beelzebuth came to them with the answer.
“Your mortals are taking these actions because you gave them minds of their own,” he said.
“Of course we did,” the deities replied indignantly. “Without free will, the choice to follow the law means nothing.”
“Indeed,” replied Beelzebuth, “they are curious creatures, these mortals, and the demons promised them freedom. Soon they will learn that the liberty dangled before them is that of absolute anarchy, and that in a demon realm, they are free only to be destroyed. But by then, it will be too late for them. You might create more worlds and more mortals to people them, but I promise you, the same folly will recur eternally.”
When the gods realized the truth of the dark angel’s words, they were downcast. They rent their garments and wailed in despair.
“I have the solution that eludes you,” said Beelzebuth, “one that will allow your precious mortals to retain the free will you have so beneficently given them. The problem is this,” he continued. “Your law is one of voluntary obedience. You command the mortals to abjure chaos, but what happens when they disobey you?”
The deities had no answer. “We are their creators,” moaned Illyrie. “Of course they should heed us.”
“Indeed they should,” replied Beelzebuth, bowing gallantly to the goddess of life. “But they do not, because there can be no law without Punishment.”
“Punishment?” muttered the host of deities. “What is this Punishment of which you speak?”
“When laws are broken, the wrongdoers are made to suffer as a warning to others. That is Punishment. Thus, mortals can choose either paradise by rightful action or the torment of wickedness. A few will suffer Punishment so that the majority can see the consequences of lawbreaking.”
The gods were disquieted by the pronouncement, but as usual, they could find no flaws in their champion’s logic. How could mortals be expected to choose virtue if evil went unpunished?
At last, Alphos stepped forward and said, “Yes, retribution is the basis of all law.”
Good and Evil
On that day the deities began to see that law and chaos were not the only principles in the universe. Good and evil were natural forces in the cosmos as well. So the gods separated themselves from one another on that basis. Deities like Praxia, the goddess of trickery, and Ammael, the god of death, offered patronage to Beelzebuth’s poisoned angels, while Adhoron, the god of knowledge, and some of the others drew back from them still more.
So the deities handed down their new laws and sent their clerics through the mortal lands to announce that the punishment for sin would be torment. The gods were pleased with the arrangement. They truly thought that everyone would obey and that no one would actually be punished.
But as mortals died, some souls trickled into the celestial planes who bore the stink of transgression. Beelzebuth, aided by Amaymon, Mephisto, and others of his dark brigade, set about their lawful punishment. They flayed these sinners, and burned them, and placed them on racks. The shrieks of the damned reverberated throughout the heavens, and the flowers in the gods’ idyllic gardens dripped with blood. The deities tried to shut their ears, but they could not abide the horror. So they put Beelzebuth in chains and again charged him with crimes against them.
The Pact Primeval
“I have merely done what I said I would, under the laws drafted,” said Beelzebuth. Again, the gods had to admit he was right.
“But I have a proposal for you,” the grim champion continued. “You wish to see the law upheld, but you do not care to witness its ranker consequences. So to preserve your delicate sensibilities, my followers and I will take our project elsewhere. We will build a perfect Hell for you. You will gain from its existence but need never lay eyes upon it. We shall put it...there.” And he pointed to a broken and seemingly empty land, which is now called Hell.
“Yes, yes!” said all the deities. “You must move there, forthwith!”
“Nothing would please me more,” said Beelzebuth. He extended his hand, and the Rod of Law appeared in it. “But first, we must make a pact.”
“A pact?” asked Adhoron.
“Yes, indeed,” said Beelzebuth, producing a document with a wave of his hand. “It is to your benefit to ensure that we, who labor in a place you will not venture, continue to carry out your will. This agreement specifies the fate of damned souls, so we can fuel our spells and maintain our powers.”
“I’m not sure I like the sound of that,” said Adhoron.
“Your concerns are entirely understandable, O Lord of Wisdom,” said Beelzebuth in his most reassuring tone. “But since we will be separated from you, we will not be able to draw our powers from you, as we always have. You would not wish to make us gods independent of yourselves, would you?”
“Assuredly not!” huffed Adhoron, appalled at the thought.
“So instead, take this lesser measure, and simply sign this pact,” he said with a smile. Thus, the deities signed the agreement that determined the boundaries of Hell and the rules for the transmission of wicked souls. This document is known as the Pact Primeval.
Beelzebuth’s parting from the deities after signing the Pact Primeval was not amicable. Once he had committed himself to residing in Hell, the deities physically cast him out of the celestial realms, and he fell...and fell, and fell. Upon reaching Hell he plunged through the formerly featureless plain, breaking it into nine pieces, which arranged themselves into floating tiers.
At last he hit solid ground but continued to fall, plunging through rock and soil. The protesting earth of Hell tore at his flesh, opening scores of gaping wounds. Still he fell, until he could fall no farther. The point where he finally stopped was the deepest part of Hell; the Pit. The wounds that Beelzebuth suffered in his dramatic fall have never healed. Though he manages to appear blithely unperturbed by his injuries, they still weep blood every day, and he has been wracked by constant pain for millennia.
Mephisto, Amaymon, and a host of other dark angels that called themselves devils fled after their leader. They found him rising from the Pit, seemingly unaffected by his grievous wounds.
“What have you gotten us into?” Mephisto moaned.
“This place has nothing!” Amaymon complained.
“Just wait,” said Beelzebuth, with a smile on his face. Then he explained his plan.
The Nine Hells
Beelzebuth shaped and molded Hell in accordance with his vision, transforming it into a realm of torment designed to draw the power from tortured souls. He rewarded some of his most loyal and powerful followers by making them Archdevils and allowed each to rule one of the nine layers of Hell. He invested them with some of his essence, which allowed them to control and manipulate their home layers, and also increased their already incredible power.
Other powerful devils were elevated to the status of pit fiends and greater devils and made Dukes within the courts of the Lords of the Nine. Still others were raised up and taken as consorts by the Lords. Beelzebuth maintained his rule over the Nine Hells by carefully nurturing the strength of his domain. He kept it close-knit and individually strong by limiting its hierarchy and holding the pit fiends loyal to him by threat of destruction or exile, and by promise of elevation to the hierarchy as a reward.
The deities of the Cosmic Expanse reveled in their purified celestial domains, free of Beelzebuth’s cruel degradation. It was not for many years, in mortal terms, that they discovered an alarming drop in the number of souls being transmitted to the celestial planes. Upon conferring with their clergy, they realized that devils were corrupting mortals and ensuring their damnation by turning them toward evil.
The deities formed a delegation, which set off immediately for Hell. To their surprise, the once-featureless plain had been transformed into nine tiers of monstrous horror and torment. Within its confines, they found countless souls writhing in pain. They saw these souls transformed, first into crawling, mindless monsters, and eventually into an army of powerful devils.
“What goes on here?” Alphos demanded.
“You have granted us the power to harvest souls,” replied Beelzebuth. “To build our Hell and gird our might for the task set before us, we naturally had to find ways to improve our yield.”
The deity of justice drew forth his longsword of crackling lightning. “It is your job to punish transgressions, not to encourage them!” he cried.
Beelzebuth smiled, as the wounds he suffered at the hands of the gods oozed and wept. “Read the fine print,” he replied.
The gods, horrified by what they saw, howled and wept as they read, and reread, the Pact that they had signed. They realized that, once again, they had been bested by their former champion and could do nothing to stop his dreadful works. They fled back to their realm, vowing to find a way to end Beelzebuth’s reign of terror.
Into the Abyss
Beelzebuth knew that the deities of the Cosmic Expanse would do anything and everything in their power to take what he had lawfully claimed, so he devised a plan to distract them from their cause.
Beelzebuth stole away from Hell and made his way across the realms until he found himself gazing up at the dark sun that hovered over the Realm of a Thousand Rifts. He then cloaked himself in chaos and shadow, and descended into the maelstrom of the Abyss. He eased by the demons, slipped past the Demon Lords, and nearly laughed as he crept past the aberrants undetected, until at last he came upon the Blood Rift. Knowing that his salvation may lay at the bottom, he continued into the lightless depths.
After an interminable length of time, Beelzebuth saw a distant light in the darkness. Finally reaching the bottom of the Blood Rift he gazed upon the very essence of chaos; the aberrant’s Dark Crystal. Beelzebuth had a plan for the crystal of evil, but couldn’t help taking a piee of it for himself. He called the Rod of Law into his hands and struck the shard with all his might. Black lightning flashed and he was thrown back, his never healing wounds opening and coating him in blood. When he could rise he saw that he had been successful; a small piece of the shard had been broken off. Beelzebuth affixed the piece to the end of the Rod of Law, where it took on the appearance of a blood red ruby. Beelzebuth reveled in the the massive power that he could now feel coursing through him. He began to rise out of the Blood Rift, the first part of his plan complete.
The Black Sun
Beelzebuth continued upward out of the Abyss and into the stationary sun that hung above it, coming face to face with the mad god chained inside.
“It is quite a shame what has happened to you, god of darkness,” Beelzebuth said. “Without you, I wouldn’t exist, since I was brought into being to battle your creations.”
“Speak plainly, Fallen One, and tell me what you want,” replied Tenebris. He stood calmly, wrapped in his chains, but Beelzebuth could see the madness in his eyes.
“I’d like to strike a bargain,” Beelzebuth replied, as he pulled the Dark Crystal from his robes. “The gods of the Cosmic Expanse are trying to lock me away, as they have done to you.”
When Tenebris saw the crystal of evil he thrashed and raged against his bonds. “That is mine!” he bellowed, struggling with all his might.
“It once was, and can be again,” said Beelzebuth. “I can free you, but of course I’ll want something in return.” Tenebris ceased his thrashing and was still as a statue, his face an expressionless mask. “All I ask,” said Beelzebuth, “is that if you triumph over the gods and claim Aridol as your own, my devils and I be given territory in the realm to do with as we wish, free of your influence.”
A smile broke the mad god’s lips as he contemplated the stipulation, looking from Beelzebuth to his chains. “It is agreed,” he said. “Now release me and give me what is mine.”
Beelzebuth called the Rod of Law into his hands and struck the chains that held Tenebris, freeing the god of darkness from his imprisonment. Tenebris snatched the Dark Crystal from Beelzebuth as he burst forth from his former cell, rage and hatred painting his face as he raced towards the Cosmic Expanse.
War in the Heavens
Tenebris made his way back to Aridol and, under the cover of night, went to his children. The evil of the shard instantly corrupted his brood to his cause, turning them against the children of Lux. By dawn the next day Tenebris had rallied his forces and set out to strike the first blows of the War in the Heavens. His dark army swept into the Cosmic Expanse and began to lay waste to all they could see. The children of Lux responded quickly, marshaling their own armies and entering the fray, but not before the Dark Gods had destroyed the celestial domains
The Cell of Judgement
The war raged for eons and seemed destined to continue for eternity, until the children of Adhoron once again crafted a marvel of law. Adriel, Gadran, and Alphos, with the help of their father, constructed a prison that could capture and hold a god. The Cell of Judgement was inescapable, with all the combined powers of the gods not enough to even scratch its walls. One key was made, and entrusted to Lux.
When Tenebris heard word of the Cell of Judgement he knew that it had been built for him, so he devised a plan to steal it from Lux. He sent his forces to capture Seiran, the goddess of hope, and bring her to him. Once Seiran was in his clutches he gave her to Lothaire, the goddess of torture, and bade her to do her worst. The screams of Seiran shook the heavens as Lothaire discovered each and every way possible to hurt a god.
Illyrie, goddess of life and mother of Seiran, wept uncontrollably at the sounds of her daughter's torment, and begged Lux to free her. The other gods pleaded with Lux as well, and she was forced to offer a parley to Tenebris.
A deal was struck between the gods to trade Seiran for the Cell of Judgement. Lux had agreed to give up the prison, but had not mentioned the single key, hoping to accomplish the deal and render the Cell of Judgement useless without it. Each side was allowed to bring a total of three representatives in order to complete the exchange. On the side of Light, there was Lux, Illyrie, and Alphos. On the side of Darkness there was Tenebris, Praxia, and Craven. Praxia, with Seiran in tow, and Illyrie, with the Cell in hand, met between the gods and made the trade. As Praxia withdrew with the Cell of Judgement, Seiran fell into her mother's arms, both weeping with joy. Lux and Alphos went forward to comfort their brethren, and that's when disaster struck.
Illyrie looked at Seiran in horror as her daughter started to laugh maniacally. Seiran’s shape melded and changed until it coalesced into Zaleria, the goddess of illusion. As the gods of Light stood shocked, the Dark gods struck. Craven charged in and struck a mighty blow across the face of Alphos, blinding the god of justice. At the same time, Zaleria blew a handful of poison into the face of Illyrie, mutilating the goddess of life. Tenebris strode forth, sword blazing with darkness and chaos, and buried it into the heart of Lux, tearing the key from her neck.
“Now you will suffer as I have, sister,” he hissed, staring into her eyes with rage and hate. Tenebris called for the Cell of Judgment and threw Lux into the prison. As the door slammed shut the gods of Light knew they had been defeated. Tenebris took the Cell of Judgement and placed it in the bright sun that hung over Aridol, completing a viciously ironic circle. The sun was forever changed when the prison of Lux was placed into it. The bright yellow light dimmed and changed to an ominous red. It didn’t take long for the dark things that dwelt within Aridol to realize this new sun couldn’t harm them.
The gods of Light fled the Cosmic Expanse and went into hiding, escaping the wrath of Tenebris and his ilk. The god of darkness gathered his forces and made his way triumphantly to Aridol. He took the Dark Crystal and, finally completing the task for which it was made, planted it into Aridol. The world was immediately thrown into chaos as the pure evil of the crystal was once again unleashed. Entire kingdoms were destroyed as all of Aridol was shaken by massive earthquakes and flooded by enormous waves. Mountains rose and fell, the seas thrashed, and the heavens themselves seemed to quake with fear.
As Tenebris looked on he was suddenly wracked with guilt. Blazing through his madness, at his very core, he once again sensed the purpose of his existence; to protect Aridol. An inner struggle raged in him, much like the world raging around him. With a roar, Tenebris wrenched the crystal from the surface of Aridol and used it to tear the very fabric of the universe, opening a gateway and carving out a realm of shadow and darkness. Tenebris planted the Dark Crystal into this realm and constructed a massive fortress of darkness to protect it, The Temple of the Black Sun. The Shadow Realm was thus created, and within its dark reaches the children of Tenebris made their homes.
Beelzebuth appeared before Tenebris, calling upon the provisions of the pact they had made and requesting the territory that he was promised. Tenebris, seeing no way out of the pact that had freed him, reluctantly gave Beelzebuth control of the eastern lands of Aridol. Beelzebuth divided the land, giving control to some of his most loyal minions.
Abaddon watched all of these events unfold from his throne in the Abyss and formulated a plan. By sending his most powerful Demon Lords to Aridol and forming an alliance with Tenebris, he could gain a new realm, and at the same time remove any challenger to his throne. The Demon Lords plied Tenebris with flattery, and claimed his patronage, stating that they were for all intents and purposes his creations.
Tenebris, sensing an opportunity, accepted their alliance and gave them a domain in the western lands of Aridol. By doing so, he could set the demons and devils against each other, reinvigorating the Blood War and forcing their attention on each other instead of him.
After this, he retreated into the Temple of the Black Sun to rule in his realm of shadow and darkness, and to wallow in his madness. This was 300 years ago.