Whispers of Divinity Myth in Istralar | World Anvil

Whispers of Divinity

We depart now from what is grounded in fact to look up to the stars and wonder. Who listens to us, out there? What awaits us in the depths of space?
— scholar
  As long summers lead into flourishing autumns and dread winters give way to the newness of spring, change is at the forefront of mortal minds. The world of Istralar has endured much over its milennia of existence, even when considering only those years where mortal life first found its way across the earth, but it is not the world that many minds focus on now. With the felling of gods and the gradual corruption of their star, many eyes turn to the skies - to the deities that watch from far above.  
Creation by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
The ways of divinity, their mysterious and often devastating decisions, have ever been veiled from mortalkind. No mortal understands how a god is made, nor how a god dies, nor even how many exist. Those secrets lie in the hidden, quiet places, watched over by deities and their assistants, ready to flee from prying eyes if such eyes would seek them.   This does not stop mortalkind from theorising. Nor from learning.   It has long been suggested that the Core Pantheon are far more plentiful than those living upon Istralar are aware. Mortals have some knowledge of the greater breadth of space, yes, with the space-faring elves and through brave acts practiced by powerful wizards, but there is little to no understanding of other planets akin to Istralar - nor the gods that look upon these worlds.   Indeed, if Istralar claims its heroes, then so must these other planets and their watching moons. The only gods known to have ascended hail from the same planet - surely there must be more.
  Perhaps, then, it is time to learn of those other gods. Of the other powers that exist in the storied history of this immortal universe. Of what lies past mortal imaginings.   This is a tale of a myth found only in dreams, one that whispers itself to the sleeping dreamers in their gentle slumber. Spoken by an unknown voice without sound, it lingers in hearts long past when it has left minds behind.   This is the myth of what lies beyond.


Sweet dreamer, sweetest heart... Listen to this tale of stars.
  In the time before time, there were many stars that yearned to be born. Their magic, and their desire, would birth them in great swells of light and stars, and with each brilliant spark, came magic. As the eldest of stars lit up the sky for the very first time, so too did the first gods begin to awaken.   These primordial beings were utterly alien to life today. They shaped the universe, carving plane after plane, and when their journey was done, they sought their own homes to rest and watch what they had wrought.  
Next would come the first gods, the firstborn, or so these deities thought. Stepping into a universe flourishing with the first sparks of magic and energy, feeling the swell of planes around them, these incredible beings would shape reality for themselves. They sculpted into existence time and life, power and death, memory and emotion. Theirs was the creation of all that could be conceived, and all that was inconceivable.   Many of these deities lingered, their numbers greater. Most retreated to the edge of creation, where the darkness swallowed them. Some fell in wars waged so violently that the remnants of that fury still mar the skies trillions of years beyond their act.   Then, and only then, came the rest. Progenitor deities of whole species and worlds, creators and destroyers of all life that could exist within the multiverse. Those who would shape magic into the form of mortals, and sing whole worlds into existence - and their antitheses, their nemeses, who sought to undo what had been wrought, to spread anger and apathy through all magic could reach.
Firstborn by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
  Time would summon more. Mortals would seek the power to ascend, and new deities and demigods would step out from magic, formed from the fabric of planes by chance, need, or fate. Magic would wind itself into form, granting sentience to people and worlds both. Never would there be a day when gods, those most powerful of beings, would not look down upon mortals and their worlds.   Never would there be a day they would go unwatched in turn, for those eldest of beings had never truly left.   Even now, they watch. They listen, and they learn. The Primordials, the Firstborn - no mortal knows of these terms, not in this sense. Yet they know mortals more intimately than any mortal could ever know themselves. Gods, too, they understand better than any divine being could claim.   And at the heart of it all, the very source of this power - magic itself, in purest form.

Historical Basis

Listen well, and question all. Not all answers are hidden in plain sight. You have set foot upon a pathway.   Now, you must walk it to the end.
  The idea that there might be more deities unknown to mortals is not new, and yet - the myth is spoken with such assertion that it is almost like it must be true. Yet if there is truth to this, then all teachings of the way the universe is born - the understanding of Pharasma's creation of the River of Souls, the representation of Desna as the one who hung the stars in the sky and Sarenrae as the light of all suns - are these not all then shattered?   If these whispers are true, then - have the gods been lying?   Do we not deserve the truth from those we sell our immortal souls to..?
Progenitors by Hanhula (via Midjourney)
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Hints at the Beyond

Whispers from an unknown source into the minds and dreams of what many consider a cult are hardly a reputable source of information. Yet on this topic, other myths and tales have long hinted at some grains of truth.   The existence of potential planar avatars, like the entity referred to as Mephistopheles, suggest that the universe itself may possess its own intellect, and thus be an immensely powerful divine being in its own right - and this in and of itself would defy current divine logic.   Additionally, even mortals have learnt of strange occurrences in the Great Beyond. When they call out and none answer, they may call down the Ichor of Elpis in an Elegy of Nyx. When they send their minds to venture out into the great unknown, strange voices accompany them back, spreading corruption and taint unheard of in mortal circles.   When they speak of these mysteries, they burn for their crime, if they are even permitted to speak at all.
Primordial by Hanhula (via Midjourney)

Why this?

Aren't you tired of dancing to the same deific tune? Do you ever wonder where magic is from?   Who made the gods? And, when they fall - who breaks them?
Is it not time to look beyond this fragmented mirror?

Cover image: by Hanhula (via Midjourney)


Author's Notes

Much change is in Istralar's future. Thank you all for a wonderful Summer Camp 2023 - please consider this a hint to what will come next, as darling Champions tear back the coverings of the world's wounds.

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Aug 1, 2023 11:07 by Keon Croucher

Delicious, you tease and I cannot wait to see how you draw out the teasing of this article and what it means for the gods, which new ones rise, which slumbering forgetten and ancient dieties awaken, and how it shakes Istralar's foundational understanding of existence itself. It will be exciting, of that I am certain.

Keon Croucher, Chronicler of the Age of Revitalization
Aug 1, 2023 18:05 by Chris L

What a lovely bit of worldbuilding! I love the concepts here. Lots to think about to take back to my own world!

See WorldEmber 2023 Hub for my WorldEmber progress.

Check out my challenge winning article: Ghost Boy.

Aug 2, 2023 02:14

Absolutely haunting. No other way to describe it! Amazing

Aug 3, 2023 03:06 by Deleyna Marr

Beautiful and complex. It will be interesting to see where you go next!

Deleyna - I survived Summer Camp 2023! Check out my 2023 Summer Camp Reading Challenge and read some of my favorite articles from around the community. Or check out what happened with my Dimi Mission!
Aug 3, 2023 19:16 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

This article gives me so much anticipation for what is to come! Excited to see where this goes.   Those questions at the end send shivers up my spine.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Aug 9, 2023 16:18

Fantastic article - I love the way it expands the worldview of the reader.

Aug 20, 2023 00:36

The last quote is really something. Which force can break a god...?

You wanna see what we did for Summer Camp? This way please: Eddie's Summercamp 2023