The universe was once empty, save for one unending expanse of frigid darkness and one of searing light, equally balanced as they pressed against one another, separated only by a thin barrier of magic. Somehow (countless theories abound as to the exact cause) the fine balance between the two halves was disturbed, the thin veil of magic ruptured. A catastrophic cascade followed as the darkness and light mixed and swirled together, cooling and solidifying or scorching and evaporating until the universe was filled with stars and worlds amid a cold sea of black void with traces and tendrils of magic laced throughout like cobwebs. Some of the light and dark and magic combined in such a way as to create the first living things, commonly known on Kaot as the Prime Gods.
The First Creations
These deities took it upon themselves to make something of the now chaotic and distorted universe that made up their new reality. The Prime Gods populated one of the worlds, which they called Kaot, with most of the races that exist today—elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, and orcs. Each was created and placed in specific biomes of the world. Elves were made as caretakers of the forests and grasslands. Dwarves were born from the stone beneath the mountains. Halflings and gnomes, cousins of dwarves, were placed among the rolling hills of the world. Orcs were shaped in the image of hardy beasts and reside in hardy places—such as tundras, high mountains ranges, and deserts—where life is difficult and survival is uncertain. Humans were created later, though they are often believed to be incomplete or aimless, because they do not have a specific place of their own in the world. Instead, they can be found anywhere.
The Drakes and the Experiments
Eventually, the Prime Gods began experimenting with pure magic, a potent and tricky substance. They granted magic to the races of Kaot to see what would happen, creating the first casters. Pleased with the results, they decided to create something completely new. Thus, the first dragons were born. These magnificent beasts were keen of mind and vastly more powerful than their creators anticipated. As the Prime Gods continued their experimentation with pure magic by filling the world with an eclectic spectrum of creatures, including another race called tieflings, the dragons became increasingly disapproving. Believing themselves wiser and better than their predecessors, the dragons designed a race in their own image, the dragonborn, and placed them on what is now Arken.
The Primal Conflict
The Prime Gods saw this and were offended by what they saw as the ultimate act of hubris. They attempted to destroy the dragons outright, but quickly learned the beasts’ power rivaled their own. A long and brutal war followed, resulting in the near extermination of the dragonborn and almost total collapse of their culture and civilization. Unable to wholly best the dragons, the Prime Gods combined their powers and used their greater experience with shaping the universe to isolate a portion of reality into a separate realm. Here, they managed to imprison all dragons. Terribly weakened and hurt from the conflict, the Prime Gods left Kaot and drifted into the far reaches of the night to rest and recover.
The Children of the Gods
The various races and magical creatures are not the only beings the Prime Gods created. They had children among themselves, as well, to aid and assist and challenge their creations. These Young Gods were left behind as caretakers when the Prime Gods withdrew and are the currently worshipped pantheon on Kaot. Supposedly they—or possibly their own children—walk the lands of Kaot, living among its peoples and lending their powers and guidance as they see fit. However, after seeing what direct tampering cost their parents, these deities are still much less intrusive and if they live among the people, they do so quietly and in hiding. Some do not believe they exist at all. Others do believe, but hate or fear them. Still others are devout followers, while most fall somewhere between these extremes.