Desolation of the Grand Work

So it shall come to pass; the death of light, the end of creation, and a void filled only with screams and chains. So it has been before, so it shall be again.
— found scrawled within the ruins of a long-dead city amid the sea of stars
Scattered throughout the dimming heavens are countless worlds orbiting alien stars; each with their own rich history spanning the eons. For some, that history is told only by the scars on their surface from a cosmic lifetime spent dancing around their sun in silence. For others; their story belongs to the living things that made their homes there. However; many of these histories have been erased and rewritten. Planets once thriving with life, stars once burning brightly in the sky... gone. Replaced with the stillness of a tomb and bathed in the spectral halo of celestial ghost.
This is Grandwork and the desolation left in its wake. Or so the legends are told. Travelers have been finding vague evidence of long-forgotten apocalypses for as long as planetary exploration has been possible. While worlds have died from a myriad of different causes, certain ones bear the trademark of the Desolation. Surfaces peeled away like paint flaking off an old barn door. City ruins left to rot beneath an ashen sky. And, an absence of life so complete that not even bacteria have been spared. The final calling card the killer leaves behind has come to be known as the Black Watchman. On each of these worlds, wherever the peak of civilization once stood, a torpid figure rises from the ground to cast its shadow across anything that still stands. A grim statue made of oily charcoal-colored tone, shrouded and with its identity concealed by a hood, seems to have risen out of the ground itself rather than be constructed by known means. It is like some dark thought that has taken root in the physical world to act as the finishing touch upon a masterpiece of extinction.
The commonality in all versions of this myth involve a blasphemous transgression by the ignorant or brash. Colonizing a world where the Architects sleep, absconding with a fragment of their insidious technology, or tinkering with the gate network they left behind. Such missteps are like a chime in the still void, ushering the end to fools who dared to overstep. The greater the disturbance the swifter and more inevitable the retribution. The piece that links all these tales together is the notion that none of them happen in isolation. Each is tally mark etched into some part of the Architects' unfathomable equation and eventually, some critical mass will be reached. Once done, all the Architects will awaken to find their perfect emptiness infested with vermin, forcing them to complete their grand work once and for all.


Doomsday myth shared by many space and planar faring travelers

Historical Basis

Dead worlds, ghost stars, and Black Watchmen statues do all exist but proof linking all of them to the supposed "Architects" is tenuous at best. There is no modern evidence to support the actual existence of the Architects. Some believe them to be an older, though entirely natural, civilization that has long since fallen but has perhaps left behind terraforming equipment. Others cite the Architects as nothing more than cosmic boogymen used to scare away colonizers and miners.

Cultural Reception

Most cultures that are capable of crossing the stars have no overarching opinion of the Grand Work tale. Only the Xikhani and to a lesser degree the Drekhians take the myth as gospel.

In Literature

The Xikhani have rather extensive records documenting evidence of the Architects and the Grand Work, however because the nature of their society makes cooperation akin to treachery, such knowledge is not regularly shared without a cost.
Related Ethnicities
Related Species
Related Organizations

Cover image: Green Star in the Vast Space by Anatar


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