The Codex of Lost Knowledge
These passages are taken from the book of the Keeper of Whispers. He is the caretaker of all lost knowledge, and is cursed with a broken mind, unable to find form in the riddles and answers to all the questions of the universe. But these few lucid words may illuminate some of the great mysteries of Mausolea for those that would seek a deeper understanding.
The journey begins with death.
Once free of the mortal shell, the soul is swept into the eddies of the gods power, caught in the stream of light that emanates from the Well of Souls and tugged through time and space. It enters the mist that divides both worlds, passes through the void where those souls who cannot find peace are sometimes lost, and finally arrive into the waters of the afterworld realm of Mausolea.
A soul is often drawn to a specific place in Mausolea, shaped by their choices in life. People who had a much stronger faith in life are drawn with greater power, and they appear much closer to the realm ruled by their god. Those who did not follow a god, find their journey is somewhat harder but not impossible. They lack the draw of their god pulling them onward to safety, they are often cast adrift by the river, found in deep water, or wash up on shores far from any safe haven where they must navigate their way through the shore lands and all the dangers these untamed realms hide for those unwary souls.
The Anvil of Life
The soul is forged by a lifetime of choice and will, successes and failures. These challenges create their spiritual essence that appears upon the shores of the afterlife. The new soul is a replica of the shell of its old life, but as time passes in Mausolea, the spirit often begins to change, and only those who strongly cling to their mortal identity and sense of self remain as they are.
As the memories of their past life wanes, replaced by the understanding of what they have become, they find their physical features also shift — sometimes they shift in strange ways, or become less distinct and those affected by this alteration often choose to wear masks to give themselves a clear identity. Some become new creatures entirely, beings that they may have admired in their former life. They may change in height, or shape, develop new arms or legs to assist them in their tasks — in many cases it is just a sign they have accepted their fate and are now part of their new home. Some even change into more primal forms and take to the sky or run across the ground, or swim in the vast waters. Transition is never a bad thing and all beings upon Mausolea accept it as a natural part of life there, form is nothing to them and spirit is all.
The Cycle of Souls
The gods have power, incredible abilities and vast resources of spiritual energies. Yet, it is the mortals that provide this power, they are the fuel that keeps the gods burning as bright as they do in the cosmos.
When they first came to earth, it was new and primitive, so they poured their will and divine might into the natural inhabitants of this world, imbuing the simple creatures with will and intellect, making them into a sentient species that could better serve their new masters.
These beings became humans, who learnt firsthand the power of the gods, as they followed their immortal rulers and worshipped them — this worship created a circuit between followers and gods, it magnified the gods power and fed it back to the chosen deity manifold. Thus, a new kind of war began, one that saw religion seek to dominate the whole of the known planet — the god who amassed the greatest army of worshippers held the most power.
Mausolea soon became the home of less powerful gods, those who lost the war of followers to those still loved by the living peoples of earth.
The link between them and their followers became an eternal cycle of life and transition. For whilst the gods were ageless, their new followers were not. So, the wheel of life turned, and the cycle of souls began. Each time the soul came back from Earth, it brought with it the power of the god that had invested so much into the creature to begin with — that power fed back into the eternal loop of souls. The eternal wheel and swirl of life and what humans come to know as death. This is why there is a cycle and there always shall be.
The Creation of Angels
Mausolea was not devoid of life before the coming of the gods, but teemed with sentient creatures. These native inhabitants of the world grew much stronger as the gods brought with them power and invested it into these creatures.
However, they were not borne of the gods power, and though the gods tried mightily for many years, they were unable to place a yoke of power upon them as easily as they did the mortal creatures of earth.
Despite these difficulties, some began to join the god’s ranks as followers and many became devoted to the gods in time. They became the favored servants of the gods, and empowered to act as the greatest of their followers, messengers, and the embodiment of their will. Some became warriors, gifted mighty weapons with which to carry out the will of their Patron. These beings of light, bathed in the god’s power and given purpose by the god’s will were called Angels.
The Exiled Devils
There were those also who were not taken in by the gods shining light.
Soon they began to plot in secret against the god’s, and it was not long before this conspiracy was rooted out and the gods drove these creatures from their sight, they banished them from their domains, so they could not corrupt, nor break the spirit of their precious followers.
These creatures were named devils, and fled to the darkest corners of Mausolea, the shadowed places where the god’s light did not fall. Their hate drove them deeper into the world, where they built fortresses imbued with the darker impulses that plagued them — hatred, greed, jealously, pride, and more. They enacted vast schemes, and steadily grew in power by corrupting the new souls who came to Mausolea, weak, new born spirits in a world they did not yet understand — they devoured some and twisted others into forms which they named Demons.
After thousands of years of planning, the dark plots of the Devils and their servants were revealed as the dark host marched out of their hidden fortresses. They fell upon the godly realms and destroyed city after city in their revenge fueled march, annihilating and decimating many ancient places of power as they did so. They slaughtered spirit beings, gods, mortals and Angels alike as they swept across the land like locusts.
The Angels did their best to hold them back, but the gods were firmly in the sights of the advancing tide of darkness, all seemed lost.
As one by one the outer cities of the gods fell to the hordes of shadow, the gods realized that they could not stand against this evil on their own. So they came together as one and formed a treaty that they named the Concordance. This allowed the gods to combine their efforts and to funnel their powers together through their amassed followers, armies and servants. This Concordance created a bond that burned as brightly as the sun. No longer did they plot against each other, try to sway their followers to a different path — they were united in purpose and in power. they met the darkness head on and pushed back countless assaults, bolstered by the combined might of their armies, they were able to smash the front-line of Demons, destroy their wicked siege engines and annihilate their outposts with ease.
The gods and their enemies clashed time and time again, each battle pushed them back further and further. Their corpses littered the ground, crushed under foot by the titans of war, created and imbued especially for this conflict, these warriors burned with the power of their chosen god, searing the darkness with their very presence and turning lesser Demons to dust by their radiance.
This became a turning point in the centuries-long war and broke the morale of Devil and Demon alike, they turned tail and fled from the god’s might and that of their Angels.
Soon the surface of Mausolea had been cleansed, the dark army broken, their fortresses reduced to rubble, and their forces scattered. The Devils that commanded them with such ferocity crawled back into the dark, back into the shadows below Mausolea.
The Concordance had saved the cycle of worlds, saved the gods and ushered in a new era of peace, prosperity, and understanding between the gods and their domains. During this time, they raised great cities, temples, and titanic monuments, covering the land in symbols of glory and allowing its many peoples to bask in their shinning light.
The Tipping of the Scales
Time is the enemy of all things, and the Old Gods now find that the more time marches on, the more that their power wanes — their number of worshippers falls with each new year that passes. This transcends across the ocean of time and space, affecting the lives of those who call Mausolea their home.
In recent days there are ever-greater numbers of wayward souls which appear on death’s shores without a home or a pantheon to call their own.
These new souls are desperate for shelter wherever it can be found. Some find cults which have appeared more recently in the borderlands, and others join roving bands of wanderers or bandits, and many more make the journey to one of the great central cities, which have blossomed in power.
because they have no god that is tied to their spirit — they are not building the power of any of the godly realms, not feeding the loop of power to the gods, they are instead shifting the very balance and power structure of these domains.
To counter this new turn of events, the Old Gods have begun to build way-shrines, roads and even temples through the various border realms, and there are many of the god’s devoted followers who actively seek out those who have no deity, and attempt to garner their favor.
Recently there have been clashes between various groups of diametrically opposed followers, those of light and dark, and shades between.
These skirmishes have begun to put a strain on the Concordance and so far, it has held, but it is only a matter of time before an event transpires that will shake the world of the gods to the core, igniting old hatreds and fueling long-dormant rivalries that force the gods to war against one another.
If this comes to pass, then it will not only be the gods that pay the price but the mortals and spirits that follow them. The Demons and Devils will sweep over the face of the world and claim all of Mausolea for their own.