Blade Maidens: What Fools These Mortals Be – 19

“The realms of the cosmos are a field of study that could last entire human lifetimes. But, given the nature of your request, and your daughter’s youth, I will try to keep these summaries brief and simple.

First, and foremost, is the realm of Telos. Our home. Nestled in the center of the sea of stars, Telos is the world you are familiar with. Home to humans, elves, scalefolk, dwarves, and all the various peoples that live across Verdanna and beyond. While touched by the other realms, Telos is unique in that their influence on our home is limited. Instead, we are simply bound by the forces or nature. The sun and moons, birth and death, wind and drought. We are lucky in this, for it ensures that the fate of our world is one chosen only by us alone.

Our neighbor realms, the Celestial Heavens and Pits of the Abyss, follow. The former is the home of the gods themselves. Beings of indescribable power, beyond time itself, you are undoubtedly familiar with them. Whether the Forgefather or Aust and Vaust, the gods wield their mighty powers in conflicts and alliances we can scarcely comprehend. Thankfully, even with all their might, they cannot enter Telos directly. Instead forced to use their muted influence via champions of their faith, some more radical scholars even speculate that they rely on their devoted flock to fuel their powers.

The Pits of the Abyss, in contrast, are a realm defined by chaos. An ever-shifting hierarchy of abyssal demons and monsters, formal study of the realm is difficult given the combination of mercurial political states and also the inherent personal biases of any demon willing to actually answer any questions. Unlike the gods of the Heavens, the denizens of the Abyss can travel to Telos, but only by invitation and only for limited periods of time. Bargaining for anything ranging from our potent life forces to resources only found in Telos, demonic presence on Telos is an uncommon but not unseen occurrence. You’ve likely seen, or heard tale of, the results of said bargains. The abyss-touched, those changed by their bargains or their ancestors, are a frequent sight across our lands and–in spite of rumor–are just as mortal as any of us in Telos.

While other realms almost certainly exist, we have no proof of them. Theories abound, such as the supposed fey domains from folktale, but for now these will remain the focus of our studies.”

– An excerpt from a letter to Queen Gwyndolin of Verdanna, from a prospective tutor