How the Worlds Came to Be
In the beginning, all the world was one.
A great round, blue-green marble surrounded by the stars, larger than the earth (which has shrunken since), lush in places, florid in others, a landscape more fantastic, real, and sharp than ever you or I have known: for everything there is the First Version of itself. Each tree, the first tree; each river has no equal; each cataract and mountaintop, every speck of dirt is New and - on that world - Irrepeatable.
Once, we called this Eden.
But when the world fell, man cast himself out of the garden. Not wishing to remain where God could find him, the Race of Men dispersed across the world, always, always restless. Everything in nature seemed foreign to them now, and so the Race of Men decided to leave this world behind.
Slowly, they gathered rocks and stones together to create enormous pillars, atop which they built houses, and then cities, and then worlds. The higher up they went, the smaller their worlds became until some were no larger than what we call our own earth: a tiny, hidden speck in a vast galaxy whose stars fall over the edges of its own spindly pillar.
At first, there was still some commerce between these new worlds and the True Earth below. But those adventurers whose job it was to sneak down into Eden and steal seeds, animals, and anything from the True Earth and bring it back up the pillars, often said that they glimpsed the hem of the Creator's robe as He passed by. And some said He spoke with them, and some said He held out His Hand, as big as a pillar-top itself, and invited man - who was growing smaller and smaller - to come back.
In desperation, men began to destroy the staircases, the ropes and levers, the pulleys and ladders that ran between God's earth and their own created. A few worlds retained the bridges between each other, but most cut the other pillars off. So that every race of man grew lonely, in the distant worlds they had created.
Read the Full Creation Myth
THE KNOWN WORLDS
Named commonly after the Coliseum of Gates, built by Ylondas Gatekeeper, the first of all the Sorcerers to manage translocation successfully. The desire to conquer pervades the Gatanean psyche. Thus, once the TransWorld Gates were completed, a largely successful campaign was launched from the capitol to conquer every known world and add them to the Empire.
While Gatanea was largely successful in their mission, they did encounter resistances among the worlds they sought to conquer. To manage these nations, the Gataneans took all prisoners of war and exiled them to the remotest world from themselves, which they dubbed Arianja - or Place of Tears.
Over time, the Gataneans were pushed back from most worlds. While the TransWorld Gates remain mostly in various states of repair all over the known worlds.
One of the smaller worlds is that of the Twelve Kingdoms. The pillar, closer to the True Earth and still retaining usable steps down to Eden, boasts a single continent historically divided into Twelve Kingdoms.
Being so close to God's world, beasts that we would call mythical still roam free here: unicorns and dragons and rocs and Elementals and all seelie and unseelie creatures. The sun, the moon, the stars themselves were all Titans once, servants of God between Angels and Men.
The edges of the world are well known to all, and while few venture downward and dare to grow bigger, some have succeeded, and these they call saints.
The Twelve Kingdoms were originally protected by Twelve Messengers - whom the people called "Fairies." But since everything that dwells so far from the True Earth is but a shadow of what it might have been, even the Fairies have faded over time, until only one remains in hiding.
A multi-continent world with a vast array of cultures, not unlike our own, Arianja was originally believed to be an uninhabited, frozen wasteland of a world by the Gataneans, who quickly used the tundra on which they had set their TransWorld gate to deport insurgents from other worlds they conquered.
However, not only did an indigenous, warlike tribe inhabit that particular part of the continent, but elsewhere throughout the southern land masses, there were entire cultures extending back for millennia, with rich heritages and - deep within the tropical forests of the Jing-jang - a working and frequently used route to the True Earth.
In the northern continent, also known as Arianja, civil wars and disruptions were de rigeur, as the insurrectionists fought among themselves for dominance. Until at last those dissenting Gataneans who either been exiled or escaped to the new world, formed another empire by use of their Sorcerous abilities. They named themselves the Khlaovi, and asserted a long and terrible reign - until now.
(c) Emily C. A. Snyder