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T) The Defiled

Metaphysics

Long ago, there was a great absence. The void was eternal, yet at peace. It embodied utter stability at the cost of complete stagnation. However, like all things, its reign would come to an end. From nothingness, entities emerged. Consciousnesses born from a dream to assemble everything from the unfathomable nothingness. The elders worked as one, aspects of the soul made into primordial forces. Their grand manipulations spewed forth creation and order in an otherwise deterministic reality.


Universe after universe was birthed and scattered throughout the vacuous space. Isolated realities were left to evolve under unique conditions and rules. Some excelled, while others became reminders of the grand silence. The dreamer grew tired of a complete scarcity of sensations. It rebelled against torpor and sought to experience everything. The elders were its champions, avatars that epitomized aspects of its psyche.


Eventually, conflict sparked between these new wills. Some were content to resume their custodian duties for perpetuity. However, others desired to usurp the physical plane for themselves. These wills immersed themselves within the temporal, melding and circulating their higher energies across select pockets of reality. That effrontery resulted in a great clash of ideals. Those content with the status quo inevitably won, ripping apart the bodies of the traitors and casting their ashes across the multiverse. These remains fell like snow, and intelligence had been conceived from the fallout. These species varied wildly yet were tethered by what most denote as a soul.


They strove to defy their programming and instead constructed civilization. Magic, the energy they embedded into the earth, became a constant force. Life gradually evolved to coexist with it, as with all other natural variables within their habitats. What was once limited to the domain of the elders had been gifted to mortals. All life developed organs to take advantage of this boundless flow of arcane. The planet wolfed the ashes not consumed by the organisms that crawled across the surface. Its core forever changed, becoming a magical reactor within the spinning globe. The elders continued their duties, content to witness this unexpected development. A great concordant was signed, sealing themselves within their planes of existence. Biodomes they ruled, while they infrequently sprinkled their influence.


The multiverse became their laboratories. An endless cycle of genesis and armageddons as new variables were placed to study the results. However, where there are dreams, there are also nightmares. A counter-response by the great void in an endeavor to reclaim its dominion. The mortals are incognizant of this tug-of-war between existence and nothingness. Blissfully living out their days within the zoo created for them. Unaware that once those who have transgressed had atoned, they'd be reborn from their ashes and strip away time itself.


Many Elders now maintain the fabric of reality and lull the great dreamer, but only a few have ever been recorded.


Mirage is a twisting mass of tendrils and eyes that speak through the mouths of dangling fetuses. It is believed to represent the order of knowledge and history. Yuen'eth'ar materializes as a giant red mite and stokes the fire of war and ambivalence. Comm'oraa is an entity that dons a golden mask and is quite enigmatic. It's said to form from a swirling swarm of pulsating insects. It is the embodiment of artistry and revolution. Xan'Dera's form is one of water and sea life; it favors fertility and evolution.


Despite these few being known, they never answer or favor mortals. Instead, they choose to inhabit their pocket worlds as they attend to their eternal duties.



The Defiled



Though the dreamer sleeps, it seems to maintain a rudimentary awareness of its slumber; whenever it resists the lullaby beguiling it, fissures and hemorrhages form across the multiverse. These wounds tear apart the seams while a blackened film emerges from the ruptured sections. This blood, oily in texture and shade, contaminates the region.


At first, the effects can be challenging to discern with the mortal eye, and by the time one can observe the first pool, it already has planted its seeds. This dross is sentient, birthing creations known as the outsiders charged with broadcasting its necrosis. This otherworldly serum often is accompanied by a haunting dirge or a ghastly fog—such a blight serving a natural function within the cosmos.


​The pathogen has already consumed many levels of reality; twisted effigies from each added to the possible manifestations it might wear. This adaptive and resilient organism possesses an alien language, often depicted as crashing waves against the rocks. The forms they generate can be humanoid, animalistic, amorphous, or even inanimate - but no matter their design, that signature blackened fluid coats their forms, joined with cancerous growths and writhing barbed tendrils. Carapaces shield the most elite of their collective, the hues of which often shift with each step and lack the revolting additions to their bodies typical of The Defiled. Favoring areas of seclusion and setting their gaze upon the vulnerable regions, unknowingly prime for subsumption, the Defilement brazenly flaunts their sentience. The stages of infection fit under four categories, and as the disease proliferates, so too does their ability to rationalize within a given space.​


​Paradoxically, whenever a universe isn't ripe for transcendence, The Defilement maintains the cradlesong incarcerating the dreamer. As time passes, they begin to trickle into the plane; initially, their interference may appear small, easy to miss, before rapidly swelling into a boisterous tempest. In actuality, the Defilement is not a disease; Rather it is a symptom. They exist because of the Dreamer and their principles permeate within it, yet it does not explicitly follow their will; it destroys and corrupts aspects of reality because doing so is in its nature. However, that motivation gradually moves towards its logical conclusion. The aforementioned small rifts manifest everywhere, either in long-forgotten or destruction-marred pockets.


If their fluid is ingested, or the feelers of those twisted creatures rip into the body of an organism, the victim will become marked, becoming an unknown patient. At first, no changes will be apparent, but in time, their minds will begin to rot, yielding to the whims and desires of the Outsiders. Magic, however, seems to serve as a natural, albeit temporary, barrier - once the reserves are depleted, nothing is left to halt the infection. The entire process can take from days to weeks. All things must end, and from its syrupy depths, new seeds of evolution are sown to start the age of nightmares.


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