[An interview between
Kallis Tharzar and Lung Tzu of the Fraternity of
Kallis Tharzar: Sir, I
understand that you've got a novel explanation of the way
the Multiverse works. Would you care to describe this for
my readers and Voilà!'s?
Lung Tzu: Of course. It's
why we're both here, yes?
KT: Very well.
[Begins taking notes.]
LT: First, you'll need to
understand how infinitely old planes can have a
beginning. There's a paper on it by Sping Soovin in the
Fraternity's records, which you can check
KT: Will do.
LT: In essence, the theory
relies on the viewing of the Multiverse from a different
KT: Does this have anything
to do with Synjyn the Exile's Nine-Dimension
LT: Yes and no. Whilst
Synjyn is right about the dimensionality of space, he
mistakes the nature of one of the dimensions. He claims
that there is an abstraction dimension -- not so. The
differences in abstraction are a separate consideration,
and you'll see a little of how they're achieved later
KT: So what is the ninth
LT: Meta-time. The
dimension in which ideas are first generated. It is the
timeframe of the greatest and widest-ranging legends and
the deepest truths about reality. To take an example
we'll return to in a moment, dragon legends describe both
how Io the Ninefold One is an eternal being, and also how
he came to be out of nothingness. This has no rational
interpretation in real time, but by using a meta-temporal
axis, it's easy, comparatively speaking, to talk about
the origins of an infinite being.
KT: Hold on. Are you saying
that gods get an extra time dimension?
LT: Only the oldest gods.
Finder Wyvernspur, for example, is a new god, little more
than a mortal --
KT: You remind me of
LT: I'll come to his
theories in a minute. Don't look surprised. I've studied
the other research in this field too. Anyhow. Finder is a
young god, and always will be. Even Zeus is pretty young
in this sense, although he does have an idea of meta-time
and is using it to promote his alter-ego of Jupiter, or
Jove. But a truly ancient, eternal power like Io or Ptah
has the full scope of meta-time revealed, and can
understand such wide, transcendent concepts.
KT: OK, I think I've got
this straight. The deeper the nature of a power's eternal
existence, the more insight into their own true origins
in this meta-time they've got?
LT: That's right.
KT: So carry on. How does
this affect the actual functioning of planes?
LT: Allow me to tell you a
very old legend of the dragons. In the beginning --
meta-temporal consideration here, young man -- in the
beginning, there was nothing. And the nothing divided
into three. Three nothings? The meaning is a mystery. But
we now see how it is that the number three underlies the
whole multiverse. For in the first void there was Io.
Where did he come from? No-one knows. But Io looked, and
he saw the nothing, now twofold, for he encompassed the
first space entirely, although it was still there. It was
against his infinite back, and under her immeasurable
belly. And the Ninefold One thought, and his thoughts
crystallised into the second space, and there were
twenty-seven thoughts of substance. And he took these
thoughts, these ideas, and built them into something to
call her own.
KT: What were these ideas
that he -- she -- that Io had?
LT: They were what we now
call the Inner Planes.
KT: Aren't there only 18
LT: I thought you had
researched this topic? You forget the nine semi-elemental
planes, described by Kristias
KT: I thought it was eight
LT: You're forgetting
KT: Ah. I'm beginning to see
where this is going. Three to the third power is
twenty-seven, so the Inner Planes form a cube, not a
LT: Right. But allow me to
continue. Io took the materials of the Inner Planes,
these realms of substance, and created realms of shape,
what we call the prime. And there was life. And there was
intelligent life, and thought, and belief. There were not
yet any powers other than Io, though.
KT: I thought that the
powers or the overpowers created the prime
LT: Meta-time again.
Although you are right in describing the origins in
normal time of those worlds, it was Io who created the
substance of them, and let them be placed where they
would. This was in the third void.
KT: So where did the powers
LT: Allow me to continue my
story. Io, of whose beliefs those of the mortals were but
the palest reflection, was inspired by the diversity he
had created, and she gave birth. Whether there were eggs
is a matter for dragon theologians. There were
KT: Why does that number
remind me of something?
LT: I said I'd return to
Leir the Explorer's theory. The children of Io were vast,
encompassing spaces on the infinity of his body. But she
chose not to fill the void she rested in.
KT: I think I see what
you're going to say next. But one thing. Were the other
voids also not filled?
LT: The second void, where
the Inner Planes lie, was totally filled. Shadow, the
admixture of all substance, flowed into the gaps and the
void was filled. The third void, containing the prime,
was nearly filled by worlds. Some remained, and the
phlogiston came into being. Where from, who can say? Very
likely Io made it. And where it flowed, there were joins
between the voids. These were the Astral and Ethereal
planes. But we have not finished yet. The twenty-five
children of Io are what we call the Outer Planes. You may
have heard tell that Elysium or Baator is sentient. The
truth is, they all are. And yes, Leir the Explorer has
the right of it when he talks of twenty-five Outer
Planes. There are actually twenty-seven --
LT: -- twenty-seven Outer
Planes. Io is a twenty-sixth, having nine layers, one for
each of his aspects, and the primal void, home of the
utterly destroyed, is the last.
KT: But what of those planes
with many layers?
LT: Each layer is a coil of
the dragon that the plane is made up of, and every realm
a scale. And now I can explain to you why it is that
Mount Celestia has so transcendent a top layer. Each
plane's layers represent the mood of the dragon, and
hence there are feelings as well as philosophies for
every plane. The dragon of the Holy Mountain embodies
contemplation, and so her head is wrapped in the purest
serenity of meditation, which few indeed can comprehend.
The dragon of Limbo writhes uncontrollably, thus making
it impossible to measure its coils.
KT: That's a pretty
incredible theory. Can you back it up?
LT: Not directly. But permit
me to talk about powers a little. Io's children
themselves gave birth, and their spawn are many. Do you
know the scripture that speaks of 'The Dragon and his
KT: It's an Archonite
Apocalypse, isn't it? I've studied them a
LT: That's right. Well, the
dragon of that quotation is the Dark Lord of Baator, whom
some call Melchiresha. He is the eldest child of the
KT: So there's a whole
dynasty of dragons ruling the Multiverse?
LT: That is broadly correct.
Some powers, like Ptah or Annam, are derived directly
from the thoughts of mortals, and other powers from their
thoughts. But there are many, many dragons hiding.
Ultimately, all dragons are their descendants. You know
of the worms Jormundgandr and Nidhoggr?
LT: In a meta-temporal
sense, whatever is said of Loki, they are the children of
the dragon of the Waste. And then there is the Dragon
King himself, the Jade Emperor's chief
KT: I don't hear much about
him, even though he sounds very important.
LT: Quite so. But the
Oriental dragons know him, for he is their ancestor and
master. He is the son of the dragon of Mechanus. And
Tiamat, Bahamut, Takhisis and Paladine --
KT: Are they two powers or
LT: Four. There's some
inclarity as to whether the two Krynnish powers are the
children or the younger siblings of the others, but the
elder pair are the children of their home planes. And the
list goes on...Apep, Shekinester, Yamm, Jazirian and his
KT: That's incredible in
some ways, but very plausible in others.
LT: Quite so. Two more
points, on the mathematics of the planes -- a field you
have studied, yes?
KT: That's right.
LT: You have seen how there
are three to the third power, twenty-seven, Inner and
Outer Planes. Do you suppose there are as many
KT: There must be more
worlds than that, but I'm sure there's only one, perhaps
three, Prime Planes.
LT: Exactly. Even as I
speak, research is continuing to discover exactly where
the twenty-seven fold nature of the prime lies. And
threes are found elsewhere, too. I spoke of the Ethereal
and Astral planes, but are you aware of the
Opus says it links the
Inner and Outer Planes, right? But we can't get
LT: That's because it's Io's
tail. It coils right around the Inner Planes, and counts
as a plane separate from her ninefold body. Only powers
of considerable insight can use it. And so there are
three intermediary planes too.
KT: But I still don't know
how you know all this. The Fraternity hasn't published
any of this data...
LT: I mentioned the Dragon
King earlier. He knows about this truth behind the
planes, and so do some of his loyal
[Lung Tzu grins wolfishly,
and Kallis swears he saw a celestial dragon in the
seconds before his interviewee
[Lung Tzu has not been seen
since, and it cannot presently even be proved that he was
or is a member of the Fraternity of