Avandra’s Record: Three Cosmologies
Avandra’s Record: Three Cosmologies

Avandra’s Record: Three Cosmologies

Avandra’s Record: Three Cosmologies

This is a story of the most elaborate deception ever woven by mortal hands, a tapestry of figmentation so intricate that many have spent lifetimes in its tangle without so much as a second thought. When I wander the planes to admire my handiwork, I can hear the notes of my orchestration in the land, the sea, the wind, and every tongue mortal and divine which has blown through our grand palace. Few know of my lie, and fewer still would ever disclose it, and I doubt that many of those remain cogent enough to explain this multiversal history. Hence, as the apparent patron of shifting fortunes, open roads, and the people who walk them, I see no better author than myself to recount our affairs.

For the first time since I crossed into this cosmos of my unwitting design, for the first time since I departed my own patron’s watchful eye, for the first time since I assumed my throne and my mantle, I now pick up my pen to recount my tale. 

A tale of great minds who wished to be forgotten

A tale of wondrous magics which challenged the gods and even the very planes themselves

A tale of a multiverse crafted with the ingenuity of mortals who would be deities

A tale of a history rewritten and a gamble to correct it

A tale of champions driven to recapture the first conversation

A tale of three multiverses, and the mortal drives which reshaped them

As told by She Who Was The Worldspeaker, She Who Earned The Lich God’s Blood, She Who Rewrote the Multiverse’s Birth, She Who Offered Renewal, She Who Makes the Path, and She Whose Name Shall Not Be Spoken in this New Cosmos,


Vecna and his Blood

Of all Vecna’s wondrous feats during his ascension, I would argue that the greatest would be the normalization of his total cosmic restructuring. As I wandered the crystal spheres in my mortal span, only a select few spellcasters could recall the functions of magic before the maimed god’s ascension. I doubt that I myself would have ever learned of Sigil’s upheaval were it not for my father recounting the story at my bedside. He never replaced the hand which he had sacrificed to enter the ascended lich’s domain, and his stump still bore the marks of tainted magic where Vecna’s hand once connected. 

And yet when I recounted these tales, my teachers and companions scoffed at the notion that magic could somehow be rewritten, even by a divine wizard in the heart of Sigil. As I grew older, I began to doubt my father’s tale, thinking his blighted wound to be the mark of some embarrassing curse rather than the scar of a divine conflict. Nonetheless, I scoured the legends and libraries of countless planar cultures, recording each of their tales in the hopes that one of them might still recall a time before Vecna’s restructuring. None among mortals, gods, or planes ever spoke or wrote of these changes, but it was in this endeavor that I discovered my love of languages, a passion which filled my ears with the poetry of countless peoples and even that of the elements themselves. I like to think that my career as an adventurer pales next to my work as a linguist and historian. 

Chronicling the stories of the planes invites many enemies, and in my advanced age I found myself harried by a number of mages, nations, and immortals who saw my works as blasphemous. My escape led to my dive into an unknown color pool, and I found myself in a stone labyrinth engraved with a script unlike any I had ever seen before. As I wandered the tunnels, I began to translate this anomalous language, noting its apparent roots in the texts of a dozen disparate planes and worlds. After countless hours in the darkness, I understood the meaning of the graven letters, and in that moment I experienced the greatest joy a scholar can ever know. The walls told of the multiverse’s secret history, of how Vecna had not only rewritten magic itself but also was not the first being to do so. I raced down the hallways, following a trail that was now directed by this story’s advancement. The fall of Kas, the escape from Cavitius, even my father’s own grand battle in the heart of Sigil which tore Vecna from his cosmic throne. When I finally reached the end of the maze, I found a gaunt figure standing before a portal, inviting me to follow him through. In this moment, I was too elated to care what my father would think. I accepted Vecna’s invitation, not knowing that the answers he provided were only the first of his blessings.

I awoke beneath a tree on a remote material world, and as I gazed into a nearby pond I realized that the face looking back was no longer my own. As I walked through a nearby village, people seemed to forget me as soon as they turned away. When I stayed there for seven nights, not one rival, curse, or bound fiend accosted me, as if my enemies had all given up their pursuits. Now curious, I opened a portal to one of my old universities, discovering that my name had been stricken from every text and seamlessly replaced with a convincing fabrication. Just as my foes no longer recalled me, the students who had once praised my work now had no idea that I had ever existed. It was in this moment that I realized what had transpired in that labyrinth as I decoded the secret of history. Just like Vecna’s cosmic revisions, I had become an anathema to history, wiped from memory and record by the most powerful of magic. I held Vecna’s blood within me now, and I was now free to probe the multiverse’s secrets with total anonymity.

The Foundation of the Architects

For another lifetime, I continued to explore the mysteries of the cosmos, gathering stories and languages with all the zeal that my newfound anonymity afforded. It was after many more years of study that I began to notice peculiar patterns which seemed to emerge across multiple worlds: strange words and inflections with no feasible linguistic origin. As I compiled these anomalous scripts, I began to notice a pattern unfolding, an encoded message spread across a dozen spheres and written in the same chimeric language as Vecna’s labyrinth. The script was a spell of unique complexity and detail which would transport the user to a secret location, and my endless curiosity led to its immediate invocation.

I found myself transported to a bleak and alien world, a place which my divinations could not discern. Around me stood dozens of beings, each wearing a blank face that I had to struggle to remember. It occurred to me that I matched this description as well, and many of us couldn’t help but laugh as we collectively realized who had been gathered here. I was surrounded by wizards, theologians, mathematicians, doctors, historians, philosophers, and scholars of countless other disciplines, each of whom had shared Vecna’s blood at some point in their storied existence. Each had found the encoded spell in their area of expertise, piecing it together from erroneous mathematical proofs, scattered archaeological relics, and in one case the distinct medical anomalies of a world’s population. Oddly enough, for all of the great minds hosted at this strange event, not one of them confessed to placing the secret messages across existence. As our conversations probed deeper, the anxiety within this meeting swelled gradually until one among us finally vented his frustrations.

The firebrand among us had a body of ringing metal, his entire form resonating with his outrage. He spoke of how each of us who came here had been deceived by some higher power, that either Vecna or some entity who could match his scope and insight had invited us to this foul moon as a means of toying with us. Despite all of our power and all of our intellect, he cursed the capacity of the Vecna-blooded to still fall prey to these cosmic ploys which exploited our desire to understand. Hushed agreements rippled through the crowd, and it seemed that the firebrand was not alone in his outrage. Every secret that each of us had spent lifetimes uncovering only made us realize our own helplessness, every discovery teaching us that there were so many more powers we could not control. As each of us stewed in our own failures and grievances, one scholar stepped into the center of our gathering with her hand raised, beckoning our attention. 

The six-armed scholar spoke with an air of great experience, as if she was accustomed to addressing and leading incredible minds. The other scholars hushed as she began, curious what this stranger had to say. She spoke of how Vecna had risen to divinity because he saw the powers of the universe as fellows rather than patrons. Rather than despair in what lies beyond our capability, the gathered Vecna-Blooded should take the opportunity to learn from each other and harness our unique specialties in ensuring our collective dominion over existence. With the vast power and knowledge standing on this moon, she theorized, we could perhaps cultivate a universe of our own design, a realm where all things situated within would be ours to dictate. 

Each of us pondered this possibility in our own way, mulling over the capacity for a group of such capable mages to become divinity in our own right. After several minutes of silence, another scholar stepped forth with a blazing spear and inscribed an ancient symbol on the ground: the planar rune denoting the remote Dimension of Time. Slowly, each of us realized how the Grand Scheme would begin, and how we would become the Architects of our own cosmos.

The Voyage Into the Age Before Ages

Even among the most powerful and learned mages, the act of time travel is generally considered unthinkable. Ill-fated forays across causality have spelled the end of civilizations, or worse still the transformation into hapless tyrants such as the Mind Flayers. We as the Architects wished to do better, and so in the name of our greater ambition pooled our knowledge of the cosmos to formulate a plan. 

The Dimension of Time is not accessible by normal means of planar travel, its means of access scrubbed from record by all who wish to avoid grappling with such power. Amid the fallen cities of Netheril, one of our order had found a spell which could take us into this higher plane, and this incantation became the centerpiece of our mission. Twelve Architects would venture into the past via the Dimension of Time, bringing with us the magic and information necessary to reshape the cosmic history in our image.

In order to navigate the Dimension of Time, one requires a “tether” to pass along, a line of continuous existence by which one can discern past, present, and future. Our endeavor would demand we travel back to a time before our worlds, our planes, and even our physical laws, venturing into the Age Before Ages where every element of being would be suspect. Finding a tether which existed from the dawn of everything until the present day proved difficult, but a voyager who knew the multiverse’ history was able to identify a nameless primeval being which would be our anchor to the beginning. Once we stepped from the Dimension of Time onto the ancient mire which would one day become the Material Plane, this titanic being would be the sole location from which we could return to our present time. I sense that this primordial knew of our plan from the beginning, and yet it did nothing to interfere.

My knowledge of language was deemed essential to this voyage and its endeavor, so I was one of the eleven selected to attend on the primary spellcaster as we left the Material Plane to enter an endless tunnel through which countless glowing streams interwove. I was told that each of these “lifelines” represented the presence of an object or being, terminating when they are either created or forgotten. As we held close to each other, our greatest planar scholar isolated the unique line which had endured since the beginning, and as the spell began I found myself pulled along the primordial being’s lifeline backwards through eternity.

Over the span of subjective weeks, my companions and I witnessed the reduction of our grand cosmos down to a select few beings. We watched countless lifelines terminate in the ages that societies were born or worlds were created. In flashpoints where magic itself was twisted, we observed how the shape of this temporal tunnel and its many lifelines were distorted. Several times we were accosted by alien threats, and each conflict ended in narrower victories and greater anxieties. As we finally reached the point our historians had calculated, the Dimension of Time could no longer be described as a tunnel or even as any shape imaginable in our mortal forms. All that we knew was that our line had led us far from the age we knew, and to traverse any further could compromise not only our mission but our metaphysical construction. We detached from the line, plunging out of the Dimension of Time into a place which could barely be called existence.

The Communion of Antiquity

As I emerged, I was inundated with sensations for which there are no words. This realm was without light and thus without sight, without sound and thus without hearing, without structure and thus without feeling. I cannot say how long I grappled for my bearings in this void, for time itself operated on paradigms I did not comprehend. Looking inward, I called upon the one memory I had attached securely in my essence, a litany which I had spent years composing in order to carry out my role in the Architect’s grand plans. 

Drawing upon my centuries of study and experimentation, I had reconstructed fragments of a cosmic language which could reshape this primordial universe. Even more challenging was the composition of my masterpiece, a series of stanzas intended to not only mold reality’s grand contours but also to hold these cavities in place such that the Architects could one day step in to claim them. These words could not be spoken, written, or touched, and so required feats of arcana, linguistics, and imagination which no other scholar had ever felt the need to explore. 

Eventually, I proved able to focus my essence into a single unit, an assertion to this infant existence that I was here and that I intended to make a deal. In a manner that I had previously felt with only the most cosmic and fundamental of spells, I felt the cosmos responding, opening itself to a manner of conversation in this language which knew no parallel. As we continued our rapport, my confidence grew, and together we spoke into existence a firmament on which I could stand amidst the endless expanse. I knew now that this infant reality was listening, and my presentation began in earnest.

With the first lines of my oration, I could feel holes open up in existence, voids of form and idea which could now be filled only in accordance with my will. The fiendish Dark Speech, the lexicons of the Truenamers, the words of Draconic Power, and even the angels’ Words of Creation played a role in sculpting my masterwork. Each successive stanza fortified the boundaries of these constructions, ensuring that no power or entity might emerge to violate these structures I had established. Even Vecna’s own resculpting of magic would not touch these embankments, and my foundations would remain in place until their designated recipients emerged. Each void was coded to one of the Architects and sealed by their Truename, the one aspect of identity which even the gods could not remove from their existence. The Truename of each Architect would be essential to unlocking these stopgaps on reality, and until my allies emerged to claim their thrones these existential voids would linger. As I finished my grand reshaping, it scarcely occurred to me that the cosmos could never be set to its original form again.

My work completed, I reached out with my essence to find my fellow voyagers. When I could not find them, the bitter irony of our endeavor became clear to me. The magical anonymity which each of us had received as a blessing now left me unable to find the other Architects in the primordial vastness, even the most precise and nuanced spells fumbling against Vecna’s occlusion. Each of us was now lost in the Age Before Ages, unable to so much as cry out for help. In my isolation, I could not even conclude that my fellows had survived.

Though I had established a void which I would fill with my own divinity, I strongly suspected that my mind would not survive the eons required to reach the present I once knew. Alas, with my companions vanished and my magically-extended lifespan now questioned by eternity, I saw no choice but to invoke my true name and enter the void which I had created for myself. However, in order to preserve my personhood, I sealed away my conscious mind until such time had passed that I would awaken in my present. The time between would be occupied by a consciousness nurtured in this new universe, though perhaps molded in some subconscious way by myself. With a final verse, I sealed myself away, entrusting my destiny to this unknown and unborn will.

The World Axis and its Powers

My mind awoke in an endless starry void, and as I became acquainted with my new body I found it far more impeachable than how I would imagine divinity. As expected, the universe had solidified since I had ensconced myself, leaving my incredible first language useless. What shocked me was the inability to access other spells, as if the very structures of magic were twisted into complete alienation. Though my godhead still granted me magical puissance sufficient to survive and travel, I realized that I would have to re-learn how to manipulate the fabric of this new universe I had created. All the while, I dreaded the possibility that I would never recapture the magical might I once wielded.

Steeling myself for the assumption of my new divine responsibilities, I descended upon a world where I sensed my mortal congregation was greatest. This world was not contained within a Crystal Sphere, but rather drifted in an endless void lit by distant stars (some of which, If I understood correctly, held planets familiar to me). I smiled to see the many peoples who I once knew enduring as I traveled from nation to nation, hearing the joyous tales of human, gnome, elf, and orc. My smile was widest when I discovered that my own people, the halflings, still prospered in this world. Weary from my long journey, I spent weeks among my newfound kin, swapping stories and learning of all the unique tales, histories, and linguistic quirks of my fellows in this alternate world. The greatest discovery awaited me in the village shrine, onto which was engraved the symbol by which I had always signed my works in the old universe. I had added this circular signature onto my universal revisions, with the image enduring in the minds of all who came to revere me. Though I had never spoken or written the name before, those who I now accepted as my congregation had given me a name which somehow encapsulated my essence perfectly: Avandra, The Ever-Forking Path.

Though I as the cosmic wanderer had no Astral Dominion for myself, my position as an eternal wanderer had endeared me to the nomads, adventurers, and inquisitives of this new world. Though I had never penned scripture or delivered dogma, a philosophy of my worship had emerged to put words to many thoughts I had never voiced. Most shocking of all, this communal reverence and emphasis on universal fellowship had brought out elements of my philosophy that I had never considered for myself. In my mortal life, I so often saw exploitation and treachery as necessities, and now I gazed upon an adoring populace who through their love and compassion had erected a kinder and more prosperous collection than I ever could have cultivated on my own. The power of their belief now manifested in unique blessings, and as I once again set out on my ventures I discovered how the followers of my icon brought insight, fortune, and comfort to their companions. Though my existence was not shaped by belief in the same manner as gods of my old multiverse, these actors inspired me to slowly rebuild myself and work for the good of the many rather than continuing my mortal pursuit of glory.

I knew not of how my companions had fared, or whether any of this new multiverse was made to their design. As I breached the limits of reality and crossed into the alien realm which I analogized as the Astral Plane, I began to construct a model of this chaotic and unstable cosmology. No longer were the Outer Planes unified in a great wheel, with spokes of belief stemming from the central fulcrum of the Outlands. Though I found portals reaching to realms paralleling those I knew—Carceri, Celestia, Pandemonium, The Nine Hells, and more distinct layers such as Pluton and Arvandor—these places held no interconnection save the vastness of a swirling Astral Sea. I wondered if this realm was truly connected to the thoughts and beliefs of its denizens, as mine was, and what cosmic ideas might have caused such bifurcations.

More curious than the haphazard scattering of these planes were the new roles taken up by divinity in this new cosmos. I crossed paths with numerous familiar deities in the Astral Sea: names such as Kord, Pelor, and Corellon which I had heard venerated in a thousand prayers. To my relief, these gods did not seem wise to my mortal mind’s re-emergence, but neither did they seem to possess power or wisdom which exceeded my own limited capabilities. The divine miracles which I had witnessed in my countless struggles were no more in this new cosmos, and it seemed as though the gods of this new universe could not freely sculpt reality as I envisioned. The unique consolation which was afforded appeared to be a special dominion over the planes, with each deity seemingly holding sway over an entire realm within this Astral Sea. Most curious of all, these Astral Dominions seemed to linger on beyond a deity’s (now permanent) death, with many such realms taking on new cultures and shapes in the wake of their creator’s passing. Witnessing a number of these realms made me wonder why no more than a few dozen deities existed in this cosmology, and what might have happened to slay so many of them. The gods were unwilling to share their secrets, as if the broaching of such subjects or even the confidence of pantheons was too much trust for them to bear.

Stepping down from the realm which these gods and many astral denizens called The Plane Above, I ventured into the realm where I had traditionally hid throughout my mortal life. As I entered what I believed to be the Plane of Shadow, I found myself beset by surging emotions, as if the darkness of the realm had grown aware of its abjection from reality and now afflicted its hatred on all those who crossed within. Fleeing this Shadowfell in desperation, I crossed into another plane of charged magic, yet another reflection of the Material Plane where magic brought down a capricious will on all who entered. As one who had long studied the magic of stories, I sensed many familiar dangers in this Feywild, and as I departed I shuddered at how these powers might expand their influence in a weakened and destabilized multiverse. I theorized that each of these realms might potentially be used as an escape route to my original universe, though the costs of such voyages remains unknown to me.

I found it bitterly ironic that there remained one fixture of the cosmos which remained unchanged by my actions, that being the spaces beyond existence which no mortal or god could ever traverse. It appeared that this fragile universe had been torn in some ancient period, creating a rift to the Far Realm beyond which denizens had dubbed The Living Gate. What people knew as psionics in this universe was a result of reality scabbing over the wounds left by this grand laceration, and the extended intermingling of the known and the unknowable had nurtured many inexplicable horrors which this world somehow knew intimately. Though one would think that this altered timeline would sway the incursion of the Illithids, it appeared that a renegade faction known as the Disciples of Thoon had made their way into this cosmos through the Far Realm, transformed from the familiar Mind Flayers I knew into similar but ultimately distinct beings. When I discovered that these new Illithids could produce new Elder Brains, my worry for this universe grew immensely. Had I awoken only to witness its end?

All throughout my journey, questions of this multiverse’s integrity festered in my mind, but it was not until I sought out the remaining cosmic frontier in the Plane Below that I realized the true faults of my wrought timeline. The first time I dared venture into the Elemental Chaos, I was taken aback by the malignant roil which engulfed a space equivalent to the Astral Sea. In this expanse, the elemental foundations of reality knew no grounding or consistency, shifting between state and function as they shaped a torrential and inhospitable landscape. The distinction between the terrain and its elemental denizens is a continual blur, and the beings I encountered within this boundless tumult were quick to make known their hatred of my structured form. Where elementals had warred against chaotic outsiders in my cosmic history, the genies of this realm now found kinship in new forms of demon, titan, and slaad who saw themselves as enemies of an established and “god-ruled” universe. At the peak of this alternate hierarchy stood the Primordials, beings of immense power who had long ago fought against the gods to dictate the nature of this multiverse. I knew the names of many of these Primordials, be they Gods or Elder Evils or sovereign outsiders in my old universe. Many such beings remained alive and imprisoned within the Elemental Chaos, forming a coalition sufficient to rival the weakened deities of this world.

I sought out and recorded all that I could about the ancient Dawn War between the Gods and these Primordials, and each piece I gathered further incriminated myself and the Architects in the universe’s fragility. The stipulations I had made in the Age Before Ages prevented the universe from setting properly, my every word forming a fracture in the complex foundation of reality. As fundamental truths and properties remained in flux, this multiverse formed with no skeleton or order, remaining perpetually locked in a battle between divergent conceptions of being. As a result, neither the Gods nor the Primordials possessed anything close to the power which they would know in a more concrete existence, and this helplessness bled downwards to a mortal populace that could never master the workings of magic for themselves. Even the greatest powers of this World Axis seemed tremendously finite, what scraps of control they wielded being challenged at every turn by a disparate cosmic order. One would think this realm a perfect place for the Architects to rule, but after years of research and exploration I ultimately concluded that none of my companions had escaped the Age Before Ages. 

The Pursuit of Renewal

For centuries, I continued to traverse the cosmos of the World Axis, encountering many new people with fascinating cultures and wondrous tales. I tread across an altered Faerun which had been warped by the Spellplague and merged with another world, a desert realm where people had never known a time before the wastes, and many planar routes which still led to the god-barred city of Sigil. Life in this new universe was perilous and joyful, just as it was in the universe I had left behind, but at no point could I escape the sight of my fingerprints on the multiverse’s woes. The Dawn War, the Living Gate, and the embattled milieus of The Astral Sea and Elemental Chaos stemmed directly from my actions, each shaping and threatening more lives than I could ever hope to understand. I had sought to rise above all other beings, but where I could not elevate myself I diminished the universe to a realm which could not resist. The people of the cosmos didn’t deserve to suffer for my error. For their sake, I felt the need to mend the damage I had done.

This task could not be completed alone, as my own powers as a god in this new world were limited. However, my explorations had revealed that divinity was but one path among many to achieving incredible power in this new world. Amidst the arcane, divine, primal, and psionic powers which coursed through the universe, numerous other epic destinies existed which gave each ascendant unique authority over existence. These most elite beings could merge with the planes themselves, write in this universe’s new language of creation, and travel to distant points in time, but no one being could accomplish all of these feats. Finding and mentoring such mighty individuals would be necessary to correct my error, just as I would have to permit them to attain powers that match or exceed my own. Though I could guide their adventure, I would not be able to participate in its conclusion.

Tracing the divine power that flowed between myself and my dedicates, I sought out candidates who would be my mouthpiece in this grand endeavor, heroes who had on many occasions demonstrated their selflessness and commitment to universal agency. As Vecna had done with me, I intervened when each of these heroes stood imperiled, providing them a portal into which they could escape. Rather than entomb each in a maze, however, I left many open passageways through which they could escape, explaining through a note that if he wished to stay in this realm, I would show them the grand imprisonment that faced their universe. After countless decades, a group of these proteges finally accepted the call, and I told them of the vast history of two universes and how I had once sought to shape reality. When the heroes told me that they understood, I finally put my last great scheme in motion. 

These adventurers traveled the multiverse, uncovering ancient secrets scattered across fallen empires, entombed primordials, divine relics, aberrant dreams, and the minds of extraplanar legends. Word by word, they reconstructed the language by which I had shaped reality, building the tools with which they could undo my initial distortions. There were many creatures who fought to keep these secrets away from the heroes, but ultimately no being proved capable of stopping their quest. In the final weeks of their mission, the adventurers trekked deep into the Elemental Chaos, eventually reaching the same primeval being which I had ridden back in time. Though I did not witness their conversation, the entity seemed to remember every word I had spoken in antiquity, and relayed to my champions the true names of the Architects so that they might remove my seals on the cosmos.

As this cosmology’s heroes prepare for their temporal voyage into the Age Before Ages, I now encode this record in each of their minds such that they might relay my tale in a new universe, one which I myself will never know and can only hope will prove capable of growing beyond my ambitions. Though I myself could join them, I feel it far more fitting that I should steward this altered universe of my creation, guiding and supporting its denizens. I wonder now if this is how Vecna felt as the Architects plotted their scheme. Both of us were mages who became as gods, and now I watch as my faithful venture off to sculpt a reality I cannot experience for myself.

Learned scholars of the planes have written that as a people and its ideas advance, there are seven paths by which their story may be resolved. If there is any being of culture who has truly reached resolution, I know not of them. At the same time, one who recognizes these paths cannot help but look upon oneself and one’s fellows to see the potential of each destiny within. 

The great works we build, the feats we perform, the people we inspire

Will we survive forever, living on in a state where none may harm us?

Will we perish in glory, living on through our legends and our image?

Will we rise above our mortal folly to discover some great truth in our condition?

Will we find connection with our surroundings, and learn that such truth comes from surrender?

Will we cast aside notions of place or structure as the laws of reality are reduced to our tools?

Will we be undone by our own ambitions, too bold to admit our downfall has no cause but ourselves?

Or will we simply be forgotten, our greatest feats diminished to nothing by our own finitude?

On scales meager and great, I have seen these paths tread, and I do not doubt that even the mightiest beings of each cosmos are eventually driven down these roads. Perhaps the decision of their course is their own, or perhaps it was never in their hands to begin with. 

As I watch over the people who revere me, or the people who now move beyond worship to become worldmakers in my vein, I see that everything we create is borne down one of these seven paths. None of us can see our end, and I wonder how much we would change ourselves if we could. To all those who seek answers, I leave the one aphorism which I gave to a traveler, to this day the only scripture which I still call mine:

Eyes on the Horizon

Addendum: The Second Great Wheel

I can recall it all now. Putting these words to paper has brought back countless memories of another universe, a place in so many ways familiar, yet wholly alien and unreachable. Life, growth, power, magic…I remember so much of each yet now cannot reconcile their mechanisms with how I exist now. These experiences were so different, and I can no longer deny that they are just as real as the room in which I now sit. 

Oh Avandra, oh Pathmaker, you who I dedicated my life to, whose grand mission I abandoned my very universe to complete, in this realm it is as if you never existed. I could not recall your name until this very evening. But I saw your task completed, I ventured back to the Age Before Ages to speak a new creation into existence, and by some force my mind must have crossed time again to awaken in the present. My companions might have similarly been scattered to the ages, and even now I struggle to recall their faces. 

In consulting my tomes of the cosmos, I see now how we must have changed the universe, in some ways matching the descriptions of your original world and in others betraying my inability to fully erase your actions. The crystal spheres you mention do not exist here, but neither does the endless star-specked void. Rather, our passage beyond a planet takes us directly into the Astral Sea. The planes have returned to a Great Wheel, much as you describe, though the proximity of material worlds as pockets within a great plane of thought has led to many more questions about the Material World’s integrity. Fractures remain in the wrinkles of reality, and those illithids which you called the Disciples of Thoon menace us still. Perhaps their kind holds the key to finding you again, if we could identify a way to traverse into the Far Realms and…no, it’s too dangerous to consider such things.

The Shadowfell and the Feywild remain much as you describe in your World Axis, and just as you did I fear that they represent some other hand at work. Might there be intelligences beyond the gods themselves? Forces with the power and insight that crosses universes of distinct function? If so, what might be their intentions in this orchestration, and why might they wish to twist our perceptions of both whimsy and occlusion? Do they wish to convey a message, and if so to whom? I shudder to surmise that these puppeteers may stretch their strings far beyond the three universes that I have recorded here, playing some game in which each individual cosmos is somehow a token. Perhaps their plans reach back further than you have yet pondered.

Though I carry not your scriptures or your divine providence as I once may have, I still treasure all that you have taught me and all that you now drive me to accomplish. I now set myself to face the future and to tread forward, heedless to tribulation. Perhaps I will never know if you approve of my work or of this new universe I call my home, but perhaps it is better that way.

Source: Matt Daley

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