A Bit of Cosmology

This site wasn’t randomly named “Akhelas.”

Akhelas is the name of the First Land, the most significant continent in my fiction about the Endless Lands. The name goes back to around 2015, the major stories to around 2011, and its barest bones to games of Pathfinder 1E I played with friends in around 2009. Akhelas is, quite literally, the reason I began to write.

I’ve written three novels (or substantial novel-chunks), six short stories, and a mess of random legends, scraps, ideas, histories, timelines, and other errata in the Endless Lands. Some chunks are mapped with a fair bit of detail, while others remain delightfully unknown.

I think it’s time I started talking about it. Let us begin with The Beginning.

According to The Songs of the Nine, in the beginning was the Light, and the Void. Nothing else existed. The two powers warred together, and the Light was diminished, for it Was, while its foe Was Not. The Light shrank, condensing itself into a dense, bright speck. The Void exulted in victory all around the Light.

Then something new happened. The Light cracked. From that crack emerged the First Dragon, Worldmaker, Worldbreaker. With that act of Creation, the Light expanded with bright heat, searing the Void. First Dragon’s wings unfurled, and they stretched more broadly than the nighttime sky.

First Dragon’s egg continued to grow, beyond all possibility of mortal or godly reckoning. It merged with the Light, eternally expanding as the Vessel of Creation within which is all existence. Everything beyond, is Void and Horror.

The Vessel expanded so rapidly at that time that the naked eye could see its movement, when it sped or slowed. First Dragon floated in Aether, amidst rivers of braided light which filled the Vessel. His wings beat thrice, until he reached the edge of the still-young universe. There, in the azure veil which protects creation from the cosmic powers, he saw his beautiful reflection. It moved, she moved, and dove down from outside reality to enter the world. The Second Dragon.

Together, the First Dragon and the Second Dragon created six great powers shaped in their image, and the Eight Dragons shaped the Vessel in ways which pleased them most.

The Endless Lands are an infinitely expanding world, on all axes. At the bottom of the world is the Firmament, utterly indestructible black stone. The Land lays upon it, in all of its multihued geological splendor. The Waters lay upon the Land, though in some places the Land pierces the waves, and becomes much like the Earth we inhabit. The Airs swell upon the Waters like fog in a river valley. Above them is the more rarefied Aether. Here too the Land sometimes stretches, piercing the domains which mortals call Sky.

Great fires drift horizontally through the Aether, creating stars, suns, and rivers of light which illumine the Land. The Endless Lands are essentially flat around Akhelas, with no horizon. The Firmament continues to deepen, and the Aether eternally expands to fill the growing Vessel. Strange creatures crawl across the underside of the sky, and remnant scraps of a dragon’s breath give one light to live by.

For a long, long age, the Eight Dragons lived in idyllic pleasure, and naught could teach them fear.

For the Ninth Dragon had not yet been made.

If you’re interested in learning more about Akhelas, please do let me know. I’m happy to continue sharing, if there is interest. Otherwise, I’m content for the worldbuilding to remain my “private vice” (to borrow Tolkien’s phrase) until I’ve finished a proper fiction narrative using it.

Until next time, then.

Want to keep up-to-date on what Austin’s working on through Akhelas? Go ahead and sign up to the email list below. You’ll get a notification whenever a new post goes online. Interested in supporting his work? Back his Patreon for early articles, previews, behind-the-scenes data, and more.

You can also find Austin over on Facebook, and a bit more rarely on Twitter.


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