First, the laws of magic. Every spell has three effects. One is the desired effect. One is a separate failure effect. In addition, every use of magic creates a demon/spirit/monster which can inhabit other creatures and reshape them into a new terrible form….This is why the world is so full of monsters. Every time you use a spell in combat, you make another monster/spirit/demon/something to fight. The rules for magic mostly conform to what [5E] puts out, except for these two additional points. Magic is always learned from a source; even those with inborn magical aptitude must learn how to access it or else just spew magic randomly and uncontrolled. Magic imbued in an item only creates a secondary monster when it is first created, and magic used through an item reduces the strength of the created creature by a strength equal to that of the item's strength.

And so it was, in the infinite white of existence, as one formless god began to write the Edicts of Magic another began to paint the sky. He chose a space and from nothing drew forth a brush. He painted great, broad and intertwining lines. Crossing them over each other again and again until a great, dark mass had been defined around a hollowness. This mass resolved itself as he finished as an incalculable construct of unknowable matter in the shape of a nigh-infinite maze that stretched out in all directions. Tiny gaps in it's span letting in pinpricks of light to the grand hollow at it's center, which was just that. The center. "So, if you are done spoiling that little bit of mystery, shall we begin?"

<meta />

Trom created the world as he created himself. The world could not exist without magic, and so the creation of magic created the world…and also Trom, the first dragon. Everything in the world is made from magic, which was the first fire, forging creation and Creation himself. This was the beginning of all things: the world, the dragons, and the magic, the three pillars of Creation. In time, other magics would be discovered, the act of that creation magic creating a new dragon in the process. Trom is the only dragon in the labyrinth, unable to leave even if he could find the way, filling that vacuum as well (should he ever leave, the labyrinth itself might splinter).

None know if time has any meaning in the labyrinth and, if so, how long Trom waited alone and looked out on the space and power he had birthed with his birth, but it is known that he asked, "Are you there, Blacksmith?" And Blacksmith had always been there, in the labyrinth, building the labyrinth, building in the space Trom made before Trom had made that space. And so, as Blacksmith became the first man, man came to exist.

The Blacksmith, who was also the Architect, the Artist, and the Engineer was still admiring the skein of darkness he had wrought when Trom spoke. Not yet noticed man floating in the Hollow with them. "Yes, I am there. And here. Do you think I made it too big? Or is forever good enough? There was a lot of white to deal with. Far too empty." He turned and a ray of light glinting yellow from one of Trom's many fine scales struck him some of his many eyes half-blinding him enough to see the tiny shadows of man floating with them.

"Brother of Mystery, what are these? What magic is this?" He asks of the dragon, scooping them into one hand to watch them wander aimlessly about in confusion that mirrors his own.

"They were as you were, appearing amidst the shadows of your creation. They are as you are, not of me." Trom responds melodically.

"This shall not do then." The Blacksmith says, suddenly stern, "This Hollow is no place for men."

Brush in hand he swings it at the golden beam of golden light bouncing from Trom's form, in a blink the brush is his hammer and the light is shattered into a million pieces. The largest piece he snatches from the air and lays it out length wise and hammered it thrice, each time infusing it with darkness and solidity until it became earth for the men to walk and live on. Then he called up the shadows and let them lap at the edges of this new land until they mixed with the light that was still in the land and they became deep, dark seas. This land had no name save for Home, which in the tongue of Man Before Others is called Mataran.

Man was alone on Mataran, at first. He looked around and saw that this was a world made for him, which belonged to him. He rejoiced in exclamation, and his words took shape in his jaw, for this was a new place rich in the fires of creation and change. His cry of joy became the first Tuatha. Man was surprised and his cry of fear and alarm was the first Folk. He became angry and stamped on the ground, and his first word of rage became the first Dwarf. These four stood and appraised one another, and each uttered a sign of mistrust and suspicion. This formed into the first Fomor, the first sin, for which all are guilty. The Fomor saw in the others only beings worth hatred, and so spat the first curse, which became the Goblin. The Fomor committed the first betrayal, then…a betrayal of himself, for the Fomor would feel the sting of this action when their destiny would come to fruition.

And man remade the world the gods gave him, destroying it in a way, losing it. In some ways Man has been trying to reclaim it since.

So, on Mataran-That-Was that all of the new races went their separate ways. Spreading out into the wilds still full of unseen lights and shadow and becoming more numerous as they went.The races wandered Mataran-That-Was until they found the places that would become their homes, become Mataran-In-Elftongue and Mataran-In-Folkspeak as it were, and there they grew in number. The few becoming many. In time many things happened and this is one of those things:* Time passed, as it is known to do, and as the many races grew in number so too did the first of their number grow in age (save the First as they yet had a destiny to fulfill). For a time, they lived. Clinging to life. Until finally one decided he had lived long enough and his body collapsed to the ground. The sea rose up that moment, a dark wave rolling over the land in a long and dark sliver until it crashed over the body and drew it back into it's depths. Embracing the one brave enough to face the unknown.

This one was an elf and for his wisdom his kind were granted the longest lives. Then came the dwarves, then the folk. The Men clung tightly to their lives, not wanting another thing taken from them, but soon they too fell to the siren call of time and tide. All of their souls going back to the embrace of the darkness of the waves and shadows of the sea.

It is said that the goblin and fomor never heeded the call of the waves and that instead, because of other reasons, their souls all flee to the Labyrinth Above to populate it's cavernous hunger, but that is another story for another time.

Trom hungered, and the Fivefold Man served to him a meal of the heart of the world. He reached down to Matawan and pushed the land apart with his fingertips. Where his fingers touched grew Shoma, Nok, Alru, Dmek; where his thumb touched grew Jy, the great gouge in Mataran, where the goblins and orcs would dwell. His palm burned the world and so cooked Trom's meal.

As Trom looked on, he knew that part of a world, or even a whole world, would never sate him. He turned his attention on the only other thing in creation. The Carpenter Designer Engineer knew this, too, and resigned himself to that end to spare the rest of his creation.

He was eaten by Trom. The place where his outstretched palm had touched the world became the consecrated damned, a place of loss and death. The Touch is a subcontinent whose red sands mean death, madness, wasting, or transformation for all who venture there unprotected. It is a magnet for dead flesh, and the residence of the walking dead and sojourning spirits. Any who seek to cross its breadth or even step through this dark curtain need the most powerful divine or magical protection, save for dragons who roost there in this place safe from mortal hands.

Within Trom, the Artist Blacksmith outlasted the great dragon's hunger. Though he now accepts those spirits who offer themselves to him, he will never need to eat again. This is because the Fivefold Man built within his belly a place of honored spirits, a Hall of Hungry Heroes, so the mightiest of all souls might have one place of rest in the universe. A spirit must overcome both life and death, and the tortures of the kingdom of the gods, and give themselves up to be burned away and devoured by Trom. Their reward for this is an eternity of pleasures in the presence of a being of pure benevolence.

Hunger sated the First Dragon realized that the whole of creation subsisted in darkness. The random rays of white from beyond the Labyrinth Above providing only the barest of illumination to the forged lands below. He conferred with the Smith laboring away in his belly, asking what should be done, and the Smith whispered back to him to eat the remaining shards of the light beam that he'd shattered and one of his scales.

Trom gathered the sparkling fragments and swallowed them all and then pulled from his torso one of the shining scales and swallowed it too. The fires of the dragon's belly rose in a sudden gout and a moment later a great spider pulled itself free from his mouth. Metallic legs reaching out and clamoring against the sides of the hollow of the Labyrinth, behind it a glowing orb of jagged edges of light. The great spider scaled the inside of the hollow, fidgeting and testing the inner walls, laying down webs of darkest night to shore up any weaknesses in the walls of the heavens as it's abdomen glowed down upon the lands below.

* I originally wrote this and was going to create two 10 point and one 15 point monster: It was not long before the First Ones began to know the magic that was inherent in the world and all things. They taught this magic to their kin in bits and pieces, enough for understanding but not enough for the use of it, because they were they First they also knew of the things within the Labyrinth Above that awaited the first spells to be cast so that they could be free upon Mataran-That-Was. Unfortunately their kin were second and that is not first but it is close and so it was not long before they discovered that the magic of the world could grant them great power and so their lips and hands moved and the breath in their lungs fled forth and the first spells were cast.

And the First Edict drew breath and was true.

The first monsters descended from the Labyrinth above and found hosts to inhabit in Mataran-That-Was, and since the first spells were spoken in the time of light and shadow they were very powerful and so too were the beings loosed from the Labyrinth, and since they were of great power it was the First who became their hosts.- The two tens were going to be the King and Queen of Orcs and Goblins while the 15 was going to be the one of the other Firsts that survived and ate the other three after they all fled from their kin and converged on each other for a big fight… but I decided against that for now and decided to let you mull this over.


The Labyrinth Above TheElderThing TheElderThing