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A Brief History Of Time

Before Time moved, the elements were separate and alone. Night over Air over Water over Earth over Fire. In the beginning, the cosmos was unchanging. And then there was motion.

Fire immediately reacted, surging and churning and burning, digging into the flesh of Earth. Earth quaked, trying to snuff Fire with its dust, tossing Water into Air. But Fire was stubborn, and not easily quenched. Eventually, Fire erupted from the other side of Earth, and met Water.

Stirred by Earth's quaking, Water poured through the tunnels Fire had excavated, a battle of steam and ashes. Earth quaked harder as Water rushed downwards, crashing in waves, tearing Earth apart as assuredly as Fire had done. Steam rose upwards and mixed with Air, becoming clouds, and there were the first rains. Yet Fire was tenacious - its sparks caught the winds of Air, stirred into motion and as it rose above the clouds it burned hotter and brighter, until it found its way into Night, and nothing was left sacred.

Soon, the elements were in pieces, and cosmos became chaos. For an age, a storm raged as large as Creation, tearing apart the elements and consuming them, mixing them together in new and different ways. And from the eye of that storm came the gods of the gods, islands of stability. These first beings, the Great Old Ones, were all but formless - having nothing but shape, and coherence. Yet they carried within them the spark of creation - and that was the most important part of all.

It is said that these Great Old Ones separated the Elements, and were the architects of the stars and planets, and forged the cosmos into the form we know today. These primordials, these Celestials, took the chaos and gave it order - they took the circular cosmos and gave it direction - they took the destruction and turned it into creation. Yet they were not omnipotent, and out of the stuff of creation itself, they molded the gods, to maintain and to create where they could not. And the gods enjoyed their roles, creating life and maintaining order.

Eventually, one of the Celestials looked around and decided It wanted to create life that could experience the cosmos that Its Kin had wrought. And so It created Man, fashioning Man after Its own image. And It took Its creation to the elements, and bound one element after another to the mold.

Where Men took to Earth, there came the Darrow, sculptors of stone, masters of crafts, adept wielders of the center of magic, hard and steady as the rocks in which they thrive. Where Men took to Water, there came the Vanai, eternals, explorers, philosophers, who take to the Essence like a fish to the ocean, connected to life and forced to feed on it to stay young. Where Men took to Air, there came the Avalir, the frail flyers whose internal magic is unsurpassed, their minds are as sharp as steel, and their ingenuity is hard to beat. Where Men took to Fire, there came the Emir, bodies like a sword tempered by fire, even the most cultured are wild, quick and potentially devastating. And where Men took to Night, there came the pale Rakshasa, the strangest of the Old Races, subtle, swift and deadly, they wield little magic yet still do miraculous things. And thus were the Old Races born.

And so The Five Races were scattered throughout the cosmos, brought to every sun and left in the care of the gods therein. Some gods grew jealous while others embraced the new responsibilities. And in some places, the Old Races met each other, and the original mold of Man was brought forth into the world again. For, barring the intervention of magic or the divine, whenever two Old Races mix, their elements are lost in the scourge of conception, and their children are Man. And whenever Man and one of the Old Races mixes, the native element of the Old Race shines forth in the children born.

Meanwhile, the Great Old Ones have turned to slumber, or perhaps still labor in other, distant parts of the cosmos. But they have gone, leaving the gods themselves behind to tend to their own devices.

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