The All and Nothing
The All and Nothing is both nothing and everything. This is where everything that was sucked up by The Thread (see below) resides, waiting for any entity occupying the Sovereign to realize its potential and move it to the mortal planes, either again or for the first time. The Mother is the only being who can see within the borders of this plane and recognize the potential it holds, rather than mistaking it for empty space rife for expansion.
The exact border of this plane with the All or Nothing is unclear, and is probably only clear to the Sovereign's sole occupant at this time, a creature called The Mother. What the nature of this creature is, and whether she is a goddess or something else, is something of which even The Mother is uncertain. Suffice it to say that she just is.
At the moment, the Mother is biding her time here, slowing gaining understanding and adding to her power until she is able to emerge in her full glory and finally remember the memories lost to time and circumstance. She has full access to the All and Nothing, and can manipulate everything within this region. She can also move things from there across any of the planes and to any location within those planes. As for the Sovereign itself, it is hard to differentiate between the plane and its occupant; for all intents and purposes, they are the same at this point in time.
Separating the Sovereign from the next plane, the region known as the Heavens, is a kind of foggy cloud-like substance called The Mists. This place has no exact dimensions, and while one can travel through it, no matter how long one travels from the Heavens towards the Sovereign, one will never get there. The distance from the Heavens to the Sovereign is effectively infinite.
This cylindrical part of the cosmos is divided into as many sections as there are deities of all the worlds in the Mortal Coil; each section displays the traits of the deity it represents and is indeed created and modified by them. Each region is surrounded by a cloud-like substance similar to the one separates the Heavens from the Sovereign.
However, in the Heavens, the distances between the sections is not infinite. One can travel into the next section, provided the patron deity puts up no resistance to the traveler's presence. The sections are dynamically expanding and contracting with the actions'or lack thereof'of each deity's faithful on the world in which the deity is worshiped. The relative size of each section is representative of its deity's power.
The distribution of the realms of the deities in the Heavens is far from random. Deities belonging to a particular world tend to crowd the area of the Heavens that is on the side of the Sheet directly opposite the location of the world they 'belong' to in the Coil. Were this not the case, their constellations would not be as visible in the sky of that particular world, and the farther away they were from that world, the less power they could get.
Separating the Heavens from the Mortal Coil is a barrier of utter darkness known as the Sheet. To those in the Mortal Coil, the sheet is seen as the darkness that is the night sky. Most of the stars that are seen in the night sky are representations of the realms of the various deities in the Heavens, and are moving constellations on the firmament. Other stars are the suns of distant worlds further up or down the Coil. These other stars do not appear to move as the deity constellations do, because they are not part of a constellation of a deity who is followed on that particular world.
The Mortal Coil
The Coil is where the mortal worlds are found. The various worlds are arranged along an endless spiraling string, which is why it is called the Coil. Here one can find not only Layonara but also any other world where mortals live. As with any string, the Coil can resonate on many different frequencies, and every frequency is an alternate reality. The higher the frequency of the resonance (or put another way, the faster the string vibrates), the more energy a reality has. At very high frequencies, the energy is so high that the inhabitants of these frequencies seem to be beings of nearly pure energy on a world such as Layonara, which is located nearer the "normal" frequencies. At very low frequencies, the energy is much lower than that found on Layonara. The beings who inhabit these frequencies consequently also have a lot less energy and are mere husks or shadows compared to beings of midrange frequency worlds.
The spiraling string of the Mortal Coil wraps itself along an endless cable of five intertwined cylinders. Four of these are the building blocks of the planes - the four elements of air, earth, fire, and water--while the innermost cable is the Pits of Endless Strife. These cables are kept or perhaps somehow bound together by what seems to be nothingness. This apparent void between the cables seems to provide enough space between each of the four elements to ensure they do not touch one other. What is strange is that even though the space between the cables seems to consist of nothing, it also enforces the structure, binding them together. because of this characteristic, the nothingness between the cables is called the Binding Void.
The Four Elemental Planes
The Desolate Rock- One of the four building blocks of the planes, this cylindrical plane is called the Desolate Rock, and is dominated by the element of earth. Barren wastelands of all types of earth, soil and rock dominate this plane; the presence of the other three elements is scarce at best. The second most common element in this plane is fire, which is mostly concentrated near the border shared with the Pits of Endless Strife, followed by water and then air,. There is air to breathe in some places on the Desolate Rock, mostly in pockets of air made by large caverns. There is also the occasional patch of water, but those hardly ever amount to more than a small puddle or a drip. Fire hardly manifests itself, unless it is as molten rock near the border between the Desolate Rock and the Pits of Endless Strife. Life in this plane consists mostly of creatures made of living rock or earth.
The Flowing Waters- One of the four building blocks of the planes, the cylindrical plane called the Flowing Waters is dominated by the element of water in all of its forms, from water vapor, to vast oceans, to frozen wastes of ice. The second most common element in this plain is earth, which can mostly be found near the border of the plane with the Pits of Endless Strife, followed by air, and then fire. Life in the Flowing Waters consists mostly of creatures made of living water.
The Whirling Tempest- One of the four building blocks of the planes, this cylindrical plane, known as the Whirling Tempest, is dominated by the element of air. The plane can be seen as a vast air bubble, home to torrential winds, soft breezes, and even still air. The presence of the other three elements is scarce at best. The second most common element, mostly concentrated near the border the Whirling Tempest shares with the Pits of Endless Strife, is water. Earth is the least common element in this plane, rarer even than fire. Life in the Whirling Tempest consists mostly of creatures made of living air.
The Raging Flames- One of the four building blocks of the planes, the cylindrical plane called the Raging Flames is dominated by the element of fire. It is a plane of raging fires and molten rock. The presence of other elements is scarce at best, and while earth can be found near the border of the plane with the Pits of Endless Strife, air and especially water are rare in this place. Life in the Raging Flames consists mostly of creatures made of living flames.
The Pits of Endless Strife
Also known as the Pits or as the Strife, this is the central cylinder around which the four elemental strands wrap. The Pits of Endless Strife borders and touches each of the four elemental planes, and this region of the planes is home to countless'and mostly nefarious'creatures as well as any conceivable type of hellish place.
Much like the Heavens, the Pits of Endless Strife is divided into numerous areas or Pits, though not every one of them looks like a pit.
These vary from areas with burning infernos to glacial wastelands, to rosy sweet realms filled with flowers (yes, this is hellish for some). The Pits borrow building blocks from the near Elemental planes, and often it is very difficult to tell where an elemental plane ends and the Strife has begun; the Binding Void does not enforce separation between the Pits of Endless Strife and the elemental cylinders. This also accounts for why the Pits are a lot rougher than what one might normally encounter in the Mortal Coil.
The Thread and the Desolate Frontier
At the very center of the Pits of Endless Strife sits the Thread, a narrow string of what might be void which possesses a diameter no wider than a man's wrist.
One should be wary not to get too close to the Thread, as it will pull everything in and spit it out again into the All and Nothing, to be forever lost until it is deemed usable again by the occupant(s) of the Sovereign and reinserted into the cosmos.
Those who die on the Mortal Coil are drawn toward the Thread'and hence toward the All and Nothing'so that they can eventually be taken from the All and Nothing again by the Mother.
Of all parts of the cosmos, the Thread is the feature both least understood and least studied, for obvious reasons.
Before a soul can reach the Thread, it needs to cross the strange area where the Sheet and the Binding meet. It is here that the souls are weighed by an entity known as the Harvester of Souls, known to many simply as the Harvester. Some think the Harvester is really a god of death but others do not think he should be classified as such, since he just passes souls on to their next destination, which varies depending on the soul's ties to the gods.
If a soul worships a deity or if it is claimed by a deity during the weighing, that soul will be cast into the Heavens at the point where the three planes meet. If it did not worship a deity or is not claimed by one, the soul will be cast into the Binding Void, and be pulled towards the Thread.
Even after a soul has been cast into the Binding Void, it must still pass through the Pits of Endless Strife to reach the Thread. The nefarious creatures of that plane will always want to capture souls to populate their Pits. The more souls each creature possesses, the larger that Pit will be and the more powerful its ruler.
The master of a Pit always has competition from the others in that same Pit, so any soul passing through the Pits of Endless Strife is highly likely to be devoured. The master of a Pit must have more power than any of the other creatures in a Pit, or it too will be devoured and its souls will pass on to the devourer, allowing the devourer to grow in power and size.
There are also other, non-evil creatures in the Pits, as well as Pit Lords who do not collect souls.
Once past the Pits of Endless Strife, a soul then arrives in an odd stretch of landscape known as the Desolate Frontier, also known as the Threadhome, the Plains of Despair, or Lost Hope. This area of the Pits is very unusual in its geography and boundaries. For one thing, the geography is largely barren, rocky and mostly devoid of life, save a few hearty and unusually adapted specimens. No plant life exists here; the inhabitants here feed on those things that pass through the Pit before they reach the Thread, and they are so specifically adapted to existence in this place and manner that they have difficulty existing elsewhere. Another peculiarity of the Desolate Fontier is that the influence and pull of the Thread is felt strongly here. The Thread's proximity and the occasional "Threadquake", a terrible and unpredictable phenomenon, have caused many seismic upheavals over the passing eons, though the passage of time itself is fairly irrelevant here, as there are no environmental cues to mark its passage.
The shape of the Desolate Frontier is a direct result of its closeness to the Thread. It is essentially a rocky cylinder that averages approximately 314 meters in diameter along its outer boundary and completely encompasses the Thread along its infinite length. As such, the Desolate Frontier is also infinite, though it is liberally dotted with paths and passages that lead to all the neighboring Pits that fit along its length. If one cares to brave the Desolate Frontier and risk becoming lost permanently, one may travel more rapidly between Pits along the outer boundaries of the Frontier. Only those Pits which share a border with the Frontier can be reached this way, as the Threadhome does not touch all the Pits'only those closest to the center. As can be imagined, travel through this Pit takes place on the inner surfaces of the cylinder, while transitioning to another Pit involves moving perpendicular to the boundaries of the Frontier, something that often causes disorientation; the perspective of which way is down can change abruptly while passing through such borders.
What passes for atmosphere in the Plains of Despair is thin and gives all sounds a rather distant and hollow timbre. There is a constant wind which blows throughout the region, thought to be the result of the Thread's influence. There are no other weather or environmental effects here, and the temperatures remain easily tolerable, though the wind makes things feel cooler. The only light in the Desolate Frontier comes from the Thread itself, or rather from the flares of light produced by all the things that fall into the Thread just before they are consumed.
The Thread itself is visible from all points along the Desolate Frontier, and it is always directly overhead as a formless black line that shows no reflectivity or surface features whatsoever. The Thread's pull here also makes all objects feel lighter than they normally would, though this is a result of both upward and downward pulls working in opposition rather than any reduction in an object's mass.
Because of its unusual physics and nearly constant outer diameter measurement'save small variations consistent with the margin of error and current limitations of accuracy and precision'Pit scholars have spent much time speculating and theorizing about the Desolate Frontier. Some even think that its unusual but consistent outer diameter holds some cosmic significance.
There is no difference in the rate of the passing of time in the various planes; a month in the Pits is a month in the Heavens and a month in the Mortal Coil. However, time will pass faster or slower if the frequency is different. On lower frequencies time slows down, and on higher frequencies time speeds up.