The Ordering of the Cosmos
“In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded.” – Terry Pratchett
Before there was time, before there was space, there was simply an endless sea of Light. This light was the energy of creation, and it was all that there was. However, there was also something that wasn’t. As it grew across all there was, the Light found itself stretched quite thin in some places. Eventually these areas grew, and in the absence of the Light rose the Void.
While the Light sought to create, the Void sought to consume. Where the Light was a bountiful feast, the Void was hunger unending. These forces continued to expand until finally the tension was too much.
Then everything there ever was just exploded.
In a series of violent explosions, the physical universe (the “Great Dark Beyond”) came into being. For the longest time, the universe was nothing but fire and magic. The Light and the Void still echoed across creation, and where their interaction was strongest came the Twisting Nether. The Twisting Nether was an entire realm that existed along side the Great Dark but not in it. The Twisting Nether was nothing but destruction and conflict. Where the chaos was strongest, the Nether would occasionally bleed into the Great Dark Beyond and warp reality around it. The creatures that came to be in this realm, later known as demons, embodied this chaos in all ways. Where the Void consumed creation out of hunger, the denizens of the Nether destroyed for the sake of destruction.
The Nether wasn’t the only happening place in the early cosmos, though. Physical reality’s where the party was at. Echoes of the Light washed over newly forming worlds, and gave rise to many different forms of life. The most common of these were the elemental spirits. Some of the grandest shards of the Light that shattered across infinite space coalesced into crystalline beings known as the Naaru. These beings seem to be at least somewhat responsible for introducing the Light to most sentient beings that wield it today.
The Rise of the Titans
Then, eons before life would emerge on Azeroth, the first of the Titans awoke. It’s not entirely clear how a titan awakens. Some planets have a “world-soul” grow deep inside their fiery cores, and after an unknown amount of time, a Titan rises from the world. Does the Titan hatch out, like an egg, leaving the world behind like a cracked shell? Or does the world itself take on the shape of the titan. There’s a bit of a clue in Chronicle Volume 1:
“When the titans finally awoke, they did so as living worlds. Cosmic winds howled across their gigantic forms, bodies shrouded in a cloak of stardust, skin crisscrossed with silvery mountain peaks and oceans shimmering with latent magic.”
To me, this makes it sound like the world itself turns into a massive anthropomorphic planet. Some spoilery information datamined from patch 7.3 casts a little doubt on this, but we’ll have to wait and see how the patch plays out to know for sure.
The first of these titans to awaken was Aman’Thul. Like a lot of us in our adolescent years, Aman’Thul wondered if he was alone in the cosmos. Were there any others out there like him? Was he the only titan? Aman’Thul began a long, lonely search of the cosmos. Eventually, his hard work paid off and he discovered other planets with growing world-souls within them. He carefully nurtured them as they matured, and when they were finally birthed as full-grown titans, they eagerly joined his quest. And thus, the ordering of the cosmos began. The titans traveled from world to world, calming the elementals they usually found there, and seeding more ordered life-forms to watch over the world after the titans have moved on. If there was a world-soul present after this ordering, the titans would know, and they would do their best to guide it’s growth into another paragon of order and virtue.
Being lawful-good, or at the very worst lawful-neutral, the titans still vowed to protect all worlds they came across, not just those harboring world-souls. To ensure this, they did a couple of things. First was leaving behind the aforementioned ordered life-forms. On Azeroth, these were races like the giants, the earthen, or the mecha-gnomes that were left with orders to maintain the titan’s myriad vast machines and to keep the planet good and tidy in their maker’s absence. Second, the titans entrusted the security of some systems to lifeforms called constellar. These living constellations were tasked with watching the ordered worlds and making sure they stayed ordered. If the planet began to fall into disorder, the constellar were able to activate machines that would alert the titans and purge the current life on the planet to start over fresh.
These titans would become known as the Pantheon. Though they were few, they were easily the mightiest beings in all the universe. Over the countless epochs they traveled, they began to find fewer and fewer world-souls. Still, they persevered, knowing the universe was vast and there had to be more out there.
Little did they know how much more really was out there.
The Hunger of the Void
Across the cosmos, the Void was busy as well. This new physical reality was an affront to the Void Lords, beings of immeasurable hunger and hatred. The Void Lords themselves couldn’t manifest in our reality. To them, the very concept existing was as unthinkable as not existing is to us. They could, however, reach out to living things in Great Dark Beyond and attempt to corrupt them. While this worked on lesser creatures, the Void Lords found the titans, beings of order and good, impossible to corrupt this way. They were simply too strong.
The Void Lords wouldn’t give up so easily though. They would corrupt a titan, and it would be an instrument of their will, unmaking and consuming all of reality. They just needed to reach a titan when it wasn’t quite so strong. They needed to find a world-soul, an embryonic titan to corrupt. But the Void Lords couldn’t know what worlds actually contained sleeping titans. So they pooled their resources and sent the Old Gods, horrific masses of flesh the size of continents, into space. Now when I say “sent them”, I mean they literally hurled them randomly through the Great Dark. The plan was that some of these tentacle-and-teeth monstrosities would eventually collide with planets, and some of those planets would have titan world-souls growing inside them. The Old Gods would then burrow into planet like a virus and corrupt the slumbering titan within.
It was a long shot, and it would take time, but the Void Lords had all eternity to wait for their dark plans to bear fruit.
TO BE CONTINUED!