There is no Heaven. There is no Hell. There is only the Echo.

The Primordials

The Cosmic Realm is the vast sphere of outer space beyond the Earth. For countless millennia, it was oblivion – powerful forces and colossal structures completely unaware of its extraordinary existence, as well as their own. This silence endured, until at one point, something remarkable happened: the Cosmic Realm had a thought.

This single thought changed everything. In a massive burst of energy, consciousness was born. This new energy expanded and spread throughout the realm, each thought embarking on a different journey. Over time, these thoughts became impressions, then emotions, memories, and compulsions. Their travels eventually came to an end when their scale could no longer compete with other cosmic forces. Like the formation of stars, the clouds of sentient energies were shaped into four distinct entities, one in each corner of the Cosmic Realm. Having experienced different journeys through space and time, each entity sparked into existence from sentient fuels with opposing perspectives.

These entities – the Primordials – are the sources of all consciousness and the foundations from which all further sentience has emerged. Like the radiating light from stars, each Primordial is a furnace of sentient energy, radiating that consciousness across space and time. Their presences are each described by one of the fundamental Pillars of Consciousness. These four opposing “themes” are central in the behaviours of all forms of advanced life. For humans, they are the foundations of the human condition.

Together, the opposing Primordials created a balance in the Cosmic Realm through their power and will over the other cosmic forces. But as time has shown, balance cannot endure.


The Primordial Source of Power


The Primordial Source of Desire


The Primordial Source of Weakness


The Primordial Source of Despair

The Eternals

The first children created by the Primordials from their raw sentient energy were the Eternals.

These incomprehensible cosmic beings enacted the will of the Primordials and helped campaign the evolution of sentience across the Cosmic Realm. It was the Eternals that brought their masters’ energies to the furthest reaches of space, forming it into physical manifestations and creating living beings.

The rise of sentient lifeforms was monumental for the Cosmic Realm. Many new populations came into being under the guidance of an Eternal and the sentient energy of their Primordial. Each Primordial maintained themself by the cycle of their energy with each of these beings – their energy passed into each of them at birth, then returned to the cosmos upon their death in a perfect, unending circle.

As the Cosmic Realm continued to expand, the Primordials and their domains drifted further and further from one another. In this expanding realm, balance and control over the other cosmic forces became unstable. The answer to this cosmic problem was the creation of humanity.

The Echo

At the center of the Cosmic Realm, the Eternals found a planet called Earth. This planet would become an anchor – a place at the borderlands of all Primordial domains where the radiating forces of each sentient energy converged.

The Primordials created a new cycle that would sustain them all equally with beings created in their perfect and combined image. To do this, they needed a new form of sentient energy – a grade of energy that was pure, perfectly balanced, and with equal portions of the imposing Pillars of Consciousness. The creation of this energy took a great toll on each of them, leaving them weakened and reliant on the success of this plan. This perfect grade of sentient energy – known as prime energy – was placed into new beings called humans, and a new and critical cycle between humanity and the Cosmic Realm was established.

The cycle endured for thousands of years. Whenever a human died, their prime energy returned to the cosmos. For most of humanity’s time on Earth, there was no dispute about the powers that existed beyond the stars. But over time, humanity got away from itself. Not only did it lose its humility, but it also created a new story for itself, and what lay beyond the Earth.

It started with a segregation of values, then self-righteousness, then new beliefs. These beliefs told a different story about existence – a story about good and evil, about gods, angels and demons, and Heaven and Hell. These stories became more than beliefs; they became a reality in the minds of humans. Little did they know, the immense power in prime energy was capable of remarkable things. When humanity determined, without question, the presence of an afterlife, its will began to distort the energies around the Earth, manifesting the realms of Heaven and Hell.

In this new story, humanity’s perception of prime energy was understood and interpreted as “the soul.” Therefore, when humans died, their souls went to either Heaven or Hell; that prime energy did not cycle back into the cosmos. This resulted in prime energy becoming trapped in a cycle between Earth and either Heaven or Hell, with none returning to the Cosmic Realm. This lasted for a time, but the impacts to the Primordials were ultimately too great to be ignored.

In a cascade of cosmic forces, a massive pressure built up around Heaven and Hell. This pressure forced the two realms to crumble and collapse upon each other, creating a single afterlife realm enveloping the Earth. This new realm was called the Echo. While the formation of the Echo greatly impacted humanity’s vision of the afterlife, it did not solve the problem. Humanity’s will was too strong – the souls of the dead remained in the new realm, the recently deceased continue to travel there, and the Primordials remain severed from the countless stores of prime energy trapped within.

The Wandering Lost

The collapse had a critical effect on the souls from Heaven and Hell as their existences merged into the Echo. The pressure forced the prime energy inside each of them into a deep state of subconsciousness, locking away most of the thoughts and memories that gave each of them an identity. This massive population of souls wandering the afterlife – without any complete sense of who they are or who they were – became known as the Lost.

The Lost were all affected differently; each one retained varying degrees of memory from their former life on Earth. They did not become mindless or emotionless, merely disconnected from their pasts and personalities. They wander endlessly in fear and desperation. Their afterlives are driven by the instability of their situations and an awareness of the horrors that threaten their continued existence.

The Idols of Torment

When the collapse of Heaven and Hell failed to release the trapped souls, the Primordials needed a new plan.

Drifting further from one another, the weakened Primordials became isolated, and their energies became corrupted. With their last stores of prime energy, each Primordial created a new species of sentient beings capable of traversing the Echo like a Lost. Once in the Echo, those beings could harvest the souls trapped within and return that energy to the Cosmic Realm.

The new beings – the Idols – were not created in the perfect and combined image of the Primordials. They were created from the corrupted energy in each of their own raw and extreme images, and are therefore pure manifestations of either Power, Desire, Weakness, or Despair.

The plan somewhat succeeded. While not human, the Idols contained enough qualities to pass into the Echo at certain times in the cosmic calendar. The Eternals calculated that the Idols could manifest when the veils of the afterlife weaken by the alignment of the Earth in the Cosmic Realm: periods of time known on Earth as solstices.

When Idols manifest into the Echo, candles across the landscape burst into flames and ominous horns blare in the dark and cloudy skies. The first to appear are the totems. These powerful conduits of cosmic energy are strategically placed by the Eternals to act as gateways for their Idols. Following the totems, the Idols materialize, and the Echo becomes their hunting ground and battleground. Once in the Echo, the Idols are driven by a single purpose: reap the souls of the Lost.

The Idol presence causes an interesting phenomenon to occur in the Lost: their proximity unlocks the prime energy subdued within them, and the Lost are immediately filled with waves of their former thoughts and memories. This is an extremely tormenting process for a Lost to endure – every living memory and emotion they ever felt explodes into their soul in an instant. This all happens while being preyed upon by terrifying beings that seek to end their existence. Hence, the Lost call these events “the Torment,” and they call their hunters “The Idols of Torment.”

This phenomenon provides a basis for the Idols to achieve their goals. The explosions of consciousness endured by nearby Lost shine like bright lanterns in the eyes of an Idol. Certain Idols can reach into those unlocked energies and bind them to their corrupted ambitions. Bound Lost quickly succumb to the dark visions imposed upon them, moving toward the beings that have them in their grasps.

Given the isolation and decline of the Primordials, collecting souls from the Echo kindles conflict between them. The Idols have therefore evolved to facilitate that conflict. Under the influence and guidance of the Eternals, the Idols began to operate in distinct groups and develop strategies – significantly increasing their ability to battle the Idols of enemy Primordials. Over time, as the Primordials declined further, these groups of Idols became extremely dark and twisted beings with unique traits and abilities.

These groups eventually evolved and subdivided into eight distinct Orders: Idols from common sources that have become something new – both in form and function – to align with a subset of behaviours within one of the Pillars of Consciousness.

Each Eternal controls a group of Idols from a particular Order in a grand campaign to restore balance in the Cosmic Realm. For the campaign to succeed, humanity will have to succumb to a horrifying fate – a fate in which the human condition is exposed, all human souls are extinguished, and dark manifestations of humanity’s traits prevail.

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