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For lo, I am OCD as HELL.

This is going to be part 1 in a series of NaNoWriMo prep posts, intended to help me get my thoughts straight and wrapped around the crazy worldbuilding shit going on in in the project to come. See, I know these characters to a degree that's probably a little bit scary; they've been living in the back of my head for, hmm, since sixth or seventh grade? Nine years? Almost half my life, then. But by the time I was enough of a writer to put some serious effort into their worldbuilding, I was properly ashamed enough of the fantasy-cliche I was playing around with to just...avoid it, as much as humanly possible.

I'm over that, some, in the way that says 'I will stick these people in a classic epic fantasy environment, and I will rock the ever-loving shit out of it.' Which means...um...three thousand years worth of Letasacian and Ketthelan history, give or take.

Be glad I don't have a scanner, or there'd be maps. At any rate, feel free to ignore any or all of these, for lo, they will be boring to anyone not perversely curious about my brainstorming process and how my mind works. And, I mean, if we get halfway through November and you really desperately want to know what Ava the Fifth did with her life besides being the longest-ever reigning Hawkfire, or the exact span and stretch of Imperial Letasacia at its height a couple of centuries ago, that'll probably be in here, too. But I'm pretty sure my flist isn't quite that OCD, in its majority. I could be wrong.

So. Let's start with the crazy cosmological stuff, shall we?

Deities first. We've got a good handful of them, fairly standard. Four Great Gods--Time, Destiny, Chance, and Anarchy; although they've got multiple names, but that works more-or-less decently. Respectively, they represent ordered destruction, ordered creation, disordered creation, and disordered destruction. They interact with the world through means of a massive, semi-metaphorical board game; they can effect things to a certain extent, and they can make things happen to people, but they're all set up as rivals pushing their own agenda and they tend to block each other a lot. Then, too, there's the Referees, who aren't actually gods so much as super-divine powers. Life and Death. Death's job is to make sure that all of the gods follow the rules, or barring that, at least keep it in the game and don't try to go too crazy out of it. It's in chaos's nature to try and buck the crazy rulebook that order sets up, which they get to get away with, so long as they don't, like, spontaneously declare an entire planet not to exist any more, or put themselves at Mornington Crescent with the first move.

Life's job is to enforce something else entirely--human free will. It's Life and Death who first set up the game. The origin story basically goes that at the beginning, there were these four gods, and they came together and did battle in a great clash of power, and things were not actually going so well for any of them, until the day Destiny and Chance made an alliance against the forces of destruction. And the thing they created, putting their powers together, a thing that itself could create, was called Life. And when Time and Anarchy saw this, they too put their powers together, and together they destroyed that Life. And that destruction was called Death. (How these things, both nearly-momentary, can coexist so eternally, is in a small way incomprehensible to the human mind. It has something to do with them being beyond and above Time, and his powers, weighing so heavily on the human world, because he made a really, really clever move when the Rules were being set up in the first place, don't touch them.)

But Life, so special, was made with the potential to be anything, to do anything. Even on good terms with Death, her opposite. And Death likewise understood that his power was limited by Life's own, and the greater she was allowed to grow, the greater he would be as her dark other side. So they decided to work together in perpetuity, above, beyond, and ever more implacable than the gods themselves.

The story of how Life and Death tricked the gods is long lost, if any ever knew it, and would not flow like an actual story if it weren't, for it happened completely outside of time, outside of any thing at all. But Life was given a small part of the essences of all four Great Gods, and she mixed them in a jar (a metaphorical one), and breathed into it her own breath, and she birthed Spirit, also called Moon, Life's daughter, the very incarnation of Free Will. With her were created Earth, Water, Wind, and Fire, her four servants. These, the Younger Gods, were also the first pawns in the game.

Creation offered them more power, for like Death, destruction's power is limited by what already exists; and so before one blink of an eye ever was, the Younger Gods, the elements, had spread wide and created a thousand different worlds. For their last task, Moon brought all four of her children together, and they created a body, earth-solid flesh, liquid blood, breath in its lungs, and a spark of fire to start its heart. Then she touched her lips to their new creation's forehead, and gave the first human free will, and so it has ever been.

Discussion of the creation myths for elementals, vampires, and assorted other sentient species will come later. Yes, I wrote these when I was fourteen. As a first pantheon goes, it's fairly generic, but it's not too bad. At any rate, the Great Gods can't actually make someone do anything. Life sort of insists upon it. They can change circumstances around a person all they like, they can give you a heart attack, they can make your arrow veer ever-so-slightly to the left however perfect your aim, they can fuck with your birth control or even your endocrine system, but they can't actually change your thoughts.

So, as to the game boards these gods are playing on--the 'thousand different worlds' created by the elemental gods. They're more or less completely separate from one another, although moon cycles, solstices and equinoxes make things significantly closer together. There are, in fact, just about a thousand of them, I suppose. It'll do. Their timelines don't interact, except for when they're made to; it's easiest to step, for instance, from a summer solstice to a summer solstice, or a vernal equinox to another, but it doesn't make one bit of difference which particular year it's in. Except for the fact that Time owns some really, really powerful rules, which means you can't backtrack. If you've been in dimension A in year 2113, you can't step to dimension B in year 493 and then to dimension A in year 1066. And various other rules that mean I never, ever have to deal with paradoxes at all. Yes, I learned that lesson early on.

These are worlds, not to be confused with 'dimensions', which is a similar but not-at-all-the-same concept. To be specific, a 'world' is one of these places--the world including Earth, for example, or the one in which we find Letasacia and Ketthel and lots of other countries, where most of this story takes place-and all its divergent timelines, possibilities, and directions. Because things can splinter and go alternate-universe here in interesting ways. A dimension is a single timeline in a single world. Completely self-contained, except for when it's not. Because the worlds are all connected, or at least, most dimensions are connected to dimensions of other worlds in one way or another. There's commerce between them; that's how this story happens. We'll call a system of linked world-dimensions a universe.

And then it gets trickier, because the multiple universe thing, the free will thing, and the gods, they all have to get reconciled together. The fact of the matter is that I'm convinced that we're not going to be dealing with alternate universes in this story during NaNoWriMo, or hopefully, ever; unfortunately, I'm equally aware that it is possible to become aware of and interact with alternate universes.

I'm not explaining shatter-points here, nor the way to escape infinitely recursive bifurcations. (Basically, if you start having interaction between multiple universes, you network the ones you've connected in some way; and that network develops a timeline with a potential for bifurcating. And then if you network multiple bifurcations of the same network? Or if you hit a convergence point from just the wrong direction? You end up with infinite Amis in a room, and some of them have purple hair, and then the entire sum total of everything in existence goes boom. There are ways around it, but...another LJ post.) Suffice to say that free will does exist; for every decision that is made, there is not necessarily another dimension where you made a different decision. There was never a universe where the Jessie Reed from the same source as our story paused in the lobby of Meadowbrook library, turned around, and told Ami Foxworthy off in front of twenty gawping bystanders, even though she considered it with every fleeing step; she did not, would not, make that decision. There are probably versions of her that could or would or did do such a thing, maybe not that day but at some point, but that's not where they split.

Also, the gods are to some extent aware of alternate possibilities for universes once they've diverged to a significant extent, and can make plays in any of the above. The possibility that there are entirely divergent cosmos, in which there are alternate forms of the gods themselves...and what would happen should they interact...

well, we don't think about that too much.

There we go. OCD info post of doom #1, more or less expliqued. Next up...well, something, anyway. Probably geography of the world on which we find our heroes. Heros. Hmm. One of those means protagonists, and one of those means sandwiches, and while I'm sure there exist versions of reality where heroes eat heros and heros eat heroes both ways around, I sort of wish I knew which was which.

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