Whew, this is going to be a long post so I decided to break it up into three parts. This is the first one. In this I’ll be discussing the literal creation of the universe (in Ceteri), the first Fall, the Nephilim, the Garden of Eden – all the good juicy stuff. So let’s get to it.
Let There Be Light
The universe started out with two primal forces – araphel (darkness) and qal (light). Each of these forces embodied a specific aspect of creation with the endless cycle of destruction and creation perfectly balanced until the qal did something they’d never tried before – they unified themselves into one being. Think something like the first spiritual multicellular critter. They became more than the some of their parts and this new being – the noohra got busy.
This is where things become familiar to many readers: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth.” With a single word, the noohra created the universe and banished the araphel to “outside” of it. No matter how hard they tried or how they fought, they could not get through the barrier that the noohra had created against them.
This resulted in the noohra going on a splurge of creation all across the universe till it finally settled on Earth and began again. Why Earth is special? It was the location of the last battle between the araphel and the noohra. Earth, despite the crazy hairless apes that inhabit it thinking they rule it is in fact a focal point. A battleground. The #1 in the Franchise Chain that all the other Franchises follow. So as Earth goes so goes other planets (but enough of this – it’s not sci fi I’m running so that’s the last I thought of such things).
During this creation the noohra started thinking of itself as a single being and when its helpers (angels) started calling it father, well, that’s what it assumed itself to be. He forgot how He started and simply was. Meanwhile, the araphel, nameless, godless, and without form became the Nameless Ones – Cthulhu Mythos-like monsters who dwelled Beyond Creation itself.
Dude, Where’s My Garden?
So after his rest, God decides to create man. He sets up a nice little skill-tree for hominids (“You have mastered tool-use and are now level 8 with the title of Homo habilis!”) and let his creation come to be. When humans finally showed up he took them to the garden of Eden and gave them something special – something no other creation of His could claim at that moment. He gave them a soul. He gave them a job as well – Guarding the Tree of Life (which anchored Creation in the multiverse) and the Tree of Knowledge (anchoring the barrier that kept Creation separate from the “darkness” of the araphel – called “Outside”).
Many angels grew angry at humans and up pops Heylel (Lucifer). Heylel becomes a voice for these others and he just happens to also be God’s number two. Why are they angry? Because souls also come with free will and angels where never given that. Heylel argued that humans were given too precious a gift and couldn’t possibly understand it. So Heylel asked God to give this gift to his loyal Host. God refused and it was then that Heylel struck God and wounded him. God (Old Testament YHWH at the time) threw Heylel from Heaven and in doing so dimensionally fractured the barrier He had made. This created multiple plans of reality and eventually Heylel and his followers landed in a barren wasteland (later called Sheol) right near the Walls that led Outside in the Darkness. This was the First Fall. Heylel and his followers were without form in Sheol and though they could see the Garden they could not enter it. Until Heylel tricked the angelic guardian – Gadreel – into letting them in. Once inside Heylel whispered secrets into the ear of Lilith (Adam’s first wife). He taught her magic and the understanding of logos -The Language of God. Lilith in turn tricked Heylel (or did she?) and seduced several of the angelic guardians who watched over Eden and fled with them into the wilderness. Adam in his loneliness begged God for another wife and Kheba, an angel, was so moved asked God to turn her mortal. God took the hawwah (or well of power) that made her an angel and in doing so made her mortal. From Adam he partitioned his loyal son’s soul and split it creating the first soulbound pair (think soul mates plus quantum entanglement).
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
Heylel and his followers seethed with fury in Sheol – Kheba had been given the one thing they wanted (though they didn’t want to give up being angels either – they wanted cake and to eat cake, both cakes really). Heylel, again meddling, snuck in the Garden again and whispered into Eve’s ear (who had forgotten her life as an angel) and convinced her to feed him one of the fruits of Knowledge – he never figured she’d get one for herself as well. Realizing what he’d done Heylel in serpent form fled. Meanwhile, back at the Garden (see the callback I did there?) the more of the fruit they ate, the more the humans who ate it understood. Horrified, the barrier Outside weakened and creation flooded with the “husks” of the araphel (who were still too powerful to pass through the barrier). It was then that Heylel realized in his arrogance and pride what he’d done and returned to God solemn, contrite, and begged forgiveness. God offered him a chance to redeem himself: he and his followers would fight the araphel as they had done before. Heylel accepted and along with his former brothers and sisters waged war against the husks of the araphel or qliphoth. While Heylel and his forces kept the araphel at bay, God and the remaining Host came up with a plan: they would reinforce the power of the Tree of Knowledge using human beings. At first, they tried to anchor its power to 36 living human volunteers who used the power of their souls to reinforce the barrier to Outside, but this only stopped the crumbling of the barrier. The cracks remained. These 36 volunteers became the first Tzadikim Nistarim.
The Oldest War
Heylel, a soldier deep in his heart, had a mission and he aimed to fulfill it. His mission: stop the qliphoth no matter the cost. Heylel’s war shook Creation to its very roots and what began with his Fall continued. Pieces of Heaven and Creation fractured and settled into their own planes of existence and became battlegrounds for the qliphoth and Heylel’s forces. The war was long and difficult and many sacrifices were made. While he was still a soldier he also wanted power, Heylel may have been fighting, but he was also consolidating his forces. During this time the Gates were formed and the nine layers of reality “settled in.”
- Inland (The Material World)
- The First Gate (The Etheric Plane/Between)
- The Second Gate (Underhill/Faerie)
- The Third Gate (Stygia/Lethe/Purgatory/Netherworld)
- The Fourth Gate (Asphodel/Summerlands/Arcadia)
- The Fifth Gate (Heaven/Paradise)
- The Sixth Gate (Hell/Torment)
- The Seventh Gate (The Barrens/Sheol)
- Outside/Beyond the Gates
When Heylel tried to betray God a second time his brother Micha’el was there to cast him out. Falling, he landed in Hell and that’s when Micha’el bound Heylel and his forces to guard against the Outside and turned Sheol into the paranormal equivalent of a demilitarized zone. But good ol Micha’el wasn’t done yet. He blamed Adam and his ilk for the war in the first place and cast them from the Garden (which was shunted into the Outlands – specifically the Fourth Gate). That was when they were forced into the Land of Nod. This first sin stained the souls of all humans forever after.
Here Come the Nephilim
Thousands of years later, the Second Fall happened. This time, the grigori choir of angels (aka the Watchers) fell in love with the daughters of Man. They copulated and thus were born the Nephilim – Abominations unto the Lord and all. Why? Because the Nephilim were born with a human soul and an angelic hawweh. They had the power of Creation at hand and the free will to use it as they saw fit. Lots of stuff happened during this period but one of the big ones is Lilith reappeared and seduce dozens of Fallen to her side along with even more Nephilim. The chaos this caused resulted in the flood, the Arks, and Noah and his people essentially restarting the planet.
The Tower of Babel
After the Flood almost nothing of the old world remained. I say almost nothing because at least five objects survived somehow. One of them – the Emerald Tablet – found its way into the hands of a farmer who found it in his field and set off a chain of events that led to a resurgence of magical power in the land. This farmer, Nabu, eventually hooked up with a warlord named Marduk who with Nabu’s helped conquered most of the ancient lands of Mesopotamia. Drawn by the power of the Tablet Lilith (she just can’t seem to die properly) reappeared calling herself Ishtar and convinced MArduk to build a Tower to enhance the power of the local magical energies. With the Tablet they succeeded and with the power they gained become like unto gods. But God shattered the Tower and had the Host spread each brick of its walls across the breadth of the Earth.
Picking Over the Bones
Oy. That is a huge wall of text (IT’S SUPER EFFECTIVE!). So there. That’s the first part of the (hopefully) five part series on the brief history of The Chronicles of Ceteri. I hope you are enjoying these posts, dear readers, because this is like baring my soul to the world and I didn’t arrive at doing this lightly. Any comments? Questions? I want to hear them.
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A solid origin, and conversion. I liked the Garden of Eden being in Arcadia.
Thanks, Rory. Ceteri is one of my longest running campaigns and it’s got a lot to offer.
I like how this leaves room for the goal of Buddhism to abandon form and seperation and return to the original state.
I based a lot of this stuff on the various Judeo-Christian mythologies including gnosticism and the latter has a lot in common with eastern religions – especially the concept of maya in Buddhism.