Originally posted on the website: By The Sword
A Brief History of the Earth Multiverse: An Exploration of Dimensional Theory.
By: Russ Schmidt, Battle Mage (Shifter Unit) of
Tolkeen Armed Forces (retired).
Subject: Dimensional Theory
Originally Published: Spells and Summonings, Vol 3, Issue 7, September 19th, 92 P.A.
What they told you wasn't true. Believe what you will. Think for yourself. Dare to discover the truth. Question Authority.
Now that I've gotten the usual "I've got no real proof, so I'll appeal to your basic antisocial tendancies" garbage out of the way, lets get on with this. My name is Russ Schmidt and I am a 12 year veteran of the Tolkeen Armed Forces' Battle Mages. Shifter by trade, I have been out of service for ten years now. Regardless of what you may have heard, we're not all demon-possessed bastard sons of whores. Granted the rest of my unit was, but I'm really not that bad. At any rate, I've spent the bulk of my life exploring other worlds and speaking with things that would make you fill your shorts in a heartbeat. I've asked around, questioned unholy monsters, conversed with the so-called gods, experimented in time travel, and pinged mystic messages off the other side of the universe. Why have I been doing this, you ask? Well first off, I'm easily amused. Second off, I've been trying to figure out how this mess called the Megaverse really works. As near as I can figure it, this is how it all started.
First of all, a little bit of background in how this all works. Our universe, which we called Earth One back in the Battle Mages, is but one of an infinate number of universes, called dimensions. All of these universes exist on different "planes" of reality, the entire set of which is called the Megaverse. Each dimension is crisscrossed with lines of magical power, usually across planets but also through space as well. [Editor's Note: To all wanna-be Shifters, do not attempt to go to the Moon by ley line travel. The natives there are restless. All units sent to Mars have failed to return, as well. Maybe we'll try Venus next.] Places where these lines cross, called nexus points, act as a kind of drop-through point, a place where excessive amounts of magic energy cause the wall between two universes grows weak and allows things to pass through. Gateways, called Rifts, can open up at any time and any place, even through artifical means, but they are most commonly encountered at nexus points.
Jumps through Rifts and dimensional portals have taught us a few things about the Megaverse. Dimensions are organized in a kind of pattern. Universes that are close together in the order of reality tend to be parallels of each other. So, if I open a portal to the closest dimension I can find, it will likely contain a duplicate Earth. This doesn't mean that I will appear on Earth, but usually the universe I jump to will have Earth in it somewhere. The Earth may be radically different or even in a different time period, but it will be Earth all the same. The more distant a universe is, the less likely it will have Earth in it. I once targeted a universe quite a planar distance away and wound up on a world filled with elves, dwarves, humans, and other vile monsters living in castles and fighting with the sword and shield. No Earth was to be found in that universe. There are exceptions to those rules, Hades and Dyval being the notable ones in the area of Earth One. Also, time seems to flow differently in each dimension. One could spend ten minutes in what appears to be a parallel Earth and have twenty pass on Earth One.
So, you think, we know enough about dimensional travel to get around, or at least enough to get ourselves eaten by things that we'd rather not even have nightmares about. Wrong. My interest in the history of the Megaverse started during an experimental dimensional hop eight years ago. I opened a portal to what appeared to be twentieth century Earth. Of course, this was simply a parallel universe, so there was no need for me to get really excited over it, but something seemed off. I was targeting a distant dimension, something far away from our own plane of reality. Being a Shifter, though, I jumped through the portal anyway and into the unknown.
The instant I landed, I discovered a number of things. First, I was standing in the center what was once called Times Square in New York City of the American Empire. I know this because a kindly gentleman wearing tights told me so before attempting to punch me out. This was after I noticed something very wrong with this particular Universe, aside from the fashion tastes of its denizens. There were no lines of magic.
My brain reeled at the impossibility of this even as my body reeled from the haymaker delivered by the man in tights. A world that lacked magic power was virtually unheard of. Outside rumors told in Shifter bars mentioned such worlds, but they were like the story about the D-Bee with the vibrohook for a hand that snuck up on hovercars out at Lover's Leap. No one really believed them. Yet, here I was experiencing such a place first-hand. After escaping the man in tights; easily accomplished by tossing a fireball that accidentally hit a nearby sign which the "hero" had to catch before it fell on a crowd of bystanders, evoking many oaths that included the words "wrath" and "vengence"; I wandered the world for almost a year. It seemed that my trained ability to "phone home" was negated in this universe. During that time, I had many other run-ins with idiots wearing tights, called super-heroes and super-villians. Mostly, they tried to get in my way of figuring out how to get home. Eventually, I got a spellcaster to open a dimensional portal back to Earth. It was the strangest thing, but the caster didn't appear to have great stores of magic energy like our mages do, nor did he use magic energy when casting his spells.
When I got home, I told the story in the first Shifter bar I could find and was laughed off. But now, none shall laugh at the power and knowledge of Shifter Russ! MUUAHHAHAHAHAHAH!!! Oh... er, excuse me. Little bit of a flashback, there.
At any rate, I began to plumb the depths of the ley lines and the Megaverse. Something interesting occured during another dimensional hop two years after my first encounter with a ley-lineless planet. I was walking the sands of Hades alongside a Ley Line, chatting amiably with an Archfiend, when I felt something pass by me. Something in the Line felt familiar. I tried to read the lines, a trick that D'nartha, a Ley Line Walker, failed to completely teach me years ago. My readings did turn up something familiar. There was a short "eddy" in the Line, a kind of swirling of magical energy. I like to think it is the remains of some god or greater demon that met its end and was sucked into the Lines like the rest of us mortals are eventually. I recognized the eddy because I had seen the same one six months prior while opening a Rift for a power-hungry dictator bent on dominating Earth One (he was subsequently eaten by whatever it was that made that mass of tentacles shoot out of the Rift). Something was definately wrong with that. I had always thought that each dimension had its own Leys.
The Archfiend and I got to work. It seemed that Abrasax the Insatiable owed my fiendish friend a favor. When asked about the topic, though, the normally loud-mouthed glutton clamed up. At least it kept him from asking for his next meal, something I found very interesting. What could put the Demon of Gluttony off his appetite?
We checked in with Thoth next, as he is known to be one of the wisest of the gods. Sadly, he was entertaining Ra when we showed up. Ra promptly chashed my fiendish friend out of the building and is still pursing him when last I checked. I asked Thoth about the Lines, promising him the location of the Leyless World in return. He just laughed and said he knew about the Leyless Worlds already. He let me look through one of his libraries, though, to see if I could find the answer myself. Of course, it wasn't there. But something else was.
I found an old tome, apparently a journal left by a wizard named Donal. It told of a mighty war in a distant time, called the "Age of Chaos". This war, fought between what were called the "Elder Races" and the "Great Old Ones", nearly led to the destruction of this world. The only creatures to live through it were the Elves (which the writer apparently was one of), dragons, and a race called the Titans. References were made involving Thoth and an elven magician of great power. They cast an enchantment so powerful that it locked the "Great Old Ones" into a deep and dreamless sleep. The writer gave some of the details of the spell and his impressions on its effects. After the spell's casting, the writer mentioned great lines of magic coming into being, power that seemed to emanate from the planet itself.
Now, being a dimensional traveler myself, I saw some startling similarities between the Slumber Spell described and various spells used to create pocket dimensions. From that tome, and from subsequent discoveries in dimensions near and far, this is what I think happened.
Originally, there was only one Universe, a Universe dominated by the most powerful Alien Intelligences the Megaverse has ever known. While these Great Old Ones ruled, they experimented with magicks that could seperate universe into duplicate versions. Each universe went down its own path in time. Some followed the same path as the original dimension, others went on their entirely own path. These universes eventually became the Leyless Worlds, places where magic and the supernatural operated along different methods than we are used to. In fact, the original universe, which I call the Alphaverse, was actually a Leyless World.
The inhabitants of the Alphaverse, still home to the Great Old Ones, finally tired of their reality constantly being shattered, as well as putting up with the depravities of these monsters, and decided to put an end to it. The War of the Age of Chaos ensued, but they rapidly discovered that they could not possibily defeat the Great Old Ones. So, using standard indirect tactics, they simply removed from the world what they could not kill. Thoth, along with this Elven Mage, who's name is lost to history, developed the most terrible magick ever cast. The Great Old Ones were locked into a deep sleep within the bowels of the planet, freeing the Megaverse of their rule forever.
But, what of these Old Ones? No spell could possibly be powerful enough to hold these creatures at bay forever, especially not with them all lumped together underground. In order to prevent the Great Old Ones from awakening and overcoming the spell that locked them in place, Thoth and company placed several enchantments over them, rather than the one that history records. The first enchantment draws their power away from them, keeping them from awakening by keeping the tank on empty, so to speak. Some of this power was used to create new races, such as dwarves, gnomes, humans, and others, power that remains in each race still. The second enchantment seperated the Old Ones, so that even in dreamless sleep, they could not pool their energy to break free. Each Great Old One was put into its own dimension, each one created from the Alphaverse. This required the Great Old Ones universe creation magic. How Thoth got ahold of this power remains an unsolved mystery. It would appear that, in the creation of these dimensional prisions, a great many secondary copies were made of the Alphaverse, possibly to furthur drain off energy. Each of these seems to have been given to the various Pantheons and creatures that took part in the war. This accounts for the similarities between places like Hades and Dyval share with the Alphaverse.
Each of these prisions continued to draw the power of the Old Ones away from their bodies, filling a great "sea" of magic power. Nexus points are, in actuality, places on a given planet where energy is drawn away from the Old One imprisioned beneath it and is dumped into this sea of raw power, a kind of filler space between the dimensions. Ley Lines are the places in a Universe where that energy leaks through into reality, the cracks in the fabric of the space time continuum. Once the Ley Sea fills to a certain point, the dimensional prisions splits into two identical dimensions. One contains the Great Old One, the other does not. This spent some of the power stored in the Ley Sea, as well as giving it another outlet to pour energy into. By this method, Thoth and his accomplices felt that they had ensured that the Old Ones would never awaken, as there is no limit to the number of Universe that can be created.
Situations have arisen throughout history, though, that disprove this. For example, Earth One. Going back to the end of the Age of Chaos, one of the dimensional prisions went along its path. At some point in its history, this copy of the Old Ones' home planet, a curious world with a single continent, was struck by a passing asteroid. The force of impact caused the continent to seperate into several smaller ones. Some land rose, other land sank, but the world continued. The strike caused vast numbers of species to be wiped out in the ensuing Ice Age. The only intelligent one to survive was humanity, a feat owed to their particular adaptability. None of the other intelligent races could match their ingenuity in adversity, and so died out.
Time went on and the continents eventually formed into their familiar Earth-like patterns, including Atlantis. Humanity grew on this world, eventually dominating it again. As time passed, a great civilization grew on the continent of Atlantis. As they reached their peak, a great magical experiment was performed. The Atlantean fools opened the largest dimensional portal ever seen, which they subsequently couldn't close for two hours. Along with allowing a multitude of demons and alien races onto the surface of Earth, this drew vast amounts of power from the world and, subsequently, the Ley Sea.
Misfortune struck the Earth Multiverse again. This "accident" occured at a point shortly before a dimensional split was to occur. When the appointed time came, there was not enough power to support a second universe. The perfectly timed balance set by Thoth and company was thrown out of whack, producing a shadow universe that has floated along the time stream to who knows where. I pity the dimension close to that Land of Darkness. I fear to think what could come from that place.
At any rate, history continued on for Earth. Magic in the Earth multiverse now ebbed and flowed, occasionally receding, thanks to the efforts of the Atlanteans. Their continant eventually vanished into dimensional limbo, where it most likely remained attached to the universe that contained the dimensional prision, but the damage was done. The Old One held beneath the surface remained asleep, but the stage was set. Several parallel dimensions continued to be created, all offshoots of the same Earth with the same magical problems. Magic came and went, but never as greatly as during the European Dark Ages. Magic receded from that portion of the world at an astonishing pace and did not return for a long period of time. One would think that this signified a dimensional split, but something was wrong with this one. Why did magic only depart from the Eurasian continent? Magic remained a force in the Americas and other sections of the world for some time afterwards. If this was a dimensional split, the magic would have departed more evenly. This was the first sign of danger.
Magic remained almost non-existant for a long period of time. During this time, it is known for a fact that several dimensionsal splits have taken place. A number of parallel Earths exist, each possessing its own specific traits, most signifigantly being the rate that time flows through each universe, along with great similarites. For example, several dimensions possess clones of the KLS Corporation, makers of the famed Glitter Boy, even though some are still in the 20th Century. Each of these universes must be a split from one source in order to contain an identical corporation in each. It is also a fact that, if my theories are true, these splits could not have occured unless their was a greater amount of magic energy then there appeared to be.
The splits appear to continue until the Coming of the Rifts. Around three or four hundred years ago, the populace of Earth One was experiencing a Golden Age. Then, for reasons unknown, the populace realized that they had the technology to wage war, as did all their enemies. A short time passed, during which the Leys swelled to great levels. Then, the Rifts came. Some say a war triggered the Coming, others say it was simply a natural effect. To me, there can be only one answer. A Great Old One is behind it all.
Consider that the nations of Earth suddenly "woke up" at once and turned the Golden Age into the path of destruction. A Great Old One could easily have this effect on the populace of an entire planet. In fact, scarely any other force in the Megaverse could cause such an occurance, save the ultimate power of stupidity. Secondly, what happened to the magic energy during the period before the Coming of the Rifts? If magic ebbs and flows like a tide, how could it have vanished for a thousand years? And on a small section of a planet, no less? Perhaps something was storing it up, saving all its power for one great push at the prision that held it?
So, why didn't it draw the energy away from the planet all at once? As I've noted, nexus points mark places where the energy is drawn from the Old One contained within it. These areas are strong in magic for that reason, and as such attract spellcasters of every type looking for spare power to use in casting. Think of these sites as a kind of siphon, drawing the power away from the Old One. During Europe's Dark Ages and the Renessiance that followed, spellcasting fell by the wayside. As magic was forgotten, so were the Places of Power. Magic was no longer drawn from the sites at the rate it once was, and so the siphoning action of the nexus points slowed. As the energy stopped flowing away from it, the force beneath the planet was able to maintain a tighter grip on the energy that remained, slowing the processes even further. It was not until the Europeans crossed the Atlantic Ocean that the spellcasting in West died out. Other regions abandoned spellcasting at other times, or had it forced from them by the encroaching European culture. Eventually, the flow of magic died out enough for the Intelligence to wake enough and try slowing the process on its own.
To assist in its escape, it allowed its very nature to seep into the world all at once, attempting to set off the holocaust that would cause enough power to flow into the Ley Sea to overload it as it made its bid for freedom. We can only hope that this effort has failed and that creature is not loose in the Megaverse. At any rate, the planet has certainly become a focal point for Alien Intelligences of all types, perhaps drawn here in unconscious response to the awakening Great Old One.
So, what of the other Great Old Ones, you may ask? I am not unequivocally certain of the locations of the other Great Old Ones, nore even which other universes qualify as "One" dimensions. I have tenatively identified a place called Phase World as another dimensional prision. It, like Earth One, seethes with magic power and is a clearinghouse for Alien Intelligences. I've been to that world and investigated its legends and history. These investigations leave me seriously concerned. There is an unknown force loose in that dimension. It chooses creatures and people, seemingly at random, and grants them unheard-of power which must be used in the service of justice. None know where this force is or why it does what it does. Is this "Cosmic Forge" something sinister? Does the presence of a dimensional anomoly such as Earth One or Phase World signify the escape of something vastly more powerful than any of us could possibly imagine?
That is all I have discovered on the matter of Leys and the nature of the Megaverse to date. Now that paranoia has a firm grip on my soul, I think I am leaving this plane. Leyless Worlds are suddenly looking like very pleasant places to live. Besides, I have sworn that Megaman shall once again face the wrath of Shifter Russ. Fare thee well, fellow travelers.
Dimensional-Theory-Ley-Lines-and-the-Megaverse.php -- Revised: January 27, 2021.