Not actually a post about spying. Although if the spies are reading it, they can go get stuffed. (I’m still seriously mad, but this is, after all, a blog intended purely for and about writing.)
No. This is the back-back-backdrop, the space against which the universe pinwheels. This is the space between the space between the stars… and no, that was not a typo. This, in short, is the Void.
It goes by many names, perhaps nearly as many as there are people to name it. It defies description; it can’t be pinned down. It doesn’t exist in normal space, but outside of it. The Void is, if you like, the space between the universes, infinitely large and infinitely small, a place where time and space have no meaning. It’s as real as it is a metaphor, its people are transient and permanent and depart a thousand times without ever really leaving, for without time there’s no such thing as never. It’s a meeting place, a nexus, a convergence. It’s a rest and a refuge, a staging point, eternal and everchanging, shaped only by the mind of the observer — and there are a great many observers.
It is often said that ten powers watch over the Void and indeed over the Multiverse, as eternal and as timeless as the Void itself. It is, perhaps, a quirk of perception, or perhaps something more. Perhaps it is both. Depending on the viewpoint you take and the qualities you seek, the Powers merge and split, arranged differently, different representations of different things. But by the viewpoint I typically use, they are these. Three stand for that which is good, each in their way. Another three, each in their way, stand for evil. Finally, four are neutral, leaning to neither side. Some are easily seen as whole, single beings; some are best represented by Aspects, less powerful beings who embody a piece of their central “virtue”.
Among the good stands Erisalin, who seeks peace and happiness for all. Rarely represented by an Aspect, she strives for harmony in all things. Never less than kind, strife and pain trouble her, and her influence on the worlds aims to avoid them where possible. Another Power within this three, represented by and large by a number of Aspects, is the Chaos Bright: highly individualistic, living life only to internal standards — but a hard and fast rulebook of those standards which respects the agency and standards of other beings as highly as one’s own. The Alcadic Alliance is a particularly clear example of the “virtue” exemplified by the Chaos Bright.
Among the neutral Powers stands Chronicler, a watcher and recorder of all that takes place in the Multiverse: the Chronicler is memory, history, lore. Regardless of the ends to which it is put, the Chronicler embodies the preservation of knowledge. Here, too, stands Mrivar, the Balancer, who keeps the Powers forever in balance against one another, whose influence on the worlds seeks to ensure that all beings can reach their full potential — both for good and for evil.
On the evil side, the Chaotic is a mirror of the Chaos Bright. Revelling in destruction, Aspects of Chaotic destroy for the sake of it, wielding their power with little subtlety and less care. Personal power and the effects it can cause are the only concern; other beings are mere things to be torn down. There also stands Lord G, a dictator with an iron fist, whose “virtue” is control, ownership and domination; whose aim is a multiverse in which all fall under his rule and work solely to amplify his power and glory, their own desires irrelevant.
With 1:2:1 remaining, this post is already long enough, and these, for a variety of reasons, are the Powers I know best in any case. It’s already, perhaps, somewhat clear that the Powers can be redivided: chaos and unrestraint characterises Chaotic and the Chaos Bright, for example, unifying them into one force whose “virtue” would be to do only what you will. A change of perspective changes the Powers, unifying and separating them… and looking into the worlds, their influences interweave and intertwine in a complex tapestry. Look closer, then, into the heart of a single individual, and there too are all those drivers, a complex and fragile structure that looks different from every angle and from person to person. Subdivide their desires as you will, and realise their potential extended over lifetimes, until that understanding encompasses all that is a Power once more: the cycle goes on forever. Within each Power, the people; within each person, the Powers.
(Hey, I told you this framework business was complicated and weird. It’s also fun! If really hard to write out coherently.)