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A Complete Guide to the Cosmos - The Grand Illusionby Giulio Caroletti
Now it's time to take a look at the True Gods, the masterminds behind everything in the Normal Tetraspace. After the confinement of the Outer Beings, the True Gods of the Normal Tetraspace pondered what to do of their part of the Cosmos. They had won a battle, but not the war, as they knew the Outer Beings would strife with all their strength to regain their lost dimension, and eventually they could succeed.
The easiest way to succeed was probably to regain the strength through the Belief of their followers.
Fortunately, the strongest among them were "discontiguated" (cut off from one of the dimensions) and thus they were not able to provide enough Belief to free the Outer Beings. However, the Outer Beings could still, with their powers, reach the minds of the Athanatoi that knew about them and influence them to the point they could switch their loyalty. It had already happened during the long Battle, so it could happen again in the future.
The True Gods were divided on what they should do then.
A major group decided to retire from an active presence in the Cosmos, to watch over their creation and see what would happen. Some tried to cross the Vortex boundary, to understand its nature and maybe find what lays behind their creation. Others remained distant and aloof, but still present, inactive and neutral in the cosmic struggles, although they vowed to return to activity if and when the Outer Beings regained their freedom.
The other Gods split in two: one group wanted to continue the war against the Outer Beings until they managed to ultimately defeat them, no matter the risks; among them were the True Gods that later assumed an Immortal Identity as Thanatos and Odin.
The other group thought that the Outer Beings found it nearly impossible to act in any way against the creatures of the Normal Tetraspace, and that instead of risking what they have gained in the war it was better to leave them to live in their suspended state; among these were those that would take the names of Terra, Protius and Ixion.
The situation remained confused for some time, as the True Gods confronted each other on what to do, while their retired brothers watched in silence and expectation, holding their neutrality.
The "Pacifist" group began to change the Cosmos according to their idea, bending with their terrific powers the boundaries of the Normal Tetraspace, creating a void between Planes that they filled with the Vortex, creating the Lesser Vortexes that separate the various groups of Outer Planes; moreover they placed the Ethereal Plane to separate the various parts of the Prime Plane into many smaller ones. This also resulted in the confinement of the Power of Belief in the Prime Plane, thus the Outer Beings can regain their lost dimension only by having followers in the Prime, and only from the Prime can new Immortal-level creatures be created.
Dividing the Tetraspace in smaller Multiverses was an effort directed against the Outer Beings: if a war would ever take place, then only a part of the Tetraspace would be involved, and at least a part could resist. To gain their complete freedom, in fact, the Outer Beings would have to gain Belief enough from all of the various Multiverses (a finite number of Multiverses, anyway), or to be freed somehow in each of them.
The "Pacifist Gods" didn't think that the Outer Beings would ever be able to escape by themselves, but they feared that the "Aggressive" group of True Gods that wanted a war against the Outer Beings could be able to end their imprisonment somehow in order to wage a war against them. Contrarily to the "Aggressive Gods", the "Pacifists" doubted that they would ever be able to win again, and even if they would win, they thought that the outcome could be only another imprisonment - and not the complete annihilation of all the Beings, that after all were superior in power to the True Gods.
The "Aggressive" group had mixed feelings about the decision of their brethren, and reacted in different ways.
Some, like Odin, thought that they hadn't other choice but bow to the new Order of things, because they had to avoid a war between themselves, as they didn't know what the consequences could be (remembering that the first time Gods disagreed, the Cosmos was split in two and they lost most of their powers, and the war against the Outer Beings were a result of this).
Others, like Thanatos, decided to try to throw down the Order of the Tetraspace, destroy any opposing Gods and guide all the others to war against the Outer Beings, to get rid of them once and for all - or be crushed trying.
Since that time, the Multiverses are all shook by a major war between the True Gods, divided in the two groups of Champions of Order and the Champions of Chaos. The Champions of Order fight to maintain the current Order of things. Most of them deny firmly that the Outer Beings may ever be able to free themselves without aid: thus, to prevent this from happening, they prevent all of the other living creatures of level from Athanatoi and below to learn about the true origin of the Cosmos, as they fear that some can switch sides, and that the knowledge of the Outer Beings and the fear of them in the Prime Plane could raise enough Belief to free them. Thus the Champions of Order hold what is known to them as "the Grand Illusion".
The Champions of Chaos try to bring down this Illusion, that they call "the Great Lie".
THE GRAND ILLUSION
The Champions of Law divided the Normal Tetraspace into many Multiverses, and then put some of the Athanatoi on each Multiverse, pretending that all others had died in the War. Then they told the Athanatoi that they would leave forever the Cosmos, retiring "beyond the Vortex" and telling them never to tell the truth about the Nature of the Outer Beings to any living creature, otherwise they would send their servants, the Blackballs, to permanently destroy them.
Then they "retired", but in fact most of them remained active in the Multiverse taking the form of several Athanatoi. This is way the Athanatoi of Mystaraspace, as an example, pretend to be so old that they don't remember their origin, and leave the Immortals to assume that they belonged to some long-dead race, or incarnate some primal force of the universe, and thus are without memory of a mortal life.
After this, the Athanatoi were free to build the Multiverse they were placed in the way they wanted. In Mystaraspace, the Athanatoi formed the Spheres of Power and a rigid Immortal Hierarchy that would sponsor candidates among living creatures to Immortality, and thus holding control of the Belief of Mystaraspace; however, they left the Outer Planes in a chaotic state, to allow every supernatural being to craft their own Outer Plane from its substance, known as the Astral Plane.
On the opposite, in Planespace, the Athanatoi created a rigid Plane structure, with just 17 Outer Planes, but they didn't try to control Belief on the Prime, and thus godlike Immortals were born and killed in great numbers through time, without any hierarchy.
Blackballs are the agents of the Champions of Order, one of their possible physical projections, appearing when one of them desires to. The Blackballs are sent to deal with a living creature that has learnt too much about the Nature of Cosmos and has to be destroyed. Rarely, the creature may learn but, faced by the Blackball, it could agree with the way the Champions of Order conducted the matter, and in this case it may accept to be destroyed, or, more rarely, be invited to spontaneously retire in another Multiverse, disappearing from its original Multiverse.
In any case, the creatures seems destroyed by the Blackball. On Mystaraspace, this has provided the background for the legend of the "Old Ones".