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Mystara and Chronomancy, version 1.1by Hervé Musseau
Immortals and Temporal Prime
All Immortals, at least those that remember it, have lived a mortal life before gaining their immortality. Thus, they have or, more exactly, had a lifeline. This lifeline is generally very bright, especially at the end of their life, since they were very powerful characters in life. Where their lifelines end, it is generally one of the most bright lifeline around, and bears a great momentum that is often transmitted to many other lifelines followers and clerics.
Severing lifeline: Upon reaching immortality, one does not really die, but instead reaches another, higher form of life. Therefore, the new Initiate's lifeline does not automatically end. However, at that same moment when the candidate becomes an Initiate, it is the responsibility of his/her sponsor to sever the candidate's lifeline. The would-be Immortal is generally not even aware that he/she has "died", since he/she founds himself/herself in a new body his/her manifestation form with amazing new powers. Moreover, he/she is not surprised if the sponsor disappears for a moment during the final stage of his/her ascension to immortality, and some Immortals even go back in time while they are in the Temporal Prime so that they seem never to have slipped away from reality. It should be noted that some Immortals, especially some from the Sphere of Entropy, and Rathanos, get a real, intense pleasure at severing the lifeline of their candidate, effectively killing them or, in the eyes of Rathanos, bettering their status. Those few Immortals that have gained their Immortality through other means that sponsorship (i.e. Rad, Rafiel and Benekander), the intense source of energy that gave them Immortality also severed their lifelines in the process, although it is not known whether this is automatic or if this was special to these three Immortals. The severing of the candidate's lifeline is by tradition a part of the ascension to Immortality, and no Immortals has ever tried to defy that tradition. It is not known, even to the most knowledgeable Immortals of the Sphere of Time, what would happen if that step was, for some reason, overlooked. Contrary to mortal chronomancers that would cast the 9th-level spell Sever Lifeline, Immortals do not become natives of Temporal Prime; they become Immortals and become linked to their new home plane (generally created by themselves or their sponsor, or an already existing one that fits them).
Protecting lifeline: Most Immortals feel somehow vulnerable as Immortals through that mortal lifeline of theirs. If a mortal chronomancer, or an Immortal foe, were to locate his/her lifeline within the timestream which wouldn't be that difficult it would be easy enough to disrupt events so that they never even become Immortals although the momentum of time would oppose such a change. Therefore, Khoronus, Father Time, in his desire to protect Mystaran history of which the Immortals are obviously part developed an Immortal-level spell_-Protect Lifeline that can be cast on the mortal lifeline of an Immortal so that it can't be interacted with even by other Immortals. This is in no way a 100% effective protection, since it is always possible to travel through time and meddling with the life of an Immortal to be without following his/her lifeline. Generally, a sponsor casts this spell at the lifeline of a candidate just after severing it. Immortals that were not sponsored are not automatically protected, but must first discover of this weakness and the existence of such a spell, ask Khoronus for it something he is not known to have ever denied and cast it themselves.
Doubling lifeline: Since Immortals have no lifeline any more, they have no restrictions in regard of doubling their lifelines. However, since they are forbidden to directly intervene on the Prime Material Plane, this is generally of little use. Some have tried to double their "lifeline" in regard to their home plane or an inner or outer plane, with the hope that this would permit them to be twice as active, but they have found that this generally led to more problem than it was worth. Their first problem is themselves: Immortals are often very arrogant and dislike to share their power, influence or followers with someone else, even themselves; moreover, their self from the right time sometimes believed this was a trick by another Immortal to fool them and opposed the plans of their time-travelling self. The second major problem is their limited understanding of how Temporal Prime works, especially the momentum of time; only Immortals from the Sphere of Time and some of the Sphere of Energy have studied it enough to understand what they're doing when time-travelling; those that would enjoy the most doing some time travel and disrupt events at any place and time, the chaotic elements of the Sphere of Entropy, have rarely studied it enough except for Thanatos, who is quite knowledgeable about Temporal Prime, and sometimes uses it to his advantage (see the HWA series for an example of his time-related plots). Last but not least, Immortal time travel is restricted by Immortal laws.
Immortal laws: Immortals have their own laws concerning time travel, as they have laws concerning direct intervention. The law is quite simple: Time travelling is forbidden, except for Immortals from the Sphere of Time this is their natural sphere of influence, and they are assumed to know best and when special missions through time are approved by a council of hierarchs (see the HWA series for an example of such an occurrence). There is one major exception to this rule: When a candidate reaches Immortality, his/her sponsor can slip to Temporal Prime to severe his/her lifeline, to cast a Preserve Lifeline spell, and possibly to travel back a few seconds to return at the very time of his/her slipping. Immortals from the Sphere of Time are responsible for watching Temporal Prime for unauthorised Immortal travels, catch the culprit generally by trapping them in a temporal stasis with their greater knowledge of Temporal Prime and bringing them to a council of hierarchs to be judged. Some Immortals of the Sphere of Time generally volunteer for this task, because they are profoundly interested in the safekeeping of Mystaran history with Khoronus being the first of them and coordinating their efforts. Because of this laws, as well as other reasons, most Immortals prefer not to tamper with Temporal Prime unless they have the proper authorisations, or they are very careful to conceal their actions. Immortals that didn't gain their Immortality with the help of a sponsor don't always strictly adhere to Immortal laws, and are known to travel through time when this is in their interest, or otherwise interfere with Temporal Prime this is what Rafiel and Rad did when chronomancers of Alphatia tried to contact the Blackmoorians but they are generally watched by Immortals of Time and can be brought to Pandius to be judged if they interfere.
Mortal identities: Whenever an Immortal creates a mortal identity, a new lifeline appears in the Temporal Prime. This lifeline is generally quite bright since the mortal identity is very powerful and able to greatly affect the lives of many persons. If the Immortal returns to his/her manifestation form and back from time to time, the lifeline corresponding to the mortal identity stops and restarts accordingly, the same way as does that of a chronomancer. If the mortal identity is the same as that the Immortal had in mortal life, the same lifeline continues at some point after the effective "death" of its owner (this phenomenon can also happen with a chronomancer's lifeline). Immortals sometimes protect the lifelines of their most important mortal identities. An Immortal can be present in his/her mortal guise and Immortal form at the same time simply by travelling through time as Immortals, effectively negating the side effect of not being able to use their Immortal powers while in mortal form, but this is rare occurrence because of the Immortal laws.
Exalted creatures and Temporal Prime
Mortal lifeline: Exalted creatures are mortals that have died, but have been reincarnated by an Immortal into an exalted creature because they were loyal and powerful followers in their mortal life, and because they have often died while defending a cause important to that Immortal. Thus, they have a lifeline corresponding to their mortal life and a bright one but it has ended when they died. These lifelines are rarely protected, except for the most important exalted creatures.
Exalted lifeline: As soon as they become exalted, they become denizens of another plane, generally the same as the home plane of their Immortal patron. Thus, a new lifeline appears in the Temporal Prime corresponding to that plane, as if they were just born on that plane. These lifelines are also rarely protected, since it is not so easy to travel between realities in Temporal Prime, and other denizens of the plane are unlikely to willingly disrupt their life since they generally follow the same Immortals or at least allied ones.
Chronomancy: Most exalted creatures have no knowledge in chronomancy (except maybe the denizens of Entrem). They can slip in Temporal Prime if other creatures help them to generally their patron but in that case they are subject to the same effects and hazards as mortal creatures while there and can't double their lifelines.
Turbulence: The Mystaran timestream certainly does have many turbulence. These are generally located at very special points in the timestream, as they mark events that have had such a tremendous impact on the history of Mystara that they have left a permanent peculiarity in Temporal Prime. These are most often permanent maelstroms of various sizes, that sometimes connect the Mystaran timestream to that of another reality. Although they can be used by mortal chronomancers to fast travelling effects, it is often impossible to slip back to reality where they stand, because these correspond to the critical points in history that the Immortals want to protect from tampering and shunt travellers around.
Maelstroms: The maelstroms often form around events of particular importance to Mystaran history; it is speculated that some vortices that are part of such maelstroms go into alternate Mystaras, where the events has turned differently, but no chronomancers or Immortals with the possible exception of Khoronus, who is rumoured among Immortals to have explored all such alternate worlds and carefully recorded their histories is known for sure to have ventured there, or none has ever returned. Maelstroms also form at the time of transportation from cultures to the Hollow World, with vortices linking the two points in space at the time of the transportation and possibly to other times of that culture in both the Outer World and the Hollow World. Also, since Mystara is particularly rich in dimensional travels (for some unknown reason, many peoples and races from other worlds and dimensions found it easy to travel to Mystara), their time of arrival on Mystara has often created a maelstrom on Temporal Prime, with a vortex or more leading back to their home world or dimensions. The largest and most well-known of the maelstroms are:
Nucleus: A maelstrom situated at the time and place (at about 4000 BC, at some place in the void between the planets of Mystaraspace) of the arrival of the Beagle in this world. Hundreds or thousands of lifelines seem to begin at that same point, as if that many people, whose destinies seem very tied, had been suddenly born. One vortex is supposed to lead back to their home dimension, while another leads to the place and time of the ship's engines explosion, one to the First Alteration of the Engines, one to the Second Alteration of the Engines, and one to the moment of the Nucleus's activation that destroyed Alphatia in 1009 AC and resulted in the week without magic. There are other vortices who lead farther in the future.
Blackmoor: Another maelstrom exists at the time and place of the explosion of Blackmoor's devices that led to the Rain of Fire (around 3000 BC, in the City of Blackmoor). It has vortices leading to Blackmoor's independence from the Empire of Thonia and to the crash-landing of the Beagle, as well as to the second explosion in the Broken Lands in 1700 BC.
Alphatia: A maelstrom exists at the moment of the landfall of the Alphatians (1000 BC, Alphatia). This one has vortices leading to the moment of the destruction of Old Alphatia in their home world (and possibly, from there to other points in Alphatia's history), to the Flaem's maelstrom, to the sinking of Alphatia in 1009 AC, and another maelstrom corresponding to Alphatia's relocation to the Hollow World. Other vortices may lead to other points in the future.
Flaem: A maelstrom similar to Alphatia's stands at the moment of the coming of the Flaem to Mystara (395 AC, Braastar), with vortices to their previous world (and possibly from there to other worlds they wandered through; see the novel Dragonmage of Mystara for more detail on this subject), to Alphatia's and the Nucleus's maelstroms, and to other future times.
Laterre: Another maelstrom in Glantri, but in 728 AC. It has vortices to Laterre at the times of the openings of the dimensional portals to and from Mystara as well as the disappearance (896 AC) and reappearance (979 AC) of the d'Ambrevilles, to the Nucleus's maelstrom, to Alphatia's sinking (but at the place of the Nucleus, not Alphatia), and to other future events.
Emerond: A smaller maelstrom stands at the point where Emerondians came to Mystara from the Pyrithian Archipelago asteroids many centuries ago. A vortex leads back to their asteroids in another part of the Mystaran solar system.
Red Curse: A maelstrom stands in the Savage Coast at the time of the creation of the Red Curse. Vortices lead to the exact places and times of the creation of the different components that make up the Curse, and to Herath at the moment of the casting of the spell that confines the Curse to the Savage Baronies and to the moment of its dispelling by the Week Without Magic.
Hollow World: A maelstrom stands at the time of the transformation of the Hollow World by the Immortals into a haven for endangered species. This maelstrom has vortices leading to all other maelstroms resulting from the relocation of any one culture, as well as one rumoured to lead to an alternate Mystara in which the Immortals couldn't come to such an agreement and never transformed the Hollow World. All cultural relocation give way to a maelstrom, with at least two vortices linking the places of pre-relocation and post-relocation, and sometimes other vortices as well. Note that there is thus a second Alphatian maelstrom, and that the Nithian maelstrom also leads to all places that were eradicated by the Immortals' fury.
Who: Few chronomancers are known to live on Mystara. Most if not all that came from Old Alphatia were destroyed by Rafiel and Rad when they tried to contact Blackmoor, although some might have escaped (but it is quite difficult to escape an Immortal's power). No chronomancers were known to have come to Mystara with the Flaem. Chronomancy may have been rediscovered by some wizards from these countries or by individuals anywhere, but if that's the case, they either have been very discreet and probably untampering, or they have been destroyed before they could prove a threat to Mystara's history. It is speculated that at least some seers from Yavdlom may be chronomancers, in which case their strict adherence to the Precepts of Yav have prevented their sharing the fate of the Alphatian chronomancers.
Secrets: As there are few chronomancers, if any, the secrets of chronomancy are not easily unveiled. Maybe a place to search would be in the books and archived of the late Alphatian chronomancers, but they might as well have been destroyed by Rafiel and Rad to prevent further tampering. The best source of chronomantic knowledge is probably the Immortals themselves; however, it is unlikely that they will give such potentially dangerous secrets without a good reason or to characters they fear would misuse them. Moreover, most Immortals don't have a good enough knowledge of Temporal Prime to reveal all its secrets. The best source of information would of course be Khoronus himself, but he is a very secretive character and is unlikely to give such secrets if it's not his own idea, and in that case it would probably be because his knowledge of the past and future of Mystara let him think that it is the fate of that character to learn of it at that very time. Another good source of knowledge would be Yav, but he probably himself adheres to his own principles, and wouldn't give the secrets away if it wasn't fate. Other Immortals of the Sphere of Time or exalted creatures from Entrem might be persuaded to give them away, but this probably would be at a high price, and probably also not without a good insurance about the character's intent; moreover, they probably have never studied Temporal Prime as well as the previous two Immortals. Some Immortals of the Sphere of Energy, primarily Ixion, also have some basic (not so basic in the eyes of a would-be chronomancer, or even an experienced one) knowledge of Temporal Prime and could be persuaded to reveal part of it at great expense.
Slipgates: There are no known permanent slipgates at any time or place on Mystara. The only thing that most closely resembles a slipgate is the gate at the Comeback Inn, also referred to as the Inn Between the Worlds. This inn has been enchanted so as to be nearly indestructible by normal passing of time, among other things, and is not dispellable by standard methods. But the inn has an unusual feature, although no one knows how it came into being: a gate in the lower cellar that permits time travel. This is not a real slipgate, however: the gate is not always open, and one can pass through it when it is open without any knowledge of chronomancy or control over the destination; but with specially crafted magical amulets it is possible to better control the gate. Moreover, the gate does lead to Temporal Prime, but to an unknown dimension that permits time travel; the destination is always the gate of the inn itself, but at another time. It is not known whether the mortal enchantments on the inn had such a side-effect, or if an unknown Immortal (probably from the Sphere of Time) had purposely opened it, or if it is the work of an Old One. The source and potency of the magic that keeps the gate working cannot be evaluated even by Immortals, and no one has ever dared closing it, assuming it was there for a good reason.