Abridged History of the 10th Age
From the earliest legends and the most adventuresome explorers, we have learned the truth of the matter – the Heaven of Valingas is truly connected with the Earth, and the Seven Hells are as well. However, the barriers between them are impenetrable by mortal flesh and only elves, who’s spirits depart their bodies and journey straight to the side of their lords in Valingas, can easily bridge that barrier. The Great Ash, which the people of Thegnas worship in the form of Irminsul having remembered a much older tradition, is guarded by the Gods jealously in the frozen North of the world. It’s roots reach down to the realm of Akem, the Nine Hells, and its branches spread out into the realm of the Gods. It is purportedly impossible to climb the tree Asca-Irminsul. Descriptions of it say that it is miles around and splits the northern ices like a giants’ fortress. The Cloud Giants have oft visited it, and rumors have it that they have even climbed it by a secret stair known only to them–in the old days, Lumiä’s forces may have even assaulted its base.
However, there is a much closer connection between the Three Worlds. The people of Miles long ago erected an approximation of Asca-Irminsul of red stone, and this is the Pillar. It is the Nave of the World, the Crux Arcanum, and the center of the civilizations of man. While Miles has waxed and waned in political importance, it has nevertheless been the historical focal-point of all Men. In the North, it is seen as the hub and wellspring of all history and in the South, it is known as the final destination of what the Zeshimites call “the Great Exodus,” some time during the original Empire of the Sorcerer-King Zesh. As a manufactured version of Asca-Irminsul, it is a link between the Three Worlds; this explains why it was the destination of Lumiä’s armies during the Eighth Age, for he wished to come again unto Valingas by that road. Ironic, that he should travel a much longer but wiser path to be re-admitted into the Heavens.
The only mortals of the civilized races to have been to Valingas are Tharos and Pogrillius Tosscobble, both of whom stole from the Wellspring of Life, Kaiva or Brunnra depending on whether one favors Ävestic or Ordric roots. However, Pogrillius would have been stripped of his immortality if he had not been defended by Leesha Roseheart, the chief goddess of the Halflings upon the Greensward. Tharos, an ancient evil known as the Necromancer, managed to avoid the wrath of the gods by stealing the waters of the Kaiva-spring which keeps the Gods forever young; he used an artifact crafted by other hands, known now as the Cup Everlasting, to steal a mouthful of the waters and to make himself as powerful as a God.
Orvius Wildspell Kavalson, Cosmology
The origins of the phrase “gone west” have always interested me. After much research into the most dangerous places of the world and much ado retrieving old scholarly manuscripts, I believe I have stumbled upon the answer. The souls of the dead were said to journey into the west after their bodies were slain–this is an ancient trope attributed to every major civilized race. The reason for this is, I believe, the belief that the gates to the Hells and Valingas lie on a Westerly island where the Sun sets each night and descends into the Hells.
Some fragments of recovered Second Empire texts suggest that the island was a physical place; if so, this esteemed author has never heard of anyone who claims to have sailed there or even to have seen it. Indeed, the more impressive gateway to Valingas must be Asca-Irminsul, which travelers HAVE seen!
Reynarius di Llun, Letter to his friend Timbarra Tyrollen