On the Abyss
by Dr. Nu’Iva Shal, Master Mystic, Planeswalker, and professor of Archaeology at the University of Matrukoris
It is no secret that we find ourselves in a mysterious universe filled with wonders that we are still attempting to understand. One such wonder is a plane commonly known as the Abyss. Most information on this plane that predate my research is rather scarce and vague, often using language that makes little sense to those not well versed in planology, archaeology, or mysticism. The goal of this paper is to inform other scholars of my findings about the Abyss. This includes the history, nature, and dangers of the Abyss, subjects I personally have studied thoroughly.
History and Nomenclature of the Abyss Edit
Firstly, we will look at the history and nomenclature of the Abyss. This includes previous understandings and interactions from those who have, in one way or another, interacted with or mention the Abyss. This also includes the various names that many people have given the plane over the course of history. Most of these old names, understandings and texts come from Tyrisians (people of Tyris Major), but I have discovered some references to the Abyss from Mirusians (people of Mirus) as well.
Tyrisian Accounts of the Abyss Edit
I will start with the Nyarqaeshu, an ancient race of Tyrisian scholars, conquerors, and essence bearers, are currently acknowledged to be the first beings to have discovered the existence of the Abyss sometime before 5 million BC. They were arguably the first real galactic power in the Tyris Cluster, having conquered the cluster millions of years ago. Unfortunately, there are very few surviving texts from this time, which makes studying possibly the most powerful and advanced civilization to grace the Tyris Cluster nigh impossible. Among what did survive were journals kept by three individuals that were of great importance to the Nyarqaeshu. However they are not exactly the most helpful. I will briefly summarize them before touching on the other interpretations of the Abyss.
First, the Journal of Padunas Ori is possibly the oldest text in the cluster, dating back to sometime around 5 million BC. In this journal, Padunas Ori mentions that he entered the Abyss through some type of meditative state while channeling something his people called “Una’Tas”, which means “The Understanding” once translated to Tyris Basic. It is not known what “The Understanding” is or was, but after entering the Abyss he emerged “knowing the truth” with a power known as Uni’El, which translated into Tyris Basic means “That Which Cannot be Understood”.1 With this Uni’El, Ori not only saved his people from certain doom, but founded a religion centered around worshiping the Abyss and beyond known today as Voidism.
- Note Padunas Ori’s mention of knowing some sort of truth. This is a theme that will appear in later texts that mention the Abyss.
Another Nyarqaeshu known as Xizouyu Moa also left behind the Journal of Xizouyu Moa, which was about his experiences in life and with the Abyss. He stated that his mentor, Padunas Ori, barely scratched the surface of the plane. Moa, having delved deeper into the Abyss gained a stronger connection to the Uni’El and became one of the most powerful beings to walk the Tyris Cluster. He also mentioned that this power of his was “made manifest by the truth.”2 However this would have negative effects on the Nyarqaeshian supreme leader. It is well documented that Moa suffered from some sort of “hunger” that he could not sate, which drove him to utter madness. Of course, as any good scholar of the cluster knows, Moa would get himself killed while trying to invade the Mirus Galaxy. This is unfortunate, as his journal leaves very little insight on the nature of the Abyss and it is notably unfinished due to his sudden death.
The Journal of Xizothano Ada provides more insight into the nature of the Abyss. Xizothano Ada, while he is a massively controversial figure in more recent times, is known to be among the most knowledgeable about the Abyss and what lies beyond it. In his journal, he mentions that the Abyss is a plane that is both “real and unreal” and “a place where not even atoms are certain they exist”. He even mentions that the Abyss “is and is not around what is and encircled in what is not”.3 I understand that this phrase is quite confusing, but I believe I have discovered what he meant by this (see Nature of the Void section). Xizothano Ada is also one such individual who was able to use the Abyss as a means of travelling across vast distances of space and at one point ascension into godhood. I am currently looking into this phenomenon, as he is not the only individual who has done this. He does mention aspects of what lies beyond the Abyss, but that is not the focus of this paper.
- Note the uncertainty of the nature of the Abyss in Ada’s texts. This becomes a common theme in texts that come after this journal.
Aside from those texts from the Nyarqaeshu, their successors known as the Nebulorian Ascendancy would pick up where they left off. The Nebulorian Ascendancy, a civilization known well by Tyrisians and Mirusians, would study the Abyss religiously. The Nebulorian Ascendency reigned over all of northern Tyris Major and the entirety of Tyris Minor from 700,000 BCE to 135,000 BCE. Curiously enough, the Nebulorians called it “the Deep” rather than the Abyss, a trend I have noticed continued during I discovered in my studies of ancient Tyrisian cultures.4 The Nebulorians were capable of entering the Deep using some sort of technology that allowed them to “dive” into it. In their studies, the Nebulorians discovered that there was tangible energy that could be harnessed from the Deep. However it was extremely dangerous to harvest, and even more dangerous to use. The Nebululorians were not known to harness the Deep’s power outside of using it to travel great distances (as Xizothano Ada did), and using the Abyss as a place to escape danger (see Infectant Horde section).
- Note the usage of language that references water (diving, the deep). Again, a trope that we will see in later texts.
During my research I also discovered that the Abyss also appears in ancient Volver texts, as expected considering that the Volver are of Nyarqaeshian descent. It is mostly referenced as the Beyond, or even rarely directly as the Abyss. The Beyond was described an ancient Volver text from around 5000 BCE as “an ocean and haven bathed in truth. A place where our god, Ada awaits us”.5 Of course there is no evidence that any ancient Volver having ever entered the Beyond, but it is curious that their mythical description of the Abyss was pretty close to reality. The current Volver Empire does not seem to have much insight on the nature of the Abyss is, but certain individuals of their species have given non-written reports on the Abyss. Valishar Brygon, who has actually entered the Abyss, states that the Abyss is “a plane where you live dying in an enlightened misunderstanding”. Of course that sounds just as nonsensical as the texts from millions of years ago, but it is not uncommon knowledge that the Abyss has negative effects on the mind.
The Soldarian Empire has very limited texts on anything regarding the Abyss. However, Emperor Pulporious the Fourth (emperor of the Soldarian Empire from 2254 BCE to 606 CE) is believed to have delved into, or at the very least made contact with the Abyss at one point in his life to gain the secret to immortality. There are two accounts of this, one being from his own journal, and another account being from the journal of a Soldarian priest known as Ortulis Pitulo. From the emperor’s own journal, he mentions that he “drank from the sea beyond the world and gained the truth”.6 Pitulo’s account of these events state that “the emperor, in his thirst for power, drowned in that damned sea. He came out a liar, claiming he knew a truth that made no sense.” Again, some reference to water, the “truth”, and now “lies”.7
My own people of the Antroth Empire actually have an old account on the Abyss as well. Around 4890 BCE, the first of my mystic order, Queen Vi’Serra, delved into darker magics in order to find victory over our ancient foes. Similarly to Padunas Ori, Vi’Serra encountered something she called “The Maw”. According to the old text known as the Ank’xthoth-Kuda, which details the history and nature of the Antroth Mystic Arts, the young Vi’Serra faced The Maw as it “whispered lies”, and through it she “took hold of her own being, and then saw the truth”.8 This is quite different from the other texts I’ve mentioned, as it claims that the Maw, or the Abyss, is itself a liar. Other texts claim that it tells the truth or people that emerge from it are liars. This is curious in two ways. One, being that somehow Vi’Serra found a “truth” independent of the Maw/Abyss, (thus, according to our history, creating the Mystic Arts and the modern Antroth species). And two, being that these texts depict the Abyss, a plane of existence, as “telling” someone something.
As mentioned earlier, the Nebulorians were forced into hibernation. This was caused by a species of parasites known as the Infectants destroying much of their civilization in some wild attempt to spread and consume. The Infectant Horde has been a threat for thousands if not millions of years, so information on them is pretty widespread amongst Tyrisian historians. An interesting, and rather chilling discovery I made while studying the Infetant Horde’s own ancient tablets is that even this ravenous swarm knows of the Abyss. Roughly translated into Tyris Basic, the Tablets of Sshtival mention “that place where there is no certainty. That place made of lies. That place that leads to the enemy.”9 Again, the mention of a “lie” and some manner of “uncertainty”, tropes that have become common among ancient cultures when referencing the Abyss. What I find interesting about this is that the Infectants mention that the Abyss is some sort of barrier between or path to “the enemy”. Our current understanding of the Abyss leads us to believe that there is nothing beyond it other than the Void (which as far as we know is empty). However, it could be that the Infectants are either lying or have some information on the Abyss we have yet to translate or understand.
Mirusian Accounts of the AbyssEdit
In Mirus, there are even fewer accounts of the Abyss. I suspect this has more to do with the lack of Nyarqaeshian influence on the galaxy. However, there are still some noteworthy notes on the Abyss from Mirusians.
The Vanara of Mirus have the most interesting insight on the Abyss (and the Void beyond it) out of any Mirusian civilization I have studied. Specifically, scriptures known as the Stones of the Sea and Stones of the Soil that belong to two of the three sects of the Vanara religion of Drakenism.*
- The third set of scriptures Scrolls of the Sun, mention the other two in passing, but not in much detail.
The Stones of the Soil, supposedly written by a goddess known to the Vanara as Ama Maka, mentions another goddess named Ara Maya and how she “is the villain that spits venomous falsehoods from the sea.” Another line from the scripture states that “her victims lose all sense of what is and focus on what is not”.10 This language is very similar to the language we see in Tyrisian texts regarding the Abyss.
This is easily one of the most compelling ancient texts that I have studied regarding the Abyss. The text is supposedly written by the goddess Ara Maya, the figure mentioned in the Stones of the Soil as some sort of avatar of the Abyss. In this scripture, Ara Maya mentions that her sisters, Ama Maka and Asa Miki, are “the ones who believe in a falsehood. And they are the ones who lied to you”.11 Though I find the most interesting statement from the scripture would be from the Third Stone, where Ara Maya says, “I am the sea, the deep, the abyss, the maw, the silence, and the beyond. I am above comprehension, the negentropy of this and all places. Some call me the liar and the adversary.”12
Upon discovering that statement, I was shocked at how specific it was. Almost every title given to the Abyss by the various cultures who have interacted with it or at least know of it was mentioned by Ama Maka. What’s chilling is that these titles were given by Tyrisians, while Ama Maka is Mirusian in origin.
One title given to the Abyss that was new to me was “the Silence”, as seen in the Stones of the Sea. I have theories on what this means, but that is best saved for another essay.
The Nature and Dangers of the AbyssEdit
Now that I have covered what prior knowledge we have on the Abyss and the connections I have made between various ancient texts, I can discuss my own experiences with the plane. As one of the few “mortal” individuals with the ability to planeswalk in the gigaquadrant, I was able to not only enter the Abyss on my own, but also attune my Tower to it allowing myself easy access to and from it and various other planes. I spent two years exploring the plane myself, studying the strange phenomenon that is the Abyss.
First and foremost, the plane experiences a phenomenon called “The Interplay”. This phenomenon is basically the reason why the Abyss is so treacherous. Simply put, significant portions of the plane that shift in and out of existence at random. As Xizothano Ada mentioned in his journal on the subject, “a place where not even atoms are certain they exist”. It is unknown why this occurs, though what is known is that even outsiders like us are subject to this phenomenon. You could exist one moment, and cease to exist the next after entering the Abyss.
The Abyss, rather than being an adjacent plane or dimension of our existence, actually resides (and does not reside) around our existence. Think of all of existence as the air within a bubble. The Abyss, or rather the Interplay, is (and is not) the membrane of that bubble. I talk in terms of uncertainty of its existence purely because that is (and is not) the nature of the plane itself.
Time appears to work at random in the Abyss, passing slower, faster, or at the same pace as time in our plane. The energies of the Abyss do seem to “gnaw” at your mind after a while, causing you to forget things without the ability to recall them. One such thing is that the Abyss can make you forget how to breathe, causing you to suffocate. Perhaps it may make you forget how to walk, trapping you in one spot of the Abyss until you die. If you can somehow overcome that, which is easier said than done, the Abyss does provide an interesting insight on the universe. This insight could grant you knowledge of things long forgotten or never discovered. For instance, I learned how to planeswalk (the ability to traverse the planes of existence) from traversing the Abyss. However, this is a feat I wouldn't recommend trying for yourself, as I almost died numerous times trying to accomplish it.
As you can see, while it can offer great power, the Abyss itself is dangerous to traverse simply because our minds and bodies are not physically capable of comprehending or withstanding its energies. Assuming you even survive the previously mentioned danger of memory loss, you would still need to survive the shifts in existing and not existing that the plane tends to go through periodically. Most ships are incapable of surviving a voyage to and from the Abyss, let alone accessing it. The energy shields would be stripped as soon as the ship passes through the threshold of the Abyss, and then the hull of the ship may be eroded thanks to the Abyss’ shifting states.
Personally, I have no intention of discussing how to traverse or even access the Abyss in this paper, as doing so is a difficult task that could result in the deaths of trillions at the hands of arrogant individuals who are seeking power, as well as long lasting negative effects on our plane of existence. I only entered the Abyss for research purposes, but others might have more sinister goals in mind.
The Void, a subject that probably requires its own essay, is very much an unknown. I have not dared to brave the Void myself, but from what I understand, if you enter it, you cease to exist. One could argue that the Abyss protects our existence from this state of non-existence beyond it. Make no mistake, unlike the Abyss, the Void is not a place one can visit and return from easily. Or at least not all in one piece. There are very few individuals who have actually survived encounters with the Void, but even then these survivors were driven to insanity from what they saw in the Void, and ultimately doomed themselves. That is all I will say on the matter for now.
I hope that in some way I have shed light on the Abyss and its history and nature. I also hope that my warnings about the dangers of the Abyss are actually heeded. It would appear in more recent times, the power that the Abyss can offer is quite seductive to fledgling civilizations. Research on the plane is still being done by myself and a small circle of people who are well equipped for the task. I doubt that we will ever truly understand the Abyss or the Void beyond it, however I believe that we can get pretty close if given enough time and resources.
- Dr. Nu'Iva Shal, Master Mystic, Planeswalker, and Professor of Archaeology at the University of Matrukoris.
1 Journal of Padunas Ori Entry 6, Entry 8.
2 Journal of Xizouyu Moa, Entry 3.
6 Journal of Emperor Pulporious IV, entry 22.
7 Secrets of the Gilded One, entry 7
8 Ank’xthoth-Kuda, Chapter 2.
11 Stones of the Sea, Stone 2
12 Stones of the Sea, Stone 3