Cradle World: The Abidan (Part 1)
(NOTE: Like any information about the future, this is subject to change. I created this system for a different story before writing Unsouled, so if I decide I need to alter how the Abidan work in order to suit the story, I will. Nothing is etched in stone.)
(NOTE II: Return of NOTE - Credit for the idea behind this post goes to Reddan, from the comments! Great idea, Reddan! The Judges are coming soon!)
The Way and the Worlds
Iteration: Any universe that the Abidan recognize as capable of sustaining human existence and living out a complete life-cycle.
Every Iteration has a destined progression. A world is born, it lives out its existence, and then it quietly dies, breaking into fragments. These fragments float through the void, crashing and combining randomly until they form into a new universe.
They are called "Iterations" because the thousands of universes currently in existence are thought to be different versions of the same original world or worlds, spun out in different combinations again and again for eternity. Even the Abidan Judges do not know when this cycle began.
On its own, an Iteration should exist for billions of years, except for a certain underlying requirement: each Iteration is anchored to the Way by sentient consciousness. As long as humans* are around, the world is tethered to the natural law and order of the Way. The fewer humans there are, the looser that connection becomes.
When humanity dies, the world dissolves.
The Way: The source of order, the Way is a force that spans all of existence. Its presence protects against the destructive and corruptive influence of chaos, and its nature sustains reality.
An Iteration dying is part of the Way. Death is meant to be the end; this is part of the cosmic order. Only when an Iteration lives too long does it becomes a danger.
When a world's population drops so low that it weakens the influence of the Way, but not so low that the Iteration breaks into fragments, that is when corruption sets in. Chaos seeps into the world, infecting it, subverting the laws that govern reality.
At this point, the Abidan can destroy the remaining population, thus removing the Iteration's last hold on existence. But now the world will break into fragments, and those fragments are tinged with chaos. They might crash into other Iterations, infecting them, or combine to create worlds that are corrupted from the very beginning.
There is only one being capable of erasing a universe from existence entirely, without breaking it down into fragments.
And he's missing.
The Eledari Pact: An ancient agreement between the original Court of Seven that both increases and restricts the powers of the Abidan.
Agreements and restrictions are inherently ordered, so this pact is the tool that allows the Abidan to control the power of the Way as they do. There are many rules in the Eledari Pact, but the most relevant one is this: the Abidan cannot use their powers to prevent the natural progression of an Iteration.
They cannot stop a global war from claiming billions of lives and destroying a planet, unless that war was started by outside forces or by a significant subversion of Fate. Abidan only descend to correct a deviation, though they're granted a certain freedom of action in doing so. This law exists both to preserve the natural balance of existence and to prevent the Abidan from settling down in lesser worlds and ruling like gods.
*(The Abidan definition of "human" is pretty loose, but never too far removed from the humanity we know. When a new Iteration forms that may be able to support life, the Abidan select a new population of human pioneers and send them to inhabit a suitable planet.)
Today, some basic terminology to help you understand the cosmos the Abidan are dealing with.
Tomorrow, the world!
Next time: the Hound and the Titan
There is a certain amount of time! Depends on a lot of factors, including the stability and compatibility of the fragments that combine, which is part of what the Ghosts do: they're trying to ensure that the newborn worlds remain as stable as possible for as long as possible.
3/30/2017 12:43:46 pm
Please tell me you plan on writing a book or seven following this plot point. That would be so cool, starting up a new civilization in a new universe with different laws of physics and magic systems for the people to figure out. God that would be a fun read....
That was the book I wanted to write before House of Blades. I spent so long working on it that I had taken it way too many directions, so I thought, "This is my best idea, but I don't think I'm capable of writing it right now. What is an idea I have that I can DEFINITELY write and finish?"
I'm going to just put this out there and I don't know if it's just me or if its happening but not large scale enough to affect every corner of the multi-universe you have envisioned.
The thing is, their priority is to let worlds develop naturally.
3/31/2017 04:12:32 pm
That kind of implies that there was one starting human universe where the way was born if the new iterations don't have enough time to evolve humans normally
It does imply that, yeah. However, wherever humans originated, it comes from a time before Abidan were keeping records. The theory is that the original human world already dispersed into fragments.
3/29/2017 05:56:48 pm
Great post Will.
3/30/2017 09:41:18 am
Which of your books took place on Sanctum?
3/29/2017 06:02:44 pm
Do the inhabitants of the territories fit the definition of human? The ape from Lirial (whose name escapes me), the Avernus bird-men, the Nye, Marakos/the gnomes from Elysia, the lizard creatures from Naraka Kai kills? Or are those humans who were affected by the time they spent on a fragment drifting through the void?
3/29/2017 06:24:01 pm
Follow up. Assuming that the Territories are fragments that haven't fully combined with the Traveler's Gate World, what happens to travelers when the territories do fully combine?
They do count, but not fully. They're either humans who were warped by their time in a fragment or the descendants of humans like that. OR they could be non-humans that achieved sentience and became more human.
3/29/2017 08:04:03 pm
Do the territory denizens remember their previous worlds? Like do they have oral histories or something?
Yeah. Chapter 8:
3/29/2017 11:59:40 pm
...is that you, Aizen-sama? Is this all according to the plan? LOL
Just according to keikaku...
3/29/2017 06:20:07 pm
When you say universe do you mean literal full scale universe like the one we exist in or do you mean a sorta localized sphere of planets and stars, perhaps the scale of one galaxy, and nothing else exists at all?
3/29/2017 06:47:00 pm
That would imply that the most developed and advanced iterations have multiple worlds all united under one government and/or race. Makes sense that the "Court of Seven" would rule from this iteration. I wonder if in the most advanced iterations, they are so knowledgeable that things like the Abidan are not myths, just everyday facts of life.
Sanctum is like you've described. It's a galactic civilization with faster-than-light travel in the form of skipping through the Way, they're fully aware of the Abidan, and they benefit from the technology of other worlds.
3/29/2017 06:45:11 pm
A plot point for future Cradle is now foreshadowed. I bet Suriel gets in big trouble for creating a deviation instead of fixing it. Lindon will face major scrutiny for supposedly being infected with chaos by being a deviation.
3/29/2017 06:58:06 pm
If the Territories continue to grow from their connection to Amalgam, could they eventually merge fully with Amalgam without causing a Limit and Harrow situation? If they couldn't, what does a Territory growing entail for the humans on Amalgam? Stronger Travelers?
3/29/2017 07:01:58 pm
Last question (maybe) In the short story Steel Diplomacy you have descendants of Elysians that have been away from the City for a while. What would happen to them as they spent longer and longer away from the Territory?
Nothing happens to them. They're fine. They're descendants, so technically they're natives of the Unnamed World (the Traveler's Gate world that isn't a Territory).
3/29/2017 07:51:19 pm
Are Iterations sequential? Like, does one universe die and then another one spin up, but the members of the Abidan court are able to travel through time to some extent? Or are they all scattered throughout a multiverse, and coalesce at different times?
3/29/2017 10:24:29 pm
How does ascending to higher iterations work? Is it like a ladder, where there is one iteration that is higher than the one before, or is it like a pyramid, where there are many "infant" level iterations and as you go higher there are less and less iterations.
3/29/2017 11:27:06 pm
Does Lindon's fate intertwine with the missing Abidan? Incarnation possibly?
3/30/2017 04:04:46 am
If Travelers don't kill or trap the incarnations, and their are left free to roam the world would there be a point where the adiban would step in to stop the world warping into the territories of the incarnations?
3/30/2017 09:02:39 am
1.) Are humans from each iteration biologically diffrent? (I asked this in the previous post)
Ah. Sorry I missed this post, Diego, but I think I answered you on the other thread just now.
Guy who plays Zelda too much
3/30/2017 09:36:53 am
By "Tomorrow, the world!" You mean that Blackflame is released tomorrow right?
3/30/2017 09:38:03 am
Hey Will! I love the world you are creating. Really the only thing I can compare it to is Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere. I was just wondering if that was the plan from the very beginning or if this idea of iterations developed as you wrote new books? Also are we going to be seeing new iterations, complete with different magic systems?
Ideas don't ever stop developing, in my experience, even unto the point where I was tweaking details before I released this post.
3/30/2017 09:38:42 am
Anyone else feel a little Zelazny in that post? It felt a little like "All roads lead to Amber." I loved the Amber books and the Abidan feels like a more universal scale of Amber, with the princes not necessarily being backstabbing power-hungry monsters. If I have to wait for Blackflame, this is how I would prefer to do it. Masterfully done as ever, Will!
*I* definitely felt some Zelazny in this post.
4/3/2017 01:00:00 am
A finite universe is better yes, it adds some accountability since losing a world to chaos would mean absolutely nothing if there are infinite worlds. I do however want to say infinite universes does not imply that every scenario (like a world where you have lady bug wings and talk to muffins) exists. People often mistake infinite universes with the idea that everything is possible somewhere. Take the fact that there are infinite numbers between 1 and 2, that doesn't mean that one of those numbers is 8. I think it would probably be similar for a multiverse. It is infinite, but still limited in some ways.
3/30/2017 10:19:01 am
So will, Question time:
1.) Can't tell you, spoilers.
3/30/2017 02:17:18 pm
I just answered you in a little more detail on the other thread, but in a nutshell:
3/30/2017 10:35:11 am
I cant wait for book 3 .... just hoping its in the next few days!!!
3/30/2017 12:52:00 pm
It's at least a few weeks if not a few months ^_^;;
3/30/2017 02:17:17 pm
Thank you Will for putting this together, and for the credit. I'm almost ridiculously excited to read this and the following installment(s)!! I'm glad my small suggestion could be valuable.
4/7/2017 01:58:40 pm
why not make it that life is responsible for the health of the iteration and not just humans. You can just say the reason why a lot of the worlds that are becoming chaos ridden have many humans on it is because they are persistent and are good at adapting. you can even say the reason that the worlds live long enough to become chaos ridden is because of said humanity's ability to survive.
Leave a Reply.
Of the Cradle series
Want to get short stories and book releases before anyone else? Sign up below!
Hey, what about those short stories you claim to have already written?
Apparently they're kept here!