Creation is the name given to the whole of existence. Creation has countless sub-planes, dimensions and timelines, but has three Prime Planes that are of the utmost importance. These are the Highplane, sometimes called Heaven, the Midplane where most of the life in Creation resides, and the Underplane, also called Hell, which is the abode of demons and where souls heavy with sin go until they are light enough to return to the Midplane. There is also a realm called the Void, which exists beyond Creation and is the space into which it expands.
Also referred to as Heaven this is the dimension ruled by an enigmatic being known only as the Source and is peopled entirely with nigh omnipotent spirits called Celestials, as well as life from the Midplane and presumably even Hell which has achieved Enlightenment. According to Adam, the purpose of the Cycle is to allow life in the Universe to make the leaps it needs to make in order to achieve Enlightenment and allow it to enter the Highplane. It is said that without achieving that, life will burn out and cease to exist in Heaven, which is why it is closed to life that has not reached Enlightenment. A noteworthy feature of Heaven is that there is no linear time there. Since Material Beings cannot exist there, it's true nature is unknown. According to Adam, it's "worth the trouble it takes to get there."
This realm, which is under the control of the Guardian Adam, is where the story of SHIVA largely takes place. Upon its expiration, life which has neither achieved Enlightenment nor fallen to depravity is recycled to live again in the Midplane. In its inception the Midplane was conquered and controlled by the demon offspring of Satan. Eventually, they were driven from this galaxy by the First Gods. One called Adam erected the barrier between the planes and sealed the demonic Old Ones and their children into the Underplane. From him was created a female companion called Eve, and together they ruled the Midplane. Over time the two begat the Second Gods, with whom he set about bringing Order to the Galaxy. Jealous of his authority, his son Strife rose up and killed him. Thereafter he took his sister Asura as his wife and declared himself King. After ruling the Universe for billions of years of chaos, Strife and his Asura begat the Third Generation of Gods. Fearful that they would kill him as he killed his father, he consumed each child upon their birth. Asura managed to trick him and save their final child, the son Crash, who she hid on the planet Ultima. There he grew into a powerful warrior who would free his siblings and overthrow and kill the Second Gods. Thereafter the Third Gods took the name Holy Dragons from the planet from which they ruled. They brought peace and order to the Midplane by either peopling it with lesser Childer Races, or directly influenced the civilizations of those races they did not create. Crash and his siblings, as well as their direct children (other Dragons) ruled the Universe for hundreds of thousands of years until the corruption of Shiva, the Queen of the Gods and sister/wife to Crash himself. In order to defeat her, her son Shine convinced all the other Gods save Crash to sacrifice their life forces to him, which gave him the power to trap her in a crystal prison which became known as the Bloodstone. The Galaxy is divided into 4 Realms which were controlled by the Gods from their home on Ultima, but following the Fall are split between the All Union and the Holy Order. Based in the West Galaxy with territories in the North, the All Union is under the control of the High Lords, who are the successors to the Gods in terms of power and control. Lacking the Gods extraordinary power and invincible technology, the High Lords instead rely on the power they inherited from the God Shine, which they used to create the Order of SENTINEL. Peace and Order throughout the Known Universe is maintained by SENTINEL. The Holy Order is the cult devoted to the lone surviving God, King Crash. It’s operations are headed by the Holy Ghost a powerful saran who commands the cult from the saran homeworld of Kazan in the East Galaxy.
The Cycle can be understood as the wheel on which Midplane turns. The stated purpose of the Cycle is for souls of Material beings to return to it upon the expiration of their bodies and for it to redeposit them back into the Midplane to continue on toward the process or reaching Enlightenment. The only ways to be free of the Cycle are to either gather so much bad karma that a soul becomes heavy and falls off it into Hell, where the sin is burned off till they are light enough to rejoin it, or to achieve Enlightenment when they become light enough to ascend to Heaven. It can be argued that time is an observable result of the Cycle, though time itself does not exist on it.
Also referred to as Hell or Inferno, the Underplane is a realm of unspeakable horror. It is home to the Devils and their demon spawn, who exist in a state of constant and violent warfare. When Creation was young, the walls between dimensions were weak and the Devils walked freely between the Midplane and Underplane. This ended by the actions of the God Adam, who erected a barrier between the Planes and exiled the infernal beings to Hell. Since then, the barrier has been successful at preventing demons of any considerable strength from crossing over, though some weak apparitions make it to the Midplane briefly from time to time. As life from the Midplane that has not reached enlightenment will burn out in Heaven, life from Hell that is heavy with sin and not of sufficient power cannot exist for long in the Midplane.
Hell is described as region of intense, extreme, and unforgiving climates, with layers consisting of overwhelmingly fierce desert sandstorms; explosively unstable volcanic activity, boiling lava, and molten rock; blinding, sub-zero Arctic glaciers; bottomless oceans filled with enormous levaithans; nauseatingly putrid environments saturated with disease-causing fungi; and the endless, existential void of infinite space. Time behaves strangely in Hell, and any who venture there require special charms to make sure they return to the Midplane soon after they left, otherwise they could return and find themselves in the distant past or far in the future.
Within Hell, power is divided by a handful of Archdevils who each consider themselves the rightful successors to Satan's throne. In recent millennia however, all of these Archdevils fell under the thrall of the Fallen Goddess, Lilith, effectively making her the Queen of Hell. Hell itself is made up of Planets called Spheres. Unlike the Midplane, where travel between planets is done through either enhanced teleportation or advanced space ships, travel between the Spheres of Hell is easily conducted through an elaborate network of portals which connect them.
Other Planes and DimensionsEdit
The Void is the infinite emptiness beyond Creation. In the beginning there was only the void, and since the Big Bang, Creation has expanded out into it. It is a place that defies all attempts at explanation and is the home of Ethereal monsters called Outer Beasts that were the castoffs of Creation, and some that are theorized to have existed since before Creation. In the past some intrepid Celestials have set off into the Void looking for Adventure or to further their understanding of the Universe, but none have ever returned from it.
The Astral Plane can be understood as the behind the curtain glue that holds the Midplane together. All people, places, and things of the Midplane are held together by the energies of the Astral Plane. The Astral Plane is not accessible to Material Beings, being traversable only by their spirits or Ethereal beings. It is a huge expanse of space that seems to completely mirror the Midplane. All objects in the Midplane cast a shadow on the Astral Plane, but not all things on the Astral Plane are observable in the Midplane. The Astral Plane is home to many disembodied spirits who are occasionally able to briefly manifest in the physical Universe. Even races that are not Aura Sensitive can clearly see Auras while on the Astral Plane, and will see the true nature of beings who are otherwise hiding what they are. Ethereal beings and higher planes such as Heaven, the Void, and even the Cycle can be more clearly recognized by beings on the Astral Plane, though some by their nature are beyond the ability of a Material Being to understand and they will either forget what they saw upon returning to their body or will have been driven insane.
Ultima is a pocket dimension accessible through a the black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Following the War in Heaven when many Celestials were flooding the Midplane, taking Material Forms and becoming the first Gods, most created a pocket dimension which they could use as a base in their battles with the Devils. The Gods lead by Bahamut, who emerged into this Galaxy, created a pocket dimension It is possible to see out into the Galaxy from Ultima, but those outside cannot see in. The dimension seems to consist solely of a single large planet of unspeakable beauty. Ultima is a veritable paradise covered in lush forests and grasslands. Signs of settlement across the planet are sparse, being limited to the Holy Seat, a massive golden city built across the tallest mountain on the planet, and a few temples peppered on the various continents. The planet itself has dozens of satellites of indeterminate use. The planet Ultima is surrounded by clouds which give the planet the appearance that it is floating on a sea of gold.
Known to some as Purgatory, the Dead Kingdom, or the Dead Plane, Limbo is where spirits go once their material form has expired. The purpose of this realm is to be a depository of spirits so that they can be weighed, judged and moved on to their appropriate place in the Cycle. It has the appearance of a bleak, gray desert with a pale sky. The realm has its denizens which seem to be charged with herding newly arrived souls to the cities where they are judged and sent back to the Midplane through reincarnation, sentenced to Hell or ascended to Heaven. Limbo is controlled by a King who keeps order within the Realm and ensures that the balance is maintained. Occasionally souls get lost or remain hidden in the realm, and must be ferreted out and judged before they are devoured by the beasts that prowl the deserts. Limbo is accessible by the Living, but they are not welcome there. Their life force often makes them a target for the Dead Beasts which lust after them, and the Dead King does not tolerate intruders and will deal with them harshly.
An outerplane which is the domain of the Aeons.