The Prime

Sometimes called the Fount or Wellspring, the Prime is a verdant realm of life, creation, and abundance. It is divided into two distinct regions, the Near Prime, which forms a bright shadow of the Mortal Realm, and the Deep Prime, which exists as an ocean of living energy. The Prime and creatures of Primal aspect can be described as "positive" in orientation, but travellers in this realm are well cautioned not to assume that all mainfestations of the Prime are also inherently benevolent.

The Near Prime is said to be imbricated upon the Mortal Realm, which is to say that it overlaps imperfectly with the "real" world of Orn. The Prime exists as a realm apart, but the pieces that overlap the Mortal Realm appear as distorted representations of the area that they overlap. In the case of the Prime, this distortion is one of light and life. An ordinary garden in the Mortal Realm may have a counterpart in the Prime that is filled with sunlight and overflowing with plant growth. The healing magic of theurges draws upon the power of the Prime.

There exists an area of the Prime that has no Mortal equivalent. Scholars disagree whether or not this "Deep Prime" is just a part of the Prime or another realm entirely. Many travelers who return from the Deep Prime describe an ocean of golden waters beneath a sky that never darkens. Most often, such travelers are changed by the experience, claiming to have touched upon the primal source of life itself. Others fail to return at all, or end up in other Realms, suggesting the existence of naturally-occurring spans within the Deep Prime.

Denizens

The creatures of the Near Prime often possess powerful healing properties.

  • Phoenixes - Phoenixes are large, beautiful, flame-hued birds that soar through the skies of the Prime. They serve as guardians of the realm and will swoop down to attack any creature that carries the taint of the Nether or the Pit. Phoenxies possess the natural ability to travel between the Prime and the Mortal Realm. A phoenix so travelling seems to vanish in a firey explosion.
  • Unicorns - Unicorns are shy creatures which usually appear as pure white horses with pearly spiralled horns upon their foreheads. Unicorns inhabit many of the areas of the Near Prime that are imbricated on sites of natural beauty in the Mortal Realm. They serve as caretakers of the wild places, using the healing magic of their horns to tend the plants and creatures of both realms. Unicorns can also pass between realms, slipping quietly back and forth in a manner unseen by mortal eyes. Druids of exceptional skill have been known to ally with these creatures to protect particularly valuable and beautiful sites.
  • Numina - Numina are the life spirits of the unborn and the reborn that appear as shinng wisps. Some emerge from the shores of the Deep Prime and wander for a time in the Near Prime before becoming ensouled. Others emerge from the Gate of Judgement, having walked the Way of Rebirth as mortal souls. Numinae appear to have little awareness of other beings and tend to ignore attempts to communicate or interact with them. They look like globes of softly glowing light and can not be injured or destroyed by physical attacks or magic.
  • Anima - These strange creatures are naturally occuring beings of pure life energy. An anima usually appears as a weirdly glowing or strangely colored plant or animal. It often has unusual properties and seems out-of-place when and where it is found. If the aura of an anima is examined, it will glow with brilliant Primal light. Most anima can be found in specific regions of the Prime, performing some minor role in the spiritual ecology of the place. Rarely an anima may manifest itself in the mortal realm in an area of great life energy. The majority of anima are harmless to mortal travellers. However, there are varieties of anima that seek out or attach themselves to mortals and can cause serious problems as they interfere with the mortal's own vital energy. Some scholars believe that many Ornish illnesses can be attributed to an infestation of anima. Animae are non-sentient and the knowledge of their types and ecology is the life's work of many a skilled healer.
  • Couatl - Also known as rainserpents, couatls are rainbow-feathered flying serpents that inhabit both the Prime and the swirling Maelstrom. They have a strong affinity for the elements of lightning and water. Couatls and phoenixes rarely share territory and are wary of one another, but the creatures are not openly hostile and will work together to combat enemies in the Prime. Couatls are believed to originate from the meeting of weather, wind and wave. They produce lightning as they fly and can gather clouds and bring rain. Some cultures of Orn revere couatls for these abilities. A more bird-like variant of couatl called a Thunderbird is especially common on Angor. Couatls and Thunderbirds travel between the Maelstrom and the Prime in a stroke of lightning.

The creatures of the Deep Prime are more mysterious, but some lore is known. Many of the denizens of the Deep Prime take on the appearance of the creatures of the ocean, at least in the areas closest to the Near Prime. These creatures do not travel from the Prime and generally avoid any mortals who have ventured so far into the golden sea. Travellers who have ventured farther say that physical form is eventually stripped away by the pure power of the Prime until nothing remains but spirit and energy. Whether the heart of the Deep Prime even exists in true space, or if it becomes a spiritual singularity that touches all places and times at once is a question that only the wisest may contemplate.

Domains

  • The Shining Redoubt - Istensia maintains this grand alabaster castle on the shores of the Golden Ocean. She spends time here when not travelling or attending to her duties elsewhere. The Redoubt is peopled and staffed by the living souls of mortals who have died valiantly in Istensia's service. Many legendary hierophants and paladins comprise the Company of the Shining Maiden. The Company stands, always ready to protect Istensia and the Prime, and its members are sometimes sent out on solo missions to aid innocent mortals and combat great evil in the Realms. To pass the time, the Company holds glorious tournaments and feasts in the grandest courtly style.
  • Leafheart - This greatest and most secret of groves grows in the Primal wilds. This was the domain of Antasia and it was believed to have been destroyed in the devastation of the Shattering. But when Loreyza ascended and became patron of nature she searched for many years, gathering creature and spirit allies to her side before she finally succeeded in regrowing Leafheart again. Treants, dryads, and ascended beasts fiercely protect Leafheart, even from other denizens of the Prime. Any mortal searching for it must be completely in harmony with Nature to have a chance of succeeding. Druidic followers of Loreyza are sometimes permitted to spend a season or two as a protector of the grove, provided they take on the form of an animal and remain in that form the entire time.

Travel

Passage between the Mortal Realm and the Near Prime is usually accomplished by the use of a properly attuned gate, but some uniquely devoted or desperate creatures have found their way to the Prime without any magical assistance at all. Mortal beings allied with the dual-natured creatures native to the Prime can be brought to the Realm as well.

A permanent passage into the Prime exists in the swirling fogs of the Nether. Upon reaching the Gate of Judgement, mortal spirits which have done neither great good nor great evil in their lives walk along the Way of Rebirth and emerge in the Prime realm as numina, awaiting rebirth into new bodies.

Travel in the Near Prime is possible for living creatures, and in fact, time spent in the Prime revitalizes the body and restores the soul. Most mortals will find travel in the Prime to be easy, as fatigue and hunger are unknown there. However, any creature tainted by the Nether or the Pit will begin to tire and eventually succumb to injury from the constant bombardment of living energies, if they are not driven out or destroyed by the guardians first.

The Near Prime is tied closely to the life of the Mortal Realm, so travel distances are similar and travellers will often find themselves coming upon places they recognize in the real world. True navigation is difficult without a guide, however, as the realm itself shifts and buckles with the flow of life energy in the Deep Prime.

Travel in the Prime is not without its hazards, of course. The abundance of life energy can cause strange effects when magic is used here, and curious or greedy Anima may attach themselves to a mortal visitor. Destructive behavior is anathema to most of the denizens here and may provoke an extremely violent expulsion.

Those wishing to push into the Deep Prime should be warned that only masters theurges have any chance of surviving. When a mortal enters the waters of the golden sea, his body floods with life. If he cannot bleed this life off or expell it in some way he will rapidly become overfull and expire in a collosal explosion.