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Visiden Visidane


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  • 3 weeks
    Upheavology: The Layers of the Eternal Herd

    The Planar Layers of the Eternal Herd

    Travel within the Eternal Herd

    Read More

    8 comments · 211 views
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Jun
21st
2018

Upheavology: The Layers of the Eternal Herd · 5:20am June 21st

The Planar Layers of the Eternal Herd

Travel within the Eternal Herd

Each layer of the Eternal Herd stretches out infinitely. One cannot walk from Elys to Empyrea as they would walk the blessed fields forever. Alicorns, through the Throne's blessing, can simply will themselves to a different layer at a location of their choosing or next to a natural portal if they do not choose. Some natural portals between layers exist, appearing as large, permanent gates.

Ponies from Equestria do not immediately gain the ability to move through the layers, but it has been observed that those who have stayed in the Eternal Herd the longest and focused on the ability hard were able to develop the ability.

The Blessed Fields of Elys

Elys is the original plane of the alicorns and the first one to connect to the Throne. It is an endless, rolling plain of golden grass beneath a brilliant sky that stretches to infinity. It is always day in Elys though it fluctuates between morning cool, midday radiance, and the soft warmth of late afternoon. Rainy seasons come and go at regular intervals. There is always a sun in the sky no matter how far one travels through the plain.

Thousands of bodies of fresh crystalline water dot Elys's surface, bubbling up from deep beneath the plane; from small ponds to great seas. All manner of flora grow in Elys's perpetually temperate climate, the most common being the soft, vibrant, golden grass that characterizes it the most. Known as the Gold of Elys, this sweet grass serves as near perfect sustenance. An alicorn can subsist on it alone and live in health and comfort. Thick patches of forest also cover parts of Elys along with tended groves, orchards, and farms. Alicorns are fond of farming and many of them maintain vast fields of various crops for their own consumption and to send to other layers, particularly Empyrea.

A great variety of animals live in Elys, all connected to the plane in a similar manner that the alicorns are. The bodies of water teem with fish and the woods are lush with birds, insects and small mammals alike. They are naturally attuned to alicorns, and approach them without fear. The vast open skies of Elys have a strong affinity not just for birds, but also air elementals; sentient, amorphous masses of air that enjoy a friendly relationship with the alicorns.

Some specific locations in Elys

The First Blaze - During the earliest times of Elys, planar boundaries were weak and all sorts of outsiders could come into the world whenever they pleased, including marauding bands of wolvenaar and q'tzal. The very first alicorns were a nomadic lot, flitting across the plains of Elys in many separate herds, and content in grazing on the golden grass. They preferred to avoid confrontations with the plane's many visitors and invaders. They were fleet of hoof and wing, and could simply outmaneuver and outwait any danger. As it turned out, many of the "invading" bands were actually refugees of different planes, fleeing the demiurge infection which had begun to seep into Elys as well. While the alicorns still evaded the demiurge, they witnessed and mourned the horrific effect this invasion had on the plane itself.

Primus Ignis, the Everfury, directed his anger at his own race's inaction. He united their many disparate factions by various means, including beating herd leaders into submission. The First Blaze is the location where the alicorns made their first stand which ultimately led to purging the plane of the demiurge. It resembles an amalgamation of a fortress and a large, ancient town, and it represents the alicorn race's first attempts at building and permanence. Many alicorns still live in the First Blaze, nearly all of them First Cycle alicorns. Primus Ignis himself is noticeably absent along with his mate, Tandem Tempestae. Residents are quick to point out that the reclusive couple wander the farthest reaches of Elys, if they are not diminished, deliberately distancing themselves from the Herd's affairs.

The Agamanthion's Wreckage - known by many names such as the Ruined Circle and the Blackened Grounds, this spot of blackened terrain is the site where the mysterious Agamanthion was destroyed. There is very little actual wreckage in the area, but the artifact's dark presence still lingers for miles. It is a disturbingly silent place with still air and no presence of life. Animals refuse to approach the spot for miles. Only alicorns from the Seekers of the Sixth spend long periods of time here, still studying the place, and guarding it from those trying to erase its existence.

The Grand Heights and Depths of Bytos

Rugged, soaring mountains, and plunging valleys make up most of Bytos. The gentlest slope in this plane is at a forty five degree angle. The only flat surfaces are those created by its alicorn inhabitants. Bytos is a plane of extreme contrasts. The highest peaks are battered with frigid winds, heavy snowstorms and fierce sunlight. Its deepest valleys are dark and hot with thick flows of magma near the volcanoes. Beneath Bytos's surface is a labyrinth of tunnels and caverns that go on forever with great veins of ore and gems sparkling away. Few alicorns choose to live in Bytos, but many hone their craft there as the ore needed to craft Herd-forged steel is abundant only in the plane.

Specific Locations in Bytos

The Lightning Forge - the Silent Storm Peaks are a group of jagged mountains in Bytos. They serve as the residence of their namesake; a colossal storm elemental the alicorns call the Silent Storm. Atop the highest peak sits the Lightning Forge, a foundry and smithy where many powerful weapons and armor are forged by the famed smith, Conlis Corde. The Lightning Forge is infused with the very heart of the Silent Storm and infuses all things forged in it with great power and an affinity for certain types of magic. Conlis Corde often forges on a whim to harmonize with the capricious, free-spirited nature typical of air elementals such as the Silent Storm so the Lightning Forge is also a repository of many strange and wondrous weapons and armor not linked to specific alicorns.

The Mountain Heart - deep beneath the surface of Bytos, in the middle of a great lake of magma, is a foundry and forge known as the Mountain Heart. Here, Conlis Corde's rival smith; Malleo Tenebris, forges powerful weapons and armor as well. The forge draws upon the planar essence of Bytos rather than the power of an elemental. Tenebris is significantly less prolific than Conlis Corde, only accepting comissions from very few alicorns.

The Serene Dark of the Midnight Grove

The Midnight Grove is a plane of eternal night, lit only by an ever-present moon. Light and sound are subtly muted in the plane, and a soft calm is the general atmosphere around it. Commotions are highly frowned upon here, not just by the alicorns, but seemingly by the plane itself. a strong sense of disapproval weighs down on those who disturb the peace here. True to its name, it is home to a multitude of trees, many of them towering to great heights and obscuring even the pale moonlight with their branches. The Midnight Grove is also more watery than Elys or Bytos, known for its swamps and fens as it is for its groves.

Many alicorns have residences in the Midnight Grove, but these are considered "rest houses" and meditiation areas for those who seek some peace from the bustle of alicorn politics.

Specific Locations in the Midnight Grove

The Reflection Pools - a vast field of pools stretching out as far as the eye can see. Alicorns believe that there is a pool of water here for each diminished alicorn. Indeed, the number and location of these pools frequently change. The Reflection Pools are the busiest area of the Midnight Grove as many alicorns frequently visit to commune with diminished loved ones. The air around the Reflection Pools is alive with faint, seemingly ghostly sounds from whispers, to hoofsteps, to distant shouts. It always feels crowded here even if one were to visit alone.

Alicorns have discovered that through long and deep meditation, they can sense the presence of diminished alicorns in this location. While any verbal communication is impossible, enough effort can convey strong feelings from both sides. The closer a diminished alicorn is to restoration, the likelier and stronger the communication.

The Glorious Battlefield of Ida

An endless mass of land beneath a grey sky. That is as far as one can describe Ida's landscape with any accuracy. There are neither landmarks nor permanent settlements in Ida. Not even a discernable light source. If there could be permanent structures, they would be swept away by the endless tide of destruction brought about by the constant fighting. Ida's land mass shifts and swells seemingly at random, forming mountains and hills, rivers and seas, forests and deserts, not to sustain life, but to serve as props for upcoming fights. Ida even anticipates the Eternal Herd's organized fights and has been known to construct great stadiums to accomodate them. The weather is equally as whimsical, forming storms, heat waves, and cold snaps to keep combatants alert.

Ida was the last plane to connect to the Throne. Many Herd scholars agree that its joining fully cemented the alicorns' transition from a collection of flighty herds to a single, warlike nation.

Nothing lives naturally on Ida. Even the trees and animals that sporadically appear are actually automatons created by the plane. Alicorns visit Ida for one purpose only; to fight each other. The size and scope of such battles can range from personal duels to great clashes with hundreds of participants. The reasons may vary too from grudges to friendly sport. Ida is indifferent to specifics and accomodates them all. Death is a trifling concern here as those struck by mortal blows are simply shunted out of the plane and into another layer of the Eternal Herd, in the state of health they were in when during their latest entry into the plane. Ida also does the same for those permanently incapacitated such as petrified and paralyzed combatants. Those ejected in this manner are blocked from entering Ida again for a period of time. The plane itself strongly encourages fights. Visitors are often slowly filled with intense emotions of battle fury and glory seeking. The plane cannot actually force visitors to fight, but those who resist the urges it inspires for a long enough time find themselves simply shunted out of the plane as if they were killed.

Specific Locations in Ida

The Feast Halls of Ida - at the end of a particularly massive battle, a Feast Hall of Ida materializes, floating in mid-air high above the battlefield. Their appearances vary, but they all serve the same function; to provide a hearty feast for all the combatants involved in tables. Long tables line the hall with enough room for all involved. The food and wine teleport in from a mysterious source, always delicious and filling. Even combatants that had been shunted out of the plane for being slain are able to immediately return so long as they do so within the appropriate feast hall. During the feast, the vanquished congratulate the victors, praise is given all around for passion and skill, tactics are debated. The feasts can last a long time, but the plane eventually signals for an end and encourages participants to fight all over again. Once the feast is over, the hall simply winks out of existence.

The Eternal City of Empyrea

Considered the "capital" of the Eternal Herd, Empyrea is a vast cityscape that stretches out in all directions. Its dizzying array of streets, walkways, and roads provide an intimidating sight and evoke a fear of getting lost. Gravity is subjective in Empyrea so alicorns walk and fly at every angle. At heart of Empyrea is the Throne, the mysterious entity that binds all of the Eternal Herd's layers together. Around it is Throne's Rest, a massive spherical building that serves to house it. From this heart, the city stretches out in all directions, even vertically. Empyrea has neither sky nor land. When Primus Ignis first entered the plane, all he encountered besides the demiurge infection was an endless gray void that the —then dormant— Throne drifted in. When the demiurge was purged, and the Eternal Herd was established, alicorns were able to gate in materials and build their homes around the Throne. The building has not stopped up to the present, creating an ever expanding city.

Since styles of architecture change over each cycle, Empyrea has become a hodgepodge of many building designs and aesthetics. Pointed, thin spires, large domes, stocky, compound buildings...all have their place in Empyrea. It was the Second Ascendant who used his power of water in conjunction with the Throne to create the seven rivers of Empyrea; colossal tendrils of water that flow from the Throne and towards the void so that there are sources of water in the plane. There are many gardens and parks in Empyrea as well, though the flora and fauna are imported from other planes. They range from small, personal yards to gated forests.

Specific Locations in Empyrea

The Royal Palace - built right next to Throne's Rest with passageways to connect the two, the Royal Palace serves as the home of the current descendant and their family. It is surprisingly simple yet elegant, obviously designed to be a slightly fancy but still cozy home with a large meeting hall for audiences. Primus Ignis designed it as the First Ascendant and he had little use for luxuries. He decreed that no additions were to be made, a decree followed up to the present. As if to make up for it, the Grand Meeting Hall of Elders is also nearby; a massive square building gilded with gold and platinum with a circular meeting chamber within to seat all five hundred elders in the council in golden chairs.

The Hall of Records - the Hall of Records is an ever expanding tower within Empyrea. It contains every book ever written by the Eternal Herd and a great many books from other heavenly realms. Not only does this knowledge exist in physical copies as tomes and librams, the information is also stored as wisps in a pillar of arcane energy that flows all throughout the tower, accessible to any of the attuned scholars working within. Magnus Chartophylax leads the hall's ever busy staff.

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Comments ( 8 )

Are you still writing on the Upheaval series? I haven't been active on the site since I finished the second one.

4886674
Awesome. I believe it was your fics that got me into FiMFictiom in first place. Catching up is now at the top of my to-do list :pinkiehappy:

Can ponies fight in Ida and not die? For whatever reason? Or are they completely unable to enter. I'd find it amusing to see a quick hoofed pegasus bring down a few with a bow. None would expect it.

Neat world-building. Literally.

Great stuff dude, a lot of thought has gone into the upheaval series!

These "Upheavology" posts are always a delight to read. I think it's funny that the plane of Ida will kick you out for inactivity. Are any tactics considered poor sportsmanship there, or is it an anything goes kind of place?

4889427
Preventing other visitors from fighting such as encouraging diplomatic solutions to interpersonal conflicts will get you a kick and temporary ban from Ida. Preventing them from fighting by killing or incapacitating them is allowed and encouraged.

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