Cosmos Arcane

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Map of the Cosmos Arcane.

The Cosmos Arcane is the overarching universe that encompasses the entire setting of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. It is bound by aetheric links and is notably composed of the Aetheric Void and the various Realmspheres.[1a][1b]

Aetheric Void

For more information see: Aetheric Void

The Aetheric Void is a huge expanse of null-space made of loose unaligned magic, within which the Realmspheres exist. This non-realm forms the sky of the realms.[1b][6a]

Realmspheres

For more information see: Realmsphere & Mortal Realms

Realmspheres are spheres of reality, coalescing and breaking apart within the Aetheric Void.[1b] After the destruction of the World-That-Was, various kinds of magic formed new realities of near-infinite scope and grandeur by clustering together, crystallising and combining with nebulae, cosmic dust and debris of Mallus.[3a][6a]

Foremost amongst them are the Realmspheres formed by the eight winds of magic, for kindred energies are attracted to one another by cosmic law. The Realmspheres thus created became host to the eight Mortal Realms, the largest realms in the Cosmos Arcane.[1b][1c]

Mortal Realms: AqshyAzyrChamonChaosGhurGhyranHyshShyishUlgu

Grand Alliances

Grand Alliances are ancient compacts dating to the Age of Myth between various warring factions who seek dominate the Mortal Realms.[23]

Order

Order Icon.png
For more information see: Grand Alliance of Order

The forces of Order use innovative technology, arcane skill and raw courage to protect their civilizations and way of life against those who would want to tear them down. Most are the servants of the Pantheon of Order, whatever that might be its God-King Sigmar or one of his fellow deities, but others are entirely concerned with the sinister goals and agendas of their own people. However all forces of Order are united in their hatred for the Dark Gods and are the shield of the Mortal Realms against the forces of Chaos.[23][25]

It is a loose alliance of the free peoples, like Humans, Aelves and Duardin. These are supported by staunch defenders of law, like the Stormcast Eternals and exotic forces like the Seraphon and the Sylvaneth.[23]

Chaos

Chaos Icon.png
For more information see: Grand Alliance of Chaos

The Dark Gods are a pantheon of primeval forces, the nature of mortals reflected back on itself, that seek to conquer all of reality, including the Mortal Realms. They send forth their Daemonic legions to achieve that objective. From their mortal servants they demand that they walk the Path to Glory and to triumph over their foes. To fail is to become damned to a fate worse than death. Archaon the Everchosen, their favoured warlord, is their herald in the realms and leads vasts armies in their name.[23][26a]

The armies of Chaos is have an anarchic diversity in their servants. Most prominent is the armies of corrupted, mutated, malcontent and mad mortals, many who believe to have been abandoned by the gods of Order during the Age of Chaos. The Beastmen, animalistic savages who indulge in their base desires. The rat-like Skaven, who pursue their own goals in the depths until the time they will claim all of creations for their own. The most powerful are Daemons, the dark manifestations of the power of the Gods of Chaos.[23][26a][26b]

Death

Death Icon.png
For more information see: Grand Alliance of Death

The Great Necromancer Nagash rules over all the dead from his palace in the underworlds of Realm of Shyish. The Undying Kings sends his undead legions to do his bidding, to hunt down all souls that have evaded his eternal grasp.[23]

Among those beneath Nagash are those bound to his will. There are the mindless legions of Skeletons and swirling Malignants. The Ossiarch Bonereapers are the most organized and orderly of the forces of Death.[23][27a][27b]

Destruction

Destruction Icon.png
For more information see: Grand Alliance of Destruction

The hordes of Destruction are like a force of nature that seeks to please their belligerent deity, Gorkamorka. They rampage throughout the Mortal Realms in a unstoppable wave of savagery, attacking at the slightest provocation for the joy of combat, despoiling, defiling and reducing all into dust wherever they go to sate their primal need for violence.[23][24]

The armies of destruction consists of green-skinned Orruks and Grots, migratory Ogors, towering Gargants and other mighty beasts.[23]

Deities

For more information see: Deity

Deities are powerful entities who derive their power from the belief of their worshippers in them. They are not omniscient and to influence and use their power on the realms a small presence is required, be that of their direct presence of their worshippers. Such is their power that there are many tales in the Mortal Realms that tell of the clashes of the gods and powerful monsters that have changed the landscape of the Realms. Amongst them were the tales of the Sigmar's travels through the early history, how he won against them, built civilizations and the lessons he imparted.[15c]

Each god has its own method of worship, shrines and way of showing its devotion, especially in combat and it is the desire to serve and believe in the gods that drive many of its people. Even those who dedicate themselves to a single deity, pay homage to other deities. Many can see the direct results of worship and some even meet their gods so nobody doubts their existence, though many, especially after the Age of Chaos are distrustful of them and don't want to worship them. Many of those still leave offerings in difficult times, for even if they don't like them, their power is real. Still, when you know your deity is real and it doesn't answer their prayers can turn faith to doubt to hatred. The countless demands across the Cosmos Arcane divide their attention and leave many prayers unanswered.[15c]

Many of the greatest heroes and villains of the Realms are the champions of the gods. Despite their immense powers the gods cannot be everywhere, blessing a few of their mortal followers with a small part of their power, known as the Blessed, who can channel the divine power of their patron into miracles. In exchange, these acts bolster the faith of its believers and return to the deity far great power than they expended. However, this closer relationship with the gods doesn't grant them divine insight and they must decipher the cryptic and obscure omens and hints the gods give them.[15c]

The most prominent powers that fight over the dominion of the Cosmos Arcane are the Pantheon of Order, Gorkamorka, the Pantheon of the Dark Gods and Nagash.

Magic

A Darkling Sorceress casting a spell.
For more information see: Magic

Magic is raw eldritch energy that permeates the Mortal Realms, each a crystallization of raw magical energies and the remains of the World-That-Was, and an embodiment of one of the eight Lores of Magic. Winds, rocks, earth, wood and water have motes of magical energy, made of the components energies that show as a dominant 'colour', or the elemental characteristics of magic. Despite that, all realms share faint traces of magic of the other lores and it is said that many other strange and unknowable lores of magic exist in the realms.[15d]

Every species understand magic in their own way, that the realms themselves are partly made of it and that this power can be harnessed and shaped. Those that know how to manipulate the arcane can tap and direct this energy, using ancient words of power, mystic gestures and their wills. Those who can use this power have countless names, like wizards, witches, warlocks, mages and sorcerers and those who are born with the ability to perceive magic are said to have the Witch-Sight. It is a practice that requires years of study to learn how to harness and shape the fabric of reality. The spellcasters across the realm are continuously researching, studying and crafting new spells, be that a modification of an existing spell, recreating of a lost spell or an entirely original one. This power has a myriad of uses, from accelerating healing, masking their presence, controlling minds or into destructive blasts.[15d]

Resolve and focus is required to direct these arcane energies, becoming easier with practice. Even a single mistake has the chance of ending the life of the magic wielder, or worse creating thaumaturgical catastrophes, like the Endless Spells, pure manifestations of predatory magic in all its destructive force. Even beyond that, the power and the insatiable need for knowledge are dangerously seductive. Many satisfy this desire by exploring esoteric and blasphemous lores that are not meant for the sane, peering into the shadows of the Aetheric Void or end up falling to the whispers of the Dark Powers.[15d]

There are other ways of accessing magic without casting spells, like runecrafting of the Duardin or by channelling primordial powers, like the Sylvaneth, Ogors and Orruks. One can also tap into Realmstone, the raw magical energy in physical form, the most valuable material in the realms. Just one piece of it can create great arcane feats or create powerful artefacts. It one of the cornerstones of commerce across the Realms, though many see it as cursed, as madness, mutations and misfortune striking those who use or traffic it.[15d]

History

Since the arrival of Sigmar to the Mortal Realms its history has been divided into three Great Epochs.[14a]

Before the Ages

Mallus flying through the Cosmos after the end of the World-That-Was.
For more information see: Before the Ages

The magic of the Mortal Realms spread from the end of the World-That-Was, exploding through the cosmos, before cluttering back together in the Aetheric Void forming Realmspheres. Within these Realmsphere, magic started to crystallise and form landscapes. Some remnants of the broken world, came to settle in these landscapes like the Spear of Mallus and the Oak of Ages Past.[19][17]

Many of the inhabitants of the Mortal Realms are the descendants of the survivors of the World-That-Was that managed to escape its destruction and reach the Mortal Realms.[19]

Some of the known means to reach the realms are:

  • Legends say that in the infancy of the realmspheres the ancestors of the Duardins dug their way out of the World-That-Was and into the Mortal Realms. They then spread to every corner of the Mortal Realms.[22a]
  • The Aelves were reduced to a pitiful remnant during the destruction of the World-That-Was. As such, only a small number reached the Mortal Realms intact with the help of magical enchantments cast by their former pantheon. Unlike their duardin counterparts, the Aelves were very rare and hid from other species that they considered inferior out of hubris.[4b]
  • Grots and Orruks have infested the Mortal Realms for longer than anyone can remember. As such, they predate the coming and awakening of the Ascended Deities.[12a][12b]
  • The Slann travelled through the stars and were guided into the Mortal Realms by Dracothion.[11]

When Sigmar arrived the realms were covered in the dew of creation yet much was already ancient with fractures kingdoms and portals between the realms.[14a] Dracothion found Sigmar hanging upon Mallus, the remains of the World-That-Was, and set it upon the Firmament.[10a]

Age of Myth

Sigmar fighting Ymnog during the Age of Myth.
For more information see: Age of Myth

After finding the Mortal Realms, Sigmar set to explore them, battling monster among many other great deeds. He raised the primitive humans and helped build great civilisations, building a great alliance with the help of friends and gods, both old and new.[9a] This golden age of Sigmar's utopia ended when this alliance broke down, thanks to trickery and the invasion of Archaon, his signs plaguing the realms long before. Nagash sought to rule alone, Gorkamorka was discontent with the peace, Tyrion attempted to capture Slaanesh while it was vulnerable and Grimnir after slaying Vulcatrix.[20][13]

Age of Chaos

The twisted lands during the Age of Chaos.
For more information see: Age of Chaos

For many aeons, the Chaos gods tried to violently enter into the mortal realms, but were always foiled by Sigmar's grand alliance. Only when this alliance was broken by a betrayal did Chaos managed to invade the mortal realms, beginning the Age of Chaos. [9b]

The horrors the dark gods set upon the mortal realms seemed paltry in comparison to the devastation they caused in the World-That-Was. The free folk fought, but they were weakened by the fall of the alliance and the union of chaos followers due to the return of Archaon, the ender of worlds.[1c] Despite the gods' attempts at protecting the mortal peoples of their realms, Archaon managed to reduce them to savage tribes and broken kingdom, set about to ruthlessly exterminate them.[13]

Sigmar closed the gates to Azyr and left the other realms to their fates, not seen again for centuries.[9b] The other realms were forced to live in a living hell, frowned in gore and rot, where cities and settlements were torn down and spiked citadels were raised beneath blood-red skies.[9d] Countless cultures were lost during this age with only traces left behind. The few cultures that survived were already strong and well-defended, already isolated and skilled at resisting invaders or transformed themselves to survive, like becoming nomadic to preserve their lives and their old ways.[15]

The God-King knew that fighting the Gods of Chaos was a losing battle. They were too united and powerful, that to fight them was to face certain doom. He had a plan to build an army with the help of Grungni. Plucking the greatest heroes of the realms into Azyrheim and reforging them into Stormcast Eternals.[9c]

Age of Sigmar

The dawn of the Age of Sigmar hailed the rekindling of the Grand Alliance of Order.
For more information see: Age of Sigmar

The Age of Sigmar begins with the first strike against Chaos, the Stormcast Eternals being first hurled into battle in the Brimstone Peninsula in Aqshy. The Hammers of Sigmar, led by Lord-Celestant Vandus Hammerhand fought Korghos Khul and his army, the Goretide, and took the Igneous Gate, being the first of many conquests. The wars spread across the Mortal Realms, starting a series of events that would be known as the Realmgate Wars, as Sigmar made it a objective to capture as many realmgates as possible, finding many of them corrupted instead.[14b][18]

Sigmar desired to reform his pantheon of old and helped his old allies, like Alarielle and Nagash and besieged nations like those of the Fyreslayers. The Stormcast held a crusade to recover the Ghal Maraz from the Eldritch Fortress and tried to stop Archaon from enslaving the daemonic oracle Kianathus and the Godbeasts into his service. The Realmgate Wars ended with the fight for the Eightpoints.[18]

Time of Tribulations

For more information see: Time of Tribulations

As Nagash was finishing the final touches on his Great Black Pyramid, dark omens and forbidding visions plagued the realms. Sigmar was finally pushed to act when Vandus came to him with his own troubling visions. In response Sigmar first reached into the skies of Azyr and sent hundreds of comets of celestium. He then sent forth the Lord-Ordinators to lay claim to these comets and raise Warscryer Citadels atop each to scry the future of the realms. Through the citadels they, as well as the prophets of Chaos and Destruction, foresaw Nagash's plan.[16a][16b][16c]

All of the great alliances sent forces into Shyish to attack Nagashizzar. Unfortunately they all came to the walls of Nagashizzar at the same time and began to fight one another in a six day battle that achieved nothing. Nagash had nearly completed his greatest work, but unknown to him a small band of Skaven assassins had breached the inner workings of the Great Black Pyramid and tampered with it disrupting the ritual. This led to the event known as the Shyish Necroquake.[16c][21]

Sources