The Nature of the Universe
In the beginning, there was the Abyss.
However, even to say "there was" is misleading. The Abyss is the absence of being, the void from which existence emerges. Long before time was relevant, something emerged from the Abyss, springing from non-existence into a state of being.
This first Emergence began the universe as we know it. A curtain was drawn between what came into being and the nonexistance of the Abyss, between the "is" and the "is not." This area of demarcation became known as Chaos.
At the time of the present, Chaos, with all its houses, lines and ways, can be viewed as the skin of an orange. The Abyss lies outside that skin, in the realm of nothingness. The skin circumscribes the rest of reality, known as Shadow. Certain areas inside the sphere of being are Primal Shadows. Primal Shadows are places charged with the potency an Emergence, and cast ripples through more malleable Shadows.
No one knows what causes an Emergence. When conditions are right, a concept stirs into consciousness in the Abyss, struggling toward thought and form. This concept is known as an Avatar. While still in the void, the Avatar has limited influence on existence, but can reach some existing minds with its nascent power. At some point the Avatar seeks a mate, sometimes even before emerging from the Abyss. This mate is known as the Consort. The Consort and Avatar conceive an heir, and the result is known as the Incarnation. One of this triad then finds or creates a Focus that expresses the Avatar's concept. The Focus is used to create a Nexus of power in a Primal Shadow. The Incarnation's Descendants, or Line, can draw upon the Avatar's power through the Nexus. They usually live in Shadows immediately adjacent to their Line's Primal Shadow.
These are sweeping generalities, as each Emergence is unique. Existing Avatars can affect an Emergence if they so choose, supporting or opposing it. Whatever happens, an emerging Avatar changes the nature of the universe with its attempt.
Before the events described in Time and Tide, the most recent successful Emergence was that of the Unicorn. The Unicorn arose from the Abyss and mated with Dworkin, who was a Chaos Lord from the Line of Barimen. The Unicorn bore Oberon as Incarnation. Dworkin used a Focus known as the Jewel of Judgment to draw the Pattern, Nexus of power for the children of the Unicorn. The Primal Pattern formed Amber, a stable place for Oberon and his Line to live. Oberon's descendants are required to "walk" versions of the Pattern to partake fully of the powers of their Line. It is unknown if Oberon, as an Incarnation, had to walk the Pattern or was born with these abilities.
In the fullness of time there have been many Emergences. Only
a handful are known, and those who recall even one are ancient