Tapiserya (Karanduun Supplement)
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Tapiserya is the word given by the ancient God of Knowledge Apung Pamahres to the whole of the world from Sulad to Maka. Thus, this is what most of the people call it now, although the Al-Kaigians call it Telurian. The Tapiserya is a world full of danger, and one that houses two worlds within itself. Outside of the Tapiserya is the Beyond, where, some say, the destroyed planets lie.
The world of Karanduun is known as the Sanlibutan, and the Sanlibutan is part of the great cosmic realm known as the Tapiserya. The World of Karanduun is very much unique in several ways. Sanlibutan is a fractured world, where people fight sword, faith, and word over a land that is the corpse of a primordial god.
Tapiserya, a Seven Layered Universe
Oft-whispered about by the Apo, that the Universe is made up of seven cosmic layers. Although this has been subject to much deciphering and thought by natural philosophers, much is still unknown at the extremities. One thing is known for sure -- they cannot be sure that there is an Abyss, nor a Throne. It was only knowledge given to them by Pamahres, God of Knowledge. Some parawali (sages) put the Below as the First Stratum, whereas others put the Above as the First three Layers. It does not matter. Such arbitrary categorizations are trifles of mortals.
The First three layers of the Universe is made up of the things below the earth.
Abyss Something toils restlessly within the nothingness of the Abyss.
The Waters This is the seas, and the domain of Maguyawan, the Guiding Waters and Psychopomp of the Dead. She makes sure that the souls that die are ferried to the Underworld. This layer makes up every source of water, from the sea, to the oceans, to the rivers. It is why, it is said, that one can find water underneath the ground. If one were to bury all the way past the world, one would find the Waters.
Many of the aquatic races live within, such as the siokoy, magindara, and the tiburon.
A giant crab that is the son of the Child Moon God Bu’an, named Tambanokano, who lives in the Sea, blocking the Hole to the Abyss. This place is known as the Navel of the Sea. When he leaves, the waters rush into the hole, causing low tide, but when he inhabits it once again, the high tide returns. He is so powerful that when he blinks his eyes lightnings flash, and the great waves of the sea are because of his movements within the Waters.
The Underworld, or Sulad
The Underworld in the Natural world is the abode of the creatures that live within the earth, the hot flames underneath the earth, and the vast kingdoms of earth-dwelling engkanto and maligno, including duwende and the others. Lately, beings from the Spirit Underworld, known as Sulad or Hell in other cultures, have been seeping into the Natural Underworld, whereas amalanhig and aswang have begun to threaten the kingdoms of the duwende. Pandaki is known to inhabit the Natural Underworld. Portals to the Near Shore of the Underworld, known as Sulad, exist in every nook and cranny, whether it be a small shrine of bone and flesh, or a never-ending hole that only fits one person, or a huge maw of a cave underneath an underground cave. Sulad is where ALL the souls go to once they die.
It is guarded by Sitan, guardian of the Underworld, and it can be traveled to by sea, through Magu'yawan, by river, by the Crocodile Psychopomp God Apung Buwaya, or by seeking out various passageways in the grounds, navigating a complex, all leading to the Lingay, a rock that all Souls will pass to, before you meet Sitan. The Underworld is ruled over by Panlinugun, God of the Underworld, and causer of Earthquakes.
The Waters flows into the Underworld, thus why Magu'yawan is also the ferry of the dead. The rivers of the great mountains -- when followed to their end -- can cause a mortal to arrive at the Underworld, and if they survive, the Spirit Underworld as well.
There is only one realm in the Middle, and it is arguably the most important one, for it is the center of the universe. This realm is Sanlibutan.
The Midworld, or Sanlibutan.
This is the flat realm of the Mortal Races and the engkanto who have not become diwata. The diwata live here as well, although in the realm of Spirit, and thusly are invisible to the naked eye. The Anito also walk this land as well if they are allowed by Sui-dapa to cross, or manage to ask Magu-yawan to ferry them back, or if they manage to trick Suimuran and Siginarugan, the two giant guardians of the underworld, or if Pandaki manages to save them from the Underworld.
Sanlbiutan is mostly made up of various islands, as the Waters still dominates all. center of the world is the Archipelago itself, named Lakungdula by human scholars. The rest of the world is waters, with other islands existing.
At the borders of the world are the Jaws. These are the ends of the earth, and you will fall off, or be crushed by the jaws. One should possess impeccable timing to be able to jump through the Jaws of the Horizon, and arrive bodily into the Skyworld, or Maka.
The Skies This is the realm of air that exists above the earth. It is the abode of the Lipod, and they share this with other air creatures such as the bentohangin, the winged half-horse, half human, and the kubot, a bird that resembles a flying kite. It is also here that the corpses of Adlaw, Bulan, and Suga exist the Sun, Moon, and Stars respectively and wheel about the sky. Similarly to the natural Underworld, this can be seen as the Natural part of Maka. Once one goes into the Near Shores, they arrive at…
The Skyworld, or Maka
This is the realm of the Apo, and it resides above the Skies. This is also the abode of human mediums and intermediaries as they speak with the anito of the Skies, or the Apo. Not much is known about the Skyworld, other than it having one section where the Soul of every living thing is kept within tight clay jars. This section is guarded by a being with eight heads and a thousand eyes, whom one Apo has called Walo. Among the heroes that have managed to jump across the Jaws of the World and live, and come back to tell the tale, they spoke sang of a grand and vast city of white ivory towers and pure spiritual rivers coursing through everything. The city itself was unmatched in glory, and had seven layers upon it, upon the seventh of which the Apo conglomerated. Those diwata that are not given enough prayer live in the most bottom stratum of Maka, toiling in divine poverty.
The Throne belongs to the supreme being to which the rest of the anito answer to, and to which the Diwata confer, and this supreme being is Maykaptan, the Mad Sky. This place is also where the spirits of good people go to after they are saved by Pandaki. In this layer can be found the Tree of Life, where the name of every person to ever have lived is written, carved by Sui-dapa himself from the Mountain of Madja-as.
Sanlibutan, the Corpse of Kalibutan
The world upon which the exceptional Karanduun walk is known as Sanlibutan. This word is ancient, coming from Elder Diwatan. It is the name of the world given to the first man and woman of the Bamboo by the ever-loving Magu’yawan.
Sanlibutan is a land mired in darkness. After the Thousand Tears and Lightnings Apocalypse and the Final Wars of Sunder, the various Halimaw and Maligno now roam the wilderness and forests and villages, constantly threatening the barangays and alkadiums of the civilized lands. The Final Wars of Sunder also dealt a huge blow against the non-human folk and the engkanto folk, causing humanity to be the most prevalent and common mortal race. The largest Empire right now, the Empire of Al-Kaig, is human and purely xenophobic.
The realm of darkness known as Gadlum seeps into the world, while the World of Diwa tries to fight back. The maligno and the halimaw, both natives of Gadlum, are antithetical to the very crux of the world.
The various powerful Aswang still live, all of them in the fringes of civilization and nature, either champions of nature or devil-kings of the wilderness. They have the might and power to subjugate even the maligno and halimaw and the dalaketnon under their power, Inheriting the Monstrous Essence of Asuang’s chosen 666 . The heart of Sanlibutan is the Thousand Islands, which have been colonized by the Al-Kaigians and are now known as the Zuhayran Isles, or Zuhayras. Zuhayras is part of a larger Archipelago Continent known as Lakungdula, which is made up of the Zuhayran Isles, Liway (which is currently ruled over by the Tri-Datu Polity), Tabun (the Island mostly ruled over by engkanto races),and T’Kapi, the trade island to Janubbia and also the home of the Darkwood Kingdom of Ija Yawa, the empire of the dalaketnon.
Zuhayras houses the largest city in Sanlibutan, the Indigo Metropolis, which is a city made up of seven different cities. Due to the sheer size and constant trade, other races have created dynasties and families and homes here, turning the Indigo Metropolis into the largest cultural melting pot in the whole pot. All things are possible here in the Metropolis of Indigo. The largest library in Sanlibutan, known as the Indigo Librarium, is the largest collection of books and scrolls across the entire Sanlibutan.
In the Continent of Kat’jja lives the Tiger Empire of Giro’jji, mostly made up of humans and dragon-blooded humans. Further to the East, which is considered “outside” of Sanlibutan, is the Naga (Dragonborn) Empire of Qirong.
To the north, in the Continent of Hosk-Edur, is the great Yavuman Empire of Al-Kaig, currently led by Holy Kaisar Yunus. This Empire has spread its wings to the south, colonizing the Thousand Islands and establishing trade with the City-State of Effisia, Giro’jji, Qirong, and lately travelled Northwest to the Continent of Oghrem to meet the “Lionhearted”.
To the south, the Continent of Janubbia is mostly desert, made up of nomad tribes and coastal city-states that do not hold a single ruler over them. One notable City-State is Effisia, the capital of knowledge and technology. All faiths are respected here, and it is ruled by a Naga Senator Rabbo. The third largest library in Sanlibutan (next to the mystical Aklatan), the Library of Kiansiasen, is located here, allowing those that travel to share books.
The Center of the World, located somewhere in Zuhayras, is said to be a huge mountain that, if hiked up to the peak, one will find Mountain of Madja-as, which houses the Tree of Life at the top, as well as the gates to Maka.
Espiritu and Gadlum
The two realms of Espiritu and Gadlum are polar opposites of each other, standing on two sides of the cosmological axis. The realm of Espiritu is much younger than the realm of Gadlum. They are both called by many names. Espiritu is called the Feywild at times, due to it being the home of the wicked fey engkanto and being full of chaotic, unbridled magik, whereas the Gadlum is called the Shadowfell, for shades and wraiths and chained souls as well as shadowed engkanto live here, subservient to the will of Saragnayan, Lord of Darkness.
The Spirit World, or Espiritu
The Spirit World is known under many names, such as "Diwa", "The Spirit", the "Shadow", and the "Feywild" to Al-Kaigian faithful but it is usually known as “Espiritu”. The Spirit World is the darkly reflecting mirror of the Natural World. After the sundering of the spheres due to the Thousand Lightnings and Tears Apocalypse, most of the Diwata have withdrawn to the Spirit World, and have been there for a thousand years. In the present day, Diwata of greater age or power tend to be more alien and harder to understand than younger ones. Heavenly Diwata tend to either be of the two extremes -- either they are too human in their dealings, too prone to passion, or they are too cold and distant, too alien.
When a Spirit is dematerialized, it is currently skulking through the Espiritu. Since the Espiritu is the reflection of the Natural World, it is actually there, and hypothetically, there are always Spirits about you, they are just impossible to interact with.
But that is not always the case. The Spirit World is not perfectly parallel to the Natural World. Truly, in fact, it has three different Shores, which measure how far they are from the Natural World.
When the Spheres of Natural and Spiritual were sundered, the two halves of the same whole still clung to each other, even as their metaphysical, spiritual link frayed. In the time of Malice, this unwillingness to completely disconnect are seen in Dambanas. Dambanas are powerful confluxes of spiritual power that appear out in the world. They are not exactly part of the Espiritu, but rather, are parts of the natural that still have a strong connection to the Espiritu. Most dambanas are great places of worship and ritual, and truly, many of the Apo use dambanas as their altars. Dambanas are natural places of power. They could be a special lake, a great mountain, a clearing in the forest, a desert of fine embers, a field of black glass, a hot springs complex, or even a cliff face overlooking the sea. Dambanas are natural places of grandeur and geomantic splendor.
Most dambanas are also protected, kept safe and away by virtue of the diwata that surround them. These places are known as Sanctums, and are most prevalent within the forests, where tamawo and palesekan and other engkanto honor the virtue of Sanctums.
The Near Shores
This is the Espiritu right beside the Natural World, or otherwise right underneath the skin of reality. This is the least populated Shore. Most Minor Diwata drift through this Shore, anchored to whatever they embody in the Natural World. A Diwata can simply materialize into the Natural World from the Near Shore. Most Engkanto Societies exist here as well, and truly there are even physical passages (known as Hedges) to the societies of the Engkanto, such as the tamawo Biringan, and the duwende Kingdom of Libing-Libing. The Near Shores are near perfect replicas of the Natural World, save that everything is more malleable. It is well known that mortals that simply seek to go from one place to another might cross the wrong thicket, and might end up in the Near Shores. Following a tikbalang or a tamawo's footsteps might lead you through a series of intertwining branches and vines and esoteric rabbit holes that lead to the Espiritu. Thus they warn to never stray off into the forest, or walk away from the trail blazed.
The Middle Shores
Farther than Near Shores, but one can physically travel from the Near Shores deeper and deeper and find themselves lost within the Middle Shores. It would take Spiritual Travel to the Near Shore before the being can materialize. Most Diwata Societies exist here in the Middle Shores, as well as the rich Anito that have been allowed passage by the guardians of Sulad. Here the world is less of a mirror and more of a shadow, with the shadows able to controlled and changed. The Kalilim Forest in the Natural World might not be the same in the Middle Shores.
The Far Shores
Thee Farthest Shores, and the last of the Shores that are safe. Within these Shores are Maka to the metaphysical up, and Sulad to the metaphysical down. The only thing that separates the two is the Great Ocean. Unlike the Near and the Middle Shores, these are not anymore reflections of the Natural World. Maka is a completely autonomous society filled with decadent apo and diwata, spirit-gangs and triads, and even syndicates of gods that rule the poor quarter of Heavenly Diwata that are not receiving any prayer.
To the South, the land of Sulad is bleaker, but quieter and a hell of a lot more peaceful. Most of them follow the rules of Siginarugan and Suimuran, the two guardian giants of Hell who also keep Souls within Jars. The formal ruler of the Underworld is Magu’yawan, as the Ocean covers the Earth. The Guardian of the Underworld is Sitan, a powerful god of death and a guardian spirit. Saragnayan is here, chained outside and far from his realm of darkness and shadows, known as the Gadlum, protected by legions of automata warriors made by Golden Age Panday.
The Farthest Reaches
The last vestiges of things understandable by the Human Soul. It is the event horizon right before total chaos. It is here that the other planets -- now destroyed -- used to exist. In addition, it is here where, in the Metaphysical up, resides the Throne of Heaven, which has been unaccessible for a thousand years. It is also where, in the Metaphysical down, exists utter Oblivion, guarded by Bakonawa and the two giants of the Underworld, Suimuran and Siginarugan.
In the beyond it is impossible to describe. Some say this is where other universes exist. Others say one can find the Five Principle Spindle of the Great Weaver. In these areas, Mortals and Karanduun are subject to powerful mind-vexing truths -- their Souls are not meant to be there, after all. The longer they spend in the Beyond, if they even reach it, the more they are contorted, and the more they are barred from entering back into the Creation.
The realm of darkness. The Kingdom of sorrows. The plane of shadows.
The realm of Gadlum is known this and more. Most information and knowledge of the great shadow realm was gleaned by a team of morbid savants and witches, the most prominent among them being Savandra, a mystisa who learned the ways of a mangkukulam, became a barangan, and eventually focused to hone her Salamangka.
The great Savantress Savandra revealed to the greater scholarly community of Zuhayras that Gadlum is a realm that resides very much near the underworld of Sulad, but not quite. Here, the forces of darkness and evil chain the ghosts of those not buried with great riches or not prayed for by their descendants, those without family, and give them false promises of "a better life, better than Maka". Of course, these were all hollow. They became beings that served in the Ebony Empire of Saragnayan and the Dalaketnon. Beings that become chained in this way become known as "multu" as they are privy to entering the world of Sanlibutan easily through spriritual convergences between the Natural and Shadow known as "anino", or "shadow". These haunted souls seek release from the shadowy chains of Gadlum.
The anino demesnes are crossing places, places within the world tinged with dark and shadowy diwa. If a mortal were to walk into an anino, there is a great chance that they might be pulled into Gadlum itself. Most aninos are usually places of great death, or vistas of corpses without proper burial, or a place where dark magics has unfolded.
Within Gadlum, the air is thin, and the colors are muted. It is rare to see more than just black and white in this realm, where the land is in eternal night. Outside of the obsidian walls of the various city-states that thrive within, filled with dalaketnon and other engkanto of the itim faction, such as agta, duwende itim, and their sigbin dogs, ghouls of all stripes roam the eternally black lands and occasionally white sands (which is ground bonedust) of the realm of Gadlum. There are no stars nor moon in this realm.
Perhaps, most malevolent of all, is Gadlum's ability to taint. If a person should enter here, black darkness and shadow immediately begins to tinge the person's heart, enticing him more and more to fall into the abyssal darkness. This is how the perverted and twisted mirrors of the Karanduun, the Lingkag, are born. They are not worthy of song but rather, singers of dirges.
It should be known that various Aswang also live within Gadlum, and almost all of them command some form of political power within the shadow politics of the place. Many of them are preparing for the imminent strike into Sanlibutan and eventually to Espiritu, to free Saraganayan. Of course, the return of the Karanduun have thrown a wrench into those plans.