The Five Realms – An Overview


For much of human history, we’ve been asking ourselves if this is it. If this earth is the only one out there, if we’re the only ones in the cosmos like us. We’ve been asking ourselves if we are alone. For the people of Omnia, and the rest of the Five Realms, the answer is a definitive no. They share their cosmos with beings who are all similar, yet distinct in their own ways. The existence of the other four Realms are well known to the people of Omnia, and yet there are still those who look out at the star-spackled night sky and wonder if there are yet more worlds yet to be discovered.

What are they?

Nobody is quite sure how the Realms work, or how they interact with each other, only that they do. The most studied scholars’ best guesses have been… inconclusive, to put it lightly. Some believe that the Realms all exist on the same larger world, but spaced apart so distantly as to be impossible to reach without the use of a Gate. Others believe that the Realms are different, separate, but energetically linked planes of existence, all oscillating and jostling together in the same space. Still others believe that all of these Realms are worlds that existed long before they started interacting with each other, and that they really don’t share any common connection. If you asked the average person on the street where the other Realms are, most would shrug and brush you off. If you got lucky, someone might gesture vaguely to the sky or to the general surroundings and say, “Out there, somewhere. I dunno.”

Where did they come from?

In the oldest mythologies, those that were preserved by the ancient Boreans through the attempted conquest by various Empyrean rulers, all of the Realms began as one. In the old stories, Omnia was the first and only Realm, from which all other beings and all other places spawned. It was from this ancient time that the First Gods rose up and began to change the race of Mortals, from whom all others are derived. When the First Gods created their own lands, those that would become the Realms, they took their people with them. All but one, who stayed on Omnia, with his people of stone and the unchanged Mortals, who eventually came to be called Humans. Since then, people have wandered back and forth between all of the planes, some more so than others, in search of adventure, answers, or in some case, an escape from horrendous catastrophes.

Who lives where?

In the Harmonic Realm of Omnia, any and all creatures from the other four Realms can live relatively comfortably, and often do. The natives of this Realm are still called Mortals, or sometimes True Mortals, though there are many different types. Despite the rather large population on Omnia, the race of Elves are actually from Oberun, the Fae Realm. The Fae are divided into two larger categories, the Kind and Cruel (or Seelie and Unseelie, in their tongue). The Fae people, because of the energetic relationships between the realms, cannot exist comfortably on Liserna, the Spirit Realm, nor can Spirits exist comfortably on Oberun. The people of Liserna don’t actually have a collective name for themselves, preferring their own respective names to any broad definition. Liserna is the realm that most souls from dead beings on Omnia go to for sorting, though some end up getting pulled into Arcturus or banished to Senabyss instead. Arcturus is the Celestial or Astral Realm, and the people who live there seldom interact with any of the other Realms. They would rather keep to themselves as a general rule, especially after what happened in Oberun that made the Elves leave. Unlike Liserna and Oberun, people and creatures from Arcturus and Senabyss can exist in each other’s Realms without side effects, though given the vast separation, energetically speaking, they prefer not to bother most of the time. Senabyss is often called the Dark Realms, as it not only includes its own main world, but also the Shattered Realm, a place where, to everyone’s knowledge and hope, nothing lives. The people of Senabyss are generally called Demons, and are looked upon with great distaste by many because of past events, and their generally chaotic nature.

The Wyrd

The universe of the Five Realms isn’t just the physical Realms themselves. Connecting all people and all things in all Realms is a vast expanse of energetic patterns and spaces that, in Old Borean, is called the Wyrd. Originally the phrase meant something along the lines of destiny, or the patterns of one’s life, but when more and more people began learning to journey in the Wyrd, realizing that this was the between-space through which Gates to other Realms crossed, the meaning changed. This is the place to which all souls eventually return, and presumably is where they come from as well. Rarely is this infinite space traveled, and never has it ever been fully and accurately perceived. The Wyrd is shaped by the mind of the explorer, and tends to shape it back in return. Those who walk in the darkness never return unchanged.

Thank you for checking out this brief overview of the Five Realms! This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time but haven’t had enough of the worlds in place to begin until now. I’m going to continue this series of “About the Worlds” posts, in which I’ll be diving deeper into each of the realms, the people and gods who live there, end eventually get into the different styles of magic. If you have anything about the worlds that you really want me to talk about, leave me a comment!

Next week we’ll dive into the people and places of Omnia, which is where most of the Tales books take place. Hope to see you then.

-E.J. Lowell