The Legend of the Aboleth: Remnants of the Great God Soul
Introduction: Too Many Questions
The wisest of sages on the ancient and the unnatural will tell you the aboleth have no fondness for the divine entities we call gods. And for good reason (from the aboleths’ perspective), they claim they were around before the gods, nay the multiverse itself, ever existed. Their collective racial memory (or should I say racial memories, more on that later) certainly seems to go back that far. Thus, the aboleths dismiss the gods are merely interlopers. In fact, the aboleth actively try to subvert the religions of man for their own purposes, many times merely to spite the gods.
Despite the aboleths’ aggression towards the gods and their faithful, the gods don’t smite the entire race. Why is this? The aboleths have no gods. They are not protected by any divine treaty. Are the gods withholding something?
For that matter, are the aboleths themselves holding back something? If they are as ancient as they claim, how do they have such power over our bodies (fleshwarping) and minds (domination)? Why does their chief servitor race (the Skum) resemble us in shape and size so much? Questions, questions, and more questions.
Although I cannot identify myself to you, dear reader, know that I only have the friendliest of intentions. I have scoured many an ancient planar scroll and consulted many an ancient primordial to answer our heavy questions. From these disparate sources, I have discovered the following story that will answer them all. It is a story most will refute- from the gods to the aboleths itself. It is also a long story. But it is an essential story, for only is it a story of the aboleth, it is a story of all of creation.
The Beginnings of Creation: The Waters of Chaos and the Soul of Order
Legends speak of a time long ago. A long, long time ago, before the time of man, before the great empires of the elves rose and fell, before even the split between gods and mortals was a thing. Back when the universe was young, back before the world as we know it had even been born, there was only the primordial Voids of Chaos. (Chaos being used as the best approximation we can make using our mortal minds.) Chaos’ primordial waters were awash with commotion, with activity, with what might be conceived of as life, or a proto-life. Yet, because there were no eyes to see, no ears to hear, and no nerves to feel, so all was dark, quiet, and still.
There dwelled in the dark, deep vastness of Chaos one thing, a something, a form of what we might naively call “Order”, something that directed the ebb and flow of Chaos and kept it from tearing itself apart. What was this “form” of Order like? The closest translation in the Common Tongue is somewhere between “Collective Soul Pool” and “Great God Soul.” As this was the ancestor mind to all aboleth today, we shall call it the Great Aboleth Soul.
The Great Aboleth Soul was so great it would be infinite to us, yet it was finite compared to the greater Mass of Chaos. And Chaos kept expanding, growing, bloating beyond even the Soul’s ability to control and regulate. So the Aboleth Soul split its mass (though not its essence) into many parts- its Vessels. Whereas before there was one Whole that could do so much by itself, there were now many Vessels that could act on Their own. Yet because they were all of One Collective Soul, they would act all together, forming more than the sum of the Vessels, its parts- a Gestalt.
The Great Aboleth Soul wanted Chaos to be put into a form that was easy to observe and, more importantly, to control. So it sent out its Vessels hither and yon to bind Chaos into material forms, creating the first proto-worlds. But as these first proto-worlds were formed, the Vessels observed that the Chaos bound within the material churned at a face pace with small complexities boggling to the Great Aboleth Soul. It needed quick-lived agents, of finite mortality, that could observe and interact with the material on its own terms.
The Creation of the First Servitor Race
And so the Great Aboleth Soul began to shed tiny flakes off of its Proto-matter “skin” and bind it into full material forms, creating a distinct Servitor Race for the first time. Unlike the Vessels, the Servitor Race had no direct access to the Collective Soul, but went through the Vessels. But yet they were made of the same Divine Flesh as the Great Aboleth Soul, so it still counted the Servitors as part of itself. Of course, they were only the flakes of its skin given proto-sentience. So with what perhaps the first instance of Humor, the Great Aboleth Soul named the First Servitor race the Skum. And the name has somewhat lingered with us to this day.
And so the Skum built within the proto-worlds as the Vessels built without. Deeper and deeper into the proto-worlds the Skum crawled in, building at the first truly formed matter- things like solids, liquids, and gases. In the later stages, the Skum fabricated the first true forms of “life.” All at the behest of the Great Aboleth Soul through the telepathic orders of its Vessels. The Verse was becoming more and more complicated, for such is the nature of Imagination, even then in those most early of times.
The Vessels Enter the Proto-Worlds
And so with the fabrication of the proto-worlds, the Collective Soul developed the first true imagination, a Divine Imagination. The Imagination almost took on a life of its own, twisting and forming the matter and Life of the proto-worlds into the first primitive watery ecosystems. The Great Aboleth Soul experienced the First Pride at the abundance of life it had created. It originally intended to make these proto-worlds self-sustaining so that it could return to its task of shaping Chaos. Yet this might have proved to be its undoing.
As the proto-worlds developed and became too complex, some of the Skum builders became lost and separated from their Vessel commanders. The proto-worlds were becoming so deep; they were forming Voids of Chaos of their own. The loss of the Skum builders forced some of the Vessels to swim into the proto-worlds for the first time. As with any big first step, many Vessels became lost. Some became mentally warped, hopelessly addicted to the first Sensations in the proto-worlds. Others were attacked and destroyed by the primitive lifeforms that could sense the greater but alien nature of the Vessels. Yet still others were simply torn asunder by the waters of Chaos that seeped in from the deep Voids within the proto-worlds.
With the telepathic death throes of the Vessels went through, the Skum became panicked. Nearly insane without some connection to the Great Aboleth Soul, the Skum builders thrashed about hopelessly for some time before reverting to their preprogrammed builder natures. Ultimately, they would follow the last signals from their masters and build what from was there, even if it happened to be the dead masses of the Vessels themselves.
Meanwhile, the Great Aboleth Soul was taken aback for the first time. Although the Soul never lost any of its true Essence, the loss of its Vessels caused its First Pain. It realized even its Vessels couldn’t handle material form without some sort of material body to contain the Essence. So the Aboleth Soul wrapped its Vessels in organic sheaths, the first forms vaguely recognizable as aboleths by modern humanity.
The Great Aboleth Soul called forth its Sheathed Vessels into the proto-worlds. This time they were prepared and swiftly restored Order to the proto-worlds, gathering together the majority of the wayward Skum. And now that the Vessels were part of the proto-worlds, they became true worlds proper. Under the watchful directions of the Vessels, the Skum took control of these worlds.
The first Great Aboleth Empire was born.
The Golden Age of the Aboleth
And so the First Golden Age of the Aboleth dawned. Using the Skum as skilled craftsman might use his fingers, the Sheathed Vessels wove ever more elaborate tapestries of worlds. The Sheathed Vessels were astonished by the needs of material lifeforms, not only for mere physical sustenance but psychological sustenance as well. In response, the Vessels began fabricating huge and elaborate cities, not merely for them to rest or hold food, but to be pleasing. Modern creatures would not recognize these cities for what they were, for they were more like great, twisting colossal reefs and caves that would later form the basis for our land continents of the present day. There was no clear distinction between one monolithic reef cavern began and another ended. Back then, there was little need for such distinction.
While the Sheathed Vessels worked the Voids inside the worlds, the Outer Vessels wove the Voids between worlds. To keep the worlds form colliding, the Outer Vessels pushed them apart, far away from each other in the Voids of Chaos. They began creating an interstitial web of ether to fill the Voids between worlds.
And so the Great Aboleth Soul experienced the First Contentment, Order was directing Chaos once again. But this Contentment was also the First Complacency, for the Aboleth Soul had overlooked a Void, a Void so deep it came not from the Chaos, but from the Aboleth itself. The rogue Skum builders who had mistakenly woven Vesselflesh had not all been brought back into the fold or destroyed. Some merely disappeared into the deepest depths of the worlds.
The Builders of the Forbidden
Back when the Great Aboleth Soul sent its Vessels unprotected into the proto-worlds, many of its Vessels died horribly. The Core Essence, its Spirit if you will, remained unharmed as all as it existed in all the Vessels equally. However, the Soul did lose Mass. Some bits of the unsheathed Vessel bodies could not be retrieved. As they lost contact with the Aboleth Soul, many of the Skum builders went into a confused building frenzy. Of these, some mistakenly wove Vesselflesh into the world around them, creating something that wasn’t there before: independent divinities.
Although the lost Vesselflesh retained none of the Aboleth Soul’s Essence, it still held a mark of the Aboleth’s power coming from its Mass. And coming from the Aboleth mass itself, it was something greater than the reality that tore it apart unprotected. The maddened Skum gave the displaced Vesselflesh forms to protect them, forms like themselves, for the forms of the Vessels were beyond their understanding. The Vesselflesh bodies, now clad in material sheaths, became the first truly free-willed entities. They looked upon the miserable desperation of the Skum builders and answered, giving them direction and mental shelter once again. Thus, these rogue Vesselflesh bodies became the first proto-gods.
Yet the Vesselflesh is not the only thing that changed. The Skum builders who wove the flesh were transformed by the mere act of transmuting them, much like transmuting lead into gold is said to bring Enlightenment to mortals this very day. The Skum builders evolved- they gained their first independent thoughts. And shortly thereafter, they spoke their First Words. The First Words translate to “Godflesh Weavers,” to which they named themselves after, the Koa Toa!
(To be continued...)