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Musings on Immortality

by Rodger Burns

Just thought I'd post here on a few thoughts I'd had regarding possible interpretations on Immortals and the 0e multiverse setup. Reactions and similar metaphysical (metacanonical?) ideas are welcome.

(Warning: Extreme weirdness follows, on a level that may cause excessive brain cramps. Do not read if under the influence of anything stronger than caffeine, and maybe not even then.)

-- Immortal Perceptions:
The universe is broader than any mortal can hope to perceive. Hidden order and the workings of distant actors predetermine many events that would otherwise seem to come about by chance; unexpected intrusions and the fluctuations of underlying chaos disrupt other things that might seem to be certain.

The Immortals see more than the lesser beings of the multiverse, but even their vision is not absolute. Each Sphere has one realm of perception unique to its own members, a limited window on omniscience and a realisation of all the dangers and opportunities that interweave the multiverse. It's these clashes of perception and the resulting disagreements on how to take action that cause much of the strife between Immortals.

Immortals of Matter perceive life in all its forms - not simply the organic mortal creatures which predominate in normal perception, but also beings of silicon, hydrogen- or methane-based metabolisms, and other sorts. Aggregates of elemental matter can be recognised and in some sense understood by Matter immortals, as can micro-scale lifeforms such as viruses or hivemind bacterial colonies and macro-scale beings such as megaliths and self-aware stars.

The Immortals of Matter are uniquely capable of adjusting to different scales, taking into account any being's need to survive and reproduce, and anticipating how the multiverse may change as a result. They can also perceive those truly weird lifeforms that may not be apparent to any other being, but nonetheless pose a notable threat if not stopped.

Immortals of Energy are in tune with the forces of magic - and again, not just the established paradigm of a few, highly-skilled individuals channelling Immortal energies or tapping latent arcane power, but all the other possibilities that are mostly suppressed in the current state of the multiverse. Magic as raw life energy, needing living sacrifice in order to work; magic as the more-or-less focused belief of sapient mortals; magic as wild thing, ur-Chaos only vaguely tamed (or not even that, simply hurriedly turned loose at whatever you want eradicated this week); magic as expressed in cleverly-crafted devices, obeying strict laws puzzled out by centuries of rigorous experimentation; all these and more are the purview of the Sphere of Energy.

Energy Immortals know how these different types of magic work, should they be unleashed; they know the 'weak' points in the fabric of the universe where the rules are likely to shift, and can make a good guess as to the consequences. They're uniquely suited to contain any possible damage when it occurs - or take advantage of it to further their own plots.

Immortals of Time see the time stream of the multiverse - the past in all its permutations, the possible paths of the future, and the convergence between the two labelled as 'present'. They're aware, where others aren't, that the past is neither fixed nor even uniform, but often made of patchwork pieces of desired bits of past possibility - a king's death here, a hero's success there, unachievable in the same timeline but made to fit in actual history to fit some cosmic watchmaker's ideal. Similarly, the future is uncharted to an extent where mere 'impossibility' takes on a whole new meaning, and anything can be emplaced if one goes far enough afield.

Immortals of Thought possibly have the oddest expanded viewpoint of all. For them, the very nature of thought itself is a visible, dynamic thing - all the way from odd notions as the metaphysical equivalent of mayflies, rising through the great tasks and life's work of individuals, culminating perhaps with religious creeds and the laws of empires as metacreation's mightiest beasts. Civilisations and cultures act as ecosystems for thought, and the interaction of memes and interplay of ideas is as real and palpable as a duel of wizardry or clash of armies. Genius, insanity, valour and cowardice, honour and sacrifice, greed and pride and wilful ignorance all shape thought like weather upon an open sea.

The oddness of this take on the multiverse is, of course, that the observer is inevitably part of the milieu. Immortals of Thought are uniquely aware that they are absolutely not the apex of creation, perceiving as they do the higher-level awareness that spawns from the interaction of their kind. What's more, the very act of observing this fact changes the Immortal meme ever so subtly, to the point where individualism and free will itself comes into question. Even for those other Immortals who are broad-minded enough to accept the nature of each Sphere's unique perceptions, the motives of Thought are often unfathomable.

The Immortals of Entropy have a unique advantage on all their compatriots - they can perceive, dimly, the alternate possibilities envisioned by their peers, but only to the extent of encouraging decay, corruption and destruction. An Immortal of Entropy can successfully uncover a way to kill a strange life form, but cannot help it grow and prosper in its natural space. Likewise, they can turn loose wild magics to cause strife and conflict in normal space, but cannot foster coexistence. Exploitation of timelines is limited to increasing devastation; adjusting thought, to encouraging dissent, uncertainty and incipient madness. This warped perception often seems to extend itself to normal vision and acts as well, encouraging the spread of destruction and ultimate doom - not that many Immortals of Entropy need any such encouragement, of course.