The relevant cosmology of Gurutama is mostly contained within Gurutama's plane. Other planes certainly exist, but travel between them is exceedingly rare. The deities of Gurutama exist physically or spiritually within the world of Gurutama instead of on another plane of existence.
Gurutama follows a circular pattern. Every few thousand years the world dies and is renewed. This pattern of renewal is known as the cycles. The Dwarves are aware of the cycles and share their belief in them freely, that does not mean the other races believe in the cycles or even that all Dwarves believe in them.
While Gurutama's cycles have continued for millennia, their continued existence is not assured. Certain threats could spell the end of the cycles. These threats are detailed at the end of this article.
This is not the first time Gurutama has existed and hopefully it will not be the last. Every few thousand years the world dies and is reborn. This death could be due to any number of reasons, famine, flame, war, disease, flood, or the endless expansion of ice from the north. Past cycles have also ended in more peaceful ways with the many races of Gurutama simply no longer reproducing as rapidly until only a few remained.
Whatever the reason, when a cycle ends, the surface of Gurutama is cleansed. All life is wiped out. Only the hardiest structures resist the massive earthquakes that shake the world. Continents shift and reform. Seas drain and refill. In the end, an entirely new world is born and repopulated with new life. Many races and creatures are the same or very similar to what existed in previous cycles but there are always some new animals and plants and some species that do not continue on to the next cycle.
A few things survive the end of a cycle. Forgotten dungeons, ancient tomes, and terrible monsters can all live through the end of a cycle. Selcatnet the sea monster is theorized to have survived a previous cycle. The Dwarves are a more well-known example, tunneling deep under the earth and entering a sort of hibernation so that they are not wiped out by the cataclysm that ends each cycle. The Dwarves record their knowledge gathered from each cycle in the Books of Legend. Using this extra information, the Dwarves attempt to build their version of a utopian society within each cycle.
Even the gods die and are reborn within the cycles of Gurutama. The gods may live and die, but five roles within the pantheon of deities are always reborn. Those roles are Air, Earth, Fire, Water, and Death. The four elemental roles vie with each other for supremacy in each cycle. While the four elemental gods may not get along well, they all oppose the actions of the death god who seeks to wipe out all life. Each of the four elemental gods also has a race that they are always the patron of. Avians for air, Dwarves for earth, Humans for fire, and Merfolk for water. The death god has no race that it traditionally holds sway over. These races are used as tools in the conflicts between the gods.
Typically a cycle will end due to the elemental gods exhausting each other in their conflicts and being unable to repulse the actions of the death god. Fortunately, the elemental gods do not use their full strength in their internal battles. They reserve some power to fight off the death god's advances. This resistance allows the smallest hint of life to survive and be reborn in the next cycle.
The four elemental gods and the death god may not be the only divine beings in Gurutama. Other minor divine beings include the folklore deities of the Halflings and the giant tree in Crodolan that the Elves worship. As magic does not require a divine source in Gurutama, even the existence of clerics of these smaller gods does not prove their existence. These divinities may not be real, but the people of Gurutama certainly believe they are. Regardless, as these minor gods are not important to the cosmology of Gurutama, they are not discussed here.
Main article: Izquitl
Izquitl is the air goddess and the Egg-Mother of the Avians. She lives in her nest at the top of Cui-Xoloc. She became embroiled in a conflict with the water deity, Drolfo, early on in this cycle. Izquitl lost the conflict due to Selcatnet surviving a past cycle and joining with Drolfo.
Since losing the early conflict with Drolfo, Izquitl retreated into isolation for over a thousand years to regain her strength. Only in recent years has she returned to the world stage.
Main article: The Books
The Books represent the earth deity in Gurutama, even if they are not a traditional divine being. There are dozens of volumes that make up the Books. Each volume is written by a different gathering of Dwarves. The Dwarves preserve their knowledge of past cycles within the Books, giving them a vast ancestral memory. The Books are made divine by a spirit that guides the reader. With so much knowledge contained within the scattered volumes, it can be difficult to find the information one is searching for. The divine spirit of the Books guides those who read them towards whatever destiny it finds fitting. This divine spirit is in fact, the earth of Gurutama itself.
During the present cycle, the Books have primarily been in conflict with the outside invader, Navillus. This fight with Navillus led to an alliance with the death god, Reesrevo, as well as an additional conflict with Drolfo.
The Hero of Legend
Main article: The Hero
The Hero should have been the god of fire and the patron deity of the Humans. Unfortunately, this position was usurped by Navillus. The Hero was left without his usual place in the cosmology of Gurutama. Lost and without his full power, the Hero wandered for centuries throughout the lands. Eventually in 564 NA he inhabited the body of a newly born babe in Najar. Records are unclear as to what race the Hero was. Many races claim he was one of their own. While in his mortal form the Hero gathered his strength to attack Navillus. With the help of his Sword he locked Navillus away within the Najar Volcano.
Things looked good for the Hero resuming his place as the fire god, but the death god put a stop to such dreams. Reesrevo's Grez army attacked Najar. Accounts differ on whether the Hero perished prior to this invasion or during it. Either way, his physical form along with all the power it had gathered during the Hero's mortal life became Reesrevo's to command. The Hero's physical form was animated as an undead horror, a bane to all living things.
But what does this mean for the cycles? The fire deity was removed from the normal union of the elemental deities that resist the advance of death. The death god has assumed some of the fire god's power. With that additional power, Reesrevo has the potential to end the cycles permanently. Additionally, Navillus stole some of the fire god's power. The Black Prince is also a serious threat to the continuation of the cycles due to his soul-sucking nature.
The divine spirit of the Hero still exists independently of Reesrevo and Navillus, but in a severely weakened state. Without a strong fire god, the cycles may end for good.
Main article: Drolfo
Drolfo resides over the seas, oceans, trade, and weather of Gurutama. He is the patron deity of the Merfolk. Drolfo became involved in an early conflict with the air deity, Izquitl, and won. After that point, Drolfo was asked by the Dwarves to ally against the invader who had co-opted the fire god's mantle. Drolfo was not sure if Navillus was an invader or merely an unusual manifestation of the fire god, so he declined to participate in the attack on Najar.
Drolfo has remained impartial in many of the conflicts sweeping the world since. Lending his full aid to one side or another could tip the balance in favor of that side, but if he waits too long then the strength of the Grez or the trickery of Navillus will prevail for sure.
Main article: Reesrevo
The death god of the north, Reesrevo rules over ice and death. The wraith-like Grez are his servants along with thousands of mindless undead victims of past Grez attacks.
In this cycle Reesrevo has taken advantage of Navillus's invasion to drastically improve his own position. He assumed some of the fire god's power (although not his sphere of influence) and used that power to put pressure the earth god.
Reesrevo recognizes the threat Navillus presents to the cycles, but ultimately they have similar goals, the destruction of all life.
Main article: Navillus
Navillus is a cosmic entity that infiltrated Gurutama through a planar hole in the Najar Volcano. In the early years of the present cycle, Navillus began whispering to the Humans before The Hero had fully assumed his role as the fire god. Navillus stole the prayers and offerings of the Humans, which served to make him stronger rather than their intended recipient, the Hero. The Dark God slowly worked his way into the Humans minds, telling them to sacrifice sentient life by throwing it into the Najar Volcano.
These sacrifices went directly to Navillus in his plane of Gorgoth. Navillus had played the same trick on the mortals of Gorgoth, giving the people their divine gifts in exchange for sacrifices. As the sacrifices increased, Navillus slowly absorbed all life in Gorgoth until only a dead world remained, devoid of all life. With nothing left to consume on Gorgoth, Navillus began gathering strength from sacrifices offered upon other planes and from the last remnants of life on his own plane. The Humans of Gurutama offered the most sacrifices, allowing him to punch a hole through the fabric of Gurutama and enter the world physically at the Najar Volcano.
Navillus replaced the Hero as the patron god of the Humans. He gave them the gifts of civilization and technological advancement. Very few Humans in Gurutama know the true cost of these gifts, that nearly all Human souls are devoured by Navillus upon death. Navillus has spread his influence, taking over a portion of the Dwarven race as well. He expands his reach further every year, consuming more and more of Gurutama's energy. If all goes according to the Black Prince's plan, he will consume all life on the world until nothing is left. The cycles will end and he will move onto another world.
The Invasion & The Last Cycle
The invasion of Navillus into Gurutama spawned two main threats to the continuation of the cycles. The first threat is Navillus himself. His existence requires the consumption of the life energy of other beings. As he feeds on these souls he also eats away at the life energy of the world that produced those souls, Gurutama itself. If Navillus still exists within Gurutama at the end of the present cycle, he will be free to consume whatever life energy remains between cycles. Without this ambient energy, the next cycle will not begin. Gurutama will die and Navillus will be forced to find a new world to devour.
The second threat to the continuation of the cycles came about as a result of Navillus assuming the fire god's role in the traditional Gurutama pantheon. The elemental gods, usually united against the death god, were missing a key member. Reesrevo was able to expand his reach further than before. Additionally, he captured the physical form of the Hero, lending the death god even more power. This imbalance in the death god's favor could give him the power to end the cycles as well.
While it is true that the death god has attained victory in past cycles by wiping out all physical life, the ambient life energy of Gurutama always endured. The death god instinctively desires to destroy this ambient energy, but the task is beyond him under normal circumstances. Unfortunately, circumstances are not normal during the current cycle. The addition of the Hero's power to Reesrevo's own could give him the strength necessary to destroy even the ambient life energy of Gurutama. This would spell an end for the cycles and also, interestingly, Navillus. Without any ambient life energy to consume, it is likely that the Demon Lord would not be able to muster the force needed to escape to another plane.