It is known that Dahak Sorrowmaker, the Endless Destruction turned on his father Apsu the Waybringer – First Dragon, and Creator of All.

It is further known that Dahak rent his sibling dragons asunder, throwing the pieces of their immortal bodies to the earth and raising them again as mortal creatures he could torment endlessly.

Many also know that some chose to throw themselves on Dahak’s mercy. These became evil like him, following in his destructive ways and bringing shame to Apsu’s vision of Dragonhood. Both the good and the evil dragons bred true in their colors and their nature passed to their children. Their nature became identifiable by their very color.

This is not the complete tale, however. Only four know of the events that took place prior to Apsu’s younger children falling under their older brother’s sway.

Distraught by the betrayal of his son and the murder of his other offspring, Apsu sought to find them sanctuary. His personal demiplane (the “Immortal Ambulatory”) could be protected, but at great expense… his unwavering vigilance in its defense against the predation of Dahak. They must be hidden, not just protected. Beyond the reach of Dahak or any who might reveal them.

Yet what life would this be? Huddled out of sight in some back corner of the universe, forever cowering… not knowing the joy of creation, love or sorrow? No… Protection alone was not an option, but neither was simply hiding.

A third option was found, but it was an option beyond the powers of Apsu to achieve alone. With the assistance of Asmodeus and Pharasma, Apsu carved out a portion of his demiplane into its own sphere of existence, and surrounded that sphere with a protective shell making it imperceptible to any not already aware of its existence.

Apsu’s magic shielded this sphere from the eyes of the Evil, Asmodeus’ magic shielded this sphere from the eyes of the Good, and Pharasma from the eyes of the Neutral. Pharasma of course was essential for other reasons as well… this sphere, which he named Merisyl, was to be a place where his hunted children could live full lives out of the reach of Dahak. For this cycle of life to continue the souls must be able to pass through the protective shell, and none but Pharasma directs the River of Souls.

Each of the three Gods chose from their followers people to populate this new world. Apsu chose those deserving of protection or a new start. Pharasma chose most likely to hold true to her teachings, and Asmodeus, as always, kept his motivations to himself. The children of Apsu who took advantage of this sanctuary also brought with them tribes and followers loyal to them, and the world was endowed with the flora and fauna (both mundane and magical) necessary for the ecosystem of a world.

Thus was born Merisyl. Prior to any of the Dragons bending knee to Dahak, Apsu rescued many and transported them to Merisyl – beyond the reach of Dahak, and behind the protective shell. Thus Merisyl dragons retain the free will they were always intended to have… their nature not determined by the choices of their ancestors.

The dragons lived and grew and thrived, and reproduced and died and loved and learned… as did the other races. Apsu’s magic maintains the shell, and the magic of all three gods was imbued into the land of Merisyl… seeping into the very matter of creation.

Over time, the dragons felt the connection to Apsu, and explored the magical boundaries of the realm. They were able to enter the shell itself, but were not able to pierce that shell. The shell became known as the Draconic Plane, as the Dragons would travel there to retreat from the world, bask in Apsu’s nearness (though they had no idea of this) and feed the tickling in their mind that something more was out there.

As with any collection of mortals, their power of belief and faith and worship elevated some in power above others. The Dragons had the most physical power and the most Arcane power, and these attributes naturally attracted the worship of the lesser mortals. With this worship came Divine power. Minuscule from any one person, yet powerful when united in focus. Some of these Dragons became Gods within the sphere of Merisyl. Though likely laughable when compared to the Gods of Golarion, whose reach is far wider, within the realm of Merisyl they were Gods indeed – holding the power of life and death, of law and chaos and of reality itself.

The attentive reader might have noticed that the secret was held by four, and yet only three Gods have been named who share this knowledge. Who then is the fourth?

After the creation of Merisyl Pharasma soon found that the protections laid upon it blurred her vision of the fates of the souls within. Refusing to accept this limitation, she created a second Mantis God – Achviv-Lorekekan (now known as Vivlorean ) and punctured the seal around Merisyl to insert Vivlorean as Pharasma’s proxy.

Vivlorean serves as Pharasma’s eyes and ears and ensures that the cycle of rebirth continues. The rift through which she came remains a partially healed wound in the protective shell around Merisyl, and the few entities within Merisyl who are aware of it refer to it only as the Dark Portal – behind which lies the Unmaking.

Creation Myths

The most commonly told creation myth is that the when the Universe Dragon Yxtavoric died of old age, their body became the land of Merisyl, their blood became the magic, and the tears of the Universe in sorrow of their passing became the seas.

The Korthjach instead tell a tale of how Vivlorean awoke from a state of Divine Contemplation at the bottom of an endless black swamp and was inspired that the swamp itself should see, feel, and taste. The Korthjach and other races were formed from the mud of the swamp and given senses with which to gather experiences for the swamp. At the end of life, it is the sacred duty to return to the mud of the swamp with these experiences so that the swamp can learn. Thus, everything begins and ends in the swamp.

More recently with Litoriath’s victory over Mezrek standing out with such a definitive impact to the pantheon, some are saying that Litoriath himself created Merisyl by summoning it from his imagination, and that he is the source of magic. He then left to wander the heavens to search for a worthy mate, but while away Mezrek rose up. Litoriath returned to cast him down, and now refuses to put Merisyl at risk again by leaving, and so will choose a spouse from the mortals of the world.