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(c) Christopher Shy

(c) Christopher Shy
Ronin Illustrator

The Elysium

Introductory Note

In the Metropolis Sourcebook Elysium is used as a name for the world we live in. From my (German) edition of the Kult rules I get the impression that Elysium rather is a different reality such as Metropolis and the Inferno are, the paradise left vacant after the Demiurge's disappearance. So which is true?

I like the second idea better, so this text assumes that Elysium is the name for paradise, the place nice people (or the Demiurge's idea of nice people) go after their lives end. It might not be anyone else's idea of paradise, though.

Elysium: The Eternal Bliss

The following descriptions are concerned with the layout of Elysium as intended by the Demiurge. Certain changes have occurred after the Demiurge disappeared, which are reflected in the chapter titled After the Fall.

The Garden of Delights

Elysium is the name the ancient Greeks gave to that part of the Netherworld which was reserved for the virtuous. That is exactly what the Demiurge had in mind when he created Elysium. It consists of all the various paradises human religions expect in the afterlife - at least at first glance.

The Demiurge created Elysium for the souls of those He deemed worthy. They were few in number; they had to be outstanding and lawful servants, and that included no deviation whatsoever from the pre-ordained path for humans in captivity, no questioning of the illusion and definitely no awakening. In game terms, any soul which would ever achieve Elysium had to have a Mental Balance of 0. All of the Garden of Delights which those few who came here found was designed to keep those souls in an eternal state of blissful ignorance. There existed nothing which could disturb the fragile state of perfect balance either way. They were caught in an infinitely more devious trap than the limbo which must be traversed on the way to true awakening. Change was anathema until the Demiurge vanished.

(c) 1996 Francois Launet

(c)1996 by Francois Launet
Goomi Studio

The Well of Souls

The Well of Souls is located at the centre of Elysium. It is the fount through which worthy souls enter Elysium. Here and in the surrounding orchard, they find everything as they expect it to be, as they have learned it from their religious doctrine. Islamic believers find the houris, young beautiful women to cater to their every whim, and wine that does not make drunk (no-one knows what female moslems find here); Christian believers find a peaceful co-existence of all life; Native Americans used to find the happy hunting grounds etc.

All souls who enter Elysium through the Well of Souls find themselves alone at first; there are no other souls here, only the servile creatures of Elysium who can take any shape the recently deceased expects. The orchard which contains the Well of Souls is a personal experience, much like Nepharitic hells. Cynics might say that it actually is the most devious of all personal hells to find. This place has but one purpose: confirm the truth of the doctrine which chains you to the illusion.

The Elysian Fields

Eventually, a soul finds the exit of her personal orchard. Once she leaves she cannot go back, but she will forget her experience there soon. At this time she has fully accepted the grace of god and will no longer be able to question the reality of the illusion. She is never going to return to the world, Metropolis or any other place. She is now a creature of Elysium and may enter the Elysian Fields.

Only very rarely a soul rebels against the influence of Elysium, and never after they have left their orchards. Those few (and they are indeed few, if any at all, as the Demiurge seldom errs) find that the exit of their orchard leads not to the Elysian Fields but into the deepest recesses of Inferno.

The Elysian Fields are extensive. They look like a dream of friendly, sanitized nature. They are more like a park than a natural area. There is no aggression here, everything is peaceful and tranquil. Angels walk the Elysian Fields and live as teachers and friends among the souls of the worthy deceased, confirming once again the truth and beauty of the Demiurge's creation. There is no shortage of food, no need for shelter, and no worry. There are no artificial constructs whatsoever, no buildings, no tools and no art. Souls settle into a state of utter acceptance not unlike autism, and this comparison is far closer to the truth than most ever realize.

The Elysian Fields are limitless. One can walk forever in the same direction and never reach a border or return to the same place. It is absolutely possible for a soul to move to a place where no soul went before nor will ever after, if the soul so wishes - the farther away from the Well of Souls the soul walks, the less numerous the pouplation of Elysium becomes. But the Elysium does not change its shape randomly - if you retrace your steps, you will find everything as you have encountered it before.

The Palace of the Demiurge

The Palace of the Demiurge is the only building of any kind in Elysium. It is a circular structure with various storeys, towers and turrets, of many styles and materials. It encircles all of Elysium, and it can always be seen on the horizon whereever the view is not obstructed. Regardless of how far one goes, the Palace always looms at the horizon and never comes nearer; neither does it disappear behind you.

Lost Paradise - (c) 2001 by Robin Pfeifer

Lost Paradise
(c) 2001 by Robin Pfeifer

No soul can ever reach the Palace unless guided by an angel, and no soul wants to. It is enough to know that GOD resides there. The souls have long lost any individual image of who or what GOD is; they accept him / her / them / it as the only truth there is, and that is all.

Angels, on the other hand, may reach the Palace, as may some lictors, the Archons, and, technically at least, the Death Angels and Astaroth himself, although the latter would be well advised to stay away. The Palace links to all the Archons' citadels and that of the Demiurge himself. There are also doors to any reality and time. Angels walk these halls leisurely. Lesser gods live in huge quarters inside the Palace - all of them support the Demiurge's cause.

Rarely, someone from outside Elysium enters the Palace through one of the doors. Sometimes, the Demiurge or one of his minions grants a visit to a worthy servant, but doors can also be opened by unwavering and unquestioning faith. Most people are allowed to leave when they cannot bear the beauty of the Palace anymore, as everything is bathed in its own light, and they soon forget what they saw, althought their faith is confirmed. Some may even stay to become more than humans. Some die here and leave the Palace for the Elysian Fields, never to return.

Nothing ever happens in the Palace. The tranquility of Elysium is rooted in a perfect state of everlasting bliss and any event or action would only detract from that bliss. In a way, there is no time in Elysium, everything is here and now, even though time and space are experienced by the souls of the deceased. Angels and other higher beings are not bound by these things and may move through time and space in any manner they like - if they move at all.

There are mounds of ancient artifacts and treasures in the Palace, lost pieces of art, the keys to all mysteries and tomes of all-powerful magic, but no-one ever uses these things. Those who dwell here might enjoy the beauty of the cross on which Jesus died, they might marvel at their reflection in the contents of the Holy Grail, but they will not touch, nor will they even think about those items when they turn their backs on them.

The Garden Eden

Eden is one place of many within Elysium which are based on myths of creation rather than a concept of the afterlife. Accordingly, there is no-one here. The Trees of Life and Knowledge are hung with ripe fruits no-one plucks nor eats. A Seraph with a flaming sword guards the entrance, although no soul would ever find its way back here without guidance from a higher being. In the shadows outside Eden lurks an old hag, Lilith. She continually birthes tentacled and clawed horrors which burrow into the earth of Elysium to dig their way down into the Inferno. Lilith's wailing for lost Eden can be heard even before the hedge fencing it in can be seen. Lilith was Adam's first wife - she did not consent to being subordinate to Adam, as she was created equal to him. Her punishment was an eternal life on the fringes of Eden.

(c) Christopher Shy

(c) Christopher Shy
Ronin Illustrator

Between the Trees of Knowledge and of Life there is the shallow grave of the unnamed second woman. After Lilith was cast out of Eden, Adam watched as the Demiurge created the Nameless One from dust; bones, sinews, flesh, blood, skin and all. Adam could not bear being near her, as he had seen her insides. She was discarded like a piece of unsatisfactory pottery, and her body still rests here. Nameless, she is without soul, immobile and dead, but nevertheless conscious as the Demiurge never thought of collecting her soul nor letting it go. She hears Lilith's wails and longs to be with her sister in damnation.

Other regions contain the remains of other creation myths, just as parts of the Inferno contain visions of the end of the world. All are far from where the souls of the deceased roam.

After the Fall

Everything changed when the Demiurge went away. His departure was an event which marred the beauty and bliss of the Eternal Moment. There was a discord in the music of the angelic choirs, and the majority of angels immediately went mad. Many destroyed themselves or others. They ran from the Palace, devouring the souls of the deceased. The souls themselves suddenly found that they were trapped in the middle of a static dream; they could no longer uphold their mental equilibrium and most were pushed towards their darker sides, although some found a little light within themselves.

Elysium itself shook as in an earthquake when the Demiurge left, and the tremors have never stopped. The mountains continually crumble, chasms leading into the Inferno or sometimes to Metropolis or Gaia open in the ground, and wild storms rage across the surface. Souls perish or are cast out of the Elysium, only very few cling to the remains of Paradise. The same goes for the surviving angels.

Even the Palace is shaken by the upheaval, and wide tracts of the building have caved in, while other withstand destruction for the moment. The lesser gods residing there have either left, gone insane or even perished when they lost the comfort of the Demiurge. Now the dusty halls and winding corridors are mostly devoid of life, although hardier creatures from outside have stormed the open doors and hunt for food and treasures within.

The gates to the citadels have inexplicably closed and will not be opened. Thus, the Archons themselves are locked out of Elysium, and even those who were never too fond of Elysium in the first place would like to find a way back. Strange as it seems, all portals leading there fall shut when an Archon nears, and will not open again while the Archon remains in the vicinity. The same effect keeps the Death Angels out, although Astaroth himself is believed to have walked through all of the remaining Palace on his search for the Demiurge.

(c) 1998 by Francois Launet

(c) 1998 by Francois Launet
Goomi Studio

The remaining souls in Elysium now find that they can reach the Palace if they want to. They can also reach the mythic places of creation, although to actually find these places is not easy. So far, no-one has reached Eden to eat from the Fruits of Life and Knowledge, and no-one knows what would happen if that event occurred.

The angel guarding Eden has impaled himself on his flaming sword. The flames have consumed most of his body, and Lilith's spawn have eaten the rest before dispersing to hunt for other easy prey in Elysium. Lilith, still giving birth, has re-entered Eden looking for Adam (who is not here anymore of course) to avenge herself. The Nameless One lies in her grave between the Trees of Life and Knowledge waiting for someone to come and offer her life and a name. She wants to rise and inherit what is rightfully hers.

The Well of Souls has dried. No soul has entered Elysium this way since the Demiurge disappeared. The orchard lies barren and its creatures dead. As it lies directly in the center of Elysium, roaming souls may eventually reach it, and many find that they can burrow through the Well back into the world of the living. Here they haunt the streets of the cities uncomprehendingly, until they eventually feel drawn towards a pregnant woman. They enter the foetus, but the mark of Elysium's tranquility is still on them: when they are born again they become apathetic and untouchable. Only rarely does an incident reach them in their autism and evoke a reaction.

PCs may enter Elysium through a rare crack in the Illusion or through one of the portals leading to the Palace of the Demiurge. Portals open from the oldest cathedrals, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship such as the inside of the Kaaba in Mecca or, at certain times, between the standing stones of Stonehenge. One essential prerequisite, if someone intends to reach Elysium, is unwavering faith - not of any particular brand, but of particular fervor; another is a relatively stable Mental Balance. As soon as the aura becomes tainted, the searcher is no longer suitable to find Elysium. That does not mean that he cannot chance upon it, though. Doors from the Inferno or Metropolis might be used by anyone who lives to reach them, but often they are well-guarded on the outside.

Leaving the Elysium through any portal leads the PC into Metropolis, the Inferno, or Gaia the Living Earth. While there are portals leading from the Illusion to Elysium, these cannot be opened from the inside. The only way to return to the 'normal' world directly is to burrow through the Well of Souls. The luckless burrower then usually finds himself in a fresh grave, sharing a coffin with the decomposing corpse of someone locked out of Elysium, who may or may not be amused...

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