In the beginning...
The universe as we know it was birthed at the moment of the Big Bang. This explosion of positive and negative forces, matter and anti-matter, existence and non-existence created the stuff from which galaxies would appear. Over time, obeying the forces of gravity and quantum mechanics, the dust of space coalesced into stars, planets, rocks, and moons, creating the building blocks for what would one day be intelligent life.
But there was no hurry; stars wheeled and galaxies tumbled in the dance of time, as the universe waited for living creatures to cross the cosmos and spread the breath of life across the great voids. Eventually, in random, scattered places, elements formed molecules, molecules formed chains, and under the influence of water and sunlight and weather these chains wrapped together into simple animals who themselves developed into sentient beings.
Though the people known as “the Endless" were the first to raise their eyes to the heavens, it is certain that many other peoples existed. Did they leave their planets? Destroy them through over-exploitation? Disappear in natural disasters? These questions can only be answered one solar system at a time. What is certain is that no other race would grow as large, travel as far, or learn as much as the Endless did. It is with them that we say that the living history of the universe truly began.
The first to travel widely between the stars were known as the Endless; we know of no earlier form of intelligent life that moved between galaxies. That is not to say, of course, that others did not exist. But if they did they rose and fell or were snuffed out, receding back into the dust of history. Perhaps, with time and further exploration, their secrets will be uncovered as well...
Much is told of the Endless--of their technologies, of their societies, and especially of the uncountable splinters into which their nation eventually shattered itself. Their history is glorious but above all tragic; though they unlocked the secrets of time-space, the stars, and life itself they were unable to master their own internal conflicts. But we must remember this: Though their explorations covered millions of stars across endless light-years of space, even they are barely a drop in the vast sea that is the universe.
What remains now of the Endless are strange, disjointed traces in the forms of seeds, of observatories, of experiments, of cities and worlds and perhaps – though not all of this is clear or verifiable – in the forms of other peoples.
The Endless society developed on a large, cool planet that they called Tor. It was the second large body orbiting a star now known simply as Prime. Their history is similar to many other peoples who would eventually solve the mysterious physical and mathematical puzzles of space flight: A tale of creation, evolution, growth and prosperity, interlinked with famine, war, disease, and danger.
In fact, the race that we now refer to as the ‘Endless’ started as separate and distinct groups on the planet. For the first several millennia of their existence these peoples were only peripherally aware of each other’s existence, as they established themselves with difficulty on a planet whose long winters made development slow and arduous. The early Endless history is therefore marked by gradual change among a gradually expanding and inter-related series of tribes. In their early ages before modernization and industrialization, these peoples were:
- Tundu, farmers and builders who practiced high-intensity cultivation of wet crops as soon as the rivers unfroze. They lived on the equatorial strip of Tor, largely sedentary with a life that revolved around their villages and farms.
- Haduns, nomadic hunter/gatherers and herdsmen who split off from their brethren, the Tundu, in the distant past. Crossing a land bridge that was briefly accessible during a period of warmth, the Haduns ended up in the coldest, most northerly latitudes of the planet. However, in the vast deserts of ice and snow they discovered numerous volcanic vents. These formed oases amid the frigid surroundings, becoming villages, centers of religious observances, and major trading posts.
- Different from both of these groups were the Eaür, who evolved from ocean life in the saline seas. Sedentary hunter/gatherers, these ocean dwellers evolved from many-armed sea creatures, growing and tending the great purple coral reefs that provided both food and shelter.