Exalted – An Abridged History, Part OneMay 18, 2010
It seems like a good place to start when examining Exalted is the history (mythology) of the world. So, way back in the dim mists of sometimeorother, entities called Primordials (think Greek titans) pulled themselves from the formless chaos of the Wyld. For whatever reason, they decided they didn’t want to hang out in chaos forever, so they made something that wasn’t chaos. They called it Creation.
For a long time, they toyed with Creation, making races, continents, weather, whatever. Eventually, they grew more or less bored with it and made the Games of Divinity, which they put in a place they called Yu-Shan. They still had Creation, however, so they made gods to watch over their Creation, to guide it and keep it safe so they’d have something to screw with between turns at the Games. The greatest of these gods were the Incarnae, and the greatest of these was the Unconquered Sun.
The Sun was horrified and repulsed by the way the Primordials treated the races they made. He was the pinnacle of all Virtue, but he was constrained by his nature to never directly act against his creators. He and the Incarnae, Luna and the Five Maidens of Destiny, plotted together against the Primordials, but none could find a way to overthrow them. However, they were aided by two rogue Primordials: Gaia, who loved Luna more than she loved her siblings, and Autochthon, smallest and weakest but also smartest of the Primordials, who was tired of being abused by his siblings.
Autochthon devised a weapon, called an Exaltation. It was a fragment of an Incarna’s power, imbued into a mortal. It would allow the Incarnae to indirectly fight their creators. With Autochthon’s help, they made these Exaltations and implanted them into the weakest and most plentiful of the Primordial races, a race so helpless that their sole purpose was to pray to the Primordials for salvation and thereby empower them. They Exalted the humans.
The Sun empowered three hundred mortals with his power, his excellence, his sheer unconquered nature. Luna empowered three hundred with her adaptability, her tenacity, and her need to protect all that is. The Maidens collectively empowered a hundred mortals with their wisdom, their foresight, and their power over Fate itself. Even Gaia made Exalted, though they were the weakest and most numerous of them all.
The Primordial War was terrible. The Exalted were more inventive, more powerful, and more fearsome than even Autochthon could have imagined. When the first Primordial died, a thing which had never before happened, which no one believed COULD happen, the war turned even more grim. Eventually, as more and more Primordials were slain by the upstart Exalted, the survivors offered to surrender rather than rend all existence asunder by their deaths. They were imprisoned forever inside the broken, still-living body of their King, and were called the Yozis.
The Incarnae retired to Yu-Shan to play the Games of Divinity, and left Creation to the Exalted. Gaia lived in Yu-Shan as well, at Luna’s side, while Autochthon, afraid of the Exalted, left Creation entirely. For several millennia, the Solars, chosen of the Unconquered Sun, ruled Creation with the Lunars, chosen of Luna, at their sides. The Sidereals, chosen of the Maidens of Destiny, served as viziers and advisors, and the Terrestrials, the Exalted empowered by Gaia, served as lieutenants, seneschals, and soldiers. They forced Creation into something resembling peace.