No society exists in a vacuum. Every society is shaped by outside influences at least to some extent. Unless, of course, this society exists in a vacuum after all, removed from anyone who does not share their cultural roots – that is to say, from everyone else. At the same time, they have a common fate fusing them together, preventing fractions from forming. What could such a society look like?

Granted, it still does not exist in a vacuum. That would not be beneficial for breathing and survival in general. And in a way, that situation itself could be considered an outside influence – blue sky, all the time, without visible markers, too far away from the world and even the sun they came from to mark their travel. Let’s have a look at what happened to the society that fled, and what state they might be in if they ever were to return.

This is part of Hole in the Sky, a Slow Burn Sourcebook.

Society before the Ascension

There is not much special here. This society was pretty much average, mostly because it does not make any difference. It is the journey that turned them into something else, no matter the original values they based their lives upon. Considering what lies ahead, it simply does not matter whether they were a bit more or less religeous, industrious, or artsy. There are no records left of them anyway.

Aeons Going up

After a few generations, those who went up became just the kind of society you would expect. Not only did they begin to see themselves as the peak (pun intended) of all creation, but they are also convinced that there was a divine scheme at work that put them in this position. But since they left the gods of the world behind so long ago, they began looking for a new focus.

They found it in the stone that helped them ascend in the first place. More to the point, in their inability to discern where it originally came from. With most of their knowledge about the world below lost to time, they decided that there is only one power in the cosmos capable of creating such an artifact and placing it so conveniently – the Ascended themselves.

In effect, they became their own gods and the focus of their belief. They are the only ones who posess the secred to the eternal ascent, so they must be the ones to place the artifact. It follows that eventually, their journey will lead them back to the world, and also back in time. They call this tenant of their belief “the loop”.

Breaking the Loop

They expect to one day see the world they left behind coming towards them, aeons before they left. At first, they expected to crash, leaving behind the stone as the only thing that remains of them as a gift to their ancestors, allowing them to embark on the same journey when their time comes.

But with more and more time for this belief to grow and evolve, they began to question the wisdom behind sacrificing all they had become. They wanted to teach their kin, in order to give them a head start on this journey – the next iteration of the loop. Uncertain whether they were meant to survive the impact at all, they began to create items they thought could survive the impact. This way, their ancestors would find the saving stone surrounded by ancient art and texts detailing their belief and faith in ways they thought their progenitors would understand.

With more and more time spent drifting through the unchanging blue void, the next step in their spiritual journey was unavoidable.

The Ascended Society

If they were meant to leave something behind for their ancestors to make their journey easier, why not survive and teach them directly? This way, they might even be able to break the loop for good, reverse the cataclysm, or at the very least return to a world ripe for reshaping by them and their precursors.

After all, they had initially prepared to land, if their artifact propulsion were ever to falter. So with aeons of growth, taking miracles of science and magic in stride, should they not be able to land if the loop ever came full circle?

Now, they are very much locked in their ways despite their attempts to further decode the mysteries of the cosmos that allowed them to last this long. They see it as their duty to return, but they are not certain yet whether they should wait for the event to happen – or to facilitate it on their own terms.

What else?

Check out the overview page of this Slow burn Sourcebook to find other articles and the general idea behind this book.