If the Smelter of Souls were not real it would be a necessary lie. All the world is a bubble, and outside an endless storm: the cosmos beyond the fixed stars of the Celestial Firmament. Anything could come in at any time; the crack is open to light and heat and infinite variety. How lucky for us, then, that the Smelter of Souls dwells on the threshold and burns away anything that tries to steal into our little universe.
Qu-Rocca was renowned for her discovery of the Smelter of Souls, and indeed it was she who first revealed to modern culture the scope and shape of the cosmos. It was Qu-Rocca who tested the firmament, Qu-Rocca who first saw the endless possibilities beyond the crack in the world. Not until Qu-Rocca attempted to cross over to beyond did the Smelter of Souls appear and block her.
Qu-Rocca’s representation of this event is the clearest description of the Smelter available: a “great obese figure, green and genderless and with no clear features, burning as it came,” she wrote. “The Smelter of Souls, for such it called itself, forbade me egress, called me prisoner and itself warden. [Qu-Rocca] combated it, with all the prowess at [her] fingertips, but it drank in [her] magic and laughed.”
Since that first encounter, the Smelter of Souls has been the source of endless fascination among the mightiest aristos. A direct encounter with the Smelter is one of the many unofficial requirements for admission into the Warpless Circle, and in fact the stated purpose of that organization, as delineated in their charter, is to best the Smelter of Souls and gain access to the universe beyond.
Zoetic cosmology is notable for its treatment of the Smelter of Souls: a zoetic view of the Celestial Firmanent is as a great void, an endless and enormous hole with no boundary and no guardian. In this as in so many things, the pre-Landing cultures demonstrate their ignorance and weakness.
SEE ALSO: Basic Cosmology, Qu-Rocca, the Warpless Circle, Zoetic Mystics.