I actually wrote out this thread on Twitter earlier today, and decided to post it here as well with a few tweaks and notes, because it sums up something I've been trying to decide how to write simply for weeks now. So here it is - a very brief overview of the metaphysic I'm using to power the world of Bringing Ragnarok:
Forces don't reconcile in our Universe because they are from Outside
Midgard is the world produced by Ymir's actions.
It is also a Multiverse, with parallel Threads of 'reality' = chains of cause and effect.
Humans cannot move between Threads, but their souls are reborn time and again, and *may* in some form move between them.
This link is what makes dreams feel so real. Glimpses of another reality, another Thread.
The gods - beings from other Worlds - CAN move around Midgard at will. They're not bound to causality in the same way we are.
Their (known) worlds:
(Midgard and Yggdrasil, the totality, make 9)
Asaheim - home of Aesir, Asa-gods, a bit like Time-Lords. Love achievement and conflict and experiences, don't experience time like we do.
Vanaheim - home of Vanir, Van-gods, bit like fertility deities. Love life in all its forms, believe in constant death and rebirth.
Jotunheim - home of Jotnar, the Giants and Trolls, sometimes mistaken for demons. Actually highly individualistic, shape-shifting beings able to alter quantum properties of matter at an extremely local scale.
Muspellheim - home of Muspelli, beings of pure energy who aren't divided like we are, and hate being so.
Because of Ymir, we (being star-stuff) are composed of their essence, unnaturally (from their perspective) bound to this reality by quantum effects and gravity.
Niflheim - home of Hel, daughter of Loke and mistress of Torment. Exhausted souls and those who commit heinous deeds in life rest there until the End.
Hel calls the evildoers to Hel-Hall, there to experience the most divine torment imaginable: deprivation of all basic needs.
Aelfheim and Svartaelfheim are strangely linked in a dualistic existence, Aelf and Svartaelf being two aspects of the same entity.
Aelfar shape people, inhabit creatures.
Svartaelfar shape materials, inhabit their works.
Both have their own agendas and should not be sought out.
Asgard is a place at the boundary between Asaheim and Midgard, a weak point between Worlds traversable by all gods, but long held by the Aesir and Vanir.
Bivrost, the rainbow bridge, surrounds Midgard, but can be crossed in Asaheim.
The gods, discovering Midgard and humans on Earth, chose to live among our ancestors, sometimes *as* them.
Aesir, Vanir, Jotunn, Aelfar, Svartaelfar - these are merely the Norse names for categories of beings common to most human mythologies.
Mythology is indeed a memory of human history, often including bits of lore passed down to our kind by the gods, who in the end are just people too.
Albeit incredibly powerful, compare to we who were born within Midgard.
Humans are reborn again and again, so long as their souls are able to tolerate the pain of life, and their ultimate origin and fate remains unknown, even to gods - who don't know what happens to their souls, either.
Those who give up the fight of life rest in Niflheim to the End
But some, perhaps a tithe of all humans who have ever lived, are called to Asgard by Odin, lord of Valhalla, or Freyja, lady of Folkvangr.
There they live forever, honing their skills and selves in preparation for a cataclysmic struggle to come.
Because the gods, though they could not have known, did something to the Metaverse, the Nine Worlds.
Midgard somehow became bound to their Worlds.
And Midgard, the accidental creation of Ymir, who was killed before he could undo his deed, now controls their fate too.
A Very Bad Thing for all involved.
Because Midgard is far from perfect. In fact, it is doomed to one day self-annihilate.
The gods inadvertently introduced a particular structure into Midgard, affecting its development.
And one day, very soon, a paradox will form.
When it does, all realities will collapse in on one another, the universe self-annihilating in a terminal disaster.
This is Ragnarok.
And when the End comes, all who ever lived will rise again, and face final Judgement - at the hands of one another.
What I am hoping to accomplish with this metaphysical structure is to create a plausible 'unified' explanation for reality as we in the 21st century understand it, combining materialist science with a form of spiritualism that is pluralist, universal, and non-discriminating. A goal in writing Bringing Ragnarok is to describe the world in a different - yet scientifically defensible - way than most readers have ever seen before.
While not getting (too) boring or preachy (as a narrator). I have a theory that good fiction and good science can be paired to help show why stuff in the world isn't getting fixed and how people can do better.
Anyway, if you like this, feel free to share or use as you like! In building this metaphysic, all I've done is connect the text of the Eddas to some basic "big picture" physics. More folks working and thinking along these lines, the better for us all.
Sandra Chavez is one of the Missoula Regiment's primary Commanders, a veteran of the American Forever Wars with deployments to Kuwait 2013 (E2), Iraq 2015 (E3), Afghanistan 2018 (E4, promoted to E5/Sergeant), Syria 2019 (E5), Iraq/Syria 2023 (E6), and Pakistan 2025-2027 (E7).
Initially enlisted as 31B (Military Police), re-classed to 19D (Cavalry Scout) in 2018. Left the Armed Forces as an E8 (Master Sergeant) in 2030 after the Collapse, joining the Missoula Regiment in the same year.
As a result of her experiences and continuing formal education - BA earned in 2017, MS in 2023, ended studies at PhD (all but dissertation) - during a stint at the old National Training Center Chavez established the following "Rules of 21st Century Battlefield Survival," eventually incorporating all thirteen into Missoula Regiment standing doctrine.
Numerous attempts by colleagues to convince Sergeant Chavez to pursue an Officer commission failed.
In her own words: "Why would I take on all that damn paperwork?"
Sandra Chavez and the Thirteen Rules of 21st Century Battlefield Survival
1. What can see you, can kill you - stick to cover.
2. What can't see you can still kill you - always choose the thickest cover.
3. When out of cover, assume you've been seen.
4. When seen, either superior speed or firepower saves you.
5. Training, experience, and good equipment can give you the decisive edge in a hard fight.
6. But the wise warrior seeks any fight only rarely, and a fair fight never.
7. The most deadly weapon is a scout team in a hide with commo links to fire support.
8. Most important combat objectives will boil down to: go there, control that.
9. The warrior who lives to old age is the one who never achieves objectives in the expected way.
10. Armor is backup - taking a hit always ruins your day.
11. All good rules apply equally well at every level but implementation varies with the terrain.
12. Frontal assaults, charges, and anything else traditionally macho is for fools with a death wish.
13. Sometimes fools are the most deadly opponents of all.