Secret History of the Universe: Glossary


SEE ALSO: The Atlas of FBI City Code Names in the United States

Adamantite: A very rare, greenish metal, believed to have originated due to the presence of extradimensional, unstable molecules.

Adamantium: A virtually indestructible alloy of iron and adamantite.

Almaren: See “Atlantis.”

Arda: The Elvish word for the planet Earth.

Aman: The Elvish word for the world of Asgard (see below).

Amazonium: A mithril alloy known only to the Amazons.

Asgard: A large and important world in the universe of Eä, and also a large city-state on that world, home of the Asgardians. In the days of Middle-earth (J.R.R. Tolkien's writings), this world was originally known by its Elvish name, “Aman.” Later, the gods of the Aesir (the Asgardian gods led by Odin) went to war with the gods of the Vanir (the Valar of Middle-earth). That war ended in a truce, but the Asgardians were given a land of their own in Aman, and in time the name of the city they built there became the name by which the entire world was known. Unlike planets in our universe, the worlds in Eä are not round, but are shaped like continental rocks. There are many lands upon the world of Asgard, including Asgard (home of the Aesir), Vanaheim (a.k.a. Valinor, home of the Vanir), Alfheim (a.k.a. Eldamar, home of the Elves) and Nidavellir (home of the Dwarves).

Atlantis: A sunken microcontinent in the Atlantic Ocean. It was originally created by the Valar to be their home (known as Almaren), but was then destroyed by Melkor. It was raised again by the Valar and then given as a gift to the Fathers of Men who had stood with the Elves of Beleriand against Melkor in the War of the Jewels. They named it Númenor and built it into a powerful kingdom before it was partly destroyed again at the end of the Second Age. It then returned to glory as Atlantis before sinking for the final time during the Great Cataclysm. It was later colonized by Homo mermanus.

Atum: A second-generation Elder God, the son of Gaea, Atum transformed into the Demogorge and was responsible for ridding Earth of the Elder Gods who had turned demonic.

A.X.E.: Agency of Exceptional Engagements, a covert agency established by the U.S. government in 1951 to deal with supernormal threats. Replaced by the Strategic Homeland Intervention Espionage and Logistics Division (S.H.I.E.L.D.) in 1965.

Celestials: Extremely powerful extraterrestrials that appear as 2,000-foot (610-meter) tall armored humanoids. They appear on select planets in four separate “hosts,” spaced with increasing frequency over the course of 333,396 Earth years. [Note that this is a change from the source material: Marvel Comics originally had the First Host appear one million Earth years before the next three, which were spaced within a few thousand years. I changed them so that they were spaced exponentially, if somewhat arbitrarily: 314,928 Earth years between the First and Second Hosts, 17,496 years between the Second and Third Hosts, and 972 years between the Third and Fourth Hosts. In each case, the intervals decrease by a factor of 18.] During the First Host, they conduct genetic experiments on the primitive, sentient inhabitants, creating various subspecies and offshoots. During the Fourth Host, they make their final judgment about the species and decide whether or not to obliterate it.

Coruscant Galaxy: The galaxy where the Star Wars saga took place, named after the planet Coruscant, which was the seat of the galactic government for much of its history. To its inhabitants, it is known simply as “The Galaxy.”

Cosmic Entity: This is the term given to the near-omniscient, metaphysical personifications of the primal cosmic forces of this universe. They include Eternity, Death, Infinity, Oblivion, Order and Chaos.

Demiurge: The sentient embodiment of Earth’s natural biosphere. The Demiurge was first given consciousness by the Proemial God named Brio during the Cryogenian Ice Age when “snowball Earth” conditions had put the planet’s biosphere in danger. The Elder Gods are the direct descendants of the Demiurge, created originally to help oversee and protect life on Earth. Later, the Demiurge abdicated this role to its daughter Gaea and transformed itself into Eru Ilúvatar.

Demogorge: The Elder God Atum, the son of Gaea, was born to rid Earth of those Elder Gods who had turned demonic. As he slew killed them, he absorbed their power into himself. These energies allowed Atum to undergo a transformation into the form of Demogorge, the God-Eater, which made him even more powerful. When the last of the demonic Elder gods had been banished, he released the energies he had absorbed and reverted back to his original form.

Dragon Kings: This was the name given to the Serpent People by the first humans who came into contact with them in Lemuria.

: In J.R.R. Tolkien's legendarium, Eä was the Elvish word for the universe. Here, however, I have identified it as an alternate universe, a “higher plane” where the gods live. It is connected to Earth by Yggdrasil, and it is where the world of Asgard (formerly known as Aman) is located, as well as several other worlds that the “gods” of Earth call home, including Olympus, Celestial Heliopolis and Celestial Dilmun.

Earth-D: A dystopian parallel universe that incorporates the "Days of Future past" anti-mutant storyline (Marvel Comics), Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" (DC Comics) and Akira.

Earth-M: The "Millennium Universe," a parallel universe exactly 1,000 years in the future compared to our own. Among other things, its timeline incorporates the Watchmen storyline, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, the Mad Max series, V for Vendetta, Escape from New York, Red Dawn, Judge Dredd, the Hunger Games series, Buck Rogers, the Legion of Super-Heroes (DC Comics) and the original Guardians of the Galaxy team (Marvel Comics).

Earth-O: A parallel universe where Earth become over-populated, incorporating Soylent Green, Logan's RunFirefly, and more.

Earth-Q: This is like DC Comics' Antimatter Universe, centered on Qward. It also includes "Earth-Three," the version of Earth where heroes are villains and villains are heroes. Basically, everything in this universe is the opposite of what it is in our universe.

Earth-Terminus: A cyber-punk dystopian parallel universe that incorporates Blade Runner, the Marvel 2099 alternate universe, and more.

Elder God: Having saved the Earth from the Cryogenian Ice Age, and guided the evolution of the first simple animals, the Demiurge sensed the need for diversity in the next phase of Earth’s history. It took its consciousness and split it into multiple fragments, which became the first generation of Elder Gods. Each of the Elder Gods adopted a role in helping the Demiurge to further develop and protect Earth’s biosphere. In time, some of the Elder Gods also had offspring of their own, so that there were multiple generations, albeit separated by millions of years. The Elder Gods eventually went to war with the Great Old Ones and defeated them, but in the aftermath many of them turned demonic and were themselves banished from Earth. In time, only Gaea remained.

Elder Race: A species of humanoids that founded a brief-lived colony on Earth called Theem’hdra 20 million years ago. The civilization soon died out.

Elder Things: The first extraterrestrial species to colonize Earth, they were the dominant life form on Earth for millions of years. Based primarily in the oceans around Antarctica, they stood roughly eight feet tall and had the appearance of a huge, oval-shaped barrel with starfish-like appendages at both ends.

Elders of the Universe: Highly advanced beings, the last members of great civilizations that had existed in the early days of the Universe, who achieved immortality, left their original, dying home worlds, and set out for greater purposes in the larger universe.

Elves: An immortal humanoid race created on Earth by Eru Ilúvatar. Most of the Elves eventually left earth to live in the land of Alfheim (known in Elvish as “Eldamar”) on the world of Asgard (known in Elvish as “Aman”). Those that remained behind gradually became “diminished” and turned into faerie kind: sprites, pixies and the like.

Endless: A pantheon of powerful entities born from the universal life force and bound to the subconscious spirituality of mortals. The original membership of the Endless included Delight, Desire, Despair, Destiny, Destruction and Dream. Death is also considered one of the Endless as well as a Cosmic Entity.

Engineers: An alien species who visited Earth in the distant past and created the Old Race (a.k.a. Giant-Kings), and may also have played a part in human evolution. They also bioengineered other alien species, including the Xenomorphs.

Eru Ilúvatar: After the Demiurge abdicated his role as the protector of Earth’s biosphere to his daughter Gaea, he contemplated the future for many years in a pocket dimension known as the Timeless Halls. He then emerged as Eru Ilúvatar with a vision of a new universe and a transformed Earth. After creating the Valar (now known as the Vanir) and the alternate universe of Eä, he retreated to the center of Earth, where he now dwells as the “Secret Fire.”

Flying Polyps: The second extraterrestrial species to colonize the planet after the Elder Things. They built basalt cities with high windowless towers on the land. They possessed polypus, semi-material alien bodies that could fly despite the absence of wings, and could turn invisible. They were later imprisoned underground by the Great Race of Yith, but escaped and fled earth during the cataclysm that killed the dinosaurs.

Force: The universal life force was particularly strong in the Coruscant Galaxy, where it was worshipped as an entity unto itself known only as “The Force.” It has been tapped into in a number of other ways throughout the universe.

Giant-Kings: A humanoid species bioengineered from primitive hominids by the Engineers. They resembled humans, but were taller and very pale. They founded pre-human kingdoms in Hyperborea (modern-day Greenland), Africa, Stygia (modern-day Egypt) and Europe (including the “Nightmare Empire” of Acheron).

God: In a general sense, this term is used to describe beings of extraordinary power, far beyond that of ordinary mortals. While these beings are sometimes worshipped by mortals, they are not to be confused with the one true God, the absolute Supreme Being who authored all of creation.

Godwave: The cosmic shockwave of energy unleashed by the destruction of GodWorld, which spread outward across the universe, seeding many worlds with the potential to eventually bring forth godlike beings of their own.

Gotham City: The FBI code name for Boston, Massachusetts. (Read more details here.)

Great Cataclysm: A major cataclysm caused by a war between the Celestials and the Deviants. It caused the destruction and sinking of both Atlantis and Lemuria, and upheavals throughout the rest of the world that changed the appearance of the continents.

Great Old One: A group of loosely related, very powerful extraterrestrials who ruled Earth in ancient times and are now imprisoned – here and elsewhere – in a state of deathlike sleep. Many are descended from the Outer Gods, and are still worshipped to this day by secret cults of deranged followers who await their return “when the stars are right.”

Hobbit: A species of hominid (scientific name Homo floresiensis) that evolved in Flores, Indonesia. A significant population migrated to Europe and took hold in what is now Great Britain. They were the last relative of modern humans to go extinct, outliving even Neanderthals.

Hyboria: The home land of the Hybori, a tribe of people from northern Europe who dominated the continent during the mid- to late Hyborian Age, and after whom that time period is named. The Hybori were named after their hero-god Bori (a.k.a. Búri), who led them to greatness after they found him frozen in a glacier. (Not to be confused with “Hyperborea.”)

Hyperborea: Modern-day Greenland, the site of a succession of flourishing ancient civilizations (Serpent People, Voormis and Giant-Kings) that were finally obliterated by the coming of the Quaternary Ice Age. (Not to be confused with “Hyboria.”)

K’n-yan: An ancient underground civilization centered beneath what is now Oklahoma in North America.

Kryptonite: A family of radioactive minerals found only on the (now destroyed) planet Krypton in the Andromeda Galaxy. Kryptonite displays exceptional properties, believed to have originated due to the presence of extradimensional, unstable molecules.

Lemuria: A microcontinent in the Indian Ocean. It was located just south of the Indian subcontinent before the Great Cataclysm, where it partially sank, leaving an island archipelago. During the Great Cataclysm, it was moved by the Celestials thousands of miles south and sunk nearly a mile underwater. It is now known as the Kerguelen microcontinent and has been colonized by Homo mermanus.

Manhunters: An all-robot force created by the Guardians of the Universe to police the universe. The robot force later malfunctioned and tried to exterminate all life in the universe. It was subsequently replaced by the Green Lantern Corps.

Metropolis: The FBI code name for San Francisco, California. (Read more details here.)

Middle-earth: An archaic term for the Old World, especially Europe, used from the First through Forth Ages.

Middle Gods: Another term for the Vanir, since they came between the Elder Gods and the Modern Gods. This term is most often used to refer to them during the Thurian Age, after their Elvish name (“Valar”) had been forgotten, but before their war with the Asgardians.

Mi-go: An extraterrestrial species that look like pinkish, fungoid, crustacean-like entities about five feet long (1.5 meters). Where a head would be, they have a "convoluted ellipsoid" composed of pyramided, fleshy rings and covered in antennae. In our Solar System, the Mi-go first set up mining operations on planet Yuggoth. Later, they settled in Mu on Earth and began worshipping Ghatanothoa.

Miri Nigri: A species of amphibious humanoids created by the Great Old One Chaugnar Faugn. The “Creature from the Black Lagoon” was a modern-day survivor of this species.

Mithril: A very rare, very strong, silvery metal, believed to have originated due to the presence of extradimensional, unstable molecules.

Modern God: One of the humans granted extraordinary, godlike powers via the Godwave, or one of their descendants.

Mu: A large island in the Pacific Ocean, just east of Japan, that sank long ago.

New Gods: Members of the advanced, godlike civilizations on the planets New Genesis and Apokalips, which formed from the ruins of the destroyed planet GodWorld.

Nine Realms: The nine traditional home worlds of Asgardian tradition, which are connected by the roots and branches of the World Tree, Yggdrasil. In the very earliest traditions, there were two realms: Earth (or Middle-earth) and Eä (or Aman). Various homelands of Aman were later designated as realms within themselves, and other realms were added as they were discovered, bringing the total to nine. Many more home worlds have since been discovered, but the term “Nine Realms” has now become tradition among Asgardians.

N’kai: A deep, dark cavern beneath the Great Plains of North America. The Great Old One known as Tsathoggua dwells there.

Númenor: An ancient name for Atlantis (originally known as Almaren) given to it the first time it was raised from the sea after it was given to humans by the Valar.

Oa: The home world of the Guardians of the Universe and the base of operations for the Green Lantern Corps.

Old Gods: The godlike denizens of the planet GodWorld, which ruled the universe between ten billion to five billion years ago, before their demise.

Old Race: Another name for the Giant-Kings.

Outer Gods: A group of powerful, godlike extraterrestrial creatures that exist outside the capacity of humanity to understand.

Outer Voids: An extradimensional space beyond our universe, where the usual laws of nature do not apply. Many of the Outer Gods originated here.

Pangea: A supercontinent in Earth’s past. Pangaea was not Earth’s first supercontinent, but it was the first to exist when life flourished. It was together when reptiles, dinosaurs and mammals first evolved.

Pre-human Race: Another name for the Giant-Kings.

Preservers: Groups who believe the basic “human” form holds special significance and work to spread the blueprint of this form, ensuring that intelligent life on planets throughout the universe evolve to follow the same basic humanoid pattern, with only slight variations.

Proemial God: An early pantheon of powerful beings created as caretakers of the universe. They were conceived through intent, formed without will and without awareness of anything but the purpose set before them. They existed to serve the universe and only gradually gained awareness of anything else. Among them were: Aegis Lady of All Sorrows, Antiphon the Monitor, Brio of Life, Diableri of Chaos, and Tenebrous of the Darkness Between, among many others.

Qward: The central planet of the Anti-Matter Universe (a.k.a. the Earth-Q Universe), and that universe’s version of Oa. Sometimes also used as a name for the Anti-Matter Universe itself.

R’lyeh: A landmass on Earth where the servants of the Great Old one known as Cthulhu once built a great city. It has now been sunk beneath the ocean floor, and Cthulhu has been imprisoned there, where he lies “dead and dreaming,” waiting for the stars to align for his return. Its exact location is unknown, but it is believed to lie near the Pacific “pole of inaccessibility,” the most remote place in the Pacific Ocean.

Savage Lands: A valley in Antarctica shielded by advanced technology where dinosaurs and other prehistoric flora and fauna have survived into modern times.

Serpent People: A reptilian humanoid species that has been around since before the dinosaurs. They now dwell only in Subterranea.

S.H.I.E.L.D.: Strategic Homeland Intervention Espionage and Logistics Division, a covert espionage agency established by the U.S. government in 1965 as a replacement for the Agency of Exceptional Engagements (A.X.E.).

Subterranea: The worldwide subterranean ecosystem of planet Earth.

Symmesian Corridor: A ring of massive, basalt tubes extending for thousands of miles in a loop under the Earth's surface at an average depth of eight to ten miles (13-16 km) below sea level. The Symmesian Corridor is the underlying foundation of Subterranea, allowing air currents and other vital resources to circulate throughout the vast underground realm.

Thuria: The name for the Eurasian continent during the Thurian Age and early Hyborian Age.

Timeless Halls: A pocket dimension created by the Demiurge when he withdrew from Earth to contemplate the future. From here, he created the Ainur and the universe of Eä. He then returned to Earth and transformed the Timeless Halls into Yggdrasil.

U.N.C.L.E.: United Nations Command for Law and Enforcement, a covert agency established by the United Nations in 1964 to deal with international threats of a global nature.

UNICORN: The United Nations Intelligence and Counterterrorism Organization. This was an alternate name used by the clandestine spy agency U.N.C.L.E. for some classified projects.

Uru: An extremely durable metal found only in the universe of Eä and prized by the dwarven craftsmen of Asgard. It takes enchantment very well and many Asgardian relics are made of it, including Thor's hammer Mjolnir.

Valar: The Elvish word for the Vanir.

Valusia: The name of two separate kingdoms founded by the Serpent People. The first was in Pangaea and was destroyed by the rise of the dinosaurs. The second was in Europe (modern day Spain), and was conquered by King Kull and turned into a human kingdom in the Thurian Age.

Vanir: The Valar were 14 powerful beings created by Eru Ilúvatar, who in turn helped create the universe of Eä. The Valar became involved in Earth's history at the beginning of the Valian Age. Later, in the Thurian Age, they were worshipped as gods, and they are sometimes called the “Middle Gods” as their time fell between the Elder Gods and the modern pantheons. Later still, they became known as the “gods of Vanir,” named after a kingdom in what is now Scandinavia. Today they are known (along with their descendants and servants) simply as the Vanir. Each of the 14 original Vanir have been known by many names throughout the millennia. They are: Manwë Súlimo of the winds (a.k.a. Mānawenūz, Aran Einior, Amân, Manweg, Honan, Honen, Ribalvei); Varda Elentári of the stars (a.k.a. Elbereth Gilthoniel, Tintallë, Airë Tári, Fanuilos, Gimilnitîr, the Moon Woman, Elbiam); Ulmo of the waters (a.k.a. Ullubōz, Ylmir, Nûron, Ulu, Guiar, Gulma, Njörðr, Njord, Ull); Aulë the maker (a.k.a. Aȝūlēz, Óli, Mahal, Tamar, Hotath, Marsosh); Yavanna Kementári the giver of fruits (a.k.a. Ivon, Helfara) and her sister Vána the ever-young; Oromë Aldaron the huntsman (a.k.a. Arōmēz, Tauron, Béma, Araw, Arel) and his sister Nessa the dancer (no known alternate names); brothers Námo (a.k.a. Mandos, Bannoth, Badhron, Zukala, Lumiun) and Irmo (a.k.a. Lórien, Olofantur, Fulmur, Losfan, Glurim, Lûriel, “The Strange God,” “The God Which Is Unknown”), the masters of spirits, and their sister Nienna the merciful (a.k.a. Nyenna, Heskil, Núri, Qalmë-Tári, Fui, Nerthus); Etsë  the gentle (a.k.a. Îdh, Eord); Vairë the weaver (a.k.a. Gwîr); and Tulkas Astaldo the strong (a.k.a. Tulukhastāz, Tulcus, Valka, Voldar). Other prominent Vanir include Freyr and Freyja, the children of Ulmo and Nienna.

Vibranium: A very rare metal with exceptional properties, believed to have originated due to the presence of extradimensional, unstable molecules.

Voormis: A hairy, ape-like humanoid species originally bred as servants by the Serpent People. They ruled over an ancient civilization in Hyperborea (modern-day Greenland) for many years. Their descendants are known today as the Yeti and Sasquatch.

Watchers: A powerful, vastly knowledgeable alien species dedicated solely to the task of observing and recording the universe.

Xoth: The name of the star system that the Cthulhu and his kin originated from before coming to Earth.

Yggdrasil: The World Tree, an immense extradimensional ash tree whose roots and branches connect Earth (a.k.a. Midgard), Asgard and the other Nine Realms.

Yithians: The Great Race of Yith was an extraterrestrial species that colonized Earth for a time. They were able to transmit their minds across space, and inhabited a race of cone-shaped creatures on Earth. They drove the Flying Polyps underground and imprisoned them there. Following that war, they built their first and greatest city, Pnakotus, in modern-day Australia. During the cataclysm that drove the dinosaurs to extinction, the Flying Polyps escaped and exacted their revenge on the Yithians, forcing the survivors to transmit their minds to bodies on Jupiter, and from there out of the Solar System.

Yuggoth: A terrestrial planet of the Solar System. Once located between Mars and the Main Asteroid Belt, it was eventually moved into an extremely distant trans-Neptunian orbit perpendicular to the ecliptic of the Solar System. This odd, distant placement, combined with its dark color, makes it very hard to locate by telescope from Earth.


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