The Underworld of Theros
Updated: Feb 25
When death finally comes for the mortals of Theros, their soul is taken to the underworld by the ferryman. Whether you lived a life of corruption or died a hero, Erebos claims all. Unfortunately, there isn't much known about this dark realm; but through those who have escaped, and from the sparse texts I've managed to gather, I have compiled enough information to share with you today. So hopefully after this, you will be prepared for when your soul is dragged down to the realm of the dead and lost for eternity...
The Underworld is a place where the deceased mortals of Theros dwell. It is a place beyond the land of the living and below the land of the gods. The realm is governed by the dark god Erebos, a being created from the first shadow to strike Theros from the glow of Heliod's light.
There are five rivers that ring the world, as it is said, which are the boundary between the world of the living and the dead. It is through these rivers the souls are guided by Athreos to the underworld. This god is a hunched, tattered figure who knows no other duty but wouldn't have it any other way. He has always brought souls to Erebos and will do so until he no longer can. Most of the souls rot and whither in this realm, crumbling away as the years pass, wailing for a life that once was.
“The underworld erodes memory, identity and eventually the physical form, leaving only crumbling statues called misera – hollow monuments to mortal futility.”
There are those, however, who succumb to complete hatred and anger. They are resentful of their fate, or what had happened to them in life, and that hatred and anger begin to manifest in physical form as they become vile creatures. Most feared of these are the demons, some of whom return to the land of the living to torment and torture those they come across.
If you find yourself here, you may try and escape, as many try when they first arrive. This would be foolish, though, as every edge of the underworld is guarded by the Phylaskia, deathless soldiers of Erebos, and that's if you are lucky.
The beasts that patrol the edge are much more fearsome, such as the rotting griffins, or even Athreos' own beast, Kunoros. “Three sharp barks announce an attempt to escape the underworld. Three sharp bites end it.” Now, that is not to say there isn't a way to escape; it just won't be on your terms. There are those called the Returned who have struck a deal to go back to the land of the living. These beings who were once mortals relinquish their identity in exchange for life, replacing their own face with that of a gold mask, signifying their new life. These beings are mere shadows of their former selves; while they can think and feel, their memories fade as fast as they come. They simply act out aspects of their former lives forever, or simply wander the land, unable to remember the person they once were.
There are many places that souls reside in the underworld, but an only passing knowledge of these places exist, and even that must be taken with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, I will tell you of these dark corners of the underworld, and what has been shared with me. First, I will tell you of Phylias, the resting place of the common man, a place for those who lived a dreadfully boring life. As the polar opposite to Phylias, those of much more noble resolve maybe lead to Ilysia, a bright and beautiful gem among the darkness of the underworld, a section which is reserved for those who have died heroes. For those who deserve to suffer, though, their souls will be brought to Tizerus, just outside of Erebos' palace, a place where all hope is lost. There are other regions of the underworld, though, not designated for the final resting place of souls. These are places that may be outside of your imagination, where time seems to stop and reality loses all meaning. Some have told me of the glass ocean that is Nerono, where memory fades and one could be stuck forever staring into its depths. “Alythos sat and stared blankly out over the glassy oceans of Nerono, trying in vain to remember what he knew he had forgotten.” Then there is the Mire of Punishment, for those who have tried to escape. Once here, the black muck will slowly pull you in, and all hope will fade in time. It may seem unlikely, but some fools try to enter the underworld, perhaps to find those they have lost; fools, if you ask me. Once inside, they may find themselves lost in the Labyrinth of Memories, a place where one can wander for eternity – where timeless beings whisper directions to the exit that fade upon hearing them.
The underworld is a place of mystery and suffering, where even the strongest will can be eroded by time and darkness. You may hope to never find yourself here, but be warned that everyone ends up here; even I will join you there when the fates so deem...
Thank you for reading the latest entry into the Lore of Theros. Be sure to create an account here on dicetry.com and let me know down in the comments what layer of the underworld you would most likely be sent.
Alright, Travelers I'll catch you in the multiverse bye!