Everything eventually flows to the Oblivion. It is the outermost reality, where life, itself, breaks down. It is an endless sea of toxic, black sludge, where they say that even God has never ventured.

It is said that the first world ever created was a failed experiment. Even God, it seems, had to experiment a little before He could get it just right. And so it was that that first world couldn’t hold together. It was missing some vital ingredient. And so it dissolved into a rotten sea. Some say there were several failures before life finally took off, each one melting into the ones that came before it. And when the first world finally lived, it sat like an island in the center of this vast and toxic, black sea. Some say this was the great flaw that makes all worlds die. The toxic waters of the Oblivion lapped at the outer edge of the world, poisoning it. Others say that the flaw was something else and that there’s always been a border to protect us from the sludge. But eventually, the first world did die. And a new one was built atop its ruins.

Everything dies. Even souls, if they are left to wander too long, will eventually decompose. It is said that what remains of those unfortunate souls is the very sludge that eventually drains into the Oblivion.

The oblivion is a place where nothing can live. But there exist terrible things that are a semblance of life. Leviathans swim those black waters, neither living nor dead. They are a mockery of life. An aberration. This, some say, is the ultimate fate of those rotten souls, having dispersed across the endless sea, parts of them merge together, forming something new and awful.

It probably goes without saying by now that a lot more is said of Oblivion than is known. Because it exists at the farthest reaches of the unfathomably vast dark forest known as the Wood, it’s almost impossible to reach. But sometimes shortcuts present themselves. Rare rifts have been known to open up, briefly allowing things to pass from this world directly to and from the Oblivion. But few things ever survive that trip. And to my knowledge, nothing that’s gone there has ever come back.

in Off the Map