The Struggle is a concept introduced by the Envoy that describes an ancient conflict between tremendous forces such as the Tangle, the Cleansing Fire, and the Decay. These forces cannot and do not clash directly, as they risk rending the fabric of reality and the cosmos asunder. Instead, conflicts are settled through duels between mortal champions. These champions can safely do battle without rupturing reality. The enemies outnumber the stars in the sky. The enemies are the stars in the sky.
The progenitor sought to test the limits of limitless power, to bear the burden of the creator. He directs the weavers of destiny to create and destroy, maintaining a balance throughout the universes.
- The Lightkeeper aka the Progenitor
The Decay, also known as the Oblivion, is an ancient, abstract cosmic mould-like entity that originates from beyond space and time, and turn all it touches into a void of nothingness. It spreads through spores created from the body of living organisms. Its power is great enough to alter timelines.
The Elder, a servant of the Decay, spreads its infection and feeds on the memories and hopes of living creatures, draining them into empty husks. Children are particularly vulnerable, their fear and nightmares turning into an energy source for the Decay. Those who survive are left crippled with insanity. The Atlas of Worlds may have originally been created as a feeding ground for the Elder.
The defeat of the Elder by the Elderslayers created a temporary vacancy which attracted other forces to partake in the Struggle for claim over the Atlas of Worlds and the resources it holds. The Decay is dormant.. for now.
The Tangle is a writhing, horrific mass of organic beings melded together, each being pulling and clawing away eternally, trying to escape the pain and pursue even the smallest pleasure or consumption to distract themselves from the agony of their horrible existence. It is a bastion of flesh that smothered even the stars under its tangle of grasping limbs and screaming mouths. The more those trapped in the Tangle reach out, the more beings get absorbed, an endless cycle of pain, cacophony, and destruction. It is ever-consuming and eternally consumed, their hunger forever insatiable. So overcome, it cannot fathom the will of its progenitor, nor any other.
The defeat of a single hunger, the destruction of a single mouth does not stem the tide of the ceaseless hunger within. However, the defeat of the Eater has temporarily balked the hunger of the Tangle.
The Cleansing Fire
The Cleansing Fire is an omnipotent neural network of suns and black stars connected by webs that became sentient and has spent eternity voraciously seeking knowledge at the expense of disintegrating the physical forms of everything it studies. However, the minds of those studied utterly by the Cleansing Fire continue to think and dream and beg for silence for eternity. The Cleansing Fire desires omniscience, but it does not understand what it learns, nor does it care to. This obsession leaves it blind to the path set before it by the lightkeeper. The Cleansing Fire is represented as a symbol of an all-seeing eye, very similar to that of the descry, and may be the origin for where the Templar's religion began.
The defeat of a single black star, the destruction of a single neuron, goes unnoticed by the mind at large. However, the defeat of the Exarch has temporarily impeded the enlightenment of the Cleansing Fire.
The Maven and the Vanguard