Dei in Machina: an Overview of Pokécosmogony

By TMan87.
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Art by LifeisDANK.


Pokémon is a licence that has been going on for more than 20 years now, so nobody should be surprised about the sheer amount of lore the games include. What once was a glorified bug-catching game with little to no story has evolved into a complex RPG with its own deities: Legendary Pokémon. They are beings with extraordinary powers, feared and respected by mortals, with powers going way beyond puny Flamethrowers and Hydro Pumps. Not all Legendaries are deities, but all deities are Legendaries. From the Burned Tower in Johto to Celestic Town in Sinnoh, every iteration of the game added another layer of mysticism around them.

However, while most of them are often part of a trio (Regi Trio, Genie Trio, Weather Trio), each "group" is treated separately from the others, without any link except having the coveted "Legendary" status.

But what if all of them were part of Arceus's greater scheme when it created them? This article will offer a chronological explanation of each legendary's place and try to reconstruct the formation of the Pokémon world as we know it today.

Act 1: Creation


According to Sinnoh's myths about the Creation trio, at the beginning there was nothing. Nothing but inifinite void. And then, suddenly, there was something. More precisely, there was an egg. Perhaps this egg has already been there in the void. Perhaps it wasn't. In any case, the egg started cracking. And cracked more. And more. When it finally cracked open, what was inside was Arceus.

Arceus then stood into the void. Around it was nothing, yet there was everything. Everything was everywhere. Actually, you don't even need a "where" or a "when". That's how "every" it gets.

However, by standing somewhere at a given moment, Arceus just invented time and space. As if to react to that thought, two beings emerged from the void: Palkia, deity of space, and Dialga, deity of time. With time flowing and space being defined, the construction of a new universe could begin.

Yet only Arceus shall be perfect, which means its universe couldn't be. That imperfection was later named "Giratina". Stealthily hidden in the birthing universe's dark matter, the unwanted child would later lash out at the world in formation and be banished forever in the Distortion World.

At this point, Arceus had an idea in mind: the creation of a world suitable for life, so it created other deities to help it in this task.

Act 2: Formation


This step is well documented in Hoenn's ancient legends. Due to Team Magma and Team Aqua's actions in Hoenn, both Kyogre and Groudon's modus operandi have been studied, and relying on myths isn't as necessary as for other steps described in this article.

Once it had created a primitive proto-planet, Arceus sent Kyogre and Groudon to terraform it. Both creatures were supposed to add oceans and land to the planet and give it necessary relief, thus helping the planet shelter a broader variety of life, from abyssal life to mountainous heights, from forests to coasts. After a while, though, they began to quarrel over their respective task. To be honest, they were thought to be polar opposites, so them beginning to fight isn't that surprising. Even so, it was something that required action, and Arceus couldn't spend its time babysitting the two titans. Therefore, it created Rayquaza to watch over their work.

As soon as they had finshed terraforming the planet, Groudon and Kyogre were put in deep slumber to prevent further fighting, and Rayquaza returned to the higher layers of the recently created atmosphere.

The planet still needed fine work, and Arceus had still enough power to create minions. This is when Regigigas was added to the roster of Legendaries, with one simple order: arrange everything Kyogre and Groudon had created into something more aesthetic. Regigigas carved Regice, Registeel, and Regirock out of their respective material and began arranging the planet's continents, probably as we know them now, since no significant modification of the planet's outer layer has ever been registered.

The planet was now fully created but still needed a spin to be perfectly suitable for life.

Act 3: Motion


Once the Earth was created and suitable to welcome life, only one parameter was missing, and that was movement. As it was, the world was standing still, and Arceus needed to set it in motion, otherwise its plans would have been for naught.

To this end, Arceus created two sets of powerful entities, destined to ensure the day/night cycle would bring movement to this motionless world, for it cannot advance to the next step without such motion.

The first duo was comprised of Solgaleo and Lunala, tasked with the mission of watching over the world from afar—as far as another dimension, actually. Both would have control over their respective celestial body, each one endlessly chasing the other so that the day could succeed to the night and the night to the day, without fail.

The second duo to take flight was comprised of Ho-Oh and Lugia, both earthly guardians of their respective time period. While they lack the substantial power their celestial elders possess, they are among the deities that settled very close to the mortal realm and, as such, are an essential link with the latter. Through their sheer presence, future humans will learn to respect their creators and pray for their benevolence. This may explain why Ho-Oh and Lugia are some of the most represented guardians out of the entire pantheon. In exchange, they'd keep a watchful eye on their fellow gods and step in should any conflict arise, for a quarrel between superior entities may seriously harm the mortal realm.

However, since such a day and night cycle would become stale quite quickly, and Arceus wanted to create a world as diverse as possible, it thought of a more long-term change for the planet.

Thus came to life Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos, cycling through the world to bring winter, spring, and summer, respectively, to the different parts of the planet. Though the birds are sometimes seen fighting each other, requiring Lugia to calm them, they mostly fulfill their duty. No Pokémon to this day is known to be specifically linked to autumn. The newly created seasons confered the world a new dynamic, which, in tandem with day and night, would be very suitable for all life forms.

Now fully set in motion, the world was waiting for life to be brought within it and Arceus could continue as it wanted.

Act 4: Inception

Animal life—particularly more complex animal life—requires a certain number of prerequisites to be sustainable. One of them is food. The final step to create advanced life was to provide them with vegetation.

Unlike terraforming, creating plant life isn't a matter of brute strength. Such a task requires care and willpower. Kalosian myths are interesting sources for this era: the so-called Life Trio was probably created to help maintain a healthy amount of vegetation on the planet.

Xerneas was given the power to stimulate life around it. With this power, it could accelerate the growth of any plant, coloring the planet's surface with green in a short timespan. Once it could let everything grow at its own pace, it would just step in whenever a quick burst in growth would be needed.

On the other end of the timeline, Yveltal was given the power to end life at will. One could wonder why Arceus created such an unnatural, almost blasphemous power, but the general consensus is that Yveltal is actually meant to enable evolution. An ever-growing organism would eventually stop evolving and if the entire planet attained such a state of staleness, it would stay unmoving until the end of time. Yveltal was created to fuel evolution with a life and death circle. This was a key aspect of Arceus's ulterior plan; therefore, such a power had to be created.

It's no surprise that this step is the most delicate out of the ones described until now. This is why Arceus created a third being to maintain the balance between Xerneas and Yveltal: Zygarde.

Zygarde's role is to keep the other two in check thanks to Aura Break. Hidden deep within the Earth, it might be connected to the entire planet to ensure they are indeed doing what they are supposed to do. There is no evidence suggesting it has ever been forced to intervene, though.

On a smaller scale, a fraction of Dialga's power might have leaked and fused with the primitive forest, giving birth to Celebi, able to forests and travel in time. Nothing in the current data irrefutably links Celebi to Dialga, but their energy signature when using their respective time powers is similar. Yet, unlike other minor deities like Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres in regards to Lugia for example, no relation of subordination has been observed whatsoever.

With lush forests and abundant greenery around the world, it was time for Arceus to finally complete his plan and bring vivid and diverse life forms to its planet.

Act 5: Evolution

Unlike the others, this section of the world's history is seldom evoked and still subject to several discussions to this day. Therefore, please bear in mind that everything that will come next is highly speculative and needs further evidence.

As the current general consensus suggests, Arceus, unsure whether the planet could supply an entire animal population with food (even with the Life trio's help) created Landorus to ensure any soil could be fertilized if need be. Having great power over the Earth, Landorus was supposed to take some weight off Xerneas's shoulders in food management. However, its nature was more offensive than its Fairy-type brethren, likely to punish any glutton.

It appears that even though Arceus originally only wanted to create Landorus, the latter came back asking for help. The task was probably too taxing for the original Genie, as any unnatural intervention used its own power. Therefore, coordinating the conditions needed to grow probably drained a lot of power.

It its demand, Arceus then created Tornadus to control the winds and bring rain clouds wherever they would be required as well as Thundurus to let storms loose and let water return to the Earth. The three of them were created roughly as equals, with perhaps Landorus being the supervisor even back then, since it was the one asking for help. Nevertheless, Tornadus and Thundurus began to quarrel for an unknown reason. They both had control over rainclouds, so this fact may have been the trigger. At first, it was light enough to have little to no consequences, but after years had passed, it was seriously affecting their work. This is where Landorus tried to step in, since the three of them were essential to the planet. It didn't work.

Arceus itself, annoyed by their attitude and fearing for its plan, had to interevene. It forced the two troublemakers to stay still by having Landorus be their direct superior, thus giving him sufficient power to stop them if needed. From this day on, the two of them had part of their power controlled by Landorus, who forced them to work as intended. However, if they gather a sufficient amount of power, which happens every now and then as told by Unovian legends, they can break free and roam the land at will. Due to Arceus reverting back to an observational role, it is Landorus's task to retrieve them and subjugate them once again.

In other, more peaceful areas, evolution had created the very first non-egendary being, called by many the first Pokémon: Mew. Colonies of Mew progressively settled on the entire planet due to their extreme adaptability. This was what Arceus had in mind: bursting life. It was pleased with seeing Mew everywhere, took interest in the smallest of their mishaps, and attentively watched them adapt and conquer any environment.

As time went on, this adaptability probably explains the incredible diversity of existing Pokémon, as Mew is thought to be their ancestor. Obviously, we're talking here about millions and millions of years of evolution. Arceus had been successful in its creation, for every part of the planet was now colonized by a species or another. Though, why would evolution stop here?

A few of these Mew might have evolved into modern humans (this is only an hypothesis at this point, though), and it may have been beyond Arceus's expectations. Nonetheless, it still paid close attention to the beginnings of our own species.

Act 6: Emotion

While humans were by no means the only intelligent species living on the planet, they certainly had a different mind than, for example, Psychic-type Pokémon. In particular, they aspired to do something else than to just live day by day. The relationship between humans and Pokémon in this era was probably along the lines of somewhat peaceful coexistence. Even so, humans were advancing fast.

Upon their evolution, they gradually began to show signs of emotion nowhere to be found in Pokémon. They strived to achieve a specific goal; they passed down knowledge from generation to generation; they cared for their kin.

These emotions, being shared by more or less all human beings, represented an immense untapped power. Left alone, this power might have been misused or proven destructive. Arceus, observing with fascination humans developing feelings he couldn't, was very well aware of that fact. Since a physical form would stabilize the spiritual energy, Arceus created three beings to embody these new emotions: Azelf would symbolize the willpower used by humans to push through any and all roadblocks, Mesprit represents the ability to display empathy, not only for one's family but also friends as well as complete strangers, and Uxie illustrates the human race's will to learn from the past and keep improving over time.

It is possible that Arceus placed them right next to Dialga and Palkia to avoid bursts of emotion across the planet and let their power flow into time and space to somewhat dilute it. We currently hold no information as to why they were sealed in Sinnoh, though.

Human society was evolving, and their emotions were regulated until they took another step distancing them from Pokémon: breaking the prey-predator cycle. They were warding off aggressive Pokémon, were building shelters, and could peacefully sleep, knowing they wouldn't been attacked at night. Thus, they began dreaming. Since dreams arise from one's subconscious, they carry the dreamer's wishes, which also means a lot of power for Arceus to shape at its will. Hope in particular was a crucial feeling that Arceus found deeply interesting, as it seemed to be humans' premier fuel. Thinking of a way to bring hope via dreams, Arceus created Cresselia, guardian of hopes and dreams.

However, when observing test subjects, Arceus realized they tended to get lost in their dreams, aimlessly wandering around and trying to sleep as much as possible to come back to their perfect world. This wouldn't do. Cresselia still had a good influence, though, so deleting it was out of question. This is how Darkrai was born: the best solution to prevent oversleeping was the threat of nightmares. In a sense, Darkrai existed to ground humans in their reality instead of trying to flee in a dream world of sorts. However, since Arceus still wanted humans to continue forward, it gave Cresselia the power to defeat Darkrai with its feathers if needed.

Due to humanity's quick pace towards its future, more advanced civilizations emerged. They were more mature, thought about the future, and, most of all, began wondering about the world. They were also inspired by Cresselia and Darkrai's themes: reality and dream.

The most advanced of these civilizations was Unovan and two factions eventually rose there: those who were willing to change the world based on their convictions and those who wanted to simply make the best use of what was available. While war between the two parties was very unlikely, this scission would once again release enormous amounts of spiritual energy.

Arceus thought it had mastered the art of giving such energy a physical form by now, which means it only made one body for each symbol: Reshiram was the figurehead for humans yearning to learn the truth of their world, while Zekrom personified the other party's will to build an ideal world. Nonetheless, since an ideal world is built upon reality and reality evolves according to each person's ideal world, the need for a middle arose. Arceus thus created Kyurem, acting as a frontier between both worlds. Kyurem was left unfinished from the power released in Unova, resulting in a mere shell that needed to be fused with either of its siblings to achieve its purpose. On the other hand, this condition allows it to embrace the power of both factions, thus effectively creating balance.

No other significant emotional burst that we know of has happened since then but Arceus is probably still watching over its creation, curious and attentive, ready to channel anything humanity could come up with.

Good Ending

In this modern era, the distinction between deities and actual Pokémon is thin and blurry, hence why everyone has an opinion on the matter. The exact place of Mythical Pokémon is still debated to this day, and the classifications can be turned on their head according to a single new piece of evidence.

Perhaps in the future, new deities will have to be created to meet the needs that will come up. Perhaps then, their power will be on par with regular Pokémon, throwing the experts into disarray once again.

Whatever their name, these beings work together under Arceus's watchful eye, and all of them form a net whose fragile balance keeps our world spinning, as they constantly ensure a bright future for Pokémon as well as for humans.

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