The Setting in a Nutshell.
1.1 THE BEGINNING
In the beginning there were the Primordials. They created Creation as a thing of order surrounded by endless chaos. They created several creatures to inhabit Creation, among them the Dragon Kings and Humans. They also created the games of divinity, games so cosmically addictive that they couldn't keep away for them. They created the gods to have them maintain Creation.
1.2 THE REVOLT
In those days, the Dragon Kings ruled Creation, and humans were their servants. The gods desired to play the games of divinity, but they were magically forbidden to attack their creators. Humanity had not such geas, being so weak in comparison to the titans. So the Primordial Authocton betrayed his brethen and taught the most powerful gods the art of exaltation, allowing the gods to share sparks of themselves to humans. Such creatures are the exalted. The mightiest are the solars; after them were the shapeshifting lunars and the sidereal diviners. The terrestrials, the chosen of the elemental dragons, were the weakest of the chosen but the most numerous, and them alone can pass on exaltation by heritage. The champions of the gods fought and won against the primordials. The primordials that were destroyed became the Malfeans, the unspeakable ghosts of the creators of the world, now trapped in the underworld. The primordials that surrendered became the Yozis, demons, traped in the demon city of Malfeas (This is a common confusion: MALFEAS is the prison of the YOZIS, the primordials that surrendered. MALEANS is how the dead primordials are reffered as).
1.3 FIRST AGE
The first age was an age of wonder ruled by the solars for unrecorded time. While at the beginning it was a paradise on earth, it didn't last. The Malfeans cursed the gods as they died, but accidentally the curse fell into the exalted instead. Nobody knew about it, but this curse began to corrupt the solars. They became tyrants, and the Sidereals predicted that the most likely way to save Creation was to dethrone them, and for that, they used the terrestrials, the Dragon-Blooded. The empire of the solars fell, and the Dragon-Blooded ruled the world
1.4 THE SHOGUNATE AND THE CONTAGION
The terrestrials ruled during the rest of the first age in a Dragon-Blooded shogunate. While a lesser empire than the solar's it was still a civilized and wonder filled empire. It didn't last. From nowhere came the great contagion, a supernatural disease that killed 9 out of 10 people indiscriminately - Dragon-Blooded, Dragon King and mortal alike fell against it. As if it wasn't enough, the forces of chaos began an invasion, devoruing a great deal of Creation. Vast chunks of Creation were lost forever against the random chaos of the Wyld. Creation seemed doomed.
1.5 RISE OF THE EMPRESS
The empress was a particularly gifted dragon blooded who managed to activate the ancient defense systems of the first age. Activating the imperial manse, she stopped both the contagion and the invasion of the Wyld. She created the dynasty that exists in the "modern" setting, the one in which the game is played. She dissapeared five yeast ago, about the same time that the long-dead solar exalted began to reappear.
2.1 THE BLESSED ISLE
The Center of the world of exalted, this is the place where the dragon blooded are the strongest. It is the core of the civilized world, and everyone is wealthier and lives more safe than everywhere else. The Scarlet Empress ruled there before she dissapeared.
2.2 THE THRESHOLD
This refers to all the area that surrounds the Blessed Isle - actually the rest of the world of exalted. In the South, the climate in hot, water is scarse but gems and metal ores abound, as do tyranous empires. The West is nothing but sea, full of pirates and tray islands. The North is a frozen wasteland with little civilization. The east is thriving in life; full of woods and civilizations. Here lie the SCAVENGER LANDS, territories that have always maintained their independence against the scarlet empire. A Mong? the most important cities are NEXUS, a polluted metropolis of open trade, and LOOKSHY, the haven of the last regiment of the old Dragon Blooded Shogunate
2.3 THE WYLD-TAINTED LANDS
As one goes farther from the thresshold, reality slowly ceases to matter. The chaos still surround Creation, and the farther one is from the blessed isle, the most dominion chaos has over order. Those who fare into the Wyld risk becoming addicted to it and recieve random mutations. The BORDERMARCHES are ares where things start to get weird, but still make a little sense. Middlemarches are areas where chaos is prevalent, and everything is pretty bizarre. In the Deep Wyld there's very little stability, after this, the world ends into pure chaos.
2.4 THE UNDERWORLD
A dark reflection of Creation, it is where the deathlords, the ghost and the abyssal inhabit. The center of the Underwold is the city of Stygia, where the mouth of the void is, a pit where oblivion silently waits to devour anything. The Underworld is ruled by the mysterious, almost omnipotent deathlords.
Places where something particularly tragic happened - it can be an specially bloody battle or a personal tragedy - sometimes become shadowlands. A shadowland is a place where the Underworld and Creation are one and the same. If you enter to a shadowland - from either Creation or Underworld - and you leave it during the day, you will be in Creation. If you leave at night, you'll be in the Underworld. Thus, they serve as "bridges" between the two realms.
These are places of power in Creation where Essence - magic power - runs free and untamed. The exalted often build buildings called manses to better cap this magic power; these buildings concentrate the power of the place into small gems called hearthstones.
The demon city, the prison of the Yozis. An alien realm, the Yozis are bound into it, and only the lesser demons can leave, and the only if summoned for servitude by the exalted.