- "There is wisdom and there is ignorance, and in between are the gateways to eternity through which the Old Ones so long ago passed."
- —Archival transcript of the words of Lord Xuatep.
The Polar Gates, also known as the Eye in the North, The Wounds Within Reality, the Gates to Heaven and sometimes simply the Chaos Gates, were massive portals designed by the Old Ones above the north and south poles of the world. [2a]
In the furthest north, beyond the boundaries of sanity and the laws of nature, stands the wrecked gateway of the Old Ones, oozing darkness and spewing forth mutating, magical energy: the raw stuff of Chaos. It is a bleeding wound, a tear in the fabric of reality, a gateway to another dimension. [2a]
The shattered gate appears as a great ring circled by stone machineries, dwarfing the mountains around it. It is covered in runes of unimaginable potency, that glow in the darkness, their dancing shapes altering reality. From the dark reaches of the gateway pours out the Winds of Magic and mutating clouds of warpstone dust -- magical energy transmuted into a solid.[2a]
Each planet in the Old Ones' worlds-spanning empire was linked by a gateway. Some were small portals, allowing an individual to travel inconceivable distances with but a single step. Others, often situated in the cold void of space, were portals so large that vessels the size of moons could pass through.[1a]
In their travels across the endless expanse of the universe, one planet caught their eye, for they saw in it a unique and boundless potential. The Old Ones decreed that this world would have a central place in their unknowable plans and stellar gates at either pole were created to allow easy access to this hopeful new colony. The Old Ones frequently used the polar gateways to travel the cosmos, but in the meantime they created the Lizardmen to carry on with their Great Plan and reshape the world to their liking.[1a]
All was not well with the world, however. Distressing signs began to manifest outside the gateways at the planet's poles. They were but portals to another dimension, and it was from there that trouble arose.[1a]
Whether due to enemy attacks or structural failure, the Old Ones' great polar gates, the means by which they traversed the stars, collapsed upon themselves. The eldritch machineries of the gates crashed down upon the world in a burning hail of star-metal. Simultaneously, the poles of the world imploded, opening rifts into the beyond, and Chaos spewed forth from the spirit realm.[1a]
As their portals collapsed, the Old Ones disappeared, their fate unknown. Thus began the Great Catastrophe, and where the northern gateway had once been, there now throbbed a second moon, a green satellite made of pure warpstone.[1a]