The Solar System denotes that part of the Everlasting Void which is ruled by Heliod, the warm yellow star, lord and friend.
Within the Solar System swim numerous planet like so many turtles running a slow race. One of these planets is Egeurod, called by the ancients Earth. The natural philosophers of the cosmogonic school say that the planets are the offspring of bright Heliod, whelped in immemorial ages past, or perhaps his brethren. Almost all of the planets of the Solar System support life; some native, some imported from star systems far beyond ours.
Yet their are other habitations, the philosophers say, some metallic and obvious crafted by a civilization greater than ours, others stony and clearly hollowed out, where sentient beings may be found. These ancient habitations whirl at varying distances from Heliod, some nearer, some further, some courses more eccentric than others. Some of these artificial habitations still have discourse with Egeurod; others, either because they are devoid of inhabitants or else disdain commerce with Egeurod for other reasons, are silent. These particular habitations are called rogueworlds,for they move swiftly around Heliod, often faster than a skybarque can travel. Only potestates have ships capable of matching velocities with the rogue worlds.
Everlasting Void Edit
The grinning gap of the Everlasting Void drew ever our ancestors. Yea, the spaceships of Atlantis, driven by the young and powerful sorcerers of the dawn of mankind, first essayed the Everlasting Void, triumphing over it; and they leaped forth in bloody waves of conquest. Far from the fires of Heliod, the Everlasting Void is a cold, thin space, wracked with strange radiations and filled with dangerous monsters, and tetryons.
Yet what we call the Everlasting Void is in fact merely the sea between other archipelagos, the star systems of our Galaxy. It perforce has been so shield to Egeurod, for out of it came the potestates, who defeated Humanity again and again.
Beyond the Everlasting Void is, of course, the Infinite, the realms of the galaxies, arrayed in vast gossamer filaments from one side to another. Astronomer's scryoscopes and astrologer's scrymagery have revealed much of this vast spectacle to us, and it is a cold and lonely thing to behold the farthest reaches of the Universe and to know that one can never look upon such places with one's own eyes.
Heliod, warm Heliod, in legends called Sol, is the ancient friend of the worlds. He is the eldest thing in the Solar System, yet many long years of life remain to him, say the prognosticators. He illuminates the Solar Sea, and all life and power within that Sea is due to his radiance. He is reverenced on all the worlds, even by the potestates.
Heliod moves in a divine parade through the concourse of his peers, that is the other stars of this Galaxy. He is solitary, save for his children, the islands of his sea. He is moody, in some years angry, blasting flame into the void; in others, he is content, sedate.
It is a complex art, mastering Heliod's moods, and so the number of our solar barques remains quite small.
The entity provided much useful information, though with much reluctance and delay; in the end, I was forced to used grade-iii coercive invocations to obtain cooperation. One therefor cannot rule out the possibility of a lie. In any case, this entity firmly stated that the innermost world was anomalous in several ways, namely in that it rotated three times in the space of two orbits. My colleague Thalwa Dengkro, black necromancer of the 32nd degree, later verified my observations, commenting that when he examined it the entity required no coercive invocations whatsoever and that its words could be considered truthful.
--Journal of Necromantic Research, Geun-Dalthro Thaumaturgical Society, 2662
With such a report came a small revolution in our science. Even the natural philosophers were forced to take note; no one dismisses a report received from one of the Dead.
If this world Mercury, which races round Heliod holding one face presented to the Fire and one face presented to the Everlasting Void, had at some point in the past rotated at such a vastly different rate from that which it does today, then it meant that the potestates had changed that rate of rotation.
This suggests, of course, that if the potestates once intervened here, perhaps in some ancient war between potestate and humanity ... perhaps there had been human habitations, in some distant era, and Mercury was not the home of the aubrokh, those half-height lava folk who run the mines of Mercury, as the asdraud have told us.
The University of Otanau mounted four expeditions to Mercury before proof was found. The first three expeditions suffered horribly; the first ran out of oxygen while at an excavation in the Starlands of Mercury, the second was consumed by fire-drakes, the third lost in space when the sails of their solar barque detached, rendering the ship unable to tack and match velocities with Mercury.
The fourth expedition managed to discover, at a point just barely into the Sunlands from the Twilight Ring, the remnants of an underground city. From its dimensions and its design it was clear it had been inhabited by humans.
The asdraud however remain disinclined to change their policy on human immigration to Mercury; they maintain it is an aboriginal preserve.
We now believe that humans originally settled Mercury, some eighty to ninety thousand years ago. They must have possessed a burrowing culture, since in that time Mercury rotated differently, thus exposing every part of its surface to interminable heat. Burrowing underground would have been their only means of survival.
At some point Mercury passed into the hands of the potestates, but the record is not clear then. Surely it was around that time when the potestates changed the Mercury's rotation and colonized it with aubrokh.
Mercury has been endowed with two Orbital Towers, both anchored in the Twilight Ring. These towers are clearly of asdraud design, though the aubrokh race operates them both.
The Empire of Otan maintains no permanent embassy on Mercury, but special missions are often sent to the aubrokh, and relations are considered good.
The Sunlands Edit
The Sunlands comprise that hemisphere which Mercury now holds forever in Heliod's face like some brazen shield. No human science, no human sorcery has yet to devise a way to long resist the full fury of the Sunlands. Heliod is furious with Mercury, and punishes him with the terror of his radiance. Mountains melt slowly into lava, and glowing showers of liquid metal erupt from great chasms. Vapors of metal rise into the sky on hellish winds, to later crystallize and fall as metallic snow.
The aubrokh roam free here in the Sunlands, laughing and frolicking, for such heats are natural to them as if born there. They catch the shards of liquid metal in their bare hands, eye them for value, gather them and sort them into baskets, and sell the ore to potestate cruiser captains.
Perils exists here, even for the aubrokh. The fire-drakes thrive here. Creatures from the Hell-worlds of Achernar, the fire-drakes came here only through accident: a potestate ship transporting these creatures from Achernar to a zoo elsewhere in the Galaxy crashed while attempting to refuel at Mercury. They are a grave menace on Mercury and they plague Venera as well, yet they are far less dangerous to Egeurod. For the fire-drakes find Heliod a weak and wan thing when their wings cup the ethereal wind and ride out to Egeurod, and many of the lesser fire-drakes perish attempting the long, cold journey out to Egeurod. Yet in the Sunlands they are powerful and most puissant; even armored aubrokh Furnaceknights have been slain by fire-drakes.
The Starlands Edit
Heliod is never seen in the sky over the Starlands. Here the ground trembles, shivering in the cold. It is dark here, like it is in the Everlasting Void, and the ground dusty and stony. If one is close enough to the Twilight Ring, you can sometimes see on the horizon the glowing crimson cloud where the Sunland's metallic wing condenses; otherwise, shadow covers all.
From the Starlands comes the menace of the ice-specters, strange beings of metallic and electricity. Unlike the fire-drakes they do not seek humans. Instead, they consume the sails of solar barques, rendering them unable to maneuver. It is speculated that an unreported attack by the ice-specters doomed the third University of Otanau expedition.
The aubrokh mine these regions as well, though they must come bearing prodigious sources of heat as cold of this degree will slay them. Here Mercury yields riches as well, though with more labor. The aubrokh here are apt to be found with several types of sentient machinery doing their work for them, whereas in the Sunlands the aubrokh can do most of the work themselves.
The Twilight Ring Edit
Here in the Twilight Ring, the aubrokh harvest the some of the great energy potential existing between the Sunlands and the Starlands. Here they make the device called the Thermionic Furnace, which holds great energy quivering like tame lightning in a chamber of iridium and platinum. The aubrokh do not find this region hospitable, but do not find its temperature fatal.
Two great cities exist in the Twilight Ring, both at the base of an orbital tower. One, named Seureus, has been the site of all missions and indeed all human landings. The other city, Ulolu, is reserved exclusively for aubrokh commerce with the potestates.
- Seek ye, swordsman, the sweet release
- of battle's madness? Believe ye the tales
- of the Veneran vanquisher, the savage warrior
- who scrambles from the sky to skewer the flesh
- of warrior Otanian or wizardly Fisolean?
- Blood and smoke, aye and blistered flesh
- from gripping greatsword's granite-hard pommel;
- your reward, your wealth; weariness is your fate.
- --The Uikheleom, Canto I, lines 1-8
It is said in the ancient, musty tomes wherein those of our Age read the tales and legends of your civilization, as it were, that this world's name was Venus. What a doltish, unlovely folk you are. Fortunate we are to know this lovely, savage world by its right-sounded name, Venera.
Venera is a world of human devising, done in the days of our glory. Turn a scryscope on the world and you will see a bright jewel, wreathed in white clouds the way a baby is swaddled in purest cotton. These clouds are laden with rain. Only a single orbital tower rises from Venera, though some maintain that there is evidence of at least two others hiding beneath the surface of Venera's oceans. Venera has no moons, and perhaps never did.
But learn the scrymaturgic arts -- send Iriuko's Roving Eye to this world, and you will find yourself plunging through those lovely clouds, through dark veils of rain, into the great Ocean. And you will see more, much more ... you will see how this world really is.
For Venera is girdled by a world sea, blue and vast and deep. In that sea many strange creatures swim. Some of these are believed to have come from Earth, brought here by ancient and powerful human Kings. The savage Venusian piranha plagues the shallow tropical seas fringing the two continents. Others no doubt arrived with the potestates. The blood-kraken, which haunts the deeps but hunts the shallows, is said to have come from a slimy world near Canopus.
Two great continents rise out of the sea. The lowland regions are hot and humid, covered by thick jungles and fetid swamps. Much and flora and fauna of this region comes from beyond the Everlasting Void, and is very perilous.
It is here in the lowlands of Venera where the human barbarians of Venera thrive. They are savage, in order to stay alive in a savage world. They roam the lowlands, never settling in any locale for a great length of time. They react with great hostility towards any outsider, and they will kill on sight any potestate. As such, many potestates come to Venera as tourists, hunting the barbarians as prey. Such trade is tightly regulated by the asdraud, so as to prevent collapse of the industry.
Some of the more infamous Veneran tribes include the Dani'ani-dr, who slew Ikrodu Malauga, Militarch under Emperor Sourko V; the Vaqa Anr, who -- once -- frontally assaulted the walls of Udessedeu, yet managed to recover and regain their old strength within a hundred years of that foolish battle; the Oponepitube, who in a surprise raid captured a potestate skyship and managed to wreak havoc on Earth.
There are some few civilized human cities on Venera. They are firmly ensconced in the highlands above the jungles, where a temperate climate prevails and the biota derives from Earth. At the base of Venera's orbital tower lies Udessedeu, fabled Udessedeu, whose walls and towers are made of black basalt, and whose moat is infested with parasitic needlefish and flesh-rending grinder-toads. Udessedeu has never been sacked by the Veneran barbarians, or by barbarians from any other world.
Legends preserved in Udessedeu (and in Klomoroiga, another city but far more isolated than Udessedeu) tell of a King of Mars who ordered the ancient hell-world of Venus turned into the semi-paradise named Venera. It is believed that for many thousands of years Venera had a quite benign biosphere, full of gentle things easily lulled by a tropical rain, and that during this time many cultures and civilizations played out their dramas on the surface of this world. However, it is clear that some ancient war with the potestates resulted the cession of a certain degree of control over Venera; hence the mixed human-and-potestate inhabitation we see.
While the human population,civilized and barbarian, is the largest on Venera, the kolou are a potestate race quite common on Venera. The kolou are gelatinous beings, doughlike in appearance, being comprised of giant colonies of quasi-sentient microbial life. The kolou come from a tropical world 'on the far side of the galaxy,' as they like to say. Some kolou can be said to be inhabitants of the Veneran jungles, tenders of the human aboriginal preserve, as some asdraud have said. However much of the kolou present on Venera are in fact sex tourists.
Egeurod / Earth Edit
From above, in the Solar Sea, Egeurod is a sapphire ball, its clouds a thick frosting of white. The three orbital towers rise like delicate silver threads from his equator, and the golden road, the Ring of Luna, halos the spectacle. Amongst the tumbling rocks and dust of the Ring of Luna the reaction engines of potestate skyships glitter like fireflies and their mining lasers like drawn swords.
Egeurod remains the most heavily populated island in the Solar Sea. Many of humanity's most powerful nations are found here: the Empire of Otan, the Kingdom of Skrevandos, the Empire of Físolè, the Theocracy.
The potestates have worked their arts on this world. The ancient ices of the Rings of Saturn were melted to form the Martian Seas, and other small moons were transmuted by potestate craft into an atmosphere fit for a human.
Mars is a cool world, and much of it is desert. Large aqueducts carry water from the Northern Ocean to the cold, parched southern highlands.
Humans populate Mars, but their numbers have declined in recent years. Great droughts and duststorms have increased the hardships of Martian life. The Martians are civilized, and they tend to organize themselves around city-states rather than great nations.
The potestates have built two orbital towers at Mars. The Empire of Otan maintains embassies in the cities nearest the towers.
Greatest of Heliod's children, Jupiter has seen no human visitors for many ages. Indeed, most tales of balloon-explorers of that savage world are now held to be legendary. The potestates deny any interest in Jupiter. And yet there are those skywatchers who, turning their scryoscopes on the glittering gem that is Jupiter in the night sky, say that the disk of that world from time to time emits strange flashes of light.
Io is a volcanic island, poisonous and deadly. No humans dwell here, though they must have done so in the past, for many of their names remain on the landscape: Mount Loki, Mount Pelee, the plains of Dodona
Io is a potestate world. Our skybarques are forbidden to call at either of Io's orbital towers though passage can still be obtained on a potestate skyship. There are no true cities here, only outposts gathering rare materials.
The world of oceans. A significant number of humans live on Europa, living their entire lives aboard sailing craft.
However, it is the lodosog, the water-breathing sorcerers, who comprise the chief race on Europa. They are the kings and emperors; humans exist as their subjects. The lodosog make no permanent habitation but swim in great schools, the motions of their fins coordinated as if by one mind. When they cast their spells -- the lodosog are renowned illusionists -- the effects can be overwhelming. The lodosog are said to be capable of creating terrifying illusions so potent and real that the beholder dies from fright.
A warm world, but somewhat dry. There are no great seas, rather an endless plain broken by circular lakes.
Many humans live here, in a pastoral or nomadic state, but no great civilizations or nations flourish.
Many ancient human names remained scattered across Ganymede. One of these is Harpagia Sulcus, made famous by Uillor Aungatrob's novel Arkallea, where much of the mayhem ensues as the ursine heroine Arkallea grapples with her one true love, Kalthrod the Chaste.
Callisto is a fertile world, blessed with much water. The forests of Callisto are fabled on many of the islands the Solar Sea.
Humans dominate Callisto. Their nations are small; great empires are unknown to them. The humans of Callisto chose not to have rulers and instead to rule themselves, thus handing power to those most incompetent of governing.
In your time it was Saturn and not Earth that was adorned with great rings. What a poor age is yours! To think that we can step outside our back doors on a warm night, and look up into the sky, and see the Arch of Luna leaping, a golden rainbow, from horizon to horizon. And you, all you have is that poor, dim, miserable lantern.
We do not know much about Titan, for humans cannot endure the poisons in Titan's air. However, there are numerous races of the potestate which can, and it is believed they flourish there.
In the scryscope four orbital towers can be seen rising from Titan.
On this giant world humans live, their cities floating under the bellies of enormous balloons. Uranian folk are mysterious and reclusive, and rarely visit the inner regions of the Solar Sea due to the length of the journey.
Legends tell that once humans attempted to settle Neptune, as Uranus was, with floating cities held aloft by great balloons. Yet the skies over Neptune are haunted by the narlauk, a dreadful creature with the appearance of a naked, featherless gossamer eagle and the savage temperament of a shark. The narlauks attacked the balloons, and the colonies were abandoned.
No one from Egeurod has spoken with Triton in the last five thousand years. It is very difficult to trim a skybarque to properly rendezvous with distant Triton, for at this distance the breath of Heliod is faint. Some speculate that human presence on Triton has ended. Others, pointing to the fact that no Tritonian spirits have ever been discovered by necromancers sifting through the souls of the dead, suggest the Tritonians have evolved and become something beyond human.
The potestates consistently refuse all requests for passage to Triton aboard their skyships.
The Solar Archipelago Edit
This term refers to the small inhabited worlds, some wrought in aluminum and lithium by man in previous golden ages, others hollowed in tumbling rocks, which whiz around Heliod independent of the great islands. These worlds are small, and life is precarious. Their inhabitants are hardy. Some are civilized; others, barbarous.
Some number of the Archipelago fly courses too swift and narrow for a skybarque to follow. Only a potestate skyship can muster the required speeds to do so, and the potestates refuse to allow travel to some of these islets.