|Distance from sun:||4,759,406 miles (Poseidon)|
|Length of Year:||365 1/4 days|
|Length of Day:||24 hours|
|Surface area:||386,622,432 sq mi|
|Axial tilt:||understood but unmeasured|
|Number of moons:||2|
The World A friend once asked: What kind of world is The World? It seems to be a sort of fantasy world, with Elves and all that, but also a sort of "alternative history", where the geography is (more or less) the same as *here*, and many things recognizable (e.g. Christianity, IE languages).
A tall order! Indeed The World is something of a fantasy world and something of an alternate history. Though regarding the latter, it isn't a classical A-H as it is not "point of departure" driven. Though on this point I might say, that if there is a Point of Departure for the World, it is where God used a different Music to sing the place into being. In other words, the point of departure would be so far back in, for lack of a better word, time, that the concept itself becomes meaningless. The World is its own distinct entity.
As for the qualities of an A-H that the World exhibits, if something that happens *here* also happens *there* or has an analogue, I would chalk it up to convergent evolution (more lamarckian than darwinian, mind) rather than a straight alternative history where everything up to a point in history is the same, and things only begin to change thereafter. In general terms, no events that happen *here* have direct equivalence to events that happen *there*. There are always strange and perhaps at times wonderful differences between them, even if the results seem to be equal in nature.
The geography of the planet, which is called by the locals Gea, is similar in some respects. While the overall landmass shapes are similar to our Earth -- though of course are subject to change without notice -- they are different enough to eliminate the alternate-Earth type of fictional world. Many cultures and religions and languages (things like Christianity and IE languages) do indeed carry over, after a fashion, so the World isn't entirely alien either! I suppose we could think of the World as an historical faerie: part alternate history, part faerie proper, part historical fiction. (Stress on the "fiction" bit!)
While the histories and cultures I've been paying the most attention to do take place on Gea, there are several other planets in the system where kindreds of Daine and Teor live. "The World" therefore therefore truly refers to the whole faerie; but for all practical purposes, it can be convenient to think of it as events restricted to Gea itself. One friend summed the World up this way: simply take the earth and make it a bit more delightful.
The Universe -- The universe, as a place (and as a place where all places are), is often confused by the inhabitants of Gea with the planet itself. Most philosophers agree that the universe is heliocentric, that is, the Sun resides at the center of the universe and presides over a court of various small orbiting bodies: the planets, the comets and the fixed stars. This of course is not the case, as the World exists within a fairly mundane universe of galaxies, black holes, quasars, star systems, star ships, star light, star bright, the first star I see tonight, gas clouds, dark matter, left and right oriented plutars and all those other exciting astronomical bits and pieces. The main difference between *that* universe and ours is the existence of dwimmery as a natural force.
Gea -- Some philosophers aver that Gea is a roundish disc rotating upon the backs of four oliphants that in turn stroll about upon the back of a gargantuan tortugue who swims through the vastness of space. In this cosmology, the Sun, planets and moons are reduced to very small orbiting bodies of some sort.
Most aver that Gea is a round planet that orbits the Sun along with a number of other planets and moons. The circumference of Gea has been measured (11·617 leuyves, according to Odiosos) as have the distance between Gea and Sun (1·586·468 2/3 leuyves) and Gea and its two known moons (83·498 1/3 and 181·042 leuyves respectively). Surrounding the planet, and presumably including the Sun and other planets, is the realm known as Overheaven. It is not always clear whether this realm is truly the mundane regions of space or is the spiritual realms that surround and imbue the universe. And probably also exist apart from it.
The surface of Gea is the Middle World and is where most of the known inhabitants of the World live and where they go about their daily lives (except for miners and adventurers). But the surface world is but a part of the whole picture.
There are realms known collectively as the Underworld, and by this we mean not just the sewers, sub-basements and underdelvings of any respectable old city. Many are the ancient dungeons and delvings of various dark powers, but these barely scratch surface. There are also natural realms under the surface of Gea inhabited mostly by beasts strange and wonderful to behold, but also sometimes by peoples unknown to those living up on the surface except in sawyery. Of these folks, it is meant particularly Gnomes and Dwarrows, both of which are known for their deep wandering. There are also tales of vast underworld chasms where whole communities of peoples live; some are said to be like the Daine, others like Men. No Middle World organisation has undertaken the daunting task of fully exploring and mapping the Underworld. It is certainly too large, too diverse and too inaccessible.
Deeper than all delvings of Dwarrow or Gnome are the very Pillars of the World. No dweller of the Middle World has ever gone so far into the belly of Gea, for the heats of the Ankanic Fires burn all flesh, and it is said that the airs of the depths of Underworld are crushing and the vapors are deadly. There, it is said, dwell -- well, beings. Beings of immense size and ponderous motion that uphold the basements of the Middle World. It is said their slow motions cause the lands themselves to change place, as if they playing out some great and mysterious ballet. Their agitations, it is said, are the cause of volcanic eruptions (surface manifestations of the Ankanic fire) and tremors and quakes of all magnitudes. These beings dwarf even the mightiest of the World's ancient mountains, Amath, Gahalt and Zahair.
There is a philosophic speculation that the center of Gea is hollow and that the core is a small body, like a Sun, that generates heat and light for the hollow Underworld and also drives the thaumic field of the planet. While at present this is only to be taken as speculation, it would not be inconsistent with the structure of a magical world. The facts are largely more bizarre and more unbelievable than the fictions, for at the very deepest parts of Gea lies the vast world-ocean of the Uttermost Deeps. Here things swim in the vast oceans of nickel and iron, or else move about at the bottom of that ocean whose blast furnace is so intense that the searing heats of the Ankanic Fires up above seem frigid in comparison. For there are indeed creatures of immense size and incomprehensible composition that swim through the vast thousand mile deep ocean of liquid iron.
Crushing pressures no surface animal could withstand; unimaginably violent hurricanes whip across the surface of the world unchecked; powerful currents flow twisted by the convection uplift from the unfathomable depths and solid metal precipitation rains back down from above -- these mark the habitat of the unknown and unknowable beings of the Uttermost Deeps.
No sunlight penetrates; no cosmic rays bathe the landscape of compressed nickel-iron. Down here, wild and tempestuous thaumic fields, atomic rays from the deep deposits of radioactive metals and the light emitted by molten metals is what the beings that live down here have to navigate by. Saranay, a Daine sender of Darennalie, who was able to send out some part of her spirit riding along with the spirits of other creatures, cast her net deep and wide, and found some of the things swimming in the vast ocean of the Deeps.
If these creatures had eyes, they'd be blinded by the dazzling brilliance of white-hot metal, glowing red and yellow and white in the furnace of Gea's core. But light isn't what they see by -- they're attuned to magnetic and thaumic field fluxes, and they can not only sense the presence of others, but they can "see" them every bit as clearly we see each other, for their bodies interfere with and bend the lines of force all around them. Magnetic forces swirl around and thaumic fields crackle and whip outward from the deep core in terrifying winds no Wizard of the surface world could withstand and only the most powerful of factitioners could control. They live in an electric world -- a five thousand mile wide dynamo generating massive amounts of electrical, magnetic and thaumic energies. These creatures use these waves to communicate as easily as wolves howl or whales sing. Their forms are varied and many are curiously angular. All of them are cloaked in superrefractory alloys or compounds utterly unknown on the surface, and their bodies, protected by thick armour, are latticeworks of metal, animated by the magic around them. More than one kind of them is cloaked in thaumium, pure, solidifed magic. Any wizard of the upper world would give his right eye for an ounce of the stuff. Most of them swim in the upper Ocean, where the temperatures are cooler, and only the hardiest of them dive into the deep Ocean or better yet, creep and scuttle along the deep vales and traverse the plains of the solid core itself.
Some are three miles long with glittering silvery carapaces built up of excreted tantalum hafnium carbide a quarter of a mile thick; others with shells of thaumium more heat resistant yet grow to perhaps ten miles long and dive into the unimaginable depths more hellish than any mere demon could withstand, all the way down to the Hot Valleys where at last solid ground is reached and temperatures soar to eleven thousand degrees or more. Here, mile long trilobites with adamantine carapaces and carborundium shelled crabs vie for choice tidbits, basking in the intense thaumic winds blasting up from the core below, scrabbling along the ever melting, ever reforming surface of their alien world that is more like a sun yet is at the very heart of our own little planet.
Here, creatures experience only the heat from the World's Heart far below, knowing nothing of the relative cool of Sunlight far above. Indeed, they would freeze solid and die long before they ever got to the surface, and perhaps some of their bodies form metal deposits miners have worked out of the earth -- fossils of metal bodied creatures alive when the World was young and composed of roiling liquid! A hot world of molten metal as far as the electro-magnetic sense buds could detect writhing and roiling under a new Sun (well, such of the new Sun as could be seen through the coalescing clouds of less dense disk materials!) where carbide snakes and adamantine halucigenia swam under the wan light of stars before there were any moons or any eye of Daine or Man gazed upon them longingly.
And what could lie at the heart of this roiling world of superheated magic? The answer, in this case, is not so much a what as a who. For it is said that at the heart of each star and planet is the abode of the Star People, children of the Creator only a little less mighty than the Powers themselves. Largely unknown and unremembered by the people who go about on the World's surface, at the heart of the planet Gea lives Yeola, daughter of Varen.
Atlas -- Nothing like a few maps to help one visualise a place!
Miscellaneous Articles -- Here are some articles about the World you might find interesting: The World - A Miscellany
Music & Story -- Here are some descriptions and examples of music that folks listen to in the Eastlands of the World as well as a bit on storytelling.
A Bit of Poetry -- here is an example of Daine poetry.