Stretching across the northern portion of the Western Hemisphere, from the Goodwoods to the Western Wall, from the frigid Tundra to the Bluegrass Steppe, the empire of Rokhana is by far the largest descendant, land-wise, of the ancient empire of Zyavi (Rokhanese: Zhovye). But by no means is it the most powerful. No, that honour goes to most of the other descendants of Zyavi, who have arranged themselves (and their colonial empires) into an alliance known as the League of Aureon.
The World of Varavi
The world of Varavi (Rokhanan for “great land”, also referring to the main continent of the world) orbits around a Class-F star slightly larger than the Sun; in fact, in its current position, it is the home-world’s Southern Pole Star. The fifth planet out from the sun, it has a year length of 522.75 days, with a day absent, not present, every four years. At half the mass and three-quarters of the radius of the home-world, it has a much thicker iron core–and, correspondingly, more volcanic eruptions, and more potent auroras in the north and south. At two-thirds of the gravity of Earth, gigantism is the name of the game (humans are actually quite small and quite compact, compared to some of their brethren), and it’s easier by far to travel across the surface of the world without tiring. The planet’s three moons, in a 4:2:1 resonance orbit, lead to small but very complicated tides; human cycles tend to follow the furthest moon, thank goodness, at 56 days a time, because fourteen days is a little too short for comfort…
…Geographically the world is divided into three rough areas based on elevation. At levels of around sea level to two thousand metres above it, there lie the Lowlands, where the pressure starts around 1 1/2 Earth atmospheres and slowly shrinks down to just above Earth normal. Temperatures are highest at sea level on the equator–37.8ºC is the average at sea level proper, from tropical rainforest more similar to the Carboniferous, to harsh deserts that make the Sahara look like a pleasure resort. From two kilometres up to four we find the Midlands, roughly at Earth’s atmospheric pressure. Here the average temperature is a more manageable 18ºC at 2km, dropping to -1.6ºC by four thousand metres; climates range from tropical to temperate to tundra. Above this elevation, to about 11,000 metres above sea level, there are the Highlands–from Himalayan to Martian, sometimes inhabitable and sometimes not. And there are mountains that stretch higher still…
See also: Rokhanan Taxonomy
Because of the thick layer of cloud that covers the planet much of the time, reflecting some of the endless sunlight (and at the same time making conditions in somewhere like, say, the Arctic Circle bearable), plant life is generally blue to purple, getting lighter or darker as is needed. In the jungles around the tropics, where the sun is a bit heavier, a new strain of plant life has evolved with green pigmentation, leading to the blue-green jungles of the north slowly turning to a green morass as you go further and further south.
…Mammals for the most part dominate only the midlands and highlands of the planet, sharing the space with birds and some of the tougher reptiles.
…It should be noted that humans are not the only civilization around.
…Humans (pan modernis) are one of the few remaining ape species left on the planet, having evolved on the midlands around Mount Saruma. Most others died out, outcompeted as grazers and largely useless at hunting, and now live in the fragile jungles to the north of the mountain. Humans, on the other hand, have migrated along mountain chains and even by wing to the entire planet, even the equatorial Lowlands. The largest lowland populations are concentrated around the Circle Sea, the Canyons of Máa Zuur, and in the area previously occupied by the Empire of Zhovgo.
Places of Interest
The Chasms of Zhovgo are the result of an extinct volcano’s lava flow combined with strong erosion by wind and water. Dozens of rivers, flowing down the slope of Mount Khêngyu, have carved overlapping canyons into the volcanic rock. The land is fertile–volcanic soil tends to be–and at the same time rich in minerals. The Lowlands interspersed across the territories have their own unique biomes, but that doesn’t stop crops like potatoes and rice from being planted.
The Circle Sea is actually an enormous crater, leftovers of an enormous asteroid colliding millions of years ago and wiping out the giant squid living in the area at the time.
The Rift Valleys of Mount Surama, pockets of crust that dip deep enough to allow for air to condense. The biomes there are like something out of a lost world.
The Coastal Jungles along the southern edge of the continent bear more resemblance to old depictions of Venus in science-fiction. Hot and steamy, with unusual creatures, the monsoon climate can make this place feel like you’re living in a warm bath.
TO BE CONTINUED…
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