COSMOLOGY, Geography & time
Ten thousand years ago, before the time of the Greater Moon, the sun expands into a red giant, threatening to incinerate all life on Aenya. To save their world, Zo engineers attempt to move their planet into a safer orbit, but something goes wrong, and Aenya is forever caught in the gravity well of the gas giant, Infinity (the large turquoise sphere) becoming tidally locked. One side of Aenya perpetually faces Infinity, creating a dark hemisphere, as the Ocean on the opposite side cooks off into space. For most species, life becomes a harsh struggle for survival.
Flowing from the stronghold city of Northendell is the Potamis River, "The Lifeblood of Aenya." It originates from the icy Crown of Aenya (also called the Pewter Mountains) feeding all the lands of Aenya. Being so near to the dark hemisphere, Northendell has been in a perpetual state of war for centuries, as subhuman races from the sunless hemisphere mount annual sieges against it. The city itself is marked by walled fortifications seamlessly adjoining to the surrounding mountains. Upon its highest hill sits Hoarfrost, the enormous mead hall of King Frizzbeard, which is said to have been constructed for heroes to gather and to sing songs, the same heroes who are thought to have laid the first stones of the city. The Delian people chronicle their history and their myths in song, the most renown of which is The Song of Strom.
This village, north of the Endless Plains (it’s not really endless!), is home to an equestrian culture. It was featured in the short story, The Nude Equestrian.
Places of Interest
Featuring most prominently in The Princess of Aenya, Tyrnael is located at the north pole. Despite its geographic position, an unnatural energy source emanating from the city maintains an ideal climate. Its borders, however, are marked by ice and snow, and an impassable mountain range, The Crown of Aenya. Due to it seclusion, Tyrnael remans isolated from other civilizations, and is thought to have been lost to history, or to have been a mere myth, as it is more commonly referred to as Mythradanaiil. Before the Great Cataclysm, circa ten millennia ago, Tyrnael was home to the Zo and the global capital of Aenya. Though its advanced technology has been lost, the genetically modified descendants of the Zo can live for hundreds of years, without sickness or the ailments of aging. Tyrnael is distinguished by its white and gold Compass Tower, centered at the pole; a matrix of interconnected bridges; and its terraced, forested megastructures.
With a perfect year-round climate, rich soil, and a flower (the ilm) with remarkable medicinal properties, the Ilmar know nothing of war, greed, or shame. The impassable Ukko Mountains to the north, and the dense Wildwood jungle to the south, has kept Ilmarinen hidden from invaders for ten thousand years, that is until recently, when a shift in climate and an invading bogren host forces its people to abandon their ancestral home. Ilmarinen is home to Xandr and Thelana, the heroes of Ages of Aenya. Image courtesy of www.searching4eden.com.
In a world with only one Sea, coastal land is precious, and the one controlling it rules the world. The most powerful city on Aenya, the "Jewel of the Sea," Hedonia is distinguished by its temples and rotundas and stadiums of marble, and by the great pyramid at its center, housing the churches of the gods of Aenya, and a towering idol of the city's patron deity, Sargonus. Built on the Coast of Sarnath c. 5000 AGM by human settlers from Aea, the colonists formed an uneasy truce with the native merquid inhabiting the area. The peace lasted less than a century. As the human population exploded and resources became scarce, the merquid were forced from their coral homes. All traces of merquid habitation was destroyed but for a solitary idol of the merquid god, Gulgola. The idol remained at the center of the city to commemorate the ousting of the merquid and the conquest of the coast. In the centuries that followed, Hedonian colonies spread quickly along the One Sea. Traffic and trading increased its wealth, until, by 7000 AGM, barbarians from the north ransacked the Temple of Sargonus for its gold. To defend its borders, Hedonia established a naval army like none the world had seen. This unchecked show of force, and the ensuing disputes over control of the Sea, resulted in clashes with other powerful city-states. In time, Thetis and Thalassar would surrender to Hedonian rule and become subsumed by the Hedonian Empire.
Hedonia is said to be a theocracy, with the god of the Sea, Sargonus, sitting at the head of the political hierarchy. The High Priest, whose lifelong position is conferred during childhood, is said to interpret the wishes of Sargonus through an ancient book of prophecy known as the Ages of Aenya, written by the Prophet Eldin, which is believed to have been brought from Aea. In matters of dogma, the High Priest consults with the red mystics, a monastic order who seek higher states of consciousness through mind-altering agents. The true power in Hedonia, however, may rest in the hands of the regent commanders, the great military arm of the Empire, who govern directly over the conquered provinces.
This tiny island was once home to a powerful, matriarchal civilization. Though largely forgotten, its people continue to thrive. In temples from another age, an all-female priesthood venerates the three goddesses, Zoe (Life), Maki (War) and Irene (Love and Sex). It is believed that the people of Hedonia originally migrated from here. Aea was featured in the short story, The Gorgon's Lover, or The Ballad of Titian and Midiana.
This cloudy peak is home to the avian race, or "bird people." Once human, avians achieved flight after centuries of "controlled" evolution. Their home city rises thousands of feet from the peak of Mount Spire, and consists of a peculiar light mix of elements called "whisperstone," allowing for structures that defy known building conventions.
This small fishing village and trading town is known for its lighthouse and astronomical observatory. It is commonly used as a wayport for goods to be transferred between the western city-states of Hedonia, Thalassar and Thetis, and the eastern oasis-kingdom of Shemselinihar. This town will be prominently featured in the third Aenya novel, "The Children of Aenya."
Located in the midst of the Great White Flat, this domed city, also called "The White City," is home to the assai, or Shemites. The assai are notoriously territorial, placing considerable emphasis on tradition, and on their monotheistic faith, to the one "true" god, "Un."
The boundary of the dark hemisphere is not constant, since it is not a geographically determined region. Just as the length of an afternoon changes here on Earth, depending on the seasons, so does the night side change on Aenya. Further to the north, the dark hemisphere creeps deeper and remains longer, during what is called "High Moon," when Infinity is most visible in the sky, and temperatures are at their lowest. This is also when bogrens and horg march from their lands to invade Northendell.
Time on Aenya
Instead of hours, people on Aenya measure their day in passings. A passing is roughly 80 minutes, the amount of time it takes for Eon to cross the face of Infinity. Since the larger moon is also moving, Eon can cross from left to right and back again from right to left. You can imagine this as a giant clock in the sky. But the value of a passing is not always accurate, as the orbital speed of these bodies changes depending on location, viewing angle, and time of year. Sometimes, people on Aenya will speak of a half-passing or a quarter-passing.
The Day-Night/Eclipse Cycle
Because Aenya is tidally locked to Infinity, one hemisphere perpetually faces away from the sun. There is a misconception that the eastern half of the planet is shrouded in darkness, but the Greater Moon dominates one fourth of its sky, reflecting a considerable amount of light from Solos (the sun), which makes for an eternal, albeit “bright” night, like what we might see on Earth during a full moon.
Though the planet does not rotate as Earth does, its orbit about Infinity results in similar periods of darkness in and around the central (or twilight) regions. Nightfall occurs when the gas giant moves between Solos and Aenya, which is why night is sometimes referred to as the time of eclipse. At dawn, the sun rises from the western horizon, and at dusk, eclipses behind the moon in the East.
Depending on where you are, and the time of year, the length of day can stretch from nil (no sunlight) to perpetuity (eternal sunlight). The closer one moves into the West, toward the Dead Zones, the lower Infinity sits on the horizon (looking east), and the longer the day. In the desert oasis city of Shemselinihar, for instance, the sun can last for 30 passings. Moving eastward, toward the dark hemisphere, Infinity looms largest on the horizon (looking east), so that, if you’re living in Yefira, the sun eclipses after only 8 passings.
A cycle is ten days, and is similar to a lunar cycle on Earth. It is roughly the time it takes for Infinity to cross the sky from north to south.
High Moon / Low Moon
These represent the two seasons, which split the year in half. On our world, seasons are determined by the Earth’s tilt and rotation, but on Aenya, high and low moon coincide with the apogee (furthest point) and perigee (closest point) of Infinity. During high moon (perigee), Infinity is closest and appears largest in the sky. Because more of the sunlight is being blocked, high moon brings lower temperatures, but this effect is much more pronounced in the North and East. Closer to the equator, where Ilmarinen is located, the change in climate is negligible.