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Pillarspaceby John Calvin
Pillarspace (Elemental Sphere)
A pillar of flame extends along the inner axis of the sphere to form this shell's sun. Three planets orbit the pillar along the innermost orbital paths. They are all geo-synchronous orbits which means that the same face points toward the pillar at all times. Each planet orbits at a different speed, with the innermost planet having the fastest path, the outermost the next fastest, and the middle planet the slowest path. These planets are inhabited by the Dragon Ruled carnifex and are constantly making either war or trade with one another. Alliances shift furiously as the dragon lords vie for dominance.
Secundus is the innermost planet. It travels around the pillar once every year. Due to its fast orbit around the pillar, Secundus has easy access to each of the resources from around Pillarspace.
Sucundus is the smallest of the inner planets and its proximity to the pillar makes it the hottest planet in the sphere. Its surface is pock marked with volcanic craters. There are no seas on Secundus, although there are half a dozen large (and very salty) lakes.
Salt mining is the most common activity on Secundus. Its other resources include silica (found in the vast equatorial deserts and used to make all manner of glass products), marble, and gemstones of all types.
Once every year Secundus aligns itself with each of the other inner planets. These are times of trade and of great celebrations.
Hourus is the middle, as well as the largest, of the inner planets. It travels around the pillar once every 3600 years. Due to its slow orbit, Hourus has a difficult time gathering resources from around Pillarspace.
Once every year (when Hourus aligns with Secundus) a major merchant fair occurs where merchants from all around Secundus travel to Hourus to sell their wares.
Minutus is the outermost planet, and the middle in size. It travels around the pillar once every 60 years. Due to its slow orbit, Minutus has a difficult time gathering resources from around Pillarspace. Once every year (when Minutus aligns with Secundus) a major merchant fair occurs where merchants from all around Secundus travel to Minutus to sell their wares. This festival is only slightly less grand than the one that occurs on Hourus.
All three planets align "north" of the pillar (at 12 o'clock) once every 43200 years. It is said that that occurrence will signify catastrophes across the sphere, although the exact nature of the catastrophe is unknown.
The "shards" are large stationary planetoids that are positioned at 3 o'clock from the north of the pillar. There are over two dozen large shards and several hundred smaller ones all hanging in a line in space from one of the crystal sphere's hemispheres to the other. The larger shards appear nearer the crystal shell while the smaller shards appear near the sphere's equator. Some speculate that the shards were once a gigantic pillar of stone that was shattered by some great catastrophe.
All of the larger shards, and many of the smaller ones, maintain their own gravity and atmosphere. Outside of the inner planets, the shards are the most populous locale in the sphere.
There are few to no native life forms living in the shards. They could have possible existed before, but whatever catastrophe happened here decimated them long ago.
Carnifex free traders often make one of the smaller shards their temporary home base. These carnifex roam the sphere fighting one another and trading goods from one planet to the next.
A few permanent communities have sprung up here and there in order to exploit the resources of this place. Many of the shards contain quantities of ore, and some of the larger ones sport sparse forests. Imperial strongholds (supported by the inner planets) also exist here in order to protect the dragon's rights (read impose taxes) and insure that the resources of this place keep flowing freely towards the centre of the sphere.
Sheens often make incursions into this sphere, and when they do, this is where they head. There may be several hidden sheen colonies operating in the shards at any given time, but the Carnifex do a fairly thorough job of cleaning out their cysts whenever they are found. Sheen cysts are a good place to harvest raw materials from. Some of the sheen cysts are actually "managed" by the carnifex, much as a beehive would be. The carnifex let the sheens do all of the work, and then they come in and remove the coveted ores (and the pesky warrior sheens).
The "columns" are a vast network of watery columns that stretch across the sphere at 6 o'clock from the north of the pillar. There are a dozen stable columns and 3 times as many unstable columns at any one time. Water currents flow from one column and into the next in an intricate pattern. The closer one gets to the crystal sphere, the colder the waters become, until at last a portion of them is frozen solid.
Two of the stable columns are frozen solid, while another 3 are partially frozen with massive continent sized icebergs floating through their waters.
All of the other columns have frozen ends (where they come into contact with the crystal sphere) and minor iceberg flows. The columns that are closest to the Pillar are quite tropical in temperature. These columns also support large floating vegetative masses, many of which are stable enough to form communities on.
The columns maintain their own gravity, which points from the surface of each column inward to its core. Each column also maintains a thin layer of breathable atmosphere, although the void separates those columns that are far enough apart.
Food and water are plenty in the Columns, but other resources are quite scarce.
Lumber is foremost on the list of needed goods, because it is used in building the ships that sail the seas.
Water elementals abound on this planet, travelling through the liquid columns.
Sea creatures (many quite large) are numerous and travel throughout the columns, some migrating from the warmer columns to the cooler ones and back again. The more tropical columns are teaming with plant life as well as animal life, and that fact can be evidenced by their slightly greenish coloration.
Undines live in the deepest reaches of the columns and there are several competing empires of the creatures there.
Sea and storm giants make their homes in waters closer to the surface and on some of the larger icebergs. Frost giants live among the icebergs as well as near the columnar tips where the waters are perpetually frozen.
Rhemorhaz, frost salamanders, and other cold loving creatures also dwell in the ice.
Clans of white dragons and their servants make their homes in the colder, more frozen reaches of the columns. Their slaves toil to mine blocks of ice that will be sent around to supply water to the rest of the sphere. The white dragons make war among themselves, as well as with their frost giant neighbours.
Carnifex strongholds are numerous in the more temperate columns, where their slaves and servitors live on the vast vegetative mats that float on the surface of the waters. Fishing fleets constantly set out and return with catches of fish. Hunting vessels often put out to sea for larger prey. Both types of goods are shipped across the sphere. The slaves in these fishing communities come from all backgrounds. Many of the spoils of war that have been claimed by the carnifex, end up here. It is not uncommon to see an elf working beside a Blackmoorian and a goblin. Here, all the slaves have a common goal - survival, and for the most part they work together.
A few black and green dragons also live in the temperate columns, although for the most part they are considered outcasts or misfits. There is not much in the columns that holds the interest of most dragons. Sea dragons also live here, but they usually hold themselves apart from the greater dragon/carnifex society.
The "vortex" is a massive storm that stretches across the sphere at 9 o'clock from the north of the pillar. Violent storms plague this area, although the air is fresh and breathable. Deep inside of the vortex are several calm areas where ships can seek shelter among the roiling clouds.
Dragons and carnifex dominate this sphere, and many of the major players in Pillarspace hail from those races.
Leader of the Fire Eye clan, Sas'siill leads his people across the sphere through a very profitable migration route. The Fire Eye clan is based out of Secundus. Their ships trek to each of the stable outer planets as Secundus nears them in its orbit around the pillar. Once there the clan loads up on supplies that are in abundance on that world, and then brings them back to their clan holding. Sas'siill's real profits come from the merchant fairs that happen twice a year on Secundus.
Some of the younger clan members are growing restless with the mercantile lifestyle however and are beginning to seek employment with various dragon empires on the inner planets. Sas'siill discourages this for it removes power and prestige from the clan, but in reality there is little he can do.
Although nearly 2 millennia old, Lak-9 has only recently immigrated to this sphere. He is one of the ancient Blackmoorian constructs that rebelled from his creators so long ago. Several decades ago Lak-9 fled from his original crystal sphere when his minions lost dominance to another sheen cyst. Now he controls a small and secretive cyst located in the Shards.
Lak-9 has plans to investigate some of the Carnifex "domesticated" sheen cysts in the shards and hopes to one day gain control of them himself. If he can manage to wrest control of several of the cysts at once he believes that he will be able to wield enough power to fend off the dragons and their Carnifex lackeys. Then he will turn his eyes back to Blackmoorian held space.
As emperor of nearly a third of Secundus, this ancient and venerable red dragon wields power that is nearly unrivalled in the entire sphere. His empire stretches even as far as the frozen shards where many of the white dragons there pay him homage (or suffer the consequences).
Old age has taken its toll on Haugrissyl however and he is becoming ever more insecure about maintaining his position of power. In a bid to strengthen his hold on Secundus, the ancient red dragon has turned to the worship of the Outer Beings. In dreams they urged Haugrissyl to establish the first of the "domesticated" sheen colonies on the Columns, and without a doubt the Outer Beings have some unfathomable plans regarding them.
A half carnifex, half dragon offspring of the emperor Haugrissyl, Fengriss is a creature of much ambition. Over the past several decades he has been recruiting Carnifex from the free clans into his own personal army. He plans on using this army to conquer territories outside of Pillarspace.
Unlike his father, Fengriss shuns the Outer Beings. He subscribes to the philosophy that the Carnifex (himself included) are the most powerful force in the multiverse and so should not bow down before any other entities. Once he can build up a power reserve he will turn against his father and try to wrest control of the Secundus territories from him.
Telwin is an elf working in a slave labour camp on one of the columns. He has managed to build up trust among the other slaves (from goblinoids to Blackmoorians), and is trying to organize an escape. He knows that there is nowhere he could hide on the columns, and so is waiting for the right opportunity to steal a spelljamming vessel.