For The World Is Hollow

The second of the Precursor megastructures held by the Empire, Thalíär is a peculiar world by any standards. It is a three-layered shellworld – which is to say, it has three planetary crusts, separated not by simple caverns, but by skyvaults which can exceed a mile in height.

Unlike some shellworlds proposed by writers of speculative fiction, rather than being made up of continuous shells, Thalíar’s upper- and mid-crust are cut away in many regions to expose the lower crusts, and broken up by large shafts and canyons – the Clefts – permitting travel between the layers. Plant life spills freely down the walls of these canyons, and both natural caves and cut balconies offer spectacular views.

As the planetary gravity is relatively low, and given the multilevel nature of the world, flight is the most common method of transportation used on Thalíär. Wings are highly recommended as the most rewarding means of personal exploration.

THE ENIGMA OF THALÍÄR

The question everyone has when they come to Thalíär, even before they disembark from the Loadstone beanstalk, is how exactly it works. There should not, indeed, be any way that a three-layer shellworld could exist without reinforcements of exotic materials, and yet neither the walls and pillars which support the upper and middle crusts, nor the upper and middle crusts themselves, show any sign of such structural reinforcement. Rather, they appear in all ways to be native rock, showing no sign of the strain which ought to cause them to collapse under their own weight.

Those studying the shellworld at the Loadstone Geophysical Institute have recorded signs of extremely powerful magnetic fields interacting with bodies of superconducting orichalcium, various possible side-effects of metric engineering, and unexplained emissions of sterile neutrinos from opaque bodies buried deep within the planetary mantle.

All of which is no more than to say that they have had a great deal of success in defining the parameters of the enigma.

LOADSTONE

The capital of Thalíär, the jack city of Loadstone forms a circle around the base of the planetary beanstalk, sitting on the tip of a mid-crust promontory supported by a solid pillar beneath. The promontory itself is surrounded on three sides by a wrinkle in the Curtainfall. As such, the villas scattered around the perimeter of Loadstone enjoy spectacular views and perpetual rainbows as the waterfall cascades into the mid-crust’s Twilight Sea, and are some of the most expensive volumetric property in the system.

Other landmarks to be found in Loadstone include the Probable Technologies Academy of Crypto-Archaeology, the Loadstone Geophysical Institute, and the headquarters of the Megastructural Colloquium.

The CURTAINFALL and the STREAMING OCEAN

As well as the highest, Thalíär also hosts the longest waterfall in the Empire. The Curtainfall marks the point at which the uppermost crust ends in mid-ocean; prevented from draining in its entirety by a ridge of hard rock – as well as the replenishment it receives from the nearby Hydrocaust – the waters of the Streaming Ocean cascade down into the mid-crust along nearly a thousand miles of edge.

The EYE OF ALDÉRÉ

A single, ruler-straight shaft which descends from the highlands of the upper crust directly to the Undersea, the Eye of Aldéré is notable for providing an excellent view of the stars at any time of day. The astronomical orders of Aldéré have claimed the site as a hallows, and constructed a floating shrine to the eikone of the celestial vault thereupon.

GLITTERING HALLS

The Glittering Halls are a series of caverns large enough to house small cities, located within the planetary mid-crust. Massive quartz formations above the Halls, coupled with the cut-away upper crust above the region, allow natural light to penetrate miles deep and illuminate the caverns. Plentiful geothermal energy, meanwhile, bubbles up from the solid pillar below. It is one of the most populated regions of Thalíär, centered around the cities of Shimmer, Brilliance, Scintillation, and Tinct, and the buried industrial center of Drophammer.

SARDAL’S PEAK

The highest mountain on Thalíär, readily identifiable by its unusually flattened peak, Sardal’s Peak rises 28,947′ above upper crust datum. It is named after Sardal Elemtieros, the first-in scout who first set foot on the planet in 4196.

The SKY’S TEAR

A roughly teardrop-shaped section of the upper crust connected neither to the main body of that crust nor to the mid-crust below it, the Sky’s Tear is an island floating free in Thalíar’s sky.

Unlike the cloud coral islands of Torachal (Talie Marches), however, or the floatstone mountains of Calríäkay (First Expanses), the Sky’s Tear is a solid body of normal, native rock – just one, to the dismay of geologists, hanging in the sky in a manner not typically characterized by rocks.

The Sky’s Tear Exodochium, built into the island’s lower surface, is recommended to all visitors. The caves nearby house small populations of the airthia and xoxixa reconstructed by the Mythologae Immanentization Initiative, the latter in particular taking well to the intense geomagnetic environment of the region.

THUNDER WELL

As might be expected, Thalíär also plays host to the highest waterfall in the Empire. The Vorissevel river plunges over five miles straight down from the upper crust directly into the Undersea through the shaft of the Thunder Well. The force of the water crashing upon the volcanic plug at the base of the Well sends an endless peal of thunder reverberating for hundreds of miles across the Undersea.

The UNDERSEA, and the HYDROCAUST

Within the dusky world of the lower crust is the resting place of all Thalíar’s waters; a mostly-lightless ocean whose waters embrace much of the planet, warmed by geothermal vents, home to pale fish and darkness-adapted cephalopods, from minuscule plankton-feeders to the mighty kraken. This is the Undersea.

The most notable illumination found in this shadowy realm is the Hydrocaust. Where a series of deep clefts brings light to the ocean, a curiously stable magma plume also brings heat from below, raising the temperature in the vicinity to near-boiling. The plumes of steam gushing from these clefts are responsible for much of the cloud formation, and hence rainfall, on the shellworld.

The particularly heavy rainfall on the slopes of the nearby Precipice Range keeps the Streaming Ocean full, and so the Curtainfall spectacular.

THALÍÄR SURVIVAL COMPLEX

A city-bunker providing for the survival of civilization against the largest of natural disasters – potentially even such cosmic catastrophes as gamma-ray bursts or nearby supernovae – the Survival Complex is buried deep within the lowest of Thalíar’s multiple crusts. Armored in continental plates, this last redoubt rests secure beneath multiple protective layers of rock and water, miles-thick.

– excerpted from Leyness’s Worlds: Guide to the Core Worlds

Eldraeic Words of the Day: New Places

A couple of words that are likely to be relevant in explaining many of the complexities of explaining to the audience the background needed to understand Black Panther, when we get there:

mahamoníë: Colony; literally “made-polity”. Applies specifically to polities created ex nihilo on terra nullius; there are variants of the mahamoníë, such as the semahamoníë, the reciprocal colony exchanged by allies, or the covíënqármoníë, the “wealth-price colony”, founded on a free sale and a fair purchase, but neither nations admitted by mutual agreement (and thus peer constituent nations) nor acquisitions by force (see below), formal or informal, can be referred to as mahamoníë.

rianqármoníë: Conquest; literally “sword-price polity”. Applies to any polity annexed by force. Any territory previously occupied by a population and not admitted by mutual agreement is necessarily a rianqármoníë, whether the force is formal or informal, exercised in fact or in duress, etc., etc.

And thus the necessity to translate “colonizer”, as an epithet, into traän-rianqármoníë daráv for anyone to understand it properly.


Eldraeic Word of the Day: Leirlaras

leirlaras: (lit. “mist-word(s)”). A term referring specifically to words, phrases, paragraphs, or even entire works deliberately so constructed as to be void of meaning, misleading, or obfuscatory. Depending on circumstances, it may be pejorative (when used to describe a collocutor’s evasions, for example), or complimentary (describing a skillful piece of adversive diplomacy, likewise).

The etymology of leirlaras was, of course, deliberately selected in honor of Leiríah, eikone of mists, illusions, deceptions, trickery, wit, and intrigue.

Revolutionary

blacklight (n.): an external window in a large space habitat, looking out into space (see: the black). The word was deliberately coined in opposition to skylight, since due to the operation of spin gravity, the majority of blacklights are in the floor.

It is considered both polite and practical to throw a rug over the blacklights when flatlanders come to call.

– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary

(Well, no-one’s going to call an UV light a blacklight when they can see UV natively, are they?)

Cultural Crossovers #12: Ant-Man

In which the insect themes begin.

  • Someone is very untrusting of the Starks.
  • You’re an ass working for SHIELD. Does the audience smell HYDRA? I think they do.
  • (Someone’s going to need to explain prisons, seeing as the locals only use ’em for remand. Good cultural overlay time.)
  • Shit, humans, we have a… reputation… for strict justice, and we know you don’t have meme rehab, but once a soph’s paid his debts, don’t be a bag of dicks.
  • Good grief, you invited him to your backstab-fest?
  • Also, this particle does what? The scientists are scribbling in their notepads explaining all the reasons why that won’t work, and while you can do some ontotechnology with the Planck constant, you’d, like, totally break electromagnetism.
  • “obstacles on the road to peace,” huh? You’ve been listening to Eye-in-the-Flame advertising again.
  • Again with the bag of dicks. Ooh, asshat. That’s a good description.
  • Squishy.
  • Oh, your rationalizations are so transparent. So, maybe you’re not HYDRA. Just an independent asshat.
  • It’s always nice to watch a professional at work.
  • Even one who was totally set up.
  • You imploded a goat? Also, why does it make any difference if it’s organic or not? Carbon ain’t that special – bet there was some carbon fiber in that suit – or is this vitalism?
  • Ah, the working version.
  • Wait. Is your density reduced or isn’t it? Wait, is your mass reduced, or —
  • These particles somehow make mass and momentum asymmetric? Low when something interacts with him, high when it’s the other way around? They can’t even!
  • Interesting recruiting technique.
  • Ants. Great delivery mechanism. Also, clock. Huh.
  • …and about now, with the flying ant escape, is when the science guys stop complaining and start trying to figure out how they can do it. Well, a slightly more physics-friendly version.
  • Table ants. Adorable.
  • And, okay, one that doesn’t drive you crazy. A good characteristic of any tech, that.
  • Nice loyalty, kid.
  • “Dropping cities out of the sky?” Ooh, burn.
  • Not exactly starting training at the easy end, huh? And, yeah, asymmetric mass relation. That’s got to be fun.
  • The Quantum Realm sounds worth sciencing.
  • Man, antroductions are hard on the lawn. But also, so many capabilities.
  • Oh, that storage facility. Of course it would be.
  • Nice sensors. Also, so much for secret identities.
  • Yeah, he is good.
  • Bantering: the only universal superpower.
  • Wombats? Well, they do obfuscate their brilliance very well.
  • Such science. So snore.
  • Ant rafting. Best extreme sport ever.
  • Ah, those are the guys from HYDRA.
  • Wouldn’t those explosives have had the same force if they’d been left miniaturized?
  • Rescuing the guard you knocked out? Yeah, you’re the good guys. Sorry.
  • THAT IS BEST KEYCHAIN EVER. (Although it makes little sense even under asymmetrical-mass rules.)
  • Dammit. Antony was best ant. You bastards.
  • Yeah, let’s randomly laser shit. That won’t go wrong.
  • Battle of the Train Set. Aww, yeah.
  • Well done, giant ant.
  • At least implosion saves a lot of trouble on clean-up.
  • Everyone wishes you were taking notes right now, Scott. The quantum realm looks pretty cool and scienceable.
  • Yeah, and Hank is wishing that right now.
  • So, do Pym particles ever decay, or is there going to be a bunch of stuff lying around in weird-ass exotic matter states for the rest of ever? ‘Cause there are some interesting questions with regards to chemical interactions and such.
  • Well, someone took a level in decency.
  • Aww, they made it a pet. Shiny. Although its ability to eat tiny little molecules with its great honking molecules raises SO MANY QUESTIONS.
  • …sequel hook looks awesome, too.

Overall conclusion: is cool, but man, that’s some maaaad science.