The World of Devera
Ages ago, two ancient clouds of
coalescing gas--the recycled remains of older, larger stars--swirled
into an immense and powerful vortex. When the heat and pressure
within each of them reached a critical point, a brilliant flash of
light ensued and two shining spheres--a massive one later known as
the Great Eye, and its smaller, younger and distant sister, the
Daystar--fused their first hydrogen. Together, these extraordinary
stars dominated the sky, sending forth streams of yellow / blue
light that warmed condensing planets long before intelligent life
raised its eyes to appreciate the heavenly gift.
On a tiny world orbiting the Daystar, remote enough to hold its thin atmosphere and escape intense radiation, but sufficiently close to retain its vast, water ocean, races of humanoid beings arose and planted civilization upon its forested and prairied land mass. Large cities crowded around estuaries, spreading inland among the high plateaux, grasping for the clouds among peaks that scraped the nether reaches of sky where no living thing could long survive. These beings called their world "Devera", a name meaning our home forever in their common tongue.
Devera and the Daystar, with the Great Eye in the distance.
No condition, however pleasant and necessary for sustaining life, endures without change. A sudden and strange sign appeared in the heavens, as the massive Great Eye, which had long ago created helium from its hydrogen, finally exhausted its fuel and began fusing carbon in its dense core. In a brilliant flash, the dying star blew its outer layers away, forming a nebula of hot gases that blazed brighter than the Daystar and veiled more distant stars in its hot, blue glare.
As this tremendous light flashed across the Deveran sky, icecaps melted,sea levels rose, and fire raged through forests, farms and grasslands. Civilization plunged into chaos as thick dust, soot and smoke cloaked the world in a burial shroud. Famine, extinction and war siezed Devera in her eccentric orbit, leaving behind a legacy of crumbling ruins and many legends of utter devastation. Few living things survived the long darkness and burning landscape, but wise ones who heeded the forecasted warnings dug shelters beneath the ground and wrote of their grim existence during the deep gloom they called "The Great Cataclysm." These writings remain cloistered in sacred libraries, carefully preserved by diligent scribes for millennia after the intelligent beings safely returned to the surface.
The Great Eye rises during the summer.
The remnants of that strange event still glows in the Deveran summer night sky, scattering ultraviolet light on its long recovered landscape. Over time, the Great Eye faded into an intensely hot core that remains a ghostly shadow of its former glory, leaving only the tiny Daystar to sustain life.
The lands grew colder than ever before; but Devera’s thin, carbon dioxide rich atmosphere traps heat efficiently and plant life still thrives at lower elevations. Therefore, nearly every civilization that developed after the Cataclysm has clung to the shoreline, where warm ocean currents moderate the harsh cold characteristic of the highlands.
This world, so similar to our own, differs in ways that impede the renewal of civilization. A single, continental land mass supports a pair of major mountain ranges. Many of their ridge lines reach proportionally higher into the sky than the earthly Himalayan and Andean cordilleras. The passes between these ridge lines lie beneath snow and ice for most of the Deveran year; but even when the snow melts in summer, the high altitude discourages all but the hardiest travelers from making the trek. Few trade routes exist over the mountains. Most commerce traces the coast, or proceeds inland along river valleys, where the air is still easily breathed and settlements have arisen.
Aside from its thinner atmosphere, Devera differs from Earth in other important ways. In size, the planet’s equitorial radius is roughly 75% of earth’s, but this smaller world is more dense and benefits from a stronger magnetic field. The planet lies further from the Daystar than Earth does from the sun. And although the total energy reaching Devera’s surface is somewhat less without the once mighty Great Eye, Devera orbits the Daystar, not its companion, and has always received the vast bulk of its solar energy from the smaller of the two stars. The fading planetary nebula surrounding the Great Eye creates a strong,blue colored glow in the sky. Devera is far from a dim world, but its quality of light differs from ours.
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