Geography

Serriannh is the farthest north of the continents of T'heya. It is a great crescent stretching across the far north of the planet. Where the ice caps were is now a cool, rocky wasteland. It is composed of mostly inhospitable crystal mountains, though some Areihi live in the caverns. It is bordered on the north by the Taiuon Ocean and on the south by the Midworld Ocean.

Seliraedh is in the west, a long curve of land boasting one of the few fertile places left on the planet. The Inland Sea lies in the heart of Seliraedh. It contains a small archipelago of islands, called the Legacy Islands for reasons outlined later. North of the Inland Sea is the Emerald Forest, and in the farthest north is one of T'heya's crystal ranges. The southern tip of the long continent is comprised mostly of desert, which stretches down into a highly volcanic mountainous region at its far southern tip, which extends into the Eloanni Ocean. It is also bordered to the north by the Taiuon, to the west by the Sea of Storms and to the east by the Midworld Ocean.

Annheiya is a small, rich continent in the far east, known for its intricate music and (to an Areiha) its good food. A small mountain range cuts through the center, which in turn is cut through by several lush valleys. The south of the continent is mostly flat, with lush farmlands and rolling grasslands. The northern part of the continent is mostly rain forest, since the planet has warmed considerably in the past few centuries due to its sun's activity. It is bordered to the north, west and south by the Midworld Ocean and to the east by the S'haenn Sea.

Alaendhi is the central continent of T'heya. It is a flat, hot disc-like continent, which has turned into an inhospitable desert. There are several oases in the desert, where faea and dhaeri trees are grown. Since they grow very quickly and are hardy plants, there is no shortage of them. The continent is what remains of an eroded volcanic wasteland of glass, scorched sand and obsidian outcrops, exposed by the receding oceans, and is bordered on all sides by the Midworld Ocean.

Arraia is south of Seliraedh. It barely qualifies as a continent. Its southern and central regions are stifling deserts, where faea and dhaeri have also been introduced into the oases, but long strips of fertile land stretch along its eastern and western coastlines. In the north it rises into a fold of low, bleak, and ancient crystal crags, and in the far south it flattens out into a gentle plain that falls into the Aelhei Sea.

Viunirhei is to the south and east of Alaendhi. It too is a small continent, mostly made up of mountains and rain forest, and is the least populated continent. It has two port cities-Mehariel and Lhainei.

Lihnoai is a tiny continent to the south of Annheiya. It is barren and rocky, but too far south to be very warm, so it is much like Serriannh but but even more remote.

Serriannh

Serriannh is a long, bleak crescent of mountains in the north of the world. It is cool there, but not overly cold. These mountains (and the ones in Seliraedh) are where most of the unique T'heyan crystals are mined. There are also several diamond mines in this part of the world. It is almost completely inhospitable, and its inhabitants are the Areihi of the port town of Aghlani and the Seionnin people, the miners of the mountains.

It has little to no vegetation, mostly lichen and moss growing deep in crevices and on the seashore. Most of it is confined to the deep caves, where there are many kinds of edible fungi and even some plants which subsist on gamma radiation rather than visible light, most of which are phosphorescent. Several notable edible plants are the bubbleroot fungi, inaccurately named years ago for the large bubbles beneath their distinctive blue-striped, dark green pods, which both anchor and nourish the fungus. It grows in small pools in the deep caverns, and the long semi-developed strands within the pods are prepared much like the Areihin equivalent of green beans.

Its animal life is similarly limited by climate and location. There are several varieties of seabirds that live on the shoreline, among them the blue-winged, brown-bodied mistwings and the entirely pale icepipers. The waters off the southern shore are rich with saltwater icefins, so named for their shimmering, feathery ice-blue fins, a delicacy on T'heya.

Inland, there are fewer animals. Much of the interior is a barren wasteland, partially due to the location's natural harsh conditions and partially due to degradation caused by centuries of mining. The Seionnin, one of the world's several sentient species, are the most notable inhabitants of inland Serriannh, along with the fierce cave bears which are still a threat on the cavern-dwellers' borders. They are four-legged creatures possessing a pair of arms, and their coats are either white, grey or pale brown depending partially on location and subspecies. They are thought to be the Seionnin's distant ancestors.

Seliraedh

Seliraedh is by far the most populated continent of T'heya, though not the most densely populated. Its blunt northern tip is covered by a range of long-formed crystal mountains. Some Seionnin live in this part of the world, but not many. There are many birds in Seliraedh's mountains and upper forests, renowned for their colorful, almost crystalline-seeming plumage and the intricacy of their songs. The T'heyan "crystal macaw," named by human explorers for their passing resemblance to those birds of Old Earth, are especially renowned for their music and their ability to sing very complex harmonies. They have also been proven to have the intelligence of the average ten-year-old human child.

There are vast varieties of plant life in the northern forest, most of which is harmless, a few of which are edible. Four types of fruit and three varieties of edible berries grow along the shoreline, and farther north there are roots, nuts, and mushrooms, as well as several herbs with medicinal properties compatible with the systems of several races.

There are few predators in this tame part of the world, for northern Seliraedh has long been settled. But the inhabitants in the forests and near the shore did not make the mistake their forebears had made in the mountains, and avoided draining the land dry of its resources. The most prominent of what predators remain are small, blue bear-like creatures with surprising intelligence that live in small families in the hollows of massive trees. They hunt in groups and can even take down experienced Ennai adepts.

In its foothills is the city of Selirai, the capitol and the spaceport of the world. Its architecture is very modern, in neat, blocky squares arranged on grid-like patterns, all glass and steel and stone. Its population is seven million. It has the least concentration of races alien to it of any world of the Galaxy. The spaceport itself is situated on a cleared plain to the west.

To the south, the city falls away again, almost as if it sits on a plateau, into deep, rich forests. Many Areihi live here, but there are no dense population centers south of Selirai until you reach the Inland Sea.

The Inland Sea boasts fourteen of the most powerful Continuities, which have holdings all over the world. The seven to the north are arranged in a crescent along the deep bow of the northern shoreline. They are, from east to west: Eakkanna, D'heilin, Amhenni, Tiuonnen, Lanieri, Vhiendera, and Jhaelira. There is one alone by the far western shore, called Nihme, and two spaced beside each other in the western part of the ocean like a pair of off-set eyes: Laehi and Aeldann. There are four in a curve that starts in the south of the ocean and progresses northeast, in order: Vieraenn to the south, Sulania to the southeast with Naidhriel just to the northeast of it, and Elendai to the east, almost a straight sail from Laehi.

The southern shore is the border of one of the wildest parts of the world: the Tiraniu Desert. A surprising amount of Areihi still live here, but much of the rest of the world view them as backwards. They still live by a strict, merciless tribal system and are known to resent outsiders. Offworlders are forbidden to enter the Tiraniu Desert, in part for their own safety.

The far southern point of the continent is highly volcanic and completely inhospitable, though some of the nomads' rituals center around the area. It is the source of six types of obsidian which are unique to the planet. T'heyan obsidian and white gold remain in high demand throughout the galaxy.

Annheiya

Annheiya is a small continent in the far east. It is not long and angular like Seliraedh and Serriannh. It is small, with gently curving shorelines to the west. The eastern shore is a bleak place of either barren plains to the south or dense forest to the north. The Ulekki Lylin-the continent's only mountain range-cuts Annheiya roughly in half. Three valleys cut almost through these mountains, from which Annheiya's three rivers run. The easternmost one faces north, and its river is the Lidheri, which eventually curves, with only one sharp bend, through the dense northern forests to come out on the northwestern shore, diverted by a rise in the land to the northeast. The central one faces south, and its river is the Tanehi. It is a broad, slow-moving river that meanders in a more or less straight path into the marshlands of the continent's southern tip. The westernmost valley also faces south, and its river is the Akkeni, which curves sharply to intersect the Tanehi River just above the Maariyadhen Falls. From there the Tanehi rushes through the low, wet southern lands of Annheiya until it reaches the sea. In the bend of the two rivers lies the old city of Lahieri, named for the greatest of the cities on the lost metallocrystalline world of Virianon, which the ancient and revered race of Shifters came from.

Much of the northern part of the continent is similar to Earth's rain forests. Many T'heyan plants have more blue than green in them, giving their forests a more eerie look. The Areihi that dwell in this part of the world are few and far between, and they live simple lives in among the birds and the trees, quiet and contemplative. They are those who exist honorably outside of a Continuity, but for Legacy's sake they all know each other, and are almost like a loosely bound Continuity of their own.

The southern part of Annheiya is covered with more modern farmlands (as in, lands developed in the last millennium). It is a flat region of plains and fields where forests as magnificent as those the north once stood. The tip of the continent tapers like a teardrop and drops even further beyond the Maariyadhen Falls of the Tanehi River. Parts of it are even lower than sealevel, deep bowls of tree-shaded, damp land. Most of the southern tip is unstable marshland, but it takes up a relatively small area.

Alaendhi

There is little to say about the continent of Alaendhi. It is located on T'heya's equator and is a barren wasteland. It is most volcanically active in the center of its raggedly circular surface. Its biggest oasis is in a valley near the western shore, which has been cut out painstakingly by the land's single, very short river, the Lunekhi, which rises from a spring in the depths of an unstable cave system. More of its length is protected by the surrounding land, leaving the rest to empty in a steep, hurried torrent into the sea. The valley is surprisingly packed with life, and contains the continent's only permanent settlement, Akharren. Few will journey into the deep desert and still fewer live there, due to the harsh climate and hostile native life. Its oases are known for the faea plant, from which the bacteria-containing crystal corulanni is extracted, from which corlanin is made.

Arraia

Arraia is in the southwestern hemisphere of T'heya. It is thinly populated, most of its population having settled in the City-towers in the far east and west. A few live out in the northern mountains, for mountains were their original home, but not many remain there.

Much of the interior is an arid wasteland, filled with hostile wildlife and the elusive Illionn natives. Very little is known about this race, as they are highly secretive and have proven to be impervious to telepathic contact, appearing to most as blank spaces in the surrounding ambience. To the south is a swath of cultivated land, watched over by modest towers flanked by low stone buildings, and to the north are the inhospitable crystal Luunaii mountains.

The city of Sirennen lies in the east, containing a fourth of Arraia's population, a cluster of modern silver towers in the center of the eastern strip of fertile land. Several hundred miles south is Iliranei, which is smaller than Sirennen but still notable due to size. In the empty, wild stretch between Sirennen and Iliranei is the extensive, half-flooded delta of the Tanoai River. It curves away sharply to the south, to empty its other mouth into the Aelhei Sea, but it flows down from the northern mountains, cutting east through a deep furrow in the land, a canyon filled with caves in which the Areihin settlements of Rillian and Zanniar are located.

To the far west is the big city of Sanillien, the only other place on the planet where non-Areihi have settled, and their influence shows in its structure. The city is very modern, but not bleak like Selirai. Sanillien is a big, lovely city whose architecture has been influenced by generations of offworlders. At its center is a group of graceful silver towers, the Areihin Quarter of the city.

Several hundred miles to the north, beneath (and built into) a spur of mountains reaching out into the sea from the northern spine, stands the bustling city of Merith. It is a heavily Illionn-influenced city, though there is some Seionnin influence, for those people mine what is left of the crystal in the nearby mountains. It began as a mining town, but has expanded over the centuries to double as a port city.

Sanillien lies along the east bank of the Tieranu River, which runs in a silvery, icy torrent down from the mountains and smooths out near the seashore, draining into the ocean at an extensive delta that, like that of the Tanoai, often floods, leaving part of the surrounding land a marsh teeming with life, a good deal of which is very hostile.

Viunirhei

Viunirhei is a rich, lush continent-smaller than Alaendhi, but bigger than Annheiya. It has only two cities-Mehariel, housed in a spur of mountains that juts out to the north, and Lhainei, built into the cliffs above the eastern shore.

The mountainous forests of Viunirhei are much like Earth's cloud forests, but seen from above they are blue, wreathed in cloud and fog, dense and mysterious. Though some Areihi live in the cliffs and the caves beyond the forested plateaus, they too are honorably solitary, and have formed a kind of loose Continuity in the deep, silent wilderness. It is here that the Order of the Ennai was born, where Iyula the Ancient still lives.

The Siunorii River runs from the higher western part of the continent, zigzags through a series of waterfalls, and tumbles noisily past the cliff-city of Lhainei. The second river, the Kharinai, diverges from the Siunorii and flows in a straight rush to the southern sea.

Lihnoai

Lihnoai is little more than a cold wasteland. The last of the planet's southern ice cap clings to the shores and the sea nearby. It is a rough, blocky shape, as if someone cut it from something else and cast it aside. However, there are several settlements in its craggy mountains, made up mostly of Areihi who cling to the old world and the old ways and did not wish to follow their people out of the mountains after the last ice age. The more prominent of these are Choaiya, cut into the gorge of the River T'heila, and Iyaluen, located in the central mountains. The T'heila River runs from a spring in a valley in the central mountains (the only place where it is illegal to mine), through a naturally cut pass, down through its gorge and into the eastern sea.

The Islands of the Inland Sea

Eakkanna is a rain forest island, gently round and sloping, home to the Kannaii Continuity. Its three slim white towers stand on a small rise in the land, giving them the appearance of a simple crown. The Kannaii are unusual because they are all female and all offshoots of the Ennai Order.

D'heilin is a flat, oblong green island. Though its vegetation is lush and its animal life is diverse, it is not nearly as lovely as Eakkanna. It is home to the Liridhaen Continuity. It lies in the lee of a massive headland on the coast of Seliraedh, so where other islands experience frequent storms, D'heilin is very peaceful.

Amhenni is a small, craggy island unsheltered by the coast, which falls gently back to a level beach after it leaves D'heilin behind. The Areihi of the Simayen Continuity never built towers. They live instead in the caves above the high tide mark, and though they are very wealthy, they are very old-fashioned. They are remarkable because they are the only powerful Continuity which has existed since the first Legacies were formed which did not grow out of the mountain life.

Tiuonnen is a rich, lovely smooth-edged island, once little more than a desert, now an oasis of faea and dhaeri trees. It is the only place on the planet where they exist outside a true desert. The Kamiyanen Continuity is very progressive and extremely wealthy, yet very ancient, like all of the Island Continuities.

Lanieri is what remains of an ancient volcano. Riddled with caves and all but unlivable on the surface, it stands like a sentinel before Seliraedh's gentle coastline. The Azhaani Continuity mostly comprises minds gathered from the ancient Desert Continuities of the South.

Vhiendera is a very modern island, owned by the Vialirdhen Continuity, and it is the only one of the islands of the Inland Sea with a city on it, albeit a small one. A cluster of graceful blue and silver towers stand on a cleared open space, surrounded by a ring of trees, which in turn is surrounded by the gleaming white sands of its beaches, making it seem like a pendant floating in the northern sea.

Jhaelira is a particularly large island with a mountainous, mostly forested center. It too is an ancient volcano. It has a small reef, a lagoon, a small foresting industry, and a good deal of T'heya's native kind of obsidian. It is owned by the Elanirdhaen Continuity. Their elegant golden towers stand in a clearing at the foot of the mountain, but the small town of Leniria stands along the bend of the mountain's single small river, the Rhiannem, which flows down from the north and then turns east.

Nihme is a small island, its name a diminutive version of nna'iia maehi, meaning "little wings." To this day, the island's extended name is Nniamehhi. It is peaceful and green, sheltered by the western mountains from the Inland Sea's terrible storms. The Tiailen Continuity is mostly made up of musicians and artists, so instead of dwelling in the usual Continuity towers, as is the island way, they have planted a large grove of mistwoods on their lovely little island, using a highly-skilled group of anaai to utilize their unique connection with the trees and seemingly sing them into shape, so that the Tiailen live in rooms nestled among the leaves, like the elves of Earth legend which they somewhat resemble.

Laehi is a mountainous little crystal island, and the Lihaen Continuity who own it live in the crystal spires themselves. It is illegal for outsiders of their Continuity to take any of the island's natural crystal, but the Lihaen are renowned throughout their galaxy for their exquisite crystal carvings.

Aeldann is a wide, flat, sandy island. Once upon a time, its sands were strewn with crystal and black diamond, but the Tahnameri Continuity put those to good use. Their towers are built of the light alloys and strange crystals of T'heya, so that they look like iridescent geometric shapes on the sand, though they have extensive underground levels to insure their stability.

Vieraenn is a gentle, green island. Its Continuity, the Vhaeanai, is the poorest of all the Island Continuities. Their simple white towers stand in a circle around a clean courtyard tiled with marble in the island's center. They own holdings on Annheiya and Arraia, but no crystal mines and none of the desert oases. The island is mostly grassy, with gentle beaches and a single new mistwood grove to the west of the towers.

Sulania is a small, forested island, but every one of its trees is mistwood. The anaai have sung them into a labyrinth of intricate shapes, delicate rooms high among the branches that resound with the tingling sound of anaai song. There is a small cleared area in the center of the island, where the Virriana Continuity's fragile-looking, light blue towers stand.

Naidhriel is the triple peak of a sunken crystal mountain. It is riddled with caves, which the people of the Laihierai Continuity have carved into exquisite designs. Each room is a work of art, with fluted pillars, delicate arches and gracefully soaring ceilings, decorated with fragile scrollwork and intricate carvings inlaid with gold, silver, and gemstones.

Elendai is the peak of a long dormant volcano. Though a line of slim, angular towers stands on the cliffs of the shore, most of the Solenni Continuity's dwellings are underground.

The Ana'i Archipelago

In the western sea, off the southern shore of Seliraedh, are the extremely active volcanic islands of the Ana'i Archipelago. The islands are grouped around a large central island called Dol Ana'i. Its center is the triple peak of the Anaiie volcano, but its slopes are heavily forested. The bustling port town of Limaen Analai stands on the northern shore, the only Galactic modern town with no nonhuman residents on T'heya. Around it in a rough ring are the rich, volcanic islands of Sanaai, Li'haea, Anoaii, Lihieh, Jhaenai, Limana, and Vaania.