In this section we shall discuss the various places and peoples within this story, as well as how they are governed. Since this is mainly for background and understanding for those reading the story, comparisons to Earth and other commonly known facts may be referenced.
We shall begin by looking at the Main Setting of the story which is Aldeya and it's surrounding solar system.
Aldeya's Solar System:
The solar system consists of a single G-class star with a slightly higher luminosity than Earth's sun and only 4 planetary bodies. The locals call the star 'The Sun' or in some cases, it's proper name 'Stel'.
The planet closest to The Sun is called Staug, and it is too close to be habitable. It's a small rocky planet approximately 5000 km in diameter with no moons. It is not as yet tidally locked facing The Sun, but it's day is very long, approximately 200 days which is longer than its year of 143 days.
Aldeya is the second planet from The Sun nestled at the innermost edge of the habitable zone. It is Earth-like in many respects, though it's overall temperature is slightly higher and consequently has a much larger area of forested land. The planet is a little smaller than Earth at 10,765 km in diameter, but it only has water covering 64% of it's surface. Aldeya also has two small moons that orbit it. Both are smaller planetary bodies that were captured by Aldeya's gravity soon after it's formation. One of the moons, known as 'The Little Runner' or simply 'Runner' is irregularly shaped, one side having a protuberance that looks like a snout or muzzle or a small creature. The other moon called 'Hunter' is larger and has a slightly longer orbit than 'Runner' making it look like it is chasing the smaller moon.
The third planet in the system is known on Aldeya as Charse. Charse also lies within the system's habitable zone, but a great cataclysm occurred long ago that shattered the planet leaving a few large masses and a trailing tail of debris. It is suspected that the planet once held not only life, but intelligent life, and there are theories that the cataclysm was not of natural origins. Ships sent to investigate the debris have found artifacts of an ancient culture that predates recorded history on Aldeya, but never any recordings of any kind to give a hint as to who or what the beings may have been.
The final planet sits well beyond the habitable zone of The Sun and is a large gas giant called 'Thel'. It was once believed that Thel was the husband of Stel and circled her in dance, basking in her beauty and protecting her from harm. Thel has many moons and captured planetoids orbiting it, most are small and not worth notice, but a few have been flagged for future exploration missions as possible sources of metals and other materials.
If anyone wants to know more about any of the planets (facts and such), they can be provided. A more detailed description of Aldeya will, of course, be made, as that is the planet with all the action.
The Races of Aldeya:
Just like any fantasy world, Aldeya has a number of races that inhabit it. The races are generally divided between the 'good' and 'evil' races. Of course, at the point in time in which our main story takes place, the 'good' races vastly outnumber the 'evil' on Aldeya. To be somewhat scientific I'll try and delve into some of the discoveries of the races on their own origins as well. To be honest, some of the ideas I have on how the races may look deviate greatly from other classic fantasy novels, since science is incorporated into the universe I can't simply explain away the origins of each race with a god or gods creating them. I'd like feedback on what you think about the ideas I have for each race and how they have developed. The concept of evolution is well established on Aldeya, and, in fact, the concept of religion has been eradicated from most of the world, so a 'divine' origin wouldn't work well with the story any way around it.
-Elves: The 'eldest' of the races of Aldeya, elves primarily developed in jungle and forested areas, of which most of Aldeya is covered. While Elves, Humans and Dwarfs share a common simian ancestor, elves are the most closely related to that primeval forest dweller. They prefer to make their home in trees and their magic is deeply rooted in nature. They are communal and form tight-knit clans that are fiercely protective of their members. Young are traditionally raised by the community at large, as such, they have different family dynamics from humans. A pair typically mates for life, their union similar to the ideal of marriage, and young produced by mating pairs are raised in the communal creche. The identity of a child's parents is not a secret by any means, but everyone helps to raise the children equally. Since they have a longer life span than any other race, typically between 250 and 300 years, they are a slow and cautious race, prone to long-term planning and research. This has traditionally given them, as a whole, a much more stable government and lifestyle. As the world has become more accessible through technology many elves no longer live in the traditional style and many have adopted the common human form of living.
Physical Characteristics: An elf is taller than a typical human with males standing between 2 and 3 meters and females about 2 meters tall. They have a slender frame with elongated arms and legs. Their feet are shaped more like a second set of hands which allows them a greater ability to climb and move freely in the darkness. Consequently they rarely wear any kind of shoe, but instead paint their feet with intricate designs. Their faces are long and narrow with ears more pointed than those of humans. Their skin color ranges greatly depending on the area they live, typically taking on colors similar to the trees of their home forest. These colors can vary from white, tan, brown and light green. Their hair is typically dark of color, but their eyes are usually bright blue and can pick up a greater range of wavelengths allowing them to see better in darkness.
-Humans:While elves decided to stay in the trees and forests, humans are the descendants of those early hominids that took to the great plains and grasslands. A Tribal society, humans were typically nomadic, moving from hunting ground to hunting ground with few permanent settlements in place. As their agricultural knowledge grew however, humans began to settle down a bit more and the first great cities were founded. Since humans never really stayed in one place, they never developed a connection anywhere strong enough necessary to the development of magic. For that reason, humans are the main driving force behind scientific discovery. That's not to say that humans have no magic, there are a few who have a knack for it naturally and it can be learned and mastered over many years. Since humans only live for 70-80 years however, few have the patience to practice the art. After the conflict with the 'evil' races ended most human nations came to an agreement that humanity should be united to protect themselves from any foe and founded the Unified Humanity Council (UHC), which ruled over all the human nations. This council grew strong and eventually incorporated all human nations under it's rule. At this point in time they are the most powerful governing body on Aldeya, though in recent years they've allowed the formation of many 'free' cities where all races could mix freely under the UHC's protection. These free cities have blossomed into strongholds of learning, peace and trade.
Physical Characteristics: Without the forest, humans evolved to be pretty much as humans on Earth. One notable difference from Earth humans however is that the humans on Aldeya are all of darker skin, due to the higher temperature and greater amount of radiation from their sun.
-Dwarves: Though the exact time is unclear, it is believed that the dwarves were an early offshoot of humanity who took to the hills and mountains rather than the open plains. Primitive dwarven clans are thought to have taken shelter in caves during winter months and, as tribes grew, would expand the cave systems. Eventually they lived in the caves year round, tending fields and crops in mountain meadows while mining deep into the planet's rocky interior in search of metals and other rare finds. Usually a dwarven home consists of several hundred clan members and an extensive cave network that can extend for miles. In the days of conflict dwarves were commonly attacked by those 'evil' races who made their homes deep in the ground when their cave systems would connect. Dwarves grew a reputation as great warriors whose strength and ferocity and battle were unmatched. Dwarves retained many traits inherited from their elf like ancestry and are longer lived than humans with an average life span of 120-200 years. They also raise their young similarly except that it is taboo for most dwarves to marry or stay with one mate very long. This is a strangeness that many other races find unsettling, but as dwarves to not try and push their ways on others it is overlooked easily. While modern dwarves still live underground, they now have great cities, sometimes having carved out an entire mountain to contain them. Few dwarves mingle with other races, not because it is discouraged, but simply because dwarves are agoraphobic and are uncomfortable in open spaces. Dwarven magic, as can be expected is closely linked with the earth and stone.
Physical Characteristics: Spending the majority of their lives underground in the small twisting passages of their cavern homes, dwarves tend to be shorter than humans, standing between 4 and 5 feet in height. They are heavily muscled and stoutly built, easily the strongest, physically of elves, dwarves and human. Unless they are mining, most dwarves go without shoes, as their feet have a heightened sense of touch and can feel vibrations through the stone. Since they work often in darkness, dwarves have keen pale eyes that can see well in near total darkness. Their skin is pale and their hair ranges from red to dark brown. On males, long beards are a sign of wealth and health and their hair is braided. Women do not braid their hair, nor do they have beards.
-Gnomes: Gnomes are an enigma to most scholars because there seems to be no fossil or genetic record linking them to Aldeya. While they appear humanoid like the other 'good' races, they do not share a common ancestor, or indeed, and genetic ancestor with any by a few animals which in turn also share no common ancestry with other species. The most popular theory is that Gnomes were the dominant race on the planet Charse and, when the cataclysm occurred, migrated, or perhaps, fled, to Aldeya. Though if this theory is true, than this migration occurred over 4000 years ago, since the earliest written records, from that time period, clearly indicate the gnomish races presence. Perhaps the gnomes have some secret knowledge of their origin, but no one yet seems to be able to get their attention long enough to verify this. Gnomes are like the absent-minded professor, with an insatiable curiosity about the world and especially scientific knowledge. If humans are the driving force behind scientific discovery, gnomes are usually the ones making them, if they ever stop long enough to let someone know. Gnomes are solitary in general, living alone, usually where ever they work, but that does not mean they are shy. Indeed, gnomes are commonly quite extroverted, enjoying being with others, meeting them and learning anything and everything about them, but despite this, or maybe because of it, most gnomes live alone or in small mating groups. Another abnormality of gnomish behavior is their family groups, which tend to be slightly disturbing to other races (except perhaps dwarves). Gnomes do not pair off with each other, but instead will bond with several other gnomes into small mating groups that will produce offspring with more or less random parentage. Typically these groups stay together for several years, but rarely for the rest of their lives. Gnomes develop rapidly, childhood lasting a mere 5 or 6 years, but they have a shorter lifespan than the other races, rarely living past 50 years of age.
Physical Characteristics: Gnomes are short, standing about 4 feet tall and are thin and spritely. Their heads have elongated foreheads with crowns of vibrant colored hair, which can change its color depending on the season, and the colors range across the entire spectrum. Their fingers are also disproportionately elongated giving them greater fine motor control when working with small tools.
Evil Races:*Note- The 'evil' races on Aldeya are confined to a few small island settlements where they can be watched and controlled. Though they were traditionally evil, in as much as they were opposed to the 'good' races, there is of course no inherent evil in them.
-Orc: Orcs are the most populous of the 'evil' races. Once orcs lived in lowland marshes and swamps, breeding in secret dens deep in places inhospitable to humans. From there they'd attack other settlements to steal food and weapons. Of course, those days are long gone and now they live mainly in smaller settlements in the island sanctuary designated for them. While they aren't inherently evil, many orcs still resent their peoples defeat and imprisonment. A few tribes have embraced the change however, and it is not uncommon to find a few 'free' orcs living in cities working where they can. None of the 'evil' races on Aldeya share a common ancestor with those of the elven line, but instead evolved from a reptilian creature halfway between a mammal and true reptile. Surprisingly orcs have a very similar family structure to humans, with a single pair raising their own children. The 'wild' orcs in the sanctuary live in small villages of up to a few hundred where they produce the crops needed to sustain them. In almost all other ways, those that live in the sanctuaries are stagnant cultures, given little technology or even news of the outside world. Most have probably never even seen the ones that they are taught to hate. Orcs have life spans similar to humans and, also like humans, have little talent for magic, but those that are born with the gift are treated as kings and often led the armies of 'evil' during conflict.
Physical Characteristics: Orcs are heavily muscled and have smooth scaly skin ranging in color from light green to dark brown. Standing about 5 feet tall, they make up for their height with long arms that give them a surprisingly long reach. They have no hair on their bodies and lack most other mammalian characteristics, but they do give birth to live young. They see fairly well in darkness and have a very keen sense of smell.
-Goblins: Unlike the 'good' races, who all share a common ancestor, Goblins and Orcs do not share any recent ancestors. While Orcs are more reptillian, goblins evolved from large burrowing rodent like creatures. Consequently they live most commonly in burrows deep in the earth, or large cave systems.They are the traditional enemies of the Dwarves, whose homes they would tunnel into and attack. Goblins make up the majority of the 'evil' races population because they breed quickly and are very aggressive. Also unlike the Orcs, there are few if any Goblins that wish to reform and join life outside their island sanctuaries. Part of this is due to the lower intelligence of most Goblins, equivalent of a human child or young teenager. Goblins are content to spend their days harvesting roots and raising the small animals that they eat and their nights drinking and telling fantastic stories around their communal fires. Goblin families usually consist of one male with several wives. When a son matures he must leave the family den and venture to a new tribe or community to seek his first wife and then start his own family. Without their knowledge, Goblins have been given strict doses of medication to keep their population at a reasonable level, since they refuse the help of any outsiders that they consider unclean, those being mainly of the 'good' races that conquered them. They have little innate magic, and what they do have is mainly reserved for shamans who use life energy to perform their spells.
Physical Characteristics: Goblins are small in stature, though mostly due to their habit of hunching over on all fours as they scamper from one place to another. What they lack in size, they make up for in speed, their four limbed stride moving them along incredibly quickly. When standing up, they measure just under 4 feet. Their frames are gaunt and covered in shaggy fur they hide beneath even more tattered hide cloth. Their fur ranges from brown and black, to brilliant white, depending on the season. Like dwarves, they see excellently in near darkness, and their rodent like noses can smell natural gas deposits through solid stone.
-Trolls: Trolls share a common ancestor with goblin's, however, they differ in many different ways. Unlike goblins, Trolls do not live underground, but prefer open environments with lots of space to roam. Since they did not live in large groups and preferred to have little contact with others, most Trolls lived in deserts, tundras or other places typically inhospitable to others. This led to many sub-species of Trolls to develop, however they all share certain characteristics. For instance, they live in small family packs, usually consisting of no more than a dozen females and two or three males. Being nomadic, Trolls traveled over large hunting grounds, avoiding human settlements where possible. During conflicts, Trolls were called upon and gathered by orcs for use as heavy troops in battle. Despite their shared ancestry with goblins, Trolls were not stupid or dimwitted, but spent their time deep in thought as they traveled their chosen domain. This would lead to conflict over command during wars with the 'good' races, as orcs believed themselves to be the most intelligent of the 'evil' races. The division ran even deeper when the 'evil' races were finally defeated and to this day Trolls will rarely be amiable with an Orc. Many trolls have joined the modern world, spending their time deep in thought contemplating philosophy and the structure of the Universe. Like Elves, Trolls live a long time, and frequently dedicate their lives to studying a single thing to discover all of its secrets. They have a magic connected to mind and it's innermost workings, this secret, being one of the main reasons the 'evil' races had so much success in early wars with the 'good' races.
Physical Characteristics: Another difference between Trolls and Goblins is their size. Trolls are very large creatures, taller even than elves, standing nearly 10 feet tall and weighing a ton or more. They are covered in fur like Goblins, but wear clothing and keep it trimmed short. They stand upright instead of moving on all fours like Goblins. This means that they are slower, but being so much larger, they are physically much stronger than any other race and have a long reach. Trolls can also eat almost anything.
-Dragons: Dragons are commonly considered to be an 'evil' race, but they were mainly neutral in the conflicts between the other races. However, in the final wars that led to the conquering of the 'evil' races, the Dragons allied with the other 'evil' races because they saw the growth of the 'good' races, humanity in particular, as threatening their dominance of the land. Dragons is a loose term for a species that is subdivided many times. There are Great Dragons, lords of the skies, wielders of immense powers of magic. They were few in numbers, even before the wars, but now only a dozen or so remain, their lifespans so immense that they seem immortal by all other standards and have lived for thousands, if not tens of thousands of years. Extremely intelligent, but driven by their desires, they were easily manipulated by others to fight. In pre-history
many primitive cultures worshiped the Great Dragons, until it was discovered that they were neither immortal or all powerful. They can be of many colors, their coloration seeming to correspond to their magics and power. There are five main types; Red-for fire and heat, Blue-for ice and cold, Green-for noxious poisons and acid, Black-for the manipulation of the mind to cause fear and terror, and finally White-for lightning and power over the wind itself. They were difficult to deal with as they were not equipped to speak any language spoken by the humanoid races. Great Dragons are a dying race, and they know it. Lesser Dragons on the other hand are plentiful and come from the same line as the Great Dragons. Lesser Dragons are smaller than their cousins with little magic of their own. They are also not as intelligent, fairly evenly matched with goblins for the most part. They are commonly trained as messengers and mail carriers in the modern world. They don't share the longevity of the Great Dragons, but have similar coloring patterns.
Physical Characteristics: Dragons Great and Lesser look similar and differ mostly in abilities and size. They are four limbed, with great wings to carry themselves through the air. They have hollow bones and lightweight smooth scaled skin. The Greater Dragons are heavily armored with scales because they use magic to help them fly, but Lesser's don't have that ability, and have very thin skin. While Greater Dragons may measure over 30 meters in length from nose to tail tip, Lesser Dragons rarely grow larger than a meter (though intermediate sizes have been reported in some remote locations). Their forelegs are clawed, but have a surprising dexterity and ability to grasp objects. Their tails are long and whip-like, as well as prehensile.
*So that's my initial ideas and thoughts on the different races of Aldeya. If you have questions, comments, want more information about any of them, please let me know by commenting on one of the Non-Story blog posts.
Government on Aldeya
Technology and Magic