Compass of Terrestrial Directions

The Lay of Creation

At the center of Creation is the Elemental Pole of Earth, a great mountain that rises nearly to Heaven itself. This is the Imperial Mountain, the axis of Creation and the heart of reality itself. Around the mountain lies the Blessed Isle, home to the Realm, surrounded in turn by the Great Inland Sea.

Surrounding the Inland Sea is the Threshold, the ring of land and islands that stretches out to the tattered edges of Creation. The Scarlet Empress ruled the Blessed Isle as her own, while the indirectly ruled the Threshold as subject states and tributaries.

At the extreme North of Creation is the Elemental Pole of Air, a precipice beyond which lies nothing but snow and howling winds. The northern stretches of Creation are cold lands, where ice is lord and wind is master. The people of the North are pale, tall, and long-limbed, with white and blonde hair most common, as are blue eyes.

To the uttermost South of Creation is the Elemental Pole of Fire, beyond which exists naught but endless, smokeless flame. Deserts lies in the South of Creation, and the sands grow ever hotter the further south one travels. The people of the South are tanned or ruddy-skinned, with hair of fiery red or charcoal black, and eyes of the same, though some few possess amber or golden eyes.

In the farthest West is the Elemental Pole of Water, where the seas are endless and no more islets break their surface. The Western reaches of Creation are great archipelagoes of island nations. The people of the West are short and well-tanned, with hair of black, blue, or green, and eyes of similar colors, or of coral and pearl.

To the East is the Elemental Pole of Wood. In the farthest East, a great cathedral of trees darkens the skies, rising up from an infinite gulf. The East is a land of forests and fields and fens. In the Far East, savage tribes dwell in the branches of trees, and a man can live his whole life without ever setting foot on the ground. Easterners are brown-skinned, with brown or green eyes and hair in every color of the natural world.

Above Creation lies Yu-Shan, the city of the gods, the home of the Celestial Court. It is a place of too many wonders to describe, and heartbreaking beauty. Within the great Dome of Heaven, the Incarnae play the Games of Divinity.

Below Creation lies the Underworld, home of dolorous ghosts and those souls that could not embrace Lethe and the cycle of reincarnation. It is a land of greyness and sorrow, a place of soul-crushing despair.

Beyond Creation is Malfeas, land of demons. This horrific land of blood and brass is the prison of the Yozis, the Demon Princes who were once the Primordials. After the great war against the Primordials, the gods and the Exalted sealed the Yozis away in this terrible place for all time.

Outside Creation and all else that exists lies the infinite Wyld, a realm of chaos impossible to describe by beings not born of it. It is the home of the Fair Folk, who take on form within Creation only to subvert and destroy it.

Weather and Climate

Creation has a climate driven by its peculiarly sorcerous nature. Weather comes from the elemental poles, with warm winds coming from the South, blizzards from the North and rainstorms from the East and West. Each part of Creation receives some attention from all four poles, but the poles exert the greatest influence over the areas closest to them. The Blessed Isle at the center of Creation is truly blessed, because it benefits from the temperate attentions of all four quarters.

The lunar calendar used by the Realm has spread through much of the rest of Creation. The moon passes through its phases every 28 days, and each of the five seasons (Air, Water, Earth, Wood, Fire) consists of three months. Each of the three months represents a phase of the season: the first month is the Ascending phase, the second Resplendent and the third Descending.

After the season of Fire is Calibration, a moonless five-day holiday that is not part of any season. During this topsy-turvy time, the spirit courts are in disorder, the worlds of men and gods are closer than normally, and many strange phenomena are observed as the world ties up loose ends and prepares itself for another year.

Ascending Water is usually the coldest month of the year, when the North is draped in ice. Frost and cold bind the East and West during this month, while pleasant rains cool the South. Temperatures rise through the months of spring in Descending Water and the early months of the season of Earth, bringing hurricanes to the South, monsoons to the West and drenching downpours and storms to the East.

Then, there is a long growing period of increasing warmth for the last month of Earth, all of the season of Wood and the first month of the season of Fire, until the height of summer comes with Descending Fire. In that month, the South is scorched by endless days of blazing sun, the breadfruit trees of the West are dried up, the endless forests of the East are parched and dry, and the North is bright and temperate, fully open to traders and travelers. After this, temperatures fall rapidly, bringing storms across Creation and a hurrying in the year’s last harvest before winter grips the world once more.

These natural patterns of climate and weather are affected by gods, elementals, sorcery, Charms and other supernatural influences. Winds move under the direction of the weather gods, weather magic is commonplace, and elementals and local gods can be relied upon to disturb the regular flow of climate in response to a few prayers or favors—-or in order to spite an enemy. While the major weather patterns continue according to the season, with monsoons slashing across the Western coasts in the rainy season and sandstorms moving through the desert, smaller changes constantly occur.

In the First Age, these fluctuations were regulated by the Exalted, who would have set matters in order and ordered the gods to keep the weather patterns in balance. Alas, the First Age is long gone, and the Solar Deliberative with it, and now, every petty deity is prepared to divert a rainstorm for a bit of worship on the side.

The combination of a very long growing season and the effects of magic and prayer result in high crop yields; the gardens of Creation are heavy with vegetables and the paddies full of rice all through the season of Wood. Most areas can harvest three crops of rice a year, while the Blessed Isle and the Scavenger Lands bring in five rice crops in the most fertile areas. This vast bounty encourages large and complicated societies, for one peasant can nourish many people with her labor.

Regions of Creation

Creation itself is divided into five cardinal directions:

  • The Blessed Isle: The center of Creation, bound to the Elemental Pole of Earth. Home of the Realm.
  • The North: The coldest region of Creation, bound to the Elemental Pole of Air.
  • The East: Home to Creation’s largest and most diverse populations, bound to the Elemental Pole of Wood. A large portion of the East, known as the Scavenger Lands has never fallen under the control of the Realm. Also home to the world mercantile power called The Guild.
  • The South: Hot and dry, the most hostile area of Creation, bound to the Elemental Pole of Fire.
  • The West: Distant archipelagos form the majority of this direction, making it the least populous part of Creation, bound to the Elemental Pole of Water.

For more information about the otherworlds that exist within and around Creation, take a look at the Compass of Celestial Directions.

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Compass of Terrestrial Directions

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