Our Solar System: Haven of the Angels

Haven of the Angels

Our Solar System: Haven of Angels

Mean Distance from Oma: 118,000 to 226,000 WA

Orbital Period around Oma: N/A

Diameter: N/A

Length of day: N/A

Gravity: N/A


Far beyond the last Fekxtah planet of Oma’s Family lies an enormous globe of celestial objects that surrounds Oma and the entirety of her brood. This is the Haven of the Angels. It begins far beyond the furthest planet, Chayffen, and it extends beyond this point as far as is the distance from Oma to the Haven’s start. It is a magnificently vast area filled with celestial objects beyond count. They are formed from loose entanglements of rock, dust, and ice, and in some cases shards of one or more of the Six Energies. They vary in size from no more than a small boulder to the size of large moons.

The Haven of the Angels was first discovered by a small coterie of eccentric Elzheni scientists who were characterized by their peers as little more than religious zealots since they did not follow the fixed, methodical processes adhered to by the broader Elzheni scientific community. The members of this sect called themselves Astromentists since they considered their abilities to be an extension of their highly developed affinity with Mental Energy. Their peers called them the Como-ists, since they made heavy use of a powerful drug made from the como plant to trigger their “explorations”.

It would be impossible, and perhaps unjust, to present the story of this small sect without using their own words. Their writings convey not only their goals and achievements, but also give a proper portrayal of the mindset that drove them to explore the extreme distances far beyond the influence of Oma. It also reveals the manner in which they achieved their goals which is certainly outside all credible bounds of scientific thought.

The reader might be asking why we would include mention of such a strange group of Elzheni in this document. The question is well warranted, and there was much discussion of this among those of us who are responsible for the creation of this summary of ancient Elzheni knowledge of the greater Fekxtah world. In the end, two arguments convinced us to include the Astromentists in this brief tome. The first was that the Astromentists had persuaded a number of the most prominent Elzheni scientists of their day that their explorations, or “journeys” as they were fond of calling them, were true. How they validated their knowledge to their colleagues is unknown. The ancient texts contain to account of the discussion, or, at least, none that we can find. We felt that the judgment of these ancient masters could not be discounted regardless of the opaque quality of their decision. By itself that was sufficient justification to include the account in this document.

The second argument centers on a strange, and unexpected, event. In the year SP~5,019, only four years before completion of this document, the Guild Division for the Science of Oma and her Fekxtah Family (SOFF) were confronted by a living entity that claimed to originate from the Haven of Angels. At first the members of the SOFF considered the creature to be no more than an individual of a new race that we had not come across before. It is well-known that there are many creatures in our world, and that we do not yet know them all. However, as the Guild members questioned this creature it conveyed information that could not be known to any other than those who had studied the accounts of the ancient Astromentists, but this could not be as the ancient tomes are well-protected from any who are not of the Guild. When the Guild members confronted the creature with this unassailable reality, it countered with information about several of the Astromentists it claimed to have known. What it said was in keeping with our understanding of that time in every respect. It was, of course, an astonishing turn of events; one which we could not, in good conscience, disregard, and we were left in the precarious position of being unable to refute the thing it claimed to be.

We believe that we have properly conveyed our rationale for the passages below. It is now up to the reader to judge for themselves whether the excerpts below are believable or simply wild tales to tell our children at bedtime.

Therefore, we will use several quotes directly from the Astromentist sections of the ancient documents.

“I begin. The taste of the como is fresh and clean. It stings my tongue with its strange bitterness, and comforts me as I recognize my body’s familiar response to its effects.

I close my eyes and my inner eye opens. It shows another world to me, one that lives within the known world, but a world that reveals much more than our physical senses can detect. I am surrounded by tendrils of Energy.

At first I do not see them. I simply know they are there. I am patient, a patience I have learned from much practice. After some amount of time (a thing which is always hard to sense in this place) I see them, their tendrils writhing in constant motion, vibrant in colors of scarlet and gold and others I cannot name.

I reach out to touch them, gently, to hold them. They accept me and we embrace. I feel their cool grasp as the distinction between my own being and theirs disappears. So we become a single thing, a wisp of life that is not bound by the physical, only by what can be imagined.

They carry me forward and we lift ourselves away from our home, my home, the Fekxtah planet Ethem. It now lies far away, a globe that sits in the vast space that fills the void between each and all Fekxtah.

Now we travel in the firmament and beyond it.

The direction of our flight is sometimes my decision and sometimes theirs.

We rush through, and quickly pass, the floating shards of Seekrem’s Halo. As we go I see Ethem’s sister planets, Aldrem and Harrayem. They are far away, but are also near enough I can sense them and the life on the surfaces. Distance exists, but not in the same way that it does for physical creatures.

We continue moving out, away from Oma, a path which carries us past the other Fekxtah planets and their many moons.

We glide past the small Fekxtah Illidreth and soon after we pass the great giant Dra Ag Ahaggalla and its moons. We fly through Oma’s other Far Fekxtah, Moralastalla, Yunah, and Mammarrell. Then there is a pause as we are carried through great emptiness.

Then we reach the Very Far Fekxtah. We pass Cantoss, Tor, and Melladdin, and, at last we reach Chayffen, the furthest of Oma’s children.

We stop and with our Energetic limbs we probe what lies beyond. I know what my race, the Elzheni, know about this place. There is nothing beyond Chayffen. Nothing other than a vast expanse of darkness, a space filled with a profound emptiness.

I have been this far before, but never further. The fear rises and I start to lose my connection with my Energetic companion, but then she pulls me back into her embrace. He assuages my discomfort with her own sense of safety in this barren place. He (for my companion is both he and she) can touch the Energetic sinews of Chayffen which lies nearby, and this gives him the satisfaction of having home nearby.

The moment of fear has passed and we probe the darkness in front of us. Something is there or perhaps we believe that something should be there. Perhaps it is only the hope that the world cannot be entirely empty of the Energy that creates living beings.

I search my Elzheni self for long enough to remind us of our charge — to discover what lies beyond Oma’s world. There is a sense of delight that I feel from my companion; an unusual thing to experience. It was almost as if she were a physical creature, at least for an instant. A real, palpable delight and then it receded to a memory, but it was enough.

We launched ourselves out beyond Chayffen and flew into the unknown.

Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: Leaving Berimandry

Dollano 35, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam

Leaving Berimandry

Before sunrise we had left. Donnessling thought it was best to leave without saying goodbye, as he put it. I can understand why. Olladdawa had stolen the white stone, the Eye of Dey, and now he kept it by holding Sheshoffiss’ life as ransom. Donnessling called him a thief. I would call him something much worse. He did save Sheshoffiss’ life. That is certainly true, but what I chose not to say to Donnessling is that I think he did that only to acquire the White Stone and for no reason other than that.

Note to Self: Once I’m out of this mess, I’m going to find out more about Olladdawa and the story I print will not be pretty, for him.

For an hour or so Donnessling led us through many streets and a variety of neighborhoods. We stopped in an alleyway not far from the docks. I could see the first light of sunrise over the bay. He gathered us in and looked to make sure there were no folk nearby who might hear us. Then he said the following (I don’t think its quite word for word, but I’m not far off — a good memory is an essential asset for a good reporter!).

“We cannot trust Olladdawa. You already know that much, my friends.” He hesitated for a second to let that sink in and then went on, “Neither can we trust the Berimandry Sorcerers. They have shown themselves to be a craven group no better than the beast who chased us through the caverns below the mountains, who wounded Sheshoffis.”

I saw Sheshoffis’ head lower. I think he was ashamed to have been the cause of so much trouble.

“I know this because of their betrayal of our trust and their theft of the Stone of Dey, but I know this for another reason. Three of them were outside our quarters in the middle of the night. They were conjuring a spell to suffocate us in our sleep. However, we struck them before they could finish their crime. They were dispatched immediately, and quietly.”

He looked over at Tollerring who nodded in assent while gently touching the hilt of his blade.

“By now the others will know that their friends are dead and that we are gone. They will be looking for us even as I speak, and they have many allies in Berimandry who are happy to serve as spies. Even the birds overhead and the rats in the streets may be in their service.”

I looked at the nossring around me and saw their grim determination, and their unswerving loyalty to Donnessling. I have so much respect for these folk!

“The sun has risen so we must now walk in silence until we are free of the city.”

He nodded at the nossring standing next to me, Eshtelling, who reached out to pick me up. I jerked my arm away, but before I could do more I heard Donnessling’s firm voice calling me, “No, my friend, this time you must do as I say.”

I could see in his eyes that he was sad to ask it of me. I don’t like being needy, and he knows that, and I know he knows. I wouldn’t put the others’ lives in jeopardy. I can’t walk quietly let alone in complete silence; something that came so naturally to the nossring. I stopped resisting and allowed Eshtelling to haul me onto his back. I hid my shame to (once again) be a burden.

With a quick glance to either side Donnessling led us forward at a slow run. Not a sound did we make…just amazing! At one point I closed my eyes and could barely tell we were moving, our gait was so smooth.

At first we headed toward the docks, but just before reaching that broad open area we turned into a narrow passageway on our right between two tall buildings, warehouses I believe. We made our way through backdoors and empty buildings, over wide roofs and below ground through ancient sewers.

After several hours we found ourselves in the dark, fetid basement of a very old, and very decrepit building. The walls were stone, held together (barely) with a roughly applied cement that dissolved into dust at our touch. Tollerring uncovered a hidden doorway that had been disguised as a part of the rough wall. The opening led into a rough stone, and sometimes brick, tunnel that we followed for what must have been several miles.

At last the tunnel rose and we emerged into daylight on a rocky bluff above the sea. Eshtelling set me down carefully. I was careful to thank him for his effort, which, of course, he acknowledged with nothing more than a polite wave of his hand.

Here we took our rest. Several miles to the east we could see Berimandry laid out along the coastline. It is actually quite a beautiful city which I intend to revisit some day!

To the north were the flat plains that extended across the middle of Shawmancer Island, and to our west stretched out the uneven coastline as far as we could see. We knew, though, that in that direction lay Partameer and our way home.

Our Solar System: Chayffen, the Planet that was a City

Chayffen, the Planet that was a City

Chayffen, the Planet that was a City

Mean Distance from Oma: 16,200 WA

Orbital Period around Oma: 531 years

Mean Diameter: 102,400 miles

Length of day: N/A hours

Gravity: 4.2 Ethems


Chayffen is the fourth, and outermost, of Oma’s Very Far Fekxtah. Chayffen is the name that is given to this Fekxtah planet, and also to the city which spans the entirety of its surface. It was known to the Elzheni as the “planet that was a City”. The Gollanir called it “the unending house”. Each name was equally apt.

The other notable fact about Chayffen is that it is a frozen world. By that we mean that this world goes far beyond cold. It is wholly without heat, other than what is brought by those who visit. Gollanir believed that at one time the planet Chayffen had been a world of warmth and abundant life. They believed that something, perhaps some ancient being of the wide universe, occupied the core of Chayffen, and that this ancient thing created its own heat, that in turn produced an atmosphere on Chayffen that nurtured a rich abundance and variety of life, including a brilliant race of creatures called the Ultar who built the great city that occupied their planet.

According to the Gollanir (and the Elzheni concur) the ancient Ultar were the first sentient beings to populate any of Oma’s planets or moons, and they appeared long long before any the sentients of our own planet Ethem. In our accounting of the Ages of the World we would mark their beginnings at some time late in the The Fourth Age of the World which was the Age before our own. The Fourth Age of the World was known as the Time of Energies. The Six Energies came into being at the beginning of this time period and the Age ended during the ascendance of the primitive, but powerful, beings known as the “Energy Avatars”, each of which embodied in a living form one, and only one of the Six Energies (Emotion, Mental, Body, Physic, Mystic, and Shadow). If this account of the Ultar is true then it brings into question the veracity of the document we hold so very dear to our science; namely, The History of the Created World. This document, which was written by the ancient Elzheni and came down to us from them through the Heolas race, claims to be a record of all creation since the world began. Current scholars simply do not believe that any contradiction to this tome can be true. Many Guild members, and their powerful leaders, believe that it is nothing less than blasphemy to speak of it. Because of this kind of disapproval (and, we daresay, condemnation), there are very few Guild scholars who are willing to consider this alternative account. They have theorized that the Ultar were a race whose origins were from outside of Oma’s Family, which would imply that there are other (perhaps many) other races and creatures in the distant world of the stars and the Great Universe. To our great disappointment (and the joy of Guild Leaders) these scholars have offered no substantial evidence of this, and so is considered nothing more than pure speculation.

Whatever their origins, the Gollanir spent many years investigating the history of the Ultar since they rose to prominence on the planet Chayffen. According to their accounts the Ultar lived for millennia in peaceful co-existence with the other living things of their home world. They were curious about the world around them and were constantly learning about Oma and her Fekxtah Family, and even about the world beyond Oma. They created devices that allowed them to see clearly the smallest niches of distant planets and even planets and stars far away from Oma. It was said that they could even detect the movements of the Walkers, those creatures who had lived since the beginnings of the Created World and could move to all places in it. In addition, it was believed that the Ultar had created chambers of special material that allowed them to travel inside of Oma herself. These were virtually indestructible vehicles that could withstand not only the immense heat of Oma, but could withstand the Energy storms that constantly thundered throughout its interior.

The Ultar lived in this manner for thousands of millenia when suddenly disaster overtook them. The fire that had burned in the center of Chayffen, the ineffable flame that provided life-giving warmth to Chayffen throughout its long existence, suddenly, without warning, was extinguished. The cause for the catastrophe was never found either by the Gollanir or the Elzheni, but its consequence was indisputable and fatal. When its inner fire died, Chayffen no longer had protection from the cold cruelty of the space that surrounded it. The deep atmosphere quickly dissipated and was soon utterly swept away leaving no air to breathe or warm airs to keep living beings alive. In a matter of months Chayfeen and all of the things that lived on it had died or were frozen in place. Soon after the mass extinction of all of its life the Fekxtah itself died. Bombarded by the cold force of deep space its rotation slowed and, eventually, stopped altogether.

Some scientists speculated that at least some of the Ultar must surely have survived. Perhaps migrating to one or another of Oma’s Fekxtah to start over again. We can only guess, but there is general agreement among current scholars, and the ancient Elzheni, that the catastrophe must have been so immediate and profound that none could have survived.

For many thousands of years Chayffen, the city and the planet, lay desolate; a dead world continuing to circle Oma, but with nothing breaking the stillness and its unchanging cold.

Eventually the Gollanir found their way to the frozen expanse and empty buildings of this world. When they first arrived they were in awe at the enormity of the endless city and the immensity of the structures which populated it. Over time they discovered the libraries of the Ultar. They discovered their name and translated the relics left behind by this ancient, powerful civilization. As the years passed the Gollanir learned more and, as they did, they began to understand the magnificence of the Ultar and the enormity of their tragic extinction.

Eventually the Elzheni joined the Gollanir in their quest to uncover all of the secrets of the Ultar and that mutual effort was mentioned even into the final documents written by the Elzheni before they, themselves, were destroyed.

Fekxtah Station #15:

Shortly after they began inspecting Chayffen the Gollanir established outposts for their investigators. Since many of the structures built by the Ultar were still standing and sturdy, the was no need to build their own homes. They simply selected Ultar buildings that appealed to them and added the necessary accommodations. Many of the outposts were situated in tallest buildings, some of which rose miles above the planet’s surface. From these vantage points the Gollanir could view miles of the cityscape below them or look out far over the oceans. Other outposts were constructed at the surface level of the planet to make expeditions easier, and still others used places that the Ultar had built deep below Chayffen’s surface. Over time the Gollanir refurbished hundreds of structures to serve as outposts.

It was a simple process, when the Elzheni joined them in their explorations, to share some outposts and to give the Elzheni the freedom to construct their own within remaining structures. The ancient texts handed down by the Elzheni tell of three outposts they had created for their own, with others shared with their Gollanir colleagues.

Hallsassring’s Journey: The Story of a Nossring

Chapter 6: A Walk to the Park

Shwolan of the Zweyjen race

To her surprise, Hallsassring discovered Shwolan to be good company. He knew Tarnath well and its inhabitants even better, and he was happy to talk about it all in great detail. Hallsassring appreciated the avalanche of information. The more she knew, the better were her chances of saving Alliss and inflicting vengeance on those who took her.

Shwolan frequently interrupted his strolling soliloquy to nod to a passerby or stop for a quick conversation. Hallsassring was amazed at how effortlessly, and consistently, polite he could be, and how carefully deferential folk were to him. They always gave him a respectful bow, which Shwolan returned, but never quite as deep. She also noticed the eyes that flitted past him to take her in. Everyone seemed curious to know who this stranger was that Shwolan had at his side.

He did not introduce her during any of these encounters; however, after the conversation had concluded he would often provide Hallsassring a quick rundown on those they he had just met. He was careful to be polite, and complimentary; no gossip or untoward tales. However, he frequently included their place in Tarnath’s society, a subject that seemed very important to him.

As the two of them continued their stroll, the streets changed. Where they had first met (a neighborhood Shwolan called the Western District) the streets had been rough and dirty, as if the soil from the nearby farms was slowly  invading its neighbor, leaving its dark brown smudges on its buildings and a covering of thick dust the cobblestone streets.

The streets quickly became cleaner and more polished. Where earlier there had been butchers, fishmongers, smithies, and coopers, there were now weavers, clothiers, bakers, and fancy pastry shops. When they stepped in front of one of the more elegant clothing stores Shwolan excused himself and slipped through its front door. In a few minutes he returned carrying a package wrapped in light brown paper and string.

“Just a small something I am picking up for my sister,” he said, before Hallsassring could ask. She just nodded her acknowledgement, but knew there was more to the story than what Shwolan had offered.

A few doors down Shwolan pointed to a tidy, old stone building and told Hallsassring that this was a part of the ancient, original town. He explained that long ago Tarnath had been only a small, insignificant village here in the Sessmaryth Valley, and that it became something much larger due to the ambitions of an ancient ruler named Samron. The instant Hallsassring heard that name she spat on the ground and cursed. “Monster!” she cried, loud enough to be heard by those nearby.

Shwolan stopped, shocked by her unexpected eruption.

Hallsassring was equally surprised by her loss of composure and her inappropriate outburst. The Nossring Nation had known Samron’s savagery and his lust for power only too well. Even now, centuries after his downfall, his name was an obscenity on the tongue of every nossing.

She looked into Shwolan’s eyes and said to him, “His crimes cannot be forgiven, and I will not apologize for cursing that name!” She could see an understanding grow in Shwolan’s eyes and perhaps even approval.

Returning to his usual imperturbable self Shwolan reacted in a calming tone, “You are not wrong, my friend. We can call him nothing less than a ‘monster’ for what he did. For the atrocities he committed against your kingdom and mine, and so many others.” He leaned down closer to Hallsassring’s ear and in a softer voice he whispered a warning, “There are those, however, even on these civilized streets, who look back with fondness on the Tyrant.” Looking closely at her he added, “I am not one of them.”

As quickly as he had spoken that confidence, Shwolan righted himself. Several massive creatures were approaching and had hailed him. He instantly transformed himself into his charming, gregarious self and left Hallsassring’s side hailing them with a chipper salutation.

Hallsassring was still upset by the mention of the ancient Tyrant Samron, and so was not paying complete attention to the creatures with whom Shwolan was talking. A quick glance, though, told her they were of the Human race. Three of them. Nothing out of the ordinary, though they were well-dressed.

Her mind was still filled with the atrocities committed by Samron as she had learned in her youth. His hunger for power and willingness to do anything to achieve it. He had hunted down and destroyed entire races of folk and many creatures of the world. The worst, of course, was his decimation of parts of the Nossring Nation. The suffering that Samron inflicted on the Nossring had not been as horrific as what he had done to others, but it was nonetheless severe and the memory of it lasting.

Hallsassring pushed away these thoughts. She must stay focused, she told herself, and must not allow herself to be distracted.

She turned toward the group that Shwolan was talking to. Several dwarves had joined the discussion and the volume increased noticeably. She was just sizing them up, focusing on what they wore and how they spoke, when Shwolan conveyed his good-byes and returned to her.

“Folk who work at the City Council,” was all that Shwolan offered in the way of explanation. He seemed reluctant to say more, and changed the topic to some of the unusual architecture in this part of the city.

They walked and talked for a while longer, and the tour resumed its casual tenor. Before long, though, Shwolan delicately turned the conversation back to the ancient Emperor, not using his name this time. He glanced at Hallsassring to gauge her reaction, and seeing that she remained unperturbed he continued.

“You clearly know the story of this evil…” he hesitated, “…creature. As we all know he nearly came to dominate the entirety of our beloved Tamarran Continent.”

Hallsassring nodded in assent, and remained staring ahead. This seemed sufficient for Shwolan who went on. “And, of course, we all know that he was the one who established the Central Guilds to control all Tamarran folk, by misusing the abilities of the Guild Channels to manipulate and control the Six Energies. Most folk know this. What is not as well-known is that he also had a very special house built, here in Tarnath, for each of the Guilds, and he arranged that they would all be built in the same area of the city, the place we call Guild Square.”

At this Hallsassring glanced at her walking companion. “I knew that the Guilds were allied with him and that they did his bidding,” she said, steadying her voice. “I also knew that he had houses built for them. They were to provide a place where the Guild members might live, under his control. It must have been very expensive to provide such a luxury to his obedient servants.” Her animosity started to show as her voice started to tremble as she finished.

“A life of luxury certainly helped him gain the loyalty of the Guild Channels; however, that was not the main purpose of these Guild Houses,” replied Shwolan.

Hallsassring tried to interrupt, but Shwolan held up his hand and resumed.

“Yes, the construction was indeed elaborate, and it was indeed excessively luxurious.” He paused for effect. “The more important purpose, however, was for each house to serve as an Energetic fortress. The eloquence served to disguise, and so hide, their various Energetic weapons and guards. The armaments of each of house, of course, corresponded to their type of Energy: Emotion Energy for Charismatics Guild; Mental Energy for Mentarchs; Body Energy for the Somans Guild; Physic Energy for Evokers; Spirit Energy for the Mystics; and, of course, Shadow Energy for the Umbrists. Some of the defenses were a part of the construction of the building itself. Other powerful artifacts were inside the houses. Some were hidden in plain sight and others were simply hidden. Some are known to those of us who study these matters. Many, though, are closely guarded secrets known only to the highest ranking, and most powerful, members of each Guild. And, we suspect, though this is only a guess, that there are many that have been forgotten even by their own Guilds.”

Just as he finished describing this bit of history, the two turned a corner to find themselves at the edge of a large open plaza. There, before them, was the Guild Square that Shwolan had just introduced. His timing was impeccable.

The Square was awe-inspiring in its beauty. Six streets converged around a large hexagonal park that formed the spacious center of their intersection. The park was filled with a panoply of flowers and trees, and in its center was an immense statue of six figures, dressed in great flowing robes and holding what looked like devices of power and, no doubt, prestige.

From where they were standing Hallsassring had a clear view of the entire square, and, judging from the distinct architecture of each house, it was not hard to guess which one belonged to which Guild.

The sight was overwhelming, and Shwolan was clearly pleased to see how struck Hallsassring was by the grandeur that lay before her.

“Yes, it is the most beautiful place in any city of the Tamarran Continent,” he said. “Even finer than any of the architectural wonders of Naldrin City and there are many such wonders in that place.”

Hallsassring looked over at Shwolan. He was not looking at her. His gaze was fixed on the square. Though she could not see it, her innocent response had renewed his own sense of wonder.

Shwolan sighed, and looking down at Hallsassring he announced, “Here is where we part, my new friend. My destination is there beyond the Square,” he said, pointing to a place on the opposite side of the wide hexagon. “And, yours is just down this street.” He pointed to the street to their right. “You cannot miss it. It is well-marked and you will see many folk who are, like you, making their way there.”

Before Hallsassring could respond, Shwolan inserted his farewell. “Hallsassring, I have found you to be a good listener, a talent whose benefits are not always appreciated.” She got the feeling he had experience with this. “I am sure that we will see each other again. Until then, enjoy your time in our great city, and may good fortune walk with you.” He gave a short, courteous bow which Hallsassring returned with her thanks for serving as his guide.

He waved that off as if it was nothing of consequence, and proceeded with a final thought, “If you like, you are welcome to mention my name to Bill. You might find that helpful, and so might Bill.”

With that, and a last elegant bow, Shwolan departed.

Hallsassring watched as he walked away, tirelessly greeting many of the folk he passed.

She then turned to her own destination. It had been an interesting day and there was still more to come. Much more.

Rhonda Floam’s Diaries: The Price

Dollano 34, SP~4,909

Rhonda Floam

The Price

It’s been two days now since Sheshoffiss’ healing; a successful healing, I would add.  Sheshoffiss is still tired, as would be expected, but we think he’ll be able to travel soon, so that we can at last leave Berimandry. Donnessling’s plan is to make our way to Partameer City where we can find a ship to get us back home.

I’d noticed that things were tense between Donnessling and Olladdowa ever since the healing ritual.  As a good reporter, I had to find out why, and earlier today I found my opportunity. I saw Olladdowa heading up to the top floor of the house, to his own private workplace. I followed a few minutes behind him (no one else was around) and hid in a large hall closet that was on the other side of the wall to his room.  I was hoping to listen in (as I had done several other times), but he’s a very quiet worker, so I had gotten basically nothing from these clandestine sessions. This time, though, I got lucky. Just a minute after I hid myself away I heard another set of footsteps approach Olladdowa’s room. I heard a knock and then Donnessling’s voice asking to come in. I heard something like papers moving and a desk drawer closing. A moment later Olladdowa called out his permission to enter.

The conversation started quietly, and politely. Donnessling expressed his thanks for the hospitality. He places great value in adherence to the courtesies.

Then he thanked Olladdowa for saving Sheshoffiss’ life.

“It is our mission, to help those whose bodies have been afflicted with the worst the world may offer,” was Olladdowa’s response. As best I could tell from the other side of a wall, he seemed pleased to be thanked, and even more pleased to be praised.

“It is now time to return the Stone of Dey to Sheshoffiss and complete the healing.” With this Donnessling’s tone changed subtly; more firm and direct.

“If only that were possible,” was Olladdowa’s response. “I am afraid, my dear friend, that the white stone is now beyond his reach. The ritual has changed Shesshoffiss’ Energetic composition. He can no longer channel this artifact.”

“Then you must redress this mistake.”

There was a delay in Olladdowa’s response as I assume he digested the insult.

“There was no mistake, my friend.” The response was cool and fixed.

Donnessling’s voice rose and he asked, “Then it was done deliberately … my friend?” 

Olladdowa’s response was now fiercely plaintive, “It was the only way to save him!”

“You lie!” retorted Donnessling with ferocity.  “I saw you plant the Kurn marker during the healing, after the danger had passed.”

Olladdowa was shocked that his treachery had been revealed. He was clearly rattled and his response lost its prior finesse, “There is no such thing! Kurn markers are a myth. Only old tales not worth telling tell of them. Those stories are fantasy, not sorcery!”

Regaining his composure at least slightly, he continued, “You must not believe these fables, my friend. They will lead you only to delusion, and potential harm.”

“Threats will not benefit you, Olladdowa! At least not with me. Here is the marker.” Donnessling must have shown something. “And, I saw you plant it in his chest.”

There was no longer any attempt by Olladdowa to control his voice. He shouted back, “We heal in whatever way is effective!”

“You severed his connection to the Stone of Dey!”

“We did what was necessary.”

“You did what you needed to make the white stone your own! And, now you will return it.”

“It cannot be done. It …”

“No! It can but you refuse. You will restore his connection or I will bring this to the Council.”

“Perhaps you will change your mind if …”

“Nothing, other than restoring the connection will change my mind.”

“Perhaps the life of your friend will!”

There was a profound silence. Then Olladdowa continued, but now his tone was more comfortable, as if he had control of the situation. “The kurn will remain, and, since you seem to know about them, you know that it cannot be removed without great care and by those that fixed it in place.”

Another pause. My guess is that Olladdowa was giving it time for his threat to sink in.

“The kurn will remain, but will do no harm to its vessel as long as the white stone remains here with us.”

Heavy footsteps crossed the room. Then I heard the door jerked open and quickly slammed shut. Negotiations seemed to be over — at least for now.

Our Solar System: Melladdin, the White Pearl

Melladdin, the White Pearl

A Fross soon after rising from one of Melladdin’s oceans

Mean Distance from Oma: 9,004 WA

Orbital Period around Oma: 429 years

Mean Diameter: 31,320 miles

Length of day: 17 hours

Gravity: 8.8 Ethems


Melladdin is the third of Oma’s Very Far Fekxtah. It is a world entirely shrouded by white and pink clouds. If you were to view this planet from space, it would gleam a soft white, as a white pearl might, and thus the name.

The cloud cover is many miles deep but does not extend all the way to the surface of Melladdin. Below the clouds is a world teeming with life. A huge variety of plants populate the world from its lowest depths up to and inside of the thick cloud layer. In addition to its plant life, Melladdin has millions of species of insects and an even larger number of sludge-like creatures that are made from a single cell, though there are instances of where cells have learned to attach themselves to each other to create populations of attached cells. The one life form that is noticeably absent is any kind of animal life or creatures such as we have here on Ethem.

The climate of Melladdin is perfectly suited to sustain the life it bears; it is hot and wet, hotter than the hottest of tropical environments here on our own Ethem, but not so hot that it prevented the Elzheni scientists from wandering the lands and oceans.

There are two factors which contribute to the heat of Melladdin. The first is the thick cloud cover. It ensures that the heat generated by the planet remains on the planet. The second factor is Melladdin’s ultra-hot core that radiates tremendous amounts of heat into the surrounding layers of the planet as well as its surface. The Gollanir scientists were unable to explain why Melladdin’s core was so unusually hot. When the Elzheni scientists tried to explore the Fekxtah to explain the anomaly, their efforts were immediately stopped by the Gollani. The Elzheni were highly suspicious of the Gollanir’s odd behavior; however, they did not pursue the endeavor as they wanted to ensure relations between the two civilizations remain healthy. There is, however, a story in the ancient texts that claim the Gollanir scientists knew the answer to this question, and did not want the Elzheni to discover their secret. There are rumors that the detailed story of this interaction (and a possible trip to the center of this planet) is contained one of the ancient books, but that this book was lost long ago. Current scholars are highly skeptical that the books is lost, but only our Heolas mayam colleagues know for certain.

As we have stated so many times before, there is not sufficient space in this tome to capture the complete picture of this Fekxtah and the vast variety of life that populates it. We will however, briefly describe below several of its most interesting life forms.

Interesting Life Form #1: The Fross

The Fross are enormous plants. They are the largest life form on Melladdin and one of the largest throughout all of Oma’s Family. Their roots begin at the bottoms of Melladdin’s oceans, where they attach themselves firmly to their rocky floors. From there they rise up through the waters, then through Melladdin’s atmosphere, and they finally pierce the layer of clouds that enclose the planet. The ancient texts claim that the Fross also found anchors for themselves in the cloud layer itself. It was unclear to the ancient Elzheni how they attained this seemingly impossible (unnatural?) feat; however, it was believed that there are Energetic anomalies that are a part of the cloud layer and that the tip of the Fross massive stem has an affinity with these “Energy Clouds”, with an ability to bond with them so that the Fross are attached there in the sky.

Fross grow quickly in the hot, wet atmosphere. Of course the distance that they grow, from ocean floor up to the sky, is so great that it takes several centuries before they are fully grown. Once a Fross reaches the clouds it may spend several years searching for, and attaching to, one of the Energy Clouds that can serve as their anchor point. The ancient texts say that one of the most beautiful sights on Melladdin is a Fross soon after it has broken the surface of the ocean. Once they stretch a few hundred yards above the ocean surface they “bloom”. This bloom takes the form of enormous flower-petals that extend up the length of the Fross thick stem and stretch out over the waters below. At this time they also display colorful, roughly round seeds that soon drop off into the water to be carried away by the currents and sink to the bottom of the ocean where they will begin again the process of anchoring and growing.

During their lifetime each Fross will serve as a home to millions of Melladdin’s insects and cellular life forms. There are insect burrowers that tunnel deep into the core of a Fross to make a home for themselves and their progeny, often resulting in long networks of tunnels. Other insects make their homes in the Fross lush leaves and others live on the rough exterior of the Fross where they build nests (see Empire of Drell below).

Interesting Life Form #2: Empire of Drell

Most of the most abundant and long-lived of the endless number of insect species on Melladrin are called the Drell. They are also the most aggressive and, so the ancient texts argued, were the dominant insect species on the planet. Each Drell has multiple pairs of fluttering wings, similar to those of dragonflies on our own world. They have large heads with multiple eyes and antennae, and they have a long segmented body comprising multiple hairy abdomen connected by a slim, black filament. The smallest are less than an inch long, but the largest of the Drell can grow to be several yards in length.

These creatures have an intricate social structure that includes an Emperor or Empress (thus the name “Empire of Drell”), a leadership caste, a soldier caste and a variety of castes that are born to perform very specific construction tasks such as those who build their massive nests and fortifications and hunters who constantly forage for food (usually other insects). There are even large groups who have the ability to link themselves together to perform specialized tasks such as transporting large, heavy objects or sustaining themselves underwater for long periods of time. These groups are most prominently displayed in the Drell’s warrior castes who can form vast flights to smother and kill their enemies, often at great cost to themselves.

There are tens of thousands of Drell communities, or Empires, on Melladdin. Each is led by its own Emperor or Empress (or sometimes both) and each has their own distinct customs and caste system, and the texts say their own language or some variant on the common Drell language. The many Empires, though, are very similar in their highly militant nature and their desire for conquest and the domination of other Drell Empires. Because of this there is constant fighting between and among these warring communities that has existed for countless years.

Interesting Life Form #3: The Bee Elzud

We cannot mention interesting life forms on Melladdin and not include the Bee Elzud. These plants are similar to the fungi of our world. They appear in different forms in different places and under different conditions. At times they are a lush, soft moss that covers large stretches of earth or even the hard stone that comprise much of the dry surface of this planet. At other times, they are soft stems protruding a few inches above their mossy floor, and then there are the magnificent, complicated, twisting filaments that weave their way several yards. Each soft tendril contorts itself around the others that surround it, and often around other plants or hills that stand in their way. Some of the chaotic structures created by the Bee Elzud have spanned hundreds of yards from the top of one hill to another prominence, and then spurs will reach out from these.

This abundant plant provides a home to many insects and to other plants, including flowering varieties that layer a cornucopia of color across the otherwise consistent tans and light brown of the Bee Elzud. Though their intricate structures are soft and light but are also surprisingly strong; able to withstand the fierce winds that frequently range across the largely flat surface of Melladdin. However, from time to time, powerful hurricane-like storms rage across the planet upending everything in their path. The Bee Elzud structures will succumb to these angry winds, but, over time, rebuild themselves to re-occupy the territory that they had once dominated.

Fekxtah Station #14 (Gollanir Outpost #1209):

The Gollanir scientists had many outposts on Melladdin. This included places on Melladdin’s surface, high in its cloud cover, and deep under its oceans. They shared many outposts with the Elzheni, though not all. They also gave the Elzheni several outposts to be used entirely on their own for their own purposes. The ancient texts claim only one of these as the Fekxtah Station for Melladdin. Some current scholars believe this showed the rigidity of Elzheni thinking — one and only one Station for each planet. Others believed that the Elzheni installed their Astronomical Transportation machinery in only one of these outposts and would travel to the others through more conventional (non-astronomical) methods.

Whatever the case may be, this station was large, covering dozen of acres with multiple buildings each connected to the others through a set of underground tunnels.

One of the tomes from the ancient texts that was written near the end of the Elzheni’s existence, referred to an Elzheni “colony” that had made their permanent home in this place on Melladdin and had lived their for several generations at the time of writing. Though this author trusts the integrity of the Elzheni who wrote the ancient texts, that is an unusual position. Most scholars consider this story to be nothing more than an apocryphal tale built on top of a host of other apocryphal tales. We hope that someday we may resolve this dispute with empirical evidence.