The History of Altarus
The White Star Rain
Following the zenith of Chrysolon, the white dwarf's, passing came what historians
call the White Star Rain. Huge chunks of meteorites some say were pieces of the star itself rained down on the
planet, heralding almost magical properties that changed the face of Altarus. Global changes to the flora
and fauna which were brought about by the drier, hotter climate were accellerated by the radioactive particle fallout
streaming from the white-hot star. And these changes didn't stop there. Many races and whole civilizations
were changed forever by the Rain in ways that never could have been predicted.
The Axis of Chuuron and Chrysolos
The close passing of a white-hot companion star, dubbed Chrysolos, nearly
eight millenia ago brought about monumental environmental changes to what was once the lush, tropical world
of Altarus. Innundated by the heat of two suns for nearly 1500 years, Altarus emerged from the stellar encounter as
an altogether different world. Such upheaval was not without its cost on the social, political and religious institutions
of the peoples of Altarus either. Stripped from the orbit around its orange sun Chuuron, Altarus has been heading into
the depths of space, growing darker each passing day...
A World Growing Colder
The first few months after the Zenith occured, the learned among
the nations of Altarus noticed changes that were only later to be recognized for what they truly were. Inhabitants
of Altarus noticed that the length of a day was changing when time pieces no longer kept accurate track of the measure
of a day. Calculations of the heavens and the length of the Altaran year had begun to change gradually, and
the growing seasons on both continents shortened. Within a generation, even the least observant individuals
noticed permanent changes, as the pattern of long winters followed by brief summers only worsened. Where there
was still rain, it grew dryer; where it was very hot, it grew cooler. And, because the world
is now illuminated by two suns - often blurring the boundaries between night and day - the ecosystem struggles to adjust
to the changes.
Before a century had passed, the levels of the huge oceans shrank while
glaciers - where none had been - formed. Altarus' massive atmosphere and geological activity have acted in concert
to mitigate the climatic change somewhat, yet in a world seemingly tumbling each day further and further from the
sun it's known for billions of years, the future of it's inhabitants remains uncertain.
The Geography of Altarus
Altarus: An Overview
Altarus is the fifth in a solar system of 12 planets, but its size and mass
make it the largest among terrestrial worlds. Roughly four times the circumference of our world, its massive, multi-layer liquid
iron core and deep, broad oceans ensure the planet remains tectonically active. Additionally, volcanism has helped ensure
that Altarus' atmosphere remains viable even as it's orbit finds it moving deeper into space.
Comprised of two large, pangea-like continents connected along the planet's
equator, the remainder of Altarus' surface is covered by a uniform body of water at places 40,000 feet deep. This current
positioning of the continents has altered the global climate which has varied greatly over its six billion year history.
This positioning of the land masses made Altarus conducive to a wet, tropical climate with narrow bands of desert or grassland.
Yet the movement of the world beyond its natural orbit has caused irrevocable climate changes; in fact, the only reason the
planet isn't covered in a complete layer of ice is due to the increased volcanic activity, the latter of which was spurred
by the close passing of its sun's stellar companion.
The Sea of Glass
What is now called the Desert Wastes of Khalli was once a thriving tropical
habitat, home to hundreds of tribal nations and a virtually infinite variety of flora and fauna. In the center of this
three thousand mile jungle peninsula amidst the mountains of Juba'alee lay the Cha'akt Empire. If reports of travelers
and historians are to be believed, the city of Cha'akt'tka Tu'kon was larger than any city that ever existed on Altarus,
well over three million inhabitants not including residents in the surrounding villages.
Coincidentally, the peak of the Cha'akt Empire occured just prior to the
axis of Chuuron and Chrysolon. Stressed by the megalopolis' over-population and now by the extreme environmental changes
slowly taking place as the inevitable result of the white star's passing, the ecosystem had collapsed. Desertification
wracked the land, and the vast agricultural system came to a halt. Hundreds of thousands of people died from civil war
and famine, and the political and social upheaval was enormous.
In an effort to appease what Cha'akt priests called the appearance of the
god Thu'wact Aku, magicians and priests alike performed a desperate ritual whose details are now unknown. It is said
that during the culmination of their ceremony, which included the day and night simultaneous sacrifice of thousands of humans,
the worst of the White Star Rain fell. A fiery piece of the star the size of a mountain plummeted from the sky, and
in an instant the land ringed by the Juba'alee Mountains was encased in fire that literally melted the sand. The great
imperial city of Cha'akt'tka Tu'kon was engulfed in the boiling sands and encased in a sea of obsidian-like glass.