Dying of the Light
The World itself has many names within different cultures but the general term for it comes from Old Thiffar. Tramath or ‘loam’ has been popularised through an old legend comparing the world with a mud brick and the sun ( Kawil) with a furnace set on baking it into permanency. In that story the dark eclipse is called Tharak, a demon of darkness who wants the earth soft and malleable for its own dark purposes and extinguishes the flames of the furnace. Although the religion and mythos behind that particular legend is now gone the names have remained.
Rather warmer than our own world the world of Tramath has similar orbital characteristics and a single moon. Two things stand out, though. The first one is the presence of a strange mineral nicknamed starmetal, with similar malleability characteristics to iron but other peculiar characteristics. Firstly starmetal seems to be abundant in the system Tramath is part of, with a group of starmetal asteroids crossing iti orbit every few hundred years, a phenomenon known as ‘The crying’. It is also present on the moon in significant quantities. Starmetal seems to resonate with the trained human psyche but also have detrimental ionizing health effects. It also resonates in a strange way with some, but strangely not all, forces. Slight shifts in gravity seem to have a significant effect on starmetal. Its effects seem to be magnified with greater quantities perhaps indicative of a force the metal exerts by itself.
The second strange characteristic of the world’s system is the presence of a large planet on an eccentric orbit that crosses in from of the sun every few hundred years. The eclipse lasts merely days, but it is enough to drop the temperatures to levels that have the oceans starting to freeze. The massive gravitational pull of the giant planet also triggers cataclysmic events all over the planet: Massive volcanic eruptions, giant tsunamis and asteroid bombardment. It also ‘powers up’ starmetal which starts to glow brightly and repel static particles like dust. The Dark does not last long but it is enough to kill most green vegetation and freeze all but the hardiest animals. Once the eclipse passes the temperature starts to rise again sharply but the volcanic dust in the atmosphere cause a massive dimming of the overall levels and plunges the land into a decades-long winter called the ‘Twilight’. The gravitational shifts of the Dark also have disastrous impacts on resonant people and supercharge starmetal. Worst of all they awaken dark things that usually slumber underground, who now roam the land drawn towards powerful mages and starmetal deposits.
The temperature gradually gets warmer and forests of bioluminescent fungi bloom, offering much needed nourishment to what few animals survive. The decades long twilight slowly abates and once temperatures are back to more or less normal a massive growth spurt of greenery called the ‘bloom’ starts. Plants take back the land and animals that survive breed like mad and attack weakened human bastions with reckless abandon. Then as the unspeakable things that lurk below return to their slumber, Humankind emerges from its hidey holes and the cycle starts again.