This is a post that provides information about the world called Elonth that my characters exist in.
Landfall (Chapter 1)
Elonth is an Earth-like planet. ~65% of surface is water, ~15% is ice.
Elonth’s years and days are the same length as Earth’s. Its axial tilt is similar.
Dragons and humans are both of the sentient species that live on the planet. ~1.96% of world population are dragons and ~98.04% are humans. Human territory is ~85% of land area, and dragon territory is ~15% of land area.
The world’s civilisations are in the Information Age, but slightly more advanced than Earth’s because magic is a part of normal life. The calendar similar to Earth’s.
While there are many different dragon and human languages, Imaadish is used as a standard international language, just as English is on Earth.
Human nations are usually referred to as countries.
Humans on Elonth are mostly the same as humans on Earth, with many of the same “Eras”. The major difference about Elonth humans is that they have a rare chance to be born with magical abilities.
They far outnumber the dragons. Global population is about 6 billion.
There are many countries, mostly ruled by governments and democratically elected presidents – but, just like in the real world, there are still some ruled by royalty or otherwise.
Dragon nations are usually referred to as states.
Dragons are far less numerous than the humans. Global population is around 120 million.
The dragons on Elonth all have common traits (4 legs, 2 wings, 1 tail, 1 head, scales), but their appearance (colour, horns, spines, tail shape, etc.) can vary greatly. Their right “hand” and left “hand” are usually dubbed the iusani and relani respectively.
Females are usually a little smaller than males and have more delicate or pointed facial features. They also do not have prominent spikes along their back, if any.
Their bodies can function mostly on pure energy. They store energy in a shiridite crystal that grows in the right side of their chest. This crystal grows as they do. The energy from their crystal is distributed to the rest of their body via shiridite particles found in their blood. Shiridite can also be found in their horns and back-spikes. However, they do still hunger, will not grow if they do not eat. Furthermore, they can die of complications if they go more than a few weeks without eating anything.
Due to the fact that breathing is a process required to get energy from food, and dragons do not use food as their primary energy source, dragons have an underdeveloped respiratory system. However, they do have a second pair of lung-like organs that are called pulmon. Pulmon can store flammable gasses that are created as byproducts of digestion. Most dragons around the age of 10 learn intuitively how to expel this gas from their mouths and set it on fire with their magic, but it takes a lot of energy and practice to keep a sustained flame. With some practice, dragons can even inhale gasses to store in their pulmon, though this could harm them depending on the gas.
A benefit of being adapted to survive off pure energy is that their cells’ mitochondria need not be very active. This means that overheating in their later years of life is not too much of a concern. However, when they are young they may need to consume extra energy to heat themselves. Hatchlings especially need to be provided with external heat.
The worldwide average life expectancy of a dragon is 350, with a standard deviation of 75 years. They reach sexual maturity at age 50 and mates will generally raise only one clutch of 1-4 (usually 2) eggs in their life between ages 100 and 250.
Dragons never completely stop growing but do slow down as they age. Hatchlings tend to be around 0.3m tall (dragon height is measured at the shoulder) upon emerging from the egg. They will be as tall as an adult human at around 100 years old.
Most modern-era dragon states have a handful of settlements. Traditionally these are each ruled by the older, wiser, dragons in the state but some have moved towards a more modern democracy. The settlements, and the area they have claimed, are normally regarded as independent by human governments.
Clothing in dragon society is not a social necessity, but more of a display of rank, social status, sentimentality or practicality.
Interactions between dragons and humans
The interactions between dragons and humans can vary greatly, both on an individual and national level.
In ancient times, dragons used to be nomadic and travelled either in small groups or by themselves. Archeological digs have confirmed that these dragons grew to be significantly larger than dragons – this is accredited to a greater availability of food. They did not care particularly much about humans – holding them in little more regard than other large animals: potential food. The dragons did not have much need for tools or experimentation – their natural abilities being enough for them to survive as apex predators.
As human tools and knowledge became more advanced, particularly towards the late classical era and early middle ages, they became more of a threat to dragons. Many dragons realised that it was not worth the danger of living near areas that were highly populated by humans. Humans saw safety in numbers, and their larger settlements tended to grow rapidly. Thus, human and dragon territories began to form.
A major contributor to the locations of these territories is the environment. Dragons tended towards areas with lots of ambient energy (e.g. volcanoes, deserts, large rivers/waterfalls, stormy/windy areas). Whereas humans chose to settle in places with more phyiscal resources – food and building materials.
Eventually, dragons in some territories began to form settlements of their own. Seeing the successes that humans had made, they began their own experiments with the crafts and sciences. There was long-lasting animosity between humans and dragons but, in most parts of the world, this was eventually overcome.
A human who values their personal safety and well-being will treat dragons with respect and caution.
Depending on the circumstances, however, dragons and humans in an area could be accustomed to seeing each other and be comfortable with interacting with one another in less formal ways. Individuals can become great friends if they overcome cultural differences. There have even been instances where a dragon and human decided to live with each other (sometimes even instead of having spouses of the same species, even though inter-species breeding is impossible).
On the other hand, there are dragons who see humans as lesser beings – mere pests, some even thinking that humans should be exterminated and the planet should belong to the dragons. There are also humans who think that dragons are a threat to humanity and that they should be wiped out, or forced to serve humans.
Dragon states tend to have a particular “personality”, similar to human countries but more pronounced.
Just as with interactions between nations of the same species, interactions between dragon states and human countries can be greatly varied, depending on the leaders, citizens, history between the country and state, etc.
Throughout history there have been various diplomatic statuses between states and countries.
Below are a number of diplomatic relationships as examples, but are not the only ones possible.
- Dragon settlements willingly integrated into a human country (often elders are given roles in parliament) (highest dragon population in a human-ruled country: 5.3%)
- Dragon states allowing humans to live amongst them. The states often have good relations with neighbouring countries. (highest human population in dragon-ruled state: 57%)
- Dragon states having alliances with countries. Trade, research, magic training, etc. agreements can often be made. It is not unheard of for countries to declare war on other countries merely to win the favour of a state – whether reclaiming stolen territory, freeing enslaved brethren, eliminating hostiles or otherwise.
- States at peace with countries. Individuals may interact with each other of their own accord.
- States in tense peace with countries. Individuals tend to avoid the other species.
- States in Cold War with countries. Skirmishes tend to occur, but war has not openly been declared.
- States at war with countries. One party could be trying to claim more land/resources or get revenge for past grievances.
- States annexed/destroyed by countries. The result of wars where “quantity” beats “quality”. Dragons of a state forced to serve a human country. Dragon population is usually culled, as it is hard for humans to keep control of many dragons. Individual dragons will be kept under close guard at all times, sometimes kept in low-power environments (e.g. underground facilities or isolated compounds with minimal sunlight and wind) so they cannot gain much energy. Sometimes a whole state is exterminated – but often the humans want to perform research on the dragons or force them to serve the country.
- Countries destroyed by states.The result of wars where “quality” beats “quantity”. Depending on the ethics and ideologies of the dragon state, they could let human civilians go free, enslave humans or even kill every human in sight. Typically, the state will subsequently claim a larger area than normal. Will usually not allow humans to settle the area again for many decades, but can sometimes allow allied countries to settle – if the state has any human allies.
Donjon SciFi World Generator was used for this project.
Magic is the use of the mind to manipulate reality through the use of energy. Matter, being highly concentrated points of energy, is able to be manipulated – but not feasibly created – by magic.
There is a distinct form of energy – like electricity, fire, electromagnetic radiation – that is called magic. This is what Shiridan crystals store, and what shiridite compounds can conduct. When a being uses magic, they can either draw on the pure magic energy that is stored in crystals, or convert other energies into magic energy. The other energies can be from the environment, from their bodies or from other sources.
A user’s mental discipline, robustness and skill determine the extent of their abilities. Their physical fitness determines how much energy they can store in themselves for use by magic. Living beings are essentially biological batteries: energy can be taken from their bodies for magic and they need to recover after this. Excessive draining can be fatal. In the case of dragons, the size of their shiridite crystals also affects the energy they have at their disposal.
There is a special type of crystal that can store vast amounts of energy. This crystal is valuable to both humans and dragons. It is most commonly called shiridan crystal or shiridite.
Many abilities requiring better control of energy (such as reshaping items, drawing energy from more challenging sources, condensing energy into electricity) can be learned. Telepathy comes more intuitively to dragons than would be expected, given the complex and lightning-fast movements of electricity in living being’s brains, but training is required to do anything more than sense the presence of others’ minds. Human mages can also gain the skill without extraordinary effort. Even normal humans can be taught to defend their minds against mental attacks, but it is harder for them to grasp. Research suggests that the magical conductivity of the dragons’ horns, and even spikes, may contribute to how they find telepathy easier to accomplish.
There are also advanced capabilities that would normally require inhuman (or indragon) levels of skill to use effectively. Some individuals can have an innate capacity for one advanced ability. Some examples of these advanced abilities are illusions, teleportation, transmutation of matter and mind control.
Modern science is able to determine if a human baby has magic potential after it is 16-18 months old (only humans bother to check, since dragons know for certain that their hatchlings will have magic). All attempts to artificially recreate or induce magic ability have failed. Scientists think that magic capability might be marginally affected by inherited genetics, but it appears to be random for the most part.
In this magic-filled world, mental protections – and the safety of one’s spell, crystals, etc. – is just as, if not more, important as cyber security.
Shiridite is a material that interacts in remarkable ways with energy. When formed into crystals, it is called Shiridan – a hard and brittle material with a very reflective surface. Shiridan crystals can store large amounts of energy. Composites containing Shiridite are often very conductive of magical energy.
However, the crystals don’t create energy. Someone or something needs to fill them with energy. With skill, one can place “shaped energy” in crystals, which is usually called an enchantment.
Shiridite can be mined naturally, but large gems are rare. Shiridan crystals can also be found is in the chests of dragons or extracted from their horns, spikes and blood. This has caused shiridite to have a rather bloody history.
The colour of pure shiridite is clear, but certain crystal structures and impurities can change the colour.
Modern scientists have been able to create high-quality artificial shiridite, but – due to a very successful marketing scheme by a company which once had an international monopoly on shiridite – natural shiridite is still considered more valuable by the general public. There have been a number of experiments attempting to make machines capable of manipulating magic, but this has been met with limited success.
Ecosystems with magic-feeding creatures contain more shiridite. The magic creatures tend to have shiridite-rich blood.
Human magic use
Most don’t have any magical abilities, but about 1 in 10 000 is born with basic energy manipulation abilities, which can be improved via practice. Even rarer (1 in 1 million) is a human with an advanced ability.
Human magic users still need to eat food to survive and regain energy, but – with training – they can learn to draw in energy from the surroundings or pre-filled shiridan crystals and survive a few days longer than normal without food.
Human mages often carry energy-filled Shiridan crystals to be able to perform more potent magical feats.
Dragon magic use
Every dragon has an innate ability for energy manipulation. About 1 in every 1 000 dragons hatches with an advanced ability, but the advanced ability might not show itself until decades into their life. Dragons older than ~10 can also breathe fire, but it takes a lot of energy and practice to keep a sustained flame. Skilled mages can conjure lightning or freeze the moisture in the air, and they often make the origin point right in front of their mouths because that feels natural.
A dragon can survive for 2-3 weeks without food, as they are able to draw in ambient energy from their surroundings without much training. With a bit of practice, they can also draw energy from specific targets.
Dragons hatch with “seed” Shiridan crystals in the right side of their chests (opposite their hearts), upon which their body naturally deposits more Shiridite as they age. To purposely increase the size of their crystals, dragons can eat food with added traces of Shiridite. However, doing this too much can result in medical issues.
Dragons’ bodies are better at storing energy for magic use than humans’. Aside from merely being bigger, their bodies have naturally adapted to store greater quantities of energy and be capable of releasing it much faster if needed. This is done through a number of bodily functions, depending on what form of energy the dragon is stockpiling. If the dragon has been eating a lot of food, their body will tend to store the excess energy in the form of fats. If a dragon is absorbing pure energy, it is usually stored in their Shiridan crystal.
Dragons have a unique survival mechanism that, if their body’s energy is critically low, they will automatically enter a comatose state while subconsciously absorbing any ambient energy that they can. This keeps them alive until they have gained enough energy to awaken, starve to death (if they are unfortunate enough to be in an environment with less ambient energy than their comatose bodies need) or if they are killed. They can remain in this state for long periods of time.
Dragons are not the only creatures with an ability to manipulate or survive off energy, but they are the only fully sentient ones. There a number of other ‘magical’ creatures, most non-sentient and some semi-sentient. They are usually found in and around dragon states, as – just like the dragons – they were drawn to those areas by high ambient energy. Often more dangerous than normal wildlife, these creatures are also less common and longer lived than mundane wildlife – just as dragons are to humans.
The state of Tumenzar has had a long and proud history. Their magicians have long worked to master magic. Their scholars have recorded the rise and fall of empires. Their craftsdragons have made countless technological breakthroughs.
Tumenzar is at peace with all nearby countries. For much of the state’s history, nearby human nations have competed for access to and the favour of the Tumenzar. Human leaders treat the Tumenzarians with great respect for fear of falling out of favour with them.
Current permanent population in Tumenzar is 920 152 (63%) dragons and 540 407 (37%) humans.
There are three major cities in the state. While each city has many dragons skilled different professions, each one has a tradition of its grandmasters focusing on a category of skills. The Elder and title of each city reflect this. Each elder governs their city and the primary education institute of that city. They do not handle all the minutiae of management that their roles might imply, but rather act as overseers, available for consultation by the heads of departments. State-wide decisions are made by majority vote amongst the three elders.
Traditionally the elder of each city would bequeath their shiridan crystal to their chosen successor. In modern days the elder of each city is democratically elected, but almost all elders still honour the tradition and bequeath their crystal to the state upon death. The crystals are set in finely-crafted metal and the newest one is worn by the current elder while the rest are kept below a portrait of their original owner in The Whispering Gallery of that city and rarely disturbed. Each settlement holds an underground Great Archive, amongst other impressive structures.
Tumenoord, the City of Mages, lies around the great waterfalls in the Northeast of Tumenzar territory. There is a lot of verticality in this city since it is situated at the edge of the mountains.
The famed Mage College of Tumenoord is right beside the waterfall, the ambient energy of the thundering waters being harnessed by student and masters alike. The city’s current Elder is Irikshan the Illusionist. He was trained by the famous mind mage, Rumaga herself.
Tumensuid, the City of Craftsdragons, is situated around where the Tumen river merges into Lake Ihora. This city is both wide and tall – its tall spires and skyscrapers visible from great distances across the plains.
Master Technician Ruk, the dragoness who spearheaded efforts to bring clean electricity to Tumenzar amongst other great projects, is Tumensuid’s Elder.
Tumenoos, the City of Scholars, is situated in the foothills of the Ebonheart mountains to the east of Tumenzar. Tumenoos is very wide: spread across multiple valleys with tunnels underneath the larger hills.
Grandscholar Tronesk, Elder of Tumenoos, has a particularly good reputation amongst humans and other dragon states. At age 263, he left home and travelled the world for over 50 years, spending time at various human and dragon educational institutes – improving and aiding them to the best of his abilities, leaving only once he thought the job was done. Soon after he returned to Tumenoos, he was elected to be their Elder.
On top of this, there is a small human tourism settlement dubbed Tumentown by the humans. It contains the only airport in the state and acts as the tourism hub, with tourists travelling to see the other cities from Tumentown. While mostly populated by humans, it is still controlled by the dragons.
Natural energy sources are abundant across the state: sun, wind and the water. They are harnessed both for usage by the dragons, mages and to provide electricity to Tumenzar’s cities. Fossil fuel usage is kept to an absolute minimum.
Tumenoord Mage College
The mage college in Tumenoord is properly known as the Raifal Mage College. The college is built on the cliffsides beside a great thundering waterfall. Here students are trained in the discipline, focus and skills needed to perform magic.
The grade structure in the college is a different to most other educational institutions, due to the fact that magic is more of an art form than a subject one can write exams on. Members are divided into ranks according to skill. Each member wears a scarf to indicate their skill. The colour of the scarf indicates what rank they have achieved (in ascending order, the colours are as follows: white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, red, black), and the stripes on the ends of their scarves indicate how many rank-up challenges they have passed. White requires 3 stripes before a mage can move to yellow rank, and each one after requires an additional stripe to the one before to move to the next colour. The college logo, a stylised waterfall tumbling into the mists created by its own thunderous impact upon the water below, is also emblazoned upon the ends of their scarves.
Students can easily change which classes they attend and find mentors to train them in specific skills. To perform a rank up test, one needs to book a slot with the department who they wish to be tested by. The department will assign them a master who will assess their abilities in this category of magic. The difficulty of these tests depends on their current rank. Students with advanced abilities are to approach the current elder of the college if they wish to test these skills, who will then assign them to a head of department or handle them himself. With this system, students can advance while focusing on the categories of magic they want: whether elemental, healing, telepathy, countermagic, enchantments or other types.
Diplomacy, education and citizenship
For the most part, the Tumenzar stay out of human politics, monitoring events without interfering unless they deem it absolutely necessary.
They make certain that their state benefits from training, trade and research agreements with countries, using their reputation to their advantage – as they know that most countries would rather bend over backwards than lose an agreement with the Tumenzar. However, this is not to the point of extortion – but rather to make certain that countries do not take advantage of the state. In fact the payment that the dragons of Tumenzar demand from individuals seeking education is always reasonable for the given individual’s resources. Students are often encouraged to stay and contribute to the state – being paid salaries for their work or further research.
Given the state’s fame, only the very best and most promising international students (human and dragon alike) are accepted to Tumenzarian universities and colleges. Citizens of Tumenzar are not certain to get into the greatest universities or degrees, but Tumenzarian dragons (unfortunately, not the human citizens) are still guaranteed to be able to get a tertiary education within the state if they so wish.
Additionally, it is very hard for foreigners to gain visas for living in Tumenzar. Tourism visas are significantly easier to get, but still high in demand. They need to have significant knowledge or potential to contribute to the state. Re-issue of visas (and the duration of re-issued visas) is based on individual’s past and current contributions. Humans need a combined total of 50 years legally living in the state for them and their immediate family to be considered as citizens (a human’s direct descendants or spouse inherits any years a deceased family member might have accumulated). Dragons need a total of 75 years (this number is decreased for older dragons with known accomplishments). Once an individual has earned citizen status, their spouse and all descendents are considered citizens.
Citizenship is far easier to keep than earn. Citizenship is stripped if citizens commit any more than a few minor crimes. If a citizen spends less than 15 years living in Tumenzar, their grandchildren will no longer be considered citizens unless their children spend 15 years living in Tumenzar.