Tales of Anmar Universe

Tales of Anmar - Universe


Universe rules

This universe is available for any author to write stories in it, subject to agreement with the original author, Penny Lane. The universe may be regarded as semi-open, in that stories may be set anywhere, at any time, and do not have to be TG, (or even set on Anmar!) but any story should conform to the known facts about the universe as detailed below and in the original story Somewhere Else Entirely.

This universe, like every part of the multiverse, is continually evolving. This document will be updated as and when further information on the universe comes to light.

The arena of action

The action takes place on the world called Anmar. It revolves round a sun very like that of Earth's but has three moons. Tiede is a small rock which orbits three times a day. Annis is bigger and orbits in a week - which is why an Anmar week is seven days. Kalikan is the largest moon, about the same size and distance as Earth's Moon, and goes round in thirty-one days, which is defined as a month.

The year is three hundred ninety-one days, each of which is composed of twenty 'bells' that last approximately seventy-five Earth minutes. Since the months are always thirty-one days, the months can overlap the year end, which always occurs at the midwinter solstice. Various extra days are interspersed between the months to ensure the months match Kalikan's orbital cycle.

Kalikan has another significance to women, and that is that their menstrual cycles exactly follow the moon's orbit. This means that every woman knows which day her period will begin, because it will be the same day every month.

Geography

Like Earth, Anmar is a watery planet with a number (unspecified) of large continents and the usual random sprinkling of island groups and chains. The main action takes place on the continent of Alaesia, a large land mass that straddles the equator. To the south of the equator on the east coast is a massive mountain range called the Palumaks, getting higher and wider the further south one travels.

Cutting through the northern edge of this mountain block from south-west to north-east is a giant rift valley in which the river Sirrel is constrained. This is known as the Great Valley and empties out into the Shan Ocean to the east. The geological action of the river has created a number of connected city-states and small countries along the length of the rift. Most share a common language and have similar customs, although their methods of governance may vary greatly. Some of them may have additional wealth through access to side valleys leading to mineral deposits, etc.

(There are maps available of the Great Valley and nearby regions.)

Measures

The standard measure of length is the Stride, which is about a meter or so long. It is divided into three Feet, each of ten Thumbs. Twenty strides make a Cast, and fifty Casts (or a thousand Strides) make a Mark, which can be assumed to be almost the same distance as a kilometer.

There is little information available on other weights and measures, but Garia has introduced the Ton, which is the weight of a cubic Stride of rainwater and thus about equal to the metric Tonne.

Level of development

The level of development is about that of sixteenth to seventeenth century Earth, with one important exception: they have no knowledge of firearms or gunpowder. People customarily carry swords and daggers, while lawful militias and armsmen for nobles will have spears, lances and plate or chain mail. Until Garia arrives on Anmar there is no knowledge either of Paper, Printing, Steam power or Electricity.

Non-human life

The animals are a curious mixture. Some are four-limbed and apparently have evolved from recognizable Earth species. Some look as though they might be dinosaur relics. Others have six limbs and might be native to Anmar. A similar confusion of species exists in the local rivers and seas. The local insects have eight legs, as do the local spiders.

Although the local wildlife is noted to have finger and/or toe nails or claws, the presence of horns or similar protrusions has not been verified. The word 'horn' is not known in the local language.

The bird analogs are called avians and have six limbs, the center pair of which are adapted into bat-like wings. They are covered with tiny iridescent scales similar to Earth butterflies and moths. Because of this fact, there are no feathers or feather-related items (such as quills) on Anmar. Avians can be all sizes from humming-bird dimensions to monsters thirty feet in length.

There are also other flying creatures descended from dinosaur-type flying pterosaurs. The largest of these may be grakh, which can reach the size of a small frayen with wingspans of 20 feet or more. Thier primary diet is fish but in stormy seasons they will abandon the oceans they usually inhabit and can take any other prey including humans.

Information about species which exist on other land masses is as yet unknown.

Religion and Magic

There are no religions or anything similar. Magic is considered impossible. There are no gods except for an acknowledgment that something must have created the Universe: this being (if that is what it is) they call the Maker. Most references to the Maker are low key and only occur at the quarterly festivals and at marriages and funerals. In the Valley, funerals are usually cremation on open pyres, at which the mourners wear gray.

Names

Most people in the Valley only use a single name, although they may be given more than one at birth to fully identify them. All names begin with a consonant with rare exceptions: some of the states in the south-western end may begin names with vowels, but this will be very unusual. There are rules for name endings, which relate to the way the local language works, but these can be obscure. Certain of these endings will be more common for nobility, for example, and others are more common in the upper reaches of the Sirrel.

Alphabet

The alphabet in use is not described in any detail. It is said to have thirty-three letters including more vowels than English. Speculation leads us to believe it may be similar to something like Georgian, in fact Georgian glyphs are used on maps of parts of Anmar for artistic purposes. The letter C should not be used when creating names, a K or S should be used instead. (C may be used for a CH sound as in 'church'.) Similarly, to avoid confusion the letter G should always have the hard sound as in 'girl', never the soft sound as in 'gender' (use J instead).

Trade

Trade is carried out throughout the Great Valley and far to the north, south and west. Silk comes from the south, while rare woods and spices come from the equatorial jungles to the north. There are at least two chains of islands in the Shan Ocean to the east from which certain spices are sourced. Trade goods are carried by river barges, coastal ships or caravans of wagons pulled by draft-beasts called dranakh, which are remotely related to the Earth species hippopotamus, but have other attributes and abilities.

Communications

A more or less ad hoc mail system operates around most of Alaesia, usually between the various rulers and carried by regular traders. Within the Great Valley itself this has been codified into the Valley Messenger Service, the staff of which enjoy almost 'diplomatic' privileges.

Other parts of Alaesia

On the east coast of Alaesia to the south of the Palumak mountain range is a small nation of Norsemen, called Einnland. These were originally settlers from Scandinavia to Vinland who never arrived there but ended up on Anmar instead. Their lands are isolated from the other communities on Alaesia by mountains, marshes and "desolate wastes" but there is occasional trade and mail exchange with nearby lands.

On the west coast at about the same latitude is a group of communities called the Six Cities. It is thought that these are the descendants of peoples who once lived in Central America, such as Mayans. These people live by agriculture and fishing and have a strict code of conduct. Because this region is so harsh many of their young men seek fame and fortune in the east, up to 5,000 marks (3,200 miles) away.

Off the west coast is an island group, very near the equator, where the Kittrin Empire is based. These people look like black Japanese. Their lands are metal-poor so they are experts in ceramics, some of which are traded to the east. Kittrin coins (of hard ceramic) have even made it into the Great Valley. Some hardy members of this race are also occasionally seen in the Great Valley.

The people of the Six Cities are harassed by "raiders from the sea". Since the Kittrins are to the north, and have a minimal trading relationship with the Six Cities, it is thought that these raiders must come from further south on the west coast. Little information about their origins is presently available.

The wider picture

The Vast, Multidimensional Beings (VMBs) originate from many different species that have evolved over the aeons throughout the galaxy. Since the whole universe is multidimensional, all species are therefore multidimensional also, but most cannot perceive more than the classic dimensions of space and time. The VMBs refer to these as 'Solids'. Very occasionally a Solid will develop beyond others of its own species and become aware of the other dimensions; this is referred to as Emerging and may be likened to the emergence of a mature insect from a chrysalis. Every single VMB is an Emerged being and these will enjoy an extended life of many thousands or even perhaps millions of years before ceasing to exist.

The VMBs can generate projections into the future by using multidimensional machinery that makes calculations using the exact mass, speed and direction of every single particle in the galaxy. Lesser projections can be made on a subset of this data such that the futures of an individual, or a small number of individuals, can be followed for a short time but only in a statistical sense.

The VMBs have discovered that the galaxy will be under threat in the future and their projections have concluded that all life within it is doomed unless some kind of positive action is taken. Therefore they have developed a plan and it is that which drives their activities.

All worlds are continually inspected for the existence of life and if anything significant should arise then a small number of VMB monitors will be assigned to 'curate' that world. These monitors are overseen by a regional and then a galactic structure which attempts to co-ordinate desired actions. So as not to give Solids an inferiority complex, no-one is supposed to know the VMBs exist or that they may be manipulating things. They do not consider themselves to be gods.

'Management' is perhaps too strong a word. They try not to interfere except when it is to the benefit of their plan, and part of that plan is to improve the general level of civilization throughout the galaxy. One of the ways they do this is by transferring plants, animals, artifacts and people - human and otherwise - between the worlds. This is done in a way that is entirely concealed (usually) from parties on both worlds involved.

The Transfer Process

No actual physical transfer is involved. This is because the transfer of physical material, even sub-atomic particles, would involve such stupendous quantities of energy that whole stars would need to be consumed even to transfer small objects. Instead a matrix describing all non-living things down to sub-atomic particles is used together with replicators to create duplicates on the target world.

Unfortunately there is a distinction between living and non-living things. This is the 'life thread' which defines each individual life and which all living beings therefore possess. It contains a complete record of their existence from conception and continually grows until the being ceases to live. It does not occupy any of the classic dimensions of four-dimensional space but exists elsewhere in the multidimensional universe.

For this reason living things can't go through replicators, so new 'clone' bodies must be grown and then the life threads which contain the memories and instincts of the originals are attached to the clone bodies. These are grown in 'other dimensions' such that an adult human can be grown in as few as ten to twelve subjective days. Only the description of the original DNA is used as source material. It seems that for various reasons associated with quantum fluctuations this process goes wrong very occasionally; this may mean gender differences, or even more rarely, body differences.

Original candidates for transfer are usually selected from persons who are at the point of death and are judged to have some useful abilities which may be valuable at the destination. Very occasionally such candidates may not actually die at or after the transfer moment but survive for some period of time afterwards; since their life thread has now become attached to the clone this may cause problems later.

Every transfer must happen for a reason which seems sufficient to the VMBs. This might be for a particular talent, some knowledge or ability or very occasionally to transfer a plant, creature or an artifact. Their apparent objective, remember, is to improve civilization. Managing and performing such transfers will be a complex, energy-intensive process and so they wouldn't want to make them unnecessarily.

In order to ensure that the clones accept the imported memories their brain structures are improved over whatever the original possessed. The memory 'impressing' has a consequence: when the clone awakes, it takes time for the memories to properly assimilate and so for the first five to ten days the clone will have no idea who or where they are. Clones will, however, be given a basic knowledge of one or more languages local to wherever they may end up. The impressing process also means that the transferee will have no clear idea of exactly where and when they 'departed' from Earth.

The transfer guidelines are that anything the transferee is wearing or carrying will be replicated and made available to the clone. This is to ensure that the clone does not appear naked, if that should be a concern at the destination. As far as the clone is concerned he or she will just have woken up... somewhere else entirely. Of course, they will be unaware that they are a clone.

Transfer of plants is an uncertain process as most begin as seeds and these are complex to make clones from because their life thread is indistinct. Therefore, few if any plant species are transferred unless their presence is absolutely essential to the project at hand. The transferred animals and people usually adapt easily to the native vegetation on their target world so few vegetable transfers are actually necessary.