No one knows how this world came to be. Every culture has a different account of its creation, from a great cosmic dance to a single sculptor. However, I will endeavor to keep matters simple, and only discuss the world that all can agree was created.
In the Deru* language, it is called Uhezuote (/uhɛzə’otɛ/)**, a name which means “the great sky and land.” In this first post, we will discuss what exists in that “great sky.” If you stood anywhere on this planet and looked up, what would you see?
If you looked up during the day, you might not even realize you weren’t still on Earth. The sky would be just as blue as any Terran sky, the clouds just as fluffy and white. The sun would be just as yellow, though that big yellow ball in the sky would be called Zuepa (/zə’ɛpa/) instead.
If you looked up at the sky during the night, you would notice some differences. The first and most obvious would be the addition of a second moon. The larger of the two moons, Uzuope (/uzə’opɛ/), is roughly the size of Earth’s moon. The smaller moon, Izuope (/izə’opɛ/), is much smaller, only about ⅙ the mass of its twin. Many cultures use Uzuope to keep track of time. It orbits once around the planet every 27.3 days, meaning it makes 13.5 rotations each 370-day year. Izuope is less useful for time because its orbit is almost twice as long as Uzuope’s. However, the nights when it lines up with its larger cousin are venerated in some cultures.
Looking past the twin moons, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the planets, called zuipeni dahopemosi (/zəi’peɪni dahopɛ’mosi/) or “walking stars” by the Deru. There are only three that can be easily seen with the naked eye. The brightest is Zuigadhon (/zə’igaðon/), “the morning star”. The other visible planets are Tezuepatho (/tɛzəeɪ’paθo/), “the light-giving one,” and Zuishuuto (/zəiʃə’uto/), “the green star.” Together with the two moons and one sun, these six celestial objects are a sign of the harmony of the cosmos to the Deru, whose religion places heavy symbolic value on that number.
But what if you weren’t on land and looking up at the sky? What if you were somewhere out at sea and trying to navigate your way to shore? Well, you would look past the moons and planets and set your gaze toward the stars. Following the “unchanging star,” Zuidedesuo (/zəidɛdeɪ’suo/), will help orient yourself, as this star always points toward the north.
The brightest stars in the night sky (in the northern hemisphere) are:
- Suderenu (/sədɛ’ɾɛnu/) in the constellation “The Songbird”
- Izuegonuo (/izəɛgo’nuo/) in the constellation “The Warrior”
- Irufemu (/iɾu’fɛmu/) in the constellation “The Dancer”
- Dikabedu (/dika’beɪdu/) in the constellation “The Wolf”
- Lizhuerenu (/liʒueɪ’ɾenu/) in the constellation “The Whale”
The brightest of these stars, Suderenu, is 2 orders of magnitude (6.3 times) brighter than Sirius, the brightest star in the Terran sky. This makes it about as bright as Jupiter or Mars at their brightest. Irufemu is the closest star to Zuope.
Now that you are well acquainted with the sky above the planet, it is time to turn our gaze downward. What kind of world is Uhezuote? In the next installment, we will learn more about the geography of this world and what you can expect to find on your journeys.
*The term Deru (/’dɛɾu/) refers to the people, culture, and language of Deralan (/’dɛɾalan/), the nation which is the focus of Birth by Flame. Any proper names or general terms will be discussed using the Deru terminology. Other languages will be used where appropriate, (i.e. when discussing a specific culture other than Deru.)
**All terms will be followed by its pronunciation as described using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). This is intended to help those not well-versed in the languages of Uhezuote to better pronounce them.