Tuesday, 3 November 2009
[Iburi System Part IV] Rumoi and the Thirteen Bodies
Rumoi is the third planet of the Iburi system, and its biggest in both size and population. Its surface is composed of one single great ocean, a vast savannah of blue, grey and black waves which is only broken by ice caps at the north and south poles.
However, the planet is not made up entirely of water - it has a rocky core and in places coral reefs and underwater mountain ranges come within a dozen or so yards of the surface. The majority of its inhabitants make their homes in such places.
Rumoi's population is incredibly diverse, as befits a vast ocean; from tritons to kraken to locathah, dozens of intelligent sea-dwelling races are present in its great depths. Its species are entirely disunited except in one respect - a propensity for the creation of cargo cults. Many wayfarers from space descend to the surface to trade, and religious movements which claim to be able to summon these outsiders proliferate. Often these cults envisage an elaborate cosmology in which the thirteen bodies which orbit Rumoi are Gods, who provide the wayfarers from the heavens with the technological gifts they possess.
The Thirteen Bodies are actual bodies, though nobody knows of what. They drift in an aimless orbit around Rumoi and appear as asteroids at a cursory glance. Close inspection however reveals vaguely humanoid, mammalian or insectoid shapes, as if each was once a living thing, long petrified into stone. All thirteen are inhabited and each is independent; they jostle with each other incessantly for dominance (sometimes in outright war). Their trade links extend throughout the system and even beyond its crystal sphere - they are the nerve centre of Iburi and its cultural and intellectual capital.
The Thirteen Bodies are named for what they most closely resemble (for example The Bear, The Man, The Child, The Locust) except for one, which is known as The Sleeper and which has the shape of some unknown beaked grotesque. Legend has it that one day The Sleeper will awaken, shed off its layers of stone, and devour the others.