Saturday, 7 November 2009

[Iburi System, Part VI] Muroran, the Haunted Night

Muroran is many millions of miles beyond Utashinai, separated by a stretch of space known as the Wilderness. It is so far from Iburi that light from the Primary, by the time it arrives, is dim and faint, attenuated by distance; the brightest illumination Muroran ever experiences is a crepuscular noon akin to a twilight. Because it is made entirely from elemental air, this gives Muroran the character of a ghost - dark, ethereal, near-invisible - and indeed it is often called The Haunted Night by the wayfarers who know of it. Its vast airy wastes are swept by storms and shrouded by cloud and fog.

There are many legends about Muroran; it is so poorly known that myths and rumours seem to rise up from its murky depths as if under their own volition. Many of these surround its supposed inhabitants (giant winged spiders, flying kraken, intelligent moths), but the most persistent speak of small islands of rock which float through the night and which could be mined for gold and silver if only they could be discovered.

Muroran has a single, small rocky moon in its orbit. This is known as Nopporo's Moon after its solitary inhabitant, the archmage Nopporo. So powerful that he has discovered the secret of eternal life, Nopporo lives in a tall tower at the moon's north pole, served by many varieties of magical automata which he created long ago. He has lived for thousands of years in this manner and is quite mad, as likely to be compassionate as cruel. His automata are sentient but their behaviour seems to naturally fluctuate with Nopporo's moods.

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