Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's the Little Things that Matter

Riskail is a difficult environment to maintain.  Prior to any of the gate networks opening the way to this world it suffered a near continuous pelting with asteroidal debris until one day it was finally struck by a comet.  The comet hit at an oblique angle and plowed into the midst of a supervolcano.  This cataclysm shook the world to its core and changed everything.  Drastically.  Violently.

This was the birth of the Great Rift.

The cometary impact shifted the planet upon its axis, altered its rotation and spewed millions of tons of volcanic ash across the world.  The thin atmosphere was lashed by massive, spectacular thunderstorms as everything cooled down into a harsh and bitter winter.  Tremendous amounts of gasses were released from the ruptured supervolcano, the primordial ice of the comet melted and vaporized into water that mixed with the outgassed acids and other compounds released by the impact and the subsequent eruptions, tremors and collapses that followed.  The very crust of Riskail buckled and warped under the incredible pressures, heat and violence of the processes set into motion by this one chance meeting of two celestial bodies.

At some point in this process the Infrastructure noticed Riskail and determined that it now could support life, that it was just within the fragile and precious Life Zone that would make it a suitable addition to the Commonwealth of Worlds and so it plotted out the placement of four Sea Gates.  The waters of Riskail mingled with the waters of a thousand million other worlds and the Infrastructure began its long-term project of subtly nudging Riskail's development along so that it became a place where humanity could come, live and breathe and continue to develop and even thrive.

Great mirrors were placed into orbit to adjust the level of sunlight available.  A large sun-grazing asteroid was snagged and tugged from its ancient orbit to serve as a moonlet to block Riskail's surface from any further disastrous impacts.  Another moonlet, formed from the lingering fragment of a previous cometary core that had only managed to partially graze the planet was sheathed in polymers and filament-mesh and set into a counter-orbit to its companion moon as a sanctuary and refuge, a back-up as it were, for the ocean-forming and life-seeding processes.  Great anchor-pilings were sunk at strategic points around the fractured and ruptured crust of the world in order to adjust the seizmic distress, mitigate the destructiveness of the old volcanoes and harness them to serve as deep geological engines and powerful resources for the reshaping of an entire world.

Swarms of barnacle-derived creatures (among myriads of others) still attend to the deep structures of the foundations of the world to this very day.  For a few shiny bits or some trinkets you can often get a lutrin or gavik, especially one of their younglings, to dive down and capture one of the barnacle-creatures.  They taste terrible, but if you know how to handle them, they produce a powerful cement that works in any environment and especially underwater.  Of course no one really knows what good the things are aside from playing pranks on uptight adults.

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