- The World
Standing straight, erect, walking on two legs, flailing two arms, with a heavy head on their neck, and ambitions that could put a creator god to shame. Humans dominate almost the entire galaxy, or at least the known part of it. They colonized the Hyperborean Galaxy thousands of years ago and gave birth to various human civilizations on different planets. As of today, two predominantly human superpowers – the Galactic Federation and the Starlit Dominion – wrestle for control of the galaxy.
There are many theories about the arrival of humans in the Hyperborean galaxy. The most common one is that their ancient spaceships, made of alloy, could not survive the continuous friction with the solar clouds. As a result, they remained stranded on the planets they settled down on. Having no means of returning to space, the isolated human colonies had to rely on themselves. Over thousands of years, these colonies developed into their own civilizations. Some of these didn’t even remember they came from space.
Humans dominate the Hyperborean Galaxy, controlling more than 60% of its known territory. The two largest human superpowers – the tyrannical Galactic Federation and the hedonistic Starlit Dominion – wrestle for control of the galaxy. They participate in a cold war, constantly arming themselves with alien artifacts and developing new technologies. But not all humans swear allegiance to either of the superpowers. Many of them live in peace on remote planets, travel across space and trade goods, or even engage in piracy and marauding.
The relations between humans and other species tend to be complicated. A few decades ago, driven by the idea of human supremacy, the human Empire of the Holy Lance launched “Holy Crusades” to rid the galaxy of non-human species. On the other hand, it was mostly human nations that contributed to defeating the Empire.
Archeologists have found numerous ancient Demiurge murals depicting humans with magic powers. It leads to countless speculations among scholars, historians, various religious groups, and even conspiracy theorists. The Empire of the Holy Lance itself operated under the idea that humans were superior to other species because they had godlike power once. Most historians dismiss the superiority premise and claim that humans arrived in the galaxy thousands of years ago. But where from and why – they do not know.
“It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!”
“We make Black Holes shine and glow.”
Coggorts are technologically advanced species of mechanical insectoids made of metal plates and cogs. They hail from Hyxon, a fully mechanical planet with Hives towering up above its atmosphere. Each Hive serves as a colony, presiding over a cluster of Coggorts that share a collective consciousness. Coggorts resemble mechanical bugs with two legs and four arms. They are essentially organic brains placed inside mechanical bodies. In the past, when the Coggorts were still organic, a plague almost wiped them out. To preserve their species, Coggorts ditched their vulnerable bodies and uploaded their brains into mechanical constructs.
Coggorts used solar panels to power their Hives long before the discovery of space travel. It was Rubikon, a Coggort entrepreneur obsessed with space exploration, that changed it. Driven by ambitions to reach space, he built a tower that rose up above the atmosphere and powered it with solar panels. As he reached space, Rubikon discovered clouds that produced solar energy ten times more than the sun. Furthermore, he learned that those clouds also produced oxygen. Rubikon developed a boat with an engine powered by a solar panel and flew into space without any protective suit. Once in space, he circumnavigated the planet on his boat, all while enjoying the cosmic breeze. Thus, Rubikon discovered the means of space travel.
Great Galaxy War
With space travel made accessible for everyone, Hyperborea entered a golden age of economic prosperity. Sadly, it was short-lived. Rubikon’s successors monopolized the solar sails manufacture and brutally suppressed any competition. Coggorts sanctioned entire planets at will by withholding the supply of solar sails. One of the sanctioned planets, Stygion, saw a rise of hatred toward Coggorts. Daemon Lance, a charismatic and radical preacher from Stygion, used that hatred to push human supremacy ideas and gain popularity. He united Stygion under his rule and proclaimed the Empire of the Holy Lance. Driven by hatred against all non-human species, the Empire launched devastating Holy Crusades to enslave or eradicate them. Coggorts were the first to face their wrath.
When the Empire failed to take the Coggort planet by force, they filled a spaceship with plague and crashed it onto its surface. Some Coggorts, driven by curiosity, rushed to inspect the ship and caught the virus upon contacting it. The plague rapidly spread across the planet and wiped out a third of the Coggorts’ population. To save their species from extinction, Coggorts transferred their brains into mechanical bodies based on their own biology, making themselves immune to the plague. However, with this procedure, Coggorts turned themselves into machines manufactured at hives and programmed to obey commands. They deemed it necessary to prevent curiosity – the very reason Coggorts caught the plague in the first place.
Government and Society
Coggorts are a decentralized society, separated into Hives. The Hives serve as governing units ruled by Hive Queens, each presiding over a cluster of Coggorts that share a collective consciousness. They act like independent working colonies that compete against each other on the market. Each Hive manufactures its own Coggorts to meet its corporate needs. The Hives produce Coggorts explicitly for the positions they need to occupy, with the relevant qualifications embedded into their minds. Every Hive makes sure that all of its members fulfill their functions and gets rid of those that malfunction and fail to do so. The most common malfunctions are emotions since they affect the Coggots’ productivity. With each iteration, the Hives produce Coggorts with stronger analytical skills and weaker emotional intelligence.
The Flawed Ones
Although mechanized, Coggorts still have biological brains with the “flaws” of organic creatures. Some of them develop a dangerous flaw they call “curiosity”. Coggorts remember how, thanks to just a few curious individuals, their entire species was brought to the brink of extinction. Whenever the Hives identify a curious individual, they brand it as a “flaw” and rush to destroy them. Those “curious” Coggorts who managed to escape the clutches of their Hives, experienced self-awareness. They have established a community and proudly call themselves “The Flawed Ones”. These self-aware Coggorts open themselves to emotions, pursue knowledge, and develop relationships with other species and factions. The Hives see them as a threat to their hegemony and hunt them relentlessly.
“When The Rock met The Cheel, shit has got real.”
“We are all stardust.”
Glyphens are a species of sentient asteroids with gas-like cores wrapped in stone shells. Their stone bodies ensure their immortality unless it is destroyed and the gas core is heated. As Glyphens age, they absorb more stone mass and become thicker. The older Glyphens increase in size and sometimes grow additional eyes. As immortal species who have lived for centuries, Glyphens are deeply immersed in philosophy. They spend their time discussing the meaning of life, all the while smoking a gas-like substance called “The Cheel” and experiencing a never-ending euphoria.
Glyphens believe they came from a huge lifeless rock known as “The Rock.” According to their epos, The Rock had been wandering the galaxy without a purpose until it encountered The Cheel – a liquid substance that breathed life into everything it interacted with. The Rock merged with The Cheel and wrapped its stone mass as a protection shell around its large liquid body. As a result of their amalgamation, the planet gave birth to sentient asteroids imbued with glyphs all over their bodies. Glyphens often repeat a common mantra, – “When The Rock met The Cheel, shit has got real.”
At the dawn of their history, Glyphens fought each other relentlessly, until their planet, The Rock, cracked open. A blue gas-like substance erupted from the cracks and engulfed its surface. The Glyphens exposed to it suddenly felt a sense of euphoria and lost their will to fight. Instead, they immersed themselves in deep thoughts and came to the conclusion that conflicts are pointless. “Cheel” was the name they gave to the blue substance, as it helped them chill out for years to come. Two major faction leaders, Stonefather and Glyphmother, declared peace to end the millennia-long conflict. Along with other Glyphens, they found tranquility and delved deep into philosophy. Alas, Some Glyphens refused to accept the new ways and kept on fighting. Stonefather had no choice but to exile them from The Rock.
Stonefather and Glyphmother
The treaty between Stonefather and Glyphmother grew into a strong personal bond. Their love affair lasted for centuries and served as a prime of eternal love for all Glyphens. However, even the strongest bonds tend to give way. To maintain their relationship, Stonefather and Glyphmother agreed that they needed some time away from each other. Once a century, they would seclude themselves beneath the planet’s surface, in different areas. There, within the vast underground clouds of Cheel, they would take a break from each other and chill out in solace. As expected, these decade-long breaks often refreshed their long-lasting relationship.
Great Galaxy War
The first humans to discover the Glyphen homeworld were the Holy Lance legions that came to conquer it. When Emperor Daemon Lance sent a spaceship to probe the planet, the crew failed to return and responded with insane laughter. The surprised Emperor sent a flotilla to retrieve the insolent crew and establish an outpost on the planet. The reports came with a lengthy delay, after which the sailors refused to come back and claimed they talked to a stone and enjoyed its company. The angry Emperor rallied his fleet to take the planet by force. As he landed on The Rock, he saw his men chilling around a geyser. During the geyser’s eruption, they would chant “When the Rock met the Cheel, shit has got real.” Fearing the gas substance would claim him too, Daemon ordered his remaining soldiers to leave the planet for good.
Philosophy and Beliefs
Glyphens live long lives devoid of problems, which allows them to invest in deep thinking and philosophy. As such, they are slow to act. Sometimes, Glyphens spend centuries making major decisions, and that is if everything goes smoothly. They believe the main reason for conflicts is that other species live in a constant hurry. Glyphens follow the “Rock&Chill Manifesto”, which guides one to be “calm as a rock” and “serene as the void”. But could mortal species, with a lifespan of an instant, afford the pursuit of tranquility?
Many space travelers visit the Glyphen world to smoke “Cheel” and find themselves within the eternal stone. Some of them calm their souls for a time being and leave, while others settle on The Rock for the rest of their lives. They build communities of people who cast out all burdens and obligations and devote their lives to an existence without a purpose. Because it is the pursuit of purpose that prevents mortal beings from seeing the true happiness of existence.
“Poor leg creatures. They build ships to mimic a fraction of our power.”
“Our songs are our power.”
Sirens are spacefaring beings with human tops and mechanically armored fishtails, who traverse space by levitating flying islands. Sirens possess magical artifacts that serve as the source of their voice and their powers. They allow Sirens to levitate objects and destroy them with the power of their voice. Most Sirens live in small communities beneath asteroids and attack anyone who wanders into their territories. Legends say, they sing songs to charm sailors with their beautiful voices and make them crush into asteroids.
According to the ancient tales, Sirens were renowned human singers who hailed from the mythical planet of Harmonia. Intrigued by their reputation, Neptune, the God of the Void, descended to Harmonia and promised to share a fraction of his powers with those whose songs he found the most charming. After evaluating numerous singers, Neptune selected the most enchanting among them and bestowed them with potent ancient artifacts known as “Voxes”. These radiant diamonds, placed in their chests, transformed their legs into magical fishtails and enabled them to traverse the cosmos. Armed with Voxes, these new cosmic beings gained the ability to levitate objects and sway minds with the power of their voice. Guided by Neptune, they left their planet to spread their harmonious songs in space.
End of Harmony
For many years, sirens lived in peace, singing and entertaining each other. Alas, their harmony ended when the other galaxy inhabitants discovered space travel. Human and Coggort bounty hunters learned that the siren “Voxes”, the diamonds embedded into the siren chests, held magic powers. They started hunting sirens and salvaging their Voxes to sell them on the black market and make a fortune. For sirens, however, the Voxes were the sources of their voice and their power. Without them, they were rendered powerless and could no longer sing. To protect their communities, sirens began singing to charm any approaching sailors and lure them to their deaths by crashing into asteroids.
Great Galaxy War
During the Great Galaxy War, Emperor Daemon Lance sought to find a siren to replace the one he loved and lost. He ordered his sailors to capture the most beautiful sirens and bring them to him. Daemon gathered them to sing for him for entertainment. To prevent sirens from using their powers against him, he captured and imprisoned their siblings. The Holy Lance ripped the Voxes out of their siblings’ chests, thus rendering them powerless. Those sirens who were meant to sing for the Emperor did not dare to attack him, knowing the latter could slay their powerless families.
After the Great Galaxy War ended, the Sirens haven’t forgotten the pain and misery humans brought upon them. They have abandoned their old ways of singing about love and serenity and become deadly cosmic predators. Nowadays, Sirens hunt unsuspecting space travelers by charming them with their songs and causing them to collide with asteroids. When sailors hear their songs, they either change their course to avoid them or rally their fleets to assault them. But not all Sirens agree with the new ways. Some do not wish to use the powers granted to them by Neptune for the sake of violence. Sadly, after multiple encounters with violent Sirens, space travelers rarely make the distinction.
Powers and Abilities
The powerful ancient artifacts Sirens call Voxes serve as the source of their voices. They use the power of their voice to levitate objects, traverse space, and even hypnotize living beings. While in combat, Sirens often leave their islands, flank the enemy ships from the sides, and hit their hulls with their massive armored fishtails. On top of that, Sirens are sensitive to magic. They can sense the presence of powerful artifacts in the vicinity. When Sirens lay their hands on ancient artifacts, they experience their powers increasing tenfold. But should a Siren lose their Vox, they would become mute and unable to use any of her powers.
Celestials are bright and majestic space creatures that resemble butterflies. They consume carbon emissions as nourishment and produce solar clouds, which makes them natural purifiers of the galaxy. But their beautiful appearance deceives a lot of space travelers – Celestials are extremely aggressive and attack anything that emits light. A small pack of Celestials is capable of tearing a spaceship apart. For that reason, the number of Celestials across the galaxy is dwindling. Some factions consider them endangered species and provide them with closed reservations to inhabit.
Celestials roamed the galaxy for thousands of years until the mortal races invented solar sails and started traveling in space. Celestials couldn’t help but get drawn by the light emitted by solar sails and frequently attacked the travelers. In response, the travelers hunted, caught, and eradicated Celestials, until their numbers dwindled. To avoid the extinction of these species, some space travelers set up closed reservations for them to inhabit. Knowing Celestials are drawn to light, they installed light beacons in distant safe areas. To prevent space travelers from disturbing the reservations, they placed holographic warning signs.
Even though Celestials often avoid space travelers and inhabited areas, they can never feel safe. Smugglers and bounty hunters often break into the reservations and steal Celestial eggs to sell them on the black market. The clients are often circus owners and entertainers who put the hatched Celestial babies in cages and train them to dance to entertain the crowd. Some clients are wealthy Dominion nobles, who put Celesetials in lamps and use them as lanterns. Many scholars warn them about the dangers of Celestials’ extinction – without them, the galaxy would run out of solar clouds. But rarely does anyone listen to them.
“Purity of heart and soil.”
“A good society rests on the shoulders of well-rooted individuals.”
Telossians are blue humanoid species with upper bodies growing like trees from flying islands. These islands make up vital parts of their bodies that serve as their sources of life and extensions of themselves. Disconnecting the humanoid from the island is comparable to disconnecting a tree from its roots. Telossians use their islands to navigate in space without the need for a ship. They possess innate magical abilities, such as hurling magic blasts, healing and rejuvenating nature, drawing power from nature to heal themselves, and producing sap widely known for its healing properties.
Telossians hail from Azure, a surfaceless planet with blue skies and floating islands overgrown with magical trees. Since the dawn of time, they lived in a lush grove that sprawled across the vast Azure skies. The fertile soil of the islands generously catered to the needs of the Telossians, ensuring they had never known scarcity or drought. At the center of the Grove stood the Mother Tree, the cradle of life on Azure. She gave birth to countless Telossians and blessed them with the ability to seed barren islands with trees and vegetation. Guided by the Azuri Elders, emissaries of the Mother Tree’s wisdom, Telossians spread forth and cultivated island after island, aiming to clothe the entire planet in lush forests.
Great Galaxy War
During the Great Galaxy War, the legions of Holy Lance invaded the unaware Telossians and exterminated most of the Aerial Grove. By the end of the war, the majority of Telossians lost their homes. Many of them had no choice but to leave Azure and seed new settlements in other worlds. Those few Telossians left in Azure were determined to regrow their lost forests. They laid their hands on a mysterious ancient artifact that enhanced the innate Telossian ability to accelerate vegetation growth. Using its power, they witnessed trees and newborn Telossians maturing within weeks. Hoping to restore their once sprawling grove with the mysterious artifact, Telossians placed it in the roots of the Mother Tree.
The Pure and the Tainted
Within decades, Telossians managed to regrow a significant part of the Aerial Grove. Those who took refuge in other worlds after the Great Galaxy War began returning home. Due to years without contact with Telossian trees, the soil of returning Telossians lost some of its fertility and their skin lost its blue pigmentation. When they came into contact with Telossian trees to rejuvenate their soils, they inadvertently contaminated their islands’ soil. As a result, the trees experienced reduced fertility and partially withered. To prevent further contamination, the Azuri Elders forbade the returning Telossians from entering the Aerial Grove. Thus, they fractured the Telossian society into the “Pure” – those living inside the Grove; and the “Tainted” – those living outside of it.
The “Pure” Telossians inhabit the part of the Aerial Grove they have restored. Due to their access to the Mother Tree, they have retained their blue skin and soil fertility. Unlike the Tainted Telossians, the Pure ones follow a strict hierarchy. Three powerful Telossians who act as governors and judges – the Azure Elders – rule the Grove on behalf of the Mother Tree. The Elders seek to restore the Aerial Grove to its former size and restore the Telossians’ former glory. To protect their purity from the “Tainted”, they surrounded the Grove with Treant Wards, large trees that generated a force shield.
The majority of Telossians are the “Tainted” ones. They dwell in smaller groves that serve as colonies scattered across the galaxy. Due to their isolation from the Mother Tree, the Tainted ones are not as fertile as their Azuri counterparts, and their skins are paler in comparison. Tainted Telossians grow their colonies around fertile flying islands. They cultivate the islands and use their soil to replenish their own. Oftentimes, space travelers come across the Telossian colonies. Some of them seek to collaborate with Telossians and preserve their groves. Others plunder the groves and harvest the sap from Telossian trees, which are widely known for their healing properties.
The Demiurge is a name given by historians to an enigmatic species that mysteriously vanished and left behind a vast legacy of ruins and artifacts imbued with magical power. Their ruins are adorned with murals that depict every known species in the galaxy, including humans. Despite finding so many ruins and artifacts, archeologists haven’t found any clue to their appearance. Judging by the state of their ruins, historians believe that they may have been wiped out during a galaxy-wide conflict.
According to the Demiurge murals, it is very likely that they encountered humans. The murals depict humans in a different light. Some show the as invaders, some show them as subjects and slaves, some depict Demiurge nurturing humans, and some show humans mastering some godlike powers. While historians do not approve or dismiss any of the theories, neither of them provides any explanation for what happened to the Demiurge.
The Demiurges left behind countless artifacts scattered across the galaxy. These relics of the bygone civilization store immense magical powers, which many use to their advantage. Powerful magic wielders use them to empower their abilities. Scientists and engineers use them to strengthen their weaponry and defenses. Pirates, bounty hunters, and smugglers sell them on the black market and make quite a fortune. Surprisingly, the highest bidder to buy the Demiurge artifacts always turns out to be the Galactic Federation. Apparently, the Federation is hoarding those for some secret studies.