(Of which there are eleven)
By Gideon Ardenai Morning Star
A paper For Master Breton’s GeoSociology class
More water than land, Equus consists of three large continents, Andal, Benacus, and Viridia, plus the warm island chain of Achernar and two large, uninhabited ice caps. All three continents are more or less bisected by the equator, which helps temper the generally cool climate. Viridia is the longest continent, if not the widest. It is the smallest, and has the oldest life-signs. It has vast plains and grasslands, several large river systems, two mountain ranges of modest elevation, some large and many smaller cave systems, and about half the population of Equus. Benacus is highest in elevation and least populated. The major crops are ice pomes and very fine wool. Andal is cool, mountainous, and riddled with huge cave systems which have been carved out to accommodate homes and industry. It is the industrial center of the planet, with most of the industry being subterranean, and most of the surface being keeps and well-ordered villages.
A cool world and relatively new geologically, Equus is rich in geothermal, solar and hydro-energy sources. Equus has wild seasonal swings, and in winter the surface of the planet, most especially Viridia, can be swept by terrible storms. There is nowhere except Achernar that it does not snow. Equus is primarily an agricultural planet and the people are by nature vegetarian. Equus has a small population relative to its power in the Seventh Galactic Alliance. Its government consists of a Great Council, a Guild of Masters, a Guild of Crafts, a High Priestess, and every seven hundred years, a Firstlord, traditionally referred to as Dragonhorse, who is the only truly secular leader.
Having joined with Equus almost eight thousand years ago during the reign of Warlander, the Second Dragonhorse, Amberia is the second oldest Ally of Equus, and its denizens are closely related to the Equi. Amberia is a large, warm planet, with huge, tangled jungles sprawling across parts of all of its eight continents. It is laced with deserts and dry places, but also with lakes and rivers, which are characteristically gentle flowing and tepid. By contrast its oceans are very deep, frigid and perpetually stormy. Amberia is densely populated in the more hospitable areas and heavily industrialized in those which are not. Huge tracts of land have been left open for purposes of conservation, and agriculture, and despite having a large population, Amberia is clean of air and water, and a prosperous partner in the Affined Equi Worlds. Like the Equi and the rest of the AEW they are vegetarian, and produce more than enough food to feed themselves and their neighbors. They also manufacture most of the farm equipment used in the Seventh Galactic Alliance. Though they were and remain a society that loves war and war games, they have the same government as Equus, and come under the rule of the Firstlord, or Dragonhorse, when he rises to power.
The Anguine Moons (Anguine Prime and Anguine II) ~
Both planets are close moons of Equus, and were terraformed approximately nine thousand years ago, over a period of about five hundred years, to be agricultural hubs as Equus spread its influence into the spatial extension which later became the Seventh Galactic Alliance. Populated mostly by Equi, the moons are alike in having rolling hills, a few deep craters, and vast expanses of both forest and cultivated farmland. They have large, manmade lakes, but no seas. While Anguine II has more water than Anguine Prime, they are both considered agricultural powerhouses, and have served as example to several emergent agrarian societies. Like Equus they are largely divided into agricultural keeps and clustered townships, and, like Equus, keeps cannot be bought or sold, but only handed down, across or out, thus guaranteeing generations of farmers, horse breeders and silviculturists. Each of the moons has two or three cities which can be considered large, and each has huge ports of entry for shipping agricultural commodities out into the SGA. Their planetary capital, however, is Thura, which is on Equus itself. Anguine II is especially renowned for the quality of its education, most especially history and music studies. Every year it hosts an Enalios Lycee, which engenders fierce competition for seats. Less than an hour’s travel from the main planet and from one another, the moons have no national government of their own, but belong in every respect to Equus, and are considered states, rather than sovereignties.
a planet of five continents and eight oceans, and among the most beautiful of the Affined Equi Worlds, Calumet is a world entirely apart from everyone else in both mindset and lifestyle. While Calumet is capable of generating power, it cannot transfer it. For example, a millwheel powered by water, can grind the grain brought to it, but it cannot send power forth by any means or in any manner to be used elsewhere. Ships cannot operate within its atmosphere and friction fires will not burn. Calumet exists perpetually in a distant past, where wagons and horses hold sway on the roads, and oil lamps and candles light the night. Nevertheless, Calumet is a fully contributing partner in the AEW. The planet produces some of the finest wool in the galaxy, highly sought-after Calumet mahogany, beautiful horses, and precious Cleomitite gemstones, which are coveted throughout the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Galactic Alliances. Goods are brought to one of several CACs (Controlled Atmosphere Corridors), lifted into ships, and moved out into the galaxy. Calumet is populated by the Equi, who discovered and colonized it nearly three thousand years ago under the reign of the Tenth Dragonhorse, Ardenai. Following the cataclysms on Terren, they were joined by most of the Mennonite-Amish from Terren. In comparison to its size and its bountiful landscapes, Calumet has a tiny population. They are governed on all levels by the laws of Equus and the Dragonhorse.
One of the most unusual planets to produce a thriving and intelligent population, Corvus is so high and so jagged as to resemble a round pinecone revolving in space. The sides of its impossibly tall, slanted mountains have been masterfully terraced to produce all manner of fruits and vegetables, and beautiful cities, carved into the native stone, gleam forth from the promontories. The fierce winds which whip through the canyons have been baffled by a series of ingenious wings, until they are no more than gentle up and downdrafts upon which both people in their small gliders and birds upon the wing soar effortlessly about on their daily business. Their water supply runs in narrow, fathomless rivers which encircle the planet, and the planet’s core is water, heated by geothermal activity. They have a stable population of moderate size and are capable of feeding themselves, though they do not contribute foodstuffs to the AEW. No planet in the galaxy produces finer pilots than does Corvus. They asked to join the AEW, along with Terren, under the reign of Vanner, the Seventh Numbered Dragonhorse, and immediately began to contribute pilots and navigators to the newly formed Seventh Galactic Alliance. They answer to the Dragonhorse when he rises, and their government resembles that of Equus in most ways, though their property laws do not.
Sister planet to Declivis, and as beautiful as Declivis is ugly, it is Demeter’s agriculture which keeps both Declivis and Tarkelia fed and well nourished. This planet most closely resembles Equus in size, though it has considerably less open ocean and more fresh water in the form of glacier-carved lakes and the rivers which pass through and feed them. Demeter has five large continents, several island chains and a small polar ice cap. Like the Anguine moons, Demeter is an agricultural powerhouse, and nearly devoid of industry, having counted for eons upon Declivis to provide her with equipment and technology. Like Equus, the people of Demeter have chosen to remain agrarian based, and eschew many so-called modern conveniences. Because of its location as “The Crossroads of the Alliance,” the planet was fiercely contested for much of its early history, and was the site of many bloody battles. Parts of the landscape still bear the scars of near-annihilation. Upon rising to be Firstlord, the Tenth Dragonhorse, Ardenai, brought the conflict to an abrupt end, then annexed and repaired Demeter, making it a tribute world of the AEW. Demeter is most famous for its endless plantations of tea and coffee, and its unique varietals of chenopodium quinoa. It has many small towns which retain their reputation for being brawling backwaters, and it has many larger settlements built around the ports of entry from which goods are shipped to the Great House and other alliance destinations. Their government closely resembles that of Equus, and they fall, like the rest of the AEW, under the reign of the Dragonhorse.
The oldest of the Affined Worlds, and an older race far than the Equi, Menorquin consists of an endless scatter of meticulously terraformed islands in an equally endless sea, with no mountains of any size above the tideline. There are no continents at all, and oddly, no seasons. Its people live with equal comfort on land, or in huge and ancient cities beneath their various seas and oceans, where they farm the many kinds of seaweed and kelp which form the basis for their diet. Like the Equi they eat no actual flesh, though they enjoy a type of krill in season. They also eat various cereal grains and are especially fond of berries, which they grow in profusion on their island farms. An ancient industrial power, and by necessity accomplished terraformers, it was they who terraformed the Anguine moons for settlement by the Equi. As a member of the Affined Equi Worlds, their government closely resembles that of Equus, and over many thousands of years the two planets have shared and blended their political and religious beliefs until distinguishing features have all but disappeared. Every seven hundred years they, along with all of the AEW, fall under the rule of the Dragonhorse.
Being on the border between what are now the Seventh and Eighth Galactic Alliances at a time when both spatial extensions were in a frenzy of acquisition, the people and the planet of Papillia were nearly destroyed. The surface was stripped of resources by the aggressors and largely denuded by the war moving back and forth across the planet. Galician, the Fourth Dragonhorse, discovered their plight and brought the might of the AEW into play to protect them. Having moved many of their resources to deeply sheltered caches beneath the surface, the Papilli were able to utilize their incredible building skills to create a sphere around their ruined planet and to rebuild it as a biosphere. Now considered the most beautiful of the Affined Equi Worlds, Papillia is a small planet consisting mostly of elevated cloud forests enveloped in endless mist. The lowlands boast extensive marshes rich with plants and wildlife. Being lovers of the light, the Papilli build almost exclusively with a form of sheet-crystal, and their sparkling cities are admired throughout the galaxy. They pledged their allegiance to Equus during the last days of Galician’s reign, and further repaired themselves to become one of the richest and most productive of the Equi worlds. Their form of government does not differ from that of Equus, except that they have no Eloi (the cadre of ruling priestesses) as a separate entity.
The coldest of the Affined Equi Worlds, Phylla is also the oldest planet geologically, and its fires are slowly dying, forcing the people underground, closer to the heat source at the core of the planet. Much of their industry and living space is subterranean, and they have beautiful homes and large factories chiseled from the grey native Gyrstone. Phylla is made up largely of expansive tundras, which are chilly and damp most of the year, thawing briefly nearest the equator, where they become impassable bogs. There are arboreal forests spilling north to south across both continents, which host the largest trees in the Seventh Galactic Alliance, and many Phyllans make their homes in or amongst them. Phylla is one of only two AEW planets, Amberia being the other, to engage Equus in open warfare. They were taken into the AEW as a Tribute World under Asturian, the Eleventh Dragonhorse, and became an Affined World about one thousand years ago.
An extremely old, very warm planet, Terren once had continents which shook apart in a series of cataclysms both natural and manmade, followed by volcanic activity which nearly destroyed the planet, leaving several dozen convoluted islands, some large, some small, stretching north to south in an endless, single sea. Following near annihilation and facing starvation, Terren came to the attention of the Menorquins as a world in trouble, and they began terraforming the continental fragments that were left, creating soil and farm land on the surface. Vanner, the Seventh Dragonhorse, mounted a probative interposition involving the warlike Terrenes, and controlled their government very closely for about one hundred years. At the end of that time Terren became a Tribute World, and during the reign of the Eighth Dragonhorse, Balearic, they finally became an Affined World. Modern Terren actually refers to a conglomerate of terraformed moons and planets in a single orbit, though the original planet has been restored and is home to a modest population and the Terren government, as well as a fascinating collection of plants and animals, several fine universities for studying biological diversity, a whole series of enormous archaeological digs, and a huge SGA park system.