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The Belore System – Azeroth’s Solar System

03 Oct

Belore – The Sun

Most Azerothians know very little about their sun. To a grand majority, it’s only an object of worship, or a source of light, without putting much thought to what it actually is, at best coming up with “magic”. Contrary to that belief, there is very little magic involved with the Sun. It’s a typical yellow dwarf star in the middle of its life, differing little from most stars with life-bearing planets. Like most stars, it is in truth a ball of super-heaten hydrogen and helium, underoing thermonuclear reactions due to the pressure its own mass exacts on it. Some cultures believe the Sun to be a god, similar to Elune, but as most of those cultures also believe the Sun was born of Azeroth (and not the reverse, as it was in truth) few astronomers pay it any heed.

Azeroth’s Sun has no formal scientific name. Azerothians call it just “the Sun”. Astronomers on Azeroth have taken to using the elven name “Belore” which fittingly means still just “the Sun”.

Khaz’kal

The closest known planet to Belore, “the Star of Khaz” is an arid, barren world devoid of any possibility of life. It orbits the Sun so tightly, the Sun’s gravity forces it to always face it with the same side, a phenomenon known as “tidal locking”. The bright side of Khaz’kal is a scorched nightmare of barren rocks with the Sun always looming overhead. Its dark side would be permanently frozen if it wasn’t still so close to Belore – its temperature is still far above the boiling point of water, meaning that if there ever was any water on the surface of Khaz’kal, it evaporated and was then blown away by solar wind eons ago. There are no temperate zones on Khaz’kal and no known magic or technology can make mortals survive on the surface.

Named after the Titan Khaz’goroth due to its heat and cultural imagery, Khaz’kal is very rarely visible from Azeroth. It’s always very close to Belore on the sky, whose light mutes what little light could bounce off its surface. That is made even worse by its tidal locking, meaning Khaz’kal almost always either faces Azeroth with its dark side, or is hiding behind the Sun. However, in those rare instances when it can be seen, a faint energy signature consistent with Titan technology has been detected. However, due to its location it’s unlikely to be still functional. It’s also unlikely it had anything to do with Khaz’goroth, as the name was made up by surface-dwellers.

Eosphere – Eonarith

Second planet in Azeroth’s solar system, the mysterious Eosphere is permanently and completely shrouded in a cloak of white clouds. Although it’s nearly as large as Azeroth, little is known of it. Since the ancient kaldorei times, astronomers spotted the bright light reflected off its clouds and often called it “the morning star” due to its brightness and its appearance on the sky always just before the dawn. Only when Azerothians learned to make better telescopes, they discovered something the dragons and Titanic keepers known all along – it’s a world covered in clouds similar to the ones on Azeroth. Little is officially known about the conditions on the surface, but legends abound.

Because of its association with Eonar, often worshiped as a goddess of love and fertility, Eosphere was commonly depicted as home to a race of amorous women waiting to be wooed by strong, muscular males from Azeroth. The reality, as revealed accidentally by our teams, was much less romantic. The clouds hide an uncomfortably hot, steamy jungle filled with savage creatures, ranging from a large variety of dinosaurs to a race of troll-like, matriarchal humanoids. Although their women are exotically beautiful, they want nothing to do with aliens and rule their simple-minded, aggressive males with an iron fist.

Eosphere also houses a still functional Titan facility, manned by a lone, insane Keeper called Melektas. Driven mad by isolation, the Keeper of Eosphere believes the Titans to be dead due to losing contact thousands of years ago. Although he is insane, it’s not violently so. He will protect his facility, but rather than kill intruders, he would rather teleport them back out to Azeroth.

Azeroth

The world most of us call or called home, Azeroth, stands in stark contrast to most of the rest of the system. While most worlds you’d find around Belore would be either barren or otherwise inhospitable, Azeroth is an oasis of life and stability, despite all the conflicts and cataclysms it has to withstand. Unlike all the other worlds out there, it has a temperate climate, liquid oceans of water and a highly active magical ley network. Dozens of races, both native and alien, call it home and its varied ecosystems provide greater variety than all the other worlds combined. Truly a cosmic marvel.

Many presume it is not so by accident. Thousands of years ago, when the Titans visited the Belore system, they paid special attention to Azeroth. Dozens of facilities are scattered all around the surface, many derelict due to encroaching life and passage of time. The Keepers, left behind in that ancient era, still protect this world from various otherworldly forces that might wish it harm. Its lands and seas were allegedly carved out of the primordial chaos by the Titanic forces, imposing order and making sure life will survive until present day. It’s speculated that without the Titans’ intervention, Azeroth would be torn apart by the chaotic forces of the elements and would look like a more tumultous version of Eosphere or Mesonyx.

Azeroth is slightly bigger than Eosphere and visibly smaller than Mesonyx. Its atmosphere is also average in thickness compared to the other two terrestrial worlds (although Mesonyx might have had an atmosphere similar to ours in its heyday). Despite us being native, or perhaps because of that, we know little of the full surface of Azeroth. Being unable to see it from outside, we know only the corners we visited personally. Due to the glimpses spotted by our team on Eosphere, we currently believe the known continents cover less than one fourth of the total surface of Azeroth. The mysteries and cultures – or perhaps just immeasurable swathes of sea – that could lie on the other three fourths are a work for future explorers.

Elune – The White Lady

Azeroth’s biggest moon is most often referred to as the White Lady, and sometimes by the name of the associated goddess, Elune. From Azeroth’s surface, it appears as a silver-white globe hanging in the sky, always facing Azeroth with the same side. That means that just like in the case of Khaz’kal, it’s tidally locked, but in its case it’s locked to Azeroth. Because of its proximity and unchanging face, astronomers of Azeroth had a long time to study its surface. Two distinct types of terrain can be noticed on Elune: brighter, heavily cratered “plains” and darker, smooth “seas”. Named so because of associations with Azerothian features, some today doubt these are actual plains and seas.

Modern study of Elune’s surface shows an extremely uninteresting picture – an airless, barren rock marked with countless impact craters from all the meteors hitting its surface. However, some doubt appeared recently as a blood elven astronomer spotted certain regularities on the surface – far too regular to be a coincidence. There is a set of craters that appears to repeat several times across the main plain of Elune, and the repeated craters are exactly identical, down to a single peak on the crater’s edge. It’s unknown what it means but some have taken it to mean that what we’re seeing is not the true surface of the White Lady, but merely a facade or projection. Much like the Mists of Pandaria or the mechanism that cloaked Uldum, it’s speculated there’s a Titan mechanism on the moon’s surface which cloaks its true appearance. As far as we know, the moon could be teeming with mysterious, alien life and servants of the moon goddess.

Belewe – The Blue Child

The smaller and more distant moon, often dubbed the Blue Child, rarely attracts as much attention as its bigger sister, yet is possibly much more interesting. Its original name, Belewe, was in truth not referring to its color but was an archaic word for “traitor” or “prodigal”, alluding to the ancient myth about the Blue Child being an unruly child of the Earthmother who left for years, only to come back having wasted all of its power. The Earthmother still welcomes Belewe despite her problems and again bestows great magical power on it, which to this day shines as its characteristic blue-green color. The myth alludes to the Blue Child’s perplexing “disappearing act”, when it can enter into an orbital resonance with Elune, causing it to never rise during the night over certain continents – giving the illusion of it “going away” to waste the Earthmother’s gifts.

The observation of Belewe’s surface show a world superficially similar to Elune. Its a barren, airless rock, however unlike on the White Lady, there appear to be no “seas” on the surface. Unlike the bigger moon, the blue-green rocks that cover most of its surface appear to be highly conductive to various forms of energy, including arcane, which causes it to light up and emit large amounts of magical energy towards Azeroth’s surface every once in a while. It’s commonly believed those born during such events are as magically gifted as those born under the sign of Norgannel. The discovery of the repeating patterns on Elune prompted some astronomers to look for similar artifacting on Belewe, but none has been found so far.

Mesonyx

The red world, as it was called before Draenor invaded Azeroth, Mesonyx always had a striking presence on the night sky. Easy to spot because of being the only moving, bright red object, it drew attention and imagination of Azerothian astronomers since times immemorial. Although in the oldest times it was believed to be just another ball of light like the Sun, the perfected astronomical instruments and recent revelations about life on other worlds led us to learn much more about Mesonyx. A series of canals was spotted on the surface, informing us of the presence of intelligent life. A few futile attempts were even made with such pointless inventions as giant mirrors giving light signals to the inhabitants of Mesonyx.

What most Azerothians don’t know and we learned in our expeditions is that Mesonyx is indeed inhabited, albeit it’s a dying world. Thousands of years ago, before the Great Sundering, it was a vibrant world with many races and civilizations, teeming with life and rivaling Azeroth in its importance. However, the natives engaged in a devastating war that scoured the surface and mutated whoever was left. A small number of survivors were left unchanged underground and over time, established a new social order, eking out an existence from the meager resources still present on the planet. As of our last meeting with the Mesonyx native active on Azeroth, the tyrannical regime ruling the underground Mesonyx has attained a new source of power and is gearing for war, looking for a new world to live in.

On the surface, Mesonyx is a red, almost lifeless desert of dust and rust. It’s dotted by the ruins of the former Mesonyx civilization, where some agents of the underground commune still exert some influence and control the canals used to transmit water, mined from underground ice deposits. There are still unaligned people on the surface, including the mutated descendants of surface survivors, a race of ravenous scorpion-people, and a few simple tribes founded by escapees from the underground vaults. The air is thin and contains an uncomfortable amount of exhaust (carbon dioxide) and radiation as well as being cold and dry all year round.

Remains of Phaethe

Beyond Mesonyx’s orbit lies a belt of countless, small, rocky, lifeless bodies. Because most of them are hard to spot by terrestrial telescopes, until very recently no one knew of their existence, but still a myth formed. The distance of various worlds in the system from the Sun follows a mathematical formula that appeared to be violated in only one case – a mysterious, empty gap between Mesonyx and Norgannel. Instead of coming up with the logical answer of the formula simply being wrong or having an exception, some bards assumed there had to be something there and was now gone for a reason.

Thus, the myth of Phaethe (pronounced like “faith”) formed. According to that myth, Phaethe was once a large, vibrant world, full of life much like Azeroth (regardless of its distance from the Sun, which would make the temperature never rise above 0 anywhere on the surface). The Titans even originally planned to make Phaethe their special planet and uplifted its native inhabitants from savagery to knowledge that could rival the present day. The race of the inhabitants inevitably resembles the ones telling the story. However, an ancient evil took root on Phaethe and the Titans, still adamant about saving the planet, destroyed the entity, unaware of its parasitic relationship with the world itself. Along with the entity, the entire world perished, shattering into a thousand pieces. According to some retellings, the survivors fled Phaethe just before its destruction and landed on Azeroth to become the forefathers of the storyteller’s race.

Believed to be nothing but a myth shaped by parts of Y’Shaarj’s story, it found a new life about a century ago when a small, rocky body, emitting an unmistakable magical energy signature, was spotted in the area predicted for Phaethe. Soon afterwards, dozens more similar bodies were found on fitting orbits, fueling the speculation about the remains of Phaethe being finally found. Although many still doubt it’s actually the remains of the planet, or that its real story had anything to do with the popular myth, they became an object of interest, fueling modern imagination.

Norgannel

The “Messenger of Norgannon” is a large, purplish-blue gas giant in the outer solar system, known for its striking hue and a system of brilliant, peculiar rings surrounding it. Ancient kaldorei believed the planet to be associated with the titan lorekeeper Norgannon, and thus believed those born under its sign were particularly gifted with magic. It was partly caused by Norgannel’s outstanding purple color, also associated with arcane power. When first modern telescopes were built, the light reflected off Norganel’s rings was spotted and first described as either “wings” or “ears”, or even as satellite bodies. Only about two hundred years ago high elves noticed what really surrounds Norgannel – a system of bright, colorful rings that only add to this world’s mystery and fuel further theories.

Norgannel is in truth not a rocky world like Azeroth or Mesonyx, but a gas giant – a large orb of gas with no land beneath it. Defeating any possibility of life or structures to be found, many abandoned hope of finding anything of interest there, and yet they were surprised once more. A magical energy signature consistent with Titan facilities was briefly discovered within the rings and re-awakened interest in the planet. Some choose to believe that facility is responsible for somehow beaming magical energy into children born under Norgannel’s sign, but again, no ties to Norgannon appear in Titan databases and thus, it’s unlikely to have any particular ties to his sphere of influence.

Norgannel, as recently discovered, also possesses at least two moons of its own. Named Archaedas and Isiset after two watchers blessed by Norgannon, these moons are strikingly different. Isiset appears to be, like Eosphere, covered by a thick layer of clouds, but unlike Eosphere it’s located too far from the Sun to possibly bear life – or at least life as we know it. Archaedas appears to be a dead sphere of dry ice with nothing particularly interesting about it.

Ammanel

Ammanel, or “the Messenger of Amman(‘thul)” is by far the largest planet in Azeroth’s solar system. Much like Norgannel, it appears to be a gas giant, although it’s a dull yellow-brown color and possesses no visible rings, making it seemingly dull. However, unlike Norgannel, Ammanel appears to be active in some way. It’s constantly emitting relatively large amounts of radiation which cannot be accounted for by known Titan facilities or reflected solar light. Some believe that deep in Ammanel’s clouds lie hidden Titan facilities that are still active and constantly monitor life on Azeroth, ever vigilant for the Burning Legion or Old Gods and awaiting to signal the Titans to return in case all known precautions fail. More conservative astronomers believe it’s simply a sign of Ammanel’s enormous size meaning it’s a failed star – it’s just marginally too small to ignite on its own.

It was recently noticed that Ammanel doesn’t appear to be rotating like other planets, and only then we found out it’s because it’s “tipped over” – its north pole is turned towards the Sun. Some speculate that’s because it was developing into an independent star and some posit a much bolder claim that some kind of cosmic cataclysm happened. To tip over something as enormous in size as Ammanel, it would have to be hit or otherwise influenced by something truly enormous, something that cannot be explained with the mysterious influence of Nemesis. One Twilight’s Hammer pamphlet claimed it was C’Thun’s influence causing it, but the link was otherwise never mentioned elsewhere.

Like Norgannel, Ammanel has a group of large moons almost as big as planets. The largest, Rajh, is a brilliant, orange orb in telescopes and upon closer inspection is highly volcanically active, its activity probably stirred by radiation emitted by the gas giant. The second, Tyr, is a silvery orb which appears almost featureless when viewed from Azeroth. Some speculate it means a thick cloud cover, and some see featureless plains of ice. The remaining two, tentatively named Mimiron and Ironaya, appear to show little of interest, being speculated to be cold, barren, rocky bodies.

Gor’shalah

Presently named after the sword of Sargeras, it used to bear the Dark Titan’s own name in the ancient kaldorei times. A dark, cold and distant planet, it was always associated with death and destruction, earning the foreboding name. However, after Sargeras tried to come to Azeroth in person and almost succeeded in snuffing out life on the surface, most astronomers, night and high elf alike, decided to abandon calling out the name of the enemy of all life in vain. The planet was rechristened as Gor’shalah, the mythical sword Sargeras used to wield before his corruption. As we discovered in recent years, the new name was even more fitting. Gor’shalah appears to consist of two distinct halves, one significantly darker brown color, and the other brilliantly green.

A similar duality follows within Gor’shalah’s moons. A darker one, of which we know next to nothing, has been named Gorribal and the brighter one – speculated to be an icy body – was named Tae’shalah. The theme was unfortunately broken when a third large moon was very recently discovered and ultimately named after Loken, Azeroth’s fallen Prime Designate. There are no magical signatures or possibility of life in this distant, foreboding area of space, befitting the association with death and destruction. Since the oldest days, it was believed that when Sargeras comes to Azeroth, he will first cleave Gor’shalah in half as a first portent of the coming doom. As he has actually tried to invade twice and the planet appears intact, it appears to be only a myth.

Hodir

Unknown to ancient astronomers and discovered only recently, the distant, icy body was named after Hodir, the Keeper of Winter. It’s distant and faint enough to be virtually a complete mystery. We do, however, know that further beyond Hodir lies a belt of icy bodies which are occasionally knocked out by the mysterious Nemesis and thrown into the inner system as comets. As the planet lies right in front of that belt of ice and “keeps us safe” from those icy bodies for most of its cycle, it was named after the entity “holding winter at bay”.

Although it wasn’t discovered until recently, some myths pertaining a distant and cold world on the edge of our solar system are recorded in ancient times. Some believe that once mortals grow strong enough to defeat all the threats on the surface of Azeroth and reach out to the stars, they will first have to pass by the “guardian of the threshold”, identified with the planet Hodir in modern days. Once we pass its test, the story goes, the planet will open before us a frozen and forgotten Titan gateway, leading straight to their mythical homeworld. Once we’re there, the Titans will allegedly bestow upon us all their knowledge of the universe and welcome us among them in the higher plane of existence. As very little is actually known about planet Hodir, we know of no trace of such gateway there.

Nemesis

Nemesis, often nicknamed the “Star of Doom”, is the mysterious body somewhere in the outer reaches of our solar system. Once every 345 years it would appear on the night sky and, according to stories, herald certain doom. It would become brighter and brighter until a new herd of comets follows it on the sky and threatens Azeroth with devastation, only to start growing dimmer again and returning to the dark tapestry beyond our reach. Astronomers often speculated what this body could be, but no solid theories of observations were ever postulated.

The current leading theory is that Nemesis is in fact a massive, rocky planet located in the outskirts of the solar system on a highly eccentric and elongated orbit. Its cycle regularly would bring it into the icy belt of bodies beyond Hodir and its influence would knock a number of them out of the belt and throw them towards Azeroth, with Nemesis following on their trail. Its last approach happened shortly before the First War, and the ensuing period of war and chaos (that according to some still lasts) only fuels the superstitious fear of Nemesis. The astronomical observations during its last approach showed very little beyond a radiant face from which no features could be discerned. It will not be seen again on our skies for over 300 years.

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Posted by on 03.10.2015 in Menrim, Worlds of the Nether

 

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