The prime and fey worlds have collided catastrophically on this world in an event called the ‘Feybreak’, leaving only a single broken world remaining – a pastiche of the two together. With no barrier to the arcane energies of the Weave, the world is dangerously exposed: peoples have merged and mutated, the landscape has been warped irrevocably and the rules of reality will vary from hither to thither. More than eight hundred years have passed since the Feybreak though, and in that time the Earthwound has come to a kind of equilibrium; finding stability even in its inconsistency. People and places have become known for their individual characteristics, and allowances are made for them. Things are assessed pragmatically, and all that matters now is how to live in the world that is left behind.
Day and NightNo sun or moon shines down into the the Earthwound. Got that? Ok, one more time – no sun or moon shines down into the Earthwound, though legends do persist of the ‘undivided’ lights of the sky before the great cataclysm. Instead, great shifting ribbons of mutable rainbow light snake across what can be seen of the sky: the aurora, or ‘divided’ radiance, which gives a variable but more-or-less perpetual illumination. Instead of day and night, there is simply a regular pattern of flaring and dimming of these aurora, the ‘glow’ and ‘gloom’.
- Glow is where the aurora wax effulgent above: blazing colours against the wan blue of the sky itself. During the Glow, the aurora sweep lower and lower, and a nebulous mist of shimmering light flows down into the great cleft of the Earthwound, hanging like a shimmering curtain and bringing light to the depths. The phenomena has many names, the ‘Veil’ being the most common. Even at its strongest when it bulges down as though a great finger was pressing down on it from above, the veil never reaches the utter depths – usually it finds a particular level and seeming to hang shimmering above it. Depending on atmospheric conditions it may be a single near solid shape, or a torn and pale spectral membrane draping down hazy fingers of light.
- Gloom is where the veil recedes and the auroras fade until all that remains is a feather-light haze of colour over a blue streaked black night sky. Though the auroras do fade, they are only rarely too faint to provide any less light than would be seen on a moonlit night.
SeasonsThere are definite seasons in the Earthwound, but they are associated with the shifting colours of the aurora.
- The glorious reds and oranges of Bloom signify the hottest season, though they do also see floods and heavier rains and, paradoxically, colder seas. The aurora of Bloom are the most active, and the veils of Bloom are by far the most powerful – their radiance is scorching at the height of the season, burning through the clouds fiercely.
- The pale blues of Wither are the coldest time, with frigid snows in the upper strata and crackling cold clear skies. During Wither the aurora are gentle and slow, and some of the veils of Glow are so weak and sluggish that they barely reach past the middle strata, and some last no more than an hour before they fail and withdraw to the upper skies.
- Between Bloom and Wither falls cool purple Ebb, when the rains die back. Farmers will often sow a hurried second crop during Ebb hoping to harvest before the grounds freeze. This is particularly the case if their earlier crops were damaged by floods.
- Between Wither and Bloom falls dancing yellow-green Flux, which brings the thaw and the return of growing things to the world. As the floods don’t begin in earnest till late flood, crops will be sown as early as possible.
Both the veils and the seasons are more noticeable in the Upper Strata, as they are far more exposed to the sky. They have the most extreme seasons, and the brightest flares, though even at the height of Bloom the air is still cooler by far than that of the lower strata. Conversely, the lower strata have temperatures which are kept stable (and hot) by the air rising from the Deeps, and they are darker all year round – some places being so covered in shadow that they never see anything that could properly be called ‘day’.