Guide to Terramora Prime
One of the main locations in The Lilean Chronicles, Terramora Prime is the fourth planet in the Terramora system and is named Terramora Prime because it is a major centre for trade and industry. Planets earn the title Prime by being a major source of employment, trade and export and by being politically neutral.
Terramora Prime is the only habitable planet in the Terramoran system and is a very cosmopolitan planet where people from all worlds are welcomed, whether it be for employment or trade. It’s days are twenty five hours long.
Terramora Prime is one of the locations unfortunate enough to have once been a target of the Transmortal Army. This evil race once invaded Terramora in a bid to enslave the entire race but the people fought back bravely. The ancient forests were burned to the ground and their cities left in ruins. A third of the population were either enslaved or killed. Twenty five years ago began what has become known as The Great Rebuilding and all of the surviving Terramorans picked themselves up and began to rebuild their world.
The Natural Environment
Terramora Prime is made up of two major land masses and several smaller islands which together form 57% of the planet’s surface area. The remaining 43% is made up of ocean. There are polar ice caps at the north and south poles, both of which melt completely at certain times of the year. The larger land mass is situated right across the equator of the planet, which gives it a very hot, dry climate. Rain is intermittent but heavy. The second land mass is situated in a more northerly location and enjoys a more temperate climate with plentiful but lighter rain and cold, sharp winters.
The larger land mass contains a large forest that covers many thousands of square miles and effectively divides the land mass into two halves. Despite the hot, dry climate and sparse rain, the soil is rich and anything planted in it will grow very healthily. The cities are large and contain a mixture of building styles, due to the varied nature of the planet’s inhabitants. There is also a desert in the south west of this land mass that contains a range of mountains that are very popular with climbers.
The smaller land mass is less urban, its cities smaller and surrounded by green belt land, agriculture and forest. Rainwater is very plentiful here and is pumped via large underground pipeways to the larger landmass to supplement it’s more meagre rainfall.
Terramora is a land of extremes. Rolling green hills nestle side by side with an inhospitable desert. Urban sprawl sits alongside ancient forest. It is both ancient and modern, traditional and cosmopolitan. A world like no other.
Due to the nature of the planet, its animal life is very diverse and many of its creatures did not originate here. Due to its position as a centre for employment and trade, many immigrants brought along their own animals, the majority of which adapted to life on Terramora pretty quickly. There are strict rules for immigrants wishing to bring in their own animals. Livestock that is to be bred for consumption is usually allowed, as are family pets but anything of a predatory nature is usually forbidden and for all animals allowed in, strict rules apply to the process of reproduction. The Terramoran authorities are very aware that a creature’s numbers could easily get out of hand and upset the balance of the eco system, so the rules are enforced very strictly.
I will restrict my examples to those animals that are indigenous to Terramora prime.
Ambagarno Fly – A flying insect that can reach six centimetres in length. The adult males are a brassy yellow colour whilst the adult females are a dull sandy brown. After mating, which takes place whilst in flight, the female lays up to fifty eggs in the soil around the base of the Talamak tree which exudes a substance from its root system that the grubs digest for food. The grubs spend two years in the soil during which time they mature and grow to around three centimetres in length. They then leave the soil and climb the Talamak tree and use a sticky excretion to roll themselves into a tube inside a leaf. Three months later an adult Ambagarno Fly emerges and flies off to find a mate. The adults live for no longer than a month or so and after mating and laying of eggs, they die within a few hours. They are not dangerous and the adults are sought after for the bright yellow colouring their crushed bodies produce which is used for dyeing fabrics.
Jumbak – A small creature much like an Earth rodent around twelve inches in length from nose to tail, with very large hind legs and shorter front ones. It uses its large and powerful hind legs to hop along at great speed for a creature of such small size. Their tails are exactly half their body length and are used as a counter balance when they hop. They are seed eaters generally but will also take other small insects. They can devastate farm crops and their numbers are strictly controlled in the more rural areas on the smaller continent where farms abound. They have a short, stout, horny beak with a slight downward hook at the end but their jaws also sport rudimentary teeth. If caught and handled, they are more than capable of severing a finger with ease.
Stoulam – A small mammal with a long thin body up to eighteen inches in length. A long whippy tail of equal length to the body makes this creature an impressive size, when seen. Stoulams are covered in blotchy green/brown fur which affords them wonderful camouflage in their natural forest habitat. They are tree dwellers and have short legs with long claws that help them to cling and climb. They are insect eaters but have been seen licking at rotting fruit on the forest floor. They are very fast moving and agile in the trees which makes capturing them very difficult, as does their excessively fearful and shy nature. This is due mainly to them sharing their forest habitat with their greatest predator.
Cascalo – A large and extremely vicious bird of prey that lives in the Terramoran forests. An adult male Cascalo can have a wingspan of up to five metres, with a body length of up to four feet. They have long, stout beaks lined with pointed teeth that they use as daggers, stabbing their prey first, before ripping it into pieces that they swallow whole. They are solitary creatures and only come together at mating time, after which the male leaves the female to fend for herself and her nest and rear the young. Two eggs are typical and the female is a formidably protective mother. Anyone straying too close to a Cascalo nest will almost certainly be attacked and people have lost eyes and received terrible injuries from such encounters. Terramorans know to keep out of the forest during Cascalo mating season and signs warning immigrants of the dangers are everywhere. The Cascalo is edible but it doesn’t have much flesh on it’s bones and is not thought a worthy reward for the difficulty of catching it.
Gramulla – A large, heavy set animal, bred for its meat and reared by the thousand on many Terramoran farms. A docile, vegetarian mammal, the Gramulla is a small brained and rather stupid creature seemingly without any ability for violence of any kind. They have hairless, black skin, large eyes and long floppy ear flaps that they use as part of their cooling system. When they get hot they pump blood through the veins in their long ear flaps, which carries heat away and helps to maintain a healthy body temperature. Their bodies contain an organ called the Vitocalian Vessel which produces powerful chemicals that help them to digest the extremely tough Terramoran grass plants that they eat. Terramoran butchers have to be specially trained in the safe removal of this organ, for any spillage of its contents into the rest of the carcass renders it poisonous to humanoids.
Sorssecous – Terramora’s largest land based predator. The Sorssecous is a pack creature that dwells along the borders of the Terramoran desert. It is basically reptillian, cold blooded and covered in a thick, horny hide. The females lay up to twenty eggs which they bury in the sand at the edge of the desert. The eggs take forty three days to hatch, during which time the female will remain on duty and not leave its duty guarding the nest, even to eat. The hatchlings are grouped into one large creche and the whole pack helps guard them until they are big enough to defend themselves. It walks on all fours and has a line of spines down its back from the base of the neck to the root of its short stumpy tail. Adult males usually grow to between six to eight metres in length although there have been a few reports of ten metre giants. The head is rather dog like in appearance, with a noticeably protuberant muzzle containing over eighty very sharp canine teeth. The Sorssecous eats anything that moves and the pack of up to a dozen animals, led by an alpha male and his harem of up to six breeding females, hunts by ambush. Their tough bony hide is a rather insipid grey/green that enables them to lie in the short brush along the borders of the desert and be almost invisible. If you see them, run. They will not give chase and could not outrun a humanoid but the chances of you seeing one before it ambushes you, are slim to none and when it does get you, escape is almost impossible. A small but steady number of deaths occur every year, the vast majority due to immigrants ignoring warnings when exploring or hiking.
The Terramoran People
Terramora Prime is a very cosmopolitan planet; home to a vastly differing array of races of people. Having been afforded the designation of Prime, due to it being politically neutral and for being a major centre of employment and export, many different races emigrate here and live harmoniously side by side with the indigenous Terramorans.
Terramora Prime has a very hot climate and due to it’s largest continent being situated right along the equator, the average temperatures are high and mid summer regularly brings searing temperatures that test the hardiest of peoples. The indigenous Terramorans have very dark complexions, almost black on the larger continent and more of a mid tone on the more temperate, smaller continent. Those living on the larger continent darken to black during mid summer, their skins having an extremely high melanin content. Their skins are uniquely governed by the available sunlight and those Terramorans who have emigrated to colder climes, find their skins pale to a light tan within a few weeks. Their skin is quite thick in texture and the oil glands in the skin produce a fairly heavy flow of protective oil which contains substances unique to Terramorans that protect from UV damage and act as a natural sunblock.
They are stoutly built, strong and muscular and have a very fine downy hair on their backs, from the nape of the neck to the top of the buttocks. Their feet are slightly wider than one would think normal, but not so much as to look odd.
Their eyes range in colour from dark amber to rich brown and they have very long, thick eyelashes. Their hair is rich brown and thickly textured, rather coarse and naturally wavy.
The male genitalia are normal in appearance, with the exception of the testicles, which are quite large in relation to Earth males. The female breasts are usually fairly large. Sexual maturity usually happens between the ages of seventeen to twenty, slightly later than is normal for Earth children. Females are able to produce children significantly later than Earth women, with many Terramoran babies born to mothers of fifty years and more. Terramoran men have a menopause that usually takes place in their fifties. During this time, they become sterile and their sexual drive depletes significantly. Terramoran women have no menopause and continue to have a healthy sex drive throughout their lives. Consequently, it is the usual practice for Terramoran women to take younger males as lovers once their husbands have completed their menopause. Fidelity is unusual amongst Terramorans and immigrants often find their rather free attitude to sex rather startling.
The average lifespan of a healthy Terramoran is usually around eighty years for females and seventy five years for males. Their pregnancies last just five months, with the foetus growing at a startlingly high rate and the result is usually a pair of twins, one of each gender. Babies are born with a full set of first teeth, which fall out by the age of one year, to be replaced with a second set by their second birthday. This second set is replaced by a third and final set at around age seven or eight. Babies suckle at the breast for just a couple of months before moving to solid food. The navel is placed much higher than on Earth people and is situated just beneath the bottom end of the breast bone, at the point where the two panels of ribs attach.
The Terramorans require much more sleep in one go than a lot of other races and they typically sleep for fourteen to fifteen hours continuously, after which they will remain awake for a full twenty five hours.
Terramorans are friendly people and their capacity for anger and violence is very low indeed. They are thought of as a pacifist race but those who get to know them find them compassionate and forgiving. They are very tolerant and open but they do have a slightly insular streak to their nature and they don’t force themselves onto others. Having survived the attack by the Transmortal Army that almost wiped them out, they have a very laid back approach to life and everything is done without rush or haste. They work, talk, play and love at a leisurely pace and although immigrants often say that the Terramorans have just two speeds; dead slow or stop, they always get things done and everyone who lives and works here finds it an idyllic home in many ways
Terramorans live every day as if it is their last and when they get sick don’t always seek medical attention quickly. They are quite fatalistic and tend to believe that if it is their time, then why fight it? They have the usual types of ailments that all societies have, some more serious than others of course.
Klima Syndrome – This affliction is named after Katera Klima who discovered the parasite that causes it. Being such a hot climate, Terramorans take every opportunity to keep cool. They enjoy bathing and swimming and not long after the Transmortal Attack, people started showing disturbing signs of a terrible affliction during the hottest days of the summer. Sweating and trembling are the first signs, followed a couple of days later by fainting, seizures and hallucinations. After another day the lips and tongue turn black and the breath gives a foul odour. After a week urination stops and the patient falls into a coma. Death usually follows within another couple of days. The cause is a minute parasite called the Klima Worm that lives in still and slow moving water. Once it enters the body via any of the bodily orifices it quickly reproduces itself and the microscopic worms find their way into the brain, kidneys and heart where they embed themselves and feed from their unfortunate host. Their waste products cause all the terrible symptoms suffered by the patient. It is believed that this parasite was brought to Terramora by the Transmortals, as the symptoms were never heard of before the attack. The syndrome itself is untreatable as yet but the worm is easily killed in its natural habitat and strict procedures are adhered to in order to wipe this curse from Terramora Prime. It was found that the sap of a common plant kills the worms very quickly, so vast quantities of it were produced and sprayed into all still and slow moving water sources. Within five years the numbers of Klima Syndrome cases fell by eighty five percent and continues to drop. It is believed that within another ten years, the Klima Worm will finally be eradicated from Terramora Prime.
Pannecoidal Atrophy – The Pannec Sac sits atop the Terramoran kidney, one on each side of the body and releases minute amounts of chemicals into the blood stream that affect and boost the kidneys’ function. Terramorans need to drink at least five litres of water each day in order for their internal cooling mechanism to work properly to keep them from over heating. Consquently their kidneys work very hard filtering and producing urine. The Pannec Sac governs the filtering of body fluids and helps ensure that vital electrolytes aren’t excreted at too high a rate. With Pannecoidal Atrophy the Pannec Sac stops working and begins to atrophy with the result that the kidneys cannot stop vital nutrients from being excreted into the urine. The patient, if left untreated, dies from water intoxication extremely quickly. Luckily, Pannecoidal Atrophy is easily treated with drugs that mimic the effects of a healthy Pannec Sac.
Trefora – Not much is known about this nasty affliction except that it only affects very healthy children and young adults who will suddenly develop a high temperature accompanied by bone weakness in the hips and knees. The vast majority of cases occur during the hottest part of the summer, with ninety percent of these cases occurring on the large hot continent. The hip and knee joints become soft and wear away, causing much internal damage and when eventually the temperature returns to normal, the joints re harden. The damage done is usually so severe that the patient never walks again. The cause has not yet been discovered and as yet there is no cure. Parents tend to keep their children indoors during the hottest part of the summer in an effort to avoid whatever the trigger to this affliction may be.
Beri-Perls Disease – This disease is a range of differing symptoms which all stem from an intolerance to animal protein. Symptoms range from mild changes in bowel function, rashes and skin irritation, to sever sickness and a condition known as Protein Induced Dry Eye that can lead to permanent blindness. The Terramoran diet consists of approximately seventy percent animal flesh Their digestive systems are evolved for a highly canivorous diet but this disease can occur at any time from middle age onwards. Over time they become less and less able to digest animal protein as adequately as they normally do and although not fatal, life with Beri-Perls is awkward and uncomfortable. Despite being given drugs to aid them in processing animal protein, they are forced to drop their intake to below twenty percent of their diet.
Terramorans are laid back, friendly and open with everyone they meet and people always comment on their compassion and giving nature. They are a simple people, living life at a leisurely pace but that does not make them slow witted or stupid. They are fun loving and finding a Terramoran without a smile on their face is no easy task. Walk through any Terramoran city and you will be greeted with smiles and waves from everyone you pass.
Having said that, they do have an insular streak to their nature and they don’t disclose personal business to other races. When they do have emotional difficulties, they keep them firmly within the family unit and you will seldom see a Terramoran cry unless in a situation where public shows of emotion are acceptable, such as funerals. They are very forgiving, which can make them an easy target and although they will forgive, that does not mean they will not fight back. When the Transmortal Army invaded Terramora, the people fought bravely and every one of them was willing to fight and die to save their world. Despite this, they did not fight with hatred in their hearts and indeed there is no word in the Terramoran language that could be translated as meaning hate. They fought because it was the right thing to do and even though they lost a third of their race to the galaxy’s most dreaded foe, they forgave them without hesitation.
They are something of a contradiction. Gentle and forgiving yet able to fight to the death at a moment’s notice for what is deemed to be the right thing. They endured the worst of tragedies imaginable at the hands of a dreadful evil, yet they forgave them immediately and continue to do so in their prayers to this day.
Terramoran parents are pretty strict with their children, who all quickly learn to obey their parents without question, and all do so with the minimum of fuss. Education is important and Terramoran children are educated for several hours every single day until they undergo puberty between the ages of seventeen to twenty years of age, after which they are deemed to be of adult status and are allowed to leave daily education and take their place amongst the workforce. This is also the time when they begin to be sexually active.
Terramorans have a high sex drive and enjoy a very healthy and varied sex life until they marry. They are open minded about sex and see it as a normal part of physical life, to be enjoyed whenever the desire makes itself known and as long as both parties consent, they enjoy sexual encounters without emotional ties with anyone who is not a blood relative.
When married, they practice monogamy until the male experiences his menopause, after which the female is free to take younger males as lovers whenever she wishes. This free and open attitude towards their sexuality proves to be a cornerstone of their relaxed nature and their lack of marital strife.
Terramorans are spiritual people. They believe in an all powerful creator God and endow him with power over their destiny and fate. To the people of Terramora, the thing they regard as the most holy sign of God’s presence among them, are the trees of their ancient forests. To Terramorans, trees are a living symbol of God’s actual presence on their world for they have their roots in Terramoran soil and their heads reach up towards the heavens and so long as the trees grow on Terramora, they believe God is watching over them and smiling upon them.
When the Transmortal Army invaded and burned ninety five percent of the ancient forests to ashes, the Terramorans believed God had deserted them. Over the years as new seedlings and saplings grew in the newly enriched soil, the people smiled as their God’s love returned to their world.
Terramorans don’t have churches or temples, they worship amongst the trees and if the wind picks up as they worship, they believe it carries their prayers directly to God. When people die, their cremated remains are scattered amongst the trees, giving back their goodness to the God who has looked over them during their lifetime.
It is strictly forbidden to cut down any trees on Terramora and to be found guilty of doing so brings a swift punishment of banishment from the planet. When trees fall naturally or branches break of their own accord, the wood may be used. Each Terramoran is expected to plant a new sapling each year on the anniversary of their birth as a way of giving thanks for their continued life and health and as a way to increase their God’s dominion over them.
They believe in an afterlife and reincarnation and they visualise their heaven as a garden filled with trees.
Terramoran societies are governed by an Overseer, under whom are several layers of committees who decide upon laws and matters that affect the people as a whole. Everyone votes on matters that affect the greater populace and at a local level, meetings are held to discuss matters and everyone has a right to have their say and make their views known. There are no state secrets to which only a select few have access or knowledge. All matters are discussed with the people and all people vote on decisions.
The Terramora Security Force deals with all security matters, from intervening in local disputes to platetary airspace security. Since the Transmortal attack, the Terramoran Army and Airspace Security Division oversees and controls all traffic within and around the Terramoran sysem. They are obviously a little cautious with any vessel that approaches Terramora Prime airspace and lengthy red tape awaits all visitors to the planet. If there should ever be another attempted invasion, they are ready and more than capable of defending themselves appropriately.
Terramorans are currently rebuilding their world after the Transmortal Attack and their cities are all in the process of being rebuilt from the centre outwards. People from many worlds come here to live and work in the rebuilding and the work is done in a simple but effective manner. Each building first has to be assessed as to whether it can be repaired or whether it needs to be demolished for rebuilding. For those that need total clearance, the ruins have to be safely demolished and the land cleared. Any remains found amongst the ruins must be dealt with appropriately before the plot can be cleared and a new building placed there. The people work diligently, preferring to do as much of the work as they can by hand, for they are craftsmen of the highest order and like to ensure that everything is done to the highest standard.
Terramorans are fun loving and love to party. They will arrange food and drink and entertainment to which the whole community is invited and they often party away an entire night.
There is some crime on Terramora. The authorities are fair but swift in dealing with crime and immigrants usually find themselves banished from Terramora for their crimes whilst punishments for locals can take the form of fines for minor offences, to periods of banishment, house arrest or community based amending. Community based amending is where the criminal is sent to a different community for a period of time and whilst there, they will do work that benefits the community as a whole. Tending the forests, labouring for the building workers, farming or tending livestock, working in the cremation of the dead or helping in hospitals and nursing homes. Whilst doing this community based amending, they are expected to take part in group therapy to discuss why they committed the crime and to help them to understand how to avoid such temptations again. There is no form of capital punishment on Terramora for they believe that no one but God has the right to take life unless they are fighting for their own survival, but serious crimes can result in permanent imprisonment in extremely secure facilities based in the unyielding environment of the Terramoran desert.
As is to be expected in such a cosmopolitan society, the traditional Terramoran way of life is evolving constantly as they intermingle with so many different races of people. They are adaptable and embrace these changes as a natural part of their evolution and they believe that so long as they call themselves Terramorans, the Terramoran way of life will always exist even though it may go through many changes. They don’t see change as killing off their way of life but believe change to be a necessary part of their way of life.