Guide to Vinbuk 3
Perhaps the most important location of volumes one and two of The Lilean Chronicles, the planet Vinbuk is at the very heart of the story and no guidebook would be complete without it.
The planet Vinbuk holds some of the most profound and important memories for Vincent Richard Domenico, the star of The Lilean Chronicles and he will always remember it with a mixture of emotions. It is the place where his life changed beyond all his expectations. It is the place where he suffered the most terrible emotional pain of his life. It is the place where he first learned that he wasn’t alone and it is the place where he finally fulfilled the ancient prophecy of his people.
Welcome, to Vinbuk.
The Natural Environment
Vinbuk 3 no longer has any life of any kind. When Vincent Richard Domenico finally fulfilled the Lilean prophecy and killed the Transmortal Army, he was forced to destroy a device they used as their power source. When this device was destroyed, the resulting energy wave killed every living thing upon the planet. It was unfortunately necessary to destroy this device as it was the only way to ensure the Transmortal Army were killed and to ensure the safety of all worlds in the galaxy who may have been enslaved by that evil race.
The Following information concerns Vinbuk as it was before what has become known as The Cleansing.
Vinbuk 3 is the third planet in the Vinbuk system. Like all the other planets in the system, it had no naturally evolved indigenous humanoid life of its own. The humanoids who did live on the planet, did not evolve there but were brought there and resettled from Drycenia 4 by the very early Transmortals.
Vinbuk 3 has just one large landmass that makes up forty percent of the planet’s surface area. The remaining sixty percent is ocean. This single landmass snakes its way from the northern hemisphere, straddles the equator with a dry desert area and continues south through warm dry rocky terrain, to a flat valley that stretches to the foothills of a range of small mountains that stretch horizontally from one side of the landmass to the other. As the landmass continues to its southernmost tip, the climate changes through a more temperate region in the foothills of the mountains and down to a cold wet zone at the southernmost tip. Forests covered the more temperate and cooler areas. There are ice caps at the north and south poles and whilst the northern ice cap melts completely during the summer, the southern pole never melts. This is due to the angle of the planet as it orbits its star. Its southern pole is permanently furthest away from the star and so receives the least sunlight of the whole planet.
The landmass is covered with a network of meandering streams of fresh water in all areas except the desert region. Due to the compounds in the bedrock, the water has an earthy pink hue and a very fresh taste. Analysis of the water shows it to contain many compounds conducive to good health.
The days on Vinbuk are twenty two hours and fifteen minutes long.
The air is ever so slightly thin and breathing is just a little more of an effort than would be normal for humanoids from Earth.
Many of the the trees and plants on Vinbuk did not originate there, but were brought in when the humanoids were resettled from Drycenia 4. It can be assumed therefore, that many of these trees and plants would have brought along their own minute invertebrates and insect life and other microscopic organisms. It cannot be known how these immigrant life forms interacted and affected any indigenous life forms, so I shall treat the following examples as indigenous to Vinbuk. Because Vinbuk had no Indigenous humanoid life of its own, it’s animal life had never been given names. I shall therefore, only use names for those creatures that originated from Drycenia 4, and those that have since been given names.
Polea Beetle – This small beetle is indigenous to Drycenia 4 and depends upon a certain Drycenian native tree to survive. This particular tree was one of the ones that was transported to Vinbuk alongside the very early Drycenian ancestors by the early Transmortal Army many hundreds of thousands of years ago. The adult beetle is glossy brown in colour and after mating, the females climb the tree and drill minute holes into the bark. Into each hole they lay a single egg. The grubs that hatch from the eggs exude a secretion that covers the hole and hardens into a protective capsule that protects them from predators. During the next six months the grubs gnaw their way through the wood. Once they reach an inch in length, they go into a state of torpor during which they metamorphose into an adult Polea Beetle. The grubs are the source of a virulent poison for which there is no known antidote, even on their natural home world of Drycenia 4. When crushed and mixed with a few drops of blood and heated, it becomes an extremely poisonous sticky brown gloop. This poison is a very slow acting substance, taking 3 days to kill a fully grown adult humanoid. It is this substance that Vincent Richard Domenico was able to use to fulfill the ancient Lilean prophecy and kill the Transmortal Army.
There was a small dog like creature that roamed Vinbuk in packs of half a dozen or so animals. They looked very much like the Coyote of Earth, only a little smaller in stature and slightly fuller in the body. They were scavengers by nature, feeding on carrion most of the time but they were able to run down and kill their own prey. They were uniformly sandy brown in colour, with bushy tails held straight out behind. They were shy by nature and would never attack anything much larger than themselves.
Drycenian Vinbuk – This carnivorous hunter is very dear to Vincent Domenico’s heart. It is basically cat like and covered in thick grey fur that affords it excellent camouflage in the mountain scree of its natural home. About the size of an Earth Bear, it has a short hairless tail, at the tip of which is a thatch of bristly spines which it vibrates in a threatening gesture. These vibrating spines make a unique sound. Males and females mate for life and usually produce twin babies once every three years. A carnivorous hunter, this creature is a formidable and frightening sight. When Vincent Domenico fulfilled the Lilean prophecy, these strange cat like creatures were resettled on Drycenia 6 along with the remaining Drycenian ancestors and subsequent studies have shown them to possess a remarkable capacity for telepathic communication. It is early days for the Drycenians who are trying to understand them and their studies continue. When they were resettled on Drycenia 6, the King of Drycenia asked Vincent Domenico to give them a name and he named them The Drycenian Vinbuk.
There was a beautiful but deadly fish that lived in still pools and slow moving deep streams. It had a rather short but fat body and long, multicoloured dangling tail fins. It grew to about a foot in length and was thought to taste delicious. The blood vessels of this fish were extremely poisonous and exuded their deadly poison into the surrounding flesh. If the flesh was eaten, death occured within a few hours. Being indigenous to Vinbuk and not originally from Drycenia, there was no known antitode for it’s poison.
Humanoids on Vinbuk
The humanoids that lived on Vinbuk 3 originated on Drycenia 4 and are the modern Drycenians’ ancient ancestors. They were all returned and resettled on Drycenia 6 before Vincent destroyed the Transmortal device that rendered Vinbuk 3 lifeless. The modern Drycenians care for them and are determined to ensure they survive and thrive. They are very primitive in their evolution, having remained as little more than grunting savages. They look very much like the modern Drycenians in that they have the same over large yellow eyes and long fangs and the same slightly waxy complexion and black hair. They are similar in height to their modern counterparts; the males rarely exceeding five feet nine inches and the females a couple of inches more but they are more solidly built and the musculature of their upper bodies is large and well developed. Their strength and savage nature makes them an extremely formidable opponent. Their hearing is extremely sharp and is the main physical sense they use and the one they trust the most.
They dress in animal skins, just enough to protect their genitals in the summer months, with the addition of extra layers in the colder months to keep themselves warm. They are always barefooted and the skin on the soles of their feet is thick and protective but very sensitive, almost as much as their fingertips and they use their feet to feel in the same way as the fingers.
Their hair is never brushed or combed but they rub animal fat through it daily to keep parasites at bay and they normally keep it tied back with a length of animal sinew and it is usually kept in a long braid. They never cut their hair and it seems that hair length is tied in with their social structure in some way. If one of them should lose some of their hair length, in a violent confrontation for instance, the loss seems to have an effect on their standing within their group’s social structure.
The average lifespan of a healthy male is around forty to fifty years and slightly more for females. Child mortality is fairly high with many of their children dying before age 3.
Sex is quick and devoid of emotion. Studies seem to indicate that they may not associate their sexual drive with reproduction and it would seem that they see sex as just an unavoidable physical urge that needs satisfying as and when it makes its presence felt.
Pregnancy lasts seven months and babies are always born feet first. They are born with a full set of teeth and a pair of fangs all of which grow with the child. As with their modern counterparts, if one of them loses a tooth or breaks a fang, when the stump is removed a new one will naturally grow in its place.
One thing they don’t share with their modern counterparts is the Thalamic Inhibitor cells within the brain. It seems that this extra clump of cells was another result of the experiments carried out by the early Transmortals. These original Drycenians don’t have a Thalamic Inhibitor and so it can be assumed that they remember their dreams as easily as any other humanoid race.
They are decidedly carnivorous and indulge in cannibalism regularly. They also eat roots and plant material, fruits, nuts and all food is eaten raw.
The male genitalia are small but they are extremely potent and their sperm have a much longer life than many other humanoid races. The female uterus is an extremely dangerous environment for the male sperm, which is thought to be the cause of the extreme virility of the male sperm cells, because of the chemical make up of the lining of the womb.
Sexual maturity usually occurs between the ages of nine and twelve years of age. Females tend to mate by the age of fourteen and will have their first child within the first year after taking a mate. The females will normally produce between 4 or 5 children although it may take them many pregnancies to produce this number of healthy, living children.
Their urine and faeces smell very strongly and are used in territorial marking.
They are not able to talk and don’t use language as other humanoid races do. Their larynx is not evolved in such away as to allow them to make normal language or use words as we know them. They make grunting noises and use hand and arm gestures and after studying them since their repatriation, the modern Drycenians have discovered that their language of grunts and gestures is quite sophisticated.
Due to the resettlement of these ancient Drycenians on Drycenia 4, many of them have shown symptoms of a troublesome condition caused by the change in atmosphere. Vinbuk 3 had a thin atmosphere, whereas Drycenia 6 has a heavier, although still a little thin, atmosphere. Their bodies had, over the thousands of years of living on Vinbuk, evolved to cope with the thin atmosphere and their sudden repatriation proved something of a shock to their pulmonary system. The abundant fresh water on their new home world of Drycenia 6 contains minute amounts of substances leached from the bedrock that seems to counteract the effects of the change in atmosphere to a great degree and helped them to adapt fairly quickly.
Drycenia 6 is a slightly colder world than Vinbuk 3 and the new arrivals took a little while to get used it. They saw snow for the first time and several of them developed hypothermia and frost bite. The modern Drycenians provided them with suitable thermal clothing, which at first they refused to use but once they realised that the new garments protected them from the discomfort of the cold, they accepted them. The modern Drycenians were careful to fashion them in such a way that they looked very like the garments they made for themselves so they were able to reproduce more for themselves and so adopt them into their way of life.
Since repatriating from Vinbuk 3, they have had to run the gauntlet of Drycenia 6’s indigenous micro organisms and for the first time, they have had to learn to cope with various coughs, colds and stomach upsets. They are hardy and enduring and are maintaining their numbers at a satisfactory rate. The modern Drycenians are hoping to encourage them to increase their numbers in order to ensure a wider gene pool that will help them to thrive. The modern Drycenians are determined that whatever happens, they will ensure their ancient ancestors survive and thrive on their new home world. They have accumulated a DNA database of all the new arrivals so that if all else fails, they can artificially inseminate the females to ensure a new generation.
These humanoids are violent and savage by nature. They are terrritorial, competitive and confrontational with neighbouring tribes, whilst being very protective of their own tribe. When encounters with neighbouring tribes are unavoidable, the males go out to meet them with a show of defiance and aggression. Their first intent is to scare them away but they are more than happy to meet them with physical violence if necessary.
They are cannibalistic and will display this activity when capturing neighbouring tribes who stray into their territory and refuse to be driven away. They use cannibalism for one reason, to show their domination over their enemies. They will also cannibalise opponents from their own tribe when choosing a new leader after the death of the old one. The cannibalism is confined to the brain tissue only.
They mate for life and display compassion and affection to each other and to their children. The women especially display physical affection to their men, with touching, hand holding and stroking of the head, being common. They mourn their dead with great shows of emotion. The women wail for hours and the men stand guard over the cremation fire until everything is burned to ash and will cry openly as they guard the fire.
They are devoted to their children and involve them in every aspect of their social structure. Both boys and girls are taught how to hunt as soon as they can walk and are given a very good education in all things relevant to the care and well being of the tribe as a whole. Girls are required to be virgins until they are taken as a mate by a male and are taught to be chaste by their mothers. The boys however, enduring the agonies of surging hormones during their puberty are actively encouraged to relieve their sexual tensions with older women of the tribe who seem to be held in some esteem by the rest of the tribe, for their important role in the growth of the boys into strong and enduring men, able to care for the rest of the tribe.
They seem to display a form of sun worship. The modern Drycenians have observed them in what looks like a form of prayer. This always takes place at dawn and the tribal leaders have been observed kneeling before a fire and raising his hands to the sky as the sun rises. This display of hand gestures is always accompanied by a constant stream of grunts and cries and often they will cut themselves and allow their blood to drip into the soil. This would seem to suggest that they have some form of belief in a god of some kind and maybe even a belief in an afterlife.
When marking the graves of their dead, they always use small stones to form symbols and marks that tell the story of how the person died. Vincent Domenico observed this behaviour himself whilst on Vinbuk 3.
Their society is patriarchal, although the women enjoy a good standing within the tribal community. The leader is always a male and much posturing and fighting will be endured when choosing a new leader after the death of the old one. This often results in deaths and the victims are cannibalised by the remaining contenders.
Both male and female hunt for food, although it is just the males who fight with neighbouring tribes over territorial disputes. Their main weapons when hunting are spears of differing lengths and thicknesses and they are expert in their use.
Females are expected to build the huts they live in and these are always the same basically circular design and made of poles and mud and thatched with branches. Although the area they lived in on Vinbuk 3 offered them many caves, they only ever used them as storage areas.
They mark certain regular natural events with community dancing and drumming, accompanied by wailing and loud grunts. Fires are lit and the festivities usually go on throughout the night. The modern Drycenians have been able to identify these events as the mid point of the year, the moment that corresponds to the beginning of the melt of the northern ice cap of Vinbuk 3 and another event, five months after the mid point of the year celebration. The modern Drycenians have so far been unable to identify the reason for this last celebration.
Vinbuk 3 may no longer be able to sustain life but it holds a very special place in the hearts of Vincent Domenico and his friends. The most important events of many lives took place on Vinbuk 3. A great evil came to an end on Vinbuk 3. An injustice was put right because of what happened on Vinbuk 3 and a great love story began there.
We pray that the universal consciousness brings renewed life to this special world and that one day, a new race of people may sit and watch the sunrise on Vinbuk 3.