All tagged hyperborea

Wild trumpets must be dried out before they can be safely played by a human mouth. The local tribes of Hyperborea's easternmost islands have mastered this process: they hang the bulbous creatures over a pyre of burning inkwood, whose smoke drains their bells of any lingering venom and stains their skins an obsidian shade. The instrument that results has a limited range, yet this is counterbalanced by its powerful timbre.

The captain’s wrist bore a living tattoo of a compass rose; as the icy waves tossed her vessel about, its ink contorted so that its longest petal would always point north. Its pigment conspired with the iron in her blood to reveal the world’s magnetic winds. It hadn’t yet proven useful on this journey, as the tramontana had been making itself obvious for weeks, yet she knew that it would soon become a necessity.

Some say that it was once a second moon. When viewed against the horizon, it’s easy to see why; the mountain is perfectly round when observed from any direction, and widest at its midsection. If positioned just right during dusk or dawn, its presence can cause the illusion of a total eclipse.

In Hyperborea’s northernmost mountains, there exists a sanctuary where comets come to roost. Here, natural philosophers have been able to observe some of their more avian characteristics up close: their bodies are covered from nucleus to tail in transparent feathers, and their parrot-like faces can be vaguely discerned underneath the icy mists that surrounds them. Their wings are extraordinary in span, yet are never unfurled during their travels through space, as there is no atmosphere against which to propel themselves.

There are nine isotopes of elemental fire which can be found in nature, though only five of these are stable.  Classical fire, the sort which lights candles and powers engines, consists on the atomic level of exactly eight protons, eight neutrons, and eight electrons. For this reason, it is often mistaken for oxygen during experiments in modern chemistry. Remove one neutron from this arrangement, and the resultant isotope is phlogiston, classical fire’s nearly indistinguishable cousin. Remove yet another neutron, however, and the result is a volatile substance known to natural philosophers as phlox borealis.

Travel far enough to the north, and you’ll find a place where the living and their gods are not so easy to tell apart. Hyperborea has lost its classical syzygy, resulting in strange blends of divinity and mortality. In such a place, the simple act of picking a flower can cause a star to disappear from the southern sky.

The gnomes of Hyperborea are neither born nor created; they enter our world by climbing out of their own shadows, and leave a few hours later when they inevitably tumble back down into them. At the bottom of each of these peculiar holes (sometimes over thirty miles in depth) is a pool of black lava of unknown origin. Some say that each such shadow is a window into a second underground, and that our planet hides multiple interiors beneath a single surface. Others claim that there is no such multitude of underworlds, and that the gnomes create a material debt by existing that eventually swallows their borrowed bodies whole.

The Atlas Pines of Northwestern Hyperborea received their name for a good reason. Their trunks possess greater girth than those of the sequoia trees, and their uppermost branches lock together into a thick lattice of arbor and needles strong enough to uphold ten-meter snowdrifts. These pearlescent dunes are all that can be seen from above, obscuring the entirely separate landscape that exists at their roots.