“The worldbuilding is nearly flawless in its execution, which will entice readers to immerse themselves in the story and acclimate themselves to its strangeness as they go.”—Kirkus Reviews
We were gratified when we read that line from Kirkus’ assessment of our first novel. Before Things They Buried saw its first complete draft, we spent years building the World of Ismae. Like many series authors, Amanda and I keep a voluminous world bible, referring to ours as “The Index.” It would be impossible to keep track of everything and everyone on Ismae without it.
This post is first in a series intended to share our worldbuilding material with our readers, and we’ve chosen to begin with an Index excerpt by Lady Orilausko, which concerns the planet, its satellites, and their orbital durations.
Greetings, and welcome to the Index of Ismae, a glorious undertaking dedicated to documenting and cataloging all salient aspects of this world we call home. Contributions have been made by the great minds of Ismae, and I cannot sufficiently show them the depth of my gratitude for their assistance. Anyone wishing to augment or contest my work is welcome to contact me at the Vale Collective, Relaret Vale, Locnor, or at the Caba Club, Dockhaven, via the Farspeakers Combine. Now, do delve in and enjoy this fabulous archive.
At last estimates more than eighty percent of the surface of Ismae is covered by saltwater. The planet’s largest explored land masses are the islands that make up the Dominion of Chiva’vastezz, the Empire of Oras, and the great wilderness of Cloviist to the north. In addition, thousands of islands, islets, cays, and sandbars provide a home to a diverse array of flora and fauna—not to mention the copious life that fills our seas.
Dormah, the white moon, appears the largest in Ismae’s night sky. The faithful believe this is home to the shades of those who have been denied rebirth or the paradise of B’hintal Dadeyah, but are spared the agony of the Crushing Depths. Dormah is also home to the only functional hub of the ancient zoetic travel network known in Plainspeak as “the Egress.” This form of travel is used only by those audacious, impatient, or desperate due to the deleterious effects of the accompanying traveler’s sickness.
In contrast, B’hintal Dadeyah is smaller and a deep emerald color, said to be a verdant paradise prepared by the Duin for those of us worthy of sharing their sanctuary. Transit via Dadeyah’s Egress has been denied us since the War of Whispers when its termini were lost to the rising waters of the Cataclysm.
The rings of Opoli are the remnants of Ismae’s third moon, destroyed during the final battle of the War of Whispers, which both ended the war between the Duin and the Duar and caused the Cataclysm that reshaped our world.
Ismae takes one hundred and eighty days to complete a full orbit the sun. In this time, B’hintal Dadeyah shows us its full face once every twenty nights and Dormah once every forty. Each cycle of Dormah is represented by one month, twelve in all:
- Spring—Inbar, Celebar, Medibar
- Summer—Balototh, Toroth, Abinoth
- Autumn—Kalaflak, Danurak, Falak
- Winter—Etylon, Alsolon, Perilon
Though the various peoples of Ismae celebrate many holidays and feasts, two are shared by all. The Sower’s Festival is held from sundown Perilon 40 through sunset Inbar 10 and marks the beginning of the new year. The Reaper’s Festival is held from sundown Abinoth 40 through sunset Kalaflak 10. In many communities the festivities are often times when livestock and real estate are traded as well as marriage vows made or broken. And many a child of Ismae can thank these festival times for their conception.
We hope you enjoyed Ori’s short primer. Expect further entries from the Index in future blog posts.
Until next time, our gratitude to you all.