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|Fundamentals||Vaurca · Vaurca Biology · Vaurca Hives|
|History and Culture||Vaurca History · Vaurca Religion · Sedantis I · Vaurca Culture and Society|
Sedantis I was the first moon of the gas giant Sedantis and the origin world of the Vaurcae. It was a desolate and largely lifeless world. While Vaurcae narratives contend that the moon was once verdant, at some point several millennia ago it suffered some great ecological disaster that wiped out most of the alleged life it fostered. Its surface was barren, and bathed constantly in solar radiation due to the weak ozone. The atmosphere of Sedantis I was primarily gaseous phoron.
The majority of information concerning Sedantis I comes from the recovered records of Vaurcae hives that humanity has encountered, primarily the Zo'ra. The majority of these records are post-Augment Era records of fact, however much information of ancient Sedantis I can only be gleaned from the often poorly kept records and myths of the ancient Pre-Augment Era Vaurcae, records that were more like histories and traditionally disdained by modern Vaurcae. Much of human understanding of this fascinating planet is thus conjecture.
The gravity on Sedantis was strong enough to keep a rather substantial atmosphere, which was primarily composed of gaseous phoron. The prevailing theory amongst human scientists with a focus on Vaurcae is that the aforementioned ecological disaster was naturally predicated by rising oxygen gases and phoron, two highly combustible gases. Vaurcae accounts tell of great infernos that would periodically sweep across the land, which contributed heavily to their subterranean society. The natural conclusion reached thus is that the atmosphere eventually burned itself out, allowing the surface to be bathed in the radiation that killed the earth and eventually resulted in the Vaurcae abandoning their world.
The exact science of how a primarily phoron atmosphere came into existence is yet another matter of debate. The temperatures required to vaporize solid phoron on such a massive scale indicates that the world was once rich in solid phoron and underwent a great tectonic upheaval. The exact geological history of phoron is relatively unknown, making it difficult to predict whether such a thing could naturally come to be.
The nature of Sedantis' atmospheric conditions made aero-travel and in fact any overground travel difficult, supporting the primarily subterranean lifestyle of its inhabitants and their disinclination toward space travels. Ancient pre-Augment Era Vaurcae legends tell of Outsiders - a common character in ancient Vaurcae mythos - vaporizing with beams of heat the foolish hives that attempted to abandon the subterranean lifestyle, which modern xenoarchaeologists interpret as mythological explanations for the natural phenomena of flash phoron fires. Presumably, these fires were initiated commonly via electrical discharges such as lightning.
Weather on Sedantis I is a matter of conjecture, as there is a dearth of data concerning the meteorological conditions of the planet. Precipitation was typically in a liquid or more often vaporous state, with heavy, hot, and dense fogs of water rolling across the landscape periodically. Solid precipitation was at best an extremely rare phenomenon. Winds and storms were particularly frequent, especially after a phoron fire. The aggressive winds only further made surface dwelling an unattractive prospect.
To the Vaurcae, the lithosphere - or the first geographic layer of Sedantis I - was of immense importance. The majority of all life on Sedantis dwelt in the massive subterranean caverns, and later the artificial hives of the Vaurcae, that the lithosphere hosted. Serving as the only sure shelter from the hostile surface, the lithosphere was of great mythological significance to ancient Vaurcae, and great pragmatic significance to the modern Vaurcae.
Oceans and major bodies of water on the surface of Sedantis I were virtually non-existent, creating a very uniform lithosphere. The heat of the lithosphere near the surface infrequently approached the heat of the lithosphere as it approached the mantle, making inhabitation near the surface a very risky prospect. The majority of all life dwelt in the middle sections of the lithosphere, in great caverns carved out by unknown geographic forces - perhaps the same forces that vaporized the phoron that contributed to the atmosphere of Sedantis I.
The majority of the lithosphere was composed of metamorphic rock - presumably igneous rocks of the tectonic age of Sedantis I converted by the extreme heat and pressures exerted by the phoron fires of the surface. Sedimentary rock was virtually nonexistent due to the low deposition rates induced by the lack of surface water. The surface was largely homogenized in its mineral variety. However, as one descended the mineral diversity increased exponentially, and many valuable ores were to be found deep beneath the surface, to the benefit of the Vaurcae that dwelt there. Indeed, Sedantis I was the only known world that fostered both sentient life and the invaluable solid phoron deposits that drive the modern economy. Of little practical value to ancient Vaurcae, phoron has nonetheless been a crucial element in their society. Once a subject of almost religious reverence, phoron was nevertheless dug greedily by modern Vaurcae, and was used to fuel their departure from their radiation blasted world. Other minerals such as iron, copper, and platinum were relatively common as well.
The ambient temperature of the subterranean caverns was frequently very hospitable, warmed on both ends by the harsh surface and the heated mantle, the underground served as the perfect kettle for fostering life among all stages of Sedantis' lifetime. Liquid water abounded and oxygen levels were frequently much lower than on the surface, making phoron fires and other dangerous calamities much rarer.
Volcanic activity was relatively frequent in the lower portions of the lithosphere, spurred by the tectonic activity of the mantle. Areas of great volcanic activity were rarely ever settled by ancient or modern Vaurcae, and served as natural borders between hives. Seismic activity was less common, but still a significant danger to early hives, further shaping the development of the "nations" that would dominate modern Vaurcae society.
Fauna on the surface of Sedantis I was nonexistent. All non microbial organisms dwelt in the vast underground networks. The geographic barriers posed by the insular nature of these caverns lent itself to great biological diversity. However, as Vaurcae became the dominant lifeform on Sedantis I the diversity of fauna on their homeworld took a steep nosedive - unlike humanity modern Vaurcae did not concern themselves with artifically preserving biodiversity, and often callously extincted species if they got in the way. While the insular nature of the cavern systems made fauna on Sedantis I highly diverse, it also made it very limited. Species were often found only in a single network of caves, and had no bastions or reserves to preserve their genetic tree should the Vaurcae set their eyes upon the same network.
The majority of fauna were omnivorous, and capable of thriving alone and in packs. A rare few fauna fed off the flora of the caverns, and often led sedentary lifestyles, cultivating their fauna group by their existence. Many fauna were unimportant to the Vaurcae, and thus were only briefly mentioned in records, and often only in mythological records. Some of the more important fauna with a larger wealth of information pertaining to them included:
Sk'yau - White Worms
One of the few rare scavenger creatures, the white worms were also one of the few ubiquitous creatures of the caves, found in nearly every cavern system with only slight variations. Their role was invaluable in the formation of ecosystems, as they recycled the cavernous soils and enriched them with the phoron they burrowed through, creating a suitable environment for the growth of K'ois. Varying in size from nearly microscopic to several feet long, the Sk'yau were fast-breeding and a common prey for larger fauna. Pre-Augment Era Vaurcae however rarely hunted Sk'yau, despite them being perhaps the only species with sizeable populations to serve as a food base. The reverence for their role in the development of K'ois spared them from Vaurcesian destruction, and they were once a common sight in Vaurcae hives and agriculture centers.
They were almost universally albino, as indicated by their name, and fed primarily off of the nutrients left by the more ambitious fauna of the caves, and off of phoron deposits which they circulated throughout their excrement, creating a rich soil perfect for the development of K'ois. They were commonly bred by ancient Vaurcae for the exact purpose of developing K'ois agriculturally, in the times before technological development allowed for the genetic modification of the staple fungus.
K'yi Yol'ax - Beaked Stalkers
Information pertaining to the beaked stalkers is found primarily in the ancient records of proto-hives, as they were one of the first species systematically wiped out by the Vaurcae. An intelligent biped, they lurked in the upper caverns and primarily hunted individual Vaurcae. Vaurcae mythology equated them to what humans would call demons. They were supposedly very intelligent and gifted with a predatory cunning. Legendarily, they used tools just as the Vaurcae did, and breathed foul gases that could kill a Vaurcae in an instant. As their name indicates, they were typically depicted as beaked predators. It is unknown how much of the K'yi Yol'ax is myth enlarged to compliment Vaurcae capabilities, and how much of it is fact. It is unlikely that they were particularly more advanced than any other fauna, as they were as mentioned one of the first species extinguished by the Vaurcae.
It is possible that they were entirely mythical, much like dragons to Earth society. Many of their features are almost certainly exaggerated - it is stated by myth that they were unable to consume both K'ois and the natural gas of Sedantis I, likely narrative tools to cement them as a foreign evil to Vaurcae society. Their ability to use tools and their ability to breathe noxious fumes is almost certainly merely intended to make them seem a more threatening foe, thus elevating Vaurcae prowess for defeating them, and their ability to communicate between one another along with their tendency to hunt only individual Vaurcae likely meant to inspire fear and encourage hegemony in Vaurcae populations.
Alternatively, some theorize that they were perhaps a genetic off-shoot of Vaurcae, much like neanderthals to modern humanity. Similarly, these individuals believe the Vaurcae wiped them out in competition for resources.
Whatever the case, they serve as a fascinating piece of Vaurcesian mythology, and are typically cited as one of the primary non-environmental reasons for the formation of hive-based societies.
V'krexi - Tunnel Wasps
Perhaps one of the most primordial organisms on Sedantis I, they are also one of the strangest. Along with Vaurcae, they are the only species of Sedantis fauna capable of flight for any period of time. They are also one of the only fauna available for active human study, as several hundred were recently discovered on the Zo'ra hiveship Titan Prime. The exact relationship between V'krexi and Vaurcae is unknown, although many theorize that they are in some way genetically related. Vaurcae seem unusually well-inclined towards them, keeping them historically as domestic companions. Accounts indicate that ancient Vaurcae used them as reconnaissance aids, and often released them in unexplored tunnels to gauge the hostility of the system.
Primarily carnivorous, they would often wipe out any dangerous fauna in the caverns before the Vaurcae arrived to settle, using their venomous stingers and flight capability. Their vibrant colours and their rancid meat often protected them from predation, and they typically lived a symbiotic life with the ancient Vaurcae. As the Vaurcae grew to be more independent and civilized, they were kept due to their practical value, and in the final stages of Vaurcae society for their scientific value.
V'krexi lived a similar life to proto-Vaurcae, focused on hive-styled relationships. They were extremely large, larger than dogs, and capable off light for extended periods of time.
Diversity of flora declined far more rapidly than diversity of fauna as Vaurcae grew to become the dominant species of Sedantis I. The Vaurcae reliance on K'ois induced them to introduce it in a genetically modified state to virtually every cavern they inhabited. There, it tended to destroy the native flora which the Vaurcae were typically unconcerned with. What little flora did exist to modernity were typically either to large or hardy to be strangled by K'ois, or adapted to be symbiotic with it.
K'ois - The Substance
K'ois is perhaps the single most important lifeform to Vaurcae society, and wherever Vaurcae are found so too is K'ois. A staple of their diet, it was the only species of flora capable of being developed on an agricultural scale, and thus Vaurcae society revolved around it in every stage. Proto-hives scoured the caverns in nomadic groups, struggling against both the environment and other proto-hives for even a few day's worth of the substance. Early hives rose to dominance or fell to starvation based solely on the fickle growths of the fungus. The impetus of science was dedicated to ensuring the survival of K'ois, and then the surplus of K'ois. It is the only flora to accompany the Vaurcae on their great exodus, and it has proven more than able of surviving in human environments. It is vital to the Vaurcae as both a nutritional food item and a source of liquid phoron. Once dependent on Sk'yau, it was developed to thrive in any environment under the watchful eyes of their new caretaker - the Vaurcae.
A translucent, bulbous fungus, it glows a sickly yellow and produces both the vital k'ois paste and trace amounts of phoron, both essential elements to the Vaurcae diet, especially in the foreign worlds of man. It proves more than capable of beating out most native flora in any environment, and situating itself in their place.
Ak'aya - Venom Grass
Another ubiquitous flora in the Sedantis caverns, it thrived also in virtually any environment, and succeed primarily because it was capable of adapting to the K'ois infestations that strangled other, less hardy plants. Of little interest to Vaurcae, it commonly served as a food staple in ecosystems not yet introduced to K'ois, and ultimately spread to most caverns via the artificial tunnelways constructed by the Vaurcae. A cavern of tunnel grass was in actuality a colony of clones all rooted to the same parent organism, which burrowed deeper and deeper underground with the production of further growths, deep away from the strangling growths of K'ois.
There is a dearth of data concerning the geological history of Sedantis I. Heavily influenced by the gravitational forces of the gas giant it orbits, who some xenoarchaeologists consider the "spark" whereas others consider it representative of the "Outsiders" in proto-Vaurcae myths, Sedantis I was an anomalous moon due to its phoron-rich atmosphere and crust. However, this same value was a double-edged sword, and the planet grew increasingly hostile over the millenia due to the highly volatile nature of phoron, culminating in the elimination of its ozone layer, and ultimately its presumable destruction. Its tectonic activity heavily influenced its formation, and while it did not have large enough pools of water for substantial erosion it still reportedly had a complex geography.
Proto-hive Vaurcae likely enjoyed only a moderately inhospitable environment, but as the ages grew long they were forced to flee deeper and deeper into the lithosphere. With the advent of industry, Vaurcae perhaps overindulged in their newfound luxury, and probably accelerated the planet's destruction through excessive harvest of the lithosphere, and callous extinction of other species, severely gimping biodiversity. Their overgrowth of K'ois probably oversaturated the phoron atmosphere, creating a perfect recipe for a final, apocalyptic burn that nailed the coffin of the ozone. It is ironic then that it is likely the Vaurcae who destroyed their precious homeworld.
Samples of Sedantis Rock, large chunks of rock brought by the Vaurcae hiveships, indicate that the world itself was very very old. Its presumed distance from the galactic core substantiates the theory that it is probably older than most planets humanity dwells on today. It is possible that all of the Sedantis system has extinguished itself - in the interim between the Vaurcesian exodus and their arrival on Tau Ceti, their star could have consumed their world - an alternative theory being that the star itself stripped the ozone as it grew increasingly unstable, independent of Vaurcae industrial actions.
Altogether, despite the extreme hazards that Sedantis I posed for organic life, it seemed the perfect home of the Vaurcae, who themselves seem almost designed for its harsh landscape. A marvel of natural evolution, truly. It is not so difficult to understand why the Vaurcae of Tau Ceti seem so eager to return back to their homeworld, despite all the trouble it has caused them.
The peculiar case of Sedantis I is to some a warning - that we must tend well to our own worlds, lest they suffer a similar fate. To others it is a message of hope and wonder - what marvels might be found as we drift farther and farther away from the galactic core, towards the truly alien frontier.
|Vaurca Lore Pages|
|Fundamentals||Vaurca · Vaurca Biology · Vaurca Hives|
|History and Culture||Vaurca History · Vaurca Religion · Sedantis I · Vaurca Culture and Society|