The worlds are on the backs of enormous living creatures, these creatures are like islands travelling through space. Each of these creatures is currently described by their likeness to an Australian animal, however we want to stretch and extend what these creatures look like (we might still recognise features that reflect their source, but they shouldn’t look just like the creature they are inspired from).
There are five inhabited worlds connected by a river that is also the primary magic (and water) source, the five worlds are:
Lican is a pelican-like creature who flies along the same circular route, and always remains physically higher than the other worlds. There are no houses/permanent structures on Lican but this is still a densely populated world. Lican has a gentle light source that is reminiscent of early morning (the perfect time to head out fishing). The River of Inbetween – the primary source of magic, and the only fresh water source – begins on Lican.
It is tradition that anyone born on Lican starts their lives without a name and their community then chooses a name for them once something live-changing/significant happens. The currency of Lican is shiny, collectable things. Most communication on Lican happens through sound/song and the primary language on Lican is very musical. The other worlds see Lican as somewhat privileged due to the permanent and reliable water there. It is easy to grow things in Lican and Lican is a place of plenty.
Vespur is a bat-like creature and has no whole of world light source. It is permanently dark on Vespur and so the lights here are all artificial/magical in nature. Vespur is much smaller than the other four inhabited worlds but one of the most densely populated, with everyone living on top of one another. Homes here are made of any and every material that can be found or traded. Vesper follows no pattern in their path and is entirely unpredictable in their proximity to the other worlds.
Vespur is the most diversely populated and the peoples communicate in a mix of slangs from everywhere, there is a lot of gesturing and charades to be understood. Vespur is a party place full of self-indulgence and individuality. The peoples on Vespur are always in the middle of a big party and you can find anything at Vespur’s markets. The currenty of Vespur is IOU’s and everyone mostly fends for themselves. Individuality and self-expression is celebrated here.
UTER (affectionately known as Uttie).
Uttie is a wombat like creature and very green. Unbeknownst to her inhabitants, Uttie is pregnant/has a joey in her pouch. Uttie’s light is like a summer evening (the perfect time to gather with friends).
On Uttie, it is traditional for the old folk to raise the young. Teens and adults are the workers here. The primary communication on Uttie is through grounding, a kind of mind speak that travels through the barefeet into the ground and to any others in the nearby vicinity. It is a complicated (and very NOT private) way to communicate and not everyone can do it. Spoken language is discouraged on Uttie, so those who cannot ground tend to use sign language and/or written forms of communication to get by. The currency on Uttie are all the things that enable growth – pollen, seeds, fertilizer, water etc.
Uttie is covered in many mountains and valleys. The valleys are rich farming land and the best food and magic is grown here during the healthy river flows. Many of the inhabitants of Uttie live underground in intricate cavern hubs with many families together. Others live in dwellings carved into enormous trees and cliff-faces above ground.
Uttie is the second world the river moves across, this is true no matter where Uttie and Lican are in proximity to each other. When the two worlds are close together, the river from Lican to Uttie is a gushing waterfall. When the two worlds are far from each other, it dries to the barest trickle. Uttie follows her own route which is sometimes closer to Lican and sometimes beneath Taeamor and Tael (think the burrowing habits of a wombat). The river’s shape twists and bends to follow the connection and order of the worlds at any given time.
TAEAMOR & TAEL
Taeamor & Tael are two separate creatures, a bonded pair of sleepy-lizard like creatures. Taeamor & Tael travel together the same winding and repetitive path. They each have their own light source, but both lights are the full grinding light of 9-5pm (but depending on their location in the universe, sometimes this is a “hotter” light and sometimes a “colder” light). Taeamor & Tael are both much drier than Uttie & Lican, and more of their wild landscapes are desert and dry scrubland. Taeamor & Tael are worlds of routine, rules, archives and the power of the written word. Tael is the home of the all the worlds collected knowledges (ie. a fucking huge library). You cannot take anything from the library without permission, if you do so, the library absorbs you as another book/chapter.
Taeamor & Tael’s inhabited places are very clean, clear and free of rubbish. Dwellings and buildings are larger but ordered, everything is built with purpose in mind. Language is spoken but very formal in every way and it is considered culturally rude to show excessive emotion on Taeamor & Tael. Everyone here is ordered by the patterns of work and industry. Currency is the ability to buy hours of work or sleep.
Children are valued but not trusted and kept out of public life. When children come of age they are assigned a job and region through an exam.
Taeamor is the third and last world that the river moves permanently across. Taeamor is always the third world the river touches, even when Uttie is below her. Tael and Taeamor are connected by a large ancient bridge allowing peoples to safely cross between the two at whim, however the bridge is heavily taxed.
These five inhabited worlds are home to numerous peoples and mixed cultures, but the first peoples of each world share a resemblance to the creature that is their world base. The backs of each creature include areas inhabited by peoples and wild landscapes. In most cases, peoples only live on the back of the creatures (not their heads/wings/legs etc), though there are some exceptions. Each creature world is differently sized, but the largest creature is probably a little bigger than Singapore (ie – a few days walking to get from one end of the animal to the other). The light sources of each world are small creatures bonded to that world. When these creatures sleep they rest on the head of their bonded creature and emit no light. The world they light is plunged immediately into darkness as soon as they fall asleep (there is no slow sunrise/set).
These five worlds are moving through a vast and otherwise largely empty universe of stars, asteroids and nothingness. There is a dead world called DAVERSCI (a fish-like creature) and a newer world called REMUM (a turtle-like creature) and the remains of other, older forgotten worlds. The river starts on Lican and flows down to Uter and then to the worlds of Taeamor and Tael (these twin worlds travel side by side). Vespur is a “loose” world occasionally travelling into the path of the river but not permanently in its path so water is especially prized here and reserves are not predictably replenished. Daversci and Remum are not connected to the river and are both smaller than the five inhabited worlds.
There is also a flying ship called FUGENAVIS. Fugenavis is built from harvested/discarded bodily materials of the worlds (Taeamor skin for sails, felted Uttie hair for the ship’s body, bones from a forgotten world for beams etc). This ship is a world itself and the peoples who live and die on Fugenavis are scientists, explorers, merchants, misfits and thieves. Fugenavis is the only non-magical way to travel between the known worlds, but it is unpredictable – it could take a day or it could take several years to do the same trip!
There are magical portal ways to travel between worlds (for trade related to resources mostly) but it is dangerous and uses other precious resources so therefore expensive. When the worlds are very close to one another, movement between worlds using smaller localised ships through the air or water is possible and less dangerous, however the proximity to enable this is not often.