Fireborn: Dark Phoenix
Taan is the world; the Uruk simply called it variants of “the world” or “the universe”, but mages and scientists and philosophers over the last thousand years have tried to separate the concepts of “what can be seen” and “everything that can exist”, and hence the trend has been to adopt the Elven word for ‘world’ – Taan.
Taan’s ground slopes inward on itself; the entire surface of the world circles itself in a sphere, with a roughly 40,000km circumference (though it is a slightly elliptical shape, with the icebound poles slightly farther from the sun). On exceptionally clear days, the far side of Taan is visible in some detail; observatories have long been used by clandestine organisations to spy on faraway enemies, but the distances and limited visibility to most of the world make the technique nearly useless for more than mapping.
However, recent advances in telescopy and lens-crafting have led some to suggest that more modern efforts would not be so limited (and some conspiracy theories say, such things are already done by many powers, in secret). However, the proliferation of burning the carbonaceous mineral “firerock” (colloquially called coal) has led to a rise in air pollution that has made ‘clear’ days significantly less useful over the last century.
Taan’s sun is a brightly glowing sphere in the approximate centre of the world; though measurements and observations suggest a subtle oscillation every few months. A day on Taan cycles every 24 hours; at dusk, the Sun begins to visibly dim; within an hour its heat has lessened so much that its surface glows a subtle red, and night falls. During the night, the Sun has subtle patterns of molten veins criss-crossing it, which change daily and seemingly at random; soothsayers and astrologers claim that these patterns foretell future events if one can only decipher them. At dawn, the Sun begins to re-heat slowly, its dark regions becoming redder and then white hot once again as day breaks.
Taan’s year is based on the cycling of seasons, every 360 days, measured from the summer to winter solstices, and divided into 12 equal ‘months’ of 30 days each. The seasonaility derives from the habit of Taan’s sun to alter the length of the day, chaotically but with a clear annual oscillation – each day the timing of dusk may vary by several minutes with no obvious pattern, but the trend is to lengthen towards Midsummer and shorten towards Midwinter.
The global nature of these changes mean that almost all of Taan qualifies as temperate in climate, though there are regions akin to ‘tropics’ near the ‘equator’ (where by geographical happenstance the ground is closer to the sun) and ‘poles’ where the ground is farther away. Regional climate can vary significantly with altitude, with regions like the vast desert of the Wastes of Arbina where the climate remains consistently hot due to its high altitude tableland nature – though its unusually dry nature, if legends of thousands of years ago are to be believed, is a more recent climatic shift.
It is also known that the sun does not shine equally brightly on all areas. Many (but not all) deserts coincide with areas of higher than average sunlight, and hence are hotter; the polar regions are significantly dimmer than the rest of the world, and this is part of the reason they are colder (but are also nearly 1000km further away from the sun thanks to the ovoid shape of the world). This is why they are called the “Darklands”; though many people beieve it is a misnomer, since the reflective ice and snow makes them seem bright in the sky.