(You can listen to this information being read out loud in our introductory episode!)
Siderea is a city-state, located on a peninsula that is surrounded by the Milky Ocean from the south, east and west, and the Stardust mountains from the north. The Aurora river runs through the middle of Siderea, from the mountains and into the ocean. The Corona forest hugs the city from the north, east and west.
Siderea experiences a Mediterranean climate, with four full seasons. Summers are hot and dry, and winters are cool and wet. It usually only rains during the winter months, but small amounts of snowfall do occasionally occur once every few years during particularly cold winter seasons.
The city itself is built in a circular fashion, mimicking the planetary orbits on their paths around the sun. In the center is the Sun’s Zenith, where the Sun and his family resides. Spanning outwards are rings that house the rest of Sidereal citizens in accordance with the orbital system. People of any orbit are free to enter the designated territory of other orbits, but are only allowed to permanently live within their own orbit.
Cutting across the orbital rings are eight main streets, called the rays.
The orbital trains follow circular paths, going around each orbit. Their tracks are raised above the ground, slightly higher than Siderea’s standard three-story buildings.
Nestled between the ring of Ludmir and Dorei on the south-east side is a crater called the Sunspot. The Sunspot is a contained area where normal Sidereal customs do not apply. Within its perimeter, people gain access to services and spectacles that would otherwise be banned in any other area of the city. Some examples include prostitution, cage fights, theater, gambling, and drugs.
The Sunspot can only be entered or exited from one single gate that leads to a staircase down into the crater. The rest of the perimeter is steep cliff, so one would find it practically impossible to leave or enter anywhere but the gate. From surface to bottom, several layers of thick, dark cloth overhang the crater, making it impossible for sunlight to penetrate down. The Sunspot’s streets are always dark, as though there were a ceiling above them. The red-tinted lampposts serve as the only source of light in the crater’s depths.
The guards stationed at the gate work with discretion, allowing people to go in without showing their face, only requiring to see their Sidereal brand to make sure they are an outsider. People who work within the Sunspot are not allowed to leave its perimeters, and the main duty of the guards stationed up above and down below is to keep them inside. These people are considered nonentities, but are branded with a special mark of the Sunspot – a filled in black circle. They are provided with shelter, food, clothing and other basic needs, but not paid for their work.
Most people who work in the Sunspot were born there. However, it is possible to end up in the crater through other means. Some were banished by their families and chose the Sunspot over the Umbra. Others were smuggled in by members of the Black Hole. Either way, once a person receives the brand of the Sunspot, there is no chance for them to see the surface again.
The Umbra is the area occupied by Siderea’s lawless slums, where crime, poverty, hunger, disease and death run rampant. The territory itself used to be a part of Kiluit’s ring that got destroyed by a volcanic eruption from the Stardust mountains. Most of the damage seemed to have affected Varnavir’s side, but the eruption coupled with the landslide and rockfall still destroyed a sizeable part of the outermost ring.
Overtime, the ruins became a cesspool of all Sidereal outcasts. The sick, the cursed, the nonentities, the banished and the criminals – all linger within the Umbra. The slums also serve as home turf to Siderea’s largest organized crime syndicate of the Black Hole.
The perimeter of the Umbra is fenced in and heavily patrolled in an effort to keep people from going both in or out. The territory is so large, however, that catching every single trespasser is nearly impossible, especially if one knows their way around the slums.
Loraine and her Satellites routinely raid the Umbra to keep some semblance of control and order, and to hunt for cursed ones that often hide out in the slums.
People of many different backgrounds may find themselves among the Umbra’s wrecks. Some were born there and never received their Sidereal brand, living as nonentities; other might have become nonentities later in life by having been stripped of their brand by Moriah and banished here, their crimes not severe enough for the Asteroid; some might still bear brands of any of the orbits, having been banished by their families, or, perhaps, having left by choice for their own reasons. Regardless of how they got here, and who they were before they did, one thing unites all those who dwell within the Umbra: they are outcasts with no place in Siderea’s rigid orbital system, with no one to miss them and no one to protect them.
The Asteroid is Siderea’s prison, where those found guilty by Moriah will live out the rest of their days. It is carved into the depths of the Stardust mountains, on the eastern shore of the peninsula. Heavily patrolled by elite guards, surrounded by rocky mountains from three sides and a tempestuous ocean from the other, the Asteroid is virtually inescapable, and no one has managed to break free in all of its history despite numerous attempts.