The Astral Realm, the Divine Realm, home to gods, Gaurdians, and floating cities of light and magic. Unlike Liserna and Oberun, Arcturus and Senabyss aren’t so much harmonic opposites as they are harmonic equals. Beings from either realm can exist in the other, but it takes a great deal of energy and willpower to get from one place to the other. Beings from Arcturus are generally called Immortals, because they tend not to age or die. The languages spoken here are Archaic, used as the common tongue by the Celestials, Eionic, which is the language of the long-dead Dragon race, and used mainly by the Alkali when speaking to each other, and Primordial, a primitive language spoken only by the tribal Groundlings.
From anywhere in Arcturus, you can see the stars, even in the daytime. They flicker through the clouds in bands of vivid pastel shimmers, and are even more beautiful at night when the auroras light up the entire sky, both above and below the High Cities. Most civilized places on Arcturus are situated on islands that levitate above the landscapes and seascapes below, suspended by the innate and powerful magic of the Realm. There are very few places on the Ground that are settled and civilized, because of the extraordinarily high concentrations of wild energy that flow through the ground and water, and permeates the air. This incredible power has adverse affects on those of a more fragile nature, thus leading to very little contact between the Ground and the Cities.
The sea is similarly avoided by most Isle dwellers, despite the plethora of edible creatures that can be plucked from it, but the Clestials have come up with their own technology and systems to harvest resources from around them. They are a very sustainable civilization in general, with greenhouse farms, atmospheric water harvesters, and alchemy machines that help keep everything in working order. They’ve imported plants and animals from other Realms, and over the years they’ve adapted to the strange environment. Most plants in the Cities are used for food, while most animals are kept as pets, transportation, or for shearing to make fibers used for clothing and decoration.
The main landmass of Arcturus, which consists of vast stretches of mountains, valleys, deep chasms, forests, deserts, and grasslands, all shrouded much of the time in veils of mist and fog. Veins of magic in the rocks result in alloys and materials unique to Arcturus, as well as creatures that resemble nothing else on the Five Realms. Surrounding the Ground is a massive ocean, called the Astral Sea.
The Middle Isles
Low-floating islands populated mainly by the Alkali, in small towns and cities. They trade different forms of salt as their main form of currency, and don’t have any one ruler. They are mainly self-sustaining, with some groups of harvesters flying down to the Ground to gather components and other miscellany, via the use of special suits constructed to withstand the huge power of the land. Because they are generally below the clouds, the Middle Isles do get rain and snowfall, resulting in rivers that cascade in waterfalls off the sides of the islands.
The High Cities
The towering, sprawling cities of the Celestials sit upon the highest floating islands, in the midst of the clouds. They have become alchemically and magically advanced, constructing large converters that harvest water and other minerals from the atmosphere, and a network of Stangs that allows them to travel from city to city easily. The capital of the High Cities is Æspherium, the City of Hope, from which the Kings rule Arcturus. For most of recorded history, only one of the two seats has been occupied, by the god of Sun and Summer, Dinmora.
The native races of Arcturus aren’t as widely varied as the other Realms, in terms of number, and tend to keep to themselves. They are the least likely of any Realm to adventure into the others, so seeing an Immortal anywhere outside of Arcturus is practically unheard of. Immortals include Celestials, Primordials, Archons, Ephemerals, and Alkali.
- Celestials stand an average of just over 6 feet tall, and are built slim and willowy. Their skin shines as though it was made of starlight, with some even having brighter pinpricks in constellations, just as Humans would have patterns of freckles. Their hair tends to be fine and silky, and, like their skin, varies in rich, metallic tones, from silver-pale to obsidian. Their eyes tend to be vivid and multi-toned, with heterochromia being the norm. Celestials are by far the most common race in Arcturus, as well as the oldest.
- Primordials stand from 5 to 6 and a half feet tall, and are generally built like highly muscular Humans, with two glaring exceptions: their skulls and faces resemble that of a Dragon more than any other race, and they have an extra pair of arms. Primordials make their homes not on the floating islands of Arcturus, but on the ground, where they’ve built up tribal societies around the patterns of magic in the rocks, rivers, and trees. They are very much in tune with this energy, and it has shaped them in return, possibly being responsible for the strange appearance of these creatures.
- Archons stand about 7 to 9 feet tall, with long features and slender bodies. They have subtle, smooth scales on their skin in brightly colored and intricate patterns, that change as they age and go through important events in their lives. These patterns can also be color-changed to communicate to other Archons, though they also speak the common tongue. Some Archons live and work alongside the Celestials in their floating cities, but others have formed loose-knit communities around the outskirts, and sometimes on nearby islands, accessible through various means.
- Ephemerals are serpentine beings that possess a humanoid torso and face, but their lower bodies have long, snakelike tails instead of legs, and whose arms, tails, and backs are patterned with a wide, colorful variety of feathers. From head to tail, Ephemerals are generally around 10 feet long, and use their feathers for a variety of purposes, including limited gliding. They form wandering bands alongside the Primordials, trekking along the ground in search of resources and trade.
- Alkali are a small race, standing only 3 and a half to 5 feet tall, and are the only race in Arcturus who speak primarily Eionic. They live on the scattered islands that float between ground level and cloud level, rather than above, like the ones the Celestials live on. Their skin and hair come in a wide variety of shades, usually metallic or vibrant tones. They have the largest variety of efficient airships in the Five Realms, and often times the most contact they have with the other races is trade, though the Groundlings prefer to walk, usually, and the Celestials prefer teleportation via the various Stangs in each city.
Celestial Guardians are extraordinary individuals, usually from other Realms, chosen by the rulers of Arcturus to defend the Realm and its people, as well as perform tasks in their Realm of origin that serve to keep the peace between all Five. They are given wings, like those of a large bird, to symbolize their position and rank, which can be summoned and dismissed at will. Celestial Guardians can only be chosen in times of impending chaos, and only if two or more rulers (or deities) agree on the decision. With Dinmora being the only ruler for hundreds of years, after Luscerann stepped down, he’s had to get creative in finding other deities that agree with him. However, because of the infrequency and importance of these Guardians, there have been rare occurrences in which one is called back from even Death to serve.
Thanks for reading through this exploration of Arcturus! It is by far one of the more mysterious Realms, if not the most so. In the next installment I’ll be diving into the Dark Realms, and as always, let me know if you’d like me to write about anything in particular!