Metcitum

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Metcitum (pronounced /ˈmɛtsɪtəm/) is the solar domain of Vlastach that includes the north shore of the Mirror Sea. Metcitum is also the domain that contains the Head of Vlastach, which rises about two hundred kilometers northwest of the seashore. The Metcitan day has become the standard used when coördinating time across the veigur, rather than relying on the different days of each domain—partly because the presence of the Head gives Metcitum some measure of special prestige, partly because of Metcitum's central position within the veigur, but also in large part because unlike Vlastach's other daily suns Metcitum's sun, Tembecus, defines an integral number of days each year, rising and setting exactly three hundred and sixty times.

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Geography

Main article: Geography of Metcitum

Metcitum is bordered on the south by the Mirror Sea, on the north by the Thayan Mountains, on the east by a dimly lit area called the Lands of Shame, and to the west by a zone of mixed terrain and chaotic weather patterns known as the Stormfront. Technically, some of these boundaries aren't quite equidistant to Tembecus and the neighboring suns. The area just south of the Thayan Mountains is actually closer to the sun to the north, but is conventionally included in Metcitum for reasons of geographical continuity, and because the shielding effect of the mountains means Tembecus has more effect on this area than the northern sun anyway. Likewise, the eastern edge of the Greenwood, past the Stormfront, is closer to Tembecus than to the domain to the west, but is usually considered part of the latter because the edge of the forest makes a more convenient boundary than an unremarkable line in its interior.

A large part of central and western Metcitum is taken up by the Plains of Haghora, a vast expanse of flat prairie, virtually unbroken except for a few small rivers, copses, and lakes. No civilized nation claims the plains; they are left primarily to the diverse nomad tribes that roam the grasslands. There are, however, a few independent settled city-states, such as Aaselach, the City of the Dead. Next to the Plains of Haghora, the largest geographical feature in Metcitum is the Caloski Swamp, an enormous marsh located in southeastern Metcitum. The Blotesian Empire laid some roads through the swamp, but it remains a difficult and often dangerous area to traverse. In northern Metcitum are located such terrains as the mountain-ringed desert called the Valley of the Skulls, and the aptly named Dry Forest, made up of trees and other plants that survive on very little moisture. There are extensive caverns beneath Metcitum, as well, including such well known sites as Alsesar's Cave and the Proving Grounds.

Nations

The largest nation of Metcitum is Osrodica, a vestige of the Blotesian Empire that takes up much of the domain's southern border. Osrodica, which has abandoned its parent empire's autarchy for a democratic government system, remains a force to be reckoned with on the worldwide stage, both for its trading power and for its learning. Surprisingly, despite a border at the Head of Vlastach itself, Osrodica isn't really a Grower nation; some landworking is done there, but Osrodica still makes most of its income through manufacture and other means. The same cannot be said of Quago, which even designates Vlastach as its official head of government, though in practice the real ruler of Quago is the Arch-Vicar, who governs the nation in Vlastach's name.

Also in Metcitum are the isolated desert nation of Ihiri and the subterranean nation of Kiligrae.

Calendar

The Metcitan calendar, which has become the standard calendar throughout Vlastach, consists of three hundred and sixty days to the year, divided into fifteen twenty-four-day periods called "circles". Though a day within a circle can simply be referred to numerically—the first day, the second day, et cetera—certain parts of the circles have special names. The central eight days of each circle are called the "heart" of the circle, and one often speaks of the first day of the heart, the second day of the heart, and so on, if more precision is necessary. The two days at either end of the circle are collectively called the "far days" of the circle, context usually making it clear whether it is the first two days or the last two days that are meant.

This current system of circles—along with the names of the months—is a vestige of a much older calendar developed by an ancient civilization of Metcitum called the Athweleny. The circles of the Athweleny calendar were not continuous, but were each spread out throughout the year, the far days being literally far from the heart and from each other. The Athweleny made use of two other systems as well, similar in concept but differing in the number and length of the circles: a calendar of twelve thirty-day circles and one of twenty eighteen-day circles. These calendars were superimposed such that each day belonged to—and could be identified by—a unique combination of three circles. Though not in common use today, this three-calendar system remains significant in its coördination with some of the magical vestiges the Athweleny left behind.

Magic

Main article: Magic of Metcitum

Both kinds of magic commonly in use on Vlastach—elemental magic and landworking—are in common use in the nations of Metcitum, some more in some nations than others. However, there is also a third type of magic that was once practiced by the Athweleny, so-called "circle magic", which some scholars now study and in which a few rare individuals have attained some proficiency. Circle magic was, and is, linked with the circles of the three Athweleny calendars, and the current circle influences what magical effects are easiest to produce.

The nation of Osrodica holds perhaps the greatest center of magical research in the veigur, especially with regards to more obscure types of magic. One of the three branches of Osrodica's government comprises mages of various sorts, and one of the three "Circles" that makes up this branch (the Black Circle) specifically focuses its study on esoteric magics beyond landworking and elemental magic. For that matter, the circle concentrating on elemental magic, the White Circle, is possibly the most significant center of study of that field of magic on Vlastach as well.

Stars

Main article: Stars of Metcitum

In addition to the wandering constellations that roam all of Vlastach, Metcitum, like all the solar domains, also has some fixed constellations of its own. The largest of these is the white constellation known as Alapi, the Web, in much of the area under which other constellations take priority, but which despite this still influences an enormous area. The origin of the Web is obscure, but some of its effects are clear; among other things, Alapi for some reason frequently causes to appear beneath it strange creatures known as star spiders. Another constellation of unknown origin is Enen, the Beast, a red constellation that postdates the Merge but predates Vlastach's having enough power to create constellations itself.

Ahhabi's Eye, a blue constellation, is technically a wandering constellation, but one that wanders over a relatively small area, keeping itself above the Valley of the Skulls. The Eye retains the influence over climate that all the constellations once had, and the area it currently overlooks is always blazing hot.

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